Friendship: Diary 4/6 to 4/8/22

Losing a friend and looking for more; Ted DVD; Chomsky quoted; Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations instead of fiction writing? What I might read next; 800 books; Merrick Garland.

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Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/6/22}

Pablo’s threat of violence on 4/4 has been much on my mind.  In my mini-BuJo I wrote “By threatening violence, Pablo makes anything like serious discussion impossible.”  It seems that I must treat him like a mental patient, lie to him, humor him…but if that’s true, then he is no friend, he is a “charity case.”  So what happens when I tell him this?

Why is this a big deal?  First, he’s important to me, he is my best friend, more or less, and I want him to prosper.  Now, that “more or less” will seem insulting to him; but until I can see him as fully healthy, that mental reservation will continue.  (I don’t claim full mental health myself, but I don’t threaten violence.)

Second, whenever I think about the threat, it recalls (perhaps it’s accurate to say that it triggers my PTSD) the time I was almost choked to death by a young Muslim.  That story is told in detail here.  This recall exacerbates my reaction to the memory of Pablo’s threat, and so makes it a “big deal” to me.

[Note to readers of my blog:  the next few diary entries have been edited to remove the details of the working out of the “Pablo problem.”  The conclusion is that I have banned him from my apartment until further notice.  Because this material is likely to be of interest to no one, I am deleting it here; anyone who wants the full story can request it from me.]

Pirate TV last night had a fascinating and frightening presentation by the Nuclear Abolition Working Group, of Veterans for Peace.  The speaker was Theodore A. Postol, who I noted as “Prof. of nukes at MIT” because his titles were more than I felt able to cope with.  There is a Wikipedia article about him.  The talk is available at You Tube.

I tried watching Ted (2012) starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.  Wahlberg is not a favorite, but he’s tolerable; alas, the movie was not, and I abandoned it after twenty minutes or so.  Given that it’s popular (69% from critics, 73% from audiences at RT), I’ll add that it’s from Seth MacFarlane (writer, director, voice of Ted) of Family Guy fame or infamy.  Knowing that much going in, I had expected a kind of humor familiar from the TV show, but this is like poor FG material.  ’Nuff said, quoting the late Stan Lee.

{4/7/22}

Now, as for acquiring new friends, I think that book discussion groups are the way to go, and possibly Writers of Kern when I can afford it.  I’ll look for groups in Meetup.com.

“The general reaction [of the Global South] to President Biden’s harsh condemnation of Putin as a war criminal seems to be something like this: It takes one to know one.”  Noam Chomsky today at Truthout.org.  He goes on to say, “We agree that he is a war criminal, and as creatures of the Enlightenment, we adopt the Kantian principle of universality that is dismissed with contempt by the West, sometimes with angry charges of whataboutism.”  And he says that U.S. policy is to “fight to the last Ukrainian for Ukrainian independence.”  If your response is something like, “Why would we do that?” you really need to bone up on Chomsky.  In my opinion.

{4/8/22}

Turning, finally, to other things.  I more or less decided this morning that “since I can’t (or won’t) work on “the novel,” I should quit worrying about it and work on other things.  I settled on a reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein:  Philosophical Investigations.  I read half of this about ten years ago and gave it up when I got bored.  I may have been bored by it long before I gave it up.  Much of it is about words and meanings.

I might also just read and reread what I’ve written of “the novel,” in the hope, probably, of rekindling the fire.  Though if I really want to do that rekindling, it would probably be better to “write scenes.”  Rewrite old scenes and add new ones.  Add a new character to the mix, or a new setting, or a new angle.  These are all things that could be tried, and the Wittgenstein needn’t even interfere with that process.  I’ll think more about this, inevitably!

Last night, having finished with Marcus Aurelius, finally, I started reading Arnold Toynbee:  Hellenism.  I left it on my bed, but I’ve pretty much given up the idea of reading it—why read yet another book about the ancient Greeks when I have such gaping holes in my knowledge of world history?  I know perhaps less than nothing about the history of the Middle East—“less than nothing” meaning, having misinformation and prejudice instead of knowledge.

Or I could try digging into some of the Native American books I have, or The Cornel West Reader…“eight hundred books clamoring for my attention,” as I often say.

But of course the whole point is absolutely not to “complete my education”—that will never happen—but to be entertained by worthwhile things.  Preferably things new to me, also:  Richardson’s biography of Emerson; the book on Dalí; Foundations of Entomology wouldn’t last long; Juvenal, Horace, Cicero are appealing; Burke on the French Revolution; Ten Days that Shook the World; Rousseau’s Emile; Erica Jong’s Fear of Fifty; lots of fiction.  All on the shelves, books which I could try and perhaps quickly decide to pass along to someone else.

A depressing piece from Truthout.com about Merrick Garland.  Can it be that Trump will die a free, rich man?

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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