Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Thursday, June 10, 2004
The Air(head)borne Toxic Event
I was reading George Sessum's blog last week, and this BioLab fire he talked about sorta blew my mind. The depth of my amazement was not, as you might reasonably think, based on the event itself so much as on its uncanny similarity to something I'd just been reading in the bathtub (last time I was in a bathtub, that is, which is more days ago now than I feel entirely comfortable revealing). I was reading a book by Don DeLillo, which is unusual in itself, as DeLillo is an Actual Author of Serious Books, and reading that sort of thing generally makes me feel desperately inadequate. Not that White Noise is all that serious, at least on the surface. The New York Times blurb on the back cover of my (now slightly soggy) copy says: "One of DeLillo's funniest novels to date..." Actually, I think it would be "funny" to date just about any novel, but maybe that's just me.

To get back to why I was amazed: Part II of White Noise is titled "The Airborne Toxic Event" and it involves a... well, an event just about exactly the same as the poison gas cloud released in the general neighborhood of George, Jeneane and my darling-if-devilish virtual niece Jenna. Holy shit! Synchronicity City's getting really spooky. Plus, this doppelganger of deadly drek began to serve as a personal metaphor for another, even more fatal, form of noxious miasma, but in this case, a baneful pollution of the inner environment. I think of it as the Air(head)borne Toxic Event. And this is an "event" that is not so constrained by time as these brief belchings of chemical corruption, but is, rather, continuous and ongoing in our so-called civilization.

Listed below are the various elements which, when combined (and they are constantly being jammed together), produce a sort of spiritual Bhopal, only much bigger -- a cloud of poisonous shit that has already covered North America and seems manifestly destined to extend to the rest of the globe. Never mind petroleum politix, arms sales to crazed Third World nazis, the disappearance of the ozone layer, or global warming. This is the one that's going to do us in. The following, then, are the deadly elements which, when combined, spawn a strain of crypto-spiritual Ebola analogous in its pathogenicity to the effects of dumping Three Mile Island and Chernobyl into Love Canal. May I have the envelope please...

  • Vaguely (if at all) understood "eastern" notions of selflessness (Sanskrit: anatman), which is thought to be A Good Thing, as opposed to ego, which is thouight to be A Bad Thing. Thanks to decades of intensive psychoanalytic investigation, the meaning of abstract concepts like "self" and "ego" are less certain in their meaning today than they seemed a century ago. One might guess that this radical ambiguity would raise reasonable suspicion about attempts to translate the terms used to convey these quite probably disparate ideas between vastly dissimilar cultures, e.g., Kansas and Kathmandu. But no.

  • Very western (ride em cowpoke) notions of self-esteem, often euphemized as "healthy narcissism." The "healthy" bit is based on an old wild-assed guess that infants are born into a state of autistic self-absorbtion, and that some purportedly positive hangover from this cozy heaven world continues to support adult wellbeing. This ungrounded hypothesis about human infants has now been entirely discredited, so it's a bit hard to see what exactly is hanging over what. Entertaining such (let's call it) "healthy skepticism" is, of course, taken as a sure sign of a) denial, and b) low self-esteem.

  • A huge and ever growing semantic network of highly questionable neologisms such as "codependence," "love addiction," "emotional enmeshment," and new age code phrases like "body, mind and spirit," and "spiritual-but-not-religious."

  • An affluence so out of control that those bent on "simplifying" their lives now constitute a significant market segment in hot pursuit of fewer, but more aesthetically pleasing, and thus far more costly, things.

There are probably more factors and dynamics that combine to produce the Air(head)borne Toxic Event that I've been attempting to document here over the last several years. But they're basically permutations of the vectors suggested above. And besides, Granny's gettin tired now, having blogged her poor ass off all fuckin night. However, I'm told that if you squint your eyes j-u-s-t so, and look up yonder, you can see the Star of Bethlehem. Go ahead, try it...

9:49 AM | link |

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

Chris Locke's photos More of Chris Locke's photos

Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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