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Amerikan Horror Show - Kunstler


     Finally the USA has an act that perfectly expresses its true spirit as the horror show nation among nations: the random mass slaughter of little children by a maniac. Is it not so that the failure to protect little children
from harm is the most shameful weakness an adult human can present?
     Next, of course, comes the empty ritual of pretending that we must make sure something like this never happens again. How? By some forensic inquiry into the psychology of the shooter, Mr. Lanza... his comings, goings, email musings, Netflix rentals, chemical composition of his fingernail clippings? We flatter ourselves with the technocratic conceit that if we can measure something enough, we can control it. Ban assault weapons or tighten up the background checks? The horse is out of the barn on that one. There are enough weapons loose in the USA to conduct a full-scale Civil War right now. And probably enough ill feeling. Just pick the flavor of the conflict you want: ideological? Religious? Racial? Regional?
For what it's worth, the Newtown Massacre to me is largely about the failure of men in America, and in particular the failure of men to raise up male children into men. The tragic monster that Mr. Lanza grew up into lived with Mom and ended up parking four bullets in her brain. Imagine the tensions in that monster. It's not an accident that the commercial fantasies represented in movies and television aimed at boys are populated by legions of super-heroes. This sort of grandiosity -- the wish to project supernatural powers -- is exactly what you get in boys who have not developed competence in any reality-based, meaningful realm of endeavor -- and I wouldn't necessarily include school, such as it is in our time, as a reality-based, meaningful realm of endeavor, since it is mostly a brutally boring accreditation process. Notice, Mr. Lanza's chief instrument of death was the "Bushmaster."  His weapon made him a "master" of something, at least, even if it was just the systematic slaughter of six-year-old kids and the women in charge of them.
 History has its own arcs and particular moments in history have their own spirits of the time. This moment for us is the sum of the unintended consequences of countless bad choices we've made for many decades against the backdrop of enormous material riches. I've inveighed against these manifold fiascos enough for this audience. The net result is a nation that has turned men either into weaklings, fakes, or monsters. I think the greater tragedy is that we are past being able to teach ourselves how to act and now it is up to nature and history to provide the only kind of instruction we can understand.
 I used to crack a joke when showing a particular slide in my visiting college lectures that "we're a wicked people who deserve to be punished." 
It's not so funny anymore. Look around at the squalid mess that America has made of its own terrain: the endless wastelands of free parking and slumping strip malls, the wilderness of tract housing subdivisions, the cities left cored, rotting, and stinking in the fall drizzle, the countless redundant roadways -- and while you're at it, take a good hard look at the depressing and disgraceful industrial boxes that school is conducted in, these euphemistically-named "facilities." We live in physical surroundings that are the perfect growth medium for serial killers, mass murderers, psychopaths with no feeling, and sado-masochists preoccupied only with the ritual orchestration of their own shame and guilt in the service of inflicting pain. 
 Let me remind you that there is a range of thought and feeling evinced in human culture that no longer exists in America. These things were called virtues. They are qualities in thought and action related to goodness and excellence, and they are in very short supply these days in the USA, though we are well-supplied with fakes and approximations of virtue -- such as the moments of sham heroism witnessed yesterday afternoon and evening by men watching televised football. What matters now is that an epochal undertow of events is dragging this enormous nation into an economic convulsion that will inevitably turn political. I don't think that our society can be redeemed in its current form. It has to pass through a tribulation that demands the reemergence of adult male humans who know how to be men in more than one dimension. And you who make it through to the other side will barely comprehend the monsters left behind, or how they made themselves that way.
6 Replies
Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Amerikan Horror Show - Kunstler

Kunstler cuts to the chase and gets it right on this one. Posturing about banning guns is a pretty empty gesture. We are seeing a rot...a disease...and the answer will not come from more or less availability of guns.

bruce MN

Magic touch'd you do that?

Been an avid Kunstler reader, books and his columns, for years. 


hardnox and I have been alternatively putting his columns up here for years and to the best of my recollection neither or us has ever received a response, other than from each other. 


You do it once and get a reply from someone who would be the embodiement of the antithesis to the comprehensive body of work and world view of Jim Kunstler. And In just a few minutes.  Nice work.


Maybe we should have pasted the text. All we've ever done is put up links.



Senior Advisor

The rot is the gun culture

Or the mindset that you must negotiate settlements with violence. Meanwhile you waste the nations wealth on wars and preparing for more wars while the people are needing empathy and healthcare.


We can't afford to pay them. We can't afford to feed and house them. We can't afford treat them when they are sick or injured but BY GAWD we can afford to guns and armies navies and aircraft and missles and thousands of nukes to defend us from the  bad guys across the world.  And yet we can't afford a few more bucks to pay to make life somewhat easier for the unemploywed, the underemployed or the disabled. Nor can we defend them fro the macho neighbor next door that is flexing his muscles and threatenng with is personal arsonal and his stupid attitude.


The same macho attitude about gun ownership has this country spending more than the rest of the world combined on armaments. 




Re: Magic touch'd you do that?

That is not true Bruce. I've frequently commented on kunstlers pieces. Generally agree with him, but I don't like his style.
bruce MN

Re: Magic touch'd you do that?

Took the time to do a rather extensive search and you are right.  It's been a rather significant number of links that have been put up over the years.  You and former freqent poster tomtoolbag show up now and then. As in this particular discussion following the posting of a lnk to a particularly good JHK blog:


I was referrring to the echo chamber gang here.  Now and then one of them would tail on to a thread, but most of the threads are very bief and neglected/ignored.  It was the laughable reply that showed up in this one that inspired what I said. So, sorry.  Sorry tom, if you are still out there.


What's the turn off?  The old bohemian,  "hipster" thing that's obviously there?






Re: Magic touch'd you do that?

Bruce, it is kinda nice to find what people consider worthy of reading or viewing.  Kunstler is kind of interesting to me , he only posts on Monday's any more, so your dose of his philosophy is limited.  But . . . sometimes he really hits a nerve.  He is a "gloom and doomer", and I used to maintain a gloom and doom thread, where all the bad things that were going on was posted.


 Kinda like Poulser saying there was no hunger in the United States, and he is right, but if we stop handing out food stamps to 47,000,000 people we might get a picture of this country most avoid seeing.   So my position has always been, support Ameri-can's first, and along the way those who need to survive, "the Ameri-can'ts", we need to provide a minimum level for the benefit of their children who suffer because of their misfortune of not being into an Investment Bankers family.  


Sooooo, we are a rich nation, and we always have those who abuse the system, they will always be with us. But . . . if we do not remedy this economic depression things will get a lot worse. We soon will not be able to build enough prisons to house those who will be seeking other means to survive.  If we can feed our hungry first, then at least the social unrest that is on the horizon will be delayed.  


You see . . . I believe we lived during the best time in this country, when a person could fail and start over and succeed.  That is the way it was when Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie and the rest of the "robber barons" made their great strides in putting America to work during their time.  However, they did not have an income tax which burdened their success as we have today, where the IRS a hand of the FED is seizing private assets to pay the debts none of us had a say in creating.  


Soooooo . . . I will be following my little doom and gloom threads on line, and when I find an article that kinda "shocks my conscience", I will post it.   I am pleased with the response I have received from some of the topics I have selected to post.   Great bunch here, nice to be on a thread with inquiring minds. lol.  John