Friday, August 26, 2011

The Road by L. Truman Daley-Douglas

A while back, I came up with an analogy about things. It's a construct or "framing", a way to think about people. I deemed it "The Road". Imagine life as a road we are all on. Most people are merely traveling the same road as everyone else. They don't really have a destination or even know where they are going but are just sort of moving along with the crowd. I know Richard Bach wrote something similar to this in one of his books ("One" or "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"?) A lot of people are like this. Forever following the crowd unaware of where they are going or even why they are following the road they're on. They are pissed at the road and don't understand it but mindlessly follow it. They can't see where they are going but think just the process of moving along will eventually get them somewhere. They think the direction that everyone is following, if nothing else, must be okay and must lead somewhere. Of course, they are wrong in this. Moving on a road that goes nowhere, that has no clear destination is just wasted energy. (Or rather energy someone else is using from them for their own purposes).

Others get off the road and stay on the side forever in some small town or big city or just stuck somewhere in their heads. Their journey has ended and they remain stagnate or, if reflective, or "smart", or calm enough, could grow in their stable fixed space but in some very different personal way. I have seen this in some people, but very few. A fictional character in this would be Larry Darrell from the "Razor's Edge" by W. Somerset Maugham.

Other people never even get on the road at all. A lot of the Midwestern people I got to know are like this. They are afraid to even leave their spot on the earth, both physically and mentally. They desire what they know and are pissed at any deviation. The road to them is horror and vice and evil. It is a scary place. Their roads, if they even have a road they do travel, go in small full circles and lead to the same places over and over again. They are safe and familiar. These people, to me, seem happier on some level in their chosen ignorance. But their growth is stunted or never occurring at all. They go back into their fixed ways and do what they do. They are moving in a different way than the mass who moves toward some unknown location, but still there is no other destination than what they already know. When I go back to places like Grand Forks, North Dakota, I see this. Everything in that place stays the same or if there are any changes at all, they are merely variations on the exact same things. Everything there is fixed. Not moving. Solid, stable, but never growing.

The other pattern in my analogy I have seen is those with a clear destination for their journey on the road. They know exactly where they want to go and move towards that goal. Their destination is fixed and the road is the way to get them there. Of these people, some will never make it towards their destination. Others will give up and end up on different paths altogether, with new destinations they dream up. Others will simply get off to the sidelines and go into one of the other road sets I mentioned before. Some will eventually make it to their destinations and once there, realize that there are other places to go too and will dream them up and start moving again. These "destination" people are the ones for me. They are on a quest. The mad ones that Jack Kerouac really spoke of in his opus "On the Road" (and not the hippies that the media wants us to think he was talking about).

Now, in my analogy of the road, there is also the "CAR". The car is the thing that enables one to get to a destination. For people going nowhere, their cars are fueled by some belief that the road must go somewhere or that the direction is at least correct since everyone else is on it. They keep just enough fuel in their cars to keep moving. They may break down or run out of gas, but they eventually get fixed or refueled and move along. In their minds, movement is key, even if they are traveling nowhere. The people who move in the circle roads that only lead to the same destinations on a tiny circular path don't really have to have much fuel or even need much fuel, since they are going in circle nowhere anyway. Moving isn't important to them. Their destination always leads them to the same places. It doesn't even matter if they move at all. Everything to them stays the same.

I have known a few people with a clear destination for their journey. Some of their destinations I have ridiculed as just dumb places to head towards. But I know, in fairness, at least they have THOUGHT about where they want to go and have a clear way to travel and aren't just following the masses. The thing about those with destinations, is that the cars they travel in sometimes cannot make their proposed journeys. And this is what makes some of these people retarded.

I grew up with my own father talking of building an empire, having castles, and building a family dynasty. And though he had a clear destination and somewhat of a path to get there, he never possessed a car or vehicle capable of reaching this place. He lacked any real education, any real credentials, the drive, and even common sense. What he did have was fuel and plenty of it. His fuel was his belief in where he wanted to go. That the destination was worth it. He always kept his eyes on this place. His heart and soul longed for it. And his fuel, though lowered at times, was always there. He tried all his life. But fuel, even an unlimited amount of it, in an inefficient vehicle, won't get you far. And if your car isn't in good shape to begin with, it won't take you anywhere because it will keep breaking down.

I have seen my father on this road towards his destination forever. He never gets off his road. He sees the destination and strives towards it. I can admire that. I can admire not getting off the road, staying the course, having the fuel in believing. But his problem was another as well. Many roads can lead to the same place. He didn't know enough roads to get to his destination. The more shortcuts we know, the more alternative routes available to us, the quicker and easier the way becomes-even if we had a shittier car or little fuel to begin with. I have seen and read about a lot of entrepreneurs who have achieved a lot with so little to go on because they knew a shortcut and even though they didn't have to have a great "car" or even a lot of fuel to begin with. A shortcut alone rarely works, but it can. But you still have to have a destination, a car, some fuel, and the ability to drive even the short distance. Everything factors in.

I remember as a teenager, my father pleading with my brother and myself to help him on his journey. To go with him to his better place. That his destination was worthy. That everyone else was going nowhere and that his destination was good for everyone in our family. And he was right. And yet he would break down constantly. He had the fuel, but his car sucked. He put Band-Aids on everything to get the car moving again, but the quick fixes never stuck. We'd move up a few miles and break down again and again. Always on the road, always with the fuel, but never with a decent vehicle to really get any closer. And never any shortcuts. Once things got moving again, he'd always break down. I gave up on him. On his car. But not his destination, only the road and car being used to get there.

I have seen through him, that belief and a destination is not enough. Having a destination, as important and as MONUMENTAL as this is, is not enough. Having belief to fuel things is also not enough. Your car must be able to make it. It must be capable. It must withstand breakdowns and if stalled, must be fixed correctly before moving on. Everything is needed to make the journey. A destination, plenty of fuel, and a decent vehicle to get there. A shitty little car will not be able to cross mountains if mountains are where you want to go.

You also have to be able to drive and know how to navigate the obstacles. You have to have the ability to take shortcuts and seek them out and be confident in alternate routes all the same. Embrace them. Be courageous. This all takes time, research, and patience.

I have seen people try to get to their destinations without enough fuel. They always fizzle out. They are constantly trying to refuel, even if they have a decent car to make the journey. I see them either on the road as stalled or pushed aside with hopes to continue onward.

I have seen people like my father with plenty of fuel but shitty cars. They always break down. They always needed repairs done before they can move on.

I have seen people with clear destinations but fixed on the same road to get there. Roads that should have been avoided for better routes or shortcuts, but through stubbornness or non-thinking, were never taken.

A lot of people have an obscure destination they want to go towards. Some 'hazy" idea of where they'd like to be and where they'd like to go. Everyone wants something. But most have no idea how to or will not make the complete efforts to achieve this thing. They don't want to pick a clear destination. Don't want to have to fuel and refuel. Don't want to get a decent vehicle. Don't even want to learn how to drive! They want to get to their vague destination via ROCKET SHIP, ala a winning lottery ticket. But this rarely happens and when it does, these people can't handle the place they got to once they got there. Because they lacked what they needed for the journey. It's like sending people to the moon without the correct gear. You read about them- these famous people who are depressed and die of drug overdoses because they can't handle it, and these "miserable lottery winners" who lose it all because they just didn't have the vehicle needed to match where they ended up. And it's a sad state.

Because a destination alone is not enough. Everything must be factored in for the journey. The car and the fuel. The ability to take shortcuts and different routes. And the ability and stamina and determination to drive all the way.

And I imagine myself, driving by all these people- who are broke down and stalled, sometimes off the road altogether. I'm in a decent car with plenty of fuel, knowing exactly where to go, knowing how to drive, and being able to steer safely pass the obstacles, willing to go through alternate routes-going so far as to even building my game plan to plan for and even achieve these possible alternate routes. And I imagine myself as helping those others, those on the "quest", to get on their way as well. That is where I am in my own head. Preparing for the next leg of the journey. Better car, plenty of fuel. Figuring out the best road to get us there.

-L. Truman Daley-Douglas
Guest Contributor

The Things We Create or don't.... by L. Truman Daley-Douglas

My mother was a prostitute in Hong Kong before I was born. I once asked her what she would have done different if she could change things. She told me that she would have sought to be a rich man's mistress instead of being a poor man's whore. This has always struck a nerve with me. It didn't occur to her to even think outside of her own constructs and tell me that she would go to school to be a doctor or lawyer or teacher, etc... Why not be fucking president?

The point of my post is that so many people are stuck in the constructs they create. Whether it be the stereotype of a drugged out stripper or a stereotype of a "family man". It doesn't have to be that way. People can change. People can think differently. People can be cliches of successful as much as they can be cliches of unsucessful people. The choice is always yours. But you must be willing to break through the roles you created for yourself and cease the limitations of your own constructs.

-L. Truman Daley-Douglas
Guest Contributor

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


products promoting reduction
of your waistline
while at the same time
urging consumption
of a homestyle dish
just like mom used to make
so good it's sinful

smiles wide like a caricature, teeth so white they blind you
urging you to try it now-- while the offer lasts-- 1 day only-- limited time--
get them before they're gone-- you could be THAT GUY-- what are you waiting for?
you must, you must, you must, increase your bust-- didn't you hear me? YOU MUST

After you've eaten the world
consumed everyone
consumed everything
chewed up and spit out
every person and thing
on the entire planet,
as you stand in the world
alone in a ghost city
you realize you are



American Fantasy

In order to accomplish greatness, you must never work hard, but rather always work smart. Robert Heinlein's novel "Time Enough for Love" includes the following quote:

"Progress doesn't come from early risers- progress is made by lazy people looking for easier ways to do things."

This is so important. It is fundamental to greatness. The system wants you to believe that by "working hard", you can accomplish the American Dream. In reality, it is those who work "smart" and not "hard" that make their dreams come true. The system dangles the carrot of the American Dream in front of its citizens. However, the way in which to take a bite of the carrot is not to work as hard as you can to reach for that carrot but rather to find smart ways to get to the carrot and actually take a bite-- finding methods that do not result in as much wasted energy and in which, you actually do get to bite that carrot. Perhaps instead of straining your neck for the carrot, you find a pile of rocks to stand on and take a bite out of the carrot without any strain at all.

The system does not want people to know about working smart. If people put at the forefront of their goals the conservation of their own energy, they would not want to work 8 hours a day for mediocre pay. They would want to find ways to put out less energy and yet still get more energy than they had previously gotten at their jobs.

So, instead, the system tells people that "hard work is a virtue" and espouses the wonders of being one of those who works hard in life, calling them the "salt of the earth."

Because certainly if people learned to work smart, the hierarchical society that we live in would collapse on itself because it wouldn't have a foundation of hard working suckers to do all the "hard work" that keeps the house from falling over.

The Sex Industry

I have been called hypocritical for being a feminist who indulges in products of the "sex industry" (i.e. watching and purchasing adult films, collecting adult oriented books, and attending exotic dance clubs).

I want to clarify my position as a sex positive feminist. I would also like to remind people that within feminism, there is rampant disagreement regarding sex and the sex industry. Not all feminists are alike. Stereotypes run rampant in the media. Things like hating men and burning bras. The media enjoys painting a 2-dimensional picture of feminism-- a caricature if you will. It's easy to rule out the positions of a group when they are characterized in the form of a cartoon, something so lacking in complexity that of course we can discount it.

I believe that all capitalist institutions (i.e. businesses) exploit the people who work for them. Exploitation is defined as "use or utilization, esp. for profit." All businesses exploit workers, because they use or utilize them for profit. That is the sole purpose of a business- to make money- and its workers are employed only for that purpose. That is why you see businesses firing people the minute they feel the need to increase profits, make some gains for their stockholders. They do not hire workers because people need jobs. They hire workers because they need them as tools in their money making goals.

The argument that I most often am presented with in regards to the sex industry is that the women within it are being exploited. My answer to that is "Yes, they are but so is the ditch digger, so is the accountant crunching numbers for the big corporation, so is the record store employee clerking for a sole proprietorship."

Unless we remove ourselves from this capitalistic society or unless we find a way to control the means of production (i.e. owning our own businesses), we will be exploited by a business that wants to use us in the production of money for itself. And the thing is, employees are adults who are being exploited with their own consent. You can argue that the women in the sex industry don't have a lot of choice. It would be difficult for them to start their own businesses, because they are often already in lower positions, as a result of their status as women and due to the fact that many of them come from the lower classes. That is true. But, I repeat-- so is the ditch-digger, so is the janitor, so is the Wal-Mart clerk. Not to mention the idea that women from the sex industry being from a lower class is an over-broad generalization. And of course, not all people from the lower classes become sex industry workers. Myself, my father is a janitor and my mother a grocery store clerk and I ended up graduating from law school.

I also often hear the argument that the sex industry is different, because it is tied into our bodies. But so is ditch-digging, so is janitorial work, so are all jobs to the extent that our bodies physically have to be in a particular location at a particular time to do a particular task. And while we could argue that women in the sex industry have less power than women in other professions, I simply do not find that to be true in all cases. We can only look at the facts regarding how Wal-Mart, for example, treats its workers to know that isn't always true. In fact, while the sex industry may be a "low prestige" profession in this nation, it is most often not nearly as low pay as other low prestige occupations such as clerking.

I also hear the argument that the sex industry is degrading. Degrading is defined as "to lower to an inferior level; to lower in grade, rank or status." I can't find any difference between other low prestige occupations in this regard. Sure, the sex industry might cause a woman to be looked down upon as lower in grade, rank, or status. However, our society does not look at the worker at Wal-Mart or the garbage collector with much rank or status and again, those individuals are often paid much less than those in the sex industry. Our judgments are arbitrary and easy to make, especially when we're lucky enough to be ina higher prestige position.

I do have one major problem with the sex industry. At times, people who are patrons of the industry do not treat the women within the industry with much respect. I have heard stories of women being touched inappropriately and without their consent at exotic dance clubs. I have heard stories of women being photographed without their consent at exotic dance clubs. I have heard of women in adult films being called crude names or being otherwise disrespected. I do not feel that women in the sex industry, or in any industry for that matter, should be treated this way. However, I do not find that the problem is one with the sex industry itself but with our society. Our society is sick. Wal-Mart does not treat its workers with respect, nor do many other businesses. Employees are constantly being treated like cattle, disposable at the whim of their employers, with little thought given to the fact that they are living, breathing people with lives.

The way the women in the sex industry are sometimes treated is not a product of the sex industry itself but a product of a society with an unhealthy attitude towards sex and an unhealthy attitude towards women. It is a society that needs to change so that the sex industry, and all other industries for that matter, can become better places to work. If these industries treat their employees with respect, there will still be exploitation, because people with still be being utilized for profit. That is just a simple fact of capitalism. However, it is my hope that our society can improve its attitude towards all employees and at the very least, generally treat people with more respect so that they become better realized individuals. The same would go for patrons of any business- I can only hope that they can learn to respect others and to not treat women within the sex industry, or any industry, as cattle.

Sure, I suppose it could be argued that I should stop going to Wal-Mart if they treat their employees badly, and I suppose some people do. However, in the state of things as they are, with so little choices that extend outside of corporations that treat people poorly, I don't find that to be realistic, although it is certainly an idealistic action to take. Unless I would decide to be a "freegan" and live an anti-consumerist lifestyle in which I would dumpster dive for my meals, I don't feel I could ever be consistent in not patronizing establishments that are sometimes disrespectful. If I found out however, that a corporation or sex industry business was being particularly egregious towards its employees (i.e. violence, coercion, etc), I would stay away from that business. And for my own part, when I patronize any sex industry establishments, I am always respectful. I can only hope that others follow suit and that our society as a whole becomes more respectful.

I also hope that whatever choices women make, they make them of their own volition and that they are educated about the variety of choices they could make. Choice without education about the choices and possibilities is not choice at all- that seems more like going with the "default." I would hope that all people, women and men alike, would make choices regarding their professions with as much education as possible about their choices. It is possible that some women would be better off in an industry outside of the sex industry, because they excel in another area. And if they don't realize that potential, I would find that to be unfortunate. I would find it similarly unfortunate, however, if a ditch-digger excelled strongly in another area (i.e. was even better at something else than ditch-digging) and did not realize his/her potential in that area.


I recently read "Thy Neighbor's Wife" by Gay Talese. Wow. Invaluable information for anyone interested in writing on any topic pertaining to the sexual revolution. He's a great story-teller too which made the book all the more enjoyable. I feel like I cruised through the 550 pages.

Discussed extensively in TNW was a couple by the name of John and Barbara Williamson. The Williamsons started a retreat called Sandstone, just north of Los Angeles. John had a high school education only but what he lacked in formal education, he made up for in self-study. He was fascinated by the sexual theories of Willhelm Reich among others, and along with his wife Barbara, a liberated woman of her time, he built the retreat to put those sexually liberating theories into action.

Sandstone was a place where people who wanted to free themselves of hang-ups went to share both intellectually and sexually. They wanted to liberate both their minds and bodies. They wanted to love not only their spouses or partners but others as well (i.e. the concept of polyamory). As Heinlein was quoted as saying, "The more you love, the more you can love--and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had time enough, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just."

Sandstone was communal and at various times, members lived there and helped to operate and maintain the retreat. When I was reading about Sandstone, I thought about how, while I applauded their efforts intellectually and philosophically, such a place would be hard to maintain order within. You would need all the players to be rational actors, to get along, to cooperate, and not to let unhealthy emotions like envy and jealousy get the best of them. People had to give up a part of their egos in order to function at Sandstone and although Talese didn't explain why Sandstone isn't around anymore, I can only suspect that too many variables were allowed to enter into the Sandstone group and that this eventually resulted in disharmony and irrationality. Or perhaps John Williamson was the glue holding it together philosophically and intellectually and once he became distanced, the group had no clear force to seek guidance from.

I do know from Talese's chapters on Sandstone that John Williamson himself became emotionally exhausted by all the activity at Sandstone and the energy required to help others free themselves. Talese said that Williamson was prone to bouts of depression and I could see from reading about Williamson that there was a strong part of him that was introverted and introspective and perhaps the role of "guru" became too demanding as Sandstone became more popular and more famous.

I think that Williamson had some good ideas but I wonder if he wasn't trying to apply his ideas on too large of a scale. The more variables you let in, the more you risk instability within a system. Perhaps he stopped screening people with as much discrimination and this resulted in more unstable variables as well.

I can see why life at a place like Sandstone wouldn't be for everyone, regardless of how liberated one is. Some people are more introverted and become exhausted by the amount of energy it takes to interact with large numbers of people on a daily basis, as would be the case in the communal living situations of Sandstone. Furthermore, while dropping unhealthy egoism can be a good thing, individuality is also important, because it adds to the diversity of our planet. I can see how some people would not want to lose so much of their individuality and replace it with group living and think. Sometimes the individual has better, more well-reasoned ideas than the group and it's healthy to have differences of opinions even if an individual is "wrong" (i.e. because it broadens your own perspective and allows you to better understand why you feel the way you feel).

Perhaps the real point that Williamson, and Robert Rimmer for that matter, would want to get across is the idea that people should realize there are choices beyond strict monogamy and if they feel so inclined, they should feel free to pursue polyamorous relationships or other "unconventional" romantic configurations they see fit for themselves.

Sexism Flowing Out My TV Set

I was watching the show "Blind Date" and there was a male dater who said that "I want a woman I can put in her place." What does it say about our society that this person felt comfortable to make such a sexist remark on national television, without pause? In our society, a racist dater would not feel comfortable to make a racist remark on national television about not wanting to date a specific racial group or disliking a specific group. The network probably wouldn't even feel comfortable to air the remarks of a racist dater, even if the racist was verbal about his feelings. But, remarks that are sexist are aired, and the dater doesn't even think that perhaps his opinions are socially unacceptable. This suggests to me that they aren't that socially unacceptable. There will not be a day when a dater says on national television, "I want to put black people in their place" and the network just lets the comment slide by, without even remarking on the stupidity of the remark.

Regimented Pleasures

Friday: pleasure that the work week has ended
Saturday: pleasure derived from the freedom of the weekend; most likely do a little partying, drug yourself with alcohol or other distractions
Sunday: the pleasure has ended; you might have some peace this day but it's overshadowed by the looming of Monday, the start of the work week

And it goes on and on. And it's only interrupted by other regimented pleasures like planned vacations allowed at the will of the slave master and celebrations on specific regimented days throughout the year in which a reprieve from work (another pleasure) may also be given depending on the will of the particular slave master. Christmas, your birthday, Thanksgiving, etc. Although, you will certainly never be given your day off on your birthday. However, it may allow for the regimented pleasure of a party. And these pleasures are scheduled every year and they repeat themselves in an endless cycle. They are the somas of this society.

"The Road"

"The Road"
Silly people running after
nothing I can see
Crazy people running after
apparitions of dreams

Us freaks stand to the side
and we watch them going nowhere
and we watch their dying ride
Us freaks we build a road
and then begin to glide

And the silly people keep running after
nothing that I can see
Those crazy people running after
apparitions of dreams

Us freaks carry a weighty load
and we bear a willed pursuit
and we push on down that road
Us freaks we pump the fuel
and then begin to sow

And the silly people die running after
nothing that I can see
Those crazy people running after
apparitions of dreams