Negative Capability

Subway Inferno

Negative Capability

Subway Inferno


I’m proud to be a skeptic. I am not easily taken in or scammed because I doubt everything.

I don’t believe in hocus pocus, a spirit world or reincarnation. I know that based on all of the available evidence, namely none, that all religions are a sad joke and God is another fairy tale. I don’t believe in luck, fate, souls, numerology, palm reading, astral projection—hell, I doubt the existence of everything that I cannot see right in front of me. The thing that really scares me is when someone I had assumed had a handle on reality—you know, they seemed as skeptical as I am—suddenly says that they do, or say, or think, or feel something because of their astrological sign. Are you a fucking retard? You really think that the giant, fiery stars millions of miles away contain secret messages, and that they can be used to predict the future? And, since there are only a dozen or so possible signs, there are also only a dozen or so different lives to be had by everyone, forever? If you want to believe that your “sign” means something, I think that we should revoke your right to vote and reproduce. In fact, I suggest that horoscopes be printed with ink that sterilizes anyone who touches it, because then only doubters would be able to breed. But no one ever said that I’m a tolerant human being because I’m not. Welcome to the Negative Capability Show, now brought to you in Surround Sound.

In a lot of ways, everything’s changed and will continue to change. But it’s the good kind of change, I think, because it’s all for the better. My wife and I recently had a big move, got a car and found an apartment. After playing house for five years, we’re making a go of life as functional adults. It’s not even that hard, so far. As you’ll see me repeat over and over again, I’m living in San Francisco. As you’ll also see me repeat even more often, I’m a New Yorker. If you’re new to all this, I say hello. I always wonder how someone just coming into Negative Capability, right here, would react. Is this enough context? I don’t have a clue. All I know is that most things will be clear if you use your ability to reason and have at least a high school education. The rest of you are going to feel insulted, ridiculed, and quite possibly humiliated because your ignorance may smack you in the face any minute now. I’m never going to dumb down this zine for anyone’s benefit because every fucking idiot I’ve run into lately seems to have it too damn easy.

I know a lot of people will accuse me of going soft because I’ve moved, but you don’t know the whole story because I’m not ready to tell it. Let’s just say that I love New York, but it’s a place that requires a struggle every single day. After doing it for the last decade, I’ve come to realize that while I thrive under pressure and adverse conditions, I might possibly do even better if life were working for me rather than against me. I guess it’s that simple. I heard someone recently define insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I’ll be embarrassed if I heard it on the 2am rerun of Oprah because I hate that fat fucking hypocrite cow with what you might call a “passion.” So, in order to prove that I’m not insane, I’m going to try something different in order to get a different result. I want to do better and I want to do more of everything. I want to do as much as I can, but even if this is the last thing I ever do, I feel like I’m done. I’ve proved my point. I could walk away feeling like I didn’t totally fuck it all up, like I did something interesting and I had some small impact. But it’s only because I have the delusion that the pressure’s off that I think I can now do something even more interesting. Well, maybe not. Maybe this will fail miserably and I can start over. Who knows?

I can’t seem to keep a job, even though most of my employers have all agreed that I’m a good employee, conscientious and meticulous, funny and friendly, punctual and prepared, headstrong and footlong in the wongdong. It doesn’t matter that much to me because I don’t think that your job ought to define you, because if it did, it would mean that I can’t keep a life, either. If nothing else, taking a long, hard look at my life at work and trying to find meaning in it is something I only recently felt compelled to do. And I’ve done it, it’s called “Karoshi,” and it’s a very funny story that will be finished in time for my next issue. Toward the end of writing that story, I realized that if I’m trying to find some legitimate work, it seems like a bad idea to devote pages of my zine to giving all the grim and unpleasant details of my life at work, thereby ensuring my permanent unemployment. I know that I’m reasonably good at the very narrow field I’ve chosen, but I never have the good sense to play politics, get involved with office gossip or even spend a minute pretending that I care about shit I clearly don’t care about.

As a few people have noticed, I like to run scavenger hunts. My insanely hard new trivia quiz, “Short Refractory Period” will clearly demonstrate that I know a lot of worthless shit and if you think you do, too, I’d strongly suggest you give it a shot. The massive grand prize includes a wonderful NYC package with videos, a boombox, a panoramic camera (and film!), maps, back issues of Time Out New York and so much more it’s scary!

I don’t feel so angry today because I think things are going to work out fine for me. I’m madly in love, I’ve got my health, I’ve got a small place for my stuff that suits me and I’ve got you, sitting there wherever the hell you are reading these words. You’re the best part. Thanks for being gay with me. If I made you gag, that’s funny. If I made you blush, you might want to look into a same-sex relationship.

The issue you’re about to read took me a long time to write, but it was a delight. I had to postpone a lot of stories because I couldn’t afford to print a huge issue. I also thought it would be better to put out this issue and then follow up with another soon. If you want it really soon, please advertise in my next one and it’ll be out in no time. The problem this time was not that I couldn’t write enough—I just couldn’t finish anything so I kept writing new stories. In the end, I had to decide what was most important for this particular issue and which stories went together most cohesively. Everything else will be out for free on my web site or in my next issue.

In my last issue I told you that Negative Capability’s official Latin motto is “Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici,” which is normally translated as “Gas, grass or ass, nobody rides for free.” That’s a joke. It actually means, “By the power of the truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.” It’s from the graphic novel V for Vendetta and I felt that using the Latin version would give it the pretentious punch a motto calls for. But more than that, it expresses what I think is the only fundamental truth about my approach to this zine. Everything in here is true, except, obviously, for the silly stuff about Angerboy and my chicken, Bok Choy. I only deal in truths. I don’t fabricate letters, make up my own history or exaggerate to make you think I’m something I’m not. It should be obvious from what I’ve done that I’m smart, arrogant, obnoxious, self-serving, cruel and viciously vindictive. Without thinking about it, without analyzing a single thing I have to say, know this: it’s all fucking true. I hate liars, I hate frauds, I hate pretentious people and most of all, I hate insincerity. This is the most sincere zine I’ve ever seen because I will stand behind every word, no matter what it costs me: friends, family, work, stores, distributors, advertisers—everything. I serve one master and it is the truth.

I also wanted to tell you that when I make fun of other countries that my Achilles heel as an American is the proliferation of “professional” wrestling. I sincerely hope that there’s no one reading and enjoying this zine who also calls themself a fan of something called “Smackdown.” On an unrelated note, I recently heard someone say that being a mother was the most important job in the world. On behalf of the entire Saitz family, I would like to emphatically state that being a mother is NOT, I repeat, NOT the most important job in the world. The most important job in the world is buffing my pickle and that job is taken. Sorry.

It seems like as soon as I thank someone in this zine, they go sour on me. I’ve decided that it must be something about me that I go through friends like a hot knife through butter. I don’t even think any of my ex-friends miss my company in the slightest, yet I persevere with the mad delusion that ultimately it’s their loss. For now I want to avoid all the preamble and nonsense that normally introduces anything new. Sometimes it’s better just to get it on. So, if you don’t mind, let’s get it on.

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