Dan Genis: Aronofsky’s Robot Zombie

In Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998), the young protagonist Max Cohen is a brilliant Math genius at an unspecified downtown New York City university.  He discovers a 216-digit string of numbers that hinted at “The true name of God.”  Max tries to unite math, computers, drug use and kabballah to uncover the secret of the universe.  Like his hero Alastair Crowley, who attempted a similar feat almost a hundred years earlier, his attempt failed miserably and painfully.  The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at Sundance and high praise from Roger Ebert.

Daniel Genis was a young and ambitious student at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High School with a proud history of mischief and unorthodox ideas which he now downplays.  He was mesmerized by the movie and the promise of enlightenment and he believed that he could succeed where his hero Max Cohen failed.  He enrolled at NYU and studied Math.

Aronofsky came out with Requiem for a Dream in 2000, in which a heroin junkie sobs as he takes the family TV to sell it for drugs while his mother is watching.  He is so sorry for his behavior, but he just can’t help himself.  The need for drugs is too strong.  Of course, this is complete fiction and never happened before in the history of drug abuse.  But Genis was mesmerized by the scene.

This came at the perfect time, because the young Genis was starting to realize he was not cut out for a life of math research, nor was he likely to make much progress at Kaballistic number theory, despite his mother’s unflagging encouragement that he could do whatever he set his mind to.  Unsure of his future, he was thinking of going into the creative biz like his hero Aronofsky.  Realizing that he had to start to curb his penchant for mischief, he got a job at a literary agency and cultured a heroin habit.  Now he could hide his trouble-making behind a claim of ‘addiction’, which would at least make for a decent drug memoir of the kind that was popular at the time.  He racked up a huge debt to dangerous drug dealers and then proceeded to rob people at knifepoint, apologizing profusely as he did so, just like the kid in the movie.  Though he could never quite master the regretful sob, he still netted approximately $700.  He was soon caught and was dubbed by the press as the “Sorry Bandit“, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

While in prison he completed his memoir, which he sent to Aronofsky but hasn’t heard back yet.  He also became actively involved in AA programs, in which he learned that he was powerless to heroin, which caused his crimes.  He was completely vindicated!  Of course, this was a pretty lame excuse behind bars, so instead he would call himself “a Robot Zombie for Aronofsky.”  This gave him instant credibility in the yards.

He went on to lead NA programs and his only regret was that he had to skip past the first 5 minutes of NA videos because they contained the “12 Steps” that was banned as ‘religious’ by New York State Courts.  Otherwise he could freely explain the principles of the cult religion to the other prisoners all of who were mandated to treatment regardless of whether they had used drugs, and were then taught that they were powerless to drugs and alcohol due to a ‘seratonin imbalance’ in their ‘hypocampus’, although much to his indignation many of them became active users despite his spirited explanations of the dangers of drugs.  (Although Genis didn’t have easy access to the scientific literature, he relied on his high school biology as he understood it, along with a well maintained stash of Discover magazines from the 80’s generously lent out by a lifer serial rapist-killer named ‘Scheherizade’ in return for various favors left unspecified.)

Since getting out of prison, Genis wrote a book Narcotica, and hopes to use the proceeds from the novel to repay the victims of his crimes and use the balance to help fund his Prozac prescription (he doesn’t want to rely on mom for everything, though he gets a kick out of calling her his ‘drug dealer’).

He has also caught up on the Aronofsky filmography and is now pursuing ballet dancing and building an ark in his back yard and interpreting his dreams as esoteric instructions from “The Creator”.  He also picks compulsively at suspected imperfections on his body in the hopes of either correcting them or determining if they might be a symptom of a more serious illness, though as yet he has not achieved much success either way.

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19 thoughts on “Dan Genis: Aronofsky’s Robot Zombie”

  1. I am all for discussion. Your criticism of me is incredibly off, though, so I don’t really engage with you. Nevertheless, I suppose I enjoy the attention. But why don’t you read my work and criticize me with a little more sense? I know how I would go about it, but I’m not going to tell you. Good luck.

