Phil Coates and His Hateful No-Win Judgmentalism


Jonathan

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Stories are very useful. Joseph Campbell said so. Hell, Robert Campbell probably said so. My minister even said so. Yes, indeed, there is no doubt about it.

And, there is nothing like a good mystery, especially the ones with haunting, and Gothic elements--you just can't beat those except maybe with Mickey Spillane.

This has all gotten me very excited, and off on some early groundwork for a new story. I guess you would call it sort of a cold case one. There will be lots of forensics and stuff, plus the elements I mentioned above. It will be as thick as Wendy's Chili<tm>, I guarantee you that!

Now, I should put this over in creative writing, but, let's face it: I might not ever finish the thing, or for that matter, even write it at all. It's the shocking results that the early research has already revealed--these things are what demand us to perform at least a circumspection of the topic (at least). Most myths, after all, are based in some kind of fact(s), are they not?

In the meantime, then, I will simply share what paltry existing data I have collected, and leave it to my gentle, informed readers to draw their own conclusions--this is the inception point of all Great Oral Traditions. Or typed ones, even.

There is little to work with, but what there is, well, see for yourself:

The Strange Curse of Coates Family Portraits

(Special thanks to Oscar Wilde: I couldn't have done it withoutcha, buddy!)

(Photos courtesy of the Coates Archive, Lodi, Ohio)

It all begins with a wedding photo--but not just your ordinary photo. Gertrude Philomena Grundy was wed to Rocco Phillip Coates in the tragic year of 1918--I say it was tragic because that was also (prophetically, perhaps) the year Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" was published. The wedding was a difficult one, not only in that there were a number of shotguns involved, but also that the future Mrs. Coates was not carrying her 8-month pregnancy all that well, meaning she was quite nauseated at the thought of giving birth in the first place, causing a great deal of projectile vomiting, nervous eye-tics, and other female maladies.

Wedding Photo, 1918. Notice the strange energy bolt revealed by photography, a bolt that would forever appear in almost all Coates Family Pictures.

PhilFamilyPortraits001.jpg

The couple settled very quickly into married life, although it was a financial struggle--due to her untimely pregnancy, Gertrude was discharged from her position as Headmistress of a prestigious finishing school for young ladies (name withheld by request of the institution). Still, though, Rocco worked away at his own career; he too was an educator, specializing in Health and Hygiene, but occasionally filling in as a substitute Latin teacher. Only Latin was spoken in the home.

The birth occurred far past term (14 months), and to the young couple's great surprise, resulted in fraternal twins.

Phillip Coates (right), and his brother Ignatz, age 10 days:

PhilFamilyPortraits003.jpg

It was not long after this Blessed Event that trouble developed in the marriage; a strange tension seemed to engulf the modest 5-storey, 2-bedroom cold water flat that Rocco had so carefully selected for starting his Family. The twins fought incessantly, and for seemingly no reason. Occasionally, Gertrude thought she would hear Phillip (the smaller of the two boys) screaming at his brother: "No no no! Not right! No, no not like, not LIKE!"

This, and the general financial squalor began to take its toll on the Coates estate. The marriage experienced great tension and fatigue--fatigue that began to (bizarrely) manifest itself in the wedding photo.

Wedding Photo, in 1919 (post partum):

PhilFamilyPortraits002.jpg

It all came to a head not 3 months after this time. The twins had gone out exploring a nearby paper mill that day and did not come home on time for supper. Hours later, only Phillip returned, slightly dazed, but otherwise unplussed and even smiling a very great deal. A search was mounted, and Ignatz was finally located; drowned in a towering vat of stinking pulp.

And it was from that day on that even the family photo of the twins began to reveal itself, as it does to this day.

Photo of Phillip and Ignatz, post-tragedy.

PhilFamilyPortraits004.jpg

As to the strange energy bolt, it also continues to defy explanation. Needless to say, the couple separated. It is believed they fled the country. Phillip was left at the steps of a prestigious boy's military school (name withheld by request) with a note pinned on him: "Here he is. Here are the pictures. Do something. Keep him away from dictionaries, whatever you do."

And outside of Phillip's appearance on discussion forums somewhere in the 1980's, there is precious little else to know of this.

The End.

Edited by Rich Engle
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Okay Mr. Tap Dance,

I'm seriously disappointed that you didn't research the issue of the lightning bolt a bit more. I was going to reveal it in my (authorized) biography eventually, but now it must be told:

It turns out that the reclusive billionaire philanthropist, Professor VoldePiss, who finances several Objectivist websites on the condition that they remain unmoderated and post crap every half hour, has been trying to kill me through electrocution continually since my birth. The proof of this is the dollar-sign shaped scar I bear on my left buttock.

And first of all, the claim that I drowned by brother is a filthy lie. I shot him through the heart with an arrow.

Furthermore, at least one of the family photos has been doctored. I'm far less handsome in real life.

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It turns out that the reclusive billionaire philanthropist, Professor VoldePiss, who finances several Objectivist websites on the condition that they remain unmoderated and post crap every half hour,

Stop being a lazy hypocrite. Stop posting here, go found your own site, and see who shows up.

Shayne

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Okay Mr. Tap Dance,

I'm seriously disappointed that you didn't research the issue of the lightning bolt a bit more. I was going to reveal it in my (authorized) biography eventually, but now it must be told:

It turns out that the reclusive billionaire philanthropist, Professor VoldePiss, who finances several Objectivist websites on the condition that they remain unmoderated and post crap every half hour, has been trying to kill me through electrocution continually since my birth. The proof of this is the dollar-sign shaped scar I bear on my left buttock.

And first of all, the claim that I drowned by brother is a filthy lie. I shot him through the heart with an arrow.

Furthermore, at least one of the family photos has been doctored. I'm far less handsome in real life.

Does that mean I can keep on selling the T-shirts?

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th_presto-hot-air-popcorn-maker.jpg

This is going to be good!!

Rich this could be a pay for view event.

Wow, this sure sounds like a threat to me!

Adam

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th_presto-hot-air-popcorn-maker.jpg

This is going to be good!!

LOL

Phil took it in the wrong way, I didn't mean that in a rude/combative way, I was just asking him to explain his apparent illogic, laziness, and hypocrisy. It was just simple curiosity. Hmmm, I guess that might be taken the wrong way too.

Shayne

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This is going to be good!!

Rich this could be a pay for view event.

Wow, this sure sounds like a threat to me!

Adam

I've got my own problems.

I woke up at 6am to go over the hymns for church, and I had this in bas relief pushing out of my bedroom ceiling:

Phil3.gif

I feel funny. I am having trouble fitting into my pants. This morning I proofread every page in one of those Word Puzzle books my wife likes to work on, and I yelled at the hamster.

And, I know for toilet reading I had a copy of Thompson's "Generation of Swine" sitting there, but it has been replaced with Strunk and White--and I know I lent that to that Honduran dude across the street.

Something is wrong. Very, very wrong.

P.C.

rde

Fucq!!

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All this time, I've tried to figure out a way to bring my photo into OL (too many megabytes--it keeps getting rejected).

And Mr. Soft Shoe / Bojangles ? Coates Impersonator figures out how to do it, steals my photo, and even manages not only to impersonate me, but to insert his traditional lightning bolt across it.

As Michael would say . . . . DDDDaaaayyyaaaaammmm! %^&*^%%$#)??!!!

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Phil,

Here's an extremely fast and surefire way to reduce the size of an image for an avatar.

First note the file-size limit on the site you want to use it on. This will be in MB or kbits. You also might want to note the actual picture size, too. This will usually be in pixels, but it can also be in inches or cm.

Get a free program called Irfanview and install it. (Get it here:
Irfanview
.)

Load your image into it. (It supports just about every image file in existence, so this is no harder than using "Open" from the top "File" menu.)

On the top menu bar, go to "Image," then click on "Resize/Resample."

Set the new size you wish. Make sure "Preserve aspect ratio (proportional)" is checked, otherwise you can distort the picture. If this is checked, you will only need to enter the new Width size and the Height will adjust automatically.

Set the DPI value to 72. This will give you the smallest file-size. Note that this is a crappy setting for printing pictures, but it is perfectly fine for Internet display.

Click OK and save it as a jpg file. I recommend you save it with a new file name instead of overwriting the old file because if you don't like the result, you still have the original image. I usually add a 1 or 2 to the original name and that helps keep me organized.

Upload the new file to the site.

There you have it.

Michael

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All this time, I've tried to figure out a way to bring my photo into OL (too many megabytes--it keeps getting rejected).

And Mr. Soft Shoe / Bojangles ? Coates Impersonator figures out how to do it, steals my photo, and even manages not only to impersonate me, but to insert his traditional lightning bolt across it.

As Michael would say . . . . DDDDaaaayyyaaaaammmm! %^&*^%%$#)??!!!

That's why they call me "Tater Salad," McGrundy.

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Ugh, confusing, now Rich looks like Phil! Anyway, here's one of Jonathan's earlier productions from his long time Phil feud. Maybe Rich can give this one The Omen treatment as well.

Philmarm.jpg

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Ugh, confusing, now Rich looks like Phil! Anyway, here's one of Jonathan's earlier productions from his long time Phil feud. Maybe Rich can give this one The Omen treatment as well.

Philmarm.jpg

That's a fine damn piece of work, right there. . .

I finally got the Phil avatar off. It turned into Peikoff for a minute and I'm not sure which one was worse. Then, it started morphing. I saw Perigo for a second, too. Talk about confusing. It took the ritual cleansing that only Charlie Chan can provide to put an end to all this. I'm going to call Ghost Hunters International. Those guys never find anything when they go out, and I think I can fix that for them.

rde

Turning TV to an empty station and re-opening the Portal.

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Things have gone beyond ugly over here. I now have these Phil-spawn running all around my house. One of them is trying to fuck my Chinese Dwarf Hamster.

philcrop.jpg

If you guys don't see me again, it's been fun. . .

rde

Looking for the flyswatter

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Things have gone beyond ugly over here. I now have these Phil-spawn running all around my house. One of them is trying to fuck my Chinese Dwarf Hamster.

philcrop.jpg

If you guys don't see me again, it's been fun. . .

rde

Looking for the flyswatter

Pippi, come quick! They're beating up on your boyfriend again!

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_gasp_

i...before e except, except...(ARGHHHHH OWWW) after c, after c..

never end a sentence with a (ZZZZZZZZZZTTTT AHHHHH) PREPOSITION, DAMMIT DAMMIT!

asdfjkl;

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

need. . .water. bug spray. more correction fluid....sniffing it now la la la la!!! paper cuts are fun fun fun oh yes!

They are wanting me to read something out loud now. Holding today's paper. Video cameras. Help.

Please stop. Phil, stop them. Please.

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_gasp_

i...before e except, except...(ARGHHHHH OWWW) after c, after c..

never end a sentence with a (ZZZZZZZZZZTTTT AHHHHH) PREPOSITION, DAMMIT DAMMIT!

asdfjkl;

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

need. . .water. bug spray. more correction fluid....sniffing it now la la la la!!! paper cuts are fun fun fun oh yes!

They are wanting me to read something out loud now. Holding today's paper. Video cameras. Help.

Please stop. Phil, stop them. Please.

Okay Rich...Slooowly...back away from the keyboard..

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> I now have these Phil-spawn running all around my house. One of them is trying to fuck my Chinese Dwarf Hamster.

Rich, sometimes you're funny and sometimes I have no clue what you are talking about. I sense there is a put-down of me in there somewhere, though. :unsure:

But I can't follow it....what are Phil-spawn and why are they in your house? And what is a Chinese Dwarf Hamster? (also, do you have any more of those hallucinogens on hand?)

....Respectfully and humbly seeking enlightenment....

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> I now have these Phil-spawn running all around my house. One of them is trying to fuck my Chinese Dwarf Hamster.

Rich, sometimes you're funny and sometimes I have no clue what you are talking about. I sense there is a put-down of me in there somewhere, though. :unsure:

But I can't follow it....what are Phil-spawn and why are they in your house? And what is a Chinese Dwarf Hamster? (also, do you have any more of those hallucinogens on hand?)

....Respectfully and humbly seeking enlightenment....

I don't do drugs, Phil, and quite frankly I think you should be ashamed of yourself for asking around for them on a public forum. The last thing you need are hallucinogens, take my word on this. Some of us are already thinking that you might be experiencing flashbacks. That goddamn correction fluid is retched stuff.

Chinese Dwarf Hamster:

chn1_1.jpg

Edited by Rich Engle
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Excellent story Michael, however, as Ayn Rand also pointed out, fiction is far more difficult than non-fiction. Some of us aren't up to that task.

Shayne,

I wanted to mention something about this before. But at least I got to it.

Your comment reflects a very common problem in the Objectivist subcommunity. It's like a wolf who got its tail caught in a bear-trap. The wolf can move around, but not too much. Everything goes back to the tail that's stuck, and the tail isn't even essential to the wolf's life.

This is like what I see in people who try to write stories from an Objectivist perspective.

Ayn Rand was one of the world's great storytellers. I have enormous admiration for that. Notice that catchwords from her in today's mainstream culture come from her stories, not from her nonfiction. "Going Galt." "Looters." And so on. She was top-quality, I have no doubt about that.

But I also believe she was a horrible, horrible teacher of storytelling, not because of the technical part, but because of her constant intimidation. I have no way of proving the following, but I believe her teaching and comments on what good fiction is have stifled more people in creating good Objectivist-like Romantic literature than any other problem out there.

The crux of the problem was her declaring that her main literary purpose was character-driven ("creating the perfect man"). Then, she added on a volition/naturalism dichotomy that simply doesn't fit story as a fundamental standard. These things do fit, and fit quite well, within a very specific area--but not at all on a fundamental level.

Rand tried to establish it as fundamental with a theory of "sense of life," but the more I learn about art theory, storytelling, psychology and neuroscience, the more I disagree with her in terms of universal application. Once again, I believe the problem is scope. I don't believe she was wrong for part of the issue, but I do believe that her theory does not apply to the whole artistic experience.

I feel for people who want to emulate her style and do great literature. Just imagine the frustration of a person who wants to write a good story, but all he can think of is Galt's speech and how to fit that into a plot as the best of what he should strive for. Literature-wise, that speech is the boring part!

That "perfect-man, Romanticism versus naturalism" standard as a fundamental standard is baloney, and I say that with a heavy heart of having been there. It took me more study than I care to remember to get my tail out of that bear-trap.

Here's a truth and I challenge anyone to prove it otherwise. If people are bored and tune out to your words, it doesn't matter what you say. Galt's speech was heard in our culture--and penetrated to the roots of popular culture--because of Rand's storytelling. Without the story, that speech would have gone the way of countless other essays--as a footnote in history, read only by a very small number of people who like that sort of stuff.

You, Shayne, can tell stories, good stories, easily. Stories that people will listen to and read with pleasure. I will prove it to you one day. I hold that story is not just art, but instead an epistemological form of thinking, Story is just as important as concept is. In fact, I am working on an idea of "story-concept" as the root of normative abstractions.

Just think about this. When you tell someone what happened to you during the day--and you do that all the time if you are human--you are telling a story. So you, Shayne, already are a storyteller, whether you want to be or not. I claim that you cannot not tell stories. You cannot not think in them. That goes for everybody

I have a lot to say on this, but not any time right now. I'm just commenting to keep the thing alive in my mind. And hopefully help some trapped wolves start to get a glimpse of the fact that the trap is the problem, not their tails.

Michael

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