Archive for August, 2010

August 28, 2010

Free Love

by nkwilczy

Free Love

Nick Wilczynski

His coins jingle out, rejected for like the third time by the soda machine. He curses the damned broken thing.

It is the middle of the day and the usual slack-abouts and drunks are wandering the sidewalk. This convenience store is within walking distance of probably at least half the really hard cases in this town, the musicians and the fiends and the criminals.

He, for instance, is typical of their lot. He carries in his pocket a marker that he uses to doodle and write obscene notes on the walls of public bathrooms, feeling the constant need when alone and private to keep his hands busy. Idle hands, he tells himself, do the devil’s work.
He sees an SUV idling up the road, and has the sudden paranoid thought that the driver’s watching him. Its engine purrs a low rumble.

The soda machine is all white on the front, you can’t tell what sort of drinks the machine even dispenses unless you happen to know it by memory. None of the buttons are labeled. The soda corporation who put it there is going bankrupt and laying off hundreds of workers. The front is traced with the angry spider webs left by fists late at night. He wonders why there’s so much anger and so damn little compassion left.

Whatever, just the way it is, he thinks as he goes to take his change, punches any button at random on his way down.

Suddenly the machine shudders and spits out the can, the engine roars and the SUV takes off, the driver leans out.

“I love you,” she shouts.

He tries recognize her, he tries to recognize her car, but he’s never seen either of them before in his life. He’s taken aback for a moment. He takes the soda and his change, then pauses by the machine for another second, before carefully sliding all the change back in, passing on the free soda. He pulls out his marker and across the front of the machine he writes a note to the next random person at the machine, professing his love, before walking home.

August 27, 2010

Same old story

by nkwilczy

If anyone is interested you can find another older alternate history of mine on the website Changing the Times.

The idea was to make Jack the Ripper a good guy, I tried to make him a general so that he could you know, express his talent for killing people without engaging social stigmas. It was a particularly peaceful time in European history, so I started with a sucessful Paris Commune, bent on vengence.

That’s just desperate condolence for the other stories I tore down here.

August 27, 2010

Deleted Stories

by nkwilczy

I’m sorrry to have taken down Exceptionalism and Do Unto Others, but I have my reasons.

Whether or not it is required I still think that if people will go so far as to publish these stories  probably ought to do what little I can to send hits their way. Exceptionalism can be found starting next month at the online magazine Fear of Monkeys. They will also be offering another story of mine in their Spring edition.

Do Unto Others can be found already on the website Apathy is Easy in the section titled World Within.

I’ll replace them later with better stories from the depths of my portfolio.

August 18, 2010

Terminology: Freedom

by nkwilczy

There has been a lot of talk about freedom lately. So Let’s talk about freedom.

First things first, what is Freedom? What does it mean to be free?

It seems to me that freedom constitutes an unimpeded choice from options. We have, for instance, a variety of careers available to us in America. You can be an accountant or a DJ or a janitor, the choice is yours. There will be no forces that impede your decision-making. You are, in this case, “free” to choose your career. Freedom does not constitute guaranteed success.

But if you take the position that we are free in this way in America then there are a number of obvious holes in your logic. The recession makes it doubly obvious, what if there’s no jobs available in your chosen field? The unemployment rate is too high to pretend that it represents a choice made without interference.

Because freedom, in practice, in America, is extremely materialistic in nature. Allow me to make an example. If you are poor you have the freedom to possess a radio or a small television or whatever you can afford to entertain you, but if you are wealthy then you have the freedom to make an unimpeded choice between a HD TV, a 3D TV, a Blueray player, while still having unimpeded access to all of the aforementioned options of the lower socioeconomic classes. If you are rich in America you are, therefore, more free. This is why materialism is such a dominant philosophy in the United States, having a position in many people’s minds somewhere between a religious devotion and a serious drug habit.

Now, let’s say for the previous example that the wealthy fellow is a CEO and the poorer one is a janitor. You can make the case that if the janitor worked harder he would be able to advance his career to equate the income of the other man. In practice though this is obviously not the case, if it were the case then CEOs would represent the hardest working members of their companies, brought up from the inside. This is not the case. We should admit that the next time the Janitor fills out an application he’ll be putting Janitor down as his work experience, if you go back further into their respective pasts you will find that 9 times out of 10 there is also a broad difference between their educational backgrounds. Let’s say the CEO went to a private school where he was coddled with a high idealistic teacher to student ratio somewhere in New England and the Janitor went to a substantially shittier public school where the teachers had run out of patience for their students and the guidance counselor had no idea what they were doing and didn’t help anyone get into college or get scholarships. These things are not the fault of the janitor, but they do end up placing arbitrary impediments on his choices (read: makes him less free). Because of this he is limited in career choices

This also exposes the ‘self made man’ for the hoax that it always has been. The truth is that we do not start out in the same places and the same choices are not available to us from the start. We are all introduced to different influences according to the accidents of our births. The ‘self made man’ is simply too self absorbed to give due credit to those influences.

Freedom is also psychological, and those influences will heavily shape a person’s psychology. This is a complicated concept, so let me unpack it. When I say that freedom is psychological what I mean is that you only really have access to the choices you are aware of. If you are raised in a one room apartment, by cynical adults then you probably have a different conception of the sort of options that are available to you than you would have if you went to private schools and were treated like a golden boy. These are radical ends of the spectrum but the truth is that there are billions of shades between them. Each of them represents a different extent of freedom, the only way to explain this is that freedom has a deeply personal psychological aspect. Anyone could (read: is free to) rap as well as Lil’ Wayne for instance, but few people have the psychology to accept and appreciate that choice. Not that they even choose to pursue it, I’m saying that few people are even aware that the choice is there. If you don’t know the choice is available then this represents to me an impediment on what we have defined for the sake of this post as ‘freedom’.

Now, all of the impediments on freedom I have discussed so far have been economic in nature, not political. In America no matter what your economic situation you can chose to be a Klansman or a Socialist or a Republican or whatever you want. You can express these opinions freely, with once again certain economic conditions, and also certain psychological conditions in how well you are able to articulate and make your philosophy empathetic.

Government gets involved in the debate about freedom, as though it’s percentage of the GDP represented some sort of slave labor sector where people are routinely tortured. The reasoning behind this is, as far as I can tell, as follows. Because freedom is economic, we express our wealth and our freedom at once by making consumer choices. Devout Vegan Locavores express these characteristics through their consumer choices the same way that vapid bimbos express their own characteristics and psychology through their consumer choices. They are free to decide what to buy, and what they buy reflects how free they are. If you are free enough to only afford a sixteen inch regular ass television how will you feel when your neighbor is unloading his enormous plasma screen? You will then see that your neighbor is more free than you because he has a wider array of choices and has selected the finest of them to display to vastness of his decisions.

This is where Government steps in as the bogeyman, because they take taxes. This money that could be used to express your consumer choices and your freedom instead is shanghaied for public betterment. To build schools or provide stabler economic conditions for children, to positively impact their psychology (read: freedom). So that the end result is that instead of having the right to a fair opportunity, or the right to food or shelter, or the right to a good education, the one right that we hold sacred is the right to keep up with the joneses.

This idea rests on the crux that if certain members of the society are ‘maximum free’ that is, free to buy anything out of any array of choices, which is apparently best established with marginal tax rates for the top incomes, then we are as a society ‘more free’ And if you take that idea seriously, if you think it has merit then there is probably little I could do to convince you otherwise.

But my counterpoint is that America was founded as a country with freedom and justice for all. So if taxation limits your consumer choices then I am ready to accept that as a fair sacrifice to provide opportunities to other people. Because Freedom is about being able to make unimpeded choices from options.

So I don’t think that Bank of America should have the ‘freedom’ to charge outrageous overdraft fees or to malign their customers in any of the various ways that they institutionally do so. I don’t think that internet companies should have the ‘freedom’ to limit bandwidth to particular sites. I don’t respect the ‘freedom’ to rob banks so why should I put up with any of that shit. If recognizing freedoms means also denying other freedoms then we must take a very careful look when talking seriously about freedom. If the freedom to rob banks causes such problems because it violates other people’s freedoms to do stable business then I suggest that we take a utilitarian view of freedom. Our goal is to create the most freedom, and spread as evenly as possible. If the bank robber succeeds then he alone reaps the benefits of freedom, he’s the only one free to make consumer choices. More people will be free to make consumer choices if he is prevented from robbing the bank so we stop him.

But then we also have to limit the bank’s ability to rob you, we also have to make sure that businesses do fair business and don’t rip off their customers. We also make sure that our drugs pass basic safety tests and that our meat is inspected. We could give the producers the right to rip off the consumers, but then we limit the freedom of the consumer just as much as we expand the liberties of the producers. We would trade the casual freedom to eat steak in a city distant from dairy farms for the freedom to sell shoddy products.

So I suggest that it is possible that we the people may have come together as a nation to discuss the balance of freedom and have done so for hundreds of years. For decades I admit the conversation has been puerile and irrelevant, and run by individuals who advocated the aforementioned view about providing select individuals with ‘maximum freedom,’ and this is exactly why this issue must be brought up and discussed in a clear way. It has been a immoral and ineffective policy, and we have to consider alternatives. But I often feel like people consider Government the anti-freedom, which is a philosophy that is not helpful when going into a necessary operation to reform to create a working government out of this disaster we have on our hands in America.

I suspect there is a root to this evil.

Go set a Benjamin on fire.

August 16, 2010

The Roast of David Hasselhoff

by nkwilczy

I watched about a third of the Roast of Davvid Hasselhoff last night, it was altogether too much.

In a lot of ways these roasts have come to represent all the worst of the Comedy Central. I am reminded of a Katt Williams story about the Flava Flav edition.  Katt was given a script and was more or less uncomfortable with it’s contents, he felt like he had been brought in to use the N word because none of the crackers were willing to get lynched over it. I feel like I’ve already explained one of the major failings of these things, they give people SCRIPTS?

I only bring up the fact that the roasts go ahead and expose Comedy Central in all it’s Jim Crow glory because it was still there at a roast of david hasselhoff. I mean, there were no black cast members, with good reason, it was a roast of david fucking hasselhoff. He is an individual firmly entrenched in white culture, He”s old enough and has been sucessfull long enough he’s probably never even had to share a bathroom with an African American. But the writers who did the script still felt like makng a lot of racial jokes.

Many of them involved Ms. Lamponelli, for a moment Gilbert Gottfried went “Do you really think in this day and age…” which was followed by a laugh track (I think the people in the audience are the twisted unfunny people who wrote the script) and I thought to myself “that anyone gives a fuck how many black dudes you have sex with?” would be a good punchline (it was in fact better than Gilberts, which had something to do with slave ships and fat chicks… yeah). That bitch’s dad is dead. His era is dead. We have a black president. (Hell, you want your graphic interracial imagery? We have a HALF black president) These jokes are not funny, they do nothing but give solace to the thirteen remaining members of the Klan (The rest joined another more prominent organization, I don’t want to point fingers but it rhymes with Bee Farty) . There weren’t even any African Americans in the cast (or the Audience, it looked like a live filming for the Glenn Beck show) to make these jokes relevant. What the fuck?

Twenty minutes was WAAAYYY too long to watch it. 

Comedy central has become in many ways the political wing of MTV. They show up and drop South Park, the Daily Show, and then when they aren’t making social commentary they frequently have good shows (new season of Futurama sux, Tosh.O is often great). So since they have better television than anything that’s been on MTV since Pimp yo Ride got cancelled I have to admit I have a soft spot for Comedy Central.

But guys, quit doing Roasts, they are just terribad.

P.S. Let futurama rest in peace, it deserves that much respect.

August 14, 2010

Bobby Gibbs

by nkwilczy

Robert Gibbs says ( according to The Huffington Post) that the administration still wants to feel pressure from the left.

This comes after he derided them as radicals who insisted on socialized medicine and dismantling the Pentagon. And I have no problem with these accusations. If I were running for office this year that would be my platform.

My problem was this, during the backpedaling and apologizing (not apologizing, he didn’t apologize) but his excuse was that he basically watched cable news all day and was moved by their portrayal of the left. He found it easy to get angry at the things he saw there.

Now, you want pressure from the left I’ll give it to you right here: Fire Robert Gibbs. Not for slandering the political base of the president (base is a strong word, considering how the administration treats them), Robert Gibbs should be fired because he gets his news from Cable News. That’s a big problem if you’re the press secretary for the white house, or so it seems to me. He’s the guy that cable news networks go to when they want to get the story. He’s supposed to have really good sources, he should have access to all the declassified documents sitting around the white house, he ought to have good enough office connections to know what is happening.

If he saw polls, if he saw RAW DATA that provided a base for his claims, then I would understand what he’s saying. When he says “Oh, I’m just feeding back into this massive echo chamber we’ve built from D.C. to N.Y. to ignore you people,” well that leads me to believe that he does not have a good grasp of his job.  If he can’t do his job, if he’s getting information from the people who rely on him for information then we have a serious problem.

And so, let me go ahead and say, retire brah. It’ll give you more time to catch up on what Bill O’Reilly thinks.

August 7, 2010

We’re here, We’re a little stoned, Get used to it

by nkwilczy

Now I wish to offer you a blog post on a subject close to my heart. How will we legalize cannabis?

The answer is that there will be a number of methods employed to do so. There are lobbyists who work on the issue in D.C., activists who promote awareness and opposition throughout the country. Drug dealers continue to serve as the vanguard of the movement, more militantly involved than the rest of us, but doing things that need to be done to perpetuate and promote marijuana culture.

But what the movement needs is not more such people. They serve purposes and work towards the final goal, but they cannot do it without tackling large social issues within marijuana culture. Certain harmful steryotypes must be demolished brick by brick and the only way it’s going to happen is if you are open and honest about the habit.

Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps. A tragic example. It is clear that if you can continue to set motherfucking world records for a sport that necessitates holding your breath then weed is probably not the deadly addictive, world shattering drug we were all told it was. Obviously the guy isn’t lazy, he just dug getting stoned a couple of times. But when confronted for it HE APOLOGIZED… as if he had done something wrong. This was not helpful to efforts to legalize the drug. This stabbed everyone in the back.

Get the fuck out of the closet, how do you think the LBG movement got anywhere? By getting out of the closet. Don’t like tell cops you’re holding or shit like that, but be honest about smoking weed in your personal relationships, work hard until they can’t call you lazy or unmotivated, live your life as a model pothead. The same examples can be made based from within the previous civil rights movements. I’m sure that when the leaders of the LBG movement started they asked themselves how black people overcame steryotypes about their brutish nature and the answer is simple, they let themselves get lynched without objecting, they produced individuals like MLK who became such a beacon of nonviolence that he dispelled much of the illusion singlehandedly.  But not with his larger than life rhetoric, with his daily actions that showed massive love for all of mankind and convinced the people around him that he was legit.

Obviously neither the struggle for gay rights or civil liberties with regard to prohibition are as large or honorable as the civil rights movement. But to the extent that it was a wildly sucessfull civil liberties movement there are definately lessons to be learned. Women got the vote by proving they weren’t stupid or unqualified and maybe it should have been self evident but to America at the time it wasn’t so they put in the hours to prove it. Maybe it should be self evident that potheads are by and large as productive and upstanding members of society as anyone else but if they can’t see it then they must be shown. That’s on us.

And so what we really need is not epic cultural crusaders, but individuals willing to confront the close minded people out in the crowd with their open, healthy, and productive lives that involve smoking weed. Even if we needed epic cultural crusaders then the only way we would produce such people would be by making them do exactly that.

We’re here, we’re a little stoned, get used to it.

%d bloggers like this: