Friday, August 30, 2019

To Russia with Lunch--Part Four


Somehow a stop must be put to this perpetual cycle of violent enamorment and equally violent disaffection, which has transformed virtually every last former or potential hyperoccidental person into an apparently incorrigible wanton; hyperoccidental humans must somehow come to engage libidinously with commodities in a more redeeming—or at least less revoltingly damning—manner.  They must come to feel no shame in employing certain commodities that do indeed make their lives easier while being decidedly unglamorous by comparison with more coveted objects either in the same commodity-genus or in more coveted commodity-genera; and they must come to covet commodities that they will wish to hold onto once they obtain them. And as a complement to this recalibration of the hyperoccidental consumer’s libido, the hyperoccidental producer must come to keep his own libidinous energies blinkeredly vectored towards the designing and manufacturing of products that invariably address the needs and desires of consumers; he or she must come to keep these energies from pathologically running off into any of the pernicious side-channels that I itemized and analyzed in the middle part of this essay—viz., Sadism, cart-before-the-horse-ism, Pygmalionism, and dilettantism masquerading as artisanship.  The producer must come to know and feel that he aut al. is making the consumer’s life easier or more enjoyable at least up to a point and after some fashion, and to be satisfied with this knowledge-cum-feeling.  And because the present system of hyperoccidental life is organized—or rather misorganized (rather than disorganized, for it is certainly not quite chaotic)—in such a way as to facilitate the pathological off-running of productive energies into the above-mentioned productive side-channels, producers will at least initially have to be forced to project their energies along the above-mentioned wholesome, virtuous vector; they will at least initially have to have the above-mentioned blinkers imposed on their temples and held in place there.  The development and implementation of the technical and administrative means of producer-coercion I leave as an exercise for the wonkishly inclined non-DGR, who may after all find his aut al.’s work much easier in the near future, and perhaps even in the immediate future, than in the present; for the irrationalities and discontents of the present hyperoccidental system of life are become so perfervid and multifarious that a merely middling disruption of that system—say, a disruption thereof on the scale of the so-called financial crisis of 2008—may suffice to persuade producers of the necessity of altering their diabolical ways, in which case one will be in the relatively enviable position of merely breaking them of bad habits of whose perniciousness they are already convinced.   As to the form or structure I envisage such a productive-cum-consumptive dispensation’s eventually taking: in the first place, it would be completely devoid (or, in the purblind eyes of wooly-minded sentimentalists, bereft) of all non-locally consumable luxuries, such that tourism would join feudalism, mercantilism, Fabianism, etc. in the ism section of the junk-heap or rubbish-tip of history.  Air travel both intracontinental  and intecontiental would be ruthlessly restricted to absolutely indispensable trips by governmental or commercial officials officially designated as traveling soandsos (soandso is to be understood here as a family-friendly alternative to a certain less flattering title rather than as a placeholder for virtually innumerable more flattering ones); this restriction would be all the more bearable for being likewise imposed on the highest-ranking of all governmental and commercial officials—on heads of state and so-called CEOs.  Routine intercontinental travel would be restricted to commercial maritime traffic—to the literal shipping of goods at very slow speeds.  Routine intracontinental travel would be restricted to locomotive transport—ideally at speeds no greater than those attainable by the average mid-twentieth-century steam train.  Routine local travel—travel by ordinary schlubs and schlubessess to and from their places of work, residence, and recreation—would be restricted to shanks’s mares, bendy buses, trams or streetcars (so no more Subways, Metros, Tubes, or U-Bahns), and taxis, with the taxi-meters pegged to twice the average hourly wage; such that if the average schlub or schlubess elected to take a two-hour taxi ride to and from, say, the local zoo, of a Sunday afternoon, he or she would have to work four hours on Monday to cover the cost.  These restrictions on travel would salutarily serve not only to curb the restrictees’ craving for redundant experiences, for experiences that may just as readily and fully be had at home as abroad (whether at home be defined as one’s home polity or one’s home ZIP-code or abroad as halfway around the world or halfway into the neighboring ZIP-code), but also to quash the utterly unfounded and misbegotten sense of empowerment a human individual tends to derive from being transported at high speeds in machines to whose design, manufacture, and often even (i.e., whenever he aut al. is not in the driver’s or pilot’s seat) governance he aut al. has contributed absolutely nothing.  Engines of data processing and transmittal would be arrested at their present stage of technical development, and the satellites that facilitate their functionality would be allowed to fall into disrepair and thence into the bits of ocean and poor-sod’s-rooftop classically fallen into by abandoned space junk.  Such an imposition of inertia on these engines of whoredom and their extraterrestrial robot pimps would not only immediately arrest the abominably dehumanizing cycle of mobile phone-purchasing, upgrading, and discarding, but also quickly effect the salutary epiphenomenon of rendering communication with people in distant locales as expensive and inconvenient as it was before the mass-commercialization of email in ca. 1995, and thereby making the multi-milliard-strong mob of addicts to so-called (and indeed woefully miscalled) social media realize that there is nothing they give less of a toss about than what some tosser in B*m***ktu supposedly thinks about their taste in wombat guano-dip, anal-dilating calipers autc.  The minuscule minority of persons genuinely desirous of carrying on long-distance correspondences may rely, as in the old days, on the mail trains and ships, which will enable them affordably to exchange dozens of paper letters per year with each of their pen-pals within their home polity, and at least a good half-dozen thereof therein with each thereof in other polities.  Once salutarily deprived of the aeronautically-cum-electronically induced illusion of agency via the two above-itemized measures, the hyperoccidental consumer, who has in reality been but a sort of Ancient Mariner or wandering non-goy for at least the past quarter-century, will at last be able to come back into his aut al. own as a full-fledged consumer, as an habitual user of commodities, of tangible, edible, strokable, etc. things that afford him aut al. genuine pleasure and comfort.  For consumer libido-management’s sake I would restrict each of these proper, thingy commodities to three lines, three models or versions-cum-prices—a budget or econo line, a midmarket line, and a luxury line.  In every case even the budget or econo line would offer serviceable yeoman service–so there would be no more cheap disposable ballpoint pens filled nearly to the tip with dried ink or cheap disposable razors with blades blunter than those of butter knives.  The mid-market line would offer a few extra whistles and bells, as they used to be called, and the luxury line would offer an at-least-rough (and often quite-smooth-indeed) technical quasi-equivalent of the version of the product available towards the end of the twentieth century.  So, for example, whilst the luxury line of men’s dress shoes would not necessarily be constituted by Italians out of materials sourced from the upper Po Valley—or wherever else in Italy the most select tanneries were sited in ca. 1990—they would be made largely or exclusively by hand by someone, be that someone a Poughkeepsiean, and largely and exclusively out of leather from somewhere, be that somewhere the upper Hudson Valley, just as the most upmarket shoes of ca. 1990 were.  Such a rigidly three-tiered hierarchy of commodities would salutarily restrict both consumers’ and producers’ libidinous horizons and yet provide ample scope on both sides for peering down one’s lorgnette at the sub-banausic tastes of the next bloke aut al.  The brewer of the exquisite Sierra Nevada pale ale-style luxury beer could look down his aut al. lorgnette at the brewer of the yeomanlike National Bohemian lager-style budget or econo beer, who could in turn look down his aut al. lorgnette at the upmarket brewer for contenting himself with shaving with a mere pivot-headless old school Gillette Good News-style budget econo razor, who could in turn be out-lorgnetted by the user of the mid-market old-school Gillette Sensor-style midmarket razor, who could in turn be out-lorgnetted by the producer of the luxury Colgate-style toothpaste with stripes and breath-freshening crystals.  The combinations and permutations of such thereby-enabled down-lorgnette-peering are, if not quite infinite, then at least multitudinous enough to keep a Fibonaccianly expanding human species busy until the Maxwellian extinction of the known universe.  (Whether and how lorgnette-production will be able to keep adequate pace with the production of all the other commodities throughout this conceivably multi milliard-year period is admittedly an open and sorely vexing question, a question subtended by the genuinely frightening question of whether lorgnettes themselves will have to be stratified into econo, midmarket, and luxury lines, and further subtended by the downright terrifying question of whether such stratification will lead to a conceivably nearly never-ending spiral of out-lorgnetting; but I trust the abovementioned wonks will manage to sort out all these questions in a manner eventuating sooner rather than later in impeccable and imperturbable pan-hyperoccidental comity.)  Such a political-economic dispensation would also afford producer and consumer alike ample encouragement and opportunity to reflect, to meditate, on matters not exhausted by his aut al.’s immediate engagement with the commodity immediately to hand etc.  N.B. that I write of immediate engagement and immediate ready-to-hand etc.-ness, for such reflections or meditations would by no means necessarily be utterly divorced from the Warenwelt, from the world of commodities, after the manner at least supposedly propounded by Plato’s, Kant’s, et al.’s metaphysical writings.  Nosirautaleebob: for the present writer envisages the typical scene of such reflections or meditations centering on a grizzled, wizened octogenarian gent aut al. sitting at a tailor’s shop and waiting to try on, à la the heroine of Wings, his aut al.’s first entirely bespoke, custom-tailored suit.  As he sits there he cannot help thinking back to the day, some sixty summers (or winters) earlier when he acquired his very first suit (barring the birthday one, of course), a perfectly yeomanly serviceable off-the-rack ensemble that, along with quarter-dozens of its fellows, stood him in yeomanly good stead for decades.  Why, I remember I courted [or was courted by] Suzy [or Bob or Pat] in that first suit; I remember how she [or he or they] made fun of how baggily it sat on my a(*)**(e) and shoulders.  I couldn’t say as I’d ever noticed so much as a bagette [sic on the absent u] of that bagginess before or could notice such a bagette even then, but at that very moment I resolved to myself like a shot that, by golly-cum-haitch or cee, for Suzy [aut al.]’s sake, when I’d made me fortune I’d get an entirely bespoke, custom-tailored suit that fitted me like a bespoke, custom-made glove, only with encasements for legs and arms instead of for fingers.  And now at last I have made me fortune and am at last being fitted for that bespoke, custom-tailored suit.  Pity [here he aut al. man-aut al.-fully stifles a sniffle] Suzy’s no longer here to see me togged out in the blessed thing, but at least I’ve still got the jacket from that very first off-the-rack suit of mine hanging in her wardrobe.  Why, it did her serviceable yeoman service as a bathrobe years after it had got too shiny at the elbows to pass muster at the office [here he aut al. man-aut-al.-fully stifleth another sniffle].  To be sure, I dare not assume on trust that every last man, woman, et al. in the hyperoccident will be capable of assuming such a touching and redeemable long-range psychic-cum-affective engagement with a given commodity-class as is instanced by this hypothetical gent aut al.’s peri-sartorial reverie.  Indeed, to be sure, I dare say that an at-least-statistically-more-than-negligible proportion of the pan-hyperoccidental populace will prove incurable of their (or should that rather be its?) appalling addiction to the enamorment-cum-disaffection cycle; who, even once they possess a manifestation of the most upmarket version of a given commodity-class will by no means rest satisfied, who immediately upon being presented with such a manifestation, will ejaculate, Is that all there is? Is there no Version Umpteen-Milliard Point in the offing? and thereupon void uninhibitedly from every duct and orifice in an unregenerately infantile-cum-hysterical combination of outrage and despair.  By way of remedying this defect in my schema, I propose the institution, construction, and operation of a hyperoccidental gulag, of a group (albeit not necessarily specifically an archipelago, for it may function equally well as a network, congeries, et-plurissima-c.) of production facilities to one of which each such malcontent would forthwith be consigned and thereupon forced—if necessary at gun-or-even-more-threatening-weapon-point—to participate—without remuneration and in a decidedly menial capacity—in the manufacture of the budget or econo line of a given commodity.  After a few days—if not hours—of such participation, the o********ing preponderance of these malcontents would undoubtedly cry Uncle!, Oncle!, Onkel!, autc.-aut-Auntie!, Petite Tante!, Tantchen!, autc., whereupon they would be sent back  to their respective cities, towns, Gemeinde, autc. (respectively) of former residence, where they would promptly revector their consumer libidos towards a different commodity-class than the one whose dissatisfaction with which landed them in the gulag; they would promptly begin yearning to upgrade to the mid-or-upmarket line of some commodity-class with whose budget/econo or midmarket line they had hitherto contented themselves.  The former beer connoisseur would come to take an interest in midmarket or luxury shoelaces, scones, sconces, autc.; and the former shoelace connoisseur in midmarket or luxury beer, scones, sconces, autc.  As to the treatment of the recidivists, of that lamentable but doubtless inevitably still more-than-entirely negligible residue of former gulag inmates who upon being returned to the relative wild of the marketplace persisted in manifestations of infantile-cum-hysterical dissatisfaction with the commercial status quo: these patently incorrigible malcontents would be shipped or trained back to the gulag—but this time round they would be obliged, and if need be, compelled, to enter the premises not through the gateway or aperture labeled “PERSONNEL” but rather through the one labeled “MATÉRIEL.” (Incongruously yet somehow fittingly classy, ain’t it, that there accent aigu’d capital ee?)  And once inside their allocated (and doubtless outwardly corrugated) usine, they would be slaughtered no less humanely than cattle and thereupon incorporated into the ingredients of whichever budget/econo line of commodity-class to whose manufacture that usine was dedicated.  Ideally, in the best of all possible malcontent-reclamation schemata, each malcontent’s corpse would contribute to the contents of the budget/econo line version of whichever commodity-class whose luxury-line version he aut al. had petulantly affected to find dissatisfactory.  Accordingly, and for example, a toothpaste connoisseur who had found luxury-line stripes and sparkles atop his brush-bristles not quite posh enough would end up having bits of him-aut al.-self forced into tubes of stark white budget or econo-line toothpaste (whose efficacy as an abrasive would incidentally be greatly increased by the high human-bone content).  Of course the bienpensant sentimentalists would doubtless raise a massive hue, cry, and stink over such a proposal, doubtlessly ([sic] on the appended ly, for it has at least traditionally made all the difference in the hyperoccident) under the auspices of the blood-dripping-typefaced slogan, “REMEMBER ‘SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE; IT’S PEOPLE…!’”  In doubtless hopeless resistance to this cry (hopeless because I would doubtless be torn to pieces and more than figuratively if decidedly politically incongruously devoured in the midst of the aforementioned resistance), I would equably and firstly remind these mawkish raisers to be chary of quoting secular dystopias as scripture, lest they find themselves in the dock at history’s next reenactment of the Nuremberg trials.  In this connection one salutarily recalls, for example, the history of the reception of the Terry Gilliam-directed cinematic dystopia Brazil, which throughout the first decade of its 1985 release was unanimously hailed as a masterly-ly damning indictment of a hyperoccident supersaturated with consumerist gluttony and Thatcherite-cum-Reaganite political paranoia.  But when the destroyer of the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995 cited Brazil as one of the principal impetus (sic on absence of a plural-designator [fourth declension, natch]) to his act (principally, one supposes, on account of the film’s by no means peripheral or understated polemic against bloody paperwork), the film was summarily expunged from the bienpensants’ mandatory viewing queue and re-designated an interesting if ultimately ab*****e experiment in the newspapers’ drafts of Gilliam’s obituary, wherein it had formerly been simply termed the director’s masterpiece.  Such a fate may yet befall Soylent Green—only in negative, such that the scenario presented as dystopic in the film will come to seem downright utopian by comparison with the by- then-status quo, such that the tactical cannibalism decried in the film will come to seem much less barbaric than the strategic cannibalism since imposed as a reality by a power that I dare not yet name, such that, indeed, the hyperoccident’s failure to actualize such tactical cannibalism at a timely historical moment will come to seem a catalytic precursor to the imposition of such strategic cannibalism.  In the second place, I would point out that in toothpaste we are dealing with a compound that when used properly is ingested only in minute quantities no matter what it happens to be composed of, such that the quantum of human remains ingested during the typical brushing session employing this bone-enriched toothpaste would verge on the minuscule or infinitesimal—certainly not significantly larger than the quantum of human skin, spittle, nasal mucus, and blood snuffed up and ingested by the typical present-day commuter during a typical bus, tram, or subway-actuated commute.  As regards commodities plainly and exclusively produced for ingestion—why, then, mere accuracy in labeling will axiomatically ensure that nobody eats some portion of his or her grandmother or second cousin twice removed by mistake.  A sirloin, Porterhouse, or Delmonico steak is after all unambiguously a cut of beef, such that any vendor who wished to hawk cuts of human flesh under the auspices of the typical butcher’s lexicon would be obliged at minimum to label his aut al.’s cuts sirloin, Porterhouse, Delmonico, etc.-style long pig-steak.  And in the third and final place, literal corporeal incorporation into the body politic is simply and unequivocally what such unregenerate backsliders would deserve; it would be the most condign tit-for-tat-ish retribution for (or of?) their manifestly incorrigible consumerist Whiggism, inasmuch as that unless checked, and prontissimo, the present pan-hyperoccidentally pandemic spiral of libidinous consumerist Whiggism will inexorably destroy us, the pan-hyperoccidental body politic, in toto, even in the absence of the destructive intervention of a power that I still dare not yet name.  In short and in full, while consumer commodities as a general and relatively trans-historical class can greatly enrich our lives by affording immediate creature comforts and palliating the tedium vitae, they can as yet do nothing in the way of alleviating the dolor moribundi, the ever-crescent somatic misery attending the irreversible seeping-away of life with advancing age.  (Here of course I am going to be assailed by a two milliard-strong horde of liver-spotted, elephant-hided old coots screaming, We’re all living longer!!!!!  Don’t’ you understand that, Godmotherfuckingdammit[?], WE’RE ALL LIVING LONGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!—a remonstration that I believe bears contesting, but even if it is as true as it would like to believe it is—i.e., even if we are not only merely being better preserved in our aged frailty [as the present writer suspects], but also aging more slowly—it can at most and best very slightly r*ta*d the encroachment of the dolor moribundi; it cannot make even the average sexagenarian trillionaire of the present [who invariably suffers from diabetes, hypertension, or the gout and has no reasonable grounds for assuming that he will make it to seventy, let alone to the post-centenary age still attained by only a minuscule proportion of the hyperoccidental population] feel a jot less somatically or meta-somatically miserable than the average quadraganerian millionaire of the seventeenth century [who was as-yet unafflicted by such ailments and had all reasonable grounds for at least hoping that he would exceed his Biblically allotted threescore and ten by an additional decade].)  And such being the incontrovertible case, the social propinquity of the present state-of-the-art consumer commodity-gourmandizer, the serial owner of manually portable engines of data transmittal-cum-processing, cannot but be a vexation to the non-alcoholic spirits of his aut al.’s less vicious contemporaries.  The quasi-Shostakovich of Testimony wrote or said that living in the Soviet Union during the middle Stalin years was like being continually beaten with a stick while being told, “Your business is rejoicing; your business is rejoicing.”  But as the father in The Cranes Are Flying’s disparagement of his daughter’s enthusiastic preparations for May Day has shewn—admittedly in hindsight, from the vantage point of the Khrushchevian thaw, and therefore possibly at least slightly contestably—even in those middle Stalin years, at the very nadir of political independence and so-called individual self-expression in the U.S.S.R., the hyper-optimistic Party line was by no means doxa among the Soviet citizenry.  Contra quasi-Shostakovich, in those years Vanya or Masha Stolichnaya apparently did not have to respond to the stick-beating by marching about and muttering, “My business is rejoicing; my business is rejoicing,” except in officially organized public settings.  In this respect and to this extent, he or she was blessed by comparison with the extremely rare present-day hyperoccidental who is not a dedicated slave to the grind of gourmandizing manually portable engines of data transmittal-cum-processing.   For however lachrymosely these gourmandizers may affect to be dejected, dismayed, or alarmed by this or that pseudo-political issue–by, say, climate change or the increasing proportion of so-called conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court or the so-called gender pay gap—the truth is that to the very bottom of their spiritual boots they are dedicated rejoicers who are convinced that the future of the entire universe lies before them as assuredly as if they were newborn immortals, that they are going to live more than figuratively forever merely because they are in possession of the most up-to-date engine of data-transmittal-cum-processing.  When these gourmandizers-cum-rejoicers are appreciably younger than the rara avis of a non-gourmandizer-cum-rejoicer on whom they inflict their propinquity or presence, the RA finds that presence merely somatically irritating, inasmuch as he can at least conceive of chalking it up to the usual, and indeed quasi-traditional, étourderie of the young, to the same passions that at least supposedly gave rise to the hula-hoop craze, Beatlemania, brand-name athletic shoe fever, and indeed brand-name fat fluorescent shoelace fever, etc.  Not that he expects more than the tiniest fraction of these younkers to give over their addiction to such mechanical ignes fatui as they grow older, but merely that inasmuch as he is unable to specify which of them forms a part of that tiny fraction, he is willing—albeit so faintly as almost to be reluctant—to give the entire horde of them the benefit of the doubt on that score; and then he aut al. reflects that the smoothness and sleekness of the plastic engines sorts well with the almost Pillsbury Dough Boy-worthy unwrinkledness of these younkers’ rubbery flesh.  In a word, for all the unbearable somatic intrusiveness of these younkers, the RA acknowledges that there is a certain aptness (NB, ye younkers, that I didn’t write app’dness) to their gourmandise-cum-jouissance.  But when they—the gourmandizers-cum-rejoicers—are older than the RA, the RA experiences a degree of dejection-cum-horror that no mere comprehensive tour of the municipal morgue or catacombs could ever engender in his aut al.’s spiritual organism; this on account of multiple discrepancies—the discrepancy between the novelty of the engine and the decrepit ancientness of its eulogist, the discrepancy between the adolescent-like if not child-like wide-eyed enthusiasm of the eulogist—the enthusiasm of someone being astonished by something utterly new—and the incontrovertible fact that he aut al. has already lived through hundreds if not thousands of such fads and so by all rights ought to be as jaded to them as a sexagenarian Clydesdale, the discrepancy between the antiseptically aromatic olfactory aura exuded by the engine and the putrescently emetic aura of decay (a combination of halitosis and sewage that no assiduous tooth-brushing-cum-ass-wiping can ever even half-expunge, at least from the quadragenarian olfactory bulbs of the present writer) exuded by the eulogist; and above all else, the discrepancy between the eulogizing of this brand-new engine and the conduct appropriate to a human individual doomed to decay in the imminent future.  If engaging with the latest drone-operating or A*r *&*-locating software would enable these revoltingly decrepit saps-cum-sacks to avoid ascending “extinction’s Alp” a minute later, there might be some plausibly commendable argument in favor of such engagement; but of course nothing could be laughably truer than the absolutely mutual alienability of degree of facility with techno-gizmo frippery and biological longevity: no matter how high a certain nonagenarian scores at Candy Crush or Whateverdrones Do-Competitively, he or she is more or less doomed to descend into the grave earlier than even the poorest-scoring vicenarian.  In short if not full, the relatively young RA cannot help feeling that it is his civic, religious, moral, and gustatory duty to beat the elderly data-processing-cum-transmitting engine-gourmandizer with a stick whilst screaming into his aut al.’s doubtless hearing aid-aided ear, Your business is despairing; your business is despairing!; but of course there would be absolutely no point in doing so, inasmuch as the aged gourmandizer’s uninterrupted adjurations to the RA to buy the latest bit of techno-gadgetry are effectively unoutdrownable adjurations to rejoice that are being dinned into the RA’s ear and his own ear simultaneously, and inasmuch as the aged gourmandizer has the virtual entirety of the remainder of the hyperoccidental world on his or her side.  The RA ought not to waste a microjoule of his declining vital energy on cherishing the faintest hope of talking his aut al.’s contemporaries or elders into an awareness of their moribundity; rather, he aut al. ought to be exploiting with ruthless jealousy every opportunity to take cognizance in utter solitude of his aut al.’s own moribundity, of the ineluctable ebbing away into nothing of all that he aut al. has held dear.  To be sure, the environs in which he aut al. will ineluctably be compelled to entertain this cognizance-taking will ineluctably fall short of the ideal environs therefor enjoyed by the heroine of Wings—at the most intimate resolution, in place of a bespoke form-fitting suit he aut al. will at best be vouchsafed an off-the-rack ensemble consisting of a so-called dress shirt and a pair of chino-slacks; at a slightly less intimate resolution, in place of a late nineteenth-century silk-upholstered fauteuil he aut. al will be sitting in a barely self-supporting broke-back all-plastic office chair; and at the least intimate but most intrusive resolution, he aut al. will be all-but-ineluctably precluded from sustaining his aut al.’s meditations by the impossibility of flushing his aut al.’s toilet or of blocking out the ever-recurring noise of fire engines approaching his aut al.’s building for the umpteen-thousandth time and carrying personnel flush with ever-crescent exasperation destined to eventuate in a hose-aside-tossing ejaculation of Fuck my motherfucking pension: let the motherfucking spoiled-rich cocksuckers burn to death.  And to be sure, he aut al. will have no memories of Wings-worthy heroism to cherish; he aut al. will be unable to solace himself with the reflection that he aut al. has helped save his aut al.’s rodina or Vaterland or patria from succumbency to an undeniably atrocious enemy through life-threatening acts of stuntmanship.  All the same, he aut al. will be able to solace—nay, congratulate; nay-squared fellate, cunnilingulate, or analingulate—him aut al.([’s]) self with the reflection that he aut al. spent his aut al. ([’s]) earlier life altogether more virtuously, altogether more commendably, than virtually every single one of his aut al.’s living contemporaries spent his aut al. ([’s]) own—that however objectionably he aut al. may have trifled away his aut al.’s ([’s]) younger years, he aut al. at least assuredly did not squander the early 1980s on wondering whether to opt for VHS or Beta, the mid-1990s on mulling over which relatives and pseudo-friends to include in and exclude from his aut al.’s long-distance plan, the early 20-oughties on pondering whether or not to put a second mortgage on his abode to facilitate the purchase of a Blackberry, the late 20-oughties on ruminating which so-called avatar to cultivate in so-called second life (’Member that vast moth-eaten old thing, longest-in-the-tooth millennials?), or the mid-20-teens on hefting which of 18,000 genders-cum-sexual orientations to select on Tinder, and that accordingly he aut al. is entitled to regard him aut al.([’s]) self as a genuine hero, if not as an outright demigod, by the pantywaist Lilliputian standards of his aut aut al.’s sub-degenerate pseudo-age.  To be sure, unlike the heroine of Wings, he aut al. will never enjoy the meta-aesthetic solace of knowing that his aut al. ([’s]) meta-heroism is at least appreciable somewhere, in some conceivably empirical bosom, inasmuch as the system of life that most recently sanctioned such meta-heroism, namely that of the U.S.S.R. in its later decades, has been thoroughly and probably entirely universally discredited—i.e., discredited even within every last square verst of land formerly constituted by the U.S.S.R. itself.  To be sure, in a not inconsiderable proportion of those versts, there is a not inconsiderable amount of nostalg(h)ia for the Soviet days, but it is extremely difficult to determine how much, if any, of this nostalg(h)ia is orientated specifically towards the Soviet system of life.  The pan-hyperocidental idée reçue that all hankering for the spirit of pre-1991 in present-day Russia (not to mention Belarus and a duo or troika of Stans) is simply a stalking horse for nostalgia for quasi-national geopolitical greatness has already been put in its place in a heterodoxical sense earlier in this essay; in other words, I have, I believe, already shewn that to the significant but not necessarily overweening extent that such nostalgia is meta-geopolitically based it is not entirely ill-founded.  Hic et nunc I am exclusively concerned with the non-quasi nationally, non-geopolitically orientated residuum of this nostalgia, a residuum wherein I fear the former Soviets (or, rather, former Soviets plus their post-Soviet progeny) are simply toking on the same historical tunnelvision-inducing spliff as their hyperoccidental contemporaries.  No passion has proved less extirpatable from the hyperoccidental psyche than nostalgia for the so-called swinging sixties—for Beatlemania, Carnaby Street, flower power, Woodstock, Altamont (sic), and all that; but the qualities of that micro-epoch that present-day hyperoccidentals treasure most highly—viz. flamboyance, sensual indulgence, and social protest—are by no means the ones that were most definitive in the eyes of those who were living in and through it.  And to be sure, the present writer is by no means the first to note that there is a discrepancy between the swinging sixties as they were experienced and those selfsame sixties as they have been more recently imagined, but the received critique of the received view has in timeless Whiggish fashion selectively singled out only those discrepancies that serve in hindsight to cast the present pseudo-Leftist worldview of sentimental, consumerist quasi-inclusionism in a favorable light—it delights in pointing out, for example, that back then even the trendiest young radio DJs often spun the hottest new choons while wearing the sorts of dour black three-button suits and ties favored by their fathers, or that even in the trendiest districts of central London and downtown Manhattan it was then impossible to find a restaurant that offered an edible rogan josh, let alone an enjoyable awaze sigga tibs or mabyar kernewek—at least after eleven p.m. of a Sunday-night to-Monday morning.   In other words, the received critique lays into the conservatism and austerity of the microepoch, and presupposes that all that was wanting to make that micro-epoch as virtually perfect as the present one was a sort of MS Word format painter ([sic] on the absence of satirical asterisks: for who has any reason to be afraid of Microsoft in the light of its limping, laggardly, and, indeed, downright arthritic performance qua hunter-devourer in the present pack of Big Bad Wolves?)-esque application of the particolored flamboyant-cum-transgressive bits of the micro-epochal picture to the monochrome [grayscale, while perhaps more technically accurate, cannot be employed here on account of the post-1960s {the terminus a quo would fittingly appear to be a 1979 occurrence in the aforementioned Testimony} skunking of shades of gray qua endlessly self-renewing roll of self-exculpatory bum-fodder long before it was post-flushingly incorporated into the title of the most notorious pornographic novel in history to date] conservative-cum-austere bits.  The received critique fails to recall that much of that conservatism and austerity was but an epiphenomenon of decades-old governmental policies that were then regarded as but the barest of fair-dealing by the mainstream left and but mildly irksome by the mainstream right, but that now would be regarded as both starry-eyedly idealistic and ruthlessly draconian by the extremes of either stereo-speaker.  In the main I am thinking of the stratospherically high rates of taxation of income in hyperoccidental polities on both sides of the Pond.  In the United Kingdom of the mid-to-late sixties the top income-tax bracket rate was 95% (i.e., over twice the present top rate of 45%); in the United States it was substantially lower, but at within sniffing distance of 80%, it was still more than twice as high as it is now, and in the cases of both polities, the shift from a top bracket above 50% to one below 50% is highly significant, signalizing as it does a pan-political-spectroscopic shift from a view that the very wealthy ought to be net benefactors of the State to a view that they ought to be the State’s net beneficiaries.  If the present writer were pressed to point to a single index or catalyst (or even, it is to be hoped, index-cum-catalyst) of this shift, he would point to the Beatles song “Taxman” from their 1966 LP Revolver, a song where the lyricist, George Harrison—presumably already the second-poorest of the Fab Four in the light of his established third-place rank in the songwriting credit-queue—kvetches about how terribly overtaxed he is, and pisses all over both the then-current Prime Minister, Harold Wilson (Labour), qua reigning taxmaster and the then-current opposition leader, Edward Heath (Conservative), qua taxmaster-in-waiting (et rien de plus [i.e., very much not any sort of Margaret Thatcher avant la lettre]).  It is said that Harrison penned the song as a consequence of being elevated to the aforementioned top tax bracket as a consequence of the fresh inundation of his bank account with Beatles royalties; that he wrote it because he was outraged at the discovery that now that he was making serious money he was going to have to give most of it up.  Never mind that the remaining five per cent would still allow him to live more luxuriously not only than the average-heeled British dustman or nurse or bus driver but even than the better than average-heeled British doctor or lawyer or banker: he, George had—by his own account as obliquely delivered in the song—earned all that l.s.d. (i.e., £.s.d., not the other LSD, although presumably he also believed he had earned every microgramme of that substance that fell onto his tongue) and was therefore entitled to keep every ½d. of it.  Nowadays the Beatles are principally celebrated as supposed working-class guttersnipes who supposedly proved for the supposedly very first time in human history (albeit not quite single-handedly; i.e., albeit alongside such supposedly likewise superlatively gifted British contemporaries as Michael Caine and Georgie Best) that toffs had no monopoly on nous or (ugh!) creativity by transforming the entire world (or at least the non-toffish sector thereof) into a mob of hallucinogen-gourmandizing, nudism-affecting, flyswatter-detesting peacemongers by dint of the sheer supposedly ineluctable, John Henry-defeating steam engine-esque, force of their supposed innate genius, and their championing of hedonism and pacifism is now universally assumed to have marched-hand-in-OPP with a rock-solid material and objective solidarity with the supposed class they supposedly emerged from, a rock-solid material and objective solidarity with the working class.  But the truth, as “Taxman” shews, is that the Fab Four’s ascent to superstardom and descent into hippified dissipation both evinced and effected their utter and unequivocal repudiation of the working class, a ruthless off-scraping of their former socioeconomic fellows like so many Penny Lane dog turds from the crepe rubber soles of their Carnaby Street desert boots—this inasmuch as they begrudged the contribution of the preponderance of their wealth to the coffers of the welfare state of which the working class were the principal beneficiaries.  And their attitude and behavior has become a pattern for all post-1960s working-class aspiration in the hyperoccident, a pattern that has become ever-more practicable to follow thanks to an ever-less financially taxing set of income-tax codes.  The de facto life-plan for every sub-wealthy young person in the hyperoccident of recent decades is to become phenomenally rich as a pop musician, athlete, or actor and then, and only then, give something back to the community he aut al. came from—but only just as much as he aut al. chooses and only to those people and institutions in that community whom he aut al. happens to like.  Back in the ’60s there could have been no question of such a person’s giving back his aut al.’s supposedly hard-earned millions, let alone choosing how much of and to whom to give them back, because he aut al. effectively never would have had them in the first place, because they would have been instantly signed over to the Internal or Inland Revenue Service.  What I am trying to convey in this meta-hyperoccidental digression is a sense that the ancient pre-1970 system of life for which I pine so ardently is by no means even broadly socialist, let alone Communist or even further alone Soviet, but rather world-maintaining, in essence, and that the most supposedly radically redistributive of policies on the hyperoccidental table–notably those put forward by the Corbinistas—contain precious little of this essence even by comparison with the most supposedly reactionary policies of the 1960s.  While the spoiled fat-cattish whinging of “Taxman” sounds proto-Thatcherite or proto-Reaganite to present-day hyperoccidental ears—or, at any rate, would sound proto-Thatcherite or proto-Reaganite thereunto if any thereof could be prevailed upon to have themselves syringed clear of Beatlemaniacal wax before listening to the song—the truth(s) is or are both that the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan of 1966 never—or at most very seldom—dreamt of reducing the maximum income tax-bracket rates to their present low water-mark and that the Jeremy Corbyn and ?? (by default I suppose the Stateside incumbent Jeremy Corbyn counterpart is still Bernie Sanders) of 2019 never—i.e., not even very seldom—dream of restoring that rate to its 1966 high water-mark.  Corbyn et ?? dream no such dreams not because they regard their realization as impracticable or (as I suppose even the most punctilious student of philosophy would now be compelled alternatively to put it) unrealistic but because the metaphysical-cum-metapolitical assumptions that would perforce underlie such dreams are no longer intelligible to them or to their presumptive constituents—much after the manner of (as Adorno points out in his lecture on Kant via a citation of [insert author cited by Adorno]) certain metaphysical-cum-theological questions about the Devil that ceased to be intelligible over the course of the seventeenth century.  In 1966 the avowed principal goal of the hyperoccidental State was the maintenance of something called society, a term that back then and there was more or less semantically coextensive with what I have been calling world, inasmuch as it was the only portion or version of the world that most hyperoccidentals then seriously contemplated trying to maintain.  The hyperoccidental rich then voluntarily, if not exactly enthusiastically, relinquished most of their earnings to the State because they believed in the paramount importance of the maintenance of society and further at least hoped that the State qua guardian-cum-caretaker of society would put these earnings to worthy, society-maintaining use.  Of course, even back then and there, there arose acrimonious disputes aplenty over whether the State’s collected revenues were being apportioned fairly and justly, and even back then fairly and justly were often mere adverbial stalking-horses for whatever suits me best; but never mind that—the point to be made here is that back then and there, however egoistic one’s goals may have been, the road to their attainment would always have to pass through the semiotic tollbooth of society; that back then and there, the principal outcome of any given proposed or already-in situ policy would always have to be represented—and, to the formidable extent that it was open to scrutiny, at least half-truthfully so—as at least ultimately beneficial to society.  Long before 2018, the notion of society as a political rallying-point became at least as unintelligible throughout the hyperoccident as the notion of the Devil or Satan as an ever-present personal tempter had become throughout the hyperoccident of 1700.  Here again there is a weltansichtsbruchisch “Taxman”-like moment—the moment in 1980 when Margaret Thatcher notoriously asserted, “There is no such thing as society.”  But the true Weltansichtsbrüchigkeit of the moment inheres not in the assertion itself but rather in the supporting assertion that immediately followed it.—viz., “There is a living tapestry of men and women and people” etc.  With this assertion, Mrs(.) Thatcher sought to nominalize the implacably impersonal abstraction that society was, is, and ever will be; to reduce that abstraction to an aggregation of particulars—in this case of particular human individuals.  Mrs(.) Thatcher’s defenders among her fellow-Conservatives often cite this supporting assertion in counterproof of her Leftist detractors’ contention that she was essentially a latter-day Scrooge in petticoats.  Like you southpaws, the defenders counter-contend, Mrs(.) Thatcher cared about the day-to-day sufferings [or better yet, sooferings] of Joe and Suzy Bloggs, so there!  But in promulgating this supporting assertion nearly two-fifths of a century ago, Mrs(.) Thatcher effectively outed herself as a member of the new-school Harrisonian politically pan-spectral pan-hyperoccidental anti-societal Devil’s party, a party that Jeremy Corbyn had perhaps already joined by then and in any case has obviously long since joined; such that in citing this supporting assertion in remonstration with their Labour opponents her present-day defenders are undermining and indeed annulling the polemical force of their remonstration by proving that they are as staunchly loyal in their membership of that diabolical party as Jeremy Corbyn.  For in nominalistically fetishizing the particular human individual at the expense—indeed, at the utterly bankrupting expense—of an implacably abstract abstraction such as society, one automatically and axiomatically rejects every action and indeed every impulse to action that is not somehow vectored towards the immediate gratification of a specific person—and even more specifically towards the immediate gratification of either the agent or would-be agent him-autc.-self or some other person in immediate physical propinquity to him autc.  And so, however horrifying such a revelation may look and sound to the empirically very probably nonexistent eyes and ears of the present writer’s fellow society-oriented Weltanschauer, according to the lights of each and every present-day avowedly politically orientated hyperoccidental human individual regardless of his aut al.’s official political allegiance, each and every hyperoccidental human individual is a sort of bonobo Robinson Crusoe—in other words, a quasi-sub human ever-alert to opportunities for both self-advancement and the more-than-metaphorical orogenital gratification of his aut al.’s immediate neighbors.  The pan-hyperoccidentality of this sea-change is evident in each and every shadow-governmental reprimand uttered by Mr(.) Corbyn and his underlings and Ms. Pelosi and hers.  To be sure, like their titular 1960s predecessors, these Labourites and Democrats want the State to spend more money domestically, but their pet domestic spending projects all center not on reforming or otherwise modifying the body politic en bloc but rather on new-modeling and indeed retooling the individual citizen, on teaching him aut al. new skill sets so that he aut al. can be more competitive in an increasingly globali(s/z)ed labo(u)r market.  Naturally not one of these projectors has yet got(ten) round to picturing to him-aut al.’s self the ineluctable principal result of any successful such atomically apportioned mass retooling–viz., an American or British version of the same sort of labor drain that has beset such eastern-European polities as Rumania and Bulgaria; for it is surely unreasonable to the point of madness to expect a person who has single-mindedly and successfully maximized his or her economic competitiveness not to shuffle off from Buffalo or Sheffield to Bangalore or Guangzhou or wherever else he aut al. can be most munificently remunerated for the plying of his aut al.’s newly acquired skills.  On the one Crusoean hand, then, the present pseudo-left is merely intent on achieving the same hyperindividualistic ends as its titular political adversaries, only by very slightly different means (for for all New Old Labour and the Old Old Democrats’ superficial hysteria about economic inequality, not a single currently serving Labour or Democratic MP or congressperson has so far dared to hint at the advisability of raising the maximum income tax bracket-rate beyond a few percentage points), and on the other bonoboan hand, it is obdurately unwilling to implement any sort of policy that would inconvenience even ever so slightly a single practitioner or beneficiary of any of the arse-wiping sub-professions—nursing, teaching, home-care provision, and social work.  When, for example, Mrs(.) May included in her last election manifesto (the right-Pondial equivalent of a Stateside campaign platform) a proposal to require wealthy elderly persons receiving publicly-funded nursing services at home to offset some of the cost to the State with some portion of the appraised value of their property, Mr(.) Corbyn et al. pounced all over her and the manifesto-point with rabid tigerine ferocity, denouncing it as a dementia tax, a ruthless assault on poor li’l auld nans and granddads without the physical or intellectual wherewithal to wipe their own bums—and supposedly to be deprived of the financial wherewithal to supplement the intellectual and physical lacuna with paid help should Mrs(.) May have her way with them.  Mr(.) Corbyn et al.’s tigrine tirades against this proposal reminded the present writer of nothing so strongly as the wave of protests by the so-called notch babies over here in the States in the late 1980s.  The notch babies were a cadre-cum-tranche of retirees born within a certain year-frame who owing to some sort of verbal glitch were receiving more than their legally entitled share of the Social Security Administration’s pension-pot, and who petulantly insisted on continuing to receive this unwarranted windfall of a surplus even after the first cadre-cum-tranche of their juniors on the retirement timeline began receiving the smaller legally allowed amount.  The notch babies’ cause was by no means a sizeable plank in the platform of the Democratic opposition to the conservative Republican political hegemony of Reagan and G.H.W. Bush; to contrary, the notch-babies’ harangues were scorned and spurned by most non-notch babies of every political stripe, inasmuch as most non-notch babies recognized that these harangues were founded on no firmer grounds than the haranguers’ chronological seniority, on the grounds that they were older than their prospective successors, and therefore automatically entitled to a larger fund of pecuniarily evinced compassion.   The notch babies were no poorer on average than younger Americans, and so requiring them to receive no larger a share of the Social Securitarial pie than their juniors certainly did not entail their making a greater sacrifice than these juniors; it merely entailed, rather, their making a sacrifice equal in magnitude to the latters’, and not being vouchsafed special treatment on account of their more advanced age.  Similarly—or, rather, identically, minus a single, purely formal transposition—Mrs(.) May’s proposed tax, in being directed specifically at elderly rich people, and in prospectively eventuating in their becoming merely slightly less rich, was not expecting its prospective contributors to give up anything they actually needed, to make any grievous, starvation-threatening sacrifices; it was merely expecting them to contribute a share of their wealth more comparable to that contributed by younger people with a level of financial wherewithal that was overall comparable in magnitude but that happened prevailingly to take the as-yet-more taxable form of income recently earned in work.  But of course, sentiment cannot deny that it is more pleasant to be young and rich than old and rich, and so in a political landscape dominated by sentimental nominalism, any policy that proposes to treat even the richest oldster primarily as a rich person rather than as an old person will be met with howls of execration from the other side of the aisle or chamber regardless of the party of the proposer.  Not that the prospective contributors to the so-called dementia tax were the only sentimental bloc to wrest crocodile tears of mingled pathos and outrage from the opposition.  The home-care providers also elicited unreserved sympathy from the Corbynites, inasmuch as, so it was argued, if rich oldsters were obliged to make out-of-pocket contributions to their personal maintenance, some portion of them might very well opt to forego home care altogether, and then dozens if not hundreds of bum-wipers would scandalously be compelled to seek bum-wiping gigs elsewhere—and who, out of all the practitioners of all the work-lines in human history, was less deserving of being out of work, than a bum-wiper, in the light of his aut al.’s unquestioned ability to deliver a palpation of the anus that in point of loving intimacy could not be obtained even from the most upmarket massage-parlo(u)r masseuse?   Last and perhaps not only not least but even most, the offspring of these moneyed Methuselahs were commiserated with on account of their prospective besetment by the imponderably excruciating dilemma of whether to sack the home-care worker, affix a clothespin to the old shnoz, roll up their aut al.’s shirt(y)sleeves, slip on the latex gloves, and apply the wet-wipe to Ma or Pa’s schphincter themselves for the sake of inheriting a property worth its originally assessed lower-seven-figure value or keeping the old cul-swabber on the payroll at the cost of inheriting a property assessed at a measly upper-six-figure value.  Don’t get me wrong old non-DGR-ian fruit or fruits: for all my sarcasm, in a deeply Clintonian sort of way, I feel the pain of all three blocs in the preceding scenario.  I appreciate that getting old and infirm is not only extremely unpleasant but also in a cosmological sense extremely unfair; so unfair, indeed, that all the money from all the treasuries of all the States in the world can never make it seem bearable, let alone deserved, and that an aged invalid cannot but feel that he aut al. is entitled to every last 1/2d. contributed to his aut al.’s upkeep by any State with the power to make that contribution at whatever cost to its other constituents.  I also appreciate that losing a position of remunerative employment à la our counterfactual sacked bum-wipers is painful, demoralizing, and even potentially life-threatening, particularly when the position involves the application of a skill that one has grown accustomed to practicing with generally acknowledged mastery.  I even appreciate that it is painful to have to forego a long-anticipated if ultimately gratuitous financial boon à la the dementia taxees’ prospective put-upon offspring.  What I do not appreciate is the universally assented-to assertion that these three blocs—whose material interests incidentally and eye-burstingly obviously do not converge, and indeed ultimately diverge as dramatically centrifugally as oil, water, and Kryptonite—merely in virtue of collectively describing a particularly violently tearjerking triadic tableau, are entitled to privileged consideration by a State that perforce must, or at least ought to, regard all its constituents as inhabiting and constituting a mighty force-field of desiderata the potential gratification of each of which must, or at least ought, only (to) ever be considered—within humanly compassable limits, of course—in the light of its potential gratificational drain on the remainder of the force-field.  Aging and death are indeed indescribably horrible, but inasmuch as they are both destined to come to all, and inasmuch as the moribund aged materially depend on the vital young to prolong and ameliorate their lives, the State cannot be expected to favor the moribund old unconditionally and unreservedly; it must consider whether some proposed alleviation of some immediate financial burden on the moribund old will be likely to impair the vital young’s ability to contribute adequately to the sustenance of the entirety of The Entity Formerly Known As Society (a.k.a. TEFKAS)’s constituents including the moribund old.  As for prospective chomage on the bum-wiping front, while it indeed cannot be rationally denied that bum-wiping is an essential service in any TEFKAS-type entity in which, say, more than 1% of the population is or are unable to wipe his aut al.’s or their bum or bums him aut al.’s self or selves, it also cannot be rationally asserted that even in such a TEFKAS-type entity bum-wipers, merely in virtue of the ineluctably distasteful and corporeally intimate nature of their work, are automatically entitled to ever-more-remunerative employment as bum-wipers and automatically exempt from the quasi-obligation to acquire new skill-sets that is relentlessly and remorselessly enjoined on all economically uncompetitive hyperoccidentals as a matter of course should their established métier not routinely entail (pun unabashedly intended because incontrovertibly irresistible) the wiping of a bum.  Indeed, I cannot see why an out-of-work or economically downwardly mobile bum-wiper is automatically entitled to a more effusive draught of pity than an out-of-work or economically downwardly mobile practitioner of the most ethereal-cum-least analocentric line of work–than, say, an out-of-work concert violinist or theoretical mathematician.  For however direly TEFKAS-type entities may in general need bum-wipers, in any TEFKAS-type entity there needs must at least occasionally arise situations in which no further bum-wipers are needed and practitioners of super-ethereal métiers such as concert violinists and non-applied mathematicians are in direly short supply—for example, the inaugural planning-session of an international cultural exposition to be exposed in an arena sited cheek-by-jowl with one of the world’s largest and most highly accredited hospitals.         As for the prospective poor rich middle-aged sods who would have stood to finish up a rung or two or possibly even three lower on the absentee landlord ladder under Mrs(.) May’s schema—well, for all the present writer’s Clintonian commiseration with them, he qua middle-aged hyperoccidental unable even to afford to rent two rooms (albeit decidedly not sub-qua envier of their already-outright-owned ten rooms in their first and second houses but rather sub-qua demonstrator of the feasibility of surviving into middle age without owning a square micrometer of property) is ultimately obliged to tender them a stern adjuration of Grow a pair—or, indeed, an au pair, if need be!  Seriously, Schlöndorffs, we will assuredly have to wait until Moore’s law mandates the invention of a quantum violin to express the precise quantum of compassion due to these pampered jades of East-to-Southwest Anglia.  And yet I must emphatically iterate that the real culprit in point here is not the selfishness of the plaintiffs but the entire personalizing mindset that has perforce drawn wildly disproportionately close attention to their plaint.  The prima vista sobering but secunda vista invigorating truth that all conscientious fillers of a labor-exacting position—conscientious bum wipers very much included—must acknowledge is that one does immeasurably more good to one’s fellow TEFKAS-members by simply reliably and dispassionately discharging the duties impersonally and abstractly specified by one’s position than one could ever do by considering each and every commissioned task as somehow impinging on a specific living, breathing, s**ting, etc. human being with a specific history of health complaints, athletic-club allegiances, dietary preferences, favorite colors, etc.  That this truth has been utterly forgotten throughout the hyperoccident was made appallingly evident to the present writer via a fairly recent (i.e., ca. May 2018) Radio 4 special panel program(me) on the topic of friendship, a program(me) hosted by a purportedly eminent Harvard professor of philosophy whose name lamentably but ultimately inconsequentially escapes me.  The purported object of the discussion was to determine whether friendship—defined as the cherishing of persons known personally to oneself—was ultimately a good thing inasmuch as it perforce interfered with one’s ability to cherish persons unknown to oneself who might be far more needing and deserving of one’s cherishment than one’s friends.  The philosopher mediated on-air contributions from people scattered throughout the hyperoccident.  Both the philosopher and all the contributors, no matter how vehemently any of them many have disagreed with any of the others, seemed to conceive of the entire range of beneficent human social life as being comprised and exhausted by two actions: the dumping of cash directly onto somebody else’s physically propinquitous head or the application of wet-naps directly to another person’s physically propinquitous bum.  And in the eyes of all of them the sole quandary or quasi-dilemma faced by present-day human beings as social entities was the safe-for-under-sevens video game-like one of how and where to dispose of one’s finite personal stores of cash and wet-naps.  The easiest, the most convenient, stratagem (so every single person on the programme presupposed) was to bestow these stores exclusively on the heads and bums of the people whose immediate physical propinquity one routinely had the hardest time avoiding—i.e., one’s friends—inasmuch (and only inasmuch) as one thereby spent less on transportation.  On the other hand (so every single person on the programme also presupposed), unless one happened to be the next-door neighbor of the most bum wipe-and-cash deprived person on the planet, in adhering to the easiest and most convenient stratagem one was at least in a relative sense bringing monetary-cum-analitersive coals to Newcastle.  Consequently, the immediately consequently-cum-subsequently emergent anti-localist faction of the contributorship maintained, one was absolutely duty-bound to hop onto the very next plane—be it a two-seater 1980s ultralight—to whatever godforsaken (or perhaps, in the light of the well nigh-life threatening exorbitance of the cost of living in certain parts of the present so-called First World, ostensibly god-blessed) corner of the planet the most bum wipe-and-cash-deprived person thereon happened to reside and to dump every last bucketful of cash in one’s possession onto his aut al.’s head and wipe his aut al’s bum until one’s last canister  was empty or there was no longer any bum left to wipe.  To which assertion an immediately subsequently emergent retro-localist counter-faction of the contributorship heatedly rejoined that inasmuch as long-distance travel itself exacted a considerable outlay not only in cash but also in wet-naps (for who can ever stay feeling truly fresh down there by dedicated means of the mere quarter-dozen or so microliters of soap and water exactable from an airliner toilet over the course of even a battering ram-provokingly lengthy plane-trip loo break?), one might actually and after all be able to do more good by staying close to home and nurturing the heads and bums of one’s friends, inasmuch as caeteris paribus one would thereby retain a larger store of cash and wet-naps than one’s globetrotting fellow would-be do-gooders.   At a certain conveniently taped-Big Ben-chime-minus-two minutes-sited moment in the by then well-nigh-life and death altercation between the two factions, the philosopher-presenter stepped referee-esquely in with an ejaculation of Whoa, whoa, whoa; let’s just wet-wipe ourselves off for a second! and then proceeded to wring his auditorily expressible hands underneath a to-all-auditory-appearances sincerely rueful acknowledgment that the whole business of sorting out this whole cash and wet-wipe apportionment sub-business was a deucedly if not c**tishly complicated sub-business, and that perhaps in the light of this complicatedness the least unethical course to take consisted in spending three-fifths of one’s time, cash, and wet-wipes with the most bum wipe-and-cash deprived person on the planet, the remaining two-fifths with one’s propinquitous so-called friends, and donating the total of frequent-flyer miles accruing from trips to the far-away person to one’s propinquitous friends in ratios directly (or was it inversely?) proportional to their propinquity.  At no point in the program(me)’s hour-long duration did either the philosopher-presenter or any of the contributors evince the faintest notion of—let alone make the briefest reference to—either a version of propinquitous friendship that was not utterly given over to cash-bestowing and bum-wiping or a version of bum-wiping-cum-cash-bestowing that did not involve the immediate personal presence-cum-total subjective involvement of the wiper-cum-bestower.   The entire domain of work qua site of both avowedly involuntary aid-provision and graduated personality and propinquity was as conspicuous by its absence from the discussion as the absence from the present Grand Canyon of whatever used to be in it when it was still the Grand Smoothie.  Not that I then attributed or now attribute this absence to some deliberate, calculated, and purposive exorcism of this domain by the agency of either the contributors or the presenter—but the reflection that the absence presumably was not deliberate, etc., that it was presumably instead a massive collective blind spot, was and is all the more chilling.  For while I am as inured as a bare-assed rodeo zebra-rider to present-day so-called intellectuals’ universal and ineradicable public subservience to moronic pseudo-thought, and even to their universal and ineradicable private will to be subservient to such pseudo-thought, I really do have quite a hard time getting my head round the notion that the true and right way has simply never crossed such so-called intellectuals’ minds, that these so-called intellectuals are simply ignorant or oblivious of that way.  When, say, an eminent philosopher of law argues that the U.S. Constitution’s provision of a right to bear arms cannot conceivably be interpreted as extending to the possessors of semi-automatic guns on the grounds that the so-called founding fathers (the so-called is of course mine and not the philosopher of law’s, who unlike the present writer is Paul-esquely duty-bound to revere the ScFFs qua champions of Whiggism even if he aut al. is also duty-bound to contemn them as rich white [and hence persumably 24/7 slave-cum-woman-beating] men) avowedly conceived of this right as dedicatedly subserving “the maintenance of a well-regulated militia” and there are no longer any such things as militias in the U.S. apart from self-styled bands of anti-federal nuttos who have revived the term militia in tendentious opposition to the likes of our eminent philosopher, when, I say, an eminent philosopher of law argues something to such an effect, the present writer merely rolls his eyes and gnashes his teeth out of his genuinely utterly politically disinterested resentment of the PoL’s patently feigned oblivion of the ScFFs’ Article Five, which maketh provision for amending the U.S. Constitution to make(n) the law of the pan-U.S.-ial land whatever is stipulated in the text of the proposed amendment; such that if there is really no longer any need of any such thing as a militia, and consequently no longer any right to bear arms (very much inter alia semi-automatic weapons), the pan-U.S. constitution should be made to reflect this supersession of exigencies—viz., an amendment stipulating that militias are no longer needed and that citizens should be restricted to carrying popguns, slingshots, and so on, up to and inclusive of whatever level of firepower the amending authority deems fit to be possessed by Joe and Suzy Sixpack (or whatever else I last called them)—when, I resay, an eminent philosopher argues something to the preceding effect, I do not so much as dream that he believes in the logical cogency of the foundations of his argument; I assume, rather, that he has not irrationally assumed that the net benefit of semi-automatic rifles to the TEFKA(US)S-type entity is outbalanced by their detriment thereunto and that a false awareness of the outbalancing must somehow be massaged into the living text of the extant U.S. Constitution lest yet another lone gunman unleash another cartridge of semi-automatic grapeshot into the flesh of another gosling gaggle of schoolchildren.  I resent such an argument out of a love of truth (and decidedly not out of a love of guns, which I really would like to see disappear altogether from the United States [preferably along with cars {and, indeed, perhaps one could send them all off at the same time by packing all the guns into all the cars and remote-controlling the latter one by one off a cliff or collection of cliffs}]), but I still understand it; I understand why a person would wish to misrepresent the law for political expediency’s sake.  But when such a philosopher argues that all human social life exhaustively entails the exchanging of personal favors, I cannot but conclude that he lives in a very different Lebenswelt from or to the present writer’s own.  Indeed, the whole notion of a contradiction between local altruism and global every-man-for-himselfism strikes the present writer as preposterous in the most etymologically strict sense, inasmuch as he has done his best to organize his own Lebenswelt along exactly antithetical lines—in other words, to be ruthlessly egoistic in the electively personal domain of his Lebenswelt and ruthlessly altruistic in the unelectively personal-cum-impersonal domain thereof.   In more concrete terms: the present writer has done his best both to banish the bestowing and exacting of favors upon and from his friends and to bend over backwards or go the extra mile, as they say, in the service of the coworkers, near-strangers, and indeed utter strangers whom his job-duties require him to service.  The idea, for example, of setting a friend up to a drink or a feed or being set up to a drink or feed thereby has long since been anathema to him; in dining or drinking out with a friend he always ruthlessly insists on paying his exact share of the bill, and not a Communist-or-pig-f**kerly cent more or less.  And as for doing any of his friends what is incredibly distastefully known nowadays as a solid—i.e., at least in his specific case, a favor that would materially inconvenience him by, say, disrupting his Alltag or occasioning any greater-than-average physical exertion—why, he would now sooner do several (say, at least five) multi-centiliter-sized liquids through the traditional intrusive medical conveyance; complementarily, he at least flatters himself that he would now sooner do an equal number of such liquids through such a pipette than ask any of his friends to do a so-called solid for him.  He has come, indeed, to conclude that, to the extent that human corporeal (i.e., as distinct from spiritual, and perhaps even more distinct from emotional) frailty permits, the quasi-institution of friendship ought to be given over to the disinterested enjoyment- of each other’s (or one another’s) company—or at least to attempts at such enjoyment—and devoid of exactions and performances of mutual service.  For long and painful experience of varying degrees of handedness has shewn to him that such exactions and performances cannot but even in the short run lead to peevishness and resentment chez both the exactee-cum-performer and the exactor-cum-beneficiary and in the long run lead to the breakdown of the friendship.  And how could it be otherwise?  For what is service without pecuniary remuneration but slavery?—and who among us—at least among us nice people—wishes to be either a slave or a master to his aut al.’s friend; i.e. to a person that he aut al. is quasi-axiomatically obliged to regard as his aut al.’s equal?  What is more, in TEFKAS-type entities such as ours (and I am pegging this ours to an us composed of most inhabitants of most polities since Hammurabi’s Babylon), it is generally downright perverse to rope one’s friends into performing one a service, given that there are generally ready-to-hand scads of strangers not only willing but cheerful to perform that selfsame service, not only and most (and quite unjustly) notoriously because they must be paid in hard cash in recompense but also because—at least in the non-gig-cum-zero hours contract economy, even in its least labor-friendly (i.e., most union-busting) sectors—there is a determined temporal-cum-functional scope and limit to their service-rendering.  As a waged employee of the moving firm of Starving Students or Desperate Actors or, indeed, Enthusiastically Omnipositional Whores, Inc. or Ltd., one can be certain—however hyper-meretriciously the company brand name may suggest otherwise—that one will not be asked to do anything but tote and lift boxes and crates or to tote so much as a boxlet or cratelet beyond a certain previously stipulated time-limit whether the move one has been commissioned to abet has been completed or not.  By contrast, as an unwaged dogsbody who has been roped into helping one’s friend move house, one is expected to be present and actively toting and lifting until the move has been completed, whether this completion exacts an hour or a hundred hours or indeed a thousand hours; moreover, qua dogsbody—i.e., laborer with no specific function—one cannot be certain that once the move has been completed one’s friend will not extend the compass of his aut al.’s lasso by commissioning some fresh task on the spot, by, e.g., exclaiming, “Hey, old chum, now that we (sic)’re all moved in, why don’t we add an extra touch of class to the premises by spackling the ceiling?  I just happen to have brought over a ten-gallon spackle-tub from the old place: it’s now in Banker’s Box #87632 over there at the bottom of that stack of five BBs.  Would you be ever so kind as to unpack it?  And while you’re at it, love, would you be ever so kind as to unpack my spackling knife—how I wish I had a second one so that I could share this forthcoming pleasure with you—in BB #98765 at the bottom of that stack of nine BBs?  Tah-cum-cheers. You’re a real gem.”  A famous Seinfeld episode illustrates not only the scandalousness but also, and frustratingly, the obduracy of the mutual bum-wiping model of friendship.  This is the episode in which one of Jerry’s baseball idols, the New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez, introduces himself to Jerry as an admirer of his work as a standup comedian.  Jerry is delighted to meet Keith not only on account of his prowess as a baseball player but also because he is reputed to have other interesting interests—notably the history of the American Civil War.  The two men agree to meet for coffee.  Everything is set for the blossoming of this new acquaintanceship into a full-fledged friendship on the present writer’s model—which is to resay, a dyadic forum for mutual entertainment via the discussion of topics of disinterested interest to both parties.  But before they have even properly begun to discuss any such topics, Keith meets Jerry’s ex-girlfriend Elaine, and begins to devote all his social energies to wooing her—ultimately unsuccessfully.  Immediately after the termination of his liaison with Elaine and without having yet had a proper disinterested chinwag with Jerry, Keith announces that he is moving house and asks Jerry if he would be willing to help him shift the movables.  After a slight hesitation, Jerry ruefully but emphatically declines on the grounds that he hasn’t known Keith long enough.  The rejoinder elicited a collective belly-laugh from the live studio audience, and presumably continues to elicit a collective belly-laugh from the rerun-viewing domestic audience, because of a universally presupposed assumption that helping even the slightest of acquaintances move house is a minor imposition.  But Jerry is—and was—very much within his rights to decline to help with the move, for from Keith he has hitherto been vouchsafed the merest skin or husk, of a friendship, and been denied its very meat or pith, and therefore owes him absolutely nothing.  The vast mobility of Seinfeld fans, together with the entire Seinfeld production team–very much including Mr. Seinfeld himself—doubtless view Jerry’s spurning of Keith as a locus classicus of the purported notorious all-consuming selfishness and egoism of the show’s quartet of protagonists, but the present writer can never watch this episode without shuddering with horror at the prospect of making a new acquaintance anywhere outside his place of work for fear of being conscripted into a lifetime of indentured servitude to a mere name affixed to a sort of orders-barking zombie or animated mannequin.  And with what unspeakably immense relief does he flee from the social world of so-called free time to his office job, wherein at least from nine to five-thirty five days a week he can be sure that nobody will require him to do him aut al. a solid and wherefrom he can be genuinely certain that he is making a positive difference in people’s lives in virtually directly inverse relation to his degree of personal affective engagement with them!  He makes this positive difference by simply doing what he is asked to do—not only by his supervisors but also by a class of persons who in a different domain of service would be known as customers—as punctually and accurately as possible.  To be sure, he cannot be certain that the work he performs is ultimately vectored towards a noble or even harmless goal, but this is of absolutely no concern to him, for he ultimately believes that it is neither at all worth his while nor any of his business to ponder the merits of that goal; the tripartite realization that he is not leaving other people in the lurch, that he is helping to maintain the Johnsonian system of life, and that he is setting a good example for others in his immediate propinquity who might otherwise get the notion that it is acceptable to slack off, suffices to satisfy him that he is not laboring in vain.  Of course whenever anyone expresses satisfaction in doing his aut al.’s job well as an end in itself as I have just done, he aut al. is immediately accused of yearning to be the commandant of a Nazi death camp, but the accusers never stop to consider that the Nazi-German system of life for the most part involved people just following orders that had nothing to do with the death camps and plenty to do with keeping unincarcerated Germans alive.  That a plurality if not majority of these unincarcerated Germans were aware of the death camps is well established, but that they each and every one of them deserved to die, and indeed would from every point of view have been better off dead, as a consequence of this awareness, is a contention that I dare say not even the most deeply aggrieved survivor of the death camps has yet seriously proffered.  The truth is that throughout the human history of the world, people who have just followed orders out of whatever motive have done much more good than their ethical antipodes, people who refuse to follow orders as a matter of principle (i.e., generally, Whigs, proto-Whigs, or neo-Whigs).  In any case, the present writer has no need to place himself in as reprehensible a place-cum-time as Nazi Germany to imagine himself living in a polity in which his relatively depersonalized deontological work ethic is more palpably reaffirmed.  He can indeed imaginatively emigrate to any pre-1970 post-World War II occidental polity, and preferably to the post-Stalin-epoch U.S.S.R., a polity whose system of life was utterly given over to such a work ethic, and in which the worst that could possibly happen as a consequence of one’s following orders was the exile of some tetchy scientist or writer to unincarcerated life in some Soviet analogue to a perfectly livable provincial town like Rapids City, South Dakota or Moscow, Idaho.  Whether any currently extant polity within the confines of the borders of the former U.S.S.R. is relatively impersonal deontological work-ethic-affirming enough to serve him as an actual, non-imaginary emigration-destination is to say the least highly debatable.  Armenia, Georgia, the Baltic States, and (the) Ukraine all strike him as being too consumed by Russophobia to countenance, let alone reward, any exertion of effort that is not in some way at least purportedly intended to offend or undermine Mr. Putin and the Russian State; the present writer imagines not being able to phone-requisition an order of paperclips in one of these countries without signing off with a heartily yawped Fuck Putin! in the national language, or signing an affidavit swearing that not a single one of these paperclips will ever cross the border with Russia for the duration of its functional existence in any capacity.  The various Stans, in virtue of having apparently never arisen from a condition of semi-savagery to one of full-fledged society-dom (and in this respect incidentally resembling certain of their never-Sovietized neighbors that I dare not name), most likely do not hold onto the relatively depersonalized deontological work ethic even as a memory; one assumes that to be a functionary in such a polity is to serve the State only in name, that in reality one is always a fawning dependent of whichever warlordling or petty chieftain secured one one’s position.  I have heard a few encouraging things about Belarus—that it is no enemy of Russia, that it harbors no yearning to join the European Union, and that it contains a thriving tractor factory operating along exactly the same 100-percent State-actuated lines as those established at its founding way back in nineteen-forty-something.  But I do not know how large a proportion of the productive sector of the Belarussian political economy as a whole is organized along such lines, and some more-than-faint rumblings I have heard about internet startup companies in downtown Minsk suggest that however large that proportion may be, it is diminishing in and at a predictable tech-humpingly hyperoccident-aping way and pace.  As for the mighty Snuffleupagus in the former-Soviet room, the Russian Republic—well, by dint of listening between the lines of the unremittingly Russophobic hyperoccidental media coverage of that polity, the present writer fancies that he has been able, à la a hyperoccidental intelligence service-employed eavesdropper on Soviet radio and television during the Cold War, to divine that the present Russian State’s raison d’être is at least not completely exhausted by the aim of eradicating Mr. Putin’s personal enemies; to divine, indeed, that it continues to carry out many of its Soviet-epoch world-maintaining functions, and, indeed, to carry them out at a conceivably higher level of both effort and return than any of its hyperoccidental quasi-counterparts.  I have learned, for example, that a year or two ago Mr. Putin aroused much public discontent by requiring government employees to work through the so-called holiday season (i.e., not to work on Christmas Day itself but merely throughout the week or so leading up to it), and more recently by raising the minimum age at which a man could claim a retirement pension from something like 60 to something like 62.  While of course in absolute terms both of these retrenchments constituted a net loss for world-maintenance and the deontological work ethic in Russia, in the light of the base from which they started, their modesty of scale, and their unpopularity, they patently bespeak a perduring world-maintenance standard comparable to the Soviet standard and far superior to anything of the kind in the hyperoccident.  In hyperoccidental polities, the minimum retirement age for both sexes has been being raised steadily over the past twenty years from an average base age of 65 to 68 or 69 and is projected to rise to about 75 within the next decade; and although governmental employees constitute an enormous chunk of the workforce, announcements of austerity measures imposed on such workers are met with near-universal applause and schadenfreud-ian drooling.  And of course, in reporting on
what they insufferably smugly term Mr. Putin’s woefully belated and inadequate reforms, the vile hyperoccidental propagandists have shamelessly represented the lower baseline retirement age as but a manifestation of Russia’s contemptibly low average life expectancy and the superior baseline working conditions enjoyed by government employees as but a manifestation of muleheaded Russian inefficiency, of Russia’s obstinate failure to get with the hyperoccidental program of lean, mean, market-driven political-economic machinery.  They, the hyperoccidental propagandists, at least affect to suppose that the only reason Russian men are now allowed to retire at sixty is because 999 out of a thousand of them is doomed to drop dead before the age of sixty-five (and naturally to do so while guzzling his third extra-dry Standart martini of the morning), and that nobody under any circumstances ever chooses to be an employee of any government ever instituted unless he aut al. is too stupid or lazy to participate in the so-called private sector.  That the supposed fifteen-year shortfall in male life expectancy in Russia is a Russophobic meta-statistical exaggeration seems quite likely, but even if it is not—i.e., even if most Russian men really do get to enjoy a mere five years of retired life—the current 60-year-old Russian minimum retirement age bespeaks a more humane attitude to the labor force than its mathematically nearly doubly generous hyperoccidental counterpart (nearly [and only nearly] doubly generous because if the average hyperoccidental now lives to be 80, as hyperoccidental meta-statisticians now claim [doubtless autophilically exaggeratedly], and is allowed to retire by 70, his aut al.’s retirement constitutes a full decade or one-eighth of his aut al.’s entire lifespan, whereas the Russian man enjoys a mere five-sixty-fifths or one-thirteenth of his aut al.’s entire lifespan, and one-eighth is a bit more than 1.6 times as much as one-thirteenth), inasmuch as, as I have already pointed out in this essay, the modest average increase in life expectancy throughout the hyperoccident has not been attended by the slightest decrease in the rate of aging, such that while there may well be more seventy-year-old living hyperoccidentals than seventy-year-old living Russians, the average living seventy-year-old hyperoccidental is no less aged, no less decrepit, than the average seventy-year-old Russian, or indeed than his aut al.’s now-dead fellow-hyperoccidental seventy-year-old was two centuries ago.  Such being the case, unlike its hyperoccidental counterpart, the earlier Russian minimum retirement age at least still vouchsafes the Russian pensioner a few years of pre-decrepit leisure; it recognizes that once one has done one’s bit for one’s entity formerly known as society (or conceivably, in today’s Russia, even society itself still), one is entitled to relax for a while in a corporeally fulfilling way, to expend one’s still-vital corporeal energies in pursuits entirely of one’s own devising and for one’s own gratification; it does not presuppose that one ought to keep working in the service of some other entity merely because one is physically still capable of doing so.  In the present hyperoccident, such a view of later life is no longer intelligible, let alone fashionable.  In the present hyperoccident, the notion of having done one’s bit is no longer active outside the minds of such universally derided dinosaurs as the Duke of Edinburgh, because there is no longer any generally active notion of a social whole to which this bit might belong.  In the present hyperoccident, one always conceives of oneself as an individual working in the virtually or actually immediate propinquity of other individuals (whence the universal contempt in which government qua intrinsically impersonal institution is held); one is always a whore or a bum-wiper condemned to walk the streets in search of tricks until one is no longer strong enough to push one’s Zimmer frame or to wipe bum after bum after bum ad post-nauseam until one is in immediate, dire need of a bum-wiper oneself.   To the extent to which Russia has resisted falling into line with this hyperindividualizing, hyperpersonalizing tendency of the hyperoccident (an extent vis-à-vis which I freely admit to being not very well informed), I applaud it; and, indeed, I am prevailingly enthusiastic about all the ways and registers in which Russia has not seen fit to keep up-to-date according to hyperoccidental lights.  I believe that liberalization of hyperoccidental laws on homosexuality should have extended as far and no further than the decriminalization of homosexual acts—in the U.S. this specifically entailed (and perhaps still entails) the repeal of the anti-sodomy acts included in the statute books of many States in the late 1990s and probably still included in a few of them today.  Sure, these laws presumably have not been even occasionally enforced in any State since the Stonewall police raid of 1969 (although of course with that presumably I presumably have retroactively brought into existence a 2018 incarceration-exacting enforcement of such a law in Texas or Alabama), but for form’s sake it is fitting to get rid of them, not so much because what happens between two mutually consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom is nobody else’s business as because what happens between such a couple therein cannot become anybody else’s business unless some busybody is determined to make it such.  I did not and do not approve of the extension of marriage rights and their attendant tax privileges to homosexuals because I am suspicious of the extension of rights and privileges of any kind to anybody (on the other hand, a universal repealing or annulment of heterosexual marriage rights and their attendant tax privileges would have suited me to the ground), and I am vehemently opposed to the creeping legal normalization of the entire farrago of transsexuality, asexuality, and gender queerdom on metaphysical grounds that I have mentioned above and explicated elsewhere.  In general the pan-hyperoccidental turn from mere toleration to outright celebration of formerly so-called alternative lifestyles over the past-quarter century genuinely and thoroughly disgusts me, and to the extent that Russia remains merely tolerant of such lifestyles I believe I would find it a more congenial national polity of residence than my present one.  To be sure, in letter Russia’s law against homosexual propaganda constitutes a very flagrant instance of political intolerance, but I cannot help being sympathetic to it spirit, for it was instituted in reaction to representations of formerly so-called alternative lifestyles in the hyperoccident-originating cinematic and televisual fare with which Russia is nearly as heavily inundated as any polity west of the old Icey, and as I have already explained far above, any positive cinematic or televisual representation of any so-called lifestyle is intrinsically propagandistic, inasmuch as all lifestyles are intrinsically self-commodifying and ever in search of a higher exchange value.

