THE INFORMATION #1041
All money is a matter of belief.–Adam Smith
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TWELVE: PART FIFTY-EIGHT: THE EASTERN GATE OF PARADISE
“Oh, but the Lincoln conspiracy sounds like a load of bilgewater and flapdoodle to me,” said Billy Batchelder Tallent to Glen Phillips. “People believe all sorts of things they shouldn’t,”
“You said a mouthful!” said Glen.
“Why, in my neck of the woods, the teacher-man tells the kiddies that Columbus discovered America, that the earth is not even six thousand years old, and that in heaven there’s cotton-candy and soda pop for all! And the preacher-man, he tells the churchgoers that Charles Darwin is the fiend incarnate–a soulless monster who will be damned to hell for suggesting that God’s greatest creation, man, is little better than a shaved ape. The way that the preacher-man hectors his congregation every Sunday and tells them they’re all a bunch of no-good wretched vermin puts me in mind of an angry old hound dog whose toothless flabby mouth commences to shaking every time he howls at you for snatching up the rancid goody that he’d just dug up from out behind the shithouse. But the congregation eats up every word. They remind me of children. They like to be scolded, and to have people tell them what to think. None of that for me. No Siree. I’m the only one in my community that ain’t been saved. Saved for what? I want to know. Tell me! Saved so I can be led to the slaughter? No thanks! I plan to run through the gamut of all seven of the deadly sins in my own good time. Don’t need no preacher-man to tell me I’m a sinner. Let’s see–first off, there’s pride. The deadliest sin of ’em all. And I got me plenty of that. Yahoo! Gluttony? I have no problem with practicing that, either. Lust–well, that one I’m still working on. Wrath? I got no shortage of righteous anger. Envy and greed? I’ll commence to those two right smart. I’ve got plenty of time. Hm. I guess I’m missing one.”
“Sloth,” said Glen Phillips. “I myself am planning to corner the market on that one. I shall also have to fight you for the title on gluttony.”
“Glen, the fact is, fact is, folks from where I come from, why, they’ll believe everything they’re told. It’s almost like they want you to tell them baldfaced lies, because the truth is too much for ’em. Mother is an angel, and father is a saint? Hm? Well, if that’s so, then how did I get here? They exactly didn’t find me in the cabbage patch!
“I’m sorry to say these things about my people, because some of them are my best friends, but most of ’em are no better’n a bunch of Rubes. They think farming is a paying proposition, and the only noble labor there is. And when they go bust, why, they just farm another man’s land, instead of cutting their losses and moving to the city to work in a factory…or a whorehouse.
“You just can’t help them. You can’t give them free advice, because they’re too proud to accept advice, or anything that’s free, and they just won’t believe you even when you try to persuade them with facts and logic. They think that the Bible is the only book they need. They just…they just believe in so many things that just ain’t so! They think fortune-tellers are wicked, but they believe in ’em. They think the mind-reader at the carnival can actually read their minds. They are convinced without a single doubt that the devil walks the earth, and he is a dapper gent who is bright red, has horns on his head and a big long tail, and cloven hooves, and that he also sports a little Van Dyke beard like some sort of Viennese Professor of Medicine
“They also believe in astrology, and witch boys who pine to be human, and gypsies, or maybe it’s fairies, who want to steal your firstborn child. And snakes that bite their own tails and roll down the hill. They’re convinced that a cat is very much inclined to suck the breath out of babies, and they’re all scairt of creepy stuff that goes boo hoo in the forest during the dark of the moon. They believe that every deserted house, cottage, log cabin, lean-to, shanty, shack, and wigwam is probably chock full of haints and spooks who will hound you to death if you dast cross ’em. And they always say their prayers when they walk through an old graveyard at night, and then, when nothing happens, why, they praise the Lord for delivering them from the foul fiend!
“They’re also convinced that the Book of Revelation predicts the future, and every word in it is true. Meaning that at any time now a beast with seven heads and ten horns is going to come slouching around, and it’ll be a big ole panther with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion, and that when that day finally arrives, it will mean the end of the world, so sinners had better get ready to meet their maker, the Most Righteous and Angry Lord God of Sabaoth.
“Down my way, all the folks believe in heaven, and angels, and pixies, and nixies, and demons, and the One True God. They think that if you pray to a certain saint, you’ll get your heart’s desire, and that if you meet the devil at the crossroads, he will buy your soul. They believe in their heart in dowsers, and rainmakers, and faith healers, and homeopaths, and miracle cures of all sorts. And root workers, too, though that’s mainly the colored folk. They believe in phrenologists who say you can tell if a fella is a no ‘count just by the shape of the lumps on his head. And if a dog howls whenever he sees you, why, then it’s perfectly obvious to them that you’re up to no good, because the dog always knows, y’see, though I guess if you’re carrying a biscuit around it must mean your intentions are pure because the dog won’t howl at you then, but will greet you like Argos greeted his long-lost master Odysseus.
