Progressivisms

Some speech is hateful, so this is hate speech. Not all Christians are good, so Christianity is evil. Not all Muslims are terrorists, so Islam is peace. Not all men are rapists, so we live in a rape culture. Some immigrant men come from an actual rape culture, so we call them youths or orphans. Some women choose to raise their children to be suicide bombers, so women who oppose abortion are anti-choice. Some people believe motherhood is the most important work, so conservatives believe that the only job allowed for women is motherhood. Unmarried women who have multiple children but no high school diploma or job are proud single moms, so educated married women with husbands and children are bourgeois enemies of working families. Conservatives have families who feed off the poor, so Conservatism is destructive. All Progressives are conservationists, so taxing and spending is conservation. Paying taxes is patriotic, so only traitors complain about taxation by corrupt representatives. 3% of the population pays 52% of income taxes, so only racists notice that 13% of the population commit 85% of inter-racial crime. Tens of millions of people stop looking for work, so they are not unemployed. Not all employed citizens save for retirement, so those who do must pay for those who don’t. Employed Americans support law enforcement and safe communities, so people who burn down their neighborhoods and shoot police are freedom fighters. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, so Progressives love poor people. American taxes make people on welfare wealthier than 99% of the world’s poor, so the 1% hate the poor. Americans hate the poor, so Western techno-democracies emit the most CO2 pollution. Every living mammal exhales CO2, so humans are parasites. Parasites love electric cars that get their rechargeable batteries from strip-mined precious metals, so the coal industry must die. Coal miners bitterly cling to their guns and religion, so they are anti-progress. Anti-progress families don’t care about women, so there are more men than women in science and technology. There are more women in college than men, so colleges are sexist and women need safe spaces. Colleges prepare students who are thoughtful, well-informed, and resilient, so college students feel invalidated as they protest distressing viewpoints and retreat to safe spaces. College trustees entertain presentations on bullying by faculty and staff, so some professors file First Amendment lawsuits against journalists. Most journalists are bipartisan, so Donald Trump didn’t pay taxes in 1996 and is unfit for the White House. The New York Times didn’t pay taxes in 2014, so it’s a corporation that uses smart power. Hillary Clinton used smart power in her Russian uranium negotiations, so journalists support Hillary Clinton for the White House. The Clinton Foundation took money from foreign dictators, so Hillary hit her head and her staff took the Fifth. Hillary is running for president, so voting is imperative for working families. Some people can’t get a state ID card, so voter fraud doesn’t exist. Some people vote 12 times in one election, so voter ID is racist. I’m a white person of Viking ancestry who is voting for Donald Trump, so I’m a white slaver. Everyone’s ancestors are guilty, so who do you owe?

The New Mangled Banner

O yes you can see, by your phone’s eerie light,
As so glibly we bailed on our nation’s redeeming,
Whose broad shoulders and scars in the abortive fight,
O’er TV we watched, are so valiantly heaving!
And the athletes’ red stares, their scorn lusting for air,
Gives proof in the night that our flag is not there;
But yea does that new mangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of zombies and the home of the slave!

And the slut richly dressed in her garb of the street,
Takes the place of the lady whose robes she despises.
What’s that which the breeze, from new towers doth creep,
As it slithers and slinks, conceals, deodorizes?
Now it catches the stench of the nightfall’s first watch,
In all awful glory, the brine, the biatch;
‘Tis the new mangled banner, O! ever deranged
O’er the land of zombies and the home of the slave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the rights we adore and the good not illusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood still runs red, their hearts beat in fusion,
No zombie, no whore, can dispense with that place,
No terror, no blight, not the gloom of the grave,
While the new mangled banner in disgrace shall be waved,
O’er the land of zombies and the home of the slave!

O thus be it ever, when free men do stand
Between loved ones and homes and cultural desolation.
Damned with purpose and spine for a more perfect land
Praise the Power that gave us the just revelation!
So conquer we will, o’er zombies and whores,
And this be our motto: ‘In God we trust more.’
And a new spangled banner once more shall be waved,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

An ode to CO2

is there nothing it can’t do
photosynthesis and warming
flora fauna reconforming
judeO2 suborning
calamity construe
remorseful rehabilitation
militia green creation
taxpayer ass dilation
from paris to peru
blarney baal conforming
artificial brain rewarding
scientifical denorming
synthetic peer review
milspec creation complex
ngo citation redux
tax is tithing says my cortex
constipation or i’ll sue
politician duty grifting
little people spit obeying
hammer down to earth relaying
sickle government renew
there is nothing it can’t do

The most illegal thing one can do in America

As far as anyone can tell, this is the most illegal thing one can do in America (subject to change without notice). If you have any ideas for improving the crime, please let me know.

