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October 14th, 2014
This was making the rounds this morning…
This is the gutter’s response to the head of the the National Institutes of Health’s comments the other day that a decade or more of republican assaults on science and research has had consequences. Oh no, says Erickson…we were simply reigning in all that wasteful spending on frivolous things like why lesbians are overweight.
Of course, obesity is a health concern, and it’s a fact that Americans are generally heavier now than in decades past, so that makes it a public health concern. And if we can get a handle on the causes of obesity we can improve the health of Americans and Americans can live longer and healthier lives and hopefully it reduces public spending on health care. But Erickson’s kind don’t think that way. To really understand how they think, you have to get past the gratuitous insult to lesbians in what he’s saying. Because beneath that what he seems to be saying is he really thinks it’s tragic the money didn’t go to an Ebola vaccine.
And if that doesn’t make you laugh out loud you haven’t been paying attention to Erickson and his kind, because without a doubt if that money Had gone to Ebola research he’d have been loudly bellyaching about all that money being spent on Africans and the republicans in congress would have gleefully cut the funding for it…ostensibly on the grounds that the money should be spend on the health of Americans instead. But of course…Africans!
Because disease doesn’t matter unless it’s killing people who matter, and black Africans don’t matter any more than homosexuals matter. And when disease Does start killing people who matter, then it’s Why Aren’t You Doing Something!!!
by Bruce |
Posted In: Politics
Tags: Republican America, The Abyss, The Human Gutter
October 13th, 2014
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
by Bruce |
Posted In: Politics Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: Republican America, The Abyss, The Jackass Chronicles
October 6th, 2014
“What Did You Expect?” Asked The Scorpion
This came across my news stream the other day…
It relates the story of a gay man who took a new job and moved his spouse and their teenage son from a good home in Massachusetts to Nebraska, where there are precisely zero protections for gay people. He went into it thinking it was a dream come true job. The company recruiter had assured him that the company was “very affirming”. But the problems began almost the instant they settled into their new home and he into his new job. It was a disaster, financially and emotionally. Now you may wonder why any gay person would leave Massachusetts for Nebraska and expect to be treated like anything other than human garbage. Certainly the company lawyer did…
One day, after losing his job, Paul heard from the company’s lawyer, who asked him the same question that his boss had already raised. “‘What did you think was going to happen in this community?’” Paul recalls the lawyer saying. “‘We’re a Republican town, we’re a conservative town and we’re a Christian town.’”
Not exactly what the recruiter told him, but they probably approach their jobs a bit differently.
Let this man’s story be a warning. Regardless of what you are told, regardless of how friendly they may seem, if the place they want you to move to is homophobic and the company calls that place home, no matter how good the offer looks, take a walk.
One other thing: Read that company lawyer’s spiel again. We’re a Republican town, we’re a conservative town and we’re a Christian town. When someone complains about republicans, conservatives, and Christians being called bigots, laugh in their face and tell them you’re only reading what’s on the label they’re proudly wearing.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: Gratuitous Anti-Gay Hate, The American Gutter, The Struggle For Our Lives
September 30th, 2014
Gaining A Body, While Losing A Heart
This came across my Facebook stream this morning…
Unfortunately, 2013’s picture is no different from previous years: the vast majority of annual conferences are in a membership and attendance decline.
This is written from a religious conservative point of view, so it’s unsurprising they see the decline of the progressive churches in the denomination as validation of their stand against the homosexual menace. But look closer, at what the self assured fail to see right in front of their noses…
It’s hard not to look at the list of fastest declining annual conferences in light of the continuing debates over Scriptural authority and sexual morality within the United Methodist Church. Of the 16 fast-declining conferences listed above (excluding Rio Grande’s unusual circumstances), at least 12 have passed resolutions at recent annual conference sessions stating their support of the LGBTQ movement, and another (Alaska) belongs to a jurisdiction that has done the same. Meanwhile large and growing UM annual conferences have overwhelmingly rejected such resolutions.
