Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World

Given that, unless a truly dark horse emerges amidst a tsunami of voters who finally find their courage and discard their blinders, I’ll need to dull my sensibilities a bit, … so, … I’m about to settle in to abide our continuing dystopia, re-reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Thank goodness for decent whiskey, although Irish is hard to find here so I’ll settle for Scotch.

A prelude first though.  An introductory act to set the stage.

“A rant, a rant, my kingdom for a rant”, although not being a king, or a prince, or a duke, or a count, that may not get me much of a rant.  So, “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World”!  What might that mean the week before another ultimate existential presidential election in the United States, where “the sky is really falling this time, …  Honest mister”!  An election too much like the last one albeit with an even worst Democratic Party candidate, but a Hell of a lot more manipulation by the media and pollsters and Deep State operatives, and Hollywood celebrities basking in their self-proclaimed wisdom.  As it was back at the end of the second war to end all wars but which like the first, utterly failed in its mission thus wasting tens upon tens upon tens of millions of lives, now become hundreds upon hundreds of millions, it is again the Russians who are being blamed, although they are no longer Stalinist-communists, or communists at all really.  And of course the Chinese, and the Iranians, and perhaps the Venezuelans and Nicaraguans and Syrians and who knows who else too.  Paranoia???  Who, .. us?  Is there a reason mirror sales are down and those of deceptive self-portraits of ourselves-in-others’-faces are up?  And “selfies”, well what can one say about that phenomenon.  And what is “sexting” all about (and why didn’t it exist when I had something to sext about?)

Or perhaps the title should be different, perhaps something like “Reflections on a Dank and Dark, All Hollows Eve”, but one where Halloween parties are outlawed under Puritan anti-fun strictures in their modern day, politically correct incarnations, and “tricks or treats” are what our major political parties play at, constantly and consistently”, but that seems a bit lengthy.  “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World” it is then although, from “Utopia to Dystopia” fits rather nicely as well

Anyway, …

Back to Animal Farm!

Sooo, to start:  George Orwell, a name associated with dystopia, both in fairy-tales-of-sorts and science fiction.  Who and what was he to have become so prescient?  A much more eloquent Edgar Cayce perhaps; a more transparent Nostradamus.  Or a Cassandra for our times.  And politically?  Anti-communist conservatives have loved him for three quarters of a century, but so have anarchists and liberals and libertarians.  So, what was he?

A “democratic socialist”, of course, what else?  Like Einstein and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  And, until recently, Noam Chomsky.  But, then, we wasn’t even really George Orwell.  I’d forgotten that George Orwell was a pen name; that he has really christened Eric Blair and thus, instead of Orwellian, our world is Blairian.  That he had transplanted roots that saw first light in South Asia, solid colonialist British Civil service roots, and that he as an “Eatonite”, fabulously incongruous, although not a happy Eatonite.  And I’m only at the third page of the 1996 Russell Baker preface.  This should be fun.

….

So, I’ve finished the preface and wonder how Russell Baker could have been more mistaken in his jubilant optimism at the “defeat” of the dark forces Blair and Huxley and Koestler had identified.  Indeed, Baker’s heroes are, in fact, today’s villains, virtually identical in all too many respects to the bad guys of the second war to end all wars, just more subtly so and with better narrative creative control.  Thus Zionist-Israel, almost incredibly, mirrors the Nazis (how Blairian) and the United States, as it has always been, remains true to the worst of the British, those islanders who have for centuries been as ruthless and deadly as any of the axis powers but have impacted many more people for a really long time, a record the United States seems determined to break.

….

On to the C. M. Woodhouse introduction.  “Woodhouse”, that name has a pleasant populist ring to it but set amidst aristocratic anglophilic echoes.  One wonders at its origins, perhaps in the mists, humble, but then, its evolution steadily climbing, until, ….  Then again, how is the name “Baker” any different?  Blair deserved better “introductors”, although Woodhouse was not bad, just not phantasmagorical or truly prescient, although, unlike Baker who was “prefacing within a decade of Animal Farm’s publication, Woodhouse had a half century during which to observe and ponder, still, it was a meaningful decade, one that introduced us to the GOP’s Joe McCarthy, now apparently a Democratic Party icon.  Interesting that for some utterly inexplicable reason, that makes me wonder what one of my childhood heroes, Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig, would have thought of his literary species-mate and star of Animal Farm (at least as seen from his own mirror), “Napoleon”.  And Napoleon, of course, makes me think of bees.  No bees in the book though, at least none that I can recall.

So, on to the book itself.  It’s been a decade over a half century since I first read it (three score years I think that is), and, more’s the pity, that long since I last read it as well.  I was a high school student then, also reading things like Ayn Rand’s mysteriously mystical blend of pseudo-philosophy which, for some reason, had no place for widows or orphans or for the residual detritus of endless wars.  I’ve morphed frequently since then, wondering just yesterday whether, in fact, there is anything behind my own mask, or anyone else’s for that matter, except, of course, for very young children, perhaps the only real human beings among us, assuming that being human is a good thing.

“Napoleon”, sheeesh!!!  How British to name the villain after the only real threat the British Empire ever faced, yester-year’s “Hitler”, which makes one wonder if perceptions concerning that most infamous of Austrians will ever change.  Napoleon certainly has, in every direction possible, not surprising given his complex character and even more complex genius, flaws and all, and his apparently acquired taste for arsenic as a seasoning.  But, … in Animal Farm “Napoleon” it is.  Ironic given his association as a porcine with Joseph Stalin (who we are told, Blair intended to excoriate in the novel), the Man of Steel (almost contemporaneously with the introduction of Superman) who did to the Nazis what Czar Alexander did to the French in the preceding century.  But we all have our ethnic prejudices to “bear”.  Perhaps it’s a sort of karma.

“Moses, the tame raven, the spy, a treacherous prophet preaching the importance of accepting things as they are, and of enjoying rewards for such predelictive apathy in the afterlife.  A very clever metaphor without varying the name, just the form.  “Sugarcandy Mountain”, like the Abrahamic variants of Heaven, in this case seemingly premised on a delightfully addictive poison, a Marxian opiate of sorts for the Animalist masses.  Clever fellow that the Moses, the original as well as the Blairian.  Damned apples and milk too!!!  Especially the apples.  Again the fruit at the center of the demise of a fledgling Paradise, the forbidden fruit that the One had reserved to himself now once again reserved to the privileged few, a metaphor morphing into allegory, … but why pick on the milk?

The coup by Napoleon and the subsequent perpetual threat of the return of Jones and demonization of the Trotskyite “Snowball” is, of course, all too familiar, but now, today, it is unexpectedly echoed in the perpetual calls to beware the Russians, and the Chinese, and the constantly replicated Russiagate fraud.  As in Animal Farm, truth in the United States has become utterly irrelevant, hypocrisy rampant, and while Stalin is very, very long dead, as is the Soviet Union, they are still all too useful in ways Blair may have foreseen but perhaps tactically misunderstood.  I wonder if he believed that any of the international political contenders at the time wore white hats?  Certainly none of the principle contenders in the United States have since Blair wrote Animal Farm (although I did like Ike, but I was very young then).  Still, saving the worst for last, sort of, journalists today have assumed a role combining the porcine Napoleon’s trained dogs (my apologies to canines everywhere for the comparison) and “Squealer”, the pig.

….

Finished, yuck!

Done once again, and once again it seems so easy to transpose this inspired collection of metaphors into allegory, and allegory into dismay.  The observation “we have seen the enemy and he is us” comes to mind, both in the sense of our gullibility on the one hand (Boxer the wonderful horse), our pernicious bleating on another (the sheep, so reminiscent of protestors for fun and profit who deprive everyone else of the right to an opinion, while not really holding one of their own), the utterly selfish self-propagating elites (the pigs) on one foot (having run out of hands) but especially, those who so consistently distort the truth and rewrite our history (“Squealer”) and make possible every travesty and betrayal, our purported journalists (I prefer not to speculate to what bodily appendage or part I ought to ascribe them).  Without them, evil cannot prosper, or at least prosper for long.

