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In Hanoi in 1998, poet Phan Huyen Thu gave me an anthology of the earliest Vietnamese prose, a book that’s now in a box in Moorestown, NJ, at my friend Ian Keenan’s house. Along with all my other books, which constitute my mental terrain, roughly, I won’t see it again. Life is loss, in installments.

Though I read every page with much interest, all its characters have disappeared, except a certain ghost that used to bother people at a Hanoi wet market. Meaning no harm, he was just frustrated, it’s clear, at not being seen and heard properly, like the rest of us, especially now.

In a 15th century account of just over 100 words, this ghost lives, then, an individual with sane, normal needs. Though fleshless, he’s social and keeps no distance, unlike too many of us, entombed, as we are, in a chimeric fear. Snap out of it, fools!

Granted, we had faded into nearly nothing even before this. By consensus, we had agreed to become mostly virtual. Still, handshakes were normal, hugs were OK and we routinely saw each other’s lips, teeth and tongue. Now, with our body’s last exposed orifices concealed, we move singly along, rubbing against nothing.

This regiment of self-erasure hasn’t been followed universally, however. Here and there, as in Sub-Saharan Africa and most of the Balkans until recently, people have maintained their ordinary tics and intercourses. During my 21 months of Covid-enforced wandering, I’ve been lucky to encounter life as it has always been, with people, almost unthinkingly, just being themselves, most gloriously. Let’s meet three.

In downtown Skopje, there’s Ramstone Mall, which bills itself as not just a center of shopping, but of friendship. Filled with anticipation, I barged in and wasn’t disappointed. In a wooden shack, there’s a white haired man drawing portraits under a sign, “ART STUDIO/ SAIGON / SABEDIN EJUPI.”

“Excuse me, Sir, but why is your studio called Saigon? I’m, uh, from Saigon.”

Showing not the least surprise at having such an unlikely visitor, 64-year-old Sabedin Ejupi explained that when he was 11, a chocolate company had a promotion. Each piece of chocolate came with a picture of a national capital. If you could collect the entire set, you’d win a prize.

Sabedin and his friends, then, bought way too many pieces of chocolate. With infinite patience, they gathered, you know, Washington, Paris, Moscow, Peking, Seoul and Cairo, etc., but no one ever came up with Saigon. With the Vietnam War raging, that elusive city was always in the news, like a daily taunt to these frustrated Macedonian boys.

Fate touched Sabedin, however, for he heard there was a place that sold these pictures. He went there and, sure enough, they had the extremely rare Saigon one! What a miraculous snatch!

Winning, Sabedin wasn’t just the envy of all his friends, he became Saigon, that unreachable, ghostlike city now reduced to just one tiny, inaccurate photo. It could have been anywhere, really. More Saigon than me, Sabedin was still Saigon half a century later, and he’ll die as Saigon, of course, without ever seeing his namesake.

My first morning in Cape Town, I walked nearly the length of Kloof onto Long. In any new city, each building is curious, each shop sign, each passerby. Near the corner of Wale, some grinning guy at a sandwich stand yelled at me, “Hey!”

I just had a long flight, I thought, with two layovers. I slept on the floor in Rome. I haven’t had breakfast. Just leave me alone, man. I don’t want your sandwich. Looking at him, I nodded and grinned, quickened my pace.

Each time after that, he would do the same, even when I was on the other side of the street, so I said, “You’ve got to stop yelling at me, man. I’m afraid to walk by you!”

Finally, I bought a cup of coffee from this dude. We talked. As I got to know him better, I realized he yelled at everybody, in the most cheerful way. Seeing a woman walking by, he might say while putting two fists to his chest, “Oh, I’m so happy!”

“You’re a total whore, man. You flirt with every woman!” I ribbed.

“They’re beautiful.”

“Hey, that’s a good attitude. I hate guys who always judge women. She’s this, she’s that, but then, look at you, man!”

“That’s right. Ha, ha!”

“Hey, you didn’t say hello to her!”

“Which one?”

“That one.” Studiously, we stared at this lithe woman in a tight, gray dress strolling away.

“I didn’t see her.”

“She’s offended.”

“I can’t say hello to her if I don’t see her.”

Twenty-seven-years-old, he had never been outside South Africa. Though white enough, he actually had a colored father, whom he had no memory of. His dad was abusive to his mom, so she moved away and raised two sons alone. She’s English.

Like most working people, he was not a reader, it’s clear, so his knowledge of the world was very limited. So what. Once, he asked me if the Portuguese language was native to Angola? Another time, if cheeseburgers were popular in the USA?

Like most South Africans, he’s fluent in Afrikaans and English, of course, but since he didn’t have a third language, like most South African blacks, he was trying to teach himself Xhosa. It’s not easy, he stated, for there were few resources online, but he was determined. Each language is a new, unsuspected universe. Plus, none is as rooted to that land as Xhosa. Going nowhere, he dug.

Already, I’m in Windhoek five weeks. I’ve just moved into my second apartment. It’s bigger, quieter yet cheaper. My landlord is an Indian who’s interesting to talk to.

Most of the streets in my neighborhood honor German composers, Beethoven, Bach, Wagner, Brahms, Schubert, Strauss, Mozart and Gluck. Hey, where are Mendelssohnstrasse and Schoenbergstrasse?! For such blatant antisemitism, Windhoek must be renamed Stevereichstadt, Bobdylanburg or, simply, Streisand.

ORDER IT NOW

Compared to Cape Town or, frankly, Columbus, Ohio, Windhoek is a bit dull, but this suits me fine, for I need rest. There are no cafes or restaurants near me, just an old woman across Beethoven who sells lunch, I suppose, from a single pot. I haven’t asked her to lift the lid.

Half a mile away, though, there’s Old Location, a bar and restaurant named after a black neighborhood that was cleared out by the South Africans, when they ruled Namibia.

Drinking a Hansa there one day, I met our final character for this article. Seeing Joana walk in, the barmaid tensed up, but served her anyway. A short, wild-eyed woman in her 60’s, Joana lost no time raving. Clearly unhappy with this earth, she started to rant about space exploration.

“So you’re a philosopher,” I said.

“And a politician!”

“Why do you want to go to space? There’s nothing there. I’d rather stay here.”

“But we must explore!”

Turning to the barmaid, I asked, “Do you want to go to space?”

“Are you making fun of me?” Joana snapped.

“No, I’m just saying. There’s nothing out there. Everything is here.”

“You’re right. It is horrible, but everything is here.”

Frowning slightly, the barmaid clearly didn’t want me to encourage Joana, but it was too late. I learnt she was an ex-teacher who lived with several relatives just down the street. “Come,” she said, “I want to show you how we live.”

Leaving my mug, I said to the unsmiling barmaid, “I’ll be right back.” Joana walked out with her beer.

In Vietnam or Naples, you can often see how strangers live by walking by their homes, or stare into their rooms from your upper floor window. In the USA, you can live next to a cannibal for several decades without knowing it.

Every so often, there’s a muffled scream, but it’s just his TV, obviously. “Please don’t stab me!” Geez, he really likes horror movies, you conclude.

Just like that, I met an articulate old man, cigarette smoking old woman, smiling young woman in curlers, pretty teenaged girl and a chubby boy, all related to Joana, and all living in houses without electricity or running water. Useless TVs, stoves and microwaves silently mock them.

The old man had been a laborer until disqualified by age. The woman in curlers was unemployed, though with an associate degree in tourism and hospitality. The teenaged girl was Joana’s granddaughter. After her mother had died, her father disappeared.

In Joana’s home, I noticed a bible in English, but also My Groot-Groot Storieboek in Afrikaans, with marked her as a Baster. Her lighter skin reinforced this conclusion. Of mixed Dutch and Bushmen ancestries, Basters are centered in Rehoboth, a town of just 29,000 people. It’s instructive how they cling to their bastard heritage. You are who you are.

With indignation, Joana showed me her just-received layoff letter:

We write this letter to inform you that your services have been terminated effective 1 November 2021. This has been necessitated by your continued absence from work.

This has costed the school a lot in terms of service delivery, if not reputation. It is paramount that your perennial illness can not be tolerated. The school through the Principal’s Office tried to consel you to clarify that your frequent unauthorized absence from duty is not encouraged in our work environment, but you did not take heed of this.

Despite the warnings and a fair chance to mend your ways, there has been no change […]

As the only one working in that extended family, Joana should not have tossed her job away, obviously, but I don’t know the forces that have shaped or deformed her down the decades, nor if I could have survived them any better. We slog along until we break down, go mad or drop dead.

Stumbling along, we often help each other, but suddenly, all basic human acts, from smiling to touching, or just being together, etc., are absurdly thwarted, if not outlawed. Even breathing freely has become illegal. Keep your mask on, over your nose!

Beyond madness, it’s evil. Only the most moronic or complicit can excuse this anti-life agenda. There are no missteps here. They’re squeezing the life out of us, step by step, deliberately.

A while back I suggested that, at the very least, each man should be left alone to be ordinary. Sneering, a supercilious reader countered that Jews must aspire for the sublime and, moreover, we should follow their example!

The divine, though, is already in every batted eyelash, grain of rice, smallest act of generosity or scuttling cockroach. Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along?

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society, History • Tags: South Africa 
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  1. Emslander says:

    Yes, Linh, I believe you’ve nailed it again. We all feel it, even the greedy clowns who used the flu to transfer those multiple trillions of dollars from the poor to themselves. They feel it, too, and are just compensating. This system is the enemy of normal humanness.

  2. Plus, none is as rooted to that land as Xhosa.

    Xhosa is a Bantu language, brought by invaders (sorry, “immigrants looking for opportunity”) maybe 1500 years ago. It is hardly more indigenous than Afrikaans.

    The original languages of the land are languages like Khoekhoe (what we used to call “Hottentot”), or !Kung (the language of the Bushmen). But there are probably almost no resources available to learn them (and very few people left you could talk to). Sort of like learning Iroquois in New York state.

    • Agree: gT, Rogue
    • Thanks: chris
    • LOL: Ace
    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  3. Dumbo says:

    Beyond madness, it’s evil. Only the most moronic or complicit can excuse this anti-life agenda. There are no missteps here. They’re squeezing the life out of us, step by step, deliberately.

    You should see what is going on currently in countries such as Austria, Germany…

    All places locked except for those with a “vaccine certificate”, but there’s no advantage, for people still have to wear masks, and the certificate is valid for six months or so. That doesn’t show much faith in the vaccine, does it. In some locations they are moving to 2G+, which means, vaccine certificate PLUS a test to enter.

    It’s all madness. It has nothing to do with any disease, real or imaginary (and in fact several studies have shown that “vaccine passports” are useless to reduce cases of disease, but what do they care? It is obvious by now even to the mentally challenged that this is more about the “passport” part than the “vaccine” one. It is an exclusion and punishment tool.)

    But that’s not what’s craziest about it, but the fact that most people simply accept it matter of factly as just another bullshit they have to deal with. I guess, the more totalitarian you get, the more people accept it. Not necessarily because they believe it, but because you’ve been subject to so much abuse, that what’s one more? We’ve had social distancing, mandatory masks, lockdowns, now mandatory vaccines, vaccine passports, everything was pointless, but well, if you accepted all other previous abuses, what’s one more jab, one more crazy rule about how many people you can meet for Christmas?

    I can see this going on forever.

    I have never lived in a Communist country, but it seems to me that it must have been similar. Although perhaps even the commies were not such control freaks.

  4. Wild Bill says:

    Ah, Linh. You should have been a gold miner. You are so good at digging out the tiny specks of real wealth in our humanity. “The divine, though, is already in every batted eyelash, grain of rice, smallest act of generosity or scuttling cockroach.”

    “each man should be left alone to be ordinary.” is a concept that offends the ruling class. There are costs for transgressing that natural law. Just this morning, a man in Russia going in to apply for a passport was told by a security guard to put a mask on. In reply, he killed the guard and the administrator and shot the place up, wounding others. We are not far from that here. A lot of people are “packing heat” and when you drive down the road you have to be careful if you glance at a driver next to you lest you unintentionally offend. ln any case, it is good to know your still alive and kicking.

    • Agree: GomezAdddams
    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  5. Idefix says:

    Having lived (and been born) in the USSR, no, the commies were never such control freaks. In fact, everything was quite loose and shoddy, also in terms of enforcement. If you had a friend or a spare bottle of vodka you could get away with anything, including going anywhere and stealing anything in (always) state-owned companies.

  6. Dumbo says:

    Look here at just one example of what this madness is generating. A man apparently shot his wife and small kids in Germany, for fear of the crazy CoroNazi policies:

    https://www.rt.com/news/542469-covid-certificate-murder-suicide-germany/

    I wonder, will those be classified as “Covid deaths”?

    No matter, I guess, dying from Covid, Covid vaccines, or lack of Covid passes, it’s all the same to the elite. As long as you’re dead, you’re good.

    • Replies: @Wild Bill
    , @littlewing
  7. Wild Bill says:
    @Dumbo

    That was truly tragic. A man overcome by fear of his government loses his sanity and kills those close to him. Fear can do that. It is pointless to entertain it. It is not over until it is over so never give up, make them work for your hide. In the story of Taras Bulba (spoiler alert) he is captured and burned at the stake where his own troops can witness his end so he laughs at his captors while he burns.

    • Replies: @Truth
  8. BorisMay says:

    Life is a spiritual journey which modern man has perverted in to a materialistic trip.

    The new secular religions are:
    Covid
    Woke
    Green

    None of them offer love, forgiveness or hope.

    They do, however, offer feelings of doing the right thing by…
    Wearing a face nappy
    Social distancing
    Having multiple jabs

    But the Rothschilds, Rockerfellas and other assorted oligarchs will find the hate, loathing and abuse they have sanctioned against those who refuse to comply with their fascist agenda will ultimately result in their downfall, as all absolute dictators in history have discovered.

    Meanwhile there’s this bloke tripping around the world bringing new perspectives on old places, to entertain his benighted sufferers enduring as best they can. Better medicine than money can buy.

    Keep up your spiritual journey…it is much appreciated.

    • Replies: @Montefrío
  9. Many readers feel great gratitude for your work, Mr. Dinh. It is a treasure. Unlike your valued anthology of Vietnamese poetry, your writing will never be out of site in a box in New Jersey. It flows all around the world, all the time. We are fortunate. Stay safe and well. You are greatly needed.

    • Agree: Irish Savant
    • Replies: @anonymous
  10. “ In the USA, you can live next to a cannibal for several decades without knowing it.”

    I guess loneliness is a bigger threat to Americans than Russian hypersonic nuclear armed missiles.

    “ Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along?”

    I supposed the question goes first to the White race and then to everybody else. White deference to authority should please the PTB but it is proving to be their undoing. The same goes for South East Asians, but at least they never claimed to be individualistic like Whites. Kudos for the third world Africans for being the least compliant with the diktats of the Covid madness. Sometimes guts are far more important than intelligence.

    • Replies: @Joe Paluka
    , @PJ London
  11. Ping Pong says:

    Hello Linh

    Are you homeward bound to Vietnam? I look forward to hearing your reports from there. Can its traditional culture survive the ravages of modernization?

  12. @Joe Levantine

    “White deference to authority should please the PTB but it is proving to be their undoing.”

    Things are still comfortable for most whites, wait till there are shortages of food, no electricity or gas. Politicians will be strung up or burned. Whites have a breaking point, it’s just that they have a longer fuse than the darker races. Once the power goes off, it’s just much more intense.

    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
  13. unwoke says:

    “Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along”

    That’s the whole point of marxist cancel culture: to make perverts, ‘normality’; homos on top.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  14. dearieme says:

    Life is loss, in installments.

    That’s good.

    Years ago I read an investment manager of stern Presbyterian bent. “Think of life as a series of liabilities.”

  15. One-off says:

    There are no missteps here. They’re squeezing the life out of us, step by step, deliberately.

    Yes, the endgame is to dehumanize us. The inhumanity, the anti-humanity, actually, is the point. Yet where I live, where most people live, really, even in the shadow of those who want to strangle all vibrancy from life, masks remain a novelty, “social distancing” is met with a smirk, vaccine mandates exist on paper in places not at all that important to the daily rhythm.

    The Reign of the Vax and Mask may last for a while longer, but its empire is friable and the reach is shrinking even though its grip remains powerful in bursts of hubris and rage. It is the perfect coda for an evil empire in its death throes, a pointless prick meant to control more than to save or kill, impotent against a virus and ultimately a failure as an affront.

    We will come out of the shadow.

    Thanks for another beautiful postcard, Linh.

    • Thanks: Joe Levantine
    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
    , @Johan
  16. fausto says:

    Wonder why people need Jewsus hocus pocus when the world is full of miracles. Just look.

  17. Anon[179] • Disclaimer says:

    ‘…. Along with all my other books, which constitute my mental terrain, roughly, I won’t see it again. Life is loss, in installments….’

    What’s this Linh ? You never going back ?

  18. Anon[179] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dumbo

    ‘…. I have never lived in a Communist country, but it seems to me that it must have been similar. Although perhaps even the commies were not such control freaks…..’

    Many communist ‘dictatorships’ were much more free than the US or England today. I lived in one such dictatorship for a few years in the 1980s. It was a vibrant free society compared to the US today

    • Agree: Miro23
    • Replies: @Bugey libre
    , @Craig Nelsen
  19. Sneering, a supercilious reader countered that Jews must aspire for the sublime and, moreover, we should follow their example!

    It’s more like they aspire for the slime. No greater proof the Bible is divinely inspired truth than John 8:44, Rev 2:9, and Rev 3:9.

  20. There are no missteps, Linh. All of this evil is deliberate and coordinated. Though it appears bumbling at times, and it does, their evil intent is as focused as ever.

  21. Franz says:

    Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along

    Normality is passive. Perversion is active.

    American writer Sydney J. Harris once said, “The most horrible statement I know is ‘the only thing necessary for evil men to win is that good men do nothing’. But if good men do nothing in the face of evil, they are not good. They are cowards and cowardice is evil.”

    If freedom means the right to be our potty little selves (Chesterton) than freedom is dead. There is no self allowed to be potty. There is no freedom to enjoy a potty little afternoon on the river. Freedom is dying every day.

    • Replies: @Justrambling
  22. In the olden days, we would have called such a regime “satanic” without any hint of sarcasm or metaphor. One of the greatest losses for the West as a result of its trashing religion through its “rationality” and “science” and therefore not understanding anything at all about the meaning, significance and heart of religion, is the total ignorance and total non-recognition of evil, the devil’s or diabolo’s work. Such work is characterized by division – the ‘de’ or di prefix meaning two – a splitting or separation. Christianity and Islam especially, with its central understanding of ‘tawhid’ or ‘oneness’ or unity as in ‘universe’ as well as Hinduism and Buddhism, understand that reality is one whole which cannot be divided and is by its very nature, indivisible. This is contrary to the central principle of Judaism, which is ‘kadosh’ – separate, other. So God is other but so are the Jewish people – other than any other people and this otherness is characterized by the assertion in the Talmud, that Jews have souls and spirity whereas the others, the goys, only have spirit.
    It is our rational brains which divide things up, categorize them as if they don’t belong to each other, etc.

    So if we observe this new Kovidian di-verse (thank you for Kovidian Dr. Thomas Willkinson) it is characterized by division and separation from the smallest to the greatest. Is this why so many suspect that it is the product of Jews and their lackeys?

  23. I believe that we’re on the point of a singularity, something that has never been experienced before, a singularity that’s Manichaen, the ultimate battle between Good and Evil.

    • Agree: Joe Levantine
    • Replies: @gay troll
  24. @Joe Paluka

    “ Whites have a breaking point, it’s just that they have a longer fuse than the darker races. Once the power goes off, it’s just much more intense.”

    Amen to that. I would very much want to believe it but I have a feeling that Whites have become too soft. I hope the fuse is getting near expiry for nothing would please me more, or renew my faith in a loving God more, than seeing Western politicians who pushed for wars of choice including the latest Covid war, hanging from lamp posts for they have proven to be a bunch of corrupt, treasonous, cowards, fools, freaks and liars.

    • Agree: Bugey libre
  25. @Dumbo

    It’s not madness in the context of the NWO Great Reset agenda. Makes perfect sense actually.

    • Replies: @Hamlet's Ghost
  26. Truth says:
    @Wild Bill

    He didn’t lose his sanity, rather, he did a Kyser Soze and killed his family before his enemies could.

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
    • Replies: @Wild Bill
  27. …and ultimately a failure as an affront.

    I like that, and have to laugh at wretches who evidently believe they can goose the fraud forever as if their idiocy isn’t obvious.

  28. anonymous[324] • Disclaimer says:
    @LinhDinhFan

    Was touched by that eloquent statement of Linh Dinh above

    In Hanoi in 1998, poet Phan Huyen Thu gave me an anthology of the earliest Vietnamese prose, a book that’s now in a box in Moorestown, NJ, at my friend Ian Keenan’s house. Along with all my other books, which constitute my mental terrain, roughly, I won’t see it again. Life is loss, in installments.

    with Linh Dinh’s poignant certainty he won’t be in the presence of those items again … the kinds of small things that induce great comfort in where one lives, and which one misses quietly but deeply.

    Though Linh Dinh’s travelogues are profound and valuable, I am increasingly struck with how global travel of the jet-set era is maybe a kind of cultural mistake. Maybe we humans are more creatures of home and a single place, than we like to admit.

    Maybe the spirits of his ancestors will guide Linh Dinh towards ‘home’ one day, wherever that may be. And maybe those books and other items will be available once again for him to hold in the late evening hours.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  29. HalconHigh says: • Website

    Hey Linh….Windhoek looks pretty cool. That big church in the middle of the roundabout is interesting.

    Trevor Noah, the Black kid from S Africa who replaced Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is being hammered for suggesting that we might not need a booster shot for Omicron.
    Nice to see Noah finally grew a pair.

    We are, of course, completely & utterly safe here in the good ol’ USA .

    With leaders like Trump, Biden, Pelosi & McConnell, what could possibly go wrong ?

  30. Thanks for introducing these people to us, Linh.
    Once getting off a night train in Varanasi UP and making for the budget Blue Star Hotel, my guide, hotel cook Choto under five feet and skinny but nonetheless insisted on carrying my pack, ensured that I avoided an open manhole in the dimly-lit street and possible serious injury. Someone had removed the cover, probably to sell as scrap iron.
    People do what they have to do.
    Or what their mind tells them to do, like Joana.
    Or the German who killed his wife, children then himself b/c covid.

    There’s a big account building for the necromancers and their obedient servants.

    Wishing you continued safe travel, Linh.
    May fortune favour you.

  31. @dearieme

    Life is expensing of the consumption of the assets you brought to it.

  32. @BorisMay

    Life is a spiritual journey which modern man has perverted in to a materialistic trip.

    Just so.

    As for the oligarchs being brought down, I’m not holding my breath.

    Linh Dinh is my favorite among the writers here. Kudos, sir, and keep up the good work! If you ever make it to Argentina, my village might be of interest to you and I have a spare bedroom.

  33. “Life is loss, in installments.”

    Great line, Linh. Thank you.

    • Replies: @Bombercommand
  34. gay troll says:
    @Irish Savant

    Singularity is beyond good and evil.

  35. gay troll says:

    When Jesus rode down on a rainbow and wended his way into his mother’s immaculate vagina, he was on a mission. He knew that within a generation, 40 years hence, the Jews would suffer a great calamity and nearly be wiped from the face of the Earth. He knew that Jerusalem and its Temple would be ruined.

    Knowing that the Jews, some of whom recognized Jesus as their King, were going to perish utterly at the hands of Titus, what does Jesus tell the Jews to do? Does he tell them to focus on their family and local community, to save sound money, to network and resist and prepare for war? On the contrary, he tells them to prepare for defeat. He tells them to leave home, abandon family, surrender wealth and possessions, to not resist their enemies and not fear killers of the body, and to stop thinking about tomorrow entirely.

    If Jesus Christ actually reprised his role from the Gospels in 2021, he would come back to warn us that we will all be dead within a generation, and therefore we should take as many jabs as possible. Maybe he’ll strike a new deal with a new chosen people once all of us have been disposed of.

  36. Hardrock says: • Website

    Exquisite prose, as usual.

    “Like most working people, he was not a reader, it’s clear, so his knowledge of the world was very limited. So what.”

    I would like to see your list of recommended reading….trade ya. Here’s mine
    https://borderlandjournal.com/recommended-reading/

  37. Emslander says:
    @gay troll

    Maybe you’re a little resentful that Jesus is willing to forgive even you, Gay, if only you repent and sin no more.

  38. Dumbo says:
    @gay troll

    Only a gay troll would write something like that. You’ve written useful stuff before, but perhaps a “gay troll” is not the best person to talk about the Christian religion? Unless it’s about some homoerotic pagan cult. Perhaps in ancient Babylon there would be something that suits you? 😀 😛

    https://symbolsage.com/babylonian-gods-a-list/

  39. Treg says:

    Linh’s writing is simply marvelous. I always looking forward to it.

    • Agree: follyofwar
  40. Hardrock says: • Website

    I find myself reading this over and over, discovering more each time….this ghost in Hanoi, a child you cast out because you can’t bear his wails of loneliness and heartbreak. And now decades later, he still scratches at the door in the middle of the night but you do not let him enter? Why?

    I think I understand but who can know another. Forgive me, I mean no harm either.

  41. @gay troll

    Jesus told them that they had become the very evil party of their own story and that their destruction as a whole nation should be hallowed as a victory as it was in conformity with the best wishes of their own ancestors. He was to show by his own gory example that his people were not the good guys but the very enemy their ancestors had seen under the form of Sodom, Egypt, Babylon… In today’s America he would have been first welcomed by Trump like Assange and then kept in prison by Trump who would have rather given his presidential pardon to scoundrels from the Blackwater. Jesus would have announced the demise of America and especially of American Christian religion as something that would have allowed the world to breath at last. Jesus had no objection against anybody who would rather fight as a Roman legionary, like Cornelius, provided he would refrain from pillage and be satisfied with his legal salary.

  42. @Dumbo

    The US would be Austria, maybe even Australia, if not for the Second Amendment, and federal judges with the courage to block idiot Biden’s vax mandates. The Constitution and Federalism may yet save us from the worst of it. With these mandates being struck down one by one, I’ll bet many who reluctantly gave in to the tyrants to keep their job are now pissed off that they didn’t wait for the courts to act. Once vaxxed, like losing one’s virginity, there’s no turning back.

