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By Michael J. Smith on Thursday August 18, 2011 05:39 PM

The dog-star rages! Nay, 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out.
The dog star certainly rages; but neither my own particular Bedlam nor Parnassus seems to be letting itself out, much. Obie's pathetic bus tour, and the corresponding mad gabble of the Other Team -- who, really, apart from our earnest friend Matty Woodchuck, could possibly take any interest in this sad squalid stuff? And I'm too late to say anything not already said about the unruly sansculottes of dear old England, last week -- though let the record show I approve of them, strongly.

Of course all the conversation I heard there on the subject, from Cockneys and Oxonians alike, ran on the same depressing much-worn rails:

In their lives there's something lacking!
What they need's a damn good whacking!
This gave me much matter for reflection. It occurred to me that one of the great rites of social solidarity is the exchange of platitudes. It doesn't matter how 'educated' you are, or how free-thinking you think you are. Confronted with any problematic or anxious-making phenomenon, folks generally seem to respond with soft cooing noises, couched in terms borrowed from some more or less respectable media outlet's most recent obiter-dicta.

Only a very bloody-minded cranky oddball would abstain from this mutual backscratching. Unfortunately, that would be me.

For a bloody-minded cranky oddball, it's illuminating to spend a week and a half at close quarters, in pleasant surroundings, with a bunch of people one likes and admires; people with whom one shares the benign common purpose of music-making. Couldn't ask for better, right? And indeed one couldn't.

Yet one can't share the platitudes. An awkward uncomfortable business.

This all raises a couple of questions: one personal, the other more general. The personal one is probably obvious enough. The more general one is this: how on earth does it happen that people ever drop the platitudes and start thinking another way?

The fortification of platitude, when one encounters it at first hand and close quarters, seems chthonic, immemorial, infrangible, marmoreal, adamantine. There's no crevice in its smooth stony polished surface into which a tendril of doubt might hope to insert itself.

And yet -- History Tells Us, in her usual uninflected unsympathetic brazen-throated way, that it does happen; in momento, in ictu oculi.

So... keep the faith, eh?

Comments (26)


Scratch a limey and you'll find a very polite sado-masochist.

"Whooo knows? What with the way things are theeese daays."

How to tease a person into abandoning his platitudes? Oy, it takes a maxim approaching a platitude to answer it briefly: scare him. Not from a distance, but right up under his nose. With fire, and the smell of shit. This is no guarantee that he'll see your point, I imagine. But, men are less inclined to mouth bromides when they've a pantload of their own fecal fear.



When will the population be big enough to achieve steady state and what will civilization, "the economy", look like at that time. Will Clio still be functioning then?


"how on earth does it happen that people ever drop the platitudes and start thinking another way"

interpenetrating opposed platitudes

the good old political antinomies

---the real think--
is a social collective activity
as john dewey suggests ...among others
and conratdictions form the slightly open
synapse like links
you can jump the synapse or keep refining the gap by a limitless set of forks

--consult any of the terminal less non leap route II --


karps big 2 conjecture apparently confirmed :

" on one side you have the GOP, which responds to completely crazed Tea Party demands by doing all it can to assure the hard right that it’s on its side. On the other, you have the Democratic establishment or at least part thereof, which responds to complaints from its own base that it’s going too easy on the crazies by lashing out at the base"

and with paines contingent conjecture (that assumes the validity of karps thesis )
confirmes as well


the big 2 protect their far flanks
and as one moves to cover its far flank the other slides fully into the center aisle or vital parking lot between the big 2

hence the father smiff ratchet

question what determines which far flank gets pets and which gets kicks ??

the more or less necssary trend direction of the corporate core
the vital void in between the big 2

Other than to say that I was awed, amazed, and strangely jealous of the uprisings in Britain, I can only say that John Pilger said it far better than I:


...and, being much better at pictures than words, I can only add further:



merit class cheer leader

usin' his megaphone
for the little guy:

i have left blanks ala larry sterne
for you to fill in your own response
to each segment

"one of the truly amazing things about American politics in the Lesser Depression is that nobody in political life has been willing to run as the champion of ordinary Americans against the financial wheeler-dealers who brought this disaster on us."

" Republicans won’t, of course, because their worldview says that greed is good and government the only source of evil."

" But Obama has also been almost weirdly unwilling to express even the slightest populism."

"So I’m glad to hear that Elizabeth Warren will apparently run for Senate. "

"she’s no Huey Long "

"her manner is more schoolteacher than rabble-rouser "

"but that makes her more credible."

" And she’s got the best credentials on the financial crisis of any prominent figure in American life."

"This should be edifying."

can't change a section maybe even a word
of that without losing
the full gestalt

its perfection !!!!....of a sort

Schoolmarm is to be preferred to rabblerouser, in Merit Land?

Unsurprised, of course, but I wonder if the apparatchiks of the liberal commentariat really believe that the unwashed jeannes and jacques really would prefer a schoolmarm scold to a pitchforker.



worth a read

of course its just some numbers
and such
figurin and jiggerin
and by stooge scribes
of arch hi fi capitalistical corporatists

nothing worthy of max stirner

when in doubt multiply or divide by 2


boink nice questions

its an interetesting proposition

steady state capitalism

the analytic simple reproduction
is just that
not by implication
a possible sustained motion of capitalism

needless to say the race between population and resources is abstracted away here no ??


platitude needless to add is a terminal sttate of a meme's development

long b4 its crumbles away as conversational "currency "
we humans have by our actions refuted it
and by our thoughts begun to sublate it

but here'd be my point
it never stands alone champion of the field uncontested
there's always a dual anti thetical playmate platitude ever ready to supplant it as dominant
configuration and narrative element



1964 all over again

if romney is rocky
then huntsman
is the bill scranton
of this yahoo retro scuffle

of course jfk II
has not been assasinated yet


like this bit

" feral "pocket": the square mile of the City of London "

feral pockets it reminds me of the nam
counter insurency measure
known as strategic hamlets

this is sort of an inversion
where the plutonics concentrate themselves
the queens
not us the jobbulated pawns in the game


i guess its more like general gavins
unadopted suggestion
called the enclave strategy

used later
in cambodia
without pre determinations
but with the advant
of just one bigde facto enclave
called phnom penh

if world revolution could be so straight forward ...


Elizabeth Warren is the most useless sack of shit in pwogtopia today. She outpaces Yggie the Whale in absurdity of admiration. I prefer to think of her as a much less funny and much more starched-bloomers version of D Carvey's "Church Lady."

Naturally she'd win her seat in the plutocrat house, rather than the house of pseudo-commons. After all, she's merit incarnate, deserving of the Senate... just like her bossy meritbaby role model-ish, Barry O'Barmy.

Karl sez on 08.19.11 at 17:26:
Elizabeth Warren is the most useless sack of shit in pwogtopia today. She outpaces Yggie the Whale in absurdity of admiration...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Couldn't have said it better myself.

You should see all the Pwogs squealing and drooling over in Twitterland. You'd think Bella Abzug had been reincarnated or something.

I still don't know what all the jumping up and down is over Warren. What'd she do -- write a book, go on TV a few times, or something? I mean, it's not like she actually accomplished anything.


She's a fighter for the middle class, Mike. She says so herself.


She'll work hard to make sure that "Organic" labels mean something actually is organic within.

She'll work hard to ensure that your new BMW loan isn't going at 25% interest.

She'll ensure that you can still deduct your out-of-pocket health care expenses if you make $75k or more annually.

And hopefully, she'll work to get a tax deduction for kitchen remodels if you promise to use Viking appliances.


i expected col Q to fall by labor day

but something about the recent surge leaves me in doubt

col Q's 'iron guard'
is calling it a media blitz

i wonder if COUNTER CLAPTRAP has over played its anti NATO hand here ???
the defence of tripoli near

defense of Madrid 1937-38

yes tripoli is his madrid and his bareclona
squirk is it ??

i see his cheering big city
youth supporters

but where are col Q's massing
veteran forces ???

are they
readying for the fabled eleventh hour
surprise counter offensive ??

the sirte break out ???

the tripoli rope a dope ???

still seems closer
to fool hardy rebel zealots
stand off concealed "shellers "

loses in combat
here on the loyalist side
seem token

tactical retreats
or no stomach for blood ??

reserves ????

again where is the regular army ???

nato have it pinned to barracks ???

or scattered about the urban cityscape ???

fun for me all this

something in me loves a topple i guess

and with no dog in hunt

unlike father S
friend of ALL uncle's most wanteds

stalwart anti nato internet knight
ever vigilant
ever standing tall
and speaking loud
in his virtually shining chainmail
against the corporate syndicates
globe trotting air armadas
and 7 sea flotillas

these all too well grouped
enemies of the planet's peoples

he's right of course

but as i say something in me
wants to slap col Q's face
so long as it isn't one of uncle's
own jar heads
yup delight in the slap
and then feel self loathing for it in the morning

nothing serious about arm chair emotions

i suspect certain shallow
operators of predators
get these
high now remorse later
kicks in spades
its like a catholic boys
nightly jackin for a pop

Karl sez on 08.19.11 at 20:24:
She'll work hard to make sure that "Organic" labels mean something actually is organic within.

She'll work hard to ensure that your new BMW loan isn't going at 25% interest...

Oooohhhh. Be still, my heart.

op sez on 08.19.11 at 12:00:
"But Obama has also been almost weirdly unwilling to express even the slightest populism."

Is that an actual quote from somebody?

A real "no shit, Sherlock" question, I know, but... who the hell but the most ardent Kool-Aid guzzler would think that's weird?

I find myself in agreement with OxKarl. Elizabeth Warren is to the left of her party as her party is to the left of reality: Chimeras both. I wouldn't walk across the street to pee on EW if her heart was on fire.

"the most ardent Kool-Aid guzzler"

Isn't that a synonym for "Democrat?"

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