SUE AND I PLAN on getting to the Saturday night show. Is that the rock show for you? I have Open Studios that day, and again the next day, and am on doctor's orders of no alcohol (not a problem these days), plus now my latest whack, my right knee is popping, is swollen, and is painful. And to think I am soon moving up to a studio with a third floor walkup...
This will be my last 9353 show, my favorite band of the local Yellow Years. My rocker friends can't pull themselves away from their own egos long enough to lolly over to mine, so it's time to prune the branches. Frankly, I'm forcing myself to attend this show because Norman (a la Martine) has come out to a show of mine. Wait a minute! I've already gone to see his band play. We're dead even by my count. But I will stumble over to this last show. Because I said I would. Club scenes require hard drinking in my vernacular, to combat the smoke, and general sense of uselessness, and I can't afford that particular luxury anymore. Those days are just about over for me, as you've no doubt understood me to say in print several times before.
Seriously. Bruce and Kathleen have each promised to swing by sometime, on the heels of numerous invitations. Eventually, the song and dance phase freezes over. We each are forced into bold choices. There's no animosity here, just cold hard decisions required by the frank limitations luciferian time presents us. And I'm really tight with the reciprocity angle, so out with the pruning shears. Time to face the lions...
Life outside the law of lions is a bucket of stones slowly crushed into sand by experiences that herd us into stereotypes we both embrace for their truth and despise for their inconvenience. Yes, so this is my Kaaba story, and I AM sticking to it. Watch us crowd together, flocking around the rock that ruined the school of diabolical poets, crisp, pentecostal, and undeliverable in thirty minutes or less.
Jack and I bickered on and off which culminated in a ridiculous fight on Sunday. I was upset like I've never seen before; sobbing, vomiting. Of course, he says mean things and then ends discussion. Jack is more willing to sever ties with his closest relations than to admit he's wrong. What he doesn't realize is that in any relationship (friendship, love, whatever) right and wrong don't mean much. It's all compromise and forgiveness and humility. I think I've finally come to terms with this. There is no way to fix it. He is malfunctioned. It still hurts me like no tomorrow. No sign that it bothers Jack. I don't think he really cares.
Ho hum. Yes, it appears Jack really doesn't care. He lurks, he charms, he buzzes to a strong inner core that allows him to survive the petty trivialities of life like truth, honesty, genuine compassion for others outside the projection of his own visceral desire and whimsy.
I realize that you've had to hear this crap for nearly two years. I realize that you may still think I'm singing the wolf song. Maybe. But, I've got a piece of space with a lesbian coworker and a straight simoan babe (who's into bondage/leather shityour kinda woman). It sounds great. Low cost of rent which includes maid service. Great neighborhood. No lease. No credit check. I can get on my feet and hopefully have my own place within six months. I may even just take over the house eventually.
I haven't minded being there for you Landry. You have helped me by proxy in my struggle to regain what was lost in the floods of rogue consciousness I'd embraced in the likes of that whole rock scene. This heavy dose of messianic complex persuading me I had been put into an influential office was no match for reality, either. You helped me clarify the issues by holding a mirror to the exploitative flames in my own life I had finally resolved to escape after long being too weak with misplaced sympathy and unfocussed identity gratification (usually in the form of self-loathing) to snuff out once and for all, and Jack's self-imposed exile helped accelerate just such an initiative for me to clean house, such were the powerful corrosions of these rather reluctant friendships and epiphanies. It took bold strokes of error-thwarting cross-examination over long agonizing months to reconstruct enough of that previous, more contented, abundant self I knew myself to be, was born to be and would die to recover, after being completely sucked dry of soul and self-respect by those who would call themselves my friends with their lies and their mayhem as I became in my public image the polar opposite of the original.
We are incapable of conceiving of the parasite’s mind, so we can never understand him. We are incapable of hatred or malice. We will not accuse or fail to reasonand we can’t find the cause, since we can’t understand him. So we become helpless and bewildered before him. We never accuse him, no matter what he does to us. He yells that we are selfish, cruel, tyrannical by reason of the very abundance and magnificence of our talents. And we almost come to believe this.
