The Clare Spark Blog

June 30, 2016

Disconnectedness

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:45 pm
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painting by Mark Henson

painting by Mark Henson

When Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama make the argument for drastic action to curtail “climate change” they will invariably deploy the term “connectedness” (implying 1. that “humanity” is “interdependent” and 2. that Mother Nature is imperiled and that all sensible creatures must take drastic measures to rescue Her: doctrines and recipes that may fit with “pantheism”).

This blog is about a disquieting dream I had last night in which the English language suddenly lost all meaning, being reduced to words that signified nothing. Perhaps it was triggered by the loss of facticity in the discourses of those “Greens” who swear by “settled science” (a contradiction in terms, as the heart of scientific method is ever “unsettled”, unlike, say, political ideologies/religions).

Or perhaps the dream had nothing to do with the latest shibboleths regarding “ecology”, but was triggered by the loss of focus and memory engendered by mass media, which never explores the connectedness of an event with history and context, but rather moves from one sensational event to another, with no overall analysis of what the series of experiences might have on various viewers or listeners. (See https://clarespark.com/2013/05/10/losing-focus-and-mass-media/.)

But above all, Hillary Clinton’s notion of “connectedness” is a feeling that evokes the “village” mentality she seeks to evoke, that fantasy of small town or family mutual caring before the anomie of the (heartless) Mammon-worshipping cities made the scene. (https://clarespark.com/2013/07/09/preconditions-for-hard-liberty/)

Or, have most words lost their meaning as “ignorant armies clash by night”?

Or, to protect my sanity, am I utterly disconnected from current events, feeling helpless to avert their threatening character?

girlwithgun

November 17, 2013

Rehabilitating the Weathermen

The_Company_You_Keep_posterhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Company_You_Keep_(Robert Redford film) (no Jews)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2003/07/25/a-review-of-neil-gordon-s-the-company-you-keep/.

From what I read of the Wikipedia description of the movie based on Neil Gordon’s novel  THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, it seems that Jews as red-diaper babies have been purged from the screenplay. Hence Counterpunch can safely allege that the movie is about Love, and [uncontaminated Christian love] at that. This blog dissents: the original novel is really about the rehabilitation of William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, whose names are mentioned frequently in the novel, along with other outlaw celebrities who have allegedly gone straight, and who are associated with POTUS. (I don’t know if these names appear in the movie, which I have not seen, but which was received well overseas.)

Neil Gordon’s thesis (in the novel) is stated by one of his characters, an FBI agent and Viet Nam vet whose genitals have been destroyed in Nam. Obviously a mouthpiece for the author, “John Osborne” views the Weatherman faction that grew out of Students for a Democratic Society, as motivated less by ideology or any thought out political strategy than by loving attachments, by “the company you keep.” Hence the intense value placed on loyalty to one another as the various characters live as fugitives from the law after a bank robbery where a guard was murdered by one of their hotheaded associates .

In the novel, there are several “Jewish” characters, whose names are anglicized in the Redford movie (for instance, the nosy reporter Ben Schulberg becomes Ben Shepard). Moreover, in the novel they are the children of “Jewish” communists, one a suicide after being harassed by McCarthyism. And from the outset, Israel is mentioned as irretrievably lost to the ethics of Amor Vincit Omnia: love and community solidarity are the theme of the novel.

It is odd that Gordon’s characters are identified in any way with the Left or New Left, unless you take into account that the prewar British Right also contained within its many factions, equally anticapitalist, antistatist types, such as G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and T. S. Eliot. [I learned this through reading G. C. Webber’s The Ideology of the British Right 1918-1939 (London: Croom Helm, 1986), who deemed this type to be “aristocratic backwoodsmen.” All three (the Distributists Chesterton and Belloc, and Eliot) were elevated by Seward Collins’s American Review, a publication of the mid-1930s that was explicitly pro-fascist, agrarian, and even pro-Nazi. Readers might be surprised to see FDR’s New Deal State grouped by Webber with right-wing movements, along with Mosley’s fascists, the aristocratic backwoodsmen, and Tories.]
For much of the novel takes place in woodland settings: the Hudson Valley near Woodstock, and the woods of Michigan—Ernest Hemingway country.

Make no mistake: this novel rehabilitates the Weathermen as well as weed. We learn that the characters are essentially monogamous (despite much late adolescent free love alluded to), are knightly rescuers (they got Timothy Leary out of jail and safely to Algiers), and are willing to sacrifice themselves for their children. And of course their political opinions coincide with the politics of this administration and with the most anti-American propaganda as churned out by New Left anti-imperialists who view Amerikkka as dominated by murderers and warmongers.

In a prior blog (https://clarespark.com/2010/11/13/the-porgy-controversy/) I claimed that Nature was a character in DuBose Heyward’s popular novel. The same could be said of Gordon’s ingenious characters, whose knowledge of woodland lore, maps, and survivalism, enables their hairbreadth escape from the law and the FBI until the semi-happy ending.  Were we to compare Gordon’s heroes and heroines with prior individuals and movements, I would be inclined to include in that company, the “honest Anglo-Saxon populism” of the upper Midwest, with Frederick Jackson Turner, with Ernest  Hemingway’s early stories that were located in the same region and that were equally primitivist and tribal, and with the often anarchistic OWS movement. (My dissertation director advised me to watch out for those writers who wrote romantically about Nature, for it was a sign of upper-class identity that they not only appreciated “Nature” but sought to preserve it.)

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Gordon’s novel is the emphasis he places on the cooperation of ordinary Americans as the Weatherman fugitives attempt to evade capture by the authorities. Gordon imagines that these young people, born to privilege and educated in the best universities, had the support of the locals wherever they might flee.

And of course there is a happy ending, for Amor Vincit Omnia. Just ask the ferociously anti-Israel publication Counterpunch.

Ascoli_Satriano_Painter_-_Red-Figure_Plate_with_Eros_-_Walters_482765

October 13, 2013

The Pledge of Allegiance, revised?

pledgeofAllegiance[Garrison Keillor:] “It was on this day in 1892 that the Pledge of Allegiance was recited en masse for the first time, by more than 2 million students. It had been written just a month earlier by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy, who published it in Youth’s Companion and distributed it across the country. It was recited on this day to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. It was slightly shorter in its 1892 version: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands — one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

After that, it got revised twice, and both revisions made the Pledge wordier. The first was in 1923, when it was changed from “my flag” to “the flag of the United States of America.” This change was made to ensure that immigrants were pledging to the American flag and not the flags of their home countries. The second change was to add the words “under God.” A few determined preachers worked for years to get it changed, but it wasn’t until 1954 that it was amended. President Eisenhower attended a sermon by the Reverend George Docherty, who said: “Apart from the mention of the phrase, ‘the United States of America,’ this could be a pledge of any republic. In fact, I could hear little Muscovites repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag in Moscow with equal solemnity.” Eisenhower was convinced and within a few months the Pledge was amended to include “under God” as a way to distinguish this country from the Soviet Union.” [end, Keillor quote]

If Keillor is correct, then Eisenhower’s deployment of “under God” was instrumental; he wanted to distinguish between American religiosity and Soviet godlessness and the amoral nomenklatura. He was not acting out of a belief that the Founding Father’s wished to exclude non-believers from the First Amendment. Such a stance is similar to Voltaire’s practice of anonymous publication of his heretical works contra Leibniz, while simultaneously Voltaire was supporting religion as the via media that would control what his class termed “the lower orders.”

Using “faith” pragmatically (i.e., instrumentally), as opposed to religious belief as deeply held conviction and practice, should offend every person of faith. It is more common than we think, and is a staple of tyranny that demands state-worship, or in the case of pantheists, in mystical Nature worship. The super-doctors at the David Geffen School of  Medicine at UCLA believe that “faith and healing” are the tickets to health: I wonder if that means faith in their skills and  in Nature writ large.

Pantheism symbols/spirals

Pantheism symbols/spirals

Current events and more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/04/us/massachusetts-pledge-of-allegiance/index.html.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/president-eisenhower-signs-in-god-we-trust-into-law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism

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