Monday, October 20, 2008

NEW SUICIDE GIRLS ARTICLE (Rock-tober 20,2008)

I got a new article up on Suicide Girls.

I'm out in Gulf Shores, Alabam-y now visiting with my dad and my sister and her family. I saw a church out here with a sign out front that said, "Aren't you glad your mother was pro-life?" I guess they don't get too many morose people passing by who feel otherwise. You don't see slogans like that in front of churches in Los Angeles.

And in case the Suicide Girls piece isn't exciting enough for you on a Monday morning, here is a piece of avant garde music I made when I was about 16 or 17. It's called:

AVANT GARDE SONG

It actually had a bunch of different titles over the years. Originally this was just a fairly non-descript recording of a pretty lame pop song I made up. I used to overdub by recording my guitar with an el cheap-o cassette deck then moving the recorded cassette into another el cheap-o cassette deck. Then I'd play back the stuff I'd recorded while simultaneously playing something else and recording the results with the first cassette deck.

Anyway this was originally one of those. But the tape got eaten by the machine. After I carefully removed the masses of chewed up tape from the machine and stuffed them back into the cassette I played it back. The tape had gotten turned around backwards and sounded very cool. So I took that tape and recorded it onto my dad's open reel recorder, which had this button that said "sound on sound." If you pushed that button while you were recording you got this weird echo on everything. I don't know if that's what the button was supposed to do. But that's what it did.

So I did that and then I sped up the tape. The results are what you hear on the MP3 I linked to. This is all that remains of what used to be about 20 minutes of this stuff. At one point I dubbed the most interesting bits onto a tape for some friends. I found that tape about a month ago. The original is long since lost, alas. I know you'd have wanted to hear all twenty minutes!

90 comments:

Flor de Nopal Sangha said...

#1
Me first! Yay!

Anonymous said...

"Way too many Buddhist teachers and Buddhist centers in this country think that Buddhism and liberal politics are one and the same."

Almost as bad as Buddhists in Japan in the WWII era who thought that Buddhism and right-wing fascist politics were one and the same.

There's a high correlation in the U.S. between frequent church-going and affiliation with the republican party now. That party has at least partially morphed into the christian party of america. Many thoughtful republicans also acknowledge this fact.

Since right-wing evangelicals form such a strong base within the republican party, the party platform tends to favor this worldview with it's clear stated goal of imposing their pov upon the rest of american society. This may explain some of the buddhist tilt towards the left and the democratic party. Most buddhists do not relish the thought of their children being taught biblical creationism as science or of national science and health policy being shaped by evangelical theology. Nor of a foreign policy being conducted based upon biblical apocalyptic beliefs. Just as living under an islamic theocracy tends to be difficult for buddhists, so would living in a christian theocracy.

Therefore, despite all the pluses and minuses of both parties and candidates, it makes more sense to vote so as to help insure that the U.S. does not continue to slide into a theocratic form of government. While McCain himself did not originally present any threat in this regard (his early comments about Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson being agents of intolerance) he seems to have embraced the evangelical agenda in order to be nominated and elected. His choice of Sarah Palin being the strongest example of this.

Anonymous said...

(nicely) stuff the politics. :)

free gas said...

That music is kind of creepy. But in a good way. Thanks for sharing.

Jordan said...

I used to overdub by recording my guitar with an el cheap-o cassette deck then moving the recorded cassette into another el cheap-o cassette deck. Then I'd play back the stuff I'd recorded while simultaneously playing something else and recording the results with the first cassette deck.

Interesting I think I heard that Glen Danzig did the same thing in the early days in the Misfits and Samhain. Maybe with slightly better equipment though. Still, it made for pretty awful sound quality, which is what made it so good!

Take care,
Jordan

Alphonzen said...

Thanks Brad.

This feels like a justified slap on the wrist after a week of clinging to the election.

Its just an emotional fix that will never be satisfied.

Al Coleman said...

Jordan,

You're right regarding Danzig. Rollins dedicated an entire show of Harmony in My Head a few years ago to the Misfits 12 Hits From Hell. He discussed and some other interesting things about the decisions Danzig made while recording.

David Chapman said...

Cool. Sounds startlingly like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. One of my favorites...

Uku said...

Brad,

that track was awesome! Reminded me a lot of David Lynch's sound experimentals and especially Eraserhead. Man, that is THE movie.

Your article was interesting. Even here in Finland some of us (well, me anyway) are quite interested about the US elections. I think we all can see what Bush and his buddies have done, concerning the whole world. But, despite all those ignorant things and talks, Bush has done something good too. No one is just bad or good.

But those campaigns of McCain's and Obama's are so naiive, so childish. What are they thinking that being a total jerk can help to get some more votes? "Oh, you McCain, you're so stupid." "No, Obama, you're an idiot." They are like little kids arguing. Yi-pee.

So absurd; they are talking about peace and compassion and they are acting complete opposite way. Mad world.

Well, peace we need so let's behave.

Peace.

Take care,
Uku

Alan A said...

OK, new mythic figure: Avalokiteshvar-yawn.

"He who hears the cries of the world and says, 'Hey, guys, you're on your own - I gotta meditate."

Alan A said...

Put another way - Hitler and Hermann Mueller are both politicians. And politicians are all bad. So there's nothing to choose between them.

Better to opt out of politics.

Right?

Anonymous said...

We have an election soon? What? Wouldn't even know it where I sit. We've been too busy trying to figure out a way to interject mead into our zen practice!

dj said...

Hey Brad, just in case your still reading the comments... cool music, thanks for that.

gniz said...

Re: The new suicide girl's article.

Thats just plain bullshit. Brad, like many buddhists, tries to equate his peculiar brand of lethargy and cynicism with reality.

