Homelessness is the new dog.

Here’s something that is unfortunately not all that uncommon of late:

 

A homeless man sleeping on the beach in Ventura was doused with lighter fluid and set
on fire this weekend, then saved by a passerby who noticed the flames, police said.
The attack left John Frazier, 58, hospitalized with second­ and third­degree burns to his face and
upper torso, Ventura police Cmdr. Tom Higgins told the Los Angeles Times.
About 11 p.m. Saturday, police received a call from a man saying he’d just used sand to extinguish
the fire, Higgins said.
The man, whose identity was not disclosed, told police he found Frazier near the terminus of
Seaward Avenue and that the man’s entire upper torso was on fire, Higgins said.
The flames were 5 to 6 feet high, the man told police.
When the attack began, Frazier was asleep in a sleeping bag with his backpack beside him, police
determined.
Frazier told police he had awoken to see three people pouring the lighter fluid on him and his
belongings and setting the fire, Higgins said.

 

I notice a tendency on the part of many commenters to translate such acts as incidents of “anti-homelessness,” or to paint the actions as being a statement against homelessness and those who become such.

The thing is, these cases of random violent assaults against homeless people has nothing to do with homelessness, per se.

There is no grand movement afoot which seeks to rid our streets of homeless people.  These attacks are simply cases of sociopathic opportunism.  Homeless people, like animals, represent an easy, mute target for the fledgling sadist.  Unlike animals, homeless people sadly offer on inescapable advantage that a beaten dog doesn’t:  they are human.  For the sadistic sociopath, this is a progression, an inviting advancement in their evolution toward cold-blooded murder.

In a society where animals enjoy more sentimental value than humans, the homeless are the new beaten dog.

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Deconstructing the archetypes of People, Events and Ideas.

Oh Eleanor, if you could see the depths to which our culture of gossip has sunk, you’d surely be rolling around in that dusty old grave of yours.

I frequently ruminate over your famous quote (and why have our First Ladies been so drab and dull-witted in recent generations?)… I find your wisdom reassuring, maybe comforting, when I hear people yammering and yammering on about, in a word, shit.  I’ve never enjoyed small talk.  In fact, I rather despise it (as anyone who has read anything I write here can deduce).  Small talk is mental filler regurgitated in order to pacify the empty spaces engulfing the dull mind.

Reading about yet more celebrity gossip in the news, I thought of your quote again.

For you see, small talk has its large, collective corollary across society: celebrity gossip.

As in this garbage.

This piece straddles the line of quasi-legitimate reporting of a non-lascivious matter while simultaneous hinting, not so obliquely, at a gossipy angle one can see if peered at from the gutter.  Still, the impression is one of whispering gesticulations made behind the hastily shut door, of cavernous opinions weighing heavily about people and their private affairs while edging into the territory of their castigated public personas.  It’s all drivel.

It is small-minded.  As you might have pegged it.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

I began to think about this quote, one which has been commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, though not without contrary citations.  In any case, I will refer to it as Eleanor Roosevelt’s for the duration of this post.

What are these Ideas, Events and People, and how do they unfurl across the collective conversation of this society?  Of course these three dialectic archetypes are not confined to their labels solely, but include many other scattered offshoots of dialogue and human activities that nevertheless can be housed in one of these three categories.

For instance, “small minds discuss people.”

Celebrity gossip is the primary offender of this type of tabloid discussion. Nothing meets the criteria of discussing People more than gossip.  Gossip is diabolical and laced with judgmental opinions and condescending aspersions. It accomplishes little other than allowing the speaker, and his listeners, to feel superior in an infantile, immature manner that involves adeptly savaging the reputation of others. This is gossip, but there are many other forms of conversation which fit in category of People even though are not necessarily gossip. They meet the People requirements because they are artificial creations of human civilization which only serve to entertain and distract, never to enlighten or increase the intellectual vibrancy of humanity. In this category, I would put:

  • Entertainment
  • Gaming
  • Cooking/food
  • Automobiles
  • Tech subjects (including computers, phones, drones, etc)
  • Fitness
  • Dating/mating
  • Sports

These are one-dimensional conversation maps, which ironically, though concerning the rudimentary elements of life, also serve to distract from the harshness and grandeur of life.  We all partake in some of these discussions to varying degrees.  In this respect, Eleanor’s quote is fluid and we all engage each of the 3 archetypes  at certain points in our periodic existence.   It’s the degree to which, and frequency with which, we engage in such dialog that determines our overall level of Great, Average or Small.