But my affection for Russia qua last (or, at its least residual, antepenultimate) bastion of the old Lebenswelt of the greater occident emphatically does not extend to those aspects of its system of life constituted by revivals of specifically Russian (or, at their least parochial, hypo-occidental) folkways and institutions.  Most notably among these revivals, the Russian Orthodox Church’s recent acquisition of influence and prestige leaves me cold because, as I have explained at length far above, the entire Orthodox strain of Christianity contributed remarkably little of substance to the pan-Occidental intellectual tradition even in Russia itself and because in its revived form the ROC is pandering to all the worst, the most regressive, tendencies in present-day pan-occidental religious  life—hippiefied intellectual minimalism, kitschy incense-saturated theatricalism, and stadium-church holy-rollerism.  Indeed, it would perhaps be best to view the resurgence of the ROC not as a properly religious phenomenon at all but rather as a Russian-branded strain of the pseudo-religious sector of the consumer side of the pan-hyperoccidental economy, an observation that prompts me to observe further and more generally that I harbor absolutely no illusions about the average Russian consumer’s overall sales resistance–that I by no means suppose that the residuum of U.S.S.R.-style doing-one’s-bit-ism on the productive side of the Russian economy has been complemented by any sort or trace of a residuum of U.S.S.R.-style use value-orientated contentment with adequately serviceable goods on the consumer side.  So, for instance, while I despise Mr. Zvyagintsev as an artist and moralist, I suspect I have no good grounds for disparaging him as a documentarian, and specifically no good grounds specifically for supposing that the average present-day Russian materfamilias does not spend the preponderance of her time on any more redeeming pursuits than searching for and purchasing beauty remedies via her mobile phone, just like her hyperoccidental counterpart.  But even this suspicion affords me a kind of grim consolation, inasmuch as it suggests that the old-school-ness, the oil and natural gas-driven-ness, of the commercial sector of the productive side of the Russian economy has been no impediment to Vanya and Masha Stolichnaya’s attainment of a high degree of affluence, or at least whatever passes for affluence in the hyperoccident nowadays.  I likewise suspect that I have no good grounds for doubting the truthfulness of Mr. Zvyagintsev’s depiction of the inadequacy of world-maintenance in present-day Russia, for believing that the average mid-sized Russian city does not have a handful of abandoned buildings like the flooded high-rise in which Loveless’s juvenile lead meets up with his best school chum and possibly meets his doom, or that the average Russian police detective is not as helplessly resource-bereft, and consequently as ineffectual, as the one assigned to finding that juvenile lead after his disappearance.  But complementarily I know that the United States has absolutely no good grounds for being smug about its world-maintenance record given that there are hundreds if not thousands of abandoned buildings within a five-mile radius of the room in which I am typing the present essay, and the inefficacy of the police force of the mid-sized city in which these buildings are sited is internationally notorious.  Of course, as an English-speaking person with a command of irregular past participles, I am expected to be scandalized by the oligarchical character of Russia’s commercial sector, by its dependence on a few big fat cats who line their furry pockets with the hard-earned rubles of Vanya and Masha Stolichnaya (or at least those of their compatriots who are sensibly and decently hyperoccidental enough in their tastes and habits to drink top-shelf white wine instead of Stolichnaya), but I surmise that it is safe to say that there are few if any things about which I have ever given a smaller negative toss than this Russian commercial oligarchy, inasmuch as I feel as though as a citizen of the present-day United States I am already living in a commercial oligarchy from which I derive absolutely no material or spiritual benefit.  For after all, there are only four or five U.S.-headquartered corporations about which one ever hears anything nowadays, and I have absolutely no interest in any of those four or five corporations’ prosperity—no interest, that is, in both the sense that I couldn’t give the smallest negative tosslet if each and every one of them vanished from the earth to the fullest conceivable extent (i.e., if not only their corporate charters were dissolved and their assets absorbed into the global body economic, but if every chair, laptop, desktop, screw, widget, and Ben Wa ball at their headquarters and branch offices were melted down into a single amorphous mass and absorbed into the global body proctologic), and the sense that I do not own a single cent, red or otherwise, of stock in any of those four or five concerns, or indeed in any other concerns.  In this respect, or to this extent, I am a model prospective Soviet citizen, a citizen of a polity in which there is no need for a stock market because there is no large-scale private enterprise.  This is why the sardonically rueful concessions of Trumpophobic econo-wags on NPR and Radio 4 have no piquancy chez my ears’ palate, why I couldn’t care less about the fact that despite being a clueless nincompoop, Mr(.) Trump has somehow made the Dow soar to umpteen-dozen-bazillion points, GDP grow at umpteen-dozen percent per annum, gasoline prices drop to inflation-adjusted pre-Great Depression-levels, &c.—because none of this is reflected in or by the most minuscule improvement in my personal quality of life.  And yet as an English-speaking American with a command of irregular past participles, I am (in Althusserian parlance) interpellated as a grand rentier by everyone else; whoever I encounter immediately assumes that I am living off some sort of annuity or trust fund or portfolio; as an English-speaking American with a command of irregular past participles I am universally implacably denied the consolation of styling myself one of the left-behinds (i.e., one of those who have failed to keep up with the Joneses, Patels, Gonzalezes, aut al; not one of the sinister bum-cheeks) in which the steel-workers and pig-f**kers of the Rustbelt and Heartland theme parks are positively encouraged to revel by professional bilge-spewers on both the so-called left and the so-called right—this despite the eye-burstingly obvious fact that in the most telling register of existence in a Golden Calf-worshiping EFKAS such as ours,  the register of one’s consumerist appetites, these steelworkers and pig-f**kers manifestly have not been left behind by so much as a nanometer.  To be sure, whenever a journalist happens to be in the room, they whinge and bellyache like the professional beggars in The Threepenny Opera about their plight as supposedly unemployable would-be producers, but the moment they have been deprived of an audience of prospective cash-shedders, all they do is whinge and bellyache about their financial incapacity to purchase the latest A***e handset, or to upgrade to a warp-speed Wifi connection, or to go on a month-long skiing holiday in Gstaad, just like their armpit-f**king so-called elite counterparts in the big coastal cities.  To be sure, the professional bilge-spewers are by and large correct—albeit effectively only trivially so—that the unemployed Rustbeltean and Heartlandian steelworkers and pig-f**kers find it financially more difficult to purchase these commodities than do the Coastlandian pseudo-elite armpit-f**kers.  But here the end of the professional bilge-spewer’s commonwealth forgets its beginning.  If in the end the unemployed steelworkers and pig-f**kers were genuinely interested in getting back into steelworking or pig-f**king for its own sake, qua métier, they would not care a jot about their inability to purchase trendy commodities; rather, they would accept any steelworking or pig-f**king gig that paid well enough to enable them to put the cheapest adequately alimentary food on the flimsiest of tables (yes, that’s right: store-brand food and flimsy store-brand tables and nothing but, not only for them but also for their god-awful whelps—so, no vacations to the regional casino or amusement park, let alone to sodding Gstaad or Disney World).  The abominable but undeniable truth is that not only in the end but as close to the beginning as one can get without being at the beginning itself, these steelworkers and pig-f**kers are solely interested in getting back into steelworking and pig-f**king qua means of purchasing trendy commodities, commodities that they desire above all else, and such being the case they are as close to being as happy as a pig in shit as a pig can ever be without actually being in the shit itself—into which they will in any case almost inevitably soon tumble, albeit admittedly not quite as soon or swiftly as their Coastlandian pseudo-elite armpit-f**king contemporaries.  The present writer, by infinitely more pathetic contrast, yearns insatiably for things that the present world cannot supply at all but that the world of the recent past could supply at least in a certain n*****dly measure, and such being the case, he has been left behind to a degree and in a sense of which neither the Rustbeltian and Hertlandian steelworkers nor their professional bilge-spewing boosters can have the faintest inkling, but of which he surmises at least a kuchka or two of extremely-long-in-the-tooth Russians still have more than a mega-inkling, and such being the case, he, the present writer, feels a certain metaphysical bond with present-day Russia that both t***ps and transcends any metaphysical bond he may enjoy (or, rather, endure) with any other polity, a metaphysical bond that he suspects is doomed to extend to the term of his biological existence and that in any case is doomed to last until that highly improbable moment when Russia becomes not only acceptable but hip in the eyes of the hyperoccident, the moment when exactly the same sorts of Anglophone hipster bienpensant assholes as are now driving up the rents in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore are driving up the rents in Moscow and Petersburg.  The sad and doubtless terminal incarceration-eventuating truth is that for the best part of a generation the present writer, a wight ycleppt Douglas Robertson, has regarded his native hyperoccidental world-segment as little better or other than a gigantic Douglas Robertson-ignoring engine, and that inasmuch as he began to notice the world-segment ignoring Russia at just about the same time as it began ignoring him, he cannot but regard present-day Russia’s fortunes as being somehow metaphysically conjoined with his own.  The two of us seemed to have gotten firmly metphysically hitched back in the late 1990s, during the so-called dot-com boom or bubble, a micro-micro-epoch wherein it was constantly being said by everybody and his grandmother (or rather everybody but the present writer and his grandmother, whom he admittedly cannot recall saying anything to this effect) that thanks to the apparently miraculously unstoppable expansion of the interweb, high-paying jobs were available for the asking nationwide, that indeed, if one wanted a job starting in the low six figures one had only to ring up the HR department of any tech-orientated company and fart into the handset of one’s telephone.  The present writer was not finding this received nonce-wisdom borne out by his personal experience; indeed, he was finding himself bouncing from one menial temp job to another and barely scraping together a low five-figure income.  And bizarrely if in some sense explicably (i.e., inasmuch he was in the habit of listening to news radio at work, to the sporadic and unpredictable extent to which he was permitted to do so), he now associates each of these miserable temp assignments with some specific setback or slap in the face contemporaneously suffered by the Russian Republic.  He recalls, for instance, a certain moment in 1998 when filling a copyediting position that he was destined to be offered only to have it snatched away from him with shameless discourtesy when a woman who had definitively refused it suddenly changed her mind, he heard a certain snootifying male NPR commentator fly-swattingly remark that Russia’s economy was then the size of Illinois’(s).  And then in 1999, when he was working as a researcher—i.e., journal article-fetcher-cum-photocopier—at the Baltimore medical institution that need not be named, a position in which he enjoyed the singular distinction of being praised to his face by his supervisor with the words You’re like furniture, he recalled it being reported that then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin had indignantly and apoplectically spluttered that NATO’s then-just-commenced bombardment of Yugoslavia could lead to nuclear war—i.e., not that it would specifically provoke Russia to launch a nuclear first strike against the United States, but that a nuclear exchange between unspecified parties would somehow consequently just sort of happen.  Here, I readily perceived, the belligerence of Yeltsin’s tone had been belied and ultimately t***ped by the vagueness and noncommittalness of his phraseology: he believed that this non-Russia-involving attack on the traditionally closest of Russia’s wholly non-Russian Slavic allies, namely Serbia (for the entire Yugoslavian experiment that was coming undone at that moment had merely temporarily marginalized the Russo-Serbian entente fraternelle), not only entitled but fairly enjoined him to utter the sort of apocalypse-threatening threats that Nikita Khrushchev had uttered a generation-and-a-half earlier, and in defense of a much fresher alliance with a much remoter country (namely that with Fidel Castro’s Cuba), and he knew that the still-world-annihilatingly formidable size of Russia’s nuclear arsenal enabled him to utter such threats, but at the same time he concluded that the present state of geopolitical public opinion did not authorize him to utter them—this simply and brutally because, as mentioned before, a full four-fifths of a decade after the dissolution of the USSR, Russia still had an economy the size of Illinois(‘s) [or, rather, probably, that of some slightly smaller or larger US state like Indiana or Ohio, given that we are now talking about 1999 and not 1998]; or, in superficially entirely different but fundamentally exactly consubstantial terms, because Russia had not yet managed to captivate the global consumer market with any commodity that rivaled the captivatingness of the hyperoccident-originating commodities whose inaccessibility had allegedly brought about the USSR’s downfall–because it had not yet managed to come up with its own commercially sexier version of a miserably uncomfortable plebian garment like blue jeans, or of an unendurable sexually creepy pop star like Michael Jackson.  Gone throughout the hyperoccident was all memory of Boris Yeltsin the visionary admirer of Houstonian supermarkets-cum-deplorer of their Soviet counterparts, of Boris Yeltsin the heroic resister-cum-reverser of the 1991 coup that had ousted poor Mikhail Gorbachev (perhaps the noblest political martyr of the twentieth century who did not suffer outright biological death for sticking to his convictions) and had bidden fair (or foul) to plunge the U.S.S.R. back into the horrible old early 1980s when blue jeans and Michael Jackson records were still only available on the black market.  By 1999, in every last pair of hyperoccidental eyes apart from the present writer’s, Boris Yeltsin was first and foremost a mere loose-necktie’d booze-hound whose opinion on any subject apart from the best means of getting govno-litso’d before lunchtime was not to be granted a microsecond’s audience.  The present writer had suffered a drop in status and prestige as precipitous as—albeit less widely publicized than—Mr. Yeltsin’s between the very early 1990s and the very late 1990s.  In the very early 1990s he had been the golden boy of the academic humanities in Gulf-Coastal Florida, a lad who had very nearly single-handedly garnered his county a third-place trophy in the statewide high-school academic quiz tournament (and would have garnered it a first-place trophy had he not, in answering the question “What was the native country of the author of The Praise of Folly?” cavalierly—and hence quite knowingly—taken it upon himself to cut through the ever-vexed Gordian knot of a question of whether to call the Netherlands the Netherlands or Holland by proffering the patently adjectival—and hence patently unacceptable—word Dutch [to this day, he regards this ill-adjudged substitution his most egregious tactical mistake and seldom lets a day pass without applying the memory of it as a curb on his present inclinations towards cavalierdom]); by 1999, his academic achievements long since forgotten by every Floridian and his grandmother (including, very probably, the PW’s own), he was one of the lowliest and most obscure dogsbodies or peons in the entire State of Maryland, if not the entire Mid-Atlantic, and no mean booze-hound either.  How could he avoid feeling sympathetic to or with Mr. Yeltsin in that year?  To be sure, this sympathy had gradually been being stoked by a phenomenon that had not provoked an apoplectic response from Mr. Yeltsin, albeit that it had set the stage for the bombardment of Yugoslavia, namely the piecemeal but inexorable expansion of NATO via its absorption of most of the former Warsaw Pact countries.  Even now, when my Russophilia is perhaps at its all-time height, I must in all candor and frankness confess that my outrage at this expansion has always principally emanated from its violation of the fundamental laws of logic and nomenclature rather than from its equally indisputable violation of the fundamental rights of Russia qua geopolitical power.  From September 1991 at the very latest onwards, we in the hyperoccident were being told by all the Sunday-morning talking heads and their respective grandmothers—by each and every think-tank pundit (regardless of the political orientation of his or her tank), retired or active U.S. general or admiral, former or current White House official et al., that the Cold War was over, that it was as moth-attractingly closed a chapter in world history as the Era of Good Feeling, the Regency, and the Pornocracy—nay, as the Heptarchy, if not the Tetrarchy.  Such being the case, by all logical and nomenclaturial rights, the organization named NATO, an organization whose foundation was consubstantial with the beginning of the Cold War inasmuch as it had been expressly founded to resist potential Soviet territorial incursions into western Europe, should have simply disappeared in a puff of logic.  Instead, it was not only surviving but growing—not so much like the most obvious metaphorical vehicle, a cancer—even if in the moral register this expansion was indeed as pernicious as the big C—as like one of those human freaks of genetics who suddenly start increasing in height and strength in middle age, for whereas a cancer burgeons in inverse proportion to its prospects of survival, the existential prospects of this logically impossible expanding NATO seemed to be getting ever brighter.  At the time, nobody in the present writer’s Umwelt seemed to be at all bothered by this absurdity, inasmuch as none of them ever, ever, ever talked about it; at the time he was obliged, nay, compelled to suffer his botheration in absolute solitude—and even if he had gone farther afield than his Umwelt in search of consolation he would have come back with unshouldered lachrymal ducts, unless he had happened to alight (as he would have been quite unlikely to do in those days of [specification of certain technological limitations of those days omitted on the grounds that ALL SPECIFICATIONS OF PREVIOUS TECHNOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS ARE INEXORABLY WHIG-FELLATING]) on a certain New York Times interview with George F. Kennan, wherein the well-nigh-infallibly wise nonagenarian retired diplomat logically decried NATO expansion as “the beginning of a new cold war.” And now, a full twenty years later…he is still compelled to suffer his botheration in absolute solitude, inasmuch as he has yet to meet a single hyperoccidental who believes that the post-1991 expansion of NATO was logically preposterous or indeed in any other wise a bad thing, despite how egregiously bad a bad thing in every wise it has turned out to be.   To a man, woman, gender-queer pseudo-person, and child, every human individual he now personally knows lays the blame for the present parlous state of the peace in Europe–and indeed for practically every other present calamity down to his, her, autc.’s own personal case of toothache, lumbago, or athlete’s foot—squarely and entirely on the shoulders of Russia.  Things have turned out exactly as Kennan predicted just over twenty years ago: “Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are – but this is just wrong.”  Wrong this may be and wrong this indeed undoubtedly is, but this is what is now universally taken to be true throughout the hyperoccident; this has become doxa—that which goes without saying—across the hyperoccidental pseudo-political spectrum, and this is nowhere more fervently championed as doxa than in that spectrum-eme formerly most sympathetic to the old Soviet Union, the supposedly liberal wing of the U.S. Democratic Party, by whom the arch-spouter of We always told you that is how the Russians are, the only very lately late Republican senator John McCain (whose uncannily apt alphabetical echoing of Joseph McCarthy [whose corpse is in its own right doubtless undergoing rehabilitation at many a supposedly left-wing think tank even as I type {a rehabilitation that will doubtless be applauded most fulsomely by the members of R.E.M., who 32 years ago explicitly railed against that corpse’s exhumation (“You’ve got to understand,” the long-since-Rasputin-bearded Michael Stipe will doubtless then intone, “back in ’87, we were just clueless kids; we couldn’t appreciate what a wonderful human being Joseph McCarthy was because we didn’t understand how incorrigibly evil Russia had always been”} ] has seemingly gone unremarked by anyone but the present writer) has been canonized as a supposed champion of such supposedly timeless and transnational democratic values such as gay marriage and gender-neutral toilets; and in whose eyes the slaughtering of more U.S. troops than served in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq between 1950 and the present would be but a niggling price to pay for staving off a Russian invasion of (the) Ukraine or the tiniest of the Baltic States.  To be sure, for the past nineteen years, the reins of the Russian State have de facto if not always de jure (for we must not forget the 2008-2012 presidency of Mr. Medvedeev) been in the hands of Mr. Putin, having been passed to him by Mr. Yeltsin at the exact dawn of the millennium as reckoned in the vulgarian calendar (i.e., January 1, 2000, as against the proper millennium-advent, January 1, 2001), and Mr. Putin is a bird of a very different feather (as the aforementioned Mr. Kennan once described Franklin D. Roosevelt vis-à-vis Herbert Hoover) from Mr. Yeltsin.  And to be sure, he is a bird whose featherdom arouses a good deal less sympathy chez the present writer than did Mr. Yeltsin’s, inasmuch as while for aught I know he may drink enough Stoli or Standart before lunchtime to incapacitate a horse, he gives the decided impression of being an absolut(e) teetotaler, a man who, to invert and amplify Mark Twain’s famous expression, would rather decline one drink than a hundred German adjectives; which is ultimately of course merely another way of saying that he invariably plays his cards close to his chest, which is admittedly the very same attribute that bothers my Russophobic adversaries the most about him.  But the sad or alarming truth is that in point of fact at least up until the annexation of Crimea, the present writer tended to find his own opinions on Russia’s geopolitical disposition jibing with those of Mr. Putin, not, to be sure vis-à-vis him qua anti-Yeltsinian bird qua cold fish but rather qua head of a by and large circum-occidentally beleaguered Russian State.  In particular, he remembers bristling with well-nigh-porcupinal virtual perpendicularity on Mr. Putin’s behalf when towards the end of his first term or not long after the beginning of his second one—so, in 2012 or 2013—President Obama soft-shoed with characteristic smirking glibness an anti-missile defense system on the shamelessly ostended ostensible grounds that it was to protect the United States against attacks from such only dimly prospective nuclear powers as Iran and North Korea, despite the prospective deployment of the system within closer striking distance of Russia.  The present writer admits to having been highly put off by the annexation of Crimea, but not so much—and here one may witness a beautiful counterpoise to his principal reasons for opposing NATO expansion—because the Crimea supposedly rightly belonged to (the) Ukraine as because, like that Russian bit of the Balkans including Kant’s home town, it was separated from the rest of Russia by an expanse of intervening non-Russian territory.  The present writer is, after all, nothing if not a champion of the coextensiveness of political and physical geography.  The poisoning of the Skripals and the ensuing send-up travesty of a cover-up thereof are even more upsetting; but they do not even vaguely adumbrate an exposure of Mr. Putin as the well-nigh-omniscient-cum-omnipotent, implacably malevolent, and irredeemably evil James Bond villain as which hyperoccidental bienpesant received opinion seems relentlessly determined to expose him.  That Mr. Skripal, in virtue of his intelligence-transmitting activities on the Continent, had pissed off Mr. Putin in some significant way is readily inferable.  That Mr. Putin had obliquely but ultimately unmistakably groaned for Mr. Skripal’s liquidation à la England’s Kings John, Hank II, and Hank IV., though not quite likely, is also not quite improbable.   But that Mr. Putin ordered Mr. Skripal’s liquidation via the nerve agent whose administration not only nearly killed Mr. Skripal and his daughter, but also temporarily incapacitated a bystanding English policeman and killed a remote Englishwoman, seems virtually impossible, inasmuch as Mr. Putin’s personal and political interests are too closely bound up with the City of London to elicit him to provoke a war with the UK for the sake of liquidating a single personal enemy—as is, indeed, and complementarily, suggested by the UK’s materially extraordinarily muted response to the incident (cf., incidentally, Russia’s extraordinarily muted response to American bombardments of ruling regime-held sites in Syria). But of course underpinning all the outrage against the Skripals’ poisoning is the matter of UK citizenship or British subjecthood or whatever; bienpensant received opinion adduces as apodictic the assertion that even if the attack had been executed via an AK-47 barrage on Mr. Skripal’s sole person, and at a site miles from any potential collateral damage to another person, it, the attack on Mr. Skripal, would have been grounds for a declaration of war on Russia, given that Mr. Skripal was (and remains) a UK or British subject.  But to assert as much is to fall painfully back on to the thousand cans of worms long since opened by the innumerable phenomena of international immigration and emigration besetting every single polity in the hyperoccident; inasmuch as these phenomena have revealed that the choice of whether to grant or deny citizenship or subjecthood of a given polity is invariably and ineluctably a political choice, a choice invariably made at the instance of whatever sort of figure the granting or denying polity wishes to cut either on the so-called world stage or in the eyes of its domestic constituents.  The current British (or UK) government does not make it at all easy for the sub-professional Poles and Romanians resident in Britain to become British (or UK) citizens or subjects because it does not find the services rendered by any specific Pole or Romanian to be indispensable to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and it does not wish to alienate the non-immigrant portion of the UK’s population.  The present writer knows nothing of the terms under or the process by which Mr. Skripal obtained U.K. citizenship or subjecthood, but he suspects it had little to do with any sort of Inland Revenue-replenishing labor he was expected to perform in the ensuing years and decades and almost everything to do with the fact that he was an enemy of the UK’s current Goldstein, Vladimir Putin—in other and admittedly highly cynical terms that citizenship or subjecthood was granted to Mr. Skripal with the express intention of touching off just the sort of scandal that has been touched off by his attempted assassination.  As for the shameless implausibility of the cover-up: yes, it was unspeakably offensive in its unsurpassable smart-assedness, but in palliation of that smart-assedness one must remember that from the moment of the discovery of the poisoning onwards, the preponderance of hyperoccidental journalistic and governmental utterance on it posited it as an act carried out at the direct and explicit behest of Mr. Putin and in scrupulous conformity with his exact instructions (e.g., notably, vis-à-vis the choice of N******k as the weapon and a perfume bottle as its medium of conveyance), and hence as a de facto act of war on the United Kingdom.  In the face of such penultimate-scene-of-Frankenstein-esque fury, in the face of such furious convergent collective determination of such a large party of accusers to find one wholly guilty of the worst charges, with no possibility of adducing extenuating circumstances in one’s defense, what is the point in concocting an even remotely plausible alibi, let alone of admitting the truth?  Vis-à-vis the Skripal case, all the truth that is so far publicly known is that the two men whom the UK police agencies regard as the poisoners managed to carry a super-lethal quantity of N******k into the UK.  Because, as asserted above, it is quite unlikely that Mr. Putin would choose to kill a single person with a WMD, this successful exportation of the N******k suggests that in present-day Russia either security controls on WMDs are remarkably lax or the people entrusted with keeping these weapons under lock and key are extraordinarily corruptible.  The revelation of such a genuinely horrifying state of meta-military affairs in the Russia of twenty years ago, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia, a Russia wherein the head of State was assumed to be a complete if harmless f**kup, would have elicited much appalment but also much sympathy from the hyperoccident; from Westminster, London, Paris, and Washington there would, to be sure, have been stern calls for the immediate and massive upbeefing of security at WMD storage facilities but also emollient offers of munificent financial assistance in the effectuation of that upbeefing, and Mr. Yeltsin, in virtue of having no face to lose, would have been none the worse for accepting such succor, in the eyes of either the world or the Russian citizenry.  If such a(n) SoM-MAs were revealed to be the case in today’s Russia, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Mr. Putin, in virtue of having been puffed up by the hyperoccident into a well-nigh omniscient-cum-omnipotent clone of Satan, and consequently been not only obliged but compelled to represent himself as such to the Russian citizenry, would have to abdicate immediately, and perhaps even to commit instantaneous suicide.  Whence, it seems not only likely but ineluctable to me, the recent travesty of a cover-up, or some other sort of equally risible alternative travesty of a cover-up.  The truth, no matter what it is, is so more-than-merely-figuratively-fatally embarrassing to Mr. Putin, that he must paper it over with something, no matter how implausible, and indeed the more implausible the better, provided that it does not make him seem a jot less fundamentally knowing and powerful.  All this in way of partial exculpation of Mr. Putin’s recent conduct should not by any means be taken to imply that he’s a great guy or indeed even a middlingly decent guy; that he is a jot less reprehensibly megalomaniacal, petty, or vengeful—in short, any less of an asshole—than even his most vituperative hyperoccidental critics assert.  But it is the present writer’s gamily pungent suspicion—admittedly a permanently unverifiable one given that it reposes on a preterit counterfactual state of affairs—that Mr. Putin’s assholishness qua assholishness has not played any sort of substantially determinant role in Russian history; whichistersay, inter mulitssima alia, that he suspects that had Mr. Putin been treated differently, and mainly more kindly, by the hyperoccidental geopolitical establishment from his initial on-taking of the reins of State back in 2000 onwards, he would at this moment be, in the reputed phraseology of FDR qua booster of the head of State of a certain banana republic, though a son of a bitch, at least our son of a bitch (TBS, the supersession of son of a bitch by the no means indisputably semantically coextensive asshole as the chief pejorative in American English renders the equivalence dicey to say the least).  Current bienpensant doxa holds that Mr. Putin’s entire political entelechy-cum-ambition consists in reviving tsarism in letter, spirit, and body during his present term of office, in getting himself crowned Tsar Vladimir the First-cum-Fourth (cf. the accession of James the First-cum-Sixth to the English throne in 1603, only the other way round).  At the moment, in January 2019, this doxa is conceivably well-founded after a certain fashion (i.e., after exactly the same limited if not necessarily trivial fashion in which the less popular supposition that Emmanuel Macron is striving to become another Louis XIV is well-founded), but it would almost certainly not have been well-founded back in 2000.  One must, after all, remember that Mr. Putin was hand-picked by Mr. Yeltsin as the latter’s successor, and that accordingly—i.e., that although Mr. Yeltsin was undoubtedly a booze-hound he was equally undoubtedly not a complete moron—for all his patent different-featheredness from Mr. Yeltsin in point of personal habitus and ethos, the Mr. Putin of 2000 must by default be regarded as committed to a view of Russia’s political Schicksal that was not radically different from that of Mr. Yeltsin, a view of Russia as a proud and ambitious but by no means militarily imperialistic liberal democracy with a capitalistically organized economy, a sort of genial commercial rival-cum-political clone of the likes of the US, Japan, and the EU.  To be sure, not long after his accession to office, Mr. Putin admittedly injudiciously remarked something to the effect of The collapse of the U.S.S.R. was the greatest catastrophe of the twentieth century.  At the time, this remark was pounced all over by Russophobic bienpensant hyperoccidentals as supposed evidence of Mr. Putin’s ambition to restart the Cold War at its coldest point, perchance by means of a second invasion of Hungary and Poland; and ever since then, the ever-swelling ranks of the Russophobic bienpensant mobility have savored it as supposedly incontrovertible evidence of the deep-seatedness of Mr. Putin’s tsarist ambitions, but in the light of Mr. Putin’s hand-pickedness by Mr. Yeltsin, the present writer judges it more rational to conclude that Mr. Putin was then quite disinterestedly lamenting the demise of the Soviet Union qua unifying political-cum-geographical-cum-linguistic geo-politico-historical to-be-reckoned with force.  The Putin Doctrine, to the extent that there ever has been one, is neither monarchical, nationalistic, nor imperialistic: it prizes and takes retrospective pride in the Soviet Union as a mighty, bi-continental polity comprising many nationalities yet united by a single system of government and a common language or lingua franca, Russian, that aspires to be no more than a second language in sub-polities wherein other languages are more reflexively spoken.  As Mr. Putin acceded to the Russian presidency over a mere but formidably proportioned rump of the Soviet Union, but also inasmuch as within this Russian rump the nationalistic-cum-linguistic discontents of avowedly non-Russian collectivities continued to fester in little, he promptly set about doing his best to keep his Russia as Soviet Union-like as possible—most conspicuously by quashing Chechen paramilitary insurgencies and an effort by Georgian-speaking Ossetians to be annexed by Georgia.  Whether Mr. Putin behaved even marginally ethically in effecting these Soviet Union rump-preserving efforts is, to say the least debatable—but so are most if not all chief executive-ordered exercises of military force within or without any polity; domestic and peri-domestic military interventions have lately been more scandalous in hyperoccidental eyes merely because they have tended to occur less often in the hyperoccident—as is attested, for example, by the pan-hyperoccidental uproar at Mr. Trump’s entrustment of the patrolling of the U.S. Mexican border to the U.S. army, in contrast to the pan-hyperoccidental quiescence that greeted his slightly earlier bombing of Syria.  In any case, the fundamental political divide in today’s Russia is rooted in causes that date far beyond the quelling of the Chechen and Ossetian insurgencies, causes that date back to the Soviet epoch.  Inasmuch as Mr. Putin openly styled himself a nostalgist for-cum-restorationist of the old Soviet system of political life, the post-2000 domestic political landscape of Russia tended to be defined by the citizenry’s attitude towards the Soviet system; those who had benefited from the old Soviet system in any net way whatsoever tended to support Mr. Putin, and those who had in any net way whatsoever been screwed by the old Soviet system of life tend to oppose him.  Ever since then, of course, the proportion of the Russian citizenry who retain personal memories of life in the Soviet Union has been steadily diminishing and the proportion of that citizenry who have no memory of life in a Russia not governed by Mr. Putin has been steadily increasing; and consequently the Russian political landscape has become increasingly defined by Russians’ attitude towards Mr. Putin qua head of State in his own right, their attitude towards what he himself and specifically has or has not done vis-à-vis this or that definitively post-Soviet matter of political interest. (Case in flagrantly obvious point: the matter of same-sex marriage, which, although a political flashpoint in present-day Russia, was never even brought to the table in the Soviet Union, or indeed in any pre-1991 hyperoccidental polity.)  For all that, the most conspicuous figures in the pro-Putin and anti-Putin camps alike are still pre-1991ers who seem to remain prevailingly guided by their attitudes towards the old Soviet System.  Thus, when some four or five years ago the Putinite orchestra conductor Valery Gergiev led a Russian organized-and-styled concert for peace during a brief truce in the Syrian conflict, bienpensant hyperoccidentals were up in all non-chemical arms about this dashing darling of the hyperoccidental opera houses and concert halls’ supposed defection to the supposed dark side.  But the present writer scarcely dreamt of raising an eyebrow on hearing the news of Mr. Gergiev’s participation in this event, for a year or so before that, he had heard a radio interview in which Mr. Gergiev gushed about the superb opportunities for cultural enrichment he had enjoyed as a tyke in the 1950s and 60s despite then residing in some miniature armpit of a town in the hinterland of the Caucasus; in particular about the frequency with which concerts by the illustrious likes of his future fellow-conductor Yuri Temirkanov and the Leningrad Philharmonic were given there.  Obviously—so this gushing revealed—Mr. Gergiev had never defected to Mr. Putin’s side but had been on his side all along, had cleaved to him qua standard-bearer of the old munificent Soviet cultural dispensation qua generous patron of the great surviving Soviet-epoch orchestras and opera and ballet companies.  Complementarily, and slightly later, the present writer, thitherto almost entirely ignorant of any particulars about Gary Kasparaov apart from his prowess as a chess-player and his passionate loathing of Mr. Putin, came to understand whence the latter quality emanated when on Desert Island Discs Kasparov devoted quite a significant proportion of his interdisc patter to the misery he had experienced as a minority half-Armenian growing up in Soviet Azerbaijan; and quite a significant portion of that portion to some sort of anti-Armenian riot or quasi-pogrom in which the Soviet authorities had declined to intervene.  In thus adducing these two reductiones ad hominem, I by no means wish to call into question the sincerity or probity of either side  of either army on the present Russian political battlefield (let alone to redeem Mr. Putin and damn his opponents, as my hyperoccidental detractors will doubtless accuse me of attempting to do), but merely to inject what I hope is a salutary dose of nominalism into the misguidedly ultra-essentializing character of every current—or at least every famously current—description of that battlefield.  Mr. Putin is held to be incorrigibly abominable by his opponents both within and without Russia because of his supposed incorrigible embodiment and enactment of opposition to democratic principles, institutions, and practices, but the truth is that even within the smugly self-styledly democratic hyperoccident there is nothing even approaching a consensus about either which sorts of principles, institutions, and practices are inherently democratic or the extent to which the inherently democratic character of a given principle autc. entails its indispensability as a universally applicable political norm.  At the moment the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is the global poster-child of democracy, and there is nothing that bienpensant hyperoccidentals dread more than her now-well-nigh inevitable (because self-declared) abdication of the chancellorship, inasmuch as her successor will well-nigh-inevitably be a person less strongly committed than she to the present smorgasbord of bienpensant political causes (a smorgasbord whose most coveted dishes are of course manically unreserved xenophilia and grimly implacable Russophobia).  But this selfsame Angela Merkel (whom, incidentally, the present writer does regard as the most capable and virtuous of present major hyperoccidental polity-leaders despite her poster-child-dom) would have long since become hors de combat politically had she been subject to the limitations on terms of office imposed on her de facto counterparts and de jure colleagues in many president-headed republics—notably, in the United States and Russia.  Indeed, it was a constitutional two-consecutive term-limit on the Russian presidency that provoked Mr. Putin’s 2008 do-se-do with Dmitry Medvedev—a do-se-do whereby Mr. Medvedev temporarily became president and Mr. Putin prime minister and that provoked outraged cries of Lip-service-cum-the cofounded cheek! from every corner of the hyperoccident.  By then, Mr. Putin had been president for a mere eight years, six years less than the fourteen comprising the presidency of the thitherto longest-serving French president, Jacques Chirac and (at least inclusively) Mrs. Merkel’s present chancellorship; and even now, a decade after the do-se-do, his total stint at the helm, inclusive of his four years as nominal first mate, has not yet reached the two-decade mark.  If limitation of executive or quasi-executive power to periods of less than a decade is an inherently indispensable democratic constitutional institution, then Russia is an essentially and fundamentally more democratic polity than France, Germany, or the United Kingdom; and Mr. Putin can indeed be blamed for merely paying lip-service to it—but by this same token, Mrs. Merkel must be regarded as four-sevenths as anti-democratic as Mr. Putin; if it is not, then Mr. Putin cannot be blamed on democratic grounds for merely paying lip-service to such a limitation.  Of course, to my blasé if not insouciant treatment of the electoral fortunes of the various hypo and hyper-occidental polity-leaders as mutually fungible, the bienpensant hyperoccidental mobility will reflexively scream that Mr. Putin’s election campaigns have been riven or riddled with corruption, and hence that democratically speaking his electoral victories have been but pseudo-victories, and further hence that in a polity conforming to a truly democratic electoral process the citizenry would have sent him to the Coventry of Russia (viz., Archangelsk) in 2008 at the latest.  To this bienpensant cri de coeur the present writer is inclined to reply with a malpensant cri de cul to the effect that Corruption! has lately become the principal rhetorical tool of the most pernicious of the hyperoccidental would-be corrupters themselves, to the extent (admittedly nonexistent in the present writer’s case) that one regards the will of the people as the sacroscanct, inviolable virgin.  The eye-burstingly obvious case in point is the since-January 2017-never-ending judicial (or perchance juridical?) hullaballoo over the question of the actuality or extent of Mr Trump’s collusion, coition, etc. with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election campaign.  Even in the event that Mr. Mueller’s investigation reveals that Mr. Trump signed his soul over to Mr. Putin in blood and in quintuplicate, this revelation ought to have no bearing on Mr. Trump’s present legitimacy as president, inasmuch as his enamourment with Mr. Putin was no secret during the election campaign, and indeed was not denied by Mr. Trump himself when his opponent, Mrs. Clinton, took occasion to remind voters of it.  In the tens of millions, Americans knew that Mr. Trump was a Putin-f**ker, and they voted for him anyway.  And so the bienpensant would be-corrupters of hyperoccidental democracy have been compelled to take their fury out on the very demos of whom they style themselves the most dedicated and sole legitimate collective champion; for although, to be sure, they are guilty-conscious’d or prudent enough not to impugn this selfsame demos for being simply stupid or porcifutuaceous, they make no hummingbird’s eardrum bones about declaring it to have been so gullible as to have been irresistibly misled and seduced by Putin-fueled Trump-boosting rhetoric, to have been led as ineluctably as the Pied Piper’s rats into the river Trump by Russian so-called Twitterbots masquerading as Stateside pig-f**king Trump supporters.  They would have us believe that Bob and Suzy Pigf**ker were so abjectly beholden to their own pigf**kerly ethos-cum-habitus that a Tweet of Yeehaw!  If Gospodin Trump wuz pig Ya’d love him big time from Yuri Trumpf**ker would suffice to win them over to a presidential candidate towards whom they otherwise would have been indifferent if not downright antipathetic.  They (i.e., the beinpensant hyperoccidentals, not Bob and Suzy Pigf**ker) would have us believe that the Trump-boosting half of the demos—in presumptive utter contrast to the presumptively thoroughly enlightened Trump-detracting other half thereof—was so utterly indifferent to straightforward reportage from conventional media sources that Trump advocacy from any old Trump-trumpeting Twatter would be accepted by them as incontrovertible proof of Mr. Trump’s eligibility.  And in this solicitation to belief they (i.e., again, the beinpensant hyperoccidentals, not Bob and Suzy Pigf**ker) may very well be right—excuse me, not right, but, rather, correct.  But the present writer maintains that even if they are therein correct, the ultimate blame for the above-described gulling of the demos is not to be laid at the feet of either Mr. Putin or Mr. Trump, or even at those of Joe Twitter, but rather at those of the demos itself—at the feet of its own seemingly abominably incorrigible gullibility; a gullibility whose political weaponization antedates Twitter by centuries if not millennia and might just as effectively have been weaponized during the 2016 campaign if all parties to it and would-be interlopers into it had been confined to operating via stagecoach and hand-operated printing press, or even via ox-cart and cuneiform tablet.  In every polity at every point in recorded human history there have been people inclined to believe any assertion about the political lie of the land that issues from the mouth, pen, etc. of any Tom, Dick, Harry, Thomasina, aut al.; and in most occidental polities at least since the invention of periodical journalism (i.e., since ca. 1700), there have been political agents keen on capitalizing on this inclination by posing as Tom…Thomasina, et al.  American journalism has certainly never been any stranger to such imposture, and indeed by the 1830s the reputation—whether warranted or not—of Americans as peculiarly game for and adept at such a shenanigan was so strong as to compel Honoré de Balzac to mis-dub our sometime newspaper-mongering founding father Benjamin Franklin its inventor.  Balzac referred to the actual non-invention in question as a canard, and instances of it have been more than occasionally termed canards even in the Anglosphere, although they have most often been designated by the less French-sounding noun hoax.  That the utterly gratuitous term fake news has lately been coined to describe this phenomenon in specific connection with the so-called social media and been subsequently exploited as a term of abuse by both sides of the present U.S. pseudo-political divide is, if hardly surprising (i.e, in the light of the horrifying political amnesia that has lately taken hold of the hyperoccident [as instantiated, by, for example, the far-abovementioned semiotic switcheroo of red and blue qua designators of political allegiance]), nonetheless deeply troubling, inasmuch as it suggests that everyone in the United States but the present writer has forgotten that the ability to gauge the probability of an assertion in relation to established facts and probabilities has tended to be posited as a basic prerequisite not only for citizenship, but also for mere adulthood in virtually every sort of polity under the sun since Mesopotamian times.  To be sure, the entire industry answering to the name of advertising presupposes that even the mentally ripest adults are entirely lacking in this ability, but for that very reason neither this industry nor its victims have ever enjoyed the slightest modicum of respect or sympathy in any polity under the sun since Mesopotamian times.  If a given toothpaste purchaser has purchased a given brand of toothpaste because an advertisement has represented a user of that toothpaste as ineluctably erotically successful, and this purchaser subsequently enjoys no erotic success, although we are outraged at the advertiser’s confounded cheek in having imposed such an imposture, we do not principally react with outrage at the purchaser’s misleading by the advertiser but rather with contempt for the purchaser for having been so easily misled by the advertiser.  We do not bewail the advertiser’s interference in some presumptively preexistent commercial process wherein would-be consumers are supposed to be given nothing but the hard, cold, unadorned facts about the products that they are presumed to have the wherewithal to purchase.  Now, if at the moment of purchase the cashier somehow ends up charging the gulled toothpaste purchaser an amount ten times as high as what the tube is actually supposed to cost, that is an entirely different s***y.  In such a case, whether the overcharging is the result of a calculating error on the part of the cashier or a calculated miscalculation by his aut al.’s commercial masters, it is patently the seller and not the buyer who is to blame.  In such a case, we may indeed legitimately talk of interference in the commercial process, but here the commercial process consists entirely of non-mental arithmetical operations, of the mechanical copying of data from one site to another.  The analogous situation in any electorally driven political process is the tampering with ballots deposited either virtually or actually at polling stations.  At no point has it been even inconclusively shown that the Russians engaged in such tampering in the 2016 election.  Such being the case, Mr. Trump’s election to the presidency, however regrettable, must be regarded as a fair cop in U.S.-Constitutional terms.  But of course, pseudo-left American doxa now holds that these terms count for naught, that Mr. Trump should not be regarded as the legitimate U.S. President, inasmuch as he did not win the majority of the popular vote, the vote of the preponderance of that very demos whom the pseudo-left evidently regard in an even more contemptible light than shit’s bastard younger brother; pseudo-left American doxa now holds that the electoral college on which the securing of the presidency has always constitutionally depended must be abolished, inasmuch as it (like the U.S. Senate, which at the moment [i.e., solely because the Democrats failed to secure control of it at the most recent midterm] is likewise held in disfavor by the American pseudo-left) gives disproportionate political weight to small States and thereby thwarts the realization of the will of the nationwide majority.  But here once again the end of the commonwealth envisaged by the bienpensant bilge-spewers forgets its beginning, inasmuch as Mr. Trump notoriously or famously secured the Republican nomination in the very teeth of the most doggedly rabid resistance of the Republican establishment, of the GOP political machine dominated by the very wolfish, cash-glutted fat-cats the bienpensant mobility had done everything in their power to thwart in the preceding presidential election; secured it, namely, thanks to the nationwide hegemony of the primary system, whose gradual adoption over the course of the twentieth century made the selection of presidential candidates ever-more democratic and thereby rendered the electoral influence of party-political machines ever-more marginal.  And hey, babe, it’s not like I’m saying that the malpensant American political mobility, the pseudo-right, the boosters and arse-lickers of Mr. Trump, are any more consistent in their attitude towards democratic institutions and practices than their pseudo-left adversaries, that they have been any less prone to decry the supposed stolenness of an election that their man, woman, aut al. ([sic] on the aut al., for for aught I know the Trumpites would go b**ls deep in campaigning for a transsexual candidate provided that they, zhe, aut al. were an avid-enough gun-collector or zealous-enough proponent of a Mexican-border wall) has happened to lose, or to ascribe deviations of the popular will from their own notion of magnetic north to ineluctable brainwashing by some virtually omnipotent individualized Pied Piper of a bugbear.  Thus the pseudo-left’s ascription of the supposed corruption of the political consciousness of the pigf**kerly salt of the earth of the so-called heartland by Vladimir Putin is neatly complemented by the pseudo-right’s ascription of the corruption of the assf**kerly salt of the earth of the two coasts by George Soros.  And hey, babe, it’s not even like I’m saying on a more general plane that the porqueria of a Staatslandschaft that is the present American political scene illustrates the inherent shortcomings of democracy or the inherent superiority of an authoritarian system of government to a democratic one—or, rather, in the specific context of the present essay, a consistently pseudo-democratic polity like today’s Russia to an inconsistently genuinely democratic polity like today’s United States.  All and what I’m saying, rather, is, that in the present system of global life it is difficult to imagine any system of government in which any less than a teensy-tiny bit less than half the population governed by it would not be radically pissed off and perpetually stroppy.  Doubtless a heck of a lot of Russians are discontented as heck about being presided over by Mr. Putin, and by now—i.e., several years since his last big coup on the international stage (viz., the annexation of Crimea) and only a year or so since his most recent c**k-up thereupon (viz., the Skripal poisoning)—that heck-of-a-lot probably amounts to a most, but it is almost certainly not a most large enough to be converted into a so-called overwhelming majority by even the most scrupulously monitored snap-presidential election.  It is, indeed, very probably nearly exactly the same size as the modest most of Americans that now detests Donald Trump thanks to the modest diminution of his so-called base since the 2016 election, and it is therefore by no means straight-facedly convertible into the sort of psychologically integrated personification of the Russian people whose will would automatically, categorically, and legitimately be reasserted by Mr. Putin’s removal from office and replacement by Mr. Kasparov or the most virtuous and sagacious Pussy Rioteer.  To be sure, it is regrettable and disturbing that several-to-many Russian citizens and former Russian citizens have ended up in prison or even dead in consequence of non-violent political or journalistic activity against Mr. Putin, but one is by no means within one’s rights either to assume that it is fear of ending up imprisoned or dead themselves that has principally deterred the presumptive modest anti-Putin most from making their anti-Putinism more demonstrative, or to blame that most for not being more visibly outraged by the homicidal ferocity of Mr. Putin’s personal vindictiveness.  Presumably the main reason that most of the slight majority of Russian people who do not on the whole care for Mr. Putin do not publicly take up banners and placards against him is that they that they do not care enough about not caring for him to be arsed to stitch together an anti-Putin banner or Sharpie-and-staple together an anti-Putin placard, which to say both that their quotidian life under Putin’s presidency has not yet become so onerous that any short-term disruption of that life bids fair to make it less onerous and that they cannot bring themselves to be sufficiently vexed at the disruption of the quotidian lives of strangers to put the restoration of these strangers’ quotidian well-being ahead of the maintenance of their own.  And for this political quiescence or lethargy they are, I repeat verbatim (barring the change to the passive voice), not to be blamed.  Ever since the Second World War it has been pan-hyperoccidentally quasi-doxical—i.e., wholly doxical among the bienpensants plus semi-doxcial among the malpensants—that the slightest infringement of the State on the civil liberties of even a single individual calls for immediately putting one’s own life in immediate peril on the grounds that tomorrow it could be me who is being tortured, imprisoned without prospect of trial, etc.  But to the admittedly debatable extent that one is entitled inductively to extrapolate from the past, the grounds are utterly fallacious, inasmuch as in even the most tyrannical polities of the past three-quarters of a century the persecution of political dissidents has not tended progressively to impinge on the general citizenry in an ever-widening dragnetical arc; inasmuch as even in such polities a citizen has generally been assured of surviving—and indeed thriving to the extent that the local system of life permits—to the very end of his aut al.’s natural, provided that he aut al. does not go out of his aut al.’s way to advertise his aut al.’s attitude towards the State or other Powers that Be (or that then Be’d).  Admittedly, has not tended is a fudge that covers at if not a multitude then at least several handfuls of egregiously sinful regimes that have delighted in imprisoning and killing people just for the heck of it (e.g., the Khmer Rouge and the Kims’ in North Korea), but Mr. Putin’s present regime, like that of all post-Stalin Soviet regimes (and indeed Stalin’s own before ca. 1936) emphatically is not one of these several handfuls.  Not that tyranny of the sort exerted by Mr. Putin is not intrinsically objectionable—albeit in the name not of democracy but of basic human decency—but that sincere, wholehearted, one’s-own-life-endangering objections to a tyranny can really only ever begin at home, the home of someone immediately impinged upon by that tyranny.  To adduce an analogous Stateside case that will doubtless appear tasteless in the extreme to all but the plus malpensants of malpensants:  the present writer was genuinely horrified by President George W. Bush’s establishment, in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001  of the Guantanamo Bay detention center—horrified, namely, by this establishment qua roughshod-cavalcade over all sorts of national and international constitutional rights, but he felt no impulse whatsoever to take to the streets in protest of the establishment because he was not in the least bit afraid of being unconstitutionally detained in the detention center himself, inasmuch as he sported neither a traditionally Islamic forename or surname nor the merest ghost of a beard.  (This was, after all, nearly a decade before beardiness became the prime signifier of hipness among non-Islamic hyperoccidental men.) When, on the other hand, a few years later that selfsame President George W. Bush extended daylight saving time so sneakily and at such short notice that the present writer became aware of the extension only when certain of his electronic devices—but only certain of them (for many of the impinged-upon software designers had not had sufficient time to implement the requisite so-called patch)—stole an hour’s march on his wristwatch on that first accursed second Sunday in March (I confess I am unable either to part or do anything clever with the repetition of march in the preceding clause)—well, he was not only horrified but also outraged.  Why? Well, in the first and more general place because he was and is by either nature or habit a Nachtgeschöpf, a creature of the night, who had and has long resented daylight saving time altogether on account of its prolonging of the sun’s stint above the western horizon; who loves the winter not least because it guarantees that he will return home from work in the dark, and loathes the summer not least because it compels him to go to bed if not quite “by day,” then at any rate when day is still the freshest and hence most sleep-disrupting of memories.  To the smartass who is now thinking of pointing out to me that what daylight saving time adds to the evening it subtracts from the morning I concede that, yes, were I Nachtgeschöpf who kept a radically bohemian quotidian schedule, were I some sort of week-round partier addicted to staying awake from midnight till dawn, I would most certainly love DST as much as I now loathe it, and would welcome each and every extension of DST as an augmentation of my chronographic fund of pleasure.  But as I am a Nachtgeschöpf obliged to stick to a traditional bourgeois diurnal schedule, at least from Monday to Friday, I relish an early-arriving evening as an attendant of something I am looking forward to doing, namely, going home; and while I certainly do not enjoy an early-arriving morning eo ipso, I appreciate it as a means to a necessary if undesirable end: I appreciate it inasmuch as it helps my alarm clock wake me into doing something that I am not looking forward to doing, namely, going to work.  This mention of an early-arriving morning as a salutary stimulus brings me to the second and more specific of my reasons for resenting W.’s extension of DST.  My apartment faces due west and has no windows facing in any other direction; consequently, at home I do not benefit from direct sunlight qua alarm clock-MSG even when the day is longest, at the summer solstice of late June; and I do not benefit from the absence of direct sunlight qua harbinger of recreation even when the day is shortest, at the winter solstice of late December, and for the overwhelming preponderance of the year, namely from about early February through early November—i.e., the entire nine-month period in which days are not much shorter than average—I am compelled to have more or less direct sunlight streamed onto my person from slightly past midday to sundown, and it is always in the hour immediately preceding sundown that direct sunlight becomes optically and thermally most oppressive.  And so, by extending daylight saving time by three weeks, George W. Bush effectively added a minimum of six hours’ (i.e., one hour- per-weekend day times three) misery to the present writer’s domestic life—this on top of the at-minimum fifteen hours of extra-domestic misery occasioned by the calendrical augmentation of the aforementioned unwelcome daylight Heimkehr on weekdays.  Anyway, who, or how, when the present writer belatedly discovered the W.-mandated DST extension, he was for the first time in his life more than figuratively galvanized enough to protest a politically induced change.  He was unprecedentedly biologically up and ready to take to the streets in a more than figurative sense in support of a retrenchment of DST to its 1986-established first-Sunday-in-April starting point.  But when he canvassed those persons whom he had formerly regarded as his virtual politikanschauungicshe clones, he discovered to his horror, consternation, and indeed outrage, that they were no such persons, that, indeed, they positively welcomed the extension inasmuch as it gave them more time to unwind, take a load off, relax, throw yet another shrimp on the Barbie, enjoy some extra quality experiences with the nippers, etc., then fluttered their accursed flip-flops (remember: this was in Baltimore not Ocean City [whence did anybody get the idea that it is remotely acceptable to wear flip-flops anywhere but at the beach?]) in a chorus of W.-fellating pedal applause.  And so from then onwards the present writer was obliged to nurse his W.-resenting rage in silence.  To the present writer’s mind, the extension of Daylight Saving Time was by far the Bush administration’s most egregious violation of civil liberties and overreaching of executive authority; to the present writer’s mind, the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and the invasion of Iraq were mere playful pinches of the American body politic’s bottom by comparison.  And yet this extension receives not a single frame of opprobrium in either Oliver Stone’s cinematic anti-hagiography of the president himself or Adam McKay’s cinematic hatchet job on his deputy, Dick Cheney, which just goes to reaffirm the writer’s abovementioned sense that the world in toto has become a gigantic Douglas Robertson-ignoring engine.  But never mind that engine for the moment, for I adduced this example of the extension of DST not qua exhibit in proof of the world’s indifference to Douglas Robertson but rather qua example of the sort of polity-wide everyday life-affecting change that has so far not typified Mr. Putin’s exercises of executive authority.  If one happens to be gay, one may very well be outraged at Mr. Putin’s limitations on (or of) expressions of gay identity, but as most Russians—like most people in general—happen not to be gay, these restrictions are never going to touch off a revolution.  The same, mutatis mutandis, goes for Mr. Putin’s control of the so-called State media and the attendant Putinization of the national television news broadcasts.  “Now hold on there just a second, buster-cum-pardner-cum pilgrim,” the robotic zombie cowboy DGR interjects, “Even supposin’ (and Ford or Bezos perish the supposition!) that the faintest ghost of an infringement of the liberties of our gay brothers, sisters, theysters, zhesters, autl al., does not axiomatically constitute a non-oral mortal blow to the liberties of each and every person on the planet regardless of his aut al.’s sexual orientation (or lack thereof), you can hardly reasonably claim that Mr. Putin’s infringement of the freedom of the press is of the same character as his infringement of gay rights, inasmuch as the chief if not sole beneficiary of freedom of the press is manifestly not some political or demographic niche but rather the public as a whole.  To the contrary, I can reasonably claim that the two Putinian infringements in question are of exactly the same character, inasmuch as the principal if not sole beneficiary of freedom of the press manifestly is and always has been not the public as a whole but a specific political-cum-demographic niche that is even more piddling than the gay so-called community–viz., that class-cum-set of persons who style themselves journalists.  You heard me aright robotic zombie cowboy DGR: the very purpose, telos, and raison d’être of journalism, whence axiomatically of all demands for freedom of the press, is to stoke the sense of self-importance of journalists.  If truth be frankly and candidly told, the general public of no polity has actually ever given a tinker’s toss about the news, and if truth be even more frankly and candidly told, each and every non-journalist in every polity since the aforementioned dawn of the pseudo-métier in ca. 1700, has yearned for the news in every available format and medium simply to go away for good, to perform the biologically impossible act.  Who but the most loutish, the most thick-bellied, of hyperoccidentals, has ever looked with any emotion more flattering than medium-grade contempt upon the stereotypical journalist with his perennially sweaty armpits, his perennially unbuttoned top shirt button-cum-loosened necktie, his incessant unreserved and unexcused farting, his unabashed retailing of histoires du cul, his unregenerately inefficient hunt-and-peck typewriting non-method, his recourse to some dumbed-down abridgment of Merriam Webster for the correct spelling of the likes of ceiling and freest, or the correct placement or omission of the apostrophe in or from it(’)s?  (Of course it will be objected by the robotic zombie cowboy DGR that my description of the stereotypical journalist is unmistakably masculine, and therefore hopelessly anachronistic; to this objection I will irrefragably point out that the sexual diversification of journalism has simply afforded stupid and ill-mannered women a more publicly prominent forum for the indulgence of their stupidity and boorishness than they formerly enjoyed in the hospital ward or the grade-school classroom.) In short, who of any intelligence in the hyperoccident has ever regarded a journalist by default as anything but a person of exceptionally low genius whose presence in the world is a blight on the latter’s existence?  And the answer to the preceding question presumably being No one, who of any intelligence in the hyperoccident cannot fairly yearn to be resident in a polity such as the present Russian Republic wherein the chief organ of journalism, in being known to be a directly and immediately governed mouthpiece of the State, is openly discreditable from the outset?  In this connection I am reminded of that never-famous but by no means halbweltgeistig-ly marginal 1988 song “Lies” by the American (and more specifically Milwaukeean) folk-punk power trio The Violent Femmes (yet another set of old-school bienpensant persons who would presumably be at daggers drawn with me on every contention made in this essay, but never mind that), wherein the lyricist ruefully itemizes two duplicitous verbal constructs, a poem by a “very famous poet” and the sermon of a television preacher, whose rhetorical slickness has very nearly managed to hoodwink him into believing patent untruths, and then goes on to concede that “he never had this problem,” the problem of sorting truth from falsehood, in taking in the pronouncements of “of nobody [i.e., anybody] in the government” inasmuch as “I guess I always figured they’d never mean what they meant [i.e., actually mean what they purported to mean {the formal oxymoronity of the conjecture is obviously an homage to Yogi Berra}].”  Ultimately and conclusively, the song implies that the entire field of discourse in the hyperoccident is (or at least then was) uniformly pervaded by a tendency towards hucksterism, towards (in the lyricist’s own words) “mixing up the truth with something funny.”  It implies subsidiarily that the average hyperoccidental has always sagaciously expected the persons governing him aut al. to be hucksters by default and is to be blamed merely for not extending his aut al.’s application of this sagaciousness beyond the ambit of government, for not assuming that non-governmental entities are just as strongly inclined as governmental ones to lie to him aut al.  While by no means setting a low premium on truth, and indeed implicitly setting the highest premium on it in virtue of explicitly treating of the topic of lies polemically, the song implies that one should not fetishize any entity ici bas qua promulgator of veridical pronouncements.  I adduce the song here principally because qua production of a perennial topper of what were then called the College Radio Charts (this because they ranked songs, bands, and albums according to the criterion of the amount of airplay they had received on radio stations owned by American colleges and universities and prevailingly staffed by American college and university students) it cannot but give a fairly reliable picture of the meta-epistemological lie of the hyperoccidental bienpensant land just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and consequently highlights the seismically dramatic transformations of that land-lie that have taken place in the intervening thirty-plus years.  To be sure, the song indicates, back then as now, the spokespeople of organized religion, and specifically of the Christian religion, came in for harsh meta-epistemological criticism chez les bienpensants.  But this mistrust of the truth-claims of ecclesiastical authority was counterpoised by an equally keen mistrust of the truth-claims of its secular counterpart, the purveyor of au courant so-called high culture, the famous (and presumably still living because otherwise great) poet.  But the least trusted entity of all back then chez les bienpensants was the government.  Fast-forward, as they say, to 2019, and chez les bienpensants it is only the first of the three entities, the spokesperson of organized Christian religion, that is still regarded as a huckster.  The poet is of course now required to be revered as epistemologically infallible because he, she, aut al. is a practitioner of one of the so-called fine arts, and the fine arts now no longer have any other function in the hyperoccident than celebrating bienpensant values.  And the U.S. federal government, to each and every extent that it dissociates itself from the current chief of its executive branch, is likewise required to be revered as epistemologically infallible because from a bienpensant point of view the current chief of that executive branch can do no right, or rather, unwrongness.  Most conspicuously in contrast to the olden days, the U.S. military now commands unqualified meta-epistemological adulation from the American bienpensanterie, inasmuch as it happens generally to be at loggerheads with Mr. Trump.  If Mr. Trump happens to be in favor of a diminution of American military presence in a given country, any general of any branch of the armed forces can now recommend the smart-carpet-bombing of each and every orphanage and hospital in that country and he (or she? [one assumes there are no transgender generals yet]) will be applauded by each and every bienpensant for his (or her?) supposed sage counsel solely on the ostensible grounds that he (or she?) is a professional soldier and hence a sort of expert, because of course in bienpensant eyes expertise of any sort now counts as a warrant of epistemological infallibility, because of course Mr. Trump happens to be the antithesis of an expert.  Never mind the question of the intrinsic justice or prudence of the proposed military action.  Of course many if not most of these bienpensant tank-humpers were more than figuratively begging to be water-cannoned for their opposition to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq back in ’03.  Anyhow, Russocentrically speaking, the upshot of everything I’ve been saying and resaying since the sentence beginning “Mr. Putin is held to be incorrigibly abominable…” is that I just wish—and doubtless wish in vain—that in the light of its manifest own inability to distinguish the contours of its own fundament qua supposed fundament of democracy from those of the average hole in the ground even in the historical very-short term, the hyperoccidental bienpensanterie would comport itself towards the present-day forestering of the Russian political game park with a tad or smidge more humility, with a tad or smidge less disdain or horror for or at the shifts, feints, grabs, and subterfuges resorted to by Mr. Putin and the lack of resistance thereto by the Russian masses.  If the loathsome, pestiferous, garlic-reeking bienpensant pseudo-elite (who are in reality but a mob of only slightly demographically smaller proportions than their malpensant heartlandian rivals) had clung to a single genuine principle for ten years in succession, they might indeed—albeit only might indeed—be entitled to claim the moral high ground vis-à-vis the likes of Mr. Putin.  Moreover, it seems to me vis-à-vis their current championship of supposed progressive forces in present-day Russia that they would do well preemptively to sop up an egg or ten bound by default for their faces by reflecting on the recent-to-current state of States wherein persons and factions who could do no wrong in bienpensant eyes under former, openly autocratic, political dispensations eventually assumed full political hegemony by democratic means—notably the current state-of the-States of Myanmar and South Africa.  Such a course of reflection would teach them that a polity wherein the government oppresses the people directly is not necessarily to be rejected in favor of one in which it smugly acquiesces in the people’s oppression of one another, and that in practice democrats are no less prone to be kleptocrats than the autocrats who are their supposed political antitheses.  In any case, even in the unlikely event that Mr. Putin does manage to annul the Russian constitution and acquire executive power in theoretical perpetuity, his actual hold on that power is destined to be much shorter, and indeed likely to be not much longer than the run of a moderately successful pre-millennial American sitcom, inasmuch as he is very near to completing his seventh decade as a biological entity.  Oh, yes, my formerly evoked sexagenarian or septuagenarian friend, I well remember that WE’RE ALL LIVING LONGER NOW!!!!!!, but although I concede to you that chief executives of State as old as you are slightly more common than they were thirty or forty years ago, you must concede to me that even an octogenarian chief executive of State is still a comparative rarity, and that the world’s sole even-remote approach to a nonagenarian chief executive of State, Queen Elizabeth, has been delegating her extra-domestic duties to her sexagenarian-to-septuagenarian eldest son for several years.  In the light of these demographic tendencies, I give Mr. Putin another butcher’s-dozen years max—in other words, I am conjecturing that he is substantially closer to the end of his national-gubernatorial political life than to its beginning.  In the meantime, of course, he may appoint a successor hand-picked to act as a mini-Putin until the cows of human history come home, but then one must remember that Mr. Putin was himself hand-picked to act as a mini-Yeltsin until those selfsame cows came home, and we are now well aware of the utter invisibility of this bovine homecoming to the most powerful meta-historical telescope ever since the moment, some nineteen years ago, when Mr. Putin showed himself to be a cow of decidedly different markings than Mr. Yeltsin’s.  Alternatively, and more likely-ly, after Mr. Putin’s disparation no later than 2032, the helm of the Russian State will pass into the hands of the current bienpensant opposition, or, rather, into the hands of some grotesque metastasis thereof, in which case on the legislative plane the political landscape will doubtless become receptive to every manner of queerdom (doubtless including by then not only species-queerdom but kingdom-queerdom [i.e., not only outwardly human-seeming persons self-identifying as, say, snow-geese or wombats but also outwardly human-seeming persons self-identifying [and quite justly, indeed, at least vis-à-vis their intellectual capabilities!] as plants, fungi, bacteria, slime-molds, etc. [or, rather, by then, et al.]), while at the same time, and in reaction to this queerification, the pseudo-national insurgencies within Russia will become ever-more stroppily belligerent and militantly secessionist along increasingly fine-grainedly exclusionary lines.  I recall that immediately after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from (the) Ukraine back in 2014 a certain rarissima avis of an at-least-would-be farsighted pundit conjectured that inasmuch as a substantial minority of the population of Crimea did not regard themselves either as Russians or as Ukrainians but rather as Ta(r)tars, it was only a matter of a fairly-to-very small time until the Crimean Ta(r)tars secured the establishment of a Ta(r)taristan encompassing not only a substantial minority of Crimea but also a veritable archipelago of hundreds if not thousands of bits of southern Russia in which self-identified Ta(r)tars outnumbered self-identified non-Ta(r)tars by a factor of more than 1.00000000000000001 to 1.  That the securing of such a monstrous abortion of a polity has not so far taken place is presumably entirely owing to the ever-cooling but never-quite-dying afterglow of the glory accrued to all non-Ukrainian Crimeans by the annexation, an afterglow which presumably is in turn owing to Mr. Putin’s perduring authority as an anti-Ukrainian chief executive.  Once this authority is gone—i.e., and in more general terms, once the Russian chief executive is not by default seen as a would-be restorer of the Soviet or even pre-Soviet status quo ante–there is no telling how many abominably picayune yet insatiably self-important self-styled nations-cum-polities will emerge from the excremental ruins of the long-since-worm-devoured Russian political woodwork and successfully demand to be recognized as independent States.  Doubtless every village and municipal precinct in the Russian Republican with a majority of non-native Russian speakers will then successfully transform itself into a micro-Quebec insisting on its distinctness from the polity-wide linguistic majority while self-servingly declining to be annexed by or indeed be officially affiliated with its linguistic mother country in any way apart from qua mendicant recipient of monetary handouts.  But even to speculate about Russia’s long-term future qua political entity an sich seems vicariously self-indulgent and navel-gazing when one considers Russia’s short-term future qua geopolitical agent, a S-TF principally conditioned by Mr. Putin’s admittedly short-standing but for all that seemingly firm military alliance with what used to be called (and IHOP ob multas causas should still be called) Red China.  To be sure, the alliance makes absolutely no sense when contemplated in any register or from any angle.  The Russians have little or nothing to offer the Chinese, and the Chinese, while having much to offer the Russians, are unquestionably better served by actually presenting that selfsame much to bigger players like the United States or to significantly smaller players, notably several African polities, who bid fair to serve China as client States.  To be sure, China would find it inestimably beneficial to have Russia’s colossal military materiel at its disposal, but only on unconditional terms, and the idea of Mr. Putin (or any subsequent Russian leader)’s handing over the keys of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, air force, naval fleet, etc. to Mr. Xi (or any subsequent Chinese leader) is so manifestly laughable as to oust the aviation of pigs from its post as top-ranking metaphorical vehicle of well-nigh-impossible improbability.  To be sure, Mr. Putin’s presumably utterly cynical effort to ground the alliance in a common Weltanschauung, in some supposed pan-Asian antidemocratic political worldview, is scarcely less laughable.  Regardless of the admittedly formidable extent to which present-day Russia’s political landscape is anti-democratic, at bottom Russia is mired in the same meta-political quagmire in which each and every other polity within the geographical space that used to be called Christendom now likewise finds itself mired—the quagmire of the intrinsically meta-democratic question of the extent and frequency to and with which the populace’s—a.k.a. the people’s—voice must be heard and heeded by its or their appointed or arrogated proxies in the ship of State.  China is mired in no such quagmire and indeed never has been and further-indeed may very likely never be mired therein because for at least as many headache-inducingly umpteen god-awful millennia as China has existed in some form or other, human life has been almost literally—and in some epochs probably quite literally—cheaper than dirt there, and so the notion of a Chinese people, Volk, or narod in the pan-occidental sense has never emerged there [yesyeyesyesyeysyesyeysyes, zombie cowboy DGR, I know that the official English name of the present non-Formosan Chinese polity is the People’s Republic of China, but mere mechanical mimesis of a word in the name of an entity is no proof that that entity instantiates the thing denoted by that word, as is eloquently attested by the resounding failure of Miller Lite to displace Veuve Clicquot as the preferred vehicle of New Year’s toasts and ship-christenings], and failing (apologies for the repetition of fail) the miraculous supervention of some sort of nature or human-invented plague that affects only whichever strain of the human genome is most prevalent on the Chinse mainland, it never will emerge there, inasmuch as the very notion of a people [as against the notion of a nation, which is more nearly quite a different thing than political theorists, bienpensant or otherwise, have yet imagined] can emerge only in conditions of demographic scarcity, in conditions wherein even the cheapest human life has an effectively registrable value [and to be fair to the god-awful Chinese, pan-occidental society has been t(r)ending towards the opposite demo-econo-graphic state of affairs, one wherein human life is cheaper than dirt, for the past two-thirds of a millennium—i.e., since the end of the so-called Black Death in the late-mid fourteenth century].  China’s sole geopolitical aim is global hegemony in the fullest and deepest sense; as the smug and unchallenged bearer of the oldest national brand-name in human history, that of the Middle Kingdom, it views itself as the rightful ruler of humankind in toto; unlike, say, Nazi Germany, it has no need to rationalize its geopolitical ambitions by fabricating a factitious national genealogy linking itself to past empires, and now that it has attained pride of place in the geopolitical economy it has absolutely no need of a collateral myth justifying its alliance with Russia on grounds consubstantial with those via which Nazi Germany justified its military alliance with Japan—viz., that the Japanese were their yellow Aryan cousins.  In short, the whole notion of a pan-Asian geopolitical worldview emanates entirely from Russia and will inevitably die with the ineluctable third stirrings (for in the recent diplomatic tussles with Japan and the U.S. over the South China Sea we have already witnessed the first and second stirrings thereof) of the realization of China’s geopolitical ambitions in military terms.  The Chinese, like Hamlet’s royal ape, are keeping the Russians in their jaw for swallowing in advance of their prospective engulfment of the rest of the world.  (Whether this engulfment bids fair to succeed is quite needless to say the topic of a separate and very probably even longer and even more hate crime act-prosecutable essay.  So far the cheeriest prognosis I have managed to glean on this matter comes from a Punjabi Indian friend of mine, who has laughingly opined: “Of course they’ll have to adjust to us.  They’ve got no choice: they’re Chinese!”—by which he presumably means that we non-Chinese are so much more like each other than like them that together we effectively constitute an unassailably solid demographic majority.)  Mr. Putin is if not quite doubtless then at least very much quite likely aware of all this, but by now he really has no practicable choice other than to keep the ruse of a Sino-Russian alliance going as long as possible, because the only thing about Russia that anyone in the hyperoccident any longer respects in any register is its prowess in military espionage, and the only major power who stands even metonymically to benefit by association with such prowess, even in the short term, is China.  (Not that China actually needs Russia as a partner in espionage, for it is doing quite well on its own in that department, thank you.)  Obviously nothing could be more desirable vis-à-vis the hyperoccident’s material interests than for it to woo Mr. Putin away from China, but nothing is ultimately less likely than such a wooing because the hyperoccident has yet to commit itself even half-heartedly to the cause of Sinophobia qua resistance-campaign against the Chinese qua would-be world-dominators (as opposed to mere umpteenth geopolitical exponent of anti-democratic principles) and because by now the hyperoccident has little or nothing to offer Russia materially speaking even if Russia were to stoop to being a mere junior partner rather than insisting on being regarded as a major power in its own autonomous right.  As a net supplier of petroleum and natural gas it has no need of either of these from any exogenous supplier, and while it is certainly burgeoning in the hyperoccident’s darling economic sector, that of so-called information technology, opportunities for commercial cooperation with it in that sector are scarce, in the light of the conceivably warranted assumption that the entire Russian electronic-informational infrastructure is fundamentally and irreversibly geared towards the undermining of its hyperoccidental counterpart.  But let there be no word mincing-occasioned mistake about this: while Mr Putin’s obdurate and ineluctable refusal to extract his fingertips from the hindquarters of the Chinese is undoubtedly an error and a sin from every point of view but that of Russia’s very short-term geopolitical interest, while Mr. Putin is undoubtedly very foolish and vicious even to dream, however inefficaciously, of souping up his anti-hyperoccidental machinations with Chinese aid, it is the hyperoccident and not Mr. Putin that is principally and ultimately to blame for this refusal-cum-reverie, inasmuch as it was the hyperoccident that generated the conditions that led to Mr. Putin’s national-political efflorescence, first qua preserver of the residual glory of the U.S.S.R. and then qua gadfly of the hyperoccident qua turbo-powered engine of Russophobia in incessant action.  Ardently though one hates to drop the other H-bomb into any discussion of current political realities, it is impossible not to remark some uncannily nearly exact parallels between the gormlessness with which the hyperoccident of ca. 1991 to 2011 engendered and nurtured today’s virally virulent Putin and the gormlesssness with which the World War I allies engendered and facilitated the rise of Hitler.  Here I again have occasion to quote George Kennan, this time from his 1961 conspectus Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin:

In 1917, the Western powers, in their determination to inflict total defeat on a Germany far less dangerous to them than that of Hitler, had pressed so unwisely for the continuation of Russia’s help that they had consigned her to the arms of the Communists.  Now, in 1939, they were paying the price for this folly.

In 1917, they had cultivated an image of the German Kaiser that was indistinguishable from the reality of the future Hitler.  Now they had a real Hitler before them.

In 1917, they convinced themselves that Russia’s help was essential to their victory, though this was not really true.  Now, they had a situation in which Russia’s help was indeed essential; but the Russia they needed was not there.
You see in this example what happens when people make policy on the basis of exaggerated fears and prejudices.  Those dangers they conjure up in their own imagination eventually take on flesh and rise to assail them—or if not them, then their children.  And they waste, in their overanxiety before the fancied perils of the present, the assets they will need for the real ones of the future. 
On reflection this passage shews that what I just described as a succession of parallels would better be described as a contrapuntal texture partaking of both parallels and antiphonal complements, with a complement getting the first pair of melodic lines in.  The situation alluded to in the first paragraph is that of the last year of the First World War, which coincided almost exactly with the first year of post-Tsarist Russia’s existence.  At this point the Western alliance—which in by now including the United States was almost exactly geographically consubstantial with the present hyperoccident minus Germany—conceived of the German State as the absolute and ultimate embodiment of despotism and tyranny, and took Russia’s opposition to this despotism-cum-tyranny for granted and expected Russia to contribute to its quelling financial-cum-military hand over financial-cum-military fist, even though Russia’s own system of government had been manifestly far more despotic and tyrannical than Germany’s when it entered the war on the Western side, and even though it had begun to fashion that system into a democratic one at the very moment its commitment to the alliance had begun to falter.  By complementary antiphonal contrast, in 1991, the hyperoccident conceived of the just-deceased U.S.S.R. as the absolute and ultimate embodiment of despotism and tyranny, and took Russia’s and the other bits of the former U.S.S.R.’s opposition to this despotism-cum-tyranny for granted and expected them to contribute financial (albeit not military)-hand over financial-fist to the quelling of the very memory of that despotism-cum-tyranny simply because these post-Soviet polities had begun to fashion that system into a democratic one.  The salient parallels between the two cases, the 1917 one and the 1991-2011 one, are the hyperoccident’s nurturing of a pet project, and its taking for granted of Russia’s willingness to contribute thereunto.  Essentially it is a single pet project in both cases, a pet project centering on political-cum-economic liberalization, with there being but an admittedly far from trivial shift in emphasis during the intervening three-to-four-and-a-half-score years: back in 1917, emphasis was placed on the political register of the project, on the need for universal suffrage, elected legislatures, etc.; in 1991-2011, emphasis was placed on the economic register, on the need for free markets, incentives to entrepreneurship, etc.  But from the point of view of the mandatorily prospective implementers of the project, the upshot of the two cases was exactly identically superlatively cheeky and read as follows: within five minutes ago at latest, you must become exactly like us entirely under your own power and entirely at your own expense, however few of you may be receptive to the transformation or the attendant pecuniary outlay.  The salient difference is the concetratedness in 1991-2011 of the project on a single polity, on Russia, a concentratedness that by all rights ought to elicit a credit of indulgence to the present Russian system of life, albeit not necessarily to Mr. Putin specifically, inasmuch as, however undemocratic things may be in present-day Russia, they are by no means or by a long chalk as undemocratic as they were in Nazi Germany.  In short, while Russia from 1991 to 2011 deserved a second Marshall Plan, to the admittedly debatable extent to which it had to be made au courant with hyperoccidental so-called developments in any register, it was then effectively delivered and administered a second Treaty of Versailles, a prescription to hawk itself into terminal debt (for whence else were the gap-stopping tens of trillions of rubles to come at the Dee of an Haitch ?) for the sake of becoming at best a sort of economically glorified Italy, a sort of which, according to a writer generally none too sympathetic to Mr. Putin, it has long since not only effectively but exactly become under Mr. Putin’s helmsmanship, which observation leads me to my final bit of remonstration with the bienpensant gulag-incarceration-worthy mobility—viz., that to the formidable extent that Russia has managed to drag itself or be dragged into this mobility’s version of the twenty-first century, they, this mobility, owe this achievement largely if not entirely to Mr. Putin and accordingly by all rights should fellate him on all fours.  For proof of the formidability of the extent one need look no further, afield, askance, or a-pitch than BBC Radio 4’s coverage of last year i.e., (2018)’s World Cup, coverage which, despite that network’s unregenerate Russophobic slant, as instanced by its loud-pedaling of the UK’s boycotting of official participation in the event-collection during its run-up, contained not a single titter of dissatisfaction from a single hyperoccidental, either immediately via a vox pops, or indirectly via a report on any sort of so-called incident, coverage which indeed attested unreservedly to the uniform warmth and pleasantness of the welcome and sojourn received and enjoyed by hyperoccidental spectators to a man, woman, et al.; coverage that contrasted most favorably, for all that network’s unregenerately favorable bias towards any Hisapanophone or Lusophone cranny of the globe, with its coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which made the entire event-collection sound like a veritable Mickey Mouse circus minus the Disney sponsorship, with stadia signally left half-empty during traditionally stadium-packing fixtures for lack of reliable transportation thereunto.  In the light of this glaring recent meta-sportivic longcoming of Russia vis-à-vis a polity purportedly as hyperoccidental as one can get, and that, indeed, ought by many if not all rights to be regarded as the most hyperocidental polity of all, barring the United States of America, ought not the hyperoccidental bienpensant mobility to vouchsafe Mr. Putin at least a geometrically infinitesimal tipping of their respective Lenin-caps?  Not that the present writer is even capable, let alone inclined (figurative overtones of this participle overdetermined, natch), to join them in such a Lenin cap-tipping, inasmuch as in the first place the headgear he sports in his mind’s hattery is either a top-hat or a tricorn—i.e., a chapeau bespeaking contempt for the masses, bienpensant or otherwise, rather than solidarity with them; and in the second, he has no interest in being up to date in any register and if he had his druthers would roll back the clock of supposed progress far beyond 2011 or indeed 1991 or indeed 1917 or indeed 1789—all the way back, indeed, to the hyperoccidental pre-French revolutionary epoch.  Accordingly, from the present writer’s point of view the entire history of Russia from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards has been a lamentable farce, inasmuch as it has brought Russia qua last great bastion of pan-occidental pre-industrial conservatism ever closer to the hyperoccidental anti-ideal of a pseudo-society awash in increasingly shoddy industrially generated trash.  To be sure, within the confines of the present essay, he has expressed a nostalgic yearning to dwell in the U.S.S.R., but the U.S.S.R. would at best have afforded him a mere pis aller of an Umwelt, inasmuch as the libidos of his fellow Soviet citizens would have been vectored towards the same trashy anti-ideals as those of their hyperoccidental counterparts.  Accordingly further, the present writer effectively has nothing to hope for from today’s Russia.  To be sure, he admires its government’s reactionary stance on sexual ethics, but of what account is this stance by comparison with the Russian narod’s trend-humping stance towards informational-technological gadgetry?  The hyperoccidental bienpensanterie now recoil from Russia like a vampire from a cross on account of its supposed political paleolithicity, but of what account is this recoiling to the present writer, given that even the most officially politically reactionary of present-day Russians would be as keenly inclined as his aut al.’s hyperoccidental counterpart to desecrate the present writer’s corpse by forcing it to cup a so-called smart phone to its worm-eaten remnant of an ear with its worm eaten remnant of a hand, or to upload an endless succession of Instagram photos of its coffin-interior via its other hand-remnant?  When you (and, yes, I am addressing you specifically, zombie cowboy DGR) cum right down to or into it, in the final analysis, when shove is saluted by push, etc., present-day Russia is as little a country for the potty-trained, let alone for old men, as the present-day United States.  And such ultimately and incontrovertibly being the case, the present writer is strongly inclined to send the whole kit and caboodle of this gallimaufry of a present-day world, hyper-occidental, pan-occidental, hypo-occidental, sub-cum-trans-cum-super-Saharan, o****ntal, etc,  packing to Coventry—nay (horrible enim vero dictu), to Detroit!  He has lately become apprised of this inclination thanks to his changing disposition towards a phenomenon of hyperlocal provenance, viz. the civil defense sirens of Baltimore City.  He first heard one of these sirens going off within a few weeks of his removal to the city back in August of 1994, and it would probably be no exaggeration to say that this off-going more than figuratively scared the bejesus out of him (he writes merely probably merely because he is not quite sure what a bejesus or its precise locus or function in the human organism or psyche is, not because he wishes by any means to underrate the negative intensity of the experience in question), and with what he flatters himself is a good pair of reasons, namely, 1), that unlike perhaps the majority of his seniors and not improbably the majority of his juniors, he first heard—or, which then came to the same thing, first remembered hearing—the almost unsurpassably distinctive timbre of such a siren not via some WWII flick set during the so-called Blitz but rather via The Day After (q.v.), in the seconds leading immediately up to the detonation of the first Kansas City-leveling thermonuclear incendiary, such that the sound of such a siren was virtually Pavlovianly bound to elicit not a Linklaterian smirk from his upper unpaired sphincter but rather a Munchian howl from his lower one, and b) it happened to be blaring not, as in The Day After, from some claxon or tocsin presumably sited several miles away but rather from one presumably sited a mere few-dozen meters from his dwelling space-cum-point of audition (i.e., the Homewood Apartments, at 31st and Charles Streets.  A sort of audiomnemonic trigonometry deployed after multiple auditions of this same siren from various audition points and operating concurrently with bargain-basement powers of deduction has since enabled him to establish the precise housing of the claxon or tocsin in question as the eastern-more of the so-called physical plants of the Homewood Campus of the University that Cannot be Named, a building sited just north of the intersection of Charles Street with Art Museum Drive.) In the light of these two reasons, his immediate impulse on this first audition was to deliver a succession of passionate smooches to the abovementioned lower sphincter, but inasmuch as he continued to exist as a non-ethereal being in the minutes and hours following the sounding of the siren, he concluded that this sounding must have been the issue-cum-instantiation of some sort of false alarm; and inasmuch as in his subsequent weeks, months, and years as a Baltimorean, he came to hear such non Armageddon-inaugurating soundings of the civil defense sirens in various parts of the city, he came in turn to conclude that these soundings were generally instantiations (and merely instantiations) of a testing of the city’s civil defense warning system.  (Why such testing was being carried out in Baltimore and had never, to the best of the present writer’s recollection, been carried out in his native city of Tampa, was and remains a mystery to him, especially in the light of the immediate propinquity of a strategically significant U.S. Air Force Base [i.e., MacDill Air Force Base, the site of something called United States Central Command, which for reasons inscrutable to the present writer’s admittedly eighth-assed researches, has served as the control center of most if not all of the U.S.’s abominable-cum-deplorable interventions in the Middle East from the 1991 Gulf War onwards] to Tampa’s city center.)  Eventually, on beginning to work an orthodox office schedule in the late 1990s, and consequently being obliged to be at certain places in the city center at certain times of day with a quasi-Kantian degree of consistency and regularity, he realized that the tests were carried out with a corresponding degree of consistency and regularity, that they always occurred at about one in the afternoon on Monday.  And with this realization, all but the last soupçon of a trace of his former lower sphincter-dilating Pavlovian horror at the sound of the sirens vanished—not, to be sure, that he simply took it for granted that that sound portended no danger whatsoever; especially not after the Great Howard Street Tunnel Fire of Wednesday, July 18, 2001, at whose start, according to a friend of his who then likewise worked in the city center and happened to be outdoors at the time, the sirens were activated in earnest.  But once he had verified through a mental spot-check that the day in question was a Monday and the time in question was within chronographic groping distance of 13:00, he would complacently return to the nursing of his cigarette, or, from June 2008, when he quit(ed) smoking, onwards, to doing whatever he tended to be doing in lieu of smoking when he happened to be outdoors on or of an early weekday afternoon.  What that whatever tended to be is now very much a mystery to him; this very probably because the routinized testing of the sirens evidently ceased too shortly after the aforementioned smoking-cessation to establish a Pavlovian connection of the spot-checking with this other activity; indeed, the very most recent siren-testing that the present writer can recall occurred on Columbus Day of either 2008 or 2009, i.e., within either five or seventeen months of that smoking-cessation (my inability to pin the event down to a specific year is indeed horrifying, but the deterioration of chronological precision with advancing age even chez a person as hell-bent on chronological precision as the present writer constitutes a topic, or nexus of topics, of at least one separate essay).  Columbus Day is of course a government holiday, and as the writer was then (as is now) both an employee of a government agency and a resident of the Tri-Zip Code Area, the same T-ZCA in which the Homewood Campus’s physical plant is sited, and happened to be hoofing it to his liquor store or off-licence of second resort via the campus of the University that Cannot Be Named during the early afternoon of that particular Columbus Day, he has been treated to the privilege of hearing the testing for the (at least as yet) last time via the same claxon or tocsin as the one via which he was treated to his first audition thereof nearly a quarter-century ago.  For perhaps as many as a quarter-dozen years after this most recent audition, he would hear certain sounds that he fancied were emanating from one of the sirens, but that always turned out to be emanating from something else—the up-sucking mechanism of some industrial hoovering operation, say, or the engine of a particularly noisy distant motorcycle (you [i.e., not any sort of DGR but a mere second-person placeholder] see, since 2003 he had been resident in his present apartment at the intersection of University Parkway and St. Paul Street, a hundred or so decimeters farther from the physical plant than back in 1994, such that he had tended to find himself sited at a site from which even when the siren had sounded, he had not immediately identified its sound as that of itself).  At first, during perhaps the first third or two-fifths of those quarter-dozen years, and especially on non-early Monday afternoons thereof, his discovery that the siren-like noise had a non-sirenic source invariably came as a decided relief to him; but for the remaining two-thirds or two-fifths thereof, he somehow felt slightly disappointed thereupon; and when, after those circa quarter-dozen years had elapsed, he ceased to mistake any sort of sound, however sirenic, for a civil defense siren, he began to find himself somehow slightly missing the siren-soundings, and over circa the past half-decade this slight missing has grown into a full-fledged Sehnsucht, a hankering or yearning.  This transformation, and indeed, revolution, in present writer’s somatic disposition towards the sirens is evidently merely shadowing or registering a parallel revolution in his affective disposition to the world en bloc, insgesamt, in toto.  To be sure, the present writer has never felt exactly at home in the world he was born into, but way back in 1994, he still felt closely enough attached to that world to wish to see it preserved rather than destroyed, and to be wholeheartedly dismayed and alarmed by the prospect of its destruction.  In part, this attachment was of course merely a manifestation of the selfishness of youth: as a younker with his whole life, or at least nearly the whole of that life’s adult portion, ahead of him, he wished for the world to survive qua medium for the unfurling of that life.  But there was a bit more to it than that—namely a general sense that the world was finally, to some small but encouraging extent, beginning to fall in(to) line with his expectations of it, for not only was the Cold War long over, but the White House was finally occupied by a Democrat, by a member of the party that had heroically resisted Joseph McCarthy’s Russophobic Red-baiting and Ronald Reagan’s demonization of the Soviet Union as an evil empire and that accordingly could presumably be trusted to transform the U.S.’s mere non-enmity with Russia into a full-fledged friendship; the party that, moreover, was a proud standard-bearer of book-learning, the arts, and all other things highbrow and hifalutin, in contrast to the Republican Party, whose membership seemed to care about nothing but guns, sports, and pigs (the last both qua agricultural commodities and qua prospective co-coitionists, natch).  To be sure, even by then, there were sub-factions of the officially styled American left whose comportment put him off (though he never would have confided this off-putment even to the pages of his lock-clasped diary, let alone to the bosom, whether organic or prosthetic, of another person); notably the gay activist faction (I do not know if it even styled itself LGB by then), with its boorish outing of celebrities and endless gluttonous carping about heteronormativity, under which opprobrious heading the gays appeared to subsume each and every last physical molecule in the U.S. that did not personally welcome and accommodate them as a de facto majority.  But he regarded such sub-factions as almost beyond the fringe in a non-Bennett, Cooke, Moore, and Miller-referring sense, and attributed their admittedly strong presence in his own lifeworld to this lifeworld’s centering on the academic humanities since his matriculation as an undergraduate in 1990; for after all, people were constantly bandying about all sorts of nutty ideas in the academic humanities, whose precincts, unlike those of the academic natural sciences were classically (at least within the Anglosphere) regarded not as a testing ground or la-bore-a-tree for ideas destined to be implemented in the world at large but rather as a padded room for the containment of ideas destined to go nowhere; and even within the academic humanities the notion of non-binariness or gender-fluidity, a notion whose championing and indeed ramrodding up the collective anus of the American electorate, has become one of the main planks, if not the principal plank, of the Democratic Party, was regarded with a condescending, marijuana pipe-setting-aside, smile.  Of course, the present writer of 1994 was greatly mistaken in his complacency about the prospective fortunes of the alternative-lifestyle lobby, a complacency perhaps engendered by a failure to give due consideration to the long-established obligatory Anglospheric fraternization of the academic humanities with the academic social sciences, and of the academic social sciences in turn with the academic natural sciences, a veritable conveyor belt of cubital frottage thanks to whose nearly friction-free efficiency once a certain notion has been established as a metaphysical entertainability it is an easy transition {as easy, indeed, as the transition from cisgenderism to transgenderism to gender-queerism according to current bienpensant received opinion} to its adoption as an anthropological, sociological, or psychological reality, and thence to its adoption as a supposed biological reality, whence it ineluctably, and most significantly, demonically metamorphoses into a political-cum- administrative reality.  By the very-late twenty-oughties, the micro-micro-epoch of the civil defense siren-soundings’ apparent cessation, the present writer had longish since abandoned all hope in the world even qua grudging gnawed-bare bone-flinging humorer, let alone obliging fellator, of his expectations.  Since the very early late 1990s the Democrats and the Republicans alike had been unremittingly treating Russia like the ghost of a dog turd in all the ways specified and enumerated far above.  By then, the cultural wing of the Democratic Party (by-then abscessed-pigeonholeable as the combined producership-cum-listenership of National Public Radio) had turned out to be dedicated champions of the abysmally sub-subcultural pseudo-productions shat out by the post-ca. 1970 hyperoccidental pseudo-peasantry (a pseudo-peasantry who—or, rather, which—for all its factitiousness, looked, sounded, and smelled as unregenerately noisome as its genuine counterpart in the so-called Middle Ages had purportedly looked, etc.), and to respect earlier super-excremental productions only to the extent to which they could be distorted, however implausibly, into typologies of that post-ca. 1970 hyperoccidental pseudo-peasantry.  By then, the alternative lifestyle lobby’s hyperoccidental political-cum-administrative victory was all but a done deal, as they say, and the present writer’s Lebenswelt-cum-Alltag seemed to have deteriorated into a sort of waterlogged sub bog-standard loo roll of uncooperativeness thanks to all the organic perversions of consumer capitalism specified and enumerated even farther above.  For all that formidably demoralizing that, the present writer fondly continued to cherish fond hopes of establishing some sort of world apart from the sub-asinine official world, of establishing and maintaining social-cum-intersubjective ties with people who did not receive the bienpensant idee reçues as idee reçues, who admired, respected, dreamt about, yearned for, loftier things than a sort of remorselessly ineluctable and predictable  expansion of the circumference of the Americans with Disabilities Act towards the end of encompassing ever-more marginal and contemptible frontiers of wantonness and imbecility under its protective skirts.  But by the early 20-teens, the beginning of the half-decade mentioned, he had given up any hope of establishing such a world apart.  By then, he had come to resign himself to being an irredeemable social pariah and an unregenerate cultural cemetery-haunter (a type that is by no means to be confused with a cultural necrophile), inasmuch as all his person-to-person attempts to state his weltansichtig case in even semi-frankness and semi-candor, whether in writing or viva voce, had been met with, at best, a chicken-livered pretense of sympathy founded on the old “I sort of understand where you’re coming from, on account of all the ultra-right-wing brainwashing I was subjected to on account of my dad’s being the sergeant-at-arms of the John Birch Society” soft-shoe routine.  More typically they had been met with disgusted counter-rants leading in turn to irreparable social ruptures, and occasionally they had even been met with threats to his person.  The entirety of this wave of antipathy, he must emphasize, had all along been composed of the sentiments of people whom he had come to regard as among those nearest and dearest to him, such that his bouleversant thereby like the puniest of bonsai trees by the mightiest of tsunamis, or a mere inch-high Strolling Bowling-pin by the most expertly thrown sixteen-pounder, could not but greatly diminish his hopes of retaining, let alone strengthening, his ties to the empirical world of the present.  To the feeblest extent that he has since retained the most tenuous of ties thereunto, this retention has entailed his keeping his lips sealed shut with a hermetic exactness well beyond the dreams of Belinda Carlisle or Borge Madsen; it has entailed his listening to an interminable and ever-renewing stream of what he cannot prevail upon himself not to regard as utter bilge in a silence that he can by no means or shift redeem by describing it as merely good-natured or indulgent inasmuch as it is invariably obliged to make the most desperate shift or means to seem to be downright affirmative and encouraging of the continuation and indeed augmentation of the bilge-stream; such that he cannot but despise himself for dwelling in such a silence.  But dwell therein he must ineluctably continue to do if he wishes to continue dwelling anywhere—or, at any rate, what effectively comes to the same thing for a man (sic on the scandalous gendering of the noun) of his age and financial wherewithal, anywhere in the present hyperoccident—inasmuch as his notion of how the world ought to be run is so scandalously reactionary that there is perhaps even more than figuratively no room for it on the present hyperoccidental political spectrum.  By present hyperoccidental meta-political standards he could only be described as a fascist, inasmuch as he believes that restrictions on human beings’ liberty of action are often a very good thing regardless of whether indulgence in or of such liberty bids fair to eventuate in physical or psychic harm to others or to the agent himself, that indeed it is not even necessarily the actions most likely to be most deleterious to human well-being that are in direst need of legal and administrative curbs (whence his decisive difference from the whingers about Global Warming, high-calorie pizzas, and the lack of minimum prices for alcohol, every last man, woman, et al. Jack, Jill, and Pat of whom is a dedicated champion of and ardent propagandist for the sexual eyechart [i.e., L/GBT/QFEZ/RAUPM etc.] set).  He believes that human beings must be got and kept in the habit of not doing what they want to be doing most of the time—this, first, and not necessarily more, because recent-to-ancient human history hath shewn (to him if to no living body else) that even sub-bargain basement, sub-bog standard world-maintenance exacts no less costly a price than the average human individual’s spending the majority of his aut al.’s time doing things that he aut al. would rather not be doing; and second, and not necessarily less, because recent-to-ancient human history hath likewise shewn that the failure of the average human individual to be got and kept in such a habit does not so much eventuate as soonuate in his aut al.’s degeneration into a creature that, however ecstatically self-contented it may be, cannot but arouse a more than figuratively gastric revulsion in others who have not suffered (or, perhaps rather, enjoyed) the same degeneration.  To be sure, in principle it is possible to get people to do things they don’t wish to do via incentives, via the application of the proverbial carrot rather than the proverbial stick, via the psychological mechanism of deferred gratification, but in practice incentives on their own do not suffice to inculcate the requisite degree of personal industriousness—this for the eye-burstingly obvious if scandalous reason that once a person has begun to nibble at a carrot he aut al. will be loath to leave off doing so and will indeed be more and more inclined to wish to turn his aut al.’s entire existence into a carrot-eating festival, and when finally compelled to return to his aut al.’s place of labor, to sulk in idleness over the absence of carrots in the present rather than to work sedulously towards the acquisition of carrots in the future.  (This is why capitalism would be disastrously evil even if it really did work on its producer side in the far-above debunked manner—even if, that is, each and every person involved in the production of a ballpoint pen or a tube of toothpaste really could look forward to a bonus or pay rise by making that product the best damn ballpoint pen or tube of toothpaste in the world.)  And so in practice the stick must be applied judiciously, which in practice means rather more harshly than mercifully, via penalties that prima vista seem disproportionately severe, given that (as ancient-to-recent history hath shewn) when an offense is punished lightly—say, through small fines—people will tend to commit it freely and simply budget for the penalty as insouciantly they do for their yearly outlay on loo rolls, ballpoint pens, or toothpaste.  If the present writer had to distill his political-philosophical credo down to a slogan, that slogan would probably in all seriousness be a certain one propounded in manifest jest by Steve Martin in his stand-up act back in the 1970s—viz., The death penalty for parking violations!, were it not for the counterfact that of course in the present writer’s preferred version of the world there would be few if any parking-spaces and few if any motorcars to park in them because, as specified far above and inferable from the very near above, the human individual does not deserve the power of self-governed high-speed transportation and cannot be trusted to employ that power responsibly.  And even as he types the present words, the present writer cannot forbear (from) shuddering in anticipation of the misery and terror that he will have to suffer at the manually actuated wheels of the overwhelmingly mentally defective and overweeningly bloodthirsty automotively aurigational mobility within the next few hours simply as part of the price that must be paid for getting by from day to day in any sort of fashion as a pedestrian in virtually every Enn and Cee of the present hyperoccident; a shudder at the reflection that for example (and but one example among dozens) even as a permission-to-walk signal brazenly invites him to stride confidently forward like a kilted Highlander going uninhibitedly commando, he will once again be compelled to squeeze his knees hobble skirt wearer-esquely between the bumpers of two cars well to the fore of and, blocking, respectively, the pedestrian crosswalk that he must traverse on his way to work, knowing even as he always does that at that moment there will be no entity in the world that the driver of the rearmore of those two cars will loathe, resent, or despise more ardently than the present writer on account of the latter’s obnoxious, incomprehensibly ESA protected rat-like insistence on blocking his (i.e., the rearermore driver’s) potentially otherwise speed of light exceeding-dash to the next green stoplight (for the foremore car may indeed be afforded a way-paving such dash by the traffic flow at any picosecond, and certainly well before the rat-like creature has cleared his [i.e., the rearmore driver’s] front-left fender), and dreading even as he (i.e., the present writer) always undoubtedly warrantedly does that this will be the day on which that rearmore driver throws immediate self-interest to the wind and mutters to him-aut al.-self, “Fuck it.  As in fifth-century Ireland, as in thirteenth-century Hamelin, somebody’s got to take a decisive, example-setting stand against such vermin” and immediately thereupon floors it, as they say, into the aforementioned foremore car’s rear bumper, leaving the sub-patellan portion of the present writer’s body at least momentarily standing proudly independently erect like a pair of riding boots while at the same time sending the super-patellan portion thereof flying into the rear window of the foremore car, thanks to which catapultion that portion will with any luck be spared the agonies of bleeding to death by an instantaneously fatal cranial concussion.  But even all this meta-pedestrian degradation might ultimately be redeemed, might ultimately prove to be worth something, were it succeeded, once temporarily surmounted, by some less phenomenally abhorrent state of affairs.  But alas,no: no sooner has he arrived at his destination, or at any rate, some place at or in which his basic corporeal integrity is not threatened by a car, than he is brought face-to-arse with some statelet of affairs that is  in its own ever-so-charmingly infungible way as abhorrent as the prospect of automotive annihilation.  I should make it clear here that when I describe such a statelet-of-affairs as infungible I would by no means be understood as invoking any version of nominalism; I would by no means wish such a statelet to be understood as a unique, one-of-a-kind event or entity, like, say, an unhappy encounter with a single animal organism—some reptile, amphibian, or insect—whose like one has never seen before but which one instantly discovers to be poisonous; for, indeed, to the contrary, these statelets consist prevailingly and perhaps even entirely, of events or entities that are prima vista exact carbon copies (or scans or clones or what have you) of earlier events and entities; such that their infungibility consists, first if not necessarily foremore, in their distinctness from other classes of affair-statelets in in that they are demoralizing in peculiarly shitty sort of way (as against the unpeculiarly unshitty sort of way in which one may be demoralized by, for example, being kept in solitary confinement [not that the present writer’s plight does not effectively amount to such confinement in numerous respects]), and second if not necessarily rearmore in the greater depth and nuancedness of shittiness that they acquire with each of their respective iterations.  So, for instance when the present writer was first accosted by the expression moving forward a scant fortmonth ago at the least recent, he was entirely disgusted by it in the grammatical register, disgusted by it qua expression intrinsically dependent on that ancient grammarian’s bugbear, a dangling or unattached participle, disgusted by it, in other words, as slipshod shorthand for such more grammatically punctilious but seemingly semantically identical constructions as “As we move forward.”  In such a register this moving forward was admittedly abhorrent to the present writer, inasmuch as he has always been unashamed to close ranks with the ancient English grammarians in regarding the unattached or dangling participle as among the gravest of solecisms, and each and every new generally accepted instance of it as a severe blow to the forces of linguistic probity (and consequently to the forces of probity insgesamt).  But as with the passage of very little time (a phrase that itself is probably damned to replacement by moving forward) he heard moving forward employed in more and more specific linguistic contexts, he realized that in pegging it as a solecism he had merely touched the tip of the MF-comprising shitberg.  For in these contexts—whose specific empirical specifications the present writer dares not specify—MF was unquestionably being employed as both a crypto-Whiggism and a crypto-buck passer, towards the fulfillment of which loathsome twin capacities its grammatical unacceptability was patently instrumental.  With the pee of tee he discovered that MF was actually being used in contexts wherein one would have formerly mainly employed the expressions from now on or in (the) future—both of which expressions convey an entirely neutral, and indeed almost Doris Day-esquely fatalistic attitude toward l’avenir eo ipso.  Whereas before one would have written , say, “From now on [or in (the) future], please dot every eye and cross every tee on your 21-B-stroke-6 form,” and thereby first and foreomore merely conveyed a sense that eye-dotting and tee-crossing were things that had to be done now and would continue to have to be done for some time, and thereby secondmore made no bones either about the fact that one was effectively inculcating an administrative holding pattern or the fact that it was the addressee’s and not the addresser’s duty to maintain that holding pattern to the extent that such maintenance entailed punctilious eye-dotting and tee-crossing on 21-B-stroke-6 forms; nowadays one writes moving forward and thereby implies that progress is an intrinsically good thing, that simply following the established rules will result in the achievement of that progress, and that—thanks to an uncircumventable grammatical ambiguity occasioned by the abovementioned grammatical solecism—any failure to dot every eye and cross every tee on the part of the addressee is to be shared 50/50 with the addresser in some sort of assassination-pact-like fashion.  But perhaps the present writer’s discovery of this more diabolical version of MF is owing less to his own slow-wittedness than to the bacteriologically rapid evolution of the connotative implications of the expression in the greater Anglosphere; such, at any rate, he conjecturally infers from the more palpable transformation of the connotative fortunes of another god-awful presenteme that he recalls having first heard at about the same as moving forward, viz. the metaphor to throw somebody under the bus (a metaphor whose vehicle {in exactly two senses, natch} he confesses to admiring on account of its acknowledgment of the formidable homicidal capabilities of the automobile, although if he had his druthers, the bus would be replaced by a so-called smart car by way of inculcating the vital lesson that even the smallest of automobiles is more than figuratively a deadly weapon}).  On first hearing it he concluded that it had acceded to the position formerly (and perhaps still residually) occupied by to throw somebody to the wolves—viz., that of a signifier of a sudden act of abandonment virtually guaranteed to lead speedily to the termination of the abandonee’s career at a given organization or in a given line of work; thus, according to this acceptation of the phrase, one might throw somebody under the bus by exposing a finance officer’s embezzlement of tens of thousands of dollars in company funds or an admissions officer’s reception of tens of thousands of dollars in parental bribes.  But over the ensuing months he started hearing to throw under the bus employed as a referent to less dramatic and deleterious betrayals—to a one-off misattribution of an off-the-record statement on a matter of sub-minor significance, and even to the CC-ing of the recipient’s supervisor in an email requesting the performance of some routine task, a CC-ing that in the event of the non-performance of the requested task would at worst have eventuated in a casual, sloe-ginnishly slowly good-natured query of “So how ’bout that routine task you were asked to perform in that there email?” from the aforementioned supervisor.  At the exact turn of the millennium, an author with a long-established reputation of kicking with the pricks of the Weltgeist—for celebrating free love in the late 1960s, bashing material acquisitiveness in the late 1980s, and so forth—published a collection of essays called the War Against Cliché.  Having never so much as glanced inside the book, the present writer cannot say whether it is any damn(ed) good or not, let alone whether or not it practices the linguistic jihad it affects to embody, but neither of these epistemological lacunae is of any moment in the light of the sheer, cussed quaintness of the aura its title has acquired in less than twenty years.  At the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, any would-be sane-cum-decent person should be so far from warring against clichés as positively to cherish them qua repositories of linguistic stability, qua idioms vis-à-vis which you at least always know where you stand.  At the end of the day that is this decade, any would-be sane-cum-decent person must leave no stone unturned and strike while the iron is hot in taking up arms in the admittedly undoubtedly hopeless war against the god-awful ever-mutating moronic neologism, lest he, she, aut al., perish by quasi-legal fiat courtesy of a dossier of misused or misunderstood twerks, big-ups, wokes, shades, zhuzh-ups, man-spreadings, and a zillion other appallingly uninventive turns of speech that haven’t been thought up yet but that will become mandatory and seemingly un-devaluable linguistic currency within the next se’enmonth (if we are so unfortunate as to make it that far).  The present writer is certainly no admirer of Theresa May except perhaps on the couturial plane (whereupon he can indeed appreciate her striking of a near-perfect balance between ostentation and restraint for a woman of her age, personal unprepossessiveness, and political position); and qua the sort of person he has obtruded himself most prominently as in the present essay, viz. a Russophile, he has quite a sound motive even for despising her qua official author and deliverer of perhaps the most vituperatively anti-Russian piece of rhetoric to have emanated from the hyperoccident since Ronald Reagan’s abovementioned designation of the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire,” viz., her “We know what you’re up to” speech of 2017, but he cannot help not only feeling sorry for her qua fellow subject (in the philosophical not political sense, natch [and in any case, Britons have been citizens rather than subjects since the year of the “Evil Empire” speech]) but also, and more materially, feeling alarmed and disgusted at the formidable extent to which her admittedly otherwise perhaps condign diminution in political clout has been actuated by her entirely creditable ignorance of the linguistic trash of the present microepoch.  When, during a recent (recent as of the present writing, April 2, 2019) prime minister’s question time, the arch description of her Brexit deal as friends with benefits (whether the description came from a supporter or an opponent of the deal escapes the present writer’s memory and is in any case of no moment inasmuch as Mrs. May’s failure to get woke to the linguistic Zeitschengeistchen is decried even by her closest cronies) elicited nothing from her but a nervous titter betraying her unawareness of the phrase’s meta-sexual context, a much larger proportion of the House than the majority needed to vote down the deal erupted into peals of laughter; and even more recently, MPs amused themselves exactly after the infantilely loutish fashion of schoolchildren teasing a foreign exchange student by successfully wheedling her into to saying simples, an argoteme that really ought to hang itself in shame for being homonymic with the plural of a by no means entirely superannuated word meaning a herbal ingredient of a medicine.  The present writer had encountered simples in its argotic guise for the first time not much more than a score of months earlier, in a radio comedy sketch show sketch that made it plain that simples was something that was being said with an evidently non-medical denotation quite a lot thenadays but did not shed so much as a chinklet of light on what that denotation was.  For a score of ensuing months the present writer resisted the ignobly masochistic impulse to track down that denotation, knowing as he virtually did that it would be so ineffably sub-asinine as to deal a by no means trivial non-remunerative blow to his already dangerously plague-compromised mental hygiene.  And shawnuff, when the PM’s simples-actuated playground degradation finally precipitated his Man with the Golden Arm or Trainspotting-esque shattering of the interwebbial barrier separating him from a knowledge of simples’ current semantic essence, he was both horrified and unsurprised to discover that simples was merely a gratuitous and more infantile synonym of the already super-execrable It’s a no-brainer, or what amounted to the same shitty thing via a different route, of the pan-Anglospherically semantically transparent (albeit admittedly oh so arduously arse-shiftingly multisyllabic) What could be simpler?.  But in inveighing against specifically linguistic trash as I have been doing for the past several hundred words I am risking the conveyance of the dangerous misimpression that I am merely the umpteen-thousandth English usage-curmudgeon to come down the pike or pipeline (what a lovely cliché-and-a-quarter that is!) since Sir Ernest Gowers, the misimpression that it is exclusively or at least principally linguistic abuse that puts me off my lunch with the present world when I am beyond immediate flattening distance of an automobile.  To be sure, many if not quite most of my my pet(s) bêtes noires of the immediate present have a linguistic component, but my aversion even to these is generally not exhausted by their linguistic dysfunction(ality).  On linguistic grounds I deplore man-spreading as an idiom because, like almost all other argotemes of the past three-quarters of a century, it conveys by default to the general user of the language a sense or image that does not even remotely resemble the purportedly intended one—in this specific case, the idiom suggests (and I defy anyone who dispassionately tortures his aut al.’s linguistic palate with the phrase for a second or two to produce an alternative resultant construction) an action habitually engaged in at soirées hosted and attended by cannibals—viz., the application to a canapé of a dollop of a pâtè with a human-flesh base.  Obviously, to the admittedly highly debatable extent to which an argoteme of any sort is needed to denote the phenomenon in question, it should draw attention specifically to the spreading, or more precisely, the splaying, of a pair of male knees or legs—male spread-eagling down under is an at least semantically serviceable alternative; I personally would prefer something that injected a bit of evocativeness into the idiom by in some fashion bringing in the above-referenced hobble skirt, altho’ I confess that the best coinage along those lines that I have so far managed to produce, masculine hypohobskirtedness, is far too much of a mouthful at its very best.  But wie gesagt, it is not simply or even necessarily mainly the inaccuracy or slovenliness of the linguistic formulation that is in point here for the present writer; and in this specific case, as in the cases of man-flu and man-cave, it is the idiom’s axiomatic stigmatization of the phenomenon in question as a specifically, intrinsically, and pandemically masculine one that mainly exasperates him.  The idiom suggests that whenever seated every man Yakov of a man on earth will spread his legs as far apart as possible by default, and can be persuaded to keep them together only by virtually incessant cane-raps to his nether-knuckles, and that every seated woman Yillova of a woman on earth reflexively keeps her knees demurely-cum-hermetically clasped together, when in point of manifestly empirical fact observable by any regular user of any form of public transit administered by any sort of agency in the panoccident, the habit of man-spreading is most prevalent in men of the god-awful lumpen proletariat, only very slightly less prevalent in women of the G-ALP, and only distantly thirdmost prevalent in men of more respectable social strata.  (The present writer has yet to witness a woman of a more respectable social stratum man-spreading, but in the light of the Brazilian [!] pepper tree-like spreading [!] of the shamelessly revelatory yoga pants [q.v. almost immediately below] qua de facto lower garment of middle and upper-class women, the day whereon he spectates on such an abominable spectacle [yesyeyesyesyes, zombie cowboy DGR, not entirely unwillingly, but what of that?  Just because I relish the smell of hot pizza it does not follow that I would be prevailingly grateful to have that aroma air-cannoned into my nostrils] cannot be long in the offing.)  And of course the present writer is if anything even more revolted by the behavior in question than are the formulators-cum-propagandists of the man-spreading idiom themselves, whence his super-main exasperation at the ineluctable inference that precious psychic and perhaps by now even financial energies are being squandered on combatting so-called man-spreading on the wrong front, that unisex-lumpen-prole-spread-eagling-down-under enjoys no currency whatsoever qua elicitor of poker or parasol-brandishing.  Enfin, my beef with man-spreading is not laxissimo sensu a purely linguistic one.  Then there are idioms of the immediate present that I deplore because they are not only imprecise but insufficiently pejorative.  Yoga pants ought by all rights, stricto sensu, to denote whatever waist-to-ankle garment is customarily worn by persons of either autc. sex during, and only during, the wearisomely over-inculcated practice of the physical fitness regimen known as yoga.  By all rights, stricto sensu, yoga pants should only be donned immediately before a yoga session and always doffed immediately thereafter.  Perhaps at some point in the history of yoga or of pants YP did indeed denote such a garment.  The present writer, being a proud near-total ignoramus of the history of yoga and a shamefaced semi-ignoramus of the history of pants, cannot say if YP ever did do that.  All he, the present writer, knows, is that it, yoga pants, now denotes a waist-to-ankle garment worn exclusively by women—whether cis women exclusively or trans women as well, he cannot say, as he is a proud total ignoramus of the state of the art in artificial labia—in public settings patently having no pertinence whatsoever to yoga, and publicly worn indeed by women of all ages and social strata in such numbers that he cannot imagine more than a tiny fraction of its wearers have ever been within spitting distance of a yoga studio; a garment that in his admittedly immediately (albeit admittedly not entirely reluctantly) blushingly averted eyes is virtually indistinguishable from a pair of what he would have very recently (i.e., as recently as the mid-20-teens) described by default as black pantyhose, a garment that he had (and indeed still has) always expected to be semi-to-mostly concealed by a skirt or the lower part of a dress, even when worn by the most shamelessly self-touting prostitute.  Such being the case, the only decent and truthful meta-linguistic course would seem to be to retro-christen these Yoga pants black pantyhose and to acknowledge that it has lately become acceptable for women to wear black pantyhose without the occlusion of the vulva and buttocks afforded by a skirt or dress.  To be sure, the present writer vehemently objects to this normalization of vulval-cum-buttockial display eo ipso, and to be sure, this objection is bound to elicit from the zombie cowboy DGR the counter-objection Why, if it were up to you, you worthless embodiment of the patriarchy [sic {i.e., inasmuch as the present writer has neither spouse nor progeny}], hyperoccidental women would still [sic] be required to wear burkas 24/7, 7/52, just like in the Middle Ages [sic], and this counter-objection, while far from fair, is nevertheless grounded in a certain irrefragable form of logic .  It is indeed ultimately impossible to specify exactly how much of the body should be concealed for civic (or civil) order’s sake, and the subsistence—note I write subsistence and not, say, prosperity –of civic (or civil) order despite the unrelenting uphiking of the hemlines of both (sic) sexes since the very early twentieth century suggests that business as usual might continue to be transacted even in a state of complete and universal nudity.  But if a substantial relaxation of couturial standards is to be accepted as normal—and the popularization of so-called Yoga pants seems to the present writer’s eyes etc. (!) to constitute the most substantial such relaxation in his lifetime—it ought to be frankly acknowledged as a relaxation and not euphemized as a continuation of existing couturial standards.  The devisers of the miniskirt did not make any bones about wanting to make many a boner with their invention; they did not call it a tennis floor-grazer.  The wearing of a miniskirt in itself indisputably constituted an act of coquetry, in that it invited a degree of general masculine ocular attention that it intended to gratify in tactile terms only highly selectively.  Coquetry in itself is indisputably a vice and by no means among the most minor ones according to the present writer’s lights (remember, zombie cowboy DGR, in the present writer, you are dealing with an unregenerate cis-male in favor of the death penalty for parking violations), but also perhaps one whose indulgence is unavoidable by anyone of either etc. sex in any pseudo-society dans nous jours et, peut-être, toujours seeking a somatically bearable co-coitionist, by anyone determined not to be celibate and yet equally determined not to be on the receiving end of the succession of (let us not mince words or gloss over semantic asperities here) rapes that any coitional arrangement—whether it be styled a marriage, a relationship, a civil partnership, etc.—is centered on by default.  In order for Suzy or Bob Average (not to be confused with Plain Jane or Blane [for plain—and I seem to have to remind someone of this more often than I enjoy or even tolerate warm dinners–is a euphemism for ugly, not a synonym for average-looking]) to distinguish herself from her or his fellow-Suzy or Bob Averages in the eyes of Prince Charming or Cinderella it is perhaps necessary for her to invite and endure the overtures of every Quasimodo or Margaret Peel (N.B., I write overtures, not assaults) and corollarily necessary to invite and endure the envious sniping of every Margaret Peel or Quasimodo, to put up with, for example, overhearing the muu-muu’d old bag in the maisonette next door saying of her literally just behind her back, “Did you see Suzy walking by one of them there new mini-skirts just now?  I tell you, that girl’s no better than she should be.”  It may be necessary for her to put up with these inconveniences but it is also most certainly entirely fair to expect her to put up with them, inasmuch as no-one enjoys the right to a desirable co-coitionist and everyone enjoys the option of avoiding serial rape by opting out of the athletic institution of coition altogether.  Historically, as in the case of mini-skirt, the semantic precision of the nomenclature of cosmetic and couturial instruments of coquetry has kept in place a kind of ethical force-field, wherein or whereby the desires and demands of both the coquette and of her or his Umwelt—the people with whom she or he is regularly in propinquity in the course of his or her Alltag [look it up, for HRH JHC’s sake!]—are met to a partial extent.  With the advent of yoga pants, this force-field has been completely neutralized entirely in the coquette’s favor.  With the advent of yoga pants, perhaps the most radical sartorial unveiling in modern pan-occidental history (i.e., inasmuch as even the naughtily betighted gentlemen of the Italian Renaissance had the decency to conceal their L&Ps [rhyming slang of some sort for c**k-and-b**ls terminating in Lea and Perrins, natch] behind that frontal coin-purse known as a codpiece) is expected to be greeted with a(n) universal yawn, and every non-Yoga bepanted beholder of a Yoga-bepanted person to behave like a sort of mute antitype of the boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” to refrain from ever hinting that he aut al. is aware that this person is all but naked from the waist down; as such an expectation cannot be met in a pseudo or post-society in which near-total nudism is not an official norm, the beholder must be prepared to take on the chin (or some more sensitive body-part) the full uncensored brunt of the yoga-bepantee’s libido, whether negative or positive, and depending on which of the above-described figures he aut al. embodies in relation to that libido.  If the coquette regards him aut al. as a Quasimodo or Margaret Peel qua prospective suitor, he aut al. must be prepared, at minimum, for an ejaculation of What the hell are you looking at, creep? and perhaps on average for an eyeful of pepper spray.  If she regards him aut al. as a Quasimodo or Margaret Peel qua envier he or she must be prepared at minimum for an ejaculation of Like you wouldn’t flaunt it too, if you had it, bitch! and an eyeful of sputum.  And if she regards him as a Prince Charming or Cinderella, he aut al. must be prepared to treat her as if she were the belle of a ball bedizened in all her- genital-occluding finery—to ask ever-so-bashfully with eyes pointedly averted from her own gaze (and pointedly not averted from her Australian aperture) for the privilege of kissing mademoiselle’s hand etc.—on extremely acute pain of receiving an ejaculation of Well I never! and a knee in the groin.  So, to say the least, ob multas causas, I have strong reservations about man-spreading, yoga pants and th’ilk, about the hyper-recent proliferation of quasi-officialized misnomers.  But really my chief present megabeeves are with present phenomena that lamentably lack a verbal label altogether for the presumptive reason that everybody but the present writer simply regards them as being, like the present writer in one of his preceding alimentary capacities (q.v.), part of the furniture of the present world, or, rather, whatever the present literal furniture of the world—its aggregation of chairs, tables, etc.—would actually be if it functioned properly and durably.  The present writer thinks, for example, of the seemingly panoccidentally universal (or at least more-than-seemingly pan-Eastern Seabordial [for he admits to having witnessed this in both Maryland and Florida, if nowhere else]) habit (or at least in some cases, a manifestation of a phenomenon whose social perniciousness I have adumbrated in “Against Linguistic Diversity”—viz., an affectation become habit ) of sneezing or coughing into the crook of one of one’s arms rather than into the palm of one of one’s hands (incidental query: does the choice of which arm or hand depend on whether one is left-handed or right-handed, and if so, in which direction?).  The present writer is well aware that this habit has been promulgated and inculcated by the highest medical, para-medical, and meta-medical authorities (although exactly when and by which medical authorities now escapes him) as the latest-but-umpteen of the umpteen- thousand personal cum public-hygienic commandments, but about the august provenance of this promulgation-cum-inculcation the present writer gives not a tinker’s toss, not only because the highest medical etc. authorities change their opinions as often as a Kansan weatherschlong changes direction and thereby make a perpetual mockery of their own deontological remit, but also, and mainly, because like most other promulgations-cum-inculcations issuing from our barbarian rulers, it mandates the supplanting of a well-established and eminently practical decorous practice by an egregiously indecorous and impractical one.  To be sure, the present writer fully comprehends the meta-hygienic rationale behind the promulgation-cum-inculcation of into-the-crook-of-the-arm sneezing-cum-coughing—viz., that inasmuch as infectious animalcules are hyper-readily spread by hand-to-hand contact, the propagation of such animalcules can be substantially reduced by alienating the human hand as efficaciously as possible from the human body’s most productive engines of such animalcules barring (perhaps) the human anus—viz., the human nose and mouth; but he is singularly unimpressed by into-the-crook-of-the-arm sneezing-cum-coughing as a medium of such alienation, inasmuch as he is aware of a well-established medium thereof that is not only more decorous but also at least as efficacious—viz., sneezing or coughing into a handheld handkerchief or Kleenex ([sic] on the absence of a trademark marker) and then washing one’s own hands before locking either of them with either of those of another human being.  Of course, the maintenance of this manner of stirnutation-cum-exscreation requires a modicum of discipline, a modicum that is easily attainable by the average five-year-old and that the present writer was indeed forced to attain as a five-year-old a scant generation-and-a-half ago, but our barbarian rulers, being well-nigh- clairvoyantly mindful of the well-nigh-inscrutable fact that at least a whopping .08% of the present hyperoccidental human population consists of under-five-year-olds, five-year-olds of less than average tractability or mental acuity, and five-plus-year-olds of less tractability or mental acuity than the average five-year-old, have come up with sneezing-cum-coughing into the crook of the arm as a medium of germ spreading-prevention that is proof against the public-hygienic inadequacies of at least a whopping 80% of that ≥.08% (as for the remaining probably by-no-means-unwhopping ≤20%, a percentage presumably consisting mainly of newborns, toddlers, and hydrocephalics, one presumes some sort of both incredibly expensive and incredibly marginal improvement on the gas mask or S&M-hood is being developed to neutralize them qua potential Public Health Enemies No. ≤7,000).  Our Barbarian Rulers forbid that per annum a few thousand more people come down with a cold, or a few hundred more contract influenza, or even a sub-literal handful more die of that malady, as a consequence of a modus sternutandi-cum-exscreandi that happens to make the quotidian existences of the vast swarm of healthy and productive living humans much more than marginally more comfortable!  Far, far better, according to Their well-nigh-clairvoyant lights, that every last person in that swarm should go through each and every one of his aut al.’s Alltags burdened with a shirtsleeve accumulating an ever-thickening crust of snot, phlegm, and spittle!  But of course an ever-crescent majority of hyperoccidentals are all too happy to shoulder, or, rather arm-crook, that burden, as it dovetails, or, rather, arm-crooks, all too smoothly with their own unregenerately unrepentant desire to void freely from each and every orifice the very microsecond the reflex or impulse to do so arises.  Indeed, the normativization of sneezing and coughing into the crook of the arm is but one of thousands of instances of the overall pan-hyperoccidental normativization of the vice of valetudinarianism, the vice of placing one’s own immediate somatic well-being above all other goods, a vice that Dr. Johnson long ago recognized as an underminer of the very microfiber of civilized social existence: “I do not know,” quoth Dr. J., “a more disagreeable character than a valetudinarian, who thinks he may do any thing that is for his ease, and indulges himself in the grossest freedoms: Sir, he brings himself to the state of a hog in a stye.” (A smaller but by no means trivial part of the impetus towards valetudinarianism on both sides, both from on high and from down below [i.e., from down the gullet and up the arse], may be owing to a desperate yearning to keep up to speed, or rather, yield down to laxity and torpor, with our imminent masters, our Barbarian Rulers’ sub-barbarian successors, the god-awful Chinese [q.v.], to our hopeless attempt to curry favor with these successors like the lamb with the butcher by mimicking their viscerally revolting habit of urinating, expectorating, voiding snot, and even [in the case of their god-awful bairns] defecating in public and onto or into the nearest surface or cavity to-relevant organ, a habit that their god-awful increase in affluence has by all—and I almost really do mean all—accounts done absolutely nothing to curb, as is altogether unsurprising, inasmuch as panoccidental history hath conclusively shewn in the fleapit constituted by Norbert Elias’s teeth that there is nothing intrinsically civilizing about an augmentation of material wealth.)  But of course nowadays it is not only in the meta-somatic register that hyperoccidentals behave like hogs, as witnessed by their basic, general meta-verbal comportment towards each other, their mode of entering into, engaging in, and exiting from interlocution with one another in propinquity to third etc. parties who have no stake or interest in their conversation.  Prima vista it might be thought that here I am merely flogging the by-now not only dead but sterilely stuffed horse of public mobile phone conversations, but I am in fact flogging a thrivingly live horse which, although it indeed probably never would have even been foaled in the absence of the bad habits nurtured by the mobile phone, has no intrinsic connection with that engine and will doubtless survive its supersession—viz., the practice of conversing in the flesh with an interlocutor who is separated from oneself by the fleshly persons of other human individuals or an expanse of air ample enough to accommodate more than several such fleshly persons.  And I am not just talking here, as they say, about a brief exchange of salutational salvos; I am talking, rather, about a veritable mutual cannonade of small talk generally segueing into a further MC of what would be termed big talk were big not a de facto denoter of grandeur as well as of empty tumdity (irritatingly enough, the idiom to talk big conveys the full burden of semantic fatuity that its sub-idiomatic nominal complement sadly lacks), all carried out in utter heedlessness of the readily inferrable likelihood that the ejaculation of each and every word thereof is scattering potentially lethal shrapnel into the meta-intersubjective goodwill of every non-participating would-be decent person within earshot—i.e., that it is not merely distracting such a person from his aut al.’s proverbial mental tabulation of that evening’s grocery list, but additionally and much more gravely tending to undermine his aut al.’s faith in the worthwhileness of interlocution tout court.  If, such a person will inevitably tend to reflect as he aut al. resignedly sets aside the just-mentioned mental grocery list, Persons Aumpteenthousand and Bumpteenthousand [so nominated because by now our would-be-decent person can recall having umpteen-thousand-minus-one such interchanges foisted upon his ears] care so little about whether the words they are nominally addressing exclusively to each other are heard and understood more clearly by each other than by persons to whom they are not addressed, is it not altogether probable that interlocutionary utterances are never (or at least never any longer) more-than-nominally addressed to anybody, that what passes for conversation nowadays is merely a sort of obbligato recitative or feeble mimicry of  the formulae of conversation absorbed via, I dunno, or, rather, don’t know, fleetingly-cum-anciently viewed reruns of say, “Perry Mason” or “The Andy Griffith Show,” or, indeed, “Amos ’n’ Andy”?  (The zombie cowboy DGR will doubtless—nay, undoubtedly—pounce over that last item in the catalogue, that reference to the most notorious supposed radiophonic-cum-televisual instance of cosmetically abetted minstrelsy west of The Black and White Minstrel Show, as proof that what I am objecting to is a phenomenon evinced exclusively by A*****n-A******ns and therefore thoroughly unobjectionable and indeed eminently fellatable qua manifestation of some l’ecrivain present-qua-M. Blanqui [a.k.a., Wh*t*y] ne saura jamais quoi, whereas en point de fait I included A’n’A merely qua televisual bearer of the old formal formulae of conversation, a capacity in which I believe it, along with all its televisual contemporaries-cum-congeners, must now principally be regarded, however many umpteen-thousand malapropisms-qua-supposed-r***al shibboleths may have been forced into its cast’s respective mouths.)   The demoralization induced by this phenomenon—the phenomenon of non-telephonic long-distance interlocution (a clunkily verbose formulation, to be sure, yet for all that an immeasurably more graceful and enlightening one than the likes of any of the man-prefixed neologisms, for all their terseness)—is comparable in force and analogous content to that induced by the phenomenon that used to be called a public display of affection (a term whose recent apparent disappearance from the Anglophone vernacular is somewhat mystifying, although the present writer conjectures that this disappearance has little or nothing to do with any diminution in the prevalence of the phenomenon denoted by it and much or everything to do with the usurpation of its popular quasi-acronymic abbreviation, PDA, by the so-called personal digital assistant round about the turn of the millennium, a usurpation which, like many a political usurpation, precluded the restoration of the usurped title even after the disparation of the usurper [which in this case  occurred in ca. 2012, owing to the personal digital assistant-displacing quasi-universalization of the so-called smart phone], owing to the latter’s skunking of the title during the interregnum); like that phenomenon, it elicits from the bystander the temptation to ejaculate, Get a room, for HRH JHC’s sake! not on account of its publicity eo ipso but because that publicity undermines the claims of the genre of interpersonality it instantiates to be regarded by default as an expression-cum-embodiment of intersubjective intimacy.  But whereas whilom-called public displays of affection were and remain largely confined on the displaying end to teenagers and unregenerate lumpen proles (this, the present writer conjectures, not because more upmarket demographic strata have failed to acquire the requisite shamelessness, but because they have concurrently become more reserved about engaging in any potentially legally actionable activity in the presence of witnesses), non-telephonic long-distance interlocution can routinely and horrifyingly be observed chez person-pairs hailing from each and every demographic bloc, and each and every lifewalk in the socioeconomic gamut or spectrum.  And of course non-telephonic long-distance interlocution is but one of megascads of formerly ultra-downmarket habitus-emes to have spread upwards into the very socioeconomic stratosphere in recent half-decades.  One thinks, for instance, of the manifest refusal of 97.876% of men to wear a necktie when appearing in front of a television camera or an assembly of spectators-cum-listeners, even if some inabrogable antient protocol requires every last man in the audience to be attired in white tie-and-tails; a refusal that at least a good 49.999992% of those men combine with an insistence on refraining from wearing any sort of undershirt, be it the most low-collared and coarsely reticulated string vest, and unbuttoning the overshirt down almost to nipple-disclosing depths.  At its most decorous, this practice transforms every man who practices it into a virtual sartorial clone of that god-awfully insufferably smug Iranian president from about a decade ago whose name I not only can’t be arsed but can’t even be enabled to G****e, as my recollection of it amounts to nothing presumably more orthographically propinquitous than a washing machine rinse-cycle-esque succession of a half-dozen or so ems and jays terminating in a Midwestern-American John; at this practice’s most typical it transforms the practitioner into an unregenerately downmarket greaser or guido of the sort rightfully and eloquently disparaged by that wonderfully upmarket WASP senator in The otherwise god-awful Godfather II (a film of which in my to-say-the-least heterodox view this selfsame senator constitutes the hero and moral center).  Of course the zombie-cowboy DGR will introjectvely demur here that fashion is always changing, that to oppose changes in fashion is invariably as hopeless as to oppose the incoming tide like that medieval king of Norway (sic), that in any case the necktie in particular is a sartorial accessory of relatively recent invention, etc.  To these demurrals I shall to my mind conclusively counter-demur that while fashion is indeed always ineluctably, Canute-proofedly changing, it is never merely arbitrarily or capriciously changing, that like every other constituent of the Weltgeist, it is subject to a certain logic and mediated by the exigencies of that logic, and that the ever-crescent vanishing of the necktie from the male oratorical neck is incontrovertible evidence of the further progress of the logic of slovenliness (or regression of the logic of spiffiness) in the first two decades of the second millennium.  To be sure, the necktie qua mandatory feature of the masculine sartorial ensemble is a relatively recent invention, having been introduced into the mainstream of pan-occidental men’s fashion (supposedly from Croatia, as tradition doubtless falsely has it) in about the year 1660.  But theretofore the gentlemen who then more than figuratively took the necktie to their bosoms had not been lounging about open-collaredly in shirts surmounted by completely unbuttoned sport-jackets or blazers; no: theretofore they had been sitting stiffly upright in shirts covered from the collar downwards by doublets—essentially extremely posh-fabricked business jackets buttoned all the way up to [sorry, would-be-spanner-in-the-works-throwing adducers of the Nehru jacket or Mao tunic] the chin.  The advent of the necktie coincided with Charles II’s enforced supersession of the doublet by the suit coat-cum-vest (or -waistcoat), a supersession that left a good square quarter-metre of thereunto invisible shirt-frontage exposed—and beneath this shirt-frontage nothing was to be seen or otherwise sensually apprehended than the bare masculine breast.  Thus, to the underratedly formidable extent that the bare masculine breast had to be concealed from view, touch, etc., some garmenteme or other had to be substituted for the absent square quarter-meter of doubletage.  Whence the emplacement of the cravat or necktie, and whence the deplorablility of the recent off-casting of that garment, an off-casting which has unprecedentedly exposed the naked masculine gorge to general public spectation and thereby fatally derogated from the public masculine orator’s formerly unchallengeable aura of authority and dignity.  If the discarding of the necktie had been offset by some authority-cum-dignity-recuperating sartorial measure (as, for example, the discarding of wigs was gradually offset by the marginalization of such gaudy suit-hues as scarlet and saffron in the early decades of the nineteenth century and the discarding of the waistcoat by mandatory suit-jacket-up-buttoning in the middle decades of the twentieth), the zombie cowboy DGR’s meta-couturial relativism would not necessarily be entirely ill-founded, but as it has not been so offset, quasi-universal masculine public tielessness cannot but quasi-universally give the impression that male orators have generally forsaken all title to be taken seriously as earnest and knowledgeable espousers of whatever cause they are undertaking to promote, that they have just rolled into the studio or auditorium only minutes after rolling out of bed after a hard night of so-called clubbing and throwing on whatever garments happened to be hanging nearest to hand in the closet or wardrobe, and from this slovenliness it will be an easy and doubtless ineluctable transition to such men’s showing up without even having thrown anything on, to their appearing at the podium attired in nothing but an antient hole-ridden band-tour T-shirt and so-called tighty-whities brimming over with pubic hair and scrotal skin.  This masculine couturial trend might conceivably be bearable were women—nice women, that is, the only women that matter in any respect whatsoever—still fulfilling their hitherto on-countable remit to keep up the tone on the couturial front and thereby setting a good example for the men, but of course even they are letting themselves go on this front in innumerable utterly abominable ways.  So-called yoga pants-wearing is almost undoubtedly the most abominable of these ways eis ipsis, but as I have already stated, at this point in the argument we are dealing explicitly and specifically with unnamed phenomena, and yoga pants-wearing, in virtue of being yoked to a neologism, viz. yoga pants, at least leaves open (naturally the present writer averts his eyes at the breach [!] of gallantry intrinsic to the phrasal verb leave open) the practicable possibility of a challenge in the form of some even-more-neologistic christening of some less revealing alternative waist-to-toe covering garment—e.g., tai chi slacks; whereas these other, nearly-as-reprehensible practices, in virtue of being as-yet-(and therefore presumably always)-unnamed, admit of no practicable alternatives.  What is one to do about, for example, the unnamed by-now-utterly-routine phenomenon of nominally nice women being shod—or, rather, pseudo-shod or half-shod—in so-called flip-flops in locales as remote from the beach in tone, brute material constitution, and geographical distance as Baltimore City, even in the deadest, frostbite-inducing dead of winter?  The present writer flatters himself that he is in a position to hold forth on this topick with super- (or is it rather sub-?) Mixalotian bottom in having been born and raised in a part of the U.S.—namely west-central Florida—that especially prides itself on its love of the beach and its treasuring of even the most picayune, pissant folkways that cling or cleave most closely thereunto or thereinto; for he cannot recall having at any point during his residence in that part—a residence that lasted from 1972 to 1994, and hence came to an end well to the fore of the end of the previous millennium—beheld any nice person pseudo-shod or half-shod in flip-flops at any site from which the Gulf of Mexico was not in immediate view.   To the best of his recollection, each and every such flip flop pseudo shod or half-shod hominid he beheld at such a site (typically a 7-11 or Circle K at which he or his parents had been obliged to stop for refueling [for Florida has never been a right to full-service state]) during that residence was a combination of wider-than-tall, unregenerately stroppy, visibly intoxicated, and either ignorant or wantonly heedless of irregular past participles.  And of course it was no accident that such a hominid of all hominids favored the flip-flop as an article of footwear, inasmuch as a flip-flop requires next to no effort to slip on and even less effort to slip off—indeed, unless it is particularly ergonomically well-matched with the foot it has been obliged to accommodate (a decided unlikelihood given that the notion of a bespoke or handmade flip-flop is a virtual oxymoron), its wearer will have beau, as the French say, to avoid losing it in the course of an ordinary leisurely flâneur’s-paced walk, a consideration that leads one to wonder why one would ever even dream of wearing flip-flops in any setting in which losing one’s footwear was more nearly to be regretted than welcomed—in other words, effectively, in any setting but at the beach—and further to the no-less-apodictic conclusion that those who favor flip-flops hors de la plage are unregenerate morons in whichever sense—whether popular, clinical, or otherwise—is most pejorative; and furthermorely to the no-less-apodictic conclusion that, inasmuch as the genuinely (as opposed to proverbially) overwhelming majority of formerly nice people are all too fain to wear flip-flops hors de la page, are all too fain to place their feet within immediate danger of a nasty and incapacitating cut—not to mention  a potentially gangrene, tetanus, or STD-inducing injury—we genuinely underwhelming minority of genuinely nice, properly shod, hyperoccidentals are surrounded by morons in that selfsame super-pejorative sense.  And indeed, in extrapolating-cum-interpolating-from this conclusion, we may infer that all the tendencies inveighed against in the above butcher’s-thousand-or-so sentences effectively amount to the ever-crescent and seemingly ineluctable ascendancy of the stupid over the clever—i.e., in Hegelian parlance, of Ungeist over Geist—chez the hyperoccident.  Such being the self-evident case, and the only alternative destiny for the hyperoccident of the hominids of the present (I will not besmirch the word humanity by associating it however loosely with such abortional creatures as have usurped its title par ici) being their assimilation to the spiritual-cum-intellectual regime of sub-stupidity (Untergeist) instantiated by the god-awful Chinese, inasmuch as the rump of the occident by now effectively comprised exclusively by the Russians has conjoined its fortunes LS&B, HL&S, with the latter, and inasmuch as the remainder of the hominid-inhabited world, meaning essentially Africa, Latin America, and the Indian subcontinent, however promising certain Geist-affirming trends therein may be, bids extremely foul to get its s**t together any-sufficiently-China-thwarting-time soon, the only morally significant conclusion that a nice person can reach regarding the present human race (here I am obliged to revert to one of the god-awful hu-words for fear of playing into the intellectually-opposable-thumb-bereft quasi-hands of the bonobo-f**kers) is that it must be utterly destroyed.  And such a conclusion having been reached by, inter alia (?), the present writer, the present writer cannot but absolutely yearn for the old once-familiar and still fondly and precisely remembered elephantine crescendo-cum-diminuendo of the sounding of a civil defense tocsin—not at all, to be sure, qua potential Proustian resuscitator of temps perdu (for what do or does temps perdu matter in a world wherein it or they are generally shamelessly commandeered as either toilet paper or the raw stuff of present-fellating papier-mâché dummies?), but rather qua harbinger of the immediate realization of his most ardent and dearly cherished hope.

THE END

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