James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 7, 2017 - 9:18am

The way I see America is this: you go along with the program or you die. You go to college like you're supposed to. You listen to the lectures of these pathetic charlatans who have delusions of being "a culture of opposition". You go back to the burbs and commute to work in an office. The alternative is becoming part of the underclass and probably ending up homeless or in prison. If somehow writing could save you from one of these destinies then it'd be worth it but it's nothing but a pipe dream from where I am.

JeffreyGrantBarr's picture
JeffreyGrantBarr from Oregon is reading https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/10268733-jeff-barr?shelf=currently-reading January 7, 2017 - 8:37pm

Yeah, you really told those suburbanites. Let your writing do the talking.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 7, 2017 - 10:09pm

...

is america the only place you see like this?

where on the globe do you not see a society like this?

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading The Last Projector January 8, 2017 - 3:21am

Literature will never die. How else will Hollywood get their ideas?

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 8, 2017 - 6:10am

Actually to a certain extent I sympathise with suburbanites. They have made their deal with the devil but did they have a choice? They've sacrificed a good part of their individuality and in return they'll receive some fleeting moments of joy, having a barbecue by the pool, going to a playground with their children. I tried to become a part of conventional middle class society put it just wasn't possible. I'd say that in many other countries the penalty for dropping out is less severe. In Germany they even have a political party, Die Anarchistische Pogo-Partei Deutschlands, specifically for social drop outs. Hollywood doesn't have ideas, just formulas.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 8, 2017 - 8:32am

This is insane. How, exactly, does one sacrifice his individuality? I don't have a pool, I do have a nice smoker in place of a BBQ, I also have a nice car, big house, big back yard... But I'm still me. Why would I not still be me?

So the Germans have an official part for anarchists. So what? Should we talk it through if anarchists achieved anarchy? It wouldn't take long at all for them to form a government out of that chaos, because we're pack animals and, as it turns out, living in caves as nomadic tribal people sucks. It sucks ass. And by the way, you won't be able to write when your society lives that way, not for long. And you can forget about having anything to read that wasn't left over from this "system" you feel so rejected from. (Note that you're still talking to us via the freakin' internet, by the way. The system doth give'th!)

You can go back through all of history- there really isn't a point in which people didn't have jobs in one way or another. We're all connected, we all benefit from this system in one way or another. Like I said, you're using the internet every time you post. I presume you've also not starved to death. I bet you even have air conditioning.

Even Henry David Thoreau agreed to pay a tax for schools because he supported the education of his fellow man. 

My point is: you act like you're paying some big penalty for not being middle class, or whatever, you're never specific, and I really wonder just how bad it is. Maybe you can elaborate.

But I honestly think you need to sit back and look just how great things are. Even if you don't have everything you want. Even if you don't have the life you want the most. I don't either. But I'm not bemoaning the world, I'm pursuing what I want! And even if I never achieve it. If I never get published, no one ever reads my books in print... at least I had a chance to pursue it. I had the tools, I had the time (despite my salaried job), I wasn't thrown in prison for political beliefs. (Don't start, I won't be, and neither will you). I won't starve, I in all likelihood won't have any real worries about my kids growing up safe, this is the land of milk and honey! And with freedom of speech miraculously intact to this day (mostly), I'm free to be who I want and say what I want. And I promise you, I haven't sacrified anything. I've traded things, none if which were my individuality.

So bottom line: sometimes life's a bitch. Kiss her anyway.

The life we have in this "system" is a far gentler, far prettier, far less punishing bitch than most.

Cheer up!

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 9, 2017 - 4:11am

Well maybe you yourself don't have to pretend you are something you are not. I can't. Living in the American underclass has done things to me. What would it be like if everytime you went to the corner store to buy some beer you might wind up on the sidewalk in a pool of blood? After a while you would stop looking at people in the same way. A stranger wouldn't be someone you might like to get to know but somebody you would want to avoid. In fact my parents had me incarcerated because of who I was. Lots of people are incarcerated unjustly. They wanted to send my brother to prison for terrorism. Is he a terrorist? No, he has brain damage due to my mothers alcoholism. Why did the DA want to send a retarded person to prison for doing things that didn't make sense? Just points in the game he's playing. The penalty I am paying is being harassed and persecuted in a criminal way by different American interest groups even though I'm the citizen of another country and living on another continent and haven't been to the US in over twenty years.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 9, 2017 - 9:05am

well if you want to talk the criminal justice system, that's a separate issue.

but it has nothing to do with working in an office or not, going to college or not, etc.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading Giovanni's Room January 10, 2017 - 12:26pm

Literature's not dead. Is this about literature, or the economic and social structuring of a Western society where meaning in life has been replaced with a culture of consumerist attainment, or the use of the term 'terrorism' to police thought and behavior? Not to split hairs, but they are somewhat distinct subjects.

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 10, 2017 - 1:23pm

"Literature" "culture" "terror" "the office" "criminal justice" "education" "Jehovah" these are all just instruments to reglement human behavior. I want to free myself from them. I must free myself from them.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 10, 2017 - 1:56pm

I agree with every word bethwenn said except the third to the last. I'd cut that one. 

@James- you're being too vague, and probably too shallow. Literature, culture, terror, the office, criminal justice, education, and Jehovah, are words in the English language to describe a concept. You can look them up in a dictionary. These words are at least fairly concrete. How do you free yourself from things that exist? I mean, seriously, what are you trying to do? Transcend three/four dimensional reality? Are you going hardcore Tyler Durden on us? 

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading Giovanni's Room January 10, 2017 - 7:00pm

Yup. I think there's a lack of compartmentalization and specificity that's fogging up the discussion somewhere here.

Jake Leroy's picture
Jake Leroy from Kansas City is reading Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson, and Hot Water Music, by Charles Bukowski January 10, 2017 - 7:23pm

James, it seems as though you're desperately trying to universalize your pain in order to give it greater context so that it can be railed at or attacked, but at the end of the day that won't change anything or improve your life. You're suffering and you're in pain. People have always suffered. Some have made changes and escaped. I hope you can be one of those. 

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 11, 2017 - 11:38am

I'm bleeding inside. Quite literally bleeding. One of the numerous assaults of which I was victim did some damage which wasn't repaired. Because of the propaganda they've been fed the doctors haven't been able to treat me properly. They have a certain idea of America. An advanced country. This other America, where people get frequently assaulted and killed is reserved for backwards and ignorant people. But if I am ignorant how can I know their language so well? If they kill you then literature, culture, terror, the office, criminal justice, education, and Jehovah aren't just concepts.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 11, 2017 - 11:41am

this is honestly sounding like the ramblings of a guy who thinks his cavity fillings pick up transmissions from the cia...

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading Giovanni's Room January 11, 2017 - 5:43pm

I'm also starting to get the feeling that maybe these are things that are less suited to forum discussion and more for discussion with a doctor (a different one who's willing to hear you out) or someone close to you who cares about you. Pessimism and hopelessness take us easily when things go nightmarishly wrong. When you're hurting, it's hard not to paint with a broad brush, hard to compartmentalize reality, and hard to see vast systems and countries that seem so efficiently hostile as being made up of other flawed but also mostly good human beings, some with bad intentions and some good. You can never accurately judge the many by the few. But it's hard not to. When I feel how you seem to be feeling, I listen to Henry Rollins. I don't know if it will help, but I think maybe you might get something out of it. I hope you listen to a couple of minutes of it at least.

When it comes down to it, irony is the song of a bird that's come to love its cage. Cynicism is a defense mechanism. It's not a way of seeing through the bullshit. To expect pain dulls the pain. It takes the shock away. Cynicism is a lie we use to protect ourselves. It's a way of categorizing the world and slanting reality into warped images that reassure us that there is order in the universe, and the order is hostile and stacked against you. Much more terrifying is the idea that things are without order, that there's no conspiracy, and that we're all just people trying our best.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 11, 2017 - 8:31pm

That's a really great video.

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita January 12, 2017 - 6:07am

Actually literature is CIA. Or at least it uses what were CIA networks to peddle its products. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Matthiessen

Henry Rollins wanted to be a counter culture hero. I didn't chose to be a social outcast; it was thrust upon me by corrupt institutions. My problem is with corrupt institutions (many of whom are connected to the academic/literary complex) that continue to demonize and stygmatize me even though I have moved to another country. I don't really think there is a central conspiracy, just corrupt organizations trying to exploit different flaws and dysfunctions. Henry Rollins wants you to believe because he has a product to sell, Henry Rollins the counter-culture hero. He has repackaged this product into Henry Rollins Light in order to increase his share of the market.

Max's picture
Max from Texas is reading chinese takeout menus January 12, 2017 - 9:51am

RIP LITERATURE 

JeffreyGrantBarr's picture
JeffreyGrantBarr from Oregon is reading https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/10268733-jeff-barr?shelf=currently-reading January 13, 2017 - 9:02pm

Upvote ^