The Mike Ma Interview
Despite being labeled with such slanderous slurs as “racist”, “fascist”, and “journalist”, the only thing Mike Ma is guilty of is telling the truth… except when he’s wrong, but he was just joking then and the people who aren’t laughing are the punchline.
Mike Ma’s commitment to honesty and his talent for comedy run throughout his work, from his success on Vine to tenure at Breitbart, he has never failed to inform and entertain his audience in equal measure. His debut novel Harassment Architecture stands as the culmination of his many talents to date and signals the beginning of an exciting literary career.
Mike Ma agreed to sit down for an interview with Re:Action Review Editor-in-Chief, Seneca Rōka, and the two white men with Asian sounding last names spoke in a secret compound under the heavily armed guard of men wearing balaclavas, Ralph Lauren button ups, and bulletproof vests adorned with patches that read “MA MILITIA”.
Seneca Rōka: What inspired you to write Harassment Architecture?
Mike Ma: I was inspired by a number of things, the first being a good English teacher in my later years of high school. Prior to this class I had no interest in reading or writing, but she taught in a way that kind of opened my eyes to how powerful words can be, specifically during the Albert Camus curriculum. Long story short: she noticed my interest, encouraged it, and then I wrote what was my first actual book (unreleased). She told me I had potential and that alone kicked me into gear.
Because of that, new inspiration came. I started reading more and through that, writing more. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis was the last thing I read before I seriously started writing Harassment Architecture, as shown by my obvious debts to his style.
Main inspiration to finish it? I was sick of tweeting and posting my thoughts online. I wanted it catalogued, printed on paper and paper only, locked into the remainder of time.
Seneca Rōka: Harassment Architecture has a unique, scattered structure of micro-chapters and vignettes. You’ve gone so far as to describe it as “more of a mental breakdown than a story.” Why write H.A. in this way instead of a more traditional methods?
Mike Ma: I opted to make it more about content than structure or plot. I knew that if I just got my ideas out on paper that it would say what I wanted just fine. I also took into account the way our brains work today, which is not too well. Being scatterbrained like many others, I knew it would be more interesting to read the whole thing in tangents.
Seneca Rōka: Harassment Architecture strikes me as a literary equivalent to the Hostile Architecture one often sees in large cities, such as spikes on benches that discourage sleeping homeless people or blue lights in a gas station bathroom that make it impossible for drug users to find a vein. Similarly, your book seems to actively discourage certain softer audiences while inviting an intended niche group that “gets it”. Was this an intentional artistic decision on your part and who would you say is the intended audience for Harassment Architecture?
Mike Ma: That’s a powerful comparison and I’d agree with it, yeah. I wanted it to be a wake-up call that doesn’t completely demoralize the reader. I’d say the intended audience is both males and females from ages fourteen to forty, but it’s gone beyond that. I get messages from people saying their boomer parents loved it, that their grandma is liking it, etc. I like it best that way.
Seneca Rōka: Reviewers have compared your book to writers such as Bret Easton Ellis & Theodore Kaczynski. Who are the writers you would say have had the strongest influence on your work?
Mike Ma: Definitely huge debts to those two, especially Bret as I said earlier. I read a lot of Henry Miller as well which definitely wore off on me. And Hunter S. Thompson. It’s hard to absorb the knowledge and syntax and charm of all these guys on a daily basis and not regurgitate a little bit. A few have told me I bite their style too hard and I tell them I don’t care. Everything is stolen, based upon something else, or slightly reworded anyways. Old writers die – it’s important that we learn from their works and carry on the torch the best we can.
Seneca Rōka: Nihilism is a theme that recurs many times in Harassment Architecture. Do you consider yourself a nihilist?
Mike Ma: Not at all. In some moments, sure, but I am most definitely an optimist despite our current situation. Anyone is capable of changing the course of human history.
Seneca Rōka: The Mike Ma presented in Harassment Architecture often has violent daydreams, or a general impulse for destruction. Real life Mike Ma, in contrast, is pouring himself into constructive projects including multiple music albums and now a novel. How important do you think creative outlets are for maintaining an optimistic outlook, especially for those with a dim view of current affairs?
Mike Ma: It’s extremely important, regardless of who you are or whether or not you believe you’re capable of making something worthwhile. I whine about tech a lot, but things like video games (the simulation of struggle and reward), social media (the simulation of connection), and porn (the simulation of companionship) all drain from people what could have been the next greatest work. Imagine if Goethe had untethered internet access. Would we have still gotten Faust? Or would he have shared what was left of his damaged potential in the form of Twitter thread ramblings? Beating a dead horse but the point remains.
Seneca Rōka: Those following you on Instagram will know that you’re amassing an impressive collection of reviews of your book. Do you have a favorite blurb?
Mike Ma: It’s great to hear so many people saying they read it in one sitting. That to me really means a lot. As for favorite blurb, I really liked: “A voice of liquid reason. Reads like the manifesto of a philosophy drop out on the verge of a mass casualty event, absolutely brilliant.”
Seneca Rōka: In your book you write “In this moment, the noblest trade is mastering the art of leisure.” What does Mike Ma do in his free time?
Mike Ma: Since I quit my job, I’ve been doing a lot more reading, sunbathing, and working out. Having a full-time construction job for the past eight months totally reinstated the value of free time. Corny or not, I try to make the most out of every day. Chipping away at the next book, making music, talking with all the people who reach out to me online.
Seneca Rōka: You recently gave a speech at Portland State University, among the subjects you covered was beauty. Were there protesters and were they ugly?
Mike Ma: They wore masks but it’s safe to say yes. Probably ugliest on the inside though. I’ve only seen one attractive girl in Antifa and she wasn’t happy about me asking her to dinner.
Seneca Rōka: What was the general response from the students to your appearance? Do you think they were receptive to the ideas you spoke about?
Mike Ma: I really think they liked it. Almost everyone came up to me and expressed so afterwards, definitely the best part. It feels good to know that I have allies in this world, ones that don’t only exist online. Good to see women come out, too. I am often harsh to the opposite sex but they are the creators of all life. It’s our job as men to make sure they are radicalized in our direction.
Seneca Rōka: Will there be more campus appearances from you in the future? Perhaps a speaking tour?
Mike Ma: So long as the colleges allow me in, I’ll be doing more. I am talking to a few different schools right now, so we’ll see what happens.
Seneca Rōka: You just released an album, COMMUNION AMADEUS. What was the process of composing this new work?
Mike Ma: I decided I’m over the whole Sadvillain era, that it doesn’t represent my personal taste in music anymore, and I wanted to redirect myself as soon as possible. And so I made Communion Amadeus in a couple of days time just to see what I could pull off. I was really inspired by the Silent Hill soundtracks. They amaze me every time I hear them.
Seneca Rōka: How does a man complete an album in two days? How many blood sugar spiking energy drinks were involved?
Mike Ma: Deep, restful sleep. Five raw eggs in the morning with some kefir. I stopped whipping them because it kills two of the most crucial enzymes. Lots of sun, no sunscreen. Raw meat, raw cheese, raw milk.
When I worked in construction I was hugely into energy drinks. It felt like a “hobby” almost – similar to how craft beer people are constantly screening for the next fancy brewing style. I was treasure hunting for each of the BANG flavors. Some days I’d have two of them and fall asleep standing up surrounded by live high voltages. Once I found the last flavor, it clicked in my head: this is so fucking stupid and it’s no different than any drug problem. How can I make fun of people who can’t start the day without a bowl hit when I look forward to my pseudo-sugar gut bomb. And so I stopped, moving onto strictly black coffee, which is also a sad addiction for most.
Lately, I’ve had little to no coffee. As little water as possible too. I’ll hydrate through well-salivated raw milk or water-dense fruits. You ever notice that the people who drink gallons of water daily are always the thirstiest? Much like the government’s food pyramid, the suggested daily water intake is bullshit too. Basically, just do the exact opposite of what they say and you’ll live like a king.
Sorry, got a little off topic but yeah no energy drinks.
Seneca Rōka: What is Mike Ma’s next move?
Mike Ma: Going to release the Harassment Architecture audiobook soon, probably August. And I’m always writing the next book. Other than that, I am going to find some land to live on. Gonna find a nice wife and raise children in the woods.