It's Morning in New York


It’s morning in New York, as the permanent part-time no-benefits lumpenproletariat stumbles off to work. Coming from buildings in which human beings were never meant to dwell—and likely still not zoned that way—they cross under or over the moat that protects the island of Manhattan. This island, which as time goes on more and more resembles an amalgamation of the island of St. Barts and Disneyworld, remains a place of work for many, even if less and less a place of residence. For most, the wages remain low, benefits non-existent, and the outputs high.

Those who work hard (and perhaps harder than some of their lumpenprole compatriots!) have suffered immensely at the hands of those in power and in the media of late. These members of the ever-so-productive and ever-suffering brokerage/hedge fund/mortgage sector will finally get some relief. Though they and many of their compatriots already only pay a 15% tax rate on their capital gains (likely the majority of their earnings), they will not have to face the incredible burden of having their income taxes rise from 35% to an incredible 39%, reverting to the levels they have had to suffer during that wretched and oppressive era known as the 1990s. They have earned their due.

For the lumpenproletariat, even those who hang on in the semi-formal economy of places like Bushwick, Crown Heights, and Long Island City, there remain brutal and increasingly regressive taxes. God help the smokers; first the negative impact on their health, now the need to pay an additional $6.85 per pack on an addictive drug that remains legal and marketed to them. Don’t forget the 8.875% sales tax on many other goods, and that tax on the poor, desperate, and ignorant known as the lottery. And for the permalancers, the joy of filing their taxes can be combined with the increasing difficulty of actually receiving their pay.

But when there's a unemployment rate that hovers at 10%, that means that the labor force has a 90% employment rate, amirite? Maybe you're one of the lucky 17,000,000 Americans who have a college degree but have a job that doesn't require one? Or some sort of reverse Good Will Hunting, like the over 5,000 American janitors who hold Ph.D.'s? The unemployment rate is the highest among the college-educated since official statistics have been collected, and student loan debt has recently surpassed credit card debt in size, rising this past summer to $829.785 billion in total. The growing number of private for-profit colleges are joining with many of their compatriots (traditional private and public colleges) in functioning more as debt-creation machines than places that prepare free thinkers and competant workers to enter civil society and the job market. For those not college-educated, they avoid the debt but face even worse job prospects.

But, there are bread and circuses! Who needs soup kitchens when one can purchase a slice of pizza for a mere dollar? Just be prepared to line up in the frigid cold this winter as if it were a soup kitchen! Between that, food stamps and Kennedy Fried Chicken, everyone can get their due. As for circuses, there is a generally excellent scene in the arts and music across the various boroughs of this fine city. For a mere $5-$10, one can hear genuinely innovative music and see avant-garde art, and drink alcohol (even underage—gasp!) in semi-tolerated DIY venues, in which the drink is cheap or easily smuggled therein. An engaging scene with innumerable cultural opportunities, if one can survive it and the often multiple forms of work that fund entry to it. The City and the cops don't even have the wherewithal or the will to shut them down, and whenever they do, another venue will spring up in its place. Hooray!

As our country descends toward kleptocracy and kakistocracy, there are many things to worry about. How our "recovered" economy will co-exist with a society that will feature permanently high unemployment and ever-increasing income inequality is a central question. The potentially terminal imperial decline of the United States is another. But the most startling thing is not that these processes are occurring, rather that the generation in its 20s right now (Generation Y/Generation Next™/The Pepsi® Generation) will likely be the first in American history to generally do worse than their parents' generation (in terms of a variety of social indicators) and they do not seem to be outraged by this. In stark contrast to their parents from the much mocked Baby Boomer Generation, this generation for the most part does not organize politically in a meaningful way and does not take to the streets in protest (unlike, say their peers in the United Kingdom, when faced with drastic university tuition increases). Heck, they don't even vote—in the 2010 midterm election, the percentage of eligible voters aged 18-29 who went to the polls actually declinedfrom 23.5% in 2006 to 20.9% in 2010.

But so what? We live in the coolest city on Earth! Perhaps New York’s cultural and artistic scene of the 2010s will surpass Berlin of the Goldene Zwanziger (“Golden 20s”)! Who knows, America may even surpass Germany in what came after the Goldene Zwanziger as well…



Volid Review: Right-Wing Facebook Ads

So, perhaps, like any good filler kid, you have put your own face onto the master book of faces, known as The Face Book™? If so, you might have seen the advertisements that give this free website that doesn't seem to sell or produce anything of significance with an annual revenue of $800 million+ and an estimated value of $10-15 billion. They obviously know me very well, as most of the ads targeted at me are for time-shares, condos, joining the FBI/SWAT/CIA and teeth whitening (for only $1 because a "millionaire gives back").

But the overarching trend of the previous several months has been the build-up to the November midterm election, in which America Was Taken Back. Now the U.S. will have its first orange-American Speaker of the House in John Boehner, among other many other great victories for the Tea Party (and therefore America). Since politicians have always valued exposure to the public, or "face time", as some are wont to say, let us examine the ads on that modern place for face time, The Face Book™:


Tales from the Spambots: International Journal of English and Literature (IJEL)

Your Editor-in-Chief of the Volidity Report was not entirely surprised to receive a series of invitations to review and submit articles for a series of academic journals, given his recent lecture tour. So, when contacted by three journals—The International Journal of Peace and Development Studies, The International Journal of English and Literature, and the African Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science Research—your Editor-in-Chief was faced with the agonizing decision of choosing only one of these three acclaimed publications. True to my meritocratic name, I in the end focused on the most intriguing subject put forth:

International Journal of English and Literature


Dear Colleague,

We received a manuscript titled “Apemanship: A critique of the Modernization Theory in Ngugi’s selected works and Clement Chihota’s”Shipwreck” in No More Plastic Balls

"I wish to inquire if you can create time to review this manuscript. We will be most grateful if the manuscript can be reviewed and sent to us within 2 week.

Find attached below the article, the reviewer’s guide as well as the instructions for author.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this mail

Emekagbor Richard

Editorial Assistant
International Journal of English and Literature (IJEL)
E-mail: ijel.journal@gmail.com


Now, being a member of the Great Apes (and a great one at that!), Your Editor-in-Chief was intrigued by the concept of "Apemanship". Forget internships and apprenticeships; I would much prefer to perfect the apely arts at Mountain Gorilla State University. The article itself, which "contends that no society has ever developed on the basis of being copycats or following the philosophy of catching up" and that "African leaders of the 21st century should constantly be monitored for they have a propensity to co-opt foreign ideologies", sounds eminently suitable for a scholar such as myself. As a staunch Eurocentrist who has defended colonialism so long as it results in good beer, who better to assess the desire for Africans to achieve indigenous cultural and societal development!

Mostly, however, I should give thanks to the keen eye of the talent scout who sought me out for the IJEL, Mr. Emekagbor Richard. A true renaissance man (since he works for both the IJEL and the International Journal of Peace and Development Studies), he even looks every bit the totally legitimate and dedicated academic:
The Face of Academic Legitimacy
Indeed, confirming the legitimacy of these journals, is the final paragraph of the "Instruction for Authors" document attached to the e-mail:

Fees and Charges: Authors are required to pay a $500 handling fee. Publication of an article in the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology is not contingent upon the author's ability to pay the charges. Neither is acceptance to pay the handling fee a guarantee that the paper will be accepted for publication. Authors may still request (in advance) that the editorial office waive some of the handling fee under special circumstances.

So, my fine readers, assuming that the price of the "handling fee" is not in Zimbabwean Dollars, I will be forced to solicit donations from you in order to submit my review. I simply cannot disappoint Emekagbor, and if this goal is reached, I would be glad to put in a good word for you to any member of this fine family of publications! (I accept cash, check, or Goldline coins)


Volid Review: Fantasy Mission Force

You may have noticed that your Editor-in-Chief of the Volidity Report was on a bit of a hiatus, but this did not mean that volidity ceased to be promulgated. On the contrary, sir and/or madam! I have been on the lecture circuit, hitting up some of the most distinguished lecture halls in Brooklyn, New York. Your Editor-in-Chief was invited by an exquibulary film screening organization called Cinebeasts (of which he is a proud board member) to introduce a gripping historical documentary on September 29th. The documentary, Fantasy Mission Force (starring Jackie "Jacky" Chan), is the story of an elite commando force; however, unlike say, The Dirty Dozen or the Inglorious Basterds (sic—tsk, tsk on your spelling, Mr. Tarantino!), this film is absolutely accurate and True. Why, just see for yourself in video and below, with the slides of my lecture:

Gentlemen, Ladies, and Others, Fantasy Mission Force has been evaluated. I hope to see you on my next stop on my lecture tour, and yes, I will gladly sign an autograph in exchange for a small fee/amount of vodka.


Key on You

As you may already know, fake bands can have real songs. But did you know that fake bands can also suffer from real tensions among bandmates? The key points of the Behind the Music on Dog Handjob that will air on VH1 (that is, if VH1 was a channel that still had any music-related programming) are:
  • A project for forming a band and recording songs is assigned in Mrs. Wilkens' music class.
  • The band Dog Handjob is formed by three filler kids.
  • They have some really cool ideas for songs, like dogs, and movies!
  • A certain Patty Sanders—who is either a shalimar or a slut, depending on who you ask—forms the key component of a love quadrilateral (or maybe she is the area of the love triangle, which would totally be isoceles).
  • Their hopes for getting at least a B diminish, which sucks because report card time is coming up...
So, what grade do you think the members of Dog Handjob should earn for their song, "Key on You"?


Tales from the Spambots: Liu Yan

Returning to your computer screens—be they liquid plasma or glass reinforced with lead such that not even Superman could peer through—is everyone's new favorite series, Tales from the Spambots. This week, we have a man who believes in business partnership at first sight, Mr. Liu Yan. Having sought just the right person through his "personal search" (MySpace? JDate? Adult Friend Finder?..we may never know for sure), he found a certain friend of the Volidity Report:

From: "Liu"<_______@tut.by>
Date: July 30, 2010 6:44:18 AM EDT
Subject: Business Notification !!! (30.7.10)
Reply-To: <_______@tut.by>

FROM: Liu Yan
Bank of China
13/F. Bank of China Tower
1 Garden Road
Hong Kong,

I sincerely ask for forgiveness for I know this may seem like a complete intrusion to your privacy but right about now this is my best option of communication. This mail might come to you as a surprise and the temptation to ignore it as frivolous could come into your mind, but please consider it a divine wish and accept it with a deep sense of humility

This letter must surprise you because we have never meet before neither in person nor by correspondence, but I believe that it takes just one day to meet or know someone either physically or through correspondence. I got your contact through my personal search, you were revealed as being quite astute in private entrepreneurship, and one has no doubt in your ability to handle a financial business transaction. I am Mr. Liu Yan a transfer supervisor operations in investment section in Bank of China Ltd. Secretariat of the BOCHK Charitable Foundation 13/F. Bank of China Tower, 1 Garden Road,Hong Kong I have an obscured business suggestion for you.Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client General Mohammed Jassim Ali who work with the Iraqi forces and also business man made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of (I will disclose amount upon your reply) in my branch.

Upon maturity several notices was sent to him, even early in the war, again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him, We later found out that General Mohammed Jassim Ali and his family had been killed during the war, in a bomb blast that hit their home.

After further investigation it was also discovered that General Mohammed Jassim Ali did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So, (I will disclose amount upon your reply) is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that, according to the laws of my country at the expiration of 3 years the funds will be reverted to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to General Mohammed Jassim Ali so that you will be able to receive his funds. I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we shall come out successful.

I have contacted an attorney who will prepare the legal documents that will authorise and back you up as the next of kin to General Mohammed Jassim Ali, all what is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your Full Names, private phone number and Address so that the attorney can commence his job. After you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and letter from the probate in your favor for the transfer of the funds to an account that will be provided by you with my guidance. There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going to adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents.

Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account then we shall discuss the percentage issue on your reply.

If you are interested please forward to me your full names and current residential address, and I will prefer you to reach me on my private and secure email address below and finally after that I shall provide you with more details of this operation.

Best Regards
Liu Yan

Please reply to this email: ________@tut.by

He believes in fate ("divine wish"), is humble, and thinks "that it takes just one day to meet or know someone either physically or through correspondence", just like Ethan Hawke [swoon]. Some of you might have noticed that his e-mail is from a Belarusian web domain, which I view as a further plus, since that country produces the world's best informational magazines. Frankly Liu, I'd be glad to partner with you (entrepreneurially) any day...


Tales from the Spambots: Miss Cynthia

People just don't seem to write to one another anymore. You might not have heard this, since no one has written to you about it. Regardless, I think it is time we gave appreciation to the most active composers of messages in our current era, the Spambots. We have, of course, already heard directly from Health Insurance Po here on the Volidity Report. But it is to Miss Cynthia that I dedicate the beginning of a new Volidity Report Exclusive Series™, "Tales from the Spambots":

From: Cynthia Roland [mailto: _______@att.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010
1:25 PM
Subject: Hello;


My name is Cynthia Roland a young girl from Ivorie. I got your contact email while making some research for reliable foreigner on the Internet (Remember the distance or colour does not matter but our good heart and sincerity matters allot in life ) i will be waiting to hear from you so that i will tell you more about my self and send my picture to you.I wish you all the best for your day.Always stay blessed from my deepes heart.

Yours respectfully,
Miss Cynthia.

Miss Cynthia, you certainly seem like neither shake nor shalimar. Whether you are from the Ivory Coast or Ivory Soap, you will always remain in this reliable foreigner's "deepes heart"! (just don't e-mail me at work again...)


"Pumpkin clown, bemused"- Mobile Volidity Vol 1

Though much maligned, a 140-characters-or-less world offers writers hilarious koan-building potential. How boring it is glance at your mobile and get a catch-all, "whatz up d00d wher u at?" when conversely, you could find a glorious, "Neo-realists assault the no-osphere with hypersonic mental armaments based on Lysenkoist assumptions!" The other day, I realized that I had amassed a large number of text messages in my paleolithic flip-phone's internal memory that I needed to save for posterity. Therefore, to spread the love of mobile absurdism, and more importantly, to clear up some space on my phone, I present a chronological smattering of standouts from 11/17/2008 - 6/2/2010, authored by Tibor and MC Soyuz. You, dear reader, should expect no context, for it is neither required nor given.

"Personally, I'd advise against delving into the dark Reece's Pieces of our minds..."

"SO i hear you plan on making a t-shirt that says 'Self-Immolation is Hot'"

"SO I hear you're about to start a band called Shalimar Shelly and the Filler Kids"

"...punctuated by eating spoonful after spoonful of baking soda and falling down the stairs"

"Excoriate academic snowblower by trifling with wily youth, if and only if Luther Vandross foments Andross' defenestration, proclaims Pumpkin Clown, bemused"

"Yo mEn kEaNu ReEVeS NoS sHiT! DoN fAk WiT dAt!!!"

"'Twas a fateful Tuesday morning,
Suddenly without warning
A message as never before:
We have come to settle the score!
Fast upon impact of the planes,
Our hearts became wrought with pains
Along passed many to heaven
Wish you Happy 9/11!"

"You're much more belumfigant than you are contraltable..."

"Triggerhappy ground varmint!"

"Jus be like, 'Yo gir', looks like yo' pussy needs some Ape-lovin', and I be the bouncin'est, hoppin'est, dancin'est gorilla in town!'"

"Sandwich Nation made unbelievably pointy jackals, whose undulating orifices came with sticky residue between phosphorescent pop tarts! Ya know, ya know?"

"Face-melting homonculi will lead you to Nirvana, the band, then will eruct nu metal hits fit only for Hyperboreans"

"Curious cumulous clouds are palpably poisonous to particular parvenus, dontcha know?"

"Neo-realists assault the no-osphere with hypersonic mental armaments based on Lysenkoist assumptions!"

"Just worked my ass off...trim body here I come?"


Volid Review: Belarus Magazine

Ah, the venerable PR magazine. Glossy, with short articles full of fun facts—and, of course—many an image. Every organization that can publishes them, with the purpose of making you feel all warm inside and distracting from any nasty inquiries about specific policies. For example, when reading the magazine Saudi Aramco World, one is more likely to think, "Wow, neato—the Abu Dhabi book festival" than ponder the influence and control exercized around the globe by the world's largest oil company.
Enter Belarus magazine. Founded by the Information Ministry of the Republic of Belarus and supported logistically by the offices of Sovetskaya Belorussiya and financially by Belvnesheconombank, I picked up a copy of Belarus in 2007 at the Belarusian Embassy in Washington, DC. Published in Belarusian (as Беларусь), English, and German (curiously, not as Weißrussland, but also as Belarus), the magazine claims to be "distributed in 50 countries of the world" and "published since 1930"[?!].


Fictionary Supplement: Part 2 - Vagabonds and Miscreants

Nalph Raider
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a long line of vagabonds and brigands, Nalph Raider knew from a young age that he had a mission to complete. His teen years were spent in angst and anomie as he felt isolated socially and ideologically from his "communitarian" and "schoolist" peers. But upon reading Atlas Shrugged—after which he cut out the insert "about the author" photo of Ayn Rand and has kept it in his wallet since—Nalph's anarcho-capitalist views finally solidified.

Nalph then went out into the world—by which he meant the continental United States—to do battle with federal regulation in every form, because it was inherently illegitimate. Nalph would break into cars and remove their airbags and seatbelts; on certain days he would even deflate their tires to a level not recommended by the Department of Transportation. Nalph would also chain himself to the entrances of fire stations, to temporarily prevent these socialized hellions from getting out to literally break into private property with axes. It was, however, when Nalph was discovered intercepting and shredding social security checks that the local (socialized) police force stepped in, fining him—i.e. taking his wealth by fiat for redistribution.

This was the last straw for Nalph, who decided it was finally time to "go Galt." He purchased a derelict barge which he positioned in the Gulf of Mexico in International Waters—out of reach from the oppressive socialist governments surrounding him. He remains there today, patiently awaiting the legions of productive people, who will inevitably leave behind the looters and moochers.

Jack Larva
The story of Jack Larva is a few minutes in the tellin'. He's seen a lot of strange stuff, to hear him tell it, and some of his roustabouts (especially from the early days, mind) are spotty and incoherent, and ought to be taken with a pinch of salt and vinegar, both of which he is purported to keep in handy supply in his front jacket pocket. Larva was born in a brick oven in the tenement which his immigrant parents shared with their neighbors and friends. His earliest memories, Jack has said, are of the aromas of matzo ball soup and pesto basil wafting through the cracks in the wooden cupboard that was to become his bedroom. For fun, he used to kick the family mutt until he got tired. His father would laugh and laugh.

From his rough-and-tumble beginnings, young Larva developed a charisma as wide as the Brooklyn Bridge, and he seemed destined for the stars! Rumor has it, he could charm the pants off a goat! Jacky spent a peculiarly long amount of time exploring this talent before he realized it could not be used to make money. Locked out one afternoon by his parents, the boy decided to go off and make his fortune. But he was in a pinch, and need cash - and quick! He did everything - scourin', scrubbin', sashayin' - you name it - but always with a smile on his face. His sporting demeanor was further propped up by his chums - a ragtag crew of miscreants who called themselves the Gentleman Jims whose main interests included but were not limited to fresh fish, yelling at immigrants, and dames (broads).

Jack Larva discovered his talent for shadow-puppetry by happenstance. One dusky, grimy Thursday morn, whilst the boy was amusing a crow with his offensive hand gestures, taught to him by enthusiastic (some would say a little too-enthusiastic) merchant marines on holiday, he managed to catch the attention of a local fishmonger. Needless to say, the vendor was ill-amused; having smoked his last mackerel this morning, his mood had run understandably afoul. As the hilarious and brilliant shadows danced against the lattice and brick of the alleyway, Jack realized his place, his niche- his piece of the American pie lay within this dreamy two-dimensional world of wonder. His epiphany was short-lived, however, as he failed to sense the impending approach of the monger from behind, until it was too late. A scaly mass of paper and ink and scales welted his noggin, and left him seeing stars. Stars like Humphrey Bogart! Who gave him the encouragement he needed to finally make the push to Vaudeville, where he prospered and amazed hundreds! Also, Greta Garbo.

Qui-Nine Gin
Discovered at a young age due to his high Midichlorian count by his pediatrician on Dantooine, Qui-Nine Gin was quickly sought out by Jedi recruiters. Enrolled at the Jedi Academy on Coruscant, Qui-Nine was studious and respectful to his elders, if a bit quiet and awkward. As the Jedi are very strict housemasters, and as he was not especially skilled at sneaking about, Qui-Nine rarely made it out into the bustling planet-wide ecumenopolis that is Coruscant. Receiving acceptable marks in Force-sensitivity and below average on lightsaber fencing, Qui-Nine was set to graduate as a Jedi Knight in 65 BBY. His peers pressured him into hitting the Entertainment District of Coruscant to celebrate, where Qui-Nine discovered the “Djinn & Tonique,” a drink with far greater potency than his normal evening glass of blue milk. Stumbling to his graduation ceremony while still quite inebriated, Qui-Nine was expelled from the Jedi Order before even officially joining it after using the Force to lift the Dean of Students’ robe while he was speaking to the audience in a ceremony being broadcast galaxy-wide.

In response, Qui-Nine decided to embrace his destiny and embarked upon a two-week bender that has lasted the better part of three years. Qui-Nine is found most frequently at O’Twi’lek’s Pub, where he amuses the patrons with his Jedi powers. He believes rather strongly that his tab only exists due to his skill with the Jedi mind trick (“You will put this on my tab.” “Ok, sure thing, Mr. Gin!”), though he has irked some bartenders by attempting to levitate liquor bottles behind their backs, only for them to shatter on the ground.

One day, in O’Twi’lek’s Pub Qui-Nine was visited by a mysterious shrouded man. He sat down next to Qui-Nine and provided a sympathetic ear to hear Qui-Nine’s life story. Patiently listening while rubbing his palms together in a manner that would be disturbing to the attentive, the cloaked man told Qui-Nine, “The Jedi have mistreated you, my young apprentice. The Dark Side of the Force has no such prohibitive notions. Join me, and you shall be able to both drink and get your revenge on the Jedi!” Qui-Nine seemed to contemplate this for a moment, but then his eyes glazed over and he mumbled something about a lack of pickled eggs at the bar. Taken aback, the now-revealed Sith Lord muttered, “The Force is strong with this one…” To which Qui-Nine replied, “Nah, the Force is strong with this one,” pulling a flask from his pocket and taking a deep swig. Several other bar patrons nodded approvingly, and the Sith were once again humiliatingly defeated.

The Bushwick Yeti
Infused with the power of seven lesser apes, the loathsome beast known simply as the Bushwick Yeti derives its pleasure from small bloody triumphs and public feats of strength. His mane, a woolly white, covers his powerful frame from head to toe, exposing little skin to liken him to his prey. Rumor has it, he nests within an abandoned water-tower. Others are convinced his true home s farther north - the snowy badlands of Ridgewood and Glendale, barely inhabited wilderness into which few brave explorers have ever dared to venture. No matter his home, his nomadic ways and unique camouflaging abilities strike fear into the plaid-wearing pink-skins he hunts. For you see, many years ago, the Bushwick Yeti lived in a remote lumber hamlet named Hibernia in the Northwest Territories, far from his new land. His kind were as prosperous as they were ferocious, and over years, they learned to become skilled hunters of the Flannels who lived in the indoors places. But alas, the Yeti tribe of the North grew fat and lazy, and soon there were no more flannels to hunt! Food becoming scarce, one impetuous young Yeti named Mike left his home in search for prey abroad. In the far south, and to the east and west, legends said, there were massive unexplored quarries of Flannel awaiting meat harvest. Mike knew his destiny lay in the wicks of the Bush, and so undertook the perilous trek alone, as others were too lazy to accompany him.

The locals began to surmise something awry after the first major snowstorm of 2009. As the pattern moved north, residents realized the breakup-via-disappearance of local art-rock collective, The Film Crickets. They were never found, causing their unreleased tape, "At Least I'm Not You" to spiral into legend among the clinically depressed. Then, as the snow melted, bloody strips of red, other red, and green would appear, strewn about in seemingly violent fashion. Panic imminent, the local authorities suggested that the missing youths (by then, the count was above fifty), "I dunno, moved back ta California or some shit. Yeah, moved. What can I say? New York, it's a tough place! You ask me, maybe dey shouldna come in here in the first place. I mean, New York, ehh, always been more of a denim town, y'know?"

Special thanks to Associate Editor LK Shov for the tales of Jack Larva and the Bushwick Yeti!


Dog Handjob

So, a good friend of the Volidity Report, Squid Brains, created an exquibulary flyer for a fake show featuring fake bands at a real venue! Going to show that fake bands can also have real songs, the Volidity Report is proud to present the first single for the NYC-based "goo-beat" band Dog Handjob, entitled "Dog Handjob":


Fictionary Addendum №2

Philastine: IPA: /ˈfɪl.ə.stin/
1. (derogatory) A resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“The Flyers were playing a game that night so every bar was full of boorish Philastines.”

shake: IPA: /'ʃeɪk/
1. An female targeted by males for her seeming approachability and the impression that she would consent to romantic activities.
“Sure, that dive bar is full of shakes; if making out in bathrooms is your style, there's no better place.”

suddenate: IPA: /sʌdneɪt/
1. To appear without notice or warning.
“I was reading alone when without warning Kovacs suddenated behind me.”

whipping boy class: IPA: /ʍɪpɪŋ bɔɪ klɑːs/
1. The subject at a university which a student shirks in order to concentrate on his/her other subjects.
“Yeah, I figure Intro to Dinosaurs will be my whipping boy class this semester considering that I don’t think it will be too challenging.”

Special thanks to LK Shov for "shake"


Socialized Liquor

Well, it happened. But one (1) month ago, socialized medicine came to America. Well, that is, forgetting Medicare, Medicaid (so long ago!), and that big recent Medicaid expansion (passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bush, so it is inherently not socialist) or the seemingly similar plan passed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, which was obviously different because it was for Personal Responsibility and Freedom. Regardless, Obamacare is far worse than all of those combined! Grandma will have her plug pulled, we'll all have to get sex changes, and Barney Frank will personally perform a colonoscopy on every American male. We're in for some dark times, for sure. But I recently discovered a far more sinister socialized institution in America, which affects something I hold far more dear than my health.

Indeed, what could be of greater importance than liquor? Be it of grain, potato, or fruit (but it damn well better not be fruity!), liquor is an important part of a balanced diet. In fact, before Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his Chicago communist gangsters jammed socialized medicine down our throats, a glass of whiskey was my medicine. So, with this in mind, I was dismayed to learn that socialism had crept into my home state of Virginia in the form of socialized liquor. Yes, since 1934—allegedly, the repeal of prohibition and the temperance movement were involved, but with a year like that it must be the work of that liberal fascist, FDR—the distribution and sale of all alcoholic beverages stronger than beer and wine (≤14% ABV) is managed by the state. Indeed, Virginia's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control operates a chain of state-run stores that sell liquor to Virginians, in some of which people even have to line up behind a counter and request their wares from a clerk, just like in Soviet Russia. Now they're even giving free liquor to the masses like any welfare state! Who would have suspected Virginia, a traditional Red State, which recently elected Confederacy enthusiast Bob McDonnell as governor and health care and *hypothetical* Obama birth certificate litigator Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general. However! The ugly truth of socialized liquor reveals that the Commonwealth (sounds like communist, don't it?) of Virginia is a in fact red state of the socialist variety.

Now, though Virginia is apparently a red state of the commie variety, it isn't exactly like Red China. It's much more similar to those socialistic Scandinavians and their own state alcohol monopolies: Sweden (Systembolaget), Finland (Alko), Norway (Vinmonopolet), and Iceland (Vínbúð). Starting as early as the 1920s, these countries have strictly controlled the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages in a way not unlike Virginia. And like Virginia, with its childish and innocent sounding "ABC stores," Finland's Alko has advertized itself with cutesy imagery involving a person shaking hands with a liquor bottle (at least, when I was there in 2006 it did). But this is not the only stealth means of Scandinavian socialist infiltration into our once proud Free Market nation; remember when the financial crash was going full force in the fall of 2009? Well, back then even so-called Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham were considering the "Swedish Model" for the American banking sector. What is the Swedish Model? It is apparently the [temporary] nationalization of banks. And you know who else did that? Nikolai Lenin! Thus, we should be very worried when B. Hussein Obama invites in Bo Lundgren, the architect of Sweden's 1990s bank nationalization. First they socialize our medicine, then our liquor, then try to socialize our banks? What's next, socializing our M&M candies?

So, how can we defend our country against these Nordic crypto-communists and their socializing programs? Well, since I suspect there already is another civil war a-brewin', it's important to be prepared for the worst. However, in light of the shocking revelation of socialized liquor—and the fact that Virginia is but one of many states facing this issue—this conflict that is looming over us is a Second Whiskey Rebellion! Forget about tax resistance, the front lines of freedom are now in moonshining! Besides, one great American sportsman decided to spurn a Swedish model, so why shouldn't America as a whole?


A List: Top Ten Facebook Political Views

I hereby present a list of the top ten Facebook political views I have had and have considered having:

  1. Libertarian Stalinist*
  2. Eco-nationalist
  3. Shigalyovist*
  4. Objectivist Relativist
  5. Crypto-Feudalist
  6. Hoxhaist Anti-Revisionist
  7. Neo-Conservative Pacifist
  8. Orthodox Lacanian Stalinist*
  9. Sportsman for Mao
  10. Meritocracy*

* Means that I have listed this as my political views


Feeling Blue?

Are you feeling blue today? (Note: conditions may vary depending upon language stated)

Blue in English informally means "sad"

Blue in German (blau) informally means "drunk"

Blue in Swedish (blå) informally means "naïve"

Blue in Latvian (zils) informally means "gay"

So, which blue are you?


Market Correctness and Corporate Nomenclature

Let me begin with the story of a corporation that just wanted to be whole again. And who wouldn’t want that, considering that corporations are just people too! The tale begins in 1870 with the founding of Standard Oil by John D. Rockefeller and others. Through fierce competition and by circumventing strict state laws regarding chartered corporations (Standard Oil was originally an Ohio corporation) through acting as a trust and registering in less restrictive states, Standard Oil gained a huge market share. It paid off; in 1890 Standard Oil controlled the flow of 88% of all refined petroleum in the United States—a near total monopoly. But this same fateful year a law was passed—the Sherman Antitrust Act—which empowered the federal government to go after firms that operated as monopolies or cartels. It did so with a vengeance years later when the Supreme Court ruled in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States that Standard Oil sought to act as a monopoly and restrain trade and commerce in petroleum and that therefore it must be broken up.

Like a group of orphans shunted off to different foster families following the death of their parents, 34 new companies emerged from their former parent corporation. These were largely centered in one state or region and included: Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of Indiana, Standard Oil of Kentucky, Standard Oil of Ohio, and the Continental Oil Company, among others. Don’t recognize any of these? Well, like children, as they grew up they began to assert their individual identities. And just like a person can change his/her name, a corporation can too! So, by the mid-to-late 20th century, Standard Oil of NJ had become Exxon, Standard Oil of NY – Mobil, Standard Oil of CA – Chevron, and Standard Oil of IN – Amoco. As the years went by, a sort of family reunion began to occur; Chevron acquired Standard Oil of KY as well as the unrelated Texaco, while Standard Oil of Ohio and another Standard sibling named Atlantic Petroleum were reunited as part of BP. But the biggest of these reunions transpired in 1999, when Exxon and Mobil merged to form ExxonMobil, which followed in its parent corporation’s footsteps by becoming the world’s largest corporation by market capitalization in 2006.

As I once said, “names have power.” And the intangible and mutable nature of names means that this power can be twisted very easily to selfish and destructive ends. In the little tale I wove above, I another strain of “market correctness” can be detected. In the days of yore, corporations had to be chartered by a state or local government, and would have a name that reflected either the nature and scope of their work or the name of their founder. The breakup of Standard Oil came because its monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior was harming the common good. The names assigned to its successors stipulated not only their origin (from the corpse of their parent corporation), but that they were meant to have a more limited scope, geographically and in the marketplace. I believe that the gradual abandonment of their original names in no small part facilitated their reunification. For example, while the merger of Exxon and Mobil into one of the world's largest and most powerful corporations raised some eyebrows, just think of the public indignation if that merger had been between Standard Oil of New Jersey and Standard Oil of New York.

This is a trend that goes far beyond the petroleum industry. The United Fruit Company is rightfully known as a particularly brutal and corrupt corporation—commonly called el pulpo ("the octopus") in Latin America, the firm massacred up to 2000 striking Colombian banana plantation workers in 1928, led the effort to overthrow democratically-elected President Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954, and paid millions of dollars in bribes to Honduras' military strongman president in the early 1970s. Yet, few outside Latin America remember this today since United Fruit became United Brands and finally Chiquita Brands in the 1980s, with a light-hearted image of a fruit-bedecked woman as its logo. Had Chiquita remained United Fruit, I suspect they would have a far more difficult time in the marketplace.

Perhaps the most egregious recent example is the transformation that Philip Morris underwent last decade. With mounting public opposition toward the tobacco industry in general and Philip Morris in particular, a PR strategy was needed to revive the declining profitabilty of the brand (and ending the negative practices in which the firm was engaging was, of course, out of the question). Philip Morris USA had already been trying to diversify its portfolio, acquiring Kraft foods (and all of its brands and subsidiaries) in 1988. But this was not enough to halt the damage caused by the brand's reputation. Thus, in 2003, Phillip Morris Companies created and fell under the umbrella of the Altria Group, effectively giving birth to its own parent. The name, derived from the word for "high" in Latin, was coupled with a new logo that is nothing more than a rainbow checkered square. Both of these were meant to emphasize the diversity of products offered by the reformed Philip "Altria" Morris. The ploy seems to have worked—despite a dip during the financial crisis, revenue and stock prices have generally been on the rise since the rebranding.

All of these related tales communicate to me the superficiality of our age as language becomes more euphemistic and meaningless. The malleability of the English language is facilitating corporations to use their command of it to deceive us and profit from our ignorance. If nothing is done about this, profits will continue to rise for these corporations, but the common good will suffer further. To stop this, we of course need to challenge and end the dispicable notion of corporate personhood. But that is a difficult structural battle against which the vast moneyed interests will fight tooth and nail. Another part of this is fighting for the survival of the English language by rejecting market correctness. Whenever someone says "Chiquita," you say "United Fruit." Wherever someone writes "ExxonMobil," you write "Standard Oil." And whenever you see an Altria logo in all of its nondescript blandness, draw a big old cigarette over it in permanent marker. It's the volid thing to do, and more importantly I think, the societally beneficial thing to do.


The Flag You Should Have: Lithuania

So, Lithuania, you're up! Now that your northern neighbor and fellow Baltic culture Latvia has been featured in a previous segment of “The Flag You Should Have”, I do believe it is your turn to be evaluated vexillogically (and volidly). Let’s begin, shall we…

Another tricolour, eh? Admittedly, I do like the colors—they make for a pleasant combination. But, you do realize that you share the exact same set of colors with Bolivia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Togo, Cameroon, Benin, Senegal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and the Republic of the Congo, right? I’m sure you didn’t intend to coincide with one version of the “Pan-African colors,” but here we are. Additionally, I will point out that the exact same flag as yours serves as the official flag of the department of Bolívar, Colombia. It’s worth adding as well that no one really knows why these colors were chosen. Ostensibly, they were selected due to their frequent use in traditional Lithuanian crafts, but other theories abound. Some say that "yellow stands for grain, green for forests, and red for the blood shed in defense of the nation." Regardless, the current flag was created ex nihilo at the turn of the 20th century by Lithuanian national activists, following the model that emerged from the French Revolution, that every nation needed a tricolour.


The Ultimate Personals Ad

As we approach the anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Valentine, what are the youth of our Nation doing more of besides looking for love? And in what manner are they communicating with one another, if not in short, confusing sequences of letters? One should also not overlook the fondness of our Young People for clever little slogans, of the sort which can be reprinted on a t-shirt and make a filler kid feel cooler than he is. Thus, I present to you the ultimate personals ad header for the 21st century:

"XY seeking XX for XXX"

It's compact, direct, clever (in the manner of things learned in Biology class and subsequently forgotten), easily reversed (for the ladies as well as those suffering from Klinefelter's syndrome), and memorable. Perfect for that individual, "craig," and his list, or even one of those old-fashioned "news papers." You never know, this might even be the quip that finally gets the attention of that shalimar who has been ignoring you thus far. If so, be sure to thank your friends at the Volidity Report...


Market Correctness

Names have power, despite their intangible nature. Romeo and Juliet’s respective surnames were enough to doom their love in Shakespeare’s eponymous work. Naturally, one might hope that a name should not act as a burden, and ought to be changed if a more equitable title can be found. But there is a danger to changing names; as American (and Western society in general) becomes increasingly euphemistic, a whole host of terms and concepts are made meaningless. George Orwell is often overcited in critiques of language, but his rather underused essay “Politics and the English Language” has much to offer to those interested.

In this essay, Orwell makes the contention that the English language—and thus the very ideas of people who communicate in that language—is under threat. He states:

"...the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes...But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely...It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

Of course, the argument that he is making in a academic and polemical manner here is the same that would later pervade his most famous novel, 1984. Because ideas must be transmitted through a language, alterations to that language may transform or limit certain ideas in the public sphere and eventually in people's minds. Specifically for the purposes of this post, I will recite Orwell's fifth rule provided in the essay: "Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent." Let's see if we have since learned from Orwell's example...

In the cold waters of the south seas along the Southern Cone of South America lived a humble fish called the Patagonian toothfish. Lightly fished for local consumption, and with international fisheries only interested in harvesting small quantities to be ground up into cat food, the toothfish persevered as it had for millennia. Then, in the 1990s, businessmen in the United States rebranded the fish “Chilean Sea Bass,” which immediately became a trendy favorite at seafood restaurants. Stocks of the slow-growing fish have since been devastated by overfishing, which has also had the side-effect of killing hundreds of thousands of seabirds a year. By merely having its name changed, this species has gone from obscurity to in-demand commodity toward becoming an endangered species.

The toothfish is not the only species that has been renamed for marketing purposes. Dolphin-fish, presumably to remove any association with the beloved mammal of the same name, has become “mahi-mahi.” Yet the choice of the fish’s Hawaiian language name seems in total a cynical one made in order to produce as exotic- and desirable-sounding a name as possible; the Spanish language name already occasionally in use, “dorado,” was thus passed over for mahi-mahi. It should be noted that not all name-changes are cynical marketing ploys—for example, the renaming of jewfish to goliath grouper—and these can be positive changes. Furthermore, species are often reclassified once research reveals new taxonomic connections. However, superficial name changes made for marketing purposes seem on the rise and increasingly accepted without a word of protest from the general public.

But renamed fish are only a small part of a much wider trend. Take one of the most consumed cooking oils in North America, canola oil. “Canola,” however, is not the name of any plant, as one might assume. The etymology of the name, bizarrely enough, is the term "Canadian oil, low acid"[!]. The seemingly Soviet acronym was adopted because the traditional name of the plant from which canola was derived is "rapeseed." Thus, a plant variety in the United States has essentially disappeared from the public mind—replaced with a bland acronym-contraction—for the reason that a product derived from a plant with the word "rape" in its name is not sufficiently marketable to consumers.

The situation becomes even more absurd in the realm of pharmaceuticals. In the past, names of drugs were often related chemically or biologically to their source or active ingredient (e.g. Penicillin, from the Penicillium fungus, or for example the antihistamines I frequently take: Chlortrimeton, from chlorphenamine maleate or Sudafed, from pseudoephedrine). But now euphemism is the rule of the day: an aminoketone called buproprion becomes the trade drug "Wellbutrin," ibandronate sodium becomes "Bonviva." These names have no relation to their chemical bases and merely sound pleasant to the ear—Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant, makes you "well" and Bonviva, meant to prevent osteoperosis, gives you a "good life." Even if the FDA eventually rejected the trade name "Bonviva," GlaxoSmithKline settled for the similarly meaningless and euphemistic "Boniva."

In the United States, political hay is frequently made over "political correctness." Despite the shrill complaints of right-wing culture warriors, many terms that have changed have done so for the purposes of creating a more neutral, inclusive, and (generally speaking) accurate terminology (e.g. [American] Indian→Native American, [mentally] retarded→mentally challenged/disabled). Conversely, the euphemistic and arbitrary language described in this post exists for no reason other than profit. Reviewing the evidence here, the more muddled and removed from reality a concept is, the more marketable it becomes. My objection to this is not merely its excessive effigeousness, but that these made-up words can have very real and rather negative consequences. Speaking as the compiler of the Fictionary and its amusing/somewhat useful slang, I can say that the public sphere deserves better than this unclear and insincere language. I'm with Orwell, let's avoid such language that leads us to have foolish thoughts. And one of the most serious sources of this is not political correctness, but what I shall henceforth term "market correctness." And if that sounds a bit forced and unnatural, well, let's just call it "made-up nonsense."



I've often said that the human body is a canvas, and not just because if one took human skin, dried and tanned it, then one could use it as a canvas for painting. That would be gross! No, I speak of the ancient art of tattooing.

Recently, I thought of the best tattoo idea ever. It is also extremely volid! Additionally, it is meant for females—of which I happen not to be one—so listen up ladies! We have witnessed the rise of lower back tattoos, derogatively referred to as "tramp stamps," into the mainstream. More people are getting them than ever before, with 24% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 possessing at least one. For most, a tattoo is something that has serious meaning and significance in their life. By contrast, this tattoo idea is for people who are willing to go further and get their tattoo ironically. So, I present to you, the best tattoo idea ever—to be inked on the lower back of a female human being:


Isn't it wonderful? Oh, not a classicist? I see. Well, "signum meretriculae" means something close to "tramp stamp" (literally: "mark of a little harlot") in Latin. It is self-referential, yet mocks the effigeous trend of putting "meaningful" phrases in some foreign language on one's body. Basically, it is like the intentional tattoo that reads "pork fried rice" in Chinese, but so much better. So, any takers? I won't even charge royalties...


The Flag You Should Have: Latvia

(a fun new series from The Volidity Report!)

Latvija, tu zini, ka es tevi mīlu, bet mums ir jārunā... ("Latvia, you know that I love you, but we have to talk..."). Your flag is pretty cool, but I think the time has come for change. Sure, the legend behind it is rather neat—in which a medieval Latvian tribal chief was wrapped in a white sheet, which was stained red with his blood and subsequently used as a banner that led his warriors to victory—but that can only do so much. And I know, it's only been an official flag for 42 years of history (1918-1940; 1990-present), but I think there are some significant problems surrounding it.