UPDATE: 39 Minutes Later, Weird-Lookin’ Fella Still Clawing Frantically Through Wal-mart $5 Movie Barrel

October 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Seems Pretty Sure Other People Do Not Exist or Need Access to the Bin He Has Claimed

@Florence – Field correspondents are reporting that an unknown man, probably having a common name that is spelled in an unnecessarily uncommon fashion, has been engaged in a determined quest—for which film, exactly, they are uncertain—that has discouraged upwards of a dozen other browsers from forking through the discount bin. Other shoppers, citing that “it’s just not that big of a deal and that guy kind of creeps me out”, have repeatedly approached the barrel, attempting to carve out a little bit of browsing space long enough to determine which five movies have dozens of copies available at the $5 bargain price.

Almost everybody gets bored after two minutes of sifting through this crap

“I was kind of hoping to get lucky and score a T2, or maybe even the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood,” says one frazzled shopper. “But this squirrely dude with the baggy shirt and tight shorts over there is definitely not interested in allowing other shoppers a comfortable amount of space to casually browse while he digs out the equivalent of half his bodily volume in digital video discs.”

Readers have responded to Claustrophobic Press’s requests for their personal experiences of the situation, in which they describe things that have taken place from start to finish in the amount of time that the movie hunter has been at his task. Your best responses are featured below:

– Tanya and Darren both went on their lunch break and came back, surprised that the shopper was still undeterred by the repetition of seeing the same few titles every time he lifts his arms up and waterfalls the cheap disc cases back into the pile or spreads them around in an attempt to get to the middle stratum of over-manufactured films.

– Someone watched an entire episode of Friends, commercials included, on the bank of plasma screen televisions in the back of the electronics department.

– Mark Ellis listened to “The Dark Side of the Moon” on his iPod all the way up to about the halfway point of “Brain Damage” (which isn’t even one of his favorite tracks anyway, so he normally just skips it)

– Anne B. cooked dinner for her family of three (from scratch)

– Patrick Bloom left work, made it halfway home, realized he’d forgotten an important document at the office, went back to retrieve it, and subsequently made it all the way back to the point on the road at which he’d realized what he forgot.

We urge readers who wander into the local Wal-mart in a misguided attempt to use retail therapy as a distraction from their troubles to use caution when approaching the sale bin in question, as staffers have tried (even begged) unsuccessfully to help the man locate the particular title or titles he seems to be searching for. But is this man the Frodo Baggins of Friday night Wal-mart shopping? Is this inexplicably wasted evening more about the journey than the end point? Only time will tell. And according to the time, the movie shopper has now made it all the way to the end of “Dark Side,” though we should state the obvious that it is an album noteworthy for how smoothly it loops for multiple playbacks.

2015, Claustrophobic Press. Today is fucking horrible.

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New site

September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

A quick note: I’ve launched a for-real more-serious site for my writing that is not quite as chock full of vitriol and national shame.  It is located at http://christopherburkewords.com if you should be inclined to mash your eyes into its sparse imagery and less-sparse text.  Good day!

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Me no jokey-jokey here, folks.

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

I have a story in the soon-to-be-released Nightscript, the ToC of which I’ve included below in case any eyes show up on this occasionally-updated place.


“Everything That’s Underneath” by Kristi DeMeester
“Strays” by Gregory L. Norris
“In His Grandmother’s Coat” by Charles Wilkinson
“The Cuckoo Girls” by Patricia Lillie
“The Sound That the World Makes” by David Surface
“Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills
“The Keep” by Kirsty Logan
“She Rose From the Water” by Kyle Yadlosky
“Animalhouse” by Clint Smith
“Tooth, Tongue, and Claw” by Damien Angelica Walters
“Momma” by Eric J. Guignard
“The Trees Are Tall Here” by Marc E. Fitch
“A Quiet Axe” by Michael Kelly
“The Death of Yatagarasu” by Bethany W. Pope
“The Cooing” by John Claude Smith
“A Knife in My Drawer” by Zdravka Evtimova
“On Balance” by Jason A. Wyckoff
“Learning Not to Smile” by Ralph Robert Moore
“Fisher and Lure” by Christopher Burke
“The Death of Socrates” by Michael Wehunt

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Man Freely Buying Firearms to Protect Against Tyranny Confident These Will be the Ones Seized by Government

Totally Not Planning To Accidentally Discharge Weapon into Brain of Loved One

@Providence – Roy Carroll doesn’t think of himself as special. In his words, he’s just an “everyday Joe concerned about goverment (sic) overreach and his Constitutional rights.” His hobbies include reading, watching football, and occasionally ending the life of another creature for the thrill it brings. He doesn’t consider himself brave or an activist. But in recent decades, he has grown profoundly concerned about government intrusion into people’s lives. Roy has owned guns all his life, and considers himself to be a responsible citizen who puts safety above everything else.

Claustrophobic Press wanted to get the real story on Roy, so we caught up with him at his local gun store.

Since turning 18, an age younger than one is required to be to purchase alcoholic beverages or rent a car, Roy has made at least one major gun purchase per year at the establishment.

“Sometimes,” he explains, “I have to wait about as long as it would take for me to receive a title on a newly purchased vehicle. Which is deeply troubling because what if I need them to fight off the entirety of the U.S. Marshals Service today?”

Some people believe stupid fucking toughguy platitudes like the one on this sign are in some way meaningful or clever

While chatting with the cashier, who had already conducted a background check on Carroll–a relatively simple process no more complicated than writing a high school term paper –he unloads a shopping cart filled with enough weaponry to hold an entire building of people hostage until he runs out of food and other essential supplies. There are no government agents preventing the purchase here in this publicly accessible, easy-to-find retail space that is listed in the phone book under “Sporting Goods” and offers quite reasonable prices, but Roy does not let that reassure him.

“This gonna be it Roy? The big one?” jokes the clerk.

“We’ll see, I guess.” Roy taps the barrel of a shotgun that could easily blast a person’s face off in the blink of an eye, which will soon be legally his as a result of this casual transaction conducted in broad daylight. “Can never be too prepared, am I right?”

Carroll has long contended that the Second Amendment exists primarily to prevent the government from violating the Second Amendment; it is up to well-armed, responsible citizens like him to own enough firepower to massacre at least one classroom of children in order to fight back against the tyrannical whims of a government that possesses more weaponry than has ever existed in the recorded history of the human race, and he wears this badge proudly.

“I’m certain that after buying this carload of rifles, pistols, and shotguns, the government will see my name on their lists and show up at my door to take them. Just because they didn’t do that last time, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, does not mean they won’t now. And when they do, I’ll be ready,” he says as he hands over his debit card to the cashier.

As he enters his PIN number, Roy hits the wrong digits and, for a moment, is worried that he has set off a red flag somewhere. But the cashier reassures him that it was just a simple mistake and no one is coming to take away the three Bushmaster AR-15s that he could easily use to slaughter a movie theater filled with people before anybody could tell what was going on or act to stop it.
“Huh…Well, I guess we all make mistakes and accidentally press things from time to time that we didn’t intend. No harm, no foul,” Roy says. “Doesn’t mean they aren’t still tracking me. Mark my words, it’ll happen, and soon.”

Carroll’s eyes carry with them a sort of eager hope that one might see in a person buying a lottery ticket or pulling on a slot machine handle: this is gonna be the big one. The one that makes it all worth it, that justifies years of effort.

After freely purchasing enough firepower to easily mow down at least one shopping mall before turning it on himself should the need arise, Roy drives home, where he enjoys a dinner of Atlantic salmon and corn on the cob, but the knock at the door from federal agents never comes. When asked if he ever feels hard-pressed to find justification for all the weaponry, Carroll chides us for our naivete’

“There’s always tomorrow,” Carroll says. “You never know until it happens, and if you’re not ready when the time comes, then how will you shoot the people who have shown up to stop you from shooting people?”

Roy’s is a deeply cherished philosophy rooted in part of a quote from a historical document, which is why it is so important to him.

“If we can’t rely on the wisdom of part of a sentence that our forefathers wrote 250 years ago, what can we rely on?” he challenges would-be naysayers. “This country was founded by men bearing arms, and it is up to us vigilant arms bearers to make sure that the federal government does not slide down the slippery slope of tyranny by threatening our ability to have as many life-threatening weapons as we need to stop it.”

2015, Claustrophobic Press. Violators will be forced to join a well-regulated militia to defend against King George’s redcoats.

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Young Man with Acoustic Guitar Fails to Impress Party-goers, Inspire Pixies Singalong

August 4, 2015 1 comment

Frank Black Expresses Disappointment

@Louisville – Local sources are reporting that as of 11:20 p.m. last Friday night, mildly intoxicated party-goer Tom Steele had been failing at an attempt to rally the thirty people in attendance around a group performance of Pixies classic “Where Is My Mind?” The enthusiastic novice player and sometime student had brought his instrument along just in case the right opportunity opened up for him to demonstrate his rendition of one of his favorite songs, figuring that its popularity would reunite revelers at the gathering who had broken off into factions, but eye- and earwitnesses have informed Claustrophobic Press that nobody was particularly interested in joining his off-key singing.

“Apart from his bad voicing, the playing was rather lackluster, and the song isn’t helped much by the transition to acoustic guitar,” says college student Emily Roth, who was in the exact same room as Tom when his attempt fizzled out. “This is particularly problematic because Tom has trouble landing those string bends on an acoustic.”

Emily’s best friend, Rozz, confirms that most people in the room could tell he was just bending them without a particular frequency as a goal, a hallmark of lazy party playing.

But the problem with Tom’s subpar strumming extends far deeper than the mere disappointment of failing to launch a singalong; Mr. Steele failed entirely to impress a single member of the opposite sex with his contrived-to-be-casual decision to lug his guitar all the way to the party and thrust himself into the center of attention.

Before Tom started playing, there were five other people on this couch.

“I mean, it just seems kind of douchey and presumptuous to plan to bring an instrument to a party where people are hanging out. Why would you want to make it all about you? Who thinks that a person is attending a social outing and just ‘happens’ to have their guitar with them by coincidence?” speculated Rozz.

About halfway into the song, conscious of the coldhearted gaze of the musically-disinterested attendees, Tom’s voice and playing trailed off and he muttered something about having to use the facilities, but none of the witnesses can remember seeing him return. Many conjecture that he took his guitar out to the car and just decided to cut his losses and run, but these accounts have not been corroborated independently.

“It’s actually a bit of a shame,” states Emily. “I was starting to really like Tom, but this blatant attempt at padding his reputation amongst the easily impressed has really started to make me reevaluate that position.”

Word eventually reached members of the Pixies while on their fourth reunion tour, and frontman Frank Black expressed disappointment at the butchering of a tune that he spent a good deal of effort in crafting.

“Is it too much to ask for a guy to hit the f%#king string bends every time instead of just when you feel like putting in the effort on the first couple of measures?” asked Black.

Mr. Steele could not be reached for comment, sung or otherwise. However, his family confirms that they have recently observed him trying various tactics intended to result in him playing popular songs in situations that would result in him being noticed or complimented by others, including on themselves.

“Tom has always been a sweet boy,” says Mrs. Steele. “I’ve always encouraged him to take up the instrument and practice at it if it makes him happy. But there’s a line, a social line, and some people just take longer to learn where it is than others. We’re pulling for him and we love him no matter what. He is still our son, and no amount of bad public performing will change that.”

“Unless he tries to play ‘Stairway,’ she adds hastily. “Led Zeppelin is very dear to me and I don’t know if I could handle that. The Plant/Krauss collaborations, he can do with those what he pleases and that’s none of my concern.”

2015, Claustrophobic Press. Violators will be subjected to me showing off my mastering of the power chords in “Smoke on the Water.”

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Man Aspiring to Be Tech-Savvy Pretty Sure He Used “Internet of Things” Correctly

Has Failed to Resurface After Several Days

@Providence, RI – Several sources have independently verified that the 37 year-old, in a desperate pitch to remind his peers that he was at one time “the nerd” of his high school peer group, tried to casually slip the phrase “Internet of things” into a conversation which, until that point, had largely been a relaxing chat about miscellaneous office politics. It seems that Patrick Murphy, who has felt his grip on the present cutting-edge gradually loosen with the inexorable passage of time and the slowing of his ability to acquire new skills while aging in a fast-paced world, has a long history of such blatant slang-drops, but none quite so egregious as this one. Murphy’s countenance had appeared completely confident as he delivered the five syllables, not seeming to realize anything was of the ordinary.

Investigations have revealed that this is not the first time the man has transparently attempted to impress others with trendy terminology that was no longer of interest. A former friend, going by the name of “J.” for purposes of this story, came forward with footage of Murphy using the term “Web 2.0” in a video presentation about digital marketing earlier in his career. Claustrophobic Press has obtained and authenticated the footage, but is choosing not to encourage its dissemination on moral grounds.

“It would have been fine, really, if Murphy’s whole Web 2.0 debacle had taken place in 2005, maybe even as late as 2007, but this happened in 2010—well after the world had come to know “Web 2.0” as simply the norm for the Internet and anyone with any self-respect had long since abandoned the term. I felt bad for him and his family, but what can you do in a situation like that? It’s just awkward all around, really,” the friend stated.

Requests to Patrick Murphy for comment on the troubling situation went unanswered, and other sources have speculated about Murphy’s own well-being, citing concern for his emotional health.

Investigators claim that Patrick Murphy was last seen here, in the Australian Outback. His last known correspondence was a note found in his kitchen, stating that he was going on a walkabout in order to conduct some needed soul-searching.

“I mean, it’s one thing to use the phrase in a white paper, or a satirical news article, but this was just a casual conversation. It had nothing to do with anything related to technology. We were just bullsh%&ing in the break room, and then from out of the blue…” says J. as he looks off into the distance. “There was just no call for that. No reason it should have happened at all.”

Murphy’s boss confirms that he stayed home for the remainder of the week, citing the wish to spend time with family so he can recuperate his social skills and attempt to reintegrate into what was once a group of carefree 30-somethings, and has since appeared to take on some of the signs of middle age. But his home appeared unoccupied, and his coworkers can only speculate as to his whereabouts and reflect on the incident in the interest of learning.

“This should be a warning to us all,” reflects J. “I mean, it’s not just about Murphy’s horrifying attempt to appear more with-it than we all know him to be. It’s about all of us. Deep down, I think we’re all Murphy, and that’s what is truly frightening.”

2015, Claustrophobic Press. Violators will be rendered hopelessly obsolete.

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This 21 Year-old Philosophy Minor Would Like to Tell You about Slavoj Žižek

Claims You Might Just Reconfigure Your Entire Ontology

@Louisville, KY – Mark Newsome doesn’t look like much of an evangelist; in fact, he doesn’t look like much of a Marxist if one follows him around for most of the day. But relentless enthusiasm for a freshly acquired collection of philosophical ideas that have basically been around for a long time bring a shine to his scruffy face and coffee-stained teeth, and it’s an enthusiasm that would be contagious if it were coming from someone else and about a different topic.

It’s quiet at the moment in the Daily Grind, a local coffee shop located next to a neighborhood book store. But that tranquility doesn’t last long as Mark gears up for some seemingly casual conversations in which he’ll carefully name-drop Slovenia’s most famous living philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, in social circles in which that is a popular way to boost one’s reputation.

“It’s a great way to make friends,” Mark says. “Well, a friend. Or I guess we’re more like acquaintances, really.”

His voice filters across the room to me while the person he addresses is inaudible: “Excuse me, sir, but are you familiar with “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema?”….No, that’s not an emo band. Žižek…Slavoj Žižek… ¿Hablas ingles?”

A short time later, Mark returns to the table where we’d been sitting, shrugging his shoulders with a grin as if to say, “You can’t win ‘em all.” The trick, Mark tells us, is to work Žižek into the conversation as organically as possible, which can be a challenge at times.

“It definitely helps if you’re talking about the arts,” Mark says. “Really a lot of what Žižek says is so vague it could be applied to almost anything in any haphazard manner. That’s what makes him such a great philosopher—his ability to popularize ideas.”

Sometimes Žižek says things that are kind of funny, I guess.

Mark and I take a break from our interview and coffee to explore the shelves in the bookstore attached to the coffee shop. Not surprisingly, Mark makes a point of continuing the discussion of Žižek as we walk through the aisles, in order to make sure the staff understands that he is literate in current philosophical topics.

“Yeah, and then over here in the Philosophy section, you’ll find Slavoj Žižek, who has many interesting ideas about a wide variety of topics, such as film and hegemonic systems of representation. Really, I’d suggest that anybody and everybody check him out. You’re sure to find something to latch onto,” Mark says loudly.

The bookstore is a regular stop for Mark, and he’s on friendly terms with many of the workers.

One bookseller tells me: “we love it when customers come in and ask if we’ve ever heard of fairly well known authors whose books we carry on our shelves so they can make sure we know they are knowledgeable people.”

After Mark scans the philosophy section for potential browsing customers whom he might be able to lure into a discussion of institutional violence, he checks to ensure that most of Žižek’s books are in stock. Then we head out to the car, where our Žižek session continues.

“I haven’t read any Lacan yet, but you can be sure that if I had, my understanding of his work would be made so much better by Žižek’s plain-spoken writing style and diverse collection of topics that he connects, seemingly in no sensible order,” Mark says. “But that’s part of what makes him so accessible.”

We arrive safely at a house belonging to one of Mark’s friends, Thomas, where several members of his peer group are gathered, smoking and listening to music. If I’m not mistaken, I catch a look of mild exasperation on the face of one, perhaps because Mark’s presence will make the room more crowded.

Soon, as is perhaps inevitable in such a group, conversation turns to politics, and once the topic of State authority is broached, Mark seizes the moment.

“Excuse me, Jason, but have you given much thought to the symbolic order indicated by the process of Othering political leadership and its subsequent alienating effect on citizens?”

Jason keeps talking, but others take note of Mark’s interesting new perspective and eventually it becomes apparent that they want him to go on and explain his position. Mark is all too eager to comply:

“You guys should really read some of Slavoj Žižek’s work,” he says. “Fascinating stuff. And ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema is a totally fascinating and contemporary way to think about film. It’s on YouTube. In fact, we could watch it right now if you want; it’s pretty entertaining.”

Mark’s suggestion is voted down, but as the evening progresses and the conversation wanders through numerous other categories, he casually slips in no less than seven other mentions of Žižek. It is unclear if his work will convert into interested persons buying Žižek’s books and in turn being able to slip his name into such conversations, but for Mark it’s a matter of leading a horse to water and being unable to ethically wield State power in order to force that horse to drink. Eventually, it’s time to go our separate ways, but before that happens, Mark presses a copy of “First as Tragedy, Then as Farce” into my hands.

“In case you start thinking and not liking the answers,” he explains. “It has been a comfort to me on many occasions, and now I’d like to pay that forward.”

For this American reporter, it was truly a day out of the ordinary in which many interesting things were learned, but for Philsophy minor Mark Newsome, it was just like every other day this semester.

2015, Claustrophobic Press. First as tragedy, then as tragedy, and probably a few more times as tragedy.

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Local English Student Fails to Adequately Convey Profound Nature of Kafka’s Literary Work

“Central Thesis of Paper Thoroughly Unremarkable,” says teacher aide.

@Florence, KY – In what is turning out to be a heartbreaking piece of news for the local community, high school junior Chris Burkett has failed to demonstrate a full grasp of the depth and complexity of Czech Expressionist author Franz Kafka. An inside source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed suspicions held by teachers and classmates that his paper “barely even scratched the surface of the political dimensions” of his work in The Trial, “which is basically the easiest component of the book to elucidate in a historicist framework that formulates new interpretations.” According to teacher Sharon Meyer, “such a rigorous endeavor would have been perfectly acceptable for this assignment, and all of this could have been avoided.”

But it isn’t just that Burkett failed to deliver an adequate interpretation of this portion of the novel. He failed even to make a compelling case for resituating it within either Kafka’s oeuvre or German-language Expressionist thought at large. This failure on the part of Burkett has led to some, ironically enough, profound questions for the small but growing community of Florence.

“I don’t know if I feel comfortable living next to the Burketts any longer,” confessed a neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “What will this do to my property values when word gets around? Add to that the shame, appropriately, of that family, fostering this sort of critical mediocrity.” He gestures broadly in the direction of Burkett’s home and falls silent. One can tell that the scandal has deeply unsettled him. “I mean, is it simply too much to ask to incorporate at least one of the post-Marxist modes of critical thought? Is that how little we’re asking of our future leaders? Because I, for one, happen to think it’s important to have standards.”

Claustrophobic Press caught up with Burkett’s English teacher, Mrs. Meyer–described by many as “tough, but fair”–after third period. She had no remarks that would lead to an exoneration of the student’s now-tarnished image and put a positive spin on the apparent abject failure to convey Kafka’s deeper meanings:

“This paper,” she says, trembling, “lacks even the barest mention of any of the major Continental schools of late 20th century literary theory. Was he too busy working on his learner’s permit to spend a little time on Certeausian modes of navigation within an Industrial-Capitalist society and how they relate to the protagonist’s tactical navigation of the Court system? I mean the book was practically custom-made for this kind of theory, and yet Burkett seems to not care a wit. It is troubling. Deeply troubling.”

This prescient stick-figure drawing by Kafka depicts a phenomenon now commonly known as *headdesk*, yet another indicator that the author was ahead of his time. Mrs. Meyer claims that this is in fact the most concise summation her reaction upon reading the paper.

When Claustrophobic Press obtained a copy of the paper to confirm some of the allegations, we found a troubling pattern of truth to every single one of them. The paper starts off in laughably generic territory: “Franz Kafka was a Czech writer who was deeply concerned with political and spiritual issues.”

And it doesn’t get much more insightful from there.

“I’m not suggesting some barbaric and overly symbolic punishment for this incredible shortcoming, such as strapping him into a strange needle bearing contraption the likes of which one might find in a penal colony, but he’s definitely not getting above a C- for this dreck,” says Meyer. “It’s a good thing he didn’t write this for a job, because it would have been the last almost-average thing he wrote before getting fired,” Meyer says. “Nowhere visible in this paper can one find a trace of Kafka scholarship that wasn’t brought up in Max Brod or Walter Benjamin decades ago! This is sophomoric effort at best, and Burkett is now a junior. We expect him to behave accordingly and to at least *try* to plumb the harrowing depths of the human condition as though he cares about its complex symbologies and all their attendant expressions.”

For the first few days after Burkett’s paper was turned in, he reportedly failed even to sense the rising eddy of silent unease circulating around him in the school, and classmates state that he seemed entirely unaware of just how underwhelming his research had been. It didn’t take long for the rumors to be confirmed as true and make their way back to his parents, to whom he had offered no forewarning and has yet to offer even a modicum of regret, guilt, shame, or any variations thereof.

“We try to be good parents, to be supportive if Chris ever needs anything. Any kind of help—drugs, girls, substantive Foucauldian analyses of Expressionist or Modernist literature, we don’t care what it is. I just…I don’t know where we went wrong. How he got the idea that he has to keep it all inside and can’t come to us when he’s struggling to articulate the most recondite truths of humanity as expressed through literature…,” his mother says in a heartfelt display of emotion. “I just hope he can still get into a good college. Maybe it’ll have to be trade school—I just…don’t know. But there’s no shame in trade school. There’s no shame…”

Our interview ended prematurely as Mr. Burkett escorted his wife inside and signaled that there would be no further comments forthcoming. But this whole incident has shaken the town of Florence to the core and left many asking, “What if it’s my child? What if we’re next? How do we prepare for this utterly average performance in the face of literary greatness?”

Mrs. Meyer claims that the lowest grade she can really give Chris for the assignment is a C-, because he “technically didn’t get any of the facts wrong, and he at least turned in the right number of pages.” But that doesn’t mean this incredibly weak entry in this year’s slate of student papers will be easily forgotten. Many in the community are bitter over this apparent squandering of a chance to contribute meaningful scholarly criticism to a remarkably profound author. Burkett has faced no direct threats or violence, but it is obvious that these sentiments have permeated the community.

An aide to Mrs. Meyer, who helped grade the too-easy-to-read research project, was also left with a particularly unpleasant memory of the incident.

“It’s kinda like in that movie, when Jeff Bridges tells John Goodman: ‘you’re not wrong you’re just an asshole.’ Well, replace ‘a$%hole’ with ‘shallow and pedantic’ if you want to have an idea of this whole fiasco. Oh and replace ‘an’ with ‘a’. And while you’re at it, with the way this has affected all of us, you might as well just go and put the word ‘a$%hole’ back in there along with ‘shallow and pedantic’.

2015, Claustrophobic Press. Like a boss dog

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Young Man Oddly Uncomfortable After Women Keep Catcalling Him

States That He Prefers Just to Be Left Alone

@Cincinnati, OH – Today, while walking down the street on a mundane errand, a local young male reports that he was the recipient of “extremely crude” sexual remarks as he passed a bevy of leering women on a nearby stoop. Bank teller Jeff Conner tells Claustrophobic Press that he was “simply minding my own business” when, completely unprovoked, a group of women that he had not previously noticed startled him out of a calm daydream with a series of distasteful remarks, apparently aimed at “getting me into the sack so they could stretch me out like a rubber band.” But this isn’t the first time he has had to endure such harassment.

Conner reports that this was once a new experience for him, but over the last month, it has become a regular occurrence that is significantly diminishing his ability to enjoy a stroll down the block. In an exclusive interview, he gave us the candid story of his harrowing ordeal:

“Before today, I always thought it would be pretty hot to hear something like ‘Hey, B$&chboy, I’m going to grind my c%#t on your face until you can’t breathe and you choke to death on my sq#%rt,’ but when it’s delivered in that tone of voice by a stranger, it’s just creepy. I mean, who knows where that woman has been. Who knows what diseases she might have, and why is she presuming to speak to me like that without so much as a ‘hello’?”

“Maybe she has a weapon, too,” he adds. “I didn’t get a good enough look at the group today and I don’t even know who said what, but it was obvious to me that I was outnumbered, so arguing with them would not likely do any good, as the power imbalance was simply too great.”

Conner wishes that more women would follow suit and chastise other women engaging in this behavior. “It’s important to have allies on the other side of this fight, if any progress is to be made,” he says.

Studies indicate that most young men have little to no objection to the prospect of a horde of young potential mates expressing desire for sexual congress, but context matters, according to Conner.

“These women don’t know me. They don’t have my interests at heart and their remarks seemed more designed to make me feel embarrassed and subservient to their whims than anything else,” he says. “The idea of being viewed as an object for their sexual gratification is kind of hot, for like, a few seconds maybe, but then when you get down to the reality of it, it’s not so much kinky as it is just kind of disrespectful and disgusting to be the target of such derision.”

When it happened the first time, Conner’s thought was “this is kind of flattering, I don’t get hit on, like, ever.” But then he realized that he didn’t know these people at all and could not tell just how far they might go to intimidate him into doing something he didn’t want to do. A FOIA request to the local police department revealed that there have been numerous cases of solitary men being beaten up or worse, which is likely a factor in how Conner has responded to the situation.

“I’ve known several people who have been attacked, seemingly without provocation, and I have to assume that even if it’s kind of hot to think about myself being roughly handled by a group of 6 or 7 women, when they’re describing the act of forcing things into numerous parts of my body against my will, it kind of turns me off even if I’d otherwise be down with whatever if this was someone with whom I was in a relationship,” Conner confessed. “I mean, I guess some women are into that, but they didn’t even bother to ask for my thoughts on the matter. At the end of the brief interaction, the message I come away with usually isn’t about pleasure at all, but really about their dominance. Besides,” he adds, “It would be physically impossible to do most of the gross things they yelled in my direction, anyway. If they’d ever actually had a sexual relationship, they’d probably know that.”

Conner plans to start paying closer attention to his surroundings, and longs for a time when he can return to his deeply valued sense of security.

“I now consider it a privilege to have been able to enjoy my regular walks until this past month. I didn’t even realize at the time how lucky I was, to be able to walk down the street in my own neighborhood without having to worry about this sort of thing. Why should I have to change my route, or feel nervous just because I chose to walk down a certain block? Even if it’s unlikely that they will hit me with a bat and drag me somewhere to be abused in all manner of disgusting ways and with all manner of bodily fluid, I now have to acknowledge it as a possibility. At the same time, people tell me to stand up for myself. Man up. Don’t be a victim. But what does that mean, exactly? Am I supposed to go in there and start punching people? There are usually seven or eight of them, and who knows if they have a gun or something. You can’t mess around with the egos on people like that because you can’t tell what they’ll do.”

And, Conner adds, “it’s almost like they’re just looking for an excuse to act out their bizarre power fantasies, and I don’t want to encourage that. My …(he gestures to various parts of his anatomy with a look of frustration) don’t want me to encourage it either, despite what other guys might say.”

“I don’t know the thoughts these people have, but it seems to me as if they view all sexual interaction as a one-way street instead of a beautiful celebration of intimacy between or among people who have only a short time on this Earth with which to enjoy one of the few fleeting pleasures made available to the limitations of our biology before we suffer and slip away into an insensate oblivion.”

However, Conner doesn’t view this behavior as an isolated incident stemming from a few bad apples, but rather from an entrenched culture in which women on the street feel they can do or say anything to anyone without fear of reprisal, which is harmful to everybody and not just himself. To an extent, Conner claims, they’re victims too, even if it’s important to remember they’re the aggressors.

“In a way,” he says, “I feel sorry for them, for their lack of depth and character. But I can’t afford to get caught up in pitying them; my safety can’t take that risk. They’ve told me before that they’d wear me down eventually and there would come a day when they can pitch a baseball through me without hitting any organs. I’m staying vigilant.”

After this week, Jeff plans to start wearing headphones with no music playing so that they think he isn’t listening, but he’ll still be able to hear in case there is a rapid approach of footsteps.

“And that f%^&ing sucks,” he concludes. “I like to listen to music.”

© 2015, Claustrophobic Press. Copyright valid regardless of clothing being worn at time of writing.

Categories: Uncategorized

Businessman Perfectly Willing to Share Business Perspective on Social Problems with Non-Business-Owning Acquaintances

Cites Importance of Business As Most Important Guiding Principle

@Providence, RI – In a move surprising to one, local businessman David Millhauser recently drew upon his experience as a business owner to proffer a number of potential solutions to a variety of social problems, Claustrophobic Press has learned. The recipients of such wisdom? “Anyone who values the perspective of businesses in today’s modern world,” he says.

While in the company of no less than five people, Millhauser–clad in the archetypal business attire of a suit, tie, and slacks, which he assures us causes him to be taken more seriously–was careful to ground his proposals for fixing such deeply entrenched social problems as poverty and racism in the time-honored principles of supply and demand. “What many people don’t understand,” Millhauser explained, “is that you can’t force your morals on other people, and if there is a demand for something, the market will provide it. And in my view, that’s how you get things done.”

While attempting to describe such inner functions of market forces to persons who have never before owned businesses, he made sure not to bombard the uninitiated with too much at once. “It isn’t often that you see many perspectives like mine, as a business owner, in today’s world,” he claims. “So I can understand why some might be skeptical and view these as nothing much more than oversimplified and insufficient platitudes. But this is how the world works. I don’t make the rules, I just follow ‘em.”

Claustrophobic Press can confirm that Millhauser did indeed meet with some suspicion from those involved in the conversation who are not fortunate enough to own a business.

“What he said makes so little sense outside of strictly economic matters that I can’t even figure out how he means to apply it to any actual, specific social problem,” lamented Carol, a long-time acquaintance who thinks Millhauser is an okay-enough fellow, but remains careful to keep him at a measured distance. “It seems a bit myopic to me.”

“I don’t much understand why people listen to music, but if I was one of those people, I’d have to say my theme song would be that “It’s Business Time” jingle from Flight of the Conchords,” he claims. “I’d say that about sums up my philosophy. They’re sharp fellas.”

Millhauser isn’t bothered by the skepticism, though, claiming that he views it as a variant of competition. “And competition is the holy grail that drives innovation and change. If there is a demand for solutions from non-business-owners,” he says, “even if they’re different from my solutions as a business owner, then ultimately, I’m still right because demand wins the day, just like I said it would.”

Although there are a few who dismissed the staunchly pro-business businessman’s perspective, he wasn’t not without his adherents. Also in the casual conversation on the evening in question was Doug Turner, who was at first reluctant to grant Millhauer’s ethos much credence. “As the night wore on, I began to see the elegant simplicity behind the aphorisms that this delightful businessman was putting forth,” Turner said. “And if I’ve learned anything in my time on this planet, it’s that complex problems can best be solved with a well-put maxim from proven common sense. I just wish more people would pay attention to business owners.”

But will the voices of such business owners eventually be heeded by the wealthy and powerful in the political realm?

“I hope so,” Millhauser says. “No, I demand so.”

© 2015 Claustrophobic Press, a nonbusinessy business.

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