Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

death of the bourgeoisie...

abstraction xabstraction x














The bourgeoisie is always condemned to death, it itself spreads the news quite complacently and yet continues to survive without seeming to believe in its death and is always opting for lethal solutions. Maybe the bourgeoisie has a secret sense of its eternity, maybe it only sees death as a pidley worry…


Jacques Perret — Cheveux sur la Soupe (Hair in the Potage) — 1954.



Despite whatever, the West is run by the bourgeoisie. Even the rich pedigreed dynasties have to suck their money out of the bourgeois mongrels while the poor cannot do anything else but to pay rent. This is the strength of the bourgeoisie. It cannot die despite being bled to death by the rich and robbed to death by the poor who cannot pay their dues. Being bourgeois, we are privileged by all the cultural imprints, from musical traditions to the Utrillo landscape on the wall, like a window, reminding us that what we see is the price we paid for a crusty illusion — and another boring Eurovision, where the traditions have been americanised for comprehension.


The modern bourgeois is still Christian and most likely adventurously guided by Hillsong, where expensive shoes and religion are blended by heartfelt rendition of hymns to the glory of whatizname… It’s a powerful delusion, possibly necessary like scratching an itch, to give a moral rectitude, stable like a keel, in a crazy world of nonsense and new gizmos. The bourgeois is a master of accounting and is captain Solomon in regard to the law. Justice has nothing to do with it.


And there is a sense of perfection at the extremities of performances. There will be measurements and expressed percentiles of this ultimate precision. No matter the political bent of the time, past, present and future, the bourgeoisie survives as the essential core of the social fabric with different levels of self-importance within. There will be trickery from the warriors and the thieves, but the bourgeois will provide the moral compass for the continuum. 


If it has to, to protect its goods, the bourgeoisie will align itself with the revolutionaries until a new status quo is achieved, or support the enrichment of the rich in the name of freedom for the trickle down and the capitalistic religious beliefs — and even do both at the same time. The bourgeoisie will drink from all the common kegs and millesimed barrels. It tolerates secularism with precious disdain in order to promote charitable crumbs for the poor, while using pompous secularity as a ceremonial sword to honour the war dead — mostly from the fodder pit, the poor sods — to show the bourgeoisie values its unselfish protectors.


And this is where Scott Morrison comes in. He is the bourgeois par excellence — the man who can wear any hats according to the circumstances to make sure he is loved. Actually no, not loved, but accepted. The bourgeois feel the need to be accepted, and if he is not, he will change tack... He will clown like a prince and drink beers like a mate, but he isn’t your mate. It’s part of the image. I say HE because the she-bourgeois is often a subservient valued appendage, wearing make-up, a bikini and high-heels, looking after the kids. The clowning has as much sincerity as leaves on a dead tree. Beware. You have been primed to enter Scomo’s megachurch at election time, then go back to sleep, work or empty your bladder as the needs take you.


As Denis Atkins says:


Benthamites are regarded as consequentialists who weigh up to fine granular degrees what reactions follow actions – in politics it is to calculate the electoral reaction of doing one thing or another. This is the driving force.

In Morrison’s case, this frames his opportunism – he gauges opportunity and grabs it when it appears.

The other national leader who is labelled a Benthamite utilitarian is Britain’s Boris Johnson, someone also capable of stepping in every cow pat in the paddock but emerging with shiny shoes.

It is wrong to label Morrison a pragmatist. In fact, he uses pragmatism to give his consequentialism a cloak of respectability.

He is many things, as we learn week in, week out. Add this to what’s a mainly grim list: he’s the most cynical politician anyone has seen in the prime minister’s office.


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Scomo had a few too many missteps, but the forgiving media was even more adorably smitten… because the way the bourgeoisie spreads the news of its imminent death is part of its strategy to survive. For you and me, the plebs, let’s just avoid becoming the fodder in the bourgeoisie’s next war.


La bourgeoisie est toujours condamnée à mort, elle en répand elle-même assez complaisamment la nouvelle et continue pourtant a vivoter sans avoir l’air de croire à sa mort et tourjours optant pour les solutions mortelles. Peut-être a-t-elle un sentiment secret de son éternité, peut-être envisage-t-elle la mort comme un soucis cadet.



Gus Leonisky

Crummy salesman



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the real death...


World number two Naomi Osaka faces expulsion from the French Open and future Grand Slams if she continues to refuse to speak to the media, organisers said.

Japan's Osaka said last week she will not give any news conferences during Roland Garros because she wants to protect her mental health.


She was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for not doing media after Sunday's first-round win over Romania's Patricia Maria Tig.

The second seed won 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

A joint statement from the four Grand Slam organisers said Osaka also faces "more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions".

Later on Sunday, Osaka tweeted "change makes people uncomfortable".


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What? A tennis star is going to be thrown out of a tournament because she does not want to talk to the media about her life or her racket strings? Yes this is the death of the bourgeoisie, should people choose not to be talking to its vapid inane foghorn we call the "media". It shows how much the media is running the coop. Sports would be amateurish and relegated to the back lane rubbish bins without the trumpet of the media.


Yes! We need inanities from stars and the royals — and from politicians who we know will lie to amuse us with "policies" — to sustain a continuum in our own decrepit miseries. Please Naomi, talk to the journalists and answer yes, no, maybe and what a beautiful weather we're having at the moment... 


leaving the circus...


Naomi Osaka has ended her turbulent brief spell at the French Open with a stunning withdrawal from the Grand Slam, apologizing for her media boycott which divided the tennis world before adding: "I'll see you when I see you."

World number two Osaka had already caused shockwaves by announcing before the tournament that she would not be observing her media duties, carrying out her threat as she progressed to the second round before organizers of all four Grand Slams united to produce a long statement warning that she could be thrown out of the showpiece and future competitions while issuing a $15,000 fine.

The response from bosses caused uproar after they claimed they had tried unsuccessfully to enter a dialog with Osaka, leading to accusations that the 23-year-old had produced an act of attention-seeking symbolism in bad faith and was gaining an unfair advantage on her rivals while damaging the sport.

After another torrid day of rancorous headlines, Osaka has now declared that she is leaving Paris. "This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago," the second seed told her millions of social media followers.

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After US President Joe Biden revealed he plans to raise the issue of human rights when he meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next month, Moscow has said it is happy to have the discussion, as long as it goes both ways.

Speaking as part of a press conference on Monday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that “we are ready to talk, we have no taboo topics. We will discuss whatever we think is necessary. We will be ready to answer the questions that the American side will raise. This also applies to human rights.”

However, he said, one issue likely to be on the table is far closer to home for Biden than others might be. “For example, we are following with interest the persecution of those persons who are accused of the riots on January 6 this year” in Washington. There, Lavrov added, “a lot of really interesting things are happening from the point of view of the rights of the opposition and protecting those rights.”


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the "progressive" bourgeoisie...


Mike White is all about the discreet harm of the bourgeoisie. The American writer and director specialises in portraying the delusions of his entitled compatriots, whether it’s the comfortable optimists who refuse to see the country’s fractures or the grasping hopefuls who mistake self-interest for self-improvement. White has long written Hollywood comedies, including 2003’s School of Rock, but in the last decade his humour has acquired a satirical sharpness – with the pratfalls replaced by pitfalls. His new HBO series, The White Lotus (Binge and Foxtel On Demand), is his most incisive work yet. A witty dissection of the lives of privileged guests spending a week at a luxury Hawaiian resort, the series cuts to the (funny) bone with delectably sharp dialogue and excruciating circumstances.

It’s a timely takedown. White’s characters are not Trump-era zealots, but rather the resurgent and supposedly responsible progressives of the Biden administration. There’s a tech company CFO (Connie Britton), her husband experiencing a midlife crisis (Steve Zahn) and their maladjusted children, who start to question each other; meanwhile a newlywed who has married into money (Alexandra Daddario) starts to fear for her future when it becomes clear her husband (Jake Lacy) is mostly interested in feuding with the resort manager (Murray Bartlett), whose dedication to service has imploded, leaving him to engage with his former addictions. “I want somebody to figure it out for me,” complains a feckless woman (Jennifer Coolidge) who has come to scatter her late mother’s ashes, but the characters’ desire for satisfaction and purpose is tripped up by laziness and self-indulgence.

Their foibles are lanced with scathing judgments, but White is neither a nihilist nor a bully. Some of his best punchlines, which rear up out of uneasily playful exchanges, add bittersweet pathos and the shock of self-recognition even as the guests toy with the staff, and the traditional pillars of masculinity and success are toppled; every poolside encounter with a pair of precocious female college students (Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O’Grady) is a riotously dry interrogation. With the Tahitian drums (marshalled by composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer) underpinning the narrative, The White Lotus acquires a kind of looming spiritual dread. In this fin de siècle farce, checking out provides no relief.


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broken middle...




The Murder of the U.S. Middle Class Began 40 Years Ago This Week

Reagan’s firing of striking air traffic controllers was the first huge offensive in corporate America’s war on everyone else.


FORTY YEARS AGO, on August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers and barred them from ever working again for the federal government. By October of that year, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or PATCO, the union that had called the strike, had been decertified and lay in ruins. The careers of most of the individual strikers were similarly dead: While Bill Clinton lifted Reagan’s ban on strikers in 1993, fewer than 10 percent were ever rehired by the Federal Aviation Administration.

PATCO was dominated by Vietnam War-era veterans who’d learned air traffic control in the military and were one of a vanishingly small number of unions to endorse Reagan in 1980, thereby scoring one of the greatest own goals in political history. It’s easy to imagine strikers expressing the same sentiments as a Trump voter who famously lamented, “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”


The significance of Reagan’s actions is rarely discussed today in the mainstream, and for understandable reasons: It was the first huge offensive in a war that corporate America has been waging on this country’s middle class ever since. As Warren Buffett — current estimated net worth $101 billion — has said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The stunning victory of the wealthy over everyone else can been measured in several straightforward ways. During a speech last May at a community college in Cleveland, Joe Biden explained one of them:

From 1948 after the war to 1979, productivity in America grew by 100 percent. We made more things with productivity. You know what the workers’ pay grew? By 100 percent. Since 1979, all of that changed. Productivity has grown four times faster than pay has grown. The basic bargain in this country has been broken.

Productivity is a simple but extremely important economic concept. Over time, as technology advances and society learns how to use it, each worker can produce more. One person with a bulldozer can move a lot more dirt than one person with a shovel. One person with the latest version of Microsoft Excel can do a lot more math than one person with Napier’s bones.

The meaning of Biden’s statistics is that for decades after World War II, America got much richer overall, and average worker pay went up at the same rate. Then the link between productivity and pay was severed: The U.S. overall continued to get much richer, but most of the increased wealth went to the top, not to normal people. Corporate CEOs, partners at corporate law firms, orthopedic surgeons — they make three, five, 10 times what they did in 1981. Nurses, firefighters, janitors, almost anyone without a college degree — their pay has barely budged.

The situation is especially egregious at the bottom of the pay scale. Until 1968, Congress increased the federal minimum wage in line with productivity. That year, it reached its highest level: Adjusted for inflation, it was the equivalent of $12 per hour today. It has since fallen to $7.25. Yet the whole story is far worse. Even as low-wage workers have battled fruitlessly to get the federal minimum wage raised to $15, no one realizes that if it had continued increasing along with productivity since 1968, it would now be over $24 per hour. At that level, a couple working full-time minimum wage jobs would take home $96,000 a year. This seems incredible, yet there are no economic reasons it couldn’t happen; we have simply made a political decision that it should not.

Another way to understand this is to look at the other end of American society. In 1995, Bill Gates had a net worth of $10 billion, worth about $18 billion in today’s dollars. That was enough to make him the richest person in America. If that were all Gates had today, there would be 25 or so billionaires ahead of him in line. Jeff Bezos, currently in first place, possesses 10 times Gates’s 1995 net worth.

Then there’s the number of significant strikes in the U.S. each year. A confident, powerful labor movement will generate large numbers of strikes; one terrorized and cowed into submission will not. According to the Labor Department, there were generally 200-400 large-scale strikes each year from 1947 to 1979. There were 187 in 1980. Then after the PATCO firing, the numbers fell off a cliff. In 1988, the last full year of Reagan’s second term, there were just 40 strikes. By 2017, there were seven.


The direct causal relationship between the firing of the air traffic controllers and the crushing of labor is widely noted and celebrated on the right. In a 2003 speech at the Reagan Library in California, then-Chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan spoke glowingly of the “flexibility” of U.S. labor markets, by which he meant “the freedom to fire.” Greenspan said that “perhaps the most important” contribution to these flexible markets “was the firing of the air traffic controllers in August 1981. … [Reagan’s] action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.”

Donald Devine, the head of Reagan’s Office of Personnel Management at the time, later wrote, “American business leaders were given a lesson in managerial leadership [by Reagan] that they could not and did not ignore. Many private sector executives have told me that they were able to cut the fat from their organizations and adopt more competitive work practices because of what the government did in those days.”

The question today is whether the U.S. will ever go back to being the middle-class society it once was. Many Americans have long believed and hoped that that was the norm, and we will naturally return to it without much effort on our part. But as the past 40 years have gone by, it appears more and more that Gilded Age brutality is the U.S. norm, and the years of an American middle class were a brief exception. That means recreating it will require the same titanic struggle needed to create it in the first place.


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