Chuck talks to historian Kidada Williams about her book "I Saw Death Coming - A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction." www.harvard.com/book/i_saw_death_coming/
As if I inhabit some perch on a lofty peg, I often encounter behavior intended to lower my peg level. The battle of peg altitudes is a continual playful obsession between friends in Hollywood, and, in various degrees of overtness, most places where people are friends. Perhaps, due to my arrogance, I well deserve to have my dignity slashed. Why should I, a failure by all measures that count, a liability and a burden to all, be allowed to nurture within my soul a thing as precious as dignity? Do I not understand that among the prized rewards for being a meritorious human being is the simple right to exist? Do I not, on a daily basis, witness the casual disregard with which human beings who have not merited a home are left to the bullying of police and the abuse of the elements? What right have I to my opinions? To express them? To hold them? By what effort have I earned anything I possess at all?
Do I believe that merely by existing I ought to be accorded the courtesy one wouldn’t give a crumpled Powerade bottle on the shoulder of the highway? By what graciousness of anyone’s heart should I be allowed to live? I have gathered to me no family won in the competition for love partners, a contest by which one’s intrinsic worth is measured. I have no employment, my writing and art are barely appreciated and certainly do not earn me a lot of money.
Wealth, of course, in this milieu of shallow fashion called Hollywood, is another mark of the worth of a person. I once had an industry insider tell me, in relation to a mutual acquaintance, “he can’t do anything for me, so why should I continue being friends with him?” Here in Hollywood, fealty to fame lies everywhere as thick and viscous as if a zombie army of slobbering polyamorous fans had left a coating of saliva over every surface a celebrity might have brushed against with one body part or another. People here, as in most lands under the sway of extreme capitalism, love things and use people, although here their professions of love for this or that rich or famous person often gush in cataracts of the same fame-worship saliva found coating their entire stunted world.
I must qualify all this by admitting to having encountered a great deal of generosity here, as well as integrity and artistic excellence. Most of it has been inextricably mingled with less stomachable features of human behavior, naturally. In all of us, virtues swirl and... read more
SuperTruth® has brought low the mighty human race. SuperTruth® has turned reality into insanity. SuperTruth® has turned insanity into anxiety, so at least the insane are motivated to go to work. At least anxiety forces us to find a way to function, to search for that which will relieve our anxiety. Life is a disease, and there’s only one cure. But since most of us fear death, we’ll have to settle for… SuperTruth®.
When skies hang pendulous leaden clouds of unnatural hue; seas skip like rams and leap and bow like fire-worshiping devils; the atmosphere groans fat and snappish with negative ions, the barometer uncoils, fright wigs are on edge, and pancake white refuses to be applied evenly to faces beaded with flop-condensation; and all the world’s stage feels burdened by a furrowed lowbrow glower redolent with the sense that too much time has been borrowed, the usurious interest is overdue and the gas gauge reads that your luck has run out; that is when the Lost Dauphine is sighted, bearing its unhappy driver and four dozen eternal passengers, cursed to ride the storm clouds galloping heavy over the bigtop… forever.
It had been a bad year for clowns. Chuckles, dressed as Peter Peanut, had been fatally shelled by an angry elephant who’d had enough of human shenanigans. Pennywise had his heart pulled out by the Losers Club. Octavio the Clown was killed by Frank Lopez’s hitmen in an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Tony Montana. Violator the Clown’s head was cut off by Spawn. Krusty was eaten by Zombie Sideshow Mel. A posse of Penn State students rampaged with the intent to lynch a thousand clowns, but only got the unfortunate Bippo. But the worst clownaclysm of all was the notorious disaster of the Dauphine.
In September of 1989, tragedy struck the non-clown community: 31-year-old Leslie Pulhar, a waitress from Royal Oak, Michigan, was driving across the Mackinac Bridge to visit her boyfriend in the Upper Peninsula. The bridge runs high above the Straits of Mackinac, connecting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with the Lower. To this day no one knows why the two are part of the same state. Perhaps the thinking was that, as two peninsulas, they had so much in common they simply belonged together. Whatever the reason, Pulhar died when her Yugo was blown off the bridge by a 48-mile-an-hour gust of wind that sent it plummeting 160 feet... read more