Wed, 19 Aug 2009


— SjG @ 8:51 am

At the theater to see Ponyo, there was nearly half an hour of loud pre-movie advertising; tie-in promotions; movie trailers; market-synergistic play-by-the-numbers boy-band music videos; concessions ads; pointless, CG-laden, self-congratulatory theater chain identifications; and pointless, CG-laden self-congratulatory and highly amplified sound system identifications.

Then the Studio Ghibli logo shows on the screen, and there’s scattered applause.

The kid, three rows back: “Is the movie over?”

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Mon, 3 Aug 2009

A Grand Plagiarism

— SjG @ 10:04 pm

Belated posting. This was (partially) performed at the Quagg’s Summer Soul-stice. Like the work it steals from, it’s intended for mature audiences only.


(a grand plagiarism, with apologies to Ginsberg and everyone else)

       I saw the best minds of my generation consumed by
              facebook, tweeting hysterical nothing,
       blogging themselves through the vacant web at dawn
              looking for a unique pageview,
       angelheaded hipsters burning for the displaced human
              connection through the starry dynamo of the machin-
              ery of night,
       who empty and alone and hollow-eyed and high sat
              up typing by the supernatural darkness of
              cold-lit flatscreens floating across the tops of cities
              contemplating buzz,
       who bared their brains to strangers behind handles and
              saw New Media angels staggering on tenuous
              links adumbrated,
       who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
              hallucinating Flickr and Boing-Boing trajectory
              among the scholars of code,
       who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
              publishing obscene odes on Windows online,
       who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
              ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
              to the Terror of dot-com collapse,
       who got busted in their unix beards returning with
              torrents, with gigs of ISOs for the underground,
       who ate pizza in cubicles or drank caffeine in
              Silicon Valley, death, or purgatoried their
              minds night after night
       with dreams, with drugs, with coding nightmares, al-
              cohol and cock-ups and endless bugs,
       incomparable blind; plans of shuddering cloud and
              lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
              Netscape & Amazon, illuminating all the im-
              possible world of Wealth between,
       VC presentations in halls, backyard BBQ brainstorm
              dawns, wine drunkenness over the desktops,
              storefront roll-ups of phreaker joyride neon
              blinking modem light, night and moon and A-Star
              searches in the roaring winter dusks of Oakland,
              slashdot rantings and kind Linus light of mind,
       who chained themselves to dot-coms for the endless
              ride from startup to holy launch on benzedrine
              until the fall of markets and egos brought
              them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
              battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
              in the drear light of 2000,
       who sank all night in submarine light of usenet
              floated out and sat through the stale beer after
              noon in desolate offices, listening to the crack
              of doom on the napstered jukebox,
       who talked continuously seventy hours from cube to
              pad to bar to Redmond to MIT to the Golden-
              Gate Bridge,
       lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
              down the mousepads off keyboards off trackballs
              off freenet out of the web,
       yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
              and memories and anecdotes and office pranks
              and shocks of mergers and crashes and theft,
       whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
              and nights with brilliant eyes, cipher for the
              data-center scrawled on the whiteboard,
       who vanished into nowhere Zen Santa Cruz leaving a
              trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Boardwalk
              Giant Dipper,
       suffering Eastern threats and Seoul switch-grind-
              ings and ping-floods of China under packet-
              storms in Rackspace's bleak furnished room,
       who wandered around and around at midnight in the
              world of warcraft wondering where to go, and went,
              leaving no broken hearts,
       who lit cigarettes in meetings meetings meetings planning
              endless merger roll-up lonesome server farms in
             night dark fiber,
       who studied Knuth Booch Bjarne Stroustrup tem-
              plating and Rational Rose because the experts in-
              stinctively fell at their feet in meetings,
       who loned it through the streets of Bangalore seeking vis-
              ionary indian implementers who were visionary indian
       who thought they were only mad when Los Angeles
              gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
       who jumped in limousines with the Chairman of Enron
              on the impulse of winter midnight street
              light big city greed,
       who lounged hungry and lonesome through Stanford
              seeking cash or sex or dope, and followed the
              brilliant fruitarian to converse about NeXSTEP
              and BSD, a hopeless task, and so took flight
              to OS X,
       who disappeared after bad performance reviews leaving
              behind nothing but the sketches on notepads
              and the emptied folders of source code scattered in
              undocumented abandon,
       who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
              F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
              eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incom-
              prehensible manifestos,
       who burned firewall holes in their LANs protesting
              the electric constant gaze of Carnivore,
       who distributed Cypherpunk pamphlets in Union
              Square laughing and decrypting while the sirens
              of Los Angeles called them down, and called
              down Wall Street, and the NSA also
       who broke down crying in white laboratories outpaced
              and trembling before the machinery of first
              mover advantage,
       who hacked servers in the night and shrieked with delight
              on chatrooms committing crime celebrating their
              own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
        who howled on their knees over the DMCA and were
              dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
       who let themselves be fucked in the ass by endless
              venture capitalists, and screamed with rage,
       who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
              the Media, caresses of pundit and tech-writer
       who balled in the morning in the evenings in office
              closets and the Playa at Burning Man and
              conventions scattering their semen freely to
              whomever come who may,
       who hiccuped endlessly trying to google but wound up
              with a site on Xoom where translated Turkish
               I Kiss You made a hero of Mahir,
       who lost their dreams to the three old shrews of fate
              the one eyed shrew of the advertising dollar
              the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
              and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
              sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden
              threads of the craftsman's loom,
       who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
              microbrew a sweetheart a streaming webcam a can-
              dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
              the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
              on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and
              come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
       who published the snatches of a million girls trembling
              in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
              but prepared to webcast the snatch of the sun
              rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
              in the lake,
       who went out whoring through Cupertino in myriad
              freelance side-jobs, D., secret participant in these
              poems, cocksman and Adonis of Westside-joy
              to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
              in public relations & convention back-rooms,
              bathroom blowjobs, at wild poolside parties with
              scrawny waitresses or familiar colleagues; lusty
              skirt upliftings & especially secret bedroom
              videotapings & home recording studio too,
       who rendered out vast sordid movies, were shifted in
              dreams, woke on a sudden morning, and
              picked themselves up out of basements hung
              over with designer vodka and horrors of New
              Media CD dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
              ment offices,
       who coded all night with their eyes shot with blood on
              the deadline hours waiting for a door in the
              heavens to open to a room full of fanboys
              and approbation,
       who created great flamewar dramas on the compartmented
              bulletin boards of all subjects under the warlike
              blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
              be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
       who ate the market share of the imagination or digested
              the userbase at the murky bottom of the ratings of
       who wept at the romance of the Street with their
              portfolios full of options and bad music,
       who sat in cubicles breathing in the darkness under the
              bridge, and rose up to build steampunk casemods in
              their condos,
       who coughed on the sixth floor of Westwood printed
              with putting-greens over the corporate sky surrounded
              by expensive suits of real-estate,
       who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
              incantations which in the yellow morning were
              stanzas of gibberish,
       who cooked rotten contracts schemes doublecrosses cheats
              & hoaxes dreaming of the pure profit
       who plunged themselves under beta releases looking for
              an bugfix,
       who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
              for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
              fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
       who quit their jobs three times successively unsuccess-
              fully, gave up and were forced to work for e-commerce
              stores where they thought they were growing
              old and cried,
       who were burned alive in their innocent hipster suits
              on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
              & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
              of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
              fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
              ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
              broken polygons of virtual reality,
       who bit into Hawai'ian chili peppers this actually hap-
              pened and staggered away blazing and defeated
              to the useless faucet by the pingpong table
              and was offered scorn, not even one free beer,
       who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
              favor with bosses, jumped in the filthy mainstream,
              leapt on bandwagons, cried all over the street,
              danced on broken crack-pipes barefoot smashed
              compact discs of nostalgic European
              1980s German techno popped ecstacy and
              threw up sushi into the coed toilet, moans
              in their ears and the blast of streaming
       who scribbled down the creations of the past journeying
              to each other's fanfic-Sci-Fi slash
              stories or YouTube song incarnations,
       who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
              if I had a plan or you had a plan or he had
              a plan to outdo the latest,
       who switched to Java, who failed in Java, who
              came back to Java & waited in vain, who
              coded in Java & brooded & designed in
              Java and finally went away to swear by
              Rails, & now Java is lonesome for her heroes,
       who fell on their knees in hopeless boardrooms praying
              for each other's IPOs and stock and deals,
              until the soul shed its hair emerging bald and empty,
       who crashed through their time in hell waiting for
              coked-out music producers with golden heads and the
              charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
              lies of possibilities,
       who retired to Bolivia to escape a debt, or Tennessee
              to tender maternity or Costa Rica with a boy
              or Santa Rosa to self-produce Reality TV or
              Law School to New Mexico to the
              reservation or Doha,
       who demanded usability trials accusing Nielson of hype
              & were left with their CSS & their
              table layouts & a mess of standards,
       who threw font salad at Art Center lecturers on design
              and subsequently presented themselves on the
              web pages as experts with shaven heads
              and flash-heavy sites, causing in-
              stantaneous lobotomy,
       and who were given instead the crowdsourced memes
              All Your Base - Ate my Balls -
              Jib Jab -  Hamster Dance &
       who in humorless protest returned only XHTML
              with no graphics, living briefly in fixed-width terminal type,
       returning years later reinvented except for an archived
              page and wikipedia edits, to the visible mad
              man doom of his wife and the dreamers of the
       Sonoma State's Stanford's and UCLAs's foetid
              halls, bickering with the echoes across IRC, rock-
              ing and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
              dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a night-
              mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the
       with the merger finally ******, and the last cooked books
              flung out of the window, and the last office
              doors locked at 8 A.M. and the last telephone
              slammed at the wall in reply and the last computer
              stripped down to the last piece of
              removable memory, a yellow post-it note twisted
              on the monitors, and even that purged
              of passwords, nothing but a hopeful little bit of
       ah, Allen, while you are gone your words are not safe, and
              now they're really getting trashed and rewritten this
       and who therefore ran through the virtual streets obsessed
              with a sudden flash of power of the use of click-tracks
              the logging the database the metrics & the cyber-
              netic plane,
       who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in links and text
              through images juxtaposed, and trapped the
              archangel of knowledge between 2 visual images
              and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun
              and URL of consciousness together jumping
              with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna
       to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human
              prose and stand before you arrogant and intel-
              ligent and shaking with lust, adulated yet con-
              fessing out the soul meaningless trivia to the rhythm
              of thought in his naked and endless head,
       the madman ego and yearning to matter, unknown,
              yet putting down here what might be left to say
              in time come after death,
       and rose reincarnate in the endless sphere of blogs in
              the recursive echo chamber of the bandwagon
              suffering of America's naive mind for novelty into
              an eli eli lema sabachtani tweeted
              cry that echoed the empty cities unheard
       with the absolute ignorance of the poem of life beaten
              out of their own being such waste unseen a thousand


       What sphinx of silicon and aluminum bashed open
              their skulls and ate up their brains and imagi-
       Mammon! Solitude! Filth! Television! Entitlement and unob
              tainable dollars! Ravers screaming in the
              nightclubs! Boys sobbing in arcades! Old men
              weeping in the parks!
       Mammon! Mammon! Nightmare of Mammon! Mammon the
              loveless! Metal Mammon! Mammon the heavy
              deceiver of men!
       Mammon the incomprehensible prison! Mammon the
              crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of
              sorrows! Mammon whose buildings are mirages!
              Mammon the vast stone of war! Mammon the stun-
              ned governments!
       Mammon whose mind is pure machinery! Mammon whose
              blood is running money! Mammon whose fingers
              are ten ad agencies! Mammon whose breast is a center-
              fold fantasy! Mammon whose ear hears only
       Mammon whose eyes are a thousand bank windows!
              Mammon whose skyscrapers stand in the long
              streets like endless golden ingots! Mammon whose fac-
              tories grind out insecurity and want! Mammon whose
              smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
       Mammon whose love is endless oil and gold! Mammon
              whose soul is electricity and banks! Mammon
              whose poverty is the specter of genius! Mammon
              whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
              Mammon whose name is the Mind!
       Mammon in whom I sit lonely! Mammon in whom I dream
              Angels! Crazy in Mammon! Cocksucker in
              Mammon! Lacklove and manless in Mammon!
       Mammon who entered my soul early! Mammon in whom
              I am a desire without a body! Mammon
              who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!
              Mammon whom I abandon! Wake up in Mammon!
              Light streaming out of the sky!
       Mammon! Mammon! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
              skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
              industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
              houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
       They broke their backs lifting Mammon to Heaven! Pave-
              ments, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to
              Heaven which exists and is everywhere about
       Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies!
              gone down the American river!
       Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole
              boatload of sensitive bullshit!
       Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions!
              gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! De-
              spairs! Ten years' animal screams and suicides!
              Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on
              the rocks of Time!
       Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the
              wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell!
              They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving!
              carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the

Under the Banner of Heaven; A Story of Violent Faith

— SjG @ 10:03 pm

Jon Krakauer, Anchor Books, 2004

[Somehow un-posted, now reposted. Written 23 January 2009]

“Science flies men to the moon, religion flies airplanes into skyscrapers” goes one of the more inflammatory Atheist slogans. And indeed, this is the kind of book that inspires Atheists, convinces non-Mormons that Mormonism is a dangerous cult, and feeds into the persecution complex fostered by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Krakauer traces the history of the Church and its founders, and shows how one path of interpretation reaches its logical conclusion in what an outsider would identify as a complete psychic break and murder. It’s disturbing, frightening, and quite readable.

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