Meet the Girls

These are the fantastic girls in my 2014 Drag Queens & Covered Bridges of New Hampshire Calendar!

#dragqueensandcoveredbridges

January, Cherry Lyquor

January, Cherry Lyquor, Prentiss Bridge, Langdon, NH

February, Nicohl D Lafontaine & Britney Lynn

February, Nicohl D Lafontaine & Britney Lynn, Cilleyville Bridge, Andover, NH

March, Ivy League, Squam River Bridge, Ashland, NH

March, Ivy League, Squam River Bridge, Ashland, NH

April, Lady Sabrina, Wright's Bridge, Newport, NH

April, Lady Sabrina, Wright’s Bridge, Newport, NH

May, Miss Toni, Waterloo Bridge, Warner, NH

May, Miss Toni, Waterloo Bridge, Warner, NH

June, Porcia J. Chanel, Riverwalk Bridge, Littleton, NH

June, Porcia J. Chanel, Riverwalk Bridge, Littleton, NH

July, Violencia Exclamation Point, Wentworth Golf Course Bridge, Jackson, NH

July, Violencia Exclamation Point, Wentworth Golf Course Bridge, Jackson, NH

August, Laila McQueen, Swift River Bridge, Conway, NH

August, Laila McQueen, Swift River Bridge, Conway, NH*

*The owners of Bartlett Bridge, Bartlett, NH refused to be a part of this series due to its content

September, Amber Alyrt, Fisher Bridge, Wolcott, VT

September, Amber Alyrt, Fisher Bridge, Wolcott, VT*

*The owners of Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, Lincoln, NH refused to be a part of this series due to its content

October, Lexus Dee, Flume Bridge, Lincoln, NH

October, Lexus Dee, Flume Bridge, Lincoln, NH

November, Katrina George, Stark Bridge, Stark, NH

November, Katrina George, Stark Bridge, Stark, NH

December, Countess Morticia Dracula, Greenfield-Hancock Bridge, Greenfield, NH

December, Countess Morticia Dracula, Greenfield-Hancock Bridge, Greenfield, NH

C A L E N D A R S | P O S T C A R D S | A N D R O I D | E M A I L M E

•   •   •

I had a great time making these photos, and I’m very proud of them. But I had to face homophobia and bigotry that changed the original intent of this project. So much so, it will even be present in the very cover of this calendar. The cover will be Miss September, and, ironically, that photograph was shot not in New Hampshire, but at Fisher Bridge in Wolcott, Vermont. The owners of the only bridge with a railroad in New Hampshire, Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, the one I wanted to use, changed their minds on allowing me to shoot on their property, when I told them the model would be a drag queen. When another owner, owner of the Barlett Bridge, denied me permission because his bridge was a “wholesome place,” I drove away weeping; I didn’t know those two words could strike so hard. I wasn’t expecting these kind of reactions when I first started. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.

But not all has been like this. Up in Conway, a father and his daughter interrupted my shoot with Laila McQueen. The little girl was absolutely convinced it was a photoshoot with Lady Gaga! I had to disappoint her and let her know Laila McQueen was not in fact Lady Gaga. What a compliment, though!  The family seemed enamored with us. It made my day, especially when the day before, my spirits were so low, almost broken.

This is all okay, though. This isn’t supposed to be politically correct, neatly packaged, with impolite details swept under the rug, all imperfections soft-brushed away. This is a snapshot of where we are at, in this present moment. This is my love letter to New Hampshire. This is about its culture — its beauty marks and its warts.

I always get the window seat

I went on an Earthship

 

I’m a narcissistic cultist

The point they unwittingly made is that the Free State Project is largely comprised of narcissistic individuals who are incapable of consideration for those who live outside of their cult.

Susan the Bruce

Wow. Ironic. All the other testimonies were their own theatrics, pulling on the heart strings, making emotional-bleeding-heart pleas for taxpayer’s money, in other words, the legalized plunder from others.

“My life story is so much worse than yours that I deserve, no, in fact, I am entitled to your money.” Heck, one guy fell off a skyscraper. He deserves my money. Wheel barrels full of money.

So pathetic and exploitative were their performances, these people had no shame bringing out their own mentally-disabled children, bring them in front of a room full of people, point at them, and tell the committee and all there to hear how worthless and incapable they are, how they will never amount to anything, never overcome their struggles, never make anything of themselves, and can only survive on the government dole. Seriously. That level of dependency was a disgusting sight to see.

In any other circumstance, my heart would go out to these struggles. The pains of life can be heavy. I know it. But to see these “my life is so hard, so unfair, give me your money” was vile. To parade your mentally-disabled children, who had no idea why they were trotted along to sit through a totally boring hearing, to be used as props to get free money is pathetic.

“Incapable of consideration?” Ha! Does Susan not realize for every dollar given to one of these children or their parents is a dollar taken forcibly from someone else and their child? Every dollar taken is a dollar not used for how someone else best sees fit. A dollar lost to someone’s education. A dollar lost to someone else’s health concerns. A dollar to help someone else’s aging grandmother. Government merely redistributes wealth making their decisions, not on who “needs” or “deserves” it most, but purely on political grounds and power. You really think they care? Well they might, if show you them how influential your voting bloc is. Kind of a perverse rational for distributing funds, no? Talk about a lack of consideration. How is it inconsiderate when there is thievery happening, out in the open, in front of me?

And you know what? I take no issue with people who live on food stamps and use government services, and take as much welfare as is available. We cannot remove government out of our lives completely. They have infiltrated ever living pore of human interaction and society. If we simply refused to involve ourselves with anything government has touched, we would surely die. That’s how much power and influence they have taken over our lives. So, yes, fine, take welfare, because the government has significantly monopolized what used to be church services, changed our culture deeply, and diverted what should be our own personal responsibility and cause to take care of each other, to instead be managed, handled, and determined by bureaucratic committees, their lobbyist friends, and people engaged in unions, voting blocs, and collectivist group-think. Democracy truly is a dying giant.

To perpetuate this system of mutual plunder and sickening dependency made me feel absolutely no qualms to punk that hearing, to punk anyone who thinks this is ethical behavior. In fact, our speeches, even though taken straight out of the movies, were absolutely fitting among the rest of the testimonies.

We’re just better actors.

Breaking the State’s Fourth Wall

On May 9th, 2013, I decided to troll the New Hampshire Senate Finance Committee during this year’s HB 1 Budget Hearing.

I wanted to break the fourth wall of government, and show those in the seat of power and these hearings for what they are: political theatre. And, to be honest, as I had originally intended to punk the New Hampshire House of Representatives instead, it was far more gratifying to perform in front of the Senators, as they are a much smaller consolidation of power, and thus more dangerous, arrogant, and elitist than the House could ever be to the cause of freedom.

Below, Adam Sutler and Edgar Friendly give an anti- and pro- liberty speech, respectively, completely written in movie quotes. In retrospect, I should’ve used Labyrinth’s “You have no power over me” somewhere.

Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished Committee,

You and I both know how important this budget is because … [Network] I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street. There’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

[The Verdict] I mean there is no justice. The rich win; the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead. We think of ourselves as victims — and we become victims. We become, we become weak; we doubt ourselves; we doubt our beliefs; we doubt our institutions; and we doubt the law.

[The Contender] Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves and gave women the right to vote. It gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together.

And you. You are the stewards of this Church. [The Verdict] Today, you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, in fact, a prayer, a fervent and frightened prayer.

In my religion, they say, “Act as if you had faith; faith will be given to you.”

[V for Vendetta] Ladies and Gentleman, <this budiget> is a test. Moments such as these are matters of faith. To fail is to invite doubt into everything we believe, everything we have fought for. Doubt will plunge this country back into chaos, and I will not let that happen.

What we need right now is a clear message to the people of <New Hampshire>! This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. This message must resound throughout the ENTIRE INTERLINK! I want this <state> to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion! I want every man, woman, and child to understand how close we are to chaos! I WANT EVERYONE to remember WHY THEY NEED US!

This budget. [V for Vendetta] I want more than arrests. I want results. [Tombstone] Tell all the other curs the LAW’S coming! You tell ‘em I’M coming… and Hell’s coming with me, you hear?! Hell’s coming with me!

Thank You.

Mr Chairman and members of this distinguished Committee,

[The Fountainhead] I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life, nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine — no matter who makes the claim! It had to be said: The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard in the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others.

After reading this budget, I realized that [Network] at the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant; a sick, sick, dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain. I don’t mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world, light years ahead of any other country. And I don’t mean the <terroists> are gonna take over the world because the <terrorists> are deader than we are.

What is finished … is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished, because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some 200 odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.

[V for Vendetta] How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.

That’s right. You see, [Demolition Man] according to <this budget>, I’m the enemy. Because I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech, freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who would sit in the greasy spoon and wonder “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of Barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, and butter and buckets of cheese ok? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, ok pal? I’ve *seen* the future, you know what it is? It’s a 47 year-old virgin, sitting around in his beige pajamas drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar-Meyer Wiener”.

That’s freedom. That’s what we should be striving for, and this bill knows no such thing. Thank you.

If you’d like to see the original filmed scenes overdubbed over our performances, you can see Adam Sutler’s here and Edgar Friendly’s here.

 

It’s The Connections

You know. I apparently make just some weird audio recordings when I’m completely inebriated.

After a night of trivia — drunk, high, home, sitting in the dark — I was getting into one of those “pontificating” moods. But the problem was I couldn’t remember or even keep track of too many thoughts at a time. Not much was staying long enough in my short term memory, really. The train of logic, the steps of “henceforth,” “ergo,” and “thus,” following from the question”what is so special about tumblr?” and my attempted premise of “it’s the connections,” just kept disappearing and reappearing. I couldn’t find the next stone to jump on. And when I did jump, I couldn’t remember where I just was. I guess you could say I couldn’t make the connections …. about the connections …. It was all very frustrating, and ended up, fruitless and stupid. I come off as an idiot. But, whatever, it’s funny.

 

Stop and Shake His Hand

The State—Crown Jewel of Human Social Organization by Robert Higgs, reprinted from the Beacon.

 

Since the earliest stage of human history (say, the time of Cain and Abel), human beings have been homicidal maniacs. Yet, for untold ages, something was missing, something with the capacity to raise their murderous mania to truly magnificent heights. Only very late in human history—perhaps 10,000 years ago or thereabouts—did the long-awaited breakthrough take place: men finally devised the state. By employing its powers of organization, command, violence, and plunder, rulers could finally bask in the glories of heretofore undreamed-of atrocities. No longer did men have to rest content with workaday violence and manslaughter. Now they could achieve vastly more monstrous enormities than the evilest village bully had been able to achieve or even to conceive of previously.

Now human beings could attain real glory for the first time. Now the rise of empires lay within the realm of realistic ambition. Killing by the ones, tens, or hundreds no longer defined the limits of human wrath, because now killing by the thousands and tens of thousands became possible, along with enough rape and pillage to satisfy all but the most twisted psychopath. No longer did a man have to settle for murdering his brother, his wife, or his fellows in the nearby village. Now even huge numbers of remote strangers became fair game. Indeed, thanks to the state’s amazing capabilities, a ruler might now conceive of utterly annihilating an entire society.

No wonder people have looked on the state with such reverence and lavished on it their highest adoration and deepest loyalty. Every thinking man must perceive that without the state, the constricting limits of a man’s malevolence put almost unbearable pressure on his natural desire to slaughter his fellow man and to destroy every speck of his enemy’s property that he cannot loot or hold hostage for the payment of tribute.

With the rise of the state, statesmen became possible—men whose vision embraced truly grand adventures and enterprises in exploitation, oppression, plunder, and mass mayhem. And from the greatest statesmen the greatest empires might spring. What sorrow we must feel as we contemplate the bleak counter-factual of history without the great Roman Empire: we cannot begin to imagine any stateless society able to put even a tenth as many severed heads on pikes along the roads or to nail even a tenth as many men on crosses to endure prolonged suffering before they gratefully expire. Likewise for the great Chinese, Persian, Mongol, Aztec, Inca, and other empires that fill the pages of history, giving vivid color to what otherwise would have been a humdrum human experience of little more than economic, artistic, and literary creativity and peaceful cooperation, spiced with meaningless and petty acts of kindness and compassion toward one another. No individual, no family, and no gang could have wreaked such havoc as the great states and, a fortiori, the great empires. Only man’s ultimate achievement in social organization—the state—could have done the job.

So, the next time you happen across a neocon, a red-white-and-blue jingo, a military Keynesian, or a rock-solid supporter of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, stop and shake his hand. Give him proper appreciation for his service as the living embodiment of the ideology and the institution that finally allowed the human species to break the bonds that had constrained it from time immemorial and hence finally to achieve the greatest heights of atrocity, death, and spoliation. Credit where credit is due, my friends.

Matthew Tischler

“Untitled Screen Series.”

 

The effect of the grid used in the Untitled Screen Series is such that images are divided, pixelated, and filtered. Subjects and figures are therefore broken apart and reconstructed in such a way that they are both integrated into their environment and isolated within it. None of the subjects in these photographs have any discernable facial features or characteristics. The screen that is imposed over each tableau subjugates their identities. Richly saturated colors and flattened space create alluring vistas that seem to resemble video stills.

see the rest of the series →

Alejandro Maestre

“El hombre que se crea” series.

check out the rest of the series → , and some of Alejandro’s other photography →

About That Rand Paul

You know, I heard about Rand Paul’s filibuster from a friend’s text. Without any context, at all, my immediate reaction to such a message is to always disassociate myself from Rand. He is no libertarian, even though, sadly, he has become a mainstream symbol for it. Ironically, he, himself, disapproves of such a label.

But then I saw on C-SPAN what was happening, and it was amazing, thrilling, epic, heroic. I wrote that night:

I can’t stand Rand Paul, and I doubt his sincerity most of the time, but defending the 5th amendment, and getting mainstream press for it, over Obama’s assassination program is heroic.

It was refreshing to see this happening. The American public barely knows about, and, when they do know, cheers the ever increasing dictatorial powers the executive branch has acquired since 9/11. And yet, you know something is up, when insane, warmongering people like Charles Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh are cheering alongside libertarians. That make so sense … like, at all!

But then, you start reading these reports coming in — reports saying this filibuster was “no accident,” but was approved, beforehand, by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with Jesse Benton, known liberty backstabber and opportunist as Rand’s and Mitch’s go-betweener — the guy whom threw Ron Paul’s grassroot supporters under the bus; the guy now running Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign. And then, you realize the GOP is in disarray, no thanks, in part, to the god awful treatment Ron Paul supporters got during the Republican primaries. And, finally, when you think about the memo Eric Holder replied with to Rand Paul’s question:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Obama killed  Abdulrahmani, a 16-year-old American in Yemen, with no due process, in a country we are not at war with, but have been bombing, while he was at a barbaque. I can only assume this kid, while American, but not being on American soil and/or “engaged in combat” obviously justifies his killing, and is in no way inconsistent with Eric Holder’s memo. Lies. Lies. Lies. William Grigg has it right when he wrote:

What Holder is saying, in substantive terms, is that the President does have the supposed authority to use a drone to kill an American who is engaged in “combat,” whether here or abroad. “Combat” can consist of expressing support for Muslims mounting armed resistance against U.S. military aggression, which was the supposed crime committed by Anwar al-Awlaki, or sharing the surname and DNA of a known enemy of the state, which was the offense committed by Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdel. Under the rules of engagement used by the Obama Regime in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, any “military-age” male found within a targeted “kill zone” is likewise designated a “combatant,” albeit usually after the fact. This is a murderous application of the “Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy,” and it will be used when — not if — Obama or a successor starts conducting domestic drone-killing operations.

Holder selected a carefully qualified question in order to justify a narrowly tailored answer that reserves an expansive claim of executive power to authorize summary executions by the president. That’s how totalitarians operate.

With that much wiggle room, Eric Holder’s memo is unsatisfactory. Nothing actually productive nor fruitful happened to stop the encroaching war powers of the President. Yes, the filibuster, itself, was exhilarating, and the drones program was brought to the limelight (finally!), and you did get to find out who your real friends are (politicians don’t count), so, really, what was this about?

This was a power play, a power shift in the party, with assholes like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio riding on Rand’s coattails, smelling which way the wind is blowing, to get the anti-government, Ron Paul supporters back under the Republican wing, to get legitimacy back on Rand’s side. It was a brilliant political move. But for what? We know Rand has no real interest in liberty.

Maybe, just maybe, Rand Paul is watering down the libertarian message, capitulating to the war party, the Israel lobby, and singing his little jig, doing his little dance, just only to get the power he needs, to become the next President, so he can end the warsbring all the troops home, pardon all nonviolent drug offenders from prison, and end five Fed Departments, just like his Dad would …

I’m holding my breath. This is Reagan déjà vu.