Sunday 2nd of October 2022



Being an atheist, deliberately ignorant of gods and demons, I find the literature about these quite boring. Devils and witches are the pits. I can't stand the Harry Potter books and movies... They have no other value than "distraction". All this relies on dishonestly fantasising about basic processes of life which sciences can explain accurately but these "spiritual" stories transform this nature into imagined battles between too phantasmagoric camps — "good and evil". It's annoyingly infantile and to say the least, it is deceptive and completely wrong as we move into the future. What is important is the management of pain, the joyful survival as long as can be, in peace, while being knowledgeably "happy". 

Present religious website of all persuasion (and god said blah blah blah) — get a life! — are deplorably ignorant and can not be taken seriously, but the forceful repeat of the idiocy makes pain joyfully acceptable to the simple minds. They don't see the stupid contradictions within their own "scripts" that, for one example, the "original sin" had to happen no matter what otherwise we, us, you, would not exist. Adam and Eve did not have a choice but "sin". The temptation by the devil here is superfluous. The devil story is thus idiotic and illogical. The story of Christ coming to redeem this non-existent "sin" is ludicrous.
Some religious entities try to adopt sciences in trans-delusional processes which don't work. Evolution, for example, is a solid theory that is directly verifiable, and geo-changes to this little planet are scientifically precisely explained over its long existence. Trying to fit this into a religious gobbledegook is pitiful like trying to fit square pegs into round holes, with a three-ton hammer. It does not work. It's silly.
But from time to time, there is a text or an idea imbued with "religious" overtone that contains processes of sociopathy that can be entertaining, even for an atheist. At the moment I am rereading Faust by Goethe. Faust is an old story in the German folklore which tells of a man who trades his soul to the devil for earthly profit. It is a "good" yarn, full of twist and turns that can be satirical as well as cautionary, though totally fanciful. So I read the original version and its French and English translations. It's an exercise in literature and also in fathoming the political dumbdumbs who still subscribe to "religious ideals" while having sold their soul to the devil a long time ago. From Abbott to Trump, we are in lalaland. Translation of such texts is often a minefield of interpretations, and of boring or contorted syntax. 
The French translation I read is brilliantly interpreted and first dated from before the death of Goethe. It is by Gerard de Nerval — a top French writer of the time. The English version is 20th century and is highly pedestrian and twisted by trying to stick to verses. My view. 
Goethe, who could speak and read French very well, said of Gerard de Nerval's translation, that, though it was mostly in prose rather than verses — and that he was sick of reading "his" own version — he immensely enjoyed the freshness, the novelty and the spirit of Gerard de Nerval's French interpretation. Germanic pedants would contest the exactitude of the translation, but it provides an excellent rounded and enjoyable reading, says the preface of the book.  

The story of Faust is not new. 

Family Tales: Faustus and his witch family
Three years after Thurneysser's Ausschreiben, in 1587, and after having provided the stuff of many a fascinating and terrifying tale recited at many a guesthouse and town squares, the Faustbook [Faustbuch] hits the markets and our imagination never to leave either until this very day. The reception of the book was enthusiastic and success immediate. The Faust legend, the story of a male witch, was to become one of the most widely disseminated narratives in the history of European literature, a tale unthinkable without the virulence of the contemporary, clearly gendered witch phenomenon. There is one important difference, though: while men contracted with the devil for success, fame and sex, women bonded with, or better submitted to, the devil in exchange for the ability to fly to the Sabbath, to do harm, procure food and shelter, and to avenge perceived injustices.

(From The Threat and Allure of the Magical: selected Papers from the 17th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference, University of California, Berkeley
Edited by Ashwin Manthripragada, Emina Mussanovic and Dagmar Theison

Here are the first six lines of the original text beginning in the prologue by Goethe.
Says the Director:

Ihr beiden, die ihr mir so oft,
  In Not und Trübsal, beigestanden,
  Sagt, was ihr wohl in deutschen Landen
  Von unsrer Unternehmung hofft?
  Ich wünschte sehr der Menge zu behagen,
  Besonders weil sie lebt und leben läßt.

Direct translation in English comes to:

You two, you so often,
   In distress and tribulation, assisted,
   Say what you think in German lands
   Hopes of our enterprise?
   I very much wish the crowd,
   Especially because she lives and lets live.

Follows is the translation (date?) by The Project Gutenberg EBook of Faust, by Johann Wolfgang Von GoetheProduced by Juliet Sutherland, Chuck Greif and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team

You two, who oft a helping hand
Have lent, in need and tribulation.
Come, let me know your expectation
Of this, our enterprise, in German land!
I wish the crowd to feel itself well treated,
Especially since it lives and lets me live;

Here is the Gerard de Nerval's text (1835):

O vous dont le secours me fut souvent utile,
Donnez-moi vos conseil pour un cas difficile.
De ma vaste entreprise, ami, que pensez-vous?
Je veux qu'ici le peuple abonde autours de nous,
Et de satisfaire il faut que l'on se pique,
car de notre existence il est la source unique.

Here is a translation of Gerard de Nerval's text in English:

O you whose help was often useful to me
Give me your advice for a difficult case.
From my vast business, friend, what do you think?
I here want the people to abound around us,
And to satisfy this, we need to awaken ourselves,
because of our existence, it is the only source.

You can judge for yourself, which version makes more immediate sense.

The English version is more difficult to grasp. The language structure becomes convoluted to match German, while the original German text would be an easy flow for a German person to understand, in regard to the general language structure. The French translation is flowing beautifully. Goethe liked it very much.

But the first story "Faust" that Goethe wrote did not meet the approval of some "free thinkers" — the new rationalists evolved from the Aufklärung, the "Enlightenment". Madame de Stael in her own book "De l'Allemagne" (of Germany), published in 1810, is reserved in her appreciation. She finds the work without taste, nor measure, nor artistic value in its focus. Madame de Stael is famous for her "groupe de Coppet", an avant-garde association of people for progress and peace through free-trade and no borders. Hocus pocus is of bad taste in this milieu...

The “Groupe de Coppet”, led by Madame de Stael and Benjamin Constant was at the dawn of the nineteenth century, the first European think-tank dedicated to the study of freedom in all its forms. Its work focused on the problems of establishing a limited constitutional government, the issue of free trade, imperialism and French colonialism, the history of the French Revolution and Napoleon, on free speech, education, culture, the rise of socialism and the welfare state.

Napoleon, as well, banned the book in France, copies being smashed by his police.

So what was so controversial? Faust became one of the centre-piece of the retrograde religious conservative versus the progressists, including those who could not accept the existence of god. Without god, there is no devil and from there on, the trauma of Faust becomes a self-induced progressive delusion of sociopathy. He becomes the Don Giovanni of his time, but the story blames Mephistopheles, the devil incarnate, for Faust failings, a bit like a reenactment of the "original sin".

Faust becomes basically an obsessive love addict, and destroys the life of a good girl in the process... He is no witch, nor devil, but his association with the devil turns him into a sociopath. His adventures with witches and other fairy characters does not cut it with rationalists, as slowly, Faust evolves into a monster of a man. The interesting side of this story is how the delusion evolves and how the "devil" hold back on giving what Faust desires. Another interesting side of this story is the expressed disdain of technical and scientific advancement that Goethe may have held. Only god can tell humans what is. 

Since the dawn of civilisation, who controls sex, controls the social order. Here in Faust, the underlying story tells us that we should "obey" the Church otherwise the devil will make us screw up and destroy poor innocent girls...
This is why the Pommy Protestant Royal family is peasantly breeding like rabbits and their appearances in the media control the "lovely" magazines spreads. All this is part of the subterranean anti-democratic push. Faust appears to be also a fascinating rip-roaring tale along these anti-democratic lines. 

Gus Leonisky
Your local linguistic expert, with the help of Jules Letambour...


the faustian politicians...

Like Faust, most politicians have sold their soul to the devil... what I mean is they are sociopaths because the devil does not exist.


Now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper.” These words written in the preface to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley were to illustrate the impact her story had, has and will have on people. Shelley had written and published the story of Frankenstein by age 18… Writing it seems to have been a way to deal with the death of her baby. 200 years later, the story still "frightens” people, especially as sciences have made some amazing advances in the genomic and spare part department. But when desperate, most "frightened" people with take the offer, be it of titanium knees so that they can “walk again”.

As some genomic scientist said the Frankenstein story affects a lot of people’s thinking — and fear — because it represents this fundamental concept that we should not mess with Mother Nature and we should not mess with life, because god will strike us down.
The story of Doctor Victor Frankenstein endures too well because fear is easy to sell, even when gratuitous. Most people fear what they don’t understand and most will take refuge in a god’s house to accept simplified “mysteries”, especially about life, which can be scientifically explained, but are too complicated to understand for people who do not have “a scientific mind” — that is-to-say most people who “do not want to learn". In general, we prefer the illusions of the theatre stage than try to understand how the backstage is precisely managed. The illusion/delusion is hard to maintain when we know how the trick is done. We like to be entertained. 
In 1780, Luigi Galvani, an Italian scientist, showed that an electrical spark could make the muscle of a dead frog’s leg contract. This experiment, touted in journals of the time, apparently inspired Mary Shelly. We all know about the lightning strike necessary to animate “the monster”.
In the early 1930, a young Earl Bakken saw Boris Karloff’s Monstrous interpretation at the movies and this inspired him later on to combine electricity and medicine. His claim to fame was to invent a transistorised cardiac pacemaker.

But we could not really live nowadays without getting a “spare part” for our body — or for the body of a friend. How many people do you know who have not used a new part, including “dentures”?
The first kidney transplant was performed in 1950. Since then, we have had liver, heart, lung, pancreas and intestine transplants. Some of these transplants like kidneys can come from live donors, but most transplants come from cadavers — people of whom some vital organs are still “alive” a few hours after death. Time is the essence, but the process could appear like a Frankenstein experiment — especially when growing spare parts from our own stem cells.
So what should we fear? Are we creating monsters by using spare parts from dead bodies? Can't we "fabricate angels"?
Anyone who knows Fiona Cootes, for example, would say that there is no more charming creature on this planet. She already had two heart transplants. Some of my friends are still alive — doing philanthropic good work — due to having had kidney or liver transplants. So where is the fear?  The fear-meme is that we fear god becomes irrelevant in the process. And so does the “devil” becomes irrelevant. Religiously fanatic people like Blaise Pascal prefered to die rather than "get treatment". With transplants, another being, a dead one at that, is providing our survival — but our mind has so been tainted for so long with godly rubbish that we fear where “all this is all going to go" as we enjoy the extra life. 
Artificial intelligence is the next fear and we place AI in the too hard basket. We should try to understand. Mind you some “genetic modifications” of certain kinds can spoil the future, profoundly denature life’s processes and create havoc. We don’t need these as something could "go wrong". Many insecticides are killing bees. 

Thus, most politicians will sell fear. Most of the media will sell fear. Fear sells like hot cakes. Sciences advises on caution of doing certain things, with a possible natural and social negative outcomes. Presently the concept of global warming is scientifically provable, yet many politicians dismiss the theory because it does not suit their partisanship and religious views… They are entrenched idiots and behave like prancing monsters of ignorance.

So our fear should be of these “Frankenstein” politicians. Most of these are full-blown con artists with the gift of the gab. Their mind is self-constructed of various dangerous spare parts gleaned from various dubious philosophies — including latent racism, sexism and fascist tendencies — past profitable “sinful” actions, desires and wants that have grown like cancer inside Faust’s head. These politicians are deceitful. Expedient and discreetly savage. Some of them harbour “religious  views, yet they act like possessed by the devil. Uncouth, they have the social compassion of rats. Actually rats are more sociable.

These politicians do not care about the proper future for all, but about salvaging biased ideals that suit money ahead of people. They will lie, cleverly, overtly, but the media in general sleeps with them. These politicians are “not all bad”, but like Faust, the more they act, the deeper they engage with the "devil”: corruption of the spirit rather than receiving brown paper bags. This corruption of the spirit is of course far worse than black cash, but, though it is detectable, it is officially accepted. Peace becomes war, trade becomes weapon merchandising, accord becomes discord, especially in outside territories, cooperation becomes rape… 
We know them.

now you know...

In most of my cartoons of Tomato Joyce, I show Barnaby with his pants down to his ankle. Now you know why. 

Joyce's breach of own standards warrants headlines

Now that one of the worst kept secrets is out, that Barnaby Joyce has fathered a child with one of his staffers, I would like to know why he has been protected by the media until now ("Sins of the father: Why not publish Barnaby Joyce's baby news?",, February 7). It is not like the hysterical English tabloid press outing any public figure who has been touched by scandal; Barnaby Joyce is a very public advocate of traditional family values, relying on them to oppose same-sex marriage and yet he has breached those standards himself. It is not in the public interest to shout from the rooftops that an A-lister's marriage is on the rocks, but it is that if a public moralist is a hypocrite. Like with the press gallery sitting on the dysfunctionality of the Rudd government, why has the mainstream media been missing in action here?

Nicholas Triggs, Katoomba


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A marriage is a contract. It can be officially undone by the courts and no real harm is done — most of the times. Being a politician is a contract with voters. It can be officially undone by voters — when they know they have been swindled. Barnarby Joyce should resign because having broken his marriage contract and gone fiddling on the side, how are we to know that he shoots straight when "doing politics"? His political advocacy of traditional family values was a total shonk. He has no other values than self-serving grandstanding for political expediency. Sure, like Turdy Abbott, Tomato Joyce can seek "forgiveness" but this is not the way it works in real life when "one has sold one's soul to the devil"...


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yearning for the normal faustian frankensteinish history...


From Chris Flyod...

This week, liberal activist Amy Siskin tweeted this message of yearning nostalgia for the good old days before the Orange Ogre befouled the sacred temple of the Oval Office: “I miss our country. I miss normal and days of non-crisis. I will be so grateful when we take our country back, every single day. Future generations will read about this frightening and tragic time we are living now.”

I read that whilst drinking my morning coffee in a café (or was it my morning caffè in a covovfe?), and to quote Mel Brooks quoting Joe Schrank, I could hardly believe my hearing aid. (So to speak.) Quickly I fired up my Twitterator and dashed off a few lines in response, which I’ve threaded together below. Naturally, my listing of more than half a century of horrors omits much, but I hope you get the general drift.

When were those normal days? The first public event I remember was the JFK killing. Then war, riots, oil embargo, Watergate, Reagan's depredations: fuelling slaughter in CentAm, James Watt, corruption, Bitburg, Iran-Contra. Then Gulf War, hundreds of thousands killed by Clinton sanctions, impeachment, 2000 election crisis, Enron, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq invasion, torture, death squads, drone wars, mass surveillance, Gitmo, Tea Party, continuing death lists & drone wars under "liberal" management, Wall St bailout, torturers and war criminals embraced, Honduras coup, Libya, Somalia, the US-backed atrocity in Yemen, militarization of police, rise of far-right violence & hatred, the brutality of bipartisan neoliberalism, mass deportations, corporate news media giving endless airtime to a fascist clown and admitting they did it for ratings and cash, etc etc.

I'll soon be in my seventh decade and I've never known any of these normal days you pine for. I do remember days when I didn't *notice* many of the evils being done in my name, often by people I fervently supported and defended. I remember days of willful blindness and selective outrage colored by partisanship. Is this the kind of nostalgia you're actually talking about?  

Even so, I can’t remember anything "normal" about any of it. I don't deny that Trump is a new level of threat, but our collective blindness to the bipartisan abnormality of our history is a key reason why an absurd monstrosity could rise to power in the first place.


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Being quite older than Chris, I remember a lot more, including .... Ah forget it. Read from top...

the anti-fascist fascists in the DNC...

Keith Ellison, the deputy director of the Democratic National Committee and congressman from Minnesota, recently ignited a Twitter firestorm when he tweeted out a picture of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, a book, he declared, that would “strike fear in the heart of” Donald Trump. Upon reading Antifa, it’s easy to see why the tweet generated so much controversy.

Since its release last August, the handbook, by Dartmouth lecturer Mark Bray, has garnered attention as one of the few windows available into the mind of the newly prominent Antifa movement. Bray makes clear from the beginning that the book isn’t an attempt at a neutral rehashing of facts, but rather “is an unabashedly partisan call to arms” for the purpose of equipping activists “with the history and theory necessary to defeat the resurgent Far Right.” He articulates clearly the revolutionary ideology of the far left and defends using violence in its service, from street brawls to kidnappings to assassinations. For those who do not desire to see the world reborn in the flames of global anti-capitalist revolution, the popularity of The Anti-Fascist Handbook should prove alarming.

Antifa’s somewhat obvious immediate goal is the eradication of (what Bray considers to be) fascism. However, conveniently for Antifa, Bray argues that anti-fascist action is not merely limited to academic and historical definitions of fascism. Instead, “anti-fascism is an illiberal politics of social revolutionism applied to fighting the Far Right, not only literal fascists.” This meaning speaks to the broader end of the revolutionary left that Bray sees Antifa as a part of. This end, Bray explains, is the total destruction of the current capitalist order via a violent “international popular uprising.”

Bray’s many arguments against free speech—and in favor of violence—sound terrifyingly rational, at least in the context of his stated goals. The overthrow of capitalism most likely can’t be accomplished by working within the current state system, so there is no need to be concerned with the tenets of that system. Free speech, for example, plays a vital role in the preservation of our social harmony. Because of free speech, we talk instead of fighting when we have differences of opinion. When people think a law or regulation should be changed, they don’t start gunning down law enforcement officials or setting government agencies on fire. Rather, they lobby Congress or campaign for representatives who will enact the changes they desire. This system is far from perfect and it allows many injustices to be perpetrated, but it’s much more attractive than the alternative in which violence is allowed to settle disputes and enact political change.

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save the planet?


I cannot undo the chains of vengeance, I cannot open the locks. — Save the planet? — Who really took her towards perdition?... Me or you? (The Democrats become savagely livid) Are you looking for thunder? Thank god it is not left in the hands of mere mortals. To squash innocents who resist, is a means that tyrants use to take over their space, many times over...


Translation and hypocritical adaptation of Faust by Jules Letambour.


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