Saturday, March 17, 2018

Children Must Not Know or Remember
By © Anton Vendamencsh, 2017

Chapter 11/ In The Wake Of Overt Violence 4

After grandfather and Emilia married (1922), the next major event in family affairs occured in 1926, when Emilia adopted her sister’s son as her own.

There are a number of reasons why Emilia did this: a) Emilia and grandfather have no issue*; b) Emilia evidently determines to break her verbal agreement with grandfather to share in their business venture 50-50; c) as Publisher of the newspaper Emilia decides to exercise the power (legal) of the written word over the verbal, and claim the newspaper as her own; d) a dramatic and irreversible ‘coming-out’ results from the plastic surgery that remakes not only Emilia’s face, but personality**. From 1926 until 1932 the pendulum appears to swing back in favor of grandfather, who in 1932 retires and installs my father as editor-in-chief. Emilia makes no overt countermove until after the death of grandfather in 1939. She then dismisses my father as editor-in-chief. However, she is forced to reinstate him, when it becomes apparent that there is no one who can do the job as well as he and keep the newspaper profitable***.

*Did they or did they not have sexual contact? While the question today may seem ridiculous, the fact that they had no children of their own, may confirm the rumor that Emilia had contracted syphilis from her first husband. Also, in those days sex had not yet become the obsession of cityfolk it has become today, but many practiced the commandments (self-discipline and self-denial) that were observed by the people of the countryside. The put down of self-gratification by globalization preaching churches had its reasons and the seeding of the idea that if one did not practice heterosexual sex one would lose one’s mind was not altogether a rabbit out of thin air.

**The ‘business woman’ who comes out from behind the ‘nice girl’ image is often a woman abused in early life.  Dire conditions of poverty in the city often force a young woman to take to whoring as means of survival. This brings her in touch with the worst life has to offer, which harden her emotional life, sometimes to the point of insensitivity.

***Father’s success as editot-in-chief is due not only to his understanding of what the Latvijan public wants from a newspaper, but also due to his from bottom-up familiarity with the publishing process (which his father made him learn upon his return from the Ukraine) and experience as a military officer in General Denikin’s White army.

Upon his retirement, grandfather purchased an estate in Kandava, western Latvija, which property he wishes to develop as an experimental farm. His interest in agriculture is a throwback to his childhood in Taurene (see EC648), when following the death of his father, his mother is recorded to have stood in a wagon of cow manure and distributed its good to the field, right and left.

Curiously (or perhaps not), grandfather’s first wife, my grandmother, relocates to nearby town of Tukums, which is a mere 24 km or 15 mi away from her ex-husband’s estate. There were rumors that grandfather wished to remarry her, but that she refused to take him back. Why? Perhaps grandmother was all too aware of the material losses that such a move would entail.

From 1936 on there commence a series of events, all of which, in one way or another, diminished the influence of Herrnhuters (such as remained) in general and grandfather in particular. When in 1935 (his 75th birthday) and thereafter grandfather is asked why he refuses to leave the nation a legacy such as money for scholarships, a hospital, or some other institution, he makes no response. Nobody guesses that the reason is that he is not the oligarch the public has been led to believe. No one has the audacity to guess: that for reasons of their own, grandfather and Emilia, have perpetrated a myth that both are millionaires. Having committed themselves to a myth, neither can—for the scandal that would cause—back out of it.

In 1937 there occurs an event outside the family purview, nevertheless one to which the origins of the family are closely tied with.

I  At the age of 38, the last of Herrnhuters who wishes to continue the Moravian Church as a church independent of the Lutheran Church, Karlis Ozolinsh, dies unexpectedly. His death is accepted without comment, even though it is sudden and unexpected, and may be murder instigated as a result of an effort to once and for all discontinue the Moravian Church in Latvija. On second thought, given what has become a tradition of  fictionalization of Latvijan history, the death of Ozolinsh helps rewrite and silence the events of Latvijan history into something like permanent fiction. The death is among the last of nails into the coffin of the founders of the Latvijan nation. The next to last nail occurs in 1948 with the official liquidation of the church in Latvija by the post war Soviet Latvijan regime. The last nail is driven with the arrival of the so-called ‘renewed’ State of Latvija after the 1991. Thereafter the Lutheran Church of Latvija, failing leadership, writes the last ignominious chapter in its efforts to liquidate competition. Arguing that it needs resources in order to continue, it sells the last of the Herrnhuter properties in Riga. It is interesting that the property is located but a stones thrown from the former offices of the Latest News (JZ). The sale finalizes the secularization of the Christian Church in Latvija, and liquidates all memories of a Christian foundations of the Nation.

Because the Soviets and the Reich have already made their deal partitioning Europe and the elites of Latvija know it, no one has time to do an in-depth investigation of the death of Ozolish. When the last Herrnhuter property in Riga is sold in post-Soviet times, Christianity itself is too short of influence, not to say dead, to evoke publicē interest

II  In 1937, aged 77, grandfather approached his son-in-law, my Godfather, a judge of the Latvijan Supreme Court, for an opinion of the consequences if he were to divorce Emilia. The reason for asking for a divorce, he tells his daughter is: ”She (Emilia) has become insufferable”*. The legal advice he receives is harsh news: a divorce is likely to result in significant material losses for himself and his heirs. As a result, grandfather decides to suffer his estranged wife and fate. A 1937 photo ( here ) of some of the family projects the happy image; front row, children, from left: unknown, myself, my cousin, my sister, unknown; adults in first row, from left, my father, Emilia, grandfather. Emilia’s mother, my aunt; second row, from left, behind my father, my godfather, the judge referred to above, Emilia’s sister, my uncle, my aunt, identity uncertain.

*It is about this time that Emilia begins to be referred to as ”Latvija’s first lady”. This is because she accompanies (and finances?) prezident  K. Ulmanis at dinners and other events. Grandfather, suffering from depression, becomes increasingly obese, and suffers from clogged arteries. In 1939 one of his legs turns gangrenous and is amputated. Grandfather does not recover, and dies in June, without seeing his alternate home in Jurmala finished. Today a You Tube advertisement tries to sell the house. The seller, an heir of Emilia, does not hesitate to rewrite history and leave grandfather out of it.

III  During Emilia’s birthday party in 1939 (September 10), which is attended by high society friends and acquaintances, there appears a gypsy fortune teller. No one appears to know whence she comes or who she is. After the gypsy lays her cards, she tells Emilia that the cards tell that she will die of starvation.

Some sources claim the fortune teller to have been a well known Latvijan fortune teller of the time (Finks). But there is no proof of this. Neither is there proof of my version of the story. However, it must not be forgotten that by 1939 most upper class Latvians knew that independence was over and hard times lay ahead. Hitler had invaded Poland nine day before Emilia’s birthday. Rumors of an imminent invasion by Russians were in the air—the Baltic Germans were leaving Latvija en masse. Emilia had reached deep into Hitler’s government hierarchy, and her brother-in-law, an Austrian actor, had even approached Himler in an attempt to gain her refuge in Germany. Her plea was rejected. Equally rejected was my father, when he approached Emilia and asked her for funds to leave Latvija, but she refused him. This story is told by one of the editors (R. Ozols) of the newspaper. Following the death of grandfather in June, his two surviving daughters—never ones to accept Emilia as part of the family—prepared to sue Emilia for getting more than 50% of the family’s wealth. Such a 50-50 split had been proposed in the Last Testament. Given the fact that their mother, my paternal grandmother, had suddenly taken ill and could soon die, it is possible that her daughters—uninvited to Emilia’s birthday party—hired a gypsy fortune teller to spoil Emilia’s birthday with an upsetting prognostication.

It is a possibility that grandmother’s illness was not accidental, but was due to murder by poison. The reasons for killing grandmother were many.

In the event that grandmother’s daughters got to sue Emilia (and with the husband of one of them a judge on the Supreme Court, why would they not?), grandmother would make a convincing court witness, as to Emilia’s role in the break up of her family and Emilia’s true social status at the beginning of the 20th century. There were rumors that Emilia had contracted syphilis from her actor husband. Syphillis was rumoted to be the reason why she could not bear children. With inter-family relations at the breaking point—Emilia may have refused father’s request of funds to leave, in an effort to persuade him to persuade his sisters to drop the law suit against her. Failing that, grandmother became Emilia’s next logical target. Not only had the Soviets occupied the country de facto already, the family was at the brink of a no holds barred violent existential crisis of its own. The first victim of the crisis was to be grandmother*, with Red Riding Hood playing the role of wolf. While there is no photographic proof of this, untold history (and there is more than enough of it) is always more real than fiction**.

*Though they were divorced, grandfather continued to support his first wife and children throughout his life with generous, but secretive, support. The secret was maintained many years in a disciplined fashion. The move of grandmother to be near her former husband is a reality. So is th fact, that I never got to know my grandmother, because my father kept his children from her in order not to jeopardize his job as editor of the newspaper. Money was delivered to grandmother by secret couriers; as one editor of The Latest News, Roland Ozols, reports in his book ”The Last of the Mohicans” (Avots, 1992).

**A Post-Soviet Latvijan writer (L. Muktupavele), did her best to concoct a biographical fantasy-channeling, which she called ”Emilija”. Modestly successful among an audience that had no idea what Latvija had been like before the Soviet occupation (or that the Soviet occupation was, in fact, but a belated takeover of Latvija by Latvijans themselves), the author’s illiteracy with regard to the past, whether macro or micro (Muktupavele failed to interview any members of the surviving family of the day), remains an illustration of the contempt for history by the post-Soviet Latvijan generation.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Children Must Not Know or Remember
By © Anton Vendamencsh, 2017

Chapter 10/ In The Wake Of Overt Violence 3

The deliberately illiterate character of the ‘rich’, ‘famous’, and ‘ruling class’ is a phenomenon not commented on or noticed by book publishers or literary critics. This is not to say that the rich, famous, and ruling class do not keep diaries or give interviews, or speak ‘bullshit’, but it does say that most of those who fall within said categories hide their subjective selves from the public and themselves. In effectm they ”don’t wash their dirty laundry in public’’. Sometimes these ‘elect’ even change their personality. The reason for the phenomenon is summed up in one word: image.

In order to retain the privileges that come with being well known, the ‘image’ or icon of one’s self must be maintained at all costs, even when theft and murder is writ large all over the other side of the page. An exception issometimes found among saints and artists, but even among these, one hides one’s true subjective thoughts and pretends that one’s true character is amply present in what the public is let see. Those who break the rule and act as iconoclasts (as, for example, the American writer Truman Capote’s 1975 story in Esquire magazine, re: "La Cote Basque 1965" did) will result in an immediate expulsion from the circle of the privileged.

As the article points out, the reaction of the rich and famous to Capote’s story was to order him to commit ‘social’ suicide. It was a long and torturous public event that lasted from 1975 until 1984—nine years. It took Capote from the age of 51 until nearly 60 to die. “He died for our sins,” (Romans 4:25) is a saying the New York elite can be quoted as thinking (subjectively, silently, and, of course, only ‘perhaps’). Another example of preserving an image is that of the wife of a former president of the United States, who likely seconded the murder of one Seth Rich, a DNC (Democratic National Committee) election campaign worker turned thief for money’s sake. The effort to protect a once upon a time First Lady--for consenting to the murder of a thief—from a citizen’s arrest—the most sure way of moving forward a deliberately stalled investigation has taken on epic proportions of do-nothing.

In the case of this author’s family, the ‘dirty launry’ of its aduts was not only hid from the public and itself, but—to discredit memory—was left for a child to remember. As fate would have it, I was only 4-5-6 years old, an age when memory is not yet sure what it is that it actually remembers, yet which memory rises to the surface in later years, wonders just what is it that it tells, and hears the old saw: “Never speak ill of the dead”.*

*For the last 50 years or so this has been augmented by the sickly near death experience (nde) movement, which speaks of ‘unconditional love ’ and forgive the deceased torture and murder. This does not necessarily mean that nde lies, but that it speaks to a mind raised in a natural, not virtual environment,

