Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Helter Skelter Revisited

What do you get when you take the mentally damaged bastard son of a sixteen year old prostitute and raise him in a series of increasingly authoritarian government institutions before unleashing him onto the streets of San Francisco during the Summer of Love with nothing but an old second hand guitar and the shirt on his back? Well, you get Charles Willis Manson of coarse, the perfect poster beast for the Amerikan gulag archipelago known to those of us in the know as the Prison Industrial Complex.

But old Charlie is probably best known as the convenient scapegoat for the damnation of an entire generation of peace loving malcontents, after masterminding a series of bizarre and gruesome mass slayings in the Hollywood Hills. Charlie dutifully played this role for decades, putting on one hell of a show for an endless procession of smug know-it-all journalists like that pervert Charlie Rose and the even more grotesque Geraldo Rivera. Because that's what you do when you become institutionalized, you find your role and you play it to death.

Charles finally played it to death early last week, just before Thanksgiving, when his shriveled old carcass finally gave in to years of being buried alive in a concrete tomb, the only world that twisted creature ever really understood. And the same media jackals that made a mint off of exploiting the little monster and his victims wasted little time stroking their chins with gross displays of abject moral superiority as they spun their tired mythology about that blood soaked Summer of Hate. Regurgitating one of America's most cherished modern horror stories before turning off the cameras and helping themselves to another intern.

The truth is, the story told a million times of Charlie Manson, the hippie Pied Pipper of doom, leading the innocent babes of the Lost Generation into committing totally random acts of slaughter over two days in hopes of sparking a Beatles inspired race war is largely a work of fiction carefully quilted together by master prosecutor and all around media whore Vincent Bugliosi from the incoherent bablings of Manson's hysterical drug addled followers. Bugliosi even admitted as much in his slick best seller Helter Skelter.

 A creepy amoral fabulist who probably could have easily been Charlie Manson in another life without the advantages that come with proper breeding and mental hygiene, Bugliosi confessed more than once, back in the days before he became a cliff-note quoting parody of himself, that he had no goddamn idea why Charlie did what he did. Helter Skelter was simply a story he felt he could sell to the grey flannel set that made up the so called Silent Majority occupying Manson's jury. That sordid tale of bloodthirsty acid freaks and fire lit desert orgies may have made Helter Skelter the best piece of pulp fiction since the Old Testament but it always read like an airport paperback to me. I don't buy it. I never have.

In spite of the performance art of his Geraldo interviews, Charlie was a psychopath but not a fucking lunatic. Helter Skelter is the work of an overworked, undersexed, armchair savage trying to get in touch with his inner schizophrenic. Charlie was a smooth talking conman (think Donald Trump with sex appeal) that honed his skills for manipulation over decades of dodging the typical fate of guys his size in maximum security. Charlie was built like a goddamn horse jockey yet he somehow managed to master the art of institutional sexual predation by his late teens. He was a pimp. A hustler. A genuine nickle flipping, toothpick chewing, con artist. Charlie didn't do anything unless he got something out of it. He didn't give a fuck about revolution or racial holy war. He just wanted to get laid and get high and he would tell all the pretty little girls anything to make it happen.

So why did Charlie kill those people in the Summer of '69. No one really knows for sure but you better believe I've got a theory. It all starts with Manson's murder of an LA drug dealer who went by the name of Lotsapoppa (I have dibs on that for a future band name). After a fruitless attempt to work the black street hood over, Charlie shot him and somehow got it into his paranoid hillbilly mind that old Pops was connected to the Black Panthers, who scared the racist jailbird shitless. He went about turning Barker Ranch into a makeshift hippie fortress complete with armed dune buggy patrols but an army of clap-infested teeny boppers hardly proved formidable against the gauge toting urban Mau Maus in the Panthers. So Charlie sought out his own leather-clad army in a motley crew of outlaw bikers known as the Straight Satans.

