Feeling Pretty Psyched

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So here it is, the Mayan Calendar has hit the end of the 13th Baktun, the Blue Kachina will be born to dance in the pueblos of the Hopi, our plane of existence will merge with the Supercontext and we will all know ourselves as what we are, pure spirit, that life is a game and God loves us all. I’m going to hang out with friends, jam and probably get a bit drunk.

December 21st, 2012 has been a special date for me for a while now, mainly because it was such a prominent plot point in Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, a comic about chaos magicians fighting ancient conspiracies run by eldritch abominations. It sort of became the charter myth of my adolescence for a while, still kind of is though Mage: the Ascension has been mixed in with it. So I’ve been pretty focused on this date, even coming up with an entire trilogy of novels as a teenager based on this date. It would have been bad and silly, would have ripped of the plot of Seven Samurai of all things, casting it against the backdrop of Apocalypse, and involved a man trying to do a musical version of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. I’ve worked out what I hope to be a better 2012 novel, which won’t be dated by Saturday. It involves a rag-tag group of magicians trying to align humanity’s chakras or whatever before the Mayan Calender runs out. It’s Magic Realism and it’s a comedy.

So besides the Mayan Apocalypse I have had something of an interesting time. I had my first romantic relationship, which wasn’t so much a relationship as a long fling, which ended in disaster and heartbreak. It’s been awhile so I’m fine talking about it, but not in great detail. To put it into some perspective, I spent the last few days after meeting her with my heart-broken more than it has ever been broken before, before realizing with the help with my parents that this woman couldn’t love me in any way that would have helped me. I bring this up because I see a certain resonance between the emotional breakdown I just went through and the alleged upcoming Doomsday.

Back to said Doomsday, I believe it’s  only fair to say that the Mayans don’t think it’s the end of the world. Yes, the Mayans are alive. I was surprised as anyone to hear that. They’re doing alright everything considered, since they have experts to deal with their calendar, such as it is. Observe the following article, found on CNN.

“It’s an era. We are lucky to see how it ends,” said wood carver Santos Esteban in Yaxuna, a sleepy village of fewer than 700 Mayans, located in a territory that once belonged to the ancient kingdom founded around 2000 B.C.

He feels it is a momentous occasion and is looking forward to the start of the new age. He is not afraid.

“Lots of people say it’s the end of the world, but we don’t believe that,” he said.

I’ve been aware of this interpretation for a while. It’s been the one I’ve favoured for the most part, since Doomsday is kind of a downer. At the very least, the Mayans are restarting their calendar and Terrence McKenna shouldn’t have taken the voices of aliens he meet via psychedelics so seriously. The fact remains as to why the Mayan Apocalypse is said to be the end of the world by crazy survivalists and jokers on the Internet. I’ve been getting all kinds of memes that say Galactus is going to eat us or there will be zombies eating us (Will people just shut up about the zombies already), but it all comes down to us being devoured by something or other. Meteors are popular too, in which case we will all be devoured in flame I suppose.

Basically, people want to world to end because we all kind of know our current system is fucked. I mean really, the environment is going through drastic changes and we’re saying that God wants to punish us for gay marriage. If God is going to punish us for anything, which Divine Love will probably prevent, it’s going to be messing with the balance of the ecosystem. I found an article on this sort of thing on Boing Boing.

And that aspect of human nature exposes the real impetus behind our childlike fascination with end times. People everywhere yearn for inner change – for a way to detach from the cycle of routine daily existence, with its conflicts, habits, addictions, worries, and boredoms. We’re surrounded by therapeutic and religious ideas – yet the wish for change and personal fulfillment is almost always unfulfilled. So, in our frustration, we look without. We hope that some kind of seismic shift will rescue us from the inability to alter ourselves. Scary as it may be, the end of what we know promises to rupture old patterns and push us toward something new.

So there it is. We want something to shock us out of the sink hole of a civilization we have found ourselves in. We’re to cozy and we know it, so we try to come up with stories about a sharp enough shock to get us out of the funk materialism and capitalism has put on us. I include myself in this, I will probably shortly revert to my usual ways of fiddling around on the Internet and generally screwing around.

After the break-up with the girlfriend, a relationship that was a huge mistake looking back, I believe I have come out stronger, knowing more about myself and my desires. I have gone through a change, but considering it all now I don’t know how big of a change this actually is. I remember her saying something about spiritually awakening me, but I am doubtful she ever had that capability and was just saying that to keep me around. I do feel, after going out with her and the disastrous emotional break down she put me through, that I have undergone a change, and I feel better for it. All in all, I am expecting 2013 to be a very good year for me.

FURTHER READING

Ben Brumfield, “Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan Calendar; the Mayans don’t”

Horowitz, Mitch. “Once More Awaiting ‘The End'”

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Great Wizard Battles in History: Alan Moore vs Grant Morrison on the battleground of my adolescence

WIZARD BATTUL! GUHH!

In High School I read comics, I wouldn’t say a lot but I started picking up all this stuff by Vertigo. I read most of Alan Moore’s stuff, no Swamp Thing, but I did read “V for Vendetta,” and wanted to become an anarchist after that. I also got into Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles and I will say this right up front, that book has probably messed with my head more than anything else. While I didn’t really get far on the anarchist thing, I may give it a go after reading stuff on anarchism that isn’t a comic book (No offense to Alan Moore, but V for Vendetta is much better then just simple anarchist propaganda), I did get something else. The idea to become a magician.

Both Alan Moore and Grant Morrison wrote stuff on magick and the occult, Alan Moore wrote Promethea and Grant Morrison wrote The Invisibles. They were pretty different approaches to the subject. Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, is a soup of conspiracy theory, chaos magic and his own coolness wishes, while Alan Moore’s Promethea is a look through Western Occultism with Alan Moore’s theories and possibly a bit of wanking. Both of these impressed the shit out of me, and got me the idea that being an occultist would be really cool. Not a lot of people I know are occultists, and I could be that one guy who knows all the magic.

And in that I was pretty Grant Morrison, because Grant Morrison is very much into the hip. Grant Morrison is a hipster, and he has some preoccupations with being considered hip. Hence his whole rock star persona, and starting a comic convention in the Nevada desert, which is called MorrisonCon for fucks sake. To be honest, I wasn’t really bothered with Morrison’s ego at first, but what really got me on was the whole superhero thing. Sure, he wrote superhero stuff before, like Animal Man and Doom Patrol, but I liked him for stuff like The Invisibles, which I did not view as superheroes. You could make that argument, but that wasn’t how I saw it. I was a bit disappointed when I heard that it started from a thing called The Boy Commandos, which was essentially a child soldier thing done in the 1940s when it didn’t have unfortunate implications. He still had the whole vision experience in Kathmandu, but something about redoing the Boy Commandos as Burroughsian subversives doesn’t sit right with me. Of course, William S. Burroughs probably did the same thing, setting up a Boy Scout alternative for the angry young homosexual and then aiming them at the government sounds like the idea behind “The Wild Boys,” but I haven’t read that to make that specific call.

If Alan Moore has anything up on Grant Morrison, I think it’s that Alan Moore is a bit smarter. Grant Morrison is clever, or at least has the kind of clever that works well in the pseudo-fame he has in the comics world, but Alan Moore is intelligent, a bit wiser than Grant Morrison, and probably a bit more sure of himself. Alan Moore doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of him, which is why he spends all his time in Northampton. The problem I have with Alan Moore is that he can sometimes disappear up his own ass. This can be seen in his latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which does concentrate a lot on the “how-many-sixties-fiction-refrences-can-we-fit-into-a-single-issue,” thing. This even extends to his magic, as some have accused Alan Moore of being distant from actual magic, preferring the whole “It’s all in your mind,” school. Despite this, Promethea had as much an effect on my developing wizard-brain as The Invisibles. More in that the heroine Sophie Bangs is a bit more relatable then Dane McGowan from The Invisibles, who alternates between little shit and buddha. Sophie is human, with human flaws and generally human goals, and we are given a much more straight-forward look into the magick of this world than in The Invisibles. At the very least, I had a better idea of where Moore was coming from. I don’t think it’s fair to say Promethea is basically Harry Potter, if only because Harry Potter never had a Sex Magick Ed class, but I think it is a pretty good piece of work and that Alan Moore shouldn’t be dismissed. Whether the points that were brought up are legitimate are something I’ll save for another post.

For most of my adult and adolescent life, I have had both of these guys hovering around in the back of my worldview and the sometimes serious, sometimes half-hearted idea “I should totally become a wizard.” These days, I’m a bit concerned as to why I should become a wizard? I’m not even sure how magic is supposed to work these days? Do I concentrate on the fulfillment of my True Will? Make deals with the loa? Both? I don’t know. Still, why become a wizard? Because it’s cool? I don’t think doing something as serious as becoming a magician really rests on being cool. And what does this have to do with being a writer anyways?

Harold Bloom talks about the anxiety of influence, and I think this is happening to me right now with Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. I’m not a comic book author, nor do I have any interest in writing about super heroes, but there is a general interest in the occult that I have picked up from both Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. At this point, I am getting the idea that I am going to need to learn to become my own magician, and more importantly my own kind of writer.

 

For Further Reading

Less is Moore, a rant about Alan Moore’s approach to magic from a practicing magician

Grant Morrison is Wrong About Alan Moore, an article on the hypothetical feud between Grant Morrison and Alan Moore

What the World needs now is Gay Batman

Grant Morrison, comic book author of such classics as The Invisibles, All-Star Superman and Batman and Robin, has recently said that Batman is gay.

Gayness is built into Batman. I’m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There’s just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay. I think that’s why people like it. All these women fancy him and they all wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn’t care — he’s more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid.

The Quote can be found here, along with information on his upcoming Wonder Woman project and his defence of his treatment of Magneto during his X-men run.

I’ve been a fan of Grant Morrison’s early work, having not made much progress on his work with more well-known superheroes, such as Superman and the already mentioned Batman. I do like to keep up with him, mainly because Grant Morrison says things that make me happy inside. For instance, there is something that makes a bit of sense about Batman being gay, and having someone who has written on Batman go out and say “Yes, Batman is gay.” There have been a few comments from the less socially advanced folks, and we all know that the folks at DC won’t be letting Batman out of the Bat Closet anytime soon. In and off itself, I don’t think this is a problem for Batman, because part of the whole Batman image works on a gay subtext. We’re more used to Batman being openly gay, and to be honest there is something very fascinating about works dealing with views of sexuality when we were not allowed to talk about it. This usually gives culture critics such as myself delightfully strange things to analyze.

Mind you, Batman is not just relegated to a past relic. He has remained a part of the cultural mindset into the modern-day. The fear is that, by Grant Morrison declaring Batman gay, we are somehow insulting the character. The fact is, Batman is isolated from traditional masculine notions for a while now. He runs around on rooftops in a cape and a bat suit, he is not a normal human being. Further more, I think that Batman’s gayness can in fact be a good thing considering how god-damn stifling our society can be. In an age where Conservatives try to control our bodies and sexualities, what we really need know is a gay Batman.

So in conclusion, I say we should bring back that anarchic campiness that makes superheroes great. We should have Batman swinging into California saying that Prop 8 is a plan by the Riddler or somebody to…get…something, I don’t know their batman villains, they do all kinds of crazy shit. Can’t be the Joker though, because the Joker is way to Chaotic Evil for the Republican’s Lawful Evil. Dick Cheney would be all, “We’re going to control the world with chemtrails,” and the Joker would be all like “Yeah, but what if we replaced all the chemtrails with tapioca?” Then Dick Cheney would say “What? We can’t do that?” and then the Joker would be all “Well, I already stole all your chemtrails and will be putting them in the water supply,” and then the Joker breaks Dick Cheney’s legs and Dick Cheney is all like “Fuck, why did I ever decided to work with this guy. I should have totally listened to Lex.”

Where was I? Oh, right, Gay Batman. My point is Batman has an undercurrent of gayness to him and that is why we love him. Confusion over his sexual identity is as much part of Batman’s identity as being a parental abandonment issues and being the world’s greatest detective. If people have a problem with that then more’s the pity for them. Grant Morrison has simply voiced something that for a long time we have always known but never wanted to actually mention.

For Further Reading, Go To: