The OF Blog: A Postmodernist Bulgakov?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Postmodernist Bulgakov?

I just had the pleasure of finishing a novel recommended to me by Maciek/Vanin called Perverzion. The work of an Ukrainian novelist/poet/essayist/translator, Yuri Andrukhovych, Perverzion is a great many things all bundled up into one paperback volume of 326 pages. It is in turns a murder/suicide mystery, a exploration of morality and the interstices that take place in human lives. It is a farce, a prosy poem full of allusions to other allusions. It deals with religious matters of the soul; it is concerned with the postmodern decline and fall of the Carnival. It is also a love story, and a story of love misled. It is all of these things and many more.

The story revolves around the last days of one Stanislav Perfetsky - poet, gadfly, one-time stripper in a club catering to older women. He is a romantic and yet utterly beyond this. His travels across Europe, from Lviv in the Ukraine to his apparent end in the canals of Venice, are the stuff of legend. But just who is Perfetsky? Andrukhovych explores this with a series of chapters written apparently from the perspective of those who knew him, who were baffled by him, who were sleeping with him, and who were spying upon him. It is a fascinating mosaic quilted together with a deft comic touch.

Now I mentioned Bulgakov in my title, because the translator in his introduction refers to similar thematic elements present in both, combined with a mutual gift for the absurdly meaningful. While I need to re-read Bulgakov to ascertain just how accurate these claims are, I do recall a certain sense of devilish glee in both works, as the authors tweaked the noses of the pretentious (the chapter on the conference regarding post-Feminism is something to behold, intersplicing the "saintly" Perfetsky's making out with Ada with the speaker's Andrea Dworkinesque denunciation of almost all sex as rape) in their satirical ramage through their tomes.

While this book certainly contains elements of the supernatural (as does Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita), it is very difficult to classify Perverzion as belonging to any one school or genre of writing. It is simply sui generis, which certainly would be pleasing to Perfetsky himself to know. If you are a reader who likes challenging books that have a high reward potential, then I highly recommend that you buy Perverzion.

6 comments:

Bcondray said...

Seeing as how Isorta ;) trust your opinion and Vanin's ..... and I am a mystery addict....and love new and good reads... I'll put this on the order list.

Thanks...

Freebird said...

You're welcome, Brad! Oh, and let's just say that Andrukhovych is very playful with his words (it probably was a nightmare for the translator to even come close to the original's plays on words), so that too should appeal to you, yes?

Happy (future) reading!

bcondray said...

It's in my Shopping cart and will be part of my order at the end of the week...

And I do indeed love word play.

Vanin said...

While the title of your note may draw attention, it has nothing to do with Andrukhovycz's book ;)

What I found fascinating about the book was the incredible fun the author must have had when writing it. With all this mixture of genres, great sense of humour and word play, this was perhaps my favourite 2004 novel.

Anonymous said...

POMO KID AND THE MISADVENTURE THROUGH TIME


NOTE : The following is a fictitious (though it is an appropro portrayal of relativist/postmodernist thinking) story that depicts a young man (age 24) who supports postmodernist/relativist ideology . He is sent back in time from circa 2007 A.D. to 1855 Oneida, New York (by a University sociology department) to engage in discussion with an abolitionist orator. The young man is called in the story : Pomo kid ...'pomo' being an abbreviation for postmodernist . He is sent back into time with a special hidden video and audio device designed to record sound and image of the discussion that he will have with Benjamin Obadiah Whittaker --an abolitionist and former slave, who is scheduled on that June evening to give a speech on the evils of slavery at the Shaker meeting house during a meeting hosted by the Oneida abolitionist society .

The exchange between Pomo Kid and the abolitionist leader is a cautionary tale presented in a format similar to a one-act play designed to reveal the incongruity and general murkiness of postmodernist/relativist thinking .

PREFACE :Pomo kid has gotten in the time machine and the controls have been set for June 25, 1855 . Since the machine is the first of its kind and time travel with it expected to be slow going on what the scientists back at the lab call it's "maiden voyage" , Pomo Kid has taken some magazines: the UTNE reader (bought for him by his limosine- liberal parents who read it themselves ) and Relevant Magazine .

Pomo Kid --having a short attention span fostered by years of chronic MTV watching --has also taken a specially made CD player and some CDs to keep him amused. When he gets to 1855 Oneida , New York he discovers that miraculously the CD players and CD's work --though he has a hard time getting them to work while riding in the time machine. The CD 's he has taken are as follows : Jewel's Greatest Hits, a CD by the musical band Toad The Wet Sprocket, a CD by Jimmy Eat World, The Dawson's Creek t.v. show soundtrack, a CD from the band Barenaked Ladies, and Rumors by Fleetwood Mac (A CD that he borrowed from his parents) , and a CD from a singer named Dan Hasletine .

