Category Archives: Essays/Articles

6,000 Ways to Say It (book review)

This book review was published in  The Sun (city?) on July 20th, 1919.

GIOVANNI PAPINI, the Italian iconoclastic and sometimes humorous, all too humorous, philosopher, has written an amusing sketch for one of the magazines called “The Satanic Genius.” It tells of the quest of a youthful worshipper of a world famous poet who lives in Paris. The poet’s Satanism has thrilled the world and made the gooseflesh vibrant where none had vibrated before.
The breathless disciple after many attempts at last stands face to face with the Master in the latter’s very commonplace apartment. And the Great Man is still more commonplace—a sort of baldheaded and bowlegged D’Annunzio.
To the killing astonishment of the believing boy the Genius relates just how be concocts his flights, aphorisms, demoniacal frenzies and super-vamps. Even shows him his catalogue of paradoxes, his dictionaries of obsolete phrases and words, his assortment of nude jokes, medical terms—in fact, all the trappings and Liberty Motors that beautify the outside and buzz inside of Pegasus!
He relates his money wrangles with his publishers and bows out the young man with a satanic grin after explaining that the water colors on the wall were painted by his wife.
This is the very triumph of Satanism, but the boy didn’t know it—and he probably bopped off the Pont Neuf forthwith.
In the age long controversy whether genius is a matter of infinite pains or inspiration, Signor Papini seems to go in for the infinite pains side. Inspiration, anyhow, is only the result of the infinite pains of our ancestors. All the words that Shakespeare used in his plays are in the dictionary. Take twenty thousand of them, sit down sonic Saturday afternoon and arrange them as Shakespeare knew the trick and—pouf !—you’ll have something bigger than Hamlet on your paper. Personally having been a genius up until my fortieth year, and having then given it up in order to live decently, I can now blazon the secret of the concoction of those great books that no publisher will publish—Roget’s Thesaurus, the Standard Dictionary, Walker’s Rhyming Dictionary, Smith’s Classical Dictionary, Woods’s Dictionary of Quotations and a briar root pipe, mixed with tea and rum.
But here comes another ready genius maker just as we were all going in for Bolshevism and root beer. It is A Dictionary of 6,000 Phrases, compiled and arranged by Edwin Hamlin Carr. It is an aid to ready and effective conversation and to social letter writing, with over 100 model social letters. It is (Papini, Pegasus and fooling aside) a valuable book for beginners in the art of conventionalizing their style if they flout the genius game. The author truly says “We think in phrases as well as words.” Can you deny it? And here is the phrase for any exigency, social, political, religious or literary.
A person that could memorize them all would go through the world as slickly as a kitten in a molasses factory. He would be a perfect genius of manners, poise, courtesy and grace, the Fourteen Points of elegance and the Ten Commandments of fashion. May I venture to suggest that with this book one could write a peace treaty that posterity would look on as a Magna Charta of Thought?
At the top of each page there is an index word. Suppose, for instance, you are interested in “Progress.” Page 203 is your cubbyhole. Here are “the chariot of progress,” “an aggressive movement,” “a thorough going reform,” &c. In fact there are 17,000 ready made editorials right on this page. Every man his own brisbane.
As I am seriously thinking of becoming a genius again, thanks, Mr. Editor, for this valuable book.

Putnam ‘s Sons.

And for the intrepid, I bring you:
Giovani Papini’s “The Satanic Genius.” Published in Vanity Fair, Vol. 12, No. 5, p. 47, July 1919.


Communists and Civil Rights

(as printed in the Syracuse NY Journal, on 12-21-1934)

THE case of Alexius Karllson, the alien Communist held at Ellis Island for deportation, is full of that ironic mirth which is said to make the gods laugh at all things mortal and which we on earth call the “horselaugh.”

Karllson, whose only use for America is to turn it into a Communistic slave-state, had his lawyer apply for a writ of habeas corpus. He wants to stay in this accursed capitalistic country. He demands the right to go on talking and plotting—neither of which he could do in his own ideological Utopia, Russia, without an early morning trip to the live-target yard.

Federal Judge Goddard denied the writ on the ground that membership in the Communist party was proof of conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Aside from the momentous nature of this decision, the question arises why these enemies of the American form of government are so loath to leave our shores.

They exhaust every legal resource of this hateful “bourgeois-capitalistic-ruggedly individualistic” democracy to stay here.

They appeal—with perfectly straight faces—to their “rights” per the constitution—that constitution which they would tear into bits.

They abjectly petition judges and bureau chiefs at Washington to keep them here, where they are, so they claim, being “exploited” and “enslaved”—those very judges and bureau chiefs that they would not only abolish but lift into the air with a gentle bomb or two.

They use, in a word, all the privileges that a free democratic country accords them—free speech, free pen and a free soap-box—TO ADVOCATE THE ABOLITION OR ALL THESE SWEAT-AND-BLOOD-BOUGHT PRIVILEGES.

WE PERMIT these aliens to use our own culture and civilized practices for the purpose of destroying us!

No wonder they want to stay here! Think of the loot! It is like inviting a man to sit in your office chair so that he can more comfortably shoot you.

The Communists, both of the foreign and home-spawned varieties, are strong for the preservation of American civil liberties when their own liberties are threatened.

But when they come into power, as in Russia, presto!– all civil liberties disappear and the Karllsons line up against a wall anyone who utters those words of hated democratic. capitalistic origin, civil liberties.

A political dissenter in Russia when arrested is hurried before a MILITARY TRIBUNAL. He has no counsel (that is a capitalistic custom). There is not even a trial. There is a “hearing” (the military tribunal HEAR themselves pronounce sentence). and the objector to Communism is hurried up against a wall.

The only writ of habeas corpus is written by the vultures if the fellow is not buried in quicklime.

Sixty-six of these cases in one day in the last Communist “purge”!

And Karllson and his Communist plotters gawp about their “rights”!

As a matter of fact, Karllson and his alien cronies know that they are having the time of their lives in free America. They never breathed freely before they came here.

But it is time to check the breathing of these plotters, of all plotters of all patterns—Communists, Nazists and Fascists—and make them understand that this democratic- individualistic republic is still a going concern.

The Communists dish it out (in Russia), but they can’t take it (in the U. S. A.).


The dictatorship of the proletariat means the end of everything that is fundamentally American ! Liberty, self-reliance, private property, civil procedure, free speech, free press and even free movement.

It would be the return of ant-civilization. Instead of the free-flying eagle as our emblem a Communist regime would substitute A BUG.

What the Communists here need is a dish of their own cooking. Do unto them as they have done unto the minorities in Russia!

The time for action is NOW. Let democracy destroy Communism. Don’t wait until the Fascist man-on-horse-back appears!


(from the Greenwich Village Quill)

PEOPLE.—An aggregation of ventriloquists. (A ventriloquist is one who speaks from the belly.) 2. A Jacob’s ladder used by politicians, priests and newspaper proprietors for ascent into the Golden City. 3. A movable barrier, a hinge. 4. The slats in the beds of the mighty. 5. The pivot of stupidity. 6. The second childhood of the race of simians. 7. An invertebrate cow. (In some countries the word people is used to denote a voting machine; in others—especially the Oriental countries—it is a sect numbering many millions that lives entirely on caviar and ortolans and that is in consequence much hated by its impoverished rulers.)

DISINTERESTED.—Whatever is inconceivable. 2. A hypothetical ether that surrounds all forms of selfishness and naturalness. See Zymosthzmphsysizmotishness in the appended “Book of Obsolete Incantations and Recipes for Easy Lying”.

SUCCESS.—A sunset. 2. A stained glass window through which one may see an ironic moon. 3. The final link in a chain of chalk. 4. To rise from the illusion of pursuit to the disillusion of possession. (“Nothing succeeds like success”—an ironic aphorism first uttered by Christ on the cross; later credited to Porfirio Diaz.)

WORLD.—Once the garden spot of the universe; now a breeding stable.

CRADLE.—A promise of happiness for the unmarried and a promise of misery for the unborn.

Word Meanings

Word Meanings
By Benjamin DeCasseres
(From The Washington Herald, reprinted in Dansville, NY Genesee County Express, 01-20-1938)

Many of the words we use nowadays have ceased to have any meaning.
The word democracy, for instance, is now used by the Communists. Democracy means the rule of the people. Communism means the rule of the proletariat — that is, rulership by only one class of people, the very lowest. And they purpose to exterminate the middle and upper classes. That is not democracy (which means all the people) but oligarchy.
The “radicals” call fundamentalist and constitutional Americans “reactionaries,” whereas a reactionary means one who seeks to return to ancient and outworn forms of social and political organization — such for instance, as those that make the state all powerful and abolish the common rights of individuals
Reactionaries are actually thus Fascists, Communists and Socialists.
A liberal used to mean one who was opposed to centralization and regimentation in those matters that concern the individual alone. Today men call themselves “liberals” who support every crackpot scheme to make the individual a parasitic growth on the general public. They now call these schemes “social legislation.”
The dictionary is, however, still a good guide in defining one word, and that is individualist. There is no mistaking what that word means. It means an independent man, two words hated by all Communists, Fascists and reactionary liberals and Socialists.

