Joe Camp Presents Benjamin the Haunted

Up until Wednesday night, I didn’t believe in the afterlife. However, I was swayed from my skepticism when a Wiccan friend of mine, whom I had met through the personals section of my local alt-weekly rag, took my hasty notion of what Walter Benjamin might think about the Bush administration very much to my heart. My Wiccan friend (whom I shall refer to in these pages as “Broom Hither”) pushed me down onto her bed, tied me up with several painful strands of tight rope, carved a pentagram into my chest, and then demanded that I bark like a dog.

To her supreme credit, Broom Hither had delivered on every single promise she had pledged that evening. And since I was already bleeding profusely and had no wish to stain Broom Hither’s expensive carpet, I howled like a Baskerville hound while Broom Hither let loose a heinous farrago of salty aromas, pungent candles and various other paraphernalia designed to badger my sinus and presumably the olfactory senses of the dead.

While it’s safe to say that I won’t be dating a Wiccan again, I have consulted a plastic surgeon about what he can do about the pentagram scar on my chest. The answer is: not much. But it was all worth it. Because Broom Hither did manage to coax the spirit of Walter Benjamin to offer us two paragraphs from the Great Beyond, which I am happy to publish on these pages. Mr. Benajamin has not only been paying remarkable attention to current U.S. politics, but has, in fact, ably mastered the English language in the sixty-five years since his suicide.

What follows is Sections 4 and 5 of Mr. Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of Idiots:


The human struggle, which is rarely present to a yokel influenced by White Zinfandel in a box and monster truck rallies, is a fight for the crude and avaricious desires which are often mistaken for upward mobility and, indeed, success. It is rarely the crude ones who allow for idiocy to rise, but the master manipulators in power who maintain the facade of idiocy. As American society has gravitated towards media mirages (c.f., reality television), the crude now see slim possibilities in their own futures. Thus, and I have not studied this as long as I would have liked, it remains my conviction that idiocy is allowed to flourish.


Please see Section IV.

At this point, Mr. Benjamin disappeared in a sepia haze. It is worth noting that he had no sympathy about my bleeding chest. However, he did admonish me for associating “arcades” with Mr. Do. So perhaps his lack of empathy was justifiable.

I have since learned that Broom Hither can be found in California’s Megan’s Law database. I suppose this is what happens when one lets common sense languish so that one may get laid.

Whatever the case, Broom Hither has disappeared from her residence. She has apparently listed me as her designated contact and I am flagging off the requests of dunners, creditors, and even a landlord from three years ago.

I will confess that I am not sufficiently familiar enough with Mr. Benjamin to corroborate his identity. It is quite possible that I was still reeling from the trauma. However, I leave this record up so that greater experts than I can make sense of Mr. Benjamin’s message from beyond.