Reblog: “40 Years of Goth” video

This is a fun little video, in the same vein as the “history of fashion” videos which have been put out on Youtube recently:

40 Years of Goth

An interview on Goth follows with the filmmaker.

I’m more of a Romantic Goth myself.  As I get older it gets harder to keep up with the fashion, what with a middle-aged body that doesn’t fit into the stuff I used to wear, and lack of $$ for Goth clothes.  But I still have a few Goth outfits I can still wear, and I do occasionally wear them–to church.  Yes, church.  😀

But the music is still my thing.  My favorite station is here: Sanctuary Radio Darkwave, Industrial, Goth, EBM, Synthpop, much of it coming from the Germans.  And this station–which runs on donations–occasionally uses “torture time” (ie, the pop music everybody else listens to) to get us to donate so the station can go back to our regular format.  Fun, fun, fun!

A few of my current favorites:

 

 

 

And one which my brain now connects with my novel:

 

 

 

 

 

Former FBI special agent on right-wing extremism–and my ex-friend Richard

This morning, I found this opinion piece by Erroll Southers in my local newspaper.  It sent up little flashes in my memory of a blog post written back in April 2009 by my former friend Richard, the narcissist.  A little bit of research–including re-reading Richard’s blog post–confirmed my memory.  No, I won’t link to Richard’s post, because it uses his real name, and I will not identify him here on my website.

Southers writes,

Another homegrown attack involving an American killing other Americans.  This comes at a time when police officers are being killed, government properties occupied, and immigrants threatened. And the response is predictable. We are fixated on a foreign threat instead of the diverse ideologies breathing life into their adherents, and we ignore the fact that American citizens have committed 80 percent of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.

…Research and reports on anti-government movements have documented trends and forecast events. However, they have been all but ignored and even rebuffed.

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that white supremacist and violent anti-government groups, leveraging the real estate environment, unemployment and the election of the first African American president, could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past. Amid an aggressive political attack on the report from the right, the DHS report was withdrawn.

Richard saw the DHS report referred to here by Southers (which you can find here), and took offense at it.  He complained that “This is a crime against Liberty, my friends.  The Statists are seizing control while we watch Liberty get strangled in the name of National Security. ”

To quote his exact arguments would mean quoting the entire blog post, which is two paragraphs; not only would that violate copyright, but make it easily searchable through Google.  But basically, he complained that because he and some family/friends didn’t vote for Obama, or are returning vets, they are considered racists/extremists and being watched.  That he is now on a watchlist because of blogging against the government.

I just read over the report, and Richard’s post sounds like a huge spurt of paranoia.  What I see there is nothing like the way he characterized it.  The report was not stigmatizing all vets or all people who voted against Obama or disagree with the government.  Click on it and you’ll see what it’s really about: radical extremism, which has already led to terrorist acts.

But should Richard have been concerned about being on a watchlist?  I’m sure the government was not aware his tiny blog, with only 8 posts ever, even existed.

But the report does refer to the same kinds of conspiracy theories I heard from both Richard and his friend “Chris” during the late ’00s: anti-government fears of race wars and cataclysmic economic collapse.

Richard once warned me on the phone that white supremacists were planning a race war if Obama was elected.  (Was this supposed to frighten me into voting Republican?)

Chris warned me of a coming economic collapse; he even went to New Hampshire to join an anti-government group and live off the grid.  Chris believed in aliens and secret groups controlling all governments.  I first heard of militia groups and conspiracies about our government setting up new concentration camps, from him.

Richard also hated gun restrictions and Social Services.

The DHS report also speaks of stockpiling weapons; I’m not aware of Richard doing this, but I do recall wondering if he would eventually hole up in the woods with an arsenal.

And yes, Chris is the friend who soon replaced me as Richard’s bestie, taking up all his free time, causing all sorts of jealousy in me.  I guess I was just too liberal and statist for Richard’s taste.

As I read over the report and the warnings it gives about right-wing extremism being fertile ground for home-grown terrorism, and remember events of the years since 2009, I see that IT WAS RIGHT.

But because of pushback from the right (and, I saw in one of the linked articles, Democrats too), the report was withdrawn and not used.

Richard took offense at the report, but we have seen it borne out in recent times–including just last week in Orlando.  As Southers writes,

Among other elements, the DHS report described the Sovereign Citizens, a movement based on conspiratorial beliefs about the legitimacy of the founding of the United States. The report contained valuable law enforcement training information useful for officer safety.

Unfortunately, the report never reached West Memphis, where Arkansas officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were killed by sovereigns during a traffic stop.

Over the past decade, officers died in the line of duty at a rate of one every 59 hours, and many of those murders were precipitated by a violent ideology.

And now we have lone-wolf shooters influenced by ISIS–which encourages lone wolves to help their fight–terrorizing the land while Congress refuses to pass more restrictive gun laws.  Yet more “moments of silence” with nothing done to stop the rise in shootings.  And people saying that common-sense restrictions on automatics/semi-automatics are restrictions on our constitutional liberties, while–get this–it’s legal to buy 50-caliber weapons which SHOOT PLANES OUT OF THE SKY!

Tennessee’s new official state rifle is so powerful it can ‘destroy commercial aircraft’

Little could we know that a man born on Long Island would enter a nightclub in Orlando and come close to matching the domestic terror death toll for an entire year in one night.

As we continue to focus on the threat of ISIL and its alleged nexus to immigration and concern regarding returning foreign fighters, perhaps recent events would suggest otherwise. The cold hard truth is that America has a homegrown terrorism problem, and holding up a mirror to our country offers a sobering notion of who tomorrow’s suspects may be. Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.

Would Richard himself be a terrorist?  I doubt it.  I also don’t know if he still is into right-wing extremism, which included anarchy and anti-police rhetoric.  But reading this opinion piece in the paper this morning is yet another reminder of why I’m far better off without this narcissist in my life.

PS: Kudos to Congressional Democrats, first the Senate and now the House, taking protest measures to force votes on gun control.  Even if the measures fail yet again, at least they’re making Congress vote rather than just another “moment of silence” and ineffective prayers!  They are my heroes!  😀

 

 

 

 

Life is good now: Looking back at 6 years ago

Around noon today, I reviewed an old post describing my depression nearly 6 years ago, caused by breaking off relations with my narcissist abusers, Richard and Tracy.  I hadn’t forgotten how bad it got, but I did note a huge contrast to how my life is now.  For example, I was deep in a funk, probably suffering from a type of PTSD caused by emotional abuse, and having trouble connecting to people in my town.

Another thing is, the older I get, especially as another birthday looms, the more my mind keeps balking at how many years have passed and my aging body.  I’m not old, though my age says I’m going firmly into middle age–but I could swear I don’t feel a day over 25.

The calendar says it’s been nearly a decade since Richard first came to my town, while I could swear it was only a couple of years ago at most.  I see the cool young rock stars of my youth–Prince, Henry Rollins, etc. etc.–with gray hair or, occasionally, dying.

Instead of Gen-Xers, everybody now focuses on Millennials.  We’re not the cool youth fighting tradition anymore, even though I could swear my musical taste gets harder and crunchier the older I get.  (Love that German Industrial.  😉  )

But then this morning I thought, “Hey, wait a minute, when I was 6 years younger, still in my 30s, I was going through this nasty depression.  When I was even younger, the depression was still in my future.  Now I’m over it.”

Another thing I thought: When I was 6 years younger, I wasn’t in the Writer’s Club.  I didn’t join it back then because it was more of a class, and I didn’t want another class or assignments after getting a college degree in Writing.  I already knew how to write, and just wanted to get better and get feedback.

Anyway, it has a different president, and now I’m in it, meeting people and making friends.  One young friend nearly quit, but changed his mind, and that made me happy.  He’s always arguing with the club president, who doesn’t “get” his youthful spirit and writing, but he makes me laugh.  Another friend, in his 80s I believe, writes short memoirs for the local newspaper; when I walked into the meeting on Monday, he said I always look pretty and have this big smile on my face.

And I have friends at church as well.  I’m making friends through Greek School, along with coffee hour.  Then there’s the one I consider my best friend here, a fellow introvert, writer and German-speaker, and also a goofball.

Then this evening, I got a new thing to add to the list of what didn’t happen when I was 6 years younger and still in my 30s: I never rode in a 1929 Model A before.  But now, on the edge of my 43rd year, I have ridden in one.  After Greek School, I walked outside the church and there it sat in the parking lot.  It belongs to a member of the church and her husband, who took out a few of us.  He took us through Lakeside Park and honked the horn (yes, Ooga Ooga) at anyone who stopped and looked.  😀

And we have a family of skunks living nearby, one big one and three little ones.  They’re cool to watch, though don’t get too close!  Tonight they chased a rabbit.  I guess rabbits don’t want to get sprayed, either.

I also didn’t have the formation of a new novel filling my head 6 years ago.

Another thing is glancing through the obits and seeing somebody my age, or younger, and realizing it’s not so bad to be just about to turn 43.

So yes, those of you going through the aftermath of abuse of some kind, it does get better.  I saw in my old post that I wanted to die.  But I didn’t, and now look how things are.

 

 

 

 

Richard & Tracy Have Been Banned.

[This was posted May 25, 2012.  The blog was only “scrubbed” for a very short time, then it all went back up again.]

I blocked their IP so they couldn’t keep coming here, which they’ve been doing 3 or 4 times a day, all week long, just looking but not saying a word, and really starting to creep me out.

But I’m still keeping the place scrubbed for the time being.  In the mean time, enjoy my other tales of my experiences: NVLD and My College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke: Or, how NVLD affected my life.

…And now they’ve been proven to be stalking me.  I told them not to contact me, to leave me alone, so they formed a fake account on Facebook just so they could send me a nasty e-mail.

It’s the typical abusive e-mail: blame the victim, try to make the victim seem like the crazy one, threats, deny, minimize, justify, isolate the victim from support, etc. etc.

They turned things around to make me sound like the bully, just like she verbally abused me on 7/1/10 and then claimed to be the “victim.”

And they’re laughing at my pain.

Yet I have online court records, the things I witnessed, the things they themselves told me, chat logs, e-mails, to prove that I’m not lying.  As for speculation–It’s easy to tell what parts are speculation.  They are gaslighting me again, trying to make me think I haven’t seen what I’ve seen, or know what I know.

And I think they have a much broader idea of the range of this blog than it actually has: It’s just a small-time blog with small numbers, which is not advertised in the wall of my Facebook account, and appears to have had no pageviews at all from the one mutual friend since long before any of the abuse story blogs went up.

Very few people have actually read any of it, and apparently not anyone Richard or Tracy know; there is absolutely no record in Google Analytics or in the Blogger tracker of any of their friends having read it since any of this was posted.

Most of the blogs in question had no more than maybe 15-30 hits, if even that, before they started clicking on them.  But I’ve taken everything down anyway.  [Update 2/16/14: This was only temporary.  I put everything back up shortly thereafter.]

And I spoke to the police about the e-mail they sent me, put it on file that I received this, and what happened.

Why did they even come here, spying on the means I used, the means I have always used, a very effective means, to get various abuse and bullying experiences out of my system?  The College Memoirs posts finally got those experiences out of my system; this one was finally going out as well, when Richard and Tracy decided to poop all over it.

They actually had the nerve to accuse me of “threatening” them because I told them if they bullied me again, I would tell again.  Oh, gee, the victim isn’t supposed to speak up about bullying?  Yeah, I get it.

And they got after me for telling them to stay away from me, from my church, said that they would now start coming all the time because of that.  So I don’t get to set boundaries, tell the bully to leave me alone?  Yeah, I get it.

This e-mail only proves my point yet again.  If they were normal people who actually cared about others, they wouldn’t have sent this e-mail.  They wouldn’t sit there and say they did nothing wrong.

They would say they were sorry.  They would realize that they overreacted, were too hard on me.  Heck, things never would’ve gotten like this in the first place, because on the first day or two after such a blowup, they would’ve calmed down and apologized for getting nasty.

But their response proves that they are indeed narcissists and bullies, who care only about their own selves, not anybody else or the consequences of their rages.  Even though their actions caused me severe psychological and spiritual trauma and damage, they still insist they will not apologize because they “did nothing wrong.”

They’re just like “The Avenger,” who found the page of my College Memoirs about her, and even though some years had passed, still said, “You have an interesting perspective on what happened.”  No apologies, nothing.  Just ridicule.

And as I wrote on the first page of my website account, if they just look and laugh and make no apologies, then that’s childish and proves that they have no business coming back in our lives.

I had hoped that Richard was reading my blogs and realizing just how badly he had treated me, that he was wrong, and was going to beg our forgiveness.

But sadly, no.  I was severely deceived by his character.  His true character is now glaring me in the face.  And it is an ugly one.

I am DONE grieving for him, because his friendship was all a facade.  True friends don’t treat you this way.  They were just using us.

I wish so much that I had never heard of this person.  That I had never invited him to live here.  I was so, so very wrong to do this.  I repent of it sorely.

Take my story as a precaution that you must be extremely careful how you meet any Internet friends in real life.  Do not let them move in with you right away.  Do not assume that their Internet persona is their real one.

Now I fear for my safety if I go to my own church, wonder if I will even be able to continue there, or will be chased out of it, because Richard and Tracy are threatening to show up at my church all the time now just to spite me, just out of hate!

And they are trying to bully me into silence yet again, just as they did when they told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff, because we don’t need the headache.”  It makes me wish I had held onto the e-mails they sent me two years ago, because I could use them for evidence for the police and the priest.  [I still have some of them.]

Also see: Have I Confronted My Mother/Abuser with the Truth?

Update 6/24/16: For what I REALLY said, see these links, which prove I NEVER threatened them (except to say I’d go to the police if they threatened me):

–Password protected posts: here and here, password “thetruth”

–Related posts, here, here, here, and this section:

It’s been a struggle just keeping in the same denomination as they are, especially when they have demonstrated that they will still come to my church on occasion–meaning I can never consider them to be completely out of my life unless they relocate.

I came close to giving up on church because it reminded me too much of Richard, but I had too much strength in my beliefs to throw them away.

I sometimes feel that the only way I can truly go on in Orthodoxy is if they either apologize for their crimes, or leave me alone to disconnect the Orthodox Church from Richard.

Also a now-deleted section of one of my pages, which said,

I am no longer afraid of either you or Tracy, because the charges against you mean you are walking on very thin ice with the authorities, and you know it. If either of you even so much as leaves an angry message on my answering machine, I will report you immediately.

[Update 2/16/14:] This is related to the post Now I’m Being Stalked.  I will NOT sticky-post “Stalked,” because that would mean going into it again and re-reading the threatening, DARVO e-mail sent by Tracy.  This would still be bad for my emotional health; I went no-contact with these people for a reason, because Tracy has a “gift” to sear people with her words.  So if you want to read it, go to the above link.

And especially see this, which is relevant to this e-mail I received–and to e-mails just like it which are sent to victims of abuse and narcissists, all over the world, all the time: One Mom’s Battle posts on the Narc Decoder, Reclaiming Your Power with the Narc Decoder

Another narc decoder post is here.

 

Excerpt from “Tojet”

A fairy tale for adults.  A mysterious girl named Tojet appears in a convent-run school one day.  Two teachers, Sister Elizabeth and oddly-named Merkit Terjit, take her under their care.

But is she a lost, imaginative orphan or a time traveler with fairy powers?  How does she know who Merkit is and how he was named?

Tragedy drives her away, but she returns as a young, beautiful woman, far more mature than she should be.  She shows Merkit a world of obsession and dark fairies.

He can’t help falling in love with her, but what about the monastic vows he’s about to take?  Can he fight the temptations that surround him?

Available for book or e-book purchase here.  An excerpt:

 

The next morning, a Saturday, Merkit sat with Tojet in the kitchen after breakfast as Barb ran some light errands.  He talked with Tojet about school, but she kept yawning.

“Didn’t you get enough sleep last night?” he said with a grimace that was supposed to be a smile.

“Well, no,” she said.  “I came back too late in the night to get all my ten hours.  I came back when the fairies woke me up.  They said I’d fallen asleep, and should go to bed.”

“Fairies? You saw fairies?”  Merkit crossed his arms to block a sudden chill.

“I want you to be my friend, so I want you to know everything about me,” she said.  Her tone was matter-of-fact as she explained, as if every other child went to visit fairies across the ocean in another time every night.  Yet as he listened to her story, Merkit felt as if he himself had been there, had gone to dance with the fairies, had gone to a fairy ring on a hill in the forest around Silva at midnight, had seen a full moon. . . .

There, a full moon shone through the treetops.  Mushrooms sprouted up in the meadow in a ring large enough to fit a few human-sized fairies, if there were any.  Tojet looked like a fairy herself in her white lace dress, the same she’d worn at their first meeting, so yes, there was one.  Merkit leaned his arm against a tree trunk to watch.  His cloak billowed down from his arm and around his shoulders in the evening breeze.

The moonlight couldn’t penetrate the trees of the surrounding wood, and lit only the little ring.  Deer, squirrels, mice, and other animals crept up to the ring to watch the strange creatures, but moved no closer.  Powder-scented, naked elves and pixies of both sexes danced inside the ring on the mild, May night.  Their nakedness was no surprise: drawings and paintings often showed them that way.  The fairies were of various sizes, some tiny and with butterfly wings, some larger and without wings.  Fairy musicians with fairy flutes, lutes, panpipes, fiddles, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and jaw harps played reels and softer, sweeter melodies. Merkit wanted to join the leaping, spinning fairies, but Tojet called to him,

“Don’t come in the ring.  You’ll have to join in if you do, and then you’ll get a wasting sickness, like consumption, or you’ll find out a century has gone by the time you get out again.  Only I can join in, until you marry me–then you can, too.”

Some fairies left the dancing to find private spots in the darkness of the treetops and bushes.  Tojet saw them go, but looked away again, ignoring them. When Merkit cried out in surprise, she looked at him.

“They’re fairies,” she said, shrugging, “not humans.  I don’t think they keep that stuff between a man and his wife.  They have totally different rules for what’s a sin and what’s not.  For example, if you step in the ring, they think it’s right to make you dance till you get sick, because you broke the rules.”  After unfastening and unbraiding her pigtails, she continued dancing.

Two blue cat-eyes appeared by a tree outside the ring, then the full-sized woman they belonged to.  She was several inches taller than Merkit.  Her middle-parted, blonde hair fell in both curls and tiny plaits to her knees.  Two braids circled her head below a wreath made of leaves and lilies of the valley.  Her slanted eyebrows, tiny nose, pointy ears, butterfly wings, and enchanting beauty showed her to be a fairy, probably the queen or princess of the fairies.  She was also the only fairy wearing clothing.  She wore a sleeveless, knee-length dress woven of gauzy, green spider silk, and only a small shift underneath.  Queen Anne’s lace circled her wrists.  She wore no shoes on her three-toed feet.  She smelled like violets.

A fog filled Merkit’s mind until he forgot his own name.  He forgot he was a married and God-fearing man.  Who was he?  What had he done, what had he been before this night?  He shook his head, but couldn’t clear it.  All he saw was the fairy queen.  He wanted her with a primitive, nature-worshiping lust.

He forgot all his objections to the fairy behavior.  The queen’s slight and perfect, small-breasted, curved figure beckoned to him.  He forgot he’d ever even had a wife.

He forgot he’d ever been anywhere else but there in the forest.  He forgot who Tojet was.  The fairy queen’s red, Cupid’s bow mouth curled up in a seductive grin.  He imagined taking her to the side of the ring and lying on the ground with her.  He forgot Tojet’s warning.  In his mind, he kissed every inch of her heart-shaped face and pointy chin, holding her tightly, but careful not to tear her delicate wings.

He shook off his fantasy.  He stepped around the ring and toward her to kiss her and act it out.  She put her arms around him, letting him kiss her and press his body against her.

“No!” blasted across the ring.

They both turned to Tojet.  She glared at them with her cat-eyes.  Her own childish beauty showed despite her frown, and perhaps because of it.  The fairy queen obeyed the human child and gently pushed Merkit away.  Merkit looked at her again, disappointed.  He saw the lust in her own eyes.

“It must not be,” she said in a voice like the tinkling of a dripping faucet, or a dewdrop splashing on the tin roof of a garden gnome’s house.  “You are to stay pure, and I am not the one who belongs to you.”

The fog cleared a little; the memory of his wife and Tojet now returned to him.  At first he thought the fairy queen meant his wife, but somehow he knew she meant Tojet.

“But Tojet’s only a child,” he said.

“Of course she’s not yours now, but she will not be a child forever.  She’s half grown-up already, and once she’s fully grown, she’s yours.”

“Don’t make him a slave with your kisses, please, Your Majesty,” Tojet said.  “He’s not meant to be your boyfriend.  You and your fairies promised him to me.”

Merkit blinked.  He now remembered where he came from.  “Why me?” he said. “Why not someone in her own time?”

The queen said, “Because you’re more likely to treat her as an equal, and be good enough for our favorite.  Tojet should never be treated as second best.  We sent scouts throughout the twentieth century and beyond to find a husband for her.  Your parents loved fairies, so we soon focused on you and decided to see what kind of man you’d be when you grew up.  We looked, and had the local fairies check on you.  We liked what we saw, and thought you’d make an excellent match for Tojet.  You’re kind, you’re passionate, and you treat women properly; you two also have similar interests.”

“Similar interests?  But she’s only nine.  I like classic novels and she likes Winnie the Pooh books, for example.”

“We know how she’ll turn out, what she’ll be interested in as she grows up.”

“But I have a wife.”

“We also know your future.”

The last traces of fog dissipated.  Unease jabbed his stomach.  What was in his future?  Why did she say this when he mentioned his wife?

Merkit turned and saw Tojet, who was curled up on the side of the ring, asleep.  He felt more like a father who must get his sleeping child to bed than a predestined husband of a fairy child.

“What did you do to me?  Why did I forget everything about myself?  Who will you do this to next?”

The fairy queen only smiled.  “I’ll turn to the king of the goblins.  Of all the local kings, he is the handsomest.  After the dance, I will go to meet him; he needs no spells.  Your heart is so loyal that trying to charm you has given me a headache.  Now go, take your betrothed maiden home.”

Merkit picked Tojet up, but she disappeared, along with everything else.  He jerked his head back and forward again.  There she sat at the kitchen table in front of him.  She finished her tale.  He must have imagined the scene with the fairy ring, but it had seemed so real.  Even his lustful fantasy seemed real, and now it shamed him.

What business did he, a married man and a Christian, have fantasizing about a fairy queen?  He had to find something else to do to chase the fantasy from his mind.  Why would he even want to fantasize about a fairy queen?  Barb was everything he’d ever wanted in a wife; they had many of the same thoughts and liked many of the same things.  When they met in a Christian group at college as sophomores, they fell for each other right away.  After a few months of obsessing, Merkit worked up the courage to ask her out, only to find that she had also been obsessing.  The Christian group was new, and Merkit and Barb worked together to help make it more visible on campus.  They worked side by side for the group to make and put up posters around the campus, plan parties and trips to see Christian rock bands, and lead (Barb) or go to (Merkit) small groups.  They fought hard against many temptations to sleep together, their biggest struggle of all.  Their friends called them the perfect couple.

When they got engaged in their senior year, no one was surprised.  He had no reason to want a stranger, even a fairy queen, instead.

“A nice little tale, Tojet,” he said, “but we can’t spend all our time dancing with fairies.  I have to go grade some papers now.”  He jumped up and trotted off to find his briefcase.  He later hurried off to the church for Saturday morning confessions, to purge himself of the fairy queen fantasy.

Fighting the Darkness: Fear of Death

As I noted and explained in my original “Fighting the Darkness” post, this whole ordeal has put my faith into a terrible period of testing and doubt.

I had seen so many signs that God wanted me to be friends with Richard, that God had brought us together so Richard could lead me into Orthodoxy and I could help his family.

But as I’ve already noted, I discovered that apparently God had brought me into friendship with a dangerous, violent narcissist and his malignant narcissist/borderline personality disordered wife.

I start thinking, “What if it’s all a lie and all religion is false and everyone who dies goes into nothingness, goes into darkness, vanishes forever?”  I don’t want to vanish forever.  I want my consciousness to live on.

Atheists don’t seem to realize that their message of “no Hell, no Heaven, this is all we get” is not the message of happiness and freedom they think it is.  They don’t seem to understand why more people don’t pound down their door wanting this.

Even John Lennon didn’t get it, writing those lines in “Imagine”–imagine there’s no Heaven above us, no Hell below us–as if it would somehow free the human race from its woes.

On the contrary, such a message brings horror and fear of death to most.  We want to leave this place and go to a better one, with no sickness or woe, where justice is meted out for the people who hurt others without regret and without punishment.

Where a poor little child whose last moments were of terror, molestation and murder, finds herself in a land of bliss, warmth, love and comfort.

Where we will once again see the smile of that long-lost mother, son, husband, friend, and not have them lost to us forever.

I want to live, I want to see what happens after I leave this earth.  I don’t want to lose myself forever.  I don’t want my consciousness to vanish into nothingness.  I don’t want to fall asleep and never wake up, in a place where even dreams cease.

I don’t want my dreams and the stories I played out in my childhood, to be lost forever.

This morning I had another dream of death, of terror at the thought of going into darkness forever.  I have these now and then.  One vivid dream took place at a cemetery during a funeral.

I am comforted by the teaching of classical churches that this is not a sin, that it doesn’t mean I lose my salvation, that it’s not even a sign of weakness.

On the contrary, I was told it’s a sign of a mature faith, as long as you keep in the church, keep doing the things you’re supposed to do.

Mother Theresa went through this for most of her life, as has been documented.  Other saints of the church have, as well.

I was even told that many priests have moments of wondering as they go through the service, “Is this all for nothing?”  In fact, it has a name: The Long Dark Night of the Soul.

But there are churches which would drive you further into spiritual despair by telling you that you’re gravely sinning by questioning, by doubting.  It’s yet another reason to run from those churches and into the arms of Orthodoxy.

 

Finding out people you love have a dark side

Finding out someone you loved (romantically, or friendship, or family member) is not what you thought they were, brings a unique pain.

First, there were two guys I loved in college.  I thought they were wonderful; as it turned out, one (Peter) was apparently pretending to be more religious than he really was, and the other (Phil) was a manipulative, deceitful abuser.  But they were exes, and it’s expected that exes will let you down and leave your life eventually.

But when it’s a friend or family member….

First, in 2007, I found out that my family had been hiding things from me about my father for my entire life.  He had a whole secret habit that I knew nothing about, that I had always been taught was sinful, but everyone but me knew about it.

Then the same day I found out about it, my mom thought he had left her, and considered divorce.  That turned out to be a misunderstanding, but the secret was out, and I had to deal with discovering that my dad was not what I always thought he was.

Then there was my former best friend Richard.  I just got an e-mail today from a forum we used to go on together to defend Orthodoxy.  I couldn’t stand getting these reminders anymore from a forum we haven’t been on for nearly three years, so I went to try to delete my account.  However, there is no way to do that.

It reminded me of how religious and righteous he always seemed to be, and how the truth was that he’s showing traits of narcissism, that he’s a violent man who did an evil, evil deed, nearly killing his 9-year-old daughter by choking her to unconsciousness.

Then there was finding out what my former boss did.  I thought he was a good person, despite his temper, and I liked him.  But no, he’s so violently abusive that he went to jail for 9 months, drove away the wife he loved, and lost custody of all his children.

I’m still mourning for him and for Richard, as if they had died, because the person I thought I knew, is dead–or never existed.

How do you get past finding out that people you love, are not what you thought they were?  That they’ve been deceiving you, or that they’re actually evil?

And how do you stop wishing they would come to you and apologize for what they’ve done, or prove that they’ve changed so you can be friends again?

I suppose there are many people out there who feel the same pain: former mates of narcissists, abused spouses, people who were mentored by priests who turned out to be molesters.

Can you ever get over it?

 

FLASHBACK TO 2010: Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason

[Written 1/27/14-4/17/14:]

For a long time after the breakup, I was a shadow of myself: often crying, barely sleeping, doing my daily chores/church like an automaton.

Something about Saturday and going to the store brought on the tears before I could even get back home, then after putting things away, I’d escape and weep in my room.

In the middle of the night, I’d leave my bed to sob where no one could hear me.

When I could sleep, I’d dream that everything was resolved–then wake to find it wasn’t true.  I kept longing for the phone to ring with their apologies.  I prayed every day that they would repent and reconcile with us.

I asked the Theotokos and Richard’s patron saint for help.  I asked my son to pray for reconciliation.

I posted on Orthodox forums about this, asking for prayer and help figuring out how this could happen, help with dealing with it.

Once, shortly after the breakup, my son told me Richard had called.  I was shocked–but soon discovered he was mistaken.  It was either Jeff or some other guy leaving a message, but wasn’t Richard.

It wasn’t Tracy I missed at all, but Richard, though I did want her to be sorry for her unconscionable raging and bullying, and stop falsely accusing me.

I was furious with her, but not at all sad to lose her.  It was, in fact, a huge relief to finally dump this crazy lady out of my life, no longer have to deal with her or see her on my Facebook wall.

If it were just her I lost, I’d be ecstatic.

But it was also Richard and the children: Them I missed.  They were the reason I even tried to make things up.  Without them, I wouldn’t have bothered.

In fact, after spending the month of July not having to deal with her at all, trying to deal with her in August felt like I had finally dropped a mountain off my back, rested and gotten used to the freedom of not having it there anymore, then took it back up again.

This was one reason why I asked for a six-month break, because I missed the freedom of her not being around, and could see a huge difference in my mood.

I could also see a huge difference between her last Facebook message, which showed up on my list of messages, and other messages above it from other friends.  Hers was so nasty, while theirs were so cheerful and friendly.

I would do nothing intentionally, especially not with a young child depending on me.  But I longed to get into an accident or find out I had some terminal illness, so I would die and the pain would cease.

The only way I could get through the day was to do housework and take care of my son.  There were also some people I could hang out with at school when I went to drop him off/pick him up.

When he had a T-ball game, I went, but just sitting there with little to occupy my mind was torment.

And being an introvert, it was impossible to get away from my thoughts for any length of time, no matter what I did: TV, chores, the daily trek to the school (a mile and a quarter, always on foot because I don’t have a car and don’t drive).

I avoided anything and everything that reminded me of Richard: Cthulhu, the music he liked, anything Goth because he’s a Goth, the songs that reminded me of him, Lord of the Rings (he was my Frodo)….

I could not avoid church or Orthodoxy without spiritual and household disruption, but I scaled back on my fervor because I just could not bear it.

All I could hear during services was Richard’s voice in my head, telling me over the phone of the church’s “mysteries.”  I could barely get through a service without tearing up.

Even an ode to friendship made me sad.  Or anything having to do with marriage, because jealousy caused the breakup.  In fact, I felt just like Stan in the You’re Getting Old episode of South Park, which aired on June 8, 2011.

I didn’t mind making new friends and re-connecting with old ones, but I wanted Richard back along with them.  Otherwise, everything just felt empty.  There was a Richard-shaped hole in my heart.

I felt lost and alone.  I was devastated; nothing could make me happy; I was torn to pieces, and questioning everything about myself and about our decision to end the friendship.

I’d read about Orthodox forgiveness, and it sounded like I was supposed to repent and beg for forgiveness even though I had done nothing wrong, even though it’s very wrong to require the victim of abuse to debase herself to her abuser.

Then there were the tracks: The train that kept running around and around in my head, constantly tormenting me as my mind tried to figure out what happened and who was to blame, what I should do, was I really a whore.

Everything I saw, everything I did, every movie, every song, even my faith, reminded me of Richard or of Tracy’s accusations, so I could not get away from them.

The slightest trigger sent my brain into a constant spinning of wheels, like a mechanized track it had to follow until it worked its way back out again to a conclusion: I had to remember, ponder, figure out.

Then I’d get a question all sorted out as I remembered everything that happened–but some snatch of conversation, a situation on a comedy, a letter to an advice columnist, or just a memory or song–and off the train went again on its track, around and around, never stopping.

I think it took about a year for these tracks to stop, probably around the time I finished writing my account in this web book of what happened, and could just re-read it if I started on a track again.  The process of writing and revision took from late 2010 to May 2012.

I felt like I did not deserve friendship, was not worthy of happiness, until Richard and Tracy forgave me and snatched me off the track.

I trusted only the people I already knew, constantly afraid to make new friends, because they might turn out to be just like Tracy, or rip out my heart as Richard did.

I feared what people must think of me, because Richard and Tracy had so bullied me for being shy and quiet that I now felt like everyone must be judging me and secretly cruel.

I feared that I’d make new friends, only to find that they were also narcissists, also abusive, and all my sweet new memories with them would turn sour just as they did with Richard.

I feared that old friends would turn out to be narcissists after all these years.

In short, I was scared of people.

I even had terrible migraines that didn’t go away.

As they say, I felt like the life had been sucked out of me and nothing was left to keep me going.  And it wasn’t just because of him, since I had two narcissists preying on me, him and Tracy.  It’s no wonder I was still processing it two years later.

I could not stop talking about the situation with a few of my friends.

In fear and anxiety, I kept looking for Richard and Tracy’s van or Tracy’s work car on the street or in parking lots.  I did see them occasionally, because they lived nearby and the Republican party headquarters was on one of the main arteries.

I could barely stand to hear political talk, especially from the TEA, GOP, Libertarian or Anarchist parties.

All that extreme right-wing foaming-at-the-mouth deceitful rhetoric and hysteria I’d been hearing lately from Richard, was filling the airwaves and reminding me of Richard, constantly.

It also reminded me of Tracy, who worked for the Republican Party, as I remembered her gleefully thinking that Global Warming had been proven wrong.

(Say what?  Um, no.  Global Warming is very real.  Anything that says it is not, is fake science meant to delude people, so businesses don’t get regulated into more environmentally friendly practices.  Meanwhile, the human race gets more and more at risk as people deny the truth and refuse to change their ways.)

The lying crap coming out of the Republican Party made me sick.  (It still does, especially after digging to find it all goes back to wealthy industrialists trying to make more money for themselves.)

I used to be fine with the Republican Party, but the influence of the TEA Party and the GOP’s tendency to go along with Bush’s atrocities, made it unconscionable for me to have anything more to do with it.

Even our local Republican congressman, who’s been in office about as long as I’ve been alive, is now being called too “moderate,” with people in his own party planning to run against him as being more appropriately “conservative.”

The only relief I had was to flee to the Democratic Party, and watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert every night.  Our boys, at least, could refresh my politics-weary spirit with humor by skewering and laying bare the bullsh** that was coming out of the TEA Party and the GOP.

But still, every time I heard yet another Republican or TEA Party lie, it reminded me of Richard and Tracy and all their lies and abuse.

I know some of my readers will disagree with me on the politics, but in my mind it all went together with Richard and Tracy’s abuse of me and their children.  It seemed that the right-wing parties and Richard/Tracy had somehow merged and become the same:

The right-wing parties began saying that compromise is wrong, began calling the other side morons; Richard and Tracy did the same thing both politically and personally.

As the right-wing became more and more entrenched in refusing to give even an inch to the left-wing, Richard and Tracy refused to even remotely consider that they did anything wrong with Jeff and me.

As the right-wing started railing against things like food stamps, CPS or the growth of non-violent parenting, Richard and Tracy did the same.

As the right wing told lies about the left wing to sway the public, Richard and Tracy told lies–about Todd, then about me–to justify their abuse.

So fighting the right-wing became, to me, the same as fighting Richard/Tracy and all they believed in, because their attitudes on behavior, politics, childrearing, all came straight from the Evil One.  So it became the right thing to do.

…These many things fit many of the traits for PTSD.

Also, I have already written here and here about my lifelong struggle, as an NVLDer and introvert, to fit in and make friends.

I have also discovered, through various conversations with other “outsiders” and even a whole forum thread on the Web, that the town I moved to in 1995 (to be with Jeff) is very closed-off to new people.

Many in that thread disagreed, and gave their own experiences, which is okay.  But the ones who posted insults and diatribes against the outsiders, whom they don’t even know, accusing them of being the problem–I think I found the real source of the trouble!

Another thread is here, not just about that town but about the area and small towns in general.

Somebody on another thread wrote,

Some magazine even listed it as one of the toughest places to fit in in America.  Now, I don’t go out and try too hard to make friends.  But the fact I didn’t make one friend while I was here should tell you something.  There is a reason every outsider hates this town.  It is one of the most unwelcoming unfriendly places anywhere….

Making friends and connections is da*n near impossible.  These people will shut you out and do so fairly easily.  Trying to network with people about any thing is a total hassle.

I disagree with those who think the people are deliberately unfriendly or mean: I think it’s more of a cultural thing, the Upper Midwest combined with German ancestry.  The way people describe it on these forums, it sounds much like a cultural introversion.

People are nice and helpful here, not mean or nasty.  (If they were mean, it wouldn’t hurt so much to be alone.)

And I am married with a child, so I’m not sitting all alone in an empty house on New Year’s, so I don’t have that added incentive.  And I do have the introvert’s tendency to forget to reach out with invitations.  But it would be nice to get invitations from others, too.

As it has been explained to me and also on this forum thread, it’s a small city, everybody already knows everybody, their family is here, their BFFs from high school are all here.

They don’t mean to, but their lives are so full of friends and family that they don’t think to include the newcomer in their social plans.

I also don’t like bars, football or alcohol, so that cuts off a huge swath of social opportunity.  One person told me that she had to make friends with another newcomer like her!

My husband, who came here for work, has the exact same problem I do, and he talks more easily and is more extroverted.

I’ve tried to make friends, only they would make social plans right in front of me and not even ask if I wanted to join in.  I see people post on Facebook about get-togethers, and think, “Why didn’t they invite me?”

I’d change churches or jobs, and feel like the people I knew there, dropped off the face of the earth.

Sure we have Wisconsin friends, good friends, made through college and the SCA, but they live so far away that–especially with work schedules and children–it’s a hassle to get together often.

So after the breakup, when people tried to cheer me up with, “You’ll make new friends soon,” I’d think, “Yeah right!  I’m going to die alone because the only friends I could make in this town were outsiders I had to pull in myself, and they turned out to be narcissistic abusers who were only using me!”

Not only that, but how do you just go out and replace a five-year close friendship, and the depth of emotional intimacy, sharing and caring that goes along with that?

I did try to reach out more through Facebook, where I re-connected with some local people I’d lost touch with over the years.  But again, the same problem arises: You’re not part of the high school circle or family, so they keep forgetting you’re there other than to invite you to big parties full of strangers.

And you enjoy the parties, but you’d like to be the one they call when their car breaks down or somebody goes to the hospital or they need to vent about a problem.  But they have 10 other people to call, family or friends they’ve known for 30 or 40 years.

Richard inspired me to talk and keep talking, which is hard for me except with certain people.  Some of my old friends I can talk to like this; for some others, it’s hard.  This made his loss especially acute.

For years I’d missed having a confidante in my town (other than my husband); then I finally had one, had a social life like other people; then it was all ripped away again.

I’ve joined a writer’s club, so hopefully things will get better.  And I have other friends in other cities who have the same problem: Sharon, who’s lived in the same city her whole life but is an introvert, and Mike, an outgoing extrovert who keeps moving as a preacher, but finds it easier in some places and harder in others to make friends.

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

The Novel Form of “Metropolis”: Review, Part 2

by Thea Von Harbou

This isn’t a full review of themes and social issues and Von Harbou and Naziism such as I see in other reviews, but simply a reader giving her impressions as she goes along.  I have linked to reviews which do go deeper, which I have also consulted for help understanding this book.

Part 1

Spoilers Below!

There are various things which are different, or which delve more deeply into characters.  For example, when Rotwang works on giving Maria’s face to the robot, he’s described as lonely.  And that’s a difference: He gives her the face as an artisan, not as a magician/mad scientist throwing switches.  Though, of course, that scene in the movie is my favorite, what with the magical transformation of the robot and–yes–Rotwang looking so hot as he throws switches.

Another difference is the Paternoster machine.  In the movie,  Freder/Georgi-11811 work as one part of a larger machine which looks like a clock, eternally moving hands from one place to another.  In the book, the Paternoster (Our Father) machine is kind of a child-sized elephant-like thing with an appendage that hooks up to your brain and uses what it finds there.  Freder is eventually reduced to saying Our Fathers.

Another difference is Josaphat’s role.  He doesn’t just help Freder, but has a whole subplot of his own.  The Slim Man (the translation calls him this instead of the Thin Man) tries to bribe him into leaving, even throwing in a woman Josaphat badly wants.  Before, she has refused him, but the Slim Man has bribed her into giving herself to Josaphat if he accepts the offer.  But on the little plane out of Metropolis, Josaphat kills the pilot and parachutes into the countryside.  That’s how loyal he is to Freder, because he does this to help Freder as he promised.

Georgi’s escapades in Yoshiwara are not fully shown in the movie.  He takes a weird drug, Maohee, in a seedy lounge and ends up reducing all the club’s women (probably showgirls and prostitutes) to tears and hysterics.  Guy kinda went crazy.

A good description of what happened is here, describing how the drug worked and why it gave everybody a nervous breakdown: Basically, everybody tuned into one person’s thoughts while taking the drug, that person being Georgi this time, and all he could think of was working the Paternoster machine.

After Rotwang captures Maria, he holds her in his house even after the robot has taken on her face.  Freder goes into a feverish state after finding his own father making out with the doppelganger, who he thinks is Maria.

The robot doesn’t just do a weird-sexy dance in Yoshiwara: She is first introduced in the house opposite Rotwang’s by an “old man” acting as her father, probably Rotwang.  We don’t know for sure because we get the story from Freder’s friend, who doesn’t know Rotwang, but we can guess.

She does a strange shaky-trembly thing in front of the guests, a mix of men and women, then leaves.  Yet somehow she makes everyone feel naked and ashamed, full of hate toward each other–even between a young married couple who adore each other.  That “unbearable, cutting coldness” radiates from her, while the guests feel like they’re breathing fire.

Afterward, a young man, full of desire for her, begs to have her (as his wife, I assume).  He begs her “father” (again, probably Rotwang), his father begs them both, but she and Rotwang refuse.  Then she causes havoc by saying to the young man’s father, “You have no son.”  This reveals that the son was another man’s.  When the son overhears the confrontation between his parents, he kills himself.

And, of course, you wonder what happened to Freder’s robot.  At first you might think it’s gone over to Rotwang and become Maria’s doppelganger, except that Rotwang apparently built his own, so it must be a different robot….

As Freder suffers from heartsickness over Maria and the actions of her doppelganger, the robot with her face, Maria is catatonic in Rotwang’s house.  She will not move or speak, just sits in a chair, refusing to answer Rotwang.

Rotwang seems to have fallen in love with her.  In a long, melodramatic speech (typical for this book, which has been accused of purple prose), he says he’ll let her go, but begs her to stay of her own free will.  He doesn’t beg for her love, but for her pity.

He tells her that he’s doing this for Joh, a Will that forces him into being evil.  He thought any good inside him was dead, but no, he realizes that if Maria helps him defy Joh, he can be good again.

Unlike Joh’s mother, he doesn’t think that Hel loved him instead of Joh, but that Hel only pitied Rotwang–but that pity made him good.  Joh made him evil by taking his Hel away, but he longs to be good again, and begs for Maria’s help in that.

After saying he implores her pity, he changes his mind and says he does not implore her pity, but rather her fidelity.  I think he’s referring to the workers, who go to hear her but she’s not there to preach hope and peace.  She needs to show loyalty to them.

He even feels sorry for her, and hates that Joh has made him create a doppelganger to stir up the workers.  He tells her that Joh is using the doppelganger as his own mouthpiece, but the workers won’t know the difference, so they’ll trust the doppelganger.

I’m not sure why Joh wants to stir up his workers like that.  Is it all about not wanting to lose his son to Maria, not wanting to let his son grow up and find his own way, so he’ll resort to causing violence to make his son think Maria caused it?  Or is it to give him an excuse to wipe out the human workers and replace them with robots?  I think both are going on here, that Maria was a last-minute convenient addition to his plan to wipe out the workers, now that Rotwang has successfully created a robot.

In the movie, Rotwang tells Maria that Joh wants to incite the workers to violence so he can use force against them–which fits with my theory, except that the movie says nothing about Joh’s request for robot workers.  In the movie, Rotwang tells himself that Joh’s plan will lose him his son, which Rotwang must want.  Yet he tells Maria the robot is working for him, not Joh.  Except that his plan doesn’t seem all that different from Joh’s.

No wonder this confuses people, who wonder why Joh wants to incite his thousands of workers to violence, instead of letting them listen to the nice lady who tells them to be docile.  I’m danged bewildered.

In any case, in the book, Rotwang tries to stop Joh by begging Maria to come with him to the City of the Dead to speak to the workers, warn them of the doppelganger, and find Freder again.  So Rotwang isn’t so evil after all, assuming he told Maria the truth, rather than secretly wanting to frustrate any plan Joh makes.  But Joh is in the room, overhearing, and strangles him.

This wakes up Maria, who escapes through the trap door into the catacombs, despite Rotwang’s metal arm lying over it.

Meanwhile, Josaphat helps get Freder out of his fever and back to lucidity.

In Chapter 16, we finally get Joh’s reason for letting the doppelganger stir up the workers to destroy the city: The city is go to ruin so Freder can build it up again, as its savior, a Christlike figure.  Also, he ordered the destruction of the heart machine controlling the city so that Freder can redeem the ones who committed that crime.  Of course, this makes less sense than my own theory for why he did this, except maybe as a kind of crude metaphor of sin and redemption.

He says that he doesn’t fear the wrath of the workers against him because only one person could find him–his son–which leads to a Christ-metaphor.  The earlier death of Georgi is another Christ-metaphor, as he willingly dies in Freder’s place, stretches out his hands as if being crucified, and–in his death throes–leads Freder to warn the city.

Joh also lies to Freder, telling him that Rotwang died because he dared to stretch out his hands toward the one Freder loves.  He makes it sound as if he rescued Maria, probably to inspire Freder’s gratitude.

The next part of the book is especially chilling and powerful.  After Joh strangled Rotwang, Maria finally woke up from her catatonic state, and escaped down into the catacombs.  However, Joh dammed up a river to allow him to build the underground city for the workers.  And the workers’ destruction has allowed the water to start spilling back into the city.

As the water starts lapping at her feet in the catacombs, she imagines it speaking to her, telling her things like, it won’t let her get away, it’ll caress her curves and take liberties Freder never had a chance to.  She’s in the catacombs, full of the city’s 1000-year-old dead.  The “water” tells her all about the skeletons which are now moving around in the water, such as two skeletons “arguing” over whose skull is between them.  But the true owner of the skull is a third skeleton now rising up and falling on them both.  It is horrifyingly descriptive.

Maria gets to the underground city of the workers, but it seems deserted, even by the guard who should be the one to send up an alarm.  She tries to send it, but the siren only whimpers.

She discovers that the children are alone and neglected down there with her, so she tries to take them up and out.  But their parents, while going berserk on the surface at the doppelganger’s leading, have toppled trains and wreaked such damage on the machines, that the only exit to the surface, which opens upward, is covered with tons of wreckage.  Yes, there are piles of trains lying over the door.  PILES of TRAINS.  It’s impossible for her to get herself and the children out.

Finally she hears Freder up above, calls to him, and he finds Grot to help him clear the way with explosives.

You feel her claustrophobia, and her suppressed terror as she tries to calm the children, telling a young boy whose sister was hit by a stone that she’s only gone to sleep, that she’ll wake up in a much better place (Heaven).

You also discover that Grot feels betrayed by Joh, who told him to let the workers destroy the heart machine.  He spews all sorts of curses against Joh.  When he hears the underground city is flooding, and the way out is blocked, he wants to let the workers drown–until he hears it’s actually the children trapped in there.

You soon discover that blustering Grot has a soft spot for children.  Even as he rescues his two own children, he cusses at them.  But he does it with sobs, so you can tell he doesn’t mean it, and they probably can, too.  He wants to let Maria drown, mistaking her for the doppelganger, who led the destruction of his beloved heart machine.  But he’s easily subdued by the children as Freder rescues her.

Maria takes the children to the House of the Sons, where the female playthings of the city’s rich sons have been left on their own.  They didn’t know whether to flee or stay, so ended up staying.

Maria gives the children over to their care, where “the troupe of loving little harlots became a troupe of loving little mothers, burning with a new fire in the execution of their new duties.”  As the drink-mixer takes a sponge and begins to wash Grot’s daughter, the little girl takes the sponge and washes the drink-mixer’s face instead.  The drink-mixer begins to cry, and finally takes the little girl in her arms, full of love in a touching scene.

As Maria leaves and goes out into the street, she finds her doppelganger leading a group of insane, whirling dancers from Yoshiwara with torches, screaming, “Dance–dance–dance–Maohee!”  The dancers are a mix of men in evening dress and half-naked women.  One of the dancers, the friend of Freder’s who told him about the doppelganger’s effects on men and women, begs for the doppelganger’s attention, but she sets him on fire.

Then the monks of the cathedral finally get their turn, as the organ plays and the bells toll.  The monk Desertus leads a procession of his black-robed disciples, scourging themselves, and Gothics carrying a black cross.  Desertus hangs on the cross, staring at the dancers, and yells about Doomsday and Babylon the Great.  This pulls in the cathedral and the pictures of the book of Revelation, which seem to have little importance in the movie, but much more in the book.

The doppelganger tears her gown from her shoulders and breasts and goes around topless, telling Desertus to dance with her.

I have to wonder if this reflects the German landed aristocracy’s view of the sins of the city infecting the purity of the countryside.  Von Harbou, after all, was born to the German nobility.

Maria turns and runs away.  She runs into the workers and their wives, who have now turned on her, blaming her for everything.  They call her a witch, and seem to think that if they burn her, they won’t drown.

She runs to the cathedral, apparently because cathedrals have been traditional places of refuge, where you’re not supposed to kill anyone.  She collapses and doesn’t see the dancers collide with the workers and their wives.  The two groups fight as the doppelganger is grabbed and stamped to the ground.

After she collapses, the mob wants to burn her, but Josaphat fetches Freder to save her.  Freder is so determined to get to Maria before she burns that, in a car brought by Josaphat, he actually drives over the steel frame of a tower which fell over the street.

Only Rotwang is not dead, only thinks he’s dead, and, when he gets to the cathedral to find his Hel, thinks that Maria is Hel.  He sees his robot getting burned, and thinks they’re quite right to do so, because it was such a poor job of imitating Hel.

In fact, all Rotwang does now has nothing to do with Maria or Joh, and everything to do with his imagining Hel.  When he dies, it’s because he sees Hel in the clouds, waiting for him.  He wants to be with her, so he lets go of the cathedral’s Gothic ornamentation, which has been holding him up.  So even as he terrorizes and chases our heroine, we can still feel sympathy for him.

The ending is also different from the movie: Maria has collapsed again, exhausted, and Freder fears she is dying.  Instead of Maria putting Joh’s hand into Grot’s, speaking of a mediator, we have Joh coming, in his heart, to a realization of himself and what is good and right.  He reassures Freder that he has seen the face of death in his Hel, but Maria is only asleep.  Then he leaves them to see the workers, looking at him wondering if he will lead them.  Maria wakes up in Freder’s arms; she asks him to be the mediator.

Joh goes to see his mother again, who hears his confession and repentance, and reassures him with a letter from Hel.  Hel wrote the letter before she died, and told his mother to give it to him when he found his way home to his mother and to himself.  It tells him that she loved him and will always be with him.

So his mother says that he has three standing by to help him act on his change of heart.  He said two (I’m not sure whom he means by the two, since there are several possibilities, including Mom), but she says three, the third being Hel.

Now after re-reading this, I just watched the movie again, the one restored with most of the deleted scenes.  First of all, I wonder how anyone was supposed to follow the movie with half of it cut out.

Second, I note how vastly the movie has changed the storyline, with Josaphat’s role diminished, the monks gone completely, character motivations and scenes completely changed.  So even back in the 1920s, and even when the writer of the book also wrote the script, moviemakers mangled books!

Full review here.

[1/29/11 to 6/4/16]

Thea Von Harbou

Wikipedia on the novel

The Metropolis Overview, comparing/contrasting the book with the movie

Some reviews of the movie/novel:

The Unaffiliated Critic

Notes on Metropolis

Metropolis Bits n Pieces (includes information on Hel in mythology)

Metropolis

 

The Novel Form of “Metropolis”: Review, Part 1

by Thea Von Harbou

This isn’t a full review of themes and social issues and Von Harbou and Naziism such as I see in other reviews, but simply a reader giving her impressions as she goes along.  I have linked to reviews which do go deeper, which I have also consulted for help understanding this book.

Spoilers Below!

If you’re familiar with the movie Metropolis, you may not know about the novel, which was serialized in the magazine Illustriertes Blatt before the movie came out.  Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang wrote the screenplay based on Harbou’s novel.

I came across a copy of the book on Amazon.com, though admittedly it appears to have been self-published, due to the many typos and grammatical/spelling errors.  The translation must have been done by the publisher as well.  The wording is often awkward, a common problem with translating from one language and its grammar rules to another, but which should be fixed with flowing sentences before presenting a translation to the world.  Still, if you fix the problems in your head and try to ignore them as much as possible, you can pay better attention to the story.

And the story is quite different from the movie.  If you’ve only seen the heavily edited versions, it’s even more different from the movie.  I will write with the assumption that the reader has already seen the movie; if not, I highly recommend it.

Despite all the issues people complain about with the movie, such as bizarre plotline and accusations of Nazi sympathies, I love this movie.  The special effects amaze me, considering this was made in the 1920s, and the inclusion of a video phone even before television had been invented.  The mad scientist, the robot, the magic, all make the movie fun.  That, and my husband and I snarking on it all the way through like Joel and the Robots.  🙂

Another review of the book is here, filling in details I missed–which make me wonder if the copy I read also left out a few things inadvertently.  Such as, I never caught until the very end that Hel and Maria looked alike, but I thought that was just Rotwang’s delusion.

But now on to the book:

It is set in 2026, so ten years from now, 100 years from when the movie was made.

In Chapter 1, we discover that Freder Fredersen has been building a machine of his own, a robot girl, starting before he laid eyes on Maria on that fateful day in the Eternal Gardens.

Ever since he saw her, he’s been feverishly working on the robot and playing the organ, unable to think of anything else.  He goes into the workshop and up to the robot:

Freder caressed his creation. He pressed his head gently against the machine. With ineffable affection he felt its cool, flexible members.

“Tonight,” he said, “I shall be with you. I shall be entirely enwrapped by you. I shall pour out my life into you and shall fathom whether or not I can bring you to life.

I shall, perhaps, feel your throb and the commencement of movement in your controlled body.

I shall, perhaps, feel the giddiness with which you throw yourself out into your boundless element, carrying me–me, the man who made you–through the huge sea of midnight.

The seven stars will be above us, and the sad beauty of the moon. Mount Everest will remain, a hill, below us. You shall carry me and I shall know: You carry me as high as I wish. . . .”

He stopped, closing his eyes. The shudder which ran through him was imparted, a thrill, to the silent machine.

“But perhaps,” he continued, without raising his voice, “perhaps you notice, you, my beloved creation, that you are no longer my only love. Nothing on earth is more vengeful than the jealousy of a machine that believes itself to be neglected. Yes, I know that. . . .

You are imperious mistresses. . . . ‘Thou shalt have none other Gods but me.’ . . . Am I right? A thought apart from you–you feel it at once and become perverse.

How could I keep it hidden from you that all my thoughts are not with you?

I can’t help it, my creation. I was bewitched, machine. I press my forehead upon you and my forehead longs for the knees of the girl of whom I do not even know the name. . . .”

HMMMMMMMM……….He…is building a robot to be his lover?  What?  The most eligible bachelor in the city is building a Buffy-bot?  This whole section sounds just sooo wrong….. (And he longs for Maria’s knees?  Wha–?)

We find out about the cathedral, which Freder goes into later on in the movie.  No one uses it anymore except for a small group of Gothics, who send death threats to the Master of Metropolis quite regularly to make sure he doesn’t tear it down.

Atop it is a statue of the Virgin Mary, whose face–austere as the Virgin, sweet as the mother–reminds him of Maria’s.

That strange house where Rotwang lives?  It was built centuries before by a magician, and was said to be older than the cathedral.  That explains the pentagrams and the doors that open and close by themselves.  Unlike the cathedral, it needs no one to make death threats, because if anybody comes near to tear it down, the house itself kills the person: stones falling, trap doors opening, sudden plague, that sort of thing.

And red-cheeked Rotwang saw this house and said, “I want to have that!”

We find that the drudge workers of Metropolis live in a city underground, 10 hours on shift at a time.  When the shift changes, Joh pushes a blue metal plate which fills the city with a siren calling the workers to work.  Freder sees it as the “machine-city of Metropolis” raising her voice and roaring for living men for food.

We also get a little more of the backstory about Hel, basically that she was drawn to Joh but very sad about causing pain to Rotwang.

But first, her name: A little Googling reveals that the scenes with Hel’s statue were cut out of the film originally, because English-speaking audiences would see her name and think of Hell.

But in German, Hell is “Hölle.”  “Hel” actually refers to the Norse goddess-queen of the underworld.

Joh Fredersen is like a god: his name is a variant of Jehovah.  Metropolis means “mother city.”  Maria is a variant of Mary.

And we have a New Tower of Babel.  The Eternal Gardens are the Garden of Eden.  Freder is like Adam, going from innocent pleasure to discovering the evil of how the workers are being treated.

But I’m not sure how his name translates; in Danish, it means “watches over.”  One source says it refers to “brother,” but “brother” in German is Bruder.  And Joh and Freder are both Fredersen, son of Freder. —The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film edited by Steven Sanders

Hel “meant to two men all heaven and all hell.”  We know from her statue’s inscription that she died giving birth to Freder,

But Joh Fredersen knew only too well that she did not die from giving birth to her child. She died then because she had done what she had to do. She really died on the day upon which she went from Rotwang to Joh Fredersen, wondering that her feet left no bloody traces behind on the way. She had died because she was unable to withstand the great love of Joh Fredersen and because she had been forced by him to tear asunder the life of another.

Never was the expression of deliverance at last more strong upon a human face than upon Hel’s face when she knew that she would die.

Wait–forced by Joh?  How much of this affair and divorce was her choice?  Later on, Joh visits his mother to look for solace and help because he’s losing Freder to a woman.  But she has never forgiven him for becoming the heartless brain of Metropolis, or for stealing Hel from Rotwang.  She says,

“You have sinned toward your friend. For Hel loved Rotwang and it was you who compelled her.”

“When she was dying, mother, she loved me…”

“Yes. When she saw that you, too, were a man, when your head was beating against the floor and you were crying out. But do you believe, Joh, that this one smile in her dying hour outweighs all that which brought about her death?…

A friend is unarmed against his friend. He has no shield before his breast, nor armor before his heart. A friend who believes in his friend is a defenseless man. A defenseless man was it whom you betrayed, Joh.”

Joh’s mother tells him he went against her advice in this matter, and that now he’s paying for his sins.  It sounds like Joh not only betrayed his friend, but stole Hel using more than just seduction: Did he force her?  Did he use his position to make her feel she had no choice but to go with him?  Some people think David did this with Bathsheba, because he was king and she was afraid she’d be killed if she refused; maybe Hel felt the same about Joh.

Hel’s death caused wracking pain to Joh, while it caused madness in Rotwang, whose hair turned snow-white, “and in the eyes under this [wonderful] brow the smoldering of a hatred that was very closely related to madness.”

I have a bit of a thing for Rotwang, which I’ve also given to a main character in a novel I’m currently working on.  Her thing for mad scientists, especially Rotwang, leads her to fall for one who–Well, this isn’t about my novel.  Back to Metropolis.  There’s just something about Rotwang and his wild hair and his long, dark robe, holding his arms in the air and fiddling in his lab.  And it’s all sorts of fun to say his name the German way, not “rot wang” like an American, but rrrrroht-vahnk. (The uvular “r” is fun, too, but not nearly as much.)

Rotwang also has his robot, which seems to be different from Freder’s robot, though why they’re both making one, I don’t know.  Freder’s robot just vanishes from the story and all remembrance.

In the movie, Joh didn’t know about Rotwang’s robot.  But in the book, Joh has asked for machine-men to work his machines, since–as he told Freder in chapter 2–the human workers are burning out quickly.

No, Rotwang’s robot is not a machine man, even though in the movie it’s referred to that way.  As he explains in the book, it is specifically meant to be a machine woman, and Joh wonders why it is so when he asked for machine men.

It’s good to know that the story did not forget basic anatomy after all, even though the movie made it seem so.  Rotwang, as he explains, made a woman because every one who would create a person would make a woman, not a man.  He believes that if there is a male God who made Adam and Eve, then Eve must’ve been the first human He made, not Adam.

We also find that the robot emanates cold, being made of some kind of cold metal.  Much later in the book, we discover that the robot was also meant to look like Hel.

To be continued next week.  Full review here.

 

Comfort in not being alone dealing with my narcissist abusers

For some time after my stalkers found my blog, I kept seeing them around town, even at church.  Then for a long time, the only place I saw them was a digital record here in my website stat trackers.  Lately, however, my husband keeps seeing them around town, first Tracy at the store, then Richard at a local soccer field, which happened on June 1, I believe.

I noted a few things: It used to be me seeing them, but now it’s him.  He hates seeing them around town.  He wishes they’d go away.  Seeing Richard as he drove to the store became, for him, one of two reasons that particular drive upset him.  (A raging driver at the store was another reason.)

Then tonight, as he told me about some totally unrelated subject, having to do with a discussion online about ret-conning fiction and history being an established fact you can’t change, he said,

“For example, it’s an established fact that the [last name of Richard and Tracy]’s stayed here for a month.”

“A month and a HALF,” I said with a groan.  He spoke of it as something that he really wishes we could change, but it was an unfortunate established fact.

This tells me I’m not alone.  This tells me that even though he wasn’t the one they bullied and abused, he still feels the same way I do about them.  There is comfort in that, because here is someone who understands.  Heck, once-mutual-friend Todd, whom they also bullied and smeared, feels the same way I do about them.

It feels like I can shoulder my burden with two other people, which makes it a bit lighter to carry.

 

I think my site’s working again….

This morning it’s working more like normal.  One reason I’m posting this is to check how it handles posting.  I think Wordfence was the culprit, a recent update, and that all my tinkering (and the help of the server tech) over the past few days finally fixed something.  Fingers crossed…..

Unfortunately, a post I made the other day–which took a long time to write–has now been lost.  It’s in one of my database backups, but I had so many problems on that day that I don’t want to restore the backup: I fear the problems would come back.  😛

 

My Site is Having Hiccups.

Availability will be sporadic until I sort out what to do with it.  For the past three days, I have struggled with a sudden and unexplained crash.  Hopefully I can keep my site here in its customary spot.  I’m also contemplating going back to Blogger or a .com WordPress, where the techs can make sure everything stays put.  But if so, I plan to at least keep my domain name.

Update 6/1/16: However, while I can use Statcounter on WordPress.com, the information is very limited.  I don’t know if I can live without my full stats.  😛  I shall see how this thing works now that the server tech support helped out a bit and some of the plugins have been disabled.  I did some tweaking in my security plugin, which I think is causing the problem; let’s see if that helps.  There are many things I like about WordPress.com, but I’d have to give up a fully functioning Statcounter, Google Analytics, and some other features I’m used to.  We shall see….

 

 

Sam’s Not a catfish: Weighing in on the Sister Wives Scandal

I’ve written here before about Sister Wives, so I suppose I might as well again, now that a little corner of reality-TV-fandom has exploded with the story of one of the Sister Wives, Meri, being catfished by a woman who pretended to be a man.  She says that a woman called Jackie Overton pretended online to be a man named Sam, and that she had an emotional affair with him.

Well, originally she said that.  Now she says she was coerced into leaving loving messages for him.  Um….

Well, Sam says he’s not Jackie at all, but a man named Sam, and runs a blog meant to prove that Meri is lying about him.

It’s not like this is some huge earth-shattering crisis, but if Meri is indeed lying about him, then she’s set herself up for a lawsuit, and the show Sister Wives could soon go off the air.  Fans don’t like being lied to.

I’ve kept an open mind about this, because I don’t want to be fooled by Sister Wives or by someone on the Net.  But Sam’s evidence keeps getting more and more convincing.

Meanwhile, there is a whole group of trolls who, from what I understand, not only have been harassing Sam and Jackie, but have also been harassing the Sister Wives family on social media.

A while back, I swore off the official Facebook fan page for this and My Five Wives, because a bunch of people kept posting horrible comments about the family members, even the kids, and ripping into anyone who disagreed.  Now, from what I understand, these trolls have turned on Sam, and anyone who thinks he might be real.  They have posted websites about him and Jackie as well.  I came across them a couple of times, and they looked like your typical hate site, not credible at all.

And now I’m told that even Meri is hanging out with the same trolls who diss her family.

Yet if you try to google this case, you get nothing from a credible news source.  All you get are hate sites and gossip sites.

I have been reading Sam’s website for a while, to find out who’s telling the truth.  Occasionally I comment, nothing mean or nasty.  I just don’t post things that get me banned, and prefer to be nice and kind to everyone.  So it shocked me when, in a really weird twist, Sam’s friend Lindsay, who has been helping him with his website, mistook me for some woman who had been causing trouble, and banned me after I submitted a comment.

(Those who accuse Sam of being Jackie, say that Lindsay is also Jackie.  But they write much differently, and then this happened, making me pretty sure Sam and Lindsay are two different people.)

Sam unbanned me when he discovered the mistake, but the comment is now lost to the ether.

However, I really wanted the trolls to see my comment, darn it.  😛  Maybe they’ll see it if I try to reconstruct it almost 24 hours later here on my own blog, so here goes.  I’ll also add some other things I want to say but didn’t think of at the time:

I subscribe to blog posts whenever I comment on them.  On one of Sam’s posts, somebody wrote about all these personal things he should make available for the public, to verify his identity.  I don’t want to go into the whole thing, which was quite long, but she, along with others in past comments, chided Sam for not providing various personal details on the Internet.

So I wrote that most private, non-celebrity people probably don’t want all that stuff easily found through Google.  Sam’s only claim to “celebrity” is having had an affair of some kind (he says physical, she says emotional) with a reality TV star.

As for Sam’s half-picture, which many say is not his actual image, I don’t use my real name or picture on the Net, either.  They’re on Facebook, but only to be found by people who already know my real name.  Instead, I use a Net handle and a drawing I myself made years ago of a literary character, so at least I own the copyright.  😉  I have also seen an abuse blogger (Prozacblogger) use a half-image of his face to keep his abusive father from recognizing him.

The behavior of the trolls, and learning about a woman named Cheryl–who has (allegedly!) been stalking him and (allegedly!) spreading catfish stories about Sam for five years, then told the tabloids that he catfished Meri, despite him (allegedly!) not knowing Cheryl at all–these things convinced me.

Oh, yes, and the fact that Twitter is suspending the accounts of the trolls.  I have checked a few, and yes, they are suspended.  How could he get them to suspend the accounts without a police report?  He says he has one on Cheryl, and that they’re working with him because of that.

For more information, see here and here.  Don’t miss the comments, which go into more detail about what we readers have found when looking through the troll tweets–thousands of them, one said.

I hope the trolls will discover that their character has spoken volumes against their credibility.  When you behave like a troll–

harassing people,

harassing anyone who speaks to those people,

spreading lies about them (a post about Kendra trying to pull in celebrities when all she did was ask Rosie O’Donnell if her staff contacted her, because a troll called Kendra claiming to be from Rosie),

making sexual comments about their spouses (this happened with Sister Wife Robyn’s friend Kendra, who has also been harassed by the trolls),

constantly making new Twitter accounts so you can keep harassing even after your accounts are suspended or blocked–

you are the one who looks like an ass, NOT the person you targeted.

We readers, along with Sam, are amazed and appalled at the mass volumes of harassing tweets, and the numbers of accounts set up by this small group of trolls.  And that when you look at their Twitter profiles, they are grown women with children!

They don’t behave like true victims.  They act like teen boys trolling the Net for lulz, or mean girls targeting some poor unfortunate.  This speaks volumes to me after studying narcissism, bullying and abuse.

One of the trolls calls herself “Jackie” (and is NOT Jackie Overton, the one accused of catfishing), has a profile pic of a catfish, and has a punctuation-challenged blurb of “Im a stinky catfish.”  She tweeted that Sam lies on his hit counter.  She says he has 5 readers, not thousands.  Well, I’m a real reader, and I don’t know how you can fake those hit counters.  🙂

That’s another thing: I googled a little and found in the comment section of some gossip site that the trolls were creeped out by Sam’s ban message.  They were creeped out by him “tracking” them, and having a ban message which gave their IP address.

Um, that’s called stat tracking, and nearly EVERY web/blog/forum owner does some form of it.  I track my stats with several different trackers, each of which gives different information.  I know IP addresses, cities, even computer information.

And you can be sure that pretty much everyplace you go on the web, the owner of the website knows these things.  It does not tell the owner your name or physical address, unless you give that information voluntarily through making a profile or posting a comment.

This is how forum owners are able to ban trolls, spammers and other troublemakers.  This is how website owners can block hackers who try to make their websites into part of a botnet or install viruses.

This is how website owners figure out which pages are most popular, who’s real and not a bot, where visitors come from, percentage of visitors who are leaving without buying anything, etc.  It also tells website owners how many people are viewing their sites using cellphones or tablets instead of PCs, so they can adapt the website to be more user-friendly.

Sam’s ban message is automatically generated by a WordPress plugin called WP-Ban, which I also have on my blog.  The generic ban message includes your IP address.  There is nothing “creepy” about this; it’s just the way the plugin works.

So no, Sam’s not being a creepy catfisher by tracking his stats or banning your IP address.  He’s just being a typical website owner.

Sam warned his readers not to speak to him on Twitter because the trolls come after anyone who does.  But I don’t have a Twitter, and comments here on my blog are turned off, so “nyah” to the trolls!  😀

I also feel sorry for Sam, dragged into all of this, harassed by trolls, forced to prove his own existence, while TV shows–both Sister Wives and a catfishing special also aired this week by the channel TLC–keep saying he’s not real.

This is the kind of crap that cyberbullies can pull off.  This is why we need to fight back against it, before somebody else gets accused of not even being real.  😛

 

 

Can I Opt-Out of Wisconsin’s Lawsuit Against Obama?

I just read in the paper today that Wisconsin is one of a number of states suing Obama for doing his job and enforcing the laws against discrimination.

Can I opt out of this?  This is ridiculous. I want nothing to do with these lawsuits against Obama.  The Attorney General does NOT speak for me.

These attempts to force the government to let states violate the law by discriminating against people–

It’s absolutely disgusting.

Things just keep getting worse and worse, with people digging in their heels and refusing to let even an inch of their minds open up and see what it’s like for other people who are not like them.

Jesus taught us to do good to others, treat them as we would want to be treated.  He did NOT say to harass and bully them and force them to be like us. He did NOT say to make their lives hell.

This behavior is NOT Christian.  More than a century ago, many Christians thought it was good and right to own slaves, while many others said it was wrong and that we needed to free them.  100 years later, you had the same division over civil rights for blacks.  This is exactly like what we’re going through now, and one day, the people digging in their heels will be recognized for bigotry.  This is NOT Christianity.  The people digging in their heels are NOT fighting for God or fighting religious prejudice.  They are the ones blinded by their own prejudice.