Has it propagated?
A recording of me reading my piece “Hanford Johnson Cusses the Devil.”
Ok boys and girls, this week we are doing an audio cast. I can’t upload the file directly to wordpress due to service restraints so here is the link to the .mp3 file.
Dusk was settling in on the time-displaced neighborhood. The last of the tourists found themselves getting the evil-eye from the townies who wanted the neighborhood to themselves. Tourists came to gawk at a way of life almost modern but trapped in the frayed edges of memory. The townies didn’t know any different. It was just life to them but to the snooty tourists from First World nations this town was an anomaly. The townies were sick of the nuisances the tourists brought. The dusk gave the town back to the the townies and the townies would not relinquish it.
The evening wasn’t sultry, because using the word sultry would be terribly cliche. The evening was thick, mosquito-laden, and muggy, however. It was easy to sweat but breathing could be a challenge to one not paying attention. The weather created a sedentary lifestyle.
At dusk most townies gather at the Cafe Shisha. The cafe was a red stucco festival of light on the corner whose sole draw was almost adequate air conditioning. The place was generally sub-par with the bright red paint covering mould and helping to hold the building together. The food was a gastronomical armageddon with a stench that drilled itself into your skin but the drinks were almost cold and the company was almost pleasant.
The Cafe finds itself surrounded by a mish-mash of seemingly dilapidated but inhabited buildings packed so tightly in the neighborhood one can not help but compare them to a tin of sardines. The smell, luckily, was not of sardines. A nauseating aroma of old permeated the neighbourhood. The stench was not of an old anything, just the overpowering smell of old itself. The architecture was all wrong and from various epochs, a falling down Gothic here and a Georgian there missing a column. At one time the colours shone brightly through the gloom but gloom has a way of conquering even the cheeriest of dispositions. Once brightly coloured chunks of stucco had long since fallen from their places on buildings only to become mounds of dust on the street below. Observers casually remark that the street is really more of a path. Those who knew the truth would say that the path is more like a parking lot.
During the day faceless vendors setup a makeshift bazaar on the path to sell handmade trinkets to the gullible tourists who believe they are helping the natives out by forking over a few shillings for some worthless junk to take home to their families. A few shillings here or there doesn’t make a dent in the Old Quarter. It may be enough to buy a drink at Cafe Shisha. It may be enough to get you mugged on your way home from the bazaar.
This is the forgotten quarter. During the day it lives as an historical anomaly, a tourist trap of ancient life.
The night was a different matter…
As the embryonic darkness grew this neighbourhood would slowly become a small suburban nightmare. Soon hookers would be out plying their wares and performing their deeds in the mould covered apartments surrounding the Cafe and other criminal elements would come out from dark infernal alleys with objectives in the hearts that defy the imaginings of the civilized tourists of the daylight.
Fiction vs. Reality on Facebook
In the last couple of days I have seen some stories on Facebook passed off as “real” news that actually make me fearful for the future of the human race. We have become so obsessed and self-indulgent that we can no longer separate reality from fiction. One of these stories was highly critical of sonograms. Another one would have us believe that this is really the year 2050 and we are all hooked up to a machine and are in a shared computer-generated illusion. Yet another one would have us believe that all vaccines are going to kill us. The grossest one involved the use of aborted fetuses in weird science experiments creating new life forms. Anyone who knows how to read books and chooses to do so occasionally should know that these “news” stories are not “news” at all but are the plots much older (and better) fictional works.
While it is my understanding that a few militaries are said to be developing sonic weaponry, the closest they have ever actually gotten was playing loud rock music outside the embassy General Noriega was hiding in when the US invaded Panama in 1990. (I will say, however, that some very interesting non-lethal weapons projects involving radio waves exist.)
I believe it was the popular 1965 science-fiction classic "Dune" by Frank Herbert that has sonic weaponry in the style imagined by whoever cooked up this story about sonograms melting your innards.
Our living in a computer-generated illusion world story is, of course, the plot of "The Matrix" movies of a few years back but has its literary roots in the teachings of both Buddhism and Gnosticism dating back more than 2000 years. Both Buddhism and Gnosticism hold that the physical world is not the “real” but a shadow of the real, which, of course, in their parlance is the spiritual realm.
The story about vaccines killing us or controlling our brains dates from the birth of vaccination itself and has been consistently proven false. Anytime someone sticks a needle into another person and injects something into their body there is a risk of side-effects but overall the track record for vaccination speaks for itself and is a proven success. I remember seeing an X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully go to some vault and learn that the smallpox vaccination was actually a ploy by the dreaded “Them” to get human tissue samples for the aliens to use in nefarious ways.
The saddest story, though, is about the fetuses. HG Wells wrote that one in the 1896 and gave it the title "The Island of Dr Moreau." That book was about animals rather than fetuses but the similarities are staggering. The basic story is that Dr Moreau is a mad scientist who takes the parts of one animal and attaches them to another thus creating new life forms. Why this one is sad is that I know of at least three different movies adapted from the book and one of them is less than 20 years old and all of them were rather popular.
One could even make some quantum leaps and say that all the media coverage of Bruce Jenner and others like him has shades of the 1969 book The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. For those who have not read this book it is a speculative fiction about a world in which the sexes are not divided.
The DaVinci Code created quite the uproar when it came out. Christians around the world protested the book with such vehemence that everybody bought a copy to find out what the fuss was all about. I guess the protesters missed the subtitle, The DaVinci Code: A Novel. A novel is a work of fiction and in spite of whatever whacky and previously-debunked theories author Dan Brown may have proposed in his bestseller he had the good sense to tell everyone that he wrote a work of fiction. It saddens me to say this but maybe everything ought to come with a warning label these days to prevent the intellectually challenged from going off half-cocked.
I guess it is ok to twist fiction around to fit your political or religious agenda. That is a tradition that has been going on for thousands of years probably. The problem though is that I wonder if people can separate fact from fiction anymore. The people spewing stories such as these on Facebook and other places online come across more as unhinged and uneducated lunatics with so much hate in their hearts that they are willing to believe anything that may make their opponents look bad no matter how far-fetched the story might be.
Be all of that as it may, folks, read a book once in a while instead of Facebook, but please remember that it is just a book. Then if we still choose to live in fantasy-land can we choose Monty Python's Holy Grail instead of this stuff?
On 31 May 2009 I started this blog with the hopes of becoming the next big thing in religious blogging. Well, that never happened and the blog drifted away from religious themes. I changed from religious themed posts and into whatever my bizarre brain could come up with. However, I did manage to put out almost 1,500 posts in that six years and some of them were even worth reading. Something in the neighbourhood of 7000 of you gave me somewhere over 20,000 views.
For the last couple of years I have been wandering around lost in the world of social media. For whatever reason, perhaps I was simply tired, I quit blogging and began travelling the banal world of social media instead. I have no idea how many Facebook and/or Twitter accounts that I have had over the years. I would get an account, build up a pretty good following and then rage quit over some really stupid thing. Two or three weeks later I would begin the process all over again.
This blog, however, has always remained.
As I look back over six years of blogging and think about the people I have met, things written, and things learned I realize that I miss the adventure that is blogging. I have decided to focus more on this blog and less on social media from now on.
I make no promises about what I will post. My interests these days are tending towards traditional high culture and to the homesteading lifestyle but my postings could be about anything. Also, I make no promises about regularity but I will try to post a couple times a week.
Thanks to everyone who has read this over the years.
While this painting is not one of my favourites I believe that our present culture has become so instantaneous and decadent that it can not produce high art like this. We have been programmed to seek after entertainment. Intelligent art eludes most of us.
Break the mould and expand your horizons today.