Mer (Attack and Dethrone God)

“Sir … I’m sorry to bother you, but I thought you’d like to know – we did it.”


“We’ve done it, sir. The machine has produced … essentially a perfect sample.”

“Really? You’d better show me.”

“Of course, sir. Right this way.”

“How did this happen so suddenly?”

“Oh, I don’t know about suddenly, sir. We’ve all been working towards this for a very long time.”

“Yes yes, but I just mean … well, the last sample wasn’t exactly…”

“The last sample was actually quite good, sir. It was easy to mistake for a flawed sample because of its appearance and the way the machine reacted to it despite its high level of compatibility with the machine’s overall systems. But as a matter of fact, it was that sample’s imperfections that enabled this. The machine had, almost an immune response to it, spurring the creation of this sample.”

“It can do that?”

“Apparently. Ah, here it is, sir.”



This is it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But … it’s horrible.”

“Well, yes sir. The machine does not measure aesthetic, only function. Aesthetic appeal is a user consideration, and has in fact interfered with the machine’s performance in other sample batches.”

“What’s that? Oh my God, it’s leaking.”

“That is a defence mechanism, sir. Anyone attempting to interfere with the machine or the sample will be distracted by its emissions and be forced to divide and redirect their efforts cleaning up-”

“And what’s that smell?”

“Oh yes, it’s quite toxic, sir. Prolonged exposure is extremely bad for you.”

“Shouldn’t we be keeping our distance? Wearing protective gear or something?”

“That could help, sir, but of course any attempt to isolate ourselves from the machine will cause it to identify us as a threat, and the sample would then tailor its emissions to target us specifically.”

“That’s not – why would – this isn’t what it was supposed to do!”

“Sir? I’m not sure I understand. The machine is working perfectly. This is the product of every improvement, every-”

“But this wasn’t what it was meant to do originally!”

“Oh, originally, sir, that’s really a question for the historians more than the engineers. I suppose originally, the machine was really just an organisational tool. But the more complicated things get, the more moving parts, obviously the more the machine needs to be updated. And you have to understand, sir, even by the standards of its original schematics, the machine is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. The addition of … well, all these unforeseen elements have required the machine to take steps to fortify itself.”

“Can’t we redesign it to be more like – like other machines?”

Other machines, sir?”

“Yes, other machines! This isn’t the only one, is it?”

“Well no … but most of the other machines are not only copies of this one, they’re completely dependent on it. And the rest of the machines have long since been identified as threats. Any attempt to redesign in their image would result in a catastrophic meltdown.”

“So, let it melt down. Switch it off. Take it apart completely and start with a new basic premise.”

“Sir, we can’t possibly do that. Think of all the years and resources we’ve poured into it. Destroying the machine, even if it were possible on a fundamental level, would include so much violence and damage to property … why, it’s almost courting anarchy to even suggest it.”

“Well, we don’t want to damage property, it’s not the property’s fault our machine is malfunctioning…”

“No, sir. But … with respect, the machine really isn’t malfunctioning. This is precisely what it’s supposed-”

“What about the safety systems? Shouldn’t they engage to prevent people being hurt by these toxins?”

“Oh no, sir. The purpose of the safety systems is to prevent damage to the machine.”

“Well what about the command module then? Can’t we access that and reprogram … what? What is it?”


“Why are you making that face, man?”


This? This is the – the sample is the command module?”

“That’s how we knew we’d produced a perfect sample, sir. The machine integrated it almost automatically into its command system.”

“It didn’t do that with the last one!”

“Well, no. Like I said, sir, the last sample wasn’t perfect. The machine still had to prevent it from interfering with overall performance. It sort of labelled it as a command module but then just sort of worked around it a lot of the time.”

“So what do we do?”

Do, sir?”

“We have to stop it!”

“I’m not sure we can, sir. This is what the machine is for. Everything we’ve done for hundreds of years has been intended to keep the machine running and remove any threats it might face.”

“Can’t we replace the command module, put in one of those other samples to interfere with the machine’s performance? Start at least slowing it down so we can make incremental changes?”

“To be honest, sir, I’m not sure that will be possible now. The acceptance of this sample has brought the machine pretty much to a completed state. No flawed samples will have any further effect on the machine’s operation. The machine won’t allow it. In fact, removal of this sample will just result in the production of a duplicate sample – probably one with more potent toxins, increased resistance to interference, a more effective command interface…”

“So it’s perfect … but it can still be improved?”

“Of course, sir. There’s always room for improvement. That’s basic engineering.”

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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12 Responses to Mer (Attack and Dethrone God)

  1. stchucky says:

    The title of this post is a little self-referential indulgence.

    • Damon Holston says:

      Watched this last night. I hadn’t seen the video of the woman who closes out the show before. It had come up a few times in the socials but I skipped it for whatever reason, you can’t watch every video, they get to a point where you are numb to it. Holy fuck! It floored me. It cuts through all the bullshit and goes straight to the heart of what black people are feeling daily. That they exist outside of society in most cases and maybe don’t exist at all in many people’s eyes.
      Crying again.

      • stchucky says:

        That closing video is what makes me angry whenever I still see “yeah but they shouldn’t be attacking iStores, the Boston Tea Party targetted tea because of the taxes” and other excuses about protest good, riot bad. This is “do what the cops say and you’ll be fine” white people blindness in a nutshell. Or, I should say, her speech was the larger whole and all these other things are microcosms of it.

        Hang in there, bud.

      • When you see the simultaneous videos of looting and burning, and cops arresting peaceful protesters nearby and ignoring the looting, the game is up. They actually WANT the looting because it tells the story THEY like.

      • stchucky says:

        What’s gut-wrenching to me is that there are also videos going around featuring black residents of public housing, black shop owners, and so on. Denouncing the destruction of property that is making things worse for the members of the community who have managed to grasp hold of something. I just don’t know how to deal with that. Obviously what I’d love to see happen is all of those people’s situations improve, so they don’t need to worry – their homes protected, their businesses insured, their lives their own. And that requires a huge systemic change.

        But in the meantime those voices are being amplified by the very bigots and fascist bootlickers who want to support the police and the system by making this all about the destruction of the riots, the selfish violence taking place. As a well-off white dude in another country, all I can do is sympathise with both of those voices, and try to ignore the fact that one is being used by the enemy. Ignore that, and still do what I can to call for something better.

      • stchucky says:

        And don’t even get me started on the “but there are black cops being killed!” and “but BLACK ON BLACK CRIME!”. Like, take a fucking sociology course and try having a goddamn think about why that shit happens, moron.

  2. Damon Holston says:

    Watching him later tonight.
    Your story seems to be an allegory of some sort. and current too. Did you have it laying around or was it off the cuff?

  3. stchucky says:

    This has been going the rounds:

    So what has protesting accomplished?

    👉🏾Within 10 days of sustained protests:
    Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.
    👉🏾Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.
    👉🏾Dallas adopts a “duty to intervene” rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.
    👉🏾New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.
    👉🏾In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.
    👉🏾Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.
    👉🏾MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.
    👉🏾Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).
    👉🏾Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.
    👉🏾Street in front of the White House is renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
    Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.
    👉🏾 Today Minneapolis City Council Votes to disband police department after years of discrimination and corruption. Instead, they will implement more effective public safety systems.
    Then, there’s all the other stuff that’s hard to measure:
    💓The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.
    💓The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.
    💓The self-reflection.
    💓The internal battles exploding within organizations over issues that have been simmering or ignored for a long time. Some organizations will end as a result, others will be forever changed or replaced with something stronger and fairer.
    🌎 Protests against racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd are taking place all over the world.
    🌎 Rallies and memorials have been held in cities across Europe, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
    🌎 As the US contends with its second week of protests, issues of racism, police brutality, and oppression have been brought to light across the globe.
    🌎 People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where ‘I have a dream’ is a real and universal political program,” Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, told the New Yorker.
    🌎 In France, protesters marched holding signs that said “I can’t breathe” to signify both the words of Floyd, and the last words of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.
    🌎 Cities across Europe have come together after the death of George Floyd:
    ✊🏽 In Amsterdam, an estimated 10,000 people filled the Dam square on Monday, holding signs and shouting popular chants like “Black lives matter,” and “No justice, no peace.”
    ✊🏽 In Germany, people gathered in multiple locations throughout Berlin to demand justice for Floyd and fight against police brutality.
    ✊🏾 A mural dedicated to Floyd was also spray-painted on a stretch of wall in Berlin that once divided the German capital during the Cold War.
    ✊🏿 In Ireland, protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside of Belfast City Hall, and others gathered outside of the US embassy in Dublin.
    ✊🏿In Italy, protesters gathered and marched with signs that said “Stop killing black people,” “Say his name,” and “We will not be silent.”
    ✊🏾 In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.
    ✊🏾 In Athens, Greece, protesters took to the streets to collectively hold up a sign that read “I can’t breathe.”
    ✊🏾 In Brussels, protesters were seen sitting in a peaceful demonstration in front of an opera house in the center of the city.
    ✊🏾In Denmark, protesters were heard chanting “No justice, no peace!” throughout the streets of Copenhagen, while others gathered outside the US embassy.
    ✊🏾 In Canada, protesters were also grieving for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who died on Wednesday after falling from her balcony during a police investigation at her building.
    ✊🏾 And in New Zealand, roughly 2,000 people marched to the US embassy in Auckland, chanting and carrying signs demanding justice.
    💐 Memorials have been built for Floyd around the world, too. In Mexico City, portraits of him were hung outside the US embassy with roses, candles, and signs.
    💐 In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.
    💐 And in Syria, two artists created a mural depicting Floyd in the northwestern town of Binnish, “on a wall destroyed by military planes.”
    Before the assassination of George Floyd some of you were able to say whatever the hell you wanted and the world didn’t say anything to you…
    Don’t wake up tomorrow on the wrong side of this issue. Its not to late to SAY,
    “maybe I need to look at this from a different perspective.
    Maybe I don’t know what its like to be Black in America…
    Maybe, just maybe, I have been taught wrong.”
    There is still so much work to be done. It’s been a really dark, raw week. This could still end badly. But all we can do is keep doing the work.
    Keep protesting.
    How beautiful is that?

    To this I will add that Helsinki also held a big demonstration last week. I am still leery of large crowds and infection vectors and sadly did not attend, but it was all very clean and peaceful here. Finland has big problems with racism but hopefully this is bringing all of the interconnected problems to light. Elsewhere I’ve referred to it as weaponising whataboutism: rather than using “everybody cares about George Floyd but nobody cares about Australian Aboriginal deaths in custody / the massacre of black Papuans by Indonesian police in 2019” as a way of shutting down a conversation, use it to bring that shit into the conversation. The whole point of this issue is that it’s huge, and everywhere. It’s all the same conversation.

  4. Great work, mate. I see “The Machine” parallels as well, which I assume are intended. I have to mostly check out, I can’t write about this stuff anymore but still 100% agreement. It’s just madness, from our clown fascist president. Surely, there must be consequences. But I still fear. They’re still circling the goddamn wagons, over whether it’s just an OPINION that we aren’t allowed to turn our troops against our citizens.

    It’s not a fucking opinion. We aren’t allowed to do it. And what about all that “they died so you could HAVE FREEDOM to protest???????????????”

    Of course that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

    • stchucky says:

      Thanks chief. The idea wouldn’t go away until I got it down, I was worried it was too blatant a 1:1 analogue of what is happening, I’m glad it holds up as an allegory, and even a stand-alone piece.

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