Barry Spector's Blog (198)

Barry's Blogs # 288-90: Why Are Americans So Freaking Crazy? Parts 7-9 of 9

Part Seven

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

 …divide us those in darkness from the ones who walk in light… – Kurt Weill

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. – Eldridge Cleaver

Denial and fear; fear and denial, all electronically mediated. Do you remember the anthrax scare of 2001 – how it targeted only…

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Added by Barry Spector on August 28, 2019 at 3:31pm — 1 Comment

Barry's Blogs # 285-7: Why Are Americans So Freaking Crazy? Parts 4-6 of 9

Part Four

Every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.  Robert Anton Wilson

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq (1996): We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in…

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Added by Barry Spector on August 28, 2019 at 3:22pm — No Comments

Barry's Blogs # 282-4: Why Are Americans So Freaking Crazy? Parts 1-3 of 9

Part One

Cut loose from the earth’s soul, they insisted on purchase of its soil, and like all orphans they were insatiable. It was their destiny to chew up the world and spit out a horribleness that would destroy all primary peoples. – Toni Morrison

I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons,

knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside. – Rumi

Warning:…

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Added by Barry Spector on August 28, 2019 at 3:06pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 279-281: Who is an American? A Timeline

Part One

July 4th 2019: A Salvadoran father and his young daughter drowned in the Rio Grande River. Families separated. Concentration camps. Children subjected to inhuman conditions amounting to torture while their parents are deported. Mothers told to drink from toilets. Border Patrol agents posting racist and misogynist cartoons on Facebook. Every day now we hear heartbreaking news from the borderlands. How, we…

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Added by Barry Spector on July 18, 2019 at 2:47pm — No Comments

Barry's Blogs # 276-278: What Will the New Myths Be?

Part One

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them. –  Albert Einstein

What is now proved was once imagined.  – William Blake

The situation is so dire that we can’t afford the luxury of realism. – Caroline Casey

My book Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence first appeared in 2010. Since then…

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Added by Barry Spector on June 29, 2019 at 1:04pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blogs # 143 &144: What If We Allowed That To Happen?

Part One

Readers of this blog may recall that one of the basic aspects of the myth of American Innocence is what I have called the Paranoid Imagination. Previous essays on this subject include The Paranoid Imagination, Porn (Parts …

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Added by Barry Spector on June 20, 2019 at 6:03pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blogs # 274 & 275: Well, Don’t You Know?

Part One

June 2019. Netflix releases When They See Us, Ava DuVerney’s superb miniseries on the Central Park Five case.

In the first two weeks of the month, the seventh African-American transgender woman is murdered this year.…

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Added by Barry Spector on June 15, 2019 at 11:19am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 270-273: The Myth of the Good War

Part One

I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 10/30/1940

In spite of the risk involved, however, in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese were the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in…

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Added by Barry Spector on May 4, 2019 at 4:45pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog #32: The Two Great Myths of the 20th Century

 My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally. ― John Dominic Crossan

Where were you (or your parents) on October 12th, 1944? If you were a teenage girl in the New York City area, you might have been in or, more likely, outside the Paramount Theater, …

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Added by Barry Spector on April 18, 2019 at 6:14pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 268, 269: The Singing Policeman

I’ve been a sports fan my whole life. As an adult I coached little league and played softball and volleyball for 25 years. I used to love to go to baseball games. I don’t anymore.…

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Added by Barry Spector on April 2, 2019 at 11:39am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 14: The Royal Wedding

In April 2011 a million people gathered in London. News reporters showed that many were apparently weeping with joy. Broadcast in over 180 countries to perhaps 160 million viewers, the wedding was one of the most watched events in TV history. With an additional 70 million live internet streams, the Guinness Book gave it the record of “Most Live Streams for a Single Event”, beating out 2009’s memorial service for Michael Jackson (see below).

Hundreds of…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 6, 2019 at 3:01pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 31: The Race Card

The root of the White man’s hatred is terror, a bottomless and nameless terror, which focuses on this dread figure, an entity which lives only in his mind. – James Baldwin

As I considered the dark anniversary that is approaching, after all the writing I’ve done about race in America, it came to me as a shock of insight. It was so obvious, yet I hadn’t noticed it before. I was talking with a friend about white privilege, when he interrupted me and…

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Added by Barry Spector on February 16, 2019 at 12:01pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 9: The Presidential Dilemma — February 2011

Every American president at least since Harry Truman, and arguably for much longer, has encountered a unique political dilemma created by two conditions. The first is a political reality. Capitalism and imperial expansion have dominated American politics since the beginning of the republic – and, if we are to properly understand the events of November 22nd, 1963 as a military coup – the end of the republic. In this context, all Presidents since Lyndon Johnson have been servants…

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Added by Barry Spector on February 13, 2019 at 5:23pm — No Comments

Barry's Blogs # 262, 263: Breathing Together – On Conspiracism and Gatekeepers, Parts 3 and 4 of 4

Part Three

Who is he, who even were truth on his tongue, his way of speaking it would make truth almost as offensive as falsehood? – Melville

In America part of this heritage is channeled through our unique emphasis on individualism, and, I would add, our narcissism:  What is true for…

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Added by Barry Spector on February 8, 2019 at 2:22pm — No Comments

Barry's Blogs # 260, 261: Breathing Together – On Conspiracism and Gatekeepers, Parts 1 and 2 of 4

Part One:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. – Yeats

In a previous blog series I offered my perspective on how the gatekeepers of our culture deliberately exclude and demonize much progressive thought by associating it in the reader’s mind with excessively bizarre right-wing claims, thereby…

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Added by Barry Spector on February 8, 2019 at 2:00pm — 11 Comments

Barry’s Blog # 33: The Predator

Psychologist, author (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief) and ritual leader Francis Weller has evolved a useful psychological concept.

The Predator is a…

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Added by Barry Spector on January 15, 2019 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Barry's Blogs # 258-259: A Vacation In Chaos

Part One

To really understand our stubborn attachment to the myth of American Innocence, we must become familiar with our heritage of the paranoid imagination. It combines eternal vigilance, literalistic religion and constant anxiety with contempt for the erotic and a highly creative style of sadism. Why these last two features? Because what we will not allow ourselves to desire becomes a vector of judgment, fear and hatred of those whom we perceive as being willing…

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Added by Barry Spector on December 29, 2018 at 6:53pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 7: The Outside Agitator

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…

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Added by Barry Spector on November 23, 2018 at 3:42pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 16: The Other Is You; Maybe Even More You Than You Are

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,…

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Added by Barry Spector on November 19, 2018 at 12:26pm — No Comments

Barry's Blog # 255-7: The Mythic Foundations of Libertarianism, Parts 4-6

Part Four

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…

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Added by Barry Spector on September 29, 2018 at 11:17am — No Comments

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