JULY 4, 2009 10:05PM

I’m Not Proud of Countries, I’m Proud of People

Rate: 12 Flag
Superior Pride


Michael: I can remember a couple of months into boot camp, looking up at the American flag and bursting into tears. I couldn’t even control it. I was so moved to think of what it really represented. Unfortunately, my love of country has gone downhill from there.

Melissa: And what did it really represent to you then?

Michael: It represented the sacrifice of all of the people like me, who had entered the service and had pledged their willingness to die for their country. That’s what it meant to me.

Melissa: And do you think it was especially emotional because you’d been bombarded with so much during boot camp that your defenses were worn down, which made you more susceptible to their programming?

Michael: No, I became aware of their programming very early. It was because the sacrifice was real to me at that moment. Boot camp—Marine Corps boot camp—is hell. And at that moment, all of the people who’ve set aside their own private lives and joined these organizations—the military—and many times have been shipped off to different places and asked to risk their lives, too often for questionable goals—

     (A) I didn’t finish what I was saying. Let’s see. . . . questionable goals, and they went through this same thing I was going through. And it connected me to them somehow. And I felt within myself the burden to carry on their willingness to sacrifice.

Melissa: (A) That’s interesting. You had actually been instilled with this sense of obligation to sacrifice yourself?

Michael: (E) Not always in the literal being-killed sort of way. Just doing a job that needs to be done that doesn’t really have anything to do with becoming famous, or realizing your dreams, unless of course your dream is to be in the military. Just to serve your country. And hope your country does right by you.

     (A) Of course! It’s part of the honor of the thing—that you are not pursuing selfish interests, that you have given those up because you literally become a part of the military. You are a
part to them. And there are many times, especially during boot camp, that you feel like a part. Interchangeable. Not 100 percent necessary.

Melissa: (A) Right, they actually cause you to sublimate your sense of individuality.

Michael: (A) Well, be careful. The Marine Corps is the most individualistic of all of the branches, I think. They kind of encourage you to be self-reliant, while still realizing the obligation to each other. It’s framed that way.

Melissa: (A) So you don’t think the other branches do that?

Michael: (A) Well, see, I don’t know. Perhaps that was ignorant to say. I just know that from my perspective, it was clear that the drill instructors were creating in our minds the place we held as Marines in the pyramid of the military. And you don’t have to guess who they thought was on top. Now, I would suspect that every branch instills in their members the belief that in some way they really are the better branch of the military.

     (A) I think I said in another post, that I don’t think we’ve published—

Melissa: (A) I was just about to talk about that!

(fragment begins)

Melissa: Yes, Admiral Michael! I’m at attention.

Michael: “Admiral”? Why did you say “Admiral”?

Melissa: Why, what’s an admiral?

     (C) That line makes me sound like I’m stupid. What I meant was, what is an admiral’s significance in the context of the military hierarchy.

Michael: It’s a general in the Navy.

Melissa: Oh, and you would be offended because it’s naval?

Michael: Yes.

     The only person who could be offended by it is some dumbshit former Marine . . . like myself.

     There’s a longstanding animosity between the Marine Corps and the Navy. It’s a playful animosity, but it still exists.

Melissa: (D) That’s why they have their branchist epithets, like “squid”, “jarhead”—what would be the ones for the Air Force and Army?

Michael: (D) Um, the only one that popped into my mind was “dogface” for someone in the Army. But I’m not sure that’s the same thing as “squid” or “jarhead”.

Melissa: (D) Well, it sounds equally insulting.

     (D) So are you telling me the Air Force is exempt from this bigoted terminology?

Michael: (D) Of course not. I just don’t know what it is. And I’m only guessing at “dogface”.

Melissa: (D) Yes, you’re definitely most familiar with “jarhead”. But don’t the Marines kind of adopt that as a point of honor?

Michael: (D) Of course. Marines call each other “jarhead” all the time.

Melissa: (D) It’s a term of endearment.

Michael: (D) Yes.

Melissa: Each branch has to cultivate its air of superior pride against the other branches, but not so much that they can’t work together as a unit.

     But in the same way that the military branches are taught to feel pride in their own—

Michael: I can even tell you how the Army prides itself. Because they’re the underdogs. They’re the fucking underdogs. They’re the bottom of the barrel. They don’t care. It’s because of that that they have pride.

Melissa: (I) Do you wanna change that to “fecking”?

Michael: (I) Well, when I said it, I was saying it like I was in the Army. So it was like, “Hey, we’re the fucking underdogs!” Besides, what would some Army guy be saying “fecking” for? Unless he was Irish.

Melissa: (I) Hahaha.

Michael: We gotta get back to comments.

Melissa: But I gotta finish my thought first!

Michael: Okay.

Melissa: So here are the ripples of superiorit—

Michael: What’re you talking about? “So here are the ripples”—oh!

Melissa: I see it as a diagram in my mind. There are circles within circles, some intersecting maybe. Like a Venn diagram, but would there be completely submersed circles? Help, I’m going to draw this.

(fragment ends)

Melissa: (F) It seems like we should mention that this was our first collaborative art piece. But maybe we should save that conversation for another post.

Michael: (F) I haven’t even mentioned the other art. I didn’t want to. So I certainly don’t wanna say what you said above this. So delete what’s above this, and this, please.

Melissa: (F) Hahahaha. No.

Both: (F) (laugh)

Melissa: (B) How are we going to indicate that this is where the earlier fragment ends?

Michael: (B) Just say, as direction, “(fragment ends)”.

Melissa: I wonder if drill instructors still talk about Smedley Butler? Because he is such a threat to—

Michael: No, they will always talk about Smedley Butler. He is one of the Marine Corps’ greatest heroes—MULTIPLE medals of honor. It’s just they conveniently leave out the part about him turning on the establishment when he wrote War Is a Racket. We were never told about that in boot camp.

Melissa: And they probably never expected you to look it up.

Michael: I never did till much later.

     I mean, he was just the very definition of gung ho. A true Marine.

Melissa: I know, and I wonder how many people realize how truly patriotic he became when he saved this country from being usurped by corporate barons like Prescott Bush?

Michael: Yes, I consider him a true hero. Not for foolhardedly risking his life on these military adventures—but just standing up to them and not becoming a traitor to the American people.

Melissa: (G) Right. To think there was this—and I hesitate to use the word “plot” now, because that immediately becomes associated with “conspiracy”—but this was a literally documented, well, conspiracy, to—

Michael: (G) Conspiracies are nothing special. You and I are conspiring right now to make this.

Melissa: (G) I know that. But some people don’t. And as soon as they hear the word, their cognitive framing tells them, “radical liberal myth”, or maybe “myth” is too sophisticated a term.

Michael: (G) No, this cuts both ways. Both liberal and conservative. And it all seems by design.

     (G) If my business produces a certain kind of pollution, I wanna make sure that anyone who talks about that is made to seem like a conspiracy nut.

Melissa: (G) That made me think of—

Michael: (G) I bet I know what you’re gonna say!

     (G) Is it the vinyl-siding movie?

Melissa: (G) Yes! Blue Vinyl!

Michael: (G) Right. I couldn’t remember the name.

Melissa: (G) Well, and there you have an international hush agreement between the Italian manufacturer that knows the process of making this vinyl is killing its employees—and quickly, too—

Michael: (G) Yes, it was shocking.

Melissa: (G) Very. But the most shocking thing was the documentation showing that the American branch actually knew this was happening, and they signed an agreement to keep it quiet. Which meant how many dozens, if not hundreds, of other people needlessly died because of their criminal negligence?

     (H) Okay, remember back at the beginning when we were talking about flags?

Michael: (H) Yes.

Melissa: (H) That made me think of what Lutz was telling us about his experience of growing up in post-World War II Germany. They had this amazingly progressive educational system that made his generation highly sensitized to any signs of fascism. Which is why he felt so uncomfortable seeing all of those flags on display during some holiday—was it 9/11?—a couple of years ago. That’s exactly the sort of jingoistic display of symbols they were taught to be wary of.

Michael: (H) Yes, I remember when I would look at photographs of Nazi Germany, and I was always amazed at the number of swastikas I saw everywhere. On flags, mostly. Lots of flags. And I really came to associate that with fascism. Well, that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing for the last eight years, or whatever. This hyper-patriotism based on nothing but the fact that we feel we’ve been wronged somehow. Which is exactly what the Germans felt. They felt they’d been wronged. It’s that violence begetting violence nonsense that we can’t seem to escape.

Melissa: (H) Yes, but the Germans had even more justification because of that Versailles Treaty crap.

Michael: (H) Yes, well, let’s not get into that. Nothing justifies the hell that was unleashed by the Third Reich.

Melissa: (H) Obviously! What I’m saying though is that post-World War I Germans actually had more of a claim to the title of victimhood than America ever could.

Michael: (H) Well, America was almost like a virgin in this. It had never really been attacked before in a significant way. This felt like America’s first mortal wound. Like we could die from it or something.

Melissa: (H) I bet they felt the same way about Pearl Harbor when that happened.

Michael: (H) I understand. But the two things about Pearl Harbor are 1) it was a military target, and 2) Hawaii is not the mainland. And that’s what I’m really talking about. Not to exclude Hawaii in any way. I’m not even sure it was a state at the time.

Melissa: (H) I don’t think so.

Michael: (H) So, literally America was not attacked, but an American base was attacked.

Melissa: (H) Right, so what I was saying earlier is that America is like the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male of the world. America has enjoyed the privilege of superiority for the few centuries it’s existed, but under the neocons, it turned into this victimized, poor-me nation that used fear to justify murderous and corrupt policies.

Michael: (H) It would be hard to believe it were as simple as this, but what if this is just the dying gasps of a male-dominated view of the world that sees everything else as an enemy that must be protected against?

Melissa: (H) Excellent question. Because imperialism—and that’s really what America has been engaging in, under the guise of “fighting for democracy” or freedom or whatever—is truly a patriarchal system of hegemony. Its model of power is one of dominance and submission. And that’s such an ugly face for what was once such a beautiful country. Magnanimous. Hopeful. Free.

Michael: (H) Well, a country can always be divided between the leaders and their policies and the people of that country. I don’t believe there’s a country in the world where the people are anything but wonderful. It’s the leaders who can whip them up into frenzies, frightening them into defending themselves against the boogeyman. Always something to be afraid of.

Melissa: (H) Right, and I think that’s what was so terrifying about the Rwandan genocide. Neighbors started turning against neighbors. Hatcheting their children! It was horrific, but not because these people were any more monstrous than you or me. It’s just that the sole media they listened to—their right-wing, hateful radio station—fomented this longstanding bigotry between the Hutus and the Tutsis.

Michael: (H) Like the tragic idiots Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, whipping the right into a frenzy right now.

Melissa: (H) And don’t forget the Hate Monger in Chief Rush Limbaugh.

Michael: (H) Since when did fecking entertainers start running things? Rush Limbaugh? Arnold Schwarzenagger? This all started with Reagan.

Melissa: (H) Ah, but entertainers have been used to drive public opinion for at least a last century.

Michael: (H) Yes, when I first saw how the Germans had used cinema during World War II, I recognized immediately the very same principles used in our television and movies. One in particular was the use of the gray-haired, kindly authority figure, usually a doctor, and he would always be given the lines that we were supposed to take with the most faith. So for instance, in the movie I saw, the doctor was explaining how the feeble and what they called “useless eaters” needed to be euthanized for their own good and the good of the state.

Melissa: (H) Yes, terrifying. And people watched that uncritically and just bought all that—

Michael: (H) It’s just entertainment, after all. Nothing to take too seriously.

Melissa: (H) Until the camps are built, and the ovens are blazing.

     (H) Which reminds me of the Japanese internment camps built after the Pearl Harbor attack.

     (J) And that fascinating Salon article on Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt’s research from a few years ago. That is the most compelling analysis I’ve seen of how ordinary people could be duped—usually through a potent mixture of religion and culture—to participate in a genocidal pogrom against their neighbors.

     (H) And then going back to what you were saying about the white-haired authority figure dispensing propaganda. That made me think of the Stanley Milgram obedience experiment, and how that’s even been repeated more recently with similar results.

Michael: (H) Yes, I think that’s more common for a society based on the Strict Father model. Because from an early age, we’re taught to obey authority.

Melissa: (H) That’s why cultivating an educated and informed public capable of critical reasoning is probably the most important ingredient to preserving our freedoms.

Michael: (H) Well, looking at the current state of entertainment, I don’t hold out too much hope.

Melissa: (H) Ah, but look at the revolution the Internet has wrought.

Michael: (H) It’s interesting you say that, because I remember the predictions they were making about the Internet, one of which was that it would make authoritarian governments obsolete.

Melissa: (H) Really? How?

Michael: (H) Well, if their citizens had access to outside information, and those same citizens could get information to the outside world—those were the two primary areas that repressive governments would use to control people: their access to information and their abilitiy to communicate with the outside world.

Melissa: (H) Which is why that video we were watching recently is even more harrowing.

Michael: (H) Which one?

Melissa: (H) The one that talked about all of the government censorship of the Internet all over the world? How people in what was it, Myanmar, only have access to about 1 percent of the Internet or something like that?

Michael: (H) I think I know what you mean. Vaguely.

Melissa: (H) As far as I know, that’s not happening in America yet. So that’s something to be grateful for.

Michael: (H) Well, there’s a lot of things to be grateful for. Like I said, you can always distinguish between the people that inhabit a place and the people those people choose to represent them in the form of a government.

Melissa: (H) Or not choose, but have foisted upon them by a Supreme Court. But that’s another story.

Michael: (H) Yes. Always preaching.

     (H) There is a generousness to the American people that I believe exists. This country is greatest when it’s striving to follow the Good Samaritan’s example to help each other and those around us.

