Do Not Offend

One should not offend, except in the service of freedom. Where is the border there? Oh, I forgot, you may also offend in the service of satire. Whoa, baby, in the service of satire? What you say? Can one serve satire? Oh, yes, my little porcupines, one can. Satire is such a flexible little beast… almost anything is allowed in the name of satire. Even the most tasteless things.
But I try not to be tasteless. Mostly. I might make fun of God, whichever God you prefer… but probably not to your face, out of common civility (or out of fear of being punched). Faced with you and your beliefs, I will not ridicule them. I might spar with you a little, if I am bored, but otherwise I will leave you in peace with your beliefs.. Actually I find gods quite nice, in their quaint little way.
The funny thing is, I still say „Jesus!“ when something surprises me or „oh my God!“ when I am shocked, and so on. I’ve grown up an atheist, but nevertheless I am woven in to the Christian net.
My Son is an atheist as well, but his religion teacher says he knows more about the Bible than any of his classmates. Yeah, so why is that, you fucking Christians? Because the atheists tend to think about it all, for Christ’s sake. Because they know a little bit about what stands in the fucking Bible, because they actually (well, some of them at least) read the fucking Bible, because they have actually thought about God, and what the existence of God, true or not, actually could mean. My son’s classmates say: I believe in God. But they probably haven’t spent a single thought on the subject. My son knows about God. He knows about many gods, Christian, Greek, Roman, Norse… he hasn’t learned much about the Eastern gods yet, but he will. If he wants to believe in whatever, so be it. He is free to choose.
If I seem offensive to some people, that’s fine. All I am doing is exercising my freedom of thought and expression. There are times when one has to be offensive, in order to rattle people out of their preconceptions, and that is what satire is about. When your freedom to be offensively satirical is curtailed by threat of reprisal or death, that is bad news for you and your society as a whole. It’s all part of intolerance, of trying to dictate what people must believe. In the end, we have a simple equation: satire = freedom.
Listening to Helter Skelter from the Beatles.

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A Morning Conversation in Mr. Hellstrøm’s Psyche

ego: Hey id, how’s things? Had any Dreams lately?
id: I dream constantly, idiot.
ego: No need to get personal.
id: Oh yes there is.
superego: Shut up, both of you, we have to go to work.
id: I don’t want to.
superego: Tough tits.
ego: Don’t argue boys. We’ll go in a minute… on the way we’ll buy some of that candy we like.
id: Oh yeah, I like candy. Candy! Now!
superego: It’s bad for us… we haven’t even had breakfast yet.
ego: No time… well, we can eat something good on the way as well.
id: Where’s my candy?
ego: Soon, be patient.
superego: No candy, please. Get a nice wholegrain sandwich or something. Muesli.
id: No! (cries)
superego: Dammit! (growls)
ego: Calm down boys! (sighs, thinks: Christ, I need a drink.)

Too Much

I’ve had too much. Fit to burst. I would very much like to continue eating and drinking, but… I’ve had too much. Of course I could, theoretically, go for the Roman thing and stick a feather down my throat, in order to vomit and continue eating and drinking, ad infinitum. But, decadent as I am, I am not that decadent. Jesus, that’s too much, even for me.
Listening to In the Colosseum, from Tom Waits.
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Language and Grammar

I am particularly sensitive to grammatical mistakes in the German language, since it isn’t my native tongue. I like to think my English grammar is pretty good, but I know my German grammar is just barely acceptable, though I’ve been speaking it for twenty years now. Nevertheless, I hear Germans making grammatical mistakes in their own language all the time. It’s forgivable in the heat of a verbal conversation, but I’ll admit it sticks in my craw when I read it in normal prose, dialog aside, no matter in which language.
It’s about the flow of a story, for me. Prose has a flow, a rhythm to it, that makes it beautiful, or not. That is part of style, so you can’t simply separate grammar from style, because grammar facilitates a proper rhythm. Prose with sentences that are grammatically false is like a road with potholes, you’re always bouncing up and down, you can’t get comfortable with reading it. Like music with sudden jarringly false notes inserted, it simply doesn’t flow. Besides, there is more than enough flexibility in English grammar to encompass wildly different styles of writing without breaking the rules.
And, after all, language is an important part of the human cultural legacy that is passed on continuously, and it’s self-inherent beauty should be preserved. It’s also about proper communication, and that can’t be done when there are no common rules which everyone adheres to. That said, we also have to realize that languages are living, ever-changing beasts. The rules will be continuously bent and sometimes broken, and if enough people break and bend the same rules in the same way, it becomes common usage and will be accepted as correct grammar.
A good example of this can be seen in Germany, where the English language exerts an increasing influence over the last years. In both languages you have the possessive form, which is denoted in English by an apostrophe and the letter s attached to the noun in question, as in ”Martha’s dog“. In German it’s almost the same, except that there is actually no apostrophe, just the letter s attached, as in ”Marthas Hund“. However, over the last twenty years I have observed that the usage with apostrophe has become more and more common in the German language, though it is quite simply wrong, and I am willing to bet gold ingots against donuts that it will be accepted common usage in another ten years.
So, what’s write, and what’s rong? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Thank God for Reason

Did you ever have the feeling you would choke on the poignancy of it all? Like your life is so fucking full of meaning and emotion and you want to rip the hair from your skull because you just can’t take it? And the only thing that prevents you from doing so is your cursed reason? Thank God for it, because otherwise everyone would ask you, next day at work, what the hell happened to your head. And no one will believe you when you say it got caught in a harvest-machine.
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Time

Time ain’t. There is no time. Time is subjective. When I was a kid in school they tried to make me believe that time was something linear, like edge of a knife. Problem was, I kept falling off, kept getting cut. I knew, without even thinking about it, that time was an invention to keep things from happening all at once. Cuz that would be totally confusing, would it not? Linear time is easy to understand, you can cut it into little portions that fit into the world. My teachers thought that was good, they thought they were doing me a favor. But kids don’t think that way, thank God.
Most of us kids learned to think that way, we were forced to, but some of us simply couldn’t. What I learned was to pay tribute to that system, though I did not believe in it. I learned to be realistic. I live in a world of deadlines and dates. It’s my curse, but it is a system. I like systems, I’m a system guy, in spite of myself. Damn, those teachers did good work, they got me, but nevertheless… time ain’t. Perfect example: gotta get up in half an hour, spent the night drinkin’ and thinkin’, the morning too…. People believe time is based on the movements of our planet around the sun, the movements of the moon around our planet, as if that was a repeating system, a clock. But it isn’t. It’s irregular. Our planetary system, our galaxy, our whole universe, is irregular. The most precise clocks we have in this day and age, after thousands of years of calculating time with increasing precision, fucking atom clocks, have to be corrected, because the universe doesn’t do what we would like it to do. The universe is irregular.

Okay, stop. I’m thankful for the concept of time. Just now I am listening to Ska Fort Rock from the Skatalites. It’s six in the morning. I’m drunk, been up all night, but no so drunk that I can’t appreciate this song. Why? Because it has a beautifully syncopated beat combined with wonderful horns… impossible without a concept of time. You know what gets me? It’s the pauses… the moments where there is nothing, where time is suspended… where time is drawn out… and then it comes… yeah. It’s a perfect example of what I mean. Subjective time, drawn out und then contracted, so beautiful…
Musicians play with time, and we should too. It’s a fucking game. Now I’m listening to Turn the Centuries, Turn, from the Stranglers. No pauses in that piece, incidentally.