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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on February 16, 2019 at 12:01pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on February 13, 2019 at 5:23pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on February 8, 2019 at 2:22pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on February 8, 2019 at 2:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on January 15, 2019 at 1:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Barry Spector on December 29, 2018 at 6:53pm — No Comments
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