Literature Comes Back

In his most recent novel Anéantir, Michel Houellebecq says that the news media and the state apparatus began to meld into one in the decade of the 2010s because that’s precisely when both started to lose power. The newspapers and the television were destroyed by the Internet and the ubiquitous smartphones. The institutions of the state were undermined by the globalization. So the two joined into one in order to preserve some power.

All I can add is that yes, they joined into one and then offered themselves up to a few supranational monopolizes in the capacity of their enforcer / battering ram. And at least, since COVID people don’t treat me like an escaped mental patient when I say this. Finally, it’s become too obvious for anybody but the complicit and the utterly brainwashed to notice.

I’m reading Anéantir, and I’m in love with it. I’m at the halfway point, and for now this is the most tender, sweet, unhurried, and serious novel by Houellebecq I have read. I don’t know if it’s been translated into English yet. I prefer to read my French authors in Spanish because I find translations to be better among the two Romance languages. Since I haven’t finished, I’m not ready to say anything definitive about the novel other than that this is serious literature, my friends. Vive la France because it’s got its literature back.

The Fate of the Tomatoes

Tomatoes went into a homemade pasta sauce with fresh corn, basil, and grated cheese. In short, the leftovers I accumulated from the visit of my relatives. The pasta was gathered from a collection of boxes that had some sad, abandoned remains rolling around.

The rest of the tomatoes I’m planning to bake with a fish called “climbing perch” from Vietnam. We’ll see how that goes. Thank you, everybody, for suggestions!

Who Enjoys Culture?

By the way, speaking of the famous book fair, when my father first saw people dragging away gigantic book totes, he said, “Ah! So these are the soulless, stupid Americans our propaganda told us about. The ones who have no culture and no capacity for an inner life!”

It’s quite common for people to explain away the material success of Americans as a byproduct of their spiritual and intellectual limitations. The Franco dictatorship used to tell people that it was precisely the Spanish poverty and privations that made Spaniards intellectually and culturally superior to Americans. It wasn’t his ineptitude that made people starve. No, it was what they wanted to do because that made them better human beings. And back in 1900 the Uruguayan essayist José Enrique Rodó made the same argument to get himself and his readers to feel better about the inferior economic conditions of South America.

Of course, it’s all bunkum. Even ancient Greeks knew that material well-being made it more likely people would have the leisure and the energy to enjoy culture. The modern-day dictators who want to convince us that there’s virtue in lowering our standard of living are cheap manipulators.

Because of COVID

The biggest book fair in town is organized by the local Episcopalian church. It’s a huge affair, 20,000 books on offer, all money goes to charity. People go crazy, dragging away boxfuls of reading matter. I’ve found some treasures there over the years.

The book fair runs for two days. It starts on Friday afternoon, and only the parishioners can attend because the church, understandably, wants to give them first dibs. We do something similar at my church where our famous spinach and feta pies go to members of our congregation first, and then what’s left is sold outside the parish.

On Saturday morning, everybody else is welcome to the fair. It’s always been like this, and everybody in town is used to it.

But then things changed. The first day of the fair is still reserved for parishioners but now it’s called “first day by pre-registration only because of COVID.” On the second day, COVID magically disappears, and everybody is welcome to storm the fair in droves.

I have no idea why people do this. It’s a tiny town. The book fair is a fixture. Everybody knows COVID is a half-baked, newfangled excuse. I wish people just stopped putting on pious facial expressions and intoning, “It’s COOOOVEEED…” at every turn. It’s not COVID. It’s you doing the completely normal, human thing nobody judges you for. So do it already and stop mentioning COVID.

Anti-neoliberal Books Needed

Friends, I know there are people of many linguistic backgrounds here. I would be very grateful if you mention any anti-neoliberal works of literature in your languages that you might have come across.

By anti-neoliberal I mean literature that expresses a sense of discomfort with fluidity, austerity, globalization, lack of certainty, the erosion of stable identities and attachments, death of family and religion, and everything else that the woke (aka neoliberal) revolution is bringing us.

I’m looking for art, not political essays. The authors’ political beliefs don’t matter. I already have Spain, France, and Greece. I’d love to have Italy and Eastern Europe. If there’s something German or Nordic, that would be great but I’m not holding my breath.

Orange Discovery

In Florida, I finally figured out why kitchen islands have cutouts on one side. You are supposed to put bar stools under them, and then people can sit there facing you while you feed them. It’s so cool! N and I eat while I entertain them, and they don’t have a choice because I’m right there in their faces.

I’m urgently buying two bright orange bar stools.

Why bright orange?

Because why not?

What’s Good About Woke Propaganda

My niece and I were complaining to each other about stuff today. This, that, I’m sick as a dog, it’s hot, the watermelon I bought is green inside, everything is annoying. Finally, Klara exclaimed, “Well, but look on the positive side!”

“What is it?” we asked her eagerly. “What’s the positive side?”

“I don’t know!” she said. “But find it and look at it!”

So I followed the advice and found the positive side to the incessant woke indoctrination that comes at us from all sides. You listen to it for years, watch the woke movies, memorize all the propaganda. And then one day you stumble on a conservative book, idea, movie or blog post – and it’s mesmerizing in its clarity and logic. It’s such a powerful feeling precisely because it’s so new and unusual. People who haven’t spent years trying to contort their brains into believing that men are women and inflation is good for you will never understand the pleasure of realizing that you don’t have to do that anymore.

I’ve been to the other side, my friends, and there’s too much pretending over there. Not even to others. You’ve got to pretend to yourself because that stuff just doesn’t make sense.

A Lot in Common

There is a wildly disproportionate amount of trans-related content targetted at black youth, outweighing any group by far. Despite this, however, black youth are not transitioning and are severely under-represented in the statistics.

This is a condition of fussy white snowflakes, so no surprise that nobody else cares. It’s curious, though, that there’s such a drive to convince black kids to get castrated. When you take it in conjunction with COVID policies that push black students out of school, immigration policies that push black workers out of jobs, and criminal justice policies that make black homicide deaths explode, you start to wonder how come all these measures seem to be aimed at reducing the number of black people.