Vote Joy!

Should I feign indifference? Am I above the fray? Am I disappointed in both parties? Have I decided how to vote? No, no, yes, and hell yes!

At no time was there doubt, particularly after the primary debates. But certainty goes farther back than that. Fairness, reason, responsibility, frugality, cooperation, and compromise are not principles and tactics that I can blithely dispense with out of team loyalty, because of the easy urges of juvenile delinquency, or because it suits my pocketbook.

Read it here.

Utopia: Undefinable, Unattainable, Undesirable

You might choose to read the introduction of this “new” essay – or, you may not. The chief rewards for my actions are not extrinsic, which makes shopper choices and reactions somewhat immaterial. Still, the choice is the reader’s in an imperfect world of freedom.

Without the normal inhibitions imposed by a uniform culture, I explore ideas haphazardly and personally and shamelessly. That is basically all that I have promised and all a reader gets.

However, I am shy about this piece. It is one of those that is more in the nature of a personal philosophical rumination. My spouse would not give it two stars, even under pressure of losing good-spouse points. Yet it goes forth into that other place – the place that is out of my lock box and out of my head.

Occasionally, I compose essays for myself and hide them away. Raw, handwritten or typed sketches, they are mementos tucked away in the dark of a file box. Then again, I sometimes freshen the like of this one up as a feature for a week or two, especially if I am seized by the illustrations, and then hide it in the archives: a moldy artifact is perfumed with the scent of the day and sent packing.

Not for a minute do I think that this will interest anyone. Nevertheless, to remain loyal to others, I must remain loyal to myself. Some things say much because they say little. Some things mean much by simply being. Some things are just something. There is that repetitive stark choice: something or nothing. I choose something I can work on.

Read it here.

PINCH

Nine and a half inches by twelve and a half inches folded in half. Audacious, outrageous, delusional – and completely satisfying. “Silly,” as one hybrid hippie-schoolmarm-type behind a bookstore counter said of its most raucous serial.

I had seen nothing like it in American, except perhaps for the works of the enterprising Mr. Franklin, and have seen nothing like it since – in print. The idea came to me as part of my imaginings about a more perfect world. It came to me after visiting England in 1972. Three models, Punch, Swift, and the Fabian Society pamphlets, were influences of this self-published attempt at full-bore social humor and criticism.

Nothing in my background, except Center City, would seem to have pointed in this direction. But then, maybe everything did. I had come to view the world as if I were Gulliver on his travels. I marveled at the same time that I was appalled – all the while rolling with laughter inside. It was a far cry from my grandfather’s religious tracts forecasting imminent doom and eternal hellfire. Through the remainder of my life, even with more heavy responsibilities, I have not left that mindset and fascination: a newborn in a madhouse.

Read it here.