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Today I’ll be attending a crawfish boil stocked with loaded pressure cookers in Pompey…

[ 53 ] May 10, 2014 |

…and I realized I had an opportunity to present you with an “SEK scenario” before the inevitable inevitably happened.

Keep your eyes peeled on the evening news, friends, I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting evening.

Coming soon to a national park to you: Big Mountain Satan!

[ 124 ] May 9, 2014 |

So, a Florida man who became a Satanist to antagonize his fellow Floridians is demanding to be allowed to open a city council meeting by hailing Satan.

That’s now allowed, because the Supreme Court said that hailing Satan — or any religious invocation, for that matter — doesn’t necessarily represent a state endorsement of a particular religion.*

The Montana Attorney General just agreed with the spirit of that decision when he claimed that Flathead National Park’s “Big Mountain Jesus” statue isn’t necessarily a religious symbol, which opens the door to establishing a “shrine” to “Big Mountain Satan.”

Would that I were a sculptor — or graphic designer — as obviously talented as the person responsible for “Big Mountain Jesus,” I would be all over creating “Big Mountain Satan.” But, alas, I am not!

*Which is the equivalent of people on Twitter claiming that links aren’t endorsement, which means the Court’s as sophisticated as people on Twitter, about which the-less-thought-about-the-better.

He’s not going to ask me to ask, so I’m just going to have to ask for him…

[ 27 ] May 6, 2014 |

Jim Henley needs our assistance. As you well know, I have no patience for people with cancer, but though I’ve only admired his work from afar, for Henley I’ll make an exception.

But I’m not yet the goddamned Batman, so I can’t help him out myself.

Maybe you could pitch in until I get this whole “independently wealthy” thing figured out?

SEK’s latest Game of Thrones recap

[ 107 ] May 5, 2014 |

My recap of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, in which no actual rapes occur, yet which still manages to be all about rape.

I sense a recurring theme.

A new hero is born

[ 66 ] May 3, 2014 |

SEK is at Home Depot. He sees two scrawny WHITE GUYS pass a WOMAN who is admittedly very BUTCH.

WHITE GUY #1: Check it out.

WHITE GUY #2: Bet that dyke bitch loves her some pu –

BUTCH WOMAN: I will fuck you up.

WHITE GUY #2: Are you talking to–

BUTCH WOMAN: I, will fuck, you up.

WHITE GUY #1: Big talk from –

The WOMAN who is admittedly very BUTCH shrugs with menace.

WHITE GUY #2: She ain’t worth the — let’s roll! C’mon!

SEK: I was about to jump in there, defend your honor and shit.

BUTCH WOMAN: (laughs, nods, stoically ambles off into sunset)

Central College in Iowa allows accused rapist to choose his punishment: Immediate expulsion, or not being able to walk at graduation

[ 113 ] April 30, 2014 |

Care to guess which option he chose?

Clearly, this august institution has its priorities in order:

The five-person Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee conducted an 11-hour-long hearing in which both the alleged rapist and his victim testified. The victim was instructed to answer questions from the man she was accusing of having raped her, an experience she

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found so stressful that she repeatedly vomited in the bathroom.

I can’t even imagine the mindset of an administrator who would think this was a good idea — never mind, I take that back. It belongs to someone who would rather not report rape to the actual police, as “reported rapes” don’t exactly make his institution look as shiny as he believes it to be.

SEK & Steven Attewell on Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 4: “Oathkeeper”

[ 38 ] April 28, 2014 |

Watch the podcast — which, and I’m not overstating it, may well be our best, or at least most entertaining, given that we were both in a state of hyper-informed quasi-delirium when we did it — below:

Audio available here.

Steven Attewell: Rape culture? What rape culture?

[ 69 ] April 28, 2014 |



Steven’s latest article on Game of Thrones and its how-about-we-call-it-a-problem with handling rape and its aftermath is available

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at some rag called Esquire.

SEK’s Game of Thrones recap: Now with more eye lasers!

[ 85 ] April 28, 2014 |



It’s the only Game of Thrones recap worth reading even if you’ve already seen the episode.

About which — I’m still not entirely sure why people like to read recaps of shows they’ve already seen, but people clearly do.

I must be the outlier here.

Adventures in stock photography!

[ 21 ] April 27, 2014 |

As you know, I’m fairly adept at visual-type-stuff, so when you see an article like this one, you’re understandably baffled.

Here’s the thing: that’s best available option.

The selection of photographs of laborers consists, almost entirely, of sulking white workers and beaming, happy-just-to-be-employed non-white ones.

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer about Annihilation, a novel you’ll wish you’d already read

[ 24 ] April 26, 2014 |

I suppose you could say Jeff VanderMeer was generous with his time when he agreed to do what turned into a 3,000 word-long interview about his new novel, Annihilation. A sample:

SEK: The novel reads very much like the world it describes — utterly familiar, yet slightly off at all points. Was that your intent? (For example, on 59, you describe “Something like a body or a person,” which makes perfect sense, yet is incredibly disturbing. What is like a body or a person that’s not a body or a person?)

JV: I hike a lot in North Florida, and from a distance, things look like other things. A bat can metamorph into a bird when seen closer. A creature on a log becomes just a stubby branch. A seeming tree trunk is actually a bear. You think you are going north, but suddenly, through some daydream of lapse of attention, you get turned around.

These are, in a sense, reminders to us that the real world is stranger than we usually think. Imagine being able to spy on the processes going on around you while even walking down the sidewalk on your street—the plants employing photosynthesis and speaking to each other in chemical emissions, the ants with their pheromone trails, the fungi with their spores. Why, there’s still crowded and noisy cosmopolitan situation all around you, but you can’t experience any of it because your senses are these stunted, incomplete systems.

You’ve got eyes that can’t see the whole spectrum. A cat would laugh at your stupid sense of smell. Your sense of taste is pathetic compared to many creatures. Your sense of touch is put to shame by your average gecko. So the world is in a sense laughing at you anyway, or on some level ignoring you completely, and your sole contribution is the ability to tread too heavily on a dandelion and break its stem. So if we’re honest the world should feel slightly off at times. The

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world should at times reveal some glint or glimmer of greater processes ongoing. Something like a body or a person. Something like a shadow or a creature. Something like a sudden clue…

SEK: On page 111, you note that the pile of journals describing Area X will soon become Area X itself. This strikes me as a literal version of “contact narratives,” in which what an explorer writes about an area he discovers becomes how future generations understand it. (Describing cities of gold in the “New World” leading explorers to “discover” such cities, even though they only ever existed in print.) Are these books [in "the Southern Reach" trilogy] an exercise in, call it, “creative geography”? Re-shaping the world by describing it?

JV: I must admit my minor in college was Latin American history, and I’m sure there’s a sedimentary layer in the back of my brain that, in soaking all of that conflicted and difficult chronology, has peeked out through some of the observations in Annihilation. I guess I was also thinking of the journals from the prior expeditions as almost being like the bones of the explorers, in word form. This is where they washed up, their instruments useless, all logic revealed as merely construct to push them through the day.

And, yes, there is perhaps a parallel: explorers and exploiters who are culturally so different and from such a different landscape that the very land seems to reject them, even when they seem to have conquered it. I’m not particularly fond of missionaries or of conquerors or empires, all of which strike me as examples of dreaming poorly but, alas, doing so across a vast continuum of human endeavor, to the brutal detriment of all who push back with perhaps a more sustainable and humane vision of the world…

Read the entire interview here.

Campus preachers can’t take the heat, whine to conservative “news” outlets that anthropology professor won’t vacate the kitchen

[ 120 ] April 25, 2014 |

This is some delicious whining on the part of campus preachers — you know, the guys who stand outside buildings screaming at strangers while classes are in session:

“He asked me if I had accepted Darwin as my lord and savior,” Karns said. “He was very demonstrative.”

But that’s not all!

“As I was pointing to Christ,” he said, “I was talking about the sin nature — I said, ‘There’s probably some people out there—maybe even professors — who think they descended from monkeys.”

At that point, Boster “jumped off the ground and came running over and basically started screaming, ‘I did not come from a monkey! I came from an ape!’”

Karns claimed that Boster’s behavior — i.e. the spot-on impersonation of campus preachers like Karns — was “very unbecoming of a professor.”

I only wish he’d lacked the self-awareness to say something like “that sort of behavior doesn’t belong on college campuses,” since that was exactly the professor’s point.

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