I received my copy of Fake News, Red Shoes by Ted Rorschalk yesterday! It’s a fictionalized version of IRL cabal themes, and I might have the opportunity to produce an audio version of it. I only read the first page so far, but I was glad to see the kind of prose I most enjoy narrating— words like hilly, sinuous curves on a motorcycle — and also, there was immediate (fictional) mention of an EMP. That was neat because my dad’s educated me up on EMP’s just a bit. Someone rendering all our machines and devices and internet and (fuel injected) cars suddenly useless is, actually, within the realm of possibility. Sounds like a great plan B for the Left, if rigging the election doesn’t go as planned Nick and I were realizing yesterday that, despite how stupid and random the whole Space Force thing sounded at first — and which I continue to know nothing about — when you realize that our entire modern way of life relies upon all these satellites and shit up in space, it makes a lot more sense to have some kind of contingency there, at least.
True confessions, I’ve only voted once in my life, and that was for Obama in 2008. I liked him, despite having resonated with McCain’s commencement speech at my college graduation. I was politically underdeveloped then (as now) but like many I was suffering from Old White Man fatigue, notably, where a candidate that looked different felt refreshing and needed.
In fact, more recently, I got really irritated with Nick for his amazed criticism of AOC. It was this funny kind of reflex where I assumed that he was being dismissive of her ideas because of her youth and gender etc. (Old White Man fatigue.) But it turns out I was being dismissive of his ideas because of my perception of his demographic allegiances relative to her demographic, when in fact he was rejecting her ideas on their own merit, or lack of, relative to his values. And even once I gained more insight — trusting his opinions more, despite what I recognized to be his extremely conservative upbringing which is not in all ways a bad thing, and trusting AOC’s opinions less, acknowledging that rocking the boat just to rock the boat doesn’t, in itself, imply ‘vision’ — I was still skeptical that he, and white male conservatives of his camp, weren’t applying a little extra scrutiny-sauce to AOC, just because. Then I gave myself some first-hand experience of AOC in action and I was like, oh god, never mind. I’m so sorry. I cannot handle shrill. I cannot. They could be the best ideas on earth (maybe so maybe not), but if they’re screeched out, with much flapping of the hands, I just can’t. Which I guess is a deeper bias, but certainly a primal one for me.
One of my favorite comedies of all time is Community, ostensibly about life at a shitty low-rate community college diploma mill, but in reality a highly self-aware, fourth-wall penetrating, radically creative troll of the cinematic trope. In one episode, former high school football jock Troy (black, flippant, oddly childlike) is interested in the lovely but aggressively woke Britta (white, vegan, SJW), so he enrolls in her theater class. The prof exhorts them all to access their deepest, most painful memories, as a creative conduit. Having no idea how to do this, Troy nevertheless observes Britta’s reverence for performed pain and attempts to compete for her attention by simply having calculated, generic outbursts: “My emotions! MY EMOTIONS!,” and making strategic reference to a spontaneously invented story of having been molested. Troy’s improvised angst acts like catnip for Britta, who immediately claims ownership of his pain, making constant, sentimental but oblique reference to it in mixed company, which becomes uncomfortable for Troy. In the end, Troy must admit that his uncle did not, in fact, touch his bad place, which Britta takes as a personal affront, leading her to realize that perhaps shared, exaggerated woundedness should not supersede all other forms of intimacy and camaraderie. Like, maybe it’s okay to be okay. Maybe our woundedness can emerge organically, in its full complexity, and not as a performance art and bonding mechanism in itself.
The cast of Community is outrageously, purposefully diverse, as a device, and even includes an openly racist, sexist, entitled and entirely tone-deaf bigot, played by an aging Chevy Chase, who is nevertheless accepted by the group despite his flaws — nearly a Biden prototype, come to think of it. No opportunity to “say the quiet part out loud” is missed, by the show’s writers. It’s an amazing comedy, truly brilliant.
I didn’t mean to make such a case for it, but I got excited; anyway, the visual of Troy standing in the theater class and yelling, “My emotions! MY EMOTIONS!,” comes to mind frequently these days. Because, you know. That’s the card to play. I think the performance of emotion is like dancing, where some people are really good at it and some people are really bad at it and you can’t quite put your finger on why, in either case. It’s a matter of channeling energies authentically, or not. Being in the performance arts for years, my senses are pretty dialed about this, for my tastes at least. I learned so much from being a classical guitar major — first off, that laypeople tended to assume the formal study of music means, like, emoting really hard. Very odd, very persistent misconception. In reality, it’s mostly a lot of technical drills, applied to increasingly complicated melody and harmony. There’s the emotional expression and there’s the technique, and you gotta have both, and this applies to just about everything in life. I was in studio with players who had the first but not the second, and the second but not the first. Odd for the player him/herself not to hear that imbalance; not to fix it. I mean, fixing it is hard, but that’s the work. You can hear when someone’s trying to fix their imbalance, and you can hear when they’re not aware of it. What we interpret as genius, as passion, as brilliance, in any field is simply someone whose technique has risen to the occasion of their emotional expression, and vice versa.
