Monday, February 8, 2016

By The Time Nietzsche Was My Age He Had Been Completely Crazy For 10 Years

And I'm feeling a bit frustrated myself, frustrated by the whole not-being-rich-and-famous thing. But I'm not completely crazed by the frustration, not yet. (Although I realize, of course, that anyone who ever says "I'm not crazy" must add, in order to be logical: " -- at least I don't THINK I'm crazy. But if I WAS crazy, how would I KNOW?")

Before he went completely insane all at once early in 1889, Nietzsche had reconciled himself, or so he claimed, with his lack of popular success. Some writers, he said, were destined to be recognized only posthumously, and he counted himself among those. He was wrong about that. He became very famous before he died -- but, unfortunately, not until he had been completely insane for several years. Which kinda spoils it in a way.

Some of you may be asking, "What th' Heck, Steve -- are you actually comparing yourself to Nietzsche now?!"

Yes, I actually am. I finally got tired of just sitting back and waiting for others to start comparing me to people like Nietzsche -- not because of the tragedy of his biography but for the brilliance of his writing. Yeah, I actually am comparing myself to the greatest writers who ever lived. In part because I want to be rich and famous. But also in part because I actually think I'm one of the greatest writers who ever lived, there, I said it. I DESERVE to be rich and famous, there, I said that too.

I deserve huge success BEFORE I die or go completely insane from waiting. (Assuming that I haven't actually already gone completely insane because if I had how would I know?)

When I read Nietzsche saying that when he reads Spinoza he knows that they are kindred spirits, I know what that's like. I feel exactly the same way about Nietzsche. (Although not in every single detail: I don't share Nietzsche's sexism, and I'm a socialist and he was an ivory-tower guy who claimed to be "above" politics. I got over the ivory-tower kind of silliness many years ago.) I feel less so about Spinoza because I'm not nearly as fluent in Latin as I am in German.

Oh well, here I go, pushing "Publish" again and hoping that this post will be The One --

None Of This Has Happened Yet

But of course it could start happening at any moment: I might notice that I have a flurry of new e-mails. Each one of them might inform me of one of a flurry of donations to my blog. I might look at the blog statistics and see a huge number of them for today and wonder Hmm, I wonder how that happened?

And then I see that my name is among a list of trending topics somewhere. Curious, I click on it and see that a distinguished member of the literati has discovered my blog, loved it and given it a rave review under the headline "YES HE KAN HAZ NOBEL!!!" The emails start pouring in, notifying me of more donations, but also emails from people who know me, but also some emails from people who don't know me, how did they get my email address? Suddenly many many comments are awaiting moderation on my blog, some of them from literary agents who want to be my agent. Some of the emails from people who don't know me yet are also from agents. The New Yorker wants to publish a lot of my blog posts. Book publishers want to publish collections of my posts, they're not waiting until I have an agent to get in touch, and not they've also started to hear that I've completed 2 novels and started some more and they're definitely interested in all of those.

I turn on the TV and see still photographs of my big ugly mug on CNN and MSNBC. And speaking of the news, here they come, there are several TV-news vans parked right outside. It's a narrow street and the news vans are starting to block it. I go outside and plead with the journalists to have some compassion for my neighbors who ordinarily drive on a regular basis. The news vans don't budge. Then I have the idea to give 10-minute exclusives to 1 reporter at a time, if the reporters promise to go away right after the exclusive and stay away for a week. So now there are interviews with me all over TV and the Internet -- and it works, after a little while my neighbors can actually drive past my house again.

A week later I'm no longer living at the same place, but at a hotel which very kindly offers to keep the press out for me, though it snarls their traffic now.

A week after that I'm living in an apartment in lower Manhattan, and in NYC they're used to celebs so I'm not being mobbed as much.

This could all start happening at any time. Any moment now...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Passes $2 Billion Worldwide

The latest Box Office Mojo all-time worldwide box office chart reports $2,008,400,000 and counting for the latest episode of Star Wars, making it #3 behind #1 Avatar with $2,788,000,000 and #2 Titanic with $2,186,800,000.

But The Force Awakens has been the all-time #1 in North America for some time now. It recently became the first movie to earn $900 million in box office is the US and Canada; #2, Avatar, had held the record at $760.5 million. 72.7% of Avatar's worldwide total comes from overseas box office, compared to 69.9% for Titanic and just 54.9% for Force Awakens.

In other Star Wars news, the standalone feature ("standalone" means it's separate from Episode One, Episode Two etc) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released on December 16, 2016. The next movie in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, will open on December 15, 2017. Can you say "Moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney"? Disney and Lucasfilm can!

Yes, Yeats Was A Fascist

I had heard secondhand accounts of disturbing right-wing tendencies of his. I had read Auden's poem saying Yeats would be forgiven because he wrote well. But it wasn't really clear to me what he would be forgiven for, until I read the selections from On the Boiler, originally published sometime in 1939 after Yeats had died in January of that year, which are collected in the volume Explorations, in which he very strongly favours eugenics, and has some positive things to say about "the Fascist countries," and declares that "the new-formed democratic parliaments of India will doubtless destroy, if they can, the caste system that has saved Indian intellect" (p 424), and poo-poos all suggestions that poor children would thrive given the advantages of the rich or that rich children would struggle facing the challenges of poverty. He deplores Socialist "slaughter" and appears not to have heard of Guernica or other right-wing slaughters. Having died just before the beginning of World War II, we cannot know how or if he would have responded to the horrors of the Holocaust or the slaughters perpetrated by Fascist Japan. But he does fantasize a bit about war to come, waged in favor of the upper classes and calls it a good thing, a healthy shock which will promote learning. World War II was indeed shocking, but not good. On the Boiler is shocking, but not in a good way.

On p 429 Yeats writes that

"I am philosophical, not scientific, which means that observed facts do not mean much until I can make them part of my experience."

Which sounds very nice at first, until one starts to wonder whether it was no more than a high-toned excuse to ignore whatever facts clashed with Yeats' cherished dreams. He was one of those Christians who dreamed of a chivalrous aristocracy which had little to do with the actual Medieval Europe and less with 20th-century fascism. The Nazi leadership was neither an aristocracy nor a meritocracy, and even if it had been aristocratic, one had to be quite blind indeed to miss all of the ill effects of inbreeding in the European ancien regime, worse than anything to be found in the most remaote and backwards peasant village. The one criticism of fascism which Yeats offers in On the Boiler is that the fascists states rewarded fertility among all classes. Yeats' eugenics favored bigger families in the aristocracy and few or no children for peasants or proles. With remarkable blindness, Yeats guesses (p 424) that this fascist encouragement of big families in all classes occurred only because of some unspecified pressure from democratic states. The reality, as plain to see as anything could be, was that the Nazis and the Italian fascists, even with their own unrealistic idealizations of aristocracy, valued an ethnic German or Italian peasant much more highly than a Jewish or Russian prince, and quite possibly higher than an Irish prince as well, or even a Japanese prince.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Atheisten, die glauben dass Agnsotiker nicht existieren, habt Ihr dies schon erlebt? "Entweder meint man dass Gott existiert oder dass Er nicht existiert." Sie koennen sich nicht vorstellen, dass jemand wirklich nicht sicher ist. Offenbar klebt noch ein Rest von ihrer Jugend als Snake-Handler an sie:

You either got faith or ya got unbelief! Brothers and sisters, there ain't NOOOOOO middle ground! Ya gotta serve SOMEbody! It may the Devil, or it may be Jesus Christ our Lord, but ya gotta serve SOME body! Amen! Hallelujah!

Selten, dass ich Agnostiker verteidigen, sehr selten. Man klicke bloss auf "agnosticism" in der Liste am rechten Rand der Seite und siehe fuer sich selbst, meistens gehe ich eher unzimperlich mit Agnostikern rum. Aber einige echten von ihnen existieren, die sind nicht alle bloss bloede Atheisten die klueger sein wollen als Atheisten und so einen Strohmann aus der Nichtexistenx von absoluter Sicherheit der Ueberzeugungen machen, eine absolute Sicherheit, auf die sehr sehr wenige Atheisten je Anspruch gemacht haben. Nicht alle Agnostiker sind so. Eigentlich nicht sicher sein, das gibts, nicht nach A neigen und auch nach B. Passiert dann und wann.

Ach, ich hasse Idioten! Und es gibt so sehr viele idiotischen Atheisten!

Verstaendnis haben, Steven! Die sind noch verhaermt von ihrer Snake-Handler-Jugend. Wir alle tun sowieso unser Bestes auf dieser seltsamen Reise, das Leben heisst. Nein, natuerlich nicht alle, aber die meisten tun ihr bestes, auch die armen Idioten. Dieser Arschloch wahrscheinlich auch, die unter Snake-Handlers aufwuchs und jetzt mir sagt, dass man entweder Glaube hat oder Atheist ist und dass nicht sicher sein nicht gibt.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ich Weiss Es Nicht Zu Beweisen

Ich kann es nicht belegen, aber zur Zeit scheint mir dass eine jede Sprache etwas eigentuemliches und einmaliges fuer sich selbst hat, etwas, was -- paradoxigerweise, oder nicht? -- sich nicht in Woertern uebersetzen laesst, und dass sich niemand einen Begriff von dies bilden kann, der nicht zwei oder Sprachen gut kennt, so wenig wie man verstehen kann, wie eine gewisse Art von Speise schmeckt, ohne sie zu essen.

Daher scheint es mir sehr von Vorteil, wenn jemand mehr als eine Sprache kennt.

Und daher scheint mir auf eine Weise von Nachteil zu sein fuer ein Volk, wenn es eine fuehrnede Stellung hat unter anderen Voelkern: seinen Leuten scheint es nicht noetig, irgendeine andere als die Muttersprache zu beherrschen, und daher verarmt sich und veroedet dieses fuehrende Volk. Die antiken Griechen gegenueber den Roemern ("Barbar" stammt urspruenglich von einem griechischen Wort das "einer, der eine andere Sprache als Griechische spricht"), die Franzoesen zwischen den 16. und 20 Jahrhunderten, die Amerikaner heute, hinken kulturell hinterher, weil sie kulterell fuehren.

Vielleicht habe ich hier recht, aber ich kann sowas nicht beweisen. Vielleicht kann das jemand, der seht viel klueger ist als ich, oder hat es schon bewiesen.

Nebreska Woman Sues Every Gay Person On The Planet

I'm not making this up.

This is an exciting legal precedent. I would like to sue every moron on Earth -- and I can start with Sylvia Ann Driskell!

I'm definitely open to making this a class action. It's not as if I'm the only person who's suffered from the actions and failures to act of morons. I think maybe I'm completely serious. I know some some lawyers. Who's with me?