Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two Slices, Slightly Morose

Recently watched a beautiful doc called ‘Naked on the Inside’ by an Australian filmmaker. It’s crazy how much pain our bodies cause us when other people tell us how we’re supposed to be, when what they tell us does not and never will match reality.

Instead of embracing what is, embracing what others are, seeing and appreciating that real beauty, we kill ourselves in pursuit of air-brushed two-dimensional fantasies. More delusions of control. Too much power, too close to godliness but never close enough.

One body type they didn’t cover explicitly was the old type. So crazy to think I’ll be old one day. Seeing my 11 years younger cousin it’s hard to believe I’m even this old, hard to remember my mindset 11 years ago. I know back then I couldn’t see a decade down the road. And still I find it hard to imagine 40, yet here it comes, faster and faster.

Hard to imagine being a grandfather, an old man surrounded by progeny’s progeny. Knowing the end is near. What must that feel like?

I become more aware of my own mortality with the passage of time. More risk averse too. No need to hasten the inevitable.

I feel increasingly out of touch with the reality around me. Television is mostly nonsensical, a parody of itself that isn’t in on the joke. How can people watch the supposedly serious garbage on TV? The news is the worst, crime shows a close second. Crime show beauty pageants.

What must the alien anthropologists think of us? How humiliating.

“Shove it up the hole in your culture.”

“Generally the more noise people make the quieter you get,” Maven observed astutely. Especially when the noise is that of talons on throat. I just can’t handle useless petty conflicts. We should be embracing each other’s beauties, appreciating what is there.


Sometimes life gets in the way. MikeyZ and I were supposed to hop a U-haul and make a cross-country cash-grab, stopping at every ex-hippy’s paradise along the way, visiting old friends and greasy spoons too. CMcC was supposed to maybe join us.

Life got in the way. There were babies to feed and jobs to secure and begin, and most of all U-haul fucked us in the form of a 250 percent price increase. It’s seasonal. This is busy season.

I have this memory of barrelling across eastern Canada, my dad at the wheel, me on the navigation tip, belting out Blondie as we rode. There was a flat tire, three days travel, half the time allotted by U-Haul’s insurance sharks. It may or may not have happened like that, but it’s a fine memory.

I wanted that journey. I wanted to bond with someone again, play my music loud and watch the road unfold, no hurry or worry.

Life got in the way. Turns out it’s cheaper to hire a moving company. They make life easy, load up your junk, haul it over, unload it too, all for a third the price, and that includes coffee runs, gas and insurance.* Saves us a trip back to the people trap. Saves us a bundle, and time too, and a lot of labour. Labour I was looking forward to, because it would have been communal, with those old-fashioned friends of a fading era. But you gotta move forward, backward never as Kwame Nkrumah said.

Life moves forward fast, and it still gets in the way.

*post-script: the moving company misunderestimated (thanks George for that word) the weight of our stuff, so the actual cost was as high as a U-Haul anyway.

"The only thing worse than growing up
is never quite learning how."
--Joel Plaskett

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1. I am sorry about the chicken remark, it came out like I was blaming pit bulls for being pit bulls. I get where you were coming from. Sorry about that confusing bit of carelessness I guess on my part.

2. Chicken Revolution!!! Kidding.

3. Reminds me of "Cows With Guns". Hilarious. My kid has it as a ringtone.

4. I don't dislike our culture, my culture- American- which is certainly many cultures. What I do not like is how our culture is represented by the media. The Instant Arts.

5. Ok maybe I dislike it on a certain level. But I waffle between the word dislike, and disconnect. I feel disconnected from it.

6. In what way do I relate to the Desperate Housewives? I am wearing a t shirt I got free from a concert because it was leftover from the season before. I think I have a knot in my hair. I'm pretending not to notice.

7. No mortality talk for me today. But I hear it. I SO hear it.

8. My best friend is over seventy. People always think she is my mom. She says I cannot possibly know what it is like to live each day being so close to death. Where you forget and start making plans or getting ideas. Like going back to school. She says she forgets and tells herself- "oh wait, I'll be dead soon." She said she doesn;t even want to plant pereenials anymore.

That sucks!
Only the good die young, Benji. We're safe. ;-)
Be very very careful about moving companies. I am convinced they are utter evil after doing all the right checks, asking all the right questions... and still getting utterly screwed over.

Interesting what you said about the disconnect with common culture. I have been feeling that way about music. I'm a tremendous music fan-- yet sit there in serious awe whenever I even try the exercise in patience that is Top 40 radio. It worries me that people choose some of this awful stuff as the most symbolic form of self-expression.
Two slices, served cold--and right were it counts.
I know what you mean about pain. I remember stepping on a piece of glass with my bare feet when I was eight years old. I walked all the way back to my house before I noticed I was bleeding, little blood spots on the sidewalk from a deep cut on the big toe.

That's when it started to hurt. But only then. And even at that time, I was amazed at how the pain was very much psychosomatic.

TV is what my DVD player is hooked up to. And the occasional sporting event or documentary, but even the History Channel and Discovery are way too american choppers a go-go, or "The history of something silly and largely irrelevant". Too bad for us.
“Shove it up the hole in your culture.”
There's a quote anyone could be proud of.
I know what you mean about the bonding of long roadtrips and communal labour. (check me, I'm spelling like a proper English speaker)

This goes hand in hand with your analysis of both of our cultures being homogenized and neutered by vapid television programing.

Another season of Big Brother, anyone?
In a slightly morose frame myself right now, so I identify with both these...

The first makes me want to scream - was I as air-headedly appreciative of such televisual dross when I was younger? Surely not.

For some reason the second makes me think of when people offer you a lift somewhere and you respond with "Actually it's a nice day, I'd rather walk". They look at you like you're from Mars because your not taking the easy, lazy way...
Lynn: 1. no worries, bit of miscommunication on both our parts i guess. at some point i'm going to do a post about this pitbull thing b/c i'm sick of people blaming animals for being animals.

2 & 3. love that song, chickens with guns could be even funnier.

4&5. there is much good in american culture, and as you imply, it's a complex and varied thing. it's the mainstream cultural products that are grating me of late.

6. i wear a tracksuit until afternoon, everyday.

7&8. it's that later stage that is a bit scary. part of me thinks 'well, at least she can live in and enjoy the moment, finally.' but part of me thinks it must suck to see all your friends/peers dying, wonder who is next, when is your turn. of course that stage is a long way off for me. what worries me now is all those people older than myself whom i love, that i will in all likelihood have to live through their deaths.
TC: good to know, lol. alas, it's not my mortality i'm worried about just yet.

PP: two excellent points. a lot of people have since told me about bad experiences with moving companies. as for mainstream music, i don't even bother anymore, which is a shame...i long for a time i never knew, when a kid could listen to his transistor and here the sound of a young dylan doing something totally new and totally amazing for the masses.
Eric: i must confess here that i do enjoy law&order as a guilty pleasure. the pride for "shove it up the hole in your culture" belongs to one Leonard Cohen. Big Brother is the quintessential example of people tearing each other down in a perverse modern-day Romanesque form of entertainment. They should call that show Brave New World.

Ant: it's crazy how lazy people in rich nations have become. Ghanaians work so hard and it shows in their bodies and hands (with the exception of many formal sector workers). Here in Hali people think a 5 minute walk is far. What happened to self-sufficiency?
My friend just watched that documentary on her netflix
Ha! "They should call the show [big brother] Brave New World. That's a good one. Heck, it wouldn't a far jump for them to call it that, and an even shorter jump--on many levels--to call it 1984. Plenty of tearing down and "building" back up in that, too.
It is increasingly easy to be absorbed into the plasticised world of television with all its celebrity and "importance of the insignificant." Put aside the tv and live some real life. Last night we listened to some Sibelius - Finlandia suite. It is the 50th anniv of his death. It was mind expanding we don't give classical music much space as a rule but this was good. Oh by the way the wrong side of 40 is fine. Outwardly you may look tatty but inward you are the same. Embrace the real person.
"--------------" use the space between the lines to quote the lyrics to John Lennon's Working Class Hero


1.I think of that song a lot, Walking Man. Even in its many varied versions.

2.Cohen's words startle me sometimes.

I end up thinking WAY too long about them.

3.I think he also evokes nostalgia about a culture that has been systematically eradicated by commercialism.

4. Which makes me think of Eric's post on Corporate Che.

5."The history of something silly and largely irrelevant". Too bad for us.

Now Eric and co. I will have you know that the other night the History Channel took a break from Hitler Warcraft and showed "Sex in The Middle Ages"

6. How can anyone not find sex in the middle ages to be exciting tv?

7. The best was the guy talking about the manuscript with a man getting a bird beak "in the anus".

8. Who knew those monks were so saucy!

9. Please do write about Pit Bulls. And read some Michael McClure while you do so.
Myutopia: I don't know what netflix is, but I hope your friend enjoyed that one as much as I did.

Eric: i watched the celebrity version once, with flava flav and jordan from new kids, and i must admit it cracked me up in a pleasant way.
Kissa: ahhh, Sibelius. In this house, you can't have too much of him. Yeah, I'm sure 40 will be fine, I just find it hard to imagine from 32.

TWM: love that song. JL told it like it is, all those years ago.
Lynn: You can't think too long about L.Cohen's words, it's impossible. The man is a prophet.

Sex in the Middle Ages sounds like a fascinating topic to me. I once read a great little book about the history of birth control in Islam, amazing stuff. Pitbulls coming up. I'll have to look Michael McClure up - is he related to Troy?
Lynn: how is it that in my youth i was so influenced by the male beats, later to discover dian di prima, had an extensive affair with vegetarianism that spanned two continents, and have grown increasingly appreciative of dylan with each passing year, and i never heard of michael mcClure?

he sounds like my kinda poet.