And there it is…“passed resolutions”. Oh they did, did they? Yes, and that’s all those churches Could do for their LGBT members and their families and friends…pass resolutions. They can’t marry the same-sex couples within them. They can’t allow their gay members to fully participate in church life. So the people of conscience in them are leaving. But note that this isn’t conservatives leaving liberal congregations, that’s people leaving Methodism because they can’t in good conscience stay.
Yes, yes…some conservatives in those churches may also be moving to other congregations more in tune with their bar stool prejudices, but that can’t explain the numbers you see there. What’s happening is people in more liberal parts of the country are leaving the denomination itself. And it goes further…
The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
That’s an article from October 2012, but more recent Pew polling finds the trend continuing. Look here…
…many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%). More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%), while more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37%), and one-in-five (21%) say they pray every day. In addition, most religiously unaffiliated Americans think that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community bonds and aiding the poor.
With few exceptions, though, the unaffiliated say they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them. Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics…
And over and over again what you see triggering this abandoning of organized religion is distress over the way churches are treating women and gay people. And in denominations structured in a rigid top down hierarchy, that distress is going to be most pronounced in the progressive congregations that can do nothing except utter polite words of protest. Unlike denominations such as Baptists (I was raised in a Baptist household), they can do nothing other than appeal to the conscience of the powers that be. But that tomb is sealed. Or…they can walk out the door. And maybe just keep going. But for people raised in those churches, that can be a horribly traumatic experience. Like the wounded survivors of a bitter divorce, they’re deeply reluctant to go back to the altar. More and more people, especially young people, seeing the cheapshit prejudices of their neighbors being cloaked in and even validated by their religions, find themselves not only on the other side of the church door, but questioning the whole christianity/religion thing.
So there is an overall decline in religiosity happening now in America and the west, even as the conservative churches gain membership. That isn’t growth, it’s hardening of the arteries. Of course the more conservative churches are holding onto, or even growing membership: they’re fine with the law the hierarchy is laying down on those matters. Some of the commenters in that article above seem to realize this and they’re fine with that. They want the progressives out. They may get their wish. But the ones that go, whether they remain Christians or not, will eventually find there is a richer, more deeply spiritual life to be lived out in the world, than inside a tomb.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: religion, The Human Heart, The Struggle For Our Lives
September 29th, 2014
Ultra Rich United
This from Rolling Stone…
The update [to the documentary film The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition], which is now available free online, is centered on their influence in (and outpouring of money since) the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. While researching and producing it with his small staff at Brave New Films, Greenwald says he was “surprised by not just the sheer numbers, but the extraordinary lengths they go to legally to hide the amounts they’re giving.”
The Rolling Stone article goes on to document three areas where the Kochs are surreptitiously funding “Think Tanks”, lobbyists and astroturf groups to achieve their political goals. This is the problem with the argument that even billionaires and corporations have free speech rights too. Yes they do, but they also have a power that the rest of us do not: they can drown out the national dialogue in their own manufactured noise and make it seem like it’s the sound of Americans talking to each other when it isn’t.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Politics
Tags: Greed, The American Gutter, The Noise Machine
September 24th, 2014
Karma Is A Bezos
@paulconstant: “Remember that brief moment when people thought he’d save newspapers? RT @aaronbrethorst: Real classy, Jeff. “
SLOG writer Paul Constant tweeted that the other day, along with this link…
The changes will hit hardest at employees hired before 2009 who could plan on receiving pension payments based on their income and years of service. Each of those employees could see scores — or hundreds — of thousands of dollars less over the course of a retirement. More recent hires do not have traditional pension plans.
The Post’s pension fund is running a surplus. Jeff Bezos, the new owner, is cutting benefits so he can raid it. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised. Just take a look at how he treats his Amazon workers. Or better still, listen to the workers on the picket lines in Europe, where American billionaires haven’t yet managed to succeed in strangling people’s sense of self worth and pride in their jobs…
No you’re not. You’re Jeff Bezos’ lunch and your future is his dessert. Bezos is classic predatory rich, pure and simple. And naturally he calls himself a libertarian, which is how the rich assure themselves that with great power comes no responsibility whatsoever. Greed is good. Selfishness is a Virtue. Eat or be eaten.
So here’s another example of the rich raiding the pension funds of working people, perhaps a more blatant one than most but then hey, Bezos is a libertarian after all and they have a moral code that says it isn’t you stealing from your employees it’s the invisible hand of the marketplace and if they would only stop being so lazy they could be billionaires too. All those city employee union pensions that have gone bankrupt over the years we’ve been told, made unrealistic promises they couldn’t keep and all those elderly workers will just have to learn to like eating cat food. But look closer and what you see are a lot of tax breaks to rich people and businesses that cities and counties could not afford, and so pension plans were raided to make up the difference, until there wasn’t any left to raid. For decades now a lot of worker retirement money has essentially gone straight into the pockets of the rich who couldn’t need it less but for whom more is never enough.
Which brings us back to The Washington Post, which has been tilting more and more to the republican party and the right ever since Reagan. There is some degree of poetic karma going on here I can’t help but appreciate with delight. You get into bed with vampires, don’t complain when you wake up one day with holes in your neck.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Politics
Tags: Our Feckless News Media, The Criminal Mind, The Human Gutter
Let’s Be Real…
Native American poet and author Sherman Alexie (Reservation Blues, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven) tweeted this earlier today…
@Sherman_Alexie: When someone says “Don’t overthink things” they mean “I’m worried that my entire life is a lie.”
Not sure what happened to him to make him make that observation, but I know what happened to me.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: Tales Of The Closet, The Human Heart, The Struggle For Our Lives
September 22nd, 2014
Insomnia TV Theater
I popped awake around 3am this morning and eventually wandered downstairs and flipped on the TV. God I love MeTV. Some of the old shows I used to watch as a kid I never really got when I was that young. One of those was Route 66, which is just amazing to watch now that I’m older and been around the block a few times.
This morning’s episode was titled “Love Is A Skinny Kid”, which is from a line of dialogue that will probably haunt me to my grave. Buz and Tod find themselves in a small Texas town when a young woman wearing a very disturbing Japanese Kabuki mask gets off a bus. She burns a doll on a stake in front of someone’s house, and a crowd gathers and the local sheriff takes her into custody. Then the following exchange happens between Buz and Tod…
Buz: I can still smell it.
Buz: No, I mean the hate. That girl — she hates so hard it came right through the mask. You know what I mean?
Tod: No, I’m not sure I do.
Buz: I guess you gotta be around it the way I used to be. It’s like … malaria. One sniff of it, it comes right back. You can forget anything, except … hate.
Tod: What about the little item that makes the world go ’round?
Buz: Love? Love’s a … a skinny kid, that can catch cold and die, from just standing outside a locked door, begging to come in. But hate … now that’s a tiger in the hall. Hot or cold, it busts in, chomps out a piece. And it never grows back.
Wow… Just…wow… Some of those early TV shows had some amazing writers working for them. And actors. That episode, in addition to regulars Martin Milner and George Maharis, also had Burt Reynolds, Tuesday Weld, Veronica Cartwright and Cloris Leachman in it. All of them gave amazing performances. But the writing…I never really appreciated it…couldn’t have back when I was a kid. That line, Love’s a skinny kid that can catch cold and die from just standing outside a locked door, begging to come in…But hate… It will haunt me forever.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: The Human Heart, The Struggle For Our Lives
September 14th, 2014
Message In A Bottle…
To whom it may concern…
Thank you for giving me permission to stick to my script for A Coming Out Story as I originally wrote it.
Also for some much needed motivation to get working on it again!
