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A circle jerk of sock puppets channeling anger thru a wiki-leaking glory hole

Dear Internet,                                                                           May 21, 2013

We're concerned about your reliability—having just read this Salon article about Qworty & the corruption of Wikipedia. Not that we didn't suspect all along that it's all nothing but a big farce ... especially when it comes to things like objective book reviews & the bios of living authors. Of course they're going to create & edit their own pages ... either that or have their "friends" do it for them.

Wikipedia is no different than anything else .. everything is biased, tainted, corrupted .. one grand hypocrisy ever-ruined before even being built .. one vast circle jerk of sock puppets all jockeying to be the over-inflated jackass at the center of it.

Such circle-jerking sock puppets can be found far beyond the Amazon data stream of "customer" reviews or Wikipedia .... you can bet half the staff of legitimate news sources & literary reviews are puppets having their strings pulled, or their things stroked. It's even more of a farce when they do it under the guise of legitimacy & responsible journalism.

What's sad though, is that at the end of the day, content is the loser .. knowledge & information & art suffers. Unless of course you consider the drama surrounding it all to be the content .. a sort of ritualistic performance art. Which seems to be the primary attraction these days .. that nobody can help themselves to not engage in.

At the root of all this .. whether it be the corruption of Wikipedia or the book object (as we've ranted about here plenty before) .. are narcissistic authors putting themselves in front of their works .. having their egos mask the content .. what they author. Sure this Qworty guy is a douche bag .. but what about the guy who wrote the article for Salon .. contacting Qworty on his Facebook page (we still laugh whenever we hear Twitter references in the news, as if they are legit sources), under the guise of responsible journalism .. seeking the truth .. writing such articles because he wants to be the hero that exposed this douche bag. Duh, would you really expect anything different?

It's the same story again & again .. in every field. Where does this pervasive unobjective infection of untruths, ever-laced with ulterior motives, come from? It stems from this drive for personal achievement that is engrained in the American dream. Our education system propagates this, by testing & grading students so arbitrarily, to pass thru the next hoop, to the next grade, to get a degree, to the next promotion, to 'win' writing contests, to get awards .. to achieve arbitrary goals .... which only encourages students to cheat & plagiarize & learn clever ways to buck the system .. & discourages students from actually learning anything. Again, knowledge suffers. Cheaters win. In sports, the dopers win. It's this idea of winning .. of 'success' & the quest for for personal fame, that is again at the root of all this.

You have two choices‚—you can play the game, or you can withdraw & watch it all implode. 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'. Otherwise, 'nice guys finish last.' If you play the game, you may as well embrace it. Otherwise be content to come in last, in style.

May as well entrust the anonymous hacks. Some of what Qworty says makes sense—that «Wikipedia is the great postmodern novel». That «Wikipedia is ‘not truth’ … Wikipedia, like any other text, is not reality.» But who wants to be such a hypocritical dickwad?

We have/had a Wikipedia page .. someone made it a while ago, not sure who, but they called us a 'poet' so obviously they didn't know us well. Although there is no option to delete the page, we just easily went in there & deleted all we could, and for a bio simply put «Derek White is a living person who does not wish to be reduced to this.» Let's see how long that lasts .... hopefully one of those trusty Wiki trolls (ask yourself what kind of people have time to edit/write Wiki articles) will just scratch their head briefly & delete it altogether. [it seems our edits were not 'constructive' enough & it was reverted by some automated ClueBot NG.]

Besides the student parallel referred to above (it's finals time for our professorial better half), we also vicariously witness a similar hypocrisy second-hand (our social life half-way revolves around it after all) in the field of 'international development' .. where poverty is the game. Nora Schenkel is someone who chose to not to play the game. Kudos .. our sentiments exactly.

Like a book or anything else, don't let others tell you what to think about something .. make up your own mind about it, whether it be based on fact or fiction, it doesn't matter. You can't trust people to know the difference between fact or fiction—why even pretend something is fact? What's amusing about this piece, Blood, that Blake Butler wrote for the NY Times 'Opionionator' blog (despite it being clearly marked as fiction on the opening line) are the comments by a Miss Ley, suggesting that Blake should seek out a second opinion from another doctor!

Anyway .. all this is distraction .... and as usual nothing we intended to write about when we started this post. We named this file 'anger.htm' .. but now we've forgotten why.

