Boston Takeaway: Such Obedient Serfs We Are!


(by Anthony Freda)

Each of us will inevitably be left with certain lessons learned, or at the very least, fully formed memory engrams from the bombings in Boston, be they the photos, the early media reportage, the conflicting stories, agency ass-covering, the failure of the massive snooping security state infrastructure ‘failure to investigate or predict’…and in the future: the trial of the live suspect may be what some remember most vividly.

One of my favorite literary characters, John Irving’s Owen Meany, once said (his utterances were always in upper case: ‘TELEVISION GIVES GOOD DISASTER’.  At the time, he and his best friend were watching the endless coverage of JFK’s assassination and the aftermath…that really hasn’t ever ended.  And that fact causes my mind to ping on some other favorite fictional characters: The X-Files’ ‘the Lone Gunmen’, parodies of conspiracy theorists who got a lot of it…right, in the ‘just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you’ sort of way.

Given that by now, it’s ALL media (including the blogosphere) that ‘gives good disaster’ is the main reason that I don’t really ‘do’ disaster; not Oklahoma City, Waco, the razing of the Twin Towers, or Boston.  Among those reasons is that governments lie, ours lies with even more frequency in the handily constructed ‘War on Terror’, war is profit for Empire and multinationals, and…the media love to play on our fears, and spike them higher to…sell ads, as well as serve their corporate masters.

It wasn’t possible to avoid seeing photos, headlines, and I even read a thread or two at FDL, so a few impressions and bits of coverage stuck with me, but one stuck out mightily from all the others:

‘Boston is under lockdown!’

The other concerns how easily Americans are swayed by propaganda of all sorts, which truth underpins my thoughts on the main one.  Thus, the melding of these two are currently the residuals of the event/s for me.  So, bugged by both of them, I went spinning around the Giggle cache and through my mind to see what others of my favorite authors may have noticed about them, and bingo!, right out of the gate, I found that:

Boston wasn’t in fact ‘locked down’, except in a voluntary way; to wit, from Time, April 19, 2013:

That suspect was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in Watertown after a firefight with police. His brother Dzhokhar, the other main suspect in the bombings, escaped, setting off what Governor Deval Patrick called “a massive manhunt.” In his announcement Friday morning, Patrick said “we are asking people to shelter in place.” Life, for the time being, would have to be lived at home and under siege.

By early Friday morning, the streets of Watertown and Cambridge were deserted, and life in Boston, a major American city, had ground to a standstill. Throughout the day, the media described residents complying with a “lockdown order,” but in reality the governor’s security measure was a request.

When it came to keeping the public off the streets on Friday, an order, it seems, wasn’t needed. “When the governor suggested in light of last night’s events that we have an armed subject on the loose who is very dangerous, who has committed murder, I believe the citizens of the commonwealth, in the hopes of helping law enforcement, voluntarily stayed off the streets,” Massachusetts State Trooper Todd Nolan told TIME. “This is a request that the public stay inside and they are adhering to it. There has been no law mentioned or any idea that if you went outside you’d be arrested.

Oh.  Well, then…


Well, shiver me timbers; these Boston hearties obeyed a request!  Such dear little lambs those Bostonians were, even given that Duvall had apparently shut down all public transportation.  Why did they meekly ‘shelter indoors’, which directive has apparently been employed during outbreaks of diseases, so that the afflicted might be quarantined or treated.

Were all those citizens seriously afraid that if they went outdoors they might be harmed by one individual the media claimed was armed, dangerous, and identified as having been willing to set off bombs to make a political point?  All of them, except the one who found the brother hiding in a boat?

Or is it possible that the zillions of SWAT police in their militarized get-ups were frightening the bejayzus out of them, so…indoors they stayed, cowering not from the advertised media ‘threat’ so much, but from the full-on spectacle of the fascist police state in action?  Holy hell, I swear I saw a photo in which five or six cops, rifles raised, were at the door of a house which had just opened.  Perhaps it was a mother and her son standing there, looking terrified, but trying not to.  Yeppers, that would leave an impression on viewer and participants alike.

[For a bit of comic relief, I did discover that although all businesses had been ‘ordered to stay closed’ (or was that by way of request, also?), the one chain of food-servers allowed, nay, requested (ordered?) to remain open was Dunkin’ Donuts!  (You can write your own cops-and-donuts jokes here.)  But I swear to you, on the way to discovering if that fact were indeed true, I found a  news site that called those on-the-job Dunkin’ Donut employees who’d never really vowed to serve and protect the security state…heroes.  In fairness, there was online evidence that one other restaurant had stayed open: an oyster bar, and again: you write the jokes.]

Now, considering the immense need for resistance to The Machine among the serfs and soon-to-be-serfs to reclaim our government from the corporate plutocracy, this and other sorts of self-kettling obviously has long roots.

Psychologist Alice Miller believed that our reflexive submission to authoritarianism was rooted in our early childhoods, and that it was drummed into us by either guilt-producing verbal messages, or in many cases, spankings and beatings.  Bullying by the more powerful, in other words.  Then for many of us, our life’s trajectories through school, first jobs, next careers, up the ladder or not, our lives were so underpinned by not only conforming to social convention, but adherence to…authority figures.  Musing about Bostonians led me to consider the irony that those pesky upstarts there dumped a few British ships’ worth of tea into the harbor as a protest against the Stamp Act in 1763 or so.  As history textbooks tell it, that eventually led to the First American Revolution.  Was that genetic memory not passed down the generations, not to folks who just had to go out by foot or bicycle on some dire errand or other?  Were they all really afraid of getting hurt by either the still-at-large Tsarnaev brother, or shot by the police?  Were drone assassinations really being considered, as one of my favorite authors claimed?

But rest assured: the PTB surely saw the self-kettling as a major victory in the oppression of the people, including a compliant and disaster-loving media.  ‘Hey, peeps; this is what we got;  ya reckon ya might think again about resisting us?’


I was reminded of a few lines of Margaret Kimberly’s piece Everyday Terror, her thoughts on recent Boston days, in which she mentioned how subject we are to propaganda, but more about that piece later.  Several authors commenting on Boston and the wider angle of propaganda mention Edward Bernays again, and found these quotes of his in blurbs advertising his 1928 book Propaganda:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice’.

The Austrian-born Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, so over the years he established many relationships with the emerging psychological experts of the day, and allowed him to harness the power of the unconscious mind to manipulate thought and reaction.  Once he’d moved his family to New York, his work for the Woodrow Wilson administration sold the idea that it was the intentions of the American war effort  was ‘exporting democracy’.  Oh, and so are our present war efforts, according to far too many either ignorant or Machiavellian power-brokers of Empire.

The man knew what he was about, and his ideas succeeded only too well, except for the ‘evolving code of ethics’ part.  As in the ethics of the MSM: ‘Was the suspect dark-complected? ‘  or ‘Is that a foreign name?’  Was it...the Other?

The man knew what he was about, and his ideas succeeded only too well, except for the ‘evolving code of ethics’ part.  You can read more about Bernays, propaganda and public relations/spin here; I really admire John Stauber’s writing.   The elemental constructs are so familiar that most Americans believe what authoritarian propagandists say without question, and what’s even worse, once they believe the lies, they just can’t let go of them, and tend to avoid any discomfort that alternate truths might bring…by hanging out with folks who believe what they do, even when provide contrary evidence.

Bernays’ work is said to be at the core of the Koch Brothers’ ALEC campaigns.  Advertising agency propaganda is used to sell wars (Saddam’s ‘babies stolen from incubators’, for instance); polish the images of dictators and their nations; convince hapless Americans to ‘ask their Doctors about’ new meds whose lists of potential downsides take a whole minute to list, and actually take the damned meds.  Or to help the PTB get Generals on the talking head programs to spout war propaganda for pay.  Or to make sure that we know that being anti-war is tantamount to treason, as in the case of the Presidential/War Machine blowjob given by San Francisco Gay Pride President Lisa Williams acting in concert with certain ‘most militaristic LGBT organizations and activists’ denying the title of Honorary Grand Marshal for this year’s LGBT Pride Celebration.  Jackasses.  Or in media, showing us why and how we should fear The Other, including other Americans, be they black, Muslim, trangendered, illegal immigrants  (exploit or deport), dissidents, whistleblowers, whatever; not to mention all the cues over how the wars, wiretapping and other stolen Constitutional  rights keep us safe at night… (please don’t point out the failures, or you might get Gitmoed…)

Or, coming back to Margaret Kimberly’s thoughts on Boston:

All Americans’ behavior is understandable if one acknowledges that we are constantly subjected to propaganda of various kinds. We have been propagandized to believe that some lives, white Americans’, are more valuable than others, namely anyone not white nor from the United States. There is no other way to explain why the government’s killing of thousands of people abroad is met with a shrug, if it is acknowledged at all.

The president showed up and as always on such occasions uttered words seemingly written by his worst speechwriters. The full force of the government would catch the cowards and the people would not be frightened because they are the best and freest in the world and the prayers of the nation went out to them because of democracy and the whole world stood beside them. Amen.

One of my favorite authors, Randy Shields, calls Obomba’s disconnect mirrored by her first paragraph: Barackodile tears’, the ‘tears shed by America’s historic first black president about dead, generally white, children gunned down in massacres while he simultaneously murders brown-skinned children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc.’

And thus completes the circle of that particular form of jingoistic propaganda that so few see through.  And it pisses me purple.

And of course, Obomba’s rhetoric for both domestic and global consumption is not very subtly tied  not only to his hero Ronald Reagan, but John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Fame (now Boston/Salem), who eventually became the Governor of the new state.  It was he who first used ‘The City on the Hill’, which underpinned Manifest Destiny, then was tweaked by politicians like Reagan to ‘the Shining City on the Hill’, or: American Exceptionalism.  Another full circle boomerang that will continue until more of get wise to it…and stop it.

What we can do is expose the lies, bring the truth, and encourage our friends and relations to listen to their inner music; that music that lies beneath their nagging sense that the lives they may be living in service to the Feudal Lords…is vacuous and empty.  Make community with people of all colors and creeds where you can, and do it with loving-kindness, if not actual ‘liking’ of them.  When we awaken to the knowledge we must act, whether in word, deed or support of physical resistors, remember this (h/t to juliania)

I think that if the beast who sleeps in man could be held down by threats – any kind of threat, whether of jail or of retribution after death – then the highest emblem of humanity would be the lion tamer in the circus with his whip, not the prophet who sacrificed himself. But don’t you see, this is just the point – what has for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but an inward music: the irresistible power of unarmed truth, the powerful attraction of its example…

~ Young Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

And remember some of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most cautionary utterances:


(by Anthony Freda via wendydavis

and from Nate Jackson: ‘Shelter in Place’:

And from Mr. Nate Jackson: ‘Shelter in Place’

35 responses to “Boston Takeaway: Such Obedient Serfs We Are!

  1. I can’t change the font size without coding in a mess of html for every post; understandably, wordpress doesn’t recommend it for novices. so remember that to enlarge it, press control and +/=, and it will enlarge with each click. to reverse it, control and _/-.

  2. realitychecker1

    Oyster donuts are the single most important ingredient of civilized life. Having gotten that out of the way, good diary, many good thoughts and observations that I agree with, until the end where you include that Dr. Zhivago quote, which has irked me before, and has now irked me again; it may be good literature, but IMO it is NOT good logic, and the point it makes is extremely tangential to the thrust of the rest of the diary, again, IMO.

    • glad you sorta liked it. but that you’re irked by the Pasternak quote may be indicative of one of the differences you and i try to reach across. i do pay homage to logic (at least i think i do), but also believe that it’s our inner music (moral compass *felt or sensed*, not known by logic…that is often what causes us to act. that was my main objection to what you said about the ‘further than cmaukonen went’ stuff. you want to wait until a logical movement or well-considered action is touted, but…no one can know where the spark comes from, or when the tipping point is reached. history teaches us that in spades, toby.

      were you in the streets when it was discovered that nixon had been secretly been bombing cambodia? it was just just such a spark. i remember crowds of thousands storming down Broadway in boulder, and so many of the men were in freaking suits and ties, not just the hippies were that pissed.

      sparks. inner music, hidden by conventional fears and acceptances, i guess.

      • Sorry, I see I should have clicked onto the upper reply button so my comment would have been lower down. I watched the Naiomi Klein movie ‘The Take’ earlier – the economy collapses in Argentina and workers take over factories when that happens. It’s because it collapses they have popular support. Beautiful people.

  3. In response to rc’s irkdom at the Pasternak quote, perhaps I have a solution with which you both could agree. As wendyedavis accurately quotes, the passage is from the first part of ‘Dr Zhivago’ (his name means ‘life’), when the good doctor is young. Not that he would have changed his philosophy later on, but used it as Ariadne’s thread in the labyrinth of the chaotic events of the Russian Revolution. So, don’t be too hard on Pasternak, rc, or on wendy for loving this quote as do I also.

    We must have something beautiful to cling to as we peer into the abyss.

    • well that does reconcile us a bit, or might, anyhoo. the younger Zhivago goes into the fray with his inner knowledge that things must change, and his inner music urges him to do so…no matter the risk.

      and i still don’t see the quote as theist, unless you might mean that inner music is the god within, which may be true for some people.

      i loved the thread of ariadne allusion, juliania. quite right that we need something sturdy to hold onto, since we only have some bits of faith that things will turn out well….at all.

      and that’s why my heart and mind push back when you indicate that there needs to be some whole-cloth program that looks worthwhile and ultimately workable before you’ll sign onto it, at least if i understand you correctly.

      who can say? sometimes you just go with your gut (although you may see some larger and more risky actions than i’m imaging at the moment, but even so…)

  4. realitychecker1

    Ladies, you two lovely advocates of the inner music and the power of emotional inspiration, do not think me a Philistine. I reject the quote because, inter alia, it’s premises are inaccurate, i.e. for most humans, the threat of consequence does keep the beast in check; Christ is not the ultimate emblem of humanity IMO, given how that emblem has been used to justify death and destruction thoughout the ages, also, which Christ?, the cheek-turner, or the driver of moneychangers from the temple, or the one who also spoke of the sword? With those flaws, it seems to me that the quote gets reduced to an unjustified blanket renunciation of all forceful action, which I think is unrealistic. BUT, rest assured, dear ladies, that multiple tracks of consciousness coexist very comfortably within me, and one of them is very tuned in to the splendor and power of the inner music, indeed, that is what drew me to Wendy and her work in the first place (and what keeps me devoted despite all the work that is sometimes required lol). It is just that I recognize that that power is inherently diffuse, amorphous and ambiguous, and I am also on the very different consciousness track that believes that specifiic, focused, effective uses of our limited energy and resources are necessary to have any likelihood of prevailing at any given moment in a fight, particularly a David-vs.-Goliath type of fight, which is unquestionably the kind we face right now. And on that latter consciousness track, I know that there are key points of vulnerability that must be identified and attacked, and that it makes sense to know you have a workable and effective plan before you commit life and limb and limited energy and resources to a fight that may have consequences that are permanent and irrevocable. So, yes, there is some significant magic to the inner music, but we would need a whole lot of magic to turn things around without also utilizing some of the coarser specific techniques that have succeeded in bringing revolutionary change in the past. IMHO.

