Sunday, May 01, 2022

Bi bi binary or You're STILL Wrong, Mykel Board's blog for May 2022

 


 

Bi Bi Binary
or You're STILL Wrong,
Mykel's May 2022 Blog

by Mykel Board

The binary approach is an obsolete school of thought in the process of structuring human perception towards reality. The true nature of reality fits better with a spectrum approach.

- Toba Beta


Human beings have a strong instinct toward binary thinking, a basic urge to divide things into two distinct groups, with nothing but an empty gap in between. We love to dichotomize. Good versus bad. Heroes versus villains. My country versus the rest. Dividing the world into two distinct sides is simple and intuitive, and also dramatic because it implies conflict, and we do it without thinking, all the time.

- Hans Rosling,


Binary paths belong in bygone past. All things civilized are non-binary. - Abhijit Naskar,


Love cannot be defined, caught, cast in stone, or archived. It's something we have no control over. Love is completely analog. Love can never be digital. --Vicky Krieps


You’re either part of the problem of part of the solution. --Black Panthers

You’re wrong. --Mykel Board


Comedians are famous for their repertoire of phrases used to tame hecklers.

Yeah my mother used to tell me that too.

Your mouth works, now try your brain.

If I was as smart as you, I’d be stupid.

We’ve all rehearsed comedy comebacks… when people ask: BANG, you got a stock answer good for anyone... any time.

Q. Did you go to business school?
A. No, I got an education.

Q. Is it hard being a Jew?
A. No, it’s easy. All you gotta do is have a Jewish mother.

Q. How’s your hearing?
A. What?

When I meet someone, it’s never long before we talk about sex. Not (necessarily) sex with each other, but in general. I use the word vagina within the first 20 minutes of a conversation with a new person. Doesn’t everyone?

And while judging the desirability of every passing stranger (usually on a scale of one to a hundred)… or while talking about bars long gone and sorely missed… a new friend will inevitably ask, “Mykel, are you gay?”

Ah, my stock answer… pops out like a drunk’s penis from a vagina. “No, I’m not gay,” I say, “but most of the guys I’ve had sex with have been gay.”

So you’re bisexual?”

“Trisexual… try anything.”

The usual response is an I’ve-heard-it-before eye-roll. Maybe with a headshake.

At nearly 80 years old, I have slightly more real-life sexual energy than my hero, Tuli Kupferberg… and he’s dead. Bisexual and trisexual just don’t do it for me any more. Gimme a video.

So, as I’m masturbating to Lief Blowher (look her up on xvideos). On the upstroke, it occurs to me that sex is like linguistics, Covid, the Ukraine war, Donny Trump and racism. Binary in the 21st century. The Greeks didn’t have binary sex. They just had sex. Who the hell invented homo and hetero? And now it’s worse, with an alphabet of sex letters that you either are or you aren’t. A wombload of ones and zeros disguised as LBQTABCDEFG.

Ok, speaking of letters-- actually letter sounds-- here’s a quick linguistics lesson-- the structuralist school, as I remember it from 1987. For the structuralists, speech sounds are like computer language: ones and zeros… plusses or minuses.

The F-sound in English is made with the inside of the lower lip touching the upper teeth. Air is blown through the narrow opening and the vocal chords do not vibrate. Plus labial, minus voice.

The F-sound in Japanese is made with both lips close together, and air blown through the narrow opening. The vocal chords do not vibrate. Also plus labial, minus voice.

But they’re are not the same sounds. Structuralists jump through binary hoops to distinguish them. The Japanese sound is plus bilabial. The English sound minus bilabial. The English sound is plus tense (lower lip). The Japanese sound is minus tense. Hoop after hoop.

The list goes on. Adding more and more pluses and minuses… but why? I explained the difference between the two sounds in two sentences. What use is all the plusing and minusing? Why the thirst for binary? So it’ll fit in your computer?

To be fair, binary-tude has been with us at least since the Chinese flipped heads or tails with the I-Ching. But it really took off with computer storage and little bits being either ones or zeros. Now it rules everything. There are people in jail and others probably killed for having the wrong series of ones and zeros on their computer hard drives. The death penalty! That’s how much binary is worth in 2022.

Binary destroys thinking. It gives two options… if it’s not A, it must be B. If he’s not good, he must be evil. Nuance dies. It’s impossible to think outside the box without thinking of another box.

Another example… real life: I’m in Japan… trying to enter a restaurant in Shitamachi, Tokyo. Shitamachi strictly translates as downtown. But is actually closer in meaning to oldtown. I notice an interesting restaurant… frayed red lanterns hanging from the roof. Looking through the window, I’m happy to see there are NO WHITE PEOPLE inside. Oh yeah, my kind of place.

I pull on the door handle. The door doesn’t open. I pull again... harder. It still doesn’t open. What an idiot I am! In some countries, doors open out, some open in. I get it.

I push the door. No results. I can see the people inside looking at me and laughing. I push again. Inside, a chubby guy wearing a black suit, puts down his chopsticks and walks over to the door. He slides it open.

FOILED AGAIN BY BINARY THINKING!

The US must be one of the world’s most binary countries. (Israel: Jew or not-Jew is also way up there.) American movies divide the world into good guys and bad guys… heroes and villains. TV news reports on criminals and life-savers. Wars are right or wrong, good or bad. People, the same. Meet someone new? First thought: are they good or bad?

Text books show the history of earth as a series of good guys fighting bad guys. The side that has death camps are the bad guys. The side that kills hundreds of thousands with atomic bombs… and poisons millions of a future generation… they’re the good guys.

Maybe it’s not American… maybe it’s natural in humans. Two hands, two feet, two nostrils, two ovaries, two testicles… everything we can see in our bodies is one, two or ten. Our bodies are digital. It may be natural, but it drives me batty!

A famous punkrock writer and producer has called me a “Trumpist” because I said that president hadn’t gotten us into a war… and did the right thing by pulling us out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Donald Trump is the absolute epitome of the binary. You either love him… and whatever he does is GOOD… or you hate him… and whatever he does is BAD. There’s no reasoning… No nuance. No need to do any thinking whatsoever.

But wait! The problem is not Donny Trump… it’s the whole idea of GOOD and EVIL. From fairy tales to facebook, you divide up the world. Trump is EVIL… and anything he does is evil and if it’s not evil, then you have to prove he didn’t do it? Instead of seeing him (and all humans) as a complicated ANALOG combination of positives and negatives and deeds and desires that are neither positive nor negative… You see DIGITAL. If someone is EVIL you have to explain away the good,,, deny it exists. It interferes with the binary.

Donald Trump was responsible for one assassination and no wars. Joe Biden droned a car-ful of medical aid workers… and has jailed more migrants than Donny ever did. Am I a Trumpist for pointing that out?

Then there’s Hitler, the Godwin embodiment of evil... What do you do when you find him on YOUR SIDE? Hey vegetarians. How could you be a vegetarian? Hitler was a vegetarian! Instead of saying, “okay… he was right on that, but he did a fuck of a lot more harm than good,” you scramble to prove “NO! It ISN’T TRUE! HE WASN’T A VEGETARIAN!”

I once posted on facebook the cliché that Hitler made the trains run on time. First answer? “No he didn’t. That was Mussolini.” Second answer? “No, he just made the train crews SAY they ran on time. They were really still late.” You cannot admit that someone EVIL can do anything good. It destroys the binary.

Then there’s sex. You’re STRAIGHT or you’re GAY. Okay, there are so-called bisexuals, but many doubt even that. One of the main sources of pride in my life is that my friends who call themselves straight, tell me Mykel, we know you’re really straight, but only claim to like guys because it’s extreme and outrageous. My friends who call themselves gay (or lesbian… a completely unnecessary word that means “gay woman”) tell me You’re really one of us, but you only claim to like girls because it avoids the stigma of being gay. Stigma in 2022? Jeezus fuckin’ Christ!

Yeah, there’s the BISEXUAL argument… but it’s BI… it’s digital. Another file folder to fit in. Sex is not digital… it’s analog! There is a whole range of sexual tastes: age, hairstyle, clothes, weight, body shape, body hair, personality. Our tastes are more than just a decision based on innies and outies.

But you, my digital friend, you self define… Like Biden is good, so everything he does is good. Or Trump is bad, so everything he does is bad. You define yourself as STRAIGHT. You’re not allowed to even consider sticking your dinkle into another man’s dent… or you’re GAY, so, even though that girl looks sooo good, you don’t do it because… well, because you’re GAY and gay people don’t do that. Even defining yourself as BISEXUAL doesn’t work, because then you’re saying there are people who are NOT bisexual. That makes another digital divide.

Tuli Kupferberg, when he was alive, wrote a song about getting old:

Once I was a sexual (two words), but now I am asexual (one word). I got those later life asexual blues.

We are all, more or less, SEXUALS. Of course we have preferences. I like Founders Breakfast Beer more than I like Budweiser… but I’m still a beer drinker. More people you find yourself attracted to may consider themselves men than consider themselves women. But that shouldn’t define you. Once you put yourself into a little labeled container, you lose your analog. You are no longer free, but only have the choice to move from one container to another.

One of the binariest of the binary is MALE or FEMALE, man or woman. Even at birth, someone says Choose one! Now! You’re allowed to change your mind… once. Then, that’s it.

People who would rage against a pre-pubescent spending a half hour having sex, now support their right to permanently and surgically CHOOSE their gender (one of two, of course) while their age is in the single digits. If they’re not sure… they can take drugs that will delay puberty “until they’re old enough to decide.” This is just crazy since:

1. The hormones released in puberty help with the decision to choose gender and are often the cause of pre-pubescents’ changing their mind on the surgery. So delaying puberty delays the BIOLOGICAL age and makes the “choice,” not a choice at all. The decision is still made by a newly pubescent who needs maturity to decide.

2. Why choose at all? Several cultures have more than two sexes, and one of my best friends is a guy… with a twat. Many regret the surgery and more just find that it didn’t do what they expected it to do.

Why not let kids play? Let little boys wear dresses. Let little girls play football. Call the kids what they want to be called, and after they’re old enough to decide (puberty at the earliest) on surgery, let them decide.

But wait! There’s still more!

War is probably the nastiest and most dangerous of binary thinking… and it’s effects. Take the Russian Ukraine invasion. Putin is the new Hitler… and there’s no indication he gets the trains to run on time. His reported popularity in Russia is 82%. Why so popular? Are ordinary Russians also EVIL?

Putin’s enemies cannot accept that. They have to scream foul. Fake figures… the opposition is in jail… he’s really hated but everyone in Russia is afraid to say so. In war, there are only good guys and bad guys. If a bad guy is popular, then the people who like him must also be bad.

If there’s a war, the bad guys rape and pillage… commit atrocities. The good guys protect “the innocent.” It’s binary… digital. No matter how analog the reality. No matter how much good or evil from both sides… no one can see it that way.

There’s a war… it’s a movie: Cue the pillaging~ Cue the rape! Cue the dead women and children (Men? Ah as long as they’re not children, then it’s no big deal. It’s a war. Men die. That’s what they do. The horror is when women and children die.) Cue the atrocities.

And it’s all the fault of one man… One macho guy in Moscow. Every raping penis… every apartment building missile… every closed escape route (whose escape routes? Why women and children, of course. Men have to fight and die. That’s what they do.) Every “civilian” casualty is personally ordered by the next corollary of Godwin’s law. The EVIL VLAD PUTIN!

Oh the list goes on. People are either anti-mask or pro-mask. Anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine. Trump-lovers or Trump-haters. “The other side” is stupid and EVIL. OUR side is smart and GOOD.

Well, join the army! The ANALOG army. The army of the subtle. The army of no sides… but infinite nuance. The army open to men women and those who are both… or neither. The army that marches out of step… not giving a shit about matching the stride of the next person. See you in that army… or not.


See you in hell… or not

Mykel Board

ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at mykelboard@gmail.com. Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available. Send me an email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Back blogs and columns are at https://mykelsblog.blogspot.com]

Speaking of non-binary dept: The New Republic reports that, traditional treatments for substance use disorders, take place in expensive residential facilities, demand total abstinence from all drugs, and rely heavily on group therapy and the 12 steps. The magazine writes about a new system called PROP that doesn’t punish or control those in the program. Instead, PROP holds substance use on a continuum and gives people the power to determine their own treatment goals: Some might want to be abstinent from all drugs; others might reduce their substance use to more manageable levels. A completely logical-- analog-- approach.

Speaking of non-binary Chapter 2 dept:
I write this during Passover. This is the time of year where most Jews do not eat any wheat products… except matzo. And do not eat or drink anything with yeast in it. So what’s that got to do with analog? 

An analog Rabbi!! Yes! Reuben Zellman, a California rabbi is the first intersex student to graduate from reform rabbi-school. The rabbi is, of course, active in social causes, but is most interesting because of the lack of binary. Yes! My kind of… er… person! L’chaim!


See you in hell... or not (redux)
MB

LINK TRADE DEPARTMENT:

I read that the search engines like lots of links... and it's also nice to support my friends and enemies in their blogs. So facebook me or email me if you have a blog, webpage or something else to connect to. I add you. You add me.

Here's a start:

Here’s Richard Goldberg: goldberg.wordpress.com

Poetry and humor fans will like Justin Martin in The Latency

And my friend Mike R has a nice site with recipe hits from the past! (He cooked for me once... great stuff.) Check out Yesterday's Recipes.

And here's one by a member of ANTI-SEEN... a tour diary of sorts.

Andy Shelton has an interesting blog here.

Savage Hippie is a guy who has been YouTubing for a long time. Our opinions largely overlap... but he complains that I'm a Communist. I'm not! I'm a communist.

Chris Stecher publishes a zine called PRECIS. You can see the back issue links there... and he promises a new issue soon.

George Fertakis has a very nice graphics-heavy blog... with music and books featured prominently. If there’s no link here (I can’t find it temporarily), then Google… er… Duckduckgo him for information.

And my long-term pal Sid Yiddish contributes with his Mishegas Master Blog.

And connect to TRUST Zine, a long-running German punk zine… that STILL PRINTS!!! Yeah, they have a website too… of course! It’s here.

Here are a couple video links.

This from Jon Cox https://squelchchamber1.bandcamp.com/album/down-so-low

And this one from my very long-time friend Roger Armstrong.

Jim Testa moved his long running zine, Jersey Beat, to the blogosphere awhile back. You can read it here. Jim also recommended a kind of unique album… in a style you don’t see to much of these days… or any days. Neo-Hassidic Rock Opera. You can stream the album here.

Kyle Nonneman is in prison in Portland. At least he can’t be kidnapped by the secret police… I think. I post his blog for him, he can’t do it from the klink. Lots of stuff about noise metal… and some very weird politics that will either fascinate or repulse you… or both.

My long time pal, Jim Hayes rightfully complained about my leaving out his blog. He’s a great writer, so it was a tragic omission. Here it is.

Oh yeah, then there’s me. I have a blog of stuff I’ve written mostly from last century. You might enjoy it. Then again, you might not. It’s here.

Let me know if you have a blog… or a print zine… or a YouTube and want to be added to the list. You show me yours… you’ve already seen mine. god@mykelboard.com 

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