Atheism: Cool Story, Bro!

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When pondering the great expanse that is the Universe, many thoughts are evoked. Some want to believe that an all-powerful Being is behind all of it. Others are in awe at the power of nature, and a “Creator” isn’t necessary.

For me, it’s an irrelevant question.

The more I dig into my philosophical pursuits, I find that the question of “God’s existence” isn’t all that interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the question is altogether irrelevant. I’m speaking for myself here. My interests lie in questions of “what can we know?” and “how can we know it?”. Failing to begin there will result in disastrous conclusions every time. The “Question of God” is simply too far off and vague.

What are we even talking about when we speak of “God” or “gods” or a “Creator”? Is it a Being that exists in a supernatural realm where the laws of science and logic don’t apply? Or is it a highly advanced Being that DOES exist in our realm of science and logic? In either case, why are these Beings hiding from us? Why would they allow us to fight each other over speculation about them? Why would they give a shit about what we do? Why would a Christian God create a huge universe only to put humans on one small, insignificant part of it? Why go through such a convoluted way to restore humanity when He could just reboot the machine? Why let Satan continue his shenanigans? Is God’s seeming inability to stop Satan, evil, and free will an indication that he’s NOT all-powerful?

Obviously, a supernatural Being revealing itself to humanity via ancient scripture is bullshit. Anyone can see the problem with that (yet strangely, many don’t).

What do I believe? Like I said, the question is irrelevant. Like John Stuart Mill, I refuse to believe in a God that “created a hell”. BUT, it’s still fun to speculate. Predictably, my “God” is the God of Kant: if one exists, we can’t know anything about it and it’s a meaningless subject in our everyday affairs. OR…we have the God of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where an advanced species has controlled human evolution. That “version” of God is similar to my relationship with my cat. I can only imagine what my cat thinks of me. I feed him, rub his belly, clean out his box, and make his life so much better than the majority of other cats on this earth. He doesn’t fucking understand how I do it. I’m like magic to him. But he doesn’t have to speculate about my existence…he sees me everyday! But most of all, once when the “Question of God” gets answered, it’ll probably be like a twist in a bad M. Night Shyamalan film…it was US the entire time!

So how about atheism, eh?

In the late 2000’s, atheism was hot, Hot, HOT. We had Sam Harris. We had Christopher Hitchens. We had Richard Dawkins publish The God Delusion. I just eked out of high school where I was expelled from a Christian School after fighting (and getting my ass kicked by) a teacher. I was ready to stick it to the Church….I was late teens/early 20s, in college, and ready to FIGHT. Naturally, I got caught up in this “New Atheist” movement.

So I get it.

Reflecting back on that time, I exchanged one extreme for the other. Which is why it’s difficult for me to fully embrace the title of “atheist” now. I don’t even know what we’re talking about when we discuss “God”. Don’t get me wrong, I am FAR more sympathetic to the arguments for atheism than theism. I mean, let’s be honest, if we stand back and look at our beliefs…believers have a pretty tall order. Or to quote Carl Sagan: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” But much ink has been spilled over the centuries regarding the criticism of religion. I’m not going to say anything new here that will change anyone’s mind. But as an “atheist” (I really prefer the term “irreligious”), we have to approach our views with the same skepticism we have for religion. They can’t become set in stone. That’s the sort of orthodox that atheists should be challenging.

Else atheism becomes just another “religion”. An empty and boring one at that!

“So you don’t believe in spirituality, myths, souls, Gods, etc?”

“Nope”

“Cool story, bro”

Which is why it’s kind of weird to identify as an “atheist”. “Not believing in something that doesn’t exist” feels too meaningless.

“Low Road”: Chapter 10

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Low Road is the only novel I’ve ever written. It’s honestly the only story I’ve ever completed. It’s not very good, BUT I’ve decided that I am going to see this thing through. Three years after completing it, I’m editing it down to make it somewhat presentable.

Unfortunately some characters have been nearly edited out. Angel and Philip are a prime example. They did have much larger roles to play in the story. Now they’ve nearly disappeared. This might explain why their actions could seem out of character in this chapter. (There was also a side story as to why Rod had ecstasy. I took that out because there doesn’t really need to be a reason why he had it. He’s just that kind of guy.)

Recap: The alcoholic dirtbag Rod Townshend has been kicked out of his brother’s house and is living with Jeanne. Also living there is Jeanne’s son Philip, an unemployed gaming nerd, and his girlfriend Angel. Although Rod is somewhat dating Taryn, and remains a “paid servant” to Jeanne, Angel and him have been getting close. Perhaps too close.

Chapter 10

Jeanne sprawled out nude over her bed, face down. She told me to give her a massage. I grabbed a few lotions. I pretended like I knew what I was doing.

“When are you leaving?”, I asked. She had a conference to attend in Houston.

“In the morning. Could you massage my legs? Don’t go too high. I’m not that horny.”
I lubed up her legs.

“So…do you want me to leave until you come back?” I asked.

“No, sweetie. You stay. Watch over Phillip. I don’t know if he’s all that competent. But when I’m gone, don’t bring that girl you’re fucking over here. Are you guys boyfriend and girlfriend yet?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Good.”

“Why’s that? Aren’t we just fuck buddies?”

“We are. I don’t mind lending your dick to other ladies. But at the end of the day, you’re mine.”

Fair enough, I though. She is paying me after all.

I took out the pills that Taryn gave me. It was “molly”, “ecstasy”, or whatever the fuck kids called it. I joined Angel and Phillip downstairs. Phillip was, of course, engaged in some video game.

“Got some pills. Wanna try?”

They both seemed a little hesitant.

“I think it’s ecstasy or some bullshit. It’s not that bad.”

We all got high. Angel and me got a bit handsy with one another. Phillip was pissed. He stormed off.

“What a fucking asshole.” Angel said.
“The hell’s wrong with him?”
“The Marine’s rejected him.”

I went back to his room.

“You’re a dick.”, he told me. I had never seen Phillip emotional.

“I wasn’t trying to steal your girlfriend. We were just trying to have a good time. Let’s just forget about this.”

He got into my face.

“You always get the girl. And you don’t give a shit about them!”

“That’s not true. She’s yours, dude.”

“Mine? She’s not anybody’s. I don’t know why she wants to be with me. I don’t know how we got together. I’m don’t want her to leave me.”

He revealed to me that they still hadn’t had sex. Philip was still a virgin. Angel wasn’t. The military also rejected him. He couldn’t find a job. He feared that Angel was going to leave him. I continued to listen to him. Finally, probably because of the drugs, I gave him a hug.

Jeanne had an early flight out of Tulsa the next morning.

“Don’t forget to check the mail. And don’t let Angel eat all the food”, She said. “Here, take this…”

She handed me $500.

“Just in case you need to buy groceries.”

$500 for groceries? I tucked it away in my wallet. I sure as shit wasn’t going to buy groceries. Philip and Angel were still asleep. I made breakfast and coffee. Angel was awake first.

“Good morning. Here’s some eggs. That’s all I can cook.” I told her

It was awkwardly silent. It was the first time we’ve spoke since Philip’s meltdown.

“We’ve got this house to ourselves. Are you going to throw a party?” She asked

“I don’t have friends”, I said

“I know some people.”

I started thinking. I did have $500. I texted Taryn. She was probably not awake at that hour. I told her that I was coming by her trailer.

When I got there, the place looked like a war zone. She had a party the night before. Her and Jeremy were stoned out on the couch. I asked her what she had for sell.

“Some stuff out of San Mateo. Some bubble gum flavored shit.” She said.

“I’ll take it. I got a party tonight. Can you be there?”

“I’ve already agreed to be at this bonfire.”

“You can bring that group over too, after the bonfire of course!”

“It’s in Missouri. Look, the next party you go to, I’ll be there. Promise.”

“I’ll go”. Jeremy said, crouching in the corner.

“Cool!” I turned back to Taryn. “When can we hang out again?”

“Soon.”

She then handed me a bag of weed.

How To Tell If You’re A Terrible Person (Part I)

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I make reference to “terrible people”, “pieces of shit”, and “psychopaths” regularly.

“But Wes, how can one know if they’re a shitty person?”, you ask.

That’s easy! Here’s a list of 50 qualities that shitty people usually possess. BUT if you possess all of these qualities, then you’re just a fuckin’ badass. They are:

  • From Indiana
  • Have more hair on your face than on top of your head
  • Write a blog
  • A fan of the Marvel Universe, Harry Potter, or Fast and the Furious movies.
  • A fan of MMA
  • Can’t find where you live on a map
  • Can’t pronounce ‘h’s’
  • Own a gun
  • Not on prescription medication
  • Too afraid to fart in front of your spouse
  • Drive a truck
  • Write lists
  • Used the word ‘society’ twice in one paragraph
  • Went to college
  • Didn’t go to college
  • Claim to have OCD when you really don’t
  • Worked in a coffee shop
  • A cyclist
  • Played golf
  • Takes offense to this
  • Owns two large dogs but lives in a small apartment
  • Can’t shit in public restrooms
  • Asked “are we having fun yet?”
  • Registered Republican
  • Registered Democrat
  • Yell at people on a TV screen
  • Never been drunk
  • Find Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk to be inspirational figures
  • Never huffed gasoline
  • Jordan Peterson
  • Fan of a sports team from a city that you’ve never been to
  • Been to Cleveland
  • Still watches The Walking Dead
  • Knows how the stock market works
  • Reads a newspaper
  • Plays acoustic guitar
  • Vapes
  • Ran a marathon
  • Have an “alumni” license plate holder
  • Think people want to hear about your kids
  • Cooks
  • Sleeps less than 8 hours a night
  • Has hobbies
  • Likes shit with vampires in it
  • Doesn’t understand British humor
  • Into Minecraft
  • Doesn’t laugh at fart jokes
  • Quoted Fight Club
  • White
  • Posts comments

Quick Thought: I AM My Depression

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I get it.

We want to feel like we fit in.

We want to be a part of a discussion.

We want to believe that “depression”, “anxiety”, ect. doesn’t define us.

I’m only speaking for myself here, but I’ve come to learn that that’s nonsense.  If that helps you, then God bless. But depression is who I am.

I don’t know what I’d be without it.

Calling depression or other mental conditions “evil”, an “illness”, or “not really who I am” is total fucking bullshit. My brain, and your brain, is shaped in a very specific way. It’s how we come to view the world. We didn’t choose to be this way. And we don’t know of any other way to be. People have been suffering from this shit for thousands of years. Depression has created tremendous works of art. “Insane” people have done insanely great things thanks in part to their unique perspective. It’s only a handicap if you see it that way.

I’ve visited many therapists. I’m not gonna lie. I’ve discussed this crap in detail. I’ve never found the “depression as illness” perspective helpful.

I’m done seeing it that way.

It’s just who I am.

When I learned to embrace it as part of my character, things started to change. I see doom and gloom. I know that it’s bullshit, but that’s how I see the world. It’s a part of my humor. My “illness” is the ONLY reason I write…it’s allowed me to be more sympathetic….it has formed my worldview.

It’s not good or bad. It just IS.

I’m not saying DON’T about your feelings. Talk! The more we talk, we’ll probably discover that most people have our problems. We need that. People need to know that nearly everyone is crazy. In all likelihood, YOU are crazy. We are all suffering from an “illness” of sorts.

I don’t mean to demean the blogs that take a “survivor” approach to mental illness. I’ve done that myself. It’s important work and I applaud them. But once when mental illness is “de-stigmatized”…what we’ll likely discover is that mental perfection doesn’t exist. We’re all surviving the world in our own odd way. I guess what I’m trying to say in my own convoluted way is that we’re all aliens in this world, but we find our commonality in our shared state of alien-ness.

We have to be crazy to live in this world. If you think you are normal…that is NOT normal. There are only two kinds of people in this world: crazy people and psychopaths. If you come across someone that’s normal and has seemingly never suffered a day in their life: they are a psychopath. They will kill you. Stay away from them. They are normies. They’re fascists. That’s why they’re deemed “normal” and we’re deemed crazy. But seriously, our “illness” is more like the “software” we use to handle the world.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This is a serious matter for many people. I know, I’ve been to rehab centers, psyche wards, emergency rooms…EVERYWHERE. Judge away! I just see myself for what I am: an oddball trying to fit in a square society. That’s what we all are.

Embrace it! Use it to paint a picture, make a sculpture, write a song, or say crazy things on a blog. We ARE our depression.

Start the Revolution Without Me!

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First off, apologies. I wrote this at work and people kept bothering me. Blame them.

Look, I’m tired and out of ideas, okay?

Since we’ve got a deranged President going up against another deranged world leader, I better say this before it’s too late and we’re all dead from nuclear radiation. For the record, I want to make this clear for when aliens come to a post-apocalyptic Earth and attempt to make sense of what were once human beings.

I don’t want them to get me wrong.

But some people think that I celebrate ancient mankind. Like I believe in the Noble Savage bullshit. That couldn’t be farther from the truth…

Sure, I might’ve called myself a “skeptic of progress”, but to clarify that further…I believe that suffering is hardwired into humanity. No time is a good time to be alive. There was no glorious era in human history. It’s all shit.

I’ve mentioned the metaphor of humans fucking themselves over by eating the “fruit of knowledge” and becoming aware of our suffering. I might’ve also said, tongue in cheek, that “ignorance is bliss”. But what should we do? Go back to the caves and pretend that civilization never happened?

That’s nonsense.

And that wouldn’t be an improvement. Pre-historic humans were pieces of shit. I’m sure a caveman would rather live today with our dope-ass iPhones and memes. Or maybe not. It’s all hypothetical. We’ll never fucking know. Perhaps the caveman would also find our social inhibitions complete bullshit. It doesn’t matter.

Every era from history was shit. Every historical figure was a douchebag. God knows I love Socrates, but he was an asshole. They all were. Think of your favorite historical person. Fuck that person!

“So is progress possible?”

Progress for whom? Did someone have to lose for someone else to win? How’s that progress?

Has there ever been progress? In short, yes. Progress isn’t technological, I’m especially skeptical in that regard. Technology only sets the parameters for modern life. It doesn’t necessarily make it “better”. Is it longevity of life? We might be living longer, but what does it matter if we’re plagued by health issues and chained down by  low-waged, mind-numbing jobs?

So where has progress been made? In short…I don’t know. But I can guess: probably in everyday concepts that we take for granted. Concepts like love, charity, rights, and so on. We’re just too stupid to realize that that’s progress.

It’s in this realm of ideas that this “progress” occurs. It’s the revolution of the mind. That’s the true revolution.

Revolution and progress aren’t brought about through material and political force entirely. It isn’t entirely about convincing people to see things your way. It starts by looking at yourself and saying “this is the person I am”.

I’d like to say we need a “spiritual” revolution, but I’m not referring to anything supernatural. This is why I say we need to become “philosophers” as opposed to “Christian”, “Buddhist”, or follow any orthodox reasoning.

“You say you want a revolution, well”…it starts with yourself. Then we can concern ourselves with the political and material…THEN we have to think about the day AFTER the revolution. That mentality can’t last forever. When we start with the destruction, to quote Jordan Peterson “you can count me out BUCKO!”

Start the revolution without me!

Now enjoy this Alex Jones video:

Proletarian Crisis of Identity

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“It gets easier”, as someone once told a young and lonely Wes Michael circa 2002.

It does?!

Every now and then, I’ll get thrown a bone. Career advancement welcomes me with open arms. Then I look at my bills. I see that I owe thousands of dollars to a  rehab facility where I nearly drowned in a hurricane. I also look at my fledgling and pointless writing career. My parents say “you’re 30 years old and went to college. Why do you live in a shithole?”. So I think “sure I can move up!”. But I’ve been down that road. It’s a road to nowhere.

At least nowhere I want to be.

Life doesn’t get easier. If people tell you that, they’re delusional. You only get used to it. You get used to the squalor…to the hopelessness. You learn to laugh at it.

You learn to embrace it.

Fighting it doesn’t make you better. You fight your neighbor, your friends. Life ceases to be a journey…it becomes a battle. Everyone’s your enemy. That’s what the virtue of free markets teach us. Want more. Do more. You might win, but everyone will hate you.

And you become a slave to your spoils.

At least that’s how I’ve rationalized it.

Pay bills? Or embrace the suck?

Don’t get me wrong…being poor sucks. But would I trade that in for the life of middle management, broken dreams, and a 401K? Unfortunately…yes.

In America, mediocrity always wins.

I almost have a career. My identity has been shaken.

My life has been governed by incompetence, disdain, underachievement, alcohol, and boredom. I’m a born loser. I define success by getting to work on time.

I need my bills. I need someone to say “you’re just not good enough”. What would I do if they said otherwise?

What would I be without misery?

(Happier)

“Low Road”: Chapter 9

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Low Road was a novel that I completed 3 years ago. It wasn’t very good. But I’ve since revisited it and have taken out a lot of unnecessary bullshit.

Now I’m presenting it to you.

Recap: The alcoholic scumbag Rod Townshend meets fellow scumbag Jack Schilling, a has-been writer and drug addict. Jack convinces Rod to help him write one more novel. In the meantime, Rod meets the girl of his dreams, Taryn, along with her friend Sandy. Rod has been on various drug-fueled adventures with these characters, but a few bad experiences has led him to question his lot in life.

Chapter 9

“Wanna hit this?” Jack asked, passing over a wood pipe. I declined.

I didn’t know if he slept. It appeared that he was painting shitty portraits all night. I opened his computer. It didn’t appear that he wrote anything.

“Did you work on the novel at all?” I asked.
“I worked on it last night.”
“It looks like you’ve been painting”
“I bought this shit off Amazon.”

We hammered away some chapters. That is, I did. Jack would disappear for long stretches. He’d doze off and awake at night.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here.” He said to me after a long nap.
“Go where?”
“The strip club.”

I reluctantly agreed. We took a few shots before we left.

Jack drove us a dive bar in Miami. He ordered shot after shot. Jack harassed a few women and then we were on our way.

The strip club wasn’t bad. It was smoke free. The strippers didn’t get fully naked. They might’ve showed you extra if paid more. I went to the bar. I sat there taking in the atmosphere. Then I heard that voice…

“Rod, is that you?”

I turned around. It was Sandy. She was wearing a blue thong, top, and clear stripper platforms. I stood up and gave her a hug. In heels, she was taller than me.

“I’m happy to see you here!” She said.
“Yeah! I’ve never been here before. Have you met Jack?”
“I’ve seen him here before.”

Minutes later, some dubstep or bullshit 80’s music stopped. Sandy took the stage. She danced to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

“You know her?” Jack asked.
“I’ve met her a couple of times.”

After her dance, Jack took her to the VIP room. We both went back there. Sandy grinded on me first. She pulled aside her thong to expose everything. She did the same thing to Jack. He gave her a few hundred dollars and invited her back to his place.

He was nervous.

Jack explained that he’s seen Sandy many times at the club. He was obsessed with her. We went to the dive bar again for another drink. We went back to his house. He began to frantically clean up the place. He yelled at me for not picking up pillows. Then he received a text.

“Oh god, she’s almost here!”

He checked himself in the mirror. The doorbell rang. I didn’t want anything to do with this. I wanted to go to bed. Sandy came in bundled up from the cold. She gave me another hug and then went to Jack.

They smoked weed on the back patio out in the cold. I didn’t join them. He told her who he was. His name meant nothing to her. But I saw that they were hitting it off okay. I told them I was off to bed.

“Sandy, I’ll give you $500 if you give us a striptease.” Jack asked. He completely ignored what I said.
“Sandy, you don’t…”
“Okay.” She said.

Jack was relentlessness. He turned on some slow music and she began to remove her clothes. I was uncomfortable. And tired. Per usual, he offered me coke. I declined.
Jack was furious.

“Why not? Because you got work tomorrow? It’s my fucking book!”, he yelled.

“Alright! Fuck!”

I took a hit. I didn’t feel it. I was too pissed. Sandy got drunk. The two started doing drugs off each other’s bodies.

I went to bed.

I woke up at noon. Sandy and Jack’s clothes were littering the floor. I popped a few ibuprofens. I thought about telling Jack to fuck off…that he could stick the book up his ass. Then he stumbled out of his room.

“Hey man, you’re up early.” He said
“It’s noon, Jack.”
“Shit dude, I’m sorry about what happened. I didn’t mean to be a bastard. I know I got out of line last night.”

He seemed genuine. The apology was enough for me.

“Don’t worry about it”, I replied. “Is Sandy still here?”

At that moment, she came out only wearing a t-shirt. She told us good morning and was off to the bathroom.

“What did you guys do last night?”, I asked.
“I don’t know. After you went to bed, I realized that I was being a dick. I calmed down and I think I started crying.”
“Crying?”
“Yeah, so I smoked some weed. Then we started talking and I told her that I kept coming to that strip joint to see her. I was happy to finally talk to her. Then we went to the bedroom, but we couldn’t fuck. I couldn’t get it up. So we cuddled instead.”

For the rest of the day, Sandy and Jack stayed high. I wrote alone.

Why I Hate My Life, Philosophy, and Jordan Peterson

To be absolutely 100% transparent, I am only posting this to continue my campaign of using Jordan Peterson’s name to boost viewership.

People eat this bullshit up and I will continue to ride this horse for as long as possible.

Unfortunately I watched the video above. It made me ask myself something: do I hate philosophy? And the answer is yes. Undoubtedly.

That’s unfortunate because I run a philosophy blog. At least in name only. What the fuck does it mean to be a philosopher anymore?

The fuckin internet has turned philosophical discourse into who can prove who’s the smartest. It doesn’t mean anything. There’s no self reflection. There’s no consideration as to how we can be better people…how we can be better people to each other. Instead it’s about argumentation…being smarter than the guy in front of you…about WINNING.

And that’s all that knowledge and theories and convoluted definitions are good for…for winning bullshit nerd arguments. Perhaps philosophy has always been that way. But the internet has shown us what we really are: narcissistic dorks that aren’t out to prove anything…except that we’re smart.

As a result, we get Jordan Peterson.

So perhaps I should give a little bit more respect to Peterson. He’s the intellect we deserve…a guy that embodies this horseshit Pseudo-Nietzscheian angst that all internet “philosophers” carry (to include myself). So I despise Peterson because I despise myself: we’re both charlatans arguing into the wind because we want to be right!

Except Peterson has an audience.

But in all seriousness, the guy on the video pointed something out that I’ve been too afraid to say because I don’t want to sound like a dumbass (although I’ve admitted to being a dumbass numerous times): Peterson uses a lot postmodernism to prove his points even though he hates postmodernism.

“Dances With Wolves” Revisited

No one likes the White Savior.

Especially when it’s Kevin Costner.

“Say, I thought you only “revisited” movies that have been forgotten or are undervalued”, you might be saying . “Dances With Wolves won 7 Oscars for fuck’s sake!”

True.

But the film’s reputation has diminished over the last 20 years. It’s laughable now to think that Kevin Costner beat out Martin Scorsese for Best Director. Most film buffs would agree that Goodfellas should have received the accolades that DWW received in the early 90s. The numerous self-indulgent projects that Costner involved himself in later in the decade didn’t help.

In short, Dances With Wolves is somewhat of a punchline in Hollywood lore; a product of feel-good sentimentality that would infect the industry for the rest of the decade. Even for a western, it feels dated…it’s politics a symbol of white, neoliberal myth: A soldier coming to aid the Sioux in the fight against white settlers. It’s a story that would be used again, notably in James Cameron’s Avatar. The concept is laughable, especially in our cynical times.

So yes, Dances With Wolves CLEARLY has its problems.

But I hold a soft spot for it. It was the first movie I bought when I was 12 years old. I saved up enough money to buy a DVD player (they were expensive then). It blew me away. I didn’t want the movie to end.

I couldn’t help but tear up when watching Wind in His Hair yell from the top of the mountain that Dances With Wolves will always be his friend. Just typing that made me tear up.

When re-visiting the film yesterday, I didn’t know how it would affect me. As a cynical adult, I knew the film’s current reputation. But I was pleasantly surprised:

Kevin Costner DESERVED his Oscar.

What I noticed this time were the characters on the periphery. No actor goes wasted. From the opening credits, Costner allows some piss-ant Union soldier to steal the scene. That character meant nothing. He was just there to explain the scene, but turned in the performance of a lifetime. Then we’re introduced to a psychotic Major. And then to Timmons, a disgusting character that guides Costner to Fort Sedgewick. A lesser director, or even another GREAT director, would have turned these guys into unmemorable plot points…designed to get Costner to point A to point B. But Costner knew better. When some of these characters died, it was felt. Timmons death was especially impactful. Stone Calf was probably the LEAST developed character of the Sioux, but even he’s missed after being axed down by Wes Studi. Same thing with Charles Rocket despite being a “bad guy”. Only the sensibilities of Kevin Costner could have guided a mostly unknown ensemble into creating some of the most fleshed-out characters committed to film.

Mary McDonnell, of course, was great. But Stands With A Fist’s backstory was a weak point. I didn’t like that she was white. I understand that that was necessary to explain how she knew English. But still, it seemed weak. Couldn’t she have been a Sioux that spent time with white people? It seems like that would have been a better backstory.

Additionally, Costner’s performance as John Dunbar is lacking. His motivations are also strange. He wanted to commit suicide because he lost a foot? He went to back to Fort Sedgewick to get his journal because he was afraid that the Army would use it to find him and the community? People deserted that fort all the time, as stated in the journal! I doubt the Army would have given a shit because they were missing ONE lieutenant…they probably would have assumed the natives, Sioux or otherwise, killed him! So I don’t know, all of that seemed strange. But Costner’s laissez-faire performance WORKS in it NOT WORKING: because there’s nothing particularly memorable about it, it allows the other characters to shine. But there is something iconic about John Dunbar: because Costner isn’t trying too hard, we catch a glimpse of the REAL Kevin Costner in all of its child-like wonder.

It’s why the narration works extraordinarily well.

There are glaring faults with the film. But I couldn’t tell where they were coming from. Was it the screenplay? Was it the sometimes clunky editing? Although this is a “meandering” type of film as opposed to a “plot-driven” one, I prefer films that are tighter with its presentation. Sometimes DWW demonstrated that. The first and last act are solid in that regard. The middle section, with it’s exploration of the budding romance between Dunbar and Stands With A Fist, is a mess. Mind you, I watched the four hour version. While I appreciate a more in-depth exploration of this universe, many of the added scenes are unnecessary. That might’ve added to the clunkiness felt in the editing and screenplay. The three hour version might be preferable (although it’s been years since I’ve watched that).

(Also, if Dances With Wolves were to be made today, it would probably work best as a mini-series. Still, the fact that Costner condensed everything into one film for equal effect is a testament to what he did here.)

Make no mistake, Dances With Wolves is an achievement in filmmaking. The cinematography is…well, I’ll just say this….NO MOVIE has been better filmed. Not by Freddie Young. Not by Vittorio Storaro. Not even by Roger Deakins. Dean Semler hit this one out of the park. That’s just a fact. The soundtrack might also be the greatest. As you know, I’m a massive James Bond fan where John Barry made his name. But he was never better here. That opening music still gives me chills. Say what you want about the film, it’s undeniably an engrossing experience.

Martin Scorsese might have a better catalogue, but with Dances With Wolves, Kevin Costner created something special.

 

“Low Road”: Chapter 8

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Before I get started, someone pointed out that I didn’t really make a tribute to Jordan Peterson in my last post. I didn’t know that I needed to. My aim was to quickly and cheaply boost views. I didn’t give a shit what I wrote. It worked. And I’m typing Jordan Peterson’s name right now for the same reason. So…

Jordan Peterson!

In case you haven’t heard, Low Road was a novel-sized work that I finished three years ago. It was a piece of shit. I’m now editing it to make it somewhat presentable.

Recap: Rod has essentially been acting as a prostitute for Jeanne. This led him to meeting the burned out writer, Jack Schilling. While doing drugs with Jack, Rod suffers a mysterious health scare. While pondering life, Rod unintentionally gets caught up in a sex and drug-fueled bender with Taryn. He goes missing for days which upsets numerous people…

Chapter 8

It was about 2 o’clock when I arrived home. Sean was still at work. I had time to freshen up, take a nap, and jack off. I wanted to patch things up with Jeanne. I wasn’t in much of a hurry though. I napped for a couple of hours. When I awoke, I realized that Sean was going to be home in a matter of minutes. I went into desperation mode. I jumped in the shower. When I got out, he was already in the house.

“You son of a bitch.”, he said.
“Did you call the cops?”, I asked.
“I should have! I left you voicemails, texts messages, and called so many times. Why the fuck didn’t you answer?”
“I was in Arkansas.”

This was it for Sean.

“You’ve shown no concern for me, for dad, for no one in this family.” Sean yelled.

“Your life sucks, and guess what? So does mine! But I don’t pretend to be superior just because I’m a supervisor at some chicken house.”

“You’re a piece of shit. I’m at least doing something. You just booze it up. I pay bills and contribute to society. I have skills!”

“Oh yeah? If that was true then why didn’t dad offer you a job?”

“Get the fuck out.”

“Loser”.

I packed my shit and got out. I was off to apologize to Jeanne. If that didn’t work, I would have driven to Little Rock. I didn’t know how’d she react to me spending the last few days with another woman. I tried calling her cell. Nothing. I went directly to her work.

I was homeless now. There was a sense of urgency.

It’s not easy getting ahold of a vice-president for a bank. I sent in a complaint and demanded to speak with her.

“Ms. Armond only handles business accounts, sir”, they told me.

I told them that I didn’t give a fuck. I walked passed them and back to her office. Understandably, she was surprised to see me.

“Look, I’m sorry for disappearing for several days. I got caught up in a lot of shit.”, I told her
“What kind of shit?”
“I was with a woman.”

She gazed at me for several seconds.

“What’s your point? I only need you because you’re a great fuck. Also…I was concerned for you. People don’t drop of the earth like that.” She said.

I was unsure on how to take that.

“Not concerned for me as a boyfriend. But as a friend?” I asked.
“You’re not my boyfriend. You’re too young. I don’t care if you see other women. It isn’t serious, is it?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Good. I need you tonight. In fact, I want you there when I get home. Go there now. Phillip will let you in.”

I did just that. I don’t know how sincere she was being. It didn’t matter. I had nowhere to go. Being a prostitute for Jeanne again was my only option.

It was a full-time job.

The weeks passed. I became less concerned with helping college kids cheat on their papers. The time dedicated to writing was given to Jack. We continued to spend the afternoons jacked up on coke and liquor.

We were kindred spirits.

I’d visit Taryn at the casino in the evenings. She was always boozing it with her friends. It was difficult to get her alone. I managed to get some alone time with her at the Lazy Lake. I wanted to try acid again.

It was a January day. Clear. All the leaves were dead. I dropped it at around 10:30 that morning.

As usual, I lost track of time. I could see animals. Taryn disappeared. She went to hang out with some fisherman that invited her over for some beers. I was already tripping hard.

I went into the woods to wait this out. I went deep into the trees. I wanted to know what it would be like to soar above the earth. I found a nice clearing. I was paranoid.

I saw a snake. Animals circled around me.

“Please leave me alone!”, I yelled

My heart raced. I think that I passed out. Hours later, I awoke in the parking lot. I felt that I was in the woods for days. I was tired and hungry

I took a nap in the car. At around 8 o’clock, Taryn showed up drunk as shit.

“The fishermen didn’t harm you, did they?”, I asked.

“No. I mean, one of them showed me his cock. But it was gross.”

I returned to Jeanne’s house where I was living full-time. I performed my services on her. The acid trip left me hollow. Too tired to drink. Too tired to fuck.

Perhaps I should have went to Little Rock, I thought.