Friday, November 11, 2016

It Was All Just Meat

The year the National Poetry Slam invaded Seattle, Re-bar hosted a spotlight show for several visiting slam poets.  In quick succession, the crowd received a cheery faced lovable fat guy loser performing a piece about how he wasn't the midnight lover, but the lover the apparently insatiable woman lets in after the midnight lover takes off, that, immediately followed up by two young male poets performing a rap-influenced piece about pleasuring the fat chicks. 

There was plenty of rhythmic punch in the delivery style, but the content hit nerves. One woman in the audience cried out until it became an actual piercing scream, effectively kicking the plug out of the outlet. 

I remember two things post-halted slam piece. The two poets out on the sidewalk, smoking cigarettes, blank faced and confused, and inside, audience members tending to the distraught woman. For her, obviously, the piece had failed to take flight like all good poetry does. Instead, it came off as violent, male, the kind of paternal porn rape fantasy men unreel in their minds with the thoughtless mechanics of peeling an orange. 

More succinctly, she put it like this: "It was all just meat." 

Years later, at a slam qualifying event determining the membership of the Seattle slam team, this idiot, facing elimination, decided to preface his deciding round piece with a dedication. The poem was one of his go-to pieces, this one about Hitler, specifically, the choice, that is, the impossible opportunity to travel back in time and choose whether or not to kill the young Hitler before he becomes Hitler-Hitler, thus saving millions upon millions of lives.  

His preface amounted to: "I'd like to dedicate this poem to my grandmother who died at Auschwitz."

About that. 

His grandmother didn't die at Auschwitz.  I think at the time he was sweating bullets over whether or not he was going to make the slam team, both grandmas might've been alive and kicking, and if one, or both, sadly, were actually pushing up daisies, it had nothing to do with the horrors of the Third Reich.

Out of convenience, for the sake of allaying his fear he called upon perhaps the 20th century hallmark blot signifying man's inhumanity to man, and gave it personal gloss to goose his potential score. The philosophy student took his moral barometer and deep sixed it in the nearest possible logistic cow flop.  

One of the more gruesome aspects of the Holocaust documentary Shoah is the banality of exposed bureaucratic machinery.  The miracle of the near 10 hour film is the absence of archival footage. Filmmaker Claude Lanzmann ignored black-and-white film of sunken cheeks, exposed ribcages, and landfills full to popping with bloated corpses as a lever to move his rock.  Meat is eschewed. Such was his knack. Spartan footage of historical documents provides applicable punch, things like the simple nuts-and-bolts of figuring out the most efficient internment camp train schedules and how to achieve an oven capable of disposing of as many bodies as possible in a day. 

As far as I know only one co-worker voted Republican in the national election. He is white. He is straight. He is old as fuck.

Yesterday, getting ready for work, I listened to a teenager on NPR, utterly freaked out because her mother is undocumented and she has friends accepted into college programs who are undocumented and now they face a giant void given the next four years of a Supermeat Republican Executive-Legislative-Judicial sandwich. The girl was so upset most of what the reporter chose to share with listeners came out in hitched sobs.

Later, my gleeful co-worker was telling me about some unsubstantiated story of Clinton calling a compatriot in tears, utterly devastated over the election results.  He also stated that protesters should just accept the fact that they lost.  This seems to be the general take of not only Trump supporters, but even those in the anti-Trump pool. 

They counter for productivity, rolling up sleeves and working intelligently and methodically to reclaim the country next time. This seems the perspective of the aged Liberal or Progressive; saddled with cooled blood, settled into a groove, more conservative and therefore more useless than they care to admit. No one, hypothetically, is grabbing grandma's pussy and she doesn't have too much to worry about when/if the Roberts Court begins poking into the ultimate fate of unborn fetuses.  

While the ship pitches and sways, while neighbors argue or agree to get along despite divides deep or shallow, while white males exult in triumph and all too many others face a new likelihood that they or their loved ones might run into a gaggle of frat boy-type group menace, this continues.  To my brain and my sense of priority, this > that.  This would be happening even if Clinton had triumphed in the electoral college.  Or if it had been Bernie v. Trump. Or Bernie v. Kasich.  

Not long ago I finally realized animals will continue to be treated deplorably until human beings finally figured out how to get along with one another. November 7th? The animals were fucked. November 8th? Fucked. November 9th? Still fucked. 

Hypothetically, we'll survive into a 22nd century. By then, all this American moral ground constantly dug up, seeded, partially grown, and then dug up and seeded again will lock down. All the blood-boiling issues of the day might cease existence as toys abused at the hands of an ever rotating cast of politicians and the puppet masters who love them.

I keep thinking back to those slam poets, the ones that really knew how to show a big girl a good time. Their confusion that the slam piece could be construed any way other than cool or bad boy bragging of the highest order. I don't know that you could call it similar to the apologies of the avowed non-racist/non-homophobic/utterly-hate-free Republican voter. They are the ones who just won back their country. All those racist acts you hear about are being committed by outliers to the cause.  And yet anyone paying just a little attention to the campaigns just ended would have to say, if they were honest, that meat, the color of meat, the sexual persuasions of meat, the religious beliefs of meat, were used as a lever to deliver the result.    




