Introduction: The World of MEH

This story takes place sometime in the future, not far from now. The only reason for this is because I truly believe, unequivocally, that the future will have just as many stupid people as it has now.
I could set it in a present day, and in some parts it will make more sense, because I will obviously be wrong about many of its futuristic aspects. But I don’t really care about that. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy- as nearly everyone in my social circle has implied or outright stated, sometimes with urgency- because you really have to do research in order to write a decently accurate view of the future. I don’t feel like that, I got shit to do. Even then you could still be wrong. In the fifties they thought we’d be colonizing Mars already. We send robots there, send Matt Damon there but that’s about it. Nobody’s getting laid in Mars anytime soon. Then there’s jet-packs, that would have been cool- you ever seen Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451? Or better yet: The Rocketeer! So fucking bad-ass.
What I’m trying to is that if you’re going to bitch and moan about how inaccurate my portrayal of the future is, then don’t bother reading this. Read something that will make you smarter, something you can quip at dinner parties. This is not going to make you smarter. This is just fuel for cynicism and misanthropy. This book is full of delicious hate. But it’s the good kind of hate, the healthy kind. It’s ideal for very pretentious people. If you’re not pretentious but as humble and noble as I am, don’t give up yet. Read about it and maybe you’ll become more pretentious in the process- it’s like being an jolly alcoholic, you’ll annoy people around you but you’ll love yourself!
When I read science-fiction, I don’t really read for the tech aspects. I don’t care about all that. That shit is boring to me. There’s nothing wrong with it, don’t get me wrong. It’s probably fascinating for people that are a helluva lot smarter than me. I like guinea-pigs myself, I think they are fucking adorable, I can watch them for hours. I love the way they eat with that blank stare and black beady eyes. It’s fucking awesome. Other people might get bored. I like guinea-pigs better than most humans. Yes they shit on your hand if you’re careful, but unlike humans, they don’t leave such hateful comments on the Internet. They don’t depress me as much. Human beings depress me. So many of them are fucked up. So many people don’t get it. So many people are such giant assholes and so many of these giant assholes rule this planet. They take advantage of people. They lie to them. The people know they are lying but they still vote for these people. There’s history books, text-book examples of these assholes yet people ignore this because you know, fake-news! These bad people get so many good people killed and they get away with it. They always get away with it. It’s a bummer man. A real goddamn bummer…
My point being is that I read science-fiction for its portrayal on humanity. How technology AFFECTS us, rather than how cool it is. How we change or not change in time. How the future reflects the present in more ways we could have ever imagined. It’s about us, our relationship with ourselves and others. It’s about the message, it’s about making you think. My message in this story, along with other thoughts along the way which haven’t been properly thought out yet: no matter what we have, people will still be as stupid now as they will later. People will always find a way to run from themselves, run from the truth and create a world which is more comfortable for them. You can see this now even more than ever. You might have more religious nutjubs back in the day, now we have the awesome capabilities to learn everything about this world. The truth is out there. We can type in some words in (enter popular search-engine) and find out anything we need to know about our leaders, about our history, about current events. I’m not saying things are simple, I’m just saying that if people looked hard enough, they might make more informed decisions. They won’t get so riled up if some billion dollar Hollywood film doesn’t have minorities in them or if some slutty teenage girl wants to have an abortion. We can move on. We can focus on bigger, better things. We can learn from each other. We don’t have to fight all the time. Things doesn’t have to be black and white. We can work it out if only we really tried… MEH. Let’s not do that. Let’s instead seclude ourselves into our comfortable bubble and only involve ourselves with people who agree with us. That’s much easier.
Like right now: I just excused myself just I could comment on some message board because I made the ‘controversial statement’ that Stalin was an evil prick. I thought this was well established but apparently not. Apparently I’m a (and I’m paraphrasing slightly) ‘a brainwashed faggot.’ Gotta love those choice of words. This is the problem, many people can still not decide on the obvious villains. Plentiful defenders of dictators, old and modern ones, are still out there. And you can’t help but wonder, what if a politician with severe authoritarian tendencies rises up, would the people even see it? Would they see the signs? Or would they vote for them like they always do?
I wonder about this, realizing that if we are not careful, we will make the same mistakes again. Maybe we’ve already made these mistakes. The forces are already at play. We aren’t careful enough, it will be too late when we finally wake up…
Maybe I’m just a little blue. Didn’t sleep much and drank too much coffee, that combination makes me blue. But I don’t believe we will progress to a better tomorrow. We will ups and downs, beautiful victories and harrowing defeats, but the more power we receive, the more we have to lose. We will never learn, we won’t ever figure it out. We will reach that Utopian dream, because reaching for it, inevitably leads to unimaginable misery. Not enough people will listen to the scientists, not enough people will care. The economists are already talking about expendable people, they don’t know what will happen to all those people- what are they going to do? Are we going to get universal basic income or are we going to reject that because having universal basic income is a ‘slippery slope to a socialist hellhole? Is that even going to be the answer? Or are we going to take of the environment or are we going to have to face the fact that future generations will probably clone every millennial just so they can beat the shit out of them? Will we stop eating poor innocent animals? Yes you can give me shit for inserting a vegetarian message in here but come fuck it. Pigs are adorable. We still have an industry turning these beautiful creatures into hamburgers and I consider that really messed up…
Will we manage to stop a crazy person for attaining a nuclear missile or will he ride the nuke to our oblivion? These are things I think about too much. I got OCD, I’m an expert on excessive thinking but I don’t think a little worry is bad. Perhaps I should be more productive about this worry, but alas, if only I wasn’t so lazy, I could have saved the world!
I think the end is inevitable. I think there is nothing special about us. I don’t think we are in made in God’s image. I think it’s an insult to God to even imply this. The people say that I worry too much. The humanists say that we are progressing but I don’t think so. I think we are going to be just as destructively stupid….

And so, I’ve blabbed enough, let’s tell the story of Sean Reilly, a political commentator, some would call him a contrarian, but rational people would call him a hopelessly misguided individual…
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Our Disease 3

    Modern Men

An old friend called Harry around 2 in the morning. Harry only made a sound when he picked up the phone, he was too tired to anything resembling a word.
”It’s me, the enemy of the people.”
”Ah fuck, is that you Stone?”
”Meet me in the Interzone. We have lots to talk about.
”I was living a different live in my dreams. I prefer it than the one I’m actually living. Could we have lunch there at twelve?”
”I’m all wired. There’s no sleep for me and I’m in town. See ya soon old buddy.”
He hung up. At first Harry just closed his eyes again. Soon enough he realized that he would never return to his dream anyway.
”Goddammit. Fine,” mumbled Harry, ”I’ll go.”

It’s hard, maybe impossible, to describe to what kind of clientèle The Interzone markets itself too. At first glance it’s your typical American diner with a nostalgia for the fifties. There’s even a jukebox filled with American songs. But if you would take a closer look you see it is a place in search of an identity. There’s African, Chinese, English, even Russian art on the walls. A Catholic cross hangs on the walls as well as a Jewish star. A confederate flag but it’s painted in the colors of the rainbow. A Gadsen Flag but it’s rattlesnake seems to have a pleading smile and the words below say: ‘Tread on me, but don’t squash me please!’
Sometimes you catch people looking absently minded at the architecture. They stare at a piece of foreign art. Most of the time nobody is paying attention. They are wearing their glasses and the glasses take them to different worlds.
There’s a hint that its fractured dressing is intentional, maybe ironic. But then again, there are more places like this. This place used to mean something, now it doesn’t know what it wants to mean. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything now and maybe that’s the point.
Miguel Stone loves it here. Harry doesn’t.

