The Blog

Looking For God

To Whoever’s Running in 2020,

Obama ran his campaign on salvation as hope for the future. And Trump ran his campaign on salvation as reclamation of the past.

Bernie told us the truth. That he’s us, only another small being in a vast and corrupt world and that the only person that can save us is ourselves. We don’t want to hear that, we want to be saved. Hillary never offered salvation of any kind. In a way, she was pretty truthful in that, her silence telling us there’s no salvation to be had in putting our lives in one person’s hands. We really don’t want to hear that.

So, if you really want to be President, whoever you are, tell us you’re going to save us. You don’t have to mean it, just dress the part of the messiah.

Yours truly, #America

On Fame And The Presidency

I hate fame. I hate it because it’s an empty currency. I hate it because a system that deals in empty currencies leads to empty men.

People keep thinking we’re past our neanderthal days of judging men solely on their success and women solely on their beauty, but we’re not – in almost all fields men will always be judged on their accomplishments and women on their beauty first and foremost, everything else is secondary. Just look around, the numbers never lie.

Even in industries solely consisting of female audiences like relationship advice and sexology women will still listen to an accomplished man of average intelligence over an ugly woman at the pinnacle of genius. The words coming out of their mouths are always secondary, just look around.

And if the ability to provide food (success) and the ability to provide children (beauty) are still our species’ golden currency, fame is the paper dollar. It’s the currency not of gold, but the idea of it.

If you’re a famous woman you can walk into a company and tell them that you’re not actually willing to do anything of worth, but you will sell them your image of beauty. And if you’re a famous man you can sell them your image of success. For an exuberant price.

That’s insane! But a man named Donald Trump saw great opportunity in the madness and became the most qualified man in the field of the empty currency. Fame became his stock and trade. He sold his image left and right and he couldn’t do it fast enough. And to his pleasant surprise, the world’s madness deepened – America chose to make the images of success and beauty worth far more than actual success or beauty. He laughed.

And then he ran for president.

When his opponent ran against him trying to use the very currency he’s master of, he sat back and watched. She went about it all wrong and aligned herself with the image of success by hiring celebrities aplenty, and she crashed and burned. She failed to realize that men were judged on their success, women on their beauty. Or maybe she knew, but found herself in a conundrum in that you couldn’t win The White House solely on the image of beauty, unlike success.

But Trump knew that though you couldn’t win The House because of it, you could lose it. And so he stood up and uttered her death sentence – he told the world she was corrupt, ugly.

The moment it saw her as so it turned its head and started listening to the accomplished man of average intelligence. It didn’t matter that Trump was a walking catastrophe when it came to physical currencies, because though all his companies lose money, he looks rich, and so he is. The world had continued saying that the empty currency of the image was worth far more.

And he might have lost some fame in the scuffle for power, but he quickly got it back by shining a light on the women around him, showing the world that they’re as beautiful as the world wants of them. And by telling it the only string of words it’ll actually somewhat pay attention to – he told it a story it’s always loved to hear, the story of the underdog. Of an evil empire of bureaucrats, and of man who, made different, made rebel, by his very lack of political and military experience, would rise, for the people of course.

The nation loved that story.

And so now sits an empty man on the throne in the land of the empty currency. As he looks around he notices the women diligently working on their image of beauty and the men on their image of success, nothing of actual value was happening and he was glad.

We’re Here, We’re Now

People aren’t actually obsessed with their phones. If they were they’d get one without putting most of their attention on how good the camera is. A phone’ll cost you $99 tops, a camera $300+, what are you carrying?

When you pull it out at concerts and car crashes to snap a couple, when you meet your idols and your first thought is to ask for a pic, when you’re in presence of good food and great views and your first thought is to capture rather than to breathe fumes, and when you can’t go anywhere without it, you’ve got to realize that your phone doesn’t take pictures, your camera sometimes makes calls.

Everyone’s a photographer – that photographer, subconsciously aware that something actually interesting happening in their life is a rarity, that can only be captured only if they’re always prepared, only.

And so we carry these cameras that make calls, text-gossip to pass the time, and when something interesting finally happens… bliss. We finally have something to prove that our daily life isn’t actually all that boring – like, scroll through these new pics like.

But it is. People with interesting lives don’t have that much time to take pictures or answer texts, interesting shit is happening. The universal sign of enjoying a good night out is not being able to get to your phone, the secret’s to put the camera down as well. To stop being boring. Interesting lives have interesting people. Everyone’s a photograph, image-conscious, how’s that interesting? Put the camera down. What were you like before the camera?

There’s that old story of Native-American, African, and Aboriginal tribes believing that a photo can steal your soul, cage it. Seems foolish in these dangerous times, but what were you like before you learnt how to take a good pic? Of yourself, of your life.

Bob Dylan has that line, “But you’ve picked up quite a story and you’ve changed since the womb. What happened to the real you, you’ve been captured but by whom?” It means a lot of things, one of them being that we are our worst enemies.

Let Me Help You

This has been a weird sort of two weeks for me.

Brexit‬ made me feel angry and powerless to help my friends of African and Indian origin who were facing unjust persecution in a land they loved, and then ‪Alton Sterling‬ and ‪‎Philando Castile‬ were murdered in the land of the free so I found a small release for my powerlessness – I could donate to their families, throw money at them and feel… less impotent.

Then I realized, wow, I’m a piece of shit; here’s this amazing device for intercontinental connection and voice, and all I’m using it for is as speedy means of deriving some sort of self-satisfaction from helping the needy, wow. There loomed above me this heavy rain of a question about myself that was hard to weather.

In the meantime, I ended up being front and center as Dallas PD labelled the wrong man as suspect for their shooting on their Twitter account, front and center as he was exonerated in less than 30 minutes by video footage and multiple eye witnesses, as their Public Information Officer gave no damns about retractions or of the consequences of leaving the wrong information up, and as the Twitter homepage news algorithm and multiple media outlets picked up said information and made it their headlines. Angry again I somehow found myself doing what I do best online and unearthed way-too-much information on Dallas PD. I did what I could and quietly made numbers and other means of communication more easily accessible to people who wanted to voice their anger the right way. Though my help was very minor amongst other key players it helped spark a fire which would have never happened had we kept to our daily selves.

I won’t lie – I was happy, and confused about it. Maybe it’s because although some justice was realized a horrible 17 hours later, at least all that effort amounted to something. See, I’ve been made a realist about the sum of my contributions to the world when it comes to these things, a grand total of “so hardly helping they by all means almost amount to nothing.” Amongst other things I’ve helped a reporter expose rape by police in Thailand and I’ve watched him “disappear” and upon reappearance he was deported and his report was never looked or acted upon, and I’ve tried countless times to expose the cruelty that’s put upon the animals of Thailand (mainly elephants and dogs) to anyone (anyone) and received laughter as my comeuppance. So yes, I was happy that “almost amounts to” wasn’t actually nothing in this case.

Without realizing it I’d stumbled right back onto that question that made me feel like crap, and I’d found a sort-of answer. I’ve been too logical about my end contribution to this whole thing and inadvertently I’ve become a dispirited product of my environments. So here’s my plea: If you’re fighting injustice in some way and are in need of someone who’s basically a magician at finding information via web, let me help you, pro bono. Short-term, long-term, it doesn’t matter, just contact me privately and let me help. In the larger scheme of things I’ll be so hardly helping I’m almost not, but almost isn’t nothing. Let me help you.

And let me leave you here. In the same breath that I’d found my answer, I’d also realized how important the question was. I won’t voice it for that will belittle it, but it’s the question that, for today, can be answered by paraphrasing Shaun King, “Whoever you are right now is an indication of who you would’ve been during the Civil Rights Movement.” With all due respect, I hope your inaction eats at you.

Pissed

All of my UK friends of African or Indian descent have expressed to me how the racism they’ve faced in the past couple days amounts to a couple years’ worth. They’ve been verbally abused, told to go home, spit on, &c.. All of them.

People hate being told how racism is still alive in such “progressive” times, but are lost for words when things such as Brexit unfold and suddenly there’s an uptick in racism. “My word, where did all these racists come from?” the lady next door exclaims, shocked. They were always here ma’am, you don’t notice them because they don’t target you.

(I mean, I’ve lived in Texas and Georgia, whether or not Trump wins shouldn’t one view his progress as a sign of something serious? No? An old-timer from Alabama told me a couple weeks back that things haven’t really changed – “Sure, segregation’s officially done with, but black-folks and white-folks still living in the same places they used to live, doing the same things, drinking from the same fountains.”)

This is the heartbreaking thing about travelling the world while dark-skinned. I’ve been told not to go to Ireland or Russia or Australia or [insert multiple countries] by good friends because they fear for my safety, I’ve had my skin digitally-whitened in all of my passport pictures in every asian country I’ve been in, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been followed and questioned by cops as I’ve jogged early mornings in multiple cities, the number of times I’ve been called ‘dirty brother’ or ‘monkey brother’ in a foreign language as a “friendly nickname,” and of the number of times I’ve been partying, having a good time with someone drunk to suddenly hear them say, “Hey Arsène, I usually contain myself, but I feel I can be myself around you, you’re a likeable nigger.”

I get angry, really angry, but I’m wise enough to just walk away and shut up, every time. There are better ways to spend my time than righteous indignation, like making money. But there are days like today.

Blessed strength be upon you UK friends, for as much as I wish it did, it never gets easier being shown that the world you love doesn’t love you back.

the cool

Our friendships are made of… the buzz. The cool, the mixed signals and covered moon. Genuine laughter. Dancing something with no name to it with you but would rather be doing anything else. Something like the middle finger, the smile, white teeth showing. Dimples, and beaches, and jungles, and weeds, and healthy foods, and tattoos, and something we think original. Pronounce that right, thank you. Whatever, go on, be happy. Topless models, breathtaking conversations, patios with great views, nights we’ll never remember and real love. Caramelized popcorn, back-to-back movies, and unforgettable sex – reel love? Hour-long somethings and chills. Under-exposed photos, the blurs. Designer shit. Good nights, bad mornings, gorgeous women with dark shades of lipsticks, tired eyes getting everything they want. Not you sweetheart, something like the movies; the noons, the mixed signals and ever coveted moons.

What are we selling? We’re on our third passport and we’re bored. Wouldn’t change a thing though.

sohbet

A night full of talking that hurts; my worst held-back secrets, her worst held-back desires. Lord, our hearts can’t take this! But we keep on. Everything has to do with loving and not loving. Mystical conversation; often, the closest we come to surrender is orgasm but we’re past that… where are we? Closer. We move; milk, and honey, and warm chocolate, and a stirring of the spoon comparable to your waist around mine. Dancing something supple but we break.

This night will pass, but we had it. The night will pass, then we have work to do.

music to sleep two

Sometimes the night gives more than it takes and you bring all the stars home with you. And the rain, and the moon, and the whole damn storm. And she looks at you – says, “You make love to me like you’re going to lose me and there’s no convincing you I’m here to stay awhile. Such sadness.” And all she’ll remember is the morning you convinced her to stay awhile, the temperature. The afternoon you showed her how to carry a knife and still trust everyone, how she’s the thing at either end of the gun. Church.

Rhythm & Brown Sugar

hey glory child

child_soldiers_gundam

Iron-made orphans, clipped our wings in the late night. Sometimes you hate to leave somebody, what’s happening to we? Gardens, flowers, I recall your soul had a taste like…