Posts Tagged ‘Voos’

Taking A Charge In A Zero Sum Moment


07 Jul

scale

Scale To Talent

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Originally published on May 29, 1996

Hey Ben—your note has me dialing for symptoms and just the right synonyms to match your own interesting English sentences spinning doughnuts around my memory, into the read-only memes that keep us satisfied in being outselves. Thanks for writing back in English because I have no German except in my pop's heritage. You wrote:

Caught up in words as they are. "Work" means "making money" and free-time is meant to be for recreation. In Germany, in the mid-eighties, when unemployment was a popular discussion, one heard of the "human right to work". This was twisty. I wonder why people need someone to tell them what to work, although they need some money I anticipate. Well I'd welcome NO WORK...

Yes, Ben (he says, like Peter Sellers as Chauncey Gardener to the old dying billionaire). My wife's mother recently lectured her on the topic. With this common interpretation sharp on her peacewhittling tongue, she was of course probing with ages rich mother-in-law cynicism MY own twisted unAmerican state of NO WORK. Meanwhile, I acknowledge that I appear to jealous acquaintences quite blessed among men for lack of a regimented work burden, or entitlement, depending one one's perspective. My wife has been convinced finally that I am best kept at home in the privacy of my whirling mind and Dollhouse, near her cold indifferent fingers but warm toasty heart. I admit I feel rather insecure anywhere else, and tend to drink myself into an explosive reproach to the bickering myths of strataculture every time I step out into the bustling city of lights, armed with little but the urgency for escape from any number of circulating yet dreaded theories of nightlife which haunt me because I am nothing without MY WORK, as sluggish and apparently unilluminating as it is to most who claim to know from whence arrives my artistic impulse.

Opinions are always made about money. Even the most discrimating poor among us, myself included, gaze upon it and are corrupted with envy and linguistic violence and strident motives to obtain it, or else are saddled with an indifference that leads us into bitter arguments swapped for obsessive compulsive choices as wretched and concrete and ugly as a proper sum of money ever was.
I keep busy making sure I have a contortionist's name for myself, or else in the minds of my severest critics, I keep busy shining names and nuances behind barstools and bushel baskets of cloudy arguments where lightning strikes swiftly and severely against the surface of old arguments whose welcome is long gone. With only slight exaggerations, I work every waking moment. My wife complains that I don't know how to relax, partially true, rest is sleep, al else is work, if you will, to meet my strategies for survival. Fuzzy well-intentioned logic like educated guesswork and informed interpolation, however, is the grace the unequipped will never face, and for their ignorance they will probably perish with their lessening winds. My dreamstates are work, are tools, are kids in the sandbox and I embrace them just as voyeurs do when at the movies, peering into someone else's dreams and ideological documentation.

But back to the idea of work and money. My wife pays nearly all the bills. This is true. She feels the burden of her job, of course, but she brags about what it brings her in prestige and buying power of argument and freedom when dealing with the host of projects at our command, basic insecurities about the future notwithstanding. If I bring in a dollar, I give it to somebody else, usually her, or to the computer industry. I am an accomplice within the digital revolution, a footsoldier, an enlisted tattooed man, OCS candidate, a homefront evangelizer as I stare past the garbage, glass shards, dilapidated structures, and confusion from my Dollhouse perch which serves me well enough as fresh air and culture, such as they are in Nero's regime.

Surrounded by mediocrity and prejudice, great practitioners of liberal slander refuse to intuit my disguise as the very one they tout in their own philosophies. My sockets burn sometimes with urgency to fly somewhere, anywhere else where I can explode past the loose meaning of contemporary friendship into the netherland of a more pure synchronicity of duty, loyalty, purpose, and comprehension.

In other news, this rainy season is driving all the yard bugs inward, ants and cockroaches multiplying themselves and immigrating to my turf as if they "owned the joint". Fighting against the corruption of the material is the only fight worth dying for, but dying is a losing cause. I hate dying.

WORK IS ENERGY. Money is a contaminating conversion and byproduct, safe only in proper prospective, because money corrupts everyone who surrenders to it. Opinions are always made about money. Even the most discrimating poor among us, myself included, gaze upon it and are corrupted with envy and linguistic violence and strident motives to obtain it, or else are saddled with an indifference that leads us into bitter arguments swapped for obsessive compulsive choices as wretched and concrete and ugly as a proper sum of money ever was.

My love she speaks like silence. Without ideals or violence.
She doesn't have to say she's faithful. Yet she's true, like ice, like fire.
Bob Dylan

Pure work frees man from the analysis of money. Am I a hypocrite for pointing this out? Am I a hypocrite because I love to spend money? Am I a hypocrite because I have argued, successfully it seems, to remain at home, supported by a woman who is hardly Artist or fraud, simply to allow the chips to fall where they may? Am I a hypocrite because I am aging, ugly or fat, conspiring to destroy faith in humanity's surge to crawl up from the tidal mud known as the Anti-Hip instead of being that dazzling, thin, strategically well-placed well-pocketed and quasibeautifully hip? The trickle down economies of Art and Finance are not dissimilar; as Ezra Pound's crackling contentions about art, economics, and war, and William Gaddis in his terrific novel—The Recognitions—have revealed.

The few who know the ropes either play them to bizarre lengths or avoid them with the meanest of miseries. The rest of us argue ourselves straight into a double-edged niche, and so it becomes us, our sentence for which parole is repeatedly denied, despite any makeshift theories to the contrary, we or some other highly paid or dollar dead genius devises for us in the meantime.
You have postulated Ben, that "people get occupied in a way, they forget to handle NO WORK. You know that, I suggest, but do you also know that contemplation, the force of passivity, I mean not producing, maybe on a journey? Oh, yes, you are a gardener too. Many people have to work, to ease their artificial bad conscience."

I understand what you are saying. If I say to somebody "I am a writer." Or a painter, or a traveler, or a flute player, am I less so because no muscle has called me up on the telephone to offer me a job or a contract? Am I any less a gardener if no one has offered to snap a polaroid of my roses or send me on an all-expense paid holiday to the Alpines to discuss breeding techniques. Does it matter whether I eat poorly like the beast I resemble, or whether I eat in eloquent gusto like a fancy fat French chef buttering his own bread in Paris? The human right to work and the human right to be hip are not too far apart on the GT scale of impossible tasks hustling among so many and so stupid a population always electromagnetic & naked in the catbird seat, but ever so snobbishly none the wiser...

But we, despite our best attempts to avoid or embrace symptoms bunkered down in unappealing ratios of human production and consumption, drunk from the fountain of fair green idealism, we too succumb to the same pitfalls in one flavor or another as any other poke even as we like to feel superior and just a bit more enlightened in comparison. We struggle against struggle not knowing how to slip the knot that binds us.

Basically Ben, I feel most people desire everything they think they can handle. Most of us don't know when to start OR stop the false lures of desire outside the domain of self-interest. The few who know the ropes either play them to bizarre lengths or avoid them with the meanest of miseries. The rest of us argue ourselves straight into a double-edged niche, and so it becomes us, our sentence for which parole is repeatedly denied, despite any makeshift theories to the contrary, we or some other highly paid or dollar dead genius devises for us in the meantime.

But it's been my experience to observe that poverty-stepping revolutionaries are not content with merely doing next to nothing, or running some small underground bookstore which suits them for a few seasons. Soon enough they want capitalism to give them more than they have managed to accumulate. Invariably they clamor for more money or more free time as if freedom of choice requires a zero sum cure using social algebra and a bad attitude. My guess is that like Mother Nature, it's not often you can cheat Father Capitalism.

GT

P.S. “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it's more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody's blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It's only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

—Malcolm X

The Toys Of Summer


15 Apr

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Toys of Summer

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The din of silence from the Stevester is just one more reason why computers are not what they used to be in a world gone mad over speed and sad over performance...

We signed up for ISDN access yesterday. Tuesday, May 13 is installation date. Videoconferencing should be more reliable then, but will I ever have an equitable use for it? How's the apartment hunt going? Tim breezed by this past Sunday with the news that he'd been paging you all morning to no avail, snagging his 45s, and part of some movie with Sue in the same breath. Sue reported the afternoon when you called and I was sleeping, that you repeatedly coaxed her to inform me I should page you, any time, any time, any time. Well, I finally did. I sent you two pages, well links, on a new introductory iMote page, mostly a cheap trick dazzler, but I was inspired to ante up by a recent visit to Ben Voos' site:

http://www.sfabrik.de/construct/

I haven't been flooding you with messages lately because I know how beaver you've been, so why waste bandwidth, as they say in the lower snot caverns where the toys of summer bring fall rains...

Peter and I swapped notes yesterday at a pace reminiscent of some of our own E-mail as instant messages tours des force (is that proper, or should the "ess" follow the word force?). I finally felt like I broke a little ground if not a lotta wind with Pete. Nothing more specific than recaptured focus, but it felt good.

Lemme know what's been keeping you when you get that infernal chance, right? Has there been a Sullivan in your life lately?

GT

Pollyanna On Uppers


31 Oct

pollyanna

America the Pollyanna

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(Originally published on October 31, 1996, in a letter addressed to Ben Voos in Germany)

Just received your latest terrific turns of phrase. Forwarded the whole thing off to a few friends. You've done it again with that web site. Minimal. Elegant. Thought-provoking. I voted. The lined box to the far right, which was in essence, voting with the herd. I studied long and judiciously at the boxes before making my choice. What was I choosing? The one which reminded me of feelings I associated with something pleasurable? Or did I pick the ugly one out of the crowd because I am prone to exhibit low self-esteem at regular intervals? Or, perhaps I simply not know why but went with the leader, thinking others' good taste was what I had in mind when I explore a path of raw nerve?

That's a tough one. I immediately thought of lines drawn in with chalk generally in athletic arenas, basketball & tennis courts, uh, the far left box with the rose colored demarcations, right angles, parallel lines and yellow diamond, but too late...no it's not, I just went back and voted a second time, this time for the first box. The absent of controlling rules worked to my advantage. I see your liquor bottles made the cut again, as did the kingdom of the grid blip.

I'm really embarrassed by my slow entrance onto the WWW. Just bought that new Mac 8500. It's allowing me, finally, after days of organization to bring some order out of the mess of HTML files and graphics I've been creating, storing some here, some there, inadvertantly losing some to the trashcan monster it seems more than once...

Your queries about domain costs: Paid $75 to have a third party register the iMote.com name and paid $100 for the first two years of registration, after which I will be billed $50 annually to maintain ownership of the iMote domain name. That's the sum of it. The German full Internet charges you mentioned are rich...home ISDN line service is the BIG deal here in my neck of the woods. The tiny nearby state of Delaware recently passed a law mandating a $29/month ceiling for residential ISDN service anywhere in the state of Delaware. In the District of Columbia however, I cannot even GET residential ISDN line service, and they want over $500/month for a business hook-up.

Actually I applied for a rates and service spec from the Telephone Company a month ago and it never came. Seems in this polarized city a widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots, as usual, is the culprit. Big business and big government versus 50% of the population at poverty level being left in the dust by a crisis-building tax revenue shrinking middle class fleeing the gang-infested city for promises of cleaner suburban living. Problem is the crime and the gangs are moving right along to the suburbs in the same moving vans with these noveau bourgeois parents who always think it is somebody else doing the troublemaking...

Meanwhile, kudos again on creating an interesting site. And don't worry about what your EXPERTS say. They are saying the same thing here. Ripsnorting business and smiley faces are what makes this country get a hard-on for anything. Lord knows it ain't flashy nude television gameshows (like you Germans). America is a full-color gloss Pollyanna, but after a rough gamble with freedom and artificial habits up the nose, she's beginning to show some cellulite and wrinkle. I smell tragedy in that rag...

GT

The Nice, Unpresumptuous, Commendable Kid From Darien


24 Jun

eye

I Just Want A Taste

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Date: Wed Jul 24, 1996 3:02:48 PM

I'll be damned Ben. I just wrote that piece to Landry which I also sent you for your perusal, and then I log on to post & receive any new mail & what do I get but nearly a word for word reflection of everything I had pondered. Geez guy, you and I certainly think alike. About leather, while yes, I was a leather & mohawk phreak in the middle 1980s, and can find both the aroma and aesthetic appealing when confronted by it, in terms of punk rock's not dead and any arrive alive motorcycle culture, but when I speak of bondage I am drawn toward the composure, the counterpoint of cotton fabric, or office professional lace & latitude, long & short dresses, brassieres of all sorts, serious treatments where the woman is aggressive or submissive. I might find myself dressed in all white. Exotic places, dame or damsel, woman or wife in distress, railroad tracks, nurse and teacher, smacking uniforms but never cheesy plastic buffoonery. Admittedly drawn to clothing fetishes but since the mainstreaming of leather, and certain conditions of my own personality, my own soul I have dismissed the leather scene as pompously vain & vulgar. Ropes and clamps, perhaps more than chains & other strategic hardware, would be my own restraints of choice, must be the German in me, but frankly Ben, I have experienced, or experimented with little to none of the B&D protocol except pictorial literature exposed to me early in life by those True Detective rags found in the news stands of my youth. And as we have both pointed out, it seems only a tiny fraction of us get to fully experience our sexual desires in action.

Next, I found myself ridiculed then pursued by an intelligent, motivated, role-playing, self-measured, resolute socialite of sorts, nine years my senior who worked at the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta who aimed for personal control, and finally a very pretty, (even beautiful when her stylings fell into place for any given season), reserved, passive, benign, charitable woman whose strength is her compassion and loyalty, six years older than I am, not too delicate, but still somewhat adventuresome, dutiful, an accountant, the woman whom I married and bingo, I was finally set in stone.
I was a nice, unpresumptuous, commendable kid. White socks and checkered trousers, a nerd, a dandy, a boy scout, an athelete, a wallflower except when I knew what was under the tent flap, knew the rules, knew how far I could press the powers into a match point as I did throughout my school days with teachers who were no competition for their own academic mission or me, prowled everywhere by homosexual predators, the first time just after turning fourteen, and became an immediate masturbation junkie after my molestation by a man in his forties. Only three dates in highschool, both big prom events and one other disastrous outing, where I slid into first base and got thrown out of the game. I was too soft for the girls who preferred the more robust jocks and loud-mouthed cigarette-lipped hard rock hoodlums, gearhead thugs, strangely we didn't have much of a local music scene where I went to school, but this taste of Eden was even true for the good girls with whom I ran around town, in and out of class, but remained just friends as it turned out.

Still a virgin at 18 and having moved away from my parents and five siblings in white trash Florida to just outside Chicago to work for the big bucks of Bethlehem Steel Corporation on Lake Michigan, I was seduced by a woman twice my age. She was a Jehovah's Witness, mother of three kids aged 6, 12, 16, the latter, my only friend in that strange land of stranger consequences. I had been publicly considering moving those 1200 miles back home to my girlfriend Eva when this weak, dependent, vengeful, neurotic, not beautiful but handsome woman removed her blouse and brassiere to lay hands on me some snowy wee hour in December, 1973. My immediate sense of guilt, her immediate bucket of tears once she was entered, remorse, religious baggage, loneliness, the quicker pull out and collapse of boyish penury, hardship, guilt and feminine wiles at work plus her nude-on-the-sofa marriage proposal forever changed my life (or did it?). The five of us lived a hell of familial imbalance no one should ever live for three years. It was another ten years before her Jehovah God finally allowed her to properly divorce me (because someone else in the kingdom I imagine found her attractive enough to pursue).

Even after that frightening criminal affair, and the homosexual gags, I remained a kid of relative innocence, still shy around women, girls. Too smart, too tender, too righteous and well-behaved, a perfect gentleman further torqued by the demands of the first and second waves of the sexual revolution for the sexual plottings of young women my own age, but definitely did not ever consider myself homosexual (I refuse to use the term gay to describe those situations). In my twenties, goodlooking enough but neurotically unsure of it, I felt unsteady, desperate to annul my past, self-punishing, lost forever. Finally in my mid-20s a series of older women again invaded my youth. First lengthy post-marriage stint was with good-looking, highly sexualized woman 14 years my senior, unfortunately the mother of six robust children. Next, I found myself ridiculed then pursued by an intelligent, motivated, role-playing, self-measured, resolute socialite of sorts, nine years my senior who worked at the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta who aimed for personal control, and finally a very pretty, (even beautiful when her stylings fell into place for any given season), reserved, passive, benign, charitable woman whose strength is her compassion and loyalty, six years older than I am, not too delicate, but still somewhat adventuresome, dutiful, an accountant, the woman whom I married and bingo, I was finally set in stone.

That's enough for now. I just wanted to blather on about how remarkable my letter to Landry and your letter to me conspired to bring yet another strange smile to my face, and a loud thanks to my lips.

GT

S A M P L E X

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


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