Old Crank

I’m gonna make this quick.  I’ve only seen a couple episodes of Master of None season 2.  Ashley watches the show.  She enjoys it.  I don’t like it.  I don’t think the dialogue is written particularly well.  It feels very much like dialogue that was written down and never actually spoken aloud before it went in front of the camera.  There’s no natural flow to it.

The characters seem to not have known each other before any of the scenes they’re in.  The acting doesn’t feel natural.  It’s like everyone’s just waiting for everyone else to stop talking so they can say their line as soon as possible.

For a show that relies on that feeling of intimacy in order to feel a connection with the characters, the intimacy of individuality, they don’t seem to have spent much time trying to cultivate that.  Observations about the world we live in are laid out bare, unnaturally.  Maybe it’s just because I haven’t watched a lot of the show.

I just don’t find the charm in the characters.  They all feel like robots to me.  Mouthpieces for one-dimensional observations about the world.  I didn’t hear any observations that changed my outlook either.  That’s the only thing I look for now.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After the Election

At this point in the morning I have only a few emotions left.  For the first time in my life, I am truly embarrassed to be an American.  I am embarrassed to show my face in public.  I know I didn’t vote for him, but it does not matter.  I didn’t work hard enough.  I didn’t try.  I didn’t do what I was supposed to do to not let this happen.  

 

My state.  I am embarrassed to be from Ohio.  I am embarrassed to be here for the first time in my life.  I never used to think of Ohio as flyover country, but now I think that’s what we should be.  

 

So white America was scared.  Scared of losing a country that wasn’t ever theirs to begin with.  Scared of losing their guns, but not scared enough of losing their voice.  So what if my dad, stepmom, uncles and aunts won’t be able to get or afford health care because they’re all old and unhealthy.  They’d rather have that then have a woman they unquantifiably call a liar in the same office.

 

I don’t know how they are going to be able to rationalize holding their nieces, their wives close and confidently say this is the man to lead them.  The man who wouldn’t even call them human, unless they were hot.

 

I feel in this moment like I do any time I get angry.  I feel foolish at my own anger, at its uselessness, and I feel empty inside.  I feel like my life has no meaning, if my strongest emotions covet no meaningful response.  Regardless of my fury, the monster still sits in the chair of a man now, who, once, justifiably, said he was unfit to be a president.  A man I respected.  A man who made me believe in the idea of America, an America where every voice can be heard and where we all look out for each other, regardless of what kind of sacrifice we would have to make in our own lives.

 

I truly, truly do not want to have children now.  Kiss grandkids goodbye.  As much as Ohio wanted to say it last night, this world does NOT revolve around you, or your sorry little house.  Your sorry little mind.  Your sorry little vote.

 

White people were scared of being a minority.  They were scared of being attacked on the streets just because they looked a certain way.  Please don’t profile me, you don’t know me.  It’s not fair to do that.  White people think Donald Trump will have their interests at heart.

 

Women and children do not exist.  Not as people.

 

I don’t even know what to say anymore.  I wanted to get this out of my head but I don’t know what to say anymore.  I’m very sad.  For the very first time in my life I feel my life doesn’t hold the value I thought it did.  Barack inspired me into feeling like I should do something, but I always felt comfortable knowing he was our leader, and he would take care of us.

 

The fucking people who didn’t like him didn’t like having a black man lead them.  I don’t fucking care what other bullshit reason they could come up with.

Now, I am afraid my life will be forfeit because I didn’t vote for a man who wants to jail his rivals.  You know, like a dictator.  I am furious he doesn’t consider Ashley an equal human being.  I’m lost when I think most of my family probably doesn’t think so either when they vote for a man like that.

 

I am scared into thinking I have to do something.  I am scared into thinking I better do something more, something useful with this worthless life of mine to try to make this a better place.  I can’t run, as much as I would like to.  I have to stay and fight, and that makes me feel like I have no choice but to give up my life for this.

 

And the old people who voted for him have made their statement.  They don’t give a fuck about the future.  They don’t care about their grandchildren, their young nieces and nephews.  They got mad at the fictional characters the television told them to be mad at.  These ignorant fucks got mad at Colin Kaepernick for kneeling because someone on the shouting box told them he didn’t like soldiers.  Nevermind how that doesn’t make any logical sense.  A black man is protesting them, get mad white people.  The NFL uses soldiers as props and as a recruiting tool, and our football teams are getting paid by the government to do so, but don’t be mad at that.  Be mad at the black man, the brown man.  Women.

 

White people.  Can I change my color?  It might be too dangerous to do that now anyway.  I can’t believe this.  I just can’t believe this.
Keep your fucking guns you fucking idiots.  What good is it going to do you against a fucking army.  I guess you can keep them to just shoot each other.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’d Like to Shout Into the Wind for a Second.

I can’t put this on the social media.  Because my significant other has advised me that, if I do, there will be repercussions.  The likes of which would be unnecessary, considering the people I would be engaging.  Stupid family members and such.

In France, 129 people were killed.  Terrorist attacks in the most random and terrifying way imaginable.  In the U.S., the legality of gay marriage was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In both instances, I saw people on Facebook drape a translucent flag coinciding with each event over an old profile picture.  Signifying unity I suppose.

One moment was momentous, joyous.  The other impossibly tragic.  I CAN’T ITERATE HOW MUCH IT BOTHERS ME TO SEE PEOPLE DRAPE A SEE-THROUGH FLAG OF FRANCE OVER A PICTURE FROM THEIR PROFILE 5 YEARS AGO.  And we call it unity, or empathy.

It’s nothing but laziness.  It’s apathy really, not empathy.  I haven’t done it; I haven’t done anything either.  But that is only a self-gratifying gesture.  Some fucking body else shared a picture tallying the death toll of November 13th.  Claiming 150,000+ lives were taken.  Breaths were lost.

There was, literally, no reason to do this.  No reason to come up with the number of lost lives from the tragedy on that day.  I suppose we could do that for every day.  I think they missed a lot of lives from civil wars, illness, famine, common murder, age, accident, and evils we couldn’t account for.

Self-gratification is nothing ever.  But now it is always available.  One quick share, edit, snap, click, and pic away.  And I don’t know where to go to get away from it.  I can place myself in the moment of those attacks or standing above the ground when it splits.  I can cry for those people we lost.  I can donate money.  To whom or what I don’t know.  It’s a really easy click to make.

But I can’t help them.  I have one short life and I have to live it.  They would feel the same way about me.  I cry for them because I put myself with them, and I am terrified.  But I will NEVER STAND ON THEIR GRAVES AND GRATIFY MYSELF WITH A FALSE DISPLAY OF EMPATHY OR AFFECTION.

I hate these people I see on my Facebook.  On whatever I see them.  I just can’t tell them that, and I can’t get away from them.  So I have to yell here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

On the Outside of the Internet Age, Looking In

Growing up on the cusp of the internet age, I didn’t know I’d find myself wrapped up in the moment of the greatest age of human experimentation.

My girlfriend and I had a conversation tonight.  We were trying to process, in our minds, the deviancy in our world today.  Specifically on college campuses.  We discussed the horrifying growth in sexual abuse, male against female.  We discussed the Rolling Stone article in which the problem was addressed, but was later redacted for factual inconsistencies.

We wondered if that was the real issue anyone should have had with the article, or whether that was a diversion incited to draw us from the real problem we face.  Instead of trying to come up with a reason, a cause to investigate why this problem was so rampant and terrifying, we found ourselves fact-checking a story that has unfolded in essentially the same way countless times at any of the (all of the) campuses in this country.

Why are these young people acting so recklessly, with no regard to consequence or conscience to their fellow person?  Is it a result of our own access?  Are we just privy to this information these days more easily?  Is it due to the internet’s ability to let us find any story, at any time, in any area of the world?  Why do these kids not treat their equals as if they are equal?  Why do they treat them like they are some kind of non-person, a fictional character they can create or destroy as they see fit?

