Acquisition Unbound

Why are Americans, SWPL and yokel alike, so intent on larding their lives with unneeded shit? The overwhelming number of us permanently in debt to the Lords of Finance is attributable, above all, to the human desire for ever greater material security and comforts, both of which were never more than a pipe dream for the mass of men, until recent centuries, when the mixed blessings of industrial & post-industrial prosperity were thrust upon us.

There are still places on Earth where people do without combustion engines, microprocessors, public utilities, subsidized antibiotics, etc. All Americans understand such places to be miserable shitholes––or would understand, if they were forcibly transported to such a place, perhaps eastern Yemen, and told to make nice with the natives. But this type of privation, which today we’d class as “unlivable,” was the old normal. For thousands of years, the tendency to get fat & acquire shit was a key indicator of reproductive fitness. Time was, fifty yaks and a potbelly would get your dick sucked tonight.

No more. But an absurd attachment to things persists in us, and has given rise to America’s new consumer culture, the unchecked force lately working woe upon all other parts of our culture.

As humans, our hardwiring is predicated upon an assumption that getting things requires struggle. That struggle was once called “life,” and success was repaid with sex, calorie-dense foods, leisure and comfort, and, more broadly, fulfillment. The pursuit of property was not tangential to living well, as it has become. There were only two viable paths to health and happiness, and getting things, repeatedly and regularly, was one of them (receiving things was the other). Thus did acquisition and possession become pleasures roughly on par with eating and fucking; humans were coded to lust after things––most of all those things that are new and / or expensive.

Kleptos, while we’re on it, are people born with the dual misfortunes of 1) feeling too keenly the thrill of possession, and 2) living in a time and place where thieves don’t get their hands cut off.

Industrialization laid the technical groundwork for runaway consumerism, but societal and systemic checks kept us, for a while longer, from entering the Age of Acquisition Unbound. We forget that it’s one hell of a trick to guarantee an entire country its daily bread, especially when the population is growing and many people no longer bear primary responsibility for filling their own cupboards. The Industrial Revolution had long since come & gone before Westerners could safely assume their fate would be something other than starvation. It’s unimaginable to us now, but around 1850 (a decade before the Civil War) a million Irish died in the Great Famine––and though Ireland may not be paragon of high-functioning civilization, neither is it goddamn Swaziland. Such was life: For 150 years, minimum, the West had mechanisms in place to produce and distribute nice things in mass, but it remained vulnerable to potato blight and other catastrophic system failures.

Historians date the arrival of “””permanent””” food security in Europe and the United States to about 1910. From that point until the mid-20th century, war and economic depression curbed consumer culture, though most people were still able to eat. (The Great Depression was, in its day, remarkable for how few Americans starved to death.) The explosion of consumerism from 1950 onward is well known, but opposing it was a counterculture of affluent, educated proto-SWPLs who saw that tract housing, frozen dinners, and evenings spent with Ed Sullivan were pale imitations of the roasted boar haunch and mammoth pelts prized by early man. (I’m not a goddamn anthropologist here––take it in the spirit it’s intended.)

Mammoth pelts and speared boars were the fruits of our distant ancestors’ existential struggle. A warmed over tray of Stauffer’s isn’t, and subsisting––in the spiritual sense––on such fare leaves men hungry. That was common knowledge among America’s better class, not so long ago.

By the 1980s and 1990s, those proto-SWPLs––beatniks, hippies, and similar––would become America’s cultural elite. While the yokels and black people, aided by an ascendant Chinese manufacturing sector, continued their frenzy of acquiring cheap shit, America’s best and brightest mostly kept above the fray. E.g., my peers and I were raised by parents who told us that television rots your brain, that chain retailers put your neighbors out of work and on Welfare, and that food was an adversary that would make you grotesquely obese the moment you let your guard down.

In response to that state of affairs, American enterprise did what it does best: innovate and then provide, with utter disregard for externalities. It cracked the code of America’s holdouts to consumerism. Businesses discovered that SWPLs and their forebears never objected to consumerism qua consumerism. Their beef was with tackiness, poor quality, and mass culture. They wanted to buy shit same as everyone else, but they didn’t feel good about buying what yokels and black people were buying.

Capitalists responded by selling SWPLs things they feel good about buying: obscure beers; DVD box sets and Netflix subscriptions; Eames chairs; Macbook Pros for viewing cat videos and internet porn.

A man of taste, if suddenly transported from 1995 to the present, would marvel at the central place TV has taken in American culture; at how foodie-ism has brought 3000-calorie portions of chicken and waffles to the Upper East Side’s trendiest brunch spots; at the way the most fashionable young people turn to megacorps like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, Ikea, Uniqlo, and H&M for their household staples, and then hand over the remainder of their disposable income to Apple, Verizon, and AT&T.

America has fallen entirely into the thrall of things. There is no longer a class of people telling us that life offers greater rewards than consumption on credit. Bereft of that leadership, and absent any moral or logistical constraint on procuring ever more shit, the country has entered the Age of Acquisition Unbound, committed above all to the twinned directives of consuming more and creating more consumers. All competing ideas––racism, sexism, religion, meritocracy, prejudice and preference of all sorts––are regarded as hostile, and subject to elimination.

Amidst this, NAPALM is intended as one humble voice in protest––a push away from the ledge, and back toward sanity.

1 October 2014

The 50 Hottest Girls of OkCupid New York: 1-29

TFW6Dya

A while back, Breadcrumb and I published a list of the 25 hottest girls from OkCupid Los Angeles, plus 20 runners-up.

Those posts were meant to be the first in a series chronicling the hottest OkCupid chicks in major cities around the globe, but Breadcrumb, being the indolent sack of shit he is, never got around to writing any more of them.

We did, however, compile the same lists for New York and Chicago and, rather than see our hard work go entirely to waste, I’m dropping them here for your perusal.

Remember, these rankings are based solely on anonymous ratings by OkCupid users (see here for more on methodology). Whether Breadcrumb or I would have chatted at a particular chick, or not, had no bearing on how she fared, so direct your complaints elsewhere.

For New York City’s nos. 30 through 50, go here.

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#22 (tie) – 25 years old

#22 (tie) – 24 years old

#22 (tie) – 21 years old

#22 (tie) – 21 years old

#22 (tie) – 20 years old

#22 (tie) – 19 years old

(more…)

24 September 2014

Greeting Card for a Love Lost, on the Occasion of Her Wedding

(front)
i-think-of-you-sometimes-1

 

(back)
i-think-of-you-sometimes-2

24 September 2014

14th Post Extravaganza

Today NAPALM (dot eye owe) arrived at a major milestone: our 14th post.

In honor of the occasion, here are our editors’ picks for the four highest-quality posts thus far:

1. A Love Letter to Homosexual Slurs

2. Literary Empire: From Such Humble Beginnings

3. Acquisition Unbound

4. Bitch Better Have the First Draft of My Erotic Thriller

To our readers, for your continued support, we offer a hearty “thank you” from the very bell-bottoms of our considerable male appendages.

Here’s to the next 14.

To stay abreast of site news, you can follow our No. 1 Twitter feed, @hibreadcrumb.

24 September 2014

The 50 Hottest Girls of OkCupid New York: 30–50

A while back, Breadcrumb and I published a list of the 25 hottest girls from OkCupid Los Angeles, plus 20 runners-up.

Those posts were meant to be the first in a series chronicling the hottest OkCupid chicks in major cities around the globe, but Breadcrumb, being the indolent sack of shit he is, never got around to writing any more of them.

We did, however, compile the same lists for New York and Chicago and, rather than see our hard work go entirely to waste, I’m dropping them here for your perusal.

Remember, these rankings are based solely on anonymous ratings by OkCupid users (see here for more on methodology). Whether Breadcrumb or I would have chatted at a particular chick, or not, had no bearing on how she fared, so direct your complaints elsewhere.

For New York’s nos. 1 through 29, go here.

##

#49 (tie) – 23 years old

#49 (tie) – 22 years old

#49 (tie) – 22 years old

#49 (tie) – 22 years old

#49 (tie) – 20 years old

#49 (tie) – 20 years old

(more…)

24 September 2014

Bitch Better Have the First Draft of My Erotic Thriller

Irene has gone rogue. She’s applying for jobs outside the home and Quarterback Steals the Fertile Freshman’s Virginity (QStFFV) remains a work in progress. She tells me she is interested in working in PR. One of her friends works in PR and spends her days emailing boilerplate press releases to every journalist without the time or technical inclination to properly configure his spam filer. Irene aspires to be like her.

What is it about women that prevents them from having real goals? Besides finding employment in the PR industry, Irene wants to bear my children, and that’s it. Needless to say birthing children doesn’t count as a real goal. There are seven billion people on earth, all birthed in the last 100 years. I could give a shit what Hallmark and what Oprah told you. Anything that’s been done seven billion times in the past century isn’t an accomplishment.

But, maybe I shouldn’t be so critical of Irene. We seven billion humans represent the fruits of only a small fraction of the instances of boning that have gone down in the time since the first of us was born. It’s boning going on everywhere and at all times; nothing special about getting your dick wet. Still, getting more sex ranks among my top aspirations.

Tonight, frex, I’m meeting a new OkCupid girl. 23, artist / food service, middling-to-good rack. On her profile she wrote “gosh” instead of “god” once and “darn” instead of “damn” twice. I like that. Saying swears is a key indicator that a girl gets dicked down raw on the regular.

In response to Irene’s intransigence I informed her I will no longer be purchasing soy milks / yogurts / coffee creamers until my QStFFV project wraps.

This is problematic for Irene because she subsists mostly on faux-dairy soy products. Bitch must be 90 percent soybean. I foresee a marked uptick in productivity.

23 September 2014

Update: Quarterback Steals the Fertile Freshman’s Virginity

During our mid-afternoon debrief, my girlfriend and employee Irene informed me that my / our first book, Quarterback Steals the Fertile Freshman’s Virginity (QStFFV), will be published next week. I corrected her and explained that it will be published this weekend.

QStFFV is a real-life tale taken from my college years. What happened was, I broke it off with a girl who formerly was roommates with another girl I broked off. My own domestic situation was tenuous while I was getting the first girl’s ass, thus forcing us to bone in her dorm room, frequently while the roommate was home and ostensibly asleep.

Shortly after, when I boned the roommate, she confessed that she was often awake and eavesdropped on my sex with the first girl while touching herself. While that fact probably contributed to me eventually getting her ass, I regard such freakadeak behavior as appalling and never saw her again.

However I believe the incident, considered in toto, provides a solid basis for an ebook that women would finger themselves while reading. Some details have been reconfigured or exaggerated for greater titillation.

I admit trepidation at Irene’s ability to execute on my concept and directions but am willing to take a flyer on her. The alternative is that she remains idle and unsupervised and I continue bankrolling her food and lodging in return for unskilled household maintenance and sex. I’ll not have a shiftless woman making her home under my roof; it’s time Irene contributed.

The only other news worth reporting is that I’ve met a 19-year-old on OkCupid and am taking her out for drinks this evening. It seems this young woman lacks the hustle and ingenuity to acquire a fake ID and I was worried we’d have to resort to coffee instead of booze, but my friend who owns a bar in the West Village assures me that he will serve her, and that we can use his break room couch for post-drinks dome, should it come to that.

22 September 2014

Literary Empire: From Such Humble Beginnings

Because I have collected a number of engrossing sex stories that have not been effectively monetized, and because my girlfriend has a degree in American Literature yet struggles to hold a self-actualizing job, I’ve decided to utilize her ample free time by ordering her to turn my sex stories in marketable erotic literature.

I will hold responsibility for all meaningful creative and conceptual work (outlining the story, narrative angle, and POV; having the sex in the first place) and my girlfriend, Irene, will perform the routinized labor of turning my concept into a narrative, formatting the ebook, and uploading it to the major platforms (Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes store).

My quota for Irene is two books per week. I’ve already provided material and direction for fully 27 erotic thrillers; as per usual, Irene is behind.

I am not sure who reads erotic fiction. My guess is aged women, or obese women, who cannot attract the caliber of male depicted. Because these stories are mine and about me, I realize those women will be by transference, fantasizing and masturbating about me.

Certainly if we met on the the street I would not fuck such women and not talk to them, but I can accept their money.

21 September 2014

Case Study: xoBang

This article was created as part of a case study on the workings of online media.

In this reprinted version, we have removed the identifying details of all typists discussed, except Leslie Kinzel, who so richly deserves every bit of criticism below that we would be remiss to redact a single word of it.

To read the results of the study, see here.

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xoBang: The Typists of xoJane, Ranked by Bangability

xoJane.com is a popular girls’ website that operates under the non-sensical tagline, “…where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded.”

Which, who the fuck knows what that means.

In point of fact, xoJane’s raison d’être is providing girls a forum to type their feelings about hair and nail care, sex, and consumer goods. As of press time the site reports receiving more than four million visitors per month.

98 percent of the content appearing on xoJane is surpassingly stupid, and 100 percent of it overlooks the only important question pertaining to these skirts’ lives, which is whether any of them could get your rocks off.

To correct for that oversight, NAPALM will publish regularly a list of xoJane’s typists, grouped and ordered by their varying levels of bangability.

##

With most publications, such a ranking would be difficult, if not impossible, because author photos rarely accompany works of journalism. Facts and ideas—as opposed to what the author wore to Chipotle last Tuesday—are typically the focal point of a column or news article.

xoJane eschews this approach and, in its posts, publishes several photos of the typist, which are generally unrelated to the words on the page.

Whatever else one might say about that practice, at least it allows us, the readers, to determine whether we would or even could bang an xoJane article’s typist.

##

For the purposes of this list, we’ve placed each typist into one of three broad categories—Would Bang (WB), Could Bang (CB), and Could Not Bang (CNB)—and then ordered them by descending bangability.

A few other ground rules:

1) Rankings are based on the best photo of the girl published during that week, or her profile photo.

2) The rankings will exclude xoJane’s occasional homosexual male and mangina typists, girl typists with no picture, and Jane Pratt—the site’s founder—who is a frequent contributor. So you don’t wonder, Pratt’s low BMI would earn her a place in the Could Bang group, though at 51 she is fast approaching the point at which even being slim won’t redeem her.

3) All eligible typists who published on xoJane between midnight Wednesday and 11:59 PM EST on the subsequent Tuesday are eligible.

##

Now, without further ado:

NAPALM’s xoBANG xoJANE TYPIST RANKING: DECEMBER 4–10, 2013

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Would Bang: Girl typists our editorial staff would enjoy having intercourse with.

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38. (AKA this week’s most bangable typist)

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

Would bang because: Young; proper bodyweight; pretty face; choice of topic suggests cultural awareness beyond that of most xoJane typists

 .

37.

37.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: Why I Don’t Tell People I’m a Model

WB because: Actually, would not bang; would destroy, repeatedly, with refractory period < 45 seconds. Would be ranked #1, except for evidence of significant airbrushing in photo at left.

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36.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

WB because: Young; healthy weight; pretty face; would bang pronto as photo suggests she’s en route to disqualifying chubsterdom

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35.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: Why Does Anyone Still Think It’s OK To Listen To R.Kelly?

WB because: Pretty face; DSL; fake hair convincingly & stylishly executed; seems to have spent a lot of time thinking about R. Kelly’s private affairs

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34.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: I Worked My Entire Life To Play Division I College Volleyball And Then Quit When I Got There

WB because: Thigh gap (Eds. Note: Further investigation revealed [typist] is now 27, meaning she gave up volleyball almost a decade ago, and she appears to have filled the hole left behind mostly with simple carbohydrates. But we judge each typist by the by photo attached to her post, and here [typist] is a solid WB.)

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33.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

WB because: Attractive, basically; exhibits none of the primary beauty-shredding characteristics of our age (obesity; pixie haircut; self-mutilation-by-tattoo).

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32.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

WB because: Seems cute; corset indicates willingness to endure discomfort to please men; ranked lower because we strongly suspect this is the best photo of [typist] in existence

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31.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

WB because: Pretty doable for an early-forties broad with a kid; ranked lower for crow’s feet, fivehead

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30.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

WB because: Obligatory bang in recognition of youth, slender build; ranked last among WBs for likelihood her Chucky-doll smile would haunt your dreams for months

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Could Bang: Girls whose photos are intriguing but not sufficiently revealing for us to make a final assessment.

Also in this category are girls who fall outside our own preferences (due to, for instance, advanced age) but who we can imagine many other men banging without suffering lasting shame.

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29.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

Could bang because: Young-ish; not repellently ugly

Hesitant because: Mannish aspect; extra pasty

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28.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CB because: Discernibly female; retains vestiges of former cuteness

Hesitant because: Sequoia thighs; split ends; carbo-gut

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27.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CB because: Pleasant face; barren but still a catch for the elderly gentleman looking for companionship through his twilight years

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26.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CB because: Semi-attractive by the standards of matronly women

Hesitant because: Crow’s feet; chipmunk cheeks; parabolic upper-arm flaps (probably)

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 25.

Name: [redacted]; TypedSometimes My Kid Throws Tantrums In Public, and Everyone Should Just Deal With It

CB because: Toes the good side of the dumpy / ugly divide; appears doable if blind drunk and popping Viagra; oily sheen of face could provide additional lubricant in a pinch

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Could Not Bang: Girls whose appearance and / or demeanor would preclude, in any healthy male, the parasympathetic response required for heterosexual banging.

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24.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

Could not bang because: Prepubescent; otherwise seems quite charming

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23.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Nondescript Asian

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22.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: People Sure Do Have a Lot of Opinions About My Dog

CNB because: SIF (Secret Internet Fatty)

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21.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: After Age 25, I Decided To Stop Entertaining Anyone I Don’t See A Future With

CNB because: SIF

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20.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: My Wig Was A Life Saver — Until She Fell Off My Head at Work

CNB because: “My half-wig, Sheila, has been a godsend. Yes, I named my wig.”

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19.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Loose tops and sideways, hand-on-hip poses: sure signs one has arrived in Cow Town

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18.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: That Time A Five-Year-Old Called Me The F-Word

CNB because: Fat; inane post topic indicates lack of meaningful human interaction and emotional dependence on imagined personal dramas

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17.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: I’m REALLY Into Ear Cuffs Right Now

CNB because: Makeup-caked adrogyne

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16.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: I Have No Clue How To Classify My Body Type

CNB because: Unattractive body type (fat); transparent plea for reassurance that she’s anything other than fat reveals desperate level of insecurity; willful disfigurement of self (tattoo on thigh)

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15.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: 45 excess pounds obscure neotenous appeal of the Asian female

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14.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: “Thriller” video ho?

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13.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Skeletor?

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12.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Boston Celtics 2013 draft pick Lucas Nogueira?

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11.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: Guess Who’s Not Coming To Holiday Dinner? Overcoming Racism In An Interracial Relationship

CNB because: Zoomed-out photo, bovine-chic attire, ‘exotic Other’ paramour, all of which closely correlate with disfiguring fatness

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10.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: Confession: I Plan My Life Blowout To Blowout

CNB because: Obsolete; ug-mug (overbite, fishlips, rosacea); f.u.p.a.

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9.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Slovenly attire; aggressively plain

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8.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Mullet; bitch face; blobbishness; culturally-imperialist appropriation of American Indian attire

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7.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Lumberjack legs; looks like total slob; hypocrisy

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6.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Willful disfigurement of self (short hair; fat); old age; bad posture

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^^ A reminder that beauty has not yet perished from the earth. ^^

The Could Not Bang group continues below. When you feel ready, take a deep breath and scroll down. (Trigger Warning: Uggos)

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5.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Aesthetic devastation (utter)

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4.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Self evident

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3.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: [redacted]

CNB because: Obsolesence; grossly overweight / fattitude; poor taste in fake hair

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2.

Name: [redacted]; Typed: Baby Seized From Woman’s Uterus In Horrific UK Case

CNB because: Obsolesence; superfat; repulsive personality, as evidenced by typing in post above; willful disfigurement of self (short hair; obesity)

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And our winner (so to speak) for the week of December 4–10, 2013:

1.

Name: Lesley Kinzel

Typed: FATshion: How I Buy Most Of My Clothes Online Even Though I’m Way Fat And Shaped Kinda Funny

CNB because: Ug-mug (jowls; Seven Summits schnoz); slovenly attire (wearing multiple brightly-colored lawn tarps in public); duck feet; fattitude; willful disfigurement of self (morbid obesity); G.O.A.T.-level repellence

Eds. Note: This is not, unfortunately, our first encounter with Miss Lesley Kinzel. Her fat-apologist pablum has come across our wires before, accompanied by full-length wide-angle photos. Our penises shrunk three sizes that day (prompting our multiple concurrent semi-regular smashpieces to breathe a collective sigh of relief).

As we noted then, Kinzel must be one of—if not the—fattest and ugliest (but we repeat ourselves) quasi-public figures in America. And while there is no shortage of hideous girls in xoJane’s typist pool, Kinzel so far surpasses all of them in her grotesqueness that it seems unfair to force the other girls to compete against her.

Though xoJane may at some point discover a girl typist whose ugliness exceeds even Kinzel’s, it is wildly improbable, and that’s not a future we would want to live in, anyway. For that reason, we have decided to exclude her from any further editions of the xoJane Typist Rankings.

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BY THE NUMBERS

Typists Ranked – 38

Would Bang – 9; Could Bang – 5; Could Not Bang – 24

Fatties – 16

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Written by Cornbread and Breadcrumb; illustrations by Breadcrumb. Originally published on Medium.

6 September 2014

The Importance of Committing Felonies

2014-08-29-the-importance-of-committing-felonies---bus

I’ve never been one for causes.

Too many people identify based on their support or opposition to this or that cause. As just one popular example, many men in these parts identify themselves based upon their fevered opposition to the women’s rights movement. Other people identify by their support of animal rights, or based on their support of gun owners’ rights. I believe this is a curious way to come up with an identity.

But one thing I do believe strongly, is that all men should, at one point or another, commit a felony.

Commission of a felony, as classed by the laws of your state or municipality, is a key determinants of who is and who is not a capable male.

I have known men you have built companies, raised respectable families, worked their entire lives to realize their dreams, and then worked even harder to achieve things they never dreamed of.

But when I asked those men whether they have, at any point, committed a class A, B, or C felony, and they told me they had not, their prestige in my eyes fell, irredeemably.

Lest you think me a hypocrite, let me tell you the story of my first felony.

When I was a young man, of perhaps 17 years, my friends and I decided the roll the house of a sworn enemy.

If you are not familiar with the term “rolling,” it means to get high on MDMA and then decorate the premises of a home or building with toilet paper, so that when your target awakes in the morning, they see white streamers trailing from their trees.

It’s a harmless form of vandalism—some legal eagles even argue it’s a victimless crime—but this is not the felony I mean to describe. No.

My friends and I set out this night with some three-to-four hundred roles of Charmin Quilted. There are cheaper ass papers, but a certain dedication to the craft demands that one not skimp when selecting his rolling supplies.

We arrived at our target’s house shortly before dawn, shortly before that hour when the southern sky turns the color of melted popcorn butter.

Under cover of the scarce remaining darkness, we fanned out across the lawn and began making it rain Charmin Quilted, looping rolls over tree branches and then watching as they fell to the ground. When one returned to earth, we would pick it up, tear the chain of paper, and launch it once more into the trees.

One must not waste for ass paper at times like these.

The operation was going as planned. It was perhaps 5 AM, and at such an early hour, we were confident that we could waste all several hundred rolls that we brought with us without being detected, and then steal away in our car.

But of course, the best laid plans will oft gang alay. And it was just as the Sun was casting its glow over the horizon that the father of our target stepped onto his front porch with a tiny leashed dog, no doubt meaning allow the dogs relieve itself after a long night in the house.

Seeing us at work, the man let out a cry. He pitched the tiny dog back into the house, slammed the door, and charged toward us.

Two of my accomplices got into the car and sped off into the early morning light. I unfortunately was left behind along, with two others involved in the operation. Each of us broke in a different direction. One friend dashed behind the house, cleared a hedge row, and broke off in the woods, to safety. The other headed down the streets, out in the open, where he was easily pursued and apprehended.

(Later I learned that Josh was caught and turn states, giving away each of our names.)

I for my part cut across 2 yards and came out on another street. With no one in sight I figured I was safe, but, I was far from home and I had no means of getting back to my house other than by walking several miles. I was stuck.

My only recourse as I saw it, was to find a mode of transport back. I could walk, or perhaps knock on someone’s door and ask to use their phone, or take it upon myself to procure my own means of transport.

Never being one to rely on others, I started scouting out along the block for likely means of conveyance back to my house.

It wasn’t long before I came upon a van that was well known around our small town.

It was an old Volkswagen bus, with red paneling along the sides and white trim in the windows. As I knew, anyone who would own such a vehicle at that point in the late 1990s would be unlikely to lock the doors. It’s a well-known fact that hippies believe in communal property, which leads them to leave their car doors unlocked. If you didn’t know that, remember the next time you need to steal a van or a car.

Realizing that the van would be an easy target, I walked up to it and placed my hand the chrome door handle. I gave it a tug. It opened. I looked inside.

Even a hippie would be an idiot to leave his keys in the engine, but occasionally, luck comes our way when least expected. And this, it seemed, was my lucky morning.

There, in the ignition, was a bright brass key attached to a Snoopy keychain.

In the center console, an unsmoked doobie sat beside a red Bic lighter. It was as if this bus was meant for me, I thought at the time.

I climbed into the driver seat and turned the key. The diesel engine roared to life, and I realized the sound of the bus starting was likely to draw attention.

Figuring I had little time to waste, I mashed on the gas and floored it out of the driveway, turning right up the street and speeding off towards the nearest main road. As I drove, I reflected on the potentially ill-advised choice of stealing an extremely recognizable van. I’d seen it around time often enough that I even knew what the owner looked like: He was an old man with long white hair, who didn’t seem to have any particular job, but was often out around town.

My hypothesis was either he had his own money, or depended upon the states. Being as I was then gainfully employed at the Food Lion, I hoped that it was the latter—that he was a recipient a welfare—and that I could rationalize the theft by arguing that my hard-earned tax dollars were paying for some small fraction of his life of leisure.

As I came to the stop sign at the end of the street, I breaked, normally at first, and then harder, but: nothing.

I tried again, pumping and pumping at the break, but still nothing happened. No wonder the bus was unprotected from thieves like me: It was defective. Anyone who stole it would be in a world of trouble, and now I was that someone.

Fortunately, it was early in the morning, and I could swerve onto the main road, which was empty of cars. I directed the van into the right lane and coasted. I wondered, should I press the accelerator again? There were no breaks; no way to slow down once I sped up. But all the same, I was on a major road. If I stopped the van and bailed, I would be seen for sure… either that, or have one hell of a long walk home.

I thought quickly. I had no choice but to floor it, and hope no obstacles appeared in my path. I gunned the accelerator, heading towards the next interchange.

I’d lived in the small town my entire life, and I knew the roads well. There were three stoplights separating me from my home. I figured that I would get off the main road, find a quiet street somewhere in my neighborhood, ditch the van and walk back to my house.

I came to the first interchange: No cars in either direction. I let the van idle through, probably going 20 or 30 mph.

After the interchange, I sped up, and one or two minutes later arrived at the next exchange. This time, I would not be so lucky. There were cars waiting on either side of the intersection, and they had a red light. But up ahead, 200 yards distant, my light was yellow, and by the time I arrived it would surely be red. Cars would be speeding through the intersection from both directions.

I could tell there was no chance the van would stop before I reached the intersection. I had a had good momentum, probably going 50 mph. My only hope was to bail while the van was in motion and let it coast through the intersection, driverless, while I lay behind in the dust, praying for the best.

I let off the accelerator, and threw wide the driver-side door. While it hung open, I dove out, hit the ground, and rolled. I’d seen Harrison Ford execute the same move in a number of movies, so well I knew that when you hit the ground, you must roll.

As I spun on the ground, the van sped onward. I looked up. I was cut and bruised all over, but, I could not take my eyes off the van. It was careening towards the intersection, still going at least 30 miles an hour. I guessed that, by the time it reached the intersection, it would be moving at least 15 mph.

Would anybody see it coming? Certainly the van was eye-catching. I hoped, for my sake mostly, but also for the sakes of the drivers in the perpendicular traffic, that the bright red and white van would be seen, and they could stop before it crossed the intersection.

As the van approached the intersection, the seconds passed like hours. No, not like hours. Like days; like years. It seemed the interval aged me a decade.

My stomach sank. The van was 50 yards from the intersection; 40 yards; 30 yards; the end was nigh. The perpendicular traffic was not stopping. What in God’s name were all these people doing out at this early hour? Who were these highly-motivated people who had gotten out of bed before the dawn, in order that they might rush to work, or school, whatever, so long before most people even open their eyes.

The 30 yards separating the van from the intersection had dwindled to 15. There was no averting disaster now.

Or, so I thought.

2014-08-29-the-importance-of-committing-felonies-jackalope

At the last possible moment, as cars were speeding perpendicular to the route of the van, sure to be struck, blindsided, doing them who-knows-what bodily and vehicular harm… a fawn stepped up to the side of the road.

To this day, I do not know could have induced that fawn to cross the road. Perhaps he meant only to get the other side. But for whatever reason, the fawn decided to cross the road, just in front of my stolen bus.

It is difficult for me to express what good fortune it was that fawn decided lay his life on the line to save my future, and those of the passing motorists.

A slower animal, say a bear, or a Holstein cow, would never have made it completely in front of my van in time to stop it. A Cairn terrier or Siamese pussy surely would have had the swiftness make it in front of the car entirely, but would never have had the heft to stop it.

But this fawn. This fawn, he was perfect. The van struck it direct in the center. It made a sound at once awful and wonderful, terrible and terrific. The van had only been moving 15 or 20 mph. The fawn brought it to a complete stop, not three feet shy of the intersection.

I could not believe what I’d witnessed. A few people had stopped, gotten out of their cars. They rushed up to the fawn, which lay bleeding the road.

Presently, it would be dead, but it’s life was not given in vain. No—the fawn’s sacrifice had saved the van which could have been struck and totaled. And it saved, perhaps, the lives of those in the cars that were then speeding through the intersection.

Had there been a wreck, I would have had no choice but to claim responsibility. Such would’ve been my moral duty. But since the life lost where animal, and not human, I felt okay. I fled in to the woods and made my way home through the sticks, in the early morning mist.

To this day, I wonder what those motorists thought, as they looked into the van and saw that it had no driver. I suppose they knew, like I did, that its owner was an unrepentant hipped. Maybe they assumed he panicked, and fled the scene, to high to confront the reality that his van cost the life of an innocent. Maybe they assumed that; I don’t know. I scanned the newspaper for days, but saw no article with regards to incident.

For a moment, it had seemed that my crime—stealing a bullshit hippie van—would cost me everything. I could’ve gone the prison; I was then on the verge of majority, and may have been tried as an adult. But that was not to be, evidently.

As I look back on that incident, from the perspective of many years, I realize it was one of a handful of moments that redirected the course of my life. I learned from that incident. I learned that, though you may be afraid of the consequences of the risks you take, rarely are they as bad as what you might expect. Think back on your life. How often has a fawn—a fawn, speaking metaphorically—ran out at the last moment, and spared you calamity, turmoil, or trouble? No doubt it has happened more often than you realize. Or maybe you do realize it, but aren’t willing to admit it.

Since that day, I have lived life with a curious sense of invulnerability. It seemed to me that, if the incident with the van could not lay me low, nothing could. Bitches, drama in the workplace, menacing black people I pass on the street: All have at times conspired to bring me trouble.

But never has anything truly bad happened to me, despite my tendency to invite danger into my life.

The incident with the fawn has been a lesson to me. May now be a lesson to you, as well.

29 August 2014

A Love Letter to Homosexual Slurs

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Part I: Born This Way

In the innocence of my youth, nothing was more natural than using homosexual slurs to express frustration.

A friend who did something annoying was a “fag.” A three-point shot that clanked off the back of the iron was “gay”; a shot that circled the rim and then bounced out was “gaaaaaay.” An unexpected homework assignment given just as class let out “sucked balls.” The weird kid who sat beside you at lunchtime was a “homo.” And so forth.

All the boys I knew spoke like that. We were calling shit gay years before we even knew what gays were.

No one ever instructed us to use gay that way. We picked it up on the fly, from eavesdropping on our big brothers and older cousins and the kid in second grade who already had a faint Mexi-stache and definition through his biceps.

In this way, my friends and I were the inheritors of a rich oral tradition, one in which homosexual slurs were the essential all-purpose pejorative, capable of perfectly distilling any degree of irritation to just a syllable or two. And we carried that tradition onward. Not out of obligation, but because we knew instinctively we were meant to do so.

For heterosexual men, calling gay shit gay isn’t an acquired taste. Like my first sip of great wine, or the moment my dong first parted a moist vag, the first time faggot tripped off my tongue at an apt moment, I knew immediately that it was good and right. I could just feel it. We all could.

And those who don’t feel it, never will. Trying to explain the eloquence of gay to a Women’s Studies / Anthro double major would be like pulling my great aunt Cyndi away from her Bachelorette marathon to explain the genius of Miró. Why bother?

As ever, the fault of the Philistines is not that they don’t see beauty; it’s that they can’t see it. Which is fine—until the Philistines become the arbiters of what’s beautiful.

 

Unknown

Part II: Barbarians at the Gates

Looking back, I see we were living on borrowed time all along.

I grew up safely ensconced in rural, red-state America, far removed from the voguish PC bullshit pumped out of our country’s urban centers. But that distance could only forestall the inevitable fall from grace.

I first noticed whispers of an incipient gay “rights” movement in ninth grade, when my friend Scott, who was the star of our JV soccer team, got three days’ detention and a three-game ban for calling another player a fag in earshot of the principal.

No one was surprised that Scott got punished. We all knew fag was a middling cuss, on par with shit and bitch. But three games seemed like a heavy sentence—or so we thought, till I and two teammates went to beg lenience from principal, who sat us down and, with great solemnity, explained… the New Orthodoxy.

In our naiveté, we had assumed Scott just called a dude a fag. In fact—as we were about to learn—he had articulated a comprehensive and dangerously retrograde worldview, which had to stamped out forthwith.

Fag wasn’t just any insult, the principal told us. She was a sweet old lady who did me good turns on several other occasions. Her gentleness had a way of quietly convincing you she should could say & do no wrong, and I recall listening with intent as she spoke.

The term fag, she said, was prejudiced, discriminatory, and deeply sexist. To use it derisively suggested something was wrong with homosexuality.

“But really,” she asked us, “what’s so wrong with homosexuals?”

Well…they suck dick, I thought. Didn’t the principal know about that?

Evidently not: “Nothing is wrong with homosexuals,” she continued, in answer to her own question. Aside from one little fact, homosexuals were just like anybody else, she assured us. They didn’t deserve to hear fag tossed around. We wouldn’t jokingly call our friends niggers, would we?

I didn’t follow the principal’s thinking on that one. It seemed like a trick question. Still, we two white boys and one Mexican knew the correct answer: Nigger hearkened back to America’s history of brutal racial oppression, and was therefore completely off-limits.

“Exactly,” the principal said. “And the very same is true of ‘fag,’ and other gay slurs.

“Remember that when you see Scott sitting on the bench,” she told us, before sending us back to class.

The way the principal likened nigger to fag caught me off guard, and I recall feeling great confusion as we left her office that day. I was well-versed in the history of Black Americans, who were enslaved for centuries, then trapped in desperate poverty by the Jim Crow regime and a sharecropping system that kept them as de facto slaves for a century more.

Had that happened to gays, too?

At the time, I only knew of two gays: a couple, both named George, who lived on my street. I always liked them, on account of they gave me a Nintendo for my fifth birthday, but they were pasty and thin and seemed like they would be pretty shitty slaves.

As you see, I had a lot of learning to do.

 

1*sXu7Zvrahb2x-l9kuUF8Pw

Part III: Paradise Lost

At the end of ninth grade, my high school opened a chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). As luck had it, I was assigned to cover the inaugural meeting for the student paper.

When the meeting adjourned, I approached the newly-elected club president to ask a few questions, chief among them: Were any of the 50 students who had already joined the Gay-Straight Alliance seriously… gay?

After trying to duck the question several times, the president finally answered:

One, he said. A popular girl who ran our school’s community service club.

But she has a boyfriend, I countered. I knew the dude—he was on the varsity soccer team.

She’s bisexual, the president said.

And she needs 49 allies for that?

It was a tense interview.

By senior year, I was editor of the school paper, and an acquaintance of mine had taken over the GSA.

One night, while I was working on college essays, he chatted me on AOL Instant Messenger: The GSA was holding a fundraiser, selling shirts that said “Gay? Fine by me.” Could the student paper perhaps provide free ad space in its next issue, to help the cause?

Fuck no it couldn’t, I replied. The paper let student organizations place ads at cost, but not for free.

The next day I was summoned the head guidance counselor’s office, where I learned the paper would provide the GSA that free ad space, after all.

Once the gay shirts were sold and distributed, the GSA organized a day for everyone to wear theirs to school. A second free advertisement in the paper helped spread the word.

I remember arriving in first period on the designated day, and looking around at a room full of my peers, 90 percent of them literally wearing their support for homosexuals on their sleeves, where the GSA had emblazoned its logo.

The homos sure had come a long ways from picking cotton in the beating sun, under the watchful eyes of the overseers.

 

Unknown

Part IV: Heart Of Darkness

The next year I was off to college. By then I’d mostly fallen in line and trained myself to never call anyone a fag, and only let slip an occasional, errant gay when under extreme duress.

During orientation week, the college held a series of LGBTQ-only events, to assure students who claimed any or all of those letters that they were in a safe place. In case they ever forgot during their four years enrolled, the college helpfully converted a spacious townhouse on campus into an LGBTQ resource center and lounge.

One drunken night during my freshman fall, some friends and I were boxing in the hallway outside our dorm rooms. As at many elite universities, it was almost impossible to get in trouble for non-academic misconduct. We’d been given the university’s blessing to drink underage, smoke pot on the quads, fuck anything that gave enthusiastic consent—on campus you were rarely more than 10 yards from a bowl of free condoms and lube—and generally go apeshit, so long as no one was permanently injured in a manner that would preclude them from getting rich and donating generously after graduation.

With some other students and one seriously fine-ass RA looking on in amusement, the other boxers and I traded lefts, rights, and swigs off a bottle of vodka. As we got drunker, the punches grew wilder, and the game started looking less like boxing and more like a gangland brawl.

At one point, while I was busy working the body on one dude, another guy came up behind and punched me in the back of the head. It hurt like hell, and I wheeled around on him.

The fuck was that for, faggot? I yelled.

The silence that followed was deafening. There weren’t many sacred cows at this school—but I had just publicly dick whipped the most sacred of them all.

The next morning, the RA summoned me to her room, where she proceeded to undress and present for insemination via raw-dog sex.

Just joking.

Fully clothed, she told me that if I was ever heard using such language—she didn’t repeat the word—again, she would create a “bias report” and submit it to the Dean of the College. After that, he would review and adjudicate.

Struck, I confirmed the RA meant what she just said: The bias report would go to the Dean of the College?

As in, the dude who gave the big speech to all 1200 members of my class on Move-In Day?

The one who held ultimate responsibility for all affairs, academic and administrative, within the school?

The professor who was both one of the foremost experts in his field, and the most powerful administrator at one of the world’s most prestigious colleges?

That guy? If someone says the word faggot on campus, they call him?

The RA wrinkled her nose. She said she was concerned I didn’t appreciate the gravity of my offense.

No, no, I understood, I assured her. And to make amends, I promised I would redouble my efforts to strike such language from my vocabulary.

Then, to provide mitigating context for my crime, I told her the (true) story of Mr. H, my elementary school PE teacher. Mr. H was a 6-foot-9 black kid from the wrong side of the tracks turned college basketball star and NBA journeyman turned beloved phys. ed. coach. During my elementary school years, we boys had revered him as a god.

At recess, Mr. H used to join our basketball games on the playground, shouting out Gay! and Don’t shoot like a fag! and Hell no, ya little homo! while playfully batting away our shots. All us second graders swarming around Mr. H’s knees thought that shit was hysterical.

I explained this in hopes that if the RA knew my background, she would understand my fallen state. But when I finished the tale, she didn’t speak or move. She only stared at me, aghast.

The RA was the daughter of Bay Area academics and grew up attending private schools in San Francisco. Those schools had employed no “Mr. H” to casually call the children fags, I suppose.

Once she regained her composure, the RA told me, in essence, that she was saddened to learn I was raised in such moral privation—but that I was no longer among the provincials and should learn to comport myself accordingly.

Chastened, I departed her room,* and thought back on simpler times.

 

1*XNxtf0KIhp7_rkQM2779pA

Part V: Today We Spell “Redemption” F-A-G

Thereafter I was successful in my campaign to cut back on homosexual slurs—so much so, I can remember the exact moment when I next uttered one.

A couple years out of college, I moved to Malaysia to work in my company’s Kuala Lumpur office. All my co-workers were westerners, mostly Americans, and although Malaysians themselves give less than a shit about gay rights, I spent lots of time among people who were extremely worried about issues like whether lesbians in Massachusetts could obtain licenses to marry.

My job involved trips to work with Malaysian officials outside Kuala Lumpur, in remote districts where you couldn’t buy a beer to save your life and women donned the tudung head covering any time they set foot outside their homes. The exotic appeal of those surroundings wore off fast, and it wasn’t long before I dreaded my two- and three-week excursions to the countryside.

One night, while I was back in KL, a co-worker held an office party in her chic apartment over Pavilion Mall. With no Malays around to look at us sideways, we Americans got bombed in short order.

Sometime during the party, I was chatting with a few colleagues who didn’t have assignments outside KL, and one girl asked if I liked a certain small city—call it “Kampong X”—where I had an ongoing project.

Christ, no, I told her. It sucks dick there.

To underscore the point, I pronounced “dick” extra loud.

As after the college incident, there followed a stunned silence, such as you might expect if I strolled into Malaysia’s National Mosque with Mohammed tattooed on my forehead (in many regards an equivalent offense).

And then, a funny thing happened:

One of the co-workers standing nearby was an openly—some might say flamingly—gay man. He oft regaled those in earshot of his desk with graphic tales of his sexual encounters, which delighted all the Ivy League-educated American girls. (The rules of decorum have become quite confusing of late, it’s true.)

Any rate, this gay dude was standing there as I declared Kampong X to suck dick, and after a moment’s surprise, he started laughing.

“I should be offended by that,” he said to me. “But I’m not, actually.”

I nodded and laughed with him. “It’s just how I feel, you know?” I said.

And it was. It was how I felt, exactly.

To be sure, I could have said Kampong X was boring, or unwelcoming, or run by insane Malay bureaucrats who diverted every last discretionary ringgit to random bullshit that did nothing to help their constituents.

Every one of those statements would have been accurate. But dispensing with facts and plainly saying the city sucked dick was true. There’s a difference.

And it was around then I realized that, by giving up such language as gay and faggot and that shit blows dick, I had compromised my ability to articulate truth.

Because the thing with words is, they aren’t pieces from an Erector set that you can swap around any way you like. A word is freighted with meaning and nuance far beyond what you’ll find listed in the dictionary. Each one has its own cadence and connotations for which there is no perfect synonym.

Damn is not the same as darn. When you really mean fuck, saying fudge won’t cut it.

So when you start erasing words out of the language because you don’t like them, or think they’re hurtful, you simultaneously throw out meanings and ideas that aren’t readily replaced.

In my daily life, I call shit gay because it’s sometimes the perfect word to convey what I’m thinking. I also live in New York City now, and I realize there are lots of people around who would rather never hear the word gay except in reference to men who truly do suck dick.

But I won’t shackle my capacity for expression to protect the delicate sensitivities of others. I don’t think anyone else should either.

After that night in KL, I started working homosexual slurs back into my speech. A gay here, a cocksucker there. Not so much to be gimmicky; just as needed get the point across.

Sure enough, it felt right—effortless and natural—the same as it had two decades prior, when I was little kid heedlessly yelling out That’s gay! and You’re a fag!, and first learning the beautiful power that such language holds.

##

* The story with the dimepiece RA has a happy ending, as I later boned her.

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9 August 2014

Anatomy of a Troll Job

Late last year, my friend Louie Grifon and I conducted an experiment in online viral marketing. Inspired partly the insane attention given to Tuthmosis’s “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder,” we wanted to see whether we could create an online viral hit totally from scratch, using made-up pen names with no followers, no platform, and no means of promoting what we created.

We were curious if social media entrepreneurs would make a cause out of anything that struck them as controversial—no matter how obscure or irrelevant it might be. Because if so, that says something about the real motives behind their crusades.

After the experiment, Louie drafted an article explaining what we did and why, but then his work picked up and nothing ever came of it. The other day, he posted it on RvF, where it’s been warmly received. Check it out: Anatomy of a Troll Job: The xoBang Gang and the Business of Rage.

9 August 2014

Acquisition Unbound

Why are Americans, SWPL and yokel alike, so intent on larding their lives with unneeded shit? The overwhelming number of us permanently in debt to the Lords of Finance is attributable, above all, to the human desire for ever greater material security and comforts, both of which were never more than a pipe dream for the mass of men, until recent centuries, when the mixed blessings of industrial & post-industrial prosperity were thrust upon us.

There are still places on Earth where people do without combustion engines, microprocessors, public utilities, subsidized antibiotics, etc. All Americans understand such places to be miserable shitholes––or would understand, if they were forcibly transported to such a place, perhaps eastern Yemen, and told to make nice with the natives. But this type of privation, which today we’d class as “unlivable,” was the old normal. For thousands of years, the tendency to get fat & acquire shit was a key indicator of reproductive fitness. Time was, fifty yaks and a potbelly would get your dick sucked tonight.

No more. But an absurd attachment to things persists in us, and has given rise to America’s new consumer culture, the unchecked force lately working woe upon all other parts of our culture.

As humans, our hardwiring is predicated upon an assumption that getting things requires struggle. That struggle was once called “life,” and success was repaid with sex, calorie-dense foods, leisure and comfort, and, more broadly, fulfillment. The pursuit of property was not tangential to living well, as it has become. There were only two viable paths to health and happiness, and getting things, repeatedly and regularly, was one of them (receiving things was the other). Thus did acquisition and possession become pleasures roughly on par with eating and fucking; humans were coded to lust after things––most of all those things that are new and / or expensive.

Kleptos, while we’re on it, are people born with the dual misfortunes of 1) feeling too keenly the thrill of possession, and 2) living in a time and place where thieves don’t get their hands cut off.

Industrialization laid the technical groundwork for runaway consumerism, but societal and systemic checks kept us, for a while longer, from entering the Age of Acquisition Unbound. We forget that it’s one hell of a trick to guarantee an entire country its daily bread, especially when the population is growing and many people no longer bear primary responsibility for filling their own cupboards. The Industrial Revolution had long since come & gone before Westerners could safely assume their fate would be something other than starvation. It’s unimaginable to us now, but around 1850 (a decade before the Civil War) a million Irish died in the Great Famine––and though Ireland may not be paragon of high-functioning civilization, neither is it goddamn Swaziland. Such was life: For 150 years, minimum, the West had mechanisms in place to produce and distribute nice things in mass, but it remained vulnerable to potato blight and other catastrophic system failures.

Historians date the arrival of “””permanent””” food security in Europe and the United States to about 1910. From that point until the mid-20th century, war and economic depression curbed consumer culture, though most people were still able to eat. (The Great Depression was, in its day, remarkable for how few Americans starved to death.) The explosion of consumerism from 1950 onward is well known, but opposing it was a counterculture of affluent, educated proto-SWPLs who saw that tract housing, frozen dinners, and evenings spent with Ed Sullivan were pale imitations of the roasted boar haunch and mammoth pelts prized by early man. (I’m not a goddamn anthropologist here––take it in the spirit it’s intended.)

Mammoth pelts and speared boars were the fruits of our distant ancestors’ existential struggle. A warmed over tray of Stauffer’s isn’t, and subsisting––in the spiritual sense––on such fare leaves men hungry. That was common knowledge among America’s better class, not so long ago.

By the 1980s and 1990s, those proto-SWPLs––beatniks, hippies, and similar––would become America’s cultural elite. While the yokels and black people, aided by an ascendant Chinese manufacturing sector, continued their frenzy of acquiring cheap shit, America’s best and brightest mostly kept above the fray. E.g., my peers and I were raised by parents who told us that television rots your brain, that chain retailers put your neighbors out of work and on Welfare, and that food was an adversary that would make you grotesquely obese the moment you let your guard down.

In response to that state of affairs, American enterprise did what it does best: innovate and then provide, with utter disregard for externalities. It cracked the code of America’s holdouts to consumerism. Businesses discovered that SWPLs and their forebears never objected to consumerism qua consumerism. Their beef was with tackiness, poor quality, and mass culture. They wanted to buy shit same as everyone else, but they didn’t feel good about buying what yokels and black people were buying.

Capitalists responded by selling SWPLs things they feel good about buying: obscure beers; DVD box sets and Netflix subscriptions; Eames chairs; Macbook Pros for viewing cat videos and internet porn.

A man of taste, if suddenly transported from 1995 to the present, would marvel at the central place TV has taken in American culture; at how foodie-ism has brought 3000-calorie portions of chicken and waffles to the Upper East Side’s trendiest brunch spots; at the way the most fashionable young people turn to megacorps like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, Ikea, Uniqlo, and H&M for their household staples, and then hand over the remainder of their disposable income to Apple, Verizon, and AT&T.

America has fallen entirely into the thrall of things. There is no longer a class of people telling us that life offers greater rewards than consumption on credit. Bereft of that leadership, and absent any moral or logistical constraint on procuring ever more shit, the country has entered the Age of Acquisition Unbound, committed above all to the twinned directives of consuming more and creating more consumers. All competing ideas––racism, sexism, religion, meritocracy, prejudice and preference of all sorts––are regarded as hostile, and subject to elimination.

Amidst this, NAPALM is intended as one humble voice in protest––a push away from the ledge, and back toward sanity.

16 June 2014

“Horrible Beast” by Breadcrumb

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:

The male-female polarity—borne mostly out of feminine beauty and its counterpart, masculine action—establishes a degree of human connectedness that cannot be created otherwise. That is why the strongest possible “community” is really just two people: a man and his lover.

All other communities are built on that foundational bond. The newly-minted VP fucking the secretary in the handicap stall; the dutiful young woman who skips lunch so she remains doable in the eyes of her fiancé; the husband enjoying a Thursday evening rimjob from his adoring wife—these are the atoms of our civilization. The world is a funny place.

 

Beast with Tyrannosaur

 

Funny—and yet, for thousands of years, people understood it just fine. The ancient Greeks knew that Helen’s was the face that launched a thousand ships. They composed a couple epics on the matter. Two millennia later, Marlowe saw it just as clearly when he wrote that famous line.

Then somehow, somewhere, we got it twisted. Today our mass culture is larded with fat apologists who advocate a feminine ideal that could scarcely rouse a single dong, much less move men to build careers, homes, families, futures.

 

Beast with Orca

 

For Horrible Beast, I’ve prepared thirteen drawings to serve as reminders that what separates the feminine woman from the fat woman is not a difference of degree, but of kind. It is my hope that these drawings will hold a mirror up to fat women so they might see themselves as we men do: as abhorrent; repulsive; alien; as existing beyond the farthest reaches of our love and compassion.

In brief, as beasts.

 

Beast with Pup

 

—Breadcrumb; New York City, February 2014. See all thirteen drawings at Return of Kings.

14 June 2014

The Hottest Girls of OkCupid Los Angeles: 20 Runners-Up

To see the top 25 (29, actually, because of ties) hottest girls on OkCupid LA, go here.

These rankings are based solely on data from OkCupid. For a thorough explanation of how / why this is possible, go here.

 

#30 – age 23

 

#31 (tie) – age 18

 

#31 (tie) – age 19

 

#31 (tie) – age 19

 

#31 (tie) – age 24

 

#31 (tie) – age 26

 

#31 (tie) – age 28

 

#31 (tie) – age 29

 

#38 (tie) – age 18

 

#38 (tie) – age 18

 

#38 (tie) – age 24

 

#38 (tie) – age 26

 

#38 (tie) – age 29

 

#38 (tie) – age 28

 

#38 (tie) – age 33

 

#45 (tie) – age 21

 

#45 (tie) – age 19

 

#45 (tie) – age 22

 

#45 (tie) – age 22

 

#45 (tie) – age 27

 

We’d be remiss not to observe that the personalities and accomplishments of girls 30 through 50 are of an entirely higher caliber than those of girls 1–25.

14 June 2014

How We Found OkCupid’s Hottest Girls

See here and here if you haven’t already viewed the winners and runners up for Los Angeles.

If you pay for OkCupid’s “A-list” features, you can search by “attractiveness.” (Everyone can see the “attractiveness” option in the advanced search drop down, but it’s only enabled for A-list accounts.)

If you search by attractiveness, the search results page will have a URL that ends with something like this:

filter1=0,34&filter2=2,18,49&filter3=3,25&filter4=5,2678400&filter5=1,1&filter6=35,0&filter7=25,8000,10000&locid=4233989&lquery=los%20angeles,%20ca&timekey=1&matchOrderBy=SPECIAL_BLEND&custom_search=0&fromWhoOnline=0&mygender=m&update_prefs=1&sort_type=0&sa=1&using_saved_search=

That “8000” and “10000” are the important parts. Those are the upper and lower bounds of the attractiveness scores for girls in your search results. That filter will not be included in the URL if you don’t search by attractiveness.

As you can see, OkCupid’s scale is 0 to 10,000. We believe a five-star rating is averaged as 10k, four stars as 8k, three stars as 6k, etc.

Of course, no girl who’s been rated more than a few times will have a perfect 10,000—so if you search for five-star girls, OkCupid actually shows you any chick with a score above 8k (as in the search parameters shown ).

Time was, if you copy-pasted that URL into another tab, changed 8000 to 8500, and loaded the results, you would see only girls who averaged at least 4.25 stars. Increasing 8500 to 9000 would get you only girls who averaged at least 4.5 stars, and so forth.

In a place like Los Angeles or New York City, there are at least a few hundred girls who average better than 4.5 stars. But if you raised the lower bound to somewhere around 9250, you start getting only a few dozen.

By steadily increasing the lower bound from 9250 to 9260 to 9270 to 9280… you could eliminate the girls a few at a time. We noted which ones dropped out as the lower bound increased, and in that way compiled  rankings of the fifty hottest chicks in a bunch of different cities.

When we pulled these numbers, a girl had to rate at least 9330 to make LA’s top 50, and the city’s overall winner had a score of 9510.

In New York, 9320 earned a girl a spot in the top 50, but the two hottest girls scored 9560 and 9540, and several more tied for third with 9510.

In Chicago, you could be a dog-looking chick with a scant 9210 and still make the top 50, but the Second City’s number one girl put up a respectable 9540—not quite on par with New York but still ahead of LA’s finest.

Sadly, OkCupid has now made it impossible to refine attractiveness searches like this. (At least to our knowledge.) Buncha fascists. Fortunately these numbers were pulled before that change was made.

You can read even more about fucking around with OkC search URLs here.

14 June 2014

this is your first goddamn post

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first goddamn post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

This is your first goddamn block quote. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your third goddamn paragraph. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

10 June 2014