Thursday, August 24, 2006

A paterian prince of a man


My determination to stay in the kiddie pool for the duration of this silly month is being nicely aided and abetted by newsreaders, Editrice and Shadow in Hiding himself.

On this, the dismal side, of the pond, the airwaves have spent most of their time following the footsteps, words and facial expressions of a pasty faced little oddity who appears to have somehow managed to engage the western world in his own dismal decomposition.

Lots of reasons for this obsession, of course. After all, it feels like an international interactive suspense novel of the more tawdry sort, perfect for armchair detecting or semi-sublimated voyeurism.

But then I thought of Lewis Carroll, with his similarly delicate features, diminutive figure and tiny obsessions. One senses, in both, a desire to escape, back to the certainties, simplicity and beauty of childhood.

Like others of similar bent they seem centered on their own fragility, feeding it even, as if to emphasize how impossible it is for them to traverse, let alone survive, this world, the real, the “grown-up” one. And, again, their need to flee, to find comfort in childish things.

One can sympathize with the impulse, understand the desire for flight, for imposing innocence and utopia once again. But even so, there are paths and then there are other paths.

Oscar Wilde, in his own way, writing delightful children’s tales and playing dress-up, but still managing to negotiate the real world. His tools, of course, were wit, elegance and sartorial excellence, the consummate paterian aesthete and self-described anarchist.

I like the combination, of course: a gentleman equally devoted to foppery and politics, who happily penned fairy tales and Swiftean tract. The hardest path of all, perhaps. Not back to dimly remembered garden, but rather firmly planted in the moral present. Flowers and all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Girls, girls, girls!!


We are valiantly maintaining our current determination – at least through August – to refuse to countenance any Serious Discussion about North Korea, imperialist plots, Iron Man tales, subversion in the ranks of the newly Otra, creepy expatriate 2nd grade teachers and/or twisted sisters of any sort.

And so we are left with Girls.

Girls wishing to amuse themselves.

A subject not nearly as pervy as it might sound, unless, of course, they might so wish.

And, given the nature of less than perfect current circumstances, it had been much too long since I’d paid a visit to the valiant Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, and such a visit it was.

Do take a peek at their Cannon Fodder page, delightful in and of itself, but especially resonant given present times and past concerns. As well as the obverse.

Speaking of drink, the Sound of Music Drinking Game far surpasses my previous favorite, devoted to the State of the Union Address, substantially notching up the perv factor.

Now that we’ve somehow managed to let ourselves be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the pleasantly debauched, there is also a roadshow for tarts afoot. A much better idea, and of this I’m certain, than waiting for other boys to come out of hiding and show them the way.

For those feeling a tad off-put and cranky, I promise your spirits will be lifted, and recipes provided, at Disgruntled Housewives. And, oddly enough, none of the fun has to do with acquiring a cache of automatic weapons and/or major tranquilizers.

And, in celebration of all the above referenced, and in hopes of giving hope to fledgling tarts everywhere, we have these delightful words from Suzie Bright, a lady who should know and whom all bad girls should know, as well:

“Every time a woman's blog proclaims her intellect, her sexuality, and her nurture — all on the same page— she has diced the dominant paradigm.
She has motherfucked her way into new consciousness, with the radiant touch of real life…”

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Halcyon pleasures


Seduction, once again.

Odd how my mind so rarely strays from that charming subject in all its incarnations.

But now, mid August and swooning from the swelter, I’m in the mood for languor. For tarrying in odd enticing corners, for gentle, intriguing notions.

I somehow imagine that courtship begun on a midsummer eve might flourish with such slow pace. A flutter of fans, night-scented blooms tucked unseen behind garden bower.

Thoughtful missives strewn here and there, waiting patiently for the quiet magic of discovery.

So, a time for discussing Wilkie Collins in the back garden with a charming new swain and for revisiting Durkheim in a cool, dark nook in the Study.

Stolen moments, when Time, as we know it, seems silly and irrelevant. Duty refuses to call, and we’re left with a meadow full of possibilities. A poem to write, a paella to concoct, even another world to be conjured.

Seduction in the time of indolence would be less focused, fraught or finite, a time for simple, silly indulgence, the delicious divertissement before the next Act must be considered.

And, speaking of a meadow of possibilities, cheering news from our amatory source of first resort, Dangerous Liaisons. I shan’t give it away, but suffice that we are pleased.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sweeping the Parlour


Such an understatement to wearily note that we’re getting much too much bored with bores of late. Especially those with agenda on their little minds, vendetta in their teensy hearts and way too much time on their sweaty little palms.

Therefore, an evening of the very opposite. Substance, grace and honour.

First, locally speaking, as it were, CML-DF, or Centro de medios libres del distrito federal. I was directed there today by a Comment on the Page and was pleasantly surprised to find what actually does look like “free media”. Versus most of the “alt media” which somehow manages to pleasure itself while simultaneously servicing its gods .

No nasty little gatekeepers here [and a tip of my hat to the ever vicious La Otra Buena Conciencia at the Page -who grows more demented and homicidal by the day - for accomplishing what might have cost CISEN buckets of money: driving so many smart, committed compas out of the OC], wide-ranging coverage, reasoned discourse…

And, for those who might truly be interested in pursuing some of the issues which have surfaced in recent Comments, let me remind you of a group I’ve reminded you of on more than one occasion: Globalise Resistance. Their links are especially helpful.

But, if you’d like to go where I go, almost every day, and especially when overwhelmed by the intellectual and moral cowardice - and vacuum - that seems to envelope almost every corner of late, do try Social Anarchism.

There you will find delight, civility, scholarship, an astonishing array of good words and thoughts, a universe away from the Page or from googling wankers.

But best of all, tonight I finally found, there, the most perfect, delicious and spot on definition of anarchism ever:

"Hedonism…tempered by an acute sense of responsibility."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Evening the playing field


Stealing voz.

It's been a matter of great concern at YO! of late, but Jasmine and Peony have been doing a damn fine job of unmasking and rehabilitating the evil-doers. We’ve even touched on it, more than once, right here in the Parlour.

And, speaking of right here in the Parlour and stealing voz, I’ve been amazed at how much of the latter has been attempted in the former. Not pleasantly amazed, of course, but, given my perverse and wrongheaded penchant for pattern recognition, I’ve noticed a certain taxonomy.

Yes, think of this as a folio in progress, a scribble of field notes:


The Pedant.

Not even a glimmer of surprise here, given his never-ending, annually renewed supply of naïve disciples. Syllabus writ in stone, resting on long-faded laurels, what better domain for the silencing of voz than fair academe?

His tactics are amusing and rife with the hurling of “correct sources”, “informed [read: his] thought”, tangential argument and hysteria. What might be awe inspiring to cowed freshmen inspires little but giggles to those with a mind and a library of their own. There is, after all, good reason and history for the term “ivory tower”, and he would do better to remain there, surrounded by sycophants of similar low self-regard.

There are also those who, for one reason or another, cannot hold forth from properly recognized hallowed groves, but they often act as Shadow-master or Ghost behind the Throne, issuing forth tract and doctrine.

The Pedant steals voz by stifling or supplanting.


The Politician

Unlike the academic, the hack has no ego problems, other than the fact that his own inflated sense of self-worth tends to quickly suck all the air out of any room he enters. Convinced that he is the best and brightest, he is driven to make sure that everyone around him is equally convinced.

He must weigh in on every conceivable issue, and word count is everything. His stratagems are numerous and, like him, ever shifting. Refocusing subject, whether subtly [by, for example, cherry picking an opponent’s argument and running with a single comment] or unabashedly; theft [“yes, as my dear colleague so aptly restated my point”; denial [as in, he never said that or, in the age of video loops and hard drives, he was deliberately misinterpreted] and all the rest of his tired gambits.

Their habitats are wide-ranging, and their messianic self promotion fills our airwaves, bandwidth and archives.

They steal voz through artifice, pomposity and brute force.


Zealots

These are the feverish ones, the ardent followers, unquestioning acolytes at an altar they did not create. Quick to detect doctrinal error, they act as classroom snitch, hall monitor, trusty.

When they’re not busy doing rude slapdowns on the Page [and abundant thanks, once again, to Jasmine and Peony for having sequestered and rehabilitated the False Web Administrator, thus lessening, if not entirely ending, said slapdowns], they’re contorting themselves, pretzel-like, in an attempt to explain and justify today’s Holy Writ. Phrases such as: “…(we) can only wait for the answer and continue to offer what political support is requested…”

This is a hallmark of zealots of any nature: the hierarchical nature of doctrine and follower. Right Doctrine exists above, far above them, and they exist but to serve it. Theirs, never, to “reason why”. Theirs, unfortunately often, “to do and die”. Since they have fashioned their entire moral, and often professional, universe on blind obedience to a particular set creed [although it, the creed, unlike the parishioners, IS allowed to shift], any questioning, no matter how minor, would indeed be tantamount to death.

So the zealots steal voz by turning it in, damning it, screaming at it.

And, yes, we have seen, and see, all the above, many times over, everywhere.

Even in Parlour, Library and YO!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A field guide to field mice



Enquiring minds might note that I have added the full text of John Ross' article on the Red Alert to our very own Library.

I also added a Comment, which consists of a rebuttal of sorts, which was forwarded to me by a most dear friend. In the interest, of course, of meticulous Fox-like "fair and balanced". Do feel free to join the reasoned debate there.

And, for those of you who take special delight in the deliciously unfair and off-balanced, do look for More Girl on Girl Action, or Part 2 of Peony and Jasmine's mutual interview. We are promised that Violet shall be making her long-awaited entrance, and, depending on surveillance issues and what the Editrice gets up to this evening, Part 2 will make it to print either tonight or on the morrow.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pleasuring


Where the bee sucks, there suck I
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily:
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

"The Tempest" (5.1.97-103)


Firmly ensconced under the blossoms, with nary a thought of the Big Bad World.

Not mine to reason why, nor to tax my silly little head with questions of War and Peace, Reason and Insanity, Boys and Girls or why the stars come out at night.

Though I should warn our more timid readers to please avoid YO! right now, as they are indeed addressing some of the above issues. And not in the seemliest of fashion.

I do, however, want to proffer a flutter of my fan to the gentleman who recently managed to locate that rarest of current commodities, his cojones [I hasten to add that said commodity is by no means lacking amongst our own valiant salonistas]. You may find the reference in Comments under the previous Post.

No, what I’ve really been thinking about – tucked under the blossoms, as I am – are the birds and the bees. But of course. Blossoms overhead, birds fluttering about, bees tarrying here and there.

A veritable seraglio.










Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ennui




So many mysteries, so little time...

Was it the gentleman of eclectic past who once thought militarism might be undone?

Or perhaps the guitar strumming ghost from Wynacht's Point?

Or, even better, Professor Plum in the Study with the Rope?

Then again:




Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw -
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Mcavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square -
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Mcavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
`It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long-division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!
-- T. S. Eliot

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home again

"...Y la vida es misterio, la luz ciega
y la verdad inaccesible asombra;
la adusta perfección jamás se entrega,
y el secreto ideal duerme en la sombra.

Por eso ser sincero es ser potente;
de desnuda que está, brilla la estrella;
el agua dice el alma de la fuente
en la voz de cristal que fluye de ella..."
Rubén Darío




Home. I wish.

And, since that is a subject which is ever on my mind, that’s probably why I’ve been thinking so much lately of other homes, home.

Not the OC, but what came before. Not the EZ and their spokesperson, but those who, we were told, gave them writ and path.

Those who, we were told, taught them, changed them, gave them new ways of seeing the world, of claiming it and making it.

And so there were autonomous communities, municipalities, evolving into other structures. There was governance from below, “governing obeying”, rotating leadership positions, the removal of unfit officials by the governed, decision-making by consensus-making, and much more.

It was what many called zapatismo. It existed before the OC, even, in many senses, before the EZ, and, I presume, it still exists today. In the communities – which have not suddenly disappeared off the map just because spotlight and words have departed. And it exists in many other places. In the hearts, minds, dreams and even path of people, groups and organizations quite literally throughout the world.

The communities grew, disproportionately we know, and, as they did, their needs evolved as well. From being overwhelmingly concerned, in many cases, with security measures against paramilitary and military forces, they were able to focus more on thriving rather than surviving.

Schools, housing, medical care, food, became paramount. Self-sustaining paradigms for these were required, as well as financial and moral support, better communications and infrastructure. The hard work grew harder, more demanding and daily, less dramatic.

But the communities still exist, as do their schools and clinics, warehouses and brick-making machines, basketball courts and cultural centres.

As do the paradigms and playing fields.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A promise or two


I have been enjoying the proliferation of claimed spaces of late. Other feet on ground, making up the worlds they wish to live in. And the ensuing linkage.

Odd, how these words have a vaguely familiar ring.

Ten days of silence above/below, but the acolytes have had much to say, all the same naughty words, full of sound and fury, signifying, well, what we know they signify.

They were given permission a number of years ago, when the words started to change, permission to replace history, reasoned argument and wisdom with ephemera, invective and argumentum ad hominem.

Una lástima, in every single meaning of that simple word.

So, no more words from me on the subject for quite some time, I’m afraid. Although I am still hoping that another mama, of long standing and good stead, might be having a few words to say, perhaps even a scolding along with the hugs, for one of the boys in question.

And cheers to the ghosts in the Parlour machine today, who succeeded, however briefly, in taking us down. I assume it was the posies and poesy that pushed you over the edge, providing firewall for invective but coaxing you to brute force attack.

All is well, of course, and I believe Jasmine and Peony have already solved the case and are plotting cunning revenge.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweetness and light


Yes, I’ve decided to stay in the Parlour/Garden, and not just for the summer.

A much finer place from which to view the world. Feet more or less firmly planted on ground. Hands in dirt. Tending or flirting, dozing, reading, playing, nibbling, weeding, gathering.

Even plotting and solving, as Jasmine and Peony well know.

We also enjoy silence from time to time, even more when it’s followed by greater wisdom, perspective and lightness of spirit. Especially, may it please the gods, the latter, although I still believe the latter is a necessary and much wished for consequence of both the former.

And, speaking of wisdom, perspective and lightness of spirit…wishing my most favourite person an even greater abundance of all, always.

Especially the latter. Especially today. And tons of love and cheer.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Under the lilacs


Simply reclaiming space, or Parlour, this weekend.

And also hoping that a bevy of posies and poesy might even act as a kind of firewall, warding off the ill-humoured, whilst welcoming, with endless embrace, the other. Or, as our dear John Keats once noted:


GIVE me women, wine, and snuff
Untill I cry out "hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection:
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Jasmine and Peony



Down by the Salley Gardens
DOWN by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
William Butler Yeats

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Derring-do and derring-don't

Well, Blogger is still denying pics, despite having closed down today in order to "fix" said incapacity. And I so felt the need for a bit of beauty and grace.

I will keep trying, but, in the interim, I wished to alert those Readers Who Care of two new contributions.

One is Jasmine's first fling, or, rather, filing, in YO! dangerous and daring piece of derring-do that they hope shall leave their readers breathless.

And, in an almost frightening bit of Life Imitating Art [as the YO! reportage was filed prior to this one], we have archived a new Set of Rules, posted today on the Page, in our Library. I am quite sure that one of our recent Commenters will be thrilled, although I was tempted to tears.

I may or may not translate it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Disrobing redux

Despite my usual penchant for masques, mystery and Marvell, this evening seems to demand something other from us, given current words.

Once upon a time, in celebration of the first issue of a new magazine, a much-renowned gentleman penned the following lines, paradoxically [given perceived possible disconnect between said lines and recipient] and ironically [given perceived lack of disconnect between method of address and said recipient], to a compa he addressed as his “big brother”:


“...UNO.- El quehacer intelectual de izquierda debe ser, ante todo, un ejercicio crítico y autocrítico.
Como lo autocrítico siempre queda pospuesto para el número siguiente, entonces la crítica se convierte en el motor único del pensamiento...”

Or, in one of our other languages:

“...ONE. – The intellectual work of the left should be, above all else, a critical and self-critical exercise.
Since self-critique is always postponed for the next issue, then criticism becomes the sole engine of thought..”

For those of doubting nature:
http://www.revistarebeldia.org/html/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=148

One might be tempted to assume that the eternally self-perpetuating postponement, the illusory Next Issue, is shaping up. The fact is, as one of our noted salonistas has already noted, like the Real Slim Shady, the Auto-Critique Issue has been out there for some time. It has been easy to miss, however, since the moment one its articles, or comments, has appeared, the author has been summarily dismissed, reviled, garroted or purged.

The segue to Josef and his Compas-in-Arms presenting itself so handily… there was an earlier Post, two in fact, on the subject. Disrobing [yes, “v”, always] and Noblesse Oblige, both in February of this year. There are some interesting crumbs to be followed there, speaking of, oh, fawning, faux and perhaps false spin doctoring.

But, speaking of purges, we are delighted to announce that our Pulitzer-ready YO! undercover reporter, Yasmin, is putting the final touches on a daring exposé of her own. She tells us that it has to do with mysteriously non-revolving IP numbers, “shaping the story” faux pas, site administrators gone wild and rude children with much too much time on their hands.

Do look for it soon, if, that is, you enjoy a pinch of criticón along with the crítico.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Just a note

Well, no images again tonight, so I shall ask you to imagine our demure flapper, adjusting her high-denier stockings, whom you must remember and who can be seen...yes... Below and to the Left.

I did wish to let most of you know that we have a new acquisition in our Library, which I know some of you shall enjoy as much as I do. The gentleman in question and I share many concerns, most especially, as you will see, in the very last line of his essay.

For the spear-carriers amongst us, please feel free to leave your Comments in the Library.

More anon, I should imagine.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What girls fancy


Italy.

Yes, yes.

And we thank all relevant gods for their sweet indulgence.

Now, back to the subject at hand [and regretting most deeply that it’s not the above], as some of our salonistas may be aware, our precious Glossy has, for some time now, been promising to present a special Eye Candy edition. You know, something along the lines of the 100 Sexiest Boys Alive. And, since YO! is most assiduously Below and To the Left, their crack research team set off to discover a properly positioned bevy of such adorable ones.

Sigh.

Under the unfortunate circumstances, we felt compelled to come to their rescue in some small way.

We would have grandly titled this What Women Want, but, not wishing to set up our own Straw Person debate [and Carl, unlike his sparring partner, did indeed know], we thought we should notch things back a bit and, oh, sow a few seeds prior to assuming harvest.

We [and I hasten to note the purely editorial plural, though I am acquainted with a fair few ladies who share our desires] are rather more easily pleased than some gentlemen might assume.

And tonight we shall mention just a few of our girlish predilections, saving the obverse for another, less celebratory, evening.

We adore passion and engagement, but do not demand [nor even often wish] that such passions mimic our own. It is the capacity to be enthralled that we adore.

Attentiveness, of course, but not of the currying, scurrying sort.

Cute is always wonderful, but by no means sufficient or even necessary. One of the various reasons ladies tend to mention a gentleman’s eyes, given what can so readily be therein divined.

Substance, period. As we have been noting here, there and everywhere of late.

Unstudied grace. The ability to sense appropriate move, word and moment. In many ways this note may be primary, all others flowing from it. Perhaps.

And, goodness, we even had a divinely inspired picture of such grace note, but suddenly the Image Demons deny. We shall try our homage in YO!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

An evening in

Time, past time, to reacquaint ourselves with the Parlour.

Gentlemen callers. A rubber or two of whist, charades, perhaps, and most certainly a passionate tête-à-tête in the Conservatory.

Sinful sounds on the phonograph, a surfeit of artless delicacies [in lieu of artful swill] and the back garden flush with mignonette, nicotiana, heliotrope and one very special clematis.

Not difficult to conjure at all.

Would we fancy silly board games on the floor? Or card tricks in the corner with an earnest cad?

Stacks of books everywhere and nary a piece of electronica to be found.

So, do we have any suggestions as to games, music, books, delectables of any and all sort?

Lorca, she said

Pasadas las zarzamoras,
los juncos y los espinos,
bajo su mata de pelo
hice un hoyo sobre el limo.
Yo me quité la corbata.
Ella se quitó el vestido.
Yo el cinturón con revólver
Ella sus cuatro corpiños.
Ni nardos ni caracolas
tienen el cutis tan fino,
ni los cristales con luna
relumbran con ese brillo.
Sus muslos se me escapaban
como peces sorprendidos,
la mitad llenos de lumbre,
la mitad llenos de frío.
Aquella noche corrí
el mejor de los caminos,
montado en potra de nácar
sin bridas y sin estribos.
No quiero decir, por hombre,
cosas que ella me dijo.
La luz del entendimiento
me hace ser muy comedido.
Sucia de besos y arena,
yo me la lleve del río.
Con el aire se batían las
espadas de los lirios.

Because I promised a respite from the overtly political.

Because I prefer the original. And I am not speaking of language.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A modest proposal: on sweeping, rather than draining, the pond

Well, I had been planning on hoisting a white flag here today – declaring a tregua from all things political [whether otherly or otherwise] – but it seems the gods are bitch-slapping me back into submission.

After all, the topic on offer is certainly, always and now, of the greatest importance, at least for those who care. Despite the fact that it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that a decreasingly fewer number of persons do, in fact. Care, that is.

Dissent. Constructive criticism. Democratic and/or participatory decision-making. Horizontal [in lieu of, you know, vertical] structure. A voice where all voices count.

The battle has always raged and never more fiercely than on the Left, in any Left. The words say one thing, the peer pressure [although that is only the weapon of choice for enforcing unspoken protocol] something else entirely.

Suddenly, though, the Issue is peeking out from behind closed doors and minds. On the Page, concerning path, way and means, daring to question received wisdom. In the Kitten Fights between the tubby old gringos, as if some of the rugged cowboys have managed to retain the odd principle, or at least a semblance thereof. In exceptionally focused, wise and articulate pages being written by some, off-Page.

Even here.

There are undoubtedly many reasons why the Left has always attracted more than its fair share of those who shudder, shriek and shrink at any questioning of current gospel. And a fair few more reasons when dealing with imbedded icon and animus ridden projection.

But there it is.

And unless some somewhere somehow manage to walk the bloody walk of their words, and, in fact, listen, and, in fact, learn from others, and, in fact, open their arms instead of giving in to the urge to purge, and, in fact, not prescribe doctrinal litmus tests, and, in fact…

Oh, what the fuck.

Why the hell should they anyway? Their fans would probably put out their own eyes or take the Kool-Aid en masse, if the bottle feeding were ever to stop.

On the other hand – very deep sigh – I know for a fact that there still a few who have no interest in either the taking or receiving of pablum. Oddly enough many of them [though not all] are women who would rather think for themselves, speak for themselves and fritter away their odd moments fancying Argentinean futbol players than throwing themselves at the feet of doctrine and messiah.

So the issue is either going to be taken out of the closet and addressed, or, once again, nothing is going to happen or change, at least not for the better.

There was a time, once upon a time, when some saw a different model, one that purportedly had no truck with predigested formula, wizened wizards-in-hiding, exclusion, patronizing sophistry, dogma and witlessness.

There was constructive thought, action and model. Grounded in the reality of real lives and real needs. There was no disconnect between short and long term words, tactics, strategy and goals.

The pond was filling as it should: artlessly, seeking its own level. So it seemed, and so it was. And not, we know, just by men willing to fire “cannon and bazooka” in temporary service to long-term, pre-scripted, political agenda.

[And, depressingly enough, this was written before today's sterling example of all the above in our tabloid.]

More, later on the life-cycle of ponds, but now I really am going to wave the white flag.

At least for the Primera Plana.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sigh



Now, I despise irony, and it is Saturday night, and I should be allowed to at least delude myself into believing that I have better things to do...

But I am afraid I must, once again, take our Etiquette Primer off the shelf.

Here, in our Parlour, we are delighted in and devoted to civility, wit, nonsense, Balzac, Serious Subjects, stockings, farce and a universe of other delicious subjects, pastimes and ventures.

But I could never have imagined that the previous post would have generated what I can only characterize as an attempt to mimic the very behavior I was excoriating.

Therefore, a reminder: we discuss, however heatedly, whatever we wish. But we do not, ever, attack other salonistas. I know we all know this, but please. As I noted below, there are an abundance of other venues for that type of discourse.

Now, back to Proust and/or Remy and/or plonk and/or that rueful Northern Italian...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boys being boys


There are times when one very much wishes to not Wax Serious, at least in public. That is a pose better left to those who do it for a living: posing, that is.

And the artful posers are everywhere right now, as the two Campaigns approach their most current moment of reckoning this weekend.

The Bad Intellectuals and the Good Intellectuals. Politicians of every stripe imaginable, whether institutional, sectarian or ad - or post - hoc. The “Journalists”, of whom I’ve spoken much too much, despite the fact that I’ve yet to read one who meets my own arcane and classical [as in epoch, I’m sure] definition of such.

I shall contentedly watch, then, as they indulge their apparently congenital need to pontificate on large issues, the sweep of history and, of course, their own place, or byline, within such sweep. And I will continue to cringe with every day’s predictable spate of name-calling, vilifying and slander.

Whether it’s Martín the Gatekeeper at the Page, spewing dime store rhetoric, proffering sophomoric [literally, I presume] reading lists for the unenlightened masses and now savaging a certain Delegado for such mortal sins as sharing a table [and a round one, to boot - such horrors!] with Señor Gilly.

And all the other feline tussles:

Who is pure enough to be allowed to lay claim to setting the time and place of the Internazionale? What newly incisive adjective can be coined for the latest Intellectual who disagrees with us on a particular point of doctrine? How many names can we drop in our authentic outlet to establish both our street cred and bonafides in one fell swoop?

And so often followed by effusive, demeaning, congratulatory caveats as to how grand, how wise, how yesterday, one’s poor mistaken compatriot.

Basta, truly, but absolutely unavoidable, if, that is, one reads. As if that’s all there is. Nothing but sand kicking, nose punching, ball snatching.

And, despite the pollyannaesque connotations, I myself, would be happy to put up with, tolerate, ignore, all of those who make my skin crawl. Even Martín. Yes, how terribly “inclusive” of me. Just imagine, a Parlour where all parlours fit. With no need to patronize, re-educate, belittle, purify.

But this, right now, is clearly a boy’s game.

[I imagine the above statement could stand on its own, but I would dare anyone to scour the Page, LJ or any similar outlets and find one single Lady involved with the longish knives, except, of course, as the subject of attack – whether it be Elena or Ofelia, Soledad or Ana].

I could even live with my recurring philosophical dilemma/nightmare as to how many funded gringos can dance on the head of a pin.

Better to just leave them to it, I suppose, huffing and puffing and blowing each others’ houses right down. Perhaps – who knows? – there may be some left standing to pick up the cards.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Temptations


More Dangerous Liaisons to be had for those desirous of same and willing to take at least a modicum of risk.



Or, for those in the mood for an even friskier sort
of bedtime tale, there is one on dormice, campesino tools and impropriety
awaiting you at YO!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Give me an O, give me a C!!






Yes. Totally beneath me, and, if I had to do it, it should have gone to YO!

The problem was that YO! wasn't allowing me to upload pics this evening, and these are all so excruciatingly appropriate...

For those of you who managed to follow any of the crumbs in the previous post, we could see this as our first Parlour Contest.

Which one of these most piquantly captures the essence of alt cheerleaders?

The rigid, asexual Pillar of the Left?

The non-tummytucked, Gay Old Blade of the Center?

Or the ever popular, and so very au courant, Poodle to the Stars of the Right?

Kitten fight [old, fat, white-guy style]



OK, I know some of you have already seen this pic - and, no, it's not the one I referenced in the previous Post, and, yes, we know I should be relegating silly tidbits to our Tabloid of Choice...but I simply couldn't help myself.

Spats, especially of the hysterical, boyish sort, are simply too entertaining to ignore.

Now, I actually have two in mind this evening.

The first I discovered from an email sent to me by one of the wisest compas I know, sending me to a page he knows I do not haunt. And there I discovered one of those faux socratic dialogues which we've been seeing so much of lately. Wherein one is set up as a straw man of sorts and the other waxes endlessly verbal.

In this case, the gentleman being so set up - previously of much renown, but currently, I should imagine, kicked out of the sandbox - asked some very hard and simple questions. Twenty of them to be precise. Speaking for many, I should presume, if, that is, I were to judge from the tenor, and quantity, of email I've received on the subject.

And, speaking of faux socratic dialogue and odd words, I wonder if anyone else was taken aback by recent references to Right Thought being more important than Expression of Impure Thought? I had somehow thought discussions of that nature were kept closeted in dark basements which had been meticulously swept for wires. While there is certainly something to be said for putting one's cards on the table, I find this particular outing rather unsettling.

Now, the second contretemps of which I spoke - an old one, but of much present relevance - is one I lovingly described in my Boys Gone Wild post some time back. The one full of tossing objects-other-than-crockery, uttering a stream of bad words and flouncing out of one's accomodations in the middle of the night.

The one which, we learned, never took place, of course. And the deep, evocative and sad irony of it all, given current circumstances and bedmates.

Lots of easy morals here:

Word count does not an argument make, nor is it a substitute for penis length. Beggars can't be choosers, but they could occasionally opt for celibacy instead of turning cheap tricks.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

New words, old friends and a bottle of Irish

Having just wasted the last 20 minutes trying to upload the most fetching, and devastatingly appropriate, pic here, I give...

And this after, well, perhaps this isn't the proper moment to go into it [though anyone out there who might have any bloody idea whatsoever as to the meaning of "fanfirulea" will earn, shall we say, the best of all possible lagniappes].

The point of the post is to let everyone know that there is a new acquisition in our Library, one which I trust some of you might wish to take the time to peruse. Don Durito makes an appearance, as do two other persons of various renown.

Now, thank goodness, it's most definitely time to retire with, sigh, the Charterhouse of Parma which I do not recommend, and an even heftier tot than usual of Jameson, which I always recommend...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A La Merced





“…A tiny storefront clinic, in the middle of nowhere, dispensing little and never enough. An exchange of stories, thousands of them, of lives lived and what is needed. No stump speeches on podia, but the deepest of winding back alleys, where cameras never reach. Not ready-made photo ops or soundbites but simple visits, meant to delight and instruct all parties involved...”

And so it was.

No kleig lights, no microphones, no machetes, no auditorium, no calls for barricade storming nor cries “a morir.” No entourage, no News Bulletins, no Photo Op Albums on the Page. Not even Hermann.

And, yes, the night before last, while the Debate was being ushered forth from on high, some, one at least, from the Other Campaign, slipped quietly, and literally, into one of those back alleys. Paying a call on the ladies and gentlemen of the night, listening, we are told, for more than four hours to Other Stories.

One of the ladies noted that zapatismo says the land belongs to the one who works it, and they say that the street belongs to…the one who works it.

Another said that todos somos the Juarez dead, because we, too are a closed file. Todos somos Atenco, because we also suffer outrages. And todos somos Chiapas, because we are removed from the streets where we earn our living.

“…Not fierce, circumscribed little groups with their “leaders” and manly symbols, but a vast swath of idiosyncratic individuals, accustomed to much and more than schooled in providing hospitality…”

How very nice to know, especially on days like this, that hospitality can be accepted, and the occasional fantasy can indeed come true.

Bedtime stories


No matter how much my head has been urging my heart to silence all day long, some words, at least, must out.

The final straw was other words, words which pushed me to a level of rage that surprised me by taking me by such surprise.

“Hoy es un buen dia para morir...”

A lovely day for a 20 year old student to die, someone wrote somewhere. I know nothing about Alexis, the 20 year old boy who I am told “had to pay the price” today. I only know that he was a boy, he was a student, and he was 20.

But I did foresee, and would have given much not to see, those who would lay claim to him.

I know nothing of Alexis other than he was 20 and could have seen little of life.

But I do know – and have known – hundreds of other 20 year old boys, full of dreams and themselves and the promise of life. How quickly, and easily, their hearts and minds are captured. How moved the good ones are by words and passion and, most especially, by impassioned words.

Everything I need to say has already been said here. About words and their consequences and the moral imperative to take responsibility for both. About alternate universes where babies would lead themselves into unknown battle, Chiquita somehow sequestered, offering themselves up quite unwittingly to and for worlds and words they will never know.

And then the timeless horror of allowing such horror to be painted with adolescent dreams of romantic martyrdom. To hell with honour and wisdom and vision and virtue of any sort.

Better, I am sure, I am told, I see, the easy lies of Houseman to his Athlete Dying Young than, say, Auden’s, once upon an even more horrible time:

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,

Show an affirming flame.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The rainbow comes and goes



I like the painting.

And, despite being in the midst of the resfriado from Hell [visited upon me, I'm sure, by the twisted, yet ever powerful, demi-Demons of the lower orders, in punishment for many things, two of them, most certainly, being the sins of Temerity and Voz], I wanted to let some of you know that [checking here, ah, yes] the Sexta has issued some Considerations [by SupMarcos] concerning a Proposal for a Plan of Action.

Said Plan of Action was submitted by him at the end of yesterday's [the 29th, as I have not retired as yet] La Otra Assembly in DF.

I will be translating it tomorrow.

The summaries have already been published elesewhere [LJ], and the demi-Demons know I wouldn't dare to venture such temerity here [although I am more than certain that there shall be some discussion of Considerations, Consequences and Concupiescence in one or two of those odd, drafty corners to be found hereabouts].

Suffice that there are some changes afoot - or perhaps not, if one has been following things.

In the interim, I might innocently suggest that those amongst us of negligible ingenuousness, cynicism and ego investment, might wish to revisit a previous post. The one dedicated to most dear Chiquita.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Artless pursuits


Well, whilst waiting for the news from DF, and, with absolutely nothing better to do with our time, some of us - with no ulterior motives whatsoever - have added yet another room to our ever evolving Salon.

Its purpose will most likely be self evident from its title: Dangerous Liaisons.

We simply felt the time had come, and goodness knows only good can come of it. A bit of amatory bliss, or even musing: a consummation devoutly to be wished, no? Providing occasional respite from the Big Bad World of rage, angst, peer pressure, vacuity, extraordinarily bad hair days, and all those other predictable slings and arrows.

And, while I promise no more references to the Dane's soliloquy, we do promise something special for the first few daring souls who are valiant enough to venture there. A lagniappe, of our own choosing, and we really do have the most exquisite taste.

A note might be in order, as well. We would suggest that only those with at least a modicum of maturity and innocent wisdom might wish to visit our new chamber.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Primrose Alert



We wished to alert all our most adventurous and broadminded readers that our journal of choice, YO! Basta, has just issued a special, thoroughly frivolous yet incisive, weekend edition.

As for the rest, we're hoping for a quiet, news-free weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

And more

Just a clarification...the "treat" referenced below is the statement by Marcos on women, and I have now added a few more translations to our Library, so do scroll down in our archives to find said treat, if you haven't already had the pleasure.

So lovely to have printer cartridges again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A treat...

...awaits you in our Library.

On a number of levels, as I so adore saying.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It's hard out here for a pimp

“…It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to this shit
I'm tryin to get rich 'fore I leave up out this bitch
I'm tryin to have thangs but it's hard fo' a pimp…”



Only fair, of course, to give the boys a turn. After all, where in the world would we tarts be without our pimps?

[Well, perhaps we should sequester that particular discussion in an annex down a Byzantine little path off the Attic in our glossy.]

Now, for those salonistas who are not familiar with the title we’re referencing, [or at least this evening’s] it’s from a film of some note, and a fine ditty it is. Truly. Those who know me well will know how well and truly I mean the truly.

The hoes might come easy, but no, it’s not all bling and Cristal out here. Would that it were.

Posses, for example. Reassuring, always, to move from place to place surrounded by the usual homies. Nothing like shared history, words and, occasionally, ladies, to lend comfort and endless solace. No surprises, back-up when needed, alibis at the ready.

But they are, by nature, ubiquitous, making it impossible to sneak out for the odd adventure. Not to mention their annoying habit of assuming they know you better than you know yourself, and that nagging sense of being frozen in time, ossified at the age of, oh, 16 or 18, whenever the pack formed.

Then there’s that us against them thing, the filtering of outside evidence through the prism of posse, the fact that some of the older ones really are getting a bit long in the tooth and, frankly, tedious.

But the hoes have become absolutely exhausting.

The younger ones have gotten way too young [some of them can even last for seven hours, and then they still disrespect you]. But the older ones are the devil’s own work. They think they own the street, make you come to them, behave as if they don’t even fancy the bling anymore.

Our hearts go out. Really.

The options seem so limited. One can simply soldier on, slipping further and further into self-parody. Christopher Hitchens comes to mind. And one or two others whom I shall not name.

Blind obsession is another. Raging against the night, caution and wit thrown to the winds. A blaze, most certainly, though not of glory.
Odd, given that what is so often desired - simple understanding, warmth, a heart known and knowing – has nothing to do with immolation, rage or bling. Time, perhaps, to come in from the cold.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nature v nurture

[Written, obviously, yesterday and for Mothers' Day.]



My day began as best it might, given untoward circumstances, with a flurry of phone calls from all those much too various time zones which I magically inhabit.

Child first, as should be. Exhausted pobrecito, understandably. The Fair City demands much of its residents of a Saturday night, but the Morrison? Goodness, we really are growing up [though I should imagine the evening might have ended at Fibbers].

Then others, friends, some who have claimed me [or I, they, one never knows – the laying claim of heart and home always so mysterious] as mama or friend or cohort ever after. The joys of maternal certitude have never been limited to biological imperative.

Which brings me to someone who has been, and often is, on my mind:

Chiquita.

Once upon a time, in my most favoured city, we were blessed with a multitude, an endlessly swarming extended family of felines. At least 30, sometimes more, all of whom would drop in at least once a day, demanding to be fed. Our yard was uncommonly large, and I thought the unbroken vistas allowed them some sense of safety.

Anyone who has ever lived in Barcelona knows these tribes, more or less circumscribed by block and family ties.
They came in gaggles, and there was similarity within each gaggle, of age, color and even temperament. We came to identify them as the “cousins,” the “uncles,” “the mean ones,” and so forth.

One amongst them was heavy with child, and we kept special eye on her, inviting her in when we could and making sure she received more than her fair share.

And one day she didn’t appear. Then another and another, and so we assumed she had given happy birth and was tending her babies. But we worried about where she was dining.

Then, softly at first, the unmistakable low mewling sounds emanating from somewhere. Just on the other side of the high back garden fence, perhaps. Sad, lonely, unrequited murmurs.

My son, who even then was more than a foot taller than I [and equally unable to ignore the pleas], jury-rigged a chair, a stool, precarious ladder to scale the fence and climb over, peeking into a tiny shed and finding the source. Then, day by day, hour by hour, he somehow managed to introduce saucers of milk, the softest of foods, quiet reassurances of sustenance.

Then, a few weeks later, one bright afternoon, there appeared a caravan of tiny kittens, picking their way carefully across the top of the fence. There were 5 – four of them the typical black and white. But in the lead, Chiquita.

He – yes, he, as it turned out – equally diminutive, and surely a sibling, but odd gene out with his distinctive Siamese coat – was two steps ahead of the others, firmly in the lead.

Cannon fodder, we thought.

Not valor, strength or wisdom, but cannon fodder, self-imposed out of some innate necessity. If unknown - and everything was unknown for them - danger were to appear, then Chiquita would take the hit.

And so he raised them well. Bringing them to our back door several times a day for the very special stash of tinned food kept only for the “babies.” Later bringing them to “play” with our house cat [a surprise gift of sort from some other children], a massive, ungainly, dim Persian. The “babies” were the same age as silly Bedivere, but a fifth his size.

Chiquita taught them to rush the silly one, pouncing from under table, knocking him over on his back, and, I swear, giggling as they watched his feet foolishly tread air, his girth rendering him incapable of rolling over.

He loved the attention, the “babies” felt duly empowered and Chiquita could rest for just a moment.

So, yes, maternal certitude is thrust upon one, does not allow for hesitation or nuance and is certainly not limited to biological imperative. And there are some who live in a state of such self-absorbed certitude that their universe of one will never have to fear such visitation.

As for cannon fodder - in this particular tale at least – Chiquita took it upon herself to provide cover and lesson for her babies/siblings. I am sure there are universes where the circumstance might have been reversed, untutored babies thrust into unknown [or not] minefields.

But, all things considered, I would rather not consider such universe.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The girls are back in town redux



We're so glad to have our logo back!!

Especially since it's almost as fetching as our lovely Lady of This Evening in YO! Basta.

Just in case you haven't been following our entertaining, yet gravely serious, glossy, you might be surprised at how much Real News, not to mention frivolous gossip, has been appearing there.

And not just on the Primera Plana.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's hard out here for a tart

Strolling though the Page yesterday, I was struck by the wide variance in numbers of comments.

Whilst all things Atenco were garnering several hundreds, the poor Ladies of the Night have only collected 9 [even fewer than the CNI conference received], most of them having to do with breathless requests for photos, such a surprise.

And since we know I have nothing better to do at the moment, my mind began wandering aimlessly about, immersed in a happy fantasy of choice and direction. Faithful readers will know that this subject is quite dear to my heart.

First, as is my general wont, a word on words:

Sex workers.

Horrid, unremarkable, off-putting. The image brought to mind is 30s poster art: huge, sweaty, muscled steel workers, bending over for the good of mankind. Or Rosie the Riveters, starched head scarves in place, servicing the masses assembly-line style.

I understand the choice of the word – the context, perceived and otherwise. The need to be taken seriously, to establish their credentials as bonafide “workers,” and to be afforded the same rights and protection as any other.

And, given the climate, not just in Mexico but in most of that continent, there is the further perceived need to get beyond the discomfited giggles and leering [“where are the pics?”], thus “sex worker,” rather than harlot, courtesan, ladies and gentlemen of the night, trollop, fille de joie, tart. Any of them, for me, vastly preferable and much more descriptive of the delightful services on offer.

But back to my fantasy.

I cannot imagine any group of persons, in most societies, who are forced to live more precarious lives than they. Truly rendered “invisible,” ignored when they are lucky, preyed upon when not, stigmatized, marginalized, ridiculed, assaulted. Literally and always “of below.”

Yet absolutely necessary and always everywhere.

My flight of fancy had taken the OC into other barrios, streets, clinics, homes, brothels and boudoirs. Much too valiant to give a whit that some might see the turn as less than serious, less manly [irony of ironies], less likely to inspire rage and passion [certainly true of the former, in fact, rather more likely for rage to find its inspirative opposite].

The visuals might have been so very different. Instead of helicopters circling overhead, nightsticks and machetes, students rushing into the streets to be thrown into prison, the endless cycle of violence begetting violence and rage its rage, there might have been others.

A tiny storefront clinic, in the middle of nowhere, dispensing little and never enough. An exchange of stories, thousands of them, of lives lived and what is needed. No stump speeches on podia, but the deepest of winding back alleys, where cameras never reach. Not ready-made photo ops or soundbites but simple visits, meant to delight and instruct all parties involved.

A profession which lives by its wits, long schooled in survival, flourishing and omnipresent, might have much to impart and much to demand.

Basic supportive services, for example, especially modeled on those in Amsterdam, which have little to do with licensing and regulations and much with providing security and health and social services.

Not fierce, circumscribed little groups with their “leaders” and manly symbols, but a vast swath of idiosyncratic individuals, accustomed to much and more than schooled in providing hospitality.

I told you it was mere fantasy.

And, what’s more, they wouldn’t have to be harangued about avoiding institutional politics, since, in my experience, most tarts don’t bother to vote.

As mentioned here previously, I certainly don’t.

Another peek

Yes, I know...

But I wanted everyone to know that I just put Part 1 of Bellinghausen's interview with Marcos in our Library - the first he's given in 5 years. A bit of a media whirlwind right now. Appearances on mass media TV shows and such.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just ducking in

I know I'm supposed to be out playing, but I wanted to let everyone know that I just posted a new piece in our Library, and, given the nature of the piece, I thought it was exceedingly timely.

It might be of special interest to those who have been hanging out in the Attic which has been so generously provided by Yo! Basta, our tabloid of such renown.

Back to the slide and swings...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Promiscuous posing



This lovely view of our meeting place is provided for the grumpy old gentleman who left his note in the wrong place.

And we much prefer a little Remy XO to domestic "champaign."





Making lists, giggling, having a stroll in the alley…just another Friday night in Hell’s scullery.

A fair amount of the giggling has to do with a new spate of missives from a very specific subset of gentlemen and their current meltdowns. As I hinted last evening, I’m currently strewing crumbs here and there, so, if you would like details, you shall have to peek about.

Not exactly what I would call a treasure hunt – but one of the gentlemen just popped up here a short time ago. I so hope he doesn't rue his visit.

By way of news, SubDelegado Zero has just announced – during a speech he was giving in Atenco – that he shall be remaining in DF until “all political prisoners are released” there. I’m mentioning this – and assuming the reportage is correct [always a cardinal error] – because I assume it will be impacting on scheduled events. Most immediately, in San Luis Potosí from the 5th to the 11th of May.

Other news, political and otherwise, might be found…elsewhere.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fun and games

Estimadas salonistas, a bit of housework.

First, having been diverted somewhat the last day or two, I’ve yet to mention that a new communiqué has been placed in our Library. And it’s not what you might think. It is from a domestic group, calling for some rather startling actions, quite unlike what we’re accustomed to seeing. I might suggest a quick read, for those left standing.

And I must say that one of the many lovely consequences of fevered times is that one gets to hear from many of one’s old friends. All my various in-boxes have been overflowing today, a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of queries, demands, gasps, entreaties, billet-doux and one of the most astonishing little pieces of Jesuitical sophistry my eyes have ever beheld.

As a consequence of the above consequence, some reshuffling is required. Some items will go to our Library, some to our Serious Tabloid, a few to the dustbin.

There. Now what should we get up to?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Red Alert

I'll translate this shortly. Without comment.

EFE
May 3, 2006

El líder zapatista, "Subcomandante Marcos", anunció hoy que decretó una "alerta roja" en los municipios rebeldes de Chiapas a partir de mañana debido al conflicto entre campesinos y policías en el Estado de México, centro del país. "Nos estamos declarando en alerta roja", dijo Marcos en un acto político en la Plaza de la Tres Culturas, en Ciudad de México, y señaló que "a partir de este momento está funcionado ya un mando alterno por si algo me pasa". El líder zapatista hizo esta declaración tras conocer un choque hoy entre campesinos de San Salvador Atenco y policías, que ha dejado hasta el momento al menos 42 heridos, tres de ellos graves. El Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), que ha recibido expresiones de apoyo de los pobladores de San Salvador Atenco, controla desde hace varios años municipios en el sureño estado de Chiapas a los que llamada "caracoles". Marcos aseguró que "en el EZLN somos 'atencos'", en relación a los pobladores de San Salvador Atenco que desde 2002 han realizado varios movimientos de resistencia. "Desde este momento cancelamos los eventos programados y vamos a asistir en caso de que se necesite a la comunidad de Atenco", dijo Marcos, quien después de su acto público entró a un departamento de la zona de Tlatelolco, norte de la capital mexicana.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sleight of hand

Odd about the recent Comments concerning “invisibility” since it’s often on my mind and very much of late.

There are two sorts, I think, having to do with intent.

When the millions of undocumented poured into the streets of LA a couple of weeks ago – and then, even closer to my current residence - surfacing, it was much to the consternation of most of the country. Disconcerted because, despite the numbers bandied about, 12 million or so, no one ever really sees them.

I know this because when I first moved to this vicious, benighted end of the road, I had some time on my hands and wished to be of use. I wandered into the one ragged shopfront that proclaimed it had something to do with “social services,” and offered a few of my own. I imagined there might be a pressing need hereabouts for the translation of documents or papers or whatever, and, as is well known, I come cheap. Free, in fact.

I was met with wide, bored eyes. There was no need, because there were no persons in this town who might require such tasks. No persons who spoke my second language, no one here from below that border just a scant few miles away.

No surprise, despite the fact that I had been using my Spanish here almost as much as I had in Biarritz [another border town, though of very different nature, since there they understood, and welcomed, my Spanish]. Using it with all the workers at the local “grocery store”, with all the gentlemen tending yards, with all the people brought in to clean the apartments in my building, with most people on the lesser streets, with almost anyone with whom I had truck.

But their invisibility was of their own doing, and it has to do with self-preservation. Anyone who crosses borders with regularity, documented or not, learns this lesson. Keeping one’s head down, blending in, even shuffling a bit, perhaps. And once the border is safely crossed, you remain in hiding until the moment comes when you feel at home, safe. Until you feel you belong.

Masks of many sorts.

And, as for the “undocumented” anywhere, all the more reason to wear the cloak. And all the more stunning when the cloak is flung off, as it’s being done right now, by the millions.

The “other” invisibility is the one that is visited upon the one by another. The “forgetting” [the translation I always preferred to “ignoring” because it implied stronger intent] of peoples, of most people. And, oddly enough, coming full circle, exactly what the OC is intending to undo.

Obviously both kinds of invisibility can coexist and often do. I can choose the cloak, but sometimes I wonder whether its demands are cumulative and irredeemable. Not, in fact, giving a tinker’s damn for the tinker.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Terms

Just a note that we have a new translation in our Library. And it's an interesting piece, despite the fact that it concerns, um, "intellectuals". Sigh, of course, as we know it's a term that makes me shudder.

And something for tomorrow on caste and invisibility.

Unless it really does rain, as promised [which means nothing, since they promise it at least twice a year here, and nothing ever happens], in which case I shall be standing outside in it. Really.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Regalitos



The impact of imagery and a delightful sea-change.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A nadie

There, all better.

Perspective and sense of humor recovered. Thanks mostly to Arts & Letters Daily and South Park. More on the former latterly. Yes, I really did say that.

And why “A Nadie”?

Because it’s Saturday night, that’s why, and that particular canto provides perfect background and chorus for girls and Saturday nights everywhere.

I have it by Liliana Felipe, on a CD lagniappe that came with a book by Laura Esquivel. The book was “lent out” on some continent or another, but I still have “A Nadie” and several Puccini fragments that are equally knife to heart.

I remember Esquivel and Ofelia Medina doing a spot of street theatre in DF a number of years back, and I wonder what the evening might be like if Esquivel were to be providing the refreshments and Isabel Allende were to be, oh, perhaps serving them [great food, great party, just in case you haven't read Aphrodite].

Mother of god, it really is Saturday night.

Perhaps I should pretend to be serious for just a moment.

In one of my recent rants, I mentioned that there was “one at least” who might feel it necessary to counsel the learning of history along with the snogging of icon. When, much to my delight, I saw someone else, this very week, providing some very detailed history of the icon in question.

The mustachioed one of the “let’s pretend a large poster appeared…”

GA in LJ [and that’s not rocket science, my dears], holding forth on certain aspects of Mr. Stalin’s biographical details. Now, he chose to emphasize internecine betrayals over domestic butchery, but then again he knows his audience much better than I do, and I imagine he also knows what they might find most horrific.

Assuming, of course, that any of the acolytes would be reading him, since he seems to have taken on the role of principled gadfly, refusing to be kicked out of the party but also refusing to keep his thoughts, and words, to himself.

A party of two, then.

Well, it would appear that I can't provide links again this evening, so the far above mentioned referenced shall have to wait, which might be a very fine thing, for someone at least.

Or even better, not. Slate cleared, no more bait ever taken.

Party time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just kidding

Well, my sense of humor went missing last week. Even the onion.com didn’t help, although the Colbert Report’s interview with Benjamin Franklin didn’t hurt.

Regardless, in the interest of cleaning the slate [Got some chalk? Please.], I’m going to dump the following ill-tempered screech which I’ve been “working” on the last few days. The plan being that once it’s off my desk and cast to the ill winds, there will be room in heart and head for sweetness and light.


I had been firmly determined to keep the weekend from straying into murky waters, to avoid the Serious and Contentious at all costs.

But we all know where stern resolutions get one.

Especially since I awoke very late on Saturday to various reports from Dublin which I could hardly ignore. First, because I had to track down YO! Basta’s cover boy, given that I knew he was in one of two studios, both of which are in barrios covered by the “spillover.”

But once I ascertained that he was more than fine, I still had to confront events. Once again, Boys Gone Wild, their leaders distancing themselves from the running amuck, bemoaning the chaos. Nothing to do with them, of course, hardly incumbent upon them to take responsibility for their words or to provide history or bail money.

It wasn’t always like that, there. As in other parts of the world, this is a third and fourth generation phenomena. There was a time, there and other places, when their grandparents had set their parents down and given them words, books, history.

Once again, untutored acolytes paying lip service to Serious Issues, then hurling building blocks into shopfronts and bricks at gardai and journalists. Not to mention the “spillover” into said shops and consequent scooping up of trainers and electronica.

Of course I don’t think the bastards should have been given a parade permit down O’Connell Street, for god’s sake. How any government could think that importing Marching Season to the Northside was a wise and judicious policy is, well, beyond words.

But don’t think for a second that I take issue with every brick hurled into every burger bar in the world. I indeed believe there’s time and place. But this smelled of the usual lager louts run stupid in foreign ports of call. Except this was their own barrio, past, present and future.

And, given the way my mind has been [mal] functioning of late, I found my thoughts turning to the Other Campaign, its objectives, methods and latest words.

The Sixth Committee had made it eminently clear from the outset that it saw itself as facilitator, setting off on a Journey in order to meet with others, forge alliances, help with groundwork. But without the klieg lights, stadium rock or pawing media.

A dilemma, thus, given the lack of glitz, and one which was assumed might be assuaged by the preferential pass given to other media which would, of course, cover the events with seriousness and measure.

So, when the Delegado himself calls for, um, something other than the frenzied, instantaneous, apocalyptic, hagiographic and verbatim, I take notice. Rather than screaming to the choir, he suggests finding new channels in order to reach those without access to modem or posse.

Such a concept, and not only because it speaks to the perennial, overwhelmingly important issue of how to reach beyond one’s fan base. And, as the cameras are swung away from the podium, as requested, they may also shine brief light on themselves. And shuddering to raise such a delicate subject, on the nature and quality of alt, as well as mass, media.

But first I must insist that I absolutely refuse to delve into the arcane and tedious question as to the definition and/or existence of “unbiased” truth or reportage. Point of view always exists, that’s a given. Whether overtly or covertly, in what the eye chooses to see or ignore, in what the media chooses to cover, or not.

Which does not, for me, obviate the need for some kind of distinction to be made between “news” and “opinion.” I know, distressingly old school, as ever.

This increasing lack of distinction between the above is one of the numerous similarities which I can’t help but noting between alt and mass. Both have their place, but, I entreat, they are not the same. I know how it all started, I remember the first time a news reader batted his eyelashes into the camera and intoned “this reporter”...

Another similarity is the constant barrage of Breaking News on cable networks with a shelf-life of a gnat and the histrionic headlines of certain independent outlets with similar cycle length.

Whether it’s CNN or many of our “own” alternatives, my reaction is almost always the same: deep self-loathing at having actually listened to/read such drivel and a primal sense that I should be spanked and sent to the cloakroom for having participated, however passively, in such circus.

What I yearn for is straight reportage which takes itself and its subject seriously. Without the Geraldo wannabees [and I can think of several], conspiracy theories and provocative posts. Journalists who understand the difference between self-aggrandizement - the overweening “I” – and thorough, principled coverage.

But I suppose, as ever, I’m just being silly. As ever.

Since almost all the mass media refuses to take itself – and most especially its readers/viewers – seriously, then why in the hell should we? Speed it up, dumb it down, churn it out. Dishing the same endlessly fawning, fatuous, often fictive, faux gonzo “journalism.” Giving their base what they think they want. And deserve.

The playbook sounds eerily familiar to the “boilerplate” discussed in a previous post and no surprise, since most of the new journalists are drawn from the fan base, and many of them aspire not just to play with the big boys but also to be one of them. Yes, just like the Wolfster and the rest of the cable starlets.

Now, in the interest of just a modicum of fair and balanced, some indys are better than others, none of the above applies to Hermann and we can always pray for more frequent Journal entries.

Friday, February 24, 2006

All things centripetal

I do want to let everyone know that the second part of the First Part of the Journal of the Journey has been completed and placed in the Library. And I fear it did make our fastidious Archivist blush.

Silly thing, she should have listened to the caveat [“only for the broadminded”] that preceded the steamier parts. I imagine that she might have fainted dead away, though, if she had had any real amatory experience and actually understood what lay beneath the euphemism.

In a manner of speaking. Euphemistically speaking, as it were.

Or not.

Yes, it’s feeling like a silly Friday night.

Not that it is, but, given that I’m always simultaneously existing in 6 time zones, I can pretty much pick and choose and declare it to be what I will. Which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

What I would actually prefer to do with my time-space issues would be to gather them up in one ball, as Marvell almost said in one of my most endlessly favorite poems, which I do believe I've noted here before:

…roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Not the carpe diem of it, I've never found that to be a problem, but rather the focus, the winding all the different skeins of time, space and purpose into one ball. One place.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Through a glass

Just stealing a much needed, thoroughly illicit, break here.

And to let you know that there is another addition to our Library. I’m not quite sure, but I believe it’s the first of two parts of a First Part. Very worth reading, in fact. A kind of initial entry in a journal of the journey.

And the second part of the First Part has been almost done since yesterday, but I may have to sleep one more night on some of the phrasing, sigh. As some of you know, I am no stranger to the scribbling of amatory prose and the necessary sleight of hand it imposes.

But, most dear Aphrodite, I must come up with some alchemy for bufar.

On a vastly lighter note, I have been absolutely giddy with glee over the Dubya Dubai fuck-up.

The public negatives are, of course, all for the wrong reasons, but the real web – or at least some small corner of it - is being unraveled in its wake. Scary times, truly. I cannot imagine how many literal guns are being shoved into how many literal heads as I type. Nor do I have any doubt that the billions the emirs have shoveled into the Carlyle Group, for example, represent just a tuppence of what has been changing hands.

But oddities and slippery synchronicities have been abounding of late.

My Left Coast girlfriend assures me that, given that Pisces is in, um, the Moon, I think, then this is all to be expected. And she also assures me that, given my own heavenly sign, it is only natural that I should abhor sudden, unbidden revelations, not to mention things that go bump in the night.

This actually has to do with a premonitory dream I had more than a week ago, a poem by Octavio Paz that has been whirling in my head ever since that dream and a comment I left a number of posts back.

Back to work, I think.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Errata

This is ridiculous. I’ve been writing a paragraph or two a night, then abandoning them, leaving a dust cloud of scattered, disconnected words.

Think of this as clearing my desk.



My father would, when it suited him, forbid the discussion of politics and religion at the dinner table.

Ill-disguised farce, all of it.

As I mentioned before, no one in our family had any interest whatsoever in religion, and the only one at the dinner table who ever wished to discuss politics was I. His reason for not wanting to hear it had nothing to do with civility whilst dining, which is a damn fine concept, but that he didn’t wish to hear it. At least from me.

My only point here is that I learned two things: not to discuss politics and religion at the dinner table, and there are a fair few number of men who do not wish to hear a girl discuss politics.

And, given the discussion that has been transpiring in our Comments, and given that I cannot for a moment imagine that any flatworlders or believers in intelligent design would venture into this Parlour, I shall proffer just the briefest of comments myself.

When my mother had a series of strokes which quickly destroyed her ability to speak coherently, then at all, I learned and watched, as she struggled, the other side of her brain struggled, to learn new paths to speech. I learned that this can happen, and perhaps it might have with my mother, if she had had more time.

Two paths to the same skill.

The other thought has to do with cookery, since it was mentioned in our Comments as regards coexistence. I do most thoroughly believe that cooking is simultaneously both art and science, requiring both heart and knowledge. Not coexisting in some sort of wary stand-off, but intertwined, plaited.

I use the word heart, rather than religion, and I don’t think there’s any need to deconstruct the meaning of the two words.

Suffice, for me, that anything worth doing is not only worth doing well but also worth doing with heart. I believe much that is ill with the world has to do with the rigid separation of powers between logos and, well, heart.

One can, for example, bake a cake without heart, and I have seen it done. One can also bake a cake without science, and I have shuddered to see that done once too often. And the truth is, despite my overweening passion for such confections, I would not choose to eat either.

******************************************

And a very quick note about News.

As comrada b mentioned in our Comments, yes, Enlace Civil’s bank accounts have once again been closed, for no stated reason other than “they”, you know, “can.” The communities have been issuing supportive statements and such, but I would suggest that anyone who would like to send funds use the time honoured methods mentioned here previously.

Write me if you require a reminder.

[The following was written, though not posted, a week ago.] I am pleased to report that we have now received the first “clarification” on the two incidents of Boys Gone Wild which I mentioned in last night’s post and which so entertained me.

This has to do with the more obscure reference, of which I imagine only one or two of my readers might be aware, especially since it sounds as if one of those readers – or one of his homeboys - might have been involved in said dust-up.

The dust-up which we now know never took place. We knew this from the start, of course, given that nothing which is ever reported in any mainstream media ever actually took place. The compas didn’t really believe they’d been sequestered and then behave like a bunch of girlie boys, sending frantic messages to their leader. No durable goods were tossed, bad words uttered, flounces flounced.

I might have been perversely disappointed by this clarification, but, given the homeboys in question, I choose to remain a believer .

Monday, February 13, 2006

Revisiting a field guide to provocateurs and their ilk

Given the times, I felt compelled to pull this out of the Archives. While I think it might be useful for all of us, there is a certain petit choux for whom I would especially recommend giving it a quick read.


Exculpatory errata

Please note that everything I have to say on the subject is drawn simply from my own experience, nothing else. Experience, however, which spans several decades, various movements and more than one continent.

And, not to disappoint, but I have no intention whatsoever of outing anyone. That is precisely what they seek – to distort, deceive and disrupt. To change the focus from the struggle to something, anything, else. Even and often to themselves.

My purpose, therefore, is to provide some information which might be useful in identifying them. Clues, as it were. Patterns of behavior, habitats, tactics, that you can observe, note and deal with as you choose.

And another note. It is next to impossible to ever be absolutely certain in these matters. Therefore, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like mad, lead it gently back into the pond from whence it came.

An arbitrary typology…or poseurs, provocateurs, castrati and such

As in so many arenas, what matters are consequences, not intent. Thus one will find many a self-serving poseur. These are the individuals who can be noted by their absence from the scene when their “cause” is no longer in the headlines or on the news. But they are faster than a speeding bullet when something is “happening.” Dropping names, acting as if they’ve been there forever. And, one way or another, always, making some cash out of the deal.

Another clue to their game is that they almost invariably fail to do enough homework, being too busy arranging the lights or firing off apocalyptic bulletins to stir their fans/consumers. And that lack of homework and media spotlight can be both diversionary and dangerous. I remember once when a US government document was “misread,” mistaking the ELN for the EZLN and leading to a flurry of rumour and damage that had to be mopped up by anyone with access to a scullery.

Image is all for them. They may come as rugged cowboy, rumpled media heavyweight, tarnished saint, but come they do. And then they leave. Always off to the latest, hottest, most profitable New Thing.

Now we come to the ever annoying provocateur. Their role historically has been to infiltrate a group, behave like a lunatic and disrupt. Nowadays, however, given the virtual nature of so much of our work, they tend to do their business online.

Flooding lists with off-topic, and off-putting, posts. Veering as far as they can into the caricature of sociopathy. Diverting, disrupting and horrifying. Their first hope is to marginalize the site, their second is to shut it down.

For those of you who have been around for a while, you might remember a certain Chiapas list. A particularly prolific character [or characters, since he was addicted to transparent shape-shifting] appeared, always ready to post endless words on provocative [of course] issues and stir rabid, off center discussion. And this was at an especially difficult time in Chiapas, when loss of focus could have led to serious consequences.And, when that was not enough, he turned to another favorite tactic. Slander.

Slander is also a tool in the arsenal of another species which I call castrati, for what I would like to think are quite obvious reasons. You know this sort. Often, though not always, male. Driven by hysterical [and I use that adjective with full intent of referencing its historical origins] rage, bonded to his computer with superglue, always on the lookout for a new target for his sublimated wrath.

In other times they were tying limbs to a rack, flogging disbelievers, burning the dangerous one at a stake. Tedious stereotype at its worst – displacing, projecting, purifying, pogrom making. These repressed zealots are the easiest to spot. Their hysteria gives them away, they despise anything female [unless she be virginal or martyred or, preferably, both] and, like the poseur, they never do enough homework.

As, for example, a recent wanker of no note, who - if he had indeed been involved and Irish as he avers - would have been present at a marvelously riotous May Day celebration one weekend a few years back at a certain pub in Dublin. A charmingly licentious evening was had by all, and he would have been left with no doubt, for example, as to the proper suffix of my name. Thus sparing himself the humiliation of his recent public self-outing.

And, speaking of Dublin, that brings us to counterinsurgents.

They often wish to meet you – in person. Or to get your phone number so they can chat. Or, if they think you’re wired, to get an introduction to someone inside. They are smart enough, usually, to pretend they have something to offer. A project, a skill, something of value.

These are the dangerous ones who can arrange to have your phone line cut in the basement of your building and, simultaneously, at the switching station. Who can outsource their work to such a degree that the junkie street person who’s being paid to watch you and follow you day and night might indeed be a whacked out junkie and not just someone who’s been dressed up to look like one. Not a pleasant circumstance.

They tap your phones, hack your computer, have you followed. Except for the one attack in Dublin, my experience has been benign. I have been lucky, unlike many others. In Chiapas they outsource to paramilitaries and thugs and anyone else who needs the price of a cup of coffee.

And how does one recognize them? Very easily. They’re the ones who are trying to do you serious harm. And, unlike the poseurs and castrati, they do their homework very very well.

A game for the parlour

Yes, a bonus.

I suspect that one of the above types – someone I know from my above referenced past – has posted comments here a couple of times. If it is he, I must admit that he’s mellowed a bit, for now at least. Or perhaps he’s just investing in higher quality chronic. Time will most likely tell.

Have some fun. But I absolutely insist – no naming of names. Think of this as a private, practical exercise, designed to sharpen your observational skills.After all, being right is never enough. You also have to be swift and smart and endlessly intrepid.