a thread for mundane ironists

This is the place to shave off that long white beard and stop being philosophical; a forum for members to just talk like normal human beings.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:01 am

Russell Banks

Since my adolescence I have read two and sometimes three newspapers a day, frequently clipping an article that for obscure and soon forgotten reasons attracts me. I usually toss the clippings into a desk drawer, and later, often years later, I'll find myself reading through the clippings, throwing most of them out. It fills me with a strange sadness, a kind of grief for my lost self, as if I were reading and throwing out old diaries.


You get this or you don't.

...I could no longer believe even in life. Which meant that I had come to be the reverse, the opposite of a Christian. For me, now, the only reality is death.

Hardly the opposite for many Christians.

It's a landscape that controls you, sits you down and says, Shut up, pal, I'm in charge here.

He thought: Name one. But, sure, for others, point taken.

A tattoo does that, it makes you think about your body like it's this special suit that you can put on or take off whenever you want and a new name if it's cool enough does the same thing. To have both at once is power. It's the kind of power as all those superheroes who have secret identities get from being able to change back and forth from one person into another. No matter who you think he is, man, the dude is always somebody else.

No super powers. No tattoos. Only one name. But often somebody else.

In some countries, I said to myself, the only life you can properly desire is that of destroyer.

Anyone here live in one?

Poor, deluded fools. Because their skin's as white as the rich man's, they believe that they might someday be rich themselves. But without the Negro, Owen, these men would be forced to see that, in fact, they have no more chance of becoming rich than do the very slaves they despise and trample on. They'd see how close they are to being slaves themselves. Thus, to protect and nurture their dream of becoming someday, somehow, rich, they don't need actually to own slaves, so much as they need to keep the Negro from ever being free.

So, does this describe you, Kid?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:49 am

Werner Twertzog

In the infinite scale of time and space, it is as if you never existed. So, relax, why do you not?


Among other things, it just doesn't work that way.

Do not bother about your legacy. You already are forgotten.

Not many here that doesn't include.

Do not bring an alternative epistemology to a knife-fight.

Let alone an alternative teleology.

If you have wooden signs with sayings like "Eat, Pray, Love" on them, I shall exit your house immediately.

If not burn it to the ground.

Men do not climb mountains because "they are there." They do so because life is meaningless.

In that case, that's why they do everything.

Dear America: You are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches.

Which 1/3 are you?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:54 pm

David Sedaris

Standing in a two-hour line makes people worry that they're not living in a democratic nation.


To vote for example.

The things I've bought from strangers in the dark would curl your hair.

Just out of curiosity: Why would someone do that?

In the Netherlands now, I imagine it's legal to marry your own children. Get them pregnant, and you can abort your unborn grandbabies in a free clinic that used to be a church.

Probably not true, right?

Faced with an exciting question, science tended to provide the dullest possible answer.

We'll need examples, of course.

In New York I'd go to the movies three or four times a week. Here I've upped it to six or seven, mainly because I'm too lazy to do anything else. Fortunately, going to the movies seems to suddenly qualify as an intellectual accomplishment, on a par with reading a book or devoting time to serious thought. It's not that the movies have gotten any more strenuous, it's just that a lot of people are as lazy as I am, and together we've agreed to lower the bar.

Either that, or, out in Hollywood, bury it underground.

There are things you forget naturally---computer passwords, your father's continuing relationship with life---and then there are things you can't forget that you wish you could.

Hundreds of them by now.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:34 pm

The Dead Author

Today's Ebenezer Scrooges give to charity and celebrate Christmas with their employees in order to undermine support for the welfare state and weaken the distinction between work and leisure time.


All none of them.

By age 30, you should have realized that nobody cares which books you own, letting you read whatever you want and saving money for some quality tableware.

He means by age 20 of course.

Socrates walks into a bar, according to Plato.

Let's try to imagine it [just once] the other way around.

A real introvert will always make you feel like you're the boring one.

So, any particular reason why?

Sex is cool but have you ever thought of dying alone.

Talk about a non sequitur!

Ladies, if he

lives with his parents
hates his job
blames his dad
is always sick
has a weird sense of humor
has been engaged three times
has a bad friend
writes unpublished fiction

you might be dating world-famous author Franz Kafka.


You know, if he's still around.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:23 am

Elena Ferrante

I feel no nostalgia for our childhood: it was full of violence. Every sort of thing happened, at home and outside, every day, but I don't recall having ever thought that the life we had there was particularly bad. Life was like that, that's all, we grew up with the duty to make it difficult for others before they made it difficult for us.


Let's measure our own childhood by this.

Every intense relationship between human beings is full of traps, and if you want it to endure you have to learn to avoid them. I did so then, and finally it seemed that I had only come up against yet another proof of how splendid and shadowy our friendship was, how long and complicated Lila’s suffering had been, how it still endured and would endure forever.

Let's measure our own relationships by this.

Is it possible that even happy moments of pleasure never stand up to a rigorous examination?

Sure...if that's where you want to take them.

Once, she closed the book abruptly and said with annoyance, That's enough.
Why?
Because I've had it, it's always the same story: inside something small there's something even smaller that wants to leap out, and outside something large there's always something larger that wants to keep it a prisoner.


Let's come up with examples.

Not for you, Lila replies ardently, you’re my brilliant friend, you have to be the best of all.

In other words, to rise above Miss Oliviero's "plebs".

Become. It was a verb that had always obsessed me...I wanted to become, even though I had never known what. And I had become, that was certain, but without an object, without a real passion, without a determined ambition.

Join the crowd.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:29 pm

Garry Kasparov

In 1987, Gorbachev said he wanted to build Alexander Dubček’s “socialism with a human face,” to which I responded that Frankenstein’s monster also had a human face. Communism goes against human nature and can only be sustained by totalitarian repression.


This is probably true. But there is no way in which to know for sure. And then there will always be the systemic horrors embedded in capitalism.

Putinism "the highest and final stage of bandit capitalism” and “the coup de grâce” to the head of the Russian nation.

Let's run this by Trump of course.

One of the strengths, and weaknesses, of liberal democratic societies is giving the benefit of the doubt even to one's enemies.

Not counting the Republicans.

In "Anatomy of Fascism," Robert Paxton includes in his concise definition "the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external.”

Either a victim or the master race.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, compromises on principles are the street lights.

He means his priciples of course. After all, even the Commies can have the best of intentions.

The machines have finally come for the white collared, the college graduates, the decision makers. And it’s about time.

Having already thumped folks like him.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:15 am

José Saramago

Keep what is of no use at the moment, and later you will find what you need.


Anyone ever foolish enough to try that?

The church has never been asked to explain anything, our specialty, along with ballistics, has always been the neutralization of the overly curious mind through faith.

True, but why ballistics?

We are born, and at that moment, it is as if we had signed a pact for the rest of our life, but a day may come when we will ask ourselves 'Who signed this on my behalf'?

Perhaps. But don't actually expect an answer.

We all know, however, that the enormous weight of tradition, habit, and custom that occupies the greater part of our brain bears down pitilessly on the more brilliant and innovative ideas of which the remaining part is capable, and although it is true that, in some cases, this weight can balance the excesses and extravagances of the imagination that would lead us God knows where were they given free rein, it is equally true that it often has a way of subtly submitting what we believed to be our free will to unconscious tropisms, like a plant that does not know why it will always have to lean toward the side from which the light comes.

Perhaps. But don't expect this to not be extremely complicated.

All the great sadnesses, great temptations, and great mistakes are almost always the result of being alone in life, without a prudent friend to advise us when we are troubled by something more serious than our normal everyday problems.

Oddly enough, he thought it was just the opposite.

...given the behaviour of human beings throughout the ages, they do not deserve life, with its many dark sides, in all its beauty, grandeur and magnificence...

Of course deserving has nothing to do with it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:30 pm

Valeria Luiselli

I've always thought that hell is the people you could one day become. The most frightening ones.


But not you right?

Perhaps learning to speak is realizing, little by little, that we can say nothing about anything.

Or [far more likely] something about some things.

But perhaps a person only has two real residences: the childhood home and the grave.

And you are either closer to one than to the other.

The person who walks too slowly could be plotting a crime or—even worse—might be a tourist.

He wondered why that should concern us.

Perhaps it's right that words contain nothing, or almost nothing. That their content is, at the very least, variable.

You know where I'd take this.

Demented is the man who is always clenching his teeth on that solid, immutable block of stone that is the past.

And if that's the only option?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:16 am

Barbara Kingsolver

...I stir in bed and the memories rise out of me like a buzz of flies from a carcass. I crave to be rid of them...


Not the least in those wee hours of the morning.

Love weighs nothing.

Hopefully, that's still twice as much as hate.

I know how people are, with their habits of mind. Most will sail through from cradle to grave with a conscience clean as snow...I know people. Most have no earthly notion of the price of a snow-white conscience.

And not even all of them are assholes.

If the Lord hasn't got a boyfriend lined up for me to marry, that's His business.

Sure, but isn't everything?

It's terrible to lose somebody, but it's also true that some people never have anybody to lose, and I think that's got to be so much worse.

For some though, it's much better. Not that you'd ever understand.

It's the one thing we never quite get over: that we contain our own future.

And certainly our own death.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:25 am

Werner Twertzog

Do or do not. Both are meaningless.


Essentially for example.

By some mishap, I am your surgeon. Lie back, and let us make the best of it.

Based on a possibly true story.

Your conversation is very interesting, of course, but now I am going to stand on the far side of this room, alone.

Sure, use this yourself.

Formerly an enfant terrible, I have become an éminence grise.

Anyone the éminence grise here?

Everything old is new again. For example, nonexistence.

Of course that is never not around.

American Christmas, now, is about the awkward negotiation between capitalism and socialism; it is a relic of the Cold War that no longer has a coherent meaning. As we all know.

Well, now we all know.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:26 pm

Pat Conroy

No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws.


Of course most stories are more like scribbles.

Do you think that Hemingway knew he was a writer at twenty years old? No, he did not. Or Fitzgerald, or Wolfe. This is a difficult concept to grasp. Hemingway didn't know he was Ernest Hemingway when he was a young man. Faulkner didn't know he was William Faulkner. But they had to take the first step. They had to call themselves writers. That is the first revolutionary act a writer has to make. It takes courage. But it's necessary.

This sounds like complete bullshit but, sure, maybe not.

There is such a thing as too much beauty in a woman and it is often a burden as crippling as homeliness and far more dangerous. It takes much luck and integrity to survive the gift of perfect beauty, and its impermanence is its most cunning betrayal.

My guess: most women will risk it. Not unlike most men.

Here is all I ask of a book---give me everything.

Like this really has any meaning.

Anyone who knows me well must understand and be sympathetic to my genuine need to be my own greatest hero. It is not a flaw of character; it is a catastrophe.

Okay, but what does your own greatest hero actually do?

The only word for goodness is goodness, and it is not enough.

Let's come up with a better one.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:27 pm

God

Attention humanity:
In a bid to conserve energy, effective tomorrow, E will only equal mc.
Please make a note of it.


Let's see if we notice any difference.

If you have faith, and if you believe in something hard enough, and deeply enough, and with all your heart, so what.

Well, at least He finally admits it.

The key to successful prayer is asking for something that was going to happen anyway.

Sure, that always worked for me.

These days I mostly just sit around and get high.

Let's try to imagine it.

Admission to heaven is 90% determined by spelling and grammar.

I know: What the hell does that mean?!!

Anyone who says "God is love" is unfamiliar with My work.

Fortunately, He still works in mysterious ways.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:20 am

John Fowles from The Collector

I hate people who collect things and classify things and give them names and then forget all about them. That’s what people are always doing in art. They call a painter an impressionist or a cubist or something and then they put him in a drawer and don’t see him as a living individual painter any more.


My guess: It's probably just human nature.

I am one in a row of specimens. It's when I try to flutter out of line that he hates me. I'm meant to be dead, pinned, always the same, always beautiful. He knows that part of my beauty is being alive, but it's the dead me he wants. He wants me living-but-dead.

Of course explaining it changes nothing.

He said, men are vile.
I said, the vilest thing about them is that they can say that with a smile on their faces.


No man that I've ever met. Except every once in a while me.

You don't have any time for silly trivial things. You live seriously. You don't go to silly films, even if you want to; you don't read cheap newspapers; you don't listen to trash on the wireless and the telly; you don't waste time talking about nothing. You use your life.

My guess: You can take this too far.

...what you do blurs over what you did before.

Hell, even in the either/or world.

In my opinion a lot of people who may seem happy now would do what I did or similar things if they had the money and the time.

Of course not everyone can win the lottery. But point taken.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:14 pm

Bernhard Schlink

There's no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.


Just our luck, right?

It wasn't that I forgot Hanna. But at a certain point the memory of her stopped accompanying me wherever I went. She stayed behind, the way a city stays behind as a train pulls out of the station. It's there, somewhere behind you, and you could go back and make sure of it. But why should you?

Before or after the trial?

Now to escape involves not just running away, but arriving somewhere.

In other words, setting up your next escape.

When we open ourselves
you yourself to me and I myself to you,
when we submerge
you into me and I into you
when we vanish
into me you and into you I

Then
I am me
and you are you.


For better or worse of course.

Does everyone feel this way? When I was young, I was perpetually overconfident or insecure. Either I felt completely useless, unattractive, and worthless, or that I was pretty much a success, and everything I did was bound to succeed. When I was confident, I could overcome the hardest challenges. But all it took was the smallest setback for me to be sure that I was utterly worthless. Regaining my self-confidence had nothing to do with success...whether I experienced it as a failure or triumph was utterly dependent on my mood.

Moods. They're almost as mysterious as dreams.

I thought that if the right time gets missed, if one has refused or been refused something for too long, it's too late, even if it is finally tackled with energy and received with joy. Or is there no such thing as "too late"? Is there only "late," and is "late" always better than "never"? I don't know.

I figure we'll need a context of course. The part that stuff like this is almost always oblivious to.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:15 am

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Our society had been a kleptocracy of the highest order, the government doing its best to steal from the Americans, the average man doing his best to steal from the government, the worst of us doing our best to steal from each other.


Well, at least we're civilized.

Ever since the first caveman discovered fire and decided that the ones still living in darkness were benighted, it’s been civilization against barbarism . . . with every age having its own barbarians.

The Kids, for example. And not just the ones here. Though them in particular.

I, for one, am a person who believes that the world would be a better place if the word “murder” made us mumble as much as the word “masturbation.”

Let's keep track of that.

Those with hands cupped them for alms, those lacking in hands clenched the bill of a baseball cap in their teeth. Military amputees flapped empty sleeves like flightless birds, mute elderly beggars fixed cobra eyes on you, street urchins told tales taller than themselves about their pitiable conditions, young widows rocked colicky babies whom they might have rented, and assorted cripples displayed every imaginable, unappetizing illness known to man.

I know: That's their problem.

He's the best thing that could have happened to us, I said. And that was no lie. It was, instead, the best kind of truth, the one that meant at least two things.

Or more as needed.

Dare I admit it? Dare I confess? America, land of supermarkets and superhighways, of supersonic jets and Superman, of supercarriers and the Super Bowl! America, a country not content simply to give itself a name on its bloody birth, but one that insisted for the first time in history on a mysterious acronym, USA, a trifecta of letters outdone later only by the quartet of the USSR. Although every country thought itself superior in its own way, was there ever a country that coined so many “super” terms from the federal bank of its narcissism, was not only superconfident but also truly superpowerful, that would not be satisfied until it locked every nation of the world into a full nelson and made it cry Uncle Sam?

And don't forget our super-duper president.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:52 pm

David Foster Wallace from Infinite Jest

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.


In America that's practically a religion.

I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.”

Let's all do that.

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.

On the day you die, for example.

You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.

Trust me: Not just here.

Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.

After you get your revenge of course.

It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.

And how ingenius is that?!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:12 pm

Existential Comics

Dislikes:
1. Capitalism.
2. People on the internet.
3. People off the internet.
4. My inevitable death.
5. Existence in general.

Likes:
1. Playing the word "vuvuzela" in Scrabble.


Anyone here actually done that?

Protip: when playing Monopoly, if you work together as a team and agree to not charge rent, all the players can become wealthy and successful by going around the board forever.

My guess: It will never catch on.

There basically are three kinds of libertarians:
1. Teenagers who settled on a political philosophy based on what sounds good in one sentence. 2. Fascists who think the free market will get rid of minorites all on its own.
3. Rich people.


There most be more than three, right? Though, sure, maybe not.

I have this rubber snake that I use to scare my cat when he bullies my other cat. He clearly knows it's fake, but he's always still very cautious, because pretending to be a fake snake for like five years only to suddenly bite your face is just the sort of thing a snake would do.

I guess being rubber has nothing to do with it.

It's pretty obvious that humanity will destroy the planet and go extinct before we figure out the mysteries of the universe. We did figure out how to make some pretty sweet video games though, so there's that.

And, for Kids, that ain't nothing.

Science has been the slow process of showing that the exciting magical world we believed in doesn't exist, and there is nothing but boring reality. Well, except for quantum mechanics, which showed boring reality doesn't exist, and everything is basically magic.

Abracadabra, baby!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:25 am

Dave Eggers

But that's one lifetime.
Yeah.
But while doing that one I'd want to be able to have done other stuff. Whole other lives- the one where I sail...
I know, on a boat you made yourself.


Now of course we just grin and bear it.

But Mercer, you run a business. You need to participate online. These are your customers, and this is how they express themselves, and how you know if you’re succeeding. Mae’s mind churned through a half-dozen Circle tools she knew would help his business, but Mercer was an underachiever. An underachiever who somehow managed to be smug about it. See, that’s not true, Mae. It’s not true. I know I’m successful if I sell chandeliers. If people order them, then I make them, and they pay me money for them. If they have something to say afterward, they can call me or write me. I mean, all this stuff you’re involved in, it’s all gossip. It’s people talking about each other behind their backs. That’s the vast majority of this social media, all these reviews, all these comments. Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication. And besides that, it’s fucking dorky.

Supple and demand, he thought. And then all this fucking "analysis".

What would happen, Zeitoun asked the captain, if you and I went below the deck, and just went to our bedrooms and went to sleep?
The captain gave him a quizzical look and answered that the ship would most certainly hit something -- would run aground or into a reef. In any event, disaster.
So without a captain, the ship cannot navigate.
Yes, the captain said, What's your point?
Zeitoun smiled. Look above you, at the stars and moon. How do the stars keep their place in the sky, how does the moon rotate around the earth, the earth around the sun? Who's navigating?
The captain smiled at Zeitoun. He'd been led into a trap.
Without someone guiding us, Zeitoun finished, wouldn't the stars and moon fall to earth, wouldn't the oceans overrun the land? Any vessel, any carrier of humans, needs a captain, yes?


Clearly this traps some more than others. Like, for example, gravity.

It's the usual utopian vision. This time they were saying it'll reduce waste. If stores know what their customers want, then they don't overproduce, don't overship, don't have to throw stuff away when it's not bought. I mean, like everything else you guys are pushing, it sounds perfect, sounds progressive, but it carries with it more control, more central tracking of everything we do.

Then the next thing you know we're all comrades.

The flash opened up into something larger, an even more blasphemous notion that her brain contained too much. That the volume of information, of data, of judgments, of measurements, was too much, and there were too many people, and too many desires of too many people, and too many opinions of too many people, and too much pain from too many people, and having all of it constantly collated, collected, added and aggregated, and presented to her as if that all made it tidier and more manageable--it was too much.

And, for some, that's before breakfast.

In hospitals I feel palpable comfort. I feel the competence, the expertise, so much education and money, all of the supplies sterile, everything packaged, sealed tight. My fears evaporate when the automatic doors shush open.

Not counting the emergency room of course.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:44 pm

Robert Cormier

My wife likes to say there are two kinds of people, those chasing pleasure and those running from pain. Maybe she's right, I don't know. What I do know is this: Pleasure helps you forget. But pain, pain forces you to hope. You tell yourself this can't last. Today could be different. Today something just might change.


He got the pleasure part right.

The beautiful part about writing is you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.

In fact you don't have to get it right at all. There may not even be a right way.

Was this all there was to life, after all? You finished school, found an occupation, got married, became a father, watched your wife die, and then lived through days and nights that seemed to have no sunrises, no dawns and no dusks, nothing but a gray drabness.

