Evil Forces in the World

Reflections on ''Evil Forces in the World,'' as well as occasional remarks concerning ''Good Forces in the World.''

Friday, August 30, 2002

New Cool Thing:
Wong Kar-wai's video for DJ Shadow's new single "Six Days" (not to be confused with Craig David's dope "7 Days" or its equally dope counterpart "7 Days Remix featuring Mos Def"). Take a moment to take in this amazing bit: Wong Kar-wai, brilliant Hong Kong director of Chung King Express fame has directed DJ Shadow's new video, DJ Shadow of Quannum fame, who may be the best West Coast DJ alive (excluding the Pickles and Cut Chemist of course). The video is really quite good actually.

This bit helps segue to my next pronouncement.

Teenager of the Year:
Craig David. It is somewhat stunning still that the young man has still not breached his 20s. "Fill Me In" is a very wonderful song.

And last, we have
The End of American Irony in the Modern Age:
David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar presenting together at this year's VMA's. Does Rock and Roll still mean anything? In the meantime, Eddie Van Halen is still perfecting the ultimate guitar solo. "Dreams" randomly came on the radio the other day, and I nearly wept in joy.
The Fallon debacle; a grand theory of post-multiculti WASPisme, or "Kate Bosworth meets Shakira," Part III of Mestizaje Anti-messianism: Dispatches, 2002-2002; Duncan Kennedy; more on Vidia (and Pat); brown sahib self-loathing (tales from upper-crust Pakistan ca. 1985); the new PULP album; and more.

The academic year is swallowing some of our Shining Lights whole, but like Crazy Joe Clark (AKA "Batman") we'll still be swingin': look out Evil.

A ditty:
Cotillions and mixers
Need elixirs, which I make from
Nesquik, real quick sir

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Emily Ryan Lerner, a 1997 alumna of New York's extremely awesome Stuyvesant High School, is working on an adaptation of Kate Christensen's IN THE DRINK. The illustrations, Lerner's doing (naturally), are nothing less than flawless. Here's the bookjacket description:

Claudia Steiner is pretty, smart, single, and underemployed. She arrived in New York right out of college, fueled by a dream of becoming a hot-shot journalist. Instead, at age 29, she finds herself serving as a secretary to a glamorous, slightly mad, and very demanding socialite cum bestselling author who wants Claudia to ghostwrite her next blockbusters. Claudia’s salary is enough to cover the city’s overpriced cocktails, cabs, and take-out food; but most months, paying the rent on her roach-infested apartment is pretty much out of the question. The possibility of romance seems equally elusive. She’s hopelessly in love with her confidante and best friend, William, who may or may not be gay, and the only other man in her life is her ex-lover, John, an unpublished epic poet married to a Romanian stripper, who refuses to let his marriage stand in the way.

Even if you have no sympathy, let alone interest, in the lives and loves of such people, you'd be foolish not to purchase this handsome edition; in a short while, Lerner's illustrations will rocket into the pantheon of great works saved by Stakhanovite curators in flooded central European cities and towns. Let's assume you're literally starving, trying desperately to scratch out a meager living by collecting stray breadcrumbs, charging an eldery woman only slightly less wretched than yourself twelve cents for every hair you pluck from her double chin, and stealing stale candies from plump toddlers and tots, the kind you hate simply because they're swaddled in warm clothes and, judging by the quizzical expressions, the open faces, the warm smiles, the new infant-sized Wu-Devilles, are clearly well-loved by parents who give half a crap. Yeah. And so you can't afford the book.

