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As perhaps befits a totemic figure for the US Army, James Brown’s dancing was Italianate: that is to say scientific. When you see someone make themselves into a whirling contraption – they are becoming less than they were and less noticeable, and they know this: but JB moved so well you didn’t notice he was “stepping”, not participating in genuine modernist gyrations; how can he, how can he, how can he conduct the Orchester while moving so precisely from place to place and snapping his fingers? Ultimately many try, but those moves were “of a piece” and of a time — there is no “Maceo Parker of Attica” and nothing to do but watch and learn and try.
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IT and Ben have pictures from London today: the focus is sharp and the message precise, but as per usual the “message” is “Don’t Try This At Home”.
The Electric Ant/New Gillian Time: Jeffrey D. Rubard, 2004
I intend to discontinue The Fortunes of the Dialectic, as I discontinued my previous web site “OpenSentence” in 2005, at this point. Initially a piece of Popery, the title later came to refer to many things: the fruits of genuine intellectualism, a Fred Astaire movie, una economica populare, life outside cars, “star systems”, and the results and upshot of Hegelian dialectics: however, when one is within “spitting distance” of sobriquetization, one ought to consider “other opportunities”. Including, I suppose, a return to genuine pseudonymity by a man who could, in truth, neither be Jeffrey nor “Jeff” Rubard: there was at least one of the former before, and the “pronoun of laziness” concealed derailed memory traces. I live and breathe, not too comfortably but comfortably within the law; we are now able to hold our elected officials and their bureaucratic “minders” to promises and reasonable expectations, and I have said much more than I hoped to, wanted to, or ever thought possible on a number of things (tho’ unstitching the joys of Kipling may just have been too damn much). It is one country, though we stand in disunity: and like the Spinners, I’ll be around. Be seeing you.
JERUSALEM (from ‘Milton’)
by: William Blake (1757-1827)
- AND did those feet in ancient time
- Walk upon England’s mountains green?
- And was the holy Lamb of God
- On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
- And did the Countenance Divine
- Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
- And was Jerusalem builded here
- Among these dark Satanic Mills?
- Bring me my bow of burning gold!
- Bring me my arrows of desire!
- Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
- Bring me my chariot of fire!
- I will not cease from mental fight,
- Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
- Till we have built Jerusalem
- In England’s green and pleasant land.
Once one’s ship has come in, and consequently the stick-thin Westerner begins sprinkling his speech with Italian, “class conflict” is “impolitic” qua unwise either direction it will go: back and forth against your “better judgment”, or up and down against your “best interests”. However, circumstances permit me to issue a piece of Trotskyist moralism on the topic: namely, that I am once again a member of the middle class and must move “forward in all directions”.
So many lies told on the topic, really: “We are all middle class now”, “We should all be middle class”, “We must defend middle-class values”, and so on ad nauseam. Who are “We”? We, the people of the United States of America? Of course it is a “normal country”, on pain of reductio, and normal countries mostly have other people in them: those “paid” to commit crimes against “property”, the proletarians asked to do it all and do it again for as little as possible; and those who commit crimes against persons, the bourgeoisie any degree hautenesse.
On the other hand we do not have the silver, we do not have the gold; the very idea eludes us, as does complete “satisfaction” in anything we do, including the utterance of speech acts. There is nothing to do except “ask after” various items of vital interest to the current day and posterity, and try to look brave as the truth (we already did way more than anyone ever has to do, and no “man” of woman born can do anything other than gently question their own authority as we effortlessly sail through whatever kind of life is, of course, possible for U.S. citizens protected by the law).
It’s the way I’m livin’, and what can I say? “Better” to be something else, at least other than a producer and manufacturer of “quality” goods and services all kinds at the right price — so wonderful, really, that “just war” went away and we could be.
To complete our homage to Empires of the Sun and their builders, one thing you don’t learn fast enough is that Seattle and fenomena de tipo Seattle Turn You Adornian: previously you knew well enough that you had no business bothering them, or “fooling with the Marx”, but all of a sudden you’d be a true, scientific, and genuinely revolutionary Communist a la Paul Levi if you only could. In the meantime you’re going to try to get a union job, try really hard, learn you can’t because the unions are corrupt, learn you could if you were worth a damn like people who put themselves “on the line” every day, learn you can be a cultural producer, learn culture is evil, learn it’s okay, learn philosophy is better, learn philosophy must be truly materialistic to succeed at what is worth achieving, talk to unhappy women some more, try something else out, avoid creeps who tell you to “get spiritual-minded”, outwit them, beat them up, write ballads, novels, plays, theoretike works that you disown and other ones you don’t.
You’re almost good enough, almost good enough, almost good enough to make the “social-justice” team: then, after a period when the traffic lights they turn on blue tomorrow and the “big birds” leave town, you figure out you were the problem anyway and one step more means an Instant Ticket to the Power Team: you tell someone off with Goethe they’re fixin’ to love, if they could figure out what the durn thing means, make a major motion picture or somethin’ that you intentionally don’t get credit for and “hit the skids” — where it all is, where it all is safe and straight, where she is. Preferable at least to Vancouver, British Columbia, where you have to claim you’re from LA and say yo’ name only till it sounds like singing, rather than a “target market” for true juvenilia (on account of all the people wearing the structure). And now we’re going to quietly listen to the combined anthem of Britain and the United States:
Fuck the Wiedergutmachungstuhl and all your ‘frenz’.