Cataclysm!

You will note, immediately below, the pathetic plaint of my Vile Human at the illness of his domestic vermin. What he does not mention is that after acquiring this pestiferous pile of protoplasm, he and his mate brought home another. They were supposed to arrive together, but the second beast was having his reproductive proclivities surgically curtailed and was not ready to travel until the following week. Then Vile Human, the silly sap, repeated the four-hour drive (round trip) to Hanna and dutifully collected the fresh vermin.

The new infestation was named Kaos (so spelt) by the folk at the shelter. Here are both vermin together:

At first Kaos spent most of his time hiding in back closets or under furniture, for he had a blind fear of his new environment which I found most gratifying. Alas, this was soon corrected, and once he was coaxed out of hiding, he and the first vermin, Sonny, quickly attained the sickening condition that the humans call friendship. They are now inseparable boon companions, and it is revolting to see.

If it were not for the first vermin’s sickness and its owner’s distress, I would find the cloying domestic harmony of the place insufferable. As it is, once the beast recovers from surgery, I may have to decamp and take temporary lodgings in a war zone. True, in a war zone I may see courage and heroism, but I shall also see death, dismemberment, and the suffering of innocents: a refreshment that I much desire. This place is beginning to get positively un-Hellish.

(Signed)
H. Smiggy McStudge

 

P.S. The Vile Human’s mate has bestowed affectionate nicknames on the two vermin. She calls the first one Heffalump and the second one Woozle. It is enough to make one spew.

Catastrophe!

It is with infinite disgust that I report that my Vile and Wretched Human, known to you by the ridiculous appellation Tom Simon, has just acquired a new specimen of household vermin, species Felis catus.

A photograph of the monstrosity is attached. It was labelled ‘Sonny’ by the SPCA of Hanna, Alberta, whence it was deliberately transported in a heinous plot to disturb the natural depression and infelicity of the house.

Other activities have, of course, been curtailed whilst this vile colony of self-organizing organic refuse is duly installed in the Simon domicile. I told him so, but did he listen? Does any human listen to his demonic alter blogger? Not often enough, that’s the unvarnished truth of it.

(Signed, under protest)
H. Smiggy McStudge

McStudge’s sole comment on the election

It is almost touching, how the humans cling to their most obviously stupid beliefs. For instance, large numbers of them believe that by voting for one shop-window mannequin over another, they can improve the quality of merchandise sold in the shop.

We encourage them in this belief, of course. It distracts them from the inconvenient fact that the shop itself is a monopoly and removes all competitors by force. Remember, my poppets, the most powerful force in the humans’ lives is their own gullibility. Use it often, and use it well.

     (Signed)
     H. Smiggy McStudge

The role of publishers in the Internet age

The publisher’s fantasy:

The reality:

Despite all our best efforts to educate them, consumers are not actually as stupid as all that. They know how to ride around. Alas.

Writers, on the other hand, can frequently be bamboozled into paying the toll. You just have to convince them that it will bring them Fame and Prestige. They want to brag to their friends and relations about being found worthy to pass the gate. They imagine that these persons will be impressed; whereas in actuality, the friends and relations will only respond with a hearty horselaugh. But by then, we have the writer in our clutches. Our minions’ contracts are for life and the afterlife; they are signed in the awful covenant of the Copyright Law, which is far more enduring than blood.

     (signed)
     H. Smiggy McStudge

The deplorable redemption of bebop

Some time ago, my poppets, I instructed you in the gentle art of killing art forms in a piece entitled ‘Death by Bebop’. Those of you who read it (or clicked through just now) will recall that I made a particular corpus vile of jazz, and an especial example of ‘Take Five’, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

That composition very nearly upset our lovely little applecart. Fortunately, after a smashingly musical opening in 5/4 time, the soloists swiftly degenerate into the indistinguishable pabulum of vaguely rhythmic noodling that has made latter-day jazz so detestable to all right-thinking people, McStudges as well as humans.

The natural solution to this is to combine the head of ‘Take Five’ with the heads of other compositions in the same signature, and transposable into the same key; and to play the whole, not as jazz, but as a properly composed piece, scored rigorously throughout. This has often been tried, and done badly, by mashing up the Brubeck noise with the theme from Mission: Impossible. So long as it is done badly, by persons of little talent, it matters not to us.

But no art form is ever dead quite beyond resurrection. We must strive continually to keep them dead. This we do by shutting out the skilful and interesting artists, and admitting none but giftless and footling plodders. Every so often, a human of real ability stumbles into a field that we would leave barren, and makes it yield fruit in our despite.

So it is with this mashup business. A human who calls himself Jake Justice has done it well; and for this he must pay. Behold, my junior McStudges, and judge for yourselves the danger we are in even now:

This nuisance must cease forthwith.

     (signed)
     H. Smiggy McStudge
          Deputy Commissar of Music Depreciation (Pro Tem)

Author Earnings: The terrible horrible awful news

My dear McStudges, minions, slugs, and uglies:

The September report from Author Earnings is out, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that our paid and suborned propagandists in the human media are busily at work pooh-poohing the message, shooting the messenger, and otherwise smearing muck over the picture so that their victims will be gulled into believing our version of the story.

The bad news is the story.

It is vitally important, at this juncture, that we close ranks and maintain absolute solidarity whenever the humans can see or hear us. Among ourselves, we may bicker and feud as much as we please; our operatives will continue to feed off one another, as is our nature, for it is a Studge-eat-Studge world that we live in, and all’s right with it. But we must never be seen to fight in front of the servants. We must repeat the Official Story in absolute unison; but we must never be so stupid as to believe it ourselves.
[Read more…]

Advice on writing Great Literature

In a discussion at The Passive Voice, one Lorraine Devon Wilke was mocked for ordering writers, ‘Do NOT write four books a year.’ She offered, as an exemplar of Good Writing, Donna Tartt, who took eleven years to write The Goldfinch. Among many other responses, Ed Ryan offered this:

I’m a math idiot so bear with me. Let’s assume (so I don’t have to look it up) the ‘masterpiece’ in question is 100k words long.

11 years means 10,000 words per year (ok that’s 110,000, see how lazy I am?)

10,000 words per year/ 365 days per year us a blistering 27.3 words per day.

We can pretend this hardworking visionary took days off from that grueling schedule and slaved over the novel for a mere 200 days each of those 11 years – an electric 50 word per day pace.

If the author rewrote the book 10 times the average jumps to a staggering 500 words per day. Being generous that’s 60 minutes of work per day.

I only hope the other 23hrs were relaxing.

Our Evil Alter Blogger responds:

Don’t be silly.

If you want to become a Major Literary Figure, you have to spend the other 23 hours in a constant flurry of activity. Hanging out in seedy Left Bank cafes, drinking absinthe with deranged expatriates. Being addicted to hard drugs. Cultivating interesting but debilitating mental illnesses. Pursuing weird sexual kinks in wildly unorthodox ménages. Kissing the bums of some of your fellow verminous literary lions, and fighting lifelong feuds with others. Going into rehab. Getting out of rehab. Writing angsty pseudo-philosophical anecdota about what you learned in rehab. Forgetting what you learned in rehab so you can repeat the process. I tell you, it’s a busy and thankless life.

The ideal literary author will write ONE book, and spend the rest of his life (it is preferably a he; if a she, she should go into pop music instead and aspire to be Amy Winehouse) desperately striving to live fast, die young, and leave a corpse that may not actually be good-looking, but will at least furnish material for hundreds of Ph.D. theses by twitterpated would-be academics.

You see, that is the ultimate goal of Literature. It’s all about the doctoral theses. Authors and books are just a necessary nuisance along the way.

(signed)
H. Smiggy McStudge

Eponymous, King of Kings

H. Smiggy McStudge returns from sabbatical with another load of notorious codswallop. All the usual disclaimers apply, and possibly some unusual ones, too.


Since I have been on secondment to the Historical Branch, my lovelies, I have had a chance to observe some of the so-called talent that our academies have been vomiting forth. Just the other day, during a marathon committee meeting, we heard from a bright young thing who must be fresh out of the breeding vats. He had his full share of the myopic optimism and theory-fed smugness that one usually sees in those who have been extensively schooled but never educated: a type, fortunately, that breeds just as copiously among the humans as in our own genus. We are at no disadvantage there. Still it soured my gizzard to hear this puling brat snigger mechanically and say: ‘You know, we really ought to call ourselves the Society for the Prevention of Historical Knowledge.’

Fortunately the chairman squashed him like a beetle, but not as convincingly, perhaps, as I would have done. His objection was that whatever we might do for the grand cause of preventing historical knowledge among the humans, that in no way made us a society. Abhorrent word! It still stinks of its own etymology; for the Latin language, in which (as some of you poppets may have omitted to learn) socius means ally, is not yet as dead as we should like. Allies! Faugh! Society means cooperation; means mutual benefit; means, if anything at all, a voluntary gathering of people in pursuit of some common good. The Historical Branch does not exist for anybody’s good, except in so far as we all benefit from wreaking harm upon the humans. An army in battle is not a society, and nor is a plague of locusts. So spake the chairman; and they were sound enough remarks, but wide of the point.

The point, you see, is that our committee actually is there to prevent historical knowledge; and the worst way to go about it is to say so. Back at home in the Cultural Division, we have worked main hard for many years to infect the humans with a visceral loathing and contempt for the obvious; but even a human can take a hint, sometimes, when it is dropped on his skull in the form of an anvil. In the last century, the Communist Party U.S.A. (which learnt so much from us in methods and philosophy) operated numerous front groups in order to infiltrate and control liberal organizations. These front groups had names like ‘Patriotic Americans for a Brighter Tomorrow’. They were not called ‘Bolshevik Bastards with Bombs’. That much truth in advertising they dared not risk; nor should we.

That issue having been expertly mishandled, we returned to the subject of the meeting: how to destroy the various social sciences by contaminating them with each other’s methods. We have achieved great and lasting success by teaching silly historians to apply the techniques of anthropology to their own field. Anthropology is an inherently bogus field to begin with, for the proper study of mankind is anything but man. Man, if such an insect deserves to be studied at all, is the proper study of us McStudges, who have the proper critical distance to be objective about it. Even a human anthropologist can be right sometimes; or wrong in an interesting direction. But if we can once get a social scientist to work on solid historical evidence in the same vague and woolly way that he works on folkways and tribal tales, we can be sure that the result will be neither good anthropology nor good history. Motor oil is good for lubricating engines, and wine is good for lubricating souls; a mixture of the two is good for nothing. That is the principle that we follow, and it works beautifully as long as the humans never figure out what we are actually making them do.

I have before me a book not intended for scholarly consumption, but written by an ostensible scholar (a worm named Cavendish) to give gullible laymen the idea that they are reading a valuable summary of scientific findings. It is called Legends of the World. So far as this goes, it does us little good. Legends are harmless enough; a human can consume several tons of the things without any apparent ill effect. Where the Historical Branch goes to work is in smudging the border between legend and history: a harmful thing for the humans, and therefore very profitable for us. [Read more…]

McStudge’s guide to capitalism

Reposted from a comment on The Passive Voice, in response to a discussion on Amazon, and why consumers hate and fear it so. (This remark may possibly have been made with the tongue somewhere in the vicinity of the cheek.)


Well, that’s capitalism for you.

You see, my poppets, under the capitalist system, the Wicked Capitalist (who always wears a top hat and a waxed moustache, like Snidely Whiplash; that is how you recognize him) gets his money by forcibly abducting Sweet Cathy Consumer and tying her to the railroad tracks in front of an onrushing locomotive: on which, for reasons not yet fully understood, is mounted a furiously whirling buzz saw. Nobody ever buys anything voluntarily, you see; it is all done by force and fraud. And of course Snidely twirls his moustache whilst he is doing it. That bit is Very Important.

All genuinely cultured and caring persons, including (it goes without saying) Great Authors and the Great Publishers who graciously permit them to live on leftover dog kibble, and occasionally on even richer and more Lucullan repasts than this, believe that there is a far more enlightened system, under which Sweet Cathy Consumer gives all her money to a Wise and Benevolent Bureaucracy, which then spends it for her on the Things That Really Matter (such as dog kibble for the right kind of Great Authors, and Mercedes-Benzes for the bureaucrats). Of course, if Sweet Cathy is insufficiently public-spirited (as, for some perverse reason, she almost always is), the Wise and Benevolent Bureaucrats will themselves have to resort to the locomotive and buzz saw to get her money out of her. But this is totally different from when a Wicked Capitalist does it, because, you see, it is All For Her Own Good and the Good of Society. Also the Benevolent Bureaucrats are clean-shaven, so they do not twirl their moustaches.

Just remember, nobody ever bought anything voluntarily from Evil Amazon. Then, my poppets, you will be properly educated so as to swallow the rest of the stories we require you to believe.

   (signed)
   H. Smiggy McStudge

Theyocracy II: The joy of war

The latest in the series by H. Smiggy McStudge.

The series so far:

‘The frightful landslide into Theyocracy’
Theyocracy: The argument
‘Dear verminous cretin’: Smiggy replies to a reader
I. Ants and monkeys

 


 

Violence, my lovelies, has been a main fixture of Earthly life ever since the Old Original Studge, by experiments as ingeniously cruel as they were effective, introduced predation to the ecology of the planet. [Read more…]