A Guffaw In Need of Being

Sylvia Shawcross

The rains of November are cold but the snows of November are colder.

It is said that an entire generation of young men from the Ukraine are gone now. They have died in the war.

Now, I thought the war in the Ukraine was the “War for Civilization Itself.” We sent them tons of money to preserve democracy and all that. We waved our blue and yellow flags and wept over the plight of the Ukrainians knowing we had to save the free world from that evil Russia.

I guess that didn’t much work out? Or what? Do we know?

Although I hear it is going on in the background. I think they’re still fighting over Bahkmut. We can’t know. We can’t know anything really. Unless we’re there. We just have to guess or find someone we think might know. Where the money went we’ll also never really know although They do make stabs at telling us now and then. It’s to pay Ukrainian salaries now I hear. Who knows. I sure don’t.

Anyway, since that “War for Civilization Itself” seems to be running out of the goodwill of people donating money, machines and munitions, now we have a new war and this one is a humdinger being started in an area of the world that three main religions of the world hold sacred. It’s a Holy War. It’s a War between Freedom and Totalitarianism. It’s a War to End All Wars. We’re waving different coloured flags, weeping over the plight of different peoples and must send tons of money. Again.

Only this time it’s really really the “War for Civilization Itself.” This time. Honestly.


Some would say it is not a war but a genocide.

It will soon be a war.

So I think we need to fire every single one of our leaders. And certainly our diplomats. They’re bloody incompetent. And that’s about all I have to say about that. Other than it all seems rather contrived. I mean, seriously…. Don’t you think? The whole thing from the get-go feels, since Covid even, as if it is all being executed in true military fashion with all the constant fear and propaganda and frenzying up of the mooing herds and the constant diversions. And the gaslighting towards stupefaction.

Again. Still. As ever.

My whole theory on the Middle East isn’t popular. I figure if people can’t live together you take their toys away and nobody gets to live there. That’s always been my contention. A few stray people to clean the historical sites and sweep the pigeons from the parks and the stray cats from the benches and we’d all be fine. We could have day passes to visit.

Now the greatest thing I don’t understand and I don’t know about you but it is this absolutely ridiculous reckless behaviour by the powers that be who appear not to care about consequences AT ALL. Not the consequences of public opinion, the law, constitutions, treaties, deficits, promises given, history nor even future generations. Not the consequences on their children, family, consciences and/or even what appears to be tens of thousands of people now dead.

As if there was not a single entity to which they must explain themselves.

They are their own Gods perhaps? They don’t need to explain themselves to people at all, even those who elected them or sent them all their money in taxes? They are saving the planet and that is what counts? Or they know they’re going to survive it all quite well thank-you-very-much and what does it matter what happens to the mooing herds after all… they moo and herd and are quite contemptuous really…. how could they possibly understand?

There seems to be no discernible moral boundary to a lot of their actions.

It certainly is a riddle wrapped in an enigma sort of thing. There are still days when I think we’ll all be told it was a movie script on screens and none of it ever really happened. We’d laugh and laugh and laugh…. “Oh what a joke on all of us,” we’d guffaw.

Oh well…

Here’s an earworm of no consequence whatsoever:

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope & history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore Is reachable from here,”

—The quote is from Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy, after Robert Fitzgerald, a translator and interpreter of the Greek classics.

Visit my Substack if so inclined.


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les online
les online
Nov 28, 2023 9:24 AM

Included in an msm report that an Australian state
is gonna criminalise giving the Nazi Salute is the
unsubstantiated claim “There’s been an increase
in antisemitism lately.”

This claim has been cropping up regularly, and
makes one wonder if its meaning has become so
expansive it can be applied to anything said or done
the user objects to…

Being pro-Palestinian apparently is being antisemitic –
being an example…

Nov 26, 2023 1:50 AM

One of Sylvia’s better pieces. There’s only one bit I’d put differently.

My own unpopular theory on the Middle East goes like this: if the children living in their own home (Palestine) have to make room for a newcomer and said newcomer won’t play nicely and even tries to take over the house and boot out and/or kill the occupants and its absentee parents refuse to intervene to discipline the errant child, then the child forfeits its welcome and must leave whence it came (ie: Europe).

Or at least get detention or have to sit on the naughty step for a while to ponder its behaviour.

Fair enough? You betcha.

George Mc
George Mc
Nov 25, 2023 4:39 PM

Sylvia helpfully linked to this:


Here’s my take:

Skipping the “scene setting” bit about “Hamas” and all that crap,

 “Gaza is a landscape of extreme economic deprivation born of the region’s complicated political dynamics — but one whose contours may soon become more common.”

This is “the premise behind the recently released book Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope, published by Terreform’s imprint Urban Research. Edited by Deen Sharp, an urban geographer who focuses on the Middle East, and essayist, theorist, activist, and provocateur Michael Sorkin, the book presents a vision of Gaza as a glimpse of an imminent future, where violence, surveillance, resource scarcity and provisional use of an extremely compromised built environment are visited on all.”

So there are “connections …. between the unrest in Gaza and the racial justice demonstrations in U.S. cities after the murder of George Floyd”. Hmmmmm…….

Followed by … a bit of vaudeville about Gaza?

“….the territory and its urban center, Gaza City, is appallingly understudied in terms of architecture and urbanism.”

Too bad it’s understudied since it won’t be there much longer!

“That makes it a fitting swan song for Sorkin, who died last year of Covid-19.”

Cymbal crash!

We read that “the ad-hoc, low-carbon design techniques that Gazans have developed look ahead to a planet failing to meet the challenges of a climate cataclysm, a global pandemic, and growing inequality.”

Well at least the last one is real!

“As brittle regimes are wracked by crises, mass migrations harden borders, and infrastructure buckles, Open Gaza suggest that the rest of the world may start to look more and more like Gaza.”


“Or has already.”

 “The Palestinianization of cities is happening worldwide. It’s happening by destruction and erasure, but also with dramatic climate change.”

After which we have the most astonishing balancing act between admission of the bloody awful catastrophe of Gaza and the “demand that [Gazans] be able to live and shape their urban context and infrastructure, and social lives in ways that are dignified and respectful of their humanity”. Ain’t that sweet?

We then find that the “asymmetry” between Gaza and Israel “means Open Gaza is free of the antiseptic techno-solutionism that often populates architecture tomes”.

Lucky Gaza!

Then more downright weird juxtapositions:

“Such documents often claim that low-carbon buildings, made from nothing more than the trees and dirt on their plot of earth, will exist in an atmosphere of generous technological enlightenment, happy consumers sipping lattes poured by robots, munching on locally sourced avocado BLTs. Open Gaza tells us this scenario might be a fairy tale. The book’s prescriptions operate with found conditions and severe local constraints on materials; it suggests that your first shower warmed by solar power might happen in between air-raid sirens.”

“This reality is why buzzwords like “sustainability” or “resilience” don’t mean anything to the average Gazan”

Actually they don’t mean anything to anyone outside the vampiric corporate boardroom.

And then more and more bizarre J G Ballardian amalgamations of some weird super luxuriant techno-fetish lifestyle with an ominous ever-present war “occasionally” intruding.

“And the concept of “energy independence” takes on new meaning when citizens acquire utilities from a hostile neighbor.”

Are we to assume that the entire global population will be “acquiring utilities from a hostile neighbour”?

Amongst the rhetoric of this masturbatory techno-fantasy twaddle come flashes of the real picture e.g. when we hear about “the tactical flexibility Gazans must demonstrate to keep themselves housed”.

“Tactical flexibility” – a crowning achievement of tasteful euphemism!

And as with all these pieces, there is a compulsive expansion of jingoistic jibber, but the cold flashes keep coming: 

“As states become more fragile and defensive and climate change adds layers of stress, inequalities skyrocket and people divide into camps.”


“Debates over the role of militarized police on the streets of U.S. cities and the rise of privacy-eroding public safety technology have collapsed the distance between Palestine and Pittsburgh.”

And the clincher:

“These circulations of violence and containment …. come back to haunt us all.”

“Us” is of course the usual “pep talk assurance” word. Violence and containment will certainly be aimed at the global populace. But not at the techno-nerd overlords of this schoolboy power trip.

Nov 25, 2023 4:48 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Sylvia probably posted that link with her tongue in her cheek.

Sylvia Shawcross
Sylvia Shawcross
Nov 25, 2023 6:58 PM
Reply to  George Mc

George you have no idea how pleased I am you picked up on that and read it and wrote this. Selfishly, I wanted brilliant minds to have a look and comment. I wish you’d write an article here from this piece you’ve written for wider consumption. If only for the use of the phrase “masturbatory techno-fantasy twaddle.” Thank you.

Nov 25, 2023 7:50 AM

An entire generation of young men dead in the Ukraine – to feed the endless war profiteering – of the endless war machine. No problem. The “evil genius” of our unfettered neoliberal capitalist system is that it can “monetize” and “make a buck” out of literally any horror that the very same system repeatedly creates. No men = lots of unattached women = sex trade, sex tourism, human trafficking, hey, maybe even a little organ trafficking – you name it. All for a buck.

That “buck” is of course all that counts. That sacred “buck” is our only unassailable “shared reality.” Our golden idol worshipped by all. And hey, don’t you “commies” out there start talking about “regulating” these soon to be booming new “female flesh markets” that will inevitably spring up. God’s miraculous “invisible hand” controls “the Market” – so its none of our freaking business to intervene. We’re just. here – “to make a buck” and to silently watch the mayhem unfold – like we always do.

And those ever growing scads of unattached Ukraine women are starting to look more and more everyday like both “a resource,” AND “a business opportunity” to “the Market.” And the smart dollars know a good “business opportunity” when they see one. And “war” creates the best “investment climate” of all. And the all seeing, all knowing, omnipotent, miraculous – “Market” – looks on – and approves.

Baldmichael Theresolute
Baldmichael Theresolute
Nov 30, 2023 6:23 PM
Reply to  gbossa
Tilly Peterssen
Tilly Peterssen
Nov 25, 2023 7:32 AM

Most people these days are so far behind the curve it would be funny if not tragic.

The guys running the current psyops are very very smart and they know everything there is to know about Bernaysian manipulation and deep psychology. They can make you believe anything, push you in any direction and you will obey them while fervently convinced you are following your own independent thinking.

You need to up your game guys. No room for lazy thinking or comfy cozy assumptions. You’re being stalked and hunted. You’re prey. Start thinking and watching like your life depended on it

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Nov 25, 2023 3:39 AM

Its one of the splendid things with the possibility of commenting on a site like this, that the discussions associates and give access to sites I never knew before.

All respect for simple life and Abby the spoon lady, but John Lennox a Math professor from Oxford and actually a high level intellectual ex-premier (an anglo from Australia!!!) give us here an answer to both a ancient dilemma for us all and relate it to the biggest changes of our time: Transhumanism and AI.

He is saying that, like we would not have been equipped with the ability to be thirsty if there wasnt something to drink and fulfil this need, same we would not have been equipped physically and mentally with a wish deep inside us to live forever, if there wasnt a solution to that too.

Behind trans-humanism lies the Elite’s dream about man develops into God (Avatar) to live eternally, but God already was here 2000 years ago to show God can develop in man.

Its quite an interesting discussion because it is precisely the division in two half existential groups we have of today.

Are we into experimenting with our body, our DNA and mind to progress through the evolution theory into being a Cyborg, being more cro-magnon man developed, or be Gods ourselves, or do we believe in God’s picture in ourselves to be a perfect human, living and progressing as we should have done from the start before someone f….. it all up. Enjoy.

Nov 24, 2023 10:02 PM
Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Nov 24, 2023 6:32 PM

I don’t know about the Ukraine. But the conspiracy in the Levant is to kill or drive out all the Palestinians and make an industrial park out of Gaza. No mysteries. Very simple. To suggest that the Palestinians are in on it is a bridge too far, if you ask me, but what do I know.

George Mc
George Mc
Nov 24, 2023 9:24 PM
Reply to  Thomas Paine

“make an industrial park out of Gaza”?

The cynicism behind the Oct 7 theatre and the ensuing script and the brutal mockery of the psyops since 2020 have led me to feel that it would be no surprise if they turned Gaza into a fun theme park with “Hamas tunnels” as the concept. Roller coaster rides for the kids through the “hostage” ballpits, shooting galleries with detachable toy baby heads as the targets etc.

Nov 25, 2023 6:35 AM
Reply to  George Mc

Some of the tourists coming to the Holy Land will appreciate such a theme park.

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Nov 25, 2023 7:47 AM
Reply to  George Mc

So you think what? That the Palestinians aren’t really fighting and dying? That their enemies aren’t trying to kill every last woman and child of them? That, if they actually did kill every last Palestinian man, woman, and child, then that would be a “psyop”–whatever that is–by some bizarre itinerary of logic? So, what, then? The 10,000 Palestinians aren’t dead? They asked for it? They planned to die? What insane conspiracy theory are you pitching this time?

George Mc
George Mc
Nov 25, 2023 9:05 AM
Reply to  Thomas Paine

I never fail to be amazed at the steaming dives of invective that come from failing to read properly. At no point did I say that the Gaza genocide itself was a psyop. Indeed, my vision of turning Gaza into a theme park depends on the annihilation of Gaza. The “theatre” I refer to is that of Oct 7 which is indeed murky and has been so subsumed in the most hyperventilating froth that it’s hard to figure out what really happened. But for the record (and before I get blasted) I say that YES there probably was carnage there too though I believe it was orchestrated by Israel.

The carnage in Gaza is real but the “theatre” aspect continues i.e. it is played out in the media as a game of “exhanging hostages” whilst the levelling continues.

Nov 25, 2023 1:16 PM
Reply to  George Mc

George, it’s as if they have a remit to silence any type of analysis or response that aims at more than simply shrieking in blind rage. It doesn’t matter how much we condemn the genocide, if we also attempt any analysis of the greater motives or bigger picture or dare to mention globalism – we are “other” , not outraged enough, “condoning murder” and need to be shrieked at hysterically until we shut up.

Very much reminds me of the early covid days.

George Mc
George Mc
Nov 25, 2023 7:36 AM

Haven’t had time to read it all yet but at a glance I’ve never seen an article so awash in the reset bullshit. Every excreble meme of the last 3 years spewed out from covid to climate to phoney cultural divisions.

And it makes all the noises of disaster capitalism but I doubt if Naomi Klein will be interested.

Martin Usher
Martin Usher
Nov 24, 2023 4:46 PM

Turning Ukraine into an armed camp as an extension of NATO was never going to work. Sooner or later there would be pushback from Russia and eventually it happened. Hubris meant that “the west” would easily overwhelm Russia using our advanced weapons to hold them back while we wrecked their economy with sanctions (coincidentally making them ripe for the plucking). Hubris was wrong and a lot of people died unnecessarily because of it,

So what’s new?

Sal P
Sal P
Nov 24, 2023 4:27 PM

My whole theory on the Middle East isn’t popular. I figure if people can’t live together you take their toys away and nobody gets to live there.

Brilliant! I love it!

Nov 24, 2023 4:01 PM

Not sure that you really want to know but if you’re interested in the Ukraine situation this man, Dima, is a good source with maps and analysis. I’ve watched his channel for over a year now and he is as close to impartial as you’re likely to find and he tells the truth to the best of his ability. https://www.youtube.com/@militarysummary/featured

The Duran is also a great source, Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris both give terrific coverage of current events in general. https://www.youtube.com/@TheDuran/featured

Thanks for your quirky words, I enjoy your column a lot. Wish I was rich and could subscribe to all the blogs and podcasts I love. But if you’re ever on Gabriola and wanna get high, I’m your man. Peace

Nov 24, 2023 3:30 PM

Blackrock and Vanguard rotten shield everything else is anglo zio window dressing

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear? You think you’ve merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU… WILL… ATONE! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Nov 24, 2023 8:07 PM
Reply to  gordan


layers of language that signify nothing

Umberto Calvini: [In explaining the “true” nature of banking in the world] The IBBC is a bank. Their objective isn’t to control the conflict, it’s to control the debt that the conflict produces. You see, the real value of a conflict, the true value, is in the debt that it creates. You control the debt, you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.

despite all the flags fluttering on 1st avenue there are no countries anymore only corporations actors legal fictions

Nov 24, 2023 2:08 PM

Other than it all seems rather contrived.

We have corporations masquerading as countries and “government” actors masquerading as “leaders”.
For many generations the People have been sold an illusion and for that reason it’s difficult to get most people to even “go there” and want to talk about it.
The awareness of this deception is growing everyday, hence the panic at the top of the hierarchy.

Nov 24, 2023 12:45 PM

The powers that be have only one concern: ‘power’.
It’s not Power, it’s force.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Nov 25, 2023 3:57 AM
Reply to  Johnny

Fool. Its not Force, its strength. Force is only showed “out from a position of strength”.

Elena Dix
Elena Dix
Nov 24, 2023 12:00 PM

Wars are good for business. They generate lots of money for the rich and kill useless eaters.
Here a video everybody must watch.

Nov 24, 2023 12:59 PM
Reply to  Elena Dix

great video, very on point!

Nov 24, 2023 10:16 AM

The ukraine business, and I mean business, was revealed in a statement by zelenski when he said that after the war ukraine would be truly multicultural. How so? Well, he didn’t say that getting a generation of ukranians killed would make room for millions of diverse immigrants but…… And he didn’t say that the cost of the war would put the country in so much debt that everything would have to be sold to multinational corporations but…… No one would believe that was what he meant.