Against General Patton, Director Fellini

Before setting Age of Innocence down for the night, I flipped through the Norton edition’s critical supplements in the back and came across a letter from Wharton to Sinclair Lewis. . . . and awoke thinking was I doing the work or was I doing that which distracted from, or impeded, the work? did I even understand the work? did I know what it was? (Now nearing fifty I would have to say, based on my experience — that I was not doing the work but was not impeding anyone I knew of from doing it either. I was far away from any work, being a hopeless individual. Not even wanting entry into the building where the work is done, lest they tell me to “stop fooling.”)

Also that night I’d read the Floundering Four section of Gravity’s Rainbow. Having been made to laugh out loud by it, quite uncommon for me, I was also reminded of the ethos that guided my youthful appreciation of music — The Replacements were a sort of Floundering Four — and perhaps here too was something about the [] that I didn’t get enough at the time. (Oh I floundered but unintentionally, except at intervals.)

If there is to be a true resistance to the alliance of military, governmental and corporate interests, this Counterforce must itself be unruly and floundering, like Karl Marx maybe, — but Lenin and Marx were not “floundering.” You can’t fight order with order but must fight it with a kind of creative chaos. Stop making sense is how you fight the powers that be. Against General Patton you send Director Fellini. (Counterpoint: you need to make sense in a functional Democracy. You need to provide the electorate with a reasonable alternative to the pomp and clamor of an insane political party like one of the ones we have.)

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