Thursday, May 16, 2013
Monday, April 20, 2009
What we have now masquerades as the News; it is not, indeed, the News. Newspapers have become that in name only, and have been that for quite some time. They are controlled by advertisements and sponsorships because, in this age of information, they cannot continue in print based on their content alone. Newspapers are now on their last legs. Investigative journalism is dead. In this age of information, you might wonder why something so information-intensive is not only rare, but mostly extinct.
Investigative journalism does not pay, for one. There was a time where you could make money as a real journalist and it would be a Suitable Career. Now, traditionally, journalists go, watch their particular story unfold maybe in person or get responses from 'witnesses', and then feed this to their editor, who eats it wholesale and regurgitates it so that it is neither over-offensive or over-stimulating. The major 'News' outlets employ people to then find these stories written by other people, eat them, regurgitate them into the open mouths of their editors, who then regurgitate it into print after running it by the resident fact checkers. These fact checkers have no real way to verify the Truth other than using regulated Federal resources to verify identity and the relative accuracy of time and date.
Investigative journalism is dismissed as too tedious and inefficient. A good News story gets the same amount of attention and entertainment value, typically, as a well-forged or 'covered' 'News' story. We are fed recycled yammering about hardly even news-worthy 'News', daily. Go do a search for any 'News' story on our good friend Google. Look for a source that is NOT derived. Now look at the next story. Do any of these actually have a reporter describing personally what happened? Is the reporter detailed?
The answers to those questions, most likely, are all 'No'. The reason is simple. The Business Model does not incorporate the News. The Business Model does not incorporate the Truth.
However, there is a dichotomy here. As I am American, I must speak from an American point of view. We Americans believe we know what is what when it comes to the News. But most Americans watch or read 'the News'. The older generation tends towards watching and reading via the idiot box and the newspapers I mentioned earlier. The older generation also tend towards taking things at face-value. The newer generation typically tends towards watching and reading their 'News' via websites; the irony being that, other than time restraints, they are getting the same regurgitation. Both generations watch/read it because it is entertaining. They watch/read it because it tells them what they want to hear, or alternatively, because it thrills them with what they don't want to hear. It tells them about things that are included in the Plan.
The Plan goes like this. Bad shit happens in the world, crazyfucks live next door, people will knife you in your neighborhood, people are poor in certain areas, and in general shit is shit. We learn that thousands are dying in other countries, and it is okay to us because it is part of the Plan. We learn that fifteen Caucasian males die in the county next to ours? Aw shit naw.
But either way, it is still part of the Plan. Shit happens. Death happens. We have become dull to all of this. Investigative journalism from recognized 'News' sources no longer matters because even if it were economically viable, the American public is too goddamned over-saturated with information to take anything from these outlets any more seriously than we take reading about the Inquisition in history. We have to actually actively get worried about these things. We have to be Championing a Cause to have any kind of opinion on a 'News' story.
So we have talked about the Impostors. We have delineated that great mass of corporate sponsorship, regurgitated laziness, and general apathy.
Here's where it gets weird.
The News is still out there. I realize it is silly to say this, but the Internet is Serious Business. I have shown you how it can feed us 'the News'. Now, if you are reading this, you probably have a Twitter account. You can sympathize when I say that Twitter skips the editing, regurgitation process. It also helps to recognize when people are regurgitating. They either link, or the RT. Blogs risk 'the News', but when you give someone a limit of 140 characters to explain what happened, their opinion on it, and why you should care, they get pretty fucking close to the Truth. They have no time for regurgitation or bullshit.
Now, this is not to say it is impossible to still regurgitate, but the incidence of both low-likelihood of regurgitation and no lucrative money-making mechanism (using only Twitter, at least) makes it much less likely than you would find in blogs, or 'the News' outlets themselves. The fact that 'the News' outlets have Twitter accounts should show you just how little they actually report if you read them. They're regurgitating reports from all the little people.
With tools like Twitter, Friendfeed, what have you, we little people are the real News source now. We have always been, but it wasn't possible to actually facilitate it until now. We shouldn't have to listen to 'the News'. We don't have to. If we all become original reporters, we won't deal with 'the News' except for entertainment and maybe summary. Investigative journalism might be dead, but with this it will only be dead in body. Its spirit lives on in every cellphone video of a police line, every uploaded twitpic of a bloodied face, a shocked expression, a roaring crowd. It will live on in us all.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll get to the Truth.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Ah, Raist. How well I knew ye.
The sound of screaming you hear at concerts is amazing. It's pure adrenaline, and perhaps one of the best highs you can get. It's the mass of people around you, the heartbeat of music and unity and crazed idiotic fury. You feel it in your chest (most likely because, unless you're one of those shoegaze bastards, you're screaming too) and you hear it later and you pay for it. That's what I like most about it. It's not substance abuse, it's not the thrill of danger. It's not dishonest. It's just the pure, primal kind of fun you can find usually only in forgotten jungle dens and rugby matches.
In an abandoned barn out in typical Bumfuck Egypt territory, where the band had just set up after fighting over what to name themselves a few minutes before the gig itself, I found myself amongst a seething crowd of voices. For some reason, I knew we'd all heard the bands songs. Turns out, I was right. We knew 'em by heart, maybe because they had lyrics that existed on some level in us all... or maybe because each one of us had been listening to them on repeat for months ever since the concert had been announced.
I use the term 'We', even though I knew next to no-one at the concert, because that's what it is to be one of the audience.
When the frontman came out (a position which seemed to change in this band dependent on who had the cockiest swagger and most rakish grin at the moment) and announced that they had decided on a name, we all screamed our throats raw just to see him there. It didn't matter that the sounds of instruments at the time were just tuning up-- to us, it was the sound of the most beautiful, amazing chords we had heard until that very moment.
The first real notes of the concert rang in the air like shooting stars in a meteor shower. We all began to sing along, some of us actually following the lyrics and others just screaming out nonsense sounds. It was like we had been given voices just for this moment, to scream out every single syllable of these songs. The thing of this whole experience was that the quality of the actual music... I can't even remember it. It was the kind of music where the actual songs didn't matter. It was screaming music. It was sore-voice, dry-mouth, aching-limbs, writhing-crowd music. It was hardly music at all. It was the very definition of music, to me.
There was this lull in the sound-wall around me; I felt like a wave of pure living force was crashing in on me... and then the current swaggiest band member came forward and took up the main mic. It was the lead singer, or so it seemed (another aspect of this band, which by now seemed to work as a meritocracy: the lead singer was whoever was singing like the loudest motherfucker there) and, probably due to his hazardous occupation, had quite a craggy voice.
"How are you guys doin'?" He asked, to a chorus of cheers, catcalls, and applause.
"Thank you. Well, I should be straight with you about something; I am sick." He said, to a chorus of cooing and 'aww's.
"My doctor would have had me cancel the show!" He said, to a chorus of hisses and boos.
"I know, and you're really supposed to, when you're a singer, not go up to a show and sing sick." He said.
"We love you!" An adventurous young audience member yelled.
"And I love you too, that's why I'm here. Even though, your voice doctors when you're a musician, they will ride you about it. Y'know, about how you'll ruin your voice for the rest of your life..."
"They're lying!" Replied the adventurous young audience member.
"No, they're not lying." He said. "I've talked to the some singers at the doctor's office who... y'know, fucked up? They're not there to fix their voice... they're there to stop the daily pain."
He let this hang in the air for a bit.
"So, I decided, since you can probably hear that there's not a lot of voice left... We could try an experiment... I need an honest show of hands."
Some dick up in front raised up two hands for seemingly no reason. The singer looked at him sidelong.
"No, see, no. That's a dishonest show of hands. But..." He winked at the crowd. "I used to like guys like that in class. Anyway, so. How many of you know our third song on the set list by heart?"
A sonic wall blasted the stage.
"So, I need volunteers then. How many of you know all the lyrics?" He asked.
Once again, sonic blast.
"Alright, how many of you just know the chorus?"
"So, it's all or nothing, then?"
"Alright, I wanna do it, I don't give a shit. I'll cue you guys with the first line, and you guys jump in..."
And with that, he began to play.
And then he stopped, cocking his head up towards a shaft of moonlight (which was streaming in through the roof of the barn) for a moment in thought.
"Especially you guys who were yelling that you knew the lyrics. If I don't see you guys out there singing like motherfuckers, I will drag my sick ass out there... and beat ass."
And he returned to playing.
And we sang.
It was perfect.
I woke up later sunken into a couch, situated nicely across from the pitchblack of the glass doorway to the livingroom of my friend's rich stepdad's house. Headphones were whispering to me in the dead of that twilight, replaying the concert in studio-quality. I felt myself sink back into that couch, but, as I drifted off, all my mind could concentrate on was the pure numbness of my throat. This revelation was like the elation of realizing you don't have to go to school tomorrow as a kid; I felt the relief of being able to wallow in the perceived sickness caused by strep throat and a momentary fever.
Finally, I re-awoke, sore and exhausted, to the careful creeping of the sun on my face. This time, my throat was not merely numb. I discovered, upon attempting to communicate to my friend the need for immediate caffeine-based substance-abuse, that I could not even whisper. I resigned myself to guttural noises and vulgar gestures, which seemed to be more efficient anyway. In fact, I think I made more friends that way than I have in all my time of verbal communication. It's hard not to become buddy-buddy with someone that you are trying to impromptu-charades into following your requests; it's similarly easy to become enemies through the same venue.
(I think I will shock the whole fucking world with the following statement.)
Screaming until your throat is dry and red and raw is something that touches the core human in all of us. It is built into our bodies to release the exact chemicals to make us get excited over pretty much anything we're doing at the time. It has been proven in medical studies to be extremely effective in relieving stress.
It's the spicy food of communication. It's the feeling of pain coming from one testing their own limits in a natural, peaceful, but still thrilling way. It's the natural extension of the whole 'tantrum' thing that children usually do, which puts a whole new perspective on tantrums in general.
Are they mini-raves? That might have a connection to the whole 'pacifier' thing that ravers seem to enjoy having as apparel. Perhaps I shall do research into this.
In the end, pretty much everyone wishes that they could just unleash their own pent-up nervous energy once and while; they wish they could just be idioticly, intensely, and undeniably alive. Letting your voice fail you at the end of one drawn-out death-rattle of a scream essentially speaks honestly and fairly to the primal aspect of life, and that is something rare and magnificent for this day and age.
It's important to realize we're still human, even if we're transhumanist.
It's important to let yourself scream.
It's also fun as hell.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
You must understand the almost impossible sound of the word 'Fireworks' first to understand how I felt as I watched this; it sounds like something Nero might have said when he was looking for a really good way to fuck over Rome, had he been English and rather short with his statements. Perhaps it’s the phrase that sighed softly from the lips of some inquisitors trying to discover a way that they might truly deal with witchcraft and the wretched bodies left behind after the dealing-with. Maybe it’s the mantra of mankind—maybe it’s the one phrase that kept our pitiful little ‘civilization’ going in all times of hardship—and maybe, just maybe it’s the phrase that answered that great proclamation of Ozymandias.
“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Now, I understand the true etymology of the word and I could definitely give you a rather invigorating lecture on the origin and real meaning of it all, but whenever I hear it I must admit that it seems the fictional origin fits far better than the factual one. Gonzo-etymology, if you will. It’s an emerging field, but as we continue to evolve our vocabulary I’m sure that it’ll grow. Or perhaps it’s just that more and more people will claim to be a part of it—most of us may as well be.
So I watched as these fires worked within the bright blazes in the sky and couldn’t help but feel fascinated, sitting on the roof of the dockside house that serves as my sometime-home. I always like to pretend that this kind of Fourth of July display is really just a belated celebration of my birthday. It makes the darkness seem a little cozier.
Anyway, so, I watched this light, deluding myself happily and rocking softly with the waves and wind and mulling over the sheer bloody-mindedness of mankind, when something pierced my reverie. I felt the first drops of rain. All of a sudden it occurred to me that the first kinds of fireworks (or, really, the vaguer ‘pyrotechnics’) were made by the Chinese for the specific of use of just being fucking loud and annoying, but not for blasting the shit out of anything other than air. It also occurred to me that the raindrops perhaps were portentous of more things than the strange ways of Asians, but I felt compelled to stay on the roof. Something about the convergence of these disparate elements with the history of ‘boomfuckboom’ drew me into a trance.
I ended up soaked atop a rocking, wooden thing which one would suspect is not entirely within safety regulations if it is unable to withstand a little wave and stormy weather without turning into a fucking mechanical bull with a proclivity for making its inhabitants think that the end is very well fucking nigh. I could barely think; I saw the firmament turn into a holocaust above me while the foundation quaked below. My mind was buffeted on the wind, perhaps even made into a buffet for the consumption of the sluagh sídhe that were following the ebbs of life that night. For all the thoughts of death that must have been caught on the wind that night, most likely my little home-away-from-home was a centerpiece.
Drenched as I was, I was laughing loud as a young child wrapped in several layers of water-heavy outerwear that he was given by his grandmother and told rather specifically not to get soaked to the bone in and gripping the bow of a bucking boat as he sails for the first time. The world was dying in pieces around me like an old story I felt like I had read before but could only vaguely remember. All I knew was this: This was a tale that rang true. Yggdrasil was aflame; an ashtree was made ash; my thin voice was washed out to sea by the waves of wind and rain, perhaps to wash ashore a foreign land in a tiny bottle; it was the final exclamation mark to my consciousness.
I awoke to the sound of seagulls reenacting the Civil War over their slave-fish near the dock. Their lieutenants and cavalry marshaled as I came to conscious with an ache in my back but a surprisingly clear mind. Sea air does that for the mind; there’s nothing like high-tide-smell’s ability to make you snap to attention (mainly so that you can find a way to stop smelling it) and sober-up over post-Apocalypse intoxication. I ignored the battling crabfantrymen and found my way off the roof. I picked a careful path down among the myriad storm-debris and went to look over the damage that must have been caused to the mechanical bull I called my abode.
Nothing was disturbed at all.
Not one fucking thing.
I had just spent most of my night expecting the world to be all dust, rust, and apocalyptic, mutant crab-people and all, and I find this rocking deathtrap perfectly pristine.
It was at this time that I discovered that it was indeed entirely possible for inanimate objects to be motherfuckers.
I stomped through the house, making goddamned sure to be loud as fuck in case the other inhabitants had somehow managed to stay just as pristine as the house itself. I decided I would ignore it for the moment. I went to the dock and began the long, arduous process of checking all of the crab traps. I’ll remove the suspense for you: This was a mistake.
You see, when a storm comes by, you’ll find that interesting things usually come up in high tide the next day. High tide is normally interesting, but storms seem to bring in the weirdest abominations of sea life that you can imagine.
Now, to properly prepare you for what I am about to describe, I must first describe crabs themselves. They are evil creatures made of pure malice. They hate fish, they hate birds, they hate other crabs, and, most of all, they hate you. They are not nice. They will kill each other for fun. There’s an old adage among crabtrappers. Never have only one crab in a bucket. If you have one crab in a bucket, it’s possible that it could escape. If, however, you have two crabs in a bucket, you don’t have to worry about them escaping because one will always grab the other fucker and yank him back down if it seems like he has a chance of making a break for it. They hate. That is their purpose. There is a reason for the word “crabby” having the connotations that it does.
You can imagine properly now that I was a bit surprised and concerned to discover the somewhat cumbersome weight holding down the other end of one of my crab traps was a veritable clusterfuck of all the ugliest, meanest, and largest crabs to ever glare menacingly at an unlucky sop like me. You, perhaps, cannot imagine what possessed me to haul this crabby fucking doom onto the dock. I can’t. Neither can I imagine what made me think it was a good idea to place this boiling pot of pinchfuckclawkill directly in-between me and dry land.
What followed is something I will keep between me, whatever deity governs the evil hive consciousness of all clawed, seaborn arachnids, and perhaps whichever seagull was laughing its ass off as my ankles became the target of about fifteen different sets of claws.
So I returned to the house with my haul, or what was left of it after I had beaten most of it into bait or off the dock, and found something peculiar about the shape of the windows on the upperdeck of the house. Some of the debris had fallen in an interesting and particular manner which changed the overall façade of the house itself.
I swear on the graves of several different crabs which I would never want to haunt me after what I did to them if I could help it, this house was fucking grinning at me.
And as I stood there, agog at the simple existential horror of knowing the house that you just rode on through Apocalypse into crabby hell is grinning at you, I seemed to have forgotten that old adage of never having a crab alone in a bucket. A sharp pain stabbed into my right hand and I made rather unmanly noises. The little bugger had crawled up sideways on the side of the bucket, reached up with one big fucking claw, and dug said appendage into the thick part of my hand between my forefinger and my thumb.
Once again, this next section of my memory is between me and one apparently very vengeful god.
So I found myself with a bandaged hand, staring at a dazed crab, several of its evil brethren crawling around in a bucket, and a grinning house. I was wondering what exactly I should do to get proper justice for the wrongs done to my person.
Then, it dawned on me.
They don’t come out normally. They don’t say hi unless they have to, they don’t have proper manners outside of tribal feasts, and they only present themselves at the most inappropriate times and in the most inappropriate situations.
They dress themselves.
The only time that I can get them to show themselves to someone other than my feeble psyche is that strange, awkward time between 3:15 and 3:32, when you begin to think that once you’re free you really will be able to see your wishes come true at 3:33 on the dot and the fact that it’s half-evil only means it’s double good. The number of the Beast follows strange rules at this time, becoming more a symbol of luck and potential rather than danger, edginess, or even material effectiveness. It’s a symbol, that’s all it is, but it has power all the same when you’re half-drunk on caffeine, sensory overload, and that strange feeling that the words on the screen of your computer monitor, notebook paper, or particular Men’s bathroom stall are moving independently and fleeing from your fingers/pen/pencil/blood-soaked bone-tool decidedly towards either periphery of your bleary vision.
So the stories are pretty picky, to say the least. But I’ve decided to force them. I’m showing you. That’s the writer’s work. Perhaps they’ll lose their magic when they find themselves out in the terrible world, exposed to the critical eye and the existence of both Hershey Bliss Chocolate Bunnies and Sour Starburst Jellybeans being given consecutively as gifts for Easter (formerly a time reserved for feasting, now reserved for slowly dissolving pieces of sugar in hydrochloric acid both in-and-outside of human stomachs) and, failing that, Halloween (my favorite time of year, especially for the months-old candy and hope of potentially causing caffeine-induced heart attacks, which is a story I will tell you when you’re older chillun’) and, having been left-over from that wondrous time, finally for Christmas (from resurrection to birth quite untouched, not unlike Jesus) which is when they will be finally gobbled up by unknowing children and adventurous adults alike and exist forevermore as a possible carcinogen, not unlike the stories themselves.
One can only hope that each of these stories will bloom into beautiful little tumorous bulbs.
Nevertheless, I’m showing you them in this small collection of recollections of collected curios and curiosities. I hope you find them interesting.
Welcome to the show.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I've been writing for quite some time; It's some nonsense about a prison and fascism and witchcraft, hurrah hurrah. It really gets old sometimes when you’re writing about old stuff and using old ideas and notes to cobble together an old tale which sorta makes you feel like you’re writing a cliché in disguise as what you slander as a “plot,” somehow avoiding the swinging blades of real authors. I'm a writer (or I call myself one), though- I love to hear myself talk. Or read myself write? That sounds both grammatically incorrect and disturbing, which is really just double-disturbing. But nonetheless, I have decided to re-immortalize Anton Praetorius in my writing with this story. What a coincidence that it's titled Praetorius then, eh? Originally I planned to make the allusion to ol' Praetor a rather veiled and subtle affair, but then I decided I'm a blunt little bugger and I doubt my readers would really appreciate the essentially masturbatory references anyway. Perhaps they would. Writing is an essentially masturbatory activity. Similar to public speaking (dear god do not drop that ‘l’, even if you think it would be funny, this is the internet, they will make it happen), but that's more like a group affair and I really don't want to delve into the psychosexual implications of that. Especially in the context of politicians.
So, yeah. Anyway.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, to be honest. I see above me that the plan today is for a Scheduled Outage of some kind for Blogger. It's like the world is ending. It's a beautiful thought, in the context of technology. Think of every site as a little world, a small planet or maybe even just an organism (though really worlds are just scaled-up meta-organisms in the first place) and imagine these "Scheduled Outages" as miniature Floods. Weekly Floods. Daily Armageddon. Sysadmins are doing the task of God to Noah, giving him the odd heads-up before the whole world is rebooted. Online geology is reset. The old is reinstated, and it's as if it's all the same. Perhaps it's never the same for the sites themselves; perhaps there's a small, imperceptible shift in tone and point of view with each Scheduled Outage. If they ever become self-aware, perhaps I'll ask. Or maybe they'll have taken my tongue by then and left my hands as useless nubs to prevent my jabbering on verbally or literarily about the good ol' times when humanity had the upperhand. And opposable thumbs. The kind not cut off at birth by our robot overlords.
I'm looking down now at the bottom of my page and Blogger is giving me this nice little message that it is repeatedly attempting to save a draft of this piece. "Could not contact Blogger.com. Saving and publishing may fail. Retrying...", heh. Looks like the Messiah came and went. The Apocalypse is now.
How entertaining. My little robo-savior is trying so valiantly and repetitively.
I wonder, can robots go insane? I think they are default as insane. AI Is a Crapshoot, you know. But honestly, insanity seems to be more likely specific to people who reason solely through cold, clinical logic with no checks in the form of "rationality". So perhaps robots are typically insane. I was just thinking this, because the definition of insanity, as some old guy said once a long time ago, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. My little robo-savior is doing this. I feel so bad for it. I want to give it wheels and put it on the streets of New York. That's how much I love my little robo-savior.
Aaaand... my internet just died in the middle of this post. That is great.
Let's switch subjects.
Do you ever think that whatever god that’d decide to make us would have been in the same position that we are in currently, in respect to artificial intelligence? Maybe there was some Divine Fiction out there about mankind rising up and, instead of serving the gods, making his own gods to serve his own purposes. It was probably written by Hermes. Or Loki. That trickster seems like he'd enjoy sticking it to Odin, Vili, and Ve for their silliness and hubris.
"Sure, Aesir, give man Blood, Sense, and Spirit. I'll be over here starting my OWN apocalypse; at least in mine I'll WIN.
Albeit it vicariously through Fenrir, but STILL.
And yes, I realize that Vidar will kill Fenrir, but I mean... maybe the prophesy is a bit off?
Know what? Just, fuck you. I'mma go write a book."
Have you ever really thought about it, though? The Gods, what we once viewed as our creators and lords, are now nothing more than ways to describe ourselves and maybe explain a few things. When was the last time you sacrificed to a god?
When was the last time you sacrificed to a god that you didn't make up?
We are living in the Post-Robot-Apocalyptic World of the Gods.
I don't think I can end on a more awesome note than that.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I woke from sleep in the dead of night,/
Through my window, the moon was so bright./
I walked the road outside my home,/
And saw these leaves falling alone./
They were dancing/
To their own tune;/
By the light of the moon./
Then came the sun, down came the leaves./
Out came the light, out came the bees./
They chased me home and back to my room./
Out my window, taunting they loomed./
They were dancing/
To their own tune;/
Slow and entrancing,/
On frail wings they flew./
Then came the clouds, then came the rain./
Away went the bees, by raindrop slain./
I went back out, pan on my head./
To hear the rain; here's what it said:/
We are dancing/
To our own tune./
Though we seem ranting,/
Know this is true:/
You are alive; so are we all./
So wake up at night and watch the leaves fall.