Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Skeletor Affirmations and Supervillain Psychology

If you and I are 'friends' on facebook, you may have seen me sharing images from "Skeletor is Love," now active for roughly one year. It's been buzzfed, and blogged, and anthologized, and fed through, and yet I still find it worth following.

In part, it is because the figure of Skeletor provides an ironic, tongue-in-cheek vehicle for straightforwardly earnest and possibly corny statements. I can feel safe that my social-media-hologram will not be negatively affected by sharing it, because the text is adjoining Skeletor, rather than a picture of a skinny white woman doing yoga on a beach. Of course, I also appreciate being gently uplifting, knowing that for all our snark, of the dozens of people who might see my post, one of them might really need it. It's a challenge to be positive and helpful without resorting to smarm. (This is one of the reasons that for all my wariness of TED-talk-types, I refrain from throwing Jane McGonigal under the bus.)

That's all well and good, but why Skeletor? Why not He-Man (or She-Ra) affirmations? I think this has something to do with the figure of the villain in an episodic cartoon format, and how that relates to positive thinking.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

LOVEINT, a piece of surveillance poetry

I dreamt 
that I was being 
followed monitored judged desired by
the best surveillance man in the business
that he could tell I wanted him
even when I looked a picture of normality
that his dark gaze could pierce me
whenever he turn't it toward me
and never often enough.

I dreamt
that everything I did had an audience
that the secret significance of my actions
had someone to appreciate them.

I dreamt 
of chemtrails and HAARP arrays
and distant lovers,
desirous of my scent like the old stasi 
watching me
aching for an excuse to render me 

I woke.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Outside Lands and vexilology (Or: the importance of having a flag)

Last summer I went to Outside Lands, the great big music festival held in Golden Gate Park. I had not really been to a major music festival before. Stepping into the sea of humanity friday evening, I rapidly came to the following observations:
  1. My subjective geography of the park had been massively altered by filling it with people. A plain that once took a minute to cross could now take half an hour to scoot and elbow through.
  2. Everyone was making a futile effort to call their friends, taxing the cell system and making it impossible to get a call through. SMS was an option, but it might take 20 minutes for the text to get through, assuming your friend even has their phone charged.
  3. My friends seemed to be in various altered states, and not necessarily good at finding needles in haystacks.
  4. Standard methods of finding your friends are therefore woefully inadequate.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Airs, Waters, Places...Smells?

I think a lot about smell, as you might have guessed from my having written a magazine article about it for an offbeat quarterly. Today I find myself musing about odors, ritual, and sacred spaces.

It's no surprise that incense and its ilk are associated with religio-magical practices beyond written history. its ability to mark and recall deep memories is well-attested, and the entire practice of aromatherapy is based on its power to subtly alter moods at an almost pre-conscious level. Beyond sacred circles, geometrically-bewitching architecture, or striking acoustics, making a place sacred starts with making it smell different.

I realized this, as it happens, while waving a burning smudge of white sage around my campsite at dusk, muttering "repel ghosts," a meme-worm picked up from Basquiat via my art-friend Superchief Jeronimo. The phrase felt like the right thing to say at the time, but I had no intentions of a supernatural nature: I just wanted the damn mosquitoes to back off.