Lucifer’s Lexicon 2012 (06/28/12)

Here's the latest batch, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service.

Abacus, n. A digital computer.

Arab-Israeli Conflict, the, n. The War of the Noses.

Arcadia, n. A region characterized by simple pleasure and quiet surroundings … located Northeast of Los Angeles, California. 

Conspiracy Theory, n. Tales of Hoffman. See also: Cryptocracy.

Corporation, n. A union of capitalists who disapprove of unions of employees.

Cryptocracy, the, n. A figment of the paranoid Christian-fanatic imagination of one Michael A. Hoffman II. Although Hoffman has used the term in Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare and in other writings, he has never presented a detailed, coherent history of "the Cryptocracy." He can't, because it doesn't exist.

Death, n. An essential part of the American Way of Life.

Good vibrations, n. pl. The kind of vibrations you get from a good vibrator.

Gullible, adj. Able to be a gull, such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Remember, kiddies, God loves the gullible. You have a much better chance at salvation if you are gullible than if you are skeptical.

Harrison, William Henry, n. The only U.S. President who did no harm (at least, as president).

Hero, n. Any member of the U.S. military, such as the guy who shot and killed his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. 

Kabbalah, n. A possible source of tricky gnosis.

Locke, n. A philosophical fastening device intended to protect the private property of landlords in England and of English invaders (i.e., colonists) in America.

Moral Equivalence, n. The ridiculous idea that the United States is morally equivalent to Abaco, or that Israel is morally equivalent to Tristan da Cunha.

Objectivist, n. One for whom the golden calf is a sacred cow.

Pogrom, n. Vigilantisemitism.

Romany, n. A nation of shoplifters.

State of Nature, n. A myth used to camouflage the nature of the State.

Torture, n. The infliction of pain and terror on a prisoner to make him (or her) confess, or just for the fun of it.

Union of Egoists, the, n. A union with shitty benefits and no bargaining power.

Zionist propaganda, n. Kristol blue-and-white persuasion.

© 2012 L.A. Rollins

Memento mori.


This stuff’ll do you good…

LaCroix 100% Natural Sparkling Water

Everything tastes better out of a can, but La Croix Peach-Pear Flavored Carbonated Water really hits the spot. I like to treat myself after cleaning up cat vomit.

Demand it from your local grocer. I don't recommend the Coconut, however. Tastes like refrigerated sun tan lotion.

Coming soon: My interview with the legendary Uncle Fester.

memento mori

Vampires, Cannibals, and Killing Machines

I may or may not get around to seeing or reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but I do enjoy the amusingly predictable  show of professional historians tsk-tsking over the most outrageous counterfactual fantasies, as though some deeper social issue were at stake (pun, no). Maybe this was justified when Oliver Stone set his sights on JFK (pun, maybe), but it's plain silly when a scholar rhetoricizes that "If demons were responsible for slavery, that would be a whole lot less horrible than what really happened," as though the enormity of human bondage hadn't been sufficiently imprinted on impressionable young Stephenie-Meyer-polluted minds by now.

Besides which, as Reason correspondent Jesse Walker notes in a short comment banking off a longer piece by a less obtuse historian, the most fanciful re-imaginings of history may be particularly well-suited to illuminate the psycho-cultural backdrop that must inform any master narrative. In present context, this permits us to reflect on the meaning of once widespread rumors concerning slavery as a ruse for "white cannibalism."

Walker writes:

Like many conspiracy stories, [stories of white cannibalism] emerged through a combination of empirical observation and frightened guesswork. One man captured in Africa remembered seeing "parts of a hog hanging, the skin of which was white — a thing which we never saw before; for a hog was always roasting on a fire, to clear it of the hair, in my country; and a number of cannonshots were arranged on the deck. The former we supposed to be flesh, and the latter the heads of the individuals who had been killed for meat."   

The idea was widespread. One slave recalled his fellow captives jumping overboard "for fear that they were being fattened to be eaten." As Poole mentions, Africans arriving in Louisiana and Haiti reportedly mistook their masters' red wine for blood. Worries about white appetites would persist after slavery ended, as with the long-lived legend that Caucasian scientists were using black bodies' blood to make medicine. During the Atlanta child murders of 1979–1981, a gruesome rumor claimed the government was harvesting the kids' genitals to make aphrodisiacs.

When a piece of conspiracy folklore is this popular, it says something true about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe and repeat the tale, even if it says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself. The slave traders really were conspiring against their prisoners; it was just the nature of the conspiracy that was misunderstood. The captives were to be consumed by the white economy, not by white mouths.

(Walker's comment is light on sourcing, but I used to have a book — this book — that provides a neat historical overview — or underview — of cannibal-centered antebellum lore. I must have loaned the thing out at some point, but tust me: It's a fascinating read.)

At this point, those of you who are familiar with my ebbing and waning interests (at least such that find expression in my occasional scribblings here or in my sporadic adventures as a small-time publisher of "underground" books) will rightly suspect that I have something additional in mind when I focus on this variety of psychogenic undergrowth. (Hence the boldfacing, no?) While I've been perhaps increasingly coy about the subject of late, I want to be very clear now in observing that Walker's uncontroversial account of the meaningful resonance of "conspiracy folklore" in one troubling context tracks more or less precisely with the central thesis developed in Samuel Crowell's The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes: And Other Writings on the Holocaust, Revisionism, and Historical Understanding (Oxford comma absolutely intended) in another troubling — and siesmically controversial — context.

If antebellum (and postbellum) rumors of white cannibalism can be understood to say "something true about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe and repeat the tale, even if [such rumors] say nothing true about the objects of the [conspiracy] theory itself," Crowell's argument,  unfairly distilled, is simply that rumors of industrialized ethnic destruction — purportedly affected through electrocuted floors, vacuum chambers, pneumatic brain-smashing conveyers, and subterfuged gas chambers — arose in a similarly tunneled atmosphere of social confusion, strife, and upheaval, where "frightened guesswork"  latched to the palpable fear of German technological prowess and, more fatefully, to the fear of gas warfare. The deeper truth, to trace it all the way down, is that a kind of "destruction" — call it a "conspiracy" if you prefer — was in fact taking place all over Eastern Europe, even if, as Crowell credibly speculates, the presumed means of such destruciton should likewise turn out to say "nothing true about the theory itself."

A key difference, of course, is that emancipated slaves never had their stories documented before an internatioinal tribunal. They never got around to writing history books, either — or they came too late to the game. Another difference: Only Bad People are wont to speculate on mythic or confabulated elements of Holocaust narratives, while reputable libertarian journalists are free to place other historical rumors in socio-historical context without courting reprisal. No pseudonym or poor judgment is required.

So, was John Wilkes Booth a vampire? My own research suggests that he was actually a shapeshifting Wendigo. Eichmann and Höss, on the other hand, were definitely vampires werewolves. And Hitler was a necrophile. It is important to recall these facts. It is just as important to know what they mean.

Memento mori         

Now Accepting Advance Orders for Mikita Brottman’s THIRTEEN GIRLS

13girls-Small front

This is a reminder that Nine-Banded Books (i.e., me) is now accepting advance orders for Mikita Brottman's Thirteen Girls. I think it's a helluva read, but if you don't trust my bias-assed opinion, maybe you'll perk up to the words of one of the greatest true crime writers of all time, who sezzzz:

A baker’s dozen of harrowing, often heartbreaking, stories—each based on a notorious real-life murder case and told in a different, utterly compelling voice—Thirteen Girls manages the improbable feat of conjuring up the full horror and emotional devastation of serial homicide by focusing exclusively on the aftermath of the crimes and those left to deal with the consequences: family members, police officers, witnesses, survivors.  Known for her brilliant, provocative cultural criticism, Mikita Brottman has produced a stunning work of crime fiction—a genuine tour de force.

—Harold Schechter, Author of The Serial Killer Files

Srsly, it's a good book. And I could use your money.

Click here to read my interview with Mikita Brottman.

Click here to order the book through Amazon.

Click here to learn more about Mikita and her kickass body of work.

Click here to learn more about Harold Schechter's pioneering studies of the crime of culture and the culture of crime, fiction and non.

Please also note that Mikita will be at Atomic Books in Baltimore on the evening of September 1, 2012, to discuss her work and sign copies of Thirteen Girls. Sharing the stage will be the guy who wrote this book. I'll be there, too, if anyone in the vicinity wants to drop in and say hello. I am advised that drinks and assorted cheeses may be on offer, and I will post the formal announement as soon as it's calandered on the Atomic clock.

Tell two friends, fuckers. Because Amway is more than a Company: It's a Community!

Memento mori.

Overconfidence, Heterodoxy, and The Sacred

I'm currently reading David Benatar's The Second Sexism and I thought I would break out a passage from the book's introductory chapter. It reads:

Indeed, overly confident objections are very common among those defending orthodoxies. One reason for this is that the responses to those objections by those defending heterodox views are so much harder for the orthodox to imagine, given either the rarity of unconventional views or the rarity of their being expressed. Orthodoxies are repeated endlessly and usually go unchallenged. The result is that they acquire a life of their own and become self-reinforcing. Thus those who hold orthodox positions have no felt need to justify their positions, which become entrenched by being shared by so many others around them.

I'm sure this has been expressed more eloquently, but I don't feel like mining the Mencken archive at the moment, and I think Benatar's iteration comes with the benefit of clarity. Also, I corrected a typo from the original (for shame, Wiley-Blackwell).

Anyway, if we qualify the problem of overconfidence by stipulating that many orthodox positions become entrenched for useful reasons — i.e., because they are in fact strongly supported by evidence and sound intuition — a corollary question might concern how best then to distinguish weak but rare objections to prevailing orthodoxies from strong but rare objections that warrant more studious consideration. Instinct will only get you so far, time being finite and all, and you can never really trust your gut in a hot zone.

An efficient heuristic, however, might come in handy. One that I've previously noted comes from the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who seems to have cultivated a special knack for detecting the religious sweetener in ostensibly secular fruit. Riffing on the process whereby ideas and beliefs come to be "sacralized" in the social order, Haidt posits the following helpful dictum:

The fundamental rule of political analysis from the point of psychology is, follow the sacredness, and around it is a ring of motivated ignorance.

If you want a sense of how "motivated ignorance" might sound in relevant context — that is, in response to Benatar's argument that men suffer from systemic and harmful dicrimination in significant, if seldom acknowledged, ways — look no further than this fairly typical commentary, which begins and ends in snark without disdaining to seriously engage any of the empirical and philosophical arguments that Benatar develops.

If you want a sense of how "motivated ignorance" sounds in response to Benatar's other heterodox position — antinatalism — just pull up an online thread at random and count the seconds before some clever keypecker implores the Bad Man to kill himself already. Eat your heart out, Godwin.

In such and other instances, it shouldn't be difficult to identify the sacred object at throne. For those to whom the interests of women are paramount, the notion of a "sexism" that victimizes men will be received as a threat to the special role of  women in a practiced narrative about equality. To those who believe that human life must flourish evermore, the notion that being brought into existence could be morally problematic will be received as a threat to cherished narratives about meaning and survival, to say nothing of wee precious babies.

I think the MI reaction has a distinctive character; it's hotly emotional — viscerally invested … yet at the same moment, somehow, emphatically incurious. The heat is a tell. Hostile deflection is a tell. When these elements converge, look for the shiny sacred thing. Then it's time to brace up and pay attention, intrepid truthseeker. From the smell of it, could be there's meat on the table.  

You still have to follow your nose, but at least it's a start.

Memento mori.

Linkage is Bad for You: Giant-Size Man-Thing Edition



  • Flannery O'Connor reads "A Good Man is Hard to Find."
  • TGGP reviews The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
  • Think circumcision reduces the incidence of HIV/AIDS? Think again.
  • Atrocity upmanship is a dead-end game. The kids should know about this, just the same.

Memento mori.

Lucifer’s Lexicon 2012

L.A. Rollins is off the grid, but still on his game.    

America the Beautiful, n. A land infested by ugly Americans.

Austerity, n. Having to tighten one's belt, perhaps around one's neck prior to hanging oneself.

Cannibal, n. One who eats Bacon, such as Roger Bacon or Francis Bacon. (Incidentally, among revisionist literary historians, Francis Bacon has been a popular candidate for the role of "true author of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare." But take it from me, kiddies—and I am omniscient and infallible—the plays attributed to William Shakespeare were actually written by six chimpanzees who banged on typewriters for a million years.)   

Christian Zionist, n. A liar twice over. Christian Zionists lie because they are Christians, and they lie because they are Zionists.

Conservative, n. A class warrior on behalf of the rich who pretends that class warfare is very naughty in order to disarm the non-rich classes. 

Fugu, n. A very poisonous fish, which Yahweh the all-knowing creator-god apparently didn't remember when He dictated dietary laws to Moses. For, although the fugu is very poisonous, because it has scales and fins it is completely kosher. So orthodox Jews should feel free to live dangerously and eat fugu. 

Knowledge, n. Justified true belief, as distinguished from unjustified true belief or justified untrue belief.

