Monday, February 14, 2011

HOW I KNOW WHEN I’VE BEEN ON LINE TOO MUCH


A lot has been going on for me lately in the real world. A couple weeks ago I realized rather abruptly but very decisively that Brooklyn was the wrong place for me to live. There were loads of reasons and I just don’t feel like enumerating them right now. But they all came crashing together at once and it was clear that the only appropriate action was to move. I was utterly unprepared to move. I was about to embark on a six-week tour of the Midwest and Florida (this is what happens when you schedule your own tours and you’re kind of stupid). I’d only just moved a carload of stuff out of storage into my Brooklyn place making it so that I now had more things in there than could possibly fit in my PT Cruiser. I had a whole line-up of stuff planned that was based upon my being in New York. But the situation dictated action and I had to do what was necessary. So I did.

The rest of the world paid no attention to my need for it to slow down while I took care of all this. So I was madly scrambling to find a place to live, rehearse and play a Zero Defex gig, be in a documentary about my life, act in a film a friend was making and which I’d agreed to appear in, re-arrange my tour to accommodate traveling from Akron rather than from New York, make arrangements so I could get to each of the places on the tour in time with places to stay and such like, write a new book, write a couple articles I’d been asked to do (unpaid, of course, grumble)… You get the picture, I hope. In short, I was “hell busy” as my Chinese co-worker at Tsuburaya Productions used to say.

Just to make life more interesting, as I was traveling to my first engagement in Lawrence, Kansas, I noticed my radiator was leaking like a sieve and the power steering fluid was disappearing as well. I spent a couple hours in the town of Plainfield, Indiana waiting for a tow truck from Triple-A. When the truck I arrived I chatted with the driver about what to do next and decided that I might just be able to make it to the Missouri Zen Center in St Louis if I stopped frequently to refill the radiator. This would be more economical than spending the weekend in a Motel 6 in Plainfield waiting for a repair shop to open on Monday morning, and then staying in Plainfield for however long it took them to get around to my car.

I made it to St Louis well after midnight without over-heating the engine, though I came close toward the end. Sunday morning I was up at dawn to sit with the group here, who were very kind and accommodating. They even took me out to Vintage Vinyl Records, the local hip record shop and provided delicious home-made curry.

With all of this massive turmoil going on in the real world, I kept finding myself descending into cyberspace. So in addition to the dozens of real life relationships, problems and joys I was juggling, I was also juggling a number of virtual things, some related to this blog and some not. The difference between the real world stuff I was dealing with and the virtual stuff was that there was an illusion of control involved in the virtual stuff. While I had no choice, or not much choice, of what I could deal with in my actual life, I appeared to have some choice of what to attend to in the virtual universe of on line interactions. That is to say, it felt like I could dip into that world (this world!) when I wanted to and also leave when I pleased. That felt like kind of a relief compared to the rest of the stuff I could not control so easily.

I found myself getting uncharacteristically drawn into certain aspects of virtual world communications and miscommunications. This is not the first time something like this has happened. In fact it’s a pattern that has persisted pretty much ever since I started getting involved in on-line stuff. It took a while to notice it, and it seems a bit subtle (or perhaps I’m a little slow) so that I often find myself lured into this pattern before I see what’s happening.

When my mom was dying of Huntington’s Disease, my dad spent a lot of time on his computer chatting, arguing, playing games and otherwise interacting with a host of people he had never seen in the flesh. Whenever I’d visit I made it my mission to get him away from the computer. He was following exactly the same pattern as I’d seen in myself many times. He was escaping from a painful, uncontrollable real world situation into a more seemingly controllable virtual realm.

The real tip-off that I was currently being drawn too deeply into cyberspace came this morning during another crack-of-dawn zazen here at the Missouri Zen Center. My mind kept drifting off, as one might expect given the number of real world things I’ve been dealing with. But it wasn’t any of the real world stuff that my brain kept coughing up at me this morning. It wasn’t about my car repair, or whether I’d make it to my first talk tomorrow, or the apartment I’m trying to rent in Akron, or the various interactions I needed to work out to make this stuff happen. Instead, it was all a bunch of virtual world interactions that, frankly, are not really very necessary.

Sometimes when one is at a loss as to what one should do, one can speak to friends about it and see what they think. Sometimes your friends are dead wrong. But even that can be useful to hear. But interactions with people are very dependent upon the situations in which you have those interactions. People who you interact with only or primarily in cyberspace want to keep you there. They are depending on you to provide them with an escape from their real worlds as you depend on them for an escape from yours.

I’ve noticed that these days a lot of people use the word “talk” to refer to on-line interactions. When they say they talked to someone, what it often means is that they emailed, texted or chatted on-line with that person. That isn’t really the same as talking. There is a lot missing when conversations are conducted exclusively with words.

People who know each other only from on line interactions will tend to reinforce a set of values derived from on line communications with others who spend far too much time on line. In other words, these people will never, ever, in a million years tell you that maybe part of what’s wrong is you’re spending too much time on line. They are probably unaware of the problem themselves. Also, someone who has seldom or perhaps never seen you in the flesh doesn’t really know you no matter how skillful they may be at making it appear that they do when they interact with you on line. In my own case, a lot of people read me a little too closely and invent an imaginary world in which I am their very close friend. Yet I don’t know them at all.

When I see someone getting far more emotional than is necessary over something on-line my first guess is that there is something unpleasant happening in their actual lives. When I see two or more people engaging in some kind of heated banter on-line I assume they are both using it as an escape from a painful reality into a more seemingly manageable on-line world. After all, to escape an on-line conflict all you need to do is flip a switch. The real world does not operate that way. Conflicts on-line then become a form of "escapist entertainment" -- to create a new meaning for that tired phrase. A juicier type of video game.

Whenever I say anything about the matter of people spending too much time in cyberspace the comments section of this blog goes apeshit with people defending their own desires to escape into virtual reality. Because most of these people are very clever and good with words, they are quite creative in arguing their cases. If you’re interested in seeing some of this at work I suggest clicking on the comments button below this piece (for those reading on Facebook, go to the original blog at hardcorezen.blogspot.com). I can almost guarantee you’ll find a number of people who have worked hard at coming up with quite eloquent and skilled defenses of spending too much time in the on line realm. I’ve added this very paragraph you’re reading right now just to set up a fun challenge for those people. I’m sure they’ll find impressive ways to rise to it. (Stay away from badly paraphrasing me, though. That’s really getting old. Thanks.)

But me, I’m going to step back from the on line world for a little while. I’m just stepping back, not stepping out. I’ll still keep posting my usual piece here every three days or so, as I have been. But I won’t be looking in on the comments section or responding to what’s said there for a time. If you have something you really feel you must say to me, you can reach me via email at spoozilla@gmail.com. Eventually, once things settle out a little, I’ll be back there. I’m sure the spammers and trolls will get a little rambunctious. Just remember, they’re probably dealing with some heavy shit at home. So play nice.

I think it’s really important to watch this kind of thing carefully. Remember that human beings lived for a long time with absolutely no interaction over the Internets. There is nothing really urgent in any chat room, or blog comments section, or on Facebook, or in Second Life, or in any of those places (which aren’t really places at all) that truly needs your attention. It’s just a sophisticated form of entertainment. It may be interactive, but it’s not real interaction. Nothing said there actually matters much. You can live without it. Anybody who absolutely needs to communicate with you will find some means other than on the comments section of some blog or via an on-line chat service.

ADDENDUM:
The car is in the shop right now. The estimated bill is $400 and the repair time is three hours. So I’ll make it to the talk in Lawrence tomorrow. Since that gig and most of the others on this your are for donations without a guarantee, I’m hoping that I end up coming out slightly ahead even with the repair bill. I probably will. But then again maybe I really should look into selling enlightenment experiences for $50,000 each.

128 comments:

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

Wow. Chas finally hit the #1 spot. Congrats!

gniz said...

Unfortunately I do anticipate an avalanche of critical comments based on some of the little digs you took at your blog followers/trolls etc.

I sort of agree with you about the gist of what you said here, but oftentimes it seems that you do encourage such reactions by the nature and tone of what you write here.

We've discussed this before, but you write "charged" pieces and so people respond to that in kind. There are PLENTY of bloggers who don't have the peculiar type of love/hate relationship with their online fans that you have. And there is a reason for that too, based mostly on the tone and tenor of what they write.

I've noticed that over the years as I pulled back from writing these kinds of charged, provocative pieces, I got much less trolling and nastiness from the peanut gallery.

This stuff really is a 2 way street you know.

best,

Aaron

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gniz said...

The slumbering will not awaken or the slumberer will not awaken?

And who slumbers, Brad, or the comment writers?

Anonymous said...

Brad:

Don't sit down at your PC and please do shut up.

Mop said...

Brad often seems astonished when people read his words as vitriol. After so many years he still claims he isn't writing angry. So what does it mean then? Is he misrepresenting himself or is he totally unaware of what he's doing?

Like his mocking Genpo's apology with.. "Isn’t that just the most precious and special thing you’ve ever read in your entire life? Feh."

This comes from a guy who is seems unable to ever admit being wrong and sees no need to apologize for anything.

So now we're back to him feeling all misunderstood again.

Harry said...

Good note, Mr. G niz.

It's so much easier if you write those 'charged pieces' and then... RUN AWAY!

;-))

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Harry: When I met Brad he was very shy. He might not be able to meet with Genpo or Jundo if he feels threatened.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Do not live thoughtlessly, in distraction and with deluded aims, outside the universal law.

Anonymous said...

1

Jiffy said...

The "peanut gallery?" If so, Mr. gniz, you are the Pea-nutiest. You are the quintessential peanut here.

Harry said...

Anon,

Yes, shyness is a problem I can identify with. Brad seemed shy and quite passive to me also when I met him.

I fear his alter-minor-celebrity persona (the one that goes off like a scratched record about Big Mind, Internet Sanghas etc that would have us believe that he's not shy) is increasingly calling the shots.

The Brad Warner that so ably and skillfully pointed to human frailty and the humour and tragedy of our bizarre human condition seems to be diminishing in the public voice I hear.

He may have inherited a tendency towards intransigence and dogmatism from his teacher; Personally I think he owes it to his teacher not to submit to that. I battle with it myself.

Gudo Nishijima maintains the noble idea that Buddhism is basically humanism; but he also maintains some very strong and definite opinions about Buddhism in ways that do not seem so warm and humanistic to me.

I'll email this to Brad, I don't like to be e-talking about him behind his back.

Regards,

Harry.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I totaly get why Brad eggs on his followers. It's part of his gig. You can't be 'punk' if you're polite and boring all the time. There has to be some immaturity and edginess there. This is how he makes a living. Meditate on this.

Also, now that he has a haircut and is older and wiser, it's kind of hot. He could have plenty of tail if, upon approaching a girl, he said to her that he was a successful teacher, in a band that travels across the world. Looking all wise and edgy and disinterested because he could have any girl and that's how important he is. Chicks bend over for that. It's hot.

Sigh, I don't get punk music though. lt's no Radiohead lets just say. Thom Yorke just keeps getting hotter with age...

Fuck yes. Tourtured musician dudes are so hot. I think it brings out the nurturing instinct in chicks. How that leads to sex I'm not quite sure. I guess it has something to do with the male musicians preformance of courage ( from preforming infront of a lot of people) masculinity, sensitivity, intelligence and talent. And they have money and look cool. All things chicks like. Why can't all men be like that?

Women don't know it but they tend to fall for the ones that would make the best fathers. All the coolest bands in the world started out edgy and then turned into responsible fathers. Responsible fathers that could leave wealth and legacy down to thier kids.

Anonymous said...

some materialist sed:
"Women don't know it but they tend to fall for the ones that would make the best fathers. All the coolest bands in the world started out edgy and then turned into responsible fathers. Responsible fathers that could leave wealth and legacy down to thier kids."

ROFLMAO

gniz said...

The peanut gallery is not really meant to be demeaning. But I guess it does have that connotation.

No doubt, I am one of the nuttiest if not peanuttiest nuts in this gallery.

And proud of it!

Mettai Cherry said...

I just HAD to click through on this ad to make sure Brad got some Google money for the Irony: http://www.michaelvernon.org/?gclid=CPP77o28iKcCFcqs7QodVXXceA

Stephanie said...

Good post. I agree. The only place where I'd differ is whether it's necessarily a bad thing to have an escape medium, especially if it's used in moderation. There's a lot of idealism in the Buddhist world about not ever escaping from the real situation, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. Sometimes we need time to process something emotionally heavy in a less direct way before we can confront the issue head on.

Also, that feeling that you just have to get out of New York, fast, and no matter what the logistics of doing so may require, is one that has been shared by many before you... I must say, almost sadistically, it would have been interesting to see what staying in New York longer would have done to you. Might have taken the edge off that cocky tone that comes off sometimes in your writing.

Manny Furious said...

While I generally agree with Mr. Warner's sentiments on the this post, I do wonder why he never seems to wonder if it is HE who is good at manipulating language to make it fit his views... or if it is he AND the comments section that are good at it... or that NEITHER is good at it.

Whatever. I have a feeling it's both all of the above and none of the above.

CHET said...

What happened to this place?

Huh. This forum used to have some interesting discussions, back before I was booted for no reason; now that I'm allowed back, I see that all the most recent posts are just Mysterion's flowery poetics. Is it really possible that no one's got anything to say (except Mysterion)? Or is it not the place of students to start interesting conversations?

Chet

Anonymous said...

GNITZ!

How the hell are ya?

Epiphany said...

Chet, respectfully and with great affection, chill out. Don't go and get yourself kicked off the forum again, you "moron." ;)

I understand what Babu meant, or at least I think I did. I find a good teacher does a good job of reminding you of what your good conscience is already saying to you. I've actually been working terribly hard on some of the rough edges in my character that have been causing so many people so much pain. I want to work on dropping the stream of negative judgment that disrupts my relations with the world. I now realize how crazy I am. Babu's not doing anything other than offering the reminders I want from a teacher, that accord with my own values and gut.

Just because someone uses authority doesn't mean they are abusing it. You have some serious issues there that perhaps psychology might address. Being willing to listen and take instruction doesn't mean selling your soul or selling out. It means you can still grow.

You know that you don't know it all and have major blind spots and areas to work on like any of the rest of us. You have some blazing insights but you are also a total dumbass in most other aspects. I personally don't respect you, me, or anyone else who jumps right on calling other people out but isn't working on him or herself. That is why I am glad Babu said something to me, because I do it a lot, get on my high horse and make my pronouncements as if I am the expert on everything. I don't want to be a pompous ass. And you shouldn't either, if you want to reach a real stage of enlightenment.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

WTF, who the hell is "Babu"? Guess there's something going on here that I'm just not getting.

Anonymous said...

What the hell? Where did my comment about radiohead & male musicians being hot and eventualy good dads go? I thought it was a pretty cool post. Everything I said was true. It had nothing to do with Michael Jackson. Michael J. was never, ever, ever cool. When he was a kid he was a good singer though, but it ends there. I was 'talking' about cool male musicians that made good dad's later on like The Beatles & Rolling Stonea & Radiohead & the likes.

What the hell does sex have to do with materialism?

Anonymous said...

This blog is hilarious

Khru said...

Yeah, most of the posters/poseurs here "talk" and argue too much...so please STFU...

Stephanie said...

Anon, someone is copy-pasting stuff from Treeleaf and adding his/her own creative flourishes and interpolations to it. If you want it to make sense, go over to Treeleaf and look at the original threads there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I'll take your word for it and leave off my investigations!

Funny stuff, these forums.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are managing a full plate in the real world and managed safe travel with an ill radiator!
Good also to have you model moderate interaction with the 'net.

Good luck with all the loose ends

Anonymous said...

Using the internet a lot is not inherently bad. Depends why... So, saying that, I think Brad is eluding to something called procrastination (avoiding real life trouble, deadlines and duties). So, if it isn't the internet(say you unplug it) it will be organizing your desk or something else irrelevant.

What, do you mean to say we're not bros?

and then there was METAL said...

the internet is a good place to be whoever you want,. oh um, did i mention i make monies here?!
valentine support4support

and i'm still a PUNK said...

Hey a.t.t.w.M: RU a buddhist or a bud-ist?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Your mirror said...

Stop thinking so much.

Stop blogging so much.

Stop.

Just stop.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brad.
You said it well.

Shonin said...

Stephanie,

You said:

"The only place where I'd differ is whether it's necessarily a bad thing to have an escape medium, especially if it's used in moderation. There's a lot of idealism in the Buddhist world about not ever escaping from the real situation, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. Sometimes we need time to process something emotionally heavy in a less direct way before we can confront the issue head on."

It runs counter to the 'always so', Buddhist 'escapism is always bad' dogma I believed, but my own experience agrees with this.

My wife (already a sensitive person prone to anxiety) has really struggled over the past few years with multiple miscarriages and with the fear of losing the current pregnancy. Learning how best to support her has been a steep curve for me. I tried to encourage her to do zazen, and to sit through the increased anxiety she said it provoked. When that failed I tried to encourage her to do sitting mindfulness. When that failed I tried to encourage her to do moving mindfulness. When that failed I tried to encourage her to incorporate mindfulness into everyday activities. Gradually I came to accept that what helps her cope (at least in the short term) is escapism: watching Eastenders, X Factor, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - you know... crap, trash. She's also very self-aware and insightful into herself and engaged in the world. But I do find a lot of Buddhists to be very dogmatic about some things like 'escapism is always bad and unhealthy'. I don't think that's the case at all. It's the extreme that's unhealthy. Alcohol is the same.

Anonymous said...

MORE PROBLEMS RE: GENPO

http://wildfoxzen.blogspot.com/2011/02/les-kaye-letter-to-kanzeon-board-re.html

Shonin said...

Oh, and the best way to support her, I learned, was just to be there for her - to listen and do my best to understand. And only offer advice quite delicately.

robin said...

What are those grey things on the bottom of ths blog? Rocks?

anon #108 said...

Hi Shonin,

I wholeheartedly agree with this:

"...'escapism is always bad and unhealthy'. I don't think that's the case at all. It's the extreme that's unhealthy. Alcohol is the same."

But I don't at all agree with this:

"Eastenders, X Factor, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - you know... crap, trash."

...So I'm gonna put in a good word for those things:

Eastenders, X Factor, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - you know...are good.


(I shan't presume to say anything about your relationship with your wife and her problems...I hear you.)

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'll take my hapiness where I can find it, thank you.

anon #108 said...

Hi robin,

I would've said they're rocks, yeah. Now you got me thinking...

K. Stopped thinking.

(captcha = shanted)

Fabulous blog, btw!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we get it, Brad has an internet addiction - or just generally addictive personality type - but it does you no credit to elaborate your personal misgivings and experiences to others. Please stop that.

PS. You are, as you put it so elegantly, dead wrong.

dirty sanchez said...

I don't know why we should think that anyone else needs less support and love than our beloved friends/spouses? If you disagree with someone, let them know but don't be a dick. That's it.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Hi Chas -

I fear you may have mis-read and/or mis-understood:

"...'escapism is always bad and unhealthy'. I don't think that's the case at all. It's the extreme that's unhealthy. Alcohol is the same."

The bold is the bit I was agreeing with. Or have I mis-read you?

Anonymous said...

"reject dualism"

funny!

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

"I was just playing..."

You tease!

anon #108 said...

(Read the PDF. Very good advice. If only all my foolish enemies would behave accordingly - - JK!!)

The real Stephanie said...

GENPO UPDATE ......

Members of the AZTA are now working on a joint document of criticism and recommendations to Genpo, of which Jundo Cohen will be one signatory.

Repeat, Jundo Cohen will be a signatory.

52 said...

I just had an idea: - Instead of going to Salt Lake City Brad could send Sock Monkey (TM) to represent him.

53 said...

Or Harry.

Anonymous said...

"reject dualism, face yourself!"

reject nothing!
know thoughts as forms
know forms as transient

How I Know... said...

Posted Today On The Previous Thread

Andrew -

I conducted our conversation presuming that we had never met. But having slept on it, what you had to say to and about me, and the way you said it (including your mis-spelling of my name), are leading me to the conclusion that we have met, a few times. Today, it seems obvious. If I'm wrong - or if I'm right - would you please do me the favour of letting me know. Thanks.

4:06 AM

No, we haven't met.

4:29 AM

(I wrote this for whichever Andrew you might be):



I could very easily take apart everything you've written here and point out the contradictions, inconsistencies, avoidances, hypocrisy, blind spots, arrogance, assumption, presumption, lack of insight, lack of empathy, lack of generosity, projection and error throughout. I wouldn't have to try very hard to make a good job of it. But I chose instead to explain myself.

I believe that, fundamentally, I resist taking apart what others write and pointing out their shortcomings because I want to be liked, and saying things that people will probably find hurtful doesn't get one liked.

But also I believe that pointing out other people's shortcomings doesn't have much value, much usefulness.

I very rarely presume that my opinions about someone else's flawed character and motivations are so important or reliable that they merit publication. But I have done it - on the rare occasions when I've felt relentlessly battered or misunderstood. It's not pleasant feeling to be gripped by. Bottom line: anything I can say about someone else, someone else can say about me.

So I avoid doing it. Such 'plain-speaking' is nearly always motivated by some unresolved personal issue/problem; better, I think to examine one's unresolved issues privately than work through them in the guise of "Here is what your problem is," even if the effort does include attempts to understand one's own part in the thing.

But I will make this one observation about your contributions, Andrew: at no time did you answer buddy's comment; at no time did you address and seek to pacify the confusion and sadness buddy said s/he felt and which you strongly felt deserved an empathetic reply. You responded with...something else entirely.

So we're different. We express ourselves differently and we understand each other differently. Some of us don't 'get' others of us. We're doing our best. That's the only reliable conclusion I can reach.

6:33 AM

Moon Face Buddha said...

Bukowski-roshi shared much wisdom;

“Well, people got attatched. Once you cut the umbilical cord they attatched to the other things. Sight, sound, sex, money, mirages, mothers, masturbation, murder, and Monday morning hangovers.”

It seems to me that Brad has yet to realise that most of what we do offline is as much escapism as what we do online.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous The real Stephanie said...
GENPO UPDATE ......

...AZTA ...document of criticism and recommendations to Genpo, of which Jundo Cohen will be one signatory.

I would wonder why Jundo would not just have him stoned?

This is clearly not one of those simple mote/beam things...

Why does AZTA even need to involve themselves in this "Genpo issue?" Do they feel that some of their private parts have been exposed?

Thank whatever gods may be that I cast no stones at honesty, participate in no witch burnings, kick no cats, and demand no shrubery!

Anonymous said...

I went to Treeleaf forum and read Jundo's post wherein he announced that he's going to be part of the admonishment crew from AZTA. Jundo seemingly felt the need to post it and post that he'll post it on Treeleaf as soon as it becomes available.

"I'm important and involved with important people. I'll provide proof of this once our big letter to Genpo goes public."

Anonymous said...

I went to Treeleaf forum and read Jundo's post wherein he announced that he's going to be part of the admonishment crew from AZTA. Jundo seemingly felt the need to post it and post that he'll post it on Treeleaf as soon as it becomes available.

"I'm important and involved with important people. I'll provide proof of this once our big letter to Genpo goes public."


It doesn't matter what people thinks of Jundo or is he an asshole or not. He's doing the right thing, he's going against the shit that is causing problems. Brad is doing the same, and I'm happy to notice that so many other teachers are doing the same. Remember Eido Shimano's case? A LOTS of teachers gave their public declarations about it, such as Joan Halifax and Taigen Dan Leighton. That is and this is fuckin' great! At last people are waking up in Buddhism too: NO MORE SHIT!

captcha: supesse. What the fuck?

Ronny

Mr. Reee said...

Anon #108 said:

"...So I'm gonna put in a good word for those things:

Eastenders, X Factor, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - you know...are good."

Just curious--how does Martin Clunes stack up back home?

Out west, he's a primary fixture on KTEH (public TV in the Bay Area); Doc Martin, Reggie Perrin.

We've come to conclude out here that TV wouldn't be worth watching without BBC programming.

anon #108 said...

Hi Mr. Reee,

I have very poor taste* and don't presume to speak for the British public, but I don't like Martin Clunes recent work. So much so that I've only ever seen about 2 minutes of Reggie Perrin (which is of course a remake of the original starring the late great Leonard Rossiter and which I didn't like either, even though LR was excellent in the now classic "Rising Damp") and maybe 15 seconds of Doc Martin - so my opinion is hardly informed. AFAIC, MC has never equalled his early TV efforts in the (also now classic) "Men Behaving Badly". I can't forgive him for getting older. Perhaps I should try.

I get the impression that MC is very well thought of by media pundits, but I'd be very surprised if the viewing figures for Perrin and Doc Thingy were much cop. A great deal, but not all, BBC comedy is (still) kinda worthy, safe and provincial, IMO; very well done no doubt, but rarely makes me chuckle. Channel Four has the more edgy, innovative, urbane stuff - much of which tries too hard to be edgy, innovative and urbane, but neverthessdoes make me chuckle, sometimes.

ITV and Channel Five make popular entertainment for the lumpen proletariat and work-shy. I'm half work-shy prole, half aspirant bohemian intellectual, so I enjoy a lot of what they put out.

I agree that TV would certainly be a poorer thing without the BBC, but I'd manage ;)



*actually I have immaculate taste, but modesty forbids...

WTF said...

Yeah, Ronny, what's been the upshot of the Shimano deal? A slap on the wrist?

What will be the positive outcome of AZTA's investigation of a priest who has already disrobed?

anon #108 said...

...My chuckle allocation is probably inaccurate; I chuckle on a momentary basis rather than on any broadcasting-frequency-determined basis, so it's quite possible that I've chuckled more at BBC output than Channel 4 output. It's hard to say.

john e mumbles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

I pine for Black Adder reruns; and Get A Life.

john e mumbles said...

Joe Pine was pretty entertaining as well.

anon #108 said...

Hey john e,

There was a good (repeat) documentary about the making of Black Adder on a couple of nights ago. I wasn't crazy for it at the time, but in hindsight...

Name drop opp: Tony Robinson used to regularly come round my gaff after rehearsals at the National Theatre (where I was directing the music for Peter Hall's '81-2 production of Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy that he was in - the whole thing used to be on youtube, but I see Channel 4 have blocked it!) and smoke dope. Tony likes to toke to this day, I believe.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

Malc, you did the music for Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy?

Big fan of Greek tragedy.

Never sawr much on stage though, so this IS impressive!

Have you done other music for theatre? (w/or w/out famous pothead)

Chris said...

woooo! lawrence fuckin kansas! i love that town. ok.

Anonymous said...

"*CULT: A quasi-religious organization founded by a central charismatic figure whose authority is accepted as equivalent to the traditions and folklore of the associated religion or philosophy."

Shut the fuck up, you nimrod. No one on planet Earth enjoys your self-congratulatory postings.

And it's luMberjack.

Anonymous said...

Nimrod: "a mighty one on the earth"

john e mumbles said...

God bless Mysterion and His contributions to this bog I mean blog and also to Brad who needs the cash.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Nimrod...
his legend is alive among today's Turks. He left big "god monuments" on Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Dagi, Turkey). Two mountains named Nemrut are in Turkey. One has big heads of gods (like Easter Island), and the one to the East has a volcanic lake.

A related character of Sumerian mythology was the Goddess Bau, daughter of Anu. Her husband is Ningirsu or Ninurta, whose name is also written Nimrod. Bau wore a crown of branches, held soil in her arms, and a pot of the water. Those symbolically indicate that she is the Great Mother of Life.

Their memories were kept alive in the Scythian, Turkic, and Hungarian legends. Bau turned into Babba and Eneth (mother Earth), while her husband Ningirsu/Ninurta became Nimrod.

So Nimrod is just another borrowed character.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ohiomm.com/videos/abjvideo/steel/play_it/playit.swf

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Gniz: In case you see this, whatever came of Jundo's promise to you on your blog (rebloggingbradwarner.blogspot.com) to set up some outside supervision of Treeleaf? Let me guess - nothing, huh?

anon #108 said...

(For john e mumbles)

I didn't write the music for the Oresteia, john e - (Now Sir) Harrison Birtwistle did. I directed the music and played in it.

There was a lot of music throughout all five hours of the trilogy (performed in one sitting, with intervals, o'course)...a lot of sometimes complex rhythmic declamation and some singing to avant-garde-ish accompaniment, provided by me on percussion plus two other percs, a harp and three baroque clarinets (= *lyre* and *aulos*). The music appeared in bits and pieces as Harry wrote it, over a 3-month period (I think) of workshop/rehearsals, and I taught it to the actors as it came. The other musicians joined for the last couple of weeks.

The production is now spoken of as "historic". I was very fortunate - in the right place at the right time, having been asked by Mike Gregory, The Albion Band's drummer (with whom I was playing in The Home Service, an Albion off-shoot) to take on some dep work for him at the NT that required dot-reading - which he could not do. So I played bits of percussion on 2 or 3 other productions at the National before being 'discovered' and recommended to Harry Birtwistle. That's the extent of my theatre work. I was promised a role in a further planned collaboration between Peter Hall and Harry B (a similarly masked Animal Farm), but their relationship faltered and it didn't happen...also not much call for avant-garde-ish greek tragedian specialising percussionist/MDs...with substance abuse issues.

That's how I tell myself and others the story.

There's all sorts of bits and pieces about the production on the web (NT have done another Oresteia since: translation by Ted Hughes. Our translation was by Tony Harrison - remarkable, idiosyncratic...and not universally approved).

HERE's a contemporary NYT review. (Later reviews, as seems to happen, benefit from rose-tinted spectacles and tend to be unanimously positive.)

HERE's the whole film on youtube , but like I said, ch 4 have deleted it. A shame. Must be the same in the US?


...Resting on my laurels :)

anon #108 said...

After further consideration, laurel-resting doesn't really deserve a smiley.

anon #108 said...

Hmm...That NYT review link takes me to a 'log-in' page. If you - or any passing trade - are that keen, john e, try pasting this in google search:

peter hall stages a london oresteia

- the NYT review should be the first (in fact the first two) links that come up.

anon #108 said...

I've just been reminded that we were six months in rehearsal, not three.

K. Enough The Oresteia and Me.

Swami Osama Van Halen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Gniz: In case you see this, whatever came of Jundo's promise to you on your blog (rebloggingbradwarner.blogspot.com) to set up some outside supervision of Treeleaf? Let me guess - nothing, huh?


There will also be an ombudspersons' "Ethics Committee" in place with the members named below, people both from within and independent of our Sangha (because it is difficult to have an election given our format, we will consider such persons to be members "unless written complaints regarding an appointment are received from any ten (10) or more general members requesting that the person not be appointed, in which case the person will not be elligible for membership on the committee." We believe that if there is ever truly a problem with a committee member or their fairness, it will be very easy to find ten general members to say so.)


1- Fr. Denis Kyrill Esposito, OSB (joined our Forum in October 2009)
e-mail: memberlist.php?mode=email&u=5711

Father Esposito is a Monk of the Benedictine Order, and an ordained Byzantine Catholic priest. He has been a Catholic monk for approximately 40 years, and has taken on the vocation of a semi-cloistered hermit monk at his Abbey. He is also long sought to find the common between the Christian religion and Buddhist practice, and this year underwent Shukke Tokudo ordination in a Chan Buddhist Lineage (not affiliated with Treeleaf) at the Lotus Zen Temple, becoming a monastic of the Order of the Lotus Blossom, in the Chan lineage of Hui Neng, where he was given the ordination name Yin Che Seishin ("Complete Seal Sacred Heart").

2- Martin Plowman, Esq. (joined our Forum in June 2007)
e-mail: memberlist.php?mode=email&u=79

Martin is an attorney-at-law (solicitor) in the UK, one of the original and regular members of our community, and an expert mediator (and meditator!). The web page for his law and mediation office is here ( http://www.mediation-1st.co.uk/our_mediators.htm ). He is highly respected in his field of dispute resolution both for his many years experience, his independence and his ability to propose and work toward solutions in difficult cases.

3- Clyde Grossman
e-mail: memberlist.php?mode=email&u=4523

Clyde is the founder of the "Do No Harm" movement ( http://donoharm.us/ ), and has been a mediator and ombudsman in a like role at the Zen Forum International, where he has been well appreciated in that role. Although Clyde is technically registered as a member here, he has not been active here, is known for his independence, and thus can be considered an "outside member" of the committee.

http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2818

gniz said...
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john e mumbles said...

anon 108: Thanks! Just logged on and read the NYT review; now I am hoping YouTube has the play intact, it sounds incredible!

"Harrison Birtwistle's music, its plunks, bangs and sudden, alarming shrieks adding greatly to the tension and atmosphere, proves an unequivocal success."

And to Mysterion @ 9:52, from the dialogue from Orestia translated (and simply created by)Tony Harrison as quoted in the review:

You, Sir, have "godstones"

Anonymous said...

Gniz: said: "For that reason, I will now suggest that people stay away from them "Zen teachers" on the whole."

G, That's just silliness. But you can suggest anything you want. I suggest that you consider that everyone is different, even teachers. There are good teachers out there besides your beloved Steve.

Anonymous said...

I 2nd that emotion: Its like saying everyone named Aaron is an asshole, so don't read their silly e-books.

gniz said...

Heh, I deleted that comment and my ranting blog post. I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed the last two days. Its not worth it.

And yeah, dont read my silly ebooks!

God said...

You are forgiven. -The One True God

h-toad said...

Gniz, I wrote a long reply that vanished into thin air when I tried to comment to your then being deleted blog post. But the gist of it was that you look at a few extreme examples and then make these sweeping generalizations about what you really know very little about. You have this love of the sensational and lurid. Is it warping your critical thinking? Real zen is boring.

God said...

Jesus Christ! I said he is forgiven!!

Anonymous said...

Neet! Neet!!

Anonymous said...

FEH!

Anonymous said...

We, the undersigned Zen Buddhist teachers, endorse these recommendations to the Kanzeon Zen Center Board, and to whatever body governs the Big Mind trainings regarding the rehabilitation of Genpo Merzel after his recent admission of sexual misconduct with students. Because this repeats a pattern of more than 30 years, many of those signing on to these recommendations would prefer more stringent measures. We agree, however, that Genpo should take a leave of absence from teaching in any capacity. Further more, the appropriateness of his return to functioning as a teacher in any capacity should be determined by a therapist who is an expert in the field of misconduct of this nature.

RECOMMENDATIONS for GENPO MERZEL, the KANZEON ZEN CENTER BOARD, and the Big Mind teaching organization regarding the status of Genpo Merzel

1) TEACHING: Take an indefinite leave, but at least one year, off from all teaching duties. To make it clear that Genpo takes working with this long-term issue seriously, and to provide the time and energy necessary for the work that needs to be done (personal inventory, specific therapy, reconciliation and community-healing, work with his marriage) we recommend that he takes an indefinite leave from all teaching in all forms until he has been cleared to do so by a therapist who is an expert in this field.

2) THERAPY: Expert inpatient treatment. There is an over 30 year pattern of repeated sexual misconduct with students, repeated episodes of discovery, emotional community upheaval, liquidation of assets, moving to another location, finding a new stable partner, and beginning the cycle all over again. This kind of deep-seated, repetitive pattern is not amenable to ordinary therapy. It requires admission of the full extent of the problem and surrendering to treatment with experts in sexual addiction, misuse of power and clergy misconduct. We can provide recommendations for an appropriate residential center. Full disclosure is important both for therapy and to avoid more traumatic revelations. This process has served other teachers and centers in the past, and has proved its efficacy.

3) SALT LAKE KANZEON CENTER: Make every effort to retain the Salt Lake facilities. The Kanzeon sangha has entered a critical period since these new revelations. A significant amount of time, at least a year, will be needed for the many processes that can help support sangha members through this time of great transition. They need a place to hold events, to gather, to support each other, to grieve, to be
witnessed, to learn, and hopefully to reconstitute their spiritual practice. To lose t teacher and their center at the same time would be a double blow.

4) MONEY ISSUES: Reach out to other teachers to lead workshops and retreats. Genpo is justifiably worried about stepping back from teaching for an extended period because of the effect on the center and staff of loss of revenue. In a recent similar case, teachers from various traditions volunteered to come and teach at a Zen center that had lost its teacher. Particularly in a center focused on one charismatic teacher, this has the advantage of bringing in new voices and viewpoints, and reassuring students about the many ways to manifest and practice the dharma. It keeps the center open and makes spiritual support constantly available during a time of extra need. It also helps with revenue.

Anonymous said...

Jundo's a bit of a dip, but there are people on that list that I really respect. I'll simply have to trust their judgement and discretion in being part of this public flogging.

just read it said...

I strongly disliked the article. Such an article might increase the phenomena discussed rather than assist, - give people the idea that this is what others are doing thus inclining them to do it too.

In the same way TV series might gradually reduce human standards.

One really fucking thing with Americans is that they imagine when they said they do a shitty thing it's OK. It's kind of a fucked up standard. And I think talking the way Brad does degrade things rather than uplift them. Part of it seems to be just cheep psychology.

But then why does brad feel obliged to post every three days? I've already thought 7-9 days would be fine. - Unless the comments section goes up to 300-400 in that time. But than too, I guess.

R [of 9:05 am] said...

I can’t really see why post the whole letter here. A link would do.

+ said...

It seems the second part of it is already gone.

Anonymous said...

Why was the second part of the letter taken down???

It listed the signatories.

Anonymous said...

5) PUBLIC STATEMENT and APOLOGY: It is very important for Genpo to make a public, thorough statement and apology about what he has done, and state his plans to set things right, for himself, his students and the Kanzeon Center. The absence of a statement from the teacher himself provides fertile ground for gossip, leaks, speculation, gathering resentment and unfounded reactions. The statement could be published on the Kanzeon, Big Mind and White Plum websites and on his Facebook page. The statement on the Big Mind website is a start. But without specific actions to make amends, it is not enough. Such actions should be spelled out in the public statement.

6) OUTSIDE EXPERT ASSISTANCE IN HEALING THE SANGHA: Hire experts to help with the work that needs to be done. There are many pieces to the work that needs to be done to help the sangha: witnessing, processing, education about clergy misconduct and power structures, setting up prevention strategies. We highly recommend the Faithtrust Institute, which has had decades of experience in these matters and has excellent trainers, curricula and media materials for appropriate workshops and trainings. See http://www.faithrustinstitute.org for books, media, trainings, and consultations on clergy misconduct.

Eiko Joshin Carolyn Atkinson, Everyday Dharma Zen Center
Shosan Victoria Austin, San Francisco Zen Center
Chozen Bays, Great Vow Zen Monastery
Hogen Bays, Great Vow Zen Monastery
Dai-En Bennage, Mt. Equity Zendo
Mitra Bishop, Mountain Gate Temple & Hidden Valley Zen Center
Angie Boissevain, Floating Zendo
Gyokuko Carlson, Dharma Rain Zen Center
Kyogen Carlson, Dharma Rain Zen Center
Roko Sherry Chayat, Zen Center of Syracuse
Nonin Chowaney, Nebraska Zen Center
Jundo Cohen, Treeleaf Zendo
Shotai De La Rosa, Daishin Zendo
Norman Fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation
James Ford, Boundless Way Zen
Eshin Godfrey, Zen Centre of Vancouver
Gaelyn Godwin, Houston Zen Center
Sunyana Graef, Vermont Zen Center
Ruben Habito, Maria Kannon Zen Center
Elizabeth Hamilton, Zen Center of San Diego
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, San Francisco Zen Center
Taigen Henderson, Toronto Zen Centre
Kokyo Henkel, Santa Cruz Zen Center
Soeng. Hyang, Kwan Um Zen School
Les Keido Kaye, Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center
Daijaku Kinst, Ocean Gate Zen Center
Barry Magid, The Ordinary Mind Zendo
Genjo Marinello, Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji
Ejo McMullen, Eugene Zendo
Mary Mocine, Vallejo Zen Center
Tonen O’Connor, Milwaukee Zen Center
Susan Ji-on Postal, Empty Hand Zen Center
Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen Center
Al Fusho Rapaport, Open Mind Zen Meditation Center
Zuiko Redding, Cedar Rapids Zen Center
Shinshu Roberts, Ocean Gate Zen Center
Grace Jill Schireson, Empty Nest Zendo
Yozen Peter Schneider, Beginner’s Mind Zen Center
Hozan Alan Senauke, Berkeley Zen Center
Joen Snyder O’Neal, Compassionate Ocean Dharma Center
Daniel Terragno, Rocks and Clouds Zendo
Katherine Thanas, Santa Cruz Zen Center
Jordan Thorn, San Francisco Zen Center
Sallie Jiko Tisdale, Dharma Rain Zen Center
Jisho Warner, Stone Creek Zen Center

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I joined with forty-three other Zen teachers in writing to the Kanzeon Zen Center board offering our support and recommendations for a path forward. I explain my reasons for adding my name in the post a bit above.

Yes, there is an excellent chance that Mr. Merzel will ignore many of the recommendations, for he is a free man. However, that this nearly unprecedented number of teachers is making a joint public statement (some of whom are old and very widely respected names, plus others in individual letters) may have an effect simply by being part of the public record and available for review.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Brad, numbnuts, here is a link to the fucking post you keep deleting here (during your break from the internet):

http://sweepingzen.com/2011/02/16/recommendations-for-genpo-merzel-the-kanzeon-zen-center-board-and-the-big-mind-teaching-organization-regarding-the-status-of-genpo-merzel-from-44-azta-members1/

Anonymous said...

HERE is another link. Enjoy your hiatus from 24/7 lurking on your forum.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Where's a Kalama when you need one?!

Fake Anonymous Poser said...

"If Jundo wants to admonish Mr. Merzel, then let him (without comment)."

I'll comment if I want. YOU don't need to comment on me when I comment on him, son. Got it? Capiche?

Anonymous said...

Imagine throwing a golf ball into a gymnasium with thousands of loaded mousetraps covering the floor.

This is what this blog seems like to me. Brad's post is the golf ball and all the comments (including this one) are the mousetraps going 'boinnnggg'!!

I notice the same thing going on in my thoughts when I meditate.

Anonymous said...

"I notice the same thing going on in my thoughts when I meditate."

You think about Brad being a golf ball while you meditate?

anonymous anonymous said...

mysterion has a golf ball between his ears.

Mysterion said...

I once thought about becoming a golf professional and therapist to golfers.

Cornball Posting Numbskull said...

Brad is usually a ping pong ball in my meditations, though sometimes a medicine ball.

pooyan said...

Get a life peeps, Brad posts what he feels and if you spin out because of it it's your own damn problem. I love the way people blame Brad when they descend into blog comment Chaos. Look at how Brad made us all go bonkers he should really post stuff I agree with more so i don't get upset, this blog isn't what it used to be. blah blah. Jeez. Who cares if he is or isn't posting things that are charged, I sure as hell hope he doesn't tone down his posts to spare the suffering of his nuttier commenters. Your suffering is your own, Brad doesn't irritate you. You get irritated. Try to grow. Maybe this much emotional investment into a blog is a wake up call that something isn't right with you. I direct this shoe to whomever it fits.

Peace, have fun play nice or don't, it really doesn't matter.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

HOW I KNOW WHEN I'VE BEEN ONLINE TOO MUCH...

What gets you online too much to begin with?

Anonymous said...

mysterion has a golf ball between his ears.

So true.

Cyril Coombs said...

I'm not your father confessor! Why is it so important to announce to your fake friends that you are going to be on the net less? Just do it.

Anonymous said...

solid or wound?
http://www.golfcaledon.com/public-golf/course-talk/anatomy-of-a-golf-ball/

Anonymous said...

wound. definitely wound.

Mousetrap said...

Hey Anon,
Your golfball/mousetrap analogy sounds like papanca to me. Literally.

r said...

I don’t really usually read Mysterion’s posts but my impression is his humor is intended to have his stupidity not so easily uncovered. In part. But I can’t be sure, not through here, and certainly not through the little I read.

+ said...

[- To avoid a misunderstanding: - I don’t mean the psychology professor (?) is aware of the fact.]

Fwiw said...

From: - http://wildfoxzen.blogspot.com: -

Now I'm not a fan of Big Mind and think that it simply uses a powerful psychological technique to induce boon experiences (characterized by bliss, clarity, and nonconceptuality) and then mislabels them as Big Mind or Buddha Mind.

That's silly and a disservice to awakening.

http://wildfoxzen.blogspot.com/2011/02/little-about-genpo-zen-teachers-and-sex.html
At the same time, I doubt that it's evil. Big Mind has introduced a lot of people to the buddhadharma and helped people work with the various aspects of the self (...).

True, it seems to be directed at the upper-middle way with high fees, fund raising with special access to the teacher and teaching ($50,000 special retreats), and is basically pretty ambitious.

On days like today, though, one thing that strikes me is how American Zen has attracted a self-righteous lot quick to pounce on someone when they're down and bragging about how right they were about it all to begin with. Looks like sanctimonious self-righteousness.

There used to be a precept discouraging that kind of thing called taking up the way of not elevating the self while belittling others but there seems to be fine print to the effect "...unless you do something I have a problem with."

But whoops - there I go joining the elevating-the-self crowd!
”.

Fwiw said...

Bolding is not of the original.

And - of course - the next two lines right after that should not be there.

(- I must have pasted it by mistake)