10 o’clock list: Better Kenyon Insults Than “Privileged”


You don’t have to be at Kenyon long to know that the term “privileged” gets thrown around more than a frisbee on Ransom lawn. It just makes me want to tap on the speaker’s shoulder and whisper, “You know you go here, too, right?” If you go to Kenyon, you’re privileged. If you’re white, you’re privileged. If you’re looking at your computer screen right now, you’re privileged. The list could go on for hours, so please shut up. I get it, Kenyon students can be assholes, and you want to call them out for their shit. Here are some better ways to do it without being a hypocrite.

1. “Hey, stop.” Cutting you off at Peirce, making an insensitive joke, getting drunk and bitching about you. A lot of the time, if you’re giving people the benefit of the doubt, things happen and escalate without people realizing it. If you’re a cynical hermit like me, people do things like this because they think they won’t get called out. Either way, say something. Even if it’s just a casual “shh” as you put one finger on their mouth, for the milder of the Kenyon population, this will be enough.

2. “Hey, get mad about this instead.” People get worked up and, a majority of the time, it’s for the wrong reasons. Don’t you dare change the day and time of Send Off, because people will go fucking insane. There were near riots because of the threat to Kenyon students’ right to get publicly drunk. And I’m on your side! That was annoying! Yet, time and time again, sexual assault and rape is repeatedly silenced on this campus, by both peers and administrators, just to name one problem. Maybe channel your anger about beer into something more important.

3. “Hey, maybe do some research before opening your damn mouth.” Don’t be this guy, because when you speak, that’s all I hear.

4. “Hey, you know I can see who you are, right?” This really only applies to Thrill editors, but I’m talking about it anyways. Anonymity is the worst thing to ever happen to Kenyon, and as much as I love writing for The Thrill and the outlet it provides for our campus, it also is terrible. When you comment “anonymously,” as an editor, I can see a lot more than you think. People who I’ve had only pleasant interactions with in person have posted horrible, horrible things about me on my articles without knowing I can see who they are. When you can hide behind a comment, it’s easy to say whatever you want. Take that anonymity away, and suddenly the room goes silent.

5. “Hey.” If none of these work, if you really can’t get someone to calm the hell down, then they are deeply disturbed, and probably just need a friend. Hey.

37 responses

    • I am also rather skeptical about the assertion that you can discern who has posted an anonymous comment through mysterious editor powers. Seems like an attempt to scare commenters into line. I do agree that anonymity or in this case I guess “anonymity” can breed distasteful comments.

      • Experienced with wordpress here, and while it doesn’t exactly plaster your name all over your comments, it does keep track of which “anonymous” wrote what, and clearly displays IPs and other browser-logged information. Someone with computer savvy can narrow that down pretty quick if the anonymous in question isn’t using any identity protection.

      • I’m mostly talking about my mysterious editor powers to recognize a Kenyon e-mail address when it is listed under the “e-mail” option.

      • Umm, Anonymous at 11:15pm, everyone has the same IPs here since we all use Kenyon’s internet service. Unless you’re at home, it’s impossible to narrow down through that. Checking browsers won’t get you that far, as I’m pretty sure Kenyon is split between Chrome, Safari, IE, and Firefox (and perhaps a few Opera users). Heaven forbid that some of us use different browsers for different activities.

  1. BackInMyDay™, when we wanted to slander someone pseudo-anonymously, we sent an ALLSTU* from someone else’s account.** Or our own, and then blamed it on someone else.


    * The real kind, that were unskippable e-mails in the days before spam filters, not your pathetic modern excuse.

    ** Bonus points for copying it to ALLEMP, so that even the Bookstore clerk knew that the object of your scorn was a total assface dickbag who liked Milli Vanilli.

  2. A long, long time ago
    I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those people dance
    And maybe they’d be happy for a while

    But February made me shiver
    With every paper I’d deliver
    Bad news on the doorstep
    I couldn’t take one more step

    I can’t remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died

    So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    [Verse 1]
    Did you write the book of love
    And do you have faith in God above
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Now do you believe in rock and roll
    Can music save your mortal soul
    And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

    Well, I know that you’re in love with him
    ‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
    You both kicked off your shoes
    Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

    I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
    With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
    But I knew I was out of luck
    The day the music died

    I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    [Verse 2]
    Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
    But that’s not how it used to be
    When the jester sang for the king and queen
    In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
    And a voice that came from you and me

    Oh, and while the king was looking down
    The jester stole his thorny crown
    The courtroom was adjourned
    No verdict was returned

    And while Lenin read a book on Marx
    A quartet practiced in the park
    And we sang dirges in the dark
    The day the music died

    We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    [Verse 3]
    Helter skelter in a summer swelter
    The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
    Eight miles high and falling fast
    It landed foul on the grass
    The players tried for a forward pass
    With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

    Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
    While the sergeants played a marching tune
    We all got up to dance
    Oh, but we never got the chance

    ‘Cause the players tried to take the field
    The marching band refused to yield
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the music died?

    We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    [Verse 4]
    Oh, and there we were all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again
    So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
    Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
    ‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

    Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage
    No angel born in Hell
    Could break that Satan’s spell

    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died

    He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    I met a girl who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news
    But she just smiled and turned away
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where I’d heard the music years before
    But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

    And in the streets, the children screamed
    The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
    But not a word was spoken
    The church bells all were broken

    And the three men I admire most
    The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died

    And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”

  3. The screen door slams
    Mary’ dress waves
    Like a vision she dances across the porch
    As the radio plays
    Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
    Hey that’s me and I want you only
    Don’t turn me home again
    I just can’t face myself alone again
    Don’t run back inside
    Darling you know just what I’m here for
    So you’re scared and you’re thinking
    That maybe we ain’t that young anymore
    Show a little faith there’s magic in the night
    You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright
    Oh and that’s alright with me

    You can hide ‘neath your covers
    And study your pain
    Make crosses from your lovers
    Throw roses in the rain
    Waste your summer praying in vain
    For a saviour to rise from these streets
    Well now I’m no hero
    That’s understood
    All the redemption I can offer girl
    Is beneath this dirty hood
    With a chance to make it good somehow
    Hey what else can we do now ?
    Except roll down the window
    And let the wind blow
    Back your hair
    Well the night’s busting open
    These two lanes will take us anywhere
    We got one last chance to make it real
    To trade in these wings on some wheels
    Climb in back
    Heaven’s waiting on down the tracks
    Oh-oh come take my hand
    We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
    Oh-oh Thunder Road oh Thunder Road
    Lying out there like a killer in the sun
    Hey I know it’s late we can make it if we run
    Oh Thunder Road sit tight take hold
    Thunder Road

    Well I got this guitar
    And I learned how to make it talk
    And my car’s out back
    If you’re ready to take that long walk
    From your front porch to my front seat
    The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free
    And I know you’re lonely
    For words that I ain’t spoken
    But tonight we’ll be free
    All the promises’ll be broken
    There were ghosts in the eyes
    Of all the boys you sent away
    They haunt this dusty beach road
    In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets
    They scream your name at night in the street
    Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
    And in the lonely cool before dawn
    You hear their engines roaring on
    But when you get to the porch they’re gone
    On the wind so Mary climb in
    It’s town full of losers
    And I’m pulling out of here to win

  4. There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
    When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
    With a word she can get what she came for.
    Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

    There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
    ‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
    In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings,
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

    Ooh, it makes me wonder,
    Ooh, it makes me wonder.

    There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west,
    And my spirit is crying for leaving.
    In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
    And the voices of those who stand looking.

    Ooh, it makes me wonder,
    Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

    And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
    Then the piper will lead us to reason.
    And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
    And the forests will echo with laughter.

    If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now,
    It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
    And it makes me wonder.

    Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,
    The piper’s calling you to join him,
    Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

    And as we wind on down the road
    Our shadows taller than our soul.
    There walks a lady we all know
    Who shines white light and wants to show
    How everything still turns to gold.
    And if you listen very hard
    The tune will come to you at last.
    When all are one and one is all
    To be a rock and not to roll.

    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

  5. I’m countin’ down to the day deservin’
    Fittin’ for a king
    I’m waitin’ for the time when I can
    Get to Arizona
    ‘Cause my money’s spent on
    The goddamn rent
    Neither party is mine not the
    Jackass or the elephant
    20.000 nig niggy nigas in the corner
    Of the cell block but they come
    From California
    Population none in the desert and sun
    Wit’ a gun cracker
    Runnin’ things under his thumb
    Starin’ hard at the postcards
    Isn’t it odd and unique?
    Seein’ people smile wild in the heat
    120 degree
    ‘Cause I wanna be free
    What’s a smilin’ fact
    When the whole state’s racist
    Why want a holiday F–k it ’cause I wanna
    So what if I celebrate it standin’ on a corner
    I ain’t drinkin’ no 40
    I B thinkin’ time wit’ a nine
    Until we get some land
    Call me the trigger man
    Looki lookin’ for the governor
    Huh he ain’t lovin’ ya
    But here to trouble ya
    He’s rubbin’ ya wrong
    Get the point come along
    An he can get to the joint
    I urinated on the state
    While I was kickin’ this song
    Yeah, he appear to be fair
    The cracker over there
    He try to keep it yesteryear
    The good ol’ days
    The same ol’ ways
    That kept us dyin’
    Yes, you me myself and I’ndeed
    What he need is a nosebleed
    Read between the lines
    Then you see the lie
    Politically planned
    But understand that’s all she wrote
    When we see the real side
    That hide behind the vote
    They can’t understand why he the man
    I’m singin’ ’bout a king
    They don’t like it
    When I decide to mike it
    Wait I’m waitin’ for the date
    For the man who demands respect
    ‘Cause he was great c’mon
    I’m on the one mission
    To get a politician
    To honor or he’s a gonner
    By the time I get to Arizona

    I got 25 days to do it
    If a wall in the sky
    Just watch me go thru it
    ‘Cause I gotta do what I gotta do
    PE number one
    Gets the job done
    When it’s done and over
    Was because I drove’er
    Thru all the static
    Not stick but automatic
    That’s the way it is
    He gotta get his
    Talin’ MLK
    Gonna find a way
    Make the state pay
    Lookin’ for the day
    Hard as it seems
    This ain’t no damn dream
    Gotta know what I mean
    It’s team against team
    Catch the light beam
    So I pray
    I pray everyday
    I do and praise jah the maker
    Lookin’ for culture
    I got but not here
    From jah maker
    Pushin’ and shakin’ the structure
    Bringin’ down the babylon
    Hearin’ the sucker
    That make it hard for the brown
    The hard Boulova
    I need now
    More than ever now
    Who’s sittin’ on my freedah’
    Opressor people beater
    Piece of the pick
    We picked a piece
    Of land that we deservin’ now
    Reparation a piece of the nation
    And damn he got the nerve
    Another niga they say and classify
    We want too much
    My peep plus the whole nine is mine
    Don’t think I even double dutch
    Here’s a brother my attitude hit ’em
    Hang ’em high
    Blowin’ up the 90s started tickin’ 86
    When the blind get a mind
    Better start and earn while we sing it
    There will be the day we know those down and who will go

  6. I hear the drums echoing tonight
    But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
    She’s coming in 12:30 flight
    The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
    I stopped an old man along the way,
    Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
    He turned to me as if to say, Hurry boy, It’s waiting there for you

    It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
    There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
    I bless the rains down in Africa
    Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

    The wild dogs cry out in the night
    As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
    I know that I must do what’s right
    As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
    I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become


    (Instrumental break)

    Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you

    It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
    There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
    I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
    I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
    I bless the rains down in Africa
    Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

  7. Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377#sthash.wnK6ydkX.dpuf

  8. Yo soy un hombre sincero
    De donde crece la palma
    Y antes de morirme quiero
    Echar mis versos del alma
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

    Mi verso es de un verde claro
    Y de un carmín encendido
    Mi verso es un ciervo herido
    Que busca en el monte amparo
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

    Cultivo una rosa blanca
    En julio como en enero
    Para el amigo sincero
    Que me da su mano franca
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

    Con los pobres de la tierra
    Quiero yo mi suerte echar
    El arroyo de la sierra
    Me complace más que el mar
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

  9. All my bags are packed I’m ready to go
    I’m standin’ here outside your door
    I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
    But the dawn is breakin’ it’s early morn
    The taxi’s waitin’ he’s blowin’ his horn
    Already I’m so lonesome I could die

    So kiss me and smile for me
    Tell me that you’ll wait for me
    Hold me like you’ll never let me go
    Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
    Don’t know when I’ll be back again
    Oh baby, I hate to go

    There’s so many times I’ve let you down
    So many times I’ve played around
    I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing
    Every place I go, I’ll think of you
    Every song I sing, I’ll sing for you
    When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring

    So kiss me and smile for me
    Tell me that you’ll wait for me
    Hold me like you’ll never let me go
    Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
    Don’t know when I’ll be back again
    Oh babe, I hate to go

    Guitar Solo

    Now the time has come to leave you
    One more time let me kiss you
    Close your eyes I’ll be on my way
    Dream about the days to come
    When I won’t have to leave alone
    About the times, I won’t have to say

    So kiss me and smile for me
    Tell me that you’ll wait for me
    Hold me like you’ll never let me go
    Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
    Don’t know when I’ll be back again
    Oh baby, I hate to go

    Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
    Don’t know when I’ll be back again
    Oh baby, I hate to go

  10. This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died. So he was visiting the dead wife’s relatives in Connecticut. He called my wife from his in-laws’. Arrangements were made. He would come by train, a five-hour trip, and my wife would meet him at the station. She hadn’t seen him since she worked for him one summer in Seattle ten years ago. But she and the blind man had kept in touch. They made tapes and mailed them back and forth. I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.

    That summer in Seattle she had needed a job. She didn’t have any money. The man she was going to marry at the end of the summer was in officers’ training school. He didn’t have any money, either. But she was in love with the guy, and he was in love with her, etc. She’d seen something in the paper: HELP WANTED–Reading to Blind Man, and a telephone number. She phoned and went over, was hired on the spot. She’d worked with this blind man all summer. She read stuff to him, case studies, reports, that sort of thing. She helped him organize his little office in the county social-service department. They’d become good friends, my wife and the blind man. How do I know these things? She told me. And she told me something else. On her last day in the office, the blind man asked if he could touch her face. She agreed to this. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose–even her neck! She never forgot it. She even tried to write a poem about it. She was always trying to write a poem. She wrote a poem or two every year, usually after something really important had happened to her.

    When we first started going out together, she showed me the poem. In the poem, she recalled his fingers and the way they had moved around over her face. In the poem, she talked about what she had felt at the time, about what went through her mind when the blind man touched her nose and lips. I can remember I didn’t think much of the poem. Of course, I didn’t tell her that. Maybe I just don’t understand poetry. I admit it’s not the first thing I reach for when I pick up something to read.

    Anyway, this man who’d first enjoyed her favors, the officer-to-be, he’d been her childhood sweetheart. So okay. I’m saying that at the end of the summer she let the blind man run his hands over her face, said goodbye to him, married her childhood etc., who was now a commissioned officer, and she moved away from Seattle. But they’d kept in touch, she and the blind man. She made the first contact after a year or so. She called him up one night from an Air Force base in Alabama. She wanted to talk. They talked. He asked her to send him a tape and tell him about her life. She did this. She sent the tape. On the tape, she told the blind man about her husband and about their life together in the military. She told the blind man she loved her husband but she didn’t like it where they lived and she didn’t like it that he was a part of the military-industrial thing. She told the blind man she’d written a poem and he was in it. She told him that she was writing a poem about what it was like to be an Air Force officer’s wife. The poem wasn’t finished yet. She was still writing it. The blind man made a tape. He sent her the tape. She made a tape. This went on for years. My wife’s officer was posted to one base and then another. She sent tapes from Moody AFB, McGuire, McConnell, and finally Travis, near Sacramento, where one night she got to feeling lonely and cut off from people she kept losing in that moving-around life. She got to feeling she couldn’t go it another step. She went in and swallowed all the pills and capsules in the medicine chest and washed them down with a bottle of gin. Then she got into a hot bath and passed out.

    But instead of dying, she got sick. She threw up. Her officer–why should he have a name? he was the childhood sweetheart, and what more does he want?–came home from somewhere, found her, and called the ambulance. In time, she put it all on a tape and sent the tape to the blind man. Over the years, she put all kinds of stuff on tapes and sent the tapes off lickety-split. Next to writing a poem every year, I think it was her chief means of recreation. On one tape, she told the blind man she’d decided to live away from her officer for a time. On another tape, she told him about her divorce. She and I began going out, and of course she told her blind man about it. She told him everything, or so it seemed to me. Once she asked me if I’d like to hear the latest tape from the blind man. This was a year ago. I was on the tape, she said. So I said okay, I’d listen to it. I got us drinks and we settled down in the living room. We made ready to listen. First she inserted the tape into the player and adjusted a couple of dials. Then she pushed a lever. The tape squeaked and someone began to talk in this loud voice. She lowered the volume. After a few minutes of harmless chitchat, I heard my own name in the mouth of this stranger, this blind man I didn’t even know! And then this: “From all you’ve said about him, I can only conclude–” But we were interrupted, a knock at the door, something, and we didn’t ever get back to the tape. Maybe it was just as well. I’d heard all I wanted to.

    Now this same blind man was coming to sleep in my house.

    “Maybe I could take him bowling,” I said to my wife. She was at the draining board doing scalloped potatoes. She put down the knife she was using and turned around.

    “If you love me,” she said, “you can do this for me. If you don’t love me, okay. But if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I’d make him feel comfortable.” She wiped her hands with the dish towel.

    “I don’t have any blind friends,” I said.

    “You don’t have any friends,” she said. “Period. Besides,” she said, “goddamn it, his wife’s just died! Don’t you understand that? The man’s lost his wife!”

    I didn’t answer. She’d told me a little about the blind man’s wife. Her name was Beulah. Beulah! That’s a name for a colored woman.

    “Was his wife a Negro?” I asked.

    “Are you crazy?” my wife said. “Have you just flipped or something?” She picked up a potato. I saw it hit the floor, then roll under the stove. “What’s wrong with you?” she said. “Are you drunk?”

    “I’m just asking,” I said.

    Right then my wife filled me in with more detail than I cared to know. I made a drink and sat at the kitchen table to listen. Pieces of the story began to fall into place.

    Beulah had gone to work for the blind man the summer after my wife had stopped working for him. Pretty soon Beulah and the blind man had themselves a church wedding. It was a little wedding–who’d want to go to such a wedding in the first place?–just the two of them, plus the minister and the minister’s wife. But it was a church wedding just the same. It was what Beulah had wanted, he’d said. But even then Beulah must have been carrying the cancer in her glands. After they had been inseparable for eight years–my wife’s word, inseparable–Beulah’s health went into a rapid decline. She died in a Seattle hospital room, the blind man sitting beside the bed and holding on to her hand. They’d married, lived and worked together, slept together–had sex, sure–and then the blind man had to bury her. All this without his having ever seen what the goddamned woman looked like. It was beyond my understanding. Hearing this, I felt sorry for the blind man for a little bit. And then I found myself thinking what a pitiful life this woman must have led. Imagine a woman who could never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one. A woman who could go on day after day and never receive the smallest compliment from her beloved. A woman whose husband could never read the expression on her face, be it misery or something better. Someone who could wear makeup or not–what difference to him? She could, if she wanted, wear green eye-shadow around one eye, a straight pin in her nostril, yellow slacks, and purple shoes, no matter. And then to slip off into death, the blind man’s hand on her hand, his blind eyes streaming tears–I’m imagining now–her last thought maybe this: that he never even knew what she looked like, and she on an express to the grave. Robert was left with a small insurance policy and a half of a twenty-peso Mexican coin. The other half of the coin went into the box with her. Pathetic.

    So when the time rolled around, my wife went to the depot to pick him up. With nothing to do but wait–sure, I blamed him for that–I was having a drink and watching the TV when I heard the car pull into the drive. I got up from the sofa with my drink and went to the window to have a look.

    I saw my wife laughing as she parked the car. I saw her get out of the car and shut the odor. She was still wearing a smile. Just amazing. She went around to the other side of the car to where the blind man was already starting to get out. This blind man, feature this, he was wearing a full beard! A beard on a blind man! Too much, I say. The blind man reached into the back seat and dragged out a suitcase. My wife took his arm, shut the car door, and, talking all the way, moved him down the drive and then up the steps to the front porch. I turned off the TV. I finished my drink, rinsed the glass, dried my hands. Then I went to the door.

    My wife said, “I want you to meet Robert. Robert, this is my husband. I’ve told you all about him.” She was beaming. She had this blind man by his coat sleeve.

    The blind man let go of his suitcase and up came his hand. I took it. He squeezed hard, held my hand, and then he let it go.

    “I feel like we’ve already met,” he boomed.

    “Likewise,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say. Then I said, “Welcome. I’ve heard a lot about you.” We began to move then, a little group, from the porch into the living room, my wife guiding him by the arm. The blind man was carrying his suitcase in his other hand. My wife said things like, “To your left here, Robert. That’s right. Now watch it, there’s a chair. That’s it. Sit down right here. This is the sofa. We just bought this sofa two weeks ago.”

    I started to say something about the old sofa. I’d liked that old sofa. But I didn’t say anything. Then I wanted to say something else, small-talk, about the scenic ride along the Hudson. How going to New York, you should sit on the right-hand side of the train, and coming from New York, the left-hand side.

    “Did you have a good train ride?” I said. “Which side of the train did you sit on, by the way?”

    “What a question, which side!” my wife said. “What’s it matter which side?” she said.

    “I just asked,” I said.

    “Right side,” the blind man said. “I hadn’t been on a train in nearly forty years. Not since I was a kid. With my folks. That’s been a long time. I’d nearly forgotten the sensation. I have winter in my beard now,” he said. “So I’ve been told, anyway. Do I look distinguished, my dear?” the blind man said to my wife.

    “You look distinguished, Robert,” she said. “Robert,” she said. “Robert, it’s just so good to see you.”

    My wife finally took her eyes off the blind man and looked at me. I had the feeling she didn’t like what she saw. I shrugged.

    I’ve never met, or personally known, anyone who was blind. This blind man was late forties, a heavy-set, balding man with stooped shoulders, as if he carried a great weight there. He wore brown slacks, brown shoes, a light-brown shirt, a tie, a sports coat. Spiffy. He also had this full beard. But he didn’t use a cane and he didn’t wear dark glasses. I’d always thought dark glasses were a must for the blind. Fact was, I wished he had a pair. At first glance, his eyes looked like anyone else’s eyes. But if you looked close, there was something different about them. Too much white in the iris, for one thing, and the pupils seemed to move around in the sockets without his knowing it or being able to stop it. Creepy. As I stared at his face, I saw the left pupil turn in toward his nose while the other made an effort to keep in one place. But it was only an effort, for that eye was on the roam without his knowing it or wanting it to be.

    I said, “Let me get you a drink. What’s your pleasure? We have a little of everything. It’s one of our pastimes.”

    “Bub, I’m a Scotch man myself,” he said fast enough in this big voice.

    “Right,” I said. Bub! “Sure you are. I knew it.”

    He let his fingers touch his suitcase, which was sitting alongside the sofa. He was taking his bearings. I didn’t blame him for that.

    “I’ll move that up to your room,” my wife said.

    “No, that’s fine,” the blind man said loudly. “It can go up when I go up.”

    “A little water with the Scotch?” I said.

    “Very little,” he said.

    “I knew it,” I said.

    He said, “Just a tad. The Irish actor, Barry Fitzgerald? I’m like that fellow. When I drink water, Fitzgerald said, I drink water. When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey.” My wife laughed. The blind man brought his hand up under his beard. He lifted his beard slowly and let it drop.

    I did the drinks, three big glasses of Scotch with a splash of water in each. Then we made ourselves comfortable and talked about Robert’s travels. First the long flight from the West Coast to Connecticut, we covered that. Then from Connecticut up here by train. We had another drink concerning that leg of the trip.

    I remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people. But this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one. This blind man filled his ashtray and my wife emptied it.

    When we sat down at the table for dinner, we had another drink. My wife heaped Robert’s plate with cube steak, scalloped potatoes, green beans. I buttered him up two slices of bread. I said, “Here’s bread and butter for you.” I swallowed some of my drink. “Now let us pray,” I said, and the blind man lowered his head. My wife looked at me, her mouth agape. “Pray the phone won’t ring and the food doesn’t get cold,” I said.

    We dug in. We ate everything there was to eat on the table. We ate like there was no tomorrow. We didn’t talk. We ate. We scarfed. We grazed that table. We were into serious eating. The blind man had right away located his foods, he knew just where everything was on his plate. I watched with admiration as he used his knife and fork on the meat. He’d cut two pieces of meat, fork the meat into his mouth, and then go all out for the scalloped potatoes, the beans next, and then he’d tear off a hunk of buttered bread and eat that. He’d follow this up with a big drink of milk. It didn’t seem to bother him to use his fingers once in a while, either.

    We finished everything, including half a strawberry pie. For a few moments, we sat as if stunned. Sweat beaded on our faces. Finally, we got up from the table and left the dirty places. We didn’t look back. We took ourselves into the living room and sank into our places again. Robert and my wife sat on the sofa. I took the big chair. We had us two or three more drinks while they talked about the major things that had come to pass for them in the past ten years. For the most part, I just listened. Now and then I joined in. I didn’t want him to think I’d left the room, and I didn’t want her to think I was feeling left out. They talked of things that had happened to them–to them!–these past ten years. I waited in vain to hear my name on my wife’s sweet lips: “And then my dear husband came into my life”–something like that. But I heard nothing of the sort. More talk of Robert. Robert had done a little of everything, it seemed, a regular blind jack-of-all-trades. But most recently he and his wife had had an Amway distributorship, from which, I gathered, they’d earned their living, such as it was. The blind man was also a ham radio operator. He talked in his loud voice about conversations he’d had with fellow operators in Guam, in the Philippines, in Alaska, and even in Tahiti. He said he’d have a lot of friends there if he ever wanted to go visit those places. From time to time, he’d turn his blind face toward me, put his hand under his beard, ask me something. How long had I been in my present position? (Three years.) Did I like my work? (I didn’t.) Was I going to stay with it? (What were the options?) Finally, when I thought he was beginning to run down, I got up and turned on the TV.

    My wife looked at me with irritation. She was heading toward a boil. Then she looked at the blind man and said, “Robert, do you have a TV?”

    The blind man said, “My dear, I have two TVs. I have a color set and a black-and-white thing, an old relic. It’s funny, but if I turn the TV on, and I’m always turning it on, I turn on the color set. It’s funny, don’t you think?”

    I didn’t know what to say to that. I had absolutely nothing to say to that. No opinion. So I watched the news program and tried to listen to what the announcer was saying.

    “This is a color TV,” the blind man said. “Don’t ask me how, but I can tell.”

    “We traded up a while ago,” I said.

    The blind man had another taste of his drink. He lifted his beard, sniffed it, and let it fall. He leaned forward on the sofa. He positioned his ashtray on the coffee table, then put the lighter to his cigarette. He leaned back on the sofa and crossed his legs at the ankles.

    My wife covered her mouth, and then she yawned. She stretched. She said, “I think I’ll go upstairs and put on my robe. I think I’ll change into something else. Robert, you make yourself comfortable,” she said.

    “I’m comfortable,” the blind man said.

    “I want you to feel comfortable in this house,” she said.

    “I am comfortable,” the blind man said.

    After she’d left the room, he and I listened to the weather report and then to the sports roundup. By that time, she’d been gone so long I didn’t know if she was going to come back. I thought she might have gone to bed. I wished she’d come back downstairs. I didn’t want to be left alone with a blind man. I asked him if he wanted another drink, and he said sure. Then I asked if he wanted to smoke some dope with me. I said I’d just rolled a number. I hadn’t, but I planned to do so in about two shakes.

    “I’ll try some with you,” he said.

    “Damn right,” I said. “That’s the stuff.”

    I got our drinks and sat down on the sofa with him. Then I rolled us two fat numbers. I lit one and passed it. I brought it to his fingers. He took it and inhaled.

    “Hold it as long as you can,” I said. I could tell he didn’t know the first thing.

    My wife came back downstairs wearing her pink robe and her pink slippers.

    “What do I smell?” she said.

    “We thought we’d have us some cannabis,” I said.

    My wife gave me a savage look. Then she looked at the blind man and said, “Robert, I didn’t know you smoked.”

    He said, “I do now, my dear. There’s a first time for everything. But I don’t feel anything yet.”

    “This stuff is pretty mellow,” I said. “This stuff is mild. It’s dope you can reason with,” I said. “I t doesn’t mess you up.”

    “Not much it doesn’t, bub,” he said, and laughed.

    My wife sat on the sofa between the blind man and me. I passed her the number. She took it and toked and then passed it back to me. “Which way is this going?” she said. Then she said, “I shouldn’t be smoking this. I can hardly keep my eyes open as it is. That dinner did me in. I shouldn’t have eaten so much.”

    “It was the strawberry pie,” the blind man said. “That’s what did it,” he said, and he laughed his big laugh. Then he shook his head.

    “There’s more strawberry pie,” I said.

    “Do you want some more, Robert?” my wife said.

    “Maybe in a little while,” he said.

    We gave our attention to the TV. My wife yawned again. She said, “Your bed is made up when you feel like going to bed, Robert. I know you must have had a long day. When you’re ready to go to bed, say so.” She pulled his arm. “Robert?”

    He came to and said, “I’ve had a real nice time. This beats tapes doesn’t it?”

    I said, “Coming at you,” and I put the number between his fingers. He inhaled, held the smoke, and then let it go. It was like he’d been doing it since he was nine years old.

    “Thanks, bub,” he said. “But I think this is all for me. I think I’m beginning to feel it,” he said. He held the burning roach out for my wife.

    “Same here,” she said. “Ditto. Me, too.” She took the roach and passed it to me. “I may just sit here for a while between you two guys with my eyes closed. But don’t let me bother you, okay? Either one of you. If it bothers you, say so. Otherwise, I may just sit here with my eyes closed until you’re ready to go to bed,” she said. “Your bed’s made up, Robert, when you’re ready. It’s right next to our room at the top of the stairs. We’ll show you up when you’re ready. You wake me up now, you guys, if I fall asleep.” She said that and then she closed her eyes and went to sleep.

    The news program ended. I got up and changed the channel. I sat back down on the sofa. I wished my wife hadn’t pooped out. Her head lay across the back of the sofa, her mouth open. She’d turned so that her robe slipped away from her legs, exposing a juicy thigh. I reached to draw her robe back over her, and it was then that I glanced at the blind man. What the hell! I flipped the rope open again.

    “You say when you want some strawberry pie,” I said.

    “I will,” he said.

    I said, “Are you tired? Do you want me to take you up to your bed? Are you ready to hit the hay?”

    “Not yet,” he said. “No, I’ll stay up with you, bub. If that’s all right. I’ll stay up until you’re ready to turn in. We haven’t had a chance to talk. Know what I mean? I feel like me and her monopolized the evening.” He lifted his beard and he let it fall. He picked up his cigarettes and his lighter.

    “That’s all right,” I said. Then I said, “I’m glad for the company.”

    And I guess I was. Every night I smoked dope and stayed up as long as I could before I fell asleep. My wife and I hardly ever went to bed at the same time. When I did go to sleep, I had these dreams. Sometimes I’d wake up from one of them, my heart going crazy.

    Something about the church and the Middle Ages was on the TV. Not your run-of-the-mill TV fare. I wanted to watch something else. I turned to the other channels. But there was nothing on them, either. So I turned back to the first channel and apologized.

    “Bub, it’s all right,” the blind man said. “It’s fine with me. Whatever you want to watch is okay. I’m always learning something. Learning never ends. It won’t hurt me to learn something tonight, I got ears,” he said.

    We didn’t say anything for a time. He was leaning forward with his head turned at me, his right ear aimed in the direction of the set. Very disconcerting. Now and then his eyelids drooped and then they snapped open again. Now and then he put his fingers into his beard and tugged, like he was thinking about something he was hearing on the television.

    On the screen, a group of men wearing cowls was being set upon and tormented by men dressed in skeleton costumes and men dressed as devils. The men dressed as devils wore devil masks, horns, and long tails. This pageant was part of a procession. The Englishman who was narrating the thing said it took place in Spain once a year. I tried to explain to the blind man what was happening.

    “Skeletons,” he said. “I know about skeletons,” he said, and he nodded.

    The TV showed this one cathedral. Then there was a long, slow look at another one. Finally, the picture switched to the famous one in Paris, with its flying buttresses and its spires reaching up to the clouds. The camera pulled away to show the whole of the cathedral rising above the skyline.

    There were times when the Englishman who was telling the thing would shut up, would simply let the camera move around the cathedrals. Or else the camera would tour the countryside, men in fields walking behind oxen. I waited as long as I could. Then I felt I had to say something. I said, “They’re showing the outside of this cathedral now. Gargoyles. Little statues carved to look like monsters. Now I guess they’re in Italy. Yeah, they’re in Italy. There’s paintings on the walls of this one church.”

    “Are those fresco paintings, bub?” he asked, and he sipped from his drink.

    I reached for my glass. But it was empty. I tried to remember what I could remember. “You’re asking me are those frescoes?” I said. “That’s a good question. I don’t know.”

    The camera moved to a cathedral outside Lisbon. The differences in the Portuguese cathedral compared with the French and Italian were not that great. But they were there. Mostly the interior stuff. Then something occurred to me, and I said, “Something has occurred to me. Do you have any idea what a cathedral is? What they look like, that is? Do you follow me? If somebody says cathedral to you, do you have any notion what they’re talking about? Do you know the difference between that and a Baptist church, say?”

    He let the smoke dribble from his mouth. “I know they took hundreds of workers fifty or a hundred years to build,” he said. “I just heard the man say that, of course. I know generations of the same families worked on a cathedral. I heard him say that, too. The men who began their life’s work on them, they never lived to see the completion of their work. In that wise, bub, they’re no different from the rest of us, right?” He laughed. Then his eyelids drooped again. His head nodded. He seemed to be snoozing. Maybe he was imagining himself in Portugal. The TV was showing another cathedral now. This one was in Germany. The Englishman’s voice droned on. “Cathedrals,” the blind man said. He sat up and rolled his head back and forth. “If you want the truth, bub, that’s about all I know. What I just said. What I heard him say. But maybe you could describe one to me? I wish you’d do it. I’d like that. If you want to know, I really don’t have a good idea.”

    I stared hard at the shot of the cathedral on the TV. How could I even begin to describe it? But say my life depended on it. Say my life was being threatened by an insane guy who said I had to do it or else.

    I stared some more at the cathedral before the picture flipped off into the countryside. There was no use. I turned to the blind man and said, “To begin with, they’re very tall.” I was looking around the room for clues. “They reach way up. Up and up. Toward the sky. They’re so big, some of them, they have to have these supports. To help hold them up, so to speak. These supports are called buttresses. They remind me of viaducts, for some reason. But maybe you don’t know viaducts, either? Sometimes the cathedrals have devils and such carved into the front. Sometimes lords and ladies. Don’t ask me why this is,” I said.

    He was nodding. The whole upper part of his body seemed to be moving back and forth.

    “I’m not doing so good, am I?” I said.

    He stopped nodding and leaned forward on the edge of the sofa. As he listened to me, he was running his fingers through his beard. I wasn’t getting through to him, I could see that. But he waited for me to go on just the same. He nodded, like he was trying to encourage me. I tried to think what else to say. “They’re really big,” I said. “They’re massive. They’re built of stone. Marble, too, sometimes. In those olden days, when they built cathedrals, men wanted to be close to God. In those olden days, God was an important part of everyone’s life. You could tell this from their cathedral-building. I’m sorry,” I said, “but it looks like that’s the best I can do for you. I’m just no good at it.”

    “That’s all right, bub,” the blind man said. “Hey, listen. I hope you don’t mind my asking you. Can I ask you something? Let me ask you a simple question, yes or no. I’m just curious and there’s no offense. You’re my host. But let me ask if you are in any way religious? You don’t mind my asking?”

    I shook my head. He couldn’t see that, though. A wink is the same as a nod to a blind man. “I guess I don’t believe in it. In anything. Sometimes It’s hard. You know what I’m saying?”

    “Sure, I do,” he said.

    “Right,” I said.

    The Englishman was still holding forth. My wife sighed in her sleep. She drew a long breath and went on with her sleeping.

    “You’ll have to forgive me,” I said. “But I can’t tell you what a cathedral looks like. It just isn’t in me to do it. I can’t do any more than I’ve done.”

    The blind man sat very still, his head down, as he listened to me.

    I said, “The truth is, cathedrals don’t mean anything special to me. Nothing. Cathedrals. They’re something to look at on late-night TV. That’s all they are.”

    It was then that the blind man cleared his throat. He brought something up. He took a handkerchief from his back pocket. Then he said, “I get it, bub. It’s okay. It happens. Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Hey, listen to me. Will you do me a favor? I got an idea. Why don’t you find us some heavy paper? and a pen. We’ll do something. We’ll draw one together. Get us a pen and some heavy paper. Go on, bub, get the stuff,” he said.

    So I went upstairs. My legs felt like they didn’t have any strength in them. They felt like they did after I’d done some running. In my wife’s room, I looked around. I found some ballpoints in a little basket on her table. And then I tried to think where to look for the kind of paper he was talking about.

    Downstairs, in the kitchen, I found a shopping bag with onion skins in the bottom of the bag. I emptied the bag and shook it. I brought it into the living room and sat down with it near his legs. I moved some things, smoothed the wrinkles from the bag, spread it out on the coffee table.

    The blind man got down from the sofa and sat next to me on the carpet.

    He ran his fingers over the paper. He went up and down the sides of the paper. The edges, even the edges. He fingered the corners.

    “All right,” he said. “All right, let’s do her.”

    He found my hand, the hand with the pen. He closed his hand over my hand. “Go ahead, bub, draw,” he said. “Draw. You’ll see. I’ll follow along with you. It’ll be okay. Just begin now like I’m telling you. You’ll see. Draw,” the blind man said.

    So I began. First I drew a box that looked like a house. It could have been the house I lived in. Then I put a roof on it. At either end of the roof, I drew spires. Crazy.

    “Swell,” he said. “Terrific. You’re doing fine,” he said. “Never thought anything like this could happen in your lifetime, did you, bub? Well, it’s a strange life, we all know that. Go on now. Keep it up.”

    I put in windows with arches. I drew flying buttresses. I hung great doors. I couldn’t stop. The TV station went off the air. I put down the pen and closed and opened my fingers. The blind man felt around over the paper. He moved the tips of his fingers over the paper, all over what I had drawn, and he nodded.

    “Doing fine,” the blind man said.

    I took up the pen again, and he found my hand. I kept at it. I’m no artist. But I kept drawing just the same.

    My wife opened up her eyes and gazed at us. She sat up on the sofa, her robe hanging open. She said, “What are you doing? Tell me, I want to know.”

    I didn’t answer her.

    The blind man said, “We’re drawing a cathedral. Me and him are working on it. Press hard,” he said to me. “That’s right. That’s good,” he said. “Sure. You got it, bub, I can tell. You didn’t think you could. But you can, can’t you? You’re cooking with gas now. You know what I’m saying? We’re going to really have us something here in a minute. How’s the old arm?” he said. “Put some people in there now. What’s a cathedral without people?”

    My wife said, “What’s going on? Robert, what are you doing? What’s going on?”

    “It’s all right,” he said to her. “Close your eyes now,” the blind man said to me.

    I did it. I closed them just like he said.

    “Are they closed?” he said. “Don’t fudge.”

    “They’re closed,” I said.

    “Keep them that way,” he said. He said, “Don’t stop now. Draw.”

    So we kept on with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now.

    Then he said, “I think that’s it. I think you got it,” he said. “Take a look. What do you think?”

    But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do.

    “Well?” he said. “Are you looking?”

    My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.

    “It’s really something,” I said.

  11. When I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that
    my house was on fire. Two o’clock and the whole corner of the peninsula
    was blazing with light which fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin
    elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner I saw that it
    was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar.

    At first I thought it was another party, a wild rout that had resolved
    itself into “hide-and-go-seek” or “sardines-in-the-box” with all the
    house thrown open to the game. But there wasn’t a sound. Only wind in
    the trees which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again
    as if the house had winked into the darkness. As my taxi groaned away I
    saw Gatsby walking toward me across his lawn.

    “Your place looks like the world’s fair,” I said.

    “Does it?” He turned his eyes toward it absently. “I have been glancing
    into some of the rooms. Let’s go to Coney Island, old sport. In my car.”

    “It’s too late.”

    “Well, suppose we take a plunge in the swimming pool? I haven’t made use
    of it all summer.”

    “I’ve got to go to bed.”

    “All right.”

    He waited, looking at me with suppressed eagerness.

    “I talked with Miss Baker,” I said after a moment. “I’m going to call up
    Daisy tomorrow and invite her over here to tea.”

    “Oh, that’s all right,” he said carelessly. “I don’t want to put you to
    any trouble.”

    “What day would suit you?”

    “What day would suit YOU?” he corrected me quickly. “I don’t want to put
    you to any trouble, you see.”

    “How about the day after tomorrow?” He considered for a moment. Then,
    with reluctance:

    “I want to get the grass cut,” he said.

    We both looked at the grass–there was a sharp line where my ragged lawn
    ended and the darker, well-kept expanse of his began. I suspected that
    he meant my grass.

    “There’s another little thing,” he said uncertainly, and hesitated.

    “Would you rather put it off for a few days?” I asked.

    “Oh, it isn’t about that. At least—-” He fumbled with a series of
    beginnings. “Why, I thought–why, look here, old sport, you don’t make
    much money, do you?”

    “Not very much.”

    This seemed to reassure him and he continued more confidently.

    “I thought you didn’t, if you’ll pardon my–you see, I carry on a
    little business on the side, a sort of sideline, you understand. And I
    thought that if you don’t make very much–You’re selling bonds, aren’t
    you, old sport?”

    “Trying to.”

    “Well, this would interest you. It wouldn’t take up much of your
    time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be
    a rather confidential sort of thing.”

    I realize now that under different circumstances that conversation might
    have been one of the crises of my life. But, because the offer was
    obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice
    except to cut him off there.

    “I’ve got my hands full,” I said. “I’m much obliged but I couldn’t take
    on any more work.”

    “You wouldn’t have to do any business with Wolfshiem.” Evidently he
    thought that I was shying away from the “gonnegtion” mentioned at lunch,
    but I assured him he was wrong. He waited a moment longer, hoping I’d
    begin a conversation, but I was too absorbed to be responsive, so he went
    unwillingly home.

    The evening had made me light-headed and happy; I think I walked into a
    deep sleep as I entered my front door. So I didn’t know whether or not
    Gatsby went to Coney Island or for how many hours he “glanced into
    rooms” while his house blazed gaudily on. I called up Daisy from the
    office next morning and invited her to come to tea.

    “Don’t bring Tom,” I warned her.


    “Don’t bring Tom.”

    “Who is ‘Tom’?” she asked innocently.

    The day agreed upon was pouring rain. At eleven o’clock a man in a
    raincoat dragging a lawn-mower tapped at my front door and said that
    Mr. Gatsby had sent him over to cut my grass. This reminded me that I
    had forgotten to tell my Finn to come back so I drove into West Egg
    Village to search for her among soggy white-washed alleys and to buy
    some cups and lemons and flowers.

    The flowers were unnecessary, for at two o’clock a greenhouse arrived
    from Gatsby’s, with innumerable receptacles to contain it. An hour
    later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby in a white flannel
    suit, silver shirt and gold-colored tie hurried in. He was pale and
    there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes.

    “Is everything all right?” he asked immediately.

    “The grass looks fine, if that’s what you mean.”

    “What grass?” he inquired blankly. “Oh, the grass in the yard.” He looked
    out the window at it, but judging from his expression I don’t believe
    he saw a thing.

    “Looks very good,” he remarked vaguely. “One of the papers said they
    thought the rain would stop about four. I think it was ‘The Journal.’ Have
    you got everything you need in the shape of–of tea?”

    I took him into the pantry where he looked a little reproachfully at the
    Finn. Together we scrutinized the twelve lemon cakes from the delicatessen

    “Will they do?” I asked.

    “Of course, of course! They’re fine!” and he added hollowly, “. . .old

    The rain cooled about half-past three to a damp mist through which
    occasional thin drops swam like dew. Gatsby looked with vacant eyes
    through a copy of Clay’s “Economics,” starting at the Finnish tread that
    shook the kitchen floor and peering toward the bleared windows from time
    to time as if a series of invisible but alarming happenings were taking
    place outside. Finally he got up and informed me in an uncertain voice
    that he was going home.

    “Why’s that?”

    “Nobody’s coming to tea. It’s too late!” He looked at his watch as if
    there was some pressing demand on his time elsewhere. “I can’t wait
    all day.”

    “Don’t be silly; it’s just two minutes to four.”

    He sat down, miserably, as if I had pushed him, and simultaneously there
    was the sound of a motor turning into my lane. We both jumped up and,
    a little harrowed myself, I went out into the yard.

    Under the dripping bare lilac trees a large open car was coming up the
    drive. It stopped. Daisy’s face, tipped sideways beneath a
    three-cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with a bright ecstatic

    “Is this absolutely where you live, my dearest one?”

    The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. I had
    to follow the sound of it for a moment, up and down, with my ear alone
    before any words came through. A damp streak of hair lay like a dash of
    blue paint across her cheek and her hand was wet with glistening drops as
    I took it to help her from the car.

    “Are you in love with me,” she said low in my ear. “Or why did I have
    to come alone?”

    “That’s the secret of Castle Rackrent. Tell your chauffeur to go far
    away and spend an hour.”

    “Come back in an hour, Ferdie.” Then in a grave murmur, “His name is

    “Does the gasoline affect his nose?”

    “I don’t think so,” she said innocently. “Why?”

    We went in. To my overwhelming surprise the living room was deserted.

    “Well, that’s funny!” I exclaimed.

    “What’s funny?”

    She turned her head as there was a light, dignified knocking at the front
    door. I went out and opened it. Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands
    plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of
    water glaring tragically into my eyes.

    With his hands still in his coat pockets he stalked by me into the
    hall, turned sharply as if he were on a wire and disappeared into the
    living room. It wasn’t a bit funny. Aware of the loud beating of my own
    heart I pulled the door to against the increasing rain.

    For half a minute there wasn’t a sound. Then from the living room I
    heard a sort of choking murmur and part of a laugh followed by Daisy’s
    voice on a clear artificial note.

    “I certainly am awfully glad to see you again.”

    A pause; it endured horribly. I had nothing to do in the hall so I went
    into the room.

    Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the
    mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom.
    His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a
    defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes
    stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the
    edge of a stiff chair.

    “We’ve met before,” muttered Gatsby. His eyes glanced momentarily at
    me and his lips parted with an abortive attempt at a laugh. Luckily
    the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his
    head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set
    it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the
    sofa and his chin in his hand.

    “I’m sorry about the clock,” he said.

    My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn’t muster up
    a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head.

    “It’s an old clock,” I told them idiotically.

    I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on
    the floor.

    “We haven’t met for many years,” said Daisy, her voice as matter-of-fact
    as it could ever be.

    “Five years next November.”

    The automatic quality of Gatsby’s answer set us all back at least another
    minute. I had them both on their feet with the desperate suggestion that
    they help me make tea in the kitchen when the demoniac Finn brought it in
    on a tray.

    Amid the welcome confusion of cups and cakes a certain physical decency
    established itself. Gatsby got himself into a shadow and while Daisy
    and I talked looked conscientiously from one to the other of us with
    tense unhappy eyes. However, as calmness wasn’t an end in itself I
    made an excuse at the first possible moment and got to my feet.

    “Where are you going?” demanded Gatsby in immediate alarm.

    “I’ll be back.”

    “I’ve got to speak to you about something before you go.”

    He followed me wildly into the kitchen, closed the door and whispered:
    “Oh, God!” in a miserable way.

    “What’s the matter?”

    “This is a terrible mistake,” he said, shaking his head from side to
    side, “a terrible, terrible mistake.”

    “You’re just embarrassed, that’s all,” and luckily I added: “Daisy’s
    embarrassed too.”

    “She’s embarrassed?” he repeated incredulously.

    “Just as much as you are.”

    “Don’t talk so loud.”

    “You’re acting like a little boy,” I broke out impatiently. “Not only
    that but you’re rude. Daisy’s sitting in there all alone.”

    He raised his hand to stop my words, looked at me with unforgettable
    reproach and opening the door cautiously went back into the other room.

    I walked out the back way–just as Gatsby had when he had made his
    nervous circuit of the house half an hour before–and ran for a huge
    black knotted tree whose massed leaves made a fabric against the rain.
    Once more it was pouring and my irregular lawn, well-shaved by
    Gatsby’s gardener, abounded in small muddy swamps and prehistoric
    marshes. There was nothing to look at from under the tree except
    Gatsby’s enormous house, so I stared at it, like Kant at his church
    steeple, for half an hour. A brewer had built it early in the “period”
    craze, a decade before, and there was a story that he’d agreed to pay
    five years’ taxes on all the neighboring cottages if the owners would
    have their roofs thatched with straw. Perhaps their refusal took the
    heart out of his plan to Found a Family–he went into an immediate
    decline. His children sold his house with the black wreath still on the
    door. Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always
    been obstinate about being peasantry.

    After half an hour the sun shone again and the grocer’s automobile
    rounded Gatsby’s drive with the raw material for his servants’ dinner–I
    felt sure he wouldn’t eat a spoonful. A maid began opening the upper
    windows of his house, appeared momentarily in each, and, leaning from a
    large central bay, spat meditatively into the garden. It was time I
    went back. While the rain continued it had seemed like the murmur of
    their voices, rising and swelling a little, now and then, with gusts of
    emotion. But in the new silence I felt that silence had fallen within
    the house too.

    I went in–after making every possible noise in the kitchen short of
    pushing over the stove–but I don’t believe they heard a sound. They
    were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if
    some question had been asked or was in the air, and every vestige of
    embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with tears and when I
    came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before
    a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding.
    He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new
    well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.

    “Oh, hello, old sport,” he said, as if he hadn’t seen me for years. I
    thought for a moment he was going to shake hands.

    “It’s stopped raining.”

    “Has it?” When he realized what I was talking about, that there were
    twinkle-bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weather man,
    like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light, and repeated the news to
    Daisy. “What do you think of that? It’s stopped raining.”

    “I’m glad, Jay.” Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only
    of her unexpected joy.

    “I want you and Daisy to come over to my house,” he said, “I’d like to
    show her around.”

    “You’re sure you want me to come?”

    “Absolutely, old sport.”

    Daisy went upstairs to wash her face–too late I thought with humiliation
    of my towels–while Gatsby and I waited on the lawn.

    “My house looks well, doesn’t it?” he demanded. “See how the whole
    front of it catches the light.”

    I agreed that it was splendid.

    “Yes.” His eyes went over it, every arched door and square tower. “It took
    me just three years to earn the money that bought it.”

    “I thought you inherited your money.”

    “I did, old sport,” he said automatically, “but I lost most of it in
    the big panic–the panic of the war.”

    I think he hardly knew what he was saying, for when I asked him what
    business he was in he answered “That’s my affair,” before he realized
    that it wasn’t the appropriate reply.

    “Oh, I’ve been in several things,” he corrected himself. “I was in the
    drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I’m not in either
    one now.” He looked at me with more attention. “Do you mean you’ve been
    thinking over what I proposed the other night?”

    Before I could answer, Daisy came out of the house and two rows of brass
    buttons on her dress gleamed in the sunlight.

    “That huge place THERE?” she cried pointing.

    “Do you like it?”

    “I love it, but I don’t see how you live there all alone.”

    “I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day. People who
    do interesting things. Celebrated people.”

    Instead of taking the short cut along the Sound we went down the road and
    entered by the big postern. With enchanting murmurs Daisy admired this
    aspect or that of the feudal silhouette against the sky, admired the
    gardens, the sparkling odor of jonquils and the frothy odor of hawthorn
    and plum blossoms and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate.
    It was strange to reach the marble steps and find no stir of bright
    dresses in and out the door, and hear no sound but bird voices in the

    And inside as we wandered through Marie Antoinette music rooms and
    Restoration salons I felt that there were guests concealed behind
    every couch and table, under orders to be breathlessly silent until we
    had passed through. As Gatsby closed the door of “the Merton College
    Library” I could have sworn I heard the owl-eyed man break into
    ghostly laughter.

    We went upstairs, through period bedrooms swathed in rose and lavender
    silk and vivid with new flowers, through dressing rooms and poolrooms,
    and bathrooms with sunken baths–intruding into one chamber where a
    dishevelled man in pajamas was doing liver exercises on the floor. It
    was Mr. Klipspringer, the “boarder.” I had seen him wandering hungrily
    about the beach that morning. Finally we came to Gatsby’s own apartment,
    a bedroom and a bath and an Adam study, where we sat down and drank a
    glass of some Chartreuse he took from a cupboard in the wall.

    He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy and I think he revalued
    everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew
    from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his
    possessions in a dazed way as though in her actual and astounding
    presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a
    flight of stairs.

    His bedroom was the simplest room of all–except where the dresser was
    garnished with a toilet set of pure dull gold. Daisy took the brush
    with delight and smoothed her hair, whereupon Gatsby sat down and
    shaded his eyes and began to laugh.

    “It’s the funniest thing, old sport,” he said hilariously. “I can’t–when
    I try to—-”

    He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third.
    After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with
    wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it
    right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an
    inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running
    down like an overwound clock.

    Recovering himself in a minute he opened for us two hulking patent
    cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing-gowns and ties, and
    his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high.

    “I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection
    of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.”

    He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one
    before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel
    which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in
    many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft
    rich heap mounted higher–shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in
    coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of
    Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into
    the shirts and began to cry stormily.

    “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the
    thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such–such beautiful
    shirts before.”

    After the house, we were to see the grounds and the swimming pool, and the
    hydroplane and the midsummer flowers–but outside Gatsby’s window it
    began to rain again so we stood in a row looking at the corrugated
    surface of the Sound.

    “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said
    Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of
    your dock.”

    Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed
    in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the
    colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared
    to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed
    very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star
    to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of
    enchanted objects had diminished by one.

    I began to walk about the room, examining various indefinite objects in
    the half darkness. A large photograph of an elderly man in yachting
    costume attracted me, hung on the wall over his desk.

    “Who’s this?”

    “That? That’s Mr. Dan Cody, old sport.”

    The name sounded faintly familiar.

    “He’s dead now. He used to be my best friend years ago.”

    There was a small picture of Gatsby, also in yachting costume, on the
    bureau–Gatsby with his head thrown back defiantly–taken apparently
    when he was about eighteen.

    “I adore it!” exclaimed Daisy. “The pompadour! You never told me you had
    a pompadour–or a yacht.”

    “Look at this,” said Gatsby quickly. “Here’s a lot of clippings–about

    They stood side by side examining it. I was going to ask to see the rubies
    when the phone rang and Gatsby took up the receiver.

    “Yes. . . . Well, I can’t talk now. . . . I can’t talk now, old
    sport. . . . I said a SMALL town. . . . He must know what a small town
    is. . . . Well, he’s no use to us if Detroit is his idea of a small
    town. . . .”

    He rang off.

    “Come here QUICK!” cried Daisy at the window.

    The rain was still falling, but the darkness had parted in the west,
    and there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea.

    “Look at that,” she whispered, and then after a moment: “I’d like to
    just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you

    I tried to go then, but they wouldn’t hear of it; perhaps my presence
    made them feel more satisfactorily alone.

    “I know what we’ll do,” said Gatsby, “we’ll have Klipspringer play the

    He went out of the room calling “Ewing!” and returned in a few
    minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, slightly worn young man with
    shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blonde hair. He was now decently clothed
    in a “sport shirt” open at the neck, sneakers and duck trousers of a
    nebulous hue.

    “Did we interrupt your exercises?” inquired Daisy politely.

    “I was asleep,” cried Mr. Klipspringer, in a spasm of embarrassment.
    “That is, I’d BEEN asleep. Then I got up. . . .”

    “Klipspringer plays the piano,” said Gatsby, cutting him off. “Don’t you,
    Ewing, old sport?”

    “I don’t play well. I don’t–I hardly play at all. I’m all out of

    “We’ll go downstairs,” interrupted Gatsby. He flipped a switch. The
    grey windows disappeared as the house glowed full of light.

    In the music room Gatsby turned on a solitary lamp beside the piano. He
    lit Daisy’s cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on
    a couch far across the room where there was no light save what the
    gleaming floor bounced in from the hall.

    When Klipspringer had played “The Love Nest” he turned around on the
    bench and searched unhappily for Gatsby in the gloom.

    “I’m all out of practice, you see. I told you I couldn’t play. I’m all
    out of prac—-”

    “Don’t talk so much, old sport,” commanded Gatsby. “Play!”


    Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the
    Sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains,
    men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was
    the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on
    the air.


    As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment
    had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to
    him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five
    years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when
    Daisy tumbled short of his dreams–not through her own fault but
    because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond
    her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative
    passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright
    feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can
    challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

    As I watched him he adjusted himself a little, visibly. His hand took
    hold of hers and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward
    her with a rush of emotion. I think that voice held him most with its
    fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn’t be over-dreamed–that
    voice was a deathless song.

    They had forgotten me, but Daisy glanced up and held out her hand;
    Gatsby didn’t know me now at all. I looked once more at them and they
    looked back at me, remotely, possessed by intense life. Then I went out
    of the room and down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there

  12. Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?

    I woke up in a Soho doorway
    A policeman knew my name
    He said “You can go sleep at home tonight
    If you can get up and walk away”

    I staggered back to the underground
    And the breeze blew back my hair
    I remember throwin’ punches around
    And preachin’ from my chair

    Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    ‘Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

    I took the tube back out of town
    Back to the Rollin’ Pin
    I felt a little like a dying clown
    With a streak of Rin Tin Tin

    I stretched back and I hiccoughed
    And looked back on my busy day
    Eleven hours in the Tin Pan
    God, there’s got to be another way

    Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh, who are you(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh Who the fuck are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

    Who are you?
    who are who are who are you x11

    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?

    I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    C’mon tell me who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh, I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

    I know there’s a place you walked
    Where love falls from the trees
    My heart is like a broken cup
    I only feel right on my knees

    I spit out like a sewer hole
    Yet still recieve your kiss
    How can I measure up to anyone now
    After such a love as this?

    Well who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    tell me who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    oh, I really wanna know? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    tell, tell me who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

    I used to check my reflection
    Jumping with my cheap guitar
    I must of lost my direction
    ‘Cause I ended up a superstar
    One night I’s in the board room affected by the human race
    You can learn from my mistake but your posing in my glass again

    well who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    tell me who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    oh, I really wanna know? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    tell, tell me who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

    C’mon, c’mon who? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh, Who the fuck are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh, tell me who are you (Who are you?, ooo?)

    I really wanna to know
    Oh, I really want to know
    C’mon tell me who are you, you, you?
    Who are you?

  13. Listen carefully, my son: bombs were falling
    over Mexico City
    but no one even noticed.
    The air carried poison through
    the streets and open windows.
    You’d just finished eating and were watching
    cartoons on TV.
    I was reading in the bedroom next door
    when I realized we were going to die.
    Despite the dizziness and nausea I dragged myself
    to the kitchen and found you on the floor.
    We hugged. You asked what was happening
    and I didn’t tell you we were on death’s program
    but instead that we were going on a journey,
    one more, together, and that you shouldn’t be afraid.
    When it left, death didn’t even
    close our eyes.
    What are we? you asked a week or year later,
    ants, bees, wrong numbers
    in the big rotten soup of chance?
    We’re human beings, my son, almost birds,
    public heroes and secrets.

  14. New York City was a stich in time when I stood all I could of LA
    Patchin’ up the pieces of my tangled mind diggin’ somethin’ different every day yeah
    Soon as I was better I was movin’ on gettin’ it together gettin’ good and gone
    And by (gettin’ by) high (good and high) and strange (gonna get some strange)

    New ain’t nothin’ but a state of mind
    Keeps a man from missin’ what he left behind
    I’ll take anything that I can find anyhow anywhere anyway anytime
    I’ll keep livin’ till the day I die as long as I can get it up for one more try
    Gettin’ by (gettin’ by) high (good and high) and strange (gonna get some strange)

    [ guitar ]
    New ain’t nothin’ but a state of mind…
    (Gettin’ by good and high) and strange (gonna get some strange)

  15. We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain
    We jumped never asking why
    We kissed, I fell under your spell.
    A love no one could deny

    Don’t you ever say I just walked away
    I will always want you
    I can’t live a lie, running for my life
    I will always want you

    I came in like a wrecking ball
    I never hit so hard in love
    All I wanted was to break your walls
    All you ever did was wreck me
    Yeah, you, you wreck me

    I put you high up in the sky
    And now, you’re not coming down
    It slowly turned, you let me burn
    And now, we’re ashes on the ground

    Don’t you ever say I just walked away
    I will always want you
    I can’t live a lie, running for my life
    I will always want you

    I came in like a wrecking ball
    I never hit so hard in love
    All I wanted was to break your walls
    All you ever did was wreck me

    I came in like a wrecking ball
    Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
    Left me crashing in a blazing fall
    All you ever did was wreck me
    Yeah, you, you wreck me

    I never meant to start a war
    I just wanted you to let me in
    And instead of using force
    I guess I should’ve let you win
    I never meant to start a war
    I just wanted you to let me in
    I guess I should’ve let you win

    Don’t you ever say I just walked away
    I will always want you

    I came in like a wrecking ball
    I never hit so hard in love
    All I wanted was to break your walls
    All you ever did was wreck me

    I came in like a wrecking ball
    Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
    Left me crashing in a blazing fall
    All you ever did was wreck me
    Yeah, you, you wreck me
    Yeah, you, you wreck me

  16. It’s perhaps fitting that I write this introduction in jail- that graduate school of survival. Here you learn how to use toothpaste as glue, fashion a shiv out of a spoon and build intricate communication networks. Here too, you learn the only rehabilitation possible-hatred of oppression.

    Steal This Book is, in a way, a manual of survival in the prison that is Amerika. It preaches jailbreak. It shows you where exactly how to place the dynamite that will destroy the walls. The first section-SURVIVE!-lays out a potential action program for our new Nation. The chapter headings spell out the demands for a free society. A community where the technology produces goods and services for whoever needs them, come who may. It calls on the Robin Hoods of Santa Barbara Forest to steal from the robber barons who own the castles of capitalism. It implies that the reader already is “ideologically set,” in that he understands corporate feudalism as the only robbery worthy of being called “crime,” for it is committed against the people as a whole. Whether the ways it describes to rip-off shit are legal or illegal is irrelevant. The dictionary of law is written by the bosses of order. Our moral dictionary says no heisting from each other. To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.

    Community within our Nation, chaos in theirs; that is the message of SURVIVE!

    We cannot survive without learning to fight and that is the lesson in the second section. FIGHT! separates revolutionaries from outlaws. The purpose of part two is not to fuck the system, but destroy it. The weapons are carefully chosen. They are “home-made,” in that they are designed for use in our unique electronic jungle. Here the uptown reviewer will find ample proof of our “violent” nature. But again, the dictionary of law fails us. Murder in a uniform is heroic, in a costume it is a crime. False advertisements win awards, forgers end up in jail. Inflated prices guarantee large profits while shoplifters are punished. Politicians conspire to create police riots and the victims are convicted in the courts. Students are gunned down and then indicted by suburban grand juries as the trouble-makers. A modern, highly mechanized army travels 9,000 miles to commit genocide against a small nation of great vision and then accuses its people of aggression. Slumlords allow rats to maim children and then complain of violence in the streets. Everything is topsy-turvy. If we internalize the language and imagery of the pigs, we will forever be fucked. Let me illustrate the point. Amerika was built on the slaughter of a people. That is its history. For years we watched movie after movie that demonstrated the white man’s benevolence. Jimmy Stewart, the epitome of fairness, puts his arm around Cochise and tells how the Indians and the whites can live in peace if only both sides will be reasonable, responsible and rational (the three R’s imperialists always teach the “natives”). “You will find good grazing land on the other side of the mountain,” drawls the public relations man. “Take your people and go in peace.” Cochise as well as millions of youngsters in the balcony of learning, were being dealt off the bottom of the deck. The Indians should have offed Jimmy Stewart in every picture and we should have cheered ourselves hoarse. Until we understand the nature of institutional violence and how it manipulates values and mores to maintain the power of the few, we will forever be imprisoned in the caves of ignorance. When we conclude that bank robbers rather than bankers should be the trustees of the universities, then we begin to think clearly. When we see the Army Mathematics Research and Development Center and the Bank of Amerika as cesspools of violence, filling the minds of our young with hatred, turning one against another, then we begin to think revolutionary.

    Be clever using section two; clever as a snake. Dig the spirit of the struggle. Don’t get hung up on a sacrifice trip. Revolution is not about suicide, it is about life. With your fingers probe the holiness of your body and see that it was meant to live. Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines, and in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power. We are not interested in the greening of Amerika except for the grass that will cover its grave.

    Section three – LIBERATE! – concerns itself with efforts to free stuff (or at least make it cheap) in four cities. Sort of a quick U.S. on no dollars a day. It begins to scratch the potential for a national effort in this area. Since we are a nation of gypsies, dope on how to move around and dig in anywhere is always needed. Together we can expand this section. It is far from complete, as is the entire project. Incomplete chapters on how to identify police agents, steal a car, run day-care centers, conduct your own trial, organize a G.I. coffee house, start a rock and roll band and make neat clothes, are scattered all over the floor of the cell. The book as it now stands was completed in the late summer of 1970. For three months manuscripts made the rounds of every major publisher. In all, over 30 rejections occurred before the decision to publish the book ourselves was made, or rather made for us. Perhaps no other book in modern times presented such a dilemma. Everyone agreed the book would be a commercial success. But even greed had its limits, and the IRS and FBI following the manuscript with their little jive rap had a telling effect. Thirty “yeses” become thirty “noes” after “thinking it over.” Liberals, who supposedly led the fight against censorship, talked of how the book “will end free speech.”

    Finally the day we were bringing the proofs to the printer, Grove consented to act as distributor. To pull a total solo trip, including distribution, would have been neat, but such an effort would be doomed from the start. We had tried it before and blew it. In fact, if anyone is interested in 4,000 1969 Yippie calendars, they’ve got a deal. Even with a distributor joining the fight, the battle will only begin when the books come off the press. There is a saying that “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” In past eras, this was probably the case, but now, high speed methods of typesetting, offset printing and a host of other developments have made substantial reductions in printing costs. Literally anyone is free to print their own works. In even the most repressive society imaginable, you can get away with some form of private publishing. Because Amerika allows this, does not make it the democracy Jefferson envisioned. Repressive tolerance is a real phenomenon. To talk of true freedom of the press, we must talk of the availability of the channels of communication that are designed to reach the entire population, or at least that segment of the population that might participate in such a dialogue. Freedom of the press belongs to those that own the distribution system. Perhaps that has always been the case, but in a mass society where nearly everyone is instantaneously plugged into a variety of national communications systems, wide-spread dissemination of the information is the crux of the matter. To make the claim that the right to print your own book means freedom of the press is to completely misunderstand the nature of a mass society. It is like making the claim that anyone with a pushcart can challenge Safeway supermarkets, or that any child can grow up to be president.

    State legislators, librarians, PTA members, FBI agents, church-goers, and parents: a veritable legion of decency and order already is on the march. To get the book to you might be the biggest challenge we face. The next few months should prove really exciting.

    Obviously such a project as Steal This Book could not have been carried out alone. Izak Haber shared the vision from the beginning. He did months of valuable research and contributed many of the survival techniques. Carole Ramer and Gus Reichbach of the New York Law Commune guided the book through its many stages. Anna Kaufman Moon did almost all the photographs. The cartoonists who have made contributions include Ski Williamson and Gilbert Sheldon. Tom Forcade, of the UPS, patiently did the editing. Bert Cohen of Concert Hall did the book’s graphic design. Amber and John Wilcox set the type. Anita Hoffman and Lynn Borman helped me rewrite a number of sections. There are others who participated in the testing of many of the techniques demonstrated in the following pages and for obvious reasons have to remain anonymous. There were perhaps over 50 brothers and sisters who played particularly vital roles in the grand conspiracy. Some of the many others are listed on the following page. We hope to keep the information up to date. If you have comments, law suits, suggestions or death threats, please send them to: Dear Abbie P.0. Box 213, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10003. Many of the tips might not work in your area, some might be obsolete by the time you get to try them out, and many addresses and phone numbers might be changed. If the reader becomes a participating researcher then we will have achieved our purpose.

    Watch for a special edition called Steal This White House, complete with blueprints of underground passages, methods of jamming the communications network and a detailed map of the celebrated room where according to Tricia Nixon, “Daddy loves to listen to Mantovanni records, turn up the air conditioner full blast, sit by the fireplace, gaze out the window to the Washington Monument and meditate on those difficult problems that face all the peoples of this world.”
    December, 1970
    Cook County Jail




  17. Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,” and he would have meant the same thing.

    In the morning when the sardine fleet has made a catch, the purse-seiners waddle heavily into the bay blowing their whistles. The deep-laden boats pull in against the coast where the canneries dip their tails into the bay. The figure is advisedly chosen, for if the canneries dipped their mouths into the bay the canned sardines which emerge from the other end would be metaphorically, at least, even more horrifying. Then cannery whistles scream and all over the town men and women scramble into their clothes and come running down to the Row to go to work. Then shining cars bring the upper classes down: superintendents, accountants, owners who disappear into offices. Then from the town pour Wops and Chinamen and Polaks, men and women in trousers and rubber coats and oilcloth aprons. They come running to clean and cut and pack and cook and can the fish. The whole street rumbles and groans and screams and rattles while the silver rivers of fish pour in out of the boats and the boats rise higher and higher in the water until they are empty. The canneries rumble and rattle and squeak until the last fish is cleaned and cut and cooked and canned and then the whistles scream again and the dripping, smelly, tired Wops and Chinamen and Polaks, men and women, straggle out and droop their ways up the hill into the town and Cannery Row becomes itself again—quiet and magical. Its normal life returns. The bums who retired in disgust under the black cypress tree come out to sit on the rusty pipes in the vacant lot. The girls from Dora’s emerge for a bit of sun if there is any. Doc strolls from the Western Biological Laboratory and crosses the street to Lee Chong’s grocery for two quarts of beer. Henri the painter noses like an Airedale through the junk in the grass-grown lot for some part or piece of wood or metal he needs for the boat he is building. Then the darkness edges in and the street light comes on in front of Dora’s— the lamp which makes perpetual moonlight in Cannery Row. Callers arrive at Western Biological to see Doc, and he crosses the street to Lee Chong’s for five quarts of beer.

    How can the poem and the stink and the grating noise—the quality of light, the tone, the habit and the dream—be set down alive? When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book—to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves.


    Lee Chong’s grocery, while not a model of neatness, was a miracle of supply. It was small and crowded but within its single room a man could find everything he needed or wanted to live and to be happy— clothes, food, both fresh and canned, liquor, tobacco, fishing equipment, machinery, boats, cordage, caps, pork chops. You could buy at Lee Chong’s a pair of slippers, a silk kimono, a quarter pint of whiskey and a cigar. You could work out combinations to fit almost any mood. The one commodity Lee Chong did not keep could be had across the lot at Dora’s.

    The grocery opened at dawn and did not close until the last wandering vagrant dime had been spent or retired for the night. Not that Lee Chong was avaricious. He wasn’t, but if one wanted to spend money, he was available. Lee’s position in the community surprised him as much as he could be surprised.

  18. Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer.

    Late in the afternoon the sun slanted down into the mossy yard belonging to Francie Nolan’s house, and warmed the worn wooden fence. Looking at the shafted sun, Francie had that same fine feeling that came when she recalled the poem they recited in school.

    This is the forest primeval. The murmuring
    pines and the hemlocks,
    Bearded with moss, and in garments green,
    indistinct in the twilight,
    Stand like Druids of eld.

    The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenements districts.

    You took a walk on a Sunday afternoon and came to a nice neighborhood, very refined. You saw a small one of these trees through the iron gate leading to someone’s yard and you knew that soon that section of Brooklyn would get to be a tenement district. The tree knew. It came there first. Afterwards, poor foreigners seeped in and the quiet old brownstone houses were hacked up into flats, feather beds were pushed out on the window sills to air and the Tree of Heaven flourished. That was the kind of tree it was. It liked poor people.

    That was the kind of tree in Francie’s yard. Its umbrellas curled over, around and under her third-floor fire-escape. An eleven-year-old girl sitting on this fire-escape could imagine that she was living in a tree. That’s what Francie imagined every Saturday afternoon in summer.

    Oh, what a wonderful day was Saturday in Brooklyn. Oh, how wonderful anywhere! People were paid on Saturday and it was a holiday without the rigidness of a Sunday. People had money to go out and buy things. They ate well for once, got drunk, had dates, made love and stayed up until all hours; singing, playing music, fighting and dancing because the morrow was their own free day. They could sleep late — until late mass anyhow.

    On Sunday, most people crowded into the eleven o’clock mass. Well, some people, a few, went to early six o’clock mass. They were given credit for this but they deserved none for they were the ones who had stayed out so late that it was morning when they got home. So they went to this early mass, got it over with and went home and slept all day with a free conscience.

    For Francie, Saturday started with the trip to the junkie. She and her brother, Neeley, like other Brooklyn kids, collected rags, paper, metal, rubber, and other junk and hoarded it in locked cellar bins or in boxes hidden under the bed. All week Francie walked home slowly from school with her eyes in the gutter looking for tin foil from cigarette packages or chewing gum wrappers. This was melted in the lid of a jar. The junkie wouldn’t take an unmelted ball of foil because too many kids put iron washers in the middle to make it weigh heavier. Sometimes Neeley found a seltzer bottle. Francie helped him break the top off and melt it down for lead. The junkie wouldn’t buy a complete top because he’d get into trouble with the soda water people. A seltzer bottle top was fine. Melted, it was worth a nickel.

    Francie and Neeley went down into the cellar each evening and emptied the dumbwaiter shelves of the day’s accumulated trash. They owned this privilege because Francie’s mother was the janitress. They looted the shelves of paper, rags and deposit bottles. Paper wasn’t worth much. They got only a penny for ten pounds. Rags brought two cents a pound and iron, four. Copper was good — ten cents a pound. Sometimes Francie came across a bonanza: the bottom of a discarded wash boiler. She got it off with a can opener, folded it, pounded it, folded it and pounded it again.

    Soon after nine o’clock of a Saturday morning, kids began spraying out of all the side streets on to Manhattan Avenue, the main thoroughfare. They made their slow way up the Avenue to Scholes Street. Some carried their junk in their arms. Others had wagons made of a wooden soap box with solid wooden wheels. A few pushed loaded baby buggies.

    Francie and Neeley put all their junk into a burlap bag and each grabbed an end and dragged it along the street; up Manhattan Avenue, past Maujer, Ten Eyck, Stagg to Scholes Street. Beautiful names for ugly streets. From each side street hordes of little ragamuffins emerged to swell the main tide. On the way to Carney’s, they met other kids coming back empty-handed. They had sold their junk and already squandered the pennies. Now, swaggering back, they jeered at the other kids.

    “Rag picker! Rag picker!”

    Francie’s face burned at the name. No comfort knowing that the taunters were rag pickers too. No matter that her brother would straggle back, empty-handed with his gang and taunt later comers the same way. Francie felt ashamed.

  19. On the one hand, true to the Western tradition that controls not only in theory, but in practice (in the principle of its practice) the relationships between speech and writing, Saussure does not recognise in the latter more than a narrow and derivative function. Narrow because it is nothing but one modality among others, a modality of the events which can befall a language whose essence, as the facts seem to show, can remain forever uncontaminated by writing. “Language does have an oral tradition that is independent of writing” (Cours de linguistique générale). Derivative because representative signifier of the first signifier, representation of the self-present voice, of the immediate, natural, and direct signification of the meaning (of the signified, of the concept, of the ideal object or what have you). Saussure takes up the traditional definition of writing which, already in Plato and Aristotle, was restricted to the model of phonetic script and the language of words. Let us recall the Aristotelian definition: “Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words.” Saussure: “Language and writing are two distinct systems of signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first”. This representative determination, beside communicating without a doubt essentially with the idea of the sign, does not translate a choice or an evaluation, does not betray a psychological or metaphysical presupposition peculiar to Saussure; it describes or rather reflects the structure of a certain type of writing: phonetic writing, which we use and within whose element the epistémè in general (science and philosophy), and linguistics in particular, could be founded. One should, moreover, say mode, rather than structure; it is not a question of a system constructed and functioning perfectly, but of an ideal explicitly directing a functioning which in fact is never completely phonetic. In fact, but also for reasons of essence to which I shall frequently return. To be sure this factum of phonetic writing is massive; it commands our entire culture and our entire science, and it is certainly not just one fact among others. Nevertheless it does not respond to any necessity of an absolute and universal essence. Using this as a point of departure, Saussure defines the project and object of general linguistics: “The linguistic object is not defined by the combination of the written word and the spoken word: the spoken form alone constitutes the object”.

    The form of the question to which he responded thus entailed the response. It was a matter of knowing what sort of word is the object of linguistics and what the relationships arc between the atomic unities that are the written and the spoken word. Now the word (vox) is already a unity of sense and sound, of concept and voice, or, to speak a more rigorously Saussurian language, of the signified and the signifier. This last terminology was moreover first proposed in the domain of spoken language alone, of linguistics in the narrow sense and not in the domain of semiology (“I propose to retain the word sign [signe] to designate the whole and to replace concept and sound-image respectively by signified [signifié] and signifier [signifiant]”). The word is thus already, a constituted unity, an effect of “the somewhat mysterious fact … that ‘thought-sound’ implies divisions”. Even if the word is in its turn articulated, even if it implies other divisions, as long as one poses the question of the relationships between speech and writing in the light of the indivisible units of the “thought-sound,” there will always be the ready response. Writing will be “phonetic,” it will be the outside, the exterior representation of language and of this “thought-sound.” It must necessarily operate from already constituted units of signification, in the formation of which it has played no part.

    Perhaps the objection will be made that writing up to the present has not on]y not contradicted, but indeed, confirmed the linguistics of the word. Hitherto I seem to have maintained that only the fascination of the unit called word has prevented giving to writing the attention that it merited. By that I seemed to suppose that, by ceasing to accord an absolute privilege to the word, modern linguistics would become that much more attentive to writing and would finally cease to regard it with suspicion. …

    It is clear that the concepts of stability,, permanence, and duration, which here assist thinking the relationships between speech and writing, are too lax and open to every uncritical investiture. They would require more attentive and minute analyses. The same is applicable to an explanation according to which “most people pay more attention to visual impressions simply because these are sharper and more lasting than aural impressions. This explanation of “usurpation” is not only empirical in its form, it is problematic in its content, it refers to a metaphysics and to an old physiology, of sensory faculties constantly, disproved by science, as by the experience of language and by the body proper as language. It imprudently makes of visibility the tangible, simple, and essential element of writing. Above all, in considering the audible as the natural milieu within which language must naturally fragment and articulate its instituted signs, thus exercising its arbitrariness, this explanation excludes all possibility,, of some natural relationship between speech and writing at the, very moment that it affirms it. Instead of deliberately dismissing the notions of nature and institution that it constantly uses, which ought to be done first, it thus confuses the two. It finally and most importantly contradicts the principal affirmation according to which “the thing that constitutes language [l’essentiel de la langue] is . . . unrelated to the phonic character of the linguistic sign”. This affirmation will soon occupy us; within it the other side of the Saussurian proposition denouncing the “illusions of script” comes to the fore.

    What do these limits and presuppositions signify? First that a linguistics is not general as long as it defines its outside and inside in terms of determined linguistic models; as long as it does not rigorously distinguish essence from fact in their respective degrees of generality. The system of writing in general is not exterior to the system of language in general, unless it is granted that the division between exterior and interior passes through the interior of the interior or the exterior of the exterior, to the point where the immanence of language is essentially exposed to the intervention of forces that are apparently alien to its system. For the same reason, writing in general is not “image” or “figuration” of language in general, except if the nature, the logic, and the functioning of the image within the system from which one wishes to exclude it be reconsidered. Writing is not a sign of a sign, except if one says it of all signs, which would be more profoundly true. If every sign refers to a sign, and if “sign of a sign” signifies writing, certain conclusions — which I shall consider at the appropriate moment will become inevitable. What Saussure saw without seeing, knew without being able to take into account, following in that the entire metaphysical tradition, is that a certain model of writing was necessarily but provisionally imposed (but for the inaccuracy in principle, insufficiency of fact, and the permanent usurpation) as instrument and technique of representation of a system of language. And that this movement, unique in style, was so profound that it permitted the thinking, within language, of concepts like those of the sign, technique, representation, language. The system of language associated with phonetic-alphabetic writing is that within which logocentric metaphysics, determining the sense of being as presence, has been produced. This logocentrism, this epoch of the full speech, has always placed in parenthesis, suspended, and suppressed for essential reasons, all free reflection on the origin and status of writing, all science of writing which was not technology and the history of a technique, itself leaning upon a mythology and a metaphor of a natural writing. It is this logocentrism which, limiting the internal system of language in general by a bad abstraction, prevents Saussure and the majority of his successors from determining fully and explicitly that which is called “the integral and concrete object of linguistics”

    But conversely, as I announced above, it is when he is not expressly dealing with writing, when he feels be has closed the parentheses on that subject, that Saussure opens the field of a general grammatology. Which would not only no longer be excluded from general linguistics, but would dominate it and contain it within itself. Then one realises that what was chased off limits, the wandering outcast of linguistics, has indeed never ceased to haunt language as its primary and most intimate possibility. Then something which was never spoken and which is nothing other than writing itself as the origin of language writes itself within Saussure’s discourse. Then we glimpse the germ of a profound but indirect explanation of the usurpation and the traps condemned in Chapter VI. This explanation will overthrow even the form of the question to which it was a premature reply.

  20. IN WATERMELON SUGAR the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar. I’ll, tell you about it because I am here and you are distant.
    Wherever you are, we must do the best we can. It is so far to travel, and we have nothing here to travel, except watermelon sugar. I hope this works out.
    I live in a shack near iDEATH. I can see iDEATH out the window. It is beautiful. I can also see it with my eyes closed and touch it. Right now it is cold and turns like something in the hand of a child. I do not know what that thing could be.
    There is a delicate balance in iDEATH. It suits us.
    The shack is small but pleasing and comfortable as my life and made from pine, watermelon sugar and stones as just about everything here is.
    Our lives’ we have carefully constructed from watermelon sugar and then travelled to the length of our dreams, along roads lined with pines and stones.
    I have a bed, a chair, a table and a large chest that I keep my things in. I have a lantern that burns watermelontrout oil at night.
    That is something else. I’ll tell you about it later. I have a gentle life.
    I go to the window and look out again. The sun is shining at the long edge of a cloud. It is Tuesday and the sun is golden.
    I can see piney woods and the rivers that flow from those piney woods. The rivers are cold and clear and there are trout in the rivers.
    Some of the rivers are only a few inches wide.
    I know a river that is half-an-inch wide. I know because I measured it and sat beside it for a whole day. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon. We call everything a river here. We’re that kind of people.
    I can see fields of watermelons and the rivers that flow through them. There are many bridges in the piney woods and in the fields of watermelons. There is a bridge in front of this shack.
    Some of the bridges’ are made of wood, old and stained silver like rain, and some of the bridges are made of stone gathered from a great distance and built in the order of that distance, and some of the bridges are made of watermelon sugar. I like those bridges best.
    We make a great many things out of watermelon sugar here—I’ll tell you about it—including this book being written near iDEATH.
    All this will be gone into, travelled in watermelon sugar.


    THIS MORNING there was a knock at the door. I could tell who it was by the way they knocked, and I heard them coming across the bridge.
    “They stepped on the only board that makes any noise. They always step on it. I have never been able to figure this out. I have thought a great deal about why they always step on that same board, how they cannot miss it, and now they stood outside my door, knocking.
    I did not acknowledge their knocking because I just wasn’t interested. I did not want to see them. I knew what they would be about and did not care for it.
    Finally they stopped knocking and went back across the bridge and they, of course, stepped on the same board: a long board with the nails not lined up right, built years ago and no way to fix it, and then they were gone, and the board was silent.
    I can walk across the bridge hundreds of times without stepping on that board, but Margaret always steps on it.

  21. Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
    The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
    Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
    The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
    The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
    Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
    Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
    Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
    Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
    Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
    Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
    Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
    Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
    Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
    Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

  22. Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet ?
    We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin our best to deny it
    And Louise holds a handfull of rain, tempting you to defy it
    Lights flicker from the opposite loft
    In this room the heat pipes just cough
    The country music station plays soft
    But there’s nothing really nothing to turn of
    Just Louise and her lover so entwined
    And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind.

    In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
    And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the D-train
    We can hear the night watcman click his flashlight
    Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s really insane
    Louise she’s all right she’s just near
    She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
    But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
    That Johanna’s not here
    The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
    Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place.

    Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
    He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
    And when bringing her name up
    He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
    He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
    Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
    Oh, how can I explain ?
    It’s so hard to get on
    And these visions of Johanna they kept me up past the dawn.

    Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
    Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
    But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
    You can tell by the way she smiles
    See the primitive wallflower freeze
    When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
    Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze
    I can’t find my knees”
    Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
    But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel.

    The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
    Saying, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
    But like Louise always says
    “Ya can’t look at much, can ya man ”

    As she, herself prepares for him
    And Madonna, she still has not showed
    We see this empty cage now corrode
    Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
    The fiddler, he now steps to the road
    He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
    On the back of the fish truck that loads
    While my conscience explodes
    The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
    And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain.

  23. Common side effects caused by traditional chemotherapy drugs include:

    Fatigue. Fatigue (a persistent sense of tiredness or exhaustion) is the most common symptom reported by patients receiving chemotherapy. Learn more about fatigue and how to cope with it.

    Pain. Chemotherapy can cause pain for some people, including headaches, muscle pain, stomach pain, and pain from nerve damage, such as burning, numbness, or shooting pains (most often in the fingers and toes). Pain usually diminishes over time, but some people may have symptoms for months or years after chemotherapy has finished due to permanent damage to the nerves. Doctors can manage pain by treating the source of the pain; changing the perception of pain, usually with pain-relieving medications; or interfering with pain signals sent to the brain through spinal treatments or nerve blocks. Learn more about cancer pain and how to manage it.

    Sores in the mouth and throat. Chemotherapy can damage the cells that line the mouth and throat. The sores (also called mucositis) usually develop five to 14 days after receiving chemotherapy. Although the sores may become infected, they usually heal completely when treatment is finished. Patients receiving chemotherapy who have unhealthy diets and/or poor dental hygiene increase their risk of mouth and throat sores. Learn more about managing mucositis and oral health during cancer treatment.

    Diarrhea. Certain chemotherapy causes loose or watery bowel movements. Preventing diarrhea or treating it early helps a person avoid becoming dehydrated (the condition when the body does not get the amount of fluids it needs) or developing other problems. Learn more about managing diarrhea.

    Nausea and vomiting. Chemotherapy can cause nausea (an urge to vomit or throw up) and vomiting—a risk that depends on the type and dose of chemotherapy. With appropriate medications, nausea and vomiting can be prevented in nearly all patients. Learn more about nausea and vomiting and about ASCO’s guideline for preventing these side effects.

    Constipation. Chemotherapy—as well as some drugs to treat nausea and vomiting, pain, depression, diarrhea, and high blood pressure—may cause constipation (the infrequent or difficult passage of stool). Patients may also increase their risk of constipation by not drinking enough fluids, not eating balanced meals, or not getting enough exercise. Learn more about managing constipation.

    Blood disorders. Chemotherapy affects the production of new blood cells in the bone marrow, the spongy, inner mass of the bone. Symptoms and complications arising from low blood counts are among the most common side effects of chemotherapy.

    A test called a complete blood count (CBC) will indicate the levels of red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs) in the blood. An abnormally low level of RBCs results in anemia. This condition decreases the body’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in fatigue, dizziness, or shortness of breath. A lower than normal number of WBCs (called leukopenia) increases the body’s risk of infection. Infections that occur when WBCs are low can quickly become serious and require prompt treatment with antibiotics.

    A second type of test, called a platelet count, measures the number of platelets (blood cells that stop bleeding by plugging damaged blood vessels and helping the blood to clot) in your blood. People with thrombocytopenia (a shortage of platelets) bleed and bruise more easily.

    These conditions can be treated with medications that stimulate the bone marrow to make more blood-forming cells that develop into RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. Learn more about managing anemia, infection, and thrombocytopenia.

    Nervous system effects. Some drugs cause nerve damage, resulting in one or more of the following nerve- or muscle-related symptoms:

    Weakness or numbness in the hands and/or feet
    Weak, sore, tired, or achy muscles
    Loss of balance
    Shaking or trembling
    Stiff neck
    Visual problems
    Walking problems
    Difficulty hearing

    These symptoms usually improve when the chemotherapy dose is lowered or treatment is stopped; however, in some cases, the damage is permanent. Learn more about managing nervous system side effects.

    Changes in thinking and memory. Some patients experience difficulty thinking clearly and concentrating after chemotherapy. Cancer survivors often refer to this side effect as “chemo brain,” while doctors may refer to it as cognitive changes or cognitive dysfunction. Learn more about managing Attention, Thinking or Memory Problems (ATMP).

    Sexual and reproductive issues. Chemotherapy can affect sexual function and fertility (a woman’s ability to conceive a child or maintain a pregnancy and a man’s ability to father a child). Talk with your doctor about the possible sexual and reproductive side effects before treatment begins. Learn more about managing sexual and reproductive side effects.

    In addition, chemotherapy is capable of harming a fetus (unborn baby) during pregnancy, particularly if given during the first trimester of pregnancy when the fetus’ organs are still developing. Women should take precautions to avoid pregnancy during treatment and tell their doctor if they become pregnant. Learn more about pregnancy and cancer.

    Appetite loss. People receiving chemotherapy may eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating only a small amount. Ongoing appetite loss can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, and loss of muscle mass and strength, which can hinder the body’s ability to recover from chemotherapy. Learn more about managing appetite loss.

    Hair loss. Patients receiving chemotherapy may lose hair from all over the body, gradually or in clumps. This side effect most often starts after the first several weeks or rounds of chemotherapy and tends to increase one to two months into treatment. Learn more about managing hair loss.

    Long-term side effects. Most side effects of chemotherapy disappear at the end of treatment. However, some side effects may continue, come back, or develop later. For instance, certain types of chemotherapy are associated with permanent organ damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, or reproductive system. In addition, some people find that cognitive functions (such as thinking, concentrating, and memory) remain a challenge for months or years after treatment. Nervous system changes can also develop after treatment, and children who have received chemotherapy may experience late effects (side effects that occur months or years after cancer treatment). Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of developing second cancers later in life.

    Follow-up care is essential for all cancer survivors and may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor recovery in the months and years after cancer treatment. ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

  24. Chapter 1 “Separation Perfected” But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness. Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity 1. In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. 2. The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation. The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living. 3. The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification. As a part of society it is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness. Due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of false consciousness, and the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of generalized separation. 4. The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. 5. The spectacle cannot be understood as an abuse of the world of vision, as a product of the techniques of mass dissemination of images. It is, rather, a Weltanschauung which has become actual, materially translated. It is a world vision which has become objectified. 6. The spectacle grasped in its totality is both the result and the project of the existing mode of production. It is not a supplement to the real world, an additional decoration. It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choice already made in production and its corollary consumption. The spectacle’s form and content are identically the total justification of the existing system’s conditions and goals. The spectacle is also the permanent presence of this justification, since it occupies the main part of the time lived outside of modern production. 7. Separation is itself part of the unity of the world, of the global social praxis split up into reality and image. The social practice which the autonomous spectacle confronts is also the real totality which contains the spectacle. But the split within this totality mutilates it to the point of making the spectacle appear as its goal. The language of the spectacle consists of signs of the ruling production, which at the same time are the ultimate goal of this production. 8. One cannot abstractly contrast the spectacle to actual social activity: such a division is itself divided. The spectacle which inverts the real is in fact produced. Lived reality is materially invaded by the contemplation of the spectacle while simultaneously absorbing the spectacular order, giving it positive cohesiveness. Objective reality is present on both sides. Every notion fixed this way has no other basis than its passage into the opposite: reality rises up within the spectacle, and the spectacle is real. This reciprocal alienation is the essence and the support of the existing society. 9. In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false. 10. The concept of spectacle unifies and explains a great diversity of apparent phenomena. The diversity and the contrasts are appearances of a socially organized appearance, the general truth of which must itself be recognized. Considered in its own terms, the spectacle is affirmation of appearance and affirmation of all human life, namely social life, as mere appearance. But the critique which reaches the truth of the spectacle exposes it as the visible negation of life, as a negation of life which has become visible. 11. To describe the spectacle, its formation, its functions and the forces which tend to dissolve it, one must artificially distinguish certain inseparable elements. When analyzing the spectacle one speaks, to some extent, the language of the spectacular itself in the sense that one moves through the methodological terrain of the very society which expresses itself in the spectacle. But the spectacle is nothing other than the sense of the total practice of a social-economic formation, its use of time. It is the historical movement in which we are caught. 12. The spectacle presents itself as something enormously positive, indisputable and inaccessible. It says nothing more than “that which appears is good, that which is good appears. The attitude which it demands in principle is passive acceptance which in fact it already obtained by its manner of appearing without reply, by its monopoly of appearance. 13. The basically tautological character of the spectacle flows from the simple fact that its means are simultaneously its ends. It is the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the world and bathes endlessly in its own glory. 14. The society which rests on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclist. In the spectacle, which is the image of the ruling economy, the goal is nothing, development everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself. 15. As the indispensable decoration of the objects produced today, as the general expose of the rationality of the system, as the advanced economic sector which directly shapes a growing multitude of image-objects, the spectacle is the main production of present-day society. 16. The spectacle subjugates living men to itself to the extent that the economy has totally subjugated them. It is no more than the economy developing for itself. It is the true reflection of the production of things, and the false objectification of the producers. 17. The first phase of the domination of the economy over social life brought into the definition of all human realization the obvious degradation of being into having. The present phase of total occupation of social life by the accumulated results of the economy leads to a generalized sliding of having into appearing, from which all actual “having” must draw its immediate prestige and its ultimate function. At the same time all individual reality has become social reality directly dependent on social power and shaped by it. It is allowed to appear only to the extent that it is not. 18. Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior. The spectacle, as a tendency to make one see the world by means of various specialized mediations (it can no longer be grasped directly), naturally finds vision to be the privileged human sense which the sense of touch was for other epochs; the most abstract, the most mystifiable sense corresponds to the generalized abstraction of present-day society. But the spectacle is not identifiable with mere gazing, even combined with hearing. It is that which escapes the activity of men, that which escapes reconsideration and correction by their work. It is the opposite of dialogue. Wherever there is independent representation, the spectacle reconstitutes itself. 19. The spectacle inherits all the weaknesses of the Western philosophical project which undertook to comprehend activity in terms of the categories of seeing; furthermore, it is based on the incessant spread of the precise technical rationality which grew out of this thought. The spectacle does not realize philosophy, it philosophizes reality. The concrete life of everyone has been degraded into a speculative universe. 20. Philosophy, the power of separate thought and the thought of separate power, could never by itself supersede theology. The spectacle is the material reconstruction of the religious illusion. Spectacular technology has not dispelled the religious clouds where men had placed their own powers detached from themselves; it has only tied them to an earthly base. The most earthly life thus becomes opaque and unbreathable. It no longer projects into the sky but shelters within itself its absolute denial, its fallacious paradise. The spectacle is the technical realization of the exile of human powers into a beyond; it is separation perfected within the interior of man. 21. To the extent that necessity is socially dreamed, the dream becomes necessary. The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep. 22. The fact that the practical power of modern society detached itself and built an independent empire in the spectacle can be explained only by the fact that this practical power continued to lack cohesion and remained in contradiction with itself. 23. The oldest social specialization, the specialization of power, is at the root of the spectacle. The spectacle is thus a specialized activity which speaks for all the others. It is the diplomatic representation of hierarchic society to itself, where all other expression is banned. Here the most modern is also the most archaic. 24. The spectacle is the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself, its laudatory monologue. It is the self-portrait of power in the epoch of its totalitarian management of the conditions of existence. The fetishistic, purely objective appearance of spectacular relations conceals the fact that they are relations among men and classes: a second nature with its fatal laws seems to dominate our environment. But the spectacle is not the necessary product of technical development seen as a natural development. The society of the spectacle is on the contrary the form which chooses its own technical content. If the spectacle, taken in the limited sense of “mass media” which are its most glaring superficial manifestation, seems to invade society as mere equipment, this equipment is in no way neutral but is the very means suited to its total self-movement. If the social needs of the epoch in which such techniques are developed can only be satisfied through their mediation, if the administration of this society and all contact among men can no longer take place except through the intermediary of this power of instantaneous communication, it is because this “communication” is essentially unilateral. The concentration of “communication” is thus an accumulation, in the hands of the existing system’s administration, of the means which allow it to carry on this particular administration. The generalized cleavage of the spectacle is inseparable from the modern State, namely from the general form of cleavage within society, the product of the division of social labor and the organ of class domination. 25. Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle. The institutionalization of the social division of labor, the formation of classes, had given rise to a first sacred contemplation, the mythical order with which every power shrouds itself from the beginning. The sacred has justified the cosmic and ontological order which corresponded to the interests of the masters; it has explained and embellished that which society could not do. Thus all separate power has been spectacular, but the adherence of all to an immobile image only signified the common acceptance of an imaginary prolongation of the poverty of real social activity, still largely felt as a unitary condition. The modern spectacle, on the contrary, expresses what society can do, but in this expression the permitted is absolutely opposed to the possible. The spectacle is the preservation of unconsciousness within the practical change of the conditions of existence. It is its own product, and it has made its own rules: it is a pseudo-sacred entity. It shows what it is: separate power developing in itself, in the growth of productivity by means of the incessant refinement of the division of labor into a parcellization of gestures which are then dominated by the independent movement of machines; and working for an ever-expanding market. All community and all critical sense are dissolved during this movement in which the forces that could grow by separating are not yet reunited. 26. With the generalized separation of the worker and his products, every unitary view of accomplished activity and all direct personal communication among producers are lost. Accompanying the progress of accumulation of separate products and the concentration of the productive process, unity and communication become the exclusive attribute of the system’s management. The success of the economic system of separation is the proletarianization of the world. 27. Due to the success of separate production as production of the separate, the fundamental experience which in primitive societies is attached to a central task is in the process of being displaced, at the crest of the system’s development. by non-work, by inactivity. But this inactivity is in no way liberated from productive activity: it depends on productive activity and is an uneasy and admiring submission to the necessities and results of production; it is itself a product of its rationality. There can be no freedom outside of activity, and in the context of the spectacle all activity is negated. just as real activity has been captured in its entirety for the global construction of this result. Thus the present “liberation from labor,” the increase of leisure, is in no way a liberation within labor, nor a liberation from the world shaped by this labor. None of the activity lost in labor can be regained in the submission to its result. 28. The economic system founded on isolation is a circular production of isolation. The technology is based on isolation, and the technical process isolates in turn. From the automobile to television, all the goods selected by the spectacular system are also its weapons for a constant reinforcement of the conditions of isolation of “lonely crowds.” The spectacle constantly rediscovers its own assumptions more concretely. 29. The spectacle originates in the loss of the unity of the world, and the gigantic expansion of the modern spectacle expresses the totality of this loss: the abstraction of all specific labor and the general abstraction of the entirety of production are perfectly rendered in the spectacle, whose mode of being concrete is precisely abstraction. In the spectacle, one part of the world represents itself to the world and is superior to it. The spectacle is nothing more than the common language of this separation. What binds the spectators together is no more than an irreversible relation at the very center which maintains their isolation. The spectacle reunites the separate, but reunites it as separate. 30. The alienation of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object (which is the result of his own unconscious activity) is expressed in the following way: the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires. The externality of the spectacle in relation to the active man appears in the fact that his own gestures are no longer his but those of another who represents them to him. This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere. 31. The worker does not produce himself; he produces an independent power. The success of this production, its abundance, returns to the producer as an abundance of dispossession. All the time and space of his world become foreign to him with the accumulation of his alienated products. The spectacle is the map of this new world, a map which exactly covers its territory. The very powers which escaped us show themselves to us in all their force. 32. The spectacle within society corresponds to a concrete manufacture of alienation. Economic expansion is mainly the expansion of this specific industrial production. What grows with the economy in motion for itself can only be the very alienation which was at its origin. 33. Separated from his product, man himself produces all the details of his world with ever increasing power, and thus finds himself ever more separated from his world. The more his life is now his product, the more he is separated from his life. 34. The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image. Chapter 2 “Commodity as Spectacle” The commodity can only be understood in its undistorted essence when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole. Only in this context does the reification produced by commodity relations assume decisive importance both for the objective evolution of society and for the stance adopted by men towards it. Only then does the commodity become crucial for the subjugation of men’s consciousness to the forms in which this reification finds expression…. As labor is progressively rationalized and mechanized man’s lack of will is reinforced by the way in which his activity becomes less and less active and more and more contemplative. Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness 35. In the essential movement of the spectacle, which consists of taking up all that existed in human activity in a fluid state so as to possess it in a congealed state as things which have become the exclusive value by their formulation in negative of lived value, we recognize our old enemy, the commodity, who knows so well how to seem at first glance something trivial and obvious, while on the contrary it is so complex and so full of metaphysical subtleties. 36. This is the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things,” which reaches its absolute fulfillment in the spectacle, where the tangible world is replaced by a selection of images which exist above it, and which simultaneously impose themselves as the tangible par excellence. 37. The world at once present and absent which the spectacle makes visible is the world of the commodity dominating all that is lived. The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its movement is identical to the estrangement of men among themselves and in relation to their global product. 38. The loss of quality so evident at all levels of spectacular language, from the objects it praises to the behavior it regulates, merely translates the fundamental traits of the real production which brushes reality aside: the commodity-form is through and through equal to itself, the category of the quantitative. The quantitative is what the commodity-form develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative. 39. This development which excludes the qualitative is itself, as development, subject to qualitative change: the spectacle indicates that it has crossed the threshold of its own abundance; this is as yet true only locally at some points, but is already true on the universal scale which is the original context of the commodity, a context which its practical movement, encompassing the Earth as a world market, has verified. 40. The development of productive forces has been the real unconscious history which built and modified the conditions of existence of human groups as conditions of survival, and extended those conditions: the economic basis of all their undertakings. In a primitive economy, the commodity sector represented a surplus of survival. The production of commodities, which implies the exchange of varied products among independent producers, could for a long time remain craft production, contained within a marginal economic function where its quantitative truth was still masked. However, where commodity production met the social conditions of large scale commerce and of the accumulation of capitals, it seized total domination over the economy. The entire economy then became what the commodity had shown itself to be in the course of this conquest: a process of quantitative development. This incessant expansion of economic power in the form of the commodity, which transformed human labor into commodity-labor, into wage-labor, cumulatively led to an abundance in which the primary question of survival is undoubtedly resolved, but in such a way that it is constantly rediscovered; it is continually posed again each time at a higher level. Economic growth frees societies from the natural pressure which required their direct struggle for survival, but at that point it is from their liberator that they are not liberated. The independence of the commodity is extended to the entire economy over which it rules. The economy transforms the world, but transforms it only into a world of economy. The pseudo-nature within which human labor is alienated demands that it be served ad infinitum, and this service, being judged and absolved only by itself, in fact acquires the totality of socially permissible efforts and projects as its servants. The abundance of commodities, namely, of commodity relations, can be nothing more than increased survival. 41. The commodity’s domination was at first exerted over the economy in an occult manner; the economy itself, the material basis of social life, remained unperceived and not understood, like the familiar which is not necessarily known. In a society where the concrete commodity is rare or unusual, money, apparently dominant, presents itself as an emissary armed with full powers who speaks in the name of an unknown force. With the industrial revolution, the division of labor in manufactures, and mass production for the world market, the commodity appears in fact as a power which comes to occupy social life. It is then that political economy takes shape, as the dominant science and the science of domination. 42. The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world. Modern economic production extends its dictatorship extensively and intensively. In the least industrialized places, its reign is already attested by a few star commodities and by the imperialist domination imposed by regions which are ahead in the development of productivity. In the advanced regions, social space is invaded by a continuous superimposition of geological layers of commodities. At this point in the “second industrial revolution,” alienated consumption becomes for the masses a duty supplementary to alienated production. It is all the sold labor of a society which globally becomes the total commodity for which the cycle must be continued. For this to be done, the total commodity has to return as a fragment to the fragmented individual, absolutely separated from the productive forces operating as a whole. Thus it is here that the specialized science of domination must in turn specialize: it fragments itself into sociology, psychotechnics, cybernetics, semiology, etc., watching over the self-regulation of every level of the process. 43. Whereas in the primitive phase of capitalist accumulation, “political economy sees in the proletarian only the worker” who must receive the minimum indispensable for the conservation of his labor power, without ever seeing him “in his leisure and humanity,” these ideas of the ruling class are reversed as soon as the production of commodities reaches a level of abundance which requires a surplus of collaboration from the worker. This worker, suddenly redeemed from the total contempt which is clearly shown him by all the varieties of organization and supervision of production, finds himself every day, outside of production and in the guise of a consumer, seemingly treated as an adult, with zealous politeness. At this point the humanism of the commodity takes charge of the worker’s “leisure and humanity,” simply because now political economy can and must dominate these spheres as political economy. Thus the “perfected denial of man” has taken charge of the totality of human existence. 44. The spectacle is a permanent opium war which aims to make people identify goods with commodities and satisfaction with survival that increases according to its own laws. But if consumable survival is something which must always increase, this is because it continues to contain privation. If there is nothing beyond increasing survival, if there is no point where it might stop growing, this is not because it is beyond privation, but because it is enriched privation. 45. Automation, the most advanced sector of modern industry as well as the model which perfectly sums up its practice, drives the commodity world toward the following contradiction: the technical equipment which objectively eliminates labor must at the same time preserve labor as a commodity and as the only source of the commodity. If the social labor (time) engaged by the society is not to diminish because of automation (or any other less extreme form of increasing the productivity of labor), then new jobs have to be created. Services, the tertiary sector, swell the ranks of the army of distribution and are a eulogy to the current commodities; the additional forces which are mobilized just happen to be suitable for the organization of redundant labor required by the artificial needs for such commodities. 46. Exchange value could arise only as an agent of use value, but its victory by means of its own weapons created the conditions for its autonomous domination. Mobilizing all human use and establishing a monopoly over its satisfaction, exchange value has ended up by directing use. The process of exchange became identified with all possible use and reduced use to the mercy of exchange. Exchange value is the condottiere of use value who ends up waging the war for himself. 47. The tendency of use value to fall, this constant of capitalist economy, develops a new form of privation within increased survival: the new privation is not far removed from the old penury since it requires most men to participate as wage workers in the endless pursuit of its attainment, and since everyone knows he must submit or die. The reality of this blackmail accounts for the general acceptance of the illusion at the heart of the consumption of modern commodities: use in its most impoverished form (food and lodging) today exists only to the extent that it is imprisoned in the illusory wealth of increased survival. The real consumer becomes a consumer of illusions. The commodity is this factually real illusion, and the spectacle is its general manifestation. 48. In the inverted reality of the spectacle, use value (which was implicitly contained in exchange value) must now be explicitly proclaimed precisely because its factual reality is eroded by the overdeveloped commodity economy and because counterfeit life requires a pseudo-justification. 49. The spectacle is the other side of money: it is the general abstract equivalent of all commodities. Money dominated society as the representation of general equivalence, namely, of the exchangeability of different goods whose uses could not be compared. The spectacle is the developed modern complement of money where the totality of the commodity world appears as a whole, as a general equivalence for what the entire society can be and can do. The spectacle is the money which one only looks at, because in the spectacle the totality of use is already exchanged for the totality of abstract representation. The spectacle is not only the servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself the pseudo-use of life. 50. At the moment of economic abundance, the concentrated result of social labor becomes visible and subjugates all reality to appearance, which is now its product. Capital is no longer the invisible center which directs the mode of production: its accumulation spreads it all the way to the periphery in the form of tangible objects. The entire expanse of society is its portrait. 51. The victory of the autonomous economy must at the same time be its defeat. The forces which it has unleashed eliminate the economic necessity which was the immutable basis of earlier societies. When economic necessity is replaced by the necessity for boundless economic development, the satisfaction of primary human needs is replaced by an uninterrupted fabrication of pseudo-needs which are reduced to the single pseudo-need of maintaining the reign of the autonomous economy. The autonomous economy permanently breaks away from fundamental need to the extent that it emerges from the social unconscious which unknowingly depended on it. “All that is conscious wears out. What is unconscious remains unalterable. But once freed, does it not fall to ruins in turn?” (Freud). 52. As soon as society discovers that it depends on the economy, the economy, in fact, depends on society. This subterranean force, which grew until it appeared sovereign, has lost its power. That which was the economic it must become the I. The subject can emerge only from society, namely from the struggle within society. The subject’s possible existence depends on the outcome of the class struggle which shows itself to be the product and the producer of the economic foundation of history. 53. The consciousness of desire and the desire for consciousness are identically the project which, in its negative form, seeks the abolition of classes, the workers’ direct possession of every aspect of their activity. Its opposite is the society of the spectacle, where the commodity contemplates itself in a world it has created. Chapter 3 “Unity and Division Within Appearance” A lively new polemic about the concepts “one divides into two” and “two fuse into one” is unfolding on the philosophical front in this country. This debate is a struggle between those who are for and those who are against the materialist dialectic, a struggle between two conceptions of the world: the proletarian conception and the bourgeois conception. Those who maintain that “one divides into two” is the fundamental law of things are on the side of the materialist dialectic; those who maintain that the fundamental law of things is that “two fuse into one” are against the materialist dialectic. The two sides have drawn a clear line of demarcation between them, and their arguments are diametrically opposed. This polemic is a reflection, on the ideological level, of the acute and complex class struggle taking place in China and in the world. Red Flag, (Peking), 21 September 1964 54. The spectacle, like modern society, is at once unified and divided. Like society, it builds its unity on the disjunction. But the contradiction, when it emerges in the spectacle, is in turn contradicted by a reversal of its meaning, so that the demonstrated division is unitary, while the demonstrated unity is divided. 55. The struggle of powers constituted for the management of the same socio-economic system is disseminated as the official contradiction but is in fact part of the real unity–on a world scale as well as within every nation. 56. The spectacular sham struggles of rival forms of separate power are at the same time real in that they translate the unequal and antagonistic development of the system, the relatively contradictory interests of classes or subdivisions of classes which acknowledge the system and define themselves as participants within its power. Just as the development of the most advanced economy is a clash between some priorities and others, the totalitarian management of the economy by a State bureaucracy and the condition of the countries within the sphere of colonization or semi-colonization are defined by specific peculiarities in the varieties of production and power. These diverse oppositions can be passed off in the spectacle as absolutely distinct forms of society (by means of any number of different criteria). But in actual fact, the truth of the uniqueness of all these specific sectors resides in the universal system that contains them: the unique movement that makes the planet its field, capitalism. 57. The society which carries the spectacle does not dominate the underdeveloped regions by its economic hegemony alone. It dominates them as the society of the spectacle. Even where the material base is still absent, modern society has already invaded the social surface of each continent by means of the spectacle. It defines the program of the ruling class and presides over its formation, just as it presents pseudo-goods to be coveted, it offers false models of revolution to local revolutionaries. The spectacle of bureaucratic power, which holds sway over some industrial countries, is an integral part of the total spectacle, its general pseudo-negation and support. The spectacle displays certain totalitarian specializations of communication and administration when viewed locally, but when viewed in terms of the functioning of the entire system these specializations merge in a world division of spectacular tasks. 58. The division of spectacular tasks preserves the entirety of the existing order and especially the dominant pole of its development. The root of the spectacle is within the abundant economy the source of the fruits which ultimately take over the spectacular market despite the ideological-police protectionist barriers of local spectacles aspiring to autarchy. 59. Under the shimmering diversions of the spectacle, banalization dominates modern society the world over and at every point where the developed consumption of commodities has seemingly multiplied the roles and objects to choose from. The remains of religion and of the family (the principal relic of the heritage of class power) and the moral repression they assure, merge whenever the enjoyment of this world is affirmed–this world being nothing other than repressive pseudo-enjoyment. The smug acceptance of what exists can also merge with purely spectacular rebellion; this reflects the simple fact that dissatisfaction itself became a commodity as soon as economic abundance could extend production to the processing of such raw materials. 60. The celebrity, the spectacular representation of a living human being, embodies this banality by embodying the image of a possible role. Being a star means specializing in the seemingly lived; the star is the object of identification with the shallow seeming life that has to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations which are actually lived. Celebrities exist to act out various styles of living and viewing society unfettered, free to express themselves globally. They embody the inaccessible result of social labor by dramatizing its by-products magically projected above it as its goal: power and vacations, decision and consumption, which are the beginning and end of an undiscussed process. In one case state power personalizes itself as a pseudo-star; in another a star of consumption gets elected as a pseudo-power over the lived. But just as the activities of the star are not really global, they are not really varied. 61. The agent of the spectacle placed on stage as a star is the opposite of the individual, the enemy of the individual in himself as well as in others. Passing into the spectacle as a model for identification, the agent renounces all autonomous qualities in order to identify himself with the general law of obedience to the course of things. The consumption celebrity superficially represents different types of personality and shows each of these types having equal access to the totality of consumption and finding similar happiness there. The decision celebrity must possess a complete stock of accepted human qualities. Official differences between stars are wiped out by the official similarity which is the presupposition of their excellence in everything. Khrushchev became a general so as to make decisions on the battle of Kursk, not on the spot, but at the twentieth anniversary, when he was master of the State. Kennedy remained an orator even to the point of proclaiming the eulogy over his own tomb, since Theodore Sorenson continued to edit speeches for the successor in the style which had characterized the personality of the deceased. The admirable people in whom the system personifies itself are well known for not being what they are; they became great men by stooping below the reality of the smallest individual life, and everyone knows it. 62. False choice in spectacular abundance, a choice which lies in the juxtaposition of competing and complimentary spectacles and also in the juxtaposition of roles (signified and carried mainly by things) which are at once exclusive and overlapping, develops into a struggle of vaporous qualities meant to stimulate loyalty to quantitative triviality. This resurrects false archaic oppositions, regionalisms and racisms which serve to raise the vulgar hierarchic ranks of consumption to a preposterous ontological superiority. In this way, the endless series of trivial confrontations is set up again. from competitive sports to elections, mobilizing a sub-ludic interest. Wherever there is abundant consumption, a major spectacular opposition between youth and adults comes to the fore among the false roles–false because the adult, master of his life, does not exist and because youth, the transformation of what exists, is in no way the property of those who are now young, but of the economic system, of the dynamism of capitalism. Things rule and are young; things confront and replace one another. 63. What hides under the spectacular oppositions is a unity of misery. Behind the masks of total choice, different forms of the same alienation confront each other, all of them built on real contradictions which are repressed. The spectacle exists in a concentrated or a diffuse form depending on the necessities of the particular stage of misery which it denies and supports. In both cases, the spectacle is nothing more than an image of happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery. 64. The concentrated spectacle belongs essentially to bureaucratic capitalism, even though it may be imported as a technique of state power in mixed backward economies or, at certain moments of crisis, in advanced capitalism. In fact, bureaucratic property itself is concentrated in such a way that the individual bureaucrat relates to the ownership of the global economy only through an intermediary, the bureaucratic community, and only as a member of this community. Moreover, the production of commodities, less developed in bureaucratic capitalism, also takes on a concentrated form: the commodity the bureaucracy holds on to is the totality of social labor, and what it sells back to society is wholesale survival. The dictatorship of the bureaucratic economy cannot leave the exploited masses any significant margin of choice, since the bureaucracy itself has to choose everything and since any other external choice, whether it concern food or music, is already a choice to destroy the bureaucracy completely. This dictatorship must be accompanied by permanent violence. The imposed image of the good envelops in its spectacle the totality of what officially exists, and is usually concentrated in one man, who is the guarantee of totalitarian cohesion. Everyone must magically identify with this absolute celebrity or disappear. This celebrity is master of non-consumption, and the heroic image which gives an acceptable meaning to the absolute exploitation that primitive accumulation accelerated by terror really is. If every Chinese must learn Mao, and thus be Mao, it is because he can be nothing else. Wherever the concentrated spectacle rules, so does the police. 65. The diffuse spectacle accompanies the abundance of commodities, the undisturbed development of modern capitalism. Here every individual commodity is justified in the name of the grandeur of the production of the totality of objects of which the spectacle is an apologetic catalogue. Irreconcilable claims crowd the stage of the affluent economy’s unified spectacle; different star-commodities simultaneously support contradictory projects for provisioning society: the spectacle of automobiles demands a perfect transport network which destroys old cities, while the spectacle of the city itself requires museum-areas. Therefore the already problematic satisfaction which is supposed to come from the consumption of the whole, is falsified immediately since the actual consumer can directly touch only a succession of fragments of this commodity happiness, fragments in which the quality attributed to the whole is obviously missing every time. 66. Every given commodity fights for itself, cannot acknowledge the others, and attempts to impose itself everywhere as if it were the only one. The spectacle, then, is the epic poem of this struggle, an epic which cannot be concluded by the fall of any Troy. The spectacle does not sing the praises of men and their weapons, but of commodities and their passions. In this blind struggle every commodity, pursuing its passion, unconsciously realizes something higher: the becoming-world of the commodity, which is also the becoming-commodity of the world. Thus, by means of a ruse of commodity logic, what’s specific in the commodity wears itself out in the fight while the commodity-form moves toward its absolute realization. 67. The satisfaction which no longer comes from the use of abundant commodities is now sought in the recognition of their value as commodities: the use of commodities becomes sufficient unto itself; the consumer is filled with religious fervor for the sovereign liberty of the commodities. Waves of enthusiasm for a given product, supported and spread by all the media of communication, are thus propagated with lightning speed. A style of dress emerges from a film; a magazine promotes night spots which launch various clothing fads. Just when the mass of commodities slides toward puerility, the puerile itself becomes a special commodity; this is epitomized by the gadget. We can recognize a mystical abandon to the transcendence of the commodity in free gifts, such as key chains which are not bought but are included by advertisers with prestigious purchases, or which flow by exchange in their own sphere. One who collects the key chains which have been manufactured for collection, accumulates the indulgences of the commodity, a glorious sign of his real presence among the faithful. Reified man advertises the proof of his intimacy with the commodity. The fetishism of commodities reaches moments of fervent exaltation similar to the ecstasies of the convulsions and miracles of the old religious fetishism. The only use which remains here is the fundamental use of submission. 68. The pseudo-need imposed by modern consumption clearly cannot be opposed by any genuine need or desire which is not itself shaped by society and its history. The abundant commodity stands for the total breach in the organic development of social needs. Its mechanical accumulation liberates unlimited artificiality, in the face of which living desire is helpless. The cumulative power of independent artificiality sows everywhere the falsification of social life. 69. In the image of the society happily unified by consumption, real division is only suspended until the next non-accomplishment in consumption. Every single product represents the hope for a dazzling shortcut to the promised land of total consumption and is ceremoniously presented as the decisive entity. But as with the diffusion of seemingly aristocratic first names carried by almost all individuals of the same age, the objects which promise unique powers can be recommended to the devotion of the masses only if they’re produced in quantities large enough for mass consumption. A product acquires prestige when it is placed at the center of social life as the revealed mystery of the ultimate goal of production. But the object which was prestigious in the spectacle becomes vulgar as soon as it is taken home by its consumer–and by all its other consumers. It reveals its essential poverty (which naturally comes to it from the misery of its production) too late. But by then another object already carries the justification of the system and demands to be acknowledged. 70. The fraud of satisfaction exposes itself by being replaced, by following the change of products and of the general conditions of production. That which asserted its definitive excellence with perfect impudence nevertheless changes, both in the diffuse and the concentrated spectacle, and it is the system alone which must continue: Stalin as well as the outmoded commodity are denounced precisely by those who imposed them. Every new lie of advertising is also an avowal of the previous lie. The fall of every figure with totalitarian power reveals the illusory community which had approved him unanimously, and which had been nothing more than an agglomeration of solitudes without illusions. 71. What the spectacle offers as eternal is based on change and must change with its base. The spectacle is absolutely dogmatic and at the same time cannot really achieve any solid dogma. Nothing stops for the spectacle; this condition is natural to it, yet completely opposed to its inclination. 72. The unreal unity proclaimed by the spectacle masks the class division on which the real unity of the capitalist made of production rests. What obliges the producers to participate in the construction of the world is also what separates them from it. What brings together men liberated from their local and national boundaries is also what pulls them apart. What requires a mare profound rationality is also what nourishes the irrationality of hierarchic exploitation and repression. What creates the abstract power of society creates its concrete unfreedom. Chapter 4 “The Proletariat as Subject and as Representation” The equal right of all to the goods and enjoyment of this world, the destruction of all authority, the negation of all moral restraints – these, at bottom, are the raison d’etre of the March 18th insurrection and the charter of the fearsome organization that furnished it with an army. Enquete parlementaire sur l’insurrection du 18 mars 73. The real movement which suppresses existing conditions rules over society from the moment of the bourgeoisie’s victory in the economy, and visibly after the political translation of this victory. The development of productive forces shatters the old relations of production and all static order turns to dust. Whatever was absolute becomes historical. 74. By being thrown into history, by having to participate in the labor and struggles which make up history, men find themselves obliged to view their relations in a clear manner. This history has no object distinct from what takes place within it, even though the last unconscious metaphysical vision of the historical epoch could look at the productive progression through which history has unfolded as the very object of history. The subject of history can be none other than the living producing himself, becoming master and possessor of his world which is history, and existing as consciousness of his game. 75. The class struggles of the long revolutionary epoch inaugurated by the rise of the bourgeoisie, develop together with the thought of history, the dialectic, the thought which no longer stops to look for the meaning of what is, but rises to a knowledge of the dissolution of all that is, and in its movement dissolves all separation. 76. Hegel no longer had to interpret the world, but the transformation of the world. By only interpreting the transformation, Hegel is only the philosophical completion of philosophy. He wants to understand a world which makes itself. This historical thought is as yet only the consciousness which always arrives too late, and which pronounces the justification after the fact. Thus it has gone beyond separation only in thought. The paradox which consists of making the meaning of all reality depend on its historical completion, and at the same time of revealing this meaning as it makes itself the completion of history, flows from the simple fact that the thinker of the bourgeois revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries sought in his philosophy only a reconciliation with the results of these revolutions. Even as a philosophy of the bourgeois revolution, it does not express the entire process of this revolution, but only its final conclusion. In this sense, it is “not a philosophy of the revolution, but of the restoration” (Karl Korsch, Theses on Hegel and Revolution). Hegel did, for the last time, the work of the philosopher, “the glorification of what exists”; but what existed for him could already be nothing less than the totality of historical movement. The external position of thought having in fact been preserved, it could he masked only by the identification of thought with an earlier project of Spirit, absolute hero who did what he wanted and wanted what he did, and whose accomplishment coincides with the present. Thus philosophy, which dies in the thought of history, can now glorify its world only by renouncing it, since in order to speak, it must presuppose that this total history to which it has reduced everything is already complete, and that the only tribunal where the judgment of truth could be given is closed. 77. When the proletariat demonstrates by its own existence, through acts, that this thought of history is not forgotten, the exposure of the conclusion is at the same time the confirmation of the method. 78. The thought of history can be saved only by becoming practical thought; and the practice of the proletariat as a revolutionary class cannot be less than historical consciousness operating on the totality of its world. All the theoretical currents of the revolutionary workers’ movement grew out of a critical confrontation with Hegelian thought–Stirner and Bakunin as well as Marx. 79. The inseparability of Marx’s theory from the Hegelian method is itself inseparable from the revolutionary character of this theory, namely from its truth. This first relationship has been generally ignored, misunderstood, and even denounced as the weakness of what fallaciously became a marxist doctrine. Bernstein, in his Evolutionary Socialism: A Criticism and Affirmation (Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie), perfectly reveals the connection between the dialectical method and historical partisanship, by deploring the unscientific forecasts of the 1847 Manifesto on the imminence of proletarian revolution in Germany: “This historical self-deception, so erroneous that any political visionary could hardly have improved on it, would be incomprehensible in a Marx, who at that time had already seriously studied economics, if we did not see in this the product of a relic of the antithetical Hegelian dialectic from which Marx, no less than Engels, could never completely free himself. In those times of general effervescence, this was all the more fatal to him.” 80. The inversion carried out by Marx to “recover through transfer” the thought of the bourgeois revolutions does not trivially consist of putting the materialist development of productive forces in the place of the journey of the Hegelian Spirit moving towards its encounter with itself in time, its objectification being identical to its alienation, and its historical wounds leaving no scars. History become real no longer has an end. Marx ruined Hegel’s position as separate from what happens, as well as contemplation by any supreme external agent whatever. From now on, theory has to know only what it does. As opposed to this, contemplation of the economy’s movement within the dominant thought of the present society is the untranscended heritage of the undialectical part of Hegel’s search for a circular system: it is an approval which has lost the dimension of the concept and which no longer needs a Hegelianism to justify itself, because the movement which it praises is no more than a sector without a world view, a sector whose mechanical development effectively dominates the whole. Marx’s project is the project of a conscious history. The quantitative which arises in the blind development of merely economic productive forces must be transformed into a qualitative historical appropriation. The critique of political economy is the first act of this end of prehistory: “Of all the instruments of production the greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself.” 81. What closely links Marx’s theory with scientific thought is the rational understanding of the forces which really operate in society. But Marx’s theory is fundamentally beyond scientific thought, and it preserves scientific thought only by superseding it: what is in question is an understanding of struggle, and not of law. “We know only one science: the science of history” (The German Ideology). 82. The bourgeois epoch, which wants to give a scientific foundation to history, overlooks the fact that this available science needed a historical foundation along with the economy. Inversely, history directly depends on economic knowledge only to the extent that it remains economic history. The extent to which the viewpoint of scientific observation could overlook the role of history in the economy (the global process which modifies its own basic scientific premises) is shown by the vanity of those socialist calculations which thought they had established the exact periodicity of crises. Now that the constant intervention of the State has succeeded in compensating for the effect of tendencies toward crisis, the same type of reasoning sees in this equilibrium a definitive economic harmony’. The project of mastering the economy, the project of appropriating history, if it must know–and absorb–the science of society, cannot itself be scientific. The revolutionary viewpoint of a movement which thinks it can dominate current history by means of scientific knowledge remains bourgeois. 83. The utopian currents of socialism, although themselves historically grounded in the critique of the existing social organization, can rightly be called utopian to the extent that they reject history–namely the real struggle taking place, as well as the passage of time beyond the immutable perfection of their picture of a happy society–but not because they reject science. On the contrary. the utopian thinkers are completely dominated by the scientific thought of earlier centuries. They sought the completion of this general rational system: they did not in any way consider themselves disarmed prophets, since they believed in the social power of scientific proof and even, in the case of Saint-Simonism, in the seizure of power by science. “How did they want to seize through struggle what must be proved?” asked Sombart. The scientific conception of the utopians did not extend to the knowledge that some social groups have interests in the existing situation, forces to maintain it, and also forms of false consciousness corresponding to such positions. This conception did not even reach the historical reality of the development of science itself, which was oriented largely by the social demand of agents who selected not only what could be admitted, but also what could be studied. The utopian socialists, remaining prisoners of the mode of exposition of scientific truth, conceived this truth in terms of its pure abstract image–an image which had been imposed at a much earlier stage of society. As Sorel observed, it is on the model of astronomy that the utopians thought they would discover and demonstrate the laws of society. The harmony envisaged by them, hostile to history, grows out of the attempt to apply to society the science least dependent on history. This harmony is introduced with the experimental innocence of Newtonianism, and the happy destiny which is constantly postulated “plays in their social science a role analogous to the role of inertia in rational” (Materiaux pour une theorie du proletariat). 84. The deterministic-scientific facet in Marx’s thought was precisely the gap through which the process of “ideologization” penetrated, during his own lifetime, into the theoretical heritage left to the workers’ movement. The arrival of the historical subject continues to be postponed, and it is economics, the historical science par excellence, which tends increasingly to guarantee the necessity of its own future negation. But what is pushed out of the field of theoretical vision in this manner is revolutionary practice, the only truth of this negation. What becomes important is to study economic development with patience, and to continue to accept suffering with a Hegelian tranquility, so that the result remains “a graveyard of good intentions.” It is suddenly discovered that, according to the science of revolution, consciousness always comes too soon, and has to be taught. “History has shown that we, and all who thought as we did, were wrong. History has clearly shown that the state of economic development on the continent at that time was far from being ripe” Engels was to say in 1895. Throughout his life, Marx had maintained a unitary point of view in his theory, but the exposition of the theory was carried out on the terrain of the dominant thought and became precise in the form of critiques of particular disciplines, principally the critique of the fundamental science of bourgeois society, political economy. It is this mutilation, later accepted as definitive, which has constituted “marxism.” 85. The weakness of Marx’s theory is naturally the weakness of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat of his time. The working class did not set off the permanent revolution in the Germany of 1848; the Commune was defeated in isolation. Revolutionary theory thus could not yet achieve its own total existence. The fact that Marx was reduced to defending and clarifying it with cloistered, scholarly work, in the British Museum, caused a loss in the theory itself. The scientific justifications Marx elaborated about the future development of the working class and the organizational practice that went with them became obstacles to proletarian consciousness at a later stage. 86. All the theoretical insufficiencies of content as well as form of exposition of the scientific defense of proletarian revolution can be traced to the identification of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie from the standpoint of the revolutionary seizure of power. 87. By grounding the proof of the scientific validity of proletarian power on repeated past attempts, Marx obscured his historical thought, from the Manifesto on, and was forced to support a linear image of the development of modes of production brought on by class struggles which end, each time, “with a revolutionary transformation of the entire society or with mutual destruction of the classes in struggle.” But in the observable reality of history, as Marx pointed out elsewhere, the “Asiatic mode of production” preserved its immobility in spite of all class confrontations, just as the serf uprisings never defeated the landlords, nor the slave revolts of Antiquity the free men. The linear schema loses sight of the fact that the bourgeoisie is the only revolutionary class that ever won; at the same time it is the only class for which the development of the economy was the cause and the consequence of its taking hold of society. The same simplification led Marx to neglect the economic role of the State in the management of a class society. If the rising bourgeoisie seemed to liberate the economy from the State, this took place only to the extent that the former State was an instrument of class oppression in a static economy. The bourgeoisie developed its autonomous economic power in the medieval period of the weakening of the State, at the moment of feudal fragmentation of balanced powers. But the modern State which, through Mercantilism, began to support the development of the bourgeoisie, and which finally became its State at the time of “laisser faire, laisser passer,” was to reveal later that it was endowed with the central power of calculated management of the economic process. With the concept of Bonapartism, Marx was nevertheless able to describe the shape of the modern statist bureaucracy, the fusion of capital and State, the formation of a “national power of capital over labor, a public force organized for social enslavement,” where the bourgeoisie renounces all historical life which is not reduced to the economic history of things and would like to “be condemned to the same political nothingness as other classes.” Here the socio-political foundations of the modern spectacle are already established, negatively defining the proletariat as the only pretender to historical life. 88. The only two classes which effectively correspond to Marx’s theory, the two pure classes towards which the entire analysis of Capital leads, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, are also the only two revolutionary classes in history, but in very different conditions: the bourgeois revolution is over; the proletarian revolution is a project born on the foundation of the preceding revolution but differing from it qualitatively. By neglecting the originality of the historical role of the bourgeoisie, one masks the concrete originality of the proletarian project, which can attain nothing unless it carries its own banners and knows the “immensity of its tasks.” The bourgeoisie came to power because it is the class of the developing economy. The proletariat cannot itself come to power except by becoming the class of consciousness. The growth of productive forces cannot guarantee such power, even by way of the increasing dispossession which it brings about. A Jacobin seizure of power cannot be its instrument. No ideology can help the proletariat disguise its partial goals as general goals, because the proletariat cannot preserve any partial reality which is really its own. 89. If Marx, in a given period of his participation in the struggle of the proletariat, expected too much from scientific forecasting, to the point of creating the intellectual foundation for the illusions of economism, it is known that he did not personally succumb to those illusions. In a well-known letter of December 7, 1867, accompanying an article where he himself criticized Capital, an article which Engels would later present to the press as the work of an adversary, Marx clearly disclosed the limits of his own science: ” . . . The subjective tendency of the author (which was perhaps imposed on him by his political position and his past), namely the manner in which he views and presents to others the ultimate results of the real movement, the real social process, has no relation to his own actual analysis.” Thus Marx, by denouncing the “tendentious conclusions” of his own objective analysis, and by the irony of the “perhaps” with reference to the extra-scientific choices imposed on him, at the same time shows the methodological key to the fusion of the two aspects. 90. The fusion of knowledge and action must be realized in the historical struggle itself, in such a way that each of these terms guarantees the truth of the other. The formation of the proletarian class into a subject means the organization of revolutionary struggles and the organization of society at the revolutionary moment: it is then that the practical conditions of consciousness must exist, conditions in which the theory of praxis is confirmed by becoming practical theory. However, this central question of organization was the question least developed by revolutionary theory at the time when the workers’ movement was founded, namely when this theory still had the unitary character which came from the thought of history. (Theory had undertaken precisely this task in order to develop a unitary historical practice.) This question is in fact the locus of inconsistency of this theory, allowing the return of sta
  25. During these last decades the interest in professional fasting has markedly diminished. It used to pay very well to stage such great performances under one’s own management, but today that is quite impossible. We live in a different world now. At one time the whole town took a lively interest in the hunger artist; from day to day of his fast the excitement mounted; everybody wanted to see him at least once a day; there were people who bought season tickets for the last few days and sat from morning till night in front of his small barred cage; even in the nighttime there were visiting hours, when the whole effect was heightened by torch flares; on fine days the cage was set out in the open air, and then it was the children’s special treat to see the hunger artist; for their elders he was often just a joke that happened to be in fashion, but the children stood openmouthed, holding each other’s hands for greater security, marveling at him as he sat there pallid in black tights, with his ribs sticking out so prominently, not even on a seat but down among straw on the ground, sometimes giving a courteous nod, answering questions with a constrained smile, or perhaps stretching an arm through the bars so that one might feel how thin it was, and then again withdrawing deep into himself, paying no attention to anyone or anything, not even to the all-important striking of the clock that was the only piece of furniture in his cage, but merely staring into vacancy with half-shut eyes, now and then taking a sip from a tiny glass of water to moisten his lips.

    Besides casual onlookers there were also relays of permanent watchers selected by the public, ususally butchers, strangely enough, and it was their task to watch the hunger artist day and night, three of them at a time, in case he should have some secret recourse to nourishment. This was nothing but a formality, instituted to reassure the masses, for the initiates knew well enough that during his fast the artist would never in any circumstances, not even under forcible compulsion, swallow the smallest morsel of food; the honor of his profession forbade it. Not every watcher, of course, was capable of understanding this, there were often groups of night watchers who were very lax in carrying out their duties and deliberately hudled together in a retired corner to play cards with great absorption, obviously intending to give the hunger artist the chance of a little refreshment, which they supposed he could draw from some private hoard. Nothing annoyed the artist more than such watchers; they made him miserable; they made his fast seem unendurable; sometimes he mastered his feebleness sufficiently to sing during their watch for as long as he could keep going, to show them how unjust their suspicions were. But that was of little use; they only wondered at his cleverness in being able to fill his mouth even while singing. Much more to his taste were the watchers who sat up close to the bars, who were not content with the dim night lighting of the hall but focused him in the full glare of the electric pocket torch given them by the impresario. The harsh light did not trouble him at all, in any case he could never sleep properly,and he could always drowse a little, even when the hall was thronged with noisy onlookers. He was quite happy at the prospect of spending a sleepless night with such watchers; he was ready to exchange jokes with them, to tell them stories out of his nomadic life, anything at all to keep them awake and demonstrate to them that he had no eatables in his cage and that he was fasting as not one of them could fast. But his happiest moment was when the morning came and an enormous breakfast was brought them, at his expense, on which they flung themselves wit hthe keen appetite of healthy men after a weary night of wakefulness. Of course there were people who argued that this breakfast was an unfair attempt to bribe the watchers, but that was going rather too far, and when they were invited to take on a night’s vigil without a breakfast, merely for the sake of the cause, they made themselves scarce, although they stuck stubbornly to their suspicions.

    Such suspicions, anyhow, were a necessary accompaniment to the profession of fasting. No one could possibly watch the hunger artist continuosly, day and night, and so no one could produce first-hand evidence that the fast had really been rigorous and continuous; only the artist himself could know that, he was therefore bound to be the sole completely satisfied spectator of his own fast. Yet for other reasons he was never satisfied; it was not perhaps mere fasting that had brought him to such skeleton thinness that many people had regretfully to keep away from his exhibitions, because the sight of him was too much for them, perhaps it was dissatisfaction with himself that had worn him down. For he alone knew, what no other initiate knew, how easy it was to fast. It was the easiest thing in the world. He made no secret of this, yet people did not believe him. At the best they set him down as modest, most of them, however, thought he was out for publicity or else he was some kind of cheat who found it easy to fast because he had discovered a way of making it easy, and then had the impudence to admit the fact, more or less. He had to put up with all that, and in the course of time had got used to it, but his inner dissatisfaction always rankled, and never yet, after any term of fasting–this must be granted to his credit–had he left the cage of his own free will. The longest period of fasting was fixed by his impresario at forty days, beyond that term he was not allowed to go, not even in great cities, and there was good reason for it, too. Experience had proved that for about forty days the interest of the public could be stimulated by a steadily increasing pressure of advertisment, but after that the town began to lose interest, sympathetic support began notably to fall off, there were of course local variations as between one town and another, but as a general rule forty days marked the limit. So on the fortieth day the flower-bedecked cage was opened, enthusiastic spectators filled the hall, a military band played, two doctors entered the cage to measure the results of the fast, which were announced through a megaphone, and finally two young ladies appeared, blissful at having been selected for the honor, to help the hunger artist down the few steps leading to a small table on which was spread a carefully chosen invalid repast. And at this very moment the artist always turned stubborn. True, he would entrust his bony arms to the outstretched helping hands of the ladies bending over him, but stand up he would not. Why stop fasting at this particular moment, after forty days of it? He had held out for a long time, an illimitably long time; why stop now, when he was in his best fasting form, or rather, not yet quite in his best fasting form? Why should he be cheated of the fame he would get for fasting longer, for being not only the record hunger artist of all time, which presumably he was already, but for beating his own record by a performance beyond human imagination, since he felt that there were no limits to his capacity for fasting? His public pretended to admire him so much, why should it have so little patience with him; if he could endure fasting longer, why shouldn’t the public endure it? Besides, he was tired, and now he was supposed to lift himself to his full height and go down to a meal the very thought of which gave him a nausea that only the presence of the ladies kept him from betraying, and even that with an effort. And he looked up into the eyes of the ladies who were apparently so friendly and in reality so cruel, and shook his head, which felt too heavy on its strengthless neck. But then there happened yet again what always happened. The impresario came forward, without a word–for the band made speech impossible–lifted his arms in the air above the artist, as if inviting Heaven to look down upon its creature here in the straw, this suffering martyr, which indeed he was, although in quite another sense; grasped him around the emaciated waist, with exaggerated caution, so that the frail condition he was in might be appreciated; and committed him to the care of the blenching ladies, not without secretly giving him a shaking so that his legs and body tottered and swayed. The artist now submitted completely; his head lolled on his breast as if it had landed there by chance; his body was hollowed out; his legs in a spasm of self-preservation clung to each other at the knees, yet scraped on the ground as if it were not really solid ground, as if they were only trying to find solid ground; and the whole weight of his body, a featherweight after all, relapsed onto one of the ladies, who looking round for help and panting a little–this post of honor was not at all what she expected it to be–first stretched her neck as far as she could to keep her face at least free from contact with the artist, then finding this impossible, and her more fortunate companion not coming to her aid, but merely holding extended on her own trembling hand the little bunch of knucklebones that was the artist’s, to the great delight of the spectators burst into tears and had to be replaced by an attendant who had long been stationed in readiness. Then came the food, a little of which the impresario managed to get between the artist’s lips, while he sat in a kind of half-fainting trance, to the accompaniment of cheerful patter designed to distract the public’s attention from the artist’s condition; after that, a toast was drunk to the public, supposedly prompted by a whisper from the artist in the impresario’s ear; the band confirmed it with a mighty flourish, the spectators melted away, and no one had any cause to be dissatisfied with the proceedings, no one except the hunger artist himself, he only, as always.

    So he lived for many years, with small regular intervals of recuperation, in visible glory, honored by all the world, yet in spite of that troubled in spirit, and all the more troubled because no one would take his trouble seriously. What comfort could he posibly need? What more could he possibly wish for? And if some good-natured person, feeling sorry for him, tried to console him by pointing out that his melancholy was probably caused by fasting, it could happen, especially when he had been fasting for some time, that he reacted with an outburst of fury and to the general alarm began to shake the bars of the cage like a wild animal. Yet the impresario had a way of punishing these outbreaks which he rather enjoyed putting into operation. He would apologize publicly for the artist’s behavior, which was only to be excused, he admitted, because of the irritability caused by fasting; a condition hardly to be understood by well-fed people; then by natural transition he went on to mention the artist’s equally incomprehensible boast that he could fast for much longer than he was doing; he praised the high ambition, the good will, the great self-denial undoubtedly implicit in such a statement; and then quite simply countered it by bringing out photographs, which were also on sale to the public, showing the artist on the fortieth day of a fast lying in bed almost dead from exhaustion. This perversion of the truth, familiar to the artist though it was, always unnerved him afresh and proved too much for him. What was a consequence of the premature ending of his fast was here presented as the cause of it! To fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of non-understanding, was impossible. Time and time again in good faith he stood by the bars listening to the impresario, but as soon as the photographs appeared he always let go and sank with a groan back on to his straw, and the reassured public could once more come close and gaze at him.

    A few years later when the witnesses of such scenes called them to mind, they often failed to understand themselves at all. For meanwhile the aforementioned chance in public interest had set in; it seemed to happen almost overnight; there may have been profound causes for it, but who was going to bother about that; at any rate the pampered hunger artist suddenly found himself deserted one fine day by the amusement seekers, who went streaming past him to other more favored attractions. For the last time the impresario hurried him over half Europe to discover whether the old interest might still survive here and there; all in vain; everywhere, as if by secret agreement, a positive revulsion from professional fasting was in evidence. Of course it could not really have sprung up so suddenly as all that, and many premonitory symptoms which had not been sufficiently remarked or suppressed during the rush and glitter of success now came retrospectively to mind, but it was now too late to take any countermeasures. Fasting would surely come into fashion again at some future date, yet that was no comfort for those living in the present. What, then, was the hunger artist to do? He had been applauded by thousands in his time and could hardly come down to showing himself in a street booth at village fairs, and as for adopting another profession, he was not only too old for that but too fanatically devoted to fasting. So he took leave of the impresario, his partner in an unparalleled career, and hired himself to a large circus; in order to spare his own feelings he avoided reading the conditions of his contract.

    A large circus with its enormous traffic in replacing and recruiting men, animals and apparatus can always find a use for people at any time, even for a hunger artist, provided of course that he does not ask too much., and in this particular case anyhow it was not only the artist who was taken on but his famous and long-known name as well, indeed considering the peculiar nature of his performance, which was not imparired by advancing age, it could not be objected that here was an artist past his prime, no longer at the height of his professional skill, seking a refuge in some quiet corner of a circus, on the contrary, the hunger artist averred that he could fast as well as ever, which was entirely credible, he even alleged that if he were allowed to fast as he liked, and this was at once promised him without more ado, he could astound the world by establishing a record never yet achieved, a statement which certainly provoked a smile among the other professionals, since it was left out of account the change in public opinion, which the hunger artist in his zeal conveniently forgot.

    He had not, however, actually lost his sense of the real situation and took it as a matter of course that he and his cage should be stationed, not in the middle of the ring as a main attraction, but outside, near the animal cages, on a site that was after all easily accessible. Large and gaily painted placards made a frame for the cage and announced what was to be seen inside it. When the public came thronging out in the intervals to see the animals, they could harly avoid passing the hunger artist’s cage and stopping there a moment, perhaps they might even have stayed longer had not those pressing behind them in the narrow gangway, who did not understand why they should be held up on their way towards the excitements of the menagerie, made it impossible for anyone to stand gazing quietly for any length of time. And that was the reason why the hunger artist, who had of course been looking forward to these visiting hours as the main achievement of his life, began instead to shrink from them. At first he could hardly wait for the intervals; it was exhilirating to watch the crowds come streaming his way, until only too soon–not even the most obstinante self-deception, clung to almost consciously, could hold out against the fact–the conviction was borne in upon him that these people, most of them, to judge from their actions, again and again, without exception, were all on their way to the menagerie. And the first sight of them from the distance remained the best. For when they reached his cage he was at once deafened by the storm of shouting and abuse that arose from the two contending factions, which renewed themselves continuously, of those who wanted to stop and stare at him–he soon began to dislike them more than the others–not out of real interest but only out of obstinante self-assertiveness, and those who wanted to go straight on to the animals. When the first great rush was past, the stragglers came along, and these, whom nothing could have prevented from stopping to look at him as long as they had breath, raced past with long strides, hardly even glancing at him, in their haste to get to the menagerie in time. And all too rarely did it happen that he had a stroke of luck, when some father of a family fetched up before him with his children, pointed a finger at the hunger artist and explained at length what the phenomenon meant, telling storied of earlier years when he himself had watched similar but much more thrilling performances, and the children, still rather uncomprehending, since neither inside nor outside shcool had they been sufficiently prepared for this lesson–what did they care about fasting?–yet showed by the brightnes of their intent eyes that new and better times might be coming. Perhaps, said the hunger artist to himself many a time, things could be a little better if his cage were set not quite so near the menagerie. That made it too easy for people to make their choice, to say nothing of what he suffered from the stench of the menagerie, the animals’ restlessness by night, the carrying past of raw lumps of flesh for the beasts of prey, the roaring at feeding times, which depressed him continuously. But he did not dare to lodge a complaint with the management; after all, he had the animals to thank for the troops of people who passed his cage, among whom there might always be one here and there to take an interest in him, and who could tell where they might seclude him if he called attention to his existence and thereby to the fact that, strictly speaking, he was only an impediment on the wat to the menagerie.

    A small impediment, to be sure, one that grew steadily less. People grew familiar with the strange idea that they could be expected, in times like these, to take an interest in a hunger artist, and with this familiarity the verdict went out against him. He might fast as much as he could, and he did so; but nothing could save him now, people passed him by. Just try to explain to anyone the art of fasting! Anyone who has no feeling for it cannot be made to understand it. The fine placards grew dirty and illegible, they were torn down; the little notice board telling the number of fast days achieved, which at first was changed carefully every day, had long stayed at the same figure, for after the first few weeks even this small task seemed pointless to the staff; and so the artist simply fasted on and on, as he had once dreamed of doing, and it was no trouble to him, just as he had always foretold, but no one counted the days, not one, not even the artist himself, knew what records he was already breaking, and his heart grew heavy. And when once in a time some leisurely passer-by stopped, made merry over the old figure on the board and spoke of swindling, that was in its way the stupidest lie ever invented by indifference and inborn malice, since it was not the hunger artist who was cheating, he was working honestly, but the world who was cheating him of his reward.

    Many more days went by, however, and that too came to an end. An overseer’s eye fell on the cage one day and he asked the attendants why this perfectly good cage should be left standing there unused with dirty straw inside it; nobody knew, until one man, helped out by the notice board, remembered about the hunger artist. They poked into the straw with sticks and found him in it. “Are you still fasting?” asked the overseer, “when on earth do you mean to stop?” “Forgive me, everybody,” whispered the hunger artist, only the overseer, who had his ear to the bars, understood him. “Of course,” said the overseer, and tapped his forehead with a finger to let the attendants know what state the man was in, “we forgive you.” “I always wanted you to admire my fasting,” said the hunger artist. “We do admire it,” said the overseer, affably. “But you shouldn’t admire it,” said the hunger artist. “Well then we don’t admire it,” said the overseer, “but why shouldn’t we admire it?” “Because I have to fast, I can’t help it,” said the hunger artist. “What a fellow you are,” said the overseer, “and why can’t you help it?” “Because,” said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and speaking, with his lips pursed, as if for a kiss, right into the overseer’s ear, so that no syllable might be lost, “because I couldn’t find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else.” These were his last words, but in his dimming eyes remained the firm though no longer proud persuasion that he was continuing to fast.

    “Well, clear this out now!” said the overseer, and they buried the hunger artist, straw and all. Into the cage they put a young panther. Even the most insensitive felt it refreshing to see this wild creature leaping around the cage that had so long been dreary. The panther was all right. The food he liked was brought him without hesitation by the attendants; he seemed not even to miss his freedom; his noble body, furnished almost to the bursting point with all that it needed, seemed to carry freedom around with it too; somewhere in his jaws it seemed to lurk; and the joy of life streamed with such ardent passion from his throat that for the onlookers it was not easy to stand the shock of it. But they braced themselves, crowded round the cage, and did not want ever to move away.

  26. Buenas Tardes Amigo
    Hola, my good friend
    Cinco de Mayo’s on Tuesday
    And I hoped we’d see each other again
    You killed my brother last winter
    You shot him three times in the back
    In the night I still hear mama weeping
    Oh mama, still dresses in black
    I looked at every fiesta
    For you I wanted to greet
    Maybe I’d sell you a chicken
    With poison interlaced with the meat
    You…you look like my brother
    Mama loved him the best
    He was head honcho with the ladies
    Mama always said he was blessed
    The village all gathered around him
    They couldn’t believe what they saw
    I said it was you that had killed him
    And that I’d find you and upstand the law
    The people of the village believed me
    Mama…she wanted revenge
    I told her that I’d see that she was honored
    I’d find you and put you to death

    So now…now that I’ve found you
    On this such a joyous day
    I tell you it was me who killed him
    But the truth I’ll never have to say
    Buenas tardes amigo
    Hola, my good friend
    Cinco de Mayo’s on Tuesday
    And I hoped we’d see each other again
    Yes, I hoped we’d see each other again

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