“Wow, look at that one across the street with multi-coloured hair, facial piercings and multiple tattoos. They’re really sticking it to the system”. *devil horns intensify*
In actual fact, said “one across the street” is more than likely a well-paid middle management type in a company that extolls the virtues of ‘bringing yourself to work’, so corporate jargon now has a benign, edgy face.
How about abandoning all sense of dignity and self-worth by wearing a nappy that you never change? Isn’t that proper rebellion? Marking out the posers from the chosen ones.
The question is: what sort of person would indulge in such depraved behaviour?
Well, the answer can be found in Stuart Buck’s new book, Quantum Diaper Punks.
The story of an unnamed narrator and how he ends up falling in with a girl by the name of Eve, leading to mass LSD abuse and grotesque violence, it is unquestionably an outlandish tale designed to disgust and repulse. However, like his previous book, Hypnopony, at the heart of this seemingly ‘out there’ tome is a soul desperate for a connection and a place in a cold, unforgiving world. Living in a city (St. Louis) populated by fast food outlets, bars and heaving bins, it’s a place where any alternative is an attractive option. The problem is that what the narrator discovers is not only a psychotic death cult, but also an infantile, psychotic death cult. Which is quite the combination, I’m sure you’ll agree, although some would argue that the two characteristics go hand in hand.
It’s also, inadvertently, about how one can lose their character in a group and become a homogenous being, carrying out actions without ever thinking of why such actions are necessary or not, which becomes evident as the narrator gradually stops revealing things about himself and is content to simply narrating the tale. From pseudo-Situationist pranks right down to mass murder, the story is recounted in a matter-of-fact tone that suggests the narrator is aware of the need to demonstrate some kind of distance between his actions but isn’t as remorseful as he’d like to be.
Buck has a style of storytelling that involves taking seemingly silly ideas to levels beyond ludicrousness but, when you look beyond that, he is a very human writer concerned with how alienation and loneliness will push people into extreme terrain.
Something for us all to consider when considering how rebellion is codified in 2022.
Stuart Buck, 2022, Quantum Diaper Punks. Self-published.
⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist.