(Photo of 1950’s magazine ad featuring Ronald Reagan. Slogan: “Van Heusen Century shirts won’t wrinkle…ever!
In his poem “The Quest” written at the beginning of World War II Auden wrote:
Out of it steps our future, through this door
Enigmas, executioners and rules,
Her Majesty in a bad temper or
A red-nosed Fool who makes a fool of fools.
This stanza occupied me on Christmas day. America has opened a door, its hinges slick. From corporate prisons, racially motivated laws, and the snooping of nation states, to wars on the poor, the disabled, and women’s rights my country (and yours) has extravagantly reconditioned Auden’s opening lines.
Fate is sentimentality disguised as history. Each time a politician says diplomacy represents appeasement (Munich) or in turn says slavery wasn’t as bad as welfare, red-nosed big “F” fools assure us a darker fate than our children deserve. By spooning up the treacle of history they tell us things were better in the past and clearer. Can’t you see how clear it was? Santa Claus was white. The poor were grateful. And we open the door to misery.
The American poet Kenneth Rexroth said: “Since all society is organized in the interest of exploiting classes and since if men knew this they would cease to work and society would fall apart, it has always been necessary, at least since the urban revolutions, for societies to be governed ideologically by a system of fraud.”
Rexroth also said: “The masters, whether they be priests or kings or capitalists, when they want to exploit you, the first thing they have to do is demoralize you, and they demoralize you very simply by kicking you in the nuts. This is how it’s done. Nobody is going to read any advertising copy if he is what the Reichians call orgastically potent. This is a principle of the advertising copy writer, that he must stir up discontent in the family.”
I received an email late in the day: “There’s just one more gift to get. Yours.” Apple Computer wants me to buy something just for me. I thought of Rexroth. Of getting kicked in the nuts. A red-nosed Fool who makes a fool of fools. I’d been kicked by Apple Claus.
I wrote in a notebook on Xmas afternoon:
This is a test of the sub-Cartesian epistemology system:
For the next sixty seconds I will think nothing at all.
During that time I will effectively cease to exist.
Any sightings of me will be strictly imaginary.
My wife Connie asked me yesterday morning what I was thinking. I said, “Oh not much.” But see the above.
Are the holidays hard on you too?