“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” -John Stuart Mill
CONTENT APOLOGY/WARNING: I have to apologize for some of the language I use. Some of it is ableist, which was done partly on purpose. As a person living with mental illness, it is my prerogative (and pleasure) to use words like “crazy” and “mad” to describe things. For someone without mental health issues of their own, I might find it crass or just lazy writing. When I use these words, which is seldom, they are used more meaningfully to me. Sometimes the dirtiest words are the ones with the most resonance (in my mind). And “we” in the “community” own ourselves, and our languages. And there will always be mistakes, guaranteed. The scholarly type will notice I haven’t provided much source material, so please factcheck and Snopes-away!
A Brief Explanation (I owe you that much)
WordPress isn’t allowing me to edit the longest of my pages (A2Zymurgy) anymore. Probably has something to with how incredibly long it is. Thus this page was born, an addendum to the aforementioned page. But perhaps I should start by saying a little something about “A2Zymurgy”…
It started as an obsessive compulsive apocrypha to the dictionary, in the dark days before everyone had the internet. There has always been information I’ve wanted to share, hidden things, stories only found in dusty old books and analogue recordings. And the secrets are all there, answers too! I always felt like the answers were always there, we just had to reach out, grab them and dust them off. And once found, shared, freely and wildly; like the 36th Chamber or the Bodhisattva vow. And we could move forward with this great accumulation of world knowledge!
One of the other things I thought I was trying to do was sort of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to a self-centred, constitutional law. Early manuscripts had rules and proverbs I had written and believed to be true. But then I realized a new constitution or rule book couldn’t be written by one person. Laws have no authority if they don’t come from the people that will be governed by those laws. To rewrite a constitution, one that will work, you need to have the entire state involved. And that was a bit beyond my purview.
So I tried to take-out what was too subjective or personal, but what it was? That still seems vague I guess. What could be described as the ramblings of a mad man. But what has also occurred, is that we may all need our own dictionaries to be understood. So many arguments are simply semantic. And what good is a dictionary if two people have entirely different ideas of what “justice” truly is?
I was also convinced after a time that there were certain correlations, truths that were common across a spectrum of cultures and peoples. And that even some of the same narratives existed between movements with no contact with each other. The science of astronomy, for example is common on every continent, in every civilization. And we did not watch the stars just to divinate, but built immense structures according to the stars and planets position and a view from above. Or look at the linguistic patterns of the world, how many languages have the same or very similar word for “mother,” “father” and so on. These are the things you notice when making a lexicon. And it is profound. Too profound not to share. Which is also in keeping with the hacker’s philosophy that the information must be free, in all senses of the word. Of course, with the advent of the internet, such an undertaking seems ludicrous, at least anachronistic. There is in fact a long history of people writing their own dictionaries, often written satirically, or at least, intrinsically anti-authoritarian and completely individual, yet all encompassing, as an encyclopedia. From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce to “The Doubter’s Companion” by John Ralston Saul, we are always redefining our words, much to consternation of the Websters, Oxfords and other pedants of the English language. How do you control or censor speech when everyone can define their words any way they wish? Dangerous, even anarchistic in its application to democracy and pluralism, while encouraging independence and self-determination. All communication should be so free and adaptable, like a good constitution, ready for amendments and refinement. We are not wise enough to write anything in stone, only lightly penciled in, to be easily erased later. We cannot write the rules for the future anymore than one or a small group could reasonably write a constitution without getting some consensus and direction from “the people.”
By now, seven months into 2021 AD, the same old truths are apparent to another generation. And avoidable disasters like war, climate change, Trump and COVID-19 have taken their toll. Yes, there’s a problem with education, but that is just one part of a vast pathology. Capitalism is another, not only in how it effects society, but how it effects ones’ own psyche. Narcissism and mental illness is another. Addiction is another. Nationalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia; the list goes on and is ever increasing. How did we get here? Well, for settlers in North America, not unlike the plot to Poltergeist, we build our house on a burial ground. We should have known better, but we didn’t. And we can’t afford to ignore it anymore, or, as some have chosen, to nonsensically defend capitalism and colonialism to the bitter end, ignoring all signs and signals. Some of us too proud, too obstinate to admit we were wrong. Even now as the seas burn with unfettered oil extraction, we won’t honour basic treaties–TREATIES! What kind of people don’t honour treaties? Our people, as it turns out. But our governments, our nation states have learned one thing: Indigenous woman are extremely powerful. They have witnessed them, and tried to argue, but could find no fault, no flaw in the truth they were telling (to power). So, they have conspired, quite recently, to a policy change. From extermination and inconsideration, to exploitation and assimilation (Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Governor General Mary Simon, &c). Not to suggest any wrong doing by these women, I am suggesting that the state(s) that appointed them will try to manipulate and use them. That is the nature of colonialism and settler government. They are trying to weaponize Indigenous women for their own interests, and it is insidious. Also see Residential schools.
Let’s imagine for a moment that we have moved forward, personally, following the ancient adage, “KNOW THYSELF.” And (imagine), we’ve basically figured out our own shit–whatever that means to you, because it will look entirely different depending on the the person. Now you should be able to be of help and service, without your ego, ignorance and prejudices getting in the way. But that only means you have more work to do. Next you have to know who your enemies (or obstacles) are. This is critical, even the acknowledgement that you have enemies is a step forward. Some people like to believe that the only true obstacles are within. But the reality of our world dictates that sometimes there are dictators, and we have to fight them. With respect to the philosophy of non-violence, which has always been a noble pursuit, from Quakers to Gandhi. But with the greatest offence, we need great defence; equal and opposite. That is what real resistance is. We can’t get the change we need from an election. We don’t get it from letter campaigns and signatures. We get it from doing stuff, or more essentially, NOT doing stuff (as in a strike [they’re not just for “unions,” you know]).
So, who are the bad guys? According to Judeo-Christian-Muslim accounts, it is the rich, or more precisely, the hoarders of wealth. A bank may also fit under this category. And coincidentally, that is exactly what anarchists and communists (socialists) think! And they aren’t the only ones! Unions and labour organizations know this. Mammon. And how obvious Mammon is. But like the followers of Moses, we still worship a Golden Calf. But we don’t need commandments, prophets or “shepherds” to lead us. We can follow the money, and we know where it’s all going. Space, apparently! But we have more important matters on the ground. Time to clean house! But what do we focus on first? As an anarchist I am loathe to create any hierarchical arrangements, but it seems to finally be clear to very a large amount of “Canadians,” at least, on “Canada Day” (July 1st, 2021). How do we maintain this momentum and level of awareness? True reconciliation and decolonialism ends with us, the settlers, figuring it out. We know what we have to do, we just don’t want to do it–until we know, until we truly know. History is painful lesson. So, again, who are the bad guys? What/Who did this?
And that is a lot of people, from the Queen of England to the average elected official (of the past 400 years). Our leaders and respective governments are directly responsible, and therefor need to be held accountable. Fortunately, all of them have names and addresses (those that are still living).
The state would have very little to defend it without the work of “law enforcement.” And they are not a military force–they are civilian volunteers, who could quit at any time without being labeling a traitor or shot for desertion, if they were morally opposed to the work. Work like taking children away from their parents (see Kent Monkman), or the violent repression of striking workers.
There were several different churches involved, including the Catholic church (The Pope) and the Church of England (The Queen, again). And they are ultimately responsible for the abuse, neglect, torture and finally unceremonious and unmarked burial of untold generations of Indigenous children. Some settlers are waking up to this, although it has been the long lived experience and history of the original peoples of this land.
No justice on stolen land. Everything within a setter’s view is the result of a great crime, stolen property, stolen sacred sites, stolen water, stolen culture and stolen children. For anything today to be made right, that first crime must be properly dealt with. From Kitigan Zibi to Palestine.
No pride in policing. Those that enforce unjust laws and legislation are not our friends. Therefor, they don’t get invited to the cool parties, and that’s on them because of their recorded behaviour (both recent and historical). see May Day, Stonewall (Pride), Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, &c.
This would be a great example of why separation of church and state is a good idea (take note, history teachers). And why religious extremism, no matter what its affiliation is intolerable in a society that recognizes, requires and thus respects truth above all else.
We need policies which are evidence-based, not in faith or capitalist wishful thinking (and inherent gamble). We need to understand science and scientific methodology. We require the critical thinking necessary to tell the difference between basic misdirection (youTube, Fox News), and reliable information.
What else? Socialism is good! Oh, yes! That brings me to our next level. KNOW YOUR ALLIES.
One of the things I most enjoyed about working with Occupied Ottawa and later Solidarity Against Austerity was people from very different places working together for a mutual cause or goal. I loved working with communists, for example, as shocking as that may be! I loved our card carrying CPC members, our Marxists, Radical Communists and socialist student groups. Just as I love your local Anarchist and labour groups (like IWW, CUPW, PSAC, &c), I loved working along side ACORN, in solidarity with the Quebec Student Movement, Occupy and, perhaps most shocking of all, church groups! I know, I know–it’s a lot to take in. But one of the biggest conspiracies has been convincing the world that Jesus and Marx were on different sides. This is the great division among the righteous or “left.” We’ve all seen too many movies, where the cops are the good guys and union members are represented as Hoffa-like teamsterism. Today we also have movements like Extinction Rebellion, full of well-meaning people that just want to save to world, like the rest of us. Because that is our mission. But we can’t do it without looking back, otherwise we have no idea where we are going.
Ableism. We do this when we say something like, “Are you blind?” When we really mean, “Are you not paying attention?”
Adversarial system. Suitable perhaps to a courtroom, but self-defeating in government.
Allies & Accomplices
A lot of people want to know how to be an ally. Or they will ask, “How can I help?” And for some people (like myself) it can take a lifetime to figure out. Hopefully some of this will save you some time! Personally, I throw away the term “ally” and replace that with “friend.” How can I be a better friend? In my mind this just simplifies things–because I am a bit daft. The criticism of “allies” is that the position is often safe at home with “hopes and prayers” rather than any real solidarity. Real solidarity means showing up, putting yourself next to whom you wish to ally yourself, and really risk something. Which is what is meant by being an “accomplice.” Nobody is asking to commit crimes (necessarily). If you want to help that means being there, at the front lines. Your heart is not as necessary as your presence. And don’t be a white knight (see below for more details)! And be real. There are predators everywhere, even in and amongst the progressive activist movements. They can be tricky to spot, so we’re always on the look out, and weary of new volunteers that are perhaps too eager to serve. And beside the regular predators, we have the government funded kind, like police who routinely go Hollywood and “infiltrate” and “immerse” themselves in communities. Always offering to buy drinks or provide rides, and being generally too good to be true. So since so many of us are jaded by the years of activism, you need to know these issues. Don’t be offended when activist X doesn’t trust you right away! Try to keep your personal stuff (ego) outside. People will trust you if they see you doing the work often enough. Which brings me to another nuance….
It must be seen to be believed. Doing the right things is great, but it has to be observed in order to have meaning outside your mind. It is never enough to be righteous, you to be seen being righteous. It must be witnessed in some way–not to be ostentatious! That will not go down well. You have to modestly be doing the right thing. Again, know your place. And leave all your baggage outside. Have no other agenda. This is another hard one, because many of us have been trained to bring our flags and literature with us. Even looking like you have an agenda is bad–like handing our pamphlets at an unrelated event. Respect, trust is earned. And sometimes it never happens. And you have to be okay with that. Your solidarity, like your love, must be unconditional. Expect nothing in return. Your only desire is to be of assistance. If you aren’t helping, you may be in the way. And you need to KNOW WHEN YOU ARE IN THE WAY. All of this takes a level of awareness that not everyone posses, and again that’s fine. We just have to know our limitations. Like, don’t promise to do more than you can. I’ve caught myself doing this a lot. Because we care and we are passionate, we want to give as much as we can. But most of us have limits, be they physical, emotional or financial–there is only so much we can do. So you have to figure out what you can do, how you can help–then do it. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Just don’t take up too much space! As in, asking questions constantly at meetings. Or taking a lot of time in any discussion or meeting. You may be genuinely confused, but if you take up too much time it can ruin a process that really requires an hour or two and no more.
Last thing about allies: Join the ones that will welcome you as a member! It won’t always work out, but like love, it is still worth pursuing. We are most effective when we are working together. And once you’re in a group, try to work with other groups. Create coalitions, these are what movements are made of. And movements can topple governments, and save planets.
Astral Projection2Zen and the Realms of Pseudo Spirituality
Another weird, or at least unforeseen result of the pandemic, has been the correlation between anti-mask (and anti-vax, anti-science) attitudes with white nationalism and yoga studios. I know, right? It’s true though. Now before you go and pull something stretching in front of your guru, I’m not calling all practitioners disingenuous. What I am saying is that there were a lot of yoga studios going against basic health protocols, as much if not more than church congregations. Which makes them about as dangerous as hair salons and fitness centres, but don’t pretend that these places are promoting health or hygiene. When it comes to matters of health, all I’m saying is listen to your doctor, your nurse at the hospital, not your yoga instructor. An observer of the anti-lockdown rallies will also note that 90% of attendants are white men, which, let’s face it, always looks bad. Am I right everybody else in the world? Only a white man would ask why. Now, I’m not saying all white men are evil. But they do happen to have been responsible for a lot of the problems we are experiencing today, and still benefit from those crimes. So the least we can do is wear a mask and pick-up after ourselves, have some respect, some manners! But we’ve been trained to regard manners as things of the elite and intelligencia. When it is so often just not using a derogatory word or dead naming someone. Some manners can be just about being kind and inoffensive. Masks are just a minor health precaution. Unless, deep down you just don’t care about hurting people or getting them sick–which is basically your own illness.
The US government declassification of various UFO videos are a distraction! Have you noticed how everything is a distraction now? Now imagine a 5-star US general or the Joint Chiefs of Staff reading reports like these…
Well you don’t have to imagine it because it happened, Vice (source of images) did a whole story or two about it. No big deal, you can bet they weren’t the only government with a “remote viewing” program. But it probably had more funding than anywhere else in world.
Partly because it has been so, so well funded, the US military have been able to figure out a few things. One of these, was how educate and train millions of men during WWII. They enlisted animators like Walt Disney. Cartoons could tell the stories they needed to learn in a plain, direct way–which was also regarded as a form of entertainment. Then, a generation of two later, Jim Henson, who was also a brilliant person–beyond Disney–had a clever idea. He spent years doing puppetry in American television advertising. And he wondered, what if we used the techniques of tv commercials for educational purposes? In other words, instead of trying to sell them stuff, why don’t we try teaching them things? Like Spanish and counting! And with the crew he assembled, most notably Frank Oz, “The Muppets” had a huge impact on the world. Which would eventually be owned by Disney, strangely (not the world, yet, just Muppets, Marvel, Star Wars, 20th Century Fox, &c).
The US military, along with about a hundred companies are responsible for the majority of the world’s pollution and waste. Too bad there is no way of ordering or regulating these things. So in other words, do all the recycling you want–like really, I do it too. But realistically our personal habits as consumers will not make the change we need. Buy ethically, of course–but consumerism is not the answer. Our capitalist friends would love you to believe that you can use your purchasing power to save the world like Oprah or something.
And, importantly: Capitalism is not the happy clown you think it is. Capitalism is Mammon. Capitalism is exploitation. Capitalism is feudalism with extra steps. Capitalism is killing us all, and we think it’s freedom! Natural, even. It is a lie we tell ourselves and the countries we invade. So say it along with me, kids. SOCIALISM=GOOD. CAPITALISM=BAD. SCIENCE=GOOD. COPS=BAD. Teachers! Help me, please! Radicalize our youth by explaining the difference between fascism and socialism. Or just take Mussolini’s word for it.
Mussolini (at least) knew who his enemies were. We seem to be stuck in WWII, fighting Nazis. And we need to remember who our allies are. The Communists! The Anarchists! The Anti-fascists! The Socialists! The Unions! All those people you thought were trouble makers and busybodies, they’ve been trying to help you. Not with promises of an afterlife or a karmic balance, but of higher wages. Weekends. Healthcare. Education. Sick days. Radically left things like that.
Achondroplasia. (without cartilage formation) The condition causing dwarfism.
ACORN Canada. “…an independent national organization of low and moderate income families with 140,000+ members in 20+ neighbourhood chapters across 9 cities.” Friendlies.
91 `Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number-- Shake your chains to earth like dew 370 Which in sleep had fallen on you-- Ye are many -- they are few.' Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Mask of Anarchy"
Anarchism. The philosophy that people don’t need kings or bosses telling them what to do, and that true authority comes from a collective (or the people). No masters, no slaves.
ANTIFA. (anti-fascists). The new, new communism. Used as a catch-all by conservatives for the boogeyman, communists, demons, Frankenstein’s monster, terrorists, witches, &c). Friendlies.
Appropriation. A tendency people have when they become slightly familiar with a culture, is to instantly adopt that culture’s language, music, &c. Don’t be one of those people. see Woke.
Austerity. In order to pay for the financial failures of government decision makers, the cutting of public jobs, services and wages (and never, mysteriously, those responsible). see Honour system.
Bad date. Socially over-aggressive and/or toxic person. And worth warning others about.
We tend to Believe what we want to Believe.
BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) Most threatening to Israel is being treated like South Africa during apartheid.
Birds. Hitchcock was right! They’re up to something.
Birthers. Conspiracy theorists that believe, supported by former president Trump, that former president Obama was not born in the USA.
Black lives matter. It should go without saying, but bears repeating on this planet.
Blue in a Red Shirt. An ongoing audition for Star Trek: Discovery. Another unforeseen result of lockdown.
Boothers. People who live on Booth Street.
Bootlickers. People who defend (rather than defund) the police.
Boundaries and limits. It’s okay to have them!
Branson the Clown.
Cancel culture. A term used by conservatives to discredit progressive reforms, like removing the statues of Confederate soldiers, slave owners, genocidal dictators and the like. But it never seems to apply to banning Critical Race Theory, books, protests, burkas, niqabs or veils.
Carlson, Tucker. Attempts to justify conservatism by appearing ignorant.
Catcalls. You don’t need a degree in ethics to know catcalling is wrong. Please stop.
Charity. Usually a tax break and always hierarchical.
Clown. A person who is a joke. A jester that thinks they are a king (1%).
Cognitive dissonance. An ironic or hypocritical act or thought process. Like invading the Capital Hill building waving the American flag, or attacking police officers with a thin blue line flag. Or thinking that doing what the president of the United States told you is somehow anti-authoritarian? I could go on. see January 6, 2021.
Colour blind. A Christ-like state white people claim to have achieved. “I don’t see colour,” is the usual indicator.
Colourism. In television and film, this where Black actors with lighter skin are hired more often than Black actors with darker skin. see Racism.
Communism. If “capitalism” thrives on competition, why is it so threatened by communism? THE red hearing of American politics, only recently replaced with terrorism. Used during the Cold War to justify the military industrial complex and astronomical spending on nuclear weapons, drones, astral projection (see Remote viewing), &c.
Consensus. Not an impossible thing. It is what we expect a jury to do. But for some reason it seems impossible in a band of four people, or even in a marriage of two. It helps if you all have the same ideals. And it’s very useful to have a system of decision making established that everyone agree to from the beginning. We have little time for arguments amongst ourselves.
Consent is explicit. Mucho importante. Bodily autonomy, respecting both ones’ own and other people’s rights is vital. Save your kids from experiencing some trauma and tell them about it. see Touching.
The Conservative Party. A hate group.
Conservatives. Regressives. Always last on the bus. What Kurt Cobain would refer to as dinosaurs.
Contrarian. A psychological condition that forces people to take unpopular, and opposing sides to arguments; making consensus impossible, blocking every decision.
Critical race theory. Helpful or threatening, depending on how racist you are.
Cunt. In Scotland, this word is commonly used to describe everything. As in, “Look at this fucking cunt.” Or “Cunt weather we’re having.” This small detail should probably be in every Highland tour book and explained to visitors; and yet, inexplicably no international incidents.
Dead name. Calling a person by their discarded name. Like calling Mohammed Ali Cassius Clay, or calling Elliot Page Ellen. NO NOT DEAD NAME. It is a form of discrimination.
Deep state. A US conservative conspiracy theory that Republicans are being constantly confounded by a “liberal elite” within the government working against them. And yet that secret organization never supports progressive policies when Democrats are in office.
The Devil’s Dictionary. (first published as The Cynic’s Word Book, 1906) Ambrose Bierce, 1911.
A Dictionary of the English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1755.
Dictionnaire philosophique. Voltaire, 1764.
Dissenters. Agents that are knowingly or unknowingly working against consensus. They will join your group. They are relatively easy to identify because they are the ones that disagree with most proposals.
Disinformation and Misinformation. Conservatives, Russian bots and tyrants are programmed to believe that lying and cheating is the only way to winning, and in defence will say it’s because the other guys do it (ie: liberal media). Any evidence of a “big lie” in liberal or leftist circles is pending.
The Doubter’s Companion. John Ralston Saul, 1994.
Education. We all could use some more. Your responsibilities and work didn’t end after university. Not even after “retirement.” A journey, not a destination.
Extreme left. Another conservative boogeyman term. Extreme leftists are basically hippies living in communes off the grid. Only dangerous to Confederate monuments, police stations and patchouli oil reserves.
Fakes, fetis and pretendians. Usually white settlers who use the status for benefits, jobs, grant applications and tax evasion.
Fat shaming. “Fitness experts” and 80’s fashion model aesthetic, armed with the pseudo-science of a 200 year old BMI (body mass index) theory have otherwise intelligent people worried about how many fat people there are, and not how many people are starving right now, while whitey is on the moon.
Remember Canada Fitness? That was a minor nightmare for those of us that were not the athletic type. I remember feeling so much shame. That I was slower, weaker and fatter than most of my classmates. Always a bronze. I even stole another kid’s silver badge because I was so ashamed of my participation patch. Imagine, if you will, being called into your gym teacher’s office with the other fat boy. And the teacher telling you both there’s a problem–with your weight. We have to work extra hard. Thank you, Mr. Martin.
Of course you don’t realize you have rights or anything when you’re a child. People are afraid to tell you! They think we’ll take advantage–not that adults will try and take advantage of kids. Sure, we were told not to talk to strangers. But we were never told about consent. We were never told that it was alright to say “no” to a hug. We were pinched and prodded so much when we were young, it really prepared us for working at the office. This is what makes me an anarchist at heart, because so much authority has been misplaced. From parents to presidents.
What else have we learned? So much, too much! The darkest days are sometimes the most illuminating. We say that we care about our children, that we would do anything for them. But if it means taking time off work, we will roll the dice and send our babies to boot camp in a petri dish. Stay home? Watch our kids? WTF? We did not sign up for this! See, I thought you did. I thought that’s what you meant by “do anything for them?!” And the wearing of a mask is a such a hardship! No one has ever suffered so much! Except for your great-great-grandparents (Spanish flu). No, wearing a mask is too much to ask, unless you’re in a hospital, or it’s Halloween, or it’s another kind of costume party, or some hazing ritual, then you’d be all for it, wouldn’t you?! Wouldn’t you?! I’m sorry. I’m angry I guess. The Trump regime dulled our senses, then the pandemic scared us to death, to worse than death, to fighting over toilet paper.
If I get anything fundamentally wrong here, I blame my bipolarized brain! Please just dismiss the things that will inevitably not make sense. Don’t take them out. Leave them there as examples. It’s really my failures I’ve learned from the most. Maybe someone else can save themselves the decades of creative suffering.
Faustus. Booth Street cat, formerly of Florence Street.
Fukushima. When you screw-up on a monumental scale, it’s called a Fukushima, or Fuckushima depending on where you are from. As in, “Ah, Fukushima!”
Gender reveals. Baby anatomy party? More revealing about the parents than the child.
Honour system. Most governments are sworn by this, and it never works. see Prorogue, Notwithstanding clause, United Nations, ICC, &c.
Identity politics. Usually referred to by conservatives as problematic, because somehow attempting to represent one’s own community makes you prejudiced. Thus, it is responsible for many of the ills in the world (so logical it hurts).
Incorporation. A capitalist loophole for avoiding personal responsibility.
ICC (international criminal court) Great idea, unless certain countries can just ignore decisions. Looking at the US, Israel and Canada to name a few culprits.
January 6, 2021. Conservatives once claimed that they were the rational ones! When was the last time some Bernie supporters invaded a government building?
Literally foaming. Not the silent majority.
Oh! And apparently, you have to pay people a certain amount of money or they won’t do certain jobs. What’s up with that? Business owners clutch their pearls in the shock and horror of it all. They say that there is this thing called “rent…” And it has been going up… As well as other things…
Leary, Denis. The only thing he should be famous for is ripping-off Bill Hick’s material in “No Cure For Cancer.” An asshole, indeed.
Liberal media. Conservatives will use this term to describe most media outlets because they can no longer call them “Jew-run media.” see Cancel culture. Beyond the anti-Semitism, what conservatives least like about news outlets (as with science) is that they are usually evidence-based.
Liberals. Centrists. Which, at the end of the world, is like being neutral.
Male gaze. One of the most legitimately threatening things in the world. Dudes, be cool. Notice when you are staring at someone and stop. That’s it.
Masks (and other minor medical precautions). A great burden unlike any other faced by privileged 21st century people. Predominantly white men (with the usual white supremacist, nationalist, conservative agenda) who, one would assume never wear condoms for the same (well researched) reason.
May Day. International workers’ day. Begun in the US in 1886 as part of the fight for an eight-hour day.
The Meaning of Liff. Douglas Adams, 1983.
Military industrial complex. Former president Eisenhower warned us 60 years ago, but did we listen?
Damned Millennials! And scared (and scarred), probably. Poor things.
Monroe, Robert Allen. Former radio executive turned expert in altered consciousness, and the “out-of-body experience.” Founder of the Monroe Institute.
Moranis, Rick & Winslow, Michael. Parents who gave up careers in Hollywood to stay at home and look after their kids. Neat, huh?
Musk the Clown.
Notwithstanding clause. Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights. Basically lets your premier off-the-hook temporarily when they don’t want to do what “big government” tells them (like pay carbon tax).
Nurses. As close to saints and saviours as we will find on this planet. They were already overwhelmed, working long days and never paid adequately. And it was “hallway medicine” before. Which is why they needed to build extra spaces just for COVID-19 patients.
You know the church and the 1% have a lot in common, the most interesting thing is that you pay more taxes than all of them. No really, you pay more–because they pay nothing. It’s true and there’s no way around it. Nothing to do but keep going to school and working our go-nowhere-jobs. The house is on fire, and we’re fine. Because we are those boiled frogs, man! You know why your favourite TNG episode is “The Inner Light?” Do you? It’s because it’s about us, man! It’s about earth!
In terms of Charlton Heston movies, we are in our “Soylent Green” period. Far perhaps from “The Ten Commandments,” at least a few days before “Omega Man,” and a year or two before “Planet of the Apes.”
OOT. A short-lived zine about the post-occupied scene in Ottawa.
Party system. Hierarchical and partisan, avoiding personal (and moral) responsibility. Sounds more fun than it is.
Peterson, Jordan. Attempts to justify conservatism by sounding intelligent, fails to do either.
Penguin Publishing. Predicted by the Prophets (wormhole aliens) in the 1990’s, before Family Guy or Bojack Horsemen.
Politically correct. (PC). A term created by conservatives to make progressive behaviour sound like it was forced on us all by lobby groups (unlike everything else).
Pre-emptive limp. When you limp before having to, so you don’t have to later. Like, today I was pre-emptively limping to the Record Centre because I was working in some new shoes.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford Dictionary. Simon Winchester, 1998.
Prorogue. Shutting down parliament. A great Canadian faux pas until Stephen Harper, now Liberals do it whenever they want to shut the Conservatives down.
Proud boys. Canadian fascist fight club, popular in the US, founded by Gavin McInnes.
PTSD. (post traumatic stress disorder). Trauma is common among people of all kinds, with all kinds of different experiences. Often occurring in childhood, and can become a defining part of one’s character.
QAnon. A highly glorified (website?) for conservatives and the other sheeple.
Racism. A concept that the Western world is still trying to understand, and are arming themselves against understanding. see Critical race theory.
Remote viewing. (Stargate Project) A formerly secret psychic intelligence program funded and supervised by the US military (1975-1995). see Russell Targ, Robert Monroe.
Rent. The money we pay to live on stolen land. And yet none (or very little) goes back to the ones it was stolen from. No justice.
Ren & Stimpy. Significantly influenced the next 30 years of animation. No Ren & Stimpy, none of your precious SpongeBob.
Research. This is something we once suggested people do. Then they tried to “research” subjects like global warming and COVID-19 using youTube, with little education or training in science and no critical thinking. If you can’t tell the difference between peer reviewed, evidence-based analysis and obvious bunk, trust those that can. Why even bother having doctors anymore if everybody is going to self-diagnose themselves? Even doctors have doctors. It is as true as what they say about the lawyer who represents himself in court…
Resentment. There will be some. Beyond the billionaire space races, the “Let them eat cake,” of 2021. We have clearly identified two different character types on this planet. There are those of us that haven’t seen our families in almost two years, worn a mask everyday, socially distanced, haven’t gone anywhere; and have never complained. And then there are those that haven’t done a damn thing, never wore a mask, took pride in their remaining normal, then protested bitterly because their yoga studio and kid’s schools are closed. Oh, and they want to pass on getting vaccinated! This is a big problem. And it’s multi-generational. There will be millions of future lawsuits from children against their parents for what they’ve done the past year and a half. Trauma is always difficult to deal with, and we were woefully unprepared (emotionally and intellectually) for the all the effects of the pandemic. I have often wished we had a narrative of 1919 that we could have looked to. We’ve seen movies about how to deal with Nazis, but I’ve never seen a film about a 20th century pandemic. There were no obvious lessons we could rely on. No old adages or famous movie clips where you see Leonardo DiCaprio wearing a mask and closing the local pub. If there had been, how many lives might have been saved or turned around? Because we sometimes can’t conceive of a thing unless we’ve seen it before. I was reluctant to take COVID-19 seriously at first. I think it was a defensive reaction, because I saw it as a greater threat to mental health–which it may yet be, down the line.
Residential schools. In North America, as in other parts of Europe, these schools were used for the abuse, assimilation, detention and ultimately death of generations, specifically Indigenous children. Mass, unmarked graves are common on Residential school grounds. As in Ireland’s mother-and-baby homes, which also remained open until the 1990’s.
Responsibility. What we owe our neighbours.
Rights. What our neighbours owe us.
RLSH. (real life super heroes) A movement comprised of all kinds of people, from individuals that want to be vigilantes, to folk who just want to feed people and like to dress-up.
Roller’s rights. The universal right of the roller to light the joints they roll.
The Romulan Moons. A Facebook page, zine and page here of drug induced antique humour from the future (mostly memes). Watch Star Trek!
This week is the first since last year that our hospitals have been COVID (patient) free. I’m hopeful that it will continue like this, but the delta variant seems to spread faster, and infects fully vaccinated asymptomatically. Meanwhile, everything is opening up again (after lockdown #4).
You know there are patterns to even the most random, chaotic things. We see it in nature, in history and our daily lives. In quantum physics, the observer has a direct influence on what is observed.
Another revelation, or popular explanation of our time is narcissism. Odds are you have had a family member or friend that is/was a narcissist. And once you realize that, other truths and explanations surface. Prepare yourself!
When we observe our enemies and their enablers, we always wonder “Why?” We want to understand. We demand it. But there are so many possible factors to ponder. Or, in other words, what makes good people go conservative? As the movement/party of the status quo, the first motivation for being conservative is privilege/wealth, and the wish to keep it. Which explains why most rich people are very conservative. The second most plausible explanation, is ignorance. They just don’t know any better. Which is simple enough, educate them! Health officials and the government try to spread the best advice and information they have to that date. Problem solved, right? No, another segment of the population doesn’t believe certain “authorities.” And it’s hard to blame them when our governments do get caught spreading misinformation or propaganda–even, in innocent o’ Canada. The problem with ignoring medical advice from experts and professionals (beyond being basically self-destructive), is you would have to subscribe to a huge, worldwide chemtrails-like conspiracy involving hundreds of governments and millions of doctors and nurses. When a hypnotist is looking for a subject, they try to find what they call the most “suggestible” people in the audience. So, there is always a certain percentage that have a basic need to follow. And then there are the narcissists.
As the leading experts have noted, there is no treatment for narcissism. You can try explaining why they are mistaken about something. But the narcissist has too many shields and walls up, they cannot really listen–unless there is some part of them that wants to change. And even then, it almost impossible to reform a narcissist. Look it up. Look it all up. Tell me I’m wrong. “Do your research,” which sounds like sarcasm these days. But you can’t use youTube. Sorry, but that’s another “rule” in current debate. Using youTube as evidence is as good as hearsay. Narcissism has all the traits of a mental illness. But the other important thing to remember is that narcissists are made, not born. It is learned, most often from other narcissists (like parents, &c). And a sort of sick cycle is perpetuated by people that have no idea what is happening. And odds are they would never believe you if you tried to explain it to them. They are lost, “far gone” as Shakespeare might say.
There is also something to be said about “brainwashing.” And as prevalent as messages are that try to sell you things in this society, and systemically (rape culture to red baiting), a person could also be confused. How many millions of movies and tv shows have had a police officer as the protagonist? Now, I like “Law & Order” too. But the Western world’s obsession with crime fiction needs to be examined. Few societies in the history of the world have had such a fondness for cops. Like, it’s fucking weird. Almost as if it’s something our society has to try to tell itself to legitimize the ever increasing budgets for police “services” and the regular deaths and brutality. This has basically been the way of things since television started. During the depression and prohibition, “crime” was often blamed (not capitalism or Wall Street). FBI agents like Eliot Ness were living legends. Revered in their time. This was also what is referred to as the “Golden Age” of comics. And what were these super heroes concerned most with? Crime. Crime!
Now, imagine, if you can, comic book writers did something different. Instead of being devoting all their talents to fighting crime, how about if they just tried to help? Like, Food-man! He just wants to feed people, and does it everyday! What a hero! Or, Water Woman! She tries to keep people hydrated! Or, Shelter Boy! A mild-mannered kid that protects the homeless! Or, The Teacher! A faceless figure that goes around trying to explain that the poor are not the enemy. Then later there could be more nuanced characters like Safe Person! They are safe to come out to, or just talk about stuff without too much judgement. Now all these people exist, just not as a super hero–with the exception of some RLSHs. And they are not so celebrated. Why? And why are we so suspect of “do gooders?” White knights I understand all too well why we are suspect of them, they are suspicious characters.
Another nuance: Don’t be a white knight. Good works is one thing. But we have to learn our place and how we can be of service. White knights are the ones that go into other people’s communities, think they have the answers, and basically try to take over. Many narcissists are white knights. It feeds their ego, and creates an impenetrable shield from any and all possible criticism. I’m not a bad person because I do X. Which is up there with the ‘I’m not racist because I have a Black friend’ defence. Not too subtle. Laughable, really, and typically a narcissist’s feelings are easily hurt because they honestly don’t understand why you are attacking them. “Attacks” like, ‘Did you get this from a reliable source?’ or ‘Do you understand how climate change works?’ You can see it transpire on your average Housewives show. A rich, privileged person is more hurt by being called a racist, than by actual racism. Watch. Every time someone like Luann gets called out, or politely corrected about a race related issue, it is like the most heinous thing you could have possibly said. And it’s “I think you should leave,” from the Countess, Miss (fucking) Manners herself. And this, my children is how they cancel themselves. It never fails. With enough rope or mic time, they hang themselves, because they have no control.
It is an historical irony that those that have little control of themselves will covet control over others. Fortunately, for us. Imagine what a clever Trump could do? Some systemic issues work in our favour, like the promotion of inept leadership among conservatives. Not to suggest that their liberal counterparts only crown Harvard professors. Or that our third or fourth parties are capable of finding the great leader we require. And that is part of the problem with parties, and leaders. We are at their mercy. One bad leader and the pyramid falls. No reliable back-up systems, no safety or security system in place. No moral code but trial by popularity contest.
Sex workers. Workers of the sex trade, who deserve all the rights and protections as other workers, especially from law enforcement (police, ACAB).
Sheeple. The propensity of the human species to foolishly follow, like sheep. An expression often used (ironically) by sheeple to describe people trying to live safer, unharmful lives.
She Named It Canada. “A people’s history of Canada in words and cartoons — 10, 000 copies already sold!” First produced in 1971 by the Corrective Collective.
The Sisko. The Emissary, Brother Benny, Captain Benjamin Sisko of the USS Defiant and Deep Space 9 (Terok Nor).
Sixties scoop. A part of the Indigenous assimilation by the Dominion of Canada, like the residential schools. Although mostly associated with the 1960’s, it was a system in place for most of the 20th century. Children’s Services has been directly involved in removing babies and little kids from their homes and placing them in mostly settler communities. Some mothers never saw their children, because the hospital called CS as soon as they were admitted. They never have a chance. And this practice is still going on to some extent. Indigenous parents are far more likely to have their children taken away than any other group in this country. It’s important to remember that a lot of what we consider “history” is still going on, unchecked and unfazed by any morality or progress in the world.
Slack. Couldn’t we all use some more? see Church of the SubGenius.
Slacker. Richard Linklater film, and 90’s youth culture.
Slacktivist. Another conservative term for the “armchair activist” that does little other than vote and change their facebook profile picture, which is significantly more than some people do.
Socialism. People working together. That’s pretty much it. The thing conservatives are most afraid of.
Solidarity. Non-hierarchical, mutual support.
Church of the SubGenius. Founded by World Avatar J. R. “Bob” Dobbs in 1953, rebelling against Jehovah 1’s plan to make us all work. Also a Lovecraft-based, pseudo-new age cult first pamphletized in 1979, spreading like some hideous disease from the future. Also involves aliens, conspiracies and a general urge to take more breaks. see Slack.
Targ, Russell. American physicist and parapsychologist. see Remote viewing.
Targ: A Klingon pet. Watch Star Trek!
House of Targ. Old Ottawa South arcade and venue.
Teachers. Like nurses, are often overworked and underpaid.
Teaching. As with appropriation, the temptation to teach immediately after learning is strong. Try to avoid this. Wait, and learn how and when to teach. The teaching isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of reflection and study between learning and teaching. You may mean well, but misinformation or misplaced words can be damaging no matter what the intention.
Terrorism. The new communism, as a 21st century catch-all term for enemies of the state. When communism no longer looked like a legitimate threat, a new reason for the military industrial complex had to be identified.
Time. Less influential the more it is studied. A watched pot never boils.
Touching. Keep your hands to yourself, unless it is obviously consensual. (That means hair, hands, and yes, even hugs).
Toxic. A person, relationship or situation that is damaging. As in, toxic masculinity (a narrow, oppressive or elite view of being a man).
Truthers. Conspiracy theory believers about the 9/11 attacks.
Understanding is overrated. I mean, where’s the mystery in that?
Unions. Friendlies, and usually accomplices. There are all kinds of unions with their own rules and ways of doing. Many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today were fought for by workers unions, like weekends and eight-hour days. These were not gifts given by appreciative bosses, but hard fought, with many casualties. And who did we fight? who else would fight striking workers but police? That is after all their job. see May Day.
United Nations. The grand oxymoron of the 20th century! Great in theory, but when half your nation states are at war with each other, and the big ones can just ignore anything they don’t agree with, it doesn’t work very well.
The USA has been at war (approximately) 227 out of 245 years (since 1776).
Vaccines. Saved millions of people (rabies, diphtheria, tetanus, anthrax, cholera, plague, typhoid, tuberculosis, polio, mumps, rubella, small pox, measles, ebola, COVID-19, &c). Side effects may include survival.
Victim mentality. A mostly conservative condition where the most privileged people in the world believe they are being victimized (by abortions, BLM, taxes, vaccines and various conspiracy theories).
Virtue signalling. People who would never say a word about a person wearing a cross, or war medals, or waving a flag; but complain about about a bumper sticker that reads “Save the Planet,” calling THAT virtue signalling.
Voting. At times it is appears necessary, but as an anarchist I am bound to view such things as failures. Because it is always a failure when there is no consensus.
Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.
Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.
But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called “the predatory phase” of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.
Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.
For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.
Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: “Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?”
I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?
It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.
Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept “society” means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is “society” which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”
It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished—just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human being which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.
Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society. Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.
If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly-centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time—which, looking back, seems so idyllic—is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.
I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.
For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.
Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.
The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.
Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.
This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?
Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.Albert Einstein
White knight. This is a person playing the role of hero or “good guy.” Most politicians fit into this category. Showing what they believe is heroic, and what they believe their observers (or voters) believe. If playing the role does not serve any direct or material purpose, it mainly feeds the ego. White knights are often narcissists. And they don’t actually care about any cause, only about what serves their needs. A love, quite conditional.
Woke. An ironic Black American expression, that has been appropriated by white America to mean politically correct.
Y? Because I love you. You will notice that historically, our youth have been in the vanguard. Whether they want to be or not. Despite the constant refrain of “kids these days.” We’re not sorry, but the rules have changed while you were out. They upgraded the curriculum quite certainly since you were in school. And this should please you. Instead you accuse your local public educator with brainwashing, communism, &c. Let your children show you how to use the computer, as we once explained the VCR to our parents! Don’t be afraid of learning new things from new people.
Yoga. A Hindu spiritual practice misused and misunderstood in the western world as a new age stretching business.
Zs. (also Zzz, Zzzz, &c.) To sleep perchance to dream.
People like to talk about what they deserve. And knowing one’s worth is worth knowing! But as far as I can tell, this is not the universe where people get what they deserve. Good people die young. And bad people live long and pampered lives. Our histories are of oppression and suffering, and the unending battle against tyranny. Progress, given enough time, is not guaranteed. As much as we attempt to move forwards, there are conservatives that will take us two steps back. And so we do this dance, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. And we wonder why “millennials” aren’t falling for it, like our parents did. Maybe they are more educated and expect more out of life than ceaseless misery? Maybe they don’t see a real future? It becomes more difficult to imagine everyday.
What else have we learned? This is just the obvious stuff. The reader will make their own conclusions. I have often found, in the cycles of my own life, that I work well in the eye of a storm. That I am capable of great leaps during dark times. There is a profoundness to days like this. Which also correspond to personal upheaval. Like separating from a partner after thirteen years. This is also when it is most dangerous for me. I have a history of doing stupid, desperate things when I am depressed and lonely. Like writing my own dictionary. And some would fail to see the point. I have! But that is my own naturally doubtful self, being my own worst critic. Oh the dialogues that go on in my head! My Brain and I. We don’t always agree. And I’ve developed weird back-up systems of my own in there. When another humiliating and unhelpful memory arises, a voice inside says: “stop.” And it makes me to move on, without dwelling too much. Always a worrier! That’s what they used to say about my grandfather Adam Edwin Brummel. He would think too much, and lose sleep over a well he had covered 50 years previous. Drive out the next day and check on that old well, and probably brought some cement and wood just in case. He was quite active, my pa. In his late-70’s he would still be climbed onto the cottage roof and making repairs. He had hands like shovels. Like Jack Kirby hands. And yet, soft as silk. Softer! Softer than the softest thing. And I was “soft” to him. When he was a teenager, he already had experience doing everything the average family farmer would do. And he loved it. Quit school in something like grade 5. And ironically married a teacher, my grandmother, Iola. And it was her voice I heard last year when the pandemic was creeping in, “Wear a hat!”
“Wear a hat!” I could clearly hear her say. As she did in those summers on Oak Lake. And I have done. Been wearing hats ever since (since 2020). Today I am wearing my $4 black baseball cap, as I do most days. They would have been able to remember the Spanish flu, they were kids but it was going on around them. Fortunately there was no youTube, Qanon, Fox News or Russian hackers to confuse people in those days. According to records, there was the usual hesitancy from churches and bars. But most people complied with health ordinance, even if they didn’t understand the science. Even in rural Southern Ontario. If they didn’t, I might not be telling my story now. And when the smallpox vaccine came out, they didn’t need to know what was in it. If they did read the ingredients it would not have a difference in decision making. Again, no Fox News. And you know who oversaw the great communist smallpox vaccination drive throughout the world? WHO. The World Health Organization. All a part of the grand conspiracy to keep you alive.
Some things just correlate, like the love of cats and resentment of law enforcement (ACAB, 1312). And that I believe is natural. In nature we can observe harmonization. There is tendency toward the synchronization of things. Frequencies with sympathetic vibrations, or a series of pendulums wanting to swing in time–as if the universe had a will. Ma Brummel might have said that was God or Jesus talking. Science seems to have other explanations. But it is observable–of that even the great youTube can attest! The planets align–and what an abstracted observation, seeing lights in the sky making a straight line! Enough perhaps to make you consider that someone upstairs was arranging things. Being unable to conceive that alignments were inevitable given that the planets circle a centred sun like a clock face. It is almost inconceivable to modern humans how our solar system spins through our galaxy, let alone to peoples of the past. And as our stone circles, pyramids and animal depictions have attested, it has been a two-way conversation.
A relatively modern message (although an old issue) painted in the streets, is “LAND BACK.” Simple, straight to the point. We all know who’s land was taken. Again, no justice. This is what “unceded” means. It means this land was stolen, and there was not even a treaty signed–depending of course on where you are are. At the moment, I am on Algonquin Territory. That means I live on stolen property. I’m not calling all the settlers that live here thieves. I’m saying that we were sold stolen land. And if we don’t have some reconciliation about this, it is yet another thing we are passing off to our children. CAVEAT EMPTOR. We are not responsible for all our ancestors’ actions, but we are responsible for not doing anything today. Not to say that nothing is happening (double negative intended), or has happened. Movements are boiling to surface level, where even major media can see it, and have to acknowledge it, though they cannot understand it. They never saw it coming. It must be seen (please pardon the constant ableist language).
My mother’s people were mostly Highlanders, according to my grandmother’s detailed research. Urquharts, Stalkers, Camerons, Gilmores and Andersons. And grandfather Urquhart wore a kilt, and hired pipers for all worthy occasions (weddings and funerals). It wasn’t until my 30th birthday that I had an Urquhart kilt of my own, the first (and last) tailor made thing I ever had. Our coat of arms is cool, three boars heads with a bare breasted woman holding a sword in her right hand, and a tree in her left hand. Both John Gordon (my grandfather) and Gordon Bruce Urquhart (my great-grandfather) served in the World Wars. Johnny was fresh out of Glebe (high school) when he joined up.
There were many profound moments when I visited Scotland in 2003. There was a connection I felt, that I had never experienced before. We should have a reverence for the land wherever we are, but nothing quite resonates like the land your ancestors lived in for a millennia. And when I returned here, I could now understand the settler’s indifference to this land, because nothing here was sacred to them. And I felt I could understand the motivation behind Indigenous resistance to colonialism, because I understood a little about Scottish and Irish resistance. I always had a moral solidarity with colonized people. But it’s when you feel colonized yourself that begin to feel it more deeply. I feel somewhat robbed of land and language. I read about the Highland Clearances, and it resonates more because it was only 200 years ago. The displacement of people being one of the great historic crimes. Scotland itself lost its independence because she tried the colonial game, but lost big. So we sold out to England, after all those wars between us, just to bail us out (from “the bank”). Which goes to explain the stereotype of the dour Scotsman. But be careful who you say that too! Scottish people are not keen on the generalizations that have been propagated throughout the colonized world. I once made the mistake of mentioning to a Scotsman that the Scottish are thought to be, how shall we say? Frugal? I had to carefully back away…
Scotland is also where I started associating with communists. Scottish communists! Whom of course have had a long, unique history. James Connolly is still spoken of well. What are called the working classes in Scotland are relatively well versed in their socialist roots. “I didn’t come here to die,” being a commonly said phrase at the pub. How many Ontario workers can quote their union leaders from 100 years ago? I imagine not that many. I was also jealous of the average Scottish person’s knowledge of Gaelic. I met one woman, Janet, she was about 70 or 80 (in 2003). She lived on the first floor of the building I was staying at. And she could speak Doric! I had never heard of Doric. But in the town she was from, everyone spoke Doric. My friend Chris and I were at her place a few times for tea. It often took her awhile to bring out the cups, &c. So it didn’t take long to notice the pictures of her family on the wall. And again, I was surprised. I shouldn’t have been–but I too often have low expectations. From what I could see, she was married to a dark-skinned Sikh man. And the proceeding pictures were all of their children and grand-children, who still visited often. Janet said that when she was a little girl, her family had been up to Castle Urquhart. And she swears she saw the Loch Ness monster. And I tend to believe her. There are some things you cannot question.
The Brummels on the other hand are really from parts unknown. It’s a Welsh name. And my grandfather said that’s where his father said they came from. But there are no records of them going as far back as my mother’s family. It’s likely they were settlers from further in the past. They may have been Loyalists that moved North when the war for American independence happened. But we really don’t know. The spelling seems even to have changed throughout the years. And with such questionable lineage, well–we may never know where all of this came from. And perhaps that is just as well! Sort of an unusual name, Brummel, no matter how you spell it.
Last week, as I sauntered back from the post office, I passed by a box of books on the sidewalk. And it is difficult not to look, even in these times of plague. Of the dozen or so books, one caught my eye because it looked old. The title on the side read: “The Dragon’s Teeth.” I picked it up, and since I actually had a plastic bag inside my usual satchel, put it in the bag inside the satchel and didn’t think more about it for a day or two. Then I remembered that I had a questionable book in the house. And Faustus was already on the table, so I took the bag out of the satchel, the book out of the bag, and handed it to Faustus. Faustus sniffed it over well, and did not react as he does when he smells cat pish. So, as it had passed that crucial test, I finally opened it.
“I. The Vanishing American
MEET BEAU RUMMELL. No, not Beau Brummell; he was a London gentleman of fashion born in the year 1778 … Beau Rummell. Beau Rummell war born in Cherry Street, New York City, in the year 1914.”
I’m not saying it’s glitch in the Matrix or that it’s a sign–or maybe it is. This old book from 1939 was a part of a long “crime fiction” series by an author whose pen-name and main recurring character was “Ellery Queen.” This is all as true as your Wikipedia will tell you! And “The Dragon’s Teeth” was the only book that gave Queen a partner, namely Beau Rummell. The most ridiculous name–to my ear. And it was a good book. And brought more questions than answers, as good books should, I suppose. One sentence, for example, in the first chapter I found funny. “That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” So, did the screenwriters of Casablanca get that line from this book? Or, was that an expression of the time? But then that makes me think it must have come from somewhere else? If you google that you will only find reference to Casablanca, a movie that was released several years after the book was published. Old books like these can be Rosetta Stones of lost languages, lost phrases.
My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Pearl Salisbury Brummel was quite proud of her Salisbury heritage, putting the coat-of-arms on the book of poetry she wrote (“HOME POEMS”). My father remembers her fondly, but she died well before I was born, so I’ve probably never met her–unless time travel was/is/will be involved. It is another possible Welsh connection, looking at Salisburys past. Originally the Salisburys were from Salisbury, of course. EP’s poetry shows a certain amount of higher education, which was somewhat rare for a farmer’s wife in rural Ontario. So I suspect her parents were educated, or at least wealthy enough to afford books and smart enough to appreciate them. With the Brummels, the most popular book would have been the bible. Iola’s (my grandmother) father was a preacher, proud, tiny looking people in photographs. The Carrs. Proud, proud, parade-stomping, kilt-wearing Orangemen. Oy. Fortunately, I think I have enough Catholic ancestry on my mother’s side to balance that out.
How does my family’s history go to explaining anything? I do believe we carry a lot from our ancestors, ancestral strength and ancestral trauma. And I also feel like the direct experiences of my grandparents helped mold me, before I was formed. My grandparents, and their survival, particularly of the depression, prepared my body for today, and yesterday. It may even be up for the challenge of tomorrow. No matter how low I get, I will never give up on this planet. And I will defend it until all the billionaires are all in space.
And “science,” tends to back my beliefs. Or rather, I have evidence-based faith? Words escape me, ironically, so very often. When I’m talking, or just walking, thinking, I will sometimes go blank. And I will forget what I was just talking or thinking about, where I am and what I’m doing. And I will look around to attempt to orient myself. A little scary sometimes, sure. But better than having seizures. It is always disturbing self-analyzing one’s own mental health, when you have issues. Constantly questioning wether you are having a “normal” or “healthy” reaction. Gaslighting yourself into narrow corners of consciousness. We so often are the authors of our own hell and misfortune. Too many of my nightmares have come true. I had dreaded getting diabetes since I had seen all the needles my mother had to take. I was diagnosed when Trump won the election (in 2015–for the conspiracy squad). And that was when I truly began a deeper appreciation of nurses. Just the best people on the planet. I always suspected, because I’ve met so many awesome people that were nurses and health care providers. So when I ended up in the hospital the second time (with ketoacidosis, again) two years later, I felt pretty safe. My experiences were good anyway. Hell physically, both internally and experiencing hallway medicine first-hand, but the nurses were saints. Partly, because I was in such a foul, miserable mood. But they are experts, veterans of experiencing all kinds of attitudes and behaviours. And they carry on, like a character from MASH. Even in 2020, they carried on, carried the weight. And now they are quitting in droves. Most of them know they can get payed better elsewhere. Our provincial governments have shown them nothing but applause and contempt. What a fantastic show we have these days! So glad to be here. Really, I am. I would not want to be anywhere else, at any other time than this.
And this last year got me scared. Pandemics, it seems, will do that. And these last few months in particular have been rough. Breaking up is always hard. Feeling alone is when I am most vulnerable. But, as I remember it also a time of keen observation and artistic endeavour. Growth, basically. And for that I am game. Let me grow out of this! So I started writing and drawing a new comic book. And I am eight pages in–which is already longer than any comic thing I’ve done before. So much anxiety prevented me from really doing it, for decades, forever. I lost interest when I became a “fine artist,” and focused on painting. And I’ve done okay. I am happy with my portfolio, somewhat satisfied in my work. And I’ve written, filled little books with weird ideas and goings on. But I am tired of living in poverty, and having such a small audience. So I’m headed to the big leagues–theoretically, if “Ottawa ComicCon 2021” really happens. A month-and-a-half away and we’re still not sure. But I’m happy with the comic. The pages are coming easier, and getting better. And it’s a comic that could have resonance. It could be very commercial and educational–like Sesame Street or something. I really like the idea of using the form to tell stories involving history, and narratives perhaps hitherto unheard of before. It’s a medium I am so familiar with, and with my experience now in life more worthy of relating than when I was seventeen, I love it. And I am a teenager all over again! Dangerous.
But, as Doctor McCoy says in Star Trek III, “I choose the danger.” And survival has so far chosen me. Thankfully.
And nothing seems to change. Toronto police have been witnessed brutalizing another community and another generation. The pictures are a stark reminder. A sergeant making $165 000 a year can be seen choking a young person. Another picture clearly shows a cop with their knee on person’s head, exactly like what happened to George Floyd. In another picture, a woman in a wheelchair is seen screaming and being grabbed by multiple officers while she points at another person on the ground with a cop on top of them, twisting their arm behind their back. It’s another clear indicator of the systemic brutality and over funding (and over reliance) of police. They’ve all been “retrained” presumably since the international embarrassment that was the G20 (2010)? This isn’t a few bad apples in one video. This is the orchestrated, cold blooded displacement of people with nowhere else to go–and they did it in the most repugnant way, which is all our police seem capable of.
My comic book is based on a character I created when I was 13, maybe 14. Basically he looked like a Canadian Captain America, with medieval armour. And he had something of a backstory. But he was quickly abandoned for darker, less nationalistic heroes. Then this year Netflix (humorously) inspired me to put an animated television proposal together. Nothing came of it, but it got me thinking about these stories. And about how I could use a simple character like the one I made-up as a kid, and maybe do something. I don’t know. I feel like I have more to give, more to offer than this–whatever this is–still trying to define it!
In a couple months, it will be the tenth anniversary of OWS, and subsequently Occupied Ottawa. And what a decade it has been! It will also have been ten years since I started this label/website, and ten years since the release of “Out of Ottawa.” And it is all intertwined, even with my comic book. I wanted to tell stories from Tent City. The things that happened, and things that have happened since. And using the superhero and the mask as an allegory–in case any student/teachers get confused about that later. Yes, it is a “political comic.” But many, if not most of the Golden Age comic books were very political. Superman went straight from leaping over buildings to stopping a war in Europe. Then he and all Allied comic books went to war. Captain America and the Sub-Mariner fought with us, defending the Western Front, and socking it to those Jerries. The first super heroes were born thankfully before WWII started (for the US). In the films, Magneto and many other characters have their origins in the Second World War. Without Batman and Wonder Woman, would we have won the war? By March of 1942, American comic books were weaponized. And the propaganda was especially effective. Because you didn’t have to be literate to “read” a comic book. Many of us started “reading” by just looking at the pictures. And it wasn’t until years later that I reread some of those old books and found out what the details were. Like cartoons and film, more people (and soldiers) could learn–or at least know about things like war bonds (Victory Bonds).
My boy is called the Red Knight, and he is in a way a combination of all the great old comic book heroes of the Golden Age, and entirely new–at least as new comic book characters can be. Everything is taken from elsewhere. No ideas are entirely new. The wheel probably had to be invented then reinvented several times before it took off. People were probably suspicious of the wheel and it’s magical promises. I imagine many wheels were burned. And there were entire societies that purposely went wheel-less, which we don’t know about, because they were basically the conservatives of prehistory and were wiped-out in a flood because they were equally suspicious of boats and other floatation devices of obviously nefarious intent.
I also love satire, and I find humour an inoffensive educational devise. As Marshal McLuhan would suggest, a joke is a form of grievance. Traditionally, the clown, or court jester was the only one allowed make fun of the aristocracy–before there were constitutional freedoms for the press and speech (on earth). But we have to be careful as satirists, because it can be taken literally (or rather, illiterally). And what was meant as a joke, is regarded as a legitimate threat to (who else) conservatives. Like being “woke.” And then they have moved beyond satire, and created ridiculous conspiracies and boogeymen, like “Jewish space lasers” and either ANTIFA or deep state behind everything. It must be very relieving to know that you are a failure because of a liberal conspiracy. I mean, that explains everything! Why you can’t get a girlfriend. Why your business failed. Why workers don’t want to work anymore. It’s all because of THEM. And that is where we fall for the biggest, oldest hoax of them all. In leader-based cults, it is never the leader’s (or the party’s) fault. Our “enemies” are always to blame. So there is a long standing lack of self-reflection, and therefor lack in development of leader-based movements. Which is true for the right and left ends of the spectrum. It’s all hinged on the great leader. Which–to an anarchist especially, is a big weakness. With all the great minds to rely on, the experts, the scientists, the doctors–we will rely on one guy, basically because his dad was a big shot. That covers 99% of our politicians and, ironically, the 1%.
I also started working on this comic as a way of dealing with my depression after separating with Tara. When I am alone is when I am at my darkest, most dangerous time. Last time I was single I did many foolish, destructive things. There is often a heightened sense of desperation with the loneliness. I had been so relieved to at least have someone with me during the pandemic. I knew all the lonely people would only get lonelier, mad only getting madder. And “nothing to do and nowhere to go” as Don Norman and the Other Four would sing. And people are on dating apps these days, which is eminently practical for a pandemic. And suddenly, there are patios everywhere that said they couldn’t afford to pay workers $15-an-hour. But look at all those deep pockets now, still paying rent (or taxes) on properties that didn’t make a profit last year. Where once there was parking, now there is patio. It is like this everywhere. While the place that most needs update is the kitchens, where line cooks are often infected because of how tight the quarters often are. Put the kitchens outside! Protect our cooks! They know the sacred recipes and secret spices. They have been feeding us this entire time! Blessed are the preparers of food. I know what it’s like in a kitchen–I’ve worked in one, just before the pandemic I was washing dishes at Shanghai Restaurant. But Shanghai has been (wisely) closed now since March, 2020.
And after a year-and-a-half, people are still “questioning” the validity of masks. Dinosaurs like Van Morrison and Eric Clapton want you to believe there is a worldwide conspiracy to cover our mouths. Many of the 1% reportedly believe we are also living a holographic reality. Which is especially peculiar if this hologram also made them rich. I guess we are lucky that they are not a bunch of Bruce Waynes, using their billions to fight crime in a cape. Because in this world, in this universe, that could happen. And people would be like, “What? He can be a vigilante if he wants, he’s paying for it!” Is it weird that we have almost accepted that the Joker is the good guy? and “the Batman” is the really crazy one? Not that mental illness is necessarily the problem! The rich are perfect candidates for narcissism, with all the wealth to reinforce it. None of Bezos’ people told him his rocket looked like a giant dildo. No one said a thing. And you can’t say that no one noticed! Somebody must have noticed, smirked, and said nothing!–because they wanted to keep their job. And this is how capitalism brings us no competition, with just one mind, and one direction. As righteous as feudalism, as fair as a pyramid.
Haven’t had a telephone number in years. I mostly communicate through facebook. And I can’t even trust the astral projection reception these days. Too lined-up with people wishing they were someplace else. I’m not sure where I should be. Wherever my cats are, I suppose. Lots of work to do, as always. Gotta get a few more paintings done, and finish this comic book. I’m about halfway through the first issue. The break-through was really just getting over overanalyzing every page. I figured out a way of looking at it without being too self-conscious. I’m leaning into my style and going for a rough, simple layout. If you look at the early Siegel and Shuster Superman stories, those drawings were really basic. But there were not expectations then as there is now for a “graphic novel.” There is a level now of sophistication assumed in these books–because they aren’t just for kids. Siegel and Shuster were just kids when they came up with Superman (1937), early twenties, and already had an established career in comic books. They had also just created what was technically the first super hero, “Doctor Occult” who also wore a blue costume and red cape, in 1935. Which is also funny because I had a character called Doctor Occult, who changes her name to Doctor Occupy when her character develops. Yes, character development! I’m all for it. “Doc Occ” was created as an allegory for the movement, and how it grew–supposedly. Before the movement, she was a vigilante activist that used “occult powers.” But after learning that most of her magic was taken (appropriated) from other peoples or cultures, she changes her name (and practices). Like a white knight turning into a real ally and/or accomplice.
I based her character on a few people I knew in the local movement. They were all super heroes to me. This was also at a time when the RLSH scene was taking-off. Reports of costumed crusaders like Phoenix Jones were everyday news stories. People were actually trying to figure out who this guy was. It was fascinating. Everyone has a different idea of how they can help. Although they/we are all lone wolves and black sheep, Doc Occ also had a partner in crime-fighting (they didn’t really fight “crime” per ce, more like injustice). And her name is Bella Clava. Think Pussy Riot, she wears a knitted-patchwork balaclava to hide her identity. She is taller than Doc Occ and uses a skateboard as transportation and a defensive weapon. They live here, in this town. We call it Capital City. And the heroes gather together, in a park, in the middle of town, across the street from the old Lord Grey hotel (where the RCMP monitors the heroes’ every movement). The year is 2011, but that’s closer to the end of our comic book. We’re starting in 1942 and have a whole lot of backstory to do first. Epic, I know. I have to start it then, because that’s when it all started. I’m really a traditionalist at heart.
But this time, this round of eighty years will be different. In this version, we will not shy away from the inconvenient truths of our times. Because I feel like some of us missed the point on the first go, learned the wrong lessons, drew the wrong conclusions. So that’s one of the things I’m working on. It’s funny going full circle and focusing on comics again. That’s all I wanted to do when I was 14, and a few years after that. I had a plan. Finish high school and then get a job doing comics. It was a simple plan. But comic books, as I learned, can be gateways to other worlds of knowledge. Reading Neil Gaiman got me looking at Dave McKean, and McKean pointed me in all kinds of directions. I met Neil Gaiman in 1992 when he was at the Silver Snail in Toronto. I doubt he would remember, it was one of many unremarkable interviews he did at the time. I was in-line right after Rick Green from Prisoners of Gravity (TVO). And it was quite the scene then, very much like the punk rock shows I had been to at Porter Hall. The same exact kinds of people, all gathered to get their comic books signed by the Lord of Dreams himself. I used my credentials as a “reporter” from CKCU to get me through the door. And I did duly write an article for the station’s paper, Trans FM. And he was very nice, condescending in the good way. We were both young pups at the time–that was like 30 years ago! And I was 16 going on 46.
“Know then,” the magician said, “that all those exercises that men call arts, and all wisdom and all knowledge, are but humble branches of that worthy study that is justly named the Art. Nor is this to be revealed to all chance-come travellers that may imperil themselves by entering my house in the wood.
Lord Dunsany, The Charwoman’s Shadow.
Writers like Gaiman and Alan Moore showed me how to tap into old things, old myths and legends and make them fresher and more relevant than before. Swamp Thing was just a lumbering monster before Moore’s masterful treatment. And the Sandman was a Golden Age DC character, and founding member of the Justice Society. I grew-up when comic books grew-up, and we were never the same. This is when the term “graphic novel” came into parlance. Mainstream media had a hard time reporting about adult oriented comic books without sounding sordid. So the graphic novel was born–out of shame! Shame! I remember! I was there! And they wanted to start selling the Watchmen series as a collected volume at Chapters. Watchmen was really what broke the barrier between comic books and modern literature. No one could deny it was a masterpiece.
Watchmen was first published in 1986 by DC. The same year another vitally important book was published, also by DC, called “The Dark Knight Returns,” by Frank Miller–the polar opposite of Alan Moore. But both these books would redefine comic books, and later the film industry. And to me personally, both these books were an inspiration for my “Occupy Capital City” stories. I used them both as spring boards, starting points. 1986, a very exciting year in super hero comics. And I was ten.
Batman was first appeared in March (always March babies), 1939. The Flash, 1939. The Sandman, 1939. Namor the Sub-Mariner, 1939. Captain Marvel (Shazam), 1940. Green Lantern, 1940. Hourman, 1940. Hawkman, 1940. Hawkgirl. 1940. The Spectre, 1940. Doctor Fate, 1940. Wonder Woman, 1941. Green Arrow, 1941. Doctor Mid-Nite, 1941. Aquaman, 1941. And Captain America, always late to the party, was also first seen in March of 1941. Heroes, it seems, are popular, now as then. And new myths for new times seem to be greatly desired, perhaps even needed. Predominantly, these were American stories. The British had a few, as did the Dominion of Canada (Nelvana of the Northern Lights, 1941). But it was a white, male, American dominated medium in many ways. Women and BIPOC were always involved creatively, but their stories were not explicitly told. Their identities as non-white men was often hidden. Racism and sexism were rampant and unapologetic at this time. Racism was even used in our propaganda, painting the Japanese, Italian and German stereotypes to ramp-up the aggression. Bugs Bunny did a great Mussolini impression. And Daffy did a very good Adolf Hitler, I must say.
“A flash of scarlet! Out of the blue! It’s… the Red Knight!” He has elements from a lot of the Golden Agers. With two distinctive differences. One, he is of mixed-race. His father is Black/Metis, and his mother is Chinese and Jewish. Which makes him very opposite the Aryan/German purity of the Nazis. Now, keeping in mind that our boy the Red Knight, aka: Logan J McKenzie is fourteen, so his sexuality won’t be gone into immediately–but, I think he might be gay. The comic has taken a very gay turn, despite my straightest efforts. I’m not sure why. At first it must have been subconscious, or was at least subtextural. But then I had to go for the funny, and that as it turned out was also rather gay. And that’s great! I can use that, like later, when he’s older. For now, or for 1942, he is fourteen, like Billy Batson before he becomes Captain Marvel. He doesn’t have that much in common with Bruce Wayne, other than a subsequent interest in gadgets and toys.
If I were trying to teach an alien civilization about Earth and English, I would use comic books, or a form thereof. Film is too fast, to nuanced and detailed. Comic books, like any other book can be digested at any pace the reader wishes. And the illustrations will show the reader what is happening and the relevance of the words. Because our words so utterly abstract, so separate from their meaning, that learning from an alien perspective looks improbable. But add pictures, add emotion, colour and darkness, and a message is received. It might not be accurate, but a sense of it is there. To us, it is like trying to understand the cave paintings and symbolism of early humanity. Not a lot comes across, but we can recognize a cat when we see one! The Red Knight also has a black cat sidekick called Lucky. I’m probably giving too much away. But it doesn’t matter. It’s just one comic book. My portrait of the Sisko is almost finished. Hopefully it will be dry enough for the comic con. Knowing my luck, and this world we live in, the delta variant may ruin my plans. Curses! Next time, Comic Con! That’s what I said last year.
What else is going on? Got the Moderna vaccine on July the 4th, so I should be scheduling another shot shortly. She sells sea shells. It’s wildfire season again, and coincidentally, “gender reveal” season. Aren’t we clever? I seriously suspect some parents must lose a critical thinking synapsis in the brain when the baby pops. It would be funny if it wasn’t so repugnant and dangerous. But let the parents figure it out, they’ve all done their research, right? My god, what have we done? Ray Bradbury warned us. Perhaps not well enough. Sometimes you really have to spell it out. Metaphors are too easily misconstrued. Not everybody’s brain works the same way. It doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it’s a just a misfiring synapsis, a connection that didn’t connect. We can blame ourselves, we can blame our parents, we can even blame the government. All these things and many more may be to blame, and somethings impossible to fix or even diagnose. But that doesn’t mean we give up. It means we need to keep learning, keep adapting. Experiencing change requires some flexibility. To stop moving is to die. So we move on, hopefully forward.
As in every dictionary, these definitions are works-in-progress. As in science, terms, theories and thoughts change. This is perhaps just the 2021 edition. And I reserve the right to change my mind again and again, according to the evidence, as it is laid out before me. In as right-a-mind as I am capable of, these are the facts, not my philosophy. Anarchism itself is based on the fact that power corrupts. It is a simple, observable truth. Our kings would kill us all. Knowing this, and not just backing the next king, means we can move forward. One person does not a make a good government. And yet we keep trying, over and over again with elections. And we think that this is how we make ourselves free, by choosing a master. We naturally distrust authority, because it is so often misplaced. We lead, not by instruction or order, but by example. We lead by living the best versions of our own lives.
Our individuality and uniqueness is what makes us strong, especially when organized. Conservatives cannot fathom it. They think we are paid and receive orders from George Soros (another anti-Semitic conspiracy theory). And then there are the other conservatives, we’ll call them moderate conservatives. They only have one or two guns in the house (just for hunting), pay taxes, go to church, probably support the local sports team. What are they thinking? Do they look the other way, or endorse the circus? Obviously they think their lunatics are a better sort than the other side. And there’s no choice anyway for a true conservative, they will always vote conservatively. It doesn’t matter how bad the old party gets. The only other option is to move to the other side–which is unthinkable. But then how does one hold a party accountable? There is the big problem: no choice. And best of all, the grand illusion of (a) choice. That if you don’t like it, you can leave! Problem solved.
There are other ways of decision making, different systems–this isn’t the only one, or even the best we have. The alternatives are out there.
Another author I love is Ursula K. Le Guin. She basically lays it all out for us–without ever creating the sense of preaching or telling us what to do in her books. Although it is what to do. Take responsibility! That’s the main thing. Own your mistakes and your failings. That is how we grow. I was called a “do-gooder” on twitter for advocating minor health precautions, likes MASKS during a deadly, AIRBORNE, global pandemic. Truth is I’ve spent enough time being selfish, it gets boring after a while. It doesn’t help having some mental health issues cloud thinking and judgement. But I have definitely pushed a lot of people away over the years. I think twenty years ago you could have called me toxic, offensively toxic. And I wish I still had those people in my life. I know now that I broke some of their hearts, because I didn’t live up to what they saw in me. I think depression can create a block, or wall where choices are limited, and you genuinely can’t see the elephant in the room, even though it is sitting on your lap. Then you add privilege, being a white man on stolen land, and the unlearning is endless. And it is a lot of work. It’s something you have to practice everyday. But it is so worth it! You owe it to yourself to see how great you can be, how noble, how kind. And you owe it to everyone else. Because “they” can all see you not getting it, again and again, like Tucker Carlson, only doing it for free, not for a highly paid-performance on FOX.
There is this innate fear in us of growing-up. We used to call it “Peter Pan Syndrome.” Since the baby boom, we now see it as part of an ongoing aesthetic that is constantly being advertised and ultimately sold to us. But there is dignity is getting old, going grey and having some lines on one’s face. The price is that you still remember all the awful things, all those cringe moments. It can drive you mad. It can also drive a certain determination. Guilt and shame can be used for good, and not always beating yourself up all the time. Look at all those guilty people wearing orange on Canada Day. That is what guilt can do, show up, take responsibility. Listen. Learn. But the process is always painful, so we will often stop. We stop learning, stop reaching out, and only read what agrees with us.
Even a kind of ignorance is idealized in our society. Just look at your Republican presidential candidates. The 2015 campaign trail was a mess. Jeb Bush couldn’t even handle it. Then imagine being beaten by the king of the clown shows. Hillary did not see that coming. Nor did I. When I heard the nurses say Trump was winning at the hospital, I still found it hard to believe. Then this was the nation that voted for W Bush twice, so… I guess some of the MAGA squad must think Trump is smart, partly because Trump says he’s smart, and they believe whatever he says. Did anyone ever think W was clever? If anything were to advertise the dangers of leader-based systems, the last few Republican presidents do it. Truth is people don’t want to think because thinking is painful. This is why we so often need to be listening or watching something on our phones. This is why we don’t look up more often. We are terrified of each other. But my cat knows something most of the scared people don’t know. You can tell a thing’s intent by looking at their eyes. And I see pain and oppression everywhere, but I also see love and joy.
I had forgotten about cinnamon toast, or specifically cinnamon-sugar toast (1/4). I had it so much as a kid. So simple. I remember a friend from the neighbourhood brought cinnamon-sugar toast sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil. I assumed this was a British thing, since his parents were “ex-patriots.” Maybe it was just a poor people’s thing. We weren’t poor exactly. I think lower middle-class would accurately describe my family’s status, soon to be upper middle-class. I seemed to have gone down a step or two. But I have no shame about my poverty. It’s what keeps me from overwhelming guilt! And it’s what gives me such a trim figure!–that and the diabetes. Oddly, when it appears to me that someone has lost weight, I don’t assume it is a good thing. I am instantly worried about their health. And I am never worried about the weight related health of my fat friends. That would be weird. But then people have been sold what they continue to buy. If enough people tell you that being fat is ugly and unhealthy you tend to believe it. As with all things and trends pushed down our throats, like capitalism, or that youth is an equivalent to beauty. You guys seen George Clooney’s picture when he was a kid? Not pretty. But give that guy a chin and some grey hair and look out.
I had some awkward moments as a kid for sure. Looking at old pictures from the late 80’s is difficult, for several reasons. I think we beat the 70’s in ugly clothes. And I can see and remember how I felt then, feeling so ashamed, fat and ugly. That feeling never goes away. And you can see it in my pictures, with my hair covering as much of my face as possible. A trait a carried well into high school, which was useful in covering acne and the odd blush. I was really unprepared for high school. And high school didn’t prepare me for shit. It wasn’t until I did a co-op at CKCU that I really “grew” and I was properly socialized. 1992 was when the real learning started. And the world’s best music was just one lesson. I had access to a fountain of knowledge, before, as I’ve said before “THE INTERNET.” But are all terribly disconnected on-line. Everything is digital, so it was another great gift to experience analogue before it was considered out-dated. To pull out dusty records from the 70’s and throw them onto a record player. To edit audio tape with razor blades and editing tape. That was an art! Now we look at “waves,” when before it was all about listening. This is how technology can subvert skills. I still have boxes of reel-to-reels from my radio days, because I can’t bear to part with them. Same reason I have boxes of books and VHS tapes in the basement. It’s hard for me to let go. I want to save everything, to preserve and make copies. Isn’t that what the definition of life is?
The greatest tragedies to me are the burned books and libraries. The great cultures that have died out without anything being left to tell their story–other than genetics. My dad’s DNA testing pointed to origins in “Doggerland.” Like wtf was up with those people? All their lands are under the sea. We may never know, until some billionaire wills it. Not that I put any stock in mail-in DNA tests, but it’s an interesting idea non-the-less. And so much has been lost because of disinterest, and we were unworthy. Imagine being the last of your people that remembers the stories, and having no one to tell them to. That is part of the tragedy that comes from colonization and the displacement of people. I guess that’s why it was important for me to go to Scotland. I felt like I owed it to my ancestors that were mostly likely kicked out in the Highland Clearances. And I wasn’t wrong. Probably another milestone in my personal development. It’s important to know where you came from. It can be very helpful in understanding yourself, and your place.
Little prepared me for the beauty and brutality of my motherland. The land is serene, peaceful. It is hard to imagine people fighting on it. Then you go to Glasgow and violence is everywhere. And I love Glasgow. I would go there now if I could bring my cat with me. But it is hard for a soft Canadian boy. And lucky for me that there were kind people everywhere I went. From the streets to the university crowd. Glasgow is where I was when Johnny Cash died. And I went for a pint at Nice and Sleazy’s on Sauchiehall Street, and they had Cash playing on the jukebox. On careful examination I found Slint and a bunch of other deep shit on the jukebox all night. Never underestimate the Scottish, I tell you! I would go there now. Having a pint of Tennents at the Thirteenth Note would be nice–it doesn’t taste the same here. They have a stage downstairs. Any pub would suit me. Then I don’t know how things are now. I just remember 2003 so well. But that was almost twenty years ago! The nice, the reliable thing is there will always be the history there. Saint Mungo will look after you. Where two hundred years ago was yesterday. And they still say things like, “Never trust a Campbell.” Like, they are not over it. They will never be over it. Displacement does that to a people.
In that town, Glasgow in particular, they are still fighting a holy war–in football (soccer to us). Glasgow is one of those cities that has two big teams. One, Celtic, happens to be the only Catholic-owned team in the UK (or was at the time). And the other, Rangers, are accordingly Protestant-owned. So there is an extra level of rivalry that can get quite ugly. There are/were even Celtic and Ranger-exclusive pubs, basically so they didn’t have to share the same space. Most of the hooligans I associated with were Irish-Catholics in Govanhill, so I have an affinity for the Celtic team. But I would never wear the “colours” in that city. I would be afraid of getting knife in the back from a drunk Rangers fan. That would be the actual fear. And this is where I would be.
Glasgow was my natural destination going North from London. I took the train going as far away from England as possible, and Glasgow was the last stop. I talked to an older man that sat across from me, and he gave me a can of beer. We talked about movies set in Scotland, like Braveheart. He liked Rob Roy, with Jessica Lang (Lange)–pronounced like Angela, as opposed to bang. I couldn’t remember his name, but he told me right where to go from the station. The youth hostel was like two blocks away, close to the Clyde. The first night’s sleep I had in a few days was in a room full of other men, all assigned bunk beds. At first it was hard to sleep with the karaoke going on down stairs. There is no version like the Glasgow version of “King of Road.”
And the Ottawa ComicCon is postponed for another year. I suspected as much, still it’s depressing not to have that small hope and thing to look forward to. Maybe 2022. It’s crazy that the Olympics are happening right now. And they are so mired in sexism and racism, it is hard to take sports seriously. It’s just another circus maximus. Big, spectacle entertainment for mass distraction. Not to say I can’t appreciate a game. But I always rather played the game, then watch others doing it. Strange that way. Most perplexing is the people who watch golf on the tv. But perhaps this is a digression. I’m sure you just want to hear more stories from Scotland, right?
The train going north from London went past many golf courses. We went by one guy on a green, and he ceremoniously raised his hand up high and gave the train the finger. It was like, “Welcome to Scotland,” to me. There was a family in the seats ahead of me, and I could understand most of their accented conversations. As we were between New Edinburgh and Glasgow, the daughter, she must have been like four or five years old, said, “Ah, Glasgow.” As if she were a dusty old traveler, returning home after seasons away from home. And that filled me with great anticipation. There was love for that city before I even got there. And it would ultimately take care of me, far more than the cold streets of London. Had to get out of there fast, everything was way too expensive. And I brought so little money that I had almost nothing after a day or two in Glasgow. The youth hostel was about ten pounds a night. It was very convenient, with an internet cafe and a bar (with said karaoke) on the main floor. For some inexplicable reason I was in the habit of e-mailing an ex-girlfriend.
I was sitting on a bench, with my old Mountain Equipment Co-op backpack (or rucksack, as they say), wondering what the hell I was going to do for three months with no money. And this mad-looking character sat on a bench near me, having some chips (french fries). This was probably about one-in-the-morning, when people were going home from the pubs. And I looked over at him, and he smiled maniacally and gave me the finger. That was how I met Saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers. He offered me a chip, and we talked a bit. He said I could sleep on his couch, and that he even had some hash we could smoke, and that he wasn’t gay (which I interpreted as identifying himself as not a predator), which he wasn’t. So we walked back to his place, across the bridge to Govanhill. We started chatting with another guy, and the three of got behind a woman walking alone. And our new also probably intoxicated third said something ungentlemanly within earshot of the woman ahead of us. And she said something like, “Get tae fuck.”
I think we all laughed, and the third man said something else that wasn’t clever, and the woman said, with her back still to us, ten feet ahead, “I’m a copper.” And that shut-up everybody. Paranoia, a distinctively Glaswegian paranoia took all three of us, and our third started waving at us to be quiet and say nothing. And we were very quiet after that. We “allowed” her to get very far ahead of us before we started cracking on again. And for all I know she was a cop, or very clever–possibly both. Chris’ building looked like most of the others, old, grey, nothing more than four stories. Chris lived on the top floor, his “gaf” as he called it. I won’t tell you his last name, because he would not like that. Again, the paranoia runs deep in Glasgow.
So this was the building that Janet lived-in. Her place was on the first floor. Down the street and over a few blocks was the local school. And when the kids flowed-out for lunch or after-school, grown men like Chris were terrified. The young team had a lot of people, perhaps justifiably scared to leave their homes at noon. And I could see why. Sitting in George Square, I watched some boys with bats in their hands attack another group. It was all very casual, run-of-the-mill stuff. Few people seemed shocked to witness it. The public parks were especially dangerous places, people would say, and I believed most of it. When you rule by fear, fear rules. And fear holds nothing sacred.
Chris had a small one-bedroom. He shared a large dog called Simba with his neighbour on the top floor. The living room had two small couches around a coffee table. No tv, but there was a small CD player. He generally had very few things. But he did have cigarettes and hash that night. So we smoked and talked and I slept as well as I could on one of the love seats. Rest, true rest would never be easy, not for another three months. Many mornings I awoke to Chris coming in from the off-sales with a warm can of beer for me. And I drank it! I was usually starving, so the beer was good–anything to swallow down was good. Chris could be identified as an alcoholic. He also lived with a distinct mental illness. These two traits describe a large portion of the Scottish population. Fortunately for Chris, there was some social assistance for him. He survived relatively well. Even did odd jobs when he wasn’t drinking every day.
There are cultural (nurture), environmental and genetic (nature) reasons for the ways of many of “my people.” The trauma of colonialism is passed down. There are centuries of bitterness and resentment that have never been resolved. And ultimately betrayal. Betrayal by the old chiefs, betrayal by a government that went bankrupt and sold-out to London. That doesn’t go away no matter how many pubs and places to buy booze there are. And they do try to drink the pain away, it is not for lack of trying! Spirits are a part of the life-blood, the fuel, the oil that keeps the Scottish engine going. And we aren’t extravagant, the cheap stuff will do. We’ll buy the cheap tobacco too. Many people at the time rolled their own, partly because the tailer-mades were too “dear.”
The problem with satire is you have to be in on the joke. If you don’t know what is being satirized, or what the message is (there is always a message), then you’re not really getting it. And true understanding (overrated) may be impossible. The literature that Voltaire satirized in his time is not very available, or digestible today. And the contemporary reader would have more difficulty understanding that than anything Voltaire wrote. The reason, obviously, is that Voltaire was transcendent, an artist making a commentary. Or as McLuhan said, with a grievance. Or, as we used to say, a story with a moral. An author always has something to prove, and we read their thesis, as peers might review a scientific paper. We may not agree on their argument, but one is there. Otherwise, well, it’s not art, is it? Or perhaps more precisely, the Art.
There is depression (within) and oppression (without). By both we can be squeezed, causing an impression, an indelible mark, a scar upon our countenance. But the pressure can be relieved. There is always hope because there are always possibilities. But with enough of the de and the op, alternatives appear unavailable. We fall easily for the hype and prevailing philosophy (or lack of one). I often had the thought that access to decent weed would benefit Scotland immensely. I never saw anything but cheap hash. I’m sure it was there, somewhere, it just wasn’t very common. They have the usual junkies known throughout the civilized world, but they have brought alcoholism to another level. A new dimension in suffering. A person you might see begging for change on a corner in the rain, you might assume because of their extra-pale complexion they were a junky or crackhead. But they have people there addicted to what they call white cider, which is basically an alcoholic soda. There are brands like White Lightening and Frosty Jack, and they are sold in 2 litre plastic bottles we reserve for Coke. I’ve had the unfortunate experiencing of drinking it, and there is nothing of value in there. I’d rather drink Buckfast. Although I would drink almost anything with Irn Bru in it (except Buckfast). Irn Bru and vodka is very classy. At 35p it was also the cheapest pop. Cheap as chips.
I keep wanting to use the ableist term “blind spot.” But “block” works as well. We get blocked. So we do stupid things. The reverse polarization is too many options and possibilities to be considered or concentrated on. Which is my bipolar story since childhood. My great existential dilemma could be observed whenever I went to convenience store and looked at all the candy. I could stand there for days, trying to figure out how to best spend my dollar. And more often than not I would choose nothing, rather than mistakenly choose the wrong thing. It’s the same anxiety I often had with Tara. I would say little, rather than say something wrong. Which typically didn’t work either. I still have so much toxicity in me, it comes out one way or another. I suppress the negative, so much that I also suppress the positive. And the positive ideas are so much more fragile than the negative. Negativity is obstinate and obsessive. Positive ideas need space to grow, time to be nourished. So we have to protect them sometimes from the negative. Like, don’t tell your positive ideas to a narcissist. They will destroy them. When you’re ready, show your positive things to the positive people. They still exist, perhaps in fewer numbers, but they are there. It would be game over otherwise. They are the ones that give us hope. Friendlies. Dreamers. Accomplices of Anarchist Order.
“Anarchist order?” you say. Some will say it is impossible. But if you’re reading this, you are reading Anarchist Order. I use letters rather than numbers because numbers are so easily used for hierarchical purposes, “number one” and so on. And perhaps this isn’t an appendix, but more of an introduction the next phase.
It is my sincere hope that we learn something from all this. Because that is the great tragedy of life, not learning from history. But as we’ve seen, history can be diminished, even hidden away where privileged people do not go searching. It would never occur to them. It’s not a conspiracy, exactly. Capitalism is quite open about its motives. There is simply no profit in self-sufficiency, no money in any real happiness. Just ask your yoga instructor when you pay them for all the “spiritual guidance.” We are sold things based on illusions, not facts or truth. Creating, as a result a very gullible, sheeple people; that believe that money is the only answer. And whatever makes it, no matter what the moral implications, that is what they follow. Mammon. They teach this in Sunday School, but as soon as our children are outside of the church, the rules are changed. And our children comply because we comply. “Go to school, get a job,” is all we hear. What perfect servitude.
To occurs to me that Milton’s Lucifer was wrong. It is not “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” It is better not to reign. “Let justice reign,” as the reverend doctor would say.
For a Tear is an Intellectual thing,
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King,
And the bitter groan of a Martyr’s woe
Is an arrow from the Almightie’s Bow.
Adam James Brummel
July 31, 2021.
The adventures of the Red Knight will be featured in Dominion Comics for Xmas 2021 (Penguin Publishing).
More “Stories from Scotland” will also be posted in the not-too-distant future, answering the question “How to Survive in the UK with No Money!” The answer may shock you!