Dress For Success – Or Whatever

Morning comes. Or perhaps afternoon. The searing New Mexico sun announces that it’s time to drag my ass out of bed/off the couch/up from the bathroom floor, walk/stumble over to my closet/suitcase/laundry pile, and find something to where to class that will in some way distinguish me from all the other bums out on Central Avenue.

If I was lucky enough to fall asleep in my jeans, half the problem is solved outright (yay! denim karmas.) I have a fairly nice collection of t-shirts, most of which are reasonably inoffensive without labeling me as a square; the trick now is to match the size and tightness of the shirt with the jeans in question. Anything with a deodorant stain is tossed back, until time or scrubbing remove the marring whiteness. If I have a particular shirt in mind, such as my favorite Turisas concert tee, I may spare the energy to distinguish it from the aggregate mass of black, inside-out fabric, but my perpetual chillness may preclude such toil. A ponytail, one of four bandannas for a splash of color (or auxiliary blackness, contingently,) and a smile-inducing bout of coffee and Finnish metal where time allows, and I’m off on the commute to UNM.

The caffeine should be hitting by the time I enter class, and I’m starting to groove out on Kant or Heidegger (much more likely the latter – I have little stomach for realist apologetics.) The prof is probably fairly decently dressed, buttons or a collar, nothing too elaborate. Jesse’s looking clean-cut – that bastard always gets the ladies’ attention. The department greets me with a wealth of aesthetics: short hair and earrings, dreads and bandannas, ink and ponytails, nice jeans and a button shirt.

Occasionally, it dawns on me that I should make some effort to be “more professional” – no, that’s not it, there are at least three other dudes in here dressed straight outta hippie quarterly. I’ve shit-canned the wearing of jeans with holes in them in a classroom context; that should help. I guess I find myself coming off as – aggro? Grungy? Neo-cynicist – yes.

I don’t, as a rule, believe in extraneous social controls qua fashion. Still, I’m here on a fucking mission: I’ve got my warhammer, I’m doing my drills, I’m honing my philosophy for battle in the harsh academic jungle. Do I want to be the guy that comes in and whispers “yo dude…embrace the chill,” or do I want to turn some heads and drop some jaws? Is it possible to salvage this aesthetic with a layer of grey/black button shirts? Will the addition of a necklace successfully fool people into thinking I put effort into this ragtag ensemble?

Damn…I usually don’t put this much thought into these things; I’m starting to feel out of character. Image is power, illusion is power; so is centeredness, authenticity. I have come to join the UNM Lobos in prowling the forests of the academe. To run with the wolves – must I dress like a sheep?

Redpillneo is a contributing author for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter – we’re PGTblog.

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MMA: A Forgotten Legacy

Five years ago, while enjoying my regularly-scheduled weight training, I came upon a poster that would change my life. “OU Mixed Martial Arts,” it read, probably with some low-key graphic and the psoted “Tues/Thurs 9-11 PM” that would become etched upon my undergraduate schedule for the next four years.

At this point in history, the UFC was still a fledgling corporation struggling for “cult” status with Pride Fighting and K-1. Nowadays, I can barely turn a corner without seeing “Tap-Out” splayed across a shirt or bumper sticker. The point is that in 2004, the letters “MMA” had little to nothing to do with the letters “UFC,” they were simply used by a group of people to express that they were more interested in following a diversified training curriculum than pursuing a single art. Where the term still held connotations of cage-fighting, the two were nowhere near so synonymous as they are in the modern day.

Years later, having left the fabled fields of far-off Athens, I found myself perusing flyers at the UNM rec center in search of training opportunities. “MMA Jujutsu,” one read, leaving me perplexed – the formula “Mixed Martial Arts (Insert Singular Art Here)” seems self-contradictory at best. Settling on Ninjutsu and Capoeira, I spoke with a fellow student about the offered “Turbo Kickboxing,” whose description caught my eye with a reference to Muay Thai. She objected that the course involved very little striking or combinations; at which point I grew appalled – I do not know that her allegations are factual; but I DO know that if you can go an hour without launching an elbow, knee, or round-kick, you have no business invoking the name of Muay Thai’s ancient, respected, and notoriously lethal art; no matter how vogue doing so may seem.

“Vogue” is the critical word here – it has become the “hot trend” to talk about MMA, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It has become “in” and “stylish” to walk around with BJ Penn on a t-shirt, whether or not you’ve seen the man fight or even know who he is. It has become “hip” for Brock Lesnar, who admittedly could break me in twain with but a modicum of effort, to run his mouth like a chump on national television, bringing WWE-grade antics into the more esteemed realm of martial arts combat.

It was, at one point, more esteemed. I see the letters MMA on the streets of ‘Burque, whoring out for anyone with twenty bucks and a hard-on for Dana White. I see school-yard level shit-talking from grown men in an effort to make venerable traditions marketable on cable television. In short, I see the martial arts becoming poisoned by the filth of Hollywood consumerism.

On a more practical level, the problem becomes one of steroidal meatheads learning how to fight without the requisite spiritual training, essentially turning machismo-ridden frat boys into walking weapons while the rich historical and cultural traditions of the arts find themselves beyond forgotten; overlooked by thugs and hipsters for a flashier, brand-specific way of combat.

Californication: one. Ancient spiritual traditions: zilch.

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter – we’re PGTblog.

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Love and Transience: Antinomy Unreconciled

I’ve always been something of a romantic. Even at the height of nihilism, a relatively newer friend was able to see this truth and call me on it. The day has come, however, where love is stranger and less real to me – perhaps I should elucidate by narrative.

Four years ago, I met a woman with whom I became quickly and entirely enamored. We had been having a wonderful evening, though she knew nothing of what I felt; and at its close she told me that her sleeping-space was occupied by a roommate’s parent – she needed a place to crash. I offered her my
roommate’s bunk, beneath mine, and proceeded to elude sleep for time unmeasurable.

I remember needing her; my soul crying out not ten feet to the angel beneath me, coming to suspect that the fulfillment or the ruin of my universe was entirely dependent on her place within it. I remember struggling to sleep and even to breathe, as if my lungs had gone on strike until their friend the heart had been fulfilled. I remember agony.

She never went for me, though it can’t be said I didn’t try. If I knew then what I know today, of women and of love, I might have been more successful. Perhaps I am delusional in thinking this, but the point is hardly worth disputing – there is no rewinding, and the memory stands. When I came down from my first official bender, I went to on to love again, surviving more highs and more lows up to the present day.

One of these lows was, in a number of ways, the last straw. A recent relationship devolved into the sort of trainwreck which, upon explosion, erupted into vast mushroom clouds of bad karmas, raining down upon myself and those around me to pollute and singe us all. I survived.

Sorrow is a guru; mine has taught me self-reliance and impermanence. Everything beautiful dies. In the wake of this knowledge, however, I simply cannot fathom what divine being could once more find my heart and leave it breathless – that sort of needing has escaped me now.

What has transpired here? Is this a newer, less juvenile face of love, or have I inadvertently scarred and calloused parts of me unto the point of deadness? I don’t much mind – it is peaceful here, like the great Dr. Manhattan sitting solitary in a sea of crimson beauty. Moreover, I trust that if love can come, it will. All is waves and currents, crests that follow troughs that follow crests.

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Please Die Already

Rage.

Rage.

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently about the healthcare reform bill, incited mainly by this man and this woman. Why are they ranting and raving about Democrats creating “death panels” that will decide whether or not the elderly† or mentally disabled‡ continue to receive medical treatment? Can’t they see that America is chock full of people ripe for Death’s annual picking?

The Democrats want people to have access to “end of life counseling.” That is a nice way of them saying “we want to encourage you to die without eating up millions of millions of dollars in care.” And the elderly and infirm DO eat up millions of dollars; 80% of the money you spend on healthcare will be spent during the last three months of your life. Is it really worth it? To spend hour after hour, barely breathing, barely thinking, hooked up to life support with a feeding tube in your gut?

Americans have become highly sensitive to the issue of death. I thought that the whole reason behind this mushy Christianity stuff was to make people comfortable with the idea of dying. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s always the afterlife! Feel free to pass away as you wish.” Nope. Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics are amongst the most adamant individuals who support your right to clutch on to your existence by any means; even if your body and mind have rotted away to nothing.

Actually, they’re not even supporting your right to life; they’d keep you alive regardless of how you feel.

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddman crochety old for the State to continue financing your life."

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddamn crotchety old for the State to continue financing your life."

What about my right to death? Listen to me: people need to die. People have been dying for millions and millions of years. Its natural. It happens all the time. The problem is that no one has instructed us on how to cope with and move past these tragic events.

Wait. Tragic? It shouldn’t be tragic; it should be joyful. The joyful passing of your loved one. We are so far removed from our natural state of being that we no longer value death… excluding the deaths of our enemies; that has always been joyous.

Lion King

Even Disney supports death panels.

Human bodies were not designed (intelligent or not) to last forever. Our cells stop regenerating as well, our joints become rigid and sore, our systems fail to save over and over again until it gets to a point that your body just dies. All of this extensive healthcare is in denial of the natural ‘Circle of Life‘. Certainly the deaths’ of those who did not live up to the prime peaks of life are tragic; they died too soon. But that only covers people up to about age 40; if you live past that point, I will be joyfully celebrating your passing with explicit glee.

So lighten up. Embrace death (the insurance companies have been running death panels for years now). Maybe even buy a t-shirt. It’ll balance the budget for Christ’s-sakes.

You don’t want to be alive for the zombie apocalypse anyway…

†‡Not that either of these groups really qualify as  being ‘that alive’ in the first place.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Maps.

Maps.

-:-

While we sit here knowing,
but not comprehending
why we are so different,
we stare at the sun.
Blindly, we forget–
it’s the same one.
Looking at our friends–
each one has a heart
bound to find us
happy?
We’re not so different
after all.

You’re one thing I can’t let go of…
you’re one person that I
cannot bear to lose.

Please don’t pick me away.
If I can’t be anything to you,
at least, let me scar you.
I just wanted to love you.
Ever since I knew you
I wanted to love you.

I remember the way you were
when you became angry.
You’d speak fast and you would storm
when you walked.
Something about you
empathized with me.

If I could say one thing, it’d be
I miss you, but most of all I wish
the best for you.
And I want to be free, but I feel that I cannot,
without you here.

My dreams may only be dreams,
but you stand there
in real life.

Our moments– speechless as they are,
feel like an eternity
in a different world.

Are you going to hold me again,
and tell me how I made you feel?
Or must I always imagine
the words you might say?
Was it all just a dream,
or did I grapple
through your words, through the way
we moved, that hey…
you loved me?

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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True Blood: The Vamp Show That Didn’t Bungle

Whilst killing time at my amigo’s flat, the hour inevitably came when the bars were closed and we had played all the Smash Brawl we could reasonably stand. Calling my attention to a small, white box with mildly erotic cover art, he suggested we watch an episode from the first season of “True Blood,” his latest vampire-infused TV fetish.

I immediately recoiled, as if repelled by garlic or by sunlight. I’m really not much of a television enthusiast, truth be told, and rumors of Twilight’s blatant donk-canery had soured my taste for any attempts at mainstreaming the vampire genre. (Sparkling vampires? Stake through the heart. Or maybe a kukri knife, a la the original Stokerian epic.)

Due to boredom, masochism, or the perseverance of hope, I decided to give it a shot. After five or six hours of viewing time over two subsequent evenings, I am happy to say that my doubt has been laid to rest – the program is well-written, engaging, and most importantly, does not reduce the vampire to a glittering, Hot Topic-esque pissant conceived to arouse fifteen year-old emo chicks.

This does not imply that the show does not have its sensual moments. The vampire has long been a symbol of sexuality and deviance, and I cringed at first for fear of half-assed soft-core or soap-inspired shamefulness. Never you fear, gentle reader – True Blood rides the line between Steeleian cliché and pleasant sexuality like a drugged up fang-banger straddling their first vampire lay (puts “v-card” in a whole new light, doesn’t it?)

Outside the bedroom, the show continues not to disappoint. A host of believable if routinely traumatized characters (it is, after all, a drama) bring the town of Bon Temps to life, infusing the program with a down-homey, colloquial flare. While the dialogue’s backwoods simplicity was alienating at first, repeated exposure charms the viewer like a southern belle; drawing the audience into the more human aspects of a fantastic world. This is a strong claim coming from me, as a lifetime of exposure to Bush-era redneckery has embittered me toward anything that drives a pick-up and listens to Toby Keith; but it is true – seeing relatable characters in such familiar surroundings actually did much to assuage the shame brought on by my humble Midwestern origins.

And speaking of politicizing, I should applaud the satirical elements of True Blood. The message is subtle yet undeniable, as background programs host chattering about vampire-rights legislators and the struggle to legalize vampire marriage. Pricelessly, a Fellowship of the Sun cathedral even sports a bright yellow poster reading “God Hates Fangs.” If that doesn’t get you off, well, then I simply have no comment.

While the action scenes are not uber-abundant, they certainly occur often enough to maintain interest. The violence is intensely fast-paced and often over quickly, which upon consideration is better than the drawn-out, cheese-ridden excuses for melees that so permeated the genre’s prior failures. Also, as the name implies, the program is suitably ensanguined in other aspects, from vampire intercourse to the snorting of vamp blood to induce psychedelic journeys.

All in all, this is the program that got it right. While it is not my favorite drama of all time (bring back The Riches!), it is a masterful forward leap for the vampire traditions, honoring the genre’s hallmarks without trespassing into the cliché. The show maintains an aestheic homage to metal and gothic aesthetics at points (such as at the vamp-bar “Fangtasia”) while keeping Bon Temps and its residents believably normal – the only inconsistency is that landscapers and wait-staff walk around in high-end, sponsor-evident fashions. Also, I am proud to announce that HBO’s vampires balk at running water, recoil from sunlight and silver, and are precluded from entering private dwellings uninvited. And, once again, they don’t fucking glitter!!!

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. He apologizes for the late post, citing an impending move back west brought upon by perpetual nomad-ism. Follow Neo and his PGT pals on Twitter – once again, we’re PGTblog!!!

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