On tragedies and charities: ego gratification is the rule…

Feel free to adopt the following to any current or future hullabaloos:

People wait for tragedies so that they can use them as political fodder to whip up the masses.
These people don’t care what tragedy, they don’t care about the particulars of it, and they quickly forget the actors involved once they’re done with using it. That’s a reality.
Anti-X folks were all over this as soon as they realized they could politically profit from it. They only care about their political goals, and they weep crocodile tears to get there. They see it as their job to maximize the outrage.
Pro-X folks are justifiably nervous and also do not actually care about the actors involved. They see their job as to minimize the outrage or defensively stir up counter-outrage.
We all care about the incident as much as it pleases or displeases our self-interest: that’s human nature.

The same thing occurs with charity, people only support charities insomuch as it gratifies their ego.
How many times have any of you known someone to support a charity that they didn’t have some personal investment in. Either their kid is retarded or has developed a disease, or someone they admire (and want to emulate) has taken up the cause.
Dudes fly the flag for X cause a hot chick they want to bang is really into it, and chicks routinely adopt their boyfriends agendas.
99% of the time, what is touted as “charity” is actually a form of self-flattery or self-defense.
1% of the time, someone needs to get rid of “extra money” for tax reasons.
Within minutes of posting this Yahoo News gives me this headline:
“Obama: ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon’”
Self-flattery, self-interest, self-defense.

What discovering a mass murderer’s manifesto can do for your site… (UPDATE)

My biggest “story” in 2011 (not my favorite, but certainly the “most popular”) was finding Anders Breivik’s 2083 manifesto online and getting it to someone in the media. I haven’t discussed it much, and I wasn’t asked to discuss it except for my pal David Harris for his podcast.And I’m not going to talk about it too much here either. This may be the most boring post I’ve made in a while, in fact, but maybe you’re curious…

Here are the blog posts I made on the subject, in order of appearance:

  1. Anders Behring Breivik | Probable facebook/twitter pages of Oslo bomber/gunner Posted on 
  2. Anders Behring Breivik’s comments with Document.no (Translated) Posted on 
  3. Anders Behring Breivik | 2083 Manifesto and Movie: Real or Not? Posted on 
  4. Anders Behring Breivik | 2083 A European Declaration of Independence | Manifesto Posted on 
  5. Anders Behring Breivik | Is this the e-mail he sent to friends with 2083 Manifesto? Posted on 
  6. STATUS “STATEMENT: It appears that Massimo Introvigne is fabricating and spreading unchecked rumors and making unfounded implications…” Posted on 
  7. An open letter to Massimo Introvigne…. Posted on 
  8. Response from Massimo Introvigne Posted on 

In that last one I state that I’m going to write a blog post on Introvigne’s misinformation and the false linking of Breivik to myself or the Church of Satan. That never happened, mainly because it only seemed to have picked up traction among the lunatic fringe and strange foreign press. This means I may be on some “no fly list” for Botswana or other shithole, but the misinformation would probably have no “real world” effect on me, and any statement made past what I’d already said in the “open letter” would probably be pointless. It ain’t going to convince the kooks, and no serious news source had picked up on it.

So what DID happen?

First, it can bring your website down. This site was offline for many hours after it really hit that I was hosting a found copy of the manifesto.

Very few people came to this site before I had the manifesto up, and then WHAM:

As you can read, this chart is plotting out traffic by week, with a few months before and everything since. It’s still rare that the manifesto posts aren’t some of the top pages viewed in a day, but I actually DO manage to post some interesting things now and again that generate their own traffic.

Here’s a chart less bar-graph, more real numbers:

I actually had taken my website down for a good part of June of this year.

So where the hell was all that traffic coming from? Here’s a snapshot of 7-24-2011:

So, when it was going on, I was curious what people were looking at OTHER than the posts about Breivik. Hell, there were only 102 hits on the “contact” page… I guess after reading my bio on the “about” page, they weren’t so interested in chatting me up.

So, all in all, I’m still getting a lot of residual traffic, but I don’t think it’s actually helped anything else that I do. That wasn’t the goal, and I did my best to not comment on the whole thing and just maintain conservative speculations and stating facts.

So, I was mentioned by name on the New York Times website, there’s a tag of my name on gawker ( http://gawker.com/kevin-slaughter/ ) and I’ve seen how the two phrases “American blogger Kevin Slaughter” and “Kevin Slaughter, priest in the Church of Satan” translates into many different languages  (you see, it depended on if they used Introvigne or a REAL news source to quote from).


Through ALEXA.com I easily scrambled up a bunch of the websites that deep linked directly to the PDF on my website, you know, instead of linking to the blog post itself…

Continue reading

Neologism :: Offenditarian

I married two words together to create a single word sorely missing from our sociopolitical language:

Offenditarian: One who has made it a significant aspect of their personality to be offended on behalf of others. This is expressed when the offenditarian encounters a perceived or real slight that is directed at someone other than them. This coinage is a combination of “offended” and “humanitarian”.

The Two Ducklings and the Dragon, a fable

On Facebook Craig Bodeker posted a link to a news story about a serial rapist, the police suggesting women be more cautious in how they’re dressing, and the response to it. It is a new story, though almost identical to the incident that sparked the slut-walks.
I thought I’d write a fable, it’s my first, and I did it in one go:

The Two Ducklings and the Dragon

Two ducklings were wading in a pond when a loud crack was heard in the distance.
“What in the world was that?” asked one to the other.
“That was a duck eating dragon, that is the sound they make when they have eaten one of our brothers or sisters,” replied the second.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
“Well, few ducks have lived to tell of it, and those that have, say that it is so quick you cannot see it snatch you out of the sky”.
CRACK! The sound echoed across the pond.
“Well, I don’t believe in such a thing, I think I’ll go and look!”
“Oh you mustn’t, you will certainly be eaten!”
“I think that women…” sorry, I mean ‘ducks’… “should be able to wear…” ahem, excuse me, ‘fly’… whatever they want!”
Oh goodness, that should be “wherever they want”.
Let me try again: “I think that ducks should be able to fly wherever they want!” Said the first duckling to his friend, quite incensed at the seconds egregious insensitivity to his freedoms.
“No, I’m not saying you cannot fly where you want, it’s that the dragon is dangerous, and you can’t be sure where he’ll be. If you hear him bark, then you should fly the other way, if anything.”
“Oh how DARE you! You are blaming ducks for their own demise! You would like to tell everyone where they should and should not fly!” The first duck was becoming quite outraged, and squinted at the first, furiously twitching his little duck tail in anger.
“I am doing no such thing! It’s only common sense, and I warn you because I love you and don’t want you to be eaten by the dragon,” sputtered the second, hurt and confused by such a reaction to his show of concern, to what he thought was true and important wisdom about dragons.
Crack! Carack! The sounds were louder now.
“That’s IT! Not only do I think you’re foolish for believing in dragons, I will fly over and prove to you that there is no such thing!”
And with that, the first duckling flew away and toward the loud sound.
His friend, now alone, saw him fly slowly out of sight. Worried, he waited. He wanted nothing more to be wrong, but his experience and the stories of others told him otherwise.
Waiting, what seemed like forever, the sun began to set and the duckling needed to go home. He wished there were no such things as dragons, but he wished even more that his dear friend was still with him.

Both ducklings believed a falsehood.
One, that there was such a thing as a dragon. This is a belief that, though wrong, served him well.
The second, that someone telling them to do something they don’t want to must be a way to control them, and keep them from being free. This could have served them either way, but on this pond, on this day, there might have well been dragons.

Satanism as Weltanschauung, a lecture in 9 parts (plus Q&A bonus)

I’m pleased to release the video of a lecture given on March 1st of this year when I was invited to speak on the topic of Satanism for a class at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Filmed in HD and edited to include quite a few graphics not presented in the original lecture, I’m pleased with the outcome and hope that for those already familiar with Satanism there is enough to still keep you interested and possibly entertained.

Embedded below is a playlist of all 9 videos, to play without interruption.

Below are two parts of the Q&A session that followed:

If you enjoyed the lecture and would like to make a voluntary monetary donation, please do so below:

Satanism as Weltanschauung

Ch. 1 “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself…”

Rev. Kevin I. Slaughter introduces himself and gives a short biographical background to establish his long-held interest in Satanism explicitly, but also the occult or hidden aspects of culture.

Ch. 2 “A Brief Overview of Satanism”

Rev. Slaughter gives a very brief overview of Satanism, what a Satanist is, and how it is viewed by society.

Ch. 3 “The Satanic Bible”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the first High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Bible”. He reads “The Nine Satanic Statements” and other pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 4 “The Satanic Scriptures”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the current High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Scriptures”. He reads pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 5 “Egalité vs. Hierarchy”

The natural world is stratified, the weak, slow and stupid tend to be worse for wear. The smart, quick and strong tend to have a better time of it. In the animal kingdom, the world that we exist in, it is eat or be eaten.

Rev. Slaughter makes reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, and reads an excerpt from Theodore Dalrymple’s book “Life at the Bottom”.

Ch. 6 “Lex Satanicus”

Satanism takes few overtly political positions, and there is absolutely no affiliation between the Church any political party. The Satanic philosophy positions itself as a third side, rejecting the simplistic dichotomies of good vs. evil, republican vs. democrat, liberal and conservative. The one position most clearly associated with politics is Lex Talionis.

Ch. 7 “Magic”

Magic, in the Satanic sense, is not about shooting fireballs or riding on broomsticks, we do not have “spells” that guarantee sex or death – the two things people always seem to want a spell for. When the Satanist performs greater magic, it is an emotional psychodrama, intended to charge the participant with a specific feeling or to put him in a specific emotional state. It’s made clear in the writings that Greater Magic is an emotional working as opposed to intellectual. Like the power of a masterfully written book or piece of music has, this productive fiction is useful and possibly necessary to the human animal.

Ch. 8 “A Few Unkind Words…”

In this part of the lecture Kevin discusses Christian Child Abuse, a blog that collects stories about pedophile priests. He discusses religiously motivated atrocities committed by Islam and Judaism in the name of their religion and accepted by their communities.

The website is found at http://christianchildabuse.blogspot.com

Ch. 9 “Love”

Satanism isn’t merely a reactionary stance, it is about knowing ones self and building real relationships with worthy people. Rev. Slaughter recites a poem titled “Love” that was written by freethinker Robert Greene Ingersoll, to illustrate this and other points in the Satanic worldview.

Kevin has participated in two oratory contests where contestants read their choice of Ingersoll’s work, and won first place in 2010. The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8UPNFcnYIM

Rev. Slaughter is an official representative of the Church of Satan. More information can be found on the website http://www.churchofsatan.com

Filmed and edited by Kevin I. Slaughter for Underworld Amusements: http://www.underworldamusements.com

Music composed and performed by Michaelanthony Mitchell

Rebel Hero – A Brief History of Blasphemers – VIDEO UPDATE

The following was a talk prepared for Skepticamp DC, October 3rd, 2010. I made a few on the spot changes, but the talk presented was largely true to the following text.

This was my first time speaking with a PowerPoint presentation, and I couldn’t stand the limitations in the program or my ability to use it to get the effect I wanted, so I designed everything in Adobe InDesign and then imported them all as flat .jpg images.

I was holding out to publish this until I had audio from the event (why I decided not record it myself is a mystery), but I can always post that later anyway.
Thanks to JD for posting the video online and adding (most) of the slides!

Satan as Rebel Hero:
Henry M. Tichenor and the Radical Anti-Religious

My name is Kevin I. Slaughter. I’m the publisher of a book just released on the 122nd Anniversary of the publication of Nietzsche’s “The Anti-Christ”, and what is referred to as International Blasphemy Rights Day, September 30th.. This is the day the cartoons of Mohammad were published in a Dutch newspaper, triggering a wave of violence and mayhem by Muslims who have found their most precious beliefs rocked by… editorial cartoons. The book is titled The Sorceries and Scandals of Satan, and the author was Henry M. Tichenor. ↻

I caution you now, if you’re offended by strong words, take an early break. We will be pushing our time limit here and ask that you reserve any questions or comments for the end. If you have a question that isn’t answered, please feel free to approach either of us during the break.

Now, I would like to present the author of the forward to “The Sorceries and Scandals of Satan”, Robert Merciless, to discuss this unique book and it’s forgotten author.↻

Pt.1 – Henry M. Tichenor: Progressive Era Skeptic and Muckracker


Pt.2 – A Brief History of Blasphemers

What short memories we humans have, our collective view of the world likes to create visions of the past free from harm or hate, except when explicitly advantageous. Because of this, our newspapers, blogs and television news report stories as if America is a tabula rasa, swept clean every night, to be shocked anew every evening by the days events. When people bemoan the brusqueness of the “New Atheists”, they do so out of some seemingly willfull ignorance of the Old Atheists – and I’m not talking about James Randi, though he is pretty old.

I hope, in this short time to provide a sort of intellectual and poetic framework for understanding that Tichenor and his book are not an anomaly of the early 20th century, but part of a larger current of Western radical philosophers and muckrackers who openly took the fight to Christianity and the superstitions of the day.

Evolution may or may not have planted the seed of faith – or believing in something even contrary to evidence otherwise, but the here is the story of our most obvious target, one you’re probably familiar with, I’m sure, so I won’t belabor the obvious too much. ↻

“In the beginning, there was…”

…well, I’m not sure, and nobody really knows, but everyone has always wanted to know, because that’s a frustrating predicament, and our minds like answers over unknowns, folks decided to make a story up. It’s been done thousands of times, but only occasionally does the story stick, or the people prosper enough. The short and simple explanation was that there was an invisible thing, awesome in power and timeless. Why are we here? ↻

“He did it”.

Because it was people, who made this creation story up, they needed to add to the story how, after everything else, the invisible all powerful uncreated creator then finished the job by making people. In the Judeo-Christian version of the story, the one we’re dealing with here, there were two perfect people.

Now, everything was perfect, just as long as those two folks stayed dumb. They had but one rule to follow – don’t eat the magic fruit.

That magic fruit was from the tree of knowledge – one bite and you’d no longer be the pollyannas and milksops that the all-powerful wanted to perform as sexless and stupid pets in his garden of perfection.
No, the two listened instead to the talking snake, and the talking snake said this: ↻

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Now this story, as accurate to reality and history as a Garfield strip in the Sunday paper, has permeated Western Civilization for thousands of years- much of it at the end of a sword, or threat of the fire – a central story coming from the religion of Jews to the splinter-sects that cover the globe. From the Mohammedians of the middle east and Africa to Mormons of the middle US, Adam and Eve have varying importance, but are always present.

And of course, they bite, and of course, the invisible baby in the sky threw a tantrum, because man has strayed from his law, his vision of paradise made real…

In short, the philosophy espoused by the invisible god-baby in his official handbook is as follows – and I’m paraphrasing this a bit: ↻

“The natural world is wicked, the flesh is evil, thinking is really bad..”

But this story from the official handbook is old and has been told time and again, and has been changed and misrepresented, and misunderstood. But that it is only a story, and a fantastic one at that, has not stopped those millions and now billions of one-book lovers from using it as an excuse to do what comes naturally to all animals without excuse – to prey upon their fellow man, to help their own above others – and often at the expense of others – all the while congratulating themselves as being righteous and self-less, on the path of goodness and love.
Now this philosophy, to any eyes not distorted by the contradictory clap-trap espoused by the invisible one’s book, is absurd and often gastly. Some of them have had such a strong response they’ve decided that not only are they appalled by such human-hating philosophy, but they are angered. In the pious posturing of the religious potentates, they express scorn and ridicule. In the laws put into the mouth of the all powerful invisible monster, they have proudly snarled: ↻

“I question all things. As I stand before the festering and varnished facades of your haughtiest moral dogmas, I write thereon in letters of blazing scorn: Lo and behold; all this is fraud!”

We’re talking about skepticism born of resentment, a feeling that a confidence game has been perpetrated on humanity, and the skeptic and those he loves have been taken for more than just money – they’ve been taken for their dignity and the very urges that make them human animals.
These are skeptics that not only take a step back to inspect – coldy, sternly, objectively, – but to accuse – boldly, mockingly, and with derision reserved for all those things that are thoroughly hateful to the world and the ego.↻

They are Satan.

They will not wait idly because they’ve been offered some sham paradise once they’ve died, but will reside in the world, eyes open, in search of knowledge. They have seen Satan not as some pure evil as the followers of Christ would paint him, but as something more dashing, challenging, and often… dare I say, romantic. ↻

Certainly, kind hearted humanists and literalistic secularists will bristle at using this mythological figure to oppose another mythological figure, however symbolic it might be used- but for me, for some of histories most creative and challenging artists and thinkers, and certainly for the author of the book that my partner will elucidate on, it is a poetic tribute to the individual, the rebel, the world as it is, man as an animal — life as finite, fallible and real. ↻

These are men who have bitten the fruit, symbolically, they have opened their eyes intellectually, and they have set about learning what god knows, and that is the secrets of the world and life itself.
In 1676, in Surrey, Enlgland yeoman John Taylor offended the ears of the ruling class by speaking aloud the following words in a fit of hedonistic rebellion: ↻

“Christ is a whore-master, and religion is a cheat, and profession is a cloak, and they are both cheats, and all the earth is mine, and I am a king’s son, my father sent me hither, and made me a fisherman to take vipers and I neither fear God, devil, nor man, and I am a younger brother to Christ, an angel of God and no man fears God but an hypocrite, Christ is a bastard, God damn and confound all your Gods, Christ is the whore’s master.”

These blasphemies were punished by a mere hour in the pillory, and Leonard Levy claims that the townsfolk afterword carried Mr. Taylor on their shoulders to the local tavern to celebrate. However joyous the immediate celebrations may have been, the case, known as Rex v. Taylor, have had long reaching implications. Lord Chief Justice Hale’s brief opinion on the case was reported secondhand, but it reads: ↻

“…such kind of wicked blasphemous words were not only an offence to God and religion, but a crime against the laws, State and Government, and therefore punishable in this court. For, to say religion is a cheat, is to dissolve all those obligations whereby the civil societies are preserved, and that Christianity is parcel of the laws of England; and therefore to reproach the Christian religion is to speak in subversion of the law.”

These words by Hale have served as the foundation for dragging blasphemers into court in England and later the United States. Even today, that the phrase “Christianity is parcel of the laws of England” has given the Religious Right precedent to claim, however wrongly, that the Bible is the source of our common law here in the United States.

Most of the morality tales we’ve been told have been tales woven by the advocates of the invisible one in the sky though, stories to scare the children and the elderly. ↻

“An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.”

Samuel Butler wasn’t the first to note that it is mainly the Christians who have written slanderous stories of Satan, and wondered who has told the other side of the story. But it was also Twain, in his “Letters From the Earth”, who puts the following words into the mouth of Ol’ Scratch himself: ↻

“(The Bible) is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”

By aligning oneself with the rebel hero, it is a rebuke to those mired in a childish dualism, of good vs. evil, a morality bereft of subtlety or circumstance. If we are to build a philosophy in the devils spirit, would not the enemy of dualism advocate non-dualistic thinking? It isn’t those who are ignorant of a God that demand this dualism, it is the proponents of God: ↻

“For the doers of sin there is another leader; they choose another patron and pattern : ‘He that commits sin is of the Devil.’ …Sin is Satan’s domain, his sphere, his work ; and every sinner is his ally and instrument. The committer of sin makes himself of the Devil’s party”

If the Bible is the document of God’s will, it is the job of any reasonable and sane man to reject not only him, but this disjointed book. It is the joy of an even fewer number of men that they do so by picking the other team, at least symbolically.

We can find New York journalist and author, Benjamin De Casseres, in the very same year of 1904 writing in The Metropolitan an essay on cynicism in the theater titled “The Dramatic Devil’s Advocate”. In it he opines on one of the supposed mortal sins: ↻

“Envy is not moral, but it’s right. The difference between moral and right is the difference between doing what you ought to do and what you want to do. Morality was invented in deference to the policeman. Right is might and springs from nature. Morality is polite. Right is brusque. Morality says by “your leave.” Right says “Up and at you.” A mere difference in breeding. One is urban; the other is not even urbane. Well, envy is right. It gives us pleasure; it is stimulating. It promotes health and induces pleasant dreams. The beggar envies the king, and the king envies the beggar. The wise man envies the fool, and the fool envies the wise man. Envy is the basis of that divine discontent praised by the delegate who walks. Envy is ennui on a strike. To pine for what your neighbor has got shows taste. If his wife is beautiful, it would show a total lack of aesthetic appreciation did we not pine for her. Envy is the sincerest flattery.”

DeCasseres came out swinging even harder 24 years later in the literary journal The American Mercury with a piece entitled “Hymn to Satan”: ↻

“The grandeur of America today is satanic, materialistic, irreligious, unethical… The settlement of America was the birth of a New Reality. It began the dethronement of the mystical God and the rejuvination of the Prince of This World — prince of this world not in the Old World theological sense, but as the spirit of the Will to Material Power.”

As proof of this idea of America as a new Satanic empire, he states: ↻

“Read the preamble. There is not an ounce of imagination, religion, metaphysics or poetry in it… the Constitution came into this world like a prolonged cynicism in the mouth of an atheistic lawyer… The Constitution is the cold sun of Reason.”

The publisher and editor of that magazine, HL Mencken deserves to be mentioned as well. In his memoirs from his youth he posited the following: ↻

“I made up my mind at once that my true and natural allegiance was to the Devil’s party, and it has been my firm belief ever since that all persons who devote themselves to forcing virtue on their fellow men deserve nothing better than kicks in the pants.”

Eventually our journey from the rabble-rousing blasphemer in the 17th century, through novelists and journalists in the 19th and early 20th centuries – entirely skipping the decadent poets and erotic writers, Carducci, Voltaire, Byron, DeSade – bringing us to 1966, when a man took this idea of the earthy and rebellious Satan to another level.

Anton Szandor LaVey shaved his head and founded a religion in the spirit of Twain’s Satan, Tichenor’s Satan, Mencken’s Satan. He founded, of course, the Church of Satan, an anti-religious religion, an anti-church church. Instead of a revelatory text of divine inspiration, two years later he published a collection of writings that celebrated the ego, the flesh and pursuit of knowledge. He promoted the occult in the true sense of the word- the things that are hidden by the platitudes of the politicians, the hypocritical piety of the Christians and social uplifters, and the shallow respectability sought by any means necessary by the booboisie. Those who, in Mencken’s words, devote themselves to forcing virtue on their fellow men.

It was bombastic, sarcastic, and spoke of a hard-nosed philosophy of pragmatism and Epicurean delight mingled with a carnival barkers knack for the dramatic.

He couldn’t have expressed it more clearly in his Satanic Bible: ↻

“All religions of a spiritual nature are inventions of man. He has created an entire system of gods with nothing more than his carnal brain.”

LaVey’s successor, Peter H. Gilmore, has been just as, if not more more explicit and outspoken in his own collection of essays, titled The Satanic Scriptures. A book I was also proud to design and publish in 2007.

Five years after the media frenzy surrounding the founding of an organization dedicated in name to the Lord of this Earth, another figure among the counterculture penned a guidebook for political activists. Saul D. Alinsky released “Rules for Radicals”, subtitled “A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”.

Following the dedication page are three quotes, the first by the super-Jew Rabbi Hillel, the second from our Godless founding father Thomas Paine, advocate of reason, and the third was penned by the author himself: ↻

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

Ol’ Saul has seen quite a resurgence in popularity in the past few years, being linked to the rise of our current President, and the Religious Right has been absolutely delighted to find this homage to the dark one, so they can predictably use it to scare the pious Christians into believing Barack Obama is in league with the Devil… you know, when he’s not bowing to Mecca five times a day.

But lest you think that only poets, novelists, journalists, political activists and cynical outsiders tend to tip the hat to the Dark One’s rule of this world, you may be familiar with the quote from Charles Darwin: ↻

“What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!”

And this, at least from the big picture view, is the advocacy of a genuine Satanic worldview. In a nutshell, there is no god who loves you and looks out for your best interest. There is no heaven or hell waiting for you when you die. The earth doesn’t love you nor does it need your love. At the end of the day, we are left with the greatest offense that one can give to the invisible monster baby…

… that we humans must love ourselves, and when we look outside of ourselves, it is into the eyes of another animal, and not bent over gazing at the feet of wooden idols. ↻

“Men Versus The Man” HL Mencken & Robert Rives LaMonte

I finished my first book on my Kindle. I really enjoyed th reading experience, and moreso the note-taking/highliting feature. It’s because of the latter I’m able to bring you every single passage that I highlighted. With a few button clicks one can highlight a selection and it’s automatically saved into a text file that you can access on the memory when you plug it in via USB cable.

I didn’t even know this book existed, and last time I searched Google Books for “Mencken” I know it wasn’t there. when I read the title page I was immediatly sold on the book:

Men Versus the Man:




H. L. MENCKEN, Individualist
New York, Henry Holt & Co., 1910

That it was free to download helped with the immediate sale as well.

Oh boy, Mencken vs. a Socialist, this’ll be a hoot. I was reading it with such enthusiastic partisanship that when I picked up my Kindle after a break, I was mistaken in who I was reading. I thought it was the advocate of universal brotherhood and read his words like they were poisoned turds. Luckily it was only a few paragraphs in did I realize I was reading Menken’s words and I went back over them and realized they were brilliantly witty and a joy to consume.

I’ll leave the rest of this post to Mencken, a better writer by an infinite multiple. I will note that there may be some typos mixed throughout. The text was OCRed by Google, and I noticed a number of errors when reading.

All quotes that follow are from Mencken:


Now, all the illusions which have afflicted the human race since its days of nonage may be divided into two classes. First come those which have arisen out of the imperfection of our powers of perception; and secondly come those that have arisen out of errors made in the interpretation of facts accurately observed. An excellent example of the first class is the familiar doctrine, held today by the ignorant, and until very recently by all, that the disease called malaria is caused by breathing impure air. Tested by the evidence of the naked eye, this doctrine seemed entirely sound. But by and by men began to use microscopes to aid their eyes, and one day, seized by a happy thought, an enterprising man took the trouble to place a drop of blood from a malaria patient’s veins beneath his glass. Since then the old doctrine has been put aside forever by all whose beliefs are worth hearing, and we know that malaria is caused, not by impure air, but by various minute parasites of the class of sporozoa. The human race, within historic times, has rejected thousands of delusions of this class, but many yet remain. As we perfect apparatus to reinforce our dull senses they will go overboard, one by one. The delusions and illusions of the second class resolve themselves into two grand, or king delusions. One of them is the notion that a human being, by his words or acts, is capable of suspending or modifying the immutable laws which govern ” the universe. The other is the notion that a human being is able to make laws for himself which shall have the force of the immutable laws aforesaid. Out of the first of these delusions springs the doctrine of the efficacy of prayer, and with it all of the world’s vast and bizarre stock of religions. Out of the second springs the ancient science of morality, with all its multitude of efforts to combat the eternal and inexorable law that the strong shall prevail over the weak. The latest of such*’ efforts is comprehended in the political theory called Socialism. It is the most fatuous of the whole lot, for it proposes, not only to make human laws as immutable as natural laws, but actually to make them supersede and nullify those natural laws. Here, indeed, we behold human beings on the topmost pinnacle of bombastic folly. I can imagine no more stupendous egotism.
I am no apologist for the existing order of things. Like Huxley, I believe that the management of the universe is by no means perfect, but such as it is, we must accept it. If you point out that human progress, as I have defined it, involves the practical enslavement of two-thirds of the human race, my answer is that I can’t help it. If you point out that a slave always runs the risk of being oppressed by a particularly cruel master, I answer that a master always runs the risk of having his brains knocked out by a particularly enterprising slave. If you point out that, by my scheme of progress, it is only the upper stratum that actually progresses, I answer that only the upper stratum is capable of progressing unaided.
The mob is inert and moves ahead only when it is dragged or driven. It clings to its delusions with a pertinacity that is appalling. A geological epoch is required to rid it of a single error, and it is so helpless and cowardly that every fresh boon it receives, every lift upon its slow journey upward, must come to it as a free gift from its betters— as a gift not only free, but also forced. Great men have fought and died for the truth for a thousand years, and yet the average low-caste white man of to-day, throughout Christendom, still believes that Friday is an unlucky day, still believes that ghosts walk the earth, and still holds to an immovable faith in signs, portents, resurrections, redemptions, miracles, prophecies, hells, gehennas, and political panaceas.
Herein you will discern my first and last objection to Socialism. I believe, in a word, that it overlooks certain ineradicable characteristics of the human animal, and certain immutable laws of the biological process. Going further, I believe that these characteristics and laws deserve to be fostered and obeyed rather than opposed, for to their influence we owe all that we have of progress. Every comfort that we have to-day was devised by some man who yearned to get more out of life than the men about him; every great truth that ” helps us face existence bravely and confidently was unearthed by some philosopher who yearned to be honored above all other philosophers; every law that gives us safety and order was written by some law-maker who yearned to see his own notion of security and order prevail over the notions of others. Just as every micro-organism in the sea ooze fights for that pin point of space which will give it life while its fellows die, just so every man fights for that microscopic degree of superiority which gives him eminence over his fellowman—better food, a better coat, more leisure, greater honor, respect and love, and a more poignant and widespread feeling of something lacking after he is gone. You Socialists, seeing part of this dimly, talk of a ” materialistic conception of history,” and say Karl Marx invented it. But you are wrong, for it was invented for all time on the day that the first living cells began to fight over their first meal.
…the majority of persons who succumb to preventable and curable diseases to-day go down to their graves, not so much because they are poor, as because they are ignorant—because they are handicapped by the low-caste man’s chronic and ineradicable suspiciousness, orthodoxy, stupidity, lack of foresight, and inability to learn.
My own city of Baltimore, on account of its wealth of hospitals and clinics, has been called the medical capital of the New World. Its hospitals are open to all, and those who cannot pay are given treatment free. It is possible for a man without a cent in his pocket to profit by the skill of the greatest physicians and surgeons in America. Beyond the city boundaries are free sanitoria for the treatment of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Medicines and nursing are free. Those too ill to move are treated and nursed in their homes. The attentions for which visitors from all parts of the country pay thousands of dollars are free to every indigent citizen. And yet the death-rate of Baltimore is higher than that of any other city of its size in the United States. The Christian Scientists, of course, say that this is because there are so many hospitals, but the real reason lies in the fact that among Baltimore’s 600,000 inhabitants there are 100,000 negroes and 200,000 ignorant and superstitious foreigners. The negroes, when they grow ill, take patent medicines or send for some frowsy quack of their own race. When they grow worse, they summon a filthy black ecclesiastic and begin to pray to God. The result is that the death-rate among the lowest classes of these semi-human savages is fully sixty per thousand per annum. This is just about five times the normal death-rate among civilized white men. Is the negro—or low-caste white man—to blame for his poverty and ignorance ? No more, I think, than he is to blame for his filthiness and dishonesty. He can’t help being lazy and he can’t help being stupid, for he is a low-caste man, and he has a low-caste mind. That mind is unable to grasp any but the most elemental concepts. Tell him, as his pastors tell him, that if he gives five cents to the church he will be saved from hell, and he can understand it. But try to make him grasp the complicated chains of ratiocination whereby civilized man has determined that vaccination will almost infallibly prevent smallpox and rabies, that quinine will cure malaria, and that a long and complex treatment will arrest tuberculosis—and he is as pitifully helpless as the average college professor in the presence of a problem not solved in the textbooks.
We vaccinate negroes, not because they want to be vaccinated or because we harbor a yearning to preserve their useless lives, but because we don’t want them to fall ill of smallpox in our kitchens and stables, and so expose us to inconvenience, danger, and expense. With few exceptions, they are piously opposed to baring their arms, and regard the necessity for so doing as proof positive that they are down-trodden and oppressed. Let them choose for themselves, and they would be dying of smallpox to-day just as copiously as they are dying of tuberculosis.
In their vain rebellion against the very things which make life bearable for them, they reveal the eternal philosophy of the low-caste man. He is forever down-trodden and oppressed. He is forever opposed to a surrender of his immemorial superstitions, prejudices, swinishness, and inertia. He is forever certain that, if only some god would lend him a hand and give him his just rights, he would be rich, happy, and care-free. And he is forever and utterly wrong.
Well, then, what virtues do I demand in the man who claims enrollment in the highest caste? Briefly, I demand that he possess, to an unusual and striking degree, all of those qualities, or most of them, which most obviously distinguish the average man from the average baboon. If you look into the matter, you will find that the chief of these qualities is a sort of restless impatience with things as they are—a sort of insatiable desire to help along the evolutionary process. The man who possesses this quality is ceaselessly eager to increase and fortify his mastery of his environment. He has a vast curiosity and a vast passion for solving the problems it unfolds before him. His happiness lies in the consciousness that he has made some progress to-day in comprehending and turning to his uses those forces which menaced him yesterday. His eye is fixed, not upon heaven, but upon earth; not upon eternity, but upon to-morrow. He enters the world infinitely superior to a mere brute, and when he leaves it his superiority may be expressed (in bad algebra) by infinity plus x. By his life and labors, the human race, or some part of it, makes some measurable progress, however small, upward from the ape.
The educated negro of to-day is a failure, not because he meets insuperable difficulties in life, but because he is a negro. His brain is not fitted for the higher forms of mental effort; his ideals, no matter how laboriously he is trained and sheltered, remain those of the clown. He is, in brief, a low-caste man, to the manner born, and j he will remain inert and inefficient until fifty generations of him have lived in civilization. And even then, the superior white race will be fifty generations ahead of him. I have used the negro as an example because in him the inherited marks of the low-caste man are peculiarly conspicuous.
The efficient man of highest caste makes it his rule to accept the world as he finds it, and to work u out his own salvation with a light heart. His joy is in effort, in work, in progress. A difficulty over come, a riddle solved, an enemy vanquished, a fact proved, an error destroyed—in such things he finds the meaning of life and surcease from its sorrows. But the inefficient man, unable by his own hand and brain to cope with the conditions J which beset and menace him, seeks refuge, soon or late, in the notion that the world is out of joint. Sometimes he concludes, finally, that the horrors of existence are irremediable, and then he is ripe for religion, with its promises of repayment in some gaseous paradise beyond the grave. At other times he arrives at the idea that all would be well if there were some abysmal reconstruction of the scheme of things—some new deal of the cards, with four aces pushed his way. When this madness falls upon him he gropes about for a ready guide to the Utopia that arises nebulously in his brain. And thus it is that discontented, ignorant, helpless men subscribe to the poetical fancies of imaginative dreamers, and become single-taxers, Christian Scientists, Anarchists, or Socialists.
The great objections to Socialism, as a philosophy, are that it encourages and aggravates the feeling of martyrdom which burns in the breasts of all such incompetents, and that it inflames them, at the same time, with the idea that their discomfort is due, not to the operation of natural laws, which benefit the world by ridding it automatically and harshly of the unfit, but to the deliberate and devilish cruelty of their betters. Your true Socialist is firmly convinced, before everything else, that his personal existence is of vast and undoubted value to the world, and that the world, if it were not a swindling felon, would reward him handsomely for remaining alive.
Socialism is indissolubly linked with the doctrine that a man, merely by virtue of being a man, is fitted to take a hand in the adjudication of all the world’s most solemn and difficult causes. It insists that the voice of the ignorant shall be heard as respectfully as the voice * of the learned. It contends that the yearning of the hod-carrier for a high hat and a keg of beer shall receive as much consideration as the yearning of an Ehrlich for the secret of cancer. It maintains that the Russian-born tailor, filthy to his finger tips and the devotee of an outlandish, incomprehensible creed of nonsensical text-searching, shall be the equal of the men who conquer the wilderness and harness the lightning. It sees something portentous and holy in the trivial accident that the negro loafer, drowsing in his wallow, was born without a tail. It fastens a transcendental importance upon the word ” human ” and converts it into a synonym for ” intelligent,” ” honest,” ” wise “—for every adjective that distinguishes” one caste of men from the caste below it. You may protest all you please, and qualify your meaning of ” equality” however you please, but the fact remains that if this notion that one man is as good as another—” before God,” or ” as a citi zen “—be taken away, Socialism ceases to be intelligible to rational creatures,
But am I arguing, I hear you ask, against government by the consent of the governed? Do I propose the overthrow of our democracy and the erection in its place of some form of absolute monarchy or oligarchy? Not at all. All things considered, I am convinced, as you are, that the republican form of government in vogue in the United States and England to-day is the best, safest, and most efficient government ever set up in the world. But its comparative safety and efficiency lie, not in the eternal truth of the somewhat florid strophes of the Declaration of Independence, but in the fact that those strophes must ever remain mere poetry. That is to say, its practice is beneficent because its theory is happily impossible. Once a year we reaffirm the doctrine that all men are free and equal. All the rest of the twelvemonth we devote our energies to proving that they are not.
suppose that these swine actually recorded their own thoughts in the ballot-box ! Just suppose that the honest opinions of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, white and black, were transformed into laws upon the statute-books of the State! If they were, it would be a misdemeanor to call a Baptist clergyman an ass, and a felony to put a lock on a henhouse door.
If it were actually possible to give every citizen an equal voice in the management of the world—if it were practicable to provide machinery whereby the collective will of the majority could be registered accurately, and made effective automatically and immediately— the democratic ideal would reduce itself to an absurdity in six months. There would be an end to all progress. Emotion would take the place of reason. It would be impossible to achieve coherent governmental policies. The mind of the government, as a government, would be the mind of the average citizen of the nether majority—a mind necessarily incapable of grasping the complex concepts formulated by the progressive minority. The more childish the idea the more eagerly it would be adopted and put into execution. The more unreasoning the prejudice, the more desperately it would be cherished and the longer it would survive.
The clod-hopper’s distrust of his betters will be accentuated, rather than ameliorated by Socialism. Our scavenger, even after he is the political and economic equal of Dr. Eliot and Mr. Rockefeller, will still view such men with suspicion —if there be, indeed, any men of their sort in the socialistic state—because it is an inherent and ineradicable characteristic of all low-caste men to look with suspicion upon those whose ambitions, ethics, and ideals are more complex than theirs. The old hatred of the man who would rather read a book than bask in the sun has not died out in the world. The old cry of sorcery is still raised. And the low-caste man, whenever he has the chance, still prefers to trust himself to a delegate from his own caste, whose yearnings are his, and whose mental processes he can follow. Socialism can never change this.
The negro loafer is not a victim of restricted opportunity and oppression. There are schools for him, and there is work for him, and he disdains both. That his forty-odd years of freedom have given him too little opportunity to show his mettle is a mere theory of the chair. As a matter of fact, the negro, in the mass, seems to be going backward. The most complimentary thing that can be said of an individual of the race today is that he is as industrious and honest a man as his grandfather, who was a slave. There are exceptional negroes of intelligence and ability, I am well aware, just as there are miraculous Russian Jews who do not live in filth; but the great bulk of the race is made up of inefficients. In the biological phrase, the negro runs true to type. There are few variations, except downward. I have known, I should say, at least five hundred negroes in my time, and of all these not more than ten have displayed any inclination whatever to rise above their racial level. Socialism, as I understand it, proposes to let these savages plunder civilization. It holds that they should get more pay for their loafing; that the comforts and luxuries which represent the ideals and ingenuity of the highest caste of human beings should be handed over, gratuitously, to these parasites. It proposes to heed and satisfy their yearnings, to take account of their opinions, to give them a hand in the government of the state, to dignify their laziness with sounding names, to hail them as brothers. I am unable, my dear La Monte, to subscribe to this scheme. I am far from a Southerner in prejudice and sympathies, though born on the borders of the South, but it seems to me that, so long as we refrain, in the case of the negro loafer, from the measures of extermination we have adopted in the case of parasites further down the scale, we are being amply and even excessively faithful to an ethical ideal which makes constant war upon expediency and common sense.
You yourself are the anthropomorphist; not I. You still hold to the ancient theological doctrine that the human race is a race apart—that because it is molded ” in the image of God ” it is superior to natural laws which govern other races. In the days when men believed that Jerusalem was the capital of the universe this was a credible doctrine; but the history of all exact knowledge is the history of its gradual decay. When adventurers proved, despite St. Augustine’s masterly logic, that the earth was a sphere, it received a telling blow. When they proved, despite Moses, that the earth was but one of countless worlds, it received another. And when Darwin came, and his like, it ceased to be a living doctrine, and became a mere empty shell upon the garbage-pile of dead ideas. But you Socialists want to resurrect it. You ask us all to believe it, as John the Baptist believed it—despite a mass of evidence so enormous that one man can scarcely hope to master even its daily accretions.
Saving only psychical research, no modern cult seems to be so well outfitted with college professors as Socialism.
My own private view (the child, I must admit, of a very ardent wish) is that the idea of truthseeking will one day take the place of the idea of money-making. That is to say, I believe that the Huxleys and Behrings of the world will one day loom up, in the eye of the race, as greater heroes than the St. Pauls and Augustines, the William Conquerors and Alexanders, the Rockefellers, Cecil Rhodeses, Krupps, and Morgans. But that day is far distant. As yet there is scarcely a sign of its dawn. The name of Huxley is still as strange, to the common people, as that of Duns Scotus. His influence upon their daily thought is still infinitely remote and infinitesimal. They still pay numbskulls to mount pulpits and preach down at them the dead fallacies of a primeval necromancy. They still insist that Friday is an unlucky day, that blasphemy is a crime, that the Book of Revelation is authentic. The race is yet in its childhood. Its yearning for the truth is yet swallowed up by its yearning for a rock and a refuge.
You Socialists, when you come to discuss the magnates, surplus values, bourgeoisie, and other fantastic fowl in your aviary of horrors, too often borrow a dialectic device from your blood brothers, the Christian Scientists. That is to say, you insist upon using private brands of epistemology and logic, unknown and incomprehensible to mere human beings, in the conduct of your philosophical feuds.
There is, in a word, no irreducible minimum of compensation, due to every man by , virtue of his mere existence as a human being. No man has any right to life, save that which he proves by mastering his environment.
You Socialists, in the very first paragraph of your philosophy, make one of the errors that I have mentioned in a preceding paragraph. That is to say, you give very unlike things the same name, and then assume that they are like. As examples of these unlike things, I can do no better than mention Thomas Henry Huxley and a man whom we may call the Rev. Jasper Johnson. On the surface you will find many points of resemblance between the two. Huxley was a male of the genus homo, and so is Johnson; Huxley had five fingers on each hand, and so has Johnson; Huxley expressed his ideas in the English language, and so does Johnson; Huxley was carnivorous and so is Johnson. Reckon up all these points of resemblance and you will find them almost infinite in number. But, reckon up, then, the points of difference between the two men, and you will find them equal to *n plus a million. In every characteristic, instinct, habit, and quality which serves to differentiate any man from any ape, Huxley was more lavishly endowed, perhaps, than any other individual man that ever lived; but in Johnson these characteristics, instinct, habits, and qualities, when they appear at all, are so faint that it is well-nigh impossible to detect them. Huxley, in a word, was an intellectual colossus; while Johnson, intellectually, scarcely exists at all. The one pushed the clock of progress ahead a hundred years; the other is a foul, ignorant, thieving, superstitious, self-appointed negro preacher of the Black Belt, whose mental life is made up of three ambitions—to eat a whole hog at one meal, to be a white man in heaven, and to meet a white woman, some day, in a lonely wood. And yet, by the socialistic and Christian philosophies, these men are equal. According to the Christian seers, they will kneel before the throne of God side by side, and spend eternity as brothers. According to the Socialist seers, they are equally fitted to deal with the great problems of society and the state, equally worthy of ease, protection, and leisure, and equally entitled to have the aid of their fellow-men in the achievement of their ambitions. I am unable, my dear La Monte, to grant this much. It seems to me, indeed, that the man who attempts to prove merely that Huxley and Johnson belong to the same order of living creatures has a staggering task ahead of him. The gap between them, I am convinced, is greater than that between Johnson and the anthropoid apes. Physically, true enough, there is probably only a difference in degree, but mentally there is an abysmal difference in kind. No conceivable course of training, however protracted, could convert Johnson into an imitation of Huxley. The one came into the world with certain inherited traits, certain invaluable forms of congenital efficiency, which the other can never hope to acquire. The one belonged to a caste of men whose value to the human race, and whose consequent right to life, no sane person would venture to deny; the other belongs to a caste whose value is obviously nil, and whose right to life, in consequence, must be proved before it is admitted.
…in the struggle for existence an act is never actually moral or immoral, but only (in the broadest sense of the words) profitable or unprofitable, worth doing or not worth doing. The view of it taken by a moralist, however accomplished he may be, is always a mere opinion, and you can always find some other moralist to contradict it. To show you how nearly this is true, I need only recall to you that practically every act possible to human beings has been the storm-center of furious moral debates. To one man the act of eating flesh seems indecent, while to another it appears as the most agreeable operation imaginable. To one man the habit of taking money from ignorant folk, on the promise of getting them into heaven, seems the most dignified and honorable of human avocations, while to me it bears the aspect of a peculiarly heartless and nefarious form of fraud. To one man the soldier is a hero; to another, he is a vile loafer and chronic criminal. To one, marriage is a holy sacrament; to another, it is a dangerous vice.

And we know that the things of the world belong to Satan.

There are many ways to understand Satanism as a philosophy, many tacs to take when discussing it. From literary or artistic to philosophical or religious.

Satanism proper is relevant in a Christian dominated society, but the philosophy behind it is universal. Outside of a Christian society, it would probably need to be called something else (unless there’s enough Christian influence that it is still a sort of exoticism). Changing the label doesn’t change the underlying content, though it can change how people view that content.

But while on vacation I ran across this little book:  “The Joy of Womanhood: The Keepers of the Home Series” by Keepers of the Faith.

It seems to be a sort of workbook for Christian women to work out how they are fallen creatures by answering leading questions. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it, but when I saw one of the questions I had to at least snap a photo of it and post here.

“When you look at all the things in the world (And we know that the things of the world belong to Satan.) such as posessions, education, fame or fortune, what are some of the things you desire?”

Here. This is one of the angles, where I say “Yes, you’re right Christling, it is the Lord of This Earth that I pay tribute to. I enjoy my posessions, education, and fortune (though this latter thing is only on a theoretical level) and I want the same for my wife. You continue to reject these things, keep your kids home from school, don’t buy them anything, and continue to let them know they are nobody and will never amount to nothing.

Mencken Day – September 11, 2010

Der Tag (Mencken Day), September 11, 2010

Mencken Day 2010 will commence at 10:00 AM on September 11, 2010 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St, Baltimore,MD. The Mencken Society’s Annual Meeting begins at 10:30 in the Wheeler Auditorium.

The Society’s speakers (in the morning) are Marion Rodgers, who will speak on her recent (hot off the presses) two-volume set of Mencken’s Prejudices, published by the Library of America, and David Donovan of the Enoch Pratt Free Library who has done heroic work in exhuming the entombed collection of Saturday Night Club material held by the Library. He will play selections from a recording of the Concert Artists of Baltimore’s concert, “A Saturday Night Club on Sunday Afternoon”, held April 11, 2010. If you missed the concert, here is your chance to at least get a taste of what was.

The Mencken Memorial speaker (in the afternoon) is Jonathan Yardley, book reviewer for the Washington Post and editor of Mencken’s My Life as Author and Editor(Knopf, 1993).

(Notice, the Mencken Society is different from the HL Mencken Club .)

Up From Slavery! (if the book had been published in the last few decades, they would have put an exclamation point on it)

I picked up Booker T. Washington’s “Up From Slavery” today at the used bookstore. I purchased it primarily because of one section I read while skimming it. There are two parts of interest in this one section. The following single line:

I am glad to add, however, that at the present time the disposition to vote against the white man merely because he is white is largely disappearing, and the race is learning to vote from principle, for what the voter considers to be for the best interests of both races.

If indeed this was the case, it’s possible that things have reverted tremendously.

And this next section:

I ate and slept with the people, in their little cabins. I saw their farms, their schools, their churches… In the plantation districts I found that, as a rule the whole family slept in one room…

…At times I have eaten in cabins where they had only corn bread and ” black-eye peas” cooked in plain water. …notwithstanding the fact that the land all about the cabin homes could easily have been made to produce nearly every kind of garden vegetable that is raised anywhere in the country. Their one object seemed to be to plant nothing but cotton, amd in many cases cotton was planted up to the very door of the cabin.

In these cabin homes I often found sewing-machines which had been bought, or were being bought, on installments, frequently at a cost of as much as sixty dollars, or showy clocks for which the occupants of the cabins had paid twelve or fourteen dollars. I remember that on one occasion when I went into one of these cabins for dinner, when I sat down to the table for a meal with the four members of the family, I noticed that, while there were five of us at the table, there was but one fork for the five of us to use. Naturally there was an awkward pause on my part. In the opposite corner of that same cabin was an organ for which the people told me they were paying sixty dollars in monthly instalments. One fork, and a sixty-dollar organ!

In most cases the sewing-machine was not used, the clocks were so worthless that they did not keep correct time — and if they had, in nine cases out of ten there would have been no one in the family who could have told the time of day — while the organ, of course, was rarely used for want of a person who could play upon it.

The above was taken from Google Books OCRing, so though I cleaned up a few eggregious errors, there may be some more. I also truncated it so that the important information was conveyed while still retaining essential context, and I added the bold for emphasis.

It gripped me because just recently I was listening to a discussion of “The Theory of the Leisure Class” and an attack upon the  “conspicuous consumption” of the upper classes to flaunt their wealth. I’ve heard it fairly recently used to describe the buying habits of poor urban blacks, with their seeming predilection for high-end looking “bling”, “rims” and “kicks”.

That’s it.

For now…