Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Edifice Wrecks

So far, I’ve received a few e-mails giving me “what for” because I spoke ill of the decisions that our government has made. These days, it seems that not agreeing with every word that spills from the mouths of politicians = not supporting our troops. Allow me to retort.

Politicians are liars. They really have to lie because our expectations are just silly. We expect them to have more integrity than the rest of us and then condemn them for being human. Dream on. No one gets that far without slashing a few tires. And quite honestly, I don't mind lies that make fools out of the assholes who insist on perfection in their leaders. The higher you build ‘em up, the more fun it is to knock ‘em down, I guess. Nothing gets you through the day like driving to work on higher moral ground.

Lately though, the lies are no longer the spit polish that people give to an image to get around the unreasonable and unrealistic biases of most Americans. Now, they’re being willfully ignorant of the consequences that others have to suffer because of their lies. Like most compulsive liars, they’re probably lying to themselves more than anyone else.

I’ve got some personal experience with both types of lies. I used to hate the spit polish kind as much as the big ones, but eventually I realized that I needed to be a little more forgiving of human foibles. People often don't want to deal with the bits of dust that the truth leaves on their clean sweaters. Also, sometimes people can get hurt by the truth when avoiding it won’t really hurt anyone other than you. Big Lies yank you down into a huge hole that you will (and believe me, you really will) eventually think is reality. There's company in those holes. That's the real irony. You find yourself surrounded by a mass of liars and eventually you (if you’re lucky enough) get to go all Plato and decide whether or not you want to stay in there with the other liars or just deal with life. Of course, the real bitch about telling the truth is that you really have to deal with the fact that most people would rather stay in that hole and that once you're honest, you realize which people around you will watch your back and which ones will stick a knife in it. So lies effectively push the good kinds of people away while drawing the worst kinds closer. It all comes together in a nice, self-destructive ball of black fucking misery.

The worst kinds of Big Lies are the lies that are told to inspire others. These are the kinds of lies that sell religion, politicians, and lovers. When someone that you deeply admire has lied to you about something that is important to you, you realize that everything that they ever said was probably bullshit. And once people find out that someone that they really care about has lied to them about something that once inspired them, it makes it more difficult for them to be inspired by anything at all ever again. Add that to your karmic list, dogma boy/girl. Lies are the flame retardant coating of the soul. Once your soul is embedded, you become an impervious, shut-off shell and a waste of oxygen. A parody of the thing you could have been and I'll bet that thing could have been pretty amazing. And probably still could be, if you'd stop fucking lying for a minute and consider that the superficial attention you receive for the lies that you tell is the smack that you shoot straight into your ego.

The two things I appreciate more now than I ever have are honesty and money. Sadly, one of those things seems to be almost impossible to have with the other. It sounds trite but I do not think that I should have to make shit up to sell myself to anyone. I value honesty at this point more than anything else. I'd rather have truth than a nicer car. This year (especially the past few months) has afforded me a vast opportunity in terms of appreciating the value of honor and honesty in dealing with other people.

Trust me kids, I have learned my lesson. It costs me jobs and boyfriends but I'll be fucked in the ass by a tribe of rabid monkeys with strap-on barbed wire cattle prods before I will ever sit by and allow people to behave that way around me again. Of course, this terrifies people like that enough to stay the fuck away from me, thank God. Or Buddha. Or whatever.

Being honest is tough because people really aren’t conditioned to deal with honesty. But it’s far and away better than slithering through life wearing Emperor’s new clothes or waking up one day and realizing you're the joke you played on yourself.

So, I suppose that unrealistic expectations kind of exacerbate small lies into bigger ones, which fuel the fire of another person’s eventual defeat and someone else’s smug triumph. It’s up to one of those people to just drop the rope and walk away before it gets that far. Which is hard, if you like the person, but damn, isn’t it better to have a few real moments in life than a bunch of bullshit ones? For me it is. Lies are the reason that nobody has heros anymore. That blows because sometimes, it's the people that we admire above all others that kick us in the ass and make us become our own heros. Find out one of the people you really admire is a full-on compulsive liar, it not only negates anything they ever said to you that made you admire then in the first place, but makes you a cynical bastard to boot. Liars are the farmers of cynicism in a world full of heaping silos.

I am beginning to think that most of America (if not the world) is happier living in ignorance and lies as long as it isn't inconvenient.

Hope I'm wrong. Bet I'm not.

As for the asswipe who says I don't support our troops: I don't support the fuckheads who tortured prisoners. In fact, I'm pissed at them for making the U.S. look even worse (if that was possible, which is debatable) than it did before. I feel great empathy for the people who will be coming back to the states with post tramatic stress disorder though. Ten years from now, those kids will be in their early thirties. They'll wake up every night in a cold sweat (if they choose to sleep at all, because the nightmares they'll have will be almost as bad as being there again), jump at every little noise they hear, and attack everyone around them because they can't think straight. Some will take drugs or drink to deal with it and die or go to prison because they can't imagine stopping and letting the ghosts of their pasts approach them without some kind of haze clogging their brains. If they don't completely self-destruct and manage somehow to get decent treatment, they'll be kicking around the crazy bucket for the rest of their lives, fighting off the impulse to just let go and jump out a goddamned window. The horrible memories that they would desperately love to forget might manifest as migranes, causing them to spend a few nights a year booting their dinners into the toilet and getting injected with pain killers. The government that is sending them over there will be cutting their benefits and people like you, yes you, asswipe, will be bitching about people who can't get their shit together and how our tax money shouldn't be going towards those who cannot help themselves. You're a fool. A big, fat, blind faith havin' fool. Peddle your assumptions in someone else's e-mail folder next time.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Once in a while, out of curiosity and boredom, I google my name to see how many gals have adopted it this week. So far, there are three more to add to the pack. And they all seem tragically boring. C'mon girls, make me prouder or get off the boat.

Anyway, I found my name (and a link to my blog) in two of the most interesting places this time. The first one was a Kobe Bryant support site. I pictured all manner of beer totin', machismo havin', closet cases accidentally reading my Kobe diatribe, expecting an impassioned plea for Kobe and then saying to themselves, "Jeez, you mean it ain't right to fuck a woman if'n she passed out?" I bet there'd be about a moment of introspection (as lately, I've started to believe more strongly than ever that most Americans possess the emotional maturity of a larval snail) before they just scratch the beer belly, throw a guilty glance at the bed, and surf on to greener pastures that boast illegal web cams.

The second one was by far the most amusing fucking thing I have seen all week. It's called "Whore-mart". What the fuck? It brings to mind a flock of horny, sexually repressed men with large plastic shopping carts full of gigantic breasted women. And once in a while, a young asian man. I'm telling you, this made my day. And I owe it all to Wal-Mart! Ok, now I'm not sure which part is funnier: the fact that my blog is linked on a page with the afore mentioned web cams or the fact that they would include the word "syphilitic" on a porno site. Are there people who fetishize VD? I mean, is that a thing? If it is, it's a new one on me. I so hope that some fapping moron stumbles upon my site in the middle of a porno frenzy and gets so caught up in reading about the BBC or Günter Grass that the viagra wears off or the wife wakes up to find him with his limp dick in one hand and a dictionary in the other. Dare to dream...

It's full-tilt snow madness outside right now. The perfect time for insomnia because the neighbors (a mix of White Trash and Ghetto Fabulous) are tucked away with the kinfolks instead of shouting and calling the cops on one another. I made a huge pot of organic veggie soup (fuck you, I'm not a hippy) and sit happily watching the storm all night. Quiet chaos. It's what's for sinners. Who are tired of studying for the GRE. And pissed off at the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Painting Sisyphus

It was almost four years ago exactly that I began work on my epic project. I knew from the beginning it would be the coolest thing I would ever do.

But, the joke was on me.

Sometimes, when you stand back and assess something calmly, you realize it’s just not going to happen. You have to put down the paint brush, put the painting away, and call it a lifetime.

Some things look so much better in my head than they do in reality and I obsessed over this painting like nothing I’d ever done before. But even I, the most tenacious woman alive, had to be rational and admit to myself that it was nothing other than a dismal, horrific failure. I talked myself through it, thinking that I’d eventually find a way to make all of those amazing little splotches (that were so much fun to create) connect in a way that ended in something meaningful and balanced. I’m a spirited, cheerful gal most of the time, so it’s not that hard to find the enthusiasm to keep going, even when things look completely hopeless. But when I took a really hard look, I saw a bunch of lines, tiny connections, and empty space that coalesced into squat. There was no meaning in it, or anything that I will be thankful that I saw ten years from now. Just a big lot of nothing special that I’d assured myself would come together in time. What a shit realization, eh? I can’t even say that the process was great because lately, each moment that I worked on it, I felt kind of empty by the time I was done, like each creative impulse I’d put into it was sucked into the canvas, never to be seen again. Every stroke of the brush reinforced the knowledge that not only was it going nowhere, it was looking uglier and uglier with each passing moment. There was no reward for the work and that in itself was a slap in the face and probably the reason I plugged away for so long. I just knew I'd get my props eventually. The final dregs of hope were scraped out from the uterus where the aborted fetus of “almost was” had jettisoned a few months ago. Now, those bloody bits of maybe are festering in a biohazard bag on the garbage pile of my psyche.

When you give up on something that you know had real potential to be legendary, it’s like a huge, black hole, sucking the life right out of you and straight into a cesspool. I think that the better something could have been, the worse it looks when it turns out to be nothing.

Sometimes, failure rests in a dark corner of your life, staring accusingly. It would never admit that it holds your fuck-ups against you and always will, so you force yourself to believe that it doesn’t. Who wants to admit that something really is beyond their ability? You can always roll over like a broken dog, dwell in the dark of blind faith, and wait for Godot. Well, fuck that. Nothing is worth ghosting my way through life especially a nebulous “almost was” like that poor, unfinished painting. Probably some other artist out there will grab the muse from the collective unconscious and channel it into something so nice I’ll want to puke my guts out. And I will eat the still- beating heart from that artists’ chest. Ha, just kidding. No really.

So, off to another year on the tail of the comet of irony that bears witness to what I thought would be my greatest work turning into my most spectacular failure.

I can’t see anything from here and I’m starting to like it. Nothing left to finish, nothing left to be left and praise baby Jesus, nothing to push uphill anymore.

Resolution: Complete. Now, only thing left is ice cream and Nico.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I'm Your Density

Destiny is the heroin of the soul. A destiny jones makes you act a damned fool.

Take it from me, it's all bullshit. You live, you die, and whatever happens in between is circumstance. The sword in the stone is a useless piece of metal when all the King really needs is a steak knife.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Geneva, Shmeneva

The Geneva Convention. What is it?

Actually, it's not an it but a they. There are four "Geneva Conventions". The first convention is for sick or wounded soldiers, the second is for sailors, the third is for the treatment of POW's, and the fourth is for civilians during the time of war.

The conventions are over 100 years old, having begun in 1859 by Henri Dunant. Dunant witnessed atrocities in Italy during the Battle of Solférino and organized the local village folk (? I guess village folk? I always think of people outside the urban areas in Europe as "Village Folk") and helped get the dying soldiers medical treatment, at least, what passed for medical treatment at the hands of Village Folk in the 1800's. There was little Dunant could do that day to help much of anyone but later, he proposed the idea for what would later become the Red Cross. Dunant was a humanitarian but he wasn't stupid and knew that Red Cross medics would get shot or worse if there wasn't some type of mutually agreed upon protection for them. So the Swiss government hosted a conference and the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies and Field was created.

It has been changed over the years, most notably in 1929 when it was changed to cover the treatment of POW's and in 1949 (modified in 1977), when the entire thing was overhauled because after WWII, I'll bet people were like, "Wow, someone really set the bar higher, guys." In other words, mass genocide + photographic evidence mean one big bulging rug and a serious lack of excuses.

S'now, here we are in 2004. Iraq is a mess and there are few who can or will even bother to try to deny it. The insurgency is making things quite difficult. Too bad smallpox, a few blankets, and a fifth of Jack won't do the job anymore, eh? So the military guys (under orders, as if that's an excuse) found men (just random sons, fathers, and grandpas) at traffic stops or by just bursting into their homes in the middle of the night (!) and recruited them to "help" the soldiers discover who the rebels were. The Iraqi men did not wish to participate. C'mon, even if they don't agree with the rebels, they still have to live with them after the Americans leave. Who wants to be a narc? So they stuck some of them in Abu Gharib. I'm sure that they're probably sticking them somewhere else now. At any rate, they (the prison guards) took pictures of these guys naked and sometimes forced them to perform sexual acts on one another (they made someone's grandpa do this) and used the pictures to blackmail the men into cooperating. This is in a prison where people had cameras (again, stating the obvious). Now, if that prison was that bad and people were still allowed to not only take pictures, but share them, can you even begin to imagine (I am actually having trouble and I'm glad) what must be going on in Guantanamo Bay? That place is a fortress. Even after reading David Hicks' affidavit, I still suspect that it is much worse if the person isn't just a footsoldier, as Hicks was.

Killing people on one side of the world in the name of an ideal and then stepping all over the very same ideal whenever it's deemed necessary means that there really is no ideal, there are just a series of lame fucking excuses.

The Nazis. Genocidal maniacs, guys who march funny. And yet, even they have a better human rights record with regard to prisoner treatment than we do (officially). I wish that felt shocking.

*This post was pretty link intensive. Since the U.S. has lost its fucking mind and I started writing more about politics, I thought that it was necessary to include source material.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Trying not to be Crazy is like not looking in a mirror before a first date. There are impulses pressing on your skin like the needles of a cactus and ignoring them is hell because the suppression of such powerful urges makes you feel like you’re going to explode. Sometimes, I think that when Crazy people put their hands over their faces, it’s not because they are in despair, but because they are trying to cradle this rabid animal within that wants to spring out and destroy everything that the sane part has created while the Crazy part was asleep.

Crazy is an addiction. It alienates the people that love you and draws the destructive, parasitic types closer. It becomes your only friend and a false sense of self. You can’t see anything but Crazy. It’s the blanket over your eyes, hiding the terrified, sane child beneath it, cowering and afraid.

After you learn to control the Crazy, you look at your life, which makes it extremely difficult to care about controlling the Crazy in the first place. You look at your friends, your family, indeed your entire reality like a person who comes out of a basement after a storm to find their house intact but strewn with intimate belongings. Underwear on the lawn, photographs sprinkled on the floor, broken glass in the kitchen. You hardly know where to start cleaning up but you know for sure you don’t want to pick up the photographs and see the faces of the past, because they will remind you of every moment of erratic behavior and every time you slapped the faces of the people who tried to gently nudge you from beneath that psychotic, ratty little blanket.

I read a lot of things that other people write and they jokingly refer to themselves as schizophrenic or psychotic, as though insanity is a funhouse mood and they’re just along for the ride. But if you really are Crazy, the difference is that it is less like a funhouse and a lot more like a dilapidated slum in the middle of nowhere, with graffiti and beer bottles and peeling paint.

I look upon sanity as an achievement. It is a source of pride for me to walk down a hallway and not freak out because there are people on either side of me. I think that people who find their way out of the maze of psychosis deserve some kind of award. I want to tearfully thank the Academy and all the people who made it possible. I want to be smug with self-satisfaction before all of the people who encouraged my self-destruction and watch them avert their eyes because my newly (relative to the years and years that I was a basket case) sane eyes can see right through their holier than thou bullshit. For everyone else, I mostly want to swing my arms wide and say “Behold!” because they should have seen this place before I cleaned it up.

People that I meet who are still wading hip-deep in the sludge of Crazy ask me “what I did”. Did I take medication? Yes, I sure did. It only made things worse. Did I have therapy? Yes, but therapists are often glorified phone psychics. They lead you down paths that are completely irrelevant just to keep you on the telephone and keep the gravy train chugging away but never going anywhere. The fact is, while other people might have had a hand in exacerbating a pre-disposition for erratic thoughts and behaviors, you can’t give it back. It doesn’t go away. For the rest of your life, every now and then, dark figures will loom in your doorway. You spook easily. You’ll feel your mind slipping away sometimes and you have to lasso it back in. Quite simply, you have to work around it. You just have to look at Crazy as a series of orange cones in the path of your life and navigate carefully to avoid them. If you hit one once in a while, don’t kill yourself over it. Just try to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and hope that no one noticed. And if someone tries to push you down, remember that one of the few guilty pleasures in life is seeing the look of dismay on the faces of a people who know that they've screwed you over but not beaten you.

What made me think of this was a book that I read called “Running with Scissors”. It’s by a guy named Augusten Burroughs and it’s a memoir about his life. I listened to an interview with him on Fresh Air and what struck me is that he was so happy to have had a normal relationship with a normal-but-somewhat-eccentric guy for a very long time. He was so happy because this guy was kind of a grounding presence, which is what every recovering psycho needs. Prince Charming for Crazy people doesn’t come to the rescue as much as he places a reassuring hand on your shoulder once in a while in a gesture of good faith and trusts that your Crazy will never be as important to you (like it once was) as he is.

I know that all insane people can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Brain chemistry can be a bitch. But for the ones who were coaxed under the blanket by child molesters or abusive parents: you really can find your way out. After the clouds dissipate and you’ve mostly cleaned up the messes that you made, you start to realize that swimming upstream once in a while is so much better than lamenting missed opportunities. You may not ever be “normal”, but one of the few advantages of insanity is that you were never normal and it probably led you down paths that people don’t "normally" take.

When I was Crazy all of the time, I sought a pill that would make me “normal”. But normal doesn’t really exist for me. If I had to work my way out of Crazy and have to spend the rest of my life having conjugal visits with it in order to have the perspective that I have, then it was worth it. Search my cavities all you want bitches, so that I can make a mental note of how your fingers lurked in my ass a second too long and write about it later.

I can't see it as a bad thing altogether. So what if parts of me never developed. I still have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy. There was a story about freighters on NPR this morning and I laughed loudly and longly every time they said the word "Seamen".

Coveting the mundane is a hobby that Crazy people engage in, but what most people call normal, I call unenlightened. I have fun sculpting Crazy now that I am far enough away from it to use it as a scalpel and that’s really why I want people to know that they can do the same thing. The world needs more reality surgeons.

Pimpin' The Party Line

I wonder when journalism will, if ever, recover some of its integrity or how many people actually realize how pathetic it is?

I listen to public radio, unless it’s pledge week, then I listen to Stern. Listening to Howard Stern is like…eating fast food. You feel kind of sick and greasy after you eat it but for some weird reason, once in a while you want to feel sick and greasy. I talked to someone today who finds Stern embarrassing. I agree, but then, I find most mainstream entertainment embarrassing. But sometimes, it’s somewhat enlightening to listen to the absolute opposite of NPR and I can't stand commericals so T.V. is out of the question.

I rarely speak to people that could be considered part of the mainstream. Now that sounds elitist, but it isn't because I think that my cultural perspective is loftier than anyone else's. I just have a difficult time communicating with people who believe everything that they hear on CNN, Fox, etc. I’m truly amazed at how easy it is to get a person to obey just by feeding them bullshit, which is exactly what network and print journalism has become. Obedience to the rules fascinates me because most of the time, if I think the rule is stupid, I refuse to go along with it unless someone gives me a good reason why I should. The funny thing is that when you argue the rules with rule mongers, it inevitably ends with "Because I said so, that's why!" Oh, yeah that'll make me submit, you stupid fuck.

I’ve said before that Jon Stewart was a tremendous breath of fresh air during the pre-election months. You can look at his videos on the net, by the way. Anyway, he sat down with Crossfire’s Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala and he literally begged them to hold open and honest debate on their show instead of doing what they normally do, which is engage in a lot of bell ringing and dancing bear political rhetoric instead of debating much of anything. Actually my theory is that they liked to get each other worked up so they can bump uglies later in the CNN mail room. There’s a lot of sexual tension there. But back to the much less interesting point, what did they do when Mr. Stewart came on their show? First, they ridiculed him for not asking Bob Kerry more serious questions on his comedy show and they sat there like the twits that they are and let a comedian annihilate them and did absolutely nothing to refute the claims that Stewart made about their shilling and hackery. They just interrupted him a lot and shouted and basically looked like spineless twerps. I had to go and research their history after that, to see why my sweet little Jon Stewart would do such at thing. I read some transcripts and this is what I came up with:

Crossfire is basically Springer with suits and extensive vocabularies, but not too extensive, we want the public to feel slightly inferior but at the same time, we don’t want to alienate them. They are like the supermodels of politics, polished enough to scare people a little but homogenous enough to appeal to like, everyone who is vapid enough to be taken in by their bullshit. Robert fucking Novak appears regularly on their show. And people watch it anyway!

So now I wonder how out of hand we’re going to get before things change. There is a fascinating theory that I have been reading about that has to do with a side effect of Groupthink. It is called "Group Polarization". Basically what that means is that individually, people tend to be fairly rational. However, get them in groups and things change. I’m sure that most people know that part already. The creepy part comes next. If the group party line tends toward the conservative (either politically or otherwise, the rule applies no matter what the collective goal or outlook), then the people in the group will be more conservative within the group than they would be individually. The same goes for people taking risks. They’re more likely to risk everything when they’re part of a group of risk takers. Once they’ve established themselves within a group, they check out how everyone else feels. In order to be liked, people take a position that is similar to everyone else’s, but a little more extreme. That way, the individual supports the group’s values but also presents himself or herself in a as a person in the vanguard; a true individualist.

On one hand, lots of people are being manipulated into believing a bullshit ethic and the ones who don’t believe it are going along with it, but in order to convince the group that they’re really loyal, they’re one-upping one another, vying for a nice place in the general structure of things. Then the other side reacts to the first side, and you have your similar types of folk, one-upping to claw their way into their own illusory niche of the pie. And the biggest joke upon which all of this is based is that the original “ideals” that were espoused and tossed around were basically the Nerf footballs of the body politic.

Sometimes, the absurdity is almost enough sugar to take the bitter taste out of my mouth.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

nosce te ipsum, yo'

Andy and Larry have been sued for plagiarism, along with producer Joel Silver. James Cameron also got nods for the Terminator Trilogy. ...the FUCK? The men have been sued by a woman named Sophia Stewart. If she wins, Stewart is going to receive a settlement, supposedly (and who knows how much of this is hyperbole) one of the biggest settlements in Hollywood history for the Matrix and Terminator trilogies. Well!

I read the story from whence it supposedly came. Hopefully when you read it you’ll have some insight that I missed. The Terminator thing throws me a bit because the great Harlan Ellison already sued Cameron and won; his name appears on credits now. That is like, a geek legend. So I’m confused.

I think that one of the most relevant issues in this suit and in Stewart's documented opinion is that people would rather see such a story emerge from the mind of a White Man than a Black Woman. I think a lot of people would snort and deny this right away, but I think she's absolutely right. I know people who think that aliens built the do you think that if the pyramids were built in Greece that anyone would question their origin? Even the origin of the amazingly accurate Mayan calendar is not attributed to anything other than a superior grasp of mathematics and astronomy. That's some freaky shit and very telling. The most open minded people (the freaks who believe in aliens coming to Earth, something I really think is bullshit) still can't get over Black people with the intelligence to design and engineer something so grand. Then again, lots of Black people gloss over the thousands of slaves who died making those fuckers. We sure are bias happy little bipeds, eh? The point is, there is bias based on race and gender and anyone who says differently is full of crap. So Stewart has a good point, at least on that front.

I suppose a film that is the epitome of post-modern science fiction (thus far) will get its share of people saying that it was their idea. Entire passages of Jean Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation" appear in the dialogue and the book itself is even featured in the film (right after "Follow the White Rabbit"...the chapter "On Nihilism" is actually one of the more lucid in the book but then, it's hard to complicate Nihilism). I am not linking to a bookstore because I cannot in good conscience recommend it unless you are a full-on post modern junkie. If you go against my super-cool advice and read it, take some aspirin first. This one makes James Joyce look like "See Spot Run" and that's saying something right there. I threw it at the wall one time because it was so fucking irritatingly post-modern.

The list of brilliant science fiction films is long and glorious. Most of 'em were great to watch, but they lead you on like a smooth talking boyfriend/girlfriend with vague what-ifs, maybes, and almosts and never do anything more than stimulate your senses and make you forget that they lacked any real depth, which was fine, until you met “The One”. The recent addition of the amazing "Matrix" trilogy did for the genre what string theory did for physics. Science fiction was no longer simply a tall tale genre. It had really cool metaphor and thought experiments (so often alluded to but never explored in sci-fi films) and added so many new dimensions that we sci-fi fans always knew were possible, but had never seen. For me, it was like a Greek tragedy, where the prophecy cannot be avoided. The only thing that the antagonist had was his own mind, but unlike a Greek tragedy, he actually used it to solve the problem before him. Previous attempts were 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner but they were not terribly appealing to the mass public. They required thought and depth. But the Wachowski's brilliantly assembled a mass of ideas that struck chords in the masses and made them (well, more of them than usual) wish to explore the mysteries of a ton of different "isms" that the general action film loving public would never give much of a fuck about. Plus...I have to be honest, I thought Keanu was a dork before "The Matrix" but a sexy bitch (who would look so much sexier with me sitting on his lap) after I saw it.

I'm taking this one a little personally. The thing that pissed me off so much about it is that if it turns out to be true, all they had to do was share credit with Stewart. I think that many of the ideas (Gnosticism, Buddhism) that were explored in the films are going to be connected with a batch of liars. This opens a much more serious can of worms. Spiritual posturing is the cheapest high on the market and it would blow to find out that the ideals that were used as a base for the "fighting the good fight" ethic in this film were as relevant to the boys who made it as a Papal edict is to, well, me.

Either way, the lawsuit is going to trial and the no-doubt scary Grisham-esque Orwellian law team assembled to counter Stewart's claims has thus far, failed to either pay her off or get the case thrown out. Sounds suspicious...

So when I read this story about the Wachowski brothers, I hoped (and still hope) that it isn't true because I would really, really hate to see someone else miss out on something potentially wonderful because they were as disgusted as I was at the same type of people. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one, kids.

****LONG OVERDUE EDIT: The lawsuit was bullshit.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Jesus is Your Sugar Daddy

This is long y’all, but it’s cool so if you’re just skimming, find some other blog. Take your time with this one, it actually means something. And Christmas brevity is for pussies.

It is time for my own Christmas tradition. Actually this is my only real tradition.

The female biological entity that spewed me forth into this world was an atheist, which means I was fortunate enough to have never been trapped beneath that lauded, insipid delusion that December 25th was anything more than a marketing scheme, jingling its bell smack in the middle of the fiscal year of our Lord.

My Merry Tradition is reading a special chapter from a book called “The Tin Drum” (Die Blechtrommel). It is narrated by Oskar Matzerath, a 30 year old man in a mental institution, who threw himself down the cellar stairs at the age of three because he saw how foolish adults were and decided he would never grow up. He also decided that he would not speak to them (because they didn’t deserve it) and communicated only through a tin drum, hence the title. In the book, his childhood takes place during the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

The author’s name is Günter Grass. An important note: I do not have heroes. Having a hero means that there is someone above me in the scope of things. That kind of thinking leads to self delusion so screw that. Grass is one of two people who come dangerously close. As a member of the Hitler Youth, Grass was indoctrinated and subsequently drafted to fight for Germany in WWII. After he was wounded at the age of 16, Grass was confronted with the truth about the Reich. Oops. He decided not to do the very thing that had gotten the whole damned country into trouble in the first place (rationalize being total shitheads) and confront and conquer his own demons. And thankfully for me, write about them.

I have infinite admiration for a person who knows that they have done wrong and is not only strong enough to admit it, but strong enough to deal with whatever repercussions that admitting it might entail. Fortunately, and at great personal expense, I have learned how much character that it takes to do something so amazingly brave. When I say infinite admiration, I suppose that is what I would put on the “hero” shelf in my head.

So the chapter “Faith, Hope, Love” is truly the most profound thing I have ever read and I have read a whole fucking lot my friends (good and bad, mind you; you’ll find “Flowers in the Attic on my shelf beside “Ulysses”. I don’t do the literary posturing thing). It is so good that when I read it, my heart actually wants to die because I know that it will end. It’s like the greatest sex your eyes ever had.

So here is the scene: Markus, the man who makes Oskar’s beloved drums, has killed himself, having realized that the Nazis would soon dispatch his Jewish ass straight to the ovens, giving them one final finger and ruining their good time. Oskar finds the toyshop in ruins and the body of the toy maker, Markus, sitting at his desk. The following is an excerpt. If this doesn’t make you weep, I’m afraid you’re not human and must report to me immediately for extermination. Haha, just a bit of genocidal humor to get you in the mood…

Pg. 203-206, The Tin Drum

There was once a drummer, his name was Oskar. When they took away his toy merchant and ransacked the shop, he suspected that hard times were in the offing for gnomelike drummers like himself. And so, in leaving that store, he picked out of the ruins a whole drum and two that were not so badly injured, hung them round his neck, and so left Arsenal Passage for the Kohlenmarkt to look for his father, who was probably looking for him. Outside, it was a November morning. Beside the Stradt-Theater, near the streetcar shop, some pious ladies and strikingly ugly young girls were handing out religious tracts, collecting money in collection boxes, and holding up, between two poles, a banner with an inscription quoted from the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. “Faith…hope…love,” Oskar read and played with the three words as a juggler plays with bottles: faith healer, Old Faithful, faithless hope, hope chest, Cape of Good Hope, hopeless love, Love’s Labour’s Lost, six love. An entire credulous nation believed, there’s faith for you, in Santa Claus. But Santa Claus was really the gasman. I believe—such is my faith—that it smells of walnuts and almonds. But it smelled of gas. Soon, so they said, ‘twill be the first Sunday of Advent. And the first, second, third, and forth Sundays of Advent were turned on like gas cocks, to produce a credible smell of walnuts and almonds, so that all those who liked to crack nuts could take comfort and believe:

He’s coming. He’s coming. Who is coming? The Christ child, the Saviour? Or is it the heavenly gasman with the gas meter under his arm, that always goes ticktock? And he said: I am the Saviour of this world, without me you can’t cook. And he was not too demanding, he offered special rates, turned on the freshly polished gas cocks, and let the Holy Ghost pour forth, so the dove, or squab, might be cooked. And handed the walnuts and almonds which were promptly cracked and they too poured forth spirit and gas. Thus it was not hard, amid the dense blue air, for credulous souls to look upon all those gasmen outside department stores as Santa Clauses and Christ children in all sizes and at all prices. They believed in the only-saving gas company which symbolizes destiny with its rising and falling gas meters and staged an Advent at bargain prices. Many, to be sure, believed in the Christmas this Advent seemed to announce, but the sole survivors of these strenuous holidays were those for whom no almonds or walnuts were left—although everyone had supposed there would be plenty for all.

But after faith in Santa Claus had turned out to be faith in the gasman, an attempt was made, in disregard of the order set forth in Corinthians, to do it with love: I love you, they said, oh I love you. Do you, too, love yourself: Do you love me, say do you really love me: I love myself too. And from sheer love they called each other radishes, they loved radishes, they bit into each other, out of sheer love one radish bit off another’s radish. And they told one another stories about wonderful heavenly love, and earthly love too, between radishes, and just before biting, they whispered to one another, whispered with all the sharp freshness of hunger: Radish, say, do you love me: I love myself too.
But after they had bitten off each other’s radishes out of love, and faith in the gasman had been proclaimed the state religion, there remained, after faith and anticipated love, only the third white elephant of the Epistle to the Corinthians: hope. And even while they still had radishes, walnuts, and almonds to nibble on, they began to hope that soon it would be over, so they might begin afresh or continue, hoping after or even during the finale that the end would soon be over. The end of what? They still did not know. They only hoped that it would soon be over, over tomorrow, but not today; for what were they to do if the end came so suddenly: And then when the end came, they quickly turned it into a hopeful beginning; for in our country the end is always the beginning and there is hope in every, even the most final, end. And so too is it written: As long as man hopes, he will go on turning out hopeful finales.
For my part, I don’t know. I don’t know for example, who it is nowadays that hides under the beards of the Santa Clauses, or what Santa Claus has in his sack; I don’t know how gas cocks are throttled and shut off; for Advent, the time of longing for a Redeemer, is flowing again, or flowing still, I do not know. Another thing I don’t know is whether I can believe that, as I hope, they are polishing the gas cocks lovingly, so as to make them crow, what morning, what evening. I don’t know, nor know I whether the time of day matters; for love knows no time of day, and hope is without end, and faith knows no limits, only knowing and not knowing are subject to times and limits and usually end before their time with beards, knapsacks, almonds, so that once again I must say: I know not, oh I know not, for example, what they fill sausage casing with, whose guts are fit to be filled, nor do I know with what, though the prices for every filling, fine or coarse, are legibly displayed, still, I know not what is included in the price, I know not in what dictionaries they find the names for fillings. I know not wherewith they fill the dictionaries or sausage casings, I know not whose meat, I know not whose language: words communicate, butchers won’t tell, I cut off slices, you open books, I read what tastes good to me, but what tastes good to you? Slices of sausage and quotations from sausage casings and books—and never will we learn who had to be reduced to silence before sausage casings could be filled, before books could speak, stuffed full of print, I know not, but I surmise: It is the same butchers who fill dictionaries and sausage casings with language and sausage, there is no Paul, the man’s name was Saul and a Saul he was, and it was Saul who told the people of Corinth something about some priceless sausage that he called faith, hope, and love, which he advertised as easily digestible and which to this very day, still Saul though forever changing in form, he palms off on mankind.

As for me, they took away my toy merchant, wishing with him to banish all toys from the world.
There was once a toy merchant, his name was Markus and he sold tin drums, lacquered red and white.
There was once a musician, his name was Meyn and he had four cats, one of which was called Bismarck.
There was once a drummer, his name was Oskar, and he needed the toy merchant.
There was once a musician, his name was Meyn, and he did his four cats in with a fire poker.
There was once a watchmaker, his name was Laubschad, and he was a member of the SPCA.
There was once a drummer, his name was Oskar, and they took away his toy merchant.
There was once a toy merchant, his name was Markus, and he took all the toys in the world away with him out of this world.
There was once a musician, his name was Meyn, and if he isn’t dead he is still alive, once again playing the trumpet too beautifully for words.

From “The Tin Drum”

This book served a great purpose in my life. It said, so profoundly, that if you fuck up, you keep your eyes open to it, deal with it, deal with whomever might have been affected by it, and then walk on. You don't have to wear that mantle for the rest of your life anymore than you get to rest on your laurels when you do something amazing. Self actualization is the only true redemption and the only path to true love is walking it with those who have seen you that naked and still hold your hand.