The Appeal of Fascism

Or: It’s Going To Be All Right

When we call Trump a fascist, we mean something bad, but we don’t mean fascism. If you look at it the right way, the numbers are kind of comforting: About 30% of Republican primary voters, in some states, are all in on Trumpscism, or whatever you want to call the Trump brand of fascism. Populascism? I don’t know. It’s such a fun thing to watch, regardless.

The numbers, not too long ago, were much more disturbing, back when everyone went in for fascism, properly speaking; the entire Western world went all-in for fascism, right before all the homosexuals, blacks, Jews, and other undesirables were cleared off the streets and disappeared. The difficult truth about disappearing the undesirables made fascism itself undesirable, so it fell out of favor as a term with the university class. Now fascism is a moniker for something else, a name for the perversion of conservative political doctrine.

We ought to be careful about calling Trump a fascist and a racist, despite the elements of fascism and racism attached to his message and persona, and despite the fact that he’s running in the GOP, which is also the home of conservatives, mainly because that’s an awfully broad brush which covers people who aren’t fascists, while it leaves unpainted actual fascists, who probably don’t have any party affiliation.

When you offer a general population the following planks in a campaign platform: strong national identity, strong central government, (un)willing participation of corporate entities, high taxes paying for universal services, while also demonizing opposition (and even sabotaging the opposition’s efforts), well, you’re going to get some votes. Wiser politicians than Trump have long known how to offer fascism without the nasty side-effect of attracting an openly racist voter bloc, that which is the final plank in the platform known as fascism. Without racism, it’s an appealing political doctrine today, and it held the world in sway, once upon a time, when history was still in black and white.

The conservative argument against the appeal of fascism, whatever its actual name today, is that it can’t really be done without a great deal of disruption. The characteristics necessary to create a leader who will implement that platform is unlikely to produce a leader who will observe the pleasanter traditions of constitutional democracy. Liberal and Leftist pundits will be wise to note that the conservative movement in the United States has vociferously rejected Trump (see National Review), especially where his doctrine (such as it is) overlaps with a properly defined fascism. Those conservative voices in popular media who actually have endorsed Trump are hardly making a conservative case for him–because it’s impossible.

Now, as for the name fascism, and its application to perversions of conservative doctrines: well, it’s a tough cruel world, and conservatives are going to just have to get over it, continuing to argue for free markets, smaller federal governments, the Western canon, inter alia, acknowledging weakness and pointing out strength.

No worries.

The Sting of Science

Some interesting things going on in the world of guilty, not guilty, and innocent, what with its consequences: the accused goes free, or the accused is imprisoned. As far as I understand it, prison, between Johnny Cash concerts, is a rather unpleasant existence, a place which not only punishes evildoers for the purposes of hindering evil being done in the midst of well-doers, but it also dehumanizes.

Convictions based on DNA evidence are being overturned. Another one bites the dust. Throw DNA evidence onto the pile of other courtroom incontrovertibles, along with fingerprints and lie detector tests. Perhaps the ancients were on to something when they said, “Do not establish a charge except by two or three witnesses.” Besides which, all the truly great courtroom dramas are based on the accounts of the witnesses and whose testimony might be trustworthy or how one might piece together the circumstances surrounding the crime: in other words, narrative. These forensic science TV shows, as cool as they might be in their first run, are intolerable in repeats. Columbo endures.

Ah, but science has determined that the science was insecure, susceptible to abuse! We are hereby one step closer to establishing the scientifically failsafe forensic method in criminal justice! A house divided, yada yada yada…

Jurisprudence took a turn, from this layman’s perspective, in those heady days when we were convinced that we could serve justice coldly, removing the fallible human element from murder trials. As public morality splintered (and now that it has disintegrated), triangulating became truly difficult for juries. How can a jury of peers even be established when we are all islands unto ourselves? Thus the task of weighing testimony was sublimated to the task of weighing the evidence.

Evidence is not unimportant, of course, but artifacts have been elevated in the public mind above hot-blooded accounting of hot blood. It’s all so icky, the tears, the blood-curdling descriptions, the hatred, rage, all there on display in a nice, sterile society. For a jury to pass moral judgment in the case of law is asking an awful lot. Juries, then, are witnesses themselves, offering testimony to the jury of editorials and the twitterverse concerning the wherewithal of a society to commit moral judgment. Who is the presiding judge?

More than that, perspective has been polarized, meaning, a witness is either telling the truth or is telling a lie, and only a chasm exists around those two pillars. The TV tells me that good lawyers know how to destroy witness accounts on this basis: if a reliable witness flutters in one detail, then the whole account is invalidated. Alas for measuring and sifting, for dividing and discerning, a lost art in the age of certainty!

Now that science has once again been disbarred from the courtroom, apprehended murderers might get away with murder! Indeed, they probably will for a short time, but we will establish a new evidentiary process to which to sublimate testimony. In the meantime, it will remain true that our prisoners, nearly all of whom are surely guilty, are stacked in cells reaching from beneath the earth up to the sky, and stretching in lines which converge around the compass on every horizon. Look, we say, our prisons are full, and crime is consequently minimized. See how we have hindered evildoing! We are approaching that day when we shall become a completely just society.

 

 

The End of Millennials

As the so-called Greatest Generation takes its place in oblivion, Generation X finds itself as the lone middle child of the generations, sandwiched as the smaller sibling between the Baby Boomers, the worst generation ever, and the Millennials, that great monolithic unseasoned mind.

GenX has assumed a peculiar role, I think, of being divided, divvied up by our parents, being the incarnational byproduct of the Baby Boomers’ willful overthrow of western institutions. On one side of the divide there is a sense of pessimism and doom that the whole western project is failing, and that the Baby Boomers are the primary malefactors in their sucking all the pleasures of civilization unto themselves before they crumple it up and throw it into the dustbin of history, at just about the same time they pass on to sleep with their fathers, leaving us no heritage except for some really great record albums.

On the other side of the divide is this: I was driving my 12-year old son to hockey practice the other day, and I was trying to penetrate his world, which was shielded by his iPod earbuds, and I heard myself saying, almost unconsciously, “So, Tom, what does your generation think?” Thankfully, he didn’t hear me or he would have rolled his eyes, and I would have become infuriated, and both our worlds would have become unpleasant. Nevertheless, I was pleased with the question, for even though this young man hasn’t a thought beyond the latest Minecraft update, or (to be more generous to my own dear progeny) his latest electronics project, he will soon have thoughts beyond those trivial things, and they will be generational.

It is an anxious game GenXers are playing, a Machiavellian one (by the common understanding): with one mouth, we are encouraging the Baby Boomers to remove themselves before their grip on our civilization becomes too morbid to procure its release, saying, “Why, yes, Peter Singer has some wonderful ideas about assisted-suicide. Say, the skin around your eyes does look a touch pallid, doesn’t it? I’ll go fetch the doings, and we’ll be done with you in a jiffy. You’ve lived a good life, now on to better pastures, right?” With the other mouth we are trying to set up a renewed western canon of ideals for our children via the Millennials, saying, “Have you thought to consider that human dignity doesn’t necessarily end when you become so weak that you need the constant care of your family?” Alas, to be the generational Pushmi-Pullyu is exhausting, and it is the essence of futility.

My son, however, is pushing the Millennials, and his generation are of a number, and they will be of a myriad of ideas that they shall press against the Millennials, and the Millennials shall press back, applying unwittingly the idealistic torsion forces which will shatter that infuriating optimism, as ours shattered, and as did the Boomers’ before us, and as it was for every generation whose parents sinned and set the children’s teeth on edge.

And then it shall come to pass that the Millennials will be frustrated in their efforts to progress, more or less, and their contributions to civilization, or to its collapse, will be put into the great crucible, and it will be fired, and the generations will sift through the ashes to find what value there might be.

And so there is hope.

Blessed Are the Meek

After last night’s annual bacchanalia, it was a pleasure to awaken groggily to Samuel Hammond’s delightful celebration of materialism, in which he channels The Preacher, known to many as Ecclesiastes, which tries to translate the Hebrew “Qohelet,” the one who calls the assembly.

It is the godless book of the Bible, disturbing in its nihilism, but it became one of the “little scrolls,” those books which are designated for use by the post-exilic Jews for public reading during their own bacchanals. This 2900 year old book was read aloud during the Feast of Booths, that gargantuan outdoor party celebrating the harvest. In short, while you are totally blitzed on new wine, engorging yourself on the fat of the land, and looking lustily upon one another, as commanded by Moses, The Preacher shouts over the landscape: “Meaningless!”

Consider Sam:

“Status competitions are our main, if not only, source of meaning in the universe.”

and

“So meditate if you have to, but don’t be afraid to day dream a little, too. It may fill you with anxiety, and it definitely won’t make you happy, but later in life you just might find yourself building a spaceship to Mars.”

And The Preacher:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV)

Adam Gurri has been pestering me to write a defense of Christianity here in the hallowed halls of Sweet Talk, but I have thus far demurred, being unmotivated to do so in the midst of those who are so certain, but Sam’s stimulating post has evoked a little something irresistible.

If I may categorize (naturally, drawing distinctions simplifies, and the elements of this taxonomy will, in real life, overlap):

There are those who see the world as it is and celebrate it. Thus Samuel Hammond.

There are two classes of those who see the world as it is and mourn over it as broken.

Class One copes, meditating.

Class Two will not cope, continuing to mourn, in the hope for a restoration of what is broken. Christians define this class.

For Christians, the brokenness of the world is best mourned in the body of Christ, who stands crucified, in which Christians participate by means of the mystery of the sacraments.

This mystery is articulated by one Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, who persecuted the Body of Christ with all his might until he had a vision of the Crucified One, and he writes about him whom he saw:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

It is important here to note a few boundaries. This is not a refutation of the science of evolution, but it is a declaration of pre-eminence, which is offensive. Note carefully that the Christian view of creation is cast not in terms of material manifestation, which Christ says is vapor, but in terms of dominion, rulers, authorities, i.e.,  that rascally elusive normativity.

More than that, since the universe is held together in, with, and under a human body, the material world is transformed into a world of relational interaction. To wit: love the Lord your God with all your heart, and equally (because God is a human in Jesus, and we are in him and he is in us), love your neighbor as yourself.

A rocket-size measuring contest is the epitome of pursuing meaninglessness. Meaningfulness is measured in interpersonal relationships, beginning with the male-female relationship, which perpetuates the species, and also embodies thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities, beginning at home, which is broken and should be mourned. Normativity dominates; it does not love, nor does it allow for distinction, only ruthless conformity, as evolution teaches: we adapt to strength, not weakness.

The relationship of a man to a woman is hopelessly weak.

 

Scott Weiland, RIP

I don’t have to accuse you of anything. You are already accusing yourselves all the time.

Scott Weiland (RIP December 3) was one of my personal favorites, coming up there in the heady days of grunge bathos, and I chose him over Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon (RIP 1995) and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder (still alive). Of course, our generation’s Jim Morrison had already led the way, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain (RIP 1994).

Weiland’s wife, in her distress (I hope), wrote a note, which reads, in part, “Our hope for Scott has died…”

How can hope die? How can hope for a person die? Is this a possibility? From my perspective, there is always hope for Scott, even if there is very little hope, and even if he is already dead. Who knows what he met when his heart stopped?

His wife continues, “We are angry and sad about this loss, but we are most devastated that he chose to give up.”

That’s his wife.

Oh, wait. Ex-wife. Why is she commenting? I don’t know, but that’s harsh, bro, really harsh, the pinnacle of wifely arrogance and judgmentalism, that a drug addict could choose anything. She then instructs those who loved him, for whatever reason, to take a kid to a ballgame rather than memorialize their love for him.

It is curious to me, and I see it as a similarity, that Kurt Cobain would write a song, essentially declaring “Married = Buried,” then choose to use the muzzle end of a shotgun to eat a shotgun shell, whence his wife garnered some notoriety with her band, Hole.

Like I said, I don’t have to accuse you of anything. You already accuse yourselves all the time.

Firearms Season With Rafe

Bowhunting is superior, in my mind, to hunting deer with firearms. Tranquility is the main distinguishing feature. When you carry a bow into the woods, you know it’s you and the woods, that is, the squirrels, the foxes, the autumn leaves, frosty breath, bright sunrise, and, hopefully, a meaty deer. Add for me the interesting and joyous experience of my good friend, Rafe.

Unfortunately for hunters and the deer population alike, Western New York experienced an unusually warm autumn due to the forces of the Super El Niño. When the temperatures are warm during the day, deer will not move, preferring to move about at night, when it’s a little cooler. Hunting regulations are quite clear: deer harvesting may occur only between sunrise and sunset. Therefore, very few deer are being harvested. Bow season came and went with a great deal of disappointment. Firearms season loomed.

So this year I was confronted by the necessity of carrying a firearm into the woods. On opening day of firearms season, many hunters are in the woods, most of us wary of the very few hunters who are eager to fire their guns at anything that moves. You can see why I normally avoid opening day, but that’s because it’s normally not essential to be out there (please don’t quote me the price of a pork roast per .lb like my wife does). This year, however, I found myself in Rafe’s barn before dawn, trying to remember how a gun works.

Rafe’s brother burst through the door, his usual, cheerful self. I turned, surprised, not knowing that he was coming out with us. “Hey, Gabe!” I said. Gabe has a personality just as big as his brother Rafe’s. They get it from their mother, who had four of them, boys, two on either side of a girl. She named all the boys after archangels: so there’s Gabriel, the oldest, Michael, Uriel, and the youngest, Raphael (yes, she got them out of order). She was a delightful lady, and she delighted in raising the boys to be her archangels, to watch over her and her precious daughter, Mary (I know, right?). So there is in this world a family of brothers: Gabe, Micheal, Uri, and Rafe, all big, strapping young men from a working class household.

A pump action shotgun gives such a wonderful sensation. It’s the sound you love to hear from the movie screen when the good guy finally corners the bad guy, followed by the quip, “Time to take out the trash,” or some such. When you hold one in your arms, that sound is a complete full-body experience, involving all the senses, plus one more, that one about which John Lennon sang ironically, but you know in your heart is actually the God’s-honest truth and you can’t wait to make yours warm.

Gabe hunts with a handgun, which makes him a real mensch. He let me handle it. It’s a Smith & Wesson Model 629, a Magnum .44 with a long barrel. I think it weighed as much as my Winchester shotgun.

The time came for us to enter the woods, so we made our firearms ready, sliding back the actions, loading shells, closing the actions, opening up tube magazines, and loading shells into them, each step in the process yielding a satisfying click. As for me, I always drop a shell, always, so it takes a little longer for me than for Rafe and Gabe, Gabe, by the way, who was being delighted with the rotating cylinder of his beautiful revolver. The noise of three guns being loaded was practically deafening.

“That’s why ISIS don’t attack America,” Gabe said. “Did you hear all that?”

“Ha,” I said. “If I were a good shot–and I’m not saying I am–I could kill four attackers before I would be overwhelmed by any survivors while I was reloading.”

“I can kill six,” said Gabe.

“I can kill eight,” said Rafe. “No, fourteen,” he added. “I’m carrying my revolver, too.”

So in a single round of fighting, the three of us could wipe out twenty-four attackers, as long as we were competent shooters and maintaining a concealed position for firing. It wouldn’t really work out that way, but the fantasy makes the point.

We didn’t see a single deer the entire opening day.

magnum44

The Futility of Policy

If you are fan of anything sportsing, you know the anxiety of blown officiating calls, but lately, the agony of video replay has become unbearable, a system which satisfies only a vocal party within the sportsing community affectionately known as the “Get It Right Crowd” (GIRC). These nerds will rest at nothing to establish a policy or series of policies or layers of policies to somehow ensure sportsing fans that the sportsing officiating calls are regulated and correct, and corrected if they are not correct on the field.

The GIRC has at least accomplished hours and hours of interesting philoso-talk on Local Sports Talk Radio. Alas, the assumption is that officiating calls are always correctable.

In the sportsing called “The NFL” there is a boiling controversy over the application of the definition of a “football catch.” Now, to the casual observer, this may seem like a no-brainer. To wit: a receiver “catches” the “football.” That is a football catch.

But, no.  The policy, or “rulebook,” as it were, has a strict definition of what a “football catch” might actually be. It is a lengthy definition, with a main paragraph and many sub-paragraphs, each of which deal in minutiae, and each of which must be memorized by game officials, and which, in the rigors of a contact sportsing event, must be expertly and thoroughly applied at an instant.

