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Tim Lieder

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maybe [Feb. 8th, 2016|03:21 pm]
Tim Lieder
Maybe acknowledging that my self-loathing requires people to actually remind me that I am worth their time and that they do want me around and that I would be missed if I died tomorrow is a step forward.

After all, it used to be that my self-loathing required support. I couldn't just hate myself. I had to chase after women guaranteed to reject me or date women guaranteed to be abusive. And the one emotionally healthy woman I dated - at least relatively speaking - left me feeling like I was not necessary in her life. I was just sort of her idiot boyfriend that couldn't give her much in terms of support - partially because she didn't need it as much as I did and mostly because I was so damn miserable for so long that it didn't matter.

But for a long time it's been all about rejection and outsourcing my self-hatred. What's that quote from Community? Let's stop relying on other people to hate ourselves and just stop hating ourselves?

Edit - it's "stop making our hatred of ourselves someone else's job and just stop hating ourselves" - (Dan Harmon writes it much better).

So now I think that I need people. I know I need people. And like the post-Chevi revelation, I need emotionally supportive people - not just girlfriends but friends too. I fuck up way too much on my own to ever pretend otherwise.
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And sometimes all you need... [Feb. 8th, 2016|01:54 pm]
Tim Lieder
Between where I am now and where I want to be there are places where I need to access, truths that I need to examine and places where I need to build and lessons that I need to forget. There are dreams that I need to kill and love songs that I need to remember. There are the simple things that I've been missing all of my life - emotional support, someone to tell me that everything is ok, the strength to be kind, to be compassionate, to help people without expecting anything in return.

I need friends. I need sarcastic and fucked up friends but I also need sane and normal friends - weird friends with happy childhoods and emotional maturity. I need to stop calling myself an asshole. I need to stop acting like I can only be one thing when I know that I can be many things. I have to understand that I am making a choice, but no choice lasts forever. If I choose to be a fucker one day, I can choose to be a mensch the next day or even hour. I am not just a guy swearing at people over the internet. I must understand that I am vulnerable and in need. I can't just be the funny asshole that no one really likes.

I need a friends to tell me that everything is ok, even when I'm wrong, they still like me. I might need them more than a normal person should but I spend so much time alienating others that I want to be reminded that shithead is not my default position.

I dreamed of a family with kids and a life partner who gets me and can still be crazy about me when she's angry at me and I can support. I dream about being the man that a woman wants to come home to - even as I know that many marriages are miserable. Even though I know that I'm not entirely capable of it yet, but I know I can be. I know that I don't have to be the sad lonely bastard who everyone feels sorry about because he never reached out and never really did anything that would matter to anyone.

But small steps - stumbles and falls - moving forward knowing where to go but knowing every spot. To not be lonely one must become the kind of person that others want around. That's it. No games. No pickup artist bullshit. No tricks.

Also no downgrading to the point of ridicule. So many times when I was with women - fuckbuddies, girlfriends, dirty little secrets, etc. - I would think "she likes me. What the fuck is wrong with her? Doesn't she know how awful I am?" And when they ended I could be comfortable in knowing that I had returned to the ooze.
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my headbugs [Feb. 7th, 2016|05:35 pm]
Tim Lieder
Ok. I know that I can't really diagnose myself with depression, but I strongly suspect that I have it and while I have talked about it as my dybbuk in previous posts, I might as well just call it my depression. On the other hand, I kind of like the metaphor of the dybbuk as a stand-in for either severe mental illness or those shitty self-defeating behaviors.

I am thinking about depression and dybbuks because having suddenly repeated that "Wow! You're really nice to me and TOTALLY UNAVAILABLE!!!!! That must mean that we are soul mates!" behavior after successfully clamping it down for years (ok there was the summer of 2014 but I could chalk that up as being really vulnerable because I had to take care of my mom and her hoarding and it was oddly comforting to end after a couple months), I realized that if I didn't take positive steps to deal with this behavior I would repeat it until I was alone and dead - eaten by cats.

I know it means that I need therapy. Finally I am going to get therapy. And hopefully I can get anti-depressants for it, because even though I've been working on myself for many years and coming to insights, I think that there is a great deal to be said for accepting limitations. And my limitations are such that I cannot just talk myself out of this behavior. I get that I have come a long way and that I could have been much further along with therapy but I don't know if therapy could have ever been the only way.

And this friend that is currently at risk of being turned into my reason for personal misery (or built up as the answer to all my problems) - well of course, I love her as a really good friend that I would give up an afternoon for if she needed - but I also know that I don't LOVE!!!!!! her no matter how much the depression/dybbuk/headbugs are telling me that's the case. I care about her. I know that she's got problems but I can't fix them. I have to fix myself. And to make things more complicated, she became my friend by reaching out to me - and actually liking me. I had come to believe that I was so thoroughly terrible that no one could ever feel affection for me or even think that I was someone that they wanted around.

So of course, that was a bright light shining into all the dirty corners. I am comparing this to cleaning my apartment. I can get used to all the dust and the grime and the useless shit just piling on all over the place. I have gotten used to it. But when you start to think about getting well and start taking steps, you see how your place could be clean and you also see how far away from that goal you still are.

Or maybe it's like Plato's Parable of the Cave.

Regardless, my dybbuk understands that this friend is someone that I particularly need right now - right at this moment - because I know that she cares about me. When she asks me if I'm all right, I don't doubt her sincerity. It doesn't seem like a "you're not going to hurt yourself, are you?" inquiry. And we can talk about anything.

So naturally my dybbuk (me, my depression) tries to drive her away. Declare undying love and scare the shit out of a woman - that's a trick that it's gotten quite accustomed to. I still don't know if the fact that we are not talking for a week is a good thing or a bad thing.

It's a necessary thing.

I don't know.

You see I need her as a friend. She makes me believe that I am worth keeping around and at my darkest moments, that's a rare thing indeed. But that need scares me so I act like she is the only woman I could ever love and spout all that shit at her. Because it scares me to be so thoroughly invested in one person's emotional support. Even if I know it's temporary, it's still a vulnerability that I don't want to acknowledge.

I need therapy. But until therapy really gets working, I need her way more than anyone should ever need anyone else. I know that as long as I'm honest with myself, this will transition into a nice supportive friendship where the hunger for emotional validation is not so overwhelming that it threatens to block out everything else, but I want that transition to happen NOW. Why can't I just snap my fingers and go "ok, all these irrational feelings are irrational so they can go the fuck away now." And can I really ask her to be patient? Can I say "please ignore me if I start declaring undying love again or acting like I'm trying to be adopted as your kid?" How much is she going to wait for me to figure my shit out when she ALSO needs to figure her own shit out? You can't really be completely emotionally honest and supportive to someone else if you are going through crap yourself, can you? You can be on a limited basis, but not completely.

You know of course, at the back of my brain there's the thought that says that in two years when we have both figured ourselves out, we could re-visit the topic of getting together. But that's a stupid thought and I need to kill it lest I allow it to cut me off from the rest of humanity - particularly from women that I could date and form healthy relationship with that aren't based on extreme neediness.

I suppose it's good that we took a break from daily talking - it was getting very intense - and now I can put it into perspective, but it still hurts. She's a really good friend. She is NOT my therapist. I am NOT paying her to help me sort myself out. But...I don't know. If only I could say the right thing to snap myself out of a cycle; where I stop hating myself so thoroughly that I depend on other people to tell me that I'm worthy - knowing that the happiness from that validation is temporary. I'm a mess.
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The Roosh V Shitheads [Feb. 4th, 2016|11:00 am]
Tim Lieder
It's so damn easy to be them. Miserable and stupid but this is what society offers up to men who are disappointed, depressed and afraid - some glib bullshit and a lot of channels for the anger that is boiling away with just a hint of depression. It's not even rejection since most of these guys have long ago stopped even trying to be rejected. The worst part is that remove a few shitty statements and they sound reasonable because we have all been conditioned to accept this horrible gendered relationship.

And I'm thinking this because I wake up missing someone and we are not talking this week. It all got too intimate - no, not intimate - too co-dependent. Way too much too soon and we decided together that we should stop being so prone to long talks. I don't know if that's a good idea. Right now, whatever this is that makes me so miserable in the morning that makes me want to not get out of bed because what the fuck is the point - is it depression and should I be self-diagnosing? Whatever makes me so needy all of the time is thinking that not talking for a week is a horrible time. I can't get over her by not talking to her. That only makes things worse. At least if we're talking there is a possibility that she will disappoint or I will get through it. But she's not my therapist. She's my friend and she's had more than enough stuff going on to deal with my endless need. I have other friends to tell me that I matter to them. I don't need to be reminded all the time. Yes, I do. No. I don't.

No. I can go weeks or even months without needing to know that I matter to someone, but ultimately I get these feelings like nothing ever works and I'm just bothering everyone.

But these assholes went down the other route. Forget about "I'm sorry for spewing all my feelings in public and I know it's not going to work out and that's ok so don't worry", they skipped straight to the hate. The hate is such an adolescent game too. So smug and so condescending and so so fucking wrong. Trying not to admit that you hate yourself takes effort and that effort is often used against others. If every time I did something shitty, whether I was acting out or just a piece of shit or miserable, would I have been tempted to like these guys? I remember my shitty behavior. Who doesn't? Ask a woman out and she says no thanks so I call her ugly and try to make her feel bad about herself. Call the same woman every day even though she's made it clear that this is no more than friendship in hopes that she will come around. Write many letters to a friend with even worse emotional problems that psychoanalyze her and demand she pay attention to me and hate on her boyfriend. Get my feelings hurt by a girlfriend and instead of just talking to her about it and going "that was pretty crappy what you said" or even just honestly admitting that she was dismissing something that I care about, I would write nasty emails. Even though I was going to see her that night. I haven't done shit like this for years, but I sure do have my guilt.

To do all that without guilt or to find a group of compatriots who are telling you that not only should you not feel guilty but that you were right the whole time and you should have been so much worse because that's the way the world works - I can see the temptation. I hate that I can see the temptation, which is why I suppose I hate these guys even more.
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was going to post the following on FB - but no, I don't think so [Feb. 4th, 2016|12:24 am]
Tim Lieder
Kind of useless here since it's a repeat of the last entry, but it does keep me from spewing it on FB -
Thinking about my habit of falling obsessively "in love" with women (and yes, I'm finally going to get therapy for this trait and others) and how there are two criteria for my ability to get hung up so badly on a woman that I'm waking up depressed with sad bastard music in my head while thinking about her - she has to be theoretically perfect for me due to a rather arbitrary set of circumstances and she has to be so profoundly unavailable that there's no possibility of a relationship. Bonus points if we are actually pretty good friends and winner's round if I know with 100% certainty that if we actually got together it would collapse within a month. In that context I'm actually rather surprised at the amount of female friends that I haven't pulled this shit with.
And then I can tag all the women that I somehow managed to have manageable crushes on even though they fit this criteria to a t.

Thankfully I am not drunk. Or high. I would probably have to be both.
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Self-knowledge is half the battle and yet the war continues [Feb. 3rd, 2016|07:31 pm]
Tim Lieder
I don't even know if I am repeating myself here. But I've been thinking about this a lot more.

On Monday I woke up sad. I woke up thinking about a woman and a woman that I had a nice evening with (that could have been nicer but I rode on the NJ Transit and was a sweaty stinky mess by the time I got there - I also went to a party earlier in the day, but I took a shower - how the hell did I get so damn smelly in between my apartment and New Jersey? Was it because I was eating salami? Does salami make you sweat stench bullets?) and we talked and we reached an accord. And then I woke up thinking about only one thing and one thing only and that was that she didn't want me.

But that way of thinking is repetitive bullshit. I've woken this way before. The woman changes but it's always the same set of circumstances. She shows me understanding and seems to like me and that would be all well and good, but to really push me over the edge into obsession, she needs to be completely unavailable. Emotionally unavailable, circumstantially unavailable, etc. Basically whatever blocks that can be erected between us must be in place so I can dream about a different world where they are in place. And hell, the more blocks the better. One woman went from a funny rather morbid friend when I met her to a Republican Libertarian who liked to quote Ann Coulter by the time I was writing her drunk emails that could double as novellas. And even better, her efforts to set limits were what drove me forward - but they were so inconsistent like she would be really sweet and friendly one day and then utterly cold like I would say something and she would go "I don't care." And that would be the most attractive thing ever.

Because why put yourself out for a woman who actually likes you when you can spend months or years pining away from a woman who will never care about you? Hell, H actually got mad at me when I accused her of caring about me as a friend. Not as a potential boyfriend or lover - just a friend who had been her friend for about 4-5 years by that point.

But H was only an extreme example of this neediness and this self-defeating behavior. The friend that I was sad about on Monday morning was only a cool woman that I hung out with when I got the time and whom I rather liked until it was clear from a conversation that us as an actual couple - not happening. I knew it wasn't happening already but knowing that she has a boyfriend somehow jumpstarted a lot of behaviors that I had been successfully clamping down.

It's not as bad as it was, but the main difference is that I knew when I was being miserable on Monday that I was doing it to myself. The feelings are the same even as the woman changes. Even if I ended up waking up next to this woman that I am quite fond of, I would have still been miserable because I can be so needy and I remember being so needy in having girlfriends, like the morning is the time to go "NO! Stay with me. Don't get up. You don't have to get dressed. Just hold me like a sad panda." I suppose that's why I have been getting hung up on unavailable women. Sure, I'm still miserable but at least they don't have to get sucked into the vortex.

So that's why I went to the therapist office on 180th street and made an appointment to start in March. Hopefully my insurance will be taken care of. Renewing my health coverage through the state has been a headache and now Healthfirst is switching up on everyone including people with Medicaid. And for February my insurance is Medicaid which means that I did not get to see the ophthalmologist that I should be seeing now that I have diabetes.

Because it's either go to therapy or use the least available female friend as an excuse to lay in bed miserable. Of course, I do fully expect to experience that transference that all the kids love. But the difference between falling in love with your therapist and falling in love with your very understanding friend that accepts you is that your therapist has been trained to handle this. Your very understanding friend has not and is more liable to bolt than deal with you until you get over her.

Of course, the other aspect of this SOP is that I deliberately hang out with and date women with problems, because that makes me think that I'm just fine. After all, I may be in pain but at least I'm not a rage monster trying to be super religious in order to obtain a simple solution to a miserable childhood.

Hopefully it will work out. I am sick of repeating patterns.
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The Paradox of Expression [Feb. 2nd, 2016|06:40 pm]
Tim Lieder
Every time I write something that puts things into perspective in a rational format or I come to a conclusion that things are ok, I feel like a fucking fraud. The second after I write it and sent it or post it here, I am thinking "What the fuck are you saying? You know that you are not that wise or calm." Even if I am writing about some pretty horrible stuff and head games, I can come to a rational conclusion and it's fine for just that second. Then I read it and I think about how much I am trying to convince myself that I am cool with some things even though these things are not ideal.

But when I outright state that I am hurting - like there is this deep well of loneliness that no one can fill and I have to figure it out myself - that's when I feel better. Only I am also saying things like "I need you" and I have no idea of the intended audience is going to react with anything other than misgivings. The great thing about going fuck it, I'm going to be utterly open about all my worries, my neuroses, my pain and my deep-seated need is that as soon as I express it, I get rid of that nagging doubt that says I can't say that else I will never have any friends.

And the shitty part is that many times I'm right. But I can't blame the intended audience for wanting to back the fuck off either.

I suppose that all leads to the writerly maxim that the best writers - the great writers - put everything on the page like Stephen King pouring out his fears and addictions and pettiness and anger and doubts - but that's a hard way to write and it can't be achieved by most, because we are all liars and when we lie to ourselves it gets into the work. But then achieving that state - that blissful honesty where I act like it doesn't fucking matter what I say or do - I would sort of like to turn it off sometimes. Only I can't turn it off. I can only tap it down for a few days or weeks, but eventually it comes out.
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The savior complex as applied to dating. [Feb. 1st, 2016|11:44 pm]
Tim Lieder
I was at a low point this morning and this affected pretty much the entire day. And one of the aspects of the depression - if it is depression (I still don't know) - is that I read the worst possible message in every statement. So a friend - the one that I am quite fond of, but whom I realized was more of a way to work through my issues than an actual potential lover - told me that everything was fine. Like I felt bad for something and she said it was fine. She's ok. She's happy. She's in a good place. My mind went "so she doesn't need me?"

And that's all kinds of fucked up. I know it's fucked up. She's a friend. She's had some problems but she's a friend. I don't need her to need me. But I think I liked to feel needed in that way. Yet, don't we need our friends? Don't we need their acceptance and their companionship even when we aren't going through the dark night of the soul (sorry)? I remember seeing someone writing about how they weren't the kind of friend who hangs out, they were the kind of friend who will rush to your side when you need them. And I recognized that behavior just enough to realize how selfish it was. Sure, there are friends who are friends only when times are good and that's not good, but friends who are only friends when times are bad are fucking ridiculous.

But that's where my mind went because I am accustomed to attempting to rescue fuckups and hoarders and drunks and women with rage issues. Failing, of course, but still making the attempt.

And this reminds me of the when Nanda first cried in front of me - like three months into dating - and she let me comfort her and while I was being all good boyfriend (she was just stressed out over having too much work to do - and she was such an A-type personality that she scheduled these crying jags to be at the most convenient time during the semester) my main thought was "YES! I'm finally useful!!!" And while that's not necessarily a bad thing to think, the intensity of it and the absence of any other thoughts about how I could be useful to her was pretty terrible.

Still, after Jenny and Melinda who were both broken and struggling and constantly lashing out, I didn't know what to do with Nanda. And I wrote plenty of letters to Jenny trying to build her up, even as I also wrote letters where I tore her down - but in my own head, I was only building her up. But with Melinda and Jenny, I could play savior and rescuer and even as I TOLD them that I wanted them happy and whole, I was not sure I had a place with them if they got over their pain.

So with Nanda, I was completely unmoored and uncomfortable because I didn't know how to respond to a woman who is happy most of the time.

I don't think I've gone back to that state, but with this friend, it felt good to be needed. I didn't know how good it felt until I could let depression tell me that happiness meant that I had no use anymore. Of course, my friend needs me - she needs my FRIENDSHIP with what that entails. But she doesn't need me to be some fucking savior who helps her to get over all the bad times. She has a family. She has a therapist. Of course, knowing that a feeling is completely fucked up and totally irrational does not mean that one can just shake it like that. But at least it means that one has a starting point to work on.
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The morning [Feb. 1st, 2016|10:17 am]
Tim Lieder
I don't know if I always did this or if this was something that was recent. In the "yeah Tim, get to therapy already. How long can you fuck up your life" category, I realize that I wake up in the morning and for the first hour of lying in bed, I feel sad or useless, more like there is this fog of mustard crowding my head. If I am hung up on a woman at the time, I will think about her and how she doesn't want me. If I am single, I think about the work that I have to do and what I'm not doing and how much money I need and how little money I'm earning. If I am in a relationship - even if I am waking up next to the woman and I should be happy - I am thinking about how this is all temporary and how it will end one day.

And then I get up, get dressed, get a coffee, maybe exercise (thank you diabetes), and then I genuinely feel better. But I feel like my default is now that point where I am just lying there with my head in the pillow thinking about how lonely everything seems.

Last night I felt pretty good too. I had a breakthrough of sorts. I realized that this current situation where I am smitten with a woman was actually pretty healthy for me because it meant that I wasn't an asshole and that I could go on with my life. I didn't have to feel guilty and self-loathing for all the shit I've pulled. I can be generous and giving in a relationship and I don't need to be alone. And even if we are never going to be anything but friends, it was nice to understand that my motives were mostly pure and without expectations.

An hour later, when I'm finally getting home, I am thinking "well yeah, that's nice but if you were really all good and giving and generous and loving in a selfless manner - all that cute stuff that they spout in the New Testament about love that you can't get away from - why the fuck did you TELL HER about it?" And no, I'm not advocating a general across-the-board keep your feelings to yourself methodology, but this friend is going through a lot of stuff and adding guilt and a sense of obligation to her emotional burden is a shitty thing to do. And you can't outright blurt out that you love someone without making them feel obligated for your emotional well-being and then guilty that you aren't the one for them.

This morning, I woke up and it might as well have been like I forgot every damn thing. Just the fog and the constant refrain of "she doesn't want you. you are no damn good," and the woman changes but that refrain remains the same. I remember way back when I was staying in Saint Louis Park for Shabbos (before I moved into that neighborhood) and I was staying with this Russian guy who was moping about some woman that didn't want him. I tried to mock him for being so dour as a survival mechanism because I felt like my gut had been punched out because Nanda was gone and never coming back (no matter how much I wanted to deny it). Didn't really work. I just pissed off that Russian guy (but that dude was weird and not in a good way).

But the point here is that the experience of losing Nanda and spending years constantly convincing myself that I could no better than Nanda distracted me from the fact that when I was with Nanda, I was just as prone to these dark moods. I just couldn't focus them on Nanda leaving me. And unlike past crushes that were never going to happen (Anne, Jenny, Jenny, whomever I was hung up on in 11th grade - um...who was that?) Nanda represented four years of being in a more-or-less healthy relationship. But it wasn't terribly healthy. It was just comparatively healthy compared to every other relationship.

Ok. Now to exercise.
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Everybody does it...the oddities of the dating games we play [Jan. 31st, 2016|12:24 pm]
Tim Lieder
I was talking to a friend about a mutual friend that I had an obsessive crush on a few years back and how I got over her. He said "everybody falls in love with A when they first meet her. And then they get to know her." And what's disturbing about that is the fact that now it makes me think about what everyone says about me. Does every one try to avoid Tim or is it what an old college friend said which is Tim tests the limits of what he can get away with.

But what is even more troubling is that this is the second time when I had a "common experience" with a woman that was a mutual friend of many. Only with the first one it was "everyone wishes that they were in love with L because that would solve their problems." And that might not be a bad thing but it also seems sad. Like all these guys aren't asking L out but we all want to give it a shot and yet when we do hang out it's a nice time that wasn't meant to go anywhere.

I think that the main thing is that these women leave an impression - A for being a real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girl - complete with the personality that keeps going after the credits roll when the "happy ending" becomes a nightmare of whimsy and discovery that "manic" is half a condition. L for being one of the best friends you could ever hope for and the woman that you SHOULD be dating because she doesn't ignore you or insult you. The thing about L is that to truly appreciate her, you have to be a stable rational human being who isn't looking for drama or pain or whatever else gets called "passion" in modern romance novels. You actually have to be happy enough with yourself that you are seeking women who are emotionally supportive and not liable to throw a toaster at your face.

So that cuts out about 90% of the population.

But I suppose in the community, there are plenty of stories like these ones and plenty of "yeah, your experiences with her/him aren't uncommon" tales. And there are probably plenty of similar stories in other communities as well.
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The perils of Zionist discourse in a fairly lefty field [Jan. 31st, 2016|02:05 am]
Tim Lieder
Right now Israel is going through some shit. There are plenty of stabbings and plenty of headlines that read "Palestinian Youths shot in Jerusalem" with the upshot that they were being shot after they stabbed an Israeli to death in a shopping mall. This is a pretty low level cause for anger and worry.

Israel has two groups of people who claim the land as their homeland and ever since 1967, the Palestinians have been a population without representation or sovereignty and the short term security needs have traditionally trumped the long term security dream of implementing a viable one state or two state solution.

Kind of hard to appreciate nuance when pregnant nurses are being stabbed in front of their children. Also hard to appreciate nuance when Hamas is sending missiles into Israel and placing their major weapons caches in hospitals so that they can get the baby-killing Jew headlines they want.

And it's even better when motherfuckers are calling every war that Israel engages in a genocide while Syria is ACTUALLY engaged in genocide and those fuckers have one solution - non-intervention.

But then there's the fantasy & genre publishing world where everyone is nominally liberal. They aren't necessarily anti-Israel but when Israel goes to war, there's an attempt to simplify things by posting the most anti-Israel bullshit like tweets by a rather popular poet talking about genocide or Shira Lipkin's anti-Semitic Salon article where she accused Israel of everything short of blood libel but it's ok, because she's Jewish and she can totally be a Nazi shithead. And then there's another writer who talked about her grandfather cleaning out Auschwitz and then casually compared the IDF to the Nazis.

This shit bothers me, but what's worse, this shit is being spouted by people that I'm going to have to run into eventually. They may be at the conventions or they may be online or on a panel. I may run into them at parties.

And most of them will be nice people. That's always the issue with online chatter is that we are usually much less shitty and much less likely to use easy prejudices when the objects of our prejudices are standing right there; but still there is that tension - like I see these people who shared these posts and wrote these fucking posts and I think "hey they look like good people" but I also think "they only care about the Middle East when shit talk about Israel is going on."

I try not to judge them too much. I get that Israel has a lot to answer for and a lot to atone for.

And I also remember telling them to fuck off. Hell when I spent a night responding to Requires Hate (aka Vanesa the Killer Hotel Clerk) and her "oh pity me, I'm a poor innocent victim of the big bad internet" tweets, I saw that she did a storify about me and she dug back to find my tweets telling a fairly anti-Israeli poet to fuck off. She wanted to say that I was terrible for attacking her, but she seems to have enough insight to figure out that her cache has significantly fallen recently so she established that I was an asshole with my tweets saying things like "Oh so Israel should just let Hamas kill little kids and not try to end it. Stupid shit" because that person had more respect in the genre community and talking shit about Israel is still fine.

I don't know.

Of course, I am just as disgusted by the Xian Zionists and the rightwing Bibi Lovers who can't find an Israel action that they don't love. But they aren't really in the genre writing community.
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Preserved for Posterity - the wikipedia article for Thong Song [Jan. 27th, 2016|04:33 pm]
Tim Lieder
Seriously fuck the Wikipedia editors. No original research my ass. But anyhow the only reason why I did this was to make one person laugh and she saw it and was greatly amused. So my work is done. And it remained up for about 14 hours before someone got wind of it and took it down and left the one sentence which was "This song is abotu women who wear thongs".

Turns out that someone also changed my edits where I called Lars Van Trier movies romantic comedies.

So anyhow - here is my completely annotated and referenced edit of The Thong Song. If anyone would like to make a blog post which can be referenced as "independent research" in order to place this on Wikipedia, go for it.

The song is about women who wear thong underwear. The first verse is an invitation to women to allow them to know what "what guys talk about"[2], with the implicit belief that we are living in a social order where men and women never interact. Thus Sisqo is generously allowing women into the private halls of male conversation where men speak of everything from economics to social mores to business. Sisqo is promising a feminist discourse in the context of Neo-Marxist Conflict Theory which notes that "Until relatively recently, women in Western cultures could not vote or hold property, making them entirely dependent on men. Men, like any other group with a power or wealth advantage, fought to maintain their control over resources (in this case, political and economic power)." [3]. In the Information Age, one of the most valuable resources is information, particularly private information.

However, verses two and three do not deliver on the promise of private male conversation as Sisqo talks to the subject of his song directly concerning her scandalous outfit and her shaking of that thing. The lyrics take an interesting turn before the bridge as he notes that she is "Not just urban she likes the pop / Cuz she was livin la vida loca"[4]. Livin' La Vida Loca was a popular song by Ricky Martin at the time. Ricky Martin presented himself as a straight man extolling the virtues of mentally ill women and was a closeted homosexual at the time. He came out of the closet in 2010 after years of speculation.[5]. By referencing a homosexual icon's most renown song, Sisqo is signaling to gay men that they can also enjoy the spectacle of watching dancing men in thongs.

The most fascinating part about the song happens in the chorus where Sisqo states that "She had dumps like a truck truck truck"[6] which provides a fascinating counterpoint to the celebration of buttocks revealing clothing and the ability to dance in it. Yet the word dump reminds the listener of scatological implications by referencing the phrase "taking a dump" which is an accepted euphemism to empty one's bowels through the anus[7]. Thus even in the midst of buttocks fetishization, the specter of the most common usage for the buttocks comes to the forefront.

Apparently the singer is unable to cope with the contradiction of sexuality and uncomfortable bodily functions as the rest of the song is reduced to repetition with the final cry of "That thong th thong thong thong"[8] echoing in the listener's mind like the cry of the Ancient Mariner who uses similar repetition in "Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."[9]
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The Lies of an Addict. The Lies of VD (and the rest of the puppies) [Jan. 4th, 2016|01:27 am]
Tim Lieder
scott_lynch wrote an article about how John C. Wright lied about Patrick Nielson Hayden abusing his wife at World Con. Of course, Wright could technically say that he swore at the woman when she came up to talk to him as he did apparently use the word bullshit and then ignored her until she got the hint and fucked off, but of course, in the mind of Wright this constitutes a blatant attack on femininity, the church and all that is good and holy (which he defines as his own interests). It was a great article and if you give a shit about the Puppies and their utter disregard for anything that doesn't fit their narrative, I'm sure you can find it here - http://scottlynch.us/blog/2016/01/01/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-lying-crazypants-liars-who-lie/ - and it's quite fun. He even read it at a party.

Unfortunately, Vox Day responded. Which is not such an unfortunate event. That shithead responds to everything that has something to do with John C. Wright or the Hugos or Gamergate. The more unfortunate part of it is the fact that I read it.

Unlike Wright who talks in ponderous sanctimony as if he is Jesus being whipped repeatedly by the Pharisees whom he "loves and forgives" as long as they repent of their audacity to criticize him, VD is like an addict in his relation to anything resembling truth. Reading his attack on Lynch is sad. It comes down to "nuh-uh, it totally happened the way that Wright said it did" with all the standard attacks including the fact that unlike VD, Lynch is pretty open with his struggles with mental illness, an assertion that he has inside information about what happened even as he's not naming names, an accusation that PNH is the REAL manipulator of the Hugo awards, that ever popular rape accusation aimed at Scalzi stemming from when Scalzi wrote an article about how rapists must love the Republicans and their tactics (as in "as a rapist, I would like to thank the Republicans for their use of the term 'actual rape'" which is obvious facetious rhetoric but VD purposefully makes himself sound like a moron who doesn't get it).

The thing about it is that VD reminds me of those addicts that I've known from Mom's hoarding to ex-girlfriends to friends that I worry about - because addicts are ALWAYS lying. They are always talking about how their problem isn't that bad or how they haven't been drinking in months or how they are going to cut down. You might have hung out with them only a month ago and they outright said that they went home wasted and cried at a movie but the next time you hang out they are talking about how they have been COMPLETELY sober all that time. And they are so committed to their lies too. Confront them on their bullshit and they will outright contradict you. You see them stumbling home completely fucked up and you say that you saw them stumbling home and they will tell you that it NEVER HAPPENED even as they are accusing you of being presumptive because you aren't a social worker or a licensed psychologist (because you require an advanced degree to tell when someone has a problem). Hell, I knew one girl who outright said "Just because I drink every day doesn't mean that I'm an alcoholic" which is pretty much a textbook definition of alcoholism (also she had to drink wine to go to sleep).

And after dealing with this bullshit for any length of time you start to give into their demands to live their lives as fuckups. You wonder if they are telling the truth when you know they are lying. Hell, you wonder if they BELIEVE in their lies. Oh sure, they must know that they are puking their guts out a week ago IN FRONT OF YOU but if they say that they have completely sober ALL MONTH long maybe they forgot about it or maybe they didn't believe that they were drunk, or maybe (if you keep going and confront them further) they really did just have a flu and reacted badly to the SOFT DRINKS that they were drink all night - even if those soft drinks smelled like the blended Scotch that they always drink. On one hand, you want to keep trying to reach them. On the other hand, they have built up walls of deception around themselves so impenetrable that it makes no sense to even try. So just to keep your own sanity, you throw up your hands and hope for the best, hope that they will wake up or hope that they will be in a situation where they can't carry on their addictive behavior (for my mom that meant she moved to an assisted living facility and was forced to get rid of most of her stuff - sold quite a bit of it too). You try to ignore their blatant lies because you know you can't confront them - not without the dreaded Intervention. Hell, you even try to believe their lies about cutting back or not drinking that month or whatever.

That's what VD is doing but on a grander scale. He is lying. He is lying to eagerly and so enthusiastically that I have to wonder if he actually believes his lies. There are points where I think he is a manipulative fucker but there are other points where I have the even less comfortable thought and that is that he actually believes every piece of bullshit he puts out in the universe.

Of course, unlike my addict friends and relatives, I don't have to deal with the lies of VD. As tempting as it might be to check out his blog and his twitter feed in order to see what kind of shit he's spewing, I know what kind of shit he's spewing. And I know that he is lying. I doubt that he is in pain but I suspect that he believes his bullshit and that's a form of psychosis. And unlike my friends and relatives, I can think about a happy day when he has no one left to lie to and he dies alone and unloved. Just like his stupid dad who will die in prison.
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Books Read in 2015 # 107-108 - The past is not the past (last installment of this game for a year) [Jan. 4th, 2016|12:55 am]
Tim Lieder
107.Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor - I have very little knowledge about the history of Kenya. It gained independence around the 1960s. There were Mau Maus. There have been civil wars. In fact, there was some serious shit going down in 2008 according to this book. This book begins with a man running from the police and getting killed and then it shifts to his sister who is returning home from Brazil, his father who has a past that he doesn't want to talk about but has a lot to do with the mass graves and a man whose father worked with the dead guy's father during the rebellion and one day disappeared - probably died.

Oddly or appropriately enough, the scenes that hit the hardest are the ones where the British official - the one who is doomed and may or may not participate in death squads - talks about the rebellions going on in the country and how they are not a big deal. He will deal with them, but he may have to be away from home for a time. This scene reminds me of every zombie story that shows the actual zombie apocalypse (as opposed to waking up a protagonist from a coma and letting him figure out just what happened) and how the most frightening parts are before the zombie apocalypse starts with everyone being assured that there were some isolated attacks but there's nothing to worry about. Maybe it's just because I'm listening to the CD of World War Z (gosh, that would make a great movie) and a novel about a nation that won independence, has a history of atrocities and is trying to rebuild itself even as it might never do that, does have a lot in common with a zombie book especially when zombie books latch onto our fears of a society run amok and the inability to hold things together. Sure, we have faith that our country will be stable (even with rednecks taking over an Oregon gift shop as part of an "armed resistance") but who knows?

I wrote a better review on Amazon but this is a crazy book that jumps around in time and gives more mystery than it can ever solve (and often you don't even need to have the mystery solved).

108.Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer - I actually met Ilana about three years ago because she was amused by my statement about how I could read my old livejournal entries if I wanted to read a brainwashed moron. So I've known Ilana for awhile. We talk on FB. Sometimes we hang out, like once a year on average. I saw one of those Shakespeare in the Park shows with her and her husband and they are an adorable couple (that will be important later on). So as much as I love this book and its plot about old magics based on music & poetry that must come back into the world in order to fight the most bloodthirsty magic that is being perpetrated by a nasty poet, there are some bits of biography that I notice in the same way that it's hard to read Scott Lynch's third Gentlemen Bastards book and not think about how he wrote the book while he was getting divorced and forced to deal with his Depression.

So the plot of this book is great because it's based on the characters including a runaway musician from a nasty elder family, a manipulative minstrel who is trying to get ahead, the daughter of the richest merchant in town who is in love with the most talented of the minstrels. There are reversals and plot twists and characters capable of surprising you. Ilana even pulls to Agatha Christie trick of telling you outright what a character is like and then making you doubt the assessment.

The biography elements were fun for me at least - but they may not be too awesome for people who don't care. In one case that merchant is accused of whinging and he shoots back with the fact that he saw his people die and there is a definite pointed barb at people who somehow think that Jews should just get over the Holocaust (or people who accuse Israel of being Nazi-like or using the Holocaust to further an agenda - basically I called this Aryan privilege - the ability to think about the Holocaust as something that happens to other people, like a particularly terrible period of history that you can use as a rhetorical tool in that "isn't it ironic that the people related to the victims of the Holocaust are not living up to my arbitrary moral standards") and there's even a Jewish wedding. But the part that I really loved and happens later in the book is when one couple (won't say which one) gets together to chase down a miscreant and kill him (he deserved it) and that was the point where I thought "Ah, that's so sweet," because it makes me think that Jack would totally help Ilana kill someone if she needed it. Like I said, they make a very adorable couple.

But yeah, you should read this book - mostly for the plot and characters that I talk about two paragraphs back.
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Books read in 2015 # 105-106 - Literary References [Jan. 2nd, 2016|07:54 pm]
Tim Lieder
105.Apocrypha by Catherynne M. Valente - I think this is the first book I bought by Catherynne and I'm not sure if it was the first or second time I met her, but I bought it directly from her and she signed it. This was Lunacon where I also met Steve Berman and he encouraged me to sit on panels because I had just published the second Dybbuk Press book and that actually was enough to get on panels. I met some other people. I think they talked about Holly Black who was just publishing her first few books and was on the verge of great things and they were happy for her. Lunacon was fucking terrible for many reasons including the hotel being under construction but I did get to meet a bunch of writers - at various stages of their careers - and for the first time I hung out with them as one of them.

So this book of poetry is going to have sentimental attachment but it is also great poetry and that's one of the reasons why I bought it. I don't love most of the poetry that I hear or read. Maybe I don't have the ear for poetry or maybe most poetry is either too esoteric or too random word generating for my tastes. But I love this stuff and while I don't "get" every poem on the first read through, the ones that I get I dig - especially the title poem which speaks of the prophets in the poet narrator's life and how many she's shtupped. It manages the trick of being pious and blasphemous and fully humanizing.

106.The Unwritten, On to Genesis by Mike Carey, Peter Gross & Vince Locke - I'm not sure, but I strongly suspect that I would have liked this volume better if I had read more in the series or just didn't have such high expectations. Either way, this journey through the weird world of children's literature heroes come alive is just not doing it for me. The main plot of this volume is the father of Tom Taylor - who is sort of like Harry Potter come to life but not really - finding a comic book writer and falling in love with her so much that he decides to forego that assassination job he was supposed to pull and just tries to support her. And thus comic books get away from the big nasty conspiracy or something. Also the big nasty conspiracy goes and kills all of Taylor's friends and associates so it ends with our hero going "I'm pissed and now I'm coming after you" which is sort of the thing a hero is going to do. As much as this is a deconstruction of children's literature and hero journeys, it still just feels kind of flat. I might also have a problem with books based on big evil conspiracies that don't really have much of a mission statement beyond being big evil conspiracies - and this has only become more annoying with the internet where you can't hit a random comment thread without these morons talking shit about the Illuminati.
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Holy fuck New York Times - way to bury the lead on Marc Gafni, Sexual Predator [Dec. 27th, 2015|01:17 am]
Tim Lieder
I am responding to the article A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past and you can read it yourself, but damnit, that is fucking creepy in the way that the New York Times, an ostensibly liberal muckraking paper decides that the fact that Marc Gafni is a sexual predator is a minor part of his overall biography.

Basic recap of the article - Marc Gafni is a New Age spiritual leader and getting money and support from several California types including the Founder of Whole Foods and Ariana Huffington, but he has a past as a rabbi in several places. There have been scandals, but he can totally answer for all of them.

It's not the facts of the article that trouble me. It's the fact that the first five paragraphs are glowing reports about how awesome he is and how his hippie bullshit is the talk of the town. Obviously I am going to hate him because the founder of Whole Foods thinks that he's cool enough to fund and have a long lecture interview with, but for others that's not a big deal. And only after his bonafides are established, the whole sexual predator part comes in.

He is also passing around an article entitled Sexual McCarthyism by Alan Dershowitz, America's favorite rape lawyer. But it's all no big deal and sure, he had a "relationship" with a 14 year old girl when he was 35 but that's just all in the past and so were the other teenage girls that he raped.

If you read the article all the way through, it's obvious that he's a sexual predator who has been kicked out of so many Jewish institutions (even that Kabala one in Israel and those morons are gullible as fuck), so he's gone to creep around the New Age places - because not only do they have lots and lots of teenage girls to rape, but they also have a shit ton of money and no common sense.

But since newspaper articles are written for the important stuff at the beginning, this article is basically making him the repentant hero of the New Age assholes. And sure there were some indiscretions, but he's only human (and polyamorous which is totally like being gay - unless of course you are a sexual predator and then he's just trying to use a sexual minority as a cover for your crimes).
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Books read in 2015 # 103-104 - getting sick of nihilistic bullshit [Dec. 24th, 2015|12:20 pm]
Tim Lieder
103. Clive Barker's New Testament by Mark Millar & Haemi Jang - Industrialist goes in search of God and God is crazy and likes killing people in really fancy ways. And since this story throws in Gnostic bullshit about the "Old Testament" God being the evil one and the "New Testament" God being the good one, it distracts from the fact that it's basically Gene Roddenberry's one Star Trek story. I normally like Clive Barker but this is just bullshit from beginning to end. God - or Wick - is just too powerful and the fact that he pulls planes out of the air for fun and yet avoids killing our heroes (?) is just kind of sad. I like brutal and nasty literature but I don't enjoy feeling like a dog who is getting his face pushed in shit.

104.Moto Hagio's Broken Dreams and Other Stories - Some of the most beautiful literature is the kind that makes you wonder why you've missed this author before. I had that same feeling when I first read Tanith Lee and with Moto Hagio there is a gentleness and a kindness in the ways that the characters interact. Some of the stories are obviously trying to push your buttons like "The Willow Tree" where a ghost woman watches the same child as he grows up and goes through life's tribulations until the end when the child now an adult man with his own family comes to the tree and thanks her for watching over him even though she's been dead all this time (and yeah, she's his mother). There are other ones where the author is dealing with some personal issues through fantasy like the story where a girl is born looking like an Iguana to her mother who is repulsed by her. Not surprisingly, Moto Hagio has these issues with her parents where she can never seem to please her mom who has been trying to create the perfect family because of her father's broken family coming from WWII.

Moto Hagio is one of the major forces in Japanese comics from the 60s until now and I want to read everything that she has ever made - which would involve learning Japanese - so that might not happen. But she's got enough translations to keep going.
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Books read in 2015 # 101-102 - Urban Literature [Dec. 24th, 2015|12:03 pm]
Tim Lieder
101. Dhalgren by Samuel Delany - I almost titled this entry "black writers" but since that is a reductive way of distinguishing writers and I have plenty of entries that might as well be called white writers, I figured it would be funnier to say urban literature since it's only a euphemism when it comes to the second writer (Iceberg Slim). And yet even though this book is all about the city and the ways that people come together and try to build their groups within the city, it's really hard to say what it's about. I mean it's about a lot of stuff - poetry, gang violence, clueless white people, exploitation of workers, celebrity culture, communes, free love, gay sex, white savior complexes (the main white guy who hangs out with the Scorpion gang calls himself Tarzan and I can't believe I didn't get that the first time), racism and time. The first time I read this book, I didn't get it at all but I loved it so I compared it to Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. This time I was struck by just how much this book tries to take into its 800 pages and how much time is spent to people sitting around talking about poetry and the ways that literature matters even in a place where it doesn't seem to matter - a mostly abandoned city with a second moon where no one really knows what it going on.

The next time I read this book, I will start in the middle and read it through to the place where I began.

102. Long White Con: The Biggest Score of his Life by Iceberg Slim - I feel like Iceberg Slim had a Philip K. Dick arrangement with his publisher where his publisher demanded that he write a book a year or every six months because the two books I've read by him feel incomplete. I don't remember the title of the first book I read but it involved a drug dealer's son ripping him off and by the time the drug dealer figures it out and goes "oh fuck it, the kid can go, the kid is already dead in a trunk. And I think he just pissed off his co-conspirators too. In this one there is a con job and it seems needlessly elaborate, the kind of con job that only happens in movies and books. And after a few con jobs - one successful and a couple not so successful - the end basically comes down to "Oh fuck it, he's dead. Guess I better get out of town" which just screams "if you do not meet your deadline, we are suing you for the advance."
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Books Read in 2015 # 99-100 - MURDER!!!!! Ok, just murder, but it's fun with exclamation marks [Dec. 21st, 2015|10:03 pm]
Tim Lieder
99.Five Complete Novels by Agatha Christie - If I was doing this as part of a contest or challenge, I might have broke this book up into five different books but since I am just doing this for fun, I wait. This is the most Agatha Christie I have read in one sitting and besides the books on tapes to keep me from being too bored at data entry jobs, I don't think I have read much Agatha Christie. Still, she's an interesting writer for being able to write similar books with characters in similar circumstances and social circles. They are upper class British types in the early 20th century living lives of relaxed indolence similar to the world of Jeeves & Wooster but with murder. Usually the murder victim is an asshole so the emotional part can't drag down the audience. The chance to live vicariously through the wealthy is a major component in escapist literature and Christie one-ups it by giving us a world where even murder can be placed into an escapist context. And there's always a detective around to figure everything out.

More integral to Christie is the magician's trick of putting everything right out there for the audience to see and then still managing to distract attention away from what is really going on. Oddly enough the one time she did not fool me, the book felt like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller since I'm practically yelling at the protagonists for missing the obvious. Anyhow -

1. The Murder in the Vicarage - This is a Miss Marple book told in the first person from the perspective of an Anglican priest who does not quite get how Miss Marple seems to know way more than everyone else. There is a strange subplot that never goes anywhere, but in this particular book the trick is to bring up the murderers as prime suspects and then just dismiss them as incapable of doing the murders - only to destroy their alibi at the last minute.

2. Dead Man's Folly - I hated this book. It takes place in the 1950s and there's a real meta element of everyone hosting a murder party that seems a little off. Of course, Agatha Christie inspired all those murder mystery parties because her books have those puzzle box elements where all the clues can be put together in a relatively safe space. Sure it'd be fun to have a murder party based on Raymond Chandler, but it would be very confusing. Almost everyone would be tied to the murder and half the guests would go to the ER with alcohol poisoning. So Agatha Christie writing about a murder party where the murder victims ends up dead is adorably meta. Sadly, beyond that original conceit, the book is shit. None of the characters were interesting. Nothing about the plot had any merit. Hell, Inspector Poirot figures everything out at the last minute and even though there were clues, it feels like the Charlaine Harris "pick a murderer from out of a hat" ending.

3. Sad Cypress - Now this one is more compelling since the entire book seems to be pointing to one murderer and Agatha Christie is doing that one purpose. We are supposed to think that it's the fiance who abandons the main murder suspect for the innocent nurse but it's too obvious. And even then one stars thinking "well the obvious suspect turning out to be the murderer is a trick Agatha Christie has pulled before." But it's not and the killer is a pleasant surprise (as long as you don't think too hard about the fact that the poor woman got murdered).

4. Towards Zero - This one is an Superintendent Battle one and like the Miss Marple book, it keeps throwing the confusing details at the reader. A bunch of people visit the country estate and then the deaths start. It's also part of an elaborate plan that isn't quite discovered until the end.

5.N or M - This one is the one where I figured out the spy pretty early on. Well about halfway through and then it became like a Hitchcock movie where it's just waiting for everyone to catch up. However, there were actually two spies and then there was another pretty sketchy character but most of it was spent going "damnit, figure it out"

100. Without Pity by Ann Rule - I'm actually getting pretty bored with Ann Rule. Her short cases are pretty inconsequential. I mean they are compelling enough but they just kind of end. The three new cases in this volume involve a couple of hitchhikers who get attacked by a guy who is supposed to be helping them, one about a cop who goes and shoots a suspect and tries to make it look like self-defense and gets busted on the tape. The other one is about a husband who just kills his wife and kid and dog. That's it. I don't really remember most of the other ones. There's this sanctimonious tone to her articles and I find that most of the killers are pretty dull.
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Why do filmmakers use crickets? [Dec. 9th, 2015|11:17 am]
Tim Lieder
Watching Memphis, which is supposed to be about a wandering bluesman and the struggle between faith and music and is really about a bunch of people wandering around in a plotless landscape and barely talking. Also they are not playing the fucking music which was the draw. And while these boring people wander about (this guy got compared to Gus Van Sant - sadly he got compared to Gus Van Sant in his Gerry, Elephant phase) there are bird chirps and crickets.

You always can tell that it's an exciting movie when the crickets are what you are paying attention to. But it's just that. I would go to Asian movies in college and sometimes they were exciting Hong Kong action movies but there were points when they were boring movies about people staring at each other. I would start calling the boring movies the bird chirp movies because inevitably there was a scene where I thought "oh yeah, they are out among the birds and the birds won't shut up."

And these movies can be good. I really liked Elephant. But mostly they just get caught in that trap of "let's make everything REAL so that you don't have exposition or characters or plots."
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