14 August 2011


Just a brief message from the submarine without a periscope:

For those unemployed unfortunates who occasionally hit this blog looking for a copy of California Standard Form 678, Examination/Employment Application, I've decided to offer up a little help in finding the damn thing. Just go to the following site and you'll eventually stumble across it:

California State Personnel Board

I need not point out the fact that one has about as much chance of landing a paying position within the California bureaucracy as, oh, I don't know, pensioned state retirees in the suburbs shutting the fuck up about how government employees are bankrupting everything in sight. But, hope springs eternal -- except, of course, when it doesn't.

So, good luck! You're going to need lots of it -- which I know all too well.

(Back to our regularly scheduled drooling torpor.)

10 July 2011


Taking a well-deserved breather from blog-trolling and applying for jobs such as Chum Reintroduction Coordinator (who says that there aren’t any government jobs to be had these days?); while I’ve been put in mind of the atrocious employment situation, which I can hardly avoid, Chris Hedges administers the coup de grace, at least for today. He’s talking about his former bosses at The New York Times, but it’s far too easy to see the universality of his words:

When you allow an institution to provide you with your identity and sense of self-worth you become an obsequious pawn, no matter how much talent you possess. You live in perpetual fear of what those in authority think of you and might do to you. This mechanism of internalized control -- for you always need them more than they need you -- is effective. The rules of advancement at the paper are never clearly defined or written down. Careerists pay lip service to the stated ideals of the institution, which are couched in lofty rhetoric about balance, impartiality and neutrality, but astutely grasp the actual guiding principle of the paper, which is: Do not significantly alienate the corporate and political power elite on whom the institution depends for access and money. Those who master this duplicitous game do well. Those who cling tenaciously to a desire to tell the truth, even at a cost to themselves and the institution, become a management problem. This creates tremendous friction within the paper. I knew reporters with a conscience who would arrive at the paper and vomit in the restroom from nervous tension before starting work. If Rossi had examined the effects of this institutional hubris and the pathology of the paper’s self-infatuation, if he had looked at the paper’s large and small failures as well as its successes, he would have pushed past the myth of the Great Oz, peddled to him by the paper’s editors and minions like Carr, and uncovered its troubled core.

Now, that’s what I call motivational.

Back to the darkness.

02 July 2011


What I can’t figure out is that, for some reason, it all looks so “normal.”

That’s usually the first thought that intrudes, unbidden and unwanted, whenever I make one of these infrequent forays out of the existential mole-hole. I briefly poke my head out of the involuntary sanctuary in which it’s lodged -- an ambiguous limbo-land tethered to one or another of the socio-economic reality cracks designed and constructed by our obvious betters, the Masters of Everything -- and I marvel at the overwhelming “prosaicness” of things. The commuters, the atomized automatons, the properly enthused suburban media-consumers, the comfortable anti-union pensioners, the pseudo-Randian declaimers, the energetic youngsters doomed by their ignorance . . . They blithely go about their dubious business as if they didn’t get the memo concerning, you know, the imminent collapse of civilization and the end of the world . . .

Man, I just knew that resuming this blogging thingy would be a mistake. Jeeze.


OK -- take two: Six months of wasted motion trying to justify a return to this nonsense. It’s a tough proposition, and it’s not particularly surprising to see that so many bottom-tier blogger colleagues have abandoned the field. Ah, those were the veritable glory days in blog-land, weren’t they? The second coming of the post-modern version of the Bush Crime Family, circa 2006 -- no shortage of outrages from which to draw energy then, you know. The torrential output of snark and bile was truly impressive, even here; a maelstrom of muck, a deliciously vile shitstorm of vituperation, anger, and undifferentiated frustration; a wonderfully chaotic creative mess of pretty good writing, most of the time. Unfortunately, something happened to that scene, something unexpected, perhaps terminal. What a shame.

Well, we could argue endlessly about what that something might have been (I have a few ideas), if anyone seriously wants to explore that rhetorical cul-de-sac. I don’t especially. I mean, I know why I have been in cold storage the last couple of years -- as to my largely disappeared compatriots, could be just about anything. Presumption being merely one vital component of blogging (it simply wouldn’t function without it), I might venture that my friends’ recent experiences probably mirror my own, to a certain extent: unemployment, near-homelessness, destitution, hopeless despair, those sorts of things. A motivated sense of purpose in this weird virtual realm can’t hope to compete with such pressures. A certain amount of tension and conflict is indispensable to the process of creativity, I think most thoughtful people can agree; the sheer, stifling glut of such tension and pressure, salient features of present circumstances, is just fucking ridiculous.


So, the question begs -- why now? What’s the point in resuscitating this imposing monument to obscurity? I don’t know. Extreme boredom, maybe. Desperation, perhaps. It certainly isn’t the conviction that it’s going to solve anything; as a mild distraction from disturbing, indistinct impulses toward self-immolation, it might prove useful. Or not. Whatever. In any case, I’ve suppressed my “better” judgment and resolved to re-launch this audacious pea-shooter, this hopeless yapping chihuahua of a blog, and ride it as well as I can, as long as I can. Straight into the crapper, in all likelihood. At least I’ll have plenty of company on that particular trip, and I might even get some of the bad taste of despair out of my mouth in the process.

Like I said: I knew this would be a mistake. Oh well.