Posts Tagged ‘Bracken’

Insults, Snapshots, Etymology Of Current Scenewash Architecture

16 Oct


Lily Artwatcher


Originally published on October 16, 1997

The following letter was composed in response to a query from an old friend Steve Taylor, then in Philadelphia.

"Glad to see you are starting to populate the Scenewash. Is that name from one of your print works or did you create it for the online medium? You know I'm always a sucker for an etymological tale..."

No, sir. That gem was the product of a fresh brainstorm ripping across this fertile valley now my home while I was working on a Lily Artwatcher subsection dealing with local ontological events, hyperpersonalized and literally screaming fotographic intrigue a few months before I cleavaged iMote to separate the so-called storefront from the creative victories I feel as a writer and a conduit for whatever comes next. I'd created a banner page, and not much else. As I recall a snapshot of Sue is highlighted in a collage with moderate success. However I liked the multiple entendres of the Scenewash project so much (epistemologically, general and local cleansing of the scene) that it grew whiskers, a gut of grand proportions and into the ripening domain you are only beginning to fathom.

It will also remain a subsection, as originally intended, within the SWORG/LILY section, but you'll just have to wait until it's fleshed online sometime next year undoubtedly to know any more about that than I do right now. It's presently only a gleam in the sacrificial iMotedotcom and a few building blocks of infrastructure waiting attention. Since I have Cafespirit, and a bevy of other themes mapped out in LILY, I quite have forgotten what I intended with the original Scenewash quarter.

The industrious ones are border rats in a life and death frenzy to land a job. The lazy are generally stupid and vacant of morals and always eager to capitulate to the swirl and swill to maintain that laziness. In this way they match the filthy rich jet setters the revolutionaries supposedly want to overthrow. Power to the Bourgeoise!
Yesterday was somewhat of a creative breakthrough. You will like what you see. The work is still offline as I need to clean up some peripheral files before uploading, but I hope to have a lot more mapped in for your personal viewing by the end of this weekend. My computer is currently tied up with a 10MB download of a new site creation beta from Macromedia called Dreamweaver.

At my modem speed projected download time is over an hour and a half. I've crashed in the past trying to download and send mail at the same time, so this note will have to wait until the software is on disk, but man, a while back I downloaded MIE v3.1 in an uninterupted streaming session only for it to be corrupted from the very first click. Lost all that time. These huge downloads are not fun, or apparently very reliable.

Well, it took almost to the minute two hours to download. It expanded cleanly, but I'll wait until later to install and nose around. Of course I'll let you know what I think about it. How is Net Objects Fusion treating you? Or haven't you been studying it, like a good webmaster should in the best of worlds . . .

Bracken says, "Power to the Lazy Worker!" Can you believe he really thinks the world will improve if we all became lazy on the job? Next time he goes under the knife of a surgeon (knee work last year), he should slip the nurse one of his pamphlets, and have the medical staff, "go lazy on him." Then he should move to Mexico.

I understand siesta lazy is a way of life for millions down there (just another white man myth not worth its heat I suppose). The industrious ones are border rats in a life and death frenzy to land a job. The lazy are generally stupid and vacant of morals and always eager to capitulate to the swirl and swill to maintain that laziness. In this way they match the filthy rich jet setters the revolutionaries supposedly want to overthrow. Power to the Bourgeoise!

Brackenish Waters

18 Aug


Flag False Flag


Date: 18 Aug 1997 22:32:56

Bracken says his critical letters to Nicholson-Smith have gone unanswered.

Sensibly enough. Bracken is incapable of honest criticism and an open >exchange of ideas: mostly he is skilled at emotional obfuscation, manipulation and bad faith. He doesn't seem to get it that the SI can't exclude Nicholson-Smith and all the other "recuperators" A SECOND TIME.

Agreed on the personality gaps in Bracken's world. I've known him now for almost three years, and am trying to find a way to just ease him out of my life. All he's really interested in is getting laid, and bores me with a weekly or twice-weekly phone or office visit just to brag about some latest sex scandal he's perpetrating, or some ridiculous graffiti campaign he's planning. There's not much linkage to his lifestyle plagued by indecision and petty ambition with the philosophy he supposedly believes will set men and women free at last. Sorry Len. That's about the tall and short of it as this one contrarian sees it. Perhaps one of your co-conspirators will pass you this note and you will break this charade of friendship off before it completely atrophies without substance.

We can't freely discuss ideas because you dismiss so much of my perspective before I even get it out of my mouth. Yet I read your books. Have heard your rants. Shallow as a mud puddle facing the edge of the child's shoeless foot. Your episode with DFW's Infinite Jest was preposterous and telling. Face it bud. You're an imposter. At least you eat right, exercise properly, and may live well into your self-satisfied eighties, even nineties, while people like me die of boredom and sedentary self-dissatisfaction like so many lilies stomped beneath the footsoldiers of truth, or else impaled upon untold odd branches of divinity still striving for ascension just like yourself.

Other than that, he's a fine fellow and a diligent friend.

It's those Brackenish waters...


Pardon My Air Conditioning, Mister Miller, It's a Nightmare

18 Aug




Originally published on August 19, 1997

I see someone else has prominently displayed "dot com" in its logoyle besides this nationally fried neat animal fat autodidact from SE cuz dat's where she's at, not that anybody around me is noticing. Clever data trends and three hundred pound knee bends both get in the way of my originality, but to bitch or not to bitch is not the question, nor is it wrong to defer to scientific parlance in stating that originality in the age of Gordon Moore has a much shorter shelf life than it did in the purloined and scarlet days of Rimbaud and Henry Miller? Thank you, I'll have my ice cream, now, two scoops. Vote Republican you blue dogs because Democrats are full of real mischief, not the flag waving kind, but the block burning sort, and you can take that literally, bravely on your way to the bank, ye peace merchants and street crawlers. Nobody's as smart as they think they are, but nearly everyone is smarter than the erudite pretend to benefit them.

Meanwhile, in other breaking news from the SE sector, Blum juggered my naught the other night by telling me that iMotedotcom wasn't life. He didn't elaborate, and that was the only time the web or my "life" was mentioned. I immediately spun off a Pontius Pilatian rant about life, what is life, everybody's got something to say on that topic, like Bracken for instance who's just written a book on the philosophy of what is life, and that kid has it all distilled down to the sexual conquest. Geez—I said. Bob immediately confessed that I had a point and we knew we had said our fill. All of this confusion began and ended in the last five minutes of Friday's poker night which was an intrusively hot & sweaty hoot.

At 9:52 AM -0500 8/18/97, wrote:
> Sorry I started the pointless argument for the end of a otherwise good
> evening. I guess I was feeling ironic and the heat and alcohol weren't
> helping. My girlfriend said I shouldn't invite poeple over when it's
> so hot, not until at least I provide more air conditioning. I started
> the evening with 11 rolls of quarters and wound up with 3 (one of
> which Bob gave me). I was overall ahead now I'm dead even for all the
> poker played in recent years. What goes around comes around except for
> Bob Chisholm who nearly always wins Big. He's good to play with since
> he bluffs and generaly challenges everyone to their limits and beyond.
> Christine who usually goes home with empty pockets has since become a
> more seasoned player and made a little extra change. Hope you made
> some money, all the money flowing out of my coffers was enough to make
> everyone a little extra pocket change...

Pointless, Bob? Hardly. It seems you made or tried to make several [dagger] points. As it turns out I was particularly intrigued by your phrase, "well, that's not life."

But yes, I had a decent evening while gathering a few more twigs for the huge bonfire that has become my, uh, lifelessness. Powers of the phrase and the phrasemakers sort of thing. Counted my quarters the next morning. I was a buck and a quarter shy of exactly the fifty dollars I brought to the table, and was lamenting my losses until I remembered the five I kicked in for the pizza, so it turns out I actually soaked up a few bits on the plus side of the gambling ledger. Thanks for having me.

Noticed you escaped early from la casa del Blum during both of those 102 &105 degree recordbreakers this weekend. I took the liberty of retrieving the ice we never used and my white cap I'd left, letting myself in with key rather early Saturday morning. Now they're calling for temps to plunge into the fifties tonight. This kind of climate warp is liable to give even the outdoor bug battalions a nasty headcold.

Maybe Bob's right. My life ain't life. Maybe he'll let me join in his weekly WWII strategy board game, or gaze dumbly at his stockpile of Japanese anime videos. Now that's life. I know I'm just being petty here, but it really burns my bone that among this crowd of friends and neighbors every choice one makes is shit, and Bob has always done that to me. My poetry is bad. My writing makes no sense. My web work is not life.
The game went went on rather pleasantly until after one. I called it quits. Tony had already left. Allie had gone upstairs to snooze, as had Stefan even earlier. Blumstein, Chisholm and Christine packed it in after I announced my withdrawal. The two NoVa tommyknockers took off. I was headed for the backdoor when in summation of a pretty decent evening I stepped in it.

Chisholm had been complaining about the heat and sweat on the cards all night, but his handsome well-articulated suave protected him (and where was his sweat?) from several rounds of most iffy behavior, but I'll leave that to another note. You see, I commented about air conditioning. Bob responded with too expensive. I countered if I had an extra two hundred a month that's where I'd spend it instead of socking it away for some millionaire old age roost. He recoiled by bringing up his business school classes and the fact that I never went there. I suggested he visit my website once in a while to find out where I stood on the issues. He insisted didn't know what I was talking about. I said I've never tried to lord anything over on him, that I was just making some innocent comment based on my own personal foils toward creature comfort in the now rather than later. He said he never lorded anything over on me. I said he just did. He said he did not, when? I said just then, by lording his so-called business credentials over mine. Then he made the comment. Yes, the comment. The comment was iMotedotcom, that's not life.

Oh well, we are a swelled bellied bunch of braggarts and inferiorities aren't we? Narcissistic to a fault. Ego-entrenched warriors for the self, and nothing but the self.

Occasionally, Bob in occasional Bob good mood is generous with a Boblike compliment with Bob adjectives like hip, post-modern, whacky, and subterranean, sprinkled in to authenticate a true Bob true grit Pennsylvanian Catholic-Jew ex-military compliment, and they certainly have increased over the years, but like Bracken, most often he’s just a little slow in mashing the dashing dots that bring us to a bridge where an awesome choice must be made, too quick in tugging the expandable knots that keep us in place like a string on parakeet’s paw...
Oh, shallow shellfish on a stick, I just clicked on an iMote page, and it is all twisted. Wrong graphics in the wrong places, and another graphic skewed. Gotta go investigate. Maybe Bob's right. My life ain't life. Maybe he'll let me join in his weekly WWII strategy board game, or gaze dumbly at his stockpile of Japanese anime videos. Now that's life. I know I'm just being petty here, but it really burns my bone that among this crowd of friends and neighbors every choice one makes is shit, and Bob has always done that to me. My poetry is bad. My writing makes no sense. My web work is not life.

The Friendship Wars. Even after all the GT vee SET fires belching in the belly, and that most recent flamewar certainly left scars, I can at least say that you have always encouraged me in my struggle to express my loneliness and insights through writing and creative images and with the technical additions of web producing, you've been my only true visitor. I don't know what that says about you, but thanks anyway. But now, I've gotta attend to those pesky HTML brats. Keep it clean, and the dirt will follow anyway.

Busy with beaver and loaded for bear . . . strange how those epiphrases just jot themselves down along with the mustard and relish of a personality mirage. Lynn has not responded, although I certainly had no idea the phrase was anything but a toss-off. Tell me how it goes. I presume, it's like the "playing it by ear" and "that's my story and I'm stickin' to it" SET tune of the month. I can hear it already reverberating off the whispering pines of friendly Pennsylvanian platitudinal grace. Look forward to the update, but frankly, I think you and I are the only ones who "get" most of our poetic hucksterism.

Occasionally, Bob in occasional Bob good mood is generous with a Boblike compliment with Bob adjectives like hip, post-modern, whacky, and subterranean, sprinkled in to authenticate a true Bob true grit Pennsylvanian Catholic-Jew ex-military compliment, and they certainly have increased over the years, but like Bracken, most often he's just a little slow in mashing the dashing dots that bring us to a bridge where an awesome choice must be made, too quick in tugging the expandable knots that keep us in place like a string on parakeet's paw, and far too smug in mugging the transliterative shots across the bow of language and its antecedents like most of us who prefer listening to our own voices—up range down range jostling never the home range—than those of our neighbors who might prefer hang gliding the flirty bird just for the feasible and fanatical fun of it.

Word. Whatever. After all is said and done, and my Norseman's hair is brushed back into its rightful place, the truth is I still prefer listening to Killing Joke than the sound of my own inertia.


Ginsberg Ain't Howling No More

07 Apr


Allen Ginsberg and friends...


Originally published on April 7, 1997

WE MOURN THE PASSING. Allen Ginsberg's dead, quivers no more. The poet laureate of the Beat Generation died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. Word is his liver quit living.

Steve. Tried to read your files first thing this morning. Nothing I had would read the text. I discovered that I did not have MacLinkPlus which I used successfully to convert Bracken's DOS WordPerfect files, on my machine.Your files meanwhile are blank doc icons, not even PC tagged.

So I file-shared IMOTE (my Mac) with HEDRICK (Sue's), and 3/4 of her drive was locked, feeding me garbage about not having enough access priviledges. I went on to other things. Later I called Sue to troubleshoot that little annoyance, but have been too focussed on building the iMote Bookskellar to tear away. Will eyeball and get back to you later on that.

Did I already tell you that yesterday afternoon that the Sue's colleague Karen, and her boyfriend Pitch, brought her home from the airport? Yes I did, but did I tell you that he works in public relations for the Navy at the Pentagon, was impressed with what he had the short time to see of my site, and is perhaps interested in farming design work my way. Mmmm...maybe you primed the pump.


The SI Is Not Sports Illustrated

20 Mar




Originally published Mar 20, 1997; this discussion took place in the founding days on The Spectacle SI listserv between Sam Hutchinson in italics, and myself.

I don't want to dis your friend too hard here, but are you kidding me? If we are going to set up such a silly Marx/Engels parallel, then undoubtly the most apparent Engels would be Vanegiem. Now I will go out on a limb here and say that the truest heir to Debord's paper throne was Malcolm Maclaren. I recognize punk as more than a passing fad. It was a very subversive passing fad... The only significant press time Situ theory has received since '68 was that insane summer of '77. Count the ego drive that inevitably destroyed the movement each was so critical in creating and you have the beginnings of a very subtle parallel to be drawn.

True. Bracken acknowledges this, but still draws heavily from the language of Marx, while like the original situ thinkers, rejects the Soviet model, and rightly so, doesn't say too much about the Chinese model, but loves himself a Chinese woman, or two, actually can rarely ignore the opportunity to add several Asians to his whistling sidecar.

I question this Bracken's thinking concerning Situ theory. Capitalist pig? Situationism was not Marxism. it grew from a distrust of Marxism as well as a distrust of capitalism and a refusal of the polar dialectic the two combined to create. anarchy, if it is good, attempts to break out of these convenient structures of left and right and find a new form, a new city, a new avenue to the conditions of freedom... What have we learned these past few days? Me, I have basically decided that situationism can not be revived. it would be like this "punk-revival" that is so big these days. in mimicing the stances and attitudes of punk, you essentially repress you ability to create new stances and forms. punk was a violent refusal to allow that freedom, the freedom to create new stances, the freedom to be revolutionary, to disappear from the zone that is, for lack of a better term. as Peter Buck once said of the early days of R.E.M.: "When we would go to New York and play, everyone was like, no, that's not punk. Punk is three chords and spitting. But we always saw punk as being able to so whatever you wanted, even if you wanted to be a folk-punk band..." I think we can easily substitute "situationism" for punk in all of the above sentences. To relive the exploits of the past is to deny a creation of a now. If we are to be situationists of a contemporary epoch, we must at least have the nerve to bury the remains of the past. Otherwise we are just necrophiles fucking a long dead corpse. To sum up: I don't live in Paris, 1968. I live in Atlanta, 1997.