The time machine soon arrives in a dairy cattle field in 1855 Oneida,
New York . He steps out of the time machine with his CD head set over his ears --and hidden minature camera recording device cocked and disguised as one of his piercings . As he steps out on to the farm field of Ezra Howell Drummond --no person sees the machine land nor him emerge. The dairy cows give him monentary glances of dull suprise and then return to to crunching and grazing down the vast green verdure . He looks at a minature digital map device and proceeds to walk to the shaker meeting house to hear the speech by Obadiah Whittaker .

He arrives on time and sits down . Some of the abolitionists and interested town folks noticed Pomo kid as he arrives and are somewhat baffled by his odd appearance --as his clothes , hairstyle and general demeanor do not look period, but do not approach him . They are more interested in the speech by Mr. Benjamin Whittaker . Benjamin Whittaker presents a cogent and eloquent indictment of the evils of chattel slavery in the antebellum south. He especially highlights the treatment of slave women by slavemasters, overseers, and their cronies and acquaintances who from time to time rape the slave women on the plantations .

Pomo kid allows his CD headspeakers to droop a little so he can hear the speech ---and gives a skimming of the main elements . As the speech draws to its close Pomo kid hears the anti-slavery orator sum up the directive set before good citizens everywhere in a way that does NOT mince words .

' And so good citizens of Oneida , we can send forth the clear message ...both to posterity , to others who have shared and will share the North American continent, and to all nations and every town and village abroad , that we will no longer accept, nor even partially accept, a wicked commerce of bodies and souls that treats marriage and kinship as makeshift gambits in some sordid game , where transgression of the convenants between man and women is done with impunity . We will stand with the men , women, and children who long to have the stability accorded to man and wife by civilized society. We make no caveat to the forces of darkness and depravity that would settle for anything less! '

There is a roar of applause and even a few Amens from the audience .

Soon the speech is then over and there is time for handshakes and entreties from the audience .

Pomo Kid then approaches the abolitionist orator .

POMO KID : "Hey Mr.Whiitaker , dude . I, like, enjoyed your speech . I can see that feel quite passionate about racial oppression and all , but there's some stuff I'd like to discuss with you . I know that slavery is a bad scene and it's kinda bogus how slaves are treated , but you gotta learn to respect the opinion of those who want to rape their slave women and sell their kids to other plantations too and look at it from their perspective some too . You are like so judgemental, so preachy , dogmatic ...so one-sided towards the opinions of those who want to rape slave women, beat them some, and sell their children downriver . It's like you want to preach instead of discussing...you preach. You got to learn to look at it from other perspectives. What you are doing is the us versus them approach towards people who oppress and exploit slaves . The us versus them approach isn't good . It's fanatical to take the us versus them approach . The us versus them way is, like, so yesterday . Everything is connected . it's all connected. Really the slavowner and the oppressed slaves are really part of the same thing . Making distinctions is so passe /so yesterday . It's all one . It's all how you look at it .

You know there's many sides to every issue. Stuff like slavery is not all black and white there are shades of grey. It's not totally bad being oppressed as a slave . You got to look at it from other points of view . Learn to accept that problems are part of life...a growing experience . You know, getting raped and being sold away from your family just goes to show that life is give and take . If nobody ever got raped or exploited then you wouldn't have give and take ...and so you wouldn't have reality ; it would be all idealistic . We can't have stuff being idealistic all the time. Life is supposed to be a mixture of things . People are a mixture of things. It's all the duality of man . In the time period I come from, we study deconstructionism and post-structuralism at my college and I've been getting into Michel Foucault , and Lyotard, and Richard Rorty. They teach us not to totalize . What your are doing is totalizing ...making people out to be villans if they don't agree with rigid moral constructs . It's all just language games --the divisions of beleifs that people have . There aren't any absolute truths ...or if there are, there aren't very many...or we can't be sure what they are .

You got to learn something Mr.Whittaker: don't be so single-minded ....

(Pomo kid pauses for an extended period of time and fiddles with his CD player and changes the Jewel CD for a Dawson's Creek CD . He turns it down slighly so he can somewhat hear Mr . Benjamin Whittaker speak .)

Benjamin Whittaker stares at Pomo Kid with a look of utter credulity and disgust at the weirdly pusillanimous , and convoluted statements that have poured forth from the young man's mouth . He then speaks

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : Young man, I scarcely know where to begin to disabuse you of the false , and weirdly ludicrous statements you have put forth here. You claim I must respect the vile opinions of those who support the exploitation and tyrrany which oppresses persons of African descent--and , moreover, exploits women whose virginity has been taken from them by force! What on earth have such opinions done to merit such respect, or to even almost halfway earn such respect .? Young man I can scarcely help wondering if you have fallen in with revelling hooligans in Manhattan that smoke opium in houses of ill repute and, that such riotous living has altered your febrile brain to such an extent that you find it a habit to talk nonsense . Young man, I do not know where you are from ---

(Pomo Kid then interrupts Mr. Whittaker in mid sentence . Pomo kid is, after all, a postmodernist of the MTV generation and considers being fair and waiting till someone is finished talking to be passe and old fashioned communication practice, which he wants nothing to do with . Pomo kid favors a more edgy , open ended approach .)

POMO KID SPEAKS : (Decides to start out with circular thinking ) . Dude, the idea that it's wrong to rape slave women , or brutally beat and exploit slaves and sell their children away from them ...that's wrong to us , but not to the people who support exploiting and raping slaves... Doing that's right to them . Morals and truth are relative and subjective. What's true to you may not be true to them . It's all just different perspectives. If you go and say that its absolutely wrong for people to exploit and rape their slaves instead of saying that it's wrong to us, then ...you're like Hitler. Now you probably aren't familiar with who Hitler is ...but in the 20 Century there's gonna be this guy called Hitler, who takes over and takes away people's rights. And if you say that some belief is totally wrong and another belief is totally right then you're like Hitler . Just like these holocaust survivors that the nazis put into concentration camps and came out being all bitter and one sided and preachy and say what Hitler and the nazis did was wrong and don't respect the nazi point of view a little---well they're like Hitler too ! Just like a person who always stops a bully from bullying people and won't look at it from a bully point of view a little...well that makes that kind of one-sided person who is against bullying, a bully too and just as bad as the real bully . Furthermore, just by saying that some belief or practice is wrong--- just by verbally calling that belief wrong you violate their right to free expression to say that opposite belief...even without any physical violence against them ...without a single shot being fired .

You got to understand also that if somebody says that some belief isn't absolute , then that right there prooves that it isn't . Take the proposition that says that 2+2=4 . Well as long as somebody disagrees with the idea that 2+2=4 then that automatically shows that the idea that 2+2=4 isn't absolute, otherwise every person would have to say they agreed with 2+2 being = 4, otherwise it's not absolute .

In the time period of history that I come from (which is the late 20 th and early 21 Centuries ) there's this show called the Real World . Now since television hasn't been invented yet in 1855, you probably aren't familar with that word. Television in the time I come from is a lot like what plays are on stages in the time you're in . Television is kind of like a play ---only more fun . So in the time I come from there is a show called 'The Real World' ...and people on that show sometimes have different beliefs and so they can come together and get real and talk about the issues that bother them . The show teaches people to come out of their comfort zone (Pomo Kid runs through memory banks to come up with more newspeak words and phrases and finds some) and therefore they can have an impactive, impactful affect on each others lives and give each other feedback about what they think. Now the people who are being raped , beaten , or exploited by masters and overseers down on those slave plantations they got to stop being so one-sided and look at from another perspective and come out of their comfort zone and stop portraying rape and exploitation as something totally bad. They can then get together with the slave owners and overseers and tell them about the way they feel and then get the slave owners and overseers to come out of their comfort zone too , and maybe tone down the rape and exploitation a little . That way you don't have an us versus them .

Some people would say that what I'm saying doesn't make much sense ...that it's inconsistent /ambivalent thinking (which is another way of saying sell- out thinking ) but I don't call it selling out . I call it "looking at it from another perspective" . And about the people claiming that postmodernism like I've been trying to get you to support, doesn't make much sense, well it doesn't have to make sense. Making sense is so passe ...so yesterday . Distinctions are just so passe . I don't bother with rigid distinctions. I 've gotten into a sort of thinking called lateral thinking ...that doen't get all hung up on distinctions . Lateral thinking doesn't have to always make sense.

You Mr. Whittaker are a linear thinker ...that consistent thinking is so out of style....so outmoded . Lateral thinking, that postmodernists such as me go for doesn't bother with having to make sense ...it tolerates ambiguity . You mr. Whittaker are so rigidly consistent /so single-minded ...a fanatical ideologue that goes to extremes of consistent thinking. You aren't conflicted about anything !!!!

In the time period I came from, there was a singer called Moby---who used to be so dogmatic and one-sided about the animal rights cause, but lately he learned not to be so judgemental towards opinions of people who don't support animal rights . He respects the outlook of the people who are against animal rights now --even though he's for animal rights .The same flexibility applies to any social cause. After all, a professor I had once in a classroom, quoted the quote, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds" .I've learned that selling-out is not so bad . '

(Pomo kid having temporarily dropped the Dawson's Creek soundtrack picks it up and puts in the Toad The Wet Sprocket CD . He changes CDs about as quickly as a chain smoker replaces cigarettes)

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER : (Still flabbergasted, begins to speak) 'Without consistency of thought human affairs descend into meaninglessness....

POMO KID SPEAKS : Not if you think they have meaning for you . You know, by the way, in 1855, the people who exploit and rape slaves are doing what was thought right at the time. We shouldn't be so chauvanistic as to try to harshly criticize people who own slaves by the morality of later periods. If you say that people who exploit slaves are doing something totally wrong then you're just as bad as they are . Morality is different from one period to another ...some people say that people in different periods might call different actions moral ...and it not be a case of inherently different morals ...but that's all the same anyway ...since I don't bother with hair-splitting distinctions like that .

(Pomo Kid's CD jams and stops playing temporarily. He pauses from speaking and, in so doing, ejects that CD and puts in the machine a CD of music by musician Dan Hasletine) .

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : How are you so sure that people who exploit slaves are unaware that what they are doing is fully wrong ? (The good abolitionist has managed to put aside being shocked by the weirdly insipid statements presented by Pomo Kid long enough to get the composure to ask him that question .)

POMO KID REPLIES : Well if they thought it was wrong to exploit and mistreat slaves then they wouldn't do it .

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : So let me get this straight, young man...you allege that the mere willingness of somebody to do some act is in of itself some ad hoc proof that in every such case they must be sincere in doing so.? Where do you arrive at such a facile conclusion-- if that is what you are alleging ?

(Pomo kid, who does not know a specific response to the question that can save face for how facile the previous statement he has just put forth has been...then searches his memory banks for the word he likes to bandie about whenever somebody presents an argument that is elaborate , doesn't have postmodern cliches, and one which , moreover, he doesn't want to slow down and bother to analyze . He finds that word .... the word "pseudo-intellectual" which he uses to lambast elaborate arguments from people who refuse to sell out and refuse to entertain his lazy mind . )

POMO KID SPEAKS : Dude, I realy don't have time for pseudo-intellectual questions and statements like you have been making. Mellow out, Dude . You are so single-minded . You just need to get laid .

(Pomo Kid pauses and then speaks again )

POMO KID SPEAKS : You want to know something ? If you judge a belief or lifestyle that somebody supports ...that's the same as judging them, because an emo-singer I like said so, in an interview I read about in Spin magazine . He later said the same stuff about that on a VH-1 documentary . He said that the beliefs a person supports are the person themself ---so by judging the belief your judging the person . Beliefs are people . (Pomo Kid gets oddly quiet all of a sudden )

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER THEN ASKS : So to take such preposterously silly statement to its conclusion , do you then allege that if someone no longer believes the beliefs they once supported ...they are no longer themselves .?

POMO KID ASKS : Yes , why not say that ?

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : Well young man, I hope that you will reconsider those murky notions you have given a voice to . Slavery is quite ugly and the others here know that .

(Pomo Kid then takes out the Hasletine CD and puts in a CD of Rumors by Fleetwood Mac in his CD player and adjusts the headset .) .

POMO KID SPEAKS : (Takes on the weirdly petulant snippness that young postmodernists sometimes adopt) 'You know what dude, you just don't understand . I'm starting to think that it's just a waste of time explaining this to you ...since you have a closed mind. I can see you have a closed mind because you keep having to take everything apart and you keep insisting on consistent distinctions . That's very anal retentive of you Mr. Whittaker . That's also a power play on your part . It shows that you have control issues and will not look at anything a different way . You just don't understand. You got all that deductive reasoning ...but that's a defense mechanism . Since you refuse to come out of your comfort zone and become conflicted about anything there's probably no point in having a discussion .You just don't understand ...all you want to do is be a true believer and stereotype the lifestyle of other people . So, like WHATEVER , dude ...that's not my problem !

(Pomo Kid then speaks again )

You probably don't think I identify with oppressed people but I do . My girlfriend and life partner Jasmine and me have gone to a lot of take back the night rallies . We've protested date rape on campus. I've known oppression and been a victim of oppression myself . The year before last I went to go stay with my aunt Veronica because parents were using their house as a meditation center for married couples and me being kind of high maintence ...we figured I'd get in the way and so I went to go live with Veronica . But my aunt is an old school Mennonite --and so she's like real rigid , dogmatic , and puritanical and so she wouldn't let me and Jasmine's ex boyfriend (he's a real kewl guy who pierced my belly button when we went to Woodstock 94) and her ex boyfiriend 's cat all get together and have group sex games together in her house . She's real dogmatic against sex (if you ask me she has some real issues if she's against group sex games) . Sex is like my identity . Also i understand oppression because people sometimes look at me funny because I have a lot of piercings ...so I know what it's like to be oppressed too . '

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPOKE : 'Young man, I pity someone with such a murky , ridiculous attitude as you have . If you excuse me, now myself and the other people here are going to march to the town hall where we will make the protest of slavery public ... ' (He then turns away and walks toward the others who have gathered at the far door of the Shaker meeting house ) .

POMO KID SPEAKS (Runs up ahead to meet up with them): ' So you guys are going to a protest down town. Kewl ! For shizzle ...that's the shiznic ! I've been to protests with my girlfriend and our boyfriends ...we've been to take back the night ...and we've been to rallies at Lillith Fair too, so I know the routine . I once met Michael Stipe at a protest !

(Mr. Whitakker and the other abolitionists have begun already begun to file out signs en hand . They cast backwards glances of disgust and perplexity at Pomo Kid )

Pomo Kid then runs out after them , "Let's do it . End oppression now. Oppression is f--ked up . The people united will never be defeated ...the people united will never be defeated ! The people united will never be defeated ! '

(He then hearing the onset of a track on the CD playing the Fleetwood Mac song ' Don't stop thinking about tommorrow then begins to sing in echo to the song ---as if it were a marching chant ...As he runs out into the starlit roads of 1855 Oneida, New York he soon finds he wishes he had a latte to round out the day) .

Anonymous said...

ESSAY BELOW : Is dedicated to promoting the so-called "crackpot" goals of integrity, decency, wholesomeness and a life-affirming outlook .


EVIL, THY NAME IS AMBIVALENCE

Evil –thy name is ambivalence , thy name is ambiguity . Evil thou refuses to qualifty arguments —thou seekes the middle ground/ the balance . Evil thou has REFUSED to overnalyze . Thou hatest extreme precision /hatest clear boundaries . Evil, thou are known by refusing to be single-minded !

The voice of evil has a message and if we care about what Plato called :THE GOOD (and we should care) and if we care about Beauty (and Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder) if the beholder does NOT gaze rightly --i.e. does NOT think rightly) , then we should reject the message that tells us to embrace double-think .

The voice of evil has a message and the message it tells us is : “Don’t be so single minded” and we should indeed always REJECT that message .

The voice of Good (if I may use that rhetorical phrase) has another message. The voice of Good tells us , ‘ DO be so single minded ! Always be single minded ‘ .

After all ambivalence–the tendency to balance what is intrinsically virtuous with that which is intrinsically crass –is the ESSENCE OF MEDIOCRITY . Intrinsic virtue we should always seek to take to extremes , ladies and gents !

And the worst sort of mediocrity —is respectible mediocrity !

Yet all such discussion ought to reflect on the particulars of what is happening in our neighborhoods –what is happening in particular to our civilization –lest it should seem like a mere “academic discussion “to be thought on found interesting for a while and then the same shuffle of people going back to their daily lives of day to day mendcaities where people ask , ‘what’s on t.v. ?’

WELL IT’S WHAT’S ON T.V. THAT’S THE PROBLEM FOLKS !

I .SOULLESS SPECTACLES AND TOLERANT SELL-OUTS

What’s on t.v ought to show everyone who hasn’t come around to insight just how ROTTEN the sensisbilty of that weird, mediocre , pusiilanimous , pansy-effeminate thinking called relativism (or postmodernism, anti-foundationalism–or what funky new name they are calling it lately) which is that “conflicted” tendency of thought to respect beliefs or so called “points of view” regardless how crass , unfounded or otherwise skewed such beliefs are (i.e. selling out) …how pathetic it is !

What’s ON T.V.IS THE APPARENT MURDER AND RAPE OF A LITTLE GIRL IN COLORADO TEN YEARS AGO BEING TREATED *AS IF * IT WERE SOME SORT OF ENTERTAINMENT !! !! Hello people if there is anything that ought to show those who still have some shred of caring for some semblance of wholesome sentiment towards how life should be lived it is that , and hence if there is anything that should show people that the whole ever so weird insipid tendency to respect opinions — (or even partially respect them) no matter how crass those opinions are –and this present weird decade of might-boggling crassness –is TOTALLY WRONGHEADED AND WORTHLESS it is the disgusting news and entertainment media circus that treats the rape and murder of a child as something to have fun gossip about .

If there is anything that show the stragglers that still want to be tolerant and respect points of view and “look at it from different perspectives”/ be conflicted –want a balance between the light and dark —and all similar insipid garbage ideology –who still have some portion of nurturing feeling towards other living beings left –to wise up and promote that nurturing feeling single-mindedly and with a robust intensity (and say politically correct tolerance be dammed ) then it should be that : seeing that so many have become tolerant of journalists gossiping about the rape and murder of a child like it were some entertaining thrilling spectacle to gossip about . These days the postmodernist/relativist crowd has tried to mislead us into thinking that we somehow shouldn’t have an us versus them approach. Well the us versus them approach is Good . The vindication of Truth, Beauty, Justice and all that is Good demands an us versus them approach !

Ladies and gents, news has become entertainment and entertainment has become news and that ugly sordid trend has been going on for 12 some years now and building and getting more and more sordid each month !
What we are seeing —and it is indeed totally contrary to the enterprise of philosophy and, hence contrary to the concern of philosophy with the Good of civilizations--- is a trend that should be best called CULTURAL ENTROPY .

Before the phrase culture entropy is explained –it is best to turn attention to the four golden axioms which sooner or later we should always return in thought to and keep in mind . These glaringly obvious axioms should have been fessed up to by everyone long decades ago .

AXIOM 1 : *NOT* every belief –including not every belief regarding matters of morals and/or esthetics is a mere opinion . There certainly are absolute objective truths .

AXIOM 2 : NOT every opinion deserves any respect .

(How unspeakably bizarre it is that so many people in this present era , speak AS IF the mere fact that some people –or even many people –express a belief is somehow grounds for giving a belief some ad hoc respect. Would you respect, say, the belief where someone expresses the notion that having an interest in sordid celebrity gossip is even partially okay ? IF SO that is pathetic !)

AXIOM 3. The beliefs that a person expresses are NOT at all part of the person. Such beliefs are NOT at all a part of their identity. Merely because they have some relation with the self doesn’t mean they are a part of the person’s self . (Though if a person supports ugly beliefs long enough , they can take on a rather ugly demeanor though) .

