Once I crawl into the archives, I can get stuck easily and that’s what happened when I retrieved the short story about my tragic love affair. While I was digging around looking for that ancient manuscript, I found something much older, something I wrote while a graduate student working on a Masters of Science in Journalism at the University of Illinois.
I have no idea what reaction this paper would get in today’s academic world, but I can tell you my professor gave me an A minus. When I asked why it wasn’t an A or A plus (considering the cutting edge brilliance I felt I’d displayed), he explained the paper was too short. Even though I had distilled my major points to their essence, I should have played the game of inflating the language, stacking the citations, and basically blowing hot air into everything, which would have made it a regular A paper.
I felt at the time I was being penalized for being succinct, which I considered the greatest trademark of a great writer, something Hemingway had actually instilled in me. And that’s the way it’s always been for me. I prefer to write short stories and my popular culture histories can all be read in one sitting. I don’t like long tombs. In fact, that was what was so great about Keith Haring: he had that ability to pack a tremendous amount of content into a very simple drawing.
Of course, I decided to update the paper by adding a couple more recent developments since the citations were all from the middle 1970s, which I’m sure seems like a very distant past to grad students today. The one concept I was trying to work out was how cultural symbols are manufactured and what ramifications they have on the subconscious mind. It’s still an area I consider worthy of study, although a lot of the research in this field, like Mark Passio’s, is sophomoric and doesn’t even come close to the truth in my opinion. As someone who worked inside the corporate media for most of his adult life, I can tell you the professional media experts are trained to sell products. They are mercenaries for hire, not Aleister Crowley dark magicians secretly holding black masses and implanting black magic sigils in your brain. The really good ones may get hired by the Pentagon to sell a war, but it’s just another product and another paycheck to most of these media shamans who have these magic skills of mental manipulation. Which isn’t to say they aren’t trying desperately to manipulate you, keep you complacent, filled with pills and booze and so many addictions (like violence porn) that basically render you helpless to resist any orders from the establishment if any of these addictions are suddenly cut off or tampered with. The control mechanisms have been functioning for 2,000 years, there is nothing new under the sun really. It’s a oligarchy running the shows with many secret agendas, but mainly fomenting wars for profit all over the globe, while selling guns in one direction and drugs in the other.
I actually put forth a solution for these problems in my paper, not that anyone will listen to me. I’ve been playing around with magic symbols for a long time, and got involved in a big way when I launched the Freedom Fighters with Jack Herer in 1988. I didn’t realize the full implications at the time, but that group was actually my attempt to recapture the flag and all the Revolutionary War sigils from the right wingers who had so carefully crafted them for propaganda purposes and hand these symbols over to the hemp movement where they belonged.
In order to instantly end all war, first you have to create a paradigm shift that harmonizes religions into one highway leading to one destination. Maybe someone will come up with a concept that can do this, something that would create an instant ceremonial altar, expressing respect to all spiritual cultures. If only someone could come up with a device like that. Maybe someday. Maybe.