600th Post

“We are at the end of a long Enlightenment era and reacquiring an awareness of the existence of hidden things. There are angels and there are demons. Your life, here and beyond, is determined by whom you serve. The course of history has always been driven by human communion with those beings, and there are classes of people who have always known that.” — from among the past 100

A note I repeat on these 100th-interval occasions: I read every comment that is posted here closely, no skimming-over. I learn from you. Thank you for reading, commenting and linking.

Best seven of the past 100:

An Odyssey. A huge number of people read this one. It builds up to a final paragraph that resonated with them.

The Slow Dance. In that study:

Remember back in high school, the slow song came on and you’d take a girl to the dance floor. You hold her around her waist. She wraps her arms around your neck if she likes you. Then you sway with the ballad. What kind of a boy doesn’t pop wood and awkwardly keep it from touching her as his thighs rub against hers, crisp wool trousers against her silky dress.

Everyone has his allotted life force… But the age-cliff hits healthy men fast. In ten years he might be feeble, with a sunken face and vacant eyes. Life is a slow dance.

The Spiral of Communism. This analysis isolates the four stages of value-extractors’ modus operandi. Read this and understand history as well as your own country’s trajectory better.

Human nature tends toward the accumulation of power, the accumulation of power tends toward the consolidation of power, the consolidation of power liberates the victors’ will-to-sadism.

Is there Transcendence in Intoxication” is the best account of a buzz you’ll read. So, is there transcendence in intoxication? Suburban_elk once gave the best answer: “Yes but it’s temporary and it comes at a cost.”

Idle Thoughts On “Little Drummer Boy.” Music posts bring on the best comments and this one didn’t fail. From Norway to New Zealand, we are alive.

The magic moment that begins at 1:50 defines our destiny. The two young White boys against the world. The martial drum and bagpipe, the girl chorus backing them faithfully.

The Generation X Split. ~1960-1972 and 1973-1980 births.

The arc of life, young edition. Two strings of thought. One:

See yourself perhaps many decades from now, a barely-breathing shell. One final flicker of animation in the physical medium of your mind before you pass to the next world. What will that last vision be for you?

And two:

 There is so much talent, and so much inexhaustible beauty wherever our people are, especially in the heartland [Ohio in this case]. The protective instinct is powerful when mobilized by historic developments.

Bonus — best featured video: 

Two Scenes From Italian Beaches. The counterpoint to the conclusion of La dolce vita. Open thread.

The long game

This middle-class Coronavirus relief is an insult. The meme is “bailouts for banks, money printer go brrrrr; bailouts for the people, money printer broke.” It underscores the fact that the USA is not a country, in the sense of a people having a state that serves their interests above all. It’s a multi-ethnic sick-man empire sustained by strip-mining the capital of its heritage population, ruled by gangsters whose handle on legitimacy is slipping.

How does Donald Trump fit into all this? The optics suck, starting with the Neocons he surrounds himself with. His Department of Justice letting Antifa run free while incarcerating Trump’s supporters on technicalities, the government’s doubling-down on Obama’ite terror. The continuing immigration, wall unbuilt, swamp undrained.

Another item on the list of non-accomplishments, a subjective but very real one, is his failure to win over Americans of a specific background: Republican-leaning upper-middle-class Whites with families and careers who live in the country’s major metropolitan areas, the same ones who voted for Marco Rubio in 2016 GOP primaries. If you move in those circles, you pick up on their attitude that Trump is just a clown.

On the other hand, working class Americans from coast to coast fill his stadium rallies. Middle-class intellectuals, malcontents, and reawakened Christians of the nationalist Right support him, to the degree that their disappointment hadn’t gotten the best of them. Trump won us over because he spoke to the hopes of the forgotten working class and to the aspirations of clear-eyed dissidents. As things stand, though, these two constituencies — working class Whites and the dissident-Right — do not have any political power.

The proverbial Acela-corridor classes do. By failing to display Alpha qualities, like rounding up and publicly executing Democratic Party leaders and members of the media, Trump hasn’t moved the needle with the White management class, the people who carry out the will of the regime. They remain loyal to the old boss, the pre-Trump uniparty establishment.

By appearances, Trump has no Constitutional power as President, it’s been a figurehead role for many administrations now. There is no federal agent, general officer, or anyone whom he can give any kind of an order. One explanation for the present state of affairs: Trump is one of them. Another explanation: he’s an idiot. Another: he’s impotent. And yet another: he’s a Bernie Sanders of the Right. An impractical, inconsequential dreamer who wants the peace of the 1980s with 2020s demographics.

As to the fifth explanation, for those who are disinclined to take certain things at face-value: he knew all along what he’s getting into, he’s executing the plan from the inside right on schedule, and he’s not working alone. That has always been the plan.

If so, it’s a patient man’s game. The White working classes who wait in long lines to fill his rally stadiums are another element of the long game. They are the people in flesh and blood, they are the nation without whom there is no America. And the dissident Right is people with the gift of sight and speech who carry the lamp in the darkness.

Thou shalt not steal

I am stealing Suburban_elk’s film-rating system. It’s a zero-to-two scale with Zero = don’t bother, One = worth seeing once, Two = more rewarding after multiple viewings.

Given that I watched all ten installments of the Decalogue (1988) many times over in my youth and then after a nearly twenty-year break watched Decalogue 7, “Thou Shalt Not Steal” approximately ten times over the past few weeks, it’s a Two on Elk’s scale. After all that time and so many times having seen that particular episode, I still find new ways in which the theme of Theft figures in the story, in addition to the nominal act of theft that was done to and then by the protagonist. I did just this morning, in fact, think of yet another treatment of that theme.

Another thing that’s worth observing is one’s own response to a film at two very distant points in his life. One of those is his attitude toward child-characters that are central to a film’s conflict. A childless young man, as I was when I first watched Decalogue 7, will likely sympathize with the young-adult protagonist. He might grudgingly grant a much-older antagonist his due, but his heart’s not in it. As to the child-character in the world of adult leads, he or she is an abstraction in the drama, sometimes just buzzkill. Young childless viewers don’t think much of children (or fatherhood) one way or another.

Twenty years later, one sees the same film but this time with an instinct, an imperative, that overrides all others. Namely, that a child, above all considerations, must be protected. With that new perspective after two decades, seeing Decalogue 7 was an even more profound experience.

Below, I am linking to Dekalog 7, which is on YouTube in three parts. Unfortunately, not with English subtitles. It’s subtitled in Spanish. I’m also providing a detailed plot summary to make it easier for you to follow the story, should you want to see this one-hour film and you don’t speak Spanish. I recommend that you see it. The cinematography and acting are worth it. To summarize the film, I used Infogalactic’s plot summary as my starting point to save effort. The translations of dialogue are mine.

I don’t plan on doing this with any of the other episodes of the Decalogue.

This is one of only two episodes in the series in which the recurring, mysterious “angel” character does not appear. But there are moments in this one that have an otherworldly air, like something out of Grimms’ tales of forests and peril.

Prior to the events of the film: Ewa is the mother of 22-year-old Majka. She was unable to have children after Majka, though she wanted to have more. She worked as principal at Majka’s high school, where she hired a young literature professor, Wojtek. As then-16-year-old student, Majka had a romance with her teacher Wojtek that resulted in a pregnancy. To avoid a scandal and because of Majka’s young age, it was arranged to have their illegitimate daughter Ania raised as Ewa’s daughter and Majka’s sister. Wojtek was possibly willing to start a family with Majka and their baby but ultimately, then-teenager Majka agreed to her mother’s arrangement and Wojtek avoided criminal charges for seducing a minor by walking away.

Decalogue 7:

Part 1 of 3. [An Argentine public television host introduces the episode for about the first four minutes, then it begins.]

Twenty-two-year-old Majka, who still lives with her parents in Warsaw, is expelled from the university during her last term and wants to flee to Canada with Ania. She needs her mother’s signature, however, to obtain Ania’s passport. Six-year-old Ania has recurrent nightmares and can only be consoled by Majka’s mother, Ewa. Majka’s father, Stefan, spends his time fixing a pipe organ in their apartment. Ewa is just as cruel to Majka as she is affectionate to Ania.

Ewa takes Ania downtown to watch a theater performance for children, and then the kids in the audience are invited onstage. Majka manages to get backstage and lures Ania away with her. Ewa is shattered by Ania’s disappearance. Ania, meanwhile, believes that all of this is just a game with her “sister.” In the scene with the merry-go-round, Majka tells her that she is not her sister, but her mother. Ania seems to understand and then asks who her father is. That scene begins at 15:00.

ANIA: [Riding on the carousel, giggling] You kidnapped me?

MAJKA: [Smiling] What?

ANIA: You kidnapped me. Like in that fairy-tale “A Kidnapping in Tiutiurlistan.”

MAJKA: [Stops the carousel, becomes serious] You’re a big girl now, aren’t you?

ANIA: Mom tells me that I am.

MAJKA: Exactly. [Pauses] Look at me. Mom… mom is not your mom.

ANIA: I don’t have a mom?

MAJKA: You do. Your real mom… I am really your mom.

Part 2 of 3. Majka and Ania go to Wojtek’s house in the country not far outside of Warsaw. He now earns a living by making Teddy bears. They meet for the first time in six years, and Wojtek is surprised and somewhat uncomfortable to see his daughter. While Ania sleeps, Majka and Wojtek discuss their past. In her sleep, Ania grabs Wojtek’s finger and he begins to warm to her. Majka goes out to call her parents from a phone booth.

Part 3 of 3. Majka calls her parents in Warsaw and tells them her conditions regarding Ania, namely that she be legally recognized as the little girl’s mother and that they be left alone. Majka’s dialogue with her mother Ewa that begins at 0:41 is important:

EWA: Hello?

MAJKA: She’s with me.

EWA: [sigh of relief] My God, she’s with you…

MAJKA: Did you report this to the police?

EWA: Yes, we did. But never mind that. Where are you?

MAJKA: Call it off. Tell the police that you found her. Do that first.

EWA: Yes of course, we’ll do that. Where are you? We’re picking you both up. [Yells at Stefan to hurry up with her cigarette.]

MAJKA: Somewhere. I’m not telling you. You have to change everything.

EWA: Like what? [Stefan lights her cigarette] What am I supposed to change? I don’t understand.

MAJKA: Everything. Ania must be mine.

EWA: [Sits down] That’s impossible.

MAJKA: She must be.

EWA: Nobody knows about this. [That Majka is Ania’s real mom]

MAJKA: They’ll find out. I’ll prove it.

EWA: You’ll prove nothing. Ania is mine. She’s my child in all the records, only Jadwiga knows that you gave birth to her but she’ll never tell. [Long pause] Where are you?

MAJKA: Father knows.

EWA: Your father knows nothing, absolutely nothing.

MAJKA: And Wojtek knows.

EWA: You’re better-off not counting on Wojtek. When I retire, I’ll tell you a few things about him.

Now at 2:05 Majka accuses her mother of theft, the heart of Decalogue 7:

MAJKA: Listen carefully. You stole my child, it wasn’t supposed be like this. You stole my child, and my motherhood. Also love. You robbed me of yourself, of you both, everything. I’m giving you two hours to think about it and then I will tell you what you have to do. [Hangs up]

In the meantime, Ania has woken up and engages in conversation with Wojtek who is now very affectionate towards her. Majka comes back and in an increasingly tearful scene, asks Ania to address her as her mother, but the little girl can only call her “Majka.” Later that night, Majka’s father calls, but Wojtek lies and tells him that he has not seen her in six years. Ewa begs Stefan to call up his former political acquaintances to help them find Ania.

Ania falls asleep again. Wojtek tells Majka to consider going back to her parents’ house, since the trauma of the entire ordeal will be too much for Ania. At 10:50 he tells her:

WOJTEK: If you are planning on going somewhere alone with her…

MAJKA: Where?

WOJTEK: Wherever. Somewhere far. She won’t endure it. Your shouting, your impatience, your hysteria. She is delicate. […] You’ll destroy the child. […] You should go back. She must have a normal home. Her own bed, her own toys, her own milk. Do you understand?

Wojtek also reluctantly tells her that she and Ania can either stay with him, or have his house and he’ll move out. Majka pretends to agree and Wojtek promises to get a friend, who has a van, to take them back.

When Wojtek returns with his friend, Majka and Ania are gone. (As they were leaving, Majka told Ania that Wojtek doesn’t want them there.) Majka calls Ewa from the phone booth again and demands that she agree to all her previous conditions and sign the necessary documents to get Ania’s passport and visa for Canada. Ewa tries to negotiate but Majka is relentless — either Ewa agrees to her demands or else she will never see Ania again. After a moment’s silence Majka hangs up, just as Ewa is about to agree to her terms. The phone rings again at Ewa and Stefan’s. It is Wojtek; he confesses to his earlier lie and offers his help in locating Majka.

Shortly after the 18:00 minute mark: in predawn hour, Majka and Ania stand under a bridge to hide from Wojtek’s oncoming van. I will not spoil the final scene. It stays with you, in the characters’ expressions, camerawork and the music.

Plague Open Thread

dt_bord

A little observation from the grocery store: sugar-free food products are plentiful on shelves. In a crisis, everybody becomes normal again. From Anonymous Conservative:

“On the bright side, when this is over, all you will have to say is, ‘What if one of these immigrants brings in a global plague?’ and everyone will conclude we do not need any immigrants in our nations. The thought of a new plague will become the amygdala trigger of the entire world. Open borders are officially no longer a thing.”

Also posts/comments from a variety of sources:

“If it helps Congress come to an agreement, I’d just like to say I’d be willing to exchange the notion of Trumpbux for a nationwide reset on ALL debt. Everyone is free and clear and can start over from scratch.”

“The amount of nationalistic and openly anti-Chinese sentiment in Sydney at present is incredible. People are becoming amazingly red-pilled by all of this, with nearly everyone I know saying China must be severely punished for this, and that we should have no economic dealings with them at all.”

“Turns out the best way to screw over the hated universities right now is to stop them being able to import students from outside the country.” “I hope this becomes permanent.”

“Coronavirus: Perfect Time to Rescue Children From Public School.”

“I would be okay with Trump declaring martial law and having these people thrown into a dungeon. Enough. We cannot live in the same country as these people.” [referring to Congressional Democrats]

New “Murdoch Murdoch” on CheekyVideos.net.

What kind of a world do you want to live in?

Someone in the 1990s asked, what would Mozart be doing if he were alive today? An answer was given, that he would be doing commercial jingles. Here is a commercial jingle and it asks: What kind of a world do you want to live in?

The characters in this GoDaddy commercial reply with the ethos of communications departments at Fortune 100 firms. Here is what they say:

Female Andy Warhol — “I want people to wear what they want.”

Gay Hipster — “I want to bring pride back to our communities.”

Wounded Waif — “I want us to be free to talk about mental health.”

H1b’ette — “I want humanity to reconnect with nature.”

Authority Negro: “I want ‘sustainable’ to be the solution, not the alternative.”

These stock characters are apex-diversity. Is that why I have absolutely nothing in common with them? Demographics and lifestyle would be one way to account for my visceral refusal to relate to the ad. It’s similar to how I find characters in television action-dramas impossible to relate to, with their gamma-writers’ wish-fulfillment lead and supporting characters.

Yet nothing human is alien to me, goes the saying. Good art is universal in its appeal. One can relate to heroes from ancient Greek myths, to characters in John Steinbeck’s novels, or to the motley bunch in Hair without having to be an ancient Greek or an American or a hippie of a certain generation. It follows, then, that the characters in that commercial aren’t “human” — or more accurately, that there is something false and thus inhuman about the GoDaddy ad.

How art becomes:

I think there are three elements. One: the artist’s sub-rational openness to the transcendent; you can also call that authenticity, or sincerity. Two: artist the man as a medium; his purity or corruption, his originality in filtering the intangible on it way to material expression. Three: his technical skill to deliver the artifact faithfully to intent.

In the case of the featured commercial, the art fails at elements one and two.

One: no transcendent Truth and Beauty is channeled by the artist, the creator of this ad. The characters in it sing incantations to a nightmare world of Lennon’s Imagine.

Two: the creators of this ad are corrupt men; contemporary advertisement industry is evil.

At the third element, which is technical skill and execution, the art is successful.

A Great Performance

What are the few greatest rock songs ever? A matter of personal taste, certainly to a point. The objective standard is that the song have epic sweep. Another criterion: it’s not obscure. Off the top of my head, here are several:

  • Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb”
  • GNR “November Rain”
  • Pearl Jam “Black”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd “Tuesday’s Gone”
  • Prince “Purple Rain”

The Rolling Stones or The Who do nothing for me. Like I said, there is the matter of personal taste. As to “Comfortably Numb,” below is David Gilmour’s 2006 live performance in Gdansk, same concert as the video in the previous post. Some things to keep an eye on:

  • Gilmour’s four-minute outro.
  • Outstanding camera work.
  • Richard Wright is there on keyboards as well, shortly before his passing. He sings Roger Waters’ lines in that song.
  • The orchestra is conducted by Zbigniew Preisner, same one — Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film score writer on “The Decalogue,” “The Double Life of Veronique,” and the “Three Color Trilogy.”

A triple-crucifix monument appears sometimes in this video. You can see it several times over in the distance over Richard Wright’s shoulder. Also as a close-up. That is a monument at the Gdansk shipyard that the Marxist/atheist Communist authorities in 1980 conceded to permitting. It honors the striking shipyard workers of 1970 on whom police opened fire. The concession, at the time, would have been equivalent to Americans now getting a monument in honor of Whites murdered in black crime.

The Ship Of Fools

“A Great Day for Freedom” from Pink Floyd’s 1994 underrated “Division Bell” has six verses, including these three:

On the day the wall came down
They threw the locks onto the ground
And with glasses high we raised a cry
For freedom had arrived

“Freedom,” the motto of the fourth stage of communism.

On the day the wall came down
The Ship of Fools had finally run aground
Promises lit up the night
Like paper doves in flight

The Scorpions’ “Winds of Change” also expressed the high hopes of that moment when the Cold War ended.

Now frontiers shift like desert sands
While nations wash their bloodied hands
Of loyalty, of history, in shades of gray

One ship of fools departed. Another came in when that song was written, globalism.

Sink the ships.

Live performance of that song from 2006. It features an excellent orchestral accompaniment and David Gilmour’s brilliant three-minute guitar solo in the outro: