Consider artistic obscenity. Even the United States’ famously permissive free speech laws have vague, ominous carve-outs where speech can be disallowed for things such as affronting “contemporary community standards” You can look up guys like Mike Diana and Peter Sotos in your own time. Suffice to say, are people who have gone to prison for lines on paper.
This, in the words of John Locke, is “a bummer, man.” Why can’t we stop it? Nobody wants to live in a world where art is criminalized. You can almost hear the clocks striking thirteen. This should be the sort of thing that attracts huge public support.
There’s one problem: you’ll be waving picket signs alongside pedophiles.
Child pornographers consider their work to be art. Or even if they don’t, that’s their cover story. I don’t have any particular opinion on whether child pornography should be considered free expression (yes I do!), but this is a burr in the saddle of the radical free speechist: his position puts him in confederacy with some of the most reviled (and Savile’d) people on earth. Remember when someone launched voat as an “anything goes” competitor to reddit? And they were naive enough to think that reddit limited speech because they were mean old jerks? Then they lost their Paypal account due to all the pedophiles using the site. The gay rights movement had/has a similar problem – pedophiles hijacking “free love” for their own NAMBLAtastic ends.
I feel like a lot of groups end up with this problem.
Punk rock. “Fuck the system, burn it all down” = a pheremone for Nazis.
Men’s rights activism. “Stop screwing men in court” = a pheremone for rapists and domestic abusers.
Communism, of course, is a pheremone for communists.
It’s ubiquitous, and unavoidable. Any public stance other than “pie is good” will attract some element of socially undesirable people to your side, and this is the sort of thing that can permanently discredit your cause. Years ago, there was a “anti-speutering” movement, which opposed the spaying/neutering of dogs over health concerns. Were they a well-intentioned group at the start? We’ll never know, because, zoophiles require intact animals for their purposes, and soon this movement became a rallying cry for people who want to fuck their housepets. For example, James Greathouse. “I advocate close, even sexual, relationships between human and non-human animals, so long as they are honest, mutually enjoyed acts of love.” Now, nobody really remembers them for anything else.
This is kind of why I feel like there should be a pro rapist lobby, and a pro pedophile lobby, and a pro-Cthulhu lobby. Why? Because it might keep jerks safely isolated away from all the sane groups. Forget inclusion. Sometimes you just need quarantine.
There was a journalist called Malcolm Muggeridge, whose parents belonged to a commune of socialists. One day, in a fit of working class spirit, they tore apart the deeds to their property. No chains on me! Viva la revolution! Unfortunately, this noble gesture soon meant that squatters started settling on their land, and they now lacked the means to remove them. Excess freeloaders made the project unworkable, and eventually they ended up resorting to capitalistic oppression (throwing the squatters out by force).
Bat signals are great for attracting Batman. Unfortunately, in real life they usually just attract actual bats.
Is “Who is ‘Nobody’?” a reasonable answer, Mr Trebek? Genres of popular fiction usually evolve like animals – very slowly, in increments. Elizabethan theatre becoming romantic fiction, romantic becoming gothic, gothic becoming horror, etc, each one marked by a poorly-defended border with lots of works escaping on either side.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is often cited as the first one. The hero is a scientist, he uses a laboratory, he has to deal with the ramifications of his actions. It’s the archetype of the “monkey brain + futuristic tools + disaster” story.
There’s earlier works that I’d consider science fiction. But how earlier?
Various ancient works sometimes get “grandfathered in” as SF or proto-SF: similar to how Los Sarcos is an incongruous punk rock band ten years before the genre existed. Ezekiel 1:16 in the Bible is sometimes interpreted as a UFO visitation, largely due to the imagery of crystalline, intersecting wheels:
“This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel”
The Hindu text The Mahabharata contains vivid descriptions that adumbrate nuclear war.
“Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana / hurled a single projectile / charged with the power of the Universe / An incandescent column of smoke and flame, / as bright as ten thousand suns, rose with all its splendour. / It was an unknown weapon, / an iron thunderbolt, / a gigantic messenger of death, / which reduced to ashes / the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. / The corpses were so burned /
as to be unrecognizable. / Hair and nails fell out; / Pottery broke without apparent cause, / and the birds turned white. / …After a few hours / all foodstuffs were infected… / …to escape from this fire / the soldiers threw themselves in streams”
The last part is striking – it reminds me of the firebombing of Tokyo, where the air grew so hot that people threw themselves into the canals.
More recent examples include Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), particularly the third book (which was actually the one written first). Gulliver journeys to the floating island of Laputia, and various other places. He meets learned men who busy themselves with strange tinkering and experiments, eg:
“At the Grand Academy of Lagado, great resources and manpower are employed on researching completely preposterous schemes such as extracting sunbeams from cucumbers, softening marble for use in pillows, learning how to mix paint by smell, and uncovering political conspiracies by examining the excrement of suspicious persons”
Swift is obviously making fun of scientists here, but I’ve always thought scientists in books are too dignified and successful – fuck Jubal Harshaw, we need more works starring Dr Oz.
The earliest work I know of with an unambiguous ring of SF is Voyage to the Moon (1657) by Cyrano de Bergerac. The hero eventually reaches the moon via fireworks, but the interesting part is in chapter 2, where he creates some sort of apparatus or carriage powered by the sun.
“I planted my self in the middle of a great many Glasses full of Dew, tied fast about me; 6 upon which the Sun so violently darted his Rays, that the Heat, which attracted them, as it does the thickest Clouds, carried me up so high, that at length I found my self above the middle Region of the Air. But seeing that Attraction hurried me up with so much rapidity that instead of drawing near the Moon, as I intended, she seem’d to me to be more distant than at my first setting out; I broke several of my Vials, until I found my weight exceed the force of the Attraction, and that I began to descend again towards the Earth.”
May all our journeys into space have that ending.
Humans, as viewing agents, experience something called “perspective.” Close things look big, and distant things look small. If you don’t understand, get someone to whack you across the face with a baseball bat. The part where the bat looks big is bad.
In my childhood, I had moments where these lanes got scrambled: close things would sometimes look small and distant things would look big. Dust motes would momentarily seem like passing asteroids. Apparently I was suffering from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. I had a mild case. Other people experience terrifying feelings with regard to their own bodies: their tongues will swell up in their mouths, grotesquely huge, threatening to burst past their lips like a slippery red anaconda. Or they’ll look down, to see a massive body balanced precariously on feet the size of thimbles. I’ve since recovered from that, but now suffer from Alice Through the Looking Glass Syndrome, which is where everyone ignores me for my more interesting and famous father.
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is an illusion. But of course, normal perspective is an illusion, too. The baseball bat stays exactly the same size – it only appears bigger because it’s reflecting more photons into your retinas. It might seem scarier, and not unreasonably – a close-up baseball bat has more potential to harm you than one across the room: but it’s objectively still the same bat.
Chronology follows a similar kind of perspective: time gets bigger or smaller depending on how close it is. The day before and after this one are massive: I can remember lots of stuff I did yesterday, and can predict lots of stuff I will probably do tomorrow. Today is the biggest day of all. But further away, the days drastically resize, until eventually they’re invisibly small. I struggle to remember ten days ago. A hundred days ago I remember not at all. What’s the difference between the 1st of March, 663AD and the 2nd of March, 663AD? From my perspective, nothing. From the perspective of someone who lived on those two days, everything.
(Do people suffer from a chronological Alice in Wonderland Syndrome? Some old people have strong memories of events that happened years ago, but can’t remember yesterday. I’ve heard Catholic women say they strongly identify with Mary the Blessed Virgin, and feel more connected to her struggles than to those of their friends.)
Everyone understands that spatial perspective isn’t a real thing, independent of an observer. I wish more people would realise the same thing about time: that all days are exactly 24 hours long, and the events of one are not more important than the events of any other, except insofar as they affect our lives. You can make money when you see through the illusion.
Brian Caplan is an economist who likes to make bets. That sounds reasonable: even required. An economist who doesn’t make bets would be like a chaos theorist who does. The interest thing is…he wins all his bets. Code red, something isn’t right. Isn’t economics supposed to be a stupid black box that nobody understands? (“Economists were created to make weather forecasters look good.” – Rupert Murdoch)
Some are accusing him of “bum-hunting” – only making bets against crackpots with ridiculous viewpoints. Kind of like a boxer building a perfect record by beating up 10 year olds. But he wins even when he bets against intelligent people, like Tyler Cowen. Caplan insists that his “secret sauce” is refusing to privilege the short term.
“I take the “outside view.” When predicting, I start with long-run averages, and presume the “latest news” is distracting trivia. For example, when I made my unemployment bet with Tyler, I looked at all the unemployment data for 1948 to the present, and assumed the future would resemble the past. As usual, it did.”
In other words, the news is the enemy. To understand the world, you’ve got to zoom back from the distraction of recent events, and adjust all days to the same size. I’ve always noticed this, although I didn’t know how to put it. People complain about how America is a police state, and as soon as a shocking crime occurs, the cry becomes “WE NEED MORE COPS!!!”
I guess there’s practical consequences to treating the recent past and recent future (oxymoron) as more important, just as you might spend more time keeping in contact with geographically close relatives. It makes your life easier. But there’s more to life than making it easy – sometimes you need to understand things.
Internet marketers have infested the internet for so long that they’re part of the ecosystem. They’re like your brother who keeps trying to cadge rent money and sell you loosies. You don’t exactly like him, but the idea of him gone…
We’re now entering a world where all that shit is just no longer viable. Aaron Wall says it here. The internet is changing, consolidating, and getting harder and harder for little guys. Once, you could register a new domain, spend zero money, and actually rank on Google for stuff. These days, you can sink five figures into a website and attract a number of organic searches closely bounded around “zero”. Search Engine Optimisation was always a bit mysterious. Nobody knew the algorithm by which Google ranked Site A above Site B – but at least we had some decent guesses. Now? It’s fucking impossible.
The three benefits of the internet (from a marketer’s perspective) were: 1) speed, 2) little overhead, 3) potentially viral transmission of messages. All those things come with strings attached. The “speed” aspect means that conditions change too rapidly to be predicted. Having long term plans is impossible, and any success is transient and can vanish overnight. A tailwind that can take you around the world can also sink your ship.
Remember EZineArticles and eHow? It’s been a while since you’ve heard of those sites, hasn’t it? Back when they were ranking on Google, online marketers would write hundreds of spammy articles for those sites, and use the traffic to drive subscribers to their personal lists. Then Google rolled out Panda in 2011, summarily delisted the article farms, and countless online marketers had their income streams obliterated overnight. I still remember the long night of sorrows on the Warrior Forums. One guy actually ended up destitute and selling his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure collection to survive. No kidding.
2) The internet has less overhead, but that means nobody has much of a motive to make things favourable for you or your company. Paying customers get respect. Tire-kickers get shown the door. Anyone who’s ever lost a social media account understands this. Hell, back in the day you could click a copyright claim button on a Youtube video, the video would get taken down with no questions asked, and it would be up to the VIDEO MAKER to prove their innocence! Maybe it’s still that way, for all I know. Unless you’re the guy writing the checks, you’re a shnook.
Is virality on the internet still a thing? This is a much misunderstood term. Virality implies a classic “R > 1” model where content is passed ad-hoc from user to user, gaining strength as it spreads. This does NOT describe the majority of “viral content” on the internet. The main way content gets spread is by famous people sharing it with their followers (there was a study on this, I think). Your best case scenario isn’t “my content will spread like an unstoppable virus!” Think “Ricky Gervais will share my stuff with his 12 million twitter followers!” Yeah, it’s not virality so much as finding someone with a megaphone to shout about your stuff…just like the traditional media the internet was supposed to replace. New boss! Same as the old boss!
Internet marketing itself is a hat with no rabbit. They promote themselves as freewheeling entrepeneurs, brave mavericks thumbing their nose at the nine to five workaday world. In reality, they’re more like hackers. They lucked their way into a glitch in the Matrix, and have earned a pitiful, transient source of income that might vanish at any time…and that time is now. SEO was a glitch. Glitches get fixed. And if there are a few cockroaches hiding inside them, too bad.
Obviously, IMers have to look like paragons of wealth and success to their followers (“fake it till you make it!”), so I doubt you’ll see many of them admit that their cash flow has disappeared. And it’s safe to say that 90% of “make money on the internet” guides should be retitled “stuff that kinda worked back in 2007”.
The Matrix, unlike Keanu Reeves, hasn’t aged well. It wants to be both timeless and futuristic, but that’s impossible, and now it comes off as steampunk: a comical chiaroscuro of old and new. Hackers who share files using compact discs. People who “jack in” using public phone booths. It’s as if a 1997 college kid and a post-singularity wireheader got into a head-on collision and their possessions got mixed together as they were strewn over the highway.
For a while, people joked that we actually do live in the Matrix, and the dwindling numbers of phone booths means Machine City is finally catching on to our means of escape. Imagine it were so. Imagine being a redpilled human inside the Matrix, and knowing that your only escape rests in your masters leaving the door open. No glorious Colditzian escapes. If you want out of the Matrix, you must rely on the most ignoble method of victory imaginable: the enemy making a mistake.
Welcome to internet marketing, where there are fewer phone booths by the day.
When the internet appeared, so did new opportunities to make money. This was not a goose that laid golden eggs. You need products to sell, or services to sell, and most people have neither. “Get rich quick” will never exist on the internet, and for most people, neither will “get rich slow.” Very few people are capable of functioning as entrepeneurs, online or off, even a matter Even if you have a marketable skill, . Someone selling novelty keychains on eBay might make money, but he’s never going to scale that into “fuck you” money.
But you know what does scale? Infoproducts. Get rich quick. It wasn’t the gold miners who made the money during the Yukon gold rush, it was suppliers, the people who made the shovels, the pickaxes, the dynamite. There was only so much gold in the ground, far less than the number of poor schmucks looking for gold. Likewise, it’s been well known for years that the easiest way to get rich from a self-help book is to write one.
Corporate America’s informercial culture soon invaded the internet, flooding the internet with sales pages for shoddy ebooks promising secrets to fantastic wealth and success. A man called Frank Irwin Kern was one of the early ones: his Instant Internet Empires product cost $47.77, and he promised that buyers could make more than $115,000 a year. How? Well, that’s the trick. You were actually buying the right to re-sell the Instant Internet Empires product. To achieve the promised $115,000 year, you’d have to sell the product to 2,400 people. The third generation of the scheme would need to sell the product to 13,829,760,000 people to each make $115,000. This isn’t a pyramid scheme. It’s a four-dimensional hypertetrahedron.
This stuff has been infesting the internet for years, and it’s as much a part of online mythos as the tone of a dialling modem. It’s the fuel of every sales letter (“Are you SURE you want to close this page and miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime?”), the accelerant of every spam email, the catalyst of every Craigslist Herbalife “job opportunity”. Kern was smacked down with an FTC judgement. He had disciples eager to replace him.
And it’s all a glitch in the Matrix. No more phone booths.
“This comment section is the high-achieving son of Silver Blaze. It’s not as long, but it’s attracting equally crazy people. Hopefully we’ll get some more Nazis showing up, there’s been disappointingly few this time around.
The argument I keep hearing is that we can fix humanity’s problem du jour…by breeding our way out of it.
Essentially, that the Arab world could get back on track by banning cousin marriage, or importing European/Chinese women. That we could make Western women have children again by axing the welfare state (or whatever the argument is. Coherency is a good thing, guys. Clarity of thought, too). I see this idea everywhere on this blog. “Breeding got us into this mess, and breeding will get us out!”
But selection is very slow.
A eugenic solution would take decades or hundreds of years (if it works). Evolution is faster than Gould believed, but it’s absolutely NOT a solution to any short term geopolitical or demographic issue. You might as well propose a solution to the PNG/Indonesia border dispute that relies on continental drift. I don’t plan on living that long. Do you?
Furthermore, where are the examples of planned, controlled eugenics actually working? What cultures in human history have consciously said “hey, we’re selecting ourselves for something bad, let’s turn this around and select for something good…” and succeeded?
Yes, we’ve accidentally selected ourselves for various things. But every attempt I’ve seen to “put chlorine in the gene pool” (as a friend says) has turned into a horrifying clownfuck of a disaster. Egypt’s dynasties wed brother to sister to preserve the royal bloodline – they got King Tut. The Habsburgs let recessive alleles pile up until they looked like Halloween masks. In 1934, Germany’s schizophrenia rate was 2.0 per 1000. The Nazis came to power and sterilized and/or killed nearly every schizophrenic in the country. Forty years later, Germany’s schizophrenia rate was re-tested. 1.5. D’oh!.
I’m able to take a lesson: we are not good at doing this.
A third fly in the ointment: do we really have much time left? I’m not some hardcore lesswrongfag who thinks the Singularity’s five minutes away, but the 10,000 year explosion never stopped happening, and soon accelerating technology (CRSPR/Cas, etc) might make the process of breeding obsolete. There’s no reason to rely on traditional methods for creating smart people. Greg has some ideas here. Or perhaps you want to get on Stephen Hsu’s crazy train. What’s the point of shuffling around recombinant DNA in the hopes lucking into a few IQ points when we could isolate all the variants involved in higher IQ, and then stack the deck? Are we really sure this won’t happen in the next hundred years or so (a paltry 3-4 generations away?)
We spend lots of time kicking around nurturists. Ironically, this might be an area where they have us by the balls. If you want to fix any kind of short term disaster hanging over our heads, it HAS to be through environmental measures. Selection just doesn’t work fast enough.
What if no environmental measures are possible? What if we’re just screwed?
Well, has anyone seen Star Trek: TNG, specifically “The Lower Decks”? Worf challenges Sito Jaxa to pass an ancient Klingon test. He blindfolds her, and they spar. She gropes in the dark, while he pummels her defenseless body. It’s hopeless. How can you fight a person you can’t see?
Eventually, Sito gets frustrated, pulls off the blindfold, and refuses to fight any more. Worf tells her she’s passed the test.”
At their best, O&A had a sense of nastiness and cruelty that was cathartic. Opie once said that he didn’t give a fuck if guests on the show cried, all he cared about was the ticking clock on the wall. He had to fill four hours per day with funny material, and if you weren’t entertaining, he’d make you entertaining, god save your soul. Countless guests fell prey to that clock. They’d screw up, get slow and boring, and then the knives would come out. Whether you were a Hollywood A-lister or a no-name author with a book to promote, Opie and Anthony had one law. “Bring us food, or become food yourself.”
…But that was at their peak (2005). In 1997, they were mostly doing stupid fucking hack (they themselves admit it. As they grew more sophisticated, they spent a lot of hours riffing on their WAAF era). “100 Grand” pretty much sets the tone. An eye-rollingly fake prank call where they trick some guy into thinking he won $100,000. The big reveal: he actually won a 100 Grand candy bar. Hahaha! KERR-RAY-ZEE!!!
Sometimes its nostalgic, in a rotary telephone kind of way. This kind of radio was almost like the internet before there was an internet: sliced-up, rapidly consumable “content kibble” that can be enjoyed with little thought or effort. Sometimes its just embarassing and cringeworthy. All you can say about early O&A is that, by the standards of the time, they were not an exceptionally bad radio show.
Let’s talk about the term “shock jock”. In computer programming, it’s usually bad practice to name files “new” or “latest”. The code will eventually become obsolete, you’ll probably forget to change the name, and soon you’ll have a file called LATEST-NEW-UPDATED25314.c that was created during the K-T extinction event and has been replaced ten times.
Likewise, it’s probably a bad idea to call yourself “shocking”. The waterline of shock rises higher each year, and a person raised on the internet will only be “shocked” to the extent that this stuff was once considered edgy. Prank calls. Parody songs. Bra bombing. How old would you have to be to find this stuff offensive? Are there even that many years on a calendar?
Opie’s voice is disturbingly different – he sounds like he’s been huffing helium. Anthony is far quicker and more energetic than he is now – firing off lines like rabbit punches instead of drawling them out. This is years before meaty-breasted third mic Jim Norton entered the picture, and you really feel his absence. All those little pauses really cry to have Jim filling them with lines.
It’s fascinating relic for the hardcore O&A fan. But honestly, nearly everything O&A did in their “classic” period is unlistenable in 2016. Partly it’s the lack of Jim. Partly it’s the FCC’s jackboot on their neck (this stuff should be way filthier than it is). Mostly it’s just that 1997 was twenty years ago, and that zany 90s vibe now seem like transmissions from a distant planet.
Although a modern day O&A fan will hardly recognise the b-b-boys, it’s an interesting look back at the days when radio was ruled by Howard Stern. Speaking of obsolete terms, here’s another one…”the king of all media.”
“Back in the year 960, Christian missionaries invaded Scandinavia and threatened the Vikings: if you persist in your pagan customs you will end up in hell where eternal fires burn. The Vikings welcomed the good news. They trembled from cold, not fear.” – Eduardo Galeano
“They proved that if you quit smoking, it will prolong your life. What they haven’t proved is that a prolonged life is a good thing” – Bill Hicks
“Secondly, what unites the liberals attempting to demonise Bruenig – Sady Doyle, Joshua Foust, Jordan Kay, and others you’re probably very lucky to have never heard of – is their total uselessness at good, vicious political invective. It’s just not their natural terrain. […] Case in point is Doyle, who once wrote that ‘trying to parse Hillary Clinton without also parsing Hillary hate is like trying to drink water without touching the glass,’ apparently having never heard of the popular invention known as a ‘straw.’” – Sam Kriss
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” – Adam Smith
“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.” – Adam Smith
“Fascism no longer exists. It’s as dead as Odinism. You can reinvent Odinism, but it’s not Odinism, it’s fake Odinism. Unless it’s a joke (and don’t get me wrong, Nazi Microsoft chatbots are funny), it’s pathetic. Actually, the fact that /pol has made Hitler funny is the best possible evidence that Hitler is completely dead. What’s alive is the ideological system that defeated fascism — which committed plenty of atrocities of its own. Of our own. When we think about crimes from the last century, it seems more relevant to think about the crimes we committed, not those they committed.” – Curtis Yarvin/Mencius Moldbug
“No Vietcong ever called me a nigger.” – Muhammad Ali
“Space echoes like an immense tomb, yet the stars still burn. Why does the sun take so long to die?” – Nick Land
April 22 1993. The 37th President of the United State, Richard Milhous Nixon, passed away. He was carried by motorcade to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, was then buried Yorba Linda, a suburban city in Orange County, California. You might be thinking this is boring and useless information. You’re right. It is.
What’s interesting is that he was buried within a few feet of the place he was born, giving his life an almost palindromic quality. From birth to death, his planetary displacement was almost zero.
“Almost palindromic” describes many things about Nixon. His surname isn’t a palindrome, but it clearly wants to be. Five letters. An N at beginning and end. A pivotal X in the middle. Vowels in the spaces between. “Nixon” means “Son of Nicholas”, and “Nicholas” contracts to “Nick”, evocative of how “Richard” contracts to “Rick.”
He was born on January 1913. If he’d been born a few months later or died a few months earlier, he would have been exactly eighty years old. Eighty is a nice, symmetrical number, easy to derive as a product and palindromic in base 3(22223), 6(2126), and 9 (889.)
The situation is almost poetic, which is to say, it’s truly and deeply aggravating. I can handle the universe not making sense. What I can’t handle is when the universe almost makes sense…and then doesn’t. It’s as infuriating as a basketball shot that scrapes the rim and misses.
Imagine a more poetic and elegant universe, where Nixon/Noxin’s life truly was a palindrome: the second half a reversal of the first half.
Let’s call 1952 the midway point. Nixon was suffering the first major scandal of his career: an investigation on the misuse of Republican party funds. He looked uncomfortable, and guilty. Some women have resting bitch face. Nixon had resting guilt face. The poor guy could have said “I’m the devil” and make everyone wonder what he was really hiding.
During the speech, he told an awkward anecdote about a black-and-white dog called Checkers.
In my universe, Nixon closes those guilty eyes, the universe crunches and inverts like the X in his name…and Noxin opens them. And begins to talk.
“…As it happens, I also own a white-and-black cat called Chess.”
From there, the rest of his life plays out like falling dominoes. Or perhaps someone re-setting dominoes that have already fallen.
1954: expelled from the US Senate.
1960: fails to win California’s 12th congressional district against a Democrat challenger. Tragically loses his daughter in an unexplained accident. Noxin feels nothing. Whatever grief a man would normally feel is expressed only in negatives.
1960: returns to military service in the US Navy.
1962: War. Massive US deployment of soldiers in Vietnam. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs – the United States enters DEFCON 2. Noxin is now part of a new form of war: one that might see nobody surviving to be a winner or a loser – a war fought by the hawks of plutonium and uranium, with humanity as their inept and feeble falconer.
1965: The Tet Offensive overruns key US positions. Vietnamization is failing, and detente is no longer possible. Behind the Iron Curtain, the USSR marshalls its strength like Zeus gathering up thunderbolts.
1966: While overseas, Noxin realises that his wife Pat has left him. He doesn’t understand why, but he also doesn’t understand why he married in the first place. It seems like something that happened to a different person.
1968: all storms break. Europe is under attack. The nukes start to fly. Noxin serves, until the point where he doesn’t. He doesn’t need to see Germany or Poland get taken, added to the Soviet urheimat. He wants to see the rot take hold in his own country. He arranges an honorable discharge, and returns to law.
1973: Noxin watches as the US implodes inwards. This is fundamentally satisfying for him. The stock market crashes. Nuclear fallout terminates the bread basket forever.
1993: Noxin returns to his place of birth, his life a blind-ended worm: no differentiation possible between one end or the other. Then he’s buried in Yorba Linda. The last men of the United States shovel irradiated dirt into this second womb.
This is a 24,000 word horror novella about a morbid fascination: self-help.
It’s one of the 21st century’s phenomenons. It’s corruptible linguistically. One letter away from “sell-help”. Another letter away from “self-hell”. It’s corruptible in other ways, too. Scientology. James Arthur Ray. Jonestown. History is full of charismatic sociopaths with the solution to all your problems, so long as those problems are a heavy wallet, your sanity, and your life.
This book takes that idea, turns the dial to 11, and tears it off. Review copies are available. Hit me up at mail @ this website URL, with “Gateless Gate, Skyless Sky” as the subject line.
“…Welcome to the program, Mr Zhang.”
What would you do to change your life?
What if you said ‘anything’…and meant it?
Jiro Zhang is a small-time criminal, steadily circling the drain. Then he meets Makassar, psychologist and founder of the Gateless Gate, Skyless Sky method.
This method is like nothing that has ever existed before. Its techniques are terrifying, illegal, and perhaps deadly. It can cure you of anything, even your humanity. It’s Zen Buddhism on steroids, crack cocaine, and Zyklon B. Jiro just has to sign the dotted line.
Under the guidance of the sinister Makassar, Jiro will walk a path to the edge of sanity, and then far, far beyond. He’s on the ultimate self-help journey…but he might look inside and find there’s no “self” left at the end.
Gateless Gate is a horror novella that mixes Buddhism, transhumanism, and ultra-violence. It’s the tale of a man who tears out the darkness in his soul and replaces it with something a thousand shades blacker.