Friday, July 17, 2009

An Online Sabbatical, Rumors of My Demise, & Selections from MY Summer Reading List

VARIOUS U.S. CITIES & TOWNS (ZP) -- Contrary to rumor and speculation - and probably some malicious wishful thinking - I am, indeed, alive and well.

Generalissimo Franco? Still fucking dead. So's Hitler, a few dozen or so popes, the Shah of Iran, the meddling intelligence agents who put that moron back into power and who started the current clusterfuck there, Reagan, Pol Pot, Hunter S. Thompson, Jesus H. Christ, even a mono-gloved whackjob of a pop singer.

Moi? Still kicking and as ornery as ever.

I've been traveling the country (read: raising a bit of hell and being a perfect little angel at times, too...typical) quite a bit in the last few weeks - out to Indiana, up to the Windy City, Kentucky, Virginia, out west to the New Mexico malpaís, even down to Phoenix for a few hours.

So needless to say, the offline world has left very little time (and, in the case of New Mexico and Kentucky, web access and electricity) for a decent Zenformation Professional dispatch. But I'll be returning shortly with more stories from Oxford Fucking Ohio and other parts of this ol' muddy blue marble of a planet we all call home.

No, I'm not dead.

Thanks for the concern; I forget sometimes that my principle demographic here is primarily made up of the extremely bored college kids and cubicle monkeys, sorority girls, homeless punk kids, and a few very cool stay-at-home moms and dads.

And thanks for the emails, too - in spite of the fact that if I were indeed a corpse, I'm not sure how I'd be expected to answer...


While waiting for a new post, here's a look at the so-not-light summer reading list. If you're interested in what you see, hit up your local library!


* * * *

... In the course of human history it is generally the case that the malcontents, the oppressed, and the rebels, before being able to conceive and desire a radical change in the political and social institutions, restrict their demands to partial changes, to concessions by the rulers, and to improvements. Hopes of obtaining reforms as well as in their efficacy, precede the conviction that in order to destroy the power of a government or of a class, it is necessary to deny the reasons for that power, and therefore to make a revolution.

In the order of things, reforms are then introduced or they are not, and once introduced either consolidate the existing regime or undermine it; assist the advent of revolution or hamper it and benefit or harm progress in general, depending on their specific characteristic, the spirit in which they have been granted, and above all, the spirit in which they are asked for, claimed or seized by the people.

Governments and the privileged classes are naturally always guided by instincts of self preservation, of consolidation and the development of their powers and privileges; and when they consent to reforms it is either because they consider that they will serve their ends or because they do not feel strong enough to resist, and give in, fearing what might otherwise be a worse alternative...

- ERRICO MALATESTA (1853-1932)
Italian Revolutionary & Activist

From Malatesta: His Life and Ideas.
V. Richards, ed. London: Freedom Press, 1965
* * * *
...The Internet is, for loners, an absolute and total miracle. It is, for us, the best invention of the last millennium. It educates. It entertains. It transforms. It facilitates a kind of dialogue in which we need not be seen, so it suits us perfectly. It validates. It makes being alone seem normal. It makes being alone fun for everyone.

And so it has its critics. They claim it keeps kids from playing healthy games outdoors. They say it is a procurer for perverts, a weapon in hate crimes. Underlying all this, of course, is the real reason for their dismay: the Internet legitimizes solitude. The real problem is not that kids don't play outdoors but that they do not play, the critics fear, with other kids...

California Author and journalist

From Party of One: A Loners' Manifesto.
San Francisco: Da Capo Books, 2002.
* * * *
...In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. Two years later, the Soviet Union was dissolved. The process of transition only secured the position of the elites. The old leaders of the Communist Party and the Communist Youth succeeded in reinventing themselves as nationalist politicians and businessmen, the owners of local concerns. One witness, Olga Kryshtanovskaya, has described the transformation from the system of state management to the new capitalist form. 'A ministry would be abolished, and in its ruins a new business concern would be created in the form of a joint-stock company (same building, same furniture, same personnel)... as a rule, the second or third figure in the abolished ministry would become head of the concern.' The transition of Eastern Europe was less violent or dramatic than the equivalent processes of 1917 or 1928-32. Yet the system that emerged was new: an entire historical epoch had reached its end...

British Historian & Social Activist

From Dissident Marxism: Past Voices for Present Times.
London: Zed Books Ltd., 2004
* * * *
... Chilly night fog was flowing down the mountainsides. Soon the ground would shimmer with faintly luminous ground frost. Still, Gordon shivered less from the cold than from nerves. He knew he was getting close. One way or another, he was about to have an encounter with death.

In his youth he had read about heroes, historical and fictional. Nearly all of them, when the time came for action, seemed able to push aside their personal burdens of worry, confusion, angst, for at least the time when action impended. But Gordon's mind didn't seem to work that way. Instead it just filled with more and more complexities, a turmoil of regrets.

It wasn't that he had doubts about what had to be done. By every standard he lived by, this was the right thing to do. Survival demanded it. And anyway, if he was to be a dead man, at least he could make the mountains a little safer for the next wayfarer by taking a few of the bastards with him.

Still, the nearer he drew to the confrontation, the more he realized that he hadn't wanted his dharma to come to this. He did not really wish to kill any of these men...

From DAVID BRIN, The Postman
New York: Bantum/Random House, 1985
* * * *
...I think it was my second day as a Christmas temp that this big woman came out and walked around with me as I delivered letters. What I mean by big was that her ass was big and her tits were big and that she was big in all the right places. She seemed a bit crazy, but I kept looking at her body and I didn't care.

She talked and talked and talked. Then it came out. Her husband was an officer on an island far away and she got lonely, you know, and lived in this little house in back all by herself.

"What little house?" I asked.

She wrote the address on a piece of paper.

"I'm lonely too," I said, "I'll come by and we'll talk tonight."

I was shacked but the shackjob was gone half the time, off somewhere and I was lonely alright. I was lonely for that big ass standing beside me.

"All right," she said, "see you tonight."

"She was a good one all right, she was a good lay but like all lays after the third or fourth night I began to lose interest and didn't go back.

But I couldn't help thinking, god, all these mailmen do is drop in their letters and get laid. This is the job for me, oh yes yes yes...

Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1971

Now that, my friends, is a completely fucking random summer reading list.

The Zenformation Professional will return next week... probably.

- # # # -


Ellie said...

Not part of your principal demographic. Not even a stay at home mom. (Though I wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home ... or even a cubicle monkey). But nonetheless glad you're not dead.

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Not part of the main demographic, but glad to be reading of your "andanzas" (wanderings). Have a safe journey, and keep on reading as well. I may have to look a couple of those books up.

Best, and keep on blogging.