Let's just say it's not out of the question.

He was afraid that his body would come loose, all his bones spilling out like a building collapsing, like a picket fence clattering apart.

Been there, done that.

A smile for all the stupid people out there with bleeding hearts for serial killers.

Them and the fucking jocks.

We just might make a quarterback out of you yet, you skinny little son of a bitch.

That was before the chocolate wars.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:15 am

Timothy Snyder

The president is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, “although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,” wrote Orwell, tends to be “uninterested in what happens in the real world.” Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism “has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.” A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.


Not counting the patriots who are assholes.

Post-truth is pre-fascism.

Hard to trump that, I'd say.

What is patriotism? Let us begin with what patriotism is not. It is not patriotic to dodge the draft and to mock war heroes and their families. It is not patriotic to discriminate against active-duty members of the armed forces in one’s companies, or to campaign to keep disabled veterans away from one’s property. It is not patriotic to compare one’s search for sexual partners in New York with the military service in Vietnam that one has dodged. It is not patriotic to avoid paying taxes, especially when American working families do pay. It is not patriotic to ask those working, taxpaying American families to finance one’s own presidential campaign, and then to spend their contributions in one’s own companies. It is not patriotic to admire foreign dictators. It is not patriotic to cultivate a relationship with Muammar Gaddafi; or to say that Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are superior leaders. It is not patriotic to call upon Russia to intervene in an American presidential election. It is not patriotic to cite Russian propaganda at rallies. It is not patriotic to share an adviser with Russian oligarchs. It is not patriotic to solicit foreign policy advice from someone who owns shares in a Russian energy company. It is not patriotic to read a foreign policy speech written by someone on the payroll of a Russian energy company. It is not patriotic to appoint a national security adviser who has taken money from a Russian propaganda organ. It is not patriotic to appoint as secretary of state an oilman with Russian financial interests who is the director of a Russian-American energy company and has received the “Order of Friendship” from Putin. The point is not that Russia and America must be enemies. The point is that patriotism involves serving your own country.

Hard to trump this, I'd say.

The odd American idea that giving money to political campaigns is free speech means that the very rich have far more free speech, and so in effect far more voting power, than other citizens.

They don't call it crony capitalism for nothing.

Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it.

On the other hand, millions already have.

The mistake is to assume that rulers who came to power through institutions cannot change or destroy those very institutions—even when that is exactly what they have announced that they will do.

Of course that could never happen here. Or, when it does, ever again.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:22 am

tiny nietzsche

me: i like cereal
doktor: cereal is good
me: i love cereal
doktor: okay
me: i want to fuck my cereal


Is this even possible?

stay busy stay busy stay busy
[quiet descends]
fuck


No getting around that, is there?

the killer awoke before dawn. he did the dishes

You know, if the Monkees recorded The End.

top existential jobs:
farmer
junkie
grave digger


Farmer? Go figure.

things to do on earth:
eat
read
swim
wade through the snow in the bitter cold night as the wolves close in


Three out of four, right?

I'm not doing anything. It's great.

Admittedly, I've never actually tried this. And that's great too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:53 pm

Yuval Noah Harari

Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.


That's the new New Age of course.

Voltaire said about God that ‘there is no God, but don’t tell that to my servant, lest he murder me at night’. Hammurabi would have said the same about his principle of hierarchy, and Thomas Jefferson about human rights. Homo sapiens has no natural rights, just as spiders, hyenas and chimpanzees have no natural rights. But don’t tell that to our servants, lest they murder us at night.

After all, the Commies are atheists.

In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000). In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide, and 1.5 million died of diabetes. Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.

Noted.
I mean, what else is there?


Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.

Objectivism explained?

Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths. Any large-scale human cooperation – whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe – is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination.

Gee, what could that possibly have to do with dasein? :-"

How can we distinguish what is biologically determined from what people merely try to justify through biological myths? A good rule of thumb is ‘Biology enables, Culture forbids.’ Biology is willing to tolerate a very wide spectrum of possibilities. It’s culture that obliges people to realize some possibilities while forbidding others. Biology enables women to have children – some cultures oblige women to realize this possibility. Biology enables men to enjoy sex with one another – some cultures forbid them to realize this possibility. Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behavior, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist.

We'll have to run this by Satyr of course.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:41 pm

so sad today

if you won't reject me i'll do it for you


Like anyone wouldn't, right?

a thing i am good at is having no impulse control

Posting here for example.

i was fine for a second but then it went away

Hoping to reach a minute, he thought.

siri, how do i really know if my pussy is “good pussy”

Come on, what does siri know about that?

i, prozac

Or, for some, i, heroin.

horoscope: no

Period in other words.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:22 am

Russell Banks

But twins are like that. They behave in ways, especially regarding each other, that can seem very strange to someone who is not a twin himself. They have a morality that is different from ours-at least when they are young they do-because, unlike other children, they are not inclined to imitate adults until much later. To children who are twins, even when they are not identical, the other twin is both more or less real than everyone else in the family, and they deal with each other the way that we deal with ourselves alone. Which means that it's like twins are permanently stoned. I don't think that's an exaggeration.


Really, what must it be like to have a twin? But only identical twins fascinate me.

Photographs of them alive and smiling would have made me cry and fall down and beat the earth with my fists; their actual dead faces only sealed me off from myself.

And then the part about them being children. This part...

Later, I learned that people thought I was being courageous. Not so. There were selfish reasons for my behavior. I shoved everyone away and kept more or less to myself, silent, stone-faced, although continuing nonetheless to help the other men, as we received one child after another from the divers and wrapped them in blankets and dispatched them in stretchers up the steep slope to the road and the waiting ambulances, as if by doing that I could somehow prolong this part of the nightmare and postpone waking up to what I knew would be the inescapable and endless reality of it. No one spoke. Somehow, at the bottom, I did not want this awful work to end. That's not courage.

And then what else is there but the "sweet hereafter"?

The only way I could go on living was to believe I was not living.

Never tried that before. Not that I can even imagine it.

We all have our little secrets, no? And we all tell little lies, sometimes for innocent reasons. To make friends, for instance, or to avoid embarrassment. Or just to keep things simple. Sometimes the truth is too complicated to pass along in a short conversation or interview. And sometimes it’s just irrelevant.

So, I won't tell you mine if you don't tell me yours.

The Cop. She has a steel grid in front of her mind, and for anything in the outer world to reach her it first has to squeeze through the bars of that grid. Information has to be broken into small cubes; information and data packaged in two-dimensional squares are preferable to three-dimensional cubes however: they pass through the grid more quickly and once they reach the Cop’s mind take up less space there.

Cops and Kids.

He said, Yeah, well, artists are a lot like gangsters. They both know that the official version, the one everyone else believes, is a lie.

I forget: What's the official version here?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:56 pm

David Sedaris

That's the thing with a diary, though. In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it. Not at your desk, but beyond it. Out in the world where it's so beautiful and complex and painful that sometimes you just need to sit down and write about it.


True, but I threw mine into a dumpster. Though once I almost regreeted it.

Anyone who watches even the slightest amount of TV is familiar with the scene: An agent knocks on the door of some seemingly ordinary home or office. The door opens, and the person holding the knob is asked to identify himself. The agent then says, I'm going to ask you to come with me.

That's when some will blow him away.

Up close the city constitutes an oppressive series of staircases, but from a distance it inspires fantasies of wealth and power so profound that even our communists are temporarily rendered speechless.

Nope, never met a Communist like that. And I was once one of them.

Don't tell me I don't know how to hate, I wanted to say. Then I stopped and asked myself, Do you really want that to be your message? Think you can out-hate me, asshole? I was fucking hating people before you were even born!

Or you can just become a misanthropist and hate them all.

Because that’s really something I can’t stand — when people refer to themselves as crazy. The truly crazy are labeled so on the grounds that they see nothing wrong with their behavior. They forge ahead, lighting fires in public buildings and defecating in frying pans without the slightest notion that they are out of step with the rest of society. That, to me, is crazy.

So, does he have a point?

Motherfucker, you haven't got the fucking balls God gave a goddamned church mouse. You crawled out of your mama's tattered old pussy, grabbed hold of her milk stained titties, and you ain't never looked back, motherfucker.

You know who this reminds us of.
Still, let's confirm it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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