SOME GOOD RESOLUTIONS FOR NEW YEAR 2019
Take a couple of trips in culture
To start the year beautifully, just get some romantic music. Schumann will do and this piece, which is rare and mostly reduced to its Overture, straight out of the twisted imagination of Lord Byron, will entertain your personal defense against the fascination with suicide. It is by entertaining a relationship with suicide that you may never be a suicidee. At least you will be prepared when it comes. So, first Lord Byron’s long poem.
LORD BYRON — MANFRED — 1817
The poem is strange in the fact it is a dramatic poem, with many voices after all, hence very theatrical. The various voices are made clear in the versification, from free verse for Manfred himself and some otters to versified contributions of others like spirits and supernatural beings. Most of these spirits are identified in what they say apart from some who have some kind of names. The first seven spirits called by Manfred are the spirits of “earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds and [Manfred’s] star.” We have, in this opening, the supernatural spirits of things seen in a very romantic approach, everything in the world is spiritual. Every natural element is animated by a specific spirit. We are in Faust, we are in Werther. Perfect continuation. But seven is, of course, a Christian concept, the Holy Week, the genesis of the universe, but it also has a wider spiritual value in many cultures. It is yet very romantic because one spirit for the “winds” is in complete contradiction with all mythologies for which there are always four winds identified by the four cardinal points. For another tradition, that of Buddhism, air and wind are only one element because air is movement because of the wind. And the wind is then in the singular. The spirit of mountains is definitely in phase with other oriental or Amerindian mythologies, though such animation of mountains is probably in tradition with old pre-Ice-Age beliefs and mythologies in Europe.
Among these spirits, the three Destinies are one identity of the triple goddess that has many forms from the Erinyes to the Harpies and of course the famous triple goddess in Greek tradition and in Germanic tradition. But when all the spirits, plus Nemesis and Arimanes come together we reach a total of twelve supernatural beings, which is also very common in many mythologies and crucial in Christianity. But Manfred breaks this symbolism — the way he refuses the intercession of the Bishop — by invoking and bringing into this gathering a thirteenth spirit, that of Astarte. The name is surprising since she is an impersonation of some warfare goddess in the Middle East, and among Celts. But we understand that she is the “she” Manfred is referring too in the second act, scene two, whom he accused himself with having killed and whom he invokes and brings onto the stage later on in the poem. She is the woman he loved, and he dragged her into his attempt to conquer the supernatural world behind the surface of things, and he considers this to be a crime that is unforgivable, and this Astarte when brought up in his presence by himself, refuses to stay, speak and say anything. She rejects him into his guilt.
He is not Faustus because he cannot travel in time except via the illusion of some hallucination. He is not Faustus because he dragged the woman he loved into his own attempts to conquer the over-world, the other-world, the underworld, and she died of it as if it were a disease (note the allusion to the black plague, ‘Black Death’, in the 14th-15th centuries). He destroyed the woman he loved but in a very perverse way, with supernatural wizardly powers. He is not Faustus because he does not meet with forgiveness from a jury of women in heaven. He is not Faustus because he does not find any salvaging mission on earth, and what’s more, he is more fatal or lethal to people he meets than a real curse on them would be. As for that, Count as he may be, he is not Count Dracula because he has no eternity. Eternity is for him a pure discursive illusion.
What kind of a man is he then? He is a man bored with humdrum aristocratic idle life with many servants and even slaves. He is a man who is trying to call magical if not witchlike actions to entertain his boredom. He is suicidal because courting with death is entertaining for his idle aristocratic mind if we can call his disturbed consciousness a mind or a soul. He is definitely psychotic. “Different,” he says he is, unable to integrate the real world, unable to accept the real world the way it is, he wants to live in his own different world and thus escape the real world, and for a while, he believes this would make him escape death. He is in fact on the verge of schizophrenia, more paranoid deep under than just plain deranged. How did he develop this paranoia is not said and difficult to imagine? And this makes him suicidal to the point of actually dying by mentally killing himself. This is banal today when we know what happens to some people who suddenly abandon the world completely, abandon themselves to dying, and let themselves die, make themselves die. There are of course many other suicidal endings, including by self-poisoning with alcohol or drugs. And Byron knew everything he had to know about drugs and opium.
This poem then is extremely pessimistic on the individual animal called man. Isolated in a tower, in a castle, in a social aristocratic ghetto, in the mountains which are nothing but a witch, that individual human will end up killing himself, be it only with diabetes for over-eating (obesity) and the consumption of too much sugar of any type, including plain potato starch. In other words, this dramatic poem is a perfect pamphlet for suicide and death — or against it: humanity has no future because its individuals, particularly its elite have no future but suicide in a way or another.
Beautiful poetry and tragic dramatic mesmerizing call for suicide.
And now after the text, the music.
ROBERT SCHUMANN — BYRON — MANFRED — DENNIS LAUBENTHAL — 2015
First a general opinion about Schumann’s adaptation of Byron’s poem for his symphonic poem. The original poem has been reformatted and many elements have been dropped. From the libretto published by L’Orchestra Virtuale del Flaminio, the least we can say is that it has been seriously reduced. Some symbolism disappeared in that perspective. Let me give one example. The seven ghosts or spirits of the beginning are reduced to four and the text is just plain changed to stick with this reduction: “Luft, Wasser, Erd’ und Feuer” which means air, water, earth, and fire. The meaning is then completely different, and it is locked up in a standard western vision of the four basic elements. The universalizing approach of Byron is lost. And at the same time, the second instance of the bringing together all these ghosts, spirits and other supernatural beings later in the poem will of course never bring them to twelve like in Byron, with the Christian symbolism behind (note it is seven + five, thus avoiding six + six that would have been Solomonic and Jewish). And The bringing of Manfred’s loved woman Astarte as a ghost into the situation cannot bring the number to the very disruptive thirteen. We can, of course, consider this is a detail and it can be overlooked because of the music that covers up such symbolism. Even so.
I was lucky to have this version of the libretto that seems to be the full poem in German as used by Schumann. Of course, the booklet of this CD does not provide the original by Byron nor the full libretto by Schumann, only the reduce libretto recorded here. The reduction, and at times full rewriting, is a major transformation of the text and quite a lot of Byron’s poetry disappears in the process. Schumann had already manhandled the original poem. This recording goes a lot farther. Of course, we have to consider that it is mostly a poem that is read, performed orally but unsung. The music only comes into the text from time to time and for some in-between transitions, apart from a few, and frankly not many, arias.
But is the meaning changed? The meaning of the text is for sure changed. The final act is thus made a lot more religious than it is originally. Most of what Manfred says to the Abbot rejecting the standard Christian vision and expounding his own belief that he had to refuse to be taken by the ghosts and had to go on his own not to be taken where he does not want to be taken to. The last moral given by the Abbot is not changed: “Er ist dahin, sein Geist entfloh der Erde. Wohin? — nicht denk’ ich’s gern — Er ist dahin!” The whole problem here is that “dahin.“ Byron was more open: “He’s gone. His soul hath ta’en its earthless flight. Whither? I dread to think, but he is gone.” The word “dahin” means “over there” and thus states he is in another world. It does not specify hell or heaven or some limbos, but he is on the other side, whereas in English he is just not here anymore. In fact, then the Abbot is in a way less committed in English than in German. Manfred’s last sentence is kept the same in both languages. “So schwer ist’s nicht zu sterben, alter Mann.” In German and “Old man! ’tis not so difficult to die.” Manfred is not speaking of where he is going. He only speaks of the instant of passage. There is in Byron’s poem a great distance from religion and religious beliefs about after death destinations. Schumann keeps that meaning though the Abbot brings things back to some kind of normal Christian vision. Manfred is in another world and the Abbot does not want to commit himself on hell or heaven.
That does not change the general meaning and the general character of Manfred; Manfred is a deranged person probably by the trauma of what he considers his having caused his loved partner to die. He has become totally isolated in his aristocratic tower of his aristocratic castle in his aristocratic mountains and he is haunted by spirits, ghosts and whatever other supernatural beings that he calls to his rescue and in fact they come not to rescue him but to in a way or another take him on his fatal fate, or lethal destiny. He is committing mental suicide by abandoning his life behind as if it were the skin of a snake.
The music emphasizes this dramatic situation and brings a dimension that the poem did not have: it creates a sound universe that is both dramatic to the point of tragedy, and an accompaniment as if it were a solace to Manfred’s journey beyond the normal world. This recording is quite effective at that level though I think the original poem and the libretto insist on the fact Manfred is totally psychotic and this quasi-schizophrenic dimension, clearly expressed in the poem and the libretto is not entirely rendered by the music. The mental state of the composer at the time of composition may have turned this poem and music into some kind of solace to his own depressive period and thus he kept this deep mental disorderly state of Manfred within some limits, including the reinforcement of the Christian reference. But true enough it is a rather fascinating descent into the deranged mind of an aristocrat who thinks the whole world turns around him and that he has some kind of value to many people. His derangement is a systematic negation of this value that is reasserted for example by the Chamois Hunter.
In our societies there is an easy way to commit suicide, get yourself in prison for a long period of time. It is also possible that willy-nilly you might find yourself in prison for a long period of time. You will thus have been suicided by some fink or social maneuver: society needed a culprit on a felony of some kind, and you were at the wrong place at the wrong time, for you, but just at the right time for the bureaucrats of the police or the justice system.
WENTWORTH MILLER — DOMINIC PURCELL — AMAURY NOLASCO — WILIAM FICHTNER — ROBERT KNEPPER — PRISON BREAK — SARAH WAYNE CALLIES — THE FOUR SEASONS + THE FINAL BREAK
This series is more than a series since the episodes are not in any way autonomous. They all follow one another, the seasons too, with only one story-line from the beginning to the end. And you will definitely be moved to deep emotions by the last extra episode, the Final Break. And altogether it lasts some fifty-eight hours of intense breath-taking and disbelief suspending action. The very first lesson is that you must not fool with a civil engineer and attack his brother, even if this brother is not his real brother. It is all in the head and luckily it is, otherwise neither Michael nor Lincoln would have made it to the end of the first season since they had against them their own mother, a power-hungry anti-maternal harpy who is ready to have any of her sons killed or even to kill them herself, slowly if possible because she finds it funny to see them losing their last drops of blood.
But the film is not so much about breaking out of prison but breaking out of servitude and build up your freedom along with the freedom of the whole world. The prison or prisons is or are a metaphor, better a parable of our total enslavement to some kind of order that is far, far beyond our consciousness, not to speak of control. And this battle is triggered by one elder son, who is not a brain but is a brute, who is fooled into going out to kill someone but that is a framing operation and he does not kill but is found guilty and sent to the electric chair in Chicago in the now famous prison of Fox River, the well-named since we are going to discover a prison is nothing but a whole colony of hundreds of foxes and no vixens at all. Except for the doctor and the main nurse. Some of these prison officers are of course rotten and they sell; to influential prisoners the various services that they should control, like the appointment of the prisoners on the working details. Some can even be thieves and steal the property of the prisoners that is kept “safe” in some kind of closed cloakroom. Prison safety is not exactly safety for the prisoners and their property.
So, the series describes all kinds of dependence and imprisonment. The first one is a prison universe with its warden, then its prison officers and various guards and its medical personnel. This is already a hierarchy that has its rules and its alienations. Then you have the prisoners and there too you have a hierarchy. The plain inmates, and then those who have the favor of being considered as able to work in prison on various tasks for a real pittance, but for something. But the control of such positions is bought up by one prisoner, in our case a mafia higher-up, and he chooses who he wants to be the members of this team. There are also teams working in the kitchen and in the laundry and other general services of the prison. And next to this hierarchy you have another one that is racial, not so much a hierarchy than an apartheid system that cuts the population into the whites and the blacks, or at least the two big groups of people protected by the white and the black main inmates, self-appointed of course, at least on the basis of their outside connections, I mean criminal connections. And then you have those who are not under protection on either side, the non-mentionable who can keep their heads low and remain unseen, and as long as they remain invisible, they will have no problems.
The last thing to say about such a world, the prison world is that small criminals are of course mixed with major criminals and that is bad, very bad indeed. The small criminals will be afraid of the very start and they will accept some protection in exchange for some petty services. They become the petty slaves of these protectors and there you have the sexual perverts who only want some young flesh for their personal service. Then you have the real criminal minds who organize networks to control the prisoners, and even, when they can, the prison itself. A prison is a college, if not a university, post-graduate studies if you please, for criminals and that education is paid by the state free of charge, full board and pension included.
The prison SONA in Panama is not different from the Fox River Federal Prison in Chicago. All prisons are the same. It is their very nature, at least the very nature the series wants you to think of and ponder about. Of course, there are different sides that are not shown: the fact that there is a library and that you can get some real education within the prison and also some prisoners lend their knowledge to the others and even do some research to know more and be more helpful to their fellow inmates.
The second level the series wants you to think about is justice, and there the picture is bleak indeed. If by any chance you do not have the best lawyer and the best defense funds for your first trial you can do and try what you want afterward you will never get through and you might, today in some states only, escape the death penalty but be in prison forever. Think of Mumia Abu Jamal, and he is not the only one. In the reverse case you can literally buy yourself the best just and equal justice you can if you can bring experts in and pay for DNA tests and so on. The police will not try to get to the bottom of a case if they have an easy solution on their platter. The police are the easiest institution to manipulate with the easiest people to influence you can imagine. They only run after real evidence in series and in very special cases. Everyone is not DSK with all the political leverage behind such a case. Then there is only one choice: to dream till you die or to escape and run till you die.
But very fast the series gets what is at first an undertone to the level of the major plot. Our global world is under the menace of some “company” that is secret and possesses a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge that is both positive in the civilian field and deadly or lethal in its military applications. And there are in this world a lot of people who would like to control that technical and scientific knowledge to sell it to potential war-mongers or war-minded politicians or dictators to have some fun in this very dull world indeed. That’s always the basic debate with science. In hard science like mathematics and physics, the constant choice is between military apps and civilian apps, and military apps are bringing in some profit a lot faster than civilian apps. But think of the medical field and the famous and frightening nanobots that will cost a fortune and that will give such an advantage in life span and physical or mental means to those who will have them in their blood and brain. They will not forget that these nanobots can communicate within each individual, but, and they will forget this, also within a certain spatial area (like GPS and smartphones) and particularly to the main motherboard controlled by a few people, I mean very few people, like the six card holders of the “company” in this series. Those who will have the nanobots in their blood and brain will become the real aristocracy of the world and take the control of the planet and the cosmos but will be controlled by half a dozen people at an even higher level. And this totalitarian ideology is coming under the disguise of an MIT professor. Never mind which one. There will always be a mad scientist to plan such projects.
But do not think humanities are not concerned. They are working a lot today on human sciences like sociology, psychology, even psychiatry to find the proper genetic ways to control the DNA of people, to change it if necessary, and also to control the minds and the behaviors of people with plain old manipulation, brainwashing, and other hypnotic techniques. Any totalitarian leader or party will find a way to mesmerize people, to control people with propaganda or with some drugs or products, including in your food or drinks. Think about how easily they make you addicted to caffeine, to energy drinks, cola drinks or alcohol, not to speak of tobacco. They are ready to use any ideology to achieve their objectives and particularly religious ideologies and absolutely no religion is immune because the basic objective of a religion is to bring people together and make them think and feel and respond to the world collectively along one single line. God made you free to choose the truth and, in all religions, there is only one God’s truth.
The series thus becomes political science fiction at first and then plain science fiction after the political intrigue is pushed aside with the resignation of the Vice President who had become President with some poisonous drink enhancement for the elected President and who was behind the framing of Lincoln Burrows, as a faithful beneficiary of the “company”. This science fiction is, of course, nothing but science fiction and, in that case, it is not a utopia at all, but a real full and absolute dystopia, at least till the last episode and the Final Break.
The last and essential dimension of this series is a study in loyalty, not allegiance which is not always rational, but loyalty. There are three types of loyalties. First, the loyalty to the “company” and this one is nearly easy to counter: let them shoot the first bullet and then shoot them all down. And if you can capture one or two try to get into some exchange of arguments, even striking arguments if necessary, to make them change allegiances and then loyalties. But then you have the official services that are supposed to enforce the law, security services, and justice. Both are supposed to develop a rational loyalty to the country, the fatherland, the motherland, the constitution, or whatever charter or declaration of universal human and civil rights. But how can you recognize at the bottom of the institution or outside that the order given to you is respectful of such principles, and such orders can come from a long way up the ladder of authority and if my boss tells me something, he must have his good reasons to do so, and I have to obey, don’t I? And then think within the frame of local police, state police, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Services, Presidential Security and many others and you have the full picture. Think within the frame of elected officials of the police, justice, judicial administration, justice department, etc. Good luck at surviving in that maze.
But the main loyalty is the loyalty you owe to those who have helped you in a difficult situation, those who have been your associates in some ethical project, even if it is to escape from prison. And this loyalty is, of course, all the more powerful if we are speaking family. This started in 2005 like Supernatural and in both cases, you have two brothers, the elder one less brainy, the younger one brainier, with a mother that disappeared in their young age. They are not real brothers, be it only because the family names are not the same, but they were raised together and after the disappearance of their mother, and later father, the elder one takes care of the younger one and even puts him through college and university to the level of engineer. But his means were not always very swift, and they were often criminal. Those two brothers who are not brothers and yet are brothers have no mother till very late in the series and the mother is such a caricature that they can only deny her motherhood that she refuses anyway and what’s more they do not have any father anymore, though he makes a quick come back to disappear by falling on a bullet. The two series are so similar along that family line that there must have been some leak from the one to the other. But Prison Break is one storyline and one plot, not episodes that have little to do with one another and a rather loose general line. Of course, Prison Break has to come to an end, whereas Supernatural can last forever. The two brothers are Michael and Lincoln, just like the two brothers in Supernatural are supposed to be the vessels of archangel Michael and Lucifer. The parallel between Lincoln and Lucifer is, of course, hilarious but not gratuitous. Lincoln the liberator of the Blacks, Lucifer the liberator of the Apocalypse, of the human species once and for all, or till the next whimsical caprice of God who could recreate his imperfect creation a second time in a few eons.
And the last episode is discreet about the death of Michael with one blood drop and a few light headaches, and then we skip four years and discover his son and Sara his wife but no father coming on his tomb with Alex, Sucre, and Lincoln for some anniversary in some Central American country. The Final Break episode explains what happened and that episode is so phenomenally emotional with the post-mortem video message from Michael explaining why he is not here anymore. Absolutely beautiful. But also, very Christian. The liberty of all and the punishment of the real criminal minds can only come through the sacrifice of one member of the team and the flight as fast and as far as possible of the only one that is menaced still, Sara, the Mary Magdalene of this modern Christ. Michael Scofield, MS in civil engineering, has to be sacrificed with his superior knowledge and intelligence. We will regret that in the final episode Lincoln’s son is not brought back on his uncle’s tomb with the rest of the family that includes Alex and Sucre who are not really members of the family.
A brilliant experience.
After a long wait, we finally got the last season after resurrection. This time to be put in prison somewhere in the world, officially on some mission that is intended by the bureaucrats who send him there to have him killed once and for all, in other words, suicided. Brilliant though slightly easy, since we know the end. On the good side, there is only one casualty. In Yemen mind you! With the CIA against them! What else can we say?