“Average minds discuss events.”  And since most of us are average, in fact, the very definition of average is that which recurs most frequently across a data set, ie, humanity in this case, these are the items most of us chat about.  Ironically, they are not the most lucrative, popular, or scintillating topics.  That dubious honor would fall in the simple-minded category.  ”Events” is a very broad, ambiguous term, but in Eleanor’s context, I believe it includes those complex constructs of human civilization that, while not necessarily requiring great intellectual ardor, involve a degree of higher reasoning and logic structure than talking about, say, who is fooling around with who or who is sexing who behind who’s back.  Events are the minutiae of society that are peculiarly human in their layered level of perception and interpretation which a minimal level of intelligence is required to participate.  Without resorting to the typical HBD fixation with IQ (I’m not a great fan of IQ as a tool of anything resembling precision), simple-minded subjects only require the lowest level of acuity and reasoning.  To discuss People requires the most banal level of intelligence, whereas discussing Events requires an intelligence represented by the highest pinnacle of the Bell Curve’s popularity peak.  The concepts involved in discussions of Events require a general level of intelligence that we share with most of our fellow humans.  Nothing more, nothing less.  In the Events archetype, I would place:

  • Politics (the practice thereof…)
  • Economics (the practice thereof…)
  • Culture (from the broad, macro, sociological perspective)
  • Current Events
  • Critical review of the arts
  • Statistical/sabermetric/sociological examination of Sports
  • The Internet (insofar as it is used to examine/discuss/interpret other Events elements)
  • Pop science

Which bring us to the great minds and the Ideas category of abstract dialog.  Ideas encompasses that range of subjects and intellectual exercise delving into the abstract acrobatic cognitive maneuvering of timeless concepts that derive power from a nebulous force of life that man does not imbue with his ego.  The Ideas of the great mind might be best treated as a remote form of wisdom such as a priori knowledge.  That vague, inhuman dissemination of unattributed knowledge that stirs despite the intrusive and supercilious posturing of man.  The great mind attempts to dissemble such knowledge that abides quite happily without his meddlesome intrusions.  One wonders if perhaps the moniker of “great” minds is misleading;  a description of “higher” or “elevated” might be more fitting since the great mind that discusses ideas of a transcendent nature, those fixtures of life that circumvent our intuitive logic or conscious formulations, functions on a level of super-consciousness that is not available or accessible to most people who find they are predominantly tied up in the Events or People categories by virtue of their character limitations.  The realm of Ideas would include:

  • Philosophy/ontology
  • Science, on the theoretical level of postulation and hypothesis
  • Advanced mathematics
  • Politics, economics, human culture, as intertwined and expressed through collective sociological and physical evolution
  • Interpretation of cultural creations using any combination of methods or tools that are of the realm of Ideas
  • Questions of dogma and genesis or applicability of religion;  nature of life and its origins, and its fate
  • Examinations of our spiritual nature
  • Futurology

As I’ve assembled these categories, one may get the impression that I am of the opinion these are clearly demarcated categories which do not bleed over, but I don’t believe that is the case.  More often than not, people, across the spectrum, tend to bleed into several categories.  I would postulate that people can blend into an amorphous brew encompassing multiple categories backwards, but not forwards.  In other words, a great mind can discuss People, but a small mind is incapable of discussing Ideas.   In fact, a small mind is only capable of discussing People, while an average mind is capable of discussing Events and People, but cannot tackle Ideas.  Only the great mind is capable of discussing all three categories.  This downward permeability of minds as expressed in Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote is hierarchical and flagrantly elitist, but such is the nature of Man.

Since the archetypes appear soundly delineated, one wonders if perhaps there is a subject of discussion that can be encompassed by all three categories.  Is there something that, owing to differing contexts and precision of examination, can be considered a Person, an Event, and an Idea, singularly?  I say no.  Elements of culture and constructs of humanity, owing to the nature of their elusiveness (or lack thereof), appear to only be capable of appearing at one static point in the continuum of human interest and abstraction.   In fact, I would say that the point of this paragraph, which raises the question of whether a Person can be an Event and an Idea simultaneously, is, in itself, distilling the archetypes into a blend that contains traits of all three.  To ponder whether an Event can thus be considered a parcel of a more advanced mind, the great one, is to amplify its resting state into a universal tension in which it is upwardly permeable, as well.  But this requires conscious intervention on our part;  it is not endemic to the nature of these Events, or People, or Ideas, to ever supersede their nature.

We must intercede to make a concept overextend its elemental nature:  such is the meddlesome nature of man.

 

 

 

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Depravity becomes me

This is simply awesome.  Shall I feel bad that I find it kinda titillating that a girl is marrying her father?

I have issues and need help.  I am a miserable, spiteful man, and my liver hurts.

Ah well, rejoice. Come on, come all!

If they have children with two heads, they can’t say we didn’t warn them.  But I, personally, would watch a soft porn flick based on the consummation of their alternative, liberated relationship.  I would. That’s just me.

It’s sinister, socially repugnant, and thus, fantastic in a sexual context. I’m a “live and let live” kind of guy. Laissez-faire, baby. No harm, no foul!

An teenage revealed in an interview that she plans to marry her father and have children after dating for two years.

The unnamed 18-year-old revealed in New York Magazine the relationship with her father when she was young and how she fell in love with him.

In the interview, the girl also says the two plan on having children.

The woman says he father was in and out of her life mostly when she was young. She recalls wondering where he was and why she hadn’t hear from him. There was no contact for 12 years and she did not finally meet him again until she was 17.

Her father reached out to her on Facebook when she was in high school and soon after, the woman went to stay with him for a week.

After the week, the 18-year-old revealed they had sex and were dating after.

Many people were aware of the situation.

“Everyone on my mom’s side of the family sees us as father and daughter,” she told the magazine. “Those who know that he’s my dad, and that we are engaged, include my father’s parents (they can see we are happy together and they can’t wait for us to have babies — they treat us just like any other couple), the woman we live with, and my best friend.”

After the wedding, the woman says they plan to move to New Jersey where adult incest is legal.

I just hope the good familial genes win out and maybe they can start their own little master race.

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Skinny doesn’t just happen; the great lie about “fast metabolism.”

I hear something a lot of people utter and whine, something ignorant. Women are more prone to cry about it.

It goes something like this:

“He/She has such a fast metabolism. Look at how much he/she eats and he/she doesn’t gain a pound. He/She can eat a whole pizza and a banana split and still remain skinny. It’s not fair!”

When it comes to skinny people, we tend to focus on the skinny part but neglect the route the person took to get there. Skinny does not just happen. The diseased obese mentality of modern humans perceives slenderness as a fluke, an auspicious genetic gift that a few fortunate souls are born with. Skinny is seen as a cosmic gift, not a reward. Because of our collective obese mentality, we can’t conceive any other scenario that might release us from such self-inflicted physiological doom.

This is a device many people resort to. They seek to understand skinny big eaters by spouting the “fast metabolism” phenomenon to which they attribute slenderness in the presence of overeating which they only witness some of the time.

Fast metabolism is a cop out. I guarantee you that the span of all human basal metabolism does not account for more than a couple hundred calories. In other words, behind every skinny person who eats a whole pizza, there exists a person who really, over a lengthy span of time (which is the yardstick by which all food intake should be measured), really eats a lot less than you. This skinny person probably, when you are not looking, eats 1,500 or 2,000 calories each day, tops. You just happen to see them, on this one day, when they consume 4,000 calories, and immediately you attribute their skinniness to something other than the fact that their build might have a very reasonable, logical and lazy explanation that does not involve a light diet. It’s easier to blame predetermined physiological bad fortune on being fat!

People tend to take one instance, one case, and extrapolate out a series of like events. You might rationalize that this skinny person who ate a pizza at lunch eats a pizza for every meal and finishes each day with a large banana split. They must have a fast metabolism!

Little do you realize or care to consider that this person probably is eating a cup of cereal for breakfast tomorrow, a hard-boiled egg and an apple for lunch, and a cup of pasta and vegetables for dinner. And that this person will probably eat similarly for 3 more weeks! And you will see them again in the 4th week, looking skinny as shit, and this person will indulge in a monthly splurge (you don’t know that) on a big, fattening meal, and you will blame their luck on metabolism.

Metabolism is not variant enough to explain skinny versus fat.

The only thing that explains skinny versus fat, is food intake and energy expenditure. But there are very, very, very few fit people whose energy expenditure (Olympic athletes) allows for putative gluttony.

Obesity doesn’t just happen. This we accept.

But skinny doesn’t just happen, either. Metabolic accusations are us making physiological excuses for bad habits because we don’t want to eat less.

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A passage from Camus’ The Plague which is very relevant now, 67 years later.

I’m reading this for the third time.

The plague

Albert Camus is one of my favorite authors.

I read The Plague in college, liked it so much that I bought it 20 years ago and read it a second time.

The other day I took my son to an appointment, and I decided I wanted something to read while waiting (besides lame recipe magazines). I grabbed the first book I could find sitting in the bedroom which is saying quite a bit because my bedroom currently borders on hurricane-level messiness.

I grabbed it and we ran.

This is the first paper book I’ve read in years since I’ve turned my back on the beautiful purity of bound books for the siren call of the Kindle.

My experience with Kindles has been shit, and Amazon, in recent years, has been shit as well.

I considered replacing it with a Nook until this relapse in which I re-discovered the absolute visceral joy of holding and reading a real book! It brought back my youth. I don’t need an e-reader. Nothing matches a physical book, and real books are what I shall continue reading. Amazon can take its Kindle and shove it up its collective, too-big-to-care-anymore ass.

Now, in a nutshell, to set the stage for something I want to cite from the book, a plague has beset a remarkably average citizenry in an equally unremarkable town in Northern Africa. In anticipation of heading off the spread of the virulent disease, authorities essentially “close the town down” and do not allow anyone to enter or leave. Even the use of telephones faces restriction.

Camus embarks on several pages of narrative where he describes the atmosphere of the town as it slowly acclimates to this sliver in time where it was “frozen” by the civic quarantine. And he describes something I found very interesting and which escaped my first 2 reads simply because the internet, social media and blogging were not existent, or in very primitive forms, at the time.

On my third read, these paragraphs now strike me for their prescience, being that I am now “living the future.”

Do you notice it?

First Vintage International Edition, March 1991

First Vintage International Edition, March 1991

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