The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Tantalus Monkey - Issue Twelve
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The Tantalus Monkey, photo from Christian ArtusoThe Tantalus Monkey is an Old World monkey which traditionally ranges from Senegal and Ethiopia to South Africa. More recently, a number of them were carried by slavers to the Caribbean islands, along with enslaved Africans. The monkeys subsequently escaped or were released and became naturalized. The descendents of those populations are found on West Indian islands and even in Florida. The dorsal fur of Chlorocebus monkeys varies by species from pale yellow through grey-green brown to dark brown, while the lower portion and the hair ring around the face is a whitish yellow. Males have a blue scrotum and red penis and weigh from 3.9 to 8 kg while females weigh from 3.4 to 5.3 kg. Their births usually happen at the beginning of the rainy season, when there is sufficient food available. The life expectancy of the green monkeys is 11-13 years in captivity, and about 10-12 years in the wild. They eat leaves, gum, seeds, nuts, grasses, fungi, fruit, berries, flowers, buds, shoots, invertebrates, bird eggs, birds, lizards, rodents, and other vertebrates. Their preferred foods are fruit and flowers, a seasonal resource that is varied to cope with changes in food availability. In tourist areas, they will commonly steal brightly coloured alcoholic drinks left behind by tourists. They use a wide variety of vocalizations; they warn off members of other groups from their territory, and also warn members of their own troop of dangers from predators, using different calls for different predators. Facial expressions and body posturing serve as additional communication tools in a highly complex set of social interactions. Where alliances can be formed for benefit, deception is sometimes used. Although they are not endangered, their numbers are declining due to powerlines, dogs, vehicles, shooting, poisoning, and hunting, both as a food source and as a source of traditional medicines. Added to this, there is an increase in desertification, and loss of habitat due to agriculture and urbanisation. As well, they have been the focus of much scientific research since the 1950s, and they are used to produce vaccines for polio and smallpox, and in studying high blood pressure and AIDS.


Abolish Work: The Art of Zen-Surrealism


Alison Ross

There are people on this earth who must toil in sweatshops, enduring unfathomable conditions and excruciating exploitation. There are also people on this earth who cannot find employment because of the dastardly dearth of jobs, and so they must live in cardboard boxes under bridges, or inhabit makeshift tent cities, or survive off of trash heaps (as in Indonesia), and so on.

This situation, of course, transcends mere tragedy, and is akin to Dante's harrowing embellishments of hell. It is not simply unacceptable -- it's abominable.

But this tirade is not going to dwell on the unemployed or the starving. Instead, it is going to focus on those of us who are "privileged" enough to actually be working.

And my sarcastic bias toward the word "privileged" in this context is two--fold: Firstly, I do not think it should be considered a privilege to have employment: everyone should have access to work so that they have the financial means to live.

Secondly, as strongly as I feel about the accessibility of employment and also about equitable workplace conditions -- that's the socialist side of me showing itself--the surrealist side of me feels snarlingly disdainful toward the very concept of work

I feel that "work" as we understand and live the idea, should be abolished. Real work would be woven into our lives so as not to feel so estranged from it, and so as not to encumber us.

We are not here on earth to live miserable lives; on the contrary, we are here to have full, happy lives. And a full, happy life cannot be achieved when we devote the bulk of our hours to sweating at labor which either is sucked dry of purpose, mostly profitable for someone else's purse, or both.

Sure, there are jobs laden with purpose -- but those jobs, like teaching, caring for people and animals, and so on, would be the kinds of "work" that would be seamless with our lives of leisure and pleasure in the radical world-overhaul I propose - that is, when I take over the universe and re-align it according to the dictates of logic and compassion.

And though there are always going to be the nagging narrow-minded naysayers who proclaim preposterously that such a world is a utopian hallucination, that striving toward euphoric purpose is a pointless squandering of our mental and physical energy -- to them I say fuck off, because it's people like them who through their cynical misapprehension of the past, present, and future, who are holding the rest of us back.

Talk about wasting energy: your pessimistic prophesies of a deadly dull existence of inhabiting cubicles, making money for the already stinking-affluent while performing mindless, soulless tasks are just further entrenching us in this type of no-life.

We need a Zen-Surrealist approach to living. Life is poetry. I don't care HOW crudely cliche that sounds, but I am sure even the most generic corporate automaton, with his barcode brain and stupefied zombie demeanor, would agree that cubicles and punching clocks are the numbing antithesis of poetry.

So how would a workless world look, and function?

It would LOOK like a lot of fucking FUN, that's what it would look like -- a big flipping playground for adults.

And it would FUNCTION just fine. It would function like things used to function before humans got a stick up their ass and decided to create repressive hierarchies. People would garden, and hunt (as much as I detest the idea), and educate their own children...or there would be community schools where all the adults would partake in the education of the children.

People would build their own houses, or perhaps partake in community construction of housing. And during their free time, people would ENJOY life, because they'd have copious time to enjoy it and because their work was part of a communal effort, and not something disengaged from themselves and something to satisfy and benefit some other abstract being who fancies him or herself as divinely deserving of riches while the rest of us grovel in gutters.

Of course, it will take a revolutionary reworking of the world to achieve this, but in the meantime, we can muse on the things we actually enjoy doing. Herewith, are 25 unorthodox things one could do in the blissful absence of the oppressive 8 hour work day (please note that I also almost included a list of ORTHODOX ideas (such as raising farm animals, taking singing lessons, etc.), but in my own Zen-Surrealist mode, I figured these would be more entertaining and edifying, and are far likelier to stave off episodes of zombifying apathy):

1. For women: Masturbate with a different finger, every hour, on the hour.

2. For men: Watch your girlfriend or wife masturbate with a different finger, every hour, on the hour.

3. Make an acrostic of the word Masturbate that uses sexy words for each letter, like Mammary and Ass

4. Make confetti of your bills and stage a confetti-throwing party at your power company, gas company, phone company, etc.

5. Form a mixed-gender nude rock band. Women will play the drums with their boobs and men will play guitar with their weenies.

6. Bomb the headquarters of Operation Rescue while chanting, "Death to everyone, not just babies!"

7. Gaze into the Existential Void of your navel; contemplate oblivion

8. Extract lint from your the Existential Void of your navel, and sell it in a yard sale as an Artifact of Oblivion

9. Hold a Buddhist Yard Sale, selling nothing for nothing

10. Hold a Karmic Yard Sale, trading your good karma for others' bad karma (cuz bad karma is more fun and the good karma trade-idea will act as an impetus for clueless customers)

11. Paint murals on bridge walls depicting what life was like for those who were forced to work miserable 8-12-16 hour workdays

12. Hold a Dystopian Yard Sale, ridding your house of all the consumerist junk you bought to offset the misery when you were forced to work all day

13. Take a hammer to your flat screen TV; create a mosaic from the shattered glass and steel

14. Occupy Your Couch and protest the greed of the cushions that suck all your coins from your pockets, and the food crumbs from your dinner plate

15. Travel to all 50 states, but instead of visiting the metropolises and typical tourist cities, pick the most rural town in each, and set up camp there for a week, observing and taking meticulous notes. When you return home, write a travel guide called "Rural Backwaters of US and A"

16. Play Neighborhood Tic Tac Toe, using each person from each household on your block as the Xs and Os

17. Watch every David Lynch, Luis Bunel, and Igmar Bergman film 10 times each, and then make a movie in your mind during your sleep. In the morning, extract the movie from your subconscious, and do daily showings of it at your house, inviting only people who embrace throwaway movies like The Fast and the Furious as their favorite films.

18. Watch all the insufferably bad Steven Spielberg films (such as Artificial Intelligence), taking copious notes on how they can be enhanced, then make your own New! Improved! Spielberg movie to show him how it's done. Be sure to compliment him on his highly competent efforts first, such as Schindler's List and The Color Purple.

19. Blatantly flout the Geneva Conventions and extensively torture all the bad directors, such as that Tree of Life asshole and the motherfucker who does all those idiotic Spielberg-lite simulations (M Night Sham-mammalian or whatever the fuck his name is). Oh, and be SURE to include Mr. Mayberry himself, Ron Howard.

20. Practice your burgeoning pyromaniac skills and build a towering inferno of all the bad novels and books of verse that you and your friends and family a Bad-Book dance around the flames in gleeful celebration, then immolate yourself since you can't write any better than those pathetic scribes.

21. Withdraw all your money from your bank, make confetti of all the paper bills, then make it rain greenbacks and coins from bridges onto freeways

22. For women: Tattoo an elaborate colorful penis onto your vagina, evoking gender sympathy

23. For men: Tattoo an elaborate colorful vagina onto your penis, evoking gender sympathy

24. Induce a sugar-coma by eating two bags of jumbo marshmallows; dream of Smores-ville, where you will be Mayor Hershey Graham.

25. Pioneer the art of knee-cap piercing

Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross dabbles delicately in verse. She also spews incessant invective. You may peruse her precious poesie and rowdy rants online. Alison wants to forge a new genre of poetic politics called Zen-Surrealist-Socialism. Won't you join her cause?
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