WTF, Luke?

Just watched Return of the Jedi again. It has its moments.

However, I have to say the “there’s good in him, I feel it,” theme that runs through those movies about Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker is some real bullshit. I mean, what the fuck, Luke? That’s your answer, is it? Fall back on the last desperate refuge of every abuser defending beaten wife and Stockholm sydroming hostage, and then just give up. Some hero.

“I won’t kill you! Oh no! You got me mad and I actually did something useful for once and I almost beat you, so I guess it’s time to give up like a pussy. Aaaaagh! OUCH! Save me daddy! Save meeee!

“Wow! Thank the force that you were here to have a change of heart and do my dirty work for me, killing the Emperor in an act of violence that somehow redeems you while it would have damned me to the dark side had I done it. Thanks, dad!”

Good thing for Luke though that Vader kicked the bucket then. Can you imagine how awkward it would have been for everyone had he dragged Vader back alive?

“Uhhhhh… that’s swell that you had a touching moment with your *cough* father, Luke, but there’s this whole war crimes trail for, you know, genocide we’re going to have to put him through.”

Then Luke and Vader would to have to force persuade their way out of there and live out their days hiding out together in some remote location. Daddy Anakin would still be a total dick, of course. Force throwing empty whiskey bottles at Luke’s head from his wheelchair and constantly berating him for all his many, inevitable failures (this is Luke Skywalker we’re talking about, after all).

You can’t fix someone like him, Luke. He’s never going to stop force raping every sentient creature that gets within range of him. The Judeo-Christian infused, cretinous “philosophy” of your world notwithstanding, killing the psycho who spent two decades reaming out his ass does not redeem your father of any of the evil shit he did.

Fuck you, Luke, and your stupid fucking Ewok funeral for the man who destroyed your sister’s home planet just to be a dick. You think Leia was down with you paying tribute to the man who tortured her and then murdered her entire adopted race?

And people go on about what a finely crafted character vehicle the original trilogy was. Yeah, maybe if you’re in elementary school.

Vader was so cool in the first two movies! You had one of the best movie villains of all time and you go and piss him away with this weak bullshit. Shame! Shame on you, Lucas!

Have that badass own his evil! “Luke, get your funky little white ass over to the Dark Side. Together we’ll rule this groovy universe, and if you want to fuck your sister, that’s cool with me. Because that’s how I roll. Fuck the haters.”

That’s a villain. Not this weak ass “redemption,” daddy-never-loved-me pathological horseshit.

Fuck you.

On Noah’s Ark

I have an itch to stick with this whole Noah’s Arc thing, since the story had a lot to do with me repudiating Christianity at a fairly young age. Having never received any religious indoctrination from my parents or grandparents, either positive or negative, I suppose it could be said I had a pretty open mind about the whole affair. I remember in grade 2, talking with kids in my class about going to church, I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I asked my dad if I could go to church with some kid’s family and he said that was fine, so long as I didn’t ever expect him to go. However, when I learned that I would need to be picked up at 8 in the morning, I bailed on the whole thing. Getting up at 7 on a weekend for church? Fuck that. That is just uncivilized.

It was around that same time, when I was about seven or eight years old, that I had my first run in with old Noah. My mother was involved with some kind of hippyesque commune in a big-ass used bookstore downtown, where my sister and I would go to play with all the other hippy spawn in a mostly unsupervised free-for-all. Those were pretty awesome times. At some point we were told that, if we were interested, a lady was going to come to read stories to us. I was always down for stories, so bring it on, lady!

Unfortunately, the lady pissed me off right from the get go since she wasn’t making with the stories properly. It turned out this was the first step of some kind of Christian indoctrination, where they tell you all the pretty Bible stories. She had all these fascinating picture books, with Roman legionaries, giants, and pyramids and shit, but she was sitting there yakking on about fuckin dogma. Make with the stories, bitch! I remember thinking that if I could just get my hands on one of those story books for myself, I could cut that cunt loose. Man, she was pissing me off!

I had already pretty well sussed out by that point that adults bearing reading materials were almost always full of shit. Holding that shit up like some kind of talisman, while they piss in your ear about this or that. When I learned how to read for myself, about 90% of the adults in my life ceased to be necessary. Shut the fuck up, leave the reading material with me, and fuck off already; I’ll get back to you when I need some more.

Anyway, Christian-storyteller-lady finishes with her preamble and trots out Noah’s Arc. Oooo, look at all those cute animals lining up to get on the arc, nice as can be! Doesn’t it look cosy inside? Isn’t it lovely?

