The Big Shiny Prison by Ryan Bartek - HTML preview

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“THE BIG SHINY PRISON” conceptual cover art.

“Ellis Gharib” manipulation by Klaus Von Valkenburg






ATTN: To all recipients of the promotional PDF for “The Big Shiny Prison”


This electronic document is hereby offered to the public domain. 

File sharing is approved and encouraged by its author, Ryan Bartek.

Having spent a Herculean effort on this project, his only wish is that it be circulated.


Mr. Bartek himself retains the copyright & trademark to “The Big Shiny Prison.”

He currently seeks a publisher for the physical print run of this manuscript.


Mr. Bartek has one prior book release to his credit (“The Silent Burning;” 2005).

He’s been a freelance contributer to periodicals such as Metal Maniacs, AMP Magazine, 

Hails & Horns, PIT Magazine, Real Detroit Weekly & others.


Currently he tours as an acoustic artist under the alias “Jack Cassady” He is also

vocalist/guitarist for the grindcore act Sasquatch Agnostic as “Benedict Badoglio.” 

Under his real aegis, Ryan Bartek has accomplished two national spoken word tours &

performed dozens of gigs. When in the United States, he lives and works in Seattle.


To schedule an interview with Mr. Bartek, or to inquire about the manuscript, please

contact him directly through or 



Thanks in Advance,

June Mansfield

Anomie PR













(HISTORY OF A YEAR: 12.20.06-10.13.07)

c/o Dr. Ryan Bartek, GhostNomad & Benedict Badoglio































“I had to travel about ten thousand miles before receiving the inspiration to write

a single line. Everything worth saying about the American way of life I could put

in thirty pages… Nowhere else in the world is the divorce between man 

and nature so complete. Nowhere have I encountered such a dull, 

monotonous fabric of life as here in America… 


We are accustomed to think of ourselves as an emancipated people; we say that

we are democratic, liberty-loving, free of prejudice and hatred… Actually we are

a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues,

newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such like… 


The whole white world has at last been turned into an armed camp...”


 --Henry V. Miller 




























To Sutter Cane, Keyser Soze, 

 And All Who Get The Joke

act vi vi vi





















Introduction: SAWDUST CAESAR 


by Benedict Badoglio, former ambassador of The Alus Republic


This Book, called by its author, “THE BIG SHINY PRISON,” is actually a

long tract on what happened within the span of three-quarters of a year. During this period, Ryan

Bartek sacrificed himself to the most absurd of all addictions. Against all logic, against all laws of

self-preservation, against all conventions to which a young man his age normally submits, he

willingly & fanatically became a character in his own living novel -- the hapless, tragic pawn of

an organic manuscript shaped wholly by the winds of fate. 

Despite the lunacy of this decision, his aims were clear – he would present to the world a

frenetic expose of extreme journalism. He was determined to unveil in a fashion never witnessed

before the secretive underworlds of American fringe. He would encompass the beat and the

gonzo, lunging headfist into the deepest of tribal undergrounds in punk rock, extreme metal,

industrial, the experimental & avant-garde. He was determined to showcase the true state of

American counterculture; to challenge the academia’s status quo of travel literature. 

Thus begat the struggle, and so began the endless parade of freaks, mongrels, rock stars,

metal gods, punk icons, psychopaths, hobos, street crazies, ex-cons & clowns

 From December 20th 2006 until October 13th 2007 – for 297 days – he lived in a stasis

between worlds knowing that every action & line of dialogue, each twist & turn of fate would be

recorded. Once it began there was no escape, no life but the road. His only compass would be an

internal sense of where the manuscript should theoretically lead, and his only coordinates the

most engaging and immediate story at hand. 

In fact the title of this book itself is a fitting double entendre – not only was Bartek

journalistically sculpting his country into a dark caricature of social/political prison, but he was

literally trapped within his creation as well – imprisoned by this glowing, shiny promise of

adventure and personal rebirth. 


Yet for all the turbulence to follow, it is of utmost importance that we begin this tale with the

past, for the turgid history of Ryan Bartek is a depraved saga. True, THE BIG SHINY PRISON

begins its odyssey on December 20th 2006 -- but the chain of events which brought that moment

still cannot be explained without considerable effort.

The circles go far into the past and into the future – all centered right there, that

frostbitten December eve when the broken man charted a lone Greyhound destined for California,

his legacy concluding in utter humiliation and defeat. The man once cursed or acclaimed as one

of the most important counterculture journalists in Detroit’s history was then a mere bundle of

tired flesh, an uncomfortable superfluity -- a grotesque ghost that had once achieved a media

prestige none of his tribal background had ever acquired. 

For within a single year he’d gone from prominent figure in a multi-million

redevelopment deal that would have saved Detroit to none other than haggard trailer trash -- a

desperate, powerless Sawdust Caesar handicapped by poverty; drowning in booze, curtiled by

sundry highs, grimly watching his life’s dream irrefutably crumble into nothingness…


The pre-BIG SHINY PRISON caricature of Bartek, with his shaved and shiny block of a head,

his pouting lower lip, pugnaciously out-thrust chin, his bantam-rooster stance, arms akimbo, belly

and chest straining against a $3 pin-stripe suit fit for a Jean Claude Van Damme villain -- these do

not seem the features of diabolicism so much as they do that of low comedy.


We tend to think of him as a kind of eighth-rate pseudo-dictator, a wannabe revolutionary

genius, and ultimately, a failed insurrectionary. The fact is that Bartek is both worse than this and

far more important precisely because he built the edifice of his particular shuck upon the

emptiness of deception, delusion, and fraud. He cannot be rehabilitated. 

As distinguished historian T.J.A. Paylor puts it: “Our principle interest in Bartek derives

from his authorship of the so-called ‘Pan-Tribal Socialist Manifesto.’ Yet this ‘Pan-Tribalism’

proves to be a highly elusive subject, for in the end, this great antagonist of society had no

ideology… He was a mountebank who governed by press statement. His leadership was corrupt,

incompetent, empty.” Empty at its core, an avatar of that very heart of darkness into which Mr.

Kurtz gazes in and can repeat but a single phrase: “the horror, the horror...”


There is no doubt that Bartek had been more popular in the Detroit underground than any other

local journalist since the early 90’s. He elicited the favor of a great majority, for he was one of the

people. His mad carnival was like a counterculture Vaudeville -- propaganda offensives & street

teams, publicity stunts & radio appearances, interpersonal meetings with ambassadors from every

subculture splinter in the city. In time he’d networked a beast that grew to phenomenal

proportions, gracefully moving through the gamut of underground politics from extreme to


At his peak he booked shows for dozens of bands, hosted 2-3 concerts a week, engaged in

political activism, informed admiring radio DJ’s what their playlists should consist of, gave

dozens of “homework assignments,” physically worked to restore a half dozen venues, disc

jockeyed downtown. He performed spoken word gigs, ran international PR campaigns, assisted

contacts throughout Europe & South America, crafted 3 popular weekly music/political columns,

was a music editor at another well-respected local paper, and vital in the promotion of a

numerous Detroit record labels. 

As a journalist he’d written quite a few newspaper articles on Detroit unity, but as a

politician, he nearly succeeded in rendering h