The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
1. You just died and your adoring public is so distraught they’ve decided to create a religion with you (not your corpse, but the you you used to be before you died) as its focal point. What should the new religion be called? What would its primary tenets be? Would it ultimately prove beneficial to humanity?
Apocalypse Now, and I Mean NOW!
Fuck shit up and love. What else are you gonna do?
It would escalate the world’s problems and put a sooner end to the world, but with passion.
2. Tell me all your thoughts on God.
I’d really like to meet her. I’m on my way to see her!
Was it George Carlin who said there’s no way god could be a woman because a woman would never fuck things up this bad? I agree. I’m not sure I even believe in god, but I would never be so bold and egotistical as to say there is no god. I do tend to think most “supernatural” phenomena can be explained scientifically and/or psychologically, and that the more energy we put into believing something, the realer it feels/becomes, and that most “magic” can be chalked up to intentionality and willpower. The supernatural is very real to me, but I approach it rationally, if that even makes any sense.
But yeah—my thoughts on god are that I’m interested in and curious about all forms of him/her/it/them. I have a willingness to believe pretty much anything, but my skeptical outlook and generally noncommittal attitude keeps me from ever becoming fully indoctrinated. I sort of simultaneously believe and disbelieve all belief systems.
3. There’s an old adage, maybe a Bible verse, I’m not sure, stating that, “Money is the root of all evil.” Is this true? Would the world be better off without money? Why or why not?
It’s not the money that’s the problem. It’s the people using it. The problem is greed, which manifests in any area involving acquisition/accumulation. Money, and how much of it one may have or not, creates and reinforces hierarchies and makes people feel more comfortable with dehumanization. You don’t have to feel bad about fucking someone over or even ruining their life if you can find a way to see them as less human. Greed does this. If you have enough money, you don’t have to care about other people. If you have enough money, you can buy yourself into a space colony, or build your own, while the world rots and burns and implodes.
I think we’d be better off without money, but I don’t really see any way out of it. Capitalism is a runaway train, and the longer the people in power try to delay the inevitable, the worse the crash will be. I’m not sure there’s anywhere to go from there except maybe backwards, to a more primitive, resourceful, cooperative state. But humanity is so corrupt and poisoned at this point that’s probably impossible.
I find the glorification of money disturbing, too, and the compulsive consumption of media about the rich. It’s especially disconcerting that people who don’t really have any money do this. I understand the importance of fantasy and hopefulness, but I think the way we glorify money is bad for us. It’s toxic. There’s so much media about the rich in popular culture, it’s like a form of mind control. It’s like the idea is to get us comfortable with the extremely wealthy and somehow believe we might have a chance in hell of accumulation to that extent, to stoke belief in the lie of capitalism and reinforce the idea of wealth being the ultimate goal and even make the rich seem heroic. Steinbeck’s thing about the proletariat seeing themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” and empathizing more readily with the rich than the poor…there’s an unsettling amount of truth to that.
4. In a thousand years, what will historians see as the three most significant events of the 20th century?
I can see the holocaust, the moon landing, and the trinity nuclear test being three of the most significant events of the 20th century to people 1,000 years from now (even though there’s no way humanity will last that long). The three of those events combined are a good representation of the extremes to which humans are capable of creating and destroying. Respectively, these events set precedents for mass human extermination, space exploration, and global warfare—all of which I can see being pillars of society in the year 3020, if we last that long.
5. Say you’re a poltergeist and your latest posting (polsting?) has just come down from the home office in… wherever the poltergeist home office is. They’re giving you a choice actually, since you’re done such a great job tormenting people previously. You can take over: A. a deserted gold mine; B. an active (as in, live humans come to use it) graveyard; C. a crowded shopping mall; or D. a little-used dumbwaiter in the US House of Representatives. Which do you choose?
I’d set up polst in a crowded shopping mall because I’d want to freak out as many people as possible, and a graveyard is too cliché. There are lots of good projectiles at the mall, too—merchandise, display racks, and whatnot. I’d start food fights in the food court. Do kids still smoke cigarettes and do drugs at the mall? I’d hang out with them and haunt people who try to give them shit. I’d be a mall rat poltergeist. I’d be the ghost-in-residence at Spencer’s Gifts.
6. You’re hanging out in a bar for cartoon tigers. The bar is not cartoon. It’s real, and it’s called You’re a Tiger, the World’s Going to Shit, and You Probably Could Use a Drink. But the tigers are all definitely cartoons. What drink would you order to try to fit in? Say Tony the Tiger and Tigger got in a knockdown-dragout fight over something or other. Would you: A. leave; B. call the cartoon tiger cops; C. attempt to break it up; or D. establish odds and start taking bets on the outcome?
I’m not sure why my first thought is that I’d order milk? Do cartoon tigers have a thing for dairy? I’d probably try to break up the fight, but it’s hard for me to imagine these characters even getting angry because they’re so happy and upbeat all the time. It breaks my heart a little bit. But if I couldn’t successfully put an end to the melee, I’d start taking bets because, regardless of what I said about money in Ridiculous Answer #3, a bitch still has to find ways to survive late capitalism. I’d step into my role as cartoon character boxing match bookie. I’d bet my bottom dollar on Tigger winning the championship.
Kim Vodicka is the spokesbitch of a degeneration. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections—Aesthesia Balderdash (Trembling Pillow Press, 2012), Psychic Privates (White Stag Publishing, 2018), and The Elvis Machine (CLASH Books, 2020). She is also the creator of a poetic comic book series, a chapbook of sound poems on vinyl, and an illustrated book of poetry. Her poems, art, and essays have been featured in Luna Luna Magazine, The Thought Erotic, South Broadway Ghost Society, Really Serious Literature, Best American Experimental Writing, Nasty! and many others. For the past decade, she has toured the country performing spoken word with musical accompaniment. Originally from south Louisiana, she currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her beloved cat, Lula. Cruise her at www.kimvodicka.com. And score a copy of her latest, The Elvis Machine, at https://www.clashbooks.com/new-products-2/kim-vodicka-the-elvis-machine.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. Now a Contributing Editor with The Weeklings, Baumeister’s Review Microbrew column is published by The Nervous Breakdown. His debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki, and a hybrid collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Superman, the Seven Gods of Death, and the Need for Clean, Romantic Poetry. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.kurtbaumeister.com.