Paradise of Storm

Month: July, 2015

Monarchy and the Fight for Freedom

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by Guy Walker

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are leading the fight for the banality of encore. And news broadcasters are already discussing with what seems to be a real interest in the bromidic agony of it all, sitting around their florescent roundtables, candidly sipping their coffee in between the great points they make on whether or not Hillary’s blue suit was an intenerate attempt of the spectacle to attract the male subconscious, or if it was just something she put on. “Is Hillary woman enough to attract the female majority?” they ask. “Now that this country has shown it was ready for a black president, do you think it’s going to tell the world it’s ready for a female president?”

Hillary walks up on a stage, clapping her hands in some sort of crude beat of lethargic excitement. She points to a nobody in the crowd, waves to them, and throws her head back with laughter as if to say to the rest of the crowd that she just shared an inside joke with somebody. She claps some more, smiling a frantic Prozac smile, and then turns to the podium. She opens her mouth, her thick compound cracking under the heat of the lights. “Are we ready or what!!” she booms. And the crowd cheers, the dipsomanian frenzy for her novel gallant prose. “Yeah!!” the masses scream. Hillary smiles again. “I think we aaaaaare!” The crowd goes nuts. A woman with a heaving muffin-top jumps up and down, her enormous tits waving up and down like amorphous wrecks of gravity.

Jeb Bush has already framed his campaign as “JEB 2016,” admitting a very hip disassociation with his last name because it includes his brother and father. By not including “Bush” he knows the name is tarnished, shit-ridden, the hell of failure and corruption. Jeb is rebranding the Bush as a new-age cool dad  .  .  .  he’ll let you and your friends drink beer when mom is not around, he’ll talk about girls with you as he grills long hot dogs, poking them occasionally with his tongs, his cheeks flushed with too much sun, beads of sweat pushing through the pores on his upper lip. He’ll jerk off to Japanese anime porn, and then call his mother to ask how dad is doing. Jeb isn’t like his brother  .  .  .  he’s Jeb. He’s different from everyone else running for President because he’s going to bring jobs, fix our economy, and fight terrorism. The only truly appropriate question to ask Jeb is, “What country are you going to invade first?”

Clinton and Bush are important not because they openly support the further corporatization and militarization of the United States and the world, not because they are brittle automatons of fervor and crusade, but rather because they are the figures of feudal tutelage, of monarch and storm. Clinton and Bush are the promise of the return to the hereditary monarchical system. They both come from insurmountable wealth, they are both obviously from families of a more opaquely vulgar past: Bill Clinton more than doubled the federal prison population, more than the previous twelve years of Republican rule combined, he introduced NAFTA and the World Trade Organization and therefore the decline of US manufacturing, he repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which led directly to the 2008 economic collapse, he carried out various war crimes such as sending a couple cruise missiles to what intelligence knew was a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, killing several tens of thousands of civilians, he acted beyond UN resolution, calling it “obsolete and anachronistic”, thus rejecting all international law, he bombed Somalia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Haiti, Yemen, Liberia, Zaire. Then he was impeached for lying about a blowjob. George H.W. Bush aided the Guatemalan military’s genocide of its Mayan populations, he invaded Panama partly in order to kidnap Manuel Antonio Noriega and charge him with warcrimes (most of which Noriega committed on the CIA payroll), he invaded Iraq, including Iraq’s infrastructure, which qualifies as criminal under the laws of war, he vetoed all Congressional attempts to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine—the FCC policy that required all tv and radio broadcast to devote some time to controversial issues of public importance as well as opposing views on those issues—he appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and he added more than a trillion dollars to the national debt. George W. Bush choked on a pretzel, among other fuck-ups. Prescott Bush, the late Senator and grandfather of George W, financially supported Hitler’s rise to power, his company’s assets eventually seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

