two rants one post

Great moments in memery: Hong Kong authorities gluing down paving bricks in advance of arrival of Zhang Dejiang.

The article bringing me this information DID NOT tell me what Zhang does for the old National People’s Congress of China.

A quick scan of the internet shows he has all ten fingers inserted firmly in a nested set of large pies, including Hong Kong.

For whom Zhang Dejiang is the top official, full stop. “k guys let’s make sure top boss doesn’t get clarned.”

and this is why CNN and much of the MSM is so frikkin useless; news items are floating around in a context-free zone.


THE BELOW NOTED IS just me twirling my hair.

The best way to fight fascism is to fight shame.

That seems like a BSS – a broad, sweeping statement like my fOlks warned me about a long time ago. So first let me define my terms, and then take you on a little journey through my lazy, inept thinking, at the end of which you’ll wonder why you bothered.

By fight I mean resist, reverse and permanently disable.

By fascism, I mean any system of human organization which claims to put societal benefit first but can only seem to accomplish that benefit with tools including mandatory military service, state worship of the sanctity of marriage and every last one of its stultifying and inhumane and culturally sensitive strictures, institutionalized racism up to and including genocide, environmental destruction in the pursuit of military and economic strength to be able to enforce that societal benefit first (they are coming for our WayO’Life!), mass incarceration of religious, personal and political enemies, state religion, and militias composed of human beings who couldn’t otherwise be expected to find employment, given that a lot of them are violent sociopaths. By fascist I mean anybody who thinks these tools are great and is either using them now or plans to as soon as feasible.

By this definition the Canadian government isn’t fascist to me, but it is likely to be perceived that way by First Nations and other people of colour. So I’ve defined fascism so that it includes Daesh and the Third Reich without a hiccup, kinda includes Saudi Arabia and Israel and the US, only includes Canada if you’re on the pointy end of the stick and doesn’t include Iceland unless you’ve already granted civil rights to whales.

By shame, I’m not talking about the mass wave of public shaming that seems to have swept over the whole planet like a sickness. I’m talking about shame so deep, so personal, so unspoken, so unspeakable, that the person feeling it cuts it off, pastes it to an enemy, and then tries to kill that enemy.

If Hitler had taken his shame about his alcoholic father, his anger, fear and hatred of the crazy old female relative locked in the attic, the whispers about having a Jew for an ancestor (never borne out in law but certainly there was circumstantial evidence if you looked) and kept it to himself, he might have disappeared from history except as a valiant warrior in the Great War. Instead, one last and overarching civic shame, that touched every part of postwar life, so that he could go nowhere and do nothing without its influence, animated him into political life. The reparations forced by the allies made every part of him long for revenge. And as long as he was going to revenge himself, he might as well mercy-kill the weak, exterminate the verminous jews and cleanse the Aryan bloodline to expunge his own family history.

Let us think of a world in which that man was not ashamed.

So ashamed he had the energy to force the world to his will, or a damned big chunk of it.

That’s what I mean by, the best way to fight fascism is to fight shame.

Once you grant that there may be some truth in this broad sweeping statement, the question is, how do you fight shame? In modern culture you fend off shame by splitting it off, pasting it onto someone else, and then hating them to prevent the emotional load of actually naming it and healing from it.

Now suppose, for the sake of a good story, there already exists on this planet tools for dealing with shame, separate from the private and shameful meetings well-heeled and court-appointed folks have with mental health professionals.

And it’s in the rituals of expulsion and re-inclusion, which are part of the languages and folkways of indigenous peoples everywhere, that we will find it, not in our courts, and not in our public media contests, and not in the conscienceless babblings of our politicians. The justice system automatically others. Long practice of indigenous peoples is to draw people back in when they have done something injurious to public safety and morality, and to kick them out only if they prove to be an intractable problem. The drawing back in process is filled with ritual, and enables a space in which injury and restitution are heard and processed in a dignified and meaningful way, one that reinforces one’s sense of belonging to a group of people where all are honoured and shame can be lived down because the people you live with understand injury and restitution, without othering. You may be brought back in right relation with the world. It is hard, and for some offences, hard for everyone in the community. But the ability for human beings to live like that has been established. It is part of our way of being, had we but the language to speak of it. To make justice is the highest use of language, at least if you’re not young and trying to get some.

Of course there’s some major ‘don’t wear white shoes after Labour Day’ stuff in ritual, old and modern, indigenous and pagan; it’s not my intention to romanticize injurious or scientifically suspect beliefs or ones that are, to my atheist-raised heart, ludicrous on sight.

But I know that as well as being the innocent victims in the major, ongoing, genocide-inflected civil rights issue of language expungement, the languages of Turtle Island and the people who carry them are precious because they make a more human-scale and humane justice possible. English doesn’t have the capability, in its current form, to bend toward justice. Only a language untainted by two hundred years of having advertising plastered all over its public spaces could handle justice now; English has been cranked through history’s mill and emerged as the pander of capitalism and the thief of serious thought.

Perhaps I’m kicking English, my home away from home, a little too hard. I suppose we could have the kind of world that can properly deal with injury, shame, offence and forgiveness in English. It would be hard. We’d have to change our language, and that makes people very angry, and very anxious, and very afraid that the ghosts and demons of childhood indoctrination will get them. That is what people kick at when they kick at political correctness. They are fighting the fights of their parents, even though they are in the ground. They don’t want to be ashamed of their parents. That is what political correctness is asking them to do. Feel shame. We have no mechanism for dealing with it, no way to acknowledge fault and be re-accepted by our tribe. There is no ritual. There is merely English, with more holes in it than Clisson had when he reported to King Charles how he was doing: “Feebly, sire.”

Think for a moment of the kind of shame that Adolf Hitler experienced as a child, and how his injuries would have been addressed in a culture where justice is inclusive rather than othering. Where someone could have recognized his injuries at all. Where he could have gone to live with kinder people instead of the father who beat him, and away from the crazy old lady who screamed in the attic at night and frightened him. Where the rumour that he had Jewish ancestors wouldn’t have held any sting, nor the bastardy in his bloodline.

Tell me that I’m wrong when I say that the best way to fight fascism is to fight shame.