Tough luck. You're going to have to buy it regardless. I'm sick and tired of your sob stories, as you should know by now.
If you're detecting a theme, congratulations: you're officially bloody brilliant. This web site is surprisingly thoughtful and well-executed. Consider the following excerpts from a very brief essay:

Many Asians have even taken drastic measures to try to recreate these Caucasian features on their own faces. Blepharoplasty, the eyelid incision that creates the canthal fold, has become a veritable rite of passage for young females. Plastic surgeons say it is the most common procedure elected by Asian women in North America and Asia, followed by rhinoplasties (nose jobs) and breast augmentation. In the Philippines, a new plastic surgery technique has been invented to mimic the "high" Caucasian nose. According to Salon.com, surgeons insert a flexible plastic tube, called "the Cleopatra," up women's noses. The procedure can jack noses upwards anywhere from 3 to 13 millimeters.

Ironically, the Eurasian face, despite its obvious Caucasian ancestry, has become the face that sells Asia. TV commercials use Eurasian models to peddle everything from designer jewelry to sanitary pads. TIMEasia.com reports that in Indonesia, a magazine with a Eurasian on the cover will sell two or three times more copies than one featuring a purely local model. And on Channel V, the Asia-wide music television channel, almost every single VJ is Eurasian.

But at what point does a healthy admiration for Eurasian features turn into a loathing of one's own monoracial looks?

This is so screwed up, dude. It's evil. I knew a young woman, a good friend I've lost touch with, who was tormented as a kid by elementary-school kids in Japan for being "Hapa" (I feel uneasy about the term all of a sudden and feel weirdly implicated). This is largely a function of xenophobia, but perhaps she was also pouring hot sauce into the eyes of the other kids, which merits verbal abuse. I can't say. What I can say is that I'm familiar with this widespread Blepharoplasty phenomenon. Some women of East Asian origin will take less drastic measures to achieve the same effect (some sort of tape on the eyelid, I believe; can't say I'm an expert, but I've been told by reliable sources, though this admittedly strains credulity).

And so we return to the core question: "one big union." The question isn't, "Do we need such a union?" We clearly need such a union, about which I have nary a doubt. But should said union be militant, like the Wobblies, or reformist? If militant means taking up arms, I say no: I only believe in taking up arms if it means obliterating the enemies of the USA's liberal world order. But if militant means uncompromising, than I say "hell yes."

Then, however, we're left with a whole host of thorny questions: what to do in the post-beauty era. What exactly will we valorize? Not martial prowess, I don't think. Intelligence? Good luck. Strident militancy? I'd sooner slit my own throat than let madcap Jacobins seize control of what had threatened to become a noble enterprise. Nope. Perhaps boldness, daring, and creativity, combined with a kind of scientific rigor. If we cultivated such qualities, I gather there'd be many deaths by jet ski accident or something like that, which would be a damn shame. Still, it wouldn't be so bad. Certainly interesting, at least for a while. But then the strong hierarchizing tendencies would reemerge.

That much is inevitable: the inevitable, ineluctable tendency of the cadre party to form an impenetrable elite is as old as history itself; if this is what we're warring against, it's a lost cause from the very start.

Does this call for a more moderate course of action? Instead of waging war against pretty people, perhaps we should simply boycott their shops and products? This'd be hard to do. I'll bet it would even be hard to have a single square meal, as silver-haired handsome men own most of America's major food-processing corporations; of course, some are owned by haggard, harried old buzzards. Let's try to frequent said establishments. Perdue, anyone? I think the old man is dead, but you get the idea.

It's a losing battle. I haven't thrown in the towel quite yet, but find myself a bit discouraged by these ruminations on the broad currents of history, which are vastly more powerful than a small band of smallish allegedly brainy types. Oh, but the planet will be rocked, just as the vote was to be rocked, or rocqued, but was never in fact rocked/rocqued.

There's one trap we ought to avoid: various marginalized types will try to promote beauty countercultures, alternatives to hegemonic understandings of beauty. I have but two things to say about this: (1) Good luck; and (2) Right, so then you're assimilated into the master narrative, and then everyone else is bloody screwed. Thanks. Merry Christmas. Skillfully executed. Right. I've somehow forgotten to congratulate you on a job well done. Silly me.

Oh, you get the idea: I needn't hammer the point home. This is why revolution is our only recourse.

