Dada Bing Dada Boom: The Art Of Human Ineptness

Dada Payload by Jay Schwartz“What we call dada is foolery, foolery extracted from the emptiness in which all the higher problems are wrapped, a gladiator’s gesture, a game played with the shabby remnants… A public execution of false morality.”
– Hugo Ball
“Dada aimed to destroy the reasonable deceptions of man and recover the natural and unreasonable order.”
– Hans Jean Arp


The other day I found a large dead cockroach laying upside down in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the post office. It was a variety of which I had rarely seen in the years I’ve lived here in Salonica, but very close to the type of palmetto bugs that are the norm in Miami, where I was born. I had no idea how it had gotten there, but I nonetheless had the distinct feeling it must have fallen from the sky. It certainly hadn’t mailed itself to Greece.

The sight of it took me off guard and I pondered its possible existential meaning for a few moments before I continued down the street towards a distant bus-stop. While riding the bus, I thought about the life of a cockroach … and its end, whether by poisoning, being cannibalized by other bugs, or falling victim to a crushing flip-flop. I confess trying to find some Zen-like answer for its sudden appearance in my life at that particular moment. In truth, I never found an answer, and in fact I still have no idea why I even feel compelled to write about it in this post.

It was just one of those insignificant transient moments in life that shake you to your very core. In the words of ‘Billy’ Shakespeare, however, it was really just ‘much ado about nothing’. Yet, even today, it’s still hard to just let go of the significance of that ‘unprocessed’ moment … because it remains an insult to both my ego the super-ego. (Note: the id conscientiously objected to comment.)

Continue reading

In A Dada Vita (Rethinking Kindergarten)

Dada Kindergarten by Jay Schwartz“Dada doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo. Everything is Dada, too. Beware of Dada. Anti-dadaism is a disease: selfkleptomania, man’s normal condition, is Dada. But the real dadas are against Dada.”
– Tristan Tzara
“It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.”
– Soren Kierkegaard


In his ‘Dada Manifesto’, Tristan Tzara questions how it’s possible for anyone, or any institution, to expect to put order into the chaos that constitutes the “infinite and shapeless variation” of ‘man’. He suggests that Dada was “born of a need for independence”, and of “a distrust toward unity”. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

To me, the state of mankind has fallen from grace. Whose conception of grace I can’t say for sure, but I would suggest our own state of godliness, because at this stage of our evolution we should know better. Yet, the more we divide ourselves according to the lines of nationalism, politics, religion and even art, the more a large portion of us becomes mired in denial as to our own humanity.

Where did we as a society go wrong? When did the ‘art’ of being human change from ‘form to function’? Perhaps it’s time we should hold a candle to (pregnant pause and drum-roll) … kindergarten and its schizophrenic type orientation to social order it embeds in children.

Continue reading

Dadaisn’tism: Copious Habeas (and other assorted frothy nothings)

Dada - Jasyaspora by Jay Schwartz“I know that you have come here today to hear explanations. Well, don’t expect to hear any explanations about Dada. You explain to me why you exist. You haven’t the faintest idea.”
 – Tristan Tzara
“I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.”
Thelonious Monk


It’s not easy tipping the planet back on it’s axis. Somewhere along the way, our way of life fell into a form of ‘gimbal lock‘. With reference to the Apollo 11 Moon mission, I could explain what this condition means, but doing so would detract from its poetic ‘bombasity’. And, after all, what would be the point of enjoying poetic license if I couldn’t take liberties with the ‘unliberated’? Which brings me to the point of this post …

Continue reading

Field-Notes On Nothing To Speak Of

Juan_Gris_-_Portrait_of_Pablo_Picasso_-_Google_Art_ProjectPity would be no more
If we did not make somebody Poor
And Mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.
– William Blake (The Human Abstract)


Tongue-tied and cross-fingered pretty much describes how I feel sometimes, especially when the obvious, is obviously not so obvious to the oblivious. There are some things that should just ‘go without saying’. Yet, when compelled to wag my tongue or bang out a few words on what might best described as a ‘duh’ no-brainer to me, I’m stumped and incredulously stupefied into a state of verbal impotence.

Since it’s always good advice not to ‘push too hard’ and risk a brain aneurysm, I’ve decided to share with you some simple observations I’ve made regarding the past week’s daily dander in my life. I’ll call them ‘interpersonal field notes on intrapersonal relations’. Make of them what you will and feel free to connect the dots. Associate freely at your own risk. At least they are better than droning on about ‘nothing to speak of’.

Continue reading

Don Dada (When Words Fail)

Hoch-Cut_With_the_Kitchen_KnifeEclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear.
Ralph Ellison
Thought is made in the mouth.
– Tristan Tzara

I think the time has come to rewrite the dictionary. It’s not the words so much I have a problem with, as much as it’s the way we use or misuse them – some words as dictated by our standard dictionaries and so-called reference material, other words as dictated by the mainstream media (MSM). In both cases, we have established a penchant to parrot ad nauseam that which we hear or have been taught, very rarely taking liberty or poetic license with the same words, as I often do on this blog, more often than not in a wholly and ‘pseudolly suitable un-surreptitious’ manner.

Take for example the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. There are succinct published definitions to be certain, even in 10 words or less. Nevertheless, the ultimate application of their definitions is best defined by the actions of government officials, intelligence gathering agencies, the military, law enforcement personnel, and an entire legal profession of dark suited pontificators. Of course, Big Business interests figure into this conspiracy of terms, as well, but let’s not get paranoid!

So, it seems to me that no one really know what democracy means anymore. Countless definitions exist, but in reality the term has come to mean different things to different people. Perhaps it no longer matters, since the concept has very little ‘personally redeeming value’. In most cases, what you can count on, but can’t look up in your ‘Funk & Wagnalls’, is that both ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ are defined at the street level … when they are lost.

Continue reading

The USNSA: War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

USNSA-No Room Transparency“Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”

– Henry David Thoreau

“You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience … We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

– Barack Obama


Dystopia, Data-Mining and Distraction

This past week was a wake up call for many Americans living in the United States of the National Security Agency (USNSA) – a dystopia of their own making. Yes, yes, revelations came to light that ‘the powers that be’ had obtained a secret court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allowing it to basically gorge itself on tens of millions of phone records of Verizon customers. Surprise! Big Brother may not be watching, but he is listening. A short time later, information concerning the government’s PRISM program was revealed. It basically empowers the National Security Agency (NSA) to data-mine the emails and chat records of both Americans and foreigners abroad from some of the largest Internet based services, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Google (SkyNet) and other web-based giants.

Of course, all of this should come as a shock to no one … except the obvious clear majority of easily led American ‘sheeple’ that believe the internet, or their phone lines, for that matter, are ‘private’, and that their personal data are protected under a supposed ‘right to privacy‘ guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution … (insert pregnant pause) … oh wait , sorry … such a right is not actually expressed in the Constitution. Chalk that up to yet another American collective misconception … or perhaps to good old Uncle Sam, an apparent trickster of sorts.

Makes you think twice about ‘cloud computing’, doesn’t it? Sure. Go ahead and back up all your data online. It’s safe and secure – and makes it that much easier for the NSA to access. And trust me, it’s not doing so for the Lulz. Similarly, you can understand why some folks stuff money into their mattresses; banks are neither safe nor secure. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask anyone that has ever had the misfortune of having the long-arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ‘beam into’ their savings accounts to settle a tax matter or two.

Continue reading

The Power Games: Dancing With The Ringmasters

Young_man_with_the_whip“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

– Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark


Such is life, often compared to a circus. Hoops to jump through are ever present while the snap and crack of a ringmaster’s whip are always an arm’s breadth away. And, like an abused Russian dancing bear, we submit to being shackled, tormented and humiliated … and all perhaps for the ‘entertainment purposes’ of some. In the circus tent of life, the power games have already taken center ring.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. Welcome to the greatest ‘sideshow’ on earth! Come one, come all! Come all ye faithful and join the procession of the people for the people … who are power-crazy. Two-step your mortality away and shuffle towards your salvation: a cold grave. ‘Til death do you part, dissatisfaction guaranteed!”

Continue reading