Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Don’t Even Think About It!


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter No Secrets Allowed (Except Ours)


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 23: Don’t Even Think About It!

“Don’t even think about it!”

How many times have you heard that line in a movie or on TV? Has it been used on you? By a parent? A teacher? A police officer?

Anyone who says that to you considers himself the boss of you.

Anyone who says this to you has in that moment expressed his unmistakable intention to treat you as his property.

Anyone who says that deserves to be told — if you have the wherewithal to say it — “How would you even know? What are you, a fucking mind reader?”

Not even think about it?

Thinking is what makes us human.

Thinking is what makes us conscious.

Thinking is what makes us — in an existence so big that even trying to think about it makes me dizzy — that we’re worth the trouble to raise us up.

Telling you not to even think is the worst thing one person can say to another person. It’s worse than all two hundred words you can’t say television put together. It’s worse than “I hate you.”

Yet parents do it. Older brothers and sisters do it. Priests and preachers do it. Teachers do it. Coaches do it. Cops do it. Marine Drill Instructors do it. Gangsters do it. Prison Guards do it. Judges do it. And TV game-show hosts pretending to be Judges do it.

“Don’t even think about it” are the definitive words used to bully. There is always an “Or else” attached to that sentence, even if it’s not said aloud.

“Don’t even think about it, or else there will be no TV for a month!” “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll tell!” “Don’t even think about it, or you’ll go to Hell!” “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll see you in Detention!” “Don’t even think about it, or you’ll spend the next game on the bench!” “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll drop you!” “Don’t even think about it, or you can clean the latrine with a toothbrush!” “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll whack you!” “Don’t even think about it, or it’s solitary for you!” “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll find you in contempt!” And “Don’t even think about it, or I’ll go to commercial!”

George Orwell — in his novel Nineteen-eighty-four — expressed “Don’t Even Think About It!” as “thought crime.” He may have made up the phrase “thought crime” but he didn’t make up the idea behind it, because “Don’t Even Think About It!” is the signature of every dictator and every cult leader.

If there’s a standard interpretation of any Biblical passage that I despise more than any other, it’s interpreting Matthew 5:7:28 — “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” — as saying if you think something you’re already guilty of it.

That interpretation is a monstrous engine for unearned guilt. That interpretation is the genesis of thought crime. I reject the notion that anyone as savvy as Jesus ever meant anything close to that. Here’s one clear reason why if I don’t consider the Bible itself full of errors, certainly many common interpretations are.

I’ll go a hard step in the other direction. If a man has never looked on a woman with lust in his heart, he’s either gay or a eunuch, and there’s no virtue whatsoever in his not trying to fuck her. You give me a man who looks on a woman and vividly imagines her naked and straddling him, in his mind smells her musk, and shudders imagining what her skin would feel like on his — then he resists fucking her because he’s made a vow to another, or she has — now you’re talking about real character, Matty boy!

So it is with multiplying the guilt for an offense on a theory of amplified mens rea. If a driver chains another man to the back of his car and drags him through the street until he’s dead, the driver is a monster. I do not need to add the idea of his bigotry — because the man he dragged had different skin color — to justify whatever will be done to him in return. Put him in a dark hole for life — strap him down and put him down like a dog — adding “hate crime” to the charge of First Degree Murder does nothing to make his crime any worse that the act itself did.

The legal concept of mens rea — the guilty mind — is about proving a person capable of forming a conscious intention to commit a crime, being capable of understanding the evil consequences and doing it anyway. Beyond that test for criminal culpability law must never be about what people think about doing. Law — both criminal and civil — must always be about what people have done.

For where would it end? Even saints have a thousand evil thoughts a day, and I doubt either of us has ever known a saint.

You ever wished someone was dead, maybe even plotted their murder? There’s a great 1965 movie written by George Axelrod called How To Murder Your Wife where Jack Lemmon plays a confirmed bachelor — a syndicated cartoonist — who wakes up one morning and finds himself married to the spectacularly beautiful Verna Lisi, a wedding performed — and a marriage consummated — while he was drunk. Now, speaking for myself, I’d be patting myself on the back for a catch like Verna Lisi when I’m not even on my best game; but this idiot doesn’t want to be married to her and starts plotting her murder with the help of his butler, played by Terry Thomas. And he tries out his plot with a dummy, using the cover that he always tries everything out for his comic strip.

The movie is 45 years old so I’m not worried about the spoiler here: no, he doesn’t kill her, and even though she figures out he was thinking about it, she forgives him and they live happily ever after.

That’s as close as you can come to committing a thought crime without going through with it — and I still say you get a complete pass.

Pointing a gun at someone is a threat, a crime in and of itself if it’s done other than in self defense. But to read someone’s mind and charge them with attempted murder if they lower the gun without being forced to would be a classic example of charging someone with a thought crime — a crime that never happened.

Much of conspiracy law today attempts to attribute an intent to commit a crime when ultimately the crime is never committed. A society can destroy respect for law, itself, if it punishes people for the crimes they thought of committing, but repented of before they did it.

And if someone will be punished for commiting a crime even if they don’t go through with it, where’s the incentive to stop?

The phrase “wannabe” refers to the desire — the fantasy — to accomplish something exalted, whether it’s to gain popularity and wealth, or accomplish some great task.

Conversely, there are all sorts of things people fantasize about doing which are not benevolent, everything from revenge plots to suicide.

Sexual fantasies — no matter how repellent you may find them — are harmless until and unless overtly acted upon in such a way as to cause harm to another.

A 1961 Twilight Zone episode written by George Clayton Johnson — “A Penny for Your Thoughts” — tells the story of a bank employee (a pre-Bewitched role for Dick York) who develops mind-reading ability, and reads the thoughts of an older bank employee whom he “hears” thinking about embezzling money from the bank. But it turns out that the older gentleman fantasizes his plot all the time, and never has any intention of doing it for real.

Even God is reported to have evil thoughts and to have drawn back from them. Jonah 3:10: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

So unless you’re going to charge God with thought crime per Matthew 5:7:28, thinking something isn’t reason to feel guilty when you ultimately don’t do it.

Anyone who has held a loaded gun in his hand with his finger inside the trigger guard knows the difference between pulling the trigger and not pulling the trigger.

In life, the movies we play in our mind until we pull the trigger are thoughts that we may or may never turn into action.

God, himself, does not judge our thoughts unless we have already used them to make a choice to commit an action. God doesn’t make the mistake Dick York’s character made in a Twilight Zone episode.

This is both the power of the free human being and our inescapable curse, for with this freedom comes responsibility for what we do.

This is not to suggest that developing wholesome thinking is unimportant. Bad thoughts — especially when you make a habit of it — can lead to bad actions, even obsessions.

But freedom of thought is what makes us human, and possibly — someday — more than that.

I promised you that by the end of this book I’d tell you what was in my left hand.

It’s this.

The left-hand path is the road of self-determination. You choose what you love. You choose what you’re passionate about. You choose what will make you happy.

You may choose wrongly and have to choose again.

We call that learning. It’s something only a free mind can do. It’s why the Biblical image of God changing his mind makes him human, and why existence has meaning.

But the right-hand path is the path of being a puppet, a chump, a slave, a draftee, a machine. Letting someone else think for you and push you around is the path to the destruction of your soul.

Let no one do it — not President, nor Pope, nor Rabbi, nor Pastor, nor Ayatollah, nor Parent, nor Brother, nor Professor, nor Scoutmaster, nor Radio or TV Pundit, nor Drill Instructor, nor Scientist, nor even Writer.

Freedom is necessary for any of your loves or passions to take wing.

Fight for your freedom as hard as you can.

And if you’re not ready to fight, you can at least think about it.

–J. Neil Schulman, January 9, 2010

#

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: No Secrets Allowed (Except Ours)


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 22: No Secrets Allowed (Except Ours)

If you live in a country where you are forbidden to keep secrets from government officials but government officials are allowed to keep secrets from you, then you are living in a tyranny.

If you live in a country where your privacy is sacrosanct but what government officials do is required to be transparent, you are not necessarily living in a free society, but at least you can watch the enemies of your freedom like a hawk.

Imagine if when the IRS asked for your income tax return you could answer, “I’m sorry, but all information about my earnings is classified. If you file a Freedom of Information Act request, I’ll take it under advisement, but you should be aware that because of my backlog it will probably be a minimum of two years before I can even consider your request.”

Or, if a health-department inspector came to your buffet restaurant, and you said, “I’m more than happy to sell you all the meals you want, as long as you eat them on the premises. We don’t allow take out.”

Here’s the reality of who has privacy in this country.

A clue — it’s not you.

On Sunday January 3, 2010 I drove from my home in Nevada to Los Angeles.

On the I-15, just north of Yermo, the State of California has what they call an “Agricultural Inspection Station.” This is a roadblock that takes all southbound traffic on a major cross-country highway down from 70 miles-per-hour to a dead halt, causing a traffic jam.

This station was originally put up to prevent out-of-state grown fruit carrying the Middle Earth — excuse me, Mediterranean — Fruit Fly from entering into California in 1981, where it was threatening California’s agriculture. This is 2010 — 29 years later — and the Medfly isn’t anywhere near the problem for California agriculture that denying farmers water for their crops is. The occasional fruit fly that shows up in California is quickly eradicated by the release of sterile fruit flies.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that the State of California is having a budget crisis? The sales tax is now ten percent. What is termed “essential services” are being cut back and state employees no longer work a full work-week.

The We-Have-No-Gold State still has money to pay at least four uniformed officers, on a Sunday when presumably they receive extra pay, to stop cars for inspection of an insect that hasn’t posed a threat to crops in decades, disrupts interstate traffic, and burns untold extra gallons of gasoline and diesel. Which may be the point to this slowdown since California heavily taxes every gallon of it.

Why should any traveler put up with this invasion of privacy and inconvenience to travel? Is the Medfly now working with al Qaeda?

Oh, yeah. Flying commercial.

On Christmas Day, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab — with visions of forty virgins dancing in his head — took Northwest Airlines Flight 253 flight to Detroit. Hell, they should have known he was suspicious when he got on a flight to Detroit since Detroit’s a ghost town these days. Anyway, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab had the crazy idea of blowing up the plane using explosives hidden in his panties. But this incompetent mook just managed to set himself on fire, and the other passengers quickly rushed him, put out the fire, and restrained him.

You did get what I said, didn’t you? It wasn’t a Federal Air Marshal, or a CIA agent, or a General, or a Transportation Security Administration inspector, or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, or even an airline stewardess who stopped this jackass. It was the passengers — the same passengers who are being made to surrender all weapons, take off their shoes, and now get radiation exposure from full-body scans (is this part of ObamaCare?) because most of a decade after 9/11 the government is still totally incapable of stopping terrorists from getting on airliners.

We sacrifice our privacy, security, and dignity for nothing. Nothing.

Archie Bunker had the right idea on how to stop this sort of thing. Just hand everyone who gets on a plane a gun. Archie Bunker was a genius compared to anyone working for the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Secuity Administration, or any of the airlines.

As I write this news and talk radio are endlessly looping speeches presidential candidate Barack Obama made in 2008 that the House-Senate conference committee writing the final health-care reform bill would be televised on C-Span instead of being held in secret. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just laughed when she heard that. Since when does the President of the United States have authority over how Congress conducts its business? That would be D, Never, Final Answer, Regis.

Don’t trust the dollar? Why should you? It’s not backed by anything. The Red Chinese Army — which holds markers for close to a trillion dollars of American debt — could wipe out the dollar any day they choose simply by flooding the market. Then they could buy up everything in the United States at fire-sale prices.

The Federal Reserve Banking cartel — private banks exclusively entitled to issue United States currency with the signatures of the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury — has total privacy. No one may conduct an independent audit of the Fed’s books which the IRS may demand of you at any time without warning.

But if you try to carry your own small stash of money outside the United States to keep it safe from these Mega-Madoffs, you will be stopped, searched, and your money confiscated on the grounds that you might be a drug lord.

If a cop pulls you over for failing to make a complete stop before turning right on red, and finds a roll of cash on you — let’s say it’s your company’s cash sales receipts for the day that you’re about to deposit in your commercial bank account — the Thin Blue Line can take the cash under asset forfeiture laws — and the money can be used to buy a cappuccino maker for the station house.

You’d have the burden of proof in court to show that it wasn’t made illegally.

Want to talk on an encrypted phone line that can’t be tapped? Or send encrypted text messages on the Internet? Government officials are allowed to do this to keep what they do secret from you. But you try doing any of that and see how long it takes for some goon to show up at your door with a badge, a gun, and an attitude.

Here’s the only tool you have to find out something the government is keeping secret: a Freedom of Information Act request. Which if they don’t feel like it, they can say no.

Here’s tools the government has to find out something it wants from you: arrest, imprisonment, endless interrogation, sleep deprivation, water deprivation, light deprivation, food deprivation, medical-care deprivation, bathroom deprivation until you wet or soil yourself, clothes deprivation, body cavity searches.

You used to be able to be protected from the police grabbing you by seeking asylum in a church. Not anymore.

There used to be a right to refuse to talk to police by invoking the Fifth Amendment. These days refusing to answer questions posed by any government official with a badge is grounds for them to shut down your business, seize your property under asset forfeiture, and maybe even throw you in jail for contempt of court, obstruction of justice, or hindering an investigation.

These days refusing any government official full transparency could be considered aiding and abetting terrorists, which could send you to prison for life or even get you a lethal injection as part of a terrorist conspiracy.

If you do talk to them — as Martha Stewart found out the hard way — and some ambitious prosecutor decides he can get away with charging you for lying to an official, you can end up in prison just like Martha Stewart when she denied to an investigator doing something that wasn’t even a crime.

You think a reporter’s sources are protected so we can have a free press?

Think again.

On December 27, 2009 — a couple of days after all officialdom failed to keep the Underwear Bomber off Flight 253 — the TSA sent an unclassified memo to all airlines informing them of new inspection policies. A travel writer for Royal Dutch Airlines, Steven Frischling, posted the memo on his blog, and the next thing he knows — while he’s home with his wife and three children — TSA goons — er, Special Agents — are at his home with guns and badges, demanding he reveal his source for publishing the memo. According to Frischling,

They’re saying it’s a security document but it was sent to every airport and airline. It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that.

The TSA agents threatened Frischling with arrest if he didn’t cooperate, said they’d get him fired from his job, and confiscated his laptop computer for inspection.

Oh, try taking photos someplace the government has decided is their turf.

On a Sunday in summer 2006, when the Las Vegas FBI office was closed, I tried to shoot video of a plaque honoring FBI agents that was posted outside the building, with open access from an empty parking lot facing the street. The parking lot wasn’t chained off and there were no signs restricting public access. I was going to use that shot of the plaque honoring FBI agents in Lady Magdalene’s.

But within seconds after I tried taking that video a security guard ran out and ordered me and my associate producer, J. Kent Hastings, to freeze. The FBI guard confiscated my video camera, kept Kent and me standing in 110 degree summer heat for over two hours, and when he returned my video camera he had confiscated my tape and memory card.

Six months later the memory card was returned by mail — they’d erased it.

Other photographers have been arrested because they were taking pictures of a bridge or a lake that’s been classified a reservoir.

Any government official may ask you anything at any time, and if you don’t answer you’re a criminal.

But if you ask them anything you’re a troublemaker and likely a terrorist.

Got that picture?

Every child looks forward to the day when he or she is old enough to be able to do what they like without having mommy or daddy looking over their shoulders. Privacy is one of the most important pleasures of growing up.

The government demands the right to search your room and make you stand in the corner until you’ll tell them anything they want to know — and to spank you if you refuse.

Remember how I started this chapter:

If you live in a country where you are forbidden to keep secrets from government officials but government officials are allowed to keep secrets from you, then you are living in a tyranny.

If you live in a country where your privacy is sacrosanct but what government officials do is required to be transparent, you are not necessarily living in a free society, but at least you can watch the enemies of your freedom like a hawk.

You need to decide how much your privacy is worth to you, how much you need your own secure space to pursue your loves, passions, and happiness — and what you’re willing to do to defend it from those creepy perverts who want to be your ruler.

Then you need to decide what you’re willing to do to get government officials to reveal what they’re keeping secret, because otherwise you’ll never know what nefarious plans they have next.

Remember, when they want to know something from you they use arrest, imprisonment, endless interrogation, sleep deprivation, water deprivation, light deprivation, food deprivation, medical-care deprivation, bathroom deprivation until you wet or soil yourself, clothes deprivation, body cavity searches.

This is a book about having fun.

Have fun!

#

Last in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XXIII: Don’t Even Think About It!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Fun and Games


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 21: The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye

This isn’t a chapter about stage magic, where the title of this chapter originated, even though — as with the escape artists of Chapter 12 — the talents I’m discussing have often enough been used “for entertainment purposes only.”

The final three chapters I’m writing in this manifesto for unchaining the human heart all have in common that they’re mostly about what you may or may not do with your brain. The thing is, you can’t drive very far with your heart if you’ve left your brain behind in the garage.

The hand is quicker than the eye?

In this chapter I’m asking you to focus your gaze on my right hand, where I’m fanning a deck of cards, each of which has a different skill.

Each skill painted on one of these cards is so dangerous that if you master it the government often enough makes you an offer you can’t refuse — “Work for us and follow our orders or we have a nice dungeon for you where you’ll never be heard from again.”

You’ll find out what I’m holding in my left hand by the end of this book.

On one card you see a man in a Tuxedo swinging a shiny stopwatch on a chain, and telling you in a soothing voice that your eyelids are getting heavy.

On another card there’s a man dressed in white cotton with a black belt whose hands are so fast that they might make master illusionist Chris Angel’s hands seem slow by comparison.

I start dealing the cards so you can see the jacks of a trade who can make undetectable forgeries of twenty-dollar bills, driver’s licenses, passports, or even centuries-old oil paintings by Rembrandt.

This next card is interesting because it shows a man sitting at a casino Blackjack table with a big stack of playing chips in front of him. Behind him in this picture it isn’t a police officer or a CIA agent threatening him, but there is a scary-looking goon tapping him on the shoulder. What’s that in the word balloon about “counting cards”?

Then there’s a run of black-suited cards showing men opening safes with combination locks, picking locks needing keys, bumping into men in suits and palming their wallets.

There are red cards showing men with knowledge of manufacturing and deploying any sort of explosive device or weapon’s system.

Finally, there’s an entire suit just for scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who know everything from how to hide a complex message in your iPhone’s photo of a kitten to how to refine ore into shapes of Uranium-235 that when forced together suddenly inside a suitcase-sized device can turn a shopping district into a smoldering, radioactive Hazmat-suit zone.

The cliché is that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a lot of the time it’s when you know a lot about something — and have really, really practiced it so that you can practically do it in your sleep — that you can use it to devastating effect.

Ever wonder what the elusive definition of “cool” really is? It comes down to a deep well of having mastered useful skills, and being so comfortable about it that you don’t feel you need to show them off. So when one of them does come to light it always comes across as a surprise.

Bill Bixby played in a TV series called The Magician that ran only two seasons, 1973 and 1974. We’re talking about a short-lived TV series that I haven’t seen in a quarter of a century. I don’t remember the show being all that memorable, except for one scene, where Bixby — playing a stage magician who uses his skills off the stage to help out people in trouble — is having a conversation while casually tossing one playing card after another into a hat a couple of yards away, never missing. At the end of the conversation he’s asked, “How long it take you to learn to do that?” He answers something like, “About a year and a half.” He pauses. “Every day. For an hour.”

The reason that scene stuck with me is that I lived in the same house with that truth. My father was one of the best violinists who ever lived, and he got that way by going into a room by himself, every day, and practicing for hours. Now there have to be natural talents for all that practicing to take. Robert A. Heinlein, writing in Time Enough for Love, put it this way: “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

Not everyone has the talent to make himself into a world-class violinist. And the talent isn’t always passed down to the next generation: my father’s only son didn’t have it. But what I did get from growing up with such a person as my role model — my hero — was the certainty that if I found something in myself that came to me more easily than it did others, by practicing it relentlessly I could make myself excellent at it.

I have spent my life sussing out my capacities and incapacities, and if I appear slothful in some areas it’s because I’ve made myself focus on developing to the greatest extent I can those capacities where nature has given me a head start.

I am not a man of very much natural faith, but if I do have one it’s this: in each of us there is something we have a natural capacity to do which — if we’re relentless about finding and developing it in ourselves, and we’re not so unlucky as to have no chance at all ever to find it — this can be a gift we can offer to the world.

Each of what appears to be a dark talent in the list above — everything from hands that can kill with a blow to committing thefts, even to the ability to murder millions — has a flip side, a way this talent can be developed for beautiful and great purposes.

That’s why it’s so important not only that we find what it is in our selves that make us cool, but that once having found it we also make certain that we never become the slave or puppet to someone who will use us as their weapons system.

Fighting, trickery, and stealth are not necessarily wrong; but when those skills are mastered they do need to be used righteously.

I think that may be why the Harry Potter books are so immensely popular, because that’s the lesson our age has desperately needed J.K. Rowling to teach us. There are always wannabe Lord Voldemorts among us — with names like Hitler, Stalin, Mao — and each of us has a Harry Potter somewhere inside waiting to be whisked away for wizard classes.

The truth is, you’re going to have to find your inner Harry Potter on your own, because there’s no Platform 9-3/4 to board the Hogwarts Express, and if you think about it, there’s really no such thing as a Muggle.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto will be Chapter XXII: No Secrets Allowed (Except Ours)

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Fun and Games


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Don’t Look Now


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 20: Fun and Games

This is a book about the pursuit of happiness. Children are happiest when they’re playing. Happy adults have never outgrown their childhood love of playing. They just add better games.

1 Corinthians 13:11 reads, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Shekels to Drachmas, whoever wrote this passage — the Apostle Paul, Sosthenes, or Crispus — was pissed off because he didn’t get his donkey saddle of rich Corinthian leather.

Or maybe he just forgot Isaiah 11:6:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them, singing E-I-E-I-O.!

There are all kinds of adults-only fun I’ve already spent time talking about in previous chapters — sex, cursing, getting high, and outrunning the Feds, to name a few.

Maybe it doesn’t work this way anymore, what with all the “We Are the World” stuff kids these days get from the cradle onwards.

But when I was growing up the problems with having fun started the first time a kid brought home a friend his parents didn’t want him to have. Maybe it was just that his mother didn’t know this new kid’s mother. Or maybe he was too old. Or wore funny clothes. Spoke the wrong way or had trouble speaking. Or had skin of the wrong shade.

Then, when kids got to the school yard, it was no wonder all the kids already knew which kids were the ones you weren’t supposed to play with, and the ones you wouldn’t get into too much trouble for making fun of or beating up.

That kid — the one who got made fun or or beat up — was often enough me. I was the only Jewish kid in Massachusetts public schools filled with old New England Protestants and Irish Catholics.

I don’t remember the school playground — or walking home from school — being much fun … unless you happen to consider making your way through enemy lines your idea of a day’s fun. But then again, that’s a pretty good description of football, basketball, hockey, rugby, and soccer, isn’t it?

I should probably get a Heisman trophy just for all the days I made it from my school to home without getting the crap kicked out of me.

Sports is one of those areas where the truth is the more violence and mayhem there is the more fun men have historically considered it to be — and nowadays a bunch of old women have set up rules to take all the fun out of it.

It’s not childish things we’ve put away — it’s games suitable for grown ups. Sports with real risk of someone getting themselves wounded or even killed. That was how it was done for all of human history — up until a few years ago.

Come on — gladiator sword-and-shield bouts? Chariot races with horses being run into each other — sometimes fatally — for a momentary advantage? Christians versus lions?

Jousting with real lances? Fights with chains and maces?

That was the “Wild World of Sports.”

A century ago you still had bare-fisted boxing, and sometimes one of the boxers got clouted in the head hard enough to die. Nowadays — with the pillows prizefighters have wrapped around their fists — retired fighters just slowly deteriorate from Parkinson’s Disease. But then again, ballet dancers need foot surgery and football players need pins put in their joints.

Here in modern-day Estrogenia they sent Michael Vick to the slammer because he had his dogs try to bite each other while gamblers bet on the outcome. As if people don’t have dogs on their dinner plate every day in China and Vietnam. As if dog racing isn’t on ESPN.

Why shouldn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken be sponsoring Cock fights — with the loser ending up in the fryer? Just to see PETA becoming apoplectic would be reason enough to do it.

Let loose the hounds — it’s time for the fox hunt!

Not anymore. Not even if you’re the King of England.

Okay, assisted suicide is legal in Oregon and Washington State. Any reason it can’t be done with a game of Russian Roulette? Vegas casinos would probably make your last days lavish if that’s how you chose to end it all.

Remember the racing for pink slips in Rebel Without A Cause? The last driver to jump out of the clunker he’s driving before it goes over a cliff wins. Sort of leaves NASCAR in its dust, doesn’t it?

During the presidency of Thomas Jefferson dueling with pistols was still legal — and it’s a good thing, too. Aaron Burr putting a bullet into him was the only way this country was ever going to get rid of that imperial-lusting bastard, Alexander Hamilton.

When Joe Wilson called President Obama a “liar” from the floor of Congress? Come on, be honest. Don’t tell me the Obama-Wilson duel isn’t one you’d have spent big pay-per-view bucks for.

It just might bring down the number of ad hominem attacks in public policy debate if shooting off your mouth could get you shot.

I’m perfectly aware that there’s no good moral argument to be made for bringing violence and assorted cruelty back to sports, contests, and games. But there may be a robust argument for the proposition that when the sportsmanship of committing acts of violence left the human vista, the indiscriminate mass murders of millions of unwilling spectators took its place. When violence was limited to fields of contest and battle by civilized custom, sacking, murder of women and children, and rape of both men and women was the mark of the barbarian.

Moving along to less violent games.

We wonder why this country has become obese and out of shape. It begins with city playgrounds. Public playgrounds used to have things made out of metal and wood — Jungle Jims, tree houses and tunnels for kids to climb up, through, and around, slides with ladders that went up a dozen or two dozen steps.

I saw this change — while I was still taking my daughter to the playground — into plastic and foam things suitable for nobody over the age of two. Playgrounds for children were replaced with places parents and nannies could push around their infants in something other than a stroller. Lawyers worried about lawsuits did away with the public playground for children.

Then there’s the play-acting children used to do, before playing was replaced with playing electronic games designed and programmed to control the limits of experience children can have while playing.

When children play act, they play act adult roles — and I’ll use examples that show my age: G.I. Joe, Barbie, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians. When kids play act — or play with dolls and models — they don’t play at being children. They’re trying out being grown-ups.

In technical terms, this is called running a simulation.

Airline pilots learn to fly in flight simulators.

Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong practiced landing on the moon in a simulator of the Lunar Module, Eagle.

Childhood play-acting is a kid running a simulation of — practicing — being an adult.

This is discouraged because who knows what kids might want to be when they grow up? A mercenary? A bounty hunter? Aphrodite forbid — a housewife?

So it works backwards. People who want to call 911 and hide while they’re waiting for the person who broke into their house at three in the morning to rape, rob, and even kill them will give their kids toy phones, not toy guns.

But maybe killing off play-acting isn’t as easy at it looks. Reese Witherspoon told Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show, that when she didn’t give a toy gun to her son he found something else to pretend is a gun.

There’s always sticking up your thumb, pointing your index finger, curling back the other three, and saying, “Bang!” What’s next to keep kids from simulating violent confrontations they see happening on Fox News — peace mittens and gags?

Don’t want your kids to know anything about smoking except that there’s a chance it might kill them half a century later? There go candy cigarettes. Oh, wait. Sugar is also not good for you. My bad.

There are still lots of pious homes that don’t allow card games because playing cards can be used to conjure spirits and try to read the future — the same with Ouiji boards and Magic 8 Balls.

Of course any toy or game with small parts or sharp edges can’t be given to your eight-year-old because a three-month-old baby might get hurt by it.

And what about shooting real guns? Yeah. that’s right. Schools used to have shooting ranges — and not just for ROTC. Marksmanship competitions used to be a common American sport.

Then of course there’s a ladder of games the object of which is to get to know the other sex a whole lot better. It starts with “Spin the Bottle.” It starts getting interesting with “Strip Poker.” And it gets downright frisky with “car keys in the potato-chip bowl.”

If you eliminate sex and violence, what’s the fun of growing up, anyway?

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XXI: The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Don’t Look Now

Go to book’s beginning.

Read the previous chapter Wash Your Mouth Out!


Unchaining the Human Heart
– A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 19: Don’t Look Now

I was sorely tempted to start this chapter by paraphrasing my opening to Chapter 15, “This is a book about love. What, then, of Art?”

Instead, let me talk about the word “image” again. What an innocent little word that not only opens a can of worms (or a Diet of Worms?) but may be one of the two most underestimated words in the English language.

The other one is “medium,” but I’ll get back to that word, later.

The engima of “image” starts right near the top of the Bible, Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Everybody reads this passage to mean that men and women somehow look like God. But a reflection in a mirror shows us the original: it also means that when you look into the face of men and women you see God.

What would it do to our understanding if we read the word “image” in this passage the way professional publicists do: that man was made to look the way God wants us to see him?

Or, or, or — and I’m just spinning off ideas here — what if we read that sentence, “So God created man in his own imagination, in the imagination of God created he him; male and female created he them”?

That interpretation gives God a lot more creative freedom in what we end up being. Just so we’re clear here. This isn’t a chapter about God. I’m using this sentence to spark your imagination.

This is a chapter about imagery — how it moves us, and how those who would move us as puppets have an imperative to control what you may and may not see.

The cliché is that one picture is worth a thousand words. In this book, a thousand words might be a chapter. But just the way, in the previous chapter, I discussed how what makes human beings human is our use of language, don’t forget that I said direct mind-to-mind sharing of images is the primary way gods, angels, and supermen communicate.

I’m both a wordsmith and a presenter of images. I sold photography to newspapers — and spent hours in a darkroom experimenting with ways to generate artistic images — years before I got paid my first dime for writing. And, I assure you, sitting front-and-center in “video village” while directing a movie — and even more so staring at a monitor sometimes frame-by-frame when editing a movie through fourteen drafts — even the wordsmith who wrote the screenplay learns that the power of image sometimes leaves words — if not on the cutting room floor — on the backup hard drive.

Words are most powerful when they invoke feelings and images. That’s how great literature works its sympathetic magic. But remember that it wasn’t reading novels about Superman that ignited my infant imagination. It was moving pictures on a black-and-white television set, and primary-colored panel drawings in a comic book.

How much of the memory we have of movies is based not on taglines like “Here’s looking at you, kid!” or “I’ll be back!” but of the first time we saw the underbelly of an imperial destroyer in the first-released episode of Star Wars or Sharon Stone uncrossing then crossing her legs in Basic Instinct?

When image is combined with story and music — even without a single word — the synergy can be breathtaking.

Movies and television have replaced other media — books, stage plays, and radio — as the dominant popular culture, because they open up unlimited vistas — that precisely means visual imagery — beyond reach of the literary or dramatized word.

When often we hear the phrase “the book was better than the movie” — and this is why my daughter has convinced me to read J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter books which she considers incomparably better than the movies of which I’m already quite fond — it’s that in translating literature or stage drama to the screen the strengths of visual presentation are exchanged for the history, depth of detail, and scope of canvas available to the writer or dramatist who can appeal directly to the audience’s own imagination.

But when it’s in its own realm — telling stories visually, and augmenting visual imagery not with words but with music or other sound — film can equal and sometimes even surpass literary and performed-word drama in its power.

One six-minute-long sequence of animation — the Valse Triste from the 1977 animated feature Allegro Non Troppo — combines wordless story, image, and music in a way that has stuck in my memory for over three decades, and I have never been able to watch it without tearing up. With no words it explicitly conveys the horror of war as seen through the eyes of an alley cat who has survived the destruction of the building — and the people — it used to live with.

The recent Pixar-Disney animated feature Up also has segments just as powerful, evoking the pity for a man — even though we know while we are watching that this is just a drawing — who has lost the love of his life.

In my own feature film, Lady Magdalene’s, the sequence which I worked hardest on as a director — and of which I’m most proud in the finished film — is a fight and murder choreographed to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Not a word is spoken for 4,512 frames.

We see. We hear. But it is not words that tell the story.

The medium is this case is almost godlike in its directness.

All gods are invisible to men; but what distinguished the Hebrews were their insistence that the one God remain invisible, by forbidding any attempt to paint or sculpt him. Compared to the Jewish and Islamic preservations of this Hebrew tradition, Christianity is entirely pagan in its iconography.

Don’t get me wrong. To this Jew, that’s one of the most appealing things about Christianity. How poor the world would be without Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel of God’s finger passing the spark of life to Adam, or his Statue of David. Where would Dan Brown or Ron Howard have been in their mystery lesson without Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic mural, The Last Supper? And if Chanukah is supposed to be a festival of lights, Christmas is an orgy of them.

If George Carlin had been more visually and less verbally oriented, he might have given us the “Seven Images You Can Never See on Television.” You can keep Carlin’s two entries from the female anatomy — cunt and tits – but on broadcast TV you’d get in just as big trouble if you showed a fully erect penis, urination, defecation, ejaculation, or Muhammad decked out as a drag queen.

What is the flag of the United States except a visual icon, if not worshiped then saluted? In Lady Magdalene’s I play the role of an American al Qaeda recruit introduced at a secret training camp in Death Valley, seen throwing the American flag onto the dirt and replacing it with a green banner adorned with a crescent. That scene was shot at Front Sight — a top private training facility for military, police, and civilians — and I was told later by several of the Front Sight instructors attached to our production that if they hadn’t already known me as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, I might not have walked off that set without a black eye.

Visual imagery is tightly controlled by those in power. Images lead to thoughts. Small children have been suspended from school for stick drawings considered inappropriate — you know, like drawing a gun. Publication of a cartoon in Denmark showing Muhammad in a bad light ignites fires at the Danish embassies in Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. The Taliban destroy statues of Buddha going back a thousand years. And I’ll never forget — because I saw it at the 1964 New York World’s Fair – that Michelangelo’s sculpture, The Pieta, was attacked with a geologist’s hammer by a mad scientist in 1972.

Whether it’s “bourgeois” art work that doesn’t serve the State, or tatoos that no decent person would ever desecrate himself with, or even wearing the wrong color shirt in a gang neighborhood, visual imagery — therefore visual imagination — provokes passion, and therefore a demand for tight controls.

Getting back, as I promised, to the word, “medium.” That’s like Allison DuBois on the TV series of that name, whose dreams connect her with the afterlife. The real-life Allison DuBois says she works more awake than dreaming, but my personal experiences — like the TV Allison — launch more when I’m asleep.

But I’m not a medium.

I’m an extra-large.

Dreams present images. I have dreams that show me things drawn from nothing I’ve seen in my own waking life. To state with government authority that there’s no validity to the notion that dreams might be a medium of communication with those just-a-silly-millimeter-away universes, is more of the self-congratulatory yay-for-our-team Omniscience — rather than Science — that I wrote about in Chapter 13.

Before you join the National Science Foundation in dismissing communication with other realms as pseudoscience, have you ever considered that the plural of “medium” is “media”?

My dreams have taken me to real places and have brought me into additional realities not reachable through the five senses. The sixth sense which takes us everywhere else is the native-to-our-species ability to dream and imagine, and not everything dreamed or imagined is fantasy.

But when the National Science Foundation — an agency of the United States federal government — issues a fatwa that mediumship is pseudoscience, you must make no mistake. This is just as much an attempt at religious censorship — just as much part of a campaign to block you from having access to understanding the media which are your own dreams and imagination — as if they burned books, smashed statuary, or beheaded a filmmaker.

Whether or not you have learned how to manage these powers, you are a Medium.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XX: Fun and Games

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Wash Your Mouth Out!


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Banned In Boston


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 18: Wash Your Mouth Out!

There was an old hermit named Dave,
Who kept a dead whore in his cave,
He said with a grin,
I know it’s a sin,
But think of the money I’ll save!

There was once a gent from Nantucket,
Whose cock was so long he could suck it,
He said with a grin,
As he wiped off his chin,
If my ass was a cunt I could fuck it!

There was a young lady from Eeling,
Who had a most sensual feeling,
As she lay on her back,
She played with her crack,
Then came all over her ceiling!

This may well be the most important chapter in this book, because this chapter — more than all the others — is about the very essence of what you and I are, and how it is that I’m even communicating with you.

Yet I start it off by quoting three dirty limericks.

I’ll connect it up for you by the chapter’s end.

This chapter is a discussion of why — at least for the moment — you and I are not gods, angels, or supermen, but human beings.

Gods, angels, and supermen do not need language to communicate with each other, either spoken or written. They do not need books. Gods, angels, and supermen can communicate with each other directly by sharing the images of their thoughts, directly sharing their emotions, and if they need language at all, it’s not words but music and dance. If they need to store memories or history, that’s what trees are for.

Ayn Rand, in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and Alfred Korzybski, in his book Science and Sanity, could not disagree more about Aristotle as the starting point for exploring human construction of thought.

Rand’s arguments are about a pyramid starting with sensation, building into direct apprehension of things as “percepts,” then rising to thoughts no longer dependent on reality called “concepts,” which she believes can — possibly except for mathematics — only be expressed by words.

Korzybski starts with what he calls “negative axioms.” A photograph of a thing is not the thing itself. A map is not the territory. The symbol is not the referent. A word is never the thing itself.

But even starting in such opposite directions, Rand and Korzybski agree entirely about the nature of human beings as symbolic language-using beings. To Korzybski, it’s our ability to remember the past and anticipate the future — what he calls “time-binding” — that’s the essence of our nature as human beings … and it’s our symbols that make it possible. To both Rand and Korzybski, to the extent that our thoughts are drawn from and tested against reality, to that extent we are functional. To both Rand and Korskybski, to the extent that our thoughts fail to reflect reality, to that extent we drive ourselves to do crazy and destructive things.

Rand and Korskybski are both enemies of the thought — perhaps “fear” is more accurate — that the use of words touch and control real things. A teenager whose rebellious words to a disciplining parent — “I hate you! I wish you were dead!” might suffer endless guilt if those were the last words spoken before the parent tragically died, hit by a train while stuck on railroad tracks, a few hours later. The grief of the parent’s death might go away. The thought that somehow the words were a curse that caused the accident might never go away. Rand, Korzybski, and a psychiatrist would all argue that the teenager’s guilt was misplaced because all modern, reasonable people know that angry words can’t trap a parent’s car in the path of oncoming trains.

The idea that words and other symbols do directly control reality — without a known path of causation, such as voice-recognition software operating a mechanism — is the basis for all sympathetic magic and much superstition, ranging from Voodoo to Kaballah.

If there are worlds touching us that we can’t see — and even modern physics contemplates the idea that “perhaps only a millimeter away” there could be a parallel universe whose gravitation affects the 95% of our own universe whose matter and energy is “dark” and unperceived by us — then who’s to say that living within dark matter and parallel universes aren’t all the creatures of legend — imps, pixies, gremlins, demons, and guardian angels?

That’s the idea Ayn Rand was scoffing at when she wrote that the universe isn’t a haunted house.

I actually wrote a limerick of my own years ago in tribute to this idea:

Thank Rand for the World where A is A,
And not any non-A you wanted,
For if t’were not so,
Then as these things go,
The whole Universe would be haunted!

So when words are forbidden, it’s often because of the superstitious belief — the primal fear — that these words have power directly to affect reality.

Jewish mysticism — Kaballah — expresses the belief that the text of the Hebrew Torah is the actual “DNA” code for God’s entire creation of the universe. This belief is expressed throughout mainstream Judaism where the name of God is not used but expressed through euphemisms such as “the Eternal” and “the Almighty,” where Torah scribes leave out the names of God from their copying until the very last step — for fear of making a mistake and having to extinguish the divine name — and where even the English word “God” is written as “G-D.” The 1979 comedy Monty Python’s Life of Brian makes fun of New-Testament-era Hebrews stoning blasphemers for saying the name “Jehovah” in a hilarious scene where eventually — for accidentally saying it — everyone is stoning everyone else.

Christianity picks up this idea from the Hebrews and the Gospel of John accordingly starts, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Both the Jewish and Christian belief is the opposite of Rand and Korzybski’s — and the psychiatrist’s — argument that words are just symbolic and do not control reality. The Jewish and Christian mystic — no less than the Voodoo priest — believe that the word is the thing, the symbol is the referent, the map is the territory, and that God’s Word is the very power of Creation, itself.

No wonder all offspring of the Hebrew religion — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — condemn a sin called “blasphemy”: the sympathetic magic contained in the words you and I speak are regarded as having the power to bless or damn.

Controlling usage is also a means of defining social classes. In the UK “Received English” defines the speech of the upper class, often as much today as when George Bernard Shaw, in his 1913 play Pygmalion, (made into the 1956 Broadway musical My Fair Lady) portrayed how lower-class speech acted as a ceiling to upward mobility. Similarly, social preferencing against American Southern usages and accent is still common in America today as an indication of lower-class speech, whether “redneck” when used by whites or “ebonic” when used by blacks.

I talked in Chapter 11 about how growing up I was a fan of Mad Magazine. I don’t have the back issue where I can get it, but to this day I remember a Dave Berg “Lighter Side” cartoon strip from the early 60′s about a next-generation where Beatnik parents have teenagers who rebel against them by being respectful, neat, serious, and pious.

Ironically, Berg came frighteningly close to describing the relationship between my daughter, Soleil, and myself. I’m from a generation where four-letter words are not only not forbidden, but often mandatory. In the Dave Berg reversal of parenting I’ve lived through, my daughter is constantly telling me to clean up my language.

But if I, and others of my generation, say “fuck” a lot, it’s because we know those who fought for our right to say it paid dearly.

In the 1993 movie Matinee two teenage boys are shown sneaking a record of Lenny Bruce’s stand-up monologue, “Tits and ass.” It was, perhaps, the mildest of Lenny Bruce’s forbidden stand-up routines. On October 4, 1961, Bruce was arrested for obscenity during a performance at San Francisco’s Jazz Workship where he used the word “cocksucker” and did a riff on the sexual innuendo of the verb “to come.” Bruce was convicted of obscenity after a performance at Greenwich Village’s Cafe Au Go Go, prosecuted by New York District Attorney, Frank Hogan (may this cocksucker roast in Hell!) and died many years before Republican New York Governor George Pataki pardoned him.

Dustin Hoffman performed many of Bruce’s routines verbatim in the 1974 movie Lenny — and wasn’t arrested for it.

Once arrested after a December 1962 Lenny Bruce performance at Chicago’s Gate of Horn, where police stopped the show and arrested Bruce for obscenity, audience member George Carlin was locked in the back of a police wagon with Bruce merely for refusing to show ID to police.

Twelve years later George Carlin carved out freedom territory of his own when he was arrested for disturbing the peace when he performed a stand-up routine at Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Summerfest called “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” The seven words were “shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.” In 1973 Pacifica Radio’s WBAI in New York broadcast another Carlin routine containing the seven words, and a listener driving in a car with his son complained to the FCC, resulting in a 1978 Supreme-Court legal decision in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation that upheld the FCC’s right to censor broadcast language.

George Carlin later expanded his list to over 200 words. Other stand-up comics, such as Richard Pryor, expanded the liberated vocabulary to the word “nigger” — although that didn’t do Michael Richards much good, because unlike Pryor he was white. Freedom of speech in America today divides along racist grounds.

I portray the costs of performing politically-incorrect comedy in my 2009 short story, “The Laughskeller,” in which comedian Jerry Rhymus — banned after a successful career in mainstream media after performing an over-the-top routine — now plays two shows nightly to extremist audiences at an underground Nevada club, beginning his routine to the first show, “Who wants to kill that kike-loving commie nigger motherfucker in the White House?” and to his second show, “Who wants to kill that Zionist-loving fascist fake-nigger motherfucker in the White House?”

It wasn’t the first time I played with the usage of language in my fiction. In my 1983 novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, I portray a future in which the word “fuck” is only used to denote sexual intercourse, and the vernacular uses of the word “fuck” have been replaced with the word “rape.”

Currently the FCC stands as a capricious bully, fining broadcasters and performers based entirely on non-objective criteria for what they consider either serious or provocative usages — only the former being allowed. “Shock jock” Howard Stern and his broadcast stations were fined by the FCC so frequently that Stern fled broadcasting entirely in favor of FCC-unregulated satellite radio.

There has been some loosening of standards since the 1939 controversy of Clark Gable telling Vivian Leigh, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The first time the word “bullshit” was heard on American network television without being bleeped was the broadcast of Paddy Chayefsky and Sydney Lumet’s Oscar-winning film, Network.

The word “ass” wasn’t allowed on The Tonight Show before Jimmy Carter told reporters during the 1980 presidential campaign that if Senator Ted Kennedy ran against him in the primaries he would “whip his ass.”

It took broadcasts of rescue-workers on 9/11/2001 before the FCC allowed the word “fuck” to be broadcast.

Charlton Heston was so offended by the rap lyrics to Ice-T’s 1992 recording “Cop Killer” that he performed them at a stockholder’s meeting of the record’s label, Time Warner.

If there were a Monty Python version of this event, the assembled stockholders of Time Warner would have had to stone Charlton Heston for his blasphemy.

In my imagined version of the scene, when he’s hit by the first stone Heston would be miraculously transformed into the costume he wore in his Oscar winning role of Ben Hur.

Of course it might be more appropriate simply to recall Charlton Heston’s performance with Johnny Carson on the December 12, 1972 broadcast of The Tonight Show, in which Charlton Heston performed the following limerick:

There was a young lady of Norway,
Who hung by her toes in a doorway,
She said to her beau,
“Just look at me, Joe!
I think I’ve discovered one more way!”

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XIX: Don’t Look Now!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Banned In Boston


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Moonshiners, Medicine Men, and Merchants of Death


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 17: Banned In Boston

The leader shouted, “The motherfucker’s got one!” and scurried down the street, followed in close order by his compatriots.
Alongside Night, Crown Publishers, 1979

She smiled, continuing to match his pace. “I said that for five thousand blues, I’ll go to the bathroom in my panties. I’ve been holding it in all day. You can watch me—even feel it if you want to. I wet myself, too. How about it?”
Ibid.

Soon he stood at Times Square, cursing himself methodically. You fuckhead, you prick, you numbskull! … You were carrying a fucking revolver and still you were afraid….
Ibid.

“Oh. Okay. Why don’t we go back to your room and fuck?”
Ibid.

“If this is a revolution, then let’s not fuck it all up this time.”
Ibid.

She noticed the erection under his pants and was furious. “If the last six thousand men who fucked me didn’t make me come, what makes you think you can?”

“I won’t fuck you. I’ll lick you out.”
The Rainbow Cadenza, Simon & Schuster, 1983

The man was also looking hard, his breathing becoming rapid and irregular. He reached down to his leather pants and released his erect penis.
Ibid.

“As I started saying before, it is crucial to remember that the most responsive parts of the penis are the glans and the underside of the shaft. Begin by withdrawing your teeth behind your lips and take the tip of the penis in your mouth, gently massaging it with your lips.”

Joan did as she was ordered, orally massaging the head of his penis until Blaine had reached erection.
Ibid.

A few seconds later, there was a high-pitched scream from across the stadium. Then a second and a third.

Joan stopped. “What was that?” she asked Filcher.

“I believe Lady Moslow has brought out the whips and chains,” he said. “Go on with what you were doing.”

Joan glared at Filcher and got her first reaction out of him that night—a bulge under his leathers.
Ibid.

I awakened at about 3,500 feet up and about fifteen minutes away from my bedroom window to find myself naked but not cold, flying prone with the city lights of Heaven below me, two gorgeous angels as my honor guard, and my pecker pointing down like landing gear.
Escape from Heaven, Pulpless.Com, 2002

“The entire fucking idea behind creation was to fuck things up as much as possible and make everyone else’s life a living hell!”
Ibid.

“Who did you fuck that you rate the A list?” he asked.
Ibid.

“There’s no mystery why every man on earth, and half the women, want to fuck her.”
Ibid.

My three novels — quoted above — were published for the first time, respectively, in 1979, 1983, and 2002.

But as recently as 1966 William Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch had legally been prohibited for sale in Boston, Massachusetts — under pressure from the religiously conservative Watch and Ward Society — but it took the 1966 Supreme Court ruling in Memoirs v. Massachusetts to end the practice of local authorities banning books for their “prurient” content.

Without that ruling, I — and my publisher — could have been dragged into court to stand trial if some local official decided that any of the above quotes made us pornographers, and my novels obscene.

But just because I missed taking a bullet as a novelist doesn’t mean I haven’t had to self-censor.

When I wrote my first-draft screenplay, “Profile in Silver,” for CBS TV’s Twilight Zone TV series in 1985 — a story in which a future historian time-travels back to the JFK assassination in Dallas — I was required to write a second draft of the script removing a second gunman wearing a Dallas police uniform on the Grassy Knoll. I never saw it — but it was read to me over the phone — a memo CBS executive Tony Barr wrote to the Twilight Zone producers that said, “The CBS Television Network is not going to rewrite history.”

Nor — as President of SoftServ Publishing in 1990 — was I free from such pressures. Here’s an open message I posted on GEnie — the General Electric Network for Information Exchange — which was hosting my company’s distribution of eBooks:

Mon Mar 12, 1990 SOFTSERV [NeilSchulman] at 19:21 EST Sub: Should Books Be Banned … on GEnie?

A few weeks back I uploaded a file called SOFTSERV.LST which was a list of titles that SoftServ has under contract, at the various stages of preparation. This was only a list of book titles; there was no description or excerpts from any of the books.

Some of the titles listed were from Loompanics Unlimited, which specializes in what they themselves describe as “unusual books.”

Here is an excerpt from the introduction to the Loompanics Catalog, to give you an idea of their bookselling philosophy:

“Herein you will find controversial and unusual books on a wide variety of subjects. Most of these books cannot be found in even the largest libraries. The majority of them will never be seen in bookstores. … So controversial are the books we offer that most magazines will not allow us to advertise. Bookstores and distributors will not carry our publications. Periodicals refuse to review our books. We know where we belong: we are the lunatic fringe of the libertarian movement. Because we do not believe in limits. We do not believe in laws, rules or regulations. We have contempt for censorship, secrecy, and dogmatism. We don’t give a damn about being ‘respectable.’ We don’t give a damn about anything except your right to find out anything you want to know. Nothing is sacred to us, not even skepticism and self-reliance.”

A stronger and more unyielding defense of freedom of the press has nowhere else been seen. For their consistency of practicing what they preach, Loompanics Unlimited has been a source of endless trouble to all established institutional authority — and a source of lots of books for the 20,000 people who receive the Loompanics Unlimited Book catalog. If the contents of their books are not respectable, their sales figures are very respectable by the standards of any New York publishing house.

All of the above was why SoftServ, whose founders are likewise committed to the absolute right of people to read and write what they please, decided to become an electronic distributor for the titles Loompanics Unlimited publishes.

It has never been SoftServ’s intention to specialize in any area of publication. We are a generalist. It is our intention to build up a title list in the thousands, including classics, textbooks, fiction, nonfiction, reference works, current controversies, politics, history, and so forth, and so on, et cetera, ad nauseum.

But one of GEnie’s clients took one look at our list of upcoming books, saw some of the Loompanics titles on our list, and decided that SoftServ is some sort of sleazy, subversive, vanity-press operation, which a Respectable Company like General Electric shouldn’t have anything to do with. This person sent a letter of complaint to William Louden, the General Manager of GEnie, and got on his case. The heat was on, and in short order I was being told by GEnie to get this list of titles the hell off their system.

Let me start by saying that I value GEnie’s clients. I hope to make them SoftServ Paperless Book Club members.

But I have no bloody use for the sort of people who think they have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t read. That is freedom. If this person had written to me, rather than Mr. Louden, it is quite possible I would have told them to take their letter and put it where the sun don’t shine: I have no patience with people who think their small-minded opinions are binding on others.

If I had been temperate, I might have simply quoted Jesus and asked, “What is this to you?”

Regardless of how it started, GEnie has decided that Respectability is in fact their Guiding Light. Within contractual limits, that is their right. Since the agreement by which SoftServ is distributing our titles through GEnie was fairly informal, there arose a difference in interpretation regarding SoftServ’s right to market our titles without any blocking by GEnie.

As businesses must do if they are to remain in business, I found it necessary to reach an accommodation with GEnie. This accommodation will result in certain titles which SoftServ has under contract never being distributed on GEnie, and severe limits being placed on SoftServ’s ability even to openly mention these titles.

Such titles will be made available on the off-GEnie computer bulletin board which SoftServ will be starting in the next few months. At least until the sheriff comes after us, at which point I may have to ask Gary Hudson to give our computers a lift to Low Earth Orbit, and hook up our modems to the nearest communications satellite.

The point to all this is that, ultimately, the fight for a free press must be fought by those who wish the right to read banned books. We writers, publishers, and distributors are much too subject to economic, political, and legal pressure to be able to hold out, regardless of our beliefs or intentions. I found myself having to make a decision between not selling some books on GEnie, or not selling any books on GEnie.

And, I am ashamed to say, I found very few people who advised me to stand my ground for the sake of principle. Principles seem to have little social value these days.

Removing the list of Loompanics book titles from GEnie wasn’t even enough to mollify G.E. management. Our one-year contract with GEnie was not renewed. It took five years, the advent of the World Wide Web, and a new company before I was able to have another go at eBook publishing again.

Of course all of my experience has been with private companies exercising their contractual rights to restrict what I write or publish. That’s not actually censorship, merely editorial control.

But in countries without a First Amendment actual censorship — banning of books and arrest of authors — is quite common.

Writing a book that denies the Holocaust — or even questions historical aspects of it, such as the use of gas chambers for mass executions — can get you arrested in Canada and Europe. In 1983 Robert Faurisson was fined by a French court for his writings questioning details of the Holocaust of European Jewry. I’m Jewish. It’s still censorship. Anyone who promotes censorship — Jew or gentile — is an enemy of freedom. And the more the United States becomes subject to international law and trade agreements, the less the First Amendment means.

But we don’t have to leave the United States for actual government censorship. In 2004 59-year-old grandmother Donna Dull was arrested in Pennsylvania after the film lab at WalMart reported her to police for having dropped off film with naked pictures of her three-year-old granddaughter coming out of the bathtub. She was charged with distributing child pornography and it took fifteen months before the charges were eventually dropped. She’s now suing.

Under Sharia Law in effect in many Islamic countries — in Europe, and, believe it or not, sections of the United States — representations of Muhammad or Islam considered offensive to Muslims can get you censored … or even murdered. Novelist Salman Rushdie has had a “fatwa” — in Mafia terms a contract — put out on his life ever since his novel The Satanic Verses was published in 1988. Dutch filmmaker “Theo” van Gogh was shot eight times, stabbed in the chest, and nearly decapitated by Dutch-Moroccan Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, on November 2, 2004, because van Gogh’s film Submission criticized the treatment of women in Islam.

But Kevin Smith — according to DVD comments for his movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back — had to pay a “ten thousand dollar fine” because the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) disliked his comedy’s “overwhelmingly homophobic tone.”

I guess paying a little extortion is better than getting your head cut off.

I could talk endlessly about banned books — the American Library Association holds a Banned Books Week each year to celebrate books forced to be removed from school and public libraries. Classics regularly on the list include Huckleberry Finn, The Lord of the Rings, Nineteen-eighty-four, and Gone With the Wind.

Gone With the Wind also had possible censorship problems when the movie was released, because of Rhett Butler’s closing line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” The word “damn” was on a list forbidden under the Hays Code. The Motion Picture Association board passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939 specifically so they wouldn’t have to levy a fine on the film’s powerful producer, David O. Selznick.

But you know what book gets banned more than any other? I could have listed smuggling it in my previous chapter, inasmuch as smugglers of this book have been arrested and even reported executed in countries ranging from North Korea to China to Saudi Arabia. It’s not The Anarchist Cookbook or James Joyce’s Ulysses or The Kama Sutra … and it’s certainly not anything I ever wrote.

It’s the Bible.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XVIII: Wash Your Mouth Out!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Moonshiners, Medicine Men, and Merchants of Death


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter For Love or Money


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 16: Moonshiners, Medicine Men, and Merchants of Death

This is a book about liberating passion. What do people who evade federal excise taxes on the manufacture of liquor, push drugs that haven’t achieved FDA approval, and sell weapons designed only to kill other people have to do with that?

What the three examples in the title of this chapter have in common, of course, is that they are all legally and morally dubious. So it might be useful to start with a legal analysis.

We’ll start where I get most of my legal knowledge — movies and TV — in this case from the movie Legally Blonde.

In Legally Blonde Harvard law student, Elle Woods, is asked by a professor if she’d prefer to defend a client charged with a crime that is malum prohibitum or malum in se. In the Latin jargon lawyers use, a malum prohibitum crime is an unlawful act only because someone passed a law against it, as opposed to doing something that is evil whether or not there’s a law passed against doing it, which would be an act that’s malum in se.

Elle tells her professor that she’d prefer to defend clients who are charged with a malum in se offense … because she’s not afraid of danger.

In this chapter I’ll be looking only at malum prohibitum — doing things that may be perfectly fine from a moral standpoint but are crimes because it violates the law.

So I won’t defend murder or theft, but I would defend killing in self-defense or using stealth to take back something which was stolen.

And in this chapter I’ll be talking about people whose love is to defend freedom for freedom’s sake.

How difficult, after all, would it have been for moonshiners in Appalachia — beginning in the 1930′s — to pay federal excise tax, slap on a tax stamp, and by doing so open up their products to huge markets both domestically and overseas? Instead of being one of the poorest regions in the Union, legal moonshine could have made Appalachia the Napa Valley of corn liquor.

So why go to all the trouble to keep their liquor illegal with all the risks and penalties?

For the same reason my friend, Samuel Edward Konkin III, refused to complete his doctorate in theoretical chemistry and go to work for Union Carbide, Monsanto, or Dow. Sheer, freedom-loving orneriness. The moonshiners thrived on risk and the thrill of living their dream. They stood fast on their principles.

No wonder history treats them as folk heroes.

To later generations, marijuana growers and dealers represent the same spirit of liberty. Despite generations of “Just Say No” and D.A.R.E. in every public school, Cheech and Chong — The Breakfast Club — Harold and Kumar — are for generation after generation still icons of American rebellion.

Ever hear of Omega-3 fish oil? Alpha-Lipoic Acid? Vitamin D-3? Mixed-tocopherols Vitamin E? Lycopene? Green tea and white tea? All of them have clinical studies strongly indicating that they have health benefits.

None of these exist, as far as establishment medicine in the United States is concerned. They won’t be covered under your health insurance — or whatever government-approved plan is passed. Doctors aren’t taught about them in medical school and they’re not found in hospital dispensaries. All of them — and many more “health supplements” — originated and have been made available in spite of FDA attempts to control or outright prohibit them.

Clive Amor — a violinist I wrote about in Chapter Seven of this book — was in a major car crash that compressed the ulnar nerve on his left arm and paralyzed two fingers on his left hand, without which it’s impossible to play the violin. He visited every orthopedic expert modern medicine had to offer, and they could do nothing for him. Then Clive visited a chiropractor in Canada and after a single adjustment the feeling and movement returned to Clive Amor’s frozen fingers. This violinist who had studied under Jascha Heifetz was able to play violin again.

Look up Chiropractic in Wikipedia:

The American Medical Association called chiropractic an “unscientific cult” and boycotted it until losing a 1987 antitrust case.

Look up Accupuncture while you’re at it. Here’s the official statement from the American Medical Association — the same cartel that financed TV commercials pushing for more government control over your health care — statement on Accupuncture:

There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious. Well-designed, stringently controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of alternative therapies.

What chance is there that Chiropractic or Accupuncture will be included in your options when the government gets to decide what therapies are covered and which aren’t?

Want to use a nurse-midwife for natural childbirth instead of an obstetrician, and deliver in a birthing center instead of a hospital? Good luck with that getting paid for by your health insurance.

But you’ll be fined if you don’t buy government-approved private health insurance that doesn’t cover any of these alternative therapies, hunted down by IRS agents, and sent to prison if you “evade” the fine.

Then there are the “merchants of death”: gun manufacturers and dealers. People who sell guns at “gun-law loophole” gun shows. People who took the clear text of the Second Amendment listed in the Bill of Rights at its word — long before the Supreme Court of the United States got around to it — enshrining “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” as an individual right.

Well, since when have free Americans needed permission from nine robed priests to employ their own natural right of self-defense?

I don’t need to get into that much here. Look up two of my other books: Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns and Self Control Not Gun Control.

Why is it that someone who helped you cross the border from totalitarian East Germany to “free world” West Germany from 1961 to 1989 was always looked at as a good guy, but a “coyote” who helps someone escape from the violent narcocracy of Mexico to the “free world” in the United States of America is always looked at as a bad guy?

Why is it that a stock broker who takes a bet over the Internet on whether a stock will go up or down is a legitimate businessman, but a bookie who takes a bet over the phone on a horse race is a criminal?

Ever see the movie Cast A Giant Shadow? Frank Sinatra is portrayed as a hero for playing a pilot who smuggles in guns to Jews fighting the British for Independence. But would a pilot who smuggled in guns to Mexico so people could defend themselves from drug gangsters be portrayed so heroically today?

Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States is there authority for paper currency issued by a cartel of private banks to carry the signature of the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States — a cartel that the Treasurer of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Congress, the Courts, and even the President are forbidden to audit.

Yet if any private bank were to issue gold and silver coins to be circulated as money in the United States, the bankers would be imprisoned, their bank shut down, their gold and silver stocks confiscated, and their customers left as helpless as Bernard Madoff’s victims.

And we’re supposed to believe that it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil?

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XVII: Banned in Boston

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: For Love or Money


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Sex for Money


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 15: For Love or Money

This is a book about love. What, then, of money?

In the previous chapter, “Sex for Money,” I looked at the most direct case possible of an act which romantics such as myself desire to be performed out of love but instead is performed for money.

But let’s not forget that in my second chapter, Romeo and Juliet,” I also examined the case of sexual acts performed for something other than love — power, social standing, and again, money.

What is the moral difference, if any, between a prostitute picking up the cash left on her bedside table in the morning, and the Germanic custom of a husband paying a dower or “morning gift” to his wife on the morning after their wedding? What’s the moral difference, if any, between a pimp collecting the proceeds from the woman he sends out to hook on a street corner, and the parents of a woman collecting a “bride price” from her new husband or his family? And I can’t even fathom how low the social standing of a woman had to be that not only was she not worthy of being sold for her sexual value, but her parents had to pay a dowry to some guy to take her off their hands. It looks to me that prostitution is a huge step up from that.

But in almost every other human endeavor there is the possibility of doing something merely because you enjoy it, or feel it’s your mission or vocation or duty, or in the alternative because doing it brings rewards.

In his sermon, The Weight of Glory, preached on June 8, 1942 at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, C.S. Lewis said,

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. …

We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair. There are different kinds of reward. There is the reward which has no natural connexion with the things you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things. Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we call a man mercenary if he marries a woman for the sake of her money. But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it. A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love. The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.

Like me, C.S. Lewis was a romantic — an idealist who then becomes a cynic when faced with people who do things not for their natural rewards but for extraneous ones — such as money.

Yet this same C.S. Lewis — whom we just saw extolling virtue bringing its natural rewards — spent his life as a scholar paid by Oxford and Cambridge. The author who wrote Christian apologetics and fantasies received royalty checks from their publication.

Lewis is reported to have been a man generous with his charities; yet I have read no biography of him asserting that he never used money he was paid to teach and write to pay his rent or a mortgage, or lay a roasted goose on his Christmas table, or buy the pipe tobacco he smoked, or pay for the pints of Ruddles Ale he drank with J.R.R. Tolkien at the Eagle and Child pub.

This does not make C.S. Lewis a liar or a hypocrite.

This makes C.S. Lewis human.

If you had asked C.S. Lewis about the seeming contradiction between what he preached and what he practiced, I know what his answer would have been. He would have said that human beings were fallen, and it was only prior to our race’s fall in Eden — or after our redemption — that we could act entirely out of love with its natural rewards and with no consideration for the necessity to live by the sweat of our brow.

Does not Christian charity require us, then, to consider that the prostitute who in exchange for money makes love to men who otherwise would go loveless might be performing a sacred duty — as much as a nurse — and that the money given her is merely the means that supports her in her blessed vocation?

To deny that possibility appears to me pharisaical.

I am in no position to throw the first stone because I am not without sin.

I love to write. But I write for money.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — which told of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge and the lessons ghosts taught him about being more charitable — was first published on December 19, 1843 and made lots of money for its author. It has made even more money for book publishers, movie producers, and other entrepreneurs who didn’t write it.

The Christmas carol “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was, according to its Wikipedia article, “written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit with orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music the next day and over 400,000 copies sold by Christmas.”

My father was a violinist. He began playing violin when he was five years old, and played the violin until he was literally too weak to hold it up. He spent hours each day isolated in a room with his violin, a music stand, a metronome, and poker chips on the floor to keep track of the number of times he practiced a passage. Playing violin was the first passion of his life, even more than for his wife or his children. But from age 16 to age 80 my father did not live a year in which he was not paid to play the violin.

“Chick” Gandil, first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, was ring-leader of the plan to throw the 1919 World Series in exchange for money from gamblers, and was banned from Major League Baseball. Gandil nonetheless spent as much of the rest of his life as he was physically able playing baseball on any field he was allowed.

The surgical team who save a life by transplanting a kidney are all paid to perform the operation. But it’s illegal for the kidney donor to be paid.

The Pope has an all-expenses life paid for by Church donations, and so does every cardinal, bishop, priest, nun, and monk — and that includes Mother Teresa who won the Nobel Peace Prize, was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta … and who expressed a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty. If she had been forced to live in a palace she would have been miserable; nonetheless, like the rest of the human race she needed to eat … and some human being had to pay for the food that was put on her plate.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., makes money from lectures, books, videos, and CD’s.

Jesus may have turned water into wine for the Wedding at Cana, but I’m still pretty sure the wedding band got paid.

And God paid Moses a stipend of manna for leading the Hebrews out of Egypt.

For many years the International Olympic Committee — a corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland — forbade athletes who had been paid to play sports from participating in Olympic games, which were supposed to be restricted to “amateurs.” During those years athletes completely supported by their governments were nonetheless allowed to compete.

If someone is paid by taxpayer money they’re not mercenary. If they’re paid by a private person they are.

What a crock of hypocrisy.

If you love doing something and can get rich by doing it — instead of having to support yourself by doing something you do only because of the money — there’s a word for what you are.

Lucky.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XVI: Moonshiners, Medicine Men, and Merchants of Death

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Sex for Money


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Science versus Omniscience


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 14: Sex for Money

When I was a young lad I lived in Manhattan, where in the Fall of 1971 I met my first libertarians, at a meeting of the New York Libertarian Association, in the apartment of Gary Greenberg, who at the time was a deputy prosecutor for the City of New York. So if I’m ever called to testify before a future House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and asked to name names, my career as a subversive starts right here.

One of the libertarians I met at that first meeting was a graduate student going for a doctorate in theoretical chemistry from New York University. His name was Samuel Edward Konkin III. Inspired by a British libertarian named Chris Tame, Sam had started a Libertarian Alliance on the NYU campus, and Sam found me worth talking to at that first meeting because — prior to actually meeting any other libertarians — I had started a libertarian group at my college, part of the City University of New York.

I was the only other college student Sam met that night who on his own initiative had started a campus libertarian group. I also was starting out as a writer and Sam published a mimeographed newsletter called New (NYU) Libertarian Notes. So we became friends, and that was how I ended up taking the subway to Brooklyn with Sam to audit a college course on economics being given by Murray Rothbard.

Also attending those classes was an economics student named Walter Block, now Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans and Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Walter made an immediate impression on me after the first Rothbard class I audited, when Sam, myself, Walter, and half a dozen other students accompanied Murray to a nearby pub and over pitchers of beer we continued the discussion. I should note for historical purposes that at the time the drinking age in New York was 18. I was probably the youngest guy at the table and I had a million questions for Rothbard. I was asking so many questions that Walter — using fundamental principles of the economics Rothbard was teaching — pulled me aside and informed me that Rothbard’s time was a “scarce resource” and by dominating the questioning I was misallocating it!

In 1975, just a few years later, Walter’s book Defending the Undefendable was first published. The subtitle was “The Pimp, Prostitute, Scab, Slumlord, Libeler, Moneylender, and Other Scapegoats in the Rogue’s Gallery of American Society.”

There was no chapter in Walter’s book, however, defending those who by asking too many questions misallocated the professor’s scarce time. But Walter did use the value-free approach of the Austrian School of Economics to argue that if there was no force in an economic transaction, it not only should not be a crime but was a positive good.

The pimp was merely a prostitute’s agent or manager — no different than a sports agent or singer’s manager. If you didn’t like the slum apartment the landlord was renting you, you were free to look elsewhere. You didn’t have a right to keep your cheating on your wife a secret, so if you paid someone blackmail to keep your secret, that was a 100% voluntary transaction. And since everyone is entitled to their opinion, as far as Walter was concerned, writing bad things about someone shouldn’t be something you could get sued for.

Walter, in his book, had a different purpose than I have in this one. I’m not out to explicate a theory of economics. I’m here to defend the passions — the loves — which freedom is necessary to enable. So you’re not going to find me making arguments that people become blackmailers or loan sharks because it’s their lifelong dream — nor will you find me arguing here that being a slumlord or litterer works to enhance other people’s dreams.

What I am going to argue in future chapters is that just because the performance of a job or profession is illegal — or just because the possession of certain skills is regarded as dangerous or anti-social — that doesn’t mean these jobs or skills can’t be constructive, life-affirming, and even noble pursuits.

Let’s start in this chapter with a hard case: prostitution.

I doubt very much that any little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute. I doubt any father is thrilled to discover that his daughter has grown up to become one.

Let me also be very clear that in referring to prostitution I am not referring to a situation where any sort of force, threat, duress, intimidation, or dependency is used to make someone perform sexual acts for money. I’m not talking about kidnapping women or children and forcing them into sexual slavery. I’m not talking of a pimp supplying one of his women drugs in exchange for the money she gets from standing on a corner and offering herself to passing motorists.

And I’ll leave out gay prostitution and male escorts from this discussion because that’s a whole other cultural milieu.

For the duration of this discussion I’m going to restrict myself to that subset of female prostitution where a woman, of her own free will, and with no penalty for saying no at any time, offers herself in exchange for money to perform what in Chapter 6 of this book I referred to as “Circle A” and “Circle B” sexual activity.

To begin with, let’s understand what prostitution is for both the prostitute and the client. It is a professional personal service, like a physician, nurse, psychotherapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, masseur or masseuse, personal trainer, hair stylist, manicurist, piano teacher, math tutor, midwife, or tennis instructor. Many of these other professions involve personal touching and can become highly emotionally charged.

At first glance, prostitution doesn’t actually seem all that different from being a doctor or nurse. Nurses wash their patients genitals and change the diapers of incontinent patients. A urologist might find it necessary that a penis be massaged to erection or even milked to ejaculation. A psychotherapist — like a spouse or a friend — becomes far more intimately involved with the personal problems of a patient than a prostitute ever does.

What distinguishes the prostitute from all other one-on-one professions is not that a prostitute is uniquely involved with the most intimate parts of her client’s body but that the prostitute is willing to use the most intimate areas of her own body in a session with her client. Additionally, a prostitute often needs to be an actor to create a fantasy for the client. Mostly — but not always — the object is to cause the client to come to orgasm.

Earlier in this book, while discussing drugs, I wrote,

If — at no time in your life — it has never crossed your mind that you need to go to a doctor to get a permission slip in order to buy a product that you will use on your own body, then it’s my sad duty to report to you that reading this sentence, right now, is the very first time you have ever encountered the concept of freedom.

This sentence is a specific case of the general argument made by this book that each of us is a volitional being with the moral right to control our own bodies. Only if we violate someone else’s rights are there moral limits of what we may do with our bodies. The counter-argument against the woman who argues that ownership of her body gives her the right to abort a fetus is that the fetus also has rights; but when there is no possible injured party involved — as there is in the case of consuming a drug or having sex for money — the morality of self-ownership is only answered by a tyrant’s megalomania to rule.

A lot of the stigma attached to prostitution arises from the hostility Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scripture has for prostitutes.

But a lot of this hostility also comes from the cultural expectations both women and men have.

It’s my opinion that a lot of the hostility to female prostitution is from traditional-values women who object to a woman having sex for money rather than for love, children, and the security of marriage — and maybe they don’t like the competition; and a lot of the hostility to female prostitution is from feminist women who object to a woman giving orgasms to men for money rather than demanding an orgasm of her own in exchange — and maybe they don’t like the competition.

That doesn’t leave a lot of women to be a lobby for legal prostitution.

The other stigma attached to prostitution is because men are naturally possessive of women. If a man enjoys a woman physically he’s halfway to falling in love with her. That she gets to collect payment and kick him out of her bedroom is diminishing to the male ego.

Modern men have also been trained by our egalitarian culture to be concerned with pleasing a woman sexually. A situation where the woman doesn’t care about whether she comes or not is, at the least, disconcerting. And a woman faking an orgasm feels like a cheat.

Then there are men who are romantics, and ultimately find sex without love to be unsatisfactory. A prostitute needs to be a very good actress, indeed, for a man like this not to feel like a chump when he’s out the door and she’s using her calculator to add up the night’s box office.

But where the pride and even nobility of prostitution as a profession comes in is when a man who is unattractive — flabby or painfully thin, bad teeth, bad skin, male pattern baldness, even physically handicapped, or who has peculiar fetishes — can by the simple expedient of providing cash take to bed a woman who under ordinary circumstances wouldn’t be caught dead on a date, much less in bed, with him.

Women willing to make a man like that feel good about himself even for an hour — no less than Florence Nightingale — are a gift from God.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter XV: For Love or Money

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share