RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, July 20

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: shifting forward

I’ve felt a very profound energetic shift in the past week, and it all came about because of the internet, and sitting outside in a chair under the cedar poles of what used to be a tipi in our yard but is now a dilapidated mess, although perfect. I had already last week came to the understanding of our financial system, and my financially dilapidated mess, that it’s not so much a process for personal success anymore that our grandparents and even probably parents experienced. That system’s bounty has been taxed, and you are usually born into opportunities, or there are chances if you are exploitable at a high enough level that you can still find a lucky opportunity now and then, what I call lottotunities, because they have more to do with accidental chance encounters than they do actual merit. We do not live in a merit-based society in America, where you can go out and do a great job and impress your superiors and pay your dues and work your way up the ladder, starting out in the mailroom, ending up owning a string of Midwestern radio stations or some shit. Our financial system has been re-engineered pretty massively in the past thirty years so that those types of things just truly aren’t possible, at least not to the extent you can be rolling around with fat sacks with $ signs on it looking like the little Monopoly dude. Doesn’t happen, and is not going to happen again, at least not in America. That may sound like horrible doomsday gibberish, but honestly it makes more hopeful than I’ve been most of my adult life.
As I sat outside, I realized how much cleaner my head felt, away from the bzzzzzz of the household gadgetry army. That shit can have a pulling effect on you, and I’m not willing to jump out on the conspiratorial ledge and proclaim it’s an engineered effort to keep the masses sedated electronically, a moping idiotic mass of humanity just doing shit other than creating real self-sustaining lives for themselves, because to be honest I don’t think the immense bureaucracy is that smart. I know it’s that evil, for sure, but I think giving them the benefit of doing something so amazingly complex is probably not gonna be true.
American culture can seem like this larger than life presence, and we all get caught up in it in our various fringe elements of idol worship. It’s nearly impossible not to. But American culture, and that huge overwhelming bzzzzzz of the gadgetry army, it’s not the Universal Goliath it would have you believe. It’s got the limelights pointed in the right direction to cast the largest shadow a man ever did saw, but it’s stage trickery. The separation between you and me and the wealthiest and most powerful, the smartest and most entertaining, it is not that large. Which might make you think, “Well, then anybody can achieve success if that’s the case. You’re going in two directions here, Raven.”
Not really, because the powerful – whether in today’s America or late ‘80s Communist-bloc Europe or ancient Mesopotamia or Rome or the communal collective in Nelson County or any fucking thing any fucking where – work to maintain their power, using the systems they’ve set up to do so. That’s why any revolution is ultimately just going to repeat the process. There was nothing wrong with Communism or representative democracy or free market capitalism or even polyamorous cannibal societies as a concept. All concepts of how we should live are born from utopian daydreams. But once the mechanisms for building and ensuring and enforcing these daydreams get set up, it will invariably go to shit, sooner or later.
So that’s where we are in America – basically in our late ‘80s Communist era, proudly hanging our hat on our history, pretending the inevitable fall is not going to happen, clutching at the security blanket of our cultural conditioning.
It’s that last part that really triggered a shift in me though – being limited by our cultural conditioning. I have realized the biggest obstacle I have is my own convoluted notions about what is or isn’t acceptable. I am limited most by my own fears basically, whether that be fear of government or fear of failure or fear of anonymous motherfuckers on the internet catching lolols off me. I also realized I could give half a fuck about the job I have and worked so hard to keep in the past nine months, so could easily hold down those duties while being like, “whatever” about it. I do not have to accept it as any real form of existence for me, as I only do it to make money, which itself is an abstract concept (as a google search for “The Shoebox Swindle” will show you), so why stress my fucking life out over that? Why feel guilty for the debts I’ve incurred while being constantly onslaughted with images of what I deserve, triggering neurochemical responses, and then being told I am psychologically weak after my credit limit has been exhausted and I am of no use to the pimps any more? But most importantly, why limit myself to conventional thinking?
So what I did was change my resume from what it reads for the fake world of jobs, that doesn’t feel like any reality I’d like to attach my living to (which is an important concept too, because we always say “it’s a living” when really it’s not life at all, but what we do to earn money which we think mistakenly think enables our life; sure it makes shit easier when you have it, because those financial shackles are loosened up enough you don’t feel yourself choking, but they’re still there), and rewrote it for the reality of what I’ve done in my life. This was The Confederate Mack years, the switch to Rojonekku philosophy, which is currently expanding into this next phase I am embarking on in the coming months. I peppered this resume with employed moments, working as a housepainter, in a charcoal factory, print shops, trade show exhibits, giving lab rats brain damage, and so on and so forth. All of that is the crockpot my life has fermented upon. And then I started sending it out to absolutely ridiculously impossible, by conventional notions, places. I had an interesting back-and-forth with a person who was the managing editor of Rolling Stone up until three weeks ago when she herself was laid off, and got a follow up from a potential financial enabler of the future from a different country, and this is all in the matter of three days. The shit has been pushed out there wider. Who does it hurt? Nobody. I mean if all our fears about the way the system actually works are true, then I’ll be punished for my unprofessionalism by not taking everything entirely too seriously, and I’ll never have a meaningful job again in my life. But guess what? I’ve never had a meaningful job THUS FAR in my life.
But also, in my mind, I’ve drastically upped my lottotunity odds, simply by not giving a fuck. I don’t give a fuck. If I don’t ever do anything enjoyable for a paycheck and work shitty jobs til death, so be it. I’ll still be writing my nonsense gibberish (which is not nonsense gibberish at all, but highly sensical and more a speaking in slanged tongues that devils cannot understand than actual gibberish). And if the crushing vultures of capital come calling in my debts and make my financial situation miserable (which they are circling fairly close, to be honest), so be it. They will not have my life. My wife and our children and our Bird Tribe may be broke, but we will not be broken.
So that’s where we are, as Americans, and me as Raven. Last week there was a comment saying they didn’t realize my situation had been so bad, which made me feel weird, because nothing feels bad. I feel better than ever right now. The past two years have been odd, and a real test, but my Viking is strong and my Chi is thick, so it ain’t shit but a test. And yeah, I’ve got a pretty ugly looming guillotine blade on my finances in the next few weeks, but I’d feel like a dick if I was all, “Hey, give me money, my situation is so bad.” (There is a paypal button on the sidebar if you feel so inclined, and I will be grateful, but my dedication to writing for free on the blog is going to be limited to these Weekly Frybread things for the most part, so don’t be expecting much other than what’s already here as some form of return on your payment if you are hung up in the thinking of capitalism.) I’ve got a solid family core, and I’m a solid mind, and I ain’t gonna be no beast’s bitch.
That’s where a lot of The Fear comes from, people thinking government is so powerful that we are all doomed, and that’s The Fear that motivates so many of you to think you are being clever by falling into the fallacy of “This guy is the lesser of two evils, therefore he is good.” I’m not doing that. In fact, 2012 will be the first year since I turned 18 that I will not vote. I’ve always done so even in my most cynical states, because I felt it made some sort of statement. Now I am old enough, and realistically hopeful enough, that I don’t need to play pretend any more. But if you think that government, even with its surveillance drones and constant police state, is an unbeatable overlord, well, again you are giving them to much credit. I mean, you may not beat them in a revolutionary sense, like overthrowing the government. But the beast is a large, slow-moving behemoth, and there are always dark corners you can build your lives, circumventing his stifling mandates as much as you allow yourself. And really, why limit yourself to America? Ideally, I’d like to relocate my family to another country in the next decade, because I refuse to believe this is the only way, much less the best way. I have no solid ideas where, or how, but I’m not telling myself, “Thank God for the fence around me, because this is the best pasture to possibly be confined in that ever did exist! Glory Lord!”
I’ve dabbled a little in the past month in the deep web, or underground internet, which – as a bold warning – is a dark, dark place. It is like the cybertronic version of that end of major cities that hasn’t seen development in forever and is where the murders happen and you can buy heroin in the open in the daylight. Because basically, in the underground internet, you can literally order murders and buy heroin. (Thus, I’d advise you to look into it thoroughly before even attempting: start with “tor browser” but be careful, because you can’t unsee things you see, even online.) And I am only peripherally interested in the deep web, not actually looking to obtain any illicit services; but it makes me happy that it exists, free from government oversight, and in outright defiance of the burdensome beast’s indignant mandates.
So shit is good. I am working diligently on the football preview, which should be ready for e-purchase the first week of August or so, called FOOTBALL METAPHYSICS FOR THE ENLIGHTENED DEGENERATE aka The 2012 Armchair Linebacker Preview. And I would expect not too long after that will be this treatise I’ve been working on about lessons taken from everyday occurrences. I’ve got this tree on the University of Virginia campus where there’s this bench I sit at a few times a week while on break, and the red-breasted robins have been talking at me. I don’t know what the fuck they’re saying, but seriously, they have landed within four feet of me twice this week and tweeted their nonsense gibberish (HA!) at me. Plus, there’s been blue jay feathers left for me there twice as well.
And the first volume of The Confederate Mack Collection should come about hopefully in September. That’s potentially going to be multiple books, as good lord I must’ve wrote three billion words in that zine, and a lot of it still knows what the fuck is up. That will unfold as I start typesetting it all after the Football Metaphysics is all done.
The main thing is things are good. Sure, these are crazy times, and it’s easy to freak out, but I can’t tell you enough how excited we should all be about the possibilities that are right here on the horizon. The greatest thing about some broken down piece of shit car you keep barely putting back together finally dying on you is you are forced to get a new car, and start fresh. That’s what’s on the horizon for us culturally. This broke ass shit is coming apart, and it’s absolutely wonderful. And that makes me good, regardless of financial bullshit in my personal life. I mean seriously, I am the son of a pair of teenage dropouts, born into the hunger and madness, and started self-medicating to a serious extent at age 13. There’s only been about 20 months of my entire fucking life where I’ve been a full-grown adult who is not making a dullard of himself with the Beast’s alcohol. And my Viking and my Chi has never been stronger. Great shit is about to happen, for me and for all of us.
Which brings me to my final point – sure, this website has my name on the fucking thing, but I get a lot from the interaction with you all. I feel my ultimate purpose is to be more of a conduit for movement – not a movement but just movement, or change, or fucking shit up or Unfucking The World, or really whatever. So comment on things here, even if it’s just one of the song of the day posts. Get with me on Twitter (@SSVa_Raven) or the Rojonekku Facebook page. Email me if you want, send me postcards to my PO Box in the sidebar, do whatever, but let’s join up, let’s bounce our madnesses and hungers off of each other. Let’s build real fucking lives and stop choking ourselves trying to make a living. And let’s not be too serious about it because ultimately, all serious shit does is make you cry. I’d rather laugh.
(Also, my resume is available for all interest parties. Ideal job situations would be writing epic poetry for crime lords, or being flown to different parts of Africa to write sociological gonzo pieces about the coming century of climate chaos, or if you are hung up on things remaining the same even though they won’t, you couldn’t find a better person to pen meandering yet entertaining “nonsensical gibberish” about World Cup 2014, if we ever get there.)

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