January 9, 2022

Here’s what we’re doing here. The depths of my spirituality consist of getting high and staring at the trees and stars in awe so consequently I consider myself a pretty deep person. I also work full time writing about the Internet, so I spend way too much time wallowing in the shallow end. As an excuse to dive deeper, I’m highjacking El Prof’s high-dea for a spinoff letter about the weird and wonderful stuff we don’t get to talk about in cultr_h0r because culture on a whole sucks.

Our h0r_oscopes letter will be a little longer and looser and a lot less frequent, our freewheeling takes on Internet mysteries, conspiracy theories, and existence’s general state. (Mostly though the name just worked way too well to waste.)


I could really go for a Capri Sun.

Image: FKA Twigs

Just a heads up I am in no way qualified to write these so what I did was I went through and got together all the birthdays in the calendar app on my phone and if you’re one of them then I guess I’m writing to you.

♈ Aries

Stop defecating on the couches of those who’ve shown you kindness and hospitality. If you’re a human, I mean it metaphorically, of course. If you’re my kittens, however, it’s quite literal.

♉ Taurus

It is impossible to live the life you want because wanting always leads to wanting more. Live the life you need. Also consider smoking weed.

♊ Gemini

Consider stopping smoking weed.

♋ Cancer

Throw your phone out the window while whipping down windy backroads at a responsible but limit-exceeding speed. Take a chance on a new outlook, especially if it seems silly. Peaceful people might not be insane. Peace may well be in reach. 

♌ Leo

Have a conversation with a small child in which you don’t subconsciously relish in the power dynamic. Realizing children have their shit together as much as anyone is such a beautiful thing.

♍ Virgo

Self centeredness is our default setting, which is a shame, because then, when the whole world goes to shit, ours does, as well. Separate yourself from the whole while honoring the sameness between the world and you. If your world ends, it will be okay. If the world ends, you will be, too. 

♎ Libra

You may feel like the Illuminati is conspiring to ensure your life leaves no impact and ends alone. Don’t take it personally. It is true for everyone and everything. The only impact we can leave is love, in any given moment, given unconditionally.

♏ Scorpio

Don’t coddle your ego after it takes a beating, but don’t be too hard on it, either. Maintain respectful distance, like a coach to a team. Give it helping hands and ass slaps and CTE therapy. Bruises are healthy reminders of our own impermanence.

♐ Sagittarius

Don’t try so hard to keep the night from coming in. Open the doors to the outside world. Let owls perch on your floodlights and possums shit on your porch.

♑ Capricorn

Be yourself. But not in the precocious cliché way. In the dancing around a fire pit painting aliens on cave walls way. Crack a Capri Sun. Happy B Day. *<:-)

♒ Aquarius

Don’t worry about the way others go about it. We’re all going the same way, but there’s more than one way to get there, and no one else’s way says anything about you. So enjoy the diverse perspectives when passing through cities and, alone in the woods, take in the clean air and views. 

♓ Pisces

You can buy a human a fish. You can teach a human to fish. But you can’t teach a fish to make a yin yang symbol with another fish, or bribe it to, either… unless you’re in touch with the ethereal flow of the current of being, in which case, you can do anything. So go touch a fish, I guess. Or fuck one, if you’re the protagonist from The Pisces. I don’t know. I’ve never met a Pisces in my life. I don’t know what y’all need.

The dying art of lit journal submitting.

Image: Estiphanos Mesfin Wodajo

Last summer I decided it was time for people to read what I wrote. By then I’d written at least two or three things I didn’t hate. Chief among them: a piece drafted immediately after my family and I trespassed on sacred indigenous lands in northeastern Vermont. I spoke to God and/or the auditory hallucinations of my dissociated mind and/or a dragonfly which told me to climb onto a dead tree hanging over a cliff and hold on for dear life. I did and I didn’t die and I had a renewed appreciation for life afterwards, for a while. Then I wrote about it. Then I decided I was a genius for it. And everyone should know my name. 

I did some Google front page research and discovered, indeed, there are many blogs seeking young and exciting unpublished authors – the literary equivalent of hot singles in your area. I was drawn to a regional indie magazine, Monadnock Underground, promoting both poets and psychonauts in the Twin States, on a rolling submission basis. I thought, sounds like me, and, okay, and wrote up an email to the editor and fired away.

One can wait days, months, years, for a rejection letter from these under patronized validation factories I quietly craved. While I waited patiently for mine, I discovered a whole community of writers my age who also craved the validation that their best tweets say something funny and profound about the state of humanity. What’s more, some of the journals they Instagram followed and Twitter mentioned were cool! They had simple witty bios and irreverent self aware branding and one even had a skull for a profile picture. I wanted in. I also knew it would be easy. Those suckers would see a wonderbread white former gifted child writing about life and have no choice but to validate me. I’m a young and exciting unpublished writer. And a genius. Obviously.

But these magazines, I knew, were way too cool to trifle with something as plain as nature writing, divine dragonflies or no. So I sent out my edge-lordliest pieces: the horror movie set at an influencer camp; the soul-baring Internet search history set to prose; the alternate reality version of Charlie Brown who wears a MAGA hat and keeps Snoopy stuffed on the mantle and saw Linus get his scalp blown off in the Gulf War. At the same time, the dragonfly piece was accepted, by none other than Monadnock Underground, home to poets and psychonauts like me. Phenomenal, they called it. Stunning and original. Thanks, I said, like, tell me something I don’t know. 

The cool journals did instead. I wasn’t the right fit, they said – the literary equivalent of go get psychiatric help, you tactless lunatic. Luckily, self awareness and rejection arrived simultaneously. Even stinging freshly, I saw the poetic irony clearly etched in the blue light of my tablet. A mere hint of validation had gone straight to my ego. Meanwhile, the one story I hadn’t written with to mythologize my sense of self, the one about doing what the dragonfly tells you, no matter how uncomfortable and/or terrifying, was sitting in an editor’s inbox, possibly awaiting publication, probably forgotten. With all my egotism dashed, and nothing but a little regional literary journal under my feet, I waited and waited with no response and wondered if, this time, the limb would hold me.

It did. What The Dragonfly Wanted became my first and only journal-published essay and I am thankful to bring it into the world with a collection of poets and psychonauts behind it, no matter the size. Not because it strokes my ego or validates my pride. Because it was what the dragonfly wanted.

A high quality, low fidelity Wojak meme.

Image: @damngarcon

If you’re not already reading this under the influence of some substance, now might be a time to remedy that, while blissing out to the comforting and uncommunicable truths of the fickle universe we Internet kids can only illustrate in MS Paint drawings and Arial font musings. 

You dedicated 1000 words of precious marketing copy to an incoherent rant about a 4Chan character?

Image: The InternetImage: The Internet

Who is Chad?

You know him as the ultimate alpha, the straw man bane of the alt right, the riot grrl bogeyman, or, perhaps, the mononym for the eponymous culture whore bringing you the Internet’s least essential coverage every Tues and Thurs. Now, in typical Randian fashion, El Prof has arrived, here to reinvent the ubermensch in my own image – the privileged, jerk-off, silver-spoon-suckling variety.

Chad as a symbol is a fascinating paradox. On the one hand, the alpha white male archetype owes its own life to the incels who hate him, an idol striking both fear and envy into the same Internet trolls who birthed him. On the other, he’s rejected by the progressive left, who understand that true power lies with those divorced from archetypes, secure in their own authenticity. But what if Chad symbolized both? 

I believe Chad, the meme, should be rebranded as a Christ-like aspirational ideal to the men who alternatively adore and abhor him. Not as a girlfriend-stealing, beta-dunking asshole, of course, but as the poster boy of personal security, who answers even the most cutting questions with a sole, simple, ‘Yes.’ He’s someone so aware of his own nuance of being that he wouldn’t even think to assert his perceived power, because it’d be disingenuous to his truest self.

Image: The Internet Again

The lifelong journey to become a Chad would be about challenging all the core intangibles of a conscious human experience on earth, striving to embody the ideal of a mentally educated, metaphysically open Adonis, to understand that life is about achieving balance, not the lopsided, fleeting dopamine rush of power dynamics.

Of course, I’m under no illusion that people struggle to take myths in the spirit in which they were written, preferring the literal dogmatic readings, which in this case would likely end up with a church worshipping Elon Musk as the next coming of Jesus. (Oh wait. Sorry. Didn’t mean to just write you out of your own story, crypto degens.) But, at the same time, I also think we need a story like this for the young Chads, currently being radicalized in the dark corners of the Internet, discovering all of the power of applying discipline and patience for your life, but none of the self-reflection needed to balance it out.

The myth of Chad is a call for self-improvement, and growth, to an audience with the privilege and power to make positive changes in the world easier than any other group, but currently too busy owning their own worst tendencies – and, of course, the libs – because their idols are being cast as both unstoppable force and villain.

Image: HBO

Otherizing anything tends to lead to these bubble bursting moments in culture, but recognizing inflating tensions as they’re ballooning gives us the opportunity to relieve some pressure – even if it’s just by way of some good old fashioned memification.

Besides. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, I mean, other than this myth falling into the hands of a powerful conservative institution intent on repurposing and miscontextualizing its teachings to justify warmongering, status-quo-upholding, rampant abuse, expansive greed, and homogeneous thinking… but that would never happen to this pure message of collective and self love. Right?

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