Minimal Satire Feed

Canvassing a fair rule set for the upcoming "Save our Country" Scapegoat Lottery

Taking "The Bacchae" as a model of healing the  body politic does have one defect. The scapegoat was the King, Pentheus, and we don't have a King. We are a democracy, leading to the need for a fair procedure for picking scapegoats, which is the purpose of this important post, created pro bono publico, by a citizen down on his luck, but hopeful of preferment, when things get better again in our messed up country. 

In the earliest myths, the priest slits the throat of the sacrificial animal, and is then stoned to death himself. Scapegoats included outcasts and pariahs, the deranged, foreigners, lepers, political enemies, and the mentally ill. But they also included wise men like Socrates and Boethius, godly men like Christ, patriots like Cicero, clerics like Saint Thomas Beckett, and Kings like Oedipus, Pentheus, Charles I, Louis XVI, and even a Tsar and his whole family. 

Given all of human history, and much of literature and political theory and practice, surely, we can all agree on the need for a steady supply of scapegoats, but we must also agree on a fair procedure for designating as many as needed. I realize that calling for scapegoats to unify a nation is a good way to become a scapegoat, even if I was not one already. By way of ground rules, maybe, we can agree to exclude any elected officials, designated Morals Tutors, or anyone who is a significant owner of property. That would narrow it down to the expendables, while keeping me (destitute as I am, and a pariah), off the bad list. I come under the exemption for Wise and Virtuous Counselor to the World's Wealthiest Families and their Puppets. (That is a long list, and I am happy to share it with any Billionaire, in or out of the Cabinet, needing a Wise and Virtuous Counselor, but the short list is either me or The Happy Tutor, and he is currently fully engaged in mentoring Audrey, our once and future Queen to Be.)

Actually, maybe we should put on the good list anyone who has read "The Bacchae" and/or Rene Girard on Violence of the Sacred, or Carl Schmidt on a body politic defined as friend against enemy; or building on Schmidt, Agamben, on the state of exception, in which democracy is abrogated during a state of emergency because only a top man can save us inside/outside the rule of law. Anyone who cannot prove he or she has read and digested at least two of these (may my feminist friends please excuse the word) seminal texts goes into the Scapegoat Lottery, unless they qualify under one of the other exceptions, like powerful person, wealthy person, male, white, of European descent, Christian, monolingual in English, or a personal friend of mine, or full-paying client for morals tutorials.  


I am not Saying to Lynch the Happy Tutor for our Sins

In the earliest rites of Dionysus, unless earlier were worse yet, the priest slit a bull's throat, and was then stoned to death by the crowd, in jubilant celebration. "Tragedy is the splitting of the ethical substance," per Hegel. Wholeness in Parker Palmer, Jung, and so many positive psychologies is a peaceful seeming circle. But tragedy finds integrity in an arc, the slash of the knife. In American history, Lincoln, soon to be assassinated, invoked the better angels of our nature; Sherman earlier having burned Atlanta. The women were made to dance barefoot in the ashes, while Union troops exulted. Sacred violence, Rene Girard called it, the corpse bleeding into the ritual chalice. "Eat of my body, drink of my blood." From such barbaric rituals, individuals, mobs, and communities are born again. 

Who among us, then, what familiar stranger, what insider/outsider, will be the scapegoat to heal our body politic? I would rather be the priest than the goat, but I fear the roles are one. Tutor is far better qualified, Dear Lord! Let his be the suffering and the expiation of our sins. He is the best there ever was, an Ancient, unblemished by time. I am a latecomer, interloper, a moral fraud. Wise and Virtuous Counselor to Fools and Knaves. I may be The Moral Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, but he is Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage. He taught me everything I know about our Noble Trade. I am just his apprentice, one of many, he has taught and discarded along the way. I am not worthy to touch the hem of his garment. I am not saying my mentor, The Happy Tutor, should bleed for our sins. He is a better man than I. Burn him!, if you must burn someone. He is not here right now, but I have his new address.


For a fine mind like mine can neither be bought nor borrowed, but make me an offer

At Wise Counsel where theologians, therapists, legal minds and others help Dynastic Families be Wise and Virtuous and so preserve the family and the wealth for 100 years or more, as a public service, I see they cite Seneca, suicided later by his best client, Nero, "A good mind is neither borrowed nor bought." I told my friend and mentor, The Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage, that we might  borrow that remark for a tagline at Gifthub, if only to hint, however broadly, that Tutor and I, with our fine minds, have neither borrowed our wisdom and virtue nor been bought. Tutor just looked at me with disgust. I like him a lot, and appreciate his high standards, but I think when it comes to self promotion he may be out of touch with the times. We are Wise and Virtuous Counselors to the World's Wealthiest Families. What does good taste have to do with it?  It is all Wealthbondage, after all. 


Eugenics after Trump, per William Schambra

William (Bill) Schambra (Dr. Schambra, in fact) is one of the most vital and stimulating thinkers on philanthropy, public policy, and political theory and practice. Although he may not spend much quality time with the hicks, lubbers, life insurance agents, money managers, petite bourgeois clients, religious zealots, patriots,  and white trash to which I have devoted my own meteoric career in Wealth Bondage, and while he is no longer a speech writer for Republicans energizing this disreputable base, he does channel some of that anger, and resentment of the elites to which Bill (presumably in self-loathing) belongs, as an honored thinker, in his own right, a denizen of a reputable (as these things go) think tank and a familiar speaker wherever policy and philanthropy elites meet (such as Council on Foundations and Philanthropy Round Table) to settle each other's hash.

Bill (Dr. William) Schambra, says now, in an essay at Nonprofit Quarterly, "About what Happened," that it is the liberal approach to fixing things, an approach that Bill likens to Eugenics, that account for Trump's rise. It is true - I agree with Bill -- that my progressive friends do feel they are "more highly evolved," a phrase some actually use, than the knuckle draggers in the flyover states. One of my progressive friends, a Harvard educated PhD, from a family that fled the Holocaust, even has a statistically valid test he administers to people to determine how highly evolved they are in ethics, with the Authoritarian, Faithful, Mercantile, Ignoramus as the lowest of the low, and with the open minded promiscuous, cosmopolitan intellectual as the The Finest Fruit of Civilization So Far. It is also true that a large number of voters, behind the curtain, chose to approve an explicit agenda that involves visceral hatred, scapegoating, gloating cruelty, mob-mania, deportation gangs, vilification of minorities, defense of boundaries and borders, unless female, and assertions of racial identity and superiority.

Those who, like Bill have, since at least Nixon, whistled to the dogs had better feed them. When those Bill sides with, the lubbers, come for elites, he had better have some symbol he can paint on his door to indicate that race-baiting, misogyny,  and xenophobia are good with him, appearances to the contrary. Bill is a personal friend, and a role model; he is a good man with a record of inciting deep thought, passionate thought, about philanthropy in a free market in a just society. He is ungodly gifted and can channel the great God Pan, or Dionysus drunk on blood, a gift he shares with Euripides and with Trump. In this case, though, he had better update his Theory of Eugenics with input from the Alt-right if he wants to get traction and be in line with God-In-History, as we make Progress towards Cultural Purity.

Euripides? The Bacchae is what I had in mind, as in the prior post. Tragedy follows satire at the Festival of Dionysus. In These Great Times, it is Farce first, or Punchinello, then Tragedy. Sacred Violence, for that we need a scapegoat. Eugenics is cold science. Dionysus prefers havoc, a mob run amok, a lynch tree, human sacrifice, a god bleeding into a chalice, at least a lamb slain on an altar, if not a son of the priest, or the priest himself.

I am reminded, speaking of the great liberal project, of Isaiah Berlin, whose favorite quotation was from Kant, "From the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight was ever made." At heart, liberalism is the view that in each of us -- all of us - high and low, educated and uneducated, is a spark of the divine, largely obscured by sin. I believe that, too, but the pre-Christian god whose spark I channel, as does Bill, as do some of the Higher-ups in Wealth Bondage, and their minions, is elated by suffering, the suffering of the one expelled, the one fired, the one subordinated, the one molested or broken to submission, the one whose humiliation fuels the rituals of The Apprentice, to which role - The Boss  - I aspire. The difference, I am sorry to say, is that after decades in Wealth Bondage, in service to my generous patron, she who rules us all, I have never risen from prostitute to pimp, let alone owner of the Bordello. In a Master/Slave hierarchy (please Bill, credit me here with Hegel) from the dregs on up to the Gold Encrusted Palace of Good Taste, I never made it above the slave of slaves, the butt of all jokes, even my own. If, unlike Bill, I identify with the losers and feel their rage, it is because I am one. I want to hurt others now, as I have been hurt. If I cannot live in the Big House, with Bill, or serve as Doctorate Inside the Belt Way, in a Think Tank, I want to burn it all down.

When my blood is up, as once in awhile it still is, I exult in the shrieks of those burning, in the fear in the eyes of those who will be sacrificed, in the flinching and groans of the satiric victim I flay for her own good, to heal her, set an example, and cure our sick society. Nothing would please me more, as beaten down as I now am, than to make myself feel great again by restoring the moral order, by burning my enemies alive, as human torches, while I sip a cool drink, or eat lemon sherbet, as a Distinguished Guest, in the Rose Garden, and have my pick of the defeated females, who cannot resist me (for I am, grotesque appearance to the contrary, irresistible!, since all women love the man with power to harm on a world historic scale).

At last I have a party, indeed a country, to which I can pledge allegiance with my heart, soul, and body, once we have purged ourselves of the toxins, exterminated the vermin, and Restored the Righteous like me. A job for which I feel well suited, if I can be awarded a badge, a uniform, a billy-club, or other sufficient sign of my superiority, and license to use it. All I need is a sign! A hint as to whom I should beat, or threaten with deportation, or death. Or, if there is to be a Think Tank of the Unthinking - Who better than I? I believe Bill disqualified himself from the Future of Policy by coming across once again as a reasonable man with a conscience. I say to my Fellow Unreasoning Americans, let us spare Dr. William Schambra's life, when we come for the Elites. He has done little good for our cause, but little harm, too. Well, of course there are two sides to every story. Let justice be done. I would spare his wife, if it were my decision. I owe him that much.


American Bacchae

Bacchae
Tutor Skyped me last night at 3 am. Apropos of whatever was on his mind, he said, "Social Enterprises now have as many bottom lines as there were once gods on Mt Olympus. It takes only two to make tragedy, and three for farce. Soon Ovid's Metamorphoses will be taught in business school. They call it 'story telling.' The best stories drive metrics. If only they might read The Bacchae. Reason rules the polis and the great god Dionysus calls for Hillary's head." Tutor may be drinking again. I worry about him sometimes. "If this is what a lifetime of reading gets you, Tutor," I said, "we are better off ignorant." He said,  "You are in good company." Then he hung up. 


Clarifying my Business Proposition as a Wealth and Wisdom Consultant to Mammon's Minions

Been talking to my mentor, The Happy Tutor, about our role as highest level consultants (wisdom, virtue, taste, manners, and spirituality) to highest level wealth holders. Tutor, as the younger son of a noble family, having roistered at Oxford with Dr. Rabelais, got ordained as a friar, and hired himself out, as a Morals Tutor, centuries ago, to Sir John Oldcastle (Shakespeare's model, apparently for Falstaff) whose family had built the Castle now inhabited by the world's wealthiest hedge fund manager, Tess, and her daughter, our once and future queen Audrey, who will inherit a controlling interest in the world, rule it, and save it in the nick of time, if all goes well, and she gets help she needs from me, Tutor, and Rex the Rescue Dog.

So, Tutor looks upon our work as what he calls "our noble trade." Tough love for those who, above the merchant class, the military class, the judiciary, the lower level employees, the unemployed, the poor, the halt and lame, the imprisoned and the oppressed, are closer to God. Selected by the market, often selected by high board scores, these, the best and brightest, marked out by wealth, status, and rank, are those who own, rule, and save by right, for the benefit of all. Yet, he says, we are not mere courtiers, machiavels, moral biographers, men or women of all work, privy counselors,  consiglieres, cat's paws, henchmen, technocrats, publicists, lobbyists, or apologists for family enterprises that are beyond good and evil. Our role is to take the heir in hand at a formative age, to shape and mold with cold showers, corporal punishment, fasting, prayer, rigorous study of ancient and modern texts, military or other public service, so that the best and brightest can achieve their God and Market given "call," to own all, rule all, and save all. Tutor is, admittedly Old School, he does believe that blood become bluer in a Dynastic Family over time, but not automatically. That moral, intellectual, and spiritual refinement must be drilled in from birth, generation by generation, by morals tutors like us. The thoroughbred must be broken to the bridle.

I asked Tutor, realistically, how society can trust a trusted advisor, so near the seats of power, not to become a lackey, a flunky, what Romans called a "parasite," or to become what the Catholic Church calls a "Simoniac," one who sells holy things for money or preferment. The temptations of the flesh, status, power, and of material things are so great! That, Tutor told me is why legitimate Morals Tutors to the World's Wealthiest families must acclimate themselves to poverty, chastity, fasting, prayer, endless study, public disgrace and contumely. Only those hardened by life on the street, naked, like Diogenes in a Dumpster,  who eschew any payment, other than a modest stipend and room and board, and who are crazy enough to speak truth to power, to be whipping boys or girls when called upon to take a beating in a good cause, can be trusted to help the world's wealthiest track straight and true with Wisdom and Virtue. I took this as good news, insofar as I have no clients, no money, no clothes, am certifiably insane, and am a total pariah with my fellow citizens of all genders, races, classes and creeds. Even, then, as Tutor reminds me, I am at risk of spiritual pride, making a virtue of necessity. My temptation will come, he says, when and if a client ever offers to pay me for Wisdom and Virtue. "Better," he said, "you peddle your fanny for loose change, behind the Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage, than sell wisdom and virtue to Mammon's Minions as if it were an asset they could own, like financial capital. The muses, the graces, the holy spirit will not be traduced. Prostitute those ladies, and you will find," he said, "they are the fates, and the furies."

Nevertheless, saving my soul is not your problem. I am willing to accept the moral hazard of working with you, as an Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individual, no matter your current moral condition. I am like a Doctor who takes the hardest cases. ("Phil," as my friend Junius Martial once said "is both a surgeon and a mortician; if the surgery fails, the embalming is free. Either way your family gets you back looking better than ever.") If you have net worth of several hundred million dollars or more, then, have poor morals, and are foolish, and want a quick pop - a taste, a free trial serving, of wisdom and virtue - let's talk! It would be helpful if you can bring to your free initial consultation a list of your moral defects, a list of literary and philosophical or spiritual books you have read, if any, an account of recent follies, and any indicators you have noted of moral blindness, spiritual pride, self aggrandizement, hard-heartedness, or parti pris. (Noted in yourself. If you note such defects in others, I am happy to work with them, too, and am pleased to offer a family and friends discount. If you note these defects only in the poor, I would only ask for a modest subsidy.) I can then provide you with a custom letter of engagement, with cost, time line, and projected benefits, "Before and After." I cannot grant you attorney client privilege, but Tutor can provide the veil of the confessional, as well as absolution and penance, if they are required to put you on the straight and narrow path in your own Journey from Sin to Salvation.


What Advisors to the Uber Wealthy Say to Each other to Keep the Game Going

"Give me a penny and I will sing you a song, but give me the penny first." - The Hack persona in Swift's Tale of the Tub

On the main stage, a well known attorney is demonstrating how with a Dynasty Trust a family can grow $4.5 million to $450 million over five generations. In the hallway I am talking to a first time attendee who grew to reasonable wealth from extreme poverty. His comment to me sotto voce, "Surreal! I have never been to a conference like this. How can they be so out of touch?" At dinner several of us having to get to a tv to see the convention addresses, as our leaders dance around wealth inequality, and the bitterness of the former middle class, and young people, driven downward by globalism.  The next day at the wealth conference our sympathies are enlisted for billionaires whose fortunes, without our help, may decline to only millions, "from shirt sleeves to shirtsleeves."

The influential talk in the highest reaches of wealth planning is about wisdom and virtue. (Dunce addressing a hall of Dunces, listening with the admiring face of awe.) Surely our talk, our little congregation, must stink in the nostrils of a just and avenging God?

Paging through the handouts, as less likely to trigger me publicly than sitting through the sessions, I came upon a field leader, glossing the famous scriptural passage, "From those to whom much is given, much is expected." His take, with raised eyebrows, was that this "may seem to be an ought." Yes, God is like that. He created us and has certain standards. Our "five capitals" (as if virtues were our personal property!) have both assets and liabilities. Our assets are a gift. Our talents are a gift. The earth itself is a gift. We owe back; and to deny that is pride, blindness and sin. Yet, he who did the handouts calls himself a Secular Priest. Lauded, praised, imitated. The time is ticking down to zero. We will owe an accounting.

The murmur even in the halls at our own conferences is growing. In serving the wealthiest, and twisting every wisdom tradition to their greater glory and perpetuation, have we not failed those traditions, ourselves, our clients, our country and our world? It is long since time that the sotto voce conversation in the hallways made the main platform. There are those I would nominate for the role, sooner than me, as more knowledgeable, better read, more connected, more ethical, but to praise them by name here in the Dumpster would be to draw them into disrepute, and jinx their career prospects. The logic of wealth planning is such that to be known for being morally sane, and 'out' about it, is a disqualifier. We are not paid to take care of humanity. We are paid to take care of billionaires, or the richest we can find. They do not take kindly to servants who forget their place. So, here in the Dumpster, I lay claim to the obvious. Quote him as we will: Dante did not put wealth advisors, Machiavels, and secular priests in his Paradiso. They boil in his hell. Hell is where God is absent, or his name taken in vain. Hell is ourselves, when we lose touch with love that animates all creation. We are not wise or virtuous. We are opportunists. Quote Chaucer as you will: His journey is not a sanctimonious defense of entrenched power, where the Wife of Bath wears a wimple and curtsies to the King; it is a version of Carnival, where ordinary people have their say, often obscene.

Of course, I could be wrong. Give me a penny and I will sing another tune. The truth is that I am only bitter. After 12 years of offering to tutor the rich on their morals, I have yet to bag a single client. It pisses me off that some people I could name get $5,000 to $10,000 a day for doing it, and they know Jack Squat about Dante, Beckett, Frost, Shakespeare, Chaucer. As with coinage, the counterfeits have driven out the pure gold. Like this post. Pure gold, and what do I get for it? Passers hurrying bye with eyes averted as if I were the one who is insane. How do you think I got so crazy? Conference after conference. It would make you crazy too. If my being naked, Buddy, offends you, buy me some clothes. I would take a shower if I could afford the shelter. You think you are better than me?

 


Satirist seeks Patron

Recovering in the Dumpster this morning with the kind of headache only the cheapest wine can inflict, I was hit with an almost irresistible thought, given my lost life as a literary critic. What if I were to write a "critique" of PMA, Esquire's, ouvre, at Trusts and Estates, asking who is her lineage? As for themes: The School of  James Hughes. As for genre and style: Talk of the Town (E.B.White in The New Yorker at its zenith), Dr. Johnson's peripatetic essays in The Rambler, and Horace, Sermo 1.9 (Horace and the Bore). One strand via Hughes: that of The Bore,  who would be the Most Trusted Advisor, The Privy Counselor, and Man of all Work to Augustus, or at least Maecenas.  (The Roman term for such loyal retainers was "parasite," not a term of respect, admittedly, but look whose talking.) The other strand in PMA is the "virile plain style" of the neoclasscial tradition of the honest man, the plain dealer, the moralist, the candid insider, writing in an easy way for others who are, or think they are. Such a self-respecting person speaks truth to power, and is admired for it by the leader who might behead those whose lips tremble at the moment of truth. Yet, PMA is a woman? That, too, and that is why her work in "family dynamics," and "family governance," or home economics, resonates. The language of strategic reason, the languages of love. Love of the arts, included. Of course, if this post could be blown up to the size of a Doctoral Dissertation in English Language and Literature, I might yet be Dr. Phil, in sky blue robe with the dark blue and gold slashes, and monk's cowl, though I have no pants and am barefoot, as befits an Honest English major with a degree in Philosophy.

For those Trusted Advisors, or Consiglieres, or Secular Priests, new to lit crit, just one question: In PMA's recent essay, "Are You "Wealthy'?," blowing up the School of Hughes, blasting its foundation (unwavering fidelity to the wealthiest, doglike loyalty to the Patron), she happens to leave a meeting of The Bores Who Serve Billionaires, and gets better advice on wealth, wisdom, virtue and happiness, from a cabbie. Was there really such a cabbie? What if she made that up? What if the Bore in Horace is made up, more a 'type' of  the eternal parasite than an actual trusted advisor wannabe on a particular street in Rome 2,000 years ago? Would it be contrary to the editorial policy of Trust and Estates to publish fiction? Could it countenance satire, towards which the style of Horace, Dr. Johnson, and even The New Yorker (see the cartoons) tends? Traditions, like Audrey herself, have an atavistic gene that expresses itself when the civilization it carries is imperiled. As was Rome under the increasingly mad, or corrupt Caesars, as were gouty English royalty in Dr. Johnson's era, during the American Revolution, as are we now as The Wealthy Bear it Away, and the addled masses, around the globe, react and revolt, with the Duck Dynasty Patriarch needing as much help on Family Governance and Family Dynamics as anyone else, as does Trump. And on such "governance," of the grand self within the grand family, and grand family within the broken polity, that the future of our world depends, contested by billionaires and those who serve or follow.

Now, if you will excuse me I must cage enough for another bottle, "the hair of the dog." Failed as a literary critic, failed as a Morals Tutor, failed as a protege of The Happy Tutor,  Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage, may I at least succeed as a Beggar before old age sets in and indigence is friendless and wineless? And so now I: "Pray, Kind Sir, step in here for a moment behind the Dumpster. Let me have a word with you on the QT.  I know you are well connected with Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Geneva, London, the Gulf States. I, though you might not know it to look at me now, am a learned man, a moral man, a wise man, a blameless man, virtuous. These very rags bear witness to my integrity. I have never sold out for the money, or prostituted my talent. I have chosen not to bathe, or hose off, because I am me, the human animal, authentic and incorruptible. Surely, you must know Maecenas? Caesar? Gates? Zuckerberg? Soros? Adelson, Thiel? Might you introduce me? To improve their taste or morals? Mentor their children? Prepare their heirs? Slit a throat? Prosecute a case? Keep secrets? Procure a mistress? Reduce taxes? Build social capital by buying an election? There is nothing that is not ennobled by my Patron's wealth. Nothing no matter how vile need be hidden from me. I have seen it all, and done worse. Pray, Sir, how are your own children doing? Could I prepare them Sir? Can you at least spare a quarter? Just one dime, Sir, and I will let you pass."


The World Turned Upside Down

When one people, perhaps better organized, with a better Leader, conquered another, erased the loser's histories, tore down its monuments, killed or enslaved the men, burned its sacred texts, raped and impregnated the women, slew the innocents, profaned the altars, then came new histories, new monuments, new laws, a new king, new coinage, new standards for a promotion, new ribbons for National Heroes, and improved standards of decency. More civilized than the savages rightly put to the sword.

When the truth is unspeakable, guilty, when it is the truth of the marginalized and subordinated, then it is best spoken without being heard, hidden in plain sight. Told in parables, fables, allegory, and jokes; overheard, not heard. Stirred up from the bottom, this is Carnival, or Mardi Gras, madness, licentiousness, the promiscuous intermixing of high and low; riot, drunkenness, abandon, the mad world of Dionysus, the god of Alexander the Great, even now in New Orleans, staged in status contest, and as good business, by the town's elite. Stirred up from the bottom (first Carnival, then Lent), it is the crucifix after the fact, held up as an object of worship - holy, holy, holy. The priest who at midnight fornicated with the mayor's wife on the altar, as the drunken crowd (including the mayor) cheered, gives the Lenten sermon in the same cathedral, and rightly so. Coming and going, both are true, just not all at once, which is why the liturgical calendar endlessly repeats, to accommodate the whole truth.

From the bottom up, the world turned upside down, what do we do with the unthinkable, the unspeakable, at least half our moral truth?  We call it art and hang it on the wall in the rich man's house. We wear britches, at times, and sometimes not. In the confessional, in a whisper, the Mayor's wife confesses her adultery, accepting penance, again on her knees. So, Wealth and The Will of God sprinkles holy water on Wealth Bondage, as priests have long blessed fleets headed off to war. On the priest's performance, no less than the whore's, Wealth Bondage, my generous patron, has built a resilient brand. May God be thanked.

