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Choices

Posted 18 November 2002, 1.28 am by Diva

Choices. We all have them, all we have to do is use them. I think the only thing we don't have a choice in is love. After you decide what path you want to take, fate takes over and sometimes you are screwed. It's like a fun house where every room leads you to anywhere but out. Each is designed to make you depend less on familiarity, more on your senses.

The mirror room is the one I hate the most. You have to look at yourself in many different forms, just trying to find the way out. In reality we hardly ever have to endure seeing our true selves. Sometimes that room appears and we have no choice. It can be scary, soul searching, devistating.

Have you ever tried to look back at yourself, as someone else sees you? Did you come to the same conclusion? I looked back at myself last night. I stood in my mental room of mirrors and tried to see what others saw. Some of the images were more closely resembling what they saw than what I would like to admit. Others were simply words that held no basis. You know what the hardest mirror to face is? The one that you see yourself as.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Something To Write

Posted 18 November 2002, 12.38 am by Arguile

Have you ever noticed how life can never reside at a metaphorical stand-still for too long? Sometimes it feels like my life can never hit a plateau for more than a month; something always has to toss a wrench in the cogs of fate. As a result, few things life brings surprise me, and none can completely astonish me to this date.

I miss the days of childhood, where things never escalated beyond the point of crying to your mother about your scraped knee. Or past the issue of your vocabulary lessons being only 90% correct. Adulthood brings freedoms, but it brings more hassles and worries than we ever imagined as adolescents.

(To prove I'm a nerd, I will now use a Spiderman Quote: "With great powers comes great responsibility")

Which I suppose brings up the great point of the equal ratio of blessings and burdens that being a member of the elitest clique of adulthood brings. Sure, we can buy cigarettes and watch porn legally, but are the blessings we get from our maturity worth bills, and payments, and mortages, and felony charges, or anything else?

My truthful opinion is yes. After the age of 18, you are in control of your life. This may mean that you have no excuses for why you fail, time and time again; this also allows you to do whatever you feel is best with your life. You can disregard ethical bullshit and live off the streets, or you can grow up to be a doctor. Your parents, God, or the Pope himself can't tell you what to do with yourself. YOU lead the life YOU want to lead.

"Life is the most precious gift anyone can recieve." I read that on an obscure poster on a telephone pole during Hurricane Andrew while I was in Hawai'i. I thought it odd how it fitted the moment then, I find it odder how it fits my rantings now.

Confessions

Posted 17 November 2002, 10.37 pm by Firebrand

It doesn't seem quite finished, but I'm not sure it wants to be finished . . .

I like to think I am strong. During the day, I am generally self confident – I find myself to be smart, funny, and at least moderately attractive. Only at night do my insecurities seep out of the boxes I have put them in. They bumble and tumble through my head, like rivulets of water across the window.

In truth, I am weak. Like a clay pot with a thin wall, I crack in the kiln that is life. I am nothing more than a thin sheet of paper; tearing, torn.

I long for heart’s desires that will never be. I let the long pins of words pierce my eyes. I am blinded by my anger. I am blinded by my love for that which I cannot possess; be it person or thing.

Dark, silent, lonely night. You are a friend and an enemy. For I feel most comfortable in the noiseless hours. Yet I realize that I become far too introspective.

The Adventures of Hylic Man: Arthur Bremer, the Great Assassinator

Posted 17 November 2002, 4.03 pm by Tagboard

“I was concerned, overly concerned with my appearance & composure after the bang bangs. I wanted to knock the shit out of the SS men with my calmness. A little something to be remmered by. All these things seemed important to me, were important to me, in my room.” AH Bremer, April 23, 1972.

It is difficult to read of the activities of Arthur H Bremer without a certain nausea, a certain contempt, a desire for some reassuring psychic distance, creeping into our minds. This is reasonable. It isn’t so much Bremer’s crimes that provoke this response – they are, by our own more barbarous hyper-modern standards, basically gauche, even mundane acts – as the thoughts and motivations which we read in his Diary, three decades after his attempted assassination of Governor George Wallace of Alabama on May 15, 1972.

