Holy New Cuyama, Batman!

Lance, the proprietor of the upmarket vacuum cleaner store told me about New Cuyama but he didn’t seem to know much about old Cuyama ‘cept that it was there first, when Atlantic Richfield plunked down a bunch of manufactured houses for their oilfield workers before, Lance said, the federal government shut Arco down but when I questioned him for specifics he retreated to, that they skimmed the oil off the top of the field and the rest of it was too costly to get, for now. Lance was the law in New Cuyama, when he lived there, the outpost sheriff. He’s a big enough man for the job, a big hulk of a man thick as a tree everywhere. He said New Cuyama looks like there’s nothin’ goin’ on but the place is really hoppin’ at night. He’s sure right about how the place looks. He said the water supply is what killed the place, you’d see a sheen of oil floatin’ on the water when you flushed the toilet, but it wasn’t just the oil, it was full of phosphates, too, from all the farming. Then he told me about the John Ricards family who owned 300,000 acres there on one side of the highway, recipients of a grant from King Phillip of Spain, they still owned that land. On the other side, the Russell ranch and some cattle company. Lance has been here in Santa Maria since 1976. He said that he’s a republican, in that challenging way that bible thumpers do as if daring you to say the word, “evolution”. Generally, I don’t answer such challenges unless I’m paid to, I just put on my, “is that so?” face and encourage an explanation because I’m curious to know what strange logic informs reactionary volition. The trouble with Lance’s thinking is that the only reason for his being a “dyed in the wool republican” was actually a reason for not being a democrat. But I didn’t want to try this out on him, ‘least until I find out more about Cuyama.

About the Dog

Pulling on the thread of my troubled psyche
unwound the fabric of memory
revealing every horror
of human selfishness and
my complicity in denying love,
to hide from which, I’d invented God.

It offended God,
whose existence wasn’t my prerogative,
but amused that in my arrogance, I
blame myself for my human traits,
God left me with these memories that unravel…

…then the Buddha came to visit me
along with an evangelist, a healer
and a little dog,
standing together at my door.
I kept the dog.

Loneliness of Facebook

Far more important to me than visualizing the source of music is my imagination of an audience. My image of the musician, ensemble or orchestra and the situation, whether a hall or a clearing in a forest, defines qualities of orchestration simply on the basis of tessitura and acoustic dynamics, but expression requires a relationship with a listener.

“Reading knowledge is the smell of the bookbinding paste. The crinkle of thick stock as the pages turn. Paper the color of aged ivory. Knowledge is temporal. It’s about time. You know how that goes, Engineer. Even you can remember that. ‘We can read these three pages before your sisters and brothers come home for dinner.’ … Human knowledge is social. More than stimulus-response. Knowing entails testing knowledge against others. Bumping up against them. We take in the world continuously. It presses against us. It burns and freezes.” – Richard Powers (Marcel) Galatea 2.2, p148



Occupy Who? What? Where? Politics is Local

“Look,” the bird sang, with it’s eyes on the coal black wall behind the miner’s mind, “I didn’t ask to come down here in the dark and, frankly, I owe you nothing, so listen up.”

They stand in the circle of yellow light cast by dim helmet lamps reflected into their eyes from steel bars of the cage and disappearing beyond into impenetrable darkness.

“Wall Street appeals to greed in all of us though all players get is a good feeling when we win and adrenalin shoves while we watch the roll of the dice. The house inevitably wins.”

“Fuck Wall Street!” This exclamation is followed by a rumble of snorts and foot shuffling, absorbed as quickly as light in the dead silence of hard rock and soft coal.

“Meanwhile,” continued the little yellow bird, “government, not social welfare, not defense or public works, costs more hours of your life with less in return than everything you pay for to survive taken together and the parasitic quality of government has been ignored so long in the U.S. that recipients of your largess, government employees, rather than expressing gratitude, feel entitled and demand more as if they think the carpet’s still under their feet. You think I’m making this up? Check this out:


“Law enforcement purports to protect you from each other, and so do public agencies that issue you permits and charge you fees to ensure your compliance with “code”, all tribute paid to municipal, county, state and federal agencies, and most of the cost is part of the price of everything you use or buy, whether in sales taxes or indirectly as an added cost of services and goods–the ratio of the government take has grown exponentially in the last century to become the greatest part of the cost and expense of all trade and commerce. Wall Street sucks but it’s a small part of much bigger problem.”

“Is this some more Tea Party bullshit? Why don’t you say it in plain English!”

“Welcome to the 21st century. The people at the Tea Party are government employees. They only appear to have their heads plugged into the wrong end of their bodies. They want you to think that immigrant workers who grow all our food are the problem, while the “public sector” is a euphemism for “sociopathic cult that serves it’s own needs first and foremost and eats it’s own young”. For a thousand years it’s been a standing joke in Europe and Asia that the devil is in the form of a city clerk. But n the U.S. creationists make up that the devil lives in Afghanistan and government assumes the prerogatives Catholicism enjoyed during the middle ages. “Civil service”, is double-speak for “people who say they act on behalf of the community, (whether the community likes it or not and)”. Just like their counter-parts in greed on Wall Street, their first priority is their own survival and personal advantage but unlike Wall Street, they directly manipulate public policy and shape, enable and implement the organized power of the government. They are a privileged class much more harmful and powerful than the fabled 1%. And you will notice that you mostly envy wealth, rather than being opposed to it.”

“Public agencies and sophisticated communication are a necessity for large social organizations to persist. Public servants carried out the Inquisition and the excesses of every totalitarian regime, whether branded “fascism”, “communism”, “Islamic Jihad” or the tyranny of the majority we call, “Democracy”. But if the inquisition had had the Internet and wireless communications, many many more would have suffered. Bureaucracies carried out the policies of  Caligula’s Rome, Hitler’s Third Reich, Franco’s Spain, Pinochet’s Chile and U.S. administrations at least since Teddy Roosevelt and after a climax during the banal Bush dynasty, having out-reached themselves, they are beginning a slide back down that is inevitable. In the past, when leaders are deposed or punished for crimes against humanity, the bureaucrats who profit by orchestrating and implementing their crimes are not held accountable and bureaucracies endure from regime to regime like rocks that stand impervious on eroded desert plains.”

“But if it’s hopeless…why waste your breath and our time?”

“It’s not hopeless unless you don’t see the forest for the trees. You live in a society in which the young are deluded into worshiping their ignorance and the mature work in servility towards imagined retirement that turns out to equal irrelevance as the next ignorant generation takes the stage in a new version of the same frenetic, clumsy dances. The young follow hormonal imperatives, prodded by technologically enhanced verisimilitude in suggestive graphics, banal music and alluring fashion. The old bumble around in the current form of confusion, their minds hazy with prescription drugs. Generations of people who aspire only to ignore the past achieve prominence in academic institutions where they teach a curriculum in which form is without substance. You grow up to find you are lost on a planet in the void of space and in the dark of ignorance and like Sisyphus, you are resigned to eternally push the stone of your life up the hill and follow it down again. Your parents watched the downfall of liberty, they did their best to survive in a less than perfect world. You are afraid to think about it.”

“What good does it do to blame clerks and the obese ladies at the DMV, they’re just trying to get by like we all are here…” “But we’re not getting by, we’re falling apart!”

“But why blame Wall Street and exempt civil service from accountability, when the political activism of the public sector costs more? The number of voters working on Wall Street is small. Who do you think is voting for republicans? Who controls the press and media in your hometown? Not Wall Street. Who holds hostage every cause, no matter how crucial to the network of your local ecology? Not Wall Street. What is the largest and most influential sect that operates across every jurisdictional border?”

“Who supported the war in Viet Nam? Not Wall Street. The public sector set processes in motion that led to WWII and the bombing of the World Trade Towers and following that, the diversion of resources into militarization of policing at every level, restrictions of personal freedom far exceeding the wildest xenophobic dreams of Nixon and McCarthy.”

