Monday, July 26, 2010

It’s the same dang thing, I tell ye!

Hick Hop, corn crop, Vox Pop; po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe and civil war ghosts.

That the soul upon its journey
May not lack the cheerful firelight,
May not grope about in darkness.

--Longfellow, Hiawatha

On the surface, seems like there’s no connection between “we are the fascists our fathers fought against” and “Hick Hop,” a combination of Country & Western murder ballads and Gangsta Rap. But if ya put the James Burke/ Connectionist squeen on it, murder on a back road aint that different from murder in an alley. It is an individual-collective fractal of the Danse Macabre of War. When it grows to larger scales, it picks up all kinds of convoluted mental crap like a giant hairball.

Here is what I learned about war from my father: You never heard anybody call them the “fascists” or even the “Nazis.” They were the “goddam krauts.” Politics rarely mean squat to a soldier. It made a good conversation, like sports and women. You could even partake if there was time. But most of the time was spent getting ready to do what you had to when you came up against the “goddam krauts.” You can be sure the goddam krauts did the same. When “our guys” met the “goddam krauts,” it was a butcher-shop river-dance.
The relationship between the individual and the collective is a great Manitou, a spirit-kinda thing, but in the very near future icManitou can be quantified and examined in the carbon world. One thing seems very certain, it is a fractal creature. A piece broken off will closely resemble the big thing; very much the way a twig stuck in the ground will resemble a tree. It would not do to speak of the icManitou as though it were a molecule. That is not to slight molecules, which have a Manitou of their own.

The icManitou is a living thing, and as such deserves some respect. When the drums beat to continue the Danse Macabre; whether Hick Hop, Gangsta Rap or Fox Snooze, perhaps it is time to stop listening to the drums. It is an allegory, a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal. Unfortunately, “…meaning other than literal” gets drowned out by the drums until you “see the elephant” (as the Civil War Old-Timers said) which is just about as literal as it gets.

When you speak to someone who has “seen the elephant,” you come away with a strong feeling that you do NOT want to see the elephant if there is any way to avoid that smegger. There is some pride in this vision, balanced by humility for being so thick as to get in the presence of the elephant in the first place. The icManitou is leaving its footprints on the internet, like the invisible thing bending the metal steps in “Forbidden Planet.” The icManitou is not a monster from the id, She is greater.

By giving icManitou a gender and a name, we make a connection between what we think is Her world and what we think is “our own,” and it can be a dangerous connection. Like a 3-legged stool, the relationship between individual and collective needed some kind of Manitou, some kind of Ordinung to keep the idea from falling over in our heads: there are worlds that exist beyond our comprehension… BUT if they are totally beyond our comprehension, how can we even talk about them?

Even better, how can the relationship Manitou be tricked, cajoled, manipulated or otherwise satisfied so that it will help ease the suffering (or gladden the being) of both the individual and the collective? The answer is: the Manitou is not the third leg of a stool. A book used to prop up a table is still a book and contains things way beyond the comprehension of the table. Now the table stands straighter and stronger because of the book. This is an allegory. This is a metaphor. This is a book. This is a war.

After the elephant had danced on them plenty, the survivors looked around, and even if the question was unspoken, it was answered anyway. What did we do that was better… why are we alive while the rest of the boys are dead? Maybe the hand of God, maybe luck-of-the-draw. Answer: “…wasn’t doing a blessed thing old Jim wasn’t doing fore that meem-ball come along and took off the top of his head. Fact is, Johnny was probably aiming at me.” It had a whole lot more to do with fate than Johnny.

How did we become the fascists our fathers fought against? For one thing, Dad was there to stop the gd Krauts. Today the USA is the gd Krauts. Why? Like the Germans in 1939, the USA is fighting a Manitou. The “terrorist threat” is not any more real than the “Polish threat” was to the German in 1939. By 1944 he was no longer a German or a Nazi or a fascist, he was just a “gdKraut,” trying to stop Dad from stomping his homeland for attacking somebody else… on back to Alexander and the Caesars.

Hear the drums that summon the great Manitou! Booma-lacka bang bang diddley dang shoot a thang gotta be buff tuff macho! Yabbee dumminuff filyahead distuff-- fatboy flatout gotcho! The drummers know the Manitou like the table knows the book. The table would probably prefer the book as a prop as opposed to extra weight on top. That is assuming that tables can think or “prefer” anything. That is not to slight drummers OR tables, who have a Manitou of their own. Ask any data-processor.

This is not 1939 or the Antebellum South or the Middle Ages. Few things are exactly alike. Fewer things are totally dissimilar, but things that are dissimilar enough from our carbon world become invisible to all but the things that go boomp in the night. Like when you woke up from that really weird dream with cotton-mouth and went to get a drink of water. So as not to disturb the household, you took the familiar unseen path. You knew all about the tables, but the left-out chair was there.

It’s the same dang thing, I tell ye!

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