Local Writer Genuinely Changes Mind Based on Abusive Internet Comments

This week local man John Stevensonson penned a marginally opinionated, pseudo-intellectual think-piece on the film American Sniper, which has been nominated for several Academy Awards. Stevensonson, 54, takes a tiny amount of joy publishing the occasional articles and movie reviews to his own internet blog as well as submitting, and every now and then, deriving some limited pride from when his articles feature on local content-mills like Buzzfeed and Sploid. He rarely gets paid for these endeavours, but simply enjoys the act of writing and feels as though these clearly marginal achievements are enough to buffer the inevitable melancholic that comes with confronting one's own mortality. 

This week was like any other for Stevensonson, except for the fact that he made the rather obvious assertion that perhaps American Sniper was a bit on the nose for his liking. In between shifts of his dead-end paper factory administration job he wrote "It appears as though it was intended as an anti-war film, but neglected some of the subtlety and directorial finesse of Hurt Locker, Deer Hunter or others films in this genre."

The response was instantaneous,John Stevensonson was inundated at his mind-numbing job with messages of hate and vitriol about his commentary about this blockbuster, star-studded, Oscar-nominated war film. Comments ranging from the classic "You suck," to "You hate our veterans," to your average, run of the mill death-threats left Stevensonson extremely confused.

It was then he realised, he did in fact, suck.

"It just occurred to me at that point that I am fucking idiot!" He exclaimed, breathless from his Archemedies-in-the-bathtub-esque revelation. "I  do in fact hate our troops and I am a turd,  I had no idea. If it weren't for those abusive internet comments I would've been left in the dark. I'm really quite grateful."

In response, Stevensonson will be walking a mile in a sniper's shoes, fucking himself and then dying, according to the advice of his internet compatriots. "It really is a revelation for me," John explained, tearing up. "I can't imagine what'd I'd be doing otherwise. Just living my life and not hurting anyone with my optionally-viewable opinions. It's unthinkable."

This article was written, on purpose, by Jorge Tsipos. Follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to his free weekly podcast Unnatural Selection if you like. 

Why Tony Loves Jets More Than People

There once was a boy named Tony. Tony was six and loved playing with his toy jets. His mum said to him all the time "Tony, stop playing with your toys and get ready for dinner!" but Tony refused. Tony would play with his toys day and night, refusing to let his sister, or anyone, touch them for fear that they would be spoilt. One day his mate Fat Joe came over and tried to take the toy jets away from Tony but he cried and cried and finally Fat Joe relented. Tony became so obsessed with his toys that he never paid attention to anything else; letting everything else in his room fall by the wayside. 

Tony's hot-wheels track soon fell into disuse and grew dusty and disused. Tony's internet was going to be super-duper fast and he was going to play games with his mates online, but since he found his darling jets he hadn't bothered to look at how to set it up. He just kept telling his mum it would be ready 'soon'.

Honestly!

Honestly!

His toy hospital and his toy economy went to ruins. Cobwebs and spiders ran amok in his tiny little model universe. Tony even started selling his model retirement village and medical centre in order to pay for more jets. He always wanted more and more jets. He wanted to line his walls with them. But when Fat Joe came asking for money for his own toy school Tony yelled and cried saying he had no money at all and that Fat Joe was being a meanie.

Fat Joe at an entire pie to console himself and got diabetes. 

I'm so empty inside

I'm so empty inside

Tony's mother screamed at him 'Tony, please, why do you need more jets? You already have dozens!' Tony petulantly cried 'The Chinese are coming momma! The Chinese!' and flung himself into his room. He was inconsolable. For days Jets and the Chinese were all Tony could talk about - meanwhile his room was getting messier and messier.

Eventually his parents and everyone he ever loved abandoned him - secure in the knowledge that nothing could pull him from his jets. And as his parents left their house, a foreclosure sign being stuck on after them, Tony was still in the house, playing with his jets.

Alone.

Follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter to read his other senseless nothings and listen to his podcast Unnatural Selection which is for jet-lovers only.

A Coffee

Nirvana strikes when you least expect it. A moment of utter clarity and oneness. It's rare, and it only happens when you're not trying to get there. As soon as you think about it, it's gone. It can be a nothing thing. This day it was a coffee.

I'm an accountant. Kind of. I have no qualifications. I work for my dad because he showed me how to enter the numbers into the computer and make everything balance to zero. Which always seemed strange to me. It's a great feeling when you've done everything right and it all just slots into place like a jigsaw for young kids or stupid people. At the same time it's weirdly unsatisfying to get there. You're back at zero. You've not progressed. You're essentially back at the start. Because of the nature of the beast there's always more numbers to put in, more months to reconcile. It's like running on a treadmill, you're sweating at the end, but you really didn't get anywhere, did you?

So I was on the treadmill one day and I decided that I wanted a break. I got a recommendation for a good place for coffee from a girl and decided to follow it up. It was more than a few blocks from work, but I wanted the walk. I wanted the crisp Melbourne air. I stepped outside and it started pissing rain. Typical.

The place was full of hipster douchebags and I loved it. It had chairs on the ceiling, you know the kind of place I'm talking about. Tiny little place, no awning, no signs, lots of Uni dudes with uncomfortably sculpted facial hair. The kind of place where they have different kinds of coffee to choose from, with words like 'blend' and lots of percentages I couldn't quite determine the functionality of. I ordered a latte and the guy looked at me like I was stupid.

"You want sugar with that?"

"Yeah, two please."

He scoffed as if I'd just ordered a well-done steak in a fancy restaurant. I looked at him.

"Name." he said, just like that. It wasn't a question, somehow.

"Jorge. Thanks."

I sat down and took my hat off. Today I was wearing a hat. I belonged. The coffee was ready and then the opposite of the snarky douche handed it to me with a smile. She was hipster perfection. Bob cut. Nose stud. The works. She was gorgeous.

"Jorge?"

"Yeah thanks," and something from my reptilian brain made me say

"You look beautiful."

"What?"

"Nothing. Thanks for the coffee."

I walked into the rain as my face burned. What a fucking thing to say, I felt like I was going girl crazy.

I sat down on a bench and pulled out a cigarette and lit it. The coffee as great and even better with a cigarette. Then Nirvana hit. Sure it was fake Nirvana, chemical Nirvana, but it still counts. Who had time to wait around for the real thing? Not that all the shitty things in the world disappeared, but they weren't crashing around in the forefront of my head anymore. They melted into the din of the crowd for a while. Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs. Economic downturn. Sovereign debt crisis. Greece. Burma. Egypt. Sudan. Somalia. Syria. They were all still there but I didn't care. For a moment, just a moment, I was a dude on a bench and nothing else. Not a citizen of the world or a reader of books or a big thinker. I was just present in my own skin. A guy sucking on a cigarette and a coffee watching the world pass by - and that was okay.

You might judge me for smoking, but I only do it occasionally. Hell, there's lots of self-destructive shit in this book, you're going to draw the line at cigarettes? It feels good. People always say 'how can people start smoking nowadays, knowing what we know?' or 'why do people take drugs, don't they know it's killing them?' or course they know they just don't care. It FEELS GOOD. They wouldn't do it if it didn't FEEL GOOD. And sometimes, more than sometimes, people need to feel not shitty. They need their little Nirvanas in-between shifts so they don't kill someone. Nobody thinks that the drinks that those sky cunts serve flying customers really save lives, but they do. They really do. There’s no stats on that.

I went back to work, smiling. For a while. And then I got a nosebleed. Story of my life.

This is a short story from Jorge's (eventually) upcoming book of short stories. Follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos to get his daily madness and listen to his weekly podcast Unnatural Selection in order to complete the brainwashing.

Dear 'The Past'

Hey Guys,

It's Jorge from the future and I just want to give you guys a big thank you. I know you're wondering right now, is Australia, and dare I say it, the world, going in the right direction? Well, you'd be right to be concerned. Syria, Ukraine, Sovereign Debt and a total lack of faith in the systems and institutions and have kept us white people safe for so long are crumbling around you. The planet is clearly warming despite three scientists ever saying anything to the contrary and it's all your fault and there's nothing you can do to stop it, right?

Well, I'm here to let you know it all pans out fine. People stop killing, raping and robbing each other, spontaneously. Vladimir Putin pulls his head in and becomes a decent bloke and actually becomes a huge philanthropist - donating all his ill-gotten millions to the poor and hungry. He retires from the presidency and hands Crimea back to the Ukraine, content to live out his winter years on the bright fields of Sochi. Democracy flares up and actually works, everywhere. And it's good democracy, where only good, mature  views are represented, not that shitty American kind, where everyone disagrees.

Tony Abbott changes his mind and goes into unprecedented debt and funds green energy options. A solar panel the size of Texas is built in the South Australian desert and all of Australia's energy requirements are free and covered for the next 100 years. 

All the religious leaders of the world kill themselves, beginning a huge wave of secular humanism. People come to their senses and realise that there's nothing wrong with being gay, bi, trans, queer or any other thing they choose to self-identify as. AIDS and cancer is cured and people have a world-wide sensual love in to celebrate.

Thankfully all the billionaires realised they couldn't spend all their money in a hundred lifetimes and decided to spread the wealth amongst the people - and continued to do so until every man, woman and child was housed, fed, watered and had a Playstation 4. It really was a brilliant time. You managed to stop just in time to save every single species of animal and let the world recover from the several hundred years of raping and pillaging that we've done. 

I'm so glad that you guys came to this realisation, and all it took was doing the same stupid shit over and over and over before you got a different result. Congrats guys. Everyone here with his personal dolphin-butler/sexual companion says hi and thanks you.

Regards,

Future Jorge 

 

Follow Present Jorge on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to his weekly comedy podcast Unnatural Selection, in order figure out how to save the world, one dick joke at a time.

Should I Take Antidepressants?

Nobody thinks depression is a good idea - but it exists regardless. Theories for its development range from an effective way to keep close family members near the home during a time of grief and thus away from the danger that killed the respective dead person in the first place to a simple chemical imbalance. God's hilarious mistake. It's easy (and fun!) to conjure up whatever evolutionary-biology fantasy three-way you want to to explain it, the simple fact is it's here and here to stay, the why isn't so important.

In the history of the human race never has there been more prosperity than there is today. We in the Western World (whatever that's supposed to mean) are graced with record low infant mortality rates, longer lives, better medical care, higher literacy rates, better social mobility (etc etc etc) than ever before. By almost every metric, life is better now than any period in human history. So why are so many people so fucking sad?

I'd like to refer you to Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs, so I will. Here it is.

Here is the thing I said!

Here is the thing I said!

The the general thrust is that only once your basic needs are met can you worry about higher functioning, complex emotional thoughts like existentialism and purpose. You don't really have the luxury of worrying about WHY you exist when you're running, naked through the jungle from the thing that's trying to stop you from existing. It's lower down on the list of priorities. I'd be rather inclined to agree with this assessment if it didn't make it seem like people who don't have a job can't be worried about self esteem too. Or anything else that's on the list. Things just aren't as dramatic as all that nowadays - there's no sabre tooth tiger coming to get you anymore. I hope. The two ideas aren't mutually exclusive and to conflate them is actually a disservice. 

Perhaps it is because of this Hierarchy of Needs, perhaps not. Let's say it is. That would correlate to what people seem to understand - the modern human is more depressed and yet more fortuitous than ever before. It's because we've had things so easy (relatively speaking) that we're so depressed. Like Tyler Durden once said "We are the middle children of history."

I'm an artist (sort of) and so I like to look at everything through that kind of lens. I hear people say a lot that they definitely are depressed (almost bragging about it) but they then go on to say that they wouldn't want to take medication because it would brainwash them, or perhaps if they were happy they wouldn't be able to function as the kind of artist they are. This is a fallacy. Medication, in the physiological 'medicine-goes-on-the-sore-part' thinking is a way of treating something that's broken. If you're brain is broken (and I'm not saying it is) it may be worth trying medication. The simple fact is that if you don't like it, or feel the long, wet hand of Big Pharma creeping up your pants you can always stop. You can always go back to being the same old miserable bastard you always were. You are in charge of the thing, and thus, can put what you want into your own body.

I'm not a doctor, and I would never presume to give medical advice, but my general position on medication is this: If a doctor you trust and who knows you (and your medical history) prescribes antidepressants, it's probably worth a try. I've been on Lexapro (An SSRI - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) for just over a year now and it has helped me dramatically - it should be noted alongside cognitive-behavioural therapy, constant exercise and diet and a raft of other measures all geared to my betterment as a human. I'm wonderful, is what I'm saying. 

People (my past self amongst them) say stupid things like they don't want to take antidepressants because it'll change who they are. Yeah, that's the whole point. Maybe if you're miserable the whole time it's probably best to be someone else. Someone who isn't a reclusive wanker. Someone who can be happy and productive and actually has the motivation to make art, rather than just theorise about it. 

So the answer to the original question 'Should I take antidepressants?' is this: Maybe you should try anti-depressants. If your doctor thinks. If you like. For a bit. There should be no stigma in admitting you need a little hand every now and then and getting it. You might just find, like I did, that there's a whole bunch of people that you already know that are already on the same thing. It's all well and good to try and white-knuckle your way through it but I imagine you'll stress yourself (and your loved ones) out just a little bit less, if you try and get some help - be that counselling, meds or maybe just keeping a journal. It's all about what works for you. Cherry-pick the best bits and keep battling.

 

Jorge Tsipos also is part of a weekly comedy podcast called Unnatural Selection, which is nothing like this article! Follow Jorge on twitter!