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K. F. Harlock (crithit.org) Sam Hurt (eyebeam.com) Dylan Edwards (studiondr.com) M. Austin Bedell (skweegieisland.com/) Jeanne Thornton (fictioncircus.com/Jeanne) Gilbert Smith (crithit.org/spooky) Antonius Wolfsblut (wolfscum.com) Geoff Sebesta & Gewel Kafka Aaron Whitaker (www.aaronwhitaker.com) Jason Poland (robbieandbobby.com) John David Brown (flickr.com/photos/jdbrownpopart) Nouri Zarrugh (www.nourizarrughart.com) Monte Hayward (www.webcomicsnation.com/monte/) Dieter Geisler (dietergeisler.com) Kathleen Jacques (bvbcomix.com)
Jeanne Thornton Jason Poland John David Brown Kathleen Jacques Geoff Sebesta (unnecessaryg.com) M Austin Bedell Brian Horst Rodney Barry (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eelskin/)
Geoff Sebesta & Jeanne Thornton Printed through the Austin-American Statesman Made possible through Austin Sketch Group Inquiries? Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. http://fictioncircus.com/rocksalt
Xerxes Verdammt (wolfscum.com)
politically inqueerect by Dylan Edwards
bad mother by Jeanne Thornton
food insecurity. Experience the simple fun of trying to feed your family on a declining minimum wage. Major corporations like Whole Foods throw away vast sums of perfectly edible produce and grains every day, but where is the sport in that? seduction of the innocent. Slowly your children are aging and growing farther and farther apart from you. They will never understand your values. Media companies are striving even now to drive them toward alternate realities to which you will never be able to relate. You can never win against the future. Call today. A legAcy of rAcism. Everything you have is built on the systematic exploitation of those less fortunate than you. You can never give back the land your town is chartered upon to the Indians and you can never undo the municipal construction projects heavily driven by private slave labor. Even if you could undo these things, would it not be an insult to those who created it? You are terrible. Call now. A comfortAble existence predicAted on AmericAn militAry supremAcy. Face the facts! When the United States forces a foreign nation to its knees and forces it to accept our basic cultural assumptions of an investment/profit culture, we all benefit. The drone militaries of tomorrow will help us uphold this unquestioned dominance. No need to thank them; they are just doing their job. They can not understand you. They are beyond passion. the ciA coup AgAinst sAlvAdor Allende. The big moment when, in order to prevent the Soviet Union from having a de facto ally in South America, the US government decided to depose a democratically elected leader and replace him with a corrupt general for its own convenience. You know the date September 11, of course; this date was not chosen accidentally. Call now!
inexorAble climAte chAnge. Scientists have warned the planet for years only to find their concerns dismissed for strictly political reasons. Now it is too late and at minimum, Africa will be swallowed up by terrible coastal floods. Too bad for them. Too bad for everyone. the certAinty of environmentAl crAsh. There are vast heaps of trash filling the oceans, some as large as small states. At minimum the aggregate toxins from the breakdown of these trash objects will lead to vast ocean die-offs. There are whales you will never see again.
declining literAry stAndArds. Sentiment is now enshrined in novel-writing, where once it was considered the death of any serious effort at literature. Readers of today want comfort and a vague sense of empathy and lush technique rather than a hard, depressing look at existential doom. There is no money in doom. shorter Attention spAns. If you are the kind of person who is still reading this vast quantity of text, plainly we are preaching to the choir. Most people would not do this. Most people would simply look at the pictures, wait for a basic stimulus/ response pairing of laughter or sentiment, and move on. You are one of the good ones, and it makes you forever alone. infAntilizAtion of culture. Appeals to ethos and logos are on the sharp decline, while appeals to pathos have never been more popular. Do you want to sell a product or convince people to pay attention to your ideas? Why not package those ideas behind the mewling baby face of a cat or a lovable alien or other such mascot? The secret masters of the world will continue running it according to their vile whims while you are enjoying cute imagery meant to distract you from the fact that the ratchets of circumstance are forever turning against you. no originAlity. Every idea you have had has been previously done by someone better. That is the nature of ideas. In the past this chronic, necessary deficiency was masked by slow communication skills, but now there is no barrier between you and your awareness of your own failings. You are not special. Call now.
generation of young conservatives the freedom to imagine unions as a kind of draconian crime syndicate bent on personally siphoning pints of blood out of the back of an enervated John Galt. The war for basic dignity is being reversed everywhere around the globe in the name of fiscal austerity. Does this make economic sense? No. fAding physicAl youth. Each morning greet a face that is more ashen and ghastly than the face that preceded it! You think that it is an illusion, but it is reality. Your skin’s elasticity is breaking down, leading to a fingerprint of time stamped into your flesh that will startle and repel all those who encounter it. What if someone told you that a miracle treatment had been developed to reverse this process?? That person would be a liar.
by Ninte quietly.
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culturAl biAs. You heard a lot about Hurricane Sandy destroying much of New York City, a place everyone knows from American movies. Plenty of other places that do not directly appear in American movies were also destroyed by this hurricane and got very little attention, far less foreign aid. Even in NYC, Far Rockaway went without power for weeks after Manhattan. If you are poor, you go to the back of the line. inevitAble economic biAs. As every NYC subway commuter knows the G train is infinitely worse than every other train. A homeless passenger once explained this as follows: “The G train stays in Brooklyn. All the other trains go into Manhattan, where they pick up the money.” Wealthy people have more money to spare, whatever their actual inclination toward charity or their “goodness of heart” are. They will inevitably spend more to maintain basic public services for everyone. It is unfair. domestic spying cAmouflAged As community. Who does not love Facebook? The CIA certainly does, and systematically makes use of the profiles generated by tracking your “likes,” employment history, photographic record, and even movements around town. You can try to opt out of this surveillance, but you will never learn about any events your friends are going to again, and your grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are now on this ubiquitous wonder website will be crushed. You will hurt everyone. senseless drug wAr. The use of marijuana causes no social harm other than forgetting appointments. Despite this, users and purveyors of this drug are hounded into secrecy or pressed into service as slaves of the for-profit prison industry. It is the investment opportunity of a decade. Our borders are less secure. Everything is disaster.
fAding emotionAl youth. Eventually nothing will be new or pure. Eventually everything will remind you of something else, and the opportunity to pursue that lost, primal thing will be forever behind you. You can not move to a new town and feel a sense of excitement. You can not hear a new album by a band you love and think of it as central to your life in any meaningful way. Those days are over for you. lAck of originAlity. Someone tells me this whole catalog in Futura idea, even though I thought it was very clever, is exactly what Chris Ware does in issues of Acme Novelty Library that I have certainly read and absorbed without thinking of their provenance. What a crock. I have already made half of this catalog without realizing this. I thought it was special. I was wrong. You will be wrong too, one day. video gAme metAphors. Credit cards now earn experience points. You “level up” when you make a basic post on an online forum. We are all beginning to think of ourselves as Nietzschean gods with strictly hierarchal and linear modes of progression through the “ranks” of life. These basic feedback loops allow the powerful of the world to sell us products and services we have no use for.
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HAS COME FOR Y O U
Imagine the scene before you this holiday season. You are sitting in a large armchair with a dog at your feet. Your ankles are swelling with the diminished circulation from the animal’s bulk but you do not care. Perhaps you are sucking a candy cane between your lips. If you are not fundamentally alone, perhaps a spouse with your choice of gender is sitting beside you on another armchair or on the floor. Perhaps this spouse is raising a cup of some soothing liquid to your lips. Perhaps it is tea with cloves in it, or alcohol. Perhaps you have children who are always running around your foot, always screaming, always demanding and taking, and you work so hard but there is no way you can give them everything, or even anything. You work so hard and no one cares, except us. GIVE THE GIFT OF COMFORT with these products from ROCKSALT MAGAZINE. You have NO CHOICE.
two-pArty electorAl politics. Does anyone seriously believe this? Each party is given a personal horrible demon that adherents of the other party can in no way accept. Maybe you believe gays should not be married, or maybe you believe that America is bankrupting itself with a series of terrifying, fiscally unsound “entitlements.” In both cases, power is either being handed over on a steady basis to an unelected cabal of corporate persons, or being aggregated in bureaucratic offices beyond the power of elections to reform. They will hurt you and you can not stop them.
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offshoring. The basic principle that one should keep ones production in one’s general location should be no barrier to effective profiteering. The assembly lines that once powered American production are being moved overseas in order to offer workers wages that will allow them to make a slightly above subsistence living, ensuring that they will never have enough power to successfully challenge the company’s dominion over their basic existence. You, the American, are the loser in this exchange. So are they. So is everyone. NO FREEDOM. lost lAbor rights. The struggles of countless union leaders that gave workers the necessary time to dream and imagine has allowed a
going anymore. staring a If you ch developm will be ec An hour ing throu would be that hour not.
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wAr in AfghAnistAn. No one wants this anymore but there is no escape from it. Political pressure requires oil prices to remain low and requires that America remain in the region in perpetuity in order to prevent more sinister political elements from moving into the power vacuum. The fact that robot planes are killing civilians at a constant rate helps nothing. For shame.
prison industry. Imagine owning and speculating in souls. What a lucrative business opportunity. Billions of dollars are spent annually to enslave people just like you who made the terrible decision to purchase marijuana or to be born as a less desirable race. The percentage of reform goes sharply down when prisons are privatized. What a lucky break. Become imprisoned today and help our economic pistons to keep pumping.
video gAmes. An entire class of people have nothing useful to say to everyone else. Willpower, long-range planning, and a desire to build a better life have been triumphantly subverted by major corporations and jammed into terrible feedback loops designed to drain the most ambitious of us of both their finances and their potentially world-changing ambitions. Soma is real and it is manufactured
endo. The revolution came
vast surge in identity politics that have fundamentally transformed society even from the already-transformed “boomer” days. There is no way for one generation to relate to another. The basic metaphors are wrong. The basic goals are wrong. There can only be confusion and the pace of it will only increase as technology and market forces deform our very souls. gentrificAtion. The process of gentrification begins inevitably with good intentions. People will leave the relative “security” of neighborhoods that match their “class” in order to seek cheap rents, more authentic experience, or to do some kind of good work. Whatever the reason, their very presence will unfairly inflate the value of the land to the point that the original inhabitants must move on.
mob thinking. Whenever there is a world catastrophe, people will quickly divide themselves into groups to determine which “side” of the catastrophe they are on. In practice, this generally means which solution they prefer. A hideous binary quirk in our thinking allows us only a limited degree of tolerance for solutions another person proposes, and once this tolerance is exhausted, we have no real alternative but to demonize our opponents. It is brutality. sunrises. You will miss far too many of them in your life. Those that you do not miss you will generally see because you have stayed up the entire night worrying about your situation, or because you are on your way to a job that is slowly crushing you. The anxieties of your day become associated with the sunrise, making even the sun itself your enemy. Free of charge. sunsets. Each sunset you see means the end of another day of healing energy from our neighbor star. Each sunset you see means the end of a space during which you might have made a difference to the working world. Now people will retreat to their lodgings or social groups, and the only difference you might make are to the people you already know, and that perhaps you mistrust. the end of the sun. The sun will nova one day. Our planet will become utterly uninhabitable, the oceans, lakes, and rivers we loved will dry up, and every point of meaning in our lives will cease to exist. Entire domains of art, poetry, and thought will become instantly irrelevant to future generations, if the generations that inhabit earth following the next phase in the sun’s evolution can even be meaningfully said to be human anymore.
like me. That is a bad Depeche Mode song. Do you find it depressing? Relevant? What? music tribAlism. Do you really care about dubstep? Trip-hop? Indie rock? Any of these tribal categories? Do you like how it divides you from your friends? Do you get off on that somehow?
the problem of the “other.” We all exist in cosmic isolation. Our attempts to broach the prison of self are all subject to terrible signal-tonoise ratios, and there is no possibility of communicating the totality of one’s being with anything resembling 100% fidelity. Even these words are a poor substitute for communion. kAntiAn cAtegories. Knowledge is power, and the presence of the philosophical categories of space, time, causality, and logical exclusion ensure that in the eyes of God, we are all utterly powerless. Maybe it is better not to know the noumenal, the realms of pure God. It would crush us to believe otherwise. irreversible time. As long as we learn from our mistakes, everything will be fine. This is the lie we tell ourselves, that we would like to believe, and as stubbornly as we insist on it, it is simply not true. Terrible decisions are made every hour that lead to lasting consequences. Poor hygiene habits can cause us to lose teeth, hair, eyes long before our time. Unwise marriage leads to a lifetime of gruesome resentments and scarred children. Foolish investments lead to financial ruin and the waste of a lifetime’s labor. Our minds can conceive, falsely, of being able to reverse time, and this is the cruelest prison.
tion. Although any thinking as sympathy for the efforts of nt creature to escape its baential condition, addiction to of various kinds—heroin, ames, Internet posting, cigalcohol—eventually shrink the distinctly Boethian sense. We smaller, trapping ourselves er boxes of our own making. et about the things around us er.
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Do not fret that by the time you are reading this, it is far too late to order products from us for Christmas. Do not fret if it is January, or February, or even the height of summer solstice, as far from the season as you can get. It will always be Christmas in your heart. Christmas will always be approaching you with its hand outstretched, telling you that you have not done enough, whispering to you that no, next year will not be better. As a courtesy, all the items in this catalog have already been placed on order for you. Although it may seem as though each item is being shipped to you in the most destructive possible circumstance, in fact each will arrive at an utterly random time. Even in terms of visiting disaster upon our lucky readers and non-readers, you will not have the hypothesis of an overriding malevolent intelligence to comfort you. And that is a ROCKSALT MAGAZINE GUARANTEE. If for some reason you wish to cancel your order, please dial the following number:
privilege. Of course we mean you. You are one of the nes. You “take care of your ” You “protect her.” If she arh a decision you make, she y being irrational and crazy, ainted female biology makes e for her. This is what culture ays told you. You will be off this is ever pointed out. If sn’t date you it is because er theory” or some horrible ying system like this. You are ght now.
cell phones. Imagine being told that from now on, you are obligated to carry a tiny radiation-emitting square on your person at all times, or else everyone you know will be angry
the greAt chAin of fiscAl being. Some of us are born into positions of greater material advantage, or some of us use cunning and low tactics to gain such strategically superior positions. The rest of us will end up working for those people. Basically we are all doomed to follow the orders of people who either have no possibility of relating to our plebian concerns, or who have sociopathically disregarded such concerns in favor of making additional money or squeezing additional efficiency out of their underlings. We are treated as livestock and short of becoming evil ourselves, there is little we can do. inAbility to sAve those we love. Have you ever dreamed about being able to “inhabit” the body of someone you love dearly, driving them much as if they were a car or as if you were some kind of voodoo legba, in order to show them by living their life for them for just one day how much better their lives could be? Keep dreaming, because this is forever impossible. Those you love are doomed by their own upbringing, basic characters, and aggregated life choices, much as you are doomed by yours. The best hope you have is to yoke yourself emotionally to a winner, and this makes you a bad person.
privilege. Ditto the You get to go to all kinds of and not worry about people g that you are there to steal r make a scene. You do not think about race, unless you erson who is of another race. you feel bad about the legacy ession your race has toward r race, and you want to do ng to help. But there is nothcan do.
g outside. We do not do it . Most of our days are spent at small rectangles of light. hoose not to partake in this ment of modern culture, you conomically disenfranchised. a day of sunlight and walkugh slender, whispering trees e enough, but have you found r recently? Will you? You will
with you. Slowly the cancer penetrates your flesh and swells existing tumors and cellular irregularities into monstrosities. This is what companies call “bringing the world closer together.” You can not opt out.
modified cAlly . Major GMO companies n. Soon it will be impossible ood that is not copyrighted to corporation, its natural promutation subverted in order to short term market gains. The y effect” these decisions will have on our frail ecosystem be estimated. The free market be regulated. They have won.
spAce trAvel. It will not happen in our lifetimes. The optimistic predictions of shows like Star Trek will not come to pass. We are stuck on our planet, waiting for disaster. Isolated in the universe. One day our children will seek the stars, if they are not too jaded and crushed by all that this planet has to offer. personAl finAnciAl insecurity. Your paycheck will not stretch far enough. All of the good things on offer at different restaurants and stores are beyond your reach. The best you can hope for is a slow, steady accumulation of assets and investments that will one day perhaps enable you to buy a house, or a car, or other major capital good to shore up your fortress against death. By the time you acquire such assets, you will be old. exhAustion. How do you even cope with how awful everything can sometimes be? Look at this sea of depressing text. Are you just skimming it? Do you care about these things? Do you think that any of this matters to you? Do you somehow think you can avoid these things? I look at you, how you carry on, when all hope is gone. Can’t you see? Your optimistic eyes seem like paradise to someone
A lAck of meAningful metAphysicAl choices. In a Kantian universe, the only people we can trust to provide us with rock-solid information on what lies beyond the veil of death are mystics and madmen. As Kierkegaard said, “purity of heart is to will one thing.” And as far as the heart goes, this is correct. Yet can not know what lies beyond the veil, and we must one day all disappear there. complAcency. You are going to die. Everyone you love is going to die. In infinite time, every work you put on this earth—be it a child, a good business decision, or some kind of information encoded as artwork—will be lost. But you can not retain awareness of this fact. It would destroy you. All you can do is resign yourself to it. This is all we have, all that holds our world together.
and stay on the line to speak with an advocate for your position. We always enjoy working with each and every one of you. Your spouse. Your children. Your animals. Every person you meet and love, or despise. All of them will be with us, together in the spirit and warmth of Christmas.
Ation gAp. The swift technology has caused a
identity politics. They are not themselves the problem. Rather, they are a lens for seeing the ways in which we, as a society, systematically alienate one another on the basis of qualities—race, gender, ethnicity, ability— that fundamentally do not matter to the question of our character. As such, they are depressing, and at worst, they cause us to rally around distinct identities to the exclusion of communion with the larger world, at which point they become the problem. Have a full assortment.
ArrogAnce. What the fuck is wrong with you? How could you have fantasies like the above? Do you seriously believe that if you could just control everyone in the universe for a single day that everything would work out all right? All of your friends and loved ones are clearly insulted beyond measure by the rank arrogance and presumptuousness of this. You have no sense of boundaries. You have no sense of decency. chAnging priorities. Is it possible that what you cared about when you were a child is what you still care about into your adulthood? It seems impossible that this would be so, and yet we are still encouraged to follow our dreams. What social end do our dreams serve?
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LOOKING FOR A GOOD TIME. Single man, interested in mixed martial arts and physical training, seeking fitness/sexual partner. Must have powerful muscles and limbs, a high pain tolerance, and a lack of family members who would miss you if the inevitable happens in the ring. Let’s be real here: I am going to test all comers against no less than eight of the toughest warriors money can buy. Bring a bottle you can break and use as a weapon. Pic gets pic. Respond c/o this magazine or I will have to come find you. I have been hurt before emotionally and will not tolerate being hurt again.
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Your True Love Awaits
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