Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ponerology

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted!  Guess what I’ve been doing lately?  Studying evil!  See, it’s kind of hard to write goofy blog posts when I’m subjecting myself to mass doses of human fuckedupedness.  It’s more than a bit challenging to put my findings into cogent sentences, but fortunately some have done a pretty good job before me.  Some polish guy with a name I can’t type because it has a special character in it wrote about broken societies being taken over by psychopaths who institute totalitarian governments in his book Political Ponerology.  It’s pretty much Orwell minus the plot and it will traumatize you for life.  Speaking of psychopaths, Robert Hare has done some amazing work on them.  If reading the work of these two dudes does not traumatize you enough, here are some of the youtube videos I’ve been horrifying myself with lately:

Canadian serial killer rapes and butchers prostitutes on his pig farm in Canada for YEARS while Vancouver police kind of suck at policing.

• 11-year old girl strangles toddler boys to death in shitty English slums in 1968 and the authorities sit on their asses for an alarmingly long time.

Japanese dude murders and eats pretty exchange student in Paris with no ill consequences and goes home to become a celebrity in his native land (best-selling author, porn star, lecturer, TV personality etc).

Are you advocating for the destruction of the human species yet?  What’s so fucked up is not only these freaky outliers but the responses they get from the authorities and society at large.  It looks like evil is not so much a discrete feature in the human personality as what emerges when other features are missing.  The most obvious missing feature is empathy.  But, as anyone who is acquainted with a bunch of engineers knows, being socially retarded is not an immediate gateway to murder.  A researcher named Cleckley called what I’m about to talk about “semantic aphasia.”

Once upon a time, because of the vagaries of bodily chemistry, I was crazy in love with an asshole.  Yep, it happens to many of us.  One thing he used to do that destroyed my universe of a regular basis is totally contradict himself without apparent awareness.  He’s state some philosophical belief of his, and a week later say something that was in complete opposition.  At first, I questioned him about these inconsistencies to try to figure out what was happening in his (deficient) brain, but the resulting conversations always made me want to eat a gun.  So I learned to shut up and stomach a whole bunch of bullshit.  I made constant excuses for that weird emptiness inside him.  And thus a cock-addicted co-dependent was born.

What was especially weird about his frequent lies is that it seemed, most of the time, he was not actually aware he was bullshitting.  It seriously flummoxed the shit out of me and made me want to stab myself in the soul.  This is apparently a common feature of psychopaths.  It’s called semantic aphasia and it’s how come they can say without blinking, “oh I ripped a dude’s eyeball out of his face last week and then fucked his brain through his empty eyeball hole until he died but I have never committed a violent crime.”  Psychopaths can say shit like that because they literally don’t know what words mean.  They can give you the dictionary definition of a word but they are unable to feel its emotional content.  So, if you say to a psychopath, “nazis raping baby pandas,” his brain will respond the same as if you said, “tapioca pudding.”  (Unless he thinks tapioca pudding is icky, in which case his brain will have a stronger response to the pudding, I’m guessing.)    Because of this deficiency, this means that even the smartest psychopath will be unable to catch falsehoods when they come out of his mouth.  Ain’t that some shit?  Doesn’t that shed a whole lot of light on your ex-boyfriend?

I’m not necessarily saying that your shitty ex-boyfriend it out there butchering whores, but I’m saying he suffers from the same lack as the whore butcherer, on a smaller scale.  He is, in essence, a mini-psychopath.  The world is absolutely CRAMMED with these people.  People who cannot feel meaning.  Couple that with lack of empathy and it’s Jeffrey Dahmer time.

Soapbox moment: Empathy and meaning are at the root of morality, which is why stories are good for us because they build both.  So tell your little ones a shitload of stories, and maybe in a generation or two we can dispense with Wall Street.

Okay, now I need to go find some chocolate and a purring cat.

Seriously, kitty cuddles STAT, please.

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Excitement x3! (redux)

(1) Here’s me being a great big bucket of sexy at the Zyzzyva reading on April 24th.  Many thanks to Oscar Villalon, Laura Cogan and Tosca Café for a wonderful event!

(2) Come to the Art Center in Davis (1919 F Street) this Friday, May 11 at 7 PM for a cool lit-art thingee featuring the paintings of Sondra Olson, and readings by Sue Staats (prose), Dorine Jeannette (poetry), and meeeeee.  Copies of Farallon Review, Issue 4, featuring my story, “Domestic Animals,” will be on sale.

(3) Last book event for 13 rue Thérèse in the foreseeable future!  This Saturday, May 12 at 11 AM at Corte Madera’s Book Passage.  I hope to go out in a blaze of glory!

Excitement x3!

• Three cool things:

(1) 13 rue Thérèse featured in NY Times Paperback row!

(2) Interview with me up at Litquake’s website!

(3) Speaking of Litquake, come to the Zyzzyva release party tomorrow night at Tosca in San Francisco!  I will be reading along with Peter Orner and Rob Ehle.

• Three things that we realize, post-move, we should never buy again as we have entirely too many of them:

(1) whisks

(2) umbrellas

(3) motherf*****g books

I am guessing I will be able to tamp down on my whisk and umbrella purchasing habits…  Books, however, are another story…

Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration

Ahoy fine people.  Remember how in my new year’s post, I said I might have to move?  Well, I did!  And I got a two-week-long Death Flu on top of it!  And I don’t want to find out how this transition could possibly suck more, because I’m not sure I’ll survive it!  But, thankfully, I am in my new digs, and yesterday I even kept down some solids.  So, baby steps.  Meanwhile, it’s April!  Besides taxes and sinking the Titanic, do you know what that means?  That’s right!  It’s time for me to give out the awards for our Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration.  The following are all google searches that reached my blog.

I continue to be a reliable hit for skittles, weird sexual acts involving horses, and cheez doodles.  Once again, dear public, please do not feed cheez doodles to your infants.  This year I have also become a great web resource for everything toothpaste (probably because of this post) and kidney stones (definitely this post).  If you have reached this blog because you are about to pee a solid object, let me offer my condolences.  And no, as far as I know, 7-UP has no magical kidney stone-killing properties.  The only possible use you can get out of 7-UP at kidney-stone-passing-time is to use it to swallow a shitload of Percocet.

Meanwhile, the “You’re Darn Tootin'” Wisdom Awards go to the following searches:

  • life can be a bitch
  • heresy grows from idleness
  • authorial intent is a fallacy

• The “I love Bob Ross Too” Award goes to: little birds gotta have a place to put their foots.

• Salient Questions:

  • worst writers with novel angst? All of them.
  • why is sex so perverted? Look up the answer for “why is sex so damn fun?”  That answer basically applies to all questions that begin with “why is sex so.”.
  • how in the fuck am i going to pay for college?  If you go by the axiom that the answer to most questions is contained within the question itself, the answer is clearly prostitution.

• “Why, Thank You” Award: damn i love you so much.  “Why, Thank You” Honorable Mention: good luck with shitting.

• “Do They Offer Better Service than PPO boobs?” Award: HMO boobs.

• Best Foreign Language Feature: imagen de jesucristo en un sandwich 2012.

• Cutest and Most Apt Typo Ever: are guys inbarest when they get boners by a girl.

• “Elmer Fudd Apparently has a Citrus Fetish” Award: number of wemon fucked in lifetime.

• Paradox World-Exploding Google Search Award: not googleable.

• “Please Get Off Google and Consult a Medical Professional” Awards:

  • spay gone wrong tied off ureters
  • my husband wants to grow breasts
  • there seems to be an earthquake inside my head

• And finally, would the following searchers please, please contact me and explain what exactly you were looking for?

  • one hour away from being the crazy horse lady
  • magical submission pants
  • you will approve of this animal

+

=

NO.

Dear Las Vegas,

Thank you for being America’s thrumming heart.

, A Proud Citizen

The luxury of moral choices

So.  Like a lot of people, I have been watching the whole Greg Smith thing with great interest.  Like a lot of people, I am impressed that he made a moral decision so boldly and so publicly.  But.  But, of course, I cannot entirely ignore the disgruntled critics who say that it sure is easy to have an epiphany once you’ve padded your exit with a nice plush bank account of ill-gotten gains.  Does this somehow taint the morality of his decision?  Maybe.  Also, for me, it highlights the fact that moral choices are, to a certain extent, a luxury–and, more importantly, that our society’s incentive structure is totally fucked.

No matter what Smith does now, it cannot be denied that Goldman Sachs built his life, and to a certain extent gave him the ability to make the choice he did (moral stickiness ahoy!).  His column in the New York Times, which will bring him a lot of attention, lucre, and almost inevitably a book deal, could not have happened had he not had a career there.  Consider this: at the same time Smith was at Stanford, there was another kid there who was faced with the same choice: I can leverage this education to make a shitload of money on Wall Street.  But this kid looked at the lay of the world and said, nah, Wall Street is full of scumbags, I’m going to follow my passion and give my life to literature instead, even if my career prospects are laughably poor.  Where is this kid’s op-ed in the New York Times?

Not that said kid necessarily wants an op-ed in the NYT.  Said kid is impressed by the institutional weight of said paper but also frightened by and suspicious of it.  Said kid will probably spend a lifetime having distant and conflicted relationships with powerful institutions.  Said kid does not mind, even if sometimes said kid is like, where the fuck is my money for being awesome?  But.  Said kid acknowledges that even she had a certain amount of luxury to make the decisions that she did.  Said kid married young to a wonderful man with a steady, if not grand, salary.  If said kid had graduated from university and been out in the world struggling totally on her own without health insurance, eating instant ramen in her studio apartment every night, it is quite possible that at some point she would have said, fuck this noise, I am getting an MBA.

We live in a world where moral choices are a often luxury, and it would be so lovely if they could be an innate right.

Also.  Why did Greg Smith choose to have his poor soul sodomized for cash for twelve years when he could have joined the Peace Corps or some shit?  I will tell you.  Because our incentive structure is totally fucked.  Because a young, intelligent person with lots of options, unless they have the structural integrity of a fucking diamond or some kind of guiding passion welling from deep within, will choose the career path that will give them the most positive reinforcement.  The fact that making more money for rich people is the most lucrative and prestigious career available to said young person is bullshit.  Our priorities are fucked; our institutions are sick.  What do we do about it?

Beats the shit out of me.  I’m just in this life game to tell dirty stories and eat way too many bacon cheeseburgers.

Ooooooh yes. Thank you to whoever decided that an appropriate topping for a meat patty was... MORE MEAT. You have made the world a better place.

SweetDeath®

YOU GUYS.

So, I was out having dinner with the husband.  I noticed a new color among the sweeteners on offer.  Amongst the usual pink, blue, and yellow, there was green.  I pulled out the green to get a better look at it.  It was called SweetLeaf®.  It was made from some rainforest plant called Stevia and promised it was all-natural.  I thought this was an interesting product, since maybe it didn’t have the icky aftertaste of your usual artificial sweetener.  So, I tore the packet open and poured a tiny amount into the palm of my hand to taste.  It was perfectly white and ground very fine, more like something you would snort than eat.  I licked the powder off my palm.

I don’t remember exactly what followed.  Everything went blurry, the world was obliterated, and my husband sat across the table shaking with laughter at my pain.  SweetLeaf® was so disgusting that I am pretty sure this is what Hate tastes like.  If you put that taste in the water supply, a nationwide bloody civil war would break out within a day over nothing in particular.  Seriously.  It was so disgusting that it was sublime.  I pretty sure that, amidst the excruciating white pain that blinded my entire soul, I saw the face of God.

I will never be the same.  I will never untaste this product.  Life itself has been destroyed for me.  Now it’s just Nazis raping babies to death with the severed penises of slaughtered endangered panda bears.  To a Justin Bieber soundtrack.  I mean it, all is dead to me now.  I’m pretty sure I can never love again.

If Cthulhu ate a bowl full of anuses and then pooped them into your mouth, it would taste just like that.  With a hint of anise.  Anise anus, that’s what this stuff should be called.  It made me reconsider my stance towards the very idea of rainforest.  Raze the whole fucking thing, is what I say now.

After my husband stopped laughing at me, I actually talked him into having a little taste of the stuff.  He licked some off his hand, and shrugged.  “I dunno,” he said, “it just tastes really sweet.”

So, be advised: depending on what your palate is like, SweetLeaf® tastes either like (a) sweetener or (b) Nazi panda baby rape.  Roll the dice and let me know how it works out.

I WILL RAPE YOUR MOUTH. Maybe.