Characters and Spaces


There is a plenitude of happening.

(Somewhere, anyway.)

That last bit was written in jest. (Ingest.)

I actually don't think that I can disclose the primary details for legal reasons, but I can barely wait.

While I do feel like a pollutant in an already-filthy lake, it's been a good couple of days. That means that the more-quizzical aspects of life-and-living can receive some oxygen and be like an algae bloom.

My street--blighted by the calculated woes of the day, yet verging on redemption--is confused by its inhabitants. I can relate to that, for I am puzzled by the minuscule cross-section of larvated humanoid-apparatus material here in the center of the newly diagnosed "13th-Best Small Town in America" (according to Smithsonian magazine). In their little paragraph about why it's so great here, they make no mention of anyone unaffiliated with Bowdoin College or AARP.

When considering where I live, and at the risk of sounding prudish, I must make a confession: the public appearance of topless men (in any climatic idiom) is profoundly unsettling, especially when they're mired gauzily in some state of crapulence. Journey's Don't Stop Believin' blares from a mysterious nearness, and I never started believin', and my skull fills with bilious badness. Cars on jacks, cars on blocks. If you stick around for long enough, you'll encounter a ribald sexist "quip" from someone that absolutely knows better (they're inured to my vocal disapproval of same). The distilled aroma of stagnancy. Oh, humanity. To these gentlemen, and with constancy, I issue my secret plea:
Keep wearing your clothes, please. All of them.

Then I wonder when, or how, slovenly decrepitude became normalcy. Yeah, I know that we're primates and everything, and we've always been kinda gross (we were, after all, made with the crotches of our parents), and I understand that. But that's not what I'm talking about--I'm talking about a kind of dissipation of dignity. To hear it told by elders, people were once less obstreperous and less unraveled than they are today.

(I have a VERY funny story, marked with an asterisk, to tell you. After my soapbox sinks into quicksand.)

That is not by any means to say that there was nothing wrong in the past, but is instead to express my confusion. You might think that, given greater understanding and awareness of the world, a greater social consciousness and/or conscience would emerge. But the violence of speech is unbridled! So much xenophobia, and so little critical thinking. It's dangerous.

(You know, like how you'd assume that thespians, specializing as they do in character studies, would know how to keep themselves in check. Some do, but the ratio leans heavily toward the opposite.)

I grew up, in large part, among rednecks. The place--Frederick, Maryland--used to be a "farm town," but the 1990s saw its population quadruple. (I still have an essay that I wrote about it in 1999, and I'll use it as my next post.) The arrivals, though, were (in large part) of a different stripe--upwardly mobile, fast-food-fitness-club, Isuzu-Rodeo rednecks. I don't use the term redneck to indicate worker (according to its origins as an epithet, founded both in and upon an appalling classist disdain for manual laborers)--that, I assert, is precisely why we have the term worker.

The redneck zeitgeist is an anti-cultural embrace. Untelligence. Volitional and categorical dismissal of any concept that fails to directly and explicity uphold dominion politics. Which would be fine, if their ideas were theirs. But they're parrots, and they like it that way, and if you can't see the total sense in exceptionalism to its core (i.e., I can sin free of consequence, but THEY're all gonna go to hell, or Americans are God's people, which means that whatever we do is God's will), then you're instantly on the wrong side of the us/them binary, which would also be fine if we weren't such a precious, scared-shitless conglomerate whose enacted laws have no objection to ruining anyone.

I am absolutely horrified by America's cultural and economic imperialism, by its disdain for human rights, by its unbelievably stupid (mainstream!) views of other cultures and religions, by the insane arrogance of thinking that they want to kill us because they're jealous of our way of life. Whomever "they" are, we can rest easy and assured that any animus is not an issue of jealousy. It's an issue of not getting their arses handed to them by jock-strap America with its clumsy, catastrophic bravado. Because this country launches unprovoked attacks, with predictably heinous consequences.

Oh, and so on. I could go on for days, but the gist is that the backslide continues apace. It's only growing in urgency as it becomes clearer that humans need to respect each other and listen to each other and be willing to take responsibility for the enormity of our privilege.

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