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Current Writing Progress

I’m somewhat stalled in a Western novella, but making slow progress.

I’ve started outlining (!) a fantasy novel, but I haven’t committed to starting on it yet.

The fifth Chapter of the The Meditations of Caius Caligulia is going well, and will be in the next issue of Unnamed Journal. UJ is going to be next-levelling pretty soon, I’ll devote a post to that later this week.

There’s probably going to be a Drunk Vampire Hunter story in there as well. Which reminds me, I should devote a post to Drunk Vampire Hunter, as it’s one of my favorite new things to play with in UJ. It might become a novel at some point as well.

Irons are in the fire, I just need to tend them.

 

The Grind of Blogging

Most bloggers burn out. There isn’t much reward for it. One talks about it in terms of grind and struggle, but it’s entirely voluntary, as everything on the internet is. So a grind that can end with no real cost… just by stopping? I get it.

I think the trick is to match expectations with reality. Blogging regularly is the first step. “Smash the damn keys,” as Christian Mihai put it. A couple hundred words a day is a good and doable goal. It’s a grind, it’s unlovely, but it doesn’t have to be genius every day. It’s your window on the internet, and you have to maintain it.

The problem can often be “I don’t know what to write about”. I can get bored pretty easy just commenting on what others have written, which is what I did for a long time. So you really need to write about you: what you’re seeing, what you’re doing, what you’re reading. That’s a perspective, rather than a member of the Internet peanut gallery. As an artist, as a philosopher, as a human, you have something to say. It doesn’t matter if it gets hits or not. It doesn’t matter if it becomes a virus. What matters is that it gets said.

Keep the churn going. “Essay” means “try.”

If Content is King, Why is Nothing New?

Provocative thoughts at The Rational Male:

For all this easy access to competency, mastery, information-based skills, what we find lacking is real, valuable content. It’s great that we have access to the tool boxes of old order masters, but what do we build with those tools? Thus far, not very much. Usually those tools build rehashes of old order ideas to be sold as something novel in the digital age….The ease of the digital new order makes us lazy. For all of the access we have now, for all of the information we have, we’ve never been more unmotivated. The process of mastery, the process and dedication needed to attain it, used to contribute to the creative impetus required to use it. Today we’ve never been less creative in our thinking. It’s why we keep returning to old order stories and movie franchises. We just retell the same old order thinking stories in more advanced and colorful ways with the technology of the digital order. But we just repeat ourselves; or we add some social justice twist to stories that were timeless because the art took precedence over any other consideration.

When something is easy to make, it’s value diminishes. It’s incredibly easy to get your book/video/movie made, and incredibly hard to get it seen, because it’s full of an ocean of content. So the corporations rely on known stories, as trustworthy means of creating interest. But they aren’t that reliable, and lots of people are bored by them.

So if it’s easy to master doing something well, what makes the difference?

The only answer can be persistence, and the grind.

The Communist Alibi

One of the repeated questions of the modern age is why Nazis are our culture’s go-to villains, while Communists, no less accomplished in building pyramids of human skulls, are largely ignored or given a pass. I mean by the producers of culture; the intelligensia and the commentariat. I mentioned in my recent post about Oscars:

Which is why we don’t see films about the Holdomor, or Sherman’s March to the Sea. Hollywood will never ever shove Communists into the role of cartoon villainy that Nazis play, and Hollywood doesn’t give a damn about the South except when using them as a backdrop for films about Race. That doesn’t flatter the sensibilities of the Academy, so you won’t see them.

That offers one explanation for the ComPass: The Commies themselves were intelligensia and artists (young Stalin’s poetry was not bad, actually) and poseurs to art, so there’s a kinship even as they know on some level not to let the bastards actually take the reins. Even a PoMo fog machine like Derrida knew that communism was no less worthy of deconstruction than capitalism, but he still teared up when he heard the Internationale and he held up “Justice” as the one thing you couldn’t deconstruct.

There’s another reason, and for that we consult Camus:

…nor did they know that the negation of everything is in itself a form of servitude and that real freedom is inner submition to a value which defies history and its successes.
-The Rebel

That ol’ Albert on the Nazis, and he’s dead on, because the whole inner fuhrerprinzip was the eradication of anything like norms or rule of law. The State will do what the State has to do to survive, and anyone crushed thereunder, well, can’t make an omelette, etc. They were open about it. Kristallnacht is the result of a movement embracing shamelessness.

The Commies are no less ruthles, of course, and no less proud of their ruthlessness. The difference lies in messaging. Unlike the Nazis “negation of everything”, war for war’s sake, the Red Star brigade can always point to the high and grand utopia they were building as the grace for all of their sins. Fascists take their bullying and murder as a demonstration of their strength and victory, and thus make it an end in itself; Communists take theirs as an unpleasant reality on the road to Promised Land, and anyone who talks of the unpleasant reality and not the Promised Land is leading the peoply awry.

Hence, the Communist penchant for lying about what they do. For decades the Soviets pretended the Katyn Massacre a) never happened, b) was the Germans’ doing, and c) was so long ago, who even cares anymore? They always have an alibi, and they always have people willing to help them charge the gaslights. Which is why they so readily reached for the “That wasn’t TRUE Communism!” line for a few years. When you’re willing to sacrifice everything to achieve the end of sacrifice, what difference does the Truth make?

This may seem like I’m holding up Fascists as exemplars of honesty. I’m not. Those goons invented the Big Lie. But they did not provide themselves with an alibi. They did not imagine that they’d need one. At Nuremberg they stated that they’d followed their orders, and obeyed their laws and that was that. They called the legality of the Trials into question, and the hypocrisy of their accusers out (The governments behind the Gulag, Jim Crow, and the Irish Famine hardly deserved to be anyone’s instruments of righteousness. But neither did the Assyrians deserve to be God’s instruments. We play the roles we’re given), but they didn’t pass the buck.

Not that it would have mattered if they had. If Goering wasn’t guilty, then Aushwitz was no crime, and that absurdity could not be born by the mind of a civilized man. But Communists have never had to make that reckoning, because no one was in any position to force it on them. They got to retreat to their academic playgrounds and spin new alibis for themselves, comparing the realities of capitalism to the fantasies of Justice and Equality and flunk anyone who pointed out the fallacy.

I don’t know how it all plays out this time, with neo-nationalists rising on one side and neo-socialists on the other. But if God is on his Throne and we’re spared them all again, we should remember that the dog is not dead if the tail keeps wagging.

The Bradley Font and Classic Pulp

I found this today on Twitter:

And it’s entirely in line with the whole Pulp Revolution indie scene, in which classic pulp fantasy tropes are lovingly dusted off and embraced. Cirsova Magazine is a good go-to (I’ve bought an issue; it’s excellent if you like that sort of thing), all hail the spirit of Robert Howard.

It’s a bit over the top, frankly, and I don’t know if I’d want to use it for my big fantasy project that I keep telling myself I’m going to start. But I might like to throw down a longish novella for 2020, along lines earlier alluded to. Since this would be a self-pub, I’m fine with playing up the glorious pulp-cheese of it.

You might ask why I’d even think about such a thing when the story’s in outline form. I say unto you, the spirit of composition matters. I think in the next few days I’ll start jumping on the first chapter.

Here’s another look at the Bradley font.

The Four Categories of Oscar, Or Why I’m So Tired of Holocaust Movies

I have been tired of them, in fact. I was bored of Holocaust flicks when I saw the trailers for Jakob the Liar. None of them are as good as Schindler’s List, and they have all the plot creativity of a 19th century melodrama. I’d be surprised if Jojo Rabbit does’t include pauses saying “You Have One Second to Hiss the Fuhrer”.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Formula still works: Jojo Rabbit is an average film that would never get 6 Oscar noms if it wasn’t about the HOLOCAUST

The link describes the Four Categories of Oscar: the subjects that the Academy loves to rain Gold upon, which are as follows:

1. Holocaust and/or Nazis

2. Slavery/civil rights/race

3. The AIDS epidemic and LGBTQ themes

4. Hollywood

Examine the Oscar winners, and most of the nominees, of the last ten years, and one of those 4 pop up. They are the expectations of our rulers.

To be fair, there are good reasons why these films tend to do well in Oscar season:

Another reason these subjects are employed is because the Holocaust and slavery are monuments to human depravity and suffering – and as uncomfortable as it is to admit it, both subjects are chock full of dramatic potential. The same is true of the AIDS epidemic, which was its own kind of Holocaust. The bottom line is, any subject which has death as a constant and contains a foreboding presence is going to be loaded with drama… and hence has the potential to be a good film.

They give the most hackneyed story structures a historical weight, elevating them into what voters believe to be classy award-winning pictures.

Tropes work because people respond to them. However:

But the suspicion is it’s even simpler than that.

The two cities at the heart of the film industry, Los Angeles and New York, are the cities with the largest Jewish and gay populations in the US, which most likely translates into a solid number of Academy members being Jewish, gay, or both.

Which is why we don’t see films about the Holdomor, or Sherman’s March to the Sea. Hollywood will never ever shove Communists into the role of cartoon villainy that Nazis play, and Hollywood doesn’t give a damn about the South except when using them as a backdrop for films about Race. That doesn’t flatter the sensibilities of the Academy, so you won’t see them.

The other reason than boredom is that films about Nazis have a tendency to be political hatchet jobs in disguise. I haven’t seen it, but I’d lay good odds that once or twice in JoJo an off-hand comment in the mouth of a bad guy will suspiciously echo the sentiments of someone on the American Right. They’ve been calling us Nazis since the time actual Nazis were a thing, so how can they resist the chance? Especially when it be waved away as “just a joke”.

Maybe if JoJo gets shut out, we’ll see fewer of these. But I’m not betting on it.