    • Agree: chris, RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Wild Bill
  43. @nosquat loquat

    Actually, cribbed from the title of Ferdinand Louis Celine’s second novel “Morte A Credit”, usually rendered in English “Death On The Installment Plan”. In France, “a credit” is the same as an “installment plan” in The United States. A fabulous, hilarious novel. Celine’s first novel “Journey To The End Of The Night” is fabulous&hilarious too, start with that one. “Morte A Credit”, his second novel, is a prequel to “Journey” about the character’s childhood. The real fine wine is Celine’s final novels: “D’un Chateau L’Autre”(“Castle To Castle”), “Nord”(“North”), and “Rigadon”(Rigadoon”). I haven’t read Rigadoon, Celine died the day after finishing the initial typescript and it was edited by his wife and a lawyer friend, so some critics are not sure it reflects the finished product as Celine would have wanted. Ferdinand Louis Celine is absolutely the funniest writer on earth, his humor is sharp and hilarious. His legacy has been savaged by the media, accusing him “antisemitism” and claiming the great theme of his work is “hate”…hmm sounds like the kosher slur-mongers are upset…Celine’s real theme is the hilarious absurdity of life, more laughs per page than any other writer, and I’ve only read the English translations, he must be amazing in French.

  44. @Wild Bill

    A man in Germany killed his wife, 3 children and then himself as he had a fake covid pass and was afraid of being arrested. It’s a sad sad world we are blindly stumbling into.

  45. @One-off

    The Reign of the Vax and Mask may last for a while longer, but its empire is friable and the reach is shrinking even though its grip remains powerful in bursts of hubris and rage. It is the perfect coda for an evil empire in its death throes, a pointless prick meant to control more than to save or kill, impotent against a virus and ultimately a failure as an affront.

    We will come out of the shadow.”

    I’m not so sure. I think this is a classic “Boiling Frog” experience. The frog will forget all that’s happened unless he strangulates the boiler; because the next time we froggies will be boiled with the lid on the pot.

    • Replies: @The_MasterWang
  46. Che Guava says:

    The earliest Vietnamese poetry? From what you say, it is surprisingly recent.
    That must originally have been, not in modified Roman script, but in kanji, or whatever that is called in Vietnamese.

    Do you read the old orthography? If not, part of the original meaning is lost.

  47. Wild Bill says:
    @Truth

    “He didn’t lose his sanity, rather, he did a Kyser Soze and killed his family before his enemies could. ”
    Goebbels did the same, but those men had real enemies that could never be deterred and no possibility of escape. This poor fellow just had pimps for enemies and a vivid imagination.

  48. @Bombercommand

    Indeed, Céline in French is amazing, it’s a permanent explosion of words. When I was about 18 years old it just fascinated me. I tried to write like him at that time, it was a good exercise. I wonder. How come one could have translated that language! Still, there exists great human translators.

    It’s like translating Christopher L. Knowles of the Secret Sun in French… Just impossible.

    A little present for you Bombercommand.

    “Mon mari, Louis-Ferdinand Céline”, interview with Lucette Destouches, his ever loving wife, a dancer. Even if you don’t understand French, just take some time listening and watching that wonderful creature who has always remained faithful to him.

    • Thanks: CelestiaQuesta
    • Replies: @Bombercommand
  49. Wild Bill says:
    @follyofwar

    There is always a lot of jawing about the second amendment. The reason the US is not in the same position as Austria or Australia is two fold. First, those countries start with “A” and secondly, they have tiny populations. The plan is set to finalize in 2030. By then, the world will be much different than it is now. If Americans don’t start eradicating the problems at the top of the power pyramid and quit bickering among themselves and scrapping with the minions who work for food all they will use the second amendment for will be to shoot themselves in the foot.

  50. ROTFL

  51. @Anon

    Two days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who is Polish. She was raised in Poland in the 60′ and became a physician there before marrying a Frenchman and living in France ever since. Three time in 2 hours, she told me that it is much worst here now than it had ever been in Soviet Poland.

    The Bolschvik Revolution in the first years seems like the time we are suffering in now, it’s the Forth Industrial Revolution, Green New Deal, Covidianism in action…. But in the meantime, it is collapsing while raising it ugly totalitarian mindset… Like the warrior in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind at the end of the movie. Very often it looks like the end of the Soviet Union in the meantime as it’s begining… Pathetic…

    I have been living three years in Togo during Gnasimbe Eyadema’s dictatorship, but we could dance, love and live in the poverty and as long as you didn’t contradict Eyadema (the toad like people called him) you were ok. I did criticized it’s French backers on a local radio and in the courtyard in the French ambassy singing reggae and been warned very quikly that I should stoped that game.

    At least a dictator is not expecting you to believe it’s bullshit like the totalitarian state we ‘are living in now. All we had to endure patiently were his paid singers and dancers in the streets praising his policy enriching his friends and some French politicians.

    Merci beaucoup Linh and all commenters

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  52. @Rev. Spooner

    The boiling frog metaphor is flawed. Someone tested it. The frog escaped when the temperature became intolerable. We can assume humans react in the same way.

    • Replies: @Ace
    , @Miro23
  53. Growing up I heard about Hobo’s who traveled around the country via rail cars. They was even a clown Hobo on a Saturday morning kids show called Hobo Kelly that I remember. Although I never hitched rides on trains, I did hitchhike up and down the California coast exploring life beyond the concrete hoods of Los Angeles while in high school on summer vacation.
    You could do that back then, life was free and much safer.

    We may travel different paths along our spiritual Metamorphosis, it’s those sacred journeys to unknown places along the highways of life I mostly remember and cherish. All those roads led me back to the place where I wanted to be.

    Thanks for inspiring me to reflect on my personal journey.

  54. Muggles says:

    Another great installment of Tales of the Vagabond.

    Linh writes like a novelist on his varied journeys.

    It would scare a lot of people to travel as he does (particularly a woman) but he manages quite well.

    Perhaps we don’t hear about his bouts of sickness. So far he appears to have avoided serous beat-downs or police interrogations/imprisonment.

    A wandering Viet who is quite smart and can manage in many languages is a rarity, and has a fearlessness few of us can manage.

    Good stuff. Great travel writers, like Linh, educate us better than any CIA World Factbook.

    Managing to speak about common things, local customs and oddities is a wonderful way to experience a novel environment. It is in the ordinary and sometimes strange encounters in foreign lands that are often the most memorable. People don’t fear him, so they are candid.

    Thanks for continuing to share with us.

    • Agree: Fred777
  55. @Bugey libre

    Ah yes…Lili-bebe…tres elegant. Lucette outlived Ferdie by 58 years, she passed in 2019. Despite the impossibility of translation, we English MUST HAVE CELINE!!! His humor bursts through the translation, so all is good, in fact glorious…In The United States, Celine, especially among professional writers of fiction, is considered THE greatest novelist EVER, in any language. Americans prize the writer that is profound, but is hilarious in his profundity: Bukowski, Twain, WS Burroughs, Hunter S Thompson. In America, we most admire French writers, so after Celine there is Proust, and I dearly love Proust, but his obsession with the cozy doings of The Rich and homosexual frolics lack depth compared to Celine, and zero laughs in Proust. In America, it is the Gays that promote Proust. Still the problem of translation persists, and Celine is most difficult to translate due to his use of French slang and the lexicon of sub-cultures, and yet he is a most elegant writer. I much prefer the John H. P. Marks translation of Voyage To The End Of The Night to Ralph Manheim’s, but it is very hard to find. Manheim did do a very good job with “Nord” and “D’un Chateau L’Autre”, very fine wine, the exquisite elegance of Celine shines through. In English speaking countries, Ferdinand Louis Celine is an immortal.

    • Replies: @Bugey libre
    , @Wild Bill
  56. @dearieme

    Love, loss and longing seem to occupy the most space in the human experience.

  57. The problem with travel is that mostly you meet people on the street – losers in any society. They are not representative of any society.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
    , @ricpic
    , @durd
    , @durd
  58. ricpic says:

    “Why do you want to go to space? There’s nothing there. I’d rather stay here.”

    My sentiments exactly.

    “But we must explore!”

    No we mustn’t. No such imperative exists.

    Space: the idiot frontier.

    • Replies: @aspnaz
  59. Dumbo says:
    @Reverend Goody

    Cheer up, sour face. We are all “losers” one way or another.
    There are no winners in the game of life. (perhaps in the next one…)

    Also, “losers” can be much more interesting than “winners”, at least from a literary point of view.

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
  60. ricpic says:
    @Bombercommand

    Celine is a very great writer. That said, Journey To The End Of The Night, and, possibly, Death On The Installment Plan is all you have to read of him. Why? Because the great shock, the great trauma of his life, being thrown into the charnel house of WW I as an infantryman, was the defining moment for Celine. “They want to KILL me!” That’s the shock he never got over, never recovered from. And that’s the heart of Journey. Being a brilliant hypersensitive guy Celine immediately saw that “They want to kill me” applied to so many other aspects of society as well. That’s his insight.

