Freudianism

A Meandering Consideration of Absolutism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, 3 March 2015.  (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

“Maybe it’s an unfortunate hallmark of contemporary conservative thought?”

Steve Benen

Over at Slate, Fred Kaplan offers an interesting consideration:

It’s looking more and more like Benjamin Netanyahu committed a strategic blunder in so ferociously opposing the Iran nuclear deal and in rallying his American allies to spend all their resources on a campaign to kill the deal in Congress.

SlateIf current trends hold, the Israeli prime minister and his stateside lobbyists—mainly AIPAC—are set to lose this fight. It’s politically risky for Israel’s head of state to go up against the president of his only big ally and benefactor; it’s catastrophic to do so and come away with nothing. Similarly, it’s a huge defeat for AIPAC, whose power derives from an image of invincibility. American politicians and donors might get the idea that the group isn’t so invincible after all, that they can defy its wishes, now and then, without great risk.

It would have been better for Netanyahu—and for Israel—had he maybe grumbled about the Iran deal but not opposed it outright, let alone so brazenly. He could have pried many more favors from Obama in exchange for his scowl-faced neutrality. Not that Obama, or any other American president, will cut Israel off; but relations will remain more strained, and requests for other favors (for more or bigger weapons, or for certain votes in international forums) will be scrutinized more warily, than they would have been.

There is, of course, much more to Kaplan’s consideration, including the implications of current Congressional momentum and the widening gap between the credibility of favoring and opposing arguments. Toward the latter, he notes, “Most criticisms of the deal actually have nothing to do with the deal”, and that’s about as least unfavorable as his critique of the criticism gets.

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The Girl with the Clown’s Face

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 13 July 2015.Something about implications goes here.

When I was young, a distant relative explained why her three year-old daughter didn’t like Sesame Street―clowns frightened the child. It was the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing, but in later years a joke would emerge; it turns out the young lady was hardly alone in her fear of clowns.

This is not quite the same thing.

Still, though, Zach Weiner’s latest is actually kind of frightening.

Well, you know. If you stop and think about it.

How ’bout this? Don’t think about it.

____________________

Weiner, Zach. “Pix”. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 13 July 2015.

A Note on ‘Curing’ Heterosexuality (Puppy Power Mystery Mix)

Puppy play. (Original photograph by The Stranger.)

There is a long, hard joke in there somewhere involving basic Freudian propositions of differentiation between polymorphous equivalence in pleasure seeking and genital focus. And with a setup like, that, well, right. But it did come about that in the wake of an embarrassing trial and subsequent, obvious verdict against a conversion therapy outfit called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a friend mused on the thought of whether or not humanity might achieve a cure for heterosexuality.

The unfortunately requisite disclaimer here is threefold; there is an obvious cure, it is an obvious joke, and there are still people in the world who would take such a joke as some manner of genuine threat. No, we’re not coming to apply anti-straight conversion therapy.

To the other ....

Last weekend, I was hanging out at the Cuff, the leather bar at 13th and Pine, when a man to my left pulled out a pink rubber ball.

(Baume)

Something about a setup like that goes here, but here’s another morbid joke, and this one almost worth recounting. (more…)

Your Morning Metal (Suffer the Masses)

Flotsam and Jetsam

I find neuroses fascinating. Never mind.

The promise cast, the hopeful lured. Stabbing by the pointed words. Tortures of the damned you’ll find; guilt preys upon the human mind. All you know and all you feel is all there is and all that’s real. Innocent told you’re a worthless pain, eventually drives all insane. Bleak optimism gained, a lame excuse to hide the pain. Instinct stifled, be ashamed for what you feel is right and sane. Suffering, told what you feel and need is wrong when conflicting with the machine, the machine that’s run so long. Suffer the masses; contradicting views inside. Suffer the masses; the personality divides. Suffer the masses; what’s told and what you know. Suffer the masses; now, now the neurosis grows. Generations handed down the false smile to hide your frown. Instinct stifled, don’t be afraid for what you feel is right and sane. The promise cast, the hopeful lured. Stabbed by pointed words. Tortures of the stabbed you’ll find as guilt devours your broken mind.

Flotsam and Jetsam, “Suffer the Masses” (1990)

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The Headline

The weird thing about feelgood headlines is that they often require us to feel good about someone else’s suffering. To wit, Washington Post wants us to know that “The Islamic State is failing at being a state”.

It used to be that when we taught young Americans to read, the critical thinking skills required to distill such information for oneself was intended to be part of the instruction. Perhaps it is arguable that people need the news so distilled these days, but nothing about such a notion should be comforting.

Still, though, it is a grim picture Liz Sly paints for WaPo:

Map showing approximate extent of Daa'ish authority in Iraq and Syria; via Washington Post, 25 December 2014.The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading, and flour is becoming scarce, he said. “Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,” he said.

Basic Freudianism prescribes the idea that many enter certain professions, or undertake particular endeavors, as a way of sublimating otherwise unacceptable influences. Some doctors, by that outlook, become surgeons simply because they like to cut; and while this seems an utterly simplistic notion we might also try it as a springboard, because it is also clear that there exists a societal question about doctors who “play god”, which would probably be a more common sublimation than the need to slice and dice one’s fellow human being. The boxer? That part is obvious; by basic Freudianism many pugilists just like being in fights, and this is one acceptable way to spend one’s life doing just that. The police officer? Indeed, Americans are grappling with related questions in recent months, but comparatively what is happening in the Middle East is a naked, exponential caricature of any question we might ask about our own governance.

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