March 14, 2013
An Un-Quirky Manifesto

And I don’t care that manifestos these days are associated with mass murderers and crazy people, what I was taught in art school was manifestos used to be about art movements or aesthetics and that’s the excuse I’m going with.

I’m not quirky. I’m an Australian, high functioning autistic man who is somehow expected by the worldwide arts community of the 21st Century to rebrand myself as quirky. This will not stand.

Zooey Deschanel crowned as an IT Girl when the only thing I remember her from is (500) Days of Summer, HBO giving Lena Dunham her TV show Girls which led to her winning Golden Globes, I’m putting an end to it, and by that I don’t mean women in the entertainment industry, because I watch female Internet comedy geniuses every god-damn day on, Nostalgia Chick, Obscurus Lupa, for all their snark they still feel a lot less forced than the people non-Internet TV is trying to pass off as the voices of our generation.

People think sincerity is dead, that snark is all that we can do against the tide of an awful economy and a Hollywood entertainment complex that crumbles a little bit more every second, but I’m sure I’m not the only one taking a stand against quirky.

I bought an iPad mini yesterday, since I write books as my intended future and have motor skills problems that would make a Moleskine notebook inconvenient and hard to manage. I do not buy a bloody typewriter so I can prove to the world how connected I am to the past tools of my chosen trade.

I refuse to buy coffee from pretentious baristas who charge five dollars for a tiny cup, and hence I write most of my novels at home. That said, I’d sooner take my recently bought iPad to a cafe over a fucking typewriter, because I saw that photo of the guy who did that and it made me take people who write on laptops in cafes seriously. That’s how low society’s fallen.

I don’t listen to music I don’t like because other people think it’s cool. I listen to music because I enjoy it. Pavarotti lives on in my iPod playlist at least, and the musical stylings of The Beastie Boys, David Bowie, a-ha, Riz Ortolani, and Ice Cube have earned their place in that playlist through my respect for their talent.

I watched Showgirls and liked it, without irony as much as an appreciation of the behemoth it is. I read ebooks regularly, and enjoy a good anime like Dragon Ball Z or a Tezuka or Yuasa work just as heartily. None of these things are consumed in an attempt to fabricate a sense of identity that’s quirky, I gain my identity from the works I create with my own hands even more than what has been created by others.

I am not quirky, and I refuse to buy into such marketing to sell my work.

Now excuse me, while I check my Foxtel IQ box for new Girls episodes so I can watch it without paying for it while I complain about Lena Dunham some more.

August 30, 2012
Your Scene Is Dead Man

I was reading in The Bull Magazine (Issue 04, 2012, attributing my sources), the University Of Sydney’s student magazine they put out that finally for some reason found distribution on my isolated Sydney College Of The Arts campus, this Henry Rollins interview that on the premise alone sounded like a good read for what was essentially one page in an already slim publication, but considering The Bull has in my experience better journalism about issues I care about I decided to give this brief glimpse into Henry Rollins’ mind a shot.

And when I did something alarming was pointed out to me that I’d suspected for some time but never had the guts to fully admit because my brain is three years behind everybody else’s at my current age as a safe given rule for my emotional maturity level.


I like the music. I never thought of myself as a part of any movement or group. It’s really not where my mind goes, to groups and regulated militias. I have always felt on the outside of things all my life, punk rock is a good thing but you don’t have to be “in it” to dig it. There has never been a scene I wanted to be a part of. That reminds me of all the cool people who didn’t like me in school.

Interview Henry Rollins, Xiaoran Shi, Bull Magazine, Issue 04, 2012

Perhaps I should elaborate on the various circumstances that brought me to this weird transitional period in my life. I’m not sure it began when I decried the bullshit this week that was an ice chocolate in a tiny cup served to me in this pretentious arse Mosman cafe without the dignity of cream or ice cream, because in gentrified neighbourhoods wanted calories are still not allowed in supposedly free thinking, enlightened suburban Sydney areas. It’s definitely a part of me waking up to the outright nonsense of the modern world, but the seeds of my dissent from a world of alleged dissent really began about a month ago when I decided my tour of duty as a flame war veteran was well and truly over, since while it did feel I’d been helping save the world by signing Avaaz petitions (which I still totally do because it makes more sense to do that than bitch on forums about it like I did before I found out about them), I certainly felt tired of being accused of being a hipster because I talked about art I’d seen recently now and again in between debating the latest genre fiction to come out, and at one point I admitted to using a Mac computer on the same forum in the context of going to the Apple Store to get it fixed.

There’s been some particularly turbulent periods in my life lately, and on that forum I was on I found none of the solace I intended to go there to obtain as a general goal for how to cope with each set back that hit me this year, one after another, until suddenly I couldn’t take it anymore and had a nervous breakdown from all the sleepless, insomniac nights my brain paid dearly for.

The people I thought were nice enough at first on those boards turned on me and went so far as to be deliberately mean enough so I’d just go away before I’d even get banned, because for one, I hadn’t posted anything anywhere near a banning offence, and common knowledge states that somebody who really never wants to come back to a forum again just leaves instead of taunting the moderators in hope of having a permaban revoked.

I’ve been to some pretty harsh forums in my time, but this was the second worst, even below as the most miserable online forum experience I’d had my entire internet posting career. So I haven’t been back there for obvious reasons, notably since I’m a busy man who has a University degree to graduate towards obtaining and numerous financial and family problems that dogged me since 2012 as a cursed Mayan year even began took my attention away from internet forums I was using as an escape from a horrible world reality that would allow me no such luxury.

I started to question the core tenets of my very belief system about the Internet Dream, that Densha Otoko laid down in his most sacred of public domain translation gospels, to the point where I questioned whether the internet would ever give me what I was looking for in life which I trusted it would deliver me all those years ago when a seventeen year old Sydney boy with few friends gave the web a chance since nobody gave him one.

Which brings me to the reasons why I hate pretentious arse coffee shops that don’t even give you the decency of real cream, whipped or iced, in your iced chocolate. I wouldn’t call the experience traumatic exactly but it hammers home what pisses me off about the nebulous connection between up and coming writers and coffee shops to get “inspired” when really only the worst of dilettantes require to go to a coffee shop to write their novel to begin with. Associating me with that kind of scene is a grievous insult to all the shut in, hikki agenda ideals I hold dear about a man’s right to not leave the house just so he can be seen with the alleged cool people to look smarter than he really is because he’s being creative in a fucking coffee shop. The only creativity that has any right to take place in a coffee shop is from the barista, who certainly wasn’t doing his job properly if I don’t have my damn whipped and iced cream in my damn ice chocolate I might add when it came to this establishment.

If you don’t have whipped or iced cream in your iced chocolate, like your cafe is too good for this mountain of calories somehow, I am done with you, as a restaurant, as a place where food is served, as a place I would want to associate myself with in any way. This shit’s gotta stop in these Goddamn gentrified areas and I’m not gonna take these yuppie motherfuckers robbing me of the calories I deserve ANYMORE!

And I find it hard to even begin how pissed off I am, at the fact that because I own and use an iMac, and mention on an online forum I took it to the Apple Store because the CD drive was busted… I’m somehow branded a hipster with no originality or anything to offer the world because I actually use that CD drive in that iMac to make the mashups I got good grades for at art school, a detail I suspect encouraged such accusations that I was a pretentious hipster. Really I put it down to people not noticing there’s a fine line between autism and hipster mindset that I’m sitting on whether I’m aware of it or not, but I don’t understand where this intense hatred of a subculture of people, who by the way are the only subculture I’ve seen worthy of replacing emo in modern society I’ve yet seen, came from considering that these people’s existence rarely impacts our daily lives unless you literally become inconvenienced by somebody of this subculture for the crime of leaving your house and going outside.

I have huge problems with the Cult of Apple, notably that the idea that this charismatic dude who was very into being in control of everything while being revered by hippies he exploited to his own ends never smacked of anything less than a recipe for disaster since the Manson murders. Having been reading the Steve Jobs biography again recently, I was weirded out by how often I was waiting for the keg of cyanide laced Flavour-Aide to be dragged out and the mass suicides to start.

I like the Apple operating system, and the various gadgets like the iPhone and the iPad which can be very handy, but most of all I like the programs I actually use to make things with Apple rather than the act of consumerism of Apple products being related to identity. I don’t want membership to the Cult Of Apple, all I wanted when I bought my iMac was a machine that could run Adobe software well and Scrivener OSX for writing and editing my novels, since the much larger part of my identity is the artworks and creative output I make in my bedroom since I’m a lonely arse man who doesn’t have many social opportunities so making art in my proverbial parents’ basement is all I have. I don’t think of myself as an “Apple User” as much as a “guy who needs to use this operating system/hardware to make stuff in his basement to give him a sense of worth having created something”. I can see through the bullshit of Apple’s tendency to market itself as “the computer for creatives” since it’s designed to convince people who feel like they want to be creative versus actually being creative (like me) to buy something crazy expensive to justify that claim about themselves.

I only go to the Apple Store for two reasons, either I need something fixed, or I’m looking around in the Apple Store to browse because it’s fun and maybe I’ll find some useful info or gadgets and maybe I just needed a reason to get my arse off the couch and walk further down the street than I usually would so I get some exercise. It’s not because I think it’s an essential part of my life which I can’t do without. I don’t idolise Steve Jobs and personally I’d rather buy posters and have wallpapers of real inspirational people like Osamu Tezuka, Ralph Bakshi and to a lesser extent DJ Shadow since I’d rather have their faces on teenage boy’s walls as role models than fucking Kanye West and Drake/Nicki Minaj right now. The world would be a better place were my vision of bedroom interior decorating the result of better quality choices in society’s role models.

And in a world where student life on campus is decimated, our role models and identity focused around them is all we have in Australian Universities where social life, student life and general life and interaction with each other is dead, a large section of why I identify as a shut in/hikki is not because I’m always too lazy to go outside, but because mainstream society having been swamped by technological developments and online discussion have given little social outlets enticing the late bloomers of this world who aren’t social butterflies and are introverted outside their front doors.

Nobody hangs out after classes are done on campus, everybody goes home and nobody outside of online gaming clans seem to meet up in public to do any social activities any more. The incentives for the creative classes who want to change the world with their art but are introverted and condemned for being so by an Australian culture that simultaneously ridicules the socially isolated yet does nothing to give them a hand up are dead, the subcultures and social outlets of yesteryear and the creative developments that come with those original subcultures are utterly dead, your scene is dead because nobody’s thinking to themselves that since ideologies live and die on people believing in something, perhaps this post 9/11 political and sociological apathy to the utter horror of the modern age was the worst approach to confronting the young 21st Century possible, wallowing in a pit of consumerism and pre-packaged identities because as much as the social justice bloggers of today say that white people shouldn’t appropriate other people’s cultures, that is to say POC cultures, white people haven’t been doing a great job of creating something better than the dystopian nightmare of the Cult of Apple and Bronyism in terms of actual cultural identity they can cling to in the face of social and political turmoil.

There’s no togetherness and connected brother/sisterhood over any issue because nobody goes outside to meet like minded individuals, the minds we actually want anything to do with live on the other side of the ocean where we can’t reach them and we’re wallowing in fucking misery on the same fucking prisoner island Icehouse said we were in their song Great Southern Land, and your scene is fucking dead because nobody wants to believe in anything that less than three people are brave enough to stand for, it’s why fandoms of popular things have teens flocking to them while kids like me who loved their Tezuka anime and books that weren’t Harry Potter got left out in the cold to die or socially starve until they joined the crowd out of desperation.

Your scene is dead man. You weren’t brave enough to make one for yourself so you were the one who pulled the trigger and shot any chance of this world getting any better than this crap hole of a century. You don’t like hipsters and bohemians recycling the ruins of 20th Century pop culture because you think you deserve better than this? Too bad, you didn’t team up with those lonely arse kids like me who wanted something better because you spat in their faces for being too unpopular to ever catch on or be the “safe” kind of cool you could easily market. Fuck that shit, I’d rather put women like Lindsay Ellis on my dorm wall posters than Zooey Deschanel because God-dammit she at least stands for something that isn’t fucking mediocrity and twee happy bullshit that’s empty and hollow and doesn’t speak to me the way that nerds in their basement making reviews of terrible music and cinema does.

Unless you want this bullshit to continue, and put your DIY money where your mouth is you better pick up your game, Generation Y and Z, or Millennials. It’s a crappy world we live in, and we might complain the last two generations doomed us to The Road Warrior future, but you know what, somebody’s gotta build Bartertown for the sequel. And you better not bust a deal or you’re gonna face the wheel. Don’t let me down, kids.

Get your hands in the muck and grime of what apocalyptic trash we were handed down by the older set to work with and make yourselves some God-damn art!

February 14, 2012
Lindsay Ellis and the Frollo Problem

A lot of you may have seen Lindsay Ellis’s excellent top ten list of Hottest Animated Guys. Moviebob, a critic I’m also a fan of, gave it a little Colbert Bump of his own, but there’s one particular part of the list that got really controversial real fast, the inclusion of Judge Frollo, from Disney’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame on this list.

There’s a lot to be said about mansplaining about this list, but rather than attempt to go all out in that direction I’d rather express some kind of man-understanding, or at least TRYING to understand why Frollo made it onto this list compared to the utter shock and horror that men all over the internet reacted with when they saw freaking Frollo on the list, as if it was some unfathomable beast that would sunder their sanity like a sundered veil. First of all, some amendments to what I’ve already said in comments pages on the forums and such:

It’s not that I don’t understand what women see in Frollo, I’m just saying that what he represents is what a whole lot of men are terrified of becoming/being compared to, since if there’s one accusation a man doesn’t want to hear about himself, it’s “sex offender”. Say what you will about his shoes being wack, or his taste in video game consoles being questionable, but when you’re accused of being a bit “Frollo-ish”… that kind of reputation can harm people’s perception of you.

I totally understand that people like the older, troubled woobie that potentially exists in Frollo, I can get that his obsessive lust can BE a turn on for women.

I’m just pointing out that the reason why men don’t like being compared to him is the same reason why they would like to avoid a rap sheet for sexual harassment.

Goliath I understand why he’s on there, if The Cinema Snob was animated he’d probably be on this list too on the same grounds. Sexy voice I hear does it for a lot of ladies.

I’ve been aware that women like woobies and people they can help and hug because they’re *hurting* for a very long time, that part wasn’t a surprise to me. The signs were all there in various sociological papers I had to read for Society And Culture assignments back in high school when I was studying masculinity in film.

There is nothing wrong with women who have fantasies about Frollo, I’m just pointing out the reasons why a lot of men commenting might have been uncomfortable at the inclusion on the list to begin with. It’s not just who Frollo is as a character, it’s what he REPRESENTS in the scope of male sexuality archetypes.

To explain why I made this exact comment the way I did, I took the liberty of trying to find on Tumblr, the same thing I’m using to make this post, to show you evidence of why some men might be legitimately afraid of women finding Frollo sexy since the last thing they want to become is HIM of all people. Naturally, Tumblr being what it is I found the perfect example of why men might have been so uncomfortable with Frollo being on the list to begin with.

Note that in this Tumblr post by somebody much more qualified to discuss the ethics of rapey-ness than I, that the following notions were brought up:

"explicit verbal consent" used to manipulate people into sex acts

"This is a classic tactic of serial perpetrators: the fault always lies with their victims, and never with them."

This, I’m afraid, is the exact reason why people might have been floored by Frollo’s inclusion in the list. And these are words from what I imagine are far more qualified to talk about this rape stuff than me. They said it better than I could have imagined! Because Frollo, right from the beginning of the Hellfire villain song to his threatening to burn Esmeralda at the stake if she does not bed him… is both of these awful things.

Let’s look at some theories of why women might find Frollo sexy.

1: Number one of these reasons is that Frollo might be possessive and lusty, but the entire Hellfire sequence could be alternatively interpreted as “SMOULDERING: THE MUSICAL”.

In my previous dabblings in sociology back in high school when I was graded well for my social study on Masculinity In The Movies: Fight Club Vs Devdas, I noticed something about men’s reaction to Devdas, a more “effeminate” and “whiney bitch” character by Western standards but hell, he’s played by Shah Rukh Khan, and to millions of Indian women he’s just as or more sexy than Brad Pitt, the star of Fight Club. Australian Queenslander men in the sample study thought Shah Rukh Khan was nothing more than a whiney bitch. Men like this all over the world are why Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion can’t catch a break from Western anime fans when he was designed to be empathised with by an entire generation of Japanese men who really did feel powerless to act and change their world. Cultural differences matter in these kinds of studies.

But essentially Shah Rukh Khan’s main draw is that he’s, well… smouldering. Women love them some smouldering if it hints at some hidden depths, and this fantasy for women isn’t even usually associated with rapey characters like Frollo here. Frollo’s tortured by his desires but his repression hurts him with the inability to channel it in anything but destruction of the thing that causes his confusion. I think Nella in the video Lindsay made explains this better than I can in much shorter words, but yeah.

2: Frollo shares characteristics with dark, gothic characters like The Phantom Of The Opera, who has a fandom far more infamous for idealising a hideous man with a smouldering passion but will take action and seize what he wants for his own, and tempts the woman he chooses to succumb to both his or her desires.

Look, again, I totally understand the gothic romance “Brooding dark, brutally handsome stranger that makes you swoon as you succumb to his mysterious desire” thing. This shit has been going on in romance fiction since Wuthering Heights, and I’m not even sure Wuthering Heights is a proper romance novel. It’s totally okay for women to have sexual fantasies about a tall dark stranger with a smouldering brood about him who’ll sweep you off your feet and be very, very assertive about what he wants from you.

It’s this reason why women who like bondage/restraint that’s safe and fun shouldn’t be stigmatised any more than people who think Rorschach from Watchmen is a woobie in desperate need of a cuddle. This kind of romantic sex fantasy is safe and fun, and it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with a woman’s brain psychologically if she legitimately likes this, no matter how mortified Alan Moore is that Rorschach has fangirls. The problem emerges from the whole “real life coercion” thing where men in RL actually do try and justify “no meaning yes” in the way Frollo and the creeps mentioned in feminist Tumblr posts do.

This is in essence the part where a lot of guys who have never been to in their lives are legitimately confused as how to reconcile the concept of “women’s sexual fantasy” versus “unhealthy justification of rape which is unwanted”. That is what I meant when I said that where some women see a sexy tortured soul yearning to be tamed, a lot of men raised in the internet age where in real life, you have to provide legal documentation in the case of a rape accusation hurled at a man - see a rap sheet for sexual assault and harassment. Remember ladies, there’s a lot of men who have never been to in their lives, and a lot of those men see your Tumblr posts on their dashboards telling them without a doubt that RAPE IS WRONG.

So you can imagine the sheer baffled reaction from Lindsay’s male fanbase when Claude Frollo, the rapiest of all Disney Villains, appear on a Top Ten Hot Animated Men list. It’s not because we don’t want to understand women’s sexuality. It’s because a lot of the time, because of either inexperience or unfamiliarity of what women actually like in their romance… they’ve got a lot to reconcile between sex fantasy of being lusted after by a guy like Frollo and being taken advantage of by actual, flesh and blood sex offenders. Many men might be legitimately confused by this fine line, and it’s up to people more qualified than I am to address how fine that line really is.

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