Quick review of Woodard’s “On an Ungrounded Earth”

Step Up

down is in, up is out (Photo credit: sigma.)

Although I in no way share such a radically pessimistic and nihilistic view, Woodard definitely enters the literary conversation with his theoretical guns blazing (*get down*).

From darkness worming its way through our phenomenal delusion of firm ground to black whirlpools and vortexes making empty space out of dying and rotting matter, Woodard’s hyper-theoretical work is nothing less than a third order cynicism regarding our right to exist in reliance upon the consistency of thought, and a second order skeptic with regard to our own willingness to see between the Orphic (Magic-Holistic) and Promethean (Stockpile-Capitalist) binary bounding our very capability to perceive our position in what he calls Nature.

Illustration of Dante's Inferno, Canto 8

Illustration of Dante’s Inferno, Canto 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At first glance one has the feeling that this will be another philo-scientistic indulgence of faith in some Universal codec of laws to be sought after through naively “empirical” means, but Woody doesn’t disappoint. His extremely wide acumen, showcasing thousands of years of written works–both philosophical and poetic–render the experience of following his logic into an endless sinking, past quicksand, brushing the sand worms of Dune, falling through Lovecraftian remains of crypto-biology and architecture, past the infernal engine of pain and suffering of Dante’s perdition, and yes, still further, and also later through deep time, to the dim view of the Earth’s potential final victory over the Sun’s solar empire, drifting, dead, free of induced creativity, save a final hope of humanity’s eventual secession from the cosmological grind of decay and the beginning of our own, perhaps somewhat self-manifested (once the self is totally outside of our-selves), or ungrounded, pathos; sickness unto death? We are already dead, sick with the mass hallucination of “life.”


Letters from Saigon

Huh, that’s too bad about the clueless Canadian. You say there’s compensation? Oh, you mean besides him, you work with a Mormon? And he exudes latter-day-saints breadcrumb stories, but doesn’t know you’re on to him? I guess having a Mormon around sounds novel; I don’t run into any sober types around here, like ever. I’ve read a bit about Mormons (and used to have one for a friend, pre-pubescence…actually whenever I asked him how he could go on without girls, drugs, et al, he’d snap his hands and say “because of my man Jesus up there ya” and point a pistol-finger to the sky supported by eyes with a glare somewhere between the Fonz and Elvis) and, although just having a completely spiritually indulgent person around to hold up to one’s mind is refreshing, there’s a part of me that would desperately plot slipping the man LSD in hopes of getting a full-on LDS salvation psychosis out of him, complete with secret histories of the world and confusion about inter-planetary realty (and reality, I suppose).


view from “the manor”

I’ve definitely changed my opinion about Canadians since this year started. I used to think they were all highly educated, intellectual, reasonable, continenced stoners (e.g. my thirty-five year old ex…and mayhaps your wife), but a guy named steve who presently crashes in the couch of the house I used to live in here was a terribly egotistical hippie. He built a brick oven from scratch at an outdoor venue called “Saigon Outcast” over the course of three weekends, which was cool. It was also cool that he gathered people together under the pretense of simply learning how to build an “earthen oven” for free.

But when he brought all of these would-be-carpenters home, when he put on pop-inspired ten minute redundant piano solos of a scared man praying everything would be alright the next day, turned up to eleven, when he started mixing into these musical indulgences public speeches about how these ovens represent a major spiritual step in reacquainting ourselves with mother earth, when he would only say so until the japanese and vietnamese and cambodian girls left, when he slipped a book called “spiritual midwifery” into the posse’s circulation, this is when I began to worry about an insidious or pernicious jack-in-the-box.
I remember telling him, slightly inebriated one night, if he’d heard of Alan Watts, and, although hearing his negative response, I assumed he’d like to hear something in at least a parallel ideological strain as his, so he could hold it up in front of himself and straighten things out. He did hear me say parallel ideological strain and asked what I meant by this, to which I responded with terms like magical holism and gaian unity, but accompanied with warnings of not allowing oneself to believe that this sort of thinking was not already part of the culture industry, not already part of the market, and—that it seemed wonderful for him to continue doing these things, so long as he didn’t emotionally rely on the simulations of the western infosphere and market (i.e. facebook/twitter) before the actual experiences of learning the trade in the uncolonized commons of rural vietnam.
That night, as I tried to sleep upstairs, I overheard him speaking the same holistic-oven-god mantics to my roommates and other girls, only this time accompanied with complaints of my caveman ethics, my postmodern nihilism, and how, despite my strong imagination, I was one of those guys who just thinks; “it doesn’t fucking matter.”
Everyone had a laugh at that. By the morning his “lessons” were all over facebook in Saigon. He had thousands of followers. That night, he played the strongest peace of remediated holistic propaganda I’ve yet seen. It’s called “what about me?” and he whispered to a japanese (who by that time had just mistrusted my lack of gaian faith) that it shows people how to stop feeling sorry for themselves.

Leni Riefenstahl in the film.

Leni Riefenstahl in despair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leni Riefenstahl would be proud.

This movie injected fragmentary thoughts of everyone from Alan Watts to Chomsky, from Eckhart Tolle to Ram Dass (none of whom known to anyone else present), mixing incomplete propositions about several social antagonisms (including occupy) in a way that struck me as the most unforgivable dupery.
The hyper-polished cinematography, the endless non-diegetic world music full of egotistical anti-egoic rhetoric and spiritual jelly angered me so greatly that I couldn’t bare to watch anymore. Looking around me, I saw four japanese women, two vietnamese women, two roommates, and a japanese-american man all smiling blankly, totally sold, glancing back and forth between the screen and canadian steve, who himself was rolling joint after joint with the most viciously sadistic mirror-stage smirk lathered across his face.
This is getting to be rather long and prosaic, so I’ll just say that this particular Canadian, in the weeks before I left my house, managed to form a minor cult about himself, now up to several hundred ex-pats and natives, including several thirty-something japanese girls who now refer to Steve, the himself, as “steve-sensei,” and, banishing my mind’s words’ veracity from my own house, all for the sake of sexual gratification and ego-remediation, my opinion was lost to mendacity…and to make it worse, I think he actually believes the anti-egoic ideology is doing this for him because he’s right, putting him high above all the non-believers, both morally and ontologically.
I had to get outta there before my lack of gaian faith become the reason for sexual solidarity, instead of the magical holism. I’ve since come to lovingly refer to that house as the Ship of Fools. Now I live in the center of the city, where no one bothers me, and my thoughts are a bit freer.

I got to model in suits for a viet-kieu who later gave me the suit and other expensive clothes for free a few weeks ago, but, honestly, modeling is a very fucking strange thing to do.

seeing stars

seeing stars

Oh yeah the yellow dust storms from Gobi desert! I feel like I really wouldn’t mind it, so long as the air was temperate. I really miss the fifties-seventies degrees…and even lower.

Sorry you’re sick. Imagining a sick you wandering through yellow hazy Seoul with maybe a scarf blowing and a blind man’s hand in front searching for the pharmacy feels cool from the outside, if it’s any recompense. You know, the spice melange, kyle mechlachlan, david lynch. patrick stewart directing a hundred-person choir all drunker than tom waits at his own funeral.


from the top?

I hope your “et tu” wasn’t a covert reference of Shakespearean betrayal, cuz I’m mailing my FBI and diploma notary-desiderata things today. this country. man. the horror.


p.s. if you’d like, I’ll also explain to you how I learned the most vile truths about Piles during my two week venture in the modeling industry. that guy. something’s not right.