About Me

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I am a dedicated and ambitious aspiring freelance journalist, blogger, and writer. My main asset is my international background - I was born in Germany, then moved to France, and proceeded to grow up in China - and the cultural open-mindedness inherent to such a life story. I specialize in opinion pieces, but am also well-versed in travel/event reporting, and writing general news stories. I blog regularly on my two pages, and have contributed to multiple online publications, including Gonzo Today, a web page dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo" journalism and his legacy. If you have any writing needs, I am the right person to talk to! I will be able to match the tone and style you desire, will work overtime to make you happy, and will deliver high quality content. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as "Mark Linnhoefer", and on Twitter as "@markalinnhoefer". For work proposals please feel free to use the contact form on either of my blogs!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some stones are better left unturned

if you don't want to see their parasite-ridden underside, that is. But isn't that parasitic abscess, normally hidden from the eye, as much part of the stone as its polished, usually visible surface? Why would one not want to know of that aspect? Because it is much easier to tolerate a pretty rock than the rotting remains of one, I suppose. And as long as you can fool yourself into ignoring the ugly mess below the surface, you will be sure that the stone's underside is akin to, if not an exact replica of, the visible part. Which is exactly what's going on in so many forms in our world: ugly truths are flipped so as to make them radiate positively, and the public at large would much rather see and believe the pretty illusion than dig down to the fucked up crux of the matter and see the shit that's really going on.

But I'm not going to get into the aspect of mass-media-manipulation that is inherent to the issues at hand quite yet. I'll start with another aspect, namely the personal auto-deception many of us - including me - are falling victim to, which is in itself just a pathetic little charade our brain is playing with our minds. Let's take myself as an example: these past weeks have been horrible; I stayed up too long, smoked too much, slept too little, and did not eat enough. Yet I, our rather my demented cerebrum, have - has - somewhat managed to press the notion that I am actually feeling and living quite well to the very front of my cerebral lobes, thereby deluding myself - me - to a shudder-inducing degree. Of course I realize that I am just fooling myself - hence this post - but the inevitability of falling in the traps of auto-deceit has come weighing down upon me in the interim leading up to this realization, and that is something I have always striven to avoid: the loss of control, or rather the lack of realization in my thinking. But that might be a rather melodramatic way of portraying things after all. In the end, it's not like deceiving yourself leads to a complete loss of coherent thought. It does however, lead to you essentially misjudging yourself and the things happening to you, which might lead to self-neglect, as it has happened to me. I am just not taking care of myself lately, I feel. Although I am doing sports each and every morning, and have cut down on all chemical psychoactive substances, I know that I could do a lot of things a lot better: I could, for example, start going to classes again; I could eat more and go to bed early, and I could just not smoke any cigarettes. The problem here is that I simply do not feel like it. I don't even see any actual reason to do so, which is weird because I know that there are plenty. Shit, it's like I have this reasonable side that's compelled to drastically alter the way I go about living my life right now, but on the other hand I also have this fuck-you-all-side that tells me to just keep doing what I like until I find something actually productive that I enjoy doing. I'm guessing that neither of those ways is going to make me happy though. It's as always going to be a compromised middle between the both of them that will make for a comfortable ride. But this tangent is not entirely relevant to the topic to be honest. What I was getting to is actually the auto-deceit and its power within human nature: we like thinking that everything is fine, and our brains are stupid enough to produce endorphins as soon as we decide to like something, meaning that deceiving yourself into believing you're feeling fine will eventually make you feel fine, simply because our brains are primitive as fuck when it comes to emotions. Which is in all likelihood also the reason why I'm not enticed to change my way of living right now; I have gotten so used to it that my brain is now producing endorphins where it would have made me aware of misery just a few weeks ago. And that is the actual danger of deceiving yourself: at some point deceit turns into belief and then into conviction, meaning that tricking yourself into feeling a certain way might ultimately result in you actually feeling that way in similar situations from that point on. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might lead to weird up to downright questionable behavior in some cases.

But enough of this. What I haven't gotten into yet is the aspect of the mass-media, which have degenerated into filthy, smut-ridden, propaganda-spewing, war-instigating, government-controlled, brainwashing little puppets. Facts are being misrepresented, people are being misquoted, one-sided and biased reporting has become the norm, and all just to create a new common enemy, to distract the population from the dying economy, to distract the people from the failure of capitalism, to distract us from the evils of free market and the privatized bank system. And no, I am not a communist although the previous sentences might suggest that to some, I don't like to think in terms of political orientation to be honest, I just like to think logically; and logically speaking, you cannot possibly rationalize the free market capitalism any longer. It has failed. The middle class is essentially gone, the poor are getting poorer, and the rich have isolated themselves with their own schools and their own fenced-off and guarded compounds. And yet politicians are still in favor of not taxing these people more heavily. And yet politicians are still not doing anything about companies taking away public money (taxes) by "smart geographical re-distribution of their returns", ergo taking them to Luxemburg, Cayman Islands, etc. Companies are officially bragging about evading taxes, and nothing is being done about it. That money could have gone into better education, new infrastructure; it could have been used for public needs. But instead, it went into the pockets of those that already have more digits on their bank accounts than words are able to express. Is anyone upset by this? Yes, many people are. Are governments taking serious steps to address this problem? You bet your sweet ass they don't. They're profiting from it too! Oh, and of course there's proof to all of this: you may check the "panama corporate database", and you will see for yourselves, which names are registered there; and for Germany, you can check the annual report of the "Commerzbank", in which they pat themselves on the back for having evaded taxes. Mind you, this bank was saved by German taxpayers' money, and now they're refusing to pay theirs? That is just fucked up. And again, the government is not doing anything about it.
But I drifted off-topic there. The media are turning things around. For example, Russia is made out to be the root of all evil lately. Now of course, Russia is not a great example of a peaceful, non-militarized state, no-one is going to deny that. But still, the US is equally aggressive, and the greatest war instigator of this century, and they're not being criticized as heavily for their actions in the whole Ukraine debacle. Fact of the matter is, the NATO has promised the Russians long ago that they would not expand eastwards, and yet they did. A step that former US Secretary Of Defense Robert McNamara, amongst more than forty former senators, cabinet secretaries and ambassadors, heavily criticized in an open letter to president Clinton. So, naturally, Russia is going to feel threatened and try to extend its sphere of influence as well. And please don't be so naive as to think that 'Russia doesn't have to fear the NATO expansion as long as it behaves', because that is just bullshit. Tell that to the bombed remains of Syria and Algeria. Anyway. I am not condoning Russia's behavior either, but it's not like they're the main aggressor we need to be afraid of. The foreign policies of NATO states have actually revived the dead and buried corpse of the Cold War. People that have lived to see the actual Cold War are reminded of the anti-Russian propaganda from back then when watching the news today. And that already says quite a lot if you ask me. Selah. 

Well, this entry took quite some time to finish once again, but well, as long as it's still November I have managed to keep my promise of posting twice a month, which is something. But I am really eager to write some more in the future, and I hope I will succeed at doing so. Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it has shown you some things. I don't want you to rely on anything you read here though, especially not when it comes to political things: do some research and develop your own opinion! Just be sure not to stop your research at the first source you find, and be sure to use sources from both sides, so that you can form your own differentiated opinion on it. 
But enough preaching for today, here's some good music for you:

The Hieroglyphics - You Never Know
-> I've recently rediscovered The Hieroglyphics, and cannot believe how I could not have gotten into them a lot more way earlier! Amazing old-school Hip Hop, awesome beat, great flows, deep message, and just all in all mind-boggling. I love this kind of Hip Hop most, and will probably just stick to that for all songs in this post, so sorry to all non-Hip Hop fans out there! Anyway, great tune, legendary artists, 'nuff said!

Pete Rock & CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
-> Another amazing song, I am not sure if I haven't featured it on here before though, if that is the case please let me know!
Anyhow, this track is just so insanely great, the jazzy samples, the raw beat, the inspiring vocals, everything! Enjoy!

The Hieroglyphics feat. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - At The Helm 
-> Awesome fucking song! Deep message, amazing flows, raw old-school beat; this tune has everything I love about Hip Hop incorporated into its cocoon of greatness! "Rap ain't about bustin caps and fuckin bitches. It's about fluency with rhymin ingenuity"....Enjoy!

The Pharcyde - Drop 
-> Legendary artists, awesome song, and a great video, that was actually shot with them walking backwards and then reversed to make it look they're going forward, hence their "goofy" way of walking as on YouTube commentator put it. Anyhow, amazing track that definitely needed featuring on here, so... Enjoy!

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - If You Must 
-> "It's important to practice good hygiene, at least if you want to run with my team!" A song about cleaning yourself properly! Funny topic, realized amazingly well by Del, and just all in all a great tune that you'll definitely... Enjoy!

The Pharcyde - Pandemonium
-> From the Street Fighter soundtrack from 1994, as you can see in the video description. Still, this song takes me back, used to love that movie, and the track in itself is also close to perfection, amazing flows, dope beat, and all in all real old-school Hip Hop that I love! Enjoy!

This post turned out to be a bit shorter than I had expected, but well, at least it's appearing within a reasonable time-frame. Plus I have to say that I am quite happy with what I wrote here, and hope that it is as enjoyable for you to read this as it was for me to write it. I'll try to write more regularly in the future, but I've said that so often by now that this promise has somewhat lost its value. So, not minding the redundancy, I hope that his post holds some truths or values for you, that it entices you think a bit, you know the deal.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I was going to

write another Food For Thought segment where these words are standing. But well, I started writing about my inability of finding a topic, and realized that nothing much would come out of trying to think up some grand truth that I could lay on you, simply because I could not think of anything. So I decided to erase the paragraphs that stood here and replace them by a bunch of meaningless rambling and ranting. Not utterly meaningless perhaps, but probably quite close to it seeing as I can not for the life of me figure out where all my "knowledge" about things went. "Knowledge" is between quotation marks because I am not talking about my experience or education - neither of which have decreased - but rather about my opinionated thoughts about things, which have apparently receded. Some might see that as an improvement, for reasons that need not saying, but I personally think that it is an alarming sign of accepting the placid status quo as an inevitability. It is an alarming sign of not questioning the tidal waves of crap life's so eager to swamp you with anymore. It is just generally alarming to me that I am not as enticed to develop an opinion about any topic at all as I was just a few months, hell, a few weeks ago. I mean nothing happened in that time-frame. Ha. Maybe that's the crux of the matter: nothing happened! I can literally say that these past weeks have been the most sluggish weeks of most weeks I can remember. And given my usual heavy intake of sluggish-makers that's something. Well, come to think of it, the weeks in themselves haven't even been as dull as the previous sentence suggests, I mean, I went to university quite regularly, I had tons of useless shit to take care of in terms of insurance-related issues, and of course my landlord's inability to do anything, but still I feel that there's an underlying lack of action in everything happening at the moment. Or rather a lack of action that would call for my involvement -- mentally or physically -- or even interest me for that matter. 

And I am once again far behind deadline, I know, but the reasons are much more tangible than usually: I was working. Well, some might not call it working, but my going to parties and reporting on them is an activity that actually produces a large mental (and at times physical) workload. Why physical you ask? Because I am not an asshole and help with the set-up of the parties I attend for journalistic purposes. But well, being swamped in writing work is not really an excuse for not writing, is it? To some extent it is of course, I mean, after having to write all day I usually feel drained of creativity and energy, but seeing as writing is also a hobby of mine, I should be able to use this platform on which I can write whatever the fuck I please to unwind. Which I am fortunately able to do to a certain degree, but not as intensely as I would like to, meaning that I always reach a point of complete exasperation because I become unable to think of any words to use or topics to write about. It's annoying really, wanting to become a writer of sorts and constantly running out of topics, therefore having to resort to void-filling paragraphs like this one. 

Still, I am even further behind deadline by now, ergo in dire need of completing this meaningless mess, and hopefully produce some form of interesting thoughts in the process. I have to admit that my intense involvement in various writing activities is taking its toll on my creativity - I feel more often drained of thought than not, and albeit knowing that I am essentially reiterating what I have already said earlier, I still need to say that I am having a hard fucking time coming up with things to form sentences about. And the worst thing about it is the utter senselessness in most things I am coerced to write, such as fictional business proposals for university. I mean why the hell do I need to do that? I know how to write something using professional business language and formatting, and if I didn't I'd just google it. For Fuck's sake, we live in the age of info-saturation. Can't we just stick to doing things you can't learn online as easily? Isn't that why I'm enrolled for these damn studies anyway? Although I have to say I am getting more and more doubts about the entire system of businesses, and therefore my motivation is dwindling as quickly as my faith in humanity. Which sucks, because studying is not free, meaning that I am essentially wasting money there. But well, I still cling to my idea of having a diploma that will qualify me for a "nice" corporate job that I might need to take to make ends meet if I cannot get my foot in the door of the journalistic field. Not a great motivator, I know, but it has really become the last reason for me to stick with it and not throw the towel and say "Fuck it, and fuck you, I'll just write from now on". That is really a thought that makes me shiver with eager excitement, but, alas, I am in no position to quit my education quite yet, and will of course refrain from doing so until I am, if I'll ever be. And if I won't, I can still do some soul-sucking corporate shit job until I retire, at which point I'll probably be quite close to a corpse already, and spend my remaining couple of years in some shitty-ass retirement home where I'll die sad, alone, and all in all miserable. Great outlook, ain't it? On the other hand, my cynical streak might be taking over here. But then again, it might not, and I don't think it is to be honest: the business life is an ugly mess that sells souls, destroys lives, and fucks the planet in the ass without using any form of lubricant, ripping the poor world's sphincter to a bloody, canyon-like stripe. Hm. Not my best metaphor, but it works I guess. Anyway, what I'm getting at here is the well-know but too often forgotten or overlooked aspect of corporations: their political influence and power. Without businesses, the entire system of working, buying, and consuming would crumble, which is one of the reasons why they are propelled into a powerful position that allows them to actually control world politics to a angst-inducing degree. The other reason is money, as always. Most banks are private corporations, even the Federal Reserve Bank is, and they're the ones printing the American money, meaning that there is a private organization in charge of one of the world's most-used currencies. And if that's not frightening as fuck, I don't know what is. It doesn't stop at banks though, the evilest motherfuckers are the ones running the large pharma industries. It is better for them to treat patients instead of curing them, it is better for them to develop medicine that has side-effects that need to be combated using yet another one of their satanic little pills, and it is better for them to keep the current system of prohibition of psychoactive substances running, simply because it generates tons of money for them. I mean, look at the system: someone gets caught using drugs, and is forced into a probational rehab, meaning he'll have to take a piss-test every other week or so. Now, guess who gets paid for each and every evaluation of said piss. Right you are, the pharma industry it is. If drugs were to be legalized, they'd lose two of their major income streams: Harmful medication for cancer, MS and chronic pain among others (could all be replaced by weed), and aforementioned laboratory-piss-tests. So they'd rather set all hell in motion before letting that happen, and they have ample resources to do so, much more than the average citizens could ever hope to have. We're in a state of submission here, because we don't have the financial means necessary to bribe politicians like Big Pharma does, which is a horrid perversion of any and all democratic principles that the governments are sworn to uphold. Or so we're told... I'm really not buying it anymore. We're slaves to their money, slaves to their work, slaves to their education, slaves to their pharmaceutical poison, and slaves to our watches, which are in turn slaves to their definition of time. I mean, just what the hell is going on in this puked-up mess of a planet? It has become an accepted fact that most media are being fed and are therefore feeding us lies of corporations and politicians that twist the truth up until it is not even remotely recognizable anymore. It has become an accepted fact that politics are geared to keep us voiceless, politicians mere puppets, and corporations the puppeteers.
And I know that these are points I have already made a billion times since the creation of this blog, but god fucking damn it, it seems like people are still not even starting to get it, and that just saddens me. There are so many people who're working their asses off in order to get some change for the better into this crazy messed-up world, but their fight is just ignored, because most people are not feeling uncomfortable per se. They've got their basic needs, and that's all they concern themselves with. Why fight for freedom if you can watch "Teen Moms"? Why slay the oppressors, when "Wheel Of Fortune" is running? Why get out of our damn comfort zone and start getting in the face of the lying scumbags we're being told to respect, when our comfort zone is so much more cozy? Well, if you can live with governmental organs controlling every step you take, rummaging through your personal life like it was a garage sale, and slowly suppressing free speech in the name of "national security", then just stay on your couch and rot there whilst choking on a bagel. Because apparently, that's what the once great American Dream has receded to: fast-food and trash-TV. Great job. Ideals blown to smithereens by the rapid outbreak of stupidity that has taken hold of the twenty-first century for whatever reason, principles long forgotten due to the saturation of bullshit swamping television sets, and values buried six-feet-under because they were too hard to uphold in this media-induced storm of lying cocksucker's fallacious opinions. But Fuck It, I say. Just opt out of the entire thing. Make your money there, make sure they don't get all up in your shit, and then leave them to go and live your life in a way that makes you happy, in a way that lets you indulge in the things you want, in a way that truly reflects the original ideals of the American Dream, in a way that truly exudes freedom, in a way that truly defies their restrictive dogmas, rules, and expectations. 

I have seen a lot of shit going down lately though, so talking about taking freedoms here in the "civilized Western world" might seem misplaced vis-à-vis the ISIS, Hamas, CIA, and what-not to some, but I must strenuously disagree with these people, for it has happened far too often that a common scapegoat, a shared enemy, and/or a mutual fear is (are) used to insidiously push hatred-stirring propaganda onto unsuspecting, fearful buffoons. The pushing of course being done by the usual suspects: the forces of the cruel Old & Evil - stale, stubborn, and surprisingly stupid as always - and the misguided energy of the brainwashed Young & Nasty, combined in a filthily decaying mixture of bad Karma, wasted breaths, rotten morals, and violent nonsense. These are the stepping stones paving the way to a literal hell-hole of a planet inhabited by morally-bankrupted, justice-raping, soul-sucking reaper-like creatures, craving for the deception of each and any innocent Pollyanna still staggering through the burned-out ruins of what used to be society, of what used to be of moral value, of what used to be life...

Anyway. I am getting nowhere new with this, and I am so insanely fucking far behind deadline that I see no sense whatsoever in trying to keep going, which is why I will leave it be. Now I know that this post is rehashing quite a few topics you should be familiar with by now, but well, I can't shake the feeling that a little emphasis every once in a while is quite useful, seeing as most people are still not getting anything of what I am trying to convey here. Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this extremely delayed -- for which I want to apologize once again at this point -- post, I'll go back to posting approximately every other week again, and leave you be with some good music for now: 

Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
-> "I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad. I've got sunshine in a bag. I'm useless, but not for long. My future's coming on" Such a great song, featuring the legendary Del Tha Funky Homosapien, and just overall amazing. Love the good, bad & ugly style in the song and the video, love the melody, love the vocals, and I absolutely adore the hook! All in all a great track sung by great artists that definitely had to be featured on here, so... Enjoy!

Outkast - Ms. Jackson
-> "I'm sorry Miss Jackson, I am for reeeaaal. Never meant to make your daughter cry, I apologized a trillion times" Great artists, classic tune. 'nuff said!

Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc
-> "Love forever, love is free..." I'm really feeling Gorillaz today, and, being one of their most famous songs, this gem had to be featured on here as well. A great track, with an epic feature by De La Soul, and an overall music awesomeness accompanying this grand piece fused with social criticism and an amazing lead singer, and well, the music video is pretty cool too, so... Enjoy!

Gorillaz - November Has Come
-> Here goes yet another Gorillaz song, and it also awesome. I hadn't gotten into the group much so far, but I am discovering quite a few great songs by them, and will keep on posting these discoveries here. Their singer, the same guy that sings for Blur by the way, has an angelic voice, and their cooperation with many famous Hip Hop acts make for very interesting tunes that cross the boundaries of traditional genres to create new musical excellence, which is a great thing to see, so... Enjoy!

Queen - Innuendo
-> Queen are basically the epitome of all things great in music, and they don't fail to live up to that notion with this song in the least: an awesome, eargasm-inducing song that leads you through an emotion-filled, riff-laden musical wonderland, leaving your brain exhausted but fulfilled, and reminding you why music is the only actual achievement of mankind... Enjoy!

Mattafix - Big City Life
-> " Don't let the system get you down!" Again one of those songs that should have been on here a long time ago already due to its sheer awesomeness. This song portrays the problems of the stress-ridden urban population and the ever-increasing anonymity in an achievement-driven, work-filled world insanely well, yet retains a chill, almost enthusiastic undertone that makes it a great song to toke up to and do some philosophizing about the dreaded people in power trying to keep you down, so... Enjoy!

This concludes this entry, which is so delayed that our primitive way of communicating lacks the vocabulary needed to express the magnitude of said delay. I am seriously loathing myself for not having been "able" to write last month, and cannot even offer a feasible explanation to be honest, I mean I constantly had this post in mind and was actually eager to write, but somehow never actually got to it. It's weird, really, come to think of it. Seems like some sort of mental issue to be honest. Or perhaps it's just a manifestation of the general apathy that has taken hold of my life these past weeks for whatever reason. But I am definitely slowly getting back on track, and will post as regularly as possible from now on. At this point I would also like to extended my heartily apologies to anyone that was waiting for this post to appear, I am as I said in constant self-loathing because of my weird inability to write, and will work on posting on a regular basis again. I do hope that this entry was nevertheless enjoyable to you, and was able to open your eyes or sensitize you to some issues, and hopefully offered some truths that you can apply to your life. Selah.