Monday, December 9, 2013

Reclaim nature

«Make a little room on the crippled Earth!
 Depopulate it so the grass may grow again,
 and woods, meadows, heather, stream and moor
 return to this world of dust and concrete».
Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ten to one

  I was at the new Starbucks in Bergen a few days ago, enjoying the first really tasty Cappuccino coffee I've ever enjoyed in Norway ever (they can’t make it here). Something weird was going on or is going on. The female customers outnumbered the males ten to one, at least that. I sat there for an hour and the numbers stayed more or less the same.
  This is something I haven’t seen at any other Starbucks and I've been to a few across Europe. Perhaps I will investigate the matter and see if anyone has any explanation for the discrepancy.
  It was strange with almost only women present, but nice, too, of course, almost as if a conjunction of sisterhood descending on the place.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


  There has been a scandal in British retail book-sale business lately, but the scandal is, contrary to popular opinion not that WHSmith has found lots of controversial novels among their titles, but that they have chosen to remove those titles from their assortment. They have exposed themselves as eager supporters of censorship.
  When you read their press releases and the explanation they give their customers, on and off their website you find one bizarre and sick statement after another. Yes, it safe to say they are practically lined up. There have been many cases like this throughout history, where mainstream citizens impose their narrow morality on everybody else. It wasn't acceptable then and isn't now.
  An oppressive society always blame art in order to distract people from what those in charge should be blamed for and this is certainly such a case. Established retailers and publishers have constantly supported this vile practice.
  A guy by the name of Jeremy Wilson in the online magazine Kernel eagerly call for censorship, and doing so without a single original and free thought in his head. He speaks of filth. What he writes is filth. Find themes most objectionable in people’s eyes, distort the truth, make things up to support your tyranny of the mind. The true scandal is that people like him and those eager beavers at WHSmith and elsewhere have any influence what so ever. The hysteria grows, as it often does in cases like this and all independent titles, those not published by established publishers come under scrutiny, which is exactly what the established publishers desire. I wouldn't put it beyond them to have planned and actually orchestrated this.
  There are lots of talk about ending censorship in foreign countries, but very little of ending it here, in the west, where it is just as bad. It's about money, of course, but also about power and influence.
  Censorship is wrong, without exceptions. Controversial titles should be hailed as a great thing, not removed from public eye. It should be proudly displayed.  It is all the boring and bland mainstream titles that should be thrown on the garbage heap where they belong.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Deep waters

  Indie author Amos Keppler's novel ShadowWalk is, among many great things a celebration of multiculturalism.
  What makes Amos Keppler's books unique compared to all others is the uncanny vision he brings to his work. I have read about half of his works by now, and even though the novels are vastly different from each other, they share that unique quality of being different.
  The visual power he brings to his stories is unquestionable. Others have related how they are able to easily visualize what they read in his books. I agree!
  But what the stories are about more than anything is the deep waters of humanity. You haven’t experienced truly deep in books until you read this one. At least I hadn't.
  The story is about Jill, a young woman, among other youths of all colors and many cultures on a quest to find herself and get a life, about her getting it, finding everything making life worth living. It is found under a rock, right before her eyes, and she grabs it, grabs its tail with both hands and holds on to it with all the considerable might she possesses.
  It’s about the dangers seekers find out there, on the freedom road.
  It’s about the mysteries of human existence and everything under the moon, actually. I would argue that it is about everything and contains everything, but that would not be completely accurate.
  It’s one hell of a book and you will find yourself immersed in it, deep below the surface of its waters, its fire lake.
  I wouldn't claim that each paragraph is a joy to read, but it feels that way. The prose is just as unique as the story itself.
  The boys and girls described in the book are teenagers, but this is a story for truly mature readers of all ages. It is a fantasy book. It is not a fantasy book. You will find no boxed in genre story here. You will find life in all its shades.

  No less.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer is over

  I like all seasons. They are change and encourage change, but in today’s oppressive society summer is clearly the best.
  It isn't because of the high temperatures, even though I love those, too. The foremost reason is the most obvious: I can more than anything be human. There is not work, not school, but weeks of relaxation, of embracing everything still great in life.
  I can say fuck it to all the trappings of society and that always feels good. Most people aren't able to even imagining a completely different life, but we are.
  We swim, swim a lot, we dive deep into the forest and the night, enjoying every single second of our life, celebrating it in all forms. We know it is temporary, even as we are very aware that it shouldn't be, shouldn't be that at all.
  School is shit, both in its foundation and execution. It’s just a place where you educate robots, mold people into slaves better suited to perform in the harsh existence as an adult. I want to quit school, but I hold it out, because the alternative: being without a higher education in today’s cutthroat society is even worse.
  True learning is nothing like this, this pale imitation of it. If anyone wanted to study anything it should be because they wanted to, not because they feel brutally compelled to do so.
  So, while I seek and enjoy every radical environment I can find in this tiny Scandinavian village of mine, I keep torturing myself with the words and actions of others.
  Summer is over.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Buyers of IPhone

  A very accurate description. People line up for days to buy that shit?
  We live in an insane world with insane people. It's really an excellent illustration how the sick consumer society is kicking into even sicker overdrive.

  It isn't strange that the world is so out of whack.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The boy doll

  I don’t know how many negative articles there are about Justin Bieber out there, since I haven’t really checked. The entire subject, the very thought fills me with disgust. But I would imagine there is quite a few. There should be.
  Here is my contribution:
  He can’t sing, literally can’t sing. Not even the wonders of modern technology can fix his weak voice.
  The songs are hardly songs at all, but a tired, old repetitive, uninventive record stuck at the end of the melody. I most certainly agree with Danish newspapers calling him as real as Santa Claus.
  He is a sale pitch, really and nothing more, a celebration of banalities, of the mindless, of prostitution, of people selling themselves. When millions of hysterical girls scream his name many, way too many young boys want to be him. He is, in short a typical early twenty-first century role model, one not first and foremost selling his songs, but an idea, a scheme of submission and enslavement, one tool among many spearheading his masters’ ambitions of a world without freedom.
  One Direction and similar boy and girl bands fit the same mold.
  When he visited Norway this week there was little difference between that and him visiting any country, anywhere. We saw stupidity incarnated. We saw rich people pay for their daughters to meet him face to face, saw him being treated like royalty everywhere and while there was some reflective thought in that and other regards, reflective and critical thought was mostly absent in the public sphere.
  The music publishing industry, like the movie and book industries doesn't sell art, but a lifestyle, one without awareness and independence. They have always supported artists serving up mindless drivel the most.
  It’s very similar to general advertising. Advertising doesn't first and foremost sell a given product, but instills in almost everybody a need for being popular, to belong, of being accepted by family, friends and society. In the boy or girl doll the modern human youth projects his or her longings, an excuse to not seek true freedom, to not live an independent and radical and aware life.
  I don’t wonder why the world is filled with silly love songs. It is because those in charge have ordained it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The stark truth

  This is so spot on, so accurate, so telling. All people, but especially those professing to be radicals (but clearly aren't) should take it to heart. I will put it to you, to you guys right now: Stop being gatekeepers, stop defending the system by ridiculing system critics and buying tyranny propaganda.

  Others about this subject:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ever After by Kim Harrison, my thoughts

  «There's no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan». From Every which way but dead (book 3 of the Hollow series).
  Aside from having a «tendency» (pun intended) to name the books in her Hollow series of novels after Clint Eastwood films, Kim Harrison is quite the competent writer. I have to think so, right, since I've read every book in the series so far.
  I love the quote above. It more than suggests, in spite of the flaws that there is something more than the ordinary to these books, something confirmed at least to a point when you read them.
  Kim has set up a very elaborate universe of vampires, witches, demons and elves with more than one original twist. There have been ups and downs in my reading of the series, but I do come back for more. I don’t quite understand why, but I do.
  I like the fact that Rachel was revealed to be a demon and also accepted it without too much fuss. Most other writers in the genre of urban fantasy wouldn't have dared to do that, wouldn't have dared pushing even those minor boundaries.
  Ever After is the eleventh novel in the series. And even though Rachel has fucked up again and needs to fix it, she has reached a modicum of calm at her center, isn't the neurotic wreck she was in the first books. Even Rachel’s relationship with Ivy the vampire isn't that unlikely and filled with silliness anymore. As Kim has done earlier she continues building on themes introduced in previous books. There is a progression here that is kind of effective. She is fairly good at characterization, at least with some secondary characters for some reason.
  And I do want to know what comes next, even though I see, or at least initially saw Rachel, the main protagonist as a ridiculous, implausible character.
  One thing in particular is bad about this book. A very important event happens off camera, which can never be good. I could attribute this to the I-form Harrison use to tell her stories, but the event would be easy to work into even that, so it has to be a deliberate choice of the writer and one I can’t say I like very much.
  The stories remain a fashion show of sorts, a choice I don’t care for either.
  And my foremost criticism: These books are advertised as books for adults, but I think they are much more for young adults and hardly even that. The way sex and violence and general interaction is described (or not) is almost approaching that of a children fairy tale, not really for truly mature readers at all.
  I wish writers would stop being so cautious. I guess it has something to do with the fact that the books are published by established publishers. They don’t make waves and don’t want their writers to do so either, and that makes almost all their publications potentially very, very boring.
  As I said, I keep reading these books, but they don’t excite me and certainly not like they could have, if they hadn't insulted the reader’s intelligence.
  My conclusion, I guess, is that in spite of some positive elements in the stories, the negative outmatches them. The potential is far from being actualized. The setup is great, the execution isn't.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The sorry current state of mankind

  Most people clearly prefer the choice on the right, since that is by far the most common these days and has been for a long time.
  It says a lot about the sorry current state of mankind.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Think again

  I used to be the typical bimbo when it came to women’s rights: I didn't give it much thought, taking for granted what I had and hadn't really considered the injustice still very much present in today’s local, domestic and global society.
  But as I was more or less shaken out of my daze I learned more, about both the present and the past, and a possibly terrifying future.
  In Margaret Atwood’s novel A Handmaid’s Tale we see what will happen if the religious right gain the upper hand.
  The rights women have today, still modest compared to men in general have been fought for for centuries, through often hard-won battles.
  Everybody doubting that should read the history of that struggle. It isn't exactly peanuts. A film about it I recommend wholeheartedly is Iron Jawed Angels, an American TV-movie from 2004. Though not completely historically accurate the events described is more than close enough. And what it lacks in accuracy, it gains in passion, in the cruel and intense description of what Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, among others had to endure in the United States in 1917 for women to win the right to vote. It didn't happen by itself. Like sisters in each and every country Paul and Burns and the rest won through great personal sacrifice and with their very lives and health at stake.
  The world is still far from true equality, but it would be far worse if not for those giants that fought for us and won for us.
  If you think, as I did that there is nothing more to fight for, think again.
  A married woman was hardly considered a legal person anywhere 150 years ago. Today, in many places, all over the world, also in western countries, they will force us or are forcing us to carry to term a rapist’s baby, for instance. Rape culture is still very much present many places and even gaining popularity among a particular brand of western males. There are many other similar horrors waiting for us, if we aren't vigilant.
  Many of the same arguments used then, in order to keep women from gaining the right to vote are used today, when keeping us from enjoying equal pay for equal work, abortion issues and more.
  If we don’t fight we will not win and as we've seen recently: we may lose many of those hard-won rights. If the world has improved on these issues, it isn't by much. It remains a long-term uphill struggle.
  The War on Women is intensifying, not waning.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: Shadows in the Darkness by Elaine Cunningham

  This is a mature book, at least far more so than many others. It doesn't insult (much) the intelligence of the reader.
  You just don’t find many books like this anywhere.
  Gwen knows she’s different, but doesn't know what she is and she suffers because of it. She is former cop turned private investigator specializing in finding lost and kidnapped girls, like she, herself is lost. And the city of Providence’s steamy underside is where she’s doing most of her work, and she’s good at it, so good that she easily convinces club owners and vice bosses that she is her disguise: a sexy lap dancer, a woman making men turn their eyes at her wherever she goes.
  She’s a very believable «heroine». There aren't many unconvincing events in the book. The story feels very much like real life. Perhaps she is too much in denial when she discovers her true inheritance, and the fact that a sensual woman doesn't have sex during the book are the only things I find a bit frustrating and unlikely.
  It’s not a genre book, another point in Elaine’s favor, the way I see it. If you must label it, call it «urban fantasy».
  Elaine has mostly done licensed work. I guess she earns more money doing that than on her own stories and that is too bad. I will skip the Forgetting Realms, Star Wars and stuff like that and keep reading her real stuff.
  This book is out of print. I was lucky to find it at the local library. Again we see an example of how quality fails to become a bestseller.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

«Life», existence in the twenty-first century

  «When you grow up, your heart dies» - Ally Sheedy, The Breakfast Club.

  I've mentioned earlier the survey where children using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking were shown to become less creative the older they get. I can attest to that and more.
  My childhood is very clear to me. I can easily recall events and see patterns of development.
  My friends then were pretty okay for a long time, but then, as they became adolescents and adults I noticed distinct changes. It wasn't just that they became less imaginative, but also that they were less prone to be critical and open, and less the great, exciting creatures they once had been. And they turned less friendly towards those breaking free from the mold. Modern existence… got to them. It got to me, too, I know that, but not to the same extent. We drifted apart, and I have hardly any contact at all with them anymore, and worse: every time I meet them, they look at me as if I am a leper or something, as if there is something wrong with me. I've learned well to recognize that look behind the polite exterior. There is nothing there anymore, no spark, only the force-fed information, the propaganda of that before mentioned modern society.
  Like most people they have become functions of expediency and practicality and hardly anything more. I shudder in horror.
  No horror film has ever scared me much and the reason is clear: we exist in one, one much scarier than any fiction.
  Something needs fixing and it is not children.

  «Dreams can’t die, but they belong to the night» - Amos Keppler, Dreams Belong to the Night.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A bubble in the world

  We rested in bed afterwards, making out at a slow, languished pace, enjoying each other’s skin and touch. The night almost turned into morning before we fell asleep. Days and nights flew away, until we were forced to leave the real world and return to the fake and ugly.
  Sis and I began dressing the same. We aren't twins, but are born in the same year and attended the same class, so it became quite visible. We dyed what was blond and brown hair black. By using the same makeup we very much resembled identical twins. And we stayed together more. A lot was implied by our behavior, even though we weren't obvious about it. We were very aware of how what society and the public would do if the truth was revealed.
  I've always been quite fond of the nonverbal method, at least to a point. We revealed it without revealing it, and we turned our proud face at the world, and the world disliked a lot. Today’s society doesn't appreciate pride in general and when pride comes from breaking one of the most extreme taboos there is the world becomes seriously pissed. We thought we were prepared, but our optimism was quickly exposed as the ivory tower it was.
  Time passed and even if there were lots of ugly stares and bullying we dealt with it with a superior arrogance. Those judging us didn't know for sure, but the suspicion alone was sufficient in their eyes. That is often so. We hadn't been bullied before, but now we were. Tove called it «our new Era. To us that new era had a beyond positive connotations, because we were together. The bad and downright ugly stuff didn't really matter that much compared to that.
  People have, completely serious told us that we are at fault, that we are to blame, and that we can’t expect being treated differently when we «behave the way we do». In our darkest moments we agree with them. That’s the true horror of bullying. It makes its victims question their very core. We know intellectually that those being treated badly aren't responsible for people’s cruelty, prejudice and intolerance. We know that stupid laws and silly morality gaining support long before we were born have or should have nothing to do with us. But doubt haunts us. We are, like everybody else a product of the society we grew up in, and shame has been beaten into us from an early age.
  We left our home and hometown as soon as we possibly could, and moved to the big city and student life. We did so willingly, «voluntarily» because we were finally fed up, but in truth we couldn't have kept it going for much longer. Now, we hardly hide ourselves at all and enjoy that immensely.
  We live in sin and incest and it feels great beyond words.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Stop shop - the world

  In November four Norwegian women made public an idea, an intended effort.
  «We’re sick and tired of being slaves of the fashion industry».
  Their aim is to not buy new clothes (in Norwegian) for a year, unless they’re absolutely necessary.
  All such initiatives are worth applauding and supporting.
  Buying new clothes only because those a month old are perceived as outdated is truly one of the more insane acts in this world.
  Say no to the consumer society. Say it loud and clear.