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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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Day 52

“They put the scissors in your head”

sentiments reflecting The Current Age of Paranoia and Systemic Monitoring by Agencies Both State and Private—common lunchtime talk. it is, to say the least, a statement of our times that such can occur. although I suppose these things happen, that people always believe they are at the end of the world.

(we, however, may truly be)

I am finding calm in the loveseat in my room, perfectly sized for me. I am worrying less about worrying too much. I’ve been considering lately that my transient nature has always felt too much like a boomerang, that my flight has always been magnetized to the sullen lead that is the heart of America. if it lacks honesty, ambition can be a sickness that stops the flow of blood.

there is still time.

23:00 / 6 June 2019
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Day 51

as Trump is in the area, discussions over lunch roamed toward the United States and England, eventually settling on Brexit. I brought up the recent murmurs of reunification between Ireland and the North—to which one reply was hilariously, “it would never happen, they wouldn’t vote for it. It’s a foolish idea, probably a Protestant came up with it.”

I’ve dealt with ridiculous religious affiliation before, most of which was in the American south, but spots of evangelists exist everywhere. It’s just incredible that it doesn’t seem to matter where in the world I’m at—division remains present of one sort or another.

(later I would hear four old folks from North Ireland talking about how much they love Trump, so maybe everything really is fucked)

07:00 / 6 June 2019
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Televised History

the recent television mini-series Chernobyl was good. It was on par with other fantastic HBO miniseries, like Generation Kill. yet it is another example of how people tend to be gravitating toward “learning” history through television shows and movies; the abundance of biopics and Based On A True Story entertainment provides ample evidence for this.

This is a moment of grotesque collusion between available data, endless criticism and a desperate need to create stories people want to read. A highly-rated television show provides just that, as anyone on the internet would have been supersaturated with articles regarding Game of Thrones over the past six months. Once again, mainstream American culture is fascinated with itself beyond the point of reason, ignorant to its own idiocy.

Chernobyl is being lauded for its high score on IMDB, but as The New Yorker points out, there are a varying degree of inaccuracies that border on egregious in its storytelling. This is dangerous because of how closely accurate some of the representation of the Soviet Union is: it makes the rest of the narrative seem additionally factual. in the end, though, it’s television.

What will be distressing is that, especially as digital media supplants books as the standard of information, the future of history may involve these fictitious tales. The television show Chernobyl featured a primary character—the ‘truth-telling’ scientist played by Emily Watson—who did not exist and was only revealed to be a complete invention as the final credits were rolling.

It’s an incredibly distressing time, when our stories are simply reimaginings of tragedy, often revised to suit one narrative or another; especially on this anniversary of Tienamen Square, so many western outlets are (rightfully) talking about the abhorrent Chinese censorship of the event. Yet America has just as a substantial ethic toward revisionist history, and to accept “Premier TV” as accurate because of costume design but not content is a dangerous practice that too many seem eager to adopt.

14:30 / 5 June 2019
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Day 49

I don’t know what it is, if it’s a particular Irish thing or maybe just this town, but I have yet to experience a day where I don’t come across somebody sitting in their car while I walk about. In the lot by the grocery store, the art gallery, on the harbor, even on the street: people sitting in their car. Some tapping away on their phone. Some just sitting, not even with the engine running. Just there.

There are plenty of surreal little quirks to small towns in general, but in a foreign country they become off the target of an endearing cultural mannerism and more a question mark—the fuck is really going on here?—and if it didn’t happen with such frequent consistency I would have disregarded it already. But really it’s every day.

I have three-day weekends here, and have been using them to practice taking time. It’s incredible, the amount of unease I feel whenever I am not actively producing something. Part of it may be my nature in simply wanting to create, but there’s a substantial American aspect to which my social upbringing says that the time of my life must be earned. That moments, that conversations, that choices must be part of a timeline that can be classified and monetized. That productivity is paramount, above all else, and that production must benefit a certain type of system.

(This is all sorts of troubling, but, one day at a time, I will break this down.)

23:00 / 3 June 2019
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Day 45

the most difficult part of travel is to hear the collected tales of survivors of empirical tyranny. the plights and in-fighting, the civil wars, the death, and in the end, it’s all for the sake of empire, for the collected prosperity of a few.

it is the misdirected anger in this world that makes violence so depressing and inconceivable. in a just and balanced world, violence would be the last necessary step to maintain equality from those who would create a terrible system for their own benefit; a system like we have now.

i would find myself eager for violence if i didn’t know that any of what is to come would be guns aiming in the wrong direction, dividing the wrong people; there are true scum on this earth and they wear tailored suits and control advertising agencies and hold diversified stock portfolios.

there is no god so they will not be awaiting hell, but all i can find solace in now is that they and their children will one day all die.

00:00 / 31 May 2019
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repeater

(a machine wheezes in patterns, a repetition of bursts in high-frequency, inaudible to some, yet i hear it like a wail or a cry. morse code, some code. giving another sense of life to the obviously lifeless. we all care far too much for devices.)

a Person will always care for themselves before another, and madness will always take precedence against the despair their neighbor. a cup of coffee vibrates to a breeze on-screen, projecting an image of a place i’ve never been but a scene i’ve seen a million times already.

a flame dances slowly through its floor of wax. everything is in place to pass the time by without ceremony or a sense of desire. my American nature wants to call it waste—

the air in Ireland is fresh, clean; unsullied by the damning individualism and selfish desires so present across the United States. we talk of humanist values, pacifism, cooking, and the British. the conversation occasionally turns to these Empires; the resigned laughter of a room unable to change such a stain on the world is the true sound of our time.