Melissa: (H) Yes, I think that’s what happened during the Great Depression. Communities actually grew stronger. People leaned on each other, everyone helping their neighbor in their own way, whatever way they were capable of.

Michael: (H) Yes. This is so predictable, in fact, that unscrupulous leaders will use trouble to get a people to come together.

Melissa: (H) But coming together is also where the people reclaim their true rights as the government of this country. We the People.

Michael: (H) Only if they recognize the government in that way. I think most people are taught to recognize the government as the villain.

Melissa: (H) Yes, if only people could realize we are the definition of democracy. Not corporations. Not television. Not politicians. They serve at our . . .

Michael: (H) Bidding? Or at least they’re supposed to.

Melissa: (H) Yes, and when they do—that’s when this country is great.

Michael: (H) I’m not proud of countries, I’m proud of people. And I’m not proud of corporations, I’m proud of people who try to run them ethically. I’m not proud of any institution. I’m proud of the people who run those institutions. How can you be proud of an inanimate entity?

     (H) It’s the successful anthropomorphization of things that has contributed to people caring more about their cars than their partners. Or caring more about their house than their family. Things are a noose around our necks, dragging us down the more we possess. Choking us, slowly.

Melissa: (H) Sadly, it’s often not until people are facing their own mortality that they realize how much of their lives has been frittered away on ephemera.

Michael: (H) There’s a great episode of Alien Nation where Sykes is given his dream car, which proves too costly for him to keep. One of the other cops is moonlighting to help pay for his boat. And there’s a moment when Sykes and this other cop are talking, and Sykes asks him when was the last time he was on his boat. And the cop thinks for a while and realizes he can’t remember.

Melissa: (H) Right. It’s like we get caught up in this consumption treadmill and are too distracted by all the flashing lights and blaring horns to notice our interior lives are withering.

Michael: (H) Yes. We all work so hard for things that in the end end up just dragging us down. Pinning us to things that have nothing to do with living. Merely having. Possessing. Owning. What a meager thing.

     (H) Land is probably the only thing that’s a little bit different. I understand the need for people to have their land. That is vital. So that’s the only
thing I think is exempt from this—land. ’Cuz without land, you have no space. And without space, you have no freedom, and without freedom, you have no life. Let freedom reign.



L  E  G  E  N  D
letters = sequential meta conversations
                   (C occurred after B, B after A, etc.)
numbers = mini-meta tangents within meta conversations
quoted letters = prior meta conversations





































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This was like eavesdropping a long conversation after lunch at a near table in a restaurant; how many meetings / mails / hours does it take you to write a post like this and give it its final shape? I am in awe!
Rated!
" I didn’t finish what I was saying. Let’s see. . . . questionable goals, and they went through this same thing I was going through. And it connected me to them somehow. And I felt within myself the burden to carry on their willingness to sacrifice."

"I can even tell you how the Army prides itself. Because they’re the underdogs. They’re the fucking underdogs. They’re the bottom of the barrel. They don’t care. It’s because of that that they have pride."

" Do you wanna change that to “fecking”?

"Well, when I said it, I was saying it like I was in the Army. So it was like, “Hey, we’re the fucking underdogs!” Besides, what would some Army guy be saying “fecking” for? Unless he was Irish."

I was army, not die-hard Army since I am still here. I am Army enough to understand that this is ROFLMAO!!

The next s blood bleeding.. lol ... bleeding towards the eyes, yes see this if you have eyes to see, please...

"This hyper-patriotism based on nothing but the fact that we feel we’ve been wronged somehow. Which is exactly what the Germans felt. They felt they’d been wronged. It’s that violence begetting violence nonsense that we can’t seem to escape."

”It’s just entertainment, after all. Nothing to take too seriously.

Until the camps are built, and the ovens are blazing.”

“That’s why cultivating an educated and informed public capable of critical reasoning is probably the most important ingredient to preserving our freedoms.”

“There is a generousness to the American people that I believe exists. This country is greatest when it’s striving to follow the Good Samaritan’s example to help each other and those around us.”

“How can you be proud of an inanimate entity?”

“It’s the successful anthropomorphization of things that has contributed to people caring more about their cars than their partners. Or caring more about their house than their family. Things are a noose around our necks, dragging us down the more we possess. Choking us, slowly.”

The truth is loud and strong….)()))) Love Always - trans-time right?
Follow up :)

here

peece!
dj
I'd never heard of Smedley Butler or War is a Racket. Sigh. So many books, so little time. But the Wiki piece on Butler reminded me of Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address wherein he warned about the military-industrial complex (among other things.) I wish we'd paid attention to it.

We all work so hard for things that in the end end up just dragging us down. Pinning us to things that have nothing to do with living. Merely having. Possessing. Owning. What a meager thing. Yes. Have I told you about this? Because I eventually tell everyone about this: one of my all-time favorite New Yorker cartoons is a sketch of a man is sitting in an armchair in front of his television. There's an anchorman on the television screen and the caption reads "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Details at 11." (Which is reminding me of parts of your last post...)
Again - I must come back and read this again. So much excellence and ideas - these are conversations worth having!

I mean, they're all worth having, really - the pedestrian and the divine - all are part of the balance.

Okay, now I'm having a conversation with myself - M&M - great work!
Smedley Butler has a VFW post. Many veterans join as a expression of deep respect. Charlie Litkey gave back a Medal of Honor. Brian S. Wilson is a member?
Brian (not the singer) Wilson was a former lawyer, dairy farmer, veteran advocate, and versed in Nurenburg Laws and Confessions. He was familiar with military tribunals and opposed the killing of civilians during the Ron Reagan/Bush Sr/bloody days. He lost two legs at California's Concord Weapon depot. Both Brian, Charlie and there wives have been Guest in my home. Google? They are examples of informed opposition to wayward governing. Patriotism.
I'll read you again in the morning.
In 1776 Thomas Jefferson, John Adams,
died in 1824? 'In the course of human events it becomes necessary' .... (to go snore).... dissolve their bonds ...Martin Luther King picked up on the Declaration of Independence ...
I wish a Betty Boop looke alike was on Capital Bean Hill. I wish we could sing:`I an so crazy, so crazy ... wondering ... crazy for trying, crazy for lying, and crazy for crying ... and crazy for having loved you!'
Who sang that?
Frank Sinatra?
He sang:`My Way. He was in the movie:`From Here To Eternity' and got a academy award.
At the Academy Awards his former lover cried out:`Or. rather yelled:`Moron!
good day? Yup.
"Conspiracies are nothing special. You and I are conspiring right now to make this"

"it ...seems by design"- times I look at life thru the lens of this idea, benevolent or malevolent depnds on wht am trying to do and where am able to take it, then at other times, seems no design....

anyway, the idea of virgin US exp shock : like it wd die or something, bang react, was amusing and went home I think, beautifully done - how do you guys manage to weave in so many strands of thought, layers - but I guess that's the way it goes on and on in our minds, your form is interesting, requires plenty of attention, sends me off when I come to it at the end of the day tired - but on Sun mornings it is like a lovely leisurely shower for the mind :)
going to look up Blue Vinyl, no better watch it if I can find it in the VDO store, German progressive edu that trained them to recog signs of facism? how do you know? how can one know about such things? you studied, decoded subversive curr from their framework of curr ?
the way you articulate the practice of instilling 'feel pride' leading to defeatist world view is interesting...well, rated for the title, I realize, the people not the country - must say that too so the mind remembers to file it that way, 'love its people, not the country' :)
er over there, his is wht I meant, "the idea of virgin US, experiencing shock (hvng never been under attack)....startled angry confused immediate childlike reaction with a war - " was interesting....
@Marcela:

Marcela: This was like eavesdropping a long conversation after lunch at a near table in a restaurant;

Michael: I think I described what we were doing in terms very similar to that in one of our earlier posts.

Melissa: Yes, I think so. But I can’t remember exactly. That all seems so long ago.

Marcela: how many meetings / mails / hours does it take you to write a post like this and give it its final shape? I am in awe!

Melissa: It really just takes the literal time required to have the initial conversation (the unlettered text) while I’m transcribing it, plus each subsequent conversation as we read back through and add the meta-layers.

Michael: Then the final performing and proofreading take some additional time, too.

Melissa: Especially if we end up adding more metas as a result of that process! But this piece, for example, came together over the course of one evening (Friday night, to be precise) and the following afternoon (today, or rather, yesterday, before we posted this).

Michael: And since we’re sitting in the same room working on these together, just having a conversation, no mail or meetings are necessary.

Melissa: Quite simple, really, although we’re afraid it doesn’t look that way once the piece is done.

Michael: Aren’t you usually supposed to make difficult things look easy? We’ve got this backwards.

Melissa: Well, that’s not to say this is easy. It really does end up taking hours upon hours the deeper we get into each post, with each iteration triggering yet further layers. But the reason it ends up looking so complicated is because we’re trying to represent reality and the passage of time as accurately as possible, which is difficult to do in a linear text form.

Michael: I would guess that our current posts probably take us about a day to go from initial conversation to actual posting.

Melissa: A day for us meaning probably a twelve- to sixteen-hour workday.

Michael: Yes.

Melissa: Which is why it’s sometimes challenging to find long enough chunks of time to finish these during the work week. In any case, thanks for stopping by, Marcela, and we appreciate your kind words!
@David:

David: I was army, not die-hard Army since I am still here.

Melissa: Thank God for that!

David: I am Army enough to understand that this is ROFLMAO!!

Both: Hahaha!

David: The next s blood bleeding.. lol ... bleeding towards the eyes, yes see this if you have eyes to see, please... "This hyper-patriotism based on nothing but the fact that we feel we’ve been wronged somehow. Which is exactly what the Germans felt. They felt they’d been wronged. It’s that violence begetting violence nonsense that we can’t seem to escape."

Melissa: Amen to that.

David: The truth is loud and strong….)()))) Love Always - trans-time right?

Both: Trans-time?

David: Follow up :)

Michael: Bitchin’. I found the line “Promise on your life that you won’t cry at my funeral” interesting. I remember thinking at one time that people shouldn’t cry for me when I’m dead because I’m not really dead. But then I realized, that’s totally self-centered. People cry because they miss you. You can’t prevent people from having feelings.

Melissa: Or processing their grief. Mourning.

Michael: As you know only too well. (tearful) Sorry about your mother, David.

Melissa: Yes. We were heartbroken for you when we stumbled on that comment you made a while back.

Michael: Yes, your response was very wise and moving.

Melissa: As are you, David. Your buoyancy is amazing.
If I set my Intergalactic Meaning Interpreter to "Mode 1 - Analytic" it spits out a very positive, detailed but lengthy analysis of your latest post written in GalactiLing, and unfortunately the translation of such a complicated text is beyond my abilities. I can only provide you with the rough translation of its title: "Evolution of a National Holiday: A Laudable Attempt to Reshape the Day of Boasting into a Day of Atonement".

Setting the dial to "Mode 2 - Poetic" the device produces a single word only: "Audio", plus a cryptic hot-link attached to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gOQ67gcp7Y
@consonantsandvowels:

consonantsandvowels: I'd never heard of Smedley Butler or War is a Racket. Sigh.

Michael: I’d never heard of him either until I was in boot camp. And then it was years later before I learned about War Is a Racket.

consonantsandvowels: So many books, so little time.

Melissa: Story of my life!

consonantsandvowels: But the Wiki piece on Butler reminded me of Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address wherein he warned about the military-industrial complex (among other things.) I wish we'd paid attention to it.

Michael: I hadn’t made that connection, but you’re absolutely right. It is like Eisenhower’s farewell speech.

Melissa: And yes, we, too, wished we had all paid more attention.

consonantsandvowels: “We all work so hard for things that in the end end up just dragging us down. Pinning us to things that have nothing to do with living. Merely having. Possessing. Owning. What a meager thing.” Yes. Have I told you about this?

Melissa: No, not yet!

consonantsandvowels: Because I eventually tell everyone about this: one of my all-time favorite New Yorker cartoons is a sketch of a man is sitting in an armchair in front of his television. There's an anchorman on the television screen and the caption reads "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Details at 11."

(both laughing)
@Owl_Says_Who:

Owl_Says_Who: Again - I must come back and read this again. So much excellence and ideas - these are conversations worth having!

Michael: Thank you, Owl! That’s very encouraging.

Owl_Says_Who: I mean, they're all worth having, really - the pedestrian and the divine - all are part of the balance.

Melissa: This gets back to my “Ordinary” essay, which keeps coming up for some reason.

Michael: Probably because you keep bringing it up!

Melissa: Haha. But only because it already says what I would have to take the trouble to re-articulate. And because it ties in with so many of the themes that have been coming up in conversations with consonantsandvowels, Newton, and Angelique, for example. In this case, with Owl. The point is, I talk about the idea of finding the divine in the pedestrian, the ordinary, so they aren’t necessarily at odds as society wants us to believe.

Owl_Says_Who: Okay, now I'm having a conversation with myself - M&M - great work!

Michael: That would be interesting! A piece written as a conversation with yourself. I guess Jim does that all the time, though.
@Arthur James:

Melissa: Thank you for the friendly visit, Arthur.

Arthur James: Brian (not the singer) Wilson was a former lawyer, dairy farmer, veteran advocate, and versed in Nurenburg Laws and Confessions. He was familiar with military tribunals and opposed the killing of civilians during the Ron Reagan/Bush Sr/bloody days. He lost two legs at California's Concord Weapon depot.

Melissa: Sounds like a fascinating person!

Arthur James: Both Brian, Charlie and there wives have been Guest in my home. Google? They are examples of informed opposition to wayward governing. Patriotism.

Melissa: This reminds me of a phrase Michael coined: “Patrivist. n. Person who, from a sense of love of one’s land, actively resists all forms of oppression, corruption, and injustice.”

