The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson .. pogblog Review
Forget the chilling (and thrilling) labyrinths of how the supposedly orderly spiral-helix of History’s DNA mutates its now almost perfectly insane Self, Jon Ronson writes with such delicious ease that you’d be happy to read him writing about people who collect used dishwater or who read the metropolitan phonebook for fun. Ronson has the Welsh gift of writing as if words were his hemoglobin.
But then there’s the rabbit-blackhole: <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Alice’s dream transmogrified into nightmare. Welcome to World Weird. People at the echelons who cocktail and pretzel with the President ‘drop’ de-bleated goats as a serious, if delirious, part of America’s arsenal for Global Domination.
Ronson can slide into the bubbles of other people’s madness and keep our bearings for us. Think of it as the Ricocheting Bullet Ride. You have to be willing to unmoor your mind from the quaint roller-coaster safety of cars on tracks. With Ronson as your quite cheerful if bemused guide to the sursurreal, you fasten yourself dr.strangeloveily to the careening bullet and discover the meaning of ricochet from the inside out.
You discover that, at higher levels, people aren’t drunk with power, they’re on acid with power. It’s quicksand and quicksilver where you walk, where land was – leave hold of reason. It becomes clear that sanity is an impediment to reaching higher office or rank. You learn that the basic ‘staring at goats with intent to kill gig’ fact exists on the Planet you walk on and upon which you eat your Cheerios.
Ronson both sherlocks and watsons. He has a combination of a keen, unsentimental cunning with a good-natured watsony naïveté, an earnest charm that bumbles him into discovery where his icepick sherlock eye can outwit the hidden and forbidden crimes of the moriarty imagination of our Ruling Classes.
You’ll come to trust as well as admire Jon Ronson for his nerve, verbal verve, and especially for his damned doggèd persistence. And you’ll come to like the several of the many dangerous zanies/insanies he clearly likes in spite of themselves.
If you’ve never seen the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that still brilliant first film surreal anthem from 1919, it’s on DVD. It’ll give you an molecular inoculation of surreal so you’ll get less queasy at the random strobings of light and shadow, the pastiching of realities that keep disorienting your once assumed equilibrium. Hamster quelling &/or killing; goat 17; mk ultra & Artichoke; an enemy’s photo voodooily kept in your shoe (This one works pretty well actually); a naked man on a leash; Infrasound and the Race-Specific StinkBomb; slo-mo electro-convulsive-Purple Barney-song-shock. Like the banality of evil Arendt capsulized, this cartoon creepingly and creepily grows very sinister and deadly too. Too bad The Game has to murder and maim.
It’s all unbearably funny because high-pitched hysterical laughter is finally the only sane response to such lethal lunacy. You will come off your Ricocheting Bullet Ride deeply unsettled, knowing that your imagination is insufficient to comprehending reality as it unhingedly is. I have no clue how to assimilate this new knowledge yet, but I realize I had a need to know. Ronson bravely unearths that the Deck we’re playing the Game of Life with has far more jokers wild than we could have thought. And Truth may be spelled Rutth or Urtth – don’t be fooled by what you thought you knew yesterday.
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