“English! Who is Nixon? What McCarthy? Talk English, goddamit!”

“Thirty years after public sector lobbying increased costs that led to public schools abandoning arts, history and humanities to save money and conservative school boards they helped elect influenced textbooks and curriculum so that U.S. history has been rewritten to glorify a repugnant national heritage of racist genocide and the product of these schools in the form of park rangers, prison guards and beach lifeguards walk around with pepper spray, batons and guns in their belts, prepared for their jobs by a GED, 3 months of quasi-military training and a suspicious attitude toward their neighbors and it’s a federal crime to “interfere with” the work of any kind of government employee. Any paranoid postman can effectively accuse anyone they don’t like of sabotage. What is the meaning of “sociopath” when civil servants are predators?”

“1) Sociopaths have no conscience.  Hence, 2) Sociopaths cannot feel guilt nor remorse…Successful Sociopaths are almost invisible, because they learn how to hide their lack of conscience so well as they gravitate to positions of power and control, like a moth drawn to a flame, such as becoming heads of organizations, corporate CEOs, elected officials, husbands, wives, lawyers or judges.” (Dr Martha Stout:  The Sociopath Next Door)


“Somebody shut the damn thing up, it’s depressing.”

“Yes, kill the messenger! Look at you, imprisoned in a cavern of your own ignorance. Was it always this way? Is this the way the world was supposed to end–not “with [this] bang but with [this] whimper”? Or was T.S. Elliot speaking of something else?”

“Did he say, idiot?” “No, he said, Elliot.” “Elliot Roosevelt?”

“While you grind your rocks in the dark and breathe the dust of coal and petro-chemicals and your own remains, bearing diseases that carry away your loved ones, notice that, it isn’t the 1% who claim to own the wealth of the world but the 20% who back that claim that accounts for the largest organized sector of voters in the U.S., a block composed of interlocking unions and associations that crosses all jurisdictional boundaries and this sect uses their collective political power to decide policies that use and limit your life.”

“I don’t see that.” “How?”

“They operate in plain view, assuming that things are the way things are supposed to be. They are not unlike those who play for larger stakes on Wall Street in this regard. But, who is it that can kill a local politician in the local press and in the gossip networks of precincts, churches, bingo parlors and other micro community organizations as well? Not Wall Street. What local organizations contribute tens of millions to powerful national PACs that they control? Not Wall Street. What political group uses local police and magistrates to intimidate and even kill their opponents? Not Wall Street. Local organizations of public sector employees, stiffened with military training, intelligence and arms, thanks to so called, Homeland Security, brooks no dissent from that which they see is in their interest, regardless of the impact on others. They will pepper spray your grand parents and your infant children. On average they are poorly educated and not that bright to begin with. They prefer the security offered by a place in an authoritarian regime to the risks of freedom. They most resemble politburos in the communist party of the Soviet Union and they are backed by a press and media that is no less subverted than Pravda by decades of incestuous relationships between local officials and the ownership of the press. They can get a reporter or editor canned even quicker than a politician.”

“Somebody has to run the government!”

“The point is equity not elimination. Their jobs contribute little to general well-being but the political power they have acquired in the last few decades has tipped the balance because it allows then to skim the income of the poorest of the poor with impunity, exacting tribute in the form of  vehicle registration, fees, fines and permits, including outrageous “traffic courts” that can now jail people for debts over so-called, “infractions” of their “rules”, depriving families of their livelihood in the name of justice.”

“They didn’t export our jobs!”

“No but they elected representatives who couldn’t care less about you or your jobs. They bankrupted social security, your safety net, not only by bankrupting the treasuries of states and local governments but also, by manipulating legislators to grant the civil service retirement and medical benefits exclusive of social security and Medicare, regardless that there were no revenues to pay for them and they leave you holding the bag and they have no idea that these acts of selfish greed were wrong , they are unrepentent and wailing like banshees when they are told there is no going forward unless they give some of it back: the outcome when governments are bankrupt.

“They didn’t cause the home foreclosures. The banks did that!”

“No but they supervised the deregulation of the saving and loan associations that removed the protections that would have prevented the bank excesses. You didn’t notice this deregulation of the banks under Reagan or the significance of Congress setting the civil service up with their own safety net, independent of social security for the rest of the workforce and their families. It was ignored by local press and media.”

“The public sector depleted state and municipal treasuries to fund their own entitlement programs and then, with a pretense of funding work the money was to supposed to cover, associations of government officials, primarily the national, state and regional chapters of the so-called, League of Cities, promulgated ubiquitous adoption of clever new forms of revenue: state and municipal bonds, projected to be paid off by growing future populations based on increases in future taxes, a funding mechanism which made growth imperative, regardless of the effect on ecological systems or the dangers to which those larger populations, as in New Orleans, are exposed. The League also sponsors literal volumes of costly new regulations, fees and fines levied at every jurisdictional level by means of which these jurisdictions project imagined revenues to pay off bonds, the effect of which is to deplete the potential reserves of the communities they are supposed to serve and place the greatest burden on the poorest of the poor and the middle-class. Since borrowing capacity for bond sales is based on a projection of population growth the relationship between the civil service and those they are supposed to serve became like that of the herder to the herd.”

“While you “progressives” grind your teeth about Wall Street and rank and file republicans blame “democratic policies”, it is the civil servants in nonpolitical offices, for instance, the departments of transportation, medicare, social services, motor vehicles, superior courts, public works, agriculture, etc., who through their political organizations, promulgate the regulations that are their meal ticket. They are neutral about sustaining anything beyond their own livelihood that depends on regulating the commerce off which they feed. The departments of housing, energy, insurance, finance, industry, agriculture, telecommunications, forestry and so on, are staffed by the same folks who work in their respective private industry organizations. Nurturing sustainable communities would interfere with the undeclared commitment of those who work in these agencies to serve their own advantage just as they do when they work in the private sector. Look into the records of the boards of your local government and you will see how associations of government employees promote the ubiquitous adoption of municipal ordinances across city, county and state boundaries that allow them to put a bite on every kind of commerce, recreation and even survival. They are like the fabled trolls that waylay travelers everywhere. In Oregon, for instance, they proudly crow that the public owns the coastline, while they have exclusive control of access to the coast, for which they charge tolls and they clearcut forests to support the Oregon Department of Education. And you want to occupy Wall Street.”

“One thing at a time, down with Wall Street!”

“What will change as a result of protesting the behavior in the banking community? Why does the press marginalize it? The attention on Wall Street hides the real problem as well as the faceless conservatives behind it: people like you, who drink beer and watch NFL games, who sit in the pew behind you, who could be your parents, children, lovers and neighbors, who, in the privacy of the polling place, support the Bushes, Palins, Perrys, Gingrich and programs like Reagan’s “war on drugs” (especially the drug war from which the public sector earns far more each year than all the drug lords combined, not only from funding of police at every jurisdictional level, but also, courts and prisons and by manipulating the spending priorities of all communities.)”

“So what, if there’s nothing we can do?”

“The irony is that this is the only thing you can do something about. Despite the mind-numbing constant babble on the TV and Internet, political action is still local. People don’t vote their conscience, it’s not even clear that people have a conscience and if they do it’s corrupt by the time their old enough to vote–that’s possibly why there’s a voting age limit. People vote the way others, whom they know and respect tell them to vote. You are only effective on the local level and this is where your action is needed. You need to wrest control of your local press and media from the hands of public officials.”

“While, you are told that the Internet, television and national campaigns are important, the reality is that all politics is local. You are foolish to be silent while you are led by the nose in your local press and media to ignore local politics and to view political action as if it was mostly a national issue, while the place you can effectively act is on the policies enacted in your local board by locally elected officials. This is where you can do some good, in your churches, school boards and city councils.”

“Networks of local, county, state and national employees have done more damage to every state, city and county government in America and it is far more costly damage than seen in the most malfeasant financial organizations and you are letting them do it. The damage done in your name by the Department of  Homeland Security (neé Defense, neé War–the ladies and gentlemen of the Pentagon) is unimaginable.”

