…to Louis C.K., not so much.
HAPPY NEW YEAR. Welcome to the dank, stinking, deep-webbed birth of two thousand nineteen C.E., the year born with a widow’s peak and with swastika-black cat-eyes wide open; the year that explodes from the belly already signed-up for Uber and deploying its influential personal brand. Two thousand nineteen is the malevolent offspring of The Storm who can read the runes, divine the sinister intent in the charred bones and slippery entrails of a former President’s funeral…
…Look! as the playback enters digital slo-mo and we zoom in on Laura’s face, hard and expressionless as stone. She turns with unnerving calm toward George, her downward glance at his right hand spun out to thousands of frames per second; he passes into her left hand an assassin’s final message…
…White envelopes. In every shot, members of the congregation are handling large, sealed, white envelopes…
…A specialist commentator reads body language, like a sportscaster: Obama’s bored; Clinton’s agitated; Trump’s the only one engaged. She’s right, it seems, but Trump is simply projecting his fascination with his own inner dialog; he’s wondering who’s next he can sack or screw…
What is in the white envelopes? God, what is it?
What’s in the envelope? What is the most obvious supplement, at a state funeral, to the souvenir program and the hymnal? In the wacko world of The Storm, there’s a white envelope, but what is in it? What must it contain?
“Child pornography,” of course: Our sad, lonely epoch’s psychopathic fantasy, its omnipresent allegory of the unspeakable and the uncontrollable.
Child porn—which undeniably exists, but not, as hysteria would have it, around every corner or as a constant given in the lives of our enemies—like the “satanic ritual abuse” of the 80’s, is our generic catch-all for the worst and our ultimate smear tactic, our most indelible stain. It is Medea’s hideous gift of poison coat and coronet that adhere to the flesh and boil it off the bones.
Our desire to stain—someone, anyone, signals our outraged helplessness and our unbounded paranoia. Our innocence, which is to say our trust, has been violated; we have no one to turn to; we sense we can never be as before. Our acting-out is a cry for help not from, or even about, children, but from ordinary, once-sane adults, from you, your neighbours, relatives and friends.
We’re all reduced to faceless confused casualties, wandering in and out of shiny dioramas constructed for our distraction. We’re eaten alive: our most banal secrets pimped out for ready cash, our daily routines surveilled and mapped to the millimeter.
Our thoughts and even our dreams take only the tightly circumscribed, brightly lit paths offered to them, rat mazes continuously reconfigured by the insidious soul-snatchery of THE DEVICE.
And someone must pay.
WELCOME to another year in which Parkland’s traumatized students, their teen years abducted then wiped out by the goons of the NRA, continue their quixotic battle for gun-control and try to recall anything of life in the time before, the time when their lives were ordinary kids’ lives, with no dangers more serious than turf toe, a fight with your best friend, the awkwardness of a first kiss.
For their efforts they are mocked by sad-sack dirt-bag comedian Louis C.K., who asks rhetorically, in his new comedy routine, if they think having survived a mass shooting makes them “interesting.”
No, Louis, in fact they’re the only ones in the room who aren’t thinking of themselves or their image. They’re trying to extract what paltry healing and common good they can from the spilt blood and torn bodies of their lost classmates.
They’ve put aside their private grief to work for the common good of all Americans—even you, Louis. The beauty of what they are doing breaks my heart. They are doing the work that adults have abandoned, adults who are too busy concocting puerile, self-serving fantasies to give the protection that is their duty.
They are making, Louis, the changes that you are too limp to effect, impotent as you are with the pathetic, needy impotence of the flasher. The extent of your comic genius is to diminish their hope, ridicule their bravery and discount their terrible rite of passage, to spit your contempt. You’re revealed not as a fiery preacher of intellectual freedom but as an angry, bitter flop. No, Louis, it’s you who wants to be “interesting.”
Instead you’ve revealed yourself as a rapist: a rapist who uses words to violate his victims instead of his cowed flesh-puppet, but whose mind is every bit as guilty as if he’d pinned them down until he’d finished.
RECENTLY I STARTED a new daily regime that involves, as its core feature, acknowledgement of the existence of people other than myself.
You know, and can I just say, seriously: It’s been hell.
This all developed from my attempt to figure out, via highly structured, in-depth research, why more people weren’t paying attention to me. Well, slice me to ribbons under the Queen streetcar if it doesn’t turn out that if you pay more attention to people, they pay more attention to you.
I was fortunate enough to quite randomly pay attention to Mark Landry, whose blog is at Peacehacks.com, and he in his turn, as God is my witness, paid attention to me—just as the Newtonian Law of Blog Attraction predicted.
Then I discovered—in-depth, remember—that he was, and that his blog was targeted to, evangelical Christians.
Ah, yes. Evangelicals. Nineteen sixty-nine marked the riotous start of gay rights at the Stonewall Tavern, and subsequently that new visibility of the gay sub-culture that was like having all our protective camouflage ripped off and being herded into a clearing, ready for the Evangelicals’ open season. And the buttoned-down but very burned-up Anita “Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree” Bryant, as fellow freshman fag-seniors will recall, was perfectly positioned to light the straw at the foot of the stake as Christ’s perky, big-haired Joan of Arc.
Bryant was so effective in her noxious anti-gay crusade that—true story—every fag and every fag bar in North America boycotted Florida orange juice, thereby getting her fired from the Florida Citrus Commission’s ad campaign and utterly destroying any tiny remaining flicker of social cachet that still dangled from the tiara of the Screwdriver, nature’s own breakfast cocktail.
Save Our Children was the slogan of Bryant’s campaign, a once-whispered sentiment now finally heard loud and clear. She was adamant that gay men were out to recruit the young ‘uns and instruct them in our deplorable lifestyle, a toxic untruth that still, sixty years later, blazes barely contained under the surface of the discussion, like the Centralia mine fire of homophobia.
I don’t know if Bryant is dead, yet, but I’m definitely not. On peacehacks.com I gingerly offered my two nickels (inflation) on a post by Mark in which he had suggested his fellow Christians should get with the program and stop vilifying the caravan of Central American desperate and poor. (“Heaven is a gated community!” one gentleman offered; I didn’t check to see if he worked for ReMax or was offering time-share.)
Mark responded to my comment in a way that made me feel completely right and even appreciated for having participated. Later in the day I noticed that he had visited my blog and commented in his turn. Within minutes, I’d received his friendly invitation to write an article for his blog. You can see the results online.
So, pay attention to others and they’ll pay attention to you. I know it seems like desperately uncongenial work, filling in for people’s laziness in not completely re-ordering the universe to put you at the centre.
But it’s all we have.