There are of course administrative issues as well.  Colleges are not learning institutions anymore, they’re credit card companies.  Have a young person build debt they will be forced to pay the rest of their lives.  If a company suffers public embarrassment through hundreds of sexual assault cases, they might not survive the PR blowback.

But that isn’t the real concern here.  Why are kids acting this way?  Why do they feel so entitled to act this way?  Do they not know there are consequences for their actions?  How can they treat another person that way so casually?

Entitled.  That’s when it started to hit me.  I know I have heard this point made in other places before, but this was the first time this idea really started to sink in for me, as I tried to understand why kids only five or ten years younger than me acted so completely different than me (I’m 28.)

I was born right before the Internet really came into being, before it was worldwide.  I had AOL when I was twelve, maybe thirteen.  Dial-up connection.  When I was fourteen, fifteen, going into high school, Napster allowed me to download any song I wanted.  It only took me two hours to download It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy.

When I was eighteen, I got my first cell phone.  I thought text messaging was the stupidest idea in the world.  I have this phone I can call anyone I wanted to at any time, I can just call them and tell them to meet me here, or I’ll be there.  I didn’t need to waste time typing out a message.  By the end of my freshman year in college, I recognized the value of sending a message to someone without having to have a conversation.  Without having to hear their voice, without having to deal with rhythms or inflections.  Without being awkward.

My sophomore year in college, a girl asked me if I had a Facebook account.  I didn’t know what she was talking about.  I had to ask my friend.  He told me it was a place where you could put your name and stuff on the internet.  Talk about yourself, share stuff with other students.  I thought it was dumb.  We thought it would be a hilarious idea to use my e-mail address to make up a fake person instead.  In the years since he has reverted back to me, of my own name.

I understand Twitter, but I don’t use it much.  I still don’t get much valuable information from it.  I have never been on Reddit.  I don’t read comments on YouTube.

I couldn’t for the life of me understand why these kids, these kids who know even less than I do about the world, felt so entitled to share their opinions (and EMOTIONS!) about people, places and things they interact with on the internet, and in such inflammatory ways.

I used to think entitled.  Now I know that isn’t the correct word at all.

Parents in the world today, in this country, are so laughably, embarrassingly behind.  I can’t understand why.  I see a commercial on TV every night from a local hospital.  In it, the typical questions a parent has about their child are asked.  Things like, “Why is my child acting this way?” and “Is puberty really this bad?”.  I saw an article on the internet today listing “dangerous” acronyms for parents to be looking out for on their kids’ phones.  Mainly, it had to do with sex.  How the kids were going to meet for sex.  When they were going to meet for sex.  You know, the real problem.

Apparently parents these days were born as fully formed 30 or 40-somethings who never were children.  They therefore must address the issues that they would have otherwise faced had they been children.  It is because children go through puberty perhaps at perhaps a younger age now, or they have access to sex things on the internet that turns them into reckless deviants who end up assaulting each other. These are not simple, biological urges that children go through, and it is the internet’s fault they have no control.

Parents are learning about why a 15 year old boy wants to fuck instead of learning how to make sure that same boy doesn’t do something, carried from his young dumb mind, that will follow him, haunt him for the rest of his life.

What did I come away from our conversation believing in?  What did I believe I learned from it, or what finally really started to sink in to my mind?

The idea that I was born, and grew right before the Internet came to be.  One of, if not the greatest innovation in human history.  The kids after me, just after me, were the first to grow with the Internet.

I grew alongside the Internet.  They grew within the Internet.

This is a point I have heard before, but one that explains so much about what children are like today.  We see the internet as the greatest and most disastrous invention we could conceive.  It is a place where we can receive all the information we know about the world at the touch of a button.  It is also the same place where we can reach any depths of human depravity we wish to reach with the same touch of a button.  The ones who grew outside reach in occasionally to examine.  We like to dabble in its potential, but we have never dove fully in it.  It is a terrifying thought to us to be so deep in the internet’s grasp we can’t see light anymore.  We can’t breathe, we could drown.

The kids who are five to ten years younger than me have the gills.  They were born in the Internet.

No, it’s the other way around.  The kids just behind me, they were the first to walk on land.  We are still in the water, but the shallowest of the shallow.

Because of this, not only do we not know what they are going to encounter, fearing the air and the land and what it may do to us, but they are going it alone.  They don’t have any guidance, and they don’t know how to navigate if we don’t know which way to point them.  They won’t survive, they won’t find food, unless we poke our heads out, rest it on the land, almost dry up, and tell them to eat not that plant, but that plant.

Instead we’re still worried about why they even want to fuck in the first place.

So much of what problems we face with “kids today” stems from them being the first generation to grow with the Internet.  I couldn’t, until tonight, understand why every kid felt as though they had a viable opinion on everything, much less felt it was necessary to tell everyone.

They grew up in a world where everything they came in contact with had a comment box.  And it is now as common to them to comment on them as it was for us to use a telephone.

What was it like for the first generation after the first people who discovered how to turn wheat into bread?  I mean, if that thought hadn’t existed before, how did someone discover it?

When I was in the sixth grade, if I wanted a girl to see my dick, I had to ask her.  I never asked a girl, of course, but it didn’t change the fact I wanted every girl to see it.  It was the first step to sex, right?  I can’t even imagine the amount of shame I would feel as my twelve year old chubby little self to walk up to a girl I liked, and ask her if she wanted to see my dick.  But that’s how sex worked, and I really wanted sex.   Now, no parent can understand how a little boy can be sending a dick pic to their little girls’ phone.  Sure, you might get in trouble, but that shame is not the same.  My face wouldn’t be two feet away from the girl of my dreams, asking her to look in my pants.

I can write any word I want on the Internet.  Here, now, anywhere.  I could never, never say it in public.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the balls, or maybe I know it’s not the right thing to do.  I don’t know.  Because now, I can play a game online where players don’t see each others’ faces.  In one particular game just two nights ago, I heard one boy ask another, in a particularly threatening tone, “Why are you such a nigger?”  I don’t know who the boy was he was talking to, and I don’t know who the boy was who was talking.  They will never know me, and they will never know each other.

You know liars right?  You know the type of liar who makes up a story, and, in the course of retelling a false story over and over again, starts to believe the story is true?

Actions beget consequences.  In the world I grew up in, that is what I knew.  Immediate consequences.  Personal consequences.  This was true because actions were action.

These children did not grow in that society.  Their actions rarely suffer the consequences the generations before them faced, because their actions are metaphorical taking course in an new world they grew up in, a world we have decided to not understand.

I was a terribly shy kid.  I was terribly shy into my twenties.  I am still a little bit like that.  I don’t seek the company of strangers.  But I have learned through many failures struggles and successes how to live in a social world.  I may not have been fully socially active when I was 18, but I was socially aware.  I understood how to live in a world with other 18 year olds.

Kids now live in a different world, with no avenue towards social awareness without being in my world.  The consequences of that are not what they do to each other now, but how they do it.

The actions they take, assaulting each other, hating each other, destroying each other, is a result of the world they grew up in and it’s own infancy, sure.  But their actions are equally, if not more a result of the failure of generations before them to adapt.  To plunge headlong into the Internet, understand the principles of its modernity, and to guide their children through its trappings.

Parents must understand first what it is to grow within the Internet.  Then and only then can we all start learning how to live in this new world.

We are really standing on its edge now, on its precipice.  We now have to finish our work to make the Internet, and by extension mankind, what it should be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Then Madison Bumgarner Happened…and Never Again

Holy cow Madison Bumgarner.

I haven’t written anything on here in a bit, but you forced me to.

I knew what I was watching was singular, but I didn’t know what we were all getting into until they started flashing statistics on the screen about your performance during this World Series.

Statistics about how what you were doing hadn’t been done since 1914.

1914.

I was born in 1986.  The last time the Kansas City Royals went to the playoffs was in 1985.  So THAT was something I had never seen before.

What you did, Madison, was something no one had ever seen before.  And, according to those statistics, something none of us – none of us – will ever see again.

Ever see again in our lives.  That’s a phrase that, though we could use countless different ways in every day of our lives and still have it ring true, cannot ever ring true in such a universal fashion, or on such a grand scale.

What we all witnessed, and what you did these past few days, was something that will never happen again in our lives.  That is one of the most dramatic phrases something could ever be described as, yet gets used all too often like other canceled-out buzzwords:

“Impossible.” “Amazing.” “Awesome.”

This performance was the true definition of “Once-in-a-lifetime.”  And it will not be repeated for any of us to see.

I’m glad I watched most of this World Series, and was able to take some small part in it.  Your performance will be cheapened in the coming days and weeks.  Weeks and months.  Months and years.  Others, performances and people in the future will be cast under its shadow.  Even you will be.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we need to have our attentions captured, and thus must always search for another Madison Bumgarner 2014 World Series, there will not be one.

There are other things in our lives that we have to go out and find now that we can truly call “Once-in-a-lifetime,” and understand what we mean when we say that.

Thank you Madison, for re-establishing what that really means.

Posted in sports, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Memories of Robin.

To this day, it’s still a record for me. One that, I feel will never be broken. I remember the first time I went to see Aladdin in the theater. I went once with my dad, once with my mom. They were getting a divorce, and I was six. They took my sister and I each on their own. I went another time that I don’t remember at all. I know though, for certain, I went the the movies three times to see Aladdin. I have never gone to a movie in the theater more since.

I remember two things about that movie. I remember seeing the cave of wonders for the first time and being awestruck. I didn’t expect it. I did expect the second thing I remember. I remember Robin Williams making my sister and I squeal with laughter.

The sequel to Aladdin came out, but I had no interest. I had no interest because some other guy was voicing the genie. It wasn’t Robin Williams. Who was this impostor? I thought. I don’t remember that sequel at all. I do know they made a third movie, and Robin Williams reprised his role as genie. I don’t remember the movie, but that made me happy. Everything was in its rightful place.

For the past day, nothing has been in its rightful place. Robin Williams died, apparently by suicide. For the past day, it has felt like a part of my childhood, and a vital part of my life that used to bring me joy and make me smile had died. It felt like that because that was how important he was to the people who grew up in my generation. I don’t know how he was perceived by younger or older people, all I can attest to is what he did for us.

What he did for us, for me, was bring silly, essential joy. When we were kids he was our cartoons brought to life.  He was an adult that related to us. Made us laugh. Made us laugh in ways no other adult could. Our parents didn’t have that talent. We connected with him in that way, in a way we connect with people very rarely. He was the silly uncle to most of us, the kaleidoscope-voiced genie to all of us.

He taught us to laugh in Aladdin. He taught us to cherish and love everything we could in Jack. He taught us to value what we have in Jumanji. He taught us that, sometimes, love cannot save us always, but everything will still be OK in Mrs. Doubtfire. He, through his movies, taught so many of us as we grew up things we may have never learned on our own.

As we grew, that aspect of us grew as well. That funny shtick faded. We didn’t need that part of him anymore. What we got then was his earnestness. His heart, his center. There are so many times now, looking at his more recent performances, where I see a man who gives me subtlety, but honesty. Sincerity – it’s what we needed the most as we grew older, and he gave that to us.

One of the movies my family and I can sit together and watch, at any time, is The Birdcage. It is the one movie we can all agree upon. It is timeless to us, always makes us howl. It is sweet when it must be, raucous when it wants to be, and always fun. Robin Williams, I hear, tried out for the part Nathan Lane was cast for. I’m glad he played the part he did.

For us, for me, he was perfect when I needed him to be. When I needed him the most. I will miss him.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LeBron Came Back; So Did Cadence Delicate

On the day when the world was wrapt in coverage of LeBron’s essay and return to Cleveland,

Cadence Delicate completed and released their second album.  

To considerably less acclaim.  

I appreciated LeBron’s essay.  If nothing else, it convinced me of his earnestness to return to Cleveland.  And his willingness to stay this time.  It’s a great story.

And Cadence Delicate’s second album, SUPERMACHINE, is only 7 dollars.  And I’m in the band, and I don’t think it’s so bad.

These two events are clearly related.  I don’t know how yet.  Thank you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment