October Update

It’s been so long since I’ve last written. I’m afraid that I’ve permanently lost it, whatever that “it” may signify. I come back to my previous work and I assume the worst, that I can no longer write like I used to. The metaphors, the multis, the clarity of theme and point—they all escape me, they’re all so far out of reach right now. Just a few months ago I felt like I could dance from letter to letter, word to word, climb up and down the spaces in between like I was inventing a new way to play Chutes and Ladders. Not to say that the writing was ever easy, but that my command of the pencil was so goddamn good that it stopped mattering if the actual writing was easy or not. But that was then. Now I feel like I’m writing with a fucking log, lugging, dragging this shit around the open canvas, just trying to hold it up long enough to close out the “O” in my last name.

My last post of any worth was an unpublished anti-feminism commentary piece about this chick who blew 20-plus guys in a single night in Magaluf. That was July. It is now mid-October. This is the longest I have gone without producing something since I announced to the world that I am a writer.

Maybe it’s because my mind is elsewhere. In recent months I’ve stopped caring about writing. My mind is preoccupied with other things, mostly with fucking around, wasting life, enjoying what little time I have left in Taiwan before returning to the States.

I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend, too much time. (We’ve been living together since February, but that all comes to an end soon. She is going back to Japan for good at the end of this month.) I rarely go out anymore and if I do, it’s usually with the girlfriend, so in the truest sense of the phrase, it isn’t really going out so much as it is being out—safely, redudantly, boringly. I teach just enough to scrape by. I stopped studying Chinese formally in May. Consequently, my Chinese is terrible and my confidence in speaking aloud is all but shot. I say I’ve put my writing on hold to concentrate more on business, namely commercial real estate, but besides the occasional business article read, I’m doing jack shit.

The only area in which I’m busting my ass day-in-day-out is fitness. I lift four days a week. I buy protein powder. Creatine powder. I count carbs and calories. I weigh myself every single day. I stopped drinking beer. I stopped eating sweets. I started cooking. I plan my food one, two, sometimes even three meals in advance. I look at myself in the mirror more than Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. I go on YouTube and watch countless exercise instructional videos to improve on my regimen. I haven’t “liked” anything on Facebook for years but I readily “like” the pages of both Ulisses Jr. and Lazar Angelov. I think about weightlifting before I go to bed, and sometimes I get so excited about the next day’s lift that I can’t bring myself to sleep.

And that’s about all I can come up with to write about tonight.

This post had no link, no continuity.

Baby steps, I think.

On The Donald Sterling Fiasco

The following copied and pasted from a text conversation I was having with a group of friends regarding Donald Sterling, who has become a household name in a matter of days for his thought crime.

###

Let me say this last thing about D Sterl since I was absent from your guys’s LINE conversation, the one that effectively extinguished any hopes of Kirbles’s ever becoming a lawyer, or just a good debater, for that matter. (Sorry, Kirbles. At least you got that baseball job on lock, though.) I should also say it here instead of on Facebook, lest the holier-than-thou masses crucify me one keyboard caps lock at a time.

Straight fucking up, D Sterl is my guy. And I’m not defending him legally, as Kirbles did or as other people will be prone to doing. This man has my support morally, or amorally to be more precise, because that’s exactly the existential waters we find ourselves treading in. Right now the whole fucking world is trying to act like it’s never held even a single racist thought its entire life. That means the hypocrites are out there in swelling numbers, spewing the doctrine, condemning singular acts that even hint at another’s failing to outright love racial minorities, gays, and of course, the ever-oppressed group known as women, to the point of knee dropping and deepthroating. These are the very same hypocrites who get that unmistakable “oh shit” feeling in their stomachs any time they have to pass through a sea of black dudes posted on the street after 9 p.m. This Sterling blow up has me wishing there were more racists in the world (in word, not in deed), just to piss the fuck off of these self-righteous wannabe Martin Luther Kings Juniors who, in reality, more closely resemble a bag of dog shit.

“Sterling is a racist!” So what? This guy is literally the team fucking owner. In a perfect world, he should be able to do whatever he pleases in regards to his squad. If that means running onto the court during Game 6 mid-contest, dropping a deuce, and dunking it into the Clippers’ basket for negative two points, that should be his prerogative (contractual agreements and NBA basketball rules notwithstanding, of course.)

I also read that, a few years back, he discriminated against blacks and Hispanics trying to get housing. That’s called being a businessman, and not even necessarily a smart, savvy one either. Have any of these moral policing cunts ever tried to own residential property? Of course not. Not that I have either, but my pops owns two residential buildings in Brooklyn and I was there helping him out in 2012. What I learned was amazing. He was up to rim level in his tenant problems, the majority of which involved their failing to complete the simple agreed-upon task of paying their rent on time. They would delay for a month, two months, six months, sometimes over a fucking year. And as I also learned, it’s not at all easy to evict these fuckers because they’ve got the state government playing on their team. Officials are like, “Go fuck yourself. Nobody forced you to let them live in your building. This is your problem now. Deal with it.” Hard to believe but it’s true.

So why do you think a guy like D Sterl would discriminate? Because blacks and Hispanics are historically worse at paying their shit on time. (Truth hurts.) The reasons for this, whether just or unjust, are immaterial for a property owner’s consideration. It’s all a business transaction to him, and nothing else. He doesn’t want unnecessary tenant problems, and who can blame him? If the moral police had a thought in their tiny fucking brains and could put themselves in someone else’s shoes long enough to see past that (gasp!) an 80-year-old wrinkly man said he doesn’t want Magic Johnson in his arena—the one he literally owns—they might be able to see just how far up their asses their own heads are.

God Does Not Play Dice

I don’t think I’m starting a wave of protest or rioting when I say that Albert Einstein was a genius.

But I’m not talking about E = mc2, or relativity, or the countless thought experiments concocted in that crackpot brain of his. No doubt those were important contributions to science and the world at large, but enough with the same old accolades already. How many different ways are there to ride the same dick?

No, the genius I’m referring to is something other: an Einstein quotation that’s never been given its due credit. It’s been publicized, recited, used for argument often in the last 75 years, but never has it been lauded as especially genius from the genius, because no one has ever perceived the words as I recently have.

And the quotation goes like this: “God does not play dice with the universe.”

At the time of utterance, the statement probably came off as “oh, that’s nice,” just another bite-sized Einstein axiom about the universe and the laws governing it. Nothing special, right? You read it just now and, if I’m not being too presumptuous, there was nothing in the line that inspired awe from or moved you to tears. That’s because axioms, though dulcet to the ear, rarely possess the strength necessary to shatter those higher, more fortified emotional walls.

But look again. “God does not play dice.” Is it really an axiom? I say not. I propose that it’s less universal statement of truth and more prediction, a very specific and testable scientific hypothesis.

Yes, that’s right. Einstein was, for lack of a better term, “doing science” when he said the Almighty One does not play dice with the cosmos. 75 years later and we’ve learned that he was right; that, per usual, he’s been right all along. By scrupulous observation and painstaking trial and error, science has evidenced the remarkable fact that God does not play dice.

What’s even more extraordinary is that cosmologists have ascertained the two games that He does play. The first is Telephone, known as such in the US, but more popularly named “Chinese Whispers” in other parts of the world. (Scientists are now debating, based on the game’s latter and more original name, whether or not God is of Chinese descent. Should the claim hold up, this will be a colossal blow to the Americans, who’ve put complete and total faith into the Almighty One, having issued “In God We Trust” on every dollar bill extant for the last 200-plus years. Perhaps China’s unremitting rise paired with the US’s ever-spiraling fall is telling enough as to which team God is really pulling for.) The second is the universally renowned Game of Silence, also known as the Quiet Game.

We’ll first discuss God’s playing Telephone. Assuming that most people understand how the game is played, I won’t outline the rules and preconditions here. But just in case, below is an amusing video clip demonstrating the game in action:

What scientists have done is reveal the players in the first game of Telephone ever played in the universe’s 6,000-year history. I present to you an excerpt from their findings below:

From Conclusions Drawn from the Theory of Games Played by God the Father – Part I: “This Is God Speaking…”:

In the beginning there was God. God was God and therefore all-powerful and He could get things very easily, like when one shops at a Costco. But even so, God was unhappy. Omniscient as He was, somehow it slipped past His mind that the more perfect the cosmos, the lesser its problems, and the bored-er the Creator. It was a quandary riddled with paradox, and for the first time in all of eternity, God didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately, His ignorance and indecision in the matter endured only a short while before epiphany struck. “Oh me!” God said aloud. “I know how to rectify this boredom! I shall…”

And on the eighth day God made problems.

The problem with making problems, however, was that, though omnipotent beyond all revelation, God was still powerless to fix the mess He had so impulsively created of sheer desperation.

How could that be? Well, the answer had a name, and it was “Free Will.”

God had met Free Will on a constellation corner at nighttime three days prior. She was turning tricks for one star a pop, and God was… well, this is a story meant to be consumed by the general public, so the official alibi is that God was passing through the neighborhood in search of a hardware store.

Free will recognized the Alpha and Omega instantly and stopped Him in His tracks.

“You’re God.”

“I am,” God replied. “And you are?”

“Till 9:00 p.m. my name is Stacy. After that you can call me Free Will.”

“Nice to meet you, Free Will. Listen, I’m looking for a hardware store around here.”

“Whatchu need to go to a hardware store for, babe?”

“I’m in need of a hammer.”

“So you can nail things?”

“Yes,” said God, “so I can nail things.”

Free will blushed. “I bet you like to nail things, Dadd—I mean, Heavenly Father.”

“So do you know of a hardware store around here or not?”

“Course I do,” said Free Will. “But I got an extra hammer right here if you want it. Save you the trouble of going to the hardware store.”

“Oh, that’s excellent,” said God. “You’ll let me borrow the hammer?”

“Anything for you, Mr. Omnipotent. But I should warn you, it’s only good for nailing”—the following words in a low, hissy whisper—”certain things.”

God gulped.

Afterward they went on to negotiate a fair price: in exchange for the borrowed hammer to nail whatever “certain things” the temptress was referring to, God was to let Free Will dictate the entire fate of the cosmos for the rest of eternity.

Needless to say, God must’ve really wanted that hammer.

That is why, after inventing problems teeming in abundance just to keep busy, the Almighty One could only watch as said problems ran rampant and exacerbated in skyrocketing numbers. As any person of ambition can imagine, not only did the Creator grow bored with all the watching; but restlessness for something—ANYTHING—to do, began to permeate His whole being.

And so God had yet another idea, one that would afford Him all the requisite entertainment He’d been searching for without violating the terms of His agreement with Free Will. He was going to invent a game. Games, He thought, always cure divine entities of their boredom. Why did I not think of this before?

And so on the ninth day, God made Telephone (or Chinese Whispers).

The initial statement to be transmitted was not so much a statement as it was a story, one so lengthy it would turn out to span over a thousand pages in print. Nevertheless, the Almighty One recited His narrative perfectly, exactly as He had envisioned it in His mind, to a man on planet earth that history books remember as Noah, but whose actual name was Dave.

God instructed Dave to perform the very reasonable task of memorizing, then relaying to someone else, His story in its entirety, which took 40 consecutive days and nights to narrate to completion. (It is not widely known that God was a spitter when He spoke. Well, His speaking incessantly for 40 straight days was cause for plenty of beatific saliva, which poured tumultuously from the heavens and was the real reason for the Great Flood. This also helps to explain the insurmountable drought that’s plagued the Sahara since the beginning of time—God doesn’t talk to niggers.)

40 days later and Dave, with only two animals of every kind in his camp, elected to retell God’s story to a giraffe named Robert De Niro (not to be confused with the human actor born in the 20th century, who has yet to meet posterity). As can probably be guessed, much of the original account was lost in the transmitting of the tale, mostly because giraffes are animals and therefore incapable of comprehending things.

Nevertheless, the game of Telephone kept on unabated. Robert relayed the story to Moses; who told the burning bush; who told Job; who told His best friend Doug the Caananite; who told his wife/cousin Sherry-Loo, who, big mouth that she was, told the whole Parents of Jerusalem Middle School Knitting Team; and on and on and on. Eventually, bearing the message was a woman named Myla, who sold those knives capable of cutting through sand to pharaohs on forty-deuce. When at last the time came, she chose an ordinary carpenter named Louis as the recipient to God’s diluted-many-times-over tale. It’s this last dissemination transaction that is of special importance. Why?

Here’s a hint: who else do you know that was a famous carpenter?

Yes, that’s right. Had Jesus of Nazareth never taken an acute interest in the cutting, shaping, and installing of natural woods, Louis would most likely have passed the tale from God the Heavenly Father to someone else, and you might be kneeling bedside right now begging for your mom’s cancer to be cured by Steve or Larry Christ.

But it was Jesus whom Louis chose as the game’s next tether, and here we are 2,000 years later expelling “Jesus fucking Christ!” to the heavens every time we miss an open lay up.

Perhaps this is the most groundbreaking result of our findings in the lab: that Jesus was not who or what he’s been touted to be for the thousands of years since his “crucifixion.” And that’s really the risk one runs in propagating sensitive information to just anyone without duly screening first. The evidence suggests that Jesus fits this “just anyone” description to the tee; that, contrary to popular belief, he was not the son of God, but rather an institutionalized lunatic with a knack for escaping psychiatric hospitals, and who suffered from being self-important, extremely hard of hearing, and not Jewish but jewy.

That he mistook the majority of the tale as being one about him now makes complete sense, given the man’s ample symptoms and diagnoses. As a consequent, this is really where God’s initial message gets hodgepodged. Within no time, Jesus was proclaiming himself to be the son of God, the Messiah, the way and the truth and the life. He assured the world around him that he was acting on strict orders from God the Father, “figuratively for you, literally for me.” He started amassing followers to whom he passed on his extraordinarily perverted version of other corrupted versions of God’s initial tale. Such misinformation would, in time, shape the basis for the Bible’s New Testament as we know it today.

###

The authors go on to say that Jesus might not have really died by crucifixion, but rather in childbirth. (For those that are hard of inferring, the implication is that Jesus may or may not have been born with a set of knockers. Whether they were nice and supple or all haggy-like is a matter of debate, and at present it’s really anyone’s guess.) That’s about as much as they know and/or are willing to divulge to the public sphere regarding Telephone.

As for the Game of Silence, scientists are in complete agreement that God did, in fact, partake in its creation, that He commenced playing the game some 2,000 years ago, and that’s He’s been playing ever since.

So here’s another but much shorter excerpt from Conclusions Drawn from the Theory of Games Played by God the Father – Part II: “This Is God NOT Speaking…”:

And then one day, the Alpha and Omega just altogether stopped saying things.

Why the drastic change? What prompted the most notorious chatterbox in all of recorded history to achieve something that even the great Charlie Chaplin would only dream of aspiring toward?

Until recently, science was at a loss. We didn’t know and we were confused. Still, that didn’t stop us from positing a multitude of hypotheses to explain the shift in God’s behavior, albeit without much success. Some of of our guesses proved to be just downright silly, like the one put forth by Ryan Hodinger, former Physics Department Head at CIT. (Which means that yes, there are such things as stupid questions, and yes, uttering them aloud can have dire consequences on one’s career and, subsequently, quality of life.) Hodinger proposed that the reason God stopped speaking was because of the expanding universe, which is flying away from us so fast that scientists are beginning to think its legs are Jamaican. For the former Physics Head, God was an inextricable part of this expanding universe—a prisoner of sorts—so when the universe gained distance from us (as it is prone to do), so did God. Thus, it wasn’t that He had stopped speaking; it was that the distance between us and Him had become too great to discern any of His speech.

Editor’s note: Hodinger, you stupid cunt. How’s life teaching remedial math at a Juco, you fucking asshole?

We know now that the answer is much simpler; that God loves playing games more than was previously thought, particularly the world-renowned Game of Silence. One needn’t do more than picture himself for a nanosecond walking in the Creator’s shoes to marvel at just how phenomenal His achievements regarding games prove. Imagine! 2,000-plus years engaging in the same round of the Quiet Game! We mortals can only dream of lasting a whole meal without uttering one of our trademark dumb and useless comments, much less multiple millenia.

###

So there you have it. Thanks to Einstein’s genius, we’ve done it. Unearthed what had been, up to the point of discovery, one of the most troubling and vexing riddles of the universe. God has two games of preference: Telephone and the Quiet Game, and He’s an unrivaled master at both.

Which leaves me with nothing else to say except the following: the next time someone alludes to “God doesn’t play dice” in conversation, I trust that you now know how to respond.

Tune into next week’s episode of Cosmos, titled “O Father, Where Art Thou?” in which Neil Tyson Degrasse will do as I did here, but better and more elaborately, speculating on when God will break His silence, and more controversially, whether He already did in the 2003 film Bruce Almighty.

“There’s No Such Thing as a Christian Child”

An oldie from January 2013, but wanted to repost this for my newer readers. As always, comments are not just welcomed, but encouraged.

###

I’m reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion right now, an excellent book for atheists, agnostics and nonreligious folk alike. In it Dawkins says something very poignant, something that speaks to our disillusioned minds about how we ever got to be religious in the first place:

“Just as feminists wince when they hear ‘he’ rather than ‘he or she’, or ‘man’ rather than ‘human’, I want everybody to flinch whenever we hear a phrase such as ‘Catholic child’ or ‘Muslim child’. Speak of a ‘child of Catholic parents’ if you like; but if you hear anybody speak of a ‘Catholic child’, stop them and politely point out that children are too young to know where they stand on such issues, just as they are too young to know where they stand on economics or politics.

Such a crucial distinction this is that Dawkins reiterates the point in plainer, don’t-fuck-with-me English:

“That is not a Muslim child, but a child of Muslim parents. That child is too young to know whether it is a Muslim or not. There is no such thing as a Muslim child. There is no such thing as a Christian child.

If only I had had The God Delusion, instead of a much much much different book, bed-side with me at eight years old. Turns out I’m one of the billions they got wrong, who they labeled “Christian child” over and over and over again in my impressionable youth. Stumbling across the above passage the other day, I thought to myself, “Wow. What a sad state of affairs, and how lucky I am to have really seen-seen the booby trap, to renounce that shit and get the hell out of those white robes (figurative and, most unfortunately for me, literal).” I officially became an apostate (a person who abandons his/her religious faith) when I was 16. Only seven years have passed, but in thinking back I’m amazed at how completely disjointed my religious past life feels from present day. Do you ever feel that way about certain things in your own life? Like someone else was steering the brain back then; who or what exactly you have no idea–but you search now and the one-time conductor is nowhere to be found; s/he’s prolly been left for dead in a ditch somewhere, and survives only as an occasional, incidental memory of what used to be. Such is 100 percent my case, and if you’d allow me, I’d like to take the stroll to show you just exactly what used to be.

###

When I was a one-year-old little crying Asian shit, my parents separated. We were in Queens, NY, and moms decided a move back to Lansing, MI, where my Lola and Lolo lived, would be an auspicious change of scenery. So we said goodbye and that was that. We moved into my Lola and Lolo’s house, and for the next four-plus years the old folks had a tremendous hand in raising me.

As old-school, traditional Filipinos who still to this day believe staunchly in things like courtship, they were paragon Roman Catholics. They raised their nine kids this way, and predictably the lot of them continue practicing their hand-me-down faith today. Just as predictably, they began imparting to their newest tenant the same ways of Jesus Christ immediately. I was a tiny infant, kicking it in my tiny basket, going to church on Sundays; I was two years old bowing my head, locking my hands together, closing my eyes before dinner, saying, “Amen”; I was three years old, clutching my Lola’s rosary at her bed, repeating the prayer coming from that immutably gentle, tender, make-you-want-to-melt-it’s-that-delicate voice: “Bless my mommy. Bless my daddy. Bless my Lola and my Lolo, etc. etc.” What it meant to “bless” these people I had no idea, but there I was in my footie pajamas, parroting my grandma in her bed until I could do the routine all by myself.

Things continued this way till 1995, when my Lolo and Lolo decided the Michigan cold was too much for their arthritic frames; they moved to California, and moms and I said goodbye to them in heartbreaking fashion. Soon after my mom got a job at the-then Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue, WA. (Sometime between 1989 and 1995 I was baptized.) We too packed up and migrated west to a beautiful suburb just east of Seattle that was to be my home for the next 12 years: Kirkland, WA. (425, holla at me!)

We settled into our Forbes Creek apartment nicely; not even two full weeks later and moms found us a new church to attend: Holy Spirit Lutheran, at the bottom of 124th and 100th. I was in 1st grade, only five years old at the time. I remember sitting with the congregation, eyes taking in the overwhelming altar before me, when Pastor Mike called attention to make a special announcement: “I’d like to welcome the newest members to the Holy Spirit Lutheran family. Marita, Steven, if you’ll please stand up… Let’s give them a warm round of applause!”

And from that day forward, I was no longer a Roman Catholic child, but a Lutheran/Christian child.

(Quick side note: amazing how life works. Moms had just moved to a state in which she knew one other person only (my uncle); church was a way to bridge the social gap, lest loneliness or depression infect and spread. So from this reasonable, understandable social desire came our joint faith that was to mold me and my beliefs for the next 10 years. From that circumstancial desire I would proudly identify myself as a “Christian child.”)

This is when I really started to become religious in my religiosity. Sunday school every week, no exceptions. 15 or so innocent kids and me learning about God, Jesus, Moses, Noah, Adam, Eve, trying our best to get the answers right and please our teacher. I learned the “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” prayer, which I can still recite as well as any Nas or Jay song. Soon after it wasn’t enough to go to church just one measley time a week. In 2nd grade I started going to LOGOS every Wednesday to learn more about the bible and the ways of our savior. Then I started going to adult mass. At seven years old I even attempted to read the bible cover to cover. I never actually finished, or even got close; but the attempt itself should speak volumes of my commitment to my faith. God was now an inextricable main character in my life.

One day in 3rd grade, I was sitting in Mr. Stauffer’s class when a classmate told me he didn’t believe in God. VRRRPPPP. PAUSE. SAY WHAT NOW?

“What do you mean you don’t believe in God?”

“I just don’t.”

“But how? Why?”

“I dunno.”

“Jesus was crucified so that we could all go to heaven! Don’t you want to go to heaven?”

“I don’t think heaven is real.”

*Head explodes from shock.*

After school I went home and prayed like the pope for that poor bastard. Lola would’ve been so proud to see me with eyes closed, mumbling fervently for my 3rd grade atheist classmate to one day see the light. This should go without saying, but it was becoming clear (not to me, of course) that Holy Spirit Lutheran was working wonders–miracles, dare I say–on my indoctrination.

The years passed. I was becoming a Nazi Christian. In 7th grade I went to multiple bible camps. In 8th grade I became an acolyte for the church, which means I got to wear the white robes, light the altar candles and sit with the other pastors during service, like a sort of locally pious VIP. Then came communion: I was now at the age where I could participate in the post-sermon ritual of receiving the holy bread and apple juice (no wine for kids) meant to symbolize the body and blood of my main man J-Cry.

But always and inexorably the dawn precedes the night. 9th grade came around and two things happened, unforseeable and totally fortuitous: first, I actually started to grow bored of church. All my accrued years spent worshipping God had finally taken their toll; I would be slouched in my congregational seat on Sunday morning, trying covertly as possible to get some shuteye while the choir belted out tunes of our Lord’s awesomeness. What’s more, I was at the age where moms no longer cared if I slept over at friends’ houses every Friday and Saturday; I was up till 4 or 5 in the morning, recording hit songs for my first solo album with back-up singer Shane and sound engineer David–no doubt having to wake up at 9 that same morning for church seemed like Guantanamo-esque torture. Consequently, my attendance started to falter. I was attending mass once every two, three weeks now. I dropped out of the Confirmation program less than a month into registering. (Funny thing is, they won’t let you “fail” church. Although I didn’t complete the program, they still let me “graduate” and honored me as “confirmed” a few months later.) I guess the one thing the indoctrinators hadn’t anticipated, or couldn’t combat, was a teenager’s budding weekend social life, which no doubt took precedence over God and eternal salvation.

This was the first domino to be sent tumbling. The second was my formal introduction to underground hip-hop in 10th grade, namely Immortal Technique. (Hi, haters.) Up till then, my musical influence stretched only as far as MTV raps had flown; and judging by the fact that their seemingly ubiquitous mantra was “smoke weed, fuck bitches,” I’m gonna say they hadn’t flown very far. So to listen to this independent artist named Immortal Technique, who was rapping without censor about topics I’d never really understood–communism, classism, racism, political agendas of mainstream media–was, as trite as this may sound, to be born again. His passion, his conviction, his commitment to positive change in the world incited my own; that same year, of my own accord, I sought out and read The Communist Manifesto and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This was to be my inception into the intellectual universe, promulgated by free-thinking non-conformists who time and time again gave the finger to appeasement for appeasement’s sake.

For the first time in my life, I decided very consciously that conforming to norms wasn’t cool. And the ultimate norm that had, up till then, possessed my life? Christianity. Immortal Technique made me see that capitalism, colonization of the West and Christianity are inextricably linked. He deconstructed the inanity of Jesus’s being born in the Middle East and being depicted as white (I’ll destroy your religion, you stupid bitch//You faker than blue-eyed crackers nailed to a crucifix.). How stupid are we that we can’t see through such a glaringly obvious transparent agenda?

It was during this time–and I say this proud as can be–I officially dropped the label “Christianity” that had reared me into unquestioning obedience for the last 10 years. (16 years when you add “Roman Catholicism” into the equation.)

I can finally say it now–and since it’s January I’ll even say it in MLK fashion: Free at last, free at last. Thank Immortal Technique, we are free at last.

###

I write all this because I think it’s necessary that people understand that when I’m religion-bashing, it’s not from some vacuum motive and that I have nothing better to do. (Maybe you can dispute the latter.) I’m 23 years old now; what’s crazy to think is that I’ve only been non-religious for seven years–that’s not even a third of my life. It didn’t get any more “Christian child” than me. They told me to open wide, I obeyed and they forced meal after meal of indoctrination into me, till I could do nothing but shit out bible verses and arranged prayers. BUT, I did it. I escaped. I am, at least in this topical context, a “success story.” I don’t know the statistic on how many people born into their parents’ religion actively renounce, but I’m willing to bet the number is very small.

Quite plainly, my goal is to guide other non-religious folk, or fence-sitting agnostics, to “come out,” and to come out proudly. I want them to actively embrace atheism (which literally is the rejection of “theism”), and here’s why: It’s 20 fucking 13 already. We should be so far beyond superstition, just by measure of how far we’ve come technologically in the last 100 years. How can anyone still actually believe that an invisible man or spirit monitors your entire life, and then sends you above sky or below ground based on the way you lived? Beside the fact that religion causes wars and murder on a daily basis, I’ve yet another reason to combat it: it’s just flat-out stupid. Superstition should be dead, and I’m doing what I can to see to its eventual execution.

So if you’re religious, ideally (and it’s a big “ideally”) I want you to see that you were never a religious child, but a child of religious parents, and that is the sole reason you continue to be religious today.

If you’re non-religious, or if you’re a fence-sitting agnostic, my goal is that you publicly declare your atheism to the world. We are a very real minority in the world and we absolutely need you.

“‘Inappropriate’ Is a Vaginal Word” Part Two: From “Man” to ‘Man’

For PART ONE in case you missed it.

In the existential, nihilistic way of seeing things, it’s never really a good time to be alive. Whether it’s now or a thousand years past or future, the anything and everythingness of anything and everything invariably leads to the same dead end: life is futile and meaningless. There’s no reason for you to be here. God is fiction. Absolute morality is a sham. Forget the outside world that extends beyond your so-called mind (which is found where, by the way?); you can’t even prove your own existence.

It’s a scary state of affairs, and many a men have gone overboard of the too-daunting, incapacitating task of carrying out tomorrow. The rest of us, however, have managed to abstain from the temptation, delaying gratification to first pursue more noble causes, like purchasing a really nice sofa. Such has always been the state of man, and as such will it continue in this vain forever, independent of the where and when.

EXCEPT—at present there’s one place in the dark and indifferent universe that seems to be anomalous to the existential deadlock cuffing us all. Despite year-round rainfall set to a gray and dreary backdrop that, in healthy adults, should induce thoughts of suicide at least once a week, Seattle, WA is quickly becoming incurable of the invincibility virus that’s spreading, growing, and latching onto its every last inhabitant.

Existentialism? Nihilism? Solipsism? Who gives a shit. Not here, where the grass is incontrovertibly greener. That and it’s burning with the incense of a city on fire. Add the two up and it’s no wonder Seattle is HIGH AS FUCK off life right now.

Just look at the city’s achievements in the last two years, which have been both universally famed and significant. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize weed. It sat on the bus of hetero-marriage exclusivity and payed Rosa Parks a mighty homage. Its most acclaimed and impactful city is home to the 2014 Superbowl champs. Home to the 12th Man. Home to Macklemore! Winner of four Grammys, sweeper of an entire genre that included contenders named Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar.

Bitch, don’t kill Seattle’s vibe.

Well, I take that back. I should’ve said, “B*tch, don’t kill Seattle’s vibe.” But even that’s too politically charged for one of the frontrunners in progressive, liberal, everybody’s-equal-and-beautiful left-wingism. Which eliminates from contention “B****, don’t kill Seattle’s vibe,” or even “*****, don’t kill Seattle’s vibe,” because veiling doesn’t equate to abolishing, and what we’re going for is the total abolition of hateful language and hopefully—hateful thoughts. Which means “Lady, don’t kill…” and “Girl, don’t kill…” are also out for their blatant sexism and prejudice—plus with the latter there’s that unmistakable tone of child molestation/pedophilia potential. Hmm…

Okay, you get the point. I could do this shit forever. Keep going on and on and on till “Bitch, don’t kill Seattle’s vibe” were reduced to the euphemistic mouthful: “Entity, please encourage the preservation of this very good energy Seattle is having at the moment,” for a thousand reasons, among them that the word “don’t” has been known to inspire negativity in children.

All of this—from the existential intro to the Seattle segue to “Bitch, don’t kill…” to the meticulous rewriting of the phrase for political correctness’s sake—which brings me home, right to my argument’s front door, where the mat underfoot—if you’ll just move them for a second—reads: Fuck Seattle. Thank God I left.

Which is not in the slightest how I felt on moving day.

It was February 1st, 2012, and I’d just one month ago graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Creative Writing. (Which has helped me make millions, in case you’re wondering.) For no other reasons than having zero job prospects in Seattle and wanting once more to illustrate my being different from the rest of the crowd, I packed my bags and headed east for New York City, but not before first saying an impassioned goodbye to the city that raised and sculpted me into the man I was at present.

January 31, 2012

Dear Seattle,

You’ve done so much for me these last 17 years, and don’t think for a second that I’ll forget or neglect your impact on my life. After all, it’s because of you that I love to smoke weed. That I love the color green. That I love gray skies set to the beat of rain pelting against concrete.

You made me love gay people. Revolutionary thoughts. Socialism. Feminism. Equality. Deconstructing the systems of oppression. Seeing race and racism in every communication, every interaction. Hating white people, while at the same time recognizing it’s all peace and love. Learning and relearning that I subconsciously use my intrinsic male privilege to gain leverage over certain things and people, and that it’s neither fair nor right. Teaching everyone around me that gender is a social construct, that it’s okay—no, it’s fucking fantastic!—if you’re a cry guy, or a body building champ in the female 200-pounds-and-higher division.

What I’m trying to say, Seattle, is that you made me noble and righteous. The definition of a real man.

And for that I love you and shall miss you dearly. 

Steven

Waiting for me the next day at JFK was my dad, who I was to be living with for the first time since I was 12 months old. He owned an unfinished apartment building in Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg, which is hailed as the world’s Hipster Mecca and makes Seattle’s Capitol Hill look like a G-rated family flick gone straight to video. (And by video, I mean cassette.) I was to help my dad complete the building, which was still without water and gas, while living in one of the unfinished apartments free of rent. Let me say that again, lest it pass by you unnoticed. NO WATER, NO GAS. Which means I’d have to go some time—pops estimated six weeks tops—peeing in a bottle, scrounging around the neighborhood to drop deuce, and grow skin thick enough to endure three or four days without being able to shower. It’s like we were to be homeless but with the home.

Believe it or not, there was actually a honeymoon phase to all this newness, but per usual, it lasted only a few weeks before fading—no, abruptly cutting—straight to black. I was quickly noticing a parallel between a variety of first-time-having-to-do’s, namely in coping with a) no water and b) pops as the newest centerpiece in my day-to-day life. This guy was the paragon embodiment of pulling out my dick in the middle of the living room to top off yet another pee bottle—and I mean that in the most non-perverse, innuendo-free way possible.

Let me explain. At first the newness of having to aim all my urine in the mouth of a plastic bottle every single time my dick required relief was both funny and amusing. It was like, “Ha-ha-ha, look what I’m doing. Look how many of these things I’ve filled up since Thursday.” But the novelty of simulated homelessness wore off quickly, and by March I was ready to never look at another bottle, urine-filled or not, ever again. As such were my sentiments toward spending time with my dad: “ha-ha-ha” at first, “Jesus fucking Christ, not again,” thereafter.

I remember our first fight, which took place while I was lugging pops across the 278 in his two-seater Jeep. We were making small talk when he escalated and asked me what my overarching goals in life were.

“I don’t want to tell you,” I said.

“Why not?”

“Because you’ll think it’s stupid and then you’ll start lecturing me again.”

“I won’t. Just tell me.”

And then I sighed, paused, and said without a trace of sarcasm, “I want to save the world.”

Now, my dad isn’t Hitler but he’s far from what one would call a morally upstanding citizen. He leans right. He wouldn’t have been happy had I turned out gay. He uses off-limit words that I won’t specify here. He doesn’t enjoy love or warmth, though he does get off to the idea of revenge and seeing other people get fucked over. Piggybacking off this last one: because he thinks everyone’s personally trying to fuck him over, he does his best to get it in first. But none of these hold a candle to the fact that… he’s a lawyer.

So for his only seed—his son, no less—to spout from his lips that his ultimate goal was to save planet Earth, it’s a wonder he didn’t slap the shit out of me while we were still driving over the bridge and put us both out our misery. Yet somehow he managed to refrain and use words of indignation only:

“Jesus fucking Christ, give me a break.”

“See?” I said. “I knew you’d react this way. But it doesn’t matter what you say. That’s what I want to do. That’s my goal. I’m gonna help save the planet.”

Pops didn’t buy it. “That’s bullshit. You don’t really care. If you did, you’d help every homeless guy you pass on the street.”

I pushed back until he felt my conviction in his every cell.

“Fine,” he said. “Let’s say you do care. How are you gonna save the planet without money?”

“Money’s part of the problem, dad.”

“Oh, not that bullshit. So Warren Buffet, Bill Gates—all their money that goes to charities is useless?”

“I don’t need money to save the world.”

“Okay, so what are you gonna use?”

“LOVE.”

I take it back. NOW is when he should’ve slapped me unconscious, make the car veer right off the bridge and let the fall drown out all the bad from our horrifying lives.

“Jesus Christ,” he said. “Is this the kind of shit you learned in Seattle? You’re like a fucking woman.”

Yes I was. And though he meant that as the pinnacle show of disrespect, I took it as a compliment. You’re like a woman. Yes I am! Absolutely! Thank you, dad! After all, it was women who understood the important things in life. How to love. How to express their feelings. How to care. How to nurture. How to be one with the universe. They weren’t out to conquer the world or start fights over a pair of stepped-on shoes or, worst of all, dick measure, figuratively and literally, like cavemen vying for Lucy’s attention. Nuh-uh. That was man. And man bad. Woman good.

Of course, I was just echoing the normative ideologies of the city that shaped me. Similar to an Iraqi screaming “Death to those that insult Islam!” or a Parisian cheering on France in the World Cup. You root for the home team; that’s just how it goes.

Nevertheless, a few months living with pops and the tectonic plates of my home-team paradigm were already beginning to shift, albeit ever so slightly. Not yet on the issue of feminism, but on the issue of capitalism. (I’ve recently realized the two are interconnected. Zeal for one usually means complete loathing for the other.) My dad was the ultimate capitalist: in the last 20-plus years he’d reported to one superior only, and that was his cock. He practiced law for his own firm, helped start a couple of restaurants, among many other businesses over the years. His most recent project was the residential building in Williamsburg, which, up until this point—now September 2012, eight months into my staying there—was still without water and gas. Let me say that again. NO WATER, NO GAS.

In other words, for a span of eight months and counting, I was still every day prowling for new public toilets to sit on, new bottles to stand over. (As for showering, I’d discovered a hotel in midtown seven miles away that had communal showers on every floor. So twice or three times a week, I’d sneak in the hotel, take a shower, and go home, all in the time it takes to count to an hour and a half.)

Trying to jump through all the required hoops to get these two very basic necessities was a nightmare. Why? Because at each step in the process we needed help from the city’s bureaucrats. Now, if you’ve ever been to the DMV, and/or come across a New Yorker, then you understand intimately the implications of this; NYC bureaucrats wanted only to help you in the process that leads to your jumping off a very high bridge and killing yourself.

So it was every day trying to deal with them and perform all the necessary circus acts to get water and gas inside my dad’s building. Until then, no water and gas meant no renters. No renters meant no money. No money meant losing money because every month pops had to pay up the ass in various fees (think $20K each month). And if all that wasn’t bad enough, there were these fuckers:

Image

Williamsburg hipsters. My dad called them trust-fund babies because apparently, not one of them earned income enough to justify—let alone explain—the lifestyle they were being wont to enjoy, especially in one of the steepest housing markets in Brooklyn. (For perspective: the going rate for a one-bedroom apartment in my dad’s building, upon its eventual completion, was to be $2,500/month sans utilities.) He said the majority of the hipsters’ bankroll was coming straight from mommy and daddy’s pocket, hence their being able to do a number of things: simply survive, eat food, buy misleadingly expensive clothes, loiter about in cafes from sunrise to sunset, loiter about in bars from sunset to sunrise, etc. etc. But perhaps more important than any of the abovementioned—hipsters could, like, have, like, a lot of time to, like, pursue, like, their, like, “art.”

At first I didn’t believe pops. I just figured he was bitter because they smoked outside his property and dressed like Soviet runway models. But after noting how their daily routines were playing out, the same way over and over again, the days indistinctly mushing together to create one giant super day called Motuwethfrday, I began reassessing my position. Not to get it twisted; I still liked them in the big picture. After all, who loathed conformity, capitalism, “the Man”—who desired love, equality, the right to “pursue my art” more than the birkenstock-sporting, handlebar mustache-wearing, “organic” crowd?

But then they started to do this:

DSC_3418

Their Mona Lisa: spraypainted twaddle on the whole front of my dad’s building, with additions and modifications incoming a minimum of three times a week.

And just like that, all that love-thy-neighbor, equality-for-all bullshit got chucked straight out the “my beliefs” window I’d, up until then, held to be fixed and impregnable.

As my dad’s assistant, I was left to wipe the spraypaint off the building every single time. I say “wipe” like you’d wipe a sill of its dust, but in actuality it was intensive scraping of a one-inch blade against the windows and repainting the commercial space’s doors and pannels black, for two hours-plus in a single go, multiplied many, many, many times over.

I felt like fucking Sysiphus. Every time I made the front exterior look shiny and new, that same night some asshole would defecate all over the paint job with a spray can, compelling me to start again from scratch. Forget being pissed; I was out for blood. All my labor gone to waste because these insensitive, heartless, completely-unable-to-empathize cunts wanted a quick adrenaline shot, or whatever the fuck they—OH.

And then came revelation.

It took one moment for me to realize that this was me all those years back. SLATER AVE. Every Friday night chucking eggs to defile the green paint on that one stranger’s house. Walking by the following day as the poor guy, forced to spend a chunk of his weekend like an asshole, tried to clean dried egg off his home’s exterior, while I went to enjoy a slurpee from 7-11.

But it was bigger than that. All the other times I vandalized other people’s property just for something to do.

But it was even bigger than that. All the times I celebrated news of vandalism taking place elsewhere in the world, always excusing it with the rationale that we were “stickin’ it to the Man! YEAH!”

But all that was symptomatic of the real sickness that had, from the very start, plagued my every thought, word and deed: constantly wishing, hoping that a business or person of power fail, because both are evil and abet the systematic oppression of everyone else, which, of course, was an incomplete list without yours truly.

All my life I had been playing for Team Oppressed. Team Proletariat. Team To Be Owed Our Labor’s Worth! Little did I know a move to NY was more than that; it was my signing as a free agent to represent the capitalistic agenda AKA Team Greed. Not that mine and pops’s win column was any better than the competition’s. If anything, we were doing worse. Losing $20K a month while you, for successfully punching in and out, were still guaranteed your hourly $8.76.

This was me learning empathy. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, as they say. But I hate to use cliches so I’ve appended mine with a little twist: “Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, to find a place—any place—where I can shit in peace.” Which was true in the literal sense and which, more importantly, informed this golden tidbit of wisdom that had eluded me for 22 years: it wasn’t easy being a capitalist. In fact, it was hard as fuck. One did not simply have the idea to build a building and build it, and then cash in immediately afterwards, and then order workers with no power of choice nor say around like slaves, from the sunroof of a Humvee limo, megaphone in one hand, pitchfork clutched like death in the other.

On the contrary. Caps worked 12-plus-hour days from the outset. Who else was gonna do the work when there was no money, no resources, no credibility to hire employees? Caps had to achieve all these, not as an aside, but as a prerequisite. And alone, mind you. They were the only ones that could lose it all. Sure they stood to gain hundreds of thousands, millions, maybe even billions, were their ventures to flourish (and that’s a mammoth of a “were”); until then, they, too, in their own personal way, lived the NO WATER, NO GAS lifestyle.

Against my every intention, pops—and, unwittingly, the hipster vandals—had miyagied me. I was now a capitalist, albeit one without any capital. (Still working on that one.) The transformation, though incomplete, was gaining significant traction. All that stood in the way for me to eventually dismantle were my respective beliefs about God and women. I’ve covered the former topic extensively, and will get to the latter in the third and final installment of the “Inappropriate” series.

Thank you for reading, and remember, anyone can go on strike. But how many people can build the thing that allows for a strike opportunity to even exist?

And in case you were wondering, m dad and I were able to get water installed in September of 2012. Gas has yet to be installed. Which means two things: 1) I wasn’t able to take a single shower in my one year living in that building, and 2) pops is still losing $20K a month. How’s that for capitalist greed.

Nihilism Presented by Jerry Seinfeld

Anyone that knows me well knows that Seinfeld is my shiet. For one, it’s hands-down the funniest show in the history of TV. (I can’t help you if you like Big Bang Theory.) Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the unspoken, tacit, existential, misanthropic, nihilistic worldview of the show speaks to me in a way unrivaled by any other work of art–save for most things Woody Allen has done (including his collection of short stories), and Albert Camus’s The Stranger. (Here’s a fun fact: ever notice any similarities between Seinfeld‘s last episode and The Stranger? It’s no coincidence. The episode parodies the book.)

Well, recently I was watching an episode from Jerry Seinfeld’s latest project, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Great as the concept for that show is, it doesn’t hit me in a way the abovementioned works ever hit me–but nor do I think that was ever Jerry’s intention. It’s just a show in which you get to watch two people eating food and driving in a car. There’s not really that much to be moved by.

Image

That is, until I watched the episode from Season 3 featuring Sarah Silverman, specifically the below dialogue (there’s no background or scene that needs setting up; the two of them are just sitting at a table eating their food and chatting):

SS: I went through a terrible depression. I remember my step-father asking me, “What does it feel like?”

Jerry, instead of replying to Sarah, turns to the waiter.

JS: Excuse me. May I have some half-and-half?

Only after this very important request does Jerry acknowledge Sarah.

JS: I’m sorry.

SS (upset): Of all the stories! “I went through a terrible depression–” “Excuse me. Can I get some half-and-half?” Was it that much of an emergency?

