Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Love You

My darling

Please forgive me.

I was in your pants a few minutes ago.

Perhaps you did not even notice anything. In which case, consider me red-faced from a throbbing and pulsating shame.

If you did, then let my conscience be cleansed when I confirm that the strange presence you might have felt in your pants a few moments ago was not some misdirected pixie or will-o-wisp or any of the other manifold creatures that inhabit the faerie realm. . .but me, my love. Only me.

I hope this does not change our relationship. I have always treasured the vast distance you and I maintain between each other. I savor with great relish the knowledge that you have not the slightest interest in me either as a person or as an animal. I consider the fact that we are only strangers on a subway, never to see each other again after this next stop, to be the cornerstone of the understanding and devotion we have always shared between us.

I do not intend to be in your pants again. But to leave this earth without ever having once been in them even for the slightest of durations? This I shuddered to comprehend. And so, my love, I got in them.

What I found there may not surprise you. After all, they are
your pants. And, I presume, like a good librarian, you are well-informed as to the reference materials you stock.

But to a fresh-faced explorer like myself, having never set foot inside your pants until tonight, I was immersed in a beauteous coral trove, the likes of which Cousteau could but merely dream.

(Perhaps this complimentary description will allay any forthcoming animosity you may now harbor upon hearing that you are no longer the only one who has been in your pants.)

Also, my love, I am concerned that you will grow to doubt the security of your pants, perhaps blaming them for this recent violation. Do not. I assure you, the zipper was not wanting in tenacity and the tightness with which the denim clung to your thighs made speed and surreptitiousness near impossibilities.

But do not challenges exist to be met? And overcome? For though your pants proved a worthy foe, in the end, I was in them. And they were not in me.

There. I have cleared the air and spoken the truth in the hopes of absolution. If not from you, my dear, then perhaps from the gods who watch o'er this A express train.

And do not worry. I shall speak of this to no one.

Alas! I must leave you now. I can hear from the intercom and see from the graffiti that this is indeed my stop. And so my heart turns homeward. Ever homeward.

But I do not need to tell you this, my love. Why disturb you when you look so beautiful, sitting at the far end of the car, listening to your iPod and reading your Penguin paperback? No. Stay where you are, my precious tableau vivant. Let me remember you just like this. It's only a short walk to my domicile from here. And besides, my Herculean memory can always handle an extra parcel.

Stand clear of the closing doors, my darling.

I will always love you,


Saturday, February 23, 2008


I went to use an indoor Bank of America ATM in the East Village last night.

Following me in was a group of four white and bubbly NYU kids. Two girls, two boys.

They wouldn't shut up. They were happy about something. Looking forward to something. Talking about a bar they were going to later or something.

One of the girls used the ATM next to me. She continued talking back to the three friends who waited behind her. "Oh my god! I'm soooo low on money!" she said in such a happy-go-lucky manner that it was hard for me to believe it was true. Incredulously, she and her friends giggled at her peppy lament.

How low on money does a tourist/student like that have to get before she loses that fucking sing-song tone to her voice?
I thought as I clicked "View Balance" on my own screen.

The other girl shouted to her friend at the ATM, "You and Mike should get married and get a joint account!"

This got another hearty laugh out of the group. One of the guys, probably Mike, asked, "Yeah, how about it, Jamie?"

The girl at the ATM, presumably Jamie, shouted back, "Yeah, get a joint account! Start sharing all the responsibilities and everything!"

There was another big laugh. Mike's friend, the other of the two guys, chimed, "Whoa, you guys are getting pretty serious here!"

And then another big fucking laugh!

"I don't know," smiled Jamie as she gleefully pressed away at her screen, "maybe Mike's not ready for that much responsibility!"

"Oh, I think I can handle a joint account" laughed Mike, along with everyone else but me.

Jamie mused girlishly, "Well, maybe we should get a joint bank account! Be all grown-up and everything!"

My head was starting to hurt. "Why don't you shut the fuck up before I stab you to death?" I muttered to myself.

At least I thought I muttered this to myself. Apparently, Jamie heard me.

"What did you just say?"

"I'm sorry," I said, "I was just thinking out loud."

"Seriously, what did you just say?"

