Saturday, May 30, 2020

Of Mice and Men and the Burden of Ethics

My son killed a mouse today. He hit it hard with a broom. I learned what he’d done upon returning from the supermarket. My bags were overflowing, filled with the items on my mother’s grocery list. I’d planned on making a quick trip to the store. Perhaps if I hadn’t mentioned to her where I was going, the mouse would still be alive.

Going down the aisles of the supermarket — it’s the weekend, and the store was packed with panicked, territorial shoppers — searching for my mother’s items, I felt my face underneath my mask go ugly with impatience. I’ve bickered with my mom about her shopping lists before. Around Easter, she gave me a list that included digestive biscuits, Cadbury crunchies, and other items from the foreign food aisle. The supermarket where I shop doesn’t have a foreign food aisle. I felt like I was on a coronavirus scavenger hunt.

My mother hasn’t left the house since the beginning of March. She’s in her seventies. She hasn’t experienced much of this firsthand, only heard about it what it’s like outside from me, who, in the past, could be a bit of a drama queen. I want to scream, THERE ARE NO DRAMA QUEENS IN A PANDEMIC!

The mice problem started on Wednesday. The pipe problem started on Thursday. After watching RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 for the 46th time, I went into the bathroom to wash my face, and my socks were soaked with water. I was able to use the tape that I bought for the mouse problem to jerry-rig the pipe problem, so there was some nice issue overlay. A real fix for both issues will have to wait.

I suspect the mouse my son killed was half dead anyway. I don’t think mice are supposed to come out during the day, and this one did. I’ve placed poison in strategic locations throughout the house. I was just surprised that my son had it in him.

An AIDS activist that I admire posted something on Facebook this week that really resonated with me. He wrote that at the height of the AIDS crisis, he never wished death for Ronald Reagan, but due to Trump’s terminal, willful incompetence, he wishes Trump would get COVID-19. I used to think wishing harm for Donald Trump undermined any argument I was trying to make about his lack of humanity, but pandemic living has shown me that in times of calamity, the moral high ground is especially fluid.

Which brings me to November. Joe Biden is not the ideal candidate, but bearing some celestial deus ex machina, he’s the only candidate. The only option for something different, no matter how incremental. To anyone who wouldn’t vote for him based on idealism, I implore you, compromise your ethics. You either grasp at the potential for something different or continue to take the worst that there is.

A few years ago, my son would insist upon blessing every animal he had regular contact with at night before he went to bed. God bless Stella, Bella, Sid, Chachi. After hearing the names of the animals for so many nights, I can still remember them. Sid was a mouse.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Of Morals and Mulligans

Lately I’ve been reading the writing of novelist and AIDS activist David B. Feinberg. I find his writing from the early 1990s to be highly relevant to the times we are living in. AIDS activists faced challenges similar to what the left is going through in the fight against Donald Trump. People continued to die, yet activists had become distracted by who among them had done a very bad thing.

For Trump and his supporters, morality and accountability have become largely irrelevant. Sure, the right still talks a good game, you know, all that debate prep at college, but now when they’re confronted with their hypocrisy, they smile cheekily, a coy wink to the larger game plan. They’ve introduced new terms to the lexicon, such as the “mulligan” — a pass on ideological consistency in the name of the greater good. (The “greater good” here resembles a treatise written by Ayn Rand and Jimmy Swaggart.) This pass on ideological consistency has come to define conservatism in the Trump era. Emboldened hypocrisy is the strategy through which their agenda is being enacted, and so far, it’s a smashing success. While conservatives revel in their new freedom to be blatant hypocrites (and marvel at how a lack of accountability helps get shit done), the left eats its own.

“We have the moral high ground!” progressives say, as if the moral high ground equals the political capital to change lives. Moral high grounds don’t feed people. Being on the “right side of history” doesn’t save people from deportation or poverty or protect them from abuse. The only time morality has tangible power is when it inspires people to act, or becomes entrenched in law, or in the case of the left, when it’s used against its own. While conservatives party naked, the left wields its monopoly on morality like a cudgel on itself. It has come to expect anticipatory precociousness: one cannot grow into progressive values, they must emerge fully formed. The right flaunts its hypocrisy (with a hat tip to circular logic and false equivalencies) then piles on whoever the left is lambasting that week. Bipartisanship is alive and well in the comments posted to the Twitter feeds of lambasted leftists.

The left is giving the right a gift. Conservatives offer Trump mulligan after mulligan, yet the left asks its own to account for increasing ambiguities. Let me say what I don’t mean here: I’m not talking about allegations of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is not an ambiguity. I’m not talking about people in a position of power who use it to exploit others and cause harm. I’m addressing what compels me to add this very disclaimer: progressives have become so quick to ascribe moral failure to each other for being curious, for being questioning, for being benevolently ignorant. Trump gets a pass to “grab ’em by the pussy” while progressives are asked to lament naming “Lolita” as their favorite book in ‘98.

The following is a short list of moral failings according to progressives who use the internet:

Being forthright that while an artist may have engaged in awful behavior, you still feel nostalgic/make positive life associations when looking at/reading/listening to their work.

Not severing the connection with someone you don’t know on a social network because someone else you don’t know on a social network told you how horrible the person was in a group message that you never read.

Using a vomit emoticon without a trigger warning.

Being intellectually inquisitive even when that curiosity is not an endorsement and does not involve the exchange of money.

In a thread online, an attempt was made by fellow progressives to determine the correct terminology to describe all affected by the right’s assault on reproductive rights. The determination devolved into a threat of suicide by a trans man who felt bullied and erased by the word “woman.” A woman whose uterus had been removed felt bullied and erased by the use of the phrase “reproductive rights.” Thankfully, in other pockets of the progressive universe, a determination was made, as there are now TWO states offering just one abortion provider, and a young woman was just arrested in Alabama for manslaughter after she was shot and the fetus she was carrying expired.

Some on the left feel that they must spell out their progressive bona fides before even stating an opinion: this is done proactively, in attempt to offset the notion that they are, in any way, acting in bad faith. As if a CV of generic, bullet point identifiers offers a window into the soul. At one time, people used to be commended for acknowledging their previously held beliefs, for evolving and growing. Some on the left appear to believe evolution and growth are dead, and instead, late bloomers should be exiled and publicly pilloried.

In his book Chronicle of a Plague: AIDS and Its Aftermath, Andrew Holleran writes that early in the epidemic, he was accused of having a “morose delectation,” an addiction to, or fetish for, melancholy. Holleran was just transcribing what he and so many were experiencing; there were so many stories of human suffering — but the phrase has stuck with me. Has the left developed a “moral delectation?” Or would a “castigation delectation” be more appropriate?

So much of this aspect of progressive culture — the constant internal clashing, the rush to correct, the rush to accuse of wrong doing — I blame on the internet: we no longer have to look at each other, yet at the same time, so many are watching. There is the progressive online, and then there is the progressive at home. There is a difference. The progressive at home is much more patient and understanding, much more tolerant of everyday benevolent human messiness. What will it mean for the people progressives seek to empower and the principles progressives claim to value if we have to endure four more years of Donald Trump? The lack of tolerance we continue to show for each other may be our greatest weakness and his best reelection strategy.

Originally a golf term, the conservative “mulligan” could be interpreted in a much more generous manner: not as a pass for Trump’s atrocious behavior, but as….forgiveness for it. Not real forgiveness, mind you, transactional forgiveness, something the left would never offer for such profound moral failing. While I concur that some sins are unforgivable, I also wonder, are we better off for being so unwavering? As a direct result of the conservative “mulligan” there is now a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In the days and months leading up to 2020 I’m hoping progressives can start small, with each other. In tolerance there is power. Even if that tolerance is only transactional.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

In the song, Coney Island Baby, my hero, Lou Reed, asks us to remember that different people have peculiar tastes.

End of the year best of book lists are a funny thing; in small press communities, where monetary rewards are slim, and promotion can be hard to come by, they can seem more like popularity/ personality contests then actual meritocracies. Reading a book, no matter how enjoyable, requires energy, and investment, and while I can understand the desire to hype a friend’s work, or to potentially make a connection by hyping someone's work, it isn’t much benefit to the reader who just wants to trust your recommendation, and read something good. When a person operates from this fishy place in politics, it's called cronyism. Though I doubt there is any actual promise squeezed from those being listed, another word that might be applicable comes from the music industry: payola. I’m sure it’s all borne of the desperation that comes from trying to get one’s work out there; but let’s be real: it corrupts year-end best of lists.

Believe me, I wanted to find a better picture of Lou with a book.

The following is a list (in no particular order) of the written things (a play and a zine are also included) that came out this year that I really enjoyed.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek

Problems by Jade Sharma

I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell

When Watched: Stories by Leopoldine Core

Drugs (play): by Cookie Muller and Glenn O' Brien

Bruja by Wendy C. Ortiz

SCAM: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Issue (zine) by Erick Lyle

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Mostly Sexist Agenda of Nasty Nicknames for Female Celebrities

I'm reading Sady Doyle's amazing new book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear...and Why and I remembered this list I made back in 2013 (when I had a lot more time to think about about the plight of female celebrities then I do now). It was up online somewhere then, but I'm reposting it here. With the passage of time, there are a few things I would change about what I wrote-- but there are also plenty of new nicknames I could add to list.

It's a societal disparity as old as the hills, women are reviled for the same things men are celebrated, and the evidence is in the pop culture pudding. For every one Wacko Jacko there are ten Parasite Hiltons, but not all of these nasty nicknames for female celebrities can be traced back to the media, and an editor out to craft a catchy caption or headline.  Both #1. and #3. came courtesy of on- and- off friends of the starlet, while #8. was coined by the star’s fans as a term of endearment-- she's actually embraced the moniker, and sometimes uses it to describe herself.

An especially nasty nickname can attach itself to a celebrity for time eternal-- the implication the nickname makes becomes the association the public makes with the celebrity, and that implication can become impossible to shake. The majority of these nasty nicknames just reiterate what the public has come to expect from its famous females, and the designee has been slapped with the moniker for not living up to those ideals: Fergy fug, for ascending to fame while being in some nameless, faceless, editor's very important mind, unattractive; Hanoi Jane for being so vocal and visible with her anti-establishment views during the Vietnam War; and the Portly Pepper pot, because who would ever believe that the leader of the free world would risk everything for a chubby girl?

A few of the ignoble nicknames originated with Perez Hilton, who in the early years of his popular gossip blog, seemed to create them daily for sport. Since becoming a father, he has publicly resolved to be less "mean-spirited" towards the celebrities he covers. It’s a testament to the entrenchment of some of these nicknames that they still remain in active use despite their creator's disavowal.

Below is a list of famous females who nasty nicknames may live on in infamy:

1. Fire Crotch

This nickname for Lindsay Lohan came from the mouth and mind of brat scion Brandon Davis, who imparted it upon the world while being videotaped by the paparazzi, in the company of Paris (Parasite) Hilton. The prurient interest of the part of Lindsay's body that it purports to reference, combined with Brandon's Mr. Jeeves- style patois as repeatedly enunciates "Crotch" like "Crutch" in the TMZ video of the encounter have contributed to the moniker’s memorability.

2. Sexual Napalm

Not a nickname per se, but pretty much, considering how often "Sexual Napalm" is mentioned when Jessica is. "Jessica Simpson, Weight Watcher's new spokeswoman, Sexual Napalm!" "Jessica Simpson gives birth to daughter, Sexual Napalm!" This description for Simpson’s sexual explosiveness came courtesy of musician/pro boyfriend John Mayer, who kisses and spills more often, and much more graphically than Taylor Swift, but gets light scoldings for his disclosures, not unfunny award show parodies. (Mayer also informed the world that Jennifer Love Hewitt's body was "Wonderland," and Jennifer Aniston was "clingy.")

3. Bimbo Summit/ "The Animal"

 For a short time in 2006, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton appeared to be friends; they engaged in friend -like activities, such as entering and exiting clubs together, and carpooling. Photographic lenses everywhere were kept in a constant state of contortion as paparazzos followed their every move, and clamored to get shots up their skirts as they made them. The tabloids had a field day with the threesome, concocting headlines like "The Three Horsewomen of the Apocalypse" and "Bimbo Summit." The neat & tidy celebrity package didn't last long, and after the friendships fractured, sources close to Paris leaked her private nickname for Britney: "The Animal," because according to Paris, Britney never thought before she acted. (I would like to note that I think most animals think a lot.)

4. Mushy Fartone

Let’s do some free association with Mushy Fartone. Mushy: soft, like a bowl of potatoes, or maybe squishy, like the belly of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. It’s impossible to free associate with Fartone. It’s just “Fart one.” When you put “Mushy” and “Fartone” together, what’s the implication? “Fat Gassy Girl?” When I was in junior high, the bane of my existence was a boy named Leonard Reebe. Whenever I saw Leonard in class, or crossed paths with him in the hallway, he would intone loudly enough for everyone to hear,"Beee-Owna!” a parody he’d contrived of my own name, Fiona. The insult was in how he said the name, and in the visual it conjured. "Bee-Owna!" was slovenly, and bred parakeets in fetid cages.  “Bee-Owna!” never left the house, and ate TV dinners while watching The Price is Right in a muumuu. “Bee-Owna” was my Mushy Fartone. If we think of Perez’s website like a movie, Mushy Fartone is the equivalent of Perez casting Mischa to play the role of a Garbage Pail Kid, when, by the nature of her being a young starlet in Hollywood, she tried out for role of the ingénue.

5. Hanoi Jane

This is a real patch. Snoopy won't forget. A Google search will bring up pages and pages of these Anti-Fonda images, some calling for her execution as a traitor, and many of them handcrafted. (It’s interesting to think of dudes getting the craft bug inspired solely by their hatred of Jane Fonda.) Though Jane stands by her opposition to the Vietnam War, she's apologized numerous times for the infamous photograph of her sitting on an anti-aircraft battery and has since said she feels that the picture was staged as a photo op by the Vietcong.

6. Waity Katy

Kate Middleton earned this disparaging moniker for the eight years she dated Prince William before he proposed, the implication being that:
1.she withstood the wait because of her want for the crown.
2. she withstood the wait because as a smart, attractive young woman from a wealthy family with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Saint Andrews she had nothing better do.
3. she withstood the wait because she's a pathetic doormat.
After she and William became engaged in 2010, the nickname changed to Lazy Katy because Middleton left her job to prepare for the round the clock job of being a monarch.

7. Wino

 In the same way that identifiable, one- word celebrity names like Prince, or Madonna, are often considered to be the height of fame, nasty, one- word celebrity nicknames could be considered the depths of cruelty. In the excellent 1962 film, Lilith, Kim Hunter’s character says to Warren Beatty’s, "Insanity seems a lot less sinister to watch in a man than a woman." If the sentiment‘s true, it's a sinister inequality that the media relishes chronicling.

8. Glammy Skank

In the late nineties, Courtney Love started a website called It became one of the most popular websites on the net, and for a blink and you missed it moment, Courtney was heralded by the media as an e-entrepreneur. By the early aughties, Courtney had fallen out with the administrators of the site, but during that brief window when everyone was getting along swimmingly, her fans at kittyradio gifted their queen with this honestly affectionate nickname. "Glammy skank," for glamorous skank.

9. Horse Face

Women love Sarah Jessica Parker for her sartorial flair and film and television roles, while men despise her, possibly because they felt ignored all those Sunday nights during Sex and the City's six season run. Routinely ranking in the top three in those vile online "Ugliest Women in the World" lists (as did Amy Winehouse, before her death), there is even a web site called, which bills itself as "a loving tribute to the aging style icon," and whose webmaster refers to themselves as "the stable master" and asks for donations to the site to "protect aging NYC carriage horses."

10. Fergy Fug

Sometimes I wonder, if, at a tender age, young boys are taken aside, and told a secret by older men. Actually, what they are told isn't the secret; it’s that this multi-generational information-sharing actually occurs. "Quickest way to wound a woman, young man? Tell her she's ugly."  Hurt people, hurt people, blah, blah, I get it, but why the special relish when it comes to lobbing looks-related insults at famous women? Does it feel like some kind of power equalizer? Maybe you'd never give me the time of day, but I can still tear you down physically. How come women don't come up with nicknames like this for famous men we find to be unattractive? Or annual "Ugliest Men" lists?

11. Miseralba

At one time, Jessica Alba, was considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, she starred in films like Honey and Sin City that showcased her sexiness, and was voted number one on's list of the "99 Most Desirable Women." Then she got married, had two children in quick succession, and the media decided she was miserable. Why the sudden change in good feeling? Subtle indictment on the fuckability factor of married moms? Are the kids and the ring a wrench in the wet dream?

12. Super Head

Actress and model Karrine Stevens received this nickname for her purported superior oral sex skills from the rappers she worked with and dated while appearing as an extra in music videos for the likes of Jay-Z, L.L Cool J and R. Kelly. Segueing her industry experience into a successful writing career, Stevens has written three New York Times bestsellers and owns her own publishing company. Still, websites like default to adjectives like “slorebag” and “Hollywood jizz-bucket,” over “resourceful” and “industrious” when describing her accomplishments.

13. The Portly Pepper Pot

In 1999, Monica Lewinsky was the most famous twenty-two year old woman in the world. President Clinton would infamously go on television and lie about her, saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” and the populace would come to learn in John Mayer- worthy detail just what the commander in chief considered to be a sex act. Feminist leaders were hesitant to publicly lend their support to Lewinsky, because of the risk to the liberal- leaning Clinton administration. There was a locker-room undercurrent to much of the scandal, and the flat-out disbelief from bros in the media that the most powerful man in the world would risk the presidency for a chubby girl in a beret. (Paula Jones had received much of the same ribbing about her looks, and would go on to have plastic surgery, paid for by right-wing donors.) The New York Post came up with "pepper pot" moniker, and used it interchangeably with Monica’s name in its coverage of the debacle. Interestingly, Urban Dictionary defines a “pepper pot” as  1. (noun) - An assertive person who shares opinions or acts in ways that are stronger than the extant social power structure might predict. Especially women, since men often wrongly expect women to be weak, acquiescent, or void of certain types of knowledge. Monica has said that she dealt with the stress of the media onslaught by knitting, and in 2000, became a paid spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.

14. Nauseating Nancy

Usually, in a last act of crass politesse, a nasty media nickname is retired after the designee's death, especially when the death is a tragic one, as was the case with Amy Winehouse and the vile "Wino." Not so after the death of Nancy Spungen, the drug addicted, and mentally- ill girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. Even after her gory murder in Room 100 of the Chelsea Hotel, the press kept it open season on her character. The ante was upped even further when Malcolm McLauren and Vivenne Westwood began selling t-shirts poking fun at her murder that read "She's dead, I'm alive, I'm yours," above a picture of Sid.

15. The Dragon Lady/ "Yoko Ono" as insult

Asked how she felt about the racist nickname bestowed upon her by the British media, Yoko Ono turned "The Dragon Lady" on it's head, saying, ""I'm kind of honored to be a dragon lady. The dragon is a very powerful, mythical animal . . . well, probably they think I'm powerful, thank you very much." Blamed for the break-up of a band "more popular than Jesus," Yoko Ono is that rare breed of maligned celebrity whose own name has become institutionalized as an insult. From Courtney Love, to Kate Moss, to Demi Lovato when she dated a Joe Bro, any woman who gets up close and personal with a guy in a band is at risk for the moniker. About Ono, feminist writer Germaine Greer once said, "Her enormous wealth can be no consolation for the knee jerk assumption she encounters a hundred times a day that she destroyed Lennon's gift and broke up the best band there ever was." Her name may have become an insult, but I doubt with her music, film making, and activism, Yoko Ono has ever let the insults define her. I agree with Greer that money is of no consolation to Ono. I think her art is.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Recently I wrote a review of Jarett Kobek's fantastic new book, I HATE THE INTERNET for Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Initially, the book inspired me to write something that focused much more on internet outrage, the wrath of which a main character in the book experiences. I ended up scaling back on that focus for the published review, and wrote about the book's other plotlines and themes instead. I think what the book initially inspired me to write is still valid, so I've decided to post it here. (The line of red stars denotes where the personal-style commentary on online outrage starts.) If you haven't read this book yet, you need to. If it isn't obvious from the opening, I'm a huge, huge fan of the book, and Jarett's writing in general.


No writer’s work in the last year has inspired in me in so much post-reading activity as California author Jarett Kobek. His fictionalized, “psychedelic biography,” ATTA, the first of its kind to attempt to humanize 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, led me to order the salacious biography, Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince  that Kobek puts in the terrorist’s hands as he attempts to learn more about U.S infidel culture; his If You Don’t Read, Why Should I Write? led me to sit down with a cute reference librarian in search of English-language translations of Saddam Hussein’s execution (Kobek’s book features an excerpt, along with dialogue from celebrity sex tapes, juxtaposed with the celebrity’s arrest record); and his excellent novel, BTW, inspired me to binge watch the 1994 BBC production of Middlemarch, then read the CliffsNotes to the classic George Eliot book. (I craved a deeper understanding of Middlemarch in the moment, in relation to a recurring tangent in BTW. I hope to read Eliot’s 700+ page opus soon.) The writings of Jarett Kobek, though broad in their scope, all have one thing in common—the masterful tangent, the tangent risen to art form. Often, it was the tangents in Kobek’s work that were inspiring so much of my activity.

Because Kobek makes so many references to art, culture, language, and philosophy, in some ways, his writing reminds me of a Re/Search anthology from the 90s, but one with an underlining storyline that is rooted in the present day, and covers matters much more pressing to the moment.

Kobek’s writing does something else that deserves to be lauded, and is on display in his eviscerating new novel, I HATE THE INTERNET  (We Heard You Like Books): he breaks down the disconnect inherent to our outrage-impulsive age. The way he does this makes me think of the weekend after Sept. 11th, when Lorne Michaels famously asked Rudy Giuliani on Saturday Night Live if it was OK to be funny again. Thankfully, Kobek doesn’t ask anyone’s permission.

Kobek takes the saga of the internet—the people displaced from their homes to make room for it, the user on user crime that is so multi-faced and endemic, and the vengeance-loving masses waiting for the next e-wrong to right —and gently, considering the heady ground he’s covering, makes the sordid tale very funny.

It’s a brave thing to do, considering how emphatic some internet users can be in their belief that there is no grey area.  I HATE THE INTERNET asks, “Why is activism in the 21st century nothing more than morality lectures typed into devices built by slaves?” Kobek also gives the time in which we live a new name: “terrofucked."


One of the primary plotlines of I HATE THE INTERNET involves a successful comic book illustrator, a woman in her 40s, named Adeline. Adeline finds herself in the middle of online controversy after giving a talk to the students of poet Kevin Killian (Kobek often weaves real people into his storylines, and real storylines onto his people). During the talk, Adeline is asked by a student if she thinks Facebook and Twitter can serve a role in the pursuit of social progress. It’s her response to the question that causes her so much trouble:

“Social progress might have had meaning twenty years ago when I was but a young thing, but these days it's become the product of corporations. But what do you people know anyway? You’re a lost generation. Even your drugs are corporate. You spend your lives pretending as if Beyoncé and Rihanna possess some inherent meaning and act as if their every professional success which only occur because of your money and your attention is a strike forward for women everywhere."

What she says is videotaped by a student, and uploaded to the internet. The internet in turn metes out its most finely tuned form of social progress.

As Kobek writes:

“A wide range of humanity believed that Beyoncé and Rihanna were inspirations rather than vultures. Adeline had spit on their gods.

This wide range of humanity responded by teaching Adeline about one of America’s favored pastimes, a tradition as time-honored as police brutality, baseball, race riots and genocide.

They were teaching Adeline about how powerless people demonstrated their supplication before their masters.

They were tweeting about Adeline.”


What Kobek highlights in I HATE THE INTERNET is what is so often lost, or conveniently overlooked, in our present day, need- for- high- speed internet rage:

The internet and it’s platforms are often the products of the baddest of bad guys. Twitter and Google, the platforms that Kobek focuses on most heavily because of their effects on the inhabitants of San Francisco, the novel’s setting— were built by displacing poor and middle income people from their homes in order to move tech execs in. They are platforms that profit from upset, and thrive on human suffering. They in turn market that human suffering, using it to sell products for corporations  who enable other forms of human suffering across the globe. Twitter, Google, and their ilk profiteer off the suffering so endemic to our times— where police officers are routinely acquitted of killing unarmed Black men, and wars are fought based on lies—as well as the much less significant human trespasses, like a 40 year old female comic book illustrator calling Beyoncé and Rihanna frauds.

It’s a tough thing to think about when meting out our responses online: who are our strong emotions most benefiting? Who are they most hurting? And who are the ones most deserving of our anger? Using whose corrupt tools are we fighting for social change? And what does that say about us, knowing that these tools are corrupt, that we continue to use them? Considering their vested interests—would these platforms really want the social change that we think we are using them for?


 While reading I HATE THE INTERNET, I found myself thinking about the people I know in online publishing circles, myself included, who have sometimes found themselves hesitant when publishing their stories, especially if those stories touch in some way on matters related to gender, class, sexuality, or race. Well if you’ve nothing to hide, then what would you have to be hesitant about? a voice—the ghost of internalized internet dramas past— asks. Well, it’s not always so cut and dry, a voice sounding like my own replies.  There are grey areas to things, there are the experiences that exist on the peripherals of our beingthere are the tangents: things we’ve seen, places we’ve been, people we’ve known, people we’ve  sometimes been ourselves. In online publishing today, if you are writing anything touching on those subjects, you might feel like it would be beneficial to you to mark your side —establish your stance. Qualify. And experiences don’t happen that way, if you are to write about them honestly. Our lives happen in experiences. When experiences are fine-tuned to fit agenda they become politics.


If we were to get very kindergarten about it, inherent to the most common occasions of internet upset is the idea that the person at its center has done something offensive, and that offensive thing in turn reveals something about the offender’s moral center —their inner core as a person. Things in this way easily become very black and white. Once one has incited internet upset, that person has become marked, branded: they are bad.  I've never seen a person's reputation completely recover from this. (And would concur that some people have done things so egregious, a tainted reputation is far less than they deserve.) The implication to this might be if one wants to avoid finding themselves in the center of internet upset, if one wants to try to remain "good,” one should try to stay attuned to what constitutes offense—but keeping track can be difficult, because the definition is always in flux. A recent example of this would be the death of music icon David Bowie. By mourning David Bowie online, the week of his death, Jan 10, 2016, a person could find themselves unexpectedly considered "bad,” a person could find themselves unexpectedly considered horrible: a person could find themselves considered by some to be a rape sympathizer.

On Jan 10, I posted this on Facebook in response to Bowie's passing:

 There are some people you don't think of as being mortal. David Bowie made the world a much more interesting place.

Soon afterward, I started seeing posts conflating people's grief with rape sympathy, because of a sexual encounter Bowie had had with an underage fan in the 1970s. As I read the posts and comments, more posts began to appear. Some posts posited it was OK to mourn David Bowie as long as one also acknowledged their support for victims, their disdain for perpetrators of sexual assault.

I had a strong reaction to this. In order to avoid causing offense, I had to qualify my post about David Bowie’s death to explicitly state that I was against sexual assault?

If I had amended my post to reflect this—immediately after reading the other posts— it might have looked something like this:

 That my feelings of sadness at David Bowie’s death might be somehow misconstrued as an endorsement of sexual assault… Frankly, I’m offended by your offense.

I didn't amend my post, though I did put up a new post saying that I found the conflation to be madness. While I stand by that, I wish now that I hadn't responded at all.

Later, I found myself wondering: noting my interest in the posts that had made the conflation, had Facebook tailored my feed to specifically highlight the posts that had made that claim? The more posts I read reflecting that view, the stronger my need to react felt.  
Noting my interest, had Facebook tried to inflame me?

Reading the posts had kept me from logging out. They had led me to post again, and to comment, which I hadn’t planned to do. And there were things related to the posts that Facebook could try to sell me. As I stayed online reading and clicking, these books popped up as ads on my computer screen:


While reading I HATE THE INTERNET, I also found myself reflecting on other incidents of big internet response. When websites use elements of sensationalism and scandal-mongering in their stories, it’s called clickbait: the sites are purposely focusing on the more provocative aspects of a story in order to up web traffic; often, at the expense of the story’s accuracy. A semi-recent, yet unique example of this would be when the online site Jezebel published the unretouched photos from a photoshoot Lena Dunham had done for Vogue magazine. What was unique about the situation was that Jezebel was called out by their readership for the reason they claimed to have run the photos: Jezebel claimed they published them to expose Vogue for body-shaming Dunham. Their readers said they didn’t believe Jezebel’s motives were nearly so righteous.

If we acknowledge that websites do this, manufacture upset in the hopes of garnering reaction, can we not acknowledge that individual people might exaggerate their upset online, too? When our supposed altruism and goodwill towards others becomes “shareable,” “likeable,” commendable in the moment, a commodity that can be used to increase online Klout scores, might the integrity of that altruism find itself in danger? Might we invent occasions by which to show off our supposed altruism—might our good deeds become performative? And what if those good deeds were best showcased when juxtaposed against the supposed misdeeds of others? Might we go out of our way to look for, and create villians?

Dunham, took to Twitter (of course), to share her thoughts about Jezebel running the unedited photos: “It’s way cooler when people do things out of pure blind spite than phony altruism,” she wrote.


So what post-reading activity did Jarett Kobek’s  I HATE THE INTERNET inspire in me? I’m proud to say I deleted the Facebook app on my phone. I still have an account, and can access the site from my browser, but it’s baby steps—my goal is to get down to a maximum of an hour and a half of online time a day. In the weeks before reading the book, I’d been considering setting up an account on Twitter: I thought I liked the idea of downsizing my thoughts to 140 characters or less. Ultimately, I decided against it. I deleted my secret Instagram account, too.

Because the truth of the matter is, I really hate the internet.

And if you stop to think about it, after reading Kobek’s great new book, you’ll probably realize you really hate the internet, too.

I’d like my actions to reflect that.

For now, real social progress for me happens in baby steps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Fuck for Good Art: On Book Reviews

Because I have a new book out, I’ve been thinking a sadistically unhealthy amount about book reviews, because I want them. I’ve spent way too much time on sites like Goodreads and Amazon, and ended up reacquainting myself with book reviews that I myself wrote in the past. With time gone by, I thought I’d revisit some of those old reviews and examine what I think about them now, and what, in hindsight, I might change about them, if anything.

I’ve spent way too much time writing about jailbird provocateur Gene Gregorits. There is an essay in my new book that attempts to examine all the reasons why. (The spell is still not broken when it comes to my weakness for shit-fit creative types. Look what I’m reading now. Trust if I’d been more aware of Kinski when I was writing so much about Gene I probably would have made the comparison. Kinski’s book is hilarious. He admitted that a lot of it was made up. (I know what Pola has said about her father, so no one needs to drop down and gleefully/smugly attempt to school me.)

From the review I did of Gene Gregorits’  Dog Days in 2012:
“I fuck for good art—at least I have in the past. A staid “thank you for your work” has never  been enough for me. If it touched me, I wanted a piece of it, and if it was made by living, breathing hands, if possible, I wanted those living, breathing hands on me…I haven’t engaged in this kind of behavior in many years. I don’t live in New York anymore, and I’m no longer surrounded by great, accessible artists. I’m also much more secure in my own work. But if I wasn’t, and a few logistic variables were different—I’d want to be assfucked by Gregorits at the bottom of an embankment, just like Izabela, the lead female character in Dog Days. “

At the time that I wrote that last line, I thought the review was just going to remain a post on Gregorits’ webpage, but then I got the email where he mass forwarded it to all of his contacts, including quite a few writers I love and admire, and was mortified. I also got like fifty friend requests from dudes on Gene’s Facebook page in quick secession, some with messages that said things like, “You know, I write too..”

Nicole Brown Simpson, The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted review written in 2012, on Amazon.

 I mostly still like this book review, though I have zero memory of writing it. 1994, the year the Simpson murders happened,  was really my lost year, and I had very little access to media, so I was kind of excited when I stumbled across this book in the true crime section of the library.  I rather cynically subtitled the review “Twenty Years Tardy to the Party.” (I had also just seen Resnick on that infamous episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where she gets into a heated exchange with Kelsey Grammer’s wife, while a creepy psychic puffs on an E cigarette.)
“While Resnick does spend considerable time on the brume of abuse and terror Nicole lived under as the wife of OJ Simpson, she spends just as much time sharing with us her insider's knowledge of the minutia of Nicole's sex life. She does this under the guise of her first mission, correcting the media's portrayal of her friend. In this way, the definition of what constituted sex to Nicole becomes very important, and Resnick goes on to differentiate between which relationships of Nicole's were just "play" (Nicole's word, Resnick's tells us, for any non-penetrative sexual act) and which relationships qualified as actual intercourse in glorious detail. How Resnick is able to recall with such accuracy her friend's sex (or "play") life one is left to wonder. She claims to have kept a diary (of her friend's sex life?) but that it was stolen after the murders. She frames this sexual straw- splitting and the gratutious revelations it allows for as protection of her friend's dignity. ("See, she wasn't really a slut! Most of her relationships were just b.j's!")

 What I still like about the review: my colorful language. “Sexual straw-splitting.” “Brume of abuse and terror.”
What I don’t like: this last paragraph, about the Kardashian clan, which reads like a judgment call:

 “Their mother was one of Nicole Brown Simpson's closest friends and their father, Robert, returned to law after years of working in the recording industry just so he could help in the defense of their mother's close friend's murderer. What a world to grow up in. I'd love to know what it was like, but I imagine those girls may not know a world free of spin. If I'm right, it may not be their faults if they don't know how to tell the truth.”
What the fuck did I know about what the Kardashians' knew about truth? My own truth be told, when I wrote this review in early 2012, I had never even watched a full episode of their show. I was defaulting to the popular opinion that they were just a family of attention whores. Which may or may not be true, but still. I should have done my own investigation and decided for myself first. I hate situations like that, be it in pop culture or otherwise, where I have to confront that I've done this. I want my opinions to be my own.

 Elf Girl/ Rev. Jen Miller
I’ve written about Rev. Jen Miller many times. Rev. Jen and Gene Gregorits are the prom king and queen of my reviewing scene. This was Jen’s first book by a big publisher, and though I liked the self-published version of the book that it was based on better, this book is still very good. I like this review but wish I would have sent it somewhere instead of just leaving it to languish at Amazon. It reads more like an essay, and I wish I would have tightened it up and submitted somewhere as one.

“My whole life I've made a practice of hitting interpersonal relationship benchmarks out of order. Many a time intimate activity has preceded introduction formalities. In keeping with this behavior, I was photographed au naturel with Rev. Jen Miller before I had ever laid eyes on her work. Now that I have, I can say without a doubt there is a world of brains, wit, and brawny vision behind her rockin' bod. Since then she has become one of my favorite writers and artists

When I was kid growing up in small town CT, I loved watching Geraldo in the morning when I could somehow finagle staying home from school. As much as I enjoyed the episodes that showcased brawling skinheads and bald headed Satanists, my favorites were always the panel discussions with Club Kids like Michael Alig and James St. James. What I enjoyed so much about the Club Kids was that they spoke to me of a world outside my window where people really were free to be you and me and individuality was celebrated as a fabulous, blessed trait. It made me want to move New York and be a part of what I was seeing on the television screen. More importantly, it made feel that I could be a part of it. I believe Rev. Jen and the stories in her book will inspire the same feelings in others.."
LESSON LEARNED: Though Amazon and GoodReads reviews are a huge help to authors, there are a world of literary sites out there looking for more detailed (well-written) book reviews.

 Happy Ending, David Rat

Last but not least: my most popular book review, ever, well, according to my blog analytics-- with over 2,000 views, David Rat’s Happy Ending, which ended up being the intro to the book. So why don’t we just reprint the whole thing here:

Most people have a dream epoch, a bygone era that they venerate and romanticize, thinking if only I’d been around for that. My pedestalled period on the space/time continuum is New York City in the mid 1970’s and early 80’s, my favorite city’s last gasp for vibrant, inspired living on the cheap. One could still move to New York just to be an artist, not to just look like an artist while spending all of ones time working a shitty job just to make the rent.
Engendered by the cheap rents and lowered cost of living, New York City experienced a gritty, creative renaissance led by an underclass of young throwaways cut from the same angelic/ demonic mold as Jean Genet and Arthur Rimbaud. Archetype artists like Richard Hell and Lydia Lunch sought reprieve from their damages onstage at clubs like CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City and the Pyramid. Both were runaways to the city from screwed up homes.

