purple state


A little more than a week ago, while attempting to log into Wife’s Facebook (it’s a commercial account; I handle her soc med), I accidentally logged into my own account, the one I deactivated in 2015, and it was like walking back through Time into a disco-era dorm room and fingering the quaint paperbacks, and baubles, on that other era’s desk. It was fun to see my metaphorical Pink Floyd poster and to finger my metaphorical pet rock again while also feeling grateful that I had managed to skip Facebook 2016’s promise to force me to read preposterous claims about Hillary Clinton (positive ones, I mean) and the panics of raw disbelief that must have swept,  in waves of collective nausea, across “liberal” Facebook as it became apparent that the rodeo clown  Don Trump  was going to win.  I had gotten out of FB when the getting was good.

I never used Facebook to acquire the spurious virtual padding of hundreds, or thousands, of “friends”. From c. 2007 until 2015 I had “friended” roughly seventy old acquaintances I couldn’t  or wouldn’t otherwise see or communicate with, and I subsequently un-friended about fifty of those (Facebook had cruelly and quickly eroded the glow on  several women I had been “seeing” in the ’80s or ’90s, and about whom I had once enjoyed fondly vague memories, and I will never get the magic of those deeply private, and inaccurate, legends back). The fewer-than-twenty Facebook Friends and Acquaintances who had survived my cyclical purges,  of five years ago,  were, therefore,  the ones I was glad to see  (I initially put “see” in scare-quotes until realizing that seeing is almost all of what I can do with Facebook) when I Van-Winkled back.

But, having been out of Facebook’s totalizing, screen-lined iron lung of low-stakes friendship for so long, I immediately noticed its most bizarre practices and effects: the shameless ass-kissing in the comment threads of celebrity Facebookers***; the vertiginous leap, in register, from one “friend’s” friends to another’s (I was grimacing one night through a friend-of-a-friend’s embattled 5th-grade gun-nut musings, then clicked a connected friend-of-a-friend’s profile and found myself treated to an exquisitely genial comment-thread debate about the niceties of translating ancient Chinese poetry: how can those two Facebook pages be separated by only three or four degrees of connection?); the inspirational sayings,  in therapeutic American English,  (mis)attributed to Lao Tzu, Lincoln, Buddha, Edison, Mother Jones, Einstein or Helen Keller;   GifCooning; the daily links to wound-licking Neo-McCarthyite bilge about how the Russkies had “interfered” with the previous US Election and were already diddling with the next… and so on.

In fact, it’s in the Red Scare stuff that Facebook irony and cluelessness mingle best, for, please think about it, in which election (anywhere on Earth, in living memory) hasn’t the US interfered? And, surely, there is no shortage of voters, in Murrkka, who see Glum Trump as their spirit animal? It’s evident that Trump’s “rise” isn’t incongruous, it was inevitable, though only superficially significant, considering every other glad-handingly psychopathic figurehead to POTUSize before him. If a sane, articulate,  sincerely anti-War candidate ever made it into the WH, the Russkies, on the other hand, would be the first Interferers I’d suspect.

But here’s the weirdest thing about all that…

Have a look at this (judiciously edited; the original is five times longer) comment thread, below. An old (Liberal) college chum posted his heartfelt plea for our love & understanding… of Pit Bulls*.

To which I responded:

  • StAugustine  Pit bulls are like domestic bazookas, Dude Mate Chum Buddy: anyone who feels they really need one should not be allowed to have one. In lieu of banning these compact land-sharks, stringent (rigorously enforced) muzzle laws would be nice! (Until they develop pocket-sized one-shot disposable deathrays calibrated for hundred-pounds-or-less mammals)

    • Sue ______X  wow! I have no problems with pitbulls, its the people who train and breed them to fight that are the problem. We used to have two next door to us and I had to go over and pet one of them goodbye whenever I left the house or he whined. Biggest baby you’ve ever met. Still have one on the other side and I have no problem reaching over the fence to pet him.
  • Lori_____X  Every decade has the “aggresive, dangerous dog”. Scare tactics for the most part. Do deaths happen? Yes. Perhaps we should look at the owners behavior first. Having said that, animals, like humans are subject to various mental illness. I’ve had German shepherds, dobermans, boxers, rottweilers, and pitties. The least aggressive of all the above were the pitties. The most aggressive dogs I’ve ever been around are chihuahua. I would never have a chihuahua around young children.
  • StAugustine “The most aggressive dogs I’ve ever been around are chihuahua.”

