Category Archives: andrei codrescu

more f*ckery

(yeah, as far as nablopomo goes, i’m out. i hope i’m not making excuses here, but i sit in front of a computer every day for at least 7+ hours. i don’t want to come home and turn on a computer and be forced to write in the evenings after staring at a screen all day.)

continuing in the spirit of my last post on the word ‘fuck’, i’m going to repost something i wrote back in 2006 on my now defunct blog ‘books music food’ formerly hosted by bloglines. it’s mostly something of a treatise on the use and misuse of the f-word, and how it loses its meaning if it’s continually used (and i guess i’m at the risk of doing something similar here…).

fucking for dummies

I have a friend who has read my blog and made the comment that I am ‘brave’ because I used the ‘f word’ in a public forum where it could be read by anyone.  I’ve thought a lot about his comment (incidentally he made several other comments about my blogging that were quite complementary) and realized that I disagreed with him (on this one comment only).  Saying the word ‘fuck’, or many of its variations, in public is no sign of bravery; indeed the brave thing is to be able to converse with another person without using it.  In my travels throughout a typical day, whether it’s on the city bus, in the grocery store, being around loved ones, or complete strangers, it’s a rare occasion where I can go without hearing the words fuck, fucked, fucking, motherfucker, or a poor excuse for an euphemism, such as freakin’, flippin’, frickin’ (these usually uttered by an adolescent whose parent is somewhere nearby).  Thankfully I’m in a workplace where some sort of professionalism prevails, but otherwise I feel like my poor little virgin ears (sarcasm) are assailed most places I go.

Trust me, I’m not a prude and I can throw about the f-word with the best of them.  In a heated moment (and define heated however you wish), I can and will introduce the word into a given situation as warranted.  A good percentage of the music I listen to and the fiction I read (and the nonfiction for that matter) has a noticeable presence of the word.  However, I truly believe there is a time and place for everything, and that includes profanity.  It seems to me that a definite downside about excessive use of this word is that it loses meaning when heard and used all the time.  I know people who literally will use the word ‘fucking’ at least one time per sentence.  (I’ve heard sentences like, ‘I fuckin’ hope it don’t fuckin’ rain again to-fuckin’-day.)  So how is one to know if you are truly upset about something or need to make a significant point if you are constantly fucking up your sentences with this word?

Also, excessive use of the word shows me that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say, so you’re just filling up spaces between your meaningless words.  Instead you are making yourself look low-class and just plain trashy, with a minimal education and vocabulary, even if you have an advanced degree.

I do understand the need and place for the word; all I ask is that people only say it when they really mean it.  And if you take issue with anything that’s been said on this topic, please, go fuck yourself.  (Just kidding…)

On a related note, I have another friend who is currently living in Ireland.  She recently told me of a milder version of the word fuck, ‘feck’, that people use in pretty much the same way as fuck, except the meaning is not so intense.  So I’ve been amusing myself and others (getting on other’s nerves is probably more like it) by using it in conversation on occasion.

In completely unrelated stuff, here is what I’m currently reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Borges, The Middle Mind: Why Americans Can’t Think for Themselves by Curtis White, and still working on The Devil Never Sleeps by Codrescu.  I’m also trying to listen to a 3 cd lecture by writer, activist, and anarchist Derrick Jensen entitled The Other Side of Darkness, where Jensen discusses injustice and what humans are doing to the planet and each other.  The only problem is that these days I don’t have time to listen, but I guess I need to find it somewhere, because he’s incredible.  I would recommend to anyone a couple of books of his, The Culture of Make-Believe (on how Americans are in denial about racism) and A Language Older Than Words (about his experiences with child abuse and how those experiences really are a metaphor for what western civilization is doing to the planet).  He doesn’t really give answers in these books, both of which are rather lengthy, but that’s one problem with Americans; we always seem to look to other people to solve our problems, instead of looking at what we can do to begin to fix things.  (But now I’m digressing…)  On the other hand, according to Jensen, he thinks it’s too late and we’re fucked no matter what we do.  Whether you agree with that or not, I think Jensen gives a much needed dose of reality and would be well worth an investment of time.


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day 1: nablopomo, and i’m already cheating…

my first posting for national blogging post month will be a repost of the very first blog entry i ever posted, on bloglines (which is going away forever as of november 15). (is it really cheating to post something you’ve written somewhere else a long time ago?) i’ve tried to leave the entry as i wrote it on march 14, 2006. however, i did fix a couple of typos and i added in a few links that were not there previously. it’s interesting to see how far i’ve come in the nearly 5 years i’ve been blogging (first at bloglines, then setting up impolite conversation at blogger, and now migrating over to wordpress.com, and i plan to migrate again within a couple of months to a self-hosted wp blog), and how my thought processes have changed and not changed. i have a few other items from the bloglines blog (books music food) that i plan to repost on those days when the muse is settling in for a long winter’s nap. but for now, here’s the one that started it all. (and for the record, my opinions on the role of the devil, mentioned prominently below, have changed somewhat since this original writing. but only somewhat.)

blogging at the end of the world (… or damn, why didn’t i start blogging sooner?)

this is my inaugural foray into the world of blogging.  this may be something i do daily, or once a year, but most likely the frequency will fall somewhere in between the two extremes.  the things that make my heart beat fast are books and music and good food, so those things will probably be the focus of my writings, but i will also delve into religion, politics, sex, relationships, poetry, sports, racial issues, the war in iraq, and anything else that happens to present itself to me. 

so… i am currently obsessed with the writings of andrei codrescu, npr commentator, essayist, novelist, poet, and generally a thought provoking human being.  i love it when my two very favorite topics of religion and sex intersect, and in what i’ve read of his work so far, they not only intersect, they collide.  over the last couple of weeks, i’ve completed the novels wakefield and messiah, and am in the process of reading hail babylon! in search of the american city at the end of the millennium and the devil never sleeps and other essays. i just recently paid attention to him for the first time through an interview on what is enligtenment? magazine’s website. i found him very relatable as far as  some points he made about spirituality and american society, so i thought i’d try one of his novels to begin with. i’m a huge tom robbins fan and when i read robbins’ recommendations on the jackets of these particular novels, i knew that codrescu was someone i needed to take a good look at.  it turned out that both of these books were everything i could ever want in a novel (with the possible exception of the ending of messiah – not entirely happy with the way it ended, but i don’t know how it could have ended any differently).  both books made me laugh out loud, made me cry, made me squeamish, made me horny, but most importantly, made me think.

one of these continually evolving thoughts fed by these particular books is the role of the devil in our lives.  first off, let it be known that i am no big fan of the devil.  i come from a fundamentalist christian history, and while i no longer self-identify with those beliefs, i do believe that the devil is a real and powerful being.  however, he is not an equal with god, as i think many christians believe, and therefore have the tendency to blame him for everything bad that happens in their lives.  he is a creation of god, just as we all are (more on this in a moment).  anyway, in both books, the devil himself plays a central role.  basically in wakefield, the devil is the catalyst for wakefield (the main character, with one name, similar to madonna in that regard) to ‘get a life’.  but more interestingly, in messiah, i see him being portrayed as  being in charge of making life interesting for us here on earth.  he makes the excellent point that if life were all good or all evil, we’d basically be bored to tears. (i used to wonder this about being in heaven for eternity; i mean, being happy all the time, with no dramas or crises, wouldn’t that get boring after a few hundred thousand years?)  ultimately in messiah, the devil is the one who prevents the apocalypse from happening, namely because he likes the way things are here on earth now. (well i guess if you were going to be locked away in a bottomless pit for 1000 years after the apocalypse, you’d like it here on earth currently too.)  (and as for all this control that the devil seems to have in this story, apparently god, after having set things in motion, is just looking in on us and not really interfering unless asked.)

okay, i’m not saying that the devil is this being with our best interests at heart, but i have come to see him as another creation of god, as stated earlier.  as created beings, aren’t we all created in the image of god?  i believe that we are all little localized pieces or aspects of god, so would that not be true of lucifer also?  in other words, i guess i’m saying that god has a dark side that most are just not openly willing to acknowledge.  but how would we know what good is without evil, light without darkness, or sweetness without sourness?  it is the ugly that makes the beautiful worthwhile and transformative to us, and not just another day in paradise.  if god is all-knowing and all-encompassing, then he (and i use that pronoun loosely) knew what he was doing by even creating lucifer in the first place.

i believe this is one of the key messages in messiah, that the bad in life is necessary to appreciate the good, and that what appears to be good (major notz, felicity’s uncle, for example) can be evil, and what looks evil (the shades, a group of unemployed stoners) can be good.  it also illustrates something that i’ve believed for awhile (which i’ll probably touch on in future posts), that people make decisions and do things based on what they know and on their level of consciousness.  this doesn’t dismiss right and wrong (i mean, hitler was obviously horribly wrong with all the horrors he wrought upon the world, but even he was operating from what he knew; his actions did not just happen in a vacuum), but just means that people do what they think they need to do to get by, whether it’s to scratch an itch on the physical level or to satisfy an ego need.

i could go on with thoughts about these two books for a long while.  this means that these meet at least one of the criteria of a good novel, as they have made me think long after i’ve closed the pages.  i’m sure i will bring up other aspects of these stories from time to time, but there are plenty of other things in my world to write about.  i’m off to explore some more of those things now.

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