Therefore, it has come to be expected that game officials apply the policy incorrectly. After all, they’re only human, and, in the NFL, they’re quasi-professional. Many millions of dollars hang on their competence, both in player salaries and in gambling money.

To resolve this given human propensity to actually err, a video replay system has been devised. It seems easy enough: if there is a question about the application of the policy, one simply projects a video of the play in question onto a large-screen, high-definition television set, and everyone has the luxury of studying the question from very many different angles at different speeds with as many repetitions as is desired, that is, until the officiating crew is satisfied that they have, indeed, the right application of the policy to the play in question.

In practice, however, there has been very little satisfaction within the sportsing community concerning this system to regulate and correct application of policy. The officials are making worse applications in the instant, and they are increasingly unable to correct themselves with video replay. So far, recriminations have flown against incompetence in officiating as a quasi-profession, but the same phenomenon is occurring in sportsing where the officials are full-time professionals. Recriminations have also flown against the video replay system, but the only solution there seems to include outrageous complexity, which everyone, even The GIRC, recognizes as detrimental to the playing of the game.

In my opinion, which I will label “obviously,” it is the policy itself. The policy is regulating that which cannot be regulated. A “football catch” is known only until it is atomized. After it is atomized, in an effort to define its characteristics and elements, no one knows with any confidence what a “football catch” might actually be.

The solution, then, is quite clear: jettison The GIRC altogether. Remove the policy of “football catch” from the rule book. Remove video review systems. Place officials who have been examined for competency into a properly defined role as judges, not as regulators or enforcers, except where necessary. Periodically grade the judges according to their performance in the instant, not according to camera angles or variable speeds of the videos. Assess, revisit, reassess.

Good men will make good judges, and good judges will make good men. When we have reestablished this principle, then sportsing events will become enjoyable again, or, at least in Buffalo, NY, less agonizing.

replay booth

Good Fences Make Good Pluralism

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” the poet writes. A post I wrote was spiked. I didn’t spike it. Adam Gurri  didn’t spike it. Not even my wife’s fears spiked it. It was wisdom who spiked it, clear and simple. It was wisdom.

The post was only apple trees when you are most likely pines, only as harmful as words on a page can be. It’s not as though the words can do you any harm. “Good fences make good neighbors,” wisdom says, again and again.

But why do they make good neighbors? The wall was here before I was here, and before you were, but now the wall is being taken down, actively taken down, to make great gaps within it so that two can walk abreast. Who did that? Who made the gaps in the walls?

Was it the hunter?

tree-and-stone-wall-11284391110PdDv

It was and it was not. I’ll tell you: I had a good idea, but the latest time series graphs showed that it was a bad idea, and not a mistaken idea (it was surely not mistaken) to make it bad, but frowned upon to make it bad. The time series graphs say, without shadow, that walls themselves are bad. I said no. No, the wall is good, I said.

Wisdom said, thou shalt not post what thou hast written. Thou shalt surely not.

Only wisdom says no nowadays, and who listens to wisdom?

So I wrote a code. The code is for everyone whose wall has gaps. First, the code is a signal that I am here, and you are there. You should stay there, and I should stay here. Do you read me? Second, the code is the first try to undo what the hunter has done, what the frost has done, and what the elves have done.

It is mean work, cruel work, to make a wall, but we are ashamed of being neighbors now. We must all be in communion, and that is never never never good. Never. That is why we are ashamed that there is no more shame. There is no more shame! Even Roger Waters knows that if he were a better man, he’d understand the spaces between friends. A better man: ha! Imagine that!

Remember: the wall is not made for thee; the wall is made for me.

Asking For Whom The Bell Tolls

Who doesn’t know you’re not supposed to ask for whom the bell tolls? Long ago, OG Existentialist John Donne answered the question for you: it tolls for thee.

I wonder about that.

He’s absolutely correct, in a sense, that we are all connected to each other, and that the ebbs and flows of humanity affect us all, the logical conclusion being that, inasmuch as when a single individual advances, we advance together (the tide lifting all boats); so also when a single individual is removed to Davy Jones’ Locker, we all shall surely find similar breaches in the hulls of our seaships. Experience teaches us that John Donne is essentially correct: the bell tolls for thee. In this way, blood is thicker than water.

“No man is an island unto himself,” he furthermore teaches. I beg to differ. Those of us who have the water have been cordoned off by water so that we are, indeed, islands unto ourselves, each separated out unto lonely spits of sand and coconut trees, being sustained by meager provisions, shouting with disunited voices to all the ships passing by that we can see the breaches in their hulls, but without unity, we are subject to futility. Alas, the bell is tolling for humanity: it is a gigantic ship struck by Kraken the great sea monster so that it is sinking even as it is rising, the shouts of the exulting in the aft decks drowning out the screams of the drowning in the fore decks.

Perhaps the laughter of those who have slipped away from the surface of the cruel sea is a mocking laughter, that the work done by Kraken is beneficial to those who by great strength of reason chose the aft decks (being incidentally born there to choose them), so that those who are now perishing were stupid, foolish, superstitious. But such is the connection of blood: it is indeed thicker than water, and denser. The sea will exult over the wise and the foolish together.

Not so those who have the water. The water separates us from the blood. As the bell tolls across the water, our faint voices, separated by a different connection that cannot be fathomed by any instrument which plumbs the seven seas, are largely ineffective. Lonely isolation makes a man crazy after a while, each in his own way, so that none of us can join our voices together in a single warning klaxon. A scattered few hear, however, and they jump ship, realizing in the joy of escape that the bell is indeed tolling a death knell for them, for to escape the connection of blood is indeed the death of blood, a death in the briny water apart from evil Kraken. After that, it is sweet fresh water, but drunk on an island unto himself, without the tolling of the bell for thee or for me.

Let the reader understand that I am raising my hand in an oath that cannot fail: I promise you I will never die.

kraken

The Private Life is Dead In New York State

It seems like only yesterday I went to the marketplace to pick a health insurance plan that was right for me and my family. Already, it was tricky because New York State had some cockamamie law in place that prevented insurance companies from underselling a certain level-benefit, in order to not compete against the state subsidized “Healthy NY” program, which was designed, in effect, for pregnant teenagers in New York City and Albany.

Despite that, I remember the good ole days, when I had, I think, nine different plans to choose from. Even though I am a sole proprietor, I was able to join a group through the chamber of commerce, which spread morbidity risk, you see, lowering costs.

The giant gavel of Spring 2010 struck. Almost immediately, cost increases accelerated until, after a few short years, the plans were double in price. Last year, the law forced me out of my group because I am a sole proprietor. I joined the New York State co-op because it had the most affordable plan. The premiums were somewhat less than before, but the deductible was sky-high, and the care was less amenable to my needs.

In other words, instead of a suite of plans to choose from, I was forced into one. I mean, I could conceivably have chosen a different plan, but the price was, shall we say, prohibitive.

I just received a letter from the co-op announcing that the New York State Insurance Commission is forcing them to close at the end of November 2015, and that I should look for a new plan for December of 2015 before I go through the dreaded Exchange to pick a plan for 2016. Something about a $250 million debt and sick people in Upstate New York. I don’t live in Upstate New York. I live in Western New York.

What a disaster.

How did this happen? Why can’t I just go get health care and pay for it myself? Why can’t I negotiate with an insurance company for a plan that suits my family’s needs? I was doing just fine in the cold, cruel, unprotected marketplace before. What’s going on?

Why bother? Just tell me where to sign. Here, take my stuff. What do you want me to do? Just tell me, OK? I’m exhausted. I give up. Which line do I shuffle toward? Should I look you in the eyes, in make-believe fashion, or should I keep my eyes to the ground like a good little citizen?

Just to spell it out so there’s no misunderstanding: I’m mourning the state’s subsuming a large chunk of my manhood unto itself.

Exemptions, ladies and gentlemen, did not apply to the individual market, for obvious political reasons. How much longer are those exemptions from which you currently benefit going to hold back the tides of the marketplace?

No worries, though, my friends. Pretty soon, the metric for health care will be reduced to one thing: not customer satisfaction, not affordability, not availability, not quality, but efficiency.

And it will be efficient.

serf and lord