Spook Country

…how these heresies would get started, often spontaneously generating around some medieval equivalent of your more outspoken homeless mumbler. Organized religion, he saw, back in the day, had been purely a signal-to-noise proposition, at once the medium and he message, a one-channel universe. For Europe, that channel was Christian, and broadcasting from Rome, but nothing could broadcast faster than a man could travel on horseback. There was a hierarchy in place, and a highly organized methodology of top-down signal dissemination, but the time lag enforced by tech-lack imposed a near-disastrous ratio, the noise of heresy constantly threatening to overwhelm the signal.

–William Gibson, 2007

The Healthy Dead

Desire for goodness, Mister Reese, leads to earnestness. Earnestness in turn leads to sanctimonious self-righteousness, which breeds intolerance, upon which harsh judgement quickly follows, yielding dire punishment, inflicting general terror and paranoia, eventually culminating in revolt, leading to chaos, then dissolution, and thus, the end of civilisation.


Good living and health, as you say, yielding well being. But well-being is a contextual notion, a relative notion. Perceived benefits are measured by way of contrast. In any case, the result is smugness, and from that an overwhelming desire to deliver conformity among those perceived as less pure, less fortunate–the unenlightened, if you will. But conformity leads to ennui, and then indifference. From indifference, Mister Reese, dissolution follows as a natural course, and with it, once again, the end of civilisation.


The guise of reasonableness, Mister Reese, permits all manner of intolerance and indeed, pernicious attack. Once that illusion is torn away, however, the terror of oppression becomes a random act, perhaps indeed an all-encompassing one.


Do you think Lust thrives only in matters of sex and sordid indulgences? If so, my friends, you are wrong! Lust is born of obsession! Obsession begets zealotry! Zealotry breeds deadly intolerance! Intolerance leads to oppression, and oppression to tyranny. And tyrranny, citizens of Quaint, leads to–“

“The end of civilisation!” a thousand voices roared.

–Steven Erikson, 2004

To my jaw bebawlthered boy on the morn ‘ter his displeasure

Though you haven’t many tomorrows yet

–futuretalk leaves you cold–

pain marooned unceasing in your jaw

does it seem to last forever?

yet, out of this little pain

will grow some mighty chomps!

O my toothless son!

Your tongue will soon have many friends

grin festooned with many tooths

joys of crunch and clack and chew

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey (5)

I want to ask, you ever wonder why the dominant culture says certain stuff? I mean, really hammers on you that some stuff is absolutely, deadly impossible? For instance, what science calls the “Grandfather Paradox”? How it works out that you should never, ever even consider time travel, because you might go back in time and kill your own grandfather by accident, let’s say, and then–kah-poof–you’d not exist? I mean, if you trusted in the government experts, wouldn’t you be careful and never go back in time?

–Chuck Palahniuk, 2007

You know who you are…

…but we don’t know who *you* are!

To the couple who gave up their seats on the plane–after 8 hours waiting in the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, and who the airline clerk assured again and again that there would be no *compensation* for your act of generosity–so that we could get our sweet, and so very tired baby boy home again:

We thank you.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you!

You were our guardian angels in our time of need and we will never forget you and what you did for us.

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey (4)

Beginning in 1963, officials at the Willowbrook State School, a residence for developmentally disabled children in Staten Island, New York, intentionally infected healthy children with hepatitis in order to test the effects of gamma globulin on the disease. For three years, school officials repeatedly injected the children with viral agents, until public outcry stopped the program in 1966.

–Chuck Palahniuk, 2007