Whoa. Whoa! Hold up, lady. I’m still processing that bit right at the start, can we go back to that? Yeah, that bit where God got mad and decided to kill everyone. I know they were wicked, you said that already. How were they wicked? Just bad, huh. What did they do, exactly? What about their kids? Were they wicked too? The babies? What about all the animals that couldn’t get on the boat. Just, fuck them? If my parents are wicked, which I know they are by your standards, does that mean I’m fair game for God to murder me whenever he gets into another fit of spleen?

The parable/historical fact of Noah’s Arc is a such lightning rod because the story is so fucking stupid. It belongs in a kids’ storybook alongside Hansel and Grettle and the Gingerbread Man. The only reason that I can see why Christians don’t quietly hit the whole episode in the back of the head with a sledgehammer and bury it out behind the shed (along with such gems as stoning your daughter to death for premarital sex and David collecting hundreds of Philistine foreskins as kill trophies for the king) is that the imagery seems to make for such compelling propaganda for kids. It is a lovely image, all those animals on a big, cozy boat. With the Patriarch at the tiller while the rain lashes down outside.

Critics tend to focus on the impossibility of the whole story, and that is fun. It’s fun baiting cretinous fundamentalists; forcing them to double-down on their moronic horseshit. But from a kid’s perspective that kind of nonsense isn’t a deal-breaker. We’re reading stories about talking animals and all manner of magical stuff. A tardis boat isn’t a big stretch. It’s the heart of the story that’s important; the message that it is intended to impart.

And just what is that message again?

God gets mad and kills everyone. Everyone. Children and babies and kitty-cats and doggies are all punished for the sins of others, regardless of their own behavior. They all die and there aint shit they can do about it. Noah watches them drown. Because fuck them, that’s why.

Now, stop asking questions, submit, and blindly accept what I’m telling you. Not because it makes sense, but because I say so. You want I should rain a flood down on your ass?

Bible Stories For Today’s Youth

Noah’s Ark

So one day God was all like, “Yo, Noah, this shit is fuckin whack now. Imma flood this bitch out and kill all these trifling hos.”

So, like, Noah was all, “Dooood, that is a serious bummer, man. Can’t you just, like, stomp the worst of them bitches out and let all the kids and babies live? I mean, like, they’re all innocent and shit, right?”

And God was all, “Shut the fuck up, bitch! Are you my ho or are you a dead ho? That’s what I thought, slut. Imma kill every motherfucker on Earth, babies and kids and all. I made this cocksucker, so I can flex on it when I want. But we cool, cause you give it up just how I like it, slut. Now, what I want you to do is build a big motherfuckin boat and put your family and two of every animal on it, so’s you can repopulate this bitch once I’m done fuckin it up.”

So, Noah’s all like WOAH! God must be tweaking on some wicked ass shit. But he can’t even. So he’s like, “God, you the man! That’s shit’s the bomb! But you sure it’s possible to put two of every animal in one boat? I mean, we haven’t even invented a number for how many different kinds of animals there are. And isn’t it gonna get all fucked up when the animals have to start fuckin their sisters and shit? And my grandkids have to marry their cousins? I mean, that’s a bit off, aint it? I ask with straight up respect, Lord.”

So God’s all like, “Oh no you didn’t! You didn’t just question my all powerful might and shit! Bitch, I am God up in this motherfucker. This shit works because I say it does. Watching animals fuck their sisters is what busts my nut these days. That shit is off the hook! Your boat best be fuckin rockin when I come a knockin. You hear me? Now get on it, slut, before I decide to replace alls you with some six tittied ape bitch that can fuck itself with its tail. I’m not even joking, son. In fact, Imma whip some of them sluts up on Mars to see how I like it. You don’t even know what that shit means, yer such a stupid shit. Just get on making me my incest animal bangboat and I’ll check in later. Peace!”

And so it was. That’s just how God rolls.

Fleecing Weeaboos: The New Art of the Samurai

I was watching NHK World News a while back and came across a pretty sweet nugget. NHK is basically Japan’s CBC, but with the suck turned way down. Their World News cable network is pretty good. They run through the same stories for ten or fifteen minutes on the hour, with full news broadcasts at certain times, and otherwise run NHK educational and cultural programs that have been dubbed into English. As a bonus, the news is actually very good. International with a slight Asian focus. Just the big international stories without all the star fucking and 24-hour news cycle hysteria of American outlets and BBC.

Anyway, they had this little show about some special dojo that’s operating up in the mountains in Japan someplace, where foreigners come to learn the “true art of the Samurai.” Smelling a rat right off, I settle in for a good show. I have been made aware of this trend in Japan, in particular with “Ninja schools” which claim to teach the secret arts of Ninjitsu. Basically, they are foreign Ninja fanboy fleecing stations and are almost universally regarded as a total joke by the Japanese who are aware of them.

Oh, so you’re a ninja, huh? So you’re an Edo era spy? That’s an impressive temporal feat, I have to say.

Anyway, back to the art of the Samurai. So the camera pans into this incredibly scenic mountain home, with the zen garden and Shinto shrine. Sure enough, there are glazed looking foreign men all over the property: scrubbing cobblestones, sweeping up, and no doubt detailing sensei’s Mercedes whether it needs it or not. Then we go into the dojo, where a bunch of students in really cool looking, pseudo kendo outfits, are going through their katas with real katana.

There must have been 12 of these guys (not an Asian among them), paired up, pretending to sword fight in slow motion in a room about twice the size of a boxing ring. In a space that size there wouldn’t be room to have a proper dance class with that many people, and these guys are training sword fighting there?

I’m thinking this must be some kind of prep, but no. The narrator explains that only the senior students may participate in this training, with real katana, after several years of “rigorous training and philosophical preparation.” So this routine is the culmination of their art. This is what they aspire to do.

Then we get a one on one interview with one of the senior students. Turns out he’s in Japan doing his PHD on kabuki (Japanese traditional “opera”). Aha, me thinks. Style over substance all the way with this one; no wonder he has been attracted to this bunch. But boy oh boy, does he ever take the whole samurai thing seriously. I want to grab the guy by his meticulous kimono and tell him: you are aware that the last samurai were all using guns, right? They were soldiers, albiet in a caste, not mystical warriors who farted poetry and flower arrangements.

Finally, we get to Sensei himself. He’s going on about how his great-grandfather was one of the last of the samurai. How his family has handed down and preserved the super secret training scrolls of the art of the katana. Techniques so deadly that they must never be used. That kind of thing.

So, I was thinking, surely if these techniques are so awesome, wouldn’t you be the president of a nationwide school of kendo? I mean, it’s not like that fighting art disappeared. It’s widely practiced in a modified form as a sport. As well, doing katas and cutting bamboo mats with the real swords is a less popular, but not uncommon, martial art.

Ah, but not so fast! Sensei then explains that because his totally authentic techniques are so unbelievably, terrifyingly dangerous, before students may learn them, they must swear a sacred oath concerning a code of conduct. Rules number one and two are pretty standard: don’t talk about fight club, and don’t teach the technique. Rule number 3 was pure awesome: The practitioner must never, ever, practice the form or spar with people using other styles.

AHA! Of course. It makes so much sense. The style is so deadly that should one of its practitioners actually step into a kendo dojo to test their skills in a practical arena, they would surely kill the hapless fool who stepped before them; practice swords and pads notwithstanding.

At this point, I could only wonder which of the lucky adepts were given the great honor of tending to sensei’s daily full release massage.

One of the things I really like about the Japanese was exemplified so beautifully by how the whole little documentary was presented. Totally earnest. They let the participants tell it themselves, without any commentary calling any of it out. But edited so proficiently as to leave no question as to what is going on; it may as well have been a fucking torpedo. Truly good stuff. Artful subtlety with a unerring death blow. Now there’s your ninja at work.

Covid Work Diaries

So I’m having a zoom English lesson today.

Me in a room by myself at a laptop. Somewhere around eight or nine kids, between the ages of two and seven, in three separate households are participating in this thing.

Forty minutes, I have to fill.

So this is my life now.

Okay. Let’s get it on.

Thirty minutes in: it’s going okay. Then it all falls apart.

I’m sitting in this empty room, staring at a screen with four video feeds on it. In one of them is me. In two of them is the empty voids of ceilings: the smartphones delivering these feeds have been set down on a table or the floor and left alone, apparently.

In the the last feed sits a mother, stone faced and unmoving. There are no children around her. There have been no children near her for some time.

At least one child is crying at the top of their lungs. Somewhere. Wails of anguish roll out of the computer at me. I cannot tell which feed is delivering this misery to me.

But there I sit, I shit you not, singing: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Doing all the actions for the webcam.

The crying child wails. The mother continues to stare at me stone faced. I finish my song and say goodbye to the abyss and close the feed.

This was the highlight of my day.

What that mother might have taken away from it, I can only imagine.

Hashtag: telework is awesome!

Bible Stories For Today’s Youth

The Story of Abraham and Isaac

So one day God creeps up on Abraham and is all like, “Yo, slut! Here I am! Guess what, bitch?”

And Abraham was straight freaking, but he was still all like, “I don’t know, Lord. But, just let me say, it’s always a real pleasure when you pop by like this.”

So God was all, “Whatever. So, d’ya love me, bitch?”

Abraham’s all, Oh shit no! He’s in one of these moods! But he can’t even, so he’s like, “Of course I love you, Lord. You my lord and master, you know that.”

And God was all like, “That’s right, slut! But how much do you love me? Huh? I need you to show me up in here.”

So Abraham’s like, “I’ll suck your dick again, if that’s what it takes.”

And God’s like, “You a straight faggot, you know that, Abraham? Yeah, you can suck my dick if you want, straight up, but that aint shit to me now. I’m here about that little hairless bitch version of you running around here. What the fuck is up with him?”

Abraham was all, “You mean my son, Isaac?”

And God was all, “Oh, snap! Yeah, that’s right! You made that shit with your balls and that titty ape wife thing you didn’t like me fuckin with last time, right? Sons. That shit is tight! I need me one of them. Make him do all kinds of ill shit for me! But before I get into that, I gotta say that I think you love that little bitch you more than you love me! That’s what I think.”

So Abraham’s all fucked up cause he knows that God is down for some ill shit when he gets jealous, but he still tries his best. He’s like, “No way, Lord! I love him, it’s true, but there’s no way I love him more than you! I swear!”

God’s like, “Fuck you, bitch. That shit don’t play with me. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Tomorrow yer gonna take him up to that mountain, and yer gonna tie the little bitch up on a rock up there. You know just how I like that rope work done too, so don’t let me catch you slippin on that. Then yer gonna cut the bitch and light his ass on fire. That’s what yer gonna do for me. Bleed him out and burn his ass to the motherfuckin ground. Got it, slut? Do that for me and we’re square. Do him just how I like to see and I’ll give you a pass.”

And Abraham knows that’s that, because God don’t play. So the next day he takes Isaac up to the mountain and even makes the little bitch carry the firewood up there by himself because he’s stone cold like that too.

Then Isaac’s all like, “what the fuck dad, you said we was going up here to give God a sacrifice, but there aint shit up here but you and me!” Cause Isaac’s slow like that. And Abraham’s all like, “that’s right, biatch!” and he ties Isaac up on the rock on top of the wood just how he knows God likes it.

And he’s just getting ready to cut into Isaac and is actually into it at this point, because it’s kinda something he’s always wanted to do anyway. I mean, it’s not like God had to push him hard, is it?

But then, right at the last second, God shows up and is like, “Psyche! I got you you stupid shit! What a fuckin dumbass!”

Abraham’s all WOAH! So he’s like, “Wow! Good one, God! You sure got me!”

And God’s like, “Hey check this shit out, there’s a fucking ram over there caught in a tree. Kill that bitch for me and we square. And you, little bitch, Isaac, you just remember that you aint shit compared to me. Right? Yer fuckin dad was gonna cut your ass up and burn you down just cause I told him, so you aint shit. Don’t forget it, slut. But, Abraham, now that I know you’d do anything for me, you’re my bottom bitch for sure. Straight up, bottom bitch now!”

And so it was. Abraham was God’s bottom bitch for the rest of his days and his family was the baddest crew around because of it. They could spread right the fuck out and no one fucked with them.

God is a loving pimp daddy like that.

Career

When people tell you that you should turn what you love into your job, I would be really careful about following that advice. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying to have a look at the practicalities and make an informed decision.

If you love fine art and painting, this does not mean you should be a graphic designer. Graphic designers don’t get to draw what they want. They mostly get to draw what unimaginative, soulless business assholes want. Or think they might want. But, you know, they’re really not sure. Could you make it a little more, I dunno, zippy? You know, like that commercial with the thing, but not so close that we get sued.

Hey I took a picture on my phone of this flower. I want that as my logo. Can’t you just zip that through your computer and make it for me in an hour? What kind of graphic artist are you anyway?

I may love writing but that doesn’t mean I want to write copy for a living. Well, maybe “love” isn’t the right term. It’s more like I have a demon in me that rapes my soul constantly, and writing is the one thing that seems to calm it down. It uses lube and bites less when I’m providing it a good word count. So I guess we can call it love. That’s a kind of love, isn’t it?

Be that as it may, I love the craft enough that I don’t want to ruin it for myself by turning it into something I have to do for a living. There is only so much time in the day, and I have only so much creative energy. I don’t want to waste what little I have on the mundane bullshit required to keep myself alive.

I’m so precious with it that I’m halfway through writing my second novel and I still don’t want too many people reading it. First and foremost, I want it to be for me. I want it to be what I want to read. I don’t want that vision getting compromised. Once it’s all done I’ll send it out into the world to sink without a trace, but I need it to be done right first.

What I’m trying to say here, is that if you have a serious muse that you want to pursue, don’t try to turn that into your job. Try to make your job something that you’re good at, but that leaves plenty of energy in your reserves. Maybe marrying for money or some other form of harlotry, if nothing else seems to work out.

If, however, you have a strong faculty for something without the burning drive to get it right, to have it be just so, then you might be looking at a very marketable skill. The market loves people who are highly skilled but lack any real passion for what they are producing.

That’s what success is all about.