Evil’s Too Smart To ‘Billboard Itself’; That’s Why It Births Itself In Banality…

Maybe it’s ‘my’ fault… ‘Our‘ fault if I include the rest of my screenwriting ‘tribe’.  I could widen the tribe out to include anyone and everyone who ever helped make a movie that gave an audience the notion that Evil is BILLBOARD OBVIOUS the moment it ‘walks on stage’.  Alas, if only more of my tribe had been better storytellers and followed a path that hewed a little closer to The Truth:  REAL Evil always ‘comes out of nowhere’.  That is, it rises up out of the most ordinary of places — and THEN ‘becomes’ Evil

The poster child for banality birthing Evil is Hitler.  He truly came out of ‘nowhere’ Evil-wise…

Hitler_1914_1918

The ordinary young art student and artist wannabe did not ‘present’ in any discernible way per his biographers.  His art did not scream or shout ‘This is a crazed, dangerous mind’…

Adolf_Hitler_Der_Alte_Hof

Maybe it was latent PTSD from the Great War.  Maybe there was something in part of Adolph’s bloodline that slipped megalomania in through some genetic back door.

At some point, the banal art student began to morph into a more familiar Adolph Hitler — here, posing for the camera very early in his ‘career’.

Adolf Hitler, Rednerposen

By the time anyone could point at Adolph Hitler and say, with confidence, ‘That Hitler guy’s a little nutso’, it was too late.  The world was already on fire.  That’s why banality is so dangerous.  It’s vanilla.  It’s taupe.  It’s so bland you reflexively look right past it.  And then the next thing you know, it’s eaten you.

The Trump Administration is filled to the rafters with Banal Evil.  Donald Trump himself is the epitome of Evil rising up out of the MOST BANAL.  Who, really, is more banal than Donald J Trump?

Name someone in Donald Trump’s cabinet – in his circle – in his whole family even – who ISN’T banal…

My first thought was to put up the pictures of every banal shithead in the Trump Sphere.  But then, I’d have to put up pictures of EVERYONE in Trump’s sphere.  Life’s already too fucking short…

 

 

 

Maybe Our Takeaway From Trumpism SHOULD Be: We Didn’t Punish Richard Nixon Nearly Hard Enough

There is a direct link between Richard Nixon and Donald J Trump. Or should I say links… There’s the ‘thematic’  one of course — the ‘Country Club Authoritarianism’ personified by Roger Stone…

…that views American political norms and anyone not in their club with disdain and disgust.  This is the ‘Silent Majority’ part of the link — the soft, (VERY) WHITE underbelly of American Racism.  This part of the link — because it could — initiated and now wages Full Out Culture War on the rest of America.

The other part of the link with our Nixonian Past is POLITICAL.  Roger Stone works that part of the equation too.   But he’s just the tip of a monstrous iceberg.

There is a certain ‘class’ of republicans for whom Authoritarianism has always been an irresistible lure.  The Truth is, they’ve never been that ‘down’ with Democracy.  When White, Christian Male Hegemony is your ‘Bottom Line’ — Democracy can only screw up your deal.

As I said — Roger Stone is a DIRECT LINK to Nixon.  But so is PAUL MANAFORT — who was A BUSINESS PARTNER of Roger Stone’s…

Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwate

From the left that’s Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and – bonus – Lee Atwater (yet another ‘partner’ in ‘Crime’).  While it’s not nice to wish people ill, Lee Atwter getting cancer was a literal ‘Dream Come True’ for every American man, woman & child.  The death of American Political Discourse can be laid directly at Lee Atwater’s feet.

Lee Atwater was the Idea Man & Chief Architect of The Right’s ‘Our Way Or Die’ Strategy that found the Great American Talent for Compromise a little too inconvenient. Newt Gingrich was a follower of Lee Atwater’s — and we all know what a fine specimen of Jackal Turd Newt Gingrich is…

And, of course, the whole Nixon Crew were Mega-Fans of Roy Cohn — a nominee for Worst Human Being Ever.

While lots of Nixon’s acolytes did time and were punished (and most of THEM never reared their ugly heads ever again — John Dean being the one ‘exceptional’ exception), a few of the cockroaches got away scott free.

That would be vermin like Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Lee Atwater…

They made it safely to the darker nooks and crannies where they hid out and plotted — till now.  And then they threw all their weight — and Nixonian Darkness — behind Donald J Trump.

Makes one wonder if Trump would have risen so easily (accepting that he had lots & lots of help from Russia) without the Nixon Brigade working the equation from the American side — like the Traitors they are.

And THAT makes one think that maybe they SHOULDN’T have been there at all — either because THEY THEMSELVES had been swept up in an expanded dragnet of political corruption… or because the PRICE to Richard Nixon for his attempting to circumvent and undermine the Constitution was seen as UNPARDONABLE.

Nixon had NEVER been pardoned.  If he had been PROSECUTED to the fullest extent of the Law instead and hounded to his grave — it would have been understood that the COST of screwing with American Democracy IS NOT more money, more attention, more adoration by the twisted Right Wing.  It’s PUNISHMENT and NOTHING BUT.

Alas, we did not do that.  We PARDONED Nixon.  We gave him a Second Act and a bit of a Third Act even.  We resuscitated an image that did  not deserve resuscitation.

We’re paying for it NOW…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s The Question: Is Integrity Dead?

Integrity-Dead dead DEAD Tombstone

You can chip away at a lot of things — and still have them.  Living in California as I do, ‘Paradise’ comes to mind.  There’s that lyric to that great Eagles song (the last cut on ‘Hotel California’) “The Last Resort”:  “They called it ‘Paradise’, I don’t know why… Call someplace ‘Paradise’ — Kiss it goodbye.”

But it’s not instantaneous.  The Kissing Good-bye in this instance takes place over decades or perhaps even centuries.   You’d hardly even notice.

Relationships can be chipped away at, too — yet maintained.  Leads (in sporting events).  Workloads (which, unfortunately, never seem to diminish no matter how much ya chip away at them).

Opposition to a political point.

Love.

Hell — even rock solid Marble can be chipped away at and still ‘be’.

And then there’s INTEGRITY.

Everyone STARTS life having Integrity.  For real.  Comes with the package.   You make it out of the womb alive?  You Have Integrity!

Everyone.

No one gets more, no one gets less.

We all get EXACTLY the same amount.  And that amount is expected to last each and every one of us our WHOLE LIFETIME.  The Integrity we were born with is the Integrity we’re going to die with; there’s no ‘replacement’ sitting on a shelf at Amazon somewhere.

Now here’s the Irony (there’s always irony — it comes with everything — like Spam in an old Monty Python sketch — even if you didn’t order it and never would): at exactly the same instant, INTEGRITY is both the most solid thing on earth — and its most easily destroyed.

Weird, huh?  What other ‘element’ behaves like it?

But Integrity IS solid as rock.  It’s the TRUTH.

A person WITH INTEGRITY stands on a Foundation of Truth SO rock-solid that we (in theory) celebrate their integrity.  George Washington & the Cherry Tree was all about having Integrity.  ‘Honest Abe Lincoln’ is the Poster President for Integrity.

We want our LEADERS to be people with INTEGRITY because we need to trust them and it’s a lot easier to trust people we KNOW have INTEGRITY.

And yet — For all its ‘Foundational Solidity’ — Integrity is made up of  the stuff gossamer is made of.  Dreams are made of gossamer…

Even a whisper can destroy someone’s Integrity.  It really is that fragile.

People don’t realize that until it’s too late.  Once your Integrity’s gone, it’s gone, gone, GONE!  Gone-er even.

CPR your Integrity as long as you like once it’s gone.  Paddle it until the Zapper Unit is drained dry:  Your Integrity ain’t coming back.

And if you have to rely on your Integrity to get through Life?  Neither are you.

The answer to my question (loaded as it was):  No, INTEGRITY’S not dead.  It’s not exactly doing well.  The ICU keeps eyeing its chart.

But there may still be just enough people with just enough Integrity to pull the ‘Collective Patient’ — US — through the worst to a place where we can recover enough to allow MORE FRESH FACES to ‘raise our Integrity Level’ from the inside.

So, yeah — there’s hope.  A fair amount of it.

Let’s not buy flowers for the grave just yet…

Disruption Good, Disruption Bad

We’ll never get to know — those of us living in the ‘Right Here Right Now’ — how our Time will be perceived by those who come long after us.  Perspective sucks that way.  To get the really, really good perspective — well, ‘You can’t there from here’ (as the say up in Maine).  We could be called ‘The Age of Trump’ or ‘The Disinformation Age’.  Both would be spot on.  But they’re too narrow, I think  (well, I’m writing about it, aren’t I?  Obviously I think –) …

What the Larger World is experiencing collectively is Massive Disruption.  If Disruption is sudden and potentially radical change — we’re experiencing Disruption in multiple ways, on multiple levels and to maximum effect.

Donald Trump is Disruption in human form.  Everything he does is Disruption.  But he’s not the only Disruption.  He’s just all the smaller disruptions we’d been tolerating rolled into One Giant-Sized Killer Asteroid of Disruption.

In a sense, Civil Rights was Disruption.  It wasn’t as sudden as some Disruption but it probably felt sudden to all the White Bigots who thought they’d get to live out their days in comfortable bigotry.  Boom — Disruption in the form of Civil Rights — and the next thing you know Southern Bigots have to fight for their right to even ‘be‘ Southern Bigots.  Can’t ya feel their pain?

The original Napster was Hard Core Disruption.  At the time, the Music Companies were ‘killing people’ with the cost of albums/CDs/tapes/whatever.  And it wasn’t exactly a secret where MOST of that cash was going.  NOT to the artists.

Music was corrupt as hell.  Napster Disrupted that.  You could get all the music you wanted for NOTHING.  And that fact flipped the whole music Business Model on its head.  Used to be the money was in Album or CD sales.  A music act toured to support album sales.

But there are no more ‘album sales’ or few.  Young people don’t buy or even stream whole albums any more.  They want the specific music they want and none of the ‘filler’ used to justify charging more for a whole ‘album’ of music.  And as for the specific music they want — if they can find a way to get it for free, they absolutely will.  As they do.  Which makes supporting yourself — as a musical artists did — on album sales — a swan dive off a very high cliff onto pavement.

Ouch.

Musical artists were forced to turn to Live Performances — ticket sales — to pay the rent.  Merch too.  Lots and lots of merch.

That’s a lot more work just to keep the lights on.  Disruption.  From the Artist’s point of view — it sucks and sucks and sucks.  To the fan however — it’s perfection:  The artists you love must always come to you if they want to ‘compete’ in a very crowded marketplace filled with other Artists doing pretty much what they’re doing.

Factory Workers being replaced by Robots sit in the same boat.  Supermarket check-out Workers… Fast food Workers… and on and on and on.

Disruption, Disruption and still more Disruption.

Once set in motion, Disruption becomes like A Force Of Nature.  No person or people can stop it.  There’s nothing they can do.  The Disruption will peter out — if it peters out — of its own volition or because it finally ran out of juice.  That just means the Disruption has become The New Normal — and is now RIPE for Disruption.

Is this horse dead yet?

‘The Age of Disruption’:  That’s Us in a Nutshell.  Hooray.

Integrity Is An All Or Nothing Proposition

My kids, when they were little, wanted to do a hundred things each day — because, in their minds, it was possible to spend the same time doing two completely different things.

It wasn’t, of course.  Invariably we had to make choices about what we wanted to do with our time — because the Truth was (and remains unfortunately):  Our Time is limited.

And Time once spent is spent.

Integrity works along the same lines.  Especially the way it works once spent.  Time cannot be re-invented.  It cannot be revisited (under our current rules of Physics) in a literal sense (looking at light from a distant star, one IS, in essence, looking back in time; but you’re not ‘re-visiting’ it as part of some giant Mulligan).

Everyone gets topped up with A Full Tank of Integrity when they ‘get here’ (provided they can get here).  Most people get through lives with their Integrity dinged a bit here and there but, ultimately, still 100% intact.  They haven’t cheated on a spouse or loved one.  They haven’t been cruel.  They haven’t lied & deceived & refused to tell the Truth ever.

They shuffle from this Mortal Coil ‘Whole’.  An Ethically ‘Made’ Person.

But dings are one thing.  Massive divots and gouges are something else entirely.  Politics, it’s understood, is a blood sport.  You don’t win by playing gently or, entirely ethically.  A person completely out of power is not a ‘person’ in this context.  It’s hard for anyone in that world to keep from gouged just by walking in the office door.

Or is it?

It would seem that a person with PRINCIPLES — if they stated those principles clearly, ran on those principles and won on them — then KEPT THEM SACRED — they would be more or less impervious to corruption.  Their Integrity would be almost impossible to destroy.

Except it’s so rarely the case.  Curious, no?

We grind our teeth in frustration at politicians because they always seem so willing to compromise — in all the wrong ways; they want to compromise their Integrity — and call it a thousand other names.

But once they’ve made that deal — and sold out even a shred of principle — they know it.  Inside, in their hearts, they KNOW their Integrity just vanished — a bubble so gossamer it’s gone before you even realize it was in danger.

You can try hard as you like to re-compose a bubble.  Your chances of success are zero, zero and less than zero.

Integrity is just as challenging to re-constitute.  Ever meet anyone with less than 100% of their Integrity?  Sure you have — they’re called assholes, schmucks, cheaters, liars, rapists, thieves, murderers, Traitors.  It’s one of those clubs you absolutely do not want to be a member of.

And then there are those who do…