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Thursday, August 31, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - VII


"Look, we're moving to Europe. To London, actually. That's where my wife's from. I hear it's great over there. People keep telling me I'll love it. I think it's really gonna be great. But so, listen, we just want it out of the house. I'll tell ya, why don't you just come on over and take the goddamn thing for free?"


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Danger of American Fascism" - Henry A. Wallace

In 1944, the 33rd vice-president of the United States, democrat Henry A. Wallace, wrote the following:

The Danger of American Fascism

By Henry A. Wallace
The New York Times
From Henry A. Wallace, Democracy Reborn (New York, 1944), edited by Russell Lord, p. 259.

Sunday, 09 April, 1944

On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:

What is a fascist?
How many fascists have we?
How dangerous are they?

A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

The perfect type of fascist throughout recent centuries has been the Prussian Junker, who developed such hatred for other races and such allegiance to a military clique as to make him willing at all times to engage in any degree of deceit and violence necessary to place his culture and race astride the world. In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.

The European brand of fascism will probably present its most serious postwar threat to us via Latin America. The effect of the war has been to raise the cost of living in most Latin American countries much faster than the wages of labor. The fascists in most Latin American countries tell the people that the reason their wages will not buy as much in the way of goods is because of Yankee imperialism. The fascists in Latin America learn to speak and act like natives. Our chemical and other manufacturing concerns are all too often ready to let the Germans have Latin American markets, provided the American companies can work out an arrangement which will enable them to charge high prices to the consumer inside the United States. Following this war, technology will have reached such a point that it will be possible for Germans, using South America as a base, to cause us much more difficulty in World War III than they did in World War II. The military and landowning cliques in many South American countries will find it attractive financially to work with German fascist concerns as well as expedient from the standpoint of temporary power politics.

Fascism is a worldwide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.

Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after "the present unpleasantness" ceases:

The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination against other religious, racial or economic groups. Likewise, many people whose patriotism is their proudest boast play Hitler's game by retailing distrust of our Allies and by giving currency to snide suspicions without foundation in fact.

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

Several leaders of industry in this country who have gained a new vision of the meaning of opportunity through co-operation with government have warned the public openly that there are some selfish groups in industry who are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage. We all know the part that the cartels played in bringing Hitler to power, and the rule the giant German trusts have played in Nazi conquests. Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.

It has been claimed at times that our modern age of technology facilitates dictatorship. What we must understand is that the industries, processes, and inventions created by modern science can be used either to subjugate or liberate. The choice is up to us. The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. It was Mussolini's vaunted claim that he "made the trains run on time." In the end, however, he brought to the Italian people impoverishment and defeat. It was Hitler's claim that he eliminated all unemployment in Germany. Neither is there unemployment in a prison camp.

Democracy to crush fascism internally must demonstrate its capacity to "make the trains run on time." It must develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels. As long as scientific research and inventive ingenuity outran our ability to devise social mechanisms to raise the living standards of the people, we may expect the liberal potential of the United States to increase. If this liberal potential is properly channeled, we may expect the area of freedom of the United States to increase. The problem is to spend up our rate of social invention in the service of the welfare of all the people.

The worldwide, agelong struggle between fascism and democracy will not stop when the fighting ends in Germany and Japan. Democracy can win the peace only if it does two things:

Speeds up the rate of political and economic inventions so that both production and, especially, distribution can match in their power and practical effect on the daily life of the common man the immense and growing volume of scientific research, mechanical invention and management technique. Vivifies with the greatest intensity the spiritual processes which are both the foundation and the very essence of democracy.

The moral and spiritual aspects of both personal and international relationships have a practical bearing which so-called practical men deny. This dullness of vision regarding the importance of the general welfare to the individual is the measure of the failure of our schools and churches to teach the spiritual significance of genuine democracy. Until democracy in effective enthusiastic action fills the vacuum created by the power of modern inventions, we may expect the fascists to increase in power after the war both in the United States and in the world.

Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes.

It should also be evident that exhibitions of the native brand of fascism are not confined to any single section, class or religion. Happily, it can be said that as yet fascism has not captured a predominant place in the outlook of any American section, class or religion. It may be encountered in Wall Street, Main Street or Tobacco Road. Some even suspect that they can detect incipient traces of it along the Potomac. It is an infectious disease, and we must all be on our guard against intolerance, bigotry and the pretension of invidious distinction. But if we put our trust in the common sense of common men and "with malice toward none and charity for all" go forward on the great adventure of making political, economic and social democracy a practical reality, we shall not fail.


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Streetcar Named N.O.

last year

this year

"I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers ..."

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Monday, August 28, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - VI


Dandelion, understanding,
stands and stretches
into the hot air
and cheerfully, happily,
is annhiliated,
torn asunder,
drawn to Heaven.


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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London Eye - Vid #4

In this video post - presented in a simple but elegant, desaturated aesthetic, indicating an appreciation of cinematic antecedents whilst offering a challenge to the decadent cine del capitalismo - I consider our imminent move to London ...

... with the help of a cat, of course.

London Eye

Click HERE to watch/download.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006



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Saturday, August 26, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - V


I have killed.
I'm sure to do it again.
I was breast-fed till I was 18.
It's my mother's fault.
I replay vividly my grandmother's death.
Each morning. It rouses me.
In my quiet room, I plan the rape and slaughter
of thousands, near and far.

When I was a child,
the sound of our dog yelping at the window,
as we left for family outings ...

... well, I could not but burst into tears.

It has never occurred to me that I truly exist -
- not until days ago.
I am willing to believe it may be true.


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Friday, August 25, 2006

My Maurice Chevalier Impression

You know, I'm famous for more than just being a brilliant writer and great writer of fine writings. I don't mean to brag, but I'm also quite well-renowned for my Maurice Chevalier impression.

Would you like to hear it?

I thought you would.

Ahem ...
Than khayvone foe are leetell gills
foe are leetell gills gate beeg air avery dey.

Than khayvone foe are leetell gills
thaig rau oop een thay mos day laightfool whey!

Those leetell ice so ape pless aind ape ealink-guh
wan dey wheel flash ained sayin dew crashin troody seelink-kuh.

Than khayvone foe are leetell gills.
Than khayvone four dame awl,
no matt hair weigh her, no matt hair ooh
foe are wheat hout dame, what woowid leetel buoys dew?

Than khayvone ... than khayvone
Than khayvone ... foe are leetell gills!

Thank you.

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Medieval Scorpion

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - IV


I note a lump inside me,
in my body -
in the thorax, in fact -
in my chest -
just shy
of the sixth rib.

It throbs.

It is clearly alive.

It is an eager, pupate lepidoptera.

Or, no, it is a slim lizard, legs bundled, incubating.

Or, no, it is a cradling mammal perhaps, coiled like an ammonite,
fragile paws over sightless eyes,
praying for its life.

Or, no, i see clearly now it is a gleaming spring
of terror,
its breathing a rhythmic flexing of its own strength,
preparing to stand out into the world,
where it will do infinite mischief beyond all recall.

I have treasured it so,
loved it so, this thing,
and i accept that i shall treasure it always,
even as it clears my breastbone and murders us all.


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ladies of Wilshire


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Monday, August 21, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - III


Daedalus - with only one wing done -
fled before a mob
determined to string him up
and piñata the hell out of the man.
Running for his life,
he donned the single wing and,
triple-jumping to the cliff's edge,
launched himself,
leaving the killers marooned.

As he made into the open air,
wing outstretched on one side,
on the other,
inadequate hand flapping,

he understood that all
the wisdom of science and reason
would not support him.


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Other Halves


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Saturday, August 19, 2006


Scribbled Face

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12 Poems Of Joy - II


So then i will suck on the silver spoon,
lick the bottom of the bowl,
chew its rim,
gnaw the table too
till i get my teeth to snap like chalk -
like chalk, to break -

and i will gnash enough, and hard enough
to pulverize the last tooth of resistance,
till i come to the alveolar ridge.
Oh, and then, and only then,
will i be fit for suckling,
powerless at the full and generous
breast forever.


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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Micronauts #12

Some kids collected X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman.

But not me, no.

Me? Me collected Micronauts comics. Why? Because Micronauts put the mechanics of a complex, sci-fi universe (or micro-verse! TM) first, and heroic fisticuffs second.

And issue #12 was one of the great influences on my young life - an issue entirely devoted to the mano-y-mano battle between Prince Acroyear and his treacherous outcast brother, Shaitan.

When I was at Comic-Con 2006 and saw the original inked cover of issue #12 at one of the booths, I immediately determined that it was not something that I wanted to buy. But it was imperative that I photograph it - an imperative to which I did submit.

The helpful, sympathetic fellow at the booth, which sold primarily original art from comics and illustrated media - said I was not the only one whose bells rang at the sight of that cover.

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12 Poems Of Joy - I

Below is the 1st of a 13-piece series called "12 Poems Of Joy". A new installment will appear each Wednesday, Friday, and Monday over the next month.
Send questions/inquiries to "12 Poems Of Joy" .


I must put it in,
get it in, and get it down deep,
and pack more in on top. And more,
I must watch myself do it.
And I must watch her watch me doing it.
And we must together watch it
go down, predictable,
inevitable, and shocking,
always shocking -
fucking shocking us, over and over.

Thunderbolts of Zeus
burning us to cinders,
over and over
and over again.


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Winston to O'Brien

WINSTON (to O'BRIEN): "Does al-Qaeda exist?"

O'BRIEN: "That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind"

John Hurt in 1984

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Tuna Quiz For Terrorist Cat Work

The cat won't eat anything other than tuna.

Tuna is bad for him. Or eating it exclusively, as is his wont = bad for him.

But he cares not for our parental concern. He just wants his damned tuna. We did just give him some feline Greenies (TM). He chows those down no probs, but anything else is cat-anathema. He must have tuna. Lots of tuna. Heaps of tuna.

If he does not get tuna, he tries to murder us in our sleep.

Whenever we try any kind of regular store-bought cat food, he just yacks it up.

He does it out of spite, I think.

Our moving date - our day of moving to a new continent - is nigh approaching. I wanted to travel on September 11, but I think that made my wife nervous. After negotiations, it was decided we'd leave a few days to one side of that happy, happy day. I say "happy" because Sept. 11 is - as the entire blogosphere knows - Attack Cat's birthday.


In what year did 9/11 take place?

- Score yourself one point if you gave the correct year of the disasters that took place in New York and Washington D.C. on September 11.

- Score yourself another point if your immediate reaction was: "What are you talking about? 9/11 takes place every year, you big idiot!"

The sad and wretched and horrifying and unnerving truth seems to be that only a few people score one point on the quiz. Almost no one scores two.

If I have proof that our cat is trying to frighten us on a regular basis so that we will submit to his desires, can I then fill out an application for him to be added to the government's list of international terrorists?

I have lived in Los Angeles for 20 years. I'm going to miss it.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Star Maps

Star Maps - Hollywood Blvd.

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british railcard

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Krayon #9

Crayon Exercise #9

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Saturday, August 12, 2006



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Friday, August 11, 2006

You say "Islamo-fascist", I say "you're an idiot"

fascesYou are a very uncool neo-conservative if you haven't yet thrown around the expression "Islamo-fascist". The term has been test-marketed among the neo-con fan-base for about a year now, and they've been debugging it, running it through its paces like test pilots, practicing their cool and casual use of it like Travis Bickel in front of the mirror. But the official "Islamo-fascist" roll-out - and Steve Jobs would have been proud - took place yesterday, delivered by the world's #1 spokesmodel, G.W. Bush, who went to Yale:
"The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."
I think that he thinks he's describing an enemy that shares a single religious faith (Islam, which reveres the Old and New Testaments, but believes the Koran is God's final word on the whole shebang), and subscribes to a very specific political ideology (fascism, which was conjured in pre-WWII Europe by Benito Mussolini - and also rested comfortably on the shoulders of the Spanish and German governments of the time).

We all know what Islam is. It is a religion of hatred and xenophobia, fear and fundamentalism, that treats women poorly and is intolerant of dissent, right?.

But fascism - well, that expression gets thrown around a lot by extremists of all extremes. I think it's important to be precise when you're at war. Not that I've ever fought in a war. So really I'm only guessing. But I can't help but think it's a bad idea to get fuzzy-headed when you're spending billions of dollars and handling tons of very sophisticated and very dangerous technology.

So let's examine:

Here is how Benito Mussolini, first fascist leader of Italy - in fact, first fascist leader in the world - describes his political creed in "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism":
"Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State."

Well, he should know.

Another take on fascism, with more pizzazz - but written by someone who was not himself a fascist (and so he may not know what he's talking about) is Italian scholar/novelist Umberto Eco's famous essay: "Fourteen Ways of Looking At A Blackshirt", published in the "New York Review of Books" in 1995.

In its entirety:
'In spite of some fuzziness regarding the difference between various historical forms of fascism, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.

* * *

1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.

Traditionalism is of course much older than fascism. Not only was it typical of counterrevolutionary Catholic thought after the French revolution, but is was born in the late Hellenistic era, as a reaction to classical Greek rationalism. In the Mediterranean basin, people of different religions (most of the faiths indulgently accepted by the Roman pantheon) started dreaming of a revelation received at the dawn of human history. This revelation, according to the traditionalist mystique, had remained for a long time concealed under the veil of forgotten languages -- in Egyptian hieroglyphs, in the Celtic runes, in the scrolls of the little-known religions of Asia.

This new culture had to be syncretistic. Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, "the combination of different forms of belief or practice;" such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and although they seem to say different or incompatible things, they all are nevertheless alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.

As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores, are labeled New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine, who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint Augustine and Stonehenge -- that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.

2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.

Both Fascists and Nazis worshipped technology, while traditionalist thinkers usually reject it as a negation of traditional spiritual values. However, even though Nazism was proud of its industrial achievements, its praise of modernism was only the surface of an ideology based upon blood and earth (Blut und Boden). The rejection of the modern world was disguised as a rebuttal of the capitalistic way of life. The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.

In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.

5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.

Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.

6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.

That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.

This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside: Jews are usually the best target because they have the advantage of being at the same time inside and outside. In the United States, a prominent instance of the plot obsession is to be found in Pat Robertson's The New World Order, but, as we have recently seen, there are many others.

8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.

When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers of Ur-Fascism must also be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.

9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.

Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.

10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.

Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people in the world, the members or the party are the best among the citizens, every citizen can (or ought to) become a member of the party. But there cannot be patricians without plebeians. In fact, the Leader, knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically but was conquered by force, also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler.

11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.

In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte ("Long Live Death!"). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.

12. Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.

This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since even sex is a difficult game to play, the Ur-Fascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.

In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one follows the decisions of the majority. For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.

Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.

Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.

* * *

Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, "I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares." Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt's words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: "If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land." Freedom and liberation are an unending task.'

Here are other quotes about fascism, which I found by using careful researching methods, including very sophisticated information data technology queries employing a new top-secret system:

"Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes. Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state."

"Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal. It was Mussolini's success in Italy, with his government-directed economy, that led the early New Dealers to say 'But Mussolini keeps the trains running on time.'"

- President Ronald Reagan

"The more there are riots the more repressive action will take place and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder."

-Upton Sinclair

"Fascism is capitalism in decay."

- Vladimir Lenin

"When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag."

- Senator Huey Long

And my personal favorite:
"Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."

- Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister

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Hollywood Night

Hollywood Night

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

10 Movies with Terrorist Heroes

It's easy to find movies with terrorist villains. But what about terrorist heroes?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorism as:

"a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised."

That certainly covers a lot of ground.

Fortunately, the official U.S Code of Federal Regulations is more specific. It tells us that terrorism is:

"the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives"

Here are:

10 Movies With Terrorist Heroes
  1. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  2. Braveheart (1995)
  3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  4. Paradise Now (2005)
  5. The Patriot (2000)
  6. Red Dawn (1984)
  7. Spartacus (1960)
  8. Star Wars IV - VI (1977 - 1983)
  9. A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
  10. V For Vendetta (2005)


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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


L.A. Workers

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Alien vs. Dino

Would you rather see authentic video footage of ...

... a real live Space Alien?

Alien Autopsy


... or a real live Dinosaur?

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Monday, August 07, 2006


As I was tagged, so shall I tag thee ...

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to p. 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog (along with these instructions).
5. Don't you dare dig for that 'cool' or 'intellectual' book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag whomever you want, or not."
I have followed these instructions to the letter. The results:

BOOK: "Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns (1867-1886)" by Nyle H. Miller & Joseph W. Snell ...

"He got on the train at Buffalo Station, eighty miles west of here. He attempted to get on an A. Anderson extra train, which came down the same day, but they would not let him on. He was delivered over to the commanding officer at the Fort for safe keeping, and it is thought that he will be sent to-morrow to Sheridan or Topeka for trial."
Feel free to try it yourself in the Comments, or copy and spread about as you see fit.

I tag:

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Comic-Con 2006 - SCA III

Still more photos of the crashing, bashing, grunting combat demonstrations by the Society for Creative Anachronism at Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego last month. Afternoon temperatures topped 100 degrees fahrenheit.

SCA at Comic-Con 2006

SCA at Comic-Con

SCA at ComicCon

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Saturday, August 05, 2006


Today's post:


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Robert E. Howard & The Barbarian West

(as printed in the Comic-Con 2006 Souvenir Book, which featured a celebration of what would have been Robert E. Howard's 100th birthday)

Robert E. Howard and The Barbarian West

By Neal Romanek

Without Robert E. Howard, I might be living under a bridge somewhere, wondering where things went wrong. In creating Conan the Cimmerian, and with him, the entire swords and sorcery subgenre, Robert E. Howard started a chain reaction which lead to my writing this tribute and to the tradition of swordplay and adventure stories in which I have created my own adventures, characters, worlds, daydreams. For that, I am grateful.

However, Robert E. Howard’s contribution to the world extends beyond the scope of my own petty ambitions. When Howard’s first Conan story “The Phoenix on the Sword” was published in 1932, the world was introduced – and I say this without exaggeration – to one of the greatest symbolic representations of Western Civilization in all of American literature. Conan, the conquering barbarian, is The West.

Unlike the creations of Howard’s pulp fiction godfather, Edgar Rice Burroughs – whose Tarzan and John Carter were upper class elites who conquered by their wits and charisma – Howard’s Conan won out through sheer iron will seasoned with daring and strength. Conan is essentially a white Northern European (the dimensions of Conan’s Hyborian world seem to have their primary inspiration in Bronze Age Europe), uneducated, who through military might and ruthless cunning wins riches and glory, and eventually becomes a king. He is born outside the world of cities and civilizations, lives outside the law, makes his fortune outside of any societyal structure or political process, then eventually, he becomes the law, the civilization, himself.

At first glance, Conan would seem to represent an age far removed from our own, but Howard himself admits to deliberately making him a pastiche of American types. He said of his most famous creation: “Some mechanism in my sub-consciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prize-fighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian.”

Howard, creator of monster slayers, corresponded with writer H.P. Lovecraft, creator of nightmares and monsters, throughout his life. In one of his letters he said of his schooling:

“I hated school as I hate the memory of school. It wasn’t the work I minded; I had no trouble learning the tripe they dished out in the way of lessons - except arithmetic, and I might have learned that if I’d gone to the trouble of studying it. I wasn’t at the head of my classes - except in history - but I wasn’t at the foot either. I generally did just enough work to keep from flunking the courses, and I don’t regret the loafing I did. But what I hated was the confinement - the clock-like regularity of everything; the regulation of my speech and actions; most of all the idea that someone considered himself or herself in authority over me, with the right to question my actions and interfere with my thoughts.”

Though Conan the Barbarian was a character whose adventures were set in the fictional world of the Hyborian Age, “between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas", his historical antecedents are the Celtic barbarians who reassembled the Roman Empire in their own image. The word “barbarian” comes from the Latin “barbarum” which literally refers to anyone not a Roman citizen – an outsider, one walled out of the privileged system of classical civilization and the centuries of entrenched power that it represented.

The western European mindset achieved its dominance over the rest of the world in the 20th century though its blind, almost obsessive, exploitation of technology. The idea that a tool – whether human, mechanical, or philosophical – is the key to amplifying the will of the individual, and so magnifying that individual’s power exponentially, truly is great creed of the West. The simplest, most enduring symbol of that power, is the sword. Throughout the Conan stories – those by Howard and the continuing stories by Lin Carter and L. Sprague Decamp - the barbarian Conan is aided by specialists of all kinds – thieves, wizards,warriors and worse – but they are all ultimately tools for his use. Again and again he confronts the world of magic and sorcery and spirit, and again and again proves that his will and ego and personal power can triumph over these dark spiritual forces. Alien and unknown worlds and peoples are not to be understood, they are to be defeated – or, at best, used.

Conan, born into a fantasy world, never heard the axiom “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”. In the Hyborian Age, a man keeps power only as long as he is able to enforce it by his strength of arms, and this has been a philosophy that western powers have applied for a thousand years – sometimes to great financial and political success in the short term. But the idea that “might makes right” is essentially a myth. Empires never last. The conqueror nevers stays on his throne. The victim inevitably becomes the perpetrator. The young warrior becomes the resentful old man. We love Howard’s stories – and others in the genre – because the myth of permanent physical victory over darkness is something we all wish were true. We would love to solve a problem, like Conan, by cutting down every one of our enemies to the last man – figuratively if not literally.

The psychoanalyst will say that the Conan character – all of Robert E. Howard’s characters – is the manifestation of a control fantasy, and there has already been much written about Conan’s sword versus Thulsa Doom’s serpent. That Howard committed suicide when learning of his mother’s fatal illness, shows that he grappled intensely with the problem of life’s wildness and unpredictability, the lack of power that we must all come to terms with. But ultimately Howard was a product of his culture and his times – and his homeland. That was the wellspring of his characters, not his neuroses. Howard’s creations resonate with the American psyche perhaps even more deeply now, than they did in Howard’s lifetime. Note Howard’s character Solomon Kane, a Puritan adventurer whose eternal quest was the destruction of the monsters of foreign lands. Kane was the direct inspiration of Vampire Hunter D. and the 2004 film interpretation of Van Helsing. In someone else’s hands, Kane might be a loathesome witchburner or one of Hester Prynne’s judges, but Howard makes him a hero, a bringer of order. More fascinating still is Howard’s creation Francis Xavier Gordon, also known as “El Borak”, a Texas gunslinger who goes adventuring in the Middle East. The modern resonances there need little commentary.

In the same year that Howard committed suicide, Nazi Germany attempted to show at the Berlin Olympics, that a specific type of European ideal could conquer all challengers and that the Third Reich would usurp classical Rome in glory and power and possession. The barbarians were finally running the show, and were determined to run it from now on. Howard had criticized the fascist politics of his friend H.P. Lovecraft, but it is a deceptively short leap from being a barbarian outsider to declaring that all others are the barbarian outsiders. It is uncomfortably easy to notice, in hindsight, that in Conan’s wild adventurer lurk the seeds of the fascist ideal of conquest and the triumph of personal will. Jesse Owens punctured Hitler’s Olympic dream soundly, but it would be another ten years before the world would unite to dismantle the rest of his dangerous fantasy.

After Robert E. Howard’s death, H.P. Lovecraft said of his friend’s characters that “he himself is in every one of them”. It is worth noting how much we – and I mean “we” in the West - are in every one of them too.

Happy birthday, Mr. Howard! And thank you.


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Friday, August 04, 2006

10 Countries To Destroy

Some days I wake up and I just want to destroy a country. Actually, sometimes I want to destroy lots of countries. I believe with all my heart that if these countries were destroyed, my life would improve some. But sometimes you realize that there are so very many countries that need to be destroyed, you have to write a list so you don't get off track.

So, here are ...

10 Countries I Would Like To Destroy

1.) North Korea - because I'm not quite sure what purpose it serves.
2.) Trinidad - I'm not quite sure where it is.
3.) Canada - it's so damn big, but it doesn't do anything. It just sits there. Quietly. But a little TOO quietly, if you know what I mean. Really makes me nervous.
4.) Germany - they sent troops into Poland contrary to their agreement with Russia.
5.) Kzerbisakhstan - barbarous and unshaven.
6.) Monte Carlo - den of iniquity that allows nuclear carriers to anchor off its coast.
7.) Finland - not much different from Germans - or Russians - too tall, drunkards, not to be trusted.
8.) Cuba - I'm not sure why, but I'm sure it's a good idea to destroy it.
9.) Afghanistan - because since 2002 it has regained its position as the largest exporter of heroin in the world.
10.) New Zealand - its expert motion picture technicians and superior production facilities are ruining Hollywood.


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Comic-Con 2006 - 300 Panel

Shots of the BIG SCREEN during the "300" panel at Comic-Con 2006.

Frank Miller

David Wenham

Gerard Butler

Zack Snyder

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Comic-Con 2006 - 300 Pics

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Comic-Con 2006 - 300


"Spartans! Tonight, we dine in HELL!" ...

... then FADE IN ON:

A wedge of red-caped Spartan soldiers arrayed on a crag overlooking a stormy sea. Beneath them, black waves toss about shattered warships as if they were broken toys ...

... so began the highlight of my Comic-Con weekend - the sneak preview - and discussion panel - of Zack Snyder's film of "300" - based on the Frank Miller graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae.

Three times they showed the exclusive teaser-trailer. Three times the audience went wild. And three times I said to myself: "This is my favorite movie of the 21st century."

I have only perused Frank Miller's book in the store, never really sat down to read it beginning-to-end, which is odd, considering that the subject matter - 300 Spartan warriors trying to hold off the entire invading Persian army (the original "Alamo" story) - is in every way my milieu of choice. Zack Snyder emphasized that his primary intention was to be faithful to the style and tone of the original graphic novel. So I'm thinking I better not read it, because I don't want anything to jeopardize my enjoyment of the movie when it comes out.

Of course, I was very excited by the "Van Helsing" (2004) teaser when it was shown at Comic-Con. And "Van Helsing" turned out to be one of my least favorite movies - so far - of the 21st century. But I trust Zack Snyder. His "Dawn of the Dead" (2004) remake was spot-on - new and innovative, or doggedly adherent to the rituals of the genre, depending on the need.

Attending the Comic-Con Q&A, first thing Saturday morning, were Frank Miller himself, actors Gerald Butler and David Wenham and director Snyder.

I have been desperately trying to locate the teaser on the Internet, to no avail. Surely someone in that 5000 seat hall must have ignored the warning against videotaping any of the big-screen portions of the program. Someone. Hey, you out there. Email me. I'll give you money.

Zack Snyder is my new hero. You should all know this, readers, if we're going to continue our relationship. Zack Snyder and me, we're going to be an item from now on. I will find his home, and I will send him candy and flowers.

Or maybe the heads of our enemies.

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