About five years ago, I had an unannounced visit from two elderly women. They brought a photograph which they said they had found in the attick of the residence of a deceased Lutheran minister in a nearby town. The women said they believed that the photo showed my grandfather and Emilia, and wondered if I recognized them. Indeed, I did recognize them, but not as I had ever seen them in life or any photographs. My remaining living cousin refused to agree with me that the people in the photo were who they seemed to be.* The photograph was from the year 1922, eleven years before my birth. It was a group photo, one likely taken on grandfather’s and Emilia’s wedding day. Other than grandfather, there was no one else from my side of the family in the photo. The recorded were Emilia’s best man (E. Smilghis, actor and theatre director), her two sisters, the husband of one of the sisters (all stage perfotmers), and their son, the mother of Emilia, and an unidentified young woman, who may have been the paramour of Smilghis.

*When the photo appeared on internet, I began to wonder if the story the women told me was to be believed. Because I offered no money, but kept the photo, the women likely left disappointed and approached others interested. The reason why Emilia looked so different from other photos, and why my cousin, nearly ten years older than myself did not recognize her, was that soon after her wedding, Emilia had plastic surgery, which remade her image from a handsome young woman, into one who looked like a ‘business woman’.

Though grandfather lived with Emilia from from 1909 on, they did not marry, because marriage laws of the day were strict. Grandmother would not give grandfather a divorce, until Emilia agreed to rewrite their Last Testament in a language clear enough to include grandfather’s first family among the heirs. In effect, grandmother was the only one to recognize the monumental scam being perpetrated against her former husband and children. The scam was granfather’s desert for scamming the faith that founded a nation; a fact that has escaped history; and which scams Latvian historians assiduously ignore and build on the fiction of Latvija’s history on to this day.

Grandfather’s Ahiles heel (the finger in the dyke that he had to pull out) proved to be the bankruptcy of his two hardware stores (mentioned in EC 649). Bankrupcy laws of the day were unforgiving. It was the reason why only Emilia could sign up as the publisher; grandfather could only be the newspaper’s editor-in-chief* and indeed followed his motto:”Work, work, work”—until he ‘worked’ himself into oblivion.

*Contrary to information placed on at least one internet link, Emilia was never known as the “Queen of the Press”. The title (King of the Latvijan Press/ Latvijas preses karalis, 1962) was commonly applied to grandfather and was passed on to the future by Janis Karklins, managing editor (1921-1928) of the The Latest News/ Jaunākās Ziņas. Neither did Emilia originate the idea of the newspaper [it is said to have been Karlis, grandfather’s oldest son (d. 1911)], nor were its editors recruited by her. Most editors came from grandfather’s circle of acquaintances of teachers, and editors with whom he had worked with at several Latvian newspapers [Mājas Viesis 1907-08) anf Rīta Vēstnesis (1910)]. Many of the editors had Herrnhuter backgrounds, such as Karlis Skalbe (JZ literary editor from 1920-1940; Skalbe was also a well known and popular Latvijan author). It was on Skalbe’s suggestion to grandfather that the newspaper began to publish free of charge ads by way of which refugees returning home after the war sought to find their dispersed relatives. This gesture gained the newspaper enormous popularity and endeared it to the public. Emilia’s first husband is said to have been an alcoholic, wherefore his career as an actor was on dubious grounds, and there was no settlement money for Emilia to be had from him. Morover, due to the 1905 Revolution and general poverty at the time, theatres were closed and actors’ salaries were at or below subsistence level. The Rīga Latvian theatre (founded 1902, closed 1905) resumes activity only in 1908 (-1915). As for the fortune teller’s prognosis of Emilia’s future, there is another story, one notably different. I will tell it shortly. As for Emilia’s death, the link projects pure fiction. According to my maternal grandmother’s memoirs, it was she who invited a confused Emilia (running about on the platform of a railroad station) into her deportation wagon and provided Emilia (who had arrived at the station with only a purse) with a sheet and blanket. Grandmother writes—the final irony—that Emilia, the destroyer of her grandchildren’s lives, was comforted by her and died in her arms.

As neither grandfather or Emilia had money to spare, no one knows for sure how they got their newspaper off the ground. It was a period of social turmoil, even chaos. There is a rumor that before they left the employ of the German newspaper, they took with them a list of the paper’s subscribers. One would not be surprised to hear that there were other irregularities, such as sending out introductory editions inserted in the German newspaper in the mail room. This would have been advantageous as the population of Riga was rapidly increasing in number of native Latvijans, who had little or no knowledge of the German language. Moreover, Emilia’s mother worked as a distributor of newspapers to newspaper stands. The new enterprise hit the right keys, and the publication was received by the public favorably The content of the newspaper was directed toward the realities of life rather than politics.*

*The New Riga Theatre was founded (1902) in opposition to the in-house theatre at the Riga Latvian House. We see here a repeat of the split between the Moravian and Lutheran churches. After claiming the achievements of the Moravians as its own, the Lutheran Church hitched its wagon to the rising Latvian nationalist movement, whereas a notable segment of the defeated Moravians leaned in the direction of the Russian state and Russian Orthodox Church. This is noted by the founding (1906) of the Latvian Orthodox Church by David Balodis (see EC648) at Liograd/ Ļaudona. The New Riga Theatre started with performances of internationally known operas such as Carmen and Faust. It is likely that grandfather and Emilia met in 1908 when the New Riga Theatre was reopened. The year 1908 is also the year Emilia divorces her first husband, wherefore it is the year that brings the relationship of Emilia and grandfather more or less into public space.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Glass Ele-phant
By © Anton Vendamencsh, 2017

Chapter 9/ In The Wake Of Overt Violence 2

Nature created the sexual orgasm for the sake of procreation. Excepting humans, this is a fact known by females of every species. Nature limits the orgasmic experience among animals to the estrus reproductive cycle of the female. By the time Nature came to create human beings, it trusted itself to have created a being able to think and act creatively enough to take pleasure in life, yet escape the negative consequences that sexual addiction caused by the orgasmic experience may result in. Indeed, early recorded stories concern themselves with addiction to sex, and tell of how this or that tribe dealt with the problem.

Contrary to Catholic theology that abrogates Christianity for itself alone, early Christianity was universal, even if it did not always follow the same script. In some cases, the scripts differed sharply—as Greek and Hebrew poets prove. Sometimes the script diverged from the true path—as the Catholic and Aztec scripts do—demanding that the narrative be rethought, retold, and new practices be brought about.

It is obvious from the Greeks that their God-King had enough respect from the community to be able to drive all other men to the sidelines of the Kingdom, where they guarded its borders and practiced either monogamous or polygamous homosexuality. The exception to the rule was when a wife of a hetero sexual King took fancy for another King. This happened in the case of Helen, the wife of King Menelaus. Having become addicted to sexual pleasure and finding little satisfaction in herself alone, Helen allowed herself to be kidnapped by a young jackass, named Paris from Troy.

To restore Nature’s order, God-King Menelaus must act. He has two choices in what to do. As his first act, Menelaus may pursue Helen and her lover Paris and kill them. But because the elopement was done secretively and is discovered too late to catch up with the elopers, King Menelous must find some other way.

Instead of having Helen stoned, King Menelous recruits his kingdom’s bodyguards by promising them a sexual taste of Helen if they capture, both, Helen and Paris, and give them over to him to do as he will. To make sure that Helen gives herself to his men of her own will (for lest a woman gives herself to a man of her own free will, the orgasm  experienced by the man may become worse than pain and cause him to express his disappointment by becoming violent), King Menelaus promises Helen that he will spare Paris’s life as long as she gives herself to the men of his armada willingly*. Like it or not, Helen is, thus, forced to make love to all of Menelaus’s supporters with smile, as it were.

*From today’s perspective this is called ‘gang rape’. However, it is unlikely that the wisemen and women of our forebears did not understand this. Nevertheless, they placed a higher value on avoiding aborting children, who are the result of unrestrained and uneducated sexuality. In effect, for the tribal elders the avoidance of an orgasm arrived at through genital contact saved the life of a child. From this perspective the practice of child sacrifice is a public way to punish parents who practice genital intercourse as a way of achieving their orgasms; it is not necessarily insanity as some historians explain it. The advocacy of abortion in our day is frowned upon by many (a mother is offered the chance of watching a suction tube pull off the leg of her embryo), but by many it is accepted in lieu of the ‘civilized’ collective’s failure to accept anal intercourse or heterosexual masturbation as an alternative.