”You find yourself in the weirdest places and discover that you’re finally home,” said Miguel Stone, smiling, gazing through window to the night illuminated by pink-lights. ”I met so many people that rejected the weirdness of life. Everything has to be plain. By the books. The life they know. The life their parents lived. People like me, however wicked in the eyes of the unimaginative, we accept ourselves and are rewarded by God himself.”
It wasn’t the first time they would meet like this. Stone is all over the world sometimes. You have to make time for him, he won’t make time for you. They haven’t seen each other in almost a year now. Stone always drifts in and out of Harry’s life
Harry doesn’t really understand why he wants to meet him and why Harry always agrees too. They are both completely the opposites. Stone doesn’t have any morals and therefore became a very wealthy man. Harry does alright, there’s still enough money coming in from book sales that Harry can live the rest of his life, doing his podcast. Stone, a lobbyist who runs his own firm, goes all around the world, working for mostly Kremlin backed candidates and doing a helluva job- they don’t even have to falsify the election as much because of his help.
From outward appearance, you could already digest that these two come from very different worlds. Stone was twenty years older, with pearly white hair and teeth and immaculately tailored and colorful suites. Stone doesn’t give a fuck what you think. He knows that most people hate him. Perhaps this even gives him strength. Maybe he even thrives on soft-hearted liberals or morally righteous republicans.
Harry doesn’t care about his appearance. It’s a crummy T-shirt, some faded logo with a checkered shirt to cover it. Stone’s face is bald from his thorough shave in the morning with the straight razor. Harry hasn’t shaved in months. Stone, even at his ripe old age of fifty-five still works out and is in great muscular shape. Harry is sagging all over the place. Harry tries to do the right thing, Stone prides himself of being the villain.
Perhaps it’s Harry’s genuine nature that Stone respects so much. Perhaps it keeps Stone in touch with the common man. Perhaps it’s just Harry’s humanity.

”You look like hammered shit,” smiled Stone smugly, not a hint of concern.
”I was having this beautiful dream when you woke me up,” Harry said, rubbing his eyes.
”Maybe you should thank me for it. That’s the problem with America. People dream too much.”
”You don’t need to dream.”
”I don’t need to dream. I am the dream,” Stone smiled, grabbing cigar paper from his pocket and a cigarette case. ”That’s why I love Russia. People stopped dreaming there long ago. They know themselves. They know the limit of the freedom they can handle. Give them too much freedom and they’ll give it back. Americans are the same. Slowly they’ve been giving away freedoms. Yet they still act as if they are free.”
”And you represent what dream exactly?”
”I am the true face of America. I’m filthy rich and I act like it was due to my god-given talents. I don’t admit that I’m wrong to anybody even if its very obvious. I look beautiful and I sleep with beautiful women. Sometimes even men. I’m a perfectly contended Patrick Bateman but without the bodies in the closet- though who knows,” Stone winks and opens his cigarette case: showing thick green leaves of marijuana.
”It sounds like a nightmare to me.”
”That’s because you’re human.”
”And you’re not?”
”I’m enlightened. I’m a special case.”
”And what am I?”
”You’re a dinosaur. A beautiful dinosaur.”
”Schadenfreude. That’s why you are here.”
”Maybe it’s general affection.”
”Are you even capable of having genuine affection for anyone other than yourself?”
”I don’t know. I like to think so. Maybe I hang around you for nostalgia. Back when people knew who the fuck they were.”
”Before men like you took control of the world.”
”Men like me always did. We just want more this time. Your freedoms aren’t enough. We want your reality.”
Harry sighs and sips his coffee. A part of him enjoys this conversation, no matter how it infuriates him. Stone’s presence validated Harry’s view of the world. In a world where every view seems valid, this was a comforting thing.
”Answer me this, why do I agree to meet you?” Harry asked.
”You don’t have many friends. You lost most of them. You stopped appreciating them. You cling onto the asshole that’s left.”
Harry looks out the window, a man in a torn t-shirt, with faded letters stating ‘make America great again,’ walks by the window, mumbling to himself, waving his hands around. Stone sees him too, he smiles as he reads the rambling bum’s T-shirt.
”I remember Trump when I was a teenager. That’s when the fun started.”
”I just got born then. But I’ve read enough about him.”
”One day we will manage to clone him. Hope I’ll be alive to see that.”
”So how’s the world stage? How is managing democracies?”
Stone laughs and licks his joint shut.
”It’s beautiful chaos. Especially with Oblivion around. They can’t control them. Even the most powerful men are afraid of them. Many of their firewalls have been breached already. It’s great when powerful men are scared. It means they need people like me.”
”I heard you were targeted. You tweeted about it anyway.”
”Yes I was. Some asshole threatened to expose my sexual activities if I didn’t stop lobbying for those Ukrainians. I responded by just admitting it on Twitter. I don’t care if the world knows about it or not. There’s nothing they can blackmail me on. And if they find something, I’ve got enough of them in my employ to spin the story. I can spin everything. We make dictators look like bleeding heart liberals. There is nothing they can do to rattle me.”
”I talked about them on my podcast some time back.”
”I know, I never miss a show. I thought it was hilarious.”
”I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
”I know you weren’t baby. It’s still hilarious to me.”
Stone lights up the fat joint, inhales smoothly, passes it.
”I probably shouldn’t.”
”True, you probably shouldn’t.”
Harry takes the joint and inhales.
”Has the president been targeted to?” said Harry blowing smoke, ”he denies it but that doesn’t mean shit.”
”Tell you the truth I don’t know. I might be friends with him but he doesn’t divulge everything to me. I don’t have that kind of clearance. But I think he is. The way he’s cozying up to the Eastern bloc makes it seem that way.”
”Are you proud for having made him president?”
”It’s not just me. The people voted for him.”
”Did they?”
”Maybe. Does it really matter Harry? He’s president and he will be for another four years if the constitution doesn’t gets changed again.”
Harry passes the joint. Stone looks at the joint proudly.
”I made this shit legal again. I changed the presidents mind on the issue. My finest hour. Don’t ever say I never did anything good in my life.”
”You are a regular fucking saint.”
”How are you Harry?”
Harry sighs, looks out the window. The bum with the ‘Make America Great T-shirt’ is sitting on a bench, laughing heartily about something.
”I’m fine.”
”No you’re not. You’re still sulking.”
”I’m not sure I would call it that.”
”There are probably better words. But the word you should be looking at is ‘moving on.’ She is gone. She left you for someone more hansom and successful. The healthy thing to do is find someone more hansom and successful too. Even if its just to piss her off.”
”I don’t mind being alone.”
”We all mind being alone. Even people like me. Even people who don’t even like people mind being alone. You’re the kind of person that thrives in a relationship. Without one you’re lost. Like you are now.”
”Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just getting to me.”
”That’s why you need a woman in your life. A woman that keeps you grounded. You need a deep connection. I don’t. I just need power. I don’t need to be connected with anyone. I just want to have a good time being around them. That’s enough for me.”
”I don’t know. I don’t feel like I could really connect with someone again. I’ve played the game long enough. Every time I think about it makes me tired.”
”You need to get out of your soundstage and into the world my friend. Write again. I know some connections. You could write some shitty horror movie. You will meet people, fuck around.”
”I don’t want to leave my soundstage. It’s all I have.”
”You know you lost nearly half your listeners after you vehemently opposed the president.”
”I know.”
”Those people don’t care about you. They will stop listening to you the moment you break their reality. Information is a vast market but you care too much. Most people don’t. Either start caring less or do something else. The work will otherwise destroy you.”
Stone passes the joint. Harry takes a deep puff.
”You don’t like my answers Harry,” smiles Stone, ”because you know I’m right.”
Harry doesn’t say anything, he just keeps puffing. He feels his mind going to weird and mysterious places.
”I don’t think I will be able to sleep anytime soon.”
”That’s okay, I’m here.”
Outside, the drunk man with the Trump T-shirt began to cry.
”But I was having a beautiful dream…” Harry came close to the beautiful dream but it kept slipping away.
”It’s better not to dream. Especially in this world…
In my dream I was almost there…

Art by Ralph Steadman


You are Free to Leave Anytime

This poem of mine was published on:

I know everything they say on the news is a lie. I know that everything I’m reading in the paper has been approved by the government, even the things that are critical about our leader. I know he watches us. I know it’s better to have stability than absolute liberty. You only have to look at our neighbors to see what happens if people can just do whatever the hell they want. Morality must be unconditional. Any deviation, however small, to the common good brings you closer to evil. Soon enough they will do all sorts of unnatural things they think is harmless. Our leader knows what’s right for us. He studied history. He knows the sciences. He knows the human spirit and how it must be contained.  Freedom is overrated. If you are free to explore yourself without limits, you will lose yourself into the abyss. The only recourse will be all kinds of deviancy. You could have avoided this, if only you listened.

This regime purifies us. All of these restrictions is for our own good. If we have a real election we will just vote for the wrong person. If we let people question our leader too much it will infect simple minds, the parasitic meme of dissent, and there will be chaos. Believe what they tell you. Even if you know it’s bullshit. Believe it all. Bow down when they tell you. He is our king. Our Tsar. Our prime-minister. Our president. He is your God. Obey. We must wake up before we allow ourselves to sleep.

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Our Disease 1

Plot: in a dystopian world which nothing is true and everything is permitted, a lonely Podcaster doesn’t know whether there’s a conspiracy against him- or if he’s just losing his mind, along with the rest of the world. 


History is a symptom of our disease.
-Mao Tse-Zedong

The Answer to Everything

One day you don’t want anymore help. One day you’re done. You’ve done everything you are supposed to do in a moment of crisis. If you’re sick you go to a doctor. The doctor sends you a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist prescribes you medication. When this doesn’t work, he prescribes you another medication and another. Some of them make you sleepy, others make you fatter or thinner. When medication doesn’t help, you commit yourself to a place full of crazy people like you. You begin to love them but you know you can’t stay. Psychotherapy always boils down to two essential questions: do you get enough sleep? Are you exercising? The end result is always the same: you have to deal with yourself and move on with your life.
This did not satisfy Harry. It did not satisfy him at all. He had always imagined coming across a mystical answer to the suffering of being. In his 37 years of life, he had dabbled in various forms of religious worship and spiritual realignments. Things seemed to change for the better, but quickly turned back to normal. He never managed to reach the ultimate transformation, though he seemed to get close, so close.
”There’s a truth out there guys,” he would tell his loyal listeners of Truthbombs, his mildly infamous if not always for the right reasons, podcast, ”but in order to find it we must look deep within us. Be open to all the scary facts about ourselves, the dark side of our soul. We must never run from ourselves, we must confront ourselves, be beaten near to death by ourselves. If gazing into the abyss means certain death, then leap onto death instead of running forever. It’s better to die in peace than to live in war. One day we will look deep enough within ourselves and the war will be over. I’m working on it, sometimes there seems to be no end. But there’s an end, my brothers and sisters. There is an end.”
Being a purveyor of contrarian political views (with its healthy dose of paranoid conspiracy theories) was not easy, especially in the world he lived in, where the market is flooded with loners entailing their darkly vision of the world. For most of them, it was a mere act and in truth, that’s how he had started his career: he knew about his knack of political philosophizing and spinning the truth to his advantage and with his reasonable knowledge of history (some it pertaining from a failed attempt at getting a political science degree in UCLLA) met that this was a market, he could potential succeed in.
It was all an act. Just another Howard Beale in the air. Mad as hell, can’t take it anymore. But in time, it became something different. Something more important, personal, life-supporting, considering all that happened. He had a lost of a lot of things in the past few years, a great part of this was his will to live. This podcast and his small but dedicated following of listeners was all he had.
Besides, more and more, the world seems to crumble and the voices that used to be sane, are starting to sound a lot like the current president. It seems like he was convincing everybody, despite his obvious odiousness. Sometimes it felt like he was the last man standing. In his own way, he was just doing this to save himself.
He was doing this to save the world.Podobny obraz
(Art by David Lynch: Google Keresés)

Another Ghost

You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.”

A common thing you hear from Trump supporters, is that they’ve finally found a politician who isn’t burdened by political correctness. He tells it like it is. He tells the truth. It doesn’t matter how ugly it is. Factually, this could not be less true; the range of misinformation and downright lies that have been spewed by this bloated showboat (yes using his words against him) has been higher than most campaigns of the past two decades. Donald Trump’s file on Politico is insane.
This isn’t to say that lying has never been part of the political process; it certainly has, as it’s all part of the game. Everybody knows this very well, hence the reason people look at politics with such sneers of cynicism. So when Trump came along, his bold, unabashed nature had not, if never, been seen in the American political sphere. His defense was priceless: call him out for his nonsense, he will make you out as one of the political elites trying to take him down.
He’s the spirit, the others are ghosts.
In “Bulworth”, we have a corrupt Democratic candidate, who in a fit of suicidal depression, begins to tell the awful truth. Notwithstanding that the film is one of the most underrated political underrated satires ever made, the central concept seemed like something we should have seen before. This is a dream come true; finally, a politician who reveals to us what is really going on.
But Trump is not like Bulworth at all. He might tell the truth as he sees it or as he wishes to see it, and the sad thing is, this probably makes little difference to him. He doesn’t care about the truth; it can be altered as long as it suits him and his interests. An egomaniac never serves the people; he will only ever serve himself.
This is the stuff of tyrants. The tyrant speaks in a language people can understand: he’s impulsive, blunt, crass, unfiltered. Sadly, these characteristics have him confused as a truth-teller. It should have ruined him, instead it has made him a king.
Compared to the careful, corporate-approved language of Clinton, he just seemed like the more exciting candidate. Bulworth found redemption in the end, even though it ended in death. Trump is beyond redemption. Even if he makes many mistakes, his ego will always escape the ultimate judgment.

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Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania resistance fighters hollandThere was a sense, an awareness, that all of them could die. It had been forbidden to admit this. There was a life after this war. There was no sense to contemplate death. He was twenty-five at the time. So much life ahead of him. He would come back. They all would come back.
He was there again, at the 4th of may, the remembrance of the dead. At 19:40 they would meet at the Roman catholic church. They would all walk to the memorial site by the park. An orchestra would be waiting. A trumpet will play the tap-toe signal, indicating the commencement of the two minute silence for the men who have perished in the war.
People began walking. There was a calm rain, it poured respectfully on all those who were honoring the great war that gave them freedom. They heard talks from their grandfathers and grandmothers about the times back then. Many of them had been part of the resistance. Holland in itself is historically notorious for its resistance movement during World War 2. For such a small country, a country that quickly backed down when the Germans invaded, their liberty and those of their minority peers, were dearly valued by the previous generation.

Every year he wondered the same: did nobody contemplate their mortality because of sheer superstition? To say it would be akin to tempting fate? Was all just necessary sense of machismo? Men who talk about death, fear death- hence you don’t talk about it. A sense of defeatism perhaps. So many had already been murdered. What’s the point? You either fight or die inside. The great war was the war for our souls. The price of their victory would be our humanity. History would be rewritten. Our children won’t be free to explore themselves. They would become subjects of the regime. A new religion would dominate the ages. The new God would have a ridiculous mustache. His disciples would wear long leather jackets. Demons would wear yamaka’s.
If they would die, they would die fighting for something. A purpose. Most people don’t die for a purpose. Most people just die. Perhaps this was just something he told himself. They were so young and brave. And stupid. Gloriously stupid.
How long has it been? 72 years. It goes so fast. It goes so goddamn fast. Most of the soldiers who have witnessed the carnage firsthand have perished. This is why there were no chairs anymore at the remembrance site anymore. These chairs were reserved for veterans. There were no more veterans. The stories must now go on through the next generation, by historians, by filmmakers, by teachers, by this yearly ritual.
He thought of his friends. The friends who didn’t make it. Every year there faces become more blurry, but every now and then, they would look clearer again. Their voices might long have been gone, but they were there still. Somewhere.
For a moment he forgot how he got here. Thinking back, it seemed like he couldn’t remember anything but his time during the war. Who was he after the war? Or was there a better question? Maybe the question should be: does it really matter who we were outside the war?
Truth was, his existence was defined by the time. Defined by the men around him. His brothers. So long gone.
They were there now. Every year there had been less people. No more than perhaps fifty now. Hopefully this is just a trend.
The tap-toe signal. Silence. Everybody is silent. He looked around, even the faces of children have a dignified sense of solemnity about them. A baby started crying. The baby was attached to young man’s chest by a strap. He quickly shook the baby who eventually calmed down, long enough for the last minute to pass soundlessly. The whole country was doing this now. You could feel it. We were all in this together. Only for a few minutes.
The tap-toe signal, the orchestra starts playing. An old man from the Remembrance committee came on the memorial site, to the microphone that was waiting for him. The committee man began naming the names of the brave resistance fighters.
He heard his name and then he began to understand again. Sometimes it feels like he’s here for real. Then he remembers: he’s only here for the short moment when the country remembers then and then he will disappear, only to come back and be reminded of his great sacrifice.
We were supposed to come back, but not all of us did. We might have died for a great cause, but this should have been understood by everyone, nobody needed to die, but we did. This is the way of the human animal. This is our kind of savagery. Every year people are shocked when people, even nations, enact atrocities that reminds us of our world wars. But there’s nothing shocking about us, or outdated. We are still the same. The same sounds are made. Nature evolves but doesn’t change. It’s all very fragile. And every now and then, the blood of patriots will have to be spilled so that we are reminded of this. This is why this is valuable. This is why we must remember. We always forget but we must remember as long as we can.
The committee man spoke the names of his fallen brothers.
And suddenly they were there. Everyone. His whole cadre of freedom fighters. They were as young as they were before their execution. They used to live here, back when these streets looked so different. They were surrounded by people who enjoyed their freedoms because of them but nobody could see them. None of them will ever be able to know the faces of these men. Not clearly enough anyhow. Whatever pictures are left are black and white, made brown as times went by. A historian somewhere in the world has a picture of all of them, armed, dirty, smiling, all together. He would not know it was them, the picture was not clear enough, there had not been enough evidence to support any definitive claims of who these people were. But they were there and they are here now, only for a while until they will have to leave again.
Jokes are made. They spoke as if they never went away.
”It’s good to be back,” one of them said, ”if only for a while.”
”They know our names.”, he said, ”That’s more than can we say about all those before us, so many of their names were erased from history. Least we have this. Least we can come back.”
”You think this will stay like that?”
”I hope so.”
None of them spoke about the possibility but it was there. It’s always there. But you can’t speak about or else you might jinx it. It’s not something that men do. Men must fight or die inside. It happens to so many. Sometimes it feels meaningless but it never is.
”Today we mourn the dead,” the committee man said, ”tomorrow we celebrate our liberty.”
”Wish I could stay for that,” one of the fallen said.
Children from a school in the neighborhood were asked to come on the memorial site to recite a poem. It was about freedom. One of the children was from Turkish descent. It made them smile, knowing this was possible now.
They left bouquets on the memorial site. An old man from the Remembrance of the Dead committee said that this is the end. Many of the people were given white flowers to put on the memorial site, he told them he could do this now. The orchestra began playing. The music they knew from their time in the academy. The music that seemed at first, so dull turned into one of the most beautiful music in the world. It brought tears to their eyes.

”Just to come back and hear this, makes it all worth it.”
People in the single-file dropped flowers on the remembrance site. Music kept playing. People hung around but eventually, the most painful fact of all comes haunting us all: life must go on. The living went back home.
Perhaps most of us will never fully appreciate their sacrifice. Perhaps this is the way of things. We are used to this. We don’t live with the kind of evil that reigned their country then.
The men stood there alone now, looking at the memorial site. They looked at each other. The same knowing glance they made before the bullets pierced their bodies. Their faces already began to fade.
I wish it didn’t, I really wish it didn’t…
They all said the same thing: ”it had been an honor.”
And then they were gone.
Will you come back next year?


Why Oliver Stone Should Know Better

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I have a rather conflicting relationship with the work of Oliver Stone. Certainly there’s a lot to admire from his contributions to cinema and naturally, to his country, which nearly cost him his life. Irregardless of one’s own political affiliations, one cannot say that Oliver Stone hasn’t done his duty. I have seen many of his films more than once: from the deeply underrated Talk Radio to the highly questionable yet fascinating Shakespearean biopic Nixon. I’m not ashamed to admit that I also have a particular fondness for the gonzo madness that is Natural Born Killers. There’s a special kind energy in many of his (note: earlier) films: a sense of social outrage about the state of the world, psychological unease, creeping demons that keep lurking from our subconscious. Tones swift from blackly comic, melodramatic and the disturbingly violent.
In my teens I often saw Oliver Stone as the voice of reason. A necessary contrarian, similar to the spirits of Bill Hicks, a squeegee of my third-eye. Someone who wakes you up from long slumber, telling you: ”get up! You are being screwed!” I remember vividly defending Oliver Stone’s JFK and its conspiratorial allegations to an ex-girlfriend of mine. In my regular smug moments, I called her naive and felt myself enlightened for believing the exciting lies of Oliver Stone’s infamous film.
This all changed in my mid-twenties, when I (finally) started taking history more seriously. And when it came to historical accuracy, his films were as farcical as any Hollywood patriotic Michael Baye Jerk-fest. Well-intentioned perhaps, more than often than not beautifully made, but its artistic license on history cannot not be denied.
In his later career, Oliver Stone’s movies have not been exactly critical darlings and for good reason. His big budgeted Alexander biopic was hampered by a not-so-great Colin Farrell and an annoyingly over the top Angelina Jolie. His sequel on Wall Street (Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps) was a frustratingly dull one, with none of the bite you would think it would have considering it came out after the financial crisis of 2008)- no clearer film shows the decline of Stone’s artistry. His biopic on George W. Bush was strangely forgettable even with a great central performance of Josh Brolin. His adaptation on Don Winslow’s Savages finally ended my faith in anything good coming from Stone. The book had been one of my favorite crime novels and Stone absolutely butchered it.
But through all of his he also made some curious documentaries. There is his short documentary mini-series The Untold history of the United States, which had some questionable tales about its central subject. In my opinion, a man that likes to play so loosely on the history should not make documentaries.
His most curious documentaries were his documented interviews with the likes of Fidel Castro (Comandante) and Hugo Chavez (Mi Amigo Chavez). In both these films, we see a more humanized looks on these controversial leaders. Oliver Stone wishes to share the alternative view to American-exceptionalism, which is an admirable position. But his coziness with these leaders, his willingness to believe their side of the stories, despite the countless tragedies and death surrounding them, makes it hard for me to take him seriously. I’m not if he cares about revealing the failed dream of the American Dream, it seems that he just wants to further his controversial persona. 

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The upcoming four-hour Showtime documentary: The Putin Interviews, is simply despicable. It shattered whatever illusions I had about him. Oliver Stone’s verbal rationale with this project does not bode well either: ”It’s not a documentary as much as a question and answer session… It opens up a whole viewpoint that we as Americans haven’t heard,”
Is he really that naive? For a man that loved to unveil the masks of the authoritarian evils, he surely does not seem to understand the ways of despots. Does he really think Putin cares about spreading spreading his message to the West? It’s about sending a message, it’s about distorting the truth, it’s about causing as much confusion to the general populace of the East and West as possible. The more he bends the truth, the longer he can reign.
Oliver Stone is only aiding him as it will undoubtedly convince many people that perhaps, Putin is an morally equal among the political establishment. The teaser trailer of the documentary is infuriating in itself: Putin winking knowingly at the camera, as he’s teasing the more enlightened audience that yes, he’s going to get away with this and many people, smart and dumb alike, will be fooled by this. It ends with Oliver Stone asking him point-blank about why hacked the American election, with Putin’s response being a charming smirk. This is a crime and now it has become a show. Good job Oliver.
Undoubtedly this documentary will be just another fluff-piece for the Russian despot. It will make him look equal and respectable to the eyes of his own people, many of them lost in his state propaganda. Many curious in the Western world, will undoubtedly be charmed by his forward rhetoric just as many were charmed by his American presidential ally. It doesn’t matter if you ask him ‘the hard questions’, Putin will have prepared for anything that comes with his way and will use some exceptional ‘whataboutism’s. This is not his first rodeo, he’s not Sean Spicer: he actually knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing this game for a long time. Remember: he was KGB, they are trained in all manner of deceit. Some articles have compared this to the David Frost interview with Richard Nixon. Unlike the charming stage play or Ron Howard”s film suggest: it was not a battle of wits, Nixon had carefully prepared the whole thing so it could be done in his favour as he wanted to humanize his already tarnished persona. Apparantly the irony of many seem to be lost on this fact.
This is the hard truth: you cannot engage a tyrant like Putin, the same way you do any other politician. Seeing as he’s already the biggest political superstar in the world (next to that other goofy bastard currently in the White House), this will only further his excruciating anti-establishment persona.
If Oliver Stone really cared anything at all about combattng the evil forces of this world; he wouldn’t give Putin some prosperous propagandistic ammo. Maybe like much of Oliver Stone’s work, he means well and he really does want to give another perspective or harmonize the current Geo-political frictions. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. Maybe he’s just a media whore. Could very well be. Just another sad tale of one of your former heroes.
It will certainly boast great ratings and yes, I’ll probably watch it. But I won’t be fooled, I can promise you that.
But i’m afraid that many others will…
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