April 24, 2013

"And I never touched a living body cold as the Rube there in Philly... I decided to lop him off if it meant a smother party."

"(This is a rural English custom designed to eliminate aged and bedfast dependents. A family so afflicted throws a 'smother party' where the guests pile mattresses on the old liability, climb up on top of the mattresses and lush themselves out.) The Rube is a drag on the industry and should be 'led out' into the skid rows of the world. (This is an African practice. Official known as the 'Leader Out' has the function of taking old characters out into the jungle and leaving them there.)"

Something William S. Burroughs wrote in "Naked Lunch," which I was reading this morning in my iPhone after running across this in today's NYT:
In 1965, Mr. de Grazia went to Boston to appeal a court ban of William S. Burroughs’s sexually explicit novel “The Naked Lunch.” He summoned literary lions like Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg to testify about the book’s artistic worth and won his argument, that genius should never be curbed because of differences over taste or morality.

The book, published in 1959, was the last work of fiction to be censored by the Postal Service, the Customs Service and state governments.
Edward de Grazia — who also fought in the Supreme Court for our right to read Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" and to see "I Am Curious (Yellow)" — has died at the age of 86.

Here's his book: "Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius."
It's only by chance that my random entry into my "Naked Lunch" ebook took me to something about death. I'm certainly not saying that de Grazia was like Rube, but I was intrigued by the "Naked Lunch" take on death panels, and it's only a random fact that de Grazia died of Alzheimer's disease.

***

Climb up on top of the mattresses and lush themselves out... What are you picturing there? Drinking? Sex? Relaxing and luxuriating? The (unlinkable) OED defines "lush" (the intransitive verb) to mean "To drink, indulge in drink."
1811   Lexicon Balatronicum,   Lush, to drink.
1825   C. M. Westmacott Eng. Spy II. 252   Smoke, take snuff, lush.
1835   P. Hawker Diary (1893) II. 90   The captain and his mate having..‘lushed it’ ashore all night.
1851   H. Mayhew London Labour I. 179/2,   I was out of work two or three weeks, and I certainly lushed too much.
There's no entry for "lush out," but there is "lush up." It means "To get drunk." I search my "Naked Lunch" ebook for other uses of "lush," which always everywhere else meant "drunk," so those smother partiers must have been drinking. The search tool also finds the word when it's inside another word, and I'm charmed by the false positives:
"So they drive to this plush jump joint, and the father say, 'All right, son. You're on your own. So ring the bell and when the woman come give her the twenty dollars and tell her you want a piece of ass.'"...
There was the time me and the anesthetist drank up all the ether and the patient came up on us, and I was accused of cutting the cocaine with Saniflush.... "Some fucking drug addict has cut my cocaine with Saniflush! Nurse! Send the boy out to fill this Rx on the double!"

38 comments:

edutcher said...

"Lush", as a noun, is an old synonym for an habitual drunk.

Nonapod said...

What's a worse way to go: Being crushed under a mattress piled on by a bunch of drunk idiots or being set adrift on an iceflow in the Arctic Ocean?

chickelit said...

Burroughs also believed in the second amendment.

traditionalguy said...

Hastening the death of sick and elderly family members has been a tradition among many poor societies that cannot afford Medical care out in the country.

Arsenic kills more than rats.

The tradition of mercy to the dying has a counter tradition of mercy to the living. We are told to execute Living Wills and Directives not to resuscitate to negotiate that dilemma.

But Obama's intentionally tripling energy bills so that the elderly will freeze to death for the benefit of a totally corrupt Democrat Aristocracy of hyper wealthy schmucks is to much.

Saint Croix said...

What a crappy movie I Am Curious is. Either blue or yellow. Both colors suck. It's like 10 minutes of soft porn, and 80 minutes of Marx. I had the damn stupid optimistic belief that maybe one of them would be better than the other. Ha!

"I will lure them in with my taboo sexuality and then while my audience is excited I will force them to listen to my Marxist rants for 80 minutes, bwaaaa ha ha."

Little did this stupid Commie realize that one day the forces of capitalism would give the people the tools to fast forward through Marxist rants. So we are free! Take that!

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Lean back?

Cedarford said...

Not good things to do when you are a near-bankrupt country that is becoming more and more resource constrained:

1. Import radical Muslims as immigrants that are parasites on welfare, violent and unassimalable.
Ditto many other 3rd Worlders.

2. Thinking it is a great idea to work on more expensive machines and technology and hiring more caregivers - aimed to allow vegetables and advanced stage Alzheimers patients to live 10 extra years at a rate of 150,000 a year for taxpayers.
Yes, poor and resource-constrained countries and peoples do tend to have to prioritize where resources go..contributors and able-bodied and mentally normal adults and children..and if need be "shed" the parasites and those seen as lacking the ability to become contributors.
Laws mean nothing. Its old biological survival...you chances of continuing as a people, tribe, nation sometimes means shedding baggage.

Nonapod said...

Well it's a good thing we'll have death panels to determine when grampa is costing our society too much to keep alive.

Ann Althouse said...

"The "girls" of the title come from Jane Heap, who, along with her friend and partner Margaret Anderson, sought to print part of Joyce's "Ulysses" in "The Little Review" for July/August, 1920. John Sumner, one of the anti-vice agents of whom American history is too chock-full (think of Anthony Comstock, secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice; think of Jesse Helms and his assault on the National Endowment for the Arts), arrested the women and charged them with publishing obscenity. Jane Heap's wonderful response is well-employed by De Grazia: "Mr. Joyce was not teaching early Egyptian perversions nor inventing new ones. Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; wear low-cut sleeveless blouses, breathless bathing suits; men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere--seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr. Bloom (in the "Nausicaa" episode)--and no one is corrupted."

Mark said...

Isn't Hansel and Gretel really just a story about leaving kids in the forest to die, much the same as these stories?

Saint Croix said...

I was intrigued by the "Naked Lunch" take on death panels

Scalia's dissent in Casey angers me because he suggests that the state can kill off not just the unborn, but also newborns and "the incompetent elderly."

The whole argument of abortion opponents is that what the Court calls the fetus and what others call the unborn child is a human life. Thus, whatever answer Roe came up with after conducting its "balancing" is bound to be wrong, unless it is correct that the human fetus is in some critical sense merely potentially human. There is of course no way to determine that as a legal matter; it is in fact a value judgment. Some societies have considered newborn children not yet human, or the incompetent elderly no longer so.

Look how Scalia deconstructs our equal protection clause! We have put our values into law. "No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

What this means, Justice Scalia, is that we cannot kill babies in abortion clinics, or shove the "incompetent elderly" into the gas chamber. And what your other "societies" are doing is irrelevant.

Why don't you read our Constitution and follow our law? The death of a human being is defined by statute!

And if you don't know what a "person" is, Mr. Textualist, look it up!

Dr. Gosnell, by the way, was acquitted of 3 murders this morning.

Robert Cook said...

"But Obama's intentionally tripling energy bills so that the elderly will freeze to death for the benefit of a totally corrupt Democrat Aristocracy of hyper wealthy schmucks is to much."

I am no supporter of Obama, but how has he personally tripled energy bills, and why "intentionally?"

And how is that you see the American/Global Aristocracy of hyper wealthy schmucks to be "Democratic?"

David said...

Lean back.

Lean in.

Either technique can work, depending on the situation and objective.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Dr. Gosnell, by the way, was acquitted of 3 murders this morning.

I'm not sure yet if he was acquitted because the judge felt that Dr. Gosnell had not done the act (i.e. one of the other "doctors" had done it).

Or if he was acquitted because the judge felt that the baby was not newborn enough. Thus it's entirely possible these acquittals are based on the victims being dehumanized in a court of law. They were innocent victims when the case started, and now they are property, and their deaths mean nothing.

Robert Cook said...

I read NAKED LUNCH a year or two back, after unsuccessfully trying to do so twice previously. I'm interested in and intrigued by Burroughs as a character, and his straight prose is razor sharp in the American hard-boiled idiom. His flights of fancy and use of avant-garde literary techniques--including cutups--make for more difficult, if not impossible reading.

I found after reading two biographies of the man that I understood more of LUNCH. Much of it is autobiographical, and the book itself is made up of portions of comic "routines" he included in letters to Allen Ginsberg. These "routines" were self-referential to persons and places and ideas they shared in common. As such, they are inscrutable (or scrutable) to the degree one is or is not familiar with details of Burroughs' life.

Seeing Red said...

Scalia's dissent in Casey angers me because he suggests that the state can kill off not just the unborn, but also newborns and "the incompetent elderly."




I thought Scalia and Ginsberg were good friends?

chickelit said...

Chirbit: Cedarford channels WS Burroughs in "Drugstore Cowboy."

Seeing Red said...

Personally? He said he was gonna do it, he did.

Saint Croix said...

I thought Scalia and Ginsberg were good friends?

Ha. The Supreme Court will never dehumanize the incompetent elderly because it might be applied to them one day.

In fact that's the beauty of equal protection. It forces you to come up with fair rules, because the rules will apply to you, too!

Saint Croix said...

Appears to be the latter. Gosnell was acquitted of killing three babies because the prosecution had not proven they were fully born before Gosnell executed them.

It's like reading slavery law. We are living in an insane period in American history.

Saint Croix said...

I decided to lop him off if it meant a smother party.

It's like baby or fetus. So much violence hides behind Orwellian rhetoric.

ken in sc said...

"I will live a lush life in some small dive." Lyrics of the song "Lush Life." circa 1940s.

AprilApple said...

Just take a pain pill.

Robert Cook said...

"So much violence hides behind Orwellian rhetoric."

That's the purpose of all euphemism and much jargon: to soften or obscure the reality.

Collateral damage = innocent civilians blown apart by our bombs

Enhanced Interrogation = torture (the Nazis used this one, too)

Inactivated Combatant = corpse

Incomplete victory = loss

Friendly Fire = killed by one's own forces

Adjustment of the front = retreat (see also retrograde maneuvers or redeployment of forces)

Denying the enemy = bombing military targets in the hearts of cities

Incontinent Ordnance = mistaken shelling of one's own troops

And so on...

Andy Freeman said...

> Scalia's dissent in Casey angers me because he suggests that the state can kill off not just the unborn, but also newborns and "the incompetent elderly."

Why are you angry at Scalia?

It's clearly true that the state can kill people.

Scalia is pointing out the consequences of a decision with which he disagrees. If those consequences make you angry, take it up with the folks who advocated that position.

It's silly to blame the messenger.


Saint Croix said...

Burroughs, by the way, is rather notorious for killing his wife.

Saint Croix said...

Why are you angry at Scalia?

Because he denies humanity as easily and as stupidly as the majority. He gives them intellectual cover. And, I believe, his real aim is to protect the Supreme Court from any charge of infanticide.

His power corrupts him.

It's clearly true that the state can kill people.

It's unconstitutional for the state to kill innocent people.

Scalia is pointing out the consequences of a decision with which he disagrees.

No, he's arguing that states can kill newborns and the incompetent elderly. He is shrugging his shoulders and saying our Constitution has nothing to say about this.

It's silly to blame the messenger.

It's true, Scalia has not written any baby-killing opinions himself. But pro-lifers should not be happy with any of the Supreme Court's work in the abortion era. That entire institution has beclowned itself.

Read Scalia's dissent! He thinks the outrage of slavery is that it made Justice Taney and the Supreme Court look bad. His narcissism mirrors the narcissism of Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Saint Croix said...

I write Scalia an open letter here.

traditionalguy said...

Yes Cookie. Mr Obama has intentionally set into action Federal Regulations to end the most efficient generator of electrical power, called the coal industry.

Mr Obama has appointed Energy Secretaries that announce the goal of tripling the cost of energy used in the USA...the better to control the weather, heh, heh.

The ease with which he sabotages all of our futures for filthy lucre for his friends astounds me.

And saying the GOP pols do it too is no excuse. He is our President and he is at war with us.

wyo sis said...

We really need a very clear no nonsense definition of when it's OK to kill other people. I wonder where we would ever find such a thing?

Robert Cook said...

Yes, Trad Guy, and he's doing it intentionally to kill off all our elderly. Gotcha.

traditionalguy said...

Cookie...Obama is intentionally painting us into every corner he can find so that our choice will come down to killing off the unproductive poor people including the elderly and then die early and childless ourselves for Obama's ego...that's also called the usual Marxist tyranny's view of a noble outcome.

America the beautiful without useless people spoiling the view is every Aristocrat's dream of heaven on earth.

No wonder Obama wants so bad to disarm us first.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie...Obama is intentionally painting us into every corner he can find so that our choice will come down to killing off the unproductive poor people including the elderly and then die early and childless ourselves for Obama's ego...that's also called the usual Marxist tyranny's view of a noble outcome."

Trad Guy, if you really believe this...really...you're crazy.

And, I'd say that's as much or more the view of a plutocrat as a "Marxist tyrant." After all, if a human cannot work for the greater profit of the rich man wanting to be richer, why let him live?

traditionalguy said...

@ Cookie...We are not far apart. In theory a Marxist tyrant is the Ceasar or Monarch whose rule is first enabled by his plutocrat friends...until they get so powerful on their own that he purges them before they can purge him.

The point is that the aristocracy of plutocrats just uses the Marxist Cover Story to start a revolution so they can kill and steal and at will.

How are the Kulaks of today doing, that is the middle class retirees bitterly clinging, not so much to their guns and religion (that are only defense tools,) but clinging to their dollar denominated retirement assets that the Obama gang covets so bad that they can taste it.

Being not insane in today's Disneyworld of propagandists called Journolisters is the trick that few want to work on. I am surprised that your ideology has concealed the truth right before your eyes from you.

But just believing in Obama's good will towards man is insane.


Bob said...

The late novelist John Gardner, who continued the James Bond novels after Ian Fleming's death, also wrote three Sherlock Holmes pastiches told from the viewpoint of Professor Moriarty. In one of them a reference is made to a "Lord Lushington," who apparently was the inspiration for lush as a synonym for a drunkard. A quick Google search didn't turn up any obvious biographies of a "Lord Lushington," but that doesn't mean that one didn't exist, if Gardner wasn't simply inventing the provenance.

Robert Cook said...

"But just believing in Obama's good will towards man is insane."

I don't believe in Obama's good will...in fact, I think he's a war criminal and mass murderer, just as is Bush.

However, to assert that he has purposely caused the price of coal to triple with the intent of causing the death by freezing of the elderly who will not be able to afford home heating is crazy. There's not even a rational explanation for how he would benefit by such an Ernst Blofeld-like plan.

traditionalguy said...

Cookie...The rational minds of the mobbed up Democrat pols is easy to understand.

The energy price to heat the homes of the elderly poor and poor the young poor in winters will certainly be tripled by Regs stopping the production and marketing of poisonous carbon based fossil fuels, or Obama the Dems intend to go ahead and pass a huge energy production direct tax designed to drive up the price of energy. But it will have to include sending rebate checks to the needy. But the middle class retirees who have a 401K, or IRA or Pension funds left get no rebate checks.

So Obama's gang will have painted the productive people into the corner where we will be looted until we too become more dependent poor. It will be propagandized that the GOP resistance to looting 401Ks and IRAs is freezing the elderly to death.

The Mafia has to have invented this trick, or maybe Ken Lay at Enron.

The imaginary hoax Climate Science is the magic wand used to crush us.