“Oh, and whenever you challenge them in any of their most dearly-held beliefs, they’ll hand you all sorts of guff about how too much book-learnin’ will ruin your shootin’-eye. But there’s a very simple reason for them sayin’ that–most of ’em couldn’t read a book if you paid ’em, or if their life depended on it.
“I suppose you can see why I’ll never go back there, except maybe to visit, Down there, they know too much that just ain’t so. And they don’t cotton much to people who try to set them straight.”
“Well,” said Glen Phillips to Billy Batchelder Tallent, “you shouldn’t hold that against them. There’s plenty of people like that up North.”
“Maybe,” said Billy. “But up north they won’t shoot you for saying that the Bible is a pretty myth.”
“Don’t be so sure about that,” said Glen. “You never know. But, anyway, why should you care what people think? It’s pretty doubtful that most of them can even think at all. Most folks the world over are–how do I say this without coming across as an arrogant snob? Oh, dash, what do I care. You’re my pal. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is that most people are simply not any too bright. The man of even average intelligence is a benighted dunce. And half the people in the world are even stupider than him. It’s the human condition. Go figure. And even among the so-called intelligent people–why, more often than not, they miss things that are just as plain as the nose on their face, and then they turn around and swear to the existence of things that just ain’t there.
“Why, Mawny, when I was on the train coming up there on the day after New Year’s, I had an unlit cigar in my mouth. The Conductor said, ‘Stop that smoking!’ I said, ‘I ain’t smoking’. So he said ‘You got your cigar in your mouth.’ And I said, ‘Yeah? So what? I also got my ass in my britches–but I ain’t shittin’!’
“That threw him for a loop! Oh! the look on his face! Huh! He nearly threw me off the train–but even if he had…it would have been worth it!”
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
LOU REED & JOHN CALE
SONGS FOR DRELLAWORK
People use wiki often than they should, in some cases, and not often enough, in others. Wiki is easy to use for beginning to engage with a project or assignment, but worldcat is far more useful. Look up the topic there. For example, “Critical thinking.”
Click on the first, most relevant link.
Go to the library of congress listing (on page 4):
Note that in the Library of Congress, the LC Listing for that topic is BF441 and the Dewey listing is 160.
Go to your online library catalog and do a search by LC or Dewey, and you will find all the books on that topic.
Take out a few of the books and read them. Consult the bibliography.
Pick a few books or articles from the bibliography, as available, and read those as well.
You will find all the information you need.
You don’t have to read the entire book. Use the index, if there is one, to find the portions which are relevant to your project or assignment.
Written sources are still regarded as more reliable than online sources because they have usually been edited, and a published book represents an investment on the part of the publisher, who in most cases will want to be sure that the information is timely and accurate.
POLITICALLY INCORRECT COMMERCIALS
GARFIELD PHONES ON THE BEACHES OF FRANCE
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
Fan fiction is lamprey art. It is far simpler to imaginatively reconceptualize a fabricated environment than to create one’s own story out of one’s own life experiences. In effect, Fanfiction is cheating. Detournement, on the other hand, is endlessly fascinating.
ALSO SEE:WHITE ELEPHANT ART VS. TERMITE ART
6* DAILY UTILITY
WHY DOES IT FEEL SO GOOD TO EMPTY YOUR BOWELS?
It seems to have to do with the vagus or pneumogastric nerve being responsible for gastrointestinal peristalsis.
Viva las vagus!
HARVEY PEKAR & WILLY MURPHY
“A GOOD SHIT IS BEST”
Al Hartley, illustrator of The Cross & The Switchblade, Archie’s One Way, and other literary works.
The Whore of Babylon seems nice:
Big Ethel all grown up? I’d do her.
WHO KILLED JAMES DEAN?
9* RUMOR PATROL
GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
BOOTLEG TAPES FROM MAXWELL’S 1970s-1990s
11*DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
HISTORY BOOKS WHICH SHOULD BE MORE WIDELY READ
The Conquest of New Spain
I also like Bernard DeVoto’s books, especially The Year of Decision, 1846
And, even though my history thesis advisor Maury Klein din’t think much of him, I particularly admire Matthew Josephson’s books as well, especially Robber Barons, The Politicos, and The President Makers.
12* CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURETHE ADVENTURES OF STUPID DAD
I guess the world is clamoring for s sitcom with that title.
Because it seems to be the selling point of nearly every sitcom made after 1963.
Except for the ones featuring Brian Keith.
How was it that nobody noticed that every time he had to interact with the moppets on Family Affair, he always looked like he was passing a kidney stone? Or that when he interacted with luscious young Cissy, he always livened up a little bit? Though an objective observer would no doubt conclude that it was Mr. French (!) whom he truly loved.
Something which was not lost on MAD magazine. Recall the MAD parody, wherein Boffy and Jokey were revealed to be vice-addicted midgets.
“I mix my martinis five to one!”
MAD leaned pretty heavily on the midget gag. That was also the big reveal of their Lassie Parody.
Finally, apropos of nothing:
Your Uncle is like your Dad, only he usually has better drugs. And better jokes.