When a black transgendered male IRS agent attempts to collect your Obamacare Shared Responsibility Payment, you lure him to the EPA Superfund site in your back yard where you refuse to check your white privilege or bake him a cake or photograph his upcoming nuptials, and then bludgeon him to death with a plastic grocery bag (from a non-union store) full of 1933 Double Eagle gold coins while denying man-made climate change and reviling him as a cisgendered race-betraying member of the Klan and the heteropatriarchy, after which you remove the “Do Not Remove” tag from a mattress, smoke ceremonial peyote stuffed into an unfiltered Marlboro cigarette* (bought “loose” on a street corner from a Black Lives Matter activist**) and toss a burning match that starts a fire on tribal land, violate an eagle with its own feather, and run over an endangered tree frog and a spotted owl as you escape across your own property (which has been declared a federally-protected wetland and an illegal logging operation) into another state in a Volkswagen diesel 4×4 with non-DOT-approved tires and expired tags and modified emissions software and no smog certificate while drinking from a jug of illegally-collected rainwater, texting on an encrypted iPhone, and speaking out for gun rights in a campus free-speech zone*** and carrying a life-sized picture of a semi-automatic .223 rifle with a flash suppressor and 11-round magazine that has a Romney 2012 sticker on the tactical folding stock, until you finally arrive at your job at Apple where you do not assist the FBI with weakening your own code.

*The second-hand smoke of which causes mesothelioma in an illegal undocumented immigrant who is being deported and separated from her children because you voted for Donald Trump.

**Which causes the homeless vendor to be murdered by the police, making you an accessory after the fact.

***Which causes the Chicano Socialist Students For Aztlán to accuse you of criminal hate speech and civil rights violations with special circumstances for intentional emotional abuse and reimbursement for the Latino safe space.

(I didn’t come up with this by myself, but I can’t reveal my sources – even though I’m not a “journalist” protected by the First Amendment – because they might be prosecuted for hate speech. I’ll take my chances.)

G0ldi3L0x and the Free Bears

Once upon a time … in a medium-sized town, which lingered between a very large forest and an endless prairie, a boy lived with his mother in an Urban Promise Zone. Their little rental unit was equidistant from his school and her workplace, and every weekday morning they would leave together, wave goodbye at the corner, and walk in opposite directions. The boy hated his school, the mother hated her government job, and every afternoon they would walk home and share stories of oppression over a dinner of fast food.

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Who wants free love anyway?

A play in one act.

Narrator: In the early years of the 21st century, repentant free-love hippies took over the California legislature and put an end to the unregulated sexual behavior of their grandchildren, who were now students at University of California campuses across the state. Concerned about the rape pandemic sweeping through the culture, these New Puritan lawmakers passed the Affirmative Behavioral Consent Act for the Safety of Students. Now, only a few years later, we embark on our own sexual discovery of two young lovers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Ransom of Green Chief

It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were fishing up in Minnesota – Doug and myself – when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was a crazy idea – as Doug said afterwards, “born from an afternoon of righteous partying” – but we didn’t find that out till later.

There was a town up there, Thief River Falls, whose government was honest as the day is long, of course. Folks who live where the two rivers meet are as taciturn and self-satisfied as any who ever threw a silver dollar across the Mississippi.

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To Tartarus, the furthest limits of the earth and sea?

For the Greeks, Hell was a place called Tartarus, and its three most famous inhabitants were Sisyphus, endlessly pushing his rock up the hill, Ixion, strapped to a wheel for eternity, and Tantalus, forever unable to quench his thirst. For ancient Norsemen, the great abyss that formed the boundary of the ocean and the world, Ginnungagap, was derived from Tartarus and Chaos. Europeans whose lands bordered the mighty Ottoman Empire appropriated the word and used it to demonize their enemies, “The Monstrous Tartar.”

From the British Museum: "Part of a broadside ballad on the so-called horse-headed Tartar reputedly captured by Count Zrinyi in Hungary while fighting the Ottoman army; with a woodcut showing a man with a horse neck, mane and ears, holding in his left hand a bow and in his right an arrow; with letterpress title, text in one column and verses in two columns, and with a column of type ornaments. (n.p.: [1664])"

From the British Museum: “Part of a broadside ballad on the so-called horse-headed Tartar reputedly captured by Count Zrinyi in Hungary while fighting the Ottoman army; with a woodcut showing a man with a horse neck, mane and ears, holding in his left hand a bow and in his right an arrow; with letterpress title, text in one column and verses in two columns, and with a column of type ornaments. (n.p.: [1664])”

Aeschylus, Virgil, Aristophanes, and Homer before them, wrote eloquently about hell. In Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus writes, “Oh if only he had hurled me below the earth, yes beneath Hades, the entertainer of the dead, into impassable Tartarus, and had ruthlessly fastened me in fetters no hand can loose, so that neither god nor any other might have gloated over this agony I feel!”

In Birds, Aristophanes says, “At the beginning there was only Chaos, Night, dark Erebus, and deep Tartarus. Earth, the air and heaven had no existence.”

In the Iliad, Homer writes of the saffron-robed dawn, and Zeus threatening to hurl into Tartarus anyone who dares oppose him.

Now Dawn the saffron-robed was spreading over the face of all the earth, and Zeus that hurleth the thunderbolt made a gathering of the gods upon the topmost peak of many-ridged Olympus, and himself addressed their gathering; and all the gods gave ear: “Hearken unto me, all ye gods and goddesses, that I may speak what the heart in my breast biddeth me. Let not any goddess nor yet any god essay this thing, to thwart my word, but do ye all alike assent thereto, that with all speed I may bring these deeds to pass. Whomsoever I shall mark minded apart from the gods to go and bear aid either to Trojans or Danaans, smitten in no seemly wise shall he come back to Olympus, or I shall take and hurl him into murky Tartarus, far, far away, where is the deepest gulf beneath the earth, the gates whereof are of iron and the threshold of bronze, as far beneath Hades as heaven is above earth: then shall ye know how far the mightiest am I of all gods.”

Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian of the 13th century, wrote of Tartarus in The Danish History, saying that the vanquished King Harald would “outstrip those who shared his death in their journey to Tartarus.” The king who slew him, Ring, prayed that “Pluto, the lord of Orcus, [would] grant a calm abode there for friend and foe.”

Grammaticus also told of an expedition to a land of the dead by an Icelander named Thorkillus. Somewhere between the Ural Mountains and the White Sea, this place was known as Gandvik in the Norse, derived from a word meaning “magic.”

Icelanders used to tell incredible stories of enormous riches piled up there, but the way to this place was full of dangers and almost inaccessible to mortals. According to the experts of this route, one had to cross the Ocean that surrounds the Earth, leaving Sun and stars behind, traveling to the kingdom of chaos and finally moving into places without light, shrouded in perpetual darkness.

The place of the dead described by ancient Icelanders, somewhere between the Ural Mountains and the White Sea.

Thorkillus traveled to the place of the dead described by ancient Icelanders, somewhere between the Ural Mountains and the White Sea.

For those Europeans who suffered the geographical misfortune of living along the warpath of Ottoman Sultans, nothing but the most extreme depiction of their enemies would do.

The image above, from the British Museum, explains that Tartars were monsters, no doubt from the pit of hell. The word was first used in this sense in the 13th century, referring to the hordes of Ghengis Khan. “… from Medieval Latin Tartarus, from Persian Tatar, first used 13c. in reference to the hordes of Ghengis Khan (1202-1227), said to be ultimately from Tata, a name of the Mongols for themselves. Form in European languages probably influenced by Latin Tartarus ‘hell.'”

The Online Etymology Dictionary also says that a phrase from the 1660s — “to catch a Tartar” — means “get hold of what cannot be controlled.”

My own purposes for the word Tartarus are more mundane. It only appears once, in what is now Chapter 7 of my novel. Mina and her protector Sa’d, are shopping in Galata for a map of Anatolia. Naturally, they visit the map-maker.

It looked like a bomb had exploded inside. Scrolls, paper, books, twine and dust lay everywhere, on tables and shelves in the front of the store, and Mina could only imagine what might be seen behind the heavy curtain at the back.

“What do you need?” Shouted the owner. “I have it!” He scuttled out from behind the curtain, a small man covered with an apron and bearing a most delicate knife.

“A map of the empire from here to the Caspian Sea,” Sa’d replied.

“Should that include the regions toward Egypt, or the other direction toward the Tsar and his beastly hordes?”

“The beastly hordes.” To Mina, he said, grinning, “You knew there would be beastly hordes, right?”

“Yes, I suppose so, although I hadn’t considered it directly. Are they as bad as they sound?”

“Worse!” said the proprietor. “Their knives are a thousand times the size of this.” He raised the sharp little knife and slashed the air dramatically. “But I use mine to greater effect. I can slice the world in half, while they are limited to slaughtering a few hundred men a day. Where are you going? As far as Astrakhan? Up the Volga River? Even to Tartarus, the furthest limits of the earth and sea?”

“Not as far as that, cartographer.” Sa’d smiled, clearly enjoying the man’s histrionics. “Just the Caspian. A merchant’s route, if you have one.”

I’ve done a fair bit of research on ancient maps, but I don’t know what kind travelers might have actually carried with them. In my mind, Mina acquires something simpler than the map of Natolia produced by Joan Blaeu in 1635, seen below, and Tartarus is (of course) not depicted.

The Atlas Maior or Great Atlas was produced by Joan Blaeu (1596-1673) between 1660 and 1663. It was with no doubt one of the most expensive cartographical productions of the 17th century. It contained 600 maps and 3000 pages with text in Latin. Later editions appeared also with French or German text.

“The Atlas Maior or Great Atlas was produced by Joan Blaeu (1596-1673) between 1660 and 1663. It was with no doubt one of the most expensive cartographical productions of the 17th century. It contained 600 maps and 3000 pages with text in Latin. Later editions appeared also with French or German text.” From the Facsimile Edition of the Atlas Blaeu.

Finally, a shameless plug. If you’d like to read the first two chapters of my novel, head over to WattPad. Criticism encouraged!