In the real world .. same old .. been working on Sleepingfish 12 this week .. piecing it all together. Lots of good stuff in it, including not 1, not 2, but 3 new pieces by Gay Lutz. Granted, one story is 4 words long. And another is all crossed out except for the last sentence. The third piece is entitled «You're Welcome» .. (astute readers of this blog might be able to figure out where the title comes from).

Also wrapping up edits on The History of Luminous Motion & hopefully sending that off to the printer in the next day or two. Here's some interstitial images we made for the various section breaks (that will be in black & white):

section 4 mass

4. mass



5. chemistry



6. life


hard song

7. hard song

Re-re-re-reading Bradfield, for the fourth time, with a fine-tooth comb, reinforces in us what a remarkable book it is. We're excited for anyone that hasn't had a chance to read it yet.

Haven't done much 'pleasure' reading except to finish The Names, while riding our spin bike, on days we're not running. We've always liked Delillo, except, as we started to go into in the last post, his cookbooked shtick is wearing thin .. every book sounding like the next or the one before. Reading it at the same as the Bradfield book has made us realize what we are starting to dislike about Delillo .. & that is he is too damn serious. And too smart for his own good. The dialogue his characters engage in is not believable. It's interesting, mind you .. especially in The Names, there's a lot he says (through his characters) on language, but it all just seems so .. i don't know .. smug, intellectual. And too worldly—his characters all over the globe, culturally omnipresent .. always politically correct & savvy .. hardly ever funny (except in a high-brow New Yorker cartoon sort of way) or contradictory, or offensive. Never the fish out of water, never a wrong note or offbeat. Too reserved, calculated, lacking emotion, soul. If anything is gritty & raw, it's in an air-brushed smarmy sort of way, like some sort of liberal dinner-party conversation that makes you feel dirty & embarrassed when you catch yourself succumbing to it. This is how Delillo makes us feel. And as always, this is our perception, so likely just as much a reflection of our mindset here & now .. or a cautionary note to self what not to try at home.

The narrator in The History of Luminous Motion is highly intellectual .... but he is an 8-year old kid, so this odd juxtaposition makes it engaging (when combined with his thieving, glue-sniffing & possible killing). The shift is not quite as dramatic as Percival Everett's Glyph, where the narrator is a baby born with adult uber-intellect (except no physical capacity to speak) .. which is a complete stretch of the imagination (as far as believability).

The narrator in The Names has an 8-year old son, Tap, that is writing a novel.

«I reread Tap's pages that night. They were full of small incidents, moments of discovery, things the young hero sees and wonders about, But nothing mattered so much on this second reading as a number of spirited misspellings. I found these mangled words exhilarating. He'd made them new again, made me see how they worked, what they really were. They were ancient  things, secret, reshapable.»

His kid's book is the book we want to read. This is another problem we have with Delillo .. his lack of imperfections (unless you count this lack of imperfection as an imperfection). This is also sort of what we didn't like about the new Ben Marcus—he went from using language in interesting ways, to talking about the use of language in that generic way common to all high-brow literature for the intellectually smug .. fit to print in The New Yorker.

The History of Luminous Motion is written in a fairly conventional story-telling way, but it pushes buttons idea-wise—it's not always politically correct, there's angst infused in the intellectual capacity that shakes things up.

Sometimes you have to fuck shit up to create anything novel & new.

Anyway, don't want to talk too much more about History (we'll have plenty more to say about it as the book gets re-released) or The Names .. not that there isn't anything to like about The Names .. it's complex & intricate .. weaving politics, chaos theory, the idea of America, of travel, terrorism & systems all together .. perhaps ahead of it's time. There's a sort of terrorist cult .. 'zealots of the alphabet'  .. that are obsessed with language .. with names of things .. that are driven to ritual murder .... all in exotic settings .. Greece, the Middle East, Africa, India, etc. But there's always a longing to reach further into the page, to break this barrier that keeps you one stepped removed, a detachment seeped in the difference between showing & telling .. we want to feel this scene, not to be told it's funny, but to experience it first-hand:

«The scene was familiar to him, of course. The map, the graphics, the talking-gesturing man man. But this man spoke a language other than English. And this was funny, it upset his expectations, to hear these queer words in a familiar setting, as if the weather itself had gone berserk. The grocer and his wife joined in the laughter. We all did. Possibly to Tap, the strange language exposed the whole idea as gibberish, the idea of forecasts, the idea of talking before a camera about the weather. It had been gibberish in English as well.»

Don Delillo: The Names

The weather here, now is fine. The weather in OK city is far from OK.

Last night we saw The Liars. The Liars have been one of those bands looming with one foot in our subconscious for the past decade. We could never quite figure them out. Maybe it was because of their early association with the post-911, 'post-punk' NYC scene—the singer Angus Andrew dating Karen O (not that we have anything against her, at least not at the time, during Yeah3s first two albums) that we perhaps pre-maturely dismissed them.

But The Liars' latest album WIXIW .. & seeing them live .. put us over the tipping point .. made us realize that not "getting them" is what there is to get. Not being able to put your finger on what it is .. their ability to deflect easy categorization.

In light of the Bradfield-Delillo comparison, The Liars would be analogous to Bradfield & Delillo would be akin to, say, Radiohead. We love Radiohead, but sometimes they just take themselves way too seriously. The Liars have the chops of Radiohead, but they can also be random & funny, slap-happy & sloppy, not seeming to give a shit what you think. Angus is like the bastard child of Thom Yorke & Gibby Haynes (of Butthole Surfer fame) .. with a bit of Homer Simpson & Hugh Jackman thrown into his recessive genepool (not that he is at all in good shape, but he has a certain Lebowski-like jock air about him .. an Angus beefcake the texture of silly putty.

The shit grows on you .. we are slowly becoming obsessed. WIXIW is second perhaps only to The Seer as best album of 2012.

The National are another of those bands that we've decided are way too serious .. too mature, too «adult pop». We've liked them for a long time (mostly for the lyrics) but they need to lighten up. Their new album sounds duller than dirt.

Speaking of Qworty & the corruption of wikipedia .. & to extrapolate further on our post before last about maverick hackers seeking to liberate information .. Strongbox has dropped. Strongbox is an open-source application that lets people anonymously send information (to The New Yorker) .. a sort of Wikileaking glory-hole developed in part by Aaron Swartz before he checked out early this year. Sorry to keep going on about him, but his death was truly sad .. a gaping scar on what otherwise was/is a hopeful revolution in the movement to liberate information from those that try to control it.

What else. Haven't talked about food much lately .. just cooked some Hungarian mushroom soup, with fresh dill & paprika & sour cream of course. Also recently made poisson cru/chirashi/ceviche (raw tuna soaked in lemon & coconut water & seaweed & other spicy goodness). Yesterday poached some pistachio crusted salmon .. here's the tinfoil wrapper that we took a photo of because we thought it might make a good book cover .. maybe for the cover of Sleepingfish 12 if a certain work of art we acquired from Russia doesn't make it thru our mail system (it's been two weeks & still not here).

poached salmon tinfoil

The other idea in the back of our minds for the Sleepingfish 12 cover is to buy a squid & a whole fish & some newspaper & pop the squid ink sack & make some sort of Gyotaku-style print .. slathering the fish in the ink & then wrapping it in the newspaper .. perhaps even a Sicilian newspaper.

So why did we name this post anger.htm? We were thinking generally about anger the other day while running .. perhaps in continuation of the last post on rejecting & our general advocacy for more hatred in the world (to balance the scales) .. or perhaps it's because of the influence of re-re-re-reading of The History of Luminous Motion. Bradfield in general does not shy away from verbalizing his hatred (see his Why I Hate Toni Morrison's Beloved piece)(speaking of throwing wrenches in smug politically correct systems), but Philip (the 8-year old punk wunderkind protagonist) waxes eloquently on the virtues of channeling his own anger (amongst many other topics):

«... It took root and grew from the very rage and anger it was intent on eliminating. Everything carries within it the fuel of its own driving antithesis, I thought. Anger is the stuff from which real love and knowledge grow. In order to grow and learn, we must permit the world to betray itself.»

This all said with calm, analytic detachment. «I’m not trying to be antisocial. I’m just considering all the complicated logistics involved in people living together over a long period of time.»

Amen. Anger should be expressed, not bottled up. Not that we're advocating violence or that we even like watching violence (we typically close our eyes till it passes) .. this is the whole point. Anger should be acknowledged & channeled productively before it turns to violence.

Most sports are about controlling anger .. having poise enough amidst the gritting chaos of swinging arms & body checks to get the puck or ball in the net.

Anger is typically considered a male attribute, but the channeling of female anger is perhaps what makes The Savages (who we also saw recently) so good. Or PJ Harvey. That's what you do with anger.

Anyway .. as Zach de la Rocha says «Anger is a gift».

  >> NEXT: Aira, Appel & swipey lingual motion studies of fish sleeping under windy conditions

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