Month: September 2008


Fear has been in my thoughts lately. Particularly, fear's corrosive nature. The way fear, say in a time of want, quickly takes hold amazes me. In short order a society disintegrates along the fissures of diversity, as we seek to ensure OUR collective's success. More amazing, to me at least, comes with how quickly friends become targets, become "other". Fear births anger, simply the predicate for violent action. And quickly, society, a key evolutionary adaptation, collapses.

Via BlackBerry

Driving along in Kirkland, home of the modern yuppie, I’m passed by a new Mercedes. Lovely, silver, shiny, new, bling-bling; a part of me loaded with insecurity twinges while I purr along in my Toyota. Why? How come this is a metric of my self-esteem? Am I being unfair to myself, being upset by this train of thought and it’s influence? Consider, please, how much this viewpoint is drilled into us. Look at how often this imagery gets pushed into our faces, and how long that’s been going on. It shouldn’t surprise me, really, that I sometimes feel this way. Though my conscious values oppose this, the lingering thread of this programming has threads into the depths psyche.

Oh, McCain

So, I just now read the NYTimes piece about McCain’s Convention speech. Sorry, but pretty much everything he is claiming here is nonsense. He’s going to end partisan rancor? I guess by that he means “after the election”. Or does he only mean that done by the nasty Democrats; Republican invective is not really partisan? It was HIS convention that was laden with partisan jibes, and his VP choice who was the second most rancorous in the parade of bitter characters (Giuliani taking the gold in nasty, partisan invective. I suppose that his ridicule of “hope” shouldn’t surprise me, but the whole thing just saddened me).

With this, why is Palin-as-VP some sort of consummation of his maverickness? Other than her gender, she offers nothing new, nothing mavericky. She is lock-step in line with her party, and loves the dirty tricks perfected by Delay and Gingrich. This pharasitical attitude about being a guardian of virtue who is somehow exempted from common decency is hardly innovative. I find it sad, and rather disturbing.

McCain, give me something here. I respect your service to our country, that your military service was beyond commendable. However, I need a vision. I need something other than a VP who I disagree with on every point. You offer me emotional posturing and anemic vision. I don’t see “change” in anything you’ve said. Sorry, but after the ugliness of the Republican Convention, I doubt there is anything you can do to win my vote. There are times I think McCain “gets it”, gets that America is tired of the ugly politics that his party has mastered. However, he was the only one at his convention who showed any commitment to that notion. It’s clear, especially with Palin on the ticket, that the rest of the party is quite content with rancor and partisan “dirty tricks”. All in all, the behavior of the Republicans, aside for McCain, pretty much alienated me.

So, my take on the past two weeks: Obama was inspiring; Biden a kinda swarmy uber-wonk; Palin angry, partisan, self-righteous, self-absorbed…well, nothing positive to say about her; McCain, a war hero who wants to do something good, but can’t shake the mandibles of his party’s mandarins. Sorry, Pub’s, inspiration wins with me, even over your bitter self-righteousness. Of course, you’ll blame the media for losing this election, like you do everything else. Heaven knows that God’s chosen would ever make need to own any of their own failures.

A Venture Into Bukowski

So, I read Charles Bukowski’s “Women” this week. He’s a writer that I’ve felt I SHOULD read for some time, but (from what I’d heard) felt a need to avoid (or, at least, imbibe my ‘other-things-to-do’ notions). Now, having succumbed to my literary aspirations, I’ve taken the dive. I figured, “Heck, I might actually like his stuff. Besides, all kinds of folks are comparing him to Whitman, Williams, and the like.”

Perhaps my literary aspirations are weak, but I found it coarsely written, with most detail centering around sex. Well, that and booze. Shouldn’t surprise me, I guess. However, after awhile, with nothing else, even sex gets boring (perhaps that’s why I find network TV dull and uninspiring?). This was (possibly) deliberate, to make the character one dimensional, unpleasant, and rather unsympathetic. As the point of view really never changed, things became more and more tedious; we looked through Chinaski’s eyes exclusively. And his view only mildly shifted. It was interesting to me how, at the very end, Chinaski lifted his view every so slightly outside himself. But I never found myself caring.

Bukoswski does a great job of creating a rather disagreeable character, surrounded by unpleasent companions. What I never, at all, ever, was able to do was care about Chinaski. That, perhaps, is what I found as the greatest weakness. Perhaps my lack of sympathy stems from Chinaski’s stark alien-ness to me. Yet, I’ve met many people with a wide array of deranged-ness. Most of humanity’s dysfunction is not alien. Maybe that redeems me, maybe not. However, I never moved away from the analyst reading the book to understand the critical acclaim. I had hoped that I would, as I did with Keroauc, amongst so many others, find myself becoming absorbed. No dice, mi amigos. Life’s strangeness, I guess.