“‘Public sector’ is a euphemism for ‘conservative’, the theme of which philosophy amounts to ignore the future and anyone or anything that isn’t at the table or able to defend itself. Is it not enough to see that agents of public interest bankrupted your social security reserves; first the reserves and and then forecast revenue, to finance development of munitions and military adventures, up to and including the backing and supplying of regimes like Bin Ladin’s, Gadaffi’s, Hussein’s, Assad’s, even Pinochet’s, et al? (The CIA is their market research and development department.)”

“What do you propose we should do?”

“Get out of the cave of your own ignorance and take a good look into who is running your hometown. You’ll find they’re a relatively stupid lot who will pretend to be ignorant and then wave a flag in your face, while they send for the pepper spray.”

“The conservative view may seem merely stupid but it is deliberately short-sighted because a wider frame exposes their game, your consideration of which can’t benefit them. They have been winning in the zero sum game called, “growth”.  They are happy to see you focus on the 1% skimmers, while the 20%, who run the show in your hometown fly under the radar. They are willing to be characterized as merely stupid as if this means they aren’t responsible. Bureaucrats knew what they were doing at Aushcwitz and when they bombed nearly the entire population of Antwerp into eternity. Volitional arrogant stupidity is the hallmark of men and women like Rumsfeld, Bush, Nixon, Cheney and Perry. They see the ultimate consequences and they care only about their agenda. They lie with impunity and pepper spray the eyes of your children who peacefully protest. They will kill you or your elected president or spiritual leader if they feel their objectives are threatened.”

“Wake up! We’re playing in a zero-sum game in which, when anyone gains, someone else must lose. Members of the civil service unions and the associations of “peace officers” who benefited from the rape of local treasuries knew this and would still be getting away with it but they did not expect that private gaming of the mortgage, banking and insurance businesses would cause the house of cards to fall and along with it, the bond market. They are happy to direct your attention there.”

“They are just trying to survive in a less than perfect world.”

The burden of this joke falls unconstrained as it did once in Berlin in the 193os. What happens when incomes don’t change and prices rise as a result of printing money?

“Can we sell it?”

“Sell what”


From Broadway to those who would Occupy Wall Street

Only in America is being under 21 something to brag about.
Unless this is addressed, anything gained will quickly erode.

In this paradigm, older citizens are worth less, they are disposable.
It is not because we’re stupid that our young can’t imagine growing old.
Media exploits sexual attractiveness, ageism is an unexpected by-product,
Exploited in an economy in which for every winner, there must be a loser.

Old people lose and the older they are, the harder they lose.
Whom does it serve when we worship youth? Pornography, mainly.
Not the young, who are exploited. What are they left with as they grow older,
After mortgaging Social Security to fund real and imaginary wars?

In this paradigm, our culture learns neither from mistakes nor successes…
Each generation stumbles over their own toes, the blind leading the blind.
If you miss the relevance of this to your great class struggle, you’re misled.
Occupy Wall Street, where you will gather a few nuts and then grow old.

My Last Good Friend

Five years ago, my last “good friend” expelled me from his circle, perhaps, because I didn’t deliver an edited product after I recorded his wedding in Coberg, Germany as he wished (albeit at my own expense). Reviewing my experience in Coberg over the long weekend of the wedding and after viewing the footage, there was an inconsistency, I couldn’t find what the story was about, so how could I cut it?

Yes, the subject was the marriage ceremony. And, yes, there it is, there are the guests, there is the bride, the priest, the groom, the little children, parents, in-laws and friends but important material suggesting the relevance of the event wasn’t there and though I understood the nature of the missing material, I felt uncomfortable with telling my friend and his wife why that material wasn’t there, which was this: since I had no relationship with anyone but him, a circumstance that was worsened because the room they gave me was at a hotel some distance from the Slot where other guests stayed with them, there were reasons for feeling left out, not to mention that they all spoke either Romanian or German or I don’t know what. It could have been worse, I suppose, if they’d given me a yellow Mogen David to wear around my arm. The subject I couldn’t find was love.

Moreover, upon my return home, I was distracted by a hornet’s nest of events. My fiancé had gotten pregnant and married her lover, who I suspect wasn’t the child’s biological father; my mother, who I’d been looking after for several years, was poisoned by a doctor, who believed this was appropriate, since she was 99 years old; my business partner corrupted an escrow to steal the proceeds from the sale of our property; my political enemies pursuaded the local newspapers to cancel my weekly editorials; my landlord of many years evicted me. The upsets didn’t stop with these macro events but continued, rivaling those of Don Quixote.

In time, I realized I would need to interview my friend and his wife and then go to Romania and Germany to obtain material I needed but in the midst of dealing with my mother’s things, losing my home and all my money, I was at wit’s end and my friend’s wedding seemed the least of my concerns. Now I feel I was mistaken but had I seen it as I do now, I would have known what I know now. No doubt, this is also true for my friend, who I still hold in high esteem though he disavows his relationship with me.

But the value of this lesson has not escaped me just as Quixote’s experience with the Duke and Duchess changed his life by bringing the hard reality of life without ideals into his heart. Thinking about this led me to an insight into how Cervantes may have fallen into the path that led to his writing the first, best and best-selling novel ever written and who can say?

Occupy Wall Street, the Musical

I went to the city to get a job

Find some work,

What a jerk.


Can’t get no good help no more

What a bore

I’m sure.


Just can’t get good help today

There’s no way

Doesn’t pay.


Employment is my game

Just the same

It’s insane.


I went to the city to get a job

Find some work,

What a jerk.


It’s insane ‘cause

There’s no work.

Notes from People on Sunday

How quickly we forget what once was

Nothing remains

It was all “once upon a time”

Love is capricious, it comes and goes

Appears like a dream then fades away

How quickly we forget what once was

Nothing remains

It was all “once upon a time”.

Everything in life dies away like a song

Fades and flees

With good-bye.

From the 1930 film, Abschied (Farewell) dir. By Robert Siodmak




Fifty Ways, The Loop

Grabbing thick folds of her faux fur coat, he shakes her viciously. Fear flashes briefly in her eyes, she looks through the open door of the airplane at neat rows of vineyards below.

As she is propelled out the door, a look of horror fills his eyes and he throws his body out into the void, attempting to put the genie back in the bottle and the moving image freezes.

Samuel Jackson’s cursing resonates in the dome of the relatively quiet San Luis Obispo public library, drawing the attention of several people seated at tables and carrels.

Like the one where he sits, his eyes focused on the LCD of a Macbook, his brobdignian fingers shaking with impatience over the delicate-looking backlit querty keyboard.

His little finger taps a key and the scene in the monitor jumps back to the close up of her mocking smile. He stares at it, compresses his lips and shakes his head.

A voice behind him says, you have to warp the timeline, Pops. He turns his head, a look of incredulity rising in his eyes as he sees the diminutive Alex standing behind him.

Removing the noise-canceling headset from his head, he smiles and in a tone of mildly patronizing condescension, he says, how the fuck would you know?

Really, Alex says, want me to show you?

Lifting his heavy frame from the hard seat of the small wooden chair, Samuel stands. Sure. Go ahead. Show me.

Grabbing thick folds of her faux fur coat, he shakes her viciously. Fear flashes briefly in her eyes, she looks through the open door of the airplane at neat rows of vineyards below.





Flying Blind in Love

The impulse to fly blind is exciting and there’s a feeling of freedom when you pretend you don’t know what you suspect you know: “Life is so weird…If you let it, it flows all by itself…like a river. But you can harness it, and make life your horse. (from Jose Henrique Fonseca’s film, ‘Man of the Year’).

Here are two links to brief explanations (on TED) from recent science that provides clarity when they’re put together in the context of anyone’s relationship history:



Isn’t it ironic that mind altering “pharmaceuticals”, which started out to be fun, became a political tool? (Malcolm X said that). I once asked a still famous musician friend, albeit now deceased (r.i.p.), how his wife related to his being on tour so much. He said,  “a woman will put up with anything if you give her enough cocaine”.