  2. Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I have a website that has a page with links of profiles of me. I added this article as well, to balance out the praise. You can see it at http://www.danielgenis.net , on the profile page. A little press for you, on me! And last night I watch Pi for the first time, choosing the film sort of because of you!

  3. What is your obsession with the movie “Requiem For a Dream”? I notice you mention it in several of your posts. Does it somehow work itself into one of your tinfoil hat conspiracy theories? Ironic you accuse this guy of being influenced by Darren Aronofsky films, which I’m certain is based on absolutely nothing whatsoever, meanwhile you’re clearly the only one with some deranged fascination with the guy and his films.

    1. His movies are pretty good dude. Anybody that knows anything knows that. Please don’t reply, I need a conversation with you like I need a freaking bag on my hip. Now go rent a movie from redbox and lose it before watching it. Then call customer service ect ect… Then rent it again and sit through 3 hours of the worst movie you have ever seen. TV OFF TEARS BASEMENT CIGARBOX OPEN GUN BANG…fade to black.

  4. I never, never, never leave comments on the internet, this is actually my first time, But I couldn’t help it on this! I came across your blog because I very much believe AA is just terrible, and nowadays it is widely seen as the ONELY possible treatment of drug addiction, when that is just an outright fallacy. I was stoked to read, what I expected to be, a lot of common sense. Well,……..I was sorely disappointed!!!! Dude, you sound like a nut! you’re trying to say deny the existence of drug addiction???Opiate addiction??? C’mon now! Do you know how silly that sounds? Now I definetely do not think that addiction is a disease but there’s no question it exists, especially opiate addiction! And you’re comparing AA to ISIS? Really??? Please, please, please stop advocating for the anti AA cause. YOU ARE NOT HELPING. You’re just making good points look REALLY bad because of your uneducated, extremist, angry ranting! Seriously, If you wanna help advocate against AA and the money making recovery idustry, the best thing you can possibly do to promote the cause is to stop! You’re making us all look nuts and in effect strengthening the multi-billion $ a year recovery industry, built on the backbone of the concept that addiction is a “disease”. You are, in effect, helping these people prey on desperate addicts and the people who love them.

    1. If you believe you are an opiate addict then you are nuts. If you really want to help the ‘still suffering addict’ then admit that your ‘addiction’ was a total LIE!

      Don’t believe it? Just post your ‘addiction’ story and see for yourself. Of course you won’t. Because you really are a Stepper even as you deny AA.

  5. I am a zombie? I own a major label subsidiary through one of the biggest parent companies in the world. You own a blog.

    I think you should take your own advice and apply it to this article. “In my opinion” for every accusatory sentence.

    Until you stop hating on others , you won’t be able to develop your life into something worthwhile.

    1. Well maybe I am. But please don’t take it personally. You are just a cog in a much bigger machine and I couldn’t resist the opportunity when I saw it.

      And hopefully the next guy will think twice before trying the “I’m sorry but I have to do this because I’m addicted” excuse.

  6. I just happened to come across this piece and wondered who wrote something so inaccurate. Aronofsky? Math research? I almost thought you were talking about someone else. Please, there is a lot of nonsense here- I am easy to reach if you wanted a few questions answered.

    1. How ironic that you portray AA as evil in your book. And yet you cannot see that they are the reason you were ‘powerless’ to heroin. Perhaps your subconscious is trying to tell you something.

      Do you still insist that you were addicted to heroin? Or was that just another phantom of your active imagination?

      As for math – what was your major at NYU? Never saw Requiem for a Dream?

      Seriously I can’t believe no one ever told you this before. Well now you know.

      1. This is hysterical. Get a life, you are spending your time criticisng someone else and trying to portray your own personal opinion as facts.

        I actually admire Daniel’s work. Hop off his nuts you shitbrain.

      2. Wow Dan Genis has his own zombie army now. Nice! In my opinion, here’s my advice to you:

        1. Start every sentence with “In my opinion”
        2. Go away and do something else or go to sleep or culture a heroin addiction if you get bored

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