Alice and Her Adventures in Gaslighting

Right so there’s this kid Alice
she doesn’t have anything to do because she is a kid
and child labor is like frowned on or something
so instead she is just sitting under a dumb tree with her sister
when this rabbit runs by

now normally this would not be unusual
rabbits can only move by running
and they don’t normally stop to hang out
pretty rude honestly
but this rabbit is wearing PEOPLE CLOTHES
and a little pocketwatch
and is muttering to himself in HUMAN ENGLISH
about how late he is
and she’s like “hey sis did you see that?”
and her sister is like “I didn’t see anything.”
THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS.

So Alice is like “fuck you” and she follows the rabbit
and she’s a dumb clumsy baby so she falls down his rabbit hole
it is incredibly deep for a rabbit hole
giving her enough time to resign herself to death
and then start thinking about her cat
but she doesn’t die for some reason
she lands in a big fancy room with a key and some drugs in it
the drugs say “drink me” on them so she figures she’d better
and they turn her into a tiny person
which is good because there is a tiny door to go through
but she left the key on the table when she drank the drugs
and now she can’t get it
it’s like one of those procedural adventure game puzzles
where if you fuck up the order you have to wipe your save file and restart
Alice should kill herself is what I’m saying
but no, instead she mopes around until she finds a cake that says EAT ME on it
and she’s like “fuck you too, cake”
but then she eats it anyway
all of it
and it makes her enormous
SHE TOOK TOO MUCH
BAD TRIP BAD TRIP
she starts crying and crying
she floods the whole room because she is so huge
she is an ecological crisis
then the rabbit rolls in and is like “HOLY FUCK A GIANT WOMAN”
and she’s like “HOLY FUCK A TALKING RABBIT”
but only the rabbit is capable of fleeing
so he does, and he leaves a little fan behind
which Alice STEALS because she is a BAD PERSON
so it serves her right when the fan makes her shrink again
once again without the fucking key
and she starts drowning in her tears

So then a bunch of animals show up
and engage in a stupid and pointless game called a Caucus Race
which I’m sure is an utterly gripping political allegory
until Alice scares them away by talking about her cat
for a person trapped in an acid trip
Alice spends a lot of time talking about her cat
I guess this sort of behavior predates the internet

Anyway then the rabbit shows up again
to try and recover his clothing accessories
but all he finds is a tiny girl in a sea of tears
so naturally he assumes she’s his maidservant
and sends her to his house to get more gloves and fans.
Alice does as she’s asked
(oh yeah that whole room and locked door disappeared
continuity is for weenies)
but she only makes it as far as the rabbit’s bedroom
when she finds his drugs that he just left lying on the counter
so she chugs the drugs because it’s been going GREAT SO FAR
and what do you know, she becomes giant again
she becomes so giant she cannot move inside the house
she is just a bunch of shitty arms and legs sticking out of a house
as a result of drinking some liquid
that this rabbit just LEFT OUT ON HIS COUNTER
like DO YOU REALIZE THE MILITARY APPLICATIONS OF THIS SHIT?
Didn’t they make a garbage cgi sequel to this story
where they had to fight a war or something?
where the fuck was this super soldier serum in that movie
seems like it would have been way useful

anyway all these animals gather to pelt Alice with rocks
and the rocks turn into cake
which she eats and it makes her tiny again
so there is like NO CONSISTENCY TO WHAT THESE THINGS DO
SOMETIMES THE CAKE MAKES YOU SMALL, SOMETIMES HUGE
THIS IS POOR UI DESIGN IS WHAT THIS IS
whatever
Alice leaves the rabbit’s definitely ruined house
and wanders into some woods
because that seems fucking safe.

in the woods she eventually runs into a caterpillar
but the caterpillar is too stoned to be of any fucking use
it’s just like “yeah man eat some of this mushroom i’m sitting on
i am sure it will solve ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS.”
and through trial and error Alice soon discovers that
JUST LIKE EVERY INGESTABLE THING IN THIS WORLD
part of the mushroom makes her smaller
and the other part makes her large
or at least her neck grows longer
and by carefully combining these two potent pharmaceutical mushrooms
she is able to once again achieve a normal size
just in time to start trespassing on someone’s estate.

I mean whatever, right?
we’re talking about a world in which potent size-altering drugs are LITERALLY EVERYWHERE
private property is right out the window.
There’s a duchess who lives on this estate, but who the fuck cares
the important thing is her cat.

Fuck
the Cheshire
Cat
this ephemeral, gaslighting shitwit
seems to have been placed in Alice’s path
solely to erase her love for cats
all leering at her from the branches of trees
questioning her sanity
not even providing her with any good drugs
seriously, cat
EVERYBODY in wonderland’s got the good drugs
you couldn’t even throw her a pack of cigarettes?
NOPE
JUST CRYPTIC STATEMENTS AND AN EERIE LINGERING SMILE
A SMARMY CRESCENT OF SHIT-EATING TEETH
fuck this cat, is what i’m trying to say

the next clown posse Alice runs up on is no better
these three ICP rejects are just sitting around a table in the woods
having a fucking tea party
one of them is a rabbit
but not a nice pocket-watch carrying rabbit
a gnarly hobo rabbit
who is best friends with a haberdasher suffering from mercury poisoning
and a mouse who is CLEARLY addicted to heroin
all of whom are engaged in this perpetual teatime circlejerk
because they are too high to remember how time works
and are convinced that TIME ITSELF IS PUNISHING THEM
BY TRAPPING THEM AT 6PM FOREVER
at this point Alice is fed up with their bullshit entirely
and just leaves
bringing the total narrative impact of this trio of acid casualties
to exactly ZERO

Finally Alice runs into some dudes who are playing cards
they are painting some white roses red
because in a land where mushrooms can actually alter your size
landscaping is a fucking mystery.
These dudes work for the queen of hearts
who is also a playing card
and not some kind of hot cougar lady
although i don’t know, maybe
we don’t get a ton of character development
she mainly just stomps around demanding that people get beheaded
she fucking loves beheadings
she is like the whole french revolution stuffed into a ladysuit
and then the ladysuit is smashed flat by a trash compactor
and stuffed into a giant playing card
which would have been a novel way to counter the french revolution.

ANYWAY the queen invites Alice to play croquet with her
but it quickly becomes clear that no one knows how to play croquet
for one thing
in the game of croquet
one does not substitute mallets for LIVE FLAMINGOS
which is common sense
since the only sports which involve birds in any way
involve the KILLING of birds
because BIRDS ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING ELSE

yeah so then something happens
and another thing happens
and then the queen gets mad because someone stole some pastries
so naturally
based on some serious profiling
she accuses the Knave of Hearts
(aka the Jack of Hearts)
and everybody sits down to have a trial
which is a farce
because everybody knows the queen is just going to behead everybody anyway.
Pretty much all the animals from the story so far are here
like, apparently the rabbit works here
this is his job
seriously like everybody is here except for the caterpillar
the caterpillar was gonna go
but then it got high.
So then just when they are about to call Alice as a witness
(despite the fact that what the fuck could she possibly know)
her genome finally succumbs to the tremendous strain she’s put it under
by repeatedly changing size
and she starts growing for no reason at all
and everyone is like “STOP GROWING IT IS ILLEGAL”
and she’s like “FUCK YOU GUYS I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT I’M A GIANT”
which is EXACTLY WHY THEY SHOULDN’T LEAVE BOTTLES OF GROWTH HORMONE EVERYWHERE
but just as when shit is getting real
Alice
who is the new god of this tiny stupid world
WAKES UP.

COME

THE FUCK

ON.

THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A CLASSIC WORK OF LITERATURE
BUT IT’S REALLY MORE LIKE LEWIS CARROL WRITING HIMSELF INTO A CORNER
WITH A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT THAT SOUNDS LIKE A TWEEN TRYING TO BE “SO RANDOM”
AND THEN HE WAS LIKE OH NO OH SHIT WHAT NOW
OH AHA YES IT WAS ALL A DREAM
PERFECT.

SO YEAH I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE MORAL IS
NOTHING HAD CONSEQUENCES OR ANYTHING
SO I GUESS JUST LIKE
DON’T EVER GO TO SLEEP?

GREAT
AWESOME
GOODNIGHT

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Erysichthon Gotta Eat

I always love a good Greek myth
and today’s was brought to my attention
by long-time reader Ilya “Not Ilya of Murom” Lastname
and it is about an eating disorder

So you guys know about Demeter, right?
She’s the goddess of fertility and crops and whatnot
her daughter got stolen by the king of hell for sex reasons
it was a whole thing.
Anyway, being as she is in charge of fertility and crops and whatnot
it makes sense that Demeter would have an official forest dedicated to her
with a tree in it that is also dedicated to her
and covered in garlands and shit
one for each prayer she’s answered
so either she answers a lot of prayers
or everybody keeps falsely attributing their success to her
and then showering her tree in the ancient greek equivalent of macaroni pictures
in fact I’m not entirely convinced that Demeter likes these offerings
they seem like fancy trash to me
i don’t know how Demeter feels about littering
but I would wager she does not feel super great about it???
regardless, she does feel pretty attached to the actual tree
seeing as it is a literal extension of her body
which is why she is none too pleased
when this shitty king named Erysichthon decides to chop it down.

It is not at all clear why Erysichthon wants to do this
he doesn’t need the wood or anything
there’s no record of Demeter doing anything particularly shitty to him
maybe he just has really bad seasonal allergies
or he’s trying to erect a strip mall
or he just fucking hates trees
all totally understandable motivations
but Demeter doesn’t see it that way
she sees it the way where some rich asshole is carving up part of her body with an axe
so she makes the tree turn into flesh and start GUSHING BLOOD
and all Erysichthon’s guys are like “dude trees aren’t supposed to do that
this tree is CLEARLY haunted
why don’t we quit while we’re ahead
as in while we are not beset by vengeful ghosts”
but Erysichthon chops down the tree anyway
he gets blood everywhere
crushes a ton of other trees under its massive trunk
it’s a horrible waste
which is what makes it so metal.

Demeter obviously is not impressed by how metal this all is.
Instead she decides Erysichthon needs to get punished
and in the ancient Greek tradition
of punishments having fuck all to do with the crime
she decides to make him perpetually hungry.
Here’s the problem:
making people hungry is the exact opposite of what Demeter can do
she is straight up the goddess of feeding people
she is the concerned jewish mother of the Greek pantheon
so she has to ask Famine to do this thing for her
which is complicated by the fact
that Demeter and Famine are NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO HANG OUT
so Demeter has to send a go-between to the fucking Eurasian steppes
to find Famine on the tundra
with her ribs all exposed and her eyes all sunken
guts all visible through the skin
doing a photoshoot for Chanel
and the go-between is like “psst:
Demeter wants you to fuck a dude up.
Climb down his throat and shit a black hole in his stomach
please and thank you.”
and Famine is like “Sure whatever
I wasn’t doing anything this evening anyway.”

So Famine flies to Erysichthon’s house and gives him The Hunger
which is like if every food item in the world
was suddenly Subtraction Soup from the Phantom Tollbooth
everything he eats just makes him more hungry
he’s hoovering down food like a tyrannical Guy Fieri
he’s sitting at dinner like “mm this bucket of fried chicken is good
you know what it would go great with?
ELEVEN BUCKETS OF FRIED CHICKEN.”
He cleans out countless all-you-can-eat buffets
he even goes to Sizzler
his stomach is a void
his a mouth is a portal to the Other Side
he is Galactus
it’s super inconvenient

he sells everything he owns to buy more food
and then when he runs out of things to sell
he starts selling people
namely his daughter Mestra
he sells her into slavery for a cheesy crunch wrap from Taco Bell
but for some reason she doesn’t want to be sold into slavery
so she prays to Poseidon
who she boned once
and he’s like “Ugh, fine, you get one favor in exchange for riding my trident
boom:
you are now a shapeshifter”
so she turns into an old fisherman
and when the slaver shows up like “hey, have you seen any hot dames around here?”
she’s like “Uh nope. Just fish. I am a fisherman. Yes.”
and the slaver is like “oh well”
and Mestra is like SCORE

but she may have celebrated too soon
because when her dad finds out she can shapeshift
he’s like “SWEET
now I can sell you over and over again to different people
and you can shapeshift to escape
and I can use the money to buy BURGERS”
and Mestra is like “Well i guess you are the adult here”
so they do that for a while
until Erysichthon is like “You know, these burgers are great
you know what they would go great with?
MY OWN FLESH”
so he eats himself
and then his daughter is like “Fuck yeah no more slavery.”
Then she becomes Mystique and lives happily ever after.

The moral of the story
is don’t tell your dad you can shapeshift.

The end.

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Hoichi No-Ears Solos for Ghosts

Right so Halloween was yesterday or something
I don’t know
my memory of the last few days is sort of hazy
i think I might have gotten into a fistfight with Luigi on the train
and this morning while i was making breakfast i found a lot of blood
so i have to figure out what to do with that
but yeah anyway here’s a ghost story from Japan.

So there’s this temple called Amidaji
it was built for a very practical purpose
which is that about 700 years ago
there was this horrible battle right here
between the Heike clan and the Genji clan
and the Heike clan got totally wiped out
but they were really poor sports about it
so their ghosts all hung around sinking ships for 700 years
until finally someone was like fuck
we gotta built a temple or these ghosts will never shut up
so yeah now there’s a temple there.

Anyway the reason this temple is important
is because the best musician lives there
his name is Hoichi and he is the Ray Charles of ancient japan
as in he is blind and he can play the shit out of a biwa
which is a nutsack-shaped guitar that you play with a pick the size of your hand
it is a dope instrument
and Hoichi is so good at playing it
that even GOBLINS weep to hear him.
FUCKING GOBLINS.

nutsack guitar

Hoichi has worked out a sweet deal with the priest of the Amidaji temple:
basically Hoichi gets to crash for free indefinitely
and in exchange all he has to do is play music for the priest
whenever he’s got friends over or he’s high or whatever
so basically Hoichi has no incentive to ever move out or get a job
and life is good

UNTIL ONE NIGHT
the priest goes out clubbing
and leaves Hoichi alone at the temple
and Hoichi is hanging out on the porch strumming his guitar
trying to pick up chicks
when all of a sudden somebody starts yelling “HOCHI
YO, HOCHI”
and Hochi is like “uh yes sir?”
because he assumes that anybody with sack enough
to just charge up and start yelling his name at midnight
is probably a samurai or something
(in modern times
this is no longer a safe assumption to make)

So the Samurai is like “I represent a very wealthy
very SECRET lord
who would like very much to hear you play your biwa and sing about shit
come with me right now or I will murder you and no one will care”
and Hochi is like “Well shit, I guess I’m being kidnapped
but at least I’m being kidnapped to a party”
so he lets this mysterious asshole take his hand and drag him away.

Pretty soon they arrive at a huge mansion
which is weird
because Hoichi does not remember there being a huge mansion in this town
but what does he know, he’s blind
and it feels real enough.
Eventually he sits down in a room full of people
and they’re all like “Okay dude play for us”
and he’s like “What should I play?”
and they’re like “We heard that your specialty
is the war between the Heiki and the Genji
so how about that.”

This is baby stuff for Hoichi.
He busts out a melodically perfect epic like he’s taking a shit
everyone is devastated by the sheer beauty of this jam
they’re all fucking weeping, it’s disgusting
and then he finishes and they’re like “OH DAMN SON
WE KNEW YOU WAS GOOD
BUT FUCK GOOD
THAT WAS STRAIGHT UP EVIL
WE WOULD LIKE TO BOOK YOU FOR THE NEXT SIX NIGHTS”
and Hoichi is like “fuck yessssss a real gig”

so then the samurai grabs his hand and leads him back to the temple
but before he lets him go he’s like “Listen dude
that lord you played for
he’s on some Howard Hughes shit
doesn’t want anybody to know who he is
so if you tell anybody what’s going on
I will personally end you.”
and Hoichi is like “Yup no problem got it.”

So Hoichi goes and crashes out around sunrise
and the priest was out all night clubbing so he has no idea Hoichi was gone
but the NEXT night Hoichi sneaks out again
and the priest tries to hit him up for some music
but he’s NOT THERE
so when Hoichi stumbles back in in the morning the priest is waiting for him
like “where have you been?”
and Hoichi
who does NOT WANT TO JEOPARDIZE THIS GIG
is like “Uhh
weird … sex … stuff?”
but the priest isn’t buying it
he’s thinking “this is Japan
if Hoichi was into weird sex stuff
he could be doing it during the DAYTIME.
No there is only one possibility:
DEMONS.”

So the next night when Hoichi goes out
the priest sends some of his boys to follow him
and they lose him pretty quickly because they are chumps
but on their way back to the temple
they suddenly hear Hoichi soloing SUPER HARD
and where is the music coming from?
THE MUSIC IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE CEMETERY.
So they run up to the cemetery
and Hoichi is playing his fucking hands off for a bunch of tombstones
and they’re like “this is crazy. Hoichi, stop shredding in the cemetery”
and Hoichi is like “NO
THIS IS THE DEFINING MOMENT OF MY CAREER”
so they grab him by the arms and haul him home because he is obviously crazy.

When he gets back to the temple the priest is like “ok dude what the fuck”
and Hoichi breaks down and tells the whole story
and the priest is like “oh ok I get it
yeah those are the ghosts of everybody who died in that battle you were singing about
I guess they really like to wallow
anyway it’s a good thing we saved you”
and Hoichi is like “Saved me?
Those ghosts just wanted to book me for a week.
Now that you know what’s up, they will instead want to murder me
how is this saving?”
and the priest is like “Dude they’re ghosts
you’ll thank me later
anyway you’re probably right about them wanting to kill you.
I’m gonna need you to take off all your clothes
so I can draw demon wards all over your body
and then the ghosts won’t be able to see you.”

Hoichi doesn’t really have a lot of options at this point
so he takes off his clothes and lets the priest draw a bunch of dicks on him
and then sits in a rigid meditation pose all night
waiting for this plan to fail.
Midnight rolls around and the samurai shows up again
he’s like “YO, HOICHI
I HOPE YOU ARE READY TO TEAR SHIT UP TONIGHT
WE GOT PHARELL, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO DO A DUET, IT’S GONNA RULE”
but Hoichi doesn’t say shit
so the samurai comes inside and he’s like “Huh
that’s weird
I was hoping to find Hoichi in here
but all I see is a pair of floating ears.
I guess he must have disappeared from rocking too hard or something
but my boss will be pissed if I don’t bring back anything.
Better rip off these floating ears and bring them back
yes, that sounds sensible.”
So the samurai rips off Hoichi’s ears
but Hoichi just grits his teeth and bears it
while blood gushes out of both sides of his head
UNTIL SURNISE
when the priest comes in
almost slips on Hoichi’s blood
and then is like “Ohhhh shit
oh damn
wow
buddy
Forgot to draw demon wards on your ears, buddy
I told my intern to do that part but I guess he forgot
oh wow I’m so embarassed
but the good news is that the demons won’t bother you anymore!”
and Hoichi is like “Hooray
the best audience I have ever had or could ever hope to have
ripped my ears off and now thinks I’m dead.”
and the priest is like “You’re welcome!”

Obviously Hoichi isn’t too keen on living in the temple after that
which i guess was the push he needed to become a famous musician
so it looks like it all worked out in the end.

So the moral of the story
is that if someone passes out before you at a party
please, for their sake
be thorough.

The end.

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The Elephant’s Child is a Story About Child Abuse, Straight Up

[Time for this month’s Patreon-selected myth!
Want a say next month?
Fucking pay me, then.]

Right so there’s this elephant
you wouldn’t recognize him though
because at this point in history
all elephants have nubbly little pig noses
it is disgusting.
Also this elephant can talk
so that’s pretty huge.

This elephant uses his miraculous power of speech
to ask his family
(which, disturbingly, is composed mostly of non-elephants)
questions about natural history
and how, oh my bae, do they respond to these questions?
they respond by beating him savagely.
This story is a master class in pro parenting strategy.

But this little elephant is less afraid of beatings
than he is of not knowing absolutely everything about animals
so he keeps asking questions
and getting his ass whupped
until one day he comes up with a brand new question:
“What does a crocodile have for dinner?”
this question so disturbs the members of the elephant’s family
that they beat him savagely.

The problem with relying on savage beatings as a sole method of instruction
is that it provides no mechanism
for distinguishing which questions REALLY shouldn’t be asked
and that is why, oh my bae
when the little elephant fails to receive an answer to this latest question
he makes a crucial mistake:
he asks a bird what to do.

The bird he asks is called a Kolokolo bird
and it has no qualms about sending a baby elephant to go talk to a crocodile
so that’s what it does
it says “Go to the banks of the nastly, sludgy Limpopo river
and I’m sure someone will be DELIGHTED to talk to your ignorant ass.”
so the little elephant packs an incredible amount of food:
a hundred pounds of bananas
a hundred pounds of sugar cane
and seventeen melons
I guess so that he can throw food at a crocodile and see what it eats.
But the first creature he runs into is not a crocodile
it is a Bi-Colored-Python-Rock-Snake
in other words, oh my bae
it is yet another animal that a baby elephant should not fuck with

But the baby elephant doesn’t know this
because the only way anyone has ever tried to convey knowledge to him
is with savage beatings
so he goes up to the snake and he says “hello friend
could you please tell me what a crocodile has for dinner?”
and the snake
being a sly and inscrutable teacher
responds by beating him savagely.

But though he is battered and bruised
the elephant’s wilful optimism/ignorance remains intact
he limps through the swamp until he finds the Limpopo river
where a crocodile lurks in the water.
So the baby elephant is like “Hello friend
are you a crocodile?”
and the crocodile says “Yup hi”
and the elephant says “I was just wondering what you eat for dinner?”
and the crocodile is like “why though?”
and the elephant is like “huh
nobody ever turned that around on me like that.
I guess I’m just curious
and I don’t have thumbs so I can’t look it up on my phone
help me out?”
and the crocodile says “Suuuuure buddy
just come over here and let me whisper in your ear
tell you somethin’ that you might like to hear”

So the elephant goes over to the crocodile
who predictably grabs him by the snout with his teeth
and the elephant is like “I don’t like the look of this at all!”
and the crocodile is like “wait til you see my dick
naw I’m just kidding
unless you say I can
and I’m known to be a real nasty man”
and the elephant is like “How do you keep rapping with my nose in your mouth?
Also are you trying to eat me or have sex with me?
I’m confused”
but just then the bi-colored-python-rock-snake shows up
like “MY WORD, YOUNG PACHYDERM, DO YOU NEVER CEASE WITH YOUR INTERROGATIVES?
THIS LEATHER-CLAD RIVER RUFFIAN SEEMS HELL-BENT ON YOUR CONSUMPTION!”
(bi-colored-python-rock-snakes always talk like this
they read a lot and they don’t get out much
so when they get a chance to talk they just go ham)
then he wraps one end of his snake body around the elephant’s tail
and the other end he wraps around a tree
and he tugs that dumb elephant out of the water
until the crocodile lets go
and swims away to record his new hit single “Dangerous” featuring Wyclef Jean

It’s not clear why the python suddenly decided to help the elephant
but what is clear is that the elephant did not get away clean
the crocodile’s tusks performed some serious plastic surgery on his nose
turning it into a horrific prehensile trunk
flopping everywhere
a grey parody of a wrinkly dong, oh my bae.

The elephant is like “what the hell happened to my face”
and the python is like “dude, it just got better is what happened
you can use it to swat flies
or pick up food
or … and this is critical
you can use it to deliver SAVAGE BEATINGS.”

The elephant is suddenly filled with a sadistic glee
he charges back towards his home
the words he bellows are barely intelligible, oh my bae
but a keen ear might pick out the syllables:
“FINALLY. FINALLY.”
He runs TRAIN on his entire family
he unleashes a lifetime of pent up torment on their hides
he is a cyclone of devastation
with a pendulous face-wang at its center.
The only animal left unscathed is the Kolokolo bird
whose ambivalent advice granted the elephant this terrible power.
His family is devastated by the sudden, unrelenting outburst.
Their only recourse is to enter into a biological arms race.
they flee to the Limpopo river
to get their faces fucked up by crocodiles.
all of them die
except for the elephants.
The family bloodline is finally pure
and no one spanks anyone ever again.

The moral of the story, oh my bae
is that when it comes to domestic abuse
plastic surgery is the only solution.

Jesus, that got dark.

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Courtly Love isn’t about Love, You Piece of Shit

Here’s another article on the past and how you are wrong about it.

[Also: if you want to help me in my eternal quest to not starve/be homeless, you can buy my book about American History, buy my other book about World Mythology, or just stuff money in my Patreon. I’m not choosy, just jam it in there. Also this is my Twitter.]

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, Courtly Love.

The laws of chivalry themselves have basically nothing to do with romance. They’re all about trying to regulate just how much of an asshole a guy on a horse can be. The secret ingredient that links chivalry to romance in our tiny brains is called courtly love. It’s the great-great granddaddy of “Nice Guy Syndrome,” and it has always been fucked.

OKAY SO WHAT IS COURTLY LOVE?

According to the thousands of poems, songs, and stories about courtly love, the process goes something like this:

1. Pick a total babe who is married to someone better than you.
2. Pine after said babe until you are literally ill.
3. Babe virtuously rejects you because, let’s be clear, this is a terrible idea and also her husband is better than you.
4. Do a bunch of heroic shit that nobody asked you to do, to make yourself worthy of babe.
5. Babe still says no, and you go write a fucking poem about it. OR
5b. Babe is finally like “okay fine,” in which case, great job Romeo, now you have to bust your ass to keep from getting caught. OR
5c. You get caught and the whole world catches on fire.

Courtly love was originally dreamed up by horny poets in the early 1400s, but it flourished because it served a social purpose. Most popular stories, myth and legend especially, survive because they illustrate rules that we think are important for keeping our society together. Coincidentally, most of these rules have to do with humping.

So whose social purpose is served by this miserable dicktease of a courtship ritual? Who comes out a winner? The lady is locked into a straightjacket of protocol that makes actual consent super hard to suss out, the knight is running around murdering dudes nobody asked him to murder because he’s too proud to just jack off into his helmet, and if the two of them ever do get together, every example we have shows it ending apocalyptically. No, you know who’s the real winner here? The husband.

WHAT COURTLY LOVE IS ABOUT: SECURING YOUR HOT WIFE

Think about this from the perspective of a Medieval monarch: you have a smoking hot wife who your buddy gave you because he wanted to use your beach house, and you also employ about a hundred of the best-armed, best-trained psychopaths in the world. These people all live inside of your home with you. At some point, at least one of these psychopaths is going to want to have sex with your wife. And these aren’t just regular psychopaths, either. These are handsome, fit, wealthy psychopaths, in an era where “wealthy” means “everybody else sleeps in mud, and I am the one who pees in that mud.” And your wife, let me reiterate, is married to you because her dad wants to use your beach house. If your stable of monsters starts spitting game at your wife, it is highly likely that your wife will want to sex them back. You need a game plan.

You can’t just tell these guys to cut it out. You hired these guys because they’re unstoppable bastards. You can’t just stand aside and let them fuck your wife, either, because then you look like a weenie, and nobody wants to bow down to King Weiner. Plus there’s all the shit with heirs and succession. It’s a logistical nightmare. But how are you gonna stop them? Put them in jail? These dudes own their own jails. Send another knight after the knight who fucks your wife? Spoiler alert: the second knight also wants to fuck your wife.

What you can do, though, is control the culture by advocating for an elaborate code of etiquette that lets these handsome nightmare people do everything *but* fuck your wife. This is, at the core, what courtly love is: a code of behavior that provides a dubiously healthy outlet for all that pent up wife-fuck-want. Every part of courtly love reinforces the same message: “you can look, but if you touch then I will chop your fucking hand off.” This is perfect for our hypothetical king with his hypothetically hot wife, because it lets him turn a blind eye to all the erotic roleplay as long as it stays “virtuous,” while reserving the right to bring the hammer down as soon as shit goes public.

WHAT COURTLY LOVE IS NOT ABOUT: GETTING YOUR DICK TOUCHED

What I’m trying to get at is this: Despite what everybody seems to think these days, courtly love was *never* designed to help you get laid. It is a system explicitly designed to prevent people from getting laid. The entire process is an erotic Rube Goldberg machine that is a thousand times more likely to chop off your dick than fondle it, and maybe you also kill a bear, I don’t know. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: DO NOT LOOK TO MEDIEVAL EUROPE FOR SEX TIPS.

And yet pretty much every movie produced in the 90s is an ode to courtly love with one key point altered: where the old stories had tragic consequences, the new stories have zero consequences. The Wedding Singer, Wet Hot American Summer, Revenge of the Nerds, The Fucking Karate Kid, and about a million other movies all follow the courtly love formula, right up to the point where the love is consummated and there is NO NEGATIVE FALLOUT. The 90s took “If you fuck someone’s honey, bad things will happen” and turned it into “If you fuck someone’s honey … you will have fucked someone’s honey?”

What we’ve done, and where the whole “Nice Guy” thing comes from, is we’ve taken the purpose and the outcome of courtly love and flipped them. We act like because our love is noble, we deserve satisfaction. Courtly love says “your love is evil and you will never be satisfied, so you might as well make it noble.” Neither one is super healthy, as evidenced by the amount of death and vitriol both camps have dealt out, but at least courtly love is honest about what you can expect.

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to fuck your boss’s spouse. Fuck away, for all I care. All I’m saying is that our modern conception of hopeless romance, of the tormented lover pining away in the night, striving to become worthy of the unattainable beloved, is based on a ridiculous, outdated, socially motivated code of behavior that was invented at a time when marriages were business mergers and adultery carried the god damn death penalty. And I get that it feels good to feel bad, to experience the exquisite pain of loving somebody you know you can never be with. I’ve done it loads of times, and I got some great poetry out of it. Just, for God’s sake, don’t pretend like your secret pain has a noble lineage. The noble lineage is inbred.

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Chivalry Isn’t Dead, You Just Don’t Know What the Fuck it is.

[Hey, if you want to read more stuff I wrote, you could always buy my book. Or my other book.]

So Chivalry.

I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s dead. It used to be a lament, and then it turned into a joke, and now it’s just a fact that almost everybody accepts. Chivalry is dead, because it’s 2015 and nobody wants to suck your dick for holding the door open for them. And it’s true, nobody wants to do that to your hog in exchange for that minor favor. But that’s not what the fuck chivalry is. Chivalry is a complicated, difficult, and ultimately good code of ethics that you probably have a fundamental misunderstanding of. So let me set some things straight:

1. CHIVALRY IS NOT ABOUT TREATING WOMEN LIKE DELICATE FLOWERS

This is probably the main thing people fuck up about chivalry. The truth is, chivalry has basically fuck all to do with women, and everything to do with horses.

See, the word “chivalry” comes from the French word “chevalier,” which comes from “cheval,” which means “horse.” Chivalry is literally just “rules for if you have a horse.” This was an important set of rules to have in chivalry times. Horses were the Blackhawk Helicopters of the Middle Ages; if you had a horse, you could absolutely kill anybody who didn’t have a horse and nobody was going to say a god damn thing. The only thing stopping you was chivalry.

That’s what chivalry was for. Chivalry was – and still is – basically a way of saying, “okay, I have an optimized death machine between my legs, maybe I should look out for people who don’t have one of these.” So it’s not that chivalry is specifically about defending women because women are weak. It’s that chivalry is about defending people who don’t own horses, and in the middle ages women didn’t own shit.

It’s 2015 now. Women can own as many horses as they want. But there are still power structures built into society that put some people in metaphorical Blackhawk helicopters, and other people underneath those helicopters (sometimes the Blackhawk Helicopters are also literal). Real chivalry is about noticing when you have a horse and somebody else doesn’t. It’s about being careful not to trample people just because you can. It’s about holding the door for a dude in a wheelchair. It’s about actively trying to recruit more people of color in your workplace. Sometimes it really is about sticking up for women, but only if your help is wanted. And even then …

2. CHIVALRY IS NOT A POINTS SYSTEM REDEEMABLE FOR FREE SEX

There are no prizes for being chivalrous, other than the prize of being a decent god damn human. This is because the people who chivalry was invented for were so fucking rich that prizes were totally meaningless to them. In addition to horses, knights also owned fancy armor, sick weapons, and huge tracts of land. They were powerful, exciting people relatively free of disease. They weren’t exactly hard up for sex opportunities, is what I’m trying to say. They didn’t need to invent a complex code of ethics to justify getting shit for free, because they already had all the shit. What do you get for the man who has everything? How about some fucking morals.

Anyway, if you’re desperate for booty, tales of chivalry aren’t the best place to go for inspiration. King Arthur’s court is basically one endless sex disaster, what with Arthur’s accidental incest and Lancelot’s righteous wangfoolery. Tristram and Isolde is a bonerific nightmare that borders on farce. Sir Galahad, the Greatest Knight Ever, is also the biggest virgin in the universe, and he is thrilled about it. It turns out you’re not even allowed to see the grail if you thought about a boob once. The chivalric canon is not overly sex positive, you guys. In fact the only problem-free sex I can recall from my chivalric reading is the story of Sir Gawaine and Lady Ragnell, in which everything turns out for the best because – spoiler alert – Gawaine leaves the decision up to his wife. Funny how that works out, huh?

3. CHIVALRY IS NOT PERFECT, AND NEITHER ARE WE

Like most things invented in the past, chivalry has some problems. One of the problems with chivalry is that horses are no longer the height of technology. The main problem with chivalry, though, is that it can very easily cross over into paternalism, and nobody likes to be treated like a child. It is important to remember that just because you have a horse and somebody else does not have a horse, that does not make you their dad.

Even if you have the best intentions, chivalry isn’t a code you can blindly follow for A+ results. Even if chivalry was perfect, which no moral code is, it’s impossible to be a non-shitty person absolutely all the time. Like, the Knights of the Round Table were probably the most righteous group of horse-havers ever to have horses, but Gawaine chopped a lady’s head off, Lancelot fucked his boss’s wife, and Percival was the biggest idiot ever to hold a sword. Galahad was perfect I guess, but Galahad also had a magic chair with his name written on it in fire and ascended to heaven because he found a neat cup. Galahad was a fake person. All of those dudes were fake fucking people. We made them up. The people we made up to be the ideals of chivalry were still remarkably shitty. Back here on earth, nobody is chivalrous all the time, and that’s not sufficient reason to write anybody off. We are all shitty sometimes. Also Galahad is a dickhead.

OKAY SO WHAT IS CHIVALRY THEN?

Chivalry boils down to three things: mercy, charity, and humility. Mercy means being conscious of your advantages, and treating other humans gently. Charity means giving without expecting anything in return. Humility means accepting your mistakes, and recognizing that those who don’t have your advantages aren’t your inferiors. Anybody can embody these traits – woman, man, or even horse. At this point, you may be thinking “hey, this is bullshit, these are just basic guidelines for not being an asshole!” and congratulations, you’re right. That’s all chivalry is: basic guidelines for how not to be a sack of shit. And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die.

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THE BIRDS (but not the Hitchcock version) (but kind of the Hitchcock version)

I want you guys to know that there is no way I would tell this story
if I weren’t being forced to by my patreon backers
and the reason for this should be pretty clear:
it is a play written by Aristophanes
and it is called

THE BIRDS BY ARISTOPHANES

(adapted for internet by Fake Ovid Naso)

two assholes are wandering around in the wilderness
their names are Pisthetearus and Euelpides
which are such terrible names that they must belong to terrible people
and oh, what’s this, looks like I was right
these towering twanks are carrying birds around with them for some reason
why would they do that
I guess we’re about to find out, because this is when they start talking:

PISTHETEARUS: this bird is eating my fucking hand why did we buy these

EUELPIDES: to guide us to the land of the birds you idiot

PISTHETERUS: okay I guess I deserve that. I guess we are both big idiots

EUELPIDES: and to think, all we wanted to do was avoid all our legal responsibilities in Athens by finding a group of gullible birds to help us found our own city where we are kings

PISTHETEARUS: the struggle is real

suddenly the birds start going APESHIT
because there is a new bird here
and his name is TEREUS
you remember Tereus, of course
he is the one who raped his wife’s sister
and then cut out her tongue
and then the sisters killed his son and fed it to him
and they all turned into birds the end.
In this play, he’s a good guy!
also he lives with Procne
his wife who fed him his kids
I’m glad everything worked out for those two crazy lovebirds

TEREUS: what’s up guys what are you doing here what’s going on

EUELPIDES: we are running from the law

PISTHETEARUS: use your wings to help us find a dope city with no laws

TEREUS: ok well I have a few cities I could suggest …

EUELPIDES: those cities are all garbage

PISTHETEARUS: we will found a new city, a city of birds

TEREUS: we will?

EUELPIDES: yes

PISTHETEARUS: we’ll call it Nephelococcygia

EUELPIDES: it means “cloud cuckoo land”!

PISTHETEARUS: it’s what that level in Banjo Kazooie is named after!

TEREUS: sweet well i’ll summon all the birds I guess

he does this
oh god all the birds are here the stage is full of birds oh fuck

BIRDS: what the fuck why are these humans here we hate humans

SEE? WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING THIS WHOLE TIME

TEREUS: no chill out these guys are cool

BIRDS: well since you are such a good judge of character we’ll hear them out

EUELPIDES: look guys, we all know birds are the most powerful force in the world. you eat all the bugs to ensure good crops, you tell omens, you shit on lame people we don’t like. you guys run the world

PISTHETEARUS: and it’s time yall started acting like it!

EUELPIDES and PISTHEATRUS are SPECIES TRAITORS

BIRDS: yeah you know what let’s build a city in the sky and demand tribute from everyone

TEREUS: I don’t see how this could go wrong!

IT FUCKING DOESN’T. ONE WEEK LATER EUELPIDES AND PISTHEATRUS HAVE WINGS AND ARE RECEIVING ENVOYS. They are actually trying to sacrifice a goat to consecrate the city rn but they keep getting interrupted

POET: Hello I am here to yell poems at you!

PISTHETEARUS: POETRY IS DEAD

Pisthetearus beats the poet until he goes away.

PROPHET: I’m a prophet and I’m here to say that if you don’t give me a bunch of food and booze BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN

PISTEATRUS: BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. TO YOU.

Pisthetearus beats the prophet until he goes away

METON: I am a famous math guy, here to do math on your city and help you efficiently plan your road system!

PISTHETEARUS: WHERE WE’RE GOING WE DON’T NEED ROADS. WE’RE BUILDING A CITY IN THE SKY YOU IDIOT

what do you think pisthetearus does.
a police inspector and a guy who makes decrees also show up
and also get beaten with sticks.
some time during this process Eulpides disappears
maybe he got sick of living in a city full of birds
maybe the secret police got him
I don’t know
I will believe literally any bad thing you tell me about birds.
anyway some dude shows up

SOME DUDE: yo the birds finished building the city wall

PISTHETEARUS: they what?

SOME DUDE: yeah they built a giant wall out of stone and I guess it floats in the sky

PISTHETEARUS: what how

SOME DUDE: I don’t know they used their wings and beaks and shit they’re fucking birds DID YOU NOT REALIZE WHO YOU WERE DEALING WITH

PISTHETEARUS: no no no this is great. see all we have to do now is send envoys to the humans and the gods telling them all that we are in charge now and all the sacrifices should go to us because we are birds

SOME DUDE: I don’t see how this could go wrong!

AND IT DOESN’T. The gods try to make a big deal out of it but the humans are super into the idea, probably because pisthetearus bribes them all with free wings. pretty soon Prometheus shows up

PISTHETEARUS: Yo! Prometheus!

PROMETHEUS: shh dude the gods don’t know I’m here. I just wanted to tell you that they’re all fucking starving up there because you’re jacking all their sacrifices and they’re gonna have to give into you soon. I’m on your side buddy

Prometheus what are you DOING an eagle literally eats your liver EVERY DAY Prometheus REMEMBER WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE

PROMETHEUS: alright I gotta go now but remember: all hail our new bird overlords

PISTHETEARUS: this is all suspiciously easy, almost as if a vast bird conspiracy anticipated my -

POSEIDON: NO TIME TO THINK CRITICALLY, GODS ARE HERE

HERCULES: I am another god who is here!

TRIBALLUS: I’m a racist caricature masquerading as a god! Besides these two expository sentences, I only speak gibberish!

PISTHETEARUS: Boys, boys, I know you all want to murder all birds in an epic cyclone of blood and thunder …

HERCULES: Yeah that sounds pretty good

yes come on finally

PISTHETEARUS: But what if I were to offer you some … FRIED CHICKEN INSTEAD?

HERCULES: fried chicken you say?

OH COME ON. COME THE FUCK ON HERCULES

PISTHETEARUS: yeah and all Zeus has to do is cede authority to the birds and let me marry the Director of Operations for all of Olympus

POSEIDON: That sounds like a bad deal

PISTHETEARUS: I’m sorry were you not listening to the part where I offered you FRIED CHICKEN?

HERCULES: He has a point, Poseidon

TRIBALLUS: BLUR BLUR BLUH BLUH BLUH!

POSEIDON: Okay fine, but only because Triballus put it so eloquently.

PISTHETEARUS: Hooray! I’m marrying a goddess and nothing bad happened!

BIRDS: EXCEPT THAT YOU HANDED CONTROL OF THE LAND, THE SEA, AND THE HEAVENS TO A MALIGNANT FORCE OF NATURE OLDER THAN THE GODS THEMSELVES. WE WILL RULE FOR A MILLION YEARS. YOU FOOL, YOU HAVE USHERED IN A NEW ERA: THE AGE OF FEATHER AND TALON.

PISTHETEARUS: Still totally worth it!

ALL: The moral of the story is if you give a bird a city pretty soon he is going to want dominion over all mankind!

THE END. I FUCKING WARNED YOU. DIDN’T I FUCKING WARN YOU?

god, fuck you Aristophanes.

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The Jungle Book is a Book about Jungle

Somebody said do jungle book so here we go

right so there’s a couple wolves
mom!wolf and dad!wolf
they’re hanging out with their cubs
then this hyena shows up like “hehe what’s up guys”
(hyenas are the jimmy fallon of jungle creatures)
“did you hear
my boss Shere Khan got tired of hunting in his territory
your territory is his territory now”
and wolf dad is like “what the perfect fuck
that dickhole president can’t come here
all he ever does is kill the humans’ cattle
if you do that for too long the humans burn down the forest
he’s gonna get our forest burned the fuck down
because he is too lame to hunt actual animals
instead of bullshit lobotomized livestock
fuck this man I got a family”
and the hyena is like “yo don’t shoot the messenger bro”
and the wolf is like “I can’t I don’t have thumbs
humans are the ones who shoot things and make fires”
and the hyena is like “haha speaking of humans
check out this baby stumbling up the hill right here
look at this dumb human baby
all dumb and covered in blood like a dumb blood baby”
and dadwolf is like “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS DOING HERE?
ARE YOU SHITTING ME?
DID SHERE KHAN JUST MURDER A WHOLE HUMAN FAMILY
AND NOW THE BABY IS HERE
SNUGGLING ADORABLY WITH MY CUBS BECAUSE HE IS TOO IDIOT TO SCARED?
HASHTAG JUNGLEPROBLEMS, CHRIST.”
and then Shere Khan is like “I’ll show you jungle problems
because see you’re right
I did just murder a bunch of humans
but I’m kind of ocd about my murders
and I don’t like that a baby got away
I want to eat that baby
give me that baby.”
and momwolf is like “FUCK YOU SHITBEAST
YOU TAKE ONE STEP CLOSER TO THIS DUMB BLOOD BABY
AND I WILL TURN YOU INTO A GOD DAMN PAPER SNOWFLAKE
YOU KNOW ME, HAIRBALL
I’M BASICALLY JUST A BUCKET OF ANGRY KNIVES HELD TOGETHER BY A LITTLE PISSED-OFF FUR
GO.”
Then she names the human baby “Mowgli”
which means “Frog”
because I guess she’s not clear on which animals are which.

but before Mowgli can join the pack, he as to be accepted
so mom and dad wolf take him to the pack council
(the wolves are a neat semi-anarchist collective)
and they let the other wolves sniff his butthole
but then Shere Khan shows up like “GIVE THAT BABY TO ME
I WANT TO EAT A BABY”
and the wolves don’t want to fight over a dumb baby
so they’re like sure
but mom wolf is like COME ON
and king wolf is like “You know the rules
we can’t accept this baby unless at least two people vouch for him
OTHER THAN YOU”
which is not likely to happen
except suddenly a BEAR shows up
this sleepy bear named Baloo
who I guess works for the wolves as a freelance schoolteacher?
professor bear?
I don’t know
they let him hang out, is what’s important
and this bear is like “Ok whatever I think you should accept him
it’ll be funny.”
but one more person still needs to speak up
and that’s when Bageera the Panther shows up
and is like “Ok guys I killed a big tasty deer just now
and I will tell you where it is if you let this boy be a wolf
otherwise I will fuck you all up
you know I’ll do it
I’m crazy
who knows why I do what the fuck I do
I’m a god damn monster.”
and the wolves are like “wow
we have got to stop telling the whole jungle where our meetings are happening.”

But they accept Mowgli in exchange for the deer
and then the classic thing happens
Mowgli gets raised by wolves
automatically making him a badass
because a wolf with thumbs is a wolf without limits
but the whole time he’s growing up
Shere Khan is being all shady
convincing the young wolves to hate Mowgli
because he’s hairless and sexy or whatever
basically tearing a page out of Melkor’s book
so that when the leader of the pack finally gets too old
(when you fail to bring down a deer in the hunt, the other wolves kill you)
Mowgli knows he’s in trouble.

Actually Mowgli doesn’t know shit
Mowgli has grown from a dumb baby
into a dumb young adult
and he doesn’t give a shit about anything.
It’s actually Bageera who knocks some sense into him
he’s like “Dude
you’re supposed to be a wolf
but your closest friends are a bear and a panther
you are not winning the PR war here
so instead you need to win the actual war war.
Check it out:
go to the village
steal a clay pot full of fire
[which they call the red flower
because I guess they can talk and form governments
but they can't understand fucking fire]
and then when Shere Khan tries to fuck with you
set his shit on fire

so Mowgli does this thing
he steals the fire pot
he brings it to the wolf meeting
and when Shere Khan shows up
all like “Hey guys I know it’s been like 14 years
but I still really want to eat this baby
and now that leadership has changed maybe we can do this?”
Mowgli is like “That’s a valid argument
but here’s a bunch of fire.”
and he sets Shere Khan and all of his shitty wolf friends on fire
and they all run away
and miraculously manage to not set the actual forest on fire
and Mowgli gets to stay alive
but then he’s like “Shit
I don’t have any friends now
because I just set fire to all my friends
I guess I better go and try to be human”
and Baloo and Bageera are both like “yeah probably”
so he goes back to the village
and probably has a horrible time
because he missed the critical period for language acquisition
but at least he got to be raised by wolves.

The moral of the story
is that fire is the best counterargument.

The end.

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Joshua Norton is the Emperor of My Heart

A long long time ago
or maybe just a long time ago
some internet person tried to pay me
to retell the Principia Discordia.
As payment I demanded twenty dollars in quarters
and photographic proof of having amused strangers in traffic
which i thought was a suitably discordian payment.
The person in question completely failed to deliver either of these things
which
now that i think about it
is probably a suitably discordian payment method

but rather than trying to transliterate the entire corpus
of the Epiphanies Rudely Imposed Upon the World by Her Royal Weirdness Eris Discordia
(whose most notorious achievement I have already documented in any case)
today I am going to tell you about the Goddess’s Only Begotten Son
EMPEROR NORTON
RULER OF THESE UNITED STATES
AND – FOR A SHORT TIME
PROTECTOR OF MEXICO

This is a real story about a real person
a real person born in England in like 1818
who grew up in South Africa
and only moved to the US when his parents died
/ when he realized how rad America was.
So Norton (whose first name is not actually Emperor
but is in fact Joshua)
shows up in San Francisco as a pretty rich dude
like, his parents were rich and then they died
and that made him rich because richness is i guess genetic
anyway Norton is a pretty shrewd investor
so he quickly turns his money into even more money
and then he comes across THE ULTIMATE FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY

you see, China suddenly decides it’s not gonna export rice anymore
and San Francisco is full of Chinese people
who are used to having rice
so all of a sudden there is a HUGE demand for rice
and like NO RICE
so Norton buys up like a million tons of rice
and has it shipped to san Francisco
so he can be the big rice man.

BUT HE FORGOT ONE CRUCIAL THING:
CHINA IS NOT THE ONLY PLACE WHAT GROWS RICE
so all of a sudden these two huge ships arrive from peru
just brimming with fucking rice
and overnight Norton’s boatload of bucks
becomes a boatload of sucks.
He tries to get out of paying for all that rice
but his reasons are bullshit and everyone knows it
so within the space of like a week
dude is suddenly not rich anymore.

So what does Norton do?
Does he jump off the top of a building?
NO
HE DECLARES HIMSELF EMPEROR OF THE UNITED STATES
DUH.
Like, first he disappears for a little while
but when he reappears
he just starts writing royal decrees
and sending them to san Francisco newspapers
like “Hear ye hear ye, I’m emperor now”
or “Avast, congress is hereby dissolved”
or “Yarr, build a bridge over that there Oakland Bay”
oh fuck I slipped into pirate mode there for a second
although you have to admit
the only thing cooler than being emperor of the united states
is being PIRATE-KING OF THE UNITED STATES

but anyway yeah
Norton is totally serious about all of this
he’s all writing letters to Queen Victoria/Abe Lincoln
trying to marry one and moderate the other one’s civil war
he’s issuing his own currency
and selling royal bonds
and inspecting the quality of the streets and the police
but none of that is really that remarkable.
Crazy people believe crazy shit all the time
especially when it comes to their crazy selves.
What’s ACTUALLY insane
is how people RESPOND to this guy.
Restaurants accept his currency
and actively seek out his royal seal of approval.
The city council pays for him to have fancy clothes
like gold epaulets
and a coonskin cap with peacock feathers in it.
One time a police officer accidentally arrests him for being crazy
and people get SO CHEEZED
that the chief of police is forced to order his release
and issue a public apology
which Norton responds to with a ROYAL PARDON.
Boy, it sure is pretty dope to be white in America, huh?

YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S NOT DOPE TO BE IN AMERICA THOUGH?
CHINESE
at least not in the 1800s
who would have thought that the country that went on to intern the Japanese
would harbor anti-Chinese sentiments during the civil war era huh
yeah, people are straight rioting in San Fran
(which Norton explicitly forbade anyone from calling “Frisco” by the way
so keep that in mind)
and they really want to kill them some Chinese people
so they show up in Chinatown, bout to bust some skulls
and who’s standing there
rudely obstructing their murder route?
EMPEROR FUCKING NORTON
OBVIOUSLY
THIS IS A STORY ABOUT EMPEROR NORTON
KEEP UP.
Norton just stands in front of these rioters with his head down
and fucking prays at them until they feel awkward and go away.
Then he goes back to selling bullshit royal bonds to tourists.

Emperor Norton is like most people in that he eventually dies.
It’s a bummer, but he lived a pretty good life
and somewhere between 10 and 30 thousand people show up to his funeral
which is somewhere between 7 and 20 percent of the city at that time
oh, and do you remember that bridge he ordered built?
LOOKS LIKE IT GOT BUILT AFTER ALL
SIXTY YEARS LATER
THANKS ENTIRELY TO EMPEROR NORTON AND NO ONE ELSE
also I imagine there are some Chinese people who are happy they weren’t murdered.
That’s a pretty solid legacy
i gotta say.

I think the moral of this story is one we can all appreciate:
when life gives you lemons
declare yourself emperor
issue a proprietary currency
and then use that currency to buy lemonade.

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Zal and Rudabeh is like Romeo and Juliet but Nobody Dies???

Hey rascals
I hope you guys had a good labor day
I don’t remember mine so i’m sure I did
anyway today’s myth is from Iran
and was originally written down in a book
called the SHAHNAMEH
which is the PERSIAN BOOK OF KINGS

okay check it out:

so there’s this dude named Zal
he’s a prince of a part of the Persian empire.
A little background on Zal:
he was born with white hair and a baby beard
he looked like an old man baby, it was gross
so his dad Sam was like “ew get this gross baby away from me”
and left him in the wilderness
where he was raised by a magic bird
and eventually he became a great hero and his dad decided to love him
but he still has weird white hair so that’s always gonna be a thing.

Anyway Zal decides to spend some time strutting around his kingdom
and he ends up near a city called Kabol
which I assume is the same as modern day Kabul
but who knows?
anyway the prince of Kabol, Mehrab, comes to hang out with him
they party hard and it’s great
but then some courtier has to start flapping his dumb mouth
like “psst Zal I hear Mehrab has a hot daughter”
and Zal is like “FUCK”
and then Mehrab, who has no idea what’s going on
is like “hey bro do you want to crash at my house?
you know
the place where my hot daughter lives?”

so what do you think Zal does?
Does he
maybe
crash at Mehrab’s place so he can bang Mehrab’s smokin’ progeny?
uh no
that would be crass
instead he’s like “look dude I’m flattered
but we’re from totally different religious backgrounds
my dad is a king of Persia
your grandfather was a madman with snakes coming out of his shoulders
our families have fought each other since time immemorial
life is crazy
I think i’ll just remain here in my opulent tent, thanks.”
and Mehrab is like “ok fair enough”

so Mehrab goes back to his hot daughter Rudabeh
and Rudabeh is like “Hey
I heard Zal is out there
you know, the dude who was born as an old-man baby
what’s he like, is he gross?”
and Mehrab is like “omg he is definitely not gross
if there was a miss America pageant
but for men instead of women
and for Iran instead of America
well
the competition would probably have to be altered due to cultural factors
and gender norms
and also the fact that we don’t have televisions or sequins yet
but anyway I think he’d have a pretty good shot”
and Rudabeh is like “FUCK”

so what does she do?
does she steal away in the night
to fling herself into the arms of a lover she barely knows?
no, that would be irrational.
she sends a group of servants to hang out by a pond
where she’s pretty sure Zal will be
so they can find out if he’s cute
and they come back like “OMG HE SO IS.
IF THERE WAS A VERSION OF THE BACHELOR
BUT WITH ONE WOMAN AND A BUNCH OF MEN
AND YOU WERE THE WOMAN
AND HE WAS ONE OF THE MEN
ODDS ARE GOOD THAT YOU WOULD PICK HIM
even though he has weird hair”
and she’s like “yowza
tell that albino to get his lily white ass over here”

So Zal shows up at the walls of the palace that night
and Rudabeh is standing on the battlements
and he’s like “hey babe
i’m finding it difficult to smooch you from all the way down here”
and she throws her long luscious hair down over the walls
and she’s like “here, climb this.”
So what do you think he does?
does he scramble up this living rope ladder
forcing her to support his entire weight with her neck
while he simultaneously yanks on her scalp?
NO
THAT WOULD BE CRUEL
he brought a ROPE
because he’s not a fucking savage.

Anyway they spend the night making out
and in the morning Zal has to leave
because remember
his dad and Rudabeh’s dad are mortal enemies
but he can’t deal with this shit
so what do you think he does?
does he arrange to marry Rudabeh under cover of night
and then escape to somewhere far away and live in poverty?
No, that would be impractical.
He writes a letter to his dad Sam
like “Hey, remember how you abandoned me to be raised by birds
and then you felt bad and said you’d do whatever I wanted
welp
cashing in that dumb promise now”
and his dad is like “FUCK
this is EXACTLY the kind of dumb shit a kid raised by birds would think of
but I guess that’s sort of my fault
shit”
so he calls up his astronomers
to tell him if this is a good idea
and they’re all like “actually yeah
Zal and Rudabeh’s kid will be like the greatest hero ever
this is a win-win for you”
so Sam sends a letter to Zal like “yeah okay sure”

Meanwhile, though
Rudabeh’s mom Sindokht figures out what’s up
like, how her daughter’s about to marry their age-old enemy’s son
and she
well
she’s actually super reasonable about it
which would be surprising
if it weren’t for the fact
THAT EVERYBODY IS BEING SUPER REASONABLE IN THIS STORY
it’s like WHAT THE FUCK, PERSIA
DID YOU FORGET THAT MYTHS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT MURDER AND INCEST?
IS YOUR WHOLE COUNTRY JUST FULL OF KIND, CONSIDERATE PEOPLE
ALL OPENING DOORS FOR EACH OTHER AND NOT CLIMBING EACH OTHERS’ HAIR???
this is bullshit

anyway Sindokht goes to Mehrab like “hey husband
our hot daughter wants to marry Zal”
and Mehrab is like “I WILL MURDER HER”
FINALLY SOMEBODY IS BEING UREASONABLE
except Sindokht is like “Why don’t you sleep on it, honey
and in the meantime I’ll go see what Sam thinks of all this?”
and Mehrab
INFURIATINGLY
is like “yeah that sounds like a good idea.”

MEANWHILE, THOUGH
the high king of all Persia hears about this shit
and he’s like “SERIOUSLY?
HAVE YOU ALL FORGOTTEN
THAT RUDABEH
IS DESCENDED
FROM A DUDE
WHO HAD BRAIN-EATING SNAKES
COMING OUT OF HIS SHOULDERS???
THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO STOP THIS
AND THAT BURNING KABOL TO THE GROUND.”
which is just like, phew, right?
I thought I was gonna have to witness a happy marriage
and not a bloody massacre
BUT THEN SAM WRITES THE KING A STRONGLY WORDED LETTER
AND ZAL DELIVERS IT
AND THE POWER OF HIS LOVE
COUPLED WITH THE ASTONOMER’S PROPHECY
AND ZAL’S WISE RESPONSES TO A SERIES OF WEIRD FREE-ASSOCIATION RIDDLES
CONVINCE EVEN KING ASSHOLE OF PERSIA
THAT THESE TWO KIDS SHOULD BE MARRIED
FUCK THIS
JUST FUCK THIS
FUCK

anyway yeah they get married
literally everyone is happy about it so it goes awesome
everyone gives each other stupid expensive gifts
and true to the prophecy
Zal and Rudabeh have a magnificent son named Rostam
who goes on to accidentally murder his teenaged son during a duel
so I guess it all works out in the end.

The moral of the story
is that communication between enemy states
is essential to every relationship.

The end.

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