Sep 24, 2021Liked by Erik Davis

Oh my brother! We really must chat soon!

Da Free Kurtz is waiting for us...

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“Embodied by a slurring Brando, a famously addled Hollywood insider-outsider, Kurtz is less a meditation on American imperialism gone wrong than on the sort of strange prophets that crystalized in the ‘70s — in other words, he is first and foremost a cult leader. The glimpse of Manson’s face on Chef’s newspaper is a clue here, though Brando’s implacable presence reminds me more of Adi Da, from his Garbage and the Goddess phase, and Jim Jones, who dispatched his own children in the jungles of Guyana less than a year before the film debuted.”

Just want to suggest that US miltarism and all versions of imperialism, along with the bizarre ideas and practices that fuel it, is itself a cult, in fact one of the most powerful cults of magic transformation/rebirth through blood sacrifice ever propagated. It is hard to see anything Jim Jones did that LBJ, Mcnamara, Kissinger and Nixon didn’t do hundreds of times over. The fact that the cult of mass killing endures is nowhere more evident than our latest blood bath in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Manson was as American as those who did the massacre at Wounded Knee.Trying to make distinctions between the cultic criminal activities of a state and of the smaller local iterations of cults of violence seems to me an invitation to self deception. It turns real children burning with napalm or spattered with the blood of drone-killed relatives into statistics and polemics. What is freedom for and what does it mean if we can not declare ourselves at least free enough to refuse to be a hired killer?

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