I never promised you a rose garden. In the never-ending battle between good and evil, sacrifices have to be made, as do omelettes, which require broken eggs, or at least articifial egg whites, which are "narsty" [sic]; if you're unwilling to break said eggs, I will happily do so, perhaps with enormous combat boots, which poses a problem: what will remain of the eggs? And will the eggs be dirty and inedible after the stomping? An excellent point which I'll take into consideration. Perhaps more conventional methods are called for under the circumstances.

Of course, what of Saddam? Won't we need a Popular Front to crush his murderous regime? Yes, you're right. The Beauty Wars will have to be postponed until we get this real one out of the way (not the war on terrorism, mind you, which will never "end" as such, at least as far as I can tell). Many cute people hate Saddam. That's okay.

A note: You might detect a note of hypocrisy as pretty much all anti-Evil editorialists here at Evil Forces are dazzlingly, devastatingly handsome; suffice it to say, I have (A) no comment, (B) it's all subjective, (C) our soul-searing smartitude outweighs taut thighs, smoldering bedroom eyes, and shimmering skin tones, ranging from buttermilk to Toblerone. Yes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

I recall having read an essay in Amerasia Journal on a beauty contest for Japanese American women in San Francisco's Japanese enclave; if memory serves, the contest had come to be dominated (not quite the right word) by young women of mixed ancestry, i.e., with only one Japanese-origin parent, and that there had been a call for relaxing the elgibility rules to allow contestants with, for example, only a single Japanese-origin grandparent in order to accommodate the changing composition of the Japanese American population in the area. Fascinating.
I didn't make the obvious point: the multiracial Heartland? Yes, very much so. But no Latinos? No, that's not quite right: not unlike the marked absence of Asian-origin physicians in inner-city emergency rooms. Not evil, but an oversight; actually, had they been paying attention to that kind of bean-counting proportional representation poop, I'd cringe. Tough call.

The mighty Mjölnir of post-multicultural America is here and can be seen on The WB: Smallville, which has an unusually attractive cast, represents the death knell of old school racialist chauvinism/exclusivism. The post-Black Power reconstruction of US identities as a series of narrow racial nationalisms only needed a good shove, and the casting of Lana Lang and Pete Ross on the program gave it just that. It's more than the entering wedge: it is an all-out final assault. So all's well, right? Not by a longshot. The post-multicultural landscape is riddled with deadly minefields, poised and ready to kill or maim those suffering from severe racial opti-myopia. You simply must read this piece by Michael Lind, which appeared four years ago: I remember first seeing it (which makes me feel a bit old), and it's message has been seared into my brain ever since:

Just when you think you're ready for 21st-century America, it changes on you yet again. A few years ago, predictions that whites would eventually become a minority group in the United States galvanized the multicultural left -- and horrified the nativist right. More recently, news of the growing number of mixed-race Americans has inspired the political center with a vision of a true racial melting pot, one in which white and black alike will blend into a universal brown. But a closer look at demographic trends suggests that neither of these futures -- a nonwhite majority, a uniformly "beige" society -- will very likely come to pass. Instead, shifting patterns of racial intermarriage suggest that the next century may see the replacement of the historic white-black dichotomy in America with a troubling new division, one between beige and black.

The "beige and the black"? Lind continues:
... the old duality between whites and nonwhites is finally breaking down. But don't cheer just yet. For what seems to be emerging in the United States is a new dichotomy between blacks and nonblacks. Increasingly, whites, Asians and Hispanics are creating a broad community from which black Americans may be excluded.
The new mixed-race majority, even if it were predominantly European in ancestry, probably would not be moved by appeals to white guilt. Some of the new multiracial Americans might disingenuously invoke an Asian or Hispanic grandparent to include themselves among the victims rather than the victimizers. Nor would black Americans find many partners for a "rainbow coalition" politics, except perhaps among recent immigrants. [Can't you just see unfold before your eyes?]

This sounds about right; if I recall correctly, Eric Liu, the very sharp author of a disappointing and forgettable book (The Accidental Asian), made related arguments, based in part on the work of Harvard sociologist Mary Waters, in 1996. (I am ancient, much like the Dover cliffs, Cliffs Notes, Cliff Huxtable.) Perhaps Google can help. (Came through, as per usual. There are a few silly sentences, but all are excusable.)

Here we go:

Still another possibility is that whites will do to multiracials what the Democrats or Republicans have traditionally done to third-party movements: absorb their most "desirable" elements and leave the rest on the fringe. It's quite possible, as Harvard Professor Mary Waters suggests, that the ranks of the white will simply expand to engulf the "lighter" or more "culturally white" of the multiracials. The Asian American experience may offer a precedent: As growing numbers of Asian Americans have entered the mainstream over the last decade, it is increasingly said--sometimes with pride, sometimes with scorn--that they are "becoming white."

We could thus end up with three reconfigured races. In the "black" box: black-black offspring. In the "mixed" box: black-Latino, black-Asian, black-white, and Latino-Asian kids. In the "white" box: white-white, white-Asian, and perhaps white-Latino issue.

This is pitch perfect: it mirrors my (admittedly limited) experience precisely; of course, there is a doth-protest-too-much tendency on the part of many Hapas to identify as Asian, but this doesn't shed much light on patterns of social affiliation, etc. I suspect that there is a regional divide, and I'll also bet that gender roles, patriarchy, and other factors are at work; that said, as a rule of thumb, I think that Liu's tentative formulation gets it right.

What does it all mean? Precious little: Balkanization was always a canard -- not as a public policy question (see the dogged determination of activist types to educate kids poorly in languages other than English in US public schools), but as a deep-seated social phenomenon, as conclusively established by Charles Lindholm and John Hall a little while ago.

If you ask me, this race nonsense is a five-hundred-year smokescreen that obscures the real elemental conflict that lies at the heart of human affairs: the utter subjection of the short people and the uglies, or rather the not-lovelies, to the pretty people. Some of the pretty people are short. But these are all women, except for Tom Cruise and a handful of other Hollywood and Bollywood types, all of whom use movie magic to manipulate the mass public. Short men and all uglies, all other things being equal (intelligence and credentials among them, rest assured) receive far less in the way of income, leaving aside subtle questions of status, political power, and personal fulfilment.

And so the staggeringly beautiful and charming (and Sino-Dutch, to cut to the chase) Kristin Kreuk is, in fact, the enemy. Realistically speaking, who is going to take up (metaphorical) arms against such a spectacularly lovely person? Not this goon.

While watching the very Bolshevik (or VB) John Sayles movie Matewan, which I love, I was struck by the very end: "one big union," the whole world over. Workingmen coming together to end the rule of the bosses: a compelling vision. As most of you know, I'm a great lover of the market economy (not to mention a great hater, or disliker, of Reds), and yet we ought to be at least slightly uncomfortable about a property regime which leaves a lot of people more or less at the mercy of the capitalists. (There are compensating advantages, to be sure, but this is a stark reality that has to be confronted and justified.) But yeah, how about "one big union" of non-extremely-beautiful people? Let's stop swooning. Let's build enormous Buckminster Fuller-inspired projects (I own an awesome Dymaxion map) that will bring scientific rationality, progress, and powerful electric turbines to the remotest corners of the globe. Let the lovelies preen and flit about at their leisure, all the while serving themselves salads and walking their own bloody manicured poodles.

We can make it happen. Failure to do so is nothing less than that most crappo of evils, the passive, insidious evil. I won't be a part of it.
This item leaves me speechless:

Alexander is smiling in this picture as he knows he did the deer population a favor. Unlike the young Liberal boy in the movie My Dog Skip (based the true life story of a liberal columnist by the name of Willie Morris) who would be shedding a tear for the dead animal, then for dinner eats a steak or chicken killed by someone else, Alexander lives in the REAL world. If not for hunters like Alex, many deer if not most would meet a fate much worse. Deer are highly reproductive and adaptable and therefore are tremendous survivors, however nature, in particular winters, are hard on animals that tend to overpopulate. This deer or another like him would starve to death, be eaten by a coyote alive from the hind quarters forward or perhaps be hit by a motorist, creating a potential real tragic death--a human. And for those animals that survive all the aforementioned in heavily populated areas, disease usually will take its toll delivering a slow and painful death to the animals.

And it goes on from there. Now, I know this much: the above passage ain't evil, yet I don't know if it's quite good. Odd. Odd is perhaps a more reasonable characterization.
At present, I am in the midst of a class warrior mode, and so the following item, pointed out to me by a fellow member of our crack anti-Evil assault squad, placed me, as though I had been plucked by an enormous hand (preferably Invisible) from an Edenic, semi-nude, savage state, in what is called "a tizzy." This involves unkempt hair; as a general rule, my hair is unkempt, which is evil. Like the karate kid, as featured in The Karate Kid, I ought to have greater personal discipline, but this doesn't concern you -- unless, that is, you participated in the ill-fated stock swap between yours truly and Nortel Networks, during which I hitched myself to the rising star that was Canada's white-hot high-tech sector and Canada's white-hot high-tech sector hitched itself to my slow-moving ox cart to Doomsville. I was very convincing.

But this may well have been a dream. A short while ago, I discovered that I hadn't spent the years 1986 and 1987 as an Aztec jaguar warrior, thus calling into question several essays I've written on the subject of jaguar warriors' rights. ("Azza former jaguar warrior, I believe ...") But this is all by way of distraction from the really pressing news, brought to you as usual by the folks at Worth.

The news: fancy-shmancy schools rule the roost when it comes to sending kids to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Now, this comes as no surprise, but the list is stark. Oh yes, I have some friends who went to the "Shmancyville School" and "Smartypants Academy." Merry Christmas, kitties; let's see how well you can breakdance. Let's see how well you breakdance when sharp ginsu-style knives are being thrown at you in rapid succession. I don't maintain that I'm can breakdance at all, let alone breakdance under conditions of severe duress, but I'll bet these pampered youths can't either.

Now, I realize that I haven't sealed my case as yet, but that'll come.

And so here's my point: with all of the seething class resentments bubbling beneath the deceptively halcyon surface of American life, we must focus the blind rage. It, i.e., the unstoppable whirlwind of hate, must be focused like a laser beam on the effete fancy-shmancies with their degrees, their native curiosity and desire to understand other cultures; their love of fine wines and books, specifically books published by Routledge and Basil Blackwell; their love of movies with subtitles, which distract you from the fetching foreign people who are usually the ones winking, bobbing, and screaming on screen, unless of course you learned French at your upper-crusty school, thus allowing you to fraternize with enemies of real inland Americans.

I do not live inland, but this is a trivial point.

What do I mean by seething class resentments? Good grief, have you seen the television program called Elimidate? It's pretty odious for a wide variety of reasons, not least of which is that the song, which goes "Elimidaaaaaate, dum-dum-da-dum-dum-da-dum, Elimidaaaaaaaaaate," is deeply evil. The other reasons are often rehearsed, so I'll spare you. The salient point is this: when I last saw the program, one of the young ladies, who seemed to be a solid member of the working class, made derisive comments concerning another young lady's two-piece swimsuit; specifically, she said that the item was surely purchased at Kmart.

This is madness (and evil, I might add):
(A) What the hell is wrong with Kmart? Kmart, if I understand correctly, sells a wide variety of essential products, including enormous guns and antiperspirant. I'm not actually sure if they sell guns, and they certainly wouldn't in the Brooklyn metropolitan area -- here, we leave gun-peddling to the professionals, namely tough-looking middle school students.
(B) Why turn against each other? The stakes are low. The gentleman in question, by my lights, seemed dull and unpromising. Moreover, dignity is a matter of far greater importance than, say, the fleeting fame involved in flashing the goods to a gap-toothed mediocrity on syndicated television. (Notice that I said "gap-toothed," thus implicating myself in the ugly miasma of omnidirectional classism that plagues our country: my apologies. It struck me as a choice adjective. In fact, I never detected a gap, and so I've also misled you: my apologies.)
(C) This isn't so much a bullet-point as a broader observation. Oh sure, kick the person who's on the rung immediately below you: sounds like an excellent idea. After all, the person in question is close and thus eminently kickable, being closer to your feet than your head. Right. Smart move. Why don't you pour kerosene, light a match, and watch the ensuing conflagration with a wry grin? I'll tell you why: the bloody ladder will collapse, and you too will burn and die. But that's not exactly what I'm getting at. Basically, it's just not cool. At some point in historical time, surely you -- or certainly someone you know and like, because this remains a relatively mobile and in some crucial respects socially-egalitarian, republican society -- occupied a not dissimilar position, certainly relative to another kick-happy goon. Even more broadly: why be hurtful when it's not absolutely necessary? Starvation stalks much of the world's population, as do countless inhuman cruelties that have been with us since the dawn of time -- it used to be mollusk versus mollusk, which was a sight. A slow-moving sight. But yes, just chill out.

Note: I don't really have an objection to fancy-shmancy schools. I do have an objection to the frame of mind said schools often inculcate in the kids, and I consider myself an implacable foe of smug self-satisfaction. (I know what you're thinking: no, I'm deeply dissatisfied with many aspects of myself, foremost among them being the fact that I'm way too cool. Too cool for words?

And so I will scat: shkiddledy, Piscataway, it's that-a-way.)

Monday, August 26, 2002

Another long excerpt, this time from Nirad Chaudhuri, a highly formidable force of good:

But before I dash headlong into the excerpt, I'd like to make an observation:

Some of you may have noticed a distressing South Asianist turn in my reading, and you're right to have done so. Yesterday, I had both the second volume of Nirad Chaudhuri's autobiography (Thy Hand, Great Anarch!) and a collection of Aijaz Ahmad's essays on ideology and politics in my haversack (which I was carrying only because I was wearing a pair of gym shorts, now an essential part of my summer uniform; I mention this primarily because the New York Times has declared that men with haversacks are to be avoided at all costs by eligible young ladies, which is a bit rash) -- and nothing else, aside from a very nearly expired bottle of Aleve, which I've hardly used, a bottle of Edge shaving gel (entirely inexplicable), and a soiled piece of notepaper on which I've written, in a kind of fevered, feverish scrawl, my detailed plans for a next generation simulation game for teens that would model various global demographic, economic, and diplomatic forces. (If you are a video game developer and are interested in parting with your precious ducats, do let me know; I also have an earth-shattering idea for an election simulation game, featuring street toughs, ethnic rivalries, shame, and deep-seated personal resentments, much like my daily life, minus ethnic rivalries, as I have warm feelings toward all peoples of the world, with the notable exception of communists, fascists, longhairs, peaceniks, Beatniks, player-haters, hater-players, etc. Note that I also have warm feelings toward the Greeks, despite unfounded and absurd accusations of anti-Greek sentiment that have been leveled against me ever since I was a loose-lipped tyke growing up on the mean streets.) Now, the books in my bag do suggest a pattern, but suffice it to say I have not become some sort of ethnic pimp, the kind of cat who regularly wears a sarong, hip spectacles, and Cornership T-shirts, though someone did buy a Cornershop T-shirt for me and I do love that song "My dancing days are done," which is simply excellent, ethnic tomfoolery notwithstanding. It's also in French, which is pretty nice, leaving aside loathsome French practices, a legacy of '68 and a legacy of being congenitally crusty and irritable. No, far from it. I'm certainly not rocking Amitava Kumar's book, or, heaven forbid, Jhumpa Lahiri's. No sir. I have no tolerance for that kind of stuff. I do, however, have tolerance for hard-headed analysis, and that's what Chaudhuri and Ahmad are all about. Beyond tolerance, I have a love for that stuff, which is by now entirely clear. Of course, the two couldn't be more different: Ahmad, if I understand correctly, is an accomplished Urdu poet as well as India's premier Marxist intellectual. He has an anti-imperialist streak a mile wide, and so is often lumped together with the likes of Noam Chomsky in the pages of the almost always odious Z Magazine; but as it turns out, he is the shining light among those hopeless boobs, which is why we ought to pay close attention. There'll be more on him shortly. Chaudhuri, on the other hand, is a goading, critical friend of liberal imperialism, and I'd say the same about myself; he was born a Hindu, to use a nettlesome term, in East Bengal. There's a lot more to him as well, as you'll see in the excerpt below:

Even when I was thirty-four years old as well as married, my father used to say:
"I have no anxiety for my other sons, but Nirad is utterly unfit to go through the world." Yet of his six sons, it is this son who, in the ultimate resort, has done best even in the worldly way.

This certainly should have a moral, and the moral will be underlined if I explain why my father held this opinion about me. He was fully aware of all the physical and mental limitations I had. I shall give some idea of them.

First, as to my physical unfitess, I was a seven-months' child of an ailing mother, who became worse after my birth, and could not feed me after my third month. I had to be fed on cow's milk, which was always contaminated. So, from that time to almost my sixtieth year, I suffered from stomach troubles which weakened my heart. I never really enjoyed passably good health until I came to England in 1970, and that was at best making a derelict cottage fit to live in for the time being.

Furthermore, from my fourteenth year I had to live away from home for my education, and never got the food I needed. So I suffered from malnutrition, and never grew into a healthy and strong young man. Thus born plain, I became even worse, scraggy and pinched in my limbs and features. I remained just over five feet tall, and only six stone in weight until over seventy. There was no question at any time of my life of my being physically impressive.

My mental handicaps were not less formidable. I was timid and shy till I was almost forty, and could not mix easily with men. I was indolent by disposition, in addition to being forced to be so by my physical weakness. Furthermore, although very obstinate in pursuing ends which lured me, I was weak in respect of rational exercise of the will. To add to that, I had a pride and sensitiveness which made me incapable of asking for aything from others, and I had also an unconquerable dislike for pushing myself forward, which I considered very vulgar.

Yet I have survived with some achievement: proportional to my abilities, of course; but neither more nor less. Even in the best of worlds, by all normal expectations, a man like me would have remained obscure. But in the world in which I was born and had to make a living my bodily survival alone should be regarded as a biological freak, and to have had some achievement as a psychological miracle. This should encourage those who from lack of courage throw in the sponge, and from weak despair commit suicide or do worse -- become Communists.

This last sentence is perhaps the greatest thing I have ever read.

S1MONE was surprisingly entertaining.
Encouraging news: Patton was deficient in mathematics, and yet was quite good at killing Nazis. He also played polo, which is neither here nor there.
The Patton speech, with italics added:

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they ARE He Men. Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.

All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call "chicken shit drilling." That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of shit!

There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily. All because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did. An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking!

We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we're going up against. By God, I do.

My men don't surrender, I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bull shit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!

All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, "Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands". But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like? No, Goddamnit, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the "G.I. Shits."

Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, "Fixing the wire, Sir". I asked, "Isn't that a little unhealthy right about now?" He answered, "Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed". I asked, "Don't those planes strafing the road bother you?" And he answered, "No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!" Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.

Don't forget, you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, "Jesus Christ, it's the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton."

We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!

When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do!

I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my position." We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!

From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.

There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, "Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana." No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, "Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!"

Damn straight.