June 12th, 2002

Want Fries with that?

The thin line between indie and hate

The Sam Goody magazine that came in the mail today advertises that "TONS" of reviews will be found inside its featherweight pages. Reach for a piece of paper, any piece of paper, so long as it will tell you what to think.

We have tons of reviews. More reviews than anyone else. We will tell you what to think about everything; don't worry. We will absolve you of judgement; you don't have to make the call about anything. Don't feel guilty; we have told you good or bad, right or wrong, worthwhile or worthless.

I was watching American Psycho again last night (tough choice between it and American Pimp), and I noted one of the reasons I like the movie. Bateman is walking down a dark city alley where he is met by a plea for help from a homeless man, or rather, a man without an indoor home; a houseless man. He says to the bum, I'll help you... what's your name? And the bum says, Al, my name is Al. Bateman says, I'll help you, Al, if you'll help yourself. Please, sir, tell me what to do, the bum says.

Tell him what to do.

Bateman gets angry, enraged. He tells him what to do; he tells him to get a fucking job. And then he shoots him.

Poor Al was waiting all his life for someone to tell him what to do. I and some of my friends are like that right now. We want you to help us, to tell us what to do with ourselves. We don't want to help; we don't want to decide. Decision implies finality, and finality alludes to death; death by the long, grinding rut of routine.

Some of you are saying, wait, so this is a good movie because a rich kid shoots a bum? No, you are not listening. You can see that a man was killed, when you watch a movie. A child can do that. But can you see why he was killed? Can you see what brought Bateman to that alley? Can you see what put Al there? You don't have to see right and wrong.

I never want to have one of my books billed as: "by the author of". I am not "the author of". I am me, N@, Dark, an entity in myself. I am not a relation to another object. But maybe then my books will not sell. Is that what's important?

It's for all these reasons and more that I choose to be independent, or 'indie'. I do not want to be a name for sale. I do not want to like something because it's right, or because it's good. I was told that was insufficient when I was in grade school doing book reports. I want to understand why I like something. I want to understand why I dislike something. I want to understand why I don't like something. (I also want people to understand that don't like and dislike are different things; it would save a lot of explaining, this difference between opposition and indifference).

The meaning is between the words, the joy is between the notes.
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What's more

We live in a country where one of the most beloved forms of entertainment consists of sitting and listening to/watching other people talk. It's non-participatory; even if you stood up and said something, they wouldn't hear you, unless you're at the Conan taping or if you call in to Stern.

Sitting. Listening. To people you have never and most likely will never meet. Listening to shared experiences you yourself will never share, if only because you are home watching TV instead of sleeping or rehearsing for a play or starting a business or doing something to get yourself on that show so that you can be the one doing, even if doing is only talking, while everyone else is the moron at home who is watching other people talk.

"Tell us your opinion on your most recent movie." "Oh, I hated it."

Because you really care what Celebrity X thinks about the movie that you, collectively, just paid him millions of dollars to make.

Tell us, please, what to think. Relieve us of the responsibility of informed, self-directed opinions. Because if we are wrong, it is because we are stupid. If you are wrong and we are just agreeing with you, we are less stupid. Never you mind that there is no such thing as a wrong opinion if you don't form opinions about things you don't yourself know and understand. You're already too stupid to know and understand that simple fact. And don't get any ideas about coming to a realization, because once you're dumb, you're dumb for life. Intelligence is a quotient, factored at birth. Just stopping and thinking about something rationally won't help you come to any conclusions, so hey, why bother? It's not your fault you don't improve yourself; you can't because someone said so. You were made this way!

I hope that thought carries you smiling to your graves, because thousands of people are out there, bettering themselves at your expense. The rich get richer because they realize they can get richer; they understand and elicit change from the surrounding environment. They collect change; dollars and sense eventually pile up below them to keep them above you. Because you are busy throwing away the dollars seeing Celebrity X's movie, and they are collecting. You are going to see a movie with a pre-formed opinion from someone who makes money based on that opinion, and rather than evaluate the movie, you will simply retain that opinion. The net result will be two hours and ten dollars thrown away to change nothing. You will take nothing from the movie but the satisfaction of having shirked two hours chores/work/self-improvement and of having refrained from stupidly making any opinions of your own.

I'm not dumb because I haven't risked anything! It doesn't work like that. You can't not risk your intelligence; you stake your every decision on it, including the decision to avoid a decision on something else. Yeah, oops. See? You're trapped inside your own reasoning for all your attempts to avoid it.

Grrr!, Dammit!

Phrases that need to die

"computer wiz" - I guess because savvy computer users all play D&D. If I hear one more person say 'computer wiz'...

"If I hear one more person say..." You'll WHAT? Oh, no you won't. And if you will, then save us the prediction and just fucking DO it. Shut your face, Mr. Empty Threats.

"You go, girl!" But where?

"appears to be/seems to be" Is it, or isn't it? Does it appear to be cloudy today? No, it either is cloudy, or it isn't. If you're having trouble, roll for disbelief and fucking DECIDE.

"in order" Have you ever noticed that this phrase is usually superflous? In order To clarify your sentences, eliminate "in order".

"-slut/-whore" Stop it already, kids. You're cheapening the world's oldest profession. Just who have you slept with in exchange for livejournal comments, Miss Comment-whore?

And you know what needs to die? This "claim a..." bullshit. That and official Vanilla coke. If your life is really so boring that you have to chatter on for months on end about something that has really been around for most of a century just because some coporate entity decides to make it official, you haven't read my previous entry. Losers read the news. Winners make it.

The last thing that needs to die are *internet actions*. You know what I mean. *pauses, scornful look*. Just fucking TYPE IT. "Dearest Andrea, I'm sitting here, laughing out loud at what you wrote. It was really funny; thanks."

*typing with trembling fingers* vs. I am typing this with trembling fingers.

Doesn't that look SO MUCH BETTER? Christ, it's even half-way professional. Instead of saying *scratches head*, why not say "I'm scratching my head at this" or "That really has me scratching my head". They don't even write actions like that in plays. They write Roger pauses, and gives a scornful look. See? Subject, verb. Hell, conjunctions.

"Oh, well, I'm trying to pretend it's an action, seperate from what I'm saying." Well, don't. When I write an entry, I don't try to pretend I am fucking the Queen of France. I pretend I'm writing an entry. Heck, I don't even have to pretend; I really am writing an entry! Text is not a limitation; it's a tool. Don't try to circumvent it. Try to use it for a change. Because communication is according to a set of common rules. Deviation from those rules is okay; violating them is miscommunication. Don't devalue language; it's a commodity more precious than even money. Money has a physical aspect; something you can hold. Someone who does not understand money can still use it; the same is false for language. The rapid expansion of Internet communication is causing literary inflation which is hard to check; there is no gold standard to back language.