The point of all this is that when power becomes hereditary is when tyrants rise and nations fall. Monarchy, at its disgusting putrid heart, is a primitive and banal mechanism of rulership. It’s what the United States fought to free itself from during the American Revolution. One such dissident of hereditary monarchy—perhaps America’s only true revolutionary figure—Thomas Paine, describes the monarchical system as “a system of mental levelling. It indiscriminately admits every species of character to the same authority. Vice and virtue, ignorance and wisdom, in short, every quality, good, or bad, is put on the same level. Kings succeed each other, not as rationals, but as animals.” There is no weight to the moral and rational character of a woman or man who is escorted to the podium of authority because of his or her’s hereditary past. Runny-nosed children can become kings over the strong brooding judgement of some women or men. The idiots can and do rule. Without the rational and moral judgement of one’s character, the sycophantic cornfed fuckery of a population rules armies, conducts trade, fights terrorism. Paine continues on this: “Can we then be surprised at the abject state of the human mind in monarchical countries, when the government itself is formed on such an abject levelling system?” Erecting a man to power simply by means of hereditary succession is evident of the death of the imagination. It’s a primordial boorish symptom of the current condition of the human mind. Paine’s writing itself is signatory of where we are today: Common Sense sold as many as 500,000 copies in its first year, with a mere 2.4 million person population in the colonies at the time, many of whom were illiterate. An unprecedented bestseller. Paine consciously wrote with a base simplicity in order to attract the largest audience, and was accused of writing a vulgar form of language at the time, and yet his prose and eloquence is unmatched today. Today, we have wet rat-like figures such as Russell Brand, soaking the articulation of argument with his greasy hands. In his book, somehow titled Revolution, he articulates, “I mean in England we have a Queen for fuck’s sake. A Queen! … Like she’s all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain.” Brand, according to some carious despondent masses, is the voice of a generation, whose revolutionary approach to politics were first popularized by telling everyone not to vote. He is all spectacle, a feverish spasmed charisma of the pseudo-world of love and passivity and cool bracelets. Brand is, as Guy Debord calls it, “the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity.” He is the bright unnuanced personality that decorates our modern passivity with the pseudo-passionate. “The spectacle is the guardian of sleep,” Debord continues. It makes us excited to not do anything, for kids to badmouth the government as they sip IPA’s and wear fedoras. It is as much the fault of the spectacle as it is of the tyrannical that we admit powerlessness.

Before Paine, “democratic,” or “democratical,” as it was termed at the time, was always used as an insult, a reference to ochlocracy or mob rule, or mobile vulgus, which as everyone knows is Latin for “fickle crowd.” Paine instilled democratic independence as the only reasonable incontestable approach to freedom, to the specific and unadulterated innate freedom in all humans. Freedom is the landmark goal of democracy and its deathless fight against tyranny. Paine denied ever reading John Locke, but along with Thomas Jefferson, he almost certainly did. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke names our natural rights as the right to life, liberty, and property.” Jefferson, with Paine at his side, inverted this to name “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as the innate necessities in all humans. Anything in opposition to this is the heaving vulgar tit of death. Monarchy is the tit of death. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are each a separate tit of death. Citizen’s United is the tit of death. The Koch Brothers are the tit of death, as are Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, who are traveling to Southern California in early August to beg 450 of the wealthiest conservatives for campaign money. The Keystone XL Pipeline is the tit of death. Hydraulic fracking, the TPP, Shell, ExxonMobile, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, JP Morgan, Tila Tequila, the war on drugs, privatized prisons, chihuahuas, the Church, Trump, plastic fruit, fake flowers, the militarization of the police, they are all bloated varicosed tits of death, throbbing at the edge of humanity. They hate freedom. More than anything else on the last remaining bits of green earth, the present oligarchy hates freedom. Because with freedom is power. Immanuel Kant writes that power is “the absolute spontaneity of freedom.” Because true freedom is unpredictable and dangerous  .  .  .  it is the song of the beautiful masses that makes kings tremble. Freedom is a beautiful woman I’ve seen, even touched in passing, but never been able to hold forever. It is the marvelous sky of humanity, a great body convulsing in orgasm on the shore. It is what all men want, but, by its own nature, will never have.

Paine knew the absolutism of freedom, and urged to include the abolition of slavery into the Constitution, to redeem us from our original sin, but was denied. Because slavery was essential to the order of the new Republic, as it of course still is. George Washington became one of the wealthiest men in America by speculating on Indian lands, by seizing enormous swaths of native land and then selling them. Today, student debt is critical to keeping the educated masses passive. By the time of Paine’s writing Rights of Man, in which he attacks organized religion and its absurdity of the facade of authority, he was consequently vilified by his countrymen in the first major media hunt of a public figure  .  .  .  he was called an atheist (he was a deist), he was called an enemy of the new Republic, a malodorous individual always soaked in gin. He died penniless in New York City, with six people attending his funeral—three of whom were black. The true revolutionary figure, by its very definition, cannot be popular. But he can be right.  In his Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges writes, “I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.”

Here we are. The beautiful bodies of women imprisoned for being too beautiful. The last jazz musician imprisoned for his music. The sky for its colors. Until all that’s left is a few old kings, masturbating under the flickering neon light, still smiling, still stuttering their speeches under their breath, rocking back and forth. “I think we aaaaaare,” an old vaguely familiar woman whispers to herself, staring at a rat scurry by. She snorts to herself. “Jesus,” she murmurs softly, “Jesus Christ. Do any of you have a match?”

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The Swan

Of whoever has lost that which is never found
Again! Never! Of those who deeply drink of tears
And suckle Pain as they would suck the good she-wolf!
Of the puny orphans withering like flowers!

Charles Baudelaire

105704

Elisa opened her eyes to an overweight cleaning lady standing over her, nudging her, saying “Excuse me miss, very late now.” Elisa jolted immediately, as all people do when woken by a stranger, and then seeing that the middle-aged Guatemalan lady was of no obvious threat, Elisa leaned back with relief and glanced around the hotel room, still unsure of it all. The sixty-inch flatscreen was still on, an infomercial with a man screaming about a vacuum cleaner with ten free attachments. The windows were open, and the tops of perfectly manicured palm trees could be seen blowing gently just outside the window. A seagull flew by without flapping its wings, and the long white window curtains blew inward, in their stiff polyester sort of way. Elisa felt a pain in both feet, looked down and saw she was still wearing Louboutins, and then she grimaced, as if to confirm to herself that her feet actually did hurt, having worn them since the shoot the day before. It was a different pain than in her ballet years, when the pain was a distinct effort of height and poise, when it brought a modish pleasure to ache with one’s own athleticism. The overweight cleaning lady bent over to plug in the vacuum cleaner. Elisa grabbed her purse and sunglasses, thanked Juanita, and hurried out the door.

The throbbing dreamless heat of Los Angeles has not let up for over a month, and the drought is worse. In the hills, bobcats panted during the day, and they are not supposed to pant. Flowers died, or just never grew in the first place. Couples generally had less sex in the summer, not on purpose, but because people don’t like the sweating agglutinative automation of their humping, and so it just works out that way. But the singles slept around even more, almost in a confused frenzy, like trying to get one last fuck out before the end  .  .  .  strangers’ pudenda sticking together when they fell asleep, their dreams plodding along like ephemeral dehydrated farts, trying to pass the restless scenery of dreams.

Songbirds wished they could groan, but in the mornings they open their tired eyes and know they must sing. Heat does not come to a place to be enjoyed  .  .  .  it comes to repulse, to make everyone sweat, it’s a mode of lethargy, a starless drunkenness that hangs from all your body parts. People have different ways of dealing with the heat in Los Angeles: many stay indoors drinking blended margaritas, watching new episodes of The Price is Right on mute as a rotating fan no longer rotates but points directly at a man or woman’s bare chest; others stalk the cafes where there is air-conditioning and other people to sit next to, thus evoking a sense of commonality through association (most people don’t actually talk to the others sitting around them, but they would not typically sit comfortably alone in a largely vacant café either  .  .  .  it’s a declared but unspoken trade: sitting near to one another gives each other an attestation of one’s life, but to speak out of context would be uncouth); others snort cocaine in bathrooms and sweat and talk about future business ventures for hours; others watch Netflix as they munch on summer-themed cookies and milk and wait for the sun to go down, when they can finally come out, like hyenas of rage tempted at the fall of dusk. Elisa was different  .  .  .  she thrived in the heat. She grew up on a ranch in New South Wales, Australia, herding cattle from a young age, One summer when she was thirteen, she castrated several bulls, and could ride a horse better than any of the boys in town, and though her hands were firm and confident they were still slim and gentle. Tough work does not certainly turn one’s hands tough  .  .  .  there are those who cannot callus-over elegance, who cannot make one’s tendencies hard. By fourteen, she moved to New York to dance at Juilliard, and by seventeen she was discovered by a young fashion company in Venice Beach, California, while on a family vacation, while she was playing basketball on the outdoor courts near Muscle Beach, her long red hair tossed in the bright jovial rage of competition; and her fame as one of the prominent models in the world has risen ever since for the last one-and-a-half decades. Women from all over the world sought to have her figure  .  .  .  they drank coconut water and did yoga and rubbed themselves in facial creams, even though Elisa herself did not do any of these things, because men and women alike draw out huge proportions of their leaders  .  .  .  a large-breasted Dziwozona alluring in the fog, Anna Karina smoking cigarettes in Technicolor, Hillary Clinton wide-eyed and cackling about a newborn  .  .  .   it is the brittle tautological nature of the idol that makes it so. The rose-cheeked inamorata convulsing in heat, then lunging at a star. The very static nature of a picture of a man or woman in a magazine is the ontological pseudo-world that we lust and crave. Because the whole physical thing, beyond the representation, beyond the quixotic undergarments and the saturated dawn, is too much. The entirety of a human is too much to remain sane and sober.

Elisa canceled her Uber, and waved down a taxi. “Apollo Studios,” she said to the driver, “It’s down on Main. I’ll tip you well if you can make it quick.” And the driver hit the gas faster than she was expecting. She fell back into her seat, pulled out her phone and texted the photographer: “Traffic is terrible. I’ll be there in 10. Frustrated face emoji.” She looked up and saw one of her billboards: a black and white advertisement for a perfume  .  .  .  in it, she’s shifted most of her weight onto one leg, is wearing only panties and a faded white spaghetti strap, and her thumb hangs candidly from her panties, and with her other hand she lightly bites her index finger, touching the tip with her tongue, staring at the camera, and therefore at everyone who looks at the advertisement, as if to say, “What might be under these panties of mine  .  .  .  and, I thought this finger was food.” The spectacle of the desired is a positively active phenomena, an intenerate dynamism that is held in place for eternity. The picture of Elisa is not a picture, not a pixelated representation to be jaded by in the thrusts of stardom—the picture, or simulacrum, is the active being frozen for eternity. Like a single point on a multidimensional plane. The Knossosian remains are carried in the dust. The Beatles play in outer space. And man trembles to a photograph of a woman in her panties.

She looked to the cars and people shoving amongst each other on the streets of Los Angeles. A lady in pink spandex rode by on one of those bicycles you stand up on and ride like it was an elliptical. Her ass retracted and bulged with each motion, like a physiognomic pulse of weight, you could tell everything from its countenance, enough ass for King Zhou of Shang, a neon envy, a celebrated lodestar in the fog. A girl was sitting on her father’s shoulders, holding an ice-cream cone, staring with her mouth open at the lady ride by, the strawberry swirl melting all over her miniature fingers, the first drips plummeting onto her dad’s balding head. Tourists from Minnesota and Idaho and Japan, wearing large sunglasses, extending their smartphones onto selfie-sticks, posting their photos on the internet with #relaxingwithmygirls and #winning, brief forays from the beige tedium of regular life. Couples drank cocktails under yellow umbrellas, laughing, and smoking long cigarettes. They do this over and over, for months, years, making the nihility of idleness—of life itself—intoxicated just enough to make it bearable.

Elisa made it to the studio almost an hour late. “I’m so sorry,” she said, taking off her sunglasses, “Strange morning.” During the photo shoot, Guy (pronounced the French way of course) asks Elisa to stare into the camera, asks her to, as he puts it, “look sexy.” She shifts her weight, points her chin up in order to pull her jaw line back, and smiles flirtatiously. The camera shutter clicks rapidly. “Yeah. Oh. Yesss. More of that,” Guy says behind the camera. “Oh. Oh yeah. Uh-huh.” She turns around, sticking her ass out a little more than seemed natural, and looks back to Guy, her hair tossed from the large fan blowing in her direction, blowing her up and down. Her smiles straightens into a face of mysterious sophistication. Guy loves this: “Oh baby, you’re so good,” as he clicks away. André Breton ended his book with “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or it will not be at all.”

It was almost a year later. Elisa tied her bootstraps and pushed open the barn door, and could begin to make out the darker silhouettes of fences and trees against the dim horizon, like a little flame was barely lit behind all that sky. Her fingers were cold, and every movement she made she could feel her joints rub in the stiff winter morning, and her own body heat had not rubbed against the inside of the jacket long enough yet to make it warm. She walked past the stall where two-hundred chicks huddled together under a heat lamp, a couple more of them dead, because, as Jim says, the cold pushes out the weak. Jim has farmed and ranched this same land all his life, but his back is old now, and he cannot do the amount of work he did just a couple years prior, and so Elisa has taken over much of the work, and they have dinner together a few nights during the week. Fyodor, the Queensland Heeler, the most compassionate of all the dogs Jim has had on the farm, came trotting up beside Elisa, as he does every morning. His light fur contrasted against the dark air, his tag lightly jingled against his collar, so Elisa always knew it was old Fyodor coming up behind her. He accompanied Elisa through her morning routine, and seated himself politely as she fed the goats and the turkeys and the chickens. The two of them walked to the next pasture in a gorgeous silence together, side by side, the sky still perfectly at rest, and she looked up as she often did and felt satisfied by seeing all the stars again. She could see her breath now, and made a point of exhaling deeply in order to see how much of her breath she could see at once. The many piglets heard their footsteps and came running up to her, snorting in unison, lining up against the other side of the electric fence, one of them getting shocked on its nose, and squealing sharply. Elisa stepped over the wire and set out several large plastic pans in the grass, the little pigs rubbing their wet noses against her legs, drawing a mess of glistening snail-trails on her rubber boots. She poured them their food, and they all fought over each other, as they always have, since they fought for a drop from a nipple, stepping on each other and shoving each other for more room. From the beginning, all animals, including man, must shove away the others and grab hold of the huge leaking tit, and never let go. If he does not follow this rule, the others will, and he will die alone in the cold.

The sun was just now coming over the furthest ridge, the bright love-maddened ribbons shooting across the sky, bringing with it the slightest edge of warmth to Elisa’s face and fingers  .  .  .  the grasses hanging heavily with frozen dew, like limpid coruscating lanterns, the grasshoppers hushing off their frigid bulk. The lethargy of the world was waking up again  .  .  .  no amount of nihilism can stop the grasshoppers from rubbing their legs. “Good Morning Ferdinand!” Elisa said cheerily to the dark sinewed thoroughbred as she entered the stable. Ferdinand looked up and nodded with a gentle excitement. He liked the sound of her voice, and she liked talking to him, and she sometimes thought it looked like Ferdinand knew what she was talking about. “Have you been waiting for me? Look at you.” And he cocked his head and blew air from out of his nostrils playfully. She brushed him down until his hair was smooth and glistened under the lights hissing overhead, and he stood there patiently, his big dark wet eyes watching her. She scraped under his shoes, put on his blanket and then his saddle, and tightened the belt under his belly, his long veins permanently bulging. She hoisted herself onto the saddle, and didn’t say anything because she didn’t need to say anything, and they walked out of the barn and into the pneumatic plain. The flirtish Australian desert gnawing with a million tiny antagonists, long shadows of the dawn stretched beyond the edge of the grasses  .  .  .  the gentle madness stirring from its slumber. They walked beyond the ranch land, where the birds were singing and beginning their flights out from the tall grasses, and they walked up the mountain along the narrow trail. A snake crossed the trail directly in front of them, but neither Elisa nor the horse were afraid. Ferdinand simply held back, watched the snake slither by in the sand, her large pixelated diamonds across her back, her cool loneliness breathing again, as she disappeared into the sagebrush.

The line of sun was a little further up the mountain. They were still in the shadow, but would be there soon. Elisa looked back, and the barn looked so small, and the cows and pastures like little toys, and she smiled.

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