Friday, November 4, 2016

Gargantuan Stick Pot Of Ooze

Starring a mentally ill lottery winner in a bucket helmet, 'Mazing Man was a sweet-natured DC title with sitcom-plots (i.e. 'Maze babysitting the neighbor's cat).  Needless to say, rostered in a product line swollen with standard long underwear fare it was simply too beautiful to live. 

The last issue cover attempted pilfering the stratospheric success of The Dark Knight Returns. At least one Dark Knight fan felt unduly roped in. Discovering no Frank Miller Bats inside, he tore up his $.75 investment and mailed the chunks to the DC editorial offices.  

When Warner Bros. announced Heath Ledger had won the role of the Joker, a fanboy doubled-down and penned a treatise on the corporate suits getting it wrong. Wizard's letter column provided a podium for the poison, including a pointing out that if DC/Warner Bros. didn't evict the Academy Award winner from the role, this male with disposable income was willing to not only stop buying DC titles, but he'd boycott all Warner Bros. subsidiary products. There was even a petition, such was this moral twerp's initiative. 

I shat massive chunks of passion from my soul when the California Angels tremulous hold of the ALCS crown evaporated Game 5, 1982. Rod Carew was my favorite player, so the Angels had to be my favorite team. Once things got dicey, I walked away from the television and went outside to throw a Nerf football around with friends. My mom came outside to tell me that the Angels had fully crumpled, their World Series bid toppled into the mud. 

Living rural earned me a callus of patient satiation, a crude badge of honor. Here, 'earned' could be substituted out for 'inflicted upon'.  
The last time I ever cried over not getting something I wanted was in the Pendleton Bi-Mart. Mom wouldn't get me a He-Man. Sadly, I think I was in double-digits by that point. Ten-years-old, shedding copious amounts of salt over molded plastic. 

Until college, going to movies presented a hurdle. Home was 60 miles from civilization. Trips to town were all day affairs with dozens of stops. A movie was the last thing either exhausted parent wanted to endure.  So the film either had to be something we all wanted to watch, or there had to be an endurable alternate choice for dissenters. I missed the theatrical runs of both Superman II and Star Trek IV because of this pesky family rule (ownership of the oversized Superman II Official Movie Magazine and possession of several Star Trek 20th anniversary periodicals as well as devouring the Vonda N. McIntyre-penned novelization kept me moderately sane). However, other end of the policy-stick, I got to watch Superman III while my sister opted for Octopussy. But I did have to sit through all of Yentl. For a little guy, an exercise in pain, one I have yet to tease and reapply, mostly because I already know I'd like it 30-years on given the fact up to about the time of her marriage to James Brolin, all the many manifestations of Miss Streisand inflict upon me significant pupil dilation.     

I already voted. Through the glories of these modern times, the county website allowed me to confirm the ballot was received, my signature was confirmed, and my ballot will be counted. 

I've lived in the conservative side of this state. Now I perch in the permanently pot-smoking, proudly queer capital of Cascadia. I've lived in bottom-of-the-barrel, economically depressed Idaho, Oregon, and Washington towns, populations ranging from 10 to 1100. I've listened to Rush Limbaugh semi-regularly. I've read Al Franken books. I like Obama. I liked Dubya. I think military spending is outrageous. I feel pride being a citizen of the country with all the big bad toys the other kids envy. I believe in single payer healthcare. I believe in public education. I believe in the damnable existence of bureaucratic incompetence. I believe FOX News and Democracy Now! are each echo chambers and feedback loops. I believe most, if not all, the gargantuan stick pot of festering ooze of this election cycle would have been avoided if Bernie had gotten the nod.  

I missed out on most of 2000's election insanity due to surfing my own personal tumult. Moving from CA to WA, I didn't cast a ballot. It wasn't a priority. I heard about 'dangling chads'. I just couldn't give a shit.

Coming up on Tuesday, I feel the needle ticking from unease to fear. Not because Trump might win or because Clinton might win, but because I think of passions overspilling. We've become agents of action-masked-as-thought rather than thought. Mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers tweet about "Skittles" and "Googles" and "Fishbuckets" and use those same hands and same brains to apply loving touch and thought towards their families and neighbors. Those rushing to judge Trump from the Access Hollywood tape conveniently redact the evidence Bill Clinton exhibits virtually the same brand of villainy.   

No one ever stormed the DC Comics offices and shot up Editorial over a too-late-to-spike-sales-gimmick. No one blew up a Warner Bros. reception area because the guy that played a gay cowboy was going to give the Joker breath. I never sat in a darkened movie theater and texted a friend about the musical Jew/trannie-fest I was having to endure. That was then.

At best, election day is going to be close and topsy turvy and there are going to be millions of stunned brains and faces come the final results. I don't want to even guess what might amount to 'at worst'.