OK, this is a major shakeup of all my web space. I’ve been breaking up erictb.info, realizing that the clusters of articles on the main pages there is basically too cluttered, so I had begin by making separate pages for major essays, and now, I decided to drop a bunch of them here, and list everything to date, by category.
Entertainment and media
- Division between man’s soul and spirit
- Definitions of “Fortune/Luck” and “Money”, and the New Century
- Alternate Hex Codes
- Forgotten 4D object: The duo-cone
- Illustrating Little Girl Lost and the Langoliers
- NON-COMMUTATIVE SPACE
- Why is the “powers of ten” line asymmetrical? and the grownup name of “googol”
- How many sides does a circle have?
- “Great Zero” and the alternative negative number system
- Monochrome yellow vs. filtered or red+green mixing on
- Metric Time
Travel and Transit
RELIGION AND POLITICS
The more I think of it, slavery (in one form or another) is the ultimate goal or at least, ideal, in this nation’s economics.
It started with slavery engrained in its economy. We tend to think every white family had slaves as family pets, but it was really big business, being held by rich families and their corporations, especially agriculture (and like today, they continuously pit the poor white families against the blacks through blame and fear of crime). It was almost free labor (and they were generally fed scraps or the least desired portions of the meat), which of course was good for profits.
When emancipation was “forced” on these businesses (and the states that supported their practice), then suddenly, millions more people now had to have “freedom” and resources (including jobs/money) shared with them. This of course hurt the economy.
So this is when all the anti-government rhetoric began, and the portrayal of blacks as money-draining (and crime-prone) leeches and menaces to free society were greatly stepped up.
Basically, the nation was divided into this matrix; on the “professional” level, of big bad government against honest, productive “private enterprise”, and on the “everyday people” level, “hard working, productive” white men, against the lazy criminal blacks (and any rogue whites who supported them).
This was repeated, as even segregation and discrimination were forced to end. The rhetoric would be turned up, and eventually forced to be encrypted, as the racial sensitivities of “political correctness” and “multiculturalism” forced more direct references to race from political discourse. (And they deeply resented these things ever since!)
Now, the rhetoric became mostly economic (which is what it really was about all along) as well as morality (when even many whites began en-masse rebelling against the old religious-based mores of society), but since economics was initially framed along race, then race still had to be tied to it, in the titanic teamup of the government and minorities against business, and “the good people”. Communism also entered the picture, giving a larger framework in a foreign enemy “big government” could now be tied to. Young whites also continued to rebel, and so “hippies” were condemned by the older guardians of society.
So when the quality of life began greatly decreasing in the 70’s and afterward, with every city bombed out at the core, prices going up, while quality goes down (everything made cheaper in quality; “planned obsolecence” becoming the standard), and most importantly, jobs disappearing (often shipped out to other countries for what else but cheap labor; and those that remain having more responsibilities placed on them), and money even taken out of the country by moving enterprises over there, as well as to avoid US taxes, the rhetorical mechanism was long in place to blame this all on the minorities, who force the taxes to go up, by gaining “free handouts” from that old enemy, the “big government”, and essentially “forcing” these businesses and landlords to cut back quality while raising prices; basically punishing everyone for the perceived offenses of these so-called “leeches”.
They really can’t help it. It’s “the market” that determines that they must do all this to maintain profits; and while the CEO’s are deemed being worth more and more, and this cannot be figured into the problem; they “deserve” it.
Banks and the large automobile manufacturers will gain such a hold on the economy that they become “too big to fail”, and so must be bailed out by the government (to prevent total economic collapse), and then executives use the money for five and six figure recreations, but that’s their right. (Don’t you dare “envy” or “covet”, we are scolded!)
If you must blame someone, this is really all that “socialist” president’s fault! As well as the “takers”, which in this case are the unions (who often had their pensions used by the companies as well), in the case of the auto companies, and the “undeserving” loan recipients (many, minority), in the case of the banks! (And notice, in these latter cases, it’s not even the “nonworking” “welfare” recipient anymore! It’s people who “just” do “their 40 hours” a week, “turning a bolt” (which they already make way too much for), wanting even more, and yet not doing “more” like these poor, vilified CEO’s who push themselves with 80 or more hours. [even though it’s not healthy for them or their families, and thus not the model for what people “should” be working. Yet, it’s fixed that this is increasingly, practially the only way to stay afloat in this economy]).
We see right here the division of the entire populace into these two classes; one having unlimited rights and privileges, and the other being subservient; and somehow forfeiting the same “rights”. (We should be aware that this upper class basically sees itself as “the people”, as in “We the People”, not the rest of us. So while they speak of “freedom” and other things granted us by the Constitution, they believe only they have really “earned” it, to reference the old saying. Likewise, onecould really argue the Africans and native Americans had already forfeited their lands and freedoms by their traibal life being “unproductive” in contrast to “Christian” Europe).
The “truth” always hurts the lower classes or races, matching the Calvinism-infused “manifest destiny” the colonialists (Puritans, etc.) appealed to, and the “presuppositionalism” modern “Reconstructionists” cite as one of their pillars. (So it should figure, what they are trying to “reconstruct” might ultimately include!)
Yet the government stepped in wrongly trying to make things “equal”, and this is what has caused all our economic problems.
This is just a repeat of the sentiments marking slavery, and its end.
(Only now, under the guise of “freedom”, they can claim these classes, unlike race, are formed solely by the person’s own efforts to achieve. But one group, marked by race is having problems achieving, and so this becomes the justification of bring race back into the equations more directly, under the guise of what they call “culture”, and continuing to appear to blame the government and one of its “parties” for giving them “free stuff”, and in fact being the true “racists” trying to “enslave them a new way”).
So even the hard working middle class will argue in the CEOs’ favor, that they “delayed gratification”, and so deserve it all, and if that middle class observer’s finances are too tight, it’s because of the common enemy of both him and the big businesses; the government and these “vast hordes of leeches”. They didn’t “delay gratification”, which insinuates that they must “pay” now, through low paid subservience, but the government keeps trying to interfere, and that’s why everyone is getting punished, and the “angry middle class” blamees the poor.
(These articles: http://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths-about-why-the-south-seceded/2011/01/03/ABHr6jD_story.html #3: http://www.salon.com/2014/07/16/i_was_poor_but_a_gop_die_hard_how_i_finally_left_the_politics_of_shame show this dynamic back in slavery days, and now, where people identify with the power structure screwing them over, even thinking these leaders as “better” than even themselves, so that their enemy and/or scapegoat becomes one’s own).
Then and now, this is why the rich always end up being defended as “earning” everything they have, and are thus the real “victims”, and would share the wealth if they weren’t so taxed and regulated by the “liberals” in order to give it all to the “undeserving”.
So three mechanisms of virtual slavery have arisen. One, the drug war, which was targeted at minorities, and then justifies trapping them in a cycle of lifelong legalized discrimination, for being imprisoned, then then having a conviction record.
Of course, this comes nowhere near restoring slavery, but it’s a way of getting as many as you can into the system (and also bolsters the case that “the people” are so “crime-prone”, filling prisons disproportionately. And once tarnished and hardened like that, they will become more likely to fall into cycles of crime and public assistance).
The next one is the “prison industrial complex” (see also https://erictb.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/review-the-new-jim-crow/#comment-3218) where prisons are privatized, bcoming “big business”, under the profit motive, and thus have a big motive to try to get more young people into prisons.
When I first heard of this, it was a story actually about mostly white kids in Pennysylvaia, which IIRC was one of the early instances of this system. But of course, it will greatly benefit from the drug war, funeling mostly black kids into the system.
The other is financial debt, egged on by increasingly high interest (which was directly condemned by the Bible, yet conservative Christians; often the most virulent defenders of “capitalism” during the Cold War, didn’t seem to think anything of this). Not just for home, car and other credit, but even student loans, with education increasingly being the main key to “pulling up your bootstraps”* (it wasn’t always like this), but now made financially astronomical; about as much as a nice home or more, and almost impossible for many to ever pay off completely; being trapped like this, with part of their every dollar essentially owned by these institutions, perhaps for life.
So it’s a catch-22, where conservatives say people struggle because they are being lazy and not striving to succeed enough; but then the reason you’re truggling is because you put yourself in debt, trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps!
(In addition to this, “planned obsolescence” continued to reach new highs, eventually becoming technological, as we depend more and more on electronics, which are deliberately made obsolete so that you have to keep buying new ones. One large company reportedly sends out software “updates” that actually kill the device, forcing you to buy a new one! Yet, these are good, honest, “productive” enterprises who “deserve” every penny they get!)
Now, this one also doesn’t trap just minorities, but then class division was really what’s more important than race division anwyway; it’s just that race was initially an easier, pre-made distinction, and it was easy to take them as slaves, and they could pull other strings like using certain scriptures to seemingly justify it. But now, race continues to be a good deflectionary tactic, as it was even in past centuries, to have everyone blaming the other race for the financial problems.
Nothing has changed; we’re seeing all the same tactics over and over.
*(In passing, you hear both sides saying “education” is what needs to be fixed in order to solve “the black problem”, but when blacks say this, they mean the quality of education, which was always inferior, with poor materials and infrastructure itself. When conservatives say this, they’re referring to the “lowering of standards” where kids are being wrongly passed through without meeting the actual qualifications, in order to make them “equal”, when they really are not. However much this may be done or not, when it is, it is likely to compensate for the poor quality. So to complain about making it too easy for them, without addressing the crumbling system, is just another ploy to keep the people down, and make it look like its just their own “inferiority”, and that inequality is thus quite “fair”).
So this system truly has everyone by the throat, and rather than the government “persecuting” it and giving everything to minorities; it itself is often bought out by these private interests. They have now created a virtual “ice age” of apparent scarcity (i.e. reaction as if that was the case, such as cutbacks, hoarding, etc.) and struggle in what was supposed to be the most properous nation in the world, and yet many will still blame it all on the minorities, and call into question the character of the whole “group” or groups (which now includes “illegal immigrants”, of course), and this will point to what, other than how good it would be if all these “problem people” were somehow corralled, like they were in the glory days of the nation’s early history.
People are faced with a choice. To admit the system as founded was wong, or contend that it was right. The former is what the liberals have done, and the latter is what conservatives have been doing, though [most] having to hide the real conclusion, and some may not even have thought enough to be aware of what it really leads to.
Under the premise of “exceptionality”, blame for the economic problems can never be placed on the early nation for founding its economy on slavery and oppression in the first place. No, it’s continuously excused with “the good outweighs the bad”. But all of these problems today, which they are the biggest complainers of, are never seen as part of that “bad”; only blamed on others. (and then. the “black problems” they also point out are not seen as part of that initial “bad” either; only blamed on blacks themselves and liberals, with the blacks accused of “excusing” themselves and blaming everyone else!)
“The Market” is just “nature”, which people think justifies all their actions. (Along with “survival of the fittest” and the rest of the philosophy you might read in the works of Rand and others). It is in contrast to “integrity”, where we bring an ethic of justice and care into our participation in nature. This is what people are missing, in all their rationalizations.
It is basically a denial of “responsibility” (another term they like to toss at others a lot). “It’s not my fault I’m taking money out of the US economy. The Market made me do it”. (And of course, it’s really those dumb “takers”‘ fault the market is so messed up in the first place).
But then “nature” is what the “problem people” in crime and assistance are following as well, and we think this makes them “animals”, but the “civilized” so-called “productive” or “makers” are following the “animal” drive just as much.
The problem is, everyone wants to follow “nature”, and justify themselves in doing it, while condemning the way others follow the same instincts. This I call “inertia”.
Man’s desire is to “BE” good, without DOing good, or to be judged as “good” without ACTUALLY being good.
Then, they assume the reward of this state of “good” is prosperity and rulership in the world.
So we say it’s an “exceptional” nation, and colonialism and slavery don’t matter, because of all the other “good” we did (typical using one’s own assortment of “works” to justify falling short in other areas; like people do with God); and look, these people today are just using that as an excuse for their ongoing “problems” and demand for “free stuff” (we project this “excuse”-making onto the other, because “excuses” are only legitimate for us).
So the added insinuation of this (uttered only by the most radical white supremacists): “see, they were justified in enslaving these people, and it’s you ‘egalitarians’ who’ve ruined everything by forcing their freedom on us”.
The sole aim of pure, unmitigated “nature” is survival, at any cost, including the instinct of “control or kill them before they control or kill you”. So following nature alone will naturally hypothetically gravitate toward some form of total control (which is the reason radical “Right” ideology always ends up becoming just as “authoritarian” as the worst Leftist regimes when given the power. The “libertarian” [“anti-government”, etc.] language they employ now is just their pleas for “freedom” under those more powerful than they are. If their way of thinking gains control, then the so-called “persecuted” become the persecutors, and the first sign of this is how they already scoff at the supposed “victimhood” of others lower on the chain than they are, and the fact that they so detest any authority above them in the first place).
So they may not actually, consciously be trying to restore chattel slavery, but the point is, that it is the hypothetical ideal, which some could even argue would solve our financial problems. (But most won’t bring themselves to say it that way). So instead, they use these other means to try to get as low and subserviant a work force as possible, and have as many of them as they can, blaming each other, or those even lower than they are, so that they can see and do nothing, as the situation gets worse and worse.
The goal is that more people should wake up to this, and not depend solely on the government to fix it up (as again, it has been largely bought out by corporate interests, so they’ll only end up doing just enough for those lower down, to have everyone blaming them for benefitting from all the government “control” over everyone else, and the problems of the struggling likely won’t even be solved). There should be a mass outcry against the cost of education and loan interest if nothing else.
And also, against the 150+ year old blaming game itself! This should take precedence over complaining about “inequality”. For how can we expect to be taken seriously continuing to ask for “equality”, when political discourse is filled with loud rhetoric claiming we’ve already been given too much, that’s “free” and “undeserved” even, and is what’s destroyign the economy (with some going as far as to say that whites are the “persecuted minority” now!) and we hardly even ever respond to it?
This should raise the consciousness of the problem, and lead to better solutions, without just running to the government, and thus keeping the rhetorical ball of deflection rolling.
One of the more prominent, though not as recognized (as Stevie or Earth, Wind &Fire) musical backgrounds in my life was the jazz-rock band Steely Dan. I remember hearing their jazzy tunes atributed to them in my early 20’s, probably on the “KISS Jazz” show (that NY’s “Kiss-FM had on Sundays), and a few of them, before that, on other stations like WPIX. I remember buying both the album Aja, as well as fusion group Spyrogyra’s new release Alternating Currents, likely at Bondy’s on Park Row (the ornate old Potter Building), if not J&R on the next block. The title track “Aja” was a nice, flowing almost solid jazz tune on piano.
I didn’t even remember what exactly I bought Spyrogyra for; I guess whatever I was hearing on the radio was interesting, but Steely Dan would slowly become a significant group. The album includes “Peg”, whose chorus I always heard for years as “HEY; it will come back to you…”! It was like the perennial “New York state of mind” type of sound and, and all of the other jazzy/funky tracks (such as “Josie”, which like Peg has an Earth Wind & Fire-like funk feel, and Deacon Blues) remind me of lower Manhattan, though all their music was recorded in LA, and I’m seeing an interview where they’re saying it was a “California” sound that you could not picture being anywhere but from LA.
I until probably that time did not know that the lead singer of this group was the guy (Donald Fagen, with the funny album cover pose with the cigarette inhis hand) who had done “International Geophysical Year (What a Beautiful World)”, which I liked so much, I had gotten the 45 for. (The B side “Walk Through the Raindrops” didn’t move me, however). I liked “On that train of graphite and glitter…”, and something about “spandex jackets for everyone” (had never even heard of spandex before). With just a cursory listening to the words, it totally seemed to be a random bunch of images, that had no coherent meaning.
I originally actually thought this was Stevie Wonder (especially with the harmonica solo or reasonable facimile), as the voices are really not all that far apart, and after the smash hit “Do I Do” that summer, which I assumed would be part of an upcoming album in addition to the compilation it and three other new songs were apart of, I got totally “into” Stevie and began listening for new songs, and anything that sounded remotely similar I would take notice of.
Then, that winter, Thriller came out, and “Billie Jean” was playing heavily. I liked it, for it reminded me a bit of Curtis Mayfield’s “Little Child, Running Wild”, from Superfly, 10 years earlier (which I had been taken to see at a drive-in). At some point, Kiss began playing this mix of Billie Jean with an old song from the 70’s I remembered, which went something like “black jack, Do it Again“. (https://youtu.be/ngVXXr0ZfAo My mother hated that mix). I had no idea this was from the same guy who did IGY, and the same group who did Peg. And also “Hey Nineteen”, a [at the time] not too long ago song that was also pretty common.
Even less would I have imagined that this is also the group who did the old grungy rock song whose chorus I had always heard as “Realing in the East” (which was followed by “stowing away the time”, and a very signature fast moving Celtic styled jig on guitar backed by tamborine beats). This song (which was actually on the same album as “Do it Again”) always reminded me of some gritty old barber shop with a dirty looking sunlit bathroom with peeling light green paint and an old sink, on Rogers near Empire my father took me to once or twice, on the way to either Grandma’s, or Cub Scouts (in Grandma’s church, Bethany Baptist. The barber we usually went to was further up, where Rogers merged with Bedford [and almost literally a stone throw from where my future wife was growing up], but this other one stuck in my mind, and the song, which I think I heard on the radio there was like a gritty background for it).
Growing up on the Beatles’ Abbey Road, a song’s lyrics or title did not have to have any meaning, so I never questioned that as the title, though I would later wonder what the lyrics of both groups meant, especially after hearing that some Beatles lyrics (like “Lucy in the Sky”) were [cryptic] “veiled references” to drugs (and I imagine, sex).
Exploring the group’s progression in sound
When beginning to look at Steely Dan albums in stores, I would see all the weirdly themed album and track titles, and wonder what they were about. (“Razor Boy”?) As a young Christian, I was probably afraid to to try them out by buying more albums. I did see “Do it Again” and “Reeling in the Years” on their first album (titled “Can’t Buy a Thrill” and graced with hookers on a busy street). But didn’t realize that they were those very familiar songs. (The latter made me think of Simply Red’s recent hit “Holding Back the Years”, and so I imagined it as a sad kind of ballad).
The second album, “Countdown to Ecstasy” (whose artwork reminded me a bit of Stevie’s contemporaneous “Innervisions”) had a song “Bodhisattva”, which I recognized was an Eastern religion concept.
The title track to the next album, “Pretzel Logic”, I first heard in the 1991 live version (with Michael McDonand who was once apart of the band for awhile, doing the last verse, about stepping on the platform and explaining where he got his shoes) that used to play on the CD101 station (Former WPIX-FM). This began raising interest in the group, for its very jazzy “chordal changes”, which were the audible “hooks” in music that gained my attention the most. This is what Stevie had a great handle on, when he finally perfected his sound in the second contract, working with “TONTO” engineers Margouleff and Cecil, and including “Talking Book”, which I had grown up with.
They were also similar to that period of Stevie and others TONTO worked with at the time such as the Isleys, in generally having no orchestration. (The only two that seems to have a string orchestra are “Through With Buzz” on Pretzel logic, and “FM”, which was a special song made for a movie and not on a studio album. Some others; and few at that, such as Josie, have synth strings, and a few have light Moogs or Moog-like background sounds!)
So this song, starts out sounding a bit like a slower version of Reeling in the Years, with the grungy rock guitar sound, but when it gets to the chorus, you suddenly out of nowhere get this jazzy pair of chords consisting of a higher one, then a lower one, which repeats three times; the third time accompanied by the words “those days are gone forever, over a long time ago”. This was clearly the kind of sound I was familiar with on Aja, (and reminded me of Stevie’s early Contract 2 stuff I liked so much). So this began raising some interest in the group.
I eventually began hearing “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (the album opener; a similar song, sounding like a precursor to “Aja”, and also being another one of those mysterious titles I remembered, that you wonder what could possibly mean), and the also similar “Doctor Wu” from the next album (with it’s theme of a lying girl named “Katy”, represented on the cover by a katydid insect).
It wasn’t until very late in the game, perhaps in the latter days of the old “Downstairs Records” in Midtown, where you could play 45’s on a turntable, that I ventured to try out some Steely Dan singles, and began to learn what was what.
Then, it figured that all of this stuff from “Reeling” to “IGY” featured that same lead vocalist, and had some of the same musical techniques, even the earliest works, though, not as refined as later.
I had marveled how vastly different, at first glance, the 1974 singles and later stuff sounded from those singles from 1972. I eventually hear this song with these soft vocals sounding something like one of the Beatles, and hard Fender Rhodes chords greatly evoking Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World”, and the country-like chorus reveals that this is “Dirty Work”. (Not sure whether I ever heard it as a child, but it sure fit in with those years. It has a totally different lead vocalist, and so doesn’t sound like them at all).
So then I’m interested in where exacly it changed. The “Bodhisattva” track (which may have been the only single from that album at Downstairs) was like neither here nor there. It sounded different from either the first album or the ones after. It opens with these very jazzy random piano chords, then a guitar solo that would evoke Reeling, but then becomes something like emulating a 50’s style rock or swing song, and its chorus (“show me the shine of your Japan, the sparkle of your China…”[??!!!]), has distinctive chordal changes that again, are different from either the works before or after, and in a way reminds me of parts of Stevie’s contemporaneous “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”. Parts of the chorus of album closer “King of the World” faintly remind me of that direction as well.
So it looked like they were trying to change their sound, and since I see that that album did poorly, they continued to try to refine it. (This one seems to fall more on the side of the first album. And even the other songs on Pretzel Logic still follow suit). Most of them are like perhaps very primitive, rudimentary versions of “Deacon Blues” from Aja (i.e. same basic rhythm, but the earlier instrumentation); or standard contemporary 70’s soft rock (Elton John, etc.) with more of a country-rock sound, still.
The closest thing to the later sound on the first album is the closing track “Turn That Heartbeat Over Again”.
(Meanwhile, Elton’s John’s contemporaneous hit “Benny and the Jets” has the key feature I would associate with the later Steely Dan sound: the up and down chordal progression in the instrumental part of the chorus, which resembles something like the instrumental interlude on “Aja”; —in addition to the obscure song title reference!
Funny, should mention in passing, that in the 90’s, when I was inquiring about Chicago, from remembering their “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is” and “Beginnings” from when I was really young, one friend, who was then my supervisor, blurted out that she “hated them”, and then out of nowhere threw in Steely Dan as well. I was surprised, as I hadn’t mentioned the latter, but had already long liked them, and I found it funny that she would throw in this other group I was into, on top of the former, like that.
I did not think of the two groups as having anything to do with each other, but thinking about it, I could see where there are some similarities, epecially earlier on. Both groups changed their sound significantly, but in totally different directions; Chicago becoming a big vehicle for David Foster).
There were always the distinctive chordal changes from the earliest albums, but they were more subdued, and not as jazzy or refined as in Pretzel Logic and after.
The closest thing in the second album I would say is the chorus of “Your Gold Teeth”, with the verses sounding like a cross between “Do It Again”, and the Stylistic’s following year semi-hit “Heavy Falling Out”, but then has this sudden, surprise chord change with “see how they roll” (which also sounds like an obvious knockoff of the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”; [“see how they run“], though in a totally different key). “Razor Boy” seems to be inching toward the later sound as well.
So Pretzel Logic is where they found the chord change style they wanted, and they continued to refine it, leading up to Aja. But initially still with a heavy guitar presence, so the verses still resemble the grungy sound of “Reeling in the Years” a bit.
“Charlie Freak” was like a direct followup to Reeling in the Years; same rhythm, a bit heavier on the piano, and with “jingle bells” replacing the tamborines of the previous song. (As there are prototypical early recordings of it on special collection albums, it may have been something written earlier). “Black Friday”, on the following album, has the same basic rhythm as the two previous songs, but has the newer styled multiple chordal changes in the chorus.
The earlier “rock” sound was of course highlighted by rock guitars (and also the group vocals). They from the beginning had acoustic piano, electric piano (likely the Fender Rhodes), and bass, but in adopting a more jazzy sound, the guitars began to fade to the background (especially with many of the original band members leaving after the first few albums), and the bass and keyboards became more prominent, and horns eventually added.
In “Aja”, the earlier style guitar sound is used in a solo during the instrumental section of the song.
Entering the 80’s, in the final initial band album after Aja (Gaucho), the overall style remained similar, but inching toward the IGY sound with more prominent electric (or combination of electric and acoustic) piano “whole” note chords and reggae-inspired grooves and harmonica solos.
“Babylon Sister” I first heard in the first weeks of ’89, in boot camp. It was a quiet Sunday, we were toward the end of training enough that the instructor could take the weekends off, and the dorm chief was in charge. They had the instructor’s radio (in his little office) on, and this song with these far stretching Rhodes chords jumping all over the place was playing, and I at first said to myself eagerly, “What’s that?”, but then instantly figured it was something by Steely Dan, and when it got to the chorus, I immediately recognized it as one of those strange titles I had seen on the albums. The chords are so up and down and sideways that I have had a hard time even being able to retain the verse part of the song. It is clearly the pinnacle of the sound they developed, and light years ahead of even anything even on Aja.
(There’s also a bunch of unreleased stuff on Youtube from the same album sessions, and it too is remarkable! Also, around this time in my life was Grover Washington’s remake of “Time Out of Mind”; the original also from that album. Not sure if I had heard the original before, but this remake, which I think even featured Fagen, still sounded just like them, the giveaway being the horns over “cherry wine”, which sounded so “Deacon Blues”, “Black Cow” or “Peg”-like. I had also thought Michael Frank’s “Your Secret’s Safe With Me” was Steely Dan, and even had once expected to find it on Aja. I only remembered the jazzy chorus from that song, and thought I remembered the verses as sounding like Deacon Blues, so I listened for that song to turn into it on the chorus, and it wouldn’t have been too surprising, with the way chords change. Two raps that would sample Steely Dan songs are Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz “Deja Vu” (the opening to Black Cow), and De La Soul “Eye Know”, which takes the vocal “I know I love you better” and a clip of the horns from “Peg”, and while I thought the guitar was taken from that too, it and the other horns the follow as if they were from the same source were actually from the beginning of The Mad Lads’ “Make This Young Lady Mine”, and it also includes a whistle sample from Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay”
Christian singer Gary Oliver was a bit influenced by the IGY sound, in the song “Walk in the Light (Follow the Son)”.
80’s and afterward, and raising lyrical eyebrows
Still, the problem for me, was what these cryptic titles and lyrics really meant. Like I find a song from the album before Aja; “The Fez” is about a condom! (Seems to be about safe sex. Like a precursor to BDP’s rap “Jimmy hats”).
So I had only the Aja LP, and eventually got the CD of that one and Fagen’s by then solo album, The Nightfly, like I did for Stevie, and was completing for Earth Wind & Fire (who had obviously pagan themes, but at least most of the songs were pretty kosher; “Serpentine Fire” being the primary exception. Then, they even dropped the pagan imagery from the albums for a time, when they got back together, around the same time I became Christian).
So this album pretty much continues the same style and weird lyrical images. It also included “New Frontier”, which I had heard before, and the lively, Clavinet/Rhodes fused “Greenflower Street”.
Afterwards, Fagen would drop out of music for awhile, but at the end of the 80’s do a single song for a film, “Century’s End”, which basically continues the “Nightfly” sound. Then, another solo album in ’93. I did not pay attention to this, and may not have been aware of it, or just wasn’t interested in his solo work enough at the time. However, two years later, a friend (a fellow fan of Stevie and others like Fagen) makes me a Christmas tape, that included a song from this album, “Snowbound” (and also several songs by Herb Alpert, and Smokey’s “I Can Tell that Christmas Is Near”, which was written by Stevie and Syreeta).
This to me is the perennial “Friday evening after work in a club during Christmas season” sound, and features those same kinds of seeming random scene lyrics.
The group got back together in 2000, and the album pretty much picked up from before. I still did not push to get it, as I hadn’t fully explored their history yet (and it wasn’t until very recently, with Rhapsody, that I finally went through all their stuff).
In 2003, I’m skimming through the main Sam Ash on 48th St. (would often check up on the latest synthesizers or digital pianos there), and I hear their newest album, but one of the tracks is something called “Godwhacker”, which had words that appeared to be aimed one-to-one at God Himself, and you’ll have to see them here: http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858557176, as a few lines are so bad I cannot even bring myself to quote the most pertinently shocking words. (And I’m not usually squeamish about others’ blasphemies and such; they are the ones who will have to answer to God for it).
My friend I mentioned above, also a Christian, told me that it was really a metaphor aimed at corrupt religious leaders like Saddam Hussein. That made me feel a little bit better, though I still believed using terms aimed at “the almighty” or “Daddy” was still too over the top for comfort, even if referring to humans. You’re basically still essentially blaming Him for their actions they are only doing in His name, despite whether He actually sanctioned them or not.
In passing, I should mention I would shortly get rid of the CD’s of Aja, Nightfly, Abbey Road, those new Beatles singles released in the 90’s, my entire Earth Wind & Fire collection, and an 80’s new wave compilation, in a musical purge sparked on by starting to debate old-line fundamentalists on music, and even CCM singer Carman aknowledging that there’s “a spirit behind music”, and then feeling convicted, and then my wife objecting to the huge ankh that appeared in EWF’s latest CD at the time as they now moved back to pagan imagery.
My getting rid of the Fagen works; after I found that [in addition to the titles’ mysterious “veiled references”], the band itself’s name was said to be such a reference; taken from the name of a “dildo” (sex toy used as a penis. Just now looking this up further, I see it was not a brand or model that ever existed, but rather a fictional one, used in an old William Burroughs novel).
Wrestling with God?
However, in just looking the lyrics up again, and finding the above link, I see the old “Saddam” interpretation was a common myth, and someone cited Fagen in a book he wrote, Eminent Hipsters as saying he in fact did write the song about actually going to Heaven (with Satan, “slinky red foot”) and “taking God out”, after his mother died horribly of Alzheimer’s! “‘If the Deity actually existed, what sane person wouldn’t consider this to be justifiable homocide?’ So yeah. The lyrics are kind of straight forward. However it does give a whole new philosophical dimension to the song. The concept of if a God did exist, he surely deserves punished for his blatant lack of care etc.” Another commenter suggests it’s some sort of “Manichaean fantasy”, “doing riffs on Gnosticism”, about taking out “a god (lower case)”. Still, there is a clear allusion to Genesis and the pre-Fall unity man had with the Creator.
I liked the two comments:
this is a sad, sad song. i love steely dan music, in spite of their frequently perverted subject matter. but as great a groove as this is, the playing, the solos etc, to see a human being who was given life and breath by God shaking his fist at heaven and wanting to kill the Father who loves him is just a perfect picture of man’s pathetic attitude toward God since creation. Exactly the same as when Jesus came to earth to rescue man — and the very ones he came to save mocked him, spit on him, and crucified him. This is how we treat God. Donald’s mom had Alzheimers? ok, my mom died of Parkinson’s, welcome to reality in a sin-stained world. Now grow up, don’t get angry at God, get angry at slinky red foot for ruining God’s perfect sinless creation and your fellow man for gladly jumping on the bandwagon. I was going to introduce this song to my steely dan tribute band until i examined the lyrics closer. This is donald and walter at their cleverest, profoundest worst. I fear for their souls.
If the backstory on this song is accurate then it helps me understand how in the absence of empathy and grief we resort to violence; in this case it’s violence against G-d. I can’t imagine the deep sense of sadness and anger that Fagen must feel, and that his need for connection has been lost now from his mothers passing. I wonder if he had a profound need to understand why G-d allowed his mother to suffer and eventually die. And I wonder if he was disgusted with himself for not being able to deliver her from the disease. But in “Godwhacker,” Killing off G-d is actually another compounding of tragedy upon tragedy. One of the reasons being that killing G-d doesn’t liberate you from the need to grieve: so it is a powerless and tragic act.
The way back to wholeness is to repent, trust Jesus, and discover the power of good grieving which transforms your spiritual life comprehensively.
(Philip Yancey IIRC somewhere; likely Disappointment With God, cites some old writing by someone, about man being like a boy who kills his parents and then cries that he wants his mommy and daddy!)
Although a problem, as I’ve been discussing a lot in my writings, is that these sentiments exacerbate the problem by raising the very sorts of expectations [which are basically the sources of nearly all pain, when they are unmet] that lead people to rebel like that. “Trusting Jesus” leading to some sort of “transformation” that compensates for the loss. But to be honest, it doesn’t really work like that. Ultimately, the goal is supposed to be to put the suffering of life in perspective, realizing that it will be more than made up for in Heaven. But in the original scriptural context, “trusting God” is to eliminate the problem of guilt from the condemnation of the Law (which did cause a lot of anxiety in Biblical times). It is opposed to trusting in our own works. Also, to deal with persecution by the Temple system (at the hands of the Romans whom they turned Christians over to).
Faith in Christ was not offered as a promise to make us feel better in general life circumstances (which include physical pain and death). But a whole massive Christian teaching industry often puts it out as such, and basically sells it to the masses (which people on the outside also see and judge our validity by).
So when it doesn’t make some people feel better (and which time the people who teach this will then come right out and clarify it’s “not about feelings”), then this will likely lead to disillusionment, and possibly even rebellion like this. (And then, we see here the way people often coldly dismiss people’s suffering; like “grow up, it’s just sin”. Christians don’t think this way when they are feeling mistreated by “the [sinful] world”).
I still grapple with why the world is the way it is, under a “personal” God. Not so much directly about “why pain” any more (it seems to be a apart of nature, and the preterist-based views move away from a notion of “the Fall” being physical, and affecting the physical universe, which was created “good”; it was man’s “knowledge” which clearly, according to the text, became corrupted).
So with me, its more about why this world often seems to encourage people to follow “nature” (the survival instinct, where the powerful prosper at others’ expense; rather than “integrity”, which is about justice, care and the patience to not depend solely on nature). Basically, it all boils down to why difficulty is “tangible” (or physical, concrete, material; basically the “Sensory” perspective), while the “hope” that is supposed to compensate it, can only be intangible (mental, abstract, immaterial; or the iNtuitive perspective. And I’m an N, so you would think this would be right up my alley, but it only led me to the philosophical questions, and purported answers, but then I eventually demanded tangible evidence to support it. It’s ultimately the “coniunctio” we all desire, where all split polarities are harmonized, including the opposites of the polarities our egos choose to focus on).
Of course, to standard theology, even with all of this, people are still “held accountable”, to “know better”, and that’s why they will be “judged” so harshly. They use Romans 1, which seems to pitch a “general revelation” basis of “accountability”, yet general revelation seems to point to inhuman power mongering, a lot of times. (Then, they’ll try to run behind “the Fall”. But if that’s the case, then the “general revelation” argument falls as well. In actuality, that passage is talking about specific people back then given special revelation, which they still “held in unrighteousness”).
But still, why imagine yourself going to take out the Creator of the whole universe, who created that whole big ball of glowing steel wool scientists have mapped out, in which our whole galaxy supercluster (over 100 million light years across) is an infinitessimal speck? It obviously stems from a belief that He is not real. (It’s one thing for someone to maybe have some thoughts like that, in the most extreme bout of anger or something; but to publish it in a song?) You may argue that the religious people don’t really know for sure that He exists (like my father always said “you don’t know; the Pope don’t know,,,” etc,) but then are you that sure he doesn’t exist? At least respect people (including fans, as we see) who do believe in Him!
Listening to his stuff, with chord change after chord change, I keep saying this man is so talented! Pretty much up there with Stevie, even though he hasn’t quite gotten the spotlight that Stevie has. So it’s like “why?”! It’s a shame that this is what he would say about God (which would definitely make it almost impossible to justify listening to him in the event I ever directly tangle with fundamentalist Christians questioning “our musical choices” again. This is especially worrisome, with inferior extraverted Feeling).
The “anima” dynamic; the sights and sounds of “life”
The whole point of all this, is how the sounds have become tied in with a sense of “life”, for me. It’s obviously some sort of “anima” dynamic, for me to sit down and pour out such a long memoir of this group I don’t even talk about that much (and pushing back other projects I was planning for this vacation). It was from when I was becoming familiar with their stuff, in my early 20’s, and had just become Christian, and longing for a partner (which now would be much harder to find, as it had to be only a Christian as mature in the faith as you were, and you couldn’t sleep with them or even do risky behaviors like heavy petting or too much time alone, until marriage).
During this time, being grown enough to explore the city on my own, I also began seeing a lot of lower Manhattan, a place I didn’t go to much, since everything I would be taken to as a child was usually further uptown. I was in the Village a lot, looking in old record stores (particlarly for non-midlined Motown albums. Midlining was where they changed all of the original sublabels like “Tamla” or “Gordy” to Motown, [5xxx series], and eliminated interior flaps with the artwork or lyrics and credits. Was at the time trying to get original versions of some of Stevie’s later contract 1 albums. Contract 2 and afterward were never midlined).
For some reason, Peg and especially Josie came to be associated with Chinatown and Little Italy. Probably from hearing them on the radio around the time I was starting to go to San Genarro (which originally extended around past the Mulberry Bend, and perhaps eating at a Chinese restaurant, and I also discovered Chinatown Fair, the only old arcade in Manhattan, to still be open today!)
Again, rather than a semitropical atmosphered lowrise “California” sound (like “surf and sun” type of stuff), these songs seem to fit in with the gritty tenement blocks of lower Manhattan. Especially the irregularly layed out West, with triangular blocks where 6th or 7th Avenues extend and cut through the below Houston (the start of the main numbered Street section) grid, with little 19th century smaller buildings with cafes, or whatever. (They also remind me of sections of uptown, on the West side).
The rich sounds are to audio what color is visually, and figuratively, and as at least my wife and I (having honeymooned in LA, and me exploring before that, in the Air Force) agree, New York is the more “colorful” place, at least as far as architecture and atmosphere.
Fagen and his band were originally from New York, and their songs basically were reflecting their college years adventures with wine, women and song, or whatever. (Probably drugs, too. Some of the women they were singing about, like the Babylon sisters, were prostitutes or other shady behaviors. Or some suggest some girls they had picked up in Babylon, NY[LI] and took to the west, and driving up and down that coast. In that instance, he was not advocating whatever sex was occurring, but having apparently indulged so much already, was realizing it was not good. So that was a “learning from life” experience).
So many of them really are “New York” experience songs, despite where they were recorded! (Babylon sisters does specifically mention California areas, however. But then this includes in part, San Francisco, which is culturally and visually closer to the atmosphere of NY than LA anyway).
Even vocal sounds like “…it’s over now, take your big Black Cow, and GET OUTTA HERE!” and “I take ya PICTCHA! I keep it with yo LETTA” sound so New York (particularly Brooklyn, where they were from. Reminds me of the New York baseball culture, as well).
Even though as a young Christian, and a black American(secular or religious), homosexuality was the worse thing a person could be into, and of course, that’s what you thought about when you thought about the Village. I did not mingle with people there (so never encountered anything in that lifestyle), just browsed through, maybe got something to eat (usually at Subway, which was new in NY at the time, and still pretty rare), and then headed home.
But I got this sense of “life”, in the sights and sounds there. It’s basically what I would now recognize as the “anima”; life-giving instinctual energy. My father was basically one of those 60’s bohemians (rebelling against the old societal order with all its racism, neurosis and hypocrisy) who had eventually put on a suit and joined the regular work force and the “nuclear family” life, and yet was well familiar with the Village scene, particular for the jazz, which he was into.
And at my entry to adulthood, he was contantly pressuring me to “grow up” and experience “life”, and of course feared my new adoption of Christianity (which he was bitterly harassing me over at times) would hinder that. (He gave me his copies of The World Bible and the novel The Razor’s Edge to try to “broaden my perspective”. I did gain some comparative religion from the former, yet still convincing me that Christianity was the only one that really addressed man’s problems in any coherent way, and the latter I just could not get far into; not being into novels, and it seemed very dense. Was never even able to get into Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I had been given years earlier, and that’s supposed to be a classic kind of INTP “nerd” book!)
Still, by 21, I just imagined myself finally fitting in this thing called “life” I felt so cast out of, and maybe finding the perfect woman out there, coming from her own difficult journey (which I take it Razor’s Edge was about), amongst all the people. (Ironically, the one I did eventually find, was probably never far away, as she and her best friend used to hang out in the Village a lot, and she too always liked something about the liberal atmosphere. We spent dating and early marriage, going to places like UNO’s and occasionaly other restaurants).
But even while believing this was the pit of “Sodom” (I joked to my wife, when passing through St Marks Pl. once; “if those walls [inside the buildings] could talk…”); though not taking a quite as strict personally judgmental attitude against them like other Christians), there was still this sense of “life” and “freedom” in the [slightly] androgynous or artistic looking females walking around, and the scruffy male hipsters (or whatever they were called then), all often carrying around musical instruments, or [graphic] art stuff.
I’m not in the Village proper as much anymore (though I run the the train underground through it every day, and just had to visit a dermatologist there), but since it’s September, San Genarro is going on this week. Probably why that has had such an allure is just the bustle of people, on what is an “only in New York” mix of a largely residential street lined by tall (relatively speaking) old tenements (and I like the architecture of the “new law” ones), with businsses on the ground floor.
It’s a cross section of “life”.
Also significant; this stretch leading to what became the big “anima-infused” project of last year, the Five Points (—which the block bounded by Mulberry, Mosco[Park], Mott and Worth is technically apart of as it was the same numbered block that made up the original southeast corner of the intersection, even after being bisected by Mulberry, and later, Worth). This area had already been significant in that way, and so the Five Points interest just reinforced it.
My first visit to San Genarro, when it extended all the way down there, my father parked on his work parking lot spot (now occupied by the Moynihan courthouse), which was just yards from the 24 Baxter site I would soon be intrigued by, but not until much later know where it was. So I’m generally in the area when I visit the festival, with Chinatown Fair being the end of my annual circuit.
So this got me thinking about the group, and then I at first mulled trying to write him, to say how great his sound was, but then after finding the truth about Godwhacker, then decided to write these thoughts here instead.
The parts of music, and religious criticism
All of this should shed light on why I was so adamant against the old-line fundamentalist “traditional music only” music “philosophy” I wrote about in the old CCM essay (http://www.erictb.info/ccm.html). As I said there, “Rejecting everything for only serene orchestras and stately hymns is like blasting away the entire earth and every city, leaving only Christian countrysides”. That was what they were essentially arguing, in not only condemning secular music, but even Christians’ adaptation of comtemporary styles (embodied in “CCM”, and one critic even goes after “charismatics with their jazzy harmonies”).
Obviously, what I’m discussing here is primarily “harmony“. The fundamentalist music class I took discussed the three main divisions of music: melody (basically the “tune” that helps us identify the song), harmony (the chordal structure), and rhythm (the beat). Their issue against rock and related styles is that rhythm is prominent (especially with the drum “backbeat” almost universal in pop music, where the heavier drum stroke is on the “down beat” [even numbers], which they then claim is what makes it “sensual” and even “demonic”). Jazz is criticized for emphasizing “harmony” too much, which they claimed “distracts with its sensuality”. (This is why one leader calls even the fairly conservative charismatics’ music “jazzy”). It is what can shape mood (hence, what I’m discussing here), including sadness, which they criticized old jazz for. (And what was most of that, but blacks expressing their pain over the rough life the “exceptional” white Christian society these teachers uphold, created for them! Blacks are really supposed to have been happy under that, whistling while they work or sit enjoying watermelon, and it was the “godless”, giving them “free stuff” they didn’t deserve, or freedom they weren’t fit to receive, who created all their “problems” afterward!)
While all music has rhythm and harmony, these are to be put in a specific order, with melody as superior, then harmony, and then rhythm. This is what you hear in the simple church songs they use, where the primary sound is the singing of the words, and the instrument being played is a background providing some harmony and tempo (rhythm), for the singers to follow.
While it’s true that harmony and rhythm can distract from worship (the main purpose of singing in church), their whole jihad against contemporary music goes way beyond that; as much of CCM is marketed for enjoyment, and they don’t only condemn it in church. Their whole philosophy is that the harmony and especially rhythm are leading to “sin”, and even destroying the “culture” (in addition to bringing God’s judgment on the nation, on top of all the other sins! At least one writer I ran across actually blamed 9-11 on CCM!)
What I think is happening, is they’ve recognized the affect of music on the emotions (as I’m discussing here), and assume this is in itself bad. A University of Seattle study is cited by CCM critics acknowledging that rock is based on “mathematical formulae” and “calculated frequencies” that affect the body as well as the mind. This is what it has made it as well as jazz and other forms so catchy. This is obviously what Fagen (and others like Stevie, etc.) has mastered.* The assumption then is that this is being used for “mind-bending” or “indoctrination”. (i.e. again, the pleasing rhythms and harmonies are being used to lead the youth into sexual sin and “rebellion” against God).
*(Where my introverted Thinking with extraverted iNtuition leads to a mastery of analyzing and synthesizing concepts, introverted Thinking with extraverted Sensing; which these musicians likely prefer, leads to a mastery of more sensory things, like sounds and visuals. So both will deal in “mathematical” elements. I’ll deal in ‘abstract’ symmetries such as personality matrices, while the music has audible symmetries, such as the arrangements of different tones lke the chordal changes, and I greatly admire the symmetries because of the Ti, but because of Se being “shadow” for me, it takes me a while to be able to put my finger on them and decipher what makes them pleasing, and it seems to be virtually impossible for me to come up with any music of my own).
The overall insinuation is that the pleasure itself is bad (always connected to those sins, or just the plain “hedonism” of “self-gratification” as they call it). But of course, most (at least, not anymore) would never own such an idea to that extreme. They just see pleasure for its own sake (even so much as tapping feet to the rhythm, as some will mention), as being too potentially “sensuous”, and then they do see many in the “world” using music for sexuality, which builds the case.
On the other end of the emotional spectrum, it can convey and/or produce sadness and anger, and those negative emotions they also see as “sensuous” or “of the flesh“. (And then they key it into the scant scriptural references they can find, like the “music that sounds like war” the Israelites were using with the golden calf). Man’s emotion is to be “joy” in “Christ”. He’s a sinner who has no recourse but to give God back what He is due (since God is really the only legitimately “offended” party in existence), and Christ paid to provide the way for man to be saved.
So anger is only for the righteous preacher thundering at those who are not in Christ (and are destroying “godly Christian culture”), or those within the Church, “compromising” with “the world”. Sadness is to only be over one’s own “sin”. Once that is cleaned up, then what really is left for us, but “joy”?
So any music that produces or reflects any emotion besides that is seen as “sensual”, and “feeding the flesh”. Hence, one leader even says the only acceptable rhythm is “marching”, which many of the 4/4 timed hymns do lead to, and even some 6/8. (You can even look at the common “battle”-themed songs “Onward Christian Soldier” and “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”. Not sure what that teacher said about the many 3/4 “waltz”-timed hymns, but I imagine the “marching” criteria is probably only for 4/4).
It’s obvious that this is all about CONTROL. And as such, it’s not any biblical concern, despite how much wisdom there may be in some amount of musical “discernment”.*
They’ll deny they are only pushing one culture over others, but as in many issues, they are known “more for what they are against, than what they are for”. Their philosophy as to what should be played in church (and even what’s “good” even for entertainment) seems to default to what you hear them play, which is the old hymns, and maybe something orchestral (including secular classical, among some. The “culture” that produced that is seen as “Christian”, and so falls under “sacred” culture).
The original full basis of their teaching is that Africa is cursed, and anything they produce is spiritually bad, and “worldly, sensuous, demonic”. (And math, as we see is involved in music, was a great gift of early African culture, as can be seen in the pyramids and other creations. But this is here yet something else demonized).
True religious “cuckservatives” as most of them are [i.e. indirect in their ideology, instead of openly naming the perceived threats, as more radical supremacists desire], they try to hide the full implications of this with extensive code language [they’re worse than Steely Dan in that regard!], yet hold onto the censure of contemporary Christians who are seen as “compromising” just for using some of the same sounds. (My article gives the addresses of a couple of sites that do boldly affirm the full racial underpinning of the teaching).
Music and the unconscious; questions over “discernment”
But music is very important, providing a “background” to life, and capturing many moods and sentiments. The critics appeal to this, when they talk about “influence of music” to prove that their sounds are good, while anything black-influenced is bad. (Their only tack is a bunch of “scientific studies” one leader completely misconstrued [and he being recently exposed as having “sensuality” problems himself!], or just looking at the often troubled and sometimes fatal lifestyles of rock stars, to prove “guilt by association”, and “that’s what the music leads to”).
Often helping their arguments, are that many “good” (aesthetically pleasing) sounds were produced when the artists were high or something (you hear this with the likes of Sly Stone, and Jimi Hendrix, who eventually died from his lifestyle). So I’m sure this may have had in influence on Fagen and his associates (Dr. Wu was even said to be the actual doctor who helped treat him).
What I think this might be, from knowing something about the “unconscious” now, is that the altered states of consciousness probably do give you access to ego-states that might otherwise be drowned out by all the other “chatter” in our heads. So that would be why drugs might seem to produce greater creativity. (Stevie never needed drugs, though!) But then that means it doesn’t prove that the sounds produced in those states are necessarily bad themselves.
I’m addressing this, because many Christians (from fundamentalists to charismatics) believe this opens you up to “demons”. In passing, I’ve heard that Jung claimed demons were really only “autonomous complexes”, which are ego states that take executive control, as happens in addictions and such. Seeing how the notion of demons as these invisible people who walk around causing various trouble for no reason, basically, sometimes gets tossed around too much or overdone; some saying they even “cling onto” physical items (Chick & company used this as an argument against “rock music” records, IIRC); I considered the “autonomous complex” idea, but demons as an individual’s ego-states doesn’t square with Christ casting them out of one person, and into a herd of pigs, who then run to their demise from it!
(In the Fulfilled view Satan is primarily an “accuser”, who tries to torment believers with the Law, being we all hopelessly fall short, and when the Law system was completely ended in AD70, he finally lost any real power, though many religions continue his mission, with effort-based distortions of the Gospel message, and resultant accusations of the Law in various ways, including what I’m discussing about music).
Chick had published one book (on the “planned destruction of our children”; echoing the typical conspiratorial mindset of those who believe they created an “exceptional” Christian society that everyone else is ruining with “sin”). One chapter was “Don’t Mess With My Music”, which is what teens often said to their parents trying to throw out their records. The verdict was that it was “demons” attached to the music, capturing these kids minds, and making them rebel and say this. (Just like one Chick tract showing a baby in a “backslidden” household yelling because a demon pinches him!)
All of this is like trying to grab onto smoke. Tossing around something you read about in scripture, but extending it way beyond what is actually printed there. So in actual practice, you can’t prove it or disprove the invisible “cause”, but the teachers think they have the upper hand because they take the “rebellion” itself as the proof. (Then they lament society and even the contemporary Church continuing to turn from their “values” and no longer take them seriously).
But music obviously taps into various ego states, which include ones that like whatever it is that the music represents to them and want to identify with. So of course they will react that way. The fundamentalists and other cultural conservatives are constantly, and very loudly telling others to stop messing with or “taking away” things of theirs (or that they think are theirs; including their music, the old hymns. And as this includes control over others through fear in the name of God, this is actually more in line with what Satan’s ploy is!)
But as I said in the psychology essay (when addressing Jung and his teachings on the unconscious), I still believe we still should not mess around with the unconscious. (My discussions of it [aka the “shadow”], in connection with Jung’s typology, and the complexes that connect with the cognitive functions of typology, involves being aware of it, because it does come up and affect us, and can even be seen by others and not ourselves at times, as the “Johari Window” points out. But not to deliberately tap into it (which occultists do, often using drugs, and shamans even do something called “disintegrating the ego” which gets you in touch with a deeply suppressed complex called, interestingly enough, the “Demonic Personality”, which they then remain partly in touch with. —And these are often the sort of religious guides telling southern Africans that raping virgins, including newborn baby girls will cure AIDS).
If these deeply “shadow” ego states take control, then it doesn’t matter whether it’s just a “complex” within the individual psyche, or an actual living “fallen angel” from outside, when it creates behaviors like that, or other problems you then cannot control.
*As for Carman’s statement about the “spirit behind the music”, I would say there is still something to that, but it’s very difficult to determine it in practice. I would say people with sexual or dark spiritual themes are definitely suspect, and then groups like Steely Dan and Earth Wind and Fire are reasonably questionable; but then as the “spirit behind the music” is not really a biblically developed concept, it can get into speculation of some “bad effect”, which may or may not occur, with any given listener, and that’s what we see when the rock music condemners point at the deaths of rock stars (including Christian ones like Rich Mullins, who did not die from the same sort ot thing many secular stars died from).
Like some have this fully developed concept called “doorways”, based largely from taking God’s condemnation of pagan worship, and pairing it with demon posession or “attacks” against Christians recorded in places. So various things you do might supposedly lead to possession or him “winning” over us somehow. But Paul’s treatments of meats offered to idols (which you would think would be something demons would definitely be “clinging to”, if they did any such thing) should have shown that the real problem is in man’s “knowledge” [perception of good/neutral or evil]—which was precisely what was involved in the original Fall to begin with, and which is internal, rather than external forces like “demons”, or “Satan”, who even the world has acknowledged often gets blamed too much for people’s own shortcomings. (The devil is portrayed throughout the NT as attacking with “condemnation”, and we resist him by trusting in Christ instead of our own efforts).
Like for me, I get a funny feeling from the unreleased song “the Bear” (apparently from the Aja or Gaucho sessions), which starts with it being so cool in sound, with it’s harmonies, done in Clavinet; the keyboard Stevie had made famous, but stopped using by that time. (It uses their typical techniques, but still sounds different from what was on most their albums; or at least those two. That adds to its sense of intrigue. It does have more of the feel of the previous album, “The Royal Scam”, particularly similar to the title track).
But then it starts seeming “too good”, like when everything seems so cool and perfect, then disaster happens. (Like “when they shall say ‘peace and safety‘…” 1 Thess.5:3). In addition to some of the lyrics and even the tone of the vocals, a part of this may have been from the scenery the video showed, which reminded me of WTC (as the song was about Wall St. which is in the same area), and from there, 9-11; especially this being right after the anniversary, and having watched a documentary that showed footage we had never seen, with those images still in my head. So it comes off as something fitting the last thing you listen to the day you head up into the towers and then become trapped; like the soundtrack for the whole scene leading up to the tragedy, and the chorus would play while looking up at the tower one last time. Maybe even looking up at it on fire already. (Something about the sound gives an image of height or tall things). It also sounds like the type of thing that would be playing in a drama, and fade out, leading up to someone like possibly a bride, gone in a room by themselves away from the action, taking out the gun to kill themselves. That’s probably where I get this sense from.
The same thing had happened with an old Earth Wind and Fire song, when I completed the entire collection with the somewhat rare second album that I had just put on CD. It seemed so perfect to complete the whole collection, but then I got this very strong negative sense about this one song in particular (“I Can Feel It In My Bones”; a title that certainly doesn’t help; and then a nice sounding one after it, and a later one called “Energy”. It gave me the sense of a ritual ground then covered over with a garden or something, or a mother turning one child up for sacrifice, but then nurturing his sibling), and led to me giving away the whole collection! (What made it worse, is that I was trying out this new food, duck bacon, but apparently cooking it wrong, and ended up with this strange looking black meat, while making the transfer to the CD, and then the song wouldn’t record after several tries. I’m usually suspicious of “coincidences” like that that the charismatics around me would hold up as definite “signs” from God; but I was just totally spooked by the whole sequence).
This is an example of “introverted iNtuition”, especially for me, where it shadows the extraverted iNtuition I normally see life through. Music fits an external (environmental) pattern I compare other music with, enjoying the discovery of the multitude of possibilities with it; but now, some imaginal impressions are coming up from an individual unconscious sense (which is considered internal), and imagining some very dark possibility. And so thus (for my type), the functional perspective is generally associated with very negative ego states like this.
And again, this negative dynamic is likely also colored by things the bands do, like EWF’s pagan themes, or Fagen’s later song against God. It could also tie in with something I heard when really young and frightened by something, perhaps in a strange place with tall buildings; so a sound I hear now will subconsciously remind me of that. (Which is why it won’t affect others in the same way, and thus can’t always be made into something intrinsic in the music itself. There are a lot of different possible factors in something like this, so it’s not right to seize upon one and generalize it. Though it is possible for certain elements of music to have a common affect on nearly everyone, like well-familiar “sad” sounds).
So that’s how I practice “discernment” in music. Of course, the anti-CCM Christians are also anti-psychology, and would condemn all of this Jungian stuff on top of the music. What we always end up with; just do what they say, because they are always right. Slap a “Bible chapter:verse” on a teaching, find a bit of empirical supposed “evidence”, and you have heard the clear “truth” as if from God Himself! (of course, no “grey areas” either, one says. They also don’t realize that their “the music will lead you to…” or “fill your heart with…” claims is a form of psychology, appealing directly to the “unconscious”! They use the different concepts when it suits their argument, and they can key it into a scripture passage that looks like it pertains, but doesn’t address their specific “standards”, so they have to create broad generalizations into distinct “principles” or even “laws”. Using scripture like that turns it into psychology!)
Where all of this highlights the “sinfulness” of man, it’s like “what can you do?” You can become “contrary to all men” (1 Thess.2:15), which seems to be what many Christians, particularly “old-line” conservatives, think we should be. But Paul was referring to those advocates of the Law who opposed the “freedom” of Grace, through Christ. The ones who were actually being reserved for the condemnation they tried to place on everyone else!
All apart of the thing called “life”
I once believed all these people were condemned; judged under the Law, basically (though evangelicals won’t usually put it that way, since “the Law” conveys the notion of certain Old Teastament commandments even they don’t keep). I now believe Grace is unconditional, and that makes me feel better about their “fate”, and that God would forgive them (even Fagen’s words), without demanding something in return, as common teaching insists. Many are just trying to get through life, like anyone else, and thus sharing their experience through entertainment people find enjoyable.
So all of the stuff Fagen sings about is a slice of “life”, and coupled with the sound, that is why it has come to be so significant to me. When he jumps from image to image in the songs (like all the places he mentions in “Snowbound”, or from “up on the hill” to “Chinese music under banyan trees”, to whatever club he does his “dime dancing”, to the arms of the woman he then “runs to”), it’s just all pictures of “life” (and love). Just like the bustling “free” living people of the Village. And hence, the connection.
Songs by other people that remind me of this sense of “life” embodied in Manhattan, are “Rosalinda’s Eyes”, by Billy Joel, which has a lot of rich Fender Rhodes chordal progressions and varied “life experience” and “New York” imagery like Steely Dan (“Crazy Latin dancing solo down in Herald Square…”) ; Edie Brickell & New Bohemians “What I Am”, which with it’s somewhat Steely Dan-like all over the place lyrics (“Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box…”) is like a late 80’s Village “proto-hipster” song that reminded me of walking down Broadway through Soho with all those shops of theirs during that time (and was like the last moments of “freedom” right before I hit boot camp), Sade’s “Keep Looking” from the same time reminded me of a late sunny weekend afternoon in the Village, feeling lonely, and then later, Susanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner”, which is about another similar kind of person recounting the imagery of an average day’s life in an urban diner like the ones you find in the area. A song that brings up gneral images of the city is All 4 One’s rendition of “Something’s Coming” from the 1996 “West Side Story” CD. It perfectly captures the anticipation of waiting for love, in how the songs begs for this “something” to finally show up, and even pondering on where it could appear from. (“Around the corner, or whistling at the river…”).
(A few tunes not associated with the urban scene, but picture an otherworldly serenity I associate with the anima, are the “Cosmic Cove Galaxy” background score, from Super Mario Galaxy 2, and EWF’s instrumental “Splashes” from their last album. While the sound doesn’t match the sentiment, I like the second verse of WAR’s “the World is A Ghetto”: Wonder when I’ll find … paradise. Somewhere* there’s a home … sweet and nice.” [*sung with real emotion, like sighing the word!] Someone tells me “that’s a lie; the world is not a ghetto”, and they are an “orthodox” evangelical whose theology is the one that teaches that the world is still “lost” and “condemned” with all the increasing “sin” and unbelief in it. But don’t be so “negative” as to sing in terms of it being a “ghetto”! Go figure!)
It’s a shame that the Church historically made it a choice between their controlled culture, and the rest of the “world”. And that stuff like “Godwhackers”, on top of all the drugs, sex and even false religion in secular music, further makes it seem like this, and questions the “goodness” of their artistry. I just wish we were in a physical, millennial or eternal “Kingdom” already, where people’s talents would be redeemed, and God would be at the center of it all, and unmistakably seen and known by all. (Which is one of the things that had lured me to the “futurist” soteriology in the first place).
For now, I really wish Fagen would rescind that stuff about God, and find some other way to voice his frustration about His place in a world with painful death. He has still lived the colorful life he sings about, and no religious movement or leader has apparently stopped him and brought him under their control. “Live and let live” (or “believe and let believe”) goes both ways.
I should make clear I’m not saying the lifestyles known by the Church as “sinful” are good or “OK”. But they are apart of life as we know it, and which we have to navigate through as well as dealing with our own sins.
The Gospel is supposed to be about “freedom”, but the church turned it essentially back into Law (greatly modified, and even stepped up in many ways, though), with “grace” as some sort of “help” God now gives us to keep this “magnified” Law. God does not want people just doing whatever they want out there, but our motivation is to be love (to Him, and towards other people, which includes realizing that they are their own living souls, like us, and not objects merely for our own pleasure; see just published https://erictb.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/a-new-look-at-the-survival-instinct) rather than the fear and control religion has often used. Having tempered my whole “prime of life” based in large point on that, that’s why at midlife, this stuff is figuring strongly in my reflecting.
I just hope God is true, and that He does forgive all men [unconditionally], (including even Fagen), and that there is something better beyond this, that these “life” feelings points to. Where good things will be truly good, with no hidden dangers behind them, and everyone can recognize everything good is from Him.
Every person is a living creature that wakes up in a material world where he finds he needs to first, live and survive.
(What other, often nonmaterial purpose a belief system may posit that man has, like even “to love and serve God”, the person has to LIVE first, before he can “fulfill” whatever other goal. This is what the instincts all living creatures are provided with).
What we call “race” is a superficial variation, passed on genetically, so that “cultures” formed around them, and often negative associations and stereotypes, based on behaviors learned. In the cultural and political battles we have been having, a big deal is often made of groups like “white”, black”, or “Jews”, but when I see individuals walking by, it becomes clear that this is just a person, like everyone else.
Each person is provided a physical body that normally has one of two different sets of organs, designed for creation of the next generation of the species. A whole identity called “gender” develops around these (and some other differences, like body shape and voice)
The instincts usually lead to an eventual desire to procreate, but this generally takes the initial form of “romantic” attraction. This usually is between one gender toward the other. The different organs then often come into play (sometimes as the de-facto ultimate “goal”) in this interaction. But they are still, first, the person’s own, as part of the body he or she needs to live in the material world.
Even if many women learn to exploit their bodies’ attractiveness to men, their bodies still have the primary purpose of keeping their whole being present in the physical world. If you see them, and they’re already in another relationship, they are fulfilling that aspect of their physical existence, and what they are to everyone else is to be another person treated like any other. (They’ll eventually get old, and then the “appeal” factor will be gone, but [aside from childbearing], their bodies will still serve all the other same purposes).
They can seem like such a “mystery”, but aside from the reproductive organs, the bodies have all the same functions as ours. (Including the ones seen as ‘unpleasant’, as I remember someone reminding young single Christian males clamoring to experience “the other side”; and this can even kill a fantasy “image” of the person, if the man is put off by it, since the private functions can’t be totally hidden forever, the more intimate you get).
We make so much of these physical differences, and men are naturally fully aware that they are first of all creatures who need to survive to get through this lifetime, but it’s easy to forget that women are too.
I now constantly remind myself of this when I see women around me. And also even the one I’m committed to. She is a living person first, then my partner.
Someone you see out there may look interesting, but you never know “what you’re getting into”. They are a whole separate person, with their own problems, issues, pains, disorders perhaps, and ways of reacting to them, and even habits or likes that we may not like, and it might not be worth whatever thrill of having a fling or whatever with that person.
If something in the person’s chemistry alters either the attraction preference, or the gender identity itself, the person’s desire for freedom (part of the basic survival instinct) will pull them that way. The person is still just a being given the drive to “live”, before anything else. (Despite the claims of others who believe their aim is to destroy society or mock God, or whatever).
I’m reminded of humanity when visiting the websites of different cities and small towns, and seeing the list of “services”. Since NYC is so big and like a universe unto itself, other cities seem like other planets, but you see all the same needs I’m familiar with.
On the other hand, NYC is so big and often “cold”, you can forget our humanity, but I’m reminded in big events, negative and positive, from the 9-11 aftermath and memorial, to the subway celebrations of the BMT’s 100th anniversary, to the recent opening of the newest section of the system.
People we see on TV, in war torn areas are just trying to live, like all of us, but the situations prevent them from going on normally, day by day, like most of us. (Reminded of this seeing some footage of the Mideast, and how people have to grab their children and leave their homes; and small and uncomfortable as they may be).
People in different religions (with all their practices) are also people trying to live. (Reminded of this from the same clip, when it showed ornate religious architecture in the area, that obviously fulfills a need for beauty).
Families in cults, such as Jonestown or Waco, consisted of parents and children just like all others, and I could imagine being a child in one of those families, and mommy and daddy (in following this man) are simply doing what they think is right (though unbeknownst to me, mistakenly) to provide for my wellbeing. This is one of the chilling thoughts I’ve always had, regarding life in those movements.
Fellowshipping in churches, Christians often expect each other to be “above” the rest of mankind, but you find these are still just regular people, who perhaps are behaving a bit better in certain areas the Church has made morally important.
As a nonChristian looking at Christians, it was easy to essentially “take their word for it”, and not think of them as fully human, with all the same physical needs and body functions and love for family, since their official stance was that all humans are “filthy sinners”. It then becomes a bit “surprising”, when you see them engaging in all the normal normal human activities of daily living.
Then, when becoming Christian myself, I tended to do a total flip, and take many Christians’ words for it that the ability to love can only come from a “relationship with God” (i.e. Christian conversion) and then tend to look at nonChristians as other than human, having no need for love and committment, but only indulgence, and almost totally unrestrained from stealing, lying, cheating, bullying, fighting and killing, and of course, sexual behaviors. (Matthew 24:12 and parts of Romans 1 were the main proof-texts for this, but this gets into the whole “end-times” soteriological debate, but I believe was really something that was to occur back then, with the particular event and people Jesus and Paul were referring to. But that still shows people going against their “natural” instinct).
My parents were good and loving and committed, but I had to wonder if, as non-Christians, that was only from the generation they were from. But there is still a natural instinct for parenting that all people follow, which may be affected by religious beliefs or lack thereof, but the drive is still there. I’m reminded of this by seeing daily on social media the love of a relatively new friend who is not particularly Christian, for her two baby girls. What’s the motivation, without religious restraint? It’s still the natural instinct.
(Most non-Christians may not believe in the strict “no sex before marriage” rule, but most are looking for love, though often in the wrong way, and I’ve seen some even testify as to saving themselves for “the right person” and hoping it is for life).
Type theory, where every person has one of the two Feeling attitudes in their consciousness (where a sense of “good” and “bad” is determined either based directly on the environment [others’ wants/needs, etc.], or on an individual sense of universal harmony [some things that are good for me are likely good for others]) is what also gave a sense of a natural, nonreligious motivation to love and care and do good.
Sometimes, religion can get counterproductive to life, and even can affect others in ways; but even while rightfully defending ourselves from [abuses of] it, we must remember they are doing what they think is best, in order to live.
So are celebrities. We tend to put them on a pedestal, but as we see them express likes, dislikes and opinions on daytime TV, it’s clear that they too are just like us.
The other superrich as well. They seem so far above us, but in their huge mansions and other accommodations, are the facilities to care for the same fleshy human bodies that reside in regular houses, or rundown shelters. Some political rhetoric seems to affirm them as in fact being above the rest of us, since they must have been smarter and “made all the right choices” to be able to pull themselves up to that level, and the political or economic systems that allowed them to attain that are often held as superior, and other people struggling, or even committing crimes to survive, are seen as “animals”. But the rich as well, including their systems, are still living out the same survival instinct as everyone else (which often includes shady dealings and manipulation or exploitation of others, often justified by the need and “right” [“freedom”, etc.] to survive!)
I even saw on some white supremacist site, ads for recreational things not having to do with the all prominent race agenda. They too are human (as it’s easy to forget), with the same needs as everyone else (despite thinking they need to suppress or oppress others in order to live).
(Animals are also creatures who wake up in the world with the drive to live. Only they are guided by instinct, including in their dealing with us. Reminded of this, dealing with “pests” who are relentless in getting into our lives, and the two main species who became “pets”, whose [carnivorous] pack instinct leads them to submit to us; being the larger creatures, as essentially our little “friends”).
Just trying to put in perspective why other people (and animals) act the way they do. We get so fixated on our own survival and often look critically on others for one reason or another, often judging their whole purpose of being who they are, or what they are doing that we may feel impacted by somehow (or claim God is the one being offended, and it’s the believer’s job to get the other person into line, or create a good “culture” for Him. He has already shown how man is incapable of doing that, and so what we need is Grace; from Him and from each other. To be really honest, nobody has any perfect perspective where they can thunder “truth” at others, and not possibly be mistaken or skewed by their own limited, fleshy “nature”).
So we must remember that we all have to survive together, and try to do it without denying anyone else’s right to survive. This is where “integrity” (justice plus amiability and constancy) joins “nature”, and we gain love and patience [integrity] in dealing with each other’s survival drive [nature].
Hope I’m catching the original point I was trying to make, but this seems to pretty much sum it up. I guess it was about a whole sense of “purpose” of all this (this thing we call “life”), and we build so many “stories” (typologically speaking, intangible “N” [intuitive] products) we try to live out, and seek “meaning” in those, while basic physical “survival” (which would fit a tangible “S” [“sensory”] perspective) does provide meaning in itself. So that is really purpose enough, in trying to live our lives without disrupting or harming others in the process.
(Long version: http://www.erictb.info/racearguments.html tried to condense it to submit to online liberal magazines, but was probably still too long. Basically down from 18,000 words to 11,00, but this is still longer than most of those articles. Really did not want to cut out the quotes and pertinent points. MAy make a shorter more “outline” form. But by now, the political atmosphere has pretty much blown past the whole Confdederate flag controversy, which this basically reflected).
There are several statements that have been oft repeated in response to claims of racial disparity, especially in light of widely controversial deadly incidents involving race.
The biggest incident now was the shooting of a black church in Charleston, SC by a young white supremacist, Dylann Roof, which led to a huge outcry against the Confederate flag, which he used, leading to the one on the SC Capitol grounds, to be taken down. This of course leads to a further debate on race relations, and the conservatives feeling under attack (which is what the flag was all about in the first place; leading to the argument that its use is innocent, and defensive, rather than offensive. But as we shall see, offense under the premise of defense is precisely the problem in this whole race issue!)
So there are several statements that have been oft repeated in response to claims of racial disparity, especially in light of these widely controversial deadly incidents. These make up major component in race debate on the “conservative” side:
Why no outrage of blacks at their own “problems” (killings, etc)
This is repeated so often that it sounds like there are no answers to it, but actually, there are:
Actually, Blacks Do Care About Black Crime
And in short, it’s easy to find examples of marches and demonstrations against crime. In the last four years, blacks have held community protests against violence in Chicago; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh; Saginaw, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana. [ http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/why-dont-black-people-protest-black-on-black-violence/255329 ] Indeed, there’s a whole catalog of movies, albums, and sermons from a generation of directors, musicians, and religious leaders, each urging peace and order. You may not have noticed black protests against crime and violence, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened. Black Americans—like everyone else—are concerned with what happens in their communities, and at a certain point, pundits who insist otherwise are either lying or willfully ignorant.
To that point, it’s worth noting the extent to which “what about black-on-black crime” is an evasion, an attempt to avoid the fundamental difference between being killed by a citizen and being killed by an agent of law.
Regardless of cause or concern, a community doesn’t forfeit fair treatment because it has crime. That was true then when the scourge was lynching, and it’s true now that the scourge is unjust police violence. Say what you will about “black-on-black crime,” just don’t pretend it has anything to do with unfair killings at the hands of the state.
Panelist Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University responds to former mayor Guiliani:
First of all, most black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail. Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as an agent of the state to uphold the law. So in both cases, that’s a false equivalency…drawn, which has exacerbated tensions deeply embedded in American culture.
Then, you even had a controversy where Guiliani-era police commissioner Kelly blames DeBlasio for “setting off this firestorm” by “raising concerns over his son’s safety” and training him “to be careful when he’s dealing with the police”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/21/ray-kelly-bill-de-blasio_n_6362762.html
A white NYC mayor was criticized just for warning his black son about the possibility of him falling victim to a police shooting. It got to the point that many officers physically turned their backs on him during speeches! I guess he should just be willing to have the son die too, until the rest of the black community cleans up its act. (For they would never kill him unless he was threatening them!)
It seems like any defense of blacks or trying to express things from the black perspective is in itself seen as anti-cop and anti-white. Any mention of this stuff is “fanning the flames”, and calling all cops bad or racist.
It all seems to be summed up in that we have no rights to protest what we see as unjust treatment, until we clean up all of our crime first.
Imagine, a black person gets robbed by one of these “urban criminals” everyone talks about, and then walks onto the next block, and gets shot by a cop or by someone like Dylann or Zimmerman, and you come along and tell him “That’s GOOD for you, because of that criminal back on the other block you just got robbed by. You should have made him reform himself, but since you didn’t, you’re complicit in his crime, and deserve the same consequences he does”!
THAT is what people are essentially insinuating!
And let’s not forget people similarly still throwing up black-on-white crime. Every “conservative news” site story on heinous black crimes I’m now seeing, is followed by commenters saying lynching should be brought back, with pictures of nooses, even! Some even take it as the green light to toss out no less than the N word, (sometimes with the “understanding” that it only refers to “those who act this way”.
And then, “Where is Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, Holder… etc. at these incidences?” That answer to that, is that racially motivated violence against blacks is what has come into focus more than every day crime. One is against an individual at a time, while the other is against a whole people, and this is why it’s a false equivalency”).
This whole deflection about black-on-black crime, while having a lot of truth, is still not something that easily changed. Part of it comes from all the anger from what we’ve gone through in history (which does pass down through the dysfunction in families, and many people who suffered in Civil Rights days and earlier are still alive). And then, it has become “cultural”, including pop-culture, when venues such as rap (which started out more “message” or at least “fun” oriented) were then transformed into the whole “gangsta” idiom, which (being driven by market forces like every other form of entertainment) now broadcasts everywhere as what it means to be young and black. This basically “validates” the tendency to behave and also carry themselves in a way that evokes fear (which is a basic survival instinct now on overdrive); including all the rap ideations of fighting back the police.
So it is very hard to get all of these kids and others to change. Just preaching at them (or whatever these detractors want) won’t do it. And neither will blaming the rest of the race (through terms such as “the community”) and excoriating it, as if they were all complicit, somehow.
The police, and other institutions, on the other hand, are just that; institutions, that a person joins, and consists of laws/rules everyone must follow, and these rules can be enforced, or even changed if found problematic or outdated. That’s why there’s a lot of heat on police violence.
On the other hand, it is pointed out that black parents ironically, sometimes go too far in trying to prove they are fixing their problems, like the parents giving their sons an older man’s “male pattern baldness” haircuts to humiliate them into obedience. (Dear Black People, Please Stop Shaming Your Kids On Social Media
The points I think are most noteworthy:
“But it also reflects a response to the way Black parents have long been blamed as absent and inadequate, and for social breakdown of our communities. It’s an overcorrection, these public displays of extreme disciplining, a declaration to the world,‘Look what we are doing; we are parenting, we are demanding disciplined children, so shut the hell up, America.’”
There’s always been the pressure for us to act “twice as good”, to “prove” our equality, and counter these negative images, and the whole push to “correct” us goes right along with it. Many of these people acting up and doing other things such as wearing the sagging pants are likely in part rebelling against this expectation. I always get frustrated hearing about petty and violent crimes, wishing they would cut all this stuff out already, if for nothing more that to “improve our image”. But to go along with that under that premise is to basically own inferiority, and then aim to “earn” equality to those already “superior”; but who is going to want to accept something like that? The whole point is that an inferior/superior relationship is wrong.
So another way has to be found to address these criminals and what can be done about their “subculture”, and to also stand up to those political elements who use these points to try to prove old stereotypes about a whole people (including various “white nationalists” and other supremacists who infiltrate political discourse and blend in with the prevailing “crime and welfare” concerns, but are clearly pushing it as an agenda of isolation; the universal motto being “take back the country”, of course).
When Baltimore rioter mother Toya Graham was filmed beating her son, “Many in the media have presumed she was furious at her son for taking part in a riot, and dished out the blows that police and pundits think young black men need to get them back in line.” ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/29/toya-graham-hero-mom_n_7175754.html
Dear White America: Toya Graham Is Not Your Hero ).
In reality, since “Young black men, like Graham’s son, are 21 times more likely than young white men to be shot dead by police”, “Graham was scared for her child.”
More whites are shot by police than blacks
You can see this claim here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/21/police-kill-more-whites-than-blacks-but-minority-d/?page=all
I notice towards the end, an “adjustment” for “the racial disparity in the homicide rate or the rate at which police are feloniously killed” to switch the figure of how many more “times more likely to be killed by police” from black men at 3.5 to whites at 1.7. This to me shows how all sorts of things can be drawn from statistical figures by playing with the numbers the right way (like the argument on how much money really is going to welfare with both sides claiming the numbers in their favor), and why I don’t trust them a lot of time. (Recall, they figure prominently in the crime statistics the Right loves to throw at “blacks”). Of course, the fact that there are more whites will be a factor as well (just as in the crime numbers. It seems most, instead of taking this route, will say “more blacks are killed because they are committing more crimes”).
I think the issue here is the deaths as within the larger context of police harassment (which of course includes all of the incidences that don’t lead to death). So you may be able to produce a larger number of whites, but recall, the examples shown of whites being arrested, and how they can go as far as having their weapons drawn, and the police will still manage to capture and detain him without shooting. Sometimes, they continue to beg and plead with the suspect. With the blacks, a young kid can get shot for having a toy gun! So some whites may get shot, and even if it is technically more than blacks, still, the overall treatment is vastly different, and this is what will make the black deaths stand out and lead to a bigger outcry.
Turning groups of people into monolithic entities, for broad sweeping judgments
That’s the whole basis of the focus on “black crime”, or “the black community”. Even in conservative Christian discussions on recent events, I see people give lip service to memes like “sin, not skin”, but then proceed to address a group by skin color, and then attribute particular “sins” to that one group, and then focus on them. They refuse to acknowledge any sins of the other group (said to be an “excuse” of the first group). It’s like the other group is “up to par”, which the first group falls far below, and they thus want to “discuss” (basically, ‘upbraid’ them for), they and their “problems, like angry, stern parents or bosses.
Yet they do not see how this right here arrogates a position of superiority!
The people accusing others of being “race baiters” are the ones claiming we should now be “post-racial”, and that it is always the other side “playing the race card”, but then why are they themselves in the first place, still attributing crimes to RACES (and combing the news for crime stories, and comparing statistics as to “who commits more crime” in order to “prove” it) and not INDIVIDUALS for whom race is a surface feature they happen to be apart of, but their behavior is a combination of personal choices, affected by an environment? Is the noteworthiness of the [“ignored”] crime story of the day its heinounsness, or is it just who is doing it?
If one says “well the other side is doing it to us”, still isn’t the whole point being claims of “truth”, while the other side is wrong? Both sides doing the same things just creates an endless cycle of wrong.
The real root of the rhetoric is seen in this article:
“White Supremacists Worried Charleston Shooting Makes Them Look Bad”:
People were beginning to talk about the race issue openly after ferguson, baltimore, and now the Rachel Dolezal scandal. Looks to me like the powers that be wanted to turn attention back to whitey if it turns out to be a white perp.
It’s a shame this happened and I do feel bad for the victims and their families. However, it’s making me sick (although no surprise) how this is being spun by the media. Racially charged killings? It’s a fact that Blacks commit way more crimes per capita and behave a certain way, that’s why they get chased and hurt. They do rape our women, and they are taking over our country and cost way too much money to maintain. But none of these points will ever be addressed because then it would bring open discussion to the NEGRO PROBLEM IN OUR SOCIETY … which is theREAL news.
The guy comes right out and tells us directly the “open discussion on race” they want (what they feel the liberals have censored), and that’s “the negro problem”. (Notice, the impersonal term “maintained“, even!) This folks, is the root of all the rest of the conservative “takers” rhetoric, which has been smoothed over in the mainstream. (Deliberately changed into code language in rhetoric, as Lee Atwater once admitted). But it’s the same exact sentiments.
As one commenter pointed out: “So these folks are trying to distance themselves from exactly the type of person their group inspires and attracts. Sorry bigots but that s___ ain’t gonna fly!”
In other words, this Dylann kid aimed to take care of “the negro problem”! Why do those complaining so much about this “problem” (and agreeing verbatim with all of his concerns) now try to disown his actions?
On conservative sites and social media, the news is constantly mined for examples of black crime. The media has always focused on black crime, but during the whole Trayvon affair, conservatives turned this reality on its ear and began complaining that only white-on-black crime was being focused on, and “not a word from the liberal media” about black crime. So then they and their news and web outlets began aiming to fill in this void. And it can’t be repeated too often, that it always becomes the platform to hurl the N word, or others like “apes”, and argue lynching should be brought back!
But of course, they [these commenters] are the victims of the true “racists”, the “race hustlers” playing “the race card” on them; right?
None of this is to deny that black communities have more violence and more crime than their white counterparts. It is true. And indeed, blacks are more likely to face criminal victimization—up to and including murder—than any other group. But it’s wrong—morally and analytically—to treat these facts as racial problems inherent to black people or any particular aspect of blackness.
That’s what the idea of “black-on-black-crime” does: It collapses a whole world of distinctions, circumstances, and situations into a single frame, where crime in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is the same as crime in Gary, Indiana, is the same as crime in Houston, and all are part of a nebulous “black crime” problem. Indeed, to rely on the idea for any explanatory power is to embrace racist mythmaking while disavowing any responsibility for the existence of impoverished, high-crime black neighborhoods.
It then goes into the six common factors that contribute to all the crime (rivaling what was last seen during Prohbition!) Conservatives call these “excuses”. But “It’s only when we consider these factors that we can bring culture and alleged criminality into the picture. Anything else is dishonest and treats black Americans as a dangerous exception, not part and parcel of the country’s fabric.”
This is the root of the problem from this side. They resent having “the race card” played on them in a way that would generalize “racism” to all whites, but then they continue holding these stereotypes of ALL blacks. I could add, no distinction is made between the people as a whole, and either the rioters, or the gangs among them, “the poor in the ghetto”, or especially kids (who are the main players in the so-called “thug” culture and gangsta-rap, saggy pants, etc; it’s not the older people who are doing most of that stuff).
And all of this always lead to the blanket conclusion that “blacks just want free money and don’t want to work [like WE do] and that’s the WHOLE problem”. This is what it always comes back to.
But how could you expect people to not be angry and suspicious of “racism” when you keep parroting stuff like this? Who really is playing “the race card”, here?
Then you have Bill O’Reilly on FOX countering the “Demonization of America as a Racist Nation” with “There are problems in the African American Communities, especially in the inner cities”. He complains about the country being “defined by” the racists, and that it would be like saying that African American community is “all defined” by Louis Farrakhan or the Black Panthers. But he then goes into the “problems” of the community, including a “corrosive culture”, which ARE often used to “define” it in conservative talking points.
And then all the “decent, fair-minded among them” he mentions, seem to suddenly become invisible, and all anyone sees are angry rioters, criminals and single mothers gaming the system! But these are just a subset within the community, not “the [whole] community” itself. (The “decent, fair minded among them” are basically what’s traditionally known as “the good ones“; which were the “exceptions” in the otherwise “bad” whole group).
The point is, all of the generalization [seeing the other side as a monolithic entity with one mind rather than as individuals] both sides do is what keeps this ball rolling, and as anger flares up on both sides, this is why we’re getting more and more unrest.
So doing back to them what you’re complaining of them doing to you is not the answer, nor is it founded by any more “truth”, supposedly justifying it. People are ultimately the same, and their actions stem from our nature, and are shaped by various circumstances throughout their lives (individual and collective), and no one is on any sort of moral/cultural higher ground.
So people are charging the entire black “community”: “blacks’ problem is this…”, “blacks need to do that…”, and it’s obvious they are not seen as up to “par”.
Well, what is “par”? When you insist on national “exceptionality”, that is obviously what they are being judged in light of.
“We built this great nation, and things were going so well here in the past, and anyone can do well, no matter what”, we have heard over and over from conservatives over the years; and yet, “these people over there have so many problems. What’s wrong with them?”. (And people even try to argue the slaves and segregated blacks were ultimately happier or at least “better off” than afterward).
And then is quickly supplied the answer: “Oh, they just don’t want to work like everyone else [again, the “par”], but instead only want free stuff from others”.
In denying “the race card”, it’s often attempted to make white liberals the “real” culprit and thus who conservatives are really against rather than the blacks (and only showing a very patronizing “concern” for these “poor blacks” being “used” by them), but then the “black” character judgment of “just wanting free stuff” still [and always] comes up.
And you still have to explain why only blacks developed this problem. (Which they will point out by comparing to various other ethnic groups who faced discrimination in this country). If you then acknowledge slavery and oppression, on the premise that “the liberals took advantage of the situation for their own agenda”, then you are, in fact, acknowledging a “legacy of slavery”. You’re only blaming this “legacy” on just one party or political wing. (And yet, the point, regarding the liberal side of the problem, is actually not totally disputed by most blacks).
Otherwise, you have to fall back on the old genetic causes, or among the religious, “spiritual” causes such as “curses”.
So they’ve isolated “the problem” down to two “entities”, basically, as the “root problem”, as I’ve seen it put. (Not even groups of individuals, but rather these monolithic collective characters who act as one single person each. Or maybe not even a person, since they have to be “maintained”, which is a terms used for objects. So therefore, each individual in those groups is not really a “person”).
The problem here, is that people seem to want some sort of en-masse scolding, correcting, disciplining, etc. of an entire “people”. When you isolate the culprit of a crime, then the solution is to catch and punish him. It’s like you’ve caught a bad child doing something wrong, and aim to rehabilitate him, but that’s ONE person; a single individual. Now, we’re talking about an entire “class” or “race”; millions of individuals, all different, and each making separate sorts of choices. What do you want done?
So to say common clichés like “you [people] just need to restore the family” (re: other critics mention the “breakdown of the black family”) is not going to do anything. You already have families working, raising their children as best as they can. What do you expect them to do, (since it’s the whole “community”)?
The people doing the crimes and rioting themselves certainly aren’t going to listen to anything finger-wagging conservatives say. Yet because of these angry people and criminals, the entire community is seen as having no right to even protest police violence. A mayor virtually should accept the prospect of his interracial son getting shot, because of what others in the “community” do, until someone in the community waves their hands and magically fixes everyone else!
(And still, what’s always glossed over, was the white “riots” at sports games. So one group of people is seen as having no right to be so angry, but then we have the supposed “good” group [i.e. which the others always get measured by], rioting over anger at a more trivial event, if not just for fun. At that point, the “who does it more” statistics will come up, ignoring the point that the proclivity to act badly is in all of us, regardless of who happens to be recorded doing it “more”).
Without any real solution ever articulated, they apparently just insist that the rhetoric should be repeated over and over, until “the liberals address the problem of how they’ve enslaved blacks through their programs” (which again is precisely “the negro problem in America”, as white supremacists more openly put it). But it looks to me like this is just deflection from something else, which they don’t want to address. Which they in fact, defend, as good! (i.e. the economic basis of a lot of the problem, in the black community as well as the entire nation).
There may be SOME instances of people doing wrong, and then suffering the consequences for it. There are also SOME instances of them doing wrong, but the reaction (such as death) is greater than what they were doing called for. And there are some instances of mistakes or discrimination, where the victim wasn’t doing anything.
There are what are known as “cultural sins”, which are negative behaviors (such as the crime problems) that spread through a “community” simply from the people being influenced by the others in close proximity to them. Conservatives will appeal to “the truth” of these behaviors to make a point, and it comes off as “slamming” other races. But then, they don’t want to hear their own reputed “cultural sins”, of racism (in whatever form it may take, and other forms of control, such as economic).
I’m not saying that people should pretend the problems of urban American or Latin American crime don’t exist. But they need to find other ways to address these things than broad, sweeping statements that insult the people themselves.
Basically, a general rule we can give, is that if you describe “the black community” (or others like Mexicans) as “problem people” (or “parasites”, “leeches”, “dangerous thugs”, “animals” etc.) who “just want free stuff”; (or all Muslims as potential terrorists or complicit with it, etc.) and need to be publicly scolded or isolated, and you can’t see them as simply “people”, like yourself, who are imperfect and have problems as we all do, then you can safely fit the definition of “racist”, and should wear the label proudly, instead of as a “card” someone else is wrongly “playing” on you, (and that you aim to turn back toward them)! You say you have the “facts” to prove these views, then “racism” is “fact“, and not a “card”. Own it, already!
If you can’t own it, and react defensively, then there is a sense of guilt (which indicates a sense of potential error, somewhere, and that to even you, the stance you’re holding looks bad), and then maybe it is not so factual after all (despite whatever statistics or other data you can spin), and you just hold onto it because it is simply pleasing to your own sense of identity (individual or collective).
One’s self and/or group being up to “par” or “exceptional” (superior), and others “inferior” in some way is naturally pleasing to the ego in that way. (Our perspectives will naturally tend to skew reality that way, which we should never forget, but always do). But others will naturally oppose that, and they have the right to; your claims of “absolute truth”, notwithstanding. Especially from a premise of all men being “created equally”.
There are an apparent growing number who are being more honest about their beliefs, as radical white nationalists and supremacists are standing out, with a new term they have recently coined, “cuckservative“, leveled at conservatives (and particularly the GOP mainstream) who essentially don’t “admit” that true conservativism means specifically defending the rights of “whites”. http://www.salon.com/2015/08/03/the_gop_crack_up_continues_the_raging_civil_war_over_the_disgusting_%E2%80%9Ccuckservative%E2%80%9D_slur/
The term will include someone who believes blacks thrived before the Great Society, without admitting it was Jim Crow that kept them in check, and a person who argues abortion is wrong because it harms primarily blacks, without seeing how blacks harm civilization. The analogy is to a husband twistedly getting off on watching a [likely black] man have sex with his wife, and thinking he’s still in control because he’s “allowing” it.
Those two examples are what has been the biggest implication of conservative “code” language (especially the universal praise of the past) the whole time, and it’s about time someone on that side finally stood up and admitted it and owned the “race card”! Likely being stirred up from the recent attacks against the confederate flag, it will hopefully serve to help distinguish them from the mainstream they had blended into for decades, and the mainstream conservatives will eventually have to make a stand, as to whether they will continue to cuck the code while denying its full meanings, or to completely turn from racial politics in all its disguised forms.
Also, we need to think about constantly tossing these “victim” and “whining” terms at others, when the same ones doing it are complaining louder than anyone else about taxes, their country being “destroyed” or “taken” from them, losing “all their freedoms”, etc. (yet most still live this “American dream”). The only thing that’s been taken is certain aspects of power (over others). So there are very loud voices right in their own ranks screaming “persecution!” “Stop them before they destroy us!” (as well as “the hard truth is on our side”). This surely is contributing to what we’re seeing going on.
Denial of Southern Strategy (splitting all evil onto one “party”)
Every conservative argument without fail appeals to the “liberals” (currently embodied by the Democratic Party) as “the real racists”, pointing out that this is the party that favored slavery and segregation, while the Republicans opposed those institutions.
So then the evil that is seen here is then SPLIT off, by being isolated to this one rogue party, and this one group of people, whom the party first tried to directly oppress, but then supposedly changed their tactic to [re-]“enslaving” them through the “freebies” of government “socialism”.
But this ignores that these earlier “Democrats” were the conservatives, defending the Constitution and fighting against Communism, as their premise against the blacks, whom they said the same things about (i.e. them being lazy and violent and used by the “enemy”) as today’s conservatives.
Again, lumping groups into monolithic entities, it’s ignored that both parties differed in places, especially along the divide of south versus north. So while Southern Democrats were the ones favoring slavery and segregation, there were northern ones who were more liberal, and leaders would arise who would begin passing legislation that gave blacks more rights. It was in the 60’s, with Kennedy and Johnson’s policies (and NOT just the Great Society as those who reduce the whole move of blacks, to “free stuff” claim), that the Southern Democrats felt obviously betrayed by the party, and at first some tried to split off into parties of their own such as “Dixiecrats” or independent, but were then lured en-masse into the Republican party by a strategy begun by Nixon.
Here’s a couple of good rundowns of the Southern Strategy:
This one gives a detailed synopsis on the shift that became known as the Strategy without even using the term, and also how other aspects of conservatism stemmed from the racist cause (which they of course deny).
The best point:
By the Johnson-Goldwater election, it had become clear that overt racism and segregationism was politically doomed. Brown v. Board of Education and LBJ’s support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act saw to that. As this scary recognition dawned on Southern whites, they began searching for a new vehicle through which to shield themselves and their communities from the consequences of integration. The young conservative movement’s ringing endorsement of a minimalist federal government did the trick — it provided an on-face racially neutral language by which Southerners could argue against federal action aimed at integrating lily-white schools and neighborhoods.
Kevin Kruse, a Princeton historian whose work focuses on the South and the conservative movement, finds deep roots in segregationist thought for this turn. “In their own minds, segregationists were instead fighting for rights of their own,” Kruse suggests. These “rights” included “the ‘right’ to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children’s classmates, the ‘right’ to do as they pleased with their private property and personal businesses, and, perhaps, most important, the ‘right’ to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government.”
Kruse traces this language through white resistance to desegregation from the 40s through the 60s, using a detailed examination of “white flight” in Atlanta as a synecdoche. In the end, he finds, “the struggle over segregation thoroughly reshaped southern conservatism…segregationist resistance inspired the creation of new conservative causes, such as tuition vouchers, the tax revolt, and the privatization of public services.” The concomitant rise of the modern conservative movement and the civil rights movements’ victories conspired to make Southern whites into economic, and not just racial, conservatives.
Conservatives for a long time completely ignored these points, but as time went on, they became forced to finally admit some people switched parties, but totally leaving out bits and parts of information (including the term “Southern Strategy” and those that deliberately conceived of it) as this article does:
He admits “It is true that Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 probably attracted some racist Democrats to the Republican Party.” and then goes on to try to clear Goldwater of the charge of “Racism” in favor of a simple concern for “states rights” (which from the Civil war on was heavily tied up with racism, for that is one of the key things they resented the government for interfering with in the first place).
But Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act provided liberals an opening to tar the Republican Party as racist, and they have tenaciously repeated that label so often over the years that it is now the conventional wisdom among liberals. But it is really nothing more than an unsubstantiated myth — a convenient political lie. If the Republican Party was any more racist than the Democratic Party even in 1964, why did a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
But 1964 was not when the Southern Strategy was complete, it’s basically around the time it began. It was really Nixon that pushed it along (on the white conservative side) over the next decade.
Also notice, he admitted “many Southern racists abandoned the Democratic Party”, and that “some” were “probably attracted” to the Republican Party, but doesn’t tell us what happened to the rest of the “many”.
With all the hatred many of the opposers of civil rights had back then (both officials and the voting base alike), most were not going to go along with the party on social programs, figuring on “oh, we’ll just enslave them another way”. They didn’t want them merely “dependent”, they wanted them either subjugated the old fashioned way, or disposed of altogether! They already thought their nation was being “taken from them” and wrongly given to these people, so why would they favor a tactic of “giving” more to those people?
So in the heat of the moment, when they fear their own livelihood is at stake with too much integration, they are not going to be thinking (planning for “down the line”) that way.
He also adds:
A more likely explanation for the long-term shift from Democratic to Republican dominance in the South was the perception, fair or not, that the Democratic Party had rejected traditional Christian religious values and embraced radical secularism. That includes its hardline support for abortion, its rejection of prayer in public schools, its promotion of the gay agenda, and many other issues.
Well, yes, that too. In fact, all of those issues were tied together (both racial and religious) as “the values of our nation”. (And this is what would further drag the religious part of it down as corrupt and irrelevant; only a tool of dominance, in the minds of many liberals).
Then, of course, it goes into the “real” switch, of “Democratic Party chang[ing] its strategy for dealing with African Americans.” by getting them “dependent on the government”, and citing LBJ (the citation about “having the n______ voting Democratic for the next 200 years”, which is heavily questioned as being authentic).
This leads to the usual sweeping assessment of the urban black community:
Most major American city governments have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and most of those cities have large black sections that are essentially dysfunctional anarchies. Cities like Detroit are overrun by gangs and drug dealers, with burned out homes on every block in some areas. The land values are so low due to crime, blight, and lack of economic opportunity that condemned homes are not even worth rebuilding. Who wants to build a home in an urban war zone? Yet they keep electing liberal Democrats — and blaming “racist” Republicans for their problems!
That is what this is all about. Once again hyping up “the negro problem” and cloaking it under a criticism of a [white] political party.
A big part of the strategy was encoding more racist language in terms of basic “freedoms” being eroded:
As the article http://www.salon.com/2014/03/17/paul_ryans_race_flap_even_worse_than_it_looks points out, “In his 1984 book ‘The Two Party South,’ political scientist Alexander Lamis quoted a conservative operative later revealed to be Ronald Reagan confidant Lee Atwater, who traced the evolution.”
You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—-r,’” Atwater explained. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—-r’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N—-r, n—-r.’
“Treating intergenerational laziness of inner-city men as established truth, and bemoaning the ways social spending programs supposedly nurture that ‘culture,’ blends seamlessly into Atwater’s framework.”
Another article citing Atwater and nailing the issue:
Impossible, Ridiculous, Repugnant
By BOB HERBERT
Published: October 6, 2005
The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.’s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks.
Today’s conservatives claim “we’re just giving ‘hard truth/fact’, and truth is not racist”. But then the opposers of Civil Rights (whom they seem to be admitting were “racist”, but blaming it only on the political party) claimed the same “truths” (crime, laziness, etc).
I was surprised to see Jesse Jackson finally answering the charge of being a “race baiter”:
“You know Dr. King was accused of being a race baiter as he fought the forces of the south, as he fought the George Wallaces,” Jackson said on the program, “they called him a communist at the same time.”
Notice how the conservative article blows right over this point. That under their political views, King was in fact described as these things, for the same reasons.
As part of their “GOP: good; Dems: bad” rhetoric, the conservatives now all claim to own King as a good Republican conservative who only wanted people to be “judged on the content of their character” (as if this was ALL he was fighting about; his whole mission essentially reduced down to a single statement).
So the responses to Jackson all focus on how dare he compare himself to King. (I’ve never seen him as coming anywhere near King, but still, they should come clean with this pretense of being so in favor of him. If King’s ideology ⦅of integration and equality⦆ was “Communist” then, then has that changed?)
They just don’t get it. It’s easy for them to romanticize King now, because we are almost a half century removed from him. They’re not thinking of the threat that their grandfathers felt when their beloved racial status quos were being overturned by him, (or at least, they felt change was being pushed “too fast”). It’s just splitting all evil onto someone else. “OK, King was good, and the racist Democrats were evil…but now, what King was fighting has been fixed, and those still who still feel something is wrong are simply those trying to get something for free, —at the hand of the same Democrats, who have simply changed their ‘enslavement’ tactics— or justifying their uncivilized behavior, which is garnering the treatment they are getting (by police)”.
In a similar vein:
Lincoln and the North were racist and slaveowners too
People will dig up instances of racism in the North, and that Lincoln did not hold blacks as equal. They will even point to slaves still being held in the North up to 1865, while individual Southern leaders gave up theirs a few years earlier.
Then, it’s all “put together”. Those evil Democrats ran the Northern (formerly Union) cities where all of these “problems” occur today; just like the party ran the old Southern systems of oppression! (But uh, oh, those old Southern Democrats said the same exact things about the Northern cities, minus the party distinction!)
But no black person, I don’t think, has ever denied that there was racism in the North.
No one denies that there was racism all across the board. I would say the difference, being that blacks were regarded as less then human, could be comparable to one of “be kind to animals” versus “cruelty to animals”. The one favoring “kindness” is still going to see them as animals, and not give them all the same rights as humans!
Still, we are naturally going to favor the ones who are the lesser of the evil.
Generally, there were probably very few people back then who saw blacks as equal. So Republicans across the board, and both Republicans and many Democrats in the North may have opposed slavery and then segregation, but still held a lot of feelings of superiority that looked moderate if not egalitarian when compared to the old Southern Democrats. But they were still the “lesser of two evils” to the blacks themselves.
When the Southern Strategy occurred, the Republican party now became the “lesser of two evils” to the opposers of racial progress (as the Democrats became the “lesser of two evils” to most of the blacks, and the North in general had as well), but they could always still be able to try to deflect from this by pointing to racism elsewhere, for it was everywhere. It doesn’t reduce their consistent opposition to equality.
To sum up all five topics so far (black “problems”, police violence, monolithic entities, Southern Strategy and northern racism), the problem “liberal” cities in the north, are simply the large, densely populated ones. That’s something that will figure in a dynamic like this. The more people there are, the more problems and conflicts there will be. Thus, while all communities have problems, blacks end up as more visible from being in the big urban areas pop culture and politics alike are centered on.
But as much as the people who constantly point these things out deny “racism”, the “facts” they select and focus on seem to serve to validate what the racists of generations ago believed!
Africans sold each other into slavery, Black and Native Americans owned slaves (and slavery also in the Bible)
This is sometimes thrown in there as the ultimate answer, even when slavery is not the immediate topic (like in all the cop violence incidents).
Some may have had or sold slaves, but the reason the European and American sellers and purchasers are focused on, is because it was big business with them (the whole point of it all along, actually), and maintained for the sake of profit (cheap labor, etc.) and thus trying to prolong the institution (against the outcry that developed toward it) based on race in itself. That is NOT the same as one tribe selling its slaves to someone else.
That was not based on any such deliberately constructed philosophical basis. It was usually the spoils of war, and not based on any notion of inherent “inferiority”.
It should be pointed out that it’s actually not “slavery” per-se that’s necessarily being regarded as so evil in itself; it’s the way American slavery was carried out (you can see this here: http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/12/22/10-slave-codes-that-were-designed-to-oppress-and-humiliate-black-people. And particularly in a land priding itself on being so “free” and “exceptional”); and again, the justifications used for it, which just piled more problems on top of everything else, and have led to the resentment of those feeling something has been “taken” from them by the government and other progressive forces.
The same with the much touted black-on-black crime. The black killers of other blacks are not killing the other people because of their race (which they share with the victim), but for some other reason, often a dispute (drug battles, etc), or just plain everyday crime. It is not the same thing as people, including those trusted to maintain order, killing someone because of their race.
And for people to keep pointing out these things that don’t even match just shows them, like children caught doing something wrong (as much as they want to be the angry “parents” scolding the bad “children”), trying to deflect the blame to someone else appearing to do the same thing, but in the reactive rush they haven’t even had the time to look and see it’s not the same thing.
What Confederate Flag has come to symbolize (What was “taken from” them, and they want “back”?)
Defenders maintain the flag is only about “heritage”, while to blacks and liberals, it represents a “legacy” of racism. What I found striking was how the one in South Carolina was fixed to not be lowerable, and while the US and state flags were lowered after the massacre, the Confederate flag remained flying high (over the other ones), as if to represent a sort of “victory” during the tragedy!
Historians emphasize that defense of African-American slavery was inextricably intertwined with white southerners’ defense of their own constitutional liberties and with nearly every other facet of southern life. Descendants of Confederates are not wrong to believe that the flag symbolized defense of constitutional liberties and resistance to invasion by military forces determined to crush an experiment in nationhood. But they are wrong to believe that this interpretation of the flag’s meaning can be separated from the defense of slavery. They need only read the words of their Confederate ancestors to find abundant and irrefutable evidence.
Dozens of quotes are commonly cited. The strongest one of all is: “Here’s the Racist Meaning Of the Confederate Flag, In the Words of the Man Who Designed It” http://mic.com/articles/121082/here-s-the-racist-meaning-of-the-confederate-flag-in-the-words-of-the-man-who-designed-it
Also good is:
“The Confederate Flag In Every State, In Every Form, Must. Come. Down”
Whatever its benign significance to some people, it historically signifies an era of slavery and oppression, and it has been appropriated as a symbol of hate by other groups. Those are facts, not an interpretation.
In his 1861 “Cornerstone” speech, Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, left no doubt about what the Confederacy represented when he rejected the idea that slavery was a moral wrong: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
“Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong”
“As soon as the Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done and why. The resulting mythology took hold of the nation a generation later and persists — which is why a presidential candidate can suggest, as Michele Bachmann did in 2011, that slavery was somehow pro-family and why the public, per the Pew Research Center, believes that the war was fought mainly over states’ rights.
The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause … and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books.”
Texas also made clear what it was seceding for — white supremacy:
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
This is basically the “hard truth” or “open discussion on race” the far Right tries to convey through statistics on black crime and how liberals are at fault for all the “problems” in “giving them too much”. I kept asking in discussions (rhetorically), “what should be done?” and people never answer, for this is basically it (as originally intended under the old “values of the nation”), but no one can admit it (except for commenters on radical Right sites, though!)
So if they couldn’t have slavery back then the people should be expunged, through segregation; or create a new “slavery” of low paid labor, and just blame their own “laziness” (lack of “agency”) for it!
From one Confederate general’s statement:
By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. . . . The consequence will be that our men will be all exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile Earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy.
This is basically the sentiment expressed in all the “black crime” rhetoric, and exactly what Dylann was saying (and now expanded to Mexicans by Donald Trump).
As this article put it:
Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party
The Lost Cause. At about the same time my American history class was leaving a blank spot after 1865, I saw Gone With the Wind, which started filling it in like this: Sadly, the childlike blacks weren’t ready for freedom and full citizenship. Without the discipline of their white masters, many became drunks and criminals, and they raped a lot of white women. Northern carpetbaggers used them (and no-account white scalawags) as puppets to control the South, and to punish the planter aristocrats, who prior to the war had risen to the top of Southern society through their innate superiority and virtue.
President Johnson (himself a former slave-owner from Tennessee) was quick to pardon the aristocrats and restore their lands. That created a dynamic that has been with us ever since: Early in Reconstruction, white and black working people sometimes made common cause against their common enemies in the aristocracy. But once it became clear that the upper classes were going to keep their ill-gotten holdings, freedmen and working-class whites were left to wrestle over the remaining slivers of the pie. Before long, whites who owned little land and had never owned slaves had become the shock troops of the planters’ bid to restore white supremacy.
Along the way, the planters created rhetoric you still hear today: The blacks were lazy and would rather wait for gifts from the government than work (in conditions very similar to slavery). In this way, the idle planters were able to paint the freedmen as parasites who wanted to live off the hard work of others.
Again and again, we see the whole race issue is and always has been economic to the core. It was and is all about defending the corporate “masters” from the government using the stupid black masses in their war against the “freedom” of these masters as embodied by the Old South.
(This again, is why it’s not the same as the current “Africans sold each other into slavery”, or “they’re killing themselves in the cities”).
As much as today’s conservatives protest “the truth is not racist”, they’re just regurgitating the same ideology regarding the “childlike” blacks, who are just forever below par (“not ready for freedom”, which the old conservatives had claimed was being forced on the nation too quickly), and “dependent”, as well as “violent”, and thus needing a good disciplining from the “guardians” of the nation.
Here’s an article by a conservative commentator admitting the truth about the flag: The ‘Southern Avenger’ Repents: I Was Wrong About the Confederate Flag (Jack Hunter, editor of Rare Politics)
Another point worthy of mention:
This Myth Obscures the Surprising Truth About the Confederacy
Addresses the “myth” that “the entire population of Southern whites supported the Confederacy in 1861.”
“The Confederacy was so deeply divided that some historians believe that is the principal reason it lost the war.
So when white Southerners proclaim that the Confederate flag represents their history, they are misrepresenting their own history. Some of their ancestors opposed the war effort, and some of them fought for the United States flag. The myth of the united South is just that—a myth.”
Both sides will use as part of their argument that there is a difference between the Confederate States of America national flag and the Northern Virginia battle flag: http://conservativepost.com/five-important-facts-you-did-not-know-about-this-flag
Notice, after they ditched the first design that looked too much like the union flag, they adopted the same “battle” design, but only minimized it in the upper left. (The flag was almost completely white, said to represent white racial purity, but looked like a surrender flag when the left side was obscured, so they then added a red bar on the right, said to represent blood).
So it’s essentially the same thing! (And what is all of this saying? The whole defining purpose of this “nation” was the “battle” against the Union! So to oppose the battle is to oppose the dissident “nation” and vice versa!)
With the argument that this was not the “national flag” of the Confederacy, I might have felt those calling for its removal should just leave it alone. But with the revival of the flag in the 20th century to oppose integration, its proponents themselves have tainted it with direct racism, and thus tarnished it as a racist symbol.
(Down with the Confederate Flag
The widespread use of the Confederate battle flag during the Civil Rights era, to defend white supremacy, removed the benefit of the doubt that might have been extended to those displaying the flag in memory of the war dead. In other words, modern white supremacists robbed the flag, as a symbol, of a plausible claim of innocence.
KKK and other hate groups used the USA flag
Here, it is pointed out that all the evils done under the Confederate flag were also done under the American flag (so “I’ll bet that will be next” is the battle cry, including figures like Limbaugh, and people are also pointing to the likes of Farrakhan, who in fact is making the argument that one flag is just as bad as the other).
But as I had seen acknowledged, America as a whole changed its position on those things. While there may be a lot of room for improvement in race relations, you still have to give the USA at least some credit for that. Again, we’re not dealing with a singluar monolithic entity, but rather a nation of millions of people. While the Confederacy was that also, its leaders and defenders did define it largely on institutions that were mixed up in slavery and later other forms of oppression (like the “states’ rights” to maintain these practices). Those who resurrected it in recent generations did so in the context of racial hatred.
Most Confederate soldiers (and Southerners in general) weren’t slave owners
I keep seeing “very few of those soldiers were slave owners”, but it’s true that most people didn’t own slaves. Slavery was the “big business” of the time, and of course, the owners are not going to be out on the battlefield. They’re the ones being protected. The “Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party” article quoted above already mentioned how the economic aspect of the situation led to the phenomenon that “whites who owned little land and had never owned slaves had become the shock troops of the planters’ bid to restore white supremacy.” There is far more evidence of why people who were not the owners would support the system:
Five myths about why the South seceded
However, two ideological factors caused most Southern whites, including those who were not slave-owners, to defend slavery. First, Americans are wondrous optimists, looking to the upper class and expecting to join it someday. In 1860, many subsistence farmers aspired to become large slave-owners. So poor white Southerners supported slavery then, just as many low-income people support the extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy now.
Second and more important, belief in white supremacy provided a rationale for slavery. As the French political theorist Montesquieu observed wryly in 1748: “It is impossible for us to suppose these creatures [enslaved Africans] to be men; because allowing them to be men, a suspicion would follow that we ourselves are not Christians.” Given this belief, most white Southerners — and many Northerners, too — could not envision life in black-majority states such as South Carolina and Mississippi unless blacks were in chains.
This ties directly into why in this same body of issues, when blame is aimed to be turned back on the minorities themselves, or the poor in general as not only causing their own problems by being “lazy”, but also draining the economy for everyone else, the rich always end up being defended as “earning” everything they have, and are thus the real “victims”, and would share the wealth if they weren’t so taxed and regulated by the “liberals” in order to give it all to the “undeserving”.
Reasoning among themselves much like the Pharisees who realized “if we rationalize it this way, then Jesus will say that about us”, they have to prove that they and their forefathers who uttered those statements are “Christians” (or at least “good, upstanding people comprising an “exceptional” nation) after all, who would never do wrong to fellow man, so those uh, beings, or whatever they are, that they oppressed physically back then, and economically now (and often still physically, in today’s police incidents) must not really be men, or at least have forfeited all human “rights” through their “problems”. That’s what all of this is all about.
As #5 the myth that “slavery would have ended on its own”: “Slaves were worth more than all the manufacturing companies and railroads in the nation. No elite class in history has ever given up such an immense interest voluntarily.
To claim that slavery would have ended of its own accord by the mid-20th century is impossible to disprove but difficult to accept. In 1860, slavery was growing more entrenched in the South. Unpaid labor makes for big profits, and the Southern elite was growing ever richer. ”
That, we see yet again, is what it was all about (and again, today’s ongoing pro-rich arguments are just a continuation of the old values).
Conservatives have total claim to all “truth” (any response to them is just wrong)
Conservatives are saying the other side “doesn’t want to address” (let alone fix) the problems, causing all these police shootings. But why do they seem to think the “truth” is always completely on their side and only “hurts” the other side?
Both sides are complaining about things. It seems everyone is unhappy in the nation today. But when one side complains, it’s “fighting for ‘truth’” and stolen “freedoms”. When the other side complains of anything, it’s “whining” for an evil agenda to take what belongs to someone else. (This is a common “fundamental attribution error”).
I had many years ago (when I first reached adulthood, and became aware of the history of racism, and the total denial occuring in the otherwise outspoken Religious Right, and the reverse blaming going on in political rhetoric), tended to blame certain things I was unhappy with in life, on “America” and “racism”, but came to see that that was wrong; while that may have made some things more difficult, they were not the cause of all unhappiness. But when conservatives blame all their unhappiness on “Democrats” and “black government dependency”, they’re doing the same exact thing.
And speaking up and voting for whom you want is a right that seems to be denied the people at the focus of this rhetoric. They vote for those who either best represent their interests, or are at least the “lesser of two evils”, which is a term we have heard, when conservatives vote the same way. (They’re certainly not going to vote for those deriding them as “lazy, contemptible moochers” as one meme ingeniously portrays it).
So the liberals may not have solved all black problems, and some may have had self-serving agendas they were only using the electorate for. But apparently, the same is happening on the conservative side, as the voters have gotten their candidates in, yet feel they have not solved any of the problems they were concerned about either. They promise “vote for us, and we’ll stop these ‘takers’/’leeches’, etc. from draining your tax dollars” (in addition to limiting government, etc). But it never happens, apparently. The Christians vote for them as the “lesser of two evils” on abortion, gay rights and religious liberties. Yet the country is still “sliding” in these areas, in their estimation.
Yet they still continue to vote for them, and advocate the party. Occasionally, there will be a push for a third party, but that never goes anywhere, for long. Many even fear voting for them, knowing the votes will end up going to the Democrats in the end of the race.
So if the blacks are being duped by liberals luring them in, but really only serving their own [the politicians] evil agenda, then the same thing is going on on the conservative side.
But don’t forget, with the blacks, it’s not just the motives of the politicians, but also the character of the entire voting base; the entire race, that’s being questioned, only voting for them “because they want free stuff”.
If people want to raise awareness of problems politicians aren’t solving, great; but if it’s about just blaming one side for everything, while ignoring any wrong on any other base (such as corporatism, and how they milk and control all of us, continuing the legacy of the economic basis of injustice), then the other side is not going to hear or address the “problem”, and all anyone is doing is tickling the ears of the choir.
(I imagine some may try to say I’m doing to the “conservatives” the same thing I’m criticizing them for doing to blacks.
But race is what one IS by birth, and thus can’t be right or wrong. Political views are something one CHOOSES, and thus CAN be wrong, or part right and part wrong, and is not what you are, but rather can be changed).
Conclusion: Nature vs integrity
I not too long ago read a book explaining the Chinese concepts of “Tao vs te” (“Nature” vs “integrity”; the latter meaning “untouched”; a “wholeness” that transcends nature and its resulting “brokenness”). So then I recently began looking at the political strife through this lens and its terms.
The whole problem is that both sides are acting purely out of nature. The Left, including minorities and the poor, will complain about slavery and discrimination in the past, as well as economic inequality today. The responses by the Right basically boil down to “it’s nature“ (as embodied most strongly in the teachings of Ayn Rand). The “fittest” survive, the weak will be consumed or swept aside, “the cream rises to the top”, “producing value gets rewarded”, you must pull up your bootstraps to stay afloat, “free market”, “If you obey the law, the police won’t shoot you”, etc. and thus the demands of the Left to go against these principles are totally contrary to nature.
On the other hand, the reactions of people like the poor and minorities, such as all this crime and unrest people keep pointing to, are also “nature”. Other living creatures who are treated a certain way will become violent, and it will become an environmental influence on new ones born into their environment, and humans still have this same tendency. That’s basically why they speak of “the effects of oppression” not wearing off. To say stuff like “you should have gotten over it by now” is using pure reason (which is connected with “integrity”), but nature does not always regard reason. Wit, the conservatives always accusing liberals as being “without reason”.
So what’s happening is that both sides are expecting the other to act with integrity and not nature; with the accusing side taking for granted both as being united in its own beliefs and behavior. And that’s why this issue is persisting. No matter how much “shoulds” each side throws at each other, the other side will continue to follow nature, in one way or another.
It’s hard to know what “solution” to try to follow, as on either side, it will appear to mean swallowing the “injustice” of changing yourself, while the other side continues its course (I call this “inertia”). But of course, if both sides did it, the problem would be completely eliminated.
One of the best classic game sequels I’ve seen in the new Pacman 256 that came out for mobile devices, as part of the ongoing 35th anniversary celebration this year. (It’s actually by a third party, but looks as genuine as a Namco OEM game).
Far better than the direction they had been taking the franchise, such as platformers.
It takes the level 256 random character glitch, and turns it into an encroaching threat. You start on what looks like a regular new maze, with a bottom, and tunnels on the side, and you can scroll upward, and it never ends. If you stay in the area too long, then the glitch appears across the whole bottom of the screen, and begins spreading upward, so you have to keep moving up. You can brush the edge of it (i.e. touch the first flashing characters that arrive, like a shallow surf), but once “drowned” in it, you die (in a garbled version of the regular Pac Man death. In the original game, it was not deadly, it just made it hard to find your way around).
This is a cool idea. It reminds me so much of the “New Super Mario Bros” series’ Worlds 8 (Bowser’s lair), where on overworld levels, you are chased by a volcanic ash that comes from behind, and there are vertical volcano levels with rising lava.
The graphics are a sort of 2.5 D, with a 2D maze, yet flat 3D versions of the pixellated original 8 bit characters, with only one pixel of thickess, stand up vertically on edge in the maze.
Eating dots is the original sound, and there is a counter of each dot eaten that appears in their place right as you eat them (similar to Pacman Championship Edition, which shows the number of points of each dot eaten), and you may notice, around an uninterrupted string of 50 consecutive dots, that the pitch of the dot eating sound is increasing. When you’re in the 100’s and above, it really high (and you’re getting faster as well).
It reminds me of the “siren” sound of the original game (and the “engine” sound of the Z80-based sequels) that increases in pitch (indicating the increased intensity of the chase) as you clear dots. (There is no other background sound like that in this one).
The goal is to get an unbroken chain of 256 dots, which then clears all the ghostmonsters from the board. (This is temporary, as new ones will eventually arrive, and meanwhile, the dot counter then starts over from 1). It can be hard, as only certain paths will have no gaps in the dots, and of course, monsters can block you and cause you to turn back, and you’re going faster, so you have less time to plot the best path. To interrupt the count resets it; however, you can stop and rest against a wall without resetting it. (If going fast enough around a corner with a single dot missing, you may be able to continue, and I think I snagged a fruit that was one space out of the way and continued back on the path, without resetting).
At press time, I was able to do this a few times. What makes it easier to do is to head down first, to the bottom of the maze. There is one path of an unbroken string of dots, and usually only one monster; generally Inky, who stays in one area. By the time you do the circuit and start heading up, you’ll be well ahead of the brewing glitch that begins engulfing the maze, and will be able to follow a good unbroken path while avoiding the monsters that start appearing further up.
There are coins placed everywhere, that you collect, which you can buy to upgrade powerups.
Fruits are scattered in various places (they are not specific to levels, as the maze is continuous anyway), and their purpose is to increase the value of anything eaten afterward (like the cherry doubles everything, while the green grape, being the highest in this game, sextuples it. For some reason, this green grape cluster, like the others, being from the original game, is called a “melon” here).
Energizers are also scattered around. Since there is no monster pen, eating them sends the eyes down into the advancing glitch.
There are also other powerup items, earned by reaching certain goals (including attacking monsters with ones you’ve already gained).
You have one that slows down the enemies by partly freezing them,
a hurricane that eats them,
a laser beam that shoots down a straight path,
a fire trail,
some sort of rock traps placed in intersections, that destroys them,
three little Pacmen that can eat them even without an energizer,
a purple “stealth” cloak that makes you invicible (and comes with these robotic sound effects)
a magnet that attracts coins
a bomb cloak
a super size cloak that crushes them, etc.
You have to choose three at a time from a “loadout” menu, and these will be what appear throughout the maze. When one is in effect (including the regular energizer), the other powerups turn into little cubic energizers, which simply extend the current one. When active, a little box naming the power appears, and has a meter showing the time running down, so you know when it will run out.
The monsters (who appear in multiple copies) are the standard Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde; as well as the purple Sue (who joined the cast by replacing Clyde in Ms. Pacman), Funky (green) and Spunky (gray), from Pacmania. An eighth monster is “Glitchy“, who materializes anywhere in a small glitch like the one following you, and then seems to continuously flash into some of the other monsters, taking on their behaviors. He eventually dematerializes in a similar fashion.
Blinky comes right after you, like always.
Clyde comes at you in a less aggressive fashion, often getting in the way.
Pinky sits guarding a place, then comes after you when you’re in the line of sight. He moves real fast (faster than Blinky on “Cruise Elroy” in thhe old game), so you have to duck out of the way, and he’ll just stay on that path until reaching the end, and sit there until you pass by again.
Inky just circles the same block.
Spunky sits sleeping, and similar to Pinky, begins following when you get close in any direction (not neccessarily in the line of sight). He can follow you anywhere for a bit, but then goes back to sleep.
Funky appears in a line of three or four, moving horizontally across a straight path, and can only go back and forth there.
Sue also appears in threes of fours, but is slower, and tries to head you off by moving toward whatever vertical path you’re approaching from, and sitting there. It can be difficult to get by.
There are so many monsters (kind of like a throwback to Pacmania, where they all bunched up on you), and some long paths with no exits, so it’s easy to get chased right down into the glitch.
There are also moving arrows in parts of the maze, which the monsters cannot go the other way on. When you go the other way on them, you slow down, though (and I’m seeing, this can actually reset your dot count!)
What’s difficult is that you start out with six “credits”, and it takes tens of minutes for them to replenish once you’ve used them. You only get one “continue” for a credit (or for watching a long ad), then, you have to start over. The free game has no powerups.
You can also earn credits or other items by watching ads (currently, usually this stupid looking forest monster game the same company, I believe, made).
It’s really captivating, and works on both the tablet and the phone.
Here is the best guide for it: http://www.gamezebo.com/2015/08/19/pac-man-256-tips-cheats-strategies/
Some trivia; the actual first “PacMan” I saw, 35 years ago, was actually installed in a “Breakout” machine, in an arcade located in the space of a current row of salons on Clarendon Rd. near Flatbush Ave. Breakout was a black & white game, and so Blinky looked almost invisible, while Inky looked pure white, like an actual “ghost”.
It was actually a PuckMan chip, with the Japanese names (and the original maze). So I knew “Puck-Man” was the name of the playable character, and figured the game simply wasn’t named after him. “Breakout” did seem to be an understandable name for a game about escaping a maze with four monsters coming after you, but I had to wonder why the cabinet artwork consisted entirely of actual smashing bricks!
For months that year and into the next, I watched others play games in the multiple arcades and other businesses with games in the area, but usually having no money, and not having a physical dexterity, didn’t venture to play. (I had hoped someone would allow me to try on one of their games).
It was in April, ’81 that I got some quarters, and tried out Space Invaders, in a diner around the corner from the first place, and then Astro Blaster or some similar game next to it. Probably the day after, I then tried the real PacMan machine in the Bona Pizza down the block (still there, but hasn’t had games in decades). Later that year, the PacMan clone “Hangly-Man” appeared in that first arcade I mentioned!
Everyone likely has a part of themselves than despises others different from themselves.
We are all egos (“I”s) who are charged by nature with the need to survive, first. So we fear being reduced to nothing, with death as the most extreme threat, and control by others (also negating our sense of “I” in a way).
So after our individual self, we “extend” our egos [our “identity”] through “community” (first, family, then others who live around us). Then, other categories that we are apart of, such as gender, nationality and creed.
So there is likely a part of everyone who thinks their race is better than others, as it is a part of who they are. (Ideally, it “shouldn’t” be, since it is only superficial pigmentation, ultimately, but as it did stem from community; i.e. people who lived together in certain climates developed certain common physical traits, man did build “cultures” around it, and so it continues to be an “issue” in social affairs and politics).
Since the human conscience senses this is wrong, it leads to guilt. The guilt is reacted to through forms of denial in one or two ways: placation/patronage, or backlash/blaming. The conservatives have taken the latter, while the liberals have taken the former.
A concept known as the Johari Window says that while we have those parts of ourselves that are public, so that we and everyone else know about them; and are private, so that we know about them, but not others; there are also things that are conscious to neither ourselves nor others, and also that are uncounscious to ourselves, but conscious to others. What’s unconscious is known as the “shadow”, which we tend to disown, and yet see only in others. However, part of it can be seen by others, and when confronted with it, we will react in a fierce denial.
Conservatives want to think their nation, from its founding was “exceptional”, but the people back then were in ignorance that the way they treated other peoples was wrong. It was somewhere in the conscience, but suppressed from consciousness. Yet others could see it clearly (especially the victims, of course). Their successors today, the would-be guardians of “traditional American values”, have simply taken on the identity of these earlier people, and yet have to continue to try to suppress the full ugliness of a lot of what was done back then. So they try to turn the accusations back on others, or focus on other “moral” or political issues, like abortion or “socialism”, where they can prove they are still “exceptional” compared to others’ sin/evil, after all.
They fail to see that they, as humans, still contain the same proclivity to sin that they see others doing. Their “traditional values” protect unborn people, but kill born people. They oppose government control by a society that would oppress their religious beliefs, but support corporate control (which can end up just as bad, and can buy out the government), and would oppress others’ beliefs if they still had the power.
They then think their “choices” (whether individual or collective) and outward “civility” (lower crime figures, greater “decency” of past society, etc.) make them better people, and justify any hateful attitude they show toward others, seen as morally deficient.
Liberals realize the past was full of evil, and as part of the same “culture”, want to dissociate themselves from it. But they may end up in an opposite form of denial, not seeing that they are still part of that culture, no matter what (and still benefit from it as others point out). So they too still have the same procility to those evils they see in others, and thinking that their “compassion” makes them better people, justifying a similar self-righteousness, but one that looks better by focusing on “compassion”, rather than personal “morality”. They too want freedom, but end up trying to minimize others’ in the process.
Both sides will try to control the other, with government force, ultimately, when they get the chance (in the past few generations, with the old societal order being overturned, it’s the liberal side that has ended up wielding government power increasingly, to stamp out the older control).
So yes the “bleeding heart” white liberal may think themselves “better” than (at least, subconsciously) some street-talking stereotypical black man, and perhaps be nervous around them, clench their purse, etc.; even as they may otherwise stand up and fight for the cause of blacks. Many black people may feel the same way about that stereotypical person (as Jesse Jackson once admitted).
On the black side (as the conservatives try to point out), being “better” than whites would take the form of a kind of “moral superiority”, against historic racism; which comes out through resentment. This too can be either openly manifested as an expressed resentment or hatred (and trying to “stick it to them” in political rhetoric), or can fall into the subconscious of someone who wants or tries to forgive the white race and get along with them and move on.
We must remember this part of it too, when we try to tag others with “hate”.
Trying to stir up deep seated guilt, through “sticking it to them” (with “‘truth’ [that ‘hurts’]”, “[hard] ‘facts'”, etc. as conservatives more often put it) only leads to defensiveness, and more deep seated, though possibly suppressed, resentment.
That’s why I believe we need to be careful when talking about “white privilege”. We’re lumping the whole race together (just as white “racists” have done to us), and while it’s true that even the “bleeding hearts” may still “benefit from systemic racism”, while “trying to ease their guilt”, we should realize we cannot clean this [apparently universal] thing we’re calling “racism” out of people’s hearts.
The liberals may continue to placate, but at the same time, the conservatives, who are the ones who have more of a genuine problem, simply step up their rhetoric, and label all of our speech and our leaders as just as “racist” (and we hardly ever answer them directly. We seem harder on the liberals who are handling their portion of the collective guilt by at least trying to do the things we want, and this just makes it look like, as the conservatives claim, we just have an unending need for gaining “[free] stuff” through “guilt manipulation”. The more we ignore them, the louder they become, and the more public thought they influence, making it harder to gain the things we’re asking for; the most important being respect. The larger “image” of us this creates is a large cause of the continuing “systemic racism”, being the “system” is still controlled by both liberals and conservatives).
The big news this past week, was this:
Interrupting Bernie: Exposing the White Supremacy of the American Left
It even mentions “all of the ‘this is not the way’ sentiment we’re hearing from White progressives”, yet “it was the interruption at Netroots (alongside other direct pressure) that led to Bernie’s explicit platform on racial justice.” and appeals to Martin Luther King’s statement on how the “white moderates” are a bigger stumbling block than the open racists.
In this instance, these “well-meaning White people”, “…who consider themselves the most progressive of us all, shouted down and booed Black women who dared to force Blackness into the center of White space…and chanted the name of a White man throughout that moment.” (They had called for a moment of silence for Mike Brown a year after he was gunned down). This is evidence of “the deep-seated White supremacy that would cause us to boo during a moment of silence for a Black boy murdered by a White police officer”. They thus “would rather maintain injustice than risk the decentering of our Whiteness and White comfort.”
King’s statement mentioned the moderates of his day being “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice”. And so, today,
“And how much more ‘devoted to “order”’ can we be than to lecture Black people about what direct actions are and are not ‘hurting your cause’? (Notably, this language I’ve seen from countless White folks shows that we do not see the cause of racial justice as OUR cause – it’s that cause over there that we will tolerate so long as it doesn’t disrupt our Bernie rally.)”
I too am concerned about it “hurting our cause” and “not being the way”, but this is not from wanting to maintain some [false] sense of order; it’s from seeing how all this stuff we say and do gets turned back on us in backlash. Like using it to prove, once again, that we’re the true “racists”, who are only “whining”, incessantly, to get more “free stuff”. And then for all this reaction to white liberals, we totally ignore the white conservatives saying all of this openly racist stuff.
It does make sense to do that, under King’s premise that it’s the moderate/progressives that are a “worse” problem than the original conservatives.
That’s where I think I’m seeing a bit of hyperbole that is being taken too literally to the point of getting out of hand. Let’s be really honest. Moderates not working fast enough for us are not as dangerous as conservatives who want to set us back to the pre-Civil Rights era. Who have filled public discourse with rhetoric portraying all of us as a bunch of leeching “takers” and criminal “thugs” who are detrimental to their otherwise “exceptional” society; much of this in code, but it seems becoming more bold and direct, as it goes on for years and years, unanswered (proving to them it is “hard truth” that can’t be answered). Who can sway many who are in the middle. Many of us are too busy trying to stamp every molecule of racism out of the hearts of liberals to see the huge potential tidal waves of racism coming up behind us.
It’s just a matter of tact, I’m getting at.
I’m not saying those two women were wrong for doing that, to try to stir up awareness among those who have seemingly fallen into a smug, half-hearted “do-gooding”. I do have some concern about the way the article talks about: “to center Black lives and Black issues”. I guess the context is decentering whiteness, particularly in a black cause.
While this is of course understandable, it does seem to maintain an “us vs them” mentality that we are in the very breath of accusing them of! We may say “we’re doing that because it’s already that way” [i.e. “they did it first”], but if we’re trying to erase racial discrimination, we should show them all a better example. And while they are acting subconsciously, we’re doing it very consciously and aggressively in cases like this.
While terms like “white supremacy” may be technically true, on a subconscious level, the very fact that we’re dealing with the subconscious, makes it not really beneficial to keep tossing them out so much. When we think of historic “supremacy”, we think of what was very conscious. (What was unconscious, again, were the things that proved they weren’t superior). For these liberals today, superiority is not conscious. I think we should give them some grace on that.
That doesn’t mean giving them a total “pass”, but I just think to go charging at them “You’re no better with the ‘white supremacy’ then the racist groups” will make them more likely to not hear us. If they’re struggling with their own deep seated guilt, and trying to, imperfectly as it may be, compensate for it, then this will not help them clearly see where they need to improve.
So we can challenge white liberals, to make them more consistent in their participation in the cause, but I think it’s now time to pay more attention to those on the other side still trying to blame us for all of the problems of their nation.
(Another old essay, from the predecessor space to the blog)
This is a very difficult situation which doesn’t seem to have any ready answer. I have criticized the economic gap elsewhere, raising assumptions that I was trying to “implement socialism”. I wished more people knew about type, so I could explain that I am a Perceiver, so I make observations but do not necessarily have a solution, where many of the people I have debated on this are likely Judgers, so to them you are either building up one system or the other, and you must stand for one, or otherwise must be trying to tear it down, and you must stand wholeheartedly for something, accepting its warts and all, or just shut up and don’t say anything.
But in addition to poverty, we still have a lot of middle class complaining about taxes and such, and many still blaming “social programs” (e.g. “Taxed Enough Already”, with the assumption that it’s all going to “liberal spending”); the latest being the health care bill.
But most refuse to ever consider that the filthy rich might be the ones draining the economy. They argue that they “deserve” it because they “pulled up their bootstraps”, and “the market” is what determines they should make that much.
But still, this does not change the fact that their oncome is getting higher and higher, no matter the state of the economy. Even when they crash the company, they still get rewarded, go on $89,000 pheasant hunts, and bailed out from being “too big to fail” (and conservatives blame Obama for this instead of the executives).
The problem is, what do we do about this? Radical liberal answers might be something like pay caps and regulation of wealth, but then this compromises our principles of freedom. And where do you draw the line?
Conservatives are right, also, that to “punish” the capitalists will just cause them to pass whatever loss down to everyone else, through loss of jobs, higher prices, or just taking the business elsewhere. (Basically “punishing” everyone).
But then, it looks like they got us all by the throat, doesn’t it! [This I would say is pure “nature”; of the strongest being in such a position of power. But it lacks “integrity”, which is the “care” and “justice” we are supposed to bring into our participation in nature. But you really can’t force or legislate this].
So the conservatives just try to point the blame in the opposite direction, like taking every welfare person or illegal immigrant or health care recipient, turning them upside down and shaking every penny off of them will recover the economy. Giving more to the rich will “create a bigger pie” they also claim. Yet every two decades they are given more, and then we suffer these crunches, increasingly radical Democrats are elected, and then the back and forth debate begins as to which party’s fault or credit the bad or good times are (the one in office, or the previous one).
To use the pie analogy to illustrate the absurdity of conservative rhetoric, we start with a pie, and several people vying to get as much of it as possible. Since it takes effort to climb the table and cut the pieces and claim them, the most driven tend to get the biggest pieces. Some are held back by discrimination, but this is eventually overturned, and the discriminated groups can gain more, but slower, and others already had more to begin with. Programs are enacted to give to these people, and others still with less for whatever reason.
Yet at the same time, those most driven gain a bigger and bigger appetite (as often happens when one has more), and demand more and more for their “efforts” (which are largely the same).
So a few, more driven people have about 7/8ths of the pie. Everyone else must share one eighth. Chunks are taken from all eight slices, with crumbs to be given to the less fortunate. However, the others do get some of those chunks or crumbs back as well, in addition to the authority regulating everything. Eventually, an uproar occurs over this, and people are blaming the loss of the crumbs for their financial problems. They believe the more driven people “deserve” the other 7/8ths, so they refuse to even consider that. Instead, people teach that if you give the more driven people their chunks back, they will put it back in the pie and somehow create an even larger pie from it, so that all will have more. Just give it time. We have tried to give them more, but it is not enough, and the other side keeps trying to reverse this.
But what they’re actually doing is consuming most of it, and then even spreading it to other tables (who are so impoverished they accept less). Yet people keep blaming those at this table who receive the crumbs, even though many have received less as time went on. They actually portray them as a “horde of grasshoppers” [or “takers”] who have taken most of the pie and chewed it up and spat it out right before them. They insist that they did not earn what they have gotten, and the question of whether that is really true, and whether that is where the majority of the pie is really going is sidestepped.
I liked the way the Zeitgest films spoke of the image of a “scarcity-based economy”, when there is really abundance in the earth, that is concentrated through the fiat money/credit/debt system. Saying we need to do something to gain a “bigger pie” is saying the pie is too small, and thus, scarce. [And they try to argue that there is no “zero sum game”, where giving more to the rich means less for everyone else. But still, there is a whole premise of scarcity, and they have no qualms blaming it on the poor, in a “zero-sum” fashion!]
But as I have said, money and resources have not been taken off of the earth. It’s all still here, only concentrated in certain places. (And those places are not among the poor, or minority groups!
The utopianism of the film’s producers does seem very farfetched, and it leads them to denounce all religion; seen as impeding the progress expected to come from stuff like cloning).
As for poverty, there is no way to completely end that, as you can’t control those in power. The only thing that can control them would be some super powerful government, but then who can control that? It will be the same imbalance, and then become abusive and corrupt itself.
Many homeless I see (laying covered in waste-soiled clothes, etc) are mentally ill who are released from institutions that I imagine can’t take care of them anymore. So money won’t help them.
And there are some who are lazy, or just don’t aspire to more wealth. (In addition to the fact that “poverty” is a bit relative, anyway).
So “ending poverty” I do not see as any sort of achievable goal. What I think we should focus on is trying to make things a bit more fair (and conservatives waver back and forth between saying “life isn’t fair”; until they think something is unfair towards them, which they will insist be rectified!), and thus somehow finding a way to spread the abundance. But there just doesn’t seem to be any way we know of to do that. Whether we try to force people, or just let them do what they want, those who gain power will still take advantage.
I call it the three T’s for gain of power: Temperament/(type), Talent, and Timing/opportunity.
I just wish for now, people will at least be aware of where all the money is really flowing, and stop trying to blame the wrong people. That will at least make it more likely someone will discover some better solution,instead of this endless loop of rises and falls and blame.