We were in Cambodia YumYum when Karen asked if they serve General Tso. Laughingly I said no, but they do have Chicken Pol Pot, which is to die for. It starts out sweet but then the heat hits like a bullet to the head. And though I doubt this is true, Karen swears I told her to get the Khmer Rouge dumplings too. My Cheshire grin should have been a clue but when the waiter walked over Karen gave her order and onto the sidewalk I flew. It was just a silly genocide joke, but some people spurn humor like others malign salt. Then they pretend to be offended and act as if it's my fault. Hey, I'm the one who left before I could finish my beer. Seems to me - I'm the victim here. Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
In a desperate attempt to achieve my twin goals of becoming obscenely rich and obnoxiously famous, I became a poet. It didn’t work. But I was reading Luisa Zambrotta’s Words and Music and Stories yesterday, and she had a post about James Cabell and how he rose from obscurity overnight all because he wrote a book the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (Oxymoron Alert) achieved in getting banned. (http://wordsmusicandstories.wordpress.com/2022/04/14/fantasy-optimism). Perversely, writers become rich and instant celebrities whenever people try to ban their books. It makes me wonder why folks would want to ban anything they don’t like. If “offensive” books were only ignored (like any other book), those writers would remain impoverished and die alone.
My second thought was that’s brilliant! I’m going to do that. I started thinking of all the obscene topics that would get a book banned: war, cruelty, rape, adult diapers, hatred, and Coldplay. But when I went to various media outlets to conduct research, I found everyone was talking about these issues. The people in favor of obscenity (whatever that is) weren’t banned, and neither were the people who opposed it. Instead each side was treated with the same amount of contempt.
So now I’m bereft. If those topics won’t get my book banned, what will? Writing about people who want to be treated with dignity? About people who want to love each other without being assaulted? You can see how desperate I’ve become. Why would anyone ban a book for those reasons?
Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief.
A Pale View of Hills was first published in 1982. It’s Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel, and it’s noteworthy because it contains the elements that made him an eventual winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. As with his more accomplished novels, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and Klara and the Sun, not much happens in A Pale View of Hills. Not much of importance is said. But Mr. Ishiguro is fascinating because the things that aren’t said and the things that don’t happen are the things that matter. They leave the reader unsettled – asking uncomfortable questions.
The novel opens in the English countryside in the late 1970s where Etsuko is trying to cope with her first-born daughter’s recent suicide. A visit by her younger daughter, Niki, and the memories of her deceased daughter, Keiko, draw Etsuko back to her life in Japan a few years after the second world war ended. At the time Etsuko was pregnant with Keiko and living in Nagasaki, which is just emerging from the death and destruction caused by the atomic bomb. Society is experiencing a huge upheaval as the Americans “introduce” democracy to a country buried under rubble. As Etsuko’s father-in-law, who represents Japan’s traditional order, puts it: “now instead there’s all this talk of democracy. You hear it whenever people want to be selfish, whenever they want to forget obligations.”
The younger generation does not long for the old ways that led them into a disastrous war. “[S]uch things are in the past now, and there is little to be gained in going over them here.” They would rather think of the future. But the past, much like the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Keiko’s suicide, refuses to be ignored.
While in Japan, Etsuko is constantly looking forward. She hopes to be a loving mother, because being a mother is what “makes life truly worthwhile.” Back in England, Niki disagrees. “I can’t think of anything I’d like less.” With Keiko’s suicide always hovering just within sight, motherhood is not a comforting prospect. “The horror of that image has never diminished, but it has long ceased to be a morbid matter; as with a wound on one’s own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things.” That’s unsettling. But is it a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing? Well played, Mr. Ishiguro, well played.
Gladiola Overdrive, Chief Editor
Earlier this week FLACCID (Firearms Loving Americans Constantly Confronting Innovation and Decency) held its second annual convention at Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology. It was glorious to see so many FLACCID members on campus.
Just like last year, they asked me to open the convention with a prayer. Not trying to brag, but I’m pretty sure I nailed it with a nine inch nail. Here it is.
A Dreadful State of Affairs
Your school riddled with bullets and several friends too? What a dreadful state of affairs! Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. Father Orifice (pronounced Orifeechee), Chaplain of Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology
Looking good, McSmugly, looking good! That's what I hear whenever I see my marbled face staring back at me. Not that I seek my reflection out - it's just that in my office I have so many mirrors about. And who might McSmugly be? Is that what you're asking? Seriously? How have you not heard of me? I am the Creator of a law firm: Swift in Justice LLC. Visit my website for a wonderful profile of me. Win a pass for the free parking lot, and read my motto: The Truth Is Negotiable - My Fees Are Not. I do personal injuries but I specialize in misdemeanors and felonies. Are you sure you haven't heard of me? I have storefronts in two states. Hell, I drive a gold Lexus with vanity plates. They say NTGILTY, which is what my clients tell the jury then I take over and earn my fee, because alibis don't sound like lies when they're spoken by me. I have never lost a case though my clients have lost quite a few. But I have no time to rue their fate - not when I'm Prometheus chained to an hourly rate. That's how I live NTGILTY too. When you charge by the hour, how much you make depends on how long you stay awake, and your ability to bill during a bathroom break. So I never have time to reflect and the only thing I ever regret is all those fees I fail to collect. Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
We are thrilled that MasticadoresUSA has published our poem A Prayer for Less Love. We really appreciate their kind support.
A Prayer for Less Love I’ve heard what you say in the name of love and your favorite word is no. I’ve seen what you do in the name of love because the purple bruises still show. Please go here https://masticadoresusa.wordpress.com/2022/04/05/a-prayer-for-less-love-by-luvgood-carp/ if you would like to read the rest of the poem. Thanks very much. Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
On April 1, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced to the world he would die that night at 9:00 p.m. “I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do. I don’t see any need to continue living. I’ve always wanted to control everything and everyone so why not control death as well.”
“Do you promise to die?” A reporter asked. “Because you have a habit of saying one thing and doing the opposite.”
“That’s not true,” Mr. Putin said, as security pummeled the reporter. “If I say I am going to die tonight, peacefully in my sleep, then that is what will happen. Do any of the remaining reporters have more questions?” They did not.
The world rejoiced at the news. “This is wonderful! Everyone will be much safer now,” one man said before being poisoned.
“Can you believe him?” I asked. But the man was already dead.
On April 2, 2022, the world woke up smiling and so did Vladimir Putin. “But he promised,” everyone said in shock. “How can this be?”
That afternoon news from the Kremlin leaked. Mr. Putin’s promise to die had been a ruse. “Apparently,” said one reporter, who is now missing, “Mr. Putin had eyes on the wife of one of his generals. His announcement was intended to lull the general into a false sense of security. Instead of dying the night of April 1st, Putin was having sex with the general’s wife.”
“Dammit,” the general exclaimed. “He got me again.”
Tengo Leche, Free Lance Reporter and Social Anxiety Scholar