It is cool when they degrade desperate, hammy celebs, instead of the common folk. I still don't watch it much, but when I see Flav and Bridgite, it always makes-a-me-a-laugh (in my best Itallian accent).


I'll have you know I've seen the history of sex documentary several times, missy! It beats the heck out of seeing the "Hitler and Ava Braun" doc for the gazillionth time. Kidding about the Missy thing. You know you are respected.
My friends and I used to call the History Channel "The Hitler Channel", that little H in the corner standing for him and underneath it captioned "His Story". It wasn't our fault; the moniker came from their choice of programing, we just pointed it out.

I loved the docs about the Spartans, The Goths and other "Barbarians" (is anyone more barbaric than the Romans? As Benjibopper pointed out, hardly), or WWI, which many people forget was the single biggest cause of WWII. The US should have taken a more active hand in reigning in the lust for vengeance perpetrated by the victorious British and French. The destruction of the Deutsch economy and subsequent desperation of its people to simply feed themselves led the way for Hitler's rise.

I just refuse to watch another "history of twinkies", or "history of the Cola Wars". That stuff is f---ing ridiculous.
I take that part about the US back. Nobody was going to be able to stop the British and French from extracting what they could from Germany. In a way, it was inevitable, I guess.
Nice Joel Plaskett quote (seriously under appreciated Canadian, especially on the left coast).

Getting old... Mortality... Yeah, the things that keep me up at night. Ugh, not much more tasteless that reality (it drives me to idealism out of fear some times).
"Life moves forward fast, and it still gets in the way"

Just loved that.. so true.
This made me think that if Aliens came to earth, I would play them 'Independence Day' and advise them not to come back for another 5000 years.

Maybe someone already did
Eric: the more I consider those wars, the more complex they seem. But at the root, they're not much different from any war: control freaks vying for dominion.

Trevor: Joel Plaskett amazes me - he comes out with rock anthem after rock anthem, all so incredibly catchy and fun, yet surprisingly deep....Idealism is not a bad outcome I suppose.

UTMG: if you ever do encounter an alien, please please please do not show it independence day. that would surely be our undoing, or at the very least, highly embarrassing.
Crashie: thank you my friend. it's not a bad summation.
All wars, I will say it again all wars are fought not for principle but for resources others have that the aggressors want, including WWI.

Why even think of your mortality in anyway other than a good thing and the end of it as a good sleep?

Never, and I will say this again as well NEVER fear your death.


TWM: agreed. but i see the resources as the tools for that dominion i mentioned. as for mortality, it's not mine i worry about so much as those i love.
I relate to all of this. Especially the body and age thoughts. Even when I was a little girl i thought my culture was warped, misled, and i longed for something more authentic, holidays that meant more than chocolate and stressed parents buying presents. And I saw how weak women felt when they thought they were getting older and their looks were changing. When I was about 7 I started trying to cultivate humility; then there wouldn't be something tangible to have taken away. Being mortal, this is of course tricky.

~Very nice to hear your meditations here.
about war:
Exactly my point on all counts.

I just find the rarer WWI docs to be interesting, since it contained most of the seeds for WWII. Both are terrible but must be understood if we are to not repeat such bloodlettings.

Peace is so much better to have.
Long live peace and love.
Realbigwings: Thank you for your comment. Humility is really important, for sure. I was fortunate to be raised in a fairly non-materialistic family, and certainly not a vain one. At times I longed for more brand name clothes etc but now I really appreciate our austerity. If I have children I want them to feel beautiful, smart, and strong without obsessing about it. At the same time I want them to see beauty, brains and strength in others, and in difference.

Eric: hear hear!

Peace in Our Time
by Elvis Costello

Out of the aeroplane stepped Chamberlain with a condemned man's stare
But we all cheered wildly, a photograph was taken,
as he waved a piece of paper in the air
Now the Disco Machine lives in Munich and we are all friends
And I slip on my Italian dancing shoes as the evening descends

And the bells take their toll once again in victory chime
And we can thank God that we've finally got
peace in our time

There's a man going round taking names no
matter who you claim to be
As innocent as babies, a mad dog with rabies,
you're still a part of some conspiracy
Meanwhile there's a light over the ocean
burning brighter than the sun
And a man sits alone in a bar and says "Oh God,
what have we done?"

And the bells take their toll once again in victory chime
And we can thank God that we've finally got
peace in our time

They're lighting a bonfire upon every hilltop in the land
Just another tiny island invaded when he's got
the whole world in his hands
And the Heavyweight Champion fights in the
International Propaganda Star Wars
There's already one spaceman in the White
House what do you want another one for?

And the bells take their toll once again in victory chime
And we can thank God that we've finally got
peace in our time
Thanks for sharing that, Benji. I can picture much of the history mentioned in it.
My pleasure, Eric.
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