Joseph Heller and Herman Melville are Laughing at You, Somewhere.

Tonight, I bring you PART I of my epic novel, The Sound and the Fast and the Furious, which is already slated for a major-motion picture starring none other than that exemplary thespian, Nicolas Cage, and will feature an exciting animated musical sequence:

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The following entry truly is a tale full of sound and bad attempts at nerdy literature jokes and humor, told by an idiot, signifying nothing.  No, seriously, you’ve been warned.  It’s actually nonsense.

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CHAPTER I–THE MARSDENING

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Some days at work, I am convinced I’m being set up on Candid Camera, and just as I reach my point of utmost confusion/exasperation/frustration, the camera crew is going to reveal itself and some James Marsden-from-Hairspray-doppelgänger is going to run out and say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”  (And then I’m going to proceed to beat the crap out of that guy, but that’s going to be covered in the sequel–The Sound and the Fast and the Furious 2, or maybe I won’t actually get to it until somewhere between 5 and 7).  Oh, what homage I would pay to John Locke and his eternal optimism and faith in the capacity of mankind in the aforementioned scenario.

NOTE: In my attempt to find a funny image for my probably-not-so-funny-and-not-so-smart attempt to use hoity-toity smart people humor, I came across the following image of this man when searching for John Locke:

JohnLocke-orange-2it took a bit of research to realize that A) this is a character on the TV show Lost, B) I now have -50 points for living under a rock since that show only ran for about 454634 seasons and I never watched it and C) this fan-art exists:

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You are welcome.

CHAPTER II–JANE AUSTEN’S CIRCLE OF HELL

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Catch 22 is probably my favorite book of all time, largely because it is 500-pages-worth of nonsense, and who doesn’t love a good read full of circular, satirical humor considering it basically mirrors the struggle dealing with other humans?  I first read Joseph Heller’s novel when I was an exchange student in Japan back in 2004, and since I obviously couldn’t speak Japanese and was required to sit through 7 hours of classes taught in a language I had no prior training in, I decided it would be worth my while to get a leg up on my summer reading for Senior Year.  Although Clueless contains some marks of sheer pop-culture and screen-writing brilliance, I couldn’t say the same for its basis, Jane Austen’s Emma, which I slogged through for a good week or so (and for the record, while I believe Jane Austen to have had one of the finest grips on the English language and an absolute master at subtle snarkiness, Emma just wasn’t doing it for me.  Trust me, when your only options are subtle satire on the 19th century English gentry or the monotone voice of your Classical Japanese teacher, it’s something akin to the 4th Circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno).  It was much to my surprise that Catch-22 bore ABSOLUTELY no resemblance to Emma, whatsoever, but regardless of that fact, I’m pretty sure my Literature teacher still had us write a paper linking them together or something equally ridiculous.

CHAPTER III-WHAT THIS ENTRY IS ACTUALLY ABOUT

Today, I sat through a meeting that went something like this (I’ve obviously given it a little Heller-istic flare, in the spirit of things):

Man 1: “We are in dire need of more bodies to fill the jobs in Office A.  We have been told by the higher ups that we need to figure out the solution to this problem.”

Man 2: “The same higher ups who are telling us that Office A isn’t a priority over Office B and Office C?”

Man 1: “Yes.”

Man 2: “But…the same higher ups who want the jobs filled, like, yesterday?”

Man 1: “You would be correct.”

Man 2: “I see…and ‘they’ realize that Office A requires much more trained and skilled workers and that the work is much more urgent and risky?”

Man 1: “Indeed.”

Man 2: “But, Office A still doesn’t get priority over Office B and C?”

Man 1: “No priority whatsoever.”

Man 2: “But this is a most urgent issue?”

Man 1: “The most urgent at the company.”

Man 2: “This is the same issue that we brought up and the higher ups said not to pay attention to a few months ago?”

Man 1: “The very same issue.”

Man 2: “And what do they think about it now?”

Man 1: “That you should have brought attention to the issue a few months ago.”

***

Excessive bureaucracy seems to erode the ability to make rational decisions, or at least this is something I have noticed during my time in the Machine, thus far.  Joseph Heller wrote Catch 22 to describe the absurdity of living as a sane individual in an insane world.  All I could think about today was one quote from the novel:

“Insanity is Contagious.”

Right now, I’m making my way through Melville’s titan, Moby Dick.  I plan on doing an entry once I am finished, but I can honestly say the most shocking thing about the novel is that it’s, well, modern.  Believe it or not, it is written in a relatively modern fashion (which also happened to be the reason why it was a flop at the time),  Both Moby Dick and Catch-22 are social commentaries that deal with the theme of the absurd; whether it is portrayed by the means of arbitrary social hierarchy and prejudices, the insatiable quest for the meaningless and the struggle of facing the indifference of the universe, or the irrational thought process that seems to so easily take hold of man.  Published almost 100 years apart, the similarities exuded by both novels only prove that human nature seems to remain the same, and that we may always be plagued with certain challenges (that is, until L. Ron Hubbard descends from the heavens to enlighten us all–or at least those of us who paid the entrance fee to his wacky club of wealthy lunatics).  This entry has already gone on long enough, so I’ll save the summary and more in-depth commentary of Catch-22 for now.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and as for Melville, his 500 page epic that countless high school students are subject to torture by, you know what it’s really got going on underneath all that Victorian Prose?  Fart jokes.  Yeah, that Melville guy was a real asshole.

***  

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Stay tuned for Part II of The Sound and the Fast and the Furious: CAGETANIC!!

-KP out!

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The Irony of Intolerant Tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

So I just ate a bag of chocolate–ok, not the whole bag, but I definitely just ate a whole bunch of chocolate, and it was delicious.  And it kind of went like this, minus the throwing-up-on-the-carpet-part:

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I really just wanted to share that picture with you all.

Anyhow!  Good evening and Weirdmaste to all!  A friend posted a “weirdmaste” image on Facebook recently and I thought that it was pretty spectacular, because I am all about honoring the weird here at KP.  I mean, one of my childhood heroes was Weird Al Yankovic.  Let’s be honest—UHF should have won an Academy Award for awesome (and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it).

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It’s time to spin the Wheel of Fiiiiissshhhhh!!!!

But I digress.  Actually, I wanted to touch on a more serious topic tonight; Facebook is an interesting animal.  Most of us use it to showcase the positive aspects of our lives: travel, engagements, weddings, children, pets, how we didn’t get fat after high school, how awesome and perfect our lives are–spoiler: they’re usually not as exciting and perfect as we try to make them out to be…and maybe we only take carefully angled pictures and use Instagram to filter out the wrinkles (and adult acne, for some of us).

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But we can also use Facebook to spread information.  This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the information itself.  In certain areas of the world where information is limited to the general public by government, the advent of social media has proved to be a highly effective way for connecting and furthering causes, such as the push for civil rights in Middle Eastern countries.

Facebook also allows us to see many different opinions, and this is where the topic for tonight’s entry comes into play; the irony of intolerant tolerance.  I claim to be a highly tolerant person; I think all humans deserve to be treated with equal respect, regardless of gender identity, race, age, nationality, body type, etc.  However, I still find myself critical of others at times, and I know part of learning to be tolerant is allowing others to be who they are, even if I don’t agree (although some people…just, no):

 

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Give me back my rainbow, damnit!!

I’ll never forget, I knew two people who had a very tumultuous relationship because one was Catholic and the other was Protestant.  As someone who doesn’t follow any set religion, I didn’t understand why the two had such a difficult time, because I thought it was silly to be so divided on what I considered “trivial” issues.  One day, while on my soap-box of “How-I-am-right-and-you-are-silly-and-your -problems-are-silly-because-I-don’t-understand-you,” the girl looked at me and said, “You know what I really dislike?  Non-religious people telling religious people how they should think or feel.”  And she had every right to say that.  I had no right to lecture her on my beliefs.  People are entitled to believe what they want, and as long as we are not harming others or supporting causes that harm others, etc, we should be free to our own beliefs.

100% absolute tolerance might not be a completely achievable goal, but as long as we are actively working toward a greater understanding of others, we will progress as a human society.  We can practice tolerance by stepping outside ourselves and trying to see things from another’s point of view.

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Thoughts?

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

Recently, I started reading Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, and, as always, he doesn’t disappoint.  What I like best about Murakami’s writing is that it is filled with philosophic, historic, artistic, and musical references.  Somehow he is able to take things that have struck a chord with him in his own life and apply them to his writing.  His works are also usually laden with psychology woven into them, and subsequently open to interpretation.  Sometimes his concepts are strange, but he is able to showcase the human experience very well, and in my opinion it is by the open-ended aspects and the non-definitive.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking recently, reflecting on my experiences the past year up till now, and a certain part of the book really resonated with me.  One of the main characters, a boy who calls himself “Kafka,” is staying at his friend’s isolated cabin, which is filled only with survival necessities and books.  Kafka begins to read a book about a Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, who was tasked to find the “final solution” for the Jews.  Eichmann was very systematic about it, considering financial costs, the cheapest methods for the transportation and disposal of human bodies.  He was given a situation and mapped out the best possible, practical way to complete the task.  The shocking part is that Eichmann never questioned the morality of any of it, and when he was tried as a war criminal he was lost and confused.  He was just following orders; he was just being a good officer.  The boy, Kafka, finds a note his friend has penciled in the book.  It reads:

“It’s all a question of imagination.  Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine.  It’s just like Yeats said: In dreams begin responsibilities.  Flip this around and you could say where there’s no power to imagine, no responsibility can arise.  Just like we see with Eichmann.”

I thought about this and I realized this concept is a major part of understanding the human condition.  Not everyone shares the same reality.  Our reality is shaped by our own consciousness; this may very well explain the source of all human suffering.  With regard to relationships this can be expressed as: Not everyone views love the same way.  We can beat ourselves up time and time again, we can cling to the past and think of the should’ve-would’ve-could’ves, or we can cut ties with those who have hurt us and accept that the way to heal is to just leave and move on.  Because people experience reality in different ways, we can not expect them to suddenly see and understand our reality.  There are people who will never see things from our point of view.  There are people who will never know how cruel they have been to us.  And it’s not our responsibility to tell them time and time how they hurt us and expect them to magically turn into someone else.

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In Kafka on the Shore, the concepts of God and Karma are very present.  They tie into everything; our relationships included.  Two quotes that have struck me are:

“If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. And if that’s what God’s like, I wouldn’t worry about it.” 

“Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.” 

I don’t know if I believe that everything is fated, or even what really exists within the universe, but I know that if we shape our realities from our own consciousness, while I have the faculty to see what would be poor choices for my physical and mental well-being, I am going to try and make the wisest decisions I can.  I am not going to worry about the choices of others.  Maybe my suffering in this life is caused from some karmic debt, maybe not.  Regardless, when it comes to people who treat me poorly, I will do what I know to be the wisest decision in this life I live now:  I will let them go completely.  

If a person treats us poorly, it is their karma, not ours.

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