Friday, November 18, 2016

The Rules Don't Apply to Him

Congratulations America, you did it. Once again, you proved to the rest of the world you are the functionally retarded kid sitting in the back of the class ... eating paste.

In January of 2003, when I was in the UK, I had to answer the same question over and over: "No I did not vote for him (George W. Bush)." Usually followed by "Yes, he IS a complete idiot, isn't he?"

Again, in late 2003 when I was in Australia for four months, I had to field all sorts of snide remarks about the Rodeo Clown and his burning need to impress his Daddy and Uncle Dick by invading a country that never attacked us (Iraq) and bombing it into a social stone age. The awful division between the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiites is worse now than it ever was under CIA-backed, petty dictator Saddam Hussein.

I had to confirm for baffled Brits (there are a lot Down Under) and perplexed Aussies that "Yes, 'Murika really is THAT dumb!" Dumb enough to believe whatever lies the Republican party and FAUX News shit out every day.

Interesting side note: FAUX News, the LA Times, and I forget how many dozens of other Fourth Estate participants, are all owned by a white Australian billionaire who has publicly admitted his goal is to push politics as far right as possible to instigate some sort of global fascism so he can be the new Fuhrer's Joseph Goebbels. Anything to defeat the fake boogeyman of communism/socialism and any sort of labor organization. He bought nearly every newspaper in Australia and New Zealand decades ago. Ditto the UK. Guess what? All those gun-owning, Harley-riding, he-man Aussies -- none of them read the paper. They're too smart for FAUX News. As one said to me in Perth while pointing at the newspaper stand: "That's all bloody Murdock's crap. We don't bother with it."

Once again, conservative America's unexplainable phobia for women in pants suits, gay marriage and articulate black people has pushed the dumbest of us to elect an Orange Troll Doll and military school dropout who shamelessly dodged the Vietnam draft five times. A preening narcissist who refers to himself in the royal "we", has had every single opportunity handed to him on a silver platter, including the opportunity to not pay most of the construction contractors and service employees who have worked for him over the years. He's burned so many millionaire investors and Russian mobsters I won't be surprised when they finally come for his knee caps. Don the Con is a fat old man who has slobbered over so many wanna-be Miss America contestants and mail-order brides he makes Jabba the Hutt look classy. I would not want to be a female employee in the White House mail room come January.

The greatest tragedy to befall conservative America is the fact 90% of you are too poor and dumb to have ever traveled overseas, especially to another democracy. Too bad because you can't hear the roaring laughter coming from places like Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Japan, Spain, and yes, the UK, where 49% of their citizens allowed the other 51% mostly geriatrics to vote in favor of Brexit, a referendum that will surely be repealed in the next couple of years or England will face social and economic chaos. Just like we're facing now.

America: the only democracy in the world where stupidity is celebrated via millions of re-tweeted racist cartoons. America: where intelligence is viewed with scorn and suspicion and blustery 14-year-old bullies are elected to the most powerful position on earth. The Orange Troll Doll's sweaty tiny hand will soon be holding the "football", the brief case every president has held since the Cold War. The one that allows him to order a global nuclear missile launch.

The Donald embodies what our society has told white male heterosexuals for decades: that the rules don't apply to them. Rules are for broads, brown people, the handicapped or crippled, queers and other whiners.

If you think you've got it bad now, conservative America, what with the Affordable Care Act finally forcing your insurance provider to pay for your chemo, banks having to adhere to at least some vague regulations and the fact that the employees at your neighborhood WalMart are getting EBT cards so the Walton heirs don't have to pay a living wage and the employees won't starve, wait till we're all standing in a pile of radioactive rubble and neither Canada or Mexico will come to our aid. Because in the end, all you can do with the stubbornly stupid is leave them alone until they die out.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Misogyny compels thee!

When I was eight, The Exorcist came out in theaters in Reno, Nevada. The book had been floating around (no, not levitating) a few years prior. I remember my teenage neighbor showing me the passage of the book where little Regan masturbates with a cross. I couldn't comprehend it at the time but when I hit puberty I thought: a cross, really? It's telling that a man wrote this book and this was the worst thing he could think of happening ... to an object that hangs on a wall.

Years later, when I was in high school (after becoming well versed in masturbation), I finally saw the movie on cable TV. After years of exaggerated publicity it was a letdown. I don't know what I was expecting but a basic horror movie with dark lighting and a moody soundtrack just couldn't live up to all that hype. The scene where Regan is bowing down before the hazy green demon? I'd seen better special effects on Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

I now see The Exorcist for what it was: fear of a teenage girl's sexuality.

Correction: terror of female sexuality.

How many demonic possession films have been made since? Twenty at least. How many of these feature pubescent boys as the main possessed person? Almost none.

As recently as last year, a horror movie set in 1700's New England came out where the rosy-cheeked Puritan girl at the end not only has sex with Satan (who is dressed as Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow, go figure), she literally flies afterward. Flying being a clunky metaphor for orgasm. She also has to help kill her entire family. The bias is clear: female sexuality isn't just something to be feared, it drives people to murder.

In demonic possession films the victim is always female because teenage girls are terrifying. And the exorcist is always a man because he represents the dominant paradigm: white, male and heterosexual (yet weirdly celibate and supposedly immune to the girl's sexuality).

In yoga this is Seated Twisting Triangle pose.

There has never been a horror movie where a possessed male victim writhes and howls sexually while tied to a bed as a female exorcist watches. This is because male sexuality isn't feared: it's humorous, it's mocked, it's every day. Female sexuality is covert. Until the likes of Broad City, it was hidden, ignored or dismissed. All the way into the new millennium scientists and social commentators were questioning why women even had orgasms. What was the point? Female sexuality is that unnecessary to the patriarchy.

Possessed female characters in horror films are always restrained because their sexuality must be. Between being tied to a bed, "burned" with crucifixes and holy water and flat-out punched (see: Cinemax's Outcast) what happens to them isn't just sadomasochism, it's full on assault. And the assailant, the exorcist, is the hero! Violence against women is re-envisioned as religious suffering.

So it was with trepidation that I watched the first couple of episodes of FOX's The Exorcist. Once again a teenage girl is getting backhanded by grown men in uniforms. Uniforms which today are more likely to get them compared to pedophiles than angels.

Surprisingly, so far the show has not fallen straight into this misogynistic trope. I mean, it has Geena Davis in it.

Mind you, the trope is still there. The possessed, Casey, is harassed on a subway and nearly raped. In response, she lets the demon possess her and reek unholy vengeance on the slimy sports fan who gropes her. Go Team Demon! But afterward, Casey is so overwhelmed by her new found dark power that she wets herself. This is keeping with the scene in the original Exorcist where little Regan pees herself after mockingly telling a guest "you're going to die." Peeing is a metaphor for menstruation, the undeniable red flag of a woman's virility and sexual maturity. But it's also a sexual fetish for the Male Gaze, see: golden showers.

The patriarchy still needs to rein in Casey's sexuality via burning her with a curling iron but thankfully, the plot is not true and straight. It's serpentine and that's good. Father Marcus is so mistreated by the juggernaut of Catholicism, you wonder why he even bothers to do good. Casey's older sister might be a lesbian, a lipstick one at that, and that's something she could be ex-communicated for. Remember what Monty Python taught us: God loves every sperm.

The third episode introduced a whole bunch of new characters and I pray we'll see more of them. There's a bad-ass nun who performs exorcisms and encourages Marcus to get in touch with his feminine side. Hallelujah! And there's a New Age tour guide couple, Cherry and Lester Rego, who steal the show with their unflappable humor when dealing with homeless Father Marcus. Yes, the Church so mistreats him, the poor guy doesn't even have a place to sleep.

In the latest episode, were given all the tie-ins to the original film's myth arc. Casey's mother, Angela, is really little Regan all grown up. The ending is a nice kick in the nuts of the possession trope with Sharon Gless filling in for Ellen Burstyn as grown-up Regan's mother. But instead of Burstyn's shrill panic, Regan's Mom is now a potent force, a re-envisioned matriarch hiding under the cloak of the patriarchy. She looks completely masculine in the closing scene under the obligatory flickering street light.

I was ready to dismiss this show and it's tired old box of misogyny until this. Now I think I'll sit in the back of the Rego's bus and let the tour unfold. And I'll save my questions for the end of the ride.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Expose yourself ... to the library

I have no idea if this will work but I signed my short story collection up on SELF-e. I gotta say, the Washington state library system produced a super nice glossy tri-fold brochure ... that explained nothing. They didn't even get the damn website address right. Anyhoo, other authors might be interested, especially if they already did the Amazon thing and got a ISBN:

SELF-e Library Journal

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Another freebie

My short story BRAVE SUCKER is available for FREE download on Amazon starting today. You don't even need a Kindle, an iPad, an e-reader, nada. Just a computer with a screen, download it and away you go!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Still more FREE !

My dark satire short story OBJECT OF DESIRE is available for FREE right now, right here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Still more FREE

Starting June 22nd my short story LAND OF NOD is available for FREE on Amazon. This sci-fi near-future dystopian story is creeping up the Kindle download bestseller list. Snag it while it's free!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Free ebook, that's right completely FREE for 48 more hours


Snag this short story collection while it's F-R-E-E. Don't need a Kindle, a Nook, a nanny, a hall pass, or even matching socks -- just a computer screen with which to download and read these totally FREE short stories.

Let's do this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Au Revoir, Stump Town

After wasting 15 months of my life, I'm over Portland completely and utterly. No more Portlandia inspired daydreams for me. The last time I strolled across Burnside Bridge at sunset, it was not gauzy lighting and curious Hipsters on bikes. It was dirty, loud and dangerous, like I might be pitched into the beige cesspool of the Willamette the minute some aging infrastructure failed.

There were all sorts of red flags that I shouldn't try to live there, but I had my Carrie Brownstein blinkers on. My first mad attempt should have curbed all my future Oregonian ambitions.

I met a room renter on Craigslist in October 2013 and moved into her 3-bedroom, 2-bath condo the day I met her. Two weeks into our cohabitation, she lost her job thanks to the Government Shutdown and receded into her bedroom for two weeks of Zoloft-inspired texting to her online boyfriend. She emerged long enough to tell me -- without any warning -- that I had 48 hours to move.

Portland invented flakiness and shucking personal responsibility. Now throw in some real Great Recession angst and you've got a recipe for a thoughtless upper middle class ignoring a growing sea of working poor.

The second foray up to the Portland area was more promising. In January 2015, I had a temp job waiting for me and got into a rental share with a nice, level-headed lady who also had a 3-bedroom  this time in Vancouver, Washington, the suburban tumor that clings to the top of Portland like a plastic cowboy hat. All was well for the first two months. Then the elderly bat-shit crazy landlady below us decided on a Vicodan-induced whim that we had to move. This was my first no-cause eviction. I now know they happen all the time in the Portland area, which is second only to San Francisco in pitching tenants to the curb ... for no reason at all. (Really it's about money, rents are sky rocketing in the Cleveland of the Pacific Northwest).

I found housing in Portland to be depressingly like Seattle: slumlords were getting $750 for motel rooms with kitchenettes. First, last plus vague $400 "non-refundable" deposits. That's $1900 for a shed.

I scrambled to find housing, spent a while living with a mean dude who was a quart-of-vodka-a-day alcoholic and finally settled on the last room I rented for $600 a month: a 10 x 10 square foot in the basement of a 75-year-old tract home owned by an Asian Hipster chick who was the definition of Pretentious New Ager. One of her six day jobs was re-aligning chakras. Seriously.

I took a job as a landscape laborer when my first temp job abruptly ended (they didn't want to spring for healthcare). I was 15 years too old for this dead-end job and Vancouver in June was 20 degrees too hot for that kind of work.

I interviewed for technical writing jobs at places like Intel where I was told over and over, "it was down to you and one other person." Stable, good-paying employment in Portland was like the summit of Mt. Hood -- pretty to look at and eternally out of reach.

Everyone had assured me that Portland and its surroundings were chocked full of Liberals. People who were avid recyclers, organic gardeners, Unitarian Universalists and believers in book sharing. I'd say this was true about 25-percent of the time. The rest of the time? It was Sacramento with trees and angrier NIMBYs.

For a town of 75,000, Vancouver had a lot of skinheads. And in retrospect, Portland is the only place I've ever been where someone in a coffee shop can say totally straight faced: "I'm a vegan and a white supremacists".

Black Pussy. Yes, there's a band in Portland that call themselves this. Read the drama here.
Overall, I found Portlanders to be insular and pretentious on a level Seattleites can only dream of. They're certain they're doing the right thing (their "thing") and they're certain everyone else is not.

Childishness isn't just endorsed in Portland, it's a valid lifestyle. People don't go to parties to drink and hear bands. No, no. They go to "art parties" to "engage in new mix medias". Think: birdhouses out of Popsicle sticks in the second grade. There must be 20 or so groups in Portland just for people who play board games. Not kids, not junior-high students, but adults in their 20s and 30s lining up outside bars to play Clue or Risk. (When I was a kid, the only time we played board games was when the cable was out).

Forays into yesterday's fads like 80s culture is fine, once in a while, but devoting all your free time to a past you likely were never a participant in, is just weird. 

Get your own fucking style, poseur.

At least people who were into swing dancing in the 1990s understood it would only be trendy for about 15 minutes and then we'd all move on from the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

I suppose I have too close a perspective on Portland and its Hipsters because I lived with two of them for nine months. But one of them was a trust-fund cunt who had a day job as a Pilates instructor despite the fact she couldn't get sober long enough to teach P.E. to fifth graders and the other was the High Priestess of channeling money out of rich, naive housewives from Lake Oswego.

They talked about organic farming, helping the poor, seeing other people's point of view, blah, blah, blah. But scratch the surface and they were as typically bigoted and selfish as the yuppie Realtor in the Prius next to you in traffic. Everyone is liberal minded until it's an inconvenience and then they're not.

Thank Gawd I'm too poor to be that self involved.