In America’s fevered, paranoid imagination the “internal other” as drug dealer tempts the good citizens and leads them from the clear air of the palace roof down into the basements of sin. But the terrorist, the “external other,” wants to tunnel under the walls and destroy the palace itself. Since long before 9/11/2001, the fear mongers have been in the lucrative business of reducing rational human beings to quivering children, willing to trade their celebrated freedoms for a thin promise of…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on November 23, 2018 at 3:42pm — No Comments
Lately, perhaps more than at any other time in recent history, Americans find themselves in a full-blown epidemic of “othering.” We are obsessed with cataloging the qualities of those individuals and groups who appear to embody everything that we cannot accept about ourselves.
Pick one or more: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un,…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on November 19, 2018 at 12:26pm — No Comments
Myth is conveyed – and consumed – in narratives and images. So it is important to understand our most fundamental mythic image. The American obsession with individualism has been built up and buttressed by three centuries of stories, repeated in thousands of variations, of the lone, violent hero.
All societies evolved versions of Joseph Campbell’s classic…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on September 29, 2018 at 11:17am — No Comments
You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself. – Ivan Boesky
This is America. If…
Added by Barry Spector on September 28, 2018 at 2:50pm — No Comments
Whether they are uttered by Trump or by respectable media pundits, false equivalencies typically come into use in order to marginalize progressive alternatives when actual counter-arguments to them would be unconvincing. Here’s the logic:
A is the moderate opinion acceptable to those in power.
B is a progressive alternative, which gatekeepers ignore.
C is a loony, right wing conspiracy theory.
Added by Barry Spector on September 6, 2018 at 3:32pm — No Comments
In January 2013, Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent for NBC, addressed a conference of professional vote-counters. His audience included sales reps for voting machine and software companies, as well as several state secretaries of state. Todd ridiculed critics of electronic election machines, saying that they must…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on September 6, 2018 at 12:04pm — No Comments
11:00 A.M. – I leave Sebastopol in a good mood, after a wonderful poetry salon and a great breakfast with close friends. I have plenty of time to attend to today’s projects: get home, check the chickens, clean up, review the poems I might want to recite this evening during my KPFA interview about Rumi’s Caravan (www.rumiscaravan.com), meet another friend for coffee at 3:00, go to the Finnish Hall in Berkeley,…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on June 27, 2018 at 2:19pm — No Comments
The third archetype we need to discuss is that of the Apocalypse.
It is critical to this enquiry about rage in American life to remember that the myth of American innocence began to take form while Puritanism was still dominating all intellectual discourse and most politics in both Britain and North America. Then, the idea of “America” – and along with it, the…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on May 19, 2018 at 5:02pm — No Comments
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand…Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. – F. Scott…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on May 19, 2018 at 4:56pm — No Comments
Who are the angry white males?
Sociologists tell us that the populations from which most reactionary activism arises are those who think they may be overtaken economically by groups below them in social class. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan have always been comprised mainly of lower-middle class men, not the poor. Similarly, most anti-abortion activists have been baby boomers who make less money than their parents.
Added by Barry Spector on May 19, 2018 at 4:35pm — No Comments
Added by Barry Spector on April 15, 2018 at 3:27pm — No Comments
Added by Barry Spector on April 15, 2018 at 3:26pm — No Comments
Added by Barry Spector on April 15, 2018 at 3:21pm — No Comments
There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population – Moshe Dayan
This essay is not really about politics; it’s about how politics reflects mythology, and together they create history.
Added by Barry Spector on March 8, 2018 at 5:08pm — No Comments
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT In AMERICAN MYTH
Part One: The Mythological and Psychological Background
Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees…
- Billy Holiday
From the perspective of those who have been forced to bear the…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on January 14, 2018 at 3:47pm — No Comments
Added by Barry Spector on December 23, 2017 at 3:00pm — No Comments
PART FOUR – THE PARADOX OF THE OUTSIDER
The redemption hero, like the Christ, always comes from outside the community. And like the Christ, he leaves once his work is done. He must leave; redemption mythology requires that since he came from somewhere else, he must return. But this leads to a paradox. The innocent community defines itself by what it is not – the external Other of terrorism, and the internal Other of race. We know who…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on December 18, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments
Added by Barry Spector on December 15, 2017 at 5:32pm — No Comments
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Added by Barry Spector on December 13, 2017 at 2:53pm — No Comments