“The Rot At The Root” for We Are The Mutants

This is another piece I’m very proud of. I am a massive fan of “We Are The Mutants,” and am very glad to have been featured on their website. It’s an essay I’ve thought about for a very long time, one that looks at the vast gulf between the ideals espoused in the environmental media of my late-millennial childhood and our current stage of accelerated anthropogenic environmental collapse.

It’s in that sweet spot where nostalgia and solastalgia meet, a place in which I seem to spend a lot of time during this grim 2020.

Thank you to Kelly Roberts for some excellent edits

Seid Back for Oregon Encyclopedia

I have been intrigued by the life of pioneering Chinese-American immigrant Seid Back ever since I first was “introduced” to him in The Oregonian archives. Here was a fascinating man who straddled multiple realms of identity in Oregon’s early history, who protected his community in the face of virulent persecution, who made a fortune in the demimonde, who was a valued leader to overseas Chinese.

I was astounded to find how little had been published about this individual. Other than the exemplary work done by Marie Rose Wong in her superlative “Sweet Cakes Long Journey” this figure was an all-too intriguing absence in the historical record.

The perceived role of the Chinese in Oregon’s early history is all-too-often that of a footnote or of a passive subject. Seid Back was very much the opposite: an active and committed individual who fought for his community and made himself wealthy in the process.

It was a genuine honor to research and write this entry for the Oregon Encyclopedia. Helping restore Seid Back to deserved prominence is the kind of writing that I truly love; a chance to enshrine the forgotten in the “official” history of the state.

On preserving Gilberto Guzman’s “Multi-Cultural” mural in Santa Fe, New Mexico

I’ve got an op-ed (written with my father) out in my hometown newspaper The Santa Fe New Mexican today on the necessity of preserving a mural that has a deeply primal hold on my subconscious. Something about it has always felt Jungian, the figures and forms looming large over flashes of my sun-baked southwestern childhood. There are a few photos beyond the jump. Read more about the controversy over its destruction here

One particular figure in the mural imprinted itself deep within my own subconscious, the bull creature on the left.

“When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert …”
Continue reading “On preserving Gilberto Guzman’s “Multi-Cultural” mural in Santa Fe, New Mexico”

The Circle Come Round At Last


“Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other.”
Victor Hugo

Last week I climbed higher than the Sears Tower in a near-fugue state, brought on by a Netflix series. “The Circle” is a surreal distillation of our zeitgeist, one that is eminently satisfying on a limbic level. It offers the uneasy sensation of a deepfake, of a show entirely designed and cast by a neural net trained on all our contemporary neuroses: “We forced an AI with generalized anxiety disorder to view ten billion Instagram interactions and here’s what it made!”

Continue reading “The Circle Come Round At Last”