The Liberal Media : This Nucular World

Notes for Nuculus: A Novel Adventure by Iddybud and Anonymoses. Winners of the Nobel Prize in Grooviness.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
Flannery O'Connor
"Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good."
Soren Kierkegaard
"I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.
Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness, 1952
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
Oscar Levant
We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.
W. Somerset Maugham
One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
Henry Miller
In the state of nature...all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law.
Charles de Montesquieu
The love of democracy is that of equality.Charles de Montesquieu
Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.
Michel Foucault
An American, a Negro ... two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
WEB DuBois
"Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment."George Santayana
[The Life of Reason]
Consider what stuff history is made of,-that for the most part it is merely a story agreed on by posterity. Henry David Thoreau


His Wanderin’ Life
I am sitting in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains wondering what the hell I’m doing here. It’s then that I remember that I want to write a book about a trapper named Jim. How do I begin when I know damn well I’m one of the most undisciplined writers in existence? How will I keep the writer’s pen to the writer’s pad when I have no taskmaster? Wait! Have I not always rebelled at the very thought of the taskmaster? Where am I going with this tale? What do I want out of writing the story? Surely I do not adore Jim. The more I get to know him, the less I admire his ways. Yet, as J Krishnamurti would say, ‘I just want to go somewhere where there is no adoration or desire…and discover what there is to be learnt from the experience. I’ve come to these mountains so that I may better understand the life that moves about them and the light that falls upon them. Truth lies in all of it…truth lies in every one of you, dear readers. If you should find a piece of yourself in our story, please remind yourself that it is not your admiration we seek, but rather a wish that you should find a bit of affirmation and affinity with a man of black, white, and red. Not ‘read’ as in the tired old “newspaper riddle”, although we do hope our book will be black, white, and thoroughly read!
Jim is worth knowing, whether or not you find commonality with his ways-which were surely just as savage as the wildest animal in the forest-yet no animal was ever so literate.
The Lord instructed Abraham to come away from his native land and from his family and the house of his father. Abraham was told that god, in the person of David (which happens to be the name of my partner) sings of two fathers-the one to be left and the one to be sought. Jim, like Abraham, sought a new homeland in the great wilds of the West. Jim never forgot the father left behind, although I haven’t a common clue what Jim thought of God-if he thought of God at all. I don’t recall Jim saying much about the subject of any designated deity whatsoever, but I do know he sought something far beyond his father and beyond all the worldly memory of those who saw him as anything other than free.
“Let my people go!” cried Abraham!
“People--let me go!” cried Jim Beckwourth!
Forty years in the desert didn’t have nothin’ on the likes of our mountain man.
He wasn’t lost-no siree---he was found and found again every day…each moment of his wanderin’ life...
I wanted to write something truly American. What is American, you ask?
Jim Beckwourth-that’s my reply. Who’s Jim, you ask? Let me give you a simple answer. Jim was trueborn America. Like that Johnny Appleseed feller-- times fifty. Jim breathed America and became the very embodiment of it. He wasn’t just the apple…he was the core. No Jim-no pie.
Jim sought out this ‘America’ and made it his own for the time that he blazed its trails. He got to America before most of us knew what America would come to mean. Ask yourself what America means to you today. I guarantee your reply will owe at least part of its existence to the good Mister Beckwourth.
Jim was the slave owner as much as he was the slave. He was James from the gentry and Jim the lowly. He was white. He was Nigger Jim.
He was red Jim Crow, who was Native American in his heart and was recognized by his heart-brothers as such. He was redder then his blood would portray him to be. Is heart thicker than blood? Is it redder?
He was respected for what he was. He was persecuted for what he was.
Jim knew who he was. What Jim was… was America, although he never could have known it. Life, to Jim, was simply there for the sheer living and experience. That this one life turned out to be the quintessential American vision of freedom was the virtual French fries to the big burger on the bun.
He was not free, this he knew only because it’s what he was told. He never took much stock in the telling or the knowing, so he ran to freedom where he was only to be chased down and caught up with by the society he had led to the west. Irony…yes? Folks once again wanted to deny him that for which, through him, they should have been wholly grateful.
Jim was the knowledge and the power-the things that paradoxically were denied him by those who continuously reaped the great benefit of both.
Jim was an all-powerful minority of one.
The history books do not spill it out in so many words-- white men were handled quite delicately in the days of yore-- so we’ll give you some
21st-century style insight into Jim’s earliest years.
Jim was born to a woman we like to call Missy the slave, the half-sister of his father’s dead wife. (Got that straight?)
She was known as “Miss Kill” on William Miskell’s plantation back in the day. She was a strong and resourceful slave. She had long been a favorite in the Miskell household and the topic of many a cheeky conversation between gossiping Northern Neck wives (yesterday’s version of the National Enquirer). A quadroon beauty, her hands betrayed her as a captive daughter of the Virginia fields. Her skin, like Starbucks’ _mocha latte, proved her to be a product of two worlds. One look into her eyes, however, soon introduced a Chesapeake native to the amber sunset over the far distant lake known as Victoria.
In 1796, Jennings fell into that sunset while searching for Catherine. How he had missed his dear wife. He didn’t see it coming, but a love he’d never expected was waiting for him…it was a love that would be hard for others to understand and accept. Jennings was never a man to worry about such triviality and contrived mannerism. His society had in its plan for men such as himself, and he had the alternative always at the ready.
How it all came to pass was the unexpected surprise of a lifetime.
The Miskell plantation had been divided after William Miskell died in 1790. By the Spring of 1794, Jennings and Catherine had sold their part of the inherited property to one of Catherine’s siblings, and they had gone to live at the Winders estate in Lunenberg Parish, taking Missy and several other of the plantation slaves with them. Jennings was glad to leave the overseeing job at his wife’s family plantation. Life had been comfortable, but Jennings sought mastership, adventure and freedom on land he could call his very own. Proud of the time he served his wife’s family, he’d felt it was a duty well done and eagerly anticipated a new turn for his life and a chance for Catherine, himself, and the children to start afresh.
There were three short, happy years at Winders with Catherine and their two children. Catherine died of consumption in late autumn, 1797. They had only received God’s allowance of two children (Richard and Laura) and ten years as man and wife.


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