OCD? Not Me!In addition to my many other mental problems, I am totally unable to stop thinking of names, and not just for the zine either. I mean, sometimes I am wide awake at 4am, thinking of titles for songs, stories, TV shows, movies, articles, pets, children, you name it. I have already decided that I should have a dog named Jack, and yet, I have no intention of getting a dog, and even if I do get a dog, it will most likely be a female. In the weeks leading up to my decision to actually do a zine, I thought of a whole bunch of names for it. Then, once I had decided on the best one I had ever thought of, I thought of two dozen more. I am still coming up with new names. If I decide at some point that I want a new name, or that I want to do a different zine, or that I have a story that a name here might fit, I will pull it out of the reserves and use it. Until then, let me give you some idea of what I am talking about, explain what each name means and why it is significant. Some are funny, some are weird, most simply illustrate how the human mind works which, to me, is the point of this whole exercise. If you see one you like and you decide to use it, I'd appreciate it very much if you could give me credit and send me a free copy because that's only fair.
I've also decided that the web page will host some, but not all, of the unused zine names in the print version and will add all the ones that I had to cut for one reason or another. There are also some that are just for the CD, Misfit Toys, but you should know that when I first wrote this piece, it was more than twenty-two full pages. Since I keep thinking of even more names, I'll run them in new issues of the print version as they occur to me, quite possibly for the remainder of the zine because I'm that kind of wacky. Thanks for caring.
You BitchWhen I think about how important a title is, I realize that it should always mean more than one thing. I figured this would work because the reader would think I was calling them a bitch, which is funny, and second, if anyone were to tell me what I was doing in the zine, they would say, "Jøsh, you bitch. I mean, you do other stuff too, but mostly you bitch." I also think it's one of the coolest lines in Jim Cameron's amazing Aliens when Ripley comes tearing ass out of the loading bay in the walker to protect Newt and tells the giant queen alien to "Get away from her, you bitch!" and then kicks the alien's ass.
Corpse SculptureFirst of all, I want to say that I love the English language. I think there are just so many awesome-sounding words. Just the sound of this title, I think, sounds cool. Corpse Sculpture. After writing about fur, hunting, etc. (See "The Eighth and Ninth Circles of Hell" in NC1) I realized that there are a few other industries whose sole purpose is the hideous abuse of animals. This includes: circuses, rodeos (where the most fun thing people can do is torture a calf by having one man after another chase it around, knock it to the ground and tie its legs together in the fastest time), all animal racing (but especially greyhounds, who are destroyed in numbers that would disturb even the most heartless asshole) and, of course, taxidermy. One night I woke up and realized that taxidermy is basically an industry where maniacs take animals that they have intentionally murdered and give that corpse to someone who will drain the animal of fluids, fill it with stuffing and pose it, as if it were still alive. The idea that someone would choose this as a profession is sick and disturbing because, at the root of it, the job is basically corpse sculpture. If you want to hear me read this with a vicious and sarcastic tone, please order yourself a copy of Misfit Toys, the CD-only audiozine I've done that you can learn about by clicking here.
V4VendettaThis was my very first screenname on AOL, way back in 1993. My brother got me a modem for my Macintosh Classic II (ah, those were the days) because he wanted me to sign on so he could get a free month of service. I don't know if they still do that, but back then, if you sent someone an AOL disk and they stayed a member for 45 days, you got a free month. The first time I signed on it asked me to pick a screenname and I really wanted "Blade Runner." It is too many letters and I didn't want to bastardize the name just so I could have it. So I panicked and signed off without choosing a name. I had to wait two weeks to sign up because I spent way too much time trying to think of the best screenname possible. At the time, one of my favorite books was V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, so I decided to go with it. I thought I might run into legal trouble if I chose that as a name for the zine, and even though I would like to meet Alan Moore, I would prefer that it not be in court.
