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Hotel Hell: Checking Out
Suicide as Negotiated Despair: Martyrdom, Tribalism, Heroism, Fury, Spite & Ennui in Myth, History, Fiction & Crime


This past week I spent 24 hours with five different people speaking about their deep-felt feelings that the world they live in, their reality, is spinning so widely out of comprehension that they are seeking a radical solution, ranging from suicide, to violence, to adopting different principals of social interaction other than those they were raised with. This is the price one pays for interviewing people about their lives and for being the guy in the room who is not going ape-shit when said ape-shit hits the fan. Additionally, yesterday, both Sean and Baruch sent me emails about the human condition. Sean’s is below and I think that I will pull Baruch’s in later as a discussion point.

The question concerns suicide at a meta and micro, or social and personal level. I knew going in that I could not do a comprehensive impression of Robert E. Howard’s work without addressing the matter of suicide, in that he blew his brains out after having written numerous stories in which suicide is discussed in various lights. Below is Sean’s letter, which also—in my mind—draws in my historical work on white slavery in America and the current Harm City theme of an opiate nation.

“So today during training Nero and I had differing opinions on this subject and would like to adhere to the master’s final judgment.

“I argued that men of bygones past specifically during the founding of our county, were hardier mentally and would not succumb to depression and suicide like our current crop of middle aged white males are apt to do and off themselves when the going gets tough.

“What say you? In all your research have you noted any trends of past depression related suicide rates as compared to today? Although men in the past suffered much worse hardships did they still off themselves at worse rates? Or are we much weaker mentally today and off ourselves in greater numbers?

“Thanks!”

-Sean

Sean, Nero, I have been wrestling with this question as part of the Well of Heroes project and have failed to address it in the ancient boxing or masculinity context. This will take a while. It will not be a second book, but a tag that will either be combined as a section in The Vile Root or Masculine Axis. It also overlaps with A Well of Heroes and When White Meant Might, so some sidebar articles, such as the Death of Magellan and Within the Temple of Abomination, will be double tagged.

Outline

I am attempting to wrap my head around something that has been close to me and a part of me, yet which I fail to understand. In that light Hotel Hell: Checking Out, will be conducted as a six-part survey, with each of the following categories of self-killing discussed in social and individual terms in the varied contexts of Myth, History & Fiction, with the aspects of fury, spite and agency employed as analytic tools. It is then hoped by this author that I will be able to formulate a seventh and final entry as an adequate summation, promising to at least determine whether I agree with our Christian Soldier or Heathen King on this matter. Sean, and Nero, I hope this gets it done. In the meantime I shall strive to get one of these out per week and promise not to do my Robert E. Howard/Hunter Thompson imitation before that point. All fictional examples will be from the stories of Robert E. Howard and will be posted on their own, under the A Well of Heroes tag, with a common link.

1. Martyrdom: Collective and Individual Cases of Faith-Based Suicide—Socrates, Perpetua Ghost Dancers, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Righteous Fists and Solomon Kane

2. Tribalism: The 300 Spartans, Zealots, Saxons, Zulus, Taiwan Aboriginals and Bran Mak Morn

3. Heroism: Enkidu & Gilgamesh, Roland, Magellan, Armand’s Hand and King Conan

4. Fury: Going Hard—Herakles, Timokreon, Timanes, Bringing Down the Roof, Going Postal and Black Vulmea

5. Spite: Going Quick—Spartacus & the Servile Wars, Slave Suicide, Death by Cop, Saving the Last Bullet for Yourself and John Reynolds in The Valley of the Lost

6. Ennui: Polydamus, Euthymus, Aboriginal Despair, the Lotus Eaters, Jumping Ship, Nodding Out and the Troubled Throne of King Kull

7. Within the Temple of Abomination: Summary—The Mercy of Barbarians

The Power Implicit

Personally, I never gained a sense of real power in my life until I decided one day that I would rather die than climb the social latter before me and became increasingly risk-willing. This is discussed in detail in Taboo You. Of a sudden, I found myself respected and feared by the criminals and employers who had hitherto tormented and threatened me at every turn. I had no intention of embracing the bushido concept of ‘no mind’ or ‘the body of a rock’ and had never set store in such Asian flimflam.

However, once deciding that I would kill anyone who threatened me—not fight, not stand up to, [see When You’re Food] but aggressively and gratuitously kill—as I walked the streets of Baltimore with a foot-long folding knife on my belt, I accidentally found what I had been missing, which had driven me to the point of such despair that I was in constant search for a death-by-cop scenario. I had discovered, through ignorance—and a bit of moral and intellectual cowardice—a sense of self-determination, which I have since refined into a more survivable sense of “Fractional Autonomy.” I had become a person who could no longer [age 15] sit up all night fingering my Bowie knife, trying to talk myself into giving my parents a horrendous, mind-shattering mess to wake up to, to a darkly calculating creep [age 31], who was hoping for a chance to carve up some hoodrats and get shot for stabbing a cop. I was still suicidal, but in a specific, egotistically engineered way.

Now [age 54], with my physical prowess and health evaporating like fog before the rising sun, the end creeps so near I see no sense in hurrying the overworked ghoul to my door. I will try to apply my personal experience with this dilemma to the concept outlined above in hopes of finding something useful. In the meantime I intend to enjoy retelling my favorite tales of suicidal meatheads and fatalistic heroes and the army of withering souls that cried themselves into eternity in Plantation America, when being tortured or scalped by Indians was the alternative of being worked to death in between your rapes and other humiliations of English-American life.

In the end we will be comparing the white servants of old with the paleface heroin addicts of today, in hopes of amassing enough perspective along the way to make a valid comparison.

Taboo You: Deluxe Man Cave Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Taboo-You-Deluxe-Man-Cave/dp/150302959X/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468353746&sr=1-8&keywords=james+lafond

http://www.jameslafond.com/?f=store&id=42

When You're Food: Raw:

A Fighter’s View of Predatory Aggression: The Forever Autumn Press Edition

https://www.amazon.com/When-Youre-Food-Predatory-Aggression/dp/1530215838/ref=sr_1_38?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489604210&sr=1-38&refinements=p_27%3AJames+LaFond

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