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Old 13-09-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Aleister Crowley 666 Hunter Thompson & Other Nuts

On this thread I'll be posting stuff that qualifies as literature. Whatever I stumble into head first is fair game (but will not smell like game). My Goal's Beyond transguru comprehension and the accelerating accelerations of the present will be to collect on a few humble pages vacated from subconscious colonization, in as non-linear and spaztic a fashion as possible, and from as multi-angled a point of sniff as unnecessary, anything but the disco dance of paranoia or the nihil's nadir of frozen prole-drool.



All who think they know what the frig I'm hallucinating about are welcome to contribute their own schizoideries to the jolly proceedings.

"The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths." ~William James

"It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth."~Oscar Wilde


"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing."~William James

William James Hall, Cambridge, MA

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Old 13-09-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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Thirst !
Not the thirst of the throat
Though that be the wildest and worst
of physical pangs_ that smote
Alone to the heart of Christ,
Wringing the one wild cry
“I thirst !” from His agony,
While the soldiers drank and diced :
Not the thirst benign
That calls the worker to wine ;
Not the bodily thirst
(Though that be frenzy accurst )
When the mouth is full of sand,
And the eyes are gummed up, and the ears
Trick the soul till it hears
Water, water at hand,
When a man will dig his nails
In his breast, and drink the blood
Already that clots and stales
Ere its tongue can tip its flood,
When the sun is a living devil
Vomiting vats of evil, and the moon and night but mock
The wretch on hiss barren rock,
And the dome of heaven high-arched
Like his mouth is arid and parched,
And the caves of his hearth high-spanned
Are choked with alkali sand !

Not this ! but a thirst uncharted ;
Body and soul alike
Traitors turned black-hearted,
Seeking a space to strike
In a victim already attuned
To one vast chord of wound ;
Every separate bone
Cold, an incarnate groan
Distilled from the icy sperm
Of hells implacable worm ;
Every drop of the river
Of blood aflame and a-quiver
With poison sweet and sour_
With a sudden twitch at the last
Like certain jagged daggers.
(With bloodshot eyes dull-glassed
The screaming Malay staggers
Through his village aghast).
So blood wrenches its pain
Sardonic through heart and brain.
Every separate nerve
Awake and alert, on a curve
Whose asymptote’s name is “never”
In a hyperbolic “for ever !”
A bitten and burning snake
Striking its venom within it,
As if it might serve to slake
The pain for the tithe of a minute.

Awake, for ever awake !
Awake as one never is
While sleep is a possible end,
Awake in the void, the abyss
Whose thirst is an echo of this
That martyrs, world without end,
(World without end, Amen !)
The man that falters and yields
For the proverb’s “month and an hour”
To the lure of the snow-starred fields
Where the opium poppy’s aflower.

Only the prick of a needle
Charged from a wizard well !
Is this sufficient to wheedle
A soul from heaven to hell ?
Was mans spirit weaned
From fear of its ghosts and gods
To fawn at the feet of a fiend ?
Is it such terrible odds_
The heir of ages of wonder,
The crown of earth for an hour,
The master of tide and thunder
Against the juice of a flower ?
Ay ! in the roar and rattle
Of all the armies of sin,
This was the only battle
He was never known to win.

Slave to the thirst _ not thirst
As here it is weakly written,
Not thirst in the brain black-bitten,
In the soul more sorely smitten !
One dare not think of the worst !
Beyond the raging and raving
Hell of the physical craving
Lies, in the brain benumbed,
At the end of time and space,
An abyss, unmeasured, unplumbed_
The haunt of a face !

She is it, she, that found me
In the morphia honeymoon ;
With silk and steel she bound me,
In her poisonous milk she drowned me,
Even now her arms surround me,
Stifling me into her swoon
That still _ but oh, how rarely !_
Comes at the thrust of the needle,
Steadily stares and squarely,
Nor needs to fondle and wheedle
Her slave agasp for a kiss,
Hers whose horror is his
That knows that viper womb,
Speckled and barred with black
On its rusty amber scales,
In his tomb_
The straining, groaning, rack
On which he wails _ he wails !

Her cranial dome is vaulted,
Her mad Mongolian eyes
Aslant with the ecstacies
Of things immune, exalted
Far beyond stars and skies,
Slits of amber and jet_
Her snout for the quarry set
Fleshy and heavy and gross,
Bestial, broken across,
And below it her mouth that drips
Blood from the lips
That hide the fangs of a snake,
Drips on venomous udders
Mountainous flanks that fret,
And the spirit sickens and shudders
At the hint of worse thing yet.

Olya ! the golden bait
Barbed with infinite pain,
Fatal, fanatical mate
Of a poisoned body and brain !
Olya, the name that leers
Its lecherous longing and knavery,
Whispers in crazing ears
The secret spell of her slavery.

Horror indeed intense,
Seduction ever intenser
Swinging the smoke of sense
From the bowl of a smouldering censer !
Behind me, behind and above,
She stands that mirror of love.
Her fingers are supple-jointed ;
Her nails are polished and pointed,
And tipped with spurs of gold :
With them she rowels the brain.
Her lust is critical, cold ;
And her Chinese cheeks are pale,
As she daintily picks, profane
With her octopus lips, and the teeth
Jagged and black beneath,
Pulp and blood from a nail.
One swift prick was enough
In days gone by to invoke her :
She was incarnate love
In the hours when I first awoke her.
Little by little I found
The truth of her, stripped of clothing,
Bitter beyond all bound,
Leprous beyond all loathing.
Black, the plague of the pit,
Her pustules visibly fester,
Cancerous kisses that bit
As the asp caressed her.

Dragon of lure and dread,
Tiger of fury and lust,
The quick in chains to the dead,
The slime alive in the dust,
Brazen shame like a flame,
An orgy of pregnant pollution
With hate beyond aim or name_
Orgasm, death, dissolution !
Know you now why her eyes
So fearfully glaze, beholding
Terrors and infamies
Like filthy flowers unfolding ?
Laughter widowed of ease,
Agony barred from sadness,
Death defeated of peace,
Is she not madness ?

She waits for me, lazily leering,
As moon goes murdering moon ;
The moon of her triumph is nearing ;
She will have me wholly soon.

And you, you puritan others,
Who have missed the morphia craving,
Cry scorn if I call you brothers,
Curl lip at my maniac raving,
Fools, seven times beguiled,
You have not known her ? Well !
There was never a need she smiled
To harry you into hell !

Morphia is but one
Spark of its secular fire
She is the single sun_
The type of all desire !
All that you would , you are_
And that is the crown of a craving.
You are slaver of the wormwood star.
Analysed, reason is raving.
Feeling, examined, is pain.
What heaven were to hope for a doubt of it !
Life is anguish, insane ;
And death is _ not a way out of it !

from the Diary Of A Drug Fiend

By Aleister Crowley

raw opium before processing

Drug addicts smoke pure opium paste in Kapisa Province, about 100 miles north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Old 13-09-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
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The Great Drug Delusion

“by a New York specialist”

First published in The English Review, June 1922

Professor Freud and M. Emile Coue have both pointed out, in similar language, despite their different techniques, the same fact about the identity of fear and fascination. It is a commonplace in the daily observation of the practicing psychologist. As soon as an obstacle is realized as such, we make frantic efforts to avoid it, with the result that we bump into it. Psychical impotence is in the experience of most men; it is the same thing in terms of another problem.

Now the present craze for taking “habit-forming drugs” (so-called), and the suggested remedies, are closely bound up with this curious phenomenon. The will behaves like a mule, and the imagination like a bird in the presence of a serpent.

In the spring of 1914 I had occasion to study the effects of cocaine. As it happened, I had access to all the “fast” or “Bohemian” sets in London. I went through them with a tooth-comb, and in three months managed to discover two girls who were indulging in that drug to a deleterious extent. Today, one might almost say that no tea-party is complete without it.

My investigations were cut short by the war; I was obliged to return to the United States. I had therefore no opportunity of observing the cause of the change. My English colleagues, however, attribute the present situation to two main factors: (a) the widespread outbreak of psychoses and neuroses due to public anxiety and stress, and the consequent demand for something that would dull the nerves; and (b) the D.O.R.A. restrictions on the sale of liquor. I agree that both these factors were potent; they square with our own experience in America. There drug-habits have been common for many years; for the people of the United States are naturally afflicted with the nervous diathesis. This is due partly to the climate, which is electrically charged in a way which Europeans cannot possibly understand until they have tried it, and partly to the fact that education is so widespread that the people demand art, literature, and music, which things are denied to them by the benevolence of the spiritual heirs of Cotton Mather. No other hypothesis even attempts to explain the Yellow Press, the dancing manias, the crazed search for amusement — and the resort to the waters of Lethe, beginning with cocktails and ending with cocaine.

But prohibition, ineffective as it is, has intensified the demand for drugs; and I am therefore ready to believe that war-time restrictions on the sale of liquor produced a parallel result in England. I note in passing that the prohibition of absinthe in France has resulted in the manufacture of substitutes, some of which will actually eat their way through a marble table.

There is, however, a third factor to be considered; and, without going over frankly to the theories of Nancy, the Salpetriere, Vienna, and Zurich, it may well be that it is the most important of all. This factor is the nauseating form of publicity given by the newspapers — some even of those which should know better — to the matter. Indulgence in drugs is described with an unholy leer; it is connected lewdly with sexual aberrations; and the reprobation with which the writers smear their nastiness is obviously hypocrisy of the most oily and venal type. The object is to sell the paper by making people’s flesh creep, like the Fat Boy in Pickwick.

Now there is in such articles — which began, I regret to say, with a not uninteresting novel called Felix, by Mr. Robert Hichens — what Baudouin calls a pernicious suggestion. The reader is invited to gloat on the forbidden fruit. But even worse, from this point of view, is the unanimous assertion that once anybody starts to take a “drug” he cannot possibly stop of his own free will, and is only to be rescued at the cost of unutterable torments. Medical treatises on the subject, with no exception so far as I know, perpetuate this wicked libel on the divine prerogative of man to do what he wills, and, when he wills, to stop doing. Writers of fiction follow the evil precedent. The exception to this rule is The Hasheesh Eater, by H. G. Ludlow, in which the author (who lived on the Hudson near Poughkeepsie) describes his addiction to that drug, and his cure by his unaided determination.

Such cases are, however, common enough; but the strong-minded never reach the clinic of the physician, and are consequently ignored by him.

There are, in fact, three main classes of men and women:
1. Afraid to experiment with anything, lest...
2. Enslaved by anything that appeals to them.
3. Able to use anything without damaging themselves.
I hesitate to admit either of the two former classes to the title of Freeman.

Since the year of 1898 I have been principally occupied in studying the effects of various drugs upon the human organism, with special reference to the parallelisms between the psychical phenomena of drug-neuroses, insanities, and mystical illuminations. The main object has been to see whether it is possible to produce the indubitably useful (see William James, Varieties of Religious Experience) results of “ecstasy” in the laboratory. In pursuit of this laudable aim, I attempted to produce a “drug-habit” in myself. In vain. My wife literally nagged me about it: “Don’t go out without your cocaine, sweetheart!” or “Did you remember to take your heroin before lunch, big boy?” I reached the stage where one takes a sniff of cocaine every five minutes or so all day long; but though I obtained definitely toxic results, I was always able to abandon the drug without a pang. These experiments simply confirmed the conclusion which I had already adopted, provisionally, on theoretical grounds: that busy people, interested in life and in their work, simply cannot find the time to keep on with a drug. As Baudelaire says: A perfect debauch requires perfect leisure.

A prominent newspaper correspondent of my acquaintance has actually reached a stage where the privation of opium was torture to him. The stress of the war threw additional work on him; but instead of accentuating his need, it made it impossible for him to find the time to smoke. “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do” is sound psychology.

A colleague of my own, who participated in my experiments, found himself on several occasions “in the clutches of the drug-fiends.” But those occasions were all characterized by one fact: he was, for external reasons, at a deadlock with his work. He had nothing to do but to think about the drug, and his mind was so flooded with “pernicious suggestions” that he could not stop it. Every trifling malaise was unhesitatingly attributed either to the effects of the drug or those of trying to stop it! Just so the young man who was reading Middlemarch fell down stairs and broke his leg — and blamed the law of gravity instead of George Eliot!

It is not contended here that the physiological theory of “toleration” is untrue. No doubt the nerves do, more or less, “shriek for their accustomed stimulus,” as the foolish physician usually tells his victim — apparently with the hope of removing any traces of self-confidence or will-power that he may possess. But, within limits, an average brave and resolute man can arrange the details of his “cure,” and carry them out with success.

The nerves, too, can be fooled to some extent. A member of the Himalayan Expedition of 1902 has put it on record that when he was starved in respect of his sugar-ration he suffered the most intolerable tortures. The body agreed with him so far as to furnish almost continuous spasms of nausea and diarrhea. But on sweetening his tea with saccharine, the symptoms almost completely disappeared: the “suggestion” of sugar, although he knew it was only a suggestion, suffices to delude his physiological “Chorus of Troezenian Women.”

Now if there be one thing certain in this complex world it is this: that moral maladies require moral therapeutics. The present system of “per nicious suggestion,” backed by prohibition, which insults the free will and dignity of mankind, which offers princely opportunities to illicit traffic and blackmail, makes the situation worse every month.

In Harlem, a district of New York corresponding roughly to a combination of Bayswater and Brixton, there are, by police statistics, over 17,000 school children addicted to heroin. In this particular case the cause is simple enough. An enterprising firm of doubtless God-fearing chemical manufacturers sent out agents to distribute the drug gratis to the children. Having established the “habit,” the agents next demanded an ever-increasing price, and when they had extracted the last mil from the tortured innocents, told them to steal, rob, and murder in order to get the “mazuma” for the “dope.” (The “addict” is notoriously fertile in expedients for obtaining supplies of his drug.) Abominations of this sort are only possible when the course of nature is violently diverted by pious Puritans and profiteering policemen. Nobody troubled about the heroin when is was almost as easy and as cheap to buy as butter. Today, despite repressive legislation, there is an international industry making its many thousands per cent on an enormous turnover, and occasionally throwing some peddling Jonah overboard when some brainless dancing girl happens to kill herself.

What better could she do? And the police want “additional powers.” Of course they do. They envy the Beckers of New York, the arbitrary irresponsible gangs of uniformed grafters, in league with every form of criminal, from the white slaver to the gambler and the gunman. If the people of England want to see their cities in the hands of petty tyranny patting the paunch of corruption, well and good, “strengthen the Act!”

There has been so much delirious nonsense written about drugs that sane men may well despair of seeing the light. But it ought to be obvious that if England reverted to pre-war conditions, when any responsible person (by signing his name in a book) could buy drugs at a fair profit on cost price, cocaine (say) at 16's" and heroin at 20's" the bottle of 10 grammes — instead of as many pounds — the whole underground traffic would disappear like a bad dream.

It is possible, perhaps even probable, that for a month or two there would be an increase in the number of fools who killed themselves in their folly, though personally I doubt it. But I have no shame in saying that, after a war in which we sent our sturdiest sons as sheep to the slaughter, we should not miss a few score wasters too stupid to know when to stop. Besides this, we see, on the one hand, that the people who want the drugs manage to get them in one way or another, at the cost of time, trouble, and money which might be used more wisely, and on the other that the infernal suggestions of the Press, and the vile venality of the villains attracted to the traffic by the immense profits, are deliberately creating new addicts every day of people who in the normal course of affairs would no more think of indulging in narcotics than a cat in a cold bath.

So much for the purely practical points of the position; but, deeper still, let me say, as a Jeffersonian democrat, that I dread beyond all else the growth of the petty tyranny of restrictive legislation, the transference of disciplinary authority from the judiciary to the constabulary, the abandonment of every constitutional safeguard of individual liberty, the division of the people into the hunters and the hunted, the exaltation of the spy, the “agent provocateur,” and the blackmailer, the open adoption of the policy of sitting on the safety-valve, and the degradation of citizenship by applying physical repression to the evils whose only redress lies in moral development!

Illustration by James Mahony for 'Scrambles Amongst The Alps'

May 1905, Crowley on a mountaineering expedition to Kanchenjunga, third largest mountain in the world, located in Nepal.

Examining his ornately carved wand, AC always signed his name so that the 'A' formed the shape of a phallus.

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Old 13-09-2013, 08:09 PM   #4
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My dear son,

This is the first letter that your father has ever written to you, so you can imagine that it will be very important, and you should keep it and
lay it by your heart.

First of all, let me tell you how intensely happy your reappearance has made me. I feel that I must devote a great deal of my time to
watching over your career. I was very pleased to hear that you had decided to learn to read, and that, of course, means learning to write.
A word of warning about this. In these last years, children have been taught to write script, as they call it, which is a very bad thing. You
must write in such a way that it impresses your personality on the reader.

On top of that, I wanted to tell you something about yourself. One of your Ancestors was Duke of a place called La Querouaille in Brittany,
and came over to England with the Duke of Richmond, who was the original heir to the English throne, to help him turn out the usurper,
known to history as Richard III. Since then, our family has made its mark on the world on several occasions, though never anything very
brilliant. Now, I want you to take this very seriously. I want you to be very proud of yourself for belonging to such a family. Owing to the
French Revolution and various other catastrophes, the Dukedom is no longer in existence legally, but morally it is so, and I want you to
learn to behave as a Duke would behave. You must be high-minded, generous, noble, and, above all, without fear. For that last reason,
you must never tell a lie, for to do so shows that you are afraid of the person to whom you tell it, and I want you to be afraid of nobody. I
think that is all about now.

Now with regard to your education. I want particularly to insist on learning Latin, and I will give you my reasons. Firstly, anyone who knows
Latin gains a greater command of and understanding of the English language than he would otherwise possess. He will be able to reason
out for himself the meanings of words with which he is unfamiliar. Secondly, if you are well-grounded in Latin, you are halfway to a
knowledge of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, for all these languages, as well as English, are derived from Latin. Thirdly, the most
important of all, much of the unconscious part of your mind has been formed by the writing of Latin and Greek authors. This implies that
you should also learn a certain amount of Greek. One of the wisest men of olden time gave this instruction to his pupils: "Know thyself,"
and learning Latin helps you to do this for the reason I have already explained above. I regard this as very important indeed. There are a
great many people going about today who tell you that Latin is no use to you in the ordinary affairs of life, and that is quite true if you are
going to be some commonplace person like a tradesman or a bank clerk. But you are a gentleman, and if you want to be an educated
gentleman, you must know Latin.

There is another matter that I want to put before you. It will be a very good plan if you learn to play chess. For one thing, it is a very good
training for the mind, and, for another, it is the only game, of all the games worth playing, which lasts you throughout your life. You can get
as much pleasure out of it when you are 60 as when you are 20.

I think that is all I have to say to you today, and I shall expect you to manage somehow to write me an answer. you see, much of the time
we shall not be able to communicate face to face, and there will be a good many questions that you will want to ask me, which you cannot
do unless you write good English.

That reminds me. There is one more point that I want to impress to you. The best models of English writings are Shakespeare and the Old
Testament, especially the Book of Job, the Psalms and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. It will be a very good thing for you to commit as much as you can both of these books and of the best plays of Shakespeare to memory, so that they form the foundation of your style. In writing English, the most important quality that you can acquire is style. That makes all the difference to anyone who reads what you write, whether you use the best phrases in the best way. You will have to devote some time to grammar and syntax, and also to logic. Logic is the science and the art of using words, and it teaches you to think correctly without making blunders in reasoning, which nowadays everyone is liable to do just because they have not got the training which I am proposing to give you.

Now, my dear son, I will close this long letter in the eager hope you will follow my advice in all respects.

Love is the law, love under will.

Your affectionate father






ALEISTER CROWLEY (summary) by Robert Anton Wilson (RAW)


First, Crowley rhymes with Holy. Aleister Crowley, a Linguistic Philosopher, studied virtually every form of Yoga and Consciousness development practices. Crowley said, don't believe anyone else's dogmas, draw your own conclusions. Crowley talked about a modern Aeon of Horus which is portrayed as a time of self-realization as well as a growing interest in all things spiritual. Robert Anton Wilson says that Crowley was like a cross between Sineade O'Conner and Madonna in a male form. RAW thinks of Crowley as a scientist in the consciousness alteration field similar to Stan Grof and John Lilly. Crowley named his so-called religion Thelema because he did not want to come back in 2,000 years and find that his work was called Crowleyanity similar to Christianity. In Thelema there are Koans similar to Buddhism that try to get the student to expand their conscious awareness by meditating on a confusing symbolic or metaphoric puzzle-like saying with multiple potential hidden meanings. Crowley was also fond of jokes within jokes where even his dirty jokes potentially have an allegory behind them similar to Rumi's love poems. Crowley will get you looking at wisdom schools like Kabbalah in a whole different light. Crowley was allegedly a member of MI5 British Intelligence which RAW calls, "The Double-Cross Bureau," along with Ian Flemming of 007 fame. RAW also compares Crowley's work to complicated books like "Finnegans Wake" by Irish author James Joyce.

Crowley shared with Ludwig Wittgenstein, considered by some to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, the urge to submerge others in his own will, to overcome their alienness by dominating and influencing them. Both sought and found fanatical followers among brilliant, unstable undergraduates from Oxford and Cambridge. Through these was hope of influencing the cultural mainstream. However, just as Wittgenstein rejected the idea that his influence should be restricted to academics, so Crowley repudiates any suggestion that he is speaking to some class restricted in scope. As much as to the fortunate members of society he addresses himself to paupers and to prisoners. He is concerned to influence individual minds through unofficial channels, bringing creative as well as critical thinking to those normally felt to have no right to it.

Crowley was one of the leading anti-Catholic revolutionaries of the last couple of centuries and when he talked about the Black Brothers as doers of evil casting a spell over mankind and putting us in slavery he was talking about the Roman Catholic Church.

Crowley, like Gurdjieff, CHALLENGED his students and followers to RISE ABOVE the dogma that he himself espoused which in MANY cases was a "joke" or put-on to demonstrate just how unstable the average human intelligence is. If you never get the joke or raise your own level of intelligence then you become part of the "experiment" in mind-control. Have you ever heard the saying, "Some will hear the Truth, for others we speak in parables." ? If YOU do not take responsibility for YOUR OWN awareness then you literally "cause" your own suffering.


Babalon—also known as The Scarlet Woman,The Great Mother, or the Mother of Abominations — is a
goddess found in the mystical system of Thelema, which was established in 1904 by Crowley's writing of The
Book of the Law.
In her most abstract form, she represents the female sexual impulse and the liberated woman;
although she can also be identified with Mother Earth in her most fertile sense. At the same time, Crowley
believed that Babalon had an earthly aspect in the form of a spiritual office, which could be filled by actual
women — usually as a counterpart to his own identification as "To Mega Thereon" (The Great Beast) — whose
duty was then to help manifest the energies of the current Aeon of Horus.


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Old 13-09-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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One of the best of the La Honda soirees was held on Labor Day weekend of 1965, the first anniversary of the Monterey rape. By this time the Angels' publicity blitz was in high gear and they were dealing constantly with the news media. Reporters and photographers were hanging around the El Adobe nearly every weekend -- asking questions, taking photos and hoping for action to beef up the next day's headlines. The Oakland police assigned a special four-man detail to keep tabs on the Angels. They would stop by the bar now and then, smiling good-naturedly through a torrent of insults, and hang around just long enough to make sure the outlaws knew they were being watched. The Angels enjoyed these visits; they were much happier talking with cops than they were with reporters or even sympathetic strangers, who were frequenting the El Adobe in ever increasing numbers. Despite the outlaws' growing notoriety, the Oakland police never put the kind of death-rattle heat on them that the other chapters were getting. Even at the peak of the heat, Barger's chapter had a special relationship with the local law. Barger explained it as a potential common front against the long-rumored Negro uprising in East Oakland, which both Negroes and Hell's Angels think of as their own turf. The cops, he said, were counting on the Angels to "keep the niggers in line."

"They're more scared of the niggers than they are of us,' Sonny said, "because there's a lot more of em."

The Angels' relationship with Oakland Negroes is just as ambivalent as it is with the cops. Their color line is strangely gerrymandered, so that individual "good spades" are on one side and the mass of "crazy niggers" are on the other. One of the Nomads (formerly the Sacramento chapter) shares an apartment with a Negro artist who makes all the Angel parties without any hint of self-consciousness. The outlaws call him a "real good cat."

"He's an artist," Jimmy told me one night at a party in Oakland. "I don't know much about art, but they say he's good."

Charley is another good spade. He's a wiry little Negro who's been riding with the Angels for so long that some of them are embarrassed to explain why he's not a member. "Hell, I admire the little bastard," said one, "but he'll never get in. He thinks he will, but he won't. . . shit, all it takes it two blackballs, and I could tell you who they'd be by just lookin' around the room."

I never asked Charley why he didn't ride with the East Bay Dragons, an all-Negro outlaw club like the Rattlers in San Francisco. The Dragons have the same kind of half-mad élan as the Angels, and a group of them wailing down the highway is every bit as spectacular. They wear multicolored helmets, and their bikes are a flashy mixture of choppers and garbage wagons -- all Harley 74s. The Dragons, like the Angels, are mainly in their twenties and more or less unemployed. Also like the Angels, they have a keen taste for the action, violent or otherwise.*

* The Rattlers are generally older. The club dates back to the days of the Booze Fighters.

"The Rattlers had a lot of class in the old days," one of the Oakland Angels lamented. "But all they do now is sit around their bar and play dominoes."

Shortly after I met the Oakland Angels, and long before I knew the Dragons even existed, I was standing in the doorway of the El Adobe on a dull Friday night, when the parking lot suddenly filled up with about twenty big chrome-flashing bikes ridden by the wildest-looking bunch of Negroes I'd ever seen. They rolled in, gunning their engines, and dismounted with such an easy, swaggering confidence that my first impulse was to drop my beer and run. I had been around the Angels long enough to get the drift of their thinking on "niggers". . . and now here they were, a gang of black commandos booming right up to the Hell's Angels command post. I stepped out of the doorway to a spot where I would have a clear sprint to the street when the chain-whipping started.

There were about thirty Angels at the bar that night and most of them hurried outside, still carrying their beers, to see who the visitors were. But nobody looked ready to fight. By the time the Dragons had cut their engines, the Angels were greeting them with friendly jibes about "calling the cops" and "having you bastards locked up for scaring hell out of the citizens."

Barger shook hands with Lewis, the Dragons' president, and asked what was happening. "Where've you guys been hiding?" Sonny said. "If you came around here more often you might make the papers." Lewis laughed and introduced Sonny, Terry and Gut to some of the new Dragon members. Most of the black outlaws seemed to know the Angels by their first names. Some went into the bar while others drifted around the parking lot, shaking hands here and there and admiring the bikes. The talk was mainly of motorcycles, and although it was pointedly friendly, it was also a bit reserved. By this time Sonny had introduced me to Lewis and some of the others. "He's a writer," Barger said with a smile. "God only knows what he's writin, but he's good people." Lewis nodded and shook hands with me. "How you makin it?" he said. "If Sonny says your okay with him, you're okay with us." He said it with such a wide smile that I thought he was going to laugh. Then he clapped me on the shoulder in a quick, friendly sort of way, as if to make sure I understood that he'd pegged me for an arch con man, but that he wasn't going to ruin the joke by letting Sonny in on it.

The Dragons stayed about an hour, then boomed off to wherever they were going. The Angels didn't invite them to any parties later on, and I had a feeling that both groups were relieved that the visit had come off so smoothly. The Angels seemed to forget all about the Dragons just as soon as they rolled out of sight. The El Adobe shuffle resumed once again. . . the familiar beery tedium, the honky-tonk blare of the juke box, bikes coming and going, balls clacking on the pool table, and the raucous, repetitious chatter of people who spend so much time together that they can only kill the boredom by getting out of their heads. Sonny left early, as he usually does, and as he mounted his black Sportster in the parking lot I remembered the Dragons and asked why they seemed on such friendly terms with the Angels. "We're not real close," he replied, "and we never will be as long as I'm president. But they're different from most niggers. They're our kind of people."

I never saw the Dragons at the El Adobe again, but other Negroes who came there got a different reception. One weekend night in late August a group of four came in. They were all in their twenties, wearing sport coats without ties, and one was so big that he had to duck through the doorway. He was almost seven feet tall and weighted between 250 and 300. The place was crowded, but the four Negroes found some room at the bar and the big one struck up an apparently friendly conversation with Don Mohr, the photographer, who had just been made an honorary Angel. The rest of the outlaws ignored the newcomers, but about thirty minutes after their arrival, Mohr and the black Goliath began snarling at each other. The nature of the dispute was never made clear, but Mohr said later that he'd bought the "big nigger" two beers in the course of their conversation. "Then he ordered another one," Mohr explained, "and I told him I'd be fucked if I'd pay for it. That's all it took, man. He was lookin for trouble just by comin in here. When I told him to buy his own goddamn beer after I paid for the first two rounds he got sarcastic -- so I said let's go outside."

The two were already squared off in the parking lot before the other Angels even realized a fight was in the making, but by the time the first blow landed, the combat area was enclosed in a ring of spectators. Mohr went after his huge opponent without any preliminaries; he leaped forward and swung at the Negro's head -- and that was the end of the fight.

The Negro swung blindly as the others swarmed over him. He was whacked
simultaneously in the stomach, the kidneys and on all sides of his head. One of his friends tried to help him but ran into Tiny's forearm and was knocked unconscious. The other two had enough sense to run. The monster reeled back for a moment, then rushed forward, still swinging, until he was hit from the side and sent sprawling. Three of the outlaws tried to hold him, but he jumped up and bulled into the bar. He didn't look hurt, but he was bleeding from several small cuts, and after being hit so often, from so many different directions, he couldn't get his bearings. He went down again but got up quickly and backed against the juke box. Until then he'd been a moving, lunging target and only two or three of the Angels had managed a solid shot at him. But now he was brought to bay. For about five seconds nothing happened. The Negro looked desperately for an opening to run through, and he was still looking when Terry's off-the-floor blockbuster caught him in the left eye. He fell back on the juke box, smashing the glass cover, and sank to the floor.

For a moment he seemed done, but after a flurry of boots in the ribs he pulled one of his attackers off balance and got back on his feet. He was still straightening up when Andy, one of the frailest and least talkative of the Angels, caught him in the right eye with a frenzied running punch that would have fractured a normal man's skull. When he went down this time Sonny grabbed his collar and jerked him onto his back. A boot heel crashed into his mouth. He was helpless now, his face covered with blood, but the stomping continued. Finally they dragged him outside and dropped him face down in the parking lot.

The first police car arrived just as the beating ended. Two others rolled up from different directions, then came a paddy wagon, and finally an ambulance. The Angels insisted the huge victim had pulled a knife on them and had to be subdued. The cops looked around with their flashlights, but the knife was not to be found. The Negro was in no condition to deny anything, although he regained consciousness almost immediately and was able to walk to the ambulance.

This seemed to satisfy the police, at least for the time being. They took a few notes and warned Sonny that the victim might want to press charges when he came out of shock, but I had the impression that they considered the case already closed. . . natural justice had prevailed.

The case never came to court, but it whipped the Angels into a very agitated state of mind. There was no doubt in their heads that the niggers would try to get even. And next time it wouldn't be just four of them. Never in hell. Next time it would be massive retaliation.

Probably they would strike on a moonless night. . . they would wait until almost closing time, hoping to catch the Angels drunk and helpless, and then they would make their move. The dreary neon calm of East Fourteenth Street would be shattered without warning by the screeching of primitive bone whistles. Wave after wave of sweaty black bodies would move out of the command post -- the Doggie Diner on East Twenty-third -- and move silently through the streets to their positions on the attack perimeter, about four hundred yards from the El Adobe. Then, when the bone whistles sounded, the first wave of niggers would run like the devil across East Fourteenth, ignoring the red light, and fall on the Angels with savage homemade weapons.

Every time I talked to the Angels in the weeks after the Big Nigger incident they warned me that the cork was ready to blow. "We're pretty sure it's gonna be Saturday night," Sonny would tell me. "We got the word from a fink." I assured him that I wanted to be there when the attack came, and I did. Several months earlier I would have laughed the whole thing off as some kind of twisted, adolescent delusion. . . but after spending most of that summer in the drunk-bloody, whore-walloping taverns of East Oakland, I had changed my ideas about reality and the human animal.

One weekend night in late summer I got out of my car in the El Adobe lot. Somebody called my name in a high-pitched whisper and I nodded to the handful of Angels standing near the doorway. I heard the whisper again, but none of the people I could see had said anything. Then I realized somebody was on the roof. I looked up and saw Sonny's head peering over the concrete ledge. "Around back," he hissed. "There's a ladder."

Behind the building, in a jumble of garbage cans, I found a twenty-foot ladder leading up to the roof. I climbed up to find Sonny and Zorro lying in a corner almost invisible in a maze of peeling tar paper. Sonny had an AR-16, the newest U.S. Army rifle, and Zorro had an M-1 carbine. Piled between them on the roof was a stack of ammunition in boxes and clips, a flashlight and a thermos bottle of coffee. They were waiting for the niggers, they said. This was the night.

It wasn't -- but the Angels kept armed guards on the roof of the El Adobe for nearly a month, until they were sure the niggers were completely intimidated. One afternoon at the height of the tension Barger and five others rode their bikes out to a target range in Alameda.

They carried their rifles strapped over their backs and took a route through the middle of Oakland. The police telephone hummed with reports of a heavily armed Hell's Angel patrol moving south through the center of town. But there was nothing the cops could do. The outlaws had their unloaded guns in plain sight and were observing the speed limit. They felt they needed some target practice. . . and if their appearance had a bad effect on the public, well, that was the public's problem, not theirs.

Most of the Angels knew better than to carry weapons openly, but some of their homes resemble private arsenals -- knives, revolvers, automatic rifles and even a homemade armored car with a machine-gun turret on top. They don't like to talk about their weaponry. . . it's their only insurance policy against that day when the Main Cop decides on a showdown, and the Angels are absolutely certain that day is coming.

No, I wouldn't call them "racists." Not really. Maybe deep down they are. There ain't no Negro Angels, you notice. But the Angels ain't for anybody, and that makes them anti-Negro and just about anything else.
-- San Bernardino County police inspector

In the language of politics and public relations the Angels "peaked" in the fall of 1965. The Labor Day Run to Kesey's was a letdown of sorts, because towns all over the country were braced for the invasion, waiting to be raped and pillaged. The National Guard was called out at such far-flung points as Parker, Arizona, and Claremont, Indiana. Canadian police set up a spe- cial border watch near Vancouver, British Columbia; and in Ketchum, Idaho, the locals mounted a machine gun on the roof of a Main Street drugstore. "We're ready for those punks," said the sheriff. "We'll put half of em in jail and the other half in the graveyard."

The Angels' jaunt to La Honda was a sad anticlimax for the press. The outlaws did a lot of strange, high-speed traveling, but it was not in the realm of the five W's. One of my memories of that weekend is Terry the Tramp's keynote speech delivered to the police on the highway. He got hold of a microphone tied up to some powerful speakers and used the opportunity to unburden his mind. . . addressing the police in a very direct way, speaking of morals and music and madness, and finishing on a high, white note which the San Mateo sheriffs department will not soon forget:

"Remember this," he screamed into the mic. "Just remember that while you're standin out there on that cold road, doin your righteous duty and watchin all us sex fiends and dope addicts in here having a good time. . . just think about that little old wife of yours back home with some dirty old Hell's Angel crawlin up between her thighs!" Then a burst of wild laughter, clearly audible on the road. "What do you think about that, you worthless fuzz? You gettin hungry? We'll bring you some chili if we have any left over. . . but don't hurry home, let your wife enjoy herself."

It was hard to know, in the triumphant chaos of that Labor Day, that the Angels were on the verge of blowing one of the best connections they'd ever had. Busting up country towns was old stuff, and the cops were getting tense about it. The hippie drug scene was a brand-new dimension -- a different gig, as it were -- but as the Vietnam war became more and more a public issue the Angels were put in a bind.

For several months they'd been drifting toward political involvement, but the picture was hazy and one of the most confusing elements was their geographical proximity to Berkeley, the citadel of West Coast radicalism. Berkeley is right next door to Oakland, with nothing between them but a line on the map and a few street signs, but in many ways they are as different as Manhattan and the Bronx. Berkeley is a college town and, like Manhattan, a magnet for intellectual transients. Oakland is a magnet for people who want hour-wage jobs and cheap housing, who can't afford to live in Berkeley, San Francisco or any of the middle-class Bay Area suburbs.* It is a noisy, ugly, mean-spirited place, with the sort of charm that Chicago had for Sandburg. It is also, a natural environment for hoodlums, brawlers, teen-age gangs and racial tension.

* Oakland's official population is nearly four hundred thousand, but it is the center of a vastly urban sprawl called the East Bay, with a population of about two million -- more than twice the size of San Francisco.

~ from Hunter S. Thompson's greatest book, "Hell's Angels" (chapter 19, page 237), written in 1965/1966, in which the precarious and peculiar state of all 1960's American culture was somehow extrapolated from its reactions to one of its most extreme subcultures. Thompson rode and socialized with the Oakland chapter of HA for a year in order to do his research first hand, which came to an end after he was severely beaten and sent to the hospital, apparently either for hiding in the trunk of his car during a police raid or calling a biker who was beating his 'old lady,' a punk.

Hunter S.Thompson defends his book against an irate woman-beating Hell's Angels biker


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Old 13-09-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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Had a busy day mate eh? Interesting start to a thread.
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Old 15-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #7
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Before spending the autumn touring America, the Zappa band came to Europe for seven dates, five in Germany, one in Sweden and one in England. No less than four were open-air festivals, including that in the grounds of Knebworth House which also featured the Boomtown Rats, Peter Gabriel and the Tubes. After the first gig in Ulm on August 26, Frank had intended to stay in Munich, but his request for a piano in his suite could not be met. So, reluctantly, he came to London and took a four-room suite on the fifth floor of the Hyde Park Hotel. Hugh Fielder went to meet the Anglophobe.

"I hate playing in England," Frank declared. "I don't mind playing in Europe too much. The audiences on the Continent are pretty good. I can't stand this place, though. It's the people . . . the thing that's always depressed me about the English audience is that they're oriented towards dressing up and queuing up and anything in between that is irrelevant." Fiedler pointed out that he'd sold out six shows on his last visit. "God knows why, " Frank replied. "I mean, even when they're clapping it doesn't feel right to me. It's like they like you for the wrong reason."

In our conversation, Frank's reaction to London audiences proved to be only part of a wider-ranging antagonism. "On each successive visit," he said in 1991, "I saw Britain turning into a Third World country, much like our own here. People being depressed, getting meaner, getting more desperate and things getting more peculiar. Behavior becoming more peculiar. And that's saying something, because it was plenty peculiar in 1967. Things got meaner and cheaper and dirtier and it started to remind me of the kind of growth decay that happens in large US cities, where things just fall apart. And the main thing that you feel when you arrive in the city is just a big ball of hatred that's not especially directed at anybody or anything, it's just, Hate lives there."

from "Electric Don Quixote, the definitive story of Frank Zappa," Neil Slaven


Spectators look on as workmen carry large crowns for princess mary's marriage to henry charles george viscount lascelles at westminster abbey in 1922


Zappa as DJ 1968

From a program recorded in 1968, Tom Donahue interviews Frank Zappa about his life and work, and allows the irreverent rock star to present some of his favorite music. The ensuing free form program ranges from surf music, doo-wop, jazz, the blues, to the works of Pierre Boulez. The song selection is very informative for any fan of Zappa’s music, as one can easily trace the influence of all these styles on his own creative output, be it the cheesy harmonies of 1950s pop songs or the intricate percussive patterns of Boulez’s avant-garde classical compositions. The role that such songs had on Zappa’s own musical evolution is made all the more clear at the end of this hilarious program when a selection of satirical songs from the Mothers of Invention are also heard.



"A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians." ~ Frank Zappa
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Old 15-09-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Voltaire: A Treatise on Toleration (1763)
Voltaire was the most eloquent and tireless advocate of the anti-dogmatic movement known as "The Enlightenment." He argued in favor of "deism," a vague substitute for traditional religion which acknowledged a creator and some sort of divine justice, but rejected most of the other fundamental beliefs of Christianity. Instead he preached that all are obliged to tolerate each other. When he defends even false religion as superior to none, it is obvious that his objections to atheism are superficial and that he looks on religious beliefs as useful, but not necessarily true. It should be remembered that atheism was strictly illegal in Voltaire's time, and he had been imprisoned repeatedly and finally exiled for his challenges to traditional religion. Deism provided a convenient (and legal) screen for his attacks on Christianity; but many scholars believe that despite his statements to the contrary, he was in fact an atheist. His arguments for religious freedom have become commonplaces in the modern Western world, even among religious believers.[/i]

What reasons does Voltaire give that we should all tolerate each other?

Whether it is Useful to Maintain People in their Superstition

Such is the feebleness of humanity, such is its perversity, that doubtless it is better for it to be subject to all possible superstitions, as long as they are not murderous, than to live without religion. Man always needs a rein, and even if it might be ridiculous to sacrifice to fauns, or sylvans, or naiads, (1) it is much more reasonable and more useful to venerate these fantastic images of the Divine than to sink into atheism. An atheist who is rational, violent, and powerful, would be as great a pestilence as a blood-mad, superstitious man.

When men do not have healthy notions of the Divinity, false ideas supplant them, just as in bad times one uses counterfeit money when there is no good money. The pagan feared to commit any crime, out of fear of punishment by his false gods; the Malabarian fears to be punished by his pagoda. Wherever there is a settled society, religion is necessary; the laws cover manifest crimes, and religion covers secret crimes.

But whenever human faith comes to embrace a pure and holy religion, superstition not only becomes useless, but very dangerous. We should not seek to nourish ourselves on acorns when God gives us bread.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the foolish daughter of a very wise mother. These two daughters, superstition and astrology, have subjugated the world for a long time.

When, in our ages of barbarity, scarcely two feudal lords owned between them a single New Testament, it might be pardonable to offer fables to the vulgar, that is, to these feudal lords, to their imbecile wives, and to their brutish vassals; they were led to believe that Saint Christopher carried the infant Jesus from one side of a river to the other; they were fed stories about sorcerers and their spiritual possessions; they easily imagined that Saint Genou (2) would cure the gout, and that Saint Claire (3) would cure eye problems. The children believed in the werewolf, and the fathers in the rope girdle of Saint Francis.

The number of relics (4) was innumerable.

The sediment of these superstitions still survived among the people, even at that time that religion was purified. We know that when Monsieur de Noailles, the Bishop of Châlons, removed and threw into the fire the false relic of the holy navel of Jesus Christ, then the entire village of Châlons began proceedings against him; however, he had as much courage as he had piety, and he succeeded in making the Champenois believe that they could adore Jesus Christ in spirit and truth, without having his navel in the church.

Those we call Jansenists (5) contributed greatly to rooting out gradually from the spirit of the nation the greater part of the false ideas which dishonored the Christian religion. People ceased to believe that it was sufficient to recite a prayer to the Virgin Mary for thirty days so that they could do what they wish and sin with impunity the rest of the year.

Finally the bourgeoisie began to realize that it was not Saint Geneviève who gave or witheld rain, but that it was God Himself who disposed of the elements. The monks were astonished that their saints did not bring about miracles any longer; and if the writers of

The Life of Saint Francis Xavier returned to the world, they would not dare to write that the saint revived nine corpses, that he was in two places, on the sea and on land, at the same time, and that his crucifix fell into the sea and was restored to him by a crab.

It is the same with excommunications. Our historians tells us that when King Robert was excommunicated by Pope Gregory V, for marrying his godmother, the princess Bertha, his domestic servants threw the meats to be served to the king right out the window, and Queen Bertha gave birth to a goose in punishment for the incestuous marriage. One could seriously doubt that in this day and age the servants of the king of France, if he were excommunicated, would throw his dinner out the window, or that the queen would give birth to a goose.

There are still a few convulsive fanatics (6) in remote corners of the suburbs; but this disease only attacks the most vile population. Each day reason penetrates further into France, into the shops of merchants as well as the mansions of lords. We must cultivate the fruits of this reason, especially since it is impossible to check its advance. One cannot govern France, after it has been enlightened by Pascal, Nicole, Arnauld, Bossuiet, Descartes, Gassendi, Bayle, Fontenelle, and the others, as it as been governed in the times of Garasse and Menot.

If the masters of errors, and I'm speaking here of the grand masters, so long paid and honored for abusing the human species, ordered us today to believe that the seed must die in order to germinate; that the world is immovable on its foundations, that it does not orbit around the sun; that the tides are not a natural effect of gravitation; that the rainbow is not formed by the refraction and the reflection of rays of light, and so on, and they based their ordinances on passages poorly understood from the Holy Bible, how would educated men regard these men? Would the term "beasts" seem too strong? And if these wise masters used force and persecution to enforce their insolent stupidity, would the term "wild beasts" seem too extreme?

The more the superstitions of monks are despised, the more the bishops are respected and the priests listened to; while they do no good, these monkish superstitions from over the mountains (7) do a great deal of harm. But of all these superstitions, is not the most dangerous that of hating your neighbor for his opinions? And is it not evident that it would be much more reasonable to worship the Holy Navel, the Holy Foreskin, or the milk or the robe of the Virgin Mary, (8) than to detest and persecute your brother?

Chapter 21: Virtue is Better than Science

The fewer dogmas, the fewer disputes; the fewer disputes, the fewer miseries: if this is not true, then I'm wrong.

Religion was instituted to make us happy in this life and in the other. What must we do to be happy in the life to come? Be just.

What must we do in order to be happy in this life, as far as the misery of our nature permits? Be indulgent.

It would be the height of folly to pretend to improve all men to the point that they think in a uniform manner about metaphysics. it would be easier to subjugate the entire universe through force of arms than to subjugate the minds of a single village. . . .

Chapter 22: On Universal Tolerance

It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?

But these people despise us; they treat us as idolaters! Very well! I will tell them that they are grievously wrong. It seems to me that I would at least astonish the proud, dogmatic Islam imam or Buddhist priest, if I spoke to them as follows:

"This little globe, which is but a point, rolls through space, as do many other globes; we are lost in the immensity of the universe. Man, only five feet high, is assuredly only a small thing in creation. One of these imperceptible beings says to another one of his neighbors, in Arabia or South Africa: 'Listen to me, because God of all these worlds has enlightened me: there are nine hundred million little ants like us on the earth, but my ant-hole is the only one dear to God; all the other are cast off by Him for eternity; mine alone will be happy, and all the others will be eternally damned."

They would then interrupt me, and ask which fool blabbed all this nonsense. I would be obliged to answer, "You, yourselves." I would then endeavor to calm them, which would be very difficult.

I would then speak with the Christians, and I would dare to say, for example, to a Dominican Inquisitor of the Faith: (9) "My brother, you know that each province of Italy has their own dialect, and that people do not speak at Venice or Bergamo the same way they speak at Florence. The Academy of Crusca near Florence has fixed the language; its dictionary is a rule which one dare not depart from, and the Grammar of Buonmattei is an infallible guide that one must follow. But do you believe that the consul of the Academy, or Buonmattei in his absence, could in conscience cut the tongues out of all the Venetians and all the Bergamese who persist in speaking their dialect?"

The inquisitor responds, "There is a difference between your example and our practice. For us, it is a matter of the health of your soul. It is for your good that the director of the Inquisition ordains that you be seized on the testimony of a single person, however infamous or criminal that person might be; that you will have no advocate to defend you; that the name of your accuser will not even be known by you; that the inquisitor can promise you mercy, and immediately condemn you; that five different tortures will be applied to you, and then you will be flogged, or sent to the galleys, or ceremoniously burned. Father Ivonet, Doctor Cuchalon, Zanchinus, Campegius, Roias, Felynus, Gomarus, Diabarus, Gemelinus, are explicit on this point, and this pious practice cannot suffer any contradiction."

I would take the liberty to respond, "My brother, perhaps you are reasonable; I am convinced that you wish to do me good; but could I not be saved without all that?"

It is true that these absurd horrors do not stain the face of the earth every day; but they are frequent, and they could easily fill a volume much greater than the gospels which condemn them. (10) Not only is it extremely cruel to persecute in this brief life those who do not think the way we do, but I do not know if it might be too presumptuous to declare their eternal damnation. It seems to me that it does not pertain to the atoms of the moment, such as we are, to anticipate the decrees of the Creator.

Translated by Richard Hooker


(1) Ancient Greek demigods.
(2) His name means "knee" in French.
(3) Her name suggests light.
(4) Physical remains of saints, either their body parts, clothing, or any other physical object associated with them; these relics were supposed to display remarkable curative and other magical properties.
(5) Reformers who agreed in many ways with Protestant ideas.
(6) Ecstatics who fell into religious fits.
(7) Rome.
(8) These are all relics actually venerated in his time.
(9) The Dominicans ran the notorious Inquisition which tortured and condemned to death people who departed from orthodox Catholicism.
(10) Note how he slips in this comment, arguing that the Inquisition itself is contrary to the teachings of Christ.



"In my Future of an Illusion…I was concerned much less with the deepest sources of the religious feeling than with what the common man understands by his religion - with the system of doctrines and promises which on the one hand explains to him the riddles of this world with enviable completeness, and, on the other, assures him that a careful Providence will watch over his life and will compensate him in a future existence for any frustrations he suffers here. The common man cannot imagine this Providence otherwise than in the figure of an enormously exalted father. Only such a being can understand the needs of the children of men and be softened by their prayers and placated by the signs of their remorse. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. It is still more humiliating to discover how large a number of people living today, who cannot but see that this religion is not tenable, nevertheless try to defend it piece by piece in a series of pitiful rearguard actions."

- Sigmund Freud (on Religion)


"Religious feeling is therefore a character inherent in the very structure of the human mind, and is the expression of a need which must be recognized by the biologist as neither superficial nor transitory. It must be admitted that some philosophers and men of science have at times denied to the religious impulses of man their true dignity and importance. Impelled perhaps by a desire to close the circle of a materialistic conception of the universe, they have tended to belittle the significance of such phenomena as they were unable to reconcile with their principles and bring within the iron circle of their doctrine. To deal with religion in this way has not only been an outrage upon true scientific method, but has always led to a strong reaction in
general opinion against any radical inquiry by science into the deeper problems of man's nature and status. A large and energetic reaction of this kind prevails to-day. There can be little doubt that it was precipitated, if not provoked, by attempts to force a harsh and dogmatic materialism into the status of a general philosophy. As long as such a system is compelled to ignore, to depreciate, or to deny the reality of such manifestly important
phenomena as the altruistic emotions, the religious needs and feelings, the experiences of awe and wonder and beauty, the illumination of the mystic, the rapture of the prophet, the unconquerable endurance of the martyr, so long must it fail in its claims to universality. It is therefore necessary to lay down with the strongest emphasis the proposition that the religious needs and feelings of man are a direct and necessary manifestation of the
inheritance of instinct with which he is born, and therefore deserve consideration as respectful and observation as minute as any other biological phenomenon." ~ Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, Wilfred Trotter 1916


[6] Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, was influenced by both "The Crowd" by Gustave Le Bon and "Instincts of the Herd in Peace & War" by Wilfred Trotter. In his famous book "Propaganda" he declared that a major feature of democracy was the manipulation of the mass mind by media and advertising.

"Separate the lock from the key and the best place to hide is right out in the open. So if they create enough cognitive dissonance, will we ever know where the lies end and the truth begins ? " -- Nemo Denovo

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Old 20-09-2013, 12:18 AM   #9
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An excerpt from George Gissing's "New Grub Street," one of George Orwell's favorite novels:


Marian had overcome her excess of emotion.

'There is no need to disparage yourself' she said. 'What can be simpler than the truth? You loved me, or thought you did, and now you love me no longer. It is a thing that happens every day, either in man or woman, and all that honour demands is the courage to confess the truth. Why didn't you tell me as soon as you knew that I was burdensome to you?'

'Marian, will you do this?--will you let our engagement last for another six months, but without our meeting during that time?'

'But to what purpose?'

'Then we would see each other again, and both would be able to speak calmly, and we should both know with certainty what course we ought to pursue.'

'That seems to me childish. It is easy for you to contemplate months of postponement. There must be an end now; I can bear it no longer.'

The rain fell unceasingly, and with it began to mingle an autumnal mist. Jasper delayed a moment, then asked calmly: 'Are you going to the Museum?'


'Go home again for this morning, Marian. You can't work--'

'I must; and I have no time to lose. Good-bye!'

She gave him her hand. They looked at each other for an instant, then Marian left the shelter of the tree, opened her umbrella, and walked quickly away. Jasper did not watch her; he had the face of a man who is suffering a severe humiliation.

A few hours later he told Dora what had come to pass, and without extenuation of his own conduct. His sister said very little, for she recognised genuine suffering in his tones and aspect. But when it was over, she sat down and wrote to Marian.

'I feel far more disposed to congratulate you than to regret what has happened. Now that there is no necessity for silence, I will tell you something which will help you to see Jasper in his true light. A few weeks ago he actually proposed to a woman for whom he does not pretend to have the slightest affection, but who is very rich, and who seemed likely to be foolish enough to marry him. Yesterday morning he received her final answer--a refusal. I am not sure that I was right in keeping this a secret from you, but I might have done harm by interfering. You will understand (though surely you need no fresh proof) how utterly unworthy he is of you. You cannot, I am sure you cannot, regard it as a misfortune that all is over between you. Dearest Marian, do not cease to think of me as your friend because my brother has disgraced himself. If you can't see me, at least let us write to each other. You are the only friend I have of my own sex, and I could not bear to lose you.'

And much more of the same tenor.

Several days passed before there came a reply. It was written with undisturbed kindness of feeling, but in few words.

'For the present we cannot see each other, but I am very far from wishing that our friendship should come to an end. I must only ask that you will write to me without the least reference to these troubles; tell me always about yourself, and be sure that you cannot tell me too much. I hope you may soon be able to send me the news which was foreshadowed in our last talk--though "foreshadowed" is a wrong word to use of coming happiness, isn't it? That paper I sent to Mr Trenchard is accepted, and I shall be glad to have your criticism when it comes out; don't spare my style, which needs a great deal of chastening. I have been thinking: couldn't you use your holiday in Sark for a story? To judge from your letters, you could make an excellent background of word-painting.'

Dora sighed, and shook her little head, and thought of her brother with unspeakable disdain.

When the fitting moment arrived, Alfred Yule underwent an operation for cataract, and it was believed at first that the result would be favourable. This hope had but short duration; though the utmost prudence was exercised, evil symptoms declared themselves, and in a few months' time all prospect of restoring his vision was at an end. Anxiety, and then the fatal assurance, undermined his health; with blindness, there fell upon him the debility of premature old age.

The position of the family was desperate. Marian had suffered much all the winter from attacks of nervous disorder, and by no effort of will could she produce enough literary work to supplement adequately the income derived from her fifteen hundred pounds. In the summer of 1885 things were at the worst; Marian saw no alternative but to draw upon her capital, and so relieve the present at the expense of the future. She had a mournful warning before her eyes in the case of poor Hinks and his wife, who were now kept from the workhouse only by charity. But at this juncture the rescuer appeared. Mr Quarmby and certain of his friends were already making a subscription for the Yules' benefit, when one of their number--Mr Jedwood, the publisher--came forward with a proposal which relieved the minds of all concerned. Mr Jedwood had a brother who was the director of a public library in a provincial town, and by this means he was enabled to offer Marian Yule a place as assistant in that institution; she would receive seventy-five pounds a year, and thus, adding her own income, would be able to put her parents beyond the reach of want. The family at once removed from London, and the name of Yule was no longer met with in periodical literature.

By an interesting coincidence, it was on the day of this departure that there appeared a number of The West End in which the place of honour, that of the week's Celebrity, was occupied by Clement Fadge. A coloured portrait of this illustrious man challenged the admiration of all who had literary tastes, and two columns of panegyric recorded his career for the encouragement of aspiring youth. This article, of course unsigned, came from the pen of Jasper Milvain.

It was only by indirect channels that Jasper learnt how Marian and her parents had been provided for. Dora's correspondence with her friend soon languished; in the nature of things this could not but happen; and about the time when Alfred Yule became totally blind the girls ceased to hear anything of each other. An event which came to pass in the spring sorely tempted Dora to write, but out of good feeling she refrained. For it was then that she at length decided to change her name for that of Whelpdale. Jasper could not quite reconcile himself to this condescension; in various discourses he pointed out to his sister how much higher she might look if she would only have a little patience.

'Whelpdale will never be a man of any note. A good fellow, I admit, but borne in all senses. Let me impress upon you, my dear girl, that I have a future before me, and that there is no reason--with your charm of person and mind--why you should not marry brilliantly. Whelpdale can give you a decent home, I admit, but as regards society he will be a drag upon you.'

'It happens, Jasper, that I have promised to marry him,' replied Dora, in a significant tone.

'Well, I regret it, but--you are of course your own mistress. I shall make no unpleasantness. I don't dislike Whelpdale, and I shall remain on friendly terms with him.'

'That is very kind of you,' said his sister suavely.

Whelpdale was frantic with exultation. When the day of the wedding had been settled, he rushed into Jasper's study and fairly shed tears before he could command his voice.

'There is no mortal on the surface of the globe one-tenth so happy as I am!' he gasped.

'I can't believe it! Why in the name of sense and justice have I been suffered to attain this blessedness? Think of the days when I all but starved in my Albany Street garret, scarcely better off than poor, dear old Biffen! Why should I have come to this, and Biffen have poisoned himself in despair? He was a thousand times a better and cleverer fellow than I. And poor old Reardon, dead in misery! Could I for a moment compare with him?'

'My dear fellow,' said Jasper, calmly, 'compose yourself and be logical. In the first place, success has nothing whatever to do with moral deserts; and then, both Reardon and Biffen were hopelessly unpractical. In such an admirable social order as ours, they were bound to go to the dogs. Let us be sorry for them, but let us recognise causas rerum, as Biffen would have said. You have exercised ingenuity and perseverance; you have your reward.'

'And when I think that I might have married fatally on thirteen or fourteen different occasions. By-the-by, I implore you never to tell Dora those stories about me. I should lose all her respect. Do you remember the girl from Birmingham?' He laughed wildly. 'Heaven be praised that she threw me over! Eternal gratitude to all and sundry of the girls who have plunged me into wretchedness!'

'I admit that you have run the gauntlet, and that you have had marvellous escapes. But be good enough to leave me alone for the present. I must finish this review by midday.'

'Only one word. I don't know how to thank Dora, how to express my infinite sense of her goodness. Will you try to do so for me? You can speak to her with calmness. Will you tell her what I have said to you?'

'Oh, certainly.--I should recommend a cooling draught of some kind. Look in at a chemist's as you walk on.'

The heavens did not fall before the marriage-day, and the wedded pair betook themselves for a few weeks to the Continent. They had been back again and established in their house at Earl's Court for a month, when one morning about twelve o'clock Jasper dropped in, as though casually. Dora was writing; she had no thought of entirely abandoning literature, and had in hand at present a very pretty tale which would probably appear in The English Girl. Her boudoir, in which she sat, could not well have been daintier and more appropriate to the charming characteristics of its mistress. Mrs Whelpdale affected no literary slovenliness; she was dressed in light colours, and looked so lovely that even Jasper paused on the threshold with a smile of admiration.

'Upon my word,' he exclaimed, 'I am proud of my sisters! What did you think of Maud last night? Wasn't she superb?'

'She certainly did look very well. But I doubt if she's very happy.'

'That is her own look out; I told her plainly enough my opinion of Dolomore. But she was in such a tremendous hurry.'

'You are detestable, Jasper! Is it inconceivable to you that a man or woman should be disinterested when they marry?'

'By no means.'

'Maud didn't marry for money any more than I did.'

'You remember the Northern Farmer: "Doan't thou marry for money, but go where money is." An admirable piece of advice. Well, Maud made a mistake, let us say. Dolomore is a clown, and now she knows it. Why, if she had waited, she might have married one of the leading men of the day. She is fit to be a duchess, as far as appearance goes; but I was never snobbish. I care very little about titles; what I look to is intellectual distinction.'

'Combined with financial success.'

'Why, that is what distinction means.' He looked round the room with a smile. 'You are not uncomfortable here, old girl. I wish mother could have lived till now.'

'I wish it very, very often,' Dora replied in a moved voice.

'We haven't done badly, drawbacks considered. Now, you may speak of money as scornfully as you like; but suppose you had married a man who could only keep you in lodgings! How would life look to you?'

'Who ever disputed the value of money? But there are things one mustn't sacrifice to gain it.'

'I suppose so. Well, I have some news for you, Dora. I am thinking of following your example.'

Dora's face changed to grave anticipation.

'And who is it?'

'Amy Reardon.'

His sister turned away, with a look of intense annoyance.

'You see, I am disinterested myself,' he went on.

'I might find a wife who had wealth and social standing. But I choose Amy deliberately.'

'An abominable choice!'

'No; an excellent choice. I have never yet met a woman so well fitted to aid me in my career. She has a trifling sum of money, which will be useful for the next year or two--'

'What has she done with the rest of it, then?'

'Oh, the ten thousand is intact, but it can't be seriously spoken of. It will keep up appearances till I get my editorship and so on. We shall be married early in August, I think. I want to ask you if you will go and see her.'

'On no account! I couldn't be civil to her.'

Jasper's brows blackened.

'This is idiotic prejudice, Dora. I think I have some claim upon you; I have shown some kindness--'

'You have, and I am not ungrateful. But I dislike Mrs Reardon, and I couldn't bring myself to be friendly with her.'

'You don't know her.'

'Too well. You yourself have taught me to know her. Don't compel me
to say what I think of her.'

'She is beautiful, and high-minded, and warm-hearted. I don't know a womanly quality that she doesn't possess. You will offend me most seriously if you speak a word against her.'

'Then I will be silent. But you must never ask me to meet her.'



'Then we shall quarrel. I haven't deserved this, Dora. If you refuse to meet my wife on terms of decent friendliness, there's no more intercourse between your house and mine. You have to choose. Persist in this fatuous obstinacy, and I have done with you!'

'So be it!'

'That is your final answer?'

Dora, who was now as angry as he, gave a short affirmative, and Jasper at once left her.

But it was very unlikely that things should rest at this pass. The brother and sister were bound by a strong mutual affection, and Whelpdale was not long in effecting a compromise.

'My dear wife,' he exclaimed, in despair at the threatened calamity, 'you are right, a thousand times, but it's impossible for you to be on ill terms with Jasper. There's no need for you to see much of Mrs Reardon--'

'I hate her! She killed her husband; I am sure of it.'

'My darling!'

'I mean by her base conduct. She is a cold, cruel, unprincipled creature! Jasper makes himself more than ever contemptible by marrying her.'

All the same, in less than three weeks Mrs Whelpdale had called upon Amy, and the call was returned. The two women were perfectly conscious of reciprocal dislike, but they smothered the feeling beneath conventional suavities. Jasper was not backward in making known his gratitude for Dora's concession, and indeed it became clear to all his intimates that this marriage would be by no means one of mere interest; the man was in love at last, if he had never been before.


George Orwell on George Gissing

In the shadow of the atomic bomb it is not easy to talk confidently about progress. However, if it can be assumed that we are not going to be blown to pieces in about ten years' time, there are many reasons, and George Gissing's novels are among them, for thinking that the present age is a good deal better than the last one. If Gissing were still alive he would be younger than Bernard Shaw, and yet already the London of which he wrote seems almost as distant as that of Dickens. It is the fog-bound, gas-lit London of the ‘eighties, a city of drunken puritans, where clothes, architecture and furniture had reached their rock-bottom of ugliness, and where it was almost normal for a working-class family of ten persons to inhabit a single room. On the whole Gissing does not write of the worst depths of poverty, but one can hardly read his descriptions of lower-middle-class life, so obviously truthful in their dreariness, without feeling that we have improved perceptibly on that black-coated, money-ruled world of only sixty years ago.

Everything of Gissing's — except perhaps one or two books written towards the end of his life — contains memorable passages, and anyone who is making his acquaintance for the first time might do worse than start with In the Year of the Jubilee. It was rather a pity, however, to use up paper in reprinting two of his minor works when the books by which he ought to be remembered are and have been for years completely unprocurable. The Odd Women, for instance, is about as thoroughly out of print as a book can be. I possess a copy myself, in one of those nasty little red-covered cheap editions that flourished before the 1914 war, but that is the only copy I have ever seen or heard of. New Grub Street, Gissing's masterpiece, I have never succeeded in buying. When I have read it, it has been in soupstained copies borrowed from public lending libraries: so also with Demos, The Nether World and one or two others. So far as I know only The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, the book on Dickens, and A Life's Morning, have been in print at all recently. However, the two now reprinted are well worth reading, especially In the Year of the Jubilee, which is the more sordid and therefore the more characteristic.

In his introduction Mr William Plomer remarks that ‘generally speaking, Gissing's novels are about money and women,’ and Miss Myfanwy Evans says something very similar in introducing The Whirlpool. One might, I think, widen the definition and say that Gissing's novels are a protest against the form of self-torture that goes by the name of respectability. Gissing was a bookish, perhaps over-civilised man, in love with classical antiquity, who found himself trapped in a cold, smoky, Protestant country where it was impossible to be comfortable without a thick padding of money between yourself and the outer world. Behind his rage and querulousness there lay a perception that the horrors of life in late-Victorian England were largely unnecessary. The grime, the stupidity, the ugliness, the sex-starvation, the furtive debauchery, the vulgarity, the bad manners, the censoriousness — these things were unnecessary, since the puritanism of which they were a relic no longer upheld the structure of society. People who might, without becoming less efficient, have been reasonably happy chose instead to be miserable, inventing senseless taboos with which to terrify themselves. Money was a nuisance not merely because without it you starved; what was more important was that unless you had quite a lot of it — £300 a year, say — society would not allow you to live gracefully or even peacefully. Women were a nuisance because even more than men they were the believers in taboos, still enslaved to respectability even when they had offended against it. Money and women were therefore the two instruments through which society avenged itself on the courageous and the intelligent. Gissing would have liked a little more money for himself and some others, but he was not much interested in what we should now call social justice. He did not admire the working class as such, and he did not believe in democracy. He wanted to speak not for the multitude, but for the exceptional man, the sensitive man, isolated among barbarians.

In The Odd Women there is not a single major character whose life is not ruined either by having too little money, or by getting it too late in life, or by the pressure of social conventions which are obviously absurd but which cannot be questioned. An elderly spinster crowns a useless life by taking to drink; a pretty young girl marries a man old enough to be her father; a struggling schoolmaster puts off marrying his sweetheart until both of them are middle-aged and withered; a good-natured man is nagged to death by his wife; an exceptionally intelligent, spirited man misses his chance to make an adventurous marriage and relapses into futility; in each case the ultimate reason for the disaster lies in obeying the accepted social code, or in not having enough money to circumvent it. In A Life's Morning an honest and gifted man meets with ruin and death because it is impossible to walk about a big town with no hat on. His hat is blown out of the window when he is travelling in the train, and as he has not enough money to buy another, he misappropriates some money belonging to his employer, which sets going a series of disasters. This is an interesting example of the changes in outlook that can suddenly make an all-powerful taboo seem ridiculous. Today, if you had somehow contrived to lose your trousers, you would probably embezzle money rather than walk about in your underpants. In the ‘eighties the necessity would have seemed equally strong in the case of a hat. Even thirty or forty years ago, indeed, bare-headed men were booed at in the street. Then, for no very clear reason, hatlessness became respectable, and today the particular tragedy described by Gissing — entirely plausible in its context — would be quite impossible.

The most impressive of Gissing's books is New Grub Street. To a professional writer it is also an upsetting and demoralising book, because it deals among other things with that much-dreaded occupational disease, sterility. No doubt the number of writers who suddenly lose the power to write is not large, but it is a calamity that might happen to anybody at any moment, like sexual impotence. Gissing, of course, links it up with his habitual themes — money, the pressure of the social code, and the stupidity of women.

Edwin Reardon, a young novelist — he has just deserted a clerkship after having a fluky success with a single novel — marries a charming and apparently intelligent young woman, with a small income of her own. Here, and in one or two other places, Gissing makes what now seems the curious remark that it is difficult for an educated man who is not rich to get married. Reardon brings it off, but his less successful friend, who lives in an attic and supports himself by ill-paid tutoring jobs, has to accept celibacy as a matter of course. If he did succeed in finding himself a wife, we are told, it could only be an uneducated girl from the slums. Women of refinement and sensibility will not face poverty. And here one notices again the deep difference between that day and our own. Doubtless Gissing is right in implying all through his books that intelligent women are very rare animals, and if one wants to marry a woman who is intelligent and pretty, then the choice is still further restricted, according to a well-known arithmetical rule. It is like being allowed to choose only among albinos, and left-handed albinos at that. But what comes out in Gissing's treatment of his odious heroine, and of certain others among his women, is that at that date the idea of delicacy, refinement, even intelligence, in the case of a woman, was hardly separable from the idea of superior social status and expensive physical surroundings. The sort of woman whom a writer would want to marry was also the sort of woman who would shrink from living in an attic. When Gissing wrote New Grub Street that was probably true, and it could, I think, be justly claimed that it is not true today.

Almost as soon as Reardon is married it becomes apparent that his wife is merely a silly snob, the kind of woman in whom ‘artistic tastes’ are no more than a cover for social competitiveness. In marrying a novelist she has thought to marry someone who will rapidly become famous and shed reflected glory upon herself. Reardon is a studious, retiring, ineffectual man, a typical Gissing hero. He has been caught up in an expensive, pretentious world in which he knows he will never be able to maintain himself, and his nerve fails almost immediately. His wife, of course, has not the faintest understanding of what is meant by literary creation. There is a terrible passage — terrible, at least, to anyone who earns his living by writing — in which she calculates the number of pages that it would be possible to write in a day, and hence the number of novels that her husband may be expected to produce in a year — with the reflection that really it is not a very laborious profession. Meanwhile Reardon has been stricken dumb. Day after day he sits at his desk; nothing happens, nothing comes. Finally, in panic, he manufactures a piece of rubbish; his publisher, because Reardon's previous book had been successful, dubiously accepts it. Thereafter he is unable to produce anything that even looks as if it might be printable. He is finished.

The desolating thing is that if only he could get back to his clerkship and his bachelorhood, he would be all right. The hard-boiled journalist who finally marries Reardon's widow sums him up accurately by saying that he is the kind of man who, if left to himself, would write a fairly good book every two years. But, of course, he is not left to himself. He cannot revert to his old profession, and he cannot simply settle down to live on his wife's money: public opinion, operating through his wife, harries him into impotence and finally into the grave. Most of the other literary characters in the book are not much more fortunate, and the troubles that beset them are still very much the same today. But at least it is unlikely that the book's central disaster would now happen in quite that way or for quite those reasons. The chances are that Reardon's wife would be less of a fool, and that he would have fewer scruples about walking out on her if she made life intolerable for him. A woman of rather similar type turns up in The Whirlpool in the person of Alina Frothingham. By contrast there are the three Miss Frenches in The Year of Jubilee, who represent the emerging lower-middleclass — a class which, according to Gissing, was getting hold of money and power which it was not fitted to use — and who are quite surprisingly coarse, rowdy, shrewish and immoral. At first sight Gissing's ‘ladylike’ and ‘unladylike’ women seem to be different and even opposite kinds of animal, and this seems to invalidate his implied condemnation of the female sex in general. The connecting link between them, however, is that all of them are miserably limited in outlook. Even the clever and spirited ones, like Rhoda in The Odd Women (an interesting early specimen of the New Woman), cannot think in terms of generalities, and cannot get away from ready-made standards. In his heart Gissing seems to feel that women are natural inferiors. He wants them to be better educated, but on the other hand he does not want them to have freedom, which they are certain to misuse. On the whole the best women in his books are the self-effacing, home-keeping ones.

There are several of Gissing's books that I have never read, because I have never been able to get hold of them, and these unfortunately include Born in Exile, which is said by some people to be his best book. But merely on the strength of New Grub Street, Demos and The Odd Women I am ready to maintain that England has produced very few better novelists. This perhaps sounds like a rash statement until one stops to consider what is meant by a novel. The word ‘novel’ is commonly used to cover almost any kind of story — The Golden Ass, Anna Karenina, Don Quixote, The Improvisatore, Madame Bovary, King Solomon's Mines or anything else you like — but it also has a narrower sense in which it means something hardly existing before the nineteenth century and flourishing chiefly in Russia and France. A novel, in this sense, is a story which attempts to describe credible human beings, and — without necessarily using the technique of naturalism — to show them acting on everyday motives and not merely undergoing strings of improbable adventures. A true novel, sticking to this definition, will also contain at least two characters, probably more, who are described from the inside and on the same level of probability — which, in effect, rules out the novels written in the first person. If one accepts this definition, it becomes apparent that the novel is not an art-form in which England has excelled. The writers commonly paraded as ‘great English novelists’ have a way of turning out either not to be true novelists, or not to be Englishmen. Gissing was not a writer of picaresque tales, or burlesques, or comedies, or political tracts: he was interested in individual human beings, and the fact that he can deal sympathetically with several different sets of motives, and makes a credible story out of the collision between them, makes him exceptional among English writers.

Certainly there is not much of what is usually called beauty, not much lyricism, in the situations and characters that he chooses to imagine, and still less in the texture of his writing. His prose, indeed, is often disgusting. Here are a couple of samples:

Not with impunity could her thought accustom itself to stray in regions forbidden, how firm soever her resolve to hold bodily aloof. (The Whirlpool)

The ineptitude of uneducated Englishwomen in all that relates to their attire is a fact that it boots not to enlarge upon. (In the Year of the Jubilee)

However, he does not commit the faults that really matter. It is always clear what he means, he never ‘writes for effect’, he knows how to keep the balance between recit and dialogue and how to make dialogue sound probable while not contrasting too sharply with the prose that surrounds it. A much more serious fault than his inelegant manner of writing is the smallness of his range of experience. He is only acquainted with a few strata of society, and, in spite of his vivid understanding of the pressure of circumstance on character, does not seem to have much grasp of political or economic forces. In a mild way his outlook is reactionary, from lack of foresight rather than from ill-will. Having been obliged to live among them, he regarded the working class as savages, and in saying so he was merely being intellectually honest; he did not see that they were capable of becoming civilised if given slightly better opportunities. But, after all, what one demands from a novelist is not prophecy, and part of the charm of Gissing is that he belongs so unmistakably to his own time, although his time treated him badly.

The English writer nearest to Gissing always seems to be his contemporary, or near-contemporary, Mark Rutherford. If one simply tabulates their outstanding qualities, the two men appear to be very different. Mark Rutherford was a less prolific writer than Gissing, he was less definitely a novelist, he wrote much better prose, his books belong less recognisably to any particular time, and he was in outlook a social reformer and, above all, a puritan. Yet there is a sort of haunting resemblance, probably explained by the fact that both men lack that curse of English writers, a ‘sense of humour’. A certain low-spiritedness, and air of loneliness, is common to both of them. There are, of course, funny passages in Gissing's books, but he is not chiefly concerned with getting a laugh — above all, he has no impulse towards burlesque. He treats all his major characters more or less seriously, and with at least an attempt at sympathy. Any novel will inevitably contain minor characters who are mere grotesques or who are observed in a purely hostile spirit, but there is such a thing as impartiality, and Gissing is more capable of it than the great majority of English writers. It is a point in his favour that he had no very strong moral purpose. He had, of course, a deep loathing of the ugliness, emptiness and cruelty of the society he lived in, but he was concerned to describe it rather than to change it. There is usually no one in his books who can be pointed to as the villain, and even when there is a villain he is not punished. In his treatment of sexual matters Gissing is surprisingly frank, considering the time at which he was writing. It is not that he writes pornography or expresses approval of sexual promiscuity, but simply that he is willing to face the facts. The unwritten law of English fiction, the law that the hero as well as the heroine of a novel should be virgin when married, is disregarded in his books, almost for the first time since Fielding.
Like most English writers subsequent to the mid-nineteenth century, Gissing could not imagine any desirable destiny other than being a writer or a gentleman of leisure. The dichotomy between the intellectual and the lowbrow already existed, and a person capable of writing a serious novel could no longer picture himself as fully satisfied with the life of a businessman, or a soldier, or a politician, or what not. Gissing did not, at least consciously, even want to be the kind of writer that he was. His ideal, a rather melancholy one, was to have a moderate private income and live in a small comfortable house in the country, preferably unmarried, where he could wallow in books, especially the Greek and Latin classics. He might perhaps have realised this ideal if he had not managed to get himself into prison immediately after winning an Oxford scholarship: as it was he spent his life in what appeared to him to be hack work, and when he had at last reached the point where he could stop writing against the clock, he died almost immediately, aged only about forty-five. His death, described by H.G. Wells in his Experiment in Autobiography, was of a piece with his life. The twenty novels, or thereabouts, that he produced between 1880 and 1900 were, so to speak, sweated out of him during his struggle towards a leisure which he never enjoyed and which he might not have used to good advantage if he had had it: for it is difficult to believe that his temperament really fitted him for a life of scholarly research. Perhaps the natural pull of his gifts would in any case have drawn him towards novel writing sooner or later. If not, we must be thankful for the piece of youthful folly which turned him aside from a comfortable middle-class career and forced him to become the chronicler of vulgarity, squalor and failure.


George Gissing — This review-essay was written in 1948 for a magazine (which magazine?), but did not appear in Orwell's lifetime. Published in London Magazine on June 1960.

Orwell in Morocco

Orwell's Burmese passport photo

George Gissing, E.W. Hornung, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells

Delphi Complete Works of George Gissing (Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]


A little background info on the powers that produced the economic conditions Dickens, Gissing and others wrote about and how these same powers expanded from England into the USA:


The key bank is the Bank of England

1492: The Spanish expelled the entire Jewish community including Christopher Columbus.

This was one of many expulsions, there have been around 109 expulsions since 250 AD, usually for usury and anti-social behavior but the tipping point in the Spanish expulsion was ritual murder, the same reason the English expelled the Jews in the year 1290

An Israeli professor named Ariel Toaff wrote a book calle "Blood Passover" about Simon of Trent and the ritual murders of Italy. He confirmed that they did take place. Toaff was the son of the former Grand Rabbi of Rome, and a professor of Jewish Renaissance and Medieval History at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, just outside Tel Aviv.

If this book had been published in Israel, in Hebrew, no one would have cared. There are large bodies of literature in Hebrew that Jews do not wish Gentiles to know about. But Dr. Toaff’s publication of this book in Italy, in Italian, raised a worldwide firestorm of fury. Under unbearable pressure, the book was withdrawn from publication, and is not to be re-issued.


translated by Gian Marco Lucchese and Pietro Gianetti
can be read here:


After this Jewish community was expelled from Spain, quite a number of them went north since they weren't allowed to settle in France. They set up a community mainly in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

When Charles V became king of Spain he expelled them from South Netherlands too so they became concentrated in one small part of Holland.

From that small base of operations they started their banking and usury, financing shipping companies like The Dutch East India Company, but their ultimate objective was to return to England.

England had the attraction of being an island and therefore less likely to be involved in a war and it also had a very strong navy, the strongest navy in the world which had defeated the Spanish Armada in 1558. So the English navy, both the Royal and Merchant navy were ideally suited for pursuing their business interests.

Forcing wars on countries could very well be part of this 'ritual murder' psychosis

Antonio Fernandez Carvajal was a Portuguese Marano Jew (practicing as a Catholic outwardly) who helped finance Cromwell's army, receiving his funds from Holland. This war killed about 190,000 people or almost 4% of the British population at that time and lasted from 1642 to 1648

Cromwell won and eventually on a trumped up charge they accused Charles I of treason, in a sort of a first version of the 'Nuremberg Trial' from centuries later, in which EVERYTHING was concocted. Charles I refused to plead and he was duly found guilty and beheaded on January 16, 1649.

Cromwell To Ebenezer Pratt of the Mulheim Synagogue in Amsterdam,
16th June 1647:

— “In return for financial support will advocate admission of Jews to England: This however impossible while Charles living. Charles cannot be executed without trial, adequate grounds for which do not at present exist. Therefore advise that Charles be assassinated, but will have nothing to do with arrangements for procuring an assassin, though willing to help in his escape.” —

To Oliver Cromwell From Ebenezer Pratt, 12th July 1647:

— “Will grant financial aid as soon as Charles removed and Jews admitted. Assassination too dangerous. Charles shall be given opportunity to escape: His recapture will make trial and execution possible. The support will be liberal, but useless to discuss terms until trial commences.” —


Nuremberg The Last Battle by David Irving can be read here:


Cromwell tried to make it possible for the Jews to return but this wasn't easy because there were statutes on the books from 1290 that the Jews may not live in England under any circumstances.

So Cromwell convened a meeting in London where he asked all his supporters, many lawyers, merchants and priests to discuss the matter and then pass a motion agreeing to the return of the Jews and strangely enough THEY ALL SAID NO. They believed that the return of the Jews would be a menace to the government and the Christian religion and they also were worried that the whole ethos of commercial life in England would be seriously undermined.

So Cromwell had to give up and just allow the Jews to come in surreptitiously in steadily increasing numbers. They didn't make their move until the last of the Stuart kings had been removed in 1688. Along came the new king, William of Orange and within 6 years the Jews were able to get back in and establish the Bank of England on July 27, 1692 which would be their private bank, although outwardly called The Bank of England. That date marks the end of English independence, the start of the modern New World Order and the subjugation of the English people.

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits." ~ Josiah Charles Stamp, a director of the bank of England

With the establishment of the Bank of England, there arose things that were never heard of before such as:

bank notes
national debt

Plus, in order to pay the INTEREST for the money that the Bank of England was now LENDING to the king and the treasury, in order to fund that interest the people had to be taxed. So a whole bunch of new taxes were introduced:

Tax on land
Salt tax
Poll tax
Stamp tax
Window tax
Paper tax
Tax on births, marriages & death
Tax on peddlers
Tax on hackney coaches

On every conceivable thing there was a tax. And if that wasn't enough an income tax was also introduced at 20%

Soon inflation also became a problem. Then poverty became a widespread problem which before had barely existed. When Benjamin Franklin visited England in 1764, he was amazed at the poverty of the English, the people walking around in rags whereas in the American colonies none of that existed.

Bank of England became the blueprint for central banks throughout the world

With the control of the banks and the influx of the Jewish businessmen, one of the first things they did was to start the Slave Re-trade whereby they would use British ships with British captains and crew. They would send these ships out to the coast of West Africa and remove these negro slaves first to the Caribbean and then later to the Southern states of America.

At the same time there were large number of white slaves that were being sent to America

The slaves in the Caribbean sugar plantations also produced rum and this rum would then be sent back to pay for more slaves.

One of the chief islands there in the Eastern Caribbean is the Island of Nevis which also happens to be the birth place of Alexander Hamilton (real name Levine, half-Jewish, half-mulatto. There is a small mountain there called Mount Zion and the remains of a small synagogue. This Island was populated by Jewish plantation owners with their black slaves. Goodson has visited this Island personally and checked out the cemetery which has many Jewish names there like Moses Menendez, Israel Gonzalez and other names of Portuguese Jews who had settled there.

Alexander Hamilton’s True Identity


So in the late 17th century this small island of only 56 square miles had a bigger economy than New York.

Hamilton drafted the United States Constitution and when they put in the clause that congress would have the right to coin money and regulate the value thereof, Hamilton deliberately omitted the creation of paper money. Thomas Jefferson wanted to include the creation of paper money but he was away in Europe on diplomatic business and they did all this behind his back. Jefferson did not trust Hamilton at all and called him a schemer and a dishonest man.

The first central bank in the colonies was the bank of North America and Pennsylvania

But the first central bank for the whole of United States was set up in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton

Within 8 years of 1783 when America finally signed a peace treaty they already had a central bank reinstated.

The cause of the revolution was the changes which the Bank of England had introduced in 1765, namely that the colonists would have to use English money which they did not have and which brought about, within a year, the same conditions in America that Franklin had observed in London with 50% unemployment.

So it was highly ironic that the Americans got rid of one central bank only to replace it 8 years later with another one.

That central bank lasted 20 years after which the congressmen did not want to renew it since they saw that it was not working in their interests. They received direct threats from the Rothschilds that if the central bank wasn't renewed there would be trouble.

They got the Royal navy to attack American naval vessels and also started gun-running to the Shawnee Indians and their chieftain Tecumseh:

As a result, the Indians became very active and started burning down homesteads.

This was all being done by the Rothschilds in order to force the hand of congress to re-introduce and renew the contract for the central bank of America.

Finally they were forced into a war from June 1812 to August 1814. No one really won the war, the result was inconclusive but there was a huge impact on this young nation. They had a war debt of 105 million dollars and a population at that time of only 8 million people.

The slaves in the southern states were mainly used to produce cotton. This cotton was then baled and exported to the west of England in Lancashire where all the cotton mills were, also known as the satantic mills because the employment conditions were atrocious. Children as young as six years old were also being employed there and often picked up horrendous injuries, loss of limbs and so forth. These cotton mills were also mainly in Jewish hands, as well as the coal mines, which were providing the power for the factories.

Once the cotton was produced, it was then exported to India, mainly to Bengal. The people didn't have any money there so it was exchanged for opium. This opium was then exported to China and the Chinese paid for it in silver. So this is what for about 150 years the so-called 'British' empire was all about: slavery, drugs, exploitation and running the circle from West Africa to the Caribbean to the Southern states of America to England to India and China and then they had the money.

Eventually the Chinese silver was exploited to the point where there was nothing left.

Later on when slavery was abolished there was a break in the chain as it were.

The Chinese were turned into a nation of drug addicts and it caused permanent damage which took them a very long time to recover from.

There were actually more white slaves overall than black slaves. They also used to breed Irish slave women with negroes to produce mulattos.

In 1836 Andrew Jackson closed down the second bank of the United States after they had a horrendous inflation / deflation cycle throughout the 1820's.

Andrew Jackson moved the money out of the second bank of the United States into the banks of his friends where they became the ones who speculated.

From 1836 to 1913, America had a relatively stable economic environment, punctuated by various artificially created panics or bank runs induced by the banking fraternity.

The key date is 1873 because up to that time bank notes circulating, including Lincoln's greenbacks, and silver were the sole forms of exchange. In 1873 the senate passed a law and replaced it all with the gold standard. The governors of the bank of England sent someone across with half a million dollars to go and bribe the members of congress. That bribery was effective and they introduced the gold standard.

After the introduction of the gold standard there were between 1873 and 1913 about 7 booms and busts, all artificially created, with the intent to clean-out the working people and reduce the productivity of the farmers. These artificial booms-&-busts were part of the reason they said America needed to have a central bank to prevent those happening in the future.

So the bankers met a Jeckyl Island and came up with two 'opposing plans' in order to confuse the public that there are two ways of approaching this problem. In fact, the two proposals were identical except the way that they adjusted the reserves of the proposed. bank.

One plan was put forth by Nelson Aldrich who was the grandfather of Nelson Rockefeller and the alternative plan was put forth by Paul Warburg who was the Rothschild agent.

The legislation which was drafted based on these plans was bitterly opposed, not so much in congress but in the senate. One of the leading opponents was Robert La Folette

La Follette and a famous American professor named Irving Fisher put together an amendment which would make the currency dependent not solely on gold and silver but also on commodities.

Fisher was threatened at the last minute to withdraw his input and the amendment wasn't carried through. So they got the bill they wanted. It passed congress in June of 1913 and then in December in the senate when Woodrow Wilson refused to allow them to go in Christmas recess until they had passed the legislation.

All these legislators who have passed private central banks into law have actually committed treason because they have taken away the essential power, the essential sovereignty of a nation and made it subservient to an international clique of criminals.

There are 4 things that are essential to independence. You need to have:

Food independence
Energy independence
Military independence

and then above all:

Monetary independence

Without monetary independence the rest do not actually count.

People say that a 'New World Order' is coming but actually it's already been established for at least a hundred years now, the only thing that's not evident is that the coronation hasn't taken place.

Between 1820 and 1910 the American dollar RETAINED its purchasing power. In other words, a dollar was still worth a dollar 90 years later.

Within six years of the Federal Reserve Bank being established, the prices between 1914 and 1920 increased by 56 percent !

Since then, there have been 18 recessions, 2 depressions if you count the current one, and the dollar has lost 97% of its value !

That is a more than sufficient indictment of the total failure of private central banking and the enormous damage it has caused to society, not only through the wars but in the undermining of social ethics, etc.

Excerpted from the following audio:

Spingola Speaks - 10 / 01 / 2012 - Guest: Stephen Goodson, a former (non-executive) Director of the South African Reserve Bank


Peter "Ginger" Baker, drummer with the rock band Cream, posing with his mother, Ruby Streatfield, outside her home. Location: Bexley, United Kingdom Date taken: 1971.
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Old 22-09-2013, 03:07 AM   #10
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Notes on the Detective Story by Raymond Chandler

1. It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and denouement; it must consist of the plausible actions of plausible people in plausible circumstances, it being remembered that plausibility is largely a matter of style. This requirement rules out most trick endings and a great many "closed circle" stories in which the least likely character is forcibly made over into the criminal, without convincing anybody. It also rules out such elaborate mises-en-scène as Christie's Murder in a Calais Coach (/Murderon-the-Orient-Express) , where the whole setup for the crime requires such a fluky set of happenings that it could never seem real.

2. It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection. No fantastic poisons or improper effects from poison such as death from nonfatal doses, etc. No use of silencers on revolvers (they won't work) or snakes climbing bellropes ("The Speckled Band"). Such things at once destroy the foundation of the story. If the detective is a trained policeman, he must act like one, and have the mental and physical equipment that go with the job. If he is a private investigator or amateur, he must at least know enough about police methods not to make an ass of himself. When a policeman is made out to be a fool, as he always was in the Sherlock Holmes stories, this not only deprecates the accomplishment of the detective but it makes the reader doubt the author's knowledge of his own field. Conan Doyle and Poe were primitives in this art and stand in relation to the best modern writers as Giotto does to da Vinci. They did things which are no longer permissible and exposed ignorances that are no longer tolerated. Also, police art, itself, was rudimentary in their time. "The Purloined Letter" would not fool a modern cop for four minutes. Conan Doyle showed no knowledge whatever of the organization of Scotland Yard's men. Christie commits the same stupidities in our time, but that doesn't make them right. Contrast Austin Freeman, who wrote a story about a forged fingerprint ten years before police method realized such things could be done.

3. It must be honest with the reader. This is always said, but the implications are not realized. Important facts not only must not be concealed, they must not be distorted by false emphasis. Unimportant facts must not be projected in such a way as to make them portentous. (This creation of red herrings and false menace out of trick camera work and mood shots is the typical Hollywood mystery picture cheat.) Inferences from the facts are the detective's stock in trade; but he should disclose enough to keep the reader's mind working. It is arguable, although not certain, that inferences arising from special knowledge (e.g., Dr. Thorndyke) are a bit of a cheat, because the basic theory of all good mystery writing is that at some stage not too late in the story the reader did have the materials to solve the problem. If special scientific knowledge was necessary to interpret the facts, the reader did not have the solution unless he had the special knowledge. It may have been Austin Freeman's feeling about this that led him to the invention of the inverted detective story, in which the reader knows the solution from the beginning and takes his pleasure from watching the detective trace it out a step at a time.

4. It must be realistic as to character, setting, and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world. Very few mystery writers have any talent for character work, but that doesn't mean it is not necessary. It makes the difference between the story you reread and remember and the one you skim through and almost instantly forget. Those like Valentine Williams who say the problem overrides everything are merely trying to cover up their own inability to create character.

5. It must have a sound story value apart from the mystery element; i.e., the investigation itself must be an adventure worth reading.

6. To achieve this it must have some form of suspense, even if only intellectual. This does not mean menace and especially it does not mean that the detective must be menaced by grave personal danger. This last is a trend and like all trends will exhaust itself by overimitation. Nor need the reader be kept hanging onto the edge of his chair. The overplotted story can be dull too; too much shock may result in numbness to shock. But there must be conflict, physical, ethical or emotional, and there must be some element of danger in the broadest sense of the word.

7. It must have color, lift, and a reasonable amount of dash. It takes an awful lot of technical adroitness to compensate for a dull style, although it has been done, especially in England.

8. It must have enough essential simplicity to be explained easily when the time comes. (This is possibly the most often violated of all the rules). The ideal denouement is one in which everything is revealed in a flash of action. This is rare because ideas that good are always rare. The explanation need not be very short (except on the screen), and often it cannot be short; but it must be interesting in itself, it must be something the reader is anxious to hear, and not a new story with a new set of characters, dragged in to justify an overcomplicated plot. Above all the explanation must not be merely a long-winded assembling of minute circumstances which no ordinary reader could possibly be expected to remember. To make the solution dependent on this is a kind of unfairness, since here again the reader did not have the solution within his grasp, in any practical sense. To expect him to remember a thousand trivialities and from them to select that three that are decisive is as unfair as to expect him to have a profound knowledge of chemistry, metallurgy, or the mating habits of the Patagonian anteater.

9. It must baffle a reasonably intelligent reader. This opens up a very difficult question. Some of the best detective stories ever written (those of Austin Freeman, for example) seldom baffle an intelligent reader to the end. But the reader does not guess the complete solution and could not himself have made a logical demonstration of it. Since readers are of many minds, some will guess a cleverly hidden murder and some will be fooled by the most transparent plot. (Could "The Red Headed League" ever really fool a modern reader?) It is not necessary or even possible to fool to the hilt the real aficionado of mystery fiction. A mystery story that consistently did that and was honest would be unintelligible to the average fan; he simply would not know what the story was all about. But there must be some important elements of the story that elude the most penetrating reader.

10. The solution must seem inevitable once revealed. This is the least often emphasized element of a good mystery, but it is one of the important elements of all fiction. It is not enough merely to fool or elude or sidestep the reader; you must make him feel that he ought not to have been fooled and that the fooling was honorable.

11. It must not try to do everything at once. If it is a puzzle story operating in a rather cool, reasonable atmosphere, it cannot also be a violent adventure or a passionate romance. An atmosphere of terror destroys logical thinking; if the story is about the intricate psychological pressures that lead apparently ordinary people to commit murder, it cannot then switch to the cool analysis of the police investigator. The detective cannot be hero and menace at the same time; the murderer cannot be a tormented victim of circumstance and also a heavy.

12. It must punish the criminal in one way or another, not necessarily by operation of the law. Contrary to popular (and Johnston Office) belief, this requirement has nothing much to do with morality. It is a part of the logic of detection. If the detective fails to resolve the consequences of the crime, the story is an unresolved chord and leaves irritation behind it.


1. The perfect detective story cannot be written. The type of mind which can evolve the perfect problem is not the type of mind that can produce the artistic job of writing. It would be nice to have Dashiell Hammett and Austin Freeman in the same book, but it just isn't possible. Hammett couldn't have the plodding patience and Freeman couldn't have the verve for narrative. They don't go together. Even a fair compromise such as Dorothy Sayers is less satisfying than the two types taken separately.

2. The most effective way to conceal a simple mystery is behind another mystery. This is literary legerdemain. You do not fool the reader by hiding clues or faking character à la Christie but by making him solve the wrong problem.

3. It has been said that "nobody cares about the corpse." This is bunk. It is throwing away a valuable element. It is like saying the murder of your aunt means no more to you than the murder of an unknown man in an unknown part of a city you never visited.

4. Flip dialogue is not wit.

5. A mystery serial does not make a good mystery novel. The "curtains" depend for their effect on your not having the next chapter to read at once. In book form these curtains give the effect of a false suspense and tend to be merely irritating. The magazines have begun to find that out.

6. Love interest nearly always weakens a mystery story because it creates a type of suspense that is antagonistic and not complementary to the detective's struggle to solve the problem. The kind of love interest that works is the one that complicates the problem by adding to the detective's troubles but which at the same time you instinctively feel will not survive the story. A really good detective never gets married. He would lose his detachment, and this detachment is part of his charm.

7. The fact that love interest is played up in the big magazines and on the screen doesn't make it artistic. Women are supposed to be the targets of magazine fiction and movies. The magazines are not interested in mystery writing as an art. They are not interested in any kind of writing as an art.

8. The hero of the mystery story is the detective. Everything hangs on his personality. If he hasn't one you have very little. And you have very few really good mystery stories. Naturally.

9. The criminal cannot be the detective. This is an old rule and has once in a while been violated successfully, but it is sound as it ever was. For this reason: the detective by tradition and definition is the seeker after truth. He can't be that if he already knows the truth. There is an implied guarantee to the reader that the detective is on the level.

10. The same remark applies to the story where the first-person narrator is the criminal. I should personally have to qualify this by saying that for me the first-person narration can always be accused of subtle dishonesty because of its appearance of candor and its ability to suppress the detective's ratiocination while giving a clear account of his words and acts. Which opens up the much larger question of what honesty really is in this context; is it not a matter of degree rather than an absolute? I think it is and always will be. Regardless of the candor of the first-person narrative there comes a time when the detective has made up his mind and yet does not communicate this to the reader. He holds some of his thinking out for the denouement or explanation. He tells the facts but not the reaction in his mind to those facts. Is this a permissible convention of deceit? It must be; otherwise the detective telling his own story could not have solved the problem in advance of the technical denouement. Once in a lifetime a story such as The Big Sleep holds almost nothing back; the denouement is an action which the reader meets as soon as the detective. The theorizing from that action follows immediately. There is only a momentary concealment of the fact that Marlowe loaded the gun with blanks when he gave it to Carmen down by the oil sump. But even this is tipped off to the reader when he says, "If she missed the can, which she was certain to do, she would probably hit the wheel. That would stop a small slug completely. However she wasn't going to hit even that." He doesn't say why, but the action follows so quickly that you don't feel any real concealment.

11. The murderer must not be a loony. The murderer is not a murderer unless he commits murder in the legal sense.

12. There is, as has been said, no real possibility of absolute perfection in writing a mystery story. Why? For two main reasons, one of which has been stated above in Addenda Note 1. The second is the attitude of the reader himself. Readers are of too many kinds and too many levels of culture. The puzzle addict, for instance, regards the story as a contest of wits between himself and the writer; if he guesses the solution, he has won, even though he could not document his guess or justify it by solid reasoning. There is something of this competitive spirit in all readers, but the reader in whom it predominates sees no value beyond the game of guessing the solution. There is the reader, again, whose whole interest is in sensation, sadism, cruelty, blood, and the element of death. Again there is some in all of us, but the reader in whom it predominates will care nothing for the so-called deductive story, however meticulous. A third class of reader is the worrier-about-the-characters; this reader doesn't care so much about the solution; what really gets her upset is the chance that the silly little heroine will get her neck twisted on the spiral staircase. Fourth, and most important, there is the intellectual literate reader who reads mysteries because they are almost the only kind of fiction that does not get too big for its boots. This reader savors style, characterization, plot twists, all the virtuosities of the writing much more than he bothers about the solution. You cannot satisfy all these readers completely. To do so involves contradictory elements. I, in the role of reader, almost never try to guess the solution to a mystery. I simply don't regard the contest between the writer and myself as important. To be frank I regard it as the amusement of an inferior type of mind.

13. As has been suggested above, all fiction depends on some form of suspense. But the study of the mechanics of that extreme type called menace reveals the curious psychological duality of the mind of a reader or audience which makes it possible on the one hand to be terrified about what is hiding behind the door and at the same time to know that the heroine or leading lady is not going to be murdered once she is established as the heroine or leading lady. If the character played by Claudette Colbert is in awful danger, we also know absolutely that Miss Colbert is not going to be hurt for the simple reason that she is Miss Colbert. How does the audience's mind get upset by menace in view of this clear knowledge? Of the many possible reasons I suggest two. The intelligence and the emotions function on different levels. The emotional reaction to visual images and sounds, or their evocation in descriptive writing, is independent of reasonableness. The primitive element of fear is never far from the surface of our thoughts; anything that calls to it can defeat reason for the time being. Hence menace makes its appeal to a very ancient and very irrational emotion. Few men are beyond its influence. The other reason I suggest is that in any intense kind of literary or other projection the part is greater than the whole. The scene before the eyes dominates the thought of the audience; the normal individual makes no attempt to reconcile it with the pattern of the story. He is swayed by what is in the actual scene. When you have finished the book, it may, not necessarily will, fall into focus as a whole and be remembered by its merit so considered; but for the time of reading, the chapter is the dominating factor. The vision of the emotional imagination is very short but also very intense.

Raymond Chandler.


Dear Frederic Dannay:

No, I would not care to nominate the ten best living detective-story writers. I don't mind sticking my neck out, but the point is, one has to agree on a few fundamentals before one starts picking lists of ten bests. For instance, does the category include writers of suspense stories in which there is little mystery, or none at all? If it does not, you eliminate some of the best performers, such as Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, certainly one of my favorites. And if it does, why call them detective stories? Charlotte Armstrong's Mischief contains no puzzle element whatever. On the other hand, some puzzle merchants, the people who have timetables and ground plans and pay the most meticulous attention to details, can't write a lick. There is a saying that a good plot will make a good detective story, but I personally question whether you can have a good plot if you can't create any believable characters or situations. My list, if I made it, would probably leave out some of those names which will inevitably appear on your ten best list. I just don't think they're any good, because by my standards they can't write. And it may also happen that a single book, such as The 31st of February by Julian Symons, or Walk the Dark Streets by William Krasner, or the aforesaid Mischief, or Mr. Bowling Buys a Newspaper by Donald Henderson, will immediately put the writer above and beyond a whole host of writers who have written twenty or thirty books and are extremely well known and successful, and from a literary point of view entirely negligible.

I don't particularly care for the hard-boiled babies, because most of them are traveling on borrowed gas, and I don't think you have any right to do that unless you can travel a little farther than the man from whom you borrowed the gas. I don't care about the had-I-but-known girls, because I don't care whether dear little Lucille gets her neck stretched or not. But that's not quite honest. If I had a choice, I'd prefer that she did get it stretched. I don't care for the week-end chichi either here or in England. I don't seem to care who conked Sir Mortimer with the poker, nor why, nor who set the grandfather's clock twenty minutes slow. How did Frank Fustian come to be eating fly agaric in the locked room? I couldn't care less.

It isn't that I don't like puzzles, because I like, for example, Austin Freeman. I like him very much. There is probably not one of his books that I haven't read at least twice, yet he bores a lot of people stiff. I even like his Victorian love scenes. And I have liked some very pedestrian stories, because they were unpretentious and because their mysteries were rooted in hard facts and not in false motivations cooked up for the purpose of mystifying a reader. I suppose the attraction of the pedestrian books is their documentary quality and this, if at all authentic, is pretty rare, and any attempt to dish it up with chichi and glamour turns my stomach immediately.

I think you are up against a difficult problem, because I think we may take it as granted that a mystery fan would rather read a bad mystery than none at all. You are bound to give some weight to volume of production, and strictly speaking volume of production means absolutely nothing. A writer discloses himself on a single page, sometimes in a single paragraph. An un-writer may fill a whole shelf, he may achieve fame of a sort and fortune of a sort, he may occasionally concoct a plot which will make him seem to be a little better than he really is, but in the end he fades away and is nothing. All good writers have a touch of magic. And unless we are to agree with Edmund Wilson that detective fiction is on the sub-literary level, and I personally do not agree with this, we demand that touch of magic; at least I do,
although I am well aware that the public does not.

Yours very truly,

Raymond Chandler.


California Legacy SL #1: Bunker Hill by Raymond Chandler


October 5, 1958, Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, seen from Clay street.

Ian Fleming Interviews Raymond Chandler, BBC 1958 [1 of 4]


Ian Fleming Interviews Raymond Chandler, BBC 1958 [2 of 4]


Ian Fleming Interviews Raymond Chandler, BBC 1958 [3 of 4]


Ian Fleming Interviews Raymond Chandler, BBC 1958 [4 of 4]


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Old 22-09-2013, 03:30 AM   #11
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you got a point?
make it.
cutting and pasting walls of text is against forum policy.
either shit, or get off the pot.
what is your underlying thesis in this thread?
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bikerdruid View Post
you got a point?
make it.
cutting and pasting walls of text is against forum policy.
either shit, or get off the pot.
what is your underlying thesis in this thread?

The 'underlying thesis' was enumerated for each and every troll in the very first post. Since you couldn't figure it out, let's put it in boring, coma-inducing pedestrianisms: dis here be a 'recommended reading viewing & audio' thread where connections between litera-ture, na-ture, nur-ture, cons-piracies, politics and philosophy are shaded and maded.

You want to take a shit in a double-digit-IQ pot ? Go take it elsewhere.

"Comedy is, as we have said, an imitation of characters of a lower type, not, however, in the full sense of the word bad, the Ludicrous being merely a subdivision of the ugly. It consists in some defect or ugliness which is not painful or destructive. To take an obvious example, the comic mask is ugly and distorted, but does not imply pain." ~ Aristotle

"The poet and the historian differ not by writing in verse or in prose. The work of Herodotus might be put into verse, and it would still be a species of history, with metre no less than without it. The true difference is that one relates what has happened, the other what may happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular." ~ Aristotle


"Guns never settle anything. They're just a fast curtain to a bad second act." ~ Raymond Chandler

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Old 23-09-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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Tom Waits reads Bukowski -


The Genius Of The Crowd: Charles Bukowski


Charles Bukowski on Individuality



From Bukowski's journals:

1/18/92 11:59 PM

Well, I spring between the novel and the poem and the racetrack and I'm still alive. There isn't much at the track, I'm just struck in with humanity and there I am. Then there's the freeway, to get there and back. The freeway always reminds you of where most people are. It's a competitive society. They want you to lose so they can win. It's inbred and much of it comes out on the freeway. The slow drivers want to block you, the fast drivers want to get around you. I hold it at 70 so I pass and am passed. The fast drivers I don't mind. I get out of their way and let them go. It's the slow ones who are the irritants, those who do 55 in the fast lane. And sometimes you can get blocked. And you see enough of the head and the neck to take a reading. The reading is that this person is asleep at the soul and at the same time embittered, gross, cruel and stupid. Of course.

I hear a voice now saying to me, "You are stupid to think like that. You are the stupid one.“

There are always those who will protect the subnormals in a society because they don't realize they are subnormals. We have a subnormal society and that's why they act as they do and do to each other what they do. Almost the entire race of humanity is battered and inbred toward and within the zero factor. That's their business and I don't mind it except that I have to live with them.

I recall once having dinner with a group of people. At a nearby table there was another group of people. They talked loudly and kept laughing. But their laughter was utterly false, forced. It went on and on.

Finally, I said to the people at our table, "It's pretty bad, isn't it?“

One of the people at our table turned to me, put on a sweet smile and said, "I like it when people are happy.“

I didn't respond. But I felt a dark black hole welling in my gut. Well, hell. Hell it is.

You get a reading of people on tv. You get a reading of people in the supermarket, etc., etc. It's the same reading. What can you do? Duck and hold on. Pour another drink. I like it when people are happy too. I just haven't seen very many.

So, I got to the track today and took my seat. There was a guy with a red cap put on backwards. One of those that the tracks give away on Giveaway Day. He had his Racing Form, and a harmonica. He picked up the harmonica and blew into it. He didn't know how to play it. He just blew sounds. And it wasn't Schoenberg's 12 tone scale either. It was a 2 or 3 tone scale. He ran out of wind and picked up his Racing Form.

. . .


2/8/92 1:16 AM

What do the writers do when they aren't writing? Me, I go to the racetrack or drink. Or in the early days, I starved or worked at the gut-wrenching jobs.

I stay away from writers now – or people who call themselves writers. But from 1970 until about 1975 when I just decided to sit in one place and write or die, writers came by, all of them poets. POETS. And I discovered a curious thing: none of them had any visible means of support. If they had books, they didn't sell. And if they gave poetry readings, few attended, say from 4 to 14 other POETS. But they all lived in fairly nice apartments and seemed to have much time to sit on my couch and drink my beer. I had gotten the reputation in town of being the wild one, of having parties where untold things happened and crazy women danced and broke things, or I threw people off my porch or there were police raids or etc. and etc. Much of this was true. But I also had to get the word down for the magazines to get the rent and the booze money, and this meant writing prose. But these… poets… only wrote poetry… I thought it was thin and pretentious stuff… but they went on with it, dressed themselves in a fair manner, seemed well-fed, and they had much couch-sitting time and time to talk – about their poetry and themselves. I often asked these, "Listen, tell me, how do you make it?“ They just sat there and smiled at me and drank my beer and waited for some of my crazy women, hoping that they might somehow get some of it – sex, admiration, adventure or what the hell.

It was forming in my mind then that I would have to get rid of these soft toadies. And gradually, I found them out, one by one. Most often in the background, well hidden, was the MOTHER. The mother took care of these geniuses, got the rent and the food and the clothing.

I remember once, on a rare sojourn from my place, I was sitting in this POET's apartment. It was quite dull, nothing to drink. He sat speaking of how unfair it was that he wasn't more widely recognized. The editors, everybody was conspiring against him. He pointed his finger at me: "You too, you told - not to publish me!“ It wasn't true. Then he went on bitching and babbling about other things. Then the phone rang. He picked it up and spoke very gradually and quietly to the caller. He hung up and turned to me.

"It's my mother, she's coming over. You have to leave!“

"It's all right, I'd like to meet your mother.“

"No! No! She's horrible! You have to leave! Now! Hurry!“

I took the elevator down and out. And wrote that one off.

There was another one. His mother bought him his food, his car, his insurance, his rent and even wrote some of his stuff. Unbelievable. And it had gone on for decades.

There was another fellow, he always seemed very calm, well-fed. He taught a poetry workshop at a church every Sunday afternoon. He had a nice apartment. He was a member of the communist party. Let's call him Fred. I asked an older lady who attended his workshop and admired him greatly, "Listen, how does Fred make it?“ "Oh,“ she said, "Fred doesn't want anybody to know because he's very private that way but he makes his money by scrubbing food trucks.“

"Food trucks?“

"Yes, you know these wagons that go about dispensing coffee and things at break time and at lunch time at work places, well, Fred scrubs these food trucks.“

A couple of years went by and then it was found out that Fred owned a couple of apartment houses and that he lived off of the rents. When I found this out I got drunk one night and drove over to Fred's apartment. It was located over a little theater. Very arty stuff. I jumped out of my car and rang the bell of his place. He wouldn't answer. I knew he was up there. I had seen his head moving behind the curtains. I went back to my car and started honking my horn and yelling, "Hey, Fred, bastard, come on out!“ I threw a beer bottle against one of his windows. It bounced off. That got him out. He came out on his little balcony and peered down at me. "Bukowski, go away!“.
"Fred, come on down here and I'll kick your ass, you communist land owner!“
He ran back inside. I stood there and waited for him. Nothing. Then I got the idea that he was calling the police. I had seen enough of them. I got into my car and drove back to my place.

Another poet lived in this house down by the seafront. Nice house. He never had a job. I kept after him, "How do you make it? How do you make it?“ Finally, he gave in. "My parents own property and I collect the rents for them. They pay me a salary.“ He got a damned good salary, I imagine. Anyhow, at least he told me.

Some never do. There was this other guy. He wrote fair poetry but very little of it. He always had his nice apartment. Or he was going off to Hawaii or somewhere. He was one of the most relaxed of them all. Always in new and freshly pressed clothing, new shoes. Never needed a shave, a haircut; had bright flashing teeth. "Come on, baby, how do you make it?“ He never let on. He didn't even smile. He just stood there silently.

Then there's another type, the type that lives on handouts. I wrote a poem about one of them but never sent it out because I finally felt sorry for him. Here is the poem jammed together with the name left out:

X with the hair hanging, X demanding money, X of the big gut, X of the loud, loud voice, X of the trade, X who prances before the ladies, X who thinks he's a genius, X who pukes, X who badmouths the lucky, X getting older and older, X still demanding money, X sliding down the beanstalk, X who talks about it but doesn't do it, X who gets away with murder, X who jacks, X who talks of the old days, X who talks and talks, X with the hand out, X who terrorizes the weak, X the embittered, X of the coffee shops, X screaming for recognition, X who never had a job, X who totally overrates his potential, X who keeps screaming about his unrecognized talent, X who blames everybody else.

you know who X is, you saw him yesterday, you'll see him tomorrow, you'll see him next week.

wanting it without doing it, wanting it free.

wanting fame, wanting women, wanting everything.

a world full of Xs sliding down the beanstalk.

Now I'm tired of writing about the poets. But I will say that they are denying themselves by living as the poet instead of as something else. I worked as a common laborer until I was 50. I was jammed in with the people. I never claimed to be a poet. Now I am not saying that working for a living is a grand thing. In most cases it is a horrible thing. And often you must fight to keep a horrible job because there are 25 guys standing behind you ready to take that same job. Of course, it's senseless, of course it flattens you out. But being in that mess, I think, taught me to lay off the bullshit when I did write. I think you have get your face in the mud now and then, I think you have to know what a jail is, a hospital is. I think you have to know what it feels like to go without food for 4 or 5 days. I think that living with insane women is good for the backbone. I think you can write with joy and release when you've been in the vise. I only say this because all the poets I have met have been soft jellyfish, sycophants. There is nothing to write about except their selfish non-endurance.

Yes, I stay away from the POETS. Do you blame me?


4/16/92 12:39 AM

Bad day at the track today. On the drive in, I always mull over which system I am going to use. I must have 6 or 7. And I certainly picked the wrong one. Still, I will never lose my ass and my mind at the track. I just don't that much. Years of poverty have made me wary. Even my winning days are hardly stupendous. Yet, I'd rather be right than wrong, especially when you give up hours of your life. One can feel time actually being murdered out there. Today, they were approaching the gate for the 2nd race. There were still 3 minutes to go and the horses and riders were slowly approaching. For some reason, ti seemed an agonizingly long time for me. When you're in your 70's it hurts more to have somebody pissing on your time. Of course, I know, I had put myself into a position to be pissed upon.

I used to go to the night greyhound races in Arizona. Now, they knew what they were doing there. Just turn your back to get a drink and there was another race going off. No 30 minute waiting periods. Zip, zip, they ran them one after the other. It was refreshing. The night air was cold and the action was continuous. You didn't believe that somebody was trying to saw off your balls between races, that happened during the running.... And after it was all over, you weren't worn down. You could drink the remainder of the night and fight with your girlfriend.

But at the horse races it's hell. I stay isolated. I don't talk to anybody. That helps. Well, the mutual clerks know me. I've got to go to the windows, use my voice. Over the years, they get to know you. And most of them are fairly decent people. I think that their years of dealing with humanity has given them certain insights. For instance, they know that most of the human race is one large piece of crap. Still, I keep my distance from the mutual clerks also. I am the best person that I know. By keeping council with myself, I get an edge. I could stay home and do this. I could lock the door and fiddle with paints or something. But somehow, I've got to get out, take a check and make sure that almost all humanity is still a large piece of crap. As if it would change? Hey, baby, I've got to be crazy. Yet there is something out there, I mean, I don't think about dying out there, you feel too stupid being out there to be able to think. I've taken a notebook out there, thought, well, I'll write a few things between races. Impossible. The air is flat and heavy out there, we are all voluntary members of a concentration camp. When I get home, well, then I can mull about dying. Just a little. Not too much. I don't over worry about dying or feel sorry about dying or afraid about dying. It just seems like a lousy job to do. When? Next Wednesday night? Or when I'm asleep? Or because of the next horrible hangover? Traffic accident? It's a load, it's something that's got to be done. And I'm going out without the God-belief. That'll be good, I can face it head on. But it's something you have to do like putting your shoes on in the morning. I think I'm going to miss writing. Writing is better than drinking. And writing while you're drinking, that's always made the walls dance. Maybe there's a hell, what? If there is I'll be there and you know what ? All the poets will be there reading their works and I will have to listen, I will be doused in their preening vanites, their overflowing self-love. If there is a hell, that will be my hell: poet after poet reading on and on…
Anyway, a particular bad day. This system that usually worked didn't work. The gods shake the deck. Time is mutilated and you are a fool. But time is made to be wasted. What are you going to do with it? You can't always be buzzing and roaring full steam. You stop and you go. You hit a high and then you fall into a black pit full of stinking wet turds. Do you have a cat? Or cats? They sleep, baby. They can sleep 20 hours a day and they look beautiful. They know that there's nothing to get excited about. The next meal. And a little something to kill now and then. When I'm being torn by the forces, I just look at one or more of my cats. There are 8 of them. I can just look at one of them sleeping or half-sleeping and I cool out. Writing is my cat too. Writing lets me face it, it cools me out. For a while anyhow. Then my wires get crossed and I have to do it all over again. I can't understand writers who decide to stop writing. How do they cool out? How do they become cats?

Well, the track was dull and deathly out there today but here I am back and I'll be there tomorrow, most probably.

Some of it is the power of routine, a very misleading power that holds most of us. A place to go, a thing to do. We are trained from the beginning. Move out, get into it. Maybe there's something interesting out there? What an ignorant dream. It's like when I used to pick up women in bars. I'd think, maybe this is the one. Another routine. Yet, even in the sex act, I'd think, this is another routine. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I felt ridiculous but I went ahead anyhow. What else could I do? Well, I should have stopped. I should have crawled off and said, "Look, baby, we are being very foolish here. We are just the tools of nature.“

"What do you mean?“

"I mean, baby, you ever watched two flies fucking or something like that?“


We can't examine ourselves too closely or we'll stop doing everything. Like the wise men who just sit on a rock and don't move. I don't know if that's so wise either. They discard the obvious but something makes them discard. In a sense, they are one fly fucking. There's no escape, action or inaction. We just have to write ourselves off as a loss: any move on the board leads to a checkmate.

So, it was a bad day at the track today, I got a bad taste in the mouth of my soul. But I'll go tomorrow. I'm afraid not to. Because when I get in, the words crawling across this computer screen really fascinate my weary ass. I leave it so that I can come back to it. Of course, of course. That's it. Isn't it?

6/23/92 12:34 AM

I have probably written more and better in the past 2 years than at any time in my life. It's as if from over 5 decades of doing it, I might have gotten close to really doing it. Yet, in the past two months I have begun to feel a weariness. The weariness is mostly physical, yet it's also a touch spiritual. It could be that I am ready to go into decline. It's a horrible thought, of course. The ideal was to continue until the moment of my death, not to fade away. In 1989 I overcame TB. This year it has been an eye operation that has not as yet worked out. And a painful right leg, ankle, foot. Small things. Bits of skin cancer. Death nipping at my heels, letting me know. I'm an old fart, that's all. Well, I couldn't drink myself to death. I came close but I didn't. Now I deserve to live with what is left.

So, I haven't written for 3 nights. Should I go mad? Even at my lowest times I can feel the words bubbling inside of me, getting ready. I am not in a contest. I never wanted fame or money. I wanted to get the word down the way I wanted it, that's all. And I had to get the words down or be overcome by something worse than death. Words not as precious things but as necessary things.

Yet when I begin to doubt my ability to work the word I simply read another writer and then I know that I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself: to do it right, with power and force and delight and gamble. Otherwise, forget it.

I have been wise enough to remain isolated. Visitors to this house are rare. My 8 cats run like mad when a human arrives. And my wife, too, is getting to be more and more like I. I don't want this for her. It's natural for me. But for Linda, no. I'm glad when she takes the car and goes off to some gathering. After all, I have my god damned racetrack. I can always write about the racetrack, that great empty hole of nowhere. I go there to sacrifice myself, to mutilate the hours, to murder them. The hours must be killed. While you are waiting. The perfect hours are the ones at this machine. But you must have imperfect hours to get perfect hours. You must kill ten hours to make two hours live. What you must be careful of is not to kill ALL the hours, ALL the years.

You fix yourself up to be a writer by doing the instinctive things which feed you and the word, which protect you against death in life. For each, it's different. Once for me it meant very heavy drinking, drinking to the point of madness. It sharpened the word for me, brought it out. And I needed danger. I needed to put myself into dangerous situations. With men. With women. With automobiles. With gambling. With starvation. With anything. It fed the word. I had decades of that. Now it has changed. What I need now is more subtle, more invisible. It's a feeling in the air. Words spoken, words heard. Things seen. I still need a few drinks. But I am now into nuances and shadows. I am fed words by things that I am hardly aware of. This is good. I write a different kind of crap now. Some have noticed.

"You have broken through,“ is mainly what they tell me.

I am aware of what they sense. I feel it too. The words have gotten simpler yet warmer, yet darker. I am being fed from new sources. Being near death is energizing. I have all the advantages. I can see and feel things that are blocked from the young. I have gone from the power of youth to the power of age. There will be no decline. Uh uh. Now, pardon me, I must go to be, it's 12:29 a.m. Talking the night off. Have your laugh while you can…


8/24/92 12:29 AM

. . .

I had a cataract operation on my right eye a few months ago. The operation was not nearly so bad as the misinformation I gathered from people who claimed to have eye operations. I heard my wife talking to her mother on the telephone: "You say it was over in a few minutes? And that you drove your car home afterwards?“ Another old guy told me, "Oh it's nothing, it's over in a flash and you just go about your business as normal.“ Others spoke about the operation in an off-hand manner. It was a walk in the park. Now, I didn't ask for any of these people about information about the operation, they just came forth with it. And after a while, I began to believe it. Although I still wondered how a thing as delicate as the eye could be treated more or less like cutting a toenail.

On my first visit to the doctor, he examined the eye and said that I needed an operation.

"O.k.,“ I said, "let's do it.“

"What?“ he asked.

"Let's do it now. Let's rock and roll!“

"Wait,“ he said, "first we must make an appointment with a hospital. Then there are other preparations. First, we want to show you a movie about the operation. It's only about 15 minutes long.“

"The operation?“

"No, the movie.“

What happens is that they take out the complete lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial lens. The lens is stitched in and the eye must adjust and recover. After about 3 weeks the stitches are removed. It's no walk in the park and the operation takes much longer than "a couple of minutes.“

Anyhow, after it was all over, my wife's mother said it was probably an after-operational procedure she was thinking of. And the old guy? I asked him, "How long did it take for your sight to really get better after your eye operation?“ "I'm not so sure I had an operation,“ he said....

Maybe I got this fat lip from drinking from the cat's water bowl?

No, I didn't do that. I feel a little better tonight. 6 days a week at the racetrack can burn anybody out. Try it some time. Then come in and work on your novel.

Or maybe death is giving me some signs?

The other day I was thinking about the world without me. There is the world going on doing what it does. And I'm not there. Very odd. Think of the garbage truck coming by and picking up the garbage and I'm not there. Or the newspaper sits in the drive and I'm not there to pick it up. Impossible. And worse, some time after I'm dead, I'm going to be truly discovered. All those who were afraid of me or hated me when I was alive will suddenly embrace me. My words will be everywhere. Clubs and societies will be formed. It will be sickening. A movie will be made of my life. I will be made a much more courageous and talented man than I am. Much more. It will be enough to make the gods puke. The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.

The fuckers. There, I feel better. God-damned human race. There, I feel better.

The night is cooling off. Maybe I'll pay the gas bill. I remember they shot a lady named Love for not paying her gas bill. The co. wanted to shut it off. She fought them off. Forget what with. Maybe a shovel. Cops came. Don't remember how it worked. Think she reached for something in her apron. They shot and killed her.

All right, all right, I'll pay the gas bill.

. . .


Pamela 'cupcakes' Wood, 'Tammie' in the Bukowski book "Women."

Fidel Castro at the Lincoln memorial

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Old 23-09-2013, 11:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bikerdruid View Post
you got a point?
make it.
cutting and pasting walls of text is against forum policy.
either shit, or get off the pot.
what is your underlying thesis in this thread?
Its against forum policy, is it?? someone ought to tell that oiriam that he all he ever posts, anyone questions him and you get a book to read through, yawn, least theres cool pics in this one lol
The Spice extends life

The Spice expands conciousness

The Spice is vital for space travel
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Old 23-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #15
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discusses a largely forgotten (even by his adherents) work by Timothy Leary in comics form. Neurocomics was published in 1979 by Last Gasp and expounds on Leary’s ’8 circuit’ model of the brain; Alterati compares the Leary comic work with one of our best (and most transcendental) contemporary comics creators, Alan Moore, as well as a link to a torrent of a scanned version of the out-of-print Neurocomics

LSD Experiment - CIA 'Schizophrenia Psychosis' Induced by LSD 25 1955


Rare footage of 1950s housewife in LSD experiment.flv
Footage of a woman taking a dose of LSD with Sidney Cohen in 1956


Destination Subconscious: Cary Grant and LSD


"I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist's transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that's turned me against LSD is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear to be so in the state of universal bliss that the drug induces on a "good" trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful." ---- Stanley Kubrick

"Energy depends on one's ability to make a vortex-genius meme at the cross-conflicts of art and ideology." -- Ezra Pound

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Old 24-09-2013, 09:12 AM   #16
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This here thread ascended from the skies as surrealist puzzlement with scattered pieces gradually falling into place and streams of consciousness seeking subterranean re-solve.

''To reduce the imagination to a state of slavery—even though it would mean the elimination of what is commonly called happiness—is to betray all sense of absolute justice within oneself. Imagination alone offers me some intimation of what can be.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). Manifesto of Surrealism (1924).

''Surrealism, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, whether verbally or in writing, or in any other way, the real process of thought. Thought's dictation, free from any control by the reason, independent of any aesthetic or moral preoccupation.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Manifesto of Surrealism," (1924).

''Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Nadja (1928).

''Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions. Indeed, one would search in vain for a motive of Surrealist activity other than the determination of this point''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).

''The approval of the public is to be avoided like the plague. It is absolutely essential to keep the public from entering if one wishes to avoid confusion. I must add that the public must be kept panting in expectation at the gate by a system of challenges and provocations.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).

''There is nothing with which it is so dangerous to take liberties as liberty itself.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

"To speak of God, to think of God, is in every respect to show what one is made of.... I have always wagered against God and I regard the little that I have won in this world as simply the outcome of this bet. However paltry may have been the stake (my life) I am conscious of having won to the full. Everything that is doddering, squint-eyed, vile, polluted and grotesque is summoned up for me in that one word: God!''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting, footnote (1928).

''What one hides is worth neither more nor less than what one finds. And what one hides from oneself is worth neither more nor less than what one allows others to find.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

''No one who has lived even for a fleeting moment for something other than life in its conventional sense and has experienced the exaltation that this feeling produces can then renounce his new freedom so easily.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

''In the world we live in ... everything militates in favor of things that have not yet happened, of things that will never happen again.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

''No rules exist, and examples are simply life-savers answering the appeals of rules making vain attempts to exist.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

''To see, to hear, means nothing. To recognize (or not to recognize) means everything. Between what I do recognize and what I do not recognize there stands myself. And what I do not recognize I shall continue not to recognize.''
André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

"Art may be bad, good or indifferent, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way as a bad emotion is still an emotion."
—Marcel Duchamp, "The Creative Act," Art News, Summer 1957

"The function of genius is to furnish cretins with ideas twenty years later."
—Louis Aragon, "La Porte-plume," Traite du style, 1928

"I accuse homosexuals of proposing to human tolerance a mental and moral deficit which [...] would paralyze all the enterprises that I respect" ~ André Breton

"If there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames."
—Antonin Artaud

"It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere."
—Andre Breton

Fernand Leger - Prefabricated Heart

Surrealist poets Louis Aragon, André Breton, and Paul Eluard
(pictured left to right with Elsa Triolet Aragon and Nusch Eluard)
signed the first surrealist manifesto in 1924, launching the surrealist movement

"Didn't Surrealism die the day Breton and his followers believed it necessary to rally to Communism? Don't they see that they revealed the inanity of the Surealist movement . . . when they felt the need to destroy its . . . true internal development . . . by an adherence . . . to the French Communist Party? . . . I deny that the logical development of Surrealism has led it to . . . Marxism. I had always thought that such an independent movement as Surrealism was not susceptible to the ordinary processes of logic. This is a contradiction which, however, will not distrub the Surrealists very much, bent as they are on letting nothing go which could be to their advantage, or anything that can serve them momentarily."
~ Antonin Artaud, In the Middle of the Night or The Surrealist Bluff (1927)

“That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'Fuck you' right under your nose.” - J. D. Salinger

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Old 24-09-2013, 09:50 AM   #17
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Salvador Dalí, Moreno Villa, Luis Buñuel, García Lorca, Jose Rubio Sacristan.

“I'm still an atheist, thank God” -- Luis Bunuel

“In the name of Hippocrates, doctors have invented the most exquisite form of torture ever known to man: survival.” - Luis Bunuel

“If someone were to tell me I had twenty years left, and ask me how I'd like to spend them, I'd reply 'Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other twenty-two in dreams.'” - Luis Bunuel

“In any society, the artist has a responsibility. His effectiveness is certainly limited and a painter or writer cannot change the world. But they can keep an essential margin of non-conformity alive. Thanks to them the powerful can never affirm that everyone agrees with their acts. That small difference is important.” -- Luis Bunuel

"The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot." -- Salvador Dali

"The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret. ~ Salvador Dali

"Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether." ~ Luis Bunuel

"Imagination is intelligence with an erection." - Victor Hugo

“If you were to ask me if I'd ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail, I'd have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead.” - Luis Bunuel

“Salvador Dali seduced many ladies, particularly American ladies, but these seductions usually consisted of stripping them naked in his apartment, frying a couple of eggs, putting them on the woman's shoulders and, without a word, showing them the door.” -- Luis Bunuel

"Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. ~ Salvador Dali

"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision." ~ Salvador Dali

"There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." -- Salvador Dali

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."
-- Salvador Dali

"We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art."
-- Salvador Dali

"What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust." - Salvador Dali


Le Surrealist group 1924: Baron, Queneau, Breton, Boiffard, de Chirico, Vitrac, Eluard, Soupault, Desnos, Aragon. Naville, Simone Collinet-Breton, Morise, Marie-Louise Soupault.

Bible Dam - Jacek Yerka
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Old 24-09-2013, 10:03 AM   #18
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Second Manifesto of Surrealism (1929)

We combat, in whatever form they may appear, poetic indifference, the distraction of art, scholarly research, pure speculation; we want nothing whatever to do with those, either large or small, who use their minds as they would a savings bank. All the forsaken acquaintances, all the abdications, all the betrayals in the book will not prevent us from putting an end to this damn nonsense. It is noteworthy, moreover, that when they are left to their own devices, and to nothing else, the people who one day made it necessary for us to do without them have straightway lost their footing, have been immediately forced to resort to the most miserable expedients in order to reingratiate themselves with the defenders of law and order, all proud partisans of leveling via the head. This is because unflagging fidelity to the commitments of Surreal-ism presupposes a disinterestedness, a contempt for risk, a refusal to compromise, of which very few men prove, in the long run, to be capable. Were there to remain not a single one, from among all those who were the first to measure by its standards their chance for significance and their desire for truth, yet would Surrealism continue to live. In any event, it is too late for the seed not to sprout and grow in infinite abundance in the human field, with fear and the other varieties of weeds that must prevail over all. This is in fact why I had promised myself, as the preface for the new edition of the Manifesto of Surrealism (1929) indicates, to abandon silently to their sad fate a certain number of individuals who, in my opinion, had given themselves enough credit: this was the case for Messrs. Artaud, Carrive, Delteil, Gérard, Limbour, Masson, Soupault, and Vitrac, cited in the Manifesto (1924), and for several others since. The first of these gentlemen having been so brazen as to complain about it, I have decided to reconsider my intentions on this subject:

"There is," writes M. Artaud to the Intransigeant, on September 1o, 1929, "there is in the article about the Manifesto of Surrealism which appeared in l'Intran last August 24, a sentence which awakens too many things: 'M. Breton has not judged it necessary to make any corrections —especially of names—in this new edition of his work, and this is all to his credit, but the rectifications are made by themselves.' " That M. Breton calls upon honor to judge a certain number of people to whom the above-named rec¬tifications apply is a matter involving a sectarian morality with which only a literary minority was hitherto infected. But we must leave to the Surrealists these games of little papers. Moreover, anyone who was involved in the affair of The Dream a year ago is hardly in a position to talk about honor.

Far be it from me to debate with the signatory of this letter the very precise meaning I understand by the term "honor." That an actor, looking for lucre and notoriety, undertakes to stage a sumptuous production of a play by one Strindberg to which he himself attaches not thhe slightest importance, would of course be neither here nor there to me were it not for the fact that this actor had upon oc¬casion claimed to be a man of thought, of anger, of blood, were he not the same person who, in certain pages of La Révolution surréaliste, burned, if we can believe his words, to burn everything, who claimed that he expected nothing save from "this cry of the mind which turns back toward itself fully determined desperately to break its restraining bonds." Alas! that was for him a role, like any other; he was "staging" Strindberg's The Dream, having heard that the Swedish ambassador would pay (M. Artaud knows that I can prove what I say), and it cannot escape him that that is a judgment of the moral value of his undertaking; but never mind. It is M. Artaud, whom I will always see in my mind's eye flanked by two cops, at the door of the Alfred Jarry Theatre, sicking twenty others on the only friends he admitted having as lately as the night before, having previously negotiated their arrests at the commis¬sariat, it is M. Artaud, naturally, who finds me out of place speaking of honor.

Aragon and I were able to note, by the reception given our critical collaboration in the special number of Varietés, "Le Surréalisme en 1929," that the lack of inhi¬bition that we feel in appraising, from day to day, the de¬gree of moral qualification of various people, the ease with which Surrealism, at the first sign of compromise, prides itself in bidding a fond farewell to this person or that, is less than ever to the liking of a few journalistic jerks, for whom the dignity of man is at the very most a subject for derisive laughter. Has it really ever occurred to anyone to ask as much of people in the domain—aside from a few romantic exceptions, suicides and others—here¬tofore the least closely watched! Why should we go on playing the role of those who are fed up and disgusted? A policeman, a few gay dogs, two or three pen pimps, several mentally unbalanced persons, a cretin, to whose number no one would mind our adding a few sensible, stable, and upright souls who could be termed energumens: is this not the making of an amusing, innocuous team, a faithful replica of life, a team of men paid piecework, winning on points?

This is the 1929 "Second Manifesto of Surrealism" published 5 years after the First Manfesto. It appeared in the the twelfth and final issue of La Révolution surréaliste (December 15, 1929).

The Cover of La Révolution surréaliste featuring Magritte's "Hidden Woman"


Henri Cartier-Bresson Briancon France 1951

" I've no general ideas to exploit, I just like composing riddles with elegant solutions." - Vladimir Nabokov

"Here I became aware of the world’s tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated. ~ Vladimir Nabokov, “Beneficience”

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Old 24-09-2013, 03:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dmt head View Post
Its against forum policy, is it?? someone ought to tell that oiriam that he all he ever posts, anyone questions him and you get a book to read through, yawn, least theres cool pics in this one lol
ya, and on that we agree.
actually, i noticed that oiram is on suspension right now.
i haven't got a clue what this is all about, as i cannot read reams on text on the screen.
i grew up reading books and find the screen too tough on the eyes for close reading.

i really prefer it when a poster makes a point, explains it and gives links for further reading, if one is interested.
very few people will be doing much here but looking at the cool pictures.
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Old 24-09-2013, 11:25 PM   #20
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As de Tocqueville warned, the 'Democracy Racket' sucks the Big One:


What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear (2.4.6)

I had remarked during my stay in the United States that a democratic state of society, similar to that of the Americans, might offer singular facilities for the establishment of despotism; and I perceived, upon my return to Europe, how much use had already been made, by most of our rulers, of the notions, the sentiments, and the wants created by this same social condition, for the purpose of extending the circle of their power. This led me to think that the nations of Christendom would perhaps eventually undergo some oppression like that which hung over several of the nations of the ancient world.

A more accurate examination of the subject, and five years of further meditation, have not diminished my fears, but have changed their object.

No sovereign ever lived in former ages so absolute or so powerful as to undertake to administer by his own agency, and without the assistance of intermediate powers, all the parts of a great empire; none ever attempted to subject all his subjects indiscriminately to strict uniformity of regulation and personally to tutor and direct every member of the community. The notion of such an undertaking never occurred to the human mind; and if any man had conceived it, the want of information, the imperfection of the administrative system, and, above all, the natural obstacles caused by the inequality of conditions would speedily have checked the execution of so vast a design.

When the Roman emperors were at the height of their power, the different nations of the empire still preserved usages and customs of great diversity; although they were subject to the same monarch, most of the provinces were separately administered; they abounded in powerful and active municipalities; and although the whole government of the empire was centered in the hands of the Emperor alone and he always remained, in case of need, the supreme arbiter in all matters, yet the details of social life and private occupations lay for the most part beyond his control. The emperors possessed, it is true, an immense and unchecked power, which allowed them to gratify all their whimsical tastes and to employ for that purpose the whole strength of the state. They frequently abused that power arbitrarily to deprive their subjects of property or of life; their tyranny was extremely onerous to the few, but it did not reach the many; it was confined to some few main objects and neglected the rest; it was violent, but its range was limited.

It would seem that if despotism were to be established among the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them. I do not question that, in an age of instruction and equality like our own, sovereigns might more easily succeed in collecting all political power into their own hands and might interfere more habitually and decidedly with the circle of private interests than any sovereign of antiquity could ever do. But this same principle of equality which facilitates despotism tempers its rigor. We have seen how the customs of society become more humane and gentle in proportion as men become more equal and alike. When no member of the community has much power or much wealth, tyranny is, as it were, without opportunities and a field of action. As all fortunes are scanty, the passions of men are naturally circumscribed, their imagination limited, their pleasures simple. This universal moderation moderates the sovereign himself and checks within certain limits the inordinate stretch of his desires.

Independently of these reasons, drawn from the nature of the state of society itself, I might add many others arising from causes beyond my subject; but I shall keep within the limits I have laid down.

Democratic governments may become violent and even cruel at certain periods of extreme effervescence or of great danger, but these crises will be rare and brief. When I consider the petty passions of our contemporaries, the mildness of their manners, the extent of their education, the purity of their religion, the gentleness of their morality, their regular and industrious habits, and the restraint which they almost all observe in their vices no less than in their virtues, I have no fear that they will meet with tyrants in their rulers, but rather with guardians.

I think, then, that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world; our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I seek in vain for an expression that will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it; the old words despotism and tyranny are inappropriate: the thing itself is new, and since I cannot name, I must attempt to define it.

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.

Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions: they want to be led, and they wish to remain free. As they cannot destroy either the one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite: they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large who hold the end of his chain.

By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again. A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large. This does not satisfy me: the nature of him I am to obey signifies less to me than the fact of extorted obedience. I do not deny, however, that a constitution of this kind appears to me to be infinitely preferable to one which, after having concentrated all the powers of government, should vest them in the hands of an irresponsible person or body of persons. Of all the forms that democratic despotism could assume, the latter would assuredly be the worst.

When the sovereign is elective, or narrowly watched by a legislature which is really elective and independent, the oppression that he exercises over individuals is sometimes greater, but it is always less degrading; because every man, when he is oppressed and disarmed, may still imagine that, while he yields obedience, it is to himself he yields it, and that it is to one of his own inclinations that all the rest give way. In like manner, I can understand that when the sovereign represents the nation and is dependent upon the people, the rights and the power of which every citizen is deprived serve not only the head of the state, but the state itself; and that private persons derive some return from the sacrifice of their independence which they have made to the public. To create a representation of the people in every centralized country is, therefore, to diminish the evil that extreme centralization may produce, but not to get rid of it.

I admit that, by this means, room is left for the intervention of individuals in the more important affairs; but it is not the less suppressed in the smaller and more privates ones. It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing the other.

Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions only exhibits servitude at certain intervals and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is in vain to summon a people who have been rendered so dependent on the central power to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.

I add that they will soon become incapable of exercising the great and only privilege which remains to them. The democratic nations that have introduced freedom into their political constitution at the very time when they were augmenting the despotism of their administrative constitution have been led into strange paradoxes. To manage those minor affairs in which good sense is all that is wanted, the people are held to be unequal to the task; but when the government of the country is at stake, the people are invested with immense powers; they are alternately made the play things of their ruler, and his masters, more than kings and less than men. After having exhausted all the different modes of election without finding one to suit their purpose, they are still amazed and still bent on seeking further; as if the evil they notice did not originate in the constitution of the country far more than in that of the electoral body.

It is indeed difficult to conceive how men who have entirely given up the habit of self-government should succeed in making a proper choice of those by whom they are to be governed; and no one will ever believe that a liberal, wise, and energetic government can spring from the suffrages of a subservient people.

A constitution republican in its head and ultra-monarchical in all its other parts has always appeared to me to be a short-lived monster. The vices of rulers and the ineptitude of the people would speedily bring about its ruin; and the nation, weary of its representatives and of itself, would create freer institutions or soon return to stretch itself at the feet of a single master.

--- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America


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