DJG, Reality Czar: Help Naked Capitalism Keep Spoiling You

By DJG, Reality Czar, writer, playwright, translator, librettist. For many years, he has made his living in book publishing as a development editor / fix-it man (and so much requires fixing), ending with a specialty in textbooks about statistics, chemistry, U.S. history, and U.S. government. Your tax dollars at work: In 2001, he received an individual grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for translation of Italian poetry. Recently, he inherited Italian citizenship from his mysterious Sicilian grandmother, which opened up the opportunity to change countries with some ease, transferring from Chicago to the semi-post-industrial Chocolate City.

I write to you, sistren and brethren, from the Chocolate City, capital of the Undisclosed Region of Italy. I live not far, a ten-minute walk, from the Piazza Carlo Emanuele, which is flanked by a rather grand building where Antonio Gramsci lived when he was a student at the University of Turin and afterward when he was growing in influence as a writer and a leftist.

Naked Capitalism is holding a fundraiser, and I will offer several reasons why you should send some greenbacks through this link: This site is an important investment for all of us, so please be magnanimous! The more you give, the better Naked Capitalism can become!

When asked by Yves Smith to write a few words, I thought about how long I have relied on Naked Capitalism for the news digests in the morning and the afternoon (Links and Water Cooler). And then there is the insight of the original posts—plus the excellent editorial judgment in presenting articles and interviews that we might have trouble finding elsewhere. For years and years, Yves Smith and Lambert Strether have spoiled us with their clear writing, good selections, strict criteria, and well-developed sense of who is writing and flinging bullshit.

I’ll add Nick Corbishley’s and Conor Gallager’s wide-ranging posts that take into account international events and conundrums (like the failing-upward careers of van der Leyen and Borrell). KLG offers insightful, engaging essays on science as a human and humane endeavor that crosses borders and seeks meaning.

Yet as as the Italian singer Mahmood reminded us a few years back, Soldi, soldi, soldi. So please send some soldi (money, coins, valuta, denaro) via the Tip Jar.

As far as I can reckon, I have been a regular here for some fifteen years, since 2007 or 2008. Charlie Pierce at Esquire used to cross-link regularly, as does Duncan Black, who is one of the first, most insightful, and more enduring bloggers. I followed a link and found high-quality work.

What matters to me politically has been to clarify my thinking as a leftist—although Yves Smith always reminds people that this is a site about critical thinking. It certainly isn’t a partisan site, and the commentariat regularly “offends” Republicans and Democrats.

Yet as someone now living in Italy, which makes me an heir of Antonio Gramsci, I have to be able to synthesize: The left is about concrete material benefits for the populace, a broad culture with many ideas and debates, and, in Italy, good food and good wine. Slow Food came out of Arci, the Italian umbrella association of leftist associations. Ecco: Bread and roses. Chocolate, too, here in the Chocolate City, with its Red and rebellious past.

And peace. An old fox in Italian leftist politics pointed out in an interview that the left isn’t the left if it doesn’t advocate peace.

Further, Lambert Strether’s continuing analyses are good ways of thinking of the left as different from oooshy white liberals (self-rebranded as progressives when convenient) and standard-issue rightwingers (Trump and most in the current Republican Party). The distinction matters—it just happens to be a three-way distinction.

Richard Kline considered these distinctions among those left of center in an essay that is as pertinent as ever. I direct you to Richard Kline’s evergreen essay: Richard Kline: Progressively Losing.

Of course, as we all know from Citizens United, money is speech, so send some sawbucks or shillings or yen to Naked Capitalism. $10, $100, or $1,000 all help, and if you are able, please give a bit extra through the Tip Jaron behalf of readers who can’t contribute as much as they’d like.

Besides the exercise in clarifying my political thinking, I also enjoy the humanist bent here. I have much training in literature and the classics—I’m a writer of nonfiction and translator of poetry, among other things—so I often refrain from commenting on the excellent articles about economics (I’m learning, I’m studying, I’m learning). Yet I reserve the right to mention all kinds of Dead White Men like Herakleitos and Lucretius and those Darn Dead White Ladies like Sappho and Colette.

Did I mention Diogenes? He notoriously said, “I have come to debase the coinage.” That would be, I suspect, to wreck the received wisdom.

Help to debase the coinage by sending some drachma and dollars through this link to Naked Capitalism: __________

Diogenes will thank you.

What also keeps me coming back is the excellent discussion among the commentariat. The commenters have a great eye for what goes on around their homes and what is going on worldwide. The commenters are international. This seems more so than ever, and I appreciate it even more–and not just because I no longer live in the United States. The commenters have a remarkable range of skills, from gardening, to cookery, to car repair, to music, to U.S. constitutional law, to knitting, to engineering, to peppery slang in various languages (a recent amusing thread). A case in point of this wonderful expertise is the discussion among those familiar with ships, ocean topography, explosives, and deep-sea diving that explained to the rest of us how the Nord Stream attack was carried out and by whom (not that rented sailboat from Rostock).

Summing up, I am here for the news and synthesis and for your views and ideas. Naked Capitalism reinforces that saying attributed to Antonio Gramsci about being pessimistic because of an intelligent sense of the way the world works, or fails to work, yet optimistic because of one’s own will to live in a world of peace and justice.

So send some money this-a-way to Naked Capitalism at the Tip Jar. You really will be glad you did.

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  1. .Tom

    Thanks for this, DJG. What you say about your relationship with NC over the years resonates with me. However, I also have the feeling of going a little mad from existing in two worlds. One is the clear-eyed and courageous ongoing attempt to understand what’s really going on of which NC is for me at the center (I sent our check last week). The other world consists of almost everyone that I relate to directly in the physical world who speak in terms and memes of the commercial and public media. These are both real worlds but the nature of the information circulating in one is starkly at odds with the other. It’s as though I walk and talk in a world where I have to be careful not to offend a strict orthodox and then I get on NC and start to stare into the abyss. I often get vertigo and anxiety reading NC so it’s a great relief when the comments have supportive chit chat from people, some of whom I feel like I gave gotten to know, albeit only through the weird formal constrains of little chunks of text.

    Btw, I know oooshy liberals that self-rebranded as progressives when convenient who are not white.

  2. Eclair

    Lovely essay, DJG, thank you. We met on-line, I believe, a decade ago, when we discovered a mutual Lithuanian heritage, and you introduced me to the Lithuanian bee goddess. A most reasonable deity to have, better than war gods; although I confess a fondness for trickster gods.

    And I have Italy to thank for part of my political ‘awakening.’ Twenty-five years ago (time flies!), my husband and I took the train from the little-known small French city near the Italian border, where he was working, to Florence. I can’t remember why we had vacation time; one of those marvelous religious holidays the French use to justify ditching a whole week of work, probably. We shared food with a couple of university students on the train and learned there was a big rally and march in Florence that weekend. Of course, we made a point of going and there, I learned that Communists were alive and well. Marching in full force through the streets of the city. And they did not have horns and tails! Contrary to what I had learned in the US of A.

    From that point, it became a question of what else had I not been told or taught. Was there a ‘real world’ behind the veil of half-truths and deceptive narratives? Enter NC and its excellent hosts, posters and commentariat. And, yes, I am sending in my annual contribution.

  3. ChrisRUEcon


    Thanks for all your insights, DJG! It took me a while to suss that you had moved to Italy. Glad I got to actually meet you at a Chicago NC meetup!

    Maybe on time over there it’ll happen again!


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