Not Just A Reply To Becker

I don’t have the energy to do this. Radiohead’s new album "Kid A" has made me deathly ill. To be fair, it’s only the direct cause. The real fault is that of the concert I attended Thursday, October 5th. Nobody warned me. Nobody said "Oh, by the by, you’ll never be the same again after…

I don’t have the energy to do this. Radiohead’s new album "Kid A" has made me deathly ill. To be fair, it’s only the direct cause. The real fault is that of the concert I attended Thursday, October 5th.

Nobody warned me. Nobody said "Oh, by the by, you’ll never be the same again after this show."

Let me do you the favour no one did for me: If you decide to go see "Godspeed, You Black Emperor!", make sure to put your affairs in order first.

I couldn’t get out of my chair at the end of the show. I had no strength left. I couldn’t sleep for the next two days. I couldn’t even listen to music for one of them, because it was physically painful.

If you dig Bill Hicks, I didn’t just have my third eye squeegeed open. The bandmembers took a jackhammer to its lid, and now it won’t close.

Apparently, I didn’t really know what music is. That might even be true of sensory experience in general. If that’s the case, that my life before was something so superficial, then I can see why I’m sick now. The weight of experience is too much for my body to bear.

There was a period after the show in which I was considering abandoning creative endeavours entirely. They set the standard for what beauty in life is like, and I just didn’t feel up to it. I’ve since changed my mind. It’s not like me to turn down an existential challenge.

As for Kid A, listening to the album feels like I’m being taken apart slowly. At the end it takes a few moments to find myself again. I’m still too scared to play my Godspeed albums. The new one’s still in the package.

So that’s where I am right now. As a result, my life as a player of Magic has been abandoned for a week. Let’s see what crumbs I can find to feed it.

The latest tip from Blake "I Shoot From The Chin" Manders? Either "Necro-Donate is still the strongest Extended deck, you just need Exploration for the acceleration," or, "The best strategy for the Duelist Invitational Auction of Champions is to bid the Academy deck at three cards and twenty life … no, fifteen life." Take your pick.

Please bear in mind: I live with this. Every single day. Sometimes my first waking images include Blake towelled up like Paul Bellini, talking about how he wants to own an island.

Without the benefit of hallucinogens.

My mind balks a bit at the prospect of the New Extended, to be honest. It’s probably a sign that whatever appropriate muscles I had have long since atrophied. I look at this card pool and think, "Now that’s a lot of cards," but I can’t make that next step to actually selecting some of them, testing their interaction, filling in the weaknesses; you know the rigmarole.

There’s been an awful lot of beardstroking masquerading as deck construction, let me tell you.

Couple that with the fact that I’ve yet to wrench myself out of my supposed actual existence and into an Invasion draft, and you have a recipe for a pretty sorry state of affairs. The escape from which is going to cost me dearly.

I read Jon Becker Dojo article "Searching for Aaron Forsythe", and I think he’s really missing the point.

To bring you up to speed:

"Aaron Forsythe is here," he says, and doesn’t realise that that’s precisely the problem.

You know how you never see people going to the bathroom in movies unless they’re about to get shot? Well, when you’re busy building a fantasy, you might as well leave out all the stuff no one cares about. Realism is a whole bunch of stuff that happens, Fantasy is the good bits plus artistic licence.

To put it bluntly: Real People aren’t interesting all the time. With Fake People, you get whatever you want.

This isn’t to say that people were unsatisfied with the Jamie Wakefield they were getting. Factually, scads of people followed his writing. To an awful (AWFUL!) lot of people, he was an honest-to-goodness capital-H-Hero. And do you know what happens to Heroes when they’re gone? They get romanticised.

In his article that spawned this madness, J.F.R. just goes out and says that Wakefield has become an idea. Much as I hate to admit it (Oh, how I hate!), he’s right.

The search to which J.F. refers is an inner one. With the real Wakefield absent, each of us (myself excluded, for spite) is left with the Wakefield-Idea. These are unique (though not entirely because of the death of authorial intent) and composed of what was essentially important to us (not me) about him. Thus each is left to discover the meaning of this elemental Wakefield-Idea that captivates us (spite, I say!), and try to actualise it.

This search isn’t the tryouts for the next Jamie Wakefield.

Which is why Aaron Forsythe isn’t in the running. He can’t be what Wakefield is now. He’s way too busy being a real person, someone who goes to tournaments, playtests, and makes a real contribution to whatever you want to call the sum of Magic Internet Writing.

But I say all that just because it’s a point that needs clarifying, I don’t think that Becker is suggesting this kind of heroic transformation for Forsythe. I suppose that he thinks Forsythe is a very valuable member of the Magic Community, and undeservedly unrecognised.

If that’s the case, then the problem is that whatever Becker thinks people should be finding in Forsythe, the pre-mythical Jamie Wakefield, they already find in other people. Overcoming this is just a matter of advertising.

That’s probably an unfair oversimplification of his article. But it’s also unfair to Rizzo to reduce his article to something like, "Golly, that Wakefield sure was a swell guy."

And if you’re going to be unfair, you might as well shoot for the stars. Something like, "I’m saddened by the realisation that the carbon of which Rizzo is mostly formed is still not being put to better use, like carrots."

Josh Bennett


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Wighty: You see, all good desserts are composed of opposites. Hot and Cold. Salty and Sweet. Smooth and Crunchy. Good and Evil. Justice and Injustice. The Buddha and The Buddha.