Posts Tagged ‘nothingness’

Even Spud Was A Contributing Member

02 Apr


Gabriel Thy


So Gabriel—intrigued by Sam and Reuben's reminiscing (see gray box below)—searches his own well-organized email accounts to report the following informal chronology...

Ah yes, the founding members urged to remember. Twas a hot summer evening curtly described as 7:53 PM EDT on June 20 1996 (imagine the marbled loveliness had I subscribed a mere four days earlier), that I signed onto this now fabled list, then called simply THE SPECTACLE (truth in advertising I suppose). But I then promptly forgot about the possibilities of becoming the mountain because it wasn't until August 9, according to my then impeccable records, that somebody who thought he was having trouble signing on began and ended complaining about computer problems, and the great divide between Windows and Macs. I responded: LOVE THE ONE YOU ARE WITH...or else be forever shaded as Irish author James Joyce begins his relationship with Nora Barnacle. The date also figures into the plot for his novel Ulysses; this date is now celebrated as "Bloomsday" by Joyceans everywhere.

From: “Sam Hutcheson” Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 20:38:38 -0400

gabe’s been around as long as i have, for the record. if not longer. back in the day, spud was a contributing member, even.

as i recall i’m entering my 6th or 7th year “around”.


> Holy shit. It just crossed my mind that I’ve been subscribing to > this list
> for, like, five years or something. How sad is that? >
> Hutcheson’s been here longer though….. >
> Reuben

Another month of quiet on the nothingness backburner droned on until on September 9, when, as life would have it, another fine pilgrim popped into place noting surprise that he'd received anything from the list he'd thought clinically dead. That person was none other than Laurent Oget, responding to a seed named Heidi who claimed to be having trouble loving the one she was with in complaining about certain uncertainties of the sign-up process on a unsettling list where the writing and the riddles had yet begun to strike their mighty blows for freedom among us. But lo and behold, suddenly, in a gust of curious whispering, wistful activity was now thrust upon us! Five or six notes in about five or six days from a pool of about five or six people (excruciating details hardly matter), were swapped, followed by another lengthy spell of silent days and lonely nights. During the last few truckloads of late September another three or so notes got passed around. But I soon needed a swizzle stick to mix my fantasy sunrises as another spell of absolute, uninterrupted silence, dead air, spectacular timidity, whatever, came rolling in off the lumpy horizons of who's busy now. Records show it wasn't until the very end of October and early November, 1996 that the list finally grew into its motivational wingz when somebody finally mentioned Debord, but it wasn't Curtis Leung who actually tracked down my phone number, and gave me a call which once we warmed up to each other we extended for a couple of hours after violently disagreeing online in a crossfire of notes...

Looks like my old friend Sam made November 5, his debut as one of the "first wavers" in crackling response to one of my own rather feeble repackaged jokes about two kinds of people. But December and January were also virtual lockdowns in nothingness withdrawal technique, with February 1997 accelerating to a trickle. As for Spud contributing, I think he made a couple of announcements but didn't really contribute to the list in any sort of definite way, although I could be wrong. The pantomime finally burst into the long-awaited noise in March, as the second and third waves rushed the beach head with footprints enough for a snapshot in three-quarters time. The rest as they say, is history because if you want a shot you've got to take it when it presents itself. Don't be a pecker.

Making a list, checking it twice,

Saint Nix

“I fought with my twin, that enemy within, ’til both of us fell by the side…”Bob Dylan

The Wheeling Year

02 Mar

Plunging into the proud once bold steel spokes of Wheeling
on a boast, leaving self-identified low-brow intellectuals
thick on their heels, disciples of mediaplex back home
to guzzle odd beers, to call forth warm meals,
shutter fashion clues and scatter candle wicks,
cascading ambitions, creeping years and shell-soaked
beltway snobberies if not outright fears
only the duty-stoked people of paper bountiful
& class swearing beautiful can celebrate or poke
without laughing out loud
(Must calibrate gross weight or reluctantly take a dive...),
to increase their distance from the nothingness crowd
lost to brutal calories and raw educations
that rarely matter. Sometimes freedom
of choice is just a cigar.

The boy scout giving good turn a bad name
squats two seats away from the shadow's flame. To this end
I am greeted by
icy gray broken asphalt gristle patched with frosted gray cloud cover,
stuff of gray twigged mountain peaks and frisky billboards, soaking up
mere strands the soot life left to the rights of man in sixty year exodus,
sealed in a book mapping tough cookie Norwegian painter Edvard Munch,
(recently purchased in Washington and also found in local library, with lime)
to his destiny of soul-watching inched in regional nee personal strife,
the contact spy, the imperfected feeling magus,
the mystic's eye bent to March Madness
and the gnat gusts of George Mason's run
smack past the heavily brokered UCONN largess
predicted here on this page at patriotic halftime
with the same breath as "Pop Mike, Pop Mike" fun
veers the seer from Connecticut Avenue to Main Street
invoking play by play off the curve, via broadband, the long hike,
the voice of God dead or alive voting one sorry syllable at a time
with these heavy feet, with these heavy heavy feet
chanting "Long live the Mountaineers!"

Early thoughts among leafless trees recall jobs lost on a dime,
mantles of black gold from ancient burial grounds that fed
the former veracity, stolen with a few strokes of ink and power
of law but that's sparing a crime, spoiling the climb (social)
more shame in responding to a coal miner's lament
however sublime. Ignorance is egregiously polled,
and tallied like a certain hour where uncertainty takes hold
but will never sop these wet K Street cement trucks
with an exchange value that will surpass the damage of
wasted years looking for evidence of American life elsewhere
among the stark solar systems and pigeonholes of our enemies.

This rambunctious exile with single wave of arms deal
might have dropped anchor in Cumberland, M-D
some many miles franker (with escalating gas prices) still to the east,
instead, in exit from the nation's capital in the land of Nod,
brave hardly but where art thou hididen in tattered cards,
revealing seven maybe eight convalescing spirits,
as thy wholesome West Virginia Left Bank energies
emerge among fading old mills and abandoned
century old cigar warehouses,
nail factories and one fairly new hockey arena
skimming along the once mighty Ohio River
banks and bards, shanks and shards
like some Indian giver (that old tale)
ignorant of industrial bed safeguards
perfectly, perfectly American...

and I too, have come to recapture Victorian Wheeling metaphor,
ripped from ancient headlines in the days of Zane and Fort Patrick Henry
speaking the spectacular language of oldest and largest...
magnificient suspension bridge still in use, American Legion Post #1
recalling the 1940s, the unvarnished glories of the Capitol Music Hall,
where thy current president "Bush II" delivered another Iraqi hoot
hosted by the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce such as it is,
(commerce by all indications is not the city's strong suit)
before whizzing past in the familiar ironclad motorcade
black to the gills, in tight with street throngs of mere dozens
confused but supportive of Orwellian nation-building doubletalk
(a mere handful of detractors showed up with predictable signs)
hurrying to greet proven Pittsburgh past any sad assassins
hiding in the vacant ruins of the stunted and the shade
just two short days after my own arrival,
recalling former feasts of this harsh Steeler Nation
now in fester.

Victory to explore this old house of Wheeling,
home of some thirty thousand souls nested in the airy hills
to examine the lost fortunes of free elections and free speech,
to score on the fading linebackers godwilling for minimum of one year,
axiom by axiom in a tutelege of the expatriate, I am after all, a city boy—
saith the tainted poet, painteth the awkward painter...
Drawing upon the strength of history wanting a chance,
success and sure loss of dead weight left in the District of Columbia
where special populations prove numbers are anything but...
(absence of voting rights, questioning the dance)

But just as the petty thief draws near,
there is visionary hope in new places, new perspectives, new choices.
Infrastructure—civic, civil, and yearning awaits.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV }

Two Kinds Of People

05 Nov


Originally published on November 5, 1996, as one of the first, if not the very first missives contributed to the post-situationist listserv arm of the fledgling Nothingness entity. First I struck a nerve. Then I struck oil. The oil that would lubricate finally, a conversation that was about to take place. Or at the very least, I expected something resembling a conversation.

I write:
Just wanted to go on record that of all those waking up from last night's America TODAY, there are only two kinds of people. People who vote, and those who don't.

Sam then wrote:
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who divide everything into simple dichotomies and those who do not.

This Sam, turned out to be Sam Hutchison, from Atlanta, who later became a strong ally in the Bully Marxist wars that followed on that particular list against NYC rivals Bill Brown and Curtis Leung. But with this early exchange, I was immediately incensed by what I had to consider the familiar ring of snobbishness, and the fact that Sam had signed off his one liner with a kicker and a nickname that summed up my original assessment, sent me to the mattresses looking for my poison pen. His kicker, "Oh yeah, down here I'm considered the apotheosis of cool." signing off as "the sewer urchin." Needless to say, I found my metaphorical pen, and as to whether it was filled with poison or healing medicinal concoction, the distinction is all in the dosage. You be the judge.

Sam, have you ever crawled inside a wet sewer pipe down upon your hands and knees through a stinky brick and mortared shit-infested rat-renewal art-survival sewer "MANHOLE", a hole in hell clopped up with soggy kotex and johnny paper, root infiltration and a world of nasty whiff? Ever sat in a row boat hand-dipping test tubes into a lake of shit sludge testing the toxicity of said sludge as it's filtered and treated with chemical du jour before the big drip drip drip back through the lay of the land via some "no swimming allowed" river or some off-kilter stream of consciousness?

Go swallow an apple, or chop down a cherry tree with the excuse that it was on line (old surveyor’s joke), and then step into the shallow pond to pontificate on the differences between good and evil, dead or alive, one and zero, win or lose, voting and non-voting.
Well, my friend, you are currently communicating with one who has not only proposed the question, but I HAVE PERFORMED these awesome uninviting tasks many times in that petty proletarian life of my younger days before I took up dividing the world into simple dichotomies. Beyond this brief but colorful description of a few of my duties as a low totem, then ranking crew chief member of a survey party hired to a civil engineering firm in Atlanta serving five SE USA states specializing in waste management systems, I dare say I have also been known to chant around certain quarters that I am indeed the anithesis of cool.

My pose as THE ANTI-COOL is not a transparent facade I must mainatain in order to spew forth the vomit I have reserved for the lukewarm chic trendy jabberwockies of the café chit chat set. No, I am not chic. I sweat. I sweat, and foam, and seethe. And more than a bit overweight, one might add. But I was not always this way. I was once a child of simple intelligence and structure. Despite the William S. Burroughs role as the Commissioner of Sewers I would point out that WSB has declared the Evil One as a freckled face kid sitting in a boat out in the middle of some woe-begotten lake. Damn. How did he manage to describe ME in one my my strongest childhood memories to a freckle? Sitting in a row boat with my Navy dad in the middle of some large body of water completely flummoxed as to what was required of me. This was no dream. I was about four. We did it. I remembered it.

So I ask you Sam, is it not the very root of situationist thought (this swindle) that simple dichotomies are the backbone of the revolution: He be rich. I be poor. Therefore he da master. I da slave. Are we not swapping verbs and nouns on a situationist listserv? Viva la revolution! Sure. But how is the business of this post-revolution world to be conducted? Magick? Hmmm...

And so I reveal my true stripes: there are no simple dichotomies outside of SELF and THE OTHER (Derruda, Pynchon...)! Go swallow an apple, or chop down a cherry tree with the excuse that it was on line (old surveyor’s joke), and then step into the shallow pond to pontificate on the differences between good and evil, dead or alive, one and zero, win or lose, voting and non-voting.

And Sam, whomever you are and wherever you ponder, thanks for contributing to the iMote way...


"I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the side..."
—Bob Dylan


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