Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Oh, little girl,
you've opened a wound so big
just by being adorable.
How dare you. How dare you.
How dare you exist.
What a train wreck you've made of my low expectations of young women.
What punishment shall I now devise as a predicate to the subject of your
egregious. . .
existential. . .
What's that, little girl?
No. Don't flatter yourself.
This is not bad-boy psychotic(!) notebook(!) dementia(!)()!()
This is justice served cold on a linear plate.
For in hatred, everything must have a predicate
because Love is the Mother of all Subjects.
So how to end the sentence your beauty has started?
I could hurt you.
I could smother you.
I could own you.
God, I hope I don't want to become you.
Like our aimless manes of hair,
there are enough tangled complexities in my life
to know that while identities are fluid,
they fail as conditioners.
Nothing can straighten me out.
This reflection cannot be replaced.
This reflection will have to suffice.
And what do you seek from this image, anyway, little girl?
or other subtractions from the wholeness of Love?
When you plunged your dagger,
what did you think you would find?
Run along, little girl.
I don't need you to speak the truth for me.
This is not the way it works.
No one Loves for posterity.
You're smooth. . .
But not obsidian.
This reflection cannot be replaced.
This reflection will have to suffice.
. . .desreveRReversed. . .
See now, little girl?
The adventures are just routines
and, through clinical predictability,
the magic has been neutralized.
"Come on, you fucking cocksucker!"
I shout down the dim tracks,
waiting for the lights of the late train to finally appear.
Ah. . .there it is again.
That good ol' earthly impatience.
Other people's children are screaming WANT into my ears.
Music I despise is stealing space between my thoughts.
My emptiness overflows into this rat-infested reality
and I know I'll get better soon
once the Light from your Eyes
is extinguished from the landscape
of this unavoidable present.
Little girl, my wound is healing.
And I don't need you anymore.
Posted by Will Franken at 6:38 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Hey gang! Aren't I erratic? Don't you get dizzy sometimes reading my blogs?
If it's not politically rabid, it's philosophically heavy. If it's not downright mean, it's filled with self-pity. If it's not dreadfully serious, it's light-hearted and fluffy!
Jeez, don't you wish I could just tell a straight story sometimes?
Well, that's exactly what I want to do. Two stories, in fact. You may remember in the blog entry on my anger management counselor where I mentioned having been arrested for assault in July and having spent 30 days on New York state welfare.
Well, I'm writing out those two stories this week before I prepare for my trip to San Francisco. I just started on the assault one and, even though it's a true story, it's tremendously funny! (And that means a lot coming from me, since I never think anything I do is funny!) I'm putting in a lot of background from my teenage years at the beginning of this one and you'll get to meet some of my friends from those days along the way. It's a hilarious story of drunkenness and Midwestern violent tendencies brought to the Big Apple! I'm sure the New York state welfare story will be just as side-splitting.
Anyway, since I mentioned these two stories, there's been a lot of interest from you guys in hearing them.
But these stories are really personal and, although I'd like to tell them, I feel weird about giving them away for free. New York's an expensive place for an artist/author/comedian--whatever it is that I am. So here's my win-win proposition. For a small donation you can get one or both of these stories either e-mailed to you personally or you can be included on a special private list where only paid members can read these stories.
For a donation of $5, you can get your choice of either "The Assault In Union Square Park" or "30 Days On New York State Welfare".
And for $7, you can get BOTH!
All you have to do is click the paypal donate button at the bottom of this entry, make your donation and, if you're going the $5 route, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know whether you want to read "The Assault In Union Square Park" or "30 Days On New York State Welfare"
These are really funny stories and I know you'll enjoy reading them as much I enjoyed living them! The projected completion date for these stories is next Saturday--so be the first one on your block to receive your copies!
Thank you and God Bless! (and rest assured, there will be NO politics or philosophy!)
Posted by Will Franken at 9:02 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2008
[BEGIN PART THREE]
Before we get started let me make one thing perfectly clear.
I am blessed! Blessed beyond my wildest fantasies! Blessed to know the untrammeled joys of recoiling from the status quo as if from a poised cobra! Blessed that I have been spared the ignominy of having to view the world through the dusty prism of mere convention!
Indeed, I have always taken umbrage at the cliche, “ignorance is bliss” for it fails in any way to adequately explain the sense of near-ecstasy in which I madly revel when apprehending my own awareness! Who can say besides the ignorant if the ignorant truly are blissful? Certainly I shall never know, for the only arena in which I have been guilty of ignorance is ignorance itself! Nay, I can only speak to the immense satisfaction I receive at knowing that I am not to be counted among their ranks.
You may say that this is snobbery, or worse, elitism--the very barb I so often fling at others who presume to impose their outlook on the world and their standards of behavior upon unsuspecting parties.
If so, the charge is valid. For, indeed, I am an elitist.
Yet would any true champion of progressive thought deny that elitism based on intellect and reason is vastly superior to elitism based on media presence and money? In fact, were it possible in this country, by some extraordinary overhaul of our declining culture, to replace the current stratification of monetary and fame-based elitism with logic and reason-based elitism, the future of this once-great nation would most likely (if history is to be believed) move again in the direction of objective good--assuring educational, moral, and spiritual prosperity for all freethinking sons and daughters of liberty.
Please note that I say liberty and not equality when referring to America’s future metaphorical progeny. This is no fickle choice of words, no stylistic predisposition, no simple linguistic window dressing. The inclusion of one term and the exclusion of the other is rooted in the logic of linear history and is central to the argument which follows.
It has become the apathetic fashion throughout the aimless decades following the 1960s to render the term equality not merely interchangeable with the term liberty, but in many instances, for the former to replace the latter entirely.
Yet the story of American progress and, by extension, the story of Western progress, is precisely one of liberty and not equality. Only the pridefully obtuse could give anything less than a cursory glance at the annals of Western Civilization and assert that equality has been the predominant theme. This is one of the few areas in which the intellectual find themselves in agreement with the ignorant. Yes, there has been slavery. Yes, there has been genocide. Yes, there has been segregation.
Where the ignorant diverge from the intellectual, however, is in assuming that they are the only ones who care--or, indeed, are even aware--of any historical inequities. That is, unlike the intellectual, who acknowledges a fundamental agreement, the ignorant erroneously insist on the presence of a fundamental disagreement.
Here let us pause for a moment to ask what is meant, in the context of this essay, by the term "ignorant". Bumpkin rubes brimming with glee at never having obtained “book-learnin’”? Whitebread purveyors of free-market middle-classness? Alzheimer's patients? Mongoloids?
No. The ignorance spoken of here is that which is collectively embedded within the thought processes of that portion of society otherwise empirically presenting itself as intellectual--i.e., the pseudo-intellectual.
And all those who unquestioningly follow them.
Despite their degrees, financial acumen, media presence, political and/or academic clout within a community, pseudo-intellectuals stand apart from legitimate intellectuals insofar as they hold either one or both of the following propositions to be the end goal of learning:
a) That nothing is knowable beyond the nihilistic tenets of moral equivalence and cultural relativism, both of which conspire to establish the nexus of an ideological disavowal of objective truth.
b) That the essence of freedom lies in undermining a free society whose very structure makes their dissent possible.
Though the two propositions are equally ignorant, they are not always congruous. For example, one can be an equal opportunity nihilist, adhering to the pillars of equivalence and relativism, without necessarily devoting time exclusively to the dismantling of a free society.
Therefore, it is the second proposition that merits focus in this current discussion.
In order to wage war (or revolution) against a free society from within a free society (a society, it should be noted, that has grown freer with each passing decade) it often becomes necessary to concoct “shadow causes” in order to elevate the dissenting contagion of pseudo-intellectualism into a limelight of its own making. Therefore, especially in post-1960 rhetoric, arguments for the imposition of a present equality in the context of past inequalities consist of the ignorant pervasively lobbing the fictions that they are the sole dispensers of freedom and justice--combating what is, in their skewed world view, a demonic and ever-expanding citizenry that is either in abject denial of historical inequities or, worse, heralding a hypothetical re-emergence of those inequities.
Vain and delusional, the ignorant are prone to hyperbole and distorted metaphors. Backpack searches in subway stations evoke images of Japanese interment camps, Israel becomes apartheid-era South Africa, Hurricanes in Louisiana pitch in to help reinvigorated white supremacy groups.
Their ears seem to literally burn with slogans that only the paranoid can hear. The South shall rise again! Deutschland Uber Alles! Let’s go git us another Matthew Shepard!
They render evil good in the name of tolerance: Suicide bombers are freedom fighters! They suspend logic in favor of conspiracy: 9-11 was an inside job! And they foam at the mouth at phantasms: America is a racist police state!
They do all this with absolute impunity for one reason only:
They are not alone.
Taken individually, with their beliefs intact, psychotropic drugs might be administered to calm their fevered brains, responsible family members might intervene to inject rationality into their discourse, and ongoing group therapy sessions might be scheduled to make sure they remain on the "straight and narrow"--for fear of a relapse back into self-righteousness.
Luckily for them, they are numerous. They dwell within the reassuring sanctuary of numbers, where too often their shared insanity goes unchecked. It is with a depressing sense of irony, for example, that one observes the frequency by which the ignorant get laid. Whereas isolated from the support of the larger community, their sexual menu would consist of masturbation in a padded cell.
Perhaps the loudest misnomer to emerge intact from their confusing din of contradictory slogans and dogmatic agendas is their unified admonition to “speak truth to power”. In fact, they engage in quite the opposite. Given their blatant disregard for the advancements of post-1960s American society and the free milieu in which they currently operate, a more apt slogan would read: “Shout power to truth!”
On the campus or in front of cameras, the postmodern pseudo-intellectual vomits incessant platitudes about the community, yet remains curiously silent on the role of the individual. Not surprisingly, therefore, their ideology speaks volumes on the topic of equality, but offers nary a word on liberty. For liberty is to the individual as equality is to the community. Hence, the illogical perversion of modern-day activism: The imposition of equality upon communities of people that have yet to be individually liberated.
For it is precisely because of individual liberation that communal equality is made possible. Liberation is the cause, with equality being the desired effect. More pointedly (hearkening back to the first two essays in this series) one may say that liberation is an action, whereas equality is a re-action. Being effects, re-actions are the province of the natural world, qualitatively good or bad depending on the environment in which they take place. That is to say, equality under Soviet-era Russia or the current Islamic sharia laws of Iran are, qualitatively, quite different than the equality between blacks and whites in America following the repeal of Jim Crow.
Conversely, actions are the province of the Divine. Actions may be expressed either through God or through the human individual, inasmuch as God reveals Himself to the human individual via the modality of Divine Inspiration. The most telling proof of God’s inspiration, contrary to the faulty premises upon which pseudo-intellectual activism bases its incredulous claims, are those that are most endemic to our national history: acts of individual liberation leading to continuously improving gradations of communal equality.
Could there have been an end to British control of the colonies without an individually liberated Adams, Franklin, or Jefferson? Could there have been an end to slavery without an individually liberated Frederick Douglass or Ralph Waldo Emerson? Could there have been an end to Jim Crow without an individually liberated Martin Luther King? Or, in a more contemporary vein, how many homosexuals might be still lingering in the closet without an individually liberated Harvey Milk? American history is a continuous linear movement toward a providential good, a progressive journey that began with the spark of individual liberty, not the forced imposition of communal equality.
Here the skeptics might raise a metaphysical point of contention: if the human individual is capable of a Divine Inspiration such as intellectual liberation, then why not humanity as a whole? That is, if both God and the human individual are capable of action, and humanity is composed of human individuals, then why is the larger entity of humanity limited to re-action alone?
The Bible (that fashionably-derided primary source) states that man was created in God’s image. Not mankind. Therefore, God has much more in common with the human individual than it does with humanity--for in its totality and uniqueness, God, like the human individual, is paradoxically singular. Moreover, being singular, both God and its individual human subject are impossible to duplicate (notwithstanding cloning, an ethical subject beyond the scope of this current essay).
Consequently, when the larger human community attempts to assume the mantle of Divinity for itself (the unspoken social impetus behind secular activism) it invariably comes to loggerheads with a Deity that Baruch Spinoza, the 17th century Jewish philosopher, defined as a universal, unchanging, infinite, yet singular substance--the last of these cosmic attributes leading him to conclude:
“. . .there can be only one substance. Proof: If there were two infinite substances, they would limit each other. But this would act as a restraint, and they would be dependent on each other. . .therefore there cannot be two substances” (Ethica, 1677)
The renowned conservative thinker, William F. Buckley, couched the same sentiment in a more political framework when he observed:
“It is the temptation of many educated Christians to doubt that the God who gave us the latitude to behave as we behave is a God we can worship as wholeheartedly as we do those human divinities who labor to abolish Jim Crow, or dissipate the mushroom cloud, or comfort the unwed mother” (“The Duty of the Educated Catholic”, 1967)
All of which brings us to the ultimate question: what ethical value is there in a communal equality devoid of of individual liberation? Answer: None. It is a house of good intentions lacking an individualistic and intellectual foundation. The ignorant, in desiring to impose communal equality without first addressing the necessity for individual liberation, commit the mortal sin of ascribing quality to quantity. And if equality is envisioned not as the effect of liberty, but as a cause unto itself, what frightening results might lay at the end of such a perverse, anti-intellectual and--dare one say--ungodly equation?
To what social ends does equality as entitlement lead? A simple empirical observation of contemporary American culture might yield a few troubling answers: College is now so easy to attend it has systematically been transformed into little more than a glorified grade school; "progressive" instructors at all levels of education have cheapened the classics by likening modern urban poetry to Shakespeare--or hip-hop to Beethoven; minority scholars have been saddled with the nagging worry that they might not have advanced through their own merit, but through the cynical quotas of affirmative action; meanwhile, a Vice-Chancellorship of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of California could net a lucky prospect a staggering $250,000 per annum!
To be sure, the damage is severe--that is, for those who still esteem the antiquated tropes of culture and history, the beauteous by-products of the individually liberated mind.
Even more disconcerting, however, is reflecting on what might have been gained simply by following the tried-and-true protocol of individual liberation first and communal equality second. If a liberated mind achieves equality with other liberated minds, the character of the equality will be of a greater value because, together, the liberated minds will have achieved equality on a higher plateau--resulting, paradoxically, in a beautiful inequality: a strata of liberated minds equal in intellect at the top of the hierarchy and a strata of enslaved minds equal in ignorance at the bottom of the hierarchy--a catalyst, if ever there was one, for the continuity of Western Civilization. In sum, an elitism based on logic and reason.
Western Civilization and America in particular, now more than ever, face a choice between two sociological outcomes.
1) Communal equality void of individual liberation, ultimately resulting in a failed culture driven by platitudes of fairness.
2) Individual liberty preceding communal equality, ultimately resulting in a revivified culture driven by acts of merit.
The first equation is secular, being constructed from emotion and instinct. The second is providential, being inspired by logic and reason.
It is interesting to note that when attacked individually with logic and reason, many fervent activists will often freely and unashamedly admit to their intellectual deficiencies in untold areas of objective knowledge, not the least of these being Western history. Unwilling to accept defeat on what they consider an "inferior" plane of learning, however, they will incredulously demand their interrogators to join in the madness by conceding that, however erroneous they may be, their voices still need to be heard.
This is because the ignorant are not ignorant when it comes to this central tenet of Western sociology: If there is no truth to be found in numbers--there is, undoubtedly, power. And much of it.
In this section, I have highlighted the difference between the terms liberty and equality, advancing the argument that individual liberation, being an action, must precede communal equality, a re-action, so that a qualitatively valuable meritocracy might be put into place and the negative effects wrought by the imposition of communal equality upon Western society-- sans individual liberation--might be reversed. Though I have demonstrated agreement with the premise that numbers contain power, I have disagreed with the premise that numbers contain truth, by arguing against the contemporary practice of ascribing quality to quantity. In the next section, I will delve further into an explanation of the metaphysical composition of historical providence emerging from the triad of God, Individualism, and Freewill, specifically drawing upon Gottfried Leibniz's conception of a "City of God" for inspiration.
[END PART THREE]
Posted by Will Franken at 8:00 PM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Dear Mrs. Shimon,
We were sorry to learn that your family had perished in the Holocaust. We here at Yankee Candles(tm) deplore genocide and have made a firm commitment never to allow it to happen in any of our stores.
We apologize that we do not currently carry banana fragrance(c). Please be advised that this is not because we supported the Holocaust. At present, we are simply out of stock.
At Yankee Candles(phd), we understand that the Holocaust(tm) was a bad thing. That is why we are offering you a coupon for $15 off your next Yankee Candle(pbuh) product purchase of $45 or more.
Yankee candles (aipac) are good for aromatherapy, romance, and the High Holidays.
Sincerely, Rose Ethelberg
Dear Mrs. Lamar-Washington,
We here at Old Navy(c) were saddened to hear of the plight of your ancestors as they were forced to board slave ships en route to the New World (!). Our stores resolutely and unwaveringly deplore slavery and have made a steadfast and unshakable commitment never to permit a slave trade to gain a foothold in our company.
Please be advised that all of our cotton products are made from cotton that was picked either from the hands of free men and women--or robots. We are sorry that you felt differently when you urinated on the floor of our Westbrook, VA store and screamed “imperialism.”
We hope you will accept this coupon for $10 off your next purchase of $50 or more as a token of our contempt for the legacy of Jefferson Davis and his despicable confederacy.
Sincerely, Jamal al-Lamaj
Senior Vice Regional
Dear Ms. Songbird Illuminati,
Ms. Crisis Willowsnap,
and Ms. Gentle Touchsoft
At Jiffy Lube (c), our promise has always been to achieve the maximum limit of absolute one hundred percent full-on total commitment to customer satisfaction and beyond.
That is why we were disheartened to hear that Antarctica is melting and Polar Bears are turning beige. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have been living in a fog. Until our newly implemented emissions standards went into place, we were also living in a smog.
By now, you have probably detected the dampness of my tears on this e-mail. As a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, I don’t often get a chance to visit the troops on the ground in our local oil changing centers to find out what’s going on in Antarctica. Inspired by your letter, I did just that very thing yesterday morning.
Many of the Mexicans($) that work in our greasy pits of oil and filth are deeply connected to Antarctica and consider it their ancestral home. Like an ideal steering system, they were in complete alignment with your Marxist views on redistribution of ice and snow. “Extender el frio” said the most vocal of them. In English, “Spread the cold”.
So in salutation of agreement upon honoring our unadulterated continuation of exceeding commitment to the greening of the environment, please accept this coupon for $7 off your next Jiffy Lube Signature Service Oil Change (jlssoc).
James P. Jamespee,
CEO and Lubricator
Posted by Will Franken at 1:33 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
There will be five more installments of "The Reason I Think The Way I Do About Things", but I'm taking a break because those take a long time to write. I'm trying to be as reasoned and philosophical in those as possible. Because I'm angry at some of the reactions I've gotten for my pro-Palin blogs. I'm mostly angry at myself for being upset by those reactions. It's confusing having a name in the comedy world and being broke. If I'm not getting paid, I could write the word "cunt" five thousand times on this blog if I wanted to and what would it matter? So I'm trying to outline the philosophical argument for libertarianism in those installments. Free market and all that goes with it.
But I needed to get a quick emotional blog out here. One where I'm not as concerned about grammar. I'm in love with my anger management counselor.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the last time I had sex. Her name was Lisa and we had sex--about two weekends' worth of sex--in this room I was renting in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It was very good sex. She was Japanese. I had never been with an Asian woman before and it was certainly worth every minute. She also brought over Japanese snacks--these spicy chips and chocolate sticks as well as lemon tea in a thermos. It was fun spending that time with her. Lisa, if you're reading this, I will be back in San Francisco on Nov. 8th and would like to have sex with you again. I'm sorry that I turned emotionally cold when it was time to leave for New York. I will be in town from the 6th of November until the 10th of November.
Now on to my anger management counselor. Her name is Sarah Meehan. (Yes, I know, another Sarah!) When I checked myself into St. Vincent's Outpatient Center, she taught this recovery class on Friday mornings. I thought she was cute right from the start. But she didn't like cursing. She would ask me things like, "What do you mean when you say 'fucking bullshit'"
"You know, 'fucking bullshit'"
After a few weeks of that class, she said that she thought I might need anger management. I disagreed. I told her anger was fun. But then out of curiosity, I asked her who taught the anger management class.
One day I saw Sarah in the 42nd Street subway station. She was wearing jogging clothes and looked as if she had just got done running. She was all sweaty. I swear it was her. I said hi and she ignored me.
The next day, I saw her in recovery class. "Did you snub me yesterday?" I asked her.
"What? No, where did I snub you?"
"I saw you in the subway station."
"No, I didn't see you."
"I swear it was you."
"I don't think so."
Anyway, I took her at her word, but still put off the anger management idea for a few weeks, content to see Sarah on Friday mornings. (At this stage, I didn't know I loved her yet. I was just getting off of alcohol and drugs and I had a lot on my plate)
But then--I think it was sometime in mid-July, perhaps early August--I was arrested for assault in Union Square Park. (Would you guys like to know this story? I'll tell you in a separate entry, but only if you want)
Anyway, when I was released I was given a court date and I when I saw Sarah on the following Friday, I told her that I thought going to anger management would be a good idea just in case I needed to show anything to the judge.
Now I saw Sarah twice a week!
Our relationship started grow. One day, she wrote me a note to take down to the welfare office in Queens (would you guys like to know about my thirty-day experience with welfare? I'll tell you in a separate entry, but only if you want. Let's just say that a month of welfare was all I could handle. It takes a special determination to live off of welfare. I don't have it. After all, I'm a libertarian!)
Anyway, I looked at her signature and her office phone number underneath. Wow! I have Sarah's phone number, I thought. (Sarah wasn't my case worker. Umberto was. Normally, Umberto would write me a note, but Sarah was the only one available that day.)
I found myself looking at her name and her phone number on that piece of paper all the way out to the welfare office in Queens. In fact, I didn't even want to give it to the welfare lady. Which didn't matter, because she didn't want it anyway. Big dyke. "I don't want to see your paper! I've got a line here to deal with! 40129A Window 2!"
Fine, I thought, I'll just keep this paper.
After the hassle of welfare, I decided to just get a job. Thus, I had to change my schedule at St. Vincent's. Umberto got me some night classes.
Umberto is an Italian. Not an Italian-American, but a real live Italian. He has an accent which I can't really type out in eye dialiect--but here's what he said the day he gave me the new classes
"Okay, Monday evening, there's this class you should take. Sarah teaches that. And then Tuesday would be a good one for you also. Sarah teaches that one, too. Then you have your anger management, still. So that's with Sarah on Wednesday mornings. You can still make that one, right?"
"Oh, yeah, definitely."
"And then you still have your Friday morning class with Sarah. Can you make that one, too?"
"Oh, yeah, I'll switch my hours around that day."
I tried to show calmness. But boy was I excited. Four days of Sarah Meehan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker!
But it was not all fun. There were other people in the classes. Damn! It made me mad when they talked to Sarah and when Sarah talked to them. I wanted Sarah to be my case worker so I would have alone time with Sarah. Don't get me wrong. I like Umberto. But Umberto is no Sarah. So I only had Sarah during class and there were always other people coming between me and Sarah in class.
So I stopped going to classes. It hurt too much to share Sarah.
After disappearing for a week, I thought I would do her a favor and call her on Monday evening to tell her I would miss the Tuesday evening class.
"Hi, Sarah. It's Will Franken."
"I just wanted to tell you that. . .I'm not going to be able to make tomorrow's class."
"Well, you should talk to Umberto about why you're not making your classes."
Wow. I didn't like her tone. She was snippy. I thought she would plead with me to come. Something like, "Will. . .please come to the class. It's not the same without you."
So when Wednesday morning came around for anger management, I had a lot to say to little miss Sarah.
"Yeah, I'm pretty fucking pissed off today. And you want to know what I'm pissed off about? I didn't like your attitude on the phone the other day. You were snippy."
"I wasn't snippy."
"Yeah, you were. You were snippy with me."
"Well, let's talk about that."
"I don't want to talk about it."
I thought she was going to take the bait and beg me to talk about it, "Please, honey, let's talk about it. I love you too much for us not to talk about this."
Instead, she said, "Okay. Let's move on. Kenny, how is your week going so far?"
Just for that, I skipped Friday's class. And the following Monday. And Tuesday.
It wasn't until the next anger management class on Wednesday that I showed up. Sarah was wearing her sexy shoes. Fuck-me pumps in an anger management class. Wow!
A new guy, a Jamaican, began by saying his name and how many days he had clean and sober. I really liked the cadence of his voice, so I laughed (which is what I do when I like something)
"What's so funny?" snapped Sarah.
"Jesus Christ, I liked his fucking cadence! What's your fucking problem?"
When it came my turn, I had a lot to say. "All right, I'm pissed at you again. First you snub me, then you're snippy, and now you're snappy. I laugh when I'm happy. His accent made me happy. I'm not too fucking happy lately. So if I can laugh, I'm going to fucking laugh, understand?"
"I'm sorry," said Sarah, "I didn't know that's why you were laughing."
Oh no, I thought. She's sorry. And I was mean to her. Poor Sarah. How could I do this to her?
I was so overcome with guilt at hurting Sarah that I stopped going to classes for two weeks. I did not want to share Sarah and I did not want to hurt her. It was better, I thought, if I did not see her at all. I also thought that if I stayed away long enough, it would be appropriate for me to call her and ask her out on a date since I wouldn't be a client anymore.
Anyway, last night I had a dream about her. I don't remember the specifics. I just remember in the dream that I asked her out and she was excited at the idea. She didn't say yes or no, but I could tell that she was getting ready to say yes. Do you know what I mean? When a girl is getting ready to say yes, that she'll go on a date with you? You can almost see the "Y" forming in her throat. I haven't experienced that feeling in a long time, even nocturnally.
So I woke up smiling. I was just happy to love her. I had no plans on actually seeing her again. Do you guys know what it's like to have a puppy-love crush? You don't actually have to do anything. . .you just enjoy thinking about them.
But check this out. I'm awake for two hours and who should call? No, not Sarah. Umberto. And he's concerned.
"William, you have not been to your classes for two weeks. I need to know if you want to terminate your schedule here at St. Vincent's."
Oh, jeez, this is it. Time to make a commitment. Can I really live without Sarah? I was kind of hoping that they'd keep me on indefinitely. Just in case I did want to drop in on a little anger management.
"Uh. . ."
"Would you like another week to think about it?"
"Uh. . ." Seriously, I was only thinking about Sarah. If anybody else was teaching these classes, I would have stopped going a long time ago.
"Would you at least be able to make your anger management class in the morning with Sarah tomorrow?"
Oh my god. He said her name. "Yes. I. will. be. there. tomorrow. Umberto."
"Good William. I will let Sarah know."
So I'm going to sleep early so I can get up in the morning and see Sarah. It's fall now. She probably will not be wearing those skimpy skirts anymore.
Posted by Will Franken at 8:23 PM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
[BEGIN PART TWO]
Before we get started, let me make one thing perfectly clear.
I am a failure. Both in my personal life and in my chosen vocation. At the moment, this may be only a feeling and not a fact, but at the moment, my feeling feels like fact. Thus, my perception has taken on the responsibility of my reality.
My youth was characterized by a selfish ambition, an overriding perfectionism, and a cushioned insularity from the perceived terrors of any outside human contact. What few intimate relationships I accrued during this period of naive oblivion were simply echo chambers for my own narcissism.
Later in life, by fortune--or by fate, if one is not averse to that archaic term--I obtained a modicum of artistic success. Despite the underground recognition and critical acclaim, however, the end goals of economic and sexual security remain continually out of reach, the proverbial artistic dues reflect a perpetually outstanding balance, and a lasting sense of satisfaction lies always just over the horizon.
There are those, myself included, who might say that I have fallen from a great height--if only I had had the gratitude to recognize the precipice for the good thing that it was at the time I was standing upon it--rather than now, bruised and bleeding on the valley floor.
There are other times I am convinced that I have never left the ground in the first place, and thus have neither risen nor fallen. That, of course, is a more palatable proposition; having neither gained nor lost instead of having lost what was once gained. Yet the truth, characteristically elusive as always, lies somewhere in-between.
Like so many others in our decadent age, I extended my childhood as long as I could, borrowing against the predatory lenders of Time, until I awoke one morning and discovered, to my abject horror, that I was nothing more remarkable than an unfulfilled adult.
Regret is no mere abstraction. Not at all.
Regret has physical dimensions. Regret occupies not only time, but also space.
Regret has mass.
For if it did not, Coleridge might have chosen something much lighter than an albatross to represent it.
Alas, the muddled perceptions of the lost chapters of my past lie beyond the scope of this current study: "The Reason I Think The Way I Do About Things, Part Two".
For here in the present, as was promised at the close of the first installment of this series, we now fix our sights on explaining how the Human Individual, itself a composite of varying re-actions, springs forth from the initial idea; that is, the Primal Action of Divine Creation; and how it is that because of this symbiotic, (albeit archaic, hierarchical, and linear) relationship, the Human Individual is not limited solely to works of re-action, but also, in alignment with its Creator, works of action.
At this early stage, the reader may have questions as to what has just been elucidated. Most likely, he or she is now asking themselves: “Would such a theological presupposition as to God’s creativity and the Human Individual’s capacity to mirror such creativity in its own finite existence inadvertently ascribe a value judgment to works of action as being of a higher quality than works of re-action?”
The best sociological evidence for this valuation can be witnessed by the stigmatization of the term “reactionary”. Implicit in the insult (which is what it amounts to in its conventional usage) is the logical acknowledgment that action supersedes re-action. Yet the mistake too often made by those brandishing this politically-charged epithet is assuming that they are innocent of doing likewise. Those who do not question the unalterable dictates of nature, however, know that re-action is the default setting for the Individual Human.
Let us therefore consider the ethical qualities, if any, of human re-action upon the spectrum of perfection (that which is aligned with God) and imperfection (that which is aligned with baser existence).
Re-actions cannot be called perfect inasmuch as they are not Divinely inspired; that is, having no discernible beginning. Instead of ideas being wholly snatched from the ether, complete in and of themselves, works of re-action rely upon ideas already set in motion. They are therefore, like the totality of all micro- and macrocosmological existence, bound by the strictures of cause/effect relationships.
Meanwhile, re-actions cannot be called wholly imperfect without first an examination as to the frequency with which they are adopted. “Man does not live by bread alone,” sayeth the scripture. True enough. But man does live by bread to some degree. And the degree to which a Human Individual lives by bread is the variable in determining to what extent a Human Individual is closer to perfection or imperfection.
Thus, we witness the unique position of man in relation to God and in relation to his baser existence. Man cannot aspire to greater creative achievements without relying upon (or at least seeking out) a direct channel to Divine inspiration. Contrarily, an overabundance of alignment with Divinity separates man from his baser existence. See also “The Great Chain of Being”.
One would be mistaken here to assume that all of the above is a call to moderation. Not so. Though an argument obviously must be made against tipping the balance in favor of imperfection, one should also be cautioned against deciding that a middle position represents a satisfactory endgame to human existence.
The original drafters of “The Great Chain of Being” regarded man’s position as unique enough for it to remain comfortably static for centuries. It wasn’t until much later that the restless mysticism of such thinkers as Emerson, Tolstoy, and especially Blake would seek not only to assign the Individual with more fluidity, but to argue vehemently for a slight imbalance favoring the Divine. In particular, Blake envisioned value in baser existence only in that provided an epistemological reference point for better understanding God. Borrowing from the lingo of economics, the overall effect was to introduce a cosmological sense of “upward mobility”.
Were it not for this shift in perception, it is likely that the slaves might never have been freed.
To recap: Works of action are the domain of Divinity. Works of re-action are the domain of Humanity. Yet as we have been taught that Christ left one domain to inhabit another by becoming incarnate, we are also taught that the Human Individual has within itself the capacity to likewise transfer domains by becoming ethereal--either permanently through death or temporarily through dreams.
In sum, the Human Individual is an amalgam of action and re-action.
Therefore, the quarrel that the offended representatives of a given community have with “reactionaries” is never about the re-action, per se, but the qualitative nature of the re-action.
This is to say that if a re-action is of a non-conflicting nature in relation to a larger community, the re-action would not even be recognized as such. It is only when a re-action is in conflict with a person, issue, or institution held in esteem by an offended representative of a given community that a re-action is capable of being noticed. If one has reacted by agreeing with or obeying a larger community, in the fickle eyes of those who constitute that community, that Individual has not re-acted. If one has reacted by disagreeing with or disobeying a larger community, that Individual has run risk of being labeled a “reactionary”.
Contrast is illuminating. Perpendicularity against the larger community provides higher visibility. After all, isn’t it those long stretches of parallel lanes on a dark highway that safety signs warn will lull us to sleep--and perchance to a life-threatening accident--if we don’t periodically pull over?
Speaking of which, it’s now time for a rest stop.
In this section, I have demonstrated how it is that the Human Individual is capable of works of action as well as re-action and how by acknowledging this potential, one is rendered closer to the Divine. I have also shown how it is that offended representatives of larger communities speak selectively when referring to “reactionaries”. In Section Three, I will speak against the postmodern craft of ascribing quality to quantity and how it may be said that an over-valuation of numbers leads one further from Truth and further into Error.
[END PART TWO]
Posted by Will Franken at 6:34 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
[BEGIN PART ONE]
Before we get started, let me make one thing perfectly clear.
I hate myself. I always have.
If I possessed anything other than utter contempt for myself as a human being and had any faith at all in my abilities as an artist, I would never have bothered creating anything in the first place.
The whole of my creative work can be roughly divided into two broad categories:
1) Works of action
2) Works of re-action.
Let us consider a work of action to be an inspiration that is a cause unto itself within which all of its effects are contained.
Whereas works of re-action are the minor creative results that are antecedents of the causal relationship initiated by a major work of action. Works of re-action are generally created to augment or clarify the substance of either a work of action or even other works of re-action.
Inspiration has no discernible entry point by which an artist may point and exclaim: Aha! From a fixed location in the cosmic ether came this specific idea! Therefore, works of action, it may be said, have no beginning.
Conversely, works of re-action, being effects from which a causal link may be established from itself to either a work of action or another work of re-action, it may be said, have no ending.
This entry falls into the latter.
In today's progressive lexicon, to be labeled a "reactionary" is to be deprived of credibility within many influential circles. Indeed, it has happened to the greatest of our historical figures, often in reference to their noblest intentions. One need only consider the amount of times, throughout his life, and even long afterwards in the myopic views of revisionist history, that Winston Churchill has been labeled a "reactionary" for wanting to do something as undeniably beneficial as confronting Adolf Hitler.
Yet is not all linear existence a reaction of some sort or another? St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of God as the Primal Cause, or the "First Mover", if you will, from which all effects issue forth, either harmoniously in tandem or inharmoniously in conflict. Therefore, regardless of whether one agrees with or dissents from any specific person, issue or institution, within our less than perfect human realm, any stance taken at all is, ipso facto, a reactionary one.
In Aquinas' ontological schemata, to eschew reaction is to simultaneously subvert a Divine hierarchy by stripping from Deity its exclusive characteristic of action independent of reaction. That is to say, if God is not a Primal Cause, God is merely reaction and, therefore, no longer God.
If God is no longer God, what, if anything, becomes of that conglomerate of reactions we call humanity? Man cannot exist in a spiritual vacuum--unless of course he is willing to subsist on the cold gruel of nihilism; an absurd proposition that serves as an adequate justification for suicide (an act of violence slightly less absurd than the absurdity of continuing to live within the absurdity of nihilism.)
Therefore, in the ontological void that remains in the absence of God, humanity--arrogant from its imagined victory over the imagined oppressiveness of Deity--steps forth to prematurely claim the mantle of Divinity for itself. Hence, we witness the advent of Western secularism and, more to the point, its disquieting physical manifestation in the form of an unfeeling and self-perpetuating commercialism.
How many times have we heard, or in some cases uttered to ourselves, the agnostic lament: "If God exists, why is he so indifferent to human suffering?"
I ask, is money any less indifferent?
Few progressives of the humanist school of thought would deny me this central point. After all, a certain amount of vitriol directed against unrestrained capitalistic excesses is not only healthy, one could argue, but also spiritual.
However, if we were to extrapolate further, would progressives concede this same indifference toward human suffering applies equally not just to money, but to all other facets of a secularized West?
Would they reserve the same contempt for the media? Pop culture? Politicians of all parties? Big government programs?
At present, their words and deeds seem to indicate that they would not. This of course, begs a much larger question: How is it that progressives can be imbued with such an unquestioning faith towards the evidentially imperfect tangibilities of humanity and yet still maintain a dogmatic certitude about the intangibility of Divinity?
Therein lies the contagion of hypocrisy which infects the minds and souls of our best and brightest. And such are the philosophical underpinnings beneath my re-action against a Western society's growing denial of the existence of God.
In this section, I have delineated the differences between works of action and works of re-action. In Part Two, I will demonstrate how the larger secular society, being a composite of conflicting and non-conflicting re-actions is secondary in ontological importance to the Individual, which being in many ways a beginning and end unto itself, and thus reflective of the higher nature of God, is not only capable of works of action as well as works of re-action, but is also a more accurate barometer for human progress than the faceless amalgam of disparate ideologies known as the Community.
[END OF PART ONE]
Posted by Will Franken at 9:10 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
My ancestors are coming to town this weekend to meet my girlfriend and I'm really nervous about it.
I hope my forefathers like her. She's a good cook when she exists. In fact, she makes a mean apple pie. I mean--a MEAN apple pie.
So mean it spits cobra venom in your eyes when you stick a fork in it.
I had to take her last apple pie to the apple pie pound to have it put down.
I don't know what she puts in her apple pie to make it so mean. It really is a vindictive and spiteful apple pie. Because of this, I've advised her not to make an apple pie for my ancestors when they come to town this weekend. So she's going to make an apple instead.
I love watching my girlfriend make apples! She takes an apple, puts it on a tree, and pulls it right back down. She's old fashioned like that. Just an apple and an apple tree and--SHAZAM--you've got apples!
Oh, and a ladder. She needs a ladder to climb up and down from the apple tree. She may be short, but she's definitely not tall.
Meanwhile, I've got to get some indentured servants from the Old World by Saturday. Good luck with that, huh?
Oh, and a girlfriend. I'm gonna need one of those, too. Duh!
I'd like to get Thandie Newton or Lisa Bonet to play her because I think my Uncle Jefferson would get along with either of them.
I'm also going to need a large patch of land where I can cultivate a sizable crop of tobacco in a mere five days. And I'm going to have to find somewhere spacious to put it since my apartment here in Queens is rather small.
Jeez Louise, why does it have to be THIS weekend that my ancestors are coming over?
I was going to spend those forty-eight hours masturbating so vigorously that I leave scars on my genitals!
But it's too late to cancel. They're already in the historical ether and can't receive text messages.
I guess I'll have to wait until next weekend before I can masturbate so vigorously that I dehydrate myself and end up in the emergency room with an I.V. drip.
No, I shouldn't neglect my ancestors. After all, they were there with me in the hospital when my parents died. It's always sad when parents die before their ancestors. I remember my Uncle Washington at my mother's funeral singing "Thank You For Being A Friend". It was so moving. He had sunglasses on, but I could still see the tears in his powdered wig.
What progress we've made since the 1770s! Nowadays, we wear our wigs on our heads and cry out of our eyes. But is that really progress? Take my Uncle Revere, for example. He wears horses for shoes and thinks the word "refrigerator" means "prostitute". Nowadays, we'd call that crazy. But put it into context, folks. After all, he was living in a time when everybody thought the world was fat.
Thanks to science, we now know the world isn't fat. It's slim and attractive and likes to jog and do yoga. But these are my ancestors, people! They brought what brought whatever it was that brought what brought what brought together the elements that brought whatever is was that brought me into the world--fat OR slender.
And they're coming to town to see me this weekend. So the least I can do for them is procure some hipster chick from Williamsburg to play the part of my girlfriend for 100 dollars and new porkpie hat.
So, yeah, I'm definitely going to have to put off masturbating so vigorously that my testicles turn purple, my eyesight is irreparably damaged and what little capacity I had of forming any meaningful interpersonal relationship with a real woman is utterly demolished.
That's what family's all about!
Posted by Will Franken at 7:54 PM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I keep trying to write something. There's a simple story here, but I keep adding from the front. . .giving it too much exposition, too much prologue, backstory, pre-narrative analysis. . .
Again, I'm done with politics. Obama is corrupt and McCain doesn't want to fight him. The ascendancy of the O is all but guaranteed.
So I have to move on. Which is why I'm trying to write about something new again. And I keep trying to write this story, this harmless little anecdote, and I keep erasing everything that I've written. Twice now this has happened. I get the equivalent of five pages into it (it's hard to tell in a pageless blog screen, but it feels like five pages) and then I delete the lot.
I went into a Rite Aid drugstore yesterday morning to buy a candy bar so I could get some cash back. There is no Bank of America in my neighborhood and the Washington Mutual takes out money just for checking your balance.
Do you guys remember when Washington Mutual didn't charge any fees if you used their ATMs with a card issued from another bank? I certainly do. Well, apparently, they've changed their policy.
So I got to Rite Aid at 9 a.m. yesterday morning. I took a King-Sized Reese's Crispy Crunchy Bar and laid it on the counter. "I'm going to need some cash back while you're at it."
"We cannot give cash back now," said the teenage white girl in the hijab.
"What are you talking about? You always give cash back."
"We just opened. We won't have cash back for another hour."
I fumed, "That doesn't make any fucking sense at all."
"Do you still want the candy bar?"
"Fuck the candy bar," I said, moving aside to let the illegal immigrant woman with the five large boxes of diapers limp forward, "I wanted cash back."
So I returned home and spent the rest of the day doing some writing, some e-mailing, and some recording. Time flew as I became increasingly preoccupied creatively. Soon it was 7:50 pm.
I better get down to Rite Aid before they close, I thought, so I can get some cash back for tomorrow!
When I arrived at Rite Aid the second time, the gates over the plate glass windows had been lowered and the electronic door was shut.
Undeterred, I wedged my palms into the opening of the electronic door and succeeded in prying it open. I then took my place at the back of a long line of illegal immigrant women purchasing large boxes of diapers.
A tall African security guard with a thick Kenyan accent ran after me, "Sir, we are closed! Sir, you have to leave!"
"Oh, Jesus, come on, man. . ."
"We are closing, sir!"
"Easy man," I said, "I just want to buy a candy bar so I can get some cash back."
From behind the register, an African-American woman in a sari shouted, "We don't have any cash back now! We're getting ready to close!"
"Aw, come on, it's 7:55!" I yelled, "What is this, fucking Nebraska?"
Nobody said a word. I defiantly stood my place in line among the illegal immigrant women and their large boxes of diapers.
Eventually, the tall African security guard whispered to me, "How much cash back you want?"
"Just twenty dollars, that's it."
"Okay," he said reassuringly.
My anger subsided, "Thanks a lot, man."
He cautioned me, "It's not up to me, though. She is the manager," he said, pointing to the African-American woman in the sari.
"Well, all I want is twenty dollars."
After the illegal immigrant women had left with their large boxes of diapers in tow, I grabbed another King-Sized Reese's Crispy Crunchy Bar--who knows, perhaps the same one from earlier--and laid it on the counter.
"So I'm going to need some cash back," I said to the scowling African-American woman in the sari.
There was an interminable pause. And then, she relented.
"Okay," she sighed, "swipe your card."
I pulled out my wallet, "Thanks a lot. God bless America."
"God bless everyone," she smiled.
"God bless everyone."
I hesitated. "No, you don't understand. I said God bless America."
"I know," she beamed, "but everyone deserves God's blessing."
"Yeah, well America needs it really badly right now. So God bless America." I removed my debit card from my wallet and prepared to swipe it.
She shook her head like a persnickety kindergarten teacher, "God bless everyone."
"Oh, for fuck's sake. Does it have to be this difficult? God bless America."
"Everybody in the world needs God to bless them."
My hands were shaking so badly, I was having difficulty aligning the debit card with the machine. "Look, I'll make you deal. How about God bless America, Western Europe, Israel, Australia, and the non-Islamic parts of Africa?"
"God bless everyone."
"I don't want God to bless everyone! Now God bless America, goddamnit!"
"Do you want the candy bar or not?"
"No, I do NOT want the fucking candy bar!"
I was going to storm off in a rage, but I had to wait at the entrance for the African security guard to come and unlock the front doors.
Posted by Will Franken at 1:36 PM