|Charls Carrol is my favorite comedian / performer, easy. He's one third of the three man combo Million Dollar Extreme, which you probably know about already if you're reading this fukken magazine… Since I first saw Chas strut his stuff (in Ideas Man,
I think) I could tell he knew a lot more than he was letting on. His
eyes radiate intelligence, like a velociraptor's eyes, and his whole
carriage and performing style is touched by what I can only describe as
special genius... In my waning days of graduate school, I went from
professor's office to professor's office, showing off Chas' vid "Texas Toast IRS Fort Time Out,"
accompanying it with commentary like "doesn't that explain EVERYTHING?"
It never worked, and probably made me look crazier, but when Charls
Carrol is really humming his work gets me in a deep and secret place.
He tells the truth.|
Right now he's got a new channel going called BOMBSTRAP, and its contents (especially 100% Taxes) are even better than his nostalgic hits… He's a radiant performer exploding into his prime and if you can't see that you better make an appointment at eyemasters, asshole
Anyway, I called up Charls Carrol in December of 2015 to do an interview for the Revealer column I was writing at the time. I wanted his political views. I never ended up writing them for the Revealer because that whole part of my life was melting down like an action figure up against a blowtorch... but this interview became a private source of Truth & Wisdom through the difficult months ahead, and I think it's important that it gets out there for other melty kids going through other rough patches. Keep in mind, this is all from the days when Trump was still basically a punchline, not the president. People were still saying things like "well, when it actually comes down to voting I think Jeb Bush will pull ahead" unironically and with zero self-awareness. Charls called a lot of the last year, I think, but this interview isn't just about prognostication. Like I said, Chuck tells the truth – the onus is on you to listen carefully.
When I called Charls was playing a game. "I was just having a laugh," he told me. "I just got a gaming laptop two weeks ago… You can only relax a certain part of your mind with videogames. If you watch a movie, you can still think about jumping off the top of your house, y'know? You can still live a nightmare in your mind when you're taking in passive entertainment rather than active entertainment. You can really relax with games. Games are the only therapy."
"Yeah," I told him. "I've been replaying Quake II, all those old first person shooters. I remember the late 90s, begging my parents for cash to get a new 3D accelerator..."
Charls remembered too. "The most significant upgrade in graphics was the old Nvidia Riva 128," he said, wistfully. "The difference between software rendered Quake Two and hardware rendered Quake Two... It was like walking into ToonTown in Roger Rabbit. It changed my life! With games, and first person shooters especially, it's one of those things where if you meet someone and they don't get it -- like, it just looks like noise to them -- then you know, you just know -- hey, I'm smarter than this person. It's like an instrument. If you don't do the rudiments in the movement, in the weapons…you get killed, and it takes a lot of awareness to be able to move in that environment, that 3D environment. It's like fast chess, and it's totally incomprehensible to some people."
"And those people are in charge," I suggested. "So we're retards for getting it."
"It's just like the New York Times calling for the confiscation of weapons and quoting hoax websites," continued Charls. "Print is dying, cable is dying… Time has Angela Merkel as person of the year? It's been declining for a long time. "News is going away from newspapers and websites and going right on over to Facebook... Which means news is now about following the flow of public opinion. You call someone a nazi and they clap for you, in the news industry. The new power structure that you're seeing… it's driving social media and converting media itself into the news. If you have kids driving the news on social media, the news becomes a playground discussion. It's almost violent. I'll have discussions with people on Facebook where they'll tell me we can't be friends anymore. People are more politically activated on Facebook than they are at a townhall meeting… It's crazy. I don't even know what to say… and the people who let it happen… People like to be dominated, they like to be controlled, they like to have bad belly feel stuff taken down. The weakest generation of people is coming up right now -- and they're celebrating all of this! I know that Zuckerberg and all those people -- they have so much to gain by dominating the news. Of course it's about money.”
"But then you have Trump."
"Right," said Chuck. "His troll ability -- his stats -- his ability to inflame and excite…all really excellent. It's not even about Trump and his personal politics -- he represents a reactionary phase. Things have gotten so Alice in Wonderland in this country that someone can come in here and get people whipped up in a furor... The thing that he's saying resonates with people who are sick of what the establishment is selling -- like Hillary is saying 'love' is going to save the world? This is shit that you hear in a - a - a mental asylum! Trump is masculine. He'll make a face at you if he doesn't like what you say. If he apologized for something they'd run it on the front page for six months until he looks as weak as everyone else. He says 'fuck you, if you don't like what I'm saying go kill yourself.' The only defense is a good offense, and it's working so far."
We talked a little more about the media, and manipulation of opinion. At the Revealer I was never directly encouraged to hide my political views, but I did have an editor from a competing publication tell me that due to the "current climate" anything I might write for them on the subject of politics would have to "help democrats get elected." Still, I have to suffer through lectures from establishment colleagues about how reporters strive to be apolitical, and certain high profile magazines are redeemed by hiring conservatives to work the mail room…
"The propaganda and the manipulation in this media is so pervasive that it's practically invisible," said Charls. "I have conversations with a lot of people, even younger people, people from a younger generation of schooling, and y'know the government controls the schooling in the public school curriculum. A natural distrust of government has been bred out of people. They don't read literature anymore. Everything has to fit the narrative. Once, I was talking to a guy about women in the military. Why haven't women been on the front lines fighting wars for the last thirty thousand years? I asked him. Women just aren't as suited to frontline combat, physically… I was trying to needle this truth out of a person standing right in front of me -- and they couldn't even admit it -- they didn't want to sound sexist! And if people are real-time censoring their expression at all times… I think that's the biggest problem. the propaganda is so deeply embedded that people are self-censoring what they're saying and what they're thinking. Nobody wants to be a Nazi. Nobody wants to be Donald Trump."
"But the definition for what makes you a nazi is always changing; it's this big, nasty sword of damocles hanging over everyone," I said. "That's why I like 4Chan -- they're totally outside of that insult loop. They want people to hate them."
"Ugh," said Chals. "They're meme supremacists! In general, they're reactionaries, I think, but admittantly, I haven't really been too embedded in that culture. When 4Chan started, at least for me, it was really hardcore gore and death pictures -- which I stayed away from. But when you have a culture -- an underground of not necessarily normal people -- that can really be something. The internet is massive now. If you say the wrong thing in a public forum you lose your job."
He continued: "The internet is the only media that matters. If you rely on education or on T.V. or movies to tell you what to do with your life -- that's when you have a lot of people going to debtors prison. You can be a boy or a girl, you can do whatever you want, just have fun… People are so wrecked by that idea. For art creation, the internet is the only thing that's left. The internet is what you have. But take Youtube. They'll take your videos down, they'll censor you -- they'll do whatever they want, and you have no way to fight it, really. None of these structures are doing as any real good. My generation has been completely decimated! Just totally decimated and destroyed. The majority of people I know are decimated by debt, decimated by politics, decimated by the property taxes in the cities they live in... they're getting older they're trying to find women and men. The internet is the only place you can go to get outside of that a little."
Charls grew reflective. "The articles that I read now…It's stuff like 'if you have a ratty wallet you're a loser', 'don't wear t-shirts', that kinda shit. That's the propoganda that they're swallowing down. It's so insulting. It's the most insulting thing in the world. It's so sickening. They're dictating what you should do!
"Look what politics does to these things. Look at the fear it instills into the people that you know. It's crazy, it's like people try to be writers -- and they end up being 'bloggers' and propagandists. It catches up to them, I think. It has to."
We talked some more about Trump, and his appeal. This led into a discussion of art.
"People have been kicked in the balls for so many years," said Charls. "It's easier to get on welfare than it is to get in the industry. People think that government can solve things and make things better, but in reality government can never protect you -- it can never make things better. People are paralyzed with fear. And people's biggest fear is the government retracting those benefits. Once the government expands like that it never goes in reverse. We [MDE] have been living in boxes for a number of years now, having little to no money -- even getting food stamps! and I've been getting the benefits of being in the trenches for so long... I don't know what I'd do, without the support of the collective, the laser we've been shooting around."
Then, he became inspired. "I'm on a mission from God," he said. "I’m not going to give up. I mean, how do you make a living now? There is a despair, but I've been utilizing the despair. It feeds the art."
"I studied english literature," Charls continued. "When I first started I wanted to write for games. I was going in at first to do programming, and then I read this story about what to study when you're in college by Chris Crawford, and he suggested you do something that will strengthen your mind. I studied English and started doing the classics. Before I went to college I was pretty dumb, and I wasn't really good at anything. People in my life suggested I go into teaching to get a pension -- for me that's a recipe for desolation. Maybe I'm lucky, that what I studied in college kind of helped me and made me smarter. Those were the happiest days of my life, studying Greek tragedy and Roman tragedy with my favorite professors. Maybe I don't use my time wisely enough… but in the dark days, the price of enlightenment is forever serfdom."