From the Editor’s Perch…

April 11, 2014

Arabs Angel on John's Shoulder1 AntChrist

Blog Encounters

            Time passes in a library, at home as we read, even on the internet – though it might seem as if we’ve slipped into timelessness.

And the people we meet on the internet grow older, their lives change, or they wander away, or lose interest, or can die and are lost to us like a closed book.

Recently I was brought up short by a death notice on a blog I have visited from time to time: The Baggage Handler.   His blog was an account of his life as an informant for the DEA; how he’d become involved; how he’d been flipped; plus the back story of his life.  Abandoning Miami and his family in an effort to free himself from the habits of his past, he apparently died at a fairly young age of pneumonia in Minnesota.

Some bloggers, I think, are swallowed up by the despair of their situation – such as those ensnared in their own chronic pain or mental illness – and disappear.  Or others, I think, eventually despair for their subject.  For example, The Chronicle of Artistic Failure in America, I found compelling reading, until it seemed the author stopped publishing.  His interviews of failed artists living alone, in their dingy basement/studio/living quarters, failed marriages, or in deteriorating lofts stuffed with years of artistic toil and inventions, dust devils and mounds of old dried tubes of paint, and living left to suppurate in their health problems, in debt and/or swirling down the drain of their ingrown mental constructions: crotchety, suspicious, bewildered or embittered by a vanished audience.  It was like reading Of Human Bondage over and over again – and just the good parts.

A science teacher living in Peking, who wrote lovely scientific and mathematical  examinations of emerging notions – spawned a lot of the ‘emerging notions’ in my own serial fiction,  The Cognitive Web.  However, the Chinese government and the smog – (he remained indoors, kept his doors and windows closed, and still his thinking was getting ‘hazy’) – finally got too much to bear.  The last of that blog had him hop scotching to Germany to get some air, and his life back.

Bloggers pass by my blog, and when they leave a ‘like’ or a note, I visit them.  Kind of like a hobo scratching an ‘X’ on the gatepost where a sandwich will be offered.

I regularly  visit a fashion column, I Love Green Inspiration,  by an Italian woman just to oogle beauty: the clothes, fantastic settings and women.  It’s a quick lick of a lollipop.

A Brazilian blogger, The Talking Violin, with a deep sonorous voice, regularly posts a minute sound bite, along with an interesting photo, of what’s making the news in this former portion of the Portuguese Empire.

And a fellow from Bangkok (Thailand Footprint), regularly follows the local culture and expat ‘crime noir’.   I’d read a little too much of that, I think, as I anticipated our upcoming re-visit there with our adopted Thai son.

A current favorite of mine is The Culture Monk.  The blogger, Kenneth Justice, is on a “One Hundred Coffee Shops” stop of America.  He flies, drives, takes a train, or walks, I suppose, to major cities around our country and blogs – of wherever he can herd his jittery fingers.   It’s a morning’s cup of philosophy, religion, and culture via chance encounters.  He takes the American pulse, with vague stabs at the Great Questions.  But he’s liberal, like most of the people’s blogs I visit; like everybody, it would seem, out there.  So we argue.

Then, of course, we all have to visit our friend’s blogs, to see what they’ve written.  Scot Bastian’s  “Do Ya Think?” is devoted to skepticism.  (Those damned people have to be so sure of everything.  We argue all of the time.)  And Dan Green’s “Dangblog” is a very well written perusal of current Ballard /Seattle existence.  But as he recently voted for a Socialist, (which I think is like voting for a Tapeworm – why would you do that?), here again we argue.

And now I’ve just thought of another blogger I follow who is currently dying of pancreatic cancer!   He writes a very good blog about art called, Robert Genn’s Twice Weekly Letter – and currently from bed, so that his daughter is partly carrying on the letter in his stead.

But we don’t argue!  (Yet.)   J

 

Photos by Carl Nelson and Google

Seattle Celebrity News!

March 28, 2014

Lazzo Laughs6WEb Lazzo Laughs9bWEb

Troupe Comique to Make a Movie

While shooting promo photos for the upcoming Midnight Mystery Theater, (Coming to the Eclectic Theater in May.  Watch for it!), Mystery Theater writer/director and producer John Ruoff, revealed in a private chat that he was planning to produce a full length silent movie utilizing the Theater Comique players.  This is all he was wont to say.  (And, of course, it’s just about useless speaking to a mime, except to say that they appeared very excited!)

John Ruoff / Artistic Provocatuer

John Ruoff / Artistic Provocatuer

Midnight Mystery Theater Players

Midnight Mystery Theater Players

Photos by Carl Nelson

 

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 10, 2014
Reichstag 1932

Reichstag 1932

How Large Should Government Be?

First.  Here is a smidgeon of history from “Bismark’s Legacy” by Tom Palmer:

“The welfare state in its modern form originated in the late nineteenth century in Germany in the political maneuvering and “state building” of the German statesman Otto Von Bismark…  Bismark ushered in the German welfare state through a series of compulsory insurance schemes for accidents, health, disability, and old age…”

“Whoever has a pension for his old age is much more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospects.  Look at the difference between a private servant and a servant in the chancellery or at court; the latter will put up with much more, because he has a pension to look forward to.” – Bismark

“It was the collapse in the 1930s of the over-extended welfare state of the Weimar Republic (Germany), widely known at the time as the most advanced welfare state in the world, that ushered in dictatorship, war, and the most predatory and vicious welfare state the world has ever seen, the Third Reich.”

Hitler promised “the creation of a socially just state”.  Have any of us been hearing these words repeated lately?

So.  How large should the government be?

Well, a little smaller than the above, I’d guess.

White House

White House

But, easier decided than done.   For as long as I’ve been alive and literate, a debate has raged over how large our government should be.  Democrats have generally been categorized as the “tax and spend party”, who would cast government as our ‘friend’ and helpmate.  Republicans have generally been cast as the party of “fiscal responsibility” who would pursue “limited government”.  And yet, throughout the leadership of both parties our government and national debt have ballooned.

So, it seems to me that the continuing debate over the proper size of government, is rather like two Africans arguing the proper size of a hippo.
(Which I’m guessing most Africans are too smart to do.)

All the while they argue, and no matter the conclusion they might reach – the hippo continues growing.

Hippo1

hippo3

 As Buckmeister Fuller noted, “to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  This is what happens when a cheetah eats a gazelle.  And this is what happens when the Internet and Fedex feast on the business model of the Postal Service.

So, it seems to me, what is needed in our situation is a predator.  Our government by its nature – (just like the hippo) – grows.  So what we need is something which preys on government; something which uses government for food.  So that a natural balance of government versus citizen is maintained.   And the government’s growth is made ‘sustainable’.

Here I propose that a good model for such a citizen creature would be Anarchists, who would thrive on chewing through a little government each day.  More on this later.  (Where I imagine all of us – a diverse motley of anarchist/citizens, with our little backyard anarchist bins – mulching government).

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). - from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). – from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Photos from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 7, 2014

anarchism2

Anarchists:  You Probably Are One

           

            Rush Limbaugh, (to start right out on a polarizing note), used to gleefully point out that even the most successful liberals were more than likely 95% conservative in the matter of their own affairs.  They were conservative in their business dealings, in their financial matters, in how they raised their families, and in matters of education, where they lived, how they worshipped, how they comported themselves, and generally in how they managed their day to day affairs 24/7.  And this was because conservatism ‘worked’.  Conservatism worked because it bore the collected wisdom of countless generations of human beings when dealing with much the same matters we deal with today in different guises.  In his combative way, this was actually Rush Limbaugh ‘reaching out’.  He was saying, “Conservative thought is not your enemy.  And if you consider your own lives for a moment, you’ll agree.”

Now think of all the moments of your day when you are not being coerced, nor coercing someone else.  This includes all those periods when you are exhibiting self-discipline; when you are meeting an obligation; when you are conducting yourself as you would prefer.  This can include family time, work time, recreational time, …just about any time.  These times of the day, are those times when you are living as an anarchist.  They are not without structure.  They are not without pleasure.  They are not without effort.  But they are rewarding, and comprise those moments which give meaning to a life.  And these are the periods and moments of your day when you are living as an anarchist.  So I would say to you, “Anarchism is not your enemy.  And if you consider the wealth of your own life, you’ll agree.”

