THE INFORMATION #892
You’ve got to find some way of saying it without saying it.–Duke Ellington
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SEVENTY-FOUR: KINGDOM COME
“Not to sound like a renegade.” said Count Victor Justin, “or a reprobate, or one of them God-damned anarchists who go around blowing up statues and sometimes policemen, but the further you delve into the ways of the world, the more you have to realize that everything is a hustle and a con. Every businessman has got his own little special secret way of getting one over on the customer, who is always faded, fucked, and forgotten in veritably any retail transaction. You go to the general store to get supplies. The milk has been watered and has a sickly bluish cast; the bread had been adulterated with plaster of Paris and Indian corn meal, and there’s pebbles in the beans. The bacon is old and moldy and has been bathed in nitrates to conceal that interesting fact. The mutton is ghastly, and the fish is riddled with worms the size of your forearm. Nor can you depend upon your average restaurant to provide you with wholesome provender. You go to a chophouse and are served a piece of gristle as tough as old shoe leather–well and good, when you’re habituating a cheap old beanery–but you’ll find that even in the finest restaurants a good steak is seldom to be had–all the good cuts of quality beef are sold to friends of the cook, who pockets the profit, and the hapless diner is left with the same old tough cut of so-called beef that a dog would howl to eat. And don’t ever go to a swank hotel looking to get a good night’s rest. Everyone there is in league to swindle and shake you down–from the desk manager to the bellboy to the house dick. Even if you make a reservation ahead of time, they’ll try to move you into a higher-priced suite by saying they must of ‘mislaid’ your reservation. You arrive in town hot and dusty from riding the train all day–so what are you going to do, other than kowtow to their enormous fraud?
“Cheats and short-cuts are everywhere. Cut-throats are all around. They’re practically a way of life. Have you ever seen a policeman who wouldn’t steal? I haven’t; and I’ve traveled this world round. The blue smock gives them a certain license, you see–most low-class people will steal when given a chance. It’s in their nature. They’re just like animals in that way. Ever see two dogs fight over a bone? Then you know what I mean. Poor people are different from you and me. They seize their chances right away, and don’t bother to ponder the consequences. It’s a matter of survival, you see. The world is not kind to people who think too much. Especially the world of the poor.
“Physical force is mostly a no-go in the world of the wealthy and coddled. It’s seen as too too vulgar–like talking too loud, or wearing the wrong outfit to the dinner party. They’re all about appearances, the well-to-do. But poor people come at you with the bark off. If they don’t like the looks of you, you’d better be prepared to fight it out. And if you take your beating like a man, there’s the end of it. You see, after you proved you will fight, even if you lose, you will be respected. But if you act like a coward, because you don’t want to bruise your pretty face, then you will never live it down. Even a small boy knows the truth of that. It will follow you around until the day you die–or get the hell away from the gutter.
“Funny thing about the ghetto, though–it tends to follow you around.
“The problem being, if you do fight, you tend to take lumps in the head. That makes you stupid. Too stupid to aspire to any higher station in life, because you got two strikes agin’ you–you weren’t, as they say,, ‘to the manor born’; plus, all your friends call you ‘punchy’. Take my word for it–no child of privilege was ever called ‘Punchy’.
“Being poor is a racket, you see, just like any other–everything about it is designed to keep you down–down in your place.
“I will say this much: Po’ folk don’t pussyfoot around none. They say what they mean, and they don’t care if you like it or not. They got no time ner inclination to ponder the finer subtleties of a situation. They got little enough to lose, and so they ain’t a-scared of nothing. And all that Turn the Other Cheek crap they preach from the pulpit is a no-go once you leave the church. Look to the playgrounds of any public school at recess–you’ll be able to tell right off who are the children of the poor. They’re the brawlers. They have to be. Nobody gives them nothing, unless they take it. Poor folks. needless to say. don’t make for good con men. They got an eye for the main chance, to be sure–but they ain’t got no finesse. They see every problem as an equation which is solved by the liberal application of fisticuffs. They have no appreciation of what is appropriate. They’ll brawl in a barroom or at a funeral or a wedding–it’s all the same to them. And that’s how they teach their children how to be. Nothing worse for a poor man than to have a Sissy for a son. That’s where we get a lot of our priests, no disrespect intended. Show me a fighting priest, and I’ll show you a scion of the lower classes. Even a lad who’s afraid to fight is even more afraid of being considered a coward. He knows full well that the old man will whip his ass for him when he learns he’s harboring a Sissy-boy. ‘God hates a coward.’
“And that’s why the military is the perfect dumping ground for the scions of the lower depths–they were born to fight anyway, so why not put the one thing they’re good for to some kind of use? Better to use them as as cannon fodder than to watch them standing on the street corner and annoying all the pretty little girls….
“So, anyway, if you’re a poor man, you have to always ask yourself: Why should I not take advantage of plunder ready to hand? The bosses, the ward heelers and other pols, they’re no better, and most likely a damn sight worse, seeing as how their graft is all but sanctioned by the business interests of the town–as long as they get their rake-off. A man can be a blue-skinned Aborigine who roasts babies over a spit and eats ’em–but as long as he is in line with what all the top businessmen believe–that their plunder is is in some way ‘sanctified’–then all the people who matter will say that he’s ‘All Right’.
“Show me an honest man and I’ll show you a youngster–a poor weak fish too naive to grab for his with both hands–or, maybe, a scalded pup who has felt the lash of the master one time too many.
“And believe it when I tell you that there’s no reforming a born scoundrel. I should know, for I am the world’s expert. Sharp practice is like a narcotic drug. You think you can resist its lures and snares, and maybe for a day or two, or even a week, you manage to do it. But then all the old temptations gather round, and whisper to you that it will all be all right if you do it just once. And before too very long–you find yourself back on the same old merry-go-round as before.”
DADDY ROLLIN’ (IN YOUR ARMS)
Snopes’ Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors
BUDDY RICH BUS TAPES
This is not the goddamn House of David fuckin’ baseball team. This is the Buddy Rich Band; young people…with faces! No more fuckin’ beards. That’s out! If you decide to do it, you’re through. Right now! This is the last time I make this announcement. No more fucking beards
Slurpee 7-11 45 – Strange Things That Happen To Those Who Slurp at Seven Eleven
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
6* DAILY UTILITY
“SWOONING THE SWOONERS” (1945)
MASSACHUSETTS STEREOTYPES MAP
Men who fight apes.
PHIL HARTMAN ANSWERING MACHINE MESSAGES
THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: BABIES VS. ROBOTS
This is what the grand struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party has come down to: The fight between babies and robots. The mostly youthful Sanders supporters are convinced that their adversaries are nothing more than emotionless pragmatists dedicated to preserving the status quo at any cost. The Clinton supporters, for their part, look upon the insurgents as spiteful red diaper babies whose foundation garments are dripping-wet. Quite naturally, the partisan squabbles of the Democrats once again threaten to hand the country over to the power-hungry Republicans.
Sweet Land of Liberty!
*11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
100 BULLETS 10. ****1/2
100 BULLETS 11. ****1/2
100 BULLETS 12. ****1/2
AGONY. BEYER. ****
ANIMAL MAN 1. THE HUNT. LEMIRE. ***1/2
BATMAN BEYOND 1. BRAVE NEW WORLDS. ***
THE COMPLETE WIMMEN’S COMIX. ****
GOTHAM ACADEMY 2. CALAMITY. **1/2
HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL. ***
HELLBOY IN MEXICO. ***1/2
HOW LITERATURE WORKS: 50 KEY CONCEPTS. SUTHERLAND. ****1/2
JAMES JOYCE. ZAPICO. ****1/2
JOHN WAYNE’S AMERICA. WILLS. ****
JUSTICE LEAGUE 7. THE DARKSEID WAR PART 1. ***1/2
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000. 2. THE CAMELOT WAR. ***1/2
NANCY REAGAN: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY. KELLEY. ***1/2
OUT THERE. WILSON. ****1/2
RUNAWAYS: BATTLEWORLD. ***1/2
SECRET WARS. HICKMAN. ***1/2
SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1926-1939. MIZUKI. ****
SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1939-1944. MIZUKI. ****1/2
SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1944-1953. MIZUKI. ****1/2
SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1953-1989. MIZUKI. ****1/2
SPIDER-MAN 2. SLOTT. ***1/2
SUPERMAN & JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA. 1. ***1/2
TRILLIUM. LEMIRE. ***
WE ARE ROBIN 1. THAT VIGILANTE BUSINESS. ***
WHEN OPPOSITES ATTRACT. CUTTER. ****
WHERE THE BODIES WERE BURIED. ENGLISH. ***1/2
WOODY GUTHRIE & THE DUST BOWL BALLADS. HAYES. ****
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.