Charlie tried to pay for their largesse with jail-bait scootch and ditch-weed but even bikers get tired of catching crabs, so Charlie had to up the anti. He offered to supply the boys with a stash of Mescaline which he procured from a hippie chemist named Gary Hinman. When the drugs Hinman sold Charlie turned out to be poison, the Straight Satans were beside themselves. They wanted their fucking money back. When Charlie's attempts to get a refund ended with Hinman dead and a Manson Family associate named Bobby Beausoleil locked up, Charlie was twelve miles up shit creek without a paddle. Now not only did he have the Panthers to contend with, his honky homies in the Satans wanted his scalp too. Charlie was in deep and had no room to refuse a request by the bikers.

My sneaking suspicion, and this is only a theory, is that the Straight Satans had Manson and his Family perform a hit at 10050 Cielo Drive, a property Manson was familiar with from his dealings with the property's previous owner, producer Terry Melcher. The target was likely Sharon Tate's house guest Wojciech Frykowski, a failed screenwriter rumored to be dabbling in the burgeoning MDA trade (an ancestor of Dr. Shulgin's MDMA). The rest were simply collateral damage in an amphetamine fueled suicide mission too risky even for a second rate Hell's Angels knock-off to handle. The LaBiancas were Charlie's hair brain idea of a cover, trying to make the whole matter appear like random acts of revolutionary bloodletting by black guerrillas.

Like I said, it's just a theory, largely based on interviews with Beausoleil, who always struck me as the most candid and lucid among Charlie's former cohorts and a quasi-autobiography penned by Manson's former cellmate Noel Emmons. Which is about as much proof as Bugliosi had for a theory that made less than half as much sense. Of coarse most of Manson's former Family have endorsed the Helter Skelter theory post mortem, largely because it paints them as little more than brainwashed pawns in Charlie's apocalyptic chess game and partially because even they probably aren't completely sure why they did it. '69 was a crazy year and LSD is one hell of a drug.

And America prefers Bugliosi's crackpot theory for largely the same reason, it lets them off the hook. In Helter Skelterland, Manson isn't the product of their own government's derelict justice system but the Devil incarnate. Their economically privileged suburban children aren't capable of the same unspeakable bloodshed as the inner-city poor when they're subjected to the same neglect and left to the care of the predators their tax dollars create, their innocent victims of bad drugs and bad hairdos. The wealthy victims of crimes aren't criminals themselves but spotless woolly lambs upholding the moral binary of the overly simplistic concept of good vs evil. But mostly, Americans are just plain lazy and prefer to believe the fairy-tales their government and media tell them.

Either way, Manson was a monster. But he didn't have to be. Monsters are raised not born and no one raises them like the Prison Industrial Complex.

Peace, Love and Empathy- CH

Soundtrack; Songs that influenced this post.

* Death Valley '69 By Sonic Youth and Lydia Lunch
* Institutionalized By Suicidal Tendencies
* Garbage Dump By Charles Manson
* Helter Skelter By The Beatles
* Prison Sex By Tool
* I Wanna Kill By Crocodiles
* My Monkey By Marilyn Manson
* Sympathy For The Devil By The Rolling Stones
* Closer By Nine Inch Nails
* Congratulations By MGMT

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Best Friend

I met my best friend 18 years ago. I was 11 years old and suffering from my latest pubescent identity crisis. Somehow, I had convinced myself that getting a dog would fill the vacancy in my soul that I would later come to know as gender dysphoria. My parents, not exactly being dog people, decided against it but let me pick our next cat. So we went to PAWS, which is kinda like the ESPCA without the gas chambers, and that's where I met Killian, a scrawny black and white holstein who hid in the bathroom whenever someone new walked in the door. But the moment I held her in my arms, I knew she was mine and I've loved her like my child ever since.

For 18 years Killian was my best friend, my closest and truest friend. She was right there with me through the best and worst years of my life, through the laughter and joy, through the heartache and pain, through the depression and anxiety and Lyme disease and nervous breakdowns. She was always by my side. Always. Always. Always. But now she's gone and I don't really know who I am without her.

That's not to say that she couldn't be a royal pain in the ass. She was a chip off her bad-ass bearded mamma's old block. Once Killy got past her shyness she was a mischievous little hellion with the raw energy of a Serbian soccer riot. She climbed up Christmas trees, jumped from one piece of furniture to another like a fucking ninja and chased any cat who dared to enter her territory half a mile down the street. She could scream louder than any cat I've ever heard in my life and she could bend her voice into audio origami like Bjork on a Brennivin bender. She always got what she wanted and would give Christ himself holy fucking hell if she didn't. She was a bitch. And I love her, unconditionally, because she loved me, unconditionally, even when I didn't love myself. She never let me forget that I had value. That I was worth while.

I was crazy about her and I couldn't for the life of me stay mad at her, no matter what she did. Even when she got old and senile and too def to hear her own incessant screaming. Even when she had both thyroids removed and pissed and puked everywhere like a double ended bilge pump. She drove everybody fucking nuts, and for good reason, but not me. I defended her to the hilt, no matter how wrong she was. Like I said, she was a bitch and a brat and a drama queen and I loved her madly and I still do. I can't even bring my self to Febreze the spot next to my chair where I sit typing this, where she use to sleep, because it still reeks of her.

Last Wednesday, on my grandmothers 82nd birthday of all days, my Killy passed away. After years of hyperthyroid her tiny little heart finally gave out. I've lost a lot of people in my life, family, grandparents, but somehow losing that three pound piss factory hurts the worst. I just can't get used to the fact that she's not there anymore, sleeping at my feet, that her voice no longer pierces every empty space of silence. It's too goddamn quiet here now. I miss the noise. I miss my baby. But my babies gone and all I can do is write.

In case you haven't noticed, dearest motherfuckers, 2017 fucking sucks, what with Trump and Charlottesville and demented grandparents and Trump and transphobic shrinks and Trump and shooting sprees and failed revolutions and friends moving to fucking England and dead cats and did I mention Trump? This year sucks even worse than the last one and the last one was a total fucking shitbox fire. I'm sorry for being such a fucking downer, dearest motherfuckers, but I'm more than a little short on shit to feel up about and phoning it in isn't exactly my style. You asked and I told.

I'd say they can give 2017 back to the Indians but I think the Indians have had their fill of our toxic laundry. Maybe they can give 2017 back to Trump and in another seven years the IRS can reposes it like everything else King Midas turns into gold flaked shit. All I have left to say is godspeed and goddess bless, Killian. You were too goddamn good for this fucked up place. Mamma loves you and I always will.

Peace, Love & Empathy- CH

Soundtrack; Songs that influenced this post.

* Hyperballad By Bjork
* Videogames By Lana Del Rey
* And I Love Her By Kurt Cobain
* Hallelujah By Jeff Buckley
* Laura By Bat For Lashes
* Fake Plastic Trees By Radiohead
* Something In The Way By Nirvana
* The Whole Of The Moon By The Waterboys
* Beautiful You By Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
* Long Time Ago By Concrete Blonde

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Comrade Hermit vs The Tranny Whisperer

Me and therapy have a long, storied and generally cantankerous relationship. I've been in and out of therapy my whole life and hated most of my therapists. Part of the reason behind this is a lifelong knee-jerk aversion to anything vaguely resembling authority. But mostly, I think it's the fact that I've never really chosen therapy. It was always chosen for me or pushed on me for one reason or another. That is until very recently.

After spending over half a decade in self-imposed exile do to a series of crippling nervous breakdowns, I've finally come to terms with my various mental ailments as well as my complicated gender identity which I've come to see as one of the primary impediments to fully embracing mental health. For most of my life I've suffered under the delusion that my biological gender defined me. This disconnection with my true self has fostered a mentality in which I simply didn't value myself because "myself" was largely a performance, like therapy, fostered for the benefit of everyone but me.

Since coming out as queer I've adopted a number of labels to describe my identity; non-binary, genderqueer, transfluid, gender fluid, bearded lady, undecided, free agency, all of which describe a complicated identity which is blanketed in shifting layers of both masculinity and femininity that all fall under the wide tent of trans. I've taken great pride in the new found sense of community I've found in this tribe. It's given me a deep sense of empowerment that I've been searching for my whole life. But that doesn't make me feel any less confused by the fact that I feel too feminine to be male even when I have beard.

My favorite ID is bearded bull-dyke with a dick and not just because it's the funnest one to say but because it's the most accurate. I'm not pretty or girly in any traditional kind of way but it feels far more natural to describe myself as butch than male. The agoraphobia doesn't exactly help either. For a person pathologically terrified of change, what could be more terrifying than having a gender like a kaleidoscope, constantly shifting and swirling and changing color and shape. So for the first time in my life I went searching for a shrink for me and no one else. I ended up getting way more than I bargained for.

I was recommended a therapist by my psychiatrist of nearly twenty years, whom I was told was an expert in the field of gender identity. Her name is Khytam Dawood, she teaches at Penn State but I was more impressed by the fact that she got her PHD from Northwestern, the alma mater of my favorite record producer, Steve Albini, of In Utero fame. After discovering that she didn't take my crappy medicaid insurance, I spent a couple of months searching high and low for anyone who knew anything about gender who accepts medicaid in Centre County. But I kept going back to Dr. Dawood, who my transman bestie, back in England, and I took to calling the Tranny Whisperer do to her elusiveness, impeccable credentials and Jedi sounding name. I ultimately decided to fork up the two-hundred-plus bucks in disability the state gives me to live off of and made an appointment to see the Tranny Whisperer.

The appointment started out fine, great even. She seemed kind, accommodating and even held a lot of the same political positions as me; pro-Palestine, antiwar, etc. Things didn't get uncomfortable until the subject of gender came up, which only happened after she came across the fact that I was having trouble with gender dysphoria in her notes. She confidently thought out loud that that was clearly a typo given my less than feminine presentation without even asking me about it. After politely correcting her I was treated to a decidedly gentle barrage of passive aggressive micro-agressions that left me feeling confused and woozy. My feelings of isolation and disconnection didn't seem to matter to her. She only seemed to be interested in my sexuality. By the time the session was over my head was spinning. She diagnosed me with something called autogynophilia. The word sounded dated but familiar and made me somewhat uncomfortable but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was or where I had come into contact with it.

I tried to shake off my feelings of unease and chocked them up to my issues with social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. I told myself I was worrying over nothing. I even told myself that I would convince her I really was a woman trapped in a mans body during the next appointment. But over the next 48 hours my sense of unease only grew thicker.

When I finally looked up the word autogynophilia I was shocked and appalled to learn that this woman who I liked and trusted had reduced my gender identity to a sexual perversion that was one half of a transphobic theory known as Blanchard's transsexualism typology. A ripe piece of junk science that divides trans people into two forms of mental derangement based largely on our sexual appetites. Lezbo's like me are paraphilic fetishists in the same wheelhouse as necrophiles and horse fuckers while the rest were simply "homosexual transsexuals" who mutilate themselves in order to snag hetero-males and trick them into fucking them. I was beyond shocked to learn that someone as intelligent and well educated as Dr. Dawood could buy into something so childishly reductionist and over simplistic. But as I dug deeper it only got worse.

The current leader of this little movement that has been near universally rejected by both academia and the trans people that those fucks aim to "treat" is a foul little imbecile by the name of J. Michael Bailey, a professor who single-handedly ruined his reputation with a disgusting transphobic manifesto called The Man Who Would Be Queen. Everything from the snide name of the book to its cover, a photograph of a grotesquely muscular mans leg crammed into a stiletto heeled pump, made it abundantly clear that this crap wasn't literature. It was a goddamn weapon. The Bell curve of gender studies. A pseudo-scientific expose based on the good professor's late night conversations with a handful of uninformed queens at a gay bar, one one of whom he took the time to fuck but none of whom he took the time to inform that they were guinea pigs for his little study.

Like the rest of the members of his deluded little cult, Dr. Bailey is a cissy cunt who knows too much about us trannies to take our opinions into consideration after happy hour. And when the trans community showed our teeth and gnashed back at his mass character assassination, Bailey, naturally, played the part of the victim. The poor rich white cis-breeder at the mercy of the most maligned and ostracized community in the country. Poor baby can't push out a steaming hate-dump without suffering the indignity of the splash back. Like all bigots, he's just another victim of the scourge of political correctness.

And where does the good Doctor Hatefuck teach? None other than Northwestern, where he taught my tranny whisperer, Doctor Dawood everything she knows and she's returned the favor, singing his praises to anyone who'll listen and poisoning a whole new generation of would-be shrinks with his bile at Penn State University. By the time I had found all this shit out, I was well on my way to another nervous breakdown. I felt physically ill. I felt used and objectified. I have never felt more like killing myself. I had taken the unprecedented risk of putting myself out into the total unknown and trusting a stranger only to be told in so many words that I was a monster. I wanted to crawl beneath a rock at the bottom of the ocean and never come out again. The only thing that kept me from falling apart was my anger. My rage. My fury. The fury of a genderfuck woman scorned.

As soon as I stopped crying and yelling, I started trying to get Doctor Dawood on the phone. I wanted to hear it from her. I wanted her to tell me in her words with her mouth that my gender is a fucking mental illness. But like most cowards she dodged me like a fucking bullet. Telling me through her therapist like a hostage negotiator that she couldn't honor me with a simple explanation of her basic philosophy unless I gave her another hundred-and-fifty bucks for another appointment. I said know way. That fucking hack will never see another dime of my money again.

I called Dr. Dawood for another reason. I cried and yelled for another reason. I needed to know if she saw children. The thought of her telling little girls that they're sick just because they had the misfortune of being of being born with the wrong plumbing horrified me. I still haven't gotten an answer to that question and it keeps me up at night. If Khytam Dawood treats children then Khytam Dawood is a child abuser and I will be goddamned if I let that hack lay a claw on my little sisters. No fucking way. Which is the primary reason I wrote this painful post. Kids kill themselves because of people like Khytam Dawood and I need to make sure that the next person who Googles the words Khytam Dawood and Transgender gets an earful from yours truly. I wrote this post to warn people that this woman is a malignant predator violating people with her disgusting half-baked theories. The Tranny Whisperer fucked with the wrong bitch. Now she has to contend with the Tranny Screamer and she will never shut me up.

So what did I learn this week? I learned that Khytam Dawood is a fucking cunt. I usually reserve that word for cis-men who cross me but Khytam is not my fucking sister. Khytam preys on my sisters and she's not the only one. I also learned that when it comes to mental health a queer person quite simply can't trust an outsider. I learned that coming out as trans has made me a stronger person than I've ever been before. I learned that I need to find my tribe. I need to be with my people. And I learned how important the people in my life are to me. If it wasn't for just a handful of friends and family, my unwaveringly supportive Catholic mother, my exiled bestie James and my mentor Angela, just to name a few, reminding me who I am and that I matter, I might have let that stupid twit knock me back down to rock bottom again. They are my shield and I love them more than words can convey.

I honestly don't know where I'm going, dearest motherfuckers, but I know where I've been and I'm never going back again.

Peace, Love and Empathy- CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post.

* Home By David Byrne & Brian Eno
* Candy Says By The Velvet Underground
* You Oughta Know By Alannis Morrisette
* It's Different For Girls By Of Montreal
* Miss World By Hole
* Creature Comfort By Arcade Fire
* Rape Me By Nirvana
* I Bet On Losing Dogs By Mitski
* Hood By Perfume Genius
* Rockstar By Hole
* Road To Nowhere By Talking Heads
* 333 By Against Me!
* Androgynous By The Replacements

Monday, November 6, 2017

October's Gone

This October marked the centennial of Lenin's October Uprising and the foundation of the Soviet Union. Kind of a big deal for commies, young and old and even ex-Bolsheviks like myself. While I've long parted ways with my girlish notions of a Soviet worker's paradise, the more I look into it the more I realize that October really marked the demise of the Russian Revolution, it's still hard not to let my old Soviet nostalgia get the best of me this fall.

Say what you will about those old Bolsheviks but their little uprising still stands apart as the first successful workers revolution since the Black Jacobins took back Haiti for the slaves who built it. It was a cataclysmic moment in modern history that in many ways defined the Twentieth Century and in others defied it. One of Europe's great empires reduced to cinders by its poorest denizens in a revolt against that crumbling empire's involvement in a corrupt world war. The Soviet Union may have welched on their promises, banishing the very worker's unions that it was named for, in favor of a rather shallow interpretation of Marx's Dictatorship of the Proletariat (never intended to be an actual dictatorship). But their victories over the Czar and the Atlanticist cabal, who launched the White Terror in his name, inspired oppressed people from Havana to Hanoi to rise up and take their fate in their own hands. The Soviet Union may have been a failure but, as far as failures go, it was a rather grand one before it got gross.

This October came with its own triumphant revolutionary failures. Kurdistan and Catalonia. Two long oppressed nations who chose the Bolshevik Centennial to finally declare independence before they crashed and burned tragically. Unlike the Bolsheviks, the Kurds and the Catalans chose to wage their respective revolutions through the ballot box. In both would-be-nations their people voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from their captors, in Baghdad and Madrid respectively, in popular referendums. And in both cases they found the peoples will crushed violently while the "free" world sat on their hands and watched in deafening silence. Both the Kurdish Regional Government and the Catalonian Cabinet are in shambles. There are still people in the streets but a grey pallor of November doom seems to hang just above their skulls.

The question on everybody's lips is what went wrong? The answer is almost shamefully simple, the state. Much like the Bolsheviks, the Kurds and the Catalans chose to rely on the central machinery of an organized state, believing in vain that their was strength in structure. The reality is, the more central a democracy is, the less democratic it becomes and a revolution short on democracy really only has three possible fates, to be corrupted, co-opted or overthrown, often all of the above.

The Russian Revolution was corrupted by the defensive heavy handedness of the Bolsheviks, co-opted by Stalin's red nationalism and overthrown by its own people, fed up by decades of bureaucratic corruption and the endless western siege of the Cold War.

The Iraqi Kurds were corrupted by the thuggery of the Barzani cartel, co-opted by Israel's inflammatory influence and overthrown by the Iraqi government with the tacit backing of the Kurd's supposed allies in Washington.

Catalonia was corrupted by the empty promises of the European Union, co-opted by the center-left establishment and overthrown by the neo-Francoist government of Madrid while their precious Eurocrats stood by and applauded like white-gloved ladies at a dressage concert.

The only true pathway to freedom and self-determination is a grass-roots revolution, built from the ground up, democratically run and ending in a stateless permanent autonomous zone. If their's no one in charge then their is quite literally nothing to overthrow. The only remaining option for state suppression is genocide which, as the Vietcong proved, isn't as easy as it looks. The KRG's neighbors in Rojava and the Zapatistas in Chiapas are living proof. Freetown Christiania and my Amish neighbors are two more. My own ancestral homeland of Ireland required a popular revolution before it could be truly independent from Cromwell's grip but even now the Dail's hands are too tied by Euro-bureaucracy to support our longtime allies in Barcelona. Proof positive that the only truly free state is a truly smashed state.

October's gone, dearest motherfuckers. Their's no point in crying over spilled blood. But we can learn from it. Revolutions are born in the streets but they die in the Politburo. My suggestion? Keep it in the streets and don't stop fighting until the battle's won. Viva La Revolucion!

Peace, Love and Solidarity- CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post.

* Heroes By TV On The Radio
* Tuesday's Gone By Lynyrd Skynyrd
* Take Me To The Riot By Stars
* Down In The Streets By The Stooges
* Keep The Car Running By Arcade Fire
* Dot Dash By Wire
* We All Go Down Together By The Decemberists
* We Are The Champions By Queen
* Keep Yourself Alive By Queen