Change of Pace

A fucking nasty day.

Since I'm still working on a long essay about the resurgence of the digital aesthetic and the future of computation of media, here's a letter from my angry friend Scott Rahin, sometimes Ftrain correspondent:

Dear Paul,

There is no hot water, no heat. The cold water is warmer than the hot water. I have a job interview tomorrow. I will shave and shower in absolutely freezing water. Or I'll heat water on the stove and sponge myself with it, like a pioneer wife. I want to see my landlord destroyed. I wish for corpsewhite ghouls to rise from the ground in Connecticut, where he lives, and come to his house and chew him to death.

I want to see it; I want the ghouls to operate videocameras and send me the snuff film. It was a mistake to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Who was I to think I could tame Brooklyn? I should have seen you rotting in your shitbox apartment and learned from the example.

I found a dead mouse on my floor, in plain view by the trash. I poisoned it, and it died, then stank. Revenge. I'm angry at it, want to kill its twitchy-nosed family. I picked it up with a plastic bag. I stink because I can't get a shower. The apartment reeks with the molecular remains of a rotten mouse. Wind comes in through the windows. People in my neighborhood don't use doorbells; they just scream for each other.

Other big news, after the mouse: I was let go, terminated, fired from Consolidated Undulating Prong. I wasn't a cohesive member of the team. Didn't show necessary effort. I also didn't go to work more than 3 days a week. I started spending half the day in the bathroom, shaking, revolting from every fluorescent fiber of the place. I should have thrown my desk 30 floors out the window. I should have fucked my chair in plain view. You want to fire me? Sure, here, watch as I hack a hole and fuck this $1000 Aeron chair. How's that? Take your Microsoft Project files and choke to death on them, you cubicle-living tool of shit. I sentence you to Gannt chart hell.

Now, I have no income but plenty of time to consider my relationship with the world, as evidenced in this email. I hated my manager. A cog with 2 kids. I want to tie him to a pole, tie bananas around his neck, and smear his ass with ape sex musk. Let a bunch of smack-shooting horny gorillas into the room and lock the door behind me.

I don't deserve all this self pity. I expect someone from some big publishing house to show up at the door and say, “hey, genius, you should be a big writing star, don't worry you haven't written in 9 months, we know you're a swell cock.” 9 months: long enough to give birth to a monster. Maybe I can start an online journal, get my 200 readers a day, like being really well-known in HAM radio, but not as cool. No insult.

Father, on the phone: “always look at what you've learned from the experience.” What I learned was that I loathe the Internet, e-commerce, with its disgusting insinuation and relentless greeds. The Internet is a fat $5 leprous whore. The Internet is a dumpster baby smothered in shit and buried by the cops, a pissing match between eunuchs. I didn't watch the Superbowl but the idea angers me. I am disgusted by Disney owning ABC and promoting it on a big sporting even that is of primary interest because of the advertising it features and a halftime show that Leni Riefenstahl would be proud to film.

I hope that Cuban kid takes a baseball bat to someone's head and ends up in juvenile. That would vindicate my thinking about America. I want Putin to launch a nuclear attack and clean house. Manhattan would be first to go, followed in 5 seconds by Brooklyn. Just put me close to the blast, so I don't puke blood for a week. I won't be in the shelter; just make me a shadow on the wall.

I want to merge AOL and Time Warner with a nuclear bomb. Dig: “AOL and Time Warner were merged with a nuclear bomb today. Steve Case, a piggy ugly American, said 'damn' as he and his entire Virginia-based enterprised were reduced to their component chemicals, then spread in a fine radioactive mist over much of the southeastern United States.” May Viacom sink into the sea, the big 50-story building in Times Square toppling over after a lengthy crucifixion of the Veejay frankenstein puppets on MTV. Who cares about the 10,000 bands on MTV? Do 14-year-old boys have that much spending power? Why aren't they having sex with watermelons and shoving light fixtures up their ass while listening to the Serial Killers and going to Zipperhead on South Street and smoking pot and reading about John Wayne Gacy and hacking their arms with knives like I was? What the hell are these kids doing that they have time for MTV? They should be out vandalizing community buildings and exploring their bisexuality while they still have it.

Paul, I hate Ftrain most of all, the vapid online babbling. I can see the dead eyes of the audience poring over the drivel. Why do you bother? What is your voice worth in the scope of things? All these goddam APES are just going to DIE and you are spouting signs, U-turn after U-turn, whistling in the void, for what, the sake of whistling? What's for you, man? Recognition? Microcelebrity? FUTILITY.

Just stop wasting your time. Do some drugs. Get out of the middle and do something real. Paul, enough is enough. Stop spinning your tires. Help a sick man from dying, give the homeless some money, or else turn around, press the button, and drop the bombs.





Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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