Baudelairean Satanism.There, I said it.[#nevermind]
Insofar as a common and significant link ‘twixt the intimacy of driving a knife into another person, to the one, and coital penetration, to the other, is testosterone, the act of shooting the place up starts to seem very nearly masturbatory.
The psychoanalysisα of that proposition is probably as fascinating as it is grim. At some point it seems to denigrate the American shooting crisis while exploiting the very notion of rape culture, and it is easy enough to call any mass-murderer a pathetic wanker. Yet the analogy persists, and it is easy enough to regret, before it is written or uttered, any phrase about shooting his load in public.
Killing is intimate. Killing is also distal.
He can tell her he loves her; she can believe him; it can be true; and the link between this passion he shares and the violence he might commit against another is testosterone.
α The temptation to dismiss, out of hand, expected pop-culture strains of evolutionary psychology according to their obvious weakness presuming coital penetration as inherent to the existential justification of sexual differentiation, would be erroneous in at least one context, as the apparent fault becomes at least symbolically relevant; to the other, invoking semiotic values might be an overstatement. But where the pop strains of evopsych would discuss men evolving to penetrate women, Y previously evolved, and, indeed, continues to this day to adapt and select and evolve, not as delivery unto X, but as environmental distribution of gamete for X. Where human males may have specialized for gamete delivery, this is merely specialization of gamete distribution. And while it is true enough that word games are easy, and phagogenesis could, artistically, at least, be argued an intimate precursor to general environmental gamete distribution, the greater danger is the potential for evopsych to finally recognize the argument that masculine raison d’être really is to be a wanker.
So, there is this thing people do, sometimes, and perhaps it is perfectly human behavior, except when it is so clearly statistically deviantα. Or maybe it’s just something about perception. Sometimes we exist in an environment where simple things are impossible: I am writing something; my coffee cup is empty; if you wish to take odds, no, I cannot manage to go refill my coffee cup without someone demanding that I stop what I am doing and undertake another task. And perhaps that summary sounds a bit pointed, but when you can watch someone get up and start searching the room for something to give you, they make some sort of point: Here is something that looks like it has a deadline in about four weeks; you need to stop what you are doing and do this thing right now.
And if you ask about this phenomenon, the one thing people don’t do is explain why they can’t leave you to what you’re doing; indeed, very often they come right out and—what, confess? admit? acknowledge? chide?—say the one has nothing to do with the other.
α There is, of course, a recursive dive into the question acknowledging that statistical deviance, real or perceived, is itself perfectly human; this is, to the one, a seemingly legitimate existential consideration, and, to the other, a nihilistic rabbit hole.
Ambition is obligation.
No, really, this is hardly any manner of genius, but at the same time it seems worth noting explicitly. Call it some sort of multiphasic something or other. Still, as so much happens, perhaps I ought to write it down, yet the act is laborious and stylistic precisely, at least in part, because of ambition; and the most direct address of labor and futility only amounts to greater, or, at least, other and more complex, obligation according to reframed ambition.
And say what we will about desire and suffering, but ambition, in function, is obligation.
Frameworks are as frameworks will; that life is more than mere utility of accident is an article of faith. Our futility is our own choice to attend the word.
“What do you think is become of the art of forcing the thunder and celestial fire down, which the wise Prometheus had formerly invented? ‘Tis most certain you have lost it; ’tis no more on your hemisphere; but here below we have it. And without a cause you sometimes wonder to see whole towns burned and destroyed by lightning and ethereal fire, and are at a loss about knowing from whom, by whom, and to what end those dreadful mischiefs were sent. Now, they are familiar and useful to us; and your philosophers who complain that the ancients have left them nothing to write of or to invent, are very much mistaken. Those phenomena which you see in the sky, whatever the surface of the earth affords you, and the sea, and every river contain, is not to be compared with what is hid within the bowels of the earth.”
“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”
―H. P. Lovecraft, 1922
“It had taken him years, and much conniving, to get access to the mighty, and more trickery still to learn which of them had dreams of magic. When pressed. He’d used the jacket, seducing those who fawned upon potentates into revealing all they knew. Many had no tales to tell, their masters made no sign of mourning a lost world. But for every atheist there was at least one who believed; one prone to moping over lost dreams of childhood, or to midnight confessions on how their search for Heaven had ended only in tears and gold.”
―Clive Barker, 1987
“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”
―Robert R. McCammon, 1991
The weather report for the next couple days is hardly catastrophic, but neither is it pleasant, and that in turn brings to mind talk of blustery, wet, generally unpleasant winter expected to be, overall, too mild to build significant snowpack in the Cascades, and while it is easy enough to hope such chatter is, well, merely chatter, it is also rather quite tempting to mutter something about, Damn it, Nature! stop wasting water like that!
Except, you know, we’re the human species, so the next thought to mind is also pretty obvious: Oh, right.
Image note: I’m pretty sure I was playing around with the photocopy filter in GIMP. Never mind. It’s Bloom County, by the one and only Berke Breathed, and I’ve a date of 26 March 1982 for this particular episode.
So, when you react before the punch line ….
I mean, I get that it’s a bad total. Eighty-something to two hundred eighty-something. But you said, “Oh, my gosh!” before the second number. You knew the number would be “bad” to some degree, so you reacted.
I guess it’s my problem: I really don’t get it.
You know, call me crazy, or whatever, but what I don’t get is why there can only be one towel in the kitchen, and why that towel must at all times be covered by plates, silverware, and cutlery. It is, apparently, absolutely unacceptable that a towel should be available to actually dry anything with.
Shite thee not. Weirdest fucking thing. The absolute hostility shown the idea that one should be able to wash something off their hands in the kitchen sink―even if that something is obtained in the kitchen―and have a towel available at that moment to dry their hands is inexplicable.
Image note: Already? ― Detail of frame from FLCL, episode 1, “Fooly Cooly”.
It was a sort of picture-postcard day, and with everything else I somehow arrived early enough to recognize the eerie silence, then fell, captivated, into witness of an airplane stretching vapor across the sky, scoring the blue just above the trees, and after a moment not quite started but still slipped back to waking life according to the strange recognition that it was not a cartoon, and there would be no cut to the next scene.
Here’s a question: I wonder how many times humanity fails to pursue a particular scientific inquiry simply because, while the information might actually be useful, nobody would want to admit where they got the idea?
This inquiry, indeed, is an example. There are plenty of reasons one might wonder, but I can promise you really, really don’t want to know whence comes the question on this particular occasion.