NEW 📗Story: Island Hopper

The Atlantic Bulletin

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📑Table of Contents

From the Editor #

Welcome to the sixth issue of The Atlantic. Big announcements, short bulletin.

I’ve started work on Atomic Modern, better known as ’the Vekllei comic.’ I’m about five pages in so far. I have a distinct style of illustration, but that doesn’t always translate well to a panel format, and navigating that fact has been a real challenge. Generally, pages are just taking too long — about half a page a day so far. How on earth do some authors produce 500-page tomes? I’m working on fixing that.

Patrons will see pages this week! How exciting. I’ll also be in close contact with patrons regarding the upcoming $100/month milestone, and how best to celebrate it.

Although this month was dominated by conversation about the comic, we also saw a mix of posts this month of various types and styles. In future, while balancing regular comic production, I’ll be looking at trimming traditional posts down to about once a week (as in this month) and putting efforts into finishing the website and polishing posts on the subreddit. I want to reign things in a bit — explore different samples of Vekllei life playfully and efficiently, and dispense for a moment the traditional story posts, which will be supplemented by the linear story of the comic.

Finally, if you would like to contribute to The Atlantic with writing, art or reviews relevant to the spirit of petticoat ideology, please contact Hobart at [email protected] before the 30th of November.

Thank you for supporting Vekllei, and best wishes.

Hobart Phillips Enjoy — 楽しんで


I. News & Announcements #

  1. My honours thesis is done. Hip hip hooray. At some point in future, once it’s marked and returned, it’ll be archived on the site alongside other essays I’ve worked on.
  2. The site is not done! I’ll be looking to finish the main articles this month, and contributing regularly to expand the content of the site. I’d rather have fewer, high-quality articles than many stub or low-quality articles. I’ll also be looking for volunteers to help translate the main page and perhaps a key article for newcomers.
  3. The Atlantic Bulletin will be archived on the site, so if you’ve missed editions you’ll be able to read them there.
  4. The first few pages of the comic will arrive for free on the subreddit sometime this month.

II. Tzipora-watch #

In October of 2064, Tzipora would begin work as a junior commis chef at a local Spanish restaurant, training under immigrant head chef (and proud Spaniard) Valentino “Val” Martinez. Tzipora could scarcely speak Vekllei and was berated incessantly by Martinez, who saw her has slow-witted and untalented. In time, however, Tzipora would prove her culinary ability and made good use of her talents at home, preparing simple, fresh cooking in a new country that celebrates local food. She would rise to the rank of sous chef, and enjoyed her work there until she left to finish high school the next year.


III. Vekllei Fact of the Month #

Unusually for a country often regarded as European, Vekllei has little popular conception of the Second World War. Although a member of the Axis powers from 1936 thru 1941, Vekllei’s small navy was entirely sunk within months of the war’s opening by British naval dominance in the North Atlantic, and by 1942 was press-ganged as a staging point for American aircraft. Vekllei students only spend a few weeks learning about WW2 in mandatory history classes, and it rarely appears in popular culture, a cultural artefact attributed to the general distaste for Junta-era history and the minor role the country played in the war.


IV. WordBook #

Sukish — pronounced “sookie,” Sukish describes the sensation of warm sunlight on bare skin. Derived from the Loh glossary, it is gentle and playful despite Loh’s association with moonlight and winter, and is often used poetically in advertisements and ceremonial speech to suggest new beginnings and rebirth. Pictographically, is is depicted as a sun on a crown. Spend too long in the sun, however, and you might suffer Acelouliah, which is the literal word for burning, and is used equally to describe sunburn and burning food.


V. The Bulletin #

Major Announcement: A Vekllei Comic #

📖 Published 27th October 2020 | Read here.

Hi everyone,

“He not busy being born is busy dying,” — that’s off a Bob Dylan bootleg. I’ve just finished my thesis and I’m busy being born again. Sometimes I feel like I’m busy dying. Drawing’s been the way out for a long time now.

As of today I’m starting work full-time on a Vekllei comic called Atomic Modern. The front cover looks like a textbook. The name is not that interesting. That’s okay — apparently my honours in media didn’t do anything for my marketing ability, but this project is about celebrating mundanity and restraint. Tzipora’s got a fag in her mouth but it isn’t lit. I feel like that a lot of the time. It’s a self-contained image.

Atomic Modern is about Tzipora and Vekllei. It’s about her friends and her memories and all the good and bad parts of her life. It’s about what went down in America and how you can justify living. It’ll have beautiful Vekllei landscapes and characters in muted colour. It will also include passages that act as a guide to Vekllei and society — diagrams, infographics and footnotes. It’s also an escape from everything going on right now — there’s good and bad in all stories, but at the end of the day Vekllei is a utopia.

I will publish pages here for free. I’ll collate them into chapters available exclusively to my patrons. Maybe some extra stuff too. I’m a good dad to my patrons. I already made a set of postcards and sent them out. Either way, you’ll continue to see stuff here. This is exciting, isn’t it? This is a new chapter for me as an artist. It’s a vulnerable moment for me, because up until now it’s just sort of been “posting on reddit”. I don’t have a publisher, I’m not trained, I’m just some guy. But this is what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m trying to get busy being born again.

There should be regular world posts here still. There’s drawings I like to do that just don’t fit into a comic format. I think during weekdays I’ll work on the comic and on weekends I’ll do a painting. We’ll see how it goes.

Also, I’ll have a nice big wiki soon with multiple language support. I’ll let you know when it’s done.

Let’s start this again, with all that off my chest.

Hi, I’m Hobart. I’m busy getting born again.

Much love,

MelonKony

Join the Vekllei Patreon.

Join the Vekllei Discord.

Be “petticoat”.


All That’s Solid Melts into Zelda #

📖 Published 18th October 2020 | Read here.

My nerves are like overused sandpaper—all dull; only the eye-catching, bizarre and grotesque can excite me now.

Tanizaki Junichirō, 1918

The wind had died and it seemed that she would follow it. Crazy shadows distorted beneath car headlights. It occurred to her in some way that, as she approached dying, she was living out the ultimate dramatic fantasy of the American misplaced girl, in the same way the townsmen were fulfilling their grotesque constellation of death by murdering women. To them, she was not Zelda, or an agitator, or even a maid from Motel Grande; she was just a girl of girl-form, washed out; beat in; bent before the death-bridge where the creek rolled on below. It was brutal and violent, and also the most tacky thing. It scaled up and down, because it was murdering.

The hearts of America are like overused sandpaper — all dull. This is how it played out in 2063, ages into the Great American Decline and well before it was put down like a sick dog by Chinese methods. The worn out bodies of the hedonistic coasts were numb to the spectacle of collapse and found themselves displaced and unfeeling, and so the neurotic motions of vampiric culture barons responded. In 2036, long before the Dallas Secession or Zelda’s birthday, the NBC under the Radio Corporation of America broadcast the first televised execution in the United States of child serial killer Wayne Graham. This enticed similar coverage across all major television networks for subsequent executions, which were viewed by millions of Americans. The format culminated in NBC’s The American Justice Show programme, in which the method and subject of broadcasted executions were made participatory by public poll. It was tremendously successful but was cancelled in 2041, after the botched death of George Kovacs.

This is not necrotic; this is neurotic; it is the ultimate sucking up of human desire into the commodity-form, and it was only the beginning. It is not just a poetic coincidence that the cancellation of American Justice saw the legalisation (or at the very least, decriminalisation) of prostitution in all regions but the Deep South over the next decade (which would contribute to the eventual secession). This is pleasure in its raw form, and the murder of prostituted immigrant-labourers and the eroticisation of the death of Wayne Graham’s teen-age victims was one and the same. The necroticisation would arrive later, as modernity tumoured and pleasure outpaced the sovereignty of the federal government.

Here was Zelda, who was a perfect caricature of the real American in the 21st century — born overseas, poor as shit, and dressed up for dying. And why shouldn’t she die? All the old things were dead. God, kings, outrage, empathy, optimism — it was all thrown in the creek, with the rest of the immigrant-labourers. Why shouldn’t a child and her sensitivity be among them? You could change the channel on television and see pornography and the brutal violence of the Secession adjacent to each other. If you clicked the knob back and forth fast enough, they could become one and the same.

Tzipora was the last to arrive and among the first to be lynched, and maybe they would make postcards out of her dead body. She couldn’t even wonder this in her terror; the thought would only occur to her much later. It seemed like the whole Great American Decline, in all its hungry decomposition and hedonism was leading to this single moment — and all that was once solid melts into Zelda.


Petrol Heaven: The Rohsm STR-750 #

📖 Published 13th October 2020 | Read here.

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The Rohsm STR series is a small racer built for clubs by Rohsm S.p.M., a hundred-year-old company headquartered in the Mediterranean racing culture of Tohs. Its most recent variant, the 750, is available in limited quantities to enthusiast owners and club pools. Like most petrol cars in Vekllei, they are built by hand, so no two 750s drive exactly alike.

Compared to its neighbouring continents, petrol cars are criminally unsafe in Vekllei, where a preference for speed and lightweight manoeuvrability in European bodies see much of the steel of electric autos traded for light alloys and carbon. They crumple like drink cans in a crash, but prior to their death the driver is having the best driving experience of his life. This reckless pursuit of good driving means locals call them “bastard cars”. Extraordinarily lightweight and tremendously powerful, they cut sharp racing lines and trace corners. Poised and nimble, they make good use of Motorway One, the gentle curved ring road of Vekllei with no speed limit.

Because of the inconvenience of finding petrol stations and their relative danger, not many people drive petrol cars in Vekllei. Why would you, when it is usually faster and more convenient to take a fast tram or train, or a battery auto from an autopool? The ones that do drive, however, drive hard.

Pictured is the 25th STR-750, returned home after wins on the circuit in Italy and Spain. Her drivers are pictured above. It also happens to be Tzipora’s favourite car, because it was the first petrol car she ever drove.


Mittens and Metaphysic: Product Atheism and Vekllei object-form #

📖 Published 11th October 2020 | Read here.

Pictured above: various fashions worn by Vekllei women, showcasing heavy cold-weather dresses, simple styling, strong geometric shapes and colours, loose fits, and modest hemlines.

Pictured below: postmodern neomarxism, which I’ve tricked you into reading with anime.

Previous posts on the Vekllei economy, if you’re new:

Vekllei’s obvious contradictions are commonly referenced, but not always clear. Why are parts of Vekllei epistemology, or the ‘Vekllei way of thinking,’ contradictory? And if these are contradictions, then surely they must fall apart when they’re examined? How is it possible to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time and apply them? Let’s look at Product Atheism, Vekllei’s foundation for necroeconomics.

Atismoprodarte, lit. “product atheism,” is the process by which Vekllei culture breaks down and rebuilds social preconceptions of objects, including products. Vekllei does not really have commodities in the traditional idea of the word, so it is supplemented here by ‘product,’ which more closely resembles the Vekllei word for commodity-forms: prodart or prodatte. This concept is a part of Upen, which is found throughout Vekllei culture and its constitution, and coexists agnostically with organised religion.

“Product Atheism” is the term for how Vekllei people think about the objects that make up their lives — clothes, appliances, toys, trinkets and treasures. These things are not quite commodities, because they are not “sold”. Vekllei does not use money, and so it does not produce items of any economic value.

An object’s economic form, then, is replaced by social form. Among Marxists, they call these social forms fetishistic, because products are given lives of their own and exist independently of the labour that created them. But this doesn’t work in Vekllei, because

Labour-value is social, not economic. Vekllei people are not paid for work and they do not pay money for products. All work is for social reasons; all consumption is for social needs. Any object that is prohibited from the ordinary Vekllei person is merely landscape; it has no form.

Labour-value is simultaneously suppressed, in imitation of commodity, and celebrated, in imitation of dereification. Vekllei shops look like any foreign shops, because they participate in the same fantasy ritual of shopping and allow easy access to products. At the same time, Upen emphasises the importance of local consumption and objects made by hand, and so Vekllei appliances are generally hand-made. This creates a social bond between the producer and consumer, and breaks down commodity-form, but it can’t escape the fetishised valuations encouraged by the consumer-fantasy. So it is neither a social or economic product while being both; resulting in a permanent contradiction.

In fact, Vekllei ‘Product Atheism’ is more or less a rejection of Marxist commodity fetishism, and instead advocates product-worship. This is because objects in Vekllei are regarded as fantasy, and are eroticised by a fantasy market. This is a symptom of the unspoken truth most foreigners are well aware of — Vekllei does not have an economy; the Vekllei economy is dead; the economy has been reanimated and is zombified. No money changes hands, no product has value, and all products are abstracted and exclusively physical simultaneously.

Thus Product Atheism has two contradictions; first, that the participatory market economy of Vekllei is both alive and dead, making it both undead and unaliave, and second, that products are both abstracted by Product Atheism and then unabstracted through Product Atheism at the same time, leaving them formless and unconstructed — and, per Upen’s definitions, truly personal and intimate.

Acknowledging this necroeconomic construction destroys it, and so a final truth is revealed. In Vekllei, the exchange of objects is a social formality, like their uniforms and sign-language, and is both entirely superfluous and essential to the functioning of the state. This is not Marxism; this is not even economic; this is Vekllei, and its cultural forms are what determine all constructions of society. Vekllei’s ‘material form’ is actually cultural, and Upen is its culture.

Since Vekllei economic forms are not truly economic, it makes sense that Product Atheism does not merely apply to the economy. All products, or objects, are part of its frameworks. The example used in this picture, depicting women’s fashion, is a good example of how Upen brings together an abstract object value and a valueless physical object simultaneously. Clothes in Vekllei have a very powerful social function, enhanced by how colour and shape become forms of communication in themselves as part of Vekllei semaphore. Clothes are both figuratively and literally signifiers of personality and individual expression.

In Vekllei written script, called Topet, most traditional clothing items are each assigned a single character, giving them a transcendental pictographic quality, a feature impossible to replicate in phonetic speech. In this sense, the written description of a dress in Vekllei supersedes its spoken equivalent, privileging pictorial, transcendental imagery over literalism. This poetic form is part of product-worship, and thus part of Product Atheism. This means that, without even touching the sociological tastes and trends of clothing fashion in Vekllei, we can see Product Atheism smashing Western frameworks against their own assumptions, leaving much of Vekllei epistemology, even today, incomprehensible to ideology without Upen as its framework.


Atlantic Boredom [07.10.2020] #

📖 Published 7th October 2020 | Read here.

For a brief period of time, Zelda and Cobian took it upon themselves to make something of their youth. Cobian fancied herself a gymnast, and though this ambition arrived too late and left too soon, she was quite good at it for a while. Tzipora was better suited on the trampoline, where her stiff leg didn’t give her as much trouble.

They trained for about two hours, and after practice they met up to travel home together. Their gymnasium was in a coastal town called Gigayeh, in the borough of Mirah. Here, sloping lava fields were cast in the sea, buried under fine black sand.

There was an hour and a half after practice before the evening train arrived to take them back home to Lola, and so they were left with not much to do. Gigayeh had beautiful empty beaches, littered with icebergs that caught the light like jewels, but Tzipora couldn’t swim and the water was freezing. They could have enjoyed café food in the sun, but Cobian’s regimented home life had left her incapable of eating outside of her designated meals, and Tzipora could only drink so much coffee. Instead, most of these afternoons, they found themselves sitting on the ocean promenade, watching a handful of locals go about their business as they counted the minutes.

In the moment, it was stupefyingly boring. They’d spent all day at school with each other and usually couldn’t conjure a word between them. Tzipora would make a remark about a seabird, because she liked them. She had been learning a lot about birds. Sometimes they would share a comic, but they read too fast to fill time. Most of it was spent in the sea air, feeling it grow colder as the day waned, watching the same ocean foam throw itself onto glittering volcanic sand.

“I think that’s a horned puffin. That’s special,” Tzipora said out loud. Cobian didn’t even look up. Tzipora squinted.

“No, wait, that’s just a regular one.”

In time, Tzipora would remember this period of her life fondly, and would visit Gigayeh to recapture that peace. As a teen-ager, however, those afternoons seemed to last forever.


This month’s sketches, presented without context or or standards of quality. The postcards will be included in the August edition. Contact Hobart at [email protected] for full-res versions of any images received in this bulletin.

Newda Skyscraper [22.10.2020] #

Big Smile [13.10.2020] #


POSTS THIS MONTH: 5 #

POSTS LAST MONTH: 7 #

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