“People whom fate and their sin-mistakes have placed in a certain position, however false that position may be, form a view of life in general which makes their position seem good and admissible. . . . This surprises us when the persons concerned are thieves bragging about their dexterity, prostitutes vaunting their depravity, or murders boasting of their cruelty. But it surprises us only because the circle, the atmosphere, in which these people live, is limited, and chiefly because we are outside it. Can we not observe the same phenomenon when the rich boast of their wealth-robbery, when commanders of armies pride themselves on their victories-murder, and when those in high places vaunt their power-violence? That we do not see the perversion in the views of life held by these people, is only because the circle formed by them is larger and we ourselves belong to it.” (Resurrection, Leo Tolstoy, trans. Louise Maude)

New Readers:

Please start reading with my first post "A Cup of Coffee". Originally posted on March 19, the archival date changed when I made corrections on May 13, which is the date under which you can find it now.

I'll learn to manage this all more smoothly someday, but at present I have at most only an hour online each day (that thanks to the San Francisco Public Library system, without which I would be lost).

Friday, July 19, 2013


"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"
                                       -- from Hamlet, Act Two, Scene Two

[This post is dedicated to R "D" G, my downstairs neighbor.]

An idea prevails, it seems to me, that a person who uses drugs ceases to be herself, ceases to be responsive and responsible, to be human, or at least human in the way “we” are.  The user becomes someone from another culture, another tribe, a far-off land, and therefore can no longer be trusted.  One suspects, keeps up one’s guard, is wary, and cannot risk lending a hand for fear of being pulled down into darkness, of drowning in murky waters.  One is likely to be used by this erstwhile person, who has ceased to be himself and is now merely a drug manifesting its properties in the body of someone you once knew.

This way of thinking is three parts “Body Snatchers” and seven parts “The Exorcist.”


Be warned!  That is no longer your son talking to you.  That is the voice of the Demon whose names are legion: Crack/Meth/Heroin/Ecstasy speaking with forked tongue.  If you help them/it, you are only enabling them/it in to pursue their own damnation.  Better that “they” should fail utterly in life than that they should find a way to live as they choose, if their choice includes using ___________ {fill the blank with the name of the particular demonic substance in this case}.


God-Damned Nancy Reagan has won.  Drugs trump everything.   That guy’s partner may have been a predatory psychopath, but the point is that he used drugs.  So he is probably better off in jail:  at least he isn’t out on the street where he might end up using drugs.


Listen to me: you have no idea what incarceration means; what it is; what it does.  You think that if the cops arrested her, she must have done something to deserve it.  You actually believe that the cops don’t arrest people who haven’t dome something wrong.

Of course, that works out well for you.  You don’t have to fear the cops, because you haven’t done anything wrong -- or not anything that really matters anyway.  And there’s a bonus, too:  once the cops have arrested someone, you don’t have to worry about that person any more.  He isn’t “P.L.U.”* anymore.  And another bonus:  your belief in an efficient and just system of law enforcement makes you feel safer, even if you are not.


Well, even if he didn’t do exactly what his abusive partner claims he did, he still must have done something.  After all, he took drugs.  And he lied about that.  Or if it wasn’t exactly lying, it was the same thing.  He didn’t tell us that he was mixed up with drugs.

[Good ol’ BC didn’t mention that he was getting head in the Oral -- oops -- Oval Office either.   But did that mean that he could no longer be trusted?  Some people thought so.  But take a look at who those people were.]


You even think the courts and judges and lawyers and District Attorneys are all trying to serve Justice, to be fair, to establish who is in the right and who has done wrong.  Anyone who believes that has had no contact with the “Justice” system beyond watching “Perry Mason” or one of the metastasizing “Law and Order” shows.

Ask the little boy who was thrown in jail after the police came to his house looking for him.  They said nothing about why they sought him.  He protested that he had done nothing wrong:  he was thrown in jail for the night.  Unjustly accused of something, and unable to find out what it was that he was thought to have done, the little boy spent the night in terror, completely alone, unable to contact anyone, including even his parents.

It turns out that his father had arranged the whole thing with the police.  He thought that his son was not sufficiently earnest about “toeing the line,” about following the rules and sticking to his duty in general in life.  He thought that his son needed to have a scare thrown into him so that he would straighten up and fly right.

The boy never forgot the outrageous injustice done him by the institutions nominally devoted to “Justice” and by his own father.  He continued to rebel throughout his life, rejecting everything “proper” or even “normal” for a man of his class.  Instead he became an artist, and a subversive artist at that, working in a medium which at the time was hardly regarded as an art form at all, something barely a step above a carnival sideshow or a vaudeville burlesque:  he made “movies.”

The boy’s name was Alfred Hitchcock, and the movies he made tell the same story over and over again:  an innocent man is accused of committing a crime.  He cannot turn to the police because for them all that matters is the accusation.  The police have but one imperative: if someone is accused of a crime, he must be apprehended and jailed.  The identity, nature, reputation, moral standing, capacity for reason, or believability of the accuser does not matter at all.  The accusation has been made and imprisonment must follow.

Fuck “Innocent until Proven Guilty.”  It’s a crock of shit.  And once the innocent man is caught, or even if, pathetically, he turns himself in, believing that running just makes him look like he has something to hide, he looses.  Once in jail, he will never be able to gather the evidence necessary to prove his own innocence.  And the system is unlikely to look at the evidence if he can gather it.  The courtroom process has nothing to do with actual people or actual events.  The actual is much too nuanced, much too complex, and much too ambiguous to be dealt with by the law.

And so another soul is slowly worn down.


Read Tolstoy!  Wake up! 


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