A statement concerning the Invisible City mapmaker’s statement

See my mapmaker’s statement, included in the previous blog post, before continuing. I wrote the following explanation a few days ago but apparently forgot to post it; I was surprised to see it was not already on the blog.

I took a picture of my “Invisible City” map with my phone, but unfortunately, I have been unable to transfer it to my computer and do not anticipate being able to do so. I trusted in the technology to come through for me, but all for naught; there is clearly something wrong with either the phone, the USB connector, or the computer. I struggled through multiple issues and followed directions that have served me well in the past, but at this point without success, it is clearly best to give up while my sanity is intact.

Which brings me to the mapmaker’s statement. Although it seems that I won’t be able to upload the map, which is somewhat dismaying, the map itself is not as important as the statement. I spent much more time on the statement, and the map itself honestly feels like an afterthought at this point. Honestly, the map wasn’t very good, but I feel all right about the statement.

The day before the assignment, I went to Taco Bueno and began to write about weird and fantastic things that I could imagine being invisibly present there. I realized it might be fun to write as if I actually believed those things were true, as if I were a paranoid madman. On my way to the restaurant, I realized I couldn’t see the sign; I had expected that I could see the sign from the road, but clearly I had remembered wrongly. I wove this into the fantasy, keeping in mind that such a deluded person would be prone to interpreting any unexpected oddity as a sign of something strange and sinister.

I wrote the statement with little regard for professional writing quality, often underlining words and using ALL CAPS for emphasis. These techniques are sometimes used by imbalanced individuals who do not know how to get people to take their fantasies seriously. In writing my statement, framed as a warning of a vaguely defined evil conspiracy running Taco Bueno, I emulated the writing styles of four beautiful human beings whose works I greatly admire, and who I believe to be mentally ill. These people are:

Gene Ray, the discoverer of the true and final Theory of Everything, the Time Cube.

Francis E. Dec, the most creative conspiracy theorist of the last 100 years—much more interesting than David Icke.

Ted Kurts, who is, in fact, God. Ted will tell you all about what it’s like to be God at his website.

Last but not least, Charles K. Johnson, president for thirty years of the Flat Earth Society and writer for the Flat Earth Society Newsletter.

I am not really sure how good an idea it was to do the statement in this way; the only test of whether it was a good strategy or ill-conceived is whether it was entertaining. I have occasionally thought of strange ideas for how to do projects in ways that go quite off the track of the way the project was designed, and this has resulted in some of my best work and my worst work. I really don’t know which category this one will fit into.

Whether the idea itself was funny or not—or whether it will be funny to someone who isn’t already a fan of real-life deranged rantings—the main flaw in the statement as it currently stands, and an aspect which has a lot of room for improvement, is that it is too long. It is very much a “quantity over quality” piece, with spiels of rambling that may be of varying levels of cleverness. I did not get many ideas that I did not write down, and I didn’t spend enough time on it to weed out which ones may be better and which were rather less inspired. Additionally, the map itself was fairly weak; although a certain sloppiness fits with the idea of having been drawn and written on by a lunatic, I didn’t allot myself the needed time to make it more artistically sloppy in a way that would better get across its intended impact, so it is mainly just genuinely sloppy. However, you may not get to see it for yourself (unless you’re the student who received it) so you’ll just need to take my word for it unless I find another way to get it uploaded from my phone.

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4 thoughts on “A statement concerning the Invisible City mapmaker’s statement

  1. I’ll see if I can get a photo/scan of it from the AUM folks.

  2. Your sense of humor is complex and intriguing–and sometimes needs a bit more explanation to be appreciated and understood. This post is a good case in point. I’m fascinated to learn how you intentionally composed a map and a mapmakers statement in a “lunatic” narrative style influenced by people whose “invisible cities” are quite possibly emerging from mental illness as well as other sources of creative thinking.

    But I need to hear more about why you “admire” the writing of Ted Kurts. You usually choose your words very carefully, so when you single out Kurts and the others as “beautiful human beings whose works I greatly admire” I have to wonder whether you are being wry or deeply compassionate or sarcastic or perhaps focusing on some dimension of their writing that you feel exhibits a level of imagination or zeal that warrants admiration . . . or perhaps something else entirely. All I can do right now is speculate upon your meaning. Please do explain.

    When I read Kurts’ website my first reaction is pity and then alarm. His intensity and his chaotic prose seem to come from a tortured soul. Help us understand what you admire about his writing.

    • I was mainly speaking wryly, although I do think Ted and the others have a kind of persistence in the face of adversity that would be considered admirable if directed toward more reasonable causes.

      I certainly pity Ted and the others, but I also find them fascinating for their ideas and ways of writing. Francis E. Dec created an entire mythos out of the threats to humanity he perceived to exist; from looking through his many letters, a pretty interesting story emerges about the exploits of the conspiracy that he believed to run all human affairs. Dec was also a good writer, in the sense that he was skilled at creating catchy strings of words to sarcastically or derogatorily describe the players in his worldview, such as the “worldwide mad deadly communist gangster computer god” and the “hangman-rope sneak deadly gangsters.” His works have been called “outsider art.”

      I hope I don’t sound callous in finding their works entertaining and even humorous. I simply love strange ideas and certain kinds of bad grammar. These people are full of surprises and in the case of Ted Kurts and Gene Ray, they answer the question of “What would a website created by a mentally ill person look like?”

      Kurts and Ray are more mysterious than Dec. They strike me as interesting enigmas; their websites and videos provide a view into two very unusual minds with an interestingly distorted take on the world and logic. Gene Ray has a theory he considers to be the ultimate reality of the universe, and I find it an interesting challenge to try and decipher what it means and how he arrived at believing it. Kurts is overwhelming in his sheer quantity of material–over 800 videos uploaded to YouTube. He, like Dec, has a mythos–but trying to puzzle out the details is rather daunting.

      Charles K. Johnson was certainly more sane than the other people, although his writing style is so similar to theirs that I still have to wonder whether he had some kind of mental illness. He seems to come across much better in person than in his writing, at least as depicted in this article.

      I find a certain creativity inherent in the works of these people and find their works very engaging. Although their conditions are unfortunate, they have enriched the variety of worldviews there are to discover out there.

      • Thanks for clarifying. Your explanation confirmed that I was on your wavelength after all but I wanted to be sure.

        I appreciate your fascination with the rhetorics of rationality. I believe it’s extremely valuable to pay attention to this diversity of thought and, for that matter, of [reality].

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