Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Friday, November 14, 2003
Joan Was Quizzical
studied metaphysical science in the park
late nights all alone with a test tube...


when I was a kid I used to think about laboratory glassware. a lot. I dreamed about it. I hauled thick catalogs to school with me. from magically named companies like corning, kimble, pyrex, kimax. I was studying bacteriology at the time. I was maybe 12. petri dishes and erlenmeyer flasks, graduated cylinders, transfer pipets. and reagents, stains: methylene blue, alizarin red, erythrosin b, crystal violet, hematoxylin. I knew what they all did, how to use them: Gram positive, Gram negative, how to find what I was looking for. I had a lab in my basement. cultures of various things growing in an incubator. I knew where I could order fresh blood, where I could get, oh say, bacillus anthracis, if I wanted some. and I did. but listen, this was a long time ago.
last night I went out to Barnes & Noble. pretty late. they were closing in half an hour. I went there to check up on two things. first: do they still call the New Age section the "New Age" section? Border's has taken to labeling that growing expanse of shelves "Metaphysical." but I don't think you'll find Aristotle or Kant in there. the answer to my question was yup, it's still called New Age. and yup, there's Boulder's own Ken Wilber, who reminds me of what I call amphetamine mind. its opposite is acid mind, but I'm starting to wonder about that too. what was ever real? guy sure writes a lot of books though. even if they're all this crackpot transpersonal bullshit. sometimes I think I'm the only one who escaped psychedelics without serious brain damage. I mean, take a look at Terrence McKenna, still fucking about with DMT. did you ever do DMT? terrifying shit, take my word. I melted into the rug. very fast. one toke and you're gone. then I went into the kitchen and all the cabinet doors and drawers were opening and closing. every morning I thank God that I'm normal. not like these other people. which brings me to the second reason I went out to the bookstore last night.
I wanted to buy this book by a guy named Sam Vaknin titled Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. You can read some of it on Amazon. he says the narcissist "...feeds off other people, who hurl back at him an image that he projects to them. This is their sole function in his world: to reflect, to admire, to applaud, to detest -- in a word, to assure him that he exists. Otherwise, the narcissist feels, they have no right to tax his time, energy, or emotions." Much of what he has to say is based on solid knowledge of the psychoanalytic literature. I have a few problems with our Sam. but this clip from the intro has the deadly ring of truth to it...
"Of course you recognize me. I am your inspiration, your role model, your savior, your leader, your best friend, the one you aspire to emulate, the one whose favor makes you glow. I can also be your worst nightmare. First I build you up because that's what you need. Your skies are blue. Then, out of the blue, I start tearing you down. You let me do it because that's what you are used to and you are dumfounded. I was wrong to take pity on you. You really are incompetent, disrespectful, untrustworthy, immoral, ignorant, inept, egotistical, constrained, disgusting. You are a social embarrassment, an unappreciative partner, an inadequate parent, a disappointment, a sexual flop, a financial liability. I tell you this to your face. I must. It is my right, because it is. I behave, at home and away, any way I want to, with total disregard for conventions, mores, or the feelings of others. It is my right, because it is. I lie to your face, without a twitch or a twitter, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. In fact, my lies are not lies at all. They are the truth, my truth. And you believe them, because you do, because they do not sound or feel like lies, because to do otherwise would make you question your own sanity, which you have a tendency to do anyway, because from the very beginning of our relationship you placed your trust and hopes in me, derived your energy from me, gave me power over you."
your mind my sky
your eyes my fire
Vaknin is a self-admitted narcissist. which in itself raises an eyebrow. he flogs himself all over the web. he basks in his masochism. search google for narcissism and you find him everywhere. he's reviewed all the relevant books on Amazon. he's the de facto King of the Narcissists! I don't trust this guy. for one thing, all his examples are of guys. but narcissists come in all flavors and genders, and since they almost never seek help (being perfect), no one knows how many and what kind are out there. out here.
books are my imaginary friends. I've been talking with Don lately about a whole genre that's been giving me heartburn, to wit: narrative psychology. a couple blokes out of New Zealand have been promoting it, and there's all kinds of PoMo rationale, invoking Michel Foucault (natch). Or how about Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities. huh? you like that? preferred realities. like if it isn't, you know, working for you, just make up some different shit. this used to be called lying in the olden days, when we had a reality. or thought we did. but the big gun in this particular down-the-rabbit-hole Way of Fabrication is one Donald Spence, and the book, and I mean the book is Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis. my contention has been that this line of thinking opened the door to a whole lotta feel-good and not a whole lotta think-through. dear mr. fantasy, play us a tune...

<click>

this necessitates mentioning, nay, even quoting at some length from, yet another book. do you terribly mind? are you enjoying this. I hope so. I am. and this book is titled Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation. the author talks about Spence and his weird ideas, and that's the part I'm quoting here. all set then?
"Spence insists that psychoanalysis should not be viewed as a discovery of what is and was there for the patient (that is, of the archeological fragments in the museum); encountering the past becomes instead creation. We are to supply a coherent narrative for our patient's life. We are not to see the figure in the carpet but to conceive it ourselves. 'We can create truth by statement' (p. 177) -- an astonishing 'statement' indeed. We create truth by supplying connections, make those connections memorable by devising aesthetic form and manner of statement, make the construct 'plausible' (a key word for Spence). And to what end? For a satisfying 'narrative fit' (p. 179) that will effect conviction and change. Spence portrays the analyst (properly in his view) as shaping the evidence, creating the connections with interpretations, '[defining] the dream [or it could be the symptom, or any psychic event] in a particular way that the patient is likely to remember [in order to] create a new cluster of ideas' {p. 178).

Spence enthusiastically presents the idea of an attractive and effectual 'narrative fit.' Gone is the inexorability of the Unconscious as is the inevitability of the past. Spence implies that the psychoanalyst needs only Wit, if not Piety, and is to ignore the historical and create narrative truth: 'Once stated, it becomes partially true, as it is repeated and extended, it becomes familiar, and as its familiarity adds to its plausibility, it becomes completely true' (p. 177). This quotation has Orwellian overtones: the analyst can 'create' the past with artful connections."

yes, yes, I know, heavy going, isn't it? and what's all this stuff about psychoanalysis and "the patient" anyway? well, you can probably guess, can't you? unless you just tumbled onto this page for the first time. I have been my own patient this last year and a half, struggling to unravel a story that's not entirely my own. and not, as I've discovered, entirely historically true. ah, but then what is truth? and, as you've often heard me say, who really gives a shit? as president Nixon used to say, let me say this about that. the point is not psychoanalysis per se -- though I've learned so much, as they all tell you going in: "but you'll learn so much." nor is the point The Truth, whether My Truth or Your Truth. frankly, I could give a fuck. no, the point is to keep breathing when the world you thought you were in with someone you loved turns out to be a very private fugue, and you an expendable bit player. does it matter? yeah, it seems to. try this one on again. from the inside, if you can imagine it...
"...my lies are not lies at all. They are the truth, my truth. And you believe them, because you do, because they do not sound or feel like lies, because to do otherwise would make you question your own sanity, which you have a tendency to do anyway, because from the very beginning of our relationship you placed your trust and hopes in me, derived your energy from me, gave me power over you."
this is narcissism. and it's becoming quite popular, thanks to the ubiquity of New Age rationalizations that pretty much add up to: you can be what you want to be. on cloud 9. when the Temptations sang that, it was about heroin. and it's still about addiction, but to something far darker that hides in plain daylight. psychic vampirism. you won't believe it's real until it gets right up in your face one fine blue day. hope really hard that it never does.

and so...

one would have to conclude that we are the



of a society gone mad.
gone, you could say, totally insane.
ah, but what kind of way is that to end this? where are my fucking manners? yes, wednesday was my birthday and it was like "the horror, the horror," except without the usual urbanely ironic allusion to Mr. Kurtz. he being dead and all. but my friends, the friends I've made here, through this strange maze of twisty little passages that is blogging, were wonderful. kind and funny and generous as no friends I've ever had. I thank you all. and sorry the answering machine was full. I've been getting mercilessly dunned by creditors who leave recorded messages on my recorder. have your device talk to my device. on second thought, don't bother, that's OK. I tell them yes, I am aware that I haven't made a payment in four months. I tell them it's because I have no more money. well, they say, can you at least send us four hundred dollars by thursday? no. my answering service was clogged with this shit. but thank you for trying. I assume you tried, but I wasn't picking up. I wasn't sulking in my tent. I wasn't being stand-offish. as Dr. Forrester always used to say on MST3K: it's all about hurting. here, maybe this will help...
Int. Wasteland late Afternoon

Klaw: Come on try and kill me if you dare
Crow: I dare ya ta kill me! I double dog dare ya!
Plasmonica: This going to hurt me a hellava lot more than you
Tom: Oh, no, it's hurting us more than you could possibly imagine...
**Charges up a flaming green ball of plasma and throws it at him**
Klaw: ow ow ow ow ow that hurt
Mike: Ow, ow, oowie, owie, oh, pain, with the stinging, and the hurting, ouch!
Plamonica: have fun?!
Crow: Oh, God, yes! Please...again with the plasma!
Klaw: I'm taking you with me you....(groans)
Tom: I mean to say, you're taking you with me! No, wait, um, I'm taking me with you, and you're -- no, wait, I'll get it!
**Klaw blows up. Plasmonica turns into pure plasma and flashes in a light.

I have a feeling that didn't really help, did it?
ah well, you see? we are all living in our own dreams. but you can be in my dream if I can be in yours. bob dylan said that. alright then. as Selene would say. there is one more piece of new business before I can get out of this motherfucking post. I want to give a real big Texas-sized callout to...

Dr. David A. Davies
of the
United Kingdom

...for being an ultracool guy and sending me not one, not two, but THREE books off my wishlist. (see it over there on the left?)
Mind, Self and Society
Harvard and the Unabomber
Can't Buy My Love
These wonderful gifts arrived the day before my birthday, on which I was truly and horribly depressed about my life. So what could have been more cheering than to spend that celebration of a dark day in November 1947 when I was unleashed upon a world not so much unsuspecting as totally unprepared... wrapped in this memento mori, then, let's call it, reading about the brutally underhanded tactics of alcohol and tobacco advertising, and the tangled fuckedup life of Ted Kaczynski, who, it seems, was deeply influenced by a couple books that also deeply influenced me: Colin Wilson's weirdball take on existentialist literature, The Outsider and Paul Goodman's thoroughly depressing Growing Up Absurd. The latter I read when I was 14, thus ruining any chance of becoming a full participant in our form of government and a willing adherent to its, oh baby, VALUES. It also ended what I like to think of as my laboratory glassware period. When I got to the part where it said Kaczynski had moved to the wilderness in 1969, and realized I had too, I put the book down and loaded up on meds. for I then remembered having written in The Bombast Transcripts. the following...
"My resume looks like the routing manifest for some displaced person after WWII. I am merely a high-tech migrant worker, following the harvests like Sisyphus rolling his rock. Rocking his roll. Locking and loading and finally going postal from the high bell-tower of a mind at once unhallowed and unhinged."

12:32 PM | link |



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"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

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