Friday, September 27, 2013

Jim Goad's Shit Magnet: Review and Analysis Part Three

Jim wrote Shit Magnet while in prison. He details the day-to-day surroundings, the other inmates, the seating organization in the cafeteria and his cell. He says, “Every prison sentence is a death sentence.”

Jim rails about the unfairness of it all. He wonders why all this bad stuff happens to him, and while I understand bad stuff happening, maybe he didn't think about these things:

If you create—and writing is creative, you are bound to piss someone off.
If you try to be honest, you will piss people off.
If you point out truths, you will piss people off.
If you are an abused guy, and you want to go to NYU, and your parents say no, and you channel your rage into writing, you will piss people off.

If enough people would have purchased Hitler's paintings, maybe he wouldn't have been seen as a bad guy, because he might have become a successful artist and not a murderer of millions.

I'm not comparing Jim Goad to Hitler, but I'm showing how powerful a human can be if things don't go his or her way. The rage gets channeled elsewhere. Sometimes into a sport, a hobby, or the arts. So maybe Jim was always destined to be a shit magnet. Who knows?

What astounds me is that Jim kept going back, and back, and back. Because he was afraid of being alone? Because he wanted to get laid? Because being with Anne fueled his adrenaline?

Jim would probably hate me for saying this, but his reasons for going back to Anne don't really sound that much different as to why women return to their abusers. For him, it wasn't economic stability. I THINK Jim was working at this time, or else making enough money off his writing to survive. For women, it's not always like that. Jim returned because of the simple fact that he is human. Not perfect. Needy. Weak. Exactly the same reasons he hates women. Oh, excuse me. Maybe not ALL women, but certain women. If you're fat and unattractive, stay the fuck away from Jim Goad. Also, if you are a feminist, steer clear. If you're all three, don't be in the same state that he's in.

I've had a rocky relationship with men in my life. I've been picked on, abused (verbally, physically, and sexually) and I honestly don't know what I did to bring it on. I've had people tell me I'm too nice. So maybe that's it. But if I become a complete bitch, will that turn my life around? I don't want to be phony, don't want to put on an act, but I don't appreciate men putting me down, treating me like shit, and then, when I say, “don't treat me like that,” have them become indifferent, or worse, “that Gloria has become a complete bitch.” I'm lovable when I let people treat me like a doormat, but over the last few years, I've stood up for myself, and lost a few “friends.” I'm not currently looking for a boyfriend because I'll never get the kind of guy I want. So instead of settling, I prefer to be alone. I have friends offer to set me up from time to time, but sometimes I wonder if these people REALLY know me. I've had a friend offer to set me up with a guy who drinks too much. And I should go out with him because...? Well, he's single and I'm single. Isn't that the only requirement?

I've always wondered why the asshole men always get the women, and ALWAYS end up having kids. I guess it's nature's fucked up way of continuing the human race.

Ironically, Jim ends up taking pictures of himself when he gets beat up (just like Anne and Debbie did) and also sounds just a bit like the women victims of abuse he so despises. What gets me is that he keeps going back to his so many women victims have.

In one of the last chapters of the book, he presents himself to a jury in a courtroom and wonders why shit keeps happening to him if he's such a nice guy. The jury sentences him to “death.” And in the final chapter, “Death: Yours and Mine,” Jim recommends that “you burn as bright and hot as you can, because they're coming to snuff you.” After finishing this book, I'm sure the “they” that Jim is referring to (in his case) are those horrible, fat, lesbian feminist dykes who want to string him up.

Years ago, I wasn't afraid to write to Jim and Debbie, because I felt I identified with them, up to a certain point. Now Debbie is dead, and I'm not sure how I feel about Jim Goad now. I love his writing. After reading Shit Magnet, I hunted down one of my copies of Answer Me! The First Three, which was missing a cover and a few back pages. I read it again, and tried to imagine Jim and Debbie in happier times, writing whatever they wanted to write, the two of them against the world. I think I even talked to Debbie once on the phone. I know I got a letter from Jim. But I wonder what would happen if I communicated with Jim now. I'm not a lesbian, but I'm certainly fat, and if being a feminist means making my own way in the world, and wanting not to be treated like shit by men, then yeah, call me a feminist. I might not be one if men had been a little nicer to me. Perhaps I'm a bit of a shit magnet of my own. I'm trying to understand Jim a little bit better. He's had bad luck with women. I've had bad luck with men. Maybe there aren't any other answers than that.

