Super Propaganda

I watched (most) of the Superbowl last night. Before you accuse me of being a hypocrite for doing so after saying I’m not interested in watching millionaires who hate me give each other brain damage, know that this was part of a block party put on by my neighbors and I think it is important to have connections with the people who physically surround you. Since most of my neighbors are Gen X and older, they still view the Superbowl as an important cultural event and, even in 2024 with its fractured microcultures, it still is. It’s not just the…

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Art is Communication

I talked about this a bit in my video “Humanizing the Digital” as well as “Writers who hate writing,” but I thought I would also write it down here, since different types of media create different effects and have different emphases. AI (popular shorthand for large language model) is a disruptive technology. My focus is on art since I am an artist, but it potentially affects other professions, from marketing to engineering. These arguments only apply to the arts directly, and I will leave other thoughts for the experts in their respective fields. Let me start with the main argument…

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Retro Review: Sixteen Stone

Going back and looking at Antichrist Superstar almost 30 years later was a valuable, if a bit exhausting, experience. I thought it might be fun to take another 30-year trip back, this time to a hit album coming in the wake of Nirvana, and one of the few albums my wife and I both owned as young teenagers. Bush is a band you might remember from the 90s. If it isn’t, their debut album from 1994, Sixteen Stone, might be worth a turn. Billed as a grunge band, Bush was (and is, they are back in business) a fairly straight-forward…

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The Problem with Audiobooks

Best-selling science fiction author Brian Niemeier recently weighed in on the titan of the fantasy industry, Brandon Sanderson, keeping his crowd-funded books away from Audible. You should read Brian’s article on the matter and note what Sanderson talks about. As an independent author of more modest means, I’ll weigh in on a few things regarding Audible and audiobooks in general. People frequently ask me about audiobook versions of my books. I have a few out (Garamesh, Keys to Prolific Creativity, Eyes in the Walls, Voices of the Void, and technically Afterglow), but they represent only a small fraction of my…

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Antichrist Superstar – Retro Review

Marilyn Manson’s biggest crime was being boring, at least musically, and nothing encapsulates the emptiness of the band and the eponymous figure’s music better than 1996’s “controversial” second album (on the appropriate Nothing Records label owned by recording giant Interscope) Antichrist Superstar. Amid the self-perpetuating legendarium that is 1990s music media’s promotion of Manson the actual content of the music is often forgotten. I revisited this album recently with fresh ears, having not heard anything other than the occasional radio play of “The Beautiful People” since the 1990s and I must say my initial reaction to it from way back when…

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Working sucks I guess

Check this out: I expect most people to react to a video like this with derision, but not me – I think it says a lot about expectations, efficiency, and more than anything, sex. I can hear the boomers seething now that a young person would dare complain about all of their waking hours spent away from the places and things they would prefer. I can even hear younger generations echoing them, because the first response to a complaint is to make a comparison – to think how much better that person has it than you, and you never complained.…

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Self-Mythologizing

A Twitter mutual threw out a great term, “Self-mythologizing,” in relation to baby boomers and their relationship to certain 1960s icons, such as Janis Joplin: For the record, I think Janis Joplin is the most overrated singer of all time, but she represents a perfect data point for the collective myth that baby boomers tell about themselves and the years between 1967 and 1970. Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, I saw no shortage of references to Woodstock, supposedly the most important music festival of all time. There were entire documentaries about, aired regularly, history channel specials, and dozens…

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Friction

As I grew up, grew old, got married, and had children, my schedule became increasingly tight, and with more and more people involved, my obligations became increasingly difficult to manage. People introduce chaos into life, and that chaos can only be tamed to an extent with careful scheduling and time management. What I discovered and then communicated in my book The Keys to Prolific Creativity is that getting many different things done is much more about assigning priorities and learning how to focus than it is about tight time management. To that, I want to add another concept that crosses…

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Usury

Usury is a term that is now near-universally misunderstood, perhaps by design, because usury is a very popular practice, and many important people benefit from it. The most common definition you will see for it is “charging excessive interest,” probably from American legal issues and legislation that don’t deal with usury at all. Usury’s actual definition is “charging interest on a mutuum loan.” The word usury comes from charging interest on the use of money rather than the use of an asset. Mutuum is not a very common word. A “mutuum” means a loan of fungible things to be replaced…

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Men Crying in Public

I’ll take a break from writing about art and deal with something that seems to crop up at least once per year: Men crying in public. In this case, the instigator is a woman complaining about a man crying on his wedding day: Once again, the typical response is to state that men should be able to cry or that a woman ought not to say what is and is not manly. Both of these miss the point, which is that our public behavior is subject to judgment by both women and men, and the reality is that it is…

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