The Pan-Baiters

The Pan-Baiters

(from The Judge, 04-03-1920)

THERE is one god that will never pass away. Gods may go and gods may come, but Pan lives on forever!
Pan is nature, life, instinct, the seasons. beauty, good wine, pleasure. the heady laughter-beads in the cup of the eye and the whispers in the reeds and trees where clandestine lovers meet.
Pan’s eternal slogan has been, “Live and let live.” Eat, drink and laugh, is another of his pipings on his immortal pipe carved from the Tree of Good and Evil, and still another is, Get thee behind me. Long-Face and pogrom-laden bigots!
We have had in the last two thousand years Christian-baiters, Jew-baiters, free-speech baiters, free-thought baiters, and now in this country we are afflicted with the Pan-baiters.
They chase the great god from the eating places, from literature, from the “movies,” from the stage, from the painted canvas, from the great poem, from the hearts of the human.
Squat on their wooden thrones in sanctified sublimity, they crack their whip at the head of the happy god wherever he shows himself. Pan-baiting is the veritable business of our lawmakers and sectarian pundits. If they ever discover that sunlight intoxicates they will attempt to gouge the eyes out of the God of Day himself.
But Pan hides, and is never dead, and can never die while the blood is rich and red.
The Pan-baiters are wasting their bad breath.


By Benjamin De Casseres.
(Originally published in The International, July 1915)

THE epithet “hypocrite!” is generally applied by a hypocrite. The clairvoyant mind smiles and passes on. Make-believe is the eternal Fact. Appearance, semblance, illusion, seduction, lying, con­stitute the elements of life. Emerson said God’s method is illusion and he spoke of life as a procession of “hypocritic days.” That is, God himself is the primal make-believe, the protagonist of all hypocrites. Are we not created in His image? The “things are seldom what they seem” of the Gilbertian ballad should have read, “things are never what they seem.” Duplicity is inherent in all movement, in all thought, in all human action. A study of history reveals a stupendous charla­tanism. The study of religions reveals the inherent quackery of human belief. The history of human ideals is a history of pretence, fraud, self-hypnosis.
Life is a passion for masks. The Kiss of Judas on the forehead of the Lord came out of the heart of man. Each of us desires to seem the thing he is not. It is a life-instinct. Hypocrisy, whether conceived as Maya, the god of illusion, whose work goes on forever and whose lies are sublime and transfigurating, or whether conceived as Pecksniff, who cov­ers his feelers and snatchers with the par­son’s white gloves, is the one unpunish­able sin. Hypocrisy spells success. Whether sublime or mean, it is the primal element in the will-to-live. Therefore I praise hypocrisy and glorify the hypocrite. Hypocrisy comes from the Greek words hypo (under) and krinomai (contend). It is a life-word. Its roots reach down into the heart of existence, which is com­bat, struggle, vengeance. The batteries that lie masked behind a smile and a salu­tation, the humility that charms and puts to sleep, the impassive look that swarms with eyes—these are the higher forms of the arts of the primordial bushwhacking being, the prehistoric man who lived by decoy and snare. Tartuffe is a descend­ant of Nimrod. Man nor animal, nor army, nor atom ever “fought in the open.” It is and always will be a “contending un­der.” Every act, every thought, every aspiration secretes itself in a Trojan horse before the obstacle to be scaled or the enemy to be conqured.
A great French thinker, Jules de Gaultier, has said that the one thing needful to life was a lie. It is the vital require­ment of the human being. Whenever an epoch comes to an end a great dreamer, religious, philosophical, or humanitarian, rises up and invents the lie-ethical. This profound truth (the universal necessity for the lie) gives us the metaphysics of hypocrisy. The external world is other than it seems. It is a series of represen­tations or images in the brain. The imag­ination colors the raw material of impres­sions and sensations, and builds up in that monstrous house of a billion scin­tillating wonders—the brain—a world that does not exist. We project it outside of us and go eternally toward it, but it recedes forever and forever, that New Jerusaleum an arm’s length away, that hypocritical and smiling mirage of the perfidious Life-spirit. A malign and an­cient seduction! A sublime, ironic Falsehood! The Spirit of Life the first Hypo­crite!
In the struggle for existence as formu­lated by Darwin, hypocrisy is a condition of survival. The law of adaptation to en­vironment, whether in the higher or lower forms of animal life, is a law dependent on flexibility. How quickly can we change? How quickly can we put away our previous selves and engender newer attitudes? Turn-coat, Volte-f ace, and Trimmer always survive in the struggle for existence. “When in Rome do as the Romans do” is not a proverb from Bae­deker, but a physiological, sociological and psychological law. To the degree that the individual urges his personality against the claims of the personality of the mass, in that degree are his life and welfare threatened. In that monstrous process from the amoeba to man forms and intelligences have survived through cunning, which is the heart of hypocrisy, as the instinct to survive at any price is its soul.
The theory of sex selection in Darwin, which has played such a tremendous role in the evolution of life, is an exposition, unconsciously, of sex-hypocrisy. The courtships of animals, birds and men do not differ in any manner. The whistle from the tree-tops, the strut of the pea­cock, the clean collar and newly mani­cured finger nails of the lover, the piano lessons that the young girl receives, all constitute part of that feigning and dis­sembling that cloak a brutal fact. Joseph Surface came nearer the secret of suc­cessful courtship than his brother. Before possession and before yielding the man and woman are always Janus-faced. Nature lards and fards to secure her end. After mating all masks are thrown off. The two sentimental hypocrites revert to a kind of intolerable sincerity and bald­ness of speech. The Sunday finery is laid away in the chest. The animal world and human world put on jumpers and cheap calico after attaining the end for which they were spawned. Hypocrisy in this field is a solemn sport.
If the race is to persist (and there has never been a single reason advanced why it should, but from Solomon to Schopen­hauer one could quote a thousand thou­sand reasons why it should not) hypocrisy is as necessary as food, and whatever is necessary is moral. Hence hypocrisy is moral because it furthers the perpetuation of the species. To bring about chaos, dis­organization and universal death it is only necessary for each individual, each nation to proclaim “the truth” from the house­tops. Truth is the one thing to be feared, truth is the one thing to be shunned. Truth is Medusa. It is the basilisk in the human heart; he who encounters its gaze dies. Let men drop their masks and look at one another in the face, let us pluck our thoughts naked and bleeding out of the voluptuous body of our deceits: So­ciety or the race could not last a minute. Men play the hypocrite before themselves. They do not seek truth, but comfort, hap­piness.
Read “Don Quixote.” Is the Idealist the supreme comedian of Time? Read “Don Quixote.” Is truth in the head or in the bowels ? Read “Don Quixote.” O thou Idealist : Fragrant and immortal liar ! Divine and aromatic hypocrite, from the zenith of thy filigree heaven scattering sweets from thy magical scent-bag!
All the ills of civilization as it is con­stituted to-day and as it was constituted anciently flow from the hypocritical Ideal. The physical and mental organization of man is always trying to escape natural laws and straining to cross natural bar­riers and limits. “National ideals” breed the patriotic hypocrite, the political hypo­crite, the diplomatic hypocrite, the im­perialist hypocrite. All the nations of the world have disparate ideals—that is, masks to cover the preying, prowling jackal of racial pride. Buccaneers, loot­ers, assassins at heart, they hide their mo­tives behind their gold-embossed ensigns and ornamental insignias. Wearing the full regalia of the Ideal, they strut before one another bowing and scraping—these pliant tools of a satanic god.
Hypocrisy is an aesthetic. In the hands of attitudes. Before complacency he is an art that conceals a crushing irony. “I am all things to all men, and to myself no thing” is the formula of the chameleon of attitudes. Before complacency he as­sumes the self-satisfied air. Before shrewd­ness he plays the fox. Before luxury he plays the Sybarite. Before poverty he assumes a threadbare air. Before intellect he parades his prowess. But in assum­ing these masks, to make the art exquisite and to more completely subtilize the sub­lime buffoonery of existence, the aesthete of this cult must exaggerate. He must play the hypocrite to the nth power. His protean attitudes must be the subli­mation of life itself. He must reincarnate himself from minute to minute in the di­verse attitudes and nuances of voice and expression of the person he is satirizing. He makes believe he is flattering and imi­tating—and thus pours acid on acid. He never antagonizes. He blends and mixes and yields at every point, slipping on the characteristics of the other one like a skin-tight garment. And from the zenith of his consciousness there will flash across his brain that “unarithmetical smile” of Aeschylus, that silent laughter that rolls its thunder over the summits of the great world-intellects. This hypo­crite, of which Montaigne and Sainte-Beuve are the eternal types, is a surgeon of souls who works masked and gloved.
In the hands of the weak there is no weapon like hypocrisy. It is the sum and substance of the Nietzschean psychology. It is the first rung and the last rung in the Jacob’s ladder of the weak—that in­visible ladder that littleness and incapacity construct while the strong and capable sleep, and which reaches from the niggard reality of earth into the fat heavens of the gluttonous imagination. The will-to-power masks itself as “justice,” “equal­ ity,” “brotherhood,” “internationalism.” And a stench of scruples comes from their mouths—scruples, which are the fears of Hypocrisy. And from the midst of the hypocritical lowly come forth from time to time “redeemers,” victims of auto-hypnosis, who, regal in themselves, are in time covered with the pollution of infinite adoration. Their cloaked dream : to draw the quivering heart from the breast of Power and strip it of its secret. The rich are thieves, no doubt ; but the poor aspire. From the hovel to the palace the pilgrims are on the way, cloaked and cowled with the stuffs of their reveries—and the keen poignard of envy protruding from their under belts. Hyperions of an ancient heaven, to-day they mask themselves as socialists and “redeemers of society.”
The strong no less than the weak wear the mask of pretence. To gain their ends they must feign and fawn and practice a sly humility and break bread with the respectable. They draw the thunderbolts of destiny from her invisible heavens, but they must always pretend that the thun­derbolt sought them out. It is fatal for Strength to play the egotist. Strength for itself must never be glorified. The Titans must come before the lowly with some­thing sacrosanct about them. Their vital purpose must walk the earth tip-toe. It is also politic for strength to snivel and whine occasionally and sham meekness and confusion. And its kit of burglars’ tools should always have some homely motto engraved on it, such as “God Bless Our Home,” or “God Be With You.” The captains of life should look like mis­sionaries in their dress. The Will-to-Power in the strong must scale back fences before it can enter its mansion in the skies.

The ANTI-GOD – French with English (google) translation







Il arriva plusieurs fois, au cours des premiers siècles de ce christianisme qui avait soi-disant rénové le monde, que les pauvres peuples, épouvantés de la tournure que prenaient les choses de ce monde, se demandèrent très sérieusement si ce n’était pas le Diable qui le régissait ou du moins s’il n’en partageait pas l’empire avec Dieu lui-même. Alors, dans leur effroi et dans leur prudence, ils adorèrent les deux principes, celui du bien et celui du mal. Et, pour mieux s’assurer la protection du Mauvais, ils se mirent à pratiquer toutes ses œuvres avec un entrain diabolique, cependant qu’à d’autres instants ils égrenaient force chapelets au pied des autels. Il y avait un grand désarroi dans les consciences. On ne m’étonnerait pas beaucoup si on m’apprenait que le manichéisme a refleuri pendant les jours que nous traversons. Dieu règne-t-il toujours en maître ? N’a-t-il pas été obligé de céder une partie de son pouvoir ? Peut-être quelques-uns se posent-ils ces questions déjà blasphématoires (à qui la faute ?), en attendant que se pose la question suprême : Aurait-il été détrôné et n’avons-nous pas pour Dieu Satan lui-même ? et en attendant surtout que les consciences, complètement dévoûtées, y répondent par l’affirmative. Flaubert conte que sa mère, honnête et droite personne, ayant vu mourir tout d’un coup sa fille, innocente nouvelle mariée, cessa tout à tout de croire en Dieu. On dira que cette femme n’avait pas l’esprit théologique. Sans doute, mais pour beaucoup de gens l’idée de Dieu se confond avec l’idée même de la justice. Ayant conscience de ne pas avoir fait de mal au Tout-Puissant, ils se demandent pourquoi le Tout-Puissant et leTout-Juste les a brutalement frappés du poing. Qu’aurait dit la mère de Flaubert si elle avait vu les soldats prussiens entrer dans sa maison, dénuder et violer sa fille sous ses yeux, ensuite l’étriper, ensuite mettre le feu à la maison et fusiller tous les voisins, tirer sur elle-même ou la rouer de coups et la laisser pour morte ? Elle aurait ressenti obscurément les sentiments que vient d’exprimer un poète américain, Benjamin de Casseres, qui s’est fait le juge de Dieu et qui lui reproche violemment les crimes sur lesquels s’est achevée l’année ! Ce morceau est d’un si grand mouvement lyrique que j’ai voulu le traduire. Le voici. Il rappelle certaines invectives de Maldoror, mais l’auteur n’est pas un Maldoror ; il ne le connaît peut-être pas. C’est un poète :






Où es-tu, ô Dieu ? Viens et sois jugé, sois frappé, sois exécuté par moi. 

Où es-tu, ô Dieu ? Être subtil, être rusé, constructeur du Ciel et de l’Enfer, amant de l’Esprit et de la Matière, viens et sois jugé, sois frappé, sois exécuté par moi.

J’ai croisé à ta recherche jusqu’à cette heure à travers l’éternité. Viens et sois jugé, sois frappé, sois exécuté par moi.

Maintenant, en voilà assez, mangeur d’hommes, multiforme cannibale, molécule de l’assassinat, Thug dans la nuit.

N’y a-t-il pas assez de sang sur ton autel, n’y a-t-il pas assez de chair sur ta table, n’y a-t-il pas assez de puanteur sous tes narines ?

Maintenant il faut que cela finisse, poltron, fuyard, Borgia de l’Éternité, Iago de l’éther.

Anti-Dieu, je suis ; et je suis sur le toit de ton tabernacle mystique comme un voleur dans la nuit.

Anti-Dieu, je suis ; et je suis sur le seuil de ton secret comme une vengeresse Érynnie.

Anti-Dieu, je suis ; et je suis la langue des victimes de ta loi de Nécessité dont les gouttes de sang jonchèrent le monde pendant cette dernière année de ton règne.

Je te jette à la face les seins et les ovaires des femmes découpées par les mains de tes créatures.

Je te jette à la face une énorme poignée de testicules et de phallus arrachés par les mains de tes créatures.

Je te jette à la face les corps rôtis de petits enfants jetés au feu par les mains de tes créatures.


Auteur de la Vie et auteur de la Mort, écoute, oh ! écoute le tonnerre de ma haine !

Auteur de la Vie et Auteur de la Mort, écoute, oh ! écoute la prodigieuse malédiction que je prononce sur toutes tes œuvres.

Auteur de la Vie et Auteur de la Mort, écoute, oh ! écoute l’appel passionné de celui qui ne peut être trompé, qui ne peut être réduit au silence, qui ne peut être enchaîné par tes menaces.


Anathema maranatha sur ton éblouissant Cosmos, masque de ton perpétuel diabolisme ! Amen.

Anathema maranatha sur les jours de printemps et sur ceux de l’été, sur l’automne et sur les neiges de l’hiver, masques de ton perpétuel diabolisme ! Amen.

Anathema maranatha sur la race humaine, outil de ton perpétuel diabolisme ! Amen.


Maudite soit la Vie, cette stupide aventure !

Maudit soit le coït, ce stupide plaisir !

Maudite soit l’épée, cette stupide peine !


Tu as créé l’homme à ton image, et tu lui as donné un toit à porcs pour maison.

Tu as créé l’homme à ton image, et tu lui as donné la guerre pour apprentissage.

Tu as créé l’homme à ton image et tu lui as donné pour vin le sang de ses frères.


Apogée de notre amertume, apogée de notre martyre, l’égout et le vomissement des cycles de la vie te montent jusqu’aux fesses, Torquemada des cieux, perpétuel Néron de l’éternité.


Cependant les cœurs sensibles ont le droit de redire en minaudant :


Aux petits des oiseaux il donne la pâture

Et sa bonté s’étend sur toute la nature.



(Remy de Gourmont, in Mercure de France, 1er mai 1915)




It happened several times during the first centuries of Christianity that had supposedly renovated the world, poor people, terrified at the turn of the things of this world, seriously wondered if this was not the devil that governed or at least if it did not share the empire with God himself. So, in their terror and their prudence, they worshiped the two principles, that of good and evil. And to better ensure the protection of the Poor, they began to practice all his works with an evil spirit, however, that other times they ticked by strength rosaries at the altar. There was great confusion in people’s minds. It would not surprise me much if I was taught that Manichaeism has blossomed during the days we are experiencing. God reigns he still master? Has he not been forced to sell part of its power? Maybe some they arise these issues already blasphemous (whose fault?), Until the supreme question arises: Would it have been dethroned and did we not God Satan himself? and especially until the consciences completely dévoûtées, respond in the affirmative. Flaubert tale that his mother, honest and upright person, having seen die suddenly her daughter, innocent bride, stopped everything to believe in God. We say that this woman had no theological mind. No doubt, but for many people the idea of ​​God is identified with the very idea of ​​justice.Conscious of not doing harm to the Almighty, they wonder why the Almighty and Letout-Juste has brutally beaten his fist. What would Flaubert’s mother said if she had seen the Prussian soldiers into his house, stripped and raped his daughter before his eyes, then gut, then set fire to the house and shoot all the neighbors, pull it himself or pummel and leave for dead? She would have felt obscurely feelings just expressed an American poet, Benjamin Casseres, who became the judge of God and accuses him violently crimes that ended the year! This piece is a great lyrical movement that I wanted to translate it. Here it is.He recalls some invective Maldoror, but the author is not a Maldoror, it may not know it. He is a poet:





Where are you, God? Come and be judged, be struck, be executed by me. 

Where are you, God? Be subtle, be clever, manufacturer of Heaven and Hell, lover of Spirit and Matter, come and be judged, be struck, be executed by me.

I met your search until now through eternity. Come and be judged, be struck, be executed by me.

Now that’s enough, man-eating, cannibalistic multifaceted molecule of the murder Thug night.

Are there not enough blood on your altar, there is there is not enough meat on your table, there is there not enough stench in your nostrils?

Now there must be an end, coward fugitive Borgia Eternity, Iago ether.

Anti-God, I am, and I am on the roof of your mystic tabernacle as a thief in the night.

Anti-God, I am, and I am on the threshold of your secret as a vengeful Érynnie.

Anti-God, I am, and I am the language of the victims of thy law of Necessity, the drops of blood strewed the world during the last year of your reign.

I’ll throw you in the face breasts and ovaries of women cut by the hands of Thy creatures.

I’ll throw you in the face a huge handful of testicles and phallus torn by the hands of Thy creatures.

I’ll throw you in the face the body roasted small children thrown into the fire by the hands of Thy creatures.


Author of Life and author of Death, hear, oh! listening to the thunder of my hatred!

Author Author of Life and Death, hear, oh! listening prodigious curse I say on all thy works.

Author Author of Life and Death, hear, oh! listening to the passionate man who can not be deceived, that can not be silenced, that can not be chained by your threats call.


Anathema maranatha on your dazzling Cosmos mask your perpetual diabolism! Amen.

Anathema maranatha on spring days and those of the summer, the autumn and the winter snows, perpetual diabolism your masks! Amen.

Anathema maranatha human race, your perpetual tool diabolism! Amen.


Damn life, this stupid adventure!

Cursed be coitus, this stupid fun!

Cursed be the sword that stupid penalty!


You created man in your image, and you gave him a roof for pig house.

You created man in your image, and you gave him the war for learning.

You created man in your image and you gave him wine to the blood of his brothers.


Pinnacle of our bitterness pinnacle of our martyrdom, sewer and vomiting cycles of life will rise to the buttocks, Torquemada of heaven, perpetual Nero eternity.


However sensitive hearts have the right to complain smirk:


Small birds he gives food

And goodness extends over the entire nature.



(Remy de Gourmont in Mercure de France , May 1, 1915)

“The Wizards” by DeC, from The Judge, 1917

from The Judge, October 27, 1917


ALL children are poets. Their minds are great wells of imaginative fancy. Their little heads are fairy caves. Their eyes are the windows of a palace of magic delights.

They do not see the external world as it is, but as they modify it. A house is not a house to them, but is the abode of a goblin or a fairy.

Strange beings dwell in everything. Everything has a soul, and you cannot make a child believe otherwise. Their imagination creates life where life is not; they infuse into each inanimate object the superabundance of their own minds.

They relate the most extravagant stories with an air of truth. It is their truth. To them their dreams and visions are the only real things in life. They have no use for a cheerless, stupid fact. Their minds carry a finer secret.

Yes, a secret! A great secret! A marvellous secret is theirs! They live in a Kingdom of Secrets which we older ones, world-weary and task-laden, can never enter.

They—the smiling children with the dreamy faces—have the key to the door of Truth. It is they who see behind the masks that things wear; it is their newer souls that see things truly.

The craving for tales of adventure, for romance, the thirst for fiction of all kinds are the attempts of the grown human being to force entrance once again into that Palace of Endless Delight—the mind of the child.

—Benjamin De Casseres.

“Nocturne” in French

Archived from:


Il fait nuit.

Le voleur, éternel représentant de l’humanité, reprend son poste de guet au coin de la rue.

La prostituée, voyante et sybille, la première-née de Dieu, avive ses lèvres d’une teinte de rouge avant de descendre à la recherche de son repas.

Les cafés, les théâtres, les cinémas, avec leurs milliers de milliers de lumières commencent à marcher à la conquête de cet univers amorphe : l’ennui.

Dans les hôpitaux un vague mal-à-l’aise aiguillonne les corps des patients et les pensées, comme de noirs parasols, s’ouvrent en leurs cerveaux.

Dans des vêtements de soirée impeccables, les millionnaires — ces yoghis de la chair, parcourent de long en large els mille allées des jardins des établissements de luxe à la recherche de leurs ondulants Nirvanas.

Un poète, qui redoute davantage son propriétaire que le Très Haut, allume sa lampe sans abat-jour et commence une ode merveilleuse à la gloire du Renoir des Cieux.

Un mendiant, des yeux duquel la Faim a châtré le courage, demande qu’elle lui paie un café à une riche madame que son courage héroïque a mis pour toujours à l’abri des atteintes de la Faim.

La lune, momifiée dans un éternel sommeil — coprolithe gelé de la terre, — gravit, à l’Orient, les échelons de l’Espace, tel un reptile.

Il fait nuit, et le Cela, le « Ce qui est » aux yeux multiples et auxquels n’échappe rien, s’éveille de sa sieste subtile pour tenir sous sa surveillance le sous-monde des humains.

Benjamin DeCasseres
L’En-Dehors n° 331-332, Juin-Juillet 1939

“GET IT AND HOLD IT” July 3rd, 1931

Archived from:


Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Jul 3, 1931


The philosophy of the man in the street is “get it and hold it,” in the belief of Benjamin de Casseres, poet and ironic philosopher, who says that after all this may be the most workable system for those to whom abstract theories are no more than the “Einstein theory to a gnat on a derby.” The article is one of a series on “what’s going on in the world today.”

(Copyright 1931, by the Associated Press.)

NEW YORK, July 3. (AP) — Philosophy — which is, literally, the love of wisdom but which is in reality the art or science of explaining the how and why of things — has never had much of a vogue in America. Today less so than ever for the American  cares very little about the how and why of things. His one question is: Will it work out?

He doesn’t philosophize on the current depression of his jobless condition or the contraction in stock values. He is not concerned, if he is a wet, how prohibition came on us. Nor will he take any steps, either personally or thru his legislative representatives, to prevent future moves of a like nature. He philosophizes thus: Here it is. Let’s dodge it if we can’t get out of it.

Philosophy In Way.

This attitude is, I suppose, a philosophy in a way — a lazy, do-nothing, good natured philosophy founded on the ineradicable and inherent optimism of the expansive soul who calls the state in which he happens to be born “God’s own country” and who believes “everything always comes out right in the end.”

That’s the philosophy, anyhow, of the man in the street. Of abstract thot he has not a glimmer. Theories of the universe, psychological problems and philosophical aphorisms and rules are no more to him than the Einstein theory to a gnat on a derby. His “wisdom” is “get it and hold it.” And I’m not sure that it isn’t the profoundest, the only and most workable system of philosophy so long as the world is peopled by practical, down-to-the-ground beings.

Boast Two Men.

In the regions of pure philosophical thot we boast of two men who have profoundly affected thot in Europe — Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James and one political philosopher whose influence has been universal, Thomas Jefferson.

Emerson and Jefferson, both advocates of extreme and aggressive individualism, and, theoretically at least, idealist — anarchists, are as dead in the country of their birth, so far as the public go, as prohibition in Hoboken. We move toward the standardization and destruction of all individual rights into pure capitalistic bolshevism, in which moloch-state becomes the absorber and keeper of all personal values.

Fits America.

William James, who gave us the philosophy of pragmatism — or what have you? — comes nearer to the ideal American philosopher, fits more neatly into the American character, than either Emerson or Jefferson.

Pragmatism is really a great and universal individual philosophy which makes the workableness — or “cash-down value,” as James calls it — of a thing the criterion of its truthfulness. He is, in a manner, the enemy of abstract thot. His antithesis is Remy de Gourmont, who said, “thots are to be thot, not acted.”

Does Not Exist.

Philosophy in the grand sense in American does not exist today. There is no love of thot for the pure gymnastic of cerebration. No one cares a hen’s molar about why anything happened or whether it will happen again.

All I can see ahead in America is Karl Marx, who was neither a philosopher nor a thinker, but a sensational utopist with a diabolical scheme for extinguishing the individual.

After all, what is wisdom? I think it is just to stand aside and watch the show. I, who am a philosopher, get a great kick out of it.