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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Audience disquiet at man without choice: Gone Girl becomes Gone Guy. The man forced into ongoing marriage. Tables Turned.

What happens to those once in love with Amy? *


The script has changed. What does Amy really want?  What can she do to drive her own life.

For centuries of western culture, religion and politics, the woman has been the docile, forced into marriage as defined by the culture, not a deity (there was no marriage in Eden, or Biblically, pre-patriarchy), and to stay there: out of fear perhaps, psychological-cultural pressure, abuse, no place to go, for the children, her property often in the control of the husband, her life defined and limited by the fact of a marriage over which she had no control. See http://martinlutherstove.blogspot.com/2013/05/news-for-doma-woman-she-was-wife-she.html/.  She became, as Marge Piercy descibes, a basket a man could put his buns in, see http://exceptindreams.livejournal.com/91327.html Generally. Even before divorce offered an option, the man could spend his time elsewhere.

Now, see Gone Girl, the film. If your area is like ours (northeast US), the theater was silent as the closing credits rolled. Disbelief, resentment, disquiet. Mutterings.  Little excited chatter.  Couples mute.

1.  Spoiler alert.  The movie jars and people remained immobile, why?  Consider: deprive the man of choice, and the culture jars.  Deprive the woman of choice, and the culture cheers.

Consider: One reason for the sensed-audience agitation may well be the turning of tables on traditional values. Here, a man, card-carrying randy man, is forced to remain in a marriage he may/may not want for whatever reasons, but the choice is not his. Force, psychological pressure, on end.

For centuries, it has been the woman who has been compelled to marry, and once married, compelled to stay there with little realistic, cultural alternative.  She may have protested, see her in 1865 at http://bogomilia.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html, a story from Peterson's magazine 1865, that she is left at home with the children while husband is out enriching his masculine mind.


2.  A man actually in the position of a woman, no choice in his life, no exit strategy except extremes?  Amy did did it. She put him there. No-one would condone her methods, but her life had been circumscribed, exploited by her mother and father before her, and she merely continues the tradition.  No matter her failures as a child, those morphed into fictional success by those exploiting her, offering her no validation for her human limitations.  So, this is a girl with free rein. Your failures will be magically changed. Create the fiction afterwards, and you will be fine. Even through deaths of others, and, who knows as to levels of self.

If the film limited her impact to self and women, stereotypes would be buttressed. The neurotic, the sociopath. Web in a man to ongoing control, and there is dismay.  So:  Gone Girl become Gone Guy.

And nobody followed up the boxcutter?  Nobody bothers. Why? Ah, yes. Once in Love With Amy.  Ray Bolger.  Boom, boom, boom boom-boom boom-boom.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An intent of Originalists and Founders: Preserve property and status. Then Founders allowed for change.

I.  Originalism.  Is this to be the new limit on Constitutional construction, that if the Founders did not intend an interpretation, it shall not apply? Start with the Founders' own interests to find intent.  An interpretation that invades those interests would not be the Founder intent, is that so.

Originalism. Easy. Take your own snapshot, of the past you want, and Apply.

How to determine Founder intent, however, where multiple people are involved, and words can be ambiguous.

Look at the relationship of Founder holdings and interests, to their later intent. The Founders had as a dominant stake, their own property and estates, their ability to inherit, accumulate, exercise autonomy.  Clearly those interests were protected in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The intent in the rights clarified, and the procedures set forth, was to leave undisturbed the property and status enjoyed by them, and to protect whatever the Common Man, the less-wealthy but also white males, may have in their hovels or shops.

Yet, the wisdom of the Founders even if unawares was to preserve their own in the documents, but also build in flexibility for the future:  They approved and saw ratified Amendment and legislative procedures, balancing of powers and rebalancing by periodic voting and trumping: udicial decision-making that legislation could trump, and vice versa. And presidential power was also subject to trumping.

II.  Intent to protect, preserve, as seen in residences, privileges of acquisition.

 The Founders had a great deal to protect, many of them.  Anyone values what is possessed, but here the extent of the holdings for many was vast.

2.1.  James Madison's Plantation, Montpelier, Orange County VA, near Culpeper. 

Montpelier with one l, namesake of French town Montpellier with two l's. Different from the town of Montpelier farther to the south.  Hundreds of slaves supported this residence, over time some 5-7 generations, see http://www.montpelier.org/visit/plan-your-visit/enslaved-community/  This was the most educational of the houses we saw.  For Constitution information, the man, the woman, if you go nowhere else, go here.


Madison's intent:  He favored a strong central government. Founder intent, Founder preferences, not uniform.  Isolating one idea as Founder intent (go to the dictionary and look up the word instead of engaging in legislative history) is an Originalist proposal.  No context.  None.
  • If ever I have to choose a Founder whose intent I find best suited to the changing circumstances of an ongoing government structure and its changing populations, I choose Madison.  See https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/political-philosophy-james-madison/  
  • Was the author of The Political Philosophy of James Madison, Garrett Ward Sheldon, also our guide that day?  Hop the Amtrak to Washington, rent a car, go to Orange County, east of Culpeper, and find Montpelier.  The town of Montpelier, also in VA, is much farther south, and not the same.
 2.2  Thomas Stone, not rich-rich, but a lovely home, really two homes connected, and then a kitchen.


The Thomas Stone home is family-size, even for today's family of parents, a few children, and an separate house area appended there to the right. For a married child?  In-laws?  Kitchen, passway, main house, and appended second residence. Total people in residence on the plantation, number of slaves not specified, some 25-35 people.  See http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-declaration-of-independence/about-the-signers/#MD and other sources.  Of all the houses shown here, the Thomas Stone is, to me, the loveliest, if not the grandest.

Thomas Stone's intent:  Not much is known.  He did not write much, was an unobtrusive person who died young. We do not know his intent, but surely it would include protecting this fine livable small plantation.

2.3  George Washington.  We all know the glorious Mount Vernon, even from pictures.  

Here, see instead his roots as imagined by those who want to see more grandeur in his beginnings than there was.  George W. did well, improving his lot as his father also had in his time.  George Washington, then, would have wanted to and did protect not only Mount Vernon, but his right to inherit -- as he did -- and to accumulate lands and properties -- as he did, and as did his father and father's father.  He would not have intended, however, that slaves be free and to vote and to be paid and to accumulate and to inherit as he had, is that so? 

a.  This is not George Washington's birth house. It is only a tribute house at Northern Neck VA, like an architectural Elvis, a commemorative building that may well be like other houses of the day, but it is not George's. It was put up in the 1930's (check) since there was nothing left that could be found at the time as to the original house.  Foundation lines much smaller were later found, indicating that this house was far more grand than the Original.  If an Originalism does not enhance the concept, skip it.


b. This is not George Washington's childhood home.  It also is a tribute site, Home Farm, or Ferry Farm, where the original is gone.  An idea of an early Washington house (was this on this property? the walk-by display may say). 



 Ferry Farm is east of Fredericksburg.  When the real is not known, make it Greek Revival.

More Oz.  This palatial construction looks nothing like the woodcuts of the original home, see http://www.kenmore.org/ferryfarm/farm_history.html, with the huge and intrusive and out-of-proportion Greek revival columns and massiveness that strains the imagination, having come from the birthplace foundation so so tiny.  This property and 10 slaves were left to George when his father died.
  • The Kenmore site states that the family was not rich, not poor. So why is this monstrosity the looming visual image entering the area? The real home had only some four rooms downstairs, and two or three upstairs, size 28' x53'. See http://www.kenmore.org/genealogy/washington/probate.html/
2.4.  Friend of Washington and Jefferson, William Fitzhugh and his plantation, Chatham Manor, Fredricksburg VA


Washington and Jefferson both stayed here.  Chatham Manor survived the Civil War because it became Union Headquarters.

2.5  Home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, ancestors of Robert E. Lee, Stratford Hall, Stratford VA.  Robert E. Lee was born here. 


Robert E. Lee had no estate rights or interest in the property, however, as he was not an heir. This was the boyhood home of the heirs, relatives, brothers Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee who both signed the Declaration of Independence.   

Robert E Lee also did well for himself, married money and worked hard. He himself was not a Founder, of course, but he stands for the success of the Founders' protection of rights to property and accumulation that the Constitution and Bill of Rights did not touch in granting other individual rights against government.



3.  If the Founders intended to retain their property interests (including slaves held), and we know that government indeed intruded, what happened? 

Originalists sweep under the political rug the fact that the Founders themselves built in ways to meet chances in circumstances, including in entire populations, and needs national in impact. They built it in, and we used it. As circumstances required and votes enabled. The taxes, the bail-outs, fostering of opportunity for the less well off, basic sustenance.  All equitable, all passed according to Founders' procedures.
  • The Founders indeed built in means for responsiveness that eventually undermined the Originalists' claim that Founder intent would fix and limit what governnment could do. Those are Original procedures, Constitution, Bill of Rights as Amendment procedures that they themselves used; balances and rebalances of powers, legislation procedures.
  •  Does this mean that this new  Originalism as a restriction of Constitution selectively omits what the Founders did to promote responsiveness, and sells the people on going instead to nonresponsive government, so the haves can continue to have at the expense of the have-nots. It becomes a partisan tool, propagation of ballyhoo, not a serious new idea in Constitutional construction.
  • Check the intents.  Founders and the Originalists both wanted and want to protect property; the difference is that the Constitution and Amendments and procedures appropriately built in the flexibility now decried by so-called Originalists.

III. Why not use strict language and findings of intent (who decides? the partisans?) to determine Constitutional rights? 

Move beyond that because of the nature of the government-population relationship.  The Constitution and Bill of Rights are like a social compact, not like a contract with set performances to be performed in a set time frame, and then the contract ends. The Constitution is also like a trust, and without perpetuities.  

Equity was and is built into the judicial and governmental system, although merging law and equity has eclipsed equity until it has nearly disappeared as part of justice.  Originalism insofar as it rejects equity, context, and latches only on to strict law, is not Original and to be discarded.  Equity echoes in fairness and context and both impacted the Declaration of Independence and the C+BR -- Constitutio and Bill of Rights. Keep them strongly in.

Throughout, equity balanced with law, adjusting for changing circumstances, fairness.  And these factors would clearly impinge on the interests of Founders type people, white propertied males, and their friends. See http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendments_11-27.html

IV.  So, what do the new Originalists intend? 

The Originalists intend a selective analysis of Founder intent, retaining only those they can enumerate that preserve property and status. They, therefore, would see consistency in intending a rollback of any government act or authorization that imposes on their desired autonomy to conduct their own lives, and to acquire and hold property.  Does that mean repeal of the Bill of Rights, and other Amendments through #27?  Repeal of enacted laws, after all these laches?

5.  Check the residence-analysis theory of intent against current Originalists.  Is it so, that much of motive and intent can be known of what a person wants to protect, from what he has. What interests do these new Originalists probably seek to protect?  In any legislation, what does a legislator hold that he wants to protect, and should not interested parties recuse themselves. What did the Founders intend as to corporate influence, the kind of money that flows to legislators from lobbies now.

Google the residences of Originalists if you like.  Do not try to pass the gates. Please do not take photographs.  Can we conjecture that the Originalists' residences are nicer than those of the Common Man and Women? include substantial estates, nice places, even if Philadelphia-shabby, where the bank account is far greater than the worn orientals would have one know. Who is more apt to act in the Common Good.

Corollary, that other people also want things in their name, a life, a lifestyle, autonomy, choice and a paycheck of dignity?  Tilt.