There IS actually a big difference between Obama and McCain, for a lot of people...to say that there isnt is to live in a Buddhist fantasy world where we dont make judgements because its too painful and difficult--we'd rather say that both sides are equivalent and none of it really matters.

This is the height of stupidity.

As in many cases, it seems to stem more from fear of wanting to actually face reality.

Reality means that it might actually matter to you if you get divorced--or if a really fucked up dude gets elected president. It might matter if your brother or sister gets sent to Iraq, or your mother-in-law cant marry her partner because gay marriage is illegal.

Just like it mattered when civil rights folks fought for basic civil liberties.

You cant try and pretend none of this matters and call it reality, dude.

This is just your peculiar brand of bullshit to make things feel okay, that no matter what happens "its all just this."

its a crock of shit and a dangerous way to look at the world.

Just my 2 cents

Rich said...

Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera says

"The Buddha discussed the importance and the prerequisites of a good government. He showed how the country could become corrupt, degenerate and unhappy when the head of the government becomes corrupt and unjust. He spoke against corruption and how a government should act based on humanitarian principles. "

"In the Kutadanta Sutta, the Buddha suggested economic development instead of force to reduce crime. The government should use the country's resources to improve the economic conditions of the country. It could embark on agricultural and rural development, provide financial support to entrepreneurs and business, provide adequate wages for workers to maintain a decent life with human dignity."

Buddha also used a vote of the majority in his order to decide, if discussion could not decide an issue. Voting is a responsibility as one of the many and you need to study and research the candidates to decide.

Jinzang said...

This election is important, because good government is important. And people are going to get worked up about it. If they can get worked up about sports or American Idol, why not good government? Save your observation about excess emotionalism for a more appropriate time.

Obama McSame said...

All you silly sutra-spouting goofs. Brad doesn't teach Buddhism. He teaches Real Buddhism (TM), which has nothing to do with Buddhism. Just sit in the proper posture and read Brad's books. Forget all that other stuff.

Saying George Bush is awesome is just so very punk! Wow! What would be even more punk??? Say how awesome Genpo is...that would be punk. All pols are the same, Nixon or McGovern, Lincoln or Jefferson Davis, Hitler or those Weimar liberals, the Taliban or Karzai, all the same, no difference. Just go sit down and shut up. So punk.

Lone Wolf said...

If you've watched the candidates themselves closely, I would say Barack Obama has a more balanced nervous system or calm state compared to McCain's rollercoster of mixed decisions and emotions. Not that Obama is not passionate, but his passion is more concentrated. Plus, the hatred the McCain campaign fuels at rallies is out of line. Obama has ran a much more positive and smarter campaign.

Which is only a few reasons... I'm voting for Obama!

Once I looked at how each candidate views the major issues and what plans they have for the country, I came to my decision rather quickly.

Just my honest two cents for what its worth.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

What's the situation in the meditation hall?

Why get worked up over images on a tv screen?

Rich, how do you KNOW the Buddha said those things about govt.?

Anonymous said...

aaaaahhhh, Brad.
you let so many of us know we aren't alone!

Thank you for taking up this subject for your SG article

Here at the media carnival, there are many clever ways to direct attention elsewhere
even with your eye full upon it, unblinking
the mind blinks
and lordy!

unblinking mind?

you know where to find it.
c'mon you do, yes you DO!
zzzzzzzazzazazaZennnnnahhhhh!

Anonymous said...

*Brad said: "I’m not one for conspiracy theories"

Good. Then maybe you can spend 90 minutes of your time
to brush up on your high-school physics. These days,
that's the most punk rock thing anyone can do. And yeah,
it may be too much to ask for 90 minutes in this age of
sound bites, but what the fuck, that's how long it takes.

Think for your self. Ask questions.

In case you need a high-school physics teacher,
check out David Chandler.

* The weirdest cult of all is the one that believes unquestioningly
in the conspiracy of nineteen Saudis with box-cutters led by one
Saudi in a cave in Afghanistan.

BTW, Obama is owned; the game is rigged.

mike said...

Gniz you got it wrong again again. even mr. mccain admits that obama is a good family man who wants what is best for his country. even obama admits that mccain is a hero who wants what is best for his country. bush ain't a monster, kerry wasn't a savior. your problem is you wouldn't know reality if it bit you in the ass. I know you are stupid but do you? inside joke. just is case you think i am a buddhist brad fanboy, i am not that. you have a lot of nerve saying anyone besides yourself ascends the heights of stupidity, or writes plain bullshit. how dare you bring up american civil rights to justify your stupid opinions. that is lame but typical. start writing to your blog again you coward. i miss you. :)

Alan A said...

philbob said...

>What's the situation in the meditation hall?

>Why get worked up over images on a tv screen?

Sure, why?

'Cause it's not like the images have any basis in reality.

It's not like they're pictures of anything.

Just focus on important things like how it's not zazen(tm) if you don't have your left foot on top.

And wait for the TV images to show up on your doorstep and make an actual difference in your life.

Ah, the meditation cult... can we say "means" and "ends," boys and girls?

gniz said...

Hey Mike--which "Mike" am I speaking to? I have a few notions, but it doesnt matter much.

I'm not evoking civil rights for my own sake. I invoked it to make a point about idiots like Brad (and maybe you) who spout off that McCain and Bush are the same...or that it's silly and pointless to care about politics.

Come on, thats a kind of cowardice too. Sure, the world needs people who do zazen, who sit and practice the art of doing nothing. The world needs some balance.
We all need some balance.

But dont try that b.s. that it's all really equal and there's just "no difference" between someone who advocates for more humsane policies (such as a universal health care, gay civil liberties, or stopping the Iraq War), and a guy who openly advocates the opposite.

Why, thats about as stupid and assinine as saying that there's no difference between Brad and Genpo.

I think the mere fact that Brad can get his panties in a bunch about a harmless twit like Genpo, but could give a fuck about who gets elected president of the most powerful country in the free world--that says a lot about the "reality" of his practice.

But i'm just a guy and i really could give a flying fuck about writing my blog again--so thanks but no thanks for the mention, Mikey.

Anonymous said...

Of course who the leaders of the 'free' world are matters
Of course those who are led by them matter.
Of course the scenes and the behind the scenes matter.
Of course the little man behind the curtain matters.
It all matters. greatly.
The Great Matter matters.
and grey matter matters.

not being attached to outcome, that doesn't mean there is a lack of concern 'who will be prez'
it just means outcome does not pertain
it matters alright
just doesn't pertain

John said...

Gniz, I think we read different articles.

Listen. Voting is good. So get out there and vote. But watch your level of excitement about the process. ...and Perhaps the very slight differences between one candidate and another have some value. I would never say they didn’t.

My interpretation of part of what Brad is getting at, as well as my own thoughts on the subject are discussed thoroughly here in a interview Bill Moyers conducted recently with Andrew J. Bacevich.

The hiring of a leader is important, but it doesn't take our responsibility away. That's why I've never been able to really get behind the impeach Bush movement. Everyone I've talked to seems to want to blame him (I'm not saying he's blameless!) and ignore our responsibility as citizens for our governments actions. As Bacevich states, we have to change our way of life as individuals for the whole thing to change. Who happens to be sitting in the White House isn't nearly as important as that because they are only a reflection of us. The current economic, climate and energy problems are the result of an unsustainable American way of life that has existed for decades. This way of life can not be blamed on, or caused by, one person or even a small group. We have met the enemy and he is us. All of us.

Even though my daily actions might be more important than my vote on one day, I'm voting for Obama and helping with the campaign a little. But I'm not expecting the guy to solve all of the world's (or my own) problems.

This perspective isn't apathy, it is the opposite.

Alphonzen said...

There is a clear-cut good and bad candidate for presidency in this election. Nobody can deny that.

However, what Brad is saying, is not to get too attached to the election.

If the bad side is elected, it won't be the end of the world.

In fact, your resistance to what is, is the biggest problem here.

John said...

and there is only one prez

There was only one and there will never be another.

A-P said...

Politics is a more religious human activity than religions are. It's a religion even for people who don't give ashit about religions.

It's funny to see how ANGRY posts people are putting in that suicide girls piece. I wonder if there are ever so emotional reactions if f.ex. belief in God Almighty(TM) is questioned.

NellaLou said...

Suicide Girls Article: the point would be not to get too excited by vitriolic rhetoric. Yeah OK.

Music: the point would be not to get too excited by stereophonic rhetoric. Yeah OK.

gniz said...

Okay, also then: Don't get too excited about Genpo Roshi, Ken Wilber, and fake Buddhist con-artists.

Mike H said...

Gniz:

It's not this Mike!

I'm underwhelmed by the US Prez elections. The last two haven't done the world economies much help....

Mumon said...

Sorry, I gotta disagree somewhat strongly.

While the case can be made - well - that historically there might not be a difference between the two parties, from any reasoned ethical perspective the Democratic side is indeed superior to the Republican side, and it's a kind of immoral innocence/naivete to pretend otherwise.

Is there manipulation of the process and the voter? Definitely.

But Brad, you must get your hands dirty

Rich said...

"Rich, how do you KNOW the Buddha said those things about govt.?"

I'm relying on the Kutadanta Sutta and others as interpreted by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera.

"In Buddhism, the term "sutra" refers mostly to canonical scriptures that are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. In Chinese, these are known as 經 (pinyin: jīng). These teachings are assembled in part of the Tripitaka which is called Sutra Pitaka. There are also some Buddhist texts, such as the Platform Sutra, that are called sutras despite being attributed to much later authors. Some scholars consider that the Buddhist use of sutra is a mis-Sanskritization of sutta, and that the latter represented Sanskrit sūkta (well spoken)."

Mike the dog said...

Mumon sed: "the Democratic side is indeed superior to the Republican side, and it's a kind of immoral innocence/naivete to pretend otherwise."

There were many causes at work that have brought us to this present situation. To think that one party is better than the other or more or less evil than the other is incorrect. Some People can be better qualified than others to lead people. The Nazi Party arose in Germany in large part due to a treaty imposed on Germany by liberal western governments after WW1. So it can correctly be said that liberal thinking brought about the German Nazi party. Certain conditions existed that made the Nazi Party possible. Nothing arises out of a vacuum. Vote your conscience and be done with it. forget about what you perceive to be superior or inferior.

gniz said...

To say that there's basically no big differences between McCain and Obama is just a few steps away from saying that everything is the same...because i can name quite a few MAJOR differences between the parties and the candidates.
There are also some rather sad similarities, and the political system as a whole is quite broken...we get it
We get that McCain is not the embodiment of evil. I never said he was evil.
Thats beside the point. Even if people intend to do good, there are policies which can inhibit our freedoms and the freedoms of people we care about.
I think that's WAY more important than Genpo Roshi charging 50 grand for a session.
Come on, this election will impact the Iraq war, life and death decisions will be made.
Are you seriously telling me that Brad has more reason to go into hysterics over Ken Wilber and Genpo Roshi than some of us do to get upset about an election that impacts millions of people?

That's just completely asinine thinking, without logic or merit, and it deserves the scorn it gets.

Mumon said...

mike the dog :

One party has pursued policies that have caused more suffering than the policies pursued by the other party.

And sorry, but it's got to be more than "vote and get done with it."

While there is a confluence of all types and motivations in both political parties, we have to ...to paraphrase Rumsfeld...live the life/go to war with the karma we've got. And that means we have to basically go with what appears to be the best path.


The idea that liberal western governments were causative of Nazism is absurd though, and a bit of a sleight of hand anachronism.

"Liberalism" then was hardly what is liberalism today and especially not what progressivism is today.

Keynes - the epitome of liberalism - argued against excessive reparations by Germany.

sumguyonablog said...

"I think the mere fact that Brad can get his panties in a bunch about a harmless twit like Genpo, but could give a fuck about who gets elected president of the most powerful country in the free world--that says a lot about the "reality" of his practice."

Amen Amen Amen
Agree Agree Agree

But...
I think Brad does bring up a good point about getting excited about, attached to and identified with a specific political party or candidate. In politics it's easy to fall into the mindset trap of us good guys against those evil doers.

But...
Exactly the same thing happens in religion. It's very easy to fall into the trap of attachment to and identification with my religion, my sect and my teacher. And while Brad seems aware of the delusion involved in identifying with political parties, he seems oblivious to the same phenomena in sects and teachers. Real Buddhism vs Buddhism. Real Zen vs Zen.

A few years ago he wrote a great article called "I am George Bush". When he can pen a similar article such as "I am Genpo" or "I am Ken Wilbur" then there may be some indication that he understands this point. There is no other.

dzj said...

I have a link for Brad:

http://www.wisefoolpress.com

THE SEARCH IS OVER!

Look at this rave review:

"Jed McKenna's description of life after enlightenment
is so good that 99.9% of his readers might
not understand how truly profound it really is.” - Satyam Nadeen

Mike the dog said...

"Are you seriously telling me that Brad has more reason to go into hysterics over Ken Wilber and Genpo Roshi than some of us do to get upset about an election that impacts millions of people?"

gniz, Seriously! And I can't say I have ever seen Brad being anywhere near as hysterical as you are now. Except maybe that time he got upset about the guy peeing on the toilet seat.

Why get upset about an election will impact millions of people? You have No idea How it will impact anyone. None. No one does.. Some people with inflated egos or crazy religious beliefs think they know in advance how it will all go down, but they don't.

"i can name quite a few MAJOR differences between the parties and the candidates."

So can I. Until they get elected. Politicians will say Anything to get elected. Then they pursue their own agendas. Neocons hate John McCain for just that reason.

Mumon said...

mike the dog:

Why get upset about an election will impact millions of people? You have No idea How it will impact anyone. None. No one does.. Some people with inflated egos or crazy religious beliefs think they know in advance how it will all go down, but they don't.

This - and the rest of your post - comes close to the nihilistic caricature of Buddhists that are often bandied about by certain other religions' apologists.

It is not correct to say we have no idea of how the election will impact people; we indeed have ideas about possible ways in which the election impacts people. We have history, we have current conditions and we as existing beings must live and be and act as informed by that realm of possibility.

It's not a question of whether or not you're going to step off that 100 foot pole; that you're going to step off it is a given.

The question is more of how you're going to step off the 100 foot pole.


Neocons hate John McCain for just that reason.

You totally aren't paying attention. John McCain was the neocon's neocon before it was unfashionable.

gniz said...

Mike the Dog,

You said "gniz, Seriously! And I can't say I have ever seen Brad being anywhere near as hysterical as you are now."
Well, cant i just pull a Brad and tell you that since you've never met me, anything you THINK about my hysterics is really just your imagination? Therefore, to use Brad's (and by extension your) logic, maybe I'm actually very calm when I write my rants and Brad is actually torturing kittens while he writes his Genpo/Wilber rants....

When I say Brad goes into hysterics about Genpo, I'm talking about his ARTICLES. I dont know Brad, so I'm obviously talking about his writing, and without question, Brad's really made it clear that he thinks addressing faux Buddhist con-artist teachers is "important."

How Brad can say that on one hand (which i dont necessarily disagree with), and then go on to say that we shouldn't get too excited about voting or political parties...its absurd. it doesnt stand up to scrutiny. What if i think that McCain and Palin are just as fraudulent as Genpo or Wilber is for Brad?

And let's face it, the impact of a Genpo or a Ken Wilber is simply laughable compared to the effect of a George Bush, Karl Rove, John McCain. Please spare me the idea that we can't tell what these people will do.

They started two wars. They've decimated our economy. I am not saying they're evil. I'm saying they've decimated our economy and have stated that they'd like to take away certain liberties that I personally care a lot about.

So, please, spare me your radical Buddhist bullshit. It's trite, it's insulting, and its beyond illogical.

John said...

gniz said: They started two wars. They've decimated our economy.

That is a radical simplification, especially the "decimated the economy" part. We have decimated the economy all together, and the wars (not just the present ones) are the result of imperialism trying to sustain the American economic way of life of the past 40 or so years. We import more than we export and we borrow money to buy the stuff we import. We rely on artifically cheap oil to make this nonsensical system work.

The Democrats in the legislative branch were put there in a "throw the bums out" election to end the Iraq war, which they have not done. The Bush White House did not cause the subprime mortgage crisis or the commercial paper market freeze by themselves.

If we elect Obama and neglect to change our way of life, it will accomplish very little.

It is important for Brad to talk about Buddhism and BS "Buddhist" teachers because he is a Buddhist teacher. He isn't a political expert or economist.

I sit with Brad regularly and I don't know if I've ever heard him talk about Genpo or Ken Wilbur. Maybe once in the past two years. I brought up Mr. Wilbur in a conversation recently and told Brad my opinion, and his response was something like, "yeah, I could see that". He certainly didn't flip and get all angry.

Mike the dog said...

john sed: "The Democrats in the legislative branch were put there in a "throw the bums out" election to end the Iraq war, which they have not done. The Bush White House did not cause the subprime mortgage crisis or the commercial paper market freeze by themselves."

Yes, The House had more to do with the financial crisis than Bush did..

mumon, Don't be so literal. When I said that no one has any idea what will happen, I was making a point that speculation about future events are just that and to get all hot and bothered over what could happen is not the same as paying attention to what is happening.. And John McCain is not a Neocon. They don't like his stance on immigration, Campaign finance, torture, Gang of 14, Global Warming, and taxes. All Pro-war Republicans are not Neocons.

Gniz, You have never been one to let facts interfere with your feelings. You cool tho..

Mumon said...

mike the dog:

Yeah. McCain's a neocon. (See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism) Neoconservatism has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration, campaign finance, torture, Gang of 14, Global Warming, and taxes, etc., although it should be pointed out that McCain actually caved on most of those issues, most notably and dishonorably on torture.

Neoconservatism does have to do with an interventionist, imperialist foreign policy.


Yeah, I'm passionate about this stuff.

Mike the dog said...

mumon, we might not be able to agree on what a neocon is. wikipedia will not clear up anything.. :)

Anonymous said...

Want to know where you fit in Ideologically?

http://www.selectsmart.com/FREE/select.php?client=zeron

gniz said...

There is little doubt in my mind that the war in Iraq and Bush's presidency (which are fundamentally tied to one another) are the principle causes of our horrible debt and awful financial situation.

I feel quite strongly that had Al Gore or kerry been president the last 8 years, we would not be facing this kind of fiscal crisis.

Though I agree our lifestyles contribute to much of the problem, it doesnt help to have an insane president helping us circle the drain.

Anonymous said...

Like it. Love it. Hate it. Agree with it. Disagree with it. Laugh at it. Cry from it.

I think it's cool, so I'm posting it here, for those who might also think it's cool.

Won't Get Fooled Again

plaudertasche said...

If you think what Brad said in his latest SG article is BS:

The world as it is, is a direct reflection of what we value.
If we don't like what we see, we must question our values (!)

The last sentence of Brad's article is the most important to understand:

"The balance that you retain or lose right now will ultimately have a far greater effect upon the world than who gets elected"

If we don't get this, we will keep chasing our tails and blaming every other being on what's wrong with the world.

Happy Tails...trails

Anonymous said...

even if you put on clean clothes if you didn't wash, you're still dirty
elections are just like this
new prez is like new outfit
underneath them is us, the body they clothe and we are dirty, and we are saying (wrongly) that we'll be all nice and clean with a new prez on
But deep down we know this is not right
Talk to world travelers
Talk to folks who have served 'in country'
What we are accustomed to and experience as 'normal' is a very fragile construction
We are dirty with our ignorances and lack of concern about wastefulness in all areas of our life and the tolerance and acceptance if not outright admiration of greed in it's various manifestations
we clean these places up in ourselves--we're going to look good naked as well as whatever prez we put on

John said...

For those interested in the actual causes of our current situation, not just in how they feel about it, check out the Bacevich interview I linked to previously, as well as these two excellent episodes of This American Life:

The Giant Pool of Money this one deals with the roots and causes of the Real Estate crisis

Another Frightening Show About the Economy the title is self-explanatory. It deals with the credit crisis, subprime, commercial paper and beyond.

Both of these programs explain the economic situation in a detailed way, understandable to the layperson.

Gniz, if all of these experts are wrong, and actually all the problems are just Bush's fault, how about some evidence a little more convincing than just how you feel?

You are right that it doesn't help to have a knucklehead as president. Or maybe we're both just misunderestimating the guy.

gniz said...

I think many people miss the point. I am not blaming EVERY PROBLEM on Bush, nor am I saying Obama will fix everything.

I'm saying it fucking matters. It matters more than who Genpo is charging what, it matters more than 99 percent of the dumb shit Brad is consumed with.

It's not everything.

And I dont deny the fact that balance is important, that our way of life is incredibly destructive, that major changes need to be made on a personal level by millions of people for things to be any different.

But I take issue with Brad and people like him who try to minimize the importance of this election and what the new president will do.

I'm not going to run down a list of explanations about how Bush fucked this country. You dont think he did? The guy is a laughingstock, an international joke. In the time he;s been president we had a terrorist attack, two failed wars, a financial crisis, a hurricane that was handled so poorly it became symbolic of incompetence.

Yeah, i think Bush had a pretty major impact. But hey, lets agree to disagree.

The elections dont mean anything at all. But I definitely will stay awake tonight wondering whether Genpo Roshi is going to reconsider his price structure on those retreats.

babbles said...

As has been noted by Brad and others in the past, it is fair and reasonable to say that the typical Buddhist practitioner tends to sway to the left-leaning 'liberal' side of politics. Therefore in this case one could reasonably assume that the typical Buddhist practitioner would be an Obama supporter.

Assuming that the above is true, we see this sort of backlash both on this blog and over at Suicide Girls where people are insanely upset at Brad for not supporting, what they think, should be a Buddhist position: vote for Obama. I think the fact that Brad does not talk up Obama actually has quite a few people upset . . . which is interesting coming from those people who claim to have a 'liberal' outlook on life. This is exemplified very much so with the comments on the Suicide Girls article.

