Jim picked me up at eight and we went to Home Depot to buy some doors and supplies to finish the house we're working on. After an hour or so on the job, Jim said he had to go somewhere, something about a hole saw. He came back about half an hour later, asking if Fran (the guy he's doing this job for) came by. I told him no one had been there. He was surprised, so that I got the idea that he'd gone out to avoid the guy. A little later Fran stopped by. He was upset with Jim. He said that he really screwed him over on this job, that he'd expected him to be done long before this. He was obviously applying the pressure for us to finish it up today. Jim said that he'd either be done today or tomorrow. (He knew full well that it'd take until tomorrow.)
After the guy left, Jim began to make excuses for himself, like when he was given the job, he was told that there was no hurry, that they weren't going to put the house on the market until March. (I didn't point out that this was March first). He engaged in more denial and displacement until I was certain that he was in the wrong. It had been obvious to me that he had been slacking on the job for a long time. I can understand why he would have been delayed, given the bouts of flu and snow, but the delays went way beyond that. I can see how he might never get any more work from Fran. He should have been apologetic and more "business-like," buttering the guy up, etc. But that's not the way my brother is. He's in business for himself exactly for this reason: he doesn't want to act toward people like an employee, like they have authority over him. But hey, that's what business is. I imagine this situation repeated numerous times over the years and can understand why it is that Jim has no real business left.
Waiting to see if Jim will call today. He'd said he would if he decided he needed me to help him finish up the house. If he does, I'm not ready and will have to rush. Right now I'm sitting at my computer in my sweats and robe, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed. I should go and get ready. That way, he won't call. I really don't feel like going out today.
Ashcroft and his cohorts were on the news this past week touting their recent busts here in W. PA of people selling "paraphernalia." They make me sick, the feds. They piss me off. The very presence of their images on the tv screen disgusts me. How can anyone doubt that, when George Orwell wrote 1984, he was talking exactly about these people, with their identical haircuts and strict conservative dress code? You just know that when they see people like me, coifed and dressed alternatively, they imagine hatching plans to force everyone in Amerika to look alike.
The Justice Department would be a joke if the damage it does were not so serious. Justice via the legal system is more about assuaging the incidental pain and turmoil created by the crime and about providing an outlet for the exorcism of personal demons than it is about administering fair and impartial punishment and corrective adjudication. And I'm not only talking about those professionals who do the "administering." I'm also talking about the amateurs who sit in judgment.
When more people are outlaws than law-abiding citizens, then the latter circle their wagons and hide in enclaves like Washington, D.C. That day isn't here yet, but we tend toward it, as the prison population rises, the gap between rich and poor increases, and more and more people become disenfranchised.
"You are either for us or against us."
I don't accept that dichotomy. I can be neutral. But if you insist, then I'm against you. I always take a stand against assholes.
In addition to airports and federal buildings, add nightclubs to the list of places to avoid. It's becoming a good idea to stay away from any place where large groups of people gather, especially when they are crowded in with limited egress, and very especially when they are worked up into a manic state of being, such as pre-war mania.
It's better, over all, to live secluded in the mountains than to crowd yourselves into big cities, where only the affluent can afford to survive healthily. But who didn't already know that?
I no longer feel the imperative to write like I used to when I was younger, mostly, I think, because I've said all I ever wanted to say, I've documented the crux of my experience and psychology, again and again. Now, instead, I can devote my time to going back over that documentation (journals, unfinished stories and novels, etc.) and continue to rewrite and publish it, because as I work at this activity, I find myself restating the messages in the same way I've been stating them all along, but at the same time updating them, adding new stuff to the old stuff, qualifying them. In other words, for the most part, I can express myself just as well by rewriting as by writing "new" material.
But, this (journal) is new writing. And there are a lot of things I write that, while not seeming so important as stuff that I have previously written, are nonetheless expressive and are valid documentation. So, who am I kidding? I still have an imperative to express myself. It's just that the imperative no longer seems so important as it used to, and not only because it's repetitive, because some of it is not. Nothing's changed, except my desire to do it. I still feel the need. I just don't want to do it so much any more. The answer to my quasi-dilemma is to simplify, to forget about all of the erratic postmod formats (news, blogs, etc.) and to concentrate on the journal(s) and stories, allowing the detritus to fall into pastiches.
I find myself continually redefining myself. (Is that redundant?) But the self-definitions seldom seem to take. I forget about them until the next time I feel the need to redefine myself and happen to hit upon the same definition, maybe even years later. The definitions that are most often repeated are the ones that eventually stick. I guess everyone does this at some sub- or semi-conscious level, but I tend to do it consciously, in writing.
This government is exactly what the founding fathers rebelled against. The particular facts may be different, but the oppressive attitude is the very same thing.
It's amazing. PA's new do-not-call law actually works. Since the end of February, I haven't received any telemarketing calls, which I means I haven't received any calls at all, except for those from my brother and his family. The periodic ringing of the phone is no longer disturbing the peaceful quiet atmosphere of my home. And that's the way I like it. So don't call me.
For the past nine years I haven't been going out except when I absolutely have to, when I "need" things (I realize that a lot of my neediness is really not needing, but wanting) or when someone calls me and requests my presence, that is, when life will come to me. I established this reticent behavior pattern in order to minimize my life, to increase my (sense of) detachment, both in order to put into practice certain spiritual ideas I have and to reduce the depths of stress and depression that I had sunken into.
But now, having been spoiled by my new stress-free lifestyle, I expect to meet life in a peaceful and well-calmed state, and when I don't, it disturbs me, not so much because I begin to become stressed as because I recognize that life is not progressing according to my ideal. But life will never progress according to my ideal. At best, it only occurs that way once in a while. Sometimes "the world" in its disconsiderate, unconscious ignorance pits itself against your best-laid plans and calmest and most peaceful state of mind.
But living in stress-free peace and harmony is not what "going with the flow" means. It means acceptance of the state that the world finds itself in, not bucking the inevitable. Sometimes, when I go out, everything flows quite smoothly, I accomplish exactly what I set out to do, and everything is fine. But sometimes the opposite occurs. Yet I can still go with that negative flow, if only I will. My disappointment at things not going my way is merely a reaction in kind to things going the way they are going, locally or cosmically.
In other words, when things do not go the way I expect them to, when I feel disoriented and out-of-place, when everyone I encounter does not recognize me as the benign spiritual presence that I want to think I am, still, I am going with the flow if I can remain calm, take in the "world (or local) situation," and remain positive. And even if I can't do that, even if I react badly (agitatedly, or worse, aggressively) to 'bad vibes,' I am still going with the flow--a bad flow, maybe, but it's flow nonetheless.
I can get lost for long periods of time. The past month has been such a time. Since I've had the flu and abandoned my regular schedule, I've all but given up my goal-oriented pursuits. I've been existing, sleeping full nights, half-working at the computer for a few hours each day and watching tv the rest of the time, focusing on the news and waiting for the war in Iraq to begin, as if it were a mini-series and the daily news briefings associated with it were media-saturated ads promoting its eventual release date.
But as the days get sunnier and the weather warmer, I'm beginning to remember that I used to have a purpose to my life. Like Lawrence crossing the desert toward Aqaba, I've been drifting. I'd like to be able to say, like Lawrence (or maybe I should say, like Peter O'Toole), that it won't happen again. But it will. Winter is my desert. If I'm beyond this year's low point (and I'm not certain yet that I am), there's still next year, and the next, and...
Occasionally I am motivated to wonder why I am here on this planet. I consciously search for a purpose, not for existence itself, because I am quite aware that that explanation is beyond the comprehension of the human mind, but for my existence, alone. What am I supposed to be doing? What makes my life worthwhile? Often I will conclude that the answer is, nothing. Sometimes I will come up with some kind of scheme or paradigm that I can use, for a while (until the novelty wears off or until I forget it) to justify my existence and convince myself that what I am doing, the activities that I engage in, make sense, that I am not just wasting time until I die. The following is the most recent version of this process of rationalization:
It occurs to me that the most important thing I do, in a social sense [and how can anything anyone does, together or alone, not be ultimately social, since are we social beings?], is to listen to people and understand what it is they're saying. I have always had a pronounced talent in this regard, ever since I was very young. I have been, and still am when I will allow it, a good listener. I have not always been a good understander, but others seldom ever knew that. Almost always, people who engage me (not an easy task for them, I know) think I understand what they're talking about. I intuit well, but more importantly, I behave (unconsciously) as if I am completely cognizant of every nuance of every word, gesture, and even thought and feeling that people who engage me are experiencing. And, in a sense, I am. We all are, on an unconscious level. This is the basis for psychological transference. At a very deep center of our being, well below the level of awareness, we each intuitively understand others we encounter. It's unfortunate that a whole lot of psycho-trash gets in the way most of the time to prevent us from gaining conscious awareness of this archetypal ability.
This could be my social purpose (and is there really any other kind?): to listen to people and to try to understand what they are saying and feeling, and short of actually understanding, to impart to them the perception that I do, to assuage the continual doubt that we all will experience, even the most confident of us, at a deeply hidden level, because what is confidence but doubt repressed? This is my gift, my talent, which I hide away from, because it causes me a great deal of grief and preoccupation, when I will allow the transferences to occur (consciously)--because the next step in the process, after the encounter, is to straighten out in my own mind what it is that I am experiencing that is truly myself and what it is that I have contracted from the people I have been with, as if a virus has been passed to me and I must fight it off. My methodology is like an immune system. I use words like white blood cells to capture and restrain the errant pathologies.
I wait, for people and things, situations, to come to me, which they always do, eventually. And when they do, when contact is made, my psyche springs into action, despite any conscious unwillingness to do so on the part of the ego. I execute my agenda, my social purpose, I observe, I listen, I "understand." And then I go away, leaving something of myself behind that others may or may not comprehend. I return home, burdened, sometimes bursting, with content, which I set about to try to truly understand, in depth. I analyze. I interpret. I write it all down. I fill journals with it, often rambling until I hit upon the central motivation and begin to see a pattern that unlocks the secret. And then I am freed, from that which has been transferred--except that I know that the reason I acquired the information in the first place was that within me existed an affinity that the other person touched. I may be freed from the "burden" (of non-understanding and conscious dissonance), but the "problem" that occasioned it will be always with me, because that is what a burden is, an awareness that you are like someone else who has a problem, whether they themselves are aware of the problem or not. We are all attached in this way. None of us, together or alone, is separate.
The next step in my purpose of existence is to document it. I use to call this my personal purpose, but I see now that that is a fallacy. This is merely a further elaboration of the same social theme, especially when I will publish the results via stories, novels, or the website. There is no real distinction between the personal and the social, just as there is no real distinction between where one of our bodies leaves off and another's begins. Pheromones, perceived gestures, words, intuitions, waveform patterns of sub-nuclear "particles" analogous to (or identical with) electromagnetic energy that exist ubiquitously in the "ether" in which we are immersed, ultra-dimensional waveforms that we know of only mathematically that may exist in reality unseen and yet still affect us at a deep unconscious level as if we are broadly-tuned receivers incorporating multiple bandwidths like radios interpret heterodyned information, our base frequency being this "reality" superimposed with a signal of extra-dimensional origin, all act to de-define the discrete selves we believe ourselves to be. There is no personal self. In fact, there may be no social (meta) self either, but that concept is beyond the scope of this piece.
A subdivision of this last step, documentation, is the letters I write. I have always considered these to be my least important purpose, but I see now that they are every bit as profound as all the rest, because I touch people and am touched in the very same way in letters as we touch each other in person. There is no distinction of affect, only of format. My work, then, is to persist in my activity, "alone," until someone contacts me, which they will do, far more often that I suspect, or could ever be aware of, which is probably a good thing because the relatively few times that I do become aware of the contact can overwhelm me to the point where I can hardly bear it and cause me to want to work very hard at the analysis, interpretation, and documentation to try to catch up and understand. Even in dreams (if that is real contact, and I have no reason to believe that it is not), relatively freed of the demands of "reality" and ego, I am overwhelmed. I cannot ever hope to understand all that, yet I have the sense that it is most important. We are with each other all the time. Only consciously do we pretend that we are not. My social purpose is to communicate this fact, whether that is with my presence, or my absence, or in written words.
And then, of course, there's spiritual purpose, cosmic awareness. This is probably even more important to me than all of the above. But even if I would meditate for hours every single day, awareness often comes begrudgingly. And even if I will not meditate, it seems to come when it will. It may well be that I am no more aware, whether or not I meditate. It may be that awareness is an issue of evolution, and nothing more. Still, though, it can't hurt to meditate, and I should be doing more of it, I guess. I've been slacking off.
Everyone's jumping on the bandwagon (well, not everyone) to begin criticizing Bush's War Party. (I know it's mostly politicking.) A standard criticism follows the line that Bush is not going to Iraq to disarm and/or depose Saddam Hussein, but for oil interests. A more recent, far more potent criticism (Pat Buchanan, et al.) is that Bush and, especially, several of his warmongering cohorts (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al.) have divided loyalties and are the front men for a powerful cabbalistic lobby whose interest is the state of Israel. [Buchanan cleverly divorces this argument from anti-Semitism by referencing several Jewish scholars who support this view.] There are other criticisms, but among them all, no one seems to be mentioning the one that seems most obvious to me: Bush Sr.'s "New World Order."
Afghanistan is history, well on its way toward Westernization. Iraq is about to become just another state statistic, thereby sandwiching Iran, where the mullahs sit shaking in their turbans, hatching plans to acquire nuclear power plants from the Russians while affirming that they have absolutely no intent of developing nuclear weapons. Saudi princes are walking a fine line and seem to be coming around to the Western way of thinking, at least in a token way. If Iraq goes well for Bush, he may well find that the Saudis will seek his counsel on how to deal with their Islamic main street as they ponder their "democratic" reforms. Syria (which may well be next, even before Iran) is a hopeless case and may have to be completely isolated. Jordan is already pretty much where we want them. And the Palestinians are exactly where they have always been, fallen into the cracks between the rocks and hard places.
The Mideast is the focal point of Bush's attempt to change the world. He's a New Age Caesar or Napoleon. But he's far more clever. The Caesars incorporated nations into their empire. Napoleon conquered nations and initiated social reforms, but failed to integrate. Bush disturbs the status quo by deposing the strongmen, instilling cultural "values" and then backing off and allowing "democracy" and "capitalism" to enable greedy entrepreneurs to seek the favor of the West. Actually, now that I think of it, this is probably nothing more than a more sophisticated (or militant) form of Reaganism, which makes sense. I was wondering how Daddy Bush came up with the New World Order idea. It seemed to me to be a bit above his head.
The color-coded security level is more about manipulating public opinion than it is an indication of the degree of threat that exists toward America and Americans. They move it up and down in anticipation of coming events and situations, like when they recently lowered it after the heightened alert due to suspected terrorists attacks that never panned out, even though the threat of those attacks was still with us. If they hadn't lowered it, they couldn't use it again to hype us up for the coming war unless they raised it up to the highest level, red, which they don't want to do, just in case a real threat comes along. It seems like we as individuals could take a page from this strategy and color-code our fellow Americans:
Of course, if you happen to be of a different state of mind, the order above can be reversed, top to bottom, to reflect the differing perception of threat.
If I were a famous actor, I'd train another much younger actor, or several, to mimic me, and provide him/them with a sizable income, all for the day when I was no longer around, so that he could take roles in my name, using my persona, so that it would appear that my career was going on, despite my death. My fans would be satisfied and my legend would be extended. It wouldn't matter that everyone knew that an actor was playing me playing a role. If he were good enough, and I'd make sure that he was, then the famous character that I was would still be alive.
Imagine that actor extending a persona out over time. Imagine a mimicked Richard Harris, for example, playing role after role. Or a Sean Connery. They are actors who are who they are, no matter what role they play. In a very real sense, the role plays them. Wouldn't you like to see them playing new roles? I would. (Sorry, Sean. I don't mean to kill you off too soon.) Hey, it may be a stupid idea, but it's an idea, and that's what this journal is all about. It's just one of those fancies I get hung up on that turn into an extended bout of mental gymnastics for maybe years.
Back to "work" again--on my website, that is. I wonder how long this will last this time. I want to exhaustively process my journals into stories, novels, and website entries, an obsessive practice that occupies my whole time. But if I'd just take the practical approach of processing a few good pieces per day and leave the rest behind as detritus or to be done later (there's never any later; I know I'll never get back to it), then I'd be both growing my website and acting more normally--that is, non-obsessively existing and allowing myself time and energy to do other things, like house repair, etc., which activity, now that I think about it, if I would do those other things enthusiastically, would be just as exhaustively obsessive. I can't win. Or, maybe, I mean I can't lose, if I approach my life obsessively. At least, then, I'd be doing something instead of lying around fantasizing and watching tv.
Crocuses at the back of the lot, crows high above the high sassafras trees spanning the woods with a few long slow wings' flaps, a woodpecker taping code in the distance, a nasty blue jay calling warnings from the neighbor's yard because I dare to sit on my back porch and threaten his domain. Spring is here and I feel somewhat pleased about that, except that I know that it won't be too long before I have to start doing yard work again.
