Monday, May 4, 2015

Parting the Veil: the Lurid Ontology of Recursively Atychiphobic Narratives

You're probably wondering, "Why the bullshit title?" And that's not fair, because long before the Prussian Empire's preferred traditions of academic theosophy replaced "learning" with "doctorates," a few Terrans came up with titles that were illustrative yet economical; impressive but not pontifical; fancy, but without evoking the rank scent of another pompous dissertation. Cao Xueqin, for example, authored Dream of the Red Chamber, which evokes both traditional grandeur and traditional honesty: to whit, it was actually about a dream of a red chamber. Nowadays, of course, he would be forced to add a more substantial clause after the colon. Maybe something like, "The Jias' journey into wondrous madness," or, "An expoundment upon the virtues of inveracity." (The second one is almost funny if you've read all four volumes of Red Mansions; trust me.)

We're looking here at cognitive dissonance, more specifically in regard to this one's having fallen prey to the mandate that Halloween decorations should go up for sale on November 1st, and presidential campaigns should begin more than a year early. Hey, the inevitable ought not to be bandied about, right? As Gore Vidal wrote before they Supremed in Dubya to finally finish off Iraq, "expect a few oil small wars..." Hillary might give us a world war, she might give us a cold war, and she might give us a bombing campaign, but formal invasions of some crappy little country always require a Republican, so that Democrats can wring their hands and later blame the last guy when the new guy is forced to remain embroiled in mid-rape.

The First of the Killaries series proved more enduring than expected, earning the following four responses from Dr. Carrico: one, two, three, and four. Unfortunately, we're still in Rovskyan* territory, since we didn't get answers to any of the specific questions raised in the original post.

(*This is 2015's hottest new intellectual buzzword, which I just made up. It refers to the brutally efficient way that Karl Rove abbreviated, and practically applied, Noam Chomsky's brutally lengthy way of describing the same material that illiterate traveling salesmen in the 1800s taught to their apprentices about how to work a crowd, respond to dubious questions, and unload snake oil. But Chomsky can claim most of the credit by virtue of inheritance, since the Yiddish land pirates who developed a positively-connotated term for lying merchantry--schtick--went to Hogwarts long before Karl Rove got credit.)

Carrico's avoidance is useful, though, for the sake of a deeper analysis into the ways these kinds of over-explanatory non-answers shield the answerer from the contradictions s/he has embraced. Reframing the issue by dodging questions, then making the subject about what you want to be about, is a time-honored way of lying without actually lying. It allows for the token survival of the western polities, the non-ironic reference to "the international community," and the publishing of economics textbooks or the holding of nonbinding UN resolutions without too many rolled eyes, proportionately speaking. What we'll do here is mishmash the good rhetorician's responses into attempted answers to the original questions, in order to tease out why it is so bad that the questions be answered.

In the event this one mis-answers on Dale's behalf, a most strenuous apology is pre-emptively extended, the resulting analysis is withdrawn, and the man himself is most eagerly invited to respond with the correct answer.

Question 1 was, "Which of these presidents did good things for lgbtq people?" The sane, simple answer is, "None of them." But that's not allowed in America. Here's what Carrico's probably got, and thus we begin.

Carrico's Response 1: Even though they both did horrible, irrevocable things to many, many lgbtq people, Clinton and Obama were better than Bush, because they were part of a world-historical process of improving conditions in small ways for domestic lgbtq people, which might have eventually translated into better conditions for foreign lgbtq people also.

High Arka's Follow-up 1: So "savage wars for peace" are good, because even though many Native Americans were being murdered, America eventually improved their living conditions through crushing poverty, hopelessness, the occasionally partial, occasionally total destruction of many different cultures, and centuries of unredressed bias?

Carrico's Response 2: I completely disagree with the White Man's Burden. Don't put words into my mouth. America today is much, much different than 18th century America.

High Arka's Follow-up 2: Let's say that American Indians gradually improve life on the rez, and eventually become something that can be considered "fair." And let's assume that, as you said, all of the millions of dead people are "worth it." So, retroactively, you support all of those cavalry commanders riding around bayoneting papooses and raping squaws, because "the ends justify the means," and their killings are part of a brighter future. Let's be generous, and assume that American Indian living conditions reach that "fair and just" point after a total of only 600 years from the beginning of the invasion, e.g., by 2092 C.E., things are now "perfectly fair and right" for American Indians. Two question components, here: does that mean that not only the first few years of murder, but the interluding 600 years of suffering, were justified? And, the U.K. invaded Iraq during World War I, say 1918. The U.S. invaded formally in 1990, and Afghanistan in, say, 2001. That would mean that it would be acceptable to continue ravaging Iraq (if we cheat a little and accept U.K. as part of the Anglo-American date) until 2518 C.E., and to continue ravaging Afghanistan until 2601 C.E.

Fine, fine. The ends justify the means. So, then, you must support the American Indian Wars, since we're gradually making progress on those fronts, too--especially according to a few wealthy Amerindian leaders.

Carrico's Response 3: Ahh,, the Indian genocides were horrible and wrong. That was white imperialism and it was wrong.

High Arka's Follow-up 3: Ah ha--so, you support Anglo-American imperialism as a means to an end now, but not in the past. How can one develop the acuity of vision that allows one to criticize past mass murders, while condoning current ones?

Carrico's Response 4: Well, this is the best we can do right now. It's not realistic to expect that Jill Stein could get elected.

High Arka's Follow-up 4: So, too, was it not realistic to expect that General Crook would get elected, instead of that murdering bastard Ulysses S. Grant. In case you're not familiar with him, Crook was one of the great generals of the American Indian Wars, who resigned in disgust after pursuing Apache families through the Arizona territory, and seeing how dishonest, violent, and outright horrible American political realities were. If I'd lived in that time and place, I'd like to think that I would've agreed with General Crook, just like I'd like to think that I would've agreed with General Butler at a different point in American history. But you--you're out there voting for Custer and Grant, the child-murdering imperialists, and telling me that all those exterminated tribes are a necessary evil.

Carrico's Response 5: No, those men were disgusting. And I don't like that Hillary has threatened to "obliterate" Iran, a country with almost 80 million people. But it will improve lgbtq rights gradually.

High Arka's Follow-up 5: Murdering all those Amerindians achieved women's suffrage and the Civil Rights Act. So you must support the genocide. It led to good things.

Carrico's Response 6: No, I don't. In fact, I think the "Indian Wars" actually held back progress by reinforcing racial stereotypes and embittering generations of young white men against the darker peoples they fought. It also took substantial resources, including lives, away from Anglo urban areas. Peacefully earning settlement among the Amerindian tribes may have advanced racial and sexual attitudes centuries ahead among the Puritans. When you really think about it, why, those presidents were simply monsters! Short-sighted monsters!

High Arka's Follow-up 6: You're right, they were. They weren't because they wanted to be monsters. They were just human beings, like you, who made the mistake of treating lives like playing pieces in a game, and tried to reassure themselves that the horrible things they did were regrettable but necessary sacrifices to achieve some ephemeral "greater good." In time, they proved to be nothing more than small-minded tyrants, selfishly pursuing their own petty interests. History has revealed the social issues of their lifetimes to be comparatively tiny, when laid out against the vast genocide of so many people across an entire continent.

This one wants to help you avoid being part of that in this epoch. You and I, we're under no illusions that your vote for either killer, or for one of the non-killers who will be prohibited from attaining institutional power, will "change anything" in a world historical sense. But it will help you. It will absolve you of being part of that. You will move beyond seeing human life as betting chips.

On a cold Afghan morning in 2017, when Hillary Clinton gives her first order to murder a two-year-old boy sleeping in his mother's arms--a little Arab boy with curling black eyelashes and large brown eyes; who likes to sing; who likes to be held; who loves his big sister, and who dreams of seeing the ocean someday--when Hillary gives that order, and that boy is burned alive an hour later because he lived across the street from someone who once talked to a friend who once fought against the Northern Alliance...when that happens in 2017, Dale, let it not be an act in which you had even the tiniest part. Let the story of this planet be written so that, from this day forward, it is said that you turned forever away from five thousand years of death and broken promises.

* * *

TBC with questions 2-12.


  1. Well, it looks like you really got him going. The lesser evil issue is exploding on his blog, which takes time away from the transhumanist mocking, which I generally enjoy reading.

    1. just give him some time. he rarely passes up an opportunity to dis those hilarious trans-humanists.