Jim is married now, with a son. I hope he's happy, but I'm also a bit disappointed. When he was with Debbie, they both vowed not to have kids. Did Jim change his mind, or did his wife do it for him? We can thank whatever God we believe in for that. Imagine if he'd had a daughter. The fact that she's female would have branded her the enemy. In an interview I read online, Jim refers to “the female problem.” Here's the problem Jim: if you get rid of women, pretty soon you won't have any more new men come along. You NEED women to produce more men. Hopefully, Jim has mellowed out and won't repeat the same mistakes that his father and mother made with him. Having said that, Shit Magnet is a book you're not going to forget. You might think it's whiny, you might think it's a stunning work about one man's life and how he ended up in prison because he didn't want to be abused anymore. So he beat up a woman as hard as he could. Goad makes some harsh observations on gender, prison, justice, the legal system and the world. Read and learn from his mistakes. Time will tell if Jim has.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Jim Goad's Shit Magnet: Review and Analysis, Part 2

Anne beats Jim up on a bus. She leaves voice mail messages about how happy she'll be when he dies. And the email messages start, as do the postings online about Jim's nose job, among other things. And she threatens to kill him. Jim gets a restraining order against Anne, but they careen back and forth. And Jim admits he didn't want to go back, but he didn't Anne to be alone. He didn't want Debbie to be alone. And most tellingly, HE didn't want to be alone.

Anne files charges on Jim. Eventually, he goes to prison because he beat up Anne ONCE, but is unhappy that Anne has attacked him several times and ends up going free. Until she runs someone down with her car. She got five months. Jim got two years. And Jim says both of them will be worse when they get out.

Love is like heroin. Sometimes it destroys lives, but damn, it feels so, so good. And I think that is what makes it so hard to break up sometimes. I think Jim knew Anne was a nutcase when they got together, yet he got together with her. Fucking and laughing and fucking and laughing. It's obvious Jim hates a certain type of woman: fat/feminist/lesbian. And woe is you if you happen to be all three, and unattractive to boot. I actually wonder if Jim hates ALL women. According to him, we are nothing special. We THINK we are special. According to Jim, while men were out conquering lands, taking on nature, and creating civilizations, we were at home giving birth. And do you think if we could have changed that, we would have? I'm sure there were several women who would have gladly taken birth control had it been available. And as Jim probably hates to admit, you need a man and a woman to create a human. Even a male human. Especially a male human. He probably hates that.

Jim rightfully points out that domestic abuse happens male to female, and female to male. However, something I would like to ask him is why the hell he continued to return to Anne, and later to Debbie. With Anne, it had to have been the sex. With Debbie, it might have been a sense of guilt—she WAS dying, after all, and the marriage sounded like it went sour almost right from the beginning. And that makes Jim human. He felt guilt, but he also showed weakness. Don't anti-domestic violence advocates always tell women to leave abusive situations? Doesn't that also apply to men? It's terrible when domestic violence happens, but why the hell don't people leave? I think it's love. It's like heroin. And so terribly hard to kick. And the more insecure you are, the harder it is to let go.

So Jim compares himself to Christ. He's carrying the guilt of every man who was ever attacked by a woman and fought back. Jesus died for the world's sins. Jim served 24 months in prison. I'm sure Jim wanted to die several times, but it's just not the same. I have some sympathy for Jim, but not a whole lot. Maybe Jim would laugh at me because I've not taken a lot of chances in my life. But I know I've been burned by certain people. I attract strange men. I've had so-called friends screw me over. So if I meet a guy and he seems a little “off,” I'm going to think twice about getting involved with him. So maybe that makes me a boring, safe person. I still meet weirdoes, but I have to wonder about Jim's constant complaining that women get away with violence, and isn't it terrible. Men make more money than women, and they are stronger. Boo hoo. A lot of things are terrible and unfair in the world. What Jim hates is that women GET AWAY with it. Isn't everything fair in love and war? Doesn't it make sense that if you want to stay safe, you stay the hell away from people who scream out in public and expose themselves in their 'zines and who don't have any problem with hitting you, and who seem just a little obsessive when you need to go to work, or go to the bathroom and they throw themselves at your feet and beg you not to leave? Doesn't it make sense that once you get away, you STAY away?

Doesn't it? Maybe that's just me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jim Goad's Shit Magnet: Review and analysis, part one

I'm sorry. I told myself I would update this blog on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but I missed my deadline by 15 minutes. I wanted to grade papers before I got online, and it took me a bit longer. I AM sorry. Hope you enjoy this post.


Depending on your viewpoint, Jim Goad is an amazing writer with an eventful life, or he's a mean, hateful man. I have to thank Jim and Debbie Goad as influencing my 'zine “Angry Young Woman.”
I knew I wanted to write something edgy, but wasn't sure where to begin. Then I picked up “Answer Me!” number three and I knew. I could write about whatever the hell I wanted. That's what Jim and Debbie did. They wrote about suicides. They wrote about handicapped kids who made their own music. They wrote about Suzanne Muldowney, a performance artist. And lots more stuff. Timothy Leary. Russ Meyer. And in earlier issues, they wrote about serial killers and mass murderers. They talked to Anton LaVey. They wrote about their visit to Bakersfield on the Fourth of July. It was well written, funny and interesting. I eventually ended up with two copies of “Answer Me! The First Three” (both falling apart because I read them so much) and a battered (hah!) issue of “Answer Me! Number four, also known as the “rape” issue.

So when I was browsing Hyde Brothers Books a few weeks ago, I saw Shit Magnet: One Man's Miraculous Ability to Absorb the World's Guilt and picked it up. Again, it's fascinating, horrifying reading. It chronicles Jim's childhood in Philly, when he met Debbie, the “Answer Me!” years, the Francisco Martin Duran flap and the three British youngsters who came to America and killed themselves. Seems that a sentence fragment from one of the issues showed up in the vehicle owned by Duran, and one of the British kids had called Goad to verify his mailing address. She mailed him money. He mailed it back to her parents.

Then, there's the chapter where he talks about his relationship with Anne “Sky” Ryan. The only time I'd seen Goad written about was in an issue of Spin magazine in 1998. I picked it up and read what was going on with him. By that time I was still 'zineing', but it seemed like the era was passing, or at least on its way out. I sort of lost touch with what was going on in the 'zine world, but I still have that issue of Spin. I exchanged a couple of letters with Debbie, who wrote an article for my 'zine, and I know I got at least one letter from Jim. Debbie said she skipped an episode of “Seinfeld” in order to read my 'zine, and I felt honored. A lot of people feared them, but I didn't. I felt I would like them, because they had a lot of the same complaints about people that I did.

I immediately dove into Shit Magnet. I love when I pick up a book and it sucks me in. I hate when I pick up a book and it bores me, or just doesn't hold my attention. I guess it makes a difference if you're already familiar with the author's writing style, and you've exchanged a letter with them. But I got sucked into it. And the chapters about Anne, and Angels with Black Eyes probably fascinated me the most.

Jim didn't have great parents. So that probably set the tone for his future relationships and his sense of right and wrong. Anne sends him a copy of her 'zine, and he sends her a flyer, telling her he can pick one item and he'll send it to her for free. Then, they exhange numbers. Then, they meet. And Jim knows that once he crosses the bridge heading for downtown Portland, he's crossed the line. He and Anne engage in a lot of fucking, laughing, and even more fucking and laughing. They declare themselves “Portland's Hottest Young Couple.” Within a few months, Debbie will be diagnosed with overian cancer. Anne, 15 years younger than Jim, makes him feel alive. She makes him laugh. Life with Debbie has deteriorated. Jim knows what he's doing is wrong, yet night after night, he tells Debbie he's going for “rides” but he's seeing Anne.

Anne quickly becomes obsessed with Jim, and things get worse. He leaves, but comes back to her. He leaves, but comes back to both Anne AND Debbie. And when he tries to leave, Anne hits him. And hits him some more. Jim says he was attacked several times, until he actually beat up Anne while they were up in the mountains somewhere. And the trouble just gets worse.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A New Series...I Hope!

One of my co-workers at one of my jobs gave me an idea (unknowingly) for something to write about. I was telling her a story about an experience I had with someone who had fixed my computer. We got into a dispute on a local television station's website, and I told her what he had done to my computer. She asked me, "where do you meet these people?" I told her it's not like I hang out at dive bars, or prowl back alleys, or intentionally seek out these whack-jobs. Sometimes I meet them in the comfort of my own home, via the miracle called the Internet.

Anyway, I thought it might be kind of interesting to talk about some of my experiences with these people (without naming any names) so that folks might understand a little bit better why I keep to myself a lot and why I'm very reluctant to become a member of a dating site.

So I don't know how many of these stories I will have, but it's an interesting idea, and I think I might just do it.

And I apologize if you are a follower of this site (or even if you are not a follower) and are annoyed that I don't post more often. I tend to use this site to vent, or to write about stuff that wouldn't make it into my column for one reason or another. I will try to post on a more regular basis. I've kept a journal every day since August, 2003, so I DO write faithfully every day, just not on this blog. And believe me, my daily journal posts are pretty depressing, although I did have a great day yesterday. Nothing particularly wonderful happened, but I had a great day at work, I had a good walk with Daphne, it was nice and cool, the moon was out, I ran into a former co-worker, and I tried out my new firepit.. I flame-broiled some salmon and popped some corn (the latter burned, so I had to try again.) But it was just a good day and a great night. I smiled spontaneously, which is something I hardly ever do. I was happy, and relaxed, and peaceful.

But last night I dreamed I was diagnosed with diabetes. That wasn't too cool. But, whatever!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Technical Difficulties

I have about 36 videos up on YouTube, on my channel, GloriaD5767. But thanks to some computer snafus, I haven't been able to do a lot lately. Here's the story.

My now FORMER computer guy put a fake version of Windows on my computer. I backed up everything else, but he said I'd have to re-install any programs I had. Which I thought would be fine. But when I re-loaded Magix Movie Edit Pro 15, I discovered I needed a codec in order to use footage from my Samsung video camera. I could use video from my digital still camera, but I didn't like the quality I got from using it as a video camera. And it was impossible to find a codec that would work, even though I searched the web. And I found out Magix no longer supports Movie Edit Pro 15. So, when an incredible deal came up to get Magix Movie Edit 2013, I took it. I installed it, and it seemed like everything was okay. I made a video of my helicopter ride at this year's Three Rivers Festival and I really had fun with it. I bought a very inexpensive music editing program back in the spring, and whipped up some original dance music to go with it.

But problems are creeping up. First off, my Samsung digital video camera won't hold a charge, despite a new batter and a new AC adapter. I can have it plugged in for days, with the green light showing, yet when I unplug it and try to film stuff, the charge might last all of five minutes when I start taping, then it will poop out. This happened at Cedar Point, so instead of carrying the camera around with me the rest of the day, I walked out to the car and stashed it.

Then, I made a video for a new website, FW FTW. It's a WordPress site that should be up soon. I've written for more than 20 years, and while I still like to write, I want to experiment with videos and tell stories that way. I put together some footage, saved it, converted it to MPEG-4 format, and tried to upload it. YouTube says it's not a supported file type, even though on their list of supported file types, MPEG-4 shows up. Also, when I tried to upload it as a current movie, it would not give me that option.

I guess I will try other options, but one thing that hasn't changed is that converting files still takes a good half hour to forty five minutes, for an eight minute video. I had a 21 second clip that I filmed from the same camera. I transferred the clip right from the camera to the computer, and uploaded it to YouTube, and it only took a matter of seconds. I really don't want to have to buy a new video camera, as the one I have is only about four years old, and I really like it. But it's frustrating to have ideas and have to deal with confusing and frustrating delays.

And that's why I haven't been making as many videos lately.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Suddenly, Pictures!

I was playing around with my new phone when all of a sudden I found pictures from my long-lost trucking blog. How they ended up on my camera, I may never know. All of a sudden, I had a photo album from Picasa in my "gallery" and low and behold, pictures from my trucking blog. I punched in the URL, and the blog is NOWHERE to be found. I think I still have the secure data card from that particular camera, but it's a little unsettling to play with your camera, and be confronted with your past. At least I wasn't twerking.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I Can't Concentrate on my Creativity!

I've been pretty scattered lately in terms of creativity. I made a couple of necklaces, but was disappointed when the metallic paint  I'd painted my paper beads with came off on my skin. I've got at least three writing projects in progress. A few months ago, I bought a super-cheap music software program and have been experimenting with that. I found some essential oil at Hobby Lobby and want to make my own body spray. I love Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint, but the powers that be have decided they are only going to ship a certain amount to stores, and when it runs out, it runs out. So that means I'll have to call or visit the store to see when it's going to arrive and hope I have cash to buy it. Finding peppermint and spearmint (!) oil at HL means I have the power to make peppermint/spearmint spray any damn time of the year. Screw you, BBW! I've got the power (snaps fingers and dances.)

And lately, I've been trying to make cell phone covers for my Samsung Galaxy S III. I busted out my mom's old sewing machine and I've been experimenting with that. At least the stitches look better than when I do them by hand.

The best cover I made so far was a little double drawstring pouch. I have some pink fleece, and I really enjoy working with that. The pouch came out better than anything I did before. I first made an orange felt sleeve, but then tried to make another sleeve from fleece, and that was way too tight. I'm trying to go for something whimsical, but I must admit, having the sewing machine out is giving me a sense of empowerment. If I buy some pants with a sagging hem, I can fix that on the machine. If I REALLY learn how to sew, I can make some really cool stuff. Now, to come up with a cell phone case where the phone is functional while IN the case--because that's the point of the case, right? I'll keep experimenting, because with the way I operate, I'm sure I'll get bored with this and move on to something else.

That's what's so frustrating! I can't seem to concentrate on JUST ONE THING. Do I have ADHD? Am I too impatient? What the fuck is wrong with me!??? I think I have the potential to be good at something, like REALLY good, but I flit away like some butterfly from one thing to another. I guess it's good that I have a lot of interests, but I can't help thinking if I could concentrate on one thing and promote it, it could make money for me someday.