This Assassin’s Diary works like a distortograph on a diorama of the North American continent – its desires, fantasies and perversions: Bremer, barely of age at the time of his murder attempt, is the most arid, absurd and, above all, vacuous assassin one can possibly imagine. His motivation was not political subversion, but celebrity: he was bereft, semi-literate, feckless and self-circling, obsessed with the act and thought of his own image, and indeed image-making in general: the murder of his target would be the blasphemous Chrism of his own personal identity. He was not just an assassin, but a great “assassinator”, as he insistently termed it. Political assassins were once inspired by idealism, hope and revolutionary fervour, like Fanya Kaplan, Charlotte Corday and Trott zu Solz: Bremer was never inspired. That connotes some kind of external vigour irrupting inwards, some Paracletian or diabolical inspiration. Bremer was a vacuum. He had no grandeur: he was banal ipso facto. His only percepts were self-percepts, and all his thoughts were parasitic. His life reminds the reader of the voice of the gnostic text, Thunder, Perfect Mind, in which the spirit tells us that

“I am the barren one and many are her sons” (Stanza Two)

In one sense, however, Bremer’s chaotic tale is a valuable examplar: we, peasant scum that we are, can identify with him more readily than other, more remarkable and admirable assassins and terrorists – we can see our own weaknesses and infirmities writ large in the Great Assassinator, but not in the remote, technically competent likes of Oswald, Elser and Corday. We live in an underemployed, underskilled world without passion or ideology; we are both the propagators and victims of a devastating skepsis which infects our every move. We worship nothing except our own meandering selves; we prostrate ourselves before beauty like no other generation before us not because we are shallow, but because we are cowards: we are no longer brave enough to worship teratologically. We lack even the energy to build our own idols; we tear them out of FHM along the dotted line. The cult of ideas is dead; the cult of celebrity is ubiquitous. We live in the Abomination of Desolation.

How can we understand the deadly Marxian thought which span through the mind of Lee Harvey Oswald the second before he shot the “social-fascist” with such appalling accuracy in the Year of the Death Wish? How can we possibly understand the divine zeal of Corday as she avenged the Girondin cause, or the pleasure which rent republican Cassius’s mind as he vanquished the spectre of Caesarism? We can’t; we’re not even in the same fucking league. We can, however, quickly recognize the catalogue of errors, solecisms and bathetic blunders of Arthur Bremer, and the narcissistic apercus which litter his diary: after all, we’ve been there.


“Had justed watched that morning & made fun of a dopey preacher on TV & figured if he was against it I wanted it. Watched young female asses bounce for encouragement, wasn’t a hell of a lot of ‘em. When you want a girl….never arround.” AHB, April 13, 1972.

Arthur Herman Bremer, erstwhile busboy, kitchen helper and soi-disant Assassinator, was born in 1950, August 21. A classic underachiever living with dipsomaniacal parents, he was completely isolated: his fellow-pupils at school derided him as the “Crazy Man”, the duckspeak drifter. He fantasized that he lived with a television family: he began talking to himself, and attended a shooting club, where his firing proved to be as wayward, wavering and erratic as his mind. By 1971 his life was in disarray: by October he was completely estranged from his family – they do not even merit a mention in his self-pitying Diary, significantly – and then he was discovered asleep in his automobile before a synagogue, bullets scattered like dragonsteeth over the front seat. He was submitted to a psychiatric evaluation, and fined for disorderly conduct. By Thanksgiving he had met and been unceremoniously rejected by a fifteen-year-old girl, his one and only romantic foray: disappointed, he shaved his head, imagining he could win her back with evidence of his selfless faith; this romantic gesture was unsurprisingly spurned, and the girl’s mother pointedly warned him to stay away in future. It was January 13, 1972. Now completely friendless, he was growing ever more paranoid, and ever more eager for self-realization.

In March he began his Diary: the first half was found buried in a land-fill site in 1980. The first entry was a statement of intent: “Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace.” These were ambitious targets, if nothing else: but they were chosen not out of any antipathy for the either, but for their celebrity. He was playing for political keeps: he would brutally annexe the fame of Nixon or Wallace. Nixon was the more famous, but Wallace, the populist and controversial racial-segregationist Governor of Alabama, was an appropriately accessible alternative. On April 3 he arrived in New York, on a Nixon-hunt. The entries which follow are interminably tedious: badly punctuated inventories of his dull, valetudinarian (“I am one sick assissin”) routine, including an abortive entrée into a massage parlour, which he somehow manages to escape with his virginity intact. There’s a certain naivete about Bremer which makes him teflon-resistant to hate: we can despise and pity, perhaps - but never hate.


“The funnyest thing happened to me when I arrived in NY just after I got off the plane. I forgot my guns! I was in a washroom when I heard my name over the loud speaker. WOW! The captain of the plane smiled & nodded as he gave me them.” AHB, April 21, 1972.

Calamity followed calamity: after retrieving his guns from the pilot, Bremer followed the President to Canada. He forgot his driving license, and had to find an alernative route into the country. Lodging in a Michigan hotel, he accidentally discharged a bullet from his 9mm Browning into the floor. Early in the morning, the intrepid assassinator struck on the brilliant idea of secreting his guns near the rear wheel: he promptly lost the 9mm in the wheelpit, and was unable to recover it – his .38 would have to do. Arriving in Canada, he soon became hopelessly lost. His attempt in Ottawa was foiled by Canadian demonstrators whose sense of political reality was undoubtedly a good deal keener than his own: they already knew Nixon was finished, and they didn’t carry guns. Harding Lemay has noted cogently that, as he neared his victim, Bremer’s prevailing emotion was not overwhelming hatred, but rather a steadily increasing and faintly unsettling familiarity: “Nixon” becomes “Nixon-boy”; then finally the appallingly matey-sounding “Nixy-boy”. By 4 May, he abandoned his hilariously ill-contrived scheme, and reverted to eliminating Governor George Wallace, the high priest of racial hatred in Alabama.

“tired of writing about it.
about what I was gonna do
about what I failed to do.
about what I failed to do again & again.
Travelling around like a hobo or some kind of comical character.”
AHB, April 24, 1972.

The project was stillborn from the beginning: Wallace was never more than an ersatz Nixon trailing clouds of faint glory, and Bremer knew it. He fully expected to die; that was part of the plan; but, as he so eloquently phrased it, “Who the hell ever got buried in ‘Bama for being great?”. He was constantly undermined; he was becoming aware of his own ridiculous impotence, and it was making him madder than ever, more eager for his lonely consummation. He could not or would not perceive that a glorious ending would be a non sequitur: it would have been utterly inappropriate. He even had his own catchphrase for the moment of Truth: he would shout, “A penny for your thoughts!”, as if he were some kind of gun-toting Guy Fawkes effigy. There are other, more profound moments in the Diary where the small enclave of sanity that remains in Bremer’s head is articulated touchingly: on May 7 he pauses, half-surprised at himself, and the tone is intriguingly confessional:

“Funny…I’ve got nothing to say.
Have I ever said anything?”


At moments of dreary, touching anfechtungen one sympathizes absolutely with the diarist: he is stripped of all his pompous-grandiloquent Man of Destiny regalia, and a truthful assessment prevails. Unfortunately, these moments are all too few: the mood of psychotic cupidity prevails, and the indicative displaces the subjunctive. His repellent self-exaltation resumes:

“I’m as important as the start of WW1 I just need the little opening & a second of time.” AHB, April 24, 1972.

He was a little man lost in a world of matter; unable to impose himself through the usual channels, he chose the line of least resistance: like a moth, he was drawn to celebrity without any understanding of his own desires. He confounded need with desire: he engaged in a lonely, doomed pursuit of the authentic without fully understanding the implications. The Diary has a full and complete cast of characters, but none of them are friends of Bremer, or his relatives: they’re merely acquaintances, workers, policemen, special agents, Presidents and Governors. He has no sounding-board; no-one to ground him, no-one who will listen to his complaints and talk sense back into him. Harding Lemay’s observation of the dreadful affection of Bremer – of his displaced quasi-erotic relationship with his proposed victims – is worth raising again: it is, in fact, more complex than this. We all draw sustenance from our friends, our points of closest contact: we unconsciously copy their mannerisms, their tone of speech, their modes of expression, even their appearance. Bremer’s closest point of contacts were his victims, and in his monomania he became a physical caricature of their cause. By the time the man the Times dismissed as a “strange little drifter” lunged forward at his “target of opportunity” for a reckoning, he was accoutred as a full-scale Wallacite, a ghastly parody of an American “good ‘ole boy”: short, blonde dressed in a comical red, white and blue shirt with “Wallace for President” badge-motif, shielding his eyes with sunglasses. He even out-clapped the true Wallacites, and the reader is forced to raise a smile at the thought of the terrible irony of the scene he so ingenuously describes:

“why was’t this crowd responsive? I DID THE MOST HAND CLAPPING, ALL THE SHOUTING, & WAS GOING TO START THREE DIFFERENT STANDING OVATIONS BUT FELT THE CROWD WOULDN’T FOLLOW ME….a great disappointment for him [Wallace] I bet. Poor guy. What would he have done without ME?” AHB, May 13, 1972.

But the humour is futile: Wallace was a preacher of racial hatred, but no-one, as the Reverend Jesse Jackson was quick to point out at the time, deserves to be treated like that: “Killing can no longer be justified, whether it is in Vietnam or Maryland or Memphis.” Wallace was crippled for life by the attack in Maryland, but survived the attack of the loner and continued his political career for another decade, his popularity magnified by the attack; Bremer, who failed – naturally - to die on the spot as he had planned, was sentenced to fifty years of imprisonment. He was as poor at political futurology as he was at stalking: Wallace’s reputation was inflated at the expense of his own.. Bremer had fluffed his lines at the kill-that-never-was; the “great assassinator” misfired five times and was quickly overpowered. He was more realistic in his retrospective analysis at the trial: asked after sentencing whether he had anything to say, he acknowledged that

“Looking back on my life, I would have liked it if society had protected me from myself.”

Prison can rehabilitate a man from crime; it can also rehabilitate failure, which, in the final analysis, was both the essence and the fountainhead of Bremer’s own crime. Even the Special Agents understood this: an unlikely dialogue sprang up between the Agents and the fallen assassinator as Wallace was rushed to hospital.

Bremer: “Did I kill him? Did I kill him?”

Officer Landrum: “Yeah, yeah. You killed him. He’s
dead.”


Deputy State’s Attorney Femia: “You got him. You
killed him good.”


Reassurance. They knew Wallace was alive and well: “We had to tell him,” Femia explained; “it was very important to Bremer that he killed Wallace.” That one oddly touching exchange is the most heartening aspect of the whole case, and it restores one’s faith in humanity. If only they’d kept a diary.

"5 points EXP, -10 points originality"

Posted 17 November 2002, 3.31 pm by Jake

RPG Cliches

For your reading pleasure.

And stuff.

Silent child

Posted 16 November 2002, 11.57 pm by Kateifer

The teacher babbles in the jargon of her studies. Blank faces sit staring into space. A mocking voice interrupts calling out a question. Persisting in accomplishing the goal, the teacher patiently answers. Assuming all the questions are sincere and ignoring loud yawns and quiet conversations, she pushes onward. A quiet desperation enters her voice as reality begins to sink in. “They don’t really care they they’re not going to get it,” she realizes.

A quiet student in the back seldom ventures to question. Rarely does she take note of anything at all. The drawings in her books serve as evidence of her wandering mind.

Test day arrives with the teacher harried and near to tears. Student after student puzzles over simplistic questions and handing incomplete papers in at the end of the period. The quiet girl’s paper appears within the pile. Correct answer after answer filled out in simplest style satiate her paper flooding the teacher with relief. Someone understands, but the name she does not recognize. “Who is this girl?” flies through her head as she tries to fit a face to the name.

The girl’s silent countenance fades into the background, making her invisible, rarely to be seen among the rest.

Tu Es Verbalissime!

Posted 14 November 2002, 3.27 pm by Shaggy

Nevermind the title, I just thought I'd play with Necro's joke of putting things in a different language. Though my french is horrible, I'm glad that I didn't have to put it through a translator, and thus, I managed to get the joke without the trouble of cut and paste.

At any rate, I am writing this as a break. I have just finished writing a mock essay for my exam tomorrow on Chaucer and Middle English Lyrics (and no, not the drinking song ones!).

My brain is sore.

However, I have been thinking lately (when do I stop?). Though I am in somewhat control, I feel that somehow, something important continues to slip through my fingers. You know, like Iris Murdoch used to feel, only without the benefit of her 26+ novels (I never really counted).

I am working on a novel, though for anyone who has ever watched the movie Iris, no it is not a secret. In fact, I have posted some of the earlier chapters in earlier front pages. I have about 50% of it finished, out of a total of 400+ pages. Why I decided on 400+ pages, I do not know. Simply feels right.

Nevertheless, the more I learn about literature, the less I feel like an author and the more I feel like a wordsmith. Perhaps it is simply because there is a shortage of accessible, contemporary, and intelligent novels to read. All the people I look up to are dead. Poe, Homer (hoooo boy, he must be stinky by now!), Aristophanes (ditto), Plato, Camus, Murdoch, Sartre, Nietzche, Fichte, Hegel... the list literally could go on.

Maybe that means I need to branch out into this horrible monster called "the outside world." Yet, am I not already an outsider? Do I not already live outside? Perhaps the title of Camus' novel in its original language is truer to what it details. L'etranger. Not "Outsider", but "stranger". Though everyone, no matter how individual you might feel, is a part of the human experience, and thus a part of us all, still, there are those of us who seem to either revel in or stumble upon outsider-ness.

Perhaps that is why I chose to do my significant essay in Philosophy and Literature class on The Fool and the Sophist: Innocence and Intelligence. After all, I think we discussed before on this page that stupid people are happier, and intelligent people are usually old misers. Of that, I suppose, I am sometimes guilty. Yet, does innocence = fool? Certainly, when you think of the holy fool, let's say Prince Myshkin, the line is undeniably thin. In essence of the term, innocence, it denotes an inexperience, an unjaded-ness that can only be a product of not-knowing.

My soul is a sickly daunting precipice... my feet are on the edge. Do I smile, in foolish misunderstanding, or do I run, fleeing, putting my mind to some task that will, ultimately and inexplicably, make things better?

At any rate, tu es verbalissime? ego sum verbalissime?

I must step into the precipice again. I must wonder, if I ever see escape from this cavern. I also must wonder, is it better to struggle for the top, for escape, or is it better to search for the utmost bottom? Should I blindfold myself, and simply go blindly, would it make any difference?

Particular or Universal... A or B... Paper or plastic...

My mind is an eye... and my heart a window.... and my soul a precipice.

Ook Ook

Posted 12 November 2002, 7.21 pm by firebrand

I might be crazy, but i think this is effing hilarious.

No Kin to a Monkey

those crazy fundamentalists . . .

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This is in response to the poem 'Business Girls' by John Betjeman. It's ink washes. I was attempting to depict the grime and toil of the subject matter by using a widely recognised symbol of business life - the train.


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Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness

Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

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