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Alas, the poor yuppie

By Owen Paine on Tuesday March 31, 2009 05:28 PM

Recently, Mutual of Senegal asked me -- in a btw-type comment -- to mugshot Craig Paul Roberts, the once-renowned Reagan-era voodoo priest, now rabidly anti-wall Street.

I hesitated, so long as his rants were aimed at the gunplay of corporate empire, American style. But suddenly I find he has obliged me with lovely material -- an aria on the dolorous days our upper middle income class now passes through, meaning folks like these:

"a husband and wife who are associates at major law firms, each of whom works 60 hour weeks and has no job security [earning] $125,000 each."
Herr Roberts' beef? Obama has these orphans of the casino storm in his tax crosshairs.
"The upper middle class with $250,000 gross incomes are major losers of the financial collapse. Many of the people in this income class are leveraged to the hilt in order to maintain appearances and can be swept away as easily as the very poor. But those who were frugal and invested for their future have lost 50 per cent of their savings. These wiped out people are the ones who will bear the brunt of Obama’s tax increase."
The O Sole Mio impersonation by Billy Babbit, Jr. here, almost becomes openly self-satirical.
"If the tax rate on a multi-million dollar annual income goes up by 5 percentage points, the cutbacks won’t really affect the lifestyle. But for the $250,000 gross income group, it means no prospect of private schools and Ivy League education for the children, who will be attending state colleges with the rest of the non-rich."
To be strictly fair, Roberts is a "free" labor man to the bone.
"Historically, the definition of a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Serfs were not free, because they owed their feudal lords, the government of that time, a maximum of one-third of their labor. Nineteenth century slaves were not free, because their owners could expropriate 50 per cent of their labor -- Today, no American is a free person. The lowest tax rate, not counting state income, property tax and sales tax, is 15 per cent Social Security tax and 15 per cent federal income tax.

The “free American” starts off with a 30 per cent tax rate, the position of a medieval serf."

Implied conclusion: 50% -- Swedish level -- tax hauls out of "earned income" are the moral equivalent of chattel slavery

* * * * *

I've never cottoned to Alex's bloc of rights, frights, lites, mites, and botchky-ites over there at Counterpunch, and I've often had Mr PCR here uppermost in my mind. A broad "frente" with this jamoke is foolhardy opportunism. Ralph Nader represents the better angle of that much put-upon much asked-of class, our ultra-meritoid hautes-professionalistes.

You ask me, taxing the $250k class sounds perfect. They love their job site hairshirt, so why not a second taxman hair shirt -- layering is often fashionable.

Boo-hooing for our honest meritoidal lunatics is a silly waste of personal salt water.

Comments (139)

senecal (now Mutual of Senegal):

Luckily, I didn't make these air-headed remarks of Paul Craig Roberts'. In fact, prior to this, I dont remember ever reading anything of his that had any social/domestic dimension to it -- something that might suggest how he happened to be a Reagan economic advisor.

I take your word, OP, that on economic matters he's a crank. But in the lofty realms of history, philosophy, literature and retail advertising, I will defend my amateur opinions against anyone!

Peter Ward:

I've suspected that Counterpunch's enamoration with Roberts is do to his value as an apostate to the Left who once held a position prestige. Unfortunately, the insights of a hack former economic adviser or assistant adviser or whatever are almost totally useless to those of us trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how we should react.

Incidentally, the tendency of post-office Revelation seems to be a characteristic of many if not most politicians and their associates. Al Gore on Climate Change or McNamara on nuclear proliferation or James Carter on Israel/Palestine. Born again or not, IMO, we should hold public figures to account for their crimes while in office.

In one of his more recent posts, Roberts also fleetingly complained about somebody who had just recently done or said something to sully the name of "supply-side economics."

Van Mungo:

Roberts has also written some penetrating critiques of neoliberal economics (although he does remain an unrepentant supply-sider), and in unpretentious, unconvoluted, sturdy prose.

But I don't get the broadbrush swipe at CounterPunch--after all, Ralph Nader, whom OP lauds, also appears on that site, along with any number of other estimable independent left thinkers and analysts, including Michael Hudson, whose economic insights often surpass those of OP (yes, it's true!).

So Cockburn features the occasional paleoconservative to vary the palette a bit--so what? I'd gladly forge a tactical united front with any of them on issues on which we might agree--opposition to the war in Iraq, various civil liberties principles, etc.

Besides, CounterPunch does not aspire to Leninist uniformity of expression--if you want that, you can toddle on over to the Web sites of the sects. I once heard Alex say that he used to be a Leninist but now considers himself an anarchist--and I think that CounterPunch's lineup of writers reflects that outlook in the best sense: diversity and open-mindedness--the latter trait perhaps not coming so easily to one who claims to know it all--you know, the type that Socrates so effectively skewered in his Apology.


Well said, Van Mungo! Other estimable writers on Counterpunch include Michael Neumann, Uri Avnery, and the South African woman who first wrote a detailed argument and how-to about the efficacy of boycotting Israel. Patrick Cockburn is no slouch, either.


i'm not much on dogs that bite feeding hands

counterpunch has been
berry berry good
I suspect a large measure of father smiff's following
came from posts of his away back at counter punch and its oft times
generous broad minded editor

further more
alex is a wonderful writer
if over supple dialectician
i'd always want him on my side
if not my team....carefully cultivated
tics and all

and a ghoulash of opinion suits me fine
vital center think --at the core--
though it be ...

there seems to be some wed site
"post here policy space "
between alex and his motley menange
and pure secticulation

--- for us big L leninites
the popular front approach
prolly sets the locus classicus here--

yes a popular front
but one that leaves
little america babbitarians
like pc roberts esquire
on the editing room floor

ad hoc posses of single movement opportunity
in the end only churn the pot
even those opposing
semi tropical to desert type
foreign gun play agogos

or how brown my valley cries of grief
tastee freez
"sprwal on u porcine critters ...sprawl on "
boho appalluments
bein' agin' torture is my beat
what's yours ???
the endless snare drumming
of lonesome mini me
blood beast
of the holy lands

etc etc etc

not to mention the odious
inch deep but as wide as all fatuity
prog pleasing econ con gibbermeisters
and clue less blow hards
....featuring ...
van mingo's gummy hero
dov hudson of hudson's bay

but i bare
my small
loose and yellow
teeth eh ??


"Incidentally, the tendency of post-office Revelation seems to be a characteristic of many if not most politicians and their associates. Al Gore on Climate Change or McNamara on nuclear proliferation or James Carter on Israel/Palestine"

i agree these folks deserve deeper scrutiny
albeit also encouragement

nothing wrong with a guest post now and again

as the unholy father might di-scribe it

site to site relations
not party to party


"unpretentious, unconvoluted, sturdy prose "

marks of a knot head

only the fabulously uncertain soul
sups with pretense
hides in convolution
and bluffs with sturdy prose

want plain my dear mudgo ???
try algebra and traffic signs

senecal (soon to be HCE):

"only the fabulously uncertain soul
sups with pretense
hides in convolution. . ." (OP)

Ahh, for a moment I thought you might be referring to yourself! Today, though, I hear a distinctly Joycean energy in your lines, who was more a dazzler and a tongue-twister than a convoluter. Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker -- here coms everyone!

Van Mungo:

I'm not sure what kind of "ite" or "ist" you claim to be, OP, but there's a difference between a united front and a popular front. Lenin and Trotsky, for example, extolled the virtues of unity in action on specific issues. One can march side by side, say, with Roberts to oppose NAFTA without forming a common electoral bloc on a slew of issues--the former is a united front, the latter a popular front. The spirit in which CP publishes these paleos is closer to the spirit of the united front, I think--solidarity on selected issues--antiwar, economic, civil liberties--with no implication of an endorsement of their whole outlook or an intimdation of any broader overall agreement.


example of counter punch

"For Europe to notch up the euro-printing press would be foolhardy in the extreme."

dead wrong

"The EU counts on exports as a stimulus to the economy, like Asia, something the US abandoned long ago."
yes and a weaker euro
--the outcome of actually doing what is called fool hardy by this noseless bull nit ---
would increase exports and decrease imports

"Though the subprime craze infected Europe too, its financial woes stem primarily from the US with its unbridled consumerism and wars,"
total horse feathers
look east you dillweed to the eurozone
pri sec bank created bubbles of slubonia

"and will never be solved until the US puts its own house in order, balancing its budget and its trade, something that Obama has made no hint of doing."

well he's half right uncle does need to balance trade
which oughta hurt the euro zone
and if he wants a balanced trade account he oughta want a huge full employment
federal deficit as well as the trade balancing
dollar dive on forex markets


okay he's a pinko gabbler
good of heart fierce of aspect
green as ivy
and alas...
of the interactive ways of markets
as my black dachshund willy
who just came back from
his quarterly hair appoinment
along with his rufus moron of a brother max
they both look like dwarf goats
yet are quite delighted with themselves
..... the poor dears

Van Mungo:

OP--you conveniently pose these as the only alternatives: (a) a traffic sign and (b) a bulging satcheful of orotundity, the latter presumably signifying bottomless reservoirs of profundity and subtlety, with the former reserved only for the mentally lame and halt. I am shocked to see such a simplistic reduction, such a patently specious false dichotomy, issuing from a (self-ordained) high priest of "nuance"!

Consider the following nuggets: "And the war came …," "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," "Half slave and half free …," "Of the people, by the people, for the people." Or maybe the following: "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise . . ." What's the common theme here? "Brevity is the soul of wit" or "Less is more."

Some of the profoundest eloquence of the human spirit can fit precisely onto a traffic sign. A satchelful of polysyllables cannot, as any weary freshman composition instructor can tell you.


i seem to have stepped on a corn of yours here

---i'll note the mention of herr bronstein
along side our bald eagle of a red god
puts my stalinoid hackles up
but i'll shake that sectarian reflex off ---

if i'm unclear
let's hope this helps

exchanging guest posts
with fellow whatevers ...si !!!

making a coon head
like oral roberts III here
a regular contributor
like its open mike nite
every nite
at salon d'alex ....

nyet !!!!!

but hey
after all who am I ???
as skinner's pigeon used to cried

the list of stalwarts
provided by mutual of senegal
and dozens of others
is precisely why
i visit CP every day
err sometimes twice a day


"weary freshman composition instructor"
perfectly correct sir

ah yes i was indeed a task back then ....
many an e b white spawned instructor
waggled his "waeay" pen
over my scattering of scratches

in fact the only paper i completed in college to my recollection
was actuallu written by ....
father smiff..what a guy ...
like a scots warrior
in the heat of combat
often let down
but forever faithful
....you can see he indulges me still

Van Mungo:

You're an admirer of Stalin, that crude peasant tyrant, mass murderer of all the Bolshevik leaders who didn't die of natural causes, millions of other humans, and the good name of socialism for several generations?

That explains everything. Thanks for the clarification.


you came thru for me beautifully
i confess
i drink from his bubbler of wisdom all too often...

if the full truth be told
i have but one quibble
with the man from gori

alas uncle joe was no admirer
of thomas browne
as i am

brief blunt ...traffic signish
that was the generalissimo's style

Van Mungo:

So suddenly you're an admirer of traffic signs if they contain execution orders.

I'm confused.


"the good name of socialism for several generations.."
those "generations " if not gone are now
like me
passing into their dotage

the time comrade for socialism
has come again

a generation rises now that knows not
uncle J's blood frolicks

somewhere his avatar slinks
ever so slowly and unawares
the center of clio's gyre
the world's next red square

glory be to gulags
and mind of mules

Van Mungo:

The time for socialism would have come much sooner without Stalin's the mad caricature, which became the mass perception (socialism=Big Brother tells you which hand to wipe yourself with), embedded so deep in the collective consciousness and unconsiousness of the world that even now it's a struggle to overcome it.

I'm still confused--you're against signs then for them; you're a Trot-baiting self-proclaimed Stalinoid, and then a Stalinoid who implicitly acknowledges the grave damage done to the socialist project by Stalin.

These arrant self-contradictions must be part of your Grand Design of impenetrable, superhuman nuance--or you're just having sport with us.


some dare call it sport mate
but its my Porphyria

Save the Oocytes:

op, I'm not behind Van Mungo, but I am confused. You're seriously a Stalinist?


Come on, guys! No one's going to say who he really is, or what he still reads, especially OP. It's the internet, where we change our identities at will. For example, when I first spotted Van Mungo, I thought someone was having fun with the insignificant former Yankee baseball player (I think) immortalized by Dave Frishberg -- Van Lingle Mungo.
And me, I just changed my name from senecal to HCE, shedding my french revolutionary ID for the humble hero of Finnegans Wake.

As for Stalin, he wasn't all bad -- see the film Inner Circle, starring Tom Hulce as Stalin's Forrest Gump-like film projectionist.


There's nothing "former" about OP's Stalinism. He's utterly unreconstructed. This is why I like him so much -- gimme the real unadulterated deal any day.

Van Mungo:

I . . . er, he . . . was a pitcher for the Dodgers (mostly) and Giants; last year was 1945. According to Wikipedia, "Stories and anecdotes about Mungo tend to emphasize his reputation for combativeness, including episodes of drinking and fighting. The most widely told story concerns a visit to Cuba where, supposedly, Mungo was caught in a sexually compromising position with a married woman by her husband. The husband was punched in the eye by Mungo, leading the husband to attack Mungo with a butcher knife or machete, requiring Dodgers executive Babe Hamberger to smuggle Mungo in a laundry cart to a seaplane waiting off a wharf in order to escape the country."

But I digress. It's one think to adopt this or that moniker--after all, what's in a name, etc. But what's the point of being out here if you don't make a good-faith representation of your real views and take them seriously? By that criterion, I think that OP owes the previous poster a direct answer to a direct question: are you really a Stalinist?

Van Mungo:

If, as MS says, OP is an unvarnished, unreconstructed Stalinist, one wonders why he is an habitue of this blog. The American foot soldiers for Uncle Joe, the CPUSA, have always been reliable cheerleaders for DP lesser-evilism--you're always supposed to vote Democratic to fend off this or that "fascist" threat from the Republican Party--the usual tired old drill. What kind of Stalinist so cavalierly sneers at party discipline on such a pivotal matter? Tsk, tsk.


Van -- Oh, the CPUSA! Spare me! Those wankers certainly don't deserve to be called Stalinists any more. Sad enfeebled epigoni -- they're just Democrats, for all practical purposes.

Van Mungo:

When you say that the CPUSA does not "deserve" to be called Stalinists anymore. Is that an expression of regret? Were they better or worse, in your view, when they were more "Stalinist"? They've been loyal errand runners for the Democratic Party for decades--perhaps more recently, with the fall of the Soviet Union, they're not as abjectly authoritarian; if that's the only difference, it seems a slight improvement to me, notwithstanding their hopeless subservience to the Dems, which is a constant.


" I think that OP owes the previous poster a direct answer to a direct question: are you really a Stalinist?"
in the words of bertolt brecht
when asked the same question by huac

"of course not ...don't be silly "


And here are Bertolt Brecht's words upon Stalin's death:

The oppressed of the five parts of the earth, those who have already freed themselves and all those who fight for world peace must have missed a heartbeat, when they heard that Stalin is dead. He was the embodiment of their hopes. But the spiritual and material weapons he created are there and so is the teaching, to make new ones.

Van Mungo:

Oh, puhleez. This is not a committee of Congress or any other kind of official inquisition. It's an informal political discussion. By your posts here, you've already outed yourself as a leftist/socialist of some sort, so that toothpaste is already out of the tube; yet now you hide behind liberal bathos about McCarthyism as an excuse for not freely stating WHAT sort? No one's buying that rope-a-dope, Opey.

Van Mungo:

So Opey quotes Brecht on Stalin--is this a new trend in authoritarian text proofing? I suppose this is what passes for rational analysis among old Stalinists.

Pardon me while I dab my eyes at this moist tribute to that appalling monster.

Al Schumann:

Owen is a Stalinist. But is that really such a bad thing? There's plenty of room in this world for gulags, purges and paranoia. I, for one, would at long last be able to find congenial employment.


Stalin is... dead? When? Why wasn't I told?

Then why do Trotskyites keep calling me a Stalinist -- What's that? Trotsky's dead TOO?!

Van Mungo:

Gee--Marx is dead, too. So I guess there's no danger in anyone accusing you of being a Marxist.

By the way, MJS, the scholarly term is Trotskyist. (This kind of thing is so puerile--like Republicans referring to the "Democrat" party. Unless, of course, you're a Stalinite--they love these kinds of groupthink terminological anathemas--the intellectual equivalent of car bumper stickers.)

Sometimes I wonder if Stalinites are really socialists; in their admiration rigid social hierarchy, they seem more like socialites.


oh if there were a thousand such titans as
visiting this site weekly
to awaken our decent
free range marching fibers
as an old unrecoverable spent rod of stalin a half lived half toxic stalinoid
i'd be in joyous tranquility
like mao after hua became his "heir "

a response a response
my sincerity....
hell my integerity ...
for a response

Van Mungo:

If smug ad hom condescension were gold, Opie would be a richer than Soros by now. If, however, the currency were lucid, trenchant analysis, he'd be on a breadline.


Only Trotskyites say Trotskyist. Thees ees well-known fact, tovarishchi!

But no, belay that. Like Jacob rasslin' with the angel, Van is going to force me to be serious in spite of myself. (Owen will prove a harder case; he's no angel).

Can't speak for anyone else here, but my own flippant approach to Van's seriously-intended interrogatories proceeds from a sense that these old sectarian fright-masks are suitable these days only for Halloween. (I have a Dzerzhinsky oufit in my closet that would make your blood run cold.)

Many of us who are old enough -- and some even fairly young -- have a history in the sects. We were Trots or Maoists or CP'ers or whatever. I'm no exception, but autobiography is in the worst possible taste.

I daresay for most of us, these sectarian allegiances have loosened over the years, but we still may not feel inclined either to apologize for our own history, or present a CV to anybody who asks for one.

And there's a case to be made that refighting the battles of the 30s -- in anything other than a spirit of play, like Civil War reenacters -- is kinda silly.

Van Mungo:

A few points:

(a) "Trotskyist" is the standard term of serious political and scholarly discourse. Only Stalinites use the term "Trotskyite"--as I said, their sectarian way of casting aspersion.

(b) I did not initiate this discussion. After Opie's bizarre, unwarranted broadbrush smear of CPs publishing of Paul Craig Roberts as a form of "Popular Front," I merely cited Lenin and Trotsky in passing to counterpose the idea of united front. In response to that, Opie derided "Bronstein" and proudly claimed the mantle of "Stalinoid"--seriously apparently (although he likes to have it both ways--I'm serious, no I'm not, depending on which tack subserves his posturing at a given moment).

(c) For reasons that I've already adumbrated in this discussion, the issue of Stalinism remains of enormous importance to the left: that is, whether the left will repeat the old errors of wrecking its emancipatory project through crude replication of the ruling class's contempt for human dignity.

(d) Although Opie, in his posts and comments, chronically and assiduously affects his tone of Olympian hauteur/flippancy to absolve himself of serious analysis (the idea being that his personal superiority to his interolcutor absolves him of actually thinking through an argument), he has been quite serious--maudlin, even--in draping himself in the Stalinist flag, with his straight-faced, melodramatic brandishing of Brecht's nauseating tribute to one of the twentieth century's titan's of brutality.

(e) The "takeaway" is this: This is no less a critical issue than the practicability of achieving a left agenda through the Democratic Party. Both discussions lead like an argument--of sometimes insidious intent, apparently--to this overwhelming question: a
Are you truly a champion of human emancipation, or just another would-be capitalist- or bureaucrat-in-waiting?

Al Schumann:

Achieving a left agenda through the Democratic Party:

Pretty clearly the Democratic Party is successful at achieving a Democratic Party agenda through the left. Entrism was and remains a fool's game.

[Will] the left will repeat the old errors of wrecking its emancipatory project through crude replication of the ruling class's contempt for human dignity.

The issue seems moot to me. The old sects and their heirs are atomized. The "mainstream" left is committed to being useful to the Democratic Party. What passes for the left, officially, is fully committed to entrenching present ills.

The rest of the left consists of pockets of rejectionists, small scale communitarian experiments and salvage efforts at local levels, and increasingly exhausted activists. There's some overlap, some cross-pollination, but nothing approaching a monolithic left that could conceivably be in a position to do anything at all.

Al Schumann:

Although Opie, in his posts and comments, chronically and assiduously affects his tone of Olympian hauteur/flippancy to absolve himself of serious analysis (the idea being that his personal superiority to his interolcutor absolves him of actually thinking through an argument), he has been quite serious--maudlin, even--in draping himself in the Stalinist flag, with his straight-faced, melodramatic brandishing of Brecht's nauseating tribute to one of the twentieth century's titan's of brutality.

That's sanctimonious purge babble, old sectarian stuff.

Van Mungo:

Schumann wrote:
"That's sanctimonious purge babble, old sectarian stuff."

There seems to be a very bad habit abroad on this blog: just toss off a snide barb and hope it sticks. Facts, logic, civility? Can't be bothered.

My seventh-grade composition instructor taught us that, if we were going to express a strong opinion, to support it with facts or logic. Schumann, like Opie, can't be bothered with such niceties.

Just for the record, in citing Opie's pious quotation of Brecht's encomium to the Mass Murderer, I was CITING AN EXAMPLE as evidence that Opie was taking his Stalinism quite seriously, notwithstanding MJS's implication that it was all a big joke.

There now--an additional attempt at painstaking clarification and dialogue. For that I suppose I will be rewarded with another gob of rhetorical mud.

Van Mungo:

Schumann Part II:

Schumann dismisses the entire left as impotent and irrelevant. This pronunciamento, of course, completely misses the point of my earlier post: the issue was not the efficacy of the left, but its very ideational foundation: is it a movement for human emancipation, or a variant scheme of human oppression--i.e., Stalinism?

If the self-designated savants on this list can't distinguish between a discussion of theory and one of praxis, then it's small wonder that the left is so marginal. Even Larry Summers or Tim Geithner can distinguish an apple from an orange, even if they're trying to sell rotten specimens of both. Schumann doesn't even know which is which.

Al Schumann:

You gonna purge us, comrade? You've already found our views inconsistent with our purpose, as interpreted by you, and you've already found your subjective characterizations of both our purpose and our views constitutive of facts. There is no argument possible. I respect those feelings. Therefore I suggest you purge us immediately.

Van Mungo:

As I prophesied, another gob of rhetorical mud from Schumann, right on schedule--apparently Schumann feels he has not yet exhausted the rhetorical force of his emotive cheap shots like "purge," so he keeps hurling them until he manages to come up with an actual idea or argument.

Not only does Schumann abjure facts and logic, he also fails seventh-grade composition class by failing to define his terms. Who is "our"? Is he trying to enforce some real or imagined ideological discipline for this blog? He even tells us that "no argument is possible"--apparently not, from his standpoint, since he has yet to make one (unless hurling invective like "purge" is his idea of an argument!)

Of course, he fails to address my point that he confuses theory and practice in his previous post, nor does he address the key issue: whether the project of the left is one of human emancipation or rejiggered oppression (the tyranny of the one-party bureaucracy supplants the tyranny of the corporation)--but Schumann can't be detained by points of substance--he's too busy loading up his next rhetorical feint. Last two times it was "purge"--what next?

The bitter irony here is that Schumann--with his determined avoidance of substance, his hurling of emotive invective, his posing of "us" vs. "them"--is clearly trying to purge ME, in the very act of pretending to oppose purges. Here we have a choice specimen of intellectually void Stalinist doubletalk and doublethink, complete with furious theatrical denunciation of the dissenter.

We needn't inquire whether Schumann is a Stalinist--even if he doesn't avow it explicitly, evidently he's been speaking Stalinist "prose" all his life without even realizing it.


Golly, I'm enjoying this. It's like old times.

Al Schumann:

Are you addressing an audience, Van? The gaseous indignation goes nicely with the royal "we", it's a good show, all your fatuous double binds notwithstanding, but you still refuse to take things to their logical conclusion. I must insist on being purged. The forces of dialectical determinism demand nothing less. As you have noted, it doesn't really matter whether I am, or am not, explicitly a Stalinist: I have adopted the Stalinist style. Therefore I cannot possibly complain about being purged without adding hypocrisy to my "prose", which makes purging me all the more imperative.

The very future of the Left depends on it!

One may regret the whiff of ideological cleansing that creeps into the damning indictments my conduct calls for, but we must think of the children, or something, lest the running dogs of the dead hand sup on the blood of innocents.

Van Mungo:

Are you competing in some kind of high-school contest in self-parody? You'd be better off entering the contest in analytical prose--that's where you seem to need the most practice.

You've already made it quite clear that you cannot sustain a good-faith, honest, rational dialogue and that you much prefer idle, snarky flaming, name-calling, posturing, snarling, etc.. Point taken, and re-taken. That's all very impressive--if you're twelve.

If you ever dive into your brain and come up with a serious thought--as opposed to another ladleful of sophomoric sarcasm--please do check in sometime.

Van Mungo:

By the way, two helpful pointers for the tormented Schumann:

First one, to remediate your illiteracy: I did not employ the royal we. I used "we" to refer to the readers of your post (surely there are one or two besides me), not to myself. But, I guess when you have no coherent thoughts, just a panicky need to come up with a "gotcha," you're prone to this kind of public display of ignorance.

Second one, to remediate your apparent chronic indispostion. You write yet again: "I must insist on being purged." You might find the following to be helpful:



Hope this helps!

Al Schumann:

Van, I take your admonitions to heart. You have provided links to laxatives. Two links, to two different laxatives. A democratic centralist would provide only one. A reckless vanguardist would provide three or more. This moderation is a powerful demonstration of your sincerity. I will provide a link to Monty Python's Cheese Shop sketch, which will lend the dignity you need to continue this discussion.

Van Mungo:

Do you really have any serious thoughts about anything, or are you just a complete cipher?

Van Mungo:

Here's a brief inventory of the topics on which you cannot conduct an informed discussion:

1. the royal we
2. socialism
3. Stalinism

Here's a list of the topics in which you do seem to have a serious interest:

1. purgation

Your move.


van ..if u haven't returned
to firmer more sober sites

i'm starting to feel
taking you seriously might be fun

but i won't
its like watching a cat flung into a lake
i lake the sadism of the great man from gori

btw though i'm much abliged
for the tag team perfection of it all
it was ..another
who supplied the bb encomium to js

look again
then shake the lake drops off your fur
arch your back and pad home

Van Mungo:

Seriously--does Opie lack the gene that triggers public embarrassment in sane people?

I mean--what is WRONG with this guy?

He really seems to believe that he is--in succession, or all at once--Oscar Wilde, e. e. cummings, and Paul Sweezy. Reading his stuff is like watching some cheesy impressionist in a lounge in Vegas circa 1968: FRED TRAVALENA DOES THE WESTERN CANON! FREE BUFFET AND DRINKS! TONITE ONLY: EVERYTHING IN FREE VERSE!

Wotta ridiculous fop!

Al Schumann:

I'm deeply moved, again, by your eloquence, Van, your erudition and the vigor of your condemnations. Truly if there were any justice the sheer force of your perorations would cause entire ontological constructs to implode. You fight the good fight, oh steadfast one, even if you do occasionally come off as a name-dropping, self-indulgently hysterical asshole.

Van Mungo:

The Wit and Wisdom of Chairman Al “High Colonic” Schumann:

"That's sanctimonious PURGE babble, old sectarian stuff."

"Therefore I suggest you PURGE us immediately."

"I must insist on being PURGED."

"Therefore I cannot possibly complain about being PURGED without adding hypocrisy to my 'prose,' which makes PURGING me all the more imperative."

"One may regret the WHIFF of ideological CLEANSING . . ."

"You have provided links to LAXATIVES. Two links, to two different LAXATIVES."

" . . .self-indulgently hysterical ASSHOLE."

This, er, stream of consciousness bears constant study and repetition, comrades.
WARNING: Provide adequate ventilation while reading.


Yawn, when did this blog suddenly begin slouching toward Daytona Beach?

Frankly, given the general condition of things, I can't think of a more sympathetic pose than one affected by ex-sectarians turned flaneurs. Is anyone else out there, once the mask of pained indignation is peeled away, taking things seriously? The fact that no one has the slightest clue as how to reconstitute the HISTORICAL SUBJECT in the age of trite twitterers is answer enough.


FWIW, Van Mungo (and I realize this thread has long since devolved), Michael Hudson dishes a useful insight now and again, but the more I've read him over the last five years plus, the more I've noticed that he is a prisoner of his own jingle. And perhaps it's no coincidence that his own jingle is just credible enough to make him seem like an authority, and just inscrutable enough to keep his audience craving additional clarification from the wise one. But in fact his jingle is just an archly crafted, pre-fab paradox: US dollar hegemony is indestructible, US dollar hegemony is in free fall. Like I said, keeps 'em lined up outside the carnival tent.

Save the Oocytes:

Van Mungo, in case you really don't get it, I think they've written you off and stopped trying to seriously communicate with you because you came off combative at the beginning of the thread and you haven't let up. You sound more like someone trying to "score points" than to discuss anything, and so the conversation, as it were, has degenerated into this insult match.

Okay (please note I am not Van Mungo before you respond), I am seriously concerned about Stalinism, and always have been. Stalinism is a system (perhaps that word is generous) that killed millions upon millions, wiped out all dissent (and all of Stalin's Bolshevik ex-comrades), and set up a totalitarian state in the name of "socialism" that somehow made conditions arguably even worse for the working class than under feudalism or American liberal capitalism. Stalinism seems to be a combination of an "ends justify the means" worldview and a blatant disregard for human life; and it's not clear that the "ends" in this case were Communist utopia rather than Stalin's indefinite hold on power.

So I'm not trying to be a dick, but I really want to pin you down to a position here: do you believe killing millions of people is really a justifiable means to achieve whatever the CCCP achieved? Because I like you (hell, reading this blog is often one of the better parts of my day), but hearing you call yourself an admirer of Stalin makes me want to plead, "Say it ain't so, op!"

If that makes me a sectarian moron, I guess I'm going to have to learn to live with that.

Van Mungo:

You've got to be kidding. Read back through the genesis of this "discussion," if you can call it that. My posts were straightforward and decorous, including my initial queries to Opie about Stalinism (in fact, another poster even complimented me for my remarks about CounterPunch). Opie's replies were predictably unctuous, dodgy, condescending, and increasingly hostile, when I wouldn't be a good little boy and sit awestruck before his pretentious babble. Then his platoon buddy Schumann piled on, evidently merely for blood sport, since he, too, had nothing of substance to add and seemed interested only in good old herd-mentality ostracism. The problem with these two is that they don't really take ANYTHING seriously except their efforts to impress each other as the two smartest people alive in this ideological rabbit warren.
So . . . if there was any point-scoring and nastiness, it clearly originated with them. If you could approach this with anything approaching objectivity, you would realize this. But you are evidently an aspiring member of the club--kind of like the girl in West Side Story who wants so desperately to impress the guys in the Jets--so even though you share my substantive concerns, you are first at great pains to suck up to the gang leaders (O, Massa, please don't be mad at me, I'm NOT Van Mungo, even though I agree with him!) before challenging their views. This is SO HIGH SCHOOL. You go ahead and scrape and cower and join the vicious anathemas if that makes you feel like you belong! Maybe they'll even give you a merit badge for your troubles.

Van Mungo:

Seems like you've caught a bad case of facile-it is from a long habitation on this list. Hudson's work can hardly be dismissed in a glib short paragraph. It's pretty amusing to see you calling Hudson "inscrutable"--I guess if you convince yourself that Opie's daily phantasmagorias make sense, then you're ruined for lucid expository prose. For example, Hudson's latest piece in CP stresses a point found in few other analyses--the role of the extended U.S. military empire in this country's trade deficit.

At any rate, the point is not that Hudson is infallible--the point is that, notwithstanding Opies' snide dismissal, CounterPunch remains a compelling assemblage of some of the world's best left writers. None of them, unfortunately, can claim to have mastered the art of willful obscurity and gruesome self-regard so assiduously cultivated by Opie.


VM: "Seems like you've caught a bad case of facile-it is from a long habitation on this list."

GL: No, I was afflicted when I arrived.

VM: "Hudson's work can hardly be dismissed in a glib short paragraph."

GL: Would you prefer a glib long paragraph? Or two, even? Honestly, my point was merely this -- Hudson typically goes on and on about how dollar hegemony is an impregnable fortress, as if some deus ex machina (which he habitually neglects to identify) keeps Europe and Asia in in a state of perpetual bondage. At the same very time, he makes it sound as if dollar hegemony is on the cusp of collapsing altogether, to keep his audience in suspense I suppose. Whatever the other strengths of his work, and I'll grant him some of those, this inconsistency is disconcerting. Something's gotta give.

VM: "if you convince yourself that Opie's daily phantasmagorias make sense, then you're ruined for lucid expository prose..."

GL: On those spare occasions when I'm up for deciphering OP's bargain bin koans, sometimes I find them useful, sometimes not so much so... just like most people's scribblings. I won't comment on the apples and oranges fallacy of comparing his SMBIVA rambles to Hudson's compositions at CP. You get what you don't pay for. And by the way, if you meet the regulars halfway and don't rampage through the doorway hurling righteous thunderbolts, more often than not you'll get decent treatment. Given that you got ensnared in one-upmanship methinks you doth protest too much.




Stalin-baiting on an off-the-beaten track blog (it doesn't even rise to the level of rotisserie football, don't kid yourselves) is sandbox politics of the most laughable sort, fellas. Alas, I guess I have joined the charade with this mere remark.


i think u epitomize the hudson bay brand quite nicely
i wonder how many
pwog fire breathing lambs
he butt fucks with that spiel ???


the close of his system
will never come

that way lies implosion
ridicule ...symbolic field stripping

and on some level
professor Hudnik
knows that


" I am seriously concerned about Stalinism, and always have been"

alas its our fate
to face our molochs now and again

mine's pol pot

indeed virtual blood
is on my hands
if i glance at them
--- all of a sudden
in the shower ---
i can catch it
running off my finger tips

Save the Oocytes:

op, I'm up enough on my old Semitic gods to know that Moloch was a fire god that demanded human sacrifices, but I don't know what you mean about your fate, or Pol Pot. The thing about "virtual blood" seems to be mocking me, but I can't quite be sure...


Perhaps this is too cruel, but yeah, OP, in some ways Hudson is a living example of that right-wing canard about "poverty pimps"... if and when the dollar loses its global preeminence, Hudson the time-server, a vacant look in his eyes, will have to find a new gig.



I mean by virtual blood
That others spilled the real blood in cambodia
I"merely" flacked for mr pol pot
Here in the states

For my generation of amer-leninists
What could be worse ?

Al Schumann:


I'll take a chance on speaking for Owen, and possibly spoil a fine joke. For ex-sectarians (among others), a professed admiration for any historical figure, monster or saint, is a rhetorical booby trap. Doctrinal fundamentalists, of any stripe, and selective literalists are going to take it seriously and go off on a horrible jag. This is a good thing. Such people are to be avoided at all costs. Their jags are the best possible warning. They have the sectarian temperament, which is much worse than sectarian conviction.

Conviction without the temperament eventually yields to a real acknowledgment of social realities and individual worth. There is no doctrine so magnificent that it can trump them. It is better to lose, forever, than to forsake that. Those sects that do forsake them, in a relatively open society, wind up with a small core of people who can't function outside the sectarian environment. They're silly and a little bad sad, unless they become useful to an existing power structure, toothless and ridiculous, forever petitioning for a chance to become useful idiots, or forever trying to explain shit like this. Do read that. It's hilarious.

People who are uncertain or appalled by a professed ("professed" used advisedly) admiration are going to inquire. This too is a good thing. It can evoke a useful reminder to rhetoric slingers, like me, that humility is more than appropriate...

Stalin-baiting on an off-the-beaten track blog (it doesn't even rise to the level of rotisserie football, don't kid yourselves) is sandbox politics of the most laughable sort, fellas. Alas, I guess I have joined the charade with this mere remark.

... it's an inescapable reality.

There are a lot of digressions from the core message of SMBIVA, as is fitting for people with widely varying ideas, but it's safe to say that none of us have the heart to seriously and sincerely applaud forced collectivization, show trials, eliminationism, movement purges, accommodation with fascists, Republicans, Democrats, guided self-criticism sessions, rustication and instruction in the peasant virtues. You can safely take any accolades to them as morbid jokes.

Van Mungo:

First point: Have you read Hudson's book on superimperialism? Or are your comments simply based on scattered articles? You don't cite specific passages or arguments--just your breezy paraphrase of some of his points, which amounts to an absurd caricature. There's nothing of substance to respond to. Seems like your bad case of facile is getting worse

Second point: from the tenor of your last post, it seems like you should change your moniker from gluelicker to a**licker. I cite the following: "And by the way, if you meet the regulars halfway and don't rampage through the doorway hurling righteous thunderbolts, more often than not you'll get decent treatment. Given that you got ensnared in one-upmanship methinks you doth protest too much." If your life is empty enough that you feel a need to debase yourself publicly with such strenous avowals of toadyism, that's sad beyond words. It would require only a minimal amount of intellectual and personal integrity for you to retrace the thread of these exchanges and see that it was Opie and Schumann who initiated the personal abuse. If you get your kicks swallowing their offal and begging for more, then fine--who am I to judge? But you'll have a hard time selling to others the joys of such groveling before the authorities, especially to socialists and anarchists. Now that you've established your bona fides as a group today, maybe these two cranks Opie and Schumann will even be NICE to you! Good boy!

Al Schumann:

Van, with all due respect, you'll find the critical theory discussion blogs much more rewarding. Your absence is their loss.

Van Mungo:

A New Chapter in Mad Magazine's "Scenes We'd Like to See":

"Van, with all due respect . . . "

Al "High Colonic" Schumann

Al Schumann:

Van, you've graduated from laxatives to enemas, both studied thoroughly if metaphorically by the critical theory people. You have a chance to take it further than they ever dreamed. Colostomy bags and bypass surgeries could form the basis of a truly devastating critique.

You've got in you, if you'll excuse the pun. I have confidence. How can you resist?



I am seriously concerned about Stalinism, and always have been. Stalinism is a system (perhaps that word is generous) that killed millions upon millions....
Lexicographical note. People use the word "Stalinism" in several different ways. Folks on the Trotsky side of the sectarian continental divide, for example, sometimes use it to refer to anybody on the other side. And there are folks on the non-Trotsky side who do the perverse-embrace gambit -- sorta the way terms like "nigger" and "queer" got reappropriated by their targets. This is a familiar linguistic development.

The subtext of this rhetorical cavalry tactic, if rendered by an infantryman, seems to be something like this: "I refuse to apologize for history, or for my own sectarian enthusiasms of an earlier day."

Lefties quickly discover the "waddabout" gambit they get from non-lefties: waddabout Stalin, waddabout Pol Pot, waddabout Kim Il Sung, waddabout Nicolae Ceausescu, waddabout Robespierre, waddabout Savonarola, waddabout Sulla.... There's a whole factory-farm of slaughtered albatrosses that they want to hang around your neck if they can.

If you want to get on with being a lefty, you try to find a way to dodge the albatross necklace. Offering up the required apologies and denunciations is time-consuming and puts you in a weak, defensive stance. Going on the offensive -- waddabout Pompey, waddabout Henry VIII, waddabout Hitler -- sounds schoolboyish. (And if you're talking to a Trotsky fan, you're at a disadvantage because there are no Trotskyphile regimes to waddabout about.)

It's a problem because there really is stuff to be figured out in all this, but the polemical context is unpropitious for any real thought.

So some people -- like Owen and me -- adopt, or try to adopt, a float-like-a-butterfly approach. Get the waddabouter purple-faced with rage and raise a laugh at his expense -- and then, if you feel up to pondering some of these big difficult problems, do so in a context where nobody is trying to sever your hamstrings.

Van Mungo:

Michael J. Smith can be a very interesting and original writer. But sometimes there's a temptation to employ riches of style to cloak a poverty of substance. Opie posts are the epitome of this ornate vacuity. Smith's latest post nearly rivals those of the Master.

The topic is Stalinism and/or the critique of Stalinism; now give careful scrutiny to Smith's little ramble, with its carefully cultivated aura of casual omniscience. A few ad hom jabs here, a slew of slapdash caricatures there, a ringing concluding chord of "groupthink" about what "some people" do. But probe beneath this thin, slippery surface and you find . . . exactly nothing. The post actually says nothing.

Opie has made a curious minor art form out of saying nothing with the maximum of flourish and exertion. Smith comes close in his latest effort, but he's still a tyro compared to the Obfuscator in Chief.

It's a lot of fun to see the squirming of someone on the traditional left who feels impelled to defend the indefensible--or rather feels impelled to purvey a Nixonesque "deniability" on inconvenient matters that they've never really come to terms with ethically and intellectually--such as . . . Stalinism! Behold the sickening ooze of slick, evasive doubletalk, the desperate antics of normally sensible and perceptive and honest people going all gooey and slippery and specious, dancing and zigging and zagging as fast as they can. I never expect to see any better of Opie, but I do of Smith.

The highest achievement of writing is to say it without saying it. Opie--and Smith, in this case--says and says and says . . . but never says anything.


For the record
I've never seen u
Kowtow to anyone here

And I agree about new commenters
After a brief
Pause suddenly
Hurling thunderbolts

If they fizzle and
They often leave
wet cat
that only a teuton could laff at
... After the first lake toss
or two

Two words I mark
For memory
When yowled
At their dunker
by a wet cat
The utter falsity of It
When mixed with
Their actual feelings of contempt and clarity -- no matter
How desperately summoned--
To give certain
Conflicted spirits
an oddly sour satisfaction

Van mingle nip
come often
My Feline friend
No more lake tossing
I promise
You're too tender
A soul


Van -- Modest as I am about my stuff, I don't think it's quite true that I said "nothing".

It's certainly true, though, that I didn't answer the question you'd like me to answer. In fact, I quite shamelessly used your interrogatories as a mere excuse for some ruminations of my own.

I don't feel that I owe anybody an answer to any old question they may choose to ask, but I certainly owe you my thanks for the pretext.

Van Mungo:

Opie natters his high-stylin' natter--but you touch it, and you find there's nothing there--no matter. Nearly every day, Opie huffs and puffs to find ever more ramified, rarified ways of saying pretty much . . . nothing. The text might be history, politics, economics, perhaps the subtext The Incomparable Genius of Opie. Yet the verbal "magic" turns out to be cheap sleight of hand, pure bluff for the easily gulled and distracted: whether text or subtext, there's no there there.

For those who have missed any of these vaporous effusions, do not fret. Tuli Kupferberg has provided a convenient precis of the the entire corpus of the daily blogs and comments of Opie:

Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing, Wednesday and Thursday nothing, Friday for a change, a little more nothing, Saturday once more nothing.
Sunday nothing, Monday nothing, Tuesday and Wednesday, nothing, Thursday for a change, a little more nothing, Friday once more nothing.
Montik gornisht, dinstik gornisht, mitvokh un donershtik gornisht, fraytik for a novehneh, gornisht gigeleh, Shabbos vider gornisht.
Lunes nada, martes nada, miercoles y jueves nada, viernes por cambio un poco mas nada, sabado otra vez nada.
Na na nana, na na nana ...


Tuli k
Wasn't he a fug
Van ?
I think he did some zillion ways to get out of the draft eh?

Not that I have any
Right to ask
How old are u
Something young about your aura here

I'm 61 and the advent of fugdom
Remains a living memory

Ed s
of course engineered a career beyond the fugs

The others
re joined
The also ran multitude
I suspect


VM, you've taken the mismeasure of me. I'm not really the servile type. I do, on the other hand, get great glee when the hot stinging whip lashes my torso. So hurt me, please! Ooh, you go, big guy!

Now, excuse me while I delight in snacking on a shit sandwich. Yummy...

Save the Oocytes:

Don't really feel like defending my servile, high-schoolesque fawning now... maybe it can be saved for another time. I am reminded of this entry from the Encyclopedia of Decency.


StO -- I loved the Encyclopedia of Decency. We've got a Newton/Leibniz thing going on waddabout.


Tuli Kupferberg -- There's a name to conjure with. I used to know a girl who used to be his GF. She still had lots of Tuli's drawings and other artwork on her walls. It was all pretty terrible, but extremely confident. I never met Tuli himself, but felt fairly sure I knew his type.

It's nice to see that the Wayback is on its way back from the 30s, if a postcard from the 60s is any indication.

Van Mungo:

MJS wrote:

"I don't feel that I owe anybody an answer to any old question they may choose to ask. . . ."

Sarah Palin couldn't have said it better--or any standard-issue Republicrat senator on Meet the Press, for that matter. That's their whole game. Strange to see it practiced so proudly and widely on this blog.

Van Mungo:

MJS wrote:
"I don't feel that I owe anybody an answer to any old question they may choose to ask. . . ."

Didn't I hear almost these very words from Sarah Palin during the debates? Don't I hear this on any given Sunday from Senator Whatever from Wherever on Meet the Press? How did this classic rope-a-dope ploy of the professional sophists and liars land so softly on this blog? I guess it must be allergy-to-the-truth season.


Scoring from the beer-soaked cheap seats, I have to give fighter of the night award to van Mungo, for landing four or five haymakers at his tag-team opponents. The champ's hauteur of "I answer only to my own questions" was pure pugilistic theater...


mjosef -- I refer you to my new favorite site (thanks to StO), the Encyclopedia Of Decency, and in particular to the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon. I think you'll like it.

Van Mungo:

To me the Web site MSJ oozes about looks like a convenient resource . . . for whom? For smug narcissists whose sense of intellectual supremacy absolves them--in their estimate--intercourse with the common run of fallible humans who have not yet found the Truth but are merely groping toward it, poking around, debating (what a vulgar activity!) and wrestling (yuck!) with REAL UNRESOLVED ISSUES (yes, Virginia, there are such things, even for leftists!) with those crude tools of facts and logic. The elect, with sole possession of the Truth, needn't bother with such sweaty exertions: armed only with the elegant but fragile implements of "wit," condescension, and posturing, the are confined to harmless, insular salon diversions such as endless cackling and empty badinage.

No surprise, then, at MSJ's fondness for that silly Web site--its snide stereotyping and condescension precisely mirror his own aversion--and Opie's--to any forms of dialogue other than (a) mutual stroking and reassurance among the Elect (when speaking among themselves or to their acolytes) or (b) sneering contempt (when speaking to noninitiates or about the rest of the fallen human race).

This blog is not about the serious work of grappling with difficult or complex issues or ideas (e.g., if you really want to seriously chew over messy issues such as Stalinism, we don't want you mucking up our elegant, smirky little lawn party); what we have here instead is a form of play: the endless smug volleying of the same few axioms--it feels like a tepid game of badminton in a tightly confined area among the kind of guys who have never hit a ball out of the infield. That gets to be a pretty boring reality show after a few episodes--give me The Amazing Race any day.


No flies on Van. The observation that I (at least -- can't speak for anyone else) don't want to "chew over messy issues such as Stalinism" shows excellent reading skills.

To be sure, it's not clear how much of an issue "Stalinism" is, these days, or for whom. Historians, no doubt, and people given to what an old comrade called "theoretical work". (I sometimes felt that the phrase was apt in an unsuspected sense -- it was work, in theory.)

Al Schumann:

Having detected an implicit virtual contract, Van, you have grounds for a virtual civil action based on fraudulent conveyance. As I've said before. All you have to do is convince yourself that your detection is constitutive of a convention that all decent, or Decent, people find indispensable. Your fishwife invective, grandiose metaphors and rectal revelations—a nod to the enemas and laxatives you've supplied—might help in that regard, but there's a risk of becoming a laughingstock and, finally, sympathetic only to people who find humor in farcical perseveration.

I've tried to help you find an alternative. The critical theory blogs welcome detective skills and the agency of the welcomed detective is politely elided, for the greater good, which is defined as the pursuit of critical theory. Once the game gets goings, to insist on agency is either an effort to arrogate or assign victimhood, both of which have contingent proprieties (not to mention proprietors). Their obfuscated circularities should appeal to you. The only pitfall is wandering into the bottom of their pecking order. With the enemas and laxatives you've brought for us, you have a potent defense. Perhaps it's even possible to find agency in the revelations they supply. But bring your badminton racquet, just in case.


I'm thinking of a post on totalitarian ogres
Who's work
We have secretly admired
And how its evidence
---No not conclusive evidence obviously--
Clio has found a reasonable purpose for ogres like them

And I mean out there
In the morphic coils of social reality

the care and feeding of voracious little mind maws
Is a non starter ultimately
The inner chambers of the likes of our ever rightious social monad
Mr mingo here
Are quite over rated

I've long felt rightious figments
And holy abstractions
Are a serious liability
In social change movements

Above the tad pole stage at least

What practical value to the
Catalytic group
Is a head swirling away
In a disordering moral fury

the brain's better focused on institutional
rocking and rolling
Then personal grail seeking

Ripping apart
Clio's. Bloody agencies for. Being just that
bloody foul and fractional agencies
Is to miss the way it all goes down
Out there
On terra firma

Some 19th century romantic called clio's
Operating table
A slaughter bench

Okay that is a bit melodramatic

But certainly
It ain't Plastic surgery She's performing there

Nor soul tuning

Van Mungo:

Did "High Colonic" Schumann escape from an anger-management asylum somewhere? Or perhaps from a rehab program for terminally turgid prose? The only person on this list who hurls vulgar epithets like "asshole" deplores "fishwife invective" from others (unspecified and undocumented, of course--what ho! Stalinist slime tactics!). Is this guy really that far out of touch with himself? This is is the kind of bellowing sociopath who gives leftism a bad name--a snarling crank who wants to save the REST of the world from ITS grievous shortcomings, of course!

Just as a thought experiment--imagine a world composed of nothing but oafish Gorgons like Schumann--does that look like socialism, like the advent of Socialist Man, to you, or does it seem like a collective nightmare, a session of Playstation Doom, that makes the current world seem like a bucolic utopia by comparison? Think about it.

As for MJS's assertion that Stalinism is of scant relevance to the contemporary left--even if leftists seek to flee from this issue, it will overtake them in the end. Until and unless human consciousness has evolved to a point that the mass of people can voluntarily live a socialist ethos, any socialist regime will involve some element of coercion--something like what Rousseau called "forcing men to be free." One hopes there is a golden mean between the gulag and the reasonable degree of external regulation required to stave off at least environmental catastrophe, and perhaps other human-spawned disasters as well (military, economic). But the practicability of even such minimalist counterthrusts to barbarism--much less of a neart-term utopian transformaton--is far from a settled issue, and the means of achieving even a moderately effective socialist order have been only dimly imagined. The only two regimes in the world today in which the bulk of the economy is not in private hands--North Korea and Cuba--are scarcely models of an emancipated humanity, although Cuba has made heroic strides on behalf of its people despite despite decades of sabotage from the United States. Nevertheless--would Opie or MJS want to trade their comfy redoubts on the UWS for a state lodging and a factory or farm job in either NK or Cuba? Would they have even wanted a government sinecure in the old Soviet Union?

If you seriously want to propose that things should not be run in one way--capitalism--you must, my implication, have at least some notion of how you do want them to run. If that vision includes a one-party state and psychiatric detention for dissidents (no doubt Schumann would be gleefully stamping the admission forms), then you'd damn well better be prepared to think that through before you attempt to sell yourself as a champion of the oppressed, and not just the propagator of a newfangled oppression. In your private mythos of evil and redemption you might blithely assume the good guys not only will but can win, but until and unless you've clarified your notion of the good, you haven't advanced very far beyond the good guy/bad guy fantasies of the dime Western novel.

Al Schumann:

Van, that is easily the most prolix detection of Moral & Intellectual Inadequacy Through Failure To Move To Cuba I've ever seen. What a waste of verbiage. The hedging, with praise for Fidel, lends you some plausible deniability, but it's still the same ludicrously avuncular affectation the more thoroughly schooled right wingers adopt for their red-baiting jags. I see you've managed to work in another enema reference too, poor fellow, along with some vulgar psychologizing. What next, a rehash of the socialist calculation debate? You can play Hayek and argue from irreducible economic complexity. You'll need to dress it up a little, but your chronic logorrhea can help with that.


great stuff super Al
this class based debate has been
won and lost many times
by both sides admission
over the last 88 years

i'll bring my hot crock special
stiglitini almondine

but i feel compelled to add
what may be a pre emptive caveat

if we resume the great calc debate
here at stop me before i void again
we may not only provoke
barracks socialist van dingo
to a fit of rhetorical qunitessence
worthy of hal draper
we just might also
trigger off
all those heinous gosplan survivors
roaming the web
from their ivory cellars in east slobovia

in frustration and fury
at the triumphs of herr dingo
the uncle milty clubs
may spam us

imagine the come ons
"veeeerrry ni-iiice " porno "shotz"
from secret crypt
at 'fancy free' studios
capital ceeety of
former piples repooblik
Chekout -dis-zbigboobia

12 years of age ..tops

Al Schumann:

Owen, I like a little libertarian cross-dressing. I'm going to argue that Hayek was right, but he didn't take his critique far enough. A "free" market will inevitably replicate the complete destruction of the pricing mechanism, as we've seen from the derivatives disasters, and liberal democracy is easy to subvert into authoritarian information bottlenecks. The one dollar-one vote system ensures there's no clear feedback for the governors, and no possibility of responding to it even if it does get through. Those who do push it find themselves shot by both bourgeois sides, liberal and conservative.



can we lefty types escape this ogre's shadow ???
no not even if we turn to the great calc debate

" i for one eeem great fan
of first soviet five year plan "

super Al Shooman ( der rote teufel of the hudson valley) is of course

a one man universal mechanism disintegrator

he has claimed repeatedly
the price of industrialization
can not be measured in zloty
only in blood

zillions in the peasant strata were liquified
and for what ???
to prove hayek-mises wrong
in the pheeesical sense ????

fuck dis "irreducible complexity"

enter doctor gosplan
and that frankenstein's monster
of economies
where prices are for suckers

of course more supple responses emerged a little later
oscak lange an anmerican geek named taylor
and the great abba lerner
all agreed barone had shown the way
to harness the complexity without reducing it
and still castrate capitalism
seems walras was a social engineer in spite of himself
his formalism
used conciously to prove
markets operating without higher authority could solve themselves after much groping for their joint internal set of efficiency prices

walras to concretize the process came up with the second greatest as if in political economics the auctioneer calling sets of provisional prices
checking the demands and supplies and altering these sets till all products were in s/d balance
hey that also works literally eh ??
as a first draft
of a solution to the price calc question

marketoidal mechanisms could simulated efficiency price producing edgeworth recontracting markets
said the pinko from poland et al

markets without private capital and private profirs
just collective enterprise executive teams
sending up
supply responses to price sets
sent down by
the central commisar auctioneerissimo
who makes aa set of algorithmic adjustment
and sends a new corrected set of provisional prices
back down again
till all balances to all

to be continued

the free range capital
counter punch ???

in a word
"motivations " errr"incentives "

but even as the mighty profiteers are
relaxing after
their brilliantly simple knock down punch
just waiting for the count to reach ten
the plot thickens
with the formal proof of
the infamous non pareto optimality
of capital markets
and der rote pug rises to his feet


that last comment of mine
crossed with super Al's first serve
and not having the insights contained
in his stupendously insightful double agent
impersonation cum double cross cum triple cross
i've headed of on a un-necssarily tedious narrative
whilst Al lances the very navel of the problem

" A "free" market will inevitably replicate the complete destruction of the pricing mechanism"

btw where is van mingo when our cargo cult needs him most
amidst all this market pseudo market chatter
barracks socialism awaits its white knight

socialist accumulation without purges plagues
foreign scape goats and menaces
gulags and show trails and torture
and death
yes the soft deaths of lowered food intake
and the mass execution death
running to Clio's sea of "stuff to be remembered "
in rivers of innocent blood

Al Schumann:

Can Lange and Lerner really be considered economists? They have no "von" in their names and they never named their conferences after Swiss resorts. I hate to be such a persnickety soul, Owen, but you can't really expect me to take them seriously. Oskar von Lange, Abba von Lerner could easily hold their own against any Misoid epigone, but as things stand I'm afraid I have to reject their Walrasian heresies.

Al Schumann:

The calculation debate is more timely than one might suppose, Owen. There's still a lot of vulgarized Hayekian triumphalism floating about. A recap can do no harm. To this day, Lerner is relegated to the quaint sections of the econ libraries.


hey where'd this start??

well after the red october

the leading brains of near by
central europe erupted in debate
....over prices

how could these reds discover and keep
a path of allocatively optimal prices
without the guiding gauntlet of
competitive private markets ???

one karl the conch kautsky feebly --it seemed--
well we got the prices of yesterday when markets existed

the proletculters lost round one eh ??

then Clio intervened

kronstadt => N.E.P
now markets are back
and the mingos of the world turned to ethnology for day dream escapes
stateless societies
built on top of gift exchange
this interlude
postponed the great calc debates
till my beloved monolith
zee foist ever fiiiive year plun
burst thru histories front door
in 29
triggering round two
the lange ankle punch knock down


well we had
a van here a while back
not exactly a von
but dutch rub close enough i contend

yes some mark of elite status lends authority
to the author of an argument

the van allen belt
thought to prevent all space travel
it took a von braun rocket to erase
that silly figment of the black board


the van mingo curtain ????
what goes on behind that i wonder

libertine socialism with butt plugs ??


so where did i leave off??
oh yes the arrow asset debacle

upshot even if you assume all sorts of ridiculous stuff
if time must eventually resume
ie one doesn't settle all prices till kingdom come right now all at once
then galloping
uncertainty returns and with it
the collapse of the efficency claims pure market driven prices

no we haven't yet got to the navel
speared recently by anarcho-botanist
Shooless Al topyanik
but we will folks we will

and reccall my crock pot special
chicken stiglitini
awaits out there

care to buy a portion ...now ??
my paypal account has an operator waiting

heh heh heh

Al Schumann:

There are some real implications in this for socialized credit. HCE joked about about getting a loan for his humanist wastrel projects, but the success or failure of them provides valuable data. How much harm could he and a few thousand like him do? Not much. The worst outcome is a write-off of a relatively small sum. And if they work out... One of Lange's big things was the importance of getting that data to the central planner, which is itself another thing worth a look. My take is that central planning needs to be defanged into a circumscribed coordination facility, a research and reference library of sorts, where allocation, measures and standards and logistics take the place of diktats.


"My take is that central planning needs to be defanged into a circumscribed coordination facility, a research and reference library of sorts, where allocation, measures and standards and logistics take the place of diktats."

indicative plans
warnings from the temple
mixed with the ad hoc
visions of the prophets of the system

i hesitate ...

something leads me toward
an automated universal guidance system

like driver free highways ???

yes i think traffic control
bares a crude haunting similarity
to our economy wide
pricing of production tasks

hence my love of traffic signs
as van points out
and i must say each man his own steering wheel
can be articulated
in contradictory cross strokes
of manual over ride countering automatic over ride
countering ...

Al Schumann:

There are some serious, prima facie drawbacks to my concept, but buried in the resource center there are some escalating disincentives that could be used, well short of brute force denial of services. For example, privileging the goodniks would do quite a bit, provided that didn't diminish baseline services to the badniks. Living well being the best revenge, one would soon find the badniks ousted from within their own fiefdoms. No harm done to anyone, save for what comes from the wounded amour propre of people who need to rethink.

Van Mungo:

High Colonic Schumann is having a good joke on all of us. By this time he is simply engaging in an elaborate self-parody--a deliberate caricature of the embittered, delusional failure who just KNOWS that he is a "geeeenius." So instead of shaking our heads in pity at these jags of pit-bull dementia, we should laud the mastery and humility of the wise fool who so shrewdly encapsulates and ridicules his own buffoonery in post after post. The last one is worth savoring once more:

"Van, that is easily the most prolix detection of Moral & Intellectual Inadequacy Through Failure To Move To Cuba I've ever seen. What a waste of verbiage. The hedging, with praise for Fidel, lends you some plausible deniability, but it's still the same ludicrously avuncular affectation the more thoroughly schooled right wingers adopt for their red-baiting jags. I see you've managed to work in another enema reference too, poor fellow, along with some vulgar psychologizing. What next, a rehash of the socialist calculation debate? You can play Hayek and argue from irreducible economic complexity. You'll need to dress it up a little, but your chronic logorrhea can help with that."

Now just just to hedge our bets a bit--in case Schumann is not parodying himself, but really means us to take this unhinged babble seriously (gulp!), I make the following offer: $1,000 prize to anyone who can manage to pick out an actual (a) fact or (b) rational argument in this foul ad hom spew of wastewater. Another $1,000 if anyone can find a more hilarious example of classic bad writing than "ludicrously avuncular affectation." Not only godawful, but again--masterful self-ridicule!

H.C. Schumann is so intellectually impaired that he can do no better than to dust off the classic Stalinist battering ram, beloved of generations of brain-dead party robots the world over: accusing any left-wing critic of one-party totalitarianism of being in league with the far right. I thought this one went out with the 1930s Moscow show trials, during which the Old Bolsheviks were deemed to be agents of Hitler--but there is no tyrannical lie or crime too debased to serve as an inspiration for High-Colonic Al.

Van Mungo:

To Opie:

You are

quite plainly

out of




Save the Oocytes:

What's wrong with Hal Draper?

Al Schumann:

Mungo! Van! You have no cause for complaint. Put down the enema bag. You've exhausted the poor thing with all your squeezing and flapping it about. Step away from your fool's edition of the DSM. You'll make people think you're a poor man's Charles Krauthammer with these profligate diagnoses.

Join the discussion. It's the one you insisted is necessary. Surely you consider economics vital to the development of the ethos?!

Van Mungo:

Hey, Al--if Charles Krauthammer or Bill O'Reilly said that the sun rises in the east, would that make it untrue? Or would that just be another example of "ludicrously avuncular affectation"?

Please provide more of your laff-riot impersonations of a "thinker."

Van Mungo:

Nothing is wrong with Hal Draper. See, Opie is such a GEEEENIUS that all he has to mutter casual contempt for someone--by merely sneering at the name--to dispose of his life's work. He is so BRILLLLLIANT that he is exempted from the gross, sweaty exertions of actual thought and argument. The prose form casts his thoughts in a suitably obscure, elusive oracular mode that defies the comprehension or response of mere mortals--sane mere mortals.

Oocytes, you have entered a pit of slimy, twisty Stalinist snakes. Just try to get a grip on one with honest, open argument. They'll just slither away with a lot of hissing and rattling and spraying of venom. But if you really persist and insist, that's all you'll get in return. Not surprising--that's all they have.


hal draper
is a very careful pop scholar
of things troskyite and leninicious
i found much to value in his writings
for that i'm more then willing to salute him

but as a systematic thinker ...ugh
and the later hal was if anything
even more
the jere bentham of trot apostasy ???
he was to industrious honest and scholarly
and of course i mean
in a read to confirm
read to refute kinda way

try reading any of his renditions
of socialism from below
his one paradigm fits all
distinction between
bottom up BU
top down TD

ST TOMMY MORE's utopia ??
uncle joe's 5 year plan ???
what else
top down

a bottom up paragon ??

why...karl marx
yes karl marx
the proles jefferson

this "theoretical aspect " of hal
often seems worthy of aristophanes


why no weigh in on the calc debate ???

i was expecting equations

Van Mungo:

What equations? When have you ever offered an equation, Opie? Just your dazzling comic-opera prose poems? Which equate to what? A monkey jumping on a keyboard?

Let's put it in the form of a multiple-choice question:

Opie is

A. a pompous fraud
B. the wizard of ooze
C. a borderline psychotic
D. what William Buckley would have been had been a leftist and insane.
E. all of the above.

Save the Oocytes:

I think we need TKT in this thread. Someone invite him.


I thought TKT was already on the premises. I could be wrong, of course.

Save the Oocytes:

Yeah, but he hasn't met VM yet. I think they should bond.

Van Mungo:

Your desperate girly-man need to ingratiate yourself with the Big Guys is beyond pathetic. You formed a little lump of courage and asked Opie the Magniloquent what was wrong with Hal Draper. Opie did his usual paper-thin slime job, and suddenly your little lump evaporated--you didn't have the guts to call BS. But you can summon the energy to snipe at me, in the hope that Opie will award you a gold star.

Why give such gawdy public evidence that your tender sprout of intellectual integrity is constantly being trampled by your herd instinct? You seem to have a serious self-image problem if you require the an approving nod from these people to work up a paltry head of self-esteem. Sad.

Save the Oocytes:

I don't know what op is saying about half the time, but I don't think it's a deliberate effort to befuddle people and so pretend to great wisdom. It seems to just be how he talks.

I was curious what the objection to Hal Draper might be, but now I know. It doesn't seem to apply to the one essay of his I've read, which was historical, but then I haven't read much theory.

Al Schumann copped to their not really being Stalin-admirers about fifty posts ago, which was your original objection. Now you just seem to be here because you don't like them and you feed on the insults. If there's something else you've been aiming for, I'm not quite seeing it.

I must say, though, this is the first time I've been caught out about being a "girly-man." Impressive.

Van Mungo:

Al Schumann never expressly denied being a Stalinist; Opie in fact has freely copped to it. You have to read between the lines of Schumann's posts a bit to get the drift--he's a classic defender of authoritarian socialism; just consider his umbrage at any critical jabs directed toward Cuba, for example.

I guarantee you that this guy would uncritically champion various historical one-party "socialist" states--while perhaps disowning their inevitable byproducts such as gulags, mass murder, etc.

As for "girly-man," your prostration and groveling before the Politburo and your mindless piling on in flaming dissenters shows at best a rubber spine. Paine did not give a serious, coherent account of what he finds objectionable about Draper--he just dribbled more of his fraudulent babble. Grow a pair, oocytes. If you want to take on Opie, have the guts to do so. And stop trying to score points with the Gang Leaders by sniping at those who choose not to grovel along with you.


Clearly Van Mungo is the steward of decency, what with his boorish, pseudo-tough guy, "grow a pair," "girly-man," etc. frat-boyisms. I'm sure the feminist socialists would be delighted to have him take charge of the anti-authoritarian brigades.

Al Schumann:

Van has taken charge of purging the barbarians, in his determined pursuit of decency and efficacy. It's a tough call for the cadres. TKT wants to see Reds beaten in the street and finds amusement in sawing through the legs of their chairs. Van has chosen viciously foppish scrotum-grabbing, laxatives and disciplinary enemas as his tools. The dilemma is so disgusting that I can't help laughing. What makes things worse, Van came off so poorly against TKT that I'm tempted to feel sorry for him, and for TKT too.

Save the Oocytes:

They both hate this site, so I thought they might like each other. Oh well.

Al Schumann:

You did your best for them, StO. It's hardly your fault if they don't hit it off. We can only hope that some day they manage a reconciliation.

Van Mungo:

New Frontiers in Bad Writing, courtesy of Mad-Dog High Colonic Schumann:

"viciously foppish scrotum-grabbing, laxatives and disciplinary enemas as his tools."

Someone wipe the foam from High Colonic's Mouth! Grrrrrrrrrr! That's one MAD dog!

Van Mungo:


So if someone has contempt for your intellectual vacuity and inveterate sycophancy, he hates the whole site? Are YOU the whole site?

Poor puppy dog. You obviously need a few more lessons in spewing invective from Mad-Dog High Colonic. You still come off like a girly-man; but I'm sure High Colonic will let you sniff his rear next time you see him! Good doggie!

Van Mungo:

Let it be recorded for all to note that self-designated "leftist" nut job Al (Mad Dog High Colonic) Schumann holds in high esteem the deranged right-wing antisocialist mental chaos of TKT.

Psychotics of a feather . . .

Van Mungo:

Hey, Glue/Ass Licker--
You'd better get permission from Mad Dog High Colonic or--better yet, your Mommy--before you engage in such unseemly provocations in public.

Now go to your room without dinner and don't speak until Opie or Mad Dog give you permission.

Van Mungo:

Have High Colonic Opie ever had one syllable of his febrile natterings published by a peer-reviewed journal, reputable publisher, or serious political Web site (not just a blog, but a Web magazine)? I've searched for any evidence that anyone has ever found any of their self-important drivel to be publishable, and I've come up empty. Anyone have any references?

Van Mungo:

Has High Colonic or Opie ever had one syllable of his febrile natterings published by a peer-reviewed journal, reputable publisher, or serious political Web site (not just a blog, but a Web magazine)? I've searched for any evidence that anyone has ever found any of their self-important drivel to be publishable, and I've come up empty. Anyone have any references?


VM, hidden somewhere in your volleys of abuse, you've made some reasonable points. Perhaps the SMBIVA format had become a little sterile, although when I visit the site, I do so mainly for comic relief, not a five-plank program. But the tenor and the relentlessness of your screeds lead one to ponder three possibilities about your character. One, you are insincere --that is, your importunings for clarity and action don't mean jack shit. Two, you lack the slightest degree of self-relexivity. Three, you are deranged. Pray tell, which of the three is it?

PS Regarding "gluelicker"="asslicker." I thought Bush II frathouse-isms were in poor taste. Or did I mistake your remark for someone else's?

Save the Oocytes:

I thought it was funny he somehow needed to make "gluelicker," which doesn't sound like the epitome of self-praise, more insulting. I guess it's good you didn't start with "asslicker"; god knows what you'd be now. "Goat-fellating shit-gargler"?

VM, you may dislike the Democratic Party, and so you might like that part of the concept of the site, but you also have been flinging invective at all the regular posters and most of the commenters here. Perhaps a fairer summary is that you like the site, but hate everyone on it.

You don't seem to believe anyone here is worth your time, yet you keep coming back to deride us anyway. It's interesting.


StO, "goat-fellating shit-gargler" -- I like the sound of that. Sign me up!

If you must know, the derisive "gluelicker" handle was given to me by a "superstar" author-journalist of the US left (a figure who shall remain unnamed). I reckoned it reflected less favorably on him than on me -- and it's a good anonymous badge for me to use on the Webnets, kind of a bear cage to test how low the macho louts who roam the frontier will go. As far as I can recall, the redoubtable VM is the first to go all scatological on the term -- and I use the same moniker on boxing (as in Mike Tyson) message boards, for Chrissakes.

Van Mungo:

On gluelicker and StO as Herd Animals:

gluelicker and StO are classic herd animals, devoid of even a glimmer of personal or political principle. They hypocritically perpetuate the very personal abuse they claim to abhor by hurling great gobs of mud at me--all their purple-prose allegations undocumented, of course--but that's just fine, because they are not opposed to personal abuse IN PRINCIPLE--it's just that it is to be deployed only by the Group Leaders and their yapping little lapdog sycophants like StO and gluelicker, who hope that by piling on to the bullying they will earn their stripes and maybe get to have their posts published outside the ghetto of the comment section some day--but only if they first perform the little gang ritual of beating up on the Big Boys' chosen object of obloquy. As for the gales of psychotic abuse flowing from High Colonic and Opie--as good little Stalinist groupies, they know better than to call out the leaders on such transgression. Abject groveling is more like it. Good doggies.

Gluelicker is a prime example of the 500-word-mind. He cannot sustain a detailed argument or analysis--he tosses off lazy generalizations ("you've made some good point," etc.) but can't be bothered to cite or specify them, because that would require a bit of labor: manual (cutting and pasting) and intellectual (actuallly thinking about and responding to a specific point). gluelicker is too much of a slacker to bother with such niceties. He and his pal StO just sling the shit around and have a grand old time with infantile flaming--yet fancy themselves great intellectuals.

These five-star masochists and airheads are obviously suffering from some sort of severe personality disorder--on a par with the concentration-camp inmates who identified with the camp guards.

Ya' know, all this bullshit began when Opie the Fraud began tossing his insults and barbs because I dared to question his snide dismissal of CounterPunch. That kind of nonstop condescension and acrimony from Opie has never bothered the toadies gluelicker and StO in the least. It's only when someone rises up to question the Leaders that they go into a froth--the classic syndrome of sniveling, lifelong second bananas. They don't really give a crap about socialism, the Democratic Party, or any serious political issue--they just want to feel like they're part of the gang. A truly pathetic pathology.

Van Mungo:

Pathology of StO, Herd Animal:

"You don't seem to believe anyone here is worth your time, yet you keep coming back to deride us anyway. "

Note the use of the first-person plural here. Clearly StO does not regard this blog as a forum for independent critical thinkers. By "us" StO denotes a mindless gang or mob within which he aspires to attain higher status by endless groveling toward the leaders and ceaseless catcalling toward the pariahs.

Van Mungo:

Pathology of gluelicker, Slacker:

"Perhaps the SMBIVA format had become a little sterile, although when I visit the site, I do so mainly for comic relief, not a five-plank program."

English translation: I have no real interest in achieving a left political transformation in the real world. I just want to be entertained."

Next stop: Sony Playstation.

Save the Oocytes:

The insults, as even you know, started here:
"OP--you conveniently pose these as the only alternatives: (a) a traffic sign and (b) a bulging satcheful of orotundity, the latter presumably signifying bottomless reservoirs of profundity and subtlety, with the former reserved only for the mentally lame and halt. I am shocked to see such a simplistic reduction, such a patently specious false dichotomy, issuing from a (self-ordained) high priest of "nuance"!
Some of the profoundest eloquence of the human spirit can fit precisely onto a traffic sign. A satchelful of polysyllables cannot, as any weary freshman composition instructor can tell you."

They continue with

You're an admirer of Stalin, that crude peasant tyrant, mass murderer of all the Bolshevik leaders who didn't die of natural causes, millions of other humans, and the good name of socialism for several generations?

"That explains everything. Thanks for the clarification."

Afterward, you figured out what was happening with the second clause of this:

"These arrant self-contradictions must be part of your Grand Design of impenetrable, superhuman nuance--or you're just having sport with us."

Then you proceeded with your real interest, picking fights on the internet.

I use "us" as an abbreviation for everyone you've hurled shit at. It incidentally coincides with every person who posts on the blog and almost every commenter on the blog. Who exactly is your target audience?


VM, such a sensitive boy... so much so that some apparent slights from OP and AS have compelled him to regard virtually anyone who spends time here at SMBIVA as craven grovelers.

For someone committed to the virtues of empirical research, VM might do a little legwork and discover that I've differed with some of the luminaries here when I felt like the occasion warranted. I'm sure the same follows for all or at least nearly all of VM's targets of vituperation.

And hell no, VM, I'm not going to pour my sweat and tears into 10-page footnoted disquisitions at this site. It's a blog, for crying out loud. I will defend to the death my right to slackerdom in this circumscribed space... not in the least because I perform my heavy intellectual lifting elsewhere, and prefer a little R & R over here. Please stop trying to ram your own vision of what this site should be down others' throat. That would be awfully anti-democratic of you.


Delightful as some of it has been, I think it's time to pull the plug on this exchange. It's turned into a mere Venetian antiphony of vituperation.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Tuesday March 31, 2009 05:28 PM.

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