Archive for October, 2009

Wish fulfillment

In middle school I used to get angry that everything circled back to sexuality, that there were friendships based on flirting, that it was impure and imperfect and biological. I thought it was reductionist, too easy, too adolescent, too petty, too dumb, too physical, too earthly.

I was ethereal, I had standards, I was the feminine ideal. I was flimsy and far-seeing and righteous and, and…

Then I discovered that people don’t respond positively to feminine passivity, that it all circles back to sexuality, all the time. But can limitations be freeing? Or do we only think as much in justificatory retrospect? It’s only sex, it’s only biology, but it’s also the crux so that makes it everything! My first novel will be entitled Sex and Self-Esteem. My second: Stanching the Wave of Melancholia with a Dike of Ejaculate.


But like I was saying: My story has no duplicates. I am a special, solitary Digg article; I am fragile and what I call humble but actually just fearful. I am 14 and I want to go east where I will be free of my Minnesotan shackles, free of the creepy familial cabal with its claustrophobic Jews and their refugee neediness and their wastefulness. I will go and live among civilized savages with good taste and barbaric facial hair. Ideally they will be British Freudian Sephardim-descended but I may come into a thing for blondes and hope that they wear swastikas just to make things more morally dubious and HOTTTTT. I will get into concerts free, make my own moonshine and bottle it in stainless steel receptacles so as not to get infected by all the carcinogens that did me infect when I carted my rum-and-coke concoctions around in plastic. I will feel perfectly at ease on Coney Island Avenue and try to think less at present about burqas and clitoridectomies because they get me down too fast; aye, for the nonce will I wonder only at wholesome sexuality and unpretentious common sense.

You see, Andy (or Sarah, or whoever you are), I attempt to advocate relativism in everything I do, so sure, I aver, our stories have no duplicates but we are not unique! Nay, importance is relative; everything is important if it matters to someone. In my younger years, my motto was So Long As No One Gets Hurt.

I wonder if by accepting limitations, what is cordoned off, we can transcend the cordons, storm the barricades, symbolically stand alongside the Columbia River in red cotton mail-order Victoria’s Secret shorts billowing in the late 90s wind, pretty free and 14, crying cathartically into the summertime haze that My story has no duplicates! I am unique! And, and…

This is the second half of my Realism tract. You can’t tell ‘cause I made it a separate entry but I see the links. Can you? Maybe what I’m half-flippantly, half-insistently trying to say by asserting the ‘limitation’ of sex being the crux of our mental lives (or by extension physicality in general) is just to acknowledge reality. Maybe there are no limitations at all. Maybe it’s just seeing things with uncovered eyes. Why do I feel I so fervently have to CONVINCE anonymous millions of this? Why do I think I’m the medium? Who gave me the message!? Damn it, I’m so idealistic.

“… when Max sets sail… you intuit his pluck and will from the close-ups of him staring into the unknown. He looms large here, as we do inside our heads. But when the view abruptly shifts to an overhead shot, you see that the boat is simply a speck amid an overwhelming vastness…”



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“Optimism really has no place in psychotherapy,” said the woman on the podium that temperate October night. Over the wails of a particularly ponderous, pedantic old eristic, she gently continued with a saucy touch of arch, “What I’m trying to say here is it looks worse than it is.”

I like psychoanalysis and I like ladies so it makes sense that my views on optimism and realism are, to my wish-fulfilling mind, aligned with my idols.

I’ve been dogged by deeply depressed optimism-pushers all my days. They weren’t all the same. One was a manic, ecstatically passive-aggressive fireball. Another was blinded by an intoxicating cloud of mushy fakery; he couldn’t see or understand anything outside himself, drugged as he was in order to function. Another worked well with me when the conversation was superficial. I think I reminded him too much of himself. ‘Optimism’ under the auspices of the mostly males who have presented it to me has always seemed a needy, desperate, flimsy, candy-coated levee holding back an endless, restless torrent of hatred in all points directed.

And I like my hatred in the open. I don’t want to cap it so it explodes. In my experience of the world, acknowledging pain dissolves pain. Realism not negativism is the name of my prospective game. Realism heartens, optimism obfuscates. Optimism is fake. Realism is optimism.

There’s something so beautiful about staring into the vortex of sorrow, the disconsolate, destitute keening of despair! and accepting it and being humbled by it and made stronger by it, and kinder by it and that, if nothing else, is the goal on the eve of my four-and-twentieth year, notwithstanding erotic freedom.

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I’m looking for a less retroactive, psychobabble-y substitute for “acting out.” But it’s hard to soberly search when I’m acting out. So if anyone you know could act as my academic other half while I histrionically and/or symbolically flail through the moonlit streets, slathered with a thick cake of sludge and trussed, hog-tied and faggoted up with rotting crab grass and ringlet butterflies while slithering over splinter-rich stockades and into the arms of myriad prickly, poison propane-expulsing insects, for god’s sake: make me privy. Perhaps I can repay them retrospectively.

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First up: Irish drinking songs gone American Idol-ified!

Oh, crap.  I quite enjoy this. It may be beyond polished, it may be painfully cheesy but the lyrics are so clear–perfect for people who like to memorize–and look how much everyone’s enjoying themselves! An audience of multigenerational lassies smothered in a glow of green fawning afore technically impressive folksong enthusiasts in their prime! It’s so convivial, however commercial! But to paraphrase A.O. Scott’s review of About A Boy, I succumb to the warmth and bonhomie as the alternative is to wallow in not-as-good renditions by… wait, Luke Kelly’s version is really good, too. I love the Rocky Road to Dublin, but not rocky roads, nor Dublin, terribly.

Following fast on the heels of the Hibernians, I present a fretful sampling of my most favorite lady rappers. No other lustful 90s triad was as weird, aggressive, friendly, imperfect, gender-bending, natural and awesome as Salt N Pepa. No other unit of ladies barring the unit of me and my imaginary cadre of Amazon defenders moves me quite like they.

In the third place, a representative movie trailer.

I LOVE TRAILERS SO MUCH. TASTE TRUMPS MATURE TYPING STANDARDS WHERE MY LOVE IS INVOLVED. My friend Sarah says trailers are a “lie.” It’s true that some trailers are much better than their realized wholes, but I don’t agree. I treat them, I guess, as separate entities. I like some movies. I like some trailers. I like long stories and I like the short, tighly-wound, knuckle-clenched emotional punch(!) of a good trailer. Conclusion: I love trailers and am not afraid of treacly cheese, overwrought emotions and recycled movie music if it serves a greater (ripping my heart out/patching it up) purpose. Visual/aural outlets need no tasteful restraint. If trailers were people, I’d be a more tolerant person.

Fourth and further down, I offer you a video I can’t embed, a video I can’t but describe below.


Ah, Mysterious Skin. Not to condescend, but I can’t think of another descriptor, so I’ll just go ahead and call fan videos like this total (efficacious, and appreciated!) catharsis porn with their pathos-provoking helpless babes, incensing movie music and anger-dispelling eroticism wrought by indignation, pity and angry, desperate desires for righting action… at least that’s my reaction. This video has an effect on me similar to that of a Holocaust documentary, specifically The Last Days. (But not the one about Kurt Cobain.) It additionally has the effect of swelling my motherly devotion towards my nimble cat, who–as I write these solemn words–reclines on her back with her head propped up on the inside of my calf which, in turn, has the snowballing effect of bolstering the extra empathy engendered by this fan video towards the young, mute and needing of succour, just as I–meta-self, am in need of mine own. I’m not sure if that’s a proper sentence. However, Joseph Gordon-Levitt reminds me of my brother.

Fifthly and finally, Angels in America, again and evermore.

I don’t know why Tony Kushner doesn’t respond to my letters.

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