WENTWORTH MILLER — DOMINIC PURCELL — AMAURY NOLASCO — WILIAM FICHTNER — ROBERT KNEPPER — PRISON BREAK — SARAH WAYNE CALLIES — THE FIFTH SEASON — 2017
Long-awaited it was and finally arrived. The only question we could have was “How are they going to bring it to a close after resuscitating that poor Michael? And you’ll get the answer.
At first, I was wondering why he was in a Yemenite prison. We discovered he was supposed to get an Islamic State leader out of the very prison in Sana’a. Strange mission to bring out of ^prison one of the most dangerous enemies of the US. But we are good guys and we just listen and believe there must be a good reason, and you’ll get the good reason. A little bit complicated and many far from anything political or having to do with the secret services and the CIA that are everywhere, especially where they are not wanted. Keep your neighbors fighting in their homes or around so that you can sleep peaceful ten or twelve streets away.
In fact, we are dealing here with one of these levels of secret service and intelligence that is absolutely inexistent and not even secret since it is supposed not to exist. Full stop. Period. Have you seen the nose of the man who says that growing instantly to some Bergeresque proportion, you know Cyrano de Bergerac?
The escape is difficult out of the prison, out of Sana’a, out of Yemen, strangely enough to Crete (I wonder how they did that one), then out of Crete on a ship that is destroyed by a US missile, then to Marseille and Lyon, and miraculously to the US. The chase in the US is phenomenal and at times funny, though often poignant. Poor T-Bag discovers he has a son, and that son has been Michael’s whip in his adventure in Yemen, though this son won’t enjoy his father very long.
Michael’s son is used very intelligently to create some drama, intensity, but I must admit Poseidon, that rogue secret agent that is trying to have Michael killed, is rather ineffective and amateurish. He would not be a very good terrorist leader, especially since he does not do the dirty work, or little when he is blocked, trapped, cornered.
All is well that ends well, and I must say it has been an entertaining last season. Strangely enough, they announce another season on IMDb, but that must be some April’s fool. The end of this season is quite clear.
If you think the world is rotten and off its rocker, it is high time to ask Franz Graw to help you see what is wrong in this world that everyone is trying to buy or to sell. You may think Trump, and you will be half right. You may think May and there you will be only 25% wrong. You can of course think of Facebook that is selling your personal data for you to be inundated, or flooded, with advertising that should be effective since it is customized to your dimensions, your measurements, and be sure they have them all, including the most intimate. So, learn German if you do not know it yet, and enjoy this musician, sorry “dieser Musikanter.”
FRANZ GRAW — WIR KAUFEN DIE WELT — 2018
In the world we live in there is little hope to avoid the taking over of everything by the new things that are bouncing around and stampeding on our nostalgia for a humane world, meaning a world the way it was before, slower, more resonant with empathy and feelings, emotions and passions. We are becoming a world of total technical control of everything we may be, do, think, feel from before birth until death. Franz Graw’s use of “wir” is including himself in that technical flea market where everything can be bought for the price of a microchip. It also includes every listener into this “wir.” Willy-nilly there is no escape we are the new colonialists not of some distant continent but of ourselves, of our own independence and freedom.
So, you better accept the idea and enjoy the music. Somewhere it has to do with maybe the possibility or the eventuality that we may, might, could wake up and recapture our own minds, our own technical genitals before we impregnate the world, including ourselves, with some incurable disease that will eradicate out mental and spiritual existence from the whiteboard of yesterday night and from the screens, all the screens of tomorrow morning and when we wake up it will be too late, boys and girls. It is time to wake up, to rise and shine on a beautiful day, in the sunshine; at least if it can reach us through the billowing masses of smoke and other pollutants. “So viele Fragen!”
“Es gibt kein Weg zurück!” There is no way back. It is already too late, we have been overtaken, overwhelmed and we will be soaked, drowned and eradicated from that past, that dream of nostalgia and looking back in a retrospective way that is nothing but turning our back on the weapons that are going to shoot at us without any end their virtual deadly real lifeless bullets of propaganda, advertising, and social-network messaging. Like it or unlike it, who cares. There is no way back. ”Es gibt kein Weg zurück,” as soon as you have liked the dummies you meet on Facebook, you can unlike them as much as you want you will never be able to dislike them because disliking does not apply in tomorrow’s world. Like-Unlike-BUT-NO-Dislike. That’s the modern morality of this world that is changing under our feet, our hands, our eyes and even our balls, the balls of our ball games from football to handball, Füsser und Händer dancing in the sky in our technical onanism.
Poor Alice in Wonderland, she probably wonders what is happening to her in this adventure. She lost her footing long ago and will never recapture it. There is no more any Trust in God, in spite of what Trump might be saying regularly, thinking he is the God he is speaking of. But it is the trust that has disappeared not God, because who cares about God, as long as you do not trust in him and his crazy effortless, careless decisions that lead to nothing since it is only throwing some inflammable oil on the fire he has created — and after all has he? — in this humanity of his — and is it his really, are we really his? Our modern world has belied Nietzsche. God is not death really, he is only on vacation and has always been. He created nothing because everything came from who knows where, but certainly not from nowhere and nothing. At worst he passed water onto this burning world and let it survive in its death instinct, death trip, death religion.
Why should this God care about the people here and there who beheaded one another, who shed their own blood and the blood of their neighbors, just as easily as it was for them to breathe and urinate? “Du bist verloren!” that’s sure, you are lost, lost forever in the man-made jungle that was delivered by the coitus between a monster and an abomination, same sex or not, who cares, since they are beyond gender and sex, just a plain conjunction like the sun and the moon in an eclipse and after this copulation there came humanity for us to enjoy surviving in this jungle by killing one another and destroying the jungle at the same time. That’s the world we are buying. We are buying it thinking our technology, science, and philosophy can restore it to what it has never been, to a state of perfection it has never even experienced one nanosecond.
After a while you will find the music very repetitive, very simple, hammering very heavily onto your various dendrites and neurons and that leaves no peace and quiet for your serrated brain. You will do the same as I did, let yourselves go into that tantra of the fear of the future and the deprivation of a dream that the future could be better. And you will commit suicide, mental and spiritual suicide waiting for the end. Oh! Please let the end come, let that blind dead-ended impasse come to an end. Let us be shot from behind against the wall at the very end of this stalemate deadlock. The world is in the hands of Mafiosi that will not accept any rebate on their price, on their compulsory payment, because what we are buying with the world, or what we are buying the world from is a mafia of a few politicians that have no accounts to give to anyone.
Oh! God if you are still alive somewhere in your vacationalistic haven, can you do something for us between two visits to the gentlemen’s lavatory?
Of course not! You, nefarious villains who call yourselves humans, devised and produced it with all your Digitalisierung, your crazy digitalization that has turned anything real, good or bad who cares, into a virtual dematerialized non-existent non-entity. Enjoy your voided life in this voided world of both matter-less and void-less non-reality. And you can end with “Ich suche dich!” For sure you can look for that god of old ages and finally realize what they did not even try to understand in these old ages: God is not our creator, he is not our friend at all, he is another dimension in this multifarious reality of evil and bad and ugly realities we cannot even try to assess: Too hard for our weak mindless onanistic selfish brains.
But you cannot forget to have a trip across the Channel and enjoy Brexit, before Brexit, and what England is going to be after Brexit. Imagine it will be at least two or three times worse than in this series. The police have become very bureaucratic and justice is nothing but a system that wants to run without any financial means, without any oil at all and as smoothly as a meteor in outer space. Freedom and truth are obsolete in this world. The referendum was proved to have been rigged, with names and procedures on the table just a couple of months after the result and no one has gone to court to have it nullified since it was based on massive manipulation of private data and on a whole bunch of lies. We are living in a world of liars. The master manipulator is the new Pinocchio of the global world and some say he walks like a duck. Possible, but no eggs under his feet can resist the massive weight of his lies in his Santa Claus’s gift bag.
BBC — CRIMINAL JUSTICE — SEASON 1– 2008
This crime story is a total denunciation and exposition of the British justice system that does not look for truth but only for saving money with a “not guilty” decision on the side of the accused. Lawyers only have in mind to get the lowest possible sentence against their clients, which means they are able to accept any deal with the prosecution, even if it has nothing to do with truth. At the same time, this series shows how rotten the police itself is and how even the most seasoned detective of any rank is able to accept a deal that covers up the real criminal but makes it undemanding and effortless by arresting an easy prey. No one is in any way clean and innocent in these two institutions, or if you want three: The Justice system, the police, and the lawyers.
And yet all the incriminating evidence (that was brought to court because some had been taken away because it did not incriminate the appointed accused described as a violent rapist, murderer and a few other things) was incriminating for sure but definitely circumstantial for any cop with some seasoning experience. But seasoning experience also teaches cops how to manipulate the system and make a complicated case easy for them. The complication was that the accused did not fit the part he was cast into. He obviously was a superficial, naïve, innocent (in the meaning of slightly blind and deaf to the motivations of other people), socially slightly simple-minded and inexperienced with a family that did not have the means to get a good lawyer and what’s more with a mother who thought her son had committed the sexual crime he was accused of. And sex was it all. The mother could not get over the fact that her son might be sexually active (we won’t say anything about the prison though it is made very discrete though quite obvious).
That’s the third level of this series: the denunciation of parental motivations and reactions to the “bad deeds” their only son can be getting involved in. In this case they even have the courage to show the one at fault is not the father but the mother showing how the authority figure that the father is supposed to be is, in fact, the real empathetic one, whereas the mother who is supposed to be the loving one is also the one who does not see her son as innocent when he is innocent, because for her sex is a crime. Maternal hunches are rarely as badly exposed as in this case.
The final level of this series is the description of the prison system in Great Britain. It is a society of its own that has ramifications in outside society. So inside you have the wardens on top, good and less good, benevolent and less benevolent. Then you have the various — generally two — groups of people that take authority in their own, hands over the prisoners by using violence and by organizing some kind of underground circulation of some goods like drugs, cell phones, cigarettes, etc. And then you have a “listener” who is there to listen to prisoners and to report what is important to the wardens. As soon as the listener steps out of his protected position he becomes the direct target of all hostilities. Imposed suicide committed by the hand of another person is quite normal, isn’t it? And of course, you have the mentally-ill people who are supposed to be dangerous, who in fact are considered as not able to recover, so that they are put away in a prison to save on hospital beds.
This mini-series with one single case is a great introduction to the complexity and irrationality of justice in Great Britain. You will understand then why Theresa May survived the tremendous defeat she got in Parliament on January 15, 2019, a historic defeat, though all British and English tradition should have led her to resign, like her predecessor, David Cameron, who resigned after losing his referendum battle though he was not constitutionally obliged to do so. And a vote of confidence or no-confidence is in no way constitutional because there is no constitution of the English parliament within England. Only Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales have constitutions after their devolution in the 1990s, but only for their own territories and parliaments.
That’s what England is all about. When they have a problem, they try to find a compromise among the various political actors but if they cannot find a compromise then they have no real constitutional solution, except tradition which is of course vastly unacceptable. And that’s how a man who is in prison for life can end up suicided and an innocent man can be sentenced to life with no real recourse since an appeal has to do with something wrong in the judicial procedure, not on the basic interpretation of facts because a man cannot be tried twice for the same crime.
The second is just as good.
BBC — CRIMINAL JUSTICE — SEASON 2– 2008
This particular season is a lot deeper than it looks and it deals with fundamental questions.
When you reach the end, you have the absolute right to wonder what kind of justice what we have been shown is. The jury declared the accused not guilty of murder and yet without a second question about manslaughter or whatever, the judge sends her to prison for five years. It is, after all, better to be guilty because then you get what you deserve, but not guilty people get a sentence that makes them guilty anyway.
The second element is how a good husband can be a monster just because he tries to control everyone in his family and first of all his wife. He spies on her. He checks her computer and email. He keeps a notebook with all the rides she takes to go shopping or whatever she does out of the house, and when she does not tell him something he knows by checking the distance from A to B and then he knows she went to C and he has a fair idea of what this C is, so he just has to check the distance, and of course it fits. By the way, it would be a lot better with a GPS, but, true enough, since she knows how to erase the history of her computer, she might know how to erase the history of her GPS. I am sure there must be a way.
That gives you one other master-mistake of some women in this society. They do not work outside their homes because they do not need it since their husbands have wealthy positions. That’s a mistake. Of course, with an OCD control freak as a husband, it might be slightly complicated. But working is independence, even if it is limited by a small salary. No working means home-builder, housewife, unpaid maid, and a real slave if the “master” is an OCD control freak.
The last element, and it is peanuts, is that no matter how someone looks to outsiders, good or bad, it is never what it really is inside. The husband here is a monster in a way though he is one great criminal lawyer. The wife is a neurotic depressive person from outside and yet inside she is someone who dreams of freedom but does not have the courage to take it, has been so brainwashed that she is only able to submit and yet that makes her come to extreme solutions, and you can wonder if murder can be a solution.
There sure is a reform of justice to be undertaken in England, but that’s secondary to a reform of the police because here the police are shown as incompetent on one side because they stick to the material superficial obviously visible facts and do not try to look for other contradictory elements. On the other side, those who try to keep an open mind and look for the truth, not an easy culprit, are powerless in front of the system that swallows them like small fry chased by a pike. There is something wrong in the Kingdom of Great Britain, sorry the United Kingdom, and it is not only Brexit.
And to finish that winter time trip, you can go back to work in music from a time when Woodstock was a pilgrimage destination and Jimi Hendrix a Wah-Wah master.
GRATEFUL DEAD — SHAKEDOWN NEW YORK — 1971–2018
Be nostalgic, just a little bit. But enough to feel sad and happy at the same time. What were you doing in 1971? Personally, I was going back to the university, just back from North Carolina, happy and disappointed. But that’s another story. I was not yet conquered by rock and roll though Black and Soul was in my grain, in my nerves. But in 1971 I discovered the film about Woodstock and many others. I turned to the cinema as an interesting entertainment enabling me to search my soul and my mind. That’s when beyond jazz and some black music like Jimi Hendrix and quite a few more, beyond folksong too, I started opening my taste and my mind to the music of the 1960s and I will catch up in a couple of years.
That was also my period when I looked for someone, something beyond Asperger and this double desire to be in touch with other people, to have human contact, and at the same the fear, at times the fright of what is beyond the reinforced defensive wall around me. Only Asperger people can understand that double impulse: grab, touch and at once, even at times before grabbing, reject, do not touch. Instead, you speak, you blabber, you engulf yourself into a personal discourse that bores everyone but who cares? Certainly not you because there you are in full contact with your soul. And that’s where the Grateful Dead attracts people like me. They can sing as much as they want about the “Dire Wolf” and the fear they are supposed to feel and at times they only, absolutely only express their desire to touch him, hold him, be in touch with this Dire Wolf who becomes Dear Wolf in a way.
And that’s how I penetrated that music that was all around, though less than today since we did not have Walkman’s and other perambulating music boxes, certainly not smartphones and streaming. And that’s how I survived three years until 1973 took me to California this time and I might have stayed longer than a year, but a year was fine. There on UC Davis campus I had as much music and theater and cinema as I could want, and more research than sanity commanded, but I was insane. Asperger people are not Obsessive-Compulsive as some may say; they are perfectionists and they always have to do everything perfectly and absolutely. I was sharing an apartment with three students, though I was a teaching assistant, and I took advantage of their being away for their short periods of vacation to get operas out of the library and I listened to quite a few operas by Wagner. I preferred the heavy stuff, with dense stuff and deep deeper depth into which you could lose yourself like a pig, a hog or whatever foraging animal that could dive into the tripe of this world and yet I could be a hog for and with any people, boyfriends, and girlfriends, though not the same way in both cases.
My great pleasure was at night, in the midnight hour I would cross the whole campus and the city to go home after a long cinema night on campus or in one of the cinemas in town. And there was no little Ha Ha in such nighttime walks. There was only the hope and fear of meeting nose to nose, eyes to eyes with some whatever it could be, and I was ready to accept and run at the same time. That was a time when harassment and even rape were not on the agenda of many people, if any, certainly not at the police station, both in town and on campus. That was happening occasionally, and some said often. I was not black so I did not run the risk of that harassment of a racial and racist nature, but there are so many types of harassment and we all knew that some shady people were coming from outside the campus and its city because of the relative “freedom” that existed in bars and other shops, stores and institutions in which students spend their evenings. I must admit that is one thing I dreamed of and at the same time of course feared. Asperger duality makes people incautious and at the same time fearful in front of all dark corners at night. In those days we would have said: “If you want to find a girl,” and you fantasized on that: the best way for a boy to find a girl remained in those days be slightly forceful and it was the same for boys who wanted to find a boy. No negotiation, just approach rather forcefully and take what you want after having put some velvety gloves on.
That was our midnight hour or at least mine. They used a strange word at the time that has vastly changed meanings since then. Gay was still Shakespearian, and queer was the nice way of speaking of those who were not fitting the standard square, with no rounding of the corners, behavior. They also had a worse word, but it would not fit here. When you are not a pale copy of the standard model, you have to live with some kind of Cumberland Blues in your teeth. You are not normal, and you do not have the courage of saying what’s wrong with you, especially since in 1971 Asperger was a word no one knew apart from the most advanced doctors. So, you just accept to be slightly, at times nicely, at times awfully, pushed aside, rejected and too often just ignored as if you did not exist. That’s your permanent and daily blues. You could write a gospel song on this feeling that would last several hours. After a while, you just play the game and remain aloof and never go beyond a few words, maybe more than a few, but words only.
That’s what I found in the music of these early 1970s, a way for me to find a refuge that was cushy, soft and warm and that protected me from the outside eyes that reproved, but since it was music, they did not have the right to reprove, though they did deep in there nightlike dark unconscious. That was a time when I could dance for hours just following not the superficial rhythm of the music but the deeper tempo, the trance tempo that lies far away behind and that the drums have as a backward fast echo that does not only emphasize the strong beat, good enough for square dancers, but every single beat that is so fast, three-four times faster, that you are getting off into the sky and you do not dance with anyone but yourself, you do not dance with your feet only but with every single part of your body and if the place permits it you may end up quite skinny sweaty and shiny, at least from the waist up.
And you know that Johnny is good, no matter what they may say. And you remember that Johnny or Jack, if you prefer, hit the road last time you met him because when Johnny is good, Jack hits the road. And you dream of being that good Johnny and this road-hitting Jack all the time? And that is not the greatest story ever told. It is real life because for Asperger people the real world is in their mind because they cannot separate their mind from the real world. And you go, and I went, and I came back, and I went there again several times over the years and Davis is till for me that strange and so well-known country of Johnny B. Good. And you go and hit the road and you will come back in spite of the song from you do not know where exactly. It is just there on the marble of your memory, etched and carved in the stone.
And that Shakedown New York never ends, and you let yourself slide into the velvety sheath of this music as if you were some sword or dagger. You can’t ever be a loser in this life because being an Asperger person you are not in this world; this world is in you and you live with it inside your own mind. And You can get the Good Lovin’ drums into your own mind and your own body and try to follow the beat, the rhythm, the tempo and never keep one foot down more than one single beat, luckily for you there are some slower moments for you to rest. It is all relative because a solo opens up the door to the coming back of the guitars and then you start having even more complicated tempos and rhythms on your table, in front of you. Can you dance them? Can you follow the slowing moments when you have to undulate on your two feet for a short while before dancing again? You have to be a real snake at times and the most active and fast vampire for the rest of the time. And you will end up loving it so much that you will put it back again from the start.
And that will take you right into the deeper part of the night, long after midnight and you might even see the sun rising in the morning. But do you have the courage to “take off your clothes”?
And there you are. Enjoy the New Year!
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU