A Practical Joke

Those who subscibe to read my own writing I’ll have to ask you to be patient. It’s not that I’ve been terribly satiated with humanity lately, it’s that occasionally I get so bogged down in my ability to write and fully comprehend an idea that I end up doing hours and hours of research and reading to only learn that I’ve got only the slightest notion of what I’m talking about.. it’s not that my conclusions are incorrect, but learning the details and causes that lead to those conclusions send me into territory I’m sometimes not prepared to tread.
I’m hardly educated (little more than some community college classes and then self taught on all the subjects that really interest me), so when I bump into something like hard science I tend to struggle.
A friend in town pleaded with me to read “Meno” by Plato. I hadn’t. She said that it was very, very important and that it talked about virtue. I said that I currently had a few dozen books “in line” to read and that because people know I read they’re ALWAYS recommending books that I “must” read. I didn’t want to be rude, just honest that it probably wasn’t going to happen soon.
I said “The problem with Plato is that he had absolutely no understanding of evolutionary biology and the severe impact of genes on the bahavoir of man. Since he didn’t have this knowledge, what he wrote is probably just wishful thinking for the most part.
But she’s a gal that believes that environment causes almost all behavoiral patterns, and she’s unfortunatly wrong.
A few months ago another gal here on myspace said “read Master and Margarita”.. similar scenario, but I said “I’ll get it as soon as I can. That turned out to be two days ago. I’ve read the introduction but I still have 200 pages left to read in “The Other Hollywood” and I really should get back to “The Candy Men” and “The Natural History of Rape” (can you believe that it got a little boring?!) and dot dot dot
That’s my story.

I scanned this in a few months ago, it hasn’t been thouroughly edited so there may be a quirk or two during the OCR that I missed.
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A Practical Joke
by Guy de Maupassant

THE jokes that are played nowadays are somewhat dismal. They are not like the inoffensive, laughable jokes of our forefathers; still, there is nothing more amusing than to play a good joke on some one; to force them to laugh at their own foolishness and if they get angry, to punish them by playing a new joke on them.
I have played many a joke in my lifetime and I have had some played on me; some very good ones, too. I have played some very laughable ones and some terrible ones. One of my victims died of the consequences; but it was no loss to anyone. I will tell about it some day, but it will not be an easy task, as the joke was not at all a nice one. It happened in the suburbs of Paris and those who witnessed it are laughing yet at the recollection of it; though the victim died of it. May he rest in peace!
I will narrate two to-day. One in which I was the victim and another in which I was the instigator. I will begin with the former, as I do not find it so amusing, being the victim myself.
I had been invited by some friends in Picardie to come and spend a few weeks. They were fond of a joke like myself (I would not have known them had they been otherwise).
They gave me a rousing reception on my arrival. They fired guns, they kissed me, and made such a fuss over me that I became suspicious.
“Be careful, old fox,” I said to myself, “there is something up.”
During dinner they all laughed immoderately. I thought to myself, they are certainly projecting some good joke
and intend to play it on me, for they laugh at nothing apparently. I was on my guard all evening and looked at everybody suspiciously, even at the servants.
When bedtime came, everybody escorted me to my room and bid me good night. I wondered why, and after shutting my door, I stood in the middle of the room with the candle in my hand. I could hear them outside in the hall, whisper and laugh; they were watching me no doubt. I looked at the walls, inspected the furniture, the ceiling, the floor, but I found nothing suspicious. I heard footsteps close to my door; surely they were looking through the keyhole. Then it struck me that perhaps my light would go out suddenly and I would be left in the dark, s o I lighted all the candles and looked around once more; but I discovered nothing. After having inspected the windows and the shutters, I closed the latter with care, then I drew the curtains and placed a chair against them. If some one should try to come in that way, I would be sure to hear them, I thought. Then I sat down cautiously. I thought the chair would give way beneath me, but it was solid enough. I did not dare to go to bed, but as it was getting late I realized that I was ridiculous. If they were watching me, as I supposed they were, they certainly must laugh heartily at my uneasiness, so I resolved to go to bed. Having made up my mind, I approached the alcove. The bed looked particularly suspicious to me and I drew the heavy curtains back, pulled on them, but they held fast. Perhaps a bucket of water is hidden on
the top all ready to fall on me, or else the bed may fall apart as soon as I lie on it. I thought. I racked my brain to try and remember all the different jokes I bad played on others, so as to guess what might be in store for me; I was not going to be caught, not I!
Suddenly, an idea struck me which I thought capital. I gently pulled the mattress off the bed and it came toward me, along with the sheets and blankets. I dragged them in the middle of the room, near the door, and made my bed up again the best way I could, put out all the lights, and felt my way into bed. I laid awake at least another hour, starting at every little sound, but everything seemed quiet, so I at last went to sleep.
I must have slept profoundly for some time, when suddenly I woke up with a start. Something heavy had fallen on me and at the same time, a hot liquid streamed all over my neck and chest, which made me scream with pain. A terrible noise filled my ears; as if a whole sideboard full of dishes had fallen in them. I was suffocating under the weight, so I reached out my hand to feel the object and I felt a face, a nose, and whiskers. I gave that face a terrible blow with my fist; but instantaneously, I received a shower of blows which drove me out of bed in a hurry and out into the hall.
To my amazement, I found it was broad daylight and everybody coming up the stairs to find out the cause of the noise. What we found was the valet, sprawled out on the bed, struggling among the broken dishes and tray. He had brought me some breakfast and having encountered my improvised couch, had very unwillingly dropped the breakfast as well as himself on my face!
The precautions I had taken to close the shutters and curtains and to sleep in the middle of the room had been my undoing. The very thing I had so carefully avoided had happened.
They certainly had a good laugh on me that day!
The other joke I speak of dates back to my boyhood days. I was spending my vacation at home as usual, in the old castle in Picardie.
I had just finished my second term at college and had been particularly interested in chemistry and especially in a compound called phosphure de calcium which, when thrown in water, would catch fire, explode, followed by fumes of an offensive odor. I had brought a few handfuls of this compound with me, so as to have fun with it during my vacation.
An old lady named Mme. Dufour often visited us. She was a cranky, vindictive, horrid old thing. I do not know why, but somehow she hated me. She misconstrued everything I did or said and she never missed a chance to tattle about me, the old hag! She wore a wig of beautiful brown hair, although she was more than sixty, and the most ridiculous little caps adorned with pink ribbons. She was well thought of because she was rich, but I hated her to the bottom of my heart, and I resolved to revenge myself by playing a joke on her.
A cousin of mine, who was of the same age as I, was visiting us and I communicated my plan to him; but my audacity frightened him.
One night, when everybody was downstairs, I sneaked into Mme. Dufour’s room, secured a receptacle into which I deposited a handful of the calcium phosphate, having assured myself beforehand that it was perfectly dry, and ran to the garret to await developments.
Pretty soon I heard everybody coming upstairs to bed. I waited until everything was still, then I came downstairs barefooted, holding my breath, until I came to Mme. Dufour’s door and looked at my enemy through the keyhole.
She was putting her things away, and having taken her dress off, she donned a white wrapper. She then filled a glass with water and putting her whole hand in her mouth as if she were trying to tear her tongue out, she pulled out something pink and -white which she deposited in the glass. I was horribly frightened, but soon found it was only her false teeth she had taken out. She then took off her wig and I perceived a few straggling white hairs on the top of her head. They looked so comical that I almost burst out laughing. She kneeled down to say her prayers, got up and approached my instrument of vengeance. I waited awhile, my heart beating with expectation.
Suddenly, I heard a slight sound; then a series of explosions. I looked at Mme. Dufour; her face was a study.
She opened her eyes wide, then shut them, then opened them again a looked. The white substance w crackling, exploding at the same time, while a thick, white smoke curled up mysteriously toward the ceiling.
Perhaps the poor woman thought it was some satanic fireworks, or perhaps that she had been suddenly afflicted with some horrible disease; at all events, she stood there speechless with fright, her gaze riveted on the supernatural phenomenon. Suddenly, she screamed and fell swooning to the floor. I ran to my room, jumped into bed, and closed my eyes trying to convince myself that I had not left my room and had seen nothing.
“She is dead,” I said to myself ; “I have killed her,” and I listened anxiously to the sound of footsteps. I heard voices and laughter and the next thing I knew my father was soundly boxing my ears.
Mme. Dufour was very pale when she came down the next day and she drank glass after glass of water. Perhaps she was trying to extinguish the fire which she imagined was in her, although the doctor had assured her that there was no danger. Since then, when anyone speaks of disease in front of her, she sighs and says:
“Oh, if you only knew! There are such strange diseases.”

Book review – The Mucker

Book review – The Mucker

I’ve been asked to write some book reviews for the magazine “Not Like Most”. Though not a critical review by any means, it’s just my way to enthusiastically recommned a book. A few books I want to cover: “Candy” by T. Southern and M. Hoffburg and “The Candy Men” by Niles Southern (reading the latter now). “Sock” by Penn Jillette, “Eyeing The Flash: The Education of a Carnival Con Artist” For non-fiction: “The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea”, “The Future of Man” and maybe one other book on Eugenics, “A Natural History of Rape”, a few books by R.E.L. Masters and Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe. Shit, there are so many.

I never completed all the reviews, so, this is a sample of what was done…

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The Mucker – 1921

Edgar Rice Burroughs

This could be the ultimate men’s adventure novel. Most known for creation of Tarzan, and the numerous novels detailing jungle adventures, Burroughs (1875-1950) wrote this and a sequel that features a very brutal Tarzan-like figure.

While watching movies over at Chris X’s house, during a break a thought popped into his head and he tore off to his library (where he keeps a vast collection of skulls, bones and the like) and then shortly walked back downstairs. Almost marching up to me I saw he had a book in his hand and he slapped it square into my palm. I don’t remember him mentioning it before, but I couldn’t think of a stronger recommendation than that. Returning home that night I immediately started in on it.

Mucker is turn of the century term for a street thug. Billy Byrn, the protagonist, is incredibly described:

Billy was a mucker, a hoodlum, a gangster, a thug, a tough. When he fought, his methods would have brought a flush of shame to the face of His Satanic Majesty. He had hit oftener from behind than from before. He had always taken every advantage of size and weight and numbers that he could call to his assistance. He was an insulter of girls and women. He was a bar-room brawler, and a saloon-corner loafer. He was all that was dirty, and mean, and contemptible, and cowardly in the eyes of a brave man, and yet, notwithstanding all this, Billy Byrne was no coward.
He was what he was because of training and environment. He knew no other methods; no other code. Whatever the meager ethics of his kind he would have lived up to them to the death. He never had squealed on a pal, and he never had left a wounded friend to fall into the hands of the enemy—the police.

The term itself describes someone who has run amok, and this sets up our conscientiousless anti-hero for the main struggle that lies outside his brute force, the struggle of class and his views of those “above” him socially. Not that this plays out as some sort of commie class-war pamphlet, certainly not. The resolution will probably surprise you, as it did I.

Starting in the filthy and cruel streets of turn of the century Chicago, The Mucker starts as a street gang story. Billy Byrne becomes Shanghaied and it swiftly moves into a great tale of the sea, with the brutality that anyone who’s been entertained by Jack London’s “The Sea Wolf” would expect. As if this wasn’t enough, the ship wrecks on an island inhabited by headhunters and Japanese warriors that were kicked-out of their own country generations before and retain the warrior system of the 16th century (with proper Samurai armor and weaponry). Once this scenario has resolved itself, the Mucker comes back state-side and continues his boxing career.

There is a love-interest in the story, but not without its own tensions. The ship that Bily finds himself on takes some well-to-do captives to try to obtain a significant ransom. The lady, of class and breeding is not used to the lowly and wretched ways of the mates on the ship. She’s above them and is resolute in her elitism. Upon recognizing Billy as the man that had killed a man who had loved her and tried to protect her in the raid on her ship, her instant reaction was this:

“Coward!” came the one word, involuntarily, from her lips.

The man’s scowl deepened menacingly. He took a threatening step toward her.

“Wot’s dat?” he growled. “Don’t get gay wit me, or I’ll black dem lamps fer yeh,” and he raised a heavy fist as though to strike her.

The mucker had looked to see the girl cower before his threatened blow–that would have been ample atonement for her insult, and would have appealed greatly to his Kelly-gang sense of humor. Many a time had he threatened women thus, for the keen enjoyment of hearing their screams of fright and seeing them turn and flee in terror. When they had held their ground and opposed him, as some upon the West Side had felt sufficiently muscular to do, the mucker had not hesitated to “hand them one.” Thus only might a man uphold his reputation for bravery in the vicinage of Grand Avenue.

He had looked to see this girl of the effete and effeminate upper class swoon with terror before him; but to his intense astonishment she but stood erect and brave before him, her head high held, her eyes cold and level and unafraid. And then she spoke again.

“Coward!” she said.

The Mucker is in public domain and can be found in its entirety at the Project Gutenberg.
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/331

Wholesale Gods

I’m not going back and editing.correcting this, it was written in a half awake state…
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I had the worst nightmare I’ve had in a log long time.. so I “fell in” with this couple… they were involved with this whoesale club. They had their sales patter down, and they repeated it over and over again. Somehow they were selling me their aparment and I’d moved in, or they’d moved in with me. Hell, this wholesale club thing seemed like an okay deal, you could get stuff cheap. I bout something. I’m having a hard time remembering what I bought. Man, they kept repeating their mantra, I feel sick and so fucked up right now. They were assholes, this wasn’t a club but a cult. Everything that you coud buy was generic and stupid, I didn’t want the stuff but they laid on the hard sell, kept repeating their pitch, over and over again. “Get the fuck out of my face!” I couldn’t take it anymore. I killed the guy, I broke his fucking back as he made the pitch one more time. I ried him up like a chicken and I fucking ate him and ed him to his excited and indoctrinated girlfriend as she pitched me. I told her that she was eating her boyfriend and that if she didn’t get out I was going to fucking kill her. She tried to hard sell me. Their room was filed with top of the line electronics and generic furnature from the wholesale club, I just wanted them dead, I was sick of the mantra, I don’t want any of their crap. I fucking killer her too, I wish I could kill them both again I’m so fucked up right now. So I left the apartment and walked out into the street. There was someone on the street trying to give me the hard sell, holy fuck, they’d gotten the whole neighborhood. “You fucking assholes, what are you doing, this isn’t going to fucking work out, everybody can’t be a fucking salesman for this wholesale club, why are you doing this?! I couldn’t understand it, these people had the enthusiasm of brainwashed Krishna’s. In my dream, at this point – total Twilight Zone television scene – my point of view zooms out into the sky, first I see my house/apartment, there’s a skylight and the couple’s giant new flat screen television is on and blaring a videotape from the wholesale club… pans out, there are 8 apartments around it, all with skylights, all with huge television screens. In these rooms there are people still left watching. There they are in their dirty bathrobes, stained underwear. Slobs and idtiots all getting psyched up for the hard sell. They’ll get dressed up and go out in the mornig, they’re new people with a new goal in life. Zooms back, the neighborhood, the world. Assholes. I freak out, drag myself from this hell world into waking up to the real world – waking up to my television left on from last night, an infomercial on with all the catch phrases and pitches I’ve been hearin over and over again for what seems like hours and hours. I reel in total disorder and confusion, I see now what was cauing me such anger, my television being on and indocrinating me in my sleep… I lunged at it and turned it off, slamming my knee into something. My stomach is in knots, I have faint echos of the hard sell realing through my mind and a feeling like I didn’t kill enough. I could interpret this dream a hundred different ways. Theism, consumer culture, etc. etc. all obvious. I won’t though, I can’t, I can only do my best to get rid of it as best I can.

But I forgot, you have no pity — pity is not a part of your master’s creed!

But I forgot, you have no pity — pity is not a part of your master’s creed!
Introduction to Anthony M. Ludovici’s “Who is to be Master of the World? An Introduction to the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche”. I have not read the full work, but this was very entertaining.

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Dear Mr Ludovici, —
You want me to write an introduction to your lectures? Well, you may have one — you may have one in this letter, which I allow you to reproduce verbatim in your book. To begin with then: I like your lectures — I think them, in their lucidity, even the best I have read in your language — but I hardly like the notion of your giving lectures on Nietzsche, because I think it contrary to the spirit of your great master to do this. I think it wrong to instruct people — if you have something to instruct them with. People ought to be instructed by those who have nothing to say, nothing to give, nothing to teach, nothing to do. These teachers of nothing do more good than you: they make us slaves, and you know that according to your master, all higher culture must be based upon slavery. Why then interfere with the natural process of enslavement, of stultification, of education which is going on around us? Why not act up to your Machiavellian principles, and rather lecture on the drama, socialism, folklore, the sins of the upper classes, or the sanitation of Mayfair? Why make a creed popular, which ought to remain esoteric? But you wish to gain friends to “the Cause.” Do you think to make them in a lecture-room? I doubt it. Were you converted in a lecture-room? I belong to a race whose members, when they wanted to know anything, went into the desert and not to the lecture-room, and you, dear Mr Ludovici, told me yourself that, after a book of Nietzsche’s had once fallen into your hands, you found no rest or peace until you had gone to Germany, learnt German, and thought and meditated there — in the solitude of a foreign country — on Nietzsche’s teaching until you understood it. I myself have often, and unobserved by you, seen you in the British Museum walking about in the depth of thought, and I liked you for it. You think that many of your audience will be able or willing to undergo the hardships, not to say the danger, of your thought? In an age of comfort, of ease, of peace, of happiness, of humanitarian and Christian ideals, you will look out in vain for an intellectual sportsman like yourself. And have you no pity on those few who perhaps love sport and danger, and who perhaps may be willing to follow you? Will they not be like yourself, seamen upon an unknown sea, exposed to all the inclemency of the weather, to frightful fogs and terrible storms, forced to watch, day and night, for dangerous rocks, which are marked on no map yet, and only upheld by the feeble hope, that the German Columbus, after all, must have been right: that there must be a new land somewhere beyond, and that the looming coast-line there, upon the horizon, must be that land? Why drag others after you, who perhaps, after a few experiences upon the high sea of the new philosophical thought, will repent and cry for the land and the fleshpots of old England? People who in their despair may jump overboard? People who in their agony may go down on their knees and cry out: “My God, my God, why have I forsaken Thee?” Have you no pity for all their agonies, their doubts, their internal explosions? But I forgot, you have no pity — pity is not a part of your master’s creed! After all you are perhaps more of a Nietzschean than I thought, and it may after all be right to lecture on Nietzsche — because it is so cruel. Another word! A personal but important word! You are young and the sort of fellow the women, who form the principal part of audiences in your country, will listen to. They will pretend to understand — women are very clever in pretending to understand. Instead of finding yourself upon a new continent you may, therefore, land in matrimony and then get back all your lectures — free of charge — by the lecturing sex par excellence, women. Do not listen to them. Do not condescend. Don’t marry yet. Remember that even the apostles of the old creed, although followed by women, did not marry them. Remember that you too have to propagate a gospel — and not a race, and that even the propagation of the race, if it is to be worth while, can only take place after the propagation of the gospel.

— Yours sincerely,
Oscar Levy

Clothes Make the Man…

I’m not writing an essay, this is an excuse to take nate of a quote that I came upon reading Strange Sexual Practices by Iwan Bloch. As been noted by anthropologists and sociologists, modesty followed clothing, not the other way around. We weren’t ashamed of the body until we’d had it covered for quite some time. The irony is that we started covering it to ACCENTUATE our sexual appeal, and not to stunt it. But the quote is from the sick mind of a christling. How much can one hate themselves, their body and the world they are born into to have such thoughts:

“Clothes are a sign of the misery into which our navel-less first parents precipitated themselves and us their decendants who have navels. It is not, therefore, an unpardonable sin to make vain pomp and display of clothes, and use them for lust, indeed for any corruptions of the spirit as well as of the body? Should we not rather put on clothes wih great sorrow? Should we not be reminded of the Fall of our first parents every time we dress? I should certainly think so.”

– Dr. Christian Tobias Ephraim Reinhards, 1757

Dashiell Hammett

“Every year, when I remember to do so, I reread Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Maltese Falcon. It reconfirms a lot of important things about American life: The business of America is business; romance is a worthwhile delusion; it’s hazardous to sleep with your partner’s wife; women who engage in serial relationships will lie to you when the truth will do them more good; existentialism is a practical philosophy for urban males to follow; and if a man developes a professional attitude towards his work, he will probably succeed where others fail.”
-Charles Willeford, from a review of Diane Johnson’s biography of Dashiell Hammett

Warning…

Wrote this a while back, just found it on the hard drive.. —————————————————————–
Warning: People other than you may have differing opinions. If you get upset, angry, or even violent when you are confronted with one of these “other people”, you may need to re-evaluate your behavior. Sorry, my freedom to live and enjoy life does not hinge on your acceptance of my ideas, and your freedom is not stilted by my acceptance or rejection of yours. If I’ve offended you, move on and be happy that you have a “right” to do so. In a lesser country, you would have no choice. Don’t be a lesser man and try to abridge my choice. It works a lot better if you’re polite to others, but wasting my love for those who are clearly undeserving is disastrous, and only weakens my love for those who have shown themselves capable of understanding and even returning that love. Learn to pick your fights; attack those who are attacking you, scream and rail defiantly against those who are taking steps to remove your rights to this freedom of thought. Use your freedom of thought to read, write, and reflect. Minority does not mean black, undocumented does not mean illegal, hate does not make a crime. We are busily making 1+1=3, and all I can do is move forward.

Sexual sadism/masochism…gender roles.

It may be stated as axiomatic that it is much better, for both partners, for the man to err on the side o f too much violence and virility, in all sexual situations -whether -social, vaginal, or oral, or simply in struggling for a kiss – than to show himself too cautious and too politely considerate. All female mammals, from lionesses on down, know how to back up to, and piss upon males who do not show themselves sufficiently male in the sexual encounter. This is not a joke but a fact. Women may not express themselves in such simple pantomimes, but their real emotions are generally identical. The standard “marriage manuals” take the opposite point of view about all this, I know; but they are wrong. Terribly wrong, and intent on brainwashing their male readers. Truth to tell, a woman who will angrily refuse or sulkily spoil a man’s further sexual company, on the grounds that he seduced her a little too roughly (or tore a hole in her stockings, or mussed her hair!) possibly on their own wedding-night or similar, is the type of reclamatory bitch that any man is better off without. Conversely, no woman worthy of the name really wants as sexual consort a man who treats her in bed as though he were a white-clad anaesthetician with an ether-mask, trying to slip it to her so delicately that she will not know whether she has been made love to or has made pipi. Sex is, or should be, a matter of male penetration and female ensheathing: of violence and acceptance, of sweat and semen, of tangled limbs and hair. It is worthless when it is anything less, when it is really just masturbation a deux.
– from Oragenitalism: Oral Techniques in Genital Excitation by G. Legman (1979)