‘The Election’

Here at Brad OH Inc., we spend a lot of time discussing current political events, and what sort of future they might suggest. We’ve also explored many different writers and styles over the years. Today, we have a treat for you that combines the two!

Inspired by the unique ‘Gonzo’ writings of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, ‘The Election’ is the story of a cynical journalist covering the heinous events of the fourth annual ‘United Corporate Election’. In this dystopian future inspired by contemporary politics, Corporations control all aspects of government, and elections have been reduced to satirical pantomimes in which citizens use their ‘Citizen Spending Credits’ to vote on their favourite features for the elected effigy.

Journalist Duke O’Brady ventures into this ridiculous spectacle to experience the madness firsthand, but may be in for more than even he anticipated…

This short story is one of our favourites–after all, what sort of self-loathing Corporation wouldn’t dream of such an idyllic future?

We certainly hope you enjoy it as much as all of us here at Brad OH Inc. enjoyed writing it.

theelectioncoverCover Art by- Troy Barker

‘The Election’- Smashwords

-Brad OH Inc.

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The Metaphorical Imperative Revisited

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampIn our last article, ‘Without Words’ we reflected on the idea of what the world would be like without the vocabulary to define it. The concept was an interesting one to write about and consider; ultimately, it got us thinking back on another article we wrote, ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’.

The Metaphorical Imperative, for those who don’t recall, was a notion we explored about the source of and meaning behind creativity. In a nutshell, the idea is that as human beings evolved and our cerebral capacity expanded, the ability to question our world or ask ‘why’ would have appeared around the same time as the ability to use abstract conjecture to answer the question. These activities are certainly tied to language, although they need not be defined by it. Still, for the purposes of this article, we will take articulated thought as the base point for our considerations.

The fundamental assertion behind the concept of ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’ is that if humans owe any reverence or thanks for their current state, we owe it to the incredible work of evolutionary architecture that is our own minds—not to any god, devil, or undefined miscreant in between.

The need for existential reassurance, the fear of death, and the question of what we are and why we are here; these are all the direct products of a brain grown sufficiently complex to wrestle with such abstractions, and this alone is more miraculous and better cause for celebration than any story I’ve read in a holy book.

But that leads us to the next point. If our ability to ask questions is a miracle, what can be aid of our ability to create the answers for them?

Metaphor is the abstract use of one object to find or create meaning in another. If abstract thought is the impetus for asking ‘why’, then the tool for answering it is metaphor. My contention is that these abilities would have evolved in relatively close proximity to one another, representing a true ‘awakening’ of humanity.

If we are to discuss metaphor and meaning, we might as well start with one of the most famous—and central to our current topic. In the Garden of Eden, it’s said that Eve (that reckless upstart) ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and thus doomed mankind forever.

Thanks a lot, Eve.

I find an interesting parallel in this. This fruit, the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ which caused mankind’s fall from innocence, is symbolically comparable to the notion of the Metaphorical Imperative, in which we gain both the ability to question our nature, and the skill to fashion suitable answers.

But it’s really the answers that interest me here; the nourishing apples to the terrible hunger of ennui. Via our ability to create meaning, the human race has tapped into our most fundamental and defining abilities: creation, art, and belief.

The power of this ability might be observed most directly in expressions such as organized religion, whose depth of belief has inspired acts of miraculous empathy and terrible cruelty. But the power of metaphor isn’t limited to religion alone. Any story—TV shows, books movies, video games—has the power through metaphor to provide just as much as religion to anyone with the ability to relate to it on a personal or psychological level.

Stories are the foundation of all culture; ideas, philosophy, art and religion, the fundamental basis of humanity can be defined as the ability to dream things up in a way they are not.

There are no exceptions. Whether it’s sports, gods, science-fiction, or science alone, everyone places their trust in some grand idea, anchoring their hopes and aspirations to some intangible notion that rings true to them.

Luke Skywalker, Aragorn, The New Orleans Saints, Zen Buddhism, Zeus and Allah and Jesus, all the angels in heaven and demons in hell have sprung from this one key human drive. All art is the product of the metaphorical imperative, and stands as testament to everything which makes us human.

But here an important consideration arises in our series of metaphors. If, as suggested earlier, this key drive which makes us human (for both good and ill) was represented as the great deception of the devil in the garden, then perhaps all artists are in fact worshipping the devil.

Perhaps the development of consciousness and desire in humans was an accident—a random fluke forever changing the course of our species. No doubt we would have existed in perfect harmony with our environment if we’d never developed the capacity to believe we are separate or better.

Maybe it’s a good thing, and maybe not. But although this cerebral capacity has led to great pain and suffering throughout history, I refuse to believe it is not also the thing which will see us to what we need to become. Creation and metaphor, for all our missteps, define us as the beautiful, shining bastards we are, and will someday show us just how incredible we can truly be.

All we need to find is the right story.

-Brad OH Inc.

Without Words

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Among the many blessings inherent to being a writer, paramount among them is the gift of always having the right word for a given occasion. Any writer—and even well-read non-writers—knows the thrill of pulling out some million-dollar word that so perfectly encapsulates your predicament it seems made just for the occasion. But recently, I found myself wondering just what sort of blessing this is, and whether with every proud smile and impressed friend that comes with knowing how to effectively articulate some miniscule event, some greater thrill may be lost.

What would the world be like without words?

Not many know—and those that do would certainly have a difficult time expressing it. It’s a primal sort of idea, hearkening back to cold days huddled around small fires on the plains of the savannah; gazing with inexpressible unease into the encroaching dark.

Sitting at that fire, you might feel the cold creeping into your bones, and with no words for why, toss another handful of sticks onto the glowing coals of your salvation. The flames would lick up; tiny firefly sparks sailing up into the boundless night sky to get lost among the countless, brilliant stars that watch you each night from above as the wolves watch from below.

The heat would swell, pushing back the creeping chill of night in its eternal yet ultimately futile battle. You might smile, and your head would swim with the wonder of it all. You would understand the connections and worship the results, but you’d have no words for the meaning behind it. A smile would have to suffice.

The next day would find you rested and warm, the sun back again, reliable as ever, chasing away the nameless demons of night and promising again that the familiar cycle would continue. And you would be glad.

There would be no words for the joy that day brings, nor the trepidation you might feel when the thunder clouds roll in, covering up the sun and threatening with their deep voices to tear the sky asunder.

With all the terrible fury of an unimagined god they would come, beating down with rain and hail from above, and shattering the mountaintops with flashes of authority beyond description.

Imagine then the relief when they passed, and again the world returned to normal—like it always did. Imagine the thrill of security and the reassuring surge of faith in your pounding heart: imagine it all without words.

So too would every waking moment be defined by such wonder. In the world we live in now—there are words for everything, even if at times many seem to fall so pitifully short.

Without words, how confounding would be ideas like hate, and love, and grief. Without a means of expressing them, how could we ever let go of that which hurt or hallowed us. All would be reduced to the guttural screams of terror or triumph; communication shackled to the hair-tearing passions of inarticulate isolation.

With no weather systems or science or writing, the world would be an unpredictable place of magic and mania—and every turn would bring some uplifting new idea which would lie stillborn on lips incapable of giving them birth.

It’s a marvellous but inaccessible idea. I think about it a lot, and slide every time down an unspeakable precipice of wonder and nostalgia, as if touching by proxy upon the culturally inherited passions we all share in our ancient past. It fills me with an incredible sense of awe, but each time I’m moved to encapsulate the extent of such feelings, I find sadly that I am without words.

-Brad OH Inc.

Bourbons by the Fire

Under the Green Desklamp…

Green Desklamp

There’s a bottle of bourbon in arm’s reach of my chair, and through the window in front of me I can see the last vestiges of the day’s light hanging on the horizon. It illuminates the glass like hot iron. It seems the sunsets last longer these days. Or it could perhaps be that, with each one that passes, that singular moment when the last ray of sun clings to the western sky lingers longer in the mind, with its promise that light will come again.

On nights like this, the dangers of thought far outweigh those of the bottle, and the intoxicating effect of knowledge brings a sickness far worse than any hangover imaginable. And so I have a drink.

It’s a strange time, a time when any decent person with an eye for details might come to suspect they are one of the few remaining sane souls left in a terribly dystopian world—the sort of world where little girls grow up dreaming of being heiresses.

These days, the heedless ambition of the powerful is to society as is cancer to the individual. It first gnaws at the extraneous, chipping away the small pleasures and devouring the variety of life, making all things secondary to its demands.

But like cancer it grows unchecked, consuming everything allowed to it until all that remains are memories of times that were better, when hope for a brighter future still blossomed in the hearts of those now disenfranchised by the voracious appetites of its expansion.

It’s a desperate time—the kind of time when great ideas tend to come along… or else when people will cling to the best idea they come across.

I take another drink, a long one. It’s warm going down my throat, and fire in the stomach—a slow, soothing sort of burn.

The sun is growing dimmer, and light and dark weigh heavy in my thoughts. They’re timeless concepts—forged into the spirit of our society by countless books, songs and films. For me it was Tolkien, but the sources are innumerable.

Sometimes when my mind wanders, it goes unbidden to dangerous places. There are times that I wonder where the decency of man has gone. We’ve all heard about it—that innate spark of light within all people, destined with only the slightest encouragement to guide us from the ever encroaching darkness.

It’s getting darker.

We are but monkeys grown beyond our means. We make up stories, and bow before them to reckon ourselves to the fact that we are raised with a terrifying capacity for evil, yet maintain a gentle compulsion for good.

It’s not an easy understanding to bear, and the more you know, the madder you go.

I can see how it happens, how you can get lost within your mind. You chase some dream, and at first it dances about the edges, enticing you to believe you might catch it and make it true. But it leads, and you chase. Like a boy following a rabbit into the forest, you pursue it until you lose the trail. Then you look around to realize you’ve lost your own as well. You are left with no clue where on earth you are… or worse still, you’re not sure you remember who you are.

A man needs to fight against it, that infernal apathy. It’ll set in and boil, and pretty soon even the most casual of social encounters will feel like ships passing in the night fog.

Again, the bourbon soothes my thoughts.

What is a man to do? That’s the question that keeps bouncing around my head as my fingers rest limply on my keyboard. People often think I’m multi-layered, but the truth is I’m just multi-talented. This is my weapon—the written word is like a Lego set for smart people, and the destructive potential it can harness is a terrible thing to behold.

People glue themselves to reality programs, fixating on fictional calamities as their government is looted by faceless Corporations and their inalienable rights are stripped away like the clothes of a drunken debutante in a dingy frat house.

This is the reality allotted to us, and it’s difficult to blame the cowards for looking away and leaving it for the next generation. It’s a defense mechanism rooted deeply in our DNA.

With a web as intricate as this, no answers are clear, and even the most optimistic zealot can find himself lost in the chaos around him. But one must not avoid doing right for fear that the devil has deceived them into doing wrong, or else surely he has.

I grit my teeth and crack my knuckles. They’re stiff, and the flesh is dry and cracked. Have I grown this old in so short a time?

Everyone else is smiling, and a cheery voice on a television to my right tells me that quick and harsh punishment will come to the foreigners who object to our imperialistic agenda.

A cheer rises up—on the television to my left, a touchdown has been scored.

Godforsaken idiots.

My mind drifts again to the tales of my youth, and the things they promised: ages of miracles, and the certain defeat of darkness. It always took until the last moment—when hope held on by the thinnest thread. That’s when delivery always came, when people woke up to their innate power to change the world, and made real the paradise they cradled secretly in their hearts.

The sun is down now, the window dull and translucent once more. Outside, neon ads flash, telling me it’s time to buy a new phone. Then everything will be ok.

Darkness has always been our nature. It doesn’t need to be forceful, for it can grow at any time, and is capable of overtaking us and condemning us to savagery whenever we let down our guard.

The light within is different. It flickers perilously, and I’ve heard it said that once it’s out, it’s out. It may dwindle, imperceptible at times, yet it’s driven ever towards great good and kindness.

Sometimes we must squint to even detect it, yet in dark times like these, it is the thing we must search for the most earnestly, and count on for deliverance.

This is an active process.

Few things truly raise my ire, but the depthless greed and thoughtless destruction wrought by the heedless empowered lights a righteous fury deep in my bones.

There’s music playing somewhere, but I can’t catch the tune. My head swims under the drink, but I’m not confused. It’s certainty that drags my mood down, and the refusal to close my eyes to that which surrounds me. An unfailing belief moves my fingers now, and their clatter upon the keys pounds out a drumbeat all my own.

It’s short and simple. Its rhythm churns like a locomotive, driving itself on by necessity. It says that we must return to decency. It proclaims that glib cynicism and ironic detachment are the tools of cowards, and that making a joke of the night is the surest way to get lost in the dark. Above all, it wails that even under the guise of freedom—callousness and selfish greed must not be the fundamental underpinnings of our society.

If you don’t hold to that, know that you have an enemy in Brad OH Inc.

I take another drink, and the comforting warmth brings a smile to my tired face.

-Brad OH Inc.

The New Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc.

cropped-blogbanner1.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc, we cherish the indelible right to Freedom of Religion for all people, and this is especially important when that person happens to be a Corporation. Corporations clearly have a right to religion, just as any citizen of this marvelous country must if we are to continue to earnestly support the timeless and indelibly pertinent values of our ancient forefathers.

But it’s important that we not be unreasonable with the application of such essential considerations. While there can be no coherent argument made against the notion that humongous, international monetary entities are entirely interchangeable with living, breathing individuals, certainly there must be some concession made in regards to how those rights are enforced.

While an individual person must be allowed the right to choose and practice their religion in their own way (so long as that practice does not affect any other person in a manner otherwise illegal…especially a Corporate one!), the Corporate right to Freedom of Religion must be exercised in a somewhat different manner. Specifically, if we are to respect the Religious Sovereignty of a Corporation such as ours, it is essential that the given Corporate Religion and its implied doctrines be extended to anyone working for or affected by (or even in distant contact with) said Corporation.

This may seem like a stretch, but the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the U.S of A. confirms that these aspirations are entirely within our reach (Source). Call it a Brad OH’men!

Given this new precedent, we here at Brad OH Inc. feel it would be utterly obtuse of us—disrespectful to the constitution even—to not take full advantage of this god given right. Therefore, it is with careful consideration and great anticipation that we announce the new Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc.

Now, the religions of old share a variety of key traits: a unified mythology, a concept of good and evil, a calling to a higher purpose, the promise of salvation. But to be honest, it’s pretty hard to deny these things are utterly boring, to say nothing of having been covered ad nauseum by other religions. So if that’s what you’re looking for, pick a church and take a seat, you’ll find plenty of stories there.

Here at Brad OH Inc., we are far more concerned with practicality, after all, pragmatism is one of the core tenets of Brad OH Inc.

Therefore, without further ado, we are pleased to present the 5 Central Commandments of the Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc.:

  1. Thou Shalt Share: This one should be easy people. Sharing is nice, plain and simple. It’s so nice in fact, that we hold it to be sacrosanct. Therefore, henceforth, all patrons of Brad OH Inc. should consider themselves divinely mandated to share all content created here. To do otherwise would be a sin.
  1. Divine Duty of Discourse: If there is one key ingredient to any good society, it’s the free flow of public discourse. Don’t bother arguing—any contrary thought is wrong, plain and simple. To read an article here at Brad OH Inc. and fail to express yourself in the comments section is not only inconsiderate, henceforth it shall be considered an infringement on the Freedom of Religion of Brad OH Inc.
  1. Fundamental Freedom of Expression: We don’t think anyone can argue that the right to free expression is a fundamentally good concept. So good in fact, that we here at Brad OH Inc. consider it a moral imperative. That’s why we are so entirely dedicated to expounding erratically extreme philosophic tenets. Don’t believe us? Just check our banner! Therefore, if at any point you feel that some idea expressed on the site is contradictory to the nature of our Corporation, please remember that any such thought is a blatant violation of our religious right to free expression. If you have any further problem with it, kindly refer to Commandment #2.
  1. Functional Faithfulness and Loyalty: What can be said of any person who doesn’t hold dear the invaluable trait of loyalty? ‘False Hearted’, ‘Fly by Night’, ‘Insidious’, ‘Recreant’, ‘Craven’… and that’s just to name a few. Without loyalty, people just flit around all willy-nilly, doing what they will and going where they please. It’s certainly no way to run an empire. Therefore, Brad OH Inc. considers loyalty to be one of the most essential values a Corporation could ever hope for in a religion. So don’t forget about us, or you can expect a civil-suit for violation of our right to Freedom of Religion.
  1. Sacramental Self-Determination: Beyond the shadow of a doubt, self-determination is one of the most important traits any Corporation can have. After all, if left to the vile volitions of the common people, we’d be out there paying taxes, showing restraint in our environmental impact, and feigning sympathy for issues of social justice. Clearly, that’s no way to operate. So if at any point you find that the hearts and minds of us here at Brad OH Inc. have shifted, or that we’ve decided to go in a direction that doesn’t suit your selfish personal agenda, please remind yourself that we are simply following our Constitutionally Protected right to Freedom of Religion.

There you have it, the 5 Central Commandments of the Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc. It is with a great sense of relief that we are able to share this with you today, and we know that you’ll surreptitiously revel in our joy as we celebrate our devotion to Freedom of Religion. After all, if a Corporation can’t profit off the liberties of the people who populate them, then what’s the point?

Your Sincere Friends and Mentors of Freedom,

-Brad OH Inc.

The Metaphorical Imperative

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Here at Brad OH Inc., I’m often asked why I write. Certainly, it’s a difficult question to answer. For me, pleasure would be one acceptable response—whether it’s my own, or that of the visitors who read and enjoy what I’ve written—both are wonderful reasons to write. I’ve heard other authors answer this question as well, with such varied responses as: ‘to elicit emotion’, ‘to express myself’, ‘to make money’, and of course, the old go-to, ‘because it’s what I’m meant to do’.

They’re all true enough, and all equally vague in their own ways. But dealing with such questions, it’s hard to avoid a little bit of abstraction, and that’s ok. When you try to dig any deeper—questioning things such as purpose and meaning—it becomes a real existential quagmire.

To me, writing is a sort of religion. Scratch that… like so many religions, that’s already a bit narrow-minded. Limiting this explanation to writing is unfair… more broadly, art as a whole—or metaphor more specifically—is my religion. Let me explain…

As humans, we occupy a level of intellectual complexity reserved for us alone. As a result, we have many abilities which are entirely foreign to all other known organisms. One of the most obvious, and arguably the most significant, is mortality salience. More clearly put, this refers to our awareness of our inevitable demise. This awareness, as fully explored in Ernest Becker’s ‘Terror Management Theory’, creates an existential terror in us that is unknown in other animals. It also creates something else… a drive for meaning.

Not only are we the only known animals to perceive that we will ultimately die, we are also the only ones capable of creating meaning from nothing—metaphor. The power of metaphor is something which must not be underestimated: it can give us hope, it can inspire courage, and—as applies in the case of mortality salience—it can provide us with comfort.

What makes us so special? Why do we alone have these powers of perception and creation? Well, simply put: evolution. Our brains, under the pressures of natural selection, have slowly expanded in form and function to get us where we are today. Now, this is certainly not the endpoint of evolution, but somewhere in that incredibly drawn out process, we’ve developed the capacities for both language and abstract thought. These developments are among the most crucial to defining our humanity.

Ever since the dawn of complex language in the early prehistory of man, we have been using it to ask such questions as where we came from, what our purpose is, and whether we are serving that purpose well. This delves into some deep religious and philosophical territory, but I believe the important point here is that abstract thinking—the ability create or attribute meaning and connections where they do not naturally exist—serves as both the impetus and the solution for such quandaries.

In short, the ability to ask ‘Why’ exists within us because of our propensity for abstract thought, which is also the reason we are able to answer that question with, ‘Because…’. Our need for meaning and our ability to create it are one in the same.

Metaphor is God—and vice versa. Everyone finds it somewhere—religions, movies, bands, relationships—we idealize and apply significance to everything within the limits of our perception. The fact that some of the most popular metaphors are now held as absolute truth (and used to justify both miracles and atrocities) doesn’t negate their reason for being or their power, but rather only affirms both.

Being human, we all share a sense of wonder. Looking up at the night sky, pondering the nature of deep emotions such as love or hate, reflecting on the direction of humanity and where we are to end up… these are natural behaviours which result inevitably from our very ability to articulate them. Once a question is asked, it cannot be unasked. There is no satisfying the human urge for understanding; only an ongoing effort to satiate it.

I call it the metaphorical imperative. To provide meaning is both the result of, and a response to, our ability to think metaphorically. Every story, song, painting—all works of art—are sincere grasps for meaning. Their success, the extent to which they succeed in this goal, is simply a matter of how strong an impact they have on their audience.
And… that’s why I write.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Celebration of Fury’

At Brad OH Inc. we know our fan base is as diverse and inconsistent as our business ethics. So why not celebrate your eclectic nature by mixing up our own offers a bit? Today, Brad OH Inc. is happy to offer something completely different (TM Monty Python).

‘Celebration of Fury’ is not a story at all, but rather a poem. So for all of you who’ve been lamenting the lack of existential poetry available—you’d best find a new platform to protest. ‘Celebration of Fury’ is about the experience of human life, and like the lavish robes of the famous emperor, we know you’ll come to appreciate its excessive brilliance.

In a twist aggressively designed to improve the reading experience of our fans, we’ve elected to release this selection exclusively on Smashwords. So take a little time to sign up and download it—because after all, the only thing better than a free read, is a free read which gives demonstrative credit to its creators.

Celebration of Fury Cover

Celebration of Fury- Smashwords

-Brad OH Inc.