 

Oftentimes, a main objection to anarchism is the question: “Well, how would it work?”

My answer would be: “Well, how does your day work?”

Anarchism is already successful.  Anarchism is already popular.

But what most people might say to this answer is, “Yes.  But how would an anarchist government work?”

And the answer would be:  “Only coercive entities can describe to you how something will be; how something WILL work.   Anarchists are against coercion.”

“Well then,” the response might be.  “I don’t see how an anarchist government could do the things a government has to do in order to sustain law and order.”

And I would point out to you that the anarchism we already practice in our daily lives sustains law and order – much more so, than there is in the power of our government to do so.   In fact, it is widely held that if just 10% of the populace refuses to obey a law, then the law is unenforceable.  10% is the effective power of coercion.  More than 90% is the effective power of natural (anarchistic) living practices.

 

About here, most people will lose patience and say, “This is ridiculous.  We just can’t do away with the government lock, stock and barrel, and expect anything but chaos to ensue.”

To which I would heartily agree.  The only thing which can be done overnight is daylight.  An anarchic society must be created brick by brick.  To kick away government safeguards overnight would be catastrophic.  But what the anarchist can say to the government ‘statists’ on a day to day basis is, “I would rather do that activity myself.”

Take the U S Postal Service for a prominent example.  Every time a citizen uses Fedex, or UPS, or e mail, or faxes something, or goes on Facebook, or the Web, or handles his financial matters or purchasing online – he is in effect saying to the government, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  RIP Postal Service.  The government shrinks.  Liberty expands.

And this is just one example.  There are hundreds of examples of anarchists (whether they know so or not) at work each and every day, telling the government in one form or another, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  This is how anarchism gradually replaces government.

 

Image from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 1, 2014

 

Sing along!

Sing along!

Anarchism: Give it a Look

 

            Most people, myself included, have glided right past the Anarchists when searching for a group of like-minded political minds.  Anarchists are represented in history and the media by bombings, assassinations, societal disruption and chaos.  Ironically, anarchists themselves – including founders such as the Frenchman, Proudhon – almost embrace this misperception, though it’s hard to imagine how the tenets of anarchism would support such behavior.  Anarchism itself is about establishing society through voluntary, personal arrangements, and flattened – as opposed to hierarchical – organizational structures.  Anarchism is not about chaos, but rather it is about organization through organic growth, personal connection, local rather than global activity, civic rather than state involvement, all with an accent on the adjective “voluntary”.  The roots of the word anarchism mean “against government”.  Governments are coercive.  Governments have definite structure.  Anarchistic arrangements are voluntary; they have mutable structure.  People change what they want.

Most strange of all, anarchic communities function well all around us.  In fact, we are probably part of several.  Anarchism has already been shown to work.  So, it is strange that we act as if the movement were something we couldn’t associate with.   Because we do.  Successfully.  Already.

There are already established threads of anarchism which are very strong, such as the free market, where a voluntary exchange of goods between individuals has created an incredible amount of wealth and efficient distribution of goods.   The family might also be considered a very successful anarchist structure which creates extremely tight bonds between members of what begins as a voluntary arrangement.  Neighborhood activities, bowling leagues, associations, clubs, theater and sports groups, etc… these are all voluntary activities which create a rich civic structure.  The moral basis of anarchism stems from the legal concept of natural law: that the best laws we can enact are outgrowths of what comes to be accepted behavior between two or more reasonable adults: ‘rules of order’ they might be called.  Anarchism is a wholly ‘grass-roots’ phenomena which creates its community as it grows.  It claims no territory, but can inhabit a vast area.

Probably the first question usually asked, once people have decided to consider the question is: How would an anarchist form of government work?  Well, unlike other governmental arrangements, an anarchist government cannot be described until it has evolved and matured to the state where we might refer to it as ‘something which could perform the tasks of a government’.  An anarchist government, because it is not coercive, cannot be initially conceived.  It must grow.  We might as well ask, “What can water do?”

Better to just pour it on the ground and see what happens.

Here are some books which have begun to address what ‘water might do’:

“The Art of NOT Being Governed” by James C. Scott

“The Vountary City / Choice, Community, and Civil Society” a series of essays edited by Paul Johnson

Pictures from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

February 13, 2014

Illigitum1

Pouring the Mold / Part Two

 

It’s rare that the average Joe can change society by doing something.  But he will most likely learn something. 

 

Illegitimum Non Carborundum!

And quite to the contrary, most often ‘the bastards’ will ‘grind you down’.  But, at least – if you forge on – you will discover how they did it.

So come with me, ‘Gentle Reader’, as we find from whence these fascistic forces, I have come to talk of, have manifested.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  If you want to find the source of where some aspect of society has gone to hell, you will more than likely find that what has grown to become so awful – began as a simple human urge, often to solve a problem or just to make things a little better.  Someone somewhere felt the need to scratch their ass, and now we are all butt to the skies receiving our ‘voluntary’ government treatment.

Prior to writing “Pouring the Mold / Part One”, (http://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/from-the-editors-perch-99/) I e mailed my son’s teacher.  And this is a portion of what I said: “…my reason for e mailing you this is that I can’t see how doing community service has any bearing on his understanding of Arch/Engineering.  And I can’t see why whether or not he does community service should have any bearing on his grade.  But most importantly, it doesn’t seem right to me that by donating $75.00 to a specified cause, he should be able to raise his grade by what would amount to two letter grades in Arch/Engineering.  I would like an explanation of this.”

And this is the first portion of the explanation I got: “Leadership is an important part of all Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes.  So much so that we are required to have at least 20% of our curriculum dedicated to that end.  (Note: Another teacher’s handout says the State Law requires 5%.)  Part of what I do is have the list of activities that the students may have done (since July 1, 2013) or do during the school year.  I explain to the students that being involved in the community and being in leadership roles is important to employers.  It can especially be important when two candidates are equal in technical respects.  I try to explain that it is much easier for a company to invest in a person when that company believes the employee will be around for a while.  Being involved in the community shows commitment.”

So.  My son – and every student who goes to his school – is required to train to be a ‘leader’, in every Career and Technical Education class, because this ‘leadership’ experience is important to future employers.  He ‘trains’ to become this ‘leader’ by doing (Mandatory) ‘Volunteer’ Service for the Community.  A ‘leader’ in this context, serves the school or town or county or state or country in which you live.  And ‘leadership’ in this context means doing what you are told; meeting your requirements, fulfilling your quota.  And, if we peer a little further down this path, the ‘community’ also means his future boss – which is the company.  And so, in bringing in my son’s future employment prospects, the Left Wing-caring-community-oriented crowd, deftly passes its charge off to the Right Wing-all-business-stop-whining-and-be-a-winner crowd.  And here my son goes, as he is passed figuratively from ‘Mother’ to ‘Father’ – off into the world.

Fascist thinking seems to transcend politics.  The Hitler/Stalin Nonaggression Pact of WWII would be a case of this.  Like animals of the same species, they respect their own.  Their thinking dovetails.

When my son graduates from high school, the school goal is that he already be accustomed to and be well acculturated to the corporate environment.  For example, take this sales company in which people I know have experience:

And just as my son is being told now, they are being told that the company needs leaders; ‘leaders’ who ‘buy in’ to the program, ‘leaders’ who are ‘team’ players.  In weekly meetings the employees are told not to resist the system; that the system has been created to make them become the most successful salespeople in the industry.  They are also told not to let their wives or their families destroy their focus, or to limit their achievement.  They are told to get their family to respect this.  The employees of this sales firm were first required to meet certain sales quotas.  As the years passed increased hours were added.  First it was 8 to 5; then 8 to 6; then 7:30 to 6; then 7:30 to 7, then 7:30 – 7 plus coming in on weekends.  And by coming in on weekends they didn’t mean just a “drive by”, they noted after some resistence.  They wanted a real presence.  Furthermore, to create team esprit, employees are pressured to go out drinking after work hours with the boss and their co-workers.  (Oftentimes to the point of getting little or no sleep, and acquiring DUIs.)  The employees who thrive at this are the ‘leaders’.  And the company, in this respect, is right.  A high percentage of the sales people who ‘buy in’, ‘lead’ in the production stats.  They also lead in drinking, divorcing, philandering, gambling, and partying – and it’s virtually unheard of for anyone to make it there until retirement.  Which is fine, because aging is frowned upon also.

Fascist thought is immensely seductive.  And when looking out at the world through the fascist lens, it is all eminently logical.  Getting others to do what the state wants, or the company wants, by being on board, on the team, and an achieving example does look like leadership.  And a company is always hungry for these sorts of leaders.  And by teaching a young person to absorb these values, a teacher is preparing them for a solid future in a fascist society.  And like most grand schemes, fascism works very well, actually extremely well – until it doesn’t.

 

Family

Family

 VERSUS  

Child Care Center

Child Care Center

Inevitably people become older!  They are going to want to use words honestly.  They will want institutions which have the individual’s best interest at heart – instead of the institutions’.  They will want leaders who have accumulated some wisdom along with their successes and know how to achieve a happy, balanced life.  But most importantly, they will want to control their own lives.  And when they sign their children up to study Architectural Engineering at their child’s school, they will want their children to be taught Architectural Engineering – rather than be manipulated to serve some grander scheme.

The Anarchist in me would point out that the instant where this whole story has gotten off the tracks is where something noble, virtuous and voluntary – has been made compulsory, and fashionable.

BUT…

That’s one scenario.  Here’s the other:  Being part of a group working towards a goal is a big part of modern life.  It’s how nearly every contemporary achievement is created.  And it’s something that has to be taught, just as do math and science and reading and writing.  In this scenario, our student finds a job because he fits in well.  He/she knows how to contribute within a group endeavor.   And through her/his good works he also becomes more than another self-supporting taxpayer but a credit to his community.  He/she believes living in a community comes with social responsibilities and he raises his children to think likewise.  Volunteering is a family tradition.  And this is a very easy school requirement for her/his children to meet.  Moreover, these exemplary citizens might point out to you that children don’t just grow up wild having these traits.  Altruism is exhibited by children who have been disciplined to value it and to exhibit it.  And discipline means coercion.

So.  What’s the difference between raising our children well, and fascism?

I would submit that it is the difference between the family and the state.  And that when we allow support for the family to collapse all around us, we are inviting the state to step in.  And as history has shown us time and again, fascism can look very good…  until it doesn’t.

 

Concentration Camp

A person cares whether the lives they’ve touched have been made better.  The state doesn’t really care if you do your ‘community service’ or pay the $75.00 – or whether you’ve earned your grade in Architectural Engineering or purchased it.  The state only cares that you and they have done as directed.

Photos from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

February 5, 2014

Editor: This seems a timely moment for this thought.

audience4

Popularity

 

“While popularity is a trait often ascribed to an individual, it is an inherently social phenomenon and thus can only be understood in the context of groups of people.”  – Wikipedia

audience5

How much popularity is a single person due?  How much attention should one person presume to deserve: below which she/he can feel rightly aggrieved, and above which he/she should feel blessed?

Tough questions, whose answer comes in fits and drabs, “Yes”’s  and “No”’s throughout  – and for the rest of – one’s life.

According to Wikipedia some of the personal traits which are correlated with popularity are attractiveness, competence, and a high level of aggression.  Social status is seen as a gauge of popularity.  And “social influence plays a large role in determining what is popular and what is not through an information cascade. Independent of personal information, the information cascade acts as a strong influence, causing individuals to imitate the actions of others, whether or not they are in agreement. When downloading music, people don’t necessarily decide for themselves what exact song to buy. Instead, they look at the list of most downloaded songs and decide to get those same top songs.”

The reality is -as in the quote above – that popularity is much more a function of what the crowd desires than what the person is.  Walt Whitman probably said it best: “”To have great poets you must have great audiences, too.”  And books could, and have, been written about what inflames the crowd – with all sorts of caveats and contradictory information tossed in.

Truly, our desires are a lot like that girl with a make-up kit, and popularity is the beholder who fancies that girl’s wiles!  Without a lot of glandular-ridden men, a woman’s charms go for naught.  Beauty needs those construction workers on their lunch break in order to shine.   In fact, we might describe art as the thing which would cause a person to act… which would fashion that overwhelming desire from within the crowd.