Eric Blair is beyond the veil, he has been for a long time, but as is the case with the Trojan princess and seeress Cassandra, with Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Gore Vidal and with myriads of other fruitless prophets, possibly watching us, glad to no longer be incarnate among us.

Animal Farm, a depressing fairy tale, but one very worth reading.

Next, a reread of Eric Blair’s “1984”.
_______

© 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.

Masks and Dreams and ….

“Is there anything behind my mask” he asked himself, wondering whether, if he were writing this, the phrase should have been enclosed in quotation marks. 

Had there ever been anything behind his mask? 

He seemed to remember that once there’d been a great deal.  Once, when most things had been safely abed in the softly yielding world of the inchoate, or, he then wondered, “was that before he’d been born, when he’d been safely ensconced inside of his mother’s womb”?

If a mask, it was a changing thing, dynamic in a negative way.  “Yes”, changing quite a bit, getting older, fading, wrinkling, becoming less relevant.  “Strange”, he observed, that as one grew wiser, more full of knowledge and experience, one was perceived by those one had parented as more and more foolish and less and less relevant.  History seemed to claim that at some point way back when, that had been different and age had been associated with wisdom, and decisions had been made by the wise, but that was probably an inverse temporal mirage, “way back when” a mythical time never to be approached.

He smiled recalling when the shoe had been on the other foot.  How much wiser he’d felt way back, well, not quite when, but way back, … back in the sixties when we had all the answers and the “times they were a ‘changing and “you’d better start swimming” (“you” now being “they” or “them”) or you’ll sink like a stone ….”  And he wondered at the mask he then wore, and the masks that surrounded him, and the masks of those then so out of touch.

Then he wondered about other people, those whom he knew, those he read about, those he saw on television, and he wondered whether there was a difference in that regard between television personalities who claimed to be real and those who knew their characters were fictional, and then wondered which of the two were most real?  Certainly not the journalists, but that was another theme, another story, an anti-reality of sorts.

Masks and faces and masks.  He recalled reading about the handicapper general in Kurt Vonnegut´s prescient 1961 novel, “Harrison Bergeron”, and wondered why it wasn’t mentioned in the same breath as George Orwell’s paeans to dystopia, “Animal Farm” and “1984”?  They should have been the three musketeers of Cassandric literature he thought, but then, who the hell was he to ask?

“Cassandra”, hmmm, … the Trojan seeress and princess who was always right but never heeded, was she a mask as well?

Interesting that now everyone in fact had to wear a mask.  Protection against the pandemic, perhaps a permanent new style given that it might never recede, at least until the Democrats attained the presidency, and the Senate, and the House, and the Supreme Court, and all the state governments too, and all the local governments, in short, the beneficent dictatorship, and, having thrown the rascals out, all of “them”, or at least all of “them” who would not conform, then, as we’ve been promised, as with Nixon and the Vietnam war, the secret solution would be revealed and we’d all be well.  Well, of course, except for the millions who’d died.  Bad timing that.  And it’ll be off with our masks, at least the evident masks, the ones we’ll be fined if we don’t wear, which is fine with me, I certainly want to avoid the latest plague.

Hmmm, so, … about the ubiquitous “they” and “them”?  Were they just masks as well, hollow and empty and perhaps, ephemeral? 

He laughed, wondering how many people thought of “him” as one of “them”.  He walked to the mirror and stared, imagining all those he’d been and wondering how much of that imagining was remembrance.  Was any of it real or had he been born just now, filled with false memories, false emotions, false empathy. 

“Or” he pondered, was he the dream of an insane plant, were we all?

Then something strange occurred to him, profoundly sad he thought, but he wasn´t sure.  Perhaps it was full of hope given what purported reality had seemingly become.  Wouldn’t everything be better if we were in fact all just part of an insane plants nightmare?

But then, he thought, feeling a bit depressed, a bit let down:

What would happen when the plant awoke (or was it woke)?
_______

© 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.

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.

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.