STEVE PORNO: Doug Ipod, what is it that you believe?
DOUG IPOD: This question is difficult. It assumes that what I believe can be spoken of with recourse to language. Both English, which I speak, and human language, which we all must have some version of to intuit—but not define—the nature of our existence.
STEVE PORNO: Do you have an answer, then?
DOUG IPOD: In a very loose sense.
STEVE PORNO: Let us hear it.
DOUG IPOD: There is a power greater than us.
STEVE PORNO: This seems religious.
DOUG IPOD: I do not think that religious views of our existence are misled. They are valid to a point, but I do not share their specificity, or their idea of a deity-creator.
STEVE PORNO: So you are spiritual.
DOUG IPOD: No. The inadequate name which I would use is “existence,” keeping in mind that any attempt to name it as such is to bring it into our terms, thus escaping the definition which properly accounts for it. This statement, too, even forces the idea of definability onto it, which is not quite right.
STEVE PORNO: You aren’t quite right, I think.
DOUG IPOD: The universe, its existence: I do not see a godlike creator, nor can I see any alternative to an absolute, infinite existence. We sit somewhere between eternity and—
STEVE PORNO: I knew you were depressed.
DOUG IPOD: On the contrary. There is a meaning to our life, then. But, amusingly, perhaps not in the way we think of it under “human” rules, here on Earth. Rather, no matter what, we must have contributed in some way to existence at large. Sure, we may as well live well within the terms we have as humans, as debatable as they may be between cultures, but in any case… we have been part of something greater than ourselves. An existence which cannot be erased.
STEVE PORNO: Go on.
DOUG IPOD: Anything which may happen to the universe cannot undo that we were once in it. For even some kind of event—which I also cannot define—would be an erasure. This erasure needs something to have erased… so no matter what happens, we were there. Even if our being in the universe was mere fodder for disappearance.
STEVE PORNO: So you have great recourse to incompatibility in your worldview.
DOUG IPOD: Well yes. Either the matter of erasure, or the matter of understanding existence at all. It is this moment, when we see the contradiction, and can realise the futility—but not a despondent futility—of solving it… this is the moment we come closest to understanding. Yet, once again—
STEVE PORNO: Yes, yes, speaking of it in such a way is inadequate. I get it.
DOUG IPOD: Yes.
STEVE PORNO: I feel that your beliefs are still too magical. And that they contain an easy escape, a copout. By rejecting definition, you are immune to criticism. You can always say, “but, it is not that.”
I uploaded my ass into the cloud and it’s been downloaded over 10000000 times. It’s made its way to the deep web, where hackers have made illegal variations. You can download versions with unauthorised hacks made to it, usually by libertarians and survivalists. These versions even appear on some blogs, as a “fuck you” to the government. I do not endorse these edits of my ass.
what emerges unsaid between the juxtaposition of one reblog (a .gif of Miley saying something outrageous) and the one following it (some slowcore shit) is the collector’s buried statement: “I am a boring and unimaginative person.”
text post that begins seeming somewhat cute and relatable, talking about something like relationships, apparently sincere, with an ending that “surprises” the reader by veering into irony and/or morbidity 4391 notes
And yet, and yet—these heroic journalists, lauded for their research, are also guilty. The kicker is, they commit plagiarism in their very act of exposing it. It seems that, in my opinion, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Here are three of the more egregious examples.
Yesterday morning, Buzzfeed’s “viral politics reporter” and resident ex-College Republican Chair Benny Johnson took the unusual step of calling out another outlet on Twitter for plagiarizing his work, a masterpiece on the socks that George H.W. Bush wears. “Repeat after me,” said Johnson, “copying and pasting someone’s work is called ‘plagiarism[.]’”
The uncredited source text: the word “Twitter.” “Twitter” is the word for the sound some birds make, and also the name of a microblogging platform, called “Twitter.” Nowhere do bort and blappo credit this word or website. They never say “Twitter was founded by …” or “Twitter means ….” We don’t get a trace back to its etymological roots, or an acknowledgement of who said it first. Rather, they let the word slip by without ever saying whose it is.
2. The opening of their first example in the first post:
This sentence leaves out one crucial fact: the post was on the website BuzzFeed. Are we to believe that they somehow “knew” that Benny posted a piece on North Korea? Nowhere in that line do they even mention where Benny put that text; they never even mention the name BuzzFeed. Yet it is quite clear that they would have had to look at BuzzFeed to find out that that is in fact where it was.
3. This image of text in the first example of their second post:
Nothing about this image reveals that it actually came from Wikipedia. Fortunately, I recognised the typeface. After some painstaking research, I sourced it to a page about a man named Saddam Hussein. A bit of a jerk, it seems. Maybe they should have rewritten that text-image with a nod to Wiki, but what would I know? Taking cues from the man they hope to call out (BuzzFeed “Benny” Johnson), they commit the same journalistic crime.
Well there you have it folks. Looks like plagiarism to me. In their desperation to uncover an alleged plagiarist, the authors at Our Bad Media have fallen into the same trap. Perhaps they need to do a bit more research into journalistic ethics before they cry foul. Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity, but it seems these folks were pretty self-confident when they wrote their piece.
Preface: my interest is not based on any belief in or love of the ideology. It is more akin to Bolaño’s, who wrote about (fictional) right-wing authors in Nazi Literature in the Americas. Or: it stems from my old fascination with Per Imerslund, the Norwegian author whom I still have not read (and can find little info about). Or: to draw from what I am about to discuss, my own version of the following. In the documentary, one of the interviewees describes Rice as being attracted to that which should be off-limits (fascism, Satanism, etc.). My interest is not so direct as that. Rather, it is mediated by the artists who have that interest. I can’t help but pay attention to how fascism becomes aestheticised: I want to know more about the artists who should be (in some circles) off-limits. I do not endorse their actions—or even necessarily like the artists. I would also not flirt with fascist aesthetics myself. Rather, I look at the process behind them. I do not listen to bands like Skrewdriver, nor am I particularly interested in them. Clear fascist/right-wing beliefs are dull. Ambiguity, the why, and the how are more interesting.
As a final prefatory note: my own critical background (not really present here) is Walter Benjamin, who warned against fascism and fascist art, and died fleeing the Nazis.
This is to say that I watched Iconoclast, the four-hour documentary on Boyd Rice, by Larry Wessel. I have only slightly more to say about it than my introductory remarks.
It will still do little to convince anyone that Rice is not a fascist. My main trouble with it is that the interviewees are not necessarily apologists, but tend to reject the charges against him since they are usually friends. Claims to objectivity when looking at these accusations are always difficult. To try to be “objective” when talking about them is to allow some benefit of the doubt. This is always the case when the charges are bad—surely the accusations are enough that they should be taken seriously. The film could have done with associates who flatly state that yes, Rice is a fascist. (I of course am open to charges of sympathy merely by my own interest in these things—my own position on Rice’s ideologies is, “I don’t know.” But I do think his flirtation with those aesthetics, whether genuine or affected, is a problem, and potentially dangerous.)
Maybe this is not the aim. Most of the people in the film are collaborators and friends; it does seem to be more focused on the “scene” around Rice. By nature, most of them would be pro-Boyd. There is the footage of the anti-fascist demonstration, which Rice talks to, but this comes off as slightly ridiculous.
(I understand that Wessel and the interviewees Giddle Partridge and Douglas P. have all split with Rice since the movie.)
It is not a perfect documentary, but it kept me interested long enough nonetheless (which is saying a lot, given my attention span). I am not pro-Boyd, but I will admit to liking a few of his ambient songs (like “Solitude”) here and there.
The other complaint I have is some of the editing and animation. The fonts in the movie are pretty awful, but maybe they’re supposed to be in that light-hearted style (perhaps ironically, perhaps to match Rice’s Tiki obsession). During most of the talking heads, the film cuts to “demonstrative” graphics. Someone will be talking about dogs, so we get a montage of dog photos. Someone talks about Charles Manson, so we get a photo of Manson with his eyes animated to make him look around. It’s pointless at best, and pretty ugly and frustrating at worst. I’d have preferred to just see the interviewees during their segments. I know what a dog looks like.
This is an imperfect post, and as much a way to talk about why I watched Iconoclast (hence the preface) as it is a comment on it. It’s a brief reflection on my own troublesome investigation. This post feels like a defence. In some ways it is.