A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Reposted from Facebook.

I’m in a seven day penalty in Twitmo because I made an obvious joke about sp1ke proteins like tiny daggers flung from my body accompanied by a picture of the Pin Head character from the horror movie Hellraiser. In other words, a parody of the irrational fears of anti-vaccination people. Twitter decided my post and my account were dangerous and so I’m unable to post. I have declined to appeal my suspension. The monitors are guided by dull-witted algorithms anyway. Social media companies are private concerns. They can pretty much do what they want. But it it’s becoming clear that they are not worthy of our time or attention.

A lot of us just give away creativity for the sake of clever posts online. That is part of the genius of social media platforms. It’s so easy. That goes double for Facebook, actually. It’s helpful to recall that its origins were a sleazy project to rate women on the Harvard campus. I have been here only because people I care deeply for are here and as I slide into boomer decrepitude it’s comforting to stay in touch.

But there’s a price we pay. I’m sure y’all already know that if the service is free then you are the product. I’m weary of being a product, shaped into a consumer, monitored for the benefit of the social media companies. What we do on social media has nothing to do with free speech. We have become marketable meat puppets and I’m as prone to it as anyone. Maybe more, since I wallowed in mass media for so long and arrogantly thought I was immune to being manipulated. I don’t know what the solution is. But if I left I would miss y’all a lot. That makes me kind of a hostage and the product.

Huh. I’ll think about it. Meanwhile you know where to find me.

clydeleesmith at gmail dot com

unclaimedmysteries dot com

clydeleesmith dot com

Yerpla, C

Lost Cause

The problem with convincing a hardcore HERITAGE NOT HATE™ Southerner of the historical and cultural affinity between the Confederacy and Nazi Germany is that there’s a good chance they won’t reconsider the virtues of the Confederacy but instead reconsider the vices of Nazi Germany.

The President is broken.

I used to collect what one might call “kook lit.” Unhinged prophesies and/or conspiracies, feverishly illustrated and/or single-spaced, filled with gentle pleadings for humanity and/or violent threats. The kind of thing brought into Kinko’s @ 2AM by disturbed souls, with copies destined for car windshields, radio station PO boxes, who knows where else.

My collection is long gone, although I curated the hell out of it for years. One reason is that the Internet made it almost trivial to publish whatever you wanted. With few exceptions such as Time Cube (look it up), online kook lit didn’t have the same “bite” as the hard copy screeds. A second reason concerns my own sanity, and how hypocritical it was to have a cheap laugh at those who weren’t all that much deeper into the abyss than where I have been from time to time.

No, I don’t collect that stuff any more, but I remember the cadences, the dream logic, the occasional poetry entangled in the fused synapses of fevered minds trying to communicate … something, even at the risk of ridicule by downpunching asshats like me or visits by the authorities.

And I am here to testify as a former crackpotologist of note that all of my collection put together made more sense than the President of the United States does on Twitter on this 11th day of August in the Year of Oh Dear Lord 2018.

Not one.

Just a quick reminder that in the Year of My Sweet Lord 2018, so far:  Not one policy of or action taken by President* Donald J. Trump is in conflict with the stated goals of white nationalism. Not one.

A father’s day

It’s a weird thing to look back on, but when I was a small child I made promises to myself as an old person, if I ever got to be an old person. The most important one was the most stark: that I would never become a father.

Some of you know why already, and I won’t get into it again here. It’s enough to say that it was a kind of “the buck stops here” commitment. I’ve kept that commitment, and I have never regretted it for a second of my life. My waking life at least.

One night when I was 35, I had my one and only dream of fatherhood. Tybee Island, Georgia, a place I knew well from childhood. My grandmother Smith lived in Savannah, and I loved visiting her and I loved Savannah and I especially loved the beach a few miles down the road. In the dream I was an adult, it was early morning, and I was walking along the beach. I was blissful. And there was a child with me. My son. He was stopping every few yards to pick up handfuls of sand and sift them through his fingers. He was blissful. I started to say something super-duper profound to him as we walked, something about never taking anything, not even the sand, for granted. Suddenly he looked up and shouted excitedly: “Mom!” I looked ahead to see a beach house, a screen door, a figure behind the screen. I looked closer, curious to see who this woman was and I woke up.

I started crying violently almost immediately, for I knew this idea of being a father could never come true. My commitment was too strong, stronger than any principle or ambition I have ever had in my underachieving life. It has been my Prime Directive, the price for staying alive.

I never dreamed that dream again. At times I have wondered if it was a peek into an alternate universe or timeline where I am still me just not as damaged but I have no regrets whatsoever. It has to be this way, and I believe I have prevented suffering because of that childhood promise to myself, now.

Unscheduled part 1.

As some of y’all know I’ve been substitute teaching at a high school in SW VA. I asked the administration to throw everything they had at me, because life is short, I am old, and I don’t have much time left to decide if I really want to teach.  So I not only get the math/science classes and Jr/Sr grades I’m aiming for, but also phys ed classes  and – sigh – 8th and 9th graders.  It’s what I asked for and I’ve been getting better at class management, working toward a professionally stable medium between unhinged pushover and unhinged nazi when it comes to in class discipline.




Consider a Venn diagram of:

(1) people who jump into online discussions correcting others over what the AR in AR-15 stands for,

(2) people who jump into online discussions correcting others over what the official Confederate flag looked like, and

(3) people who jump into online discussions claiming that there was no GOP Southern Strategy and that Democrats exclusively are the real racists.

That Venn diagram would be three nearly identical and concentric circles.


Getting real.

I am ambivalent about Mastodon. Not the interface – that’s fine. Not the decentralized networks nor the open source code – I’m definitely for all that.

It’s just that having walked away from a Twitterful of imaginary friends already, I’m not sure I’m up to making new imaginary friends, or being one myself.

It’s …


Leaving Twitter

(Note: I returned to Twitter in late 2018-ish)

Hello Twitter friends. It’s time for me to go. Pretty simple, really. I have no desire to be “the product” any longer. I will delete this account over the weekend. I have one remaining social media account: (at)k4doh on Instagram.

I have no idea if I’ll be hearing from people on Twitter again. I will miss several personal friends and online acquaintances. Same thing happened when I left Facebook, only more so. People probably still think I’m dead over there.

I’m here on this site I seldom update, with intention to do more always. I have e-z to find email addresses. Instagram and Flickr even.  I’d be honored if you could drop me a line just to say hello at your convenience.