The Awl has this series where they revisit careers of respected writers who maybe had not so hot beginnings. This one’s on Joan Didion. I just love her. Every criticism I can find of her is something I love about her (usually about her being a cold woman and/or a crummy mom).
This lesson: Screw ‘em. Write the crap in your head that keeps spinning around and can’t get out. In fact, that should be why you write. To get that out. And money.
Update: I feel like a bit of a dick for feeling this, but I’m listening to a 45 minute interview with Didion about Blue Nights, which is the book about the death of her daughter. My sweet, brilliant, Lord of the Flies is very much alive, but her expressions about dealing with well-meaning friends and family and grief (autism has caused me a greater degree of grief than all the deaths I’ve experienced combined, and I’ve experienced quite a bit of death) rang truer than any specific autism recollection I’ve ever heard. She unknowingly acknowledges and permits my grief. She relates, or I related to her. Regardless, I feel less alone. Finally.
To write the book I’ve been working on about Jack, and been blocked about, I may need to read and process Blue Nights. I dunno.
I still can’t settle on a headline capitalization policy.
It’s 11:45. Between the supermoon and our city’s version of Mardi Gras I ain’t sleepin’. My brother-in-law is in town helping remodel my mother’s bathroom, so every room in the house with upholstered seating has a slumbering human in it. I’m holed up in the half bath, wide awake and worried about loud typing. The woman who was literally howling for four hours straight finally quit as Vlad’s creepy snoring started up.
Jenny is so awake.
Earlier, I read this Adam Yauch profile at The Awl. Turns out Dave Bry has what it takes to win a round of Six Degrees of MCA. He talks about Yauch’s gracefulness in accepting his cancer diagnosis. I’m not surprised. My rudimentary knowledge of Buddhism tells me they believe in rebirth and that human life in itself is suffering.
What I found more notable was Yauch’s ease in regards to his own growth as a human being. The Beastie Boys I invoked in yesterday’s post were superficial party boys without much regard for respecting people or thinking too deeply about much of anything. Yauch was all in, yet we watched him mature to be a man of impeccable integrity. Bry remarks that Yauch was open, honest, at peace and very matter of fact about his past. Another tenet of Buddhism is not dwelling on the past. I assume this attitude of his that I envy…
There’s movement. I’m definitely typing too loud. Oh, faster makes it worse. Switching bathrooms. I’m back.
is due to his faith. I don’t dwell on the past, but I also find the cliche about not regretting your mistakes because they made you who you are today complete and utter bullshit. I’ve done things that have really hurt people in ways I’ll never make amends for. We all have. It is what it is, but it’s not okay. It’s not worth it, and I find any other sentiment offensive. It’s self-centered. These things don’t define me or effect my life in any meaningful way, but they will always bug me. they eat at me a little, and I don’t know that I want to be the kind of person not bugged by these things.
But Yauch seemed to accept himself, almost compartmentalized it. That would come in pretty handy. It’s odd how in many other areas of my life I find compartmentalizing a little too easy.
That’s it. No neat conclusion this time. Just needed to get those sheep counted.
It’s one of those things you always remember. Where you were when you first heard/fell in love with the Beastie Boys. For me it was at a kickball game in East Moline, Illinois in what must have been 1987. I know it was fifth grade because of who was there. License to Ill, specifically Brass Monkey. I picked up a new copy a few months ago, and we had no business listening to that. It’s gloriously vulgar, yet innocent, like adolescent boys with makeshift dry bars and panty-related agendas tend to be.
There aren’t many non-people things I’ve held on to consistently since then. Perhaps unconditional love for the Chicago Cubs (shut up) and the midwest. For most of my generation the Beastie Boys were responsible for a huge part of the soundtrack of our youth. As grown as we get cranking License to Ill, Paul’s Boutique or Check Your Head can, for a moment, take us back to an unincumbered, debaucherous and oddly innocent time, despite knowing the music was made by three pretty deep and thoughtful guys. Maybe that’s what makes it ok.
Today we lost Adam Yauch, MCA, to cancer at age 47. A beautiful contradiction. He leaves behind a wife, teenage daughter, his good works and an abbreviated lifetime of art that will continue to challenge us and provide us a reprieve from our adult woes.
“We can learn to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about gay people, the same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bull—t in the Bible about all sorts of things,”
Some Christian students walked out. Savage finished those remarks moments later and referred to the students who left as pansy-asses.
For this there is now a call from conservatives (many of whom I call friends) to Viacom (owner of MTV where Savage just launched his own show) to fire him.
I find that absurd and short-sighted. Perhaps he should be criticized for using words like bullshit and pansy-assed when addressing an audience that young, but it’s not worth sharpening your pitchforks over (chill, it’s metaphor).
I’m not going to get into the merits of Dan Savage’s Bible interpretation. Him being right or wrong isn’t the point. I will say that Christians attacking him have once again missed an opportunity to defend scripture. Instead of walking out (which started the second he said Bible, before there was anything to deem offensive) and pressuring his boss to can him, those offended should have used this as an opportunity to counter his theology. They instead chose to send a message that Christians are intolerant and unable or unwilling to bother defending or explaining their faith, to which the conclusion is often that it’s because they can’t.
Besides all of that, this boycott mentality that both political extremes use now is hypocritical, wrong and short-sighted. This is no different from Media Matters having a team dedicated to bullying Glenn Beck’s sponsors, effectively trying to get him fired for saying things they didn’t like. I will say this is a little more serious than Don Imus. He was villified over one word, but you can see how the same faulty logic was used there. There are plenty more examples of this silliness on both ends of the spectrum.
This crap is wrong because the punishment just doesn’t fit the crime. It’s hypocritical because both sides do it, and it’s short-sighted because you’re giving the opponent grounds to give it back to you when the opportunity presents itself (and it will). No, technically Dan Savage’s free speech wasn’t violated, but creating this environment where anyone with a controversial opinion and notable platform are having their livelihoods routinely threatened for using it is truly regressive.
That’s not good for liberty or free speech or progress or unity.
And refusing to listening to opposing points of view sure as hell isn’t good for aspiring journalists who are still expected to at least pretend to set their personal feelings aside when covering a story. On the other hand, points for non-conformity.
*Some are invoking other provocative things Savage has said as grounds for their overreaction. That’s the political equivalent of a spouse bringing up past when losing a marital spat. I’m not interested.
*I’m also not buying that this is a case of the guy who started “It Gets Better” being guilty of bullying. Although I wonder if Bret Easton Ellis’s approach isn’t better? Probably not though.
Hey, you guys. Still waiting to be let out of limbo, so I read another book. Pretty by Jillian Lauren is reminiscent of the bad girl memoirs I seem to be a sucker for. (Huh? No reason.)
Bebe Baker recounts events leading up to her current circumstances, in a halfway house and trying to finish cosmetology school, where she’s trying to really put her life together for the first time. I wouldn’t say she’s reinventing herself since she’s essentially been fumbling around up until this point.
I give it 3 stars. Good book, easy to dance to.
I’m more interested in the author. Jillian Lauren really is a former stripper and cosmetologist. She’s also a former escort, including a couple stints in the harem that prince in Brunei. Now she’s married to Weezer’s bass player and they adopted a son she has nicknamed T-Bone.
I’m not posting much because I’m busy throwing myself an epic pity party. I’m depressed over legit stuff, which our society currently seems to have less patience for than people who are clinically depressed over imaginary stuff or circumstances they created for themselves. Two years ago I asked God for a way to prevent something like this. He started answering then went out for a pack of cigarettes or something.
I’m sure He has a plan. I think it will be over soon. I’ve been through times like this before and the nervous breakdown usually comes right before the resolution, but right now I can’t seem to focus… on anything. I’ve tried to just snap out of it, and I can’t. I’m doing my best to not spread whatever this is, but I’m not doing very well. Then I feel like an asshole for that. I’m really sorry about what anyone who shares physical space with me right now is dealing with.
I miss my dad. I think if he was here he’d tell me to get my ass out of bed and be nice to my mother, but I don’t think he’d try to convince I shouldn’t be pissed or hurt or frustrated about the things I’m pissed and hurt and frustrated about.
I haven’t lost my faith, but it’s hanging by a thread. It might sound strange, but what doesn’t help is being reminded that God is in control of this, regardless of what the truth is. I can’t praise God in this storm. I know I should, but I can’t. I’m forcing myself to go through the motions of being a Christian, but I need to be allowed to not think about God while in this frame of mind, which comes and goes. It makes things worse. It makes me angry with Him, even though intellectually I understand he isn’t doing or allowing these things just to screw with me, but it feels that way and fighting that is exhausting.
Also on the list of things I’d rather not discuss are any election, a handful of naughty secret service agents and whether or not a white guy killed a black guy because he’s black especially when said white guy isn’t that white.
Housekeeping note: I guess sometimes if people are subscribed to comments they get emails about comments in moderation, including retweets. I shut off that function, but it didn’t seem to take. Anyway, I’m working on it. Sorry.
And I have filled this void with things unreal,
And all the while my character it steals…
Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart
But you, you’ve gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine
I’m reaching the end of what I now see was the most mentally and emotionally difficult 5 years of my life. I’m proud and ashamed of how I’ve handled it at different times, sometimes the same time.
My point of view has broadened because of 2 situations in my personal life, and I think this is why my views on politics and faith have moved towards the middle, particularly over the last year. I’ve also come to see the huge difference between debate and discussion, particularly in politics. Discussion can be friendly, respectful and productive. Debate is about winning and mocking your opponent. Unless the other person is open-minded and influential I have no urge to spend my time on it, and it’s certainly not an experience I want to have with anyone I care for personally.
As far as faith, I will always believe one’s soul is their most important possession, largely because you have it for eternity. I’m not confused on the big stuff, but I am doing some soul-searching on a few finer points, and I need the freedom to figure these things out for myself and by myself.
That’s not all I have to say, but I think it’s all I should say.