I wouldn't change a single syllable above. Bravo! Why can't Bracken fathom this? I think he was off on some island, too conservative, too young, or just too damned preoccupied with books and scholarly pretensions, and therefore not a part of the punk scene to admit that the world has screamed past 1968. But then, I'm not a textbook revolutionary. I'm an observer observing the observers, executing bad policies, that is to say, putting to death bad policies I have tested and found wanting....and as my doubts are eyeball high, the jury's still out given the book I'm just been paid to typeset, it's probably best for me to duck from this discussion for now.

At this point, I don't think any of us on this list are revolutionary. I bought this computer.

To your point, Sam, I shelled out big money on this upscale computer so that I could join the world of blips and bleeps, to face the fears of the future with ev'ry article of faith I have to exploit my need to communicate from the best beaches of childhood memory to the most stormy seashores chanced by aman in search of the most valuable one liner ever heard in the English language, and live out a simple life making simple choices, one or two maybe a few at a time, but I certainly do not feel qualified to speak for, or against, this bustling deaf world at large, except in spoonfuls of salt or vinegar meant for beggars and brothers who prove themselves not on the field of battle but upon the waves of friendship. I'm not neither parrot, nor paratrooper, sheep or wolf, victim or executioner until I have no other choices. It's time we realized that we cannot control the entire world with a well-placed verb, noun, or screaming decibel of a three-minute song, but it is the almighty decimal point that is being propped up by controlling powers pacing strategically around the globe that must be analyzed, attacked, and destroyed in due time. But most of us don't want to be around when that happens.

Bracken drives a Beemer, or is it a Volvo? I have no problem with that, and neither does he, obviously, but why if a typewriter is a revolutionary's best friend, tell me in the name of Bill Gates (my own nominee for Anti-Christ of the hour), does buying a computer make one "unrevolutionary"? This is one aspect of the materialism/born with nothing, die with nothing question I have never quite understood, although in some respects I feel the same burn because my wife has a tendancy to want to buy a new house, or the latest anything all the time. I confess to a degree the same desires, but mine are generally focussed entirely on software and hardware, and of course books. I don't need clothes or car. My house is satisfactory except for the inner city warzone where it's located keeping me juiced on paranoia with a nearly debilitating fear to tread outdoors.

Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable—as a member of a crowd he at once becomes a blockhead.Friedrich Schiller

The question of Marcus is a tricky one. He was my introduction to the SI and I agree that it's a great read, but on re-reading him last year in the midst of hundreds of other people's versions (I kid you not, I can send the 8-page bib.!), it is clear that Marcus either knows little about the politics of the SI post- '62 and/or glosses over many things in order to push his 'bohemian losers' line. There is a certain aestheticism and romanticism in Marcus' account that renders everything in the book as simultaneously crucial, vital, necessary and doomed, marginal, pointless. From what little I know of Len Bracken, I think he's just taking these kinds of qualms and magnifying them (in best pro-Situ fashion) into a stance of unwavering enmity.


Friedrich Schiller

I think you are probably right about this. The only flaw in this argument however is Bracken's own romanticism about everything Debordian to the point that he disagrees with damn near anybody who publishes an opinion concerning his master, so that his own opinion remains prominent in the minds of any potential acolytes. I rely upon Bracken's real life example in these matters because he is my strongest closest contact with all this revolutionary posture, and I'm new to the specifics of the SI, despite have been an independent rebellious sort while struggling for self-awareness for much of my life. Bracken, like myself, is a sports enthusiast, although I'm way past my prime. Yes, I had read Lipstick Traces, already. Still have my original hardcover on the bookshelves. But Bracken is local. He stormed in wearing this Debordian crown of thorns. He claims a certain pride of Debordian discipleship, so I'm sure he would not appreciate these "non-dialectical" details of his life coming off my keyboard, but to me the reality is that everything is dialectical or nothing is dialectical. I do not understand this solipsistic need to get social approval for one's revolutionary postures. Either one is revolutionary or one is not. The label is nothing but air and alphabet. Aestheticism, however, is not among Len's own bag of tricks, except as it regards his own personal hygiene and that of women. Is the situationist spiel merely a thinly disguised front for bagging women, I ask. With Bracken, it seems so. I hardly think the SI is Sports Illustrated. But thanks for the perspective...

Friends, Foes, Bookworms, and Burial Grounds (For Slander)

14 Mar


Friends, Foes, Bookworms, and Burial Grounds


Originally published Mar 14, 1997. The belief in the sanctity of words is never more substantial an argument for that great principle than when those who use words to slander others slander themselves instead.

Neither Sadie Plant nor Stewart Home could be called 'Debord's puppy dogs', so try them out—Plant: 'The Most Radical Gesture', Routledge, 1994; Home: 'The Assault on Culture', AK Press, 1988(?). Home also edited a reader "What is Situationism?' (AK Press, 1993) which has an essay by Jean Barrot, an interview with Ralph Rumney where he credits Michele Bernstein with doing most of the work of the S.I, and a reprint of the Dave Wise 'End of Music' article which started the whole S.I=punk thing which Greil Marcus was so keen on.

Does your p.s mean that Len's Debord book is on sale? He sent me a letter a year ago saying it was on its way, but I've never heard anything more. Who published it?

I told him both times in a rather grinding voice that I didn't want to hear about his petty acts of vandalism, that I didn't go for that sort of thing, adding something to the effect that yeah, he's been written up about these sort of things. He didn't even probe for content, but was juiced that he was "creating rumor, and rumors of rumors..."
Thanks Tim for the Home tip. Of course Home and Marcus rank as treasonous characters off Bracken's critical tongue, but since one of Bracken's novels is called "The Secret City" set here in DC, and not very written to boot, I now wonder who's secret is really being kept. A secret society is far preferable to an openly political cadre in as far as I am concerned. To pull a feather from the SI cap, to be political in today's climate, one must eschew politics, and simply use the game to learn and to expose, but the idealism and ranting is misleading and fruitless. Why imitate that which we find rather transparent and offensive in that which we would overthrow? As for Len's book on Debord, no, it's not off the presses yet. We only sent the hardcopy and disks to his publisher at the end of January. Feral House supposedly is publishing it, having already paid Bracken his author's slice but apparently (and here goes the gossipmongering again) Adam Parfrey is battling not a few personal problems of his own (sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll), and had subsequently lost the package in his corporate (well, small press) transition from Portland OR to sunny LA...

But Len called me earlier this week saying that Adam had called him, got his answering machine, but confirmed that all the components had been rediscovered and he was busy putting the money together to move forward. The book will actually go to a Michigan printer as soon as all the rough edges are worked out. Late '97 is probably the earliest bet. And the pre-press GT scoop on the Debord bio is this: it's sad that the author didn't interview Bernstein first hand. The book was researched from lots of published sources, and while a rather mediocre book from the standpoint of traditional biographies (and Len's own ridicously repeated rants that his book will stand for 500 hundred years), it is quite informative to someone who knew next to nothing about the movement and its major players beforehand.

My P.S. comment was solely reflecting Len's eagerness for any publicity, good or bad. Indeed I had gotten his name "out there" with the E-mail he so pompously despises. When he called me up to brag (to report on his revolutionary activity, in his "own" words) about his latest graffiti surge this week, and actually the week before as well, I told him both times in a rather grinding voice that I didn't want to hear about his petty acts of vandalism, that I didn't go for that sort of thing, adding something to the effect that yeah, he's been written up about these sort of things. He didn't even probe for content, but was juiced that he was "creating rumor, and rumors of rumors..." (My words). Len Bracken's a character alright. Trust Feral House gets its act together and puts the ink to the paper on this one. Hey, I earn a few lines of credit in the book as well, so let's carry on...


Review: Guy Debord, Revolutionary

31 Jan


Guy Debord & Etienne


Originally published on January 31, 1997

I'm glad I went into detail. I checked my database. November 14 was the transition date from Big Al to the current notation.

You asked me for editorial comments on "GUY DEBORD - Revolutionary" by the indefatigable Len Bracken. I have not forgotten, and was quite pleased that you asked for details of my impressions, so I suppose I should lay in a few lines on the topic right here, seeing as life is settling down again for me, and shorter than a thrice-used candlestick.

Considering the Situationist International's (SI) big cheese was, by revolutionary and philosophical necessity, a subterranean conspiracy veiled in secrecy, trapped in a state of chaos by idiosyncracies leaning toward an accelerated paranoia and strong diva tendancies, the volume was a decent read for the first biography ever written about the man (vested propoganda offered as fact by Len) in English. Especially for newcomers to Guy Debord and the SI. I was surprised by the general sense of objectivity in handling the material, having presumed Bracken to be a terminal sycophant of Debord as the self-anointed philosopher king of the whole romanticized SI movement.

I was able to argue plainly and successfully my objections with Len to the man and the philosophy based on details the book offered over the last week of proofing and finalizing the 420 page manuscript. The author's style was rather straightforward, his own voice almost non-existent, a minor flaw in the book as I pointed out to Len.


Guy Debord Revolutionary

As any serious reader might be, I was plagued with the question, who is this Len Bracken fellow of few daylight credentials? Again, I emphasize, this was no ordinary biography, given the secrecy of much subversive material hidden by its originators, so as might be expected much of the narrative is speculative and heresay. Debord's two wives are still alive, intellectuals in their own right, and yet were not interviewed personally by the biographer.

And while Bracken's bibliography and footnotes are extensive, this dependency on so much second and third hand information will no doubt register as a flaw with serious reviewers. Historical threads of Debord's intellectual ancestors are woven rather seamlessly into the cloth of the story, while personal anecdotes from behind the scenes are perhaps in short number. By the end of the volume I had gained probably for the first time ever a respect for both the biographer and the subject, while still disdaining the ultimate outcome of such a philosophical stance. Debord was a tyrant and a romantic. He carved up friendships with bold sweeping strokes. (Hmmm, something I might actually respect in the man given my own circumstances.)

Bracken indeed proved himself capable of putting flesh and flaw onto the man and the myth, much to the book's advantage. To his credit, Bracken's usual bluster and misplaced pomposity (Bracken's Breath) that this was a book that will be read for 500 years fortunately was kept out of the pages, and I could only plead in a feeble GT grit and grunt that my own ears had not been spared the oft repeated utterance, no doubt a trumped up cry for respect of a very needy author and personality.

I had to insist repeatedly that I was no cheerleader type, no empty flatterer, a symptom of my childhood no less, but that my comments were sincere and as comprehensive as I could make them. It was a roller coaster ride around here, but I think we did a pretty damn good job on the proofing, the layout, and an unbias review of the material. Could he not just leave it at that? Needless to say, I was not sad to see that job finished, and a satisfied Bracken wheeling out the door.

I am promised another $250 plus two copies of the finished product to add to the original $500. One can only speculate if I'll ever see either. Small press insecurities chewed at Len persistently over the month we worked together. Adam Parfrey is not intentionally a fly by nighter, but the Feral House Books wing span ain't exactly an eagle's badge of honor either...


Back In The Saddle, Soap And Shapely

31 Jan


Back In The Saddle


Originally published on January 31, 1997

I am forwarding these two recent notes I sent to Steve (who has been remarkably steady in recent days after months of little to say), only because since I've been so busy and completely absorbed by Bracken's project my own e-mail generation had dropped to almost nothing. I didn't want you to think I had blown you off or anything as vulgar or self-preserving like that. Quite the contrary. I've been feeling guilty and depressed that you've written interestingly on several topics that I failed to engage because of my current workload, while simultaneously neglecting my own hefty writing project describing those sordid details of the changing of the guard here at the Dollhouse.

Steve meanwhile weighed in with his interest in hearing more about the book project. You did not, but hey, you certainly caused a stir at the Situationist camp a few weeks back that I thought you might still appreciate a few details while they were still warm in the oven.