Misfit ToysThe second of many titles that are based on my old AOL screennames. This is a reference to the Island of Misfit Toys from the "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" Christmas special that I was so fond of as a child. I mentioned it in "I Enjoy Being A Girl" in NegCap #1 and I still have great fondness for this name. After many tortured nights I decided to use it for the audiozine I've done (which you can download for free, so click here to check out that part of the web site!).
Let Them DieThe third of my screennames. Whenever someone was asshole enough to demand to know WHO I felt should die, I would say whoever was on my mind at the moment. Originally it referred to the people starving in Somalia. The US had just sent some troops over there and one of the soldiers died in a helicopter crash. I saw the Somalians dragging the guy's corpse through the streets and I said to myself, "We shouldn't be helping those assholes. Even after we feed them, they will still have all the same problems. Fuck them. Let them die." A few times people asked if "them" referred to people with AIDS and I said, "Sure." At that time I was reading about scientists who were intentionally infecting all these chimps with AIDS, just to see what would happen, and I thought that was just hideous. I mean, monkeys are not people, and killing them will only tell us how monkeys die from a simian strain of AIDS. The humans who are infected cannot be saved. Everyone else is responsible for themselves at this point. So, let the people who have it die, and anyone who gets infected nowadays, well, I say, let them die, too. I didn't use it because I didn't want to keep answering the question of who "them" was.
HyperarticulateIt just means I am a little too clear sometimes. Not now, I mean other times.
Dead ImpressedOne of my favorite bands in the world is Frazier Chorus. There used to be more people in it, but now I think it is pretty much just Tim Freeman. They make delicious, airy pop confections featuring breathy vocals, excellent production and sweet, longing lyrics. No matter what's going wrong for me, they can almost always cheer me up. In addition, their song "Dream Kitchen" was used as my wedding song. Anyway, they have a song called "Take Us Away" that I just love. My favorite line from the song is, "Oh, yes, we're dead impressed and bound to be a big success, get fat on this and that, and nothing less than happiness, and fun fun fun, and sea and sun, be number one, or two. Take us away!" So, "dead impressed" is a nice British way of saying that you are extra impressed, which is what I want you, the reader, to be with this zine. I even sampled the line for Misfit Toys, the audiozine.
Only the Stones RemainYou'll have to try to sing this one: "Men were executed, women bled, meat and fish changed hands and children stayed up late, uh huh! Soldiers crossed their hearts and died and pretty girls turned cold inside but now they're gone! Ah, yeah, only the stones remain!" Everyone that ever meant anything - we have a headstone with their name carved in it and nothing else to signify that they ever existed. Thanks to Robyn Hitchcock for the awesome lyrics!
ApoplexyThe strict medical condition refers to a loss of muscular control as a result of a stroke, but in common usage it means that you are shocked beyond words. Often I find myself in just such a state. For example, imagine if you turned on the TV and saw people at a party playing with severed body parts. You could tell it was real because it was such poor quality. Close your eyes and imagine a bunch of people, sitting on a beach, laughing, swimming, hanging out and having a great time throwing a severed hand around or chewing the meat on a bloody leg. You would find it very disturbing, right? Let's say this same program also made it clear to you that the dead people whose parts were being toyed with had been pulled from their homes, kept in small cages, and then, horror upon horror, boiled alive and dismembered! Can you imagine? Well, I am sure it's easy for you to imagine because I saw this on TV this afternoon, and I was apoplectic. I guess it makes it easier for you because you hate everything that isn't human, right? You have some inalienable right to do whatever the fuck you want to anyone who can't stop you. You enjoy raping retards. It is a fucking hoot to make kiddie porn. Nothing makes you harder than pushing little old ladies into traffic, because you're bigger and might makes right, doesn't it? It's okay to pull things out of their homes, keep them in cramped cages, boil them alive and then have a big fucking party with the severed body parts, so long as it's lobsters on the receiving end of that unbelievable, unimaginable assfucking. Kid yourself into thinking that it doesn't hurt to be boiled alive. Make yourself feel better by saying they can't think. You know what? Old people, like Ronald Reagan, can't think either. If you want, I am down with going to his house, keeping him in a cage with other codgers and then boiling that motherfucker alive. I would love to toss one of his liver-spotted hands around and maybe get my smiling countenance on the old idiot box, for assholes like you to enjoy. Are you getting a sense of what is meant by apoplexy now? Well, I didn't use it as a name because it takes too damn long to explain it.
Why don't you read a book when you're done with this zine? Can I recommend a few? Thanks. If you're in the mood for something funny, I highly recommend Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, which is Monty Python-esque take on the end of the world. If you want to learn new words and get sick, read anything by the brilliant Will Self. If you're in the mood for something a little more serious, try Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot by John Callahan. It's his autobiography, and he writes the funniest, sickest, one-panel comics I have ever seen. He's also a quadriplegic (hence the title) and a former alcoholic. They actually made this into a movie that I saw on Amazon Prime starring Joaquin Phoenix as John Callahan. If you are the sensitive type, read anything by a Brit named Penelope Lively, but especially Passing On. If you dig zines like me, get Chip Rowe's Book of Zines. That book is pretty damn good. If you are into serial killers, I recommend Deranged, the lovely story of Albert Fish, a kindly old man who used to force needles into his groin, set his balls on fire, and kidnap children, take them home and eat them over the course of a few days. If you're slow, I recommend Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. It shows what one person with a good imagination can do. If you're a woman and dig romance novels, you should be ashamed of yourself, you pathetic fucking wretch. If you are fan of John Grisham, Danielle Steele, Anne Rice (whose given name is actually Howard, perfect for a fat, fugly woman, right?), Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, as of this paragraph I demand that you give this zine to someone else and then kill yourself in the most painful way possible before you contaminate the gene pool with your disgusting, repulsive, pathetic genetic code. The legacy must die with you, dickweed. For the sake of my fucking sanity, please read, but make sure it's something that teaches you something, besides that women are stupid.
Goods & Services Dept.My own term for my genitals. Most big department stores have such a place where they sell hardware (get it?) or fishing rods (get it?) or pool cues (too far, right?) and I like the sound of it. A few months ago I learned that the newspaper where I used to work was planning a supplement called the "Goods & Services Department," and not realizing that the whole world doesn't revolve around me, I said, incredulously, "You're going to have a section about my dick?" I gave it up because I couldn't decide if I should spell out "department" or just write "dept." Did I mention that I am mental?
Lurky, the Best Thing Ever in the Whole Goddamn WorldLurky is still lobbying for me to make this the name of the zine, but he can keep dreaming because it's not going to happen. Lurky is very powerful, scary and smart, but that does not mean I have to name my zine after him.
$ellout and Filthy £ucreSam Pratt of Ersatz and The Finger saw an early version of this list and pointed me to a list he'd done featuring a bunch of titles. Most of them were just cool words that weren't really thought out, just simple ideas or expressions. For reasons I can't articulate, one of my favorites was Backs\ash. It didn't mean anything to me, but it made me think of $ellout and Filthy £ucre, which I thought would be cool and ironic, because I have no intention of doing anything besides what my heart dictates, even if it bankrupts me and earns me scads of inarticulate enemies. I didn't use it because most people think irony is something you take in a vitamin.
A Can of Whupass!I thought it would be supercool if, when someone asked you what you were doing, you could say, "I'm gonna come in there and open A Can of Whupass!"
The Jesus MythIf you ask me, people in history have been uniformly stupid. During the time it is alleged that Jesus existed, people had all kinds of totally bizarre superstitions that were accepted as fact. Most of the world was unexplored, there was no real science, and people attributed everything from eclipses to rainfall to some mysterious, invisible, omnipotent god. I understand the need to believe in myths when nothing else works, but once you can get a handle on reality, you should abandon your myths. If you think about it, it is very much like the Santa Claus myth. At first, it was a harmless story made up to help sell junk to a dopey public. But since its creation, it has been modified, embellished, modernized and spread around the world. So which version of the Santa Claus story is the truth? None of them. They are all equally worthless myths, unless you're very young. The same can be said for people who believe in Jesus. Someone, a long time ago, wrote a story about how God had a son and then, if you can believe this, he intentionally let his son be murdered by Romans. If I was God, and some motherfucking asshole wanted to nail my boy to wood, you can bet your sorry ass that I would not allow it. Nor would I allow people to continue existing. You motherfuckers take my son, fruit of my giant, godly loins, and I banged this virgin chick to make it happen, and you want to kill him? Ask yourself this important question: How would you feel about the people that killed your only son? You would love them? You would reward them? Me, I would smite them. The thing about Santa Claus is that eventually people come to realize that it's a stupid fucking lie created by adults to trick their children into behaving so they can get toys. It is essentially extortion. I think the same is true about the story of Jesus. I think smart people tend to realize that Jesus is another myth, created by adults and reinforced by a profit- and power-seeking church in order to keep people in line and maintain control. Instead of presents, which people can buy for themselves, the church promises that: if you're good, go to church, pray often, confess your sins, eat some crackers, donate money and avoid any sex that isn't missionary style then your soul, which is eternal, will fly up to heaven, where your every dream will come true and you will be reunited with God and everyone you've ever loved. At the same time, if you curse, or commit crimes, or wear a condom, or do not accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, or get a blowjob, or spend Sundays working on your car instead of sitting in church, your eternal soul will be damned to suffer hideous torment for all eternity. But what if my idea of heaven is to wake up every morning half-hard in Pamela Anderson's mouth? Even though it isn't a great example, if only because it's probably her idea of heaven too, there are many people whose idea of heaven would be another person's idea of hell. If there are no drugs, video games, penguins, Simpsons reruns, zines like this or Howard Stern, then it can't possibly be heaven. In the end, I didn't call the zine The Jesus Myth because I didn't want people to think it was all about religion, because lord knows, it's not.
Noble FailureA guy I met online told me that I could be more successful if I would focus my immense talent on topics with a broader appeal. I told him that I'd like to rip out his lungs. After that I assured him that I'd rather be a noble failure than a sellout with style. I didn't use it because the one thing this zine will never be is a failure. At least to hear me tell it.
SkullfuckThere are few things that have a more visceral impact than the word "fuck." Clearly, skullfuck is one of those words, because beyond the straight fuck, there is knocking out someone's eye to fuck the socket. I swear, I honestly thought that I made up this word when I was fourteen. A friend of mine had given me a copy of Penthouse, which I thought was just awesome. Sometimes stories are more erotic for me than pictures, especially when I am totally unable to suspend my sense of disbelief. I have a tendency to deconstruct every single thing I am exposed to, from videos to stories to human beings. Anyway, I read this story that shocked me like nothing had ever shocked me before. This guy said that he had met a girl at a party and they ended up fooling around in a bedroom somewhere. She turned down the lights and started to play the meat whistle, smoke the banger, slurp the silly straw and engulf his manhood in her tender mouth, and this guy said it was awesome. After a few minutes she paused, made some adjustments, and then started in again. He wasn't sure what had happened, but whatever she had done was a major improvement on an already amazing technique. He was getting more and more into it and he was close to finishing. Someone walked in on them and turned on the light and the man looked down to see his penis four inches into the woman's eye socket. What the-? I had the same reaction you just did. You might think that the guy would be sickened, but he wasn't, he really dug it and he ended up dating the woman. It turns out that she had a glass eye and could take it out whenever she wanted. I was trying to describe what he had done to a friend of mine and I said, "He just kind of skullfucked her." I thought it perfectly described the encounter in realistic terms. I realize other people have said it, but as far as I am concerned, I coined it, because I said it before I had ever heard it.
Raping GodIf I had used this as the zine's title, I'd have gotten a ton of press, all of it negative. That would be nice, sure, but I want to earn an audience, not just shock everyone.
Piss TakeWhy is it that I find British slang so much funnier than American slang? Because I am discerning. I thought it would be funny because most Americans would think that I meant "To Take A Piss." This title always reminds me of an episode of Beavis and Butt-head where they were doing impressions of Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes. Beavis said, "Why is it that they call it 'taking a dump' when you're actually leaving a dump?" Anyway, a piss take is a joke, like you are doing something but not taking it seriously enough. In common usage, it also could refer to "taking the piss out of someone" which means "to make fun of them." So, if you were a snotty, dark-beer-drinking, football-club-following, wrong-side-of-the-street-driving, bad-teeth-having, crop-circle-faking fan of Dead Di, you might think that this sentence is "taking the piss" out of you. And you'd be right, my limey friend!
Sperm KingI had an idea to just use a picture as the name of the zine, which I realize is a little too fey. I mean, people like to know there's a name. I figured it would be this little picture (at right) and people would realize that it was the Sperm King. But why? you may ask. Because, man. It is only the most accomplished sperm that makes it and becomes a kid, right? So, everyone is the result of that king making it all the way, making us who we are. We are all the Sperm King.
Pack Some HeatWell, I meant it two ways, neither of them obvious. I am trying, you know! I was on the phone with the love of my life at 9:30pm on the night of the Oscars and in her line of work it is not uncommon to work more than twelve hours in a day. This time, it was especially brutal. Attorneys can make almost anyone miserable, if they're trying. She called and said she was on her way home, so I thought of a way to ask her if she wanted some of the devil's weed when she returned. I realized the call could be recorded (I am excessively paranoid) so I asked, "Would you like me to pack some heat in preparation for your return?" I also realized that I have said the expression before, but that time it meant that I was the proud parent of a full-on robot chubby in my pants. I was "packin' heat" as they say. I think it means something to do with guns, but I hate guns and think no one should have them. Except me. Then you'd all fucking behave, let me tell you.
Malice AforethoughtIt's how they determine whether or not you should die for a murder. If you had premeditation before an intentional homicide, then you might be executed. The legal definition is "malice aforethought," but it sounds so pretentious I thought I might vomit. Since I never made this the title of the zine, I actually used it for a mix tape.
Inverted EI was actually going to make the name an inverted "e" because I like the way it looks. It's the symbol for a schwa, which is the sound of an unstressed vowel, like the "e" in linen. The reason I wanted to use it is that my name is Jøshua and sometimes people call me just "shua" which sounds like schwa, which is what I meant.
ToethumbTo me, it's very funny when someone loses a thumb and has it replaced with a toe. It's most common among shop teachers, but it happens to others. I am mentioning this because I think it's trashy to break your bones, which may sound elitist of me, but I haven't broken a bone since I was a kid because I never engage in activities that could break my bones. If you've been in a car accident, that makes sense. But if you break your leg falling out a window or break your arm in two while skiing, well, you're a fucking idiot. Your body is all you have, and there are some injuries that are permanent. I don't want to be a useless waste of skin like Christopher Reeve so I don't ride horses. I didn't use the name because I wanted to find a close-up picture of a toethumb and was unsuccessful in my quest.
Fury 161The prison mining planet in Alien3 was called Fiorina "Fury" 161. It is a place where only the most evil men are forced to live, because they are criminal psychopaths who have XYY chromosomes. They are the violent supermen, which is pretty cool if you ask me. I loved this name because the first zine I ever read and the one that inspired me to do Negative Capability was John Kelly's brilliant XYY, which I bought the same night I first saw Alien3. I dropped it because the number doesn't mean anything.
When it came time to do my next issue, I had a few full pages of even more titles that I couldn't use. In an attempt to purge the idea from my head permanently, I decided to write a follow-up piece for the next issue called OCD Infinity. Since then I have occasionally thought, "Oh, that would make a cool name for something," and then I let the thought go. It's healthier for all of us.
I actually do not suffer from OCD and I think pop culture has done the same thing for OCD that they did for people being anal-retentive. Instead of it being a scientific description of a real psychological issue, it has become lazy shorthand for people who are organized.