Selective Mutism / Pentheus / Blue Thunder

Looked up Ca n’en finit plus (“it never ends) looked up ‘mk‘ (slang), article on involvement of lightning strikes in producing life on earth, was read. (Lightning strikes can create phosphorous, which is vital to life, and otherwise rare on Earth) Proposition: that as Pentheus was to Dionysius you have been to Materialism. Chorus: “people don’t want to be rich, people want things that are nice, a nice middle class existence, is all people want, the case worldwide.” Pentheus: “does it make sense to entirely remodel a perfectly functional kitchen, redo the floors and the bathrooms while you’re at it? Where do all the new things come from and where do all the old things go?” Stage direction: Pentheus leaves stage to sound of hammering, drilling and the Latino station, hands to ears, comically pestered. Agave, Pentheus’ mother, enters stage shortly after, carrying his severed head in one hand and samples for the backsplash in the other. Fin.

Looked up croupier — French, “stagnation.” Looked up Rockwell Kent — artist who had made the illustrations for the 1930 edition of Moby Dick. Looked up uriniferous — conducting or carrying urine. “Goddam impossible way of life,” was reference to Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz. THETES comprised lowest order of Athenian society; a serf, an agricultural laborer, whose tax was 200 medismos per year, medismos being a measure of grain. Aristotle says that the Thetes and Artisans cannot live lives of excellence, virtue, “arete”, presumably because they do not participate in public life, can not hold public office (though they could vote and hold offices of a minor sort, as for instance sitting on juries, after later reforms…) Question of why a public office might be a precondition for virtue. (Activists, MLK, couldn’t be virtuous under such a scheme.) Why couldn’t one be virtuous alone on a mountain. Had Jesus, St. Francis been “virtuous” — (it certainly does not sound right to think of Jesus as having been virtuous.)

Looked up Childeric I, Clovis I, Battle of Soissons, Kingdome of Soissons, Rump State, Allemanni. Thought to look up etymology of rump, but didn’t, and became surprised — had I already known this? had I known and forgotten this? — that Allemanni was the origin of the French word for Germany, Allemagne. (A sense shortly afterward that perhaps something had started “clicking” for me about this historical period: not Old Rome but Modern Europe glimpsed while reading Gregory of Tours.)

Looked up Helen Prejean. Looked up Atilla the Hun and related Battle of Catalaunian Plains (his invasion of Gaul somewhat repulsed). Looked up “blue thunder intro” (Watching the Blue Thunder intro and trying to think of that time when this introduction and its music aroused such a great feeling of anticipation for me — now Blue Thunder was to begin!) and related Airwolf and Jean Bruce Scott and Knight Rider. Kit was a magnificent piece of machinery and intelligent design which lacked only the courage and intuitions of a human pilot, a man. Then I went back to playing Son House. (I was really interested in this music now in a way I hadn’t been when I was first introduced to it, now that I’d read Greil Marcus.)

Looked up Battle of Jarama (Spanish Civil War), looked up Cantabrian Wars (Cantabrians/ Asturians were hold-out in the Roman conquest of the Iberian peninsula); asked myself why history “was all about war” but remember, when having first read Gravity’s Rainbow, wondering why it wasn’t more about war, — so it wasn’t “them” it was “me”, with an interest in war, in this case, it seemed. Me who was “playing guns” as a kid. Gravity’s Rainbow had it that “the war” was always happening, which would be obvious if you were half-paying attention, the displays of actual violence and bombs being only the most visible cataracts of it. Can’t hide that we’re dying for the accumulation of wealth somewhere, dying for some Pharaoh’s pyramid.

Looked up Siege of Sarajevo. Looked up Selective mutism. Wikipedia:”People with selective mutism stay silent even when the consequences of their silence include shame, social ostracism, or punishment.” Don’t know if it is something real but certainly have felt myself to be paralyzed like that. Looked up Lev Yashin, Bert Trauman. (There was only one other goal keeper besides Lev Yashin, according to Lev Yashin, Bert Trauman.) Pretty much everything irrelevant unless it occurred at least a hundred years ago but especially goal keepers. Something fascinating about ancient sports heroes. Bert Traumann had been a Nazi, received the Iron Cross. (Searched for “nazi sculptor bert” but Arno Breker had been the famous anti-modernist Nazi sculptor.) What an odd time that just- after-the-war period (in which much of Gravity’s Rainbow occurs) must have been. Had customer heard name of Lev Yashin? –Wasn’t sure. –Only asked because customer had just mentioned having watched the Czechoslovakian national team play in Boston in what was that 1964, ’69? They had had a devious strategy of mounting a vigorous forward attack, the customer said, then suddenly passing it back, confusing the defense, you see, for why ever would they be passing it back? then remounting the forward assault with still greater vigor which would very frequently result in success — was how he remembered it. There had been these sudden rainshowers that day in Boston in the 1960’s (to which he had come up for the weekend, tired of usual work-then-rest routine) and what one did when they came on, was stand beneath the Longfellow Bridge, then they stopped and you went out again. Best thing about that trip, he’d said, had been the U.S.S. Constitution, magnificent ship…

%d bloggers like this: