Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Last of the American Girls

The once fierce Republic is now feeble and feverish - the worst are so full of passionate intensity and the best are largely not even participating. This, evidently, is what happens when you effectively give a free hand to big business and big finance. A near apocalypse already now when many of the old structures still do go on, still exist. Even if feebly, even if mostly not remembering why. A shining city on a hill no more. Well, it never was, but there was a genuine dream, sincerely held. What is there now?

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Vita brevis

We have only just emerged, a few minutes ago - yesterday we used to be panicky apes under a scary, inexplicable sky. We have had a pitiful 6000 years of recorded history, 500 years of some sustained enlightenment, 80 years of relative affluence in some small parts of the planet. We are grass. There is no telling now how things will end up, how things will be transformed. Maybe for even worse than this current barbarism, maybe for better. We have not earned the right to pessimism or optimism. We know nothing yet.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Canterbury tales

It is strange to be a Nordic anglophile, trying: one's own society is so much better organized, so much more fair. And the image of England one has, of liberal, of literary England is rather unreal. The actual reality is Völkischer Beobacht..., sorry, Daily Mail and the plutocratic tory sadism and corruption. And so it has been rather too much of the time. The extended family where always the worst people are in control. Still, still: there is always the other side too, the decency and reason, reasonableness, gentleness. The place invented liberalism, had Shakespeare, first broke away from the brutal, primitive shackles of pre-modernity. A very strange country. (And not talking of Britain here, Wales and Scotland are something else, very different.)

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Fighting fascism in Ukraine and in the USA

Strange times these. In many ways retro as I have often mentioned - the 30's come again. Or the 40's as in the present Ukraine fighting against a full blown fascist invasion. While we in the West waver and wonder, Germany and France among others ever being so eager for appeasement. And everything basically depending on the ever more unreliable US, being itself besieged by a scarily strong mosty homegrown movement of unreason, anti-empirism and anti-liberalism. Strange times indeed.

Monday, September 12, 2022

In praise of Jaana Rinne

This is rather obscure probably. Clifters was one of my favourite bands back in that distant youth, late -80's, early 90's. And Jaana Rinne wrote most of their lyrics - not melancholy linear stories in mostly literary language like most of her male counterparts, but impressionistic, joyously disconnected sketches of brief moments often only tenuously linked, written in very natural flowing spoken language, youth language. Quite like actual poetry. Then something happened and she stopped writing this high quality stuff and, I believe, took up a position in a tabloid. Never mind, those glory days were enough for several careers.



Thursday, August 25, 2022

In less keen sounds

I have been re-reading Eileen Warburton's excellent biography of John Fowles - and again wondered about the chasm that so often exists between the art and the artist. Obviously in the former's benefit. The story of how his marriage came about is in parts simply sordid. The casual misogyny of those times: it was in the air they breathed, internalized by virtually everyone. Art doesn't begin to justify those dealings. Of course situations are complicated, private connections run deep and are not explicable to outsiders. But still.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The widening gyre

I believe that in pretty much most eras people have thought they were living in decadent end of times which mostly has basically meant that there had been some actual progress and improvements, and that the young were as young and as insolent as they usually are in the eyes of their preceeding generations.

But it is getting harder and harder to deny that there is something rotten, something rottening, in this global, high tech capitalist system, in this finance capitalist Anglo-Saxon version of the market economy. There is hysteria in the air, a panicky hatred is spreading. The Western democracies are weakening, splitting from the inside. Decadent, hysterical times, aided and abetted by the social media and the irrational, crazed enemies of the West, of liberalism.

The coming challenges are gigantic: the climate changing, threatening the very existence of our high tech civilization and which obviously can't be withstood by thinking and reactions focused on the next quarter. The various technological revolutions and the ever lessening the need for human workforce, the corruptive influence of the global entertainment industry and the ever more toxic social media. We are not confronting any of these: no, we are being carried by a flood stream.

A true cultural fugue, surely.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The brown wave still goes on

4chan, 8chan, "men's rights", incel forums etc. etc. - this wave of hatred, of rage, of misogyny, of deliberate ignorance circling the globe. Where does it come from? The dying of religion, of humanism, the waning of the capitalist dream, the casting off so many from being valued, necessary members of the society? And was it thus this vile surge was born, polluting the net and social media, polluting everyday conversation, polluting many people, hurting others via them? Obviously it's being fed by the enemies of the West, by fascist Russia, chauvinist China et al. But it was not created by them. What cultural fugue is this? So obviously debased, so obviously empty of all positive aims, just blind destruction and hatred, actual blind rage. What is it?

Perhaps it is only a symptom of a sea change for the better, the last scream of hatred at a waning, increasingly corrupt social and cultural model before a new and better one is gradually born. I certainly do hope so. But it is in any case a great dismal, scary spectacle of waste, aggression and debasement.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Kas teate mis värvi on demokraatia?

It is strange how willing so many are to bend towards a new order. Any new order. Though luckily not nearly all. Germany though is doing what it has best known to do for well over a century: murderously destabilizing Europe. France, apparently, is still ever sufficiently lost to hopelessly aim to replicate in reality whatever irrelevant things of grandeur du jour they are dreaming of doing.

But in many corners of Europe the memories remain stubbornly fresh, stubbornly powerful:

Internatsid

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

She Came in through the Bathroom Window

I have been watching Peter Jackson's (I guess one has to admit it) brilliant Get Back. And am rather speechless - they were a legendary but rather ancient name in my distant youth. My going there was largely a blind rebellion against my peers. But such a lucky rebellion it was. Such brilliance, such talent, and such a process of creativity as portrayed in Jackson's document. Such warmth also, such good will - but their youthful brilliant, shining friendship gradually slipping into families and other responsibilites and interests combined with the peculiar strenght of their personalities only just having been half-reluctantly shot into absurd stars amazingly within just some few years.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

What rough beast actually

So, now we do know. Gangsters and thugs in power misruling and abusing a society and an army totally cynical, totally corrupt won't make for an effective invasion. Putin should consult Mussolini about that. And the West, as feeble, as materialistic as it has become, as much as it has lost self-confidence and faith in liberalism and humanism - it still can easily beat this sorry dictatorship. Now that China is going back towards one man rule and suffocating internal debate and development, it might be prudent for them also to take note.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Fascism in action - pro Ukraine

That this should happen in Europe in 2022 maybe should not be a surprise - the beast lies close to the surface. And that it should have now emerged in the Kremlin and in the Russian state is certainly not a surprise: brutality, venality and gangsterism have usually reigned there. And so now. But that they would attempt this rape/murder so openly, so nakedly, so shamelessly, is a surprise. Maybe it's for the better then in the long run. The inhuman face of fascism might possibly finally create a backlash. Predators and the prey, killers and the killed. One hopes for Ukraine all success in its heroic defence against the brutal odds. And backbone and courage for the West. And Finland. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Nii sitt ja nii sant

Modern Russia is curious - this Putin administration has not lifted a finger to rebuild the economy and the society, to eliminate the all pervasive corruption in order to be realistically able to face the economical strength and dynamism of the West (or China). Instead there has been this surely fundamentally barren nastiness of undermining the Western cohesion, the Western liberalism via the net, via the populist extreme right wing movements (along with the continuous, utterly shamelesss robbing of the Russian people).

So, it's not Comintern by any reckoning, it's something far less, far weaker, something sans real faith. What has happened there, from where does this impotent, infertile rage come? Where is the positive vision, where are the dreams? Not building anything, just a blind rage to tear down the positive achievements of other, more successful nations.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Surviving trauma

This is a difficult subject - difficult to calibrate: as we all are survivors of trauma in this world. And if not, then still in trauma, with even more disastrous concequences to all people around. Still there are degrees to this survival, and so different degrees that they are barely connecting at all. But still, yes, we all share this experience, we all beat on, all damaged.

Though this said, there really are degrees. I know that I escaped relatively lightly - and my trauma was mostly, adding complications, directly caused by myself, by my special weaknesses. And that was nothing like the unspeakable nightmares that are still going on, at this very fucking moment, and which went on without reprieve in the past and which will go on in the future. 

To be able to function rationally in the world is to acknowlege the truth of this unending torment going on, all the time, still going on. For what would be the alternative, denial, escape? And of course we do try to contribute whatever there is to contribute for progress, reason and empathy. This bloody chaos of the world is a a challenge to any thinking and feeling person, which I think is the reason why so many abandon either thinking or feeling, or both.

But in any case, after all these observations and qualifications, yes, I am a survivor of trauma. And not a run of the mill trauma, the trauma we all automatically get from being born into all this imperfection and chaos and random cruelty. But a survivor of a more particular, more individual kind of misfortune. It felt rather strange to realize that this morning. How many things there still are to learn and understand about my story, about this particular experience of being in the world?

Friday, December 31, 2021

From the shining city on a hill to Babylon

Twice the USA came to save the liberal Western civilization during the 20th century, well, no, actually it was three times with the Cold War. The cracks, the failures, the sins were surpressed then - by the memory and impact of the Revolution and the Civil War, by puritan values, by egalitarian Northern European influences. But a very corrupt of form of capitalism prevailed all the while along with a deep seated racism, the original sin. And what we now have are the purposefully ill educated, purposefully propaganda fed, largely white, largely rural masses purposefully incited towards hatred and bitterness in order to further cut taxes and to further deregulate. Even at the cost of the Republic itself.

Judy Garland: Battle Hymn of the Republic - YouTube