Rainbow of Fruits

Art, Conspiracy and the Occult, Economy, Media, Poetry, Science, Things that Actually Happen, Uncategorized

The value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-
pressed juice. Much more. The value is in how easy
it is for a frazzled dad to knock the queasy
edge off the half case of Coors Extra Gold
he drank last night because his ex-wife told
him that he’d never keep them. The kids. Her breezy
iPhone alto happy. Remarried a cheesy
real-estate asshole with a Beemer and a billfold.
Fuck you, Kim. “Hey Daddy,” Jaiylyn calls,
“we’re gonna miss the bus.” He sighs and hits
the button. Nothing. The pouch, it seems, is one
day beyond the best-if-used. It all
becomes quite clear. He chews two aspirin, grits
his teeth, and goes to the closet to get his gun.

The True Fairy

Art, Culture, Media, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Uncategorized, War and Politics

My means for critical evaluation
all center on the fable of a little wooden toy
whose earnest desire to become an actual boy
mimics my own self-serious adulation
for a truth as narrow as a lawyer’s accusation,
all causes shorn of context, which I then deploy
to accuse Achilles without Helen of Troy,
Ulysses’s fandi fictor reputation
divorced from his desire for his wife.
Truth is never beautiful; it lies
on a vast ocean like a raft of floating turds,
a shifting host for dull, bacterial life,
an effluence of human compromise:
the foul excreta of silly nerds.

Thrown on the Sure

Culture, Education, Justice, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Things that Actually Happen, War and Politics

The past as precedent is overrated.
Even its angel gazing back across
the racked, wrecked pile of death and loss
can never turn to see what it’s created
now. The present is the wreck, abated
briefly; the past, a stone, but we are moss
fuzzing the surface, a broken pebble tossed
into a sea. A story often related
about the same sea is that a king
stood at its edge and ordered the tide to cease.
We’re told the moral has to do with pride.
In fact, Canute was warning: worshipping
a man’s short power and swiftly expiring lease
blasphemed. The waves went on. He ruled and died.

We Didn’t Start, We’re Fired

Culture, Economy, Education, Media, Poetry, Science, Things that Actually Happen, Uncategorized, War and Politics

 

soap

Blame millennials for the missing bar of soap.
But blame their parents for the rest of it:
the postwar settlement they turned to shit;
the rising seas; the flattening and declining slope
of income growth; the OD rate for dope;
George Bush invading Baghdad in a snit;
“prestige” TV; Armstrong’s hematocrit;
Fox News, CNN, the man from Hope.
Even the awful form of this complaint
is accidentally due to Billy Joel,
another boomer bastard: they’ve destroyed
the world in increments, but now they faint
at the minor foibles of the kids today, a whole
generation dad left unemployed.

Children and Air Conditioning

Culture, Economy, Media, Poetry, Science, Uncategorized

His moral arguments are all consumer
choices he’s deliberately confused
with ethical dilemmas; he has used
the self-superior lifestyle choices of the boomer
generation, lame attempted humor,
and made-up anecdotes to disabuse
you of a non-position he’s infused
with the acute import of mortality, a tumor
grown suddenly huge, malignant, pressing on
the brain: it must be excised lest we find
the psychosoma is the journalist
projecting. Hey, dude. Get off my lawn.
The world’s an abattoir. Each day’s a grind.
Your job is not the reason we exist.

Cody

Culture, Economy, Education, Justice, Media, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Things that Actually Happen, Uncategorized, War and Politics

The children aren’t the future; they are now.
My five-year-old, for instance, is concerned
that five-year-olds in China will have learned
integral calculus while he learns the cow
goes moo. Father, he asked, how can we allow
declines in public spending when it earns
broad wage-multipliers as returns?
Is Xi reformist, or is he a Mao?
And can we win the war on terror with
a formal legal apparatus that
constrains our agencies and binds their hands?
Do coastal elites represent a fifth
column? Is the Bible a samizdat?
Will I have to share the boys room with a trans?

