Sunday, February 01, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 104:
frum eethur/or to anarchy to luv

that day in november of 1979 that i run into them communist students who wuz waitin fer me outside of that dialeckticull materialism class gut me to real eyesin jes how lil bout the real worl sitwayshun i had been payin any tenchun to. lack mos folks, i figgerd i had the main news jes by osmosis, more or less. frum the time i wuz a wee lil tike, i had dun been hearin bout how our side n then thar side wuz makin biggern bigger weppons all the time. seem lack the way we had it tricked out by new years of 1980, each side had a nuff rockets n missiles n such pointed at tuther that ifn thay wuz a war, thay woodnt be no winners.

nowhar in the worl wuz inny wurser than twuz in the west n east germanies on a counta ye had this one bunch of folk with the line twixt the two sides drawn rite down in the middle of em, keepin sum on one side n tutherns on tuther. witch dint nobidy git to pick thar sides but jes ended up on one or tuther. made ye wonder why innybidy wood bother trine to splain how one side wuz bettern tuther since witch side ye ended up on wuz jes the result of pure happenstants.

but once i had dun real eyesd how lil i knew bout the details of the situwayshun, i figgerd twuz time to git a lil more educayted bout it. so me n emily tuck to splurgin on time magazine oncet a week n we gut to whar we wood try to read the frankfurter allgemeine zeitung. but we also gut us a radio, witch twuz bettern the tv in mos ways, witch bes thang bout it wuz how ye could git a stayshun called afn, witch that stands fer armed forces netwurk n tiz whut the armed forces of the usa had over thar to keep our soljers up to date on whut wuz happenin. twuz nice on a counta how they had em musick shows n told bout whut wuz goin on in sports in amurka n all kinds of other thangs ye couldnt git no news bout frum the west german press.

once we gut that radio, we gut in the habit of givin radio moscow a listn ever evenin when it cum on round 10 or 11 pm. twuz amazin sum of the thangs ye wood here on that show, thangs ye never knew folks could thank bout yer cuntry, lack how nun of the enjuneerin graduwaits in the united states could git jobs on a counta the 20% inflayshun. or bout how them soviets had dun liberayted them afghani folk, witch it seemed lack to our side they had dun invaded n conkerd (or tride) n occupied em. sum of thar lies made me mad, but on tuther hand, they wuz the furst to claim elvis presley died with a bidy full of drugs n mayhap twuz them drugs that killt him, witch that later turnt out to be true.

so i gut to wonderin bout the truth on a counta how each side had em a differnt one. bof me n emily wuz up on how hitler had used whut they call the big lie, witch thats a lie that is so big n obveeus ye wood thank nobidy could ever fall fer it, but ifn ye git yer jabberin class of folks to keep on a tellin it, purty soon everbidy thanks it mus be true. so we figgerd now that everbidy knew how hitler had been a'usin it, shorely woodnt nobidy fall fer it now, rite?

but that aint the way thangs go on a counta whut my uncle buster taught us all so minny years ago, witch tiz that ye aint born all growed up. so whut happens is each new generayshun gits to fall fer all the same ole tricks thats dun been used thru out the histry of the worl. thay wuz this fella name of george santayana who cum out with that clever statement bout whoever duznt larn frum histry is doomed to repeat it. now whenever ye fackter in how mos students jes hates histry to begin with n ye throw in a nuff nuclear weppons to kill off the worl sevrull times over n the situwayshun is almost too scary to thank about.

wurse is, the more ye study on it, the cunfuseder ye git. fer one, after listenin to afn mos of the mornin n afternoon n then the west german news programs n then radio moscow, the thang that wuz mos amazin of wuz how yer afn n radio moscow wuz tellin the same story everday n twuz generly jes thopposit of whut tuthern wuz claimin bout mos innythang. afghanistan is the easies one whar on afn twuz a unpervoked invayshun n on radio moscow wuz a misshun of liberayshun to hep them poor afghani folk improov thar way of life. yer west germans wuz all over the map n seemed lack the worl they wuz reportin on wuz much more complecks n ye had to factor in all kinds thangs that wuznt jes twixt the two super powers.

tiz lack ye had ye a line of possibull thangs ye could bleev strung out sevrul differnt ways. ifn ye strung it twixt east n west, then ye had on the lef hand side the argumint bout how the communists wuz the mos moral n historickly correck n on the rite side ye had how the capitullists wuz the mos moral n historickly correck. dint matter witch topick ye could pick frum the milltary to welfare, them two sides wuz always jes thopposit of each other.

but after a while, i gut to whar i figgerd ye could pull yer line twixt differnt ways of thankin bout thangs. on the one side, ye gut yer eethur/or thankers, whar thays only two possibull choices: with us or agin us, or east vs west, or capitullist vs communist, but no matter how they wonted to put thar proofs bout whut wuz rite n rong, they always reduced everthang to jes two choices. n that wuz the side ye could here all about on afn or radio moscow on a counta they wuz pushin the idee that ye had only one of them two choices to make.

but ifn ye gut yer news from yer west german newspapers or frum all them other lil papers ye could git, then turnt out thay wuz a slew of choices that dint make it onto afn or radio moscow. hard as it mite be to bleev, thay wuz plenty of folks that wished they could jes git the two big super powers to go home n leev em be. sum of em wonted to git to a finer degree of subtle tee whar ye mite end up with a mix twixt yer capitullists n communists. they give a spot to yer soshulists, fer instunts, whar in eethur the usa or the ussr ye soshulists mite swell be communists, but the facks bout them two systems wuz way differnt.

a nuther place whar ye had eethur/or thankin in amurka n yer slew of choices thankin in west germany in most of europe generly wuz in gummint.  in amurka ye gut whut the call the elecktorull collidge, witch that means ye cant git nuthin but eethur/or thankin in yer eleckshuns on a counta tiz winner take all, even if the winner dont git moren half the votes. with a system lack thisn, ye could have a presdent that dint even win the overall votes, witch that had dun happened a time or two by 1980 with folk such in 1824 when andy jackson won the mos votes but john quincy adams wuz seleckted by the house of reps or in 1876 when sam tilden whupped rutherford hayes but lost in the elecktorull collidge or in 1888 when grover cleveland whupped benjamin harrison in the poplar vote but lost it in the elecktorull collidge.

thang bout that method that gits me is ye could have sumbidy not even win the poplar vote but ack lack he had dun gut a mandate with a landslide. twoodnt be much ye could do on a counta in eethur/or thankin, thays only the two ways to do innythang. so once i gut to pane tenchun to whut wuz a'goin on, i couldnt hep but notice how the systems thay wuz usin in most places in europ that wuz not behin the iron curtain dint depend on jes eethur/or thankin. in sted, they had em a system whar ye could have minny differnt parties. thay wuznt no elecktorull collidge to cum a long n interpret the vote fer ye.

that meant that ifn the folks ye voted fer dint git the mos votes but only a decent porshun of em, they wood git to represent that porshun n keep thar cuncerns a'goin. that mint ye dint have to bile everthang down to jes two choices. ifn ye wuz wurried bout sumthin lack aborshun, ye could give yer vote to the aborshun party n ifn a nuff folk dun that, then the gummint they made wood half to cunsidder yer point of view. but with eethur/or thankin, ye dint git nun of that. ifn yer side won, then twood do everthang it could to git rid of aborshun. ifn it lost, tuther side wood do its best to perteck aborshun fer as long as possibull.

that gut me to thankin bout sumthin my daddy used to say. we wood take long walks at nite now n then or talk fer stretches over the fire up on obed whenever we wuz campin out. he wood ast us not to tell mama nuthin of whut he wuz bout to say n after we dun it, he wood git to splainin whut he really bleeved. he sed he couldnt buy the argument the presbyteryuns n turther churches wuz makin bout god makin man sepert frum natchur. he figgerd we wuz all natchur n thay wuznt nuthin all the differnt bout our planet ceptn it had the good luck to be in a spot whar water wuz liquid in sted of jes steam or ice or even missin cumpletely. frum that, ye gut life n frum life ye gut humans n fack wuz, he dint thank humans wuz all that speshul, jes a nuther animull on a planet that wuznt much moren a grain of sand in a giant beech of such grains, each of em lil or nuthin in the span of everthang thay is.

he sed that even tho ever generayshun wonts to ack lack its gut sumthin speshul to do that dint no othern ever have, he figgerd nuthin really changed under the sun. ye had the same disputes but differnt weppons. he sed the struggle twixt the usa n ussr wuznt nuthin that wuz a'gonna las on a counta folks dont git that caught up in economick theories. whut moves em is relijus bleefs n fer that, ye couldnt find no place more danjerus than the middle east. he lacked to claim that long after the usa n ussr figgerd out thay wuz more alack than differnt, thay wood still be truble in the middle east. i figgerd he wuz thankin too much bout that game of risk we used to play on a counta twuz obveeus to innybidy that thay wuznt nuthin a'gone end the conflick twixt the super powers short of ackshul war, but i dint ever say that.

on tuther hand, i dint lack his idee that thay wuznt nuthin new in the worl. that brought me rite up agin the flossofy of hegel whar he sed that in histry, ye furst had whut ye mite call yer thesis, witch thats a way of doin thangs that gits thupper hand. say tiz absolute monarchy or sumthin. whutever twuz, by natchur it wood call up its oppsit or antithesis, witch i reckon yer magna carta wuz that kinda thang. whut ye gut whenever ye blended to two thangs wuz called yer synthesis, only quick as ye gut one, ye had to start callin it the new thesis n git to watchin out fer the new antithesis. ifn ye follow this brand of thankin, ye git to whar ye could look at the worl as 'eethur' clashin with 'or' to cum up with a new 'eethur' that wood cause a new 'or.' ifn ye bought that splainayshun of thangs, then ye wood half to agree that thar wuz change in human histry, at lease frum one thesis to the nextn.

but thay wuz moren that to cunsidder. we gut us a good dose of that one evenin when frieda tuck us to see a movie name of rocky horror pitcher show. we had herd bout it on a counta seem lack that movie had been out fer years n sumhow twuz still showin in theeaters. i figgerd twuz jes gittin to west germany frum amurka, but whenever the show started, twuz clear that everbidy in the audients ceptn me n emily had dun seen it. they had brought all kinda thangs sos they could partissipate in the show, rice n garters n such n thay wuz a passel of folk who dressed up lack sum of the monsters in the film. then whenever the show wuz over, they turnt on the lites n a few folk gut up on the stage sos they could lead a discusshun bout the film n society. it dint last long on a counta how them anarchists tuck over.

them anarchists wuz sumthin else we dint never know nuthin bout till we gut to west germany, n even then it tuck a while to figger. fack is, one of the thangs that had puzzled us the mos bout west germany wuz how even tho most everthang wuz clean as could be, thay wuz grafitti here n thar. the most common thang wuz a capitull A with a circull round it, witch we cum to find out that wuz fer anarchy n i reckon thay musta been sum that wuz advocatin that. turnt out thay wuz folks that hadnt even growed up a nuff to see thru thatn n they had a slew of em at that movie.

so them talkers gut up n ast whut did the movie tell us bout society in bundesrepublik deutschland? whut follerd wuz purty much lack them deebates they wuz havin down at the mense at johann wolfgang goethe-universität, tho it tuck a lil while fer it to git thar. furst thay wuz sum plite questchuns, lack how could ye git a better society? everbidy seemed to agree that ye couldnt git no better society till ye had gut ye better folk, folk that wuznt corrupted by society. thats when yer anarchists cum in to splain thar idee of killin off society n leevin nuthin behind but anarchy whar yer strongest wood win n everbidy else wood die or go long with the strongest. n frum that, they sed, the natcherul goodness of human beins wood cum out n frum thar ye wood git ye a better society.

corse, lack ye mite magin, befor innybidy could finish statin sumthin lack that, tutherns had dum jumped in to splain how stupid the hole anarchy thang wuz till thay wuznt nuthin lef ye could here cept the screamin voices but no ackshul wurds.

so we lef, frieda n her boyfriend herr krugel n me n emily. we went to taverna marathon, witch twuz a greek restrunt on leipziger strasse that wuz our favert. herr krugel wuz purty caught up in everthang that wuz bein sed, so we let him splain it all bes he could, only we couldnt foller his splainayshun of how them anarchists could bleev whut they dun. it seemed to us jes sumthin to give ye a eggscuse fer scratchin swatiskas on mercedes benzes or burnin amurkin flags or jes not pane no attenchun to no rules ye dint lack. he sed we wuz stuck in our tweedle dee/tweedle dum thankin, witch that wuz a clever way of statin we wuz eethur/or thankers, witch i splained to him how that wuz a instunts of his reducin the individual to a thang, same as usin the wurd 'germ' or 'kraut' or 'nigger,' witch he wuz shocked that folks wood use such terms to refer to germans or black folk eethur one, but twuz wurse to confuse the two. we wooda gut to thc point of the mense vershun of a argument ceptn he had to wurk the nex day, so frieda tole him she wuz a'gone stay fer a while, witch that made im mad so he lef.

after that, we talked bout the film, the funny thangs. after we had been laffin bout that fer a while, frieda sed twuz tiresum to be a german sumtimes on a counta how everthang had to be a big discusshun n mayhap even a fuss n fite. ye couldnt even enjoy a simple movie without havin to eggzamine its deeper sochusl significunts. whut ifn twuz only meant to be fun? wuz thar no room lef in the worl fer simple fun, whut with germans in the east lined up to attack germans in the west n vice versa, with nuclear weppons pointed at the hole worl, reddy to brang it to a end without mos folks ever knowin whut wuz dun to make the furst person push the button.

so emily ast her whut could the anser be? frieda sed she dint know the big ansers, but she had a lil one to perpose, witch she ast the greek waiter to brang noch ein pils fer each of us, witch that meant 'still a beer' wurd fer wurd but a nuther beer jes the same. once we gut it, she splained how she wonted us to be real friends n she wood show us how twuz dun amung germans. witch she splained we should probly use sekt, witch thats whut the french make the germans call the 'champagne' they makes thar ownselves, but since we had dun been drankin beer, that made more sense. so she had furst emily, then me, raise our glass n lank arms with her n take a drank.

so frieda roped her arm round emilys n they each drunk deep n then when emily mite wooda pullt away, frieda held on n splained how she dint know the ansers to the big problems, but she did know it had sumthin to do with larnin to be friends. whenever she dun the same thang with me, i tole her she had dun showed me sumthin i dint know how to fit on the lil line i wuz drawin twixt all them flossofys of gummint n all.

so she kep me frum pullin away long a nuff to say that she dint thank it matterd whuther ye could fit yer friendship into yer flossofy. a true friend, she sed, dint need no splainayshun, jes luv.

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