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09-01-2012
The Gospel of Wealth: Towards a New Generation of American Consumership By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2011
Rick Perry leads Baal worshippers in prayer meeting By Pig Bodine M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
02-01-2011
A Film Too Far: The Battle of the Strait of Hormuz By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2010
Maurice Stoker quasireviews The Vicious Circulation of Dr. Catastrophe: A Polemical Ensemble by Kane X. Faucher By Maurice Stoker
06-01-2010
Boozer Allan Hamilton Justifies the Tea Party By Boozer Allan Hamilton
04-15-2010
Keith Olbermann Freaks Out Pig Bodine By Pig Bodine
06-15-2009
Saving California: Secession and the Reagan Scheme By Pig Bodine
05-15-2009
Maurice Stoker on Tom Bradley's Even the Dog Won't Touch Me By Maurice Stoker
12-15-2008
Two Glad Tidings from The Marshall By Marshall Smith
11-01-2008
Sarah Palin's Party of God By Maurice Stoker
09-15-2008
Double-Ended Dildos Manufactured at Cosmodrome By Kane X. Faucher
07-15-2008
At the Airport By Tom Bradley
05-01-2008
Building the Perfect Weapon By Thomas Sullivan
04-01-2008
CNBC Wins Pequod Institute Award for Excellence in High School Journalism By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
03-01-2008
Pig Bodine's Funky Financial Cooze Network Topological Finance for Aging Bald Dudes By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2007
Un Mensaje Navideño del Director General Por Sandra Ramos Rossi
Christmas Parades are a Deadly Derangement of Culture and other Seasonal Asides by Kane X. Faucher
11-01-2007
Euphotan, Protoplasmic Flash, and their Properties by Nail, with commentary by Chevy the Scientist
10-01-2007
Suggested reading, Universitatis Merdalina Literature 734.5, Advanced Topics in Mathematical Literature: Pseudo-British/American/Pidgin English Literature, Tensor Products of Novels and Poetry for Quasi-Conformal Plagiarism in Modern Genre and its Relationship to Sexual Identity and Morphisms by Maurice Stoker
08-01-2007
The Unexamined Life in Hell: Peregrinations Across The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2007
Presidential Politics in the Year of the Toad by Boozer Allan Hamilton Ph.D.
04-01-2007
An Eleventh Tonkin Scenario by Donald Dickerson
03-01-2007
The Second Annual Howard Littlefield Boosterism Award for Economic Forecasting Awarded to Boozer Allan Hamilton by Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2006
Maurice Stoker On Writing a Prize Winning Best Seller by Maurice Stoker
11-01-2006
¿Study says lack of talent? by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
08-01-2006
US Cracks International Terrorist Ring by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2006
Pig Bodine Solves the US Immigration and Education Dilemmas in One Blow by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
05-01-2006
Maurice Stoker Anent Two Errors in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon by Maurice Stoker
Full PAM Archive
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Keith Olbermann Freaks the Shit Out of Pig Bodine

Lettuce prey

doves

So I just got back from a cure. A long cure, months at a small Cashinahua resort somewhere along the border between Brazil and Peru. Cure of the psyche (as opposed to psychic cure) purging from memory circuits the tag-ends and snippets of ditties and the caterwauling passing for music (especially the female bellyache-cramp moaning that has come to signify balladeering) to which US citizens are routinely subjected when on hold, at a mall, walking down the street and almost all other times in which it is deemed unseemly to be alone with nature or your own thoughts. Add to those mental impingements advertisements mostly based on fear mongering (sad to see the sex-mongering disappear from US advertising), the absurd play to family values and vapid imagery of success a la conspicuous consumption, conspicuous leisure and highly-glossed pecuniary canons of taste, along with inane films, popular books written at what used to be (before colleges were reduced to grade school standards) fifth grade level, television programming, and in fact almost all that passes for education (read social conditioning and indoctrination, mythology as history, and now "economics"). The montage of pop culture nowadays passed off as high art by barkers in the carnival that has become modern society. A small part of the host of claptrap that makes up the modern US resident's psychic being; mostly US residents in attendance, but not to overlook the Europeans and Canadians, together with a few Asians and South Americans trying to rid themselves of the illness that is now their variant of culture.

The cure consists of guided sessions induced with specific herbal infusions of a variety of plants tailored to individual needs but based on Banisteriopis caapi, Banisteriopis rusbyana, Psychotria viridis and a buttload of other alkaloid-rich jungle herbs. In extreme cases, a Yanomami specialist is on hand to apply virola snuff, but that is an almost-last-resort measure (though I confess it was necessary with me). If that is not sufficient to effect a cure, one is sent to an even more remote location for treatment with a Jívaro shaman, more individualistic in approach than the kinder, gentler healers at the resort. The Jívaro are Platonic in their world view, forcing one to confront reality and leave behind the lie of the ordinary world formed from cultural bullshit that leads to the modern epidemic of psychic maladies (perhaps the worst such epidemic since the middle ages, at least according to the WHO). (For more on the Jívaro, See Michael J. Harner, The Jívaro: People of the Sacred Waterfalls, Doubleday, 1972.) Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps), though citizens of the US and Europe are in dire need of said treatment, few survive the Jívaro.

To gain access to the cure, it is necessary to interview with several counselors and pass through a rigorous battery of surveys and tests to ascertain the depth of immersion in illusion (formally perhaps akin to Maya of Advaita Vedanta) and the possibility of success in removing the grosser forms (no one is hoping for true enlightenment here, just the possibility of seeing through the deep cultural morass encumbering the ability to perceive and appreciate what is real). The beginning is a tranquil setting where a variety of gentler psychotropic drugs (and on occasion the isolation tank) are employed to jump-start the journey and complete the assessment, mostly clinical LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. These controlled circumstances starkly contrast the unpleasant and harsh group curative ceremonies with the Cashinahua hold in a different, more primitive setting. Screams are not uncommon, people shrieking in dread when confronting the monsters lurking within their tortured psyches. Most at risk are those wedded to fundamentalist views of reality tied to ideology, often Christians or other believers in religions of The Book, but sometimes also political-economic ideologues and certainly those whose self-image and esteem are tied up with what they are trained to believe is "success." It is not uncommon for such to simply disappear like flies and mosquitoes fried in bug zappers when their cultural selves are butchered and excised. Perhaps this is the reality behind the Rapture. Others wander into the jungle to be eaten. Given the attrition rate, it's no wonder there is a long and detailed screening process. Especially important is impressing the dangers and ultimate unpleasantness of the cure, filtering out those who would attend strictly as recreational trippers.

This long-winded verbiage by way of introduction so's you understand where I was coming from. Only hours back inside the CONUS with a friend who volunteered to help me re-acclimate to the US, having decided not to immerse myself in a foreign culture as my initial point of return. Perhaps a fuck-up.

We tramp into the kitchen via the garage door, finishing off a doobie after a ride from the airport in an ancient, seldom-driven Swedish iron and I'm immediately confronted by a terrifying image of a big nose centered above a fat-lipped wide mouth all crowded into a squashed lumpy face. Its on a poster stuck on the refrigerator, close-set eyes (naturally crossed from focusing on that extended beezer?) staring dead ahead. I jump back and holler something like Holy shit! and my friend laughs, exhaling a cloud of smoke. I've seen that schlub before.

— I saw that head explode during the treatment.

— Unlikely, Pig. Poster for a book.

I see it. The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.

— I swear when the woman wearing that head realized that the word success is totally meaningless, her head exploded. That was a month or so back. The healer kept trying to get her to explain the semantic content, the signification of the word success and she couldn't do it. Every time she offered something he gave a counterexample or else he pointed out it was just another name. Her operational definitions all came down to various rewards from other people.

I take a big hit off a newly proffered joint.

— Yeah, she actually considers Bill Gates a success, my friend says. Stealing someone's software and claiming it as your own is a likely basis for what she would call success, but none of her examples were anything I'd call successes. Her idea of success leaves out the likes of Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King—

— Probably leaves out Gary Kildall, too. Not to mention the likes of Elie Cartain or Alexandre Grothendiek or Einstein or Thorstein Veblen or Maurice Dobb or Bernhard Riemann or Kiyosi Ito or Louis Bachelier or Evariste Galois—

— Or Linda Lovelace or Marilyn Chambers or Jim Mitchell. Holy shit, dude. That's enough.

— Sorry. Thanks for stopping me. Been burbling a lot since the first yajé ride—

— Hop on that ayahuascua express—

— So anyway, her head finally exploded. An improvement, in my opinion. She's uglier than that Parker chick or that other fat lipped one with the droopy boobs and fat lips, what's her name…?

— With the gnarly, spindly legs? Angelina Jolie? Isn't her dad some kind of fascist queer?

— Yeah, that's the one. I always get her confused with the skinny one with eyes on the side of her head.

— That'd be Uma Thurman, I think. But she's blonde.

— Yeah, the one's related to the old senator. Or married to him.

— Come on, Pig. Thurmond and Thurman. Not the same.

— I can't keep all these cultural icons straight. But man, that Jolie — her dad's an actor. You're thinking of a movie, probably confused him with that great Republican hero Roy Cohn. But he was a lawyer. Anyway, that conservative icon and skin flute artiste died of AIDS a long time ago.

— Unlikely, Pig. About the authoress, I mean. She isn't smart enough to realize the word success has no objective semantic content—

— Operational meaning—

— Besides which, she has no clue regarding economics.

— Economics is mostly mythology anyway, at least as taught these days.

— Anyhow, that head is still blathering complete gibberish for big bucks on one of those bidness news shows. I just keep the poster cause it scares the fucking roaches and rats out of the house. Some just work in the kitchen, but this one's good for the whole house.

— Shack.

— Whatever. Wanna see if she's on the tube now?

— Anything gentler?

— Well, maybe Keith Olbermann or that Maddow bimbo would be a gentle reentry to the wondrous world of US political macabre.

And thus it happened. Seated on a sagging divan supported from below by an accumulation of ghost turds deposited over the years, passing back and forth a fat spliff and staring at spectral images on a dated analog tube jerry-rigged to accept the new digital standard without giving money to cable outfits or buying some converter box, as I went on about how I'd felt like a success when I'd mastered all the damned knots the Navy expected boatswain mates to tie, how it inspired me to worship R. H. Fox and go into algebraic topology which sent me to economics and finance, I hushed up when Olbermann began a diatribe against a vile hedge fund manager, David Tepper, who'd made a lot of money on the bank bailout.

But that in itself didn't do it. What left me feeling more lost than the first time I wandered off in Frechet space was his blather about how this was part of the shadow economy, this hedge fund deal, as opposed to the real economy where (used to be?) people made real things.

My friend and I looked at each other, but I didn't join in the laughter.

— Shit, I said, either he has no sense of irony or no shame.

By then, another talking head had joined him, one Chris Hayes, and my friend said:

— It's clear that neither of these clowns has both shame and a sense of irony. I wonder if perhaps one is missing shame and the other missing the sense of irony.

— If so, one of them ought be blushing. I guess both are missing irony, for sure. Maybe shame too.

It brought back the memory of sitting in a bar near a campus a long time ago, an out-of-place blue collar beside me. I decided to befriend the little dude and asked him what he did to which he replied in a clipped Missourian drawl, Ahma perfessional truck driver. Drive me a frigerator truck. He asked me what I did and I said I was studying mathematics and science, and he said they needed to take all them damned scientists out and make them do some real work. I asked him who he thought had invented the refrigeration unit for his fucking truck. Truck drivers? The little turd got pissed and said if I didn't shut up he'd kick my ass, which I let pass. He fled immediately upon downing his draft of Watneys, which he seemed to find distastefully strong given the expressions he produced as he gulped the insipid brew.

So what the fuck is the REAL economy? Holy shit, is this another hallucination akin to The Free Market? Is this the "progressive" variant of economics as mythos creeping into the dialogue? I mean, which economy did Jesus die for? Given that the bulk of US economic activity is consumer spending and something like half of that is Christmas.

Is the real economy the production worker at GM or BMW or Toyota or Mercedes-Benz or any of the other metal behemoths that blight our once-natural world? Real what? Real unnecessary? Real ugly? Real junk? Real conspicuous consumption? Real expensive in too many ways to compute? They're real debt traps, that's for fucking sure. Albatrosses.

Which is more real? The assembly line worker assisting the robots, the hype artist pimping sexuality or fear or conspicuous consumption or machismo to sell the unnecessary encumbrances, or the MBA manager lapping the diarrheal trickle-down from the butt hole of his superior? My money's on the mechanic ripping off the turds who to survive are forced to drive old versions of this schlock.

Maybe Olbermann's using too much crank. I mean, that's part of the real economy, isn't it?

Consider the "rocket scientist" at Lockheed-Martin or L-3 or the other quasi-public sector companies contributing to our "defense." Or the "economist" at Rand or the Fed or any of that ilk. Are they part of the real economy? They all mostly produce paper, though the "defense" guys sometimes produce stuff no one in the military wants or needs and that often doesn't work when they do need it. They are all on the government payroll (dole?), though not necessarily via civil service.

Reality is that the intersection of the "shadow economy" and the "real economy" is nonempty. And in that intersection is the likes of all media-hosted talk. Radio and television included. The goal is to sell people shit they don't need by exploiting the basic monkey-see monkey-do that Thorstein Veblen realized as the root of all economic behavior.