Vagina . . . Without Previous Approval

Art, Books and Literature, Culture, Education, Media, Poetry, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind, Uncategorized

District officials sent WWMT a quote from a school handbook that says teachers are required to get approval before discussing any topic related to reproductive health.

The Washington Post

The word itself makes some men uncomfortable.

-Maude Lebowski

Imagine the spring. Imagine the tulip trees
in the garden—still a chance of morning frost,
the gold-black baby spiders, the first bees
betting on dew instead by instincts that we’ve lost.
Consult the Farmer’s almanac; consult
the weather on the internet; we are obsessed
with warnings, dire predictions; with results
whose precursors embarrass us. Confess:
you too, sex-positive and libertine,
are slightly squeamish at the ordinary bits
a flower represents: fecund, gene-
wet, vaginal. Marble tits?
Appropriate. But a flower is a stealth
lesson in the forbidden: “reproductive health.”

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Friar

Culture, Economy, Media, Religion, Science, The Life of the Mind

 

I’ve always had a soft spot for Catholicism, as I do for all things Roman. I love its unrepentant, if cheerfully unacknowledged, paganism; I like that it manages to be both particular and ecumenical, with a vast canonical universe, unlike so much dour Protestantism, which has only the Bible and manages to treat all of the Book’s magnificent poetry like an instruction diagram for the assembly of a confusing piece of Scandinavian furniture. I like its camp and its kitsch. And like a lot of folks these days, I like this Pope. Seems like a decent fellow, although the obsequious puffery of his transcendent moral authority by non-Catholic liberal types every time he says anything to broadly accords with their political preferences strikes me as supremely odd—not that there’s anything wrong with proposing a useful political alliance, but rather because it so frequently and quickly shades into an argument from authority.

Here admitted: I don’t like the phrase “climate change,” not because I dispute the general underlying truth and reality to which it refers, but because the phrase itself is so distressingly market-tested, so anodyne, so wooly and amoral and abstract. It hardly inspires a rush to the barricades, and it reeks of the sort of ineffectual political non-postures that gave us, for example, the huge loser designation “pro-choice”—a place, ironically, where the Pope’s biological credentials seem suddenly less burnishable to a lot of the same people pleased with his stance on ecology. And, apropos this very item, the Pope’s insistence that population growth and population control are ecologically insignificant compared to the “consumerism” of wealthy nations is faintly incredible. Though he rightly criticizes the blind faith in technological fixes, the crackpot conviction that we can invent our way out of the problem via electric cars or whatever, a future as mere facsimile of the present, only, uh, “sustainable,” one hardly needs to be a vulgar Malthusian to understand that the ongoing addition of billions and billions more humans—and the attendant need to get them water and food and shelter and clothing—is a large problem in our larger complex of problems. In other words, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of Francis’s correct criticism of the notion of salvation via technological innovation: he too, in his way, is praying for an electric car. What is lacking is an act of really radical imagination, which would suggest that a harmonious and truly sustainable human society would be not simply different, but unrecognizable—unrecognizable in its conduct, yes, but also and more importantly in its scale.

None of this is really meant to single Francis out for criticism. I really do like the guy, admire much of what he says, and as regards his Franciscan ideas about a human ecology, I sympathize and at least partially agree. Compared to the national leadership of our larger and more influential countries, and certainly compared to the greenwashing corporate sector, the Pope’s statements are worthy of much of the praise that they’ve garnered. But, to use a business metaphor I’m otherwise fond of mocking, the idea that they’ve disrupted anything is incorrect. It’s just regular competition in an existing space.

The Defeatist Reviews 2014

Books and Literature, Media, Plus ça change motherfuckers, Poetry, Science, The Life of the Mind

Several years ago some guy named Pinker
wrote a book, which said that human kind
has now become less violent, more refined.
I pictured him composed like Rodin’s Thinker,
but sitting on the can leaving a stinker.
Here’s the triumph of the counterintuitive mind:
to pitch the fruit of knowledge, eat the rind;
fish proud to have caught that hook and line and sinker.
Was last year the worst that’s ever been?
I doubt it. What’s a good year? What is bad?
History has no progression. It
only accumulates, and no one wins;
to think it otherwise is to be mad.
Care less. Do nothing. Fuck it, man. And quit.

Goodbye Normal Genes

Culture, Science, The Life of the Mind

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first render in the unconditional declarative on Facebook:

genes

Click. The same revelations reappear, hedged around by caveats like the lonely straight girl in a gay bar. Oh, our genes—notice the plural?—could make us gay . . . or straight. The flight from pure causality continues in the text, which departs even the territory of sexual difference for an and-everything-in-between taxonomy of non-classification. Evolutionary biology, ladies and gentlemen, where some (or all) of our characteristics and behaviors are determined (in part, possibly) by some (or all) of our genes (among other factors).

By the end, we’re back in Kinsey scale territory:

It’s a bit like height, which is influenced by variants in thousands of genes, as well as the environment, and produces a “continuous distribution” of people of different heights. At the two extremes are the very tall and the very short.

In the same way, at each end of a continuous distribution of human mating preference, we would expect the “very male-loving” and the “very female-loving” in both sexes.

Gay men and lesbian women may simply be the two ends of the same distribution.

Ooooo, girl.

The desire to ratify scientifically our moral and social and economic postures and preferences is part of a generally cowardly morality that takes a look at some vile human prejudice and goes off searching for a pipette and a bell curve as a counter-scripture to whatever Bronze-Age prejudice a misunderstood God re-dredged up every time a louche Hellenism threatened to make Western civilization vaguely civilized. I’m glad that this fuzzy evidence is being wielded in favor of gay equality; I’m gay, after all. But I can’t help but see it as the boneheaded inverse of all the The New Republicans, Dark Enlightenment dweebs, and other direly self-afflicted determinist assholes forever trying to prove with the modern-day phrenology of intelligence testing that The Blacks Are Stupider. “We’re just asking the questions!” Yeah, yeah. Some of my best friends are black.

I’m sure genetic inheritance and gene expression do influence sexuality; likewise, intelligence and hair color and the desire to eat, or not to eat, cilantro; but the desperate reductivism that keeps popping up to declare that this or that immensely complex trait is the result of some butterfly-pinned nucleotide—and the attendant desire to draw some kind of socioeconomic conclusion therefrom—reeks of both the alchemical and the eugenic. God, remember the study about the genetic basis of American political affiliation? That’s what I’m talking about.

This is like when that weird-looking National Review gnome appeared a few days ago to declare that Laverne Cox is biologically not a woman and the Internet bravely rushed in to declare that scientifically she is. “He doesn’t understand the complexity . . .” And we were all treated to a series of semi-coherent expostulations on various human intersex conditions, as if that has anything to do with the social right of an autonomous human individual to decide whether she wants to live her life as a man or a woman or both or neither, less yet to determine against which physical expression of our species rather aesthetically unfortunate genital she wishes to press her own. If we make the concretized and inevitably temporary axioms of popular (I emphasize) science the preconditions of moral acceptability, then we are in big trouble, people. If Laverne Cox decides tomorrow that she wishes to be referred to by the pronoun Qfwfq  and that her gender is henceforth Parthogenetic Quintsexual Proteus Universal then it’s still no skin off my ass, whether ratified by double-blind or by dungeon-master.

Consider the study at hand. What it proposes, in fact, is that with the exception of a relatively small population on the long tails of the normal distribution, human sexuality exists along a fluctuating continuum, and even as one of those, ahem, long-tailed lovers myself, I can assure you all that some element of choice is involved in the expression of sexuality, gender, etc.—for me, to a lesser degree; for the Kinsey 4s out there, perhaps more. I went through periods of greater and lesser effeminacy (apologies for the word choice), especially earlier in my life; I’ve never been especially sexually interested in women, but I’ve certainly be attracted to them, sometimes, especially with close friends, with an intensity that shades into eroticism. Sexual morals should be built on the tripartite foundation of autonomy, self-determination, and consent, not on some fanciful on-off switch in the cells.