on veterans day after the production show the cruise director stood on the stage and asked the veterans in the audience to stand and be applauded. they did; there were many. many old men standing and smiling, and the applause was deafening.
two films: matrix revolutions last saturday (i wont get into it, but man! what happened to the buddhist promise of the first movie? the enlightenmnt allegory, the idea of awakening into the real world, of realizing that capitalist western culture is just an illusion? why give that up for some c- high school meandering on determinism and some easy christianity? i still had fun though. especially liked bad guys on ceiling, good guys on ground. anyway.) and a reviewing of the two towers (again, i wont get into it, but man! the number of contrived dramatic peaks and valleys made me feel christmas candy sick after a while) in the cruise ships cinema earlier today. in both, scenes of men preparing for war. the masculine shouts of men ready to die. the dramatic placement of a helmet onto a frightened teenaged head. et cetera.
on the ship, fat men, drinking, rude, poorly dressed.
on land, thin men, sweating, fearsome, barely dressed.
on the television, bush in britian, defending war. in the staff mess, a collective cosmopolitan grumble.
two books: franzen's the corrections (a book i have avoided for a long time because of its ubiquity; every san francisco party i go to has it there on the shelf, tucked between manufacturing consent and lonley planet: south america. but i liked it), which discusses mental illness in the setting of domestic suburbia, men in depressive states, and thoreau's walden, which discusses individuality and the dangers of blind adherence of custom. "i have never learned anything from old men." what a badass he is! what a man he is!
jts, paraphrasing robert bly: the soft man, the sensitive man, out of touch with his primitive masculinity, with his roughness, lust and bloodthirst.
mcw on masculinity: "the best thing to do to a group of men is put them to war, give them a task, a goal. heres a gun, now go!"
a book from my childhood, real men dont eat quiche. the sensitive overcompensation of the alda male.
on the ship: complaining. companing about bureacracy, about vapid things. men whining over fingernails, life and death unknown.
a song played tonight, in the jazz club, trio: when i fall in love (...it will be forever). i play very sensitively.
jem, drunk, on a college stoop, lamenting the shallowness of academia: "lets get a gun. lets get a gun."
pk, (what is your middle name pk?) on the subject of the hypothesized new american revolution: "historically, people dont rise up unless they are starving."
all of these things.
they fit together, i know they do. here we have men who have fought in wars. here we have men who have not. not just the individuals, i mean the whole group of men, my peers, my great wonderful male friends spread out over america, who have never known the terror of actually having their lives in danger. and our minds reel and rock! our minds shake with religion and politics, wth art and love! going crazy with metaphysical speculation and women and god and music and wind. crazy. the world seems paper thin at times. sometimes i cant tell if im waking or dreaming. sometimes i get sad enough to shake.
but in contrast, in contrast this all seems rather ridiculous, and i wonder if my generation hasnt missed out on something essential. give me a gun. i dont want it. now listen- i dont want it. but maybe i need it. to understand something real, with consequnce that i can biologically feel, with terror running through me that will silence my intellectual nosoul and bring me back to my evolutionary assignment, to live at all costs. i dont want it, i think thats part of it, not wanting it but doing it anyway, because choice is taken from you. because your family will be killed. not iraq or vietnam; more like wwI or II (for europeans), the civil war. our production show "spotlight broadway!" ends wth a les miseables medley. the french revolution. theres a fucking war. "will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and fight with me?". those kinds of wars, where its in your backyard.
i know im sitting here glorifing (isnt there a y in that word?) war from a pretty plush position. what the hell do i know of it. i wouldnt be saying this if i knew. but thats the point, thats the point. my plush position. its despicable, its fat and slovenly, its unmasculine. its complacent. so much of myself and my geneation has become complacent in action, filled with words of questioning spirit and political anger and energetic connection but lacking in the barbaric action that creates history. the emails i get, the pleas to write to my congressman, sign this petition. a lack of action. a lack of violence.
so maybe i need a gun and a war.
but i wont, i know i wont. because im not hungry, im happy, happy with my eyes closed. and the radical left will never rise up in violence, and the fat men on the ship will drink, and articles will be read, and love songs will be played, and acid trips will show us the stars inside of ourselves, and it will be fine and beautiful and under no threat.
and maybe this is wonderful, maybe that absence of terror is a vital step in evolution, maybe grassroots campaigning will actually get compassion into office, maybe peace is a real and viable goal. its a hard call though. it has no historical precedent, this life without fear.
perhaps it will end in global enlightenment, the men in their indian shirts smiling and dancing.
perhaps it will end in global holocaust, the men in their college tshirts picking radiation boils off of their bloated bellies.
i suppose we will see.