Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Saturday, October 30, 2004
We're So Sorry
Uncle Albert
For a number of reasons, I am no fan of Albert Ellis. A while back I threatened to post the best example of passive aggression I've ever come across. I must remember to do that, yes. It's from one of Ellis's 75 hep-U-sef books on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, or REBT. You can remember this acronym easily because it's the sound a frog makes when it swallows a rotten fly. (???)

However, I have to admit that this handful of one-liners from a New Yorker piece last year made me a tiny bit fonder of the old charlatan (he had just turned 90 at the time of the interview, so no disrespect intended). I ask myself which one of these I like best. It's a difficult choice. The left-handed howler about GWB? Or his purported four-year-old thought process? See what you think...

Throughout the day, he held forth on a range of topics, from tolerance ("I don't damn any person, including Stalin, Hitler, and President Bush") to self-esteem ("the worst sickness known to man or woman, because it says, 'I did well, therefore I am good,' which means that when I do badly -- back to shithood for me") and aging ("None of us can change the fact that we're going to get older and die -- too fucking bad"). Ellis spoke about the "bad things" that happened to him during his childhood, in the Bronx, and about how they led to his early experiments in rational thinking. During a ten-month hospitalization for nephritis, which he got when he was four and a half, he eased his anxiety and loneliness by telling himself; "If I die, I die -- fuck it -- it's not the end of the world."

from The Human Condition: Ageless, Guiltless by Adam Green
The New Yorker, October 13, 2003, pp. 42-43

2:06 AM | link |

Thursday, October 28, 2004
the eugenics connection
self-actualization / other-eradication
Some several months ago, I had to go see a psychiatrist to get an Ativan prescription refilled. Ativan, generically Lorazepam, is a controlled substance, being a benzodiazepine kissing cousin to Valium. Unlike Valium, however, it doesn't get you high. More's the pity. It just stops the panic. And eventually gets you addicted. Excuse me: "dependent." Dependent means that when it wears off, after about 12 hours, you feel like your head's going to explode. No biggie. But as I was about to get evicted and land on the street, I wasn't all that excited about having my head explode at the same time. I mean, I saw Scanners. I know what that's like. Not real pretty.

So I get talking to this shrink, who -- despite my telling him that I've been "clean & sober" for 20 years now -- is treating me like a street junkie. "OK, I'll prescribe a month's worth," he says. "But I don't want to hear two weeks from now that you need more because 'the dog ate them.'" What the fuck? I don't even have a dog. Then he starts asking me what The Big Problem is and what am I Doing About It. "What am I doing about it?" I say. "I'm taking drugs, what are you, fucking deaf?" Already I know that I've gotten off to a bad start with this dude. But wait, it gets worse. He hands me this line of cognitive-behavioral shit, you know, like taking nice walks, maybe get a little hobby, and I say (foolishly; I need these goddam meds) "Oh, that's that cognitive-behavioral shit." Swear to god, that's what I said to him. Right away from the look on his face I'm thinking: uh-oh, I guess that's his, like, thing. And of course it turned out I was right.

Then, just for the hell of it, I dug my grave a little deeper. Talking about stuff like attachment theory, childhood trauma, pathological narcissism -- you know, your basic gut-level betrayal. And he wants to know what's the point of all that? What's the point of dwelling on past injuries? I'm hearing Dr. Phil -- the smarmy fuck -- saying: "And how's that working for you?" I'm hearing Ram Dass saying: "Be here now." I'm hearing Eckhart Tolle saying: much the same thing. I'm hearing the woman I love saying: "You have to understand that I loved you unconditionally. But it was in the moment." I'm hearing glass breaking, The Tower on fire, a hundred thousand million tons crashing, coming down for good. Or ill. Usually it was ill. I was ill. As in when the shaking started and those little white pills were all that stood between me a fifth of Johnny Walker Black. I still take them. I still need them. Not because I really need them need them, but because if I stop taking them... well, see Scanners, above.

As a result of these various delusions I've suddenly been beset by in the clinic office, I have to stifle a powerful urge to go full-frontal borderline on the shrink. But later, I often think about what he said. What's the use of looking at the past? And wouldn't it be better to, you know, move on?

But don't you move on quite yet. Don't touch that dial. Be here now. Hold that thought.

I don't know what got into me. I was dreaming of a steel guitar engagement... I guess.

Anyway, a few days ago I picked up a new book by Edwin Black, the guy who wrote IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation. As I worked for that same corporation some decades later, you can bet this one was a big favorite. The new book expands on the theme of what many now call "ethnic cleansing" -- presumably because "murder" and "genocide" have become cliché -- and compellingly demonstrates how Hitler's ideas for the "final solution" germinated not in Germany, but in the U.S., driven by "scientists" including Edward L. Thorndike and Theodosius Dobzhansky. There is no reference to these two in Black's new book -- War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race -- but they were definitely part of the eugenics movement. Both were members of The American Eugenics Society: Thorndike served on its Advisory Council from 1923-35; Dobzhansky was a Director from 1964 through 1973 and Chairman of the Board from 1969 to 1975.

"Eugenics... had the support of leaders in academia. E.L. Thorndike... popularized eugenics to generations of prospective classroom teachers." (from Eugenics Popularization by Steve Selden, University of Maryland.)
That little factoid moves me toward my point in all this -- one of my points at any rate. If you've read the foregoing, not just um scanned it, here's where alarm bells should start going off...
"Abraham Maslow received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931, and his PhD in 1934, all in psychology, all from the University of Wisconsin. A year after graduation, he returned to New York to work with E.L. Thorndike at Columbia..." (from Abraham Maslow biography)
And it gets better. In 1959, Maslow put together a book of papers -- New Knowledge in Human Values -- including "Human Nature as a Product of Evolution" by the same Theodosius Dobzhansky, who five years later would ascend to Director, then to Chairman of the American Eugenics Society. Dobzhansky was also a professor of genetics at Columbia during Maslow's time there. But who knows? Perhaps it's all just some sort of freaky coincidence.

here's a quote from The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea
and here's one from from a 2001 book by Richard Lynn titled
Eugenics: A Reassessment.
as in whoa, hold the phone, let's take another look at this thing.
as in: maybe it's not such a bad idea after all...

the publisher says...
"Lynn argues that the condemnation of eugenics in the second half of the 20th century went too far and that eugenics needs reassessment. The eugenic objectives of eliminating genetic diseases, increasing intelligence, and reducing personality disorders remain desirable and are achievable by human biotechnology. In the 21st century, he maintains, human biotechnology is likely to progress spontaneously in democratic societies and to be used by authoritarian states to increase their economic, scientific, and military power."

the booknews review says...
"[Lynn] mentions Nazi Germany briefly twice
to defend its eugenics practices."
The following is excerpted from Timeline: Hitler's Notion of Building a Racial State. Compare to its equally enlightening twin Timeline: The American Eugenics Movement.


  • January: German physicians begin gassing mental patients, using carbon monoxide gas in fake showers in a psychiatric hospital near Berlin. The program is carried out under the code name T4 (the abbreviated address of the head of Hitler's "euthanasia program"). By September, over 70,000 are dead.
  • Spring: Approximately 30,000 people are killed at Hartheim, a mental hospital in Austria.
  • June: The Nazis begin gassing Jews. The first 200 are from a mental institution.
  • German psychiatrists train the SS, the Nazis' elite troops, on mass murder techniques learned by experimentation on mental patients.
  • The Reich Interior Minister orders the killing of Jews in German mental hospitals. Roving bands of T4 commissions select those too ill to work as well as Jews and "Gypsies" in concentration camps and send them to gas chambers at psychiatric hospitals.

And now for a little pop-quiz quote to see if you've been paying attention. Sharpened #2 pencils at the ready, class? All right then, here we go. The following is from a weird little book catchily titled Psychologists on the March: Science, Practice, and Professional Identity in America, 1929-1969 (Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology). I can't even remember why I bought it now. But it turned out to be well worth the few bucks I paid for a used copy, if only for this...

"Much of Maslow's work in the 1950s was in a philosophical vein, trying to create a normative psychology that would both account for and encourage the full development of human potential. In his 1954 book Motivation and Personality, he argued that 'the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy. The study of self-actualizing people must be the basis for a more universal science of psychology.'" [p. 236]
The crippled, the stunted, the immature, the unhealthy. The huddled fucking broken personality disordered masses yearning to be... soap. Do you get the connection, class? Do I need to spell it out for you? OK.

But that was all in the past, right? I mean, wasn't it?
Wouldn't it be better to move on?

cover of the October-November 2004 issue of an American magazine
Don't worry, though. The circulation is low. So far. On the other hand, the "circulation" of the following commentator is, literally, off the charts. And this is one of those moments I just love the hell outta the net, because the following screen clip is just as I encountered it. Found art, baby. As somebody once wrote somewhere: "This message wants to move."

Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they were brown, Shady lose, Shady
sits on the shelf, but Shady's cute, Shady knew, Shady's dimple's would help, make ladies swoon
baby, {ooh baby}, look at my sales, let's do the math, if I was black, I would've sold half, I
ain't have to graduate from Lincoln high school to know that, but I could rap, so fuck school,
I'm too cool to go back, gimme the mic, show me where the fuckin' studio's at, when I was
underground, no one gave a fuck I was white, no labels wanted to sign me, almost gave up, I was
like, fuck it, until I met Dre, the only one to look past, gave me a chance, and I lit a fire up
under his ass, helped him get back to the top, every fan black that I got, was probably his in
exchange for every white fan that he's got, like damn, we just swapped, sittin' back lookin' at
shit, wow, I'm like my skin is it starting to work to my benefit now, it's
White America, I could be one of your kids...

I'm not jewish, honey. I'm not black.
but in the moment
best watch your back.

I said that.

5:20 AM | link |

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

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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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