Woke up from a terrible dream just now after only forty minutes or so of sleeping.
The worst nightmares are these, finding myself hurting someone I love or someone I love hurting me.
You’d think after 33 years of this off and on nightmare thing that I’d get used to it. Hardly.
How do you get used to a close friend chainsawing your leg off? In a dream so real you can feel the teeth of the blade?
Can you get used to murdering your best friend? I know. It’s just a dream. For the last few years, though, I have been suspicious that they are something else. I don’t know what but it’s not good.
Update: That’s it for that night. Sun isn’t even up yet. 5:37 AM.
Woke up at least three more times, each time with another bonkers dream. These weren’t violent but they show another world which is now feeling too real. A dimly lit circus funhouse whose distorted mirrors present half-complete but still disturbing images of people and things and thoughts. I’m feeling mentally sick this morning. I think my brain is trying to understand or make right these images that I am seeing at night but can’t. I feel tired from the effort. And just poor, poor, poor.
“There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.”
Did you know that Brain Damage was written about Syd Barrett going mad and no longer able to fit into the band? I think it was Roger Waters who said that Barrett’s time was finished when he would start playing a different song than the one they were then practicing.
“And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon”
At least this sort of thing makes me feel better.
I put together a few hours ago some images of a photo layout that appeared in 2012 in the Russian edition of marie claire. Photographer unknown. Milla Jovovich was the enthusiastic and playful subject. It’s now a nice poster on my wall.
Required disclosure: I do not own the rights to these photos nor do I claim ownership.
Twenty years later I am still confused on what to call the people that the world calls Islamist terrorists. The Taliban certainly represent this kind of group. But who are they really?
Have we accepted them as religous fundamentalists first when in fact their first allegiance, for whatever reason, is power and control through violence. Does any religion’s strength rely on the point of a gun?
I know scholars and others say we have to understand people before we can intelligently deal with them. I think understanding the terrorists’ world of tribalism and interrelated languages and a thousand variations of Islam is beyond us. And pointless.
I don’t care why you just stoned a woman to death. You deserve to die. Are we clear?
The Taliban and their ilk and the Saudis oppressing women and the Chinese putting Uighurs into concentration camps are the same kind of people at the root level. It’s violence first and then a smokescreen of religious or political reasons afterward.
These are all totalitarian regimes plain and simple. Big and small. It’s bad behavior, criminal behavior, not the equal respect between people that most of civilization has been working toward for thousands of years.
Let’s not reach religion. Too complicated and inflammatory toward Muslims that are good people. Let’s deal instead with what they are actually doing. Forget the spin they are weaving.
Don’t blow up our buildings for some weird vision of the world that you have. I don’t care. We’ll track you down and kill you. Fair enough?
Beat a woman or a kid or put someone into a camp and we are not going to respect you and we will deal with you accordingly. No matter what kind of crippled 15th century nonsense you come up with.
These terrorists and Saudis and the Chinese are all just power-mad thugs who control things and people through force. No amount of Arabic study or research into the meaning of the Quran have helped. Nor will it ever. Groups like the Taliban are more rag-tag gangs with guns than anything else.
What we are actually dealing with are a bunch of miscreants and brutes who enjoy killing someone by dragging their body behind a beat up Toyota. That’s all I have to know. Whatever you consider religion, I don’t care. Screw you!
Writers must compose direct lead paragraphs or risk losing readers. A wandering opening finds readers lost, wandering somewhere else. A direct opening can’t guarantee that a reader will continue but a clear, direct path provides an obvious trail.
So lately I’ve had people passing around this article by Caitlin Flanagan about the p.c. police ruining campus comedy, which appears to be stage one of a one-two punch from the Atlantic about how p.c.-ness is ruining college in general, with the haymaker being Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s magnum opus about how p.c. culture is somehow not only killing academic discourse but also infecting us all with mental illness.
What a mess. Here’s one possible revision, guessing in part what the writer means:
Caitlin Flanagan writes in the Atlantic that the P.C. Police are ruining campus comedy and the college experience in general. Her piece builds on Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s earlier Atlantic article which asserted that P.C. culture kills academic discourse and infects us all with mental illness. I don’t agree. Let me tell you why.
Have the P.C. Police killed campus comedy and the college experience overall? Caitlin Flanagan thinks so. Writing in the Atlantic, her article builds on Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s previous piece which asserts that P.C. culture kills academic discourse and infects us all with mental illness. I don’t agree with this trio. Let me tell you why.
A poorly informed Caitlin Flanagan writes in the Atlantic that the P.C. Police are ruining campus comedy and the college experience in general. Really? Her piece builds on Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s earlier Atlantic article, also badly reasoned, which claimed that P.C. culture kills academic discourse and infects us all with mental illness. These three Trumpians are wrong. Sick and wrong. Here’s why.
Here are some newspaper article leads I wrote for the West Sacramento News Ledger, a small town weekly. They respect a reader’s time by immediately telling them what the article is about.
The TBD Fest boomed into West Sacramento’s Bridge District this weekend, forming a youthful community centered on music, art, drink, and food. But noise complaints threatened to break up the sybaritic world its founders sought to create.
Social media and telephone lines blew up on TBD weekend to praise and protest the event. Common ground for all sides seemed reachable if noise levels could be better managed. Controlling that din, though, proved difficult, despite shorter hours and City monitoring. On the subject of noise that weekend, no one agrees.
California’s primary and general elections are six months and eleven months away, respectively, but political parties are busy preparing for these upcoming votes. The News-Ledger reports on three parties’ arrangements and how West Sacramento may be impacted.
If you want to get outdoors but don’t have much time, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area the a perfect place to go. It makes up the entire area visible from the Yolo Causeway with its main entrance only three miles from West Sacramento. You’ll see birds, an unusual, intensely managed landscape, and experience a relaxing break from city pressure.
The old Washington District firehouse at 317 Third Street is being reborn as a bar and a restaurant. The once neglected landmark sits at the foot of the I Street Bridge, its renewal just part of the larger revitalizing Bridge District. The News-Ledger reached out to Bay Miry with D&S Development who answered several questions about the pioneering urban project.
Are you ready for a disaster? CERT members are. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. There are teams across the country, often sponsored by a fire department. Here in West Sacramento, over 250 citizen volunteers in the last six years have trained in emergency preparedness and assistance.
The Sail Inn on Jefferson Boulevard is being reopened and rechristened as the Sail Inn Grotto & Bar. Launch date is late February. All aboard.
1984 is here. The Orwellian Era has officially begun in the United States.
CNN reports (external link) that a large statute dedicated to Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia will be removed on Wednesday under orders by authorities of that state.
Gov. Ralph Northam called the magnificent statue, “Virginia’s largest monument to the Confederate insurrection,” and called it “an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth.”
That’s a failed understanding.
Too many transient Americans do not understand pride of place. Texans have always been taught about Sam Houston first and then George Washington. Lee was Lincoln’s first pick to lead the Union army but Lee declined out of loyalty to Virginia. Southerners in particular have a loyalty to the land that Northerners do not understand.
Three Union soldiers at the end of the war on a back road in Georgia were surprised to see a very old man coming along with an ancient musket. The war was lost. The man was hardly capable of fighting.
“What are you doing?” asked the Union soldiers. “The war is lost. Why are you here?”
“Because you are here.”
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” George Orwell. 1984.
A recent article in the Sun (external link) describes how women celebrities and influencers on Instagram are sometimes stalked by lunatics who cause harm. One woman was recently killed.
Celebrity stalking didn’t begin with Instagram, of course, I’m sure Helen of Troy dealt with creeps, but let’s not discuss that right now.
The standout quote is, “This is literally how women die, because nobody listens to us, and we are constantly in danger.”
I’m sorry but that is how everyone who is ignored dies.
Nobody cared that gangs ran my high school and terrorized students. Nobody did a damn thing. You got bullied and beaten and that was that. It was the same way at Orwell’s school nearly a hundred years ago (internal link) and I’m sure it is the same way today. Nobody cares.
A Nye County Sheriff once appeared at my door after Intermountain Health Care requested that someone check on me. But they didn’t call themselves. I’m sure it was because they would have to talk to me, you know, engage in a conversation. Too much trouble.
I get more follow on calls regarding the welfare of my pets from veterinarians than doctors or nurses calling about my own welfare.
You know what this says? You are worthless. You don’t rate a one minute phone call. We’re professionals but your worth as a human being is zero. Nothing. You don’t count.
Years ago in Northern Ireland a woman walking her dog was seized upon for being an informant on one side or the other of The Troubles. The mob literally tarred and feathered her and she barely clung to life when she was transported to the hospital. No one wrote to the newspaper editor about her welfare but inquiries did come in about what had happened to the dog.
I was somewhat shocked that a Southwest Medical nurse has now called me twice to ask about a minor knee injury I had recently. That has been very nice of her.
By comparison, no one has called from the Aurora Hospital in Tempe about how I am doing after my fifth ECT treatment went disastrously wrong. Electro-convulsive therapy is the most extreme procedure you can perform on someone in mental health save a lobotomy. Yet no one has call ed.
In the past I have said that the only way to get emergency medical treatment was the threaten to kill someone or to threaten to kill yourself.
Today I strongly think that threatening yourself no longer matters unless you were to act out in public and to give advance notice to the media. I am not kidding.
These women get ignored because no one wants to be bothered to do anything else other than what they want to do. That includes law enforcement and medical professionals and the person who bags your groceries.
Medical professionals bemoan the growing suicide rate yet they are a big part of the problem. They’ll say they are overworked and underfunded and blah, blah, blah.
I knew an AT&T media representative who changed her outgoing voice mail message every day to keep callers informed about her current schedule and whereabouts. That task probably took her less than two minutes each morning.
Who is that concerned about their clients? I bet 100% of professionals would say they are equally dedicated to their customers as she was and yet less than 1% actually do something like this. Because we like to say we care but do we really?
There are exceptions to this uncaring universe and nice, helpful people do exist. But they are always the exception and never the rule. You cannot count on a nice person to help when you really need help. You cannot.
The only time I get a quick response, although it’s always from some powerless media management company, is when I post something negative to Twitter.
Yup, your life is non-existent unless you make it known to thousands or millions through social. The message from the medical community is to kill yourself and keep it to yourself. Remember, we can’t be bothered to make a one minute phone call. You don’t rate.
You see all those people left behind in Afghanistan that were our friends. We maintain this fiction that all people have worth because to say otherwise is to accept a world too terrible to live in.
That people have value is a lie we tell ourselves to keep on living. But it is still a lie. Like money isn’t important nor youth or beauty. Surely we matter. Maybe. But not if it bothers someone to make a phone call or it is no longer politically expedient to save your life.
Why does the world go on? Life and the world aren’t built on negativism or hopelessness. The majority of people in the world get up each morning and carry on despite difficulties. I doubt a nihilist world can exist, although cults like Aum Shinrikyo and today’s Taliban test my judgment.
For me, I have a pretty good life as long as people aren’t bullying me and if I don’t go to sleep. My hobbies and interests keep me alive along with the terrible guilt I would feel leaving behind a mountain of unsorted junk in my house. Guilt is an outstanding motivator.
I was trying to wake from another bad dream just now and found I couldn’t.
I am sometimes aware that I am dreaming when going through a violent nightmare or disturbing dream but this time I couldn’t end it by willing myself awake. I had to instead wait until this bizarre film in my head had finished.
I’ve viewed my chronic nightmares, insomnia, and anxiety as afflictions until now. This morning my mind feels diseased. As if my problems are now all encompassing and not separate conditions.
That dream felt like being locked into a crippled Carnival Fun House where no one is having any fun, meeting characters and situations I did not want to see.
Conflict and stress and fright. All set in an uncomfortable and alien world that was recognizable in look but not in feel or tone.
They may have been hunting witches back in the day but now they are after you. It is easy to see that they will become the Thought Police envisioned in 1984. If they haven’t done so already.
Some of the article . . .
Except, of course, they aren’t. Right here in America, right now, it is possible to meet people who have lost everything—jobs, money, friends, colleagues—after violating no laws, and sometimes no workplace rules either. Instead, they have broken (or are accused of having broken) social codes having to do with race, sex, personal behavior, or even acceptable humor, which may not have existed five years ago or maybe five months ago. Some have made egregious errors of judgment. Some have done nothing at all. It is not always easy to tell.
Yet despite the disputed nature of these cases, it has become both easy and useful for some people to put them into larger narratives. Partisans, especially on the right, now toss around the phrase cancel culture when they want to defend themselves from criticism, however legitimate. But dig into the story of anyone who has been a genuine victim of modern mob justice and you will often find not an obvious argument between “woke” and “anti-woke” perspectives but rather incidents that are interpreted, described, or remembered by different people in different ways, even leaving aside whatever political or intellectual issue might be at stake.
There is a reason that the science reporter Donald McNeil, after being asked to resign from The New York Times, needed 21,000 words, published in four parts, to recount a series of conversations he had had with high-school students in Peru, during which he may or may not have said something racially offensive, depending on whose account you find most persuasive. There is a reason that Laura Kipnis, an academic at Northwestern, required an entire book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, to recount the repercussions, including to herself, of two allegations of sexual harassment against one man at her university; after she referred to the case in an article about “sexual paranoia,” students demanded that the university investigate her, too. A full explanation of the personal, professional, and political nuances in both cases needed a lot of space.
There is a reason, too, that Hawthorne dedicated an entire novel to the complex motivations of Hester Prynne, her lover, and her husband. Nuance and ambiguity are essential to good fiction. They are also essential to the rule of law: We have courts, juries, judges, and witnesses precisely so that the state can learn whether a crime has been committed before it administers punishment. We have a presumption of innocence for the accused. We have a right to self-defense. We have a statute of limitations.
By contrast, the modern online public sphere, a place of rapid conclusions, rigid ideological prisms, and arguments of 280 characters, favors neither nuance nor ambiguity. Yet the values of that online sphere have come to dominate many American cultural institutions: universities, newspapers, foundations, museums. Heeding public demands for rapid retribution, they sometimes impose the equivalent of lifetime scarlet letters on people who have not been accused of anything remotely resembling a crime. Instead of courts, they use secretive bureaucracies. Instead of hearing evidence and witnesses, they make judgments behind closed doors.