Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Advice nobody wants to hear: career and/or/as/vs. human nature.

1. I cannot provide advice on "career choices".  I can provide advice on human nature.

2. Most people give advice that is shaped (and warped) by their own positive experiences.

Someone who was a computer programmer 20 years ago may be profoundly ignorant as to how difficult it is to earn a living as a computer programmer today.

In the past, being a computer programmer was "easy money".  Now, it is easy poverty.

The man who is giving you this advice: he has "no skin in the game".

He is not thinking about the percentile chance that his advice will fail: he is not thinking about what you will do (how you will survive) if his plan is a failure.  He is thinking about this (and talking about this) as if it "can't lose".  It can.

You have to plan for the possibility of failure.

Many, many people in computer programming fail.

If you are not passionate about computer programming, and you are not talented in computer programming, why would you compete with people who are passionate and talented?  Maybe there is an answer to this question: MAYBE.

I have a reason to compete with the authors of children's storybooks, even if I am not especially passionate and talented about producing children's storybooks: I have an ethical reason motivating me to make the effort, even if I fail.  Some jobs may fall into this category (i.e., you're not talented at it, you're not passionate about it, but do it anyway).

However, in the year 2022, nobody in their right mind would say that computer programming is a "safe" or "easy" career compared to (e.g.) becoming a nurse, becoming an x-ray technician, or any of those other boring jobs attached to health services (some of which require very little formal education, and are actively sought out by new immigrants from third world countries for that reason: they are "a way to get ahead" soon after arriving in America, etc.).

Again, my commentary here is about human nature: I don't know you, and I don't know if you'd be the worse nurse in the history of the world or what.

3. With any kind of art (rap music, painting, stand up comedy, etc.) the verdict comes from the audience.  It doesn't matter what you think your art is worth, it doesn't matter if you find your own creation entertaining: either an audience exists for it, or else it does not.

I could repeat what I said about illustrated children's storybooks, above, under this heading: yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, and yes it is possible (e.g.) that it would be worthwhile for me to produce a series of children's storybooks that nobody appreciates aside from myself and five other people (because I have a sort of ethical reason to do so, etc.).

However, my point here is, under heading #3, that you have to ask the question of whether or not there's an audience that will embrace you: the rate of failure in the creative arts (and the performing arts, etc., "art" most broadly defined) is much worse than the rate of failure in computer programming.

4. You have to decide to what extent you're interested in working WITH your own nature, as opposed to AGAINST your own nature.

And the caveat is here: we are talking about your KNOWN nature --i.e., your nature inasmuch as it is known to yourself.

Most of us, up to a certain age, only know about ourselves, "I like video games".  We don't know what our talents are, we don't know what talents we lack.  We don't know if we would be a good police officer or a bad police officer.  We don't know if we'd be good at nursing, computer programming, etc., because we really don't know ourselves.

Knowing what classes you enjoyed in school (and what classes you did not enjoy) is similarly misleading.  If you enjoyed high school science class, that DOES NOT mean you'd enjoy a career in the sciences (it does not even mean you'd enjoy university level science classes).

Would a job that forces you to work in isolation (like computer programming) be good for you or bad for you?

Would a job that forces you to socialize with people (face to face, like nursing) be good for you or bad for you?

Consider the possibility that you don't know the answer yourself yet: you have to ask yourself questions about human nature in general, about YOUR OWN nature in particular, and then you have to decide the extent to which you want to challenge your own nature to change (i.e., work against it) as opposed to taking advantage of the inclinations/passions/talents you already have (working with your nature, not against it).

It would be much easier for me to write a comedy novel than to do stand up comedy; it would be easier for me to do stand up comedy than to make a documentary film; what's easiest may not be best for me ("personal growth"), may not be best for my audience, and may not be the best way to make money.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

I don't always tell people to quit video games.

As you can guess from the final sentence, this was addressed to someone who became hopelessly entwined in the great Tommy Tallarico fiasco of 2022.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

All those puppets for all those years.

If my daughter is seeing this one day: YEP, I KEPT THOSE PUPPETS WITH ME AT ALL TIMES, FOR ALL THOSE YEARS, even if you don't remember playing with them.

Q&A: The Nutrition and "Micro Economics" of a Vegan Diet.

I presume you can guess the broad outline of the question from the details of my answer.  ;-)


I am not bothering to narrate the fact that the single biggest economic difference you can make is between eating in restaurants vs. cooking for yourself: anywhere in Europe, NOT BUYING restaurant food (and not buying chocolate bars, etc., "convenience food") is much more significant than the slight difference in price between two competing items at the grocery store.

This disclaimer may be the real advice you need, and it may not be: some people don't realize that if they want to save money (on food, etc.) THE MAIN OPPORTUNITY they have to do so is refusing to meet friends in restaurants, or even refusing to buy convenience food while waiting for a bus after work (or after school, etc.).  Making your own sandwich is always cheaper than paying someone else to make a sandwich for you —but in Europe, this difference is dramatic (whereas in China, many people eat in restaurants three meals per day, because the difference in price is very slight).

I have never lived in Sweden, but my experience is that 90% of the groceries available in France are also available in Germany and Greece —i.e., the options are overlapping and similar throughout the E.U. bloc (but, admittedly, Spain would be better for fruit and vegetables than Sweden, at opposite ends of the E.U. climate spectrum, and I aside you rely on many things imported from Spain, as even the British do).

The fundamental strategic decision you need to make is this:

Will you get protein from a powder, or from beans, peas and lentils?

Canada produces vegan protein powder: the cheapest I can get costs less than 15 Euros per kg —more expensive brands (THAT ARE NOT BETTER, IMHO) cost about 27 Euros per kg.

If you're buying protein powder, everything else in your vegan diet is easy, both economically and nutritionally.

If you have vegan protein powder and a multivitamin pill every day, the rest of your diet can be cereal and soymilk, and you'll be fine —although if you want to make the effort to eat salad every day, go right ahead (although you know very well this will cost you more time and money).

The question becomes somewhat more interesting if/when you decide NOT to rely on protein powder (and, again, economy is a factor here, as you've posed the question in this way).

What is your major, daily source of protein going to be?

White rice with yellow lentils?  Canned peas?  Beans that you buy dry, and prepare in a pressure cooker?

Whatever the choice you make, everything else in your diet is going to revolve around this decision: if the "backbone" of your diet is white rice with (Brazilian) black beans at every meal, then the other vegetables / side dishes that accompany this will be influenced by the procedure of preparing the rice and beans.

You're not going to combine black beans with bread and strawberry jam.  You could, but you won't.

The economic problem is just failing to think these things through: if you eat "impossible burger" style processed food as your main source of protein, it will massively increase your costs over any of the options narrated above.  Obviously, if you try to eat a diet based on tropical fruit (in Europe) it would massively inflate your costs.  The first can happen accidentally, as people just start buying packaged and processed main courses for convenience without thinking it through; the latter (a mango based diet, etc.) never happens accidentally (it happens ideologically).

All of Europe has high quality lentils available.  Canada does not.  All of Europe has high quality canned peas available.  Canada does not.  This is hardly an exhaustive list: it would be really depressing to get into the details of how abominably poor the quality of food is in Canada.  Lettuce is bad here.  Basically all fruit and vegetables are bad here.  Everything here is worse than Europe AND worse than Asia (e.g., worse than Taiwan, not just worse than Thailand).

In any given social context, there are limits to how much money you can save on food, without changing your social context: if you really want to save money beyond what I've described above, refusing to watch movies, refusing to drink alcohol, or moving into an apartment with cheaper rent (etc.) will all be more significant that the difference between (e.g.) the cost of lentils and the cost of black beans —or the cost of protein powder and any/all beans.

In the 21st century, food is obsolete: all you need to live is contained in the vitamin pill, the protein powder, and then practically anything (such as cereal and soymilk) to make up your remaining "macros" (i.e., the sheer number of calories you'd need to live).  We all live in the shadow of this obsolescence, not wanting to face up to its implications, because this entails that our whole culture of cuisine is obsolete, and a large portion of our notion of happiness (and enjoyment) is obsolete, too.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Tkyosam, defender of the unexamined life not worth living.

You can learn a whole lot from examining other people's mistakes, and you can learn nothing at all by ignoring them.

The Lao Language in 2022: AGAIN.

I can't exactly say that I'm learning Laotian, but…

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

The Psychology of Vegan Gains: Final Judgement.

 Re: "But, in general it seems Vegan Gains has no will to live."

This is my honest assessment: I think he has just lived a very childish life…

…and it is easy for most people to think, "Doing childish things will make me happy, because they made me happy when I was a child".

Part of the tragedy of adult life is that those things can't make you happy anymore: I can't play Sonic the Hedgehog all day and be happy.  I can't play the board game Monopoly and be happy.  I can't read comic books and be happy.  I can't.

Richard remains mystified that doing these things to make himself happy "doesn't work" —and if you include illegal drugs (mushrooms, etc.) he now has quite a long track record of trying to "cure" what's "wrong" with himself, when these things that are supposed to make him happy leave him feeling empty / miserable.

Re: "When he repeatedly claims he hates children and people…"

Honestly, I don't even believe that's true of him, although he insists that he's a misanthrope himself: I think he loves people and wants to be loved by them.  Even his narcissism and grandiosity are attempts at being loved (demands to be loved) whether it's by his faceless audience or by particular people.

What would you say if you knew a dog that only wanted to cuddle with baby goats, but hated and feared puppies, i.e., babies of its own species?  Richard cuddles with dogs, cats, rabbits, etc., treating them AS IF they are human babies, while insisting that he has this violent hatred of babies and raising children: he treats his pets as children that never grow up.

(And yes, by the way, I philosophize about this issue in the book: Future of an Illusion.)

So, even in this respect, I do not think he knows himself.  He doesn't know what would make him happy.

Re: "I was hoping there was some way for you and him to reconcile, because I do believe you can be a positive influence in his life.  Helping to bring a better message to the world about veganism and the future of effective political activism."

Thank you for saying that.

For several years, I tried to be a positive influence in Richard's life, and in Ask Yourself's life, and in the lives of many other flawed and immoral people (e.g., Vegan Cheetah!).

I tried.

But ultimately you have to come back to the same refrain: don't make excuses for people who make excuses.

Richard really is addicted to his excuses.

And, yes, in terms of my own values and biases in this situation…

…the "little" lies he tells (such as the story that Avi defeated me in a debate about anti-depressants) are —from my perspective— extremely damning indictments of the man.

Remembering things that didn't happen when it's convenient for you, forgetting things when it's convenient for you, and presenting stories to your audience (as fact) that you've made up out of thin air… I know that psychiatrists do not treat these as major signs of mental illness, BUT I DO.  I think these are very telling indications of someone being self-centered, delusional and frankly dangerous.

The truth doesn't exist as an end in itself, but a man's relationship to the truth does indeed reveal a great deal about the man.

Monday, 6 June 2022

Vegan Gains: "Secret" Emails, Lies & Defamation.


[Feb. 1st, 2019]

[Richard, writing to Eisel:]

You've made several videos making up lies about me and you should know some of these lies could get me into serious trouble with the law. You claimed on camera at 6:15 in your video titled Vegan Gains is not "cured", he's not "a new man" that I own real firearms. You also claim that you came to this conclusion because you claim that I have never said I do not own real guns and because you claim I have an interest in firearms and plan to own firearms in the future. I do not own real firearms Eisel and currently I am not legally able to own firearms due to my probation and you accusing me of owning firearms could have serious legal consequences for me. 

If you do not take down this video I will do everything I can to take this video down and take down any other videos you've made accusing me of criminal activity. I will first try to get these videos taken down through youtube's own policies against harassment and bullying, I have already talked to my multi channel network about this issue and if that does not work then I will pursue legal action against you. To be absolutely clear I want you to take down any videos you've made accusing me of any criminal activity.  

[Note that Richard's current allegations that I called the police (and/or that I somehow "doxed" him) are completely absent from this correspondence, indicating that these allegations are a fantasy that Richard had not yet concocted in Feb. of 2019.  The chronology of this fantasy is very strange: it wouldn't have made sense in 2019, but it makes even less sense in 2022: when exactly were these events supposed to have happened?  Does he imagine that I called the Toronto police department while I was in Kunming, China, prior to my interview with him in August of 2016, when he first told me that he was "in trouble with the law"?  When else could it have happened, and how are all the other events in the timeline supposed to make sense, if this theory of his were true?  This seems to be a wildly implausible fantasy he came up with that serves the self-centered psychological function of shifting blame (for his mistakes, and his problems) onto someone else —while also, conveniently, avoiding mention of the real (and deeply embarrassing) reasons why Richard cut off communication with me.]




(1) Did it even occur to you to talk about this in a constructive way?

(2) Local time here = 11:23 PM, so I am replying without going back
and listening to the video, however, I'm willing to presume (at this
moment) that you have a reasonable request that you're stating in an
extremely unreasonable way (i.e., blackmail and threats).

(3) Let me just speculate as to what the reasonable request MIGHT BE
that you COULD HAVE MADE in a parallel universe:

"Hi Eisel, I know that you're not aware that I'm currently living
under probation, but under the terms the court set for me, I'm not
actually able to own firearms.  In your video, around 6:15, suggest
the possibility that I could own firearms.  It would really mean a lot
to me if you could edit the video, and re-upload a version clarifying
that I have written in to you, letting you know that I do not (in
fact) own any real firearms."

There are ten different ways this could be worded this that would not
have been blackmail.

Dude, I don't know if you imagine that you know me, but maybe you've
heard me say (about 10,000 times) that I'm a man of principle and
integrity, and I do the right thing ONLY AND PRECISELY because it is
the right thing to do.

You know: I don't like Durianrider.  He really harmed me.  I do not
lie about Durianrider: if I'm wrong, it is NOT because I'm lying.

I would not lie about you, Richard: if I've said something in my video
that is false or misleading due to either (1) my sincere ignorance, or
(2) imprecision/vagueness of wording (and in this case, it may be a
combination of both 1 & 2) I would be entirely eager to rectify that

This is apparently so totally incomprehensible to you, that you open
your very first email to me with blackmail and threats: you give
lecture about morality and ethics for hours and hours on youtube (your
"debates" often evoke formal logic, and refined academic concepts of
ethical theory)… but this really shows how totally ethically
illiterate you are, and how you're totally incapable of understanding
someone like myself.

(4) The video does not state as a fact that you own real firearms: you
know exactly what it states (it points out the peculiar vagueness of
what you said, and it contrasts that your statements that you would
like to own firearms, that you plan to buy firearms, etc.) and it asks
whether or not your vagueness was intentional, because only the
firearms shown on-screen are "fake" (here meaning "Air Guns" or "B.B.
Guns").  However, if that statement is incorrect, misleading, or if
you are just personally concerned that it could be perceived as
misleading (by people in the audience who may not be listening
carefully) I would be HAPPY to make an amendment/clarification to the
video (i.e., to edit that part of the video, and re-upload) SIMPLY

(5) Really question why you're blackmailing me?  You know: Norvegan,
also, used blackmail as he default mode of "problem solving", both
with myself and with Vegan Footsoldier (and that's it was a sign of
real dishonesty on his part).




I didn't black mail you, I told you what I was going to do if you do not take down your slander videos. You're making criminal accusations against me which are not true and this puts both me and my wife in danger. This goes against youtube community guidelines so I have contacted my multi channel network and they will try to get your slander videos removed if you do not do it yourself. If youtube is unwilling to remove your videos slandering me then I will pursue legal action against you. I don't care if you make videos criticizing me but when you make up false criminal accusations against me that's going too far. I would suggest you take those videos down yourself to avoid getting community guidelines strikes on your channel which could result in your channel being terminated and to avoid any legal issues. I have no interest in getting your channel terminated or pursuing legal action against you, this is not a threat, I just want to make sure my wife and I are safe. The reason I have contacted you is to avoid having this escalate any further and I have no interest in continuing an argument with you. 




You have been "inaccurate" (I am choosing not to say "dishonest" but
"inaccurate") in claiming that my video states (circa 6:15) that you
currently own guns.  Do you want me to quote exactly what the video

I have not responded with hostility: I have responded by pointing out
(1) that you are issuing threats and engaging in blackmail, and (2)
this is really absurd, because (as you may know) I am really genuinely
willing to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

Sometimes, the right thing to do is to clarify something vague that
could mislead people, even if there was no intent to mislead people.

Sometimes, the right thing to do is to say, "Look, I have explained my
perspective on this, however, somebody (VG) may be hurt by the
discussion, for these reasons".

Sometimes, the right thing to do is to explain, "When I made that
video, I was unaware of _xyz_, and now Richard has written in to
inform me of _xyz_."

There are constructive ways to solve the problem (and you know,
editing a video only takes a few minutes, e.g., to upload a different
version of a video to reflect a correction).

Have you ever done this Richard?

Have you ever shown this much good-will toward someone writing in to
you, saying that you'd made a video that hurt them?  If someone wrote
to you saying that your video had been unfair to them or
misrepresented them in some way?  Maybe.  Maybe you have.  But if you
have, it's certainly remarkable to me that absolutely no method other
than threats and blackmail occurred to you.

Now, from my perspective, you are also lying, but perhaps you're
merely being inaccurate or vague, and perhaps you're not intentionally
deceiving me.

You made one claim so far: you find what I say around 6:15 of one
video upsetting, because you think some people may
interpret/misunderstand it as meaning that you currently own (real)
firearms.  Well, that is NOT what the video says (i.e., I do not make
that claim, and I can quote to you exactly what I do say), but I can
still sympathize with the notion that you'd want to publicly clarify
that you do not own real firearms, and I have already said that I
would be pleased to upload an edited version of the video that
clarifies this (e.g., "Richard wrote in to reassure me that he does
not, currently, own any real firearms, and that he is under
terms-of-probation that do not allow him to do so…").  That would be a
fix/correction: newspapers do that all the time.

Now, instead of responding positively to the co-operative spirit of
that message, you write back saying, "You're making criminal
accusations against me which are not true and this puts both me and my
wife in danger."

Uhhhhhh… I'm left to suppose that this is "inaccurate" in much the
same way as your earlier claim, whether that's because of dishonesty
on your part, or, perhaps, just because you're emotionally
overwhelmed.  However: I've shown you (already) that I'm willing to
make corrections and amendments to anything I've said that's
incorrect: why not respond positively (constructively, co-operatively)
and let me know what other "criminal accusations that are not true"
you'd want to see rectified?

I honestly do not know of any: there's a lot of criticism of your
conduct in these videos, but (e.g.) my commentary on the psychology of
self-justification involved in your formation of your opinions on
gun-control policy… nothing in that analysis has even the aura of
"criminal allegations".



[Richard did not reply.]


[Feb. 2nd, 2019]



Okay, so I'll make a video proceeding with your statement that (1) you
do not currently own (real) firearms because the police do not allow
you to, under the terms of your probation, (2) correct me if I'm
wrong, but you have lied (and you continue to lie) in claiming that
you do not own any real weapons (you claim that all of your weapons
are "fake" and are "toys") because the knives, assault batons, swords,
etc., are indeed real weapons, (3) you still want to own guns in the
future, as soon as you are allowed to do so legally.  Is this correct?

Do you want to clarify what your position on firearms ownership is?

Do you believe that someone who has hallucinations of the kind you
describe yourself (including auditory hallucinations, "hearing voices"
that are not there, having paranoid and aggressive reactions to
strangers, with the specific delusion that people are trying to kill
you when they just say hello to you, or shake hands with you, etc.)
…do you think that sort of person should be allowed to own, use and
carry firearms?

If I described that person to you, as someone other than yourself,
would you agree with the statement, "The government is justified in
doubt their responsibility to safely use firearms"?

Do you think that the military would be willing to recruit or employ
someone with this list of symptoms, and to trust them to use guns
responsibly in a high-pressure situation?

Would you not agree that someone who had your checklist of symptoms
might be disqualified from owning/carrying firearms in at least some
democratic countries?

Richard: when people write in to me saying, "He should be on
psychiatric medication", I write back saying, "No, he should just take
a vow that he's not going to do any of these things again."

You say that you're a changed man: what you're showing me is that you
haven't changed.

You presented yourself as a victim of censorship; you then become a
hypocrite the moment it suits you ("You're putting me and my wife in
danger!" —as if this were more true of you than (e.g.) a bodybuilder
claiming his life is in danger if his apartment is searched for
illegal drugs, because you've accused him of using illegal drugs).

Richard, you have just been morally grandstanding about the right of
free speech, critique and satire, and then the moment it's convenient
for you, you do everything in your power to "oppress" someone else
—while continuing to play the victim card.

You know that I could make a telephone call to the Toronto police
TODAY with no difficulty, and simply express my concerns about you,
and THAT would more likely entail problems for you and your parole
officer.  I didn't do that: I engaged in exactly the kind of rational,
philosophical discussion about ethics (on youtube) that you claim to
support and defend —but not when it questions your own most sacred
value (namely, wasting time playing video games).

Newspapers make criminal allegations all the time: it is part of
journalism.  If a newspaper says, "the alleged bank-robber", that's an
allegation (it is reporting an allegation: the etymology of the two
words is clear).

In Canada, telling the truth is always a defense against defamation: I
have been telling the truth.  You have completely failed to provide
even one example of me (1) lying, or (2) making a criminal allegation
against you.  However, yes, e.g., you have openly talked about using
illegal drugs (e.g., hallucinogenic mushrooms) on your youtube
channel, so if I report that you've used illegal drugs, then I am
making an allegation in the same sense that a newspaper is, in
reporting the facts.  That doesn't mean I'm doing anything wrong:
talking about criminal allegation is one of the most important parts
of (protected) freedom of speech.

There are legal consequences for making reckless and irresponsible
criminal allegations, but that's not what I've done in my videos: you
are the one who has made irresponsible criminal allegations (accusing
Durianrider of rape, although this is certainly not the only example)
and you have been callous and cruel toward others when doing so.

Richard, you've been a complete hypocrite here: you've become
everything you always said you despised.  You are (1) playing the
victim and (2) at the same time, you're really engaging in bullying
and harassment yourself ("I'll shut down your channel!", "I'll sue
you!") in response to legitimate criticism and satire.

Really think with some detachment and objectivity about the contrast
between the criticism-and-satire I've directed at you, and the
criticism-and-satire you've directed at so many other people.  Even
think about the difference between the criticism I've directed at you,
and your replies to me (just insulting me, basically).

The golden rule would be pretty easy for you to apply here, Richard:
why can't you act toward me the way you'd want others to act toward


Sunday, 5 June 2022

How Joe Biden Changed the World: the End of An Era, 1971–2021.

 Re: "… but I don't think you explained the reason why the United States suddenly became so anti China in the last couple of years."

I think I have explained it AFTER MY FASHION… which is to say, my explanation may have been TOTALLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE to anyone other than myself.     ;-)

Prior to the Nixon-Mao pact, I think it is fair to say that the U.S. and China were "natural enemies".

By this I simply mean they would be enemies by default: there was no reason for them to be allies, nor even for them to be indifferent to one another: hostility between the two was "natural".

The alliance created in the Nixon-Mao period was (in this sense) an "unnatural" product of peculiar circumstances.

It is amazing that it lasted so long: the rationale for the U.S. and China joining forces to oppose both Russia and India made little sense (ca.) 1971–1976… but it made less and less sense with every passing year thereafter.

Under Joe Biden's dominion we have returned to the "natural" state of affairs: Russia and China are allies, with America opposing both of them (as opposed to Nixon's strategy of an alliance with China against Russia).

There was absolutely no good reason for America to have been supporting Pol Pot ("the Khmer Rouge") in Cambodia… BUT IT HAPPENED as a consequence of Nixon's strategy.

In politics, irrational and unnatural arrangements can last a long time, if nobody is going to earn money or glory by questioning them, challenging them, and overturning them —with any of the three quite possibly costing you your life (without earning you much in the way of money or glory).

It makes absolutely no sense that Bill Clinton continued the policies of Richard Nixon… BUT HE DID.

I genuinely doubt that Clinton himself could give you a reason as to why; it is impossible to imagine George W. Bush could give any coherent account of his thinking, in this regard.

Alas, the Mao-Nixon pact really would be tremendously important in shaping the politics of the G.W. Bush years: America would continue to be in a phony alliance with Pakistan (as a bi-product of the alliance with China against India) that rendered the occupation of Afghanistan a self-contradictory and unwinnable war.

G.W. Bush went into that war with all the wrong alliances: he would have been much better off in an alliance with the Russians, working to extend their control and influence throughout Central Asia (including Afghanistan) in opposition to both China and Pakistan —and it would have been better still to work with India (likewise to extend India's influence into Central Asia, and Afghanistan most of all).  What was impossible was to do exactly what Bush attempted to do, with Obama being fatuous enough to "double down" on his mistake: it was impossible to fight with Pakistan against the Taliban.  Pakistan and the Taliban were one and the same side.

So… Nixon's dubious strategic decision would metastasize into the hopeless stupidity of G.W. Bush.

And today we have finally returned to the "natural" order that existed between the end of WW2 and 1971: with Communist China and the United States being enemies.  There is, simply, no reason for them to be friends.

The Mythification of Barry Lord (i.e., My Deceased Father).

It's always easier to glorify people after their deaths, but Barry did make efforts to set the process in motion while he was alive, participating in a grossly dishonest "documentary filmmaking" project called Museum Maestros that contains innumerable cringe-inducing moments, if you know the difference between what it conceals and what it reveals (and I have heard —directly— how much that film hurt some of his other sons).

At any rate, one can't blame journalists for engaging in a kind of hagiographic approach to "the man and his legacy" as most of them work from a simple list of his accomplishments and the titles of the books he published, without even looking at (let alone reading) the books —and certainly without questioning his bizarre political history (linking him to Communist extremism, etc.).

However, when people within my family engage in this kind of glorification of the "great man", I do my small part to put a stop to the mythmaking —and, frankly, I think that many of them fear to talk to me for this reason.


[Susan to EM, June 3rd, 2022]

Hi Eisel my daughter saw you were still in town recently from the bus. Bruce and I are moving to Europe for a year so perhaps could have a chat before leaving.

See below re your father...

[A message within a message ensues, written by the same Susan.]

Hello Lordites,

I had a lovely visit with artist Pat _____ who is turning 95 this weekend  She just happened to come across this photo so I took a quick snap of it! I also shared a couple of photos of Barry with her.

Pat had many lovely memories of Barry from the 1960s onwards and considered him like a younger brother. She remembers when he lived in Vancouver when Adam and the boys were young.

She recalls how intelligent Barry was and how jealous other men were of him. She recalled receiving a phone call from Barry at 6 a.m. circa 1966 or so offering her a travelling exhibition in the Atlantic provinces when he was based in New Brunswick. She also spoke highly of his poetry and making a mobile out of his poetry. She spoke of his time at artscanada and what he did innovatively with the magazine.

Pat gave me a copy of her autobiography which I look forward to reading! She’s well known in countries around the world. I had met her briefly over a period of several years before  I found out this connection to Barry.





Actions have consequences.

1. You haven't apologized.

2. I don't forgive you.

Yes, your daughter may well see me from the window of a bus, or through the strange window on the world provided by YouTube. 

I knew who Barry Lord really was.  I knew the face, I knew the mask, and I know the difference between the two.  You never will.  Never.

You're a gossip.  Understanding other people requires detachment and compassion --not as abstract virtues, but as analytical tools.



My father an English professor taught me that the root of the word gossip is sibling or relation to god.  I could apologize if you were to be more specific about the issue that caused offence?


No, Susan.

You're never going to apologize.

And I'm never going to forgive you.

If you want to know what I've been doing in the last 8 years, you can watch it on youtube, like anyone else.

You can buy and read the books I'm publishing, too (certainly a lot less boring than Barry Lord's history of publications!).

If you want to know who Barry Lord really was, there is no better source (and there never will be a better source) than my own youtube videos.

^ The link here should take you to (approximately) the 14:20 mark (if the link doesn't work, "fast forward" to 14:20 to hear the anecdote about Barry).

That's who Barry really was: he was a very malevolent, mean-spirited person, who enjoyed torturing his employees in the manner described.  He wasn't like that once in a while: that's who he was ALL THE TIME.  This relates to his history with Stalinism, Maoism, Fascism and even Christianity (that he would always call, "Christian Existentialism").

There are many, many videos on the channel that reflect (in depth) on who the man was (politically, ethically, personally, psychologically, etc.).  If you're actually interested in knowing who Barry was, I can tell you: that artist (95 years old, with a few anecdotes from cocktail parties) cannot possibly tell you.  I can.  I did.  And you don't have to reconcile with me to hear it, because it's publicly available on youtube.

There is nobody alive who knew and understood Barry better than I did: I stayed at home with him through the whole of my university years, and we had in-depth discussions (during lunch, etc.) one-on-one nearly every day during that period (when I was, intellectually, an adult).  Barry himself acknowledged this, and Gail still acknowledges it.  When I say "Barry acknowledged this" I mean: he explicitly and directly said it to me, in the period when we spoke (prior to his death) after ten years of invidious silence.

Nobody else knew Barry the way I did.  Nobody ever will.  Gail was very much blinded by her love for the man, and "fair enough", whereas other people are blinded by their hatred of him / resentment and disappointment toward him.  The flattering image you've set out of Barry, in this one email: do you think the mother of Joshua _______ would agree with it?  Do you think Joshua _______ himself would agree with it?  No.  But, as I say, those people don't know Barry the way I do (they never did and they never will) so their judgement only goes so far, and remains at a rather shallow level.  Nevertheless: their sorrow matters.  It matters much more than an artist with a vague recollection of Barry preening at cocktail parties in the 1960s.