A Quick Shout-Out

See, there’s this crew of artists called God City. Like yours truly, they make their residences in the city of Charlotte, NC. Awesome group of talented individuals, as you’ll all soon see. Reason? They just went live with their brand-new website, which everyone should immediately go check out and lose a good forty-five minutes perusing. Kinda like I just did.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of their number, Marcus Kiser, is the artistic talent behind a little thing called After, which there’s about to be a very important announcement concerning. Just throwing that out there.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

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A Handful Of Concepts We’d Be Better Off Without

Damn Right

We citizens of these United States like to think of ourselves as free-thinkers. Or we did, once. Nowadays, individuality is readily boiled down to whether one prefers to eat at Burger King or Taco Bell, and most of us look askance at the poor fool who prefers homemade fritters. That’s a roundabout way of saying that a great many of my fellow countrymen have adopted prepackaged thinking as the norm. Rather than critical analysis of factual context, most of us prefer to simply pick an established set of realities, mix and match a bit, and pretend we have our own thoughts on the subject at hand. This can be amusing when considering diet, clothing, or soft drink purchases. However, when it is applied to social consciousness, world-view, or political decisions, it has the potential for utter disaster.

The problem is that many concepts and ruminations floating about our societal consciousness have the effect of mental morphine. They soothe, induce happiness and certainty where there was very little before, but don’t really address the actual core of the problem at hand. Some of the notions we cling to, even in the form of questions, are little more than elevated rhetoric at best and outright fantasy at worst. And yet we perpetuate them by repeating them, one to another, easing over the turmoil that would be created by actually having to THINK about the universe around us in a productive and constructive manner.

Collected in this article, in no particular order, are a series of such knee-jerk reactionary concepts that I find particularly offensive to the human intellect at best, and outright dangerous at worst. I submit that they should be purged from the collective American (and indeed, the human) mind.

“YOUR OPINION”

USED FOR: Damn near any instance where there’s a disagreement. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in the educational system, many people had the notion of differing opinions ALL being correct fostered on them without bothering to point out that the term “opinion” actually has a remarkably narrow definition. The result is that we’re now infected with a rising class of individuals willing to dismiss any argument, lesson, or advice put to them that they don’t like on the basis that it’s “your opinion”.

THE CONFUSION: Problem is that “opinion” essentially covers topics of preference that can’t be settled by argumentative dialogue. And that’s IT. It doesn’t cover constructed arguments that have a basis in actual reality. For example: If I say “I think George W. Bush is an asshole and I don’t like him,” THAT’S an opinion. Assholishness is not a measurable quality (or even a real word), and really only refers to what I find pleasurable exposing myself to. Someone else might find W. as pleasing as summertime lemonade, and ne’er the ‘twain shall conflict, because that’s two separate opinions. HOWEVER, if I say George W. Bush’s policies have led the country to ruin, that’s NOT an opinion. That’s an ARGUMENT. If I know what I’m doing, I’ll have a series of observations and data I can use to back up that argument. And if someone disagrees with me, they can propose a counter-argument, with their own observations and data. Bear in mind, none of this means that an ultimate conclusion is going to be reached between the two of us. But that doesn’t mean you have two OPINIONS that are mutually exclusive. Simply two arguments which may or may not have any bearing on the reality of the situation, depending on the intelligence of the arguing parties. In other words, there are economic, social, and political FACTS I can employ in my hypothetical assertation that Bush is a shitty president. No such convenient pillars exist to support the statement ‘Bush is an asshole’, no matter how many people may agree with me.

DANGEROUS BECAUSE: As mentioned before, it’s become a catchall for dismissing anything people just don’t want to hear, without the need to propose and construct a counter-argument. Parent says to child: “You need a college degree or you’ll never make any money.” That’s an ARGUMENT, and a pretty good one based on the current structure of society. It has basis in statistics, prediction of future trends, and likely the experience of the parent themselves. Smartass kid responds with “Well, that’s YOUR OPINION,” and proceeds into their 20s as an armchair rebel with a job at their local strip mall. Had they bothered to actually attempt to argue to the point rationally and with facts, they might discover that nearly 50% of all Fortune 500 CEOs don’t have a college education, and THEN been curious enough to read up on how they did it so they’d have some direction in life that didn’t involve being too lazy to even buck for a manager’s position at Hot Topic. On the more extreme end of things, the “your opinion” fallacy can be (and has been) used to disagree with the very physical nature of reality. “I don’t think I’d like to swim in the ocean today,” is an opinion. “Hey, you’re caught in a riptide, swim parallel to shore because you can’t fight the sea, you dumb bastard,” is NOT. See, sometimes the difference can be subtle, but very, VERY important.

See?

“IS AMERICA READY?”

USED FOR: Quite a bit, especially this election cycle. Basically it’s become the pseudo-philosophical rumination for the cable news talking heads to endlessly smack back and forth in the never-ending racquetball match o’ bullshit that passes for political coverage these days. “Is America ready for a female President?” “Is America ready for a black President?” “Is America ready for Change (TM)?” And so on and so forth it goes until I’m ready to pluck Tim Russert’s eyes out with a dull paring knife.

THE CONFUSION: I don’t know, America. ARE you ready? Do you feel ready? I don’t know if I’m ready. I gotta check. At the end of the day, this is a question that has no answer because it doesn’t make any goddamn sense. WHAT American, I ask you, has been preparing his or her entire life just to be ready for some arbitrary aspect of their commander-in-chief? Look, if some jackass wasn’t gonna be in favor of a black President LAST election, he’s sure as shit not going to be “ready” this time around. This, like SO many other talking points on the news, is just another way to waste my time and give Chris Matthews something to yell at retards about.

I Can\'t Believe I Found This

DANGEROUS BECAUSE: It’s the most commonly used “look at the monkey” technique to distract from, oh I don’t know… ISSUES OF ACTUAL GODDAMN RELEVANCE, maybe? Here’s a hint, both to major media and the people who actually take them at face value: What America is “ready” for is a President that doesn’t fucking suck. Find me THAT President, and I don’t care what color/gender/sexual orientation he/she/it is. Promise.

“ISSUES”

USED FOR: Explaining any behavior that causes conflict, at this point. Boss upset because they caught you photocopying you ass on company time? They’ve got “control issues”. Spouse complaining because they caught you in the sack with the underage office intern? “Jealousy issues.” Cops tasered you because you led them on a high-speed chase through a crowded open air market in a stolen Blazer? “Rage issues,” clearly.

THE CONFUSION: See, some people really DO have “issues”. And by that I mean legitimate psychiatric problems that need addressing before they’re released into the populace at large. Whether it’s three talk sessions per week or a heavy dose of zoloft in the cards, or both, I’m all for any concerted effort to get these people the help they need. Some of them have a lot to offer. Assuming, you know, that they can get over the crazy. The problem is that, much like “your opinion”, this has become a catch-all for dismissing those individuals who are expressing normal and healthy emotions while at the same time telling you that you’re acting like a dipshit. It’s much easier to take someones negative reaction to you if you assume they’re crazy, because then you can effectively ignore them while you continue doing wrong whatever it was you were doing.

Something For Your \

DANGEROUS BECAUSE: At what point does this application of psychological assessment spread to every waking aspect of our lives? At what point does simply having the balls to voice a contrary opinion mark you as someone with “issues”, to be given treatment whether you need it or not? At what point does some government somewhere decide that a large percentage of it’s discontent population has “issues”, and need to be “helped”? Call it dystopian paranoia if you like. Then ask the victims of forced sterilization if mass acceptance of half-cocked eugenic science had an impact on THEIR lives. It starts from the bottom up. Learn to deal with each other, and quit trying to play psychiatrist when you’re not. Not everyone has “issues” just because you’re shouting with them.

“EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON”

USED FOR: The mother of all apathetic stupidity, this phrase is the talisman of either giving up or numbing the pain. It has become the pseudo-spiritual balm on the injuries of life, providing a convenient excuse for cowards to call it quits at the first sign of a struggle. Or, as is more common, blinding people into dull-witted acceptance after a setback in life and thereby preventing them from actually learning anything. This is a phrase so seductive in it’s simple-minded delirium that even the VEHEMENTLY non-religious among us will fall victims to its charm. Many are those I’ve seen who profess no belief in a higher power choosing to LIVE by this phrase, without bothering to consider just who or what is supposed to be providing that mythical “reason” for the shitstorm in question that just happened.

THE CONFUSION: In this instance, it’s not so much confusion as delusion. Whenever disaster befalls people, they seek explanations, often to the point of deviating from reason. It’s apparently become impossible to accept that bad things can still happen to good people, and that things we didn’t see coming (whether we ever could have or not) can still affect us. No no, the universe must have a PLAN. There HAS to be a reason, doesn’t there? No, jackass, there doesn’t. The universe doesn’t owe you shit, not even an explanation. You’re just not that important. None of us are. Yet the narcissistic mind toils on, long after the fact, searching for the justification for our calamity. And eventually, it shows up. Because ANY event, even ones that are profoundly negative for us, likely sets into motion a series of results. Random happenings being morally neutral, some of those results will inevitably be positive. And lo! The mind has found IT’S REASON. THAT’S why that bad thing happened, obviously! So this good thing could follow! And we’re all smiles again.

DANGEROUS BECAUSE: Bullshit is always dangerous on some level. And this is a HIGH OCTANE grade of bullshit. That good thing that followed our disaster wasn’t a REASON, it was a RESULT. You know how I know this? BECAUSE IT FUCKING HAPPENED AFTER THE FACT, YOU IDIOTS. Cause, THEN effect. You know, like in the real world? And believing otherwise just to make yourself feel better is an opiate that leaves you even more ill-prepared to deal with the NEXT unexpected crotch-shot life delivers. Bowing your head to the random nature of the universe and muttering how “everything happens for a reason” absolves you of any mistake you may have made bringing your misfortune about, INSURING that you’ll make it again. Or, in a best case scenario, excuses you from having to recover and get yourself back on the path you were going. Because, if the universe has a reason for your setback, obviously you don’t need to get up and try again, do you? Oh fuck all that, it’s much easier to give up. This phrase, folks, is apathy and fatalism condensed into an easy-to-swallow pill and coated in sickly sweet balderdash. It encapsulates the kind of sheepish timidity in the face of life’s adversity that’s become the downfall of Western society, and every time I hear someone say it, I want to light a fire under their ass. And when I say that, what I mean is that I want to take a thermite grenade and set it off in their rectum. Because they’re meandering through existence using up oxygen that could be given to someone who actually gives a damn.

A Thermite Grenade

Fired up, but out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

A Peek Into The Future (May 14, 2013)

[I was in a goofy mood when I wrote this. Either it’s actually funny, or I’m drunk in the middle of the afternoon again. – Rev]

Seal

LOCATION: James W. Brady Press Briefing Room, the White House

TIME: 3:10pm

[The White House Press Secretary introduces President Paris Battle, who begins after taking the podium and everyone is seated.]

PRESIDENT PARIS BATTLE: Thank you Jon. As the Press Secretary mentioned, I’ll make a few brief statements and then turn the floor over for questions.

Before we begin, I’d like to take a moment and wish a very special birthday to Cate Blanchett, and to let her know that despite her recent court injunction against the office of the White House, my offer of marriage is still on the table. I AM the President Of The United States, and although I know that’s been a diminishing franchise in the last sixty years or so, it’s still a respectable catch. Also, I’ll give your former family tax credits for life, promise. Just something to think on. Your lawyer still has my number, I’m sure.

Anyway, I called this conference to address the bullshit that’s all over the news. Since I DO flip on the television occasionally, I can’t help but notice that those drunken shots of me we took over at Secretary Of Agriculture Will Stone’s place made it onto someone’s Facebook profile and thus all over the internet, the televisions, and thereby our collective lives. Seriously guys, you’ve shown those three shots of me with the Jack Daniels bottle and the ‘Hands Across America’ T-Shirt more times than I ever bothered to look at them.

I KNOW what you’re saying. You’ve been saying it all goddamn day. Look, here’s the deal, then I’ll take questions on anything BUT this, got it? Firstly, I wasn’t ‘endangering a national treasure’ in that shirt. YES I got it from the National Archives, but they’ve got like half a million of those fuckers over there. We’re not losing anything crucial if I should happen to ruin one by overexposure to Tennessee whiskey and cheap stripper perfume. I mean, hypothetically speaking. Secondly, it was NOT a threat to national security to have the entire upper echelon of the Executive Branch plastered beyond belief. Those shots were from a party the night BEFORE the Inauguration. And I dare anyone of you not to be fucked up the night before you take THIS goddamn job. Feel me? Discussion over. Questions? David?

Holy Shit, I\'m The Fucking President

“HOLY SHIT, I’M THE FUCKIN’ PRESIDENT.”

QUESTION: Mr President, concerning that evening…

BATTLE: Oh for fuck’s sake!

Q: I’m sorry, but are you not concerned the impression this leaves on the children of America?

BATTLE: Look, I’m a grown-assed man. You want a message for the children? Here’s one right at them: Kids, if life tosses YOU one more opportunity to party right before you take a job that ages men faster than drinking out of the wrong Holy Grail, you do it. Blowing off steam is good for you. Look Gregory, I’m hip deep in shit that would scare your testicles so far up into your abdomen they’d forget what daylight looks like. All the time, twenty-four seven, sleeping in state secrets. I take a SHIT and it affects a hundred thousand people’s lives. You want a President up here who DOESN’T give himself a mental health moment now and then? Take that to your children, America. Now, next question.

(DOZENS OF HANDS GO UP)

BATTLE: That DOESN’T involve my being drunk on the internet?

(MOST GO DOWN)

BATTLE: Terry! Yes, thank you.

QUESTION: Mr President, since the issuance of the Executive Order on the twentieth of last month…

BATTLE: The legalization directive, yes.

Q: Yes… links to that order and your changes in long established American foreign policy have been both insinuated at criticized by Venezuela’s President.

BATTLE: Sure.

Q: I was just… wondering if you had any response I suppose, to what Mr Chavez is saying in the public forum, or…?

BATTLE: Oh, you want a response?

Q: Or a statement…

BATTLE: Right well, here’s the first thing you need to understand. Hugo Chavez is HUGE asshole. I mean just a total prick. This guy thinks he’s Robin Hood, but he’s like Jabba The Hutt in red shirts. Without the decency to even haul along a girl in a gold bikini. In public anyway. Though, come to think of it, Evo Morales does kind of remind me of Salacious Crumb. I’m not sure why.

Seriously, Look At This Asshole

SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THIS PRICK

So Chavez is pissed I legalized dope. Boo hoo. Now Columbia gets to weigh legal tax on its production to meet the new demand in America, and FARC suddenly doesn’t have so many friends as people switch to a crop less likely to get them shot by right-wing paramilitary forces. So yeah, that fucks with him. Here’s the thing: I don’t give a shit. I’ve got more important things to worry about than what some bush-leaguer is crying about this week.

Q: Such at what, Mr President?

BATTLE: Well, aside from this, we ARE planning to announce a White House sponsored initiative to combat the critical lack of breasts on American television. But we go official on that later tonight in the Rose Garden, after my usual afternoon whiskey and bong hit break. Anything else?

Q: Mr President, could you give us an outline, or a preview perhaps, of the sorts of issues that your office is planning to discuss during the upcoming European summit?

BATTLE: So far the only thing we’ve got locked down for a hundred percent is the poker game on Tuesday night. And by the way, put it in your article that it’s a half million buy in, and to reserve a spot at the table through the White House EMail address.

Q: Who’s the deadliest world leader at a poker table?

Da

“DA”

BATTLE: Putin. Thank you.

[President exits].

To The Memetic-Mobile!

Another month, another series of ridiculous and unexpected struggles in the life of an indy comic book writer. Folks, let me offer a piece of advice to all would-be self publishers that might be reading this: If you thought money was an aggravating reality of life BEFORE, get ready to explore new levels of pain. Personally, I’m trying to look at them as birthing pains, with an infant businessman coming out the other side. At the end of the day, I can’t imagine learning the ins and outs of more advanced financial acumen with hands-on experience hurts more than majoring in business in college. Those fuckers were ALWAYS miserable. Me, I was a liberal arts major, so I spent college learning to drink.

Anyway, long story short, my car finally had enough mechanical problems to become what I THINK they call a “diminishing return resource” or some other technical crap. In layman’s terms, it means that looking down the barrel of over two thousand dollars worth of replacement parts and labor was WAY more expensive than just setting up regular payments on a new vehicle. And this is with the shittiest credit rating in the lower forty-eight.

Fortunately, I hit the car lot at a perfect conjunction of economic factors. Namely, the American economy is in the shitter while the 2008 models are going off the lot. There was a man on site MORE than happy to find a way to finance me a new Toyota. Also, he wore alligator-skin shoes which (in case you were unaware) is the mark of a professional car salesman down South.

So without further ado, let me present the NEW Memetic-Mobile:

I Call Her \'Yolanda\'

As you can see, the company has taken the responsible path of choosing one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicles on the market today. This is all part of Memetic Press’ continuous dedication to reducing our carbon footprint and maintaining a standard of green…

Fuck it, you know that’s a joke. I’m not even finishing the sentence. It’s ACTUALLY part of my dedication to not making every trip to the gas pump feel like a shower scene from Oz.

So what bearing does this have on the course of Memetic Press and After? Well, for starters it’s pushed work on Issue Two back a bit, in case you haven’t noticed (and, looking at my EMail inbox, you have). But things should be on track in that department soon enough. More to the point, the majority of my convention trips this year are either cancelled or under serious review. So, sorry Seattle. Er, and New York. And several other places I’ll mention once I know where I AM going. Sad, but these are the sorts of punches one has to roll with. One day we’ll all look back on this and laugh. Assuming we’re sober and alive.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle