Monday, June 17, 2024

Good Deed Goes Punished

 The Demon City galley--proofs are sitting on my table:

The real books should be actually printed soon...

The section on political campaigns was written by Linda Tirado, the journalist who wrote the section on political campaigns and whose been a stalwart ally on the project since day one:

She is now not expected to live very long due to complications from the police shooting her in the eye while she was covering the Black Lives Matter protests. (There is a link there for anyone who would like to donate to palliative hospice care or to her kids and family). This section of Demon City may, weirdly, be the last thing she wrote that sees print.
Linda interviewing a source for a
story at my place

I've known Linda for about a decade. She knew me, she knew my ex, she'd been to my house, she played games with us, she gave me 10,000$ to help with my court cases (it was 10k she couldn't afford: within the year she was asking if I could spare anything.) Although she didn't get to LA nearly enough, she tried hard to help whenever she could.

I am now going to tell my favorite Linda story:

So as you may know, losing one eye is *not* just like it looks when you cover one eye or see a pirate movie. It really messes with your depth perception in ways a person used to two eyes can't simulate. Linda had real trouble getting around alone even just in my apartment or, more to the point, in her own house

So they live down south, from the point of view of the kids (elementary school at this time): perfectly operational mommy goes away to Minneapolis, comes back stomping on toys, using a walker, losing short-term memory, etc

Her daughter (8-ish) goes to school one day. The school is having one of those fire drills or active shooter lectures or anti-graffiti assemblies or whatever and so there's a Tennessee state trooper or sheriff or something in the hall waiting to tell these children whats what.

Linda's daughter walks up to this man and says "Fuck the cops!" then heads down the hall to third grade

The Tirado household gets a phone call from the principal's office. They would like to have a parent-teacher conference.

So in comes Linda.  Down the hall with her walker clank clank and comes in and sits down and meets the principal in the office. And they say:

 "Your daughter said 'fuck the cops' to a sworn officer in the hallway last week".

So Linda fixes them with her eye, lights a cigarette (would you stop her?) and says "I don't see the problem here".

The principal was like "Ah, I think I understand". And that was that.

Also: Linda has known she was dying for several months. She was one of the few people I could talk frankly about my possible impending death with and vice versa. She understood about court cases (there were no criminal charges against the cop who shot her so, like me, she had to sue), she understood the idea of getting your affairs in order for the sake of what happens after, and that most people do not know how to talk about that and freak out and freeze up and are the opposite of helpful. This put her in a very rare class of people for me.

And she was really funny. "Tell everyone when I die: Sunscreen". For that reason and many others, I recommend her books.

I will miss her very much. 


Simon Tsevelev said...

I don't know what to say. It's horrible and unfair.

John said...

Zak, when you speak of your "possible impending death" and "attempted murder", you're referring to suicide, right? I've been hospitalised for suicidal depression, and my brother killed himself. I feel personal concern hearing someone in your situation talk about suicide in this tone, because it seems to me you're granting power to your enemies that they shouldn't have, and wouldn't have if you didn't grant it to them. I'm not talking propriety, I'm talking exclusively about your own health; it makes me nervous to hear a depressed person talk of suicide as externally referent. I don't think it's a good line of thought to foster in yourself. I'm judging based on a couple of phrases of yours that happen to ring a bell, I may be reading you entirely wrong, but I'd rather look a fool than not speak. You don't have to publish this comment unless you want to.

Zak Sabbath said...


Sorry: No anonymous comments allowed.

Zak Sabbath said...


You're not understanding:

I am not depressed and have no mental health diagnosis.

I am the other kind of potentially-dead guy: I have a real not--in-my-head practical problem that makes life suck. (I also have literally thousands of people sitting around gawking at it instead of helping).


The lens of suicide as inevitably a sign of mental illness rather than practical circumstances is a way people use to make it someone else's problem: if it is a mental health issue, then its the problem of the shrink or the problem of the victim because they didn't see one or a problem of their irl friends for not getting them to a shrink.

But that isn't always true: sometimes someone's life gets so fucked up or so devoid of avenues of better options that death is, quite reasonable, preferable.

Unless -anonymous people on the internet- like yourself
-real practical steps to undo what other anonymous people on the internet- did
then I don't have a life worth living.

If you doubt that, you haven't seriously considered what happens to your -entire- (not just professionally, but in every aspect) happens when you get framed for a felony and that information is smeared all over the internet for anyone to google. Especially if your is the kind where everyone googles you all the time.

This isn't an issue of "good days" and "bad days" or mood or sadness.

This is:

You, John on the internet, are, in real time, standing on the dock watching a human being get eaten by piranha. You have been watching for five years.

You can do something about it, or you can sit and watch.

What you can't do is pretend the problem is -in my head-.

If you want to do something about it, my email is zakzsmith AT hotmayle dawt calm .

Otherwise enjoy watching I guess.

Matrox Lusch said...

Also a post appeared in my Mastadon boosts by with a link to her writing … and let me sigh for liberty.

John said...


When I say you're depressed, I mean you're *unhappy enough to contemplate suicide*. It's a dangerous mistake to treat your health as something that can't be adversely affected by shitty circumstances, or to think there's a defined and visible line you'll never cross on one side of which you're perfectly well and the other you're crazy.

I'm not telling you your problems are in your head, I'm entreating you to take good care of your mental health during trying times. I'm not saying your depression is pathological or that you necessarily would benefit from a shrink, but if you were to kill yourself, under the circumstances you've revealed, that would *not* be a rational and sane act. That can be quite impossible to tell from the inside, at the time. People in less severe circumstances that yours have gone to their deaths absolutely convinced it was a perfectly sensible and logical thing to do, those in worse circumstances have survived to eventually be glad of it.

You're right that it's not an issue of "good days" and "bad days" or mood or sadness. There are no good days when you're pencilling in dates for suicide. My concern is that because your depression - or unhappiness - obviously comes from enormous stress caused by outside forces, you aren't willing to entertain the possibility that your unhappiness is in itself distorting your ability to think rationally about the prospect of suicide. That's something that calls for private conversations with people you trust, to calibrate your judgment with theirs at the very least, and I hope that's something you have.

Zak Sabbath said...


You are not reading and your failure to read is part of the problem:

"if you were to kill yourself, under the circumstances you've revealed, that would *not* be a rational and sane act. "

That is not true.

" those in worse circumstances have survived to eventually be glad of it."

I am not saying I am in the worst circumstances.

This isn't about "stress" or any other cliché:

There are things -Zak likes to do that makes his life worth living- for him.

Those things I can no longer do until the problem's fixed.

My perception that I can't do them isn't "distorted"--that's a tested and realistic fact. I don't have reasons to be here on Earth unless the problems fixed.

The possibility my thinking is "distorted" has been entertained, analyzed, and rejected. Smart people have looked at that statement: "There are things -Zak likes to do that makes his life worth living- for him. Those things I can no longer do until the problem's fixed." and can't figure out any way I am wrong.

Do you want to help? Or do you want to be part of the problem by pretending you can do nothing but fail to listen and repeat clichés?

John said...

I am reading, Zak.
You ought to know as well as I do that:

'There are things Zak likes to do that makes his life worth living for him.
"Those things I can no longer do until the problem's fixed.
"Therefore I should kill myself.'

is not really the purely rational argument it can be made to seem at first glance. If it's assumed beyond doubt that your problems last forever, and that they will prevent you from doing everything you could possibly like forever, then the farthest it gets you rationally is apathy towards living, such that you no longer feel it's worthwhile keeping your body alive.
But people don't plot to kill themselves out of laziness. It takes a more active negative motivation, suffering, usually, intolerable or without respite. The mental aspects of suffering can be lessened, managed, alongside and independent of efforts to fix your external problems; they are *not* immutable and are *not* in and of themselves rational no matter how *justifiable* they may be; and when you are suffering less you may discover that not *all* things are totally joyless even while your problems persist.

Possibly you'll find the same seemingly irresistible chain of reasoning less ironclad when applied to circumstances other than your own. As a rhetorical question - don't trouble answering it to me - would you say of a star athlete who became paraplegic that the most rational choice was to commit suicide? Especially while the long term prognosis wasn't fully known? (It's not the same thing, because it's never the same thing, and I hesitate to even float it, except that anything at all I say will most likely have no effect on you anyway.)

Every truly miserable person is inclined to view suggestions about their mindset as useless clichés, and well might you complain that I'm playing petty logical games, or that I can't truly understand your circumstances, or that as a stranger on the internet I don't truly care, and dismiss whatever I say out of hand. Talk to your friends, though. Keep them fully up to date and appraised of your intentions regarding suicide and your reasoning, as time goes by, if you aren't already.

Zak Sabbath said...


"If it's assumed beyond doubt that your problems last forever, "

That's a rational assumption.

A switch has been flipped. Unless its unflipped very soon, I will have no time to take advantage of it being unflipped.

"they will prevent you from doing everything you could possibly like forever"

Error: 'everything I could possibly like'
"totally joyless "

I didn't say that. I;m not saying I enjoy -nothing-.

I am referring specifically -things I like so much they'd be worth continuing living-.

I like Dr Pepper. It isn't a reason to keep living.

"The mental aspects of suffering "

I thought you claimed you were reading.

The problem -isn't- mostly the suffering, it's the -lack of opportunity for any improvement-.

" would you say of a star athlete who became paraplegic that the most rational choice was to commit suicide? "

I'm answering even though it's "rhetorical" because this is such a bad example and points up how you aren't reading;

It sounds like you're so unintelligent you're _only_ thinking of their career.

Depends entirely on what other things the paraplegic that they liked to do that the paraplegia denied them and what the chance of improvement -while they'd still be able to do them- was.

That's a determination for the athlete, not me.


I do know this:

If a truck driver hit that athlete left him a parsplegiac, and drove off scott-free while everyone knew the truck driver's name, twitter, blog and email address, you'd probably be demanding justice and trying to help, rather than spending time and energy to counsel the athlete to quietly accept their new and shittier life.


another example of not reading:

I -already- told you I talked to my friends. They can't explain in any way any circumstances where this might get better if people continue to do nothing.

This is a rhetorical tactic designed to push the responsibility away from the person speaking.


Let's put this in simpler terms:

This problem was caused by anonymous people on the RPG internet. It can be solved by anonymous people on the RPG internet.

Either you, John, care or you don't.

If you do, there are lots of things you, an anonymous person with an internet connection who reads this blog, could be doing to help and I can talk to you about what they are: email zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm.

If you don't: you won't email. And I won't publish any more of your comments because they are at that point provably insincere.

Zak Sabbath said...


You didn't email.

You don't care, you're not sincere about this, you've made it worse.

Comment erased.

Joe Biden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zak Sabbath said...

@Joe Biden

Who are you talking to?

Who is proud of being friends with who? What racist terrorists?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Joe Biden

You were asked a question and, 48 hours, still haven't answered.

You are not engaging, your comments will be erased.

cristian valenzuela said...

Will Demon City have an official distributor? Is there any other way to get physical copies overseas w/o being a backer?

Zak Sabbath said...

@cristian valenzuela

Yes and yes

the easiest way to stay updated is to be in touch directly with me: zakzsmith AT hawtmayle dawt calm