Damned Abraham

Damn!!! he thought, or maybe yelled, he couldn’t be sure.

He was, as always, or at least for a very long time, feeling lonely, very lonely.

Since a nanosecond was as an eternity to him and eons as nanoseconds, feelings could be very confusing.

He relived the good old days in his mind which was the size and shape of the multiverse, at least he thought so, … his mother had told him it was so.

He’d just been one among many back then, each in his or her own domain with his or her own flock. A happy thunder god with a couple of wives and from time to time, intimacy with other divinities, usually female, and with humans as well.

Inanna and Ur, the good old days.

Before that damned Abraham had convinced him that he was alone in his divinity. And then asked him for the world. As if letting him screw his sister hadn’t been enough of a boon. Fuck Abraham and the horse he rode in on, although come to think of it, horses didn’t have humps on their backs.

Back then one could be a god of specific things, like creation, or destruction, or thieves.

Now he was utterly alone except for the echoes, and the damned prayers of all those babbling humans; they gave him migraines. And they wondered why he avoided them like the plague. They were a plague, look at what they were doing to the planet he’d made for them, well, not for the goyem, except perhaps for a few shiksahs. Funny that he didn’t really remember having made it, but all those books said he had, and if it was printed, it had to be true, revealed word of, … well, … him.

It was so damned boring!!!!

Damned Abraham!!!

And when he said damned, he really meant it.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Return to Dystopia (or Paradise Regained, … Sort of): can things get any better?

Prometheus looks warily at a large storage jar, a “pithos” (not a box), one once opened and seemingly somehow thereafter closed.  It is making raucous noises but not being a “box” is neither a radio nor a television set nor a computer nor a cell phone.  It seems incredibly ancient but somehow seductive.  It has a tag.  “Property of Anesidora, if found, please do not, under any circumstances open, … again”.  A chorus shouts, “let us out!  We’ll be good!  We promise!”  Prometheus assumes that he is just dreaming again and wakes with a start, cold sweat covering his body, a vulture at his side, smirking.  Prometheus’ hands, as seemingly always, are shackled and he is hanging from a cliff bearing the well-worn hollows of his body.  “Neither rain nor sleet nor storm” he thinks.  From somewhere or perhaps everywhere, thunderous laughter shrieks.  “Damned Zeus” whispers Prometheus.  Nope, not a dream, he realizes.

From within the “pithos” a skinny, ill-kempt white young male with a bad complexion and uncut grizzly hair is pontificating.  His wealthy parents look on, both proud and horrified.  Consistency is not their strong point, they are orthodox oxymorons.  The Pithos is like a woman’s purse.  In a sense, it was the first purse.  And it contains much more than the laws of physics permit.

Veracity is dead”, the youth is shouting, “long live dysfunctional creativity, incoherent discontinuity; chaos, but drained of color and context; shades of gray lost in shadows batting away at echoes. Echoes imply a static source calling from the past but the past is for us to decide”.  Apparently the youth believes himself a poet, a dark poet.  He’s heard somewhere that dark poets are very successful with impressionable young ladies.

Strange that a cacophony of something akin to cheers from disparate multitudes can originate in such a relatively small container, even if it is a sort of purse, but it does, perhaps it has something to do with quantum physics and Schrodinger’s cat, as well.  A monologue ensues:

The cheers are thunderous!!!!  So thunderous that the Pithos cracks and everyone escapes.  Millions of “everyones”, each being independent as anarchy requires.  And that’s a lot or anarchists shouting in unison, many holding identical pre-printed signs and all wearing black, uniformish attire.  Interesting.

Only the present counts, today is too long, too many variables but concurrently, not enough; make it minutes, or better yet seconds, or even better, nano seconds.  Yesterdays are mutable and day before yesterday, more mutable yet.  History always was a tapestry of lies so why not just keep it rotating, flexing, withdrawing and then, perhaps, every once in a while, or maybe, just once, returning.  Hell, why crystalize into only one version, we know that can’t be right.  If we recall every possible version of history, one has to be right, or at least probably right.  What about an individual history for everyone, but not a static history, one that changes for each of us at least several times a day.

If the past is flexible we need never have regrets, need never be wrong, need never have made mistakes.  All we need to create this panacea is the certain knowledge that everyone else is wrong, perhaps even insane, or even better, malevolent.  They know we’re right and just refuse to admit it.

What a wonderful world and we owe it to our friends on CNN, and MSNBC, and the Huffington Post, and Fox News, and the New York Times and the Washington Post.  Three cheers for our friends from corporate-media-land who are busy twenty-four hours a day seven days a week recreating our flawed reality and keeping things interesting.

The youth concludes his diatribe with a call to arms, … sort of: 

Dystopia rhymes with utopia so it can’t be all bad!!!!  And utopias sound boring.  Dystopias are definitely not that.  Rules are bad, liberty is great, boundaries are off-putting.  Freedom now!!!  Back to the State of Nature which we ought never to have left, assuming we ever did.  Join the Dystopian Party now!!

Prometheus, however, is too busy to care, after all, once again, he is losing his liver in a very unpleasant manner.  And worse, he has to listen to Zeus gloat:  “so cousin, still think it was worth stealing the fire and giving it to your pets?”

Once more Zeus’ laughter thunders, as does his latest taunt: “Biden versus Trump, and we thought Clinton versus Trump was a show stopper.  Can things get any better??
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Still Life Watercolors on a Now Late Afternoon

“It’s in the nature of immortality” he explained, “or more accurately, potential immortality”.

“One can still be killed by intervening incidents such as runaway trucks, bullets projected from firearms owned by jealous spouses, etc., but one doesn’t die from old age, or from most diseases, nor does one age beyond a point of full maturity, somewhat older than one might like but better than an awful lot of alternatives. But given the flows involved, it’s rather more like livestream than photographs. One tends to be unsatisfied with periodic meals, and periodic drinks, and periodic intimacy. One is sated only when they’re continuous, although sequentially. Not that being sated is essential, or even the norm, it’s just that satisfaction requires a bit more continuity, given the continuous nature of our existence.”

“Repetition is what really sucks”, he mumbled, a phrase seemingly coming from nowhere, although it’s one he interjected more and more as time streamed on.

Her look was odd, the expression hard to define; kind of like jaded incredulity faded by too many inexplicable realities. Nothing about him seemed to make sense, least of all his explanations (all too often couched in the plural or the indefinite person), but then again, they tended to be impossible to disprove. Only death would do that and it seemed he’d been around for a ludicrously long time. And he didn´t seem to age although he’d been verging on old for as long as she’d know him.

She seemed to be catching up to him and she’d been relatively young when they’d first met.

He was certainly far from infallible though, certainly as far as she was concerned. And omniscient? Forget about it. And certainly as far from omnipotent as everyone else.

“So” …, he sort of pleaded, “… can I have dessert now?”


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Just in Case

“Diaphanous” is not a mood, not really, well, not at all.

Still, if he’d had to express how he felt at that moment, that’s the only word that came to mind.

Or “diphthong”, but that clearly was not a mood. He couldn’t even really spell it without the help of an intuitively clever spellchecker. It didn’t even have a synonym (that he could find). He didn’t believe in absolute statements so he had to leave open the possibility that unlikely as it seemed, somewhere in time and space (or time or space) diphthong at least had a doppelganger.

Diaphanous had a synonym, plenty in fact, and in fact, metaphorically, it could have been a mood. It wouldn’t even have to try all that hard. Not all that hard at all.

Next he wondered what the onomatopoeic inference of diaphanous might be. Then he wondered why he cared. Then it occurred to him that he knew what his mood of the moment, of the instant was.

He was bored! Bored silly. He was not really diaphanous at all, at least not as far as moods went. Then a thought occurred to him and he ran to check his image in a mirror.

Just in case.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

So, … Just Which Lives Matter and Why?

Echoes of Cassandra, and of Huxley and Orwell, and of Heinlein as well.  The counterintuitive blues.  Perhaps our hidden pandemic.  The real plague among us.  Our mirrors don’t seem to work anymore.  Narrative is all that counts.  “Resistance is futile”!

As so often happens, diverse parts of the world are being stricken by social convulsions, spontaneity now become a carefully organized production.  Good causes immediately perverted into evil.  Sauron wins again.  At least for now.  As usual, the United States is the focal point the catalyst, and then, the betrayer.

Although denominated “Black Lives Matter”, the movement convulsing the United States and resonating around the world would be better described as “Criminal Lives Matter”, at least if facts mattered.  And they do.  Both criminal lives and facts.  And they should.  And they must in a system that seeks to reflect the values to which most societies aspire.  But it seems to me that there are three very different issues at play that are being hysterically conflated in the United States into only one for no purpose other than to attain political advantages in upcoming elections.  They involve: (1) the problems of police impunity and corruption; (2) the reality that too many of our citizens find themselves immersed in a life of violent crime; and, (3) the accelerating polarization of our society that increasingly divides us by race, nationality, religion and gender.  Black lives matter.  All lives matter (strange that this statement is now considered racist).  Human dignity matters.  Equity matters.  Equality matters. 

Criminal lives matter but police lives matter just as much.  In each case, both the victims and the perpetrators are human beings.  They are parents and siblings and sons and daughters, cousins and uncles and aunts.  Friends.  They are us, … but for fate and blind fortune, as Joan Baez sang so long ago.  And we probably all agree, regardless of how the corporate media and Deep State seek to confuse and divide us.

Impunity is a poison that leads to corruption and needs to be eliminated, not expanded to criminals as well.  The United States, indeed the world, is full of African American and minority heroes, real role models.  Role models like Mandela and King, and a bit east, like Gandhi.  And their modern variants are myriad and exist at every social level and in most political and social movements.  But career criminals, injured or killed resisting otherwise lawful arrest, do not fit that bill unless what we want to create are more violent criminals resisting arrest.  Role models are people we hold up to emulate, those in whose footsteps we want our children to follow.  But during this past century that role has been perverted.  Our role models are now too often selfish athletes, or selfish singers, or selfish actors, or selfish plutocrats.  And now, seemingly, selfish violent criminals resisting arrest.  Still, notwithstanding that violent criminals ought not to be our role models, extrajudicial killing ought not to be accepted and much less justified.  Criminal lives matter and police impunity deprives the state of the justification for its monopoly on the use of force.  That is the real issue tearing the United States apart, and now the very real issue spreading throughout the world.

As should be the case with public servants across the board (especially those holding higher office), police should be held to higher standards of conduct and perhaps, conviction for misconduct should involve a lower threshold of proof given how easy it is to hide official wrongdoing, and more serious punishment.  But with reference to public servants of whom we demand that they place their lives at risk in order to protect us and our property, that reality also needs to be taken into account.  A complex conundrum not attained through politically expedient, simplistic solutions designed to appeal to emotions of the moment rather than to reason and logic.  The same is true of our military.  In each such case we teach that both killing others and risking their lives are acceptable options, then, after those dehumanizing lessons have been inculcated, we seek to bind the resulting impulses with rules of engagement that are all too frequently impossible to analyze in the split seconds available.  And when the predictable consequences take place, we seek to wash our bloody hands and blame them, and only them.  We fulminate and excoriate and make ludicrous suggestions in lieu of solutions and we do so because their crimes are ours as well.  And that, we prefer to ignore.  If the violators of the public trust are depraved and sick human beings, it is the depraved society that we not only tolerate, but which we select at the polls that is ultimately responsible.  When war abroad makes killing and mayhem quotidian events (a price to be paid only in collateral consequences), how can we be surprised when it comes home to roost?

But what of criminals? 

Well, … they obviously should not resist arrest!  But then, they should not have been criminals in the first place.  The reality is that most criminals did not choose to be criminals for the fun of it.  While some are subject to mental aberrations, most have been drawn to crime by “opportunity-denied” generationally.  By failure assured.  And the resulting self-loathing is relieved and hidden only under layers of readily available psychotropic drugs.  Those responsible for the evolution of a society where such problems are festering social wounds are much more to blame than are aberrant policemen and women.  In that regard, the Clinton administration with its lurch to the right to attain power at any cost may be the most to blame.  Its penal and welfare “reforms” are what most exacerbated an already seriously unfair economic system whose primary victims were African Americans and Latinos.  Its “reforms” have led to the incarceration of a higher percentage of our residents than are incarcerated anywhere else in the world; worse than in Russia or in China, worse than in our allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel.  Its “reforms” destroyed the nucleus of the Black family with males driven out so that welfare benefits might alleviate the existing abject poverty.  Its reforms are responsible for the fact that African Americans are responsible for more violent crime than any other ethnic group despite being a minority of the population.  Odd that African Americans adopted President Clinton as one of their own but then, they don’t call him “Slick Willy” for nothing; feminists have done the same thing.  And now they’ve adopted the other shoe, the one who assured passage of the Clinton era “reforms” in the Senate.

As in the case of all aspects of terrorism (and violent crime is just that, whether perpetrated by criminals or rogue police officers), it will not be minimized by eliminating those who engage in terrorist tactics but by minimizing the social factors that maximize inequity and injustice.  “Palestinian lives matter” but we did not care and the Israeli tactics designed to permanently eliminate the reminders of their own “peculiar institution” have been imported by police departments all over the United States where they now form an integral part of domestic police practices.  Iraqi lives matter but we murdered hundreds of thousands of them, a price Madeline Albright found acceptable.  Afghan lives matter but we murdered tens of thousands of them, a price Bush II, Obama, Clinton and Biden found acceptable.  Libyan and Syrian and Honduran and Ukrainian and Yemeni lives matter too, but every one of our major political leaders in both major political parties have found the price acceptable.  And we, the voters, especially those willing to settle for lesser evils, are personally responsible.

This is who we have become thanks to the bellicose oligarchs we permit to dominate us (and the current president is far from the worst among them; not exactly a tribute).  The Obama-Clinton-Biden triad happily led us into Libya and Syria and Yemen and Honduras and the Ukraine.  And current GOP allies of the Biden presidential campaign such as the Bush family and Colin Powell, and numerous generals and admirals and intelligence officials, current and former, etc., led us into the continuing Iraqi and Afghan quagmires.  So for all the noise and blunder, for all the protests and riots, for all the looting and arson, we keep headed in the same direction.  Not the blind leading the blind but lemmings following bloody murderers to the polls to vote for the same old options.  To vote for evil in the name of lesser evil, but with the same results.

Is America Headed for a Race War” is the headline in an article published on RT by Robert Bridge, an American writer and journalist and the author of Midnight in the American EmpireRT is much maligned in the United States, especially among partisans of the Democratic Party, traditionalist Republicans, the Deep State, etc., but many of its authors have academic credentials from “Western” sources far superior to those of “journalists” writing in the corporate media. Hopefully Mr. Bridge’s article is hyperbolic as its conclusion ought to be unthinkable.  But it raises valid points.  Points we should consider.  Unfortunately, Mr. Bridge continues to associate the left with the Democratic Party as though they were synonyms, which they are not.  While some leftists are indeed trapped in the Democratic Party, leftists I admire like Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich, and others are seduced by fantasies of a shortcut to attaining power by capturing one of the two existing major political parties (but will more likely become what they believe they are fighting), the Democratic Party has since 1992 been controlled by neoliberal, neoconservatives little different from those that control the GOP.  One need only consider who their candidates for president and vice president are.  The truth is that, rather than being “leftist”, the Democratic Party does not even qualify as center right.  Furthermore many of today’s rioters (as distinct from protesters, two very different social roles) are anarchists rather than socialists, and anarchists are not leftist either; they are far to the right of libertarians in the individual-to-collective spectrum. 

The United States is obsessed with hyperbolic labels (seemingly more now than ever).  Republicans falsely equate the Democratic Party with communists and Democrats return the favor, associating the GOP with fascism.  Neither cares for the truth, only for power.  Something most voters understand but feel incapable of correcting because, this time, the election really is existential  This time one opponent of the other party must be stopped, even if evil will win again as it has in most of the “democratic” elections during our lifetimes.  Perhaps, due to our political apathy coupled with the naivety of too many of us, we’re receiving just what we deserve. 

But does our progeny deserve it as well? 
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Immortality:

A Haiku of Sorts in B minor flat

Immortality:

A promise to be there,

made to both “presterity” and posterity.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Deific Humor

If not a “divine comedy”, it was at least a “divine joke”.

Immortal was not “contemporous” with omnipotent; that was the rub.

That made a Hell of a lot of difference.

Perhaps the difference between “divine” and “infernal” although the reality, as with most things, was somewhere in between.

It kept one on one’s toes though; omnipotent not being synonymous with omniscient.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Reflections: a parable, or perhaps a fable, or perhaps introspection

“Strange”. 

Strange how often stories start with that word. 

Perhaps that’s healthy, a sign of varied perspectives and an open mind. 

Now, today, the latter is really strange, and uncomfortable to many, to too many, perhaps, really, to almost all of us.

“Lying” was a strange thing to a particularly strange fellow.  He was ambivalent towards the concept, ambivalent to the extreme, to the extreme end of extremism. 

He loathed being lied to and understood that lying destroys credibility when it is most needed, when it is most needed personally, collectively or on a society-wide basis.  Still, he saw art in lying, and while utterly opposed to it, … still, … he divided lying into diverse categories:

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

Lying as a tool for illustrating verity, as in metaphors and satire and perhaps, metaphysics. 

He was intelligent and perceptive so he understood the vast difference between lying and being wrong, between lying and changing one’s mind.  He also understood that there were numerous possible attitudes towards truth, from reverence to disdain with numerous shades centering on indifference in between.  And that there were hot lies, instantaneous emotion laden reactions, and cold, preplanned lies full of loopholes, and that the latter were by far the worst, and the most frustrating with which to deal.  The cooler liars tended to be educated professionals, masters of rhetoric, with the means to make their lies stick and to use them to victimize the innocent, and to make the honorable appear dishonorable.  The cooler liars seemed to congregate in the specific professions that most required honesty, in the law, in journalism, in politics, and in the pulpit. 

How strange.

How strange too that although he could not abide being lied to, in fact, that at times he reacted virulently to being lied to, he was not above lying himself, and not only when he found it essential for his protection or for the protection of those to whom he owed a duty of protection, but sometimes, just to win a point, one he did not deserve to win, or for the Hell of it, or in fun, but fun of which he would not have enjoyed being made the butt.

You see, although he did not realize it, or ignored it, or just didn’t care, like too many of us, he was a hypocrite.  Something he also detested.

Troubling reflections in an all too clear mirror.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.