a while back, i was contacted by Bernice Yeung, a california-based writer and publisher of a magazine titled “Option8.” she thought it might be fun to do an interview – option8 interviews option8. as the issue of the magazine has probably long since come out, though i have yet to see a copy, being on the east coast, i thought i might share the interview with you, my fair readers.
who are you?
jumping quickly into the deep, troubling philosophical questions, are we? well, i have been trying to figure that one out myself for quite some time.
my name is charles mangin, though, depending upon when you met me, and how, you may call me charlie, chuck, charles, option8, bigbrother (‘big’ for short), or any one of several numbers, depending upon which branch of government you work for.
i tend to answer similar questions with statements of fact. i am human, male, heterosexual, caucasian. just under 2 meters in height. just under 100 kilos in mass. i breathe oxygen, and am composed of over 70% water (more or less, depending on the time of day).
or else, we can go another direction entirely, into literary allusions.
who am i? i’m just this guy, you know?
yes, let’s explore you, the other option8, through “literary allusions.” please also feel free to make multiple “pop culture references.”
well, if you didn’t recognize it, that last allusion was to a book that changed my adolescent life – the hitchhikers’ guide to the galaxy, by douglas adams. the trilogy, taken as a whole, combines two of my literary loves – humor and science fiction. british humor, (or is it humour?) especially.
as for pop culture references, i’ll only make this one – pop culture is an oxymoron. who said that? i said that. at least i think i did. the problem with living in a society as cannibalistic as late twentieth century america is that whenever i think i have an original thought, it probably isn’t, and if ever i did, it probably infringes on someone’s copyright.
don’t bother publishing this interview, because we’ll both just get sued :)
actually, truth be told, i didn’t start weaseling around the ‘net for option8.com until a more web design-savvy pal suggested i do so. (i’m not hip to programming for the web, despite a java & html class.) so i was a bit surprised, just because, in my little universe/tiny distribution world, option8 seemed unusual.
and actually, there IS someone else running around with my name, which, again, i thought was unusual. i mean, bernice yeung?! the funny thing was, it was an alumni organization trying to find DR. bernice yeung, who had received a ph.d. in biology in the ’60s. i was 20 years old at the time.
but i guess you’re right — just as in pop culture, most things that will ever happen probably already have, names included. just a reflection of my tendency to be self-absorbed…
so, have you found others?
no, only charles ‘the butcher’ mangin of the french 6th army. if you can find a picture of him, he’s quite a grim character.
my brother shares his name with the long-time groundskeeper of the atlanta braves (spelled differently). every now and then, he’ll hear his name on tv as some sportscaster decides to be obscure and mention the people responsible for seeing that the grass is kept green, etc.
have you found other option8’s?
only in lists of options, option 1, option 2, etc.
but, with the obvious exception, nobody calling themselves that, no.
question no. 6: how would you describe your web site, mental hygiene, and how did it get started? were you option8 before or after the web hygienics?
first of all, i was option8 long before the web antics i pull off these days. when i was in school, i always tried to make my project, however inane, seem like professional productions, including credits, special thanks, and all the rest. i came up with several fictional design firms as umbrellas for these things. for a while, i considered myself a pixel pusher, so i went with ‘pixel pushers design’ then i found an actual pixel pushers software company and stopped that. i went through several until i hit on ‘option8 multimedia’ which seemed to have a better feel to it than any of the others, and since i had been calling myself charles ‘option8’ mangin for a while for no discernible reason, online in particular, it seemed a natural.
but as for the current incarnation of option8, mental hygiene started out as a comic strip, again while i was a student. i worked for the school newspaper at NCSU, Technician, alternately as a writer, designer and cartoonist – for a while all three at once. i wrote and drew four different cartoons in my time there, sometimes overlapping. MH was a great release for me, since i not only used it as a little political and moral platform to make fun of just about everybody, but i also did it under an assumed name (so that it wouldn’t seem like i drew _every_ comic on the page. at the time i had 3 running at once)
these days, the MH comic is just a side note on the site, and the site itself is just one of the side projects for option8 multimedia. i write little missives or rants about whatever strikes my fancy, and occasionally have other people contribute, always with the opportunity for readers to ‘rant back’ if they so choose. some might call it a ‘weblog’, but i’ve been doing something similar in various incarnations since long before the term was in vogue.
do you like pranks (we here at o8 like to call it “fucking with people”)? what is your favorite way to “fuck with people?”
i also enjoy ‘fucking with people’ but do most of my.. er.. fucking, in traffic.
i like to blow kisses and make faces at people in other cars. it tends to spice up a long road trip, or make the few seconds waiting in line at a red light pass that much faster.
i also like to play pranks on people’s computers. i write applescript in my spare time, as well as some director dabbling, and like to make people think their computers are talking to them, or that there’s something wrong with them. my favorite is to put a screen grab on the desktop and hide all the real icons.
but by far my favorite way to fuck with people is to get back at all the junk mailers that send me ‘preapproved’ credit card offers, and all kinds of other junk in my mailbox. i like to cut up their mailings into confetti-like chunks and stuff the chunks into the prepaid return envelopes. i’m sure i’ve caused more than one mail house some grief, however temporary, with that one.
wow! those are great ways to fuck with ppl! congrats!
so, ok, you fuck with people. but do you also fuck shit up? that is, are you ever moved to extreme bouts of political activism? is there a cause/issue/situation that just completely gets yer goat? what pisses you off, and what do you do about it?
well, no. i’m not the type to go out and fuck shit up. i feel strongly about a lot of issues, but i’m not going to go out and take a rubber bullet or get arrested for the cause. as far as political activism goes, i vote my mind, when i know it. that and i write MH. but neither seem to make much of a difference, now that i’m seeing people in seattle dodging tear gas cannisters.
the political issues that get to me most are discrimination – especially against homosexuals. many of my friends and most of my coworkers are gay, though i myself am not. for instance, i think that there should be no reason to deny a homosexual couple getting married or adopting children. on a related tangent, i’m also fed up with being governed by religious (and by that i mean conservative protestant christian) “morality” and values. considering i live in the first notch in the bible belt (north carolina) it’s understandable, but everything trickling down from the federal level smacks of sunday meeting politics.
consider the three most powerful lobbies in washington are the NRA, the religious right, and the AARP. of the three groups, the only one i remotely align myself with is the AARP, since i’ll eventually be old myself. but i’ll never own a gun, and i’m not likely to get a dose of self-righteous religion any time soon.
so what do you think about the vermont supreme court decision? have you heard about CA’s knight initiative?
i’m not one to follow the news all that closely unless it effects me personally, so i’m not familiar with either of those issues.
would you label yourself left, progressive, liberal, independent, moderate, conservative, right-wing or none of the above? if none of the above, how would you describe your politics? and who do you want to see as president in 2000?
with regards to labels, i consider myself a radical reactionary. if you remember political science from high school or college, those two terms are the far left and the far right of the scale. i figure, when i do actually care enough about an issue to form an opinion, my opinions are very strong in one of the two directions. and they vary based upon what issue is being dealt with.
in some instances, i’m very conservative – some things were better in the ’50s, dammit. and on other issues, i’m very liberal – old systems and ways of thinking have to be abandoned in lieu of what we’ve learned in the last 50 years.
of the labels you listed, i would like to think i’m progressive (whatever that has come to mean lately), but i prefer the term ‘practicalitarian’. i’m very practical – if it works, i’m all for it.
i would like to see a woman as president in 2000, though it won’t even be a remote possibility until 2020 or so. by that point, we will have begun another political generation, with much more openness to new ideas, which i don’t think any of the candidates have shown thus far. i don’t think he’s even in the running, but the discordian in me would like to see jesse ventura in the white house. if nothing else, it will finally kill strom thurmond.
and my last question:
who am i?
so, should i answer ‘who am i?’ or is the reader supposed to figure that out? and by who am i, do you mean ‘who am _i_ charles option8 mangin? or who am you, bernice option8 yeung?
Error: too many levels of recursion. Core dumped.
the questions is: who am i (the zinester option8)?
ah.. who are you?
good friggin’ question. i have no idea. all i know is you are a mac- and internet-savvy writer and you publish your own underground, if that’s the proper term, magazine devoted to strange and socially responsible topics.
i also gather that you’re young, asian, and female, and, despite all that, you have yet to appear nude on the internet.
chilling, west-coast style, you rub elbows on occasion, whether accidentally or intentionally, with the odd celebrity.
that you also happen to share a pen name with me is pure coincidence.
hey, don’t you think you should be doing your own self-examinations?