Suburbia and “Over the Edge” (1979)

“Whatever happened to all this season’s losers of the year?
Every time I got to thinking, where’d they disappear?”

There is no place I’d rather be than walking beside a well-groomed front-lawn on a suburban street in mid-August. Late afternoon, when the sun is just beginning to set- tired from a long day’s work- making its march toward a warm yellow hue that feels like a soft blanket enveloping your soul. The sound of distant lawn-mowers, and the scent of freshly cut grass- really, to properly maintain the admiration and respect of your neighbors, twice per week is ideal for lawn-care. American flags next to empty mailboxes. Dogs barking beside hamburgers on propane grills.

When you’re in eighth grade, suburbia is your canvas. You burn things in the woods and throw eggs at houses. Hop fences and explore backyards. Stand atop a hill overlooking the town below and throw-up a double middle-finger. You let the girls hang out and you act like it’s this big deal and if they’re not cool enough they’ll have to go home. You probably could have seen their tits had you been more socially adept. You’d be star gazing had there been stars to see.

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Office Culture and “A Christmas Carol” (1843)

I’m too fucking autistic for this, I thought to myself, as I read over the strict set of rules, guidelines, and pre-cautionary measures for my school’s Secret Santa game. In Secret Santa games of old, there was a greater feeling of structurelessness- a kind of free-spirited whimsy- where you made your best guess at to what your Secret Santee would like. There was a dangerous, fascistic element to this- especially for the unwitting autist, who may think that a handsome print copy of “Industrial Society and Its Future” would make for an insightful and appropriate gift.

Perhaps it would spark interesting conversation and a new friendship?

Perhaps the woman reading “The Handmaid’s Tale,” who confessed to our group as we waited for the “Monthly Meditative Moment” morning meeting to begin, that it makes her weep “good, cleansing tears,” would enjoy a copy of “The Pussy“- at least to actively engage in a healthy counter-narrative?

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Defiance, Decay, and Scott Weiland

“Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.”- Hunter S. Thompson

“I’m not dead, and I’m not for sale.”- Scott Weiland

The waning days of August. After midnight; 2AM about to roll around as inconspicuously as the 80,000th mile on the odometer of an old girl who won’t quit. “Not quite ready to bring it down just yet.” Miles of quiet. Last man standing. Watching the tide roll in. Everything leading to this feels weighted and opaque- a dull ache only noticeable in moments of stillness.

When you’re young, there’s a timelessness to the hours before dawn. They dissipate in the moonlight. The keys to your dad’s old beater open up the world around you like never before- possibilities expand beyond the infinite. Everything takes on a veneer of significance. Sitting at a diner and only ordering coffee. Telling ghost stories on old country roads. Hopping fences and exploring graveyards.

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On Writing and “The Pussy” (2016)

When asked for writing advice, Delicious Tacos- who is certain to go down as one of the most important writers of the blogger-age- likes to keep things simple: get up early every morning and write. And there is something to that- the foundation of writing is interpreting the esoteric disorganization of the writer’s internal world through language and bringing those ideas to a place of external organization- quite literally, coming to terms with what is initially termless. This is why keeping a journal is often recommended as a form of therapy.

However, this only explains the process of writing- the easiest and most direct way to become a writer- rather than explaining what the job of a writer really is. This is something that warrants equal examination.

A good writer is tasked with splitting his veins open with a razor blade and covering his keyboard in hot blood- a prolonged and terrible ritual. You’ll know a piece is finished when your face is numb, eyes unfocused, and body trembling.

You’d think Delicious Tacos wouldn’t have left out the grizzly details- the horrible reality of being on the writing grind- considering I learned it from reading his work.

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Horror and Fairy Tales: “Halloween” (1978) and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994)

Perhaps the most important lesson for a young girl is on her emerging sexuality- like death and taxes, the biological clock cares not if one is ready for it to strike. When a girl goes through puberty, suddenly making her sexually viable for adult men, not only does her body change but as does the way the world reacts to her. It becomes possible that the same man who had treated her with genuine care and empathy now has his own biologically-driven agenda- complete with duplicitous intentions. Watch a clumsy man talk confidently to a child but fumble nervously with a sexually mature woman- also with puberty comes power.

However, not every lesson can be taught. One learns to be patient only through experience- patience is a lesson that cannot be taught. While you can try to tell a little girl on the cusp of puberty that her world is about to change, drastically, and that this new world comes with its share of dangers, it may be easier for her to process this through the subconscious language of the fairy tale.

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Homosexuality as Suburban Invasion in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” (1985)

Under the fascist progressive American regime, the rainbow flag has replaced the swastika. Like store-owners with Nazi flags in their shop windows, modern corporations trip over one another to signal the rainbow- “signal the rainbow, stay under the radar,” they say. There was something admirable in the state’s declaration of homosexual normalization in that it left no room for interpretation. The White House was drenched in the rainbow, all power-players in the American landscape had better get their troops in check, and so it goes down the line.

While top down power will garner compliance, it isn’t something that changes hearts and minds– this is the job of the woman.

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Underachievers: Nirvana, Green Day, and Generation-X

Toward the end of 1990, you couldn’t get away from Simpsons merchandise- from posters, to pajama sets, to pencil toppers- mostly featuring Generation-X’s very first mainstream media icon, Bart Simpson. You see, before “The Simpsons” became obsessed with Homer’s gradual decline into retardation, the show’s initial protagonist was skateboarding prankster Bart- the country’s first take on their next generation.    

And those savvy Simpsons writers seemed to have nailed it. While Bart’s driving characteristic was apathy, it was a kind of self-aware apathy. Bart wasn’t stupid, he was an “underachiever”- he was capable of more but consciously chose less. This  hyper-aware apathy would become the generation’s defining trait.

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The Disillusioned Boomer and “Christmas Vacation” (1989)

Taking Wally World hostage after an mangled cross-country road trip in “Vacation” (1983) was emblematic of the dawning Reagan 80s. Clark wasn’t going to be denied, and if life didn’t deal him the hand he wanted, he’d take what he felt entitled to- this was his moment.

Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980 coincided with the Boomer’s coming of age and taking over the cultural reigns of the West, and Reagan played to their newfound feeling of social control. Like a college freshman overwhelmed with the trivialities of burgeoning freedom, Boomers were getting high on their own supply and quickly gaining weight. They were mad with control and looking to carve-out a society in their own image- and Ronald Reagan was the man to get them there.

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Celia Shits: Pre-Modern Portraits of Men and Women

Oh, poor Tim the ostler! The humble stable buck hopelessly in love with his boss’s gorgeous, red lipped daughter. Like that was ever gonna happen, and she’s in love with the bad boy Highwayman anyway, a dapper thief with a taste for the high-life; the ostler never had a chance. So, what does our scorned, low-born, beta-male do? The only thing he can- Tim calls the police, another group of men more masculine than he, to properly dispose of the Highwayman.

Thus is the premise of Alfred Noyes’s narrative poem “The Highwayman” (1906). You may have guessed that our poor, law-abiding ostler isn’t quite the hero of the story- that role is more closely filled by the titular scoundrel, with the lesson being that we don’t judge the morality of actions as much as we judge the value of those committing them.

And Tim, as a poor stable-hand, doesn’t have much in the way of value- he’s disposable and invisible. In modern terminology, which is ironically also Old English terminology, Tim is a cuck– and if you want any chance at sexual success, you can’t be a cuck.

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Looks Blue, Tastes Red: Marilyn Manson and “Antichrist Superstar” (1996)

“When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed”- The Man That You Fear 

Marilyn Manson cucked after Columbine, although I can hardly blame him. If a kid went out and shot-up a Chuck-E-Cheese after reading “From the Arcade to the Girlfriend Experience,” I’d probably end up cucking too. It’s a heavy toll to pay for a guy who was just having a good bit of fun trolling.

Yes, that’s right- if you weren’t in on the joke, or actually took the old bastard seriously- Marilyn Manson started his career as a pre-internet, proto-troll. A tremendous practical joke, a long-con, being played on the very people paying to see him. And, yeah, two kids took it too seriously, played some Doom, and fucked the whole thing up.

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