Cultures

hoodie09

 

 

During the last election I was in public. It was an exhausting end to a sad campaign. I felt that nobody wanted to hear news or politics so I had the radio playing some light, old music.

I saw a huge man come in. He had his hair in a sort of mohawk. His black T-shirt was emblazoned with a fluorescent green skull. Several piercings. His visible arms and neck had extensive and old tattoos. He came up to me. The radio was playing George Benson’s Masquerade. This man walked up to me and said, ‘Dave, you listen to some twisted sh—-.’ He seemed intimidated.

I don’t seem to fit in my native culture.  I never really did, but the fit is getting worse. We seem to be in a culture of death.  [ The church in which I was raised was so sissyish that we didn’t have crucifixes, just crosses. Some of the Catholic statues with open wounds and visible hearts disturbed me. The sight of Santa De Muerte in Los Angeles seemed even more foreign.] Many of those around me have tattoos exhibiting skeletons and skulls. Hoodies that when zipped up cover the face and show a skeleton with eye holes on the eyes of the skull. Death’s-head jewelry. People who equate  being tough with dressing the part and a need to demonstrate their rebel status with painful and permanent conformity. When I was young and learned of the Third Reich we were shown the death imagery which had taken over their society, and were told that this was a sign of a sick culture. It was contrasted to the American iconography of the same time. At the time it was a persuasive argument. Now I find myself in a more extreme culture of death here in America.

One may infer that I am cowardly. One would be mistaken. A while ago after I foiled an armed robbery the County attorney asked to talk to me. It seems that I appeared so calm during the robbery that I did not appear threatened. He could not charge the robber with some aspect of the crime if I was not in fear of my life. I had to assure him that, indeed, I was affected by the revolver aimed at my eyes. I just wasn’t stupid enough to panic and run in circles with my hands in the air. My cultural beliefs are a less emotional, more pragmatic nature. To wit, I’ll be damned it an opponent’s battle plan survives contact with me, and I  won’t induce predatory behavior by acting as prey. I think this cultural conditioning came through my family, but some may have been programmed by literature. Definitely some of the words to express it came from my reading.

I didn’t fit in the previous phase of my native culture either, but I had more sympathy. Acquaintances and relatives of the cowboy persuasion with practical clothing, indifference to others’ opinions, and a belief that their actions would demonstrate their qualities. I’ve never been a follower of the romance of the American West because I’m too familiar with it. I am not fit for the brawling, drinking, and lack of foresight, but it has manifold virtues as well.

I hear urban people speaking in awe of those spiritual ‘Native Peoples’ who are in touch with nature. Well, first, they mean indigenous or First Nations. And second, to define a people in such imaginary terms is racism to the highest degree. Much like old feminists referred to about putting women on a pedestal. A positive stereotype still denies the humanity of the group. The Cheyenne, to take an example, are not exclusively spiritual or profane. The major difference is a substrate of an old tough, survival based culture. Those who most resemble them are the Cowboy culture. There stands an irony for Urban observers and a truism for eyewitnesses.

The other cultures I grew up with were the railroad people, the oil people, and the farmers. [ Around here a great number of the farmers are a sort of German. Not like you see in war movies, but religious people to whom beer and labor are sacraments.] They all represented productivity, creation. Continuity with their distant relatives. They were not the sort of consumerist wastrels that seem to be populating the cultural consciousness of today.

When I was young I felt that cultures would be territorial as I imagined nations were. I thought if I traveled I would find a people with whom I belonged. I still hope that to be true, but I don’t believe it. The only, poor answer I have is the end of Candide. Let us cultivate our own gardens were we stand.

Words I don’t Use

PoliticallyCorrectChristmas

Perhaps I talk of words too much. But I really speak of thoughts. Some words don’t convey information. They conceal it.

A Loophole is any law you don’t like. It is bad because you don’t like it. One famous ‘loophole’ was that married people paid more in taxes than single people. Some people took a vacation to a nice country without residency requirements and got a divorce. The divorce paid for a vacation. Then they came home and had enough tax savings to have a vacation every year. Any evil here is in the manipulative law. Which they followed. I remember one couple who married and divorced several times to draw attention to this travesty.

A Sin Tax is a way to make something unpopular and thus susceptible to attack. Putting a sin tax on one liter drinks obscures the ridiculous and arbitrary degree of social control. Oddly, sin taxes are largely pushed by those who don’t believe in sin or God. I am fairly certain that tobacco is not mentioned in the Torah, The Bible, or the Diamond Sutra.

Reform is a favorite. Reform of course just means to remake or reshape. But the News People insist that reform is always an improvement. Bah!! I shake my finger at them.

Capitalism is an example of just renaming something to a name that can be attacked. Capitalism? A belief in money? Idolatry? Capitalism s just a sneaky way of saying free markets. Free markets make sense. Most people don’t know what to make of Capitalism.

Political Correctness. A lovely propaganda coup. PC is not political. Political things are subject to discourse and argument. PC things are those about which one must not argue upon pain of secular excommunication. When we say PC we are also tacitly accepting that it is correct. We accept exactly that which is in doubt. And PC always comes from the left.
I prefer the term PL – Pushy Leftism.

Have any examples you wish to share?

Can You Identify This Gorgeous Picture?

pop

I stumbled upon this picture. So detailed, yet incomprehensible.

This is a balloon popping at 1e5 feet. It was taking data about that solar storm on Jan 9, 2014.

At launch:

balloon launch

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Earth-to-Sky-Calculus/174490502634920

Earth to Sky Calculus

A group of middle and high school science enthusiasts from Bishop, CA–launching balloons into the stratosphere to prepare for a satellite launch in 2014.
Description
In winter 2011, Earth to Sky Calculus was just a name, a simple idea. Today, Earth to Sky has meaning, history, perhaps even a touch of fame. Really though, it’s just a group of geeky high school kids along with their crazy teacher reaching for the stars, or the edge of the stratosphere rather.
They used a Hero3+ camera  I am impressed
DAB

Hymn to Babel

Hymn of Breaking Strain

Rudyard Kipling
1935

THE careful text-books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
‘The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on  the Stuff – the Man!

But in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find

The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge they make us-
For no laid course prepare-
And presently o’ertake us
With loads we cannot bear:
Too merciless to bear. 

The prudent text-books give it
In tables at the end
‘The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie-bar bend-
‘What traffic wrecks macadam-
What concrete should endure-
but we, poor Sons of Adam
Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder –
All Time and Space as well-
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till, in the mid-illusion
Of Godhead ‘neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned-
The mighty works we planned. 

We only of Creation
(Oh, luckier bridge and rail)
Abide the twin damnation-
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we – by which sole token
We know we once were Gods-
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds-
The burden of the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we – by which sure token
We know Thy ways are true –
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

article-2521765-1A076A8500000578-266_964x700

The Tower of Bab-El was not an infinite skyhook reaching into another, spiritual, world. To the Mesopotamians the tower  had temples on top containing the numinous, indwelling presence of the gods. So all towers, however short had Heaven on top. Presumably the height defined the degree of heaven. Else, why build higher? A shorter heaven implies an unseemly democracy of heavens.  This was the civilization into which Abraham was born. At Peniel Jacob saw a ladder that also rose to Heaven and there strove with God..

We build our towers into the sky and place personal temples on top. We hope to imbue our personal temples with the adoration of the millions who see us and usurp the powers of those who built them. Hephaestus and Daedalus never did so well as those for whom their artifacts were made.

    ‘We hold all Earth to plunder. All Time and Space as well….’

The methods by which we make miracles are known to all. The Pieta was just made by hammer and chisel. La Giaconda is just varieties of oily soil on a board. Our towers are rivets and steel and glass. Whence comes the magic?

  ‘Till, in the mid-illusion Of Godhead ‘neath our hand, Falls multiple confusion On all we did or planned-‘

But we who live in the houses of gods know them not. Nor can we keep them. We are unworthy of our homes.

    ‘Oh, veiled and secret Power Whose paths we seek in vain, Be with us in our hour Of overthrow and pain’

Nominal Music

Recently weather fell like a hammer. The temperature dropped forty degrees while the rain turned into snow.

There was an attractive young Absaroka woman of my acquaintance driving quite recklessly. Most people were panicked and driving quite stodgily. Seeing this young lady laughing and smiling while navigating the glaze ice roads was a thing of beauty. One lovely thing about my home is the names. Hers was so consonant with her personality that I had to smile. Her surname : Notafraid.

lady parading crow style - Allen KnowsHisGun

 

We also have families named Smartenemy and Knows His Gun. A large family is named Pretty On Top. It seems silly until one realizes that ‘On Top’ meant while on horseback or riding. It more closely translates to Gallant Knight. Most of the names in my family are less evocative and more obscure. I sometimes have a tinge of envy.

The Spanish names are often musical if you pronounce them correctly. But few do. I really wish we put more music in our language.