    • I see that my earlier reply to juliania was also referencing your remarks both here and on the phone. and even though i’m by no means a lady, lol, i’ll try to answer some of this soon, if there are any worthy answers.
      but first, please say why you see christ in the quote? is it because pasternak has zhivago speak of ‘retribution after death’? i can see why you might see that phrase as theist, whether christian, muslim, etc., but other than that, the book was about ideas and truths being ascendant over raw power, wasn’t it? yes, Zhivago saw later what monstrous power could be unleashed, as we may, even if we try a nonviolent revolution.

      if we don’t at least aspire to that coming out of the gate (and as david graeber even laughs, ‘but THEY have the 101st airborne…), i think most will not come out for it. there may indeed be be blood shed, but that’s very tricky for the PTB, knowing what martyrs can do to aid in rebellion.

      that’s all for now; gotta do one or two small chores before i come back; sunday…i have loads, and a few extra ones today.

      • realitychecker1

        “the prophet who sacrificed himself”???? Was that a reference to Moses lol?

        • okay, wiseass; i’d reckoned he’d meant it more generically, as in ‘a prophet who’d, etc.’, but it seems he was jew, christian, …. many prophets sacrificed themselves for truth, no?

          • realitychecker1

            I took it to be a reference to Jesus. (Besides, weren’t lions rather well-known for their ability to devour Christians lol?) (Don’t make me drag out my joke about the Jew and the lion.)

            • well, it may have been, but then i’m not usually put off by theist references in such heady prose, ya great bigot, so… all i want is to hear your joke about the jew and the lion. ;~)

              • realitychecker1

                I’ll just add that the use of the words “emblem” and “highest” also led me to react as though it was a reference to Jesus, and I still think it was intended to be. [ ] And now, by popular demand (and recalling that I offered this up when I was under that last big dogpile at FDL lol): The Romans caught a Jew, and decided to feed him to the lion. They buried the Jew so deep in the ground that only his head remained above, and his body was immobilized, then they loosed the hungry lion on him. The lion charged at the Jew’s head, but just as the fearsome jaws were about to clamp down, the Jew bent his neck to one side as far as he could, and the lion missed his strike. As the lion’s momentum carried him forward, the Jew brought his head back, stretched up, and bit off the lion’s testicles, and the lion ran off screaming. The Romans immediately yelled, “FIGHT FAIR, JEW.” That’s it. (h/t Janis) Going for a walk now. ;-)

    • Which Christ? The Christ of the Gospels, dear rc. You can extract him out from the ‘Lord, Lord’ sayers just as we can extract out the concept of a democratic republic from the oligarchs that distort that message.

      Pasternak, to make this point, doesn’t even name him. The only title given here is ‘prophet.’ MLK was a prophet, in my book, as too, Isaiah in the Old Testament. This is about speaking truth to power in general, the secular mission of the prophet. And even though it’s literature, a quotation embedded in a novel, this does that.

      We could extrapolate and say, who LIVES (musically speaking) in our memory? Martin Luther King or LBJ? Gandhi or Queen Victoria? I would say the only living musical memories are the first in each comparison – those who live beyond the caesars that the quote references.

      I’ve said other places that where we meet on common ground is in discussing the biblical message on literary grounds, and that too is where Dr. Zhivago lives. So, the quotation is not theology, more like anthropology!

      • what she said, rc, lol. (much better than all my meandering my way around dobbin’s barn, and so lyrical to boot.
        i remember when i used this video once for a diary, i practically apologized to the folks who are sooo offended by any religious (mainly christian) imagery, but it was the best one…

        • realitychecker1

          Sorry, the Christ of the Gospels was not the first use of that “emblem” that sprang to my mind, given all the other uses of that emblem that I know about. (I don’t give a pass to other religions for their misuse of a loving humanistic original philosophy, either.) But, essentially, I experienced it as a plea for pacifism, which I think is a misguided strategy when confronted with actual violence.

          • Fair enough, rc. We part company on that last point, maybe, though in the novel I don’t think Zhivago ends up preaching pacifism so much as going with the flow, the onward inevitable flow, and surviving it somehow. He’s never violent himself, though he works with all sides to heal when it would mean death to resist. And when the violence subsides, as it always must, it is his daughter being asked to face new perils in a new life.

            I should have included the Dalai Lama vs. whoever he opposes in China to extend the metaphor. Um, Lao-tse? Confucius? (I don’t really know how peaceful he was.) I’d put Homer in that category though some mightn’t – he certainly spells out the insanity of battle in which heroes become horrible butcherers and life is snuffed out in an instant. I’ve always thought ‘The Iliad’ was an antiwar poem.

            Yes, these are peace loving works of literature I agree. We meet in loving and longing for peace; I’m positive we do.

            • zhivago was also a poet and a physician, so… and iirc, he at first advocated for revolution until he saw what violence was brought to bear.

              and your final sentences caused me to bow my head a bit.

    • On the well put concluding remarks here, rc – just to take up the banner again for inner music. You say:

      “So, yes, there is some significant magic to the inner music, but we would need a whole lot of magic to turn things around without also utilizing some of the coarser specific techniques that have succeeded in bringing revolutionary change in the past. IMHO.”

      I think maybe wendy and I differ on this, as I’ve expressed somewhere in this mishmash of commentary – in that I’m, like you, not optimistic that our peaceful thoughts will win the immediate battles. The urge to violence is overwhelming – our culture is now saturated. However, I’m with her that we should advocate to the best of our ability FOR such activism as stays peaceful, consistently. I do believe the more who join this inner battle, the sooner we will come out on the other side.

      Zhivago’s daughter is given his mother’s balalaika. I hope our children’s children will get ours.

      • as i remember it, i’d said that blood may indeed be shed, but that we must go into it (and i will qualify that the revolution may be started by those we don’t have much regard for) with moral convictions ballasting nonviolence at first, then later, we will have no control over ‘what’s next’, and see that violence may/must play a part.

        and i’ll say again, that i’d die for a nonviolent revolution seeking the principles i imagine best, but i won’t kill for it. i’ve often said, though, that i know from past experiences, that i would kill to protect those i love from immediate harm, although my hands would be my only weapons, save for my voice and words raised in objection and righteous fury.

        • realitychecker1

          Well, I guess we’ve all expressed ourselves adequtely on the Zhivago quote, so I won’t explore the possibility that the prophet in question was Ezekiel lol. (And I know I don’t have to convince either of you that I vastly prefer peaceful resolutions if they work.) [ ] Just finished reading that Pitt thread, all I can say is, “Wow, how the mighty have fallen.” I really used to admire that guy, 10 years ago. I guess having a baby changes everything. I had a nose job 45 years ago. According to Pitt, I suppose I should limit my concerns only to those world events that might affect noses shaped like ski jumps lol. Silver lining: almost all commenters were pissing on him.

          On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM, to bring the light…first know the dark wrote:

          > ** > wendyedavis commented: “as i remember it, i’d said that blood may > indeed be shed, but that we must go into it (and i will qualify that the > revolution may be started by those we don’t have much regard for) with > moral convictions ballasting nonviolence at first, then later, we wil” >

      • I have to correct myself here. The ending I reference in my last sentences above is the one the movie gives to the tale. It’s a lot more complex and more Lara-centered in the novel, which ends with brother and Lara working on Zhivago’s poems after she has amazingly come to the very room in which his body lies. (The poems come at the end of the novel.)

        In the epilogue, Zhivago’s friends discuss that Zhivago’s brother will look after the child, and one says the following:

        “It has often happened in history that a lofty ideal has degenerated into crude materialism. Thus Greece gave way to Rome, and the Russian Enlightenment has become the Russian Revolution. There is a great difference between the two periods. Blok says somewhere: ‘We, the children of Russia’s terrible years.’ Blok meant this in a metaphorical, figurative sense. The children were not children, but the sons, the heirs, the intelligentsia; and the terrors were not terrible but sent from above, apocalyptic; that’s quite different. Now the metaphorical has become literal, children are children, and the terrors are terrible, there you have the difference.”

        Even this is not the end of the novel, but I will leave that to the joy of the earnest reader. Safe to say, the movie ending, truncated though it be, expresses a similar message. The music is there, and for the novel, the music is the poems.

  5. Yesterday’s or the day before’s had a link to a truthout commentary by William Rivers Pitt – once again, my recommendation doesn’t mean that I liked the OP – far from it, but there were an ocean of comments, most of them very irate at Mr. Pitt, and it took me a long session to go through – I hadn’t seen the post, not being a truthout readyreader, and the whole shebang was ten or eleven days ago. Basically a lot of support for the points in your diary here, wendy.

    • i hope you meant the comments supported my contentions, not the pitt-post you didn’t like, lol. i spent 5 or 10 minutes looking for it, but decided in the end it didn’t matter all that much, as i may not have taken the time to read it.

      i did gather a lot of links about the issue glenzilla wrote about concerning no fisa warrants were turned down in 2012; 1789 were granted, and his update mentioned that the aclu pointed out that the number *only included8 the personal snooping and bugging warrants.

      anyhoo, i hadn’t seen that kevin g had put up the story, although he got a mere 8 comments, good grief… so i guess i won’t write unless i think i can come up with an angle that might cause people to actually read it. we get so weary of the new outrages seeming just a few notches worse than the…old outrages.

      bugger; i just realized that i hadn’t taken the time to read the NC thread for bostonions to speak to their experiences. so bloomin’ much to read, and so many sneezes to make before i rest…. ;~) (dust from the windstorm, i reckon, or early olive tree pollen?)

      • Yes, sorry; I thought I was making that clear. And no need to hunt for it except it was quite a hair-raising rant to the effect that nobody save Bostonians need comment on the situation because only Bostonians know, and they were very happy to shelter in place, so everyone else shut up (words to that effect.) Definitely no need to read, as with many things. The comments took him to task.

        Honey helps if it’s allergies. My eyes definitely suffer from the dust, but we’re not getting it as bad as other places.

        • i remember that you’d mentioned honey helped for you, but over the years, even procuring local honey, which was said to be key, didn’t really help. i am glad it helps you, though.

          we knew that water was going to be scarce this year, but have found out now that we’ll have four days of river water (about a quarter foot) and 15% of our reservoir water rights. without rain, the fields will burn brown, and even the 3 acres around the house will be hard to keep alive.

          steve’s on the water conservancy board, and the local ditch company board, as well as on the grievance committee. the shit, of course, is hitting the fan, and irate people are screaming at him about things he cannae control.

          i had pushed him last year to lobby the lake board to hold water back, but the others are all major agriculturalists, and he was…over-ruled. i told him if i could have picketed them, i would have (plus, the lake office is about ten miles north of town, so…about two cars and hour might have noticed…) ;~)

          • Indeed, wendy, it’s grim. We drove up to Santa Fe yesterday in brown vistas, though I was happy to see most junipers out yonder on them thar hills are simply hunkering down – over my back wall they are thickly populated, so some are dying being too close together – out there they have mindfully spaced further apart and look okay.

            I picked up a ‘Green Fire Times’ which has gone all desperately ecotouristy – yuk. Small communities doing kitzey things people can enjoy watching – a drought festival comes to mind. They did say due to the San Juan water diversion the upper Rio Grande (upper for NM) was in very dire straights indeed, getting five percent of nothing – the far mountains have snow still – some years they’ve had none all winter. It won’t be much of a spring runoff, though.

            I think instead of ‘climate change’ it should be ‘climate disintegration’ – there really is no climate per se any longer.

            • at 4:30 this morning (i’d overslept, lol) i woke to thunder, lightning, and some blessed rain. it changed from male (straight down, heavier) to female (lighter, tinkling sounds,easier for the baked ground to absorb) several times. heavenly! when steve checked the rain gauge after it stopped, it totaled 30 hundredths of an inch, but: boy, howdy, it’s a start! so the hint from a couple days ago did in fact seem to have proven that the Cloud Gods may remember this location after all.
              I do hope you can catch some of it; the NM forecaster i saw the other night said that cells will be roaming your state all week, and ours, as well.