Lunchmeat, n. Meat which, by definition, one eats for lunch and not for any other meal.

Man, n. In traditional Christianity, a piece of excrement created in the image of God, the Supreme Piece of Excrement.

Market, the, n. A mythical creature featured in the folklore of capitalism.

National Security, n. Mumbo-jumbo, abracadabra.

Progress, n. Change for the better, and for the worse.

Prophet, n. One to whom Yahweh says, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Pass it on."

Thought experiment, n. A thought that is not an experiment.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, n. Veterans of imperialist wars.

© 2012 L.A. Rollins

 Memento mori.

“The only ‘ism’ … for me” *


The latest addition to the Nine-Banded bookcase is an anonymously edited Ardent Press volume called "Enemies of Society: An Anthology of Individualist & Egoist Thought." I'm proud to note that the promotional copy was penned by the melanin-proficient Brit-blogger known as MRDA, a longtime Hog-habitué and self-styled querdenker who gives not a fuck what you think.

Listen up, young sportsmen:

As an observant Teuton once remarked, “our atheists are pious people.” Some 167 years later, our most outspoken “freethinkers” continue to deify concepts in a manner befitting the religionists against whom they rail. Rather than slaying the Sacred, these ostensible infidels have merely transubstantiated it to suit their own psychological needs. And given the grab bag of idols they insist on subjecting themselves (and others) to, their needs must be legion! Such is the situation, when even those spirited souls who shake off this shackle or that end up enmeshing themselves within a thousand more: “Gaia,” “Democracy,” “Race,” “The Greater Good,” and “Humanity,” to name but a few. Even anarchists—mouthers of the mantra “no gods, no masters”— find themselves in thrall and worship to these conceptual chimeras. Under such sanctimonious skies, every breath becomes a blasphemy.

Fortunately, there are those who respire away such reifications with an unfettered gust of the lung. Not content to reject God and the State, anarchic egoists spit on the Social Contract, puke on Posterity, sodomize Society, and murder Morality. Why, they even pause to urinate on the Übermensch along the way!

Inspired by the work of the late, great Max Stirner (the reprobate earlier referenced), the likes of S.E. Parker, James L. Walker, and Renzo Novatore proudly affirm the primacy of their personal desires, slaughtering every sacred cow dumb enough to stand in their way. Their words, along with those of other individualist anarchists, can be found within Enemies of Society, an anthology best described as a union of egoists on the printed page. Forget those tiresome tomes preaching “social anarchism,” anarcho-communism, or some other uninspired utopianism; this is the beating heart behind the very notion of anarchy: Unbowed, unorthodox, untethered—unique.

Meet the beasts who shouted “I” at the heart of the world.

After you order two copies for Father's Day (one for you and one for Dad), be sure to check out MRDA's infernal scribblings here.


* L.A. Rollins, Definition of "Egoism" from Lucifer's Lexicon.

memento mori.

Every Conceivable Harm

The current issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy is devoted to antinatalism and features a number of critiques of David Benatar's Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, as well as a detailed response by Benatar. I do not yet have a hard copy of the journal, but contributions are bulleted below, with free links to the abstracts and full-text content that I can find online. Unfortunately, the the gate fees at the journal homepage are prohibitively high.

  • Thaddeus Metz, “Contemporary Anti-Natalism, Featuring Benatar’s Better Never to Have Been”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 1-9. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • David Boonin, “Better to Be”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 10-25. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Rivka Weinberg, “Is Having Children Always Wrong?”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 26-37. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Skott Brill, “Sick and Healthy: Benatar on the Logic of Value”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 38-54. [Abstract] [Full Text]

  • Rafe McGregor & Ema Sullivan-Bissett, “Better No Longer to Be”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 55-68. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Saul Smilansky, “Life is Good”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 69-78. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Brooke Alan Trisel, “How Best to Prevent Future Persons From Suffering: A Reply to Benatar”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 79-93. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Gerald Harrison, “Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 94-103. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Asheel Singh, “Furthering the Case for Anti-natalism: Seana Shiffrin and the Limits of Permissible Harm, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 104-116. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • Christopher Belshaw, “A New Argument for Anti-Natalism”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 117-127. [Abstract] [Full text]

  • David Benatar, “Every Conceivable Harm: A Further Defence of Anti-Natalism”, South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 31, No. 1, 2012, pp. 128-164. [Abstract] [Full text]

I'll keep plugging in links as they come to my attention. I may offer a few annotative comments as well. Tips are appreciated.

Memento mori.