The Fundamental Theology of Politics

Marci McDonald, author of the upcoming The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, says, “Harper has given the religious right a welcome and access in Ottawa and government they’ve never had before – and they’ve become used it.”

They are, she says, “here to stay.”

[...]

But he [Harper] believes in an incremental approach. Author McDonald sees it as the foundation of his thinking: “It fits with his natural personality and tendencies.

“Is he really a fanatic?” she asks in an interview. “I do not believe he is. I think he’s a very wily strategist… I see him as tacking on a sailing course.”

She argues Harper’s social conservatism is “more strategy than a deep impulse of the heart” and doesn’t envision draconian social measures under a Harper majority, but rather bureaucratic tinkering, appointments and staffing changes. Anything he did on, say, abortion, wouldn’t be a sudden reversal but “something that opens the way.”

However, if he were to do something, McDonald concludes, it would be irreversible by the time it was detected and “would change Canada in a profound way… People seem to wake up to what Harper is doing too late.”

More on the Boom Times for PMO’s God Squad at The Star

Ah cha cha:

American Vortex

On Ginsberg’s Wichita Vortex Sutra:

“Wichita Vortex Sutra” originated as a kind of proto-podcast that Ginsberg intoned into an Uher tape recorder while traveling across the American heartland in the winter of 1966. Though the language of the poem is specific to the Vietnam War (which was escalating at the time), it certainly speaks to the conditions of 2006 — not only in its refrain about how empty language started, but cannot end, a military action, but also in its riff on the contradictions between distant Asia and the Middle American conservatism that has enabled a war there; in its alarm at the numbing impact of global telecommunications and the media preoccupation with statistics; in its despair at the hypocritical politicians and corporations that are profiting from the war. Fragments of the poem first appeared in the May 27, 1966, issue of LIFE, and the full text later debuted in a City Lights “Pocket Poets” collection entitled Planet News.

Ginsberg’s journey to Kansas, which he undertook in a Volkswagen van purchased with Guggenheim grant money, stemmed from his long-standing fascination with the state (in “Howl,” he mentions Kansas as the place where “the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet”). In one sense, Ginsberg felt that Kansas was politically representative of Middle American support for war and the military-industrial complex — a stereotype that presaged its current “red state” reputation by several decades. But beyond political generalizations, Ginsberg saw Kansas as the mystic center of America, celebrated by Whitman in Leaves of Grass (“chants going forth from the center, from Kansas, and thence equidistant / shooting in pulses of fire ceaseless to vivify all”). The poet saw Wichita, the ultimate destination of his road-trip poem, as the symbolic heart of this transcendental American vortex.   [more]

From The Last Anti-War Poem by Rolf Potts at The Believer

From “On ‘Wichita Vortex Sutra’” -

With admirable sincerity and making no bones about it, Ginsberg attempts to assume the role called for by Shelley in the celebrated if somewhat petulant assertion that poets are “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”  Ginsberg assumes this role when he attempts to legislate by declaring the end of hostilities in Viet Nam. . . .  What makes this assertion so original is the means by which Ginsberg strives to give validity and authority to his act of legislation: he declares the end of the war by making a mantra. . . .

Does the mantra work? . . .  [more]

Paul Carrol

Hearing Ginsberg read “Wichita Vortex Sutra” during the war was exhilarating. In a large audience the declaration of the war’s end was collectively purgative. The text of the poem retains that fragile, deluded but dramatic effectiveness because it registers its unresolvable ambiguities with such clarity. [more]

Cary Nelson

Wichita Vortex Sutra

Philip Glass

Wichita Vortex Sutra, Allen Ginsberg (audio)

On Michael Jackson

M~ 53016567KD004_mj_Verdict

We can’t figure out who he really was because, though we scramble for tidbits of highly personal information about celebrities, we’re not really interested in who they are.  We can’t figure out who he really was because everything about celebrity forces the construction of a public personna that not only obfuscates, hides and protects but that also seeks to sell itself, sell “the” mask of the self, seduce as many people as possible and pander to the more base instincts of human beings and consumer culture.  Michael Jackson created a man who couldn’t be known and who, most likely, could not know himself.  Almost everyone in his life, including his fans, collaborated.  And are still collaborating.  And most likely always will.  At this point there is no other choice.  He has affected us and the world we live in whether we acknowledge that fact or not.  He is part of the lives of people who don’t even like his music unless they are dead to the world.  We will talk for a bit about Michael and then we will stop and as part of that conversation we will continually ask why we are talking about him so much.  Most of the talk centres around that question:  who was Michael Jackson?  We can never answer that question, finally, about anyone.  But the more we gather about a person like Michael, the less we know.

And yet.  In his music, his voice, his videos, his absolutely magical dancing body and his art, creativity and self-expression remain. I remember it.  I choose to remember those glimmers of  joy, those cries of the heart, those gestures that reflected us to ourselves and broke out from time to time into this fragmented fallen world so alienated from itself that that it cannot begin to answer, who?  Whoever Michael Jackson was, it’s most likely that he was fully consumed.  For a little while longer, we’ll feed on his death.  Then there will be the music and the moves and what we find there …

 

Have a look at these:

Michael Jackson: Of Mortal Coils and Music by Natalia Antonova @GlobalComment

Michael Jackson: Freak Like Me by Richard Kim @TheNation