That’s why I love the influences I love, which I make constant reference to and so, sorry, gonna do it again — Jordan Peterson and Teal Swan, for instance — who are probably mutually unaware that they’re on the same crusade, via markedly different knowledge pathways. I would love to see those two have a conversation. It is so cool to see/hear people who have mastered the concepts of most interest to themselves, and who continue to pursue ever-higher echelons of excellence and clarity, offered in service to others but more importantly in service to their own impetus towards value fulfillment. Watching someone, of any demographic, screech and flap their hands (MY EMOTIONS!), simply can’t compare.
So the problem of Old White Man fatigue, in let’s say government, is two-fold: one, just because someone looks different doesn’t mean they’re a thought leader. And two, just because someone looks like the same old meatloaf recipe doesn’t mean they’re not a thought leader. It turns out that people are either thought leaders or not, regardless of what they look like demographically, and so you have to actually listen to their thoughts to find out.
This reminds me of the time my dad went into a crystals-and-woo-woo store, here in Flagstaff, to buy some Hindu blankets, and the obviously raging feminist ragamuffins who worked there treated him very dismissively, because he was just some old white man. I was like, oh my god! Do you have any idea how woo-woo and counter culture my fucking dad is? He declared Conscientious Objector status in daggum Vietnam, inspired by Tolstoy’s writings, you pedants! You can’t judge a book by its cover. Wow — that’s brilliant, someone should coin that phrase.
I had vaguely sworn off voting because, fuck it, but I was still on file as a Democrat. The other day (week?), I re-registered to vote Republican, and will be voting for Trump in the fall, if I’m able to, like, be somewhere to do that. My life is a little nomadic and haphazard. I continue to apply the same listening to people’s speech and ideas, in this political and social climate, as I did in my near-decade of classical guitar studio masterclass. As usual I’m gravitating towards those voices attempting to balance and simultaneously advance technique and passion, as equally important objectives. As usual, unskilled bursts of shallowly-accessed and performative emotion aren’t cutting it for me. The interesting thing about this is that, in a performing arts community, it’s just a given that we’d care about the entire trajectory of skilled expression, but in a nation on ideological fire, we’re supposed to accept napalm streams of MY EMOTIONS! in lieu of an argument.
Sigh. I gotta unfriend two more FB friends today. I’ll maybe tete-a-tete with them first, for closure, but I’m comfortable with my own decision algorithm on these matters. Or I’ve had to become comfortable; Jesus christ. This is a time when people want to sneer something along the lines of “you can’t handle [my] [the] truth!,” which could not be farther from the truth. I vigorously disagreed with something a friend posted on her page, the other day, and felt inspired to weigh in quite extensively, but I prefaced my thoughts in this way: “First off, I love you, and second, I’m happy to agree to disagree about all this, of course.” To me, that’s how it’s done. Like, why would I not approach it that way? She may have reacted positively or negatively to my perspective, I don’t know, but I feel it’s important to perform my due diligence of expressing that I value the connection and the contrast of thought — otherwise what’s the point — and then if I’m still reviled or vilified for my perspective, oh well. Somehow any sense of etiquette has been lost, by normally kind, funny people, in my experience.
So these two I’m concerned with today, IRL friends to some extent, have approached me with flamethrowers as a first and pretty much only resort, on more than one occasion, and it’s so strange. It’s strange that broad-scale censorship of x y z perspectives finds such vigorous approbation from normally intelligent people, simply because it’s not their perspective. I’m like, you know the Pandora’s box of censorship is a lot harder to close than it is to open, right? And whatever comes out of it might eventually set its sights on you? The Left is like Cersei reinstating the Faith Militant, right now, which had been disbanded centuries before with good reason, for her own strategic purposes. She went on to be quite wroth when they came for her. Game of Thrones reference, for the uninitiated.
I’ll finish with an anecdote. There was a client, once, at the methadone clinic where I worked for about four years. He was from Alaska, and was just about the biggest, crudest, most foul mouthed redneck you ever saw. He and the dosing nurse had some kind of exchange about The Gay Agenda, I forget why. All this shit transpired at like five in the morning, because methadone clinics keep weird hours, so no one was at their best, let’s just say. Anyway, the client went on a tangent about how disgusting and depraved it was, in his opinion, for these “homos” to be fixated on their “dirty butt sex” (I guess he wasn’t aware straight people do it too), so on and so forth. This may sound like a hostile work environment issue but at least he wasn’t kicking in the glass on our door and threatening to follow us home from work and kill us, which happened time to time. Methadone clinics are drama. Anyway, then he surprised me. He said, “But this deal about taking away their rights, not letting ‘em marry each other and lead their lives? That’s just wrong. That’s illegal. It’s right there in the Constitution: life, liberty, and the pursuit of their gay fuckin’ happiness. And I’ll defend to my last breath their right to do it. But goddamn if it ain’t gross.”
Truth bomb from a redneck junkie — what a guy. Defending the rights of people with whom we deeply disagree is fundamentally American, and he got that part right, which is the most important part.