Flesh within….Flesh without….

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The singularity: the very concept either has people riddled with fear or brimming over with excitement. It deals with the idea that machines, after decades of increased automation, will eventually develop their own sentient consciousness, most people view this as a far away eventuality, and given the definition they’re operating under, I’d be inclined to say they are right.

I, on the other hand, have other thoughts on the matter. With the advent of smart technology (i.e. phones, mobile internet, social media etc) it’s become my belief that we find ourselves perched on the precipice of a kind of “reverse singularity”, and that troubles me deeply. Allow me to explain.

Writing for the internet, specifically in the realms of the workplace, and social media has progressed to the point where most of us no longer write for enjoyment; we write to communicate, socialize, and advertise, and in doing so we’ve dismantled our whole concept of what it is to write aesthetically. Hashtags, and Emojis are the killers in question; we speak in blurbs (which until now had been reserved for the dust covers of books), and in 180 character micro feeds of information.   Our methodology mirrors something closer to that of hieroglyphics, rely more on symbols and niche phrases in an attempt to optimize our time.

For all intents and purposes, we’ve allowed ourselves to become writing machines, spewing out information (no matter how asinine) with a startling amount of efficiency. This, however, comes at the cost of quality, and it threatens the classic, creative writing that until now had always, in the least, maintained itself at the corps of our culture. Essentially, we’ve sold our soul to the devil, and the devil is Dell.

We’ve become entirely too reliant on technology to do our dirty work in the realm of writing. I refuse to use any algorithm in my own writing, at least as long as I can help it. As a species, we’ve grown lazy; primary schools no longer teach students how to write the way they did when I was their age, either physically (i.e. cursive writing) or critically (there are a few staple readings, but critical reading has been all but abandoned). Adoption of these methods has led to a generation of people with an attention span that won’t even allow them to read for more than a few pages at a time.

We need to address these issue; we need to disconnect.   Esoteric skills like creative writing may not mean much to the world, but it’s my belief that the world will continue to be a lesser place as the decline of humanism continues. Down with the singularity.

The People’s Pervert – John Waters

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THE PEOPLE’S PERVERT ON BEING AN INSIDER

 

 

Pink Flamingos. Those two words ought to bring to mind one of two images, the first being those god awful lawn ornaments that are prevalent in so many white trash neighborhoods, and the second being the perverted, yet groundbreaking film which was written, and directed by the legendary John Waters. Recently, John was invited to give the commencement speech for the Rhode Island School of Design’s 2015 Graduating Class, and in typical John Waters form, he gave a speech that was both intellectually challenging, emboldening, and debauched all at the same time.

Baltimore, Maryland, has had a dubious reputation as of late, but what many people may not be aware of is that it developed a separate dubious reputation in the late sixties, and seventies due to the antics, and films of Waters. Born on April 22nd, 1946, John Samuel Waters Junior slithered into the world, and brought with him, in his own words, “an inherent sense of filthiness” that would grow to become is hallmark in the world of cinema. (Waters 101) Although he enrolled, and briefly attended New York University, John Waters’ true calling was found in 1962 when he received an 8mm camera from his grandmother. Starting with Hag In a Black Leather Jacket, John progressively weaseled his way into the mainstream by ways of movies like Pink Flamingos, and Hairspray, and in doing so has continually pushed the envelope in regards to what is considered acceptable in what is more often than not, an utterly repressed society who’s scared, shocked, and offended by literally every little thing. (Editors)

It seems to be with startling frequency that there is a shocking amount of disingenuity in regards to speakers at commencement ceremonies.   The Valedictorian is almost always “that” kind of man or woman, and the keynote speakers have a tendency of being totally unrelatable, even if they’re supposed to be. (I mean, come on, Matt Damon?) This is not the case with John Waters, and he makes that perfectly clear in the opening paragraphs of his impressive, yet wildly unheralded speech to the Rhode Island Grads.   He says, and I quote:

 

I should say right off that I am really qualified to be your commencement speaker. I was suspended from high school, then kicked out of college for the first marijuana scandal ever on a university campus. I’ve been arrested several times. I’ve been known to dress in ludicrous fashions. I’ve also built a career out of negative reviews, and have been called “the prince of puke” by the press. And most recently a title I’m really proud of: “the People’s Pervert.” I am honored to be here today, with my people. (Graduation)

 

Of all the things John Waters would go on to say in his speech, this is the statement that ought to sell the reader or listener that John is in fact just one of us, albeit one of us who happens to be suitably, filthy rich, and in doing so he inherently validates the entire rest of the speech to every audience who listens to him whether they are aware of his work or not. He further bolsters this appeal to the every-man by admitting that the only reason he worked as hard as he did at what he loved is so that he wouldn’t have to “go work for somebody else”. (Graduation)

One of the things about this speech that ought to be noted is that there is a distinct lack of cognizance of statistical data, and imperial fact with the exception of the amount of money lent to Waters by his father to produce Pink Flamingos. While some may view this as a shortcoming, the fact that John relies entirely on his personal connectivity with the audience, coupled with resounding ideas, and concepts that tap into the spirit of the listeners, makes him and his speech an unmitigated success, numbers be damned.

After his initial reckoning with the listeners, Waters delves into the meat of his speech, which is meant to appeal to the deranged pervert in all of us, in whatever capacity that is. He makes it clear that you do not have to be the frat house jock, or the student body president to gain respect, power, and ultimately, ironically, acceptance. John says it best when he says, “Ha! The final irony: a creatively crazy person who finally gets power. Think about it: I didn’t change; society did. Who would have ever thought a top college like the Rhode Island School of Design would invite a filth elder like myself to set an example to its students? See? There’s hope for everybody.” (Graduation) This notion is furthered when he goes out of his way to imply that he, and his films were essential perverse Trojan Horses, sneaking their way into the fabric of everyday “normal” America, and that the students could do the same. There was no need to simply settle for preaching to the already converted.

John then goes on to touch on a red-button topic of mine that was just in its infancy at the time of the speech. He makes a point to talk about “trigger words”, and safe spaces. He goes on to say:

 

This might be time for a trigger warning. Ugh… the amazing concept I’ve heard about is where you’re supposed to warn students if you’re gonna talk about something that challenges their values? I thought that’s why you went to college. My whole life has been a trigger warning. But you have been warned. So the trigger warning is in effect, and now back to the prepared speech. (Graduation)

 

Just like when I speak to you all, there are going to be two groups of people who read this and feel a particular way about it. There will be people who get it, and don’t get all hot and bothered by it, and there will be people who will immediately take offense to it. If you’re of the latter group, congratulations, John is talking to you here. What’s going to really set you off is the fact that he’s right, and you know it.

Waters is appealing to the whole notion that we, as a country, have gone from trying to accept one another, and really live out the idea of a melting pot society (yes, including us perverts), and instead started leading towards a re-segregated society where we ghettoize ourselves by our thought processes as opposed to our skin tones. He pushes back on this concept, saying, “Separatism is for losers; Gay is not enough anymore. It’s a good start, but I don’t want my memoirs to be in the gay section near true crime section at the back of the bookstore. NO! I want it up front with the best sellers.”

I’m fully aware that I’ve beat the drum of victory for John Waters’ commencement speech throughout the length of this article, and I’m going to do it again now. If you haven’t seen it, go to Youtube and look it up; what’s the worst that will happen?   Even if you’re a close-minded simpleton you’re bound to take something away from it, and if you’re open-minded you’re even more susceptible to the overarching good that the People’s Pervert has chosen to share with us.

 

 

 WORKS CITED

Editors. “John Waters: Screenwriter.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

 

“Graduation Advice from John Waters.” Baltimore Brew. The Brew, 2 June 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

 

Waters, John S. “How To Become Famous.” Crackpot: the Obsessions of John Waters. New York: Macmillan, 1986. 101. Print.

We’ve failed the internet and here’s why….

(I won’t make a racial comment, every skin color has their morons after all) has led to the resurgence in racial tensions. What the Internet did wrong was give people the means to fuel that flame. Instead of creativity flourishing, all that has flourished is a “trolling” culture, where the best, most creative thing one might see is a suitably marketed meme.

Now we’re headed in the opposite direction it seems. Reagle wrote an article titled “Nazis and Norms” where he speaks about the development, and importance of moderators on, and around the Internet. While I half-heartedly agree, I cannot say that the stench of cyber-censorship doesn’t make me queasy a bit every time I log onto my Mac. These “moderators” have begun overstepping boundaries, censoring anything they don’t find to be “suitable” in any sense of the word. (so much so that I’ve already been called a bigot within my own community because I supported a dress code at our local club, and that was viewed as being racist. I was subsequently banned for making an articulated argument, devoid of cursing or ranting)

Here’s the thing; the Internet didn’t fail us, we failed the Internet. We’ve taken the greatest resource to man since the Library of Alexandria, and turned into a schoolyard playground where shit talk, and tattle tails are the heroes of the world. It’s only a matter of time that, like Alexandria, it all burns to the ground.

Motivation Monday – What dreams would you leave behind?

Today I’ll be asking some harsh, yet basic questions, so please bear with me. Think for a second, if you will, about all the hopes and dreams you’d leave behind if you were to die today. I don’t think it’s crazy to believe that if given the chance to live your life, most of you most of you would do things differently; you’d achieve more, and use your time more wisely. How many of us will stress over the wrong people and things that have no real bearing on our reality, and in doing so, live and unlived life? I refuse to live an unlived life.
I know this sounds like a utterly depressing piece of social commentary, and I don’t mean to be a downer but if you stick with me through this thought process you might just take away from this essay a profound way of looking at things. A smarter man than me once said that the richest place in the world is the graveyard; it’s filed with inventions that never saw the light of day, ideas that never came to fruition, and dreams that were never fully realized. What I want you to do, and I want you to do it right now is to sit down, and with pen in hand, I want you to write down five things you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime… five things you really, honestly want, but believe are beyond the reach of your capability. Any of the things you write down are possible; achieving any dream is possible and in fact it isnecessary that you chase these dreams because when you set aside your dreams in lieu of a paycheck or a sense of security, you’re not only killing your dreams but you are committing spiritual and metaphysical suicide.
I find myself, after looking at this concept for far too many nights, wondering “why”? Why do people allow their dreams to die; how can they allow that to happen to themselves? I’ve often spoken about the power of the word “why”, and if the power of that word is enough to carry a warrior through trials, tribulations, and defeat, it certainly has the power to lay you low and lead you to ruin if it’s the wrong “why”…. And if you let it.
There are so many wrong “why’s” in this world and people, more often than not, are happy to stop short of their dreams for any number of those “why’s”. The most prevalent of these reasons is a fear of failure. Nobody wants to experience failure; it’s embarrassing, it’s hard to get past and most of all it hurts. It’ll make you uncomfortable and fill your soul with unimaginable anguish and pain. Here’s the thing about pain, and if you only take one thing from this essay, it ought to be this: pain, like dreams, is necessary in life because once that pain subsides, and your past failures fade, they’ll be replaced with a resounding sense of pride and you’ll be one step closer to success and achieving your dream, even if it’s only an incremental increase. Pain folks…. Pain is where the growth happens.
So what this all boils down to is a set of postulate questions and core concepts: are you willing to forfeit your dreams, to live an unlived life in the pursuit of an existence without pain and hardships? If your answer was yes, you then have to ask yourself the next question. If you were to die today, what talents, ideas, and dreams would die with you. Think about that. Carry on.
The End.

Some amazing artwork and fiction

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Hey everybody, just wanted to post up a design for a new patch that will be used by people on the operational side of the house only.  I kind of love it.  It was made by a good friend of ours, Kaylin Kimble, who has her own page if you’re a fan of her work.  You can find her work at her Facebook or by searching for @CruelestCreations.

The Late Greats’ American Dream

A REVIEW OF KIDS YOU KNEW by THE LATE GREATS

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One of the things I miss the most about the 90’s is the overwhelming sense of optimism that permeated the culture at the time. There was a sense of energy that was present in every aspect of life and every genre of music; picking up Kids You Knew by The Late Greats immediately took me back to that time, at least on the emotional level, and with the social climate of the world reaching a fever pitch, I can’t imagine a better remedy for the dour shadow that has been cast over the collective mood of our country.

I won’t beat around the bush, this album, with the exception of the last song “Knock It Down”, has an incredible tempo. Songs like “M.I.A” and “The Night You’ll Always Remember” are very reminiscent of some of the speedier works of the Wallflowers or Third Eye Blind, which, if you’re anything like me, was exciting to say the least. To call any one specific area of this album the hallmark of the band would be a disservice to them as every song is well crafted, from the lyrics all the way to the bass line.

There are little hints of influence all over this album for anybody that spends time listening for it, and I love that. “Walk Away”, whether it was intentional or not, has a very Subime-ish ska feel that sucks you in and keeps you there with an almost hypnotic, staccato guitar.

My favorite song, without a doubt, has to be “Lost Highway”.   I’ve always had a deep appreciation for songs that tap into my love of fatalistic lyrics set to a breakneck tempo. It reminds me very much of the Voodoo Glow Dolls, which dates me more than I’d like to admit, so I’ll leave it at that.

Depending on how you look at things, there is one drawback to this album; it’s entirely too short. That in and of itself is a compliment because I want more… I’m whole-heartedly looking forward to their next project, and the fact that you name your own price when you buy this album certainly takes away from the sting of having the album end so early.

There are two different kinds of people that are going to go out and download this album: old school rockers like me who appreciate a very 90’s experience that’s laced with a little bit of old school punk, and kids who actually have a vested interest in learning about quality music. I’d highly recommend this album to just about anybody. You can find their music at http://thelategreats.bandcamp.com/ or at the group’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/thelatestgreatest.

The American Creed

Myemidons set up

 

The American Creed – modified, original by Dean Alfange, 1922

I do not choose to be a common man; It is my right to be uncommon. I seek the opportunity to develop the talents my creator has given me. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by allowing the state to look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build; to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for charity nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any Earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid of the storm on the horizon; to think and act for myself; to enjoy the benefits of my creation and face the world boldly, saying, “This, I have done.” All this is what it means to be an American.