Post # 604 GREAT EXPECTATIONS*

Idealistic people like ourselves, at times suffer from the inclination to be prematurely impulsive, in the  discernment of significant progress, or the prediction of long- range positive outcomes, from events which, at first blush, evince an appearance of tending in the direction of justice or moral rectitude; yet ultimately, suffer the pain of the revelation of less than expected, or disappointing, results [as in the above referenced novel, by Charles Dickens,*] from than had been assumed and anticipated.

As avid readers of the literature of Victorian England, we are reasonably familiar, not merely with that named, great author, but also with his period. The overwhelming political and military precedence of the English Crown (1815-1914) over other countries of the World, (140 million square miles of colonized territory, 150 million people, including, China, Siam, and Argentina). Untold riches were extracted in agricultural goods, slaves, lumber, cotton, rubber, silks, cottons, gunpowder, rum, opium, gold and other precious metals, tea, and too many to delineate. Such riches were exacted by the  British practice of cruel, slave- labor conditions throughout its dominated world. The classic boast, “The Sun never sets on the British Empire,” is expressive of its worldwide domination.

We are somewhat familiar as well, with the traditional Royal practices as well as the imperious  and imperial Victorian mindset, regarding the British sacred duty to “civilize” their “savage,” “unwashed,” ”godless” colonies, as then perceived and articulated as “White Man’s Burden.” Any  reading of authors, in the genre of Rudyard  Kipling for example, will readily reveal the British assumption of spiritual and anthropological superiority over the other “brutish” people in the World.

The World has changed considerably, after two costly World Wars, and England is no longer the arrogant leviathan it used to be; notably, after being saved on two historic occasions from utter destruction, by the military intervention of the United States.  In recent years, like America, England has been the recipient of substantial immigration, principally from its formerly dominated  colonies. Unfortunately, it has recently evinced analogous racial conflict and unrest as has occurred in the U.S.

The American Revolution, in the 18th  Century, resulted in a new American Nation, politically independent of the British Empire; nevertheless, it is to be observed that a great many English institutions and practices, good and not so good, were imported and subscribed to, by the new Americans. These included  language, religion, the English Common Law, the bi-cameral legislature, and many folkways and traditional practices. Tragically, included in the shipping manifest of English importation, was the inhumane, and ultimately most damaging to our National ethic, institutional practice of Slavery. We can imagine no greater moral offense than the cruel, neck-shackled ownership of the franchise of life of other human beings. The break-up of the black family for the commercial convenience of sale and the pervasive cruel treatment of the black slaves in our Nation are shamelessly and painfully, well documented in our history and literature.

The  success of the Union Army, over the forces of the Confederate South, in the Civil War, resulted in the legal emancipation of the black slaves. Nevertheless, despite the relevant portions of the United States Constitution and the assurances of a plethora of statutory enactments of Federal State and local legislatures, universal citizen compliance with equality, as mandated in such Laws and Statutes,[ as well as legal case precedent] is yet, inarguably, not universal. We have made considerable  but, unfortunately slow-motion progress toward the attainment of universal de facto recognition of true equality. The many instances of brutality by the local police, the existence of deplorable White Supremacy organizations and their hateful like the official attempts at interference with the “Black Vote,” and a surreal act of insurrection against the Capital Building, January 6, 2021, are but some of the overt indications of an ignorance-based, systemic hatred for those born with other than “white” skin. We had been consistently disappointed at the extent of the National rancor but were [temporarily] rewarded with expanded hope on May 19, 2019.

The Royal English wedding, on that date, between a handsome Prince Harry, son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and 6th in line for the Monarchy and his charming and beautiful African- American wife, Meghan Markle, (thereafter Duke and Duchess of Essex) was at the time, joyously perceived by us, as, no less than, a long-awaited triumphantly historic and philosophical occasion, appropriate for major celebration by every right-thinking individual in mankind. We had the impression, mindful of the British tradition, that its acceptance of an American commoner as Prince Harry’s wife, no less a Negro, was surely indicative of admirable progress in human moral advancement. We did not mind at all the thought that, Queen Victoria, if she could get word, would be churning, furiously in her, “white man’s burden,” bigoted, grave. In emotional contrast with the fiction concerning the regally interred, Queen Victoria, we were ecstatically celebratory. The missionary land of Kipling, of “White Man’s Burden,” of the term, ”Blackamoor,” seemed to have, at long last, seen the wholesome beam of enlightenment.

A black American woman, accepted as a married member of the inner English Royal Family, no doubt, would cause any American bigoted member of the underbelly of our Nation, who might, at some point, avail himself of the rare inclination to think, to suffer some doubt concerning his bigoted pretensions.

And then came the media reports of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan. The same unhappily confirmed our opening observation concerning the pain, frequently caused by a disappointing result, despite optimistic predictions founded on a suggestively positive event. Just imagine our chagrin at the dissolution of our ecstatic assumption, that it took only 100 years, or so, after Victoria’s reign, for racial equity to be finally   [as subjectively evidenced by the marriage of a black woman to an English Royal Prince]. It was not our first disappointment, but we were devastated.

It was disturbing to learn that the lovely, charming, and sophisticated, Meghan Merkle was subjected to abuse from the English Royal Family, to the extent that, as revealed in the televised interview, she contemplated suicide. We were pleased that Harry, responsibly elected to be a loving husband and father, rather than a “Royal” and fled Buckingham Palace, with his harassed wife, bound for a normal life in California. Among the major issues, was a serious concern of the Royal Family, most especially, the eternally imperious, constipated- looking, Prince Charles (who stopped talking to Harry) and other members of the “royals” about the color of “Archie,” the couple’s young child. The English tabloid press,  aggravated matters by comments expressed in their customary tasteless and irresponsible reportage, on the estranged relationship between Buckingham Palace and the married couple.

We might request of the scientifically efficient American pharmaceutical laboratories when they have the time and opportunity to do so, for the development of an effective vaccine for chronic and disabling radical prejudice.

-p.
   


Post # 603 (poesie) MEDLEY BENEATH THE ROOTS

The Sun slides up, punctual as ever,
Casting woodland, snow-melting beams
Sending snow clumps on the tree branch
Dripping down to the inanimate surface
With sounds of splatt, splatter and splott.
Winter autonomy is being liquidated,
Kinder rule shall follow soon.

Do lie still in sublime attention,
Ear enduring cold, slushy topsoil,
Eyes shut in rapt attention and
Practicing a well invested patience.
You’ll attend the peeps and squeals,
Of this year’s awakened pups, their
Sibilant sucks of maternal feeding,
From yet unseen warm-bellied, moms,
Still sleeping their perennial winter.

Soon, attend the louder, chamber music,
Of nose-wrinkling, furry adult critters,
Scratching, rising, softly yelping,
Awakened by infiltrating drips of melted Winter,
To pay heed to the seasonal mandate,
“Arise, and do now begin, again.”

-p.
(Leonard N. Shapiro
New York, 3/6/21)

Post # 602 PARANOID PATRIOTISM: pliny Editorial

As we see it the Nation is noticeably in a bit of a quandary as to the fundamental motivation behind the violent insurrection at the Capitol Building, January 6, and consequently, of an appropriate, punitive, and deterrent response, to the observably dedicated participants.

There would appear to be a significant qualitative difference between the legislated and enumerated Crimes enunciated in our Criminal Codes and Statutes, viz., Murder, Robbery, Larceny, Assault, including the legal precedential treatment of the same, and, by contrast, the facts of the January 6th  criminal insurrection, perceptively grounded in perverse conspiratorial paranoia, bizarrely complicated by the overt and express encouragement by a sitting President and by certain aberrant members of Congress.

The nuanced motivations of the hundreds of rioters may be every bit as diverse and multifaceted as the substantial number of ardent participants. Conceivably, the same may have a background in neurotic insecurity needing the redemptive recognition of acceptance by a group of recognized others, disappointment in aspirational goals and the projected displacement of blame, harsh and disappointing experiences in upbringing or in later life, inculcation in anti-social or unrealistic delusional beliefs, self-deprecation leading to an existential need for an elevated place in some pecking order or other (such as the perverse belief in the superiority of white, over other skin colors), or merely, reductive ignorance.

It may be contextually useful and logical, at this point in the writing, to examine the pathologically  related subjects of paranoia and chronic  perception of conspiracy.   

As revealed in our cursory readings, paranoia is an instinctive thought pattern, believed to be greatly influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the extent of irrational and delusional thinking. Paranoid thought, we read, typically induces persecutory beliefs which include beliefs in conspiracy concerning perceived threats, accusations, and a general all- pervasive distrust of other people. This biased abnormality includes the misperception of reality such as the existence of external control and manipulation, which at times, may be exacerbated by low socio-economic status. Especially relative to this writing is the fact that a percentage of the individuals characterized by paranoid delusion, often have the tendency to take affirmative or violent action, founded upon their delusional beliefs in the form of violent and criminal behavior. It is our unprofessional, but considered view that the insurrection is an instructive laboratory demonstration of this empirical observation.

Considering the reported scientific and medical fact that paranoia type personality disorder is among the most common personality disorders, is there any wonder that among our sizeable and diverse population, there was enough number of individuals vulnerably open to Donald Trump’s insistence on his delusional lie to the effect that the election was, conspiratorially, stolen from him? Let us focus on the fact that this is the same Donald J. Trump that must have certainly won the hearts of many paranoid personalities, by his constant denigration of truth by his tactical and defensive accusations of “false” facts” and “alternate truth.” Such a call to arms, from on high, and especially from a fellow eternal seeker of “the hidden ultimate truth”  would decidedly be inspirational, irresistible, and incite the undeniable, patriotic duty of those chosen watchmen of “conspiracy.” Ergo, we witnessed on television the “patriotic” insurrection heard around the World.

Although one responsibly, should comprehend the pathological etiology underlying the horrific and deadly insurrectionist activities of January 6, such rational understanding should not at all portend acceptance or undeserved forgiveness. In the interest of the preservation of our Nation and its rare and invaluable Republican Democracy, together with the continued existence and advancement of lawful and peaceful society, the imposition of meaningful and sufficient criminal penalties on all those responsible for and physically participating in this atavistic criminal event which featured insurrectionist murder, injuries, multiple aggravating assault, costly  damage to the Capitol Building; justly inclusive of the related and supportive crimes of incitement, planning, preparation, and participation in the terrifying Insurrection. These would be inclusive, for the World to see, every illegal participant, starting from the arrogant and tactically shrewd Donald Trump and the cadre of atavistic and bigoted Congressional supporters, down to all those, whose personality disorders confused anti-social and violent criminality with their skewed delusions of American patriotism.

-p.

Post # 601 THE GOLDEN CALF

Upon watching on television, the formal, ceremonial wheeling out of a gold bust of Donald Trump for public (Republican) adulation, our reactions can successively be described as initially, shock, loathing and lastly a profound sense one might fundamentally describe as a species of primal fear.

On a mundane level, it is astonishing, that an individual whose publicly known cornucopia, of shamefully miscreant, and immoral behaviors, include multiple acts of criminality, wrongdoing in office, blatant immorality, and bigotry, could rationally, warrant public recognition, let alone such apparent beatification and worship. On a more metaphysical level, such adoration and apparent obeisance were, to us, an ominous indication that far more than an uncomfortable sufferance, simply, of a politically divided Nation, we are confronted with a large cohort of people (almost half) who wittingly or, as a matter of sublime ignorance, would be content to see a reversal, or “U-Turn,” in the naturally ongoing universal progress of human civilization.

As memorialized in the (Bible’s) Old Testament “Exodus” and also, in the Second Chapter of the Quran, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he was greatly angered (threw down the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, cracking them) upon observing that his people were worshiping idols, most especially, a “Golden Calf.” He violently destroyed the pagan gold calf and thereafter directed the mandatory prohibition of idol worship and their referable cults.

The anachronistic appearance of a gold pagan deity-like statue, in the reverential likeness of Donald Trump, is a disappointing recognition that there are certain communities of people, largely, but not exclusively, under-educated and poorly informed, who have the atavistic inclination to prefer demagogic or messianic versions of reality to factual reality. The possible etiologic reasons may be limitless, such as discontent with the facts of one’s personal life, misperception of reality due to trauma, the limitations of emotional or mental illness, cynicism founded in failure of personal aspirations, limited experience combined with vulnerability to suggestion and demagogic influence, neurotic insecurity and consequent need for group acceptance and approval, or just,  run-of-the-mill uncomplicated, reductive ignorance.

We had, long ago, deduced that the loyal followers of Donald Trump, irrespective of his immoral and shameless personal behaviors and his demonstrated incapacity and dishonesty in Office, are properly identified as a “cult”; since It is empirically normal for citizens to avert their eyes from the sight of roadkill, and to condemn those who transgress against societal and professional norms. As a typical example, many avid supporters of Trump, such as the White Evangelical Church, whose unwavering mantra is to condemn all those they choose to subjectively determine to be sexually immoral, have continued to be his wholehearted supporters; this, despite his public boasts of societally improper assignations with prostitutes, aggravated by sub-rosa and false sources of money to buy their silence.

As additional evidence supporting the concept of a Trump “cult”, in addition to his egregiously immoral behavior, he has never evinced any credo or doctrinaire beliefs, on which to base loyal support. For these reasons we had identified in previous writings and in this essay, continue to classify his fervent supporters as his cultists. Their extreme loyalty and obedience to this golden Trump cult-deity were especially demonstrated, last January 6th  by the sizeable, treasonous response to his call for a violent insurrection to be waged against the Capitol Building. As historically proven, loyalty to a cult, despot or golden deity is dangerous, viz, Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini, Mao Tso Tung, Josef Stalin, Julius Caesar.

In common with other cases of loyalty to an autocratic leader, following their inculcation in the bogus belief that the true facts are being manipulated by the established authorities, the members of the cult become convinced that the demagogue’s perverted version of events is singularly true.  Such propaganda is relied upon by the misled followers who are encouraged by the cult-deity to believe that the objective and accurate facts are the tactical product of an evil, anti-cult conspiracy. The followers, thereafter, will customarily rely exclusively upon such (perverted)  “truth” as is enunciated by its Leader.

The experiences of witnessing the gothic and obscene presentation of a purportedly, reverential gold statue in the likeness of Donald Trump, for those people who venerate the Old Testament or the Quran, were predictably deemed, obscenely sacrilegious; we see it as especially dangerous and delusional.

In keeping with the vital goals of the preservation of our Democratic Republic, and the dictates of Reason and impartial Justice, the Government is morally and legally mandated to pursue the many confessed crimes of Donald Trump to conviction, and, for the existential necessity of societal protection, grant this “golden deity” a stiff jail sentence; it is well- deserved justice and would, importantly, serve as an official restatement of societal normative propriety, to his aberrant and deluded sycophants.

-p.