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Rant #134
(published May 15, 2003)
Tobacco and Liquor
by ivica

"The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"Society is now one polished horde, —-Formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored."
-Lord Byron

In the slums of Hog Town. Walking Sticks showed me his simple home. He refused to give me his real name: "Too many evil spirits, zombie civil servants, number-mad bankers, suicidal terrorists, whining mothers-in-law, robotic GM military workers, drug doctors, faceless singers, bodiless cyber-beggars, and cursed priests around this town."

Why do you live in this poor little welfare apartment?

"I have a regular home in the pretty Ottawa Valley. I keep this winter city-home for business purposes. The Algonquins used to own the Ottawa Valley. Then the French laws landed. Then the English laws rushed in. (I'm just waiting now until the next army of laws hits our shore.)

Ahh, so the Algonquins are the only original owners in the history of the world.

"Yes, definitely. It helps a lot if you only have an oral history."

Business? You mean like a tie and a desk in an office?

"No! Not me! I smuggle tobacco and liquor. Mainly I like to hunt and fish. But you have to be more careful these days. The air is too polluted now and the water is polluted too. Too much acid rain from too many smoking neo-hippies. I also make birch-bark canoes and showshoes. But there is no market there, just work. What are you, a regular size 9?"

Not for me thanks, I'm a French Riviera man stuck in an Ontario town. I know you don't smoke. Why trade in it?

"I don't smoke or drink liquor. I prefer beer. The market determines anybody's business in our world. My big competition (beside the damn tax-man) is those Iroquois. They were a problem even in the old days. We Algonquins had allies in the east (Montagnais) and in the west (Huron), but those southern punks!

"Maybe we were too different. We were the hunters, they were the farmers and village people. God, I hate the village people. And the city people. The dead end of your civilization is that arrogant high road that includes that astrological science called 'agriculture' and her unnatural parasitic sons called 'cities'."

You fought the Iroquois?

"We fought the Beaver Wars in the 1600s. But it never really ended well. You wanna come along tomorrow, a bunch of us are hitting the Iroquois where it hurts. In the casino. Come along, it might be fun. Bring some popcorn."

Casino? No thanks, I don't gamble. You used to own the Ottawa Valley? What happened?

"Well, European guns and European smallpox might sum up the history of the North American Indians. And today, 50,000 Canadians are still proudly selling weapons to the rest of the world. Not much of a change, eh? You should come up sometime. We could go canoeing or showshoeing. Early one cool Canadian morning, we can go duck hunting."

I don't think so. Not really my style.

"You'd like it. We bring some beer and get drunk. The ducks are just an excuse for a party."

A bunch of loaded guns AND a bunch of loaded drunks. Mighty tempting but I think I'll pass. What do you like to read?

"Thoreau. Dickinson. Hemingway. Shaw and Joyce and Conrad. Hugo et Voltaire. You know, all the great non-Canadians."

A bunch of rebels and expatriates . . .

"I prefer to think of them as transcendental businessmen."

"I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could."
-George Bernard Shaw

"The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
-Ayn Rand

Walking Sticks has no furniture (it feels very Japanese (Japanese is not really related to any other language)) but he does have a TV in every room. And all the TVs are running all the time...on different channels. Popcorn (a right-winger with a heart (imagine an angel with only one wing)) claims that without TV the Western World would disintegrate: "The ghosts in the machine need company." The Funkenman emails me that TV (like work...and Canada...and the internet) is vastly (VASTLY) over-rated.

Walking Sticks winters on the shores of Lake Ontario and doesn't seem to take much notice of the other busy tribes around: "Do they let everybody into this country?"

The price of democracy. What about the Iraqi Wars?

"Well, if you want to protect your children, you better stand up....with your friends. War became an alienated horror when some fighters decided to become bureaucrats and to use other fighters instead of bravely doing their own dirty work. Perverted voyeurs.

"In the old days, Britain and France were enemies dividing up the New World. But this month I noticed that it looks like the same old game to me. France (and Germany) against the UK (and the US): a split in the Western World. And they're fighting over economics. Again."

I've really noticed this anti-Americanism in Europe in the last couple of years, among the general population.

"I guess when you're Number One, a lot of Number Twos get vicious and jealous. Some sort of soap-opera. The Second Cold War."

"We'll make new friends, there's 4,000 other people in this world!"
-Fred Flintstone

"States are violent institutions."
-Noam Chomsky

"If someone attacked my buildings, I'd attack their buildings. If somebody tried to assassinate my generals and president, I would assassinate their generals and president with commandos...using bullets and bombs with names scratched on them. If they tried to guerilla me, I would not bomb everything in their land, I would guerrilla their guilty asses back into oblivion.

"Don't kid yourself, ivica, freedom is a precious rare beauty, not a normal historical situation. A lot of twisted spirits don't like to share freedom. Or food. Or life. There is at least some freedom and sharing here."

In a Canadian democracy?

"Well, it's not good enough to just be a lazy representative democracy. You have to fight for your rights, for your share, for your family, as an active democratic citizen. Every day. Cowards don't fight their own battles. Some people don't make their own food. Some people don't live in the real natural world. Every day."

You sound like an investor . . .

"Sure, we are all corporations. We are all managers. We each have a limited string of days. We all hunt with our friends. We all have a family. Sell your car and buy gold. Stop polluting yourself and your home and start greening the space around you. Teach your children to look ahead. Make yourself healthy (nobody else will do it for you). Try to master yourself. Trade your day for a profit. Enjoy your daily wealth."

"Democracy is noble."
"Fascism is a natural state."
"I've had six wives."
-Norman Mailer

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