MAX THE NERD - By Al Gromer Khan ©
Once, a long time ago, I met this eighty-year old Egyptian at a café in Munich. He said, “America is the Satan.” I said, “What? just because Americans love baseball and going fishing with their dads? Or want to make ten million dollars tomorrow morning? Just because they say things like Grab some shut eye? And what about Brando, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Marilyn, and Little Richard … and Edward Hopper?” He didn´t know these people. So, I ask him, “Anyway – what´s Satan do?” “He turns things around,” the old man replied. “And falsifies them, works with large numbers, and wants to compete with God.”
I said to him, “Well, who needs Satan when they´ve got Max?”
“Yeah, Max – Max the Nerd,” I said. “Used to be friends with him. Till he wanted a “boat” in Malibu. And then he did the damnedest thing, he ´created´ a robot he can fuck. No imponderabilities there, then, in that division, for Max. He´ll probably use my Kama Sutra music album to do the, um … love. You see, Max never got the point about my Kama Sutra album: he didn´t dig that it was just an album title. He thought it was a fucking manual – so to speak.” The Egyptian gave me a funny look, mumbled a protective saying from The Book, and withdrew.
When we were all happy to have found a kind of music that contained a sort of intimacy, a kind of music that removed sonic cluttering instead of creating more, Max emptied all his drawers with New Age drivel and ´Space´ and elevator music in them and shoved them into the ambient drawer. And then he started his ´streaming´, and ´farming´, and ´mining´ project. And ´Music from the Heart´ of course, and ´healing´.
Max and I, we go back a long way. I remember a time when he asked me over for dinner when my girlfriend was young, beautiful, slim, blonde, and Swedish. On occasions such as these he would offer you a grass joint and a room to rent in his house. And then kicked you out when it was Christmas and snowing and you had the flu and a fever and was bedridden and the Swede had done a runner, and I had a case of the shorts and the great depression engulfed me. “I´m sarry, but Catherine and I have decided that we wanna spend this Christmas by arselves.” Oh right. Got you. Out with me now. Into the cold.
Actually, you can only deal with Max under one condition, and that´s if he wants something from you. Otherwise no cigar. And he gets all bad-tempered if he encounters someone more intelligent then him. In which case he looks at you as if he´d just soiled his undergarments. And then he calls you opinionated and judgmental. You see, he lives in a universe of the doable, one of fixed categories. A universe of more of the same. And wish fulfillment. In his artificial nerd-sphere, in this time-quality of replicas, of copying, pasting, and plagiarizing other people´s experiences no one contradicts him because he´s got the majority of the new nerdy generation behind him. He presses buttons and wants results, thinking people are some sort of computer. He telephones you all the way from Santa Barbara, day or night, on birthdays and New Year. He goes on and on about what he is doing, what he has done, and what he´s about to do next. He never says ´I´, he always says ´we´, to bring ´a whole bunch of guys´ on board. The herd makes him feel safer, for business reasons, you see? He does that to you over the phone for about an hour and a half at a time, till your ears hurt.
But that was then, when I fit into one of his schemes. Over now.
Max thinks that he makes things happen. Brings them about – never thinks of the consequences on a larger scale. Or that things may be happening to HIM. He thinks HE is the doer. And he does these Napoleon impression for you. And then he checks you out on facebook when you´re not looking, and then he goes round saying that he ´just had a vision´.
Max roars at you in the middle of a music mix. “Let me be the judge of that!” Just to remind you that the digital nerds are now the new Brahmin class. You walk away mumbling, “Silence is golden,” but Max roars after you, “I do silence around here!”. He can be a female too, in which case he´s probably called Jennifer, or a teenager. ´I need to think of my career first´. (Now, what career might that be? Doctor Strangelove from the Mengele school of career planning, perhaps?) On the other hand, Max may be in his seventies, and terribly pleased about one or two generations of really boring, nerdy, money-mad and philistine young Maxes who´re also dreaming of becoming big players in the digital field. Well, at least, and finally, he doesn´t have to play ´hippie´ anymore. Cause, you see, deep down he´s never been one, a hippie. That was the time when he wrote ´Love from San Francisco´. Always been a business man, Max. When the hippies said, like, ´Don´t change circumstances, change your attitude, man,´ Max´ inner Max got into high alert. And then he started out on his mission and said, OK, attitude I like, but is there any moola in it? Any wonga? Any smackers to be made? Any bucks? Everything´s got to be of some sort of use. Why else should one bother picking it up and dealing with it? Because, you see, if the general public digs it and appreciates it, requires it on a daily basis, like toilet paper, it ´generates income´. (Used to be ´make some bread, man, for paying me bills´, but now Max calls it ´generating income´, as in Enough is not Enough and More is Better.) Anyway, Max reckons If it ain´t sellable what´s the point of even mentioning it?
But make no mistake: Max DOES want you to like him. Wants you to BE like him. He needs some sort of weird nerd confirmation, because deep, deep down in the recesses of his barely developed soul, something is nagging him like a hitherto ignored undercurrent but persistent tooth ache: his conscience – you know, that element that normally raises its head when it encounters things that feel kind of shallow and wrong. But if you refuse to like Max´ ways, he tries to make things complicated for you.
I showed him my Ninety-nine Axioms for a New World Music, proudly like: Mum, Dad – look what I´ve done! Max comes back with, “Yeah sure, I thought of all that, I just didn´t bother to write it down.” And then he gets busy putting my stuff into his bags, translates it a couple of octaves down, for Tom, Dick and Harry to grasp and for him to put in his retail store, should the occasion arise.
And now, what´s he up to? He´s into ´creating´ a pill for WLAN in your brain. And fly boards. And new rules and regulations for all, to verify and certify and corroborate his nerd shit. And regular updates for everybody´s brain. He doesn´t give a flying fuck about the poetic beauty of my musical work. Instead he insists on certain immeasurably complicated digital shite that recordings just have to have now, in order to make things easier for HIM, so HE can work 0,05 % faster. If you refuse, he´ll get all sullen and possibly patriotic, and you haven´t even mentioned Iraq. At which point you´re glad he doesn´t have a gun. But it´s at moments like these when I wish that someone take him to a place in Nigeria where he has to weld apart rusty metal bits, recycling the frigging robots he designed, at a shipyard in Lagos, for 10 Nigerian cents a day.
Max is all NLP and coaching, of course. That´s why footballers, politicians, and news casters are now constantly grinning. He went with Paul Bindrim´s swimming pool group sex, oh, so long ago. And then on to India. Came back all enlightened with the leftovers of the Sixties counter culture by adding stultifying and unfunny humour and spiritual porn. All the Maxes were convinced that he was hilariously funny. Anyway, Max got ´awakening´ and can play ´awakened´ himself now. He tells you that you ´should be out of mind´. But should you muster the nerve to show a lack of interest in his guru replica, or a flicker of disagreement, or put forth a different aspect of the topic, or not identify one hundred pro with his New Age diarrhea, like ´money is energy´, Max will accuse you of ´negativity´. And then he´ll call you confrontational. And when you mention Orwell, he gives you this blank stare. And then he goes and tells everybody that you have a huge ego. And then he writes long-winded manuals on how to ´awaken´. And when you really can´t stand it anymore, convinced that it can´t get any worse, he sends you ´his blessings´ and quotes Eckart Tolle.
Max despises poetry, and he will only employ people who can read manuals. Unfortunately, poetry is the very essence of any sort of art, for it gives hints and signifiers of the Most High Principle. But there is no manual for poetry. And Neuro Linguistic Programming couldn´t take Max there Cause poetry is the one and only thing that the giant Californian fast thinking demon cannot analyze, digitalize, plagiarize, market, or franchise. So Max hates it, and before you can say Microsoft he ´creates´ ersatz. In the case of poetry it will probably be a world-wide Burning Man Festival. (Excuse me, Max! Haven´t you burned enough men … in Alabama, in Dresden, in Nam?) Next he´ll ´create´ a ´poetry slam´ whereby he can fulfill his secret trigger-happy wet dream and smack you round the face with some random verbal shite.
But what Max really hates is light irony. Especially if it comes together with any sort of ambiguity. Irony confuses him. To him it is like mocking, and it interferes with his ´space´ – that´s the bags into which he puts everything instead of experiencing the real thing. Irony scratches those bags at the surface and that drives him nuts.
Max loves artificial intelligence of course. Anyone who´s entered puberty would not have a flicker of interest in artificial intelligence, because it´s so silly. So, it´s not surprising that Max identifies with it one hundred per. And because he´s got to act out every bleeding thing on the material plane, he will scream, ´We gadda go forward with this!´, and in the process turn an entire continent into a smelly garbage heap.
Max thinks gadgets are ´cute´, so he loves them. Well, you see, that´s a normal thing in five to twelve-year-olds. He hopes to be able to ´create´ a robot with a human brain within 10 years. Probably wants to take it sailing off Malibu and make it up its artificial botty. And then he´ll most likely get the robot all awakened, too. But then, and because Max is a fast thinker, he will tell us all about the dangers which lie in robots pro-creating and becoming more intelligent than him.
For Max the purpose of life is an elusive bugger. Too subtle, see. Not every household needs the purpose of life. Tom, Dick, and Harry don´t dig it. Won´t buy it (so to speak). So, there´s no attraction there for Max. And since 99% of all people are already a bit dense, they will accept almost anything from Max, if it´s all spelled out to them right and proper. And then they´ll go and buy it and make Max richer. Till he´s got a house in which he can turn the lights on with his brain. And a boat in Malibu.
Al Gromer Khan © 2018