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I only learned about Heathcote Williams by seeing his obit today in The Guardian. What a remarkable man and mensch, polemicist, artist, author, and poet. I can’t believe that I did not know about him.


Shareable URL FOR THIS PAGE http://bit.ly/heathcotewilliams

JULY 2 2017

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathcote_Williams (complete text at this link)

Heathcote Williams (15 November 1941 – 1 July 2017) was an English poet, actor, political activist and dramatist.He wrote a number of book-length polemical poems including Autogeddon, Falling for a Dolphin and Whale Nation, which in 1988 became, according to Philip Hoare “the most powerful argument for the newly instigated worldwide ban on whaling.”.Williams invented his idiosyncratic ‘documentary/investigative poetry’ style which he continues to put to good purpose bringing a diverse range of environmental and political matters to public attention. In June 2015, he published a book-length investigative poem about the ‘Muslim Gandhi’, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, ‘Badshah Khan’.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=heathcote+williams
– Heathcote Williams, by and about https://www.youtube.com/user/Babylonroyal
Babylonroyal 144 videos > https://www.youtube.com/user/Babylonroyal
Exploring polemics through poetry and montage. Primarily inspired by Royal Babylon: The Case Against The Monarchy by Heathcote Williams

The Guardian, obit

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/02/heathcote-williams-radical-poet-playwright-actor-dies-aged-75

Heathcote Williams, radical poet, playwright and actor, dies aged 75

His poems blasted the arms trade, consumerism and the tabloids, and he was also an accomplished painter and sculptor

Sunday 2 July 2017 08.54 EDTLast modified on Sunday 2 July 2017 17.00 EDT

Heathcote Williams, the radical poet, playwright, actor and polymathic English genius, has died at the age of 75. He had been ill for some time and died on Saturday in Oxford.

He was the author of many polemical poems, written over four decades in a unique documentary style. They included works about the devastation being wrought on the natural environment – Sacred Elephant, Whale Nation and Falling For a Dolphin – and Autogeddon, a grim and majestic attack on the car.

Williams also wrote several successful stage plays including AC/DC, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1969, and The Local Stigmatic, commissioned by Harold Pinter and revived in 2014 at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London on its 50th anniversary. His most recent play, Killing Kit, was about the life and death of Christopher Marlowe.

Scruffy on screen and off, Williams appeared in several films, often in cameo roles. He was a notable Prospero in Derek Jarman’s 1979 production of The Tempest. Other credits were Sally Potter’s arthouse Orlando, based on Virginia Woolf’s novel, and Hollywood’s Basic Instinct 2.

Williams was a very talented figure. He was an accomplished painter – his vivid works hung at the Oxford home he shared with his partner, Diana Senior – and sculptor. He was an impressive conjuror and a member of the Magic Circle. One of his TV plays, What the Dickens!, featured Dickens performing magic shows for children.

His literary output was prolific. It included a book on Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, published when he was 23, and in later life he wrote several poems a month, driven by news and current affairs. As mainstream publishers dried up, these appeared online as YouTube video montages, often narrated by the actors Alan Cox and Roy Hutchins.

At heart, Williams was a revolutionary. The historian Peter Whitfield placed his work in a “great tradition of visionary dissent” stretching from William Blake and John Ruskin to DH Lawrence and David Jones. His poems – blasting the arms trade, consumerism and the tabloids – were “wonderfully innocent” and at the same time “wonderfully streetwise”.

There were comparisons with Percy Bysshe Shelley, the subject of one of Williams’s later long poems, Shelley in Oxford, published in 2012. Both were rebels who wrote with passionate social anger. Like Shelley, Eton-educated Williams didn’t finish his Oxford degree.

In his 60s and 70s, Williams found it difficult to walk any great distance. This confinement did nothing to diminish his creative energies nor his anger at the direction in which society was going in the hucksterish era of Brexit, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

Williams retained his principled fury to the end. In 2016 he published Boris Johnson: The Blond Beast of Brexit – A Study in Depravity, an excoriating attack reprising the foreign secretary’s lies, evasion and adultery, sold as a pamphlet from the London Review of Books bookshop. Another work, Royal Babylon, lambasted the Queen.

His last volume of poetry about Trump, American Porn, was published in January. Williams wrote that Trump’s real name – Drumpf – “suggests dumbness, even the passing of wind/ As well as the merciful transience of fame.”

 

Putin out the Olympic torch. How the Greeks invented culture, sports and homosexuality.

February 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Let’s legalize prostitution now, here’s how to force the issue.


SHORTLINK: http://wp.me/p4njL-c8

I’ve been meaning to do something about this for maybe twenty years, and I’m not going to waste another minute putting it off. For now, this post will be the barest outline.

Progressives mostly agree that marijuana is still illegal in most states in order to keep the alcohol, paper and timber industries happy. Of course the law and defense enterprises benefit as well, all at taxpayers’ expense. We know that prohibition does not work, and it’s a moot point whether these anti-pot laws will finally crumble before global warming crumbles us.

Anti-prostitution laws are wrong for similar reasons. The foremost reason being that PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK. Most first world countries “get this,” but USA always has to drag up the rear (no pun intended).

The consequences of anti-prostitution laws are similarly heinous and expensive, financially, ethically and socially (i.e. human suffering etc) as the anti-drug laws. How any of us “feels” about non-prescription drug use or prostitution is irrelevant. We are not talking about prohibitions against child abuse here.

Again, this is just a very broad outline, with much more to come, Ford willing.

Here is how we can force the issue. The first amendment protects porn film participants at every level, actors, directors, producers, film techs and so on, from any kind of prosecution because the first amendment protects their freedom of expression. So all sex-workers need do is set up a computer with video capability  and some simple software (or heck, a smart phone with an application), and a printer. Even most smart-phones have video capabilities.

When the sex-worker (SW) and the john (or jane, as the case may) arrives at the designated place where the allegedly illegal act will take place, the following occurs first. Just as cops read arrestees their Miranda rights, the SW informs the client that they are producing a porn video. The SW is the producer, the client is the distributor with COMPLETE CONTROL of distribution. The software or app then produces all the legal verbiage that must be part of a formal commercial film product. The client signs a print out of an agreement confirming the production of this video. As sole distributor, the client has the right to not distribute the video.

Voila, case closed. The SW performs the service (and is named as actor in the video, as is the client), the act is taped. The client gets a dvd (or the video is sent to a designated email address) and signs that he has “received,” the product. Oh, and the software will blur the faces of the participants, if so desired.

At this point, the transaction is 100% legal in all fifty states.

Try to find a hole in that! Again, no pun intended.

 

In which we discover one of the sources of denial. “Grim warnings about climate change may prompt more skepticism than action, simply because they seem unjust.”


In which we discover one of the sources of denial.

“Grim warnings about climate change may prompt more skepticism than action, simply because they seem unjust.”

From:
Feinberg, M., and R. Willer. Apocalypse soon? Dire messages reduce belief in global warming by contradicting just-world beliefs. Psychological Science

                          http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/2011/2/in-the-news-32

“Climate Psychology

Grim warnings about climate change may prompt more skepticism than action, simply because they seem unjust. Portraying children as innocent victims, for instance, conflicts with common assumptions that the world is fair—a clash that might trigger doubt and inaction. Indeed, a recent survey showed that the stronger one’s belief in a just world, the greater one’s skepticism after reading a grim global warming article (but not an optimistic one that also presented solutions). Researchers found they could reduce participants’ skepticism—and increase their willingness to act—by tweaking their worldviews with statements such as “Often, justice will not prevail.” Environmental organizations may want to take note.”

So here we discover one source of denial; one of many, I daresay; but not the evolutionary roots of this behavior. Perhaps nurture trumps nature as I seem to have been born without this “denial gene,” as is, by my reconing, 1% of the population.  I’m not going into my personal enviro/nurture histology at this point, however. 

Elsewhere, I’ve read about the possible correlations between intelligence and depression. More recently, I read about the correlation between intelligence and fondness for drink.

Indeed, ignorance is bliss. 

I’m disturbed, but not surprised by the mild Panglossianism implied by the syntax of the last sentence in the above quote, about environmental activists incorporating this in their  climate education endeavors.

Shit man, this implies a lot more than that. If progressives of all stripes want to make significant impact on the majority’s inherent ostrich-head-in-the-sandicity, here’s a major key. No pun intended.

 

 

We act against our well being


Listening to a “This American Life” episode this morning, focusing on global warming. This addresses two of my favorite interests: humility and denial.

I was seven when I began to grasp some of the issues that have always concerned that small band of unhappy few who actually care to use more than 5% of their on-board computers; issues such as suffering, war, disease and as of the last 50 years, global warming.

For now, I’ll just cut to the chase. My father relentlessly abused my mother and me from the time I was six, and almost always behind closed doors. It was probably a lot earlier than that for Mom, but that’s when it started for me. Bottom line is that it was some combination of sociopathy, PTSD brought on by childhood and adult trauma, OCD and male Jewish anger. I only saw a relatively normal father in the last two years of his life. At that time he was put on a daily dose of an antipsychotic starting the very first day that he was admitted to a nursing home.

My point is that David (Dad) was convinced that my mother and I were deficient in various ways that necessitated regular exposures to his dictates and wisdom. He even went so far as to take us together to a venerable psychiatrist ( as I recall, a classic Viennese old-school Freudian) to get an evaluation of us two. We only went once and D made it clear that it was we two who were to be scrutinized, not him.

I won’t have time to finish this this morning so I will tie this all together this weekend, inchallah, but for now my point is that, in general, pride and denial rule human affairs, and now they rule our global environment. Most of us never seem to be able to make the tiny mental leap from witnessing the sheer craziness all around us to understanding that we can all easily fall prey to the illusion that everyone else may be fallible but we ourselves are the soul of sanity and realistic thinking.

(To be continued)

Biggest Dumb Ever @ NPR, even Yogi Berra is rolling in his grave…


March 15 2013
There is hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear some NPR announcer mangle our language. And lord knows with even The New Yorker committing syntactical harakiri w every issue, we are well aware of not being in Kansas anymore. But this latest malapropism lowers (raises) the dumb-bar to a new level. In a story about the Higges-Boson (sp?) particle, our intrepid mental midget asserted that “physicists are gnashing at their teeth.” To quote SNL: “really?”

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