    I’ve read Castle To Castle and Nord as well. They’re essentially more of the same. They are not books written by a SHOCKED human being. The great power of Celine is that he was shocked, didn’t apologize for being shocked and never walked back the realization that men are killers.

    It is actually, dare I say it? Okay, I will — it is Christ’s position.

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
    • Replies: @Fart Blossom
  61. ricpic says:
    @Reverend Goody

    I think this is true…most of the time for most of us. I know it’s been true for me. But a lot depends on temperament. I have known gregarious types, bold types, who have gotten themselves invited into the homes of middle class people they have met while traveling. In some cases invited to stay awhile, anywhere from a weekend to several weeks. And from those first steps they then go on to meet all sorts at parties they are invited to etc. etc. But yes, traveling is flat for most of us.

  62. @Bombercommand

    Jah bless you and your quest for free spirit and it’s creativity. Thank your for your enlighted answer Bombercommand. When I was in my 20’s I read Bukowski. I don’t know if it was the translation, but nothing compares to Céline.

    Stay spiritualy alive in these times of utter totalitarian madness, keep the spirit alive.

    Bugey Libre

  63. Wild Bill says:
    @Bombercommand

    … – yes, Celine. People have different perceptions of things I suppose. I think that Celine can never be considered “funny”. His writing can elicit laughter, the choice is yours, laugh or cry. During the French revolution, many in the crowd at the guillotine laughed. His writing is not for entertainment or for people who may be mentally frail. Recommending that people at large read his work is careless. Many will not recover from it. …a raspberry!

  64. Ace says:
    @The_MasterWang

    Exactly. It’s no doubt useless to point this out as the image appears to be irrevocably imprinted in the minds of internetizens.

    Much like the notion that the U.S. was defeated militarily in Vietnam. Nothing but nothing will shake that eternal truth from the brains of Americans.

    • Replies: @Fart Blossom
  65. @Peter Akuleyev

    From the missing the forest for the trees department: the two sentences on either side of the sentence you corrected are each profound in themselves; the sentence between is the necessary and appropriate connection vastly deepening both and making the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

    Each language is a new, unsuspected universe. Plus, none is as rooted to that land as Xhosa. Going nowhere, he dug.

  66. Top notch content as usual! I really like how you described the “agenda” as anti-life. It’s all dehumanizing and detaching us all from each other. I try to meet with friends and new people as much as possible. I won’t let the assholes steal my humanity. It’s all I have.

    • Agree: Fart Blossom
  67. @Bugey libre

    The Bolschvik Revolution in the first years seems like the time we are suffering in now, it’s the Forth Industrial Revolution, Green New Deal, Covidianism in action….

    No, no, it can get very much worse. The period we are in now is comparable to Russia between February, 1917 and October, 1917.

    The revolution in February installed a Jewish leader, Kerensky, whose moderate rhetoric and studied ineptitude left Russia ripe for the Jewish movement, Bolshevism, to seize absolute power in October.

    • Agree: Fart Blossom
    • Thanks: Bugey libre
  68. whodat says:
    @Idefix

    You have given me the great understanding that the old Russian Corrupt state was the ultimate expression of Capitalism, but the holder of capital were the minor officials that run the joint. Same thing as here. With no corruption, the grifters wore suits.
    So socialism of that ilk is basically redefinition of the holders of capital, downward in class.

    • Replies: @Idefix
    , @Idefix
  69. @Dumbo

    This is the turning point for what is to come. Jupiter has been in Aquarius conjunct Saturn, with Saturn square Uranus (ruler of Aquarius) collective Aquarius. The vaxx was rolled out right after the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Aquarius Dec 2020. Techo tyranny.
    Lock downs when Saturn (control) went into collective Aquarius March 2020.
    Look for legal decisions to end these mandates, already happening.
    Dec 28th Jupiter enters home sign of Pisces. I expect religious exemptions for all, SCOTUS will have to rule this way.
    Pisces is sacrifice. This German family is global news already, this was the turning point I saw that from the moment I read it.
    They aren’t getting away with this, the tide has turned.
    Hold the Line.!

    • Replies: @pat morgan
  70. Johan says:
    @Idefix

    I haven’t lived in a communist country, but democracy is indeed a slow ever increasing tyranny of uniformism and dumbing down which may outperform communist systems by far. It is a uniformist totalitarian mob rule brainwashing system of which the scale and intensity creeps on mostly without people noticing it, what we see today is not the end of it. Your gonna end up being equal to others, as they want it, equally braindead.

    • Replies: @Idefix
    , @Idefix
  71. Johan says:
    @One-off

    “Yet where I live, where most people live, really, even in the shadow of those who want to strangle all vibrancy from life, masks remain a novelty”

    Media dictates reality in a democracy, as democratic people are obsessed with media. Even counter media (opposition to Covidians) live in the world dictated by mainstream media, by opposing it and writing about it the whole time, they enforce what they are fighting. The same topic is consequently in the mind of everybody, pro and con. There is no escape to the democratic monster called news media, unless to ignore all of it.

    On a side note: ‘mainstream media’ is the name which democratic propagandists invented for what is really simply democratic mob media.

    • Replies: @littlewing
    , @One-off
  72. @Irish Savant

    You might say there’s madness in their method.

  73. @Johan

    Nobody but brainwashed leftists consume mainstream media and they are all going to die this winter from the vaxx which destroyed their immune systems. Get a cold, die.

    • Replies: @One-off
  74. @unwoke

    That’s the whole point of marxist cancel culture: to make perverts, ‘normality’; homos on top.

    No, it isn’t. The goal is to put themselves on top, and if they can use perverted homos to that end they’ll do it–no less quickly than if they can use ignorant bigots, unwoke.

  75. @Bombercommand

    I disagree, actually. Celine’s Mort à crédit was of course the first thing to come to mind, but the translator of that title certainly wasn’t the first person to use the phrase or notion “in installments,” and in fact à crédit in French means more than just “in installments” or “on the installment plan.” Give Linh credit (so to speak) for his poetic concision. Whether or not the English title of that famous novel (a great one indeed) surfaced from some layered level of Linh’s conscious or unconscious mind to bear upon that opening statement is actually irrelevant. It’s a beautiful line, and some, perhaps even most, great literature is rewriting of past literature. Who is Hamlet if not Orestes?

  76. JWSmith says:

    Linh Dinh:

    Stumbling along, we often help each other, but suddenly, all basic human acts, from smiling to touching, or just being together, etc., are absurdly thwarted, if not outlawed. Even breathing freely has become illegal. Keep your mask on, over your nose!

    Beyond madness, it’s evil. Only the most moronic or complicit can excuse this anti-life agenda. There are no missteps here. They’re squeezing the life out of us, step by step, deliberately.

    Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along?

    We slog along until we break down, go mad or drop dead.

    What happened to us and how did it happen so fast? I remember the year 2019 …

    • Replies: @gT
  77. Wild Bill says:

    you might want to check out the last comment here https://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=246762 for a little clarification of what is what.

  78. @gay troll

    The Jews were ALL killed by the Roman army in 70 AD.
    Jesus predicted that.
    They were killed because they tried to go to war with the mighty Roman Army.
    There are no original Jews left.
    They are someone else.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
    , @Truth
  79. Idefix says:
    @whodat

    Whodat wrote:

    You have given me the great understanding that the old Russian Corrupt state was the ultimate expression of Capitalism, but the holder of capital were the minor officials that run the joint. Same thing as here. With no corruption, the grifters wore suits.
    So socialism of that ilk is basically redefinition of the holders of capital, downward in class.

    Not at all. There was no capitalism there whatsoever, just sloppy “state ownership” of anything that mattered (like a bakery, general store, public transport, butchery, etc. etc.). Anyone in charge was not a holder of capital whatsoever, he was a holder of job obligations receiving a salary. That is it, no personal interest whatsoever as a private store owner would have. Thus everything gradually became self-sabotaged, product variety was minimal, everything was dirtyish and uglyish and generally slovenly. And dull and featuring rude sellers and cashiers who were there just to grab their salary and did not have to perform well or be polite with customers.
    Corruption exists anywhere (the current globofascism is the ultimate form of it). It’s just that when things are more or less humane in a working society, corruption is minimal or hidden from view. People tend to care one for another when they have their own normal worker/owner/social roles and have responsibility for a job they like or have attachment to. A business owner will also care to make things work in a nicer way rather than an irresponsible state bureaucracy (which at some point controls *all* commerce, services, factories, etc.).
    The only way around that was personal relationships and a personal magical touch, flatter, bribes, material gifts, personal relationships with an important butcher or store chief, whatnot. Towards the end of the USSR that was the only way of getting things bypassing shortages as well (shortages were caused by hoarding caused by shortages sometimes at that point). The USSR’s lesson was that if you play by the rules of a totalitarian society, you get very little, just a misery in all senses, miserable amount of food, goods, money, services, human warmth, etc. Now on the other hand if you help the hand that helps you, things get well for everyone involved.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  80. Idefix says:
    @Johan

    Johan wrote:

    “I haven’t lived in a communist country, but democracy is indeed a slow ever increasing tyranny of uniformism and dumbing down which may outperform communist systems by far. It is a uniformist totalitarian mob rule brainwashing system of which the scale and intensity creeps on mostly without people noticing it, what we see today is not the end of it. You’re gonna end up being equal to others, as they want it, equally braindead.”

    That by itself sounds a lot like communism. “You’ll end up equally braindead”. The end goal of communism is exactly that, an army of braindead workers in endless grey misery of a dull existence with rare ritual holidays in a land of shoddy things and shoddiness. And yes, there was a lot of “mob rule” moments of brainwashed mobs forcing smarter individuals in the USSR.

    As a Serb artist once said, back in socialist Yugoslavia there was propaganda, but everyone knew it was propaganda; in the West there is propaganda everywhere, but most people don’t get it is propaganda. The brainwashing is subtler. The big difference – at least for now – is private business and plenty of material goods. In the USSR private business was mostly banned (with the exception of minor private 1-to-1 sales, “commission sale” shops and agricultural marketplaces).

    One of the USA’s founding fathers said that democracy has no real advantage to monarchy or a republic as in the end corruption works out the same. Or even worse because it turns out to be corruption of the cruel and ignorant mob rather than enlightened aristocracy. In the end, love it or hate it, it all boils down to a non-corrupt noble aristocracy that makes the people follow its lead.

    • Agree: Bugey libre
  81. Idefix says:
    @Johan

    Victor Suvorov (that very same one of the “Icebreaker” book fame) wrote that the end goal of marxism is a global concentration camp, and communism is just a mild form of marxism. So it looks like communism was the very first attempt to build marxism in a separate country, and right now the whole world is getting dipped (head-down) in hardcore marxism under the satanic swindle of medical fascism.

    • Troll: Mulga Mumblebrain
    • Replies: @Fart Blossom
  82. One-off says:
    @littlewing

    Agreed. Disengagement from mass disinformation has increased to previously unimaginable levels. The target audience the propaganda reaches is not the one that needs to be duped.

  83. One-off says:
    @Johan

    The people most likely to tune out propaganda are the ones needed to be fooled.

  84. @Anon

    Many communist ‘dictatorships’ were much more free than the US or England today. I lived in one such dictatorship for a few years in the 1980s. It was a vibrant free society compared to the US today

    In the mid-90s, I taught English in a Chinese university and one day, during the cigarette break in one of my classes, I noticed one of the students at the back of the room studying the map of the United States that was tacked to the wall. I walked back and asked him what was so interesting. He said he’d been fascinated since he was a little kid by all the straight-line state boundaries in the US.

    And it is pretty interesting when you think about it. If the same people, more or less, have occupied or contested the same land for millennia, you get boundaries that look like those of Shanxi Province:

    compared to the boundaries when the people living there are newcomers:

    The student was a Chinese Muslim, and we subsequently had many interesting conversations, but that day he asked me a question, which, with my answer, I still think about a quarter century later.

    How is it, he asked, that such a young country as yours could be number one in everything?

    Freedom! I chirped like a good American.

    Someday I will have to go there and feel this freedom, he said, because I already feel free.

    Today, I doubt he would ask that same question, and I know I wouldn’t reflexively blurt out the same response. But if it took “Lionel” 25 years to make that trip here, he will think his American teacher in 1996 was a charlatan or a fool for selling our oppression as freedom.

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
    • Replies: @The_MasterWang
  85. durd says:
    @Reverend Goody

    Losers come in all shapes and forms the worst will will trick you with their heartlessness while the best represent the heartlessness of society.

    As above so below.

  86. Idefix says:
    @whodat

    Capital is accumulated wealth. That tends to exist when labour is rewarded in excess (and not necessarily toil; writers and inventors also could accumulate wealth). Capital could also be wealth acquired by other means, but the moment it starts to be invested in a business, two things happen: 1 — creation of goods through labour and 2 — personal quality responsibility (and interest) of the businessman. Both kind of assure a certain quality to the whole process. Take part 2 out of the labour process and everything gets very shoddy very quickly. Part 1 also makes the money work and reward its owner and anyone involved too. The trouble with all communist societies is breaking either part 1 or part 2 so spiritual links between labour and human meanings (also meaning of life) are broken. As they used to say in the USSR, “they pretend they pay us, and we pretend we work”. Nothing makes much sense anymore as soon as you take the individual creation/reward/responsibility part out of trade.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  87. @Franz

    If freedom means the right to be our potty little selves (Chesterton) than freedom is dead. There is no self allowed to be potty. There is no freedom to enjoy a potty little afternoon on the river. Freedom is dying every day.

    Well said! And to think that millions of our compatriots are adamant that we live in the freest country on the planet is testament to the unmitigated success and power of the pervasive controls that at once dehumanize, suffocate and stupefy us into submission. Very little light at the end of the tunnel, I fear.

  88. @Idefix

    After the rushed industrialisation, the rule of Stalin, Civil War with Western intervention, and the greatest material damage and human slaughter in history, WW2, the Russians just wanted to relax. Then they got the fool or traitor Gorbachev, and a bunch of ‘entrepreneurial’ Jews, often financed by colleagues overseas, and following policies inflicted by fellow Judaics like Jeffrey Sachs of the Harvard yeshiva, looted the country and drove it deep into misery yet again.

    • Replies: @Idefix
  89. @Idefix

    The proposition that capital is accumulated by workers paid in excess, is the stupidest, and most laughable, idiocy I have seen in some time. What is this-Ayn Rand’s last testament?

    • Troll: schnelladine
    • Replies: @Idefix
  90. @littlewing

    If the Jews were all killed in 70, who masqueraded as the Jews in the Kitos War of 115-7 and the Bar-Kokhba Revolt of 132-6?

  91. @anonymous

    It seems to me that tramp steamers might be a viable alternative. They still got ’em. But how do you find them.

    • Replies: @InnerCynic
  92. gT says:
    @JWSmith

    Its all over dude, a female journalist in South Africa by the name of Mamokete Lijane had this to say in an article titled “This year has gone from bad to worse”

    “Between the riots, robberies and car hijackings, I am feeling more anxious about security and safety than ever before. Crime disproportionately affects poor people and communities. If I am feeling anxious about security, poorer South Africans must be living in their own version of hell. Insecurity will negatively affect all aspects of the polity and economy unless it is decisively dealt with.

    I have chosen unemployment and crime as examples of the challenges that bedevil this country. However, these represent only a subset of my areas of concern. I could also write depressing paragraphs about health care, education, corruption, service delivery, load-shedding and others, but the editors of this paper would not give me the space for such reflections and I am not sure my psyche would survive.

    This year has tested my optimistic outlook on life and on SA. This is not a year I am sad to see the end of. Many of us will have time to pause, rest and hopefully reflect on how we can make our world better in big and small ways. Hopefully the rest will reconnect me with my optimistic self. Happy Holidays?”

    We live in interesting times, vasbyt.

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
  93. @Craig Nelsen

    Now the Chinese have a much more scientist understanding of the rise of the US. The single most important factor is the land acquired by genociding the Amerindians provided the vast amount of open land to smooth over most of America’s problems. Second is the opportunity provided by the devastating conflicts in Europe.

    • Replies: @Hacienda
    , @Craig Nelsen
  94. Anonymous[858] • Disclaimer says:

    I like that ‘the divine is in every batted eyelash”.

    Lasttruebeliever

  95. Hacienda says:
    @The_MasterWang

    Also the legal and industrial complex that allowed, justified, nay- glorified the conquest and theft of native lands.

    America had a law in place that basically stated if any American citizen claimed an island with guano, then it was American property.

    https://www.wearethemighty.com/mighty-history/how-to-claim-an-island/

  96. Truth says:
    @littlewing

    That’s actually not true from what I have read.

    The Jews went to Africa and came over to the Western Hemisphere starting in the early 17th century. Deuteronomy 28-29 explain this:

    [MORE]

    25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.

    29 You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.

    30 You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her.

    32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.

    33 A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days.

    36 The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your ancestors. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone.

    37 You will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.

    41 You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity.

    43 The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower.

    44 They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail.

    48 therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.

    49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand

    …Etc.

  97. gT says:

    In the West its always said that the Governments are purposely destroying matters so that Communism can arise there, the “You will own nothing and be happy” scenario. What do you know, in South Africa it is also thought that the ANC is destroying the country so that Communism can take over here. While I would dispute that the ANC is capable of such long term thinking, it is undeniable that the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) is most definitely capable of such matters, as it has always been mostly Jewish. In some circles its said that the ANC was started by Jews, and the ANC has always deferred to the SACP.

    We really do live in interesting times.

  98. @ricpic

    …the defining moment for Celine. “They want to KILL me!”

    While I’m a nobody, (which is exactly the way I like it), the defining moment for me was the reverse, “I’m supposed to KILL them!” I thought, WTF?, and never looked back.

    The state sucks. Always has, and alwys shall. Forever more.

    LD undermines it in many ways and I, for what it’s worth, thank him for it.

    BTW, because of this thread I disocvered and am reading, Celine’s L’école des cadavres Brilliant. Thank y’all.

  99. @Ace

    Much like the notion that the U.S. was defeated militarily in Vietnam.

    Why the qualification? Who gives a flip? Meaningless.

    We “the people,” both American and Vietnamese, lost a lot of what matters, while the bankers gained a lof of what matters only to them. Same as in WW2, and WW1, etc…

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
  100. @Idefix

    …and communism is just a mild form of marxism.

    All “big” movements are just excuses thugs use to plop their plans on innocent people, and I think LD and Celine would both agree.

    Above all communism is a poetic vocation. Without poetry, without a burning, purifying altruistic fervor, communism is only a farce, the receptacle of all anger, of all plebian resentment, the decadent playhouse of sharks, of all the tragic pimps, of all Jews, performing their Talmudic imposture.

    L’école des cadavres

    Orwell, in Animal Farm, tells us that Communism=Capitalism. Both were correct

    • Thanks: Bugey libre
  101. durd says:
    @Reverend Goody

    Wasn’t Jesus a homeless person who represented the sins (heartlessness) of man?

    What about the book Les Miserables, is there nobody in that book representing society?

    If you go to a grocery store or a restaurant in your home town do you run into a different society that a tourist would, visiting the same places?

    Can you not find heartlessness in all classes? Perhaps even to a greater degree as one climbs the classes?

    Isn’t what you say not exactly what one would think would come from a good preacher?

    Don’t you think that understanding ‘street people’ might be helpful in the future?

    Did John Steinbeck and Jack London waste their time by not writing about ‘society’ as John Updike did?

  102. Miro23 says:
    @The_MasterWang

    The boiling frog metaphor is flawed. Someone tested it. The frog escaped when the temperature became intolerable. We can assume humans react in the same way.

    Sure they will – including Americans. The temperature isn’t intolerable yet but it’s getting there. At some point the frog escapes and the shooting starts. That’s to say, generalized shooting by everyone with a gun. The public, the military. Basically everyone until there’s a resolution. It’s the way it works. Power through violence since democracy has failed (can’t get the temperature down).

  103. Idefix says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Wealth is always generated by an excess, originally made by workers. There has to be an excess of food, an excess of basic goods for internal consumption before there can be anything available for trade. Wealth is excess money and resources available for later consumption, in basic terms. Now if you are locked up in a communist country where you get barely enough for your own survival (and sometimes not even that with all the shortages), there’s not much you can trade on your own or accumulate wealth either. Everything beyond a certain amount becomes owned by the grey entity known as “the state”, in basic terms, the controlling bureaucracy which is then the dictatorship.
    Also note that all of your clinking gold coins are worth nothing if there’s no way to put them to work, e. g. exchange for coal, oil, food, material goods, etc., all of which are made by workers.

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @Mulga Mumblebrain
  104. Idefix says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Gorbachyov mostly oversaw the “Restructuring” setup, “Perestroika”, which was meant to bring the USSR up to modern standards of social organisation and production. He pretty much bombed the CPSU and destroyed it, but he did not destroy the USSR as such and he did not start the looting and anarchy of the ’90s. That was done by Yeltsin, Burbulis and Gaidar, Chubais, Abramovich and others, many of which were jewish, yes. Gorbachyov might’ve been despised in Russia as the fool and tool he was, but there was a lot more hatred for Yeltsin, Chubais, Gaidar & co.

    https://www.rt.com/russia/542533-soviet-union-history-independence/ – that’s a short summary.

    Communism as such was mostly a way of forcing Russia to:

    1. Stop being a direct competitor/seller in the European market.
    2. Industrialise.
    3. Create an enemy for Europe and the USA MICs to profit, also to drive their own economies while killing off excess aggressive populations of men.
    4. Depopulate. See Karlin’s comments on Mendeleyev expecting Russia to have a population of 500 million in 2000.
    5. Control the whole country via superdictatorship (the same as in China) through communism and just get it to deliver cheap resources to the West when necessary (timber, oil, coal, gas, etc.).

    One of the main reasons for the USSR and later Russia to be “decommunised” is that that opened it to Western capital which required new markets for expansion. A lot of Russia’s service/retail companies and a lot of industrial production is owned by foreigners.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  105. Miro23 says:
    @Idefix

    Wealth is always generated by an excess, originally made by workers.

    … coal, oil, food, material goods, etc., all of which are made by workers.

    If you look more closely, it’s not just the workers. For example South Korea after WW2 had plenty of (poor) workers and the usual kind of corrupt elite “democracy” going nowhere. It was General Park Chung Hee’s coup (1961) that forced through an entirely new wealth generating system.

    Subsequent to his revolution, South Korea had about the fastest economic growth/escape from poverty in the world.

    Thoughtful and focused government action aimed to increasing the well being of ALL Koreans. He gave incentives back to rural farmers, forced manufacturers to climb the technology curve, forced them to produce to international export quality, introduced technology acquisition targets, reinvested export earnings and turned South Korea into an intense educational meritocracy.

    Wealth was generated by top down planning and forced implementation, not just by the “workers”.

    Interesting book : “The Country, the Revolution and I” by Park Chung Hee, Hollym Corporation Publishers, Seoul, Korea, 1962

    • Replies: @Bugey libre
  106. TheBoom says:

    “The divine, though, is already in every batted eyelash, grain of rice, smallest act of generosity or scuttling cockroach. Normality is our birthright. How dare they pervert that, and why do we go along?”

    Brilliant conclusion to one of your best essays. Alas, we go along out of fear we won’t have that normality in the future because of death. They use our fear of losing normality to deprive us if it possibly forever

  107. aspnaz says:
    @ricpic

    Absolutely. The only reason for going to space is to make you appreciate the earth even more.

  108. @The_MasterWang

    Yes, I am sure the Chinese have a much more “scientist understanding” of that and much of the rest of the human story. They are increasingly getting their understanding of the world the same place we get ours and, consequently, will suffer the same fate.

  109. @Idefix

    Communism as such was mostly a way of forcing Russia to:

    Communism was used by the Bolsheviks to strip Russia of her wealth, dispossess her people from their land, destroy her institutions, obliterate her church, and commit dysgenic mass murder against her native gentile population.

    The Bolsheviks who seized power in the US in November, 2020 are trying to do the same thing here.

  110. Anne Lid says:
    @gay troll

    The Jews most definitely were not exterminated by Titus. First off they brought it on themselves by hubris and unreasonableness. Second, they fought between themselves. Third, those who actually listened to Jesus run for the hills and were ok. Certainly enough Jews survived to keep rabbinical schools viable.

  111. Dumbo says:

    People are talking about Céline. I could never read his novels. I tried. I didn’t enjoy them, neither in translation nor in the original French. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just not my style. But I thought “École de cadavres” and that other pamphlet he wrote were interesting. He seemed a bitter or not very happy man, or am I wrong? Perhaps, I just don’t see really life in such dark ways. It has darkness, sure, but also light.

  112. @Miro23

    I was in Seoul as a student in Korean Language in Yonseï in 1991 as one of the rare French there at that time and it was a fucking dictatorship with a curfew at midnight. There were violent demonstrations and the power was brutal and criminal.
    One day I was downtown and two guys came to me asking if I was US citizen. I answered in Korean that I was French. They appreciated smilingly, but advised me to hide because there was about to have a violent demo and that my “frenchness” was not written on my face. US troops occupying the country were hated by the people and they even had a TV channel. The Chaebol system was no better than Communism.

    If in the North people were worshipping Kim Il Sung, in the South everyone wore the pin of there chaebol.

    Still Koreans are very very nice people who have endured so much suffering at the helm of the US. My Korean friends in France dispise them and as one of them told me: “I don’t wish reunification because even though I don’t like the regime in NK, They are standing against the US and it is a pride for all Koreans.

    Anyon i ge seyo

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @RadicalCenter
  113. @Dumbo

    Dumbo,

    Avez vous écouté l’épouse de Louis Ferdinand dans l’entretien que j’ai mis en lien plus haut? Pensez vous qu’une personne aussi éprise de la vie, de la danse, ai put aimer à ce point un homme qui n’aurait connu que l’aigreur? Il y a beaucoup de lumière dans son oeuvre.
    Merci pour votre commentaire. Que la lumière reste avec vous et éclaire vos jours en ces temps d’obscurité et d’abyssale connerie.

    Respectueusement

    • Thanks: Dumbo
  114. Miro23 says:
    @Bugey libre

    Thanks, but you’re talking about the 1990’s. Park Chung Hee was dealing with 1960’s US dominated South Korea.

    • Replies: @Bugey libre
  115. @Miro23

    Thank Miro,

    What was going on in the 90’s was the chronological follow up of what happened under Park Chung Hee in the 60’s since it is the moment South Korea took it’s course for it’s very specific ‘development’ features.Furthermore, it the moment I experienced while meeting people who had been living since the 60′.

    Of course I skiped 30 years but, first I am not a scholar of South Korean history and second that is not the subject of that thread.

    That being said, my main point can be summurize as such: From the 60’s until that time South Korea has been a dictatorship with a nationwide curfew at midnight, no freedom of expression whatsoever, no real trade union, systematic reppression of any contestation. The population was somehow forced to work hard for little in the Chaebols. This all got better only at the time of the Olympic Games.

    Feel free to answer, I have no axe to grind…

    Have a good day or night, Respect.

  116. Sandwich guy is a Porra. He just says he’s part coloured to fit in.

  117. @Bugey libre

    Appreciate his sentiment, but it doesn’t much matter what Koreans think given that they are going to VERY rapidly die out as a people. These sources state that South Korean population peaked last year, that many towns are going to disappear, that a South Korean woman has only 0.9 of a child in her lifetime, and that the number of births is expected to decline even further in the next 3-4 years. That’s a recipe for fast and accelerating population decline and aging.

    https://www.wionews.com/world/crisis-of-extinction-south-koreas-population-falls-for-first-time-in-2020-354396

    https://m-en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20211209004100320

  118. @RadicalCenter

    Thanks for the links. What about North Koreans. It would be interesting to compare.

    Anyway, Korean youth is already stuck into the digital goulag that is menacing to engulf much of the world and DK Yoo lost against Scott Bradley (lol)…

    Take care

  119. Hello.

    Just fyi, in case you might be interested.

    [Perhaps marginally on-topic?]

    Freedom of the Press



    Video Link

    Mike

  120. PJ London says:
    @Joe Levantine

    ” Kudos for the third world Africans for being the least compliant with the diktats of the Covid madness.”
    Guts has nothing to do with it. The prevailing credo in (Southern) Africa is “Like yeah man, whatever.”
    This applies to everything in private life, commercial life and government.
    They have the “ten thousand year syndrome” as in, what difference will it make in ten thousand years?
    The Cape and the people of the Cape are the only people world wide to have “Tweedenuwejaar” (Second new year). This is an official holiday to allow them to get over the party they had on the first of January.
    Namibia and Botswana are the most laid back countries in the world. Friendly, happy, cheap, and apart from getting visa dates right (and now the exit Covid test) nobody and nothing will hassle you.
    They are the absolute model for “You will have nothing and be happy”.
    Unfortunately for Linh he has been exposed to the African disease and he will never be as happy or as relaxed as he is in Africa. Everywhere else will seem frenetic and pointless. The people, even the Eastern Europeans will appear driven and quite frankly, insane.

    • Replies: @InnerCynic
    , @Joe Levantine
  121. @obwandiyag

    My late uncle and aunt used to travel via cargo ships. I believe a certain number of rooms are set aside for such purposes and there are networks where you can procure a room for your journey. You eat what the crew eats. Beyond that I have no idea.

  122. @PJ London

    I’ve only been to Kenya so far and that experience was disheartening.

    • Replies: @PJ London
  123. @RadicalCenter

    Lucky Koreans. They can rewild their country, and get robots, AI, computers etc to do the hard work, and just enjoy themselves.

  124. @Dumbo

    ‘Journey to the End of the Night’ is a masterpiece. ‘Death on the Installment Plan’, a great title, was not bad either. I must re-read them.

  125. @Idefix

    Of course wealth is ‘excess’, excess stolen by the capitalist parasites. That is why US inequality today is unparalleled-the result of forty years of free rein for the blood-suckers. They have so much now that they know not what to do with it, so trillions sit in offshore banks, are invested in trophy assets such as unfinished paintings by Leonardo or get blown away as military spending.

  126. PJ London says:
    @InnerCynic

    Yes it can be disappointing, but to be ‘disappointed’ you have to have preconceived expectations.
    Did you want it to be like London, Paris, Detroit?
    Did you want a multi-party democracy and “the rule of law”?
    Kenya is Kenya, different to Zimbabwe, different to Saudi Arabia, different to the UK, it is uniquely Kenya.
    Namibia and Botswana are more spacious and less crowded, parts of Cape Town are a lot like Nairobi and not pleasant to visit but each of the countries and many of the people are fantastic. I detested living in London, loved living in Kuwait City, tolerate Johannesburg, enjoyed Brussels, Cluj-Napoca is brilliant, Bucharest not so much.
    But each has something to embrace, something that makes it wonderful to experience.
    Unfortunately you can’t get that from a 3 day stay in a downtown hotel. You have to live and work and mix with the people to get the value of a country.
    I don’t want to live in Peterlee (which nearly happened) but I am certain that I would have found some good people and experiences had I done so.

    • Replies: @InnerCynic
  127. @PJ London

    Good people are everywhere. The disheartening aspect of my visit was how you would have an armed compound for the rich next to slums teeming with the poor. I wasn’t there as a tourist. Spent two weeks in a house and never saw any wild elephants. No… it was business and the corruption and poverty was unimaginable

    • Replies: @PJ London
  128. PJ London says:
    @InnerCynic

    “The disheartening aspect of my visit was how you would have an armed compound for the rich next to slums teeming with the poor.”
    You mean like Malibu and New Jersey and Alabama.
    ” the corruption and poverty was unimaginable”
    The western corruption is far, far worse, but it is hidden in lobbying, closed bids and contracts.
    In Africa you pay \$50 to go to the head of the queue for your share, in the US you pay \$1,000,000 and there is no longer a queue, you have got it all.
    The UK is even worse.
    Poverty is everywhere, mostly you see it because the rural population have moved (recently) to the towns. Remember the US in the 1930s. Now countries of the west have no more rural population. During the Industrial revolution, over 2 million people starved to death in England alone. The average height of the English was reduced by 2 inches because of malnutrition in a matter of 2 generations.
    The poor have children as insurance only in the rich countries are children a cost and not an asset.
    But Harare are building multimillion dollar mansions for the new entrepreneurs. Mombassa suburbs are growing, Kampala (and Nairobi) are increasing the middle class suburbs and housing. Economically Africa is to a large extent where USA was in 1900-1930, but without the education, the skills or the intellect to move them forward.
    But it is still the most ‘alive’ vibrant, magic continent in the world. (Disclaimer, I have not experienced East Asia or Antarctica)

    • Agree: Bugey libre
    • Replies: @InnerCynic
  129. @PJ London

    If nonchalance can get the same results as guts, the White population can still learn something from Africans. At the beginning of the Covid farce I was hopeful that by now civil disobedience would be the trend. The Western governments are doubling down on vaccines mandates and the sheeple are obliging. Very sad for someone brought up on Western values.

    • Replies: @PJ London
  130. PJ London says:
    @Joe Levantine

    Unfortunately “To stand up for truth is nothing. For truth, you must sit in jail.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    I am lucky, I am too old and too “Yeah, whatever man.” to worry about either the wolves or the sheep.

    “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”
    — Albert Camus
    The world was crap before I got here, it has been mainly crap during my lifetime and I am sure it is going to be crap after I am gone. I have had an incredible life, done wonderful things, survived half a dozen “OMG I should be dead” and have perhaps a couple more years.
    I am looking forward to finding out what happens after we are dead and as for the rest:
    “So I say to you –
    This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:”
    “Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
    Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
    Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.”
    “So is all conditioned existence to be seen.”
    Thus spoke Buddha.

    • Thanks: Joe Levantine
  131. Anonymous[881] • Disclaimer says:
    @Idefix

    LMAO and in the end you would be surprised at just how little difference there is between capitalism and communism, but years of brainwashing has fixed it firmly in your mind that there is some vast void between the two.

  132. @PJ London

    I’m not so naive not to see what goes on around us in the West. Here its buried in taxes and regulations… the corruption is there but hidden. Overseas its in your face. What I’ve said to my friends and family is that if you really want to be left alone, or as much as possible, you should find a poorer country that doesn’t have the means to fuck with you. When they have money, and the time, is when they feel compelled to screw with you endlessly.

  133. PJ London says:

    It helps if they are a “little” corrupt and accept small gratuities for hurrying things up.
    It helps if you are a “Ferengi” and do not try to become one of them, speak a little of their language especially greetings with respect, and show that you respect their authority and autonomy.
    I love living in a country where you can be ‘alone’ but near enough to join in when you want. Swaziland, Botswana, Romanian countryside, Namibia and South Africa (Western and Northern Cape)
    You have to put up with the petty stuff and the curiosity, but the rewards are great.

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