Arthur James: I wish we could sing:`I an so crazy, so crazy ... wondering ... crazy for trying, crazy for lying, and crazy for crying ... and crazy for having loved you!' Who sang that?

Michael: Would that be Ray Price?

Melissa: Good day to you, too, Arthur.
@Rolling:

Rolling: "it ...seems by design"- times I look at life thru the lens of this idea, benevolent or malevolent depnds on wht am trying to do and where am able to take it, then at other times, seems no design....

Melissa: A wise contemplation.

Rolling: how do you guys manage to weave in so many strands of thought, layers - but I guess that's the way it goes on and on in our minds,

Michael: Since we are recording the conversation as we’re having it, and because the conversation itself sparks so many other ideas, the pieces evolve organically.

Rolling: your form is interesting, requires plenty of attention, sends me off when I come to it at the end of the day tired

Michael: We’ve started worrying these posts are becoming too complicated. We’ll just have to be more careful in future.

Melissa: The problem is, each post takes on a life of its own, so we don’t always have that much say in the matter.

Michael: That’s true.

Melissa: Like that one we started out by saying we were gonna do a short one, and it ended up being one of our longest! Help.

Rolling: but on Sun mornings it is like a lovely leisurely shower for the mind :)

Melissa: Glad you found a good, meditative time to enjoy these.

Rolling: going to look up Blue Vinyl, no better watch it if I can find it in the VDO store,

Melissa: It’s quite an engaging documentary. We like how the director approaches it from a personal perspective, taking an issue that’s affecting her family and then investigating the larger, global issues surrounding her experience. Microcosm to macrocosm.

Rolling: German progressive edu that trained them to recog signs of facism? how do you know? how can one know about such things? you studied, decoded subversive curr from their framework of curr ?

Michael: A very good friend of ours named Lutz told us about his upbringing in Germany after World War II. It was very educational.

Melissa: Yes, fascinating.

Michael: But then again, he’s a brilliant person. Truly.

Melissa: Yes, and he also lived in El Salvador for many years, so he brings the perspective of three languages, cultures, and countries to bear on his observations about education and politics.

Rolling: the way you articulate the practice of instilling 'feel pride' leading to defeatist world view is interesting...well, rated for the title, I realize, the people not the country - must say that too so the mind remembers to file it that way, 'love its people, not the country' :)

Michael: This reminds me of the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I suppose it’s similar.

Melissa: Yes, but quite dangerous when applied to public policy issues.

Michael: Yes, strict separation of church and state. So vital to a free-functioning society.

Melissa: But going back to “love its people, not the country”—I do like that quite a lot.

Rolling: er over there, his is wht I meant, "the idea of virgin US, experiencing shock (hvng never been under attack)....startled angry confused immediate childlike reaction with a war - " was interesting....

Melissa: As is your analysis, Rolling! Thanks for sharing your heart-mind’s thoughts with us.
@GalaxyMan:

GalaxyMan: If I set my Intergalactic Meaning Interpreter to "Mode 1 - Analytic" it spits out a very positive, detailed but lengthy analysis of your latest post written in GalactiLing, and unfortunately the translation of such a complicated text is beyond my abilities.

Melissa: Guess we’ll need to become fluent in GalactiLing! “Mode 1 - Analytic”—I like that. A very useful translation device.

Michael: Do you only have one? I suppose you probably do. But what happens if that one breaks?

GalaxyMan: I can only provide you with the rough translation of its title:

Melissa: “To Serve Man”, perhaps? Whoops, I should be more patient.

GalaxyMan: "Evolution of a National Holiday: A Laudable Attempt to Reshape the Day of Boasting into a Day of Atonement".

Michael: I think that’s what the Germans did after World War II. They really took stock of themselves and changed.

Melissa: And there’s also the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa following the dismantling of Apartheid.

Michael: I worry sometimes that America is too proud to admit its own mistakes, and that’s too bad. Because pride goes before the fall.

Melissa: Yes, a simple acknowledgment of wrongdoing could go a long way toward healing fractured lives and repairing relationships around the world.

GalaxyMan: Setting the dial to "Mode 2 - Poetic" the device produces a single word only: "Audio", plus a cryptic hot-link attached to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gOQ67gcp7Y

Melissa: Ah, Leonard Cohen. Everybody knows, indeed.

Michael: Thanks for warping by, GalaxyMan.

Melissa: Yes, and we’re looking forward to finding time to get over to your galaxy soon.
"I’m not proud of countries, I’m proud of people. And I’m not proud of corporations, I’m proud of people who try to run them ethically. I’m not proud of any institution. I’m proud of the people who run those institutions. How can you be proud of an inanimate entity?"

Wow, this sums up a lot for me. I have no more to add to those words than that they reflect what's in my heart. This post was an interesting journey -finding out Michael has a military past, hmmm. I haven't known many people up close and personal who served. My favorite was a big teddy bear of a guy who was ex-Special Operations and became a preschool teacher. My kids adored him and his gentleness betrayed any sense of the past life he had led. Only when you sat down and talked to him outside of school did you see the other man.

"Yes. We all work so hard for things that in the end end up just dragging us down. Pinning us to things that have nothing to do with living. Merely having. Possessing. Owning. What a meager thing."

This is what I have been trying to move away from. I feel like I am making progress. How about you?
"America is like the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male of the world. America has enjoyed the privilege of superiority for the few centuries it’s existed, but under the neocons, it turned into this victimized, poor-me nation that used fear to justify murderous and corrupt policies."

Wow, this is so quotable. And I agree with the first comment from Marcela K - how do you churn this out, not to mention all the little "post-process dialogues," as I think GalaxyMan termed them in his comment on your previous post? Do you record your convos into a dictaphone, or do you set up little individual laptop stations and communicate across the living room, or next to each other on the sofa, a la IM?

It all makes me think of the brain-to-typewriter linkage of the tragic writer-heroine in Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. How do you do it, really?
@mamoore:

mamoore: “I’m not proud of countries, I’m proud of people. And I’m not proud of corporations, I’m proud of people who try to run them ethically. I’m not proud of any institution. I’m proud of the people who run those institutions. How can you be proud of an inanimate entity?” Wow, this sums up a lot for me. I have no more to add to those words than that they reflect what's in my heart.

Michael: You are the textbook definition of “people person,” mamoore. I am so proud of the work you do and proud you are a fellow American. You are exactly the person I was talking about when I said: “There is a generousness to the American people that I believe exists. This country is greatest when it’s striving to follow the Good Samaritan’s example to help each other and those around us.”

Melissa: Yes, you are an exemplary human being, mamoore, and we are grateful to count you among our friends.

mamoore: This post was an interesting journey -finding out Michael has a military past, hmmm. I haven't known many people up close and personal who served.