Put this way, the popularity we are due, is due to the popularity we create in an audience we can’t know.  And as a personal counselor once noted, “most people listen autobiographically”.  So in a way, popularity is like a charmed circle, and one is either on the inside – or on the outs.  And that is the popularity you are due.

Hands1a

This information is sometimes best taken with a drink.  And often is.  Ha!

So.  Perhaps a better question to ask might be, “How much audience does a person need?”

audience1

Well, here again, it can depend.  Say you’re an entertainer.  A large amount of paying audience is required, or you can’t pay your bills.  Your career ends.  Say you’re a business person.  You need a certain amount of traffic in order to move your product, or you can’t meet your overhead.  Your career ends.  Say you’re in a marriage where you need a certain amount of attention, or your partner does.  Or the marriage ends.  So here it is.  We probably all need just as much attention as is required to survive in the social net in which we swing.  We need all of the attention we want.  Which is why we want it.  And when we can stop needing attention, we’re fulfilled, and can probably feel that we have – at least the necessary  minimum – of all of the attention that we are due.  ..Whew!

But, how do we get all of the attention we want?

A Buddhist might say that the answer is simple: we decrease the amount of attention we want, until the amount we have is sufficient.  That is, if nobody acknowledges you, treat this as a blessing! and a chance to live as unrestricted and freely as you would.  Enjoy “the sun in the morning, and the moon at night”.  Focus on the joys of pet ownership.  Buy a fish, or go over the top and swim with the dolphins, if you will.

On the other hand, a Christian might say, that we are urged by the Lord to go out and proselytize of His blessings; that this is our number one reason for being.  Or as Robert Jensen has put it, “Christians serve a chatty God”.  “…a God who creates by word, redeems by an incarnate Word, whose Spirit delivers long, complicated texts to a community whose assemblies are full of words,”as Peter J. Leithart in “First Things”, puts it.  And so, a Christian must go out the door each morning and find a way to generate audience – to ‘knock the scales’ from people’s eyes!  This latter can be the tougher road taken, as the Lord’s work is never done, and people can be especially hard to button-hole.

What to do?

A lot of people take the middle road – and enjoy talking to ever so many people about the delights of life – as they walk their dog.

Popularity3

Photos from Google Images and Carl Nelson

Travelling Expenses

February 4, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Here we go!  Follow Paul as his star ascends…

And This is What Happens Next…

“Saturday, Jan. 18, 11:00 a.m. — Downstairs, Main Street, Park CityThe place is packed, elbow-to-elbow traffic both upstairs and down, grinning businesspeople and harried publicists doting on idling celebrities waiting to get their pictures taken and then do it all again next door. This is just the first stop in a string of semi-cozy publisher-run DMVs, where people wait in long lines to have their photos taken in requisite initiation. Having a movie at Sundance is a great honor, but even more so, it’s exhausting; the march up and down the mountainous Main Street for brief and transactional press spots and photo shoots can leave you gasping for your breath and sanity.”  - Paul Eenhoorn
A Week With The Very Unlikely Breakout Stars Of This Year’s Sundance
buzzfeed.com
How the underdog cast and crew — led by a hard-partying septuagenarian eye surgeon — of a low-budget, offbeat buddy comedy became the surprise…  Go to:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/a-week-at-sundance-2014-land-ho
Plucked from Facebook

Travelling Expenses

February 3, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Do you remember when we first met Paul, here?  His latest film, “Land Ho!” has been picked up by Sony for distribution.

PaulEenhoorn

PaulEenhoorn

And Now, For The Good News

“Toasts are given and glasses clinked, everyone just floating on air, semi-delirious from sleep deprivation but focused on just how great this whole thankless business can be when you work your ass off and do things right. Eenhoorn, who earlier in the day was feeding off a feeling of vindication, is now just exuberant, discussing everything from ideas he has for his own directorial efforts to, at one point, giving his best impression of Al Pacino reciting “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
The gruff, singsong impression is actually not half-bad. He’s all smiles tonight, optimistic about his future and glad, he says, that he stuck it out in this business.
Christina Jennings, one of the producers on the film, opens up about her pending decision to move to Iceland; never before has she felt such a spiritual connection with a piece of land, she says.
The movie has really changed everyone’s lives.”  - Paul Eenhoorn (written on Facebook)

From the Editor’s Perch…

February 1, 2014

Nazi USA

Pouring the Mold

 

            “The state, for the Fascist, is the instrument by which the people’s common destiny is realized…” says Llewellyn Rockwell Jr. in his book Fascism versus Capitalism.

Any mention of the world fascism is very alarmist – and for good reason.  But it is actually just a term which describes a point of view.  A point of view which, when viewing its lineaments can be enormously attractive, until following where they lead and happening upon the face, reveals what you are in for.

Fascists seldom wear a nametag.  But they are always out there, preparing the mold with which to cast their idols.  For example:

Voluntary Community Service is a beautiful thing.  People coming together voluntarily to build something they can’t accomplish alone, and perhaps wouldn’t have as much fun accomplishing alone is one of life’s beautiful events.  It is so highly cherished that many people think inculcating this predilection should be mandatory, so that we can have more of it, and, I would suppose for Justice’s sake, so that all of the people who benefit should have to participate.  Where better to inculcate this predilection than in our children?  So, in many communities, (including ours), a certain number of hours of Voluntary Community Service has been made mandatory in order for students to graduate from high school.   And here we come upon the first two building blocks of a fascist state.  The first is that a Voluntary activity is made mandatory.  The second is that the new rule will mean the opposite of what of what it says, so that we now have, (Mandatory) Voluntary Community Service.

First, fascists corrupt the language.  Then, they corrupt the institution…  Which happens next.

What educational institutions have found is that students put off doing their ‘Voluntary’ service, often until it is too late and imperils their graduation.  So, in order that this doesn’t occur, the schools have attached ‘Voluntary’ Community Service to various subjects the students take.  So, for example, in my son’s Architectural Engineering class, 25% of his grade for this semester comes from doing ‘Voluntary’ Community Service.  What this means in practical terms is that he can raise his letter grade in Architectural Engineering by two letter grades by either reading a certain book, giving 500 pounds of food to Hopelink, or paying Hopelink 75 dollars.  Upon showing his teacher the receipt for $75. he is given 250 more points with which to determine his grade.  This corrupts the institution in two ways.  First, his grade, as a measure of his proficiency in Architectural Engineering is corrupted.  And second, he can raise his grade by two letters by paying money.

 

            Of course, my son, who had a lot of trouble keeping up in this course, also put off doing his ‘Voluntary’ service.  Which meant, by the time the problem ended up on my plate, we could either pay Hopelink seventy five dollars OR my son would receive a ‘D’.

I don’t know what has been more astonishing: the fact that I am being asked to pay money to better my son’s grade at his public school – or, the reaction from the people I have told about this.  No one has been outraged that a public school would allow a student to pay money to get their grade improved by two letters!  In fact, they have had just about everything to say about this incident, except that.  One said that I should make sure that my son paid the money, and not me.  Another comment was that I should let my son handle this.  A third was that I was letting my personal pique with the School District compromise my son’s future.  And the others were more disparate than this.  But, all in all, there was an almost blanket silence as to the fact that I was being coerced into paying money for a better grade. 

            The fact that something as egregious a scandal in our public schools as paying money for grades generates absolutely no traction at all, leaves me shell-shocked.  And if this is the case, it’s hard to imagine how talking to other people about anything of note at all is any more that a pointless waste of breath.  If this is not wrong, then what is?  (I will probably be shocked again to learn the answer to that.)

At any rate, I told my son that grades were meant not to ‘classify’ a person, but to be a learning device.  And he is already planning a better way to keep up with his studies and to get his ‘Voluntary’ Community Service requirements discharged early in the semester, without the ‘cash option’.  I told him that in this case, I regarded the ‘D’ he will receive as an honorable grade.  That his ‘D’ was a Badge of Honor, much more so than the ‘B’ he might have purchased.

Incendiary photo taken from Google Images.


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