They're changing the names of french fries and refusing to buy French wine, and now they're circulating a petition urging the return of the statue of liberty to France. Why? For the same reason that innocent Muslims are waylaid and beaten up and celebrity protesters are ridiculed and boycotted. Intolerance. There are a lot of people who just can't stand it that others believe differently than they do. But Americans should know better. Tolerance was a founding principle of this country. But, as for the French, well, what goes around, comes around. Cà et là.
The markets rise dramatically. Investors hate waiting.
Then, at last! The war is here. But the mini-series starts slowly, and my friends and neighbors are impatient.
Long periods of waiting, sifting through redundant channels, back and forth, as people come and go.
Excitement, that feeling in the chest that something's about to happen. War breeds familiarity and reduces reticence.
And the subsequent disappointment when all that happens is anti-climatic. Hollywood could produce a better war.
I'm ashamed of myself for watching. I imagine that if anyone asks me if I saw such and such about the war on tv, I'll respond that, no, I haven't, and pretend that I'm not interested in what is going on. It's a farce anyway, and I know it. But what am I supposed to do? Pretend it's not happening? Seclude myself inside my fantasy world and ignore the evil that exists? Probably.
I'm especially put off by the increased pitch and speed of the newscasters' voices, as if they're actually enjoying the thrill of missiles speeding off toward their targets, ignoring the fact that not only concrete buildings and bunkers are going to be demolished. There's going to be a lot of human flesh incinerated too.
It all seems so distant when watching from a living room chair in Amerika, but lest anyone forget, war really is hell. That Tomahawk missile that explodes in a small ball of red fire on the horizon of a dark and vacant Baghdad cityscape is hardly enough, you may think, to cause much devastation. But when you're standing a block away, you're toast. And half a mile away, you're witnessing the fires of hell.
And all the brave men and women who face this hell on the screen shout out their encouragement as they gobble up their take-out pizzas and guzzle their Pepsi and beer should go and help to fight the war if they're so intent upon murdering the Muslims. Brave citizens--with their mouths.
They say they're supporting our troops and put flags on their front porches. But what they're really supporting is the death and destruction of a lot of innocent people, and all those who will later die of suicide or starvation or attrition because their lives have been turned upside down.
I am spurned because I hold these views. I am not allowed to speak and must be shouted down, because this is Amerika, the land of the freaks, and I do not support our troops and should go to Baghdad myself and fight for Saddam Hussein and die. And they're right: I do not support the troops. I hate what is they are about to do. I hope they don't get killed doing it, I hope they all come hope safe, but I don't support their actions. And I can say this, because I live in America. I have that freedom.
And they respond that I have this freedom because it has been won by war, over and over again. But that's only partly true, and a very small part at that. Many others things besides war have won us our right to freedom of speech and assembly and all. A whole matrix of causation has brought us to the freedom we experience today, the least of which was war. And were those wars fought so that I could be denied my right to speak freely? And anyway, to believe that because war has bought us our freedoms in the past doesn't mean that it must continue to do so. To adhere to that belief is to refuse to evolve, as a person and as a species.
Besides, that argument misses the whole point: this is not a war about freedom of speech. It's just the opposite. It's about imposing our way of life on a Middle East that currently lives differently than we do. This is George Senior's New World Order, the natural extension of NAFTA and the IMF. Democracy forever. Except that it isn't really democracy, is it? We forgot about that ideal a century ago when we allowed the corporations to take over. It's about capitalism, the right to buy and sell our goods and services and ourselves in the marketplace, which is all fine and good, if that's what you want? But no one asked the Iraqis what they wanted. Okay, so Saddam didn't ask either. So we'll oust him or kill him, and then we'll be as evil as he is, if we aren't already.
Now is the time, I'm told, when everyone must come together to support our president. Why? He's not my president. I didn't elect him. This doesn't even look like my country any more. Americans never did these kinds of things in my day, these aggressions, these preemptive actions, except in a few small instances when lower level authorities acted on their own and were reprimanded for it. [I pulled a fast one here. They bought the argument. I'm wrong. Of course they did.] But these troops, they say, now, in Iraq, are protecting me. Well, thank you very much, but no thanks. I don't want people bombing other people in my name. I'll protect myself, and if I can't, I'll die.
I believe what I believe because I am who I am, an American with the right to live the way I want to and believe the way I do. I have every right to live here the way I live and, although you too have the right to tell me to go and live in Baghdad, guess what? Fuck you. I ain't goin'. I'm going to continue to live right next door to you and believe what I want to believe and if you don't like it, then you can go and get your gun and hunt me down and kill me like the criminal that you would be if you weren't so repressed and in denial.
Don't I feel sorry for the stupid people on the front lines who joined the army to see the world and improve themselves or whatever? Hell no! What did they think they were joining? A boy's (and girls) club? The army's purpose is to kill. They did what they did out of free will, as free as it can be when you're brainwashed from birth to support a killing way of life. Stupid is as stupid does, Forest. And evil is as evil does. Join the evil and see the world. But don't be taken in because someone convinced you that evil was good.
A young lady with some insight says that this could lead to World War Three. Well, guess what, honey? It's already here. What do think has been going on for the past few years? The sky is slowly darkening and the moon is turning red. Everyone expecting (like they were told) great explosions of "shock and awe" are disappointed by the piddling way that this war started. But this is a symbol of the Final War itself. It's not going to be one big catastrophe, at least not until near the end. It's going to be a little battle here and a little battle there, going along this way for years and years as we become immune to it, until we accept it as the way things are. We've already accepted it, the terrorism. The world has changed forever, or so we think. And because we think it, it becomes true, a self-fulfilling prophecy. It escalates gradually until we will be living in a nightmare of death and destruction. And Bush is playing right into it all. Amen.
I am all of the things that I have done, internalized and filed away, recorded, capable of repetition, both good and bad, unless I have managed to erect a block against such action as I have deemed inappropriate to correct behavior. And, in the very same way, I am all the things that I have ever thought, mental behavior being merely a different form of activity, fantasies being a most potent mental form, where operands are every bit as engrammed into the psyche. When I act, if I have not further acted to guard against it, I act out that which I am and have been, whether that action has been real or imagined, because both modes combine to form the subconscious and unconscious entity I am.
I watched Lebanon's Al Manar TV on C-SPAN today. Their news puts our stations to shame. It seems that no one told them they shouldn't be objective any more. Get this. Their news people actually read factually based news copy without comment or opinion. How quaint. If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn I was watching Jim Lehrer's show.
I have this recurrent dream about being a teenager and getting pissed off at my family (usually my mother), packing a few changes of clothes and my most treasured belongings, and storming out of the house, never to return. Last night I dreamed that I was pissed because they (mostly my mother) wouldn't pay attention to me, and so I again left. It occurs to me that I am the way I am, withdrawn, because I did not get the attention I wanted as a child. I reacted to this perceived lack of attention by responding in kind. I have come to this conclusion before several times, but I can't remember exactly where I said it. Probably somewhere in my therapy journal. That's a problem with insight. It takes so many of them to make it stick.
This is the reverse of the sixties. Everybody's gung-ho. But the sixties were only The Second Turning, and this is the fourth. I can't wait. When is somebody gonna act to stop this madness? Everyone is all geeked up. The newspeople and their warmonger guests talk a register above their normal voices and twice as fast. They betray themselves. They're so excited they could just shit. And it's not a worried excitement. They're actually enjoying themselves, even the ones out with the troops. Why else would they agree to go? It's what they do. It's what they live for, to report what crazy people do. But you can't hang around with crazy people too long without going crazy yourself. Believe me, I know. The protests will eventually take hold, but too late. It's always too late when we finally come to our senses.
I respond. It's what I do. It's what I believe in doing, although sometimes I fail to live up to my beliefs and will actually go out of my way to contact people. It's a rare state of mind, usually driven by ego, but it happens. If you see me acting in this way, be suspect of it. If you see anyone acting in this way, be suspect. People usually do not contact you out of altruistic motives. Everyone has an agenda that they want to foist upon you, if only you will allow it. It's better to be withdrawn and let people come to you. But, hey, if they do, you have to ask "What are they up to?" You can't win, either way. The best existence you can hope for is if people come to you accidentally while they are going on about some other business. And even then, look out. Living in harmony with the cosmos is not an easy thing to do when you're human.
Mook is a graffiti artist in Pittsburgh, PA who was arrested on some petty vandalism charges and awaits his trial in jail on $100,000.00 straight cash bail because our justice system favors the rich. Now, all in all, I'm not advocating the destruction of public or private property, but when it comes to graffiti artists, I say, go easy. This is civil disobedience at its most creative. (Well, okay, some of them may be pretty awful, but Mook was good. So, maybe the quality of the art should determine the degree of sentencing.) This is just another misguided attempt of society to punish creative people because it is unable to provide viable outlets for artistic expression, a subcategory of our failure to integrate all of our citizens into the mainstream, because we keep it so narrowly defined.
