Thursday, May 06, 2010


Joseph Walton's Election Message from openned on Vimeo.

Like the First Evil, there are a thousand names for Joseph Walton. At bottom he is always the same: a Jungian archetype stowed safely away in the extra-fatty subcutaneous tissues of the collective catastrophe. His evil amanuensis, really the wizard behind the Union Jack and the brains behind the outfit, is a Walton not entirely dissimilar to the world's largest single employer. I recall, that is, what a red letter day it was for American soldiers when the first Wal-Mart opened in Seoul, south Korea in the late 1990s. Soldiers as far south as Pusan made holy pilgrimages all the way to Seoul by train, bus, even air to purchase gaming consoles on the cheap. Or the ideological continuities that connect land masses on either side of the Atlantic run much deeper than most first believed, like the First Evil, beneath the ocean, through the molten mass of filth that gurgles thousands of miles down.

Holly White is Acutane®, the medicinal respuesta to the First Evil, ingested orally or applied to intractable surfaces. The US prescription is expired (viz. the only ones reading the mag this side of the Pecos are either identified with the good offices of Chicago Review or the hallowed halls of Miami University; otherwise all is lost; American exceptionalism is what it always was, an utterly incurable strain of leprosy). Or may the underfunded cheese wagon take us to school before we Hummericans, aping the slogans of British conservative candidates, howl again into the wind: BRITONS know your PLACE.

Vol 1 iss 2 of Holly White. A few appropriate lines by Joel Duncan: "Heath Ledger died so I don't | finally morning | neck cracks and seagulls hurry | caw Lord caw." Broke and back. And not American at all. Nonetheless like Gibson, THE PATRIOT. The definitive.

Recent Gallop Poll results reveal that while only 9% of Americans officially identify themselves as card-carrying Tea Baggers, over 28% support them. This in our most delightful nightmares would allow Texas governor Rick Perry to pull a Bowie knife from his boot and gallop toward the presidency in 2012. To lose the Alamo over and over again, pro bono and in perpetuity. The necessary condition of epic form. Good form. An order of sacrifice like John Berryman's great leap forward, away from the messy American altar of cannibalism, or something like the shotgun salute that allowed Del Shannon to show a dunce like Kurt Cobain the way. (Shannon's shot should have been the one heard round the world, but he was shorter than heroes should be.) Can you throw them over your shoulder | like a Continental soldier? These are gods in the American imaginary. F.O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance:

Carlyle, who kept urging Emerson to carve an American hero out of the facts of the nineteenth century, drove through (1849) to an imaginative conception of a possible American myth of the frontier: 'How beautiful to think of lean tough Yankee settlers, tough as gutta-percha, with most occult unsubduable fire in their belly, steering over the Western Mountains, to annihilate the jungle, and bring bacon and corn out of it for the Posterity of Adam ... There is no Myth of Athene of Herakles equal to this fact.

The fresh facts. Was it Jim Bridger, the mountain man that played cards on the back of a dead man freshly frozen on all fours? Or the outlaw Josie Wales. The unilateral action of the Unibomber. Who isn't tired of invoking the Founding Fathers, instrumentalizing the past, mourning the dead or ringing the bells of doom when it serves one's career. Paul Metcalf from a review of Frederick Turner's Beyond Geography:

History has in fact become two properties -- one in the hands of the academic historians, and the other belonging to the poets. Child psychologists have a term to describe the behavior of small children, when they play side by side, but not together: "parallel play". It may be the same set of toys, but they are not shared; there is a gap.
A fair enough statement. What Metcalf misses here is the deeper continuity, the fresh fact that these toys are often viewed in almost precisely the same way by both historians (academics) and poets (non-academics). That a deeper continuity cuts across the gap. I mean, when a labor historian, Fox News and a poet mourn the deaths of 28 West Virginia miners they mourn a different loss, not death but the economic base that once was (mining accounts for just over 1% of labor in the US, is not the true face of labor and these deaths are but a fraction of the nearly 6,000 job-related fatalities that occur each year; like appeals to the Founding Fathers, the work of mourning these deaths masks a deeper horror). And we all support the troops. Don't shoot the messenger. And fault no mourners; they're only following orders. Like the Waltons. Vote conservative.