AXIOM 4 . Since beliefs are NOT part of a person –therefore, there is nothing at all un-compassionate or un-loving about telling someone that the belief they support is totally wrong, without a shred of merit , and worthless . One of the better acts you can do on behalf of a person is belittle the opinion they’ve expressed IF that opinion is crass, lazy minded or otherwise murky .

There is certainly nothing
un-compassionate , nor rude (provided one avoids phrasing the terms in a personal manner) about doing that . If MTV told you otherwise then they told you wrong folks .

(Always keep in mind that judging a belief that someone has /condemning the belief is NOT necessarily the same as judging or condemning the person who supports it . It is good to always keep that in mind –lest some relativist should quote the adage, “judge not that ye be not judged” *out of context* as I’ve often seen them do . Furthermore, the part about , ‘he that is without sin let him cast the first stone’ –applies to real physical stones–it does NOT apply to verbal criticism . )

Us versus them is good . It is helpful even to the them, as well as if done righly serves Truth, Beauty, ect .

II CULTURAL ENTROPY

With those four golden axioms in mind let us turn attention to the term cultural entropy . By entropy I am NOT specifically referring to the thermodyamic context of the word entropy –but I am referencing what Webster’s On-line Dictionary apparently lists as

3. CHAOS , DISORGANIZATION

Such chaos is NOT liberating . It is certainly not to be confused with the far separate creative ferment and unbouding energy of the freewheeling artist eccentric . Such chaos is NOT that –so its important that noone should equivocate , for such creative artistic ferment is NOT chaos –as some refer to it . By chaos I’m NOT referring to fractals, so don’t equivocate off onto that tangent . By chaos , I’m NOT referring to the primordal stuff in ancient cosmoganies either–so don’t equivocate off into that separate topic .

The CHAOS of cultural entropy is a meta-theme that subtends the various interrelated themes of death –and the glamourization of death , breakdown, dysfunctionality, polymorphous perversity, hype , fractious modes of living and thinking . In this present yuppie influenced, media -saturated era (and the yuppie subculture , by the way, is pervaded by the characteristics I just previously described and it is the yuppies who provide much of the supply and demand , in this present news and entertainment saturated state of affairs )…morbidity coupled with crass and tacky, sex- laced kitch has become the dominant motif .

According to Erich Fromm , Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza once wrote of two contrasting/opposite dispositions (that a culture or a person could support). The good one to support was apparently called the biophillic . The biophillic disposition was life affirming it was enamored of living organic beings and was interested in the ferment of ideas –one would imagine vital ideas ones that were characterized by a mood of vigor of inclination .

The necrophillic disposition , in contrast, was enamored of death . It was morbid …death affirming rather than life affirming . If memory serves righly, it was also pervaded by a venal liking for monetary wealth (the mystification of wealth and the like ).

The collective pop culture mood fostered by the mass entertainment and news media–which has creeped into many households in this present weird yuppie decade and desensitized a lot of people into partially accepting vapid, unwholesome, dysfunctional modes of thinking and living)....is a necrophiilic mood .

After all –WHY IS THE STORY OF JON BENET RAMSEY BEING RAPED AND MURDERED FEATURED ON A PROGRAM LIKE ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT ? Jon Benet Ramsey was NOT a Hollywood actress —and it’s bad enough they make sordid, weird unwholesome gossip about actual hollywood actresses that were killed or experienced tragedies –but she wasn’t even a hollywood actress nor was she a rock star ! Here is a social phenomenon so bizarre that so nmany treat AS IF it were some normal par for the course affair. Just 20 years ago , It’s a safe wager, that if Entertainment Tonight had aired a story about a little girl being raped and murdered — many of the media pundits would be dripping and spewing with shock and so would much of the general public ! 40 years ago if a t.v. entertainment show had tried to peddle lurid voyeuristic trash that gossiped about a little child being killed–it’s a safe wager that there would be so much outcry that it would be the last show such a program ever did –and the producers would have to look into chapter 11 pretty darn quick ! The proverbial frog in the kettle is already half cooked . Now creepy shows like that grotesque skanky yuppie-minded Nancy Grace Show on CNN go swimmingly in this present creepshow of a decade !

And don’t believe any postmodernist pip queak who even implies that that trend is some sort of progress it isn’t .

III .THE MOST DERISIVE ADJECTIVES SEEM AN UNDERSTATEMENT .

I could churn out derisive adjectives like , HIDEOUS , FIENDISHLY VAPID, SOULLESS, DEPRAVED, MEDIOCRE , SKANKY …and a host of other off the charts vehement adjectives (enough to fill a giant almanaac) and keep on deriding the worthless opinions of those that think it’s okay (or even almost partially okay) to bandie about sordid details of tragedies, like the Jon Benet Ramsey case, till what might seem like the 12th of never , and yet lately even the most vehement adjectives and descriptions at ther most caustic level, seem like an understatement—even seem NOT nearly hard enough on these ugly worthless opinions of those that support the ugly society of the spectacle .

IV .WARNING SIGNS

No sooner than someone single-mindedly denounces the ugly opinions expressed by those that support the status quo of sordid sleaze and mediocrity of t.v. saturated suburbia –then all so often one or several people will play the pipsqueak and respond with typical of this present era but no less weird, pod people responses , like saying …”well that’s just your opinion” or “don’t be so judgemental” or “look at it from another perspective” or “another side” —and similar limpwristed comments all of which are just euphemisms that try to get the person to sell out /to settle/ to accept/ to embrace the mediocrity by balancing light with a little darkness .

Here are some warning signs that the person who is responding has gone over to the dark side …some tell tale phrases that evince the ugly worthless ideology called relativism . Some phrases , statements , and questions that are indicative of relativism are : the use of the term “self-righteous” to lambast those that aspire to be single minded about principles and, hence, REFUSE to sell out . Someone asking a person “are you ever wrong?”, when that person they ask is making a single-minded claim as to some value , is another warning sign of the ugly ideology of relativism being near. Someone who speaks or posts AS IF “always being right or always “having to be right” were somehow bad, is another warning sign ! Someone speaks of “finding a balance” or any sort of balance–if they speak or post of such balance with approval– on some issue where there is some crass tendency happening . Someone who speaks or posts claiming “that there is another side” on some issue or claiming that allegedly there is somehow more than one side –to an issue . Someone referring to being “preachy” AS IF being preachy were somehow undesirable is another warning sign . Someone referring to so-called “shades of grey” and claiming an issue is not black or white is another warning sign . Someone claiming that someone else is allegedly “arrogant” or “pompous” because that other person that they (falsely) accuse of being “arrogant” REFUSES to sell out/REFUSES to respect opposite beliefs , is another warning sign that the person communicating that way is a relativist .

Another warning sign is if a person uses the word “totalize” AS IF totalizing were something bad–which postmodernists often do . Describing people who are single-minded in outlook as “fanatics” or “fanatical” is another warning sign . Referring to being rigid AS IF it were somehow bad to be rigid (it’s certainly NOT bad to be rigid) is another warning sign . Another warning sign is if the person accepts being conflicted as if somehow it were okay.

Phrases like: “Learning to accept ” or “learning to adapt” or “adjust” –when people approve of such terms being applied to crass activities is another warning sign . Another warning sign is the weird tendency of some people, in recent decades, to claim “life is give and take” and apply that to even situations that are sordid, crass, or otherwise unjust.

Another warning sign is the unwholsome weird tendency to refer to someone living a “sheltered life” AS IF living a sheltered life were somehow bad .

Often the implicit message of speaking of the “sheltered life” AS IF it were somehow bad is to suggest that if a person hasn’t learned to accept and adapt sordid, weird thinking and ways of acting as “part of life” that there is allegedly something wrong with the person. The truth is: those that have learned to accept sordid , arbitrary, coarse, crass modes of acting –they are the one who has something wrong with them . The truth is: everybody ought to live a sheltered life. The sheltered life is good. It is weird that the sordid now has become treated as the yardstick for gauging what is tolerable .

V .PEOPLE WHO DEFEND WHAT THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT .

In this weird present era–there are a lot of people that don’t like superficiality , don’t like sordidness and yet claim to want to foster a more nurturing , life -affirming culture , but weirdly enough among some of those people there are what might be called the ‘ambivalent progressives’ or ‘ambivalent humanitarians’ who betray such goals --and thus who have embraced the weird ambivalent “conflicted” outlook that is tolerant of ambiguity . Such an outlook does *not* want to get rid of superficiality, sordidness in human affairs altogether but instead wants to settle for a sell- out “balance” between what is noble/life-affirming ect, and the opposite: that which is sordid, death-affirming . The ambivalents don’t want to get rid of the sordid altogether, they just merely want to tone it down . Such a weird ambivalent ethos often wants to accept sordid modes of thinking and acting as “part of life too” . They want to ameliorate the intrinsically bad- but *not* try to get rid of it altogether . They want an ameliorated good and an ameliorated bad . They want a lukewarm , diluted middle ground between the inherently good and inherently bad .

That ever so weird and weirdly automatic tendency to ameliorate the good and ameliorate the bad instead of maximizing the intrinsically good and getting rid of the intrinsically bad–that ameliorating middle of the road tendency- characterizes the spirit of this present weird age .

Virtue requires that when it comes to intrinsic virtue WE SHOULD EITHER FISH OR CUT BAIT .

Aside from the ownership fallacy which is also equally depraved and ridiculous , the most ridiculous notion in human history is the ever so bizarre notion that seems to think as if somehow a virtue somehow becomes a vice when taken to extremes . It does NOT ! Intrinsic Virtue when taken to extremes does NOT become a vice .
Taking an intrinsic virtue to extremes means …MORE VIRTUE . It truly is that simple !

LET US THUS REFLECT ON TWO OTHER AXIOMS .

AXIOM 5 : An intrinsic virtue when taken to extremes does *NOT* in any case become a vice . When an intrinsic virtue is taken to extremes it results in ….MORE VIRTUE !

The notion that an intrinsic virtue (and that is different from a mere extrinsic sort of virtue) when taken to extremes allegedly somehow becomes a vice--- is a false, cockamamey notion people .

AXIOM 6 : Rigid consistency in mentally supporting intrinsic virtue in thought and belief is always right . That is concurrent with axiom number 5 .

Yet these present days there are the ambivalent humanitarians/ the ambivalent sorts of caring people who defend what they complain about ! These people often enough often express a lot of passion and outrage and campaign for good causes —but then they wax weirdly ambivalent in thought and say stuff like , “well there’s another side to the issue”, and “let’s have a balance” and speak of going beyond the us versus them and want to sell out by respecting or partially respecting the opinions that are CONTRARY to good causes /contrary to the goal of promoting an edifying society .

Again an us versus them approach is GOOD –provided it is NOT based on illicit violence (and an us versus them approach does NOT always habe to lead to illicit physical violence ) Loving one's enemies does NOT to any extent involve respecting the wrong opinions they express ! i’m reminded of a young man I knew in the autum of 1997 who was a member of an animal rights group I was a member of –that in typical ambivalent MTV genration relativist fashion made the squishy namby-pamby statement to the effect of, ‘animal rights is right to us , (but for the person that supports killing animal for the sadistic fun of it ) that was somehow allegedly “right to them” ! IF SO then why bother .?

It is not just important that we have the right actions that support the right cause. We should also NOT be *duplicious* in belief towards whether or not to support inwardly the right ethical causes either . Duplicious thinking betrays good ethical causes in a way that is far more fundamental in terms of meaning –then actions that do not fit the Cause .
Though hypocracy in terms of actions is bad–duplicity in belief is often ultimately worse –and a worse betrayal of the ethical or esthetic goal one is supposed to be striving for .

The problem, by the way –is not in the complaining–the problem, by the way, is in people defending what they complain about . Complaining can be good–but don’t defend what you complain about . Be consistent .

To respect the opinion of those that intentionally support that which is crass or murky , if one is disappointed by the situation supported by that opinion –is DEFENDING WHAT YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT !

(In deriding the ugly tendency of people to respect opinions they do not agree with , I am not by the way referring to the civil right of someone to express that opinion . There is a LARGE difference between respecting the civil right of someone to express an opinion, no matter how worthless that opinion is –and the *separate* matter of respecting the opinion itself . respecting the right of somebody to express an opinion does NOT to any degree involve respecting the opinion itself . It is high time that the MTV Generation –by the way–- stop glossing over that difference !)

IIV .NOT A MATTER OF GOING “OVERBOARD” .

Relativism is totally worthless and a culture that accepts the creepy portrayal of the rape and murder of a little girl as fodder for gossip and entertainment evinces that worthlessness .

It is NOT a matter that relativism has gone overboard, since relativism is intrinsically worthless and, hence, never had any good points to it to begin with . Another factor in this present era, that is all so disgusting, is even among some of the people that express some disapproval of relativism —there is an odd ambivalence where even some of these people want to find a middle ground between absolutism (with its high ethical and esthetic standards) and relativism.! Ladies and gentlemen, there is NO “too much ” absolutism . Such finding a middle ground between relativism and absolutism is selling out .And selling out no matter how you dress it up with phrases like "acceptance" or "different perspectives" is ...(what's that old fashioned word? ---ah yes ...here it is )...wrong !

An all or nothing approach towards the evil of relativism (and the pop culture soulless kitch it tolerates and often subtly fosters ) is long overdue! We should not talk like relativist pod people once in a while, or for a few minutes on Thursdays, and then be resolute about values the rest of the week . We should go the distance on high standards all the time. The author of this present text often is quite disgusted with himself in the past for not being resolute at some times in the past, so don’t presume (as relativists sometimes weirdly do presume) that he holds himself above reproach .

It is quite jarring to see even *some* people who are in the main closer to the absolutist position-- weirdly enough-- make those weirdly automatic statements about so-called “different perspectives” and, occasionally (at odd intervals) get ambivalent and want to respect “points of view” …We should go all the way with absolutism! Go the distance .

Ugly sordid opinions which endorse crass activities like media gossip , racism , wife-beating , watching something on t.v. “because there’s nothing else on” , and other murky tendencies should NEVER be respected at any hour of the day .

All so many people these days have lowered standards /have “learned to accept” to be “realistic” in accepting sordid , crass situational reality .

Like the men in the Dylan Thomas poem (who the poet with apparent sarcasm says and one would most likely imagine uses the term wise men –sarcastically) “know dark is right because their words had forked no lightening” , they accept /resign themselves a little …to mediocrity .

INSTEAD of that , we’ve got to ‘ RAGE , RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT .’

Piss on the tolerance and acceptance that allows tragedy as fodder for media gossip . Away with the respectible mainstream mediocrity of those who have learned to settle for the so called “different perspective” of duplicity .

 
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