Our Daily Bleed...
"A dead myth is called allegory.
The writer's function is to prevent myths turning into allegories."
— Michel Tournier
Brilliant red-diaper baby political caricaturist, satirist.
Chinese FEAST OF WINTER SOLSTICE. Most celebrated family festival of the year. In old China prisoners were allowed to go home for the day. At the feast places are set for deceased family members. Fruit trees are given offerings of rice.
Hindu world: PONGOL OF THE SUN, two-day solstice festival.
Aztec world: The protector of day Cozcacuauhtli (Vulture) is Itzpapalotl. Cozcacuauhtli signifies long life, wisdom, good counsel & mental equilibrium. A good day to confront the discontinuities, disruptions, failures & deaths one suffers in life. A day for tricking the Trickster.
1579 -- John Fletcher baptized in Rye, Sussex. Before the age of 12, he is admitted to Bene't (now Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge. English dramatist who collaborated with Francis Beaumont & others on comedies & tragedies.
1629 -- Dutch Baroque artist Pieter de Hooch lives — among Merry Company & empty courtyards.
1669 -- US: First jury trial in Delaware: Marcus Jacobson condemned for insurrection & sentenced to flogging, branding & slavery.
1764 -- Horace Walpole writes a friend:
"The works of [Samuel] Richardson . . . are pictures of high life as conceived by a bookseller, & romances as they would be spiritualized by a Methodist preacher."
"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those who feel."
1792 -- France: Primarily in order to de-Christianise the country, revolutionary France's National Convention authorizes the Committee of Public Instruction to investigate reforming the existing 7 day, 52 week, 12 month calendar — see 22 September.
Source: [Calendar Riots]
1803 -- US: Louisiana Territory transferred from France to the US, without consultation with any of the native peoples living there.
1812 -- Sacagawea Shoshone, interpreter for Lewis & Clark, dies.
1820 -- US: Maryland (or Missouri...I have conflicting information) imposes a $1 per year bachelor's tax on unmarried men aged 21 to 50.
1835 -- US: Cherokee Indians forced to cede their Georgia lands & cross the Mississippi River when gold was discovered on their territory. The evacuation was carried out, during the winter of 1838-9, by federal troops commanded by General Winfield Scott. Along the way, 10% of the tribe was wiped out by disease, fatigue, & exposure. The march hence known as the "Trail of Tears."
1838 -- Edwin Abbott, author of the classic mathematical science fiction fantasy Flatland, lives.
1842 -- William Miller dies.
1860 -- US: In response to the victory of Republican Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election six weeks before, South Carolina becomes the first Southern state to secede from the United States.
1868 -- US: A real blowout, Harvey Samuel Firestone, manufacturer, lives.Having spent the 19th century producing tires that work, his company will spend the 20th century finding new & ingenious — if insidious — ways to make them explode. For these feats, thousands of designers will be handsomely paid. & — as Mark Twain so aptly put it, Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
1871 -- In the Chicago Tribune, Mark Twain compares himself to George Washington:
"I have a higher & greater standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie but I won't."
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear."
1875 -- Novelist & short story writer Theodore Francis Powys (Black Bryony), brother of Llewellyn & John Cowper Powys, lives, Shirley, Derbyshire.
1876 -- US: Hannah Omish at 12 is youngest person ever hung in America.
Hannah learnt a lesson: won't do that again.
1878 -- US: Ezra Heywood, anarchist, imprisoned for "obscenity" back in June for his advocacy of "free love," is pardoned by Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader US President Hayes after popular agitation for his release.
1891 -- Horsepower? Strongman Louis Cyr withstands the pull of four horses.
1891 -- France: Zo d'Axa, in l'Endehors, today notes that as soon as a calamity occurs, the rich throw a party for themselves.
His anger is triggered by a benefit performance in the Comédie Française for the victims of a mine disaster, yielding 35.000 francs. A despicable, vile & condescending act, according to d'Axa, & a hypocritical showing of benevolence.
The French adventurer & anarchiste Zo d'Axa (1864-1930) exposed all kinds of misbehavior in his magazine l'Endehors. In his opinion, hypocrisy ranked high in the spectrum of vice & he spotted this quality especially among the rich people.
Strange: December Fortean Events Appearance in the morning sky of a luminous body passing from west to east; at about 15 degrees in the eastern horizon, it appeared to stand still for 15-20 minutes; described as the size of a table, an enormous wheel; light was a brilliant white; noise of its passage through the air was heard; disappeared or exploded after standing still, but no sound of explosion was heard, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina - p275 [L'Astronomie, 1894-157]
1902 -- Miura Seiichi lives. Japanese Christian socialist who gave up religion in 1930, & became an anarcho-syndicalist after meeting Sanshiro Ishikawa.
Miura Seiichi participated in the newspaper Kokusen. Exiled to China in 1939 with Tsing-Tao when Japan became fascist. Returned December 1945 & in the following year helped found the Tokyo-based Japanese Federation of Anarchists, & assumed responsibility for the international section. After the dissolution of Federation in 1969, he published the Japanese monthly magazine, The Libertarian.
1905 -- Russia: Start of 11-day General Strike against Tsarist regime.
1912 -- US: Emma Goldman lectures on Leonid Andreyev's King Hunger in Brownsville.
1914 -- US: Emma Goldman delivers lecture on the war to an audience of 1,800 people at an event organized by her niece Miriam Cominsky in Rochester, NY.
1917 -- Australia: Referendum defeats proposal to conscript single men.
1917 -- US: Emma Goldman meets Helen Keller during this month at a benefit ball for The Masses.
Most of the people working for The Masses, such as Dorothy Day, John Reed, Floyd Dell, Art Young, Boardman Robinson & H. J. Glintenkamp & many others, believed WWI was caused by the imperialist competitive system & that the US should remain neutral.
When the US declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, The Masses came under government pressure to change its policy. Refusing to do so, the journal lost its mailing privileges. Then it was prosecuted under the Espionage Act, forcing the paper to cease publication.
America! Land of the free, "Freedom of the Press."
1920 -- Väinö Linna lives. Novelist, essayist, one of the great writers of post-war Finland. His major works (The Unknown Soldier, Here Beneath the North Star) are in nearly every home in Finland.
1920 -- Italy: Si acutizza la lotta tra fascisti e socialisti (e talvolta anche tra fascisti e repubblicani) con pestaggi e uccisioni. Questi gruppi sono in concorrenza per strappare voti dallo stesso elettorato, proletario e piccolo borghese. Le forze dello stato operano prevalentemente a favore dei fascisti.
Source: [Crimini e Misfatti]
Bulgaria: In December 1920, the first number of the semi-monthly Anarchist appears in Kustendil, replacing the Alarm Clock. After three numbers the paper moves to Sofia where, under the direction of poet/journalist George (Gueorgui) Getchev, it appears clandestinely. Subtitled "Organ of the Federation of the Communist Anarchists in Bulgaria" (in Bulgarian & French), it is the voice for activists grouped around Vassil Ikonomov & promotes acts of "propaganda by the deed". It continues publishing during the years 1921-1922.
En-tête d'un numéro du 12 août 1922 de "Anarchiste" En décembre 1920, sortie à Kustendil (Bulgarie) du premier numéro du bimensuel "Anarchiste," il remplace le "Réveil." Après trois numéros le journal se déplacera à Sofia où, sous la direction de Georges Getchev il sortira clandestinement. Sous-titré " Organe de la Fédération des Anarchistes Communistes en Bulgarie" (en bulgare et français), il sera en fait le porte-parole des activistes groupés autour de Vassil Ikonomov. Ils revendiqueront dans ses pages leurs actes de "propagande par le fait." Le journal poursuivra sa publication durant les années 1921-1922.
1923 -- ESKIMO POETS: Paris - Danish explorers have informed the world that they have found in the Arctic a warlike tribe of Eskimos bearing the proud name of Avrilisarmints, all of whom, men women & children, are poets.
The Eskimo Poets sing poems of their own composition, & they have exceedingly long memories, in that respect resembling the ancient bards of Greece & Scandinavia. If the Poetry Society does not fit out an expedition to mingle with the Avrilisarmint tribe, exchange ideas, candy, blubber, tallow & calorific conceptions, it will miss such an opportunity as may never occur again.
1925 -- After finishing up a lecture series, Emma Goldman leaves for France where she spends the holidays in Nice at the home of author Frank & Nellie Harris.
1926 -- American political caricaturist, painter, satirist David Levine lives (d.2009). Best known for his work in The New York Review of Books. He claimed to be a Communist, although people of all political persuasions came in for the same acid treatment. Levine said that "by making the powerful funny-looking ... he might encourage some humility or self-awareness."
1939 -- ¶ During this month Jack Kerouac loses his virginity with a Manhattan prostitute.
1943 -- Death of German feminist & pacifist Anita Augsburg.
See "Anita Augsburg" by Mary L. Volcansek & Luba DeWitt in Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook Edited by Rebecca Mae Salokar & Mary L. Volcansek (Greenwood Press, 1996)
1945 -- Austria: Karl Renner, leader of Austrian Socialist Party, elected President.
1946 -- Andrei Codrescu lives, Sibiu, Romania. Emigrated to the US in 1966; poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter; columnist on National Public Radio; editor of Exquisite Corpse, a literary journal on line at www.corpse.org; MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
1951 -- Atomic energy first used to generate electricity in US.
1954 -- American novelist Sandra Cisneros lives.
Cisneros, the author of The House on Mango Street & Woman Hollering Creek & Other Stories, is a poet & fiction writer.
Self-described as a "terrorist," "anarchist," & a "Chicana feminist," she has said, "I’m trying to write stories that haven’t been told. I feel like a cartographer. I’m determined to fill a literary void."
1957 -- Birth of British working class songster & activist Billy Bragg, the Barking Bard.
"I don't want to change the world,
I'm not looking for a new England,
I'm just looking for another girl..."
1958 -- England: 36 arrested for re-entering Thor rocket base to prevent construction, North Pickenham, Norfolk.
1961 -- One of the most successful American playwrights of the 20th century, Moss Hart, dies in Palm Springs, California. Many of his successful plays were written with George S. Kaufman.
1962 -- Dominican Republic: Juan Bosch elected President in first free elections in 38 years. Overthrown by the champ of democracy in yet another US-backed coup in September 1963. See 28 April.
1966 -- Otis Redding Show opens at the Fillmore Auditorium, Frisco, California.
1968 -- US: Officials say more than 300 Americans are believed missing in Vietnam; at least 50 of these invaders are believed to be prisoners of the Vietcong.
1968 -- American social activist writer John Steinbeck dies, New York City. Wrote Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, script writer for the film, "Zapata!"
1968 -- Franz Kafka friend, Jewish author Max Brod, dies in Tel Aviv. Having ignored Kafka's last will ("burn all the manuscripts"), he handed down the writings of one of the most important German-speaking writers of the 20th century to posterity.
Brod also wrote the first biography of Kafka, which ignored Franz Kafka's involvement in anarchist groups & activities, which he apparently disapproved of.
"The Revolution evaporates, & leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
The chains of tormented mankind are made out of red tape."
1976 -- US: Democracy in Action? Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Mayor Richard Daley, Lord & Ruler of Chicago for 20 years, dies.
Daley was an intellectual giant, rivaling Judge Julius Hoffman, & proof that any idiot can be a successful politician or crook.
1986 -- US: Three black men attacked by bat-wielding young whites in Howard Beach neighborhood, Queens, NYC; one of them, Michael Griffith (23) is hit by a car & dies during his attempt to escape.
1987 -- Philippine inter-island ferry & tanker collide, Tablas Strait, south of Manila. Over 1,600 people missing, presumed dead. Only 26 are rescued alive. The ferry's manifest listed 1,583 passengers & 60 crew members, but there is speculation that over 3,000 were aboard.
1988 -- Animal rights terrorists fire-bomb Harrod's department store, London, after finding poodle fur collars on some coats.
...fitted the Rolls with a shatterproof windscreen
Soon as we heard the news
Harrods do a nice little teargas
Even a woman can use...
— Tom Robinson Band (from "I'm Alright Jack")
In December 1998 it is revealed that many fur pelts being sold in the US (coats, toys, etc.) are actually from cats & dogs falsely labeled.
1989 -- US invades Panama, "to protect US interests" (the drug trade, right?). Thousands of innocent Panamanians die but Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader & former CIA asset Manuel Noriega is jailed in the US. Drug running & corruption continue, now under a US investor-friendly government. US corporate media hurrahs & snorts the government line.
The US overthrow of military dictator, & once CIA-controlled, Noriega follows his indictment in the US on drug trafficking charges & accusations of suppressing democracy in Panama during the last presidential election — all conveniently following his refusal to follow US orders any longer. The invasion force includes 13,000 troops who join the approximately 12,000 American soldiers already
occupyingstationed in the country.
1990 -- US: Kansas reservist Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn refuses orders for the Gulf War. She is later sentenced to prison, & the Kansas medical board strips Huet-Vaughn of her license to practice, because of her conscientious objection.
1991 -- US: CIA classifies task force report on greater openness as "secret."
1994 -- Chechnya: Hundreds of thousands link hands in a human chain to protest Russian invasion.
I no longer count the pain of coming here, says Govinda-dasa.
Poet Denise Levertov (The Jacob's Ladder) dies in Seattle, Washington. The author of more than 20 volumes of poetry — ranging from her first American collection Here & How (1946) to Sands of the Well (1996).
2006 -- US: Issuing yet another "signing statement," Beloved & Respected Comrade Screw Your Liberties George Bush quietly asserts a Presidential right to open private mail, contrary to existing law & the very legislation he has signed today.
A temporarily insane individual intent on killing or at least maiming anyone in reach. Mucking almost always occurs within heavily populated areas.
A mucker can easily slay dozens of bystanders on a city street before apprehension. When in a berserk state (or "frame of reference"), muckers are capable of superhuman strength & stamina.
Eyes will be fixed open, pupils dilated. Breathing is ragged & violent. Saliva may drool from a mucker's mouth. Everyday clothing may tear from abnormally contracted biceps or thigh muscles. (If the mucker is male, full erection may be conspicuous.) The best defense from a mucker is not to be there when it happens.
Entomologically, the term "mucker" is almost certainly derived from "amok" & is not a variation of "mugger." Psychologically, the mucker phenomenon is directly related to overcrowding; precedents are found throughout history.
— John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar
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