Why journalism's patriarchal narrative structures keep distorting our perceptions of realty.

The Economist has a very distorted chart worth noting here:

White nationalism after Christchurch

The new face of terror, much like the old

Violent white nationalists increasingly resemble the jihadists they hate

This is a very stupid chart and a stupider hypothesis, but not for the reasons that you think.

In my 2005 book, Don’t Believe It!: How lies become news, I go over a very important method of dealing with hate crime stories, terror stories, and war stories: erase the ethnicity or race of the players. Just forget them entirely.

Look at the facts. Look at the logic. See if Group or Person A could possibly do this to Group or Person B.

Many times, just by removing ethnic or racial designations, the story completely falls apart.

Because the distorting lens is removed, and the emotional triggers are gone.

Why is this method effective?

Because our own personal biases and prejudices are gone, and we have no idea who is suppose to be the hero or villain. We are looking at actions because we don’t have the hacks of ethnicity to cloud our judgement.

But it goes one step deeper: it kicks away our props and supports and we are forced to judge people as people.

But journalism cannot do this because its entirely existence is based in a Patriarchal Narrative where there can be only one good guy, and anyone else is a bad guy.

It cannot deal with Matriarchal realities of intersecting lives. It does not compute. If journalism was a calculator, it would be one that could not do math. It would have just two numbers: 1 and 0.

It would know that 1≠0, and that’s about it.

And 0=bad and 1=good.

That’s a pretty shitty calculator.

So what the Economist is trying to do is present an inaccurate truth of 0 and 1, and that’s not true.

White supremacists were always terrorists. They lynched people who were not like them. There is no “increasing” here. We just cherry-pick certain events and then try to paint a narrative how we should now see these people are bigger bad guys than the ones who are bad guys of a different in-group.

No, they are the same. These are both racist cabals who are violent. The end.

The world is full of violent people. The press wants to somehow knock Trump by proclaiming one violent group is worse than another violent.

No, you have two violent groups. They aren’t just racist, but misogynistic.

So your chart is garbage and so is your hypothesis.

The world was always violent. It always had cabals who terrorize people and cause harm to innocents. There is no narrative. I don’t want to deal with any of them. The Ustashi slaughtered my grandmother’s family just because they were Serbs. The Nazis slaughtered Jews. They both were violent, and both got away with far too much.

And any other group that wants to kill people is a bad group. No worse, no better. If your mandate includes extermination, you suck. The end.

And if journalists were truly “progressive” as all the cool kids try to convince me, they wouldn’t be making racist charts or bringing up race: they would say that there are various clusters of violent people targeting innocent people for slaughter. They would not indulge the excuses. They would name names and put faces to the names. You wouldn’t be employing the faceless techniques of war propaganda.

Because in the end, race doesn’t make you a murderer. It’s your lack of character, ability to see truths, emotional illiteracy, and cowardice.

If we held individuals accountable and didn’t indulge their excuses, they would not be able to hide in numbers. They could not pretend they had a cause, because they don’t.

But that takes breaking away from patriarchal narratives and stop distorting reality just to make silly charts and nonexistent points…

Read More

Radicalizing the opposition: How players outsmart themselves.

I

II

Two-Buttons.jpg

III

Whenever we talk about an extreme collective, what we actually mean is an expensive or greedy collective. Extreme Right means rich people hoarding money, but an Extreme Left means middle class and poor people expecting free money to fund everything for them. Both want things they did not earn, trying to frame it in a moral issue of being their “right.”

And for both, it is never enough. They always have a new cause, grief, and shopping list. It never ends.

These bottomless pits of high-maintenance cabals are not worth the price tag. Rich people aren’t rich because they give money: they exploit, throw pennies, make threats, and then think they owe you as they make outrageous demands. I have seen that up close. They pay less than average, and often nothing at all.

But then you have those on the other extreme: they always want, want, want without making any suggestion about how they will actively obtain it. It is never enough — and how many of this ilk call themselves “activists” but the “active” part never seems to materialize. They will mug all sad-faced for the camera because there isn’t enough money in the world to fund everything they want.

I am not a skinflint. I believe in healthcare and pharmacare. I believe in accessible education. I believe in decent wages and functional working conditions.

But I do believe the entire whole has to contribute in order to keep things progressing. I believe in responsibilities that go along with the rights.

So you have two extremists within any given society and both have the identical mindset. They are always on, and they would demand the same money — and you would receive no goodwill for it. Neither would ever say, “Don’t worry; that’s more than enough. I can do the rest myself.” In modern Western society, it never happens, and there is no reasoning: both see themselves as superior and distrust anyone who makes a mere suggestion. How dare you? Who are you to meddle?

The one who you want to stiff with the bill whether you can pay for it yourself or not.

In a political landscape, a cagey strategist keeps a damper on both. These are hard layers of society, very much like a Dobos torte.

download.jpeg

Both have a sense of entitlement: the rich think they are smarter and are the ones who are doing the hiring. They are not doing all of it, however. The poor, when they work, do the hard jobs and live in the bad parts of town, unless they know how to use a social safety net, and then they do better than it first appears.

But often, both the rich and the poor use the same social safety nets but for different reasons. Many independently wealthy people know that certain kinds of public transportations can be free and they use it daily, for instance, and they use the same service as the poorest. There are free home care service that both extreme groups use. If you know your way around a system, you can literally save yourself thousands a dollars a year.

These safety nets are meant for the poor, but people in mansions use them, too.

So we have a peculiar system in the West where money is thrown around with noway of knowing anything save for the fact that there is never enough.

And there is no end to demands with a passive entitlement.

Look at this propaganda poster, for instance.

51099686_10219157170863786_1410933860958470144_n.jpg

Imagine if parents and students actively went exploring their own strengths and weaknesses, experimented with trial and error, let go of the Zero-Risk Mindset and were willing to fail and learn to find this for themselves.

Imagine having to own up to shortcomings, practicing, failing, and then going back into the ring again.

This propaganda poster literally wants learning by osmosis. Why don’t we just set up an IV and let it drip in your brain as you stare like a dummy on your godphone.

Let some They do all the work for us. This is the reason AI and androids are all the rage: maybe we can just lie on the sofa all day as we get high, sink low, and let someone else live our lives for us.

No one wants to invest. No one wants to take a risk.

But everybody wants something.

And the more, the better.

The political landscape has been stymied because election campaigns are the time where politicians actively bribe people to vote for them. People want those expensive trinkets, and the government promises sunny ways, if only you will give them your vote.

The problem when you bribe for votes, people imagine a Happily Ever After once your are in power.

Traditionally, the class to court was the Middle Class — the soft layer of the Dobos Torte because the hard layers protected them: the poor did the hardest jobs and took the hits, while the rich gave the jobs and took the risks.

So this is the most naive and sheltered class we have — and the easiest to manipulate.

They are the ones who usually do not know about all the social safety nets, let alone exploit them. It is not as if they don’t use them, such as libraries as they are cheaper entertainment, particularly for children, but it is not the same.

Ideally, you want a society with as many Middle Class people as you can muster. They are the most trusting, the least demanding, willing to earn their keep without question, and they are the tax base you have to placate the hard layers as much as you can.

You also want as many rich and poor people to identify as Middle Class as well: it is an obedient mindset that makes people feel good. They make less demands. When you give certain poor graft, you give them just enough to squeeze a reasonable facsimile of the Middle Class lifestyle. It is comfortable enough, and the mindset keeps the peace.

But when politicians are in a tight race, they often get desperate, and they do something strategically off to set off one of the two extremes. For all the talk about Left and Right-wing politics, both sides are the most successful when they place themselves in a centrist position. A Centrist, Middle Class comfort zone ensures the most votes, and the smoothest sailing for any regime. Let people delude themselves into thinking their Left/Right-wing Light means they are informed and out there. Bless their heads.

A panicked politician may often press the wrong button, and then they awaken and mobilize the wrong faction. Kathleen Wynne did this to her own detriment.

The Ontario Liberals were centrist for years, but then slowly drifted increasingly to the Left, where there is already a party in place: the NDP. They are on the edge, and save for one freak term, can never muster enough seats to govern.

Wynne started cribbing from Andrea Horwath’s playbook during the last election, doing very dicey things, such as Basic Income. She did it in NDP territory of Hamilton, and if she hoped to sway votes, it gloriously backfired.

All she managed to do was radicalize the Left in the province, and then they got greedy.

Once emboldened because they got something from the centrist Grits, they weren’t grateful, and they certainly didn’t show respect to the party who gave it to them and suddenly switched their vote: they figured a more leftist party would up the ante and give them even more.

In this case, “free” (taxpayer-funded) dental care.

The Liberals were wiped out, and the NDP surged to become the official opposition. To steer too far into strange territory was a de facto admission that they were wrong all this time, and were swallowed up by the radicalized element.

The problem was that there was not enough votes to sustain a NDP victory: those in the centre who did not become infected with radicalization voted in the opposite direction, and it was the Conservatives who won the majority, and then took away all those gains the left had from the Liberal regime, making them even more radicalized in the bargain, figuring the louder and angrier they are, the better chance they have of forcing people to give them things. So far, it has been a recipe for marginalization. Basic Income was taken away, and the hotbed for cultivating leftist politicians — Toronto City Hall was slashed to almost half.

Had Wynne kept in the middle, she had a better chance to retain power, by trying to woo the hard left, she lost her centrist votes and did free campaigning for her rival as her other rival sailed to an easy victory.

The Federal Liberals are in a very similar bind these days, and this was not the time to have the problem brought on by SNC-Lavalin, a company that cut its Canadian workforce by over half in less than a decade, but threatened to march itself in the UK, even though Brexit is looming over Britain.

The scandal was exploited by the press, which was an odd thing to do: with an election year this year, the federal Liberals promised newspaper owners free money to bail their incompetent asses out of a jam.

But they harped and harped on it, and then the scandal took a life of its own out of their hands.

And with much backtracking, justifying, and misreading the signs, many stories right now are trying to tie things up — the Prime Minister pretended to be sorry as he blubbered another sorry to something unrelated to his own actions, so let’s all calm down.

Too late.

What the scandal has now done is radicalize the right. It is not quite the same as the Wynne case, but a group has been radicalized nonetheless. It doesn’t matter if the press reports on it or not. The Grits let this wound bleed for a month. It doesn’t matter what happens with SNC-Lavalin anymore. It doesn’t matter what the PM says anymore. It doesn’t matter what deceptive propaganda the government tries to spew to pretend there is job growth instead of retraction because housing is tumbling, the bank of mom and dad has run dry, and Alberta is having meltdown. The damage is done.

The right have now been radicalized, but so have those the fiscal far-right — those with money and clout. The Grits did the unspeakable and lifted a curtain just enough for the Middle Class to see that the laws in this country apply to everyone but the rich who write the laws and take the graft.

And they will do all that they can replace that clumsy regime with one that knows how to do things behind an iron curtain will reassuring the jittery middle class that those things will never happen again. They will be greedy about it, too because for the rich, it is never enough. SNC-Lavalin keeps getting in all kinds of trouble with the world because of it, but it never stops them from asking for more than before, and the government happily obliges.

Whoever wins the election, the first order of business being dealing with those who put it out the scandal in the first place.

While the Grits are getting more distracted by other things, the dynamics of this election have altered.

A extremist fringe has been awakened. It will cost them, because contrary to first appearances, Justin Trudeau did not take the Grits to the Left or keep them Centrist: he shifted them to the Right.

He legalized pot, and that is, in theory, supposed to make entrepreneurs rich. Extremely rich. It is the reason why so many politicians invested heavily in those businesses in the first place.

And why we are seeing a push to open the gates to legalized heroin and to lower the age to 16.

Notice how it is never enough.

By demoting a minister to appease corporate interests, Trudeau didn’t help empower a female: he humiliated her on a global scale to let the rich white boys skirt some consequences, even though they have been pulling out of these country and never seem to learn their lesson, no many how many times they get nabbed.

That means the wealthy will push harder, not retreat. The NDP don’t get the nuances and their core is to the left. The Grits are trying to go Right, and while they are willing to play the game, they suck at it, causing scandal in their wake.

It is a hot mess, and one a centrist regime often finds itself in. They are not a radical centre where the point is to foster and grow a core with ways other than electoral bribery. A radical centrist, unlike the garden variety centrist, pushes toward a Complete Risk Strategy. No gambles. No sure things. No status quo. No predictability. Just risk.

This creates an active arena where rigs to keep things static cannot work. There are no hard and soft layers. There are no rights without responsibilities. Rules are turned over until they break, and then they fragments are studied. There is no complacency. While the Fourth Medium — the Internet — is sedentary and encourages in-groups and staying in place, a radical centre seeks media that encourage movement, connection, and exploration.

And no They to beg or Them to blame. It Us. It is Matriarchal. It is not about narratives. It is about finding the deepest truths of the university, getting to know and cherish them with our every revelation, right before we unleash that truth to pave new paths ourselves.

Without fear or anger.

It is a balance, and we need that balance for all people to prosper…

Stop telling women that they don't need to change to be leaders: Sorry, Globe and Mail, but reinforcing the fairy princess archetype is the Supper of Losers.

Here is a garbage article in the Globe and Mail that is the absolute worst advice anyone can give to ambitious women:

Stop telling women they must change themselves to become leaders

No, fairy princess, get over yourself.

Obviously someone was raised on old patriarchal fairytales and related to the fairy princess rather than the hero.

A fairy princess, or damsel-in-distress is the slot for characters who never grow and change, and hence, always need someone else to rescue them.

The hero, on the other hand, evolves, grows, see his deficiencies, learns the skills needed, makes the attitude adjustment, and changes and transforms himself to victory.

Transmutation is the breakfast of champions.

Staying just the way you are is passive, stagnant, and the Supper of Losers.

Those who don’t change die out. This is basic evolution. Movement is so critical that even physically staying in place causes the body to decay.

Let alone the mind.

To stay in place — physically, emotionally, and mentally — is a freeze response — a sign of both fear and defeat.

Women’s glass ceiling is a two-sided one: yes, men have kept women back, but women have kept themselves back thinking that not to change means decisiveness.

No, it means defeat. It is a form of self-sabotage.

If the lessons and evolution of life has not inspired you to radically change over the years, you are unteachable. Not just in responses, but in personality.

Far from women not changing, they should radically change and frequently.

You should break your routines and habits every so often in order to shake yourself — and your environment — out of slumber.

Because success depends on it.

For example, many people — men and women — stall in their careers and don’t know why.

They have a problem called a panda: there is something real — and defective — in their personality that prevents anymore promotions. They are clinging on to a rote routine or bad habit that keeps them back.

It is not the workplace. It is the person who refuses to look inward, get feedback, and change.

And because women have had less experience in leadership roles, they do not have a wealth of history to draw from.

But men have countless manuals with the common theme of how to adopt and change in order to obtain success.

The power rests within them.

If you are a woman and think you are perfect and have no need to change, motherfucker, you are going to make life a whole lot harder for yourself for no reason at all.

You are not showing strength by staying just the way you are. You are showing a lack of growth potential.

You have to be inconvenienced. You have to have the ability to admit you are wrong and deficient because people are not born equipped to be perfect.

We have an ability to learn, grow, and change.

And it should be something to embrace.

The strong are those who change. Leaders are those who change. They are not intimidated by novelty and learning new ways of being.

Women do need to change. In fact, when they did change, they got a massive improvement in their lots in life. When they sat back meekly, they were their husband’s property who weren’t allowed to vote or have rights.

When they changed first, guess what? So did the laws. Had even more women gotten involved, they would have gotten more rights even sooner.

Had women stayed the same, they still would be their husband’s properties not allowed to be educated or vote or do anything they wanted or needed.

And in order for your actions to change, your thinking needs to change.

And in order for your thinking to change, your attitude has to change.

And in order for your attitude to change, your personality has to change, too.

You turn the leaden shackles in your heart into the golden lasso that helps you climb to the top.

And there is nothing wrong with changing. It is how the brave thrive under any circumstance.

How will you ever reach your potential standing in one place thinking the same thoughts and way?

Deal with it…

The Political Movement Scams in an Age of Propaganda.

The pseudo-rise of socialism in the US is a scam.

We can have polls to show it isn’t much of a movement, but the numbers are even lower than that.

Socialism is the same mafia under a different label. Do not be naive.

Think about it: how did it start? In a sea of social media users drowned out by billions of cat pictures, why did that get any attention?

Simple, because you have pr forms and political operatives who pushed it, and paid for attention, and someone has to have millions of dollars to burn for it. There is no other way.

Why would conservatism be shadow-banned by social media — accounting for a princely chunk of its revenue stream — but not socialism that goes against their business model?

These games are nothing new, just updated versions that only the culturally and historically illiterate do not see.

When Communism came into the now former Yugoslavia, the people who were rich before Communism stayed rich. The people who were poor before Communism stayed poor. Only university-educated public servants lost out — the Middle Class. People in power play the system because that is their strength, and no matter what is the label, they know how to manipulate it and rig it to their advantage. They change the mask and the script’s content, but the structure stays the same.

For the Middle Class never had to struggle before then and became too soft. They took the rigged system for granted as their parents pushed them into jobs through who they knew. Once the old system became tainted, they lost out the most.

But the rich grew richer.

My grandfather was a case in point of someone who was wealthy before and after Communism.

He ran a blackmarket. He could get you anything. During the Communist regime, he had his own private zoo with a monkey. He had a circus camped out on his front lawn. He had a fleet of boats. He used the Danube during the war to transport goods from multiple countries.

Right after the First World War, when he came to Belgrade, he was homeless, literally living under a bridge. It didn’t take him long to make his obscene wealth. He went hunting with royalty, getting a jewel-encrusted rifle from Serbian Prince George.

During the War, his business boomed.

But it flourished under Communism.

The government gave him his labour for his fishing business — soldiers (in a time where every male of a certain age had to serve) and prisoners. All he had to do was feed them and supply water to the army, which cost him nothing as it was on his property. The fish they ate was the ones they caught. No worker’s rights. He had a captive workforce and didn’t have to share his profits from his legitimate business — or his underground one.

He lived like a king, partying in nightclubs, buying rounds for the entire bar. He had no trouble bribing officials to get his way — and they were highly bribable.

Workers of the world unite? Yeah, on granddad’s property to work like a horse for fish.

So here is a system that pretended to be equitable, but wasn’t equitable. The rich stayed rich. The poor stayed poor. The Middle Class couldn’t find stable work and had to live with their parents. The only people whose lives change are those who have university degrees who had public sector jobs who are now “tainted” with the “wrong kind” of education, and must be discarded for those who will work for less with less benefits, but have the “correct” indoctrinated mindset.

So when I hear about people spewing about socialism, I know there is serious money behind it. It is the perfect misdirection. Get youth alienated from their more experienced parents, tell them lies how they are “owed”, and have a face-saving way of getting that champagne socialist lifestyle so people don’t know they are “failed” social media stars and don’t have to work.

Tearing generations apart in order for one rich tycoon to have fresh, young, and gullible minions and workers toil at his whim is as old as the human race.

It would be nice is one generation broke the trend, started asking critical and skeptical questions as they were political atheists, learn from the past, and then forge new paths without being disrespectful to the old.

But vanity, envy, and greed gets in the way, and then someone offers another face-saving out — pretending there is a moral reason when there is none. It is the same old tricks that can be played on those raised in a patriarchal mindset where there can only be The One — but it is a lie to tell the masses whose fears blind them to happier places by looking within before embracing the world around them…

Read More

Music can impair creativity? You don't say!

I have been saying this for years because as a writer and artist who has taught creative writing and art, I can see how processed rhythms creep into the creative product.

You are becoming confined by someone else’s natural rhythms. You become an emulator and follow another’s grooves.

When I teach both art and writing, I tell people to turn off the music — but go out in the world and listen to natural noises to better reflect mood and cadence.

For example, if you want to reflect a couple having a childish fight, listen to children — not just when they are angry, but when they are silly, inquisitive, scared — and then extrapolate their various states to find common threads. Channel that frequency into your characters and you have something that can connect with an audience.

Listen to leaves rustling. Listen to the waves hit the shore. Listen to someone snoring. Listening to your cat grumbling for more treats. That will set the tone and the mood — not just in writing, but also in art.

When I began to write I Am Jane Doe, my first story was typed on an old electronic typewriting I had to listen to the banging and the rhythm of me working. Once I got the rhythm and the atmosphere I was aiming for, I redid them on my laptop.

I often write outdoors just to listen to the reality around me. My house always has some art process on the go, from a tumbler spinning to hammering — all of those noises are transmuted and then translated into events and characters.

Music is prepackaged and preprocessed noise. It is canned. It can be useful if you want to reflect a canned event, but it will not reach a mass audience — it will be a snapshot in time for a specific group, which may be what you want.

But if you want everyone on the same page, you have to get your noises fresh from scratch.

Science is behind the art, usually. I don’t need a study to know something as an artist with a psych degree, but this makes sense — if you want to get in tune with the frequencies of the world, you have to be open to it…

Adlibture: the stream of inspiration that will take you to the strangest of places. Follow your instinct, not the script.

I

14646388_bodyshot_300x400_zpsb4509935.gif
11518666_bodyshot_300x400_zps868869ed-2.gif
14646388_bodyshot_300x400_zps6b575371.gif
11518666_bodyshot_300x400_zps0d3dbe85.gif
11518666_bodyshot_300x400_zpsd7e6d362.gif

II

neo2_zps1dd966d7.gif
11518666_bodyshot_300x400-14.gif

III

Reading journalists whining is a real pain in the ass. Shut the fuck up.

Stop spinning a narrative overtly or covertly. What is done is done.

When you ignore people like me, expect the same treatment in return from the public.

Because no one is listening.

For a reason.

Journalism is following old scripts. The new kids are all frauds who are cribbers. Fuck them. They are riding on the coattails of the old and broken antiquated models.

If the profession wanted to be reborn, then they have to start from the very beginning.

And learn Adlibture, not scripture.

IV

The first step is anarchy, and with anarchy comes adlibture.

Follow your instincts, no matter if people disagree with you or think you are strange.

You take risks, not gambles.

You find inspiration wherever you wish.

For me, I have many, but let’s talk about one: my adoration for a comic book character who is seen as Steve Ditko’s other bug-themed superhero.

Ted Kord the Blue Beetle.

He is what every person should be: a person whose word is their bond.

You make a promise. You keep that promise.

The end.

He made a promise to a dying man where no one else heard him.

He did not have superpowers, but he was smart and made the technology.

He was inconvenienced. A police officer dogged him convinced he killed the civilian who was the original Blue Beetle.

But a promise is a promise.

He may have been rich, but he used his wealth for good. He could laugh. He could fight.

But most of all, he could absolutely be trusted to do the right thing.

I have the entire Charlton run in my office.

For a reason.

Because I have an affinity for the character, I have no problem being inspired in different ways.

Make use of what you have. Keep your promises. Help other people. Don’t forget to have fun.

And I did that all while having to deal with cancer.

And it took me out of very dark places. The Kordian System is a resounding success, and who cares if it came in a comic book?

Wisdom lurks everywhere.

That is the reason journalism’s collapse is an enigma.

But it is a selfish profession that hordes in anarchy, stealing scripts.

Not creating adlibtures that make you fluid and adaptable.

Because once you prove that you can be absolutely trusted in anarchy, you are on to the next step: alchemy.

Turning lead into gold.

Because alchemy is the emotional science that takes those adlibtures and puts them to good use.

You can improvise and assess on the drop of a hat.

And then, when you have your personal gold, you share it.

The third step of altruism.

You do not tell people how moral you are: you show.

No virtue-signalling or teeth-gnashing.

You give. You give credit where credit is due. You do away with pecking orders. You are not petty or jealous, let alone vindictive or closed-minded.

Your adlibtures begin to create new worlds on their own — and if you do it right, long after you breath your last.

People patronize me, ignore me, bully me, and dismiss me.

But they can never stop me.

I made a promise a long time ago.

And I keep my promises.

I have no trouble telling people off.

But I also have no trouble being inconvenienced to help someone when they are down without them ever knowing that I did.

That’s what should have been journalism. It should have been a noble profession.

Why?

No alibture.

And hence, no way of getting on track to altruism where it could freely create castles and gardens of gold without losing anything in the bargain…

The Intellectual Barbarians: How emotionally illiterate over-thinkers create their own Kaizo traps.

I

II

A Kaizo trap is something you find in some video games: you beat the big bad, but you still miscalculated or ignored something, and you still die at the end.

Like the old game Karateka. If the hero approaches the princess with an aggressive posture, she is going to kick his cojones and he dies.

The point is to be kind to the one you need to rescue, not be the same brute you were when you had to go up against kidnappers and murderers.

But that old game did something very instructive: it challenged a player’s TORTEE. The One Rule That Explains Everything doesn’t exist. The game made sure that you learned your hero’s manners. There is a fine line between a hero and a barbarian, and this was the game that made it amply clear where the line resided.

In order not to fall into a Kaizo Trap, players need to do something other than go through the motions of playing. It is not just rote; you need another element to resolve the problem.

Kaizo Traps in video games are rare.

But the ones in the real world are bountiful.

And in modern society, we have no shortage of people creating their own Kaizo Traps.

The Intellectual Barbarians.

How so?

Simple: while they are strictly focussed on intellectual intelligence, they ignore half of the landscape, meaning they are too emotionally illiterate to see the big picture.

III

We know a lot about intellectual logical fallacies, but almost nothing on emotional fallacies. This was made amply clear to me when I had cancer. Doctors and nurses quizzed me about all of the factors in my life that may have triggered it off. They asked if I was a drinker or smoker. They asked about family history. They became increasingly agitated when there was no a single checkmark they could scratch out because I did not fit the profile. I am not genetically predisposed to it. I am healthy. I never needed to see a doctor. I still don’t need any medication. I am not a drinker or smoker. I never did drugs. I am the most exciting boring person you’ll ever meet.

My jobs have never had me exposed to carcinogens. I eat healthy. I take vitamins and minerals. I look after my health and immune system.

So after going through that list, a doctor will sheepishly say, “Sometimes these things just happen.”

And I will say, “There is one thing not on the list that you forgot to ask me — has there been some traumatic stress in your life?”

Because there was.

And then immediately, the doctor will dismiss that.

Well, my mother had the same traumatic stress and she got cancer at the same time.

Still dismissed.

“There is no proof.”

There is no proof?

Of course there is scant proof. The studies are not devised in an emotionally literate way.

And I have never ever had a doctor ask me about any trauma in my medical history.

So, of course there isn’t proof: no one thought to define and measure it.

Get back to me when that is the standard question during the Cancer Quiz portion of the medical visit.

And the funny thing is, I will talk to people in the same waiting room, and an interesting percentage will bring up some trauma in their life that happened roughly two to three years prior to their diagnosis. A spouse died in a horrific way or there was a home invasion, or a child died.

They will rattle a list a tragedies, and then came the cancer, as if it were part of a long unlucky streak, never quite wondering if the trauma may have triggered the cancer.

You can’t find things if you don’t look or use the right mindset and tools to look for them.

It’s like anti-vaxxers ignoring the fact that when there is mass immunization, certain diseases are wiped out. As soon as people stop, they come roaring back.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis died in an asylum because he figured out that women were dying in childbirth because doctors never bothered to sterilize their hands, even after performing autopsies. Doctors thought he was insane and too emotional when he called hospitals murder dens.

He was right. The collective of intellectual barbarians were wrong.

Or once upon a time, people who had numb hands were thought to be mentally ill — until it was discovered it wasn’t “hysteria” but carpel tunnel syndrome.

Or when certain men had a succession of wives who died of cervical cancer were thought to be unlucky, not carriers of something that passed on something that triggered it, and now we have a vaccine to stop its spread.

A true scientific mind never dismisses anecdotal evidence or any evidence that does not fit a pattern. The first instinct should be to consider what it means — and then keep testing it to see if there is something new to be gleaned.

A pseudo scientific mind dismisses evidence, pushes people who challenge the status quo as being silly or intellectually inferior, and then reads the scripts and marches lockstep with that status quo.

If something doesn’t catch your eye or pique your curiosity, and you keep trying to explain away the exceptions to the rule as you cite flawed and crude irrelevant studies as if they were divine decree, you do not have a scientific mind.

You have a rote mind. You are not emotionally strong or literate enough to see there is a line of inquiry to explore.

I find it fascinating that we do not discuss traumatic stress. We know it can compel people to commit suicide or drop dead of a stroke and heart attack, but we don’t have traumatic shock specialists who could actually codify and quantify the physical impact of extreme emotional trauma.

And that is a shame, but considering that we have no formal educational structures to teach emotional literacy, we are always seeing half a picture, and always drawing the wrong conclusions.

And when you strictly stick to intellectualism, you are mimicking the thinking patterns of a psychopath.

That is what destroyed journalism. If you have no feel, you have no instincts and no internal measurements of the changes transpiring — and conspiring — around you. You live in a void vortex and facts can be no fortress unless you have the emotional literacy to know what it means.

In other words, you become half-stupid. Following a script and throwing tantrums is not going to salvage the plans of the half-stupid.

You can have you inner android honed, but unless your inner Neanderthal gets equal attention, your solutions will never work.

It is an internal — and eternal blind spot. The reason we have emotional illiteracy is that people are afraid, and then retreat and avoid the very things they must confront in order to solve the problem.

Intellectualism ranks and labels. It creates scales and pecking orders, sparking competitive thinking, and then those same intellectual barbarians become terrified of being seen as inferior; and hence, cannot see an obvious solution because it is standing behind the monster they fear the most — the one that psyches them out by taunting them that no matter how hard they study or what paper crowns they wear, they are stupid, deficient, and inferior.

And as long as they remain emotionally illiterate, the monster is right on the money.

Half-stupid.

Western thought is patriarchal, competitive, rote, and emotionally illiterate, and over the years, many obvious answers were ignored as the intellectual barbarians laughed and dismissed people who noticed healthy patients who had endoscopies were having problems because no one was sterilizing the equipment, spreading diseases, or that children living in certain toxic areas were all having a plethora of defects and diseases way above the national average. The people who first noticed it often weren’t scholars, doctors, or researchers — they were just people who were vigilant and noticed patterns, then started asking questions and challenged established narratives of Authority.

I remember when I was a psych student, I was taking a course in abnormal psychology, and we were going through (at that time) DSM-III-R, and we learned about alcohol withdrawal — what were the symptoms and indicators. Around the same time, a family friend developed a nasty cough and she was taking cough syrup. She was never a drinker, but as mom begged her to go to the hospital because the cough wasn’t going away, the dear friend stuck to over-the-counter syrup.

And then before anyone knew, she was in the ICU, having to be tied down. They told her husband to go buy a casket because it was over.

All of her symptoms screamed alcohol withdrawal, and I said this to the doctor who arrogantly dismissed me. Who had the medical degree? I did not back down — she must have had heart trouble, and the cough syrup had alcohol and she was having withdrawal symptoms.

Another doctor overheard me, and promised to look into that possibility. She made a speedy recovery, went home soon after with heart medication, and lived over a decade more after.

No, I did not have a medical degree. I didn’t need one. There was no medical mystery here as the first doctor implied. They can treat alcohol withdrawal and your heart at the same time.

My first family doctor could look you in the eye, shake your hand, and be 100% accurate in figuring out what was wrong with you. He would do all of the examinations, and tests, but he was always right. I learned from him as a little girl the importance of looking for quiet signs — but that takes feel.

You are not going to detect it staring at a computer screen or relying on AI because it takes more than input-output.

People are trying to eradicate emotions in intellectual thought. It doesn’t work. If you don’t hone your emotions, you miss everything that counts.

And you walk int an abyss hoping the numbness is a sign of intellectual victory as you don’t see that you have thrown yourself into emotional — and intellectual defeat…

Naked Reality: Painting pictures of reality requires the cowards to be squeamish.

KTLA anchor Chris Burrous died very young. He was married with a child, but died in a motel room of a crystal meth overdose philandering with a paramour.

Variety kept out the gory details with the neo-Victoirans deciding Burrous was a “nice guy” even as he was holed up in motel rooms stoned as his child could have died a thousand deaths.

The Blaze, on the other hand, left out no detail. This is making the Middle Class people very squeamish.

Too bad for them.

It is tiresome how the phrase “nice guy” is overused with reckless abandon. What makes a “nice guy”?

According to the comments on variety, having a sunny smile.

Yeah, that’s a real sign of a nice guy.

I do believe in airing all of the details. People need to deal with reality. Families may want to hide those details, but they’ve no right to do it. People need to stop trying to be amateur publicists, and often, their motives are not all that noble. They may wish to bank on that pseudo-pristine image, or they are also doing sketchy things and it want it hidden. We cannot assume people are being protective of a loved one.

And it is time to break away from the shackles of the Patriarchal. If we stop thinking in terms of good guy and bad guy, and think in terms of facts, we get a more accurate picture of who we are as a society. We don’t get cocky or insecure: it is what it is, and that’s all there is to it.

Why is naked reality so important?

Because often we miss very serious things because of our tendency to sweep things under the rug.

Crystal meth is not a little harmless drug. it is highly addictive and causes psychological problems.

What we have is extreme self-indulgence that brought on a fatal consequence. We actually know nothing about this man — and a smile reveals not very much.

Journalism was supposed to make the world naked. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, and the mysterious so that we would know where we stand. Spinning narratives, hiding uncomfortable facts, and making excuses it the way to tell lies, not see the truth.

There are severe consequences. A dead body, and a child who has one parent less.

A person can be troubled, but if they are not nice to themselves, that is a red flag that needs to be acknowledged and factored in. You can throw temper tantrums all you want, but a dead body is something we should try to avoid, and enabling troubled behaviour is the best way to keep a body count very high…

Actrivism, Part Nine: Immerse yourself in wavelengths. Learn to ride in someone else's soul.

I

6361070-Nikola-Tesla-Quote-If-you-want-to-find-the-secrets-of-the-universe.jpg

II

Nicola Tesla was a smart man. He’s #35 on the List of People Everyone Should Know.

And I took a lot from his ideas, particularly about understanding the deepest truths of the universe by understanding energy, frequency, and vibration.

Or, riding on the wavelengths of other people and groups.

When I decided to study the ways of journalism by becoming a journalist, what I was doing was riding on the wavelengths of this collective, how the justify their beliefs about themselves and how they process the world around them.

In-groups have their own little set of arrogant ideals, and they like to fancy themselves as superior, even when they are seen as underdogs or undesirables.

Look at CBC getting haughty because Fox News didn’t air someone who has gotten a lot of free press opining about the rich and their taxes.

CBC has conducted countless interviews that never made it to air.

When you interview a lot of people to make a narrative, some do not perfectly “fit” your pattern, and you will exclude it.

I have had editors cut out people I interviewed for articles, and I never found out until after publication.

But even in j-school, when one CBC producer came to lecture us, and we were given a real-life scenario, and we had to pick and choose which interviews made it and which ones were excluded.

So let’s not pretend. I have been interviewed for stories, and I never made it in the final product.

If you do not align perfectly with a narrative, you are removed.

I wrote OutFoxed: Rupert’s war on journalism, and I recount how the FNC is careful who they air, but it is not just the FNC.

Whenever you rely on narrative, you are going to do that sort of thing to keep the mindset in place.

Once it happened to me when I was writing about women who broke the law to appease a mate. I included a young woman who murdered a perfect stranger because her boyfriend asked her to do it.

The reason I included that case was to show it wasn’t some sort of romantic notion or that every woman was duped. I wanted a textured story, but the editor lopped it off, and the nuances of the story completely changed. I was not happy.

But that is the mundane reality of the newsroom.

I bet you do the same thing on Twitter and Facebook — cherry-picking articles and propaganda posters (that is what a meme poster is, kids) that fit perfectly with your beliefs with no dissenting perspective and stories.

But you take it for granted.

I didn’t.

I wanted to ride the wavelengths of the profession.

But once I began writing books about my findings, I wanted people to be able to immerse themselves the way I did.

So I did something very subtle: I presented the facts objectively through structure, but in such a way the mimicked the mindset of those I was writing about.

I did it with all of my books. You are going inside the mindset of the profession, feeling the same rhythms and frequencies as those working in it.

But a funny thing happened.

Some reviewers didn’t get it.

One was upset that I took the same “pot shots” at FNC pundits that they took on others, while completely missing the point.

The same goes for my latest book, When Journalism was a Thing.

The mimicry of the energy, frequency, and vibration completely went over some reviewers heads.

Not everyone was clueless, mind you. A lot of people understood the point.

I remember when I was a relationships columnist with the Hamilton Spectator, and I did the same immersion with a short 600-ish word column about money.

Someone wrote in, and got it. As in, felt it.

I set up a stage. I get into character — but not a fictitious character. It is Method Research, and I am a Actrivist.

I will upload the column and response another time.

But even back then, I would reflect the frequencies of those I was writing about.

That requires not being so me-centred. It is a you-centred exercise.

This is how you deal with the emotional aspect of covering people or events.

That’s how you walk through Infinity with someone else’s heart and soul to see their perceptions and go through their motions as if they were your own.

There is no Us Versus Them. You become the Them.

Outside and inside. You are both. Above and below. Left and right.

This method is the way of the Radical Centrist. You learn by becoming, and you gain energy by allowing its essence into the very stuff of your soul to see what are the problems and the core of their cause.

By becoming part of the problem before transmuting yourself into the solution…

Famous Bullshit Stories, Part One: Marrying a Billionaire is a really good idea!

I

Join the Book Club!

As an introductory offer, we'll send you the following books absolutely free: Eat, Run, Stay Fit And Die Anyway, How To Seem Intelligent, There's Big Money In Staying Put, Peace Of Mind By Losing Complete Control For 16 Hours a Day, Your Thighs Control Your Life, How To Fillet A Panda, Rid Yourself Of Doubt...Or Should You?, Chances Are Your Sister's Full Of Shit, How To Give Yourself A Complete Physical Without Getting Undressed, 64 Good Reasons For Giving Up Hope, Why Jews Point, 100 Dead People Nobody Misses, Backpacking For Shut-Ins, My Dog Is A Real Fruit, Your Shoes Are Worth Money, Reorganizing Your Pockets, What To Wear On The Toilet, 124 Simple Exercises For The Teeth, The Stains In Your Shorts Can Indicate Your Future, Tips On Getting Laid, Self-Mutilation As An Attention Getter, 600 Ways To Give People The Shaft, Tremble Your Way To Fitness, You Give Me Six Weeks And I'll Give You Some Disease
And if you join today, we'll send the following books absolutely free: Poems for the Insane, A Treasury of Poorly Understood Ideas, Apartment Hunting For Devil Worshipers, A Complete List of All The Things That Are Still Pending
And these books on food are yours: The Intravenous Cookbook, The Meaning Of Corn, Fill Your Life With Croutons, The Food Coloring Diet, Cooking For The Paralyzed, Cooking With Heat
And, if you join today, we'll send the following books absolutely free: Controlling Fear Without Getting Frightened, Things No One Can Help, Understanding People You'll Never Meet, 6 Ways To Fuck Up Before Breakfast, Marriage For One, I Suck-You Suck, Let's Change The Alphabet,
Famous Bullshit Stories, Sport Fishing With Power Saws, Why Hawaii And Norway Are Not Near Each Other
And if you join today, we'll send the following books absolutely free: A List Of People Who Mean Well, Don't Throw Away Your Old Skin, 10 Things We Don't Know Yet, Caring For The Seated, The Wrong Underwear Can Kill, Trotting Across Zaire, Why It Doesn't Snow Any More, A Complete List Of Everyone's Personal Effects, Six Cities No One Has Ever Been To, I Gave Up Hope And Died And It Worked!, Famous People Who Were Wiry, The Lives Of Six Extremely Short Saints, Anna May Wong's Tits Are Made Of Aluminum
And if you join today, we'll send the following instruction books absolutely free: How To Do Everything At Once, How To Give People Your Best Regards, How To Spoil Other People's Fun, How To Kill A Rat With An Oboe, How To Organize A Tupperware Gang Bang, How To Wave Goodbye Without Moving Your Arms, How To Spot Truly Vicious People In Church, How To Get Back From Boston, How To Lease Out The Space Inside Your Nose, How To Get A Tan With A Flashlight, How To Start A Range War, How To Spot A Creep From A Distance, How To Give A King A Really Hard Time, How To Kill Your Nephew, How To Become A Greaseball and How To Turn Unbearable Pain Into Extra Income
So call now. Right now! Join the Book Club today!

—George Carlin, from A Place for My Stuff


II

Patriarchal Fiction Narratives must be one of the “Famous Bullshit Stories” form George Carlin’s Book of the Month Club.

I was a teen when I got the cassette, and my family and I listened to comedy tapes on long car trips. I remember this sketch well because mom had to stop on the side of the road because she — grandma, and I were laughing out loud with tears in our eyes. We couldn’t stop or catch our breath.

But “Famous Bullshit Stories”, got the biggest howling from us all.

While we laughed at other sketches and tapes, nothing beat Book of the Month for us. We were uncontrollable.

But back to Famous Bullshit Stories.

That is a classic.

I actually wanted to call my first book, Don’t Believe It!” How lies become news, Famous Bullshit Stories, but didn’t. That’s Carlin’s gem.

But fiction is nothing but famous bullshit stories.

Like indoctrinating women into thinking that marrying a rich guy is a good idea. He is a hoarder and a bully by default. He has to be on top of a pecking order.

I know this to be true in too many instances. I have known women who married rich men, and they are not allowed to have money on them. They cannot do chores when they want. Their husbands determined every aspect of their lives, and are abusive.

But I also knew it from other places — such as high-end boutiques where husbands doled out money for both the wife — and his slew of mistresses. Many women hid what they bought and owed money to those boutiques, terrified that their husbands would find out she spent more than he decreed. She would buy it on store credit, then tremble in her boots.

I knew as a journalist just how horrific a wealthy husband could be.

Lately, it seems that more women are speaking out about that kind of abuse, from being forced into degrading sex acts with their mates for basic food money, to being starved while the husband buys himself whatever toy he wants.

And let’s not pretend these women didn’t earn that money. Often, the men need the woman to sell all her assets for seed money. She often came up with the idea. She did work in the business. She often financially supported him and his dreams.

And then he repays her by imprisoning her.

I have always said do not waste your time and money playing king-maker. Don’t mom your husband. That takes away from your focus, and while you are too busy making him a Great Man, he has free time to procure mistresses to prove to his business buddies that he is capable of getting women into making bad personal deals where he gets more out of them than they get out from him.

And then the wife and the mistresses must make appointments to clothing stores so they don’t run into each other and have a catfight in the evening gown section.

I am not making this up.

A lot of gender inequality comes from women spending more time on their husband’s careers than their own. I used to make mental notes to myself: Memo to Alexandra Kitty: It’s all about you. Adult male can look after his own ass, and can rely on his Mommy should he be deficient.

I am not married. Footloose and fancy-free. I have had men try to control me, and the odd part was some of them I wasn’t even dating. I have had my own labour of loves and eccentric endeavours, and had men bring me to task that I wasn’t making money, I should do this instead, why I am spending money, literally priming me and grooming me to curb my indulgences and experiments.

I wasn’t hitting them up for cash. They didn’t pay my bills. It was none of their business. Yet they saw nothing wrong with their indulgences and experiments, even if they were losing more money in the bargain.

Correction: losing their wife’s money.

When I started A Dangerous Woman Story Studio, I made certain none of those famous bullshit stories were in there. Sometimes a man was unequal to the female, but she never supported him or used her connections to help him — dude was capable and he equalized himself without his wife having to appease an ego. She had her career and freedom just as he did. If I am writing about a rich man falling in love with a woman, you better believe that she’s a tycoon in her own right. I like ultimate sexy power-couples, but they will be running their own empires, thank you very much.

And I skewer the they billionaire-is-a-good-husband trope every chance I get — always using real-life cases in my stories. The World’s Most Dangerous Woman stories have a lot of billionaires who are wicked husbands. The Detective stories also have bad husbands who think money will control everyone. Those who have power didn’t get it by being nice or generous.

And then there is the Doyenne Assassin.

Not only does she whack the Dreadful who often are rich and powerful, she is also the author of ridiculous books of women sleazing it up the sex ladder to marry billionaires who rescue them — except these trashy books are coded reports of her success hits.

After all, she is the best hitwoman who ever lived. The steamy novelist is just a cover for her.

You don’t mess with the Doyenne Assassin.

Wealth is a nice thing to have. Morals are even better. Our world is one where we reward the tyrants and willingly so. We teach young boys how to be competitive and win at any cost. That’s on society.

If you want a better world, then the story you tell children has to radically change.

Don’t teach little girls to invest in their husbands. Don’t teach little boys to see their families as their means to an end.

Teach both to be self-reliant and confident. Show them how not to get on a hamster wheel. Don’t compete with your neighbours because when you die, no one will bother remembering the big mansion you had.

People have lives and better things to do than be impressed by you or your mate.

If they are like me, they have their indulgences and experiments, and prefer their own eccentric creativities over your gaudy trinkets any day...

Piaget, Pandas, and why there is absolutely no "war" on men or boys. As usual, the National Post is afraid of women with self-respect.

I

ext.jpeg

II

of.jpg

III

When I was in my early twenties, I had a rabbit named Trixie, given that name because I got her on Halloween (trick or treat), not because of Beatrix Potter.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 3.41.29 PM.png

Trixie Pixie weighted 900 grams.

She was a tiny little thing, but had a heart of a lioness. I also had a red canary Ben who was free and the two were inseparable. When Ben passed away because the vet gave the wrong antibiotic twice instead of once, Trixie was very sad. I rescued another rabbit Susie, and the two also became inseparable.

Trixie had numerous operations because her jaw was too small for her teeth. She went to the University of Guelph constantly, but she lived about six years. She was loving, bossy, nosy, and very brave.

Particularly when it came to standing up to humans that rubbed her the wrong way.

There was one man who was a family friend who was not the most sensitive person in the world. He thought it was funny to make loud nonsensical noises when he saw Trixie, and tried to twist her nose repeatedly. She’d run away, I would tell him that wasn’t acceptable, he’d dismiss me as some sort of snowflake, and do it again.

But Trixie always got her revenge.

Because she knew which pair of shoes he wore and then promptly pissed in them. Only his. Never anyone else’s.

Then he’d put them on, complain they were wet, but never quite hit upon the fact that he was mucking around in rabbit urine.

And then he’d come for the next visit, where the cycle went on without deviation. I never went to hide his shoes from Trixie.

That’s what you get for intimidating a 900 gram herbivore.

Trixie was a smart little bunny. I had to euthanize her when she developed a brain tumour. I think her passing hurt me the most in the fuzzy kid division.

She had an unbelievable sense of fairness. I had been dealt a serious blow in my professional life, and one that would have been a breakthrough. I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried in my life, and that was one. I was blowing off steam on my sofa in the living room with my mother on the love seat that was in front of a ledge with potted plants on it. Trixie ran to the ledge, and promptly knocked flower pots right on my mother’s head by pushing them with her own little noggin.

What can I say? She thought mom was responsible for me getting upset and was going to level the playing field. She was a righteous little mini-lop.

She was protective of me, and I always returned the favour. I did not take kindly to people trying to abuse her, but it seemed every time I told a male — and it was always an adult male — to knock it off, they would fly off the handle, and keep doing it. I had a male relative do the same thing, and neither one of those people are in my life anymore.

They were both ill-behaved and unteachable. When someone tells you not to make loud and stupid noises and try to twist their pet’s nose, stop doing it. You are being a swine. There is no benefit in frightening a small animal. There is no benefit in bad manners that net you no rewards, but impede your social standing as you alienate people who just want you to stop annoying them and their pets.

It is not a “war” if someone tells you to stop being uncivilized. It is the inevitable byproduct of feral behaviour. I never went to these men’s houses to molest and disturb their animals.

But it wasn’t just my pets. These were the same people who belittled every one of my achievements, called me names, tried to gaslight me as they patronized me, telling me what to think regardless if I had expertise and they never heard of the subject before in their lives, and thought they had every right to tell me how to dress, dye my hair, put on my make-up, and that I should stop having a career, and do something of value, like get married and have children.

I never stood for it. I told them off, even as a kid, and then they got upset with me, calling me rude.

Excuse me, I just said, “Hello.” You made lengthy comments about a pimple on my chin. That is a deliberate attempt at establishing a pecking order by making me feel inferior to you and be too consumed with my alleged deficiencies to see what you are doing.

I am not a moron. The fact that I push back doesn’t mean there is a “war” against snowflake you.

Instead of getting your knickers in a knot, you can sign up for some etiquette lessons.

LOGO-GOLD-e1527165672104.png

They really are miracle workers. Bless the Brits for their centuries-long dedication to sensitivity to other people’s feelings.

They didn’t write a silly column in the National Post whining about some non-existent war on boys and men, and then try to impose a narrative about it being “ideology versus science” because it isn’t.

So what’s really going on here?

Simple: communications technology finally caught up to reality, and what was always happening suddenly could no longer be suppressed by a patriarchal news media.

IV

In Canada, men are a minority, and have been for at least thirty years. 50.4% of the population are women, and yet men are vastly over-represented in positions of power in both business and government. We have always had rigs that favoured men, and biology has zero to do with it. White men, who are even a smaller piece of that demographic pie, are even more over-represented based on the population make-up.

So here is a single minority group among a mosaic of minority groups, who are upset because the Internet finally allows us to hear what everyone around us is thinking. Stop mansplaining is not throwing a grenade; it’s feedback that the individual does not need to be treated like she is in kindergarten when she has a graduate degree and has expertise in the field under discussion.

Before, the press would either ignore the complaints, or worse, spin them to make it sound as if some lunatic fringe was spewing insanity. That is a crying shame. If people understood that in a planet of 7.4 billion people, you will have a sea of disagreement, outrage, support, and differing opinions decades ago, they wouldn’t take the peculiar stance that they are.

Fox News exploits this demographic: they target frustrated white men and then tell them nothing in their lives is their fault, which is ridiculous. Sometimes you are the architect of your own misery, and the sooner you see it, the sooner you can do something about it and get yourself out of your slump.

A big problem for men is the fairytales they have been told where there can only be The One, and if someone opposes you, that they are the Villain to be vanquished and women are just there to be saved because they are inferior to you and are made to drool all over you.

That is a fantasy.

And a horrible lie. If we reversed the gender roles, it would be no less horrific. No one should be following this destructive rigged script.

A more sensible map is that we all have hopes, dreams, and goals. We all have different life requirements. We are all flawed and make mistakes. We have rights, but also responsibilities. Life isn’t always looking for an entourage to drool all over you, nor find an inferior ditz to relieve your crude urges. People who have different ideas have the same rights as you do.

Cooperation and negotiation to coordinate our competing interests is far more profitable and liberating than some competition where it is all-or-none. A shrewd person makes alliances, and ensures that there is a balance for everyone in terms of work, risk, responsibilities, and payoffs. Jealousy, greed, laziness, and ego are very destructive forces, but they are not some static force that chains us forever to ruin our lives. We have to face our worst traits, acknowledge them, realize they manipulate our perceptions of reality, and then do something about them.

Men shouldn’t feel threatened if a woman is a visionary who is ambitious. She has every right as does he to aim high, but the second a woman does break through as a man is called on the carpet for trying to sabotage her, other men get scared and then make up a propaganda tale of there being a war on men.

No, there isn’t. There is a man person who is prime minister, just as the other two political parties have man people in charge of their party. The only party to have a woman person is the Greens and they have one seat.  The world’s most powerful players are men. That hasn’t changed. And those men have their fans and many are seen as visionaries.

There is no war just because someone calls you an asshole. You are an asshole.

That Fox News can tell bedtime stories to men who are silly enough to believe them is not a surprise. The sad thing is that those men don’t realize that the FNC gets rich by keeping them running on a hamster wheel of hate, and keeps them in a very unhappy holding pattern because that’s how they create audiences. MSNBC plays the same propaganda for losers on the left. Both sides would be wise to look inward, get off the fucking wheel, and break old habits and modify their behaviours to make them prosper.

But the National Post is playing a similar game, recruiting Jordan Peterson into their web, which I find utterly fascinating. Peterson is a psychologist by trade, and this pop psych narrative has many of his detractors unnecessarily stymied. Their counterarguments are too cerebral. They are over-thinking things and not addressing the audience that has had a spell cast on them as they have been primed by the FNC into thinking they are victims.

What’s interesting is that Peterson’s pop psych arguments do not go anywhere near the logic of Jean Piaget’s Stage Four of Cognitive Development (Piaget is Person #31 on the List of People Everyone Should Know). The Formal Operational Stage is one that many adults never attain, but you cannot be an experimental psychologist and not be in that very stage because that’s the very stage where experimental psychology depends on for its very purpose and methods.

So Peterson isn’t someone who could possibly be devoid of a Stage Four mind, yet his pop psych is clearly at Level Two and Three.

That’s quite a feat.

Journalism was never in Stage Four, and I have said that is the reason it collapsed, but Peterson made a career of intellectual regression. It is a cagey move: for one, your detractors will never reach the people who are being beguiled because they will use Stage Four Arguments, and those under the spell have been stymied by their Stage Three prison, and can’t see it.

They very well may be capable of making the leap to the Fourth Stage — but they were led to believe that they didn’t need that leap because the narratives they were told are of lower stages, and they cling on to those stories, thinking it is the answer for Winning At Life.

It is a recipe for self-destruction.

So if there is no “war” on men, why are they stuck in a slump that distorts their perceptions of reality?

The answer lies in pandas.

V

Many ambitious white collar types — and even the entire profession of journalism — have the same problem, regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion, or age. They make it so far, and then they can no longer move upward in a company or career. They have the right education and experience. They are smart and even social.

Are they victims of outside forces?

No, but they are a victim of their own panda.

A panda is a term for a seemingly benign personality trait or mindset that is more destructive to you than you realize.

Such as indulging in aggressive behaviours and ignoring repeated requests to knock it off. You may feel as if you have power to thwart and emotionally upset people, but if they push back, they aren’t going to give you another inch. They can retaliate.

Do you want short-term thrills — or do you want long-term viability?

In business, being passive-aggressive can get you up so far, but then when you hit a certain level, the rules change and what what worked for you begins to work against you.

Adherence to The One Rule That Explains Everything is a losing gamble.

And if your rule is that you can bully other people and they’ll just sit and take it, you are in for the surprise of your life. There are people like me who don’t care about your gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, wealth, education, nationality, connections, fame, or political affiliation.

You pull some bullshit stunt on me, and I will unleash my righteousness on you. Fuck you.

Treat me with kindness and respect, and I will go out of my way to help you if you should ever be in need or want of it.

No war.

And we in an era right now where we have arrogance and temper tantrums where everyone is accusing everyone else of waging some “war” on them.

No, what you are experiencing is the technology that lets you hear the world’s thoughts at once.

People have agendas. They bully. They try to get things they did not earn. They try to impress people with some image. They hedge their bets on a side they think will reward them.

The fuel of arrogance is messing with a lot of minds, but that’s easily remedied with a good dose of humility.

The only problem is when you chose the medicine, it goes down very easy — but when life rams it down your throat, the cure is often more traumatic than the disease.

And it’s coming a lot sooner than people think.

It’s not a war, but reality people need to worry about.

After all, if we just give in to “biology”, remember, people sure did love to kill, rape, and pillage, and enslave other people.

And they went to watch the slaughter of gladiators, imprison foreigners to serve as their slaves, and spark wars for pure financial profit.

Eventually, people started to become civilized and learned something called empathy.

And they sublimated those biological drives into something creative and productive.

So the biology excuse is pure nincompoopity, and it’s time to go up a rung in evolution — not down…

The Art of War, 2019.

I

20171201_134541.jpeg

II

I feel sympathy for John McCallum. When I was a kid, we had a class trip to watch a play of Robin Hood, and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham told the audience he was going to trap Robin by putting a note on the tree, and when he read the note, he’d catch him.

I took this so very seriously.

So when the actor who played Robin went to read the notes, I screamed, “Don’t read the note, Robin!” from the top of my little lungs.

And then so did the other kids.

I am sure the actor was used to it and was either amused or annoyed, but he was a good sport, pretending he couldn’t hear us — and the play went by the script, pissing me off no end, and after that, I just didn’t care what happened to Robin. You don’t take advise, you deserve to be caught by the bad guy. So there.

I am certain McCallum, who is an accomplished politician and academic, is not a stupid man. Watching the political buffoonery must be maddening. I feel the same way about journalism.

So here is a former cabinet minister, professor, economist who is privy to far more of the current federal regime than most people are, and he had become unleashed for a reason.

He wouldn’t risk it just because he is a silly man. He managed to have a long and impressive career all on his own with incident. That is not something to ignore or dismiss to fit a narrative. Something else is going on to the point where a seasoned politician makes an assessment and lobs two grenades in a guerrilla attack.

Welcome to the new Art of War, 2019.

III

The Art of War is an interesting text that has held up so well because people who fight wars tend to follow scripts. It works because we have relied on patriarchal structures and have never once truly challenged them — and even when critics think they are, they always present another patriarchal structure with the lone difference that is it s rigged to their own favour.

Like how the American Left have been pretending to be enlightened with their “socialism” to go up against capitalism on the account that it is rigged to favour the privileged white boys…except socialism was created by privileged white boys, too.

If you want equality, then you better provide tangible evidence that you, too, can come up with your own model to replace the Gold Standard. Otherwise, shut up and go back to the drawing board — this time without cribbing from the very people you condemn.

Current ideological warfare has been reduced to an infantile joke: the point is not to take money from other people to fund your fantasies. Fight for the opportunity to make your own on your own terms.

And I practice what I preach: I created my own writing structures. I created A Dangerous Woman that is nothing like what’s out there. I was influenced and inspired by others because I do not believe everyone before me is horrible, but when I started to write, I did my own thing.

And when I started Chaser News before that, guess what? I took an epistolary style. No other journalism outfit was doing it, and they still don’t get it.

I have come up with an alternative to journalism — F.R.E.E.D. defies conventions of the old guard.

That is what true equality means: having a diversity of visionaries and creators who create something different. We have people howling about “cultural appropriation” even if their own culture appropriated it from someone else — but have no trouble ideologically or structurally appropriating things from others.

So in 2019, the Art of War is not about just deception, but a specific kind of deception: hypocrisy.

This is the reason everything is upside down. You have Right-leaning publications decrying sexual harassment and Establishment meddling in ways they never did before. You have Leftist politicians cribbing from those on the Right, except the Left miss the nuances that will ultimately trip them.

Because in this new ideological war, the misdirection is Left-Right. They are both the same. One is not superior to the other in any way, shape, or form.

And both are hypocrites.

War is hypocrisy. War is preventing your opponent from doing the very things that you do or want to do. Never in modern history has Saul Alinsky been more critical.

Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

That’s the starting point to this current ideological war. Both sides are now forced to present a narrative that they are, in fact, doing it, when they, in fact, are not.

This is their fatal weakness, and this is the precise place where it will all break loose. Both the Left and the Right have the same problem that compels them to have the same strategy. They cancel each other out.

Because they are cribbing from each other, but as they are in the Zero-Risk Society, they have to be careful how they do it.

You see it in Canada. The Liberals won in the last election with a leader who is a bland and unremarkable middle manager; so the other two parties got their own version of a bland and unremarkable middle manager. It’s as if these three parties are begging for a minority government and a three-way tie.

The battleground now has a single rule: fight with Zero-Risk, but that is inversely proportional to the amount you gamble.

So here we are in a Zero-Risk War Zone, meaning it is a 100%-Gamble Zone. There are huge differences.

A risk is when you plan, research, practice, and test before trying something different in a trying circumstance, with a back-up plan if the first try fails to produce the desired results. You are confident in your abilities, but realistic as you rely on facts, logic and emotional literacy.

A gamble is when you do not plan, research, practice, or test but have an idea and go into something unprepared with no strategy or expectation of something going wrong. You are overconfident in your luck, and rely on gossip, sophistry and fantasy.

That is the war being waged right now. We have people who think opinion-shaming will force people to surrender.

No, that just makes your enemies look closer at you and see that you aren’t living to your own rulebook.

Because the Internet took away that one rig.

And is turning the Art of War on its head…

Journalism's Covington Fiasco: They know they screwed up. And they are still in denial. But I called it out before.

I

DM8FnHmXUAA8lfY.jpg

II

That book is an inconvenient truth.

It scares book journalists and those on the Left right out of their wits.

It is not as if I give the Right a free pass. I wrote OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s war on journalism, and my latest book goes into detail about partisan outlets on the Right. I am not on the Left or Right. I am a Radical Centrist, meaning you are not going to manipulate me to join your little clubhouse as some sort of true believer.

That requires scripts and passivity, and that is not who I am.

But journalists pick sides and then pretend they don’t. That makes them inauthentic, and then they waste time and energy trying to prove lie after lie about how they are important and always perfect, which is honestly, a stupid thing that destroyed their profession.

And when evidence of their manipulative gaslighting is exposed, they spend time trying to spin yet another manipulative piece trying to save their worthless asses.

The Atlantic is one of the worst offenders. It is pure garbage, and their attempt at spinning Covington is no different:

The Media Botched the Covington Catholic Story

And the damage to their credibility will be lasting.

Oh, you more than just botched it.

You created the non-story.

There was no story there in the first place.

What you had was two attention-seekers get free press at a canned spectacle. This wasn’t news, but it was filler that the press could pretend was news.

As usual, reporters picked sides and them went into overdrive with some melodramatic narrative ganging up on some high school ditz in a red baseball cap doing what teenaged boys do: think they know everything and then smirk their way through life.

Yeah, how brave of you. Time magazine needs to put you intrepid souls on their cover again.

And then the press demonized a teenager who committed no crime and deified a man base don his skin colour without verifying anything about him, and employing that cloying Native American stereotype that is patronizing and dehumanizing pretending it’s the opposite.

And then in a world of social media where everyone can put out information, journalists got busted.

Idiots: you could pull that garbage off when people had no access to a global audience, the way you did to Serbs during the Civil War. You could plaster Serbian mass graves and then accuse them of slaughtering the other side.

From their graves? Are Serbs some sort of ghosts with machine guns?

Covington blew up in the news media’s faces, and it was a serious explosion.

And entirely avoidable. If the press was as perfect as they always claim to be, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

The article still doesn’t get it. It paints the New York Times as being something other than a propaganda rag for limousine liberals.

You are not fooling anyone except yourselves.

You damaged your credibility long before Covington.

As I keep mentioning this morning, I have three books that document how you have already done it — the how and the why…

Method Research, Part Seven: Can we finally admit that narrative and journalism are incompatible?

I

jla105_001.png

II

If only reality was as simple as a comic book. Good guys are flawless. The bad guys cannot do anything right.

There is only one right answer. Everything is patriarchal with a Chosen One hero, and a horrific villain with no redeeming qualities.

This has been more than just comic book fodder in another time and place because those lines were erased a long time ago.

Reality is not simple. You may think you are always right, but the people you have harmed and wronged think otherwise.

Journalists have alienated groups and people with this game, however. They have a knee-jerk reflex that compels them to decree one side the Good Guy and the other the Bad Guy.

This narrative tick alienated audiences over time.

And now Covington happened.

At first, it was all simple, and now journalists are forced to backtrack and explain away bad information because it wasn’t simple. They did not ask the hard questions because that would have spoiled the narrative.

And from a snippet video, one narrative came out. Then a longer version made it more ambiguous…but then other things came out, but then some of those “other things” were not relevant, and so on and so forth.

All this mud-slinging on what? Why don’t we see journalists dig that hard when it comes to exposing child molesters or con men fleecing people of their life savings?

Here is a group of adults using their resources to go after a teenaged boy who may be a knucklehead, but he didn’t break any laws or pose a threat.

This is the very definition of insanity.

Do you notice that the press is going after Nick Sandmann, digging up things that do not have anything direct to do with him….but Jake Patterson who has been arrested for murdering two innocent people, and kidnapping their 13-year-old daughter as he kept a prisoner for almost three months, well, who care about him!

Think about that for a moment: I taught kids like Sandmann: smug, cocky, what have you, but not harmful.

Jake Patterson, on the other hand, is very harmful.

But in the drive to virtue-signal, the press ignores a threat and goes after the non-threat.

How brave of you all.

It would be one thing if Sandmann did harm, but a protest is a canned event. People are there to get media attention.

And why are we obsessing over a kid when there are lobbyists who are managing to persuade lawmakers to change the structure of society? Why isn’t the press going after them?

I wonder how many lobbyists, political operatives, and PR firms got what they wanted at the same time as this protest?

Simple: they want a narrative. Not facts, not information, not reality.

A story. A fable. A fairytale and morality play.

Nothing more.

When I went into journalism in order to study it, narrative was an obsession.

I had editors who got angry with me because I would not use narrative. I got in trouble for it.

Facts, I was told, were “dry” and “boring.” Make the pre-set narrative, I was told, regardless of the information I had.

That is why we have journalists tell people to dismiss critics: those are the people who break the narrative spell.

For example, the National Post decreed that a whistleblower was making himself over to be some sort of “spy.”

Memo to the National Post: All whistleblower are self-appointed, you morons. Every person who calls the police to report on witnessing a crime is self-appointed.

Every person who speaks out — whether or not they once engaged in the practice — is self-appointed.

We don’t have a government-sanctioned committee who decides who gets to speak out on stuff.

And every single reporter is self-appointed. They decide what stories to cover and who to interview. Their editors are self-appointed, too.

You verify claims. That’s the job. Was there a dark business going on or not?

The nincompoopity of the National Post is cringeworthy, but not surprising.

I saw the extent of rot and hubris up close.

It’s all about narrative, not facts.

Heaven forbid we educate the public with the real stuff going on around them.

It’s worse than bullies on a playground.

The story of Covington is that there was no story. It was over-covered with a pre-set narrative that had no basis in reality.

There aren’t any good guys or bad guys. Just flawed human beings muddling about being angry at something.

Because they don’t have facts or context so they have the information they can use to deal with the frustration that’s drowning them in order to get themselves to better places in a kinder and more productive way…

Memo to the Conversation: The Gillette ad is not a sign of a "cultural shift". It is a sign that corporate pandering is as deceptive as ever.

I

Screen+Shot+2018-12-24+at+12.11.44+AM.png

II

Boy, are some people gullible rubes.

You can fool all of the people some of the time, but it is the ones who can fool all of the time who can babble and puke sophistry thinking they know something.

Look at this piece of propaganda from the Conversation:

Gillette’s #MeToo-inspired Super Bowl ad represents a cultural shift

No, it doesn’t. It represents patriarchal misogyny repackaged to appease pseudo-feminist followers of the Middle Class who want hasty solutions to inconveniences by having some They do all the work to sweep it under the rug, and that has been going on for decades.

The Middle Class love to fly under the radar. They detest work, independent though, or real change. Just give the crib notes of what is acceptable thinking and cocktail party chatter and they will take those marching orders and march straight off a cliff.

The Gillette ad is pure bullshit and typical corporate propaganda. It doesn’t actually do anything but co-opt palatable feminism. Their sales were declining, mostly thanks to lazy men ditching shaving or basic hygiene because that is too hard compared to app swiping. Those men aren’t thinking about the women; they are thinking about their own lethargic asses and then trying to spin a narrative of individuality and self-expression by doing what everyone else is doing.

So Gillette is trying to sweet talk women into buying their junk.

The end.

No cultural shift. The difference is before their ads were targeting men and now they are targeting women to buy a product by providing their dream men who puke what these women want to hear.

No cultural shift. This is how advertising rolls.

The core message hasn’t deviated. It reminds me of a Han Hoogerbrugge print I have hanging in my bedroom called Hey Boy Hey Girl.

I love that picture, but apparently, I am in the minority. My mother always cursed and made horrid comments when I had it in my office. People look at it and wonder what the hell do I see in it.

Simple: A satiric take on typical Western thinking.

The girl is just the guy wearing a girly wig. If you watch the animation on his old site NAILS, it is animation #12. Click the “girl”, then the “boy”, then click the boy again to get the girl’s giggling.

This is how Western thinking is built: everything is patriarchal and male-centred, even when it purports to be enlightened by more feminist thinking.

It is an epic bullshit story.

It is no different than when when a kid asks dad for money and he rejects the request, and then the kid remembers there is mom and then goes appeals to her, hoping she’ll oblige.

Acting like a kid is not a cultural shift. That is knocking on doors until someone lets you in.

Gillette’s problem isn’t that men have gotten more “sensitive”: they (a) have more artisan options so they can be snooty and express their specialness with the brand of razor they use, and (b) have a more rugged option that trumps Gillette’s schtick by chucking their razors in the first place.

Whoop di do.

This isn’t a watershed moment.

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 12.26.14 PM.png

So don’t overthink the corporate press release…

From the Dangerous Woman Vault: The Whimsy's Monster Show!

The Whimsy’s Monster Show

I

When your lucky socks are under your bed,

But the monsters there scare you right out of your head;

Don’t scream, don’t faint, and you better not run

Because your fun has only just begun!

Invite those monsters to chase you ‘round your room,

And you’ll make them your friends as you chase away the gloom!

Get ready, kids, because the laughter is near

Because the Whimsy’s here to bring new cheer!

So hey diddle diddle, here is our cat with her fiddle

To tell you the story as she works out her riddle!

Let’s begin our tale so you’ll all be in the know

Because it’s time for the Whimsy’s Monster Show!

II

Katriel Pepper was the perkiest and hardest working person he ever met, thought Theodore Nathaniel as he sat back in his office chair. As kids, she literally was the girl next door, with her bedroom window directly facing his own and they would talk all night to each other in the summer when they were supposed to be asleep. They would play catch that way, too, even after he once fumbled a water balloon and accidentally beaned his dolled up mother with it square on her head. They were fourteen years old at the time and both got what for over it.

The only downside was Kat played the violin and practiced it as much as she could – and she was horrible at it. She was the best worst violin player Theo had ever heard in his life, and many of his boyhood memories consisted of trying to study amid a stream of tears as Kat tortured her violin with her diligence. She would make amends by buying him Double Crown Candy from the Candy Shoppe and throwing him a bag over from her bedroom window so he wouldn’t act like such a big baby as she was trying to attain her dream of becoming a professional violinist.

Unfortunately, she never could learn to play, but she did become a first-rate carpenter. She was spry and tiny, but full of sunny energy and did her job well. Theo had a brain for technology like his famous descendent Dr. Darda Hoffding, but he also had a knack for business and founded Dreaminate computers which quickly became a multi-billion dollar phenomenon, though he never left his town of Queen’s Heights and remained close friends with Kat. When he tired of the rigors of keeping his company on the cutting edge, she encouraged him to sell and he took his hefty profits and bought the town’s entertainment district called Carnivalia, shocking everyone who ever knew him.

It would prove to be a fortuitous move for him and Kat when she confided in him that carpentry bored her and she wanted to go on a different track. They talked about old times at the Greatest Show Diner over coffee one rainy spring night and recalled her abysmal violin playing. She cracked a joke that she not only terrified Theo and her pet cats, but all of the monsters that hid from children under her bed and they both realized Kat had the makings of a boffo new children’s show for Carnivalia.

They brainstormed until morning when the Whimsy’s Monster Show was born. Kat left her old job and her live children’s show became Carnivalia’s biggest attraction for kids.

The show kept changing, but the premise was simple: Kat played the Whimsy, a kitten who practiced her violin in her room as she pondered a problem in her life, but her scratchy and squealing sounds would scare a monster from under her bed. The monster would chase her until she turned the tables and caught the monster, who would reveal monsters hid under the bed because they had an uncontrollable fear of children. After the Whimsy consoled the monster, it would reveal he or she had another problem that needed solving – one very similar to the one the Whimsy was pondering. The two would join forces and think up a solution and would become friends with the monster dancing as the Whimsy played her violin or both agreeing to have a tea party in celebration of their new friendship. Children would interact with the show, shouting comments and questions which both the monster and the Whimsy answered and incorporated into the act.

The Monster Show was a monster hit, filling the theatre to full capacity with every performance. It didn’t hurt that Kat was cute, agile, comedic, and insisted the show didn’t use a script. She had the gift of improvisation, making each show personalized to each crowd. Kids all wanted Whimsy cat-ear hats and whiskers, ensuring word of mouth kept Carnivalia a must-see destination for tourists from around the world.

Theo looked at the time from his laptop and then got up from his office chair in the former haunted house that now served as Carnivalia’s headquarters. He had a lunch date with Kat and he never liked to keep a lady waiting – and the lunch date was in the house she built for herself on her own – in a tree.

III

“Theo!” Kat said as she gave her oldest and dearest friend a big, warm hug as he left the elevator to reach her living room. Theo picked up his petite companion and twirled her around as she giggled. As he placed her back down, she grabbed him by the arm and brought him to the living room where lunch was ready.

“Redley’s Garden Café?” he asked as he sat down.

“I’m not like you – you’re the one who knows how to cook like a chef.”

“I’m all right…”

“You are not allowed to fake modesty in that department, Theo. You can cook, you can dance, you can make a truckload of money, and you can build anything you can think up and there isn’t very much you can’t think up.”

“You are wasting your time as a children’s performer. You ought to be writing up my press releases or set me up on a blind date.”

“You don’t need any help in that department.”

“I don’t know. I can’t seem to find the right one.”

“I know what you mean.”

“What about Brad Stoney? You seem to like him.”

“I think he already has a girlfriend.”

“Only one?” guffawed Theo boyishly as Kat playfully slapped his shoulder.

“Yeah, I think he said he is going out with Magnus Lyme.”

“Annie’s friend? Doesn’t she travel all over the world as a consultant or something?”

“You think they aren’t serious?”

“How would I know? I only see him around preparing for his debut at the Magician’s Roar. It’s a guess since you said you only think they are dating.”

“He sometimes subs in as one of my monsters when one of the regulars can’t make it. He always fills out that monster suit so nicely,” sighed Kat dreamily as she poured the salad for her and Theo.

“Then ask him out.”

“I can’t do that – he talks about Magnus. Besides, I have a strict rule never to date a co-worker.”

“So he just talks about her, besides, he is not a co-worker, he is a colleague. I know you like him – you get all blushy when he talks.”

“I do? Oh no! I don’t want to get all blushy! I can’t get all blushy! Maybe he talks about Magnus because I’m making him uncomfortable with my blushing!”

“I’m sure a guy that attractive and rugged is used to a certain degree of blushy – he used to be a television journalist, you know. He would have to be used it, and if he is like any red-blooded guy, he would have to like it.”

“But I still don’t want to be blushy!”

“Why? What’s wrong with that?”

“You don’t want someone to know you get blushy!”

“But how else would they know you genuinely like them unless you do? Don’t you think it’s rude when someone thinks you are attractive and nice to be around and they keep it to themselves?”

“Is that why you are always so forward?”

“I’m not that forward, but if I like a woman, I let her know. I like to take the guesswork out of romance. I figure if she knows how I feel about her, she can decide if she feels the same way about me. I ask her out, if she likes me, she’ll say yes and we go from there, and if she says no, I know where I stand and then I can move on. She sees I’m blushy and then the next move is up to her, but then she can’t say I didn’t let her know what I feel.”

Kat rolled her eyes. “You were always completely silly.”

“It’s what I’m made of, Kat. We’re all kind of silly when we’re being perfectly honest.”

“I like that,” mused Kat as she smirked.

“A monster act?”

“Oh yeah. The fun never ends when you get my creative juices flowing.”

IV

After the theme song played, the tiny roars and cheers from the pint-sized crowd signalled that the star of the show was about to walk across the stage. She turned to the audience and curtsied before telling the children she wanted to go to the school’s cool cat dance, but could not ask the tom cat she liked to come along as her date. The Whimsy sighed, then jumped and hopped on cue with her violin in hand, noting to the audience that she had ate her supper and did all her science homework and now it was time to practice her violin.

“Yay!” cheered the children as the Whimsy made her instrument screech in a completely horrible, yet comical manner. After a few seconds of the unnatural sound, a monster popped out from under the Whimsy’s bed and screamed, “Grrrr! I will eat you up, you noisy, no-good kitten!”

“Don’t eat the Whimsy!” screamed countless voices who yelled in protest, although they laughed and clapped their hands.

“Watch out, Whimsy!” other children shouted, some even telling the Whimsy where to hide. She ran around the room as she dropped her bow and violin, jumping on top of her bed, and then leaping to her dresser.

“Meow! That is cat for ‘enough’!” she shouted as she turned around and chased the large monster, leaping on him, before tackling him to the ground and then started chewing on his ear.

“Mercy!” shouted the monster. “I am afraid of children! Mercy!”

The Whimsy jumped up. “Is that why all you monsters hide under the bed?”

“Yes! We can never get away from those scary creatures! It is bad enough I have a bigger problem, already!”

“What problem?”

“There is a monster dance coming up next week, and I cannot ask the girl of my dreams out!”

“Why not?”

“She has the prettiest monster drool I have ever seen and all the other monsters think she is the most wonderful monster ever! Every monster will ask her out to the dance and I don’t have a chance. And, oh! When she growls, her eyes light up such a scary shade of red – you just want to run away with her to terrorize the whole neighbourhood!”

“Does she terrorize this neighbourhood?” asked the Whimsy. “I’ve never seen her and I walk on the fence every day!”

“Well no,” conceded the monster. “She would rather study or read a book at the library than scare little children. She wants to be a fang and claw doctor when she grows up to help sick monsters in need.”

“Do you like science, too?”

“I like to scare scientists because what they do always seems so scary! I like giving them a taste of their own medicine!”

The Whimsy took out her science textbook and gave it to the monster. “Maybe you think what they do is scary because you haven’t been studying your science. If you understood science, maybe scientists wouldn’t be so scary to you, either.”

“It’s hard to read anything under your bed when it is dark and you keep all your toy mice under there.” The monster sat down and read the book. “Wow, I never knew all these things! I ought to ask Redzilla to come to the library with me first so we can take out some science books and read them together! Maybe if we are friends first, she will start to like me more.”

After more silly antics on stage, the Whimsy and the monster had their tea party amid more cheers and applause from the crowd. When the curtain fell, the monster took off his mask as the Whimsy took off her cat ears.

“Thanks for the assist, Brad,” said Kat as they walked off the stage.

“No, thank you, Kat,” said Brad as he began to remove the rest of his costume. “I really need to practice my improv skills. Thanks for letting me do this more regularly with you.”

“No prob,” blushed Kat as she smiled. “Considering your ancestor Asa Quigley was a theatre actress and a school teacher, you’re a natural. Besides, it’s always a pleasure to have you around.”

From the Dangerous Woman Vault: The Sparrow: Dream Detective.

The Sparrow: Dream Detective

“…And my company’s profits have been in slow decline over the last year and I cannot figure out why. I heard you were one of the best detectives in the world and I want to hire you to find out whether someone is sabotaging my shoe repair empire and if they are, to stop it.”

The detective looked deep in thought, making the man rephrase his last sentence.

“Well, Sparrow, do you think you can take my case?” asked the burly man with the animated unibrow as he looked intensely at the tall, voluptuous doe-eyed blonde sitting in a chair beside his bed as he straightened his lucky pajama top. It was his lucky one because he was not sure if he would be free of his woes without it.

“In your dreams, yes,” Lexine Lark said with the chipper air of a confident heroine. “I can look into your case, but you must promise not to try to kiss me while I have a look about in your dreams or I will be forced to slap you awake from the inside of your head and that is even less pleasant than it sounds.”

The man frowned sadly. “But you do look like such a beautiful dream girl.”

“Woman,” she corrected politely. “I am not as young as I look. I merely gave my birthdays away to a greedy little boy over two hundred years ago who thought more birthdays meant more presents and I have not aged a day since. Now, do you need me to read you a bedtime story or will you fall asleep on your own?”

“What sort of bedtime stories do you have?”

“I can read you one about a benevolent and dainty tyrannosaurus rex who is best friends with a tough and brave beetle or a story about a Queen of Hearts who became God because the magician who kept that card close to his chest wished it so.”

“But won’t those stories give me strange dreams?”

“The stranger the dream, the better I can help solve your mystery.”

“Read me the one about the dinosaur lest I get a lusty dream from the other story and then get slapped from the inside of my head whilst trying to give you a kiss.”

“A wise choice, sir.” The Sparrow obliged and soon after, her client fell fast asleep. At the moment he began to dream, the Sparrow fluttered into his mind and began to walk inside the very essence of his soul, which was mostly intact save for one small piece he had sold in exchange for a television set that would make his obnoxious elder brother green with envy.

This was her first telling clue since it meant her client was not all there to begin with.

The Sparrow then entered the dream where her client was in his childhood home that, in fact, had been merged with his current home, taking the most traumatic parts of both. The living room looked harsh for it was the place where he had been bullied in front of a mirror and it was bigger and colder than either place had been in the waking world.

The man’s childhood fears had come out to torment him tonight to give strength to the fears he had harbored as a lonely adult. This was a house with no love for him and even the empty sofa made his loveless status known.

Yet it was the man’s wailing that was the loudest of all the belligerent cacophony: he was holding a shoe as he was pleading to a beautiful, but conceited woman standing angrily before him.

“Gunda!” said the Sparrow’s client to the cold woman in the long black gown. “Gunda, I would fix a thousand broken shoes in a dungeon just to spend a night with you!”

But Gunda snorted haughtily. “You are so repulsive, that my toes and heels quiver with disgust! You couldn’t even repair my favorite pair of shoes!” The man then crumpled to the floor and began to cry into the broken black stiletto shoe he was clutching.

“Ah!” said the Sparrow as she approached the woman who suddenly looked afraid. “I can see by your vibrant and detailed features that you have been living in his head for about a year! Around the same time my client’s company started to stumble!”

“Get away from me!” yelled Gunda. “I heard about you! You’re the Sparrow! You can make trouble for figments!”

“I am the Sparrow, but it is only the naughty figments that have something to fear. Now, why are you vexing this desperate man?”

Gunda vanished without a trace and the Sparrow looked around the room for some clue, but could find none.

“The trail cannot be this cold if this were a case of true love! My client’s self-deception may be a clue, but it makes my job so difficult!”

“Maybe I can help!” a cheery female voice said. The Sparrow turned around and saw a statuesque Spanish beauty she knew well who was known to those in their realm as the Heart Collector. The Heart Collector smiled and waved to her friend. “Yoo hoo! Lexy! Fancy meeting you here!”

“Madreselva! What a pleasant surprise! What are you doing here?”

“I am processing a return.”

“You only deal with pieces of hearts that people give to another. You either give them to an intended recipient or return them to the sender.”

“That’s right. Last night I had a backlog of deliveries and tonight I have a backlog of returns.”

“Oh, dear. May I see that package, please?”

“Of course. You always ask very nicely.”

“Thank you.” The Sparrow took the tiny package from the Heart Collector and opened it to reveal a single dancing grain of light. It was a piece of her client’s heart that he had given to Gunda. There was also a note from Gunda so ill-mannered and crass regarding what her client could do with that piece of his heart that the Sparrow blushed as she placed both the note and the grain back in the box and returned it to her good friend.

“Is that a clue?” asked the Heart Collector.

“Yes, a very vital one. I know Gunda’s ego grew stronger with the idea of being seen as desirable, but she was not the one who encouraged my client to pursue her, meaning someone else caused my client’s distractions and planted the idea that he loved this despicable woman in his head.”

“I wrote my dissertation on such cases when I was studying to be a Heart Collector. It is very, very sad, and very, very silly all at the same time. So many people are very promiscuous when it comes to giving pieces of their hearts to the undeserving. They think they have infinite love to give, not realizing that the rest of the heart becomes so distressed for that one missing piece that the whole heart goes to pieces!”

“I have seen it too many times in too many nightmares. Pity, if you weren’t so busy, I would invite you on this adventure.”

“I would love to join you, but tonight are the vehement returns so I must deliver these horrid and nasty rejections as quickly and gently as I can. Next week I will invite you over to my house and we will have a lovely lunch on my terrace.”

“Oh, Maddie, how thoughtful! The view of Eden from there is just breath-taking! I will accept your gracious invitation and let you get back to work.”

The Heart Collector then gave the package to the weeping man who was so distressed that he did not see her or the Sparrow. The Detective then took another look around the house and began to separate the client’s current residence from his boyhood home and examined each piece very carefully until she came to the mirror.

“I see this mirror distorts the truth!” she said excitedly. “And I think I know who made this mirror and why!”

She returned to her weeping client and whispered in his ear. He stopped crying, perked up and nodded. She took a pen and a form which he eagerly signed before leaving the house to find something more pleasant to dream about.

The Sparrow then returned to the mirror and shook it until a tiny seed fell out of it and then suddenly turned into an angry man who seemed shocked that he was discovered so quickly.

“Ah, there is the culprit! A wicked seed of my client’s obnoxious elder brother! You have been sabotaging his company!”

“How dare you interfere with my plans? I want to be the favorite brother! I have rights! I wanted to be an only child and my parents had him!”

“You should have gotten over your jealousy by now – you are a sixty year old man with grandchildren of your own.”

“My parents were fools! I am the cute one! They should have put all their resources with my dreams! I could have been a famous opera singer if they had more money to give me the proper schooling!”

“But your brother proved to be the successful one and now you must destroy his self-confidence to prove he was not worthy of any attention.”

“I own his mind! You’ll see! I am a weed and a weed is nearly impossible to destroy! Every move he ever makes is controlled by me!”

The Sparrow took out the signed paper from her pocket and handed it over to the surly brother. “But he has signed this form, giving me permission to get rid of you.”

The man snatched the paper and read it. “What? You cannot do this to me!”

“Yes, I can and will. It is against the rules to invade another person’s dreams for the express purpose of causing them psychic harm.”

“It cannot be!”

“That paper is an eviction notice. Your brother finally realizes you are not worth the trouble you are causing him. He told me he would rather dream of dinosaurs who are friendly to bugs than be plagued by your naughtiness. Now that I have found your root, you will have to go back to the rest of you and sulk.”

“But his bumbling caused the floundering of his own company!”

“But you pushed him into believing he is in love with a woman he does not even like, but since you also manipulated him into selling a piece of his soul for a television set, he is blind to this fact. Since you made the trouble, you have to leave so that he has a clear mind and heart to clean up this mess.”

The brother cursed before disappearing with a loud bang, causing the Sparrow’s client to awaken from his dream, gasping for air. “Is it over? My troubles, I mean.”

“Yes, you are free of your delusions of unrequited love and now have that piece of your heart that my friend the Heart Collector returned to you. Next time, be careful where you throw pieces of your heart and do not fantasize about Gunda anymore because I will help a client only once.”

“But how did you know about Gunda when I kept my feelings about her hidden from even myself?”

“Because you avoided the story of the Queen of Hearts because you were afraid of love, opting for a story you thought was just about friendship, when it was also a love story. The bedtime story you avoid is the one that is the key to unlocking the mystery, but the one you choose helps your heart heal.”

“So I will be able to save my company?”

“Yes, but only if you give your fancy television to your older brother and then find yourself before finding love once more. A real love, this time, not the fake kind because fake love is really hate in a clever disguise.”

“Do you think a burly man with a unibrow can find true love, gentle Sparrow?”

“He already found the fake kind. If he looks in the opposite direction, he will find a lady who finds his ways heart-warming.”

“But giving away my television set to my rotten brother? Will that cure my ills?”

“Yes, don’t try to make him jealous and you will be able to save your shoe repair empire and your love life. Now I must be going. I have to visit a client in Antwerp who is frozen in fear because he suspects his girlfriend and his best friend are having a torrid affair as they laugh behind his back and I must find out if it is all in his head. Good night and pleasant dreams.”

The Sparrow got up from the chair, opened the window and leaped out before the man could say goodbye. He was saddened that he could not thank her, but now knew his dreams would be sweeter and his soul would feel whole again once more. He rested his head on the pillow, hoping to meet that lovely dinosaur he had chatted with in his dreams for she was such a nice and gracious tyrannosaurus who knew many good jokes that made him laugh. Before he fell back asleep he truly wondered if all dinosaurs were so kind back in the day or was she the only one who saw something that all the others like her missed all those years ago.

 

The Benevolent and Dainty Tyrannosaurus Rex and her Best Friend the Tough and Brave Beetle

There once was a vast garden of paradise and inside the paradise lived its ruler, a very dainty dinosaur named Ansuz the Adventurer.

Ansuz was no ordinary Tyrannosaurus Rex for she had battled even larger dinosaurs than she and won with her strength and agility.

She won them all fair and square and she won them alone. It did not matter if its size was larger, its numbers were greater, or its strength surpassed her own, somehow, she would see the job through for her job was to rid the world of its evil so that the seeds of goodness could flourish unimpeded.

But there came a day where she looked up in the sky and saw a star dancing about and though she knew nothing about it, she was moved by its gentle light and decided to become a friend and protector to all the good things in the world.

So she found a tiny and lonely tree where a single scrawny flower struggled to grow and made the tree her home.

One day, as Ansuz sat pondering about all the good and right things in the world, a tiny beetle fluttered to her nose and began to chortle, remarking that her nostril was so big, he could make a home inside of it.

The remark stunned the tree and the flower, who thought the mighty dinosaur would eat the beetle or crush it with her breath.

But the dinosaur giggled girlishly, making the beetle blush. The flower and tree thought the beetle was brave to face the gravest of danger with laughter, but the dinosaur thought the beetle cute and charming and asked him to tell her more silly musings he had gleaned on his many travels.

The beetle had nearly fainted for no one had ever asked him about his musings on anything, let alone a dinosaur as mighty as Ansuz.

So the beetle told the dinosaur stories, but since she had never lived life as a beetle, Ansuz was at first confused, but was polite enough to decide she would do her best to see the world as a beetle, and the beetle, who realized the dinosaur was too large to understand him, was determined to retell his fables in such a way even a mighty and dainty dinosaur could follow his beetle logic.

At this first sign of friendship, the flower became inspired and told the tree its many fables of wisdom, causing both the tree and the flower to grow stronger, all while a beetle and a dinosaur forged a powerful friendship as the dinosaur learned to listen and understand the ways of the beetle and the beetle learned to become an equal to a mighty dinosaur.

 

The Queen of Hearts who Became God Because the Magician Who Kept that Card Close to His Chest Wished It So

There once was a magician who performed card tricks with an ordinary deck of cards. He was no better nor worse than any other magician who did so, but he had a single magic trick he loved the most – a mundane trick called Find the Lady.

He would take the Queen of Hearts, throw her to the bottom of his deck, but at the end of the trick, she would appear at the top of the deck for she was always an ambitious card, and then when the show was over, he would put the deck back into his breast pocket, always taking care that the Queen of Hearts was the card closest to his chest.

One day, the magician became bored of the tricks and the stage, and angrily threw all of his cards at the audience, save for one card.

The Queen of Hearts.

He loved this card above the rest for while all his friends and family had left him, she was the only one who stayed by him no matter if the crowd cheered or jeered at him.

He kept the card and gave it a kiss, wishing she were a person rather than a card for whenever he looked at her face, she seemed as if she looked at him with kindness and understanding, unlike any of the other cards he dealt with over the years.

The magician retired from performing, becoming lonely and broken, but he always kept his favorite card close to his chest, even placing her under his pillow when he went to bed at night.

As time went on, he began to feel helpless for she was his one constant companion, yet he felt he had failed her for he wanted her to be the real star of his show, yet his shows were failures and he never managed to do the one thing he wished in his heart he could do for her.

If he could only bring her to life, perhaps she would be free from being a mere card in a deck.

Worse, he knew she was the quiet and understanding sort who only wished for him to be happy.

She may have been only a silly little card, but she was one who was all heart.

Then one late summer day he felt it was his time to go, but before he did, he made one final wish – that his favourite card, who never left his side, be given a worthy gift, even if it meant she reached a higher plane than he.

When he reached Heaven, he was shocked to see the Queen of Hearts waiting with a smile and bowed roaring, “Ta da!”

Because of his wish, she became God for even God could not refuse such a benevolent wish.

And Her first act as God was to give the magician a kiss and a hug and then gave him the gift of a mighty stage where he would finally learn all the tricks of a true magician and when it was his time to start a new act, he would take the world by storm and by calm.

Only this time, his favourite card would be more than just a card he kept close to his chest – but a loving companion who brought magic with a single, loving look as She made a new world of wonder for every good and gentle magician to play.

From the Dangerous Woman Vault: The World's Most Dangerous Woman: The Manifest Destiny.

The World’s Most Dangerous Woman: The Manifest Destiny

I

“Gracious, what a tintinnabulation,” said the comely red-haired woman as she took a sip of Irish Breakfast tea from her Clarice Cliff cup. “Divulging state secrets is a dangerous game when you overestimate your cunning and the moral fortitude of the people you proclaim to be arming with knowledge, Mr. Quicksilver.” She primly adjusted the collar of her black turtleneck sweater.

“I thought if people knew how they are being controlled and manipulated that they would rise up and demand change, Miss Lyme.” The lanky young American man sitting in the chair seemed agitated and upset, completely taken aback by the predicament he found himself now. He had barely escape arrest and came across the border that evening to make his way to Niagara-on-the-Lake to the farmhouse he now found himself seeking asylum of sorts. The cozy office where the conversation was now taking place hardly seemed like the hub of international intrigue. The consultant he was now speaking with was known to the most powerful players as the world’s most dangerous woman, yet Miss Magnus Lyme seemed dainty and whimsical; her gracious, calming demeanour gave no hint of her secret role in world affairs.

“It took them hundreds of years to set things up just the way they like them, why would they want to rock the boat now?”

“Are you serious?”

“Completely.”

“But they are being oppressed, degraded, stalked – enslaved!”

“Yes, but they have cultivated an identifiable group of people they can blame for their personal failures, and thus do not have to make the effort to create true progress and can settle for the status quo. It is a dreadful way to live one’s life, but obtaining paradise is a terrifying idea to most. As long as everything seems functional and they have their trinkets, amusements, and elixirs, people will forgive almost any sort of abuse. Some will even go so far as to justify it and declare it to be the best way to live one’s life and do everything in their power to enforce it on future generations.”

“I find that hard to believe. You wrote two exposés when you were a journalist.”

“I do sympathize with you, but you still have not grasped what has happened. You gave it your absolute best and most clever effort to expose corruption to the corrupt and they turned on you from both sides of the equation. They will not thank you for exposing their deficiencies to the world and pointing out that people are allowed to wear worthless paper crowns by rigging the game and not because they are special and superior.”

“Did they turn on you?”

“Of course, they are impossible people, but it did not stop me from doing things from a more sensible angle. You are up against two of the world’s most powerful organizations – the Circle in the Sky and their sworn enemies La Nuit du bas, both that have been in existence since the late eighteen hundreds and have weathered numerous whistle-blowers before you and survived. They become more powerful no matter if they are naked emperors strutting proudly down the street. You managed to inoculate them from further harm by getting the populace to become adjusted to the tyranny.”

“I’m a wanted man, Miss Lyme. I can spend the rest of my life in prison, or worse, they could kill me. I need you to help me.”

“Then tell me how you fell into this quagmire in the first place.”

The man fell back in his chair and sighed. “I was hired at Hildebrandt International Security Corporation right out of university. It was a lowly, contract position.”

“They are a front for the Circle.”

“I did not know that at the time. They had a government contract to overhaul their security systems so that hackers wouldn’t steal classified information.”

“But you somehow did just that.”

“Not at first. I was let go shortly after I was hired because I wouldn’t join the ranks. I landed on my feet, getting a job at the Intelligence Agency.”

“I am listening.”

“I was hired on my expertise in securing their systems.” The man paused.

“Go on.”

“It didn’t take long for me to see what was going on. The Agency was encouraging young naïve kids to ‘live out loud’ on social media sites so they could not only start gathering information about every move these kids made, but also began a program to encourage them to do certain risky things so they could shame them or keep them in check later on. They were controlling their behaviour as they were following their every move, turning average kids into raging narcissists who had no idea they were being built up to be humbled, willing to do anything to stay alive when their delusions all came crashing down on them.”

“When did you get the idea to gather information on the information-gatherers?”

“You know the underground anarchist group the Manifest Destiny?”

“I do. They proclaim to be a subversive group who gather classified information from various governments and disseminate it publicly on various sites with high traffic.”

“Right. I gathered what I could and put out feelers. Their leader Harrison Jones contacted me personally and encouraged me to give them what I had.”

“Mr. Jones’ family has deep ties to La Nuit and they are the second most prominent members of African-American descent in the organization, and were, in fact, the first black American members to join. The Destiny is a front that is neither underground nor anarchist. You were fooled to infiltrate the Circle’s operations.”

The man’s eyes widened in fear as his hands trembled. “I had no clue.”

“The organization is a sham and a front for La Nuit to remove the Circle members so that they can replace them with their own men. Did you keep any proof of your dealings with them?”

“I did. I have a memory stick of everything right here.” The man reached into his plaid shirt pocket and gave the stick to Miss Lyme.

“I will have a look at this later. Are you absolutely certain that the idea of leaking documents was your idea and not Mr. Jones'?”

“Now that you mention it, one of my colleagues, Hayley Barnes is the one who nudged me to do the right thing.”

“Did you do so to impress her?”

“She is a pretty good-looking woman who told me how much she finds rebels attractive.”

“She is one of Mr. Jones’ operatives. She knew of your affiliation with Hildebrandt and assumed you were a Circle minion. I know the rest of your story.”

“I was assured complete anonymity by Harrison. I thought my name was leaked by accident, but I guess it was all part of the plan once I outlived my usefulness. I don’t know what to do. The government will throw me in jail and the Destiny will vilify me and torment me with their anonymous terrorist campaigns.”

“The latter’s campaign hinges on you caring about their mud-slinging, which can be turned around and be used to your advantage. As for the former, you will stay here tonight and tomorrow we face the problem directly. I must play with my dog Helmut and my mule Orson or they will become sulky and throw a tantrum. I will make enquiries and proceed from there. Good night, Mr. Quicksilver.”

II

The following morning, Miss Lyme wore her white silk shirt and matching skirt and flew on her private plane to Washington, DC where her client was once an employee. Her enquiries were most telling, and it would not take long for her to resolve the matter efficiently.

When she arrived, she took a cab to Mr. Quicksilver’s former place of work and headed for his superior’s office, walking past the secretary and knocked on the door.

“Red Queen!” spluttered the man as he jumped up from his office chair.

“There is no need to call me that, Mr. Harlow. Miss Lyme will do.” The woman sat down in a chair and opened her briefcase as the man sat back in his chair, looking more relieved, but still uncertain. “I will be brief and to the point: I am here because Mr. Davies Quicksilver is my client…”

“You know where he is?”

“I have come to ask you not to have him arrested or killed.”

“He has to pay for what he has done, Miss Lyme.”

“He has inside information on the Manifest Destiny, Mr. Harlow.”

The man looked up intensely. “What are you offering?”

“Did you know Mr. Harrison Jones funds the Destiny with his father’s wealth?”

“La Nuit has been trying to gain a foothold here for the last year and expand their espionage division.”

“They already have a mole here by the name of Hayley Barnes. She was the one who hatched the scheme in the first place.”

“In other words, we have someone less sympathetic who can fall for this leak publicly?”

“Precisely. What say you?”

“Deal. We’ll handle the optics. We can say she tried to frame Davies Quicksilver for treason.”

Miss Lyme handed over a memory stick. “All the information you need is right here. You can take a look…”

“No, no, I trust you. You never lie.” The man frowned in disgust. “That little trollop slept her way to the top here.”

“Only to find the top floor of the tower was a prison. Good day, Mr. Harlow.”

As Miss Lyme walked out of Mr. Harlow’s office, the man gave a faint smile in spite of the trouble and the visitor who thankfully did not wear her red dress. That smug little Barnes woman was about to get her comeuppance albeit temporarily and for that, he relished what he was about to do. Though he could never tell his superiors openly, he owed the Red Queen a big favour.

III

After leaving the Agency’s office, Miss Lyme made a quick stop to the Jones’ sprawling mansion where one of her maids had been an employee as were dozens of others who secretly gave her information on the world’s most elite players. She knocked on the back door, where a pretty and voluptuous maid with a Russian accent appeared.

“Maggie! How nice to see you. They are not home, come inside. I will make you some tea.”

“No need, Katerina. This visit shall be a short one. I need to know how are the Jones’ finances. Their son Harrison tricked a client of mine to reveal some rather sensitive information without considering how he would manage to go up against the Circle and La Nuit.”

“Yes, you are referring to the Quicksilver man. The finances of the Jones’ are not as plentiful right now and they cannot keep up with the charade for long.”

“What has happened? I thought they were on solid footing.”

“Wife made a foolish choice in lovers and he demanded millions to keep quiet because she told him too much about their illegal activities to stay rich. They hired private investigator to find his weak spot, but she could not find anything anywhere.”

“Is he still giving them trouble?”

“Yes, he is back demanding more. He is a careful man. They have tried to assassinate him four times, but he is like ghost.”

“Their son Harrison has his phony group called the Manifest Destiny…”

“Yes, his father has been insistent he use it to full capacity now.”

“That is telling.”

“He said to him to stop an enemy, you must take away what makes them powerful and then take over them.”

“Yes, I see what he means. I would suggest you resign from this post immediately as they will have more financial burdens by the end of the day.”

“Excellent. I must get back to Moscow soon. I have a study I am about to conduct on the effects of teaching children how to think for themselves and what happens when parents do it for them. This assignment has given me much insight.”

“Thank you for all of your help, Dr. Chekov. Don’t forget to come over to my house before you leave for home.”

After bidding her friend good-bye, Miss Lyme returned to her plane, changed her outfit to a vibrant yellow knee-length sleeveless dress and after making a few enquiries, headed for the maximum security prison where Miss Hayley Barnes was now being kept. Miss Lyme was known to those inside the penitentiary as a consultant, and they had agreed to let her see Miss Barnes in an interrogation room within minutes. Miss Lyme sat down across from the surly young woman and looked at her serenely.

“Miss Barnes, you are now in serious trouble.”

“Thanks to you!”

“I did not tell you to goad a smitten and suggestible idealist to divulge state secrets on behest of La Nuit. That you managed to do all on your own without any prodding.”

“Harrison promised me a promotion in La Nuit! I have been toiling there ever since I was a frosh. They paid for my education so I didn’t have to work as a stripper anymore.”

“At a very steep price since what you were expected to do is far more degrading. I am here to negotiate with you.”

“What can you do for me? I’m up the creek!”

“The way Mr. Quicksilver was up the creek and he is now a free man, yet he is still in great danger. The Circle may have decided to look the other way, but La Nuit is still a threat to him.”

“What are you offering?”

“You are but a mere expendable foot soldier, but the Jones’ have more to lose. Tell me what Mr. Jones told you to do.”

“What’s in it for me?”

“At the very least, La Nuit will not kill you. I have called my lawyer Athena Tallman to represent you on the condition you cooperate with me and very few people terrify La Nuit and the Circle more than she. If you have something of value, both she and I can spare you.”

The woman considered before she spoke. “Harrison’s family made some mistake. I don’t know what, though. His father's business rival Joseph Hildebrandt was wiping the floor with whatever mistake they made. Harrison needed to do something to pull the company out from ruin.”

“Just what I expected. Thank you.” Miss Lyme got up from the chair. “Ms. Tallman should be here within the hour. Good day.”

IV

That evening, Miss Lyme put on her long red gown and made her way to the posh night club where Mr. Harrison Jones was known to frequent. She made her way inside and walked up to the table where Mr. Harrison looked up, trying to hide his surprise and rage. It was known to the elites of the world that when the Red Queen wore her iconic dress, the game was over.

He remembered what his father told him about striking at an enemy before they had a chance to strike at you. “Do you think you can stop me? My followers will hound you at every waking moment, calling you, posting every piece of information about you until you break,” he sneered.

The Red Queen was not rattled. “Your army of empty shadows can do so much to keep your father’s company alive after your mother had her foolish affair with your father’s sworn enemy. Every second they obsess over me is a second they hand to me on a silver platter, Mr. Jones. They become consumed with me as I go about my life. I am used to dealing with angry hordes. I have calmed them and I have incited them in my life.”

“That’s what you say now!”

“Your father tried to destroy Hildebrandt by proxy. The Destiny would have hacked into the computers of his company and planted evidence that Mr. Hildebrandt was the mastermind of the leak, destroying his company and the threat to your father. The government and Mr. Hildebrandt have been informed of the plot and Miss Barnes has revealed as much. It is over.”

“I can still strike at you with the Destiny.”

“Anger from impossible people means nothing to a sensible woman like me. I have my garden and animals and I have inoculated myself from the taunts of the powerful bullies in suits who could not destroy me despite their best resources and cunning. A mob needs direction from a leader who assures them they can remove any threat to their flawed ideology, and they pick on easy prey such as emotionally weak and naive little girls with no protectors. When the target has no respect for their games, they become fearful that their fantasies of owning and controlling the thoughts of others have no effect. I go on, but they will waste their lives searching for my every word and fact, never realizing it all adds up to them ignoring the real problems in their own lives that destroy them with nothing to show for their misplaced rage, while I enjoy my paradise to the fullest without giving them a second thought because I know who they are without ever having to know their names or faces and they will never know me with the vast data at their disposal.”

“I will get you for this, Lyme.”

“I told your superiors at La Nuit of your games.”

“They’ll cut off my funding!”

“La Nuit no longer has use for you, and the Manifest Destiny is out of business. Let them bravely go after the government as they go after them and you for treason. Good evening, Mr. Jones.”

With her client safe from harm, Miss Lyme left the building so she could return to her animals and garden to enjoy all the blessings of her quiet, peaceful life.

Matriarchal Storytelling builds on the personal.

I

3.jpg

II

IMG_0343.JPG

III

052.jpg

IV

The first two pictures are of me when I was sixteen and seventeen, several months apart. Glamour shots were all the rage and that second picture was my birthday present. I had colour and black and white, and truth be told, I prefer my black and white pictures.

adwsi.JPG

That era of my life I represent in my fiction writing with my Sparrow: Dream Detective stories.

The Sparrow is a little older than that — she is about nineteen when she gave away her birthdays, and she stays at the age when people do fall in love and feel strongly about true love and soulmates. Much of the logic for those surrealist stories comes from what was popping in my head way back then.

And I was an active fiction writer even back then. I just discovered Salvador Dali and was an avid reader of Agatha Christie and Dick Francis. When I started to write The World’s Most Dangerous Woman, there was no Sparrow, Doyenne Assassin, or Women of Orchid.

There was a Phil Lipton and Marigold Wesley kicking around because I had written an unpublished book that I was never happy with. It was clever, outrageous, and witty, but it was too harsh. I abandoned it, but re-read it because I could never figure out how to fix it. Sometimes the story actually works, but you know it’s not your best because while it is polished, the core isn’t what you want it to be.

Magnus is a character I have had kicking around a lot longer. In a way, since my teenage years. She originally was a concept for a superhero, except her name was Francesca Magnus Lyme. You didn’t mess with her, but I eventually dropped the idea. I had sketches of the character — with a black turtleneck top, but while I liked the look of her, she was too harsh.

Eventually, Magnus was reborn as Magnus Demeter Lyme, and I had a book called Chaser — she had her friends, but she was a smart-ass. I wrote one manuscript, it didn’t thrill me. I wrote another in the present tense — the mystery was great, but she wasn’t.

I scrapped that, too.

Then she appeared in a short story that did get published in 2008 in my short story anthology from bluechrome. She came off as a cunning jerk, but as she wasn’t the main character and the story was told from the perspective of a rival, it is up for interpretation.

Then I wrote a new manuscript with her — but while I was trying to soften her, she still wasn’t working out for me.

But I remembered Phil and Marigold, and it was time I revisited the characters with the same base, but with Phil and Magnus being former colleagues. Phil transmuted, became kinder and more secure, and I had fun with the character, not worrying about snark and crafting an immaculate plot.

Suddenly, Phil worked out, but Magnus didn’t; however, I started developing the characters of Queen’s Heights, including Holly Lake — her mysteries were a story-within-a-story, and the purpose was to give Magnus perspective — and each chapter was a self-contained story of her cases.

And then I scrapped it.

But not entirely.

Parts worked, but the mysteries were perfect for Phil and Marigold, so I tweaked them.

Magnus would go through a final transformation.

And then I found my Magnus.

The prim and proper punk.

The World’s Most Dangerous Woman.

I wrote two short stories that were published in an online literary journal. The Queen’s Heights angle was expanded and kept. So were Phil and Marigold. The short story angle was also kept.

But Magnus was still ahead of her time. No publisher wanted to touch her because she wasn’t slutty, nor was she insecure. That was the feedback I got. One publisher didn’t like the fact that she didn’t fall for one of the cabals and got burned.

That was in 2011 or so.

But it was just as well.

I suddenly wanted to tell stories of other characters, and I couldn’t do it with a traditional publisher.

So came A Dangerous Woman Story Studio.

So why didn’t Magnus work for about twenty years?

Simple: she wasn’t personal. She was my idea of what I thought a tough female character would be, but she wasn’t me.

She wasn’t personal.

As soon as I started to open up and base her on my essence, it was easier to explore the character. There was no mask or fortress between my character and me — or one between me and the audience.

Then suddenly, it wasn’t just Magnus, but a world of characters with a Matriarchal structure. The third picture was taken right after I finished my magnum opus Dr. Verity Lake’s Journey of a Thousand Revelations. It clocks in at almost 1600 pages. I have had people who read it tell me they didn’t think they could endure a book that big, but had no problem doing so because it feels like four books, not one.

That I could write 1600 pages in a few short months during a very trying time in my life happened strictly because what I was writing was personal.

Because Matriarchal builds on the personal. It is intimate in its design. You cannot nurture from a distance. It is up close to the heart or it is nothing.

I could write about characters from different times and places. Once you connect with one character, the spread of activation happens, and you become connected to them all.

What part do I wish to explore today? That’s the joy of the Matriarchal. You are putting your cards on the table. Not everyone will appreciate it, and there will be people who will do everything to try to silence you, but that’s not your problem.

I solved that problem, and now I am thinking how to take A Dangerous Woman on a different platform. I don’t know what, however.

But whatever it is, it will be personal…