Squeeze Hard to Get the Maximum Amount

Books, Effluvia

I'm reading The Golden Bough.

Ancient supersitious people believed that farmers could increase their wealth from the coming year's corn crop by seizing a stranger and squeezing his blood onto the ground.

Modern scientific people understand that farmers can better increase their wealth from the coming year's corn crop by seizing 300 million strangers and squeezing their wallets.

I do enjoy learning about humanity's moral progress.

Last 5 posts by Clark

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. En Passant  •  Oct 17, 2013 @6:21 pm

    Teal dear version: You do not want to be king.

    But I think you've got the modern version right.

    Movie recommendation:The Wicker Man. 1973 original preferred.

  2. Clark  •  Oct 17, 2013 @6:49 pm

    Movie recommendation:The Wicker Man. 1973 original preferred.

    Agreed.

    Book recommendation: The Iron Dragon's Daughter.

    Short story recommendation: White Lines on a Green Field.

  3. David  •  Oct 17, 2013 @6:51 pm

    Also: Harvest Home, "The Lottery", and countless other configurations of this classic, horrific trope.

  4. Palimpsest  •  Oct 17, 2013 @8:13 pm

    This 'progress' happened a long time ago, shortly after the invention of money. Even without money, this is old technology. My favorite was the English law that you had to be buried in a wool shroud to keep the sheep farmers happy.

  5. Clark  •  Oct 17, 2013 @8:20 pm

    @Palimpsest

    This 'progress' happened a long time ago, shortly after the invention of money.

    Now you're stepping on my not-yet-written review of Debt: The First 5,000 Years.

  6. Aaron  •  Oct 17, 2013 @9:26 pm

    @En Passant

    Movie recommendation:The Wicker Man. 1973 original preferred.

    I'm waiting to see that until I find a copy of the 102-minute cut featuring a complete prologue. I've heard there are some VHSes of it floating around, although I do wonder how apparently nobody has ripped it onto a DVD and made it available.

  7. Randall  •  Oct 18, 2013 @4:48 am

    I read this one many, many years ago when playing the Call of Cthulhu RPG. +5% occult, +5% anthropology, 1d2 sanity loss.

  8. Damon  •  Oct 18, 2013 @5:29 am

    Yes, god forbid we buy our food from China! This is 'merica!

    God bless those farmers *sniff*
    *waves flag*

  9. Joel  •  Oct 18, 2013 @6:50 am

    Actually, yes, god forbid we buy our food from China. A country that can't provide its own food will forever be at the mercy of others. China can already cripple us economically, should it choose to, but why not give it power over our most basic human needs as well? I often wonder about the people who denigrate domestic agriculture–most of them, I'd wager, have never farmed a day in their life, and have no idea of the scope involved with feeding an entire country. I will agree there's a good deal of scummy corporate/greeding individual influence diverting funds for selfish gain, but that's HARDLY unique to ag legislation.

  10. Steven H.  •  Oct 18, 2013 @7:02 am

    I noticed some interesting phrasing in the law you linked:

    That the following sums are appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated

    If that's standard boilerplate on non-Entitlement spending, then the "default" should have reduced to "shut down agencies in order from least important to most important till we have enough to pay for what's still running on taxes alone"

    Of course, from an Administration that went to the trouble of putting up barricades around the normally 24/7 open WW2 Memorial, and blocked the shoulders of highways near Mount Rushmore so noone could stop to take pictures during the shutdown, we'd probably get "shut down agencies from MOST immportant to least important…"

  11. rabbitscribe  •  Oct 18, 2013 @8:05 am

    Be EXTREMELY cautious. The Golden Bough seems innocuous enough, but it may serve as a gateway book. Readers progress to Graves, then Campbell, and before they know it they find themselves mainlining C.G. Jung. At that point the prognosis for recovery is very poor.

  12. Clark  •  Oct 18, 2013 @8:28 am

    @rabbitscribe

    Readers progress to Graves

    Been there; been bitten by that.

  13. rabbitscribe  •  Oct 18, 2013 @9:03 am

    @ Clark:

    From my 25th college reunion:

    Me: "Remember how we poured over every word of The White Goddess?"

    Him: "Oh, sure- I still have my copy. It's in tatters."

    Me: "How old were you when you learned it was mostly just made up?"

    Him: "… Beg pardon?"

    The Long Weekend and Goodbye to All That are good stuff, though.

  14. mud man  •  Oct 18, 2013 @9:07 am

    Blood meal is still a useful fertilizer, so maybe those ancients weren't all that ignerint. They preferred strangers' blood understandably, and indeed so do we, except that we prefer to sprinkle it on oil fields.

    Roi! Roi! Roi!

  15. Clark  •  Oct 18, 2013 @9:18 am

    @rabbitscribe:

    Me: "How old were you when you learned it was mostly just made up?"

    Yes; even if I wasn't aware by Mrs. Clark telling me that TGB is now considered – ahem – dubious by modern scholars, it's quite clear from the text itself that huge volumes of sweeping Victorian-grade bullshitting are being committed.

  16. grouch  •  Oct 18, 2013 @12:18 pm

    So, when do we hear about the taxpayer subsidization of Disney, Monsanto, et. al.?

    BTW, is Chase Manhattan Bank still the country's biggest farmer? I kinda lost track — too many actors, newts, willies, shrubs and spies shuffling subsidies.

  17. Clark  •  Oct 18, 2013 @12:42 pm

    @grouch

    So, when do we hear about the taxpayer subsidization of Disney, Monsanto, et. al.?

    I am four square against corporatism.

    If I stumble across a news article on the topic that I think worthy of posting, I will post it. If you want to call one to my attention, feel free to reference it in a comment.

  18. CJColucci  •  Oct 18, 2013 @1:31 pm

    So we're all agreed that taxation is morally superior to murder?

  19. Mad Rocket Scientist  •  Oct 18, 2013 @1:32 pm

    I am four square against corporatism.

    [FACETIOUS]
    What?!

    No way! In all the years I've been reading you at Popehat, I never once picked up on the idea that you would be against corporatism or crony capitalism!

    How could I possibly have missed that…
    [/SARCASM]

  20. grouch  •  Oct 19, 2013 @12:52 am


    If I stumble across a news article on the topic that I think worthy of posting, I will post it. If you want to call one to my attention, feel free to reference it in a comment.
    – Clark

    I may disagree with your prescribed remedies, but I always find your illumination of the problems interesting.

    The following article from January ties in with your days of the shutdown series as well as corporatism:

    Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR

    I'm a newbie to Popehat, so my apology if you commented on the above when it was fresh off the press.

  21. Demosthenes  •  Oct 19, 2013 @4:40 am

    @ Aaron

    The 102-minute version of "The Wicker Man" IS available on DVD, in a two-disc special edition. I know, because I own a copy. Sadly, we'll never get the full two-hour version…the twenty minutes snipped from the first cut have been forever lost to history. But there's more than enough in my copy to relieve all the disjointed feeling of the theatrical version and to provide a full sense of exactly how masterful the film is.

  22. Mimi  •  Oct 19, 2013 @6:13 am

    Rabbitscribe, it's worse than that : Some of us read Frazer in junior high (the abridged 1 volume edition) and woke up one day in adulthood, with a 600+ volume folklore/mythology/comparative religion/theology library-including the full 13 volume Fraser set.

    And yeah…Frazer-Campbell-Graves-Jung…Yep, I recognize that trajectory.

  23. Khaim  •  Oct 19, 2013 @9:49 am

    Joel has a point: being able to feed the country from within the country is a fairly important security feature. Occasionally one needs to spend money to preserve future options, even if the product is not currently useful.

    That said, we're probably spending far more than we need to achieve this independence. We might not need to spend anything, if the US is naturally a net exporter of food. I have no idea what the relevant statistics are.

  24. mythago  •  Oct 19, 2013 @10:00 am

    Yes; even if I wasn't aware by Mrs. Clark telling me that TGB is now considered – ahem – dubious by modern scholars, it's quite clear from the text itself that huge volumes of sweeping Victorian-grade bullshitting are being committed.

    The very first edition also noted Jesus as an example of the dying/rising god myth. That was quickly excised from later editions, because what we believe is religion, not mythology. The very idea!

    I'd be happy to spew worthy alternatives to TGD if asked, but since you didn't, I will only say this: avoid Joseph Campbell.

  25. En Passant  •  Oct 19, 2013 @12:22 pm

    Mimi wrote Oct 19, 2013 @6:13 am:

    And yeah…Frazer-Campbell-Graves-Jung…Yep, I recognize that trajectory.

    It's the road to Yoknapatawpha County.

  26. Clark  •  Oct 19, 2013 @12:30 pm

    @mythago

    The very first edition also noted Jesus as an example of the dying/rising god myth. That was quickly excised from later editions, because what we believe is religion, not mythology. The very idea!

    As a young agnostic In high school I asked a priest "Father, I'm suppose to believe that Jesus told his followers to eat and drink him? This seems like pagan mythology. Isn't it a bit convenient that our religion has the same tropes, archetypes, etc. as all of these other things that we don't believe to be true?"

    His answer was pretty robust and interesting: "First, symbolism and particular symbols that work are embedded deeply in the human psyche and in human culture. Jesus and other in that era – and God himself – were clearly smart enough and knowledgeable enough to
    use archetypes that work on humans. AND Jesus and others were likely fully aware that they were acting out rituals that resonated with people, and fully aware that their followers were fully aware."

    That didn't convince me of anything, aside from the fact that priests can be pretty knowledgeable and intelligent. I did end up becomg a theist years later.

  27. Clark  •  Oct 19, 2013 @12:35 pm

    @Demosthenes

    Sadly, we'll never get the full two-hour version…the twenty minutes snipped from the first cut have been forever lost to history.

    Well, until they find it in archives in Ethiopia. ;-)

  28. Demosthenes  •  Oct 19, 2013 @8:20 pm

    Nope, not gonna happen, Clark. The missing minutes that would make the Woodward/Lee "Wicker Man" a whole two-hour movie are, in all probability, rotting beneath some British highway right now. It's a sad, sad story.

    And yes, I get what you did there. But the 102 minutes we have are so masterful, so nearly perfect, that I can't joke about the loss of the rest. What can I say? I take films seriously.

  29. Charles Bent  •  Oct 20, 2013 @4:41 am

    Before the Frazier/Graves combine, there was Godfrey Higgins (1772-1833). "The Celtic Druids" and "Anacalypsis" are well worth the effort. Hell, all of his work is of interest. To me, anyway. Then again, I enjoy plowing through old land records of people that are of no relation to me so my idea of fun is a very stilted one compared to my peers.

    Higgins was a remarkable man and scholar. His learning and humanity are a balm in this age of ignorance and brutality.

    edit: Online copy of "The Celtic Druids":

    http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:117322

  30. Careless  •  Oct 26, 2013 @11:06 am

    Clark's comment on the priest has me imagining South Park Jesus convincing everyone of his divinity with cold reading.

  31. For those without money in their book budget, or who don't want to wait for that collection to get back in stock, the masterful White Lines on a Green Field can also be read over at Subterranean Press. http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/fall_2011/white_lines_on_a_green_field_by_catherynne_m._valente/

    Longtime lurker who had no idea Clark was a Valente fan…