November 8, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on November 7, 2018

In politics, the fighting – and perhaps the (self-)delusion – never stops. Yesterday the Republicans lost big in Virginia, and already this is hailed as proof of the Democrats roaring back into power, a precursor of how they’ll sweep next year’s midterm elections. Maybe. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a tiny bit of soul searching on their part about what exactly they’re doing wrong that they lost so big (unexpectedly) across the board in 2016. But instead it’s all still “Russia Russia Russia” and other delusions.

We watched some TV last night. Good lord, I’m glad we don’t have cable at home… The nadir was the repeated commercial for a game show where Snoop Dogg is the host, shuckin’ and jivin’ with his guests, which came across as minstrelsy. Obsequious was the word that came to mind as I watched his act. I thought I’d throw up. I wondered what kind of castrating trouble the poor guy is in that he’s abasing himself like this. Must need the cash, badly.

Yesterday, after a morning of much walking, I came back to the hotel room to eat a lunch of the previous night’s leftover pizza. I fully intended to go out again, but in the event I instead opted to write B. an email about mimetic rivalry, a train of thought to which I was prompted by seeing Cher on The Witches of Eastwick the night before, and thinking about her daughter, who is becoming transgendered (female to male).

I also started watching a longer Jordan Peterson video, paused at one point to chat online with E. That easily took up two hours, by which time it had started to rain. W. texted that he was coming back to the hotel earlier than expected, so I decided to continue as I was, listening to the rest of Peterson.

I’ve figured out, I think, Peterson’s basic shtick: essentially, both capitalist consumerist culture as well as communism are bad (whereby communism – or fascism, i.e., any kind of totalitarianism – is worse because it’s more tyrannical); they are both millstones, grinding society to bits. And if that’s the case, what’s the answer? The salvation? It’s the individual (and Peterson describes Christ as the ultimate self-realized individual). But not just that; it’s also the individual in the Jungian sense, for Jung believed that the Self was/is this force or entity – which includes potential, the not-yet-realized – that is connected through a kind of space-time continuum, and which comes from the future to make the Present You attracted to or repulsed by certain things. And that if you strive to be the best you that you can be now, you can shape the future. Since I believed I had a guardian angel in the wake of my traumatic “rusty nail” incident, and since I already postulated that this “angel” was me arriving from the future to lend succor to that wounded child in that moment in the past, I don’t stumble over this Jungian-Petersonian idea. It makes sense to me. Take that for what it’s worth.

Peterson also described his path to Youtube and Patreon stardom. Very interesting. I wish I could do that, but I feel I have nothing left to give, really. Except maybe write that novel (which I haven’t been working on…) – and hearing him talk about the crap odds against you if that’s how you’re hoping to make a dent, hoping to break out, …well, that wasn’t uplifting.

I envy people who are able to go forth regardless. And I myself have done a lot of going forth, too – I need to remember that. My achievements, given my background, weren’t trivial. But sometimes (lately often) I wonder if they were the right ones (academia instead of business and design), and I definitely feel weaker now.

Yesterday I took the subway to 550 Madison (formerly the AT&T Building) to see (and think about) for myself what the building’s proposed “glasswashing” will alter. It will certainly completely alter the street level facade and experience. It is, in effect, a façadomy, albeit not the “traditional” kind where an old facade is maintained while a new, historically inaccurate building is erected behind the old facade. At 550 Madison, an opposite kind of façadomy will happen: a new facade slapped on a not-so-old building because the original facade no longer meets current desiderata. I don’t think I approve of this reverse façadomy.

From here I wandered to Trump Tower. I completely missed that the 5th Avenue entrance is still open because I was so aghast at how 56th Street is now closed off with a jumble of barriers. Ugly. Then I walked to the main Public Library to see a lovely little maps-of-New-York-City exhibition. Toured the magnificent building, marveled at the third floor women’s washroom: marble everywhere. From here to 7th Avenue and (eventually) 25th Street, then through a frankly down-at-heel looking, seedier Chelsea (it looks like it hasn’t had a wash in twenty years) to the Marlborough Gallery to see Gary Panter (which was less interesting than I’d hoped).

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