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The Big Stupid Review


American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
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Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography

Maurice Stoker

The Drill Press has decided to run as a serial some of the chapters from Part I of Jim Chaffee’s study in mathematical pornography, the novel in progress American Dream, Volume 1: New Orleans. What could be more interesting than mathematics? Of course, heterosexual congress is among the dullest of duties performed by the male of the species, but has been the lot of most men since the time of the Greeks who gave up cavorting with their catamites from time to time in order to fulfill the civic duty of impregnating their wives. But I defer you to Socrates for discussion on this drudgery.

Admittedly it is a difficult work, particularly so for Americans who not only cannot comprehend complex mathematics but cannot in fact grasp even the simplest of mathematical concepts, though one may as well leave out the adjective mathematical in that statement. They can’t do simple arithmetic, which they confuse with mathematics, but that has much to do with national inability to follow simple directions related to their God-given inability to read with comprehension. Nor can they understand science or grasp the difference between science and engineering. A majority of the population (likely over 70%, given that is the percentage of college graduates with this affliction) cannot read even moderately difficult prose with comprehension. The US (or as some of us living outside call it, Freedonia, specifically with reference to Duck Soup) is populated with what are, in essence, functional illiterates, or perhaps more descriptively, quasiliterates Though able to understand some of the words in sentences, ceremonial certification has guaranteed that the bulk of them are unaware of their inability to string together sentences according to syntax, know when they are breaking rules of syntax, or comprehend when what they read or hear or say may vaguely follow rules of syntax without containing a lick of semantic content. After all, they are certified educated!

The US is the land of the MBA, a ceremonial certification process that has destroyed business just as formal education ( now including television which can be viewed for credit as coursework at all levels from grade school through the PhD) has created a nation divorced from reality, which thinks it is educated even as its citizens are unable to perform the most basic tasks of an educated people. It amuses us watching from afar that the industrial nation which spends more than any other on the most dangerous, deficient health care system in the world does the same on an educational system that produces innumerate, illiterate graduates incapable of performing even the simplest task of logical reasoning, let alone with a grasp of history or culture, not only of others but of their own. Graduates who can read the words without grasping intended content (when such might actually exist), and in fact are seldom interested in what the author or speaker might have actually intended, let along being able to draw conclusions from ideas or determine if the conclusions of those they read have any merit. They have learned to read what they want to find in the written words, just as they hear what they hope to hear. A nation of unreasoning brutes, hateful, xenophobic, racist, locally culturally myopic and intentionally stupid. Stupid and proud of it, the call of the Old South.

So in the unlikely event that you read some of this work, don’t worry as you run across unfamiliar terms and concepts. There is no list of prerequisites for this novel (actually a faithful autobiography, I have been informed by some clueless insiders who are merely judging by their knowledge of the author’s actual life), since we would be under the burden of necessity to warn, as did Paul Halmos in his elementary text Measure Theory, to not be discouraged if one does not have the prerequisites to read the prerequisites. Do not be concerned by words you may not understand because, to be blunt, whether or not you can read with comprehension, you are daily bombarded with words you don’t understand if you do any reading (or listening) at all. The list of nonsense words people spew to listeners and readers includes such as God, evil, good, liberty, human rights, freedom, truth, liberal, conservative, democracy, The Market, free markets, human rights, no arbitrage, yadda yadda yadda to quote a once famous television comedy (stolen from Lenny Bruce?). I apologize if you are aware already that these terms are bullshit, and perhaps this is not something you have need of reading. Perhaps such an introduction is unnecessary since those who can’t read the novel won’t understand this either, but it is a warning to the literate who have not become familiar with the abstract art form called mathematics (the algebra class where you learned to solve a quadratic or linear polynomial is not mathematics, nor is the calculus class where you learned to use some formula to calculate something called a derivative or an integral) that you do not need to understand the mathematics in the novel. In fact, it is better if you do not. Listen to the magic words in those brain activities called thoughts: don’t skip the language; there is herein the odd attempt to convey something in the expressions beyond what you consciously grasp.

The expressions are the language of real mathematical ideas. If you see a word like cohomology, do not freak out. It is a term that is defined operationally so that it is transferable from one human to another in complete detail, much like square root, a term you likely can understand operationally (that is, square root is defined by an operation, so that a number can be seen to be a square root of another number by the simple operation called multiplication; Chaffee has in fact realized that square root is an abstract concept most humans can grasp; one of the few). Although it is a serious deficiency of basic education that you do not understand the rudimentary foundations of calculus (as made rigorous by a string of artists beginning with Augustin-Louis Cauchy in the first part of the 19th century with his invention of epsilonics) as represented by, say, Walter Rudin’s little textbook Principles of Mathematical Analysis, that can be remedied. But to be sure, that book represents the beginner’s most elementary class in mathematics, along with a decent text in what is called abstract algebra, (for example Nathan Jacobson’s Basic Algebra I, now available from Dover Publications.) And though reading these works with comprehension would help reading the novel, it would not suffice to explain what is cohomology or a Riemannian manifold or what is the big deal about integrating with respect to Brownian motion as sample paths, though the idea of Riemann-Stieljes integrals as developed by Rudin would provide a short leg up (bounded variation! which this novel is not).

When you hear people utter or write nonsense words like God or freedom or blah blah blah, you need to inquire as to operational meaning. How can you tell when you have one of the things supposedly specified by the words in hand? With a square root, it is easily decided. That this novel will be too conceptually abstract, too extreme and too “nonlinear” (whatever that might actually mean in an operational sense) for all but a very tiny few readers goes without saying. For the rest, it will be difficult, but I find it worth the effort. Of course, most humans refuse to expend any effort in this age in which everything is “entertainment” by convention. Go turn on the telly or play that video game if you don’t find that reward is proportional to effort. If you are an American, a Freedonian, it is likely that you don’t.

As a final unauthorized note, Chaffee is quite happy to let slip the myth that this is an autobiographical work. And those who know him well think it true because the novel chronicles his life. But that is false thinking. I know for a fact that this be a work churned out by a computer program. It is automatic writing from new pre-beta software that is not parameter driven to sew together snippets and strings of characters and events to form a novel in some predetermined style (as I have helped develop and bring to market and which if you read books from, say, Amazon.com on e-book readers you are reading all the time: computer-generated post-industrial literature), but rather takes in a system of ordinary differential equations (for your basic stuff like Elmore Leonard or Dan Brown or Margaret Atwood) or partial differential equations (does anybody really know what are partial differential equations? see A. M. Vinogradov, Cohomological Analysis of Partial Differential Equations and Secondary Calculus for a light-hearted discussion) and produces a work of fiction, more or less. The difficulty is the computational burden of this sort of development: it takes months to years of constant CPU churning iterated with interactive smoothing to produce one work, which is why even the ODE method is not applied to get the industrial works of a John Grisham, say, to add to the names and their ilk listed above. Parameter-driven software produces dozens of novels by any of these popular icons (or even by composites of them) in nanoseconds. The PDE method produces work not built by such trivial construction.

The new technique remains stuck in the patent mill, by the way, so perhaps look forward to a disclosure of its workings soon, assuming there exists some able to understand it. It is safe to say that Mr. Chaffee didn’t put anything in the hopper regarding his life, there being no database of characters or events to drive, and yet this autobiographical work appeared. A great mystery, but then also a great justification of his choosing to never go with the flow (even the Ricci flow) that his judicious choice of system of PDEs (and the requisite initial and boundary data) reproduced his own life, a mathematical pornography. To be sure, he used a highly nonlinear system of partial different equations that some say were not well-posed, and in fact might be highly overdetermined as well leading to extreme properties of solutions, assuming that such exist. (Note that producing a novel does not require that a solution to the PDE exist, not locally and certainly not globally.)

What I find most amazing, beside the (perhaps) unintentionality of the biographical nature of the work, is that the archetype of the main character and vision of reality, Manly “Whitey” Butcher, goes far back into world literature and has been most recently explored in the US in film. It is, of course, Harpo Marx. Chaffee would be tickled if I were to add Raoul Bott to the mix, as in say a combination of Harpo Marx and Raoul Bott, but Chaffee is no Raoul Bott. In fact, he was not ever a mathematician, not of even of the third rate, since he left academia to work with engineers for filthy lucre. What a disappointment, though it is likely he didn’t carry the requisite temperament to be a real mathematician in any case, and certainly not the intellect to be one of the status of Bott which requires superhuman intellect, discipline and creativity. Chaffee would not have proven any theorems a fraction of the weight of, shall we say in passing, Bott periodicity, K-theory, extensions of Morse theory or the index theory of Atiyah and Singer which includes the Atiyah-Bott fixed point theorem, the work on gauge theory via the Yang-Mills equation or even the work with partial differential equations. Groucho’s words apply to the author: Your overhead is too high, your brow too low. (The cognoscenti know that the Coen Brother’s Miller’s Crossing is a remake of the Marx Brother’s Monkey Business.)

Is it any wonder the author is so fucking old and hyperbolic? But Gårding is not conditional, so Gård well.

Tom Bradley provides a more literary look at Chaffee's work, based on Bradley's careful reading and editing of Part I and some of Part II. I recommend reading this before proceeding, for the edification, the preparation and the sheer delight of beholding one twisted bastard's mind cornholing another twisted bastard's mind.

Chaffee County Road dead end

© Maurice Stoker 2011