After a month of working diligently for someone else I had a few general Mac housekeeping chores to manage, a major crash to weather, and I am now on my eighth day of flu sickness without antibiotic calvary persuading me that the end of this misery is yet in sight. So I face the hiss and boos of the faceless crowd as I admit that still the first line of the "Great Storm" ending 1996 has yet to find its way to page, although this Sunday, Groundhog's Day will mark the first month's anniversary of Tim and Jennifer's exile from the Dollhouse fevers.

Speaking of anniversaries, what day exactly do you turn 31 in all your sass and bosomly anthem? Have you managed to seduce a frozen Swede onto your corporate tab? Would you tell me if you did? I dropped my soap. You wouldn't be pulling a Jack, now would you Landry, all bathed in secret lights and bold rationalizations while flogging community standards with one hand tied behind your back and the other on a stack of sci-fi novels, with nothing but your feet and your mouth to accomplish the dirty deeds, now would you Landry?

Of course I jest with you, but you know as well as I do that in the eye of the hurricane, few details are lost in the saddle. It's out there on the swirl that conflict states its name and bends the rules to suit its own game. Wishing you a swell Minnesota memory. Nothing lasts forever, not even a Green Bay Packers grin....

Of Folly & Fodder: Death By Explanation

28 Jan


Death Journal


Orginally composed on January 28, 1997

WELL...since everyone else is spilling all in declaring the spikes and spokes of their past and present journalkeeping habits, I may as well add my own finer edges, having kept a rather informal text of this sort rather irregularly over the years in old-fashioned notebooks and later, on disk.

After giving up the traditional journal task several times I've come to recognize that I don't really appreciate the form as much as I do the E-mail discipline. I suspect my need for instant gratification by way of external response, plus a general distaste for maintaining secrecies result in a preference for calling the bluff on private thought processes and identify the latter form as my own favored form of natural journal. Fortunately for me in this case, ever since the spring of 1992 when I first logged on to AOL and Prodigy, I've always had at least one equally prolific correspondent with whom I have been able to vent any issues of the hour mixed with any general ponderances which the modern mind might tend to address. And presently I can boast that "pour moi" this softly fluctuating group buoyed by Steve Taylor and Lynn Landry in a bicoastal cheek to cheek is indeed the golden age of "writing to keep writing" form the journal has traditionally meant to its creators.

That said, of course all my journals of the past and E-mail are in custody, hardcopies alphabetized and filed according to the name of my correspondent. My computerphobe but oh so revolutionary pal Len Bracken and a few other hanging-wit know-it-alls have taken me to task for my energies focused in this area. Death by explanation. What is that? Why must I explain every detail of the literary approach to those who taunt me as if they even care. My autodidactic education speaks for itself, and so I have no qualms gathering forces by exploiting my own preparatory habits. There's nothing really original about it. Writers major and minor will be writers great and small whether and wherever they write tedious volumes or short declaratives. Style is always experimental until it sticks and becomes habit. I really don't cotton to these arrogant tones toward E-mail and my own exercises in linguistic riffing, but to utilize a line from a long forgotten poem I once wrote might be a propos:

Ignorance and virtue STILL suck on the same straw...


Whew! It's Over! Bracken's Debord Is Typeset!

22 Jan


Guy Debord


Well, it's finally finished. The Debord book is packed off to Portland. Took data to service bureau to have my Syquest media converted to Zip, and printed out a color proof of the cover. Nearly a month's worth of work is in the can. Now I can address what happened over New Year's, settle back into my own themes, but first I need to awaken afresh. I am tired, needing a night's rest. Tomorrow I shall begin the prologue promised those long brackenish weeks ago. The details will no doubt seem shallow now, since most of you no doubt have struck conversations of some sort or another with the exiled in the meantime, but since I am urged by inner demons and outer banks of recoil to capture the essence of my own perspectives, I will presume some of you are still interested in hearing these details, despite their tardiness, but maybe far enough away to be free from kneejerk.



"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""