I mean, if Tiger Woods had been part of a "real economy" he'd have refused to apologize and instead shown up at the next tourney with a bevy of skanks attired in poor taste. He could have sponsored Cialis, Levitra and Viagra and the sensation-enhancing lubricants and condoms and the penile enlargement pills and maybe the films of masters like the Bang Brothers. Certainly he could have added an element of reality to the idiotic Cialis commercials. He could have modified the Edison Arantes do Nascimento approach: I don't really need this stuff but sometimes when you have five or six hos lined up, it is a help. And if you have an erection that lasts for four or more hours, call for reinforcements.

Are the prose horrors of the software-generated cliché called Elmore Leonard or Steven King part of the real economy? Maybe the Dan Brown claptrap for eight year old mentalities, though it is difficult to see how this drivel can be generated by a bug-free software package.

The intersection of the "real economy" and the "shadow economy" is the bogus economy. Olbermann is as much a part of that bogus economy as this Tepper dude. Maybe more. Not only is the bogus economy not empty, if the intersection of the bogus economy and the US economy is removed from the US economy, what remains is nowhere dense. It might even be discrete. I mean, you might find a real tomato in the US economy, you're lucky if you do outside your own garden, but you still likely need to acquire it from within the bogus economy. Not that the US is unique. Britain may be worse than the US. Brazil is busy attempting to become a totally bogus economy, as is China. And India. And Japan is going broke because its citizens don't want to participate in the bogus economy, at least according to a recent article in The Economist . Though according to the tomato test, there remain parts of Europe that are not yet totally bogus, in that they grow real tomatoes.

My friend broke into my revery:

— Hey, Pig, how come these dorks never get into shit like Black-Scholes and pricing of options. Or the extensions to derivatives—

— How about that Black-Derman-Toy?

— You think any of those dorks on MSNBC or Fox Bidness Noise knows anything about Ito integrals and pricing of derivatives? Let alone martingales?

— You shitting me? Those buttheads likely can't add fractions. I mean fractions as ratios of integers, not fractions in some commutative integral domain. They probably confuse decimals for fractions.

— What about non-commutative integral domains?

— I think that Malcev showed you need some conditions to get a division ring of fractions out of a non-commutative domain. Something like the right common multiple property.

— Division algebras and vector bundles on spheres—

— Poor old Frobenius. I bet that bimbo wouldn't consider him a success either. Anyway, they wouldn't grok pricing plain old vanilla European call options. I wonder if old Keith there would consider that part of the real economy? Is that a real thingy? No Ito's lemma for these bozos…

— Olbermann would do better to read Veblen than Thurber.

— Thurber? He reads Thurber? Aloud? On the tube? Shit, he definitely has no shame.

— That's for sure. We should have thought of that before we wasted our moment of angst.

— Wait. Did you mean Thorstein or Oswald?

— Thorstein, dude. Much funnier than Oswald, for one thing.

We switched off the broadcast shit and my friend put on a video from Burning Angel. Clearly this is in the complement of the shadow economy. The genius of Joanna Angel is not only to be a genuine entrepreneur, but a convincing actress and inspiring writer. (Though she has not yet produced anything up to the classic from Crazy Babe, What To Do with Chicken and Corn starring Mothra Girl in a stunning solo performance.) And she has her fist around the pulse of the real economy: butt-ugly babes covered with ink and hardware-filled wounds fellating monstrous schlongs and munching each other's rugs. And unlike Hollywood, a mainstay of the bogus economy, Angel need not spend enormous sums on hype to make people think these homely babes are sexy.

I think Olbermann might want to study the potlatch. And also read Veblen, especially The Theory of the Leisure Class. He'd do well to replace his weekly Thurber readings with readings from that masterpiece, getting at the heart of the real meaning of the economy while being funny as hell. Though the Martian Veblen seemed to have been under the influence of crank or crack when he fell for that social Darwinism shit. Of course, then it had a different meaning than now: Veblen thought it implied progress, not the slaughter of those who can't or won't play the game of the bogus economy.

— Hey Pig, you think Thorstein or Oswald was the bigger lack of success? I mean, lecturing on obscure social economic practices or the beginnings of obscure mathematics—

— Dude, what the fuck is obscure about analysis situs? Man, look at that fat girl swallow that enormous dork!

— Yeah, fresh from that skinny tattoo-job's asshole. Nice. Thought he'd never get it out of there. Like it took forever, like the old clown gag…

— Fellini did a nice job with that clown gag in The Clowns

— But that was a passel of clowns clambering out of a car, not a snake withdrawing from an anus.

— Uranus.

— Not likely.

I need to go for another treatment. Relapsed already. This time I think I'll head directly for the Jívaro.

Pig Bodine M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA

April 13, 2010

pig on motorcycle, not driving

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