These past two years have been a steady scratching at the blackboard of independence as I have sought a return to the finer intelligence of my youth, my own strong and moral twenties (excepting the three years of my horrendous first marriage from 18-21), an intelligence I carved up into tiny pieces for empathy's sake and flung to the winds of aggressive discord and poisonous irresponsibility in my thirties as I lived through the dark storms of personality presenting themselves to me as cool, hip, and aimless reaction when in fact I had been fooled into living FOR others, and not FOR myself, and have as a result drunk and eaten myself into the cloaked miseries of poor health and civil oblivion. Jack however has mastered selfishness, perhaps is even hardwired for it, but instead of using this mastery of self for good he seeks the evil path and manipulates others less savvy with the methods of selfishness to prop himself up in all his own imaginary glory. Such skill to deceive, such aptitude to thwart others. It's a handsome package delivered with the gale force blitz of a strong personality stalled for reasons of its own frailty. May find its source in childhood or early adulthood when he was in prison for drug possession. Current drug use may also be a factor. But keeping to the rational, let's neutralize biographical and biological impulses to focus on ordinary choices ordinary actors are required to make in order to express one's impulses or lack of them for personal and social cohesion.
Allow me to quote from Ayn Rand:
"You think the world is essentially a mixture of good and evil, and one must compromise with the evil, and you're sick of that, so you're giving up the world? Nonsense. Evil, by definition (if we have made the right definition), is the impotent, the impractical, the powerless, that which does not work. So it is no threat to us, it cannot stand in our wayunless we permit it and help it to do so. It cannot poison the world for usunless we carry the poison and spread it. The parasites cannot exploit us or rule usunless we voluntarily agree to be exploited and hand them the tools with which to rule us.
"Let us withdraw the tools...
"We permit it, and we have suffered this long, for one essential reason: the generosity of the creator. It is our nature that we wish to give, prodigally, recklessly, because we know the sourceour creative energyis inexhaustible. Being self-sufficient, we cannot conceive of dependence, so we are modest in relation to others, we never think we are indispensible to them or superior, because we do not consider THEM indispensible or superior to us. We act as equals toward equalsand an exchange between equals is a proper, natural activity. We are glad to give because our creation is a discovery or embodiment of truth and when others respond to truth we welcome their response, we are happynot because of the good that it does THEM, not because their approval gives us pleasure or is of any importance to usbut because their response is a victory for truth, that what we welcome is their entrance into OUR world, into that world we know to be good and true.
"We see no danger in givingwe think we're giving to men as rich as we are; we think of it as gifts not alms. And whenever we come up against an inferiorthat he is an inferior is the hardest thing for us to believe; we see the evidence and we think it is a misunderstanding or a temporary misfortune that has affected the man; then we throw ourselves to the rescue, we give, we help, we let him lean on us and bleed us, we carry himwhy not?we say, we are so strong, we have so much to spare. We are incapable of conceiving of the parasite's mind, so we can never understand him. We are incapable of hatred or malice. We will not accuse or reasonand we can't find the cause, since we can't understand him. So we become helpless and bewildered before him. We never accuse him, no matter what he does to us. He yells that we are selfish, cruel, tyrannical by reason of the very abundance and magnificence of our talents. And we almost come to believe this. Almostbecause no power on earth can really make us believe this; we are men of truth, we cannot fall that far into lying; and since our talents, our creative energies, are our sacred possessions, the source of our joy for living, we cannot permit so great a sacrilege against them."
"We allow ourselves to become torn. In a vague, unstated, indefinable way, we begin to feel we must atone for something, make amends to someone, pay someone for something in some manner. What? We don't know. We can never know. We refuse to admit to ourselves the truth in a clear statement: that we are being damned for the best within us, and that the creature making the accusation is small, inferior, and truly evil. We are generous, and do not pronounce such a judgement upon a fellow human being. Hatred and anger are unnatural to us; contempt for a human being is totally unnatural to us, perhaps impossiblebecause we think and act as if we were dealing with men, and it is not proper to despise men, we are worshippers of man, because WE are men and this is the logical implication of our self-reverence. One's opinion of mankind comes from one's opinion of oneself, which is the only first-hand knowledge of man one can have. The man who respects himself, will carry the respect to his species, to others. The man who despises himself, with good reason, carries the contempt, the malice, the hatred, the suspicion to all humanity. We, the creators, cannot conceive of this. We are bewildered by the parasite's malicewe do not even recognize it as malice, because we don't really know malice.
"But so long as, for any reason, we do not recognize the truthwe are bound to fail and to suffer in the whole sphere and in all our actions where we have left this truth unrecognized. Our generosity is a good motive? NOTHING is good if it motivates lying, falsehood, or evasion. There is no morality except in an unbending, absolute recognition of the truth, in relation to everything; an absolute will to find, face, and grasp the truth, to the utmost of our capacity, then to act upon it. Nothing is moral but this cold, ruthless, rational pursuit. But we have not faced or recognized the truth about the parasitesso we fail, we're helpless, we're disarmed, and they've got us. Did they win over us? No, we won the battle for them. They rule the world? No, we handed it over to them. The guilt is ours, but not in the way they think; in the exact opposite way. The guilt is that we refused to see the truth about ourselves and about them."
The preceding few paragraphs are fetched from THE JOURNALS OF AYN RAND (Dutton, 1997) pages 399-401. While Rand is often a bit too pretentiously black and white, she offers a wide berth of gray as her lengthy journal characterizations of personalities from her two major novels, THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED attest. She admits imperfection, her superman is a cold human being, a product of severe intellect and resolve, but worldly success is hardly the criteria for recognizing this true man. She is unabashedly anti-collectivism and opposed to such mundane concepts as self-sacrifice and herd instinct, of course, having been sharpened by the catastrophic blades of Soviet Russia in its rush toward dialectic materialism, escaping to America in 1926.
Writing in 1946, Rand continues to plot her book, suggesting that the great minds, the individual genius, the prime movers should go on strike:
"This last form of striking always happens when gifted men find themselves in a morally corrupt society. And such a society is always collectivist, or on its way to collectivism, because morality and individualism are inseparable. The degree of individualism in a society determines its degree of morality. In effect, the gifted men find themselves dealing with men and conditions THEY DO NOT WISH TO DEAL WITH. So they do one of three things: (1) they do not function at all and become drifting, aimless bums; (2) they function in some field other than their peoper one, and produce only enough for their own sustenance, refusing to let the world benefit from their surplus energy; or (3) they function in their proper field but produce less than one-tenth of their actual capacityit is a strained, unhappy, forced effort for them with their disgust against the conditions under which their energy has to function."
As you can see she, like all fingerpointers and none of us can claim to be otherwise, muddies the puddle of clear passionate labels soon enough. It's like the biblical metaphor that JC will return as an avenging lion, while at the same time, we are informed that archrival Lucifer not only presents himself as an angel of light as if he were some passive lamb or man of peace but that he too, is a roaring lion out to ruin men's best intentions. How in damnation are WE MERE MORTALS supposed to figger out who is playing what field and when?
I get home. Jack ignores me. He is playing Nintendo, empty bowls in the sink. His appetite, his life, all unphased. I realize: he doesn't give a fuck. I do the bills in the bedroom, my stomach in knots. I try to talk to him but I am the recipient of grudge silence. Jack would rather sever his arm rather than apologize to it. I think: I have no enemies. I have never stopped talking to somonenot even ex lovers. Jack has turned his back on you, Gabe, and others I'm sure I don't know about with not so much as a sniff. Less than two years in SF and he already has a list of people he does not talk to. This is wrong. I don't understand it.
The basic problem with Jack, discounting his intrinsic dishonesty, is that he does not progress in the world of life and liveliness past the old thrills of adolescence. He remains a stagnated nullifying personality. Rather than change his life he changes the people in his life so that his fringe perspective can be dished out afresh, as progress is gained only in the turnover of faces and places, and he can tell himself and these new ears all the stories his multitude of “friends” and “locales” have helped him build in a world of illusive success in the eyes of others.
It's unfair to characterize Jack as a thoroughbred parasite. But let's not mince words or hide behind veils of superficial morality. Let's call a liar a liar. Jack certainly fails the truth and honesty test when it comes to pure genius, preferring to mindfuck and aggravate his closest friends while sucking up to the famed and the fortuned as an extension of his own greater self, a role I too embraced in those awful years of socially incompatible boredom unleashed upon the worthless rock scene of noise pebbles and strutting egos. But I differ from Jack. He hides behind the facade or the appearance of not needing others, proud in his aloof aloneness but he truly can't survive without the social contact of the scene. I meanwhile parade around in a foul attempt to need everybody when really I am quite uncomfortable with people of any scene (with the possible exception of my wife), and prefer my aloneness, and feel self-worth only when alone, an escape from the weariness of conflict inevitable with the approach of the smug and the self-satisfied.
Oftentimes the philosophical canvas of well-mapped minds seems painted in pure black and pure white rhetorically-enhanced pigments, but Rand is quite robust in flushing out the multitudes of gray failures in her vibrant palette of undisguised potential. She writes of the trickle down "theory of greatness in practice" long before the writers for Herr Reagan took up the mantle, using these words:
"On the basis of this beginning, the story proceeds like this: The prime movers say to the world, in effect: "You hate us. You don't want us. You put every obstacle in our way. Very wellwe'll stop. We won't fight you or bother you. We'll merely stop functioning. We'll stop doing the things you martyr us for. AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT. The complete statement of the strike's objective is this: We have had enough of your exploitation, persecution, insults, stealing, and expropriation. Go ahead and try to exist without us. We will not come back until you recognize and acknowledge the truth of the matter. Until you admit what we are, give us full credit for what we do, and give us full freedom from your chains, orders, restrictions, and encroachmentsphysical, spiritual, political, and moral. Until you accept a philosophy that will leave us alone to function as we please. Until you take your hands off usand keep them off. We ask nothing but the freedom to work and live as we please. You will get gifts and benefits from us such as you can never imagine. But you will not get them until you leave us alone ..."
I'm kind of afraid of his recent behavior. I feel that if left untreated, it could turn into physical abuse. I feel that he is trying to alienate me from other people. The first step in physically abusive relationships. However, I don't think Jack is the kind of person to hit women. You would have told me that if so, I think. I think he's too lazy for that. I do not like the person he's made me become. It sucks. It hurts. It's no fun. It's pathetic. I am not me. I hate him. I never thought anyone could be so, so selfish. He doesn't seem human to me. How sad for him to be so gripped in the terror of not winning; of being wrong to be willing to toss aside EVERYONE. It really creeps me out. I look at him and think, he really doesn't get it. It's so very sad.
I'm not sure where this leads us in the matter at hand, Lynn. Most of us tend to see ourselves in the best possible light, or the worst. More typically, we flipflop on a rather consistent basis. This is our weakness. Nobody MAKES us flipflop. In our laziness and our weakness we think in terms of whatever suits our purposes of the moment, and adopt circular tautologies which reassure us that our past has no relationship to our present, unless of course we can glorify or punish ourselves as a helpless nonsensical victim of our past. That is the great lie we tell ourselves. Even Ayn Rand overestimates the ability to succinctly reverse the biological powers of entrenched thinking. We train ourselves to be weak and useless by referring to our decent motivations as signs of our goodness, of our moral strength, of our willingness to sacrifice. Piffle, irrelevant associations of the assaulted mind, useless in the arena of real activity. This trench warfare of oscillating between momentary truths rather than relying upon rational convictions is where we continually make our mistakes. And these mistakes, like firebrand molecules of self-destruction attach themselves to other mistakes, and we are rendered more weak and more useless than we were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. Each detail of our psychology and our intellect, each philosophical concept and practical action must be analyzed on an individual basis, just as we wish to be anlayzed on an individual and not a collective, herdlike, stereotypical basis.
No doubt you still cling to Jack for the very same traits which inspired you in the first place. But you are not the same person anymore. You have been stripped of something precious, now replaced by the revolting chaos of petty lies, failed opportunities, and habitual belittlement slopping over from the other, as you struggle to bring order to that collectivism which is a relationship. It is probably a one-sided trade because of the competing natures involved. Because you are a doer, and not a mere parasite, you have inherited only the foreign, the unbridled unashamed chaos of the other. The excitement, the expansive thrill, and most importantly, even the quiet joy of living, you already possessed. The other would not, or could not add to that in any estimable portion. The basic problem with Jack, discounting his intrinsic dishonesty, is that he does not progress in the world of life and liveliness past the old thrills of adolescence. He remains a stagnated nullifying personality. Rather than change his life he changes the people in his life so that his fringe perspective can be dished out afresh, as progress is gained only in the turnover of faces and places, and he can tell himself and these new ears all the stories his multitude of "friends" and "locales" have helped him build in a world of illusive success in the eyes of others. It is these traits that keep Jack from dwelling at the far ends of the spectrum and deep into the gray of the mundane world as his genius is wasted on his desire to remain a "pampered" child, a desire I simply cannot fully comprehend, since responsibility and harsh realities were rudely thrust upon me and my organizational mind at a very early age, an oldest child of a brood of six in seven years, a ballplayer, a Boy Scout, a school leader.
hat former period I called the Yellow Years in some places, the Mustard Years in others. That and previous periods (The Skinny Years) have barely been told. Not proud, just addicted to brave, brittle, brutal honesty, an honesty that hurts so much it attacks the nervous system, an honesty one must learn, and will always have the last say as we steer through the punative shards and upsets of life, life as we know it, just as we suspect the unrevealed life extracts its own ruthless penalties from every silence right down to the roots of its own noisy vindictive abcess, no concessions required. My opinions.
So this remains your call, Landry. Few of us are pure evil. Jack is not that much fun beneath the surface, but he's not pure evil either. However, let me acquaint you with the idea that the brain, the organ of the mind is indeed as valid in terms of physical flesh as the face or the arm, and is quite capable of being physically abused. A face wound might heal in a few days. A brain wound may never be healed if the thinking process is cajoled into repeated faulty reasoning while in mortal combat with an opponent who will stop at nothing to cloud the issue and win at any cost to truth and integrity.
But in the effort for full disclosure, let's just be clear that although I have no trouble with communication, psychological analytics, or philosophical resolve, I'm nothing close to being a well-balanced gentleman myself. In terms of dirty laundry, since being a charming, disruptive, manipulative teenager myself, I have clearly proved myself to be a tragically flawed creature because I have lived through enough evil, unable to properly marshal trending ethics and civility in both postulate and axiomatic form. To my credit, as a thinking artist, I have boiled too many thoughts, lusted after too many sad acts, and whacked too many skins, thick or thin, black or white, junk or genius to act as any judge of another except how it affects my own fragile but confirmed need for playing the hand I am dealt. I have been spoiled, soiled, and counter-foiled when I had little or no chance to win. I have transformed myself into a priest or a wizard when I had little or no opportunity to lose. I have always known the difference between the two, but few I have ever known have ever possessed the power to listen to my problems with life and liberty beyond the first few syllables, and so I've often had to admit for the sake of the herd, that I'm nothing but a mute with a speech impediment, ready to crack a one liner, slug back a beer, call the punk rock bluff, embrace ritualized chaos in public, play the brute to mask my own boredom, self-doubt, and determination to overcome the sorry past by fitting into the sorry future. That former period I called the Yellow Years in some places, the Mustard Years in others. That and previous periods (The Skinny Years) have barely been told. Not proud, just addicted to brave, brittle, brutal honesty, an honesty that hurts so much it attacks the nervous system, an honesty one must learn, and will always have the last say as we steer through the punative shards and upsets of life, life as we know it, just as we suspect the unrevealed life extracts its own ruthless penalties from every silence right down to the roots of its own noisy vindictive abcess, no concessions required. My opinions. Jack is also a fan of science fiction and robotics. I wish you two the best possible...
Repair to Søren Kierkegaard's frosty titles, Sickness Unto Death and Fear and Loathing, for additional source materials.
Originally published Aug 19, 1997. Italics Steve Taylor, plain text mine.
Damn. 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 watch his stockpile of Japanese anime videos. Now that's life. I know I'm just being petty here, but it really burns the bone that among 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. Even after all the GT vs. 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. And again, congratulations on your new aspirations. You are indeed cock of the walk when it comes to nailing job interviews.
You are quite welcome. And thanks for letting me know. It does mean much to me to have some positive impact out thereand it is nice to keep in contact from here in the PA void. I'm glad that I now have had time to read, write (a bit, anyway), surf, relax...and actually think about what works, what matters, what the hell...I kept busy and manic enough in DC to keep myself from realizing how unhappy I wasAOL caught me on the downside for a while, so I just kept fighting at Howrey, thinking that I could make well-enough work into something great. Hah! Oh well, looking back on the last few jobs I hadones for which I've been envied by more than one person, I see that I was fooling myself to ever accept them. I had forgotten that I could do more than be a lackey for underskilled, Peter Principle poster children who didn't care about the product but had just chosen a career and insisted on sticking with it without truly caring about what they were doing.
They simply become too easy too soon and don’t allow room for the type of growth and development that we need to keep breathing. iMote and Scenewash (and others projects of past and future) can give you that. I’m hoping that I will end up webmastering Fox Chase Cancer Center, and that the job will have enough challenges to keep me interested, honest, and sane. For now I wait for the call from Philly. Right now, I mow the lawn.
But each time I made the mistake of falling into jobs when I needed the money and was able to rationalize my way into accepting what I knew would wear out soon. Then I was able to add something to the job to make it seemingly great for a while. Then they didn't want a star, just a good team player. Well, I can be a good team player, but when I'm being asked to wash the uniforms and the team truly needs me in another position...enough sports metaphors...As I'm feeling some of that DC-bound bitterness resurfacing, let me bend this back to a less combative reality: I made some terrible judgement calls. But at the time, there weren't any better options I could have seen. I was too blinded by my defense mechanisms. And, even with the confidence I was often able to exude, for a period of time there, I didn't truly believe in myself and my abilities to do anything and do it damned well. I know that I can put together any web site, any magazine, any promotional campaign or technical budget. I just might have to work at it.
And that's what these McTech/McMedia jobs I've had have not given me (and would not give you or anyone else with vision and drive). They simply become too easy too soon and don't allow room for the type of growth and development that we need to keep breathing. iMote and Scenewash (and others projects of past and future) can give you that. I'm hoping that I will end up webmastering Fox Chase Cancer Center, and that the job will have enough challenges to keep me interested, honest, and sane. For now I wait for the call from Philly. Right now, I mow the lawn.
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 good mood is generous with a Boblike compliment with adjectives like hip, post-modern, whacky, subterranean sprinkled in to authenticate a true Bob true grit compliment, and they certainly have increased over the years, but like Bracken, most often he's just a little quick to dismiss and a little slow to hammer out the dots, plumb the heights, and probe the depths but like all of us, prefers to hear his own voice than those of his neighbors.
Those imps of HTML will need some reintroducing to meit's been a while since I've actually dug into code. Gotta go back to the basics a bitsave that source, localize those graphics, and start
playing with other folks' designs. Tables, frames, imagemaps, CSS...it'll take me a while, but I'll get back there.
Susanne's a pretentious whiny whirly girly mess. Except when she's a curvy but slight, thin-shouldered sexy kitty crawler with plush red lips bouyant enough to float across the Atlantic, a whimpering adorable quick-eyed fashionista, edible, noisy, and nasty, but I tell you whatJack Jack Jack, nimble nimble Jack, always finds a way to look really stupid and callous in the way he treats his relationships. But then again, this is me talking, and after 40 years of loving everybody with a howdy doo I now seem to find everybody a miserable waste of life force, especially those who rush in wearing the rank of friendship. Kerouac debatably wrote the first great modern friendship story. I must be writing the story of what a gross clusterfuck friendship can really turn out to be...
Sorry Jack didn't work out. He simply doesn't care beyond the next energy burst. He's always just an upbeat away from another potential friend, that easy touch. Having nothing and doing nothing seems to present him with that advantage. I think Jesus said something to that effect. But Jack rides the great dragon of lies. He tells an outrageous lie when a simple truth would get him closer to his mark than the fiction ever could, but, hey, that's Jack's security blanket it seems. Lie until it hurts, and then make up new ones. I've known him a decade now, and oh well...
Been working with Photoshop Actions batching routines today. WOW! What a wonderful feature. I can convert whole folders of say, a hundred TIFF grayscale graphics into JPGs, add a tint, resize, blur to smooth out edges, and save at a certain resolution, ALL BY FIRST HAVING PHOTOSHOP RECORD MY ACTIONS DURING ONE, and then executing for all the others. To watch one's computer open up files, add tints, resize, save into specified folder, close, and then open the next one is simply what power computing is all about!!! Then I simply grab that folder, and drop it onto a namechanging shareware program I recently picked up and it will standardize all the filenamesoperations that I used to spend hours, days, even weeks hardclicking now accomplished in minutes. Sweet Macintosh!
Hate Jack if you gotta (you'll have to stand in line, as I've noted I was there first), but a world without relationships, or a world without men, ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Despite all my clamor, and the recent dismissal of two of my supposedly closest friends after what was to be a very happy holiday turned to mud, I have always and will always yearn for the trusting, giving, mutually satisfying relationship, on either level, friendshipping or loveresque. I've always desired what I've understood as the near perfect union of Will and Ariel Durant, authors of that multivolumed set of THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION.
Won't burden you with the details here as you may already know the tale, but they really set the standard for all time. The other (one I'm seriously considering) is the 12th love tragedy of Abélard and Heloise. Yes, I'm thinking of castration, end of lust, fixation on the feminine, finish the task started by nature with the cryptorchidism I suffered as a youth, commiserate with the pets who suffered the blade, just to allow myself to focus more in working out the philosophies and poetries I know the world needs to hear JUST ONE MORE TIME, no, I know that's not the case, but I just want to explore the terrain. The surgery might actually lead to an improvement in the direction of my thinking about the clutches of gender and guts, but chances are this sentence will probably end any further discussion of it. Read it how you will.
Glad to hear you're back in the saddle (the workplace, not Jack's cockadoodledoo). I was beginning to worry about you.
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 I am urged by inner demons and outer banks of fair recoil to capture the essence of my own perspectives. Thus I presume all of you are still interested in hearing these details, despite their tardiness, free from kneejerk but far from the thunder of that distant hour.
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 so-called 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 glow? Have you managed to seduce a frozen Swede onto your corporate tab? Would you tell me if you did? You wouldn't be pulling a Jack, now would you Lynn, 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 Lynn?
Of course I jest with you, but you know that as well as I do that in the eye of the hurricane, few details are lost. It's out there on the swirl that conflict states its name and bends the rules to suit its own game. But have a swell Minnesota memory. Nothing lasts forever, not even a Green Bay Packers grin....
You asked for editorial comments on "GUY DEBORD - Revolutionary" by 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.
I had to tell him 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.
Considering the Situationist International's (SI) big cheese was, by revolutionary and philosophical necessity a subterranean veiled in secrecy a state of being heightened 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). I was surprised by the general objectivity of the material, having presumed Bracken of being a terminal sycophant of Debord and the whole romanticized SI movement. I was able to argue plainly and successfully my objections to the man and the philosophy based on details the book offered with Len over the last week of proofing and finalizing the 420 page manuscript.
The author's style was rather straightforward, his voice almost non-existent, a minor flaw in the book as I pointed out to Len. 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 bio, given the secrecy of the subversive material and its originators. 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. Bracken indeed proved himself capable of putting flesh and flaw onto the man and the myth, much to the book's advantage.
However, his 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 book, and I could only plead in a feeble Gabriel 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 tell him 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.
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...
Thumbs up. Nuff said. I wouldn't change a word of it. Thanks for the input. Can't wait to lay eyes on the output. Love to stay of top of things, even if it's standing up rather than sucking silence flat ass on my belly.
Glad you're coming. Just give us exact details when you get them, and I'll keep things moving on this end. Everybody's gonna be whipped in yahoos when they hear of your decision. That's all it is. It's about decisions, decisions. Damn Yankees. Damn decisions. And followthrough. Dollhouse is reeking of holiday spirit, and you're Swanky Doll. Counting down the hours, sweet love. Grab a rocket. Get down here. Stick a sock in it. Sorry Frank. We'll plead the fifth and muster up with the bloated roughy Jennifer and learn to live with the details of the coy...
Certainly a frenzy is brewing and I'm taking names...
I fly the bottom line like a spicy old gnat
woozy from post-Germanic stagefright
unmounting your governing body with the same flair
along the decided ridges of a glimpsed scarlet swimsuit
as I might if I were to straighten my hair with curlers
or roll up a newspaper to swat the dog
who just pissed on my appetite,
as I do this outside of habit,
suffering like a fixed whisper through hooking
wind tunnels of time, bouncing off
corrosive walls of unknown fragrances
imagining myself trapped in a microwave oven
forging deep contours into my handwriting
living in a jar of unforgivable battleships
floating hard cocks and polite whistles
among the wet, zenith waning.
I’m afraid I’ve procrastinated
teaching myself happiness without just cause.
Having started this swipe at all things accelerated
first with a bang then that accomplished whimper of mine,
I have stopped, started again overcautiously, stopped again,
scorched the soldiers of my fingertips, sculpted tiny industrial
elephants with toothaches storming my ear wax,
and lived to laugh about it while gaining weight
unlike coy women who disrobe for Christmas dollars,
fretted each word as if I were counting beads of the rosary,
even though I have never done that sort of thing
not being catholic or ridiculous while I write maggots
into the sky’s distorted huge and spongy apostolic succession,
re-filtrating every grounds of mutual respect with acrimony,
the world with me, here, not at its swirling epicenter
but along the frays of its weatherbeaten dust jacket,
deliberately unpersuaded as to what to put in
and what to leave out of this reforging
a retooling of friendship once quite
the vocabulary of need.
Of course all of this thinking and thinking about thinking
led ultimately to overpostulating the whole of what
memories and what urges I keep in pockets
lined with the rash and rescind
toward you, my friend.
Far astray the garden of youth, I am
faced with rallying back like a long distance
echo still stammering a single quote
from Kierkegaard under which
the flag of my soul
“…the poet who wants to transcend himself
but gets only as far as religious longing,
not piety as such…”
Thus is, and always has been
his unchecked swarm of needs
buzzing around inside my gut
and my head, and to obey
that nature I first laugh & flirt
I have no choice but to spring forth
like a foul-toothed mantis
spew everything I know of us
within parameters of earnest friendship. Perhaps
you will not be forced to concur with early 20th century
German critic who once summed up his side of the argument
with the crushing dictum that still tastes like chicken...
“Geist auf Brod geschmiert ist Schmalz”
(Mind smeared on bread is lard).
Letter not meant to reintroduce
into our man to boy tongue,
for that leads only to eventual ruin,
but I think for clarity, honesty, and foundation,
an assault of the past not only necessary but rational,
still unclear of extent your stroke has debilitated,
sorry for estrangement to wife and boys
no wish to aggravate your recovery,
thick patches of irritating weeds,
spurs and dandelions
wherever you find them in this glib landscape
of a remembered past whose nostalgic tone
may get lost in translation under brittle
cover of stale paragraphs
bibliophilia my escape...
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""