And here’s where my man J-Sein drops the fucking bomb, one of the dopest lines I’ve ever heard from anyone in any place at any time. 

JS: In the comedian’s view of life, those things are kind of equal.

Those things are kind of equal? Depression and half-and-half?

Absolutely.

“‘Inappropriate’ Is a Vaginal Word” Part One: Humble Beginnings of a Vaggie, Self-Hating “Man”

“‘Inappropriate’ is a vaginal word”—the way it sounds is just MUAH. I wish I could claim authorship over the phrase, but unfortunately I’m just not that great of a wordsmith yet. No, the above poetry belongs to the late Patrice O’Neal, who cast the statement while highlighting undesirable male behavior in his 2011 stand-up special “Elephant in the Room.”

“I’m a neanderthal, okay? They’re taking away what I used to just automatically think and feel, and now they just take it away from you. So that now even you look at dudes like me, older dudes, and go, ‘Oh, you’re—’ It’s like self-policing. Men go, ‘Oh, that’s not—you shouldn’t…’

“Like, ‘inappropiate’ is a vaginal word. Like, that’s not a word… (in a self-righteous voice) ‘THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE.’ Is that coming from a man? Women say that. That’s women’s job.”

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder—or so they say. What I might find dope or hilarious could be the very thing that makes you want to throw up. Such is probably the case with Patrice’s quote. From the point of view of a feminist, and probably the modern “man,” the comedian has committed the ultimate crime of sexism in employing rhetoric that relies completely on all the implications the word “vaginal” excites for its derogatory power.

And the primary implication: that Patrice’s “vaginal” not only supports the existence and cementation of gender roles, but that it also enjoins men not to deviate too far from the cock-shaped border of masculinity, lest they be judged or punished for overstepping into the foreign, lesser territory that society (“patriarchy!”) has arbitrarily gerrymandered.

In other words, Patrice’s is a loaded statement.

Compound that annually. If you’re like me, if you too were reared from conception by a single mother forced not only to cook but to play catch as well, if you too are now in your 20s, and if you too spent your formative years in the clutch of a Top Five hipster/liberal cesspool in all the world—Seattle, WA—home to the genetic engineering experiment responsible for the breeding of every Gawker, Jezebel and Buzzfeed writer on staff, then when someone declares, “‘Inappropriate’ is a vaginal word,” you don’t get to have a choice: you’re offended to the marrow in your bones; you’re so pissed we can see the steam rising from your shit, and by now you’ve already cooked up a hundred finger-wagging admonitions ready to serve Patrice O’Neal, that fat motherfucking sexist pig.

Oh my God. That is sooo offensive, especially to women.

Male privilege much?

You’re reinforcing and helping to keep in place patriarchy and sexism against women around the world. And you’re doing it all for a laugh!

Aren’t you ashamed?

Don’t you feel bad?

How do you live with yourself?

Embarrassing as it is to concede, this was me from the very moment I had my first “thought” about politics, society and what it meant to be a morally decent person. I had queued up properly like a nice little boy, without any sort of deviance, in the line farthest to the LEFT. Equality-this, communism-that, power to the people, “barcodes, that’s the sign of the beast,” men are swine and women sacred, bottom line.

And then I took the red pill.

How this watershed moment came about is very important, but I’ll save the story for another post. At present, suffice it to say that the law of cause and effect is still immutable, still posting a zero in the loss column. Globe hopping in the last two years—from Seattle to Brooklyn in 2012, then Brooklyn to Taiwan in 2013, where I’m still residing—has completely and radically transformed the beliefs I once thought to be indestructible.

A year ago Patrice’s “vaginal” line would’ve offended me deeply. I’m not even his intended target but none the matter; the white knight in me would’ve been offended on behalf of all the women in the world who so bravely endure each day as the uphill battle patriarchy has designed it to be.

Now I’m like, “FUCK THAT SHIT.” I’m completely on board with Patrice’s implications supporting distinct gender roles. It was the drastic change I made in the second half of 2013, the year’s atheism, the latest eye opener that’s been eating up the majority of my thoughts ever since. It’s so simple! Men should get women, not behave like them. We should be masculine, and women feminine. What a revolutionary fucking idea!

The problem is I’m not even being sarcastic. Sincerity has a stranglehold on my every word, and the bulk of attribution rests on the flimsy, narrow shoulders of this politically “perfect” epoch. (“Correct” no longer suffices as a word to illustrate just how impactful feminism has been in altering what it means to hold the “right” belief.) In the age where feelings 11 times out 10 trump truth, where the most common words in the English language are some version of “I’m offended by that,” where jokes are no longer jokes and free speech is about as free as subprime lending rates, the very idea of human beings conforming to, and fulfilling on their respective gender roles, is not just obsolete, it’s—surprise, surprise—grossly offensive.

Enter Butch and all her “big-boned” progressive friends.

These are the ladies to hold accountable for Western civilization’s steep and tragic plunge: those shoving the tenets of feminism so far up the mainstream asshole you’d think rape were the dominant mode of procreation.

Because that’s what’s happening now. Twisted and greedy, deluded and ruthless, low on verity but high as hell off self-esteem, 21st-century girl power looks exactly like Tony Montana after climbing coke mountain. These cunts got “THE WORLD IS YOURS” tattooed across their brains; they’re levitating above sky, getting away with the murder of every John Smith Testicle, and “bitch, YOU go make ME a sandwich.” They’re not just fighting to up the vaginal collective at the expense of the phallus-wielding enemy; they’re going flights of stairs farther by telling a single horrible lie that’s every day being propagated and sold as truth.

They’re telling us that gender is nothing but a social construct, that it’s made up and if Sally Sue and Tommy Tin were born in a vacuum, there’d be no difference between them except one would have bigger tits. (And if they’re especially hardcore, vegan-esque in their feminism, they’ll have the audacity to tell you it’s okay that Tommy’s the one with the larger bra.)

Of course it’s complete, utter nonsense. The biggest load of shit since the E. coli stools I was sitting on in the summer of ’98. Because I know better now,  but the first time they pitched the gender-as-a-social-construct argument to me, blind as I was at the time, I did what most vulnerable teens would’ve done in the same situation: opened wide and gagged repeatedly on the entire shaft of their doctrine like a little bitch.

###

The year was 2008. I was taking a winter course at the University of Washington called Global Youth Studies with my girlfriend of two-plus years. It’s worth noting that back then I didn’t wear pants—my girlfriend wore enough of them for the both of us and my following her into this Global Youth course just exemplified this fact further. Our professor was a British bloke by the name of Craig Jeffrey and like most British men who can open their mouths and say things, he had me at “Hello.” It wasn’t till much later that I realized it was his accent that perpetually rendered him impervious to any polemic regarding his many theories and teachings—the most groundbreaking of which was his take on the issue of gender in society.

To bring more repute to his argument he enlisted the help of heavyweight social theorist Judith Butler, whose works include titles such as Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity; Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”; and Undoing Gender. According to Butler, gender is “a stylized repetition of acts…which are internally discontinuous…[so that] the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed identity, a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief” (Gender Trouble). In plainer words, gender is “real only to the extent that it is performed” (Gender Trouble).

I was floored when Prof. Jeffrey introduced all this in class. It really was an authentic revelation for me. I couldn’t believe my whole life up until that point had been a sham, a pretense, a “performative accomplishment” if you will, in which I was a sleepwalking actor taking stage direction from a screenplay called Brotein and Brodryers: A Manual on Getting Money and Fucking Bitches. My trying to be manly all the time wasn’t a product of nature or biology; it was social constructionism!

Everything seemed to be coming together for me, and at the perfect time too: as an awkward, lanky teen finally grows into his body after years of precarious evolution, so was I beginning to fulfill on the mold I’d been reared to fit into, becoming the paragon Seattle liberal to whom fairness and equality meant everything. And so this new realization—that men and women would be the same barring the power of social conditioning—only further excited my fundamental belief of Everybody Needs to Be Equal, Period.

I was free. Out of the matrix. Masculinity was a performance, and therefore a certain kind of work for which I no longer needed to punch my time card in and out. I could be any way I wanted to be. And so I stopped lifting weights. I scoffed at the idea that I’d once been the owner of the brotein bottle with the metal ball on the inside. I dropped out of my fraternity because I’d been unhappy for some time, and these assholes just didn’t understand righteous ideals like love and equality. They used hateful words like “faggot” and “queerbag” all the time; I grew uncomfortable and started referring to the word “faggot” as the “the ‘f’ word.” I identified with women! They too could be any way they wanted to be. I encouraged them to be more like guys, and guys to be more like them. And perhaps most extreme of all: I became convinced that sexual orientation was another product of social constructionism; that if we untangled ourselves from the shackles, everyone would be humping everyone else, men, women, and—don’t call them the “t” word—“female impersonators” alike.

Screenshot 2014-01-24 17.03.06

My transformation was complete. From mere “boy” I became a superhero poised to fight every slight ever committed against minority groups, with that air of conceited self-importance one is required to have when telling people with a straight face: “My name is Steven Lo and my goal is to save the planet.” No cape, no flight, no x-ray vision, no matter; informing you that you were being inappropriate, without a trace of shame or embarrassment—that was my super power.

###

Well, that’s it for today, folks. Stay tuned for Part Two, in which I’ll detail how I reversed the conditioning and really broke free.

In the meantime, holla at me in the comments section. Even if it’s just to tell me what an insensitive cuntlicker I am.

The Problem with Inspiration

If you know me well then you know I’m all about impulse and inspiration borne from outside catalysts. For example, I hear that it takes 10,000 hours of doing the same craft over and over again to reach mastery. All of a sudden I’m racing home to my computer and punching the keys like a boxer would a bag of dope, and I’m being productive as hell and everything is great and there’s that fantastic feeling of unstoppability you only get once every couple years. The problem for me is that all this endures for a few hours only, a day max before the inspirational high depletes and I’m stuck again with the stark reality that the “down” begets, which is that I’m lazy and I don’t want to do this anymore. So I pause the thing and either require a new fix to resume it, or I quit completely if the requisite inspiration can’t imbue my famished veins.

For discussion’s sake, let’s say I’m able to acquire the former. That means maybe I stumble upon a moving youtube video. For example, the “How Bad Do You Want Success” audio paired with various clips of professional athletes in training. Wow, that gets me going. I watch that after waking up in the morning and suddenly I’m this wrecking ball tasked to obliterate every blank page I see. But my eyes are bad and after an hour or so I lose sight of why I was inspired in the first place. Off to the YouTube search bar for my next fix.

But of course I’m busy after the morning passes so whatever it was that impulse propelled me to create gets the broom treatment, and two years fold over before one day I’m opening random files in my dropbox as a way of procrastinating on my latest project, and that’s when I chance upon seeing the from-yore, bastardized document that looks a little too much like Brenda’s baby.

By then, I could give a shit less. I’m not gonna revisit this document. Why would I? The original inspiration’s already made the obit page. My beliefs have altered so drastically since I first wrote the thing, I don’t even believe in the subject matter’s stance anymore. I’m juggling 15 other blog ideas and 20 satire pieces, a fiction short and two novels, along with life outside of writing, pondering meaning and purpose while getting upset by things like people using the wrong window wiper speed. With all that, I’m gonna pay mind to a shitty little 100-word document I created two years ago that I forgot about until just now? Fuhgeddaboudit.

And so the vicious cycle is born. I see or hear or discover a thing. I’m inspired. There’s an impulse. I create something. I work at it.

Then the inspiration escapes.

The motivation to keep on goes limp.

I stop.

And then I see or hear or discover a new thing.

It’s a sick disease, not being able to see a creation through to the finish line. I’m actually fearful right now, wondering if this post will be fated to the same dead end as all my other stillborn projects before it. Because this wasn’t premeditated. This post, focusing on impulse and fleeting inspiration, is a product of that very same impulse and fleeting inspiration. At present I’m still inspired; I don’t want to let any of the magic go, so I’m still up writing and keeping on, scared shitless that if I put it down for the night, come tomorrow, in some Kafkaesque way, this fucking pen will turn into an anvil harder to pick up than Candace Swanepoel at a billionaires’ ball.

But goddamn, I’d like to do it. Get to bed at a reasonable hour, then pick up right where I left off. Right now it’s Wednesday December 11, 2:30 a.m. The snow has abated, the ice is freezing over and Wayne, New Jersey is sleeping peacefully. I’m on my Ariel tip, wanting nothing more than to be a part of that world. Close my computer, lay in bed and read Tropic of Capricorn till I doze off for the next eight hours.

###

I ended up doing it. I put the pen down, read Tropic of Capricorn, and then slept… for 50 hours. Not all at once, of course. As I write this now it is Tuesday December 17, which means six days have passed since I touched this document, since inspiration dictated the page margins and I got honest with myself in forefronting a major character hump I can’t get over, that I’m self-debilitating in my ability to finish what I start.

And now it’s Monday, December 23.

Yet another six days have gone by since writing the last paragraph and at this point I’ve got negative gajillion inspiration to persevere with this post. It took all the mental fortitude I could muster just to open the document up and read what I’d so far written. A 100 new ideas are brewing, simmering inside my brain. Even if discipline precludes me from entering the proverbial kitchen so long as I’ve got food on my plate (this post), still I can’t help but get a whiff or 20 of the myriad smells gravitating my way.

That’s not to say they even smell good. They could smell horrible for all I know. These new ideas could all be suffering from that pungent odor you only get by crouching down toward the sidewalk and picking up dog shit. But still I’d be allured for the very simple reason that whatever this new idea, what’s important is that it’s not the one I’m working on now, the one time has gotten me to loathe and despise. Wine with time is still wine; but after just a few days these written words become something sinister: textual mirrors reflecting back a very perverse man who gets his kicks from surfeiting in the fatty, gluttinous swine of laziness and procrastination.

Truth be told, a real man finishes what he starts.

I don’t finish what I start.

I am not a real man.

###

I don’t want to be inspired anymore. I’ve already been down that rabbit hole a million times. I know what’s down there.

No, I just want to be a hard worker. Someone that persists and perseveres and finishes what he starts, shitty little excuses be damned. Starting with this post. And then with every other future post, story, novel, email, Christmas and grocery list I write.

But first I have to clean up the mess I’ve amassed up until now. I have a folder in my Dropbox named “Current Projects” and another called “Limbo.” The former is self-explanatory; the latter is for projects I started but deemed too dumb, too corny, too unsalvagable to round off. What I’m vowing now is to go back and finish every single one of these projects, no matter how long it takes me. I will not start a new project during this time.

My goal is to build and fortify a threshold that will allow me persist in writing while enduring long bouts of being uninspired.

Ultimately this will foment a total personality change, one that begins with hard work and ends with an unyielding confidence to complete any task I start, by whim or by long-thought-out premeditation.

A real man finishes what he starts.

I’m 24 years old right now. It’s time I become a real man.