Oscar Wilde famously wrote, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” In 1970’s/80’s New York, a generation of impassioned street kids used artistic expression to lift their heads from the gutter and towards heaven.

 Enter David Rat, a small town boy with the face of an Adonis and big city rock n’ roll dreams. Happy Ending, David’s new book, recounts his early adulthood in late 1970’s/ 80’s New York. The drummer for seminal art noise band Rat At Rat R, David works the door at the infamous downtown Pyramid Club, juggles clingy girlfriends and looks forward to finally garnering his father’s approval as mainstream success with his band beckons. The story-telling quality of David’s poetry recounts the lyrical elegies of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and Iggy Pop’s “Look Away.” Doomed, tragic luminaries of the period like Greer Lankton and Ethyl Eichelberger provide the inspiration for some of David’s best work. Once David becomes addicted to heroin, the names and wide-eyed descriptions of the era drop off, with testimonies to painful longing and the ritual redundancies of addiction taking their place.
I’ve always liked Angela Bowie, but I found her note to David that opens Happy Ending to be completely off the mark. In it, Angela flatters David but then asks when his “fixation” with writing about drugs will end. Writing about addiction when one has spent time counting lifelines from the inside of its clenched fist is not “fixation,” it's transcription. Reducing the impact David's addiction to some kind of fetish subject matter is not only smug, it completely nullifies the power of the book. It’s the optimism despite the ugliness that makes Happy Ending so potent. Heroin robs David of his family and his rock n’roll dreams, but he still eagerly reaches out for love, sees the beauty in the graying faces all around him and fights passionately for a better world for his beloved son. Happy Ending is about the resistance of the spirit to cynicism. It’s also about the hopeful exorcism of ones demons with the pen.

David Rat came to New York City in the late 1970’s to be an artist and as Happy Ending attests, David still believes that art can set him free.

 LESSON LEARNED: I love Happy Ending, and still really like this review, but I might take out the Oscar Wilde quote. As much as I love Wilde and his work and think the quote fits, at this point, unfortunately, I think the quote's become a little bit played. And I might change that line about "counting lifelines." While I stand by the sentiment, the imagery is a little over the top.

Oh, and here's my new book. Do you fuck for good art? If you think you might be interested in reviewing My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers, "something" can probably be arranged.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just Kids

In early 2014, underground writer Gene Gregorits asked friends and enemies alike to send him old emails and correspondence they’d had with him for his new book, Do You Love Me? The Gene Gregorits File. Since I hardly ever delete anything, I was able to piece together parts of an old email exchange of ours that took place over a few months in 2003. He never used it for the book. I think he thought it was boring and not useful enough to the wild man persona he was cultivating at the time. I’ve decided to post it here—just the fact that it’s 13 years old makes it interesting to me. We were both in our twenties, and I don’t care what the law says. To rip off Patti Smith, I think that makes us just kids. There are two essays about Gene, who is now in jail in Florida, in my new book My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers.

Just Kids

----------- Original Message -----------
From: ******
Sent To: *******
Subject: Re: Hello honestly, does this suck?
Date Sent: 19 Mar 2003 03:19 PM

i don't know if you will get my first email. when i tried to send it, there was a problem, but it seemed like it went through. in case it didn't, my other email address is not working, because it is lame. my sister told me she talked to you. you can write back at this address. oh ya, and how are you? i’m crappy happy. bored and happy, but still crappy, maybe comparable to a pig in shit? i would appreciate knowing if you think this sucks:

He looked like Jim Morrison birthed by way of Nick Cave. He wore ties and rat pack hats. When he talked, I rarely understood where the conversation was heading, or what the inspiration was, though I knew it was intelligent and was transfixed anyway.

I'd go see him at his work or at the record store his band’s manager ran. He was nervous around girls, that was obvious. He kept a transvestite on the side, a hot transvestite, who he constantly dismissed by saying she was obsessed with him, if he broke up with her, she'd kill herself, she was just his meal ticket, they didn't fuck, he wasn't "A FAG." He liked to harp on this. HE WAS NOT "A FAG." I think he said he threw up on her once.

A lot of his friends were weary of me, though not to my face. They were right to be. I was on drugs. He was always saying he wanted drugs and made illusions to a drug problem in the past. I remember once I handed him a bag of dope over the counter at his work and he stared at it in shock. I think he wanted to throw it out. He might have later. I remember thinking I should have asked for it back. I remember giving him pills. I’ve always bonded with guys over drugs. He had too much ambition, I guess. My charms weren't really working. He’ll make a great rock star. Sex and drugs don't distract him. He thinks he wants them, but he’s really scared of them.

We kissed once. That was another problem, we were never alone, or we were always hiding from the transvestite. I hadn't "just kissed" anyone since high school. We went into the back of the place where he worked and he leaned over and kissed me. We broke away. I leaned back in for another kiss, to keep the mojo risin' and he suddenly looked very scared and screeched, “WHAT DO YOU THINK WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SEX BACK HERE? WE CANNOT HAVE SEX BACK HERE!"

Subject: Re: Hello again...Now honestly, does this suck?
Date Sent: 19 Mar 2003 03:50 PM

That DOES suck. I am certainly a pig in shit at the moment. Happy crappy. Happy crappy, busy and worried about $$$. What have you been up to? My book just came out....I am left strangely...indifferent. Send a recent pic of you. Very strange about bumping into your sister like that. Small world indeed. Liked your poem and story, send more! I've been obsessed with Shane MacGowan too. Very much into "The Snake,” with the Popes. Anyway, I have a new book out and am struggling to make rent, the usual, etc. Trying to avoid those naughty chemicals, reading a lot these days. Living on the outskirts of a small pappy town. I met a few interesting people here, one of them is a Hollywood refugee who used to drink with Bukowski. Very strange running into him. Going back to NYC anytime soon?

Friday, March 21, 2003 3:26 PM

the popes album is incredible. i love the snake with eyes of garnet and the donnegal express—“ka-ha-yah! you fuck! come hell or high water, i may have fucked your missus, but i never fucked your daughter!” i've been back and forth to new york three times in the past month. i'm sort of procrastinating when it comes to moving back. i can live with my sister in queens any time but here i have the creature comforts, i.e my mom buys my cigarettes. the environment is also the calmest i've been in in about a decade. well, with some qualifications. are you ever coming back to new york? nick hates me now, but that’s okay. i'll send you some pictures to prove i'm not beastly. what did you think of the poem i sent?
Saturday, March 22, 2003 4:30 PM

Nick and I have not spoken in 6 years. Your poem was really good, I thought I already said so. Can you send some more stuff for me to read? Indeed, SNAKE WITH EYES and DONNEGAL EXPRESS are both classics. My favorite is "Haunted.” Yeah, send pics. I have a bunch of me, too, to prove I am not (too) beastly.

Sunday, March 23, 2003 4:45 PM
actually, i wrote a short story the other day about a jack kerouac poster coming alive and saving a girl from  rape. i'll send you that.

Sunday, March 23, 2003 5:40 PM
Great story! Are you still doing video work?

Sunday, March 23, 2003 5:55PM

you liked it? all of my “critics” here sort of have a bias in my direction, or read very little, so i can never tell if their sentiments are genuine. i've written a few things but haven't filmed anything. i don't have a video camera. how was your weekend? we should telephone talk.

Monday, March 24, 2003 6:30PM
My weekend was depressing but turbulent, at least I stayed out of jail. That's something. Call me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003 7:00PM

it was good to talk to you. inspiring. i'll call you again tonight. what time do you get up anyway? i wrote this morning. i think it’s kind of clever.

Have you ever noticed that almost any item of beautification-- be it drug (the world beautified), or cosmetic (your face and/or body beautified)-- can be turned into a militaristic implement with relative ease?

dye---happens in the trenches all the time, falls from the sky.

heroin(e)---your female savior, in battlefield death visions, most likely your mom.

lipstick---shaped like canisters, maybe the UN should check it out.

mascara wands look like rifle cleaners.

hot chicks are “the bomb.”

“xanax” sounds like “annex.”
eyeshadow is camouflage.

cover up--- hide those atrocities!

alcohol can clean wounds, make a solider more vulnerable, and an ice princess more likely to spread her legs.

“shock and awe”---a color scheme worthy of Revlon.

baubles and beads, how bout bombs and lead? perfumed poison gas, and necklaces of shrunken heads.

“methadone” comes from “dolophine” and “doloph” comes from “adolph” and that’s all swell and hitler.

"armistice," well that means to "make-up."

Tuesday, March 26 2003

 I like it....can i use it on the website?

Tuesday, March 26, 2003

yes, totally, put it up.

Tuesday March 26, 2003
What time should I call you? I got really busy with video stuff and didn't have time to gather info for our Interview Rampage...will start examining tonight

Wednesday, March 27, 2003

i just ruined a perfectly good bottle of jack daniels by pouring too much diet coke into it. i will call you later, maybe in like 5 minutes? i tried--it’s busy. i am going out for dinner w/ my psychotic penis appendage person (french fries, i'm sure). i deserve better, but always settle for less. the jack daniels is not so bad. i might consider becoming an alcoholic housewife, if i had a house. i will try to call you again. if it’s busy, i’ll call you tomorrow.
Sunday, March 30, 2003

Sorry I haven't written! We still gotta do this thing....but it may have to be delayed a while...I am falling behind in bills miserably and need a few weeks to re-stabilize financially. I'm out of long distance, can call you on Tuesday. How's everything in CT?

Sunday, March 30, 2003

keep in touch when you can.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003
oh my god, your book is great! thank you for sending it. some of the interviews are so funny. john waters and his comments about pedophiles and plo camps for fat chicks. your comments in the ron athey interviews had me dying. “IT IS MY CURSE TO BEAR THE INTIALS G.G" and "BRITNEY HAS HAD MORE PRICKS THEN A HEDGEHOG." ha ha, it’s so good. i did feel a little desire to shake lydia a bit. her rhetoric is getting a little old and seems somewhat rehearsed. the book is great though. the picture of you in the ad with the bandage on your head---that’s an ode to lenny bruce, right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Why don't you get a train down here and hang out with me for a few days? I really can't afford to come to NYC, but I'm only a few hours away, if you want to skip CT for a bit.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003
that would be great and sounds like fun though i don't know how likely it would be anytime soon being that i've decided to move back to new york. honestly, i am sort of scared out of mind to go back but i'm not doing anything here. you’re only a few hours away? you’re still going to be NYC for the book party, right???

4/3/2003 8:36:12 PM Eastern
Hell yeah! The book party is at 8 PM on the 27th. Didn't mean to fuck off all of a sudden, a lot of shit just fell into my lap and I'm swamped as hell. I still wanna do this interview thing. Will you be around today if I call?

Thursday, April 3, 2003
i've been really distracted too.  i'm moving this weekend. i definitely wanna see you when you come down for the book party or before, so let me know. i'm going to be staying in queens, living like an immigrant in a sardine apartment.

Thursday, April 3, 2003

I'll let you know exactly what days I'll be in NY. If you're going to be around, I'll try to come a day early so we can do an interview. I'll e-mail Richard Hell and we can interview him together.

Thursday, April 3, 2003
do you think will lydia hate me?????

Thursday, April 3, 2003

She'll be at CBs that night and I'll be introducing the two of you.

Thursday, April 10, 2003
could you email me your phone number again? i can't find it. being back in new york is cool and queens is surprisingly cool. i always dismissed it. i should be punished. can't wait to see you. here’s the phone number here:

 Monday, April 14, 2003

Looks like I'll be up there this week. Really excited to see you too. Yeah I'd love to talk to Ty Stixx...especially for the Sid and Nancy stories. More later.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

you'll be here this week?

 Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I was considering coming today, but most likely I'll be getting in tomorrow. Do you have plans?

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
tonight we are going to ct for easter and will be back sunday afternoon. then on monday night for a few hours (til 7) i have to bartend train at this really crappy joint that it looks like i'll be working at. besides that no. should i beat up your girlfriend?

 Sunday, April 20, 2003

 I don't really have a girlfriend, but we have been seeing a lot of each other. Anyway, will you be around tonight? I'll give you a ring. When should I call you?

Sunday, April 27, 2003
hey-- i don't know how this instant messenger thing works, but i've been using my brother in law's handle thingy to communicate with my sister while she is at work. his name on it is ******. i'm going to get my own, but why don't you try using his to communicate with me? he never uses it, but just in case, just make sure it’s me who's on. i called you earlier but you didn’t answer. love and other indoor sports.

 Thursday, May 8, 2003

 Hey. Tried calling yesterday. I've been nearly comatose these past few weeks, drinking like a fish...that's why I haven't been in touch. Lemme know what you're doing next weekend, and if you want to hang out. I had fun with you at the book party. I'm trying to save some cash to get up there for a few days, this bullshit town is driving me out of my mind.

Friday, May 9, 2003

i went to see gram norton last night and didn't get home til late. when i got up to use the bathroom he called out to me from the stage “look at her sashaying like a model! she has to pee!” and the whole audience turned around and looked at me. i'm going to be in ct til tuesday, i have to get dental work done and i still have poor persons insurance there. we should try to hang out. i'll be back in nyc tuesday night.
Friday, May 9, 2003

I'll try you later this afternoon...sorry I haven't called. Been on a sleep binge, depressed to the point of rigor mortis...sure you've been there. Miss you.

Saturday, May 10, 2003
i saw joey zero yesterday- he said he’s emailed you a bunch of times but you don't respond.

 In a message dated 5/17/2003 2:24:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time

it would be very cool to see you as soon as possible. what was i doing in the dream you had? graphic things or g-rated.

 Saturday, May 17, 2003

Oh yeah, the dream was graphic but highly tasteful I can assure you.
Saturday, May 17, 2003

i think i'm going to call you in a second.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

 Hey. Doing slightly okay with money so I should be in NYC the first week of June as planned. We should get slightly tipsy at the Sidewalk Cafe, and walk around making fun of people. I don't know, maybe get high. You had GREAT hair in my dream. I'm sorry. Joey's great. Anyway...I really AM going to be in NYC the first week of June. Miss you....pissed me off we couldn't hang out more at the book party, and etc. There's something about you....I don't know, you really cheer me up.

 Thursday, May 22, 2003 9:05 PM
i look forward to getting to know you better too. like i've said, when i first met you, i was attracted to you. i feel like we’ve had some weird mutual experiences, like we've both been kind of warped by people we looked up to. i liked kissing you. think we will fuck?

 Sunday, June 8, 2003

 hey, my sister just told me you called. i'm at work. bartending didn’t work out, so i'm doing phone sex. i need a job that provides me with money everyday. i have to work tomorrow night too. how long are you going to be in town for? sorry i didn't call you back. i've been running around all over the place like a maniac. i will be home tomorrow morning if you want to call again.

Sunday, June 8, 2003

 Hey. Do you still wanna try to make plans for when I'm in town? If you're busy, I understand....just let me know one way or the other. As long as I hear back from AWK between now and midnight, I'll be on a train to NY tomorrow. Any chance I'd be able to crash at your place? I'll buy you dinner. Hope you're well

 Monday, June 9, 2003
we could hang out thursday morning or friday. i don't know yet if i have to work thursday night, i'm here til 4am. i’ll be here tomorrow night too.

Monday, June 9, 2003

 Wow, I didn't know you did phone sex. I'll be in town tomorrow no later than 5PM. Leaving Friday morning at the very latest. Any possibility of crashing at your place? Try to let me know tonight....I know how these things work, plans fall apart etc, but I really wanna see you, so let's try to work something out. Don't you get a break or something tonight? I'll call you if so. Give me the number.. Phone sex...hmmm...sounds tasty. You should come along with me for my AWK interview. Interested?

 Monday, June 9, 2003

when and where? does he have publicists and stuff or are you guys going to be one on one? i don’t know much about him but he seems interesting. i will see if I can get out of work tomorrow. i don't know if i can though. i’m new here, and the manager is tough and no nonsense. are you interviewing him tomorrow?

Monday, June 9, 2003

I won't know when and where until tomorrow. What is of EXTREME IMPORTANCE is that I know you will be free and off work tomorrow so we can drink, goof off, have fun, and do nasty things to each other. Let me know what time I should call you tomorrow morning so we can arrange our debaucherous festivities. There will be no publicist, it will be me and AWK solo, with YOU, if you are able to attend this meeting. I will give you co-credit in the article and it will be well worth your time. I just talked to an agent. This piece may well be published in SPIN. Get back to me! We can't fuck this up!

 Monday, June 9, 2003

i hit the reply too soon. the timing really sucks. i just got this job and i have no money. let me talk to my boss. i am more than a little stressed.

 Wednesday, June 11, 2003 2:10 AM

 i don’t want to talk to horny lonely people anymore. all the woman that i work with say they’ve put on at least 10lbs while working here. are you in town yet? i am exhausted. i want to go home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Send me a NUMBER so I can call, and do it now. I will be in NYC tomorrow by 3 PM and we need to get together, no? We'll work it out on the phone...but please get back to me within a few minutes, I need to sleep so I am up in time for my train. I am sorry about the stress, I know it must suck. I'll buy you drinks and we'll get away from all the bullshit for a while.

 Wednesday, June 11, 2003

call me tomorrow morning.

 Friday, June 13, 2003 11:55 PM

 What makes people disgusting and worthless is the fact that they are not honest, and honestly speaking, would you mind explaining why you have been avoiding me? It's not that I really care, but at the same time...when a girl openly invites me to have sex with her, and makes references to our alleged similarities, I have to be curious when she decides to blow me off.

 Sunday, June 15, 2003 2:12 AM

 Just got really sucks I couldn't see you. I know you're stressed, hang in there. Phone sex must be a real fuckin drag. I was really drunk that night we were e-mailing each other back and forth. Hope I didn't piss you off...I think I was kinda rude. Interview with AWK went well, got a few pictures. It was very exciting. Unfortunately, my excessive drinking this past week left me terribly ill for the duration of my trip. And yeah, I was bummed out we couldn't at least get a drink or something. I left mean spirited and ominous graffiti in the Mars Bar toilet and sweated a lot. My friend John videotaped me acting like a belligerant swine, but it's kinda funny. Needless to say, I had to destroy the tape.  Hope you're doing better...let me know if you wanna plan something again, I want to come back to town again next month. I gotta get out of this hideous town, for good...take care

 Sunday, June 15, 2003

i’m not avoiding you. i have a lot going on right now, that’s all. i tried to explain that to you before you left. it hardly makes me disgusting or worthless to have things i have to deal with. it makes me fucking human.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

 I didn't call you disgusting. You're actually very pretty and besides, I was drunk. My apologies. Regardless, I was there for two whole days. If you'd wanted to get together, it could have been worked out. I just wish people would be straight with me

 Sunday, June 15, 2003

 being drunk is no excuse. you’re acting like a baby. i owe you nothing. i wanted to hang out with you, but i'm sorry i just can't drop everything when you end up rolling into town.

 Sunday, June 15, 2003

 Sorry. I don't expect you to drop everything. It should have been better planned or something. it's just that my circumstances out here are so fucked. I'm stranded in the middle of nowhere....I haven't seen anyone except for redneck strangers and bartenders since that CBGBs party. It's making me stir crazy, desperate to see a familiar face. Anybody in my position would start to fuckin lose it.  That's got nothing to do with you though and I'm sure you'd rather not hear about it. Anyway, best of luck, hope things straighten out for you.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Again, I want to apologize for being such a dick. You're right, you don't owe me anything...I'm sorry for giving you the impression that i thought you did. I'm just a lonely bastard, staring at the walls waiting for something to happen all year has made me a bit infantile, and I ought not to drink so damn much. I really do like you though, still looking forward to seeing you again sometime. Maybe next time then. Hope you're doing good.

 Saturday, June 21, 2003

 i don't know if you know, but nick bohn died yesterday. there is a memorial next week.

 Sunday, June 22, 2003

 Okay, you're not replying. Guess you're mad at me. That's okay, but I was curious how Nick Bohn died...can't believe I didn't ask you in the first e-mail. I just assumed it was drugs.

Monday, June 23, 2003

 i'm not mad. i never got the other email. you’re right though, he overdosed. he'd been clean for a while though. so sad.

 Thursday June 26, 2003

 Dear friends,
 I am moving to Detroit on Monday and will be cancelling this e-mail account in 24 hours. My new e-address is: *****@****** Hope everyone's well.

 Friday, June 27, 2003

 what’s in detroit? so no new york? good luck.

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

 Hi. I wanted to come to NYC but you never got back to me! Remember I asked you about your schedule? I was looking forward to seeing you. There aren't any friendly or familiar faces around here, except for my family, which is why I have to move. Detroit is cheap and nasty and full of crazies, so at least I won't be broke and bored. They have some great clubs and a ton of even greater bars. I'll be getting some warehouse work within a few weeks and moving into my own apt. in the downtown area.  How are you doing? What's been going down with you in NYC? Maybe we can have a chat on the phone before I leave. Lemme know if you wanna...I'll call you...

 Thursday, September 18, 2003 1:47 AM

 i don't think you sent the email. i never got it, the last email i got from you was about the shane pictures. things here are good, more or less, i'm working at barnes and noble and learning how to play the banjo. or more like making rock star faces in the mirror while holding the banjo. either way i'm trying to do things with a banjo. not writing as much as i'd like to be though, the quiet of ct was more conducive to that. what’s up with you?  as for getting together, do we really want to start that up again?