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: A Coming Out Story, Message In A Bottle, Persons Who Get Smaller With Age
September 3rd, 2014
Renewable Energy Is A Good Thing…Pouring Sludge Into My Car’s Engine, Not So Much…
Link to this post here on my blog about the problems with running biodiesel in modern diesel automobiles, from a MB Sprinter owners forum, leads me to this MB fact sheet (PDF document).
I had a brief argument with a guy in Kansas about all this. The problem here is the religious zeal of the ideology behind it. Weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels is a Good Thing. Mandating bio fuels without regard for what they’ll do to modern engines isn’t getting us there if what people experience is catastrophic engine failure and massive repair bills. Two winters ago, before taking the drive out to California in my new ‘E’ class diesel, I worried about what I was hearing regarding the proliferation of biodiesel my car can’t drink. What I was told by a mechanic at a Mercedes dealership, was I could always get pure petroleum diesel at an oil company owned filling station because that was all they sold. Truck stops and independently owned filling stations might sell bio, but the oil company ones didn’t. Now the oil companies are not very high on my list of things I approve of, but I found this to be a big relief. Not any more. Several states have apparently now mandated at least B10 only, everywhere. I suspect paying for the repairs to people’s engines when a steady diet of B10 has completely trashed them, let alone paying owners for the lost value of their automobiles, because basically those states have made all the passenger car diesels that can’t take that fuel worthless, isn’t in the cards.
There’s a lot of bullshit going on here in the biodiesel camp, and a lot of deliberate misrepresentation of what some diesel automobile makers are saying. In the above document Daimler makes it abundantly clear that they do Not approve biodiesel in their vehicles in percentages above B5, and even then only those biodiesel blends that meet ULSD specification ASTM D975. The document says straight up: “Diesel fuels between B6 and B20 or higher pose risks of engine and fuel system damage, and are not approved by Mercedes-Benz.”
I don’t know how you can interpret that as “Mercedes approves B20 so long as you keep an eye on the oil level” but that is what some people are saying glassy eyed on that MB Sprinter forum. No…what they are saying is if you can’t avoid using diesel higher than B5 (thank you jackass state legislatures!) then here is what you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your engine:
• Fill up with ULSD (B5 or less) whenever possible, from a name–brand fuel station.
• Regularly monitor your engine oil level if you have to use B20 fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to accumulate in the crankcase oil)
• Strictly follow the oil change intervals quoted in the instrument cluster and within your maintenance booklet, and use
ONLY engine oils and filters approved by Mercedes-Benz for use in the vehicle.
• If you do not plan to drive your vehicle for several weeks, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank completely in advance with ULSD
fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to sludge up when it just sits in the tank for not very long periods of time. Even the states mandating B10 or higher are saying during the winter months filling stations can sell B5 because it does not have the cold weather sludge characteristics higher percentage biodiesel blends do.)
That does not constitute approval of B10-B20, it only acknowledges a problem they have no control over…the one H.L. Mencken noted when he said that an idealist is someone who, noticing a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes it will also make a better soup.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life Politics
Tags: Biodiesel, The Jackass Chronicles
The Fine Art Of Inciting Violence While Looking Like A Victim
Most heterosexual Americans probably don’t have the Google “personalized” news page I do, which has a custom section powered by a google search that seeks out stories relating to Gay people. That custom news section gets me a torrent of news stories from news sources here in the U.S. and all over the world. And much of it is about violence directed at gay people.
I’ve been reading the news about my people, that goes largely under the radar of most Americans, for decades now. Back in the BBS days I did volunteer work for a nonprofit Gay BBS that involved sifting through wire service stories and reposting them for the other BBS users. As my online world expanded, so has my ability to seek out news that would otherwise get lost in the background static. So I have decades of awareness under my belt that maybe you don’t.
So it might be hard to really appreciate how to read crap like this from Life[sic]site…
He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it
“John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint. While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.
“According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,’ Herodias became ‘furious’ with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech…”
“The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice…”
…but I’ll give you a clue: The vast majority of violence directