John L Robinson (1976-2097)
Place of Birth: Montgomery, Alabama
John L Robinson, died yesterday due to complications with his cybernetic implants. He was 120.
John was born in the 20th Century, in Montgomery, Alabama. Oldest son of Marileta and Patrick Robinson, He is survived by his two brothers, Ben and Ted, and his adoring family.
John attended college at the University of Alabama, where he was a member of the Mallet Assembly. After college, he moved to Asheville, North Carolina. It was there that he discovered his love of podcast and video work, producing a number of audio and video pieces. After that, he worked in a variety of professions, most notably that of a home health aide, before becoming a full time artist and media personality.
John will be remembered as a kind man, and a staunch advocate for individual freedom and civil liberties. While many of the artistic creations he was known for are still quite controversial, they are evidence of a fierce and creative spirit, the influence of which will endure for a long time to come.
I was going to write a really long, involved post about how to start your own country. Honest. But it turns out that a lot of people have already written a lot of great stuff on how to start your own country. So for the purposes of brevity and intellectual honesty, I’ll just link to them and provide some commentary.
Instructions and Resources for Starting Your Own Country
- Wikihow Article on How to Start Your Own Country– Short, sweet, and it has pictures.
- A Video on Starting Your Own Country from Seeker Daily– A good, succinct overview of the steps needed, and some of the modern micronations.
- BBC Comedic Documentary on Starting a Micronation– I haven’t seen it, but I suspect this will be in the ‘what not to do’ column.
- A PDF of the book, ‘How to Start Your Own Country’, by Erwin S. Strauss.– I read this book about 20 years ago, from the old Loompanics mail-order book company. It’s what got me interested in micronations in the first place. A great read.
And, as a bonus….
So, those are the resources I have for starting your own country. Did I miss anything? Any that you’d care to suggest? Please let me know in the comments.
I like starting countries. Countries that can be started by someone like me, as opposed to a covert CIA mission with the intention of destabilizing a regime that they don’t like, is usually called a micronation.
Micronations can be quite easy to start, depending on how much effort you want to put into it, and how much satisfaction you want to get out of it. Five minutes of MS paint for a flag and an ability to make a Facebook page or a Twitter handle gives you the most basic sketch of a micronation. But many people put a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice a tremendous amount of pride into the construction of their micronations. So why? Why make a micronation?
Top 10 Reasons to Start Your Own Country
- Fun– Heck, that’s the reason to do most things! Micronationing can be loads of fun. You can make up your own holidays, issue official pronouncements, have an excuse to wear silly hats, make your friends compete for ambassadorships through drinking contests, appoint your dog first minister of barking, all sorts of stuff. Your micronation can be as silly, and as fun, as you want it to be.
- Art– There is a lot of art, and opportunities for artistic creation, in a country. Flags, great seals, postage, uniforms, someone has to design that for ‘established’ countries, so why not take the plunge creativiely and design that stuff for your own country. Don’t worry about competing with some imagined standard of other countries. One of the great things about creating your own micronation is establishing your own aesthetic. And don’t feel constrained to the traditions and sensibilities of those established countries, either. It’s your country- use it how you want. Write laws in haiku. Make your constitution a sonnet. Maybe the great seal is a collage, and the flag glitch art. Go wild.
- Merchandising– After you’ve gone wild, slap it on a t-shirt. Micronations can be interesting merchandising and commercial opportunities. Besides the obvious (flags on t-shirts, great seals on trucker hats, etc.), another neat thing to look into is titles. If your micronation has some sort of royal or aristocratic flavor, you could sell noble titles and ranks to people (or at least, sell pieces of paper suitable for framing.) On top of all that, sufficiently ambitious micronations might sell actual services to customers and clients. Oganizations like Bitnation are set up to help you do just that.
- Philosophical- Very few people are what might be called well-adjusted with the world. This can be considered a good thing- ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.‘ But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes the world, society, the normal way of doing things, just doesn’t make sense. For those times, having your own country, where things do make sense, might be a good release. Many micronations have been started for the purpose of symbolically saying, “Okay, you can keep the crazy out there. This place is for sane stuff.”
- Learning– Political science can be a fascinating subject. Especially DIY political science. Going through the process of creating your own is a great way to learn about monarchies, parliments, federal republics, and all the other systems of governments out there (it’s also good for learning how many different types are out there. It’s crazy.) When done with a group, it’s also a great way to learn the in and outs, advantages and disadvantages, behind lots of governmental policies and procedures. This is the basis for ‘Model UNs’ and the like in schools.
- Obsolescence– History doesn’t end. People like to think it does, or will, but it doesn’t. Things change. Among those things that change are governments, and our concepts of government. The modern notion of the nation-state didn’t really come about until the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. the modern notion of Democracy hasn’t only came on the scene a couple of centuries ago for most of the world, and the Democracy we have in America today is radically different from our original kind. All of this is to say that our notion of what a country is, what a ‘legitimate’ country is, and what they do, can change radically, practically overnight. Maybe you have a better system. Maybe you have the better governmental mousetrap, maybe not. What is certain is that the present system won’t last forever. IT will change, and sooner than we think. So….what comes next?
- Companionship– Micronations can be a solitary exercise. You can definitely create an Empire of One if you want to. The thing is, you don’t have to. All the reasons given here can be enhanced by making it a group effort.
- Survival– People are terrorized, oppressed, and expoited around the world every day. Often this is because a government is indifferent to their plight, or is actively hostile towards them. When this happens groups of people often band together to form their own unoffical governments to provide the services that the established government can’t or won’t. These can range from anything to a judiciary, a self-defense force, or a medical services.
- Attention to cause– Cause advocacy often involves getting as much attention for your cause as you can. Declaring your own nation in support of the cause, whether it be economic, political, or environmental, can be an innovative and effective way of getting that attention. The serinousness and symbolism of your new country can be as much as you like and as is needed for the cause in question.
- Resistance– Sometimes, the wrong people get into power. Forming a new country or government in response to those wrong people is a tried and true tactic of politics. This might be a government in exile outside of the established country in question, or a ‘shadow government’ within. Unless you are planning armed opposition (a messy prospect I would not usually recommend) These micronation can still act as an organized and constant critique and dissent against the established country.
Okay, so it’s only the 13th. Let’s see what my life is like right now.
- I need to spend $2500 to get my car up and running again. That’s about what the car is worth. This is still my best option.
- I don’t have a location for the art show in July yet.
- I haven’t written a damned word on Path of the Black Flag this year, yet. Not a sausage.
- I’m sick with a cold.
- I’ve scheduled a rehearsal for The 2nd Judgment this Sunday.
So….not a great start? Could be worse?
In case you were wondering, this is what I looked like as a kid.
Old Pictures of Me
All three of us by the treehouse our dad built for us in the back of our property. It was a sweet gesture, but I was an utter wuss as a kid, and didn't like being in something with that many bugs in it.
Christmas presents of karate uniform pajamas. I'm ready for action, Ben is dancing I believe, and Ted....I'm not sure what Ted is doing.
This was our cousins' treehouse. A very big deal for an 8 year old without a Nintendo.
In case you wanted to know.
Twenty (mostly) True Things About Me
- I’m forty years old. I don’t feel forty years old. Well, my knees feel about forty years old in the mornings, but my sense of decorum and authority certainly hasn’t caught up.
- I was born in Alabama. This tends to come as a surprise to most people, as I don’t sound particularly ‘Southern.’ I moved up to Pennsylvania when I was about 12, came back down to Alabama to go to college, then came back up to PA (with a detour or two in between.) When I was younger, I had a lot of Southern jingoism, as I believe a lot of people from the South do. I’ve mostly gotten over that now.
- I currently have a shaved head. Less maintenance, overall.
- I have two younger siblings. I would say they’re both as odd as I am.
- I’m ordained in three religions: The Church of the SubGenius, the Cult of Discordia, and the Moorish Orthodox Church. Some people collect stamps; I get ordained by weird post-modern religions.
- My middle name is Leland. It basically means ‘fallow land‘, as in the farmland that is so worn out you just leave it alone for a season or two so it can get replenished with nutrients. I try not to read too much into that.
- I’ve had my own talk show: The Pleasure Saucer. It was a local access cable show, in Asheville, NC. It was the only show scheduled to come on at 2 AM, and due to content regulations, it was the only show that had to be scheduled to come on at 2 AM. I’m quietly proud of that. Fully archive here.
- I’ve also done a variety of podcasts, including my latest, Cinematic Pig’s Feet with Katalin Justice. I’m starting a new one in 2017.
- I’ve never graduated college. I had some issues with depression, and spent some semesters not leaving my dorm.
- My university, the University of Alabama, had a program called New College. Essentially, you could make up your own major, if you could convince a panel of students and teachers it was a legitimate one. Which is how I spent a semester with ‘Paranormal Studies’ as my major (that was one of the semesters I didn’t go to class.)
- I am a member of the Mallet Assembly, the Men’s Honors Living Option for the University of Alabama. Well, it was the ‘Men’s Option’ when I went there. Now it’s the ‘Autonomous Living Option’. I’m happy they made the change.
- I have a tattoo of a Chaos symbol on the back of my left hand. I was slightly drunk at the time I got it, and the back of the hand seemed like an acceptable compromise between my shoulder and my forehead. So yeah, that’s me slightly drunk.
- I am a RSS addict. The number of blogs I read through my RSS reader (Feedly) is quite ridiculous.
- A long time ago, I passed my test to receive a 1st Dan (roughly the equivalent of a black belt) in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan.
- I’m a left libertarian agorist, with Karsonian mutualist tendencies. If you don’t know what all that means, you’re more likely to live a happy life.
- I love easily, and sometimes that hurts like a motherfucker.
- I have a great interest in making art, but have a tendency of buying books on art, rather than making it, when I get the urge.
- I was in a punk band with my two brothers, called Traxx. There was a bass, a drum kit hooked up to weird sound effects, and I screamed into a microphone. It was pretty cool.
- I’m currently a Certified Nurse’s Aide. It’s not a bad job. I’ve certainly had worse.
- For about six months when I was 6 or 7, I literally believed I was a space alien.
Hello. It’s 2017.
I am not going to apologize.
I haven’t said anything here in over two months. My goal for 2017 is to actually be a blogger. This involves (a) blogging, consistently, with care and attention, and interacting with with readers and other bloggers, and (b) having something to blog about. Neither of these is easy for me, and I suspect the second will be more difficult than the first. But, here I am.
2016 has not been a great year for most people. Not as bad as most people think, not some unique example of terrible years, but still- not a great year, not for me, and probably not for you. So, let’s make 2017 different. We can’t affect a lot of what is going to come our way this year. But we can probably affect more than we think. I plan on doing what I can to change the world in 2017, to make it a more fun, more free, more interesting, more chill, and more loving place.
Here are some of the things I’m planning to do:
- I wrote a short film script last year. This year, with my brother, I’m directing and producing it. It’s a sort of retelling of The Judgment of Paris, a myth I’ve always had a fondness for. Also, it’s going to be a virtual reality short film, so that’s pretty cool.
- New podcast, in support of this blog, and a vlog. Tentatively entitled ‘The Lemurian Hour.’
- I’m publishing The Path of the Black Flag.
- I’m writing a novel. It may be a fantasy noir, I’m not sure yet. But I’m writing one.
- I’m doing a 2nd UDEAC art show.
That’s a pretty good list, I think. What are you guys planning to do this year?
There’s a reason that I use the adjective ‘Lynchian’. Katalin and I watched David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, which has been described as a ‘poison love letter’ to Hollywood. Scary, sexy, thrilling, beautiful. But enough about me- you should see this movie. And listen to the podcast, of course.
I have been involved in radio, in one form or another, off and on, for the last eighteen years. For the last ten years, I’ve been involved in podcasts as well. I’ve done some in the past, and I’m doing one now. I’m also currently volunteering as my local public radio station (WJFF), which means that I have the opportunity to pitch a show to have on a public radio station. After a year of vacillating and half-hearted attempts, I’m going to seriously try to get a show in the air, tentatively called ‘Midnight Forum’.
The purpose of Midnight Forum is to have a serious, involved discussion on big subjects that don’t tend to get brought up in polite conversation. Each episode I’ll invite two people on the show from opposite sides of an issue, and moderate a civil (if occasionally tense) discussion between them, without ‘gotcha’ questions, and with enough time to really get in depth on the subject. Off the top of my head (and the front page of the newspaper), possible subjects of discussion include sex work decriminalization, big game hunting, The Kingfisher Project & hard drug decriminalization, AI research, and police abolition.
The next step is to record a demo episode for the programming committee of WJFF, which I will do within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for updates.