Just to Put This in Perspective …

“It’s 2017, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States of America, and it is hard to find a Fugazi fan who doesn’t wish they were still around.”
—Joe Gross, signing off from Austin, Texas in June 2017 in the Afterword to the 33 1/3 book on In on the Kill Taker

“I went, in honor of fifteen-year-old me. The crowd went bananas from the first note. I burst into tears. I was struck by an emotion so powerful and raw that I had a hard time identifying it at first: grief. I stood there in that ecstatic crowd and mourned. I mourned all of us dumb kids. I mourned our graying hair and slackening bodies. I mourned some unnameable forgotten truth I used to know … I’d thought that I was there for nostalgia; turns out I was there for an opportunity to grieve that I didn’t know I’d needed.”
—Emily Flake, in “Young and Dumb Inside,” The New Yorker, December 4, 2017




Bruce Sterling’s “Schismatrix.”

“You could call it that.  The words don’t matter.  It’s as far beyond Life as Life is from inert matter.  I’ve seen it happen, many times before.  I can feel it moving here, I can smell it in the wind.  People . . . creatures, beings, they’re all people to me . . . they ask the Final Questions.  And they get the Final Answers, and then it’s goodbye.  It’s the Godhead, or ass close as makes no difference to the likes of you and me.  Maybe that’s what you want, sundog?  The Absolute?”

“The Absolute,” Lindsay mused.  “The Final Answers. . . . What are your answers then, friend?”

“My answers?  I don’t have ’em.  I don’t care what goes on beneath this skin, I want only to see, only to feel.  Origins and destinies, predictions and memories, lives and deaths, I sidestep those.  I’m too slick for time to grip, you get me, sundog?”

from Schismatrix PLUS by Bruce Sterling (1996 ed.)

Jim Goad is being disingenuous.

He was in the right, ethically, when he “argued for class unity against the rich” in “The Redneck Manifesto” But to say that two-and-a-half years in prison taught him, at age 36, that “equality of races is a myth and that racial separation is the natural order” is to expect everyone on the outside to have no idea what goes on in there — a transparent ruse that falls apart as gossamer-thin as soon as you glance on it with a real microscope, and reveals he’s probably got something else in mind, proud display of his “Iron Cross” necklace and all.

There is simply no way a person could go to prison and come back with the idea that “convicts display the sort of camaraderie that only emerges under siege” and that “[t]hey are polite to one another because they know the consequences of being rude” independently of experiencing the *real* pecking order in prison: criminal organizations. There are, of course, Latin gangs, Asian gangs, and African-American gangs, Russian mobsters, Italian mobsters, other sorts, and, of course, as a even a person like me could’ve gotten wised up to via a relatively-recent Feral House release[*], a large and substantial Aryan Nation presence that’s been around since the late ’80s, one that could only have grown, as we are finding out, with Obama’s election — the last straw for these people, and hardly the “Clinton’s in, too bad!” victory the rest of us *thought* it was for the past eight years.

Given that a *lot* of business gets conducted inside, via mail and other noncontroversial items, it really starts to beg the question of how much the prison inmates’ world touches and influences the one the rest of us are walking around in outside of it — and how little the rest of us know about it outside of guesswork (thank you Prison Industrial Complex for building more prisons and housing more inmates!). They’re bustling in there; or, they *can*, anyway, since there’s not much else to do but lift weights and play basketball, so therefore, one can surmise that the Prison Life has taken on its own existence, its own sprawling tentacles and branches. One thinking one’s starting to see a pattern in the “pop and blink out” episodes of violence here in Portland and in Charlottesville and elsewhere (so far) isn’t making *too* big a leap if one bears in mind the logic of Groupthink and the parallels with, say, that of suicide bombers in other parts of the world. Otherwise, it’s just too much a stretch to see actual humans as willing pawns to serve the ’cause, much less with the “isolated loner” backstory that also distances the perpetrator from a larger group — which, of course, serves their purpose, since you aren’t able to discern what’s happening, and have to drop it off your mental radar, as a matter of course, without hardly even *noticing*. Not so if people bear in mind that “plausible deniability” is as commonplace a consideration in the book of plays called tradecraft as anything else the CIA teaches its new recruits (including, of course, the recruited Mujahideen trained to fight the Soviets who later ended up using this knowledge against us in the form of al-Qaeda — knowledge not much different, in its own way, to the uninitiated, as knowing how to wire a bomb, fly a helicopter, or march in formation). Then, one feels less sanguine.

We *will* see more episodes like this, and the pattern won’t be easy to recognize without a map — which they’re not about to give us, any more than these people are going to start chatting someone up at the firing range about “Mein Kampf” out of the clear blue fuckin’ sky. These people are savvy, organized, and they *know* they are not liked by mainstream America. Given that only ruling classes, up ’till more recently, have been able to think in terms of generations, you’re finding an unnerving patience in these elements of society to the eyes of us “gosh, shuffle our shoes, hope to make a life for ourselves” regular folks not all hopped up on Machiavelli or Edmund Wilson — tipped off to them by some Surrealist doper fiction author [**].

IOW: There’s no way — *no way* Jim Goad doesn’t know this. He thinks it’s cute, he’s humored and valued as a figure by these “white nation” people, and he’s slyly omitting the only crucial thing about the prison ordering: people aren’t rude to avoid crossing gang/affiliation lines. He knows this goddamn well, so he’s up to something.
[*] “Disco’s Out…Murder’s In!: The True Story of Frank the Shank and L.A.’s Deadliest Punk Rock Gang” by Heath Mattioli and David Spacone (2015)
[**] Pynchon. He’s always known.

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