What’s the news, blues?

Decay and regeneration: we played last night down in the cellar, the drummer came back and let Jon know that now that the guitarist had shot himself in the hand (so he could get full disability from the V.A., and get some painkillers) and wasn’t going to be playing any more, he wanted us to get back at work. I came up with a cool line for a jam, it felt real good, especially after so long… Jon and Rolf, new guitarist, took turns improvising along, and I got up to that rare state where I let the playing go on automatic pilot and listen. What joy!

I send along a mysterious poster that advertises the place wherefrom, I am happy and proud to say, I was of late ejected. They couldn’t, seemingly, tolerate anyone who made no noise, held no parties, didn’t smoke in bed, and paid on time. Too many years catering to the N.O.C.D. types I guess.

The local party convention was a disappointment; at most fifteen people showed, one an inarticulate nazi-Spotlight reader from Casper who began to see the light about some LP positions about the middle of the proceedings and proceeded to make it clear they didn’t suit him. I spoke at length, disjointedly, on the movement. This provided me with the opportunity to make all kinds of digressions otherwise not amenable to organization under one topic… but it was an exercise in preaching to the converted, who were bored, because they knew it all.

It was on the heels of this that the irrational emotional outburst from my landlords occurred (as it turns out, they’d just had some horrendous news, so I forgive them some, but not all, of the discomfort and hassle) and I moved to a much better place. At less money yet. Then I went and had the local flower place send some secret roses to a girl I know, since I think about her on occasion.

I’ve only just picked up Atlas Shrugged (aka “World of Homos”) by Ayn Rand… what a contrast to Emma Goldman, whose bio-well, autobio-I’ve also been reading. Two influential Russian Jewesses. Makes three in my life. But Deana is Greek-anyone know about them? I know the Iranians don’t like ‘em. Ayn reflections in some future issue; I’ll have plenty of ‘em.

How many of you have read the American Spectator? Reason? Inquiry? I know some of you get Individual Liberty. Policy Report? Cato Journal?

Q. & A. and C(omment)s —

Sal Paradise: Are you Taylor-Radford?

Bye bye, Fred, see you ‘round.

Kysor: The difference between to be convinced and to believe is that where “convincing” has occurred, the convinced by definition did not have a wide enough education to be able to make critical thinking a habit. It is after an investigation during which a critical stance was held that “belief” may result which is not a product of being “convinced.” But this is spurious. What I mean when I say that I can’t be convinced of anything is that for some reason I sense myself as able to come up with substantive & sufficient arguments and answers such that what I believe is less a product of proofs and reasoning than of some other internally generated value: like, of what use is it to me to profess belief in this, etc. Sometimes it is whim and caprice, or perversity. Please comment.

The satisfaction of achieving political goals (might scarce around here these days, pardner) is not separate, for me, from certain possible goals. That’s why I’m not a socialist as opposed to a libertarian. So the satisfaction of achieving in the end takes a real back seat, because the particular goals sometimes grouped under “libertarian” are important above any achievement in the political arena that I might possibly experience with other goals. That was redundant. It’s not why I prefer libertarianism; if I implied that, I wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying.

What do I mean by my focal point being my subjectivity? Someone asked what my focus was, and I couldn’t think of anything else that it could possibly be, since I’m me, not someone else. But as in, “What are you preoccupied with?” it was an inaccuracy. I am preoccupied with my own processes, generation and reaction, much of the time, but that seems to be another way of describing, thinking, and especially thinking that is done by someone who likes to write. Thus, if I am at work on a piece of fiction that I intend to dramatically express something, I may spend a lot of time asking myself silly things like: “Exactly what do I mean to say here?” or “What else am I saying here without intending to, and is it true, or should it be corrected?” In addition, I have lately thought a bit about the army of people in the world who work the graveyard shift, all night long. We are all more alone, for longer, than any other group on the planet. I spend, that is, a larger portion of my time utterly alone than anyone else I know. During much of that time I read books, etc. Everyone I’ve known who works this shift is a little skewed off-center… we begin to take some ideas very seriously, and it’s not hard to see why: we’ve become accustomed to sustaining ourselves thus. I think you’ll find that self-determining people, autonomous types, make up a larger percentage of this grouplet than any other… you people all stay up during the day, depending on each other for stimulus and entertainment, help, succor, talk, love, and all that stuff. You’re used to it, and like it, or else you’d do something to get away from it. Do you have a T.V.? I don’t.

Do I revel in subjectivity? Again, what else could I revel in? I’m not someone else. Irrationality? No, I don’t think so, although I tend to think we’re arguing over modes of expressing accurate reason: I don’t think Irrationality is really real. It’s called into play as a descriptive term when the person’s descriptions are less than normatively clear or accessible. So, yes, at times I revel in what is a highly personalized expressional of my set of values… but I can explain most of them, translate them… I think. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t had an opportunity to try them all. Tell me more about what Logic and Reason are, since I don’t really know. From what I’ve seen, people call each other “illogical” or “irrational” only when they don’t want to admit to themselves that The Other has escalated in the fight, or simply withdrawn from the game. And I can’t see a boundary line where my “feeling” is separate from my “thought” but it the problem art: to reproduce, in the audience, the sensation the Artist had. How do we know? It is bankrupt to give up, however, and say we can only describe… this approaches reproduction and proves its possibility.

As to my being more of a spectator than a participant, if it was a big habit of mine to practice only one side of the coin, I wouldn’t have this urge to contribute to The Connection. Let’s reject this false dialectic and seize on the true state: participatory spectatorship. In other words, let’s all be performers, and see ourselves as well as others. What the hell is a fanzine in the first place? Democracy! If it is interesting to watch, what’s wrong with that? Even should I not participate in it, it isn’t pure spectatorship all the time (pure: uncritical, fascinated) because I frequently concentrate on it (reproduce it in mind) with my own participation in the imaginary realm as premise: that is, “H’m, he’s wrong there,” “Yes, good, well said,” “H’m, the implications of this are… “ etc. I even talk back to the T.V.

My opinion on Bob Black is that you don’t give him enough credit, but you can be forgiven, because you’ve only seen works by him that were easily sent in to T.C. and so on, a few ditties selected for entertainment vague as much as anything else. He’s not just another one-way writer, we write to each other, and he writes to others, a lot. I assume he didn’t subscribe yet for the same reason that 4 billion others haven’t: perceived benefit does not outweigh cost in time and effort. I’m trying to convince him otherwise. And as to “what he expected an edited mag to be,” the thing is that they (Processed World) make themselves out to be something else; among other things, wide-open and non-ideological, fair-minded, non-manipulative. If they profess to welcome this or that in their pages, but in practice are rigid ideologues, it is okay to call them on it. Remember the rule of art-critics: one only really pans that which shows some potential. If it’s truly unredeemable, it gets ignored.

Pyrrho: Okay, let’s de-emphasize people who have a mission to ram the received truth down our throats. But don’t get so excited about institutionalized depredation, okay, it sounds as if you’re getting the messages beamed from on high sometimes. As well, in your distillation to Steve Witham, it struck me you’re giving a new name to the situation; that although your compact recounting of how It Works may be valuable, it does not constitute a new explanation. A new name for the enemy to be fought will not suffice… maybe it will. Perhaps you’ll write a moral code that sweeps the world, replaces the love and suicide ethic of religion… who knows. See my note to Fulks.

Joe Fulks: Again I enjoy your tone & contribution a lot. In your comment to Snyder you mentioned research which indicated a range of personality types that will do X, Y, or Z. This seems to have been research into the obvious. It’s a new description maybe, but doesn’t explain what it apparently purports to. “High energy levels, “ well, what else is new; fatuity in researchers surprises me about as much. I can’t think f a term that will explain my objection… it’s sort of like, were we on a quest for the secret of how flowers grow, so that we can plant more of them, some alchemist came along and bothered us with a profound account of his finding that “People who find constructive things to do with their time will not get in trouble,” I hope he was awarded a doctorate, because I thrill to the proof of educational decline. Firm grasp of the obvious, justified by a trite new category: “High energy types.” Obscurantism… “Flowers are among a group of things that occur outside of houses.” I’m not blasting you or blaming you for it, so if you can find the one responsible for the report, I’ll send hem a nasty note.

Filthy: Here’s two bucks, send greatest hits. As to the people upon whom I’ve had an impact, no, you’re right, it wasn’t that great an impact… but that wasn’t what I wanted to prove… I was trying to find out what impact, if any, I’d had. Considering resistance, it is not any small task to communicate a propaganda line, even if it pales in significance next to other possible changes. If I’d created a cult, and had ten followers who gave me all their money, I’d had reported that, and you could have asked, “Where are the hundred thousand, the mass weddings?” But the issue is correct: it may mean nothing to have communicated a propaganda line. I tend to, no, I do, disagree. While the line may have been merely a convenient justification for continuing acting the same way, it has two other functions; 1) it demonstrates an actual change in teams, so that a pitiable few who once rooted for the A team is now inclined to root for the B team; 2) it shows, I think, that actual effort on behalf of the B team will result more often among these people that was likely before. Or at least, abstention from aid to the A team. As you said, propaganda indicates only what teams are there. Well, then, if it is merely a corollary, then finding the propaganda being spontaneously generated constitutes a finding of new recruits for that team, and you’d seem to be going back on your word if you said that, first: “propaganda is the team marker,” and second “propaganda is nothing, doesn’t indicate change in teams, is just excuses.” They may not be full-fledged members of the team, or far-enough advanced to subscribe to TC, but the loyalties have shifted some detectable bit. Which is what I said” that while I see GULAGS under the bed, they only see ‘em around the corner, in time to be stopped. They used to see reds under the bed and don’t any more. I said, if it hit them in the pocketbook, they’d take the action. Formerly they wouldn’t have, and while it may not be enough for them to be willing to take that limited stance in favor of “freedom,” it is something. This is the measure.

To All You guys who truly don’t want power: I’m glad you don’t, because you shouldn’t have it. Neither should anyone else, but that hardly matters. The reason I ask is, you are wise, and you don’t trust anyone with power, not even yourselves. I noticed this once when I was asking myself, “So, you’re a libertarian, why do you think it is okay for some people to hold office for a while until the State is shut down?” And I said, “Well, I’d shut it down.” See, I’d trust myself with power, and have a proclivity for trusting others… WEEEEE-OOOO

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