Friday, January 29, 2016

I Am A Disinformation Agent

A cautionary tale, by Rusty Shackleford.

"May you live in interesting times." -Ancient Chinese Curse.

My editor has asked me to write a piece for Modern Mythology this evening. That is fine, but making this fit into the format of the site is his dirty job. I should mention that I think JC is a professional social deviant with a sadistic sense of humor, he is SCUM, a complete freak of a man, and this is why I like him so much.

Classic example: it was only after I informed him that I have been smoking black tar opium all day long and eating Kratom, popping Rozarem to help "bring me down" (?!!) that he insisted I run a piece. Insisted.

“And it has to be this evening,” he said. “Don’t worry. You won’t remember it tomorrow.”

I think this is his idea of a joke.

I have known him for nearly a decade now and he just told me this evening that "You've become the Diety representing intoxication in my personal pantheon. You should feel proud."

I do. Either proud, or very, very scared.

So I am going to fill you in on an important conversation I had at the apex of the evening tonight. At some point before reaching the end I may nod out from a pill that makes me think it is a good idea to go for a midnight drive in a stolen car at 3:30 AM to a soundtrack of obscure 70s kraut rock. For all I know, this is my last message to you. If so, I hope that you are deeply moved.
(There may be a number of free resource articles online that could shed light on some of those substances, but they are probably nowhere near enough to paint a pretty solid picture of the damage they can actually do.)

(Note: Yeah, I thought it was a joke at first too, but it is now 4:52 AM and it turns out that was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I did in fact go on a joyride at 3:30 AM this morning, ostensibly to get laid, and promptly forgot where I was. Couldn't find the house I had been to a million times that was about 5 minutes away- Thanks, Rozarem. I drove around on an adventure I will never remember for an hour trying to find the house. Sexually frustrated, mortified and humiliated, I resolved to call it a loss and drove to an undisclosed fast food restaurant open at 4:30 AM to pick up a breakfast burrito because I am a consumer whore. I don't remember much of this, other than driving through the exit eating the burrito spilling hot sauce all over my khakis which at the moment look like I just menstruated all over them.)

Meanwhile, I'm hashing out the details of this "piece" with JC. Talking about the "conceptual continuity" of this piece right now is a bit like doing push hand martial arts with an alligator... An alligator with 30 hands made out of black tar heroin.

So I'll just cut to the chase and save him the trouble of having to wade through another 8 pages of this: have you heard of the drug JWH-18? Most people haven't, even though they have consumed it. (What does that say about the mentality of self-made "urban shaman" who readily swallow or smoke anything handed to them?)

JWH-18 is a synthetic cannabanoid. To me, it sounds uncomfortably similar to the Zombie chemical in the "RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD" series (245 trioxin- within the mythos of the series it is a chemical the army initially used to spray on marijuana, ironically enough, and is ultimately responsible for reanimating dead corpses. Bear with me here, I am building up to my master's thesis on the zombification of America that will ultimately decompose if you pardon the pun and disintegrate into the gibberish of the cold light of morning and sobriety.)

Of course, you could just go with cannabis seeds. Who am I to judge?

I myself have NEVER tried any sort of legal drug sold at a headshop before, so I wouldn't really know, but word through the grapevine is that we - and I say that in a very general sense, the "we" being the general public because I would never knowingly consume a dangerous unknown substance - are all sort of guinea pigs. Canary in the mineshaft. Enter cliche here. The point is, we have no fucking clue what the long term repurcussion is of any of the legal or illegal chemicals we’re pumping into our bodies at unfathomable rates.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried

I’ve never been deeply upset about a celebrity death. I don’t think I’m a monster or anything. I’ve felt it was a loss. A sad note in the millions of other sad stories filtering at us through the digital feeds we live in, nowadays. But nothing to cry over.

When Blackstar first came out I’d wondered why he suddenly released an album, and something seemed even more nebulous about Blackstar than his usual genuis blend of profound nonsense and profane sense. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

With the news that he had died, 3 days later, it all clicked.

I went back and re-watched the videos. Confirmed by several stories the next day, he had essentially used his death as the focus for an art project.

Classic fucking Bowie. No one could have pulled that off like him.

But it kept pulling at me. It was getting under my skin and I couldn’t really figure out why.

Usually when this kind of thing happens I’ll go the other way and immerse myself in it until I work out what’s got me under its spell. No sense hiding from emotions — they’ll just sneak into your dreams or bang around in the darkness. I listened to the album front to back several times.

I’m still not finished with this process, which is why this is just a quick, haphazard post. But it’s what I’ve got, and I wanted to type it up before it grows stale. Mea culpa, this isn’t edited.

So, like. Why am I fighting back tears every time I watch Lazarus?

It’s got nothing to do with losing him as a person — that pain is reserved for family and friends — and not even that much about his art, although I have respect for it and some of his albums are amongst my favorites. We will have much more Bowie to enjoy into the future than he will, now.

But it’s got everything to do with recognizing that even when you succeed at creating a living myth, the person behind it will be forgotten. Even while alive, the more a myth grows, the more it eclipses that person. But when you die, that myth is finally freed from the shackles of blood shit and bone.

And there’s another side to it too — that the living person is finally free of the oppressive obsession that drives the creative process. To no longer be driven mad by thoughts and need for the mana of a roaring crowd, that’s really freedom. Some seek it by throwing a career away, but there is no true silence until life itself is silent — until we can get out of our own way.

A lot of this has been on my mind already.

The first script of the Tales From When I Had A Face graphic novels (“The Summer Tree”), gives us a story-within-a-story view of a distant future, where Lilith from Party At The World’s End has used the rock star thing to be turned into a living God in the mind of the public. Civilization crumbles but her myth lives on for the people of New Babylon. Now she slumbers in the underworld, a “black hole waiting in the heart of a Sun.” The Summer tree grows from her unmarked coffin.

This is all recounted by Ayta’s Gran, a Shaman who claims to have been to the second world in the future. There’s a lot in there also about how our stories outlive us and how in fact what we are is much more fundamentally a story. A multi-faceted one told by as many people as we touch, through our creations or our lives.

This is where being an artist has always been a little strange. Or perhaps why you have to be a little strange to be an artist.

I’m not sure just how much the drive to create art publicly really comes down to actually changing the world for the better, as it is about being remembered and recognized as significant. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of an artist’s compulsive need for attention. It’s just in a very specific way: artists generally don’t care so much for being human, or right now — we want to become an immortal idea. And we’ll beat ourselves bloody against the cage bars of our prison body to get it. I’ve probably accelerated the process of my spine degenerating by all the hours spent in the chair. But you can’t let that stop you. There’s only so much time.

Yet at the end of all that, what do you get? The same as anyone else: a coffin. Is the myth freed of the frailty of the body, or are we freed of the incessant demands of our daemon? I guess that’s unclear. Whether you succeed or not, the price is always the same. And you’ll never really know what publicly shared myth will replace you, or how long that double will live on. Throughout his career, Bowie has played with masks. And they are what’s left behind.

Anyway. This might be why Bowie’s death is bothering me.

Or maybe I just liked that thing he did with his tongue.
On the day of execution, on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile, ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, at the centre of it all
Your eyes, your eyes

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd:
I’m a blackstar.

All It Takes Is The Right Story. Mythos Media


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