Michael: Well, I was spared any actual combat. In fact, I was “lovingly” refered to as a “Remington Raider.” A clerk typist. My job morphed into using word processors, and I became the hotshot “computer guy.” I actually sorta liked being in the military. It was one of the few places where I felt welcome and accepted. There are a lot of really amazing people in the military. Poor, mostly, yes, but intelligent and honest. I really miss some of those people.

Melissa: Yes, thankfully you served during peacetime. I’m sure it would’ve been a much more traumatizing experience under either of the Bush administrations.

Michael: Of course. That’s why I hate what’s happening over there right now. I hate that there are people over there for no-good-fucking reason. If I just happened to be in the military right now, I would probably be over there.

mamoore: My favorite was a big teddy bear of a guy who was ex-Special Operations and became a preschool teacher. My kids adored him and his gentleness betrayed any sense of the past life he had led. Only when you sat down and talked to him outside of school did you see the other man.

Melissa: That sounds like Michael. He’s exceptionally gentle, but there’s also an underlying sadness and even damage that comes partly from the negative part of being in the military—the brutality of the brainwashing that occurs during boot camp, particularly.

Michael: Well, I’m not a big teddy bear.

Melissa: Maybe not big. But a teddy bear, nevertheless.

Michael: I think of a teddy bear as rounder. More rotund.

mamoore: "Yes. We all work so hard for things that in the end end up just dragging us down. Pinning us to things that have nothing to do with living. Merely having. Possessing. Owning. What a meager thing." This is what I have been trying to move away from. I feel like I am making progress. How about you?

Michael: Taking a look around our small apartment, my guess is that with a swivel of my head, I just viewed three thousand things. Books, boxes, bottles, computers, keyboards, hammocks, lights, models, clothes, chairs, a disused exercise machine, a pair of neglected bikes, and toys. Mostly little cars.

Melissa: Okay, you’re right, but probably 80 percent of it is books, and to me, those don’t quite count as “things.” They’re fragments of people’s souls, and so they open windows into further thoughts and ideas, ways of being and empathizing with others. As for the boxes, those are mostly full of hand-scribbled notes, so those are fragments of our thoughts and ideas, so those don’t count, either.

Michael: Okay. That’s true. But Melissa asked us how we’re doing on making progress with it. And with that, we’re probably doing better. We usually only purchase what we need to keep working.

Melissa: Yes, every teeny bit we do spend (while still living month-to-month) gets funneled into our creativity. Very occasionally—like our recent foray into bicycles, which we’d been talking about getting for over a decade—we optimistically get something that’s supposed to be for our health or well-being. But those tend to become neglected as we can never quite escape the gravitational creative flow long enough to go outside.

Michael: Well, at least an AIDS worker in Africa got a bike as a result of purchasing ours.

Melissa: I think that’s partly how we justified to ourselves getting them. That, and wanting to wean ourselves off our car.

Michael: That was easier imagined than done.
@keenoctopus:

keenoctopus: "America is like the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male of the world. America has enjoyed the privilege of superiority for the few centuries it’s existed, but under the neocons, it turned into this victimized, poor-me nation that used fear to justify murderous and corrupt policies." Wow, this is so quotable.

Melissa: Aw, shucks. Thanks, keenoctopus.

keenoctopus: And I agree with the first comment from Marcela K - how do you churn this out,

Melissa: I think the secret is that these are conversations we are having anyway. We’re just taking some extra time (a lot of extra time, actually) to document them.

keenoctopus: not to mention all the little "post-process dialogues," as I think GalaxyMan termed them in his comment on your previous post?

Melissa: Same deal as above. Everyone who comments becomes a part of the conversation, so we just extend that process to include each of you!

keenoctopus: Do you record your convos into a dictaphone, or do you set up little individual laptop stations and communicate across the living room, or next to each other on the sofa, a la IM? It all makes me think of the brain-to-typewriter linkage of the tragic writer-heroine in Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. How do you do it, really?

Michael: We’ve recorded a few of our conversations on a digital recorder, but I think they lack the drama of our typewritten pieces. Plus, you have to take the extra time to transcribe them anyway, which we’ve barely managed to do.

Melissa: Drama? I don’t know. I think some of our most interesting stuff is in those recordings. But you’re right, the problem is having to transcribe it all. So we just end up with more fodder sitting around dormant. That’s why I’m looking forward to starting Fragment Fridays. We can clear out all the meta-fodder that’s accumulated in our closet and get back to writing fresh posts, which is what we keep doing anyway and why all the old fragments sit unfinished.

Michael: That sure sounded a lot like exposition.

Melissa: Well, keenoctopus was asking about process. But you’re right. I need to get back to answering your question, keenoctopus. The mechanics involved are relatively simple. We’re just sitting here in our livingroom talking. Almost every time we start a new metaness post, it isn’t intentional. Michael usually says something funny or clever, and I hop on my laptop and start typing away. Then we just continue the conversation from there, albeit at a slightly staccato pace to allow me to keep up with the conversation. Which is why I’m starting to suffer from bilateral tendonitis, once again.

Michael: That’s why we need to get some voice recognition software.

Melissa: Yes, that might help. So the other thing we started doing a few weeks ago is screen sharing. I’ll be typing on my laptop while Michael is sitting at our main computer watching me type. And he can jump in and type or edit at will. We can just go back and forth sharing the same workspace by doing that. It’s pretty cool, actually.

Michael: Yes, it definitely simplifies working collaboratively on one document.

Melissa: So here is my attempt to summarize the process in a nutshell:

1) We start talking.

2) I transcribe the conversation as we’re having it.

3) Once the conversation comes to a natural conclusion, we go back to the beginning and start reading through what I’ve recorded.

4) As soon as one of the lines we read sparks another meta-conversation, we start recording that under the lettering system, with each new letter representing a new tangential conversation.

5) Once we manage to get through reading and metaing the entire document, we go back to the beginning again and start performing it out loud to check for authenticity and flow.

6) As we’re performing, sometimes that triggers other meta-conversations, and the iterative process begins all over again.

7) Once we’ve performed the “script” without further changes, we then go back and do a final proofread (having been editing and proofreading all along, really). Even the proofreading can sometimes trigger another meta. It’s a very cyclical, recursive, sometimes harrowing process to get through.

8) Finally, Michael runs the text I’ve typed through a newLISP script to convert it into html, complete with metaness idiosyncracies (e.g., italicizing Michael’s lines, etc.).

9) Then we view the html in a browser and do some more read-throughs and proofreading.

10) Once all of the tweaks have been implemented, we read it through again to find the title. Then we paste it into Open Salon’s editor, preview, and tweak again as needed.

11) Finally, we do one last read-through for tags and press “Publish”!

12) Oh, I forgot to mention the artwork! We usually select—

Michael: She didn’t ask about the artwork. She asked about the writing. The artwork has nothing to do with it.

Melissa: She asked about process. That’s a part of the process. We can’t publish until we’ve selected the artwork to go with it. So that’s it. In a nutshell.
I guess we were on the same wavelength there. Again your writing in this format brings the reader in so that they are not just reading something but becomming part of the conversation. I love reading your stuff.
@micalpeace:

micalpeace: I guess we were on the same wavelength there.

