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Connecting the Dots on the Great Disconnect

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Posted on Nov 12, 2010
AP / Charlie Litchfield

By Mark Heisler

(Page 2)

The stuff I cover, sports, is frivolous by definition, but, connecting the dots on the Great Disconnect, you can see the same pattern in all areas of journalism, like business (now a CNBC fiefdom with stars like hottie Maria Bartiromo and folksy Jim Cramer) or the entertainment industry (goodbye motor scooters, hello TMZ and citizen-paparazzi with cell phone cameras).

If the old principles remain and things are pretty much the way they were, now they’re obsessively, hysterically, inescapably so.

Sports journalism is a daily lemmings rush into the sea to pull someone down and raise someone else up, even if they’re replacing each other, like LeBron James, the golden child, who just traded places with Kobe Bryant, the NBA’s most shunned superstar until LeBron did that dumb TV show.

Stardom rules but has a lightning rod quality. Everything runs on two tracks since, in our desperation to quantify the unknowable, we now have approval and disapproval ratings.

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Surprise! Superstars run high on both lists, since, no matter how they glow, we always find out they’re only human, or all too human.

So now LeBron, Kobe and Tiger Woods head “most hated” lists, while making tens of millions, endorsing $125 sneakers and costlier golf clubs.

With all media platforms, and the audience participating on handhelds, competing moment by moment on the same Internet, sports writers have little time to think about anything, tweeting 140-character updates of the games they cover, as well as writing stories about them.

As ESPN’s Bill Simmons, the new king of modern media and an unabashed Celtic fan, tweeted from Game 7 of last spring’s NBA Finals:

sportsguy33: Rondo floater… Celts by 11. Timeout Lakers. Crowd in complete and utter shock. I just silently high-fived myself while doing 4 imaginary fist pumps. ...

sportsguy33: Pretty lefty hook by Gasol. crowd now alive. Bos by 8. ...

sportsguy33: BTW, I lost my sense of humor about 30 mins ago. This diary has as many laughs as “My Sister’s Keeper.” ...

sportsguy33: The posts are about to dwindle ... I am devastated. What a giveaway. Blow a 13-point lead in a Game 7??? When the other team’s best player is crapping the bed? They can’t let this happen. ...

sportsguy33: Text from my Dad: “This could be the night that I have the big one.”

sportsguy33: I no longer want to be here. Is this what hell is like?

Of course, it’s only sports writing.

Sports was always about what we wanted to believe, loving our wonderful guys, hating your lowlifes unless they’re traded to our team and go from assholes to members of the family.

In politics, on the other hand, ideas are important, as is the functionality of the process that impacts lives, as opposed to fantasies.

Unfortunately, the nation is dividing into ever-more-irreconcilable niches—like fans of competing teams, rather than members of a greater whole with shared purpose.

The niches are succored, if not created, by media outlets whose primal instinct is keeping their newly won audiences by dramatizing differences with other niches.

Thus came “spokesmen” like Beck, the former “Morning Zoo” deejay at Y95 in Phoenix, and Olbermann, the former ESPN anchor who smirked hugely at his own lines then as now. As George Will said wryly of Beck’s appearance at the 2010 CPAC Convention, “It’s the hour of the entertainer.”

Unfortunately, it might last longer than an hour, like forever.

If our political and cultural issues go back decades or centuries, this institutional component is new, isn’t going anywhere and isn’t inclined toward moderation.

There’s a new name for mainstream media—losers—like CNN, trying to become edgier while remaining unaligned, as its audience slips away to MSNBC and Fox, which offer tailored Weltanschauungen, with alternative approaches to philosophy, history and science.

Pundits still recite that old favorite—You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts—as if it means something. In fact, if Americans once differed, they’re now in alternate universes.

Today’s narrative features a running argument over whether our system tilts right or left. The real bias is against taking any action, since few things turn out as planned, right away or ever, and the center is easily mobilized into joining the other wing in denouncing the initiative.

Tragically, it’s easier to justify foreign adventures, with villains all Americans can agree on, than anything we do domestically. Hence, the era in which repairing roads and bridges is controversial.

Appropriately for an upside-down world, the alarm is sounded loudest on Comedy Central, with Stewart and Stephen Colbert taking their “Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear” to Washington, D.C.

Noted Stewart, with the majestic dome of Our Nation’s Capitol as a backdrop:

“We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here, or on cable TV!”

The narrative is now fixed on the “transformative 2010 election” ... even if it was an off year with turnout down from 130 million to 82.5 million ... and came so hard on the heels of the “transformative 2008 election.”

We seem to get transformed a lot these days, don’t we?

The world doesn’t turn anymore, it spins like a top. Stock market boom-and-bust cycles that took decades have recently occurred within years—and not too many years, with two major bubbles and two meltdowns in little more than a decade.

Happily, whether by traditional forces, or an already skewed narrative exaggerated by an African-American president, we’re headed for a real choice in 2012, presumably between Barack Obama and some Republican who’s at least tea party-friendly.

It may also test the theories on each side of the perception divide.

If our political process is still rational and Sarah Palin runs, she’s a long shot to be nominated over all-out opposition from GOP regulars as hard-core as Karl Rove (“There are high standards that the American people have ... a certain level of gravitas”), who are convinced she’d be DOA in the general election.

If the process is star-driven and blind, Palin would blow the doors off Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, et al.

Whatever’s really going on, the perception remains it’s still the world we know. Palin is at 18.8 on Intrade, to Romney’s 22.7. Discounting the impact of Palin’s new reality T.V. show, Stuart Rothenberg just told USA Today, “She’s a celebrity, a brand and a phenomenon—much bigger than she was as a vice presidential candidate but this isn’t really about politics. It’s about pop culture.”

So, there’s still a difference?


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By Inherit The Wind, November 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

TAO,
You merely reinforce what I’ve said.

I’ve never really known what “New Wave” either than another brand of mystical bullshit.

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By TAO Walker, November 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

“Inherit The Wind” may not be deliberately disingenuous in his most recent attempt to skate around matters-of-fact he is understandably reluctant to engage.  His gross misstatement of this Indian’s actual words, however, in order to erect (and then demolish) yet another hollow straw-man argument, might call into question his honesty in discourse.

It’s certainly no secret here that this Person regards “civilization” as a disease condition, which by-definition holds no “benefit” whatsoever for those afflicted with it.  It’s process in our Living Arrangement, however, does include the inducement in Human infectees of a kind of temporary euphoria brought-on by a relatively short-lived surfeit of ultimately degenerative material “goods” and crippling CONveniences.  “Inherit The Wind” appears to be in-thrall to just this seductive delusion.

He further betrays the emptiness of his own “case” when he attempts to characterize plain words in this Old Man’s offerings as mere “metaphor,” and to dismiss them as “New Age” (whatever the fuck that means).  Faith-based positions like those of “Inherit The Wind” on “civilization” inevitably disintegrate when they run into the CONsequences of their own internal CONtradictions.  It’s typical of domesticated “individuals” to disparage those who see and remark upon such flaws.

Too bad that does nothing to correct them.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

TAO argues that as civilization “declines” fewer and fewer of its benefits fall on the people. This is true. 

But why does that MATTER to TAO if he says people must live simple lives at one with nature if they want peace?

The two statements are fundamentally contradictory.  Either civilization has benefits or it doesn’t.

If the “simple” way is better, then civilization has no benefit.  Therefore, how can people lose that same civilization’s benefits when it declines.

Just a metaphor-based rant, conceptually no different than saying one can only find peace if one accepts Jesus or Mohammed or The Rebbe-as-Moshiach.  Same old religious nonsense packaged in new age metaphors.

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By TAO Walker, November 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Grasping at the straws of essentially meaningless (because totally devoid of context) statistics, “Inherit The Wind” declines to engage on the facts.  To avoid having to concede that in their feckless quest for CONtrived (and proving-to-be as unhealthy as they are unsustainable) increases in longevity, height, and mass, the “civilized” peoples have devastated their habitat, he raises the straw-man distractions of “utopia,” and “Eden,” make-believe CONceits never once even mentioned (never-mind promised) by this Old Indian.

He must ignore the fact that as “civilization” collapses its supposed benefits are becoming available to fewer and fewer members of his Kind all the time, and the accompanying fact that these “redundant” masses are being systematically forced into circumstances their intentionally diminished capacities render them unfit to survive in.  He can’t acknowledge that most people caught in the CONtraption never have had the hyper-inflated levels of material “abundance” he seems to take for granted is the “standard” for all CONcerned. 

It’s likely that “Inherit The Wind” still enjoys a degree of comfort and “security” sufficient to keep him CONtent with his captivity.  So it’s not surprising that the solipsistic fallacy is so attractive to him.

He’s welcome to it.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 21, 2010 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

With average lifespans of 30-35 years…and average statures and weights far below what we currently have.

Yeah it was The Garden of Eden. 

Except it wasn’t.

According to the best actuarial information, This Old Savage and The Old Civilized Man would both be long dead in TAO’s Utopia.

Why should I prefer that?

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By TAO Walker, November 20, 2010 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

The predictably “civilized” retort of “Inherit The Wind” to this Old Savage’s latest offering here betrays the CONditioned ignorance of his kind.  Even if his hysterical characterization of free wild Human Life was remotely accurate (which it’s not), he glosses-over the plain fact that disaster can and does strike as catastrophically today as he alleges it could at any time over the previous two hundred millennia.  What’s more, he studiously ignores the fact vast numbers of his kind “enjoy” right now an existence every-bit as precarious as he asserts wrongly our ancestors suffered.

One “difference,” of course, is that most of the potential “disaster” of yore was “natural,” while nearly all of it actually occurring today is accomplished by the efforts of domesticated people….with the occasional “act-of-god” in the form of some climatological or geological event with destructive effects on masses of tame Two-leggeds trapped in circumstances of overcrowding and privation no free wild Human Beings would ever tolerate.   

As for “disease,” the degenerative CONsequences of CONfinement are rampant here in these latter days.  The “cost” of all the medical intervention necessary to keep Human and “other” Kinds half-alive in the “global” feedlot have already outstripped the capacity of the eCONomy to cover them.  Thus the massive write-offs of billions of “redundant” “individuals” who might (if they’re lucky)) be allowed to face trying to “survive” in a severely compromised ecosystem….in their own severely compromised CONdition. 

Meantime, surviving free wild Human communities do what they can to stay out of the CONtraption “Inherit The Wind” says is such an improvement over the Living Arrangement they’ve thrived in for all of those 200,000 years….and millions more.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Or they could get together in The Tiyoshpaye Way.
*************
What, live in huts, hunt, starve in winter, die of simple diseases, get warred-on by jealous neighboring tribes?

You speak in gibberish and romanticize a time when any day could turn catastrophic for a man, a family, a klan, a village, or a tribe, all because of causes that can be prevented now.

Mankind lived that way for 200,000 years or more, and then found he could build and organize in ways that meant fewer had to go hungry or succumb to Darwin.

You offer a mystical Eden that NEVER EXISTED!

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By TAO Walker, November 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Maybe its inadvertent, but “Ardee” and “Inherit The Wind” exemplify here, in their sophomoronic bickering, a primary feature of the disease process they’ve been co-opted to serve, even while they both despise many of the same effects it’s having in their “individual” half-lives.  The same symptom is of-course rampant at every “level” of the “global” pyramid scheme….even including the “top.”

The estrangement of the subspecies homo domesticus, from the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth who gave birth to them, was accomplished long ago.  Here in these latter days the syndrome is reaching its inevitable CONclusion in the “war” of each-against-all….every “individual” their own worst enemy.

On the larger scale we have “global” gang warfare organized and waged around religious and other ideological make-believe….rendering gang members helpless to resist the ravages of the “civilization” disease in their own pitiful half-lives and the Life of Mother Earth.  The prospects for such as “Inherit The Wind” and “Ardee,” who have hordes of “company” in their lonely misery, are as grim for the “one” as for the “other”....as they are for every “one” and all “others.” 

Their inability to escape the suffocating shroud of “self” dooms them to remain captive to those beliefs and behaviors, those motives and methods, which are the very essence of the retro-viral CONtraption holding them in-thrall while it quite literally sucks their Life away.  The same applies to the billions of their Kind here.

Or they could get together in The Tiyoshpaye Way.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 20, 2010 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

Damn! “Ignore” doesn’t seem to be working. I had hoped not to have to see your digital diarrhea anymore. It’s the only response cyber-abuse like yours deserves.

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By ardee, November 20, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, November 20 at 2:32 am

Too bad you do not notice that your criticism is accurate when turned upon yourself. You are what you decry, and have been for the year and a half Ive been coming here.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

Your posts are nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than a form of litter.
*****************

Of course they are. They disagree with your crackpot ideas.  Disagree=litter.

You are nothing but a cyber-bully with temper tantrum problems, who sneers at anyone or anything that defies your eccentric views.

I cannot remember the last time you posted something meaningful that didn’t seek to cut someone down.

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By ardee, November 19, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, November 18 at 7:24 pm

Your posts are nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than a form of litter. Hows it going with that demonizing of the progressives you so enjoy? How do you like the descent of the Democratic Party so far? We the people are deserting you the moronic, so sad for you, so good for the country.

WTF is Aricept anyway? That you know must mean something….worried about bad genes I suspect.

Here’s a hint, jackwagon, stick to politics, though you arent really good at that either you wont embarrass yourself quite as much as now.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Wow! Down to 8 hours from 24-48 to think up a witty response. Guess the Aricept IS working!

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By ardee, November 18, 2010 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, November 18 at 3:59 am

Still dont know, do you?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Time for you to try Aricept.

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By ardee, November 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, November 16 at 11:42 pm

Who the hell are you talking to, and what the hell are you talking about?

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By TAO Walker, November 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Much of the commentary here, indeed the occasioning article itself, both laments and illustrates the diminishing capacity of the subspecies homo domesticus to engage fully with not only the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth (of which they are still, despite a widespread contrary conceit, constituents) in Personally fulfilling and mutually beneficial ways.  They evidently feel equally cut-off from the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself, an at-least partly self-inflicted CONdition that is as pain-filled as it is impossible to maintain for long.

Most of our tame Sisters and Brothers still have an innate sense of what they’ve lost in the “civilization” process.  Many have fallen into the solipsistic trap, however, of believing that what they are unable experience is also inaccessible to everybody else.  That seems to be the theme of one of “mdgr”‘s earlier comments, anyhow.

There is a Way for the captive peoples to recover the whole healthy Life of free wild Natural Human Beings.  It’s in the nature of a Ceremony.  It consists of coming together where we live and breathe everyday in aid of our Mother Earth.  It involves helping one another out of the smothering CONfinement of the ubiquitous but ersatz “individual identity,” and back into natural Person-hood.  We do that by cleaning-up “the mess” right where we are….certainly including its many manifestations in our Personal lives and the life of our Communities.

Contrary to widespread inculcated “popular” belief, this Way remains alive-and-well even in the midst of this “global” dominance-paradigm death-trap’s death throes.  Sour-grapes dismissals from those still locked within the perceptual prisons of their domestication programming, however strongly felt and sincerely espoused, remain only another symptom of the disease process which we’re all doing our best to address in mutually beneficial ways.

Want to get well?  Get in The Tiyoshpaye Way.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Does that make you feel better, disparaging someone else when you can’t stand them not taking your bullshit crackpot ideas as gospel?  I hope so, because you need SOME pleasure in your miserable life.  Might as well have that one.

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By ardee, November 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

mdgr

I want to send a special hello to Ardee and ITW. Rico suggested in an earlier thread that all four of us might like to have a verbal clusterfuck together, and it is fitting we all got together anyway (Rico himself may be on vacation) and that it happened quite spontaneously.


Back atcha!
Missed the call for a clusterfuck, but I increasingly skip the posts of this really sad little person. He cannot debate, calls for solutions that are typecasts of the “Ugly American” and makes me wonder as to his sincerity and sanity. He is a caricature and little else.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 16, 2010 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Sometimes I wonder what TD is thinking with their pictures. 

Two VERY small children, on either side of a woman in skin-tight jeans and boots, showing the bottom half of her ass—and her kids’ faces.  You KNOW that she probably didn’t even know her kids and her ass would be viewed around the world.

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Tesla's avatar

By Tesla, November 16, 2010 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

The Police State is now! Not in our future! And yes,
it is basically everyone’s fault. But like everything
else, there is no parity between the evil
intentionally committed by the ruling elite and the
antics of the hapless, feckless and clueless masses.

Just as Ben Franklin stated, when queried by Mrs.
Powel of Philadelphia outside the 1787 Constitutional
Convention asked Benjamin Franklin,
“Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a
monarchy?” Reportedly, without hesitation, Franklin
responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Guess we couldn’t hold on for more than about 200
years or so. That’s a pity.

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By mdgr, November 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Ardee wrote:

>In many Greek myths, Hermes was depicted as the only god besides Hades, Persephone, Hecate, and Thanatos who could enter and leave the Underworld without hindrance.

* * *

I want to send a special hello to Ardee and ITW. Rico suggested in an earlier thread that all four of us might like to have a verbal clusterfuck together, and it is fitting we all got together anyway (Rico himself may be on vacation) and that it happened quite spontaneously.

I also find it fitting that this is the way this thread ends. Not with a bang, but with an epiphany to the gods. The author of the article at the top of the thread was wrong: The gods are not crazy. We were.

I rather liked Ardee’s riff. An Artistotelean, however, might think that there was no overlap in function. Overlap occurred more often than not, actually. Demeter was a Great Mother too. So was her daughter, Persephone, though on a different level. And poetry, for it to really work emotionally, requires the advent of beauty and magic, Hermes and Aphrodite. Apollo can help, and do (as Mick Jagger proved) can Dionysus.

Persephone is particularly interesting, and she appears in Ardee’s quote above.

On a very concrete level, she was abducted and raped by Hades and then went to the Underworld, from where Demeter negotiated her partial return to the world—hence the seasons.

That’s also a particularly boring interpretation, however, as witnessed by the thousands of initiates to the Elusinian Mysteries in ancient Greece every year.

The Mysteries were known to be participatory, not Catholic in nature. No catechism was offered, no doctrinaire Q/A. Here, we are talking about substantive (intentional pun) in consciousness. A real transfiguration, not just another organized religion. It was like an acid trip raised by an order of magnitude, I should think.

The journey of Persephone too may have a very special message for our times.She was also called Kore, the once lost and reintegrated daughter. She has an analogue in the Gnostic myth of Sophia, the Jewish myth of the Shekinah, the Christian myth of Mary (there was more one, which again points back to the various levels of the psyche), not to mention Inanna of the Sumarians.

Then there was “Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony” which swept through Europe like a blitzkreig, rising to #1 in terms of popularity.

Persephone (the Lady of the Underworld) actually appeared in a lot of different pantheons. Except for American culture.

Here, we have Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, each of them with an abundance of undifferentiated manic energy and no vestige of integration whatsoever.

Back to the Greeks, however:

These people were not stupid. They knew about hubris and nemesis, and they would probably see right through the self-delusions of our own times and our culture. I’m sure that some scholars would say that the the rites of Persephone were a blind attempt to propitiate the gods and ensure there was spring/summer, but these Mysteries also included Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. These people were not inclined to superstition.

So the question before us is “why?”

It was,in a sense, one of the most quintessential mysteries for the Greeks, representing not just a common death and rebirth theme, but the banishment and reintegration of the Soul within Matter (the Earth) itself.

That same theme is also shrouded in many of the myths of the West, though probably not the East.

Again, I think this thread will be pulled soon, and I doubt if many TD readers have the slightest interest in matters like this. On the other hand, IMO, it has a huge degree of relevance for our times.

This thread was ostensibly about connecting the dots. The question is whether an amplification of the Kore myth is even appropriate.

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By ardee, November 15, 2010 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Pan the Piper, Hermes the Messenger…:

Hermes (pronounced /?h?rmi?z/; Greek ?????) is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and additionally as a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves and liars,[1] of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics and sports, of weights and measures, of invention, and of commerce in general.[2] His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, the winged hat, and the caduceus.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek religion (see interpretatio romana), Hermes was identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce.

The Homeric hymn to Hermes invokes him as the one “of many shifts (polytropos), blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods.”[3]

He protects and takes care of all the travelers, miscreants, harlots, old crones and thieves that pray to him or cross his path. He is athletic and is always looking out for runners, or any athletes with injuries who need his help.

Hermes is a messenger from the gods to humans, sharing this role with Iris. An interpreter who bridges the boundaries with strangers is a hermeneus. Hermes gives us our word “hermeneutics”, the study and theory of interpretation. In Greek a lucky find was a hermaion. Hermes delivered messages from Olympus to the mortal world. He wears shoes with wings on them and uses them to fly freely between the mortal and immortal world. Hermes was the second youngest of the Olympian gods, being born before Dionysus.

Hermes, as an inventor of fire,[4] is a parallel of the Titan, Prometheus. In addition to the lyre, Hermes was believed to have invented many types of racing and the sports of wrestling and boxing, and therefore was a patron of athletes.[5]

According to prominent folklorist Yeleazar Meletinsky, Hermes is a deified trickster.[6] Hermes also served as a psychopomp, or an escort for the dead to help them find their way to the afterlife (the Underworld in the Greek myths). In many Greek myths, Hermes was depicted as the only god besides Hades, Persephone, Hecate, and Thanatos who could enter and leave the Underworld without hindrance.

Hermes often helped travelers have a safe and easy journey. Many Greeks would sacrifice to Hermes before any trip.

In the fully-developed Olympian pantheon, Hermes was the son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia, a daughter of the Titan Atlas. Hermes’ symbols were the cock and the tortoise, and he can be recognized by his purse or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap, and the herald’s staff, the kerykeion. The night he was born he slipped away from Maia and stole his elder brother Apollo’s cattle.

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By mdgr, November 15, 2010 at 1:54 am Link to this comment

ITW:

>Actually, you are incorrect.  Hermes was a piper.

You are perhaps confusing him with Pan.

Hermes and Mercury were analogues (Greek and Roman) , each associated with communication, messengers, not unlike the Intellect.  Hermes and Mercury, however, served the gods.  Most of the time, the Intellect serves itself, or whatever narcissistic purpose it has subordinated itself to.

>Venus had little to do with either music or art.

Depends on your viewpoint.

We know that she was mother to Eros. Whereas Hera/Juno could be described as a rather frigid goddess, Aphrodite/Venus was associated was a matrix for all creative juiciness.

Hera, if you like, was a Jealous Mother. Problem is that she never really got laid. Aphrodite got laid all the time. She was as fertile as the day is long. You can get as post-modern as you like with me, but she was for that reason much closer to the Great Mother than Hera ever was or will be.

For the Greeks, Eros was at the very heart of things. But to dismiss Aphrodite/Venus as being just a “slut-goddess” would be like dismissing Cybele in her time for the same sin. She wasn’t the goddess of 42nd Street, however. That was an American invention, or rather a puritan invention. The invention of a pornographic intellect, no doubt—or one that tried to suppress passion.

You are right about Apollo, but you’re not talking about passion here, again you’re talking about intellect and control.  Dionysis was the ecstatic one.

>Aphrodite/Venus was the goddess of love, beauty and sex, nothing more. 

Love, beauty, sex and—last but not least— creativity. Nothing more. But from whose POV were those last two words written? And since when has the principle of Beauty not been associated with the arts?

Remember that this was Classical Greece. Beauty and truth were combined in that place, in that time. Eros too. It wasn’t all schizoid like today.

>Without intellect, you have no way to convey emotion other than a primal scream, which just makes people thing you are loony.

So ecstasy is loony?  Ecstatic forms of knowing (I don’t mean to get too Biblical here, just a little Orphic) are loony?

Of course, we are just playing here, and I’m not sure we’re really that far apart. But are suspension of disbelief and play also a hopeless form of looniness?

What I will agree on is that Intellect by itself becomes monstrous. Same with passion that it not just trans-rational, but irrational. Even in Janov’s “primal scream,” connecting the dots was integral.

For balance to occur, however, a sacred space must first be set aside in which neither the Intellect (as function) or any other function declares that it is superordinate.

What has happened in our particular culture, however, is that the cerebral cortex has, as it were, declared that it is God. It is Blake’s “Newton,” his Urizon. Because it has expropriated such power, it’s opposite is necessarily constellated.

Do you remember a film long ago called “Forbidden Planet?” I am not suggesting that the Freudian “Id” is at the root of our collective “conundrum,” merely that what we do not recognize in ourselves always comes back to haunt us. It is, as it were, a kind of Jungian Shadow.

Darkness, however, cannot be integrated visa vis the function of the Intellect.

Finally, you probably don’t try to squash the Yin in the Yang. The principle of darkness must be integrated on its own terms, and here, there are many other myths and metaphors to which to point.

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By mdgr, November 15, 2010 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

ITW:

>Actually, you are incorrect.  Hermes was a piper.

You are perhaps confusing him with Pan.

Hermes and Mercury were analogues (Greek and Roman) , each associated with communication, messengers, not unlike the Intellect.  Hermes and Mercury, however, served the gods.  Most of the time, the Intellect serves itself, or whatever narcissistic purpose it has subordinated itself to.

>Venus had little to do with either music or art.

Depends on your viewpoint.

We know that she was mother to Eros. Whereas Hera/Juno could be described as a rather frigid goddess, Aphrodite/Venus was associated was a matrix for all creative juiciness.

Hera, if you like, was a Jealous Mother. Problem is that she never really got laid. Aphrodite got laid all the time. She was as fertile as the day is long. You can get as post-modern as you like with me, but she was for that reason much closer to the Great Mother than Hera ever was or will be.

For the Greeks, Eros was at the very heart of things. But to dismiss Aphrodite/Venus as being just a “slut-goddess” would be like dismissing Cybele in her time for the same sin. She wasn’t the goddess of 42nd Street, however. That was an American invention, or rather a puritan invention. The invention of a pornographic intellect, no doubt—or one that tried to suppress passion.

You are right about Apollo, but you’re not talking about passion here, again you’re talking about intellect and control.  Dionysis was the ecstatic one.

>Aphrodite/Venus was the goddess of love, beauty and sex, nothing more. 

Love, beauty, sex and—last but not least— creativity. Nothing more. But from whose POV were those last two words written? And since when has the principle of Beauty not been associated with the arts?

Remember that this was Classical Greece. Beauty and truth were combined in that place, in that time. Eros too. It wasn’t all schizoid like today.

>Without intellect, you have no way to convey emotion other than a primal scream, which just makes people thing you are loony.

So ecstasy is loony?  Ecstatic forms of knowing (I don’t mean to get too Biblical here, just a little Orphic) are loony?

Of course, we are just playing here, and I’m not sure we’re really that far apart. But are suspension of disbelief and play also a hopeless form of looniness?

What I will agree on is that Intellect by itself becomes monstrous. Same with passion that it not just trans-rational, but irrational. Even in Janov’s “primal scream,” connecting the dots was integral.

For balance to occur, however, a sacred space must first be set aside in which neither the Intellect (as function) or any other function declares that it is superordinate.

What has happened in our particular culture, however, is that the cerebral cortex has, as it were, declared that it is God. It is Blake’s “Newton,” his Urizon. Because it has expropriated such power, it’s opposite is necessarily constellated.

Do you remember a film long ago called “Forbidden Planet?” I am not suggesting that the Freudian “Id” is at the root of our collective “conundrum,” merely that what we do not recognize in ourselves always comes back to haunt us. It is, as it were, a kind of Jungian Shadow.

Darkness, however, cannot be integrated visa vis the function of the Intellect.

Finally, you don’t try to squash the Yin in the Yang. The principle of darkness must be integrated on its own terms, and here, there are many other myths and metaphors to which to point.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 14, 2010 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

mdgr, November 15 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

ITW,

My goodness. Are you saying that Art operates under a psychological oligarchy wherein the function of the Intellect is not just necessary but dominant??? That’s an interesting thesis, I must say. In light of it, I wonder why art and music were held to be sacred to the creative Venus, not fast-moving Hermes.
**************

Actually, you are incorrect.  Hermes was a piper. Venus had little to do with either music or art. Apollo was the god of music and light.  The goddess of weaving tapestries was Athena, also the goddess of wisdom and just warfare.

Then, of course, there were the 9 Muses, daughters of Zeus who each specialized in various arts: Dance, poetry, music, even history.

Aphrodite/Venus was the goddess of love, beauty and sex, nothing more.  She wasn’t even the goddess of motherhood—the result of sex.  That was Hera/Juno.  Of course Aphrodite INSPIRED art, but was not the patron goddess of it.

Without intellect, you have no way to convey emotion other than a primal scream, which just makes people thing you are loony.

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By mdgr, November 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

“The most important thing in life is style. That is, the style of one’s existence—the characteristic mode of one’s actions—is basically, ultimately what matters. For if man defines himself by doing, then style is doubly definitive, because style describes the doing.”

“Amanda expounded upon this at some length. “The point is this,” she said eventually. . .  ‘It is content, or rather the consciousness of content, that fills the void. But the mere presence of content is not enough. It is style that gives content the capacity to absorb us, to move us; it is style that makes us care.’”

—From “Another Roadside Attractive,” Tom Robbins

* * *

So by your logic, is it the intellect that makes us care, not the “affective octave” of the piece?

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By mdgr, November 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

My goodness. Are you saying that Art operates under a psychological oligarchy wherein the function of the Intellect is not just necessary but dominant??? That’s an interesting thesis, I must say. In light of it, I wonder why art and music were held to be sacred to the creative Venus, not fast-moving Hermes.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

Let’s take another metaphor, one involving pocket combs and pitchforks. Just because they both have teeth is an insufficient argument to suggest that one use a pitchfork in combing one’s hair.
*****************
“Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
and died with a toothache in his heel”—“Old Dan Tucker”.  LOL

Intellect is vital and powerful element in art, which is, in most cases (excepting in part, theater/cinema) metaphoric by nature.

Look at a Bosch painting.  At first it looks truly bizarre, but then, if you know the symbology, or even PART of the symbology, it becomes more of an intellectual exercise.  In his most famous, the Garden of Delights triptych,in Hell, the central figure looks like a tree with a man’s head and its legs in boats frozen in ice in a pond.  But in Bosch’s work, this is a common image for the Tree of Life and the boats are in water, except in the one of Hell where they are in ice, symbolizing stoppage—they are frozen.

My understanding is that Finnegan’s Wake is written in over 40 languages.  I have no idea how to read it—even his wife called it “chop suey”, but to do that took an enormous education, even if didactic.

Georges Seurat’s “Pointillism”, is in fact, a very deliberate technique to allow his images to be viewed crystal-clear from a distance, while appearing foggy close up—similar to Roy Lichenstein’s giant comic books where you see all the dots.  This is an act of intellect, yet creates a metaphor in doing so.

Anyone who has ever tried to write poetry knows that while the emotional component drives it, it’s the intellectual one that makes it work—the perfect word in the perfect phrase, whether metered or not, rhyming or not, every word is labored over, changed 100 times before the final one is right.  How many times did Whitman re-write “Leaves of Grass”?

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By mdgr, November 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

More on Metaphor:

Thanks for clarifying. While I do tend to filter my spirituality through the finest of strainers, it’s far more Platonic in nature than Aristotelian. In Plato’s “Cave,” metaphor and myth—along with poetry and dream—may in fact be some of the better ways of communicating.

In a recent post, for example, I used the metaphor or the sun, taking the entire domain of ego psychology to a somewhat different level in the process.

Let’s take another metaphor, one involving pocket combs and pitchforks. Just because they both have teeth is an insufficient argument to suggest that one use a pitchfork in combing one’s hair.

My point is simply that levels exist and most people tend to get them hopelessly confused. They usually look for evidence of causation, for example, strictly along the horizontal axis wherein billiard ball A strikes billiard ball B, imparting its kinetic energy. Connecting principles along vertical and completely overlooked, however, and the forest is often missed through the trees.

I fully agree with your proposition that the use of metaphor and myth does not excuse sloppy thinking and, further, that there are a lot of spiritual types (New Age included) that endeavor to leverage sloppy thinking in order to connect the dots.

But do not throw out the baby with the bath. The intellect, while useful, can really go only so far. It can’t create art, for example. Nor poetry. Nor anything requiring an emotionally and intuitively balanced sensibility.

The problem with our age is not that metaphor and myth exist, but that we’ve disconnected ourselves from them so completely. We’re disconnected from the ground of our being that we’ve become like those unfortunate turtles (another metaphor) on the Bikini Atoll, the ones who were so contaminated with radiation from our H-bomb testing.

They could not find their way back to the sea after laying their eggs. Their sense of direction all but destroyed, they continued to walk inland while trying to find the ocean. Like Sapiens, they died even as they were futilely trying to connect the damned dots.

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By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, November 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY, THEY FIRST MAKE MAD(off).

And many of us now see that Amerika has become a terrible fascist beast that must be destroyed… lest humanity suffers an extinction event!

The ‘hillbilly electorate’ in the UNITED $TATES OF PERPETUAL WAR PROFITEERING are so dumb-downed by the corp-rat owned media machine, they eagerly vote [sic] for the ruling class elite (and their agents), the very people who would cut their throats!

No pop-ewe-lation on Planet Over-Birth-Earth is more manipulated (and made $tewepid) than the foolish consumer-citizens in war-mongering Amerika, probably the most violent empire in the history of humanity.

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By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, November 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY, THEY FIRST MAKE MAD(off).

And many of us now see that Amerika has become a terrible fascist beast that must be destroyed… lest humanity suffers an extinction event!

The ‘hillbilly electorate’ in the UNITED $TATES OF PERPETUAL WAR PROFITEERING are so dumb-downed by the corp-rat owned media machine, they eagerly vote [sic] for the ruling class elite (and their agents), the very people who would cut their throats!

No pop-ewe-lation on Planet Over-Birth-Earth is more manipulated (and made $tewepid) than the foolish consumer-citizens in war-mongering Amerika, probably the most violent empire in the history of humanity.

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By David Williams, November 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will always be a hegemonic preponderance for the “disparate” Left/Center/Right to converge as one mind; as long as Zionist communism is the actual “unseen” ruler… TheRealCommunism.com

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By Inherit The Wind, November 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

I’m not accusing you of speaking in metaphor rather than specifics.  A number of other posters are, and do so continuously. Also the use of “spiritual” catch-phrases like “Two-legged creatures” instead of “people”.

Analogies can be useful on occasion, but metaphoric speach? Please!

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By mdgr, November 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

Agree in the abstract, assuming you were speaking abstractly. Since I felt called out on this in an equally vague and abstract way, however, I’d be happy to take it public but in a much more concrete kind of way.

We might start with specifics, noting that no one talked of “intelligent design” (ID) in this thread, nor even implied it. ID isn’t even science. Moreover, stars go nova every day. No deux ex machina steps in then, and will not now. The universe is filled with catastrophe, to be sure.

Having clarified that little detail, what exactly was your point? Specifics, please, assuming that I’ve entertained no delusions of references in suggesting that the “metaphor” in question originated in my post?

If I’m wrong about that, then I humbly apologize.

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By David J. Cyr, November 14, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar, being a painting of a fantasy kingdom):

“As to stereotyping progressives as sports-haters, that isn’t, at least in my case, true”
________________

There’s not much sport to be found in the professional “sports” that sports writers write about… just as there’s not much politics in the “professional politics” that “news analysts” write about. It’s just theater.

Natural people who love sports actively participate in them, rather than passively watching un-natural creatures that are manufactured to provide private corporate profits at public expense.

The corporate party’s (D) faction’s state chairman, here in New York, was just interviewed on NPR. He referred to himself and to the (corporate selected to be the “electable” one) newly installed Governor Andrew Cuomo as both being “progressive.” Just slap a (D) on a regressive Republican, like Cuomo, and you’ve got an American progressive. It’s the (D) team label that changes appearances for the donkeys, who are policies blind.

What real American patriot “progressives” do hate is anyone who ever actually votes for what they say they want.

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By Kanomi Blake, November 14, 2010 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Egomet, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize a critique as vilification. I’m also curious as to what you found so refreshing about the piece. The context-less quotes? The giant asterisks that mysteriously appeared on the first page this morning?

You ask, ‘Why does it matter if he’s a sportswriter?’ Because that is what he knows, that is what he is invested in. Would you turn to an oceanographer to explain quantum physics? Should TV critics be critiquing the Quadrennial Defense Review?

Here’s a positive suggestion. What if rather than disjointedly quoting Karl Rove, Jon Stewart, and a book about the New York Giants, he examined the sports-industrial complex and its impact on American life? Surely sports is something he knows quite a lot about, yet it’s rarely written about from a political, let alone progressive, point of view. Another person “amazed” by the cupidity and mendacity of the elites isn’t really adding anything new.

As to stereotyping progressives as sports-haters, that isn’t, at least in my case, true, and I would have thought at least a passing mention of a team of misfits, led by a long-haired, lanky pot-smoking kid from Washington state, ending fifty years of heartbreak for a city that doesn’t fit in and never will, would at least merit a passing mention; but of course for most sportswriters, as in most of media, if it didn’t happen in New York, D.C., or L.A., it didn’t happen and it doesn’t matter, and they just don’t care.

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By Tesla, November 14, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Truth gains more even by the errors of one who,
with due study and preparation, thinks for himself,
than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think.
-John Stuart Mill-

A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
-John Stuart Mill-

I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.
-John Stuart Mill-

Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
-Thomas Jefferson-

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
-Thomas Jefferson-

The current way forward (unfortunately):
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.
-Thomas Jefferson-

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By Inherit The Wind, November 14, 2010 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Metaphor can be a great way to model and illustrate a paradigm.

But mostly it’s used to spew clap-trap.
Example: Intelligent Design advocates love to use Voltaire’s Pocket Watch Found in a Field metaphor as support for their position (They always pose it as if they just thunk it up, too!).  Yet in their ID, they can’t explain the logic of why there’s Ebola, Plague or deer ticks.  If Ebola and plague are supposed to clear out populations, why make them so fucking painful?  And what good are deer ticks except to themselves and the painful disease they carry?
In fact, why is there “pain” at all? Why not another signal that’s just as clear but doesn’t hurt?

The answer, of course, is that evolution is NOT “Intelligent Design” and what works, at least for now, is what survives.

Again, metaphor can be useful (Quantum physicists have a hard time visualizing their subject without it), but it’s usually just a way to avoid concrete discussion.

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By mdgr, November 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker says that many people—including indigenous people—have been living in the perceptual world that I described for ages.

I don’t believe it for a minute.

It is true that Native Americans do regard Gaia as sacred. So do New Age people. I don’t mean to cause offense, but I put them on the same playing field in this regard.

The Dalai Lama, for example, could hardly be called a spiritual slouch. His was a mix of various traditions, including Bon, Mahayana Buddhism (transmission of mind, no less), etc. But he would reject the notion that stones themselves are sentient even though he knows that everything is an artifact of consciousness. He certainly didn’t take his Buddhist vows so the stones could obtain Buddhahood.

My point is that a mere sensing the intrinsic unity and non-duality of things does not suffice. Dissociations still exist (as well as neuroses, addictions, etc.) and a lot of “perceptual violence” still seems to be perpetrated.

Fact is that if indigenous people actually SAW as I suggested, they would hardly need shamans and holy men.

The eyes and ears of people would directly partake in the act of mediation—and at a perceptual level. It wouldn’t be reserved just for the elite—and I doubt even many of the elite partake of it.

The fact that a priesthood exists in any of these various systems gives the lie to immediate perception.

It is at several steps removed.

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By TAO Walker, November 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

“mdgr.” raises some worthwhile considerations.  This Old Indian wonders, however, as Bob Dylan did, “Why wait any longer or the world to begin?”

Some of us free wild Peoples have been living in this Living Universe for Ages already.

HokaHey!

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By Egomet Bonmot, November 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

Why in the flying pink Jesus does such a refreshing think-piece get so vilified?  What
earthly difference does it make that Hesler is a sportswriter?  The only difference
between him and half the other writers for Truthdig is the shingle they choose to hang
for themselves—we’re not talking ex-diplomats here.  A career in Editorial is so much
more dignifed.

The prejudice confirms every left-wing stereotype.  Not too many sports fans here.

Kanomi faults Hesler for solving nothing.  What has Hedges ever solved?  After reading
one of his columns I want to slit my wrists.  The double standard is galling.

I’d add a quibble:  Cable tv seldom gets the credit it deserves for making those vast US
hinterlands comfortable with race & gender—& the big city mores.  If not for 25 years
of cable, Obama wouldn’t have had a chance of being elected.

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By Kanomi Blake, November 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

I am sure Mark Heisler is a decent human being, and I commend him on his broadening his horizons beyond the banality of professional sports.

But I have to ask, how is Truthdig helped by this article, which says nothing, proposes nothing, addresses nothing, and solves nothing? What qualification does the author have to write a column about politics alongside the likes of Chris Hedges?

I don’t know anything about Heisler, and he doesn’t help. He doesn’t say anything in this piece about why he now writes about politics or why he even should. Is he some great seeker of truth? In his many years of sports writing, did Heisler break any stories about rampant steroid use in professional athletics? Political grift in taxpayer-funded stadium initiatives? Nike sweatshops churning out athletic shoes, paying slave wages while lavishing money on endorsements? Law enforcement cover-ups of athlete crimes? The wholesale corruption of public education by NCAA sports? That the highest paid public employee in the whole state of California is a football coach in Berkeley?

Most sportswriters strike me as servants to the team’s PR flacks, to the newspaper publishers, to the rabid fanbases who only want to hear what they want to hear. This is not a field where you are going to find truth-tellers and original thinkers. That is not where you turn for honesty and passion.

If you want to give a new column to somebody, give it to somebody who already knows what is going on. Time is short, truth is precious, and it is a waste of space to have a media guy name-dropping other media guys, let alone quoting the tweets of ESPN. Talk about staring at the shadows in Plato’s Cave. He mentions Sarah Palin in passing, but says nothing interesting when, for example, he could have pointed out the rather interesting fact that one of Palin’s advisors is a George Soros lobbyist.

So this, this is no good. Give the column to Arthur Silber, who writes passionately, achingly, beautifully about the agony of empire.

Give it to a Paul Craig Roberts or a Mike Whitney, to someone who deeply understands and can cogently explain the criminal corruption of Wall Street that pollutes and dominates American politics.

Give it to Chris Floyd or Max Keiser or John Pilger. There are 100 names more qualifed, more worthy. A thousand. Here’s a thought - give it to a woman.

But don’t give it to some self-admitted tyro from the heart of the Los Angeles illusion factory. Here we are in the middle of a collapsing Empire, but instead of looking for another Aristophanes, the editors trot out a chronicler of bread and circuses, the modern day equivalent of a scribe waxing florid about Rome’s Green and Blue chariot races.

Foul ball.

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By mdgr, November 13, 2010 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker:

More on Homo Sapiens:

Consider the notion of the ego, which could be said to be the locus of consciousness wherein our ego is assumed to be different from everybody else’s, even as we view ourselves to be “separate” individuals.

Then too, we tend to view everything around us as non-sentient and dead unless, perhaps, it happens to be a carbon-based “life” form.

From this perceptual vantage point of separation and death, we then wonder why we rape the planet, poison our oceans or spend most of our resources creating weapons of mass destruction.

I’m not even sure its our fault. It quite literally flows from our raw-perceptions, our way of actually seeing things. It results in self-stultification, true, but at yet another level, I am not sure we had anything to do with it.

What can be said is that we’ve long since bumped up against our evolutionary glass-ceiling. America is just a microcosm of that much larger problem, as is China, Israel—the entire community of nations, really. And to quote the title of an old Leonard Cohen song, it’s well past “closing time.”

At a metaphoric level, perhaps there’s another way to look out of our window at the universe. Perhaps we are not separate “suns” at all, but all connected in a single sun. Perhaps there is no separateness at all, and that which we regard as such, only an illusion.

Perhaps everything that exists is alive, not just carbon-based life forms. Perhaps EXISTENCE itself is simultaneously the most despised and the most sacred thing there is.

What surrounds us today are only beliefs and religions. They are just shadows, and this is not perception. In that too, we are separate. We are estranged from our instincts, our intuitions, our deepest emotional percepts. We’ve elevated the cerebral cortex to a godlike status. We are, at best, like the blind men and the elephant.

But what if one day we could literally see that everything was alive and everything was connected? Sapiens will never get there, true, but perhaps another species will. Just as this is a time of great death, this may also be a time of great birth. . . .

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By TAO Walker, November 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Might be wise to keep in mind that “homo sap” has absolutely no objective confirmation whatsoever of its vaunted “intelligence.”  There’s nothing to support that conceit which isn’t entirely “self”-made, “self”-serving, “self”-righteous, and “self”-referential. 

There is overwhelming evidence, though, that homo domesticus is in a largely “self”-induced state of terminal stupefaction.

HokaHey!

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By mdgr, November 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

50 Gigs:

Agree that it’s all about triangulation. Disagree on exempting Obama, since he’s at least nominally in the catbird seat, nominally at the apex of the triangle. Nor is Karl Rove the Great Satan. And no one ever suggested that the stars caused anything.

At issue is that cycles seem to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Rove is simply riding the wave of the times. He understands how to manipulate people. Same with Obama, though he is more than likely to be wiped-out in the process.

Rome is simply unraveling. Yet another thousand year old Reich is about to hit the dust. What’s unique about this particular cyclic unfolding is that it’s all but planetary in nature.

I don’t see that as a bad thing, however. One’s judgment on that, of course, would depend entirely on whether one thought whether “Sapiens” was really as wise and preeminent as it thought itself to be.

Hubris indeed.

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By mdgr, November 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

Good comment, Tesla.

There will, however, be no revolution—at least not as long as the trains roll on time.

We seem to have two options. Either things continue to get much, much worse along the lines that you’ve described or, alternatively, Godzilla magically appears on the scene and the infrastructure collapses.

Not to be alarmist, the “Godzilla-scenario” could happen any time in the form of a major earthquake along the Cascadia/San Andreas/New Madrid fault lines, or a major downshift of the thermohalene current.

Ironically, the only ones preparing for Godzilla are the beneficiaries of the “shock doctrine” (e.g., Haliburton, Xe/Blackwater) and our own domestic uber-right wing terrorists.

The progressive contingent would, if faced with such a “structural vacuum,” pretty much do what it did after the 2010 midterms. It would scratch its collective ass and—assuming the internet were still alive and well—respond to an infinite number of fatuous blog posting with the ever-luminous words, “Goodness, gracious me.” The most revolutionary thing on the left is Jon Stewart’s so-called “Sanity Convention” where everybody’s right and nobody’s really wrong.

Thanks to good “progressive’ friends (like Robert Scheer and Arianna Huffington), we’ve become no more relevant than a knitting circle, nothing more and nothing less.

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By samosamo, November 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

****************


I see it as the corporate media vs. the people.
How else could such divisive ideologies amongst
all the people in this country be accomplished?
And accomplished on varying themes 24/7?

Surely the worst part of this country is the
subverted mainstream media controlled by the
corporate side. The power to numb dumb and
dictate thought is so very powerful and it will
take a major event to end the ‘power of the press’
hold on balderdash, razzle dazzle, superfluous,
trickery and designed control that leaves the
populace not knowing left from right and never
being able to recognize the real enemy who have
never lived outside this country hiding behind
the biggest trump cards of all, repressive law
enforcement and nuclear weapons.

I can see why we are all divvied up into spectator
sport sides and when ‘provoked’ by a bunch of
the most insidious people behind the msm
curtain, soon it won’t take much at all to get all
sides on the field to deal with their ‘competitors’.
Welcome back to the gladiator games of Rome.
The elite will really be laughing their collective
asses off if and when this is accomplished. That
will be the ‘hecka of job, rupert murdoch’
moment.

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By FiftyGigs, November 13, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Nice comment, Tesla, but with respect I disagree that we are a police state now. I think the potential is there, but I disagree that the problem is an assertive authority strategically plotting to encroach on our freedoms.

I think the greater problem is that so many of us have become lazy—and by that I mean, ill-informed and nonparticipating. I was listening to a drunk in a bar last night railing loudly against President Obama, finally booming out, “He’s suppose to fix it”.

Wise words from a drunk, but wrong. No, Obama is only one person.

What’s missing is the participation in the process, including compromise, cooperation, putting forth our best information (not disinformation), and stuff like that.

Rove is Satan, I’m convinced, but he was uncharacteristically honest in saying, “...we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too.”

We’re behind the curve, because of powerful activists like Rove in conspiracy with media outlets and wealthy backers. The real problem, though, is that the progressive community seems more than willing to await Mr. Rove’s next creation so we can hop online and blame the President for it.

The fault isn’t in our stars.

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By Tesla, November 13, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

George W Bush put the finishing touch on the
Constitution when he publicly declared “it’s just a
piece of paper”.

This is not exclusively a new trend. We have laws and
practices (both federal and other) that are to the
layman, obviously and patently unconstitutional.

Often these affect our daily lives, yet we ignore the
affront because we have been inculcated into a
culture that defers to the “experts” automatically.

If there were a vibrant and truthful fourth estate in
this country they would have walked the public
through the connect-the-dots necessary to reveal that
we have been a police state for years now.

Beginning with the George W “free speech zones”,
ejecting or denying entry to non-Bush supporters at
speeches and rallies, herding protesters into wire
pens and detaining them far beyond what was
reasonable, stampeding demonstrators into “no-win”
situations, attacking and brutalizing members of the
press during conventions, and ending with illegally
and violently raiding residences and detaining
persons, preemptively. We have watched our prison being built brick by brick.

The police taser children, the elderly the mentally
ill and basically anyone they want, without
consequence.

Of course your vote doesn’t matter. It hasn’t
mattered for decades and will never matter again
under our current form of government.

Without revolution, this is as good as it gets.

Have a nice day!

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By Reverend Unruh, November 13, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For background info on the WMD they actually DID find and what they did with
them, please watch this full length documentary movie and share it with your
friends,

Beyond Treason
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNa3kiynQfw

Then you will have more of a clue on why so many of our soldiers come home and
commit suicide.

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Egomet Bonmot's avatar

By Egomet Bonmot, November 13, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

GREAT article.  Holy Jesus.

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basho's avatar

By basho, November 13, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

re: mh

“The stuff I cover, sports, is frivolous by definition,”

...and by extension so is this piece.

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basho's avatar

By basho, November 13, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

re: mdgr
“But, hey, maybe I’ve just answered my question.

Maybe the whole point of offerings like the Huff and TD is to allow us to harmlessly vent our anger and, by so doing, perpetuate our fatal disconnect. “

i think you’ve got it. smile

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By mdgr, November 13, 2010 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Based on this article’s iconic pic, this article is about a child’s connecting the dots, or the dots connecting a child. OK. I agree, I guess. But I must say that the flow of the article seemed much more “cute” than relevant.

It’s time that the person selecting these articles—that would be Mr. Scheer, I think—to stop trying so earnestly to connect the dots and start connecting the Velcro.

If Mr. Scheer thinks—as he has said—that the two party system is irremediably bad, why are most of his stories about one party being worse than the other?

If indeed we’re falling off a cliff on just about every level imaginable, why are so many of these blog-selections mere distractions?

But, hey, maybe I’ve just answered my question.

Maybe the whole point of offerings like the Huff and TD is to allow us to harmlessly vent our anger and, by so doing, perpetuate our fatal disconnect.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 13, 2010 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

At the Meadowlands, even the CHEAP seats cost $95.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, November 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unrepentant Nader Fan

I am a damned proud Nader fan. All Ralph Nader did was expose the apologists
for the rotten, corporate corrupt, pro-war two party system for what they are.

I now come to Truth Dig because I was been kicked off of Op Ed News,
Common Dreams, various “progressive blogs” etc for simply pointing out the
reality of the Dims equal complicity in, well name your issue. War, Corporate
Healthcare, Loss of Rights, the list is quite endless. Yet I was banned for
pointing out with facts why I drew that conclusion. Without any apology what
so ever.

I ran for Congress in Minnesota. Our campaign was shunned by corporate and
“progressive” media, shut out of debates, even had the so called non partisan
League of Women Voters shut us out of debates and even was excluded from
their printed Voters Ballot Guide. Even Amy Goodman, who interviewed our
Dem opponent TWICE in the weeks before the election excluded us. I am a
Trade Union activist and decades long media activist. Not one Minnesota Trade
Union would even screen me as a candidate.

I was endorsed by Ralph Nader, NAMAW National Assoc of Muslim American
Women, Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney.

What we witnessed was horrifying beyond words.

I am Registered Nurse, specializing in Burn and Trauma ICU, treated some of
the victims of the Pentagon attack Sept 11 and was a firm proponent of Single
Payer. I spoke on the wars and loss of rights, based on my experiences living in
northern Ireland for 15 years.

We got 1% of the vote.

google - you tube michael cavlan keith ellison to see.

I am still in shock. I had taken a few days off to decompress and take my wife
hunting.

I am back now. Ready to fight. I will be writing an article about our campaigns
experiences in the very near future. We intend to take the MN League of Women
Voters to court. To challenge their 501 3c status.

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By TAO Walker, November 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Once upon a time, sports-fans, “sports,” in common parlance, was a term mostly synonymous with freaks-of-nature.  Lots of ‘em made a living of sorts posing and performing in the side-shows of travelling carnivals, or signing-on to carry-out the endless variety of “special operations” so necessary to maintaining the ruling classes in all their own splendiferous weirdness. 

Not that much has changed, it seems, for the out-sized (or under-sized) or otherwise specially “gifted” members of the (itself morbidly freakish) subspecies homo domesticus.  Until these days there’s no news but “sports” news.

Hokahey!

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By WykydRed, November 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

This is what happens when an Empire goes *thunk*. (just a general observation on my part. I’ve accepted it.)

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By SincereSeeker, November 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A thoughtful and well written article explaining the political climate today. Most
fascinating was the quote attributed to karl Rove about how they “create realities”
and are “actors in history.” The hubris that followed this grandiosity is apparent in
Bush’s mostly failed presidency. Anyone who believes his reality is end-all-and -
be-all is completely untethered.

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By lasmog, November 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

While Heisler makes some good points about our ignorant infotainment culture he fails to recognize that our country has become a plutocracy. Both Democrats and Republicans serve the same corporate interests.

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By Dieter Heymann, November 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Heisler, please tell us on which day of which month of which year of the existence of our nation has this nation been classless?

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By kerryrose, November 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Problem is: We don’t share the same goal.  How naive to think that the citizen’s of this country all want the same thing.

Do the wealthiest (or even lower or middle class Tea Party types) support a living wage, health care, and social services for the most vulnerable?  Do they care about funding for education?  Do they care about the homeless, or the people who go hungry?

No.

Some people do.  The end.

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DavidByron's avatar

By DavidByron, November 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

A fact free article and dangerously status-quo / conventional thinking.

America is divided, but is it becoming more divided?  I doubt it.  But I can see why some people would like everyone to think so.  better to talk up the false dichotomy than the true division which is class warfare.

A very dubious article and I note it leans on Stewart’s false equality of left and right that he has now partially walked back (leaving his true views hard to figure out).

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By DavidByron, November 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Quoting Jon Stewart the day after he went on the Rachel Maddow show and walked back a lot of what he said in that speech at the end of the rally.  Classy!

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By gerard, November 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

And by the way, what happened to the “cheap seats” in the picture heading the article?  As usual, the kids got lost in the adult harangue.

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By gerard, November 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

“These days, perceptions change fast, and events with them.”
W-h-a-a-a-t?  I thought the reason events don’t change (wars continue, jobs do not return, people keep getting poorer and sicker, problems get worse) is that perceptions doNOT change.

If we ordinary citizens would and could change the perceptions of the 2% at the top who are holding onto all the resources, things would change overnight.  If we could get them to perceive that they do not “deserve” all those resources while millions of us others are in need ...
  If we could change our perceptions from fear and political cynicism to reasonable effective courageous public nonviolent action ... If ...
  Changing perceptions is what is NOT happening.

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Not One More!'s avatar

By Not One More!, November 12, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

The Myth that there are two sides, the good guys (the democrats) and the bad guys (the republicans) continues.

Witness the last 2 years under Obama and democrat rule. And people are still blaming Nader for Gore’s loss?

Obama, Kerry (and Gore) all worked against universal health care, worked for corporate bailouts, still continue secrecy of government, allow for unlimited corporate influence in elections, Guantanamo is still open, and the list goes on. Just like under Bush.

Suggested policies

Recommendation #1 - global protection of human rights for all

Recommendation #2 - base all economic and political decisions on SUSTAINABLE economic, social, and environmental models.

unrepentant Nader supporter

http://www.NotOneMore.US

http://www.AttilaAndTheHUNZ.com - Listen to the song ‘Don’t Trust the Government’

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By BobZ, November 12, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t really get the drift of this article, but if one wants to get away from all
of this point/counterpoint yelling and screaming, just don’t tune in to the cable
networks. The MSM mostly sticks to still just reporting the facts as does our
daily newspapers. One of the problems is what Stewart mentioned in his sanity
rally - the amplification of nasty politics. Good example was yesterday where
Fox News tried to make a case that Obama was dissing the veterans by not
giving the veterans day speech at Arlington National cemetery. They didn’t
report that he was actually in Korea thanking the troops, and his wife was doing
the same. MSNBC thought that was wrong and reported it on O’Donnells show.
So even if you tune out Fox News, you are likely to hear it repeated on another
cable network. I like MSNBC and have written them to ask why they repeat the
garbage they see on Fox and have gotten no reply. But the answer is it gives
them entertainment ammunition to shoot back at Fox. What I do tune in to hear
is debate on issues such as the recent deficit commission preliminary findings. I
want to hear the progressive viewpoint and the conservative viewpoints. I don’t
want to hear about all of these dumb wedge issues. I have given serious
thought to not watching the cable networks at all and just reading “The Nation”
and reading Huffington Post and Truth Dig.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, November 12, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Mark Heisler wrote:

“I’ve never written about politics, or covered it, or met a politician, much less interviewed one, which makes me a total amateur”
______________

Since Heisler is a sports writer, he has all the qualification required to become a highly paid professional “journalist” covering politics in America.

America doesn’t have a political culture. Politics here is confined to the races within the corporate party’s sporting arena… tightly confined to the races run by two teams having the same owner (BIG MONEY).

Any serious political ideas that might provide good solutions for problems aren’t considered important. Any good, better, or best solutions aren’t worthy of legislative consideration in America. It’s only the fight over which team — either the (R)s or the (D)s (both owned by the corporate party) — gets next installed to be paid more than the other to do what the corporations have already decided will be done that is important for a professional “journalist” to cover.

However, all the vitriolic disputes within the corporate party’s compliantly complicit alliance of liberals and conservatives should more appropriately be covered by theater critics.

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By ardee, November 12, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Gotta say I had some difficulty keeping up with this rambling article.

Willie Mays has always said that the catch in question was not even one of his best. Conversely, our electorate seems not at its best these days as well. We are splintered and apart and kept that way I think far too easily.

But the picture accompanying this article is priceless.

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BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, November 12, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Instead of (D)emocrat/ (G)iants
vs.
(R)epublican/ (M)ets

it’s more

(C)rips vs. (B)loods

There is security and fellowship when you’re a member of a Gang. And everyone knows it’s always the other Gang who’s at fault (no matter that both (G)angs are equally corrupt and worthless) therefore making accountability a pipe dream.

The Gang Lovers like to pretend that everyone shares their delusion, but if you add Obamas 2008 vote with McCains 2008 vote you get ~130 million when the total US pop is 311 million. Take away 60 million under 21 and lo and behold

Almost fully half of us don’t even play this game. We’re just looking for a real leader that will really change stuff. Maybe side with the working stiff once in a while rather than an Insurance Lobbyist.

Attention Gang Lovers: Our founders tried to protect US from YOU

***Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution***

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

***Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution***

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

(the above is also directed to those that say it really doesn’t matter what the constitution says if the Feds say so)

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