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THE IGNORANCE AND POLITICAL IN-BREEDING: YOU DON’T FIND IT THAT WAY IN “ELSEWHERE, AMERICA” … plus … “CASSANDRA” SPEAKS THE TRUTH, EVEN THOUGHT THE FOOLS REFUSE TO LISTEN

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, OCT. 29, 2012) — When you experience folks in other parts of the country, as THE PLANET did this weekend on sort of a whirlwind journey through more cities than we can count, one is immediately struck with the observation that rudeness, hostility, impoliteness, and a certain civic ignorance is not the case with folks in “Elsewhere.”

In Elsewhere, America, folks smile at you. They hold doors for ladies. They go out of their way to offer assistance. They keep their streets clean. They have pride in themselves and their public life.

It is a Northeast thing, a Massachusetts things, a Berkshires thing, a Pittsfield thing — to narrow down the factors — where the crimped attitudes of ignorance are on best display. It is, of course, a symptom of the fact that too many good people in the city of our birth have been driven behind the closed doors of their home. They are afraid to wander out. They can’t do “upstreet” any longer, because there’s little to nothing there for them, unless they can afford upscale clothing, furniture, or food … or unless they do crack, take handouts, and think that the world owes them a living.

The good people are in retreat, and the incompetents, freeloaders, and recalcitrant have taken over. We speak the truth. Though few will believe us, we speak the truth. We are Cassandra (see below).

Pittsfield, Guess What? It’s OVer for You

It IS over for Pittsfield, of course. All that remains is the unfolding of the end game. It won’t be pretty, and even now we are seeing it play out.

It didn’t have to be that way, and a traveler familiar with so many cities and towns elsewhere can see what might have been in the Land of Benigno Numine. One shares this, however, as one does the latest news with a lamp post. The words of warning have been long issued and ignored. Pittsfield chose not to listen. That form of active ignorance typifies an area where the leaders — civic, social, economic, political — have been fornicating for to too long within the same closed, public gene pool. Over the past generation, this in-breeding has formed too many mutants and produced too many deformities.

In plain English, Pittsfield has not had the kind of leadership that comes from broad experience. Pittsfield possesses what me can only call a degraded form of parochialism, a civic and political mindset that believes if it closes its eyes, no one else can see.

That is what several days touring the country can do. A whirlwind is on its way, but it shall bypass Pittsfield. And so it shall come to pass.

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A POEM FOR THE TIMES

ROBINSON JEFFERS

With that, we share this wonderful poem by Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) called “Cassandra.” Jeffers wrote this gem in 1948, and it nails — absolutely nails — a truth about truth. The poets, at least, “honey their truth with lying” simply because they know most other people “hate the truth.” The poet and artist operates from a compassion that loves people so much that they can’t bear to lie, and so, knowing people hate the truth, “honey” what they say in a coat of dissimulation, coated the way one might put a sweet coating on an aspirin so it can go down easier.

The “politicians and vendors,” on the other hand, pour their lies straight “from the barrel.” Their lying is praised, while the poet’s truthing is ignored. The poets are reduced to mumbling their widsom from the corner.

THE PLANET has known this ever since we began mixing with the world.

WHO IS CASSANDRA? SHE’S ME

Cassandra, well, we fell in love with her in 1973, taking Prof. Sampson Ullman‘s fabulous course in “Absurd Theater” at Union College (the best course from the best professor: what bliss). Part of that course was an intensive in Greek mythology. There, we met Cassandra, whose beauty moved Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy.

Things went wrong, though, as they often did with the Greek gods, and somehow she incurred Apollo’s wrath. To punish her, Apollo let her keep her gift of wisdom and prophecy but made it so that no one would believe anything she said. Her deep understanding and knowledge were thus tainted with powerlessness. She had all the answers, but the fools wouldn’t believe her.

Needless to say, we fell in love with her and, and she and we became one.

Enjoy:

CASSANDRA

The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers

hooked in the stones of the wall,

the storm-wrack hair and screeching mouth:

does it matter, Cassandra,

whether the people believe

your bitter fountain? Truly men hate the truth; they’d liefer

meet a tiger on the road.

Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying: but

religion —

Vendors and political men

pour from the barrell, new lies on the old, and are praised 

for kindly

Wisdom. Poor bitch be wise.

No: You’ll still mumble in a corner a crust of truth, to men

and gods disgusting — you and I, Cassandra.

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WHEN THE GODS’ GIFTS BECOME A SOURCE OF ENDLESS PAIN AND FRUSTRATION, ONE MUST TAKE THE GIFT AND SPEND IT NONETHELESS, FINDING SOLACE IN THE MADE BEDS OF THE COMFORT INNS.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

27 Responses to “THE IGNORANCE AND POLITICAL IN-BREEDING: YOU DON’T FIND IT THAT WAY IN “ELSEWHERE, AMERICA” … plus … “CASSANDRA” SPEAKS THE TRUTH, EVEN THOUGHT THE FOOLS REFUSE TO LISTEN”

  1. ACLU
    October 29, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    If it’s over in Pittsfield I invite you to go “elsewhere” danny and leave us alone. This would go a long way to improve the city I love.

  2. Piedmontese 1228 East
    October 29, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Yes, I fully agree with your view on what is happening in a place that has memories of Thursday nights, skating on the Common and a core of people who were honest, hard working and wanting the best future for the place they called home. I hope that truth telling becomes a gift and not a curse here, and the Cassandras are finally celebrated.

  3. AMBROSE
    October 29, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Dead city huh? Rude eh? Well Friday, while you about the USA 9,600 folks, read it nine thousand, six hundred people, almost 25% of 01201′s entire population, decended on Tyler St. to watch a parade that was so long that it stretched the entire length of Smith St. Driving home at 5:30 PM along Tyler there was hardly citizen to be seen. Then, suddenly, somewhere between 6 and 7 o’clock 2,400 cars, 4 people in each found parking space within walking distance and enjoyed themselves swimmingly. Lining the sidewalks 10 deep for nearly 1/2 mile they cheered loudly with appreciation. There was not even one negative incident (reported). While this assemblage is a pitance compared to the 125,000 that show up on July 4, its still significant. 19,200 eyes got to take in all that Tyler St. has to offer: a fish and bird shop, a closed fire station, a closed gas station, a laundermat, a tanning parlor, a used furniture store, a pizza shop, a taco place, a pizza shop, a keno place, a pizza shop and the list goes on endlessly. Instead of racing across the nation, the Planet should travel north to the county seat and see what really goes on weekends. If only we could get the people who count our parade goers to take the state census Massachusetts would gain seats in congress rather than lose them.

    • chuck garivaltis
      October 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Very nice, Ambrose, very nice and cleverly presented. A nice piece of writing and, in my opinion, intelligently presented. I enjoyed it very much.

  4. Four in one
    October 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    DV The city thanks you for pointing out the reality of failed politics. To ACLU, DV HAS gone elsewhere! Taht’s why he can see things clearly and say what needs to be said. To ambrose: 125,000 4th of July? You believe that fiction? 40,000 tops as aerial photos show. Agree with you about the pathetic offerings on Tyler St, which is as run down as ever. DV is a gift to all of us.

  5. Randy Savage
    October 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    When we continue to elect people like Dan Bianchi, Mellissa Mazzeo, and Kevin Morandi we will never get good people with experience to become elected leaders in the City of Pittsfield. We will only get people who know how to win a popularity contest or run a campaign.

    • dusty
      October 30, 2012 at 2:55 am #

      You sound like a bona fide GOB plant from the Marchetti/Ruberto/Stracuzzi camp.

  6. tito
    October 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    @Ambrose, are you sure all those people weren’t coming from the Rice Silk Mill Apartment gala? I would be proud to have Melissa Mazzeo as my Mayor, she has guile.

  7. tito
    October 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Don’t forget the empty church and it’s neglected buildings. Tyler Street memorie lane, Legault’s and MA and Pa’s, Tyler Home Supply and Fruit and Veggie market on the corner of Tyler and Cherry.

    • ambrose
      October 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      and plotskys

  8. Ron Kitterman
    October 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Dan you need to put another Attorney on retainer asap or convince Mr. Delgallo to get back on his meds. ” We are heading back from Cape Cod because they won’t let us over the canal to go surfing. We took a detour to Interstate-91 in Connecticut. Holy cow—the highway is totally empty! We have not gone by anyone for miles except those police with flashing signals and flares at the entrance. It’s amazingly empty. What gives? “

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      October 30, 2012 at 7:37 am #

      is this his FB page quote Ron?

  9. Randy Savage
    October 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Tito, I agree with you about Mazzeo having guile. However it takes brains, experience, education, and a little common sense to be a good Mayor. All things Mazzeo lack.

  10. CONCERNED
    October 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    For as long as anyone can remember who ran Pittsfield and Mass. Yup you guessed it ” “DEMOCRATIC PARTY”

    • Joe Blow
      October 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      If liberalism is a disease……Pittsfield is infected and likes to drink the Kool-Aid.

  11. tito
    October 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    @Concerned, she’s good enough for this City.

  12. FPR
    October 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Hey Dan,

    Wow, you like to rattle the cage. You make yourself a lightning rod.

    All I can say is when the entire United States economy collapses, and it will, sooner rather than later, Pittsfield will becoming a living nightmare.

    Those 150,000 people on Tyler Street will be murdering one another in cold blood.

    Stockbridge will be so much safer.

    • danvalenti
      October 30, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      FPR
      Born to do it, as they say on 125th Street.

  13. Ron Kitterman
    October 30, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    Maybe Dan’s barrister came up with those inflated numbers of parade watchers on Tyler Street. ” The Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition participated in the Pittsfield Halloween Parade yesterday—warmest day Halloween Parade in a decade. It is usually freezing. “

    • danvalenti
      October 30, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      My barrister is the honorable Charles H. Hungadunga, of Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, and McCormack.

  14. B. Clairmont
    October 30, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Ron,

    I was asked to do a count. I came up with between 9,500 and 12,000. It was based on math. I took the length of the parade, divided by width of a person, used 1.75 ft, times average depth of the crowd on both sides of the road. Used 15 test counts along the route to calculate average. I think the real total was closer to 11,000.

    Barry.

  15. B. Clairmont
    October 30, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Ron,

    I was asked to do a count. I came up with between 9,500 and 12,000. It was based on math. I took the length of the parade, divided by width of a person, used 1.75 ft, times average depth of the crowd on both sides of the road. Used 15 test counts along the route to calculate average. I think the real total was closer to 11,000.

    Barry.

    • Scott
      October 30, 2012 at 5:23 am #

      Would’t it have been easier to just walk from one end to the other counting heads?

      • B. Clairmont
        October 30, 2012 at 5:45 am #

        LOL

    • Dave
      October 30, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      Now I see the reason for the inflated number. Barry used the width of a person, not a typical Pittsfielder, a little larger than the norm from not working and feeding off the Government dime. Oh wait they balance out the skinnier crackheads-never mind.

      • danvalenti
        October 30, 2012 at 7:41 am #

        Good one, Dave!