Our fearless leader, the owner of the lightbulb that begat Bloody Elbow, is an interesting man. For those that don't know, Nate Wilcox aka Kid Nate, doesn't just run this place, he created it. In the 3+ years I've been working for him, I've become somewhat of a devotee of his unique brand of news stylings, and not just the sports variety.
His views on politics, art, music, history, science and current events are always direct and unwavering. When I asked if we could do another "getting' to know ya" piece for my Journo To Journo series, I had hoped to be able to focus on his incredible Facebook feed (if you're on his friends list, you know what I'm talking about), but instead, he turned me onto another corner of his social media empire, his Tumblr blog.
How do I describe this blog? It is an eclectic but well curated collection of posts that encompass man's desire to always take on forces more powerful than he can control. It's visually stunning, because of the artwork he's amassed, horrifying because of the stories he's collected and sad because in all the case studies of this facet of the human condition, there's never a happy outcome. From the fool Maqsood to the do-gooder doctor that found herself cultivating daisies from the great beyond, tragedy is the cold, hard truth that can be expected when we try to "ride the tiger."
Now, I know some of you are probably thinking, ‘This has nothing to do with MMA,' but it does. Nate is the founder of this site, and by virtue of that alone, it is relative. I wanted our readers to have an opportunity to get to know him a little better through his blog, so I sat down with him a few days ago and ran through a series of questions with him on the things that stood out to me the most. Without any further ado, I give you, The Fool Maqsood and the Tiger:
The fool, Maqsood
This is just something I got fascinated with some months ago, I forget how many. Anyway, some guy in India jumped into a tiger cage and got himself eaten up. I read the story and was just fascinated. Apparently the guy was not all there in the head. He worked as a day laborer and he had a family; a wife and a child.
About six months prior to the incident, he had seen a tiger for the first time at the zoo and became obsessed with it. He would sneak away when he was supposed to be doing day labor and somehow come up with the money to go to the zoo. They don't know if he fell in or jumped, but he ended up in the cage curled up in the fetal position. This thing was captured on video, so it received massive news coverage all over the world.
I started a Tumblr blog about it just to document some of the stuff that was out there and my thoughts. A lot of it (the blog) is about the beauty and power of tigers, but it's also about the danger of people thinking they can interact with them...people thinking they can pet them or keep them as pets. It's about the failure to respect the power of these animals or of any natural forces.
The blog also covers anybody who's taken on incredibly powerful forces without a proper respect for their danger, like when Anonymous tried to take on the narco cartels in Mexico. They quickly folded when they realized, ‘These guys have better techies than we do and they'll actually come to our house and kill us.'
You know, when I was a younger guy, zoos kind of upset me, because it's just disturbing to see an animal that should be in the wild, that's in a tiny cage or enclosure. Now I have kids, so I'm fine with zoos. We slaughter so many animals in such bulk all the time, but we get upset about the ones we see in captivity. The carnage in Africa, Asia and the Americas is destroying the natural habitats of these animals. Zoos are at least trying to preserve some of the genetics and take reasonably good care of the animals.
Segue to Chicken Auschwitz
In my hometown a few years ago, somebody called the SPCA and the police because a Vietnamese woman was wringing a chicken's neck in her front yard. Texas has the largest slaughter houses in the world, and so we've got chicken Auschwitz going on out at the edge of town and nobody gives a shit. As long as the chicken McNuggets come out wrapped in plastic, and nobody has to see them feeding the baby chicks into sluices by the thousands, nobody gives a flying fuck. But if somebody is wringing a chicken's neck like my grandmother used to do it, people are horrified.
Death is part of life and people need to get real and stop trying to sanitize it. If you try to hide death, it just comes crawling out of another crack. You just can't sanitize life so that death is not a part of it. There's just no two ways around it.
In northern Mexico, there's a situation where the corporate news media has literally put up the white flag. TV anchors have actually gone on their shows holding white flags, announcing on air for the benefit of the cartels that they aren't going to report crime anymore. If somebody gets murdered, we're not going to report it. We're talking about Monterrey, Mexico. It's an enormously wealthy city in the northern part of Mexico, but it's become a war zone because of the guns and drugs that are funneled through it.
So, you've got some heroic citizens that have decided to go on Facebook and report the news. Just small stuff like, ‘There's a shootout at the corner of this street and that street. Don't go there right now.' That's all they're doing, mostly. They're not witch hunting or hounding. They're not snitches. They're just putting out public service bulletins. The cartels don't want that.
This woman had been doing that on Facebook. Apparently, she was a doctor and had treated the child of one of these narco-cartel leaders, and the child died. They kidnapped her, and got her phone. They forced the password out of her and discovered that she was the blogger they were after.
At that point, they started posting pictures of her in the moments before they killed her. They posted her body after they killed her. They posted that they had her cell phone with her contacts list and they were coming for all her friends.
There was another lady who was posting similar public service announcements. They came and got her, decapitated her, and put her head on the spinning air vent fan on top of the house. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about with the fools and tigers. The narcos are definitely tigers and these bloggers are like Maqsood, the helpless fool in the tiger pit.
The French Revolution
I feel like we are on the verge of social collapse or social change, which is long overdue. I've been reading a lot about revolutions, and they are scary, awful, horrible things. With the American Revolution, we got off light. It was run by aristocrats, so they kept a clamp down on the mob. One of the first things George Washington did as president was shut down two citizens rebellions. They just got soldiers out there, dragged people out and shot them or hung them until the bullshit stopped.
In France, it wasn't an aristocrat's revolution. There was a party of aristocrats that helped overthrow the king, including the king's own cousin, but they used mob violence as the tool, and they never got a handle on the mob. It wasn't until Napoleon came along and started firing a canon down the streets of Paris that they were able to rein it in.
Robespierre was this guy who was a lawyer, a genteel idealist who was opposed to the death penalty. He could talk idealist do-gooder rhetoric all day long, but when he got his hands on power, he was just feeding people to the guillotine; fellow revolutionaries, aristocrats, peasants...it was just insane.
Eventually, he ended up in the guillotine, himself. The metaphor they frequently use for Robespierre was riding the tiger, because he was trying to control this mob to build this idealized society. I think he was insane and a fraud. He's definitely one of the themes of this blog. So is Trotsky and the whole Russian Revolution, which was another unbelievable blood bath.
I'm a very nonviolent person, but I'm really interested in vicarious violence. I think it's an essential part of human nature. I think it's innate to the nature of this universe with the volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, black holes, etc. This is a crazy, chaotic, destructive cosmos, and humans are part of that, and our behavior is part of that. So yeah, that's the blog [laughs].