DATELINE MARCH 29, 2004. It was bound to happen. It was bound to happen to me. After three and a half years of critical stagnation, or seven, if you count the ego-soaked swillibuster eraafter compiling thousands and organizing hundreds of spewing streams of political, artistic, and theological treatise, essay, opinion, oddball blasphemy, jack wrong nonsense, half-baked curds and whey rolling up the sleeves of the duly infatuatedin a single absent-minded act of accidental shredding, the work that had filled my long gaps of inactivity has finally vanished. If I were more the conspiratorial flogstaff, I'd swear that old bean sprout leftie Len Bracken had something to do with this tragic miscue. Just yesterday, he had me worried that he wanted me to yank up some old 1994 manuscript files of a book I'd typeset for him. I still had them sitting on my drive, but wasn't anxious to go digging for them.
This was my first mistake. I'd boasted instead of keeping my own counsel. And as is nearly always the case, I soon paid the price for my bravado, always finding new and ingenius ways to suffer the consequences of ego. Here's my crash report to Bracken this morning:
Thanks again for the editor's copy of your movie. I think I will take a few breaths before watching it again. In a completely unrelated event last night, I trashed and shredded my entire Scenewash Project, losing forever some 800 MB of text and graphics I had been collecting and coordinating as reference material for both the web site and my own stalled writing career, such as it is. Attempts to recover the data netted only about 200 MB of the original gigabyte of material including what was backed up by virtue of sitting on the webserver already in play, so that's one small consolation. Bad news is that among the 800 MB was your entire archive of Guy Debord - Revolutionary, the cover I designed, the original typesetting, et cetera, all of which has been lost.
The only remains of Len Bracken on my system are those web pages I created, and whatever is posted to the web site in the Situationist section where other "conspiracy" material was archived. Of course, I had the whole mess backed up on the wife's machine, until I dumped it clearing out space in which to edit yep, you guessed itThe Lazy Ones not so long ago you may recall. Now isn't that a striking irony.
Apparently when I was thrushing out the the weeds I (or some ghost in the machine) managed to drag the entire Scenewash folder containing all these working archives into the trash, and when prompted to empty I noted the size of the dump was rather high for what I presumed was in the trash by choice, but failed to follow up my suspicion with a quick peek of the contents. Result was instant disaster and chaos, regrets in a handbasket.
Bowing to fate, all this so-called scholarly work has been lifted off my shoulders, for better or worse, for the foreseeable future. The weight has lifted. One day I will regain my strength to sort through what little I was able to recover, and merge them with my paper files, and perhaps only then be rightfully prepared to sculpt a work of art worthy of all those keystrokes and hours lost in sitting. Time will always kill a mockingbird.
This post is republished from the Project Scenewash archives.
Four score and seven years
ago . . . an idea took root.
These rather mundane but highly charged words have echoed across the American mindscape . . .
Freedom's just another word for nothing else to do . . .
In the evolution of man's flight from the biocriticisms of nature, only a few governments in the history of the modern world as we know it has ever been founded upon the premise that all men are created equal, and they have each according to its own nature, proved that embracing the convenient lie is a stronger impulse than weathering the persistant struggle of the truth.
The lemon tree does not compare itself to the pine tree in terms of equality, and neither should humanity pine for such terms nor grow sour to its own promises.
the human spirit throughout history has been shown to struggle in rising above these awkward limitations, despite a persistant weakness for oppression and folly.
Freedom of opportunity does not include molecular bias, suggesting a nod to the a priori, rather than to the revolutionary moment.
Revolution is the first resort of scoundrels and sly misanthropes, and the last resort of still honest chainthinkers who treasure today's fleeting moment rather than yesterday's sandbagged rubble or tomorrow's sloganeering turned soon against themselves.
Military and articulative might is a time-worn eye for eye approach to keeping the peace in a world of chaotic and delusional equations. Turning the other cheek is axiomatic to early blindness for the many, while bringing light to the few. One must pick one's poison, knowing you will never cheat infinity.
Envy is the cardinal regret in this knotted world of appropriation. Self-contentment is never attainable while still attached to how others may compare to one's own stability. After the Industrial Revolution brought on rapid development and nearly everyone's lives improved with relation to leisure time and creature comforts, so has our lust for competition and greed among our neighbors.
Work is nothing but an attempted escape from idleness. Numbers suggest many succeed and find happiness. The idle rarely stretch beyond the strains of envy. Those who do, find happiness. Is there room for both clienteles in a single worldview. Of course.
Many concern themselves with public image. While not the costliest of resonances, this public mirror of the soul cannot but reproduce a skewed version of the individual at war with himself. A man not at war with himself is either a brute or a flicker of transparency. No proverb can capture the entirety of a persona, and yet, no proverb has ever been proven completely false, despite the deflection artistry of the politically correct.
After all is said and done . . .
we will never cheat infinity.
There is but one approach in examining one's life, and that is under the microscope of universal slavery. . .
Freedom is not separate from responsibility . . .
Conflict is in the untrained or overstrained eye of the beholder still a hostage to wandering irresponsibility while freedom is self-evident, encouraging, and harmonious . . .
The primary mote of conflict is "Me first!" While the cruelest season of freedom is "You too!"
Obedience to one's thirst is not necessarily the quencher, if one's pail belongs to another, or has been shot full of holes by one's own conflicted handiwork . . .
The entire history of humanity is written in the soul of every newborn child. Unfortunately, man rushes in to burn those books and youth revokes itself. . .
Many appear who speak in the name of freedom and claim to possess the message which will unlock the shackles of the mind and free the flesh.
These new jailers are bleeders of time and are merely seeking to herd you into their private cave for a short while. Beware of these roaring lions and strip searchers. They want something you can't give them if you value the freedom they are selling.
Commerce is not as evil as the lie that commerce is the only good.
One lad's rebellion is another lad's herd instinct. Neither lad is ever completely free from, nor completely included into any herd definition. This is self-evident. Why do the heathen rage so in suggesting otherwise?
The language of knowledge is alphabet dirt. It can neither oppress nor elevate without an accompanying conspiracy of oppressors and flatterers working an organizing grift. Evolution of language is a natural phenomenon as a byproduct of freedom. Codification of language is a welcomed conspiracy with commerce but its oppressive tact along the rules of exclusion is a ruthless agenda. This is not freedom but an unnatural stratafication of freedom.
The abolition of conflict is not as desirable as the identification and clarification of freedom in its most solid or acute states.
Preferring to accept without retaliation the premise that it is quite self-evident to the honest mind that the flesh does indeed inform the spirit as does the spirit inform the flesh far beyond the powerful intrigues of rote socialization, should we ask and thus expect to quantify this quality of physical nature? Is true androgeny and one unvaried race the sole solution to what ails the human species at this very critical time of its departure from a bloody past our ancestors and our peers have left us?
Is anyone truly prepared for the centrifugal forces of the 21st century as things gear forward leaving far behind this bloodcurdlin' past, or is our quandry just a long fillibuster aimed at delaying the inevitable yawn, making haze as Dylan now puts us, travelin' on a slow train with a long time to go yet before we ferry out of steam, blow ourselves extinct, or finally realize our best bet is to muster enough strength to simply say to ourselves what the commoners say, that we must keep on keeping on because none of us is gonna change soon enough to make that much a difference except as bit players on a rugged landscape made of mind and mischief, merriment, moxy, mules and mediocrity.
But such is time and perfect timing, off time, under time, in time, time and time again, sloppy time, never time, Miller time, tea time too. Neat time, time in a bottle, my time, the time of my life, time to shape up, time to get a job, all the way to the point where it's time to get married the fifth time.
Shallow time. Shag time. Sane time. In the time it took to drive a bus off the cliff on a Seventies cop show, that's show time. Time to go to the bathroom. Time this. Time that. Time warp. Time tunnel. Time is where the heart is. Time enough to think of a good response this time. Time to grow up. Time to eat and run. Time to suck him off. Time to beg the difference. Time to cut the mustard. Time to pick out a receiver downfield. All the time in the world. Time to wipe my ass. Timex time. Time to cash a cheque. Time to win the battle but lose the war on drugs. Time it took four angry women to satisfy each other in a dark room nearby. Time to write a novel. Time to brush her hair the same way her sister used to brush her own. Time to draw a conclusion at the bottom of the class. Time to mark a certain number of correct answers to the questions with a number two pencil. Time to give up a lost cause. Time to shut down the chicken farms along that river. Time to read the classics in their original language. Time to make lunch bags before the children race off to school. The time it takes to build a universe only to have it collapse in your face is nothing like the time I helped Aunt Mardis rip through a chocolate cake in the olden days of French ascendency. It takes time to learn to ride a bicycle. Time to reap what one sows. Or maybe not. Maybe that time is instantaneous time, time accurately remembered. Time to sing before she swallows. Time to harvest a generation. Time to swallow before you hang ten. Time to look before you cross. By the time it took to dig the Erie Canal times had changed. It's not about time, it's about attitude. By the time I get to Phoenix many husbands won't have time to take out the garbage. The driver swore to the witness that he didn't have time to stop. Time takes a holiday but time never vacates the premises. Time laughs at odd moments but time never bargains with leftover sandwiches. Time is that which doesn't kill you. Time kills that child inside only to seemingly reappear later. Time is a long, cool woman in a black dress. Time is kinky. Time paints by numbers. Time is a disease of the pancreas. Time is a heart-shaped tattoo on Wendy's breasts in the window in Times Square. Pi is a timeless equation. Time understands all wounds. Time wounds all heels. Time is an asset. Time is a pain in the ass. Time is only as good as your next biological movement. Time is the needle in the haystack. Time is secondary but don't tell her that. Nothing like a good time in the sack to make time fly. Time has no fear of flying, but Erica and Henry both knew what having a good time was about, and it was not about time, but the enjoyment of time. Grown-up time. There is no such thing as time travel today, but recordings keep time in ways none of us truly understand past its fetish draw, but time was when a fine time was had by all, double time, life plus time. Time the unfortunate child born without legs who beats a faster smile than you do. Observe that same child pursue the purses some fancy to trick time into measuring time with old technologies in a world that presumes time can't reverse itself while it can so readily repeat itself dipped in statistics. Time is a two-way mirror. Time is a dirty joke flooding the muddy Missisippi. Time is nothing but what you in coveralls or somebody else makes it, but it's time you don't try to tell me about how much time it would take to make the timeless world safe for plastic people most suffering a bad sense of timing. Of course, there's never enough time to transcend one's station, especially when mobile. Time is far too formidable a friend on feverish afternoons to let stand in the cold rain. Without time on my side I perish with the daffodils. Time is a time-honored sport everyone must play in order to graduate. Time forgives. Breaking rules for time is not always bad timing, or timing it just right. Time scars. Scabs grab the moment to make time while others bargain, losing time to others, until another time comes. Time is a stiff upper lip in a compromising position. Time defers to gravity, but for one writer, time is nothing but a madcap schemer bought and sold on the installment plan, money paid back over time, but then two-timing Old Doc Celine didn't live in San Francisco during the beat era among hipsters who liked to mix up time. Time is a nightmare to Klaw's girls who prefer time raw and risky than their less time-tortured sisters. Time dresses up for special guests. Time is the major importer, exporter of stolen goods across state lines in situations where time is barely legal. That's time standing in the shadows, losing her shirt to timeless romance. Time is nobody's business but the rates are skyrocketing. Time is colorless, odorless, tasteless. Time left is time right on time. Time left to itself is useless. Time blows tall buildings to the ground. Time grounds water tables and small asterisks into dust bowls older than TIME ITSELF because time is the wind in the sails of marginality itself.
Because I am not a famous psychologist Because I am not a suicidal maniac murderer Because I am not an ambulance chaser Because I am not a microphone handler Because I am not a serpent on the cross Because I am not a nifty gynecologist Because I am not a film at six and eleven Because I am not a university clone Because I am not a fireman in suspenders Because I am not an Indian Chief Because I am not an attorney bound by law Because I am not a politician of smiles Because I am not a police officer’s duty Because I am not an actress in chains Because I am not a cute little puppy Because I am not a superior attitude Because I am not a voice in the wilderness Because I am not a flea on a hog Because I am not a multisport hero Because I am not a military genius Because I am not a drug addict’s dream Because I am not a skid row banker Because I am not a fashion designer Because I am not a race car driver Because I am not the music of all ages Because I am not a good swimmer Because I am not a five-star hotel Because I am not a flawless woman Because I am not a cancer without patience Because I am not a comic book character Because I am not an alpha male Because I am not a static engineer Because I am not a wreck on the highway Because I am not a telephone signal Because I am not the end of all wars Because I am not just another statistic Because I am not a dying rain forest Because I am not a complex number Because I am not a religious zealot Because I am not a rumor on the grapevine Because I am not a straight-edged razor Because I am not a pint-sized rock star Because I am not a jar of orange Tang Because I am not a flowerbed lover Because I am not a ‘65 Mustang Because I am not a needle in the haystack Because I am not a word without meaning Because I am not I am here.
HOW DID I MISS this McCain ad, entitled Remote Control? As Filler wrote, "Effective. I know the tired Democrat response: "Republican fear tactics". The thing is both sides appeal to fear: Democrats want you to be afraid of losing your job, of not having enough money for food or health care. Republicans want you to be a afraid of terrorists and tyrannical regimes. One fear is out of our individual control, the other fear can be faced individually. We don't need a president to face our individual fears, but we need one to face the larger, existential fear. I'll let you figure out which is which."
Actually, McCain is using the Democratic fear card. Each of the statements in this video are from prominent Democrats including Biden and Obama.
The only reason some (and they know who they are) will think this ad is a gross and low blow is because it is an effective ad. It uses other candidates' words against Obama. Then at the end, Obama's own words grab him by the throat. And for all you liberals who caterwaul about the ad containing scenes of war, surely you realize that this is indeed the dangerous and volatile world we inhabit. To deny what is going on in the world is all the more reason that you people have no business in positions of leadership of this country. The WHOLE ENCHILADA must be considered, lest we fall into some make-believe fantasy and a vulnerability where things can get real nasty really quick down the road.
Like most intelligent Americans, the Democrats in this video realize that experience is a necessity when choosing a president. And while we're taking a breather from all this critical thinking, let's ponder the uglier than thou liberal fear card...
1. Global Warming 2. RECESSION!!!!! 3. Bush is a fascist! 4. McCain = Bush 3
Both fear cards are somewhat factual. Both fear cards are largely unprovable, since they exist solely as an existential hunch, based on a loose amalgamation of moving targets without regard to the fullness of time and the specificity of space. Frankly, politics as such, is a mendacious bore.
I'm pretty certain at the end of the day I will have preferred the mosh pit of my old punk rock days to all this political pudwhacking. Every soldier of the spirit who revels in the presumption of truth and banks solely on powers of persuasion and fact-laundrying sophistication when presenting one's visceral issues while I wither in the solitude of the keyboard, I say, more power to you, but I say it in jest, because frankly, in all generosity of spirit, I know I have other, perhaps better, perhaps not, but other things to do than to work that sort of con on myself, or you.
Life is fiercely complicated. I aim to persuade no one to my side of the equation beyond what I produce as a lone artist and occasional friend. Vote with your heart. Vote with your brain. Don't vote at all. But know this. Some of us aren't as stupid or as timid as we appear, and others are far more stupid and loathsome than they presume themselves to be. Life is a gamble, a mine-infested path, that way. Despite any promise of payoff in this gamble, I can only hope that God (whatever) will save us from the frenetic demons that live within us, one and all, politics be damned.
IT'S BEEN A BUSY PAST FEW. Four weeks and counting of nothing short of pure conjuringof wheedling the membership into deadlines, of cropping the phalanx of photos into something worth the pixel count, of materializing from sheer dust the hanging margins and well-hung text, and of course, of crunching, crunching, and did I say crunching the ancillary code on this spanking new website highlighting the 52 O Street Studios building where I am supposed to be painting like a freaking banshee, or at least like a Matt Sesow. Sad fact is I've done very little of that painting thing since arrived here last August from Wheeling only to duck out until January 4 due to a long-term health setback that's only now under control.
Meanwhile my beloved ride, only four thousand miles post-purchase (and 14k total), was diagnosed with a warped head cylinder, and the dealer repair shop had to break down the engine TWICE, before I had my '05 Liberty Renegade back. Rental Jeep for a week. Definitely not the same. Let me assure you.
Grapevine rumors that this painter, writer, and husband may be leaving 52OSS not long after Open Studios April 14-15 for greener pastures is not altogether false. No signed contract yet, but we have been financially and socially approved. That's obviously great news. Every bit of validation counts at this point in the career Upside in moving? Better climate controlled. And six times the space for a nomimal increase in rent. Of course Hagerstown is not DC. There will probably never be a murder right out front like the one that happened here this past week.
HERE'S AN EXTRAORDINARILY USEFUL website for those of us who frequently find ourselves or others trying to convert lead to gold in making an argument. It's called the Fallacy Files, a website featuring a nimble collection of fallacious, or otherwise bad, arguments, that is, examples of reasoning which may commit one or more of the named fallacies under the care of logic, or are bad in some way yet to be classified.
The author, Gary N. Curtis, notes that his collection took the form of clippings from newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, photocopies of pages of books, andin a few rare casesentire articles or books which were rich sources of bad reasoning. Apparently this site has been around since 2001, but I was onto something quite similar, if decidedly less sophisticated, back in the Ragtag 90s with my Judgement Furniture.
It's obvious. I'm aging and settling into focus with what's left of my fevered boyish charms. Still an urban punk multimedia artist, despite my best intentions. In March '06, however, I rented studio space in Wheeling, WV to concentrate on painting, and get to videoediting all those punk & hardcore bands I taped in several DC clubs in the early 90s. Whether slopping fistfuls of paint onto a scrappy canvas or editing clips of "stone deaf forever" video, or tweaking my several websites, brutally observing the whole wanton juggernaut backwards and forwards, from left to right and right to left, both my short list of friends and long list of enemies will say I'm a straight shooter. Okay, whatever, slogans are only wordsuck. Meanwhile, I also run a slamming Internet radio station which plays gobs of punk, goth, and industrial electronica, plus a little bit of quite a bit else, or just enough to disturb every snot-nosed pseudo-purist out there so vigorously stuck in their ways it's painful to watch and worse to hear. The fact is this, I may respect your taste in music, even if it's not my own Brunhilde, but I spin my own.
Aiming straight for the brain, right between the ears...
So beat it on over to the Project and fire up RADIO SCENEWASH, armed for the battleground where art and politics beat each other up and few are they who seem the wiser. Follow the links to Live365.com, sign-up, and start listening. Gotta have broadband though. No dial-up weenies here.
Writing from one's own nostrils. Yeah. I've done my share. Any bibliophiliacs out there with a few dimes to spare might pony up to buy my book: THE SILENT CULL AND OTHER MECHANICAL IDEAS. If you've read enough dead end poetry to last a lifetime, and prefer to just look at the pictures, then wander over to the art brut section of MY LIFE, and grab some swag.
Art with a strong emphasis on the voice of truth (one day at a time). Studies in stress...
Or just go away. If we have nothing in common but the dull human ache of disinterest, why bother? Go play someplace else.