              ‘climate disintegration’. hmmmm. well, at least there’s always ‘weather’, no matter now beneficent or brutal, eh? it really is hard not to worry, though.

              not quite what you mean about the san juan diversion, though.

              • I am happy for you – we see the clouds and they are Beautiful!! Glad you asked about the San Juan diversion, as that was the one bit of important news ‘Green Fire Times’ had in its touristy May issue (well, it is a free paper, and it is May after all – they can print what they want to.) I’ll select out a few pertinent details:

                “…As of this writing, 94 percent of the Rio Grande goes to irrigate crops in…southern Colorado…600,000 acres – the size of Rhode Island…” [hay for heavily subsidized dairy farms in southern NM – cheap labor on the border!]
                “…Rio Grande Compact…Colorado, New Mexico and Texas…”[1938]
                “…For 27 years, Colorado ignored the compact until finally the Supreme Court ordered…agreed amount to NM…” …Colorado chose to comply by drilling a hole through the Continental Divide…water that would normally flow to the Pacific…paid for with federal dollars…San Juan-Chama Project…” [flows into Chama River thence into Rio Grande]”…north of Espanola – thus perpetuating the dewatering of the main stem of the river north of that point…”

                Fascinating stuff, water.

                • It’s not just hay, though. Wow, I visited a potato farm up there once with an underground cathedral of potato stacks – so impressive!

                • sorry to be so long in answering. for some reason i’d thought these comments were to rc. yes, at least the year the colorado water compact was negotiated (not sure if the rio grand was part of it), it was a very wet year, so…the actual amounts sold and owned don’t reflect what’s really there.

                  it’s all very fraught, as is subsurface water ownership; what a mess. cuz in the end, it something goes to court, ‘legal’ is what a judge says it is, not what’s on paper necessarily. think of the ute and navajo water claims, and how all that’s gone. argh. and this year, we’ll get 15% of what we actually own in mancos lake when it’s filled to capacity.

  6. I think it’s great that wendy hadn’t read the Pitt piece – and for sure, a new baby does distort one’s perspective – I used to cry at infant deaths in car collisions for instance. (Now I’m sad, but I don’t fall apart.) But wendy’s essay answers him well, and many of the comments reflect her involvement in the difficult choices we make when apparent danger threatens, and officialdom threatens as well.

    So, now, suppose you are not a citizen facing unknown terror threats that may put you and your family at risk, but rather, as in the diary wendy has just put up, a newly elected president, blank slate, facing all the ‘in place’ apparatus of the state bent on warfare ongoing as long as the money holds out. Is it the same question, only in the latter case, writ large?

    I think it was Nixon (of all people) when in Russia who replied to Kruschev,
    “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” He was probably thinking of something quite different, but there it is.

    Seems to me we come together in agreeing that we do need somebody with a whip prepared to drive the moneychangers OUT of the temple.

    Maybe that somebody is us.

    • realitychecker1

      To me, all deaths of sentient beings are tragedies, the age or species, I don’t know a coherent way to measure those comparatively. Re Pitt, IMO it’s only human to react from your own worst personal fears in the first instance (hopefully, that won’t also be the last instance lol), but it’s over the top to attack others for not sharing your own worst personal fears, as Pitt did. But, in fairness, he’s only doing what gays, abortion advocates, and blacks are doing if they continue with their unqualified ongoing support of Obama. The personal should not blind one to the common interests of the whole body politic. Civil liberties and rule of law are the common principles that should bind us all, IMO.

      • Yes, indeed, we share that empathy, rc. But I do remember how it becomes the same sort of extreme sense when an infant is in your arms, as Pitt begins his piece. I would compare that to what it must be like for a blind person when sound and touch compensate for the lack of sight – sort of like when my photos come up onscreen and the one pushes itself into the spotlight larger than the rest.

        I want to add to my thoughts on Dr. Zhivago as yesterday I misspoke – so I am going to scroll down now to that nest. (Just sayin’)

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