THE FLYING FOXES -- Giant fruit Bats
I spent much of Labor Day watching the giant fruit bats at the Oakland Zoo – they have two species there - -all males – 20 Malayan Fruit Bats (largest in the world with a 6-foot wingspan) and 11 Island Fruit Bats (not the largest, but with a 4-foot wingspan, pretty big).
The really big guys don’t seem to have any hierarchy problems, a bit of screech and tussle when they bump into each other, territorial, apparently, but it passes, and since the big enclosure in the Children’s Zoo was finished, very little problem with crowding or turf wars.
The Big Bats are Cool -- the second-stringers like to rape those weaker than they are
The not-so-big guys seem different, and have a lot of hierarchical issues, with ongoing sessions of the stronger raping the weaker, a social habit that caused some of the education department members to refer to the original, temporary (and smaller) enclosure as “The Prison.” Fruit Bats on the down-low.
On Labor Day, I watched as first one then another of the smaller bats attacked and raped the weak guy – pure “Schoolyard Bully Meets High Security Lifers in the Shower Room.” And the screaming of both the attackers and the attacked could be heard all over the area. It went on for hours. I’d seen individual sexual attacks among this species, but never this field day of “Let’s all get HIM.”
Political Internet -- the second-stringers like to rape those weaker than they are.
I had a sense of deja vous when returning home and checking up on various blogs. There were all the big-but-not-so-big bloggers either reporting on the rich and powerful attacking the victims and officials and police of the New Orleans area Katrina disaster, or pretending to be big guys and doing it themselves, savaging the poor and helpless.
A reformed whore gets moralistic
The first one I read was American Digest, the literate and vicious product of one Gerard van Der Leun, who spent the Vietnam years hiding out from the draft in San Francisco, editing and publishing a really good semi-porn, semi-hip, anti-establishment journal. That ran its course, but was part of him climbing up to the New York big time (on the basis of his considerable talents and the backs of those who helped him establish himself in SF) where he spent years kissing the ass of Bob Guccione, providing some slight literary editorial gloss on the Penthouse post-pubescent masturbation machine. He did a lot of other things, many quite excellent and not so easily dissed, but finally becoming his present version of himself -- a sort of shemale reincarnation of Kate Smith – can’t sing but has all the jingoistic flag-waving death-to-all-traitors parts down pat.
You call it TRIBES, but I call it RACIST venom.
That was bad enough, but then, this past Labor Day, he gushed and extolled the unbelievably Nazistic rantings of one Bill Whittle in a piece called TRIBES. (I’ll explain the very specific AND appropriate way in which I use the term “nazistic” later.) Whittle begins with the disclaimer that “this isn’t about race,” but of course it is – it’s just not about COLOR, as he proves with his endearing tale of having put a polyester jacket under the head of a black woman who’d been struck by a car and was bleeding. He doesn’t call it RACE, he calls it TRIBES, and HIS tribe doesn’t loot and rape and etc... HIS TRIBE is disciplined, believes in GOOD things...
And then he goes one (and on and on) talking about sheep and wolves and sheepdogs (of which he is one, guarding the flock, protecting them from wolves). He calls the wolves “sociopaths.” Well, aside from the fact that wolves only kill to eat, and that dogs, loveable though they may be, are sort of wolves on a leash who’ll kiss your ass, he seems to miss the point he makes, getting all tied up in the one he thinks he’s making about how HIS TRIBE is GOOD and THOSE TRIBES are BAD.
The point WE GET is that, disciplined and with emotions well subdued, he only becomes a ravening sociopath when given a uniform and a go-ahead from someone higher up the greased pole, and that’s so much better. In other words, a sociopath who needs permission.
Sneering, moralistic, vicious -- and, unfortunately, quite literate.
These aren’t the only two, but of all of them, I only read Van Der Leun because he’s so infuriatingly literate in his ranting. Although I do find somewhat bizarre the spectre of someone who made his bones purveying something not too far removed from kiddie porn for years telling us what God had in mind when HE designed prayer, and how to use that device. Something about reformed whores and their moralistic stances?
In this case, the big guys also rape the weak
And of course, when not acting through all the Big-Bat-Wannabe’s out there, our Fearless Sock Puppet in Chief has his minions spewing hatred of the Governor of Louisiana, the Mayor of New Orleans, the Police Chief of New Orleans, and the NOPD members who disappeared or committed suicide in the overwhelming presence of death and despair and pain and shock. He doesn’t dirty his hands with that, just diverts local resources to help him set up his photo-ops to show us what a swell guy he is.
And riding to the rescue -- OPRAH?
It took Oprah Winfrey’s power and ego and compassion and sense of a great story and actual (as distinct from publicly claimed) Christian decency to force the Mayor and Chief of Police and National Guardsmen to let her go into the Superdome with a film crew.
I don’t watch Oprah. I fell asleep watching a network rerun last night and woke up to the late night run of her show. And I’m both glad and sorry I did. Because I now know something I didn’t imagine. Nor, apparently, did she or the surgeon who has gone into disaster scenes all over the world, or the police (who hadn’t been able to get inside) or anyone but the people coming out who told their stories and were poo-poo’d as exaggerators. They were all shocked – regardless of what they had seen before in their lives, they were shocked by what they’d seen for the previous days and even more so what they saw inside.
There were NO LIGHTS in the Superdome – the only light was in narrow streams from holes in the roof. Dead and dying all around. People in total shock who had been thrown into an arena designed for gladiatorial combat not knowing what was going on outside, nor, mostly, what was going on in the dark around them other than smells and screaming and tripping over the dead and dying. People who found no water or food after one day.
For all the entertainer in Oprah might think in terms of more dramatic shots, the woman did not drag the corpses inside. The Chief of Police did not cry because she told him to, nor did the Mayor of New Orleans. (Oh, ok, LATER, at the end of the hour, an Oprah-esque bit with a man of 24 who was sobbing that his 14-year-old dog could not be evacuated with him, took the dog to Baton Rouge and reunited them the following day. So yeah.)
I’m glad to know these things. I’m really not glad to know these things.
How did they get so cold, what do they want?
So I look at the bullying fruit bats of blogosphere and wonder how they can imagine they have anything approaching human decency and compassion. If they want to claim, “Well that’s always the way it’s been, the pecking order,” fine. Don’t claim to have become a HUMAN mammal.
THEY GOT NO FUCKING DECENCY OR COMPASSION, just picking on the helpless. And this Whittle fellow – ok, I use the shorthand term “Nazistic,” and it doesn’t apply to National Socialism (that merger of corporation and state we already have) nor to persecution of Jews, per se – the Nazistic ones always like to pick up the little differences.
He’s saying “We’re GOOD people and THEY, all of them, are BAD people.” There’s the seed, that’s what the roots grow from, the roots of justification to do whatever it is you want, to be given permission for your well-disciplined inner sociopath to emerge. It’s NOT that they want to hurt powerless people. They're quite willing to do it, but it’s something else.
A very sharp fellow in L.A., goes by the name of John Aes-Nihil terms the Nazi adventure as “The Dream-Quest for Impossible Perfection.” They’re not trying so much to hurt the poor and helpless as they are trying to prove, over and over and over again, that THEY are good boys, daddy, honest, and the only way they can find to do it is to push the helpless ones down in the mud and say: “You’re BAD.”
They define BAD to suit their needs. In the same way they justify their own deeds, defining GOOD to suit themselves. It’s GOOD to kill THESE people for THIS reason. It’s BAD to kill THOSE people for THAT reason. Why? THOSE people are our pals.
Van der Leun is fond of referring to his pal who wrote about how he learned everything he needed to know in kindergarten. No shit. Hasn’t changed one bit, either. Seven years old, tell Mommy how GOOD you are. Push down anyone who doesn’t agree. Make up a story to explain why it was GOOD to be cruel. Tell Daddy you’re a good boy, really, a good boy.
What's their problem?
Doesn’t matter if it’s Van der Leun or Monkey Boy in the White House ... little boys who know they aren’t big enough and can’t deal with it but through hurting others.
They went through *Chapel Perilous and came out having lost their hearts in the process.
*"In researching occult conspiracies, one eventually faces a crossroad of mythic proportions (called Chapel Perilous in the trade). You come out the other side either stone paranoid or an agnostic; there is no third way. I came out agnostic." Robert Anton Wilson
"Everything you fear is waiting with slavering jaws in Chapel Perilous, but if you are armed with the wand of intuition, the cup of sympathy, the sword of reason, and the pentacle of valor, you will find there (the legends say) the Medicine of Metals, the Elixir of Life, the Philosopher's Stone, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness. That's what the legends always say, and the language of myth is poetically precise. For instance, if you go into that realm without the sword of reason, you will lose your mind, but at the same time, if you take only the sword of reason without the cup of sympathy, you will lose your heart."