Tuesday 22 February 2022

Those They Murder are Forgotten

 "There is a gap in our pattern, rooms and duties to which no names attain, yet prepared for some unknown, or as if a ghost had left them. In my memory I have sat at tables with shades, given dictates to spaces in the air - and yet the deed was done, been instructed by no voices, yet performed the act. What is this silence that spreads around us?"

From - A Glossary of the Amber Court; Apocrypha and Miscellanea, Chapter; 'Those They Murder are Forgotten', Unattributed note, Amber Court, late Period.

"Aya we marry the sky!
And make the stars our wives!
Ladies of hunger!
We give to you five hundred sons on whom the sun has never shone!
Un-touched by a woman’s hand!
They are the children of the moon! 
Bathed in starlight!
Pure sons, pale as pearl!
Flesh of great wonder!
Ladies of constellations, eat with our Sons!"

From - A Glossary of the Amber Court; Apocrypha and Miscellanea, Chapter; 'Those They Murder are Forgotten', quote from translated text; 'The Legacy of Reeve'."

"I know not with what army I went forth. 

My Lords, amend me I beg you; how many were my numbers? We have fought a battle and we have the field and no men were lost though we fought a great multitude.

All worked as the Patron stated. Yet, amongst the enemy was a strange company, I remember silver men with black shadows. I know of no harm they did, or how they fought and yet as my mind turns to them a great fear wells up within me. My hand shakes, as it has never done, and I in your service for good years and well-fought as you know well.

Yet I do not understand for we are over-supplied. Tents and material for a great many though we are but few. Something is wrong. Aur surgeon says none have died, none at all, though he has worked all the night. The ground is wet here and this place stinks and yet we cannot find the smell.

It shames me to write so of things which have no mention in your Patron. I fear a Working. I fear as a child fears lost, though the place be small. There is a wrongness here.

I beg you to write clearly to me and with dispatch, to tell me; what number we are and why sent forth with so few, and with such great supply, and why with no General amongst us? For though I am a Major in good standing I would not think myself to command for some years such an expedition, such a diversity of men, for so far, though their numbers do be few."


Draft letter, un-signed and un-sent, recovered from the goods of a beggar at our gates. He wove strange tales and was wrapped in the tatters of a flag which seemed to be of our design though of no army we have ever formed. The mans feet were callused and his hands branded with rope-burn and salt, like a sailor, a pilgrim or a slave, his hair grown wild and matted as if he had journeyed a great distance. He came as if bearing a great message and this fevour (sic) and intensity attracted the attention of our guards. Yet when questioned he made little sense, but wept and spoke in fragments

From - A Glossary of the Amber Court; Apocrypha and Miscellanea, Chapter; 'Those They Murder are Forgotten', Unattributed note, Amber Court, late Period."

Monday 14 February 2022

Dark Rivers Without End - Berserk and The Path to Power

 Two dark, unfinished rivers occupy me currently, Kentaro Miuras 'Berserk' and Robert Caro's 'The Path to Power'.

One, 'The Path to Power' is incomplete but may reach its end, the other, 'Berserk' never will. Miura died recently, his opus will never be completed, Caro is still kicking (!) but is currently "pulling a Martin". From Wikipedia;

"In November 2011, Caro announced that the full project had expanded to five volumes with the fifth requiring another two to three years to write.[15][16][17] It will cover Johnson and Vietnam, the Great Society and civil rights era, his decision not to run in 1968, and eventual retirement. As of January 2020, Caro had completed 600 typed manuscript pages and was working on a section relating to the passage of Medicare in 1965.[18] In a 2017 interview, Caro expressed his intent to embark shortly on a research trip to Vietnam.[19] In an interview with The New York Review of Books in January 2018, Caro indicated he did not know when the book would be finished, mentioning anywhere from two to ten years.[20]"


Very different works. One is about a man who fights monsters and the other is about the monster.

What unifies them is the depth and darkness of the subject matter and the almost ridiculously classically-heroic scale of their relative achievements. Both creators combine skill and craft with an incredible, almost stupidly titanic amount of WORK.

"Fuck you, I spent thirty years on this. Seriously, just fuck off. Do *you* have thirty years to spend on one thing? No you do not, so fuck right off. Don't even look at me son I will kill you by blinking."

Caro's first _book_ on LBJ came out in 1982, but the research likely started god knows how long before then. It’s possible that by the time he is done Caro may have spent more time investigating, writing and thinking about Lyndon Baines Johnson than Lyndon Bains Johnson spent being Lyndon Baines Johnson. His book(s) are a simultaneous exultation and destruction of a mans reputation in a way that will *never* be amended; there is literally nothing anyone can say about LBJ after this - no-one can do this much work on him, the only meaningful history the could do is reading Caro’s notes and taking a different point of view.

Miura began in 1988/89 and, on and off, barring illness, has been going for 30 years. Many things are good about Berserk but to pick out one of the more obvious; the simple and staggering attention to beauty, intensity, terror and detail that goes into Miura’s images, which cascade through the story like impossible memories. Think I remember reading that Miura was producing linework so fine and so detailed that his publishers were worried because the printing process wouldn't be able to capture it. 

Miura has his unfinished masterpiece  bourne along by the sheer tumbling weight and black size of the story as a whole - for with a story that long, that coherent and that INTENSE, every single moment holds as a mirror a thousand referents of deep familiarly and meaning. 

Caro has done what few could do, and what perhaps could only BE done at this moment in history, and simply interviewed everyone that Lyndon Johnson ever spoke to or dealt with (who would talk and was alive), often multiple times - at the only historical point at which these people would be both, alive, and also long enough after the power structure of LBJ, and the terror of the man, has weakened enough that they might be willing to talk. 

There is more to art than skill and work but not necessarily a lot more.

Caro's telescope can't help but tell a history of America, of power and tragedy, at the same time. Such is the depth and detail with which he examines every particular moment that, like a great painting, every scene has it own cast, set and history, all of which are illuminated and described. One feels one could take any character who walks onto the scene and follow them off it, all the way home. What starts as an environmental history of the Texas hill country and a dynastic history of his family before his birth, turns into a social history and, as LBJ gains power and influence, becomes a political or 'Great Man' history. 

Because Caro has interviewed literally EVERYONE LBJ ever spoke to or dealt with who was willing, looked into every document, checked every box, he has uncovered every, or maybe many, individual lie and manipulation Lyndon Baines Johnson every engaged in. Of which there were not many, or a myriad, but lies beyond passing, beyond comprehension, almost a galaxy of lies, a shifting, nebulous stormy counterverse to which LBJ was the psychopomp and within which those who dealt too long with him were trapped.

To seize a brief fragment of these horrors for explanation and display; LBJ at college.

Being a mediocre student LBJ first glues himself to the faculty with almost palpably disgusting and visceral levels of dickriding obsequious brownosing. He whores his tongue out to whomever wields institutional power to an extent that we who read can hardly believe people fell for it. (It wounds the soul  to think too deeply on how utterly weak and morally worthless almost every institution proved itself to be before this mans vacant burning ambition.) Add lies. Constant, shifting, endlessly protean lies about this, about that, so much that LBJ gains the name 'Bull', because everyone (every Student, the faculty still love him), knows that most of what comes out of this mans mouth is bullshit.

Add secrecy, manipulation, domination. With campus politics ruled by a clique of star football types and their female antipodes, LBJ challenges them for control of the microscopic power wielded by these institutions. Not openly  of course, and no directly. He knows full well that everyone hates him. Instead he forms, or encourages the formation of a secret society, (the actual 'leaders' of this society either don't realise that they inevitably end up following his lead on all things or don't care), and with the aid of this invisible group, effectively steals the elections to every major college student institution. With the power of patronage control of these, along with his brown-nosing, get him, he builds a hidden network of obedient, subservient, fearful and craven scum who will obey his will.

With these he completes the destruction of the college elite, their political destruction, if they hold patronage posts he wants then their economic destruction and if he can get the details on them, their personal destruction.

One class star, the only person who can keep up with, and even beat LBJ in debates, is shocked to find out that due to a last minute rule change, an important newspaper post won't be going to him after all. He realises that someone is doing something to him, but doesn't realise that it’s a secret organisation, doesn't realise LBJ is in charge of it and doesn't realise that this man he had debated constantly, and who he thought respected him, that they respected each other, for isn't the strong cut and thrust of debate what college is all about, and they had always been friendly, that this man in fact absolutely and totally despised him, because he had beaten him, and had connived and plotted relentlessly for a year for goals which, though manifold, included his personal destruction.

The invisibility of the manipulations, the total surrender of the 'authorities' to simple flattery, the sheer and horrible malevolence, the sustainment of such hatred, quietly, imperceptibly, the ease with which groups are manipulated to goals they do not understand, the, almost eager terror and subservience of so many people, the craven manner in which people hide even their fear, for even decades later they won't spill it immediately, Caro has to go back and interview the same people multiple times till they will open up, so great and secret is their fear of the long-dead LBJ, his organisation and their own shame at what they had done and not done, all of this was something like a living nightmare for me. TRIGGERED BY THE DARK TRIAD PATRICK HAD TO LIE DOWN.

A dark, damned and frightening man.

(I have, at no point since adolescence, entertained seriously the idea that Kennedy might have been assassinated by elements inside the U.S. government. This has been very very slightly modified, not by any actual evidence, but simply by an increasing awareness of LBJ's character. I don't know if he did do such a thing, but I am certain that if someone made him the offer, and he thought he could get away with it, that he *would* do it. The man simply had no moral core whatsoever.)

What is Berserk "about?" A huge dude with a sword who fights monsters. A struggle to shape some kind of moral life in a reality in which absolutely no moral core exists. A search for meaning. The possibility for growth from one of the most damaged and wounded people imaginable.

Curious thing about Berserk is that Guts entire arc is also totally shaped by the effects of an insane, persuasive and ultimately empty narcissist who commands and unifies the lives of those around him, gives them purpose, meaning and a future and who ultimately betrays them all for power. The drive for revenge, justice, or simply to protect and heal what remains, makes up the 'motivation' of the rest of the story. Can you ever get justice against a narcissist? Against someone who simply cannot comprehend what they have done wrong?

That part of Guts' story will remain ever-open, the series incomplete and the final confrontation and resolution hanging in the air.

The moral part of the story is settled though, simply by the struggle for humanity. Its almost laughable how similar and different the two heroes are. What links them is overwhelming, almost insane, drive and will, far beyond that of ordinary men. In both cases the response to trauma and defining between them the arcs of on one hand, a shattered and impoverished soul, and on the other a complete personality.

What is this magnificent foolishness of great men? It kind of fits with Miura because the piece itself is so tragic, and because of its central themes of resistance and perseverance. In a way it’s a mercy because if it had gone on any more I doubt I would have had the space to collect the whole thing, certainly not in these deluxe volumes. It’s like a deep dark dream that you wake up from before it is resolved, or where particularly, the dream itself is deep, and the waking is both jarring and unexpected - woken in the early hours by a rattling on a door - a sudden jolt into wakefulness.

What the hell was he thinking, dying like that?

Wednesday 9 February 2022

sumþyng lyk a mowse

dreem u and a telling came upon I
Nd of ay it was
a ryder am ay þru rivers of ur dreems
þo ay no not mi wey nor urs
informayson can not ryde þru tyme
þer r tayls too many Nd soles too few
þe sonderpayn of tyme the wal of cloks
in mi fison þe sunne had noe fase
nor the moone
nor wos þe urth krakd nor rithed þe ded but slept
Nd ay saw þer gryt amys binyth a blu ski
sux blu it was aye hav seen onli in ayebals Nd jems
Nd in mi memris of ur dreems
the hole wurlds ski a jem, or maybi an aye
but under it blud and red urþ
Nd men hakyng men in forms few
won blakke won yelo as pus but bryt as son
yu wer þer ho reeds this
yet saw not ay nor nefer wud till tymes turn
wen ay becum yu and yu remember ay
yt is al a grayt remembering
or ay þynk u dyd ther
Nd n ur dying dreem saw mi
a fison ov mi as ay a fison of u saw
a telling in mi telling and a telling þerof
feer me not þo ay seem teribil
aye am onli as aye must bi to ryd mi rod
as u wer as al ar
hu am aye hu ryts þis
wer in the weel was aye mad
aye no not
yet as u di beniþ þys gem ski as u reed mi lethers on þi pot as u reed the ink þay wil be
i wil tel to u a sekrit
ay am sumþyng lyk a mowse
sleep ay in mi palis of bryt ston
a frosen þyng
kurled Nd waytyng
slept ay long whyl mi serf ants kut the ston
wakanyng to voyses of jyants Nd to lyt
ay am þer king Nd they serf mi wel þo no mi not
lissen u ar þer aye heer u wel þo u heer mi not
sush plans u weev mi kynning
tyme ys r pryd Nd r kurs boþ


Pottery Shard, Red-Shift Period
Fons ignotus
Redacta in dolorem annihilationis
Vermin Cogitatio, non referri vel transcribi.

Saturday 5 February 2022

would a depressed man be watching this much Anime?

(Or "Weebery Four: I Went back for More) One, Two and Three here

People say I'm depressed, but would a depressed man be watching this much Anime? I think not. After mainlining even more of this stuff


Still Upset About WWII

'Dororo', which was basically a psychogeography of living with/under a Fascist power structure

FullMetal Alchemist - oops we did a genocide

Attack On Titan, especially last season - heroes are arguably the baddies, oops we did a genocide, generational shame

Slime had an affecting and strange one with a child transported from Japan during the WWII bombings meeting someone from modern Japan who tells her the country is doing well and they re-built which makes her happy, (he does not go into specifics about the US bases and half of SEA still hating their guts)

Now Prussia Is My Best Friend

There is one nation in occidentalist nihon imagination and unlike the anglo-influenced occidentalist blur that I may have been expecting; friendship broken with anglos, now Deutschland ist mine best friend

Nihon simps hard for Prussia, so smart, so disciplined, so PURE. is the feeling reciprocated? hard to tell.

Tragic Bad-Guy Point-Of-Death Backstory Flashbaacks

A technique which according to my amygdala, can simply never be overused. I just never seem to get tired of these. That orc you just killed - they had an abusive orc family they rebelled against but ended up as a mercenary with a drinking problem, they were looking for a way out before you CUT THEIR FUCKING HEAD OFF.


I'm thinking more of 'summer wars' and 'Belle', in which the Virtual world is .. basically the same thing?

In the better fictions this is like the dreamy forest bits in Midsummer Nights Dream, or the Maze bits in whatever play, or Masqued Ball stuff - all the characters we know can meet and interact in different identities across a different reality.

Anime Mans Burden

How many Isekai shows are there with some nerd colonising a fantasy world, based on computer game logic, and 'improving' everything with the power of their enlighting civilisation. It’s interesting, in its entirely unconscious belief in the power of reason and a decent person from a particular cutlure 'uplifting' a band of simple foreigners. It’s a hell of a lot like Victorian fiction. THANK YOU FOR IMPROVING US SEMPAI!

Boner For Tha Pehhpe

Aye, they do have the best costumes and architecture and won't directly kill you for criticising their beliefs - it feels like there is a LOT of fantasy/sci-fi dark Catholicism in Anime or is that just me?

Seriously the Vatican needs to contact the Japanese government and start charging copyright on this stuff, there are more cathedrals, conspiracies and weird priests in Anime than in Italy.

Breath Fetishism

Not as a sex thing, but Demon Slayer, and MHA (which are almost the same show some of the time), and I think a few others, this deal where you do ritually controlled breathing and learn to super-breathe, and then learn to super-breathe ALL OF THE TIME to become super-charged, AND it’s in the first bit of Jojo as well

is this a Japanese body-awareness thing? big history of breath control? lots of concentration on breathing, I mean more than equivalent martial traditions?

The Word for "Hero" in Anime is "Hero"

Not a surprise to see a lot of boys fiction with a focus on heroism, BUT - lot of these make a point of the word 'Hero' being the western word, so, is there not an exact equivalent in Japanese? Is that precise Western construction a slightly novel thing in Japanese culture?

Pure Boys and Decency Porn

Ranking of Kings - seriously disabled but VERY PURE boy takes on all and warms and changes their hearts with the power of his kindness and purity

MHA - VERY Pure and only slightly Berserk boy warms hearts and cares for others

Slime - Extremely decent, no EXTREMELY Decent and in fact virginal, and now a-gender reincarnated pure boy Kiplings the fuck out of a society of Fantasy monsters and impresses all with his capability, decency and purity

Demon Slayer - Literally the purest of very pure boys, so pure that if you INVADE HIS MIND his subconscious is literally a blue peaceful ocean, SO FUCKING PURE, absolutely murders the fuck out of a bunch of evil demons who, in their sad-boy flashbacks, turn out to not be so bad after all

Mob Psycho - bowl-cut Pure Boy just wants to do the right thing and be a normal teenager while happening to be the most insanely powerful psyker ever

MHA & JoJo have this too, even Odd Taxi a bit

It’s not that they do this, it’s the intensity and prevalence of the theme, or is that just my viewing habits and the algorithm shaping my experience? Am I secretly a pure boy fetishist? 

Speaking of which;

Exciting levels of Pederasty

From mild but continual hebephilia to "I look twelve and dress like a stripper but I'm 1,000 years old oops I've FALLEN ON YOUR FACE". Nihon rarely fails to live up, or down, to expectation.

Tha Shows

Ranking of Kings

I am a MASSIVE simp for this show. If you often find you share my taste then watch it.

Quasi-Disney aesthetic. Deaf-mute weak boy-prince heir to the throne in fairytale-paracosm faces the 'Ranking of Kings', basically a league table of kings, except that is barely the subject of the first series, instead it’s a mythopoeic deep-dive into the conflicting characters and paradigms of a range of characters rooted in Fairytale archetypes but which grow far beyond their simplest incarnation without losing that essential rootedness.

The first interview I googled about this had the interviewer banging on about "how you subverted the Fairytale elements" FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING DRONE, DOING THE GOOD VERSION OF A LOW-STATUS FORM IS NOT FUCKING 'SUBVERTING' ANYTHING.


Purity of the Boy - 10000000000% FUCKING PER CENT BABYYYYYYYY

Odd Taxi

Good. Basically a Tarantino film made into a series, or more an Elmore Leanoard novel made into a series. The people are animals.

Method of Victory;
Decency - 90%
Specific Brain Damage Perceptual Superpower - 9%
Breath Control - 1%

Boy Purity - subtly conveyed but hitting 80 or 90% purity

Fire Force

Absolute banger first few episodes. Fairly good follow up. Semi-sci-fi near-future cathspolitation. Everything is on fire apart from Japan and even that is on fire a bit. Pyrokinteics are being born and the better ones are trained to stop the victims of a plague of apparently-random auto-combustive zombie demon outbreaks. Could the giant powerful catholic new religion that controls everything somehow be behind things yes probably. Can the creator keep coming up with new ways to use Pyrokiniesis. Yes again.

Method of Victory
"Going Beyond" - 60%
Breath Control - 20%
Power of Friendship - 20%

Pureness of the Boy - mid-range purity

My Hero Academia

The old X-Men cartoon but its anime. Feel like this is a normie take. Maybe I should be ashamed that I am still this into capeshit but I am who I am I guess. Fatherless neurotic gets SUPERMAN AS HIS DAD!! AND HE TRAINS HIM TO BE THE NEXT SUPERMAN!!!! Combined with the X-Men danger-room sections but that’s the main story, plus tacit analysis of 'heroism' and how a collectivist society deals with Burgerland levels of freedom and individualism because now everyone effectively has a gun all of the time. Answer - everyone is banned from using their superpowers except a cadre of Heroes who are basically celebrity cops taking down anyone who breaks the rules.

Method of Victory
"Going Beyond" - 95%
Breathing/Energy Control 2%
Power of Friendship - 3%

Purity of the Boy - High level. 99%

One Piece

There are a thousand or something episodes of this, I have seen five, it was ok

No stats on this so far. But also no Pederasty. 

Boy Purity - highish, say 75%


This is very popular with the yoof about two years ago? I have seen some of the first season, it was ok, people say that’s not the best one? Just go and re-read Sontag on "Camp" and "Kitsch"

No Pederasty so far but very, very very gay. Acceptable.

Method of Victory

"Going Beyond" - 50%
Breathing Control - 50%

Purity of the Boy - 90% at least

Check the stats, he's far from the goodest boy

Attack on Titan

Hans are we the baddies? Yes and so is everyone else. basically Fullmetal Alchemist with Giants. I am loving it and waiting for the second part of the last series to be done so I can watch it on one go. NO SPOILERS!

Purity of the Boy - oh no

Mob Psycho 100

"Indy" feel, (whatever that means in anime), Psychic boy deals with school and psychic warfare with the help of his conman-with-a-heart-of-gold boss who pretends to, but has no, psychic powers. I like this one.

I have only seen the first series so NO SPOILERS

method of victory;

"Going Beyond" - 95%
Power of Friendship/mentorship - 2%

Boy Purity - 85 to 95 per cent


I became a Rudyard Kipling Poem In Another World. 

Decent but virginal semi-failure becomes low-level monster in a fantasy world BUT HE IS SECRETLY THE MOST SUPER-POWERFUL CREATURE EVAARRRR HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT TO ANY OTHER ISEKAI POWER FANTASY? Its basically decency porn. What if a good person tried to do the right thing in everyone’s best interest and somehow it worked. If the FullMetal Alchemist/Attack ON Titan and somewhat MHA are the historical-moral-maze, generational-guilt, no-sane-escape themed animes this is basically Little House on the Prairie, or early Superman. "Ha ha I like you slime, at first I thought you were just a slime but you have impressed me with your courage and decency, I will reconsider my evil ways". You fucking bet you will buddy. Increasingly besieged by anime titties, and also a Lolli. Thanks Nihon.

method of victory;
Decency - 90%
"Going Beyond" - 5%
Metagaming - 5%

Boy Purity - a straight 90% if you are willing to ignore the elf tits

Pederasty - high

Demon Slayer

The purest possible boy with a tragic past and insane weapons and sucide fetish FIGHTS DEMONS. But WAIT, did this particular Demon ALSO have a sad and tragic past which lead them to be easily redpilled on becoming a demon and will we get a flashback as they die in which they recognise and come to terms with their past and perhaps also thank the CHILD who just SLAUGHTERED them? Yes, yes we will.

Method of victory; 

"Going beyond" 60%
Breathing    25%
Magic Sword  15%

Purity of the Boy - an absolute clear 100%

(Pederasty levels - he carries around his sister gagged in a box)


If I hadn't seen 'Summer Wars' and 'Your Name', and/or was a teenage girl, I would think this was the most amazing animation of the last ten years but I have and am not so I just think it was very good. Beauty and the Beast, Virtual World, Young Girl, Tragic Backstory, Coming of Age. Good anime. No complaints.

Method of victory; 

Decency 20%
Hyperintelligent best friend    30%
Singing  50%