I took my cash from the ATM as the three other friends gathered around Jamie. "I don't know. Something about stabbing you guys to death if you didn't shut up."

Mike stepped in and tried to be cavalier, "Dude, what's your problem?"

"Well, you guys wouldn't shut up about joint bank accounts and marriage and all that bullshit, so I wanted to stab you to death. Sorry about that."

Jamie's friend, the other thing with a college girl's body, huffed: "You're a psycho."

"Yes I am," I said, stuffing my twenty in my front pocket. "And don't you forget it."

There Is Nothing So Bad About A Class Structure, Really

If the people who were most vocal about wanting to end racism really wanted to end racism, they would shut up about racism.

And start talking about class.

Let us imagine two people.

One is black. One is white. Both are poor.

Let us imagine that the poor white person has been told all his life, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, that his class status is better than that of the poor black person because, as a white person, he has been endowed with a mythical resource of "white privilege" which he can employ at any point to avoid complete deprivation.

Let us then imagine that the poor black person has been concurrently told that his class status is worse than that of the poor white person because he does not possess the mythical resource of "white privilege".

Voila! You have racism.

You have pitted white dog against black dog and vice/versa.

And the drama goes on and on and on. . .

How interesting that those who deal in the language of "white privilege" are largely upper-class ("privileged") whites or opportunistic leaders of minority groups who have something to gain from such race-based rhetoric.

NOTE: For upper-class, I also include a new middle-class. Even middle-class is upper-class to me.

That being said, there is nothing so bad about a class structure, really. How could I say otherwise, having grown up a monarchist? That is, a believer in some form of vertical social hierarchy versus the horizontal state of cultural relativism. I could never go for communism. It has no love for the individual.

And anyway, a horizontal state of cultural relativism can never truly exist. There will always be a class structure. Turn on your television. Who's behind all that? Though the television shows you a horizontal state of cultural relativism, the guys that run the television go home at night to the top of a vertical social hierarchy.

So this is more of a general lament for the type of class structure we have in place now. That is: an upper class media and academics system that pits the working classes against each other through race-based rhetoric while at the same time obfuscating not only a clear discussion of class structure, but a potential illumination of their own questionable role in that very same structure.

If we eliminated this new upper-crust of race-hustling pedants, the poor could return to being a unified group of poor that sheds the trite, yet destructive, tropes of "disenfranchised" black and "privileged" white. In short, we would have, at the lowest rungs of the class structure, the realization of Martin Luther King's Dream instead of the prolongation of Malcolm X's hustling cynicism.

And yes, I know X changed later on in life, but the damage had already been done by then. Favorite X quote? Don't let no Jew get up in your face and make you cry for him! Why, they only killed 6 million Jews! Gee, thanks a bunch, Nation of Islam!

That quote comes from a compilation of X speeches unbelievably titled The Wisdom Of Malcolm X.

Why divide instead of unify? Because unity between the lower classes would threaten the stability of the existing class structure, which the upper classes can not allow.

As it is now, I not only have to suffer the misery of being poor, but I have to feel guilty about the color of my skin as well.

Why? Because that's what the new upper-classes demand of me. And possibly you.

But I will not apologize.

I am not old enough to remember Jim Crow. Nor am I rich enough to afford next month's rent.

I am just another nigger in the postmodern class structure.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How To Have Your Idea of Cake and Eat It, Too!



An EXECUTIVE is talking with WILL


So, Will, we're sort of looking at you for some possible ideas. Sort of wanting to "pick your brain" as the neurologists might say. See what kind of new ideas you might have that could go with one of our new things. Cause we're trying to go in a new direction than where we're currently headed. So we thought you might have some ideas that could help us defog our glasses, dust off our britches, and steer the cruise ship to a magical island of newness and freshness. . .so to speak.


Gee whiz, it's kind of hard to talk about ideas when I'm so gosh-darned hungry!


Well, you know, I could treat you to a fancy French dinner on my expense account.


Heck, that sounds like a swell time!



WILL and EXECUTIVE are studying menus. They are approached by a WAITRESS


Have you guys decided?


Yeah, let me have this steak ber-un-yase thing. And give me some of that foy grass shit, I've been wanting to try that. And, what else you got here--hey, you got snails! Cool, give me some of those, too. And, let's see, how about getting me a cup of black coffee with that, honey?


And for you, sir?


Une compagnie américaine débauche des infirmières québécoises a choqué de nombreux lecteurs, parle d'une majorité de femmes qui pratique cette profession.


Vous désirez commenter cet article?


Deuxièmement, j'aimerais connaître votre opinion sur l'emploi.



WAITRESS leaves.



So, Will, what sort of new ideas would you have for a network that's looking to go forward in a new direction forward?


Well, that would depend. Now if you guys were to hire me and put me on a fiscal and monetary salary payment, what sort of financial remuneration might be allowanced for some type of compensatory cash-based funding of the ideas in question?

(feigning insult)

Will! I'm shocked you would even bring that up! We're a cutting edge, off-the-beaten mainstream, salt of the earth, friend to the common man, multimedia corporate conglomerate just like you! Why, we would never use one of your ideas without first considering the possibility for a potential incentive of a non-free payment scale of indeterminate range. Anyway, we're just talking ideas right now. Over a nice French dinner. On an expense account. Look, here comes the food!



WILL and the EXECUTIVE are halfway through their respective meals.


Wow! I've never tasted a snail on top of an oyster before! This is fun!


So thinking back to ideas. . .


Yes. I was thinking about that. Now earlier we had hinted at--or perhaps flirted with--the concept of potentially fiscal-based appropriations in regards to the transference of my, if you will, cognitive currency. Have you had a chance yet to perambulate around the perimeter of that particular petting zoo of an idea?

(feigning concern)

Will, you're so paranoid. As I keep telling you, that all depends on what the higher-ups than the lower-downs think about the topic. Myself, I'm a mid-level man. I point North and South. My chicken flies both ways. So as far as having any specificity in regards to a monetarily-stratified paradigm, I'm afraid my telescope isn't able to focus just yet. But how's the fancy French food?


Man, it's fucking tasty! I like dipping my French fries into the foy grass. Yum!


So as far as thinking about ideas might come into play. . .


Hmm. Well, I'm thinking. Let's see--I guess I'm just sort of concerned about the interestedlessness you're bringing to this fancy French restaurant table in regards to a economic rewardship for the access to and usage-ability of the idea container of my mindhead.

The WAITRESS returns.


Would you guys care for some dessert?


Je trouve que l'expression mère monoparentale.


Le réfugie.


Will? You want anything?


Oh, you guys are done already? Okay. Let's see--how about a piece of chocolate cake, sweetheart?


I'll have to go to Safeway.


That's fine.




The EXECUTIVE is spoon-feeding chocolate cake into WILL'S mouth.


Now think, Will! I know you've got some ideas in there somewhere! Here, try some more cake.

He carves out a generous piece. WILL takes a bite and speaks as he chews


Can't think. . .mustn't compromise. . .need more cake. . .

The EXECUTIVE carves out an even bigger piece of cake and feeds it to WILL.


Think, man, think!


Okay! I got it! How about this: You make a show. Make it around thirty minutes in length. That way you've got a show that's under an hour but still no less than a half-hour. Now within that show, you can put all sorts of things. So basically, you've got a half-hour show with a bunch of different things going on in those thirty minutes. But the best part is, this show can be both auditory and visual, sight and sound. That way, we won't limit ourselves to any one sense. It's sort of layered.


That's kind of vague, Will.


Yeah, well, so are you. Now give me some more cake.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

You Can't Change What You Are

Story, script, and acting by Wm Franken. Drawing and animation by Nina Paley



Somebody asked me the other day if I was "anti-industry". Or that they had heard somewhere that I was "anti-industry". Or that somebody in the industry had told them that I was "anti-industry" and they just wanted to confirm what the industry had told them.

I never wanted to be anti-industry. On the contrary, I actually rather fancied the idea of getting along somehow with the industry. As far as I was concerned, the industry was free to keep on doing its own thing, provided it would let me keep on doing my own thing. But I'm afraid they have left me no choice. Doing my own thing, I now realize, necessitates an anti-industry outlook.

So, yes. I am anti-industry. Or perhaps the industry is anti-me. Who can say?

This was bound to be the case, because I am also innately anti-community. Or, more specifically, anti-manipulation of the word "community" to help perpetuate an industrialized and, therefore, cynical and stale view of the world and its manifold possibilities.

Community should be natural. Not announced.

I have had a big mouth about a number of topics over the years. Except, ironically, the industry. Demonstrating my latent ignorance when it comes to the "business" of the "industry", I believed that by somehow remaining quiet on the topic, industry executives would see my shows and say, "Well, he's definitely pushing the envelope on a lot of sensitive issues that no one's really addressing right now and he's doing it in an individual style that's completely incompatible with our trust-fund mindset, but you know what? He's never said anything bad about the industry. Let's give him a shot."

I am the most optimistic pessimist I have ever met.

And I've met a lot of me.



I have a very quick internal tempo. This is why I've always believed in the importance of writing constantly. A day that I can create something is a good day. A day without a new idea to give shape to is a day that I wished I had a gun.

In my mouth. And a whole lot of guts.

See what I mean about a quick internal tempo? See how my brain just crash-landed in the fields of suicidal imagery?

That's because I have a very quick internal tempo. It's wired simultaneously for complete creation and complete destruction.

If I can't have one, I'll take the other. Just not the in-between.

God, I've never known the in-between. I'd hate to live at that tempo. Neither creating nor destroying. Just taking it as it comes.

This is why I left Missouri. And why I had to leave San Francisco. And why I plan on having some glorious kicks here in New York before eventually retiring to England.

Notice how I'm scripting out the rest of my life?

That's because I have a very quick internal tempo.

The industry's tempo can't, or won't, keep up with mine. Except for the British, that is. They were the exception to the rule. I couldn't have scripted it better myself. The only television that I ever truly desired to be on was British. Last year around this time, that dream was realized. It was the Brits who busted my cherry.

"What the BBC tries to do is keep just one step ahead of public opinion," the members of Monty Python were told by a network executive in the early days of the "Flying Circus" series.

Now that's anthemic. And, in all fairness, perhaps something out of the past--not taking into account the worldwide watering down of art and culture that postmodern globalization has made standard across the oceans. Still, the sentiment does seem to be something inextricably linked to the particular beauty of televised British comedy.

And contrary to the precepts of the American television industry. Of which the following comparisons to the British television industry are largely true:

1) American television seeks to match public opinion and not shape it.


2) American television upholds quantity over quality. i.e.,

a) More channels

We are given the illusion of a never-ending stream of choices that only mask a terrifying sameness.

b) More seasons

One question you'll hear asked a lot in the American television industry is "Does this idea have legs?" In other words, can it go on indefinitely, generating mass amounts of revenue for years to come?

c) More writers

The WGA strike notwithstanding, why are more writers required to work on the American version of "The Office" than were needed on the British version? Strange, given that the British version was the original. Wouldn't less writers be needed for a remake? After all, the story and characters were already written.

So, like I say, I have to hurry up and rock out here in New York so I can eventually get home to England and start shaping public opinion.

I have a very quick internal tempo. And despite the prevalence of the industry in this town, New York will always be rock-n-roll to me.

Which is good. Because that's my internal tempo.

God save the Queen.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Men and Your Superbowls!

Why there's so much activity in the village today, you'd think this was a hornet's nest!

Parson Wythe and the orphans are buying chips and dip! James the Cobbler has set aside his hammer and nails and is running numbers! Marrakesh the Beet-Blacker and Stimpson the Magic Marker are dancing 'round the May pole! (and it's only February!)

Has the village gone mad? Today is the Lord's Day! A day of rest and catatonia. A day of intravenous feeding and being excused from making any major decisions involving the use of the human body. Why all this walking and talking and buzzery-hoo?

It must be the day of The Big Game of Football. Well, I can proudly say that I'll be one villager who won't be attending! Call me an old spinster, but I still believe baseball is God's sport. Football is for Hindus.

Over the past few years, I have seen this beloved village beset by dangerous Oriental influences like American football and the new AT&T/Cingular. Our children are at stake. The burning one!

I hope you will do as I have done and write a petition. Not sign a petition, but write one. If every one of us would write our own petition, that would mean more than a bunch of signatures on a single petition.

The petition can be about anything you'd like. Mine is about the growing dangers facing our young children. It's shaped like a giant football. It's called "You Men and Your Superbowls!" and it begins with a blast from Gabriel's horn:


You men and your Superbowls! If you expect me to be a silenced voice in the kitchen, preparing gingerbread salsa and mutton-cakes, while in the next room, belligerent with mead and ale, you berate our precious television for not making a catch, you'll just have to expect something less non-different! As a woman, that's not the way I operate. I operate on two D-cell batteries called ovaries. And you're making them hurt with your excessive fraternization and your military conquests and your beards! I've seen the writing on the wall. I've read the comic strip "Cathy". You won't put me in a burqa!

Oh, look. It's already 3 in the afternoon. Time for bed. I have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to myspace to milk the chickens.

Goodnight. Sleep tight.

Mrs. Barbara Lynne Deborah-Anne Linda Susan Hollingsholy

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Hello, everyone.

I have completed an online short story. It's roughly the equivalent of 20 off-line pages of paper and therefore too lengthy to post here as a blog entry. At the end of this intro, I will provide a link if any of you should care to read it.

Remember when people wrote things on paper? Boy, I could tell you guys some short stories.

This particular story is called
Epistle to Jonah. As I mention in the foreword, it is the story of an "existential search for an amorous warmth to combat a physical cold." It was inspired by winter.

Not just winter here in New York, but in San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio as well. For the story is also a visceral reaction to the chilling silence that remains following a brief whirlwind comedy tour of all three cities. The weather in each one disturbingly cold.

This is my first attempt at posting a story. I don't know why I felt compelled to write a longer-form piece. Perhaps it was because the complexity of the central themes of sex, romance and art do not allow for economy. Who can say? What's done is done.

Anyway, please click here if you'd like to read
Epistle to Jonah.

We Want To Take The World Back To Kindergarten

When I tell people that I do not acknowledge Hip-Hop or Techno as valid forms of music, I am assaulted with a barrage of subgenres.

"But there's a lot of good POLITICAL hip-hop. I don't know if you've heard a lot of TRANCE HOUSE TECHNO. There's some good SUBTERRANEAN ASTHMA RAP. You should pick up some NEW SPICE OLD SCHOOL BINGO EMO or look into some APARTMENT HOUSE SKIP RUN DJ MIX or try some FEE-FI-FO-FUM DUB. . ." ad nauseam.

I am a member of a secret organization which doesn't have a name yet. Our vision is predicated on the belief that music of the past was and is superior to music of the present.

One of the first goals of our organization will be to collapse all of the many subgenres of Hip-Hop and Techno into two simple and easily recognizable genres: Hip-Hop and Techno.

In other words, everything that followed after musicians stopped making music.

There will be no more subgenres. Subgenres cloud the issue. Our organization is concerned with eliminating the entirety of Hip-Hop and Techno from our auditory landscape, not specific subgenres of the two.

At that point, we will return to the magical time when musicians still made music.

That time can vary depending upon the individual member. For some it's the 18th century. For others, the 1960s. Myself, I've been getting into a lot of 1930s British music hall lately. There's a lot of diversity in the past. You'll discover this if you become a member!

If you would like to join this organization, you must first be able to renounce Hip-Hop and Techno in their entirety. This is a decision that only you can make for yourself. For many of our members, the decision was almost innate.

After this, you must choose a secret name or have one chosen for you by your subconscious. The subconscious method is preferable. And here's why:

It's best if it just comes to you in a flash and you don't spend too much time thinking of the perfect name. That way, it's almost as if you've been born again with another name not of your own choosing. For example, mine is "Blood of Hate". There are times I've wished for another, but that's how it came to me when my friend "Ring Of Fists" and I co-founded this organization a little over two years ago.

All you have to do at that point is send me an e-mail at will@willfranken.com with your secret name and I will give you detailed instructions for the secret parting handshake that takes place whenever two or more of our members say goodbye to each other.

This organization is open to all creeds, colors, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. We are not exclusionary. We believe all cultures have a history in which their musicians wrote and performed music. We believe that life existed before globalization.

Our goal is simple. We want to take the world back to kindergarten.

"This is an instrument."

"This is melody."

"This is chord structure."

"This is The Ukulele Man."