By Mankh, Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Sunday, May 1, 2016
|One of the not-so-secrets to comedy is unexpected juxtaposition.
An elephant walks into a bar... is already a little funny.
Slapstick, films, and bloopers have made careers of such schtick... men in suits slipping on banana peels... a human being in a gorilla costume walking down the street... a weatherman suddenly not pointing at a weather map...
Conversely (remember the tragi-comic theatrical masks of ancient Greece), tragedy is also often wrought from unexpected juxtapositions... ‘farmers’/corporate agri-businesses concocting GMO foods and toxically spraying ‘pristine’ fields... seven-year-old Congolese children mining cobalt, a key element in gadget batteries, so people can text cutesy emojis and warplanes can, I dunno, maintain radar and such like.
I’m no expert in Communism (didn’t get great, ahem, Marx in school) but I do know something about Communal living and Community. Don’t we all?
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Conversely, it takes an educational system, a corporate media, an extremist religion and a war-driven government to brainwash a child.
Nowadays there's a resurgence of worker cooperatives which serve as an antidote to the top—down, boss—slave, hierarchical model of Predatory and Violent Capitalism.
Hugo Chávez empowered the people of Venezuela by helping create Communal Councils (consejos comunales).
The CIA helped stop a section of the Keystone XL pipeline — wait for it... Cowboy and Indian Alliance.
Community and Communal work for the greater good.
With comedy no one actually gets hurt; the pratfalls, the laughter serving as a release of tension from social protocol or pain. With tragedy, there is much hurt.
Then there is a disturbing blur. Many comedy news shows and so-called alternative or left news websites for months have been quick to bash and otherwise make fun of The Donald (and why not, the orange hair is an unexpected juxtaposition). Meanwhile, noticing far less bashing of HRC got me to take a quick look at campaign donors and interestingly: NBC (Saturday Night Live), Comedy Channel (The Daily Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore) owned by Viacom, and TBS (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) a division of Time Warner are all HRC donors, (along with others worth knowing about – have a quick look-see).
As for the websites, many rely on donations from readers, so I'm not sure what to say there, except that Left is the opposite of Right and sometimes opposites attract.
I’m no fan of Trump, nor HRC, but the former Secretary of State has already participated in insidious imperialism, for example, 2009 coup of Manuel Zelaya (the democratically elected leader of Honduras), and in this 11 second video in response to the death of Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi she appears as a madwoman with her infamous line, “We came, we saw, he died”.
The “Queen of Chaos” (title of Diana Johnstone's book subtitled “The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton”) was riffing Julius Caesar's, “Veni, vidi, vici” “I came; I saw; I conquered” – egotistical imperialism in a nutshell (no offense to edible nuts!). And more recently, “how international finance capital is working with Hillary Clinton and other U.S. political elites to reassert the Washington Consensus in Latin America.”  Empire rushes in where clean drinking water for US citizens and Native Peoples fear to tread.
Whereas The Donald mostly mouths off (which incites people and creates a modicum of violence at rallies and in that sense doesn't bode well if he's elected), on a global scale HRC’s crimes, er, actions are currently far more chaotic-stirring yet far less talked about — thus, for the most part, they are condoned by MainStreamMedia and others.
Although Trump is for beefing up the already beefed military (no offense to cattle), he poses a breath of peaceful fresh air with:
“'I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only, is possible,' Trump said, though he added that the United States should be willing to walk away from the negotiating table if Russia is too demanding.” Lest we put too much faith in any one person, as journalist/author and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts recently wrote, with regard to Trump's potential influence if elected:
“Moreover, presidents are outside the loop of black op affairs. A false flag event can be pulled off that sends Trump in the direction desired by the military/security complex or Israel.”  Perhaps the blurred delineation of comedy and tragedy has roots in what Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, in her book An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, cites as “populist imperialism”:
“The most revered presidents—Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, both Roosevelts, Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Obama—have each advanced populist imperialism while gradually decreasing inclusion of other groups beyond the core of descendants of old settlers into the ruling mythology. All the presidents after Jackson march in his footsteps. Consciously or not, they refer back to him on what is acceptable, how to reconcile democracy and genocide and characterize it as freedom for the people.”  That oxymoron applies to such legends as Walt Whitman whose populist poetry speaks to so-called everyman, yet at the expense of the lands of the Original Peoples, including Mexico. Whitman's “Song of the Open Road” on the one hand reflects the vim and vigor that any human being might feel on a sunny summer day, yet geo-politically that road is “open” because of US colonization and imperialism. While the “good gray poet” may cosmically, “inhale great draughts of space, / The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine,” from the Indigenous Peoples' perspective he was trespassing. (But then again, a Lakota friend told me that the Lakota language doesn't have a word for “trespass” – think about it – nor a word for “mine” – think again.)
What's decidedly not funny is too many people laughing all the way to the bank. And for making that more MainStream we have 'populist' Bernie Sanders to thank, even though Sanders has displayed a mixed-bag on imperialism; for example, he “refused to sign the measure to increase military appropriations to Israel, arguing that US arms have already been used to wage disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians,”  yet, “In addition to the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and troop deployments in Syria, Sanders also supports extending the presence of roughly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and continuing airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that have likely killed more than 1,000 civilians, according to the independent monitoring group Airwars.org.” 
Every war, hot or cold, seems to have it's name-calling: savages, krauts, japs, gooks, commies, towel heads; de-humanizing while also being inaccurate perpetuates stereotypes that too often live on after the war has morphed to the next enemy du jour.
And what if the entire tragi-comic campaign media trail is a staged charade, as voter purging, super delegates, and other shenanigans tend to indicate.
To my knowledge, the only candidate to mention Mother Earth on her website “issues” is Jill Stein, though Sanders has a section, “Empowering Tribal Nations” with sub-section “Protecting Sacred Places and Native American Cultures.” 
It was only in 1978 (202 years after “...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator...”) that the American Indian Religious Freedom Act made it 'legal' for Native Peoples to sacredly commune with and help protect Mother Earth. Those 202 years may be one of the biggest reasons for the sudden rush to save humanity and other living beings from climate chaos.
Reading the fine print, the meaning of “endow” is “provide an income for.” So I guess it is the Almighty Dollar, after all; yet, how tragic it will be if the world continues to be ruled by the greedy paper trail, continues to pay obeisance to a bottom line megalomaniacally sanctioned from on high.
Tragedy and comedy merge when one cannot distinguish between what is simply comic and what is really tragic. While some sacred mid-point can be useful for seeing beyond dualities or finding some humor so as to lighten a bad experience, in the day-to-day world it is a danger not to know the difference.
1. “Hillary Clinton and Wall Street's Neoliberal War on Latin America”
2. “Donald Trump's foreign policy speech earns praise in Russia”
3. “Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech”
4. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, Beacon Press, 2014, p. 108.
5. “Obama Caves, Israel to Receive Largest Military Package Ever”
6. “Bernie Sanders says US 'Kill List' Legal, Backs Troops in Syria”
7. See here and here.
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. His recent books are “Drive-thru Theofascism & The Hero's Journey” and “Dear_______, poem-letters to friends and enemies.” He is working on a new book of poetic-nonfiction, “Musings With The Golden Sparrow.” You can contact him via his literary website.
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