Once again, religious extremism has thrust its ugly head into the public consciousness. Pretty much all non-fucking-crazy humans have been properly revolted by the extreme Islamism on display with the decapitation murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of a British terrorist. This got me to thinking about religion generally, and the fine line that exists between your run-of-the-mill god worship and the insanity that exists on the extreme fringes of pretty much every deity-worshiping sect the planet has to offer. And what “god” actually is, if there can be One God that truly holds dominion over each and every single one of us, regardless of which particular “brand” a person decides he or she is most in allegiance with. Continue reading
Category Archives: staying true
That ubiquitous-in-“alternative”-subsections-of-every-major-city bumper sticker, that one that goes:
That bumper sticker needs to be stapled to my forehead right about now. Because I’m suffering a serious crisis of consciousness. As in, my every waking, conscious moment is spent consumed with the knowledge that we were all sold a false bill of sale. And thats a harsh fucking pill to swallow, a terrible reality to realize you are living.
Doesn’t matter if youre still in school or haven’t been there in years, all of us remember how, growing up in America (or perhaps any “Western” country for that matter), we were constantly indoctrinated with the LIE that if we worked hard and studied and stayed true to ourselves, we would be able to live the life we set out to make for ourselves. Remember that? We were regaled with tales of our forefathers, most notably George Washington and Abe Lincoln, having struggled against and overcome incredible odds and various diversities to make it to the pinnacle of human achievement…and that, if we just reached down into the well of our own deepest capabilities, we, too could be so great.
But alas, we couldn’t be so great, it turns out, if we weren’t born with trust funds or in some other way fast-tracked to the Ivy League cornucopia of great jobs, all-encompassing dental plans and one way tickets to that fabled Good Life. We made all the right moves. We studied til our brains were bleeding. We graduated at the tops of our college classes. We fully bought into the fantasy they tricked all of us into believing was real and true and possible. And then, when the scam finally caught up with them and the bottom dropped out on everyone but those in power, both politically and financially, WE were the ones whose asses had been handed to them. They had covered every angle. They, like all great casinos, were the house that couldn’t lose. We were the suckers who had to leave the joint wearing trashbags or whiskey barrels in order to cover our shame. And despite all the evidence showing all of us in said rags just who exactly was behind the great swindle, their bought-and-paid-for political stooges from BOTH parties had already done preemptive ass-covering. The robber-barons hadn’t done anything illegal at all. They were PERFECTLY within their rights to gamble away our inheritance. Our “assets”, you see, were never really ours in the first place. Our homes and cars and college funds were merely on loan, to sedate us into thinking that we too would eventually be able to work our way into a place at the table, our own little meager part of that fabled good life.
Because the banks and the corporations that now employ so many of us, they had a right to make a profit. Didn’t matter how immoral the practices were that were enacted in order to fleece us of our livelihoods, our well-paying jobs which they took and then replaced with hollow facsimiles that had none of the autonomy or wage rates and were spent daily emasculating us, making us feel as though we didn’t really deserve anything more than to barely scrape by from one month to the next, one day to the next–we must not have worked hard enough if we hadn’t gotten an ample enough piece of the pie. And woe to he who would DARE complain about getting the shaft, that ungrateful fuck.
Because remember, we have been CONDITIONED to vote against our own best interests. We have been indoctrinated into believing the swill being force-fed us by our corporate overlords, who show us “informative” infomercials (in required classes of 30+ employees at a time) detailing just how destructive and against our free-will unionizing is. I mean, I’ve actually had people tell me that unionized school teachers or steel workers making mandated $25 an hour paychecks are definitely ripping off the tax payers because nobody “deserves” to make that much money. And what about the motherfucking CEOs making 250X the salary of the average worker?? I would scream politely back. They deserve to make tens of millions of dollars a year??? They deserve Golden Parachute guarantees that allow these CEOs to leave companies employing thousands of people in ruins while they waltz away with 200 or 300 million dollars in cash and stock option severance packages????? I mean, the number of astounded question marks has gotten truly absurd. So absurd that I cant think about anything else anymore. I eat sleep and breathe VENGEANCE now. But not in the gun-wieldy, mow down every innocent civilian I just happen to bump into sense. More in the sense of I am now generally less suicidal than I have ever been in my entire life. And you should be too. Because as depressing and spirit-crushing as all of this is to realize, especially when we have been taught so differently than this harsh reality we now wake up with every day, the truth of the matter is that we are now, every single one of us who chooses to pay attention, AWAKE. We are the citizenry watching the Emperor waltzing down the street, pointing at him and laughing. THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES. The gig is up. We are on the cover of Time magazine.
The genie is out of the bottle. Pandora’s box has been opened, the man behind the curtain revealed. It can never go back to the way it was before. These are exciting times. And they are scary. None of us knows how this is going to turn out. But at least now we know what is really going on. And we don’t have to feel guilty for being angry. This is the motherfucking United States of America, where truth and justice and hard work and integrity and love of our fellow man, regardless of race or color or creed or sexual orientation was supposed to be all that was needed to unite us, to give us a level playing field. And we let the sharks take over the tank and they were who we KNEW they were and they did what sharks fucking do. So don’t be mistaken: this post has nothing to do with woe-is-me. But it does have everything to do with all of us seeing the forest for the fucking trees and doing our parts as HUMAN BEINGS to take back the power that we, as human beings, “are endowed with by our creator.” Our forefathers, those same forefathers that even a souless dickwad like Dick Cheney claims to revere, said these words. Now its time we all started living like we are just as human as the faceless tyrants who tried to turn us into mindless robots so they could pad their bank accounts on our suffering. NOW WE TAKE THE POWER BACK, one fucking day at a time.
I have not written a proper blog post in what…2+ years? But I’m back now for two reasons: I have a new book to promote (more on that in future posts) and I just couldn’t stand the nauseating proliferation of hack writers out there claiming to be everything they ain’t. I can’t go to Huffington Post’s book section without seeing at least one article either by or about some hack motherfucker who should be washing dishes for a living or at the very least have the common decency to live off his daddy’s trust fund and leave all of us real writers and readers to the stuff of actual life as it is lived by REAL PEOPLE. Yes, I’m looking at you James Frey, you hack fuck. I mean, when I stepped away from my Writer’s Desk in 2009, he’d been eviscerated by Oprah and all but declared legally dead by everyone that matters to any writer or artist trying to make his voice heard above the multitude of chattering wannabe professional masses. But then I flip open my brand new $200 laptop (Jesus, I have been in a cave) and the guy has a new book out that he has exclusively published with some art gallery and is now flogging THAT shit on a two-part Oprah where she’s proclaiming him her life-long friend?? And this prick is America’s “literary badboy”? Kerouac and Miller are spinning in their graves. There is absolutely nothing dangerous or authentic AT ALL about this fuckin guy. And he isn’t the only one. He’s just the one who has made the biggest ass of himself in service of the Almighty Dollar. I mean look at this picture (courtesy of The Guardian UK):
I’m not saying the guy hasn’t had his share of struggle because, hell, being human is in and of itself a perpetual struggle for our own souls among the detritus of a black, empty universe, right?
But I personally have never understood how it is that somebody can basically whore himself just so he can have the nicer house or the faster, shinier car. I have more respect for a jackasshole like Ryan Dunn, who, while displaying no discernible talent, endeared himself to tens or hundreds of thousands of people worldwide simply by doing drunk tricycle stunts with Steve-O, and through such endeavors was able to buy a Porsche just as bangin’ as James Frey’s. That he bought the proverbial farm in said car while drunk and going 130 at 2 a.m. in bumfuck Pennsylvania only substantiates his authenticity.
But what’s the point then, if all the guy was going to do was waste whatever good will he had by literally crashing and burning? The point is that he was REAL and maybe lived just a little TOO close to the goddamned edge for his own good. Now, in the words of our great Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket, “Doc J and 8-Ball are wasted.” And we’re left holding our dicks in our hands, wondering where everybody went….
So let’s look back for a moment at James Frey and his literary legacy (so far). He burst onto the scene in 2003 by giving a name-dropping one-man shit-fest interview to the salmon-colored New York Observer (remember when a brand could be differentiated merely by having a differently-colored background?—I still have the purple Raekwon Cuban Linx cassette tape). In this interview, handsomely summed up by Salon.com (no salmon color paper—or any paper at all—for them!), Frey slams Dave Eggers, David Foster Wallace and presumably all the other Daves He Knows.
Upon later reflection (post-Oprah enrichment, of course), he said that he was past that or only saying it for the shock-value or what-the-fuck ever. I leave it to you to research the veracity of this yourself, as I’m done looking up James Frey links, as I have recently (in the past 20+ minutes I’ve spent spewing this blog on all of your eager/bored/accidentally stumbled-upon eyes) grown re-disgusted with everything he represents.
You remember how
and his cronies all went on Fox News during the waning days of that horrid presidential “administration” and performed their pathetic excuse for damage control by saying that history would prove that the unilateral bullshit wars they’d shat upon the world were both just and necessary for all of us to move forward into our Brave New World? Yeah, that’s the kind of bullshit that powerful people, people with money, do when they see that everything they’ve done in order to line their own pockets is total shit. But far from it being some kind of introspective wake-up call, it’s more about them discovering that the great majority of the populace is FINALLY on to their game. So they take to the airwaves and proclaim future righteousness, the Copout Pricks. As though they could give two fucks about whether or not the future will be their “final judge.” What they care about is that they and their children and their grandchildren, etc will never have to worry about putting food into their mouths or keeping gold-and-diamond encrusted roofs over their heads. This is the mentality that has infiltrated EVERYTHING we see in our daily lives. And it has never been more clear than it is now. The economic disparity has never been wider in this, our magnificent First World Beacon Of Democracy and Equality. And because of that disparity a great many of us have decided that we are going to do whatever it is that we have to do to keep up with the Big Dogs—the James Freys of the world, who already had everything they needed and decided to fake some shit so that they could have even more. It’s people like James Frey and J.A. Konrath (I’ll dig MUCH deeper into that hypocritical fuck soon) who have bastardized The Authentic and sold us a false bill of sale.
But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that. I’m here to tell you that there are people JUST LIKE YOU out here who are fighting the good fight, who are living True, Authentic lives and aren’t selling themselves out for a buck or two here and there. That still exists. I am living proof of this reality. YOU are that proof. We are ALL fucked up. But that doesn’t mean we have to resort to the games of charlatans and poseurs. We can scrape by and keep our wits about us and still strive to make our lives better via sweating and tearing and bleeding. That is our legacy. We are made in the fucking stars. And I am going to prove it to you.