Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Festivus!

The over-educated Nympho has a good start on a Festivus origin myth at least for her Festivus icon, Frank the Festivus Troll.

I need to get busy creating some donation cards for my own private Human Fund:

Frank Costanza's son, George (Jason Alexander), creates donation cards for a fake charity called The Human Fund (with the slogan "Money for People") in lieu of having to give office Christmas presents. When his boss, Kruger (Daniel von Bargen) gives George a $20,000 check to give as a corporate donation, George confesses that he fudged the Human Fund because he feared persecution for his beliefs, for not celebrating Christmas. Attempting to call his bluff, Kruger came home with George to see Festivus in action. {wikipedia entry: Festivus

I think I would put a $20,000 donation to work in restarting the Aceh Rubber Project, but anything less than that I would probably spend on my Festivus night out, drinking and dancing, and finding some pack of coeds or bachelorettes to take to share Festivus dinner with, and to challenge me in the ritual Feats of Strength.

With or without a whole lot of Human Fund contributions, I'll likely make it out to go dancing again tonight. I do have a lot of work that I could or should plow into instead. Really soon I have to start saving for trips to Los Vegas and D.C., and have well written plans, policy papers or contracts, and just a little more leverage, culturally and economically than I think my blogs and websites provide.

I have to figure out good timing to make my press release about winning the "Flanners" SEO contest, because being able to do that, should be, in the information age we live in, be the equivalent of spinning straw into gold, like Rumpelstiltskin.

I had a horoscope about magical dwarfs the week before the Sept 12th Primary:

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Recently, less than five percent of the world's astronomers voted to demote Pluto from a planet to a "dwarf planet." Some Scorpios were alarmed, since Pluto is the heavenly body that traditionally rules your sign. My opinion? Don't worry. I agree with mythologist Roxanna Bikadoroff, who says there's poetic justice in calling Pluto a dwarf planet. In fairy tales, dwarves are often magicians who possess hidden storehouses of riches and act as agents of creative transformation. They typically live beneath bridges, which are symbols of transitional thresholds, and are masters of in-between states. They bestow blessings on anyone who is able to pass their demanding tests. This is an apt symbolic description of you at your most potent, which I expect you to be during the coming weeks. [Free Will Astrology]

Certainly, at that time, I was trying my best to do an SEO and internet traffic magical dwarf act [redacted]. At that time, I was pretty close to living under bridges (lived and worked out of a car for more than a month, sometimes in Canada :) ), and having a rough transition from an overly long period of self destructive responsibility and bondage to people too greedy for materialism, and jealous of the energy and power I had been injecting into my political blogs.

Why not just forget about the war, and make lots of money? That's something That I just might be able to do if the money is in Euros, and the forgetting about part happens in Amsterdam or Bogor. I might still feel guilty about giving up the good fight - I know that's why I came back from Canada when I was otherwise free and clear of the encroaching darkness. The November election was a good start, a bit of breathing room, but it will take impeachment to get America back from the PNAC-Treason conspirators, like Eliott Abrams and all the other Iran-Contra zombies, returned from the grave.

I'll stop now, I've probably already ruined your Festivus, but e-mail me if you have any tips for making my press release, and for timing. I leave for Vegas sometime after the 5th of January...

Here is a neat, Festivus related link: HOW MAGIC WORKS: STOLEN LIGHTNING, The Social Theory of Magic, a NY Times book review. I'll have to track down the book in a library, but there is probably stuff in there, that when wed with George Lakoff framing of arguments, that could be used to create a more durable progressive cultural identity:

''The symbolic action of magic differs from other action and speech in the use of rigid scripts. These are borrowed from the sacred dramas of religion, where they give a core of certainty to collective experience, and then are used by magic to help the individual speak, act and think. The most powerful symbols of all are those that are most fixed - the 'categories' of human thought, which were forged in the sacred dramas. They provide logical operators enabling individual minds to work with spontaneity on collective representations. And both religion and magic remember better than science does that these categories were sacred creations which can be altered tomorrow to disintegrate the conventional frame of reference and produce miraculous effects.''

Daniel Lawrence O'Keefe defines magic as ''the expropriation of religious collective representations for individual or subgroup purposes - to enable the individual ego to resist psychic extinction or the subgroup to resist cognitive collapse.'' To say that his definition presents sociological, anthropological and psychological problems of differentiation would be an understatement, and those are not the only problems in it. The term ''collective representations'' is problematic in contemporary social theory, and it is superfluous when the term ''culture'' can be used with greater convenience and theoretical productivity. Another problem lies in the identification of magic as an expropriation of religious collective representations, suggesting that religion comes first and magic is extracted from it. Mr. O'Keefe argues in favor of this theory in ''Stolen Lightning.''

Next he tells us that the function of magic is to resist psychic extinction, a kind of loss of self. That may be one psychological function of magic, but proof that it is its exclusive function is hard to find. Finally he returns to the social dimension, one in which magic may indeed play a role in terms of the self-definition of certain groups of people in relation to a complex society. [Mark Glazer, NY Times]

We need an alternative culture that resists the endless wash of consumerist, nationalistic, not-so-much-empowering propaganda, that understands and makes available to more people the properly timed use of powerful, rigid language (as in the caucus process, or in law) to assert a more sustainable identity and direction, but one that is also more fun, than the lingering nightmare of 20th century, industrial, mass-com, mass-produced existence. Creating that culture is magic. Happy Festivus!


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