Hello again, readers, fans and celebrated literary critics! It’s been a while, you all have been warned, SEVERAL TIMES, and despite my cautionary notes advising against it, to date there are, according to WordPress, 297 lost souls who for some reason have clicked “follow” at the bottom of one of my wellsprings, by which I mean pits, of insanity. You may think it’s writing, but this blog is the dumping ground, the killing floor, and the outdoor crapper all in one, for my wasted genius, my grief for undercompensated best efforts, my useless emotional outbursts, and any pitiful kernels of spirituality, dropped and immediately snatched away by birds, and choked lifeless by the cares of the world and the Powers that be which could do something about shit but couldn’t be arsed because, to shamelessly steal from Jeff-fa-fa Dun-Ham (dot-com)’s character José Jalapeño (on a stick) [they’re] “laughing too hard.” At my damned expense.
Did you see what I did there? See, we all love readers, we all love fans, and we all love it when a reader or a fan has something nice to say and posts a comment about our writing. We don’t like the haters, because nobody likes a hater. But instead of just pushing away, which really resolves nothing and might even provoke an antagonistic response, I gave the haters a little dignity, a little respect, in calling them “esteemed literary critics.” Maybe that’s all any of us needs. Personally, I’d love to be a literary critic. Because what do you do? You read it, or you skim it, and you offer an opinion about what you read, or about the author. You can literally say whatever shit you want. If you’re in a bad mood, fuck your subject, fuck your readers, and fuck the world. If you’re in a good mood, fuck your subject, fuck your readers, and fuck the world, but enjoy doing that. Being a critic: It’s something similar to being tangential, except instead of being tangential at a given point, a critic offers a tangent at any point.
A good critic will offer encouragement to continue doing whatever a person being critiqued is doing, but to continually work hard, in an effort to do it ever better. One doesn’t normally just give a status report, a numeric evaluation, without any kind of answer guide or explanation. One might establish a baseline expectation of performance, either based on prior experiences there, or industry standards, or One gives things the subject should keep on doing that they’re doing well, a kind of “run.” And then one gives things where they need improvement, a kind of potential to “rise,” or “fall.” You give an “O-pinion”
An O-pinion is something that’s unpredictable. The tangent might lie anywhere around the circle, the “O” if you will, and go in any direction established by the critic. That is to say, if a place did better the last time and they were crap this time, a downward slope might be indicated. If a critic only pinioned a subject, in contrast, there would be no room to breathe, you would be unable to move, which is why an o-pinion is preferable. If you were racked and pinioned, you’re probably already finely ground between the teeth of the gears. And stretched, if you were racked correctly, and immobilized if you were pinioned correctly. If you were pinioned, always keep in mind that being immobile has the benefit of being what’s called “nodal,” meaning you are not moving up or down. If that’s the case, it may suck, but at least things aren’t getting any worse. And if you were the same as last time, you may get a slope that’s a horizontal line. It may be on the bottom of the o-pinion, which means you sucked and you still suck and your critic has abandoned all hope, but still gave you a shot, or it may be at the top, which means you were excellent before and you’re still excellent. The benefit of a horizontal line is they liked you the same as last time. I’d hate to have a slight upward slope. It might give me false hope of actually improving, for fuck’s sake.
There are chefs in restaurants who literally live, or have died, by their rating. Chef Bernard Loiseau was in debt and suffering clinical depression, and still worked his ass off in the kitchen all day, before killing himself, on February 24, 2003. I haven’t forgotten. I never got to go to his excellent restaurant while he worked there. It is a tragedy, and I will never forget. I’m not sure which is more tragic:
a) being in debt, which I am, and working your ass off to get out of debt, only to figure out that your employers are shitheads with jackboots on, and realizing there is no way to climb out of the pit because when you try someone is up there to kick you back down;
b) not being able to fix the situation enough to become more comfortable or at peace, no matter how hard you work at it, which I am, precluding some kind of miracle, see below;
c) being prone to depression like Monsieur Loiseau, which I am, though perhaps not quite so severely, after working so hard to succeed and feel good, you get the boot and fall again and feel like a failure who’ll never succeed, which I do. I married an absolutely fantastic woman, and I love her beyond what I believe is anything normal, but she is a fucking backward nit-picker. You work your ass off, deal with the details, pick all the nits you can find out, fix everything your little detailed brain can handle until you’re too tired to see, and she comes in and only needs a minute or two to assess, whereupon she always tells you where you fucked up, what you did wrong, the 1 tiny nit that remains out of the five hundred you carefully combed out and killed, the 1 to 3 percent of whatever project you didn’t accomplish, and why it’s not enough and you feel like it’ll never be enough, so why keep trying? So far, I keep trying and she hasn’t kicked my ass to the curb yet, so I must be doing all right I guess, even though I feel like a miserable piece of shit;
d) realizing that the only people who really matter to you are all like the above, never satisfied with anything you have ever done. What’s the hope they will ever not be looking down their fucking noses at everything you ever will do, all the while forcing you to either eat your rage or just accept whatever they do, because your love covers a multitude of their sins, but evidently they don’t love you enough to overlook yours. Trust me, it’s a shitty way to live;
e) not being quite stubborn enough or angry enough at them to stick around if only just to piss them off. I’m one stubborn bastard, which is why I’m not dead. In my heart and soul, I do care, and I wish that what I brought was enough. But my stubbornness dictates that I ultimately reach the point of va te faire enculer, and I let the critics go their way with my French, um, well-wishes, trusting they will be self-satisfied and content with their lives while they destroy mine. In the spirit of said va te faire enculer, I do sometimes pray for a critic to be adjusted, gently given a little bit better perspective, and meanwhile I work until I’m tired, and I get up the next day and try again. If only I could be self-satisfied as they are, and let that be enough. If only the hard work I do could be appreciated and well-compensated at work, and reciprocated at home.
Alas, my day job dictates that I be subject to critical opinions and unrealistic timelines and expectations that keep me bruised and kicked down, no matter how hard I work my tail off to satisfy the requirements. Career advancement might have been possible if I had kissed ass, sucked …up… and let the bosses steer my career. I didn’t, so I’m dead to them. They don’t give a shit, they labor hard and long to think of reasons why they can’t give me a fucking cost of living increase, but turn with the same two faces and tell me how much my work is appreciated. In reality, I know the truth of the matter: they’re just waiting for me to die, or to quit, and it can’t happen soon enough to suit them. Fuckers!
Alas, my family life is the same, and I am already bruised and kicked from work, so there’s nothing left to offer but blood and body parts. I’m not important enough, or depressive enough, to feel that what I do or don’t do is worth getting depressed enough to kill myself. I appreciate solitude, don’t get me wrong. But Mrs M, bless her heart, more days than I actually appreciate, gives me a nonverbal va te faire enculer and then probably takes that and applies it literally in her own way, because how the fuck should I know when she goes to sleep and leaves me awake and dealing with my feelings all by myself. I’m not crying, because that’s not me. “Fucking WAAHH!” Nope. I’m just angry, and I eat rage for midnight snacks, and wait for Mrs M to decide she’s relaxed and not tired, and just bored enough to use me. One of my readers teases me about how I make such a good fucking wife. I love her, but at the same time…I love her.
Oh, Monsieur Loiseau! To have ended yourself just for having disappointed one or two smug fuckers, customers who think they know better than anyone else what service, and food, should look like, and taste like, and what you should cook, and how you should cook it, blah, blah, blah. As if their way was the only fucking right way. And, as if, disappointing one or two customers mattered, when you’ve literally satisfied a few thousand others. Those critics probably don’t even pay l’addition, s’il vous plait; les rapiates! Putaines!
Notice that hope for the “critic.” I could have just said:
and left it at that. But no.
If I were driven to be the best writer, instead of just expressing what I feel, or writing what I’m thinking about, I’d be done. I’m aware that my writing can be surpassed. I have days when I can almost pull it together. I may have written something crappy last time, but maybe this time, it’s not AS crappy as then. The slope of the tangent, from last time to this time, is upward. The love from encouraging, soft-hearted people, comes along. Other days I’m not so together, those same loving, encouraging, soft-hearted people are too kind to offer a word of criticism because it might be taken harshly. Because, sure. Let a heartless putain de connard literary critic come along and shred me, the weak, worn fibers will no doubt tatter easily. The slope of the tangent, from the quality of yesterday’s writing to today’s, is downward. Why? Well, Deon, maybe it’s because you didn’t write anything yesterday, but today’s is crap so why should we expect better? There are people with better audience appeal. There are people with more interesting or more compelling subject matter. There are people who have a better sense of humor, a better way of expressing themselves, a better vocabulary, a better site layout, betterbetterbetterbetterbetter.
There are writers who can actually focus and write on a topic, without rambling. And speaking of rambling, the moment you’ve all somehow had the stamina to endure for, has come. My ramble is rambled, my rant is ranted, at least for now, and finally…
It’s time for Math Language Dissection IV: Today’s Dissection: Derivatives
Oh, Deon. Not again. We could hardly stand it the last time, and this time you rambled on about shit no one cared about until no one was still reading.
But Oh, Yes, more Mould. Or Math Language Dissection. Because that’s the nature of math, and mould- it grows on you. Four times as much math dissection as the first time. Last time I did this, I nearly lost 212% of my readers, which should be impossible you say, but just trust me, it almost happened.
At the risk of doing it again, click here and look through this webpage.
If you did that, and actually came back to my blog, you intuitively know something about people who studied math on purpose, more than our basic masochistic leanings. But you should also intuitively understand that the reaction you just had is the same reaction EVERYONE has, especially students who are forced to learn mathematical derivatives. It’s an entirely human reflex action, as natural as what happens soon after ingesting Carapichea ipecacuanha syrup. Mmmmm. Deliciatives.
We hate derivatives. Derivatives try to copy the original. You THINK they’re hard to figure out, but when you scratch the surface and take a good hard look under the gilt-edges, you see the truth. They’re fakes, cheap imitations, trying hard to pretend they’re just as good. They follow the slope of the original function, or the recipe, if you will, but the flavor is flat as a dropped soufflé. They follow the concept, you get the idea, but they have no soul. It’s there, it’s OK, sure, but every OUNCE of the love has been sucked out. Like The Machine in The Princess Bride sucked the years out of Wesley, a derivative is The Machine turned up to 99: not until the function is “only mostly dead,” but until the function loses its’ purpose. There’s almost nothing left- it’s a skeleton, where there once was a captivating, lush-lipped, full figured, gorgeous woman.
We loved Alan Rickman, for instance, but there isn’t a human being who can match the snark, the bitter sarcasm, the attitude, the absolutely harsh, absolutely charming ennui, of Mr. Rickman. He could be apologetic and still, under the gently sorrowful words, you somehow knew he knew he was right. Fortunately for the pretenders, but unfortunately for the rest of the world, he’s gone. Attention, all you haters: You have a chance to aspire to the new number one. Unfortunately for you, haters, it’s me. That’s right. I’m sorry (no, really!), but your opinion is worse than irrelevant, it’s powerless to change the fact that I’m right, and it couldn’t be more exhausting to me. It’s exhausting, because you so strongly believe you’re right, that you wear everyone out with your endless, foolish, barbaric garrulity.
I am the world’s harshest critic. Fortunately for the world, my harshest wrath and ennui is trapped inside the mirror of ssensselepoh like a damned horcrux. That’s right, I am the anti-Gilderoy Lockhart, and I speak Parseltongue, too. I gaze into the mirror and see my soul, my shattered dreams, my surrendered ambition, my brokenness, and everything adds up to intense self-loathing. All I’m looking at is the image of a harsh reality; what I see is all entirely truthful. And unlike Voldemort’s foes, no one is willing to even TRY to destroy the mirror I sometimes gaze into, which could potentially be accomplished by giving me any amount of cash greater than $300M. Thus far, no one has been willing to try, and therefore I can’t die. Come on! Someone, give it a shot!
What the world needs is not more derivatives, like those unending old Haim Saban Power Ranger sequelseries, or Stephen J. Cannell’s crime mimeographs, or Dick Wolf Wolves, or Anthony E. Zuiker Zuikers and Bruckheimers, or sappy Aaron Spelling everything-works-out-good-in-the-end-after-the-shit-goes-down-and-people-“just”-fucking-try-harder shows. Spelling also loved stories where people didn’t appreciate what they had until they got what they thought they wanted. I hate that shit. Fucking “It’s a Wonderful Life” DERIVATIVES. And honestly, I really DO appreciate what I have, to the extent that what I have is good. What I have is a lush, full coloured painting, of what could be. What I want is 3-D, so much more, so much better, so very possible. I love Spelling’s REAL story in spite of myself, because it could have gone really bad but it didn’t, at least not until his misfortune returned in around 2001. He was MARRIED to Morticia Addams, and what could be bad about that?
What the world needs are anti-derivatives. Anti-derivatives are the opposite of derivatives. Instead of being fashionably way too thin and nearly two dimensional, or worse, one dimensional and just showing the slope, an anti-derivative is original, gorgeous, full figured, proud, stark naked and grinning, going in it’s own unique direction, shouting a loud “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLES!” to all the critics. THIS, Chef Bernard Loiseau, is who you were meant to be, except you let them wear you down. When the haute cuisine world goes off on idiot tangents, if you’re able to be yourself, the anti-derivative, the original function, instead of the tangent off the anti-derivative, it’s a glorious thing, but the critics are always critical. If you’re classical,they want you to run with the fad and still excel, and if you run with the fad, they bitch because you’re not traditional enough.
Don’t let the critics wear you down. Don’t, even if the critic is the voice in your own head. What the world needs is you. Not the you that tries to be someone or something you’re not. The original, beautiful you. Be that. Be the Anti-Derivative.