Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Beware


No, I mean seriously. Don't even play with this stuff. It will make you, as the young people of today will say, "rekt".



Monday, April 16, 2018



Businessperson:I just think that at this price point, with these features, it will be impossible to sell this thing into this market.

Chaon: It's not impossible. With the right marketing approach, we can sell enough so that every person in the distribution channel makes a profit.

**A vortex in spacetime opens, opening a rift to 1986**
***An angry Chaon, but one that is 19 years old, leaps through the temporal wormhole***
****The younger and much thinner Chaon punches me dead in the face, breaking my nose.****
*****1986 Chaon leaps beck through the vortex, as it closes begind him.*****

Chaon: OW, JESUS CHRIST! What the FUCK?!?! #

Businessperson: From what I can tell, the younger you is extremely unhappy with the current you.

Chaon: Well, I can't say that I blame him.

# Seriously, who knew that someone so skinny could punch so hard?


Wednesday, March 28, 2018


All the American people aspire to America’s linguistic integrity and to the realization of complete syntactical reunification. These "cinnamon roll" separatists are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Back in My Day



When we were kids, we used to drink water straight from the garden hose. We used to ride bikes without helmets, and try to jump bike ramps that were poorly constructed of plywood and concrete blocks. We addressed our elders as “Sir,” “Ma’am,” or “Grand Inquisitor.” And we didn’t spend afternoons sitting in the house playing Xbox or PlayStation. We created our own weapons out of baseball bats and motorcycle chains, and we engaged in life-or-death battles with the Macleod clan, with whom we had been at war since time immemorial. And we didn’t hide under the covers in bed playing with our iPhones. We spent most nights on the roof of the house or in the attic, fending off attacks from eldritch squamous horrors that craved the flesh of our youngest. Instead of learning “common core” at schools, we were versed in practical matters:  haruspicy, the making of Greek Fire, and the curing of raw hides and skins.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Scissors


I was given a grooming kit as a gift. That's an appropriate present, because no one would ever accuse me of being overly fastidious. But in the (Zwilling, J.A. Henckels) leather case, there are two pair of scissors. Does anyone know their purposes? Like, is one for cuticles and the other for nose hair?


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Myths, Dads, and Photon Torpedoes


Editor's note: I was looking for an old e-mail from someone, and found this thing that I wrote in 2006. While you would not be surprised to find that I did not treat the subject with any gravitas, what is interesting is that I utterly failed to anticipate that the men's movement would morph into something much darker and angrier.

Even funnier, I have had more than ten PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) tests since then. Turns out that pretty much every male in my family gets prostate cancer, and you gotta stay on top of that.

=======================================================================


If you are a guy reading this, let me ask you something: How much do you know about feminism? Ever read any books about it? Given it a good thinking over? Discussed it with other guys? If you answered ‘no’ to these questions, then good; there are many more important issues that us men need to spend our intellectual power resolving.*

Also, if you answered no, I’m going to take a guess that you didn’t know that back in the late eighties, there arose in the United States and Canada a splinter movement from the mainstream men’s movement of the time. I hear your questions. You’re asking, “What mainstream men’s movement?” Ah. That would be the men’s movement that arose in response to ascension of feminism in the seventies.

The early proponents of “masculism” and “men’s rights” were--and there is no nice way to say this--a big bunch of pantywaists. They were so concerned with the rise of feminism and feminist identity, that nobody would pay attention to the poor oppressed men-folk. Here are some of the injustices they were worried about:
  • Portrayal of violence against women as more consequential than other forms of violence
  • Men sometimes get charged with rape and sexual harassment when there is only the word of the victim against that of the accused
  • Since conscription was only applied to males, they were the ones forced to risk their lives in military service
  • Medical research funding for breast cancer is consistently higher than that for prostate cancer, yet the fatality rate is roughly the same for both types
  • Male reproductive rights

Just so we are all clear on the above points, yes, these guys got upset that only men were drafted and killed in wars, even though it’s men who have all the political power and start all the damn wars in the first place! And prostate cancer? Not only should men not be concerned with this, but I don’t think guys have any business knowing what or where a prostate is. I sure don’t.** And male reproductive rights? Ha ha ha.

So, while we can ignore the mainstream men’s movement as being comprised of clueless goons, let’s get back to that splinter movement. It was called the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement, and was based largely on the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell and poet Robert Bly. If you are not familiar with the word “mythopoetic”, don’t worry. It is a made-up word coined in the eighties. It relates to the creating and maintaining of living myths, and how myths influence identity.

What kind of myths? Let’s kick a couple of examples around: Warrior. Father. Leader. Husband. I hear your protests. You are most likely saying that these are not myths, they are simply roles that men play. But more than that, they are the original models of identity (some people would call them “archetypes”, but we won’t because that’s a snobby sounding word), and the concepts they represent come with fifty thousand years of psychological and social baggage. Baggage that we as men do not always deal with real well, because introspection and self-awareness are not integral of any of these myths.

The Mythopoetic Men’s Movement asked some pretty serious questions about male roles, took them apart, and put them back together again with some unexpected additions. Male bonding was a primary feature, and it involved a lot more than hanging out with other guys, getting drunk, and watching football. This bonding included storytelling and rituals, and re-established what it meant to be a man in the modern world. An important ritual it tried to bring back was the rite of passage. Many cultures have such rites, such as the Bar-Mitzvah or the confirmation. These religious rites signified a coming of age in ancient times, but nobody today considers a thirteen year-old a man. So, what other ceremonies do we have today that do signify achieving manhood? High-school graduation? Joining the military? To fill this disjunction, the mythopoetic man borrowed from ancient European and Native American mythology, and new rituals and ceremonies were created to mark and celebrate the coming of age.

Another key issue for these new men was what they called ‘reclaiming fathers’. At meetings and get-togethers, participants would introduce themselves like, “I am ______, son of _______.” Although this sounds kind of archaic and Viking-like (in fact all of those Scandinavian surnames like Ericson, Robertson, etc. are derived from exactly this kind of naming tradition), the idea in bringing back this convention was to tie men’s identity more strongly to that of their male ancestors. Who you are was not to be decided by their jobs, nationality or religion, but by the credo that you are your father’s son, and the father to your children. I think this would be seen as unnecessary in a lot of cultures, where there is a strong tribal and clan identity, or even here in Taiwan, where the veneration of ancestors is a daily part of life. Surely those ancestor-altars in people’s homes do a pretty good job of reminding men here of their patriarchal lineage and their place in it.    
   
So far, nothing in this new men’s movement seems particularly bizarre. For men to get together and re-define the roles and definitions of what it means to be a man is perfectly reasonable. But there is a good example of why we are talking about this movement in the (mostly) past tense: Drumming. Part-therapy, part male bonding, and part “releasing the wild man within”, bands of men took to the forests, removed their shirts, and started pounding away their aggressions together. And what was essentially a support group, turned into something distinctly weirder.

Robert Bly wrote: "The Wild Man encourages a trust of the lower half of our body, our genitals, our legs and ankles, our inadequacies, the "soles" of our feet, the animal ancestors, the earth itself.…" Now I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but while drumming may indeed have a therapeutic and cathartic affect, common sense tells me that doing it shirtless and in the company of other men, all the while trusting my genitals may not be the wisest approach to finding myself. Besides, when women hear talk of ‘releasing the wild man’, their reaction is almost always going to be negative. Most women have seen enough of the ‘Wild Man’ in their lives. And so, the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement faded away to the fringe.

Now, nearly two decades later, the questions that this movement asked remain largely unanswered. When do we become men? How do we connect as males without the crutches of sports and alcohol? When and how can we show vulnerability? And what the heck is the concept of ‘warrior’ supposed to mean to men today?

I can’t answer these questions, but I am pretty sure of one thing. If Kirk was the captain, then the Enterprise would win.

* Like who would win in a battle between an Imperial Battle Cruiser and the U.S.S. Enterprise?

** The legal department of the Taichung Voice would like to recommend that all readers age 50 and above talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening.   

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Case Law


At my high school in 1984, I took a class called "Legal Studies." It was a simple introduction to U.S. and state legal systems, and I think it was pretty effective.

(Shout out to Mrs. Taylor, who had to deal with 17 year-old Chaon and his sleeveless shirts. And his attitude. And the 'Eat McShit and Die' button. Which he tried to wear on the state prison field trip.)

We learned about The Constitution, misdemeanors and felonies, circuit courts, anti-trust law, Gideon Vs. Wainwright, and... The Bill of Rights. Especially the First Amendment. We spent a lot of time on that. And so now, 34 years later, I remember this about the First Amendment as the courts have applied it to students: there were black armbands, and there has to be a "substantial disruption of the educational process" (to justify the school's abridgment of speech). I don't remember the corresponding case name (though I'll look it up after I hit the "Publish" button)

And the black armbands and the substantial disruption are peculating in my brain today because of this headline:


Well I'll tell ya' Mr. Rhodes. At some point you will have to demonstrate to the courts that the protests you are punishing were creating a substantial disruption of the educational process. Students, you should note this point as well.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Marin County


I've been in and out of Marin County since 1989*.  It's a nice place, with areas of remarkable natural beauty.  Aside from the traffic problems on 101 and the cost of living, it seems like a good location in which to live.

But there are certain things that come to mind when someone says "Marin County". Some of these things are: rich people, liberals, woo, illegal laborers, vegans, vegetarians, yachts, and more woo. So much woo. Like, you don't even know. Seriously. Woo.

So I was pleasantly surprised to be recently introduced to a side of Marin County that I never knew existed.




I'm pretty sure this club is a lot more rod and not so much gun, but it was still a neat experience.


 * Still had blood on my shoes from Beijing 6/4.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Embedded Tweet for Posterity


Just beautiful.