A question from across the room, a language I don’t understand, but it’s nothing of consequence, this much I know

12:00 / 30 May 2019
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Disarray

Mike sat at the end of the table. He finished his plates quickly, sitting cross-armed but not dissatisfied. His conversation tone was soft, his demeanor pleasant. He’s a generation my senior, a smaller frame with a collared shirt, bald head and trimmed gray hair. During a quick break in serving, I sat next to him, mopping up a bowl of soup with some bread and tried explaining the complex and depressing nature of what it means to be an American these days.

By this point, I have a few talking points that I use to cover the general American disarray when talking with foreigners. That the television set went from an ownership rate of 10,000 in 1941 to 99% by 1998—and media is the one language everyone in the country speaks. That the two-party system is a design of control and not democracy. That the Cold War and subsequent embrace of capitalism has created a cancer that reaches beyond political influence and into the very mindset of how Americans operate socially. That the Bush years were far more destructive to the world than the Trump years. That Obama was hardly anything good, and more a signifier that any sense of leftist politics in America were the true enemy of the state. That America is, by all accounts and purposes, a right-wing country.

“You know I’ve been following Noam Chomsky, since just after the Vietnam War, and he’s the one that got me on that,” Mike replies. “And you Americans, you think you’re the best country in the world, but it’s an issue of deep education, where if you can’t see how your country exists in the world, if you can’t recognize the global impact of what you do, and who you are… I mean, how can you even govern yourselves?”

That’s the thing about talking with foreigners. I always end up agreeing with them. Put me in a room with ten Americans and there’s like a five percent chance I’ll see eye to eye with any of them. But the rest of the world, their view, is always somehow spot-fucking-on. It’s not a good look (for Americans, at least).

We continued our chat for another few minutes before I had to get back to work. We shook hands and said we’d continue it next time we saw each other. It’s a thing that happens, when having a conversation can be both such a satisfying relief, a feeling of camaraderie, but equally depressing in its nature: Hope is fading fast everywhere. Knowing the wealthy will get away with this again. Knowing it’s going to come to war; not with the United States against Iran (though that will probably happen as well), but with just, everyone. That so many will sit still until the tide comes to take them, and a select few will push them out to sea.

10:00 / 29 May 2019
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On The Irish Roads

Winding roads, wind turbines along the hilltops. Everything is Green. On the bus—clean, equipped with fast WiFi and relatively comfortable chairs—people are familiar with one another along the 3-hour route I’m taking between Cork and Castletownbere. The sky is constantly gray and ominous, but unthreatening. It is predominantly simple farmland.

The word that keeps coming to mind is alive. When I am in New York, I feel the city is alive. The constant movement and machinations of its systems give its constructed presence the feeling of sentience. Out here in the lush countryside, somewhat reminiscent of the south of France or the northeast of America, I can’t quite identify any sign of life. Perhaps it’s because of the settled nature of the towns that pass, the history of the famrs and the slow-growth of civilization. In some respects I could be in a time machine right now; I’m not really sure what would look different if this was 1919.1

I’ve been around rural towns and nature for my entire life. Perhaps it’s my inclination toward chaos that makes the simple nature of a small town difficult to comprehend: it just is, what you see is what you get. Nothing more to consider. But still I find myself questioning a lot about how we both live and perceive living, as people, while the bus winds ’round lakes guarded by stone walls and towns that seemed to build their roads well before they had cars.

It’s a different kind of feeling alive. A direct connection to nature, almost forced by the balance that comes by lacking a major economic center and subsequent development. I don’t know if my bias of finding life in cities of steel and glass before towns of farms and grass comes from my American nature; it seems more logical that as a living being a place full of lush greenery would present a feeling of presence and place. It’s odd, and a little disconcerting, that the concept of what is foreign to me applies less to borders than it does to buildings.

      Notes
  • Other than the fast internet and Adele playing over the radio, that is.

10:30 / 24 May 2019
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invisible walls and
pointless words

It’s a beautiful day and the birds are singing and the clouds are plodding across the blue sky with the speed of a summer breeze. My head is fuming and my heart racing with anger only by the things I read on a screen.

American culture is so shaped by the “one of two things” mentality that it’s hard to take part in any discourse these days; to even read up on it is suffocating. Social design has built a wall around acceptable perspective and drawn a line between two sides and all debate seems to happen within that context: You’re either with us, or against us.1

I dwell in this torture as it ruins the view. Creation is a purpose, but The West has taught me that there is a responsibility to the zeitgeist with that calling—yet as I Follow Back the cultural rhetoric, its banal platitudes only make me think These people are owed nothing. Society is providing an avalanche of evidence as to why it should be buried and left for dead.2

At the same time I know these people are struggling. Anxiety and despair are at all-time highs in Americans—specifically those in my age group, caught between Generation X and the Millennials. Yet it feels increasingly like despair is the only sense in which I can identify with anyone; it’s a damning feeling.

      Notes
  • How soon we forget.
  • Most of this is stemming from the viral Harper’s Bazaar piece blaming men for women in unhappy relationships, and I basically read it as blanket statements and soundbyte-style writing that is particularly … Trump-like in its desire to garner the most reaction for saying as little as possible.

18:00 / 11 May 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.)