Seeing The Light: Madness vs. Expertise

At first I thought it was me—my befuddled thinking, my issues, not about getting older but about thinking more wisely now, wisdom after all is the only useful result of surviving experience because it shapes the vessel in which knowledge may be held.

Now that I see the cons in life, I’m much more amazed at human tolerance than about what we tolerate: how long we tolerate lies that abuse, demean, debase and destroy us. It is the stupidity of stupidities. This rant is not inspired by madness nor expertise. Madness is a euphemism. Delusion is the domain of fools, illusion the hallmark of experts.

In the tradition of the fool: Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis and the erstwhile, illiterate comic, Herman Cain. Names, labels, words that cue illusions on masse that define popular perception so that we so rarely view our world and our lives directly and when we catch a glimpse, it seems unfamiliar, fascinating and frightening.

What will it be today?

The blond at the San Luis Obispo Public Library yesterday who told me I could find her at Cuesta Grade, while I, trying to make sense of a video editing program made by idiots at the behest of con men to sell to wannabe idiots to perpetrate kitsch, was distracted from my efforts by a spike in oxytocsin I felt in my eyes and chest, compromising the narrow margin of separation from reality I maintain to protect myself from involvement, an affect seen by others as pomposity tinged with condescension and sarcasm.

Relevant Facts vs. Inconvenient Truths, Hubris and What There Is To Do About It

Yesterday, on Skype, Dave told me that he knows tons of guys in San Francisco who make games and they all want to make real narrative movies, not games. “It’s just the way it is here,” he said, “tons of them making games and they all want to make movies.”

Dave works at Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley and moonlights teaching a class on Avid at Art Academy University in San Francisco (AAU) where I’m working on an MFA in music for visual media. Dave and I were skyping about unpredictable behavior of the Avid program. I’ve decided that Avid is a hoax that targets nerds who want to make movies, it’s like one of those parasites that promotes its life cycle by programming the behavior of the hosts they infect with the result that they commit suicide. It makes zombies.

Gretchen Winkler, another AAU student also working on an MFA but in illustration, posted a lament on Facebook about the stereotyping of Germans, “as if we’re all Nazis”. I commented that it isn’t Germans but bureaucrats that organize mob behavior to carry out pogroms and German culture is quintessentially bureaucratic.

Last night, I watched John Huston’s screen adaptation of Carson McCuller’s “Reflections in a Golden Eye” after first disappointing myself watching the tragic acting performances of Clint Eastwood and two of his girl friends in a soft porn piece called, “Play Misty for Me”. Huston’s adaptation of McCuller’s book with Brando, Taylor, Harris, etc., disturbed my dreams and in the morning I beheld the context that cements Avid’s effect and Gretchen’s observations into an idea about the relevance of narratives, at least for a small fraction of the human population that reads books and likes Woody Allen’s films.

Everything about “Play Misty…” typifies pornography, a melodrama made for the box office: shallow story heavy on spectacle and everything about “Reflections…” evokes feelings that reveal the kind of confusion we suffer that leads us to become thoughtless bureaucrats. Eastwood’s shallow film tried for box office success playing on a stereotype of mental illness. Huston’s movie tells a story about the ubiquitously unbalanced mental state that suffuses all bureaucracies. McCuller’s story is a description in detail of the phenonmenon that psychologist Eric Fromm called, escape from freedom. Call it voluntary zombi-ism, Nazism, neo-conservatism, call it what you will.

Dave’s game-makers don’t aspire to make pornography in narrative form, they long to tell a relevant story. Like Eastwood when he made “Misty”, they may not know the distinction that divides kitsch from art. Though they can render a script and film a story, there is nothing in their experience nor education that might compel them to produce art while they live in a whirlpool of kitsch. Historically, good stories are uncommon. McCullers was in her teens when she wrote “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”, one of the most poignant, beautiful and powerful stories reflecting racism in America and anywhere.