Saturday, August 10, 2019

ARROGANT! J'accuse!- Hate Mail In Which I Praise (Some Of) The Old and Hope In Newness

I pride my self on not being especially arrogant.  I mean, I know unlike Stupy I've got a full head of hair and an almost full mouthful of teeth, I exercise almost daily (mostly to avoid hurting) and have never been overweight.  I don't wear skinny jeans, no one is interested in what an old man's ass looks like.  Not even other old men.   I'd never wear a stupid looking beret thinking that because Groucho got away with it as he descended into senility that people are going to mistake it as kewel on me.  And I wouldn't wear one just because they look stupid.  Groucho was a comedian, for the love of Mike.  HE INTENDED IT TO LOOK SILLY THAT'S WHY HE PUT IT ON.   Nothing looks stupider than an old man trying to be kew-el.  It looks increasingly stupid as men go through middle age.  If old men are doing it, it means it's not kew-el anymore.

It's funny that someone thinks talking and thinking like an adult is a sign of arrogance, maybe that's got something to do with why so many of the most popular books in the American canon are books about children or the childish told from a childish point of view.   Mistaking facile immaturity and willful stupidity for democratic values is one of the stupider things that seems to have grown up in American culture, starting in pop culture, where else?   It takes serious adults to have and keep an egalitarian democracy.  A little child might lead in the moral perfection of heaven where lions are vegans and there is no strife, as Isaiah prophesied.  I doesn't work among fallen humanity on a failing Earth. 

I will admit that I felt some arrogance a few years back when someone at a pot luck get together was highly amused to hear I'd made the coleslaw with an old-fashioned Mouli I've had for like 45 years (pretty sure they stopped making them).   They thought it was silly not to have upgraded to an up to date, electric food processor which they alleged was so much easier.  I asked how many of those they'd had to replace.  Their answer did make me feel a bit arrogant.  I must use my Mouli a hundred times a year or more.  I've made loads of sauerkraut with it.  Easy as anything to clean, works when the power's out, etc.  I guess I'm a bit arrogant.  People compliment me on my coleslaw   I use lots of fresh dill in the coleslaw.  And I put a few drops of vanilla in the mayo.  I hate mayo but people expect it in coleslaw.   Never use mayo when it's just me. 



Unrelated, but as I was looking for a photo I recalled of Sartre looking silly in a beret, I came across a picture of him where someone had drawn one on him. It also carried slogans of "liberty". Which, since a number of the others that showed up in the image search showed him either with dictators or doing things like handing out handbills supporting Maoism has to be even sillier than him in a beret. The phenomenon of how people can get away with equating Marxism with freedom when Marxism not only as it exists in history and reality but also in its theoretical basis is exactly as destructive as freedom as fascism and Nazism is truly amazing. The egalitarian democratic anti-Marxists of the past who saw the evil of both it and its cousin forms of gangster rule are a worthwhile group to investigate.  They were not the gangsters in competition with Marxist racketeers, Nazis, fascists, American Republicans, various pseudo-Christian fascist parties, etc.  That egalitarian democratic legacy is not that easy to find but I know they were there. I might start looking more into them. I suspect it isn't a clean and untroubling history, I remember the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.  I believe Freedom House and people like Steinbeck supported the moral atrocity and folly of the Vietnam war.  Little about the cold-war period is morally clean. 

It's worth learning from their thinking and examples, not trying to reproduce something of that past.  The automatic assumption that someone who rejects modernism wants to return to some past, real or imagined, is silly.  I don't want to return to any past, the past-past created the conditions that yielded the depravity of modernism, itself a reaction to problems before it.  Every period, full of folly and evil is a product of the problems it reacted against.  Only those who want to repeat the evils of the past maintain a nostalgia for it.  Modernism is a failure just as what preceded it was, producing, among other things, the destruction of the environment and the rotting out of the moral and intellectual underpinnings of egalitarian democracy.   We either move on to something new or we all die, those flowers of modernism, science and technology, having given us the power to destroy ourselves in so many different ways. 

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19

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