Month: February 2017

A Day in the Life of Midgard

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I’m in one of those thoughtful moods this morning.

Loki, son and heir to the line of Ymir, first power in the universe and the substance, was known as the god who shakes things up, the trickster.

One of his children was an apology to Odin for messing things up (long story short: he impulsively took a bad wager, almost lost everything for the gods and managed to fix things by getting a magic horse laid. Funny story). Loki gave Odin the ability to travel through the universe at top speeds, which likely enabled some of Odin’s greatest deeds (like discovering a universal language / writing).

Loki’s more infamous children are the Great Wolf, the World Serpent and the One who Watches the Dead. They’re the ones I’m thinking about.

His sons: Fenris, the threat to Asgard, who represented heavenly wrath and anger and righteous fury gone awry, only able to be stopped (temporarily) by sacrifice and the power of dreams. Later, only the master of poets could defeat him, but at the cost of the death of words.

Jormungandr, who represented the dangers of the material world. Consumption so profound that it spanned the world and could not be stopped. A monster familiar to those fighting the “black snake” in North Dakota today (sideline). Unlike Fenris, they couldn’t figure out a way to contain it so they ignored it. Only the power of the storm ultimately overcame it.
Then there’s the daughter. Never fully born. Half dead. Hel, in charge of those who lived half-a-life, who never fully embraced their spirit, their own individual fates. She took care of their anger at being judged, at wasting their time in the Middle World. She contained their memories and desires to be made whole. And when the time came, she released them to work their own kind of judgement on the world. She was never overcome. Then again, she was the gatekeeper.

In the wake of Loki’s critique of Odin’s world made flesh, the carefully constructed balance was shattered and then re-born. Another chance given. I’d like to think somewhere, the trickster loves the new world, out of his control, and those of Asgard, and has reconciled with his adopted father, still reeling from being eaten by a wolf.

I was talking with the kids a minute ago and reflecting on how Ymir had to die, for time and the universe to start. But that was also a horrible tragedy. Odin, whose name basically means “mad poet”, won by tricking Ymir into death, by naming Ymir out of existence. Ymir’s sons reflected Ymir’s power but only Loki, Ymir’s grandson, reflected Ymir’s death. He was in the form of Odin.

And in that form, he both honored his grandfather, avenging Ymir’s death, and his adopted father, by setting the stage for a different world from the last.

He’s the villain in the story because the skalds recognized that you can’t -encourage- that behavior because it will lead to disaster 9 times out of 10. But I think they preserved it, hidden there, for us to find it when we looked.

Wait… how powerful is writing?!?

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I’ve been pondering magic a bit at the moment and what fascinates me is the astonishing gap between ourselves and what our ancestors experienced. We can, with just a few squiggles and lines cause a hallucinatory explosion of emotional reactions. For example, which causes a greater feeling of fear:

The picture?

Oh look. A tiger!

or this:

Under 21 U.S.C.A. § 8821(a)(6), your assets, in full, are to be seized and placed under federal custody, to be remitted solely at the discretion of the courts. You are to be removed for these premises and placed into custody immediately.

Are ya STOOPID or just DEAF?!

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When Facebook decides that “Dakota Access Pipeline Facts” is appropriate for your feed, and then posts this– THE SOURCE OF WATER FOR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX IS NOT NEAR THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE — the appropriately sarcastic response I came up with was this:

I like this argument, better known as the openly racist “Gosh, aren’t Injuns Stupid?” argument.

Here’s a better one. We’re going to come over to your home and we’re going to dump some radioactive waste under it. You said “no”? Well, too bad. We’re going to whine at you 200 more times and then we’ll call in the cops to do it anyway.

But don’t worry! We’ll dig a -really- deep hole. Your kids’ll be fine, right?

Oh shut up! You’re not a nuclear scientist! How can you tell what’s “good” underneath your home? Our paid scientists say radiation is good. The SUN gives off radiation. You don’t hate the sun, right?”

Categories: Personal Tags: Tags: ,

The Importance of Journalism

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In order to destroy a system, you need to knock out people’s faith in it. The big two targets are justice and truth. Mock the judiciary and set up an alternative “safer” version. Sow enough misinformation among the media that no one feels they can trust it.
Admittedly, the media walked into this situation before the current administration moved in. The “24-hour news cycle”, while tempting to do with modern technology, ended up finding that there wasn’t -enough- relevant news to fill up the time. To keep ratings up, they slid into -entertainment as news- and started derailing serious journalists.
Ouch.
We need to have frank and open conversations NOW on how to restore/support these institutions before they get subverted. For the courts I have no easy answer. Open support helps. Calling the justices, sending out consistent memos about what they do, filling the airwaves with their effect would likely help. Part of me wants to suggest having justices drop their party affiliation (but keep voting how they want) but I understand that messes with primaries in some states and that sucks :(
Re: journalism, that’s easier. We need to target and support serious journalist, people who are trustworthy. We need to cultivate students of journalism and give them a place to be.
I think the next incarnation of CNN has to be local-based. National / international news in the morning, afternoon, evening. Localized niche targets (ecoregion based) for all the other hourse of the day.
Citizen journalism alone will let us get sucked into panics because we don’t have time or training for a chunk of it. And there’s a hellishly efficient propaganda machine lined up to work against us.
We need to contact the journalist schools and meet people. We need to have a place for them to be. We need to support them with coffee and food and resources. Here’s where citizen journalism can be -very- important. We can offer them leads.
In the meantime, there’s a suggestion coming from the First Church of Coyote (until we get our act together):
News, folks. Right now, it’s like the weather. So report it like it is. Seen it, feel it? 100% chance of feds. Saw it from afar, 80%. You get the idea. Rate your reporting so people got an idea of how real it is. Don’t report the thunderstorm when all you’ve got is a view of balmy skies and a screen.

Categories: Los Angeles, Personal Tags: Tags: ,