    Lori, I’m sure there are insects even more aggressive, proportionally, than the dreaded chihuahua; surely the relevant concern is how lethal a given animal can be once it’s (internally or externally ) triggered? The damning statistics regarding “attack dogs” are not a matter of spin or interpretation. The problem is, people are going to do whatever it is that people want, no matter how illogical the wants are, and they’ll frame it as a “liberty” issue.

    • Lori_____X @ StAugustine , insects kill.
    • StAugustine Admittedly, our Daughter is terrified of moths. So…
    • Lori____X Moths, pit bulls….same degree of instilling fear in otherwise rational human beings.
    • StAugustine Well, people are gullible, Lori, and the Global Secret Hush Puppy Bamboozle Conspiracy is working day and night to hoodwink people into fearing cute little muscular dogs who have been literally bred to kill… with the sick (sick!) goal in mind of replacing every Pit Bull out there with something sinister like a dog incapable of killing their children, and the children of their neighbors, too! Thankgod for people like you! Fighting the good fight! Can you imagine (shudder) a neighborhood full of hurricane fences, abandoned cars, low literacy rates and rusty flagpoles *without* Pit Bulls? Me neither.

It felt as though I had wandered into the SLIGHTLY PREMATURE 50th ANNUAL DELIVERANCE EXTRAS REUNION BASH but it wasn’t the first time I’d had that feeling.  I.e.: when had college-educated “Progressives” started thanking the mercenaries in our invasion force (on FB) for their “service”? When had “Liberals” and so-called “Progressives” started dutifully circulating and amplifying anti-Russia and anti-China propaganda? The answer: since years. As I emailed long-time, non-American North-of-Englander Artist friend ET:

Now this is the weird part, ET. Are you ready for this? THESE PEOPLE ARE VOCIFEROUS ANTI-TRUMP COMMENTERS! You’ve heard of the Red State (Conservatives/ Republicans) and the Blue State (Democrats/ “Liberals”): these folks are PURPLE STATE. Liberal Rednecks! But, of course, on closer inspection, we realize that Willy Clinton was the prototype… The “great flyover” between New York and LA, north of Alabammy, is FULL of Liberal Redneck Purple State, support-our-troops, Murkka is the Greatest Country on Earth, anti-Trump Reactionaries.

Remember: “Evolution” and “Adaptation” are very different things. And baccy-chawing gun-enthusiasts who get teary-eyed,  in group-hugs, singing and swaying with Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning,  are an abomination.

Beware the rise of the Purple State.




Have you heard this latest thing about singer Duffy, who had a huge hit with a retro-tinged album, in 2008, and whose follow-up was by quite a distance less successful, because she’d followed the standard pattern and fired everyone who contributed to the global success of her breakthrough album, to the extent that by 2013 she was fairly washed-up, after a misguided attempt at disco… only to announce, a few days ago, after a silence of a couple of years, that her absence from the public eye was actually owing to the fact that she was drugged, raped and held captive for several days, and she never mentioned it before because various reasons, and she’ll be giving a press conference on the matter of that kidnapping, in a few days, on the eve of her bid to make a comeback? Just wondering.




Before Bowie schizo-flipped into the flagship pseudo-Übermensch**  cheerleader of the Bush/Reagan ’80s, he emitted the most trenchant volley, of parapolitical lyrics,  of his generation;  stronger, even,  than Gil Scott Heron’s stuff,  because DB didn’t cut or pad his critique with poetry. All DB did was lay it out with jaundiced dispassion. Then Lennon got done-in at the end of the year Bowie’s last great album (containing this lyric)  came out, and Bowie got the message, and, voila,  Bowie started prancing around the stage in Isak Denison’s pith helmet, promoting the world’s most colonial beverage.

