April 19, 2004

still the searcher must ride the dark horse

* "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
- John Adams (letter to Thomas Jefferson, Sept. 3, 1816) [via wood s lot]

* U.S. Military revolt against Bush War policy. excerpt:

"A revolt within the military against Bush is brewing. Many in the military's strategic echelon share the same feelings of being ignored and ill-treated by the administration that senior intelligence officers voice in private. 'The Pentagon began with fantasy assumptions on Iraq and worked back,' one of them remarked to me. Reflecting the developing consensus at that level, the Army War College has just issued a new monograph in which a senior Army strategist accuses the Bush administration of seeking to win 'quickly and on the cheap' while having 'either misunderstood or, worse, wished away' the predicted problems.

"As the iconic image of the 'war president' has tattered, another picture has emerged. Bush appears as a passive manager who enjoys sitting atop a hierarchical structure, unwilling and unable to do the hard work that a real manager has to do in order to run the largest enterprise in the world. He does not seem to absorb data unless it is presented to him in simple, crystal-clear fashion by people whose judgment he trusts. He is receptive to information that agrees with his point of view rather than information that challenges it. This therefore leads to enormous power on the part of the trusted interlocutors, who know and bolster his predilections. Thus Rice fulfills Bush's idea of the national security advisor as the comforting briefer.

"At his press conference, Bush was a confusion of absolute confidence and panic. He jumbled facts and conflated threats, redoubling the vehemence of his incoherence at every mildly skeptical question. Whenever he could, he drove himself back to the safety of 9/11 -- and then disclaimed responsibility. He attempted to create a false political dichotomy between 'retreat' and his own vague and evolving position on Iraq, which now appears to follow Sen. John Kerry's of granting more authority to the U.N. and bringing in NATO.

"The ultimate revelation was Bush's vision of a divinely inspired apocalyptic struggle in which he is the leader of a crusade bringing the Lord's 'gift.' 'I also have this belief, strong belief that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.' But religious war is not part of official U.S. military doctrine."

* Interview of the fugs' Tuli Kupferberg. excerpt:

PSF: What were you working on before the Fugs?

TK: Well, I was the world's greatest poet before I became the world's oldest rock n'roll star. I wasn't with the Fugs until I was 42 but before that my life was trivial. I went to graduate school for sociology in Brooklyn. I dropped out and became a bohemian, living in Greenwich Village. The rest is mystery and history. It's all one blur now.

I was a free-formist. I never took to the traditional forms. I never bothered to learn them. It's OK to learn the old forms though and study what you've inherited in any art. I valued spontaneity a lot and being young, you're always afraid that you're going to be overwhelmed by the masters so you try to avoid it.

PSF: What kind of things were influencing you then?

TK: The usual things. Ego, sex, money, in that order I think. Money wasn't actually up there though. You could actually live on much less than you can today. I was sort of influenced by anybody I read.

PSF: How did you get interested in politics?

TK: I was very political at an early age. When I was in my pre-teens they had those 'Hoover-villes' during the Depression. My father had a retail store that failed three times. We were just on the brink of going on welfare. You'd be amazed at how that can make you politically and economically conscious. My generation really experienced adversity so a dime is still big money to me! You had to be REALLY STUPID not to be political then. Even when things got better, you didn't see it was better for you personally. It could always happen again and it always does. Besides the economy, you also had wars. When there's a crisis in society, sometimes you see things more clearly. Otherwise, it just kind of waves right over you, especially when you're young.

PSF:What did think of the Beat movement when it first started happening?

TK: I remember being shocked by it. I guess I was still in some sort of traditional mode. Shocked, jealousy and then adaptation. It was liberating. I was shocked by Ed Sander's freedom of sexual expression. I'm sure people were shocked by mine when I started. Ginsberg is your best example of a liberating force. It's not just the language or the freedom of the language because that just reflects character structure. A person who drops dead or wants to kill someone would use all those words you're not supposed to use. It's more than language. It's attitude towards sexuality and human relations along with domination and love. It's not that people who shout about sexual freedom understand everything that's involved. In order to have good sex, you have to have good human relationships and vice versa. When I grew up, in my community, you weren't going to have sex until you got married- this was a middle-class Jewish community. Maybe you went to a prostitute... But that gradually broke down. That was all for the good and not just for me but also for most of America.

PSF: Before you said the Fugs were about dope and fucking. What about now?

TK: No, I said that the Fugs were about dope and fucking and any kind of mind liberation that didn't kill you or damage your internal organs. I was always careful about that because I'd been a medical librarian and I knew all about that. My phrase was 'better to be a live ogre than a dead saint.' I knew a lot of dead saints. It was about politics and it was about life and relations between people and 'freedom,' meaning the ability to explore and express yourself and other peoples' feelings. We were all about creating a utopia and we had our ideas about what it was. We tried to work for it and to live it because we weren't going to wait- 'we want the world and we want it now.' We were impatient, especially in the sixties where young people faced death and they weren't going to wait to enjoy anything after they were dead.

It's a mistake to put it (freedom) in terms of physiology. Nothing wrong with that. The basic unit of human society is the human body. You have to know how to use it and enjoy it. That's only part of it though because if you have a human body and you put it in the dark and leave them there, you get something that isn't quite human. It needs nourishment and human society. It doesn't have to be the patriarchal family. In the age of AIDS, I recommend group marriages with four couples. More than eight people would be too much.

Bascially, the Fugs are the same except we're more refined and more clever and more worked out and more beautifully put and less listened to.


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