As is typical, I think many people choose to read Mr. Warner's articles from some obtuse angle and refuse to actually understand his point. These people would rather take a few statements and create some sort of argument centralized around those statements.

gniz is a perfect example. Unfortunately, gniz, you are the exact type of over-hyped person that Brad cautions against. Based on your writings here on this blog, it is difficult to see you as an objective person. For example it appears that you understand very little about what has happened to the economy, but that is in no way going to stop you from being uber-passionated about your opinion. Can you truly not see how that type of behaviour is not ideal?

A co-worker of mine literally broke down in tears because a colleague of hers does not support Obama. She was so passionate and and into Obama her emotions were unhealthy. I would wager many people here have seen this sort of behaviour. It is fine to support and rally behind your candidate of choice. However to get so worked up and so passionately involved for your candidate that you can not perceive things in an objective manner is a serious flaw and likely leads to far more fundamental problems with our society than who gets elected next month.

gniz said...

Babbles, talk about a straw man argument. You say that I attacked Brad for not supporting Obama. I never said such a thing. Find a place where I said it.
I said that Brad's comments about there not being a big difference between candidates, nor a big impact, is asinine.
People on the Suicide Girls site also did not take issue with Brad's support of either candidate, since he didnt mention supporting either.
Like me, they took issue with his condescending "above it all" tone. He talked from a privileged, blindered perspective about it not being a big deal who gets elected.
It is a bid geal.
I am not going to say I'm an expert on the economy. Im not. But i am confident that the Iraq war is part of our tremendous deficit. I am confident that McCain has made clear he is opposed to gays having the same rights as everyone else, is opposed to ending the war, opposed to universal healthcare.
Stop trying to set up a straw man argument. My position is that there are clear differences between the two politicians and that those difference matter very much, are important, and warrant at least as much concern as what Genpo Roshi charges for his enlightenment machine.

Jinzang said...

My German teacher in high school lived through Hitler and World War II. She told us that when Brecht's play Galileo was being performed in Berlin, the actor playing Galileo said, "I must have freedom!" And the audience, denied any other forum for protest, held up the performance for five minutes with applause.

How many times I've thought on that story in the last eight years. When innocent people are held prisoner and tortured. When boarding a plane becomes an act of humiliation and the "terrorist watch list" balloons to a million people. When phone conversations are monitored and library records are searched in secret. I lived through the worst years of the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration and never have I been so concerned for the future of freedom in this country. And that is why it's necessary to turn the page on the political party that thinks dissent in treason and obedience is patriotism and sweep the Republicans out of office.

Anonymous said...

Galileo indeed!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

I hope Brad doesn't mind me digging up this old article from his website using Internet Archive, but I think it relates to the discussion going on here.

From Jan. 2004:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040114190838/http://www2.gol.com/users/doubtboy/complicated.html

Brad, that sure was a good one. Maybe you could rewrite it and put it up on this blog.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

ww2.gol.com/users/doubtboy/complicated.html

Sorry, here's the other half. Not sure how to create a link with my outdated computer

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Or to make it simple, just go to internet archive's site, put the following link in the search bar and click on jan. 2004 when the results come up.

http://www2.gol.com/users/doubtboy/complicated.html

I apologize for my ineptitude.
- Phil

mike the dog said...

Gniz said: "You say that I attacked Brad for not supporting Obama. I never said such a thing. Find a place where I said it."

Gniz, Babbles didn't say you attacked Brad for not supporting Obama... It was NOT SAID! Read it again. You Imagined the whole thing.

Alan A said...

The question here isn't which party or candidate to support - it's whether it's OK or un-Buddhist to be engaged in the election on either side - as a matter of emotion or commitment or interest.

Other traditions struggle with similar questions but are able to resolve them. I'm thinking of the Bhagavad Gita ("involved, but detached from the fruits of your actions.") Or Judaism, which considers tikkun olam (the repair of the world) as a central commitment. Now, you could argue (as I sometimes have) that if you over-emphasize repair of the world at the expense of personal equanimity then you get a bunch of unbalanced people doing harm in the name of doing good. But if you get it right then there's no such problem and you keep both in balance.

Where is Buddhism in this? From what I can gather, there's a range of viewpoints.

Where is Zen?

Where is American Zen?

I'm thinking about that pretty actively right now and I'm considering a possible problem. If you take a monastic, meditative tradition and lift it out of its culture - that is, out of the literature and the group assumptions and the ethical considerations - and plunk it down in the West, what happens? The risk is that you get a self-referential focus on personal calm and detachment. You lose the bigger commitments (to ethical conduct, to meditation as a means rather than as an end) that were always present on its home turf - but not mentioned because you didn't have to. These things were givens orgiinally but they aren't in the American setting.

Is it possible that this stripped-down, modernist practice (which is very appealing exactly because it's stripped down and modernist) becomes one-sided and counterproductive?

Is it also possible that this one-sidedness is responsible for the many instances of roshis behaving badly? Clergy in all faiths behave badly but it sometimes seems that there are systemic problems in American Zen that aren't exactly matched in other faiths - or other branches of Buddhism - that have brought with them more of the culture, the literature, the ethical component.

I'm not raising any of this to be rhetorical - I know that some of you will take it that way but that's not my intent. These are issues that I'm thinking about and working with, and to the extent that I see them playing out here I though I'd mention them.

I'll be interested in your reactions.

Anonymous said...

complicated haiku for the uncomplicated...

"Aren't you glad your mother was pro-life?"

fuck no
she should have gotten an abortion
the dumb cunt

what to do
when sitting has damaged your knee
sleeping pills

idiots and assholes
as far as the eye can see
wisdom and compassion

Stephanie said...

Re: the SG article.

Both perspectives are true.

It's true that some things are worth caring and doing something about.

It's also true that people sometimes invest in the political process a sense of hyperreality (the reference to Baudrillard is intentional). To some, the world begins and ends based on who is elected president. This is a bit of a departure from reality.

The problem with this attitude is that if people don't get what they want--if their candidate doesn't win--they almost seem to want to destroy the world in rage later. They want to give up in the same way a child who didn't get his toy storms out of the room in a temper tantrum.

People storm out instead of saying, "Whoever is elected, I will do what I can to contribute to a better world." There will always be a need for right action, no matter who is president. There will always be fucked up things going on, no matter who is president. There will always be good things going on, no matter who is president.

I am proudly pro-Obama for a number of reasons. He's the only person who's run for president since I've been old enough to care that I truly, deeply respect. I did not have this kind of respect for Gore or Kerry. Obama is a man of great intelligence and compassion. I particularly admire the way throughout his campaign he has focused on how to bring people together and find common ground rather than set them against one another. He's not a saint or the messiah, he's not going to "save" America or the world, but he's the finest damn person I've ever seen run for public office and I sure hope he wins in a few weeks.

If he doesn't win, I will be upset and disappointed, but I'm not going to freak out either. I'll still do what I do regardless.

Justin said...

there are clear differences between the two politicians and that those difference matter very much, are important, and warrant at least as much concern as what Genpo Roshi charges for his enlightenment machine.

Hear hear.

Buddhism is not an ideology of inaction or indifference to the suffering of others. This sort of attitude ('clinging to emptiness') is what Zen warnings about being 'stuck on a 100 foot pole' are about). Buddhism encourages action based on compassion and understanding of consequences.

No one is going around pressurising Buddhists to vote for Obama. If there is a tendency to vote that way maybe that's a natural choice for people who base their important decisions less on blind patriotism and narrow-self-interest and more on compassion and good sense.

Sure it's a good idea not to demonise others or get attached to any ideology.

I think Trey Parker and Brad Warner might find more appeal in declaring support for Bush because they like to be contrary, attention-seeking and supposedly shocking. Who wants to be one more boring predictable anonymous liberal?

Being unattached is not the same as 'rejecting attachment'. Being non-judgemental is not the same as being 'against judgment'. This is just adding one more layer of judgement/attachment. It turns Buddhism into a value system or even an ideology.

Let people talk about politics, let people get excited, let people people support who they will, let people vote. I don't envisage rioting on the streets. Some passion is needed at times. Faced with very passionate, hard-fighting conservatives, a bit of passion on the ground is neccessary for the Democrats to win.

But sure lets not get cut off from the humanity of those who support the other team.

Justin said...

Quote of the day:
"If this kind of apathy disguised as inner peace is Buddhism, then Buddhism is fucking lame. "

Dan said...

Here's a something to consider for those trying to defend Brad's recent article. Re read it but this time swap all references to Obama McCain etc with Genpo and Dogen Sangha etc.

Hmmm?

Justin said...

The bottom line is: do we value being untroubled by the world over the suffering of other people. If the answer is 'yes', isn't that selfish?

We sometimes hear Buddhist arguments that taking care of our own spiritual health is morally more important than how we conduct ourselves with regards to other people since:
1. if we are in a 'healthy' state we will naturally have good effects on others
2. trying to improve things tends to backfire

I think this is often a selfish rationalisation for apathy.

I don't think there's any evidence for 2. As far as 1. is concerned maybe voting and caring about others are the expressions of being in a 'healthy' state and are that state having an effect on the world. The mind doesn't affect the world by magic but through activity.

Stephanie said...

I don't think Brad articulated himself particularly well in this article, but I don't think he was saying that voting, running for office, or engaging in the process of political change are unenlightened or unworthy things. He said he was going to vote and believes it is important to do so. He just doesn't buy into the overly emotionally laden hype around it all, and seemed to be challenging that.

And I agree with it. Again, I deeply admire and support Obama--as a social worker, I know what it means to have a background in community organization and to do that kind of work, what it means about how a person sees the world and the political arena. But I tire of the messianic ravings about the man. I hate those music videos they've done for him where a bunch of starry-eyed celebrities sing as if he's the next coming of Christ.

If anything, I find it all a bit insulting and ridiculous. These people aren't sitting down and talking about the issues in any clear-minded way. They're looking at the thing the way pre-pubescent boys read comic books.

I believe there's a lot a good President, Senate, Supreme Court, etc., can do to put this country back in the right direction, but I also know that not all the problems being pinned on Bush and the Republicans are their fault, and no one is going to "save" this country. That's childish magical thinking--that Obama or anyone else is going to swoop in and set things right.

Life, politics, social change are a lifelong process, a never-ending process. For it to be maintained, motivation needs to come from somewhere other than sentimental enthusiasm, from hype. It needs to come out of a great capacity for compassion, the real ability to imaginatively place oneself in another's position and try to get at least a sense of what it might feel like, a willingness to work for others and a love for people.

Real change efforts are often tedious, boring, and lacking in immediate gratification. People are looking for immediate gratification in this election, as they do in all others. They want something as simple as a vote to fix all of their problems. It's ridiculous.

I agree completely with Brad that all the emotional posturing around this is just ego-gratifying crap. It has nothing to do with real commitment to this country or its people, because real commitment is about being willing to serve others when it isn't gratifying to one's ego. It's being willing to say, "I'm never going to give up, never going to stop working, no matter what happens." It's a very different thing.

km said...

I wonder if reason that people are so fussy is because this is cutting at something so essential in a way that everyone is hot on right now.

It was confusing to see people criticizing Brad's writing for being naive, and to know that Brad's writing is usually about a more fundamental kind of naive.

mike the dog said...

Kodo sawaki said “The right wing is completely wrong. The left wing is also completely wrong.”

That is why in America, systematically, we are always given the choice of two centrist candidates.

Justin said...

Brad gave mixed signals - sometimes he implied moderation and sometimes apathy.

Personally I'm backing McCain. I've got dinner riding on it.

mike the dog said...

Justin, It seemed to me Brad was just giving different perspectives. I didn't see any apathy. It does seem like you see what you expect to see. Are you backing Mccain or betting on McCain? You gave us mixed signals. :)

plaudertasche said...

PhilBob-SquareHead : Thanks for the link to the article!

Looks like it doesn take a NY second for people to fall right into what Brad was "warning" about: Getting out of balance and manifesting division.
It is to "funny" how people get bend out of shape when it comes to shoving their opinions down others peoples minds. Those who claim to be open minded become righteous and the self-proclaimed Buddhist get pompous :))

And we wonder why the world is the place we create?!

From Hadz's poem:
"O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing –Now!"

Anonymous said...

"Being unattached is not the same as 'rejecting attachment'. Being non-judgemental is not the same as being 'against judgment'. This is just adding one more layer of judgement/attachment. It turns Buddhism into a value system or even an ideology."

Great point!
Thankyou for your insight and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Some thrilling overreactions on the site. People flailing about their polarised position the moment it was nudged - & basing it on an imaginary polarised version of brad's writing! Like hysterical babies. Good god.
The guy posting the photos: what a tragedy that kind of smarmy response is.

Anonymous said...

Here's a something to consider for those trying to defend Brad's recent article. Re read it but this time swap all references to Obama McCain etc with Genpo and Dogen Sangha etc.

Hey, hey hey, hey. Do that and you get a pretty inconsitent mr warner- but doesn't invalidate the message of the article.

AtotheB said...

You referenced The Prisoner!!! I own the box set and think it is one of the greatest things created. Good analogy. Living today does feel much like we are all just numbers. "you are number two!"

alan a said...

Stephanie - thanks for your comments. Extremely helpful.

Justin said...

Some thrilling overreactions on the site. People flailing about their polarised position the moment it was nudged - & basing it on an imaginary polarised version of brad's writing! Like hysterical babies. Good god.
The guy posting the photos: what a tragedy that kind of smarmy response is.


Isn't it weird how Brad's blog attracts all these overreacting types? Everyone else in the world (other than Brad and a few others) needs to just GET A GRIP!

Seriously - While most of Brad's article amounted to 'don't get to excited or demonise the other side' which is sensible, he did say "The balance that you retain or lose right now will ultimately have a far greater effect upon the world than who gets elected." which is far-fetched as well as being an argument for political apathy - it is prioritising your own personal tranquility over the suffering of millions. Kodo Sawaki's quoted views here argue for apathy too and perhaps have a lot to do with Sawaki having been burned by his previous support for Japanese imperialism.

So it's entirely reasonable and understandable that some people object. And yes it is because of what Brad wrote, not because they have necessarily misunderstood him and not just to be explained away in terms of the supposed failings of anyone who criticises Brad.

Dan said...

"Hey, hey hey, hey. Do that and you get a pretty inconsitent mr warner- but doesn't invalidate the message of the article."

Well it invalidates one or the other. It's difficult to see how it makes sense to write with one kind of attitude about Genpo and Ken and then to have a completely opposing attitude when discussing something WAY more important than Big Mind - who will run the US.

plaudertasche said...

Brad: "The balance that you retain or lose right now will ultimately have a far greater effect upon the world than who gets elected."

Looks like a lot of people did not grasp that.

Just imagine for a crazy moment:
We and everything what exists in the universe is made up off energy.
Put in imbalance, out comes imbalance.
Put division out..
Put hate out...
Put anger out...
Put fear out...

Being in (real) balance has nothing to do with apathy. It may seem to the mind that way, which holds the believe "only if I am angry or fed up enough I am able to go and change the bad to good"

But doing "good" while driven by anger, creates this bipolar energy: on 1 hand you do good but on the other you manifest anger.
If we could do good because we feel good and in balance, we will put out something entirely different! Something which will move things beyond our minds.

As Gandi said: "I am not against the British, I am for a free India."

Why do we think we have to be against something in order to be for something?

Anonymous said...

"Why do we think we have to be against something in order to be for something?"


Cos you're a stupid hippy?

Anonymous said...

Put division out..
Put hate out...
Put anger out...
Put fear out...

Before you put them out, accept them, embrace them, learn from them, for they are a part of you and in letting them go your actions will be correct and your true self is realized. This is an art not a science so keep practicing.

Anonymous said...

Anony Mous: I smell a rat!

proulx michel said...

A-P said...

Politics is a more religious human activity than religions are. It's a religion even for people who don't give a shit about religions.

The title that gave Roman Emperors their political power was that of "Greatest Pontiff" (Pontifex Maximus) pontiff meaning "bridge maker" (Emperor was a military title and only meant he was the Generalissimo). Pontifex Maximus was a religious title and as such was snatched up by the Popes.

Anonymous said...

everything zen? i don´t think so.

Anonymous said...

Ah the human drama - this race is the MOST IMPORTANT EVER!

As if this hasn't been going on for centuries and will be going on until the sun dies, another ice age or global warming actually happens.

Regardless, it is all just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic!

The human drama is something to keep us busy until we die.

Anonymous said...

"The human drama is something to keep us busy until we die."

Ah! Do I deiect a bit of George Carlin's ZEN?

http://www.amazon.com/George-Carlin-Its-Bad-Ya/dp/B001D5C1FI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1225126355&sr=8-1

Christine Vyrnon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.