Monday, March 30, 2009

Perverjiariazing Jesus' Internet

Perverjiariazing: perverting while plagiarizing

When a Massachusetts publisher reprinted Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer without bothering to pay Twain any portion of the income, that was plagiarism: or pirating: theft. It wasn't however at the time illegal, not in Massachusetts. It was theft, not perversion; or, it was perversion only in that the author, while acknowledged, was not paid. If some Massachusetts lawyer had both printed and sold the novel and claimed to be the author, that would have been both perversion and plagiarism.

My post here from November 2005, which I named at the time "Meretricious Internet," told how Ivan Illich prescribed learning networks for an over-schooled world in 1970. Likewise in 1970 I offered to run the networks, to become the community's cybernetic librarian, tracking and publishing digital records of volunteered information about public resources for learning – who taught English (or bridge), who wanted to practice English (or to play bridge), and what English speakers (or bridge players) had to say about the teachers (and players). I further offered, via correspondence with the more than one hundred other learning networks burgeoning on all continents around the world in 1971, 1972, to coordinate this public information: establish the data base, maintaining the data base, share the data base with other data bases ... Say someone in Tokyo is planning to visit Manhattan: thinking ahead, they know that they will want a local English teacher upon their arrival, and will also want to meet with other Japanese speakers learning English for practice. Additionally they want to know if any of the teachers or practicers might have a reputation as a rapist. Their Tokyo learning network contacts my New York exchange: available data could be sent to the traveller while still in Tokyo.

Additionally my network recommended expanding learning resources to include all kinds of public information. The same system could be used to list healers, attorneys ... auto mechanics, firemen ...

Illich designed the learning networks in the religious spirit of the great priest and saint he was. I recognized his design as not only the science fiction I valued but the Christian simplicity that I valued more. Illich's networked public could slough off not only the ghastly intrusive coercive school system but also the ghastly intrusive all-but-coercive hegemony of the military-industrial complex. People could free themselves of government while they were freeing themselves of school. We moderns could begin to live for the first time like "Christians": no matter what superstition we did or didn't embrace!

If you didn't want your phone number published, then your phone number would be no business of my Free Learning Exchange. No one in Tokyo would be given your phones number via my digital library. (What the FBI or CIA did with your phone number would not be in my control.) (But: together, we could have starved all such federal agencies by ganging together to refuse to pay taxes!) (We would however have had to pay, voluntarily to pay, the networks – this world didn't come into being not for impossibility but because the group didn't will it so, didn't support it.)

What the group did do was wait decades, government and commerce leaching resources the while, and then offer a perversion of my internet: utterly plagiarized because no credit was given to Jesus or to Ivan Illich or to yours truly, Paul Knatz.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

American Chieftains

Sure there were slavers, Arabs maybe, who trekked into dark Africa, came upon some people, threw a net over them, hauled them off to sell as slaves. That's not hard to imagine, and for sure it happened. But I was sickened when I first heard that lots of slaves imported into the Americas from Africa were actually sold to the slavers by the chieftains. The chiefdom had excess population, some undesirables. Chieftains came to be regarded as "owning" their people. Hell, if you own something, you can sell it: right?

Oh those benighted Africans.

But what about American chieftains selling their people? Haven't heard of it? Think a minute: how else did the school system get the right to tell your kids what to do where and when?

One group kidnapped the kids to sell them to another group: industry. Present chieftains grabbed our children to train them in slavery to their future chieftains: Dupont, P. Lorillard ...

(this could be done better, that's just a scratched note, finger string)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Contempt for the Natural

School's Teaching of Contempt for the Natural

No matter how stupid, illiterate, and ignorant the schools make us, the schooled nevertheless learn to hold those with less schooling in contempt: very much the way the Temple priests in the story of Jesus held Jesus in contempt. I'm just reading and enjoying John Grisham's new novel, The Appeal. We start with a verdict: a chemical company has knowingly polluted a rural area of Mississippi, made billions and billions, bought off both law and justice for decades ... Now their patch is a cancer cluster, so polluted that when the fire department used city water to hose a conflagration, the liquid actually quickened the fire: the "water" was combustible!

The jury awards one victim, bereft of health and family, $3 million plus $38 million in punitive damages, the jury knowing that the sum represents one month's profits for the company. Grisham switches to the reaction of the principal owner of the company on hearing the verdict. He vows that his "ignorant" victims will not receive one penny of "his" hard-earned profits!

Kleptocrats deny the humanity of their victims by attributing to them some denigrating attribute: "ignorance" comes handily to mind among the schooled. If only there were an objective correlative, a God, to Judge between the abuser and the abused. I want to see who's "ignorant" at Judgment.

I trust you recognize that the above is all very "Illich." I'll add details another time, if I live.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Anarchists Left & Right

When I was founding the Free Learning Exchange my first statement to the public published in a west side paper resulted in my getting an invitation to join some people in a radio discussion. My hosts turned out to have been active in a Free U and were currently active in a People's Yellow Pages. I'd never heard of either and was glad to meet them. In fact I was delirious: I'd never met people with philosophies compatible to mine before, not in a group. They met in a church on West 4th, just off Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village. My activities went public there in 1970; they'd already been public through the 1960s.

Before long I heard them call themselves anarchists: and at one meeting I met a bunch of other anarchists visiting from Europe. These decades later, my son having researched my philosophical background with a thoroughness I never felt a need for, tells me that I had run into the left-wing anarchists. It makes sense: there was an awful lot of something damn near Marxism in the rantings of some of my new friends. Meantime my son tells me that there were also right wing anarchists around New York: Murray Rothbard and friends, for example. They too had their own alternate university. I didn't know of their existence. If they knew of mine, they ignored me. They were busy arguing against government. Only I was offering a tool that used by the public might pry government off their back; the Rothbardians just talked. And they're still talking. I'm still talking too. Only nobody pried government off of much. Government has just grown and grown: and serves us right, since we didn't, as a group, support my FLEX.

These days my son ignores my deschooling (when he's not misstating it, misunderstanding it, misrepresenting it) from the right, Rothbardian wing of anarchism. In those days my left anarchists turned on me, accusing me of being a federal spy.
Paranoia and political radicalism go hand in hand.
In the last days of the Nazis they were all accusing each other of treason, were busy assassinating each other. They killed Jews, fags, dissidents: then they killed each other.

(There's billions of people on earth, so clearly they didn't kill enough.) (That's a joke: a black joke, to match my black mood.) (I'm not aware of the right-wingers killing each other, but that's probably more due to my ignorance than to lack of examples.)

The gal who first phones me to invite me to join her and her friends in a radio interview I remain fond of, though I haven't seen her since 1976 or so. Her group shortly after we met began renaming themselves. She became Mercury. Alas, I don't remember what her "real" name had been.

One thing I did Not like about my new friends was that they seemed to be 100% homosexual. There were plenty of WASP "genes" in the group: English, German, Scots-Irish ... Dutch ... I don't remember anyone seeming Jewish. There were no blacks ... But they were all fags and dykes. Boy was I jealous of one of Mercury's little girl friends.

One thing I remember distinctly about Mercury, from our very first in person meeting – she came to my house – was her ghastly body stench. I'm confident she was on speed. The whole group, always except-for-pk drawing, may have been speeding on A's.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Teaching Illusions of Democracy

I first placed this in my piece on Illusion at
c. 1995
When I was in the seventh or eighth grade (1951 or so) the teacher announced that we were going to have class elections. First, we'd "want" to form political parties. "Who would like to nominate a name for the first party?" Um, err, one compliant girl fumbled. Er, the Republican Party! "Good. Now: who would like to second that nomination?" Uh, I second. "Excellent. Now: who would like to nominate an alternate party?"... I ... I nominate the Democratic Party. "Very good." Etc. She got a second. Four kids were off the hot seat. "All right then," she continued, "are there any other nominations?" This last was said perfunctorily, without really looking. Why should she look? We were Americans. We had now independently recreated our political culture.

My friend Joe and I were exchanging nauseous glances. I don't imagine either of us could have articulated our disgust at the time. But I can articulate mine now. We weren't rehearsing for democracy: we were being rehearsed, scripted. The director says to the actress, "Now say I love you. Sincerely. With all my heart." It's bad enough that marriage vows have been rehearsed and directed, scripted by people dead for centuries, people who can never have met you, know nothing of your relationship. But how shallow is the farce when the voice of the people is practically lip-synched?

So the teacher was asking if there were any other nominations. Joe & I are exchanging retching signs. One of us — I'm fairly sure it was Joe — blurts, "Communist!"

The teacher, as I say, wasn't looking, wasn't listening. But she heard that all right. (McCarthy Era, remember.) "You're going to the principal's office, right now, " she says. The other of us — I'm fairly sure it was me — reflexed a protest. So the two of us were marched out of the room. Leaving the others to "practice" their "democracy."

Let me assure you: I know I didn't know what "communist" meant. I'll bet Joe didn't. I'm not sure we knew what "pledge allegiance" meant either. Does a ten year old girl know what she's saying when she opines that something or other "sucks"?

I recommend that the reader see the context in which I placed this story in Illusion. There the context was society's pathologies as a whole; here the context is specific events in pk drawing's own schooling that prepared me to recognize the truths presented by critics of schooling from Samuel Butler & R. Buckminster Fuller ... to Ivan Illich and others.