Everyone's afraid to dis the troops. Protestors say they oppose the war, but they hope the troops come home safe. And so do I. But that only goes so far. Everyone pretends to respect the troops, even as they berate the warmongering politicians. But I say "Hey! Wake up!" This is not your father's army. This is not a ragtag collection of drafted nobodys and college students whose deferments have run out. This is an elite collection of nobodys who volunteered to do this work. Sure, some of them enlisted to pull themselves up out of the poverty or the doldrums of their meager physical or psychological existence, but, hey, life is for learning how not to be so stupid. What did they expect? You join the army, you take your chances on going to war. Sure, I hope they don't die or become injured, but don't expect me to be waving flags or tying yellow ribbons for them when they get back. This small piece of the public is indifferent to their plight of the search for self-respect. If you want my respect, enroll in college, even if you have to wheedle you way into an affirmative action program. I don't agree with affirmative action, but I admire the students who take advantage of the program. If you're searching for an advantage in your life, go that way, and stay out of the armed services. Sure, you might end up getting a good education via the army, but there are better ways to do that nowadays. The only real advantage the armed services can give you is a military career. And we all know where that leads. You become a warmonger, put in your twenty or thirty, and if you've managed to become semi-articulate, you get a job on cable news narrating the war.
Is it just me, or did President Bush reveal his doubt and lack of self-confidence when, in his co-appearance with Tony Blair today, he answered a reporter's question with that terse but repeated phrase indicating that he didn't know how long the war would last? His tone of voice and the expression on his face revealed it all, I think. This is a man who has been severely taken aback by his advisors' miscalculations and he now stands trying to be defiant in the face of a formidable enemy that he thought would be a pushover. I'm no fan of militant, or even fundamental Islam, but I have to admit that Saddam has earned a tiny bit of admiration amid the loathing in my mind. He's no dummy, despite his apparent stupidity. He knows what he's doing. And I have to wonder if he had planned this strategy for the first war in Iraq, like maybe he wanted, or at least expected, Bush Senior to come north to Baghdad so that Saddam could actualize his underdog/victim role. Could be.
The strain is definitely beginning to show. Rumsfeld is starting to blame the media for the administration's problems. I'm beginning to reassess my positive appraisal of Rumsfeld. It was apparently his mistake, if only in taking bad advice (but it's probably a lot more than that), that caused the misperception that the war would be an easy trip.
And Bush shows further (facial/behavioral) signs of cracking, sporting a forced smile that looks like he's going to break into a cry at any moment. It does me good to see these "professionals" struggling with their war agendas, even as a big part of me wants to see them bomb the hell out of everything and incinerate the whole place in a Swartzenegger stravaganza.
I recognize the projections in my criticisms. I'm a hypocrite--or rather, I'm ambivalent and trying to repress my type A personality and live a sane and honest life. Will I succeed? Oh yeah. As long as I have enough scapegoats to blame for my inner doubt and aggression. Happy trails, Bushites. I'm moving on to other things. Enough about war already.
When I came home, as soon as I put away the groceries, I dove into the cookies and ruined my current state of ketosis. Eating cookies dunked into milk until they're soft and watching the war on CNN. What a life. Now I'm super-hyped from all that sugar and geeking out on the computer. I'm going to start re-doing my website, 'cause that's about the only thing that makes sense to me any more.
I've been criticized for hating my country (I do not) because I do not support the administration in its homicidal bombing campaign in Iraq. I am told that it's fortunate that I live in a "free country" where I can express my opinions without reprisal. [If my detractors think I've been free from reprisals, they're deluded. They can't see that their condemnation is reprisal.] It's true. I am fortunate to have been born here. And those people who think that I should leave are talking out their asses, because I'm not about to. I have every right to be here and every right to speak out my beliefs, as they do. That's freedom, but it's only the visible tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, most people are not at all free.
How is America affected by the news of the day? Who gives a shit! Give me the news! I'll determine for myself how I am affected, and if I am. And as for others, let them watch Oprah or Jerry if they want that kind of pathos. Talk about "bleeding heart liberals." The majority of news people reporting the war from the studio are bleeding hearts, and many of them are conservatives.