Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week


Posted by Alexander Jerri

To Be Or Not To Be A Job

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Last week a friend of mine from El Salvador became a US citizen. Of course, to commemorate her joining the great red, white and blue horde, we celebrated with sushi. It's unprecedented that so many millions of people are now scrambling to get ahead of being deported in anticipation of a crazy President's actions. Traditionally the government comes and puts you and your family in concentration camps without much warning. Thank goodness Dump and the GOP Congress are so incompetent. It gives people time to worry and, if they're lucky, get themselves situated. Of course, even as a citizen, there's no guarantee Latins or any people of color won't suffer some kind of surprise new-fangled persecution under the nation's first white president.

My Salvadoran friend cleans houses and sells insurance. I remember how excited she was when she became certified to sell health insurance. Of course, I couldn't celebrate that. Back then she was taking not one, but two jobs from an American. Now that she is an American, those two jobs can now go to an American. As it should be.

One of the main perks of being a US citizen is that you can feel just about as entitled as a white person does. Not that you have the same racial privileges, but you can get as self- righteous as if you do. Just that simple designation, citizen, can give you an entirely new list of grievances. My friend got so outraged over immigrants coming up from Latin America, not learning the language, and stealing jobs from US citizens, she considered turning her mother over to ICE. But then she decided it would be too hard to find a new drug mule. And she couldn't in good conscience send her mother back to El Salvador, which the US prison system and deportation policies have turned into a gang-ruled land of violence of the type our white president likes to make out Chicago is.

As a citizen of a constitutional oligarchy like we have here in the States, my friend understands that she has certain responsibilities. It's not all just entitlements, free education, adequate housing, affordable health care, respectful, restrained police, no, it's none of those. Not even close. But even a government which has abrogated every social contract between itself and its citizens demands a duty from them. I forget what it is. It can't be the duty to be an informed voter. That doesn't help. It just makes you frustrated.

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has come out against the Graham Cassidy anti- healthcare bill, and against Senator Cassidy himself for lying to Kimmel on his show. In two YouTubable videos, Kimmel lays out the problems with the bill, how it leaves more people uninsured than the ACA, how it leaves it up to the states to cap insurance payouts and deny coverage for pre-existing conditions if they feel like it, among its many other destructive aspects. So now everyone who already opposed the bill is that much better informed about why they shouldn't like it.

Fox News Channel blatherskites have taken to mocking Kimmel as just another non- expert Hollywood-type who should keep his mouth shut except when funny, non-political phrases are coming out of it. I am not here to defend Kimmel. I'm not here to praise Kimmel. I don't know what I'm here for. That's a question that has puzzled human beings since they noticed the gods would allow them to die horrible deaths no matter how many bullocks they sacrificed.

The one question I have about Kimmel is this: in his second video, his response to Cassidy's response to Kimmel's initial denunciation of Cassidy as a liar, he closed the video with a skit about a barista serving coffee in cups without bottoms. The skit wasn't funny. It died before a live studio audience. So, did the skit's unfunniness undercut Kimmel's credibility?

Clearly, Kimmel's being well-informed about how the bill would affect coverage doesn't matter. His being able to list all the health and medical organizations opposing the bill doesn't matter, either. His own personal experience as a father whose child needed open- heart surgery, which sparked his concern for those who didn't have the luck to be adequately covered for such a medical catastrophe, is also of no consequence. At least no one at Fox News Channel cares. As far as they're concerned, Jimmy Kimmel has no credibility, least of all as a well-informed or concerned citizen of the United States.

According to Fox and fiends, Kimmel's job is to be funny. And as we all know, we are nothing but our jobs. My Salvadoran-American friend is both her jobs. I'm barely half a person at the moment. I'm shirking my duty, people of the USA. I'm an under-staffer. I admit I have a problem.

This is why so many rich people busy themselves accumulating titles like Chairman of the Board or President of the United States – in order to be an important job. Or else they hide out on their yachts or private islands, cowering in their idleness and shame.

It is the duty of the US citizen to have and to be a job. Not to know anything, not to believe anything, or value anything, definitely not to march or take action for what you believe in or value. Your duty is to contribute to the wealth of the capitalists above you, regardless of your knowledge or your values, capitalists who will in turn provide your offspring and loved ones and neighbors with opportunities for servitude. It's a contract, a social contract. It's social, in that it affects everyone in your community, and it's a contract in that it contracts your possibilities and limits your imagination and your world.

But remember, you could be one of the lucky few who becomes a millionaire through ingenuity, determination and grit. There's always the chance to be a better, more impressive job here in the USA. Ask not how you can contribute to your community; ask what job you can be, above your community. Whittle your hopes into the shape of the slot that's available in the marketplace. Remember, resources are limited, at least for the vast majority of us, so dress for the job you want to be and go out and be that, or the next best thing or the next. It's all the same to the owning class. They'll get their rents and their interest and your tax dollars one way or another. Don't fret. Don't despair. The owners have your back. And your front. And your sides, your top, bottom, and innards.

Welcome aboard the poop and circuses wagon, my newly naturalized friends. Take in the remarkable sights as we continue rolling toward the cliff's edge.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

The Futurologist's Problem

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I got together with my friend Professor Wadwa the other night for drinks. Let me explain, first of all, that this is not Professor Vivek Wadhwa, the noted academic, entrepreneur, and advocate for decency in immigration law. This is Professor Manish Wadwa, the noted futurologist, wannabe thought leader and tax consultant.

He has money, and when he's in town he treats me to drinks. He earned his money the old-fashioned way: slipping on the ice in front of Neiman-Marcus. But he's very generous because, although he considers himself a rugged individualist and a self-made man, he freely admits luck has had a lot to do with his current financial well-being.

After an evening's conversation with the professor, I'm usually left inspired and confused. Let me see if I can organize my thoughts enough to describe what we discussed.

I believe Wadwa had an idea, which can be summed up thus: what if there were a computer job exchange to divide up the jobs no one wanted to do, so everyone could do them for a little bit a week instead of some unlucky slobs having to do them all day every day for their entire lives?

Wadwa has a keen mind, but most of his brilliant ideas leave a lot of unanswered questions. "What," I asked him, "would be the incentive for the rich to do their part? They could just pay the poor people to do their share of the lousy jobs, and we'd be back where we started.

"What if it was more than a lousy-job exchange?" I went on. "What if it was a global database of everything everyone needed to have someone else do, or to have help doing? And these jobs, tasks, help on a project, they'd be divorced from money."

"Why would someone do something for no money?" Wadwa asked.

"I don't know, why did people do things before there was money? Mutual community welfare and gratitude, prestige, affection."

"But those things are impossible to measure," Wadwa countered, "that's why money's superior. Anyway, a lot of people would show their gratitude and affection with gifts, which the wealthy have more power to give."

"All right, how about this," I probed. "What if robots did everything? Our system is already computerized, we just network all the things, like an internet of things, the whole thing, and robots do everything."

"What about brain surgery?"

"A robot can do brain surgery! It's not – it's just brain surgery."

"What about art?"

"Jesus, are you kidding, an elephant can do art. A robot elephant even better, probably."

"Well," said Wadwa, "and this is why I'm the idea man, what about when the computer sees no reason to do things for people anymore, or no reason for people to even exist, since they just consume energy and don't produce anything?"

"Oh! We give the computer an incentive. Every time its robot homunculi do something for us, we give it something. Something we've programmed it to get satisfaction from. Like, likes or stars or glowing reviews. When we eat the food it's grown, it gets appreciation. And we've programmed it to live on appreciation."

"I forgot what the point of all this was," Wadwa said.

"I think you started out trying to dole out the onerous tasks so that a caste of unlucky people didn't get stuck in lives of miserable drudgery."

"Oh, misery, right. Human misery is largely avoidable, but not entirely." "True. And fairness goes a long way toward preventing avoidable misery." "Fairness," said Wadwa. "Hmm."

I could tell he was trying to figure out a way to avoid fairness. In our discussions, fairness always ended up leading to radical wealth-redistribution, and Wadwa was never in favor of that. First of all, it was never going to happen. Second, it was a blunt instrument. He wanted a way to trick the uber-wealthy into letting their wealth leak away and bleed into equilibrium through economic osmosis.

"Look," I said, anticipating several steps in the conversation and leaping over them to the chase, "there is no system of misery-alleviation that someone with excess wealth can't use that wealth to pervert. As long as we value wealth—"

"Well, wealth is valuable, by definition," he insisted.

"And yet you and I know many many people who value many many things more than they value wealth," I insisted back at him.

"Uch," he moaned. "Why does it always come down to this? Why does wealth bring out the worst in people?"

"Because no one ever went broke expecting the worst of people, which makes them behave accordingly. Most such people die lonely or spiritually destroyed, but not broke. And as you say, you can measure wealth. You can't measure companionship. You can't measure peace of mind. You can't measure affection. You can't measure satisfaction or contentment. So the people who like to get the highest score, who are usually pushy assholes, are the ones who also measure their lives in cash, or assets that can be converted to cash in a pinch."

"What if we could measure all those things," Wadwa asked, perking up noticeably. In fact he was sparkling. "There's a misery index."

"There is?" But he was off and running without explaining to me what a misery index was, and we were back in the thick of imagining.

"So why not a contentment index? Those discontented uber-wealthy would certainly be embarrassed when they saw they had a lower contentment index than a garbage man!"

"But if a garbage man is content, doesn't that mean he's not miserable?"

"Yes, but he's still more prone to avoidable misery! Anyway, if I may continue, eventually, given continuous updates on their contentment, on their Fit Bit perhaps, yes, the uber-wealthy would first try to spend their discontent away, but when they'd finally come to realize the misery they were causing themselves and others by hogging wealth, they'd ... uh..."

"But wouldn't that just be turning people into organisms programmed to get satisfaction from those numbers? Like our computer?"

"I'm not sure that's a bad thing," Wadwa said. "At least, it's not bad in theory."

"Economic theory would love it if people behaved like robots," I said. "That's a well- known issue with economic theory."

"So really, all we're satisfying here is economic theory's desire for people to be more rational. Why do you always do that?" Wadwa whined.

"I'm just one of those people," I said contritely. "I ruin everything." And then we talked about movies.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

The Cult That Wouldn't Die... Of Salmonella

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Good morning, fellow-travelers. Hillary Clinton wrote another book, this one rehashing her losing battle to become the first female President of the United States, blaming everyone but herself, which is what politicians are supposed to do. I don't fault her for this. Unlike some of you, I don't think she is a special war criminal. She is certainly no more a war criminal than Condoleezza Rice or Madeline Albright, and all three of them stand like wispy seedlings beside the mighty sequoia of US war criminals, Henry Kissinger. Have they named a sequoia after Kissinger? It's long overdue.

But neither is she such a shining light of uncompromising progressive leadership that preferring an ancient left-leaning Jew indicates a psychosexually genocidal motive.

There were certainly some Bernie supporters whom it was reasonable to suspect of hating Hillary out of misogynist resentment. Likewise, though the majority of Hillary supporters are not unself-aware auto-inductees into a reactionary, self-pitying cult of personality, some are, too many, it's embarrassing, it's grotesque, and it's disappointing to see Hillary in her new book feeding them back the very lines of thought their psychoses generated. But, again, she is a politician, and it is fair play.

Did Bernie's primary candidacy hurt Hillary? Of course. An election is a contest. A popularity contest. If the person opposing you in a popularity contest gets popular, that is by definition an injury to you. Furthermore, Bernie remained popular, but, let's be fair: trying to be popular is part of his job.

To those with an actual leftist critique of capitalism, Bernie's campaign highlighted Hillary's shortcomings in that regard. It is good that we are now, thanks to Bernie, suspicious of progressives who are unwilling to speak forcefully against the miscreants milking our communities of resources. It's unfortunate that Hillary lagged behind the rest of us in understanding that kissing corporate ass could be considered a drawback to a large portion of the liberal coalition. Now that we all understand it, though, maybe next time we can field a really good candidate who is prepared not only to go at least partway to the mat for people of color, women, and the gender non-binary, but one who also doesn't suck corporate ass like it's a cream-filled doughnut.

Yes, Obama got away with it. He got away with being soft on banks and financial manipulators even after their frauds and predations destroyed the world economy. Hillary in her book calls the mimed remedies Obama initiated "strong reform." Only someone with her mind on something other than preventing another 2008 could consider Obama's capitalization requirements either "strong" or "reforms." A great many of us who supported Obama were unhappy with his weak response, and, unfortunately for Hillary, we weren't interested in excusing corporate and financial appeasement again. Hillary, perhaps unfairly, took the hit for her husband's "free trade" and deregulation initiatives, not only because she was there when he took them, but also because after yet a second round of inaction on capitalist excesses under Obama, a lot of people were legitimately frustrated at yet a third Democrat taking a "sensible" approach to the economy. Yes, a promise to do no more than tiptoe around the systemic economic abuses killing our communities and our planet NOW did alienate people who otherwise might have voted for her.

One could argue that such anger was unreasonable, but it wasn't unpredictable or incomprehensible, and had Hillary been a more astute strategist, or had had one on her team, she would have corrected her course quickly instead of barely or not at all.

Instead of making mealy-mouthed reluctant concessions to things Bernie was taking the lead on, she could have come out swinging against a system that is bleeding everyone but the very rich. But she didn't. Now, why not? She's a politician. She had to know it wouldn't have hurt her among her supporters to be more critical of capitalism, and it would have won over many Bernie supporters.

Incidentally, she didn't lose me. And I tried to talk many of you into voting for her, as you probably recall. And a glaring and possibly accurate statistic floating around is that more Bernie voters voted for Hillary in the general than Hillary voters did for Obama in the 2008 general by about 50 percentage points, which is a huge margin. Seems Hillary supporters are far more racist than Bernie voters are misogynist, in case that's the kind of thing you're keeping track of, and Hillary fanatics certainly are. In a recent article by Ta- nehisi Coates in the Atlantic he makes a pretty convincing case that racist reaction against a two-term black president was more a factor in Donald Dump's victory than misogynist reaction against Hillary was. He may not be entirely aware that he made that case, or he may not want to admit it, but he did. Good article for the most part.

Hillary might truly love capitalism too much to call it into question, and she might really believe that campaigning on single-payer health care is as trivial as "promising the public a pony" to paraphrase her words in her book. But loving a thing wouldn't prevent a good politician from criticizing it to win an election. She might have calculated that she didn't need Bernie's voters, but then why blame Bernie for hurting her if his voters didn't matter? So either she was a bad politician or a bad statistician, or a believer in capitalism to a fault, or some permutation of the three.

The fourth non-mutually exclusive possibility is that she sees some value in not offending the financial industry. That's how it seemed to many of us who held absolutely nothing else against her, despite what her fanatical cultists believe.

But her cultists believe a lot of strange things, things even Hillary doesn't believe, at least not most of the time. For example, they believe that criticism of Hillary's new book and of her campaign, and I quote one these cultists, "is really about the idea that neither Hillary as a person nor the coalition she represented has any right to public life."

Jesus Christ, what a persecution complex. At first it reads like teenage self-pity, but no. That is Donald Dump-level wounded narcissism. No, that is the kingdom's subjects identifying their bodies as identical to the body of the king, a wound suffered by the king makes them all bleed. Personally, I, who shamelessly ridicule a few out-of-context parts of the book, and criticized Hillary and her team's performance during the election (because I voted for her and wanted her to win), do not want anything as drastic as for Hillary, and least of all the coalition she represented, to disappear from public life. I want more of that coalition in public life. There are times I would have liked for Hillary to die of natural causes, such as a natural meeting with a piano falling out a window, but I felt the same about John Kerry, maybe more so. And when I'm reading tweets from her superstitious fanatics, I want THEM to die of natural causes, like salmonella, salmonella, or salmonella, but then there are also times I want MYSELF to die of natural causes. It's nothing personal.

It's not funny, it's sad and annoying and tiresome to read their garbage, such as: "Everything she predicted is coming true. She's like Cassandra and we refused to listen." The mind sputters, the eyes blink in disbelief. The lips cannot form a jibe vicious enough to deliver the quantity of humiliation under which such a person should properly be buried. These are the breast-beating words of repentant sinners drowning as they watch Noah's ark float away. How much do you have to hate yourself to think that Dump's current racism was singularly foretold in a warning you didn't heed, even though you were supposedly an awake progressive with the active faculties of a conscious person? What the hell is wrong with you? "We did not heed the words of the prophet, and now our temple is destroyed and we are in bondage to Babylon, and yea, we weep."

What this is really about, and now I'm claiming my speculation as fact, is Hillary's direct line to God. For God gave us Hillary, and she warned that if we did not love her with sufficient fervor, a pumpkin-colored racist would bring ten plagues upon our land. And she came down from the mountain and saw that Bernie had made them a Golden Pony and the people did worship the Golden Pony that Bernie made. And she became sick at heart on seeing this stiff-necked, backsliding people worshiping the Golden Pony of Bernie, and she slunk off into the woods like a chagrined raccoon and worked on her book in which she would write many complaints. And lo, God brought the hurricane and the earthquake and the wildfires and hardened Dump's heart, because the people did not love Hillary enough.

The idea that Hillary's special devotees are suffering to a gut-wrenching, soul-searing degree the rest of us opposed to Dump are not is bizarrely self-centered. She was a politician and she lost, and we didn't want Dump, and now we have him. And it's a disaster. And that's all there is to it. Her loss is a symptom of a lot of things, but if it's a symptom of insufficient worship, then it's probably for the best. People shouldn't worship flawed candidates like they were Joan of Arc, who incidentally suffered bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. If you love Hillary, let her go. If she comes back, I'll frickin shoot myself. PS: Hillary says if you really love her, you'll eat raw chicken left on the counter overnight.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

The Drowned World

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink. Are you ready to live under the sea or die trying?

Did you see any of those pictures of the Interstate 10 Ocean in Texas? Pardon me, the sea. Did you see the sea? There didn't used to be a sea there. I drove that highway all the way from Baton Rouge through Houston and Austin, back in aught 1, arrived in Los Angeles the night before 9-11, and didn't see a single fish. Not even a grouper. I saw a plane fly into a building, through a nightmarishly clear sky, the next morning on TV. But no grouper.

So now the ocean's here. I think it's here to stay. I think the whole southern USA is going back underwater, like nature intended, before the Freeze Miser locked up all the water at the poles. Days were wetter then.

We can do this, America. We can get used to anything. You'll get used to the water. It's cold when you first get in, but then you get used to it. We got used to distrusting the Spectacle, after Nixon had to resign when it came out that he'd ordered Halderman and Erlichman to hypnotize Oswald to kill JFK. We got used to having a regulatory system run by the industries they're supposed to regulate. We got used to not having enough money for food, shelter, medical care, and education. We got used to the owners of massive, mind-blowing, stratospheric wealth telling us there just wasn't enough to pay us a decent wage or support the common weal. We got used to cops gunning down black people or murdering them in jail for any reason or no reason.

We did these things, we made these changes within our very selves, because it was our patriotic duty. We may not have a communal sense of distributing resources, but we do have a collective love of our country. And I don't think learning to breathe underwater is too much for America's Jesus to ask of us. On Venus, they're so patriotic they breathe ammonia, and on Mars they breathe almost nothing at all. We're lucky to be getting oxygen. Is it really too much trouble to extract dissolved oxygen from seawater? Come on, grow some gills, binch. If a goddam fish can do it, so can you.

We've gone soft, having all this readily available oxygen floating in the air, a veritable luxury dessert cart of oxygen, wheeled right to our table. We've become like delicate woodland sprites, prancing and sparkling and tinkling about the forest floor, sipping nectar from daffodils. We've become lazy lotus-eaters, lounging about on dandelion puffs, small delectable roasted birds flying willingly into our mouths. No wonder the God of Kapital is enraged with us. We're the mythical welfairy queen.

Don't cry your salty tears for this briny future. Time to buckle down and nut up. And it's not going to be one-hundred percent onerous, not that we don't deserve that. So much will change, but not necessarily for the worse. A Grand Canyon under the sea will be just as Grand, and much easier to hike with the decreased gravity. And that's nothing, have you seen the Marianas Trench? That's a destination. Anything we can do to take James Cameron down a peg is worth it. We'll be down there, "Oh, James, this is so easy, we didn't need your candy-ass submarine. We're down here for free, yeah, we're backpacking. Ya bourgeois submariner."

Yes, it will be unfamiliar terrain. But that's nothing new for us. All terrain you're not familiar with is unfamiliar. Remember, we're descendants of explorers, pioneers, and a few cartographers. And the whales have the seabed all mapped out. Once Zuckerberg and Musk team up to get our two genuses linked telepathically, we'll be part of the natural world again, just like Lewis and Clark and Princess Mononoke, navigating with echolocation and Earth's magnetism and the stars.

Yes, your clothes will be ruined. Yes, your baby and dog will be dead. Yes, your dreams will be buried, buried under tons and tons, millions upon millions of swimming pools' worth of the Earth's blood, in the black depths, where sea banshees howl and many a perished sailor's skull houses a hermit crab. Perhaps you'll come upon your drowned house one day, your erstwhile home, from when the world was dry and had taco trucks, and you'll set up there again, among the seaweed and seahorses and little neon tetras, sucking milk from the ample bosom of a manatee. I don't know. I don't know how you're going to live your lives, I can't see the future. The future is an opaque window, which, aside from maybe a broken one, is the worst kind of window.

The past, too, will be gone. Life was once a path or passage. We'll soon be in a kind of booth, on one side the future an opaque window, on the other the past an opaque window. All our written history will be washed away like a car key down the toilet. All the monuments we wrangled over will be forgotten, all our lore and data. All our pizza. All those sports games. All that music. All those warnings from the past we never heeded. Gone, carried by currents off into oblivion, worthless jetsam. This paltry satirical Jeremiad will be gone, at first soggy, then dissolved or nibbled by herring.

And my swollen, waterlogged corpse will be floating on the ocean's surface, buoyed by the toxic gases of organ decay. For I cannot enter the Promised Water with you, my brethren and cistern. No. I'm not gonna do that. I hear drowning is very peaceful. I'm not made of the right stuff. I'm a wussy. I don't have enough focus to grow gills. I'm a glacially slow learner.

But when you crest that mid-Atlantic ridge – mind the gap! – and bathe your eyes in the sight of the glorious coral city of Prince Namor, Atlantis, and you enter its literally pearly gates, like, gates with pearls all over them, I assume – and you breathe in that salt sea water, it'll be normal. It'll all be normal again.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!


Posted by Alexander Jerri

I Didn't Ask To Be Born Famous

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst, which is also the drink.

Royalty is a hereditary disease. It's the only hereditary disease you can catch through marriage. Well, there's also nobility. You can even buy your way into that disease. But there's nobility and there's nobility. There's the social status of "noble" and there's the virtue. What kind of self-important asshole designated his social class "nobility?" It's pathetic. Arrogating to oneself the label "noble" is the status equivalent of a child's toy advertised as "fun" or the package of a junk food item announcing it's "delicious." You can be certain such a toy is no fun, and the snack is yet another knot of flash-fried Styrofoam coated in salty orange dust chemically designed to mimic flavor.

And yet even supposed intellectuals are willingly knighted and consider it an honor. In Thailand you have to respect the king or they'll put you in prison. But what's everyone else's excuse? The Queen of England is just a glorified chimp we've gussied up in sparkles and given castles and horses.

Oh, speaking of royalty, it's the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris. Very sad. She was reasonable to deal with, from most accounts, and very generous with her time. She even had a streak of the do-gooder in her. Princess Diana, or as she was called, ironically it turned out, Princess Di, died a very popular person.

To commemorate the anniversary of her death, the BBC revisited the event with her bereaved sons, Princes William and Phillip. I can't remember which is which so I'll just refer to them collectively as Princess Wallop. Why? Because it's easier to say than "Princes Willop."

Princess Wallop, it turns out, was upset by his mother's death. So like us, the royals, aren't they? Emotions and everything. He blamed the paparazzi. Many blamed them.

Even the normally cool-headed George Clooney blamed them. But the paparazzi were only doing their job. "Oh, but maybe Princess soon to Di didn't want her picture taken that day. Why couldn't they just leave her alone?"

Neither Clooney nor Wallop wanted to consider that the paparazzi didn't create the situation by which they could exchange pictures of celebrities for money. They had rent to pay, they didn't have a castle or two to fall back on.

Wallop wasn't in a forgiving mood, though, at the time. He blamed being royal, and all the attention that came with it. It was because of this "royalness," forced on him at birth, that total strangers felt emboldened to come up to him and confess their feelings about his dead mother, someone they didn't even know. I don't know why Princess Wallop didn't follow this thinking to its conclusion and renounce his royalty. Imagine if he had, what a different world it would be. Eh, no it wouldn't. Who cares, in the larger scheme of things, about the actions of one person, even a royal, unless they blow things up?

And maybe he wondered, as I do, why his mother fled the paparazzi. Why lead them on a high-speed chase ending in death? What's so horrible about having your picture taken? Did she believe the camera would steal her soul? Was she an animist? Did she worship trees? Did she believe in a sentient spirit in each object? Was she haunted by dancing umbrellas? Did she have a fear of the demonic powers of elderly cats? Did she believe that, if the sun shines when it's raining, magic foxes are getting married?

The only reason I'm in a position to ask such deeply personal questions about someone I have no personal experience with is that Princess Dead was a celebrity. It's so odd, these arrangements we have, doling out castles to some of the herd and nothing but the raw materials of misery to others. It's clownish. Here we are, intelligent enough to send robots to Mars, but incapable of dividing resources amongst ourselves rationally.

We are an embarrassment as a species. The other species are laughing at us. There was a time when the pine tree, the ox, the eft, the bee, the kinkajou, the grouse, the manta ray the sea cucumber, the crocodile, the amberjack, the paramecium, and the petunia held us in high regard. But now they shake their heads, crowns, blossoms, lobes, knobs, and whatnot in a mélange of disgust and pity. "That species ain't right," they seem to say.

Well, I for one resent being the object of a petunia's disdain. Inequality is only getting worse. Justice is at least as distant as the red planet. Here in the USA we have a senator who can't even remember how many houses he has, and another who married into a ketchup fortune. And there couldn't be a clearer illustration of the idiocy of our predicament than that blob of orange Styrofoam junk food chemically designed to mimic leadership in the White House. Chimps gussied up in sparkles, and most of the country is unwilling to call on them to part with their castles and horses. No wonder the sea cucumbers mock us. They mock us to our faces. I mock us. And I'm us!

Listen, I'm not dying until we get this crap straightened out. There's no need for this circus. Don't let anyone tell you different: we have enough for every person to live decently, and to preserve the habitats of the other species as well, despite their disdain, which, let's face it, we've earned in spades. Amartiya Sen knew it, and he won a Nobel Prize in economics. Bollywood actress Suhasini Mulay knows it. Entomologist E.O. Wilson knows it. This is the time for us to lift ourselves and our siblings up. There is no better time. So wipe the stars out of your eyes for these chimps who are no better or worse than you are. Keep the stars in your eyes for the future whose potential we hold hostage to our nonsensical priorities. The writing is on the wall. There is no time like the present. I look around and see a world of procrastinators. We should have taken care of this a long time ago.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!


Posted by Alexander Jerri

The Supreme Gamble

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

As founder and spokesmodel of the Socialist Leisure Party, I am under constant attack from every side. My detractors are legion. From the right, they want to shut us up because we're spreading the dirty secret threatening to undermine capitalism's extortionist hold over the masses: there's enough wealth in the world today for everyone to lead an easy, pleasant and fulfilling life. From the vanguardist left, they want us to quit advocating recalcitrance and the romance of shirking work, because it undermines their image of the noble laborer as a deployable soldier in the battle against the current regime they wish to replace with themselves.

My first task every morning is to fight the urge to get up and fight. It's not easy being aggressively inert. But somebody has to take it upon himself to do this thing that doesn't need doing.

Our stupid national ethos fetishizes certain types of risk. There was even a popular song about risk assessment: "You got to know when to hold em; know when to fold em," the singing Gambler cryptically advised. If you risk your last dime and, through a combination of obsessive devotion and luck, make millions, you are applauded, lionized, celebrated. If you risk your last dime and fail, you are stigmatized and shunned and swept under the rug of oblivion. If you take the risk of devoting your time to teaching or nursing or firefighting or farming or otherwise doing the grassroots labor society requires in order to function on a day-to-day basis, whether you succeed or fail you are pretty much treated like scum.

For the sake of a handful of winners, we are held hostage in a nightmarish casino where most of us sweep the floors or refill the shrimp buffet in a thankless bargain with the management.

One tenet of the Socialist Leisure Party is that we in the USA are pressured to accept risk in order to enter into any social contract, and succumbing to such pressure must be avoided at all costs. We will not invest our time into mastering a trade. We will not devote our lives to contributing labor to a company or a municipality or, god forbid, a government, against the empty promise that it will support us with a pension in our old age. Simply put: we will not devote. Governments, companies and municipalities have earned nothing but our distrust, and we owe them nothing more.

So, yes, the basic motivation for the Socialist Leisure Party is risk avoidance. And isn't the basic motivation for civilization the same? We store up food to obviate the risk of famine. We enact traffic laws to decrease the risk of accidents. Obviously, total avoidance of risk is impossible. But it is indeed the goal of the collective human project since we first cohered socially. Which is why the USA must practice its peculiar form of brainwashing in order to coerce us into risking our all for the great benefit of the few. It goes against the logic by which our species has become successful.

Sorry, but the answer of the entire membership of the Socialist Leisure Party is a resounding "no thanks."

We recline on the hill of humanity's birthright: the avoidance of risk. You want me to throw in with your idiotic plan to sell overpriced hand-crafted baseballs in downtown Detroit? For what? What good does it do my spirit? What good does it do my body? In what way will it protect the people and ideals I believe are good, right and beautiful?

At least in bed I can appreciate whatever sunlight creeps into the room without exerting myself on behalf of someone else's money-making scheme, an idea misbethunk because its very conception has been mutilated at the root by the extortionist logic of capitalism. At least while gazing at clouds I'm not working against those I love for the sake of paying my rent. At least while wading in the waves and skipping stones I'm not actively making the world worse on behalf of Monsanto or Amazon or The Consolidated Sex and Fishing Slavery Corporation.

It has been suggested that the current Congress of the United States has secretly adopted a Socialist Leisure stance. The confusion is understandable. They do seem to be quite accomplished at accomplishing nothing. The entire membership of the Socialist Leisure Party has been mightily impressed by their constant failure to contribute to society, or even to leave any noticeable evidence of their intrusion upon the monotonous flow of time. They would be like Japanese ghosts, the yurei, who travel through the world without feet, leaving no prints. They would be like Jesus, who explained the absence of a second set of footprints during trying times for his devotee by saying, "That's when I was carrying you, my son," although this Congress makes no claim to have carried anyone or anything, not even a little old lady's groceries.

They would be as low-impact as a Japanese ghost or Jesus, but for one thing: they are trying to look as though they're getting something done. They aren't proud of their inaction. And despite leaving in place that great communist mechanism, the Affordable Care Act, to exert its devious Maoist influence on the populous, this Congress is definitely not socialist, except in the sense that they share the wealth of the masses among themselves.

No, do not be fooled by these frauds. Yes, they are lazy. Yes, they are ineffective. Yes, they cower and hide from their constituents, pretending they're invisible.

And this should be their time. Ineffective government, founded under Ronald Reagan and nurtured by Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich, has finally come of age. This is the Donald Dump era, where anything can be true, any failure can be called a success, where a blank stare can be Secretary of Education, and a toxic waste spill can run the EPA.

Nevertheless, this Congress tries too hard. No true Socialist Leisure partisan is taken in by these charlatans. They take no pride in their lack of productivity. The only reason they haven't done anything is because they're afraid if they take responsibility for any kind of policy they might lose their jobs. No true Socialist Leisurist is afraid of losing a job. Unemployment is our middle name!

In these dark yet psychedelic days of Donald Dump, this is the great risk we of the Socialist Leisure Party take. Yes, we also risk. We, the most risk averse of all, and therefore the highest form of civilized human beings, we also risk. We who invest nothing, plan nothing, think null thoughts, make no effort, and offer nothing to our fellow human beings, we risk suffering a fate worst than sweet death. We risk being mistaken for the current GOP Congress.

And what have you risked, you finance cowboys, you pharmaceutical corporations, you venture capitalists? Your savings? Ha. We of the Socialist Leisure Party laugh. We laugh very quietly because we don't want to spill the cocktail balanced on our belly.

For us, being mistaken for a member of the GOP Government is as devestating as it would be for a kindergarten teacher to be saddled with the reputation of Jack the Ripper.

Maybe when it comes to risk, we in the Socialist Leisure Party have been co-opted into the risk-fetishism of postmodern capitalism. No one can claim to be pure. Purity doesn't exist. We live in a risky universe. Even lying about in a hammock has its risks.

Salvador Dali once said, "The difference between me and a madman is, I am not mad." The main difference between us and the GOP pretenders is: we are not them. And, though we aren't proud of much, we are proud of that.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

 The Drama of the Exiled King

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Ever get in one of those moods where your understanding of what the world is seems stuck on "basic alienation?" Reality parades and throngs around you like an immersive performance, human activity repeats ritualistically, as mechanical behavior in response to stimulus or programmed biologically, chemically even. A sophisticated organization of humans going about its sophisticated business is doing nothing more meaningful, nor does it evince any more free will, than salt does when it dissolves in water. People fight, love, build, invent, trade and sing because there is nothing else for them to do. We're all just chemistry trundling along through our processes of transformation. There is not a single activity you can discern to be a product of choice.

Here's a tidbit I picked up somewhere as I was going through the motions of living my life: King Solomon had a lot of contact with demons. I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but it never hurts to go over old ground. In Solomon's world, demons were as observant as any Jew. They had temples in their demon world and studied Torah. Not some demon Torah, the Torah. And being immortal, they accumulated a great deal of wisdom from their studies. Ashmodai, the big cheese of the demons, was famous for his knowledge of Torah and mastery of its mysteries.

It's no surprise, then, that Solomon kept Ashmodai prisoner in his palace in order to study at the demon's feet. Solomon had a compulsive desire to learn. For a king, untangling the secrets of the universe woven in the letters and sounds of Torah provided material advantages, but Solomon was no less a student for the pure sake of learning. He learned the languages of the animals from the demons, and some say Ashmodai provided Solomon with the architectural specifications for rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.

During their studies they came upon a particular mystery, I'm not sure what, but it was a deeply puzzling, mystically divine question, and Ashmodai had the answer to it. The demon said he could only explain if given full range of movement, because apparently there was some sort of gymnastic aspect to this point of doctrine. Solomon would have to remove whatever chains prevented Ashmodai from freely moving. Also, Ashmodai wanted to wear Solomon's royal signet ring, solely for the time it took to impart the secret midrash.

Solomon was a total sucker for arcane obscurities. He agreed to Ashmodai's requirements without hesitation. Ashmodai stretched his wings to their full expanse, dipping the tip of one down into the depths of the underworld and stretching the other up to the roof of the heavens. Then he clapped his wings closed with a thunderous impact, the shockwave from which threw Solomon out of his palace. The king tumbled through the sky, out of Jerusalem, out of Judea, beyond the horizon of the sea.

You see what you get when you're too curious, children? Solomon flew so far so fast that his royal clothes burned off from friction with the air. He landed in some far-off land, naked and alone. As one twitter bot once said, "Life have been like sandwich, now I am living dead." It was not cool to have been the king and now to have nothing, in a strange country.

What could Solomon do but pick himself up, dress himself in whatever he could find, and begin the long walk back to his kingdom? Whatever happened during those years of wandering, the effect they had on Solomon's outlook on life can be read in the words of Koheleth, which the goyim call the book of Ecclesiastes. As Solomon, or Koheleth, walked back to Jerusalem, he became a wandering preacher, and someone took it upon himself to jot down his somewhat nihilistic musings.

Koheleth orated to whoever would gather around him. "Life is meaningless," he said. "All we seek in glory or simplicity is like trying to hold onto the wind. All human endeavor is vanity. Whether wise or foolish, decent or crooked, all people come to the same end. A human life is a brief flame. Everything you work for in your life will belong to someone else. Nothing matters. There is no way to figure out the right way to live, because at bottom there is no absolute truth. We're all just guessing. It's probably best to enjoy what simple pleasures you can without striving too much, and maybe be decent to others if only to avoid the inconveniences that come from social retribution."

Had Solomon witnessed some series of brutal or moving scenes during in his exile? Or was it just the sudden shock of no longer having every need provided, and the dwelling on how he'd come to be a penniless vagabond, that brought him to his existential crisis? Was he just a spoiled brat of a man suddenly confronted with the harshness of the real world from which he'd previously been protected by his royal condition? Or had his bleak but perhaps freeing worldview been earned in some way?

Does it matter? Because he's right. All our business on this planet amounts to nothing more than does the fevered scurrying of ants building nests. Creation is nonsensical and hyperactive. We wake up every day, dress ourselves in costumes and wiggle our way back into life's manic processes. We might as well be cutouts in a shadow play.

Koheleth eventually got back to Jerusalem, continued his preaching, and eventually ended up in conversation with a eunuch from the royal harem, who told him King Solomon was still a fine king, but he had been for the last few years maybe too active among his many wives. He would even have sex with them during their menstrual periods. Somehow Koheleth got close enough to the king to reveal that he had the feet of a bird. Ashmodai was unmasked as an imposter, and Koheleth got back his throne. And the wives reported a sudden, welcome abatement in the king's deviance.

All of this is by way of explaining my mood. And if you're in a similar mood, it would be hard to blame you. When a bloated doofus holds the highest office in the world and spends his time spazzing around like a monkey beset by bees, and the laws governing society don't make sense to the people living in it, don't serve their needs, don't address the problems of the day, it makes perfect sense for us to dismiss authority, at least, as a meaningless masked parade, and by extension all our social duties. What a clown show. What a dumb show. What a shit show.

So, sadly but stoically, we pry what sustenance we can from a world owned by misguided fools. Maybe this is part of the journey toward becoming free. Because we really don't need this, and we're beginning to realize it. Once we arrange things so that the current ruling herd of malignant dunces have to battle each other to the death in gladiatorial combat for our entertainment, then the healing can begin. Such games could be our version of truth and reconciliation. Manafort and Sessions, chained wrist to wrist, bashing each other with kitchen cleavers and meat tenderizers. I'm here to suggest it makes more sense than the system we have now. And you wouldn't have to pay attention to the games, you really came to the arena to hang out with friends and have some snacks and drinks. Because such simple pleasures really are the best.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri


Cultural Resentment Is A Dish Best Served With Soul ... On Ice

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Complaining about cultural appropriation, or misappropriation as it should be called, is fun. I can tell it's fun, because people do it even when it's not necessary. They even do it when it makes no sense. Sometimes it's just to make fun of how presumptuous white people poorly execute ethnic cuisine. "Szechuan pizza? Gross! And offensive!" Sometimes it's a form of virtue signaling, as when white people commiserate with black people about Euro-misappropriation of dreadlocks. "Look," signals the white person, "I get it! They're stealing your hair! It's insulting and offensive! They just don't get it, but I do."

I don't want to pick on political comic Hari Kondabolu, especially since he recently entertained our socialist troops in Chicago, like a kind of woke Bob Hope, but he has this one routine someone brought to my attention that fits the description of what I'm going to call "virtue-signaling through ignorance." He was complaining about vegan soul food.

First off, let me admit that I understand hostility toward vegan food. I myself have complained on this very show about a particular vegan barbecue I endured. In that case, though, the barbecue was thrown by people who didn't even understand how to host a party in which people expected to eat, let alone have their hosts provide a source of heat over which to cook food. They failed the heat test, which is, if you don't have charcoal or propane either already hot or at least ready to ignite, it's not a barbecue. And if you don't have anything else for your guests to eat other than a few grapes and some leftover croissants, along with your uncooked tofu dogs still in the wrapper awaiting absolutely nothing because there is no flame over which to make them resemble edible food, you are a bad person.

There's an idea I myself have helped spread that a vegan is someone who doesn't like food. That's wrong. But it is accurate often enough to be mildly funny to some people.

And what with new dietary restrictions cropping up every day for any number of reasons, it's tempting to mock the gluten-intolerant, the diverticular, and the celiac sufferer. Suffering is funny! Comedy is tragedy happening to people you don't care about.

But Hari wasn't mocking vegan soul food because it's bland or oily or a travesty of culinary artistry, he was mocking it because it's not black. I want to quote him directly but that would mean I'd have to watch the performance again, and I don't feel like it. He compared vegan soul food to metal – the genre of rock music partially founded by Jimi Hendrix but, admittedly, dominated by white musicians. Metal takes something with roots in black culture and presents it in a form that shows no evidence of its African- American origin.

As accurate as this may be about metal, I don't know what makes Hari Kondabolu an expert on soul food. Maybe he studied it in grad school. And he may know the proper amount of back bacon to season a pot of greens with, or whether a St. Louis pig snoot should be crispy, chewy, or tender, or how to properly decline the Latin adjective form of "chitterlings." But whoever his dissertation advisor was did him no favors if she led him to believe that vegan soul food was cooked up by Rachel Dolezal and Vanilla Ice to sell at the Brentwood Farmers Market.

In Chicago, at least, as far as I know, vegan soul food was invented, or maybe just perfected, by the proprietors of Soul Vegetarian East on 75th Street. I used to eat there back in the 90s. I assume vegan soul food was made even before the restaurant was founded, because the people who run the place are African Hebrew Israelites, or something, a Torah-influenced religious sect founded in Chicago in the 1960s. The African Hebrews wear plant-based clothing and eat no animal products, except honey, I think. Near the end of the 60s they all followed their leader to Liberia, but then moved to Israel, where a few thousand of them now live in the Negev.

Here I must digress a little. Not to be a whiner, but these African Hebrews? They're misappropriating my culture. A lot of black people have done so down through the ages, from the US slaves through the Rastafari until now. They're not Jews. What gives? What's with the pretend Judaism? Who said they could use our Moses? "Let my people go—" that's our lyric, man. First the slaves steal our riffs, then the Rastfari with their Lion of Judah and their remembering Zion – that's our memory! We sat down by the rivers of Babylon and there we wept, not you, you cultural misappropriators.

The noive, I tells ya.

And now the African Hebrews are sitting there in the Negev, on land that was stolen from the Bedouin. That's the Zionists' game, playuh. I don't know if I can eat vegan soul food anymore. It's too imperialist. I mean, black vegans are basically white supremacists. I guess Hari Kondabolu was right.

Yet Hari himself, his whole schtick is practically lifted whole-cloth from Woody Allen, the glasses, the neuroses, the simplistic stereotypes presented in a progressive intellectual frame. I am feeling very triggered, very misappropriated, very colonized. I've been violated. My foreskin is spinning in its grave.

And why is Hari annoyed on behalf of black people, anyway? Isn't he misappropriating black people's cultural resentment? Or is every non-white person's resentment interchangeable with that of every other simply by virtue of them all not being white? Is Hari also bitter about Korean tacos? And if so, is it from the Korean angle or the Mexican one? How does he feel when, say, an Arab plays the didgeridoo? Does he have hard stories about having to eat fry-bread on the res because the white man stole his naan?

Where are the boundaries of cultural misappropriation? Cuz if I was an African Hebrew I'd be a little pissed off at some comic of South Asian descent telling people my food wasn't black enough. I might even object that there's nothing inherently non-black about trying to eat a healthier diet. But I'm not an African Hebrew, so this is all pure speculation. Educated speculation, but speculation nonetheless.

I suppose it's a bit much to expect Hari to be observant about every little thing he's going to tell a joke about. Being an observational comic focusing on politics and race in these times when the inequality of black people before the law is too obvious for even the popular media to ignore, I'm sure Hari has a lot on his plate.

He's just never had decent vegan soul food on his plate. This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!


Posted by Alexander Jerri


Yikes, Dykes: Kikes!

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

After an incident at the Chicago Dyke March in which pro-Palestinians and pro-Israelis ruffled each other's feathers, I weighed in by Jewsplaining, or perhaps "circumsplaining," to the benighted lesbians on both sides of the controversy. Though I tried to be evenhanded in my criticism of the pathetic display of juvenile behavior, I definitely went at non-Jews more aggressively. Non-Jews on the left seem complacent about their ill- repressed anti-Semitism, even willfully ignorant of it, so I felt it would require a lot more work to get it through their thick skulls exactly how hypocritical they are. I was right. I don't know if it's a thing with doctrinaire lesbians, or doctrinaire lefties in general, but they do appear to be more intransigently stupid than, say, your average first-grader.

Possessing, as I do, a penis, albeit a reasonably queer penis, I'm an outsider in this case. I don't apologize for having a penis, which is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Not mine, but the archetypal organ in general. As a penis-appended outsider, I should, according to some, abstain from commenting on this dyke-versus-kike buffoonery. And I considered that. I often abstain from commenting on the stupidity of women and people of color. It's much more fun to criticize white people, especially white men, and they do offer so much material. When women and people of color provide material for mockery, it's often even more satisfying not to comment. What could be more patronizing than deeming someone too oppressed and delicate to make fun of?

I didn't want to engage in that type of condescension this time. First, it would've been too easy. Second, the offenses to civil discourse were too blatant. And, third, the potential for snark was too tempting.

For example, as pointed out by my friend, the great shamanistic poet and mystic Rachel Kann, some of the march organizers, or "survivors of the trauma," have set up an online crowd-funding page to send themselves and their allies against Zionism on a retreat to recover from the argument. So pitiful is their plaint that even some of those who support the other side have given money. I'll quote two of them. Anonymous says, "You should be ashamed of the way you treated your fellow (Jewish) dykes!" Anonymous gave an undisclosed amount. Perhaps it was too insulting to disclose, in which case it can only add to the severity of the emotional scars from which these poor frail damsels are suffering. A Polly Rosenbloom Weisberger, also hiding the amount of her gift, comments: "Here's a contribution for all the trolling I've done." Now that's thoughtful. I'm trolling, and I'm not going to give a god damn cent.

I am no stranger to the vitriol rabid, racist Zionists can inflict over the interwebs. They can be horrid people. I know it takes more strength than many in the touchy-feely realm of resentment politics can muster. I suppose it's admirable of the anti-Zionist dykes to admit their lack of fortitude and spine. Some people's weaknesses are such that their resilience takes a bit longer to show itself. I'm often one of those people. I get it.

I don't, however, believe I've had to go on a self-massaging retreat to recover from having a handful of people alter a chant or wave a flag. I certainly have never tried to tax my constituency to give myself such a palliative vacation. Perhaps that's what strength means in this brave new world. Perhaps altering chants and waving rainbow Israeli flags are crimes on the order of violence, rape, and molestation.

But if your chant could be drowned out by so few people, maybe your point of view isn't as popular as you think? Were these Jews operatic singers? Were they really that disruptive? In a parade of hundreds? Is that it? Pushy Jews? Over-representing once again, just as they do in the arts and academics?

Anti-Zionists in general, and these particular ones since the march, have stated that they can separate their internalization of centuries of European anti-Semitism from their moral stance on the Israeli Occupation. One proof of it they tout is that they have many Jewish allies. Some of their best friends are Jewish. It's how many friends you have of a particular race or ethnicity that proves whether or not you're racist against them, right?

 In an article in Mondoweiss, in support of the march organizers, Palestinian activist Nada Elia characterizes Zionism as sneaking itself into social justice spaces, "in all its colorful disguises." Yikes, dykes! Kikes! They're everywhere! And in colorful disguises, all the better to seduce you with.

This is language poorly digested and regurgitated from the European mythology of the conniving Jew. This is the language of internalized anti-Semitism. Elia's language is obviously informed by the same European Jew-hatred indulged in by Heinrich Himmler, Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford. If that isn't worth Elia's time to examine, because she represents the oppressed and therefore is allowed to be as horrid a person as she feels like being, I don't see the solidarity, nor the strength.

Because, as Elia notes, we don't ask the oppressed to explain or examine themselves. We don't ask them what we would ask a full human being, an equal, in other words. How patronizing. And yet I have often seen oppressed people explain and examine themselves quite beautifully and powerfully. I have seen victims of oppression rise above the pettiness of those who claim to speak for them. And I've seen those who claim to speak for them feel shame in the face of their courage, and examine themselves, and learn. That's strength and solidarity.

Compared to such grace, the Dyke March seems, at least for some, to be a kind of nursery school for learning to behave in a truly pluralistic future. So it's natural they're going to make childish mistakes and dig their heels in to keep their childish convictions. Asking a Manichean leftist to consider that Zionism might not always be racism, or that it derives from a complex of sources only one of which is European imperialism – that's like asking a child to examine whether Santa Claus is real or not. There will be crying. There will be retreating and self-salving. There will be ice cream, or agave-sweetened sorbet for the vegans.

 It's unfair to single out women of any sexual orientation, or course. Nothing comes easier to all people in the West, except maybe to dehumanize a darker person or a woman, than to demonize a Jew. Even Jews do it. After literally centuries of indoctrination in the orientalism articulated by Said, codified in the language of Shakespeare and Dickens, and the religious and legalistic liturgies of Europe, tropes about pushiness, colorful disguises, and sinister ubiquity flow freely off the tongue, the tongues of those who refuse to examine their own bigotry more easily than most.

To exacerbate matters, Jews tap into leftist Manichean anger because of how they screw up the simplistic diagram of revolt. Since the advent of the Zionist migration into Palestine, the Jew is both oppressor and oppressed in the same body. Rather than confront that complexity, the childish self-styled revolutionary throws tantrums. The simplistic Zionist does the same thing. Rather than give full life to the oppressive Occupier in themselves, and do the difficult job of navigating the confrontational terrain rippled with interference patterns from the colliding signals of oppressor and oppressed within the single moral self, they opt to demand consideration only as victims. For Zionists and anti- Zionists alike the true complexity must remain hidden, suppressed, erased, resulting in the infantilization of themselves and everyone around them.

Think what it could profit moral discourse, let alone the prospects for peace and justice, if that complexity were part of the discussion instead of denied. Maybe it's the fate of the Jewish body to be the battleground from which complex yet revolutionary morality will emerge either victorious or fatally defeated. There are Palestinians, Israelis, Europeans, Africans – people of every description willing to wrestle with moral complexity like mature human beings. When you're ready, please join us.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!