Melissa: We always seem to be :-) All ties in with that karass/synchronicity/convergence of thought phenomena that keeps happening among and between the kindred souls here.

micalpeace: Again your writing in this format brings the reader in so that they are not just reading something but becomming part of the conversation.

Michael: We’re so glad to hear that, Mike. It was one of the things I was hoping this writing would produce—a sense that you are here in this conversation with us.

micalpeace: I love reading your stuff.

Melissa: We feel the same way about your work, too.
Hi Melissa, thought provoking stuff as usual. Just wanted to add this extract from The Crowd: A Study of the popular Mind written by Gustave le Bon in 1895, a French intellectual who theorized propaganda as an adequate rational technique to control the seemingly irrational behaviour of the masses. His ideas informed Hitler, but also regimes since then, but also the marketing industry as well, so it does inform much of the attitudes of today as well.

The disappearance of conscious personality and the turning of feelings and thoughts in a definite direction, which is the primary characteristics of a crowd about to become organised, do not always involve the simultaneous presence of a number of individuals in one spot.

The most striking peculiarity presented by a psychological crowd is the following: Whoever be the individual that compose it, however like or unlike be their mode of life, their occupations, their character, or their intelligence, the fact that they have been transformed into a crowd puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation.

It is only by obtaining some sort of insight into the psychology of crowds that it can be understood how slight is the action upon them of laws and institutions, how powerless they are to hold opinions other than those which are imposed upon them, and that it is not with rules based on theories of pure equity that they are to be led, but by seeking what produces an impression on them and what seduces them.

In practice the most unjust may be the best for the masses. Should it at the same time be the least obvious, and apparently the least burdensome, it will be the most tolerated.

We see, then, that the disappearance of the conscious personality, the predominance of the unconscious personality, the turning by means of suggestion and contagion of feelings and ideas in an identical direction, the tendency to immediately transform the suggested ideas into acts; these, we see, are the principal characteristics of the individuals forming part of a crowd.

He is no longer himself but has become an automation who has ceased to be guided by his will.

In consequence, a crowd perpetually hovering on the borderland of unconsciousness, readily yielding to all suggestions, having all the violence of feeling peculiar to beings who cannot appeal to the influence of reason, deprived of all critical faculty, cannot be otherwise than excessively credulous. The improbable does not exist for a crowd, and it is necessary to bear this circumstance well in mind to understand the facility with which are created and propagated the most improbable legends and stories.

The propagation of legends which so easily obtain circulation in crowds as not solely the consequence of their extreme credulity. It is also the result of the prodigious perversion that events undergo in the imagination of the throng. The simplest event that comes under the observation of a crowd is soon totally transformed. A crowd thinks in images, and the image itself immediately calls up a series of other images, having no logical connection with the rest.

We can easily conceive this state by thinking of the fantastic succession of ideas to which we are sometimes led by calling up in our minds any fact. Our reason shows us the incoherence there is in these images, but a crowd is almost blind to this truth, and confuses with the real event what the deforming action of its imagination has superimposed thereon. A crowd scarcely distinguishes between the subjective and the objective. It accepts as real the images evoked in its mind, though they most often have only a very distant relation with the observed fact.

The ways in which the crowd perverts any event of which it is a witness ought, it would seem, to be innumerable and unlike each other, since the individuals composing the gathering are of very different temperaments. But this is not the case. As the result of contagion the perversions are of the same kind, and take the same shape in the case of all the assembled individuals.

Such is always the case with the collective hallucination so frequent in history—hallucinations which seem to have all the recognised characteristics of authenticity, since they are phenomena observed by thousands of persons.

To combat what precedes (that is to brainwash the individual), the mental quality of the individuals composing a crowd must not be brought into consideration. This quality is without importance. From that moment they form part of a crowd the learned man and the ignoramus are equally incapable of observation.


The point of this being that one should mentally guard against becoming part of any form of mass hysteria, whether it be for our country, a religion, political party, ethnic group, sexual orientation, whatever.
something has come up for me. my own personal war. so this resonates with me even though i don't understand your posts the way others do and i feel like a complete idiot when i read them and then read the comments. my favorite new yorker cartoon, that has nothing to do with anything: two people are in an art museum, staring raptly at a grid-like piece on the wall. one guard turns to another and says, "i haven't got the heart to tell them it's the ventilator shaft."

i don't know why this makes me so happy but it does. probably the small kindness that's in there with the humor. i'm in a bad place emotionally, guys. really bad. because of somehting old that i inadvertently brought up again. so im' not reading comments for the most part because when i do i often feel less than and even more so on here because you guys are such geniuses and i know i don't understand what you're doing.

so pelase PM me any comments that you might make to my comment. shit, i haven't read any of yoru comments to me in the past either. i'm sorry i'm such an emotional coward. i miss my dead husband. i miss having a family of my own. long ass holiday family weekends are tough for me, as i posted. i deleted it because i want to focus on gratitude and abundance but... i adore you both. sorry for this carp. love lvoe lveo and huge gratitude
okay, this thing is, i can't read long posts like this one. and you guys are more complicated than usual. i have brain damage and can't concentrate for long at a time. when i'm writign, i leave my body, so it's different. but i LOVE smedley butler. i love anyone who goes up against any Bush family member, including the neanderthal or australopithicus who bashed the first bush-ette over the head. love love love
@Newton:

Thank you, Newton. This looks like fascinating reading—all the moreso given the fact that this was written in 1895! We suspect le Bon inspired Edward Bernays, the king of PR who also influenced Hitler and unleashed all kinds of evil social experiments through propaganda campaigns (e.g., he’s the one who’s responsible for making women think smoking is “sexy”). We’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but you might want to check out the BBC documentary Century of the Self. It’s a long but incredibly informative analysis of PR, propaganda, mass social experimentation, and human psychology.

@Theodora:

No worries whatsoever, Theodora dear. We’ll PM you, and take care.

( m&m )
Thanks so much for the link, will follow it up asap, But this also is why I'm not a fan of Oprah (see Is Oprah a Narcissist?) as she most certainly is the Queen of PR. While her shows definitely are informative and very often worth watching, and she's eloquent and entertaining, nevertheless with here media machine she's elevated herself as a god of sorts in the eyes of the masses, all of which has been carefully crafted. Though hers is only one example, Michael Jackson mania is another, the point however is that one keeps a healthy psychological distance, and not get caught up in the Euphoria of "see how benevolent she is" or "how kindhearted she is". She, or any media person, most likely are not kinder or more giving than any of us. Indeed because of their success they most likely are not, and often their good deeds merely are a means to an end, in the final analysis, it's good publicity. Anyway, it's important we begin to grow up and see beyond the incredible facade and not be fooled by the illusion many wish to sell as truth, and with it to give away our power as well.

Sorry for the rant.
@Newton:

Michael: You’re not ranting, Newton. Just calmly stating the truth.

Melissa: Yes, we agree completely and are looking forward to reading your piece on Oprah. This whole obsequious adulation of celebrities for condescending to commit a generous deed—which, as you said, always profits them ultimately in PR currency—is quite revolting.

Michael: And it’s humiliating for the fans. I recently saw a picture of a boy in his teens trying to hand a rose to some celebrity I didn’t recognize. She was oblivious to him, and the look on his face spoke volumes—the yearning, the hope, and at the moment of the photo, the beginnings of the realization that she was just going to pass him by, which of course, she did. I imagined him imagining the moment a hundred times. How it would go. What he would say to her.

Melissa: Right. So tragically pathetic.

Michael: Interestingly, because of the bad publicity of the photo, this celebrity agreed to meet with the person on some show. Notice how it had to occur on some show.

Melissa: Haha. Exactly. Case in point. We definitely prefer to celebrate the widow with two mites rather than those who give out of their abundance, with timpanis and trombones announcing their “generosity.”
Melissa and Michael: Just wanted you to know I am reading your posts - They deserve and require great care and attention, and I wish any response / comment I make to reflect the same (as yours always do to mine).

There are so many "points of entry" in your posts in regard to where and how I might offer a comment - I see myself interjecting my own thoughts/insights at every turn; but quickly I discovered that it is just more enjoyable to "listen" deeply and I find I am just able to surrender and enjoy the dialogue between you two without my own internal conversational additions / comments intruding.

These dialogues at times remind me (in certain ways) of those in the films "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." Likely Ethan Hawke drew greatly from conversations he had with his at-that-time-wife Uma Thurman when he wrote the scripts for these films. These dialogues seem designed for only two, and I enjoy "listening" - how, when, where to comment, I am still determining but do know I look forward to reading these exchanges, and I DO read them! I am also so very happy for you that you appear to be developing a large readership/following...You appear to have found your "niche" on O.S. and this is a wonderful thing. - Angie

Many Blessings - A.
@ Angie:

Melissa: What a gift to wake up and find this rich and inspiring comment! I don’t know if you will ever quite know the significance of your encouragement at this particular moment in our metaness journey.

Angie: There are so many "points of entry" in your posts in regard to where and how I might offer a comment - I see myself interjecting my own thoughts/insights at every turn; but quickly I discovered that it is just more enjoyable to "listen" deeply and I find I am just able to surrender and enjoy the dialogue between you two without my own internal conversational additions / comments intruding.

Michael: We’re delighted that you can settle in and, as you say, surrender to the dialogue, but how sad we are to miss your thoughtful and welcome interjections.

Melissa: Well, she does share some of those insights—like the comparison to Before Sunrise. We haven’t seen Before Sunset yet, but we did enjoy Sunrise years ago. Our favorite Linklater film is still Slacker.

Michael: Yes, I especially remember being taken with that scene of that guy who runs his mother over, goes back to his house, goes to his room, and begins playing a loop of film that shows his mother—we assume—thoughtlessly reach over and kick this little boy in his pushcar in a way that shows she doesn’t really give a crap about him. And you just think, this person has probably watched this loop of film a thousand times. And one day, he just snapped and runs his mother over. There was something very profound about that.

Melissa: Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that scene. What’s amazing is how many dozens of teeny vignettes are packed into that film, and you never even revisit a single character after their own moment passes, and yet all of their stories somehow intersect.

Michael: Another scene I just remembered was the couple arguing about going out and doing something for the day, and the guy says, “It’s like premeditated fun.” Is that what he actually says?

Melissa: That sounds right. What I mainly remember is him questioning the need to go outside at all, which struck home for us because we’re so introverted and often have trouble bringing ourselves to even walk to the mailbox.

Michael: Haha.

Angie: These dialogues seem designed for only two, and I enjoy "listening"

Michael: Does that mean they seem closed off to the reader? Not inviting conversation? I remember the first time GalaxyMan commented—he wondered if it was okay to interrupt us. I thought that was funny. Speaking of which, we’ve been neglecting him.

Melissa: We’ve been neglecting so many of our friends lately! Oh, how OS madly races by, while we’re still trying to tie our shoelaces.

Angie: how, when, where to comment, I am still determining but do know I look forward to reading these exchanges, and I DO read them!

Michael: Thank you, Angelique. As Melissa said at the start, you’ll never know how much this comment meant to us.

Angie: I am also so very happy for you that you appear to be developing a large readership/following...You appear to have found your "niche" on O.S. and this is a wonderful thing.

Melissa: Yes, we are grateful for this karass of kindreds we’ve found here—including you.

Michael: Yes.
Hello there from one of yr first fans, before you hit the big time!
Nice going, kiddos...you deserve it...the form you employ has certainly undergone significant evolution. I always stop in & just groove on the dialogue (enviously: i need such communication in my own life!), not sure where or how to comment...

I think the similarity between fascism and the cult of personality was a fascinating thread . Fascism's effectiveness depends on worship of a culture hero; i shudder to tink what the last eight years might ahve been like with a charismatic right-winger a t the helm of the ship of state. We were lucky in a way to get Bush..

Jim
@Jim:

Jim: Hello there from one of yr first fans,

Melissa: Hallo back at you, Jim!

Michael: Yes, we remember your first comment well. Delightful.

Melissa: A ray of sunshine, indeed.

Jim: before you hit the big time! Nice going, kiddos...you deserve it...

Michael: Why does everybody (two people) keep saying we’ve hit the big time? I’m sitting here thinking this is a failure, and people are congratulating us on our success.

Melissa: Hahaha. That sounds about exactly right.

Jim: the form you employ has certainly undergone significant evolution.

Melissa: We’re glad you see it as evolution rather than entropy!

Jim: I always stop in & just groove on the dialogue (enviously: i need such communication in my own life!),

Melissa: You clearly have some amazingly in-depth e-dialogues on OS, so we’re grateful you’ve found this community to satiate that inner craving for substantive discussion.

Jim: not sure where or how to comment...

Michael: It’s interesting you say that, as Angelique said very much the same thing above. I wonder if it’s something about our posts.

Melissa: I think they’ve just been too overwhelming lately. People don’t know exactly where to jump in, since, like Angie said, there are so many “points of entry.”

Jim: I think the similarity between fascism and the cult of personality was a fascinating thread . Fascism's effectiveness depends on worship of a culture hero;

Melissa: Very good point. Charisma is one of the most terrifying forces in history. That’s probably why Michael and I find it so repulsive.

Jim: i shudder to tink what the last eight years might ahve been like with a charismatic right-winger a t the helm of the ship of state. We were lucky in a way to get Bush..

Michael: Amen. Without the overall incompetence of the Right, I really fear what might’ve become of this country.

Melissa: Yes! I never thought I’d find some way to be grateful that it was GWB in office. Help.

Michael: Thanks for stopping by, Jim.

Melissa: Yes, and we hope to visit your neighborhood this weekend.

Michael: We’ve got some catching up to do.