Ah, Master Jack, ye knew this already, did you not? And because you do, you consider yourself Wise, having tasted the tree of knowledge, and become as a god? Such are the double-sided-truths, like the emperor's coin in the fingers of Christ, young Audrey must learn if she is to own, rule, and save, in this fallen world? That is why Tess must keep you on retainer as her most trusted advisor? Her consigliere? Secular Priest? Man of all work? Mentor to Youth? Yet, look! There Audrey is, with Tutor, hopping about like a Well Prepared Hare.  Perhaps, one day, it will be your head on the block in Tutor's dungeon, or on a raised stage as a spectacle, lesson, and entertainment for the rabble.  But, be assured, that as a Professional Courtesy, as one Trusted Advisor to another, in my capacity as the Omniscient Author Function, I will do my best to give your inevitable fall a comic turn. At least, you can be sure I will find it funny. And sometimes laughter is contagious, the best cure for the plague we spread as healers. And if you, too, smile, then all is right with the world. The laughter then passes, the wheel turns, and we can all get back to our serious business.


Dr. Maevis Bryerly - On my Omnisicience - A Mental Health Perspective on a Narrative Convention

Readers have asked how can I, a flawed, mortal man, of questionable and fragile mental health, know from my dumpster what is happening at The Castle by Sea, near Scotland, where my mentor, The Happy Tutor, is now gainfully employed as The Least Trusted Advisor to Tess, the Warrior Queen of Wall Street, and her daughter, Audrey, age 9.6, who will someday own, rule and save our world, as you shall see in due time. In particular, and this is a real conundrum not just with me but with, say, Fielding, Dickens, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Virginia Wolfe, to name a few, how can I as Omniscient Narrator, actually see inside the characters' heads, and know their thoughts, and their most secret feelings? At one level, the answer is obvious: As Omniscient Narrator, I am just doing my job, no more or less bogus than, say, Impact Investing, or Subprime Loans, or Collateralized Debt Obligations, or politicians' promises. For every foolish reader, consumer, investor, or voter, an omniscient narrator stands ready to tell a tale. It is a big circuit of wishful thinking, feeding on itself. At another level, the answer (as to how I can hear the voices inside another person's head) is again obvious: I am insane. That seems more likely.

So, now that the Audrey project is taking off, and is billable, and my job in Wealth Bondage is no longer in peril, I am back in the Wealth Bondage Health Plan and am able to see a Counselor on a regular basis. Her name, I had not told you this in earlier posts, is Dr. Maevis Bryerly. She looks like a retired Lumberjack in tweed business attire, about 220 pounds, with arms like a weight lifter, and fists the size of hams, which triggers in me a lot of bad memories of my early days in Wealth Bondage pitching payday loans to the retail market in Yukon, prior to moving up into Private Banking, as assistant Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage, under the Happy Tutor, with a specialization in Donor Motivation.

Dr. Bryerly asked me, today, how my journaling was going. She had assigned it to me, without realizing that I was posting it all over the internet. She considers that both a sign of my poor mental health, and cause of it not getting better. Now I am shunned not only in person but also by millions of passersby who read and mock my posts. I long for even one "like," "follower," or "friend," but years into this, I have nothing to show in response to my posts but stony silence, vitriol and scorn. I asked Dr. Bryerly about my Omniscience and she said it is nothing; I should not worry about it. It goes with megalomania, psychosis, and other traits associated with greatness. But, I said, "The voice I hear dictating the voices and inner lives of Audrey and Tess and Tutor, is your voice, Doctor. I merely take dictation. You are my muse! I love you so much Dr! I dream your words in my sleep!"

She said this is worse than she thought and would adjust my medication. More lithium. She said she is not my muse; and I don't really love her. It is just a transference, which is just as well, because if I loved a woman who looks like a Lumberjack, I would have to get my head examined. She said she would work through the transference with me, but I should probably not be drinking so much when on lithium, particularly after my lobotomy. The voices could just be delirium tremens.

I know that for you, as Gentle Reader, this may be Too Much Information (TMI), but I have always believed that Full Disclosure leads to trust. Without your believing in me as the Omniscient Narrator, I can't tell you what is going on inside Audrey, and have you accept it as true. I don't know how you would trust me if you thought that I thought that I am really Omniscient. I know it is really the Muse, speaking through Dr. Bryerly into me. As a Doctor of Human Psychology, she can see and hear what is going on inside people's heads. That is her job. She is trained to do it.  That gives me the confidence to post here verbatim, without any editing, what I hear her saying inside my head.  I know I will some day be cured, which is why I want to write everything down on line now, so that when my head goes dark, I can read it here and remember what it once was to be inspired.