Russiagate: Diary, 7/12 to 7/14/21

Black Widow and other movies; Steppenwolf; Russiagate unimportant; Nietzsche quote; analyzing Pablo; Salomé to marry; Cornel West.

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{7/12/21}  Weight 215.4 at 7:00 am.

Watched Synecdoche, New York, because Pablo wanted me to see it.  I grew increasingly frustrated, began mocking it (spoiler alert!), saying “It should have been called six funerals and endless whining,” and “It’s about failure,” finally (in the last half hour) picking up my sudoku book to escape.  I like black comedy when it’s funny; the jokes here come too far apart.  I like a bleak outlook, but this was generally unrelieved bleakness amounting to a filmed depression.  Fie!

Two hours on Twitter.  Ignoring, again, “my priorities.”  Maybe it’s the priorities that are wrong?

No more Twitter in the morning.  My other “priorities” are the real ones, i.e., get my books written before I croak.  So how do I keep Twitter off my mind?  Hide the desktop icons, for starters.

Done.  Of course, I can go through the Windows menu system to start Edge (the browser), but I can’t thoughtlessly click on it any more.  This will increase the odds that I’ll actually spend time on KM rather than spending time talking about spending time on it.

Today I’ve been reading Steppenwolf, and more extensively, Murder Your Darlings, one of the best books on writing I’ve encountered.  I’ve listened to some music, watched the plane crash in Cast Away and the Titanic hitting the ice berg, caught the headlines on Democracy Now and decided that, as usual, Chris Hayes is just pushing the “hate the Repuglikkkans” shtick of MSNBC, so I turned that off.  Took a nap around noon.  So?  Oh, and I read some of Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human, wanting to finish the last twenty pages—a book I stopped reading in 2019.

I searched my 2020 and 2021 diaries for information on why 2020 was such a terrible year for me (and most of the rest of the world, but it’s my own experience that I’m interested in, for Kick Me) and printed out what I found.  Tomorrow I hope to return to the nose-to-grindstone task (i.e., KM).

An email by Glenn Greenwald is talking about “Russiagate”; I don’t really need to make up my mind about it.  Pablo believes the “official story” passionately.  Whether the former guy is just as evil as we thought, or the Democrats are more evil than we thought, doesn’t change a damned thing for me:  I don’t trust either of them.  I’m glad that I actually thought about this for once, because now I can ignore the difficult question of who’s telling the truth, or perhaps, who has the more convincing evidence & story.  And “St. Brian the Godless” has blocked me again, maybe over a month ago; fuck him if he can’t stand my criticism of Democrats.  This makes the third time he’s blocked me, and at this point I’m inclined to say, “Good riddance.”  I don’t believe that, but neither am I going to “tone it down” just because he doesn’t like it.

109° outside, creeping towards 90° inside.  The new normal.

The last episode of the second season of Harley Quinn, from 2020, teared me up.  Quite beautiful, in part because it had an operatic aria sung by Jonah Platt (link to IMDB).  I like this series a lot.  According to Wikipedia, there will be a third season, on HBO Max; in part:  “The show premiered on DC Universe to critical success on November 29, 2019, with critics praising its animation, humor, dark tone and voice acting.”  It is deservedly rated MA, with lots of four-letter-words and gratuitous blood, heads torn off, etc.  Some of the voice talent are recognizable names, typically among the bit players or minor villains; I’ve noticed Michael Ironside (of Starship Troopers and the TV miniseries V) and Alfred Molina (Diego Rivera in Frida and “Doc Ock” in Spider-man 2) in the credits.  I’ll wait for the inevitable $15 DVD set (expected Wal-Mart price).  Admittedly, most episodes are “nothing to write home about.”

{7/13/21}  Weight 215.8 at 5:55 am.

Heavy rain this early morning; it won’t last.

I finished the last twenty pages of Nietzsche:  Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Marion Faber editor/translator, Stephen Lehmann translator, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1984-1996.  A quote:

“…the fervor about having the truth counts very little today in relation to that other fervor, more gentle and silent, to be sure, for seeking the truth, a search that does not tire of learning afresh and testing anew.” #633, p. 264.

I see myself as having that more gentle and silent fervor, for seeking truth, though I prefer to speak of “knowledge” rather than “truth,” and my “testing anew” is perhaps less than diligent, especially in my latter days.  I claim to have an open mind—but it’s not open to arguments that the Holocaust or the moon landing were faked or that the 2020 election was stolen.  I no longer have any serious interest in, for example, “proofs of the existence of God” or arguments that “atheism is a religion” or the like.

I contrast this “seeking truth” with Pablo’s “I choose to believe.”  He is making what [W. W. Bartley, III] calls “the retreat to commitment.”  Pablo can’t argue successfully (rationally) for any particular religious belief, so he makes his irrational commitment to believe—though the specifics of that belief are never spelled out, and the “commitment” is mostly to a pose.  This is very close to what [Walter] Kaufmann mocks in The Faith of a Heretic, quoting Dwight Eisenhower as saying (I can’t find the quote, no Index) that everybody ought to have a religion, “And I don’t care what it is.”

I realized that Pablo’s wanting to have the expression “For Madmen Only” on the business cards for the Hemlock Club is typical of his writing style, and my refusal is typical of mine.  Pablo wants his little joke, I might say his “superior” little joke to make him feel oh-so-intellectual, while I want something readily understandable to the reader; so I put “Relaxed chat about literature, philosophy, art, science” on the cards.  “For Madmen Only” would be an embarrassment, constantly requiring explanation that it’s from Hesse’s Steppenwolf, that it doesn’t mean what it implies, that there are no “requirements” for “membership,” etc.  As for what the phrase means in the novel, that explanation must wait until I finish reading it, if that even matters here.

In summary, with some exaggeration I might say that Pablo prefers the amusing deception, while I want the bleak truth.  And so he “chooses to believe” while I do not.

$53 to Hamilton for DVDs and one cheap book.  $11-something to Thriftbooks for Hesse’s Journey to the East and Roy Peter Clark’s The Art of X-Ray Reading.  The two of Clark’s books I have are both excellent—Murder Your Darlings and Writing Tools.  I contemplated getting Nietzsche’s Zarathustra in German, but I don’t work with the other [German] stuff I have, why would I do anything with this?

Today is another, yet another, bust regarding KM.  Tomorrow is another day.

{7/14/21}  Weight 215.8 at 6:00 am.

Going to see Black Widow with Pablo today.  I’m expecting to have a good time.

Hearing a chime from my laptop this morning and not seeing anything on the screen, I checked Skype and discovered that Salomé has been sending me messages at long, irregular intervals.  I sent her a message, nothing noteworthy.  She’s getting married on October 10th, and I’m invited to the wedding.  Her fiancé is Eric Anderson.

Black Widow is a good movie, though, as I said to Pablo, “I wasn’t expecting a chick flick.”  I liked the film’s emphasis on the story of Natasha’s family, with villainy mostly limited—until late in the film—to a mysterious character in armor who attacks Natasha at every opportunity.  Florence Pugh is very appealing as Natasha’s younger sister, Yelena.  Saw her in the Greta Gerwig Little Women and liked her a lot, but I didn’t recognize who she was today until I saw the end credits.  Loved the soundtrack, so we went to Barnes & Noble after the movie ’cause I wanted to buy it, but they didn’t have it in their computer.  No hurry—I’ve overspent on entertainment this month already.  We had a feed at Taco Bell.

No work on KM, again.  Or on anything else.

Saw a lecture by Cornel West on Pirate TV (on the Free Speech TV cable channel) which I had seen in part maybe ten days ago and wanted to see the whole thing.  He’s entertaining, but he covers so much ground that one comes away with just general impressions rather than talking points.  His style is peculiar but kind of impressive, always leaning forward speaking emphatically, sometimes well bent over at the waist.  I daresay he would be easy to mimic but not easy to emulate.  I bought the Cornel West Reader (from Basic Books) rather recently but haven’t read anything in it yet.  Looks interesting—he apparently has a lot to say about pragmatism (which is about 1/3 of my philosophy).

What is the rest, the other thirds?  Don’t ask.  I’m eclectic.

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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