Ah, but before that terrible fall, he gave us these, the lyrics that refuse to cease being True:

“Up The Hill Backwards”

The vacuum created
by the arrival of freedom
And the possibilities it seems to offer
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it

A series of shocks – sneakers fall apart
Earth keeps on rolling
witnesses falling
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it

Yeah, yeah, yeah
up the hill backwards
It’ll be alright ooo-ooo

While we sleep they go to work
We’re legally crippled
it’s the death of love
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it
It’s got nothing to do with you,
if one can grasp it

More idols than realities
I’m OK, you’re so-so

Yeah, yeah, yeah – up the hill backwards
It’ll be alright ooo-ooo

Bowie-knowledgeable commentary matches the chronology of the song’s creation with Bowie’s divorce from Angie and draws the conclusion that the song is about the divorce, and one or two lines would appear to reference it. But the majority of the lyrics map much more feasibly onto a radically angry state of the union address. And Bowie would probably have been careful to use the divorce theme as plausible camouflage, even before Lennon’s assassination (apparently, Chapman gave a prison interview indicating that Bowie was next on the list,  if MDC had failed to nail Lennon: a thinly veiled threat from non-shooter Chapman’s sponsors?).

A bit of historical context that all the commentary I’ve read, about this song, misses: the unusual  and cheerleaderish unison-vocal on this song is very probably a reference to, and dig at, the greasily-named UP WITH PEOPLE, a gooey, conservative act that enjoyed success in the 1970s and 1980s and embodied the bland, perky, cynical, hokey, chamber-of-commerce can-do boosterism of TV’s mainstream message back then.

Compare below (go to the 00:33 mark on the second video):


**Bowie was never tall enough to be the real thing; Rutger Hauer came much closer; Billy Zoom of X was pretty good at the look, too



*Some Wiki Info on the history of the Pit Bull breed (although, I must say, reading the entire page, it’s obvious that pit-bull-loving moderators are massaging that entry)

Pit bulls were created by crossbreeding bulldogs and terriers to produce a dog that combined the strength of the bulldog with the gameness and agility of the terrier. In the United Kingdom, these dogs were used in blood sports such as bull-baiting and bear-baiting. These blood sports were officially eliminated in 1835, as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organize and far easier to conceal from the law than bull- or bear-baits, blood sport proponents turned to pitting their dogs against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a blood sport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterwards, dog fighting took place clandestinely in small areas of Britain and America. In the early 20th century, pit bulls were used as catch dogs in America for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt and drive livestock, and as family companions. Some have been selectively bred for their fighting prowess.

Pit bulls also constitute the majority of dogs used for illegal dog fighting in America. In addition, law enforcement organisations report these dogs are used for other nefarious purposes, such as guarding illegal narcotics operations, use against police, and as attack dogs. On the other side of the law, pit bulls have been used as police dogs.

In an effort to counter the fighting reputation of pit bull-type dogs, in 1996 the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals renamed pit bull terriers “St. Francis Terriers”, so that people might be more likely to adopt them. 60 temperament-screened dogs were adopted until the program was halted, after several of the newly adopted pit bulls killed cats.

***Samuel “Chip” Delany, New Wave Sci Fi elder statesman, is the friend of a friend of a friend, and I just read THIS ,  of his, a numbingly-bleak diary whose meta-message is how famous a Writer can be and still be Poor, riding interstate buses to sex parties for over-50s. America, that peculiar creature: praises the Writer grandly while watching him/her waste away, exhausted, in a hard rain, in run-down sneakers, at her curb.


  1. Uggh. I can’t believe you had me listen to 33 seconds of Up Yours People. God, it’s like a flashback to a toothache-inducing sugar high. Except saccharine.


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