Archive for the ‘I Hate Writing’ Category

Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell, Trans-Asians (Alternative Title: Ugh)

March 26, 2019

This just strikes me as the most entitled white male writer shit ever.  A TIBET OF THE MIND?!  If these guys were alive and tweeting in 2019 they’d be flayed alive.

“Thinking to have a horoscope of Durrell drawn up, [Miller] asked for details of his birth.  Told that he had lived on the borders of Tibet, close to the Forbidden Land, he was thrilled, he said, because he himself was a Chinese at heart.  Miller‘s interest soon took Durrell back to his childhood in Darjeeling, and, soon after, he discovered My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neal, who had gone on foot to Lhasa in 1923.  It confirmed his Tibetan ‘ancestry’ and he began to cultivate his ‘Tibetan’ side, claiming he lived in a sort of Tibet of the mind.  If Miller was a Chinaman, then he himself was a Tibetan.”

Through the Dark Labyrinth: A Biography of Lawrence Durrell, Gordon Bowers

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True Crime

March 21, 2019

You know how true crime is big?  Of course you do!  And true crime podcasts are the BIGGEST!  You are definitely plugged in enough to know that.  Well, while researching an article about an Amish thing, I came across this old news story, and I’m convinced it’s the next big true crime podcast subject (it’s basically a solved murder, but they’ve made well-reviewed podcasts about Charles Manson, so I don’t think knowing who did it is that much of a deterrent).  I would love to do some of the work on this, but the thing is, only some of it: pitching it, organizing interviews and travel, arranging for advertising, etc., I’d prefer someone else do.  Do you think Sarah Koenig is free?

A trailer:

The break came in 1987, when Reader’s Digest published an article about Little Boy Blue. A woman in northern Ohio, a member of an Amish community, read the story and wondered whether the mystery boy was a relative who had not been seen for several years. She contacted authorities, who, in the days before forensic DNA testing, used a fingerprint to confirm the identification.

Little Boy Blue was Danny Stutzman, a 9-year-old from Dalton, Ohio. The sheriff and Nebraska State Patrol investigator Jack Wyant furiously searched for the boy’s father, Eli Stutzman. They found him in Azle, Texas, almost two years from the date of Danny’s discovery in Nebraska.

I mean, it’s a gay Amish murder story.  Gold, Jerry!

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Privilege-O-Meter

March 7, 2019

I’m having one of those days when I’m obsessing over the fact that everyone seems so careless and self-centered––and I have those days a lot, which says more about me than it does about people––so I keep trying to do the whole “this is water” thing.  You know, the David Foster Wallace speech?  Where he talks about how you shouldn’t assume people acting like dicks are dicks because they could be dealing with something way worse than you are?  Herewith, a (long) bit of the stuff I’m talking about:

The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it’s not impossible that some of these people in SUV’s have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.

Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it’s hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to.

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

So of course, today while I was trying to convince myself not to burn down the whole damn thing and doing my “this is water” TM mantra thing, all of a sudden it occurred to me: what if some of these people really are just dicks?  Or what if they’re not, they’re just normal people, but their lives are actually easier than mine and therefore they should be all “this is water”-ing me?  Am I still supposed to give everyone a pass for not holding the door of the bodega open for me while I try to wheel out my mammoth baby buggy with my toddler yelling inside MOMMY, MELON and my baby strapped to my chest starting to wake up and root around to suction on to me like a hungry barnacle?  Or is that millennial on her iPhone really just a lazy POS who didn’t see me struggling because she was texting about Kylie Kardashian’s lip balm?

I have an idea for the dystopic disruptors out there (I know there are a lot of you!): make some kind of program or app or something, that gives everyone a privilege rating, so that if you come into contact with someone who treats you poorly, you can just look up their number (or see it in your eyeballs or whatever Google is up to these days) and then you’ll know if you should forgive them or street fight them (or, let’s be real, just curse them in your mind).

In the words of Ken Jennings: BOOM, I just made a Black Mirror.

We Are Living in End Times Part a Million

March 3, 2019

This is sadly not fake news:

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And by “this is not fake news,” I mean these are actual things people have published and thought people would care about recently.

Being Woke Never Solved Shit

January 7, 2019

Remember when you were a child and you just read funny books about animals and you didn’t really think much of it?  But now it’s 2019 and you’re an adult and aware of things like colonialism, and then you read Babar and Curious George to your kid and you think, “Hm, the white man captures the animal from his happy jungle home and forces him to conform to societal norms he doesn’t understand, and fetishizes him or locks him up when he fails to follow the rules?  Is this just a veiled commentary on the history of white oppression in foreign territories?  Is Babar just a stand-in for Pocahontas, who was paraded throughout 17th century England as the ‘civilized savage’?  If George––human name, btw––were a person would he end up in a human zoo?  Oh, for fuck’s sake.  Liberalism is why we can’t have nice things!”

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ICYMI, it says “In the evening, after dinner, [Babar] tells the Old Lady’s friends all about his life in the great forest.”

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Curious George’s curiosity gets him fucking POACHED.

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Sure, it LOOKS innocent and fun, but the white man runs the zoo.

 

Theresa Duncan’s (Missed) Yahrtzeit

August 29, 2018

So this is truly embarrassing, but I had it in mind to write something acknowledging the 10 year anniversary of Theresa Duncan’s death, and I thought it was somewhat recent, but then I Googled it just now and saw that it was actually LAST summer.  This is what having an infant/toddler will do to you.

Anyway, I wanted to memorialize the summer of Duncan’s passing, which of course, being twenty-three at the time, I made into a commentary all about me, but obviously I’ve missed it.  And so did, it seems, everyone else: there was no gossip-y Nancy Jo Sales piece, no memorial service at Saint Mark’s Church, no biopic from Brett Easton Ellis playing at my local Alamo Drafthouse (although I’ve always thought the story was better suited for avant garde opera, no)?  There was a pretty good essay about it by a writer named Patricia Grisafi, although clearly not timed for the anniversary; there was nothing specifically mentioning the anniversary on her mother’s blog homage (blomage?) to Theresa, but then again, maybe she doesn’t mark the anniversaries the way us Jews do.

And also, maybe there weren’t those things because… there isn’t really much to say?  I’m realizing now that I don’t have anything to add to the story except that we should try not to forget these two people, or at least that I don’t think I will be able to forget these two people, which is something else entirely.  Wherever you two lovebirds are, I hope it’s sunny.

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Eulogy for an Essay

May 9, 2018
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Contact Siobhan for framing options.

Spare Me the Hallelujahs

May 3, 2018

You guys probably saw that there was a “Beyonce mass” at a church in, I believe, San Francisco.  I could Google it and confirm, but I find it too depressing, so I won’t.

Why do I find it depressing?  This is yet another example––perhaps the most damning one of all––of our culture ceding morality and expertise to celebrities.

Listen, as far as celebrities go, Beyonce is a fine one.  She donated all that money to historical black colleges for scholarships, she donates money for clean water in Burundi, she preaches female empowerment (although interestingly, often single female empowerment, over a period of time when she was coupled).  But this is also an individual who likes to symbolically claim that high fashion is radicalism (it can be radical, but it isn’t principled), and who dresses her six-year-old in Gucci.  This not someone who is qualified for the position of saint.

To be clear, I think Beyonce would dig the idea of the mass, but I don’t think she wants to be a saint.  I think in this case, a lot of it is because we project onto her.  A lot of celebrities-turned-something-elses actively portray themselves as fit for their other roles.  Cases in point: Jenny McCarthy, whose medical advice people actually took (it still boggles the mind.). Less egregiously, Tom Hanks and Sean Penn, who offer up mediocre literary offerings and then are deemed “authors.”  Of course, who could forget the leader of free world?  Celebrities are now our pediatricians, politicians, clothing designers, childcare experts, and UN ambassadors.

“You should read this great new book about the true cause of depression,” my friend texts me.  “Elton John gave it a fantastic blurb.”  My first thought: why on earth would I care what Elton John has to say on a book about depression?  When I think about who should be vetting a book on depression, the people who come to mind are doctors or cultural critics or sometimes both––Gary Greenberg, Allen Frances, Peter Kramer, Andrew Solomon, Daphne Merkin, and so on.  When I say I’m not particularly interested in what Elton has to say on the subject, she responds, “If you don’t like him, Emma Thompson also gave it a blurb.”  I don’t think she was getting my point.

Now, they are also our moral guides and our prophetic proxies.  This is truly disturbing.

Shout out to a few people who saw this coming and said DOOM: Jarrett Kobek, author of I Hate the Internet.  Here’s an excellent interview with him in which he sounds off on this topic for a long time.  My favorite part is when he says to cure ourselves of this problem, we need to start thinking of celebrity as a disease: “If we think about the conflation of celebrity and politics, we start to understand this disease’s socially debilitating effects. We’re trying to use entities which are no longer human and thus no longer contained by our social constructs to have long and pointless discussions about major social issues defined, primarily, by those constructs.”

DFW also foresaw this, in Infinite Jest among other places.

And of course, my main squeeze, George W. S. Trow: “Celebrities have an intimate life and a life in the grid of two hundred million.  For them, there is no distance between the two grids in American life.  Of all Americans, they are the most complete.”

My fellow Americans (and everyone, because let’s be honest, many other societies are following us toward certain cultural oblivion): we can do better than this.  We can see past the sheen and choose instead to look to the possibly unsexy but still better educated experts in their chosen fields.  We can elect politicians (or the otherwise qualified!), read books by writers, trust in the medical advice of our doctors, and venerate our saints.  Join me.

Similes

March 6, 2018

So I started an homage to great similes elsewhere (cough cough).  This one below is too long for me to incorporate there, but is still excellent, for so many reasons.

Yeshua’s kingdom apparently exists in ever-changing resemblances. He does not say what it is, only what it is like. It’s like a tiny seed. Like something inside you. Like a pearl you’d give everything to possess. Like wheat growing among weeds. Like the camel climbing through the needle’s eye. Like the way the world looks to children. Like a servant making good use of the master’s money. Like getting a day’s pay for an hour’s work. Like a crooked magistrate, who has fixed the case in your favor. Like a narrow gate, a difficult road, a lamp on a stand. Like a wedding party. Like a wedding party where all the original guests have been disinvited and replaced by random passers-by. Like yeast in dough. Like a treasure, like a harvest, like a door that opens whenever you knock. Or like a door you have to bang on for hours in the middle of the night until a grumpy neighbor wakes up and lends you a loaf. The kingdom is––whatever all those likenesses have in common. The kingdom, he seems to be saying, is something that can only be glimpsed in comparisons, because the world contains no actual example of it. And yet the world glints and winks and shines everywhere with the possibility of it.

~Francis Spufford , Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense

 

Bluelight Live

December 26, 2017

So I’m in a weird phase in my life, and one of the things I’m doing to entertain (err, distract) myself is explore odd corners of the Internet.  By far the most exciting site I’ve explored is Bluelight, a well established (but new to me) hub of information for drug users of all stripes. I’ve spent a bunch of time this evening reading blow-by-blows of “precipitated withdrawals” (the more you know!), recommendations of what benzos to take when suffering night terrors, and “eye alignment issues on meth.”  The most exciting post I’ve come across, though, is the below, titled “Have I ruined my amphetamines???” and written by a user who goes by the handle speedyhousewife.  I read it aloud to my husband in a posh British accent, which made me think that perhaps there should be some performance called “Bluelight Live,” a la Letters Live.  Who’s with me?

***

Hello everybody here, what a fabulous resource you have here. I’m not sure of all the proper terminology for everything so please do excuse me for any errors. I also do not know anyone else who uses this, nor does anyone other than the seller know that I use it, so I have no one to ask and Google didn’t help me much at all.

I live in Hampshire in England and i have been secretly taking what I know to be called Speed for about 5 years. It usually comes in a mildly smelly pure white sticky paste, sometimes a bit grainy, wrapped in plastic. It’s about the same size as a small butt plug! I was initially told by the seller to put it in the freezer and cut off what I need, but it tastes nasty, so I have always opened it up, spread it on a silicone board and left it in the airing cupboard to dry out. Once dry the next day, I flex it off the board and whizz it into a powder in a food processor. Then I divide it into 50 cigarette papers for easier swallowing. Always been fine, never been a problem, it has always been pure white and mildly smelly.

2 days ago, I bought some and shoved it in my bag without looking. I arrived home and realised that the house wasnt empty, so in a panic, i shoved it in the gas meter cupboard outside overnight. It was a very cold night and i was panicked so i still didnt actually look at it. The next morning, i opened the gas cupboard and the smell was VILE, I wondered if I had a gas leak! I took out the speed and the smell was coming from that, it was nasty and it was a creamy yellow colour! I spread it on my board, but it wasn’t spreading easily. It also made me feel sick because of the smell * I do have extremely heightened sense of smell for the last 3 years though *. I left it to dry over night and it hasn’t dried well, still quite sticky and the smell is still awful. I’m scared to use it.

Has anybody ever known anything like this? Or could it have reacted whilst hidden in the gas cupboard, either to the gas or the cold night? Will this make the speed dangerous to take? Am I being paranoid and irrational? Is variation in colour and smell normal?

I cannot ask the seller as we have no contact at all to protect my secret. I hide the funds in the secret location at the same time every month and the following day I return to collect it. What should I do? I won’t be able to get anymore for 1 month and I only have 2 days left from my previous supply.

Just in case this isn’t actually called Speed, the effects of it are super increased energy, excess sweating, increased motivation, no appetite, sometimes irrational thoughts and crazy ideas (both good and bad), fast talking too much, increased productivity, reduced judgement when shopping (I.e, likely to massively overspend), feeling of invincibility (I.e, attempting tasks that wouldn’t normally be considered for an untrained late 40s 4ft10 woman, like building a summerhouse from scratch, chasing a burglar for 2 miles on foot and roofing repairs) and sexual rampancy. I dont know how much this is in weight that i buy, but it is much much much much cheaper than a months supply of cocaine. Previous threads I have read have not mentioned any prices of things so I haven’t quoted the price to avoid flouting any rules.

The effects hit in 20-30 mins, and usually last from 7.20am-5pm. Once worn off, there is ravenous hunger and occasional emotional sensitivity, but nothing else really, does not affect sleep that night unless a second amount is taken at 5pm. When not able to take for 2 or3 days, major paranoia kicks in, but that might just be my mind and nothing to do with the speed. If it’s not speed, I’d love to know what it might be as I’m really paranoid that I won’t be able to get this if my seller ceases trading. But it was speed I initially asked for.

Thank you so much for reading and for any help! Middle class bitch here with no other help available!