THE ABSURD TIMES
A Florida Cartoon on Ron
Illustration: We Just Get Tired
Blame it on Woke
By the time I finish my introduction here, there begins a longish text by Adorno, a formidable member of the so-called Frankfort School, or the practice of Critical Theory. More about it later, but it will be issued in parts in subsequent postings without comment.
Right now, we need to start off with the stupid overuse of the word “woke,” an indispensable part of any aspiring leader of the MAGA Mob. I honestly have not heard the term used by anyone else with any seriousness, nor does it deserve any. These days, anything that approaches something that these rabble-rousers dislike (and they spend a great deal of money making sure of what it is that the rabble dislikes) becomes “woke” and they plan to destroy it. However, we can review some history of similar events and realize that “woke” has always been with us – it simply has not been identified as such.
Even Social Security was deemed “woke” until the State of the Union. The process had rece3ived some attention and the backlash amongst the rabble was so intense that these cringing Magats all of a sudden cringed at any thought that they ever even considered axing Social Security. They could have remembered an old “Tea Party” movement, a precursor to the ‘Birthers’ and now the Magats, was militant about Social Security. At one time, a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania (yes, he of the magic bullet ruse) was attacked during a town hall with cries of “keep your government hands off my Social Security”. This leaves little to say.
Previously, Socil Security had been called ‘socialism’ as FDR constructed several changes under his “new deal”. Ronald Ray Gun was acting the role of President as corporate Amerika cast him as their attacker in chief. We lack the word ‘woke’ at the time, so we had only “socialism” to attack and were a bit handicapped by that as some people actually knew what it was. “Woke” had no such problems. After all, our system had so badly allowed greed to blossom so wildly causing it to crash so totally, here and around the world, that FDR could do anything he wanted to save it. If he was a Socialist, he could have nationalized all the banks, things would probably still be better today, but he did not. When he ran, he gave his reason: “I need to save my friends from themselves.” In other words, we need some rules.
So what happened at the state of the Union? Well, such events were usually quite sedate affairs. One moronic scum shouted “you lie” at Obama and that was about all that ever happened. But this last time, Joe Biden (hardly a flaming liberal) was able to lash out at the Maga plans against Social Security and the entire place was in an uproar with denials! Elected Maga types screamed and shouted denials, attacking Biden’s status as a human beling! That marked the end of a string of attempts to undo another bit of progress made by FDR back in the 1930s. Social Security lost its role as woke.
The previous time Social Security was being attacked was by the Bush/Cheney mob and a scheme to put all the money from the Social Security fund into the stock market. At that time, after the repeal of another FDR program, the Stock market crashed and the scheme was abandoned. The Dodd/Frank bill was passed and that kept things safe until Trump and the repeal of Dodd/Frank (and Frank, now with a salary of 2 or 3 million a year, was very much behind the repeal) by a well-bribed Congress and a batty Trump. Just recently, a couple more large banks collapsed as a result, and perhaps some new regulations will be put into place. At the very least, the stupidity and greed of big money has screwed things up so foolishly that the public has forgotten the drilling in the new lands and other broken promises of the Biden administration. Or, to make things more comprehensible to the MAGA minions, Dodd/Frank was not involved – all that happened was that a few “Woke” banks failed.
These woke people have to learn what’s right. Ron De Fascist and Dopey Donald seem to make lovely alternatives. Ron’s crusade against Walt Disney and Donald’s claims of “witch-hunt” and aspirations to be the “retribution” for the scum simply need to do some more work. One of the great misfortunes of the civil war is that anyone with any capacity for abstract thought moved north and the south was left basically with the white trash. Nixon recognized this as it was a key part of his “southern strategy”. He also predicted that Donald would someday become an effective politician. (Yes, there are still some sane and thoughtful people in the south and they at least benefit politically from the population increase of former slaves as they will usually be more liberal than the white trash. This is also a good time to point to a bit of wisdom often quoted and originating with the Texan Lyndon Johnson, who other then his unjustifiable war, was fairly insightful: “If you tell a poor, stupid, low white man that he is better than the richest and most educated black person, he will let you pick his pocket.” That was a strategy he often employed. Finally, to sum up the Trump business we can only ask ‘How can there be a witch hunt when we know who the witch is?’ Why hunt when he identified himself? It all smacks of Woke to me.
Now, what has all of this got to do with “woke”? Actually, it is working up to a more important question: What has Florida got to do with CRT? What is this CRT? Well, it is kind of like “woke”. All they really know is that it points out racist behavior and the rest they make up. They haven’t the slightest idea of what it is – all they need to know is that somehow it points out that white people have not always been very nice to black people. Well, they haven’t! Who can argue with that? Well, every bit of white trash who thinks that somehow all the black people are going to take things away from white people and they, the white people, are better than the black people. Are you befuddled enough? Well, don’t be. Put directly, CRT is just one more example of being woke, just like Disney.
Florida, according to its governor, is “where ‘woke’ goes to die”.
Well, now, here is a bit of real Critical Theory, prefaced by a few serious remarks. The excerpt will be continued in another posting in a few days or so, without much commentary:
This is the second book of Adordo's aphorisms, an example of Critical Theory written in honor of Max Horkheimer, leader of Critical Theory.
An aphorism is not, as commonly believed, a single sentence wittily phrased, laced with paradox or anger. It is rather a condensed discussion of a single subject under a single heading, lasting as long a several paragraphs and often as short as the single, biting, sentence. There is no explanation for the confusion of the two concepts, but it is best to make it clear from the onset.
Adorno is patently wrong and in error on every single subject he discusses, misunderstanding every author or subject in turn and, in general, confounding ideas and concepts in a simple-minded way. Eventually, during the course of the discussion as he explains why he made the interpretation he did, he eventually reveals a clear, incisive and correct opinion on every single subject and there is not a single point on which one can contradict him.
Now, the paragraph above seems to be pure nonsense, but it is my own parody on how Adorno actually works. Early on in the discussion one is tempted to disagree with him, but as he progresses to explain his views he seems irrefutable and, curiously enough, in accordance with one's own view of the subject, if one actually had one in the first place. It is a strange experience at first, but eventually becomes more comfortable as one's respect for his acumen and honesty is established. One would expect that since the reader had already read the previous posting of book one of this series there was no need for further introduction, but subsequent questions and observations prompted this introduction.
For example, Adorno presents an analysis of WWII that few would today be allowed to present, yet he does it skillfully and accurately, although leaving out a few items that will be supplied here. His concern is not with Hitler's, the leader's (Fuürer in German] cruelty, but with his stupidity that is a hallmark of fascism, the linkage of commercialism with warfare that inevitably leads to al lack of creativity. One example he gives is Hitler's decision not to attack England at the time, an attack that would have been successful and led to Germany's victory (supposing it stopped there), but rather to move eastward, violating his treaty with Stalin. Adorno could not have known this at the time, but Hitler often cursed Neville Chamberlain for having "ticked him" and never forgave himself for this blunder. Additionally, he was furious with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor as the last think he wanted was America's entry into the was, although Roosevelt devoutly hoped for this and perhaps precipitated it. All of this was controversial at the time, but today it is very dangerous to even suggest such a thing and popular wisdom has so deeply ingrained the opposite view.
However, if all of this is uncomfortable today, his remarks starting about midway in this essay, in the 70s in number below, are more easily digested by today's mind, although the commercial interests would be very upset indeed with these insights. He talks about the decline of the Union at a time when it was very powerful and correctly predicts its decline. He talks of the artificial nature of quality in mass-production. For example, the Cadillac at that time was considered the epitome of automotive quality, but he points out that in almost every instance the design of the Cadillac is the same as the Chevrolet. Only materials and production of a much cheaper nature are substituted to produce a wider-selling car. Then he moves to his more valuable critique of cognition itself, or modern science, that systematically devalues everything that gives human meaning to life and, more to the point, the very scientists themselves. Today, it is only the "popularizer" of Science that gives it any meaning.
He comments on a great many other issues, and this brief introduction to book two should be considered as one person's observations thereon:
Minima Moralia by Theodor Adorno
Where everything is bad
it must be good
to know the worst.
– F.H. Bradley
Behind the mirror. First word of caution for authors: check every text, every fragment, and every line to see if the central motif presents itself clearly enough. Whoever wants to express something, is so carried away that they are driven along, without reflecting on such. One is too close to the intention, "in thought," and forgets to say, what one wants to say.
No improvement is too small or piddling to be carried out. Out of a hundred changes, a single one may appear trifling and pedantic; together they can raise the text to a new level.
One should never stint on deletions. Length doesn't matter and the fear that there isn't enough there is childish. One shouldn't consider anything worth preserving, just because it's written down. If several sentences seem to vary the same thought, this usually indicates several variations of something the author has not yet mastered. In that case one should select the best formulation and work on it further. The toolkit [Technik] of an author should include the capacity to renounce productive thoughts, so long as the construction demands it. The wealth and energy of these latter ultimately come to benefit suppressed thoughts. Rather like the banquet-table, where one shouldn't eat every last crumb or drink to the dregs. Otherwise one might be accused of stinginess.
Whoever wants to avoid cliches, should not restrict themselves to words, lest one falls victim to vulgar coquetry. The great French prose of the 19th century was especially sensitive to this. Individual words are seldom banal: in music, too, the single tone never wears out. The worst cliches of them all are on the contrary word-grams [Wortverbindungen] of the sort which Karl Kraus skewered: totally and completely, for better or for worse, planned and implemented. For in them gurgles, as it were, the sluggish flow of stale language, precisely where the author should construct, through precision of expression, those resistances which are required wherever language emerges. This applies not just to word-grams but also to the construction of entire forms. If a dialectician always marked the dialectical recoil [Umschlag] of a thought which advances beyond itself by putting a "however" [aber: however, but] in front of the caesura, then the literary schemata would punish the unschematic intent of what is being discussed with untruth.
The jungle is no sacred grove. It is obligatory to resolve difficulties which derive solely from the comfort and ease of self-understanding. The distinction between the desire to write with a density appropriate to the depth of the object, and the temptation for the abstruse and pretentious sloppiness, is not automatic: a mistrustful insistence is always healthy. Precisely those who wish to make no concession to the stupidity of common sense must guard themselves against stylistically draping together thoughts which are themselves to be convicted of banality. Locke's platitudes do not justify Hamann's cryptology.
If one has even the slightest qualms about a completed work, regardless of its length, then one should take such with inordinate seriousness, out of all proportion to the level of relevance which it might register. The affective investment [Besetzung] in a text and vanity tend to minimize such misgivings. What is passed over with the tiniest doubt, may well indicate the objective worthlessness of the whole.
The Echternacher spring procession [German folk parade, where marchers move three steps forward and two back] is not the course of the World-Spirit [Weltgeist]; restriction and revocation are not the means of narration [Darstellungsmittel] for dialectics. On the contrary this latter moves by extremes and, instead of qualifying such, drives the thought through uttermost consequence to its dialectical recoil [Umschlag]. The prudence with which one forbids oneself to venture too far with a sentence, is mostly only an agent of social control and thus of dumbing down.
Skepticism against the oft-cited objection, that a text, a formulation would be "too beautiful." The reverence for the matter [Sache: thing, philosophic matter], or even for suffering, can easily rationalize the resentment against those who find, in the reified shape of language, the traces of something unbearable, which befalls human beings: debasement. The dream of an existence [Dasein: existence, being] without shame, to which the passion for language clings, even though the latter is forbidden to depict the former as content, is to be maliciously strangled. The author should make no distinction between beautiful and factual [sachlichem: factual, objective, realistic] expression. One should neither entrust this distinction to concerned critics, nor tolerate it in oneself. If one succeeds in completely saying what one means, then it is beautiful. The beauty of expression for its own sake is by no means "too beautiful," but ornamental, artsy, ugly. Yet whoever leaves off from the purity of the expression, under the pretext of unswervingly stating the facts, thereby betrays the matter [Sache] too.
Properly worked texts are like spider webs: hermetic, concentric, transparent, well-joined and fastened. They draw everything into themselves, whatever crawls and flies. Metaphors, which fleetingly dart through them, become their nourishing prey. Materials come flying to them. The binding stringency [Stichhaltigkeit] of a conception is to be judged by whether its citations evoke other citations. Wherever the thought opens up a cell of reality, it must push into the next chamber, without an act of violence by the subject. It vouchsafes its relationship to the object, as soon as other objects crystallize around it. In the light that it sheds on its determinate object, others begin to gleam.
Authors settle into their texts like home-dwellers. Just as one creates disorder by lugging papers, books, pencils and documents from one room to another, so too does one comport oneself with thoughts. They become pieces of furniture, on which one sits down, feeling at ease or annoyed. One strokes them tenderly, scuffs them up, jumbles them up, moves them around, trashes them. To those who no longer have a homeland, writing becomes home. And therein one unavoidably generates, just like the family, all manner of household litter and junk. But one no longer has a shed, and it is not at all easy to separate oneself from cast-offs. So one pushes them to and fro, and in the end runs the risk of filling up the page with them. The necessity to harden oneself against pity for oneself includes the technical necessity, to counter the diminution of intellectual tension with the most extreme watchfulness, and to eliminate anything which forms on the work like a crust or runs on mechanically, which perhaps at an earlier stage produced, like gossip, the warm atmosphere which enabled it to grow, but which now remains fusty and stale. In the end, authors are not even allowed to be home in their writing.
Where the stork brings children from. – Every human being has an archetype out of a fairy-tale, one need only look long enough. Over there a beauty asks the mirror, if she is the fairest of them all, like the Queen in Snow White. She who bristles and is nitpicky to death, was modeled after the goat described in the verse, "I'm so stuffed / can't eat any more, meeeh, meeeh." A man who is sorrowful and yet unbowed resembles the crinkled little old lady gathering wood, who meets the Good Lord without recognizing Him, and is blessed with bounty, because she helped Him. Another went out into the world as a fine young fellow to make his fortune, dispatched a number of giants, but had to die nonetheless in New York. One walks through the wilderness of the city like Little Red Riding Hood and brings the grandmother a slice of cake and a bottle of wine, yet another undresses during love-making as shamelessly childlike as the girl with the coins like silver stars. The clever one becomes aware of his strong animal soul, does not wish to perish along with his friends, forms a group of Bremen city musicians, leads them into the robbers' den, outwits the crooks there, but wants to go back home. The frog prince, an incorrigible snob, stares at the princess with eyes of longing and cannot stop hoping that she will rescue him.
Tomfoolery. – The linguistic habitus of Schiller is reminiscent of youths who come from the bottom and, embarrassed, begin to shout in high society, in order to make themselves heard: power [in English in original] and insolence. The German tirade and sententiousness is modeled on the French version, but practiced at the bar table. In their infinite and implacable demands, the petit bourgeois hams it up, identifying with the power they do not have, outbidding it through arrogance all the way to absolute Spirit [Geist] and absolute horror. Between the universal-human grandiosity and sublimity – which all idealists have in common, and which continually wishes to inhumanly trample on what is small as mere existence – and the crude love of ostentation of bourgeois men of violence, exists the most intimate understanding. Spiritual giants are wont to laugh in a booming voice, to explode, to utterly demolish. When they say creation, then they mean the cramped will, with which they puff themselves up and hush questions: from the primacy of practical reason, it was always only a step to the hatred of theory. Such a dynamic dwells within all idealistic thought-movements: even Hegel's immeasurable effort, to heal it by itself, became its victim. To wish to derive the world in words out of a principle, is the mode of conduct of those who would like to usurp power, instead of resisting such. Fittingly, Schiller dealt mostly with usurpers. In the classicistic explanation of sovereignty over nature, what is vulgar and lesser is mirrored via assiduous negation. Close behind the ideal stands life. The rose-scents of Elysium, far too voluble to be vouchsafed the experience of a single rose, smells like the tobacco in the functionaries' office, and the lyrical backdrop of the moon was modeled on the oil-light, in whose guttering light students slog for their exams. Weakness posing as strength has betrayed the thought of the presumably rising bourgeoisie to ideology, even in the days it fulminated against tyranny. In the innermost recess of humanism, as its selfsame soul, surreptitiously rages the brute who as a Fascist turns the world into a prison.