Reading List

Don’t be giving me reading. First of all, we just met. Why is it your first assumption that I know nothing? Also, it’s particularly dull if what you know I don’t know just happens to be the subject of your own books! Ha.

I’ll be sixty soon, and I’ve never been any good at anything but dreaming, which means I’ve had a lot of practice. More and more, whatever it is you think I need to learn, I’m way past it. I haven’t learned most of it – only enough to know there’s not a lot of meaning in it. I didn’t miss all the normal ideas, this idea always amazes and amuses me – what planet do some folks think I’m from, that I’ve never heard of punishment, of “teaching right from wrong?” No such human exists, not on this planet! I didn’t miss those lessons, no-one does, I simply don’t believe it, I just flat out disagree – an apparently impossible position, to many of us. I’m trying to dispute those things, trying to take away what you probably have always considered to be your “givens.”

Honestly, I think they give me reading because they think I’m in agreement and want to learn more! There was a Kids in the Hall sketch, Thompson, I think, as a guy in a bar looking for a fight, but somehow can’t manage to piss anyone off, can’t buy a fight – KITH was surreal as well as hilarious – and that’s me, cannot buy an argument, I have offered money, only a few hundred per hour, sure, but . . . to them it’s like I want to argue with oxygen, money wouldn’t make sense of it. I get that part.

We’re at something like a standoff. I’m trying to tell them they’ve missed everything and they’re telling me I’ve missed some . . . some what? Some detail of chimpanzee life? Some allele? The part where Mom explains to me that this is actually good for me, folks, that’s what I “missed,” that’s what you need to defend if you want to dispense with me.

If this is a given for you, punishments made us “good,” if these are the unassailable roots of your philosophy, I’m past that, past your roots, I don’t need more of your leaves or flowers. Moreover, if all you can do is list books and authors full of nothing but such foliage and not share or discuss the ideas therein with me, one, again, why are you assuming the teaching position? And two, it sort of suggests that you didn’t find any meaning in it either. So again, why?

I’m tired.

The world is full of people who want to tell you things whether they know anything or not. I try to talk tough and authoritative here, but I’ve been rather passive in life, basically taking that thought internally, acting as though I am most likely just one more loudmouth with no more wisdom than anyone else and so not forcing myself on anyone. The entire world did not reciprocate, but whaddayagonnado.

I am starting to see that my ideas are on the better side of quality ideas and that I’ve been shirking my responsibility, however, allowing lesser but more aggressive ideas to dominate. The Dunning-Kruger effect is like gravity, there is no real escape. It has the advantage of consensus. You only get what you settle for, and I’ve always been stuck in this problem – how to get what I want, when what I want is to not have to fight for everything? When my project is to break the dominance of the world’s fighters and establish an empire of reason?

And that Brutus guy said Caesar was ambitious, huh! This is my project, to change the world and not resort to a fight to do it, because then I’ve lost before it begins, same as every revolutionary ever. Next thing I’d be shopping for a strongman, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, world without end . . . except the end is in sight these days. I think I may have always sort of imagined the project of humanity to be just that, that that is what “human progress” was supposed to mean, an empire of reason, no? Just me?

Education is the cure, sure – but discipline is the cause. “Morality” – discipline, punishment, group social control, law – is the cause.

That’s not “talking,” that’s fighting. The fighters of the world are in charge because we’re all engaged in these fights, because in this paradigm, even in peacetime, the fight never ends, and everyone is involved – it’s been socialized. Education would be part of a better world, absolutely, but my point here for everyone is that we are not going to change the world by simply adding some better things and not removing the cause.

Fundamentalist “morality” is a great example of all the awful things we call morality, authority and/or authoritarianism of men, violent and harsh punishments, many restrictive laws, social control of women and children – and contrary to many believers’ “beliefs” these days, “fundamental” means its usual, normal thing here: what it’s all based on. Morality, in speech and scripture is some lofty ideal, but this is what it is down here on Earth, between human beings, it means the ritualized, sanctified practice of applied abuse. Educate me after and during that, sure, it couldn’t hurt, mostly, but it doesn’t make all that OK.

But that’s what every authority figure or teacher on Earth would have us all pretend, isn’t it? All of that is regrettable and sad, sure, but as long as you learn your lessons! Maybe you’ll be the generation that changes the world! Maya, the world of illusion. Of course, professor, no, I don’t think you’re lying to yourself and me and wasting all of our lives, and yes I do need an extension for my paper, if you please!

So, if you know of something I can read, someone out here ahead of me that I can learn from, someone whose answer for everything isn’t a deterrent or a law or a fight or a political or economic system or a new set of rules that we need to enforce, sure, talk to me. It’s COVID-19 lock-down time, I would purchase something to read if I could imagine something that would help but I’m stuck writing because the only writer of which I am aware that can satisfy my need for what I now see as reality, is me.

I know there’s plenty of stuff that rebels against Judeo-Christian morality, and no doubt plenty that critiques collectivist morality and every other sort too, but social control in general? Not saying there’s no reason for a dearth of literature “against morality,” reasons abound – I just think we’ve made an awful mess of things and we need to review our reasons, make adjustments. Also, there is some of this sort of talk in Buddhism, religion tries – or perhaps monastic life is a sort of a shunt, removing such introspection from the social mainstream. Plus there’s the odd one like the Marquis de Sade, not examples that seem to help the cause, perhaps.

R.D. Laing must be one too, but it didn’t seem to have been the point of the ones I read. Maybe, maybe I just wasn’t there yet.

You want to be with the weirdos on these subjects, popular ideas are clearly not working, clearly what is popular is what we are trying presently! I would direct you back to the beginning of this conversation, maybe you weren’t here yet, where I said things are not alright, otherwise I’d smile more and maybe even shut up once in a while.

Iain McGilchrist, author of The Divided Brain, said it, that our social control measures stress us out and engage our autonomic response that puts our left hemisphere in the driver’s seat, attenuating or overriding the right brain’s “big picture” function. He seems to be a rare case like myself, a person who simply followed a train of thought and let logic and reason take him where it would, and if it exposes our law and order as the cause of our troubles, he’ll tell you so too.

Now, I understand that there is a whole world full of literature and thought out there about how we’re civilized and controlled and altruistic and domesticated and educated and all that and the other side of that meme debate is we are still wild apes, still that creature that we and the chimpanzees were five million years ago, still with all that aggression and those drives and all that, I am aware of this dichotomy, if it deserves such a clear description.

It’s a false binary. In the first, the control worked, we’re all good now – so I guess the previous century of world wars didn’t happen or the present nightmares either. In the second, apparently evolution is a conscious, constant, minute to minute struggle like treading water and millions of years just disappear when a fight breaks out, as though when the whole world evolved, of the millions of things, only this one ape’s urge to fight did not. We don’t really use that gene or something, and when we “need” to fight, we bring it out of the closet, like that?

We’ve evolved when we want to say so and we haven’t when we’d rather say that is more like it, and again, on the dull and predictable side, wouldn’t you say. “We’re all good now” – I hear it like I hear “I was spanked and I’m fine,” and that’s exactly how we should all hear that. You have huge wars constantly. You’ve destroyed the Earth. You are not fine.

And by coincidence I’m sure, you are the only “moral” creature, the only creature who thinks abuse and pain are “good for you.”

 

 

Jeff

March 28th., 2020

Primal Scream

I know it’s infantile. This is not me, blindly immature, refusing to accept the fact of the world, it’s me, cognizantly immature . . . and refusing to accept the fact of the world.

I know it’s genderless (which, being fair, comes free with infantile) when I’m singing “I Feel the Earth Move.” That is not me, blindly in the closet, “accidentally” liking a female song, complete with the at the time most common euphemism for the female orgasm for a title and a chorus. That is me, acknowledging both women as well as my own feminine side – I know, I don’t look it while in my Dockers and band T-shirt, partially bearded. Having already lived a fairly full cis life and been driven mad with boredom by it, I’ve decided I belong with the freaks – no slight intended – but I’m sort of undemonstrative. The man costume doesn’t give exactly the right impression, but I’m trying not to be too hung up on costume and impressions. I always do something, weird haircut, some bright jacket no-one would touch, to give the clue.

These days, I’ve quit cutting my hair, I’m retired/unemployed, may as well let my freak flag fly, and it’s sort of genderless, long hair. I’m straight, I’m just not militant about it, genderless needs space.

I look pretty straight, if not at all tough. You’d think I have negative opinions about non-straight or non-white people, but I don’t, I so don’t. I’ve been bullied and terrorized by straight white males too, in my life that’s where all the trouble comes from too.

I expect I look more like a grownup than I feel also – but again, not blindly. Infantile is a conscious choice – I mean as well as a psychological disorder, it’s my disorder of choice, because “mature” means hard, mature means antisocial, mature means killed feelings and going about the business of killing things. You being mature means you do not care when I cry, or worse, you prefer that. You and me, Ma, still in that standoff, no I won’t fucking “self-soothe,” that is your job.

The crying will continue until treatment improves.

I know it’s still that baby cry I’m making every time I dissent, every time I fight something in life that most folks don’t object to – I know it internally, I mean every time I cry out, part of it is that I am still waiting for an answer to the first scream, that I look at it like if I never stop crying and if someone comes to see what’s wrong, ever, then I was heard eventually and not permanently ignored. I haven’t lost hope, you see, you all still have a chance to make this right! I mean, Mom’s gone, but you still can! Maybe you see this and think I don’t, but I see it:

I think growing up means giving up, of course I do.

Perhaps when I was young I had less of an idea of giving up on what exactly, but I think that what I’ve been  looking at, putting off, is giving up on is you, people. I suppose that was always it, but I’m here working through this because something has finally budged, something in this is moving for me a little and it’s not that I’m giving up now and the struggle is over, at least it doesn’t feel like that bad ending I’ve been fearing. Maybe I can give up without it being the end of the world, is what it’s whispering to me today.

Maybe writing y’all off isn’t the end. I’m still here, after all.

It’s a moral capitulation for me. I’m infantile, I know it, but I’m not a child. When I decide at nearly sixty that the rest of you are swine and not worth talking to until you prove otherwise, that is not going to pass as infantile, preverbal rage, is it? (Do you see it? I’d better cop first – I think that’s a lot of peoples’ true excuse for the same decision, that they made at the more appropriate time, like early childhood.) It was never my way to disregard someone, never the plan. I lived, heart on my sleeve, trying hard not to be defensively protecting myself from the people in my life, immediately either bringing them into my moral circle and trying to understand them or simply running away from them, not having them in my life. I don’t want to fight.

A lot of folks didn’t think so, because I like to talk and debate and philosophize and psychologize, but that is central to my dilemma here, I was treating them all as peers and equals and worth talking to and giving my honest thoughts and feelings . . . I think this is “regard,” me caring what you think, wanting to know what it is and sharing any information I think I have that I think you may not. I give any little wisdom I have away for free and if anyone would listen I would hold nothing back, talk myself straight out of a job, empty myself completely.

I wasn’t able to lie, protect myself that way, I was bad at keeping secrets, because I keep almost none of my own, I am always offering my privacy and my foibles in trade, hoping for some honesty and intimacy in return, TMI is my middle name. This I see as my function in the world, lead by example, be vulnerable, be embarrassed, don’t fear judgement and don’t judge, share the knowledge.

I lack boundaries.

But I find myself trying to remember if my honesty and humility ever did bring any reciprocation, and I can’t think of a single instance. I may have gotten a reputation for being “nice,” which in the words of Lone Watie, Chief Dan George’s character in the Outlaw Josey Wales, “I think it means we’re easy to sneak up on.” Beware of people who compliment you for simple honesty and then complain that you talk too much. Also old men who want to teach you the thing they could never learn!

That’s called “mansplaining,” a sub-category of the Dunning Kruger effect.

Sorry about that. Come back and read that to me tomorrow and every day for the rest of my life, would you mind?

Anyway, enough about my sainthood and how I can’t ever learn to hate, the point is, I think I may have found a way after all, I think I may finally see a crack in it, I think I may be able to separate things ever so slightly, have a boundary without having to start a war. I mean, not for what I would call a good reason, I just think I’ve finally been hurt enough to get it. This infantile, naive fearlessness crap will get you killed.

 

Jeff,

Feb. 22nd., 2020

Oh, Twitter

– banned this morning.

First it was me calling someone a “shizo,” and fair enough, my bad, removed. So it’s restricted features – but the best ones, I’m talking to friend in DMs when suddenly I’m gone again.

Same message, some restricted features, DMs with your friends, except no, they are not letting me in at all. Sorry, Sue! Find me here if you want, I guess!

All I can imagine is somebody finally heard something I said, I guess!

I expect I’ve been targeted by some evil army of cat lovers or some militant quilting group or other.

I suppose I’ll sign in again for three minutes in the ten hours or so they say they’re giving me until they do it again. I feel seen!

Finally.

 

Jeff

Sept. 25th., 2019

Gettin’ Me Wrong, or I Love You

I’m a nice fellow.

I know, I rant, I’m angry and frustrated, and I complain and I got justifications and explanations but that doesn’t make it nicer to be around, but I swear, like everyone, no doubt, it started from a good place, albeit a long time ago. I must have been asked the central question of morality as a child when I was complaining like I do, because that’s what it’s all been about for me. Me, a child moral philosopher, must have said to someone, “be good!” and gotten the answer so many navel gazing fools like me have spent their lives trying to answer – “Why?”

I’ve spent my life trying to come up with a convincing answer, despite pretty much admitting straight off that I all had for it was my and other folks’ simple comfort (pain avoidance, I would say today, trading in some early Christian language for more scientific stuff). That’s the usual content of my writing, that quixotic rational attempt, a long run at improving upon the ‘comfort’ answer – and that’s actually going rather well, in a test tube, so to speak, but I didn’t expect anything and I got something. Mostly just that, my life’s work in this paragraph: comfort isn’t nothing, because the reverse, pain, isn’t nothing.

The way pain isn’t nothing, scientifically and causatively in our lives, that’s pretty much every other entry in this blog, so trying not to today.

Pain that I for some reason am placing in other people’s songs these days. I’ve been watching Burns’ Country Music documentary and I’m obsessing about I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, I’m trying to write city lyrics to evoke the same stuff. I’m stuck on a bit of pain around that song that Hank was their – our! My own hillbilliness is becoming clear this week – Shakespeare was and is so loved, because despite being a man, despite being an American, he, while gripped by intense emotion, could cry. I think we all believed the man really had the actual capability, and damned if he isn’t just too good for this ol’ world, then, Amen.

Hyperbole, I know. I know the fellow cried puh-lenty, and publicly. We know he could! So hats off to the Ubermensch! Of course, my version of his story there is about us. I don’t know where or when to say it, so here and now, I guess: the man was rarely alone, and never for long. He was feeling that either in the minutes before bed on the road or he was feeling that all day long, surrounded by human beings. But pain is pain, really, I accept his expressions, boy, don’t we all.

So this morning I woke up having rewritten a verse of Dylan in my sleep, although to be completely truthful, I think of it as a John Daly song now, ha.

Ma, take these victims offa me

I can’t take it anymore

Don’t need live-in enemies

I feel I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s door

Don’t get me wrong, again, that critique was for us, not for Hank. I am one of them, I love and worship the man – in fact what is AST, what is my whole inner life, what are the last two million words of my blog if not a long, far less interesting and emotional exposition of Cold, Cold Heart, past pain and hard feelings, minds that are not free?

A thousand of me can type on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and never write something like that.

(OK, there’s something. Same as “why?,” I can try to mesh artistic truths like these with the rational side of our lives. That’s the plan.) Which brings us to the brain, with its two sides.

Someone else is invading my too-open mind this week, this Iain McGilchrist chap with his brain hemisphere business, I watched his Divided Brain show on a bit of a loop last night. I’m not overly taken by the larger idea, the increasingly left-brained world, although I don’t feel a need to disagree – I saw in the show, that’s many of we left-brained idiots’ reaction, ha – but it resonated personally that I have been sort of shooting all around this idea myself, getting parallel ideas.

I have written and talked about the way I first perceived it as a “two sorts of people” sort of thing, lined up with two takes on science, on religion, on politics, two ways of seeing the world, and my take wasn’t completely backwards from his, I was seeing a one mindset that saw more things as alive and changing, and saw processes and change, as opposed to another sort of paradigm that sees a million facts, names everything and memorizes all the names and places for them, so to speak, but static, frozen in time.

That is pretty much what they are saying about the brain in this show, left does fine work, detail, and the right does bigger picture stuff – except it’s just unfortunate that the right side of the brain is what does the “left” side of politics and vice versa, the left, detail side dominates the political right, lists of things: white people, black people, dollars, jobs. The “logic” of nationalism and war. No processes, only things: no evolution, no change: the world as God created it. Dogmatic religion is politically right and left-brain dominant.

Why would God give me a brain that’s a straight up database if everything was just going to be changing all the time?

Maybe it will take hold, the two-brain idea. It does answer my strawman’s question, He gave you two! Why the other one if you don’t employ it?

Hmmm . . . it occurs, must be a thing for Iain, that while the left brain deals in details and important realities, maybe there’s room in the right side for all the different interpretations of those realities, and so it’s powerful – but somewhat less beholding to veracity. That other meme around his idea, that it either conquers the world or disappears, that’s rubbish. This flexibility is a focus for Trivers, the deception stuff, and my whole thing is a huge one of such phenomena. I don’t think any of this is going away.

Not that it matters, I’m mostly just running in place with my hands over my ears going “La la la” really loud trying not to hear the victims in that verse above this morning, but what am I on about today again? Oh yes. I’m a nice guy.

See, the thing is . . . I love you.

I’m stealing that, a movie line, “Five Corners,” Tim Robbins to John Turturro, I think, good guy to bad guy in that one, and feels right, seems applicable.

That’s my answer, that’s “why.”

That’s why I’m frustrated, that’s why I’m angry, that’s why I yell at you, because I am trying to help you because I love you – us, I love us – same rap as everyone who abuses you, right?

That works, for a minute. That shuts me up, it resonates, I feel guilty, I’m making you sad, you’re right, I’ll shut up, you win . . . and now I’ve shut up and you’ve won and now no-one got hurt, right? Well, there was the small matter of me, my feelings, my dreams of helping you, that personal crap . . . then the matter of the original problem I’m trying alone to solve, our comfort, human (not only human!) pain, etc., but sure, words are weapons, they hurt, no kidding.

First, I never touched you – anyone. I’ve never laid a finger on anyone.

I understand, Mike Tyson yells at you, that’s scary, abuse, even, depending you feel trapped also or something. Of course Mike should be allowed to talk and feel, like anyone, but I’m saying, I understand that a person with a history of violence shouting at you is a threat, straight up. I also understand that an unknown person shouting at you is the same threat, guy could be some Mike Tyson type, for God’s sake, LOL – sorry, Mike. I don’t think you’re like that anymore, and my whole thing is I love you, I don’t think you ever wanted to be that, I mean, that those desires were not your invention or any baby’s intention. Ever see “Five Corners?” Not many did, I don’t think. This was my reaction when I read the very first thing about Mike, by the way, his here comes Mikey article – fear and sympathy, instantly, for some reason. He’s a bit of a psycho –  a charismatic, I mean, same thing. He seemed important, immediately, somehow, a poster child for human pain.

But somehow no history of violence doesn’t matter. I’m suffering, and no-one is getting physical on me, either, so I can’t argue the point, words hurt, ideas hurt. It hurts, what I’m thinking. It would be nicer of me to just shut up. That would have been easier in a different age, when getting along socially meant getting along socially with a world that wasn’t turning Nazi on me,  though. Empathy, getting along socially is bad news, really bad stuff. Tell everyone they’re all supposed to agree about things and then inject some evil ideas and boom – Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I love you. Your empathy is evil walking the streets, in charge.

No, shut up! Not today! Don’t you know all they respond to is compassion, agreement? I thought you loved them!

I sympathize. That’s my love. Empathy is just conformity. If you loved me, you wouldn’t depend on the feeling to take you, to just happen, you’d try to feel me, not override any possibility for variation with some empathic-sounding projection of some feeling we’re all supposed to have. That’s what you get, I love you, but you’re wrong. I love you, but your feelings are all messed up.

Come on. You know it’s not really your true friends who agree with you all the time, don’t you? You know a friend that doesn’t ever try to teach you anything probably isn’t working for your interests? Our “friends’” empathy is what sends our children off to die for Big Oil. Is that how friends treat one another?

It’s because I love you that I call you a stupid violent ape and beg you to change your ways, because if you do, then maybe your son doesn’t have to go off to the middle east and not come back or come back as a living, massively suffering poster for why you never should have let him go. Whereas your “friends” agree with you about those worthless bastards in the middle east and your kid can go to literal Hell, thank you for your service. I love you. You need new friends, oh my God.

 

Ma, get my friends outta here

Tell ‘em, take their tools of war

This battle’s end is growing near

And I feel I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s door

 

See, here’s the thing . . . I love you. I’m not trying to hurt you. I guess it looks the same, maybe that’s all there ever has been, so of course that’s what it’s going to be again. But it’s not. It’s old, I mean, it’s Hank Williams, but it’s new. I know, you probably don’t believe that either, but it is.

It’s love, and it’s . . . new.

 

Jeff

Sept. 23rd., 2019

Carrying on . . .

I’m not trying to hurt you. I’ve never laid a finger on anyone that way, and here’s the thing – I never will, I’m never ever going to. I’m frustrated that doesn’t matter, I want to ask, in a hundred years when I am safely dead, gone, and forgotten – then will you stop being too afraid of me to listen to me?

Then, when it’s a matter of record, this man never touched anyone in a violent way, then will someone consider the possibility that I want to help the world and not hurt it? Frustrated, and that’s my cry from my roof, but I just sort of woke up to a cold universe about it.

We don’t do that.

We don’t have the capability to react to non-violence. Why would we?

That isn’t exactly survival critical, is it?

I am sort of blown away at the moment, it’s like that when you realize what you’ve had completely backwards all your life, I’m . . . bloody Hell, really? Me?

Speechless. Somewhere in the dark night of my soul I can a hear a soft, lonely and terrifying echo . . .

I think it’s Bill Shatner, saying, “ . . . then what?”

 

Jeff

September 25th., 2019

Human Contact

I have a bad attitude, sure. There’s the waiver, and if you think that means I must be wrong, then move along, we’re not going to be able to actually communicate across that gulf. We live in different worlds.

You know I basically think it about those of you who stay, too. Sorry, Canadian “Aloha,” or “Shalom.” I am sorry, my sorry butt apologizes. If it helps, this one’s about me falling for positive nonsense too, most of the time. And I’m at the computer because I’m ready to fight back, I think I’ve got an answer, and yes, it’s sort of automatic at this point, much of this I don’t have to sit down and work through like arithmetic, it’s compulsive and these answers grab me when I’m pouring a cup of tea, or planning something else and they send me here in a hurry, like some sort of textual IBS.

(But then I get lost in the usual ten years and first page of preamble and often forget the insight and it’s back again next week. I don’t want to work myself out of a job, I guess.)

It’s all the same principle, but I seem to believe it and I’m engaged in an ongoing audit of what I used to think, what you all apparently think now, and this Murphy’s Law of Nature/Antisocialization Theory is slowly replacing everything it touches, like evolution audited and continues to audit the life sciences.

The pressure for positivity is constant.

I’ve always felt it, always sort of railed against it – but don’t listen to me, I have “depression.” It used to mean sad for no reason, pathological, and I railed against it then. These days it means sad when you have to go to work, no matter what the reason. Imagine how much I like that sort of talk now. OK, on with it, sort of.

You know, my whole focus, my “theory,” basically to talk about stuff everyone knows and no-one considers worth talking about, it’s all about us messing with one another, about us hurting one another, reinforcing one another’s anger and madness, basically being bad influences upon each other, much of it done for reasons, good, inescapable reasons, if you believe what humans say on the subject, and Good Lord, see paragraph one.

When I first cracked Trivers’ book on deception and self deception, I was beyond excited, I was scared, not kidding. My inner life is my life, yours isn’t? How are you supposed to think about self-deception, like with your own brain? Learning about learning, thinking about thinking, that’s taking the editor to you operating code, isn’t it? OK, it isn’t, or maybe not for everyone, but it sounded like it. When he opened with his self-effacing story about his own thieving left hand apparently operating autonomously, that didn’t exactly put me at ease. I almost went to “what kind of monster thinks he can write this book?”

But mostly I just thought how is it possible?

I didn’t assume he’d miss it and it would suck. I suppose it could be “positivity,” and I try to shoot my own sacred cows if I see them, but the idea that Bob is smarter than me is one such cow I have not yet considered shooting, that and death. Taxes, well that’s a political lie. Of course some folks escape taxes.

Well, he didn’t completely turn his whole brain inside out, not permanently, or mine either, thank goodness. It was the Nurture Assumption did that! And for opposite reasons. That one was a right-wing lie, a status quo tome marketed as a revolution. From my POV now, it exposed a deep human truth as a foundationless lie we all live with for no apparent reason. It gave me my insight though, inspiringly offensive, that was! I loved her voice, she’s a real pro writer, and it doesn’t seem malicious – just misguided. Her guide, on the other hand, he seems to not mind being associated with the wrong sorts of people.

The Folly of Fools, on the other hand, is a level up in one’s understanding, a maturation all around.

Nothing to fear but fear itself! It’s all just electrons moving around in the end, same as the computer, right? Happiness is resilience, I do better when I think I’m learning, even if it’s nasty old nature stuff.

Man, I wasn’t kidding! What was today’s topic again?

(Scrolling up . . . ah yes! That’s why the hurry. Sometimes if I pick a meaningful title and get it down fast, that helps.)

Human contact, social connections – first, on a personal note, that’s YOU for me. YOU could interact a little, just saying. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I am left alone to my thoughts and feelings so utterly and then when I try to talk, I call you all dumb, violent apes. Chicken or egg deal, but I wasn’t always alone, I’ve been thoroughly dumped, so I’m going with “egg.”(I do anyway in that riddle, for real. Evolution means that the first chicken egg did indeed not issue from a chicken, but from some ancestor because there weren’t always chickens because there wasn’t always everything just as God made it, world without beginning or end. Because that. Riddles show your paradigm to be past its usefulness.) OK, to business, you trapped and used and wishing for better dumb, violent apes with dreams!

Any better? I said I was sorry.

You need your human contact, everyone says it, and frankly, we are not such an agreeable species that consensuses like these should not be viewed with the utmost cynicism. Everybody always says things that are clearly true all day long, right, because we all somehow intuit that only we can see this obvious truth? Truths that everyone knows and agree with always require constant vocalization and support, right? Call me paranoid; it doesn’t matter. I know you’re one of them, ha.

To repeat, my whole idea is that humans spend a whole lot of time bashing each other into line and brutalizing one another’s feelings in endless cycles of abuse that add up to any other nation would be insane to invade us, because we are wild, crazy, uncontrollable armed  . . . I am trying not to swear. Have I already? No? Good for me! Armed . . . good ol’ boys, then, I guess. This is my narrative, my EP, which I set against the world of illusion story about how this abusive control of one another has made us good, kind, cooperative, empathetic – sorry to repeat a recent blog, but, this sure is a lovely list of words, isn’t it?

This, from punishment, which, I am going to swear, I am going to scream, which shut up and don’t argue, I’m sorry, this is why no-one engages, I know, good, civilized punishment and discipline are composed mostly of abuse, it’s the obvious major component. You’ve told me a million times, everyone always, and again messaging you can never escape must be true, right, but tell me how, tell me why that’s supposed to be “good” for you?

So you’re lying about even believing that the bad, illegal stuff is actually “bad” for you with this line of reasoning? This one hundred percent pure alcohol is poison, but this ninety present stuff will restore your health? I’m saying, if you drink the ninety percent stuff, you don’t really believe it’s good for you. If you drink the ninety percent stuff, you know every morning that the truth is the other way around.

OK, I have been beating that drum forever now, websites have been born and died while I screamed that same, seems to me simple bit of logic. Humour me for a moment, assume it’s true yourself, just a little thought experiment:

If it’s true, how is this other meme true, we all need social connections, we die without them? Isn’t it just saying again, what humans have for you, that’s good for you, like no matter what the . . oops, no matter what that may be? Again, blanket statements everyone is compelled to make at one another all day long, I don’t think Bob spent a lot of time on that, but that’s what I got out of it – of course those must be true!

I was in a very bad way when I first began my new life alone, and I bought in, I had had a breakdown, I was alone for the first time, I was terrified, and Facebook over that first Christmas was torture. Remember folks, while you’re celebrating, to reach out to those less fortunate, some folks in your life are having a hard time, people need people, it’s hormones, science . . .

I’ve been dumped, I’m alone and what am I doing, that’s dangerous, you fool! You need those connections, you are at risk!

I bought in, scared me more, it’s science, right? Who am I to argue?

Well, therein lies another joke, another upside-down thing in the world: who is this particular would be writer if I don’t? That’s pretty much my gender and my identity. Sorry. You’re reading me online, so you know. Some things can’t be unseen. Even unseen things, oddly enough.

I know, complain about Facebook, fine, but that’s actual science, from folks I am still impressed by, too, Trivers, Sapolsky. Not to forget Alice Miller and psychology either, I know, so there is truth, we need the eggs. All I’m saying is that that truth will have to coexist with AST, with me and Murphy’s Law of Nature. It’s true, sure it’s true – but it’s a social lie that it carries along with it that it’s the only thing that’s true.

And that is clearly not the case.

The ubiquity of the message, that everyone gives it, that it leaves no room for anything else . . . a fourth time, these are not the hallmarks of veracity.

If it were even the majority truth, that human contact is good for you, then we would get more and more passive with population pressure, wouldn’t we? Your kid would slowly get nicer at school and if human contact makes us better, then what monsters were we when we were born to have been molded and nurtured by all this healthy contact for twenty years and turn out as a standard, no frills, twenty-year-old man?

Do I need to spell that out?

All that nice psychology and science on Facebook (and everywhere else, of course) supports the warrior society status quo, of course, if you know me, of course that’s what’s going on, what the ladies call “the patriarchy,” and honestly, that’s close enough for me, it’s a world closer than the stupid origin story the boys tell about war and civilization. It hasn’t been easy for me to separate this patriarchy talk, to stop defending my own penis, but this is the truth, we are close, Ladies, two orders of magnitude closer to one another than I am to the boys in this conversation. I would hand you the world right now; it couldn’t hurt. Hoit, I mean. Sorry, Bugs, I don’t mean to steal without citation.

Basically, this society’s consensus when you’re alone is you need to get up and back into the battle, some battle. That’s why a testosterone supplement gets as much respect as therapy. And maybe it’s all true, God forbid, but I’m too dumb to be afraid to ask the question: what if that’s true, what if I need the contact, the oxytocin or whatever and if I have to join the war, well, soldiers really do make big, important social connections, right, brothers in arms? It’s possible that is also a description of what Facebook and Sapolsky are telling us, isn’t it?

(Gawd, he must be a sad one. He’s been thirty years ahead of me on this, he’s been here forever, poor bastard, to put it in Hunter S. Thompson terms.)

Well, that’s the part of the story I wanted to make sure you don’t escape anyway. We will be, I’m tired of this meme, subject to our unconscious biology forever if we can only think that single step ahead, like “you need social connections,” like, your social connections are problematic.

We have to grow up and start to ask, sure human contact, but to what end?

What is it they do when they get together?

OK, that was almost an ending, but I should try to make a case, maybe a personal one. I reacted badly, I admit it, and honestly, I did so, almost consciously, or at least I’m believing my own “I meant to do that” story now. I reacted badly to my ousting and divorce, and I can’t imagine how I wouldn’t have chosen the same again if I could have again. It was high time for me to react, period, somehow, to something, and maybe a good reaction wouldn’t have satisfied.

This has felt like trauma happening to me from external sources, but I know I’m the one making the following choices, even if I still think there weren’t other options: once I lost my ladies, I shed everyone else too, and I have failed to make new friends, some online folks being the exceptions. But at least some I cannot regret.

One fellow was a real bro type, a Trumpie type, a soldier. I parted with him over Roy Moore and him calling Moore’s accusers “fake.” This fellow’s best friend half his life was exactly a Roy Moore type, and everyone knew it, forever. Must be fake, right?

One was a cocaine addict who would call having fronted to get high and needed money to keep him out of the harbour. Those were my last two male friends within a thousand miles, Trumpie misogynist and an addict with enforcers in tow – do I need those connections? What if I’m a believer, I think I need connections, and that’s all that’s available?

Then Facebook and science and the whole world is advising me, it’s a matter of life and death!

To be fair, none of them say “even when they’re this bad,” but they don’t not say it either. Aren’t we all sinners, deserve a chance and need the connections – even guys with guy problems like that? That’s the message and it works for the never-ending warrior society. I felt the pressure.

But I’m feeling much better now, ha.

 

Jeff,

Sept. 21st., 2019

Psychology as Abuse, Part #3 – Some Sort of Progress

. . . in my personal antisocialization, I mean.

I think I finally got some bit of therapy, finally heard something, and funny story, it wasn’t my therapy, in fact it was historical therapy, or maybe even historical fictional therapy. It was the film, Jimmy P: Psychoanalysis of a Plains Indian, and what I think was supposed to be a turning point for Jimmy, when the therapist tells him, excitedly, “You can’t fight with women!” – I think that may be my problem too.

Don’t anybody tell the ladies on Twitter, OK?

Needing to fight more with women, that is not going to play well over there. But I’m the sort that lets them kill me instead, and I’m sure they’re not going to love me for making killers of them either, are they? Like I have sort of let my ex take so much of my life away, and I let her use my daughters to do it? Surely, I have failed in my responsibilities as a father to see such a thing happen on my watch. I mean, I begged for fair treatment, but that doesn’t work with the Americans and doesn’t seem to work with anyone. It’s a good life if you don’t weaken and I dropped the ball for everyone by weakening, I get it. I sort of get it. I get it, but I disagree.

I tried to live as a pacifist, I did live that way, but pacifists learn quickly, people do not automatically reciprocate for that. You’re supposed to be a strong pacifist, peace is supposed to start with no-one being allowed to abuse us ourselves first. You hear this? Abased, pathetic game theory? You all remember from five seconds ago, I’m talking about my loved ones, the ladies who had been my wife and daughters? It’s a good life if you don’t weaken with them too?

Twisters, sisters of Twitter, I am not advocating for aggression, I am talking about a choice and/or inability I have about rising to the level of self-defence.

I’m going through some medical stuff about hyperthyroidism, and had some bloodwork, part of which was looking at testosterone, and I was nervous. I mean, I know things aren’t so simple, if I needed testosterone, it wasn’t going to be Jekyll and Hyde, I wasn’t going to get super aggressive, but I worried about it. The endocrinologist offered therapy for it, but she also said that I’m in the normal range, the bottom third of the normal range she said, and I don’t know if she thinks that’s bad, I guess, because she’s talking injections, but it sounds OK to me. I’m still very sad and still gaslit to oblivion and not really seeing my way back to any real world yet and the last thing I want to do is start skin-popping testosterone. Good Lord. “Not that simple” isn’t quite the same as “not true,” is it?

I have fought back in life, I have gone on the offense, mostly inappropriate jokes, trying to be shocking and outside of the box, all largely unconscious until pretty recently. Anything I do consciously, anything I advocate for has all been feminism and pacifism, but I confess, I am an open wound, and I have been touchy and hurt and I do often feel under attack. The Not All Men urge is strong with this one, because I feel I have tried so hard, structured my life around it. When a feminist or just a female soldier in this war of the sexes gives me the dirty look or comment about what a pig I am or probably am, I have in the past tensed up terribly, felt awful, not known what to do, basically been reduced to some early childhood humiliation reaction . . . and pretty much always gotten over it and gone back for more, always and forever, me, begging to be seen as not that.

So let me tell you about last evening.

It’s about a friend and his lady, and when I quit Facebook just the other day, I gave them my Twitter handle and this blogsite, so I’ll forgo my usual love of the dysphemism and not try to bludgeon anyone with anything, but I know my Twisters will get it. Power was out here yesterday, all over, bit of a hurricane. I went out for dinner and got myself invited to my buddy’s place (with power) for the hockey game and went home to the dark afterwards. It was the first time I’d met his lady of maybe a year now.

I mentioned the proportional representation referendum we just had here in BC and that I was sad it hadn’t passed, and she responded that she had just put the package straight into the recycle bucket, that she didn’t care about that sort of stuff – and this is where I would tense up, normally. I had just told her I cared, I was sad, and her answer was, “I don’t.” At this point I’ll allow she’s talking about politics, not addressing me saying I care about it, just she doesn’t care about politics. Yes, we’re all white folks.

I normally would have started some internal conversation with myself and begun the process of tensing up, leading to sadness, but maybe I forgot myself, I had just met this person, but I just calmly said, “I mad at you, now.” Accidental outside voice, maybe.

She doubled down, of course. “I don’t care about that. It doesn’t matter, they’ll do whatever they’re gonna do.” So now I think she’s gone the next step, I’m sad, nothing, I’m mad, at her, personally, nothing, she doesn’t care about that – and still not meaning me and my thoughts and feelings generally, but maybe any feelings I have about this stupid politics business.

So I have opinions. I know maybe what to talk about and what not to talk about when I go there in the future, but I remained myself, remained calm, didn’t argue, either with her or with myself, and let it go. That’s a good sign, because that every woman on Earth could push my buttons with a word was not a tenable situation, strangers and everything. That was crazy. Me meeting a complacent white woman who doesn’t care about politics shouldn’t be a surprise or a shock, and it wasn’t yesterday, finally.

Meeting one who doesn’t care a damn about me and my ideas and feelings, that shouldn’t have been one all these years either, but it was, every damned time, I’m not sure what to say about that, what the hell it means yet, but . . . it was. It really was.

It really has been.

And yesterday she said to me, straight to my face after I had made a statement of my feelings, “I don’t care about that,” and for once, I don’t care about that, maybe the first time ever. What she cares about and doesn’t care about ain’t right, to my mind, but it’s her, it’s not me. And you know what, maybe it’s been all of them, all my life, and not me always the other times either. Back to psychology, maybe it’s not all women either, just the ones I find myself around, by choice or by inaction. Today, I feel I chose the ex because I couldn’t see she wasn’t ever able to love me, because of the women who raised me who never had a chance at giving or receiving real love – because of abusive men, of course.

We deserve this shit.

But I don’t. Not anymore.

LOL – first time ever, and straight to “not anymore!”

We’ll see if I can do it again, I’ll get back to you.

It felt good, I mean, it didn’t hurt like it usually does, but I never wanted to shut anyone out. I never wanted to hold anyone away like that, “I don’t care about that,” that being whatever another human being cares about, I never wanted to spend my life saying to myself about the people around me, “the hell with her, it doesn’t matter what she thinks,” that doesn’t sound like a life to me. This feels necessary but evil to me. It’s exactly what I talked about in Part One, that I am learning that other people are simply choices, that I made a blind, compulsive choice of a spouse because of not understanding my own childhood and life – and to make better choices in the future, I suppose, by learning to understand that life.

One small step on the road to recovery, on the one hand, I guess.

One step further away from childlike openness, I’m afraid. I’m sorry to report, I didn’t miss the pain and the turmoil with this little conflict, but this is exactly the process that ends up costing us joy, and even if I am enjoying the benefit of this sort of learning right now, it still confirms my Murphy’s Law view of things, that healing, that maturation is nothing but antisocialization, that this is a good life if you don’t weaken, if you don’t let them hurt you, if you don’t sweat the small stuff.

Meaning of course, other people.

I’m sensitive. I have always heard that trope like just exactly that, you tell me “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff” and I will not get involved with you, you have just let it slip, no-one matters to you, and all I have for folks who say that is goodbye. I never had a problem setting that boundary when someone makes as clear a declaration as that. Psychology is subtler, I’m supposed to feel more, have more positive feeling for the people who are blindly or intentionally hurting me or everyone with their own lack of feeling – not “don’t feel,” just “feel along with these unfeeling people.”

I could have framed it positively, like a million other stories of personal discovery, which, well, there’s the joke already, “million” and “personal.” I’m finding my boundaries, my centre, like that, and if that is true, then I have a far better chance of retaining it, if I can rebuild the concept from reality when I forget. I try not to “memorize” anything. If it’s real, you’ll see it in the world and won’t have to carry it around yourself. I may not like it, being antisocialized, learning not to care, but if it’s the only way and the closest thing there is to the truth, then I trust I will settle on it. I have a sort of calm sea in a way, and if it’s true, it will float to the top whether I like it or not. So if it’s good, like the way most folks talk about this stuff, then I’ll be getting the benefit even if I disapprove of the whole stupid game, because I am still a player. My general prognosis will probably improve with this . . . this hardening, and I may need some of that to survive much longer.

Even if it’s a moral failure, which I also think.

It’s not right, to my mind, that it is me making this adjustment, not right that any adjustments be made in this direction, that anyone get tougher, that I get tougher, that I feel less, that I care less, that I learn not to talk about certain things. What would be right, would be changing the abusers of the world, getting them to feel more and care more, stopping the pain at the source. I’m not saying it’s doable, or practical, or that I have a way, but I absolutely am saying that for all those practical reasons we are doing it all completely backwards.

I mean, I understand, it’s only myself I have access to, we have the best chance for change with ourselves . . . but just because this is the part of the tree that you can reach doesn’t mean this is where the apples are! The logic of therapy is like a classic joke, like “I know his father is the psycho and he makes him wear the chicken suit and live in the yard and demands eggs of him, but one hour a week, we’re gonna work on helping him remember he’s a person. The poor, sick fellow thinks he’s a chicken! His father? Oh, he won’t come in, not interested.”

I know there are positive tales, and lots of positive press to match.

There is also this however, the victim-treating which has a portion of victim-blaming and victim-shaming – “So, what are you gonna do about it?” – which doesn’t get nearly enough press, by an order of magnitude. And so, it’s sort of natural, that the undiagnosed meanies run the world and the sad victims are the sick ones that require treatment, it’s easy to see, viewed this way, that the treatment is to convert the sad victims into happy meanies. I mean, it’s the undiagnosed, active participants in the world choosing what needs to be done, not the folks suffering the downside of it all, sitting medicated at home or in hospitals, after all. We gotta get you up and moving – and fighting and soldiering and selling and hustling – that’s the cure, apparently. To be clear, that’s all pretty aggressive and it isn’t saving the world.

But that’s what’s supposed to save you!

And when we rid the world of lazy, whining crybabies and everybody is a healthy, magnificent fearsome warrior, then things will be better, right? Funny, I extrapolated this from a minority take on nice, non-violent psychology and therapy and I’ve come immediately to the toxic masculinity that MRAs and the dudebros of the world profess. Again, psychology is subtler, but if we think we’re supposed to be warriors, then that is what psychology is going to teach, to make you a healthier, better integrated warrior.

I have a problem with that.

It’s all backwards and the harder we try, the worse we get, with this view of ourselves. I don’t want your stupid cure, I want my open heart and mind back. I want to go back to the garden.

 

 

Jeff

Dec. 22nd., 2018

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2018/02/23/psychology-as-abuse/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2018/02/24/psychology-as-abuse-part-2/

Kissing Up to Bob

I lived, partially educated, happily deciding for myself how things worked, and then some alt-Right internet swine put me on to a couple of biology sorts of books and my mind exploded, I had an insight and a meltdown. A part of my dabbling in biology was that I learned that I was in interesting company for having had that experience, and maybe there’s a syndrome, but the person I heard it about and from was Robert Trivers. Of course nothing about me compares, except maybe the meltdown. I learned about him during that period, and not altogether in my right mind, I learned the great man had an email address, like a person.

That is Dr. Trivers, by all accounts, and I can corroborate: the most human of humans. He teased me a little, or at least gave me the leeway to tease myself, the first time I approached him it was late evening here on the west coast, so it was early morning on the other coast and he sounded a little intrigued by my idea, so I started talking to him, sending him updates and asking him questions, like I couldn’t figure out that there were a hundred tiers of learning between him and I. I sort of failed to notice he only answered the once. I should have moved on with my own learning and writing and just prayed for a chance to one day say to him, “Hey, I emailed you that one time, remember?”

But I was not well, I was manic and it seemed as though my dreams were coming true with his positive first hint. I forget how many things I sent him, blogs, partial blogs, looking for some feedback, somehow imagining his fan mail doesn’t arrive in truckloads, maybe half a dozen, maybe a dozen? Finally it was enough, he either felt the need to fend me off, or he saw my need, that’s more how he spoke, and he phoned me. He gave me solid, untheoretical advice on dealing with my mental struggles, and I did feel some real connection with that. He dismissed my insight in seven syllables, “Seems kinda wacky to me,” and if you’re talking to some nobody, that’s not saying anything, but when Bob says “to me,” then that’s a trip or several to the library. He’s already said it.

It’s not that I didn’t have the data, so much, it’s the usual, I just wasn’t processing it, and frankly, I’m a youngest, I may have a unique point of view, but I’m very much in the habit of asking for and getting help, if someone else knows, why don’t I just ask them and why don’t they just tell me? Again, I got grade twelve equivalency, and I’m going straight to the top, and the top can tell me, but I won’t get it, will I? I think I get it at the most basic level now. My theory is humans abuse their kids on purpose, that being a tough, capable troop defender is the very same thing as being as being a crazy, violent, asshole criminal, but I was talking about parents and children.

Basic social theory, social relatedness theory, has it that the person a child need fear the least is their parent, gene interest and all. Parents, in theory, would not threaten the lives of their own for conformity or such, that we all want our genes to survive and thrive. So I’m pestering Bob, ignorantly trying to refute his first theories, the ones that made him who he is, and who TF am I? (I wasn’t, I’m not refuting social relatedness theory, of course not. That just seemed to be blocking my refutation of child discipline and punishment in general.)

For one thing, I’m the same grandiose idiot I was two years ago, and also, not completely over my meltdown. So I think I have an answer!

My answer is, humans have “socialized” their child-rearing, child education.

We farm that shit out.

To less related adults in the modern world, or to less related children in the more aboriginal children’s group, thus working around social theory. Surely some later Trivers ideas are also involved, evolved deception and self-deception.

I’m not going to be looking Bob up again, I hear he’s out from Rutgers, where I had found him before, and I made a point of losing his phone number from when he called me, I didn’t want to have it if I was just going to keep getting crazier. I don’t think I am, and I’ve learned my lesson, but just in case . . . if anybody out there talks to him, maybe this response will be of interest . . . of course anyone else, perhaps from some tier between Trivers and my homegrown, daydreaming self, who would like to chime in, maybe correct me, maybe help me work this out . . .

 

Jeff

Oct. 31st., 2018

Who I Am

I’m a regular guy. I’m a middle-aged, recently retired white working guy in a stolen white country, like so many white folks in places outside of Europe. I got most of a basic public education, worked, married, had a couple of kids . . . and then lost my mind. You know the story . . . I became disillusioned, started spending a lot of time online, withdrew from social things. I became dependent on drugs, to the exclusion of all else. When my family tried to intervene, I chose the drugs and abandoned them.

I was abused as a child, so although it’s disappointing, it’s no surprise.

It was only a matter of time. It’s a good thing we parted ways when we did, because when a man unravels, bad things happen. I was going to put them all on the six o’clock news, and frankly, while the intensity of the original split has lessened, on some vector time and frustration only increase the pressure for guys like me to do something decisive and violent. It seems likely as not that when women push an escalating man away, it’s only a deferment, and some awful timer has been started.

True to form, I won’t get help, either. No-one thinks they are big and powerful and dangerous, or rather, the men that do feel in charge are even worse than guys like me, guys that don’t think they are. Of course, I think I’m the victim. Of course I think it’s everybody else that’s wrong, and if you think that, no-one can help you. Clearly, I do not want to be helped. So now my family is down a salary and dealing with the damage, while I’m online still, spreading my toxic message with the rest of the crazy boys, talking game theory. God knows the world needs more of guys like me, right?

This is me, apparently, the me that world can see, the me that the world will acknowledge, this is the me I must be if I wish to be seen.

 

Jeff,

Oct. 28th., 2018

Comedy and I are Just Plain Mean

OK, I haven’t been able to be helped. I can’t hear anyone, and they can’t hear me; what I intend when I speak, and what I think my carefully chosen words are supposed to convey are not getting through. I know you have to consider the source, but honestly, the folks in my life don’t even know or care what it may be that I am supposed to be the source of. It would be awesome, relatively, to be understood and rejected consciously for once. At least then we’d be speaking the same language.

I’ve never raised a hand to anyone, man woman or child since my youth, and hardly then, and never at all with the people in my life here, this last marriage and pair of children. All these women, however and more as well, have judged me “angry,” and it must be for the way I talk, because all I did with any of those women is talk to them.

I have anger, of course I do.

I’ve had a life, troubles, enemies, frustrations . . . it’s largely a cliché, the social justice warrior that starts by wanting to make things better and ends by him stomping around pissed off his whole life, no fun at all. Plus I have my own issues, I feel misunderstood. What I do not have is some huge reservoir of misogynist rage that anyone should fear.

I must look like I do, though, or smell like it.

 

. . . missing link in here . . .

 

I see an analogue in comedy, male rage and “just talk,” and that idea I find uncomfortable, so it may be personal, the same sort of stuff I do.

I’m starting to tweet cryptic stuff like this –

Replying to @jefferiesshow

I so want to love this guy – but I kinda loved Louie, and now I don’t know if I can ever truly love again, but Holy Crap is Jim funny. If I outlive him and there’s nothing awful in the biographies, then I can love him, I guess . . . fuck you, Louie CK, on a personal level.

I feel Louie CK personally embarrassed me, I’d been lauding him, praising his fucking bravery or something, and so his exposure is my exposure, if he’s a scumbag then I am a lover of scumbags, and I don’t like to think of myself in those terms, I want to say ‘obviously,’ but maybe not so much. There’s a surprise in a joke, that’s what makes it a joke, and shock is maybe 50% surprise, but if that’s the proportion, shock is also 50% aggression, and I have lived my life trying to be “edgy” like that too.

I  wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, at least not consciously, or so I thought.

I’ve heard a handful of things from comedy and comics since Louie’s disgrace that have unsettled me terribly about comedy generally and comedians somewhat less generally – of course I mean about me. These things wouldn’t be upsetting if there weren’t a string in me vibrating in harmony, would they? I tend to globalize but globalizing is just over-synthesizing, when you go from making new connections to identifying a larger concept to explain them. Turning that upside-down might make it clearer, if it can’t be globalized, it’s either not fundamental, or it’s just not true. What I’m afraid I am presently synthesizing is this odd list here:

 

  • And old one, I couldn’t bear Seinfeld, and the Jason Alexander character in particular, it felt too embarrassing to watch, so I’m afraid that’s me or something. Again, this was an old feeling that has morphed. Now I just see Seinfeld as negative, as normalizing bad behaviour, and I think I’m on the other side of this one, I think that only I found Seinfeld . . . traumatic. As far as I know, at least. I’m the victim, at least as far as Seinfeld is concerned.
  • Louie CK, mentioned above. It was exactly his treatment of “taboo sex subjects” that I was impressed with, and then it turned out he really meant it and now the theory seems corrupted by the practice and I want to turn conservative! Don’t talk about that stuff! Suddenly, the “edge” is not cool.
  • Something Bobcat Goldthwaite said on Norm MacDonald, about how women say they like a funny guy, but that comedians’ girlfriends aren’t prepared for the guy who’s in the bathroom crying and masturbating at the same time . . . “we’re not fun, we’re sick” was pretty much the message.
  • I’m sorry, the Gilbert Gottfried movie, and so very sorry, Gilbert himself. I loved him too for the bravery, the wildness – the masturbation bit at the Oscars, was it? “Your puny weapons can’t hurt me!!”? I loved him, and what he went through after he went over the edge about the tsunami was awful, and one thing the movie did was let me know we did it to him, I did it to him, teased him to the edge with money and such and then watched him go over it and shunned him. That may have been what the film was about and it worked, but for me, in tandem with all this other stuff and dark worries about my own complicity in awful jokes, what came on slow and isn’t going away is that Gilbert went over the edge and apparently never knew it, that there was no calculation, that he himself cannot tell the difference between the sort of pain laughter applies to and the sort it doesn’t, or shouldn’t. I don’t want to elaborate, don’t want to theorize or talk shit. I simply found it disquieting and dark. Not fun, sick, was the impression that stayed.
  • Norm MacDonald and his podcast figure in a general way, the show is very adult and usually very male, I watched a bunch of it last year, and it added to this growing concern. I went over the edge, repeating a paedophile joke I heard on there, that added greatly. I’ve stopped watching since this idea took hold. That entire story is coming up soon.
  • I didn’t know he was dying, and I know he was famously combative, and no, there is nothing untoward in Barry Crimmins’ comedy. He only gets into this for the combativeness, for the alpha-dog attitude. I foolishly picked up an easy roast he’d left lying there on Twitter, before I understood that Barry Crimmins could leave himself wide open to Jeff Ross and the entire roasting world and no fool would touch it if he wanted to live! He bit my head off, as he does so well, he was a lion, I am not complaining about Barry, I worship him still. What I learned in that encounter was my own aggression. I went after him with that joke, as I do, as I did in my nuclear family, around the dinner table! Who the fuck did I think I was, was his point, and now it’s mine too, but not only why did I think I belonged in that room, but why did I want to be in that room? For a laugh, I’m insulting someone like that, someone worth a hundred of me, someone I personally appreciate? (He said something about being a better person, and I jumped in with some shit about at least a better comic. I didn’t mean it about him, he was plenty good, I thought it was a joke . . . but it was very direct, wasn’t it, a straight up attack on the guy’s livelihood, on his skills. Just now, I realize, it would have been the same joke if I had said at least a better driver or something, a better anything.) Why did I go straight for the jugular and expect him to enjoy it? This is me, pleased to meet you, and I’m sorry. What it adds to my sense here, is that comedy is aggressive. Even when I do it.
  • Black comics, race comedy, for some probably racist reason, I love that stuff. I thought Karlous Miller on Roast Battle Two was sublime. Chris Rock’s “Black man have to fly to get where a white man can walk” was a perfect joke, truth and surprise . . . but I am seeing hints that perhaps I have chosen another flawed hero there . . . and no doubt, because that seems to be my taste. If anyone hears any awful shit about Dave Chappelle or Neal Brennan, please don’t tell me. I just watched Eddie Griffin: Undeniable and I loved it, but it challenged me, challenged my self-image as not racist a bit. He based a joke on his having children all over, and the raw biology of it shocked me. I don’t think it was true, but the premise was so . . . raw, made me gulp. I can imagine the critics, you can’t deny his power, dude is awesome. Maybe the strongest show I’ve seen.

 

 

I have said some awful shit, repeated some horrible shit.

This may as well be a confession all the way through. I was born in 1960, I saw all the stuff about the Manson murders, watched the movie, read Bugliosi’s book in my teens . . . I’ve been “edgily” quoting Manson, that one about you beat a man with a whip, he likes a whip, maybe other ones. In my defense, Helter Skelter portrayed it as a one-off hippie phenomenon. Honestly, I somehow blocked out the sight of the swastikas in my youth, until we started seeing them again recently. I probably used that line within the last two years, and never thought about what sort of a man beats what sort of a man with a whip. My focus has been about the beating, and the whip, not who the men were, but I am an asshole, and I’m sorry.

I’m gonna shift gears again.

I have been punishing my sister with shocking, awful sexual jokes forever, and I haven’t known why, it was this intrusion from my unconscious, and a horrible trait I share with my father, a family villain. It’s been unconscious, never planned, and an awful mystery to me, until I realized that I have been getting nothing from her my whole life, that I have been unable to see that to her, I’ve always only been some male and always the problem in her mind, and that this has been my revenge, my fighting back to her inconsideration of me. She never saw me as having believed her and grown up feminist, she only saw Dad or something. We were sixty before I ever experienced her considering my feelings at all, and when she finally did, I finally saw what I’d been missing. That’s been hurting, so I’ve been hitting back.

I’ve been trying to hurt her, to make her see she’s been hurting me, unconsciously. Once she allowed my feelings once, I saw it, and I could apply my conscious response to it – shunning, at least so far. I’ve got to figure some shit out before I walk back into that lifelong trauma.

I think this may be the primary case of me trying to shock people, I think when I’ve done it to others, it was always this, always me fighting my sister.

I mean, a case can always be made for a joke, there is usually a way to explain it and make it sound sort of moral. Case in point, a tweet I loved and slapped my sister with in a moment of unconscious sibling bullshit –

“I saw Mommy sucking Santa’s whole damn dick!”

The argument can be made that it’s all surprise, that it’s Mom and Dad, and Mom sucking Dad’s dick is perfectly fine, except maybe to the young kid seeing it and putting it to music, a childhood trauma that maybe shouldn’t be, primates do that sort of stuff . . . but telling that “perfectly fine” joke to someone for whom the idea of Dad’s dick is perhaps personal and traumatic . . . not cool. This is why we’re supposed to try to make the unconscious conscious. I’m the family holdout for that, but therapy and such has been my sister’s life for decades and she didn’t realize she’s been treating me like a guilty little clone of Dad’s all her life either.

I’m under some pressure. She doesn’t deserve any punitive shunning, she’s a had a hard-enough time, I don’t want to be the source of any more pain for her . . . but I couldn’t afford it these last few years, before this realization, when she froze me out after everyone shunned me. I can’t go back there now. I got nuthin’ on the positive side of the ledger, and Lord, I can’t go home thisaway.

The clue, when I realized comedy could be a weapon, was an episode of Norm MacDonald, where comics go to tell us they’ve grown up and mellowed and Norm rubs their nose in some awful, non-PC sexual jokes. It was Bob Saget, and Norm forced this paedophile joke on him, trigger warnings, paedo joke (paraphrased):

Pervert’s driving around town in his ice cream truck, looking for kids, but no-one lets their kids outside anymore, he’s not seeing any and he’s practically downtown, about to turn around when he sees a welding helmet pop up out of a dumpster. Turns out it’s a kid playing in there, so the perv pulls over, talks to the kid and gets him into the truck, letting the kid drive. Young kid, driving, he’s having a great time and the perv starts asking him,

“Hey, you wanna suck my fat juicy cock?”

The kid’s like, “ . . no, driving’s cool” and the perv’s

“Well, how about I suck your cock?”

The kid’s “No . .  .”

The perv’s “How about my juicy cock up your ass?”

Finally, the kid figures something out, the penny drops.

“I see what’s happened here,” He says to the perv, “I’m not REALLY  a welder . . .”

Now, of course, a case can be made, we think the kid is a clueless victim, knows nothing, and in the end, he knows EVERYTHING, including some hilarious fictional stereotype about welders all being gay. That’s what I think I liked about it. But Saget took it like a beating. He had his hands up as if to ward off blows, he was shrinking in his chair, couldn’t wait for it to be over . . . not sure you’re hearing me: SAGET reacted like this, and if all you know is Full House, Bob was really the opposite of that. And if he reacted like that, then the conclusion became sort of inescapable to me. These jokes are brutal, not just metaphorically. Again, it is not zero people who have been in the fucking ice cream truck, Jeff, is it?

I want to apologize for my whole life.

I’ve touched on “women in comedy” elsewhere, in my less personal blogs, but it bears repeating. If comedy were all wit and cleverness, the women would outnumber the men. The fact that men have been ruling this proves that there is more mean than smart to it. I should have been here fifty years ago, if I had a brain, Heinlein took us all halfway there, we laugh because it hurts, that means we tell jokes to hurt people. Michelle Wolf: “I am not a nice lady!”

I hear you, Ms. Wolf. I don’t want to agree with it about you, but I’m a fan and I am a nasty little prick, maybe that reflects back on you. You said it, not me!

I know this is far from done, but I’m not so far from it, and I’m hoping, as often happens, that publishing prematurely will put me under the required pressure to fix it. Failing that, this, and I will be a work in progress.

Apologies and thanks,

 

Jeff,

Oct. 20th., 2018