Mincing Our Oaths

Thoughts on being a potty-mouthed atheist in a world of Religious profanity.

As a bona-fide + atheist I find myself curiously conscious about the oaths I speak. Every time, in a moment of anger, I inadvertently begin barking “Jesus!” or “Christ!” or “God Damn it!” I feel slightly embarrassed afterward, as if my thoughtless reliance on these oaths, and others like them, were a betrayal of my own ideals. + It is almost as though the involuntary use of these words, signifiers of Ideas I reject, reveals some sort of personal weakness. + What it reveals, however, is the simplest of dumb-dumb facts. Namely that the English language is so brim-full of Religious oaths, that to remove them from one’s vocabulary would effectively render you, in your anger, red-faced and vein-popped but mute. 

06.18. filed under: belief. ideas. life. observations. 4

Subjectivity and the Subjugated

Feathers and beak but not a bird, not quite. It is roughly man-shaped; and though the head tilts and the arms outstretch like a midnight stranger, without a face and without hands it is not a man either, not quite. It is Man-but-not-Man, that most ancient mold for the manufacture of disquiet, never failing to lend a nightmarish quality to the unknown. The light is cluttered with hard shadows and the mind, unsure, is forced toward interpretation. You are a child and it is a swooping, enveloping horror. You are a hunter and it’s an avenger. You are a Freudian and it is your mother hovering, unreachable, in the middle-distance. You are a seer and it is an omen. You are a vaudevillian and it is a punch-line delivered into silence. You are a captain of industry and it is an accusatory night-sweat. On and on for each. At bottom its simple: you are a you and it is not, which is enough. Its “otherness”  provokes an aggressive subjectivity.

03.30. filed under: art. books. history. humanity. ideas. 11

Crows and Coins

Or: Extrapolations from Josh Klein’s Vending Machine

When I first read about Josh Klein’s “Crow Vending Machine” I laughed. It seemed funny as hell somehow. After heading over to Klein’s site to read some more about his invention and intentions I stopped laughing. For one thing it’s supervillian clever. Successfully training crows to scour the earth for cash with nothing more than the promise of a peanutty reward is ingenious. More than that though I stopped laughing because I began thinking about the crows themselves and couldn’t help but extrapolate…

03.08. filed under: ideas. observations. play. 8

On The Scales

Or: Libra, Steelyards, Symbols, and Justice.

Being born in October I have been, for most of my life, obliged to take notice of the balance. I am a Libra you see, and whatever else that does or does not portend for me as an individual, and whether or not that designation holds any meaning whatsoever for me personally, one result, impossible to deny, is that my brain has been conditioned from an early age to give special consideration, be it particular depth of thought or even a single extra second’s worth of attention, to scales.

02.16. filed under: humanity. ideas. observations. personal. 4

In 1846 Dr. Andrew Comstock, proprietor of one of the oldest commercial language schools in America, called Dr. Comstock’s Vocal Gymnasium and Polyglot Institute, published his Treatise on Phonology. In 2008 I came across it on google books and, reading its simultaneously bitchy and braggadocios full title– A Treatise on Phonology: Comprising a Prefect Alphabet for the English Language; a Specimen Exhibition of the Absurdities of Our Present System of Orthography, I laughed. Reason enough to whip-up a quick post, so far as I’m concerned.

01.05. filed under: books. history. ideas. people. play. 3

La Bouche

Quote: “The mouth is the beginning or, if one prefers, the prow of animals; in the most characteristic cases, it is the most living part, in other words, the most terrifying for neighbouring animals. But man does not have a simple architecture like the beasts, and it is not even possible to say where he begins. In a strict sense, he starts at the top of the skull, but the top of the skull is an insignificant part, incapable of attracting attention and it is the eyes or the forehead the play the significatory role of an animal’s jaws.”

12.03. filed under: art. humanity. ideas. 1

If you are anything like me good reader (and since you are here at all I must assume that, in some small way at least, you are) you look at the image above, and you read the caption, and you wonder, “what does that mean?” It seems simple enough. A quirky drawing; a short caption. You can’t help but run through possibilities– A comic strip? A children’s book? An illustration from an exposé on the secrets of magic? A rejected New Yorker Cartoon? And yet… it remains opaque somehow doesn’t it?. I mean “M. Ivorde’s little man?” That seems odd. And what’s with the space helmet? And what’s that he’s holding? A metal detector? A street sweeper’s dust-pan? Just what exactly is happening here?

I came across this image accidentally, much as you have, and if you’re anything like me you’re a curious sort and would like nothing better than to just click a link real quick, satisfy that curiosity, and move on. Well, having been down that road I have to ask you, in all seriousness, is that really what you want? I mean, couldn’t you just let it go?

11.28. filed under: ideas. misc. play. wtf. 11

Semantics and the Eye of the Beholder

Centuries hence, in the light of the hot world, when the Chinese-ruled ports tax starships with diamond cores and the concerns of men have melded into a single muffled sadness; when the alien cuneiforms discovered on dry sea beds have embedded themselves in human consciousness, and the letter forms of all the world’s cultures have been melded into a single system to describe a single angularly chaotic language; when seemingly infinite forms of dead media (created and mass produced and rendered obsolete within the span of a week) are our greatest natural resource and are smelted to power the chugging and clanging engines of despair…perhaps then the document pictured here will flutter against someone’s pant leg on an irradiated street, and she will pick it up gingerly in her hazmat gloves, and begin to read. Perhaps she’ll be stunned to find something in the High Unified Language written on the oldest and deadest media of all– paper. Perhaps she’ll smuggle it into her home-cubicle and pore over the words, finding them rich with subtext and subtle humor and painfully germane warnings for a populace with cheap rubber hearts and a deadness about the eyes. Perhaps she’ll be inspired and a spark of resistance will light a fire of revolution. Perhaps she’ll think it a miracle ever after.

And in the forgotten grave of a forgotten man, topped with a worn and unreadable stone, the bones of the hand which held a brush to that document will be just slightly closer than they were the day before to becoming dust.

11.24. filed under: ideas. misc. 7


Buried below all which came after they lay, still existent in some nebulous manner but hidden and changed and forgotten, like the tiny little child’s bones which were once, and in some way continue to be, inside all of us. Beneath the surface is a second face, the rejected or reformed one which was actually the first. The first face, the first gesture, the first straining motions toward harmony and beauty; The first chase after that most wily wild-goose. Though willfully obscured and subsumed within what’s judged more glorious, these presences haunt their old corporeal boundaries still. In just the right light you can see them appear like apparitions.

10.31. filed under: art. ideas. 3

Above is an update of a piece created by Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas over 30 years ago. In the original it’s Gerald Ford being tugged into life by those puppet strings, and the companies are different, smaller really, with fewer banks and investment firms and conglomerates and LLC’s in evidence. On the whole though, the times… they aren’t a changin’. Check out Emory Douglas’ work at It’s About Time and at the MOCA who are exhibiting his work through January 08. For a bit more check out The Revolution Will Be Visualized. Previously: The Black Panther Coloring Boook.

10.22. filed under: art. design. history. ideas. people.

| page 1 |