Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Tides

I seem to have woken up on the cynical side of the bed this morning, my mood either due to the grey rainy day waiting outside or, more likely, because of some of the news drifting past us in the margins of bigger stories on a damp Tuesday morning.

Merry: 21st century objective journalism blurs the line between being an entreprising businessman and a hardened criminal, in this report on the hard times ahead for Somali pirates, as a combination of bad weather and capitalist outrage at being looted puts a crimp in this 35-year old's "merry life":
[Mohamed Said] worries that the foreign navies might make the pirates' business impossible.
"If dozens of warships remain in our waters, our work will be as futile as a chameleon trying to catch a fly," he said.
Lighting an imported Benson & Hedges cigarette and unwrapping a roll of leafy khat, a mild narcotic popular in the Horn of Africa, he says he is holding out for his share in a $1.7 million ransom being demanded for a hijacked German ship.
At small cafes on Eyl's dusty, unpaved streets, pirates are also swapping gossip about negotiations in progress for the release of a Dutch ship. The buccaneers want $2.5 million, but the owners have only offered $1.5 million so far.
"If they give me some cash I will clear my debts. You know khat is expensive here," he said, chewing on a twig from the bunch wrapped in banana leaves, then puffing on his cigarette.
"I wish this merry life would last forever. But I'm afraid that circumstances may force me to give up piracy completely."
Candid: A Croatian mayoral candidate is admired for his refreshing honesty as he runs a campaign openly promising to be corrupt while in office:
Voters have flocked to the campaign, which runs under the slogan "All for me, nothing for you". Josko Risa polled 27.89 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting on Sunday, placing him second. Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija reports that he will now face Mate Lasic, the current incumbent from the Croatian Democratic Union, in a run-off on May 31.
"Whoever is in power, we know that they steal. At least he is honest," commented Ivan Vjisnic, a Prolozac resident. "He has said that if things get better for him then they will get better for us."
Fun: Teacher who had sex with her 12-year old student now hosting "Hot for Teacher" night at a Seattle bar. Former student, now her husband, acts as DJ; all in the name of fun on a Saturday night:

Fuel's owner, Mike Morris, said he realizes having Letourneau host a "Hot Teacher" night could be touchy and might rub some people the wrong way. But the way he figures it, "Mary's done her time. She's served her sentence. They're now married; they have kids together."
"It's turned into sort of a love story," he says. "I realize it had a sick twist at the beginning, but they're both adults now. They're both married by the state of Washington. So, it's just go and have fun on a Saturday night - and if people are looking to have some fun, just come check us out."
"It was sort of a joke but sort of real, and it was just something that we thought was a good name for it, and of course we got Mary's permission to do it," he says. "She's really trying to kick-start his career."
The couple first met when Fualaau was in the second grade. Their relationship became sexual when he was 12 and she was a 34-year-old married mother of four, a teacher at a suburban elementary school.


Dag said...

As I recall, Anthony Burgess begins each chapter of A Clockwork Orange with the line, "What's it going to be then, eh?"

The beauty of the Fall is that people can know. They are responsible. There is no one else to blame. The ultimate flaw of the fascist regime is that it demeans life by disallowing choice. When all are "bound," as the words fasces and religion both mean, then the choices are limited. I won't argue that people shouldn't bind themselves, if they must, by free choice. The Ludovico Treatment, the totalitarian conditioning of orthopraxy, is a Hell. What good is that?

truepeers said...

When all are "bound," as the words fasces and religion both mean, then the choices are limited. I won't argue that people shouldn't bind themselves, if they must, by free choice.-but what would be a man who was not bound? A man alone without any society, bound to nature? We are all bound, and more OR less free to understand this and to engage, or not, as political equals in the inevitable ongoing rebinding. Freedom is the means to bind yourself, in honest interaction with others, not to escape the binding. Some "religions" help us understand these ritualistic or covenantal processes of binding better than do others (those that teach the covenantal are of course freer than those who bind through ritual conformity). Not to appreciate that "religion" is a category in which we often put quite different ways of being is to bind yourself to a literalism that leads you away from the historically particular and towards a one-size-fits-all model, the romantic's dismissal of all those bound men, figuring himself as unique when he is not really.

truepeers said...

Or, to put it another way, a man who thinks he is not bound just doesn't see how he is bound. And, if I might be provocative in a friendly spirit, isn`t a religious or romantic lack of self-understanding - i.e. a limited ability to explain the anthropological basis of the myths by which one lives - a sign of a more primitive religion? IN comparison, a ``religion`` that `binds` a man as it explains the nature of human self-binding would be freer than pure romanticism, it seems to me.

Dag said...

I think you presume more than I wrote. Homo ferus is a thing none of us would recognize as Human. But to reduce the unbound man to that is to over-step, I do think so.

"Freedom is the means to bind yourself, in honest interaction with others, not to escape the binding."

I don't see that I argue any differently. It's a matter of agency. Who decides where and when to stop and become oneself? Who decides to stop others for whatever agenda?

Dag said...

Religion and poligion are two different things in kind and quality. I'm happy to make the distinction.

truepeers said...

Who decides where and when to stop and become oneself? Who decides to stop others for whatever agenda?-when we presume too much, that is as you say the problem. We're free when we are able to recognize and adjust for our own errors, as these become revealed by experience. When someone else is measuring and pronouncing on our errors, even if on the very same errors we might gladly recognize for ourselves, it's much harder to accept, unless we can first both bind ourselves to some shared model against which we both measure, find error, and go on in friendship that only a common bond or model can engender.

But we only recognize our errors, and find the room to adjust, through interaction with others. Now there is much about human interaction of which we can't opt out: the other people and their desires are here or there, whether we like it or not.

Still, in the name of preserving one's own desires, some resist the larger reality nonetheless, often buying into political religions that teach them that they have the right to enslave themselves to unrealistic desires. And then that creates a problem for the rest of us. (What do you mean, as an HIV+ you still feel a right to latex-free "intimacy"?)

So, while we should let people alone as a general rule, poligions we can't abide, for they cut us too; and for how long can even freedom lovers put up with those who won't recognize their errors through honest dialogue, that is to say who will only allow their errors to be corrected in tandem with a return to ritual and big-man authority out of spite for those who would correct them in the name of a reality or model whose recognition is a road to greater but hard-won freedom?

Dag said...

Freedom is responsibility, not license. Freedom is that freedom to know and choose and to take responsibility for ones freely made choices. If that's in conformity to the General Will, so what? Maybe one looks to the General will for validation, or maybe one looks to the General Will for guidance. Two very different things. One is irresponsible.

Certainly much public defines the private by giving it shape and content; but one then must individualize the public to make it valid, if so. But that's not the end, merely the beginning. From that beginning, which begins gradually and perhaps extends through the course of a lifetime, there is more responsibility. The binding is not of the mind in any right case but perhaps of the soul if one finds one in oneself. That's got to be a case of age or maybe exceptional genius that I've never encountered. Maybe one might argue it's the case of the canon. I couldn't say. for all that isn't regarded as right to the point it's regarded as wrong, for that we have the criminal law at the maximum end. But where is that maximum drawn now? Too close, I argue, to anything-offensive to the moralistic, to the communitarian, to the fearful puritain's deepest or even shallowest fear.

Much is wrong, and it's up to the individual to find out and choose. If it transgresses to a high degree, that degree we know already from our common experiences over the years and that is codified in law, open, of course, to revision for circumstance but not for whimsy and fitting into passing ideological templates, then responsible people act for mutual protection. Where though do they draw the line between offense or harm? between offense and offense against feeling? between offense and social injustice? Between offense and whimsy?

Rid us of gun control. That's my answer to these problems. That's where we know the limits of right bounds.