Lissenup, SJW Scumbags!

Today I found out that we’re all supposed to be into critical theory.  If ya ain’t into critical theory, get outta the movement!

Now I know some of you are already using it to do stuff like explain why you can find a parable for a transgender life in Harry Potter, despite our knowledge of authorial intent.  You’re saying how through the critical lens of a trans person it is possible to see the story in a way that isn’t what the author intended, and that it’s valid from said perspective.  Tremendous.

But a lot of you are slacking on this tip.  From now on, whenever you engage with any element of culture, be it a work of fiction or a common aphorism or a commercial product or a philosophical construct, I expect you to justify your opinion of it through thoughtful analysis of your cultural biases and an effort to consider at least a few perspectives other than your own.

If I don’t start to hear better critical analysis of your opinions in my comment section or elsewhere, motherfuckers you are CANCELED.  You dig?

Content Warning: Led Zeppelin

Given that the dudes from Zepp were most likely rapists, and given that even if they weren’t, they literally have songs about impregnating teenage children, it’s fair for anyone to disregard their music, avoid them like the plague.  Certainly I don’t advocate giving them money.  But I would like, if I may, to make a puerile observation about one of their puerile songs, and if possible, keep the tenor of the discourse puerile as well.  That is to say, don’t read this if you don’t want to speak with light-hearted amusement at the horndogging foolery that is Led Zeppelin’s catalog.  Proceeding thusly…

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First Draft of The Septagram, Finished!

Anyone interested in reading a fairly rough draft of my complete new novel The Septagram, have at it.  There aren’t an egregious number of typos and such, just writing that will surely need a lot of care in subsequent drafts.  I have a problem not giving character’s distinctive enough voices.  Not all the time, not every character, but I think it happened here.

It’s a little shorter than a Dean Koontz novel.  This was an attempt to make a horror-themed supernatural adventure story in a style like Hideyuki Kikuchi, who wrote Vampire Hunter D and Wicked City – so take from that what you will.  The content warnings are at the link.  I wasn’t as scrupulous in my anti-ableist language stance as usual, so bear that in mind as well.  Bon appetit!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, eh?

Remember our atheistical comrade of yore, Douglas Adams, and his cheeky mild-mannered British novels?  Sadly, he is non-living.  But worry not.  The spirit of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is alive and well represented by FtB’s own Abbey St. Brendan in this very professional and amusing little video.  This kind of thing takes waaay more effort than you might imagine, and content creators love positive feedback for that effort.  Enjoy it, and comment at her blog.  Or on the yewchewb, where, as the kids say, you may like comment and subscribe!

 

Germany and Japan

What happens when Germany and Japan get together for artistic anarchy instead of fascist imperialism? A demented good time. Content warnings for butoh dance (looks like physical torment), brief NSFW, noisy audio, and performance so uncomfortable it borders on self harm. Also flashing lights starting at about 5:49:

The eighties were, in some ways, a very good time. Thank you, Einstürzende Neubauten.

Prestigious List of Fragile Assholes

Some celebs from different avenues of the arts and the intelligentsia just signed on a letter in Harper’s whining about cancel culture. Many people on the list you’ll be familiar with, as famous racists, transphobes, and general shitbirds. (List the crimes of the ones you know about in the comments!) Some will have you scratching your temples. Like where and why did they dig up Wynton Marsalis for this?

Among them I notice Salman Rushdie, had the threat of violence and state censorship involved in his rise to fame. I don’t know why he thought people saying we should stop promoting some poorly written overrated kids books because the author is a transphobe would be remotely equivalent, but sure, dude. And we already knew he had shit taste in friends.

I also love the whine about cancel culture costing people their livelihoods. I’m sorry, every last one of these fuckers should lose their prestige lifestyle for at least a year, so they can have half a clue of what it’s like for the rest of us. Even if that did happen, the fact it would be over in a year would offer them hope that I WILL NEVER FUCKING EXPERIENCE. Motherfuck the rich, from here to eternity.

Anyway, every last one of these people is, to some extent, a thoughtless hyper-privileged asshat. Yeah, you too, Noam Chomsky:

Elliot Ackerman
Saladin Ambar, Rutgers University
Martin Amis
Anne Applebaum
Marie Arana, author
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Mia Bay, historian
Louis Begley, writer
Roger Berkowitz, Bard College
Paul Berman, writer
Sheri Berman, Barnard College
Reginald Dwayne Betts, poet
Neil Blair, agent
David W. Blight, Yale University
Jennifer Finney Boylan, author
David Bromwich
David Brooks, columnist
Ian Buruma, Bard College
Lea Carpenter
Noam Chomsky, MIT (emeritus)
Nicholas A. Christakis, Yale University
Roger Cohen, writer
Ambassador Frances D. Cook, ret.
Drucilla Cornell, Founder, uBuntu Project
Kamel Daoud
Meghan Daum, writer
Gerald Early, Washington University-St. Louis
Jeffrey Eugenides, writer
Dexter Filkins
Federico Finchelstein, The New School
Caitlin Flanagan
Richard T. Ford, Stanford Law School
Kmele Foster
David Frum, journalist
Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Atul Gawande, Harvard University
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University
Kim Ghattas
Malcolm Gladwell
Michelle Goldberg, columnist
Rebecca Goldstein, writer
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
David Greenberg, Rutgers University
Linda Greenhouse
Rinne B. Groff, playwright
Sarah Haider, activist
Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern
Roya Hakakian, writer
Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institution
Jeet Heer, The Nation
Katie Herzog, podcast host
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Adam Hochschild, author
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author
Eva Hoffman, writer
Coleman Hughes, writer/Manhattan Institute
Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute
Michael Ignatieff
Zaid Jilani, journalist
Bill T. Jones, New York Live Arts
Wendy Kaminer, writer
Matthew Karp, Princeton University
Garry Kasparov, Renew Democracy Initiative
Daniel Kehlmann, writer
Randall Kennedy
Khaled Khalifa, writer
Parag Khanna, author
Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University
Frances Kissling, Center for Health, Ethics, Social Policy
Enrique Krauze, historian
Anthony Kronman, Yale University
Joy Ladin, Yeshiva University
Nicholas Lemann, Columbia University
Mark Lilla, Columbia University
Susie Linfield, New York University
Damon Linker, writer
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
Steven Lukes, New York University
John R. MacArthur, publisher, writer
Susan Madrak, writer
Phoebe Maltz Bovy, writer
Greil Marcus
Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Kati Marton, author
Debra Maschek, scholar
Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago
John McWhorter, Columbia University
Uday Mehta, City University of New York
Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
Yascha Mounk, Persuasion
Samuel Moyn, Yale University
Meera Nanda, writer and teacher
Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine
Mark Oppenheimer, Yale University
Dael Orlandersmith, writer/performer
George Packer
Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University (emerita)
Greg Pardlo, Rutgers University – Camden
Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
Steven Pinker, Harvard University
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Katha Pollitt, writer
Claire Bond Potter, The New School
Taufiq Rahim, New America Foundation
Zia Haider Rahman, writer
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution/The Atlantic
Neil Roberts, political theorist
Melvin Rogers, Brown University
Kat Rosenfield, writer
Loretta J. Ross, Smith College
J.K. Rowling
Salman Rushdie, New York University
Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment
Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University
Diana Senechal, teacher and writer
Jennifer Senior, columnist
Judith Shulevitz, writer
Jesse Singal, journalist
Anne-Marie Slaughter
Andrew Solomon, writer
Deborah Solomon, critic and biographer
Allison Stanger, Middlebury College
Paul Starr, American Prospect/Princeton University
Wendell Steavenson, writer
Gloria Steinem, writer and activist
Nadine Strossen, New York Law School
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Harvard Law School
Kian Tajbakhsh, Columbia University
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University
Cynthia Tucker, University of South Alabama
Adaner Usmani, Harvard University
Chloe Valdary
Lucía Martínez Valdivia, Reed College
Helen Vendler, Harvard University
Judy B. Walzer
Michael Walzer
Eric K. Washington, historian
Caroline Weber, historian
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
Bari Weiss
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Garry Wills
Thomas Chatterton Williams, writer
Robert F. Worth, journalist and author
Molly Worthen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matthew Yglesias
Emily Yoffe, journalist
Cathy Young, journalist
Fareed Zakaria

RIP to Harry P fans, but…

…I’m different, as the meme goes.  You know we’re two minutes to tumblr bios that read “Terflepuff” “Terffyndor” and such, right?  I’ve never been so glad to avoid all fandom shit like the plague.  (This post may seem frivolous given our political moment, but bear with me.)  I feel the worst for people who let that stuff replace xtianity in their liberal hearts.

Cultural Potterians.  People who related every incident of moral importance in the news to ostensible lessons or wisdom found within the holy texts.  People who invested twenty years of their young lives framing everything they encountered in terms of baby wizards and their foes.

Good luck replacing your religion guys.  I really do mean that.  If you went that far in the first place, you’re the kind of person who really does feel most comfortable having a bedrock fiction to believe in.  Maybe look into Unitarian Universalism or one of the progressive xtian denominations out there.

The original version of this post over on my tumblr account ended with saying that nihilism is the alternative for those brave enough to free themselves from the need for comforting narratives.  This being an atheism-themed blog network, I feel the need to retool that, but to say atheism is an alternative rings false, when all the mainstream atheist orgs are represented by intellectually shallow creeps that avoid the darker aspects of facing reality by replacing it with evopsych justifications for culturally xtian biases and comforts.

Anyway, on the FtB, I like to think we know better than to hold up heroes of any kind.  It’s safer than having stars which can fall, when you get used to it.

EDIT TO ADD:  Given FtB’s recent output, maybe the alternative to comfortable fictions is collecting or creating knives.  Blacksmithing is unavailable to those of us living in apartments, but maybe we could make shivs and brickbats.  Yeah…

Support Your Favorite Indie Musicians

Guest post by The Beast from Seattle, cross-posted from his blog.

Just wanted to put the word out there — Bandcamp is waiving their cut of anything purchased on June 5th, starting at midnight PST. (You can check this site to see when the event begins in your time zone.) Many artists lost their primary income when concerts were cancelled. Streaming services pay very little for indie acts– You have to listen for over eleven straight hours on Spotify for the artist to earn one dollar. (Assuming about three minutes per song, and it’s likely even worse as it’s divided between labels, each band member, etc.) I cancelled my Spotify premium subscription and started giving that monthly fee directly to the artists. It feels great to actually own the music you love and not rely on internet speeds and corporate overlords. It’s also nice to send a word of encouragement with your order; they might even write back!

You can use this site to enter a Spotify playlist and get links to purchase the music on Bandcamp. A lot of labels and artists are donating their proceeds to charities, many focused on racial justice. Of those I particularly recommend Dais Records, Dark Entries, and Sacred Bones Records. Finally, if you’re into dark wave, minimal wave and post-punk music, I recommend everything in my collection! I’d love you to follow me there so I can check out your taste in music.

“Wie ein Hund” – Murder Imitates Art

Spoiler Warning: I reveal the end of a Franz Kafka story
Content Warning: Murder

In Franz Kafka’s The Trial, as Josef K is being murdered by a couple of state goons just doing their jobs, he says “Wie ein Hund” before his throat is cut. “Like a dog,” that’s how he’s dying. Not allowed human dignity. There’s a transcript of George Floyd’s last words over at Mano’s, I can’t testify to the veracity of it because I’m not going to watch somebody get murdered and scrutinize the poor audio. But it’s believable. No human dignity allowed, no mercy from the thugs in blue, the state goons just doing their job.

I’m really glad that a big swath of people around the world aren’t buying the simplistic narrative of “riots bad.” Thank you for giving me a glimmer of hope. To all the “tough on crime” politicians and pundits pushing curfews and lockdowns and state violence, eat shit.

If I was a mayor, I would make a deal with my people. I order every cop in the city to go eat donuts in a suburb for a day, in exchange for a request that the protest be as minimally destructive as possible. Then I’d pick up the tab for whatever happened after that. Something tells me when you don’t bring militarized bullies in blue to a protest, they might not end in as much property damage.

–Again, I don’t feel up to moderating comments on this topic, so they’re closed–