As lovers of literature know, the story of the Trojan war is told by a cyle of epic poems., among which are the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Aenied. The story of the sack of Troy is told by the Roman poet Virgil in the Aenied. While academic scholars emphasize the aspects of ancient war, the ancient poets did not hesitate to incorporate into the story other themes. For example, in the Illiad, we discover that many of the warriors were homosexual lovers. The story of Achilles and Patroclus illustrates this aspect. More stories are told by the poet Homer, who is author of the follow up story called the Odissey. The Odissey describes addiction to sexual pleasure in a number of ways. One is represented by the Goddess  Circe (in Latvijan ‘Chirce’ or Teaser is represented symbolically by chircenis, a kriket), who can turn men into pigs. Another story tells of King Odisseus, a friend of King Menelaus, who ties himself to the mast of his vagina shaped ship and sails through a strait that echoes to the Sirens’ Song. The Sirens, sitting on the shores of the vulva,  represent the temptations of Orgasm.

Nature’s order is restored when Odisseus return home and kills the borderguard clique that has allied itself with numerous other unsavory characters and in the King’s absence are besetting the King’s wife. The only guardian of Queen Penelope is her son, Telemachus, who guards his mother against the trespassers of the reasons for orgasm.

The famous ‘Trojan Horse’ is but a rapist’s penis and the gate of Troy, which may symbolize the vagina of Helen. The warriors hiding within the horse are but sperm that catalyze violence. While the classic interpretation of the Trojan horse is a tool wherewith the enemy penetrates the walls of Troy, the more likely story is that pelts of horses were sold to Troy, whereby access was gained to the Mediterranean Sea by the Vikings who had come down the Danube River. Following the sack of Troy, the Vikings oared south and sacked Jerusalem, which they then renamed Constantinople, which we know today as Istanbul. While conventional history tells that the crusaders came by ships from Venice, it is likely that no less ships took advantage of the current of the Danube.

The changing of the names of cities, especially holy ones, is not an unusual phenomenon. Stalin changed the name of Saint Peterburg to Leningrad, and of Staritsyn (city of the Star) to Stalingrad. Others cities may not have changed names, but acquired rewritten narratives. As I have pointed out in the previous chapters/blogs, no one in Latvija believes that the now disappeared city of Jersika was once named Jerusalem, or that Madliena, the birthplace of my grandfather, stood for Magdalena; and no writer’s fantasy has dared to oppose the Latvian government’s official version and imagine that Magdalena escaped from Occetania, now France, to the Livoniam kingdom of Jersika. The story that tells how the church of Madliena was built only after a maiden was cemented into its walls suggests that indeed a woman in flight from those who would kill her in Ocetania found refuge in the northeast of Europe.

My granfather’s surname ‘Benjaminsh’, when subjected to Grimm’s law, may also be spelled ‘Venda-mensch’, i.e., the Wanderer. B=V, Venda = to vend, to travel; Mensch = sch=c or Menc, the last syllable being German for human being.

It is obvious that when grandfather stepped off the ship that had taken him to Riga, he—Odysseus—stepped into the arms of temptation. Because he did not tie himself to the mast (or tie down the mast), Emilia’s Coo Coo call was able to ware her bares and cuckold him. Grandfather’s carelessness played into the hands of neoChristianity as well as Emilia’s. The narrative he chose for himself had in the course of time become so confusing as to the nature of Christianity that from the Taborite orientation of his forebears, he became an Ultraquist, who accepted the theology of Catholicism, without batting an eye. As a consequence, in the future, he lost everything he had worked for. The destructive legacy (the result of crossing Catholicized Christianity with secular programs pushed by government) of Westernized Christianity (meditation et al) is manifest in the flim flam that has become of Christianity today. Still, if his legacy for himself was wormwood, grandfather’s errors became food for thought and an inspiration for yours truly.

Estrus reproductive cycle