Oh, no, woman, I ain’t drunk… unk… hush, baby, le… let’s have another nip.
That’s a song. From Die Toten Hosen (The Dead Pants, a German punk band). A song about losers, about the fight against time. It’s a leftist song, about the fight against the “Fließband”. Against Ford. “Fließband”, what is that? The assembly line, the ultimate inhumanity. I thank Christ I never had to work on an assembly line.
On the other hand, my first job was as a baker in an organic bakery, with cool people and a loose atmosphere, but even there we were trying to make a sort of assembly line. We tried as best we could to make things efficient, make the beautiful, eatable things we produced (and they were delicious, I can assure you), as best we could. In the end it was about making money, but making money with somethng useful.
So that’s the thing, making money by producing things that other people need and want. That’s all well and good, and there’s nothing wrong with making those processes as efficient as they can possibly be. We wanted to produce what we made in the best way possible. Sure, it was about profit too, oh yeah, that’s the zest, that’s what makes it interesting.
The problem is when people who don’t care about making things that people need or want take control of these processes, people who are not interested in anything except their own profit. They don’t care about quality, they don’t care about use, they don’t care about anything except profit. They will fuck you in the ass if they can, and if they can’t, they’ll send their henchman to beat the living shit out of you. And if that doesn’t work, or if you’re in a country where the government acts like they don’t want that shit, they’ll send their lawyers to do it for them. How is an average person to deal with that? Well, honestly, they can’t, and that is why this society can not go on in its present form. There is no way that this system can go on. It can exist in a certain atmosphere for a certain time, but it is not truly viable.
The question is, how is the army of losers going to react? They will react, you can be sure of that. At some point the pressure will become to high, and they will react. Put pressure on things and they will explode at some point, that’s simple physics. It applies to society the same as it applies to material. Well, you might say, Hellstrøm, you jerk, you’re wrong. Society is not physics. Ooha. Well, I can simply laugh at that.
Why? Because society is physics. Society is algorithms, isn’t it? That’s what they are telling us these days. It’s all math. Yeah, baby, statistics, I can tell you what you will probably do. In all likelihood you will. You can’t help it. You’re on the assembly line of life, and you will do what is expected of you.
But, and any statistical expert will confirm this, there are statistical swings. It’s not all about the middle line. Every honest statistic should take that in to account, but they don’t. They’re all on the middle line, betting on it, the stupid motherfuckers, hoping for it, even though they know it isn’t true. Gamblers. It’s the human condition, we’re all gamblers.
We all know what happens to gamblers. They win, or they lose. But these gamblers are betting with our whole society. I’ll leave it to you to think about the consequences.
Yeah, flaming trees line the streets. Singing the Higgs-Boson blues. The army of losers are lining those streets too. They are probably (seen statistically) the ones who set the trees an fire. Totally surprising! No algorithm predicted it.
Don’t cry just because we’re in for interesting times. That’s life. Ah well, wotthehell, cry if you must, then at least Cry Tough, from Alton Ellis & The Flames.
Happy New Year.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.