The Dirtiest Old Man

Pure Genius

Ah, Ted. I still remember our first time. Your head was bobbing and weaving, either from exhaustion or a severe hangover, and I was on the tail end of a long journey for the internet’s latest filth. I was immediately drawn to the shit streaks on your face, and the hairy duct tape chunks dotting your cheeks, no doubt remnants of a losing battle with genital warts.

Shall I continue? The unkempt hair. Your piercing, yellowed eyes and half-paralyzed face told me you were a worldly man with much wisdom to share. My intuition served me well. This guy not only provides valuable insights into the human psyche, he entertains you while doing it. There’s no dry-as-twice-digested-dog excrement here. You know, the kind of writing you’ll find in Socrates, Kant and other droll bums like that. Pillman cuts through the rhetoric of stuffy old men and gets right to the core of what is important. Below are a few examples of how Pillman sums up the insights of the world’s greatest thinkers in simple songs belched to the melody of a cheap Casio keyboard.

On Humility

“If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble; for the proud heart, as it loves none but itself, so it is believed of none but by itself; the voice of humility is God’s music”

— Francis Quarles , taken from Leadership Now

Behold, God’s music:

On Chastity and Lust

‘Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.’
                                         Author: Jeremy Taylor (taken from oChristian Quotes)

OR

The examples go on and on. Stop by Pillman’s YouTube page and check out his brilliance.

Three Things Less Violent and Absurd than Black Friday

It’s Black Friday, which means most of the people I know will be sitting at home watching YouTube updates featuring this year’s horde of idiocy plaguing Wal*Marts across the country. World Star Hip Hop already has a few uploaded. In one, folks create a mosh pit in the electronics section, brutally choking one another with packaging plastic so they can get . . . TracFones?

What the fuck? Good thing Apple is too cheap to cut substantial amounts of their retail prices, otherwise we would have had a chance to watch hipsters beat the partially digested tofu out of one another. THAT would have been a spectacle.

Anyway, here’s what we DO get to see:

I’m not sure what the fatality and injury count is yet, but while we’re waiting for updates, I thought I’d share a few things that-given the way Black Friday has been handled this year-are less violent and absurd than this ritualistic shopping spree that generally gets christened by someone being trampled to death:

1. Splinter to the eye in Fulci’s Zombie:

Why is it less violent than Black Friday: First, we’ve come to expect violence from zombies. It’s how they do. Conversely, there’s something incredibly disturbing about watching your aunt or grandmother crush other women underfoot to get 40% off 50 Shades of Grey. That. Shit. Will. Scar. You. For. LIFE.

2. 50 Shades of Grey

 

Why is it less absurd than Black Friday: Many people swoon over this book and act a fool when they get into the “hot spots” this book has to offer (like the infamous tampon scene) but most of them have the decency to do it in the privacy of their own homes, rather than on the tiled floor of their local shopping center.

3. The Atheist’s Worst Nightmare is a Banana

Why is it less absurd than Black Friday:  It isn’t. Nothing is more absurd than this jackass and his not-so-thinly veiled declaration of idiocy. But you haven’t experienced the dregs of society until you’ve watched this. You’re welcome.

 

 

Cuddling by the Hour

In this tough economy, it takes a little innovation to get ahead. If you’re currently unemployed, here’s one way to pay the bills. If your looks are a bit unfavorable, you can always try to tap into the fetish market. Maybe furry cuddling?

#sasstag

Long story short: There’s a woman in Rochester, New York named Jackie Samuel who is charging people (read: sad, desperate, lonely men) for cuddling.

What in fiery Hades is the matter with these bugaboos? Can you actually imagine paying for this? Oh, no? Well congratulations because you’re not crazy.

Seriously though, the people (read: sad, desperate, lonely men) engaging in this transaction are just a hop and a skip away from this guy:

Jackie calls herself a “professional cuddler” and charges her customers (read: sad, desperate, lonely men) $60 for an hour of cuddling and can make $260 a day. Apparently, she started this prime example of human desperation, “to help pay for her studies and provide for her young son.”

Ok, so a few things:

1) Professional cuddling is not a thing

By giving herself that ridiculous title, Jackie is implying that she has some sort of special skill…

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Art, The Friendly Parasite

In a recent Scientific American article, Stephen Hawking made the following observation, which you can find online HERE: “I think computer viruses should count as life. Maybe it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image.”

The premise of this observation is based upon the basic criteria for life. First, a living entity must be equipped with a way to sustain itself, a preconfigured guide relative to our genetic programming. Second, it should have the means to adhere to the parameters established in its “genetic programming.” This is all covered in the Hawking article as well.

I’ve always thought of art as living, even though it doesn’t fully adhere to the stipulations set forth by science. It doesn’t have a genetic predisposition. We sustain it through creation, distribution, and consumption. Art doesn’t really have a way to keep itself alive either. That also hinges upon us and what constitutes “good” art, or art worthy of sharing and passing on.

Like art, ideas are alive. They feed off of our energy. We make them tangible, accessible to those around us. Ideas, like art, grow and spread, or they wither and die.

Some artists choose not to have children because their art replaces that need to procreate. Their work becomes like their children. But by no means does this constitute asexual reproduction. Instead, art is sort of like immaculate conception. The mind grows fertile from interaction with the world and eventually births innovation.

What if the story of a messiah born from virgin birth is actually an allegory, detailing how our only salvation is ideas, the byproduct of mind’s interaction with the universe?

Bringing art into the world and sharing ideas, it’s a high road in many respects, but I can’t help thinking about the legitimate concern found in dystopian films like Idiocracy. What if we reach a point someday at which the people left on this earth can’t appreciate the art that’s been left behind?

What if, despite all the beauty in the world, our genetic legacy leaves us with nothing but reality programming and ‘baitin?

Sometimes it seems like the information age has been reduced to the age of meaningless input. A collection of lists and meme’d slogans placed on e-cards, overlapping pictures, attributed to various dead celebrities. Popular culture is giving birth to something never seen before, and as a washed-up, middle-aged man, of course my value judgment is going to be negative, my outlook on the future dire.

But I guess that doesn’t matter, because the entire premise of this entry was to challenge Hawking’s assertion that humans only create destructive forms of life. We’re hosts to a strange living entity: Art, our friendly parasite, the brain’s symbiotic partner that keeps the mind healthy and inspires further generation of art.

Something like that.

A Game of You: The Internet’s Effect on Identity

How many variations of you exist?

“Just be yourself.” It’s one of those loaded catch phrases that people throw around without being cognizant of how difficult it actually is to “be oneself” at all times.  Where does this notion of the genuine self stem from, and why do some people take so much stock in it? So much value is placed on the genuine self that some who meet with success are said to have sold out. But what if appealing to the masses is genuine for a person and their desire to do so is so great that selling out is an integral part of who they are? As Trey Parker and Matt Stone once said, selling out “was the whole idea” when they created South Park. And I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of other people as well.  We want to be happy. As social beings, that entails being validated by others, especially for folks in performing arts.

When it comes down to it, we’re all performing to some degree. Most people negotiate a multitude of social frames, and act different in each one. Maybe they’re Dwarf-o the great in WoW, grandma and grandpa’s good little target for inheritance money at the family reunion, the kindest guy/girl in the world to friends, and a total self-centered dick in their professional lives. We operate in a social landscape such as this by negotiating the multitude of selves so we can meet all of our needs. We need validation of our self worth in many, sometimes conflicting, arenas.

There are exceptions to the rule, two of which are pretty goddamned tragic when you get right down to it. First, the predominantly white, middle to upper middle class American lifestyle, which features multiple social frames, most of which are homogenized into a bland, viscous milk where not only everyone is expected to act the same, but each person acts the same in most social frames or communities of practice. Work, home, school, out on weekends: it’s all the same person, probably the same participants.

The second is the small-town, lower-class lifestyle in which social frames become homogenized through self-imposed segregation. I think of my hometown in particular, which people sometimes refer to as Neverland because nothing changes and few people leave. Those who do leave generally don’t come back. Those who remain generate and sustain a hierarchy that does not extend beyond community walls. You can change your position on the hierarchy, but no matter which sub community you’re a part of in that small town, you generally don’t move far, and your reputation always follows you.

Today we live in a disposable society, especially due to the internet. Don’t like one group of people you hang out with? Just toss out the old group and find another one. The internet has done for the small-town inhabitant what the city has allowed since its earliest days. If things don’t work out with the old crowd, you work the same routine with a new crowd. Thus the confidence man finds a comfortable living and the scam artist bullshits through life.

Pictured above: the trashcan of an asshole who just “can’t find a group or forum that fits his unique personality type.”

Few of us are strangers to this phenomenon. We’ve all had run ins with itinerants, whether online or in the real world—people who disappear and crop up in new groups or forums, pitching the same line of bullshit they have pitched elsewhere. It’s annoying and generally harmless, unless they’re stealing work from authors or making promises they can’t keep.

But you don’t see this as much in small towns. Well, you do. The only difference is that in a small town you can start running on empty after a while. Once your name gets around and your reputation precedes you, people seem to be more willing to listen to warning.

But online people can change their entire virtual identities. This makes it harder to regulate dangerous social aberrations.

On the other end of the spectrum—the end already established being the ability to dispose of a social frame and find a new one to reinvent yourself—there is Facebook, where social frames come together, sometimes with disastrous results. It’s particularly apparent during election season, when you realize your old pals from high school have become neo conservative Christian fundamentalists, or realize someone you respected as a colleague is prone to fits of rage and delusions of grandeur.

While seemingly paradoxical, I love what Facebook does to relational identity, but I also love the fact that we have the opportunity to experiment with our identities online. Facebook is important because we can identify problem people by noting their interactions with others. Maybe you’ve been bitching with Billy by the water cooler             about your job. You trust Billy, until you see that on Facebook he weaves an intricate web of he said/she said with his family members. Better watch what you say around Billy.

At the same time, our feedback—perhaps manifest as “unfriending,” or confrontation–gives others a chance for self-correction. People have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, or to alter their behavior in one community to get the pleasing results they find in another community. But this rarely happens. What I see is what I mentioned above. People go to a new community and act like dicks once their old community exiles them. They don’t change, they just change friends. Instead of bad personality attributes being disposable, the entire community becomes disposable to salvage the wounded pride of today’s scam artists, confidence men, and general douche bags.

I can’t get no respect . . . I guess I’ll just try being a dick on a different MMORPG. Yeah, that’ll work!

The good news is that, once we peg someone as an ass, we don’t have to deal with them anymore. Speaking of which, have you ever seen those memes and Facebook statuses that read something to the effect of “ooh, you blocked me. That’ll show me.”

something like this, but with “Facebook page” or “Myspace account” instead of “number.”

They’re indicative of the ego that people who frequently get blocked exhibit, and the general mentality that it’s all about them, and someone blocked them to establish dominance or get the last word.

Maybe they just blocked the person because (s)he’s obnoxious and they don’t want to deal with his/her shit anymore.

On a separate note, have the memes coupling Willy Wonka with shallow “nailed it” slogans completely ruined Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for anyone else?

There’s Some Crazy Shit Out There

It has only been about fourteen years since my first PC. We bought it exclusively for the purpose of using the internet. It was an old Packard Bell with a 4 Gig hard drive. Sonic CD made the damned thing run slow, and between the shitty RAM and the dial-up connection we had at the time, video was not an option.

It has only been fourteen years, and I feel like the cliché grandparent talking about the good old days, when people died from lead poisoning before the advent of aluminum cans, when you had to walk uphill both ways to get to school, and you had to shame women into buying feminine hygiene products.

I guess some things never change. Even today’s feminine hygiene ads play on the idea of the product as liberating and empowering, as if the menstrual cycle is something disempowering, something to be remedied and controlled.

I find myself talking about the good old days online. Back when people were exploring the possibilities of the internet. Back when people were still naive enough to believe their psychotic websites wouldn’t be the target of ridicule. Those were the days.

Luckily, some of the shit that used to muddy up the waters of the information superhighway is still floating around on the surface. Today I’d like to dredge up some of the shit I used to love and share it with all the folks who visit my blog (You know, the folks looking for shots of Taylor Lautner’s crotch and Frankenpenis).

1. Time Cube: Apparently this shit is so popular that there’s a Wikipedia page detailing the site’s creation and public reception to the site. And I thought I was the only one who read this ramshackle theory with more holes in it than my underwear.

At the time, I really admired this guy’s work, not because I thought it was intelligent. It was just different, and the authority with which this guy spoke made everything he said even funnier. Seriously, he calls for the death of educated adults at the hands of children who adhere to cube time and reject notions of unity for the sake of quadrant thinking . . . or some shit like that. Good show!

2. Picture Mommy Dead (the band): What the hell happened to this band? They had a decent e-presence back in the day. Were they good? No. They were listed on a cheesy goth site, and the only song I remember from them was about how Christopher Columbus was a racist piece of shit. They wore makeup like the Insane Clown Posse. They went by PMD, but now there’s some other group or artist that goes by that. It’s virtually impossible to find anything about these guys online. It’s like they just disappeared from cyber space. But there’s a little bit of shit I dug up on WayBack Machine. Follow this link to check out one of their songs, “Love in a Casket”

Love in a Casket

Could this be the lead singer of PMD today? It is possible.

3. Loompanics: man. I really enjoyed this publisher. In grad school I started a manuscript for them in my professional writing course. They went out of business right around that time. There’s a Wikipedia page listed about them: HERE

They had books on dumpster diving, hacking, chaos religion, all sorts of great shit. Apparently you can still get many of their books from Paladin and a handful of other publishers. They had some interesting titles. Not all delivered what they appeared to promise at first glance, but they were worth checking out nevertheless.