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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“I found out long ago, it’s a long way down the holiday road”
Believe it or not, Clark W. Griswold was pretty fucking masculine. Sure, “Vacation” (1983) featured a kind of proto-idiot Dad, a trope that would become the standard by 1990- but Clark was a different kind of idiot Dad.
Clark was a masculine idiot Dad.
“Vacation” relied on one-joke with Clark, but luckily it was a good one. When Clark would do something stupid, royally screwing things up or putting his family in danger, he would say “I meant to do that” and move on.
This took many different forms. When Clark goes to trade in his car for a new station wagon before the trip- one he surely researched meticulously (my own Dad has a “Consumer Reports” subscription to this day)- he gets the old “bait and switch,” being forced into buying an ugly clunker after his own car is traded in destroyed. To dispute this by waiting for the car he ordered to come in would ruin his family’s vacation- so what does Clark do?
He sells his wife on the ugly clunker by using the same line that the scam-artist car salesman used on him: “Youmay think you hate it now, honey, but wait until you drive it.” Or, in other words, “I meant to do that.” He isn’t apologetic, he doesn’t admit defeat- he takes inventory of the situation and moves forward. This is the masculine approach- yes, even if you’re an idiot.
Re-watching “Return of the Jedi” (1983) as an adult makes the scene where Luke burns the body of his father stand out as the true climax of the original trilogy- the culmination of Luke’s journey. While it may seem tragic that sister Leia wasn’t there beside him, this was something Luke had to do alone. After all, it was only Luke who saw the human face of his father and felt his humanity- and aside from the situational limitations of the movie’s plot, only Luke would have ever been able to understand his father on that level. Luke delivering his father’s funeral was his final rite of passage into manhood, and the true return of the Jedi.
Every man will have to bury his father, but will every man have understood his father when the time comes? The evolution of a man’s relationship with his father mirrors Luke’s struggle with Vader throughout the course of Star Wars- from not truly knowing him through the inevitable conflict of a young man’s teenage years. If you’re lucky you’ll have a moment where the pieces come together and you see your father as a part of yourself- but not everyone gets there… and, unlike a Hollywood movie, the story may end first.
I’ll go full red pill on the first date. To her credit, she listened carefully to what I had to say. When it came time for her response, she answered with the kind of pride one would have in beating Ganon at the end of “Legend of Zelda”- accomplishment and triumph; her victory moment. You see, everything I said was “just my narrative,” and it was as if these words unified the triforce and slayed the dragon- my argument lay defeated.
“Narrative” has become a pseudo-intellectual weasel word. If you don’t like the slant someone puts on something, it’s “just narrative.” If the narrative sounds appealing, it’s only due to the carefully constructed internal logic; a well-made narrative will closely adhere to this logic. At its core a narrative is constructed upon assumptions, which makes it narrative rather than reality- a good narrative will carefully hide these assumptions.
In a world increasingly torn apart by the oppositional forces of the political left and right, the term “narrative” has become a jab to the other side’s version of things; an attack on the strength of their reality.