In a previous lifetime, I excerpted the only experimental novel I ever found interesting: Ratz Are Nice (PSP). Read the excerpts out loud, in any dialect you wish.
No one is going to write a Kathy Acker–manquée biography of its author, Lawrence Ytzhak Braithwaite (no relation). They’re both dead, but this may be the news to you in Braithwaite’s case. It was to me.
Self-evidently this gay black Forces vet from Quebec killed himself – the form of demise the culture demands from eldergays and anyone who does not or cannot pay his own freight. I’m not next, but somebody will be, and fuck-me pumps in size 13 will prance on our graves. We cannot die off fast enough for queers, trannies, LGBTs, and their respectable enablers in the lamestream media.
I am Shields-compliant (also Paglia‑) in that I cannot deal with novels, a Victorian form even in science-fiction camouflage. I am somehow a dozen pages into Black Deutschland, which title Braithwaite could have lived. Pace Brottman, sometimes the movie is better; it is much more interesting to listen to authors interviewed by an eldergay intellectual Jew, a triple tautology.
Ratz Are Nice is barely a novel, more of a cultural positioning statement, said culture being “co-opted” and on the verge of extinction (Doc Martens “de‑recontextualized”).
In donning the Black persona, symbolized through the silver jacket, Brian finally does what everyone has been attempting to do throughout the book. Brian is killed – his soul is killed, through that burden of the weight of the Black youth – the Black persona, that persona of deglamoured oppression. He has achieved the goal of being Black but he is unprepared to handle something that the Blacks are raised to deal with through centuries of struggle – you’d suppose.
It took decades of uptight, rule-governed severity and utter yet abject correctness to get to a point where I ate Braithwaite for breakfast. My culture is on the verge of extinction. I memorized the spatial location of his books at TRL, now the only remaining copies (if they go he does), and sat there reading them, pulled apart by booth of my wide finger tipped handz.
I ate fucked-up prose for breakfast. “Last Exit to Victoria”:
…as a child I was told that not knowing the alphabet will cause illiteracy. It’ll send you into a drugged-out gangland life of white-trash nightmares and corner-boy peddling to homosexuals, who are professional players, obsessed with age and willing to drag it and you into emptiness. That in knowing the letters, I’ll know that they assemble to construct various images that become words. Words are the narrative transformation of the images. Printing a page of unbroken words is like a fresh tattoo. It captures a moment/place, sentiment and period. It orchestrates the body in motion as it flexes to move a pen/strike at a key/form a fist/lift a drink or move to a rhythm. The words become the unspoken intertextuality of ethnic, racial and cultural metaphoric speech. The meter of casual dialogue = a rhythm/noise/visual bass, a soundtrack to a post-literate train of thought. […]
Slayer is for the fury and speed and violence that the book has. Deathmetal is the living desire of the neo-redneck burnout. It’s all going after the sport of brutality – the art of hurting someone. The walking jokes, with targets on their backs…. The only violence is the way the words appear on the page, marked by the slashes that connote rhythm of speech and interrupted thought. They are like semicolons = / the // are colons and so are the = signs. Sometimes the – move out to separate speech – someone takes lead//does a solo.
Nobody wanted someone this difficult and “intersectional” in the wrong way. Crocodile tears:
Lawrence Ytzhak Braithwaite. It’s incredibly sad news. I hadn’t heard from him in years. There was a time there when we were corresponding regularly. He had a novel, an opera, I believe he called it, and he asked me to help him find a publisher. I did what I could – it wasn’t much, but editors did see it, and loved it, but the publishing deals fell through, for reasons I don’t know. Our friendship kind of fizzled out – he wrote to me and asked if I could send him money. I had no money. I would have sent him money if I’d had it. He was a handful, but he wrote beautiful, beautiful books. Beautiful, original books. Bless him.
I got a piece of mail today… from the government of Canada. It is addressed to the Estate of Lawrence Braithwaite. It is the first I knew of his passing. Lawrence lived in my basement suite for three years (’02–’04). He was garrulous, inventive, argumentative, not a great listener, highly intelligent and a disaster as a housekeeper.
He had this big German shepherd dog named Heindrich who went everywhere with him. I had a dog too so we had plenty of opportunity to chat.
I had him up for dinner several times.
Lawrence was a very interesting character.
Can you imagine being a black anglo Quebecker saddled with the name Braithwaite, redolent as it is of token tragic-mulatto Radio-Canada TV personalities? Basically every black person in Quebec de l’époque presumptively had the name Braithwaite. I’d leave too, but not to Afghanistan, and I sure as shit wouldn’t pick Victoria, B.C., where the only other gay black male is halfway to a decathlete, handsome, winsome, smart, a dense pack of muscle with ten inches uncut and the luckiest white bf. Everybody wanted him. He’s the minimum ante you need to survive as a non-Amaechi gay army of one.
Put enough ones together and you get a real army. Not sufficient for Braithwaite – but it’s early in my process, and all I can save are the animals I don’t eat or wear, not every wayward soul you or I didn’t know we cared about till he died. Early in my process, but it’s happening.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.04.27 12:57. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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From time to time, a young boy’s dreams can come true and he can appear in Frank. But the one and only article I ever submitted to Frank didn’t meet its demonstrably low bar.
And here it is! [continue with “Un-‘Frank’ed” →]
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.04.10 14:40. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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There goes my last chance to do something productive with myself, like, as my friend advised me 25 years ago, become microwave-cooking editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine.
Suck.com still mordant decades later. (Atrocious audio quality, as is the norm in podcasting, made worse by multiplied latencies, where two people start to talk at once, half a second later each hears the other, then both stay silent for a second. There’s no excuse for any of that.)
Before they shut it down in a fit of pique, the Mormons who ran Typophile banned me from the place, accusing me of having made no contribution to typography. I started out in typography as a preteen and I can prove it.
Splorp in Calgary is now in possession of my lifetime’s memorabilia and ephemera in typography, ranging from Monotype hot-metal-typesetting brochures to a HEL·Fucking·VETICA lapel pin. (I no longer have my nearly full run of U&lc, but I’m not sure that’s rare or even of interest.)
Typophile’s de facto replacement, TypeDrawers, is kind of surviving and its sextet of “moderators” is always one vote away from banning me there, too, despite This Week in Type.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.03.27 11:48. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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“Saatchi Cole” is a hack who went through RyeHigh J‑school. Her portfolio is weak despite having every advantage handed to her post-graduation. Koul is subjected to racist and sexist harassment on Twitter, neither of which ills has held her career back. Now, despite an obvious lack of seniority, she’s a “senior writer” at the content farm that manages to be worse than Arianna’s.
She has a deal for a book that seems plainly insipid. (Time will tell – I quite enjoyed And the Heart Says Whatever, a clear antecedent.) It’s called The Pursuit of Misery, which threatens to be Koul’s epitaph.
The value proposition Koul presents to her gullible, dogmatic, juvenile, ahistorical downtown-progressive audience is that of aggrieved but outrageous vizmin minx. It makes even less sense in practice than as described there. Her wuvvable/outlandish persona, expressed not just on the natural home of cyberbullying but in podcasts and radio appearances, is mistaken as evidence of strong womanhood, though not the type that is “tough, cold, terse, taciturn and prone to not saying goodbye when they hang up the phone.”
To an adult who has published longer than someone like Koul has lived, her outbursts come off as an unformed youthful persona and a deep well of future regret. If and when she finally grows up, once an actual Scaachi Koul comes into existence in lieu of the avatar she’s selling now, Koul is gonna look back with sorrow and embarrassment at how she destroyed her credibility and reputation at such a young age.
Then she’ll get a third book contract and will be poached to work as editor-in-chief of whatever even more meretricious and deplorable content farm boots today’s out of contention. She’s gonna win forever, despite being an obvious liability and a source of lethal gamma rays to all in her orbit. Eternal flowers shall bloom from what should be her career graveyard. For she is the right kind of people. This spunky Indian girl – like another poseuse, she’s really just a kid from Alberta – has battled one obstacle after another to get those opportunities handed to her with a knowing smile.
Koul’s status as agente provocateuse makes her an architect of her own demise, such demise being of course a figment of my imagination. She’s already doing great and will rocket to the top of her field, though that field is not “journalism” in any viable sense.
Here I have to wonder what estimable hirsute Haligonian Heeb Craig Silverman must be thinking. (Neither hack would comment when asked.) He’s editor-in-chief of – “founding editor for” – the Canadian arm of that content farm and has credibility out the ass.
Or had. Now he’s spattered with the entrails of Koul’s goring. Running a hefty Paul Watson exposé dipped Silverman’s toes back in the life-giving waters of journalism. It’s one posting in a throng, and, as an exception, does not disprove the rule, but it was a signal to the profession that Silverman planned to somehow stay serious. That seems like a tall order with a race-baiting harridan consuming all the oxygen.
Right and wrong victims of online abuse
Motivated by principle as so few are, I deplore the use of Twitter to attack and defame. But that is Twitter’s natural function. Abuse is an ineluctable outcome of the Internet in all its forms. I should know, because I’m coming up on 25 years online. (Koul is the same age.) My archives show I battled not only my own attackers but organized cyberbullies who targetted hapless civilians. And of course it’s a fine line, but there is a line. It’s been crossed umpteen times with Koul as target, but she’s tramped all over the line too.
As I write this, downtown-progressive circles are very concerned indeed at how those intrinsically beastly “white guys” have acted towards Scaachi Koul, a saintly harp seal manquée no one should get away with clubbing. I view this as rank hypocrisy, a complete absence of principle. Koul deserves to be defended not because what happens to her is wrong, her acolytes feel, but because she’s an adorable vizmin girl with correct thought. (They ignore Koul’s unclean hands.)
Whereas when I am assaulted online, now for decades, up to and not quite including actual legally defined defamation and in one case before a packed house in an auditorium, it’s the least I have coming to me. The structures I have set up to protect myself are proof those structures need to be barraged to defeat.
Meanwhile, poor Scaachi Koul, unclubbable-harp-seal eyes welling, has to stop using Twitter for a while. Unlike Jan Wong, Koul keeps her job and her book contract.
Koul got in trouble because her boss (in effect, Craig Silverman) let her botch a call for new minority contributors to their content farm. This will have to remain an exercise, but what would happen if an ex-Muslim woman applied to cover Islam, or a gay man who believes manhood is important applied to cover “LGBT” issues, or an MTF transgendered person who knows he’s still male applied to carry out months-long enterprise reporting on transgenderism and suicide? They’re the wrong kinds of seals and they’d be culled.
Progressive young nonwhite “journalists” are not interested in minority voices. They are obsessed with designating some thought as correct, some people worthy of protection and promotion, while endorsing ostracism and outright attack of everyone else. They claim they’re losers by virtue of race and sex (“gender”), yet they themselves are bent on designating a whole new set of winners. They aren’t underdogs – in “new media,” they run the show, and Koul owes them her career.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.02.29 10:29. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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Jews and Arabs for Animal Rights: Now, these are Muslims you can get behind. Their protest met or exceeded ACT UP/Gran Fury heights of graphic impact.
Though I cannot quite figure out why Vegan North’s mascot is a reindeer with antlers.
Orthodox Jewish vegans.
The kind-of-amazing (if misencoded) 269 Life, though frankly that seems too similar to neo-Nazis tattooing themselves with 88.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.02.27 11:42. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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In the compilation Information design as Principled Action, by the estimable Jorge Frascara (q.v.), one reads of a project to redesign a New York City government form. It almost doesn’t matter what the form is for.
The designeuse was Karen Schriver, Ph.D., and the article’s title used the driest bureaucratese available: “The rhetoric of redesign in bureaucratic settings.” This project went completely tits-up in a manner that Schriver, if her doctorate is worth anything, should have been able to anticipate or at least recover from.
Our supervisors on the project – who were staunch advocates of plain language – ran into difficulties when they presented our redesign to the city’s legal team. We had assumed that our project supervisors had apprised the city’s legal team of the redesign concept as it progressed. The design had gone through four iterations prior to the semifinal version, with each iteration receiving extensive client feedback.
Like many information-design teams, we worked remotely through electronic means and had never met face-to-face. We collaborated through E‑mail and conference calls, but because the legal team did not have (or make) time to participate, we had no access to their opinions.
Note the addition of “(or make)” the time – a clear attempt at deflection.
Months after the redesign had been approved for publication by our project supervisors and collaborators, lawyers for the city voiced skepticism…. First, lawyers argued that they could have done a better job of making a plain-English version. They criticized the revision because it did not use the same legal language as the original. Second, they contended that if the redesign was actually better, it should have been shorter not longer than the original.
Yes, they really said that. And it killed the project.
In retrospect, our team had not anticipated the legal team’s rejection of a citizen-oriented revision.
Again an attempt to shift blame. The client didn’t reject “a citizen-oriented revision”; these lawyers thought they could write better and shorter than Schriver, whose team couldn’t figure out how to convince them otherwise.
This case study shows that although we were quite skilled in redesigning the documents and in negotiating with the team members we worked with, we were unable to gain support for our activities within a powerful segment of the larger organizational culture. Information designers can draw a lesson from this case.
Yeah, by not being total fuckups who can’t talk to lawyers.
Can you imagine getting a contract to redesign a city form, then never bothering to meet the client? Later, when confronted with objections, can you imagine not being able to talk your way out of them? Then can you further imagine publishing an article in a book that essentially blamed the other side for not making time to see you and being grievously insensitive to your “citizen-oriented revision”?
Have you ever blown a client meeting this badly? How could you have?
Now: Who is this Karen Schriver? The end of the chapter includes a 339-word bio that is basically full of shit. I can’t find any online presence for this design luminary, which suggests she either died or closed up shop.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.02.23 16:15. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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