Monthly Archives: April 2012

Some Air For Friday

And Breakbot too.

Plus some Bon Iver Eroticisms.

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Come to Us

My brief tribute to all Hyperdox Herman and all the Cultydox out there. I think it could have been good, had I the will to spend some time on it.

I thought this remix of Tellier’s Cochon Ville fit the cultiness perfectly, with the robotic beckoning of the cult members, the sexual overtones and the ecstatic calls of the leader.  The leader’s demands for money at the climax brings it all together. God bless the French.

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Arab Spring

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We long for a civil state that makes a complete distinction between temporal and religious authority, even as we hope when the ballot boxes show a majority with a religious-political character, for a discourse from this majority that is in keeping with the spirit of the age. The majority is responsible for reassuring the minority, not the other way around. For this reason, the majority must strive to innovate for the sake of a discourse that takes into account humanistic thought, especially with regard to human rights, especially freedom and equality in citizenship and human dignity. Without this, we will continue to await the true springtime.
Read it all here

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Clarifications

A few notes to clarify some questions about my previous post, made on another blog:

The Capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois state, work to destroy “the old and the small,” (ie, homogenize cultures and languages, wiping out languages and ways of life, ect) in a number of ways. A fairly easy example is the manner in which accumulation by dispossession impacts communities. An example of this would be the impact of NAFTA upon Mexican farmers; wherein somewhere in the neighborhood of a million agricultural workers were uprooted, many finding themselves in low paying factory work, both here and in Mexico. Some of which, such as the US meat packing industry, had previously been well-paying jobs. Such mass uprooting have deep impacts in both the communities they left and the ones the left to. Perhaps a better example would be the housing crisis here, where the capital crisis is being solved by moving the debt burden off of investment capital, onto the general public, whilst allowing those same capitalists to dispossess large segments of the population, impacting the stability of communities.

Then we can look at the hypermobility of capital in the modern era, wherein capital is able to move quickly geographically, triggering mass population movements. (The NAFTA example might fall better in this category.) One can see this happening in large scale in India and China, as well as here in the US, where capital rapidly moves to find low taxes, regulations and wages. We can look to the movement of industry away from “the rust belt” to the South, as the most obvious example. Previously there was a mass movement from the South to the old traditional industrial cities. In Europe, smaller states (such as Ireland) compete to be relative tax/regulation havens, but have found that such strategies provide fleeting success, to say the least. Looking back at the housing crisis, one of the major economic impacts has been the manner in which “under water” mortgages inhibit migration, thusly inhibiting capital’s ability to extract surplus value via the benefits of mass migration (greater wage depression, lower labor organization, lower regulations, etc). Again, the obvious impacts of the constant mass migration particular to late Capitalism, both regionally and internationally, on both cultures and family life, have been well documented.

Now, it can be perfectly well argued that there are many benefits of having Mexican peasants working in the factory, over inefficiently growing corn on a few dozen acres. I am not an agrarian in the sense that I don’t think it is at all advisable to have a third or more of our population working the fields. The point is that these decisions are made for profit motive, in an exploitative manner, without thought or input from the communities impacted. Cultures change, some disappear, and sometimes new ones appear. There is no way of achieving a static state, nor would that even be advisable. I don’t even think that migration should be stopped, only that the system that allows the coercive laws of capital to necessitate such mass migration should come to an end. Modernization can, and should, be done in a more ethical manner, but capital does not recognize a place for, or a responsibility to, a community.

I think it is telling that the critique blows off the notion of the impact of kitsch upon low culture, yet laments the impact of the sexual revolution upon the same. (I don’t think the two are necessarily unconnected, but I don’t think I’ll go into that today.) There is too much of an association made between mass culture and kitsch. One does not necessarily have to be the other. Modern media make the possibility of a world without mass culture more or less impossible. I think my post about the Republican attack upon public television/radio touches upon this subject. It is not really too hard to see how the influence of capital turns one form of culture into kitsch, why Shakespeare is not kitsch but most television is. The easy comparison is why a kids’ show like Strawberry Shortcake is kitsch and Angelina Ballerina is not, can be picked out extremely quickly. One is selling something, one is not. For rather obvious reasons, this impacts the less educated classes more sharply and negatively.

The other day, I observed an example of how kitsch impacts religion, while seeing an “American Christian” iron cross t-shirt at a gas station. It was kitsch imitating kitsch, imitating a less kitschy proletarian cultural form – the “Christian” brand, imitating the secular “American Chopper” brand, imitating the biker gang aesthetic. Machismo bought, sold and moralized. It is not too hard to see the relation between machismo branding and a religiosity that focuses so almost singularly upon sex issues. Nor is it hard to see the relation between kitsch and inch deep Christianity.

A last quick note on unemployment by efficiency: In Capitalism, increased worker efficiency does lead to unemployment. This is not necessary, natural or even obviously logical. There is no reason that if efficiency increases twenty percent that some percentage of the workforce should be fired. Just as easily, hours could be cut back, and/or labor intensity reduced. The reasons why are particular to Capitalism and the coercive laws of the market, which I will not get too detailed on here. In any case, increased efficiency leads to increased unemployment, which leads to downward pressure upon wages. This is why the unprecedented increases in productivity realized in the last thirty or so years have not been reflected in increased earnings for the proletariat. In fact, the opposite has happened, and wage rates for the bottom sixty percent, or so, have been in decline. The only benefit to living standards of the proletariat in the Capitalist system come under government imposition, labor organization, periods of rapid growth and near full employment, such as the post-war years, or due to efficiency driving down the price of goods faster than the decline of wages. (Additionally, there has been the tactic of using easy credit to make up for declining wages.)

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Utopias, Shigalyovs, Lotharios and Suffering

I think I am coming to terms with the fact that I may be destined to be both naturally conservative, or traditional, or likely, a nostalgist, and yet a Socialist. I love the small things, the old songs, the old traditions, the family. Not the mere nuclear family, the Dobson family, or what have you, but the whole of a family, the family that extends into the past and is broad, deep and abiding, neck deep in vice and virtue. How ever rare such a family may be, both in our time and in ages past, it is beautiful when it happens.

I am a Socialist because I see Capital crushing and leveling the small, the old, the family. I am convinced that in the world to come, the socialist ideal is the closest we have imagined to how it will be. Some say that is utopia making, that we cannot achieve it in this world, in this time. To a certain extent I agree, but we need utopias and ideals. Can we achieve socialism? I think not. That does not mean we should not strive intensely to get there. To emulate that ideal and get as close as we can. Liberty, equality, brotherhood. Is that not half the Gospel? How we are to relate to each other?

I agree with Dostoevsky’s criticisms of utopias, when those utopias are the visions of men imposed on his fellow man. I despise both the slavemaster Capitalist and the bleeding heart Liberal who would tell us all how to live. Ayn Rand is as guilty as any Shigalyov. No, my dear Chesterbellocian, Socialism is not about the State owning the means of production, controlling the lives of it’s subjects. Socialism sees the State fading away. The land, the water, the air, all that is contained in it and the tools of production that are brought forth from it, are the creations of God and are His handwork, and are the common inheritance of all mankind.

So, yes, I believe in a “traditional” family, or rather, the Christian ideal of the family, which rarely exists. I believe in all of those surrounding tropes of heterosexuality and per-marital abstinence, and so forth. Yet, I believe those beliefs, the old moral teachings related to sex, are used by those who would destroy us. A liberal Christian might point out that Christ rarely spoke about sex, to make the point that perhaps it doesn’t matter. I don’t say that. It does matter, but that same argument does lend some perspective to how much it matters in the grand scheme of things, which is probably very little. Especially in relation to caring for the suffering. That is the true test of an ideology, and dare I say, a Church, a parish: how do they care for the suffering? I have been to parishes where they drive out the suffering, barring those rare types who can smile while their lives are torn asunder.

One of my best friends is a man who has a weakness for the ladies. He is open about his sin and will call it that, “my sin.” Which he rightly notes that we all have, in one form or another. Once another friend told me that the ladies’ man needs to decide who he is – the faithful Orthodox Christian or Lothario. I think not. My favorite definition of kitsch is “the absolute denial of shit.” And kitsch is from Satan himself, dear readers. Especially a life lived as kitsch. That is why our Monsieur Lothario is one of the few real and true Christians I have ever met. The shit is right there for you to see. Not reveling in it, just letting it be there and so. Being Christian isn’t hiding your vices from the eyes of the world. It isn’t policing other people’s bedrooms. It is to love both God and man, to try and be better, to care for the suffering, and God knows the world is filled with enough of them.

Some Anarchists like to say, “No kings, no gods.” I like, rather, “No kings but God.” However trite that might be, and even if I am a secularist.

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Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Remember Mr. Angry?

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Harrowing

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Moreover, Death fell down to the feet of Christ, and Christ carried him away, and the Devil who had been a rebel became a captive. Christ made Amente to quake and the power of the Devil he turned backwards. Death heard the voice of the Lord as he cried unto all souls: “Come forth, O ye who are bound in fetters, O ye who sit in the darkness and shadow of death, on you hath the light risen. I preach unto you life, for I am Christ, the Son of God.” Then he set free the souls of the saints, and he raised them up with Him.

And earth itself cried out, saying: “Spare me, O Lord. Free Thou me from the curse that is on me. Remove from me the wickedness of the Devil. Thou hast held me to be worthy of having Thy Body buried in me, in the place of the Blood, which was poured out upon me, in order that Thou mightest raise men from the dead. Thy glorious image is spread abroad in every place. Except Thyself, when Thou utterest Thy words, no one shall resist Thy commands; but it was Thy love which compelled Thee to come to the beings whom Thou hast made. Take Thou, then, man, the deposit. Take Thou Thine image, which Thou hast committed as a pledge to me. Take Thou Adam, being complete in his likeness.”

Then Christ rose from the dead in the third hour of the day, and he took the saints with him to the Father; now all mankind shall receive salvation through the death of Christ.

For one was judged instead of all men, and salvation and mercy [came] into the whole world. Moreover, one died in order that all might rise from the dead. And the Lord died on behalf of everyone, in order that every one should rise from the dead with Him. For having died, he put man on himself like a garment, and took him with him into the heavens, and man became one of one with him. He took him as a gift to his Father.

-Coptic Homilies in the Dialect of Upper Egypt

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