George Walford: Editorial Notes (54)

DEFINITION: Editor (n) A person responsible for the contents of a journal, whose job it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and see the chaff gets printed. (Adapted from Elbert Hubbard).

OUR headline prize for this issue goes to the anarchist journal Black Flag for ”RED TSARS IN THE SUNSET.”

CAPITALISM a killer? The population of Africa is expected to double within the next twenty years.

WHEN did the West enter the modern period? Historians set the date around 1500, philosophers and historians of science prefer the 17th Century, and students of literature or the arts say some time after 1850.

IDEOLOGY is to behaviour as grammar is to speech.

PETER Fleming, in One’s Company (1934) reported Mao to be suffering from an incurable disease. Fortunately he did not identify it; as Mao went on into his eighties there’d have been quite a rush to become infected.

“POLITICIANS are like monkeys. The higher they climb up the tree, the more revolting are the parts they expose.” (Gwilym Lloyd George, quoted in Freedom 5 Oct 91).

WILLIAM James of Albany (father of William and Henry), once told a lady approaching the house that Mrs. James was not at home, only to be informed that she was Mrs. James

WESTERN feminists don’t realise how good they have it. Confucius would have had a woman look on her husband “as though he were Heaven itself.”

INHERENTLY stable objects have broad bases and most of their mass low down. The ideological structure envisaged by s.i. possesses these features.

REVIEWING books on Spanish politics, Paul Preston speaks of “the anarchistist masses” and “the anarcho-syndicalist masses.” And why not? When we have Christian atheists, why not anarchist masses?

AMERICAN optimists sometimes have themselves frozen, to awake in a better world. John McMannen suggests a committal service as they enter the vault, the hymns to include “Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow.”

PUBLISHER speaking: “Yes, Miss Austen, we’ll publish your novel, but all this effing and blinding will have to go.”

PASSENGER organs do not exist in self-optimizing systems (J. Lovelock).

DEFINITION of “a near miss”: the girl jammed against you in the tube.

ENTHUSIASTS for free competition demand abolition of the Net Book Agreement. Would it not be better to start by abolishing copyright?

HAVING an ice-pick in your head does not make you a Trotskyist.

PROPOSALS have appeared for the South Place Ethical Society and the International Human and Ethical Union to change their names. The (A-)SPGB recently did that, with an upheaval leadng to the expulsion of some of the oldest and most respected members.

NATIONAL Westminster Bank leaflets use the slogan: “We’re here to make life easier.” They don’t say for whom.

JEHOVAH’S Witnesses visiting Bernard Shaw were met with “Well, hello! I’m Jehovah. How’re we doing?”

IDEOLOGICAL development obliges one, sometimes repeatedly, to kill one’s father.

FREEDOM is the opportunity to put your ideology into practice.

TULI Kupferberg’s graphic of the vase / faces illusion appeared (we omitted to credit it) in IC52. Thomas Hardy got a similar effect in The Ruined Maid:

‘I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping growl
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!’
‘My dear – a raw country girl,such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,’ said she.

FREEDOM, the anarchist fortnightly, reports (10 August) that although 100,000 braved the rain in Hyde Park to hear and see Pavarotti on loudspeaker and video screens, “yet with three million unemployed there has not yet been one mass demonstration against the inequities of capitalism. When are we going to wake up?” Exactly. When are the revolutionaries and repudiators going to wake up to the evidence that the big numbers neither share their interests nor give any indication tion that they ever will do so?

TAOISM values non-action above action, and maintains that since there was nothing before there was something, it is nothing that gives rise to something. Nothingness is all. The empty space at its centre is the essential part of a bottle, and the hole in the middle of a wheel makes it what it is. Objects derive their shape from the spaces between them; without this we could not even tell them apart. (Dennis Bloodworth)

WRITING of the “many standard illusions sions of social science,” Zygmunt Bauman includes among them “the notorious dominant ideology thesis, which holds that duping and being duped is the condition of social order.” He must be right in describing this thesis as an illusion, since an attempt to dupe a whole society which gets exposed in a public journal is thereby shown to have failed. (TLS 11 January).

from Ideological Commentary 54, Winter 1991.