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No

Fuck yourself, anyone and everyone affiliated with this article and who identifies with it. In absolutely no way do not misunderstand how much I mean, Go fuck yourself to the highest, and most immense extent. Go. Fuck. Yourselves.

I’ve long been observing the trite bullshit hipster asshole shitheads that use the concept of sobriety as some kind of lifestyle mechanism, some addition to the consumer-based wave of identity politics in the mass of self-marketing that is our modern age. It’s bad enough Netflix and Hulu promote the concept of Binging as a good fucking thing. Now we have this bullshit.

You won’t find me at an AA meeting but you may find me at a bar here and there, you will see me struggle with a legitimate problem. What you won’t see me is trying to fucking capitalize on it. This is the point where the people who have appropriated all culture start to take on the concept of addiction as a notional province to excuse their actual affiliation with consumption. This is where capitalism lets people who don’t understand what it means to constantly fight between a drink and what is right get away with feeling self-righteous for some fucking social media likes.

You fucking people make me sick.

00:30 / 16 June 2019
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Industry Everything

I’m finding the websites I visit to be a smaller circle—primarily artists, writers. Only really the New Yorker for American news. the Baffler is another.

The simple act of browsing the internet has become tiresome. Everything is an industry, and reading about it is incredibly stressful. How America has consumed the very nature of living, compartmentalized it to measurable units that can be somehow marketed and exchanged, commercialized and moved on from. Every action feels like something is being taken—which, in many ways, is true. The tracking, the data processing, the inevitability that Apple, Amazon and the NSA are all probably harping on every keystroke, every link. Everything.

Very little remains tolerable about American culture; I don’t think there’s anything left that could be considered a source of pride. To know with death will come a profitable news cycle and no actual change: we can see the future. It will not get any better.

It’s a difficult time to be a person. To feel alive.

18:00 / 2 June 2019
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Day 36

Montmarte

… gazing at Bedroom in Arles at d’Orsay, feeling a present and increasing connection to Vincent.

I have always been conscious of my age against my Progress As An Artist; I’ve tended to choose living over focusing on craft because of my uneasy nature toward growing up in America—how the influences of What You Do and Who You Are and How We Will See Your Value As The Intersection Of Those Concepts (As They Relate To Profit). I was told, time and again, With talent like that, you could really make money (or something of the like)—well aware that this was neither the point nor my goal. Yet still it clouded my judgment, ideas and decisions with a constant intoxication.1

Yet in Paris, I feel drawn to return to working on art at the breakneck pace I taught myself with. Not out of any ambition for personal achievement but for that of recognizing history, the power and necessity of Art. the corrosive nature of capitalism in the Art World is grotesque in its most mild forms,2 and I’m beginning to wonder if half the battle of creating in America is simply trying to imagine you aren’t fucking there anymore.

It’s tiresome to constantly take into consideration the American Empire and its stake in disaffecting the people of the world to the potential of one another based on the profit they incur from their labors, to have that affect my art… while I know I shouldn’t let it, I do also believe it is the job of modern artists to do everything they can to reject capitalism and every aspect of its nature, up to and including the monetary benefits that may come with creative talent.3 Together, friends, to the barricades again.

      Notes
  • thus monetary self-sabotage generally feels like an act of greater rebellion than one of self-destruction: the idea being that using life as a rejection of systemic injustice is as great a piece of art as i could ever hope to make. that influence may never go noticed, maybe it will, but it’s all i can do
  • I find that the recent overlap of the Met Gala and Eurovision are a solid example of this: both are examples of capitalism influencing art, but while the Gala’s theme was “Camp,” it was mostly examples of austerity, self-congratulation and selling out to luxury and opulence by people that had already sold out to mainstream corporate entertainment. Eurovision would be considered embarrassing to them, because it is camp; stupid and over-the-top, ridiculous tongue-in-cheek entertainment. There is a stark difference that America is too simultaneously self-conscious and greedy to accept, but they’ll certainly try
  • (while also wholly recognizing this is the world and we all have to pay rent, which is why we should occupy warehouses and paint on discards and sliding scale free-to-if-you-work-in-San-Francisco-you-pay-everything for shows and basically any measures to fight against these conceptual cancers

00:00 / 22 May 2019
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Day 34

Paris remains impossible, breathtaking. In an age when the ideas of cultural identity and physical migration and the money and power involved in both are up for debate, France seems to be the existential epicenter. Not without its historical failings concerning colonialism—while featuring overwhelming takes of revolution—modern-day France feels like the split of a glacier: one side holding on to its roots in the world, the other ready to drift off to sea, both likely melting under the heated failure of human decision.

Last year I spent a weekend with Nick in Bordeaux and at dinner one night, sitting outside on a main street, I said France is why I believe in leftist/social and communal politics. Yes, parts are about workers being paid fairly, but another part is the deeper cultural ramifications of such ideologies. When you live in a society whose nature is to be at peace with one another, the very act of going out to dinner feels different than when you live in one which tells you to compete with one another.

I have many friends in the service industry. I have great respect and admiration for the thankless jobs they perform. But the amount of times I’ve heard them bitch about someone sitting too long at the bar without ordering a drink, or sitting too long at a table after finishing food—this isn’t a slight against them, but it is what they’ve learned to react. That the goal is not actually to serve, but to turn the table. Make the money. The experience is not about the patron but about the owner of the business.

I thought about this as I sat and had my morning coffee and croissant today. I wasn’t rushed out or scolded for not ordering a full meal. Many were there before I arrived at the cafe and were still there by the time I left. That’s beyond substantial as a human feeling. Capitalism gives servers authority over who they serve, only when it comes to if the patron is contributing enough to the system of wealth, regardless of how poorly the server may be treated. To be free of that, even as that patron, is an overwhelming relief, temporary as it may be.

23:00 / 19 May 2019
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Options

In elementary school, I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts. It was like most towns west of Worcester: semi-rural, familiar, broke. Main street consisted of a video rental store, a pizza shop, a barber, and a rotating cast of failed businesses. My mom and I moved back to Alaska after I finished sixth grade—sometime in the mid-90s—and soon thereafter, a Wal-Mart moved in.

The last time I was back east visiting my best friend—we met in the third grade in said town and have remained in touch since—I asked how it was. His family still lives there and he visits occasionally. “Still about the same,” was his reply. I asked if the broken glass in the doorway of an abandoned brick building at the corner of the main intersection had ever been cleared up (I’m pretty sure that window is still broken, and has been since 1990). I asked if the Wal-Mart was still there.

“Of course,” he said. “I don’t know what would happen to the town if that closed. It’d probably collapse. Nobody would have a job.”

The Wal-Mart in Orange, Massachusetts is like one in many small towns in America: it provides for as much of the employment opportunities as it does the goods available to the public. People get their paycheck from the Wal-Mart and then spend it at the Wal-Mart in an absolutely vicious cycle of commercial domination. People can’t shop elsewhere because there are no other places to shop; people can’t start a business to provide an alternative because Wal-Mart would easily be able to price them out. The people have no options. The people are subject to the company, and the company has a reliable bottom line because the meager paychecks they dole out will inevitably, at some percentage, return as profit.

Alabama Mississippi Misery

I think about the Wal-Mart when I read about the abhorrent new anti-abortion laws in the South. Some will argue these are about controlling women. Some will say it’s about getting Roe v Wade overturned. Some will say it’s about the extreme right-wing enforcing their values. Like talking about the various ways a Wal-Mart will damage a community and its potential offerings, none of these opinions are wrong. They just don’t get to the nature of the problem.

For all the rhetoric, the laws against abortion are not based in values, culture, religion, choice or freedom. Like everything else in America, their motivation is profit.

Denying women access to an abortion ensures a greater chance of a child born in to poverty—especially in the South. This child will have to overcome immense odds to attain anything in America. Even if the child were to excel in a failing education system and get to college, the price of higher education means that child, now an adult, will be straddled with debt for decades to come. They’ll have to get a job and pay the bank, pay the rent, pay for food. One way or another, they’ll pay.1

And then there are the litany of other circumstances this child will possibly grow up in to: Working in service, becoming one of a world-leading prison population, struggling on stagnant wages. One way or another, this child is a future contribution to the profits of the same types of men who run and fund the government passing these laws.

Capitalism Is Organized Crime

Make no mistake: These laws are not about anything other than perpetuating a debt-oriented state where controlling the options of people guarantees, in some form or another, a margin of profit. They will use gender-based prejudice to keep the narrative about left versus right, feminism, the ‘radical left’ and ‘family values.’ The talking points will only be there to keep a frustrated narrative afloat in the media while people in need will be offered none.2

The men—and women—who engage in the creation and enaction of these laws are modern tyrants, thieves, and as close as one can get to a slave-owner while still being a public figure. They are rapists and pillagers of the village. They do not deserve an equal say, they do not deserve their power, they do not deserve respect in the least bit. They lack dignity, honor, empathy, and humanity; but they rely on a society driven by a media-based narrative cycle that keeps their lives relatively consequence free.

This cycle of bullshit in America that is allowing for the rise of fascism relies on the inaction of people to fight back for their rights. The obvious way to do this would be through capital—the true heart of these motivations—in denying support to major corporations that contribute to and fuel the corruption of politics. However one can’t shop locally, abandon corporate chains and forge community if the only place to shop in town is the motherfucking Wal-Mart, owned or run by the same people telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

      Notes
  • This is only considering the child, too—the cost of raising that kid creates an economic boom while making sure the parents/family have limited options with their finances beyond putting it all back into private companies profiting from this circumstance.
  • The complicity of major media organizations in this, and subsequently the ‘journalists’ and talking heads who provide for commentary, is nearly criminal in and of itself. These people should be walking off the fucking set, the control room should be ending the broadcast, the engineers should blow up the servers.

11:30 / 17 May 2019
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The Cycle Continues

it used to be that the phrase Imagine Going Back In Time referred to things like showing a jet engine to a caveman; then it was an iPhone to someone in the ’20s. Then it’s something like Trump giving Tiger Woods the Medal of Freedom to someone from 10 years ago.

Now the curve of world-altering difference is nearly immediate. I lose the internet for 24 hours and women are basically illegal in The South1 and people who make their money being professionally outraged are complaining about the NBA lottery because of market share2 and the New York Times is headlining a war with Iran because the last time they started doing this ended so well.3

For being so dumbstruck by Trump during the 2016 election, the media has certainly adopted his full-throated, clickbait-motivated way of doing business. It’s like nobody really wanted to talk about what happened in 2016 because of the collusion between publishing news and advertising revenue, and so the root of the problem is still festering away. Everybody is still going crazy and each day that passes seems like the only way to not get consumed by rage is to ignore the news entirely. We’re all basically Bruce Willis at the end of Die Hard 3 trying to escape the flood.

      Notes
  • I don’t care if it’s following Alyssa Milano or giving women bus tickets out of the south like they were homeless in San Francisco. This shit is abhorrent and something needs to be done, because pretty soon this will be at the Supreme Court and a couple rapists are going to tell women to fuck off once again.
  • Not that basketball or where Zion Williamson plays matters in the least compared to what else is going on in the world, however the discussions about him opting out of the NBA draft because he won’t play in a major market is yet more evidence that money ruins sports. These vultures who make money solely off of basketball care more about his TV time—not for him as a player, not the potential of the Pelicans with him and Anthony Davis, or aspiring professional athlete, but because of its potential advertising revenue were he to be in New York or Los Angeles—than they do the sport itself. These fucking people make me sick.
  • Ha ha just joking it never ended, fuck Judy Miller

09:00 / 16 May 2019
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Private Capital to
Captain Bullshit

Jeff Bezos wants to go to the moon. Let’s fucking send him there and leave him.

Billions of dollars pour into rebuilding Notre Dame—even though the Vatican has probably spent more than that on covering up church scandals. Elon Musk and Bezos and Branson working to put the rich in orbit while the poor are suffering, starving, increasing in numbers.

I just can’t read the news anymore. These are not the men who will build a Great Future for Humankind. They’re building Planet Starbucks. They’re the ones that lead to The First Order, not the United Federation of Planets. Our future is so tragic because our present is so obvious.

10:00 / 10 May 2019
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Celine Dion Sings Love Songs While Our Cities Burn

Articles like this one trying to explain a century of culture war with only one sentence regarding class are so disheartening.1

The leftists resent their distractions from a class-based political agenda.

For one thing, all political agendas are class-based, and you’re an idiot if you think otherwise. The entire function of government is to consolidate and re-distribute resources for the hopeful betterment of society. Yet “class-based” is a really easy way of dismissing an entire swath of the critique on American—shit, global—politics without needing to actually discuss economics.

The entirety of this culture war is class-based, because the motivations of the wealthy and powerful are to keep the underclass divided, fighting over meager rations while hoarding most for themselves. This is, and has been, done in rather obvious ways: First is propagating racism and sexism because skin color and gender are the easiest and most immediate identifiers. Next is more personal, in things like sexual orientation and public appearance. Lastly would be the existential or ideological—which are much easier targets to hit the more available media consumption becomes.

Any biased -ism is learned through time, likely from childhood. But the roots of that discrimination is generally in power trying to maintain itself: slavery has always been the fuel for capitalism’s economic firepower. It still is.2 Racism may have been handed down for generations through the south, but it was so ardently defended because it was lucrative. The history of violence originated with one tribe fighting another: it evolved by the victor pushing how—and how much—they could profit from it.

Underneath

The culture war escalated with each generation of media, and this is where McCarthy, Nixon, Reagan and subsequently Roger Ailes come in to play. The entire foundation of American mainstream culture in the era of electronic media was run through a society that leaned to the right. The left-versus-right dialogue evolved from an anti-communist era, where capitalism went unquestioned and, especially after ’87, ruled as the primary example of American Greatness. That narrative could be pushed because of the white men who owned—and still own—most broadcast information.

Culture was used as a tool to propagate singular ideas about America, ones that resonate with the current administration: White faces, white picket fences. All the meanwhile, white profits. The whitewashing of culture was key in continuing a psychology of division. This division continues today, as do the profits for a select few white individuals because of it.

Racism—well, any sort of discrimination—is as awful as it is ancient. Yet it is not impossible to overcome. People of different races co-exist in the upper class. Race is one of many differences between people used by those at the top tier to provide a channel for the anger and resentment the rest of us feel at the great, and obvious, inequality in global wealth.

The Surface

The reason social justice warriors are maligned is because they’re reactionaries who often only look at an immediate, surface-value issue and don’t offer any substantive content to the discourse. They’re good at writing headlines but not at 10,000-word investigative reporting.3 Of course they’ll get pissed off at this:

Gingrich is a politician but also a novelist. In his serialized historical fiction about the Civil War, Gingrich reimagines Robert E. Lee as an abolitionist. He now does so, in all seriousness, on The View, though he struggles to get the words out. “Are we going to say if you were somebody who thought Robert E. Lee was a decent person, which would be a high percentage of white Virginians … Now you’re going to say everybody in the South who thinks anybody is a reasonable person is, you know …”

Gingrich is a tool, but he’s no idiot. He’s provoking a reaction because he wants his name in articles like this. The more his name is out there, the better chance he has at selling books. That’s the motivation. Sales lead to profit lead to influence lead to power. It’s capitalism. It’s capitalism. It’s capitalism you fucking fucks.

      Notes
  • ‘Disheartening’ being polite for ‘I just woke up and this has to be one of the laziest fucking takes I’ve read all day’
  • Are overworked, underpaid workers ‘slaves’? Not nearly as much as they were in the 1800s, or how much they are in foreign countries without labor laws. However if you not only can’t afford to live from your work and are constantly terrified by a profiteering healthcare system, economic injustice and its subsequent fears govern your life and reduce your ability to choose basically anything except for consumer purchases. Yes it’s a step above 40 lashes, but it’s also 150 years later.
  • Making them literally perfect for the clickbait/social media economy.

10:00 / 2 May 2019
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Kiss The Bottle

I don’t often write much about addiction because of how my personal views and experiences drastically differ from the common American concepts. Also, being on day 139 of not drinking, I don’t really have anything positive to say about sobriety.1 If anything—this now being my third major stint without a bottle in my life—every time I sober up long enough to look at the world, the disgusting hypocrisy I see surrounding the entire concept of addiction takes all of my willpower to not just go to the local pub and grab a shot of anything. (That, and have you actually read the news lately? There’s very little reason for self-preservation.)

I’ve known plenty of drunks, stoners and addicts in my time. Some even to the extent I was/am—functional enough to keep a constant grasp on a flask and still somehow exist in society without too much damage done or incurred. Within that crowd is always the same dialogue buzzing overhead; I really need to quit. And American society generally agrees.2

As I’m not a big social media user, I didn’t know about the #nospend trend until I read about it. This is the type of thing that really gets to me as an addict: these people are just as bad in terms of the actual concept of addiction.

It’s About Substance

I’ve known men who lurk on Instagram all day and women who can’t go three minutes without refreshing Facebook. I know people who would freak the fuck out if they lost a connectivity signal for more than a couple. Who own four iPhones just because. I know people who have racked up five-figure credit card debt for no reason other than to fill the time with shopping. It isn’t that they are any better or worse than me when I would sit at the end of a dark bar for days. It’s that to America and its social narrative, there is a stark difference.

To America, the alcoholic is a danger,3 a scourge, while the nonstop technology consumer is an Early Adopter. To America, the addict is a problem to be jailed or pushed away while the person shopping on Facebook all day is a Patriotic Consumer, a standard of the Millennial Culture.

My point with all of this is that I’ve known people who can down two bottles of wine for lunch and still work 10 hours a day and contribute to society.4 While for the most part, any addiction is detrimental to the individual, those who are always on their iPhones or getting Amazon packages delivered contribute to these massive corporations that fuel the economy—and specifically line the pockets of the true influencers who have actual power. In no way will you find a mainstream narrative demonizing their actions, regardless of how they may be destructive to people as individuals: they’re making the rich richer.

Call It What You Will

We live in a time of mass inequality, global chaos, cultural depravity and social decay. People want an escape. Some see plotless, bullshit movies. Some drink a bottle of vodka. Some play video games. Some sleep with strangers. Some buy shoes. Some hound social media. Some smoke pot. Some have Amazon on speed dial. Some re-watch the same television shows.5 Some do whatever it takes for more followers. Internally, it’s all chemistry: a release, a way to feel relief from the incomprehensible tragedy known as real life.

There is a worthwhile conversation to be had about addiction—especially in the time of an opioid crisis that was created to profit a select few6—but you can’t fucking convince me that my friends back at the bar are somehow more a problem than the teenage girl who influences millions of followers to contribute mindlessly to an economy of conspicuous consumption, vanity and greed that is perpetually proven to do nothing but harm to a majority of the world.7

What I would pose is that the heads of major corporations use the power of advertising and media monopolization to exploit the fact most people need at least something of a vice; and then these sociopaths at the top use our human nature to divide us all in how we try and get through the day with the perpetuation of social judgments and common fears of the unknown to vilify some, exalt others, and finally profit for themselves. And that is the true danger to society; they are the actual villains. A vice is a choice that may harm the self; those fuckers choose to harm others for their own benefit.

      Notes
  • The lack of hangovers are nice, especially given once 30 hits they get worse. However the boredom is quickly consumed by other bullshit I enjoy far less (digital games, bad television; absent-minded screen time in general) and in the end seems equally detrimental to the human brain. It’s just a different kind of destruction.
  • Alcoholics are constantly vilified in mainstream American culture, because the trait is commonly associated with a way to give a character a negative slant. Whatever; it’s not that a drunk asshole isn’t an asshole when they’re sober. They’re just better at lying.
  • One of the great dangers of alcoholics is drunk driving. Well, so the fuck is texting while driving. I’m not saying either is acceptable—but if the qualifications for alcoholism being a negative social attribute are the danger it can incur to others, why the fuck are social media obsessives off the hook? (this is a rhetorical question)
  • I was one of them.
  • As if there needed to be any more obvious qualifier, Binge is a term that is now not only widely accepted but encouraged behavior because of who benefits; another indication of the importance of common language and that what we call something truly matters
  • Let’s also not forget the whole history of the US Government and its involvement with illegal drugs for the purposes of oppression.
  • And I’m not saying the girl who probably doesn’t know any better should be blamed, either: it’s that the invisible systems, the American narrative, about what is good and what is bad are so warped toward the goals of capitalism and consumption that it is meant to channel people into addictions that will be the most profitable for the fewest at the top.

16:00 / 30 April 2019
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Day 10

(though I knew that the AP style calls for writing numbers over nine out numerically, I double-checked anyway, and then proceeded to nerd out on grammar rules for it all. i am great at parties, obviously.)

my work right now consists of a web redesign and light branding efforts, of which the finals will be posted in portfolios eventually, but at least today I had some fun in drawing out some floral patterns and testing color palettes—

—it is interesting being in Palma. for a few years I lived in Ketchikan, Alaska—another island-based tourist town—so i have plenty of experience with how these places work and what cultural showcases are a put-on versus what are actual. however here it’s interesting due to the fact it’s additionally a tourist destination for the ultra-wealthy. while Alaska may have seen a yacht or two occasionally, this weekend there’s an entire showcase for the rich to show off or purchase boats.

so i find myself walking around listening to the new La Dispute, lost and feeling as if I’m on an observation deck, relating to but not a part of the communities overthrown by the influx of wealth, the artists on the street trying to sell their work for pennies on the dollar, a necessity of living that also contributes to the continuation of this imbalance. if the world were to ever be a good and just place, it would be places like this that would be a showcase of what that looks like—where beauty would be for all, shared, and not simply for the few who could buy it

00:15 / 26 April 2019
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Clear History

(even though this web site has operated with a blog—in some form or another—since 1999, it has undergone semi-annual design changes and annual database dumps throughout the years. thus, the "Archive" is actually only evidence of what has not yet been deleted.)