About The Jist is an online and printed zine which features articles on art, poetry, philosophy and culture. The goal for the zine is to connect groups of people to inspire and be inspired. The Jist is a place for the thoughtful to think and the thoughtless to reconnect. We are always looking for new content to put in the zine. You can e-mail us at email@example.com or register for an account on the website http://thejist.info.
Lydia Braun: Pain & Pleasure
Also Inside Now Playing On Jist.tv
Hunger, Thirst, Refuge, Intoxication
Manâ€™s Greatest Achievement The Great Debate Existential Hangman Untitled Poem 5 Movies to get over
Pg. 10 Pg. 22 Pg. 25 Pg. 25
Ex-exec Lambasts Recording Industry
April issue I’m really pleased with this issue of the Jist. Some of our strongest contributors have returned from hiatus, and, of course, we have some amazing new names as well. Our featured story is an interview with Lydia Braun, whose macabre art will shock and amaze. Variety is the heart of this issue; we have essays on politics, art, poetry, entertainment, satire, and philosophy. It’s the second issue on steroids. Try not to get caught up in the print version though, because there’s new features on the website. A video portal called Jist.tv has opened. It’s in the beta stage but the content should make up for a few visual bugs. Also, this is the first month that Jist radio (also beta) is up and running. Overall, I’m really happy with this month’s advancements and can’t wait to begin the next issue. ~ Mason Balistreri Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial -No Derivative Works 3.0 License
Now Playing on JIST TV by Mason Balistreri
www.thejist.tv Jist.tv features five videos each month. Some videos are created by our readers others are merely interesting enough to be linked and spread. This is the first month of Jist.tv and I really hope that all of our readers take a look. We have a some really interesting videos that cover a variety of topics. There should be something for everyone. “Doll Face” by Andy Huang A surreal yet profound 3d animation about a machine with a doll face that imitates images on a screen. The short video raises questions about identity and life in the digital age and future. “Coffee Break” by Jeremy Cordy I had been hearing for awhile that Jeremy made some pretty crazy movies. Those stories were true. “Coffee Break” will scare you but also make you laugh.. Stephen Lewis at AIDS Conference A Canadian politician, broadcaster and diplomat, Lewis may be one of the most moving speakers of all time. His accomplishments as a humanitarian are also great. “Prowlies at the River” by Adam Phillips Some of you may have seen this video, it was extremely popular on Newgrounds a few years back. The animation is some of the best ever on the Flash platform. Steven Levitt on Cheating Economist and author of Freakonomics talks about cheating in schools and points out several possible solutions to the problem.
Hunger, thirst, Refuge, In by Andrew Spiess
An Essay on the Perceptions of Drugs Alone on a dark pastel neighborhood. an organized effort to legalize marijuana. I drop and stand tall on a friend’s porch The conflict seems to be amusement vs. while casual, caustic cop cars watch and health. But civilization has been infused pass by. They have nothing on me. I am with passion and excitement with the rise simply a standard presentation of Young of intoxicants. Risky impulses have been Eccentric Humanity. The mad eyes in my fulfilled with the rise of intoxicants. Every mad head glow with specks of black and day life isn’t such a droning, bitter and grey like a static TV. I feel enlightened bland routine when we disintegrate and and can’t stop laughing. My only plan disorganize. We hold infinite perspective is to smoke a pack of cigarettes and in the palms of our hands. Recreational maybe try to sleep, though I know I’ve drug use is a way of life among the curious just sacrificed the ability; I smashed my youth that cannot be willingly resigned. machine with a single tab, disconnected How can we give it up? for only a momentary holiday. Squads of thought invade me like an imaginary The perceptions of the effects of drugs charge. It’s almost too much to handle, on people today are radically different but I can’t stop laughing. Music leaks than they were in the 1960s. Back then, from an open window with warmth and the psychedelic van strolled down the happiness swells inside my stomach. As I American road full of loving animals. perch myself on a ledge like an alert cat, Psychedelia first became a lifestyle and I only begin to notice the significance of a major component for the intellectual light from streetlamps smeared on shiny type. Drugs were the right way to increase parked cars. I begin to notice significance. creativity and mental power. They were I lose sense of time and deconstruct myself imbued with a spiritual nature and while I try to confide in burning tobacco. were not illicit. Drugs were innocent. My vision becomes profoundly stylized An entire culture of people tightened and smoke always dances with the liveliest its affectionate bear hug around mind temper and the shadows drape under trees alteration and kissed the pipe. Hippies and everything feels great from up here weren’t even the first counterculture to and I can’t stop laughing. compete with mainstream structure; the Beat Generation embraced marijuana and I have heard some striking stories on the mescaline, among other drugs, as a means effects of LSD on a person’s rationality of perspective as well. and logic from people that I know. These are people whose minds have been Drugs have now become, for the most slightly warped due to a thriving market part, a venture of escapism much like our and culture. Consumers crippled by the beloved television, video game console, products they demand so fervently. It is and fantasy novel. Maybe it has always fairly well known today that marijuana been that way. I cannot say that this is smoke is extensively more harmful than either good or bad. Most classrooms are tobacco smoke, yet I frequently come too dull, most jobs are too repetitive, most across flyers around campus suggesting lines are too straight, and most people 06
ntoxication are too bored. This is a matter of simple pleasure. It is the cold numb space that I drift in when I’m high. The self-inflicted glitch in my machine. It paints the walls with intense technicolor, adds action to my stable life. I close my eyes and watch strands of radiance swirling like a screensaver. And as it wears off, I get dragged down to the solid world. Indole alkaloids, such as acid and psychedelic mushrooms, have more than once left me as a sickly sewer rat in the dull grasp of The Ordinary by the end of the day. My throat dries up. The nutrients in my body get depleted. Everything that could be considered good about it is entirely fleeting. We soon regain strength, replenish. Wait a few weeks and you figure out that the feeling is so utterly temporary and all you want to do is buy more products. Maybe the impermanence doesn’t even cross your mind, but either way you still want more. Sometimes I don’t know if I need it more than I want it, or vice versa, but it feels good and that’s what really matters. The key word is hedonism. Aside from abusing drugs for the sake of amusement, we self-medicate with them to muddle through cruel emotional troubles. Alcohol is one, if not the only socially acceptable means of self-medication. Drugs are a coping mechanism. Those prone to fear tend to lift off in illicit shuttles. Depression rises from our fiery bodies for the street merchants to extinguish. Sometimes we feel guilty when in a stressful state, as if depression and rage are simply the wrong emotions to feel. We could blame this societal approach on a frustrating dependency upon demanding institutions, vague and
deceptive advertising, public relations scams, fake primetime comedies, etc. Commercials for fresh medication tell us how to function and offer their pricy comforting solutions. In a consumerist society, we as average citizens are given a small number of options in life and are persuaded to buy supplies for bliss. If we are not fully aware of what we’re hearing and why we’re hearing it, we end up convincing ourselves of how we should think and feel based on what snaketongued profiteers say. Thus, we resort to self-medication in order to obey and fit like puzzle pieces within typical human organization. Many drugs are stress relievers, but the fact is that some are legal and some are not. But there is more than one type of salesman: the above mentioned Street Merchant. I’ve heard the argument that drugs are first and foremost a financial institution. Cocaine is powdered cash and marijuana is as green as the dollar bills that may or may not be in your wallet or bank account. Criminal organizations all over the world are fueled by feel-good toxins. Street gangs in dirty urban areas frequently release blood over drugs. It is a thriving, violent market. A dealer once told me he is a businessman before a junkie. I’m almost surprised that marijuana is still illegal when considering our capitalistic society and all the pill commercials on TV and all the stocked medicine cabinets across the nation. Many components of popular culture have and will always embrace marijuana as the safest jail breaker. In the 60s, a kid could tune in to any radio station and hear lyrics of drug romance: the Grateful
Dead, The Doors, etc. Weed still emanates from the words of hip hop and reggae, and there is a following in the genre of stoner metal. In any case, censorship has taken these references off of the airwaves. High Times is a strong proponent for recreational drug use, though it can be difficult to take this magazine seriously. Hollywood targets smokers with the outwardly delightful stoner movie, such as Half Baked and Friday. Reefer Madness, a film from the 1930s, is an anti-drug film yet it is regularly grouped in with stoner movies as ridiculous entertainment. In this sense, popular culture and the media can
be subtly expressive and indirect of what is acceptable in the world when regarding recreational drugs. Still, society is torn on how to handle drug abuse. Vast amounts of research have been conducted on all types of drugs since the late 60s. Physical addiction is the cold essence that our blood envelopes. Therefore, cocaine and heroine will never detach from a hard stigma. Our entire population is fully aware of the harmful possibilities of recreational drug use. Information like this can be accessed all over the media. There are anti-drug
websites with archives full of personal drug narratives. One could simply open a magazine or turn on his or her television and see an anti-marijuana public service announcement. These PSAs are also on posters and billboards across the country as well as all over the Internet. Media claims like these spit in the bloodshot eyes of drug inspired entertainment. Everyday we are subject to so many mixed messages on the topic of drugs through popular culture and popular news media by separate organizations with separate agendas. The key word is contradiction.
Iâ€™ll leave you with one last thought: consider the groups of people who flock together and assert themselves as â€œstraight edgeâ€?. This basically means they take no part in substance abuse of any kind. They represent a conflicting subculture, coinciding with the punk music scene, to that of drug junkies. Thus, sobriety has become more of a definition, a lifestyle rather than something natural. It seems that society sleeps in constricting cabinets as we begin to dichotomize the natural aspects of our lives. This may signify how permanent drug culture has become and how it will continue to solidify over time.
by Mason Balistreri
WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF MANKIND? I‘m rather self-absorbed. Most of my time is spent alone thinking or reading. It takes something really interesting to pull me from my own little world. I’m not sure this is a bad thing (or a good thing for that matter) but I’m certain it adds difficulty to simple everyday tasks. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m unproductive but things don’t physically happen. It’s as if I have several completed yet unwritten essays floating through my head. I have thought about them enough, why write them down? It’s sort of depressing not being able to function due to this sort of self-indulgent behavior. Recently however, a topic has come forth as worthwhile. The first portion of the idea came to me from my mother. Commenting on my profoundly terrible eye sight, she noted a book called The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Lander, Professor of History and Economics at Harvard University. In this book he introduces the idea that eye glasses are among Man’s most important inventions, “Eyeglasses made it possible to do fine work and use fine instruments. But also the converse: eyeglasses encouraged the invention of fine instruments, indeed pushed Europe in a direction found nowhere else. The ability to see proved vital to the future achievements of Mankind.” Now the second portion of my two part idea came to me at a rather unusual place: a school bus. One of my friends was presenting his new gadget, the “iPod”, to an admiring group. He let me view the screen. Luckily I had my eyeglasses because it was small yet distractively bright and difficult to see. Even though I wasn’t impressed by his collection of mediocre music and silly pictures, something astonished me. My friends had jokingly dubbed his toy, “Man’s Greatest Achievement”. What an interesting concept; something that I had never thought about before. What is “Man’s Greatest Achievement”? I interrupted the 10
conversation to gather possible answers for this query. Many responses were the similar but I found that the vagueness of the words “greatness” and “achievement” allow for a certain level of openness, a possibility of multiple viewpoints. Identifying Man’s Greatest Achievement depends on one’s ability to see and understand the world. A bird lands on a branch to relax its wings, stretching them out to show its full wingspan. This is a fantastic creature; beautiful and large. A man on the ground views this animal in all its majesty. He feels something within himself change – like chains breaking. The man now summons his companion so that he too may change at sight of this bird. Alas, he has called too loudly! The bird takes flight and the men on the ground watch it disappear into the sky. Flight is our greatest achievement. An airplane is quite a feat of ingenuity. What is less likely to fly than metal bound wings? Since the first encounter with birds, Man has dreamed of flight and now, thanks to a select few who were able to see the world in a constructive way, all men are able to see from a birds eye view. Yet some do no see this way. These men do not understand the origin and majesty of flight. They ignore the bird and only see bombs and missiles corrupting the greatness of flight. Our ingenuity has given birth to aerial warfare thus advancing techniques such as radar, propulsion, carbon fibers, and the deaths of millions of human beings. A young boy stares up into the sky at night. He is overwhelmed. Thousands of stars and planets surround is eyes - he is unable to take it all in at once. The boy blinks only when necessary as he does not want to miss a single second. The moon has put him in a near-trance state. It seems to almost stalk the boy, an illusion created from its immense size. The moon continues to follow the boy for the rest of his life –within the boy dwells a vision of greatness.
Man’s Greatest Achievement extends past flight to the breaking of our atmosphere. The moon landing is often considered one of our most triumphant moments. Neil Armstrong so famously called it a “giant leap for mankind”. He may be right. It is pretty incredible that we discovered ways of accelerating ourselves 17,500 mph, at the right angle and at just the right time to fling ourselves out of the gravitational pull of the earth toward the moon. The boy who dreams of the moon might some day be an astronaut. He might be able to see the earth from a new perspective. Looking back at the earth he will finally be able to take it all in. Unfortunately, not all share the boy’s vision. In fact, the most influential driving force behind the space program was fear and paranoia. “Space” became synonymous with “Arms” and the fear of a nuclear holocaust was never more present. A young man, a theology major, sits in the back of a university library. A stack of books sits near the leg of his chair. They have titles like Sunnah and Al-Qur’an. He holds a book called Al-Hadith which contains the sayings and doings of Muhammad. The man tries to see the world as Muhammad had. He reads the sentence “The first thing created by God was the Intellect”. Language is Man’s Greatest Achievement. Having this kind of ability lets us share ideas and see the world differently. Let us say along with Dillard, “Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization.” Religion is the primary example of the greatness of language. Religious texts contain words that have a positive affect on people’s lives (except those that are corrupted by fear). Not all people are like the young man in the library, they cannot see the world in a positive way. Even something as pure as language can be dangerous, this point has been proven over and over again through the crusades and false martyrs. A middle aged woman sits in her dry apartment building. The walls are bare and there isn’t much furniture. There is a couch which see is lying on. Music is playing: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor with “Ode to Joy”. The music feels so emotional and
powerful to her - nothing has ever seemed so epic. The music builds images in her mind, letting her see. The abstracted images ring with a certain importance that composes within the woman a vision of greatness. Seeing is not always done with the eyes. My father is an artist, so I often get the chance to meet very interesting people. In fact I recently met Tony Hepburn, the current Ceramic Professor & Artist-in-Residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and one of the great intellects in the field. He was invited to speak at the BGSU campus. Prior to the actual lecture, he ate with my family so I was able to briefly converse with him. After learning that he taught in Michigan, I mentioned a video that I had seen of a man there who was able to recreate Stonehenge with primitive tools in his backyard. Stonehenge would latter appear that night in his slide show as an important inspiration for his gate-like artwork. Hepburn would often observe and draw the formations as a student and then walk through them. The core of Hepburn’s artistic philosophy is the notion that seeing has become too much of a retinal endeavor. Even though he wasn’t looking at the stones directly, he “saw” them differently. So the question now is: how does this way of seeing give insight into Man’s Greatest Achievement? Music is Man’s Greatest Achievement. The women with an insensitive apartment would say that specifically the 9th Symphony is Man’s Greatest Achievement. The 9th was the last symphony composed by a completely deaf Beethoven. The masterpiece is particularly important because is demonstrates Beethoven’s ability to understand and interpret the world. He uses sound to mentally manifest images within the listeners mind. Thus listening is a way of seeing even though that which is viewed may not be visually present, just as before with the gateway shapes of Stonehenge. The specifics of what is actually being seen or felt are naturally dependent on the listener. However, the raw power of Man is always evident. With a wonder like Stonehenge the power is obvious but some thing as
subtle as music is a more emotional. For instance, the playing of the 9th symphony at the Tiananmen Square protest or the destruction of the Berlin wall demonstrates our emotional power. The ideal of freedom is summoned by the tone and emotional drawing power of the music. The influence of this may be hard to understand for us Americans but think of our national anthem. Have you ever felt teary and sentimental when those notes play? I can only imagine that similar feelings are aroused in Europe where the 9th is the national anthem or in Japan where it is played at New Year’s celebrations. It is important to be aware that music creates abstracted images capable of eliciting a powerful emotional response. If one is blind to this detail then he is vulnerable to persuasion via propaganda. The woman from before sees clearly, but others may not. Behold Nazi Germany, to whom music was an important tool of propaganda. Hitler believed that Beethoven was among the
three master composers that represented the German moral of strength. Not much was needed to associate the feelings of power manifested while listening to the 9th with hatred and domination. I see differently than these people I have mentioned: Flight cannot be Man’s Greatest Achievement because it is double edged sword; the moon landing cannot be because it is far too trivial; Language/ Religion cannot be because it is corrupted so easily. However, I must admit that I once believed Beethoven’s 9th to be Man’s Greatest Achievement but now I feel that it is just too raw. Music is so emotional that it is less of an achievement and more of a window. Through this window we see the nature of man, what we really are, be it beautiful or horrible. Man’s Greatest Achievement must not possess this sort of duality – No, it must however posses a sort of flawlessness. Man’s Greatest Achievement must be pure to the point of being almost divine.
Man’s Greatest Achievement is himself as Michelangelo’s David. This is true on two levels: the technical and the spiritual. Michelangelo began work on his version of David when he was only 17, a number that coincides with the height of the sculpture. Its proportions accurate when viewed from its original installation - but from a normal view David’s hands and head are large and genitalia small when compared to a normal man - this is to show his primary concern with reason and work rather than pleasure and decadence. To qualify the work: Michelangelo’s David is not only the most recognizable sculpture in the world but also the pinnacle of western art and culture. David is one of the greatest pieces of art the world will ever see. The second level of greatness is found through the intent of the form. David represents divine creation and thus directly reflects the ultimate greatness of God. Michelangelo is widely reported as saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him
free”. Just as Michelangelo sees the angel in the marble, I see something in the sculpture – something that is not yet totally free. David represents something that cannot be corrupted by human wickedness: the ideal of human perfection. Regrettably, as a people we are prone to corruption virtually guaranteeing pain and possibly destruction. However, there are singular people who see the world in a positive way. The man who viewed the bird take flight, the boy who looked up on the moon and marveled at its mystery, the student who read the religious texts and felt changed, the women who conjured abstracted images of beauty from the notes of music – these people are all of us. Landers has a point when he says that eyeglasses are one of our most important advancements. The ability to see the world has proved vital to mankind. Not everyone actually achieves greatness but if they really look, with uncorrupted eyes, a small spark of the ideal might shine through.
ration Of Literature XVII
by Joanne Baker
Lydia Braun INTERVIEW by Mason Balistreri
PAIN AND PLEASURE
When did you first start drawing? I was five years old. I did a little paper book for my dad which had all of the Quake monsters in it. I even titled the Scrambler as “The Blood Polar Bear”. Quake, the video game? That’s pretty awesome, I remember drawing stuff from Doom. How old are you now? I’m seventeen now and I’ll be eighteen in June, but yeah I would have probably done Doom monsters if I grew up with a windows computer but I grew up on Macs. I guess Quake was the Mac Doom Do you come from an artistic family or is drawing something you always did on your own? I came from a very artistic family. My mom owned her own hair salon before I was born and my dad owned his own design business called Little Pictures. Did you pick up your style from them? Or did you sort of go on a tangent. In other words, what’s the inspiration for your art? Well my dad has a very new age style to his art. I always loved his style but I went for a different look. I drew from dreams. Later on, I drew when I was upset - maybe as an outlet. Now I just do it for fun, it’s nice to put what’s in my mind onto paper. What mediums do you work in? Is it all done free hand and scanned in? What is the process you have for creating a piece like “Your Mark” or “What Can Rabbits Do?” Well if the drawing involves something that I don’t have a good visual image on, I’ll surf the web and look at photos, images, or maybe anatomy. Then I’ll sketch out outlines with a pencil and add some detail. I go over this with art pens lightly and erase the pencil. Then I’m left with an outline of my art with some big details. I use fine pens to add my dots. From there I scan my art and bring it up in Photoshop. I’ll fix up
the image and make it all one solid black line work. This is when I begin to color in different layers with different properties until I’m done. I notice motifs in your work – grotesque things like skulls and violence, but then also common symbols of beauty like roses and the female body. What are you trying to accomplish with those images? To be honest, I never really think long and hard about what’s in my art until it’s done. I love the detail I can put into bone and skulls so I use them a lot and I enjoy drawing something that I can easily look at in the mirror: of course, the female body. If there is a position I don’t know how to draw, I can go to my mirror and study what the position will look like. As for other things I add to my art, I truly borrow from what happens when I sleep. You look at yourself for study; does this mean that you inject yourself in the pieces? In other words, is that part of you in those images? I use what I see in the mirror. Not everything is exact but the dimensions are around the same. Rarely do I draw things that I just make up – it usually comes from an experience I’ve had or something to do with dreams. I’m interested in your series, Problem Alphabet. Where did that idea come from? Well it originally started with artist’s block. I wasn’t dreaming and nothing seemed to pop into my head. So one day I had this idea to draw women in different situations. The situations were problems like anxiety, bulimia, cancer. Real problems for each letter of the alphabet. I’m saving the rest of the series for when I have artist block again. Why not draw men? For some reason, it’s much harder for me to draw the male body. I don’t draw from remembering how the human body bends
or moves but rather from what I see in the mirror. Thus, all my men end up looking like women. I ask because I see a strange stream of sexuality running through much of your work. “An Error of Judgment” is a good example. How do you feel about that piece? I did Error of Judgment after I thought I was pregnant. I wasn’t but it got me thinking about things. I had a couple of weird
Oh no not at all, trust me I’ve had some weirdos ask way to many questions about things that not even I could see in my art. I remember two different occasions. The first, a couple years ago, I had art displayed at our local visual arts center. I was practically cornered by this one guy who asked me questions about the lines in my work, asking why I made it seem like the image was tilting towards the left and how the color made me feel. Just things that were almost stalker-ish.
The idea was to show a man who only wants sex but doesn’t want to deal with the results. I wanted to portray him as blue collar but also inhuman. nightmares on the subject. One included a bunch of flies engorging themselves on a nest of broken eggs. The other one involved me and an unknown man. He impregnated me and left me on my own. The idea was to show a man who only wants sex but doesn’t want to deal with the results. I wanted to portray him as blue collar, but I also made him a skeleton - maybe symbolizing that he is inhuman.
That is pretty strange
That’s pretty intense for a 17 year old. What does your family think about the things you draw?
Yeah, it was weird – I might have some of the e-mails saved.
My father seems more than okay about it. If anything, he encourages me to delve deeper into things. My mom loves my art but doesn’t seem to touch too much on the content. She’s just happy that I’m doing what I enjoy, I suppose. Do you like showing your art? I enjoy showing it when it’s done, sometimes I get uncomfortable when I’m asked to bare my soul about my art. When it’s expected that every piece should be some orgasm of the soul, it just gets a little weird for me. Sorry, I hope I’m not doing that.
It was very scary now that I think about it. Another time was recent. I had a person sending me e-mails with all these detailed, creepy questions about “An Error of Judgment”. It made me not draw for a couple weeks I can image the questions…
What’s next for you, I saw you’re starting to make clothing? Oh yes! That is actually the reason I haven’t drawn in awhile : I got sucked into the world of tee shirt designs! I gave up on trying to get big companies to recognize my work. So I opened up my own store online. I’m pretty excited about it.
If you enjoyed Lydia’s work, then you should see it in full resolution glory on our website, http://thejist.info
Shut up (#1) by Dan Gerhardstein
Digital Vector 20
Land of the [un]Free
by William Pansky
The Great Debate
by Joel Straley
Insert WAR JOKE The Great Debate first hit the airwaves on January I don’t know let’s just say Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2007. The show premiered that Tuesday evening at 10:00pm on local college station WBGU 88.1 and introduced the world to Mr. Lenny Thompson, Mr. Ralph Wigglesworth, Mr. Bill Morgan and Mr. John - Michaelson, but then he died and was replaced by - Johnaldson. The Great Debate quickly gained the reputation of being Bowling Green, Ohio’s only, and consequently, best satirical political talk radio program. The Great Debate is currently in its third and final season. During The Great Debates reign on WBGU 88.1 FM the three hosts have been delighted to have been joined by members of such organizations as BGSU NORML, Bowling Green Students for Barack Obama, BGSU College Republicans, Gathering of Eagles as well fellow WBGU Political commentators Political Animals, “Liberal Fascism” author Jonah Goldberg, and John Kerry. The Great Debate has also been the forum that introduced the world to the Presidential campaigns of both Alex Merced and Bill Morgan. The Great Debate’s latest accomplishment has been a feature in a magazine you picked up at Howard’s last night and are now reading as you wait for your hangover to stop.
John Johnaldson The Common Man Ralph Wigglesworth The Conservative
Lenny Thompson The Liberal
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Two more shots of vodka Couldn’t bring me down Look at me I’m falling Watch me as I drown Two more shots of something Give it to me quick I just wanna finish All this is too sick Two more shots of vodka All I need from you Make the world so pretty Make your words be true Three to hit the floor now Come on send me there Someplace I’ll be fine, now Beautiful somewhere Two more shots of vodka Please don’t pass me by Here’s a chance to make a change Teach me how to fly Come on give me something Make it go away Two more shots of vodka Rewind, hit the “play” This will all get better Trust me; that I know Two more shots of vodka Fluids draining slow Two more shots of vodka Nothing that I need Wipe me out, I’m falling - cold Never been so free.
by Olena Shmahalo
Poem & Painting, luminatii.deviantart.com 24
Existential Hangman by Alie Lavoie Maybe it takes sitting in the backseat of a car to realize your life. Maybe it takes leaning your head against the window, knowing your hair will have a weird kink in it when you get out of the car to go wherever you were going in the first place. But you do this anyways because it’s what they do in the movies, and sometimes it’s nice to feel like you’re in a movie.
Maybe it takes your own silence, your own touching your bottom lip to the top. Looking around at the people that you could recognize by their wrist. This sounds impossible, but I bet there are people in your life that you could do this for. If somebody took pictures just of the wrists of all your closest friends and family, you could probably tell who was who. Arm hair. Geometric freckle formations. Protruding wrist bones. Creases in the skin from where they’ve waved and written at odd angles. You would know. Maybe it takes the streetlights. And the traffic lights. And the lights from inside the houses of strangers. Polarizing lights and their first impressions. Flickering blue from a television screen: loneliness or a family that has stopped talking. A warm wash of light from a dining room chandelier: wholeness or children who get hugs before bed. These impressions are probably wrong, you tell yourself. But a little part of you wonders what other people in various seats of cars have thought about your own house when they passed it. Unless you don’t have a house. Or unless there is no road access to your house. Or unless you never have any lights on because you’re worried about the environment. But this would still leave some kind of impression, too. But it wouldn’t be the right one unless you put a sign on your yard that said “I choose to never have any lights on because I am worried about the
environment.” You would have to make the sign out of salvaged wood and non-toxic paint, though. Otherwise you would be a hypocrite. Maybe it takes nothing to realize your life. Maybe you are realizing your life all the time but you just don’t realize it. Maybe everyone’s life is just a whole lot of unrealized realizations. Maybe this is sad, because we could know a lot more if we just realized more. Or maybe this is happy, because, in some way, it seems kind of humble and friendly to not realize. Because it’s like, for once, we’re not patting ourselves on the back for doing something that really doesn’t deserve a pat on the back. Unless you need a pat on the back once in a while. Then it would just be sad. Which brings us here: Maybe it takes – and this is where you insert something really profound and deeply personal. Partly because I don’t know what it takes and partly because I like the idea of existential hangman. Guess a vowel.
Untitled by Mike T.
Triumphantly tumultuous beings these T h at g r i n d a n d h e av e t h e i r w ay T h rou g h c ou nt e d t re e s C on s t a nt l y s e e k i n g Mov i n g n ot s p e a k i n g B l i n d i n g t h e w e a k w it h a ny t h i n g S h i ny or pre tt y Binding their feet Wit h b on d s of pit y S a d s t r a n g e s a c r i l e g i ou s Un c on s c i ou s l y v i c i ou s
Strike a pose! 2 by Coleman Howes
How I Learned to Die in Three Easy Steps: Vol. 2 As it stood, Dr. Jack Arnold had climbed the arduous ladder of academia to become one of the most famed nuclear physicists the United States had ever produced (of course, he still looked like a child pornographer when placed next to the likes Albert Einstein or Enrico Fermi). Moreover, he had stirred up a great deal of controversy through a series of talks given at institutions across the continent, the focus of which was the exposition of his three-step method of death (known by enthusiasts and critics alike as the “deathod”). The brainchild of an increasingly cynical Arnold in an increasingly nuclear world, the deathod, if you will, bore an uncanny resemblance to something the recently pardoned Dr. Jack Kevorkian would have conceived in his prime. As Dr. Arnold became more cynical, so did the people of America. Amidst economic collapse, angry mobs, and unnerving amounts of nuclear fallout, many simply holed up in what was left of their humble homes, eating titanic amounts of cold canned ravioli and spending most of their free time trying to tune in signal to watch Family Guy (which was in its 79th season). This was often the highlight of their day, and many chose instead to end their bleak lives either by plunging off of the nearest moderate- to large-sized building or surrendering to the radiation that was burning their bodies. Still, some were disinclined to despair at the fact that their lives had turned into everything they had feared half a century earlier. And instead of wasting away in their shattered American Dreams, they decided to turn to something bigger; something better; a hero, if you will. Yes, some of 26
them had just enough whimsy (or in some cases just plain obstinacy) to seek truth in the words of a renowned nuclear physicist who had something to say and generally “seemed like a pretty fucking cool guy.” This man was no other than the cynical Dr. Jack Arnold (in addition to being cynical, Arnold was also charismatic). It was a cold March, and Arnold was in the home stretch of his tour of university lectures on the deathod, all of which he had delivered well, but had been received rather poorly. Personally, he had grown weary of addressing angry crowds of people holding up signs that read “People Killer,” “Hand Over The Nobel Prize,” and “Deathod, More Like Barbaric Method.” Also, getting pelted with brandy snifters and sandwich bags of moustache shavings was beginning to get on his nerves. He had drummed up a few followers, but they seemed to be the types that were uneducated about his ideas and his cause and simply desperate for companionship and leadership. Mostly, they tried to hang out with him in the evenings. “You don’t get it,” Arnold would retort, “I’ll hang out when I’m dead. That’s the point of all this.” Sometimes, on a particularly bad day, he would snap “FUCK hanging out in general!” and this generally chagrinned them (sometimes they would cry). It was not until his final talk at the University of Chicago that Dr. John Arnold was able to attract a crowd of people he deemed worthy of viewing him as a charismatic idol or hero. Moreover, he was tired, sore, and so on for said talk, and he was less satisfied with the general situation than he thought he would be. As he stood at the modest pulpit under a cove of trees in Hyde Park, he was
stumbling stiltedly through the speech he wrote for the occasion (the same as most he had delivered) and looking over the crowd of people. In the front rows, he saw a group of kindred spirits scattered throughout. All of them had glasses; some of them had moustaches. As we will soon discover, this was part of something new. And bigger. The group was an oddly serendipitous one, composed of people whose paths had been weaving in and out of each other for the past quarter of a century. They had known each other in several contexts ranging from academia to Dionysian debauchery. It was a small world, after all. It was quite incestuous of them all to live in greater Chicago together. This undoubtedly crossed each and every one of their minds when they saw each other in the crowd. Probably at the exact same time, too. Still, they all shared a common ground, yet again: They all believed in Dr. Jack and the Deathod (sounds like the name of a band, doesn’t it?) as their salvation from the nuclear world. They were Zack Penckofer, Brendan Sullivan, Jim Howes, Stefan Fritsch, Lisa Thelen, Al Thelen (wedded), Edwish Samson, and Zack Bielen. There were seven of them, and their ages ranged from 35 to 75.
And so, the seven kindred souls/spirits/ lives/spectacles (there were seven of them) stood in awe as they heard the rallying cry of Dr. Jack Arnold: “We will, in a caravan of sorts, move ourselves out of the city and into yon countryside.” (Arnold enjoyed using old English) “When we get there, we shall set up a camp of sorts, only it won’t be a camp because I have a crew of wonderful workers currently erecting a Beach Lounge House for our coexistence. Coexisting, we will thus also live and learn together, and some of us will die together. It will be a learning experience, mostly. Additionally, it will be a funning experience. With lots of shiny things.” Thus, they did indeed move in a caravan of sorts (most of them had cars) into the countryside. Of course, with urban sprawl [sex: F] being the brutal bitch that she was, they had to travel 1.75 hours south to roughly Danville (IL) before they reached the two-tone brown [Beach Lounge] palace on a slab of marbled limestone and alabaster that Jack had begun to erect (oh, the craftsmanship!). As they approached this oasis of uncertainty, there echoed in their heads Dr. Jack Arnold’s Proclamation: “We are on the cusp of a better way.” To be continued, yet again… Next Issue
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5 Albums To Get Over! by Chaz Ludwig, Matt Cordy, Mason Balistreri
WHY WON’T THESE ALBUMS DIE? Since everyone agreed with our last article, “15 Movies I’m So Over, Why Aren’t You?” we decided to write a follow up on a topic that everyone is an expert in: Music. It seems like people treat music like religion or life philosophy, as if an album could ever be taken as seriously as the word of god. We know these are good albums, and we even like most of them but honestly, are they timeless? Do we really need to hear about them from every smug kid with Limewire? And we present to you, the top 5 albums to get the hell over! Spoiler Alert: Out of concern for our readers, we advise those who have not listened to these albums to proceed with caution. The following article represents these albums and fans in an entirely accurate and honest way. No bullshit here. Or Bias.
Mars Volta - Frances The Mute Wow, the most chaotic clusterfuck of noise ever with incoherent lyrics to boot. Only a select few can decipher this mess of Spanglish and whoosh noises. It must mean something right? Well we figured it out: they recorded the sound of 53rd street from inside a B.F.I dumpster, then spliced that with a guitar made of old kitchen appliances while the singer channels an army of screaming Panamanian children. There is plot though! Every song is important to the overarching story that is The Mars Volta! Screw that, all I hear is exploding street lights.
Tool - Lateralus I heard that everything Tool does means something like a perfect circle if you will. But really, when you take a Sober look into the complexity of Tool, all you find is geometry. That’s right the answer to life is Forty-Six & 2. Don’t hold a [The] Grudge against us for being Disgustapated with this album. But listening to this is like having Prison Sex for 10,000 Days or Stinkfist[ing] a Hooker With A Penis on The Pot. But seriously, I’m sick of people living Vicarious[ly] through Tool. People need to Hush up about Lateralus and need to take a good look at their Reflection. 30
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Where do we start with this one? What is it about the Dark Side of the Moon that makes our blood boil. Is it the pretentious jazz undertones? The allegiance of stoner fans? The mind blowing correlation to the Wizard of Oz? Or is it the fact that you can buy Pink Floyd boxers at Wal-Mart? The band really likes Money. That’s right, the smug bastards sell merch at Wal-Mart. This album was on the charts for ten years - and it’s still everywhere! Please, everyone, put down your joints, get off the beanbag, and get over Dark Side of the Moon. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation I heard that Sonic Youth was important. It seemed like they were influential to music, art, and culture. Jesus Christ, I thought they did something! I was wrong. They’re part of the No Wave movment which is part of the Art Rock genre. I call it no-talent elite noise. Being avant-garde isn’t an excuse to suck. Don’t tell that to a fan - to them, your opinion is always wrong. Listen, I honestly tried with this band: I did everything I could to like them. I saw them live, bought the album - but I guess I will never be part of the Day Dream Nation. Radiohead - OK Computer Dear OK Computer fans, Please stop telling me to listen to this album. It’s not profound. It’s not life changing. It’s nothing. A concept album void of concepts. I never want to feel how this album sounds; It’s the epitome of sad bastard. Listening to this is like seeing a pathetic celebrity cry in a closet with his money and grammy nearby. Oh wait... that’s exactly what it is! Get over yourselves, get over this album. Karma Police arrest this band.
March ISSUE Retrospect by Quentin Kilpatrick
Why DON’T WE ALL PAT EACH OTHER’s BACKS AT THE MIC As a follow up to last month’s BG music scene issue, I feel we’ve committed a grave offense in not talking to a cadre of music vets who have their own unique perspectives shaped by dedicated years tolling away in various outfits. That Human Cargo was featured heavily in last month’s issue is an understatement. The band was the subject of one article and three of us contributed more by interviewing other bands, and taken together, it’s revealing of our own subjective interpretations. I think Mason correctly notes that as not being a musician, he has followed us in a cloud of smoke in an attempt to better understand the music of the local ‘youth’ population. And as a cloud inevitably distorts whatever we try to understand and convey, it can seem selfserving and futile. But our deluded views are products of our environment and our experiences… and it could be considered ‘biased’, ‘removed’, and more-or-less sub-
tle-yet-shamelessly self-promoting---for sure. The very title of this publication ‘The Jist’ implies elitism. The ‘What we’ve done and what you should know about’---an allencompassing perspective, and that it can never be, but that’s not the point. We’re trying to explain a multitude of views from experiences past and present, in words which can never fully do justice. But aside from the pseudo-philosophical runaround, the members of Stop Don’t Stop are extremely well-connected and versed in the long and incestuous history of the ‘BG music scene’ and perhaps because this they’re best suited to sort it all out. Check out next month’s issue for an interview with Stop Don’t Stop, and through them: Defending Legacy. Love Project. Bullet Teeth. The Modern Soviet Enemies. The Press Gang. Cat and Mouse. The Tapes.
Previous Issues by Mason Balistreri
www.thejist.info Previous issues of the magazine are availbile online for free in PDF and Flash formats. Printed copies can be requested via email. Black and white copies are free with an optional donation. Color copies are $3.
Contributors Art Correy Zidow Dan Gerhardstein Lydia Braun Mason Balistreri Olena Shmahalo Samuel Sinaga William Pansky
Writing Alie Lavoie Andrew Spiess Chaz Ludwig Coleman Howes Joanne Baker Mason Balistreri Matt Cordy Mike T Quentin Kilpatrick
Editing Brittany Adams Jeremy Schroeder Mason Balistreri Quentin Kilpatrick
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