Column night and imminent Fair and other things; good thing I have a batch of keep I pounded out a week or two ago, and meant to upload last week, but forgot. There was really nothing of consequence to report today - and as I wrote that I thought “no, there was that part where I had to go in a room and plead guilty,” but that’s another Bleat. Speeding ticket. I deserved it.


Remember the guy who shot multiple people in Dayton OH?

It was just a few weeks ago. The killer in Dayton appears to have been mentally ill, from some reports; he spoke of hearing voices. But this could have been a ruse to gain attention and sympathy. Mental illness is a peculiar badge of honor among a certain strain of online-intensive youth; I see lots of posts in reddit from young people who claim Anxiety and Depression, and state it up front because it bestows credibility in the story they're about to relate about someone on the bus who demanded they give their Switch to a child. (There are a million stories like this on Reddit, and 99.3% are fabricated.) Not saying some aren’t dealing with mental health issues. But when it’s used as a means of explaining why a garden-variety social situation was triggering or stressful, and there are ancillary issues about , you wonder how much of it’s clinical and how much is someone going through the usual adolescent ennui and confusion, looking for hooks on which to hang the still-developing self.

So I don’t know if he heard voices. You can probably trust the accounts of his actions, if there was an official reaction like expulsion or suspension.

There was one thing that stood out, because it was new. He was a member of the “Menstrual Munchies,” a “pornogrind” band. BuzzFeed:

The man who killed nine and injured 27 in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was the lead singer of a "pornogrind" metal band, a genre defined by its explicit subject matter and themes of gore and violence, specifically sexual violence and necrophilia, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The gunman, was a member of Menstrual Munchies, a three-person band that performed regularly in the Midwest death metal scene, recently appearing as one of the bands at the Summer Massacre 2 concert in Chicago on June 29.

Pornogrind is a subgenre of a fast and extreme kind of heavy metal called grindcore, which is known for its mostly dark, satirical themes of sexual violence and gore delivered for shock value.


The band's song titles are explicitly sexually violent, such as "Preteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter" and “C*nt Stuffed With Medical Waste - Sexual Abuse Of A Teenage Corpse." The album art is equally explicit. One album cover shows a woman consuming feces, while another shows an illustration of a young woman's headless body chained to a bed, covered in blood, as a man puts his pants back on.


Now, the kicker:

Musicians in this genre posted messages online saying they were disgusted by Betts's actions.


What gives these lazy-brained uncultured guitar-abusers the standing to be disgusted by someone shooting up a nightclub?

Because the lyrics and the images are a pose, of course. Because it’s art, of course. No, the lyrics didn’t make anyone do anything. The images didn’t make anyone do anything. The lyrics and the images just explained what they were willing to celebrate.


Celebrate? Hmm, perhaps too bright a word. Indulge? No: the lyrics and images were a costume to be worn for amusement, and it was understood that "Preteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter" was a joke, perhaps a satire on less intensive grind core speed death metal or whatever they want to call it.

"Pornogrind is like an offshoot of goregrind that's more lighthearted and has more sexual themes," the person who runs the page, who asked not to be identified because he did not wish the page or community to be associated with Betts's actions, told BuzzFeed News over Facebook Messenger. "The music is pretty obscene but the people who revolve around it are usually really cool people.”

Cool, because they don’t get all bent out of shape about stuff that’s clearly a joke, like "Preteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter.”

According to media reports and an unverified photo of his body, Betts was wearing a hoodie featuring lyrics from the metalcore band the Acacia Strain when he carried out the attack.

The lead singer of the Acaia Strain tweeted Sunday that these reports were "making [him] sick.”

This led me to google some of their lyrics, which are the usual uplifting stuff about death and broken people and wanting to see everything destroyed; one of the most quoted songs was called “Ramirez,” and while the lyrics don’t mention it I’m sure it’s a reference to Richard Ramirez, the “Night Stalker,” who was awesome because he was a Satanist! For real! Serious dude!

They’d all wet their britches if he came in the bedroom sliding door.

These are people who are estranged from beauty and grace, by their own hand. Not dark souls but lazy ones. Not bleak hearts but banal ones, looking for the perpetual frisson an adolescent male gets when he drifts to the brotherhood of the numb and the bored. They have nothing to rally around except rejection; they have no cause but the tiresome imperative of the Transgressive; they have no idea where they stand in human history, how a hundred million people would claw and climb over a mountain of broken glass to sample the ease and bounty they take for granted. They believe in nothing except the self, but as it happens they hate themselves as well.


Because they have degraded themselves. All people do, in some way, but it’s harder for young men who have the slightest speck of conscience. I’d guess they’re auto-numbed by porn and video games, and no, I’m not blaming either - but each gives a simulacrum of an experience whose falseness is apparent the moment it’s over. Waste of spirit in an expense of shame, as the man said. The only thing greater than themselves is tribal politics, which reinforces a false sense of higher purpose and provides a ready-made off-the-rack suit of ideas and values a few microns thick. They have no connection with what came before them - either because they are not aware of it, or reject it for the flaws they have been taught or thought they experienced.

I was listening to a podcast about the death of Marie Antoinette, and how she was treated in her last days. The narrator described the public trial of one of her maids, a friend, and how she was asked if she accepted LIBERTY, the new god, and whether she would renounce Antoinette. She embraced the first and declined the second. It was not enough that she agreed to the overthrow of the old order - she had to turn on a person she loved, and cast her name in to the grasping hands of the rabble for them to tear apart. For this she was killed, thrown to the crowd, flayed, and decapitated. They got the idea that her head should be restored with cosmetics, her hair done up in her old style, and the ghastly object stuck on a stick and waved in front of the window of Antoinette’s cell.

The ecstatic joy of needless cruelty, endorsed by the surging madness of the mob. When the old world has been swept away, everything’s possible, because there are no laws, no rules, no higher self to note your actions. When all the tired, corrupt, oppressive structures are gone, and a new world waits to be created, what do you get?

Not the America that followed the revolution. Once or twice in all f human history, perhaps. What you usually get is "Preteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter” in some form.

We all degrade ourselves, as noted; it’s part of being human. The range of degradation is as broad as you can conceive. But without elevation to balance it out, the degradation looms and possesses the self.

You can imagine these incel-types having an actual date, and finding themselves unable to deal with normal human interaction, to try to make a connection with someone who’s reasonably well-adjusted, has plans, doesn’t view society as a bleak hopeless hellscape - he’d be unable to connect. The smallest exposure to someone capable of elevation would be proof of your own rottenness.

Do you know why this scene in Twin Peaks: The Return is so chilling?


Because you know how most people reel back in instinctive fear from that man and his words, and whatever horrible meaning seethes behind them. And because you know some lean forward and want to know more. Because degrading themselves has become their means of elevation, and there is nowhere to go but the bottom of an infinite pit.

(Content warning: is Twin Peaks)




Short one this week, due to Fair pressures. I say that in advance of the Fair, assuming there will be pressures.

It's 1871!

I remember when people thought ads on the front page of the daily paper was the beginning of the downfall of journalism.

This was actually the Hennepin County fair, aka the Great Northwestern Agricultural and Mechanical Fair. It had just closed, and the paper issued this peculiar notice:



You want it, you pay for the advert.

Also front page news:


Wait a minute - the upcoming fair?



Ah yes: Mr. King.

Colonel William Smith King (December 16, 1828 – February 24, 1900) was a Republican United States Representative for Minnesota from March 4, 1875 to March 3, 1877. He was a journalist and businessman. He is best known for allegations of political corruption during this congressional term. The House of Representatives did not specify his offense, but decided it was constitutionally unable to punish him for actions that took place before he entered Congress. He did not run for reelection.

In 1858, King moved to Minneapolis, where he continued in journalism and raising cattle. He founded the State Atlas newspaper in 1859. King became known for his strong editorials. Later, he helped create the Minneapolis Tribune, and became a major stockholder in the Pioneer Press in neighboring Saint Paul. There are also indications that he became a principal owner of the Minneapolis Journal.

It's remarkable how little folks around here known Mr. King. He had his hands in everything.

In Minnesota, Colonel King also became involved in railroads and related pursuits. There are indications he was among the first people to lay streetcar rails in Minneapolis, perhaps as early as 1867. In 1877, he built a large pavilion at Lake Calhoun in the city. A tourism boom was occurring at the time. He later sold it to Louis F. Menage, who converted it to a hotel. However, the hotel was eventually destroyed by a fire.

During the 1870s, built his acclaimed 1,400 acres estate. Lyndale Farm reached south from 34th Street to Lake Harriet, allowing ample room to gather choice breeds of cattle for breeding purposes. His herd, including Shorthorn, Ayrshire, and Jersey, evolved into the best in the nation—to some, the world's finest. King's land, originally located in Richfield, was annexed to Minneapolis in 1867 by the state legislature.

I drive King’s Highway, as it’s legally called, once a week. It's one of the most beautiful street

A reminder of the turmoil France experienced in the 19th century, as if the 18th hadn’t been enough of a shite-show:



In June 1871, against the wishes of Thiers, the Assembly voted by 472 to 97 to allow exiled members of the Bourbons and Orleans families to return to France. They were led by Henri, Count of Chambord, the heir to the Bourbon throne, who declared his willingness to rule France as Henry V. He received considerable support in the beginning, but lost much of it when he declared that he would replace the French tricolor with the white flag of the Bourbons.

Forgotten nothing, learned nothing - an apt assessment.

Thiers protested that it was not possible to have constitutional monarchy with three different royal dynasties, the Bourbons, the Orleans, and the Bonapartes, all claiming the throne. The republicans in the Assembly, including Léon Gambetta, rallied around Thiers as a defender of the republic.

Thiers persuaded the republicans that he was the least monarchist of the monarchists, and persuaded the monarchists that he was the least republican of the republicans. On 30 August 1871, the Assembly voted 494 to 94 to change the title of Thiers from Chief of the Executive Power to President of the Republic, under the authority of the National Assembly. It was a remarkable political achievement; the Third Republic had been created with the votes of the anti-republican monarchists. In private, he was not very kind to the assembly; he told a friend that "I have an Assembly of 150 insurgents [the republicans] and four hundred poltrons (chicken-hearts).”

That's what poltroon means.


Go west, old man, and make a speech.

  This is what you write when you haven’t finished transcribing the speech for publication.

No end to the excitement.

Wonderful cynocephaluses!

A Cynocephalus was essentially a man with the head of a dog. They could understand language but had no ability to speak. Though they are sometimes depicted in artwork as being civilized, they were by all reports savage beasts who lived to hunt and to kill.

Wikipedia says Cole’s Colossal Circus was founded in 1884 - actually, the New Colossal Shows, which indicates he was actually putting on shows before he rebranded. Born in 1847, he would have been 24 in 1871, which indicates a substantial amount of pluck and initiative. Unless there was a different Cole.

But I don't think so. Have I discovered something here today?


That'll do; enjoy the update, and I'll see you around.



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