Matt Forney
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OVO 20: Juven(a/i)lia by Trevor Blake

ovo-20NOTE: In preparation for another book review I’ve written for tomorrow, I’m reposting this article, originally published at In Mala Fide on November 16, 2011.

This is a best-of collection of articles and artwork from OVO, a zine founded and edited by friend of the blog Trevor Blake, “a public record of [his] interests and inquiries.” It’s interesting, it’s weird, and I don’t entirely know what to make of it. I guess it’s because I’m too young to appreciate it: I was barely out of diapers when Trevor was printing up the early editions of OVO on his pal’s company’s copiers in the eighties. To someone of the Internet Era, where narcissistic self-expression is just a couple of mouse clicks away, the effort and dedication involved in compiling an entire magazine, from writing and gathering the material to binding the physical copies and mailing them out, is difficult to relate to.

Still, this is a great little collection of oddities, ranging from poetry to short stories to investigative journalism on offbeat subjects. They include “Holding Games for Ransom,” about how one tabletop game creator found a way to keep online piracy from cutting into his profits; “A Pit Stop Along the Inward Journey,” a stream-of-consciousness tale beginning with white guilt and ending with madness; and “23 Sperm Stories 23,” the longest article in the book, on just about every aspect of sperm, from its discovery, its function, and its future. Of particular interest to us in the manosphere are “Warbucks Intra-Family Communique” and “Becoming More Free” by Ernest Mann. The former is a satirical article on the emptiness and mindlessness of American consumerism; the latter is on how Mann unplugged himself from the Matrix of American culture:

I am wasting less of my time (LIFE) watching, listening to and reading THOUGHT LEADERS, ie, TV, movies, radio, music, newspapers, magazines and novels. These are like spectator sports. They cause me to live life vicariously, ie, second-hand, not real, only in fantasy. These mind conditioners are subtly designed to create not only fear and anger emotions but also create feelings of guilt and inadequacy. These feeling stifle growth and keep one securely in one’s rut. And of course the more visible purpose of the media is to create the desire to acquire (BUY! BUY! BUY!) and keep up with the Joneses. ‘Buying’ uses up my savings. I spent 22 years of my TIME (life) working as a Wage Slave. I helped perpetuate the status quo, ie a world of 98.6% Slaves and less than 1% Elite (Billionaires). I don’t wish to do that any more.

But the real prize is Trevor’s own writings, comprising the second half of the book. They include book reviews (including an exhaustive review of one of my favorites, L.A. Rollins’ Myth of Natural Rights), interviews with such diverse individuals as a bulimia sufferer and an expert on out-of-body experiences/bilocation, and my favorite, “Trajectory Through Anarchism,” in which Trevor tracks the evolution of his political beliefs:

1996: Feeling free of anarchism and a little burned by what I now see was my own hooded thinking, I call up the imp of the perverse to see what other forbidden ideas might be out there. Ayn Rand is suggested, and I read her works. Having already shed one hood I’m less inclined to put another one on, and I do not become an Objectivist.  But moving through Objectivism brings libertarian thinking to my attention. It’s something about the sovereignty of the individual… but I’ve walked down that path already and don’t sign on as a libertarian either.

Like The eXileOVO 20 comes in a 8 1/2 by 11 inch size, to fit artwork and cartoons on the pages: I was particularly amused by “Attack of the Giant Killer Sperm.” One minor issue I have with the design is that all paragraphs in OVO 20 are punctuated with bullet points. I suppose they’re there to make the book look distinctive, but I found them mildly distracting, fooling my eyes into thinking I was reading a series of lists instead of articles.

Still, if you want to take an excursion into the bizarre and come back a little more enlightened, OVO 20 is a fun and informative read. If you’re still not convinced, Trevor maintains a free online archive of all OVO articles here. He also has some words of wisdom for aspiring writers and publishers:

…First and most important, get busy. Your time is already diminished by work and mortality, and neither of those situations is going to improve. Keep a printed copy of what you make and write down the date of when you made it. Large bodies of work and the pleasure they bring are made a few small pieces at a time. Learn about the history of what interests you. Novelty is rare and not always of value for being novel. Your friends are not being documented right now and you are the one who can do a good job with that. Read with regularity outside your area of interests. Nothing will point out your own ignorance and error better than attentiveness to those who disagree with you, nothing makes what you know make sense like learning something unrelated to what you know. Take as many chances as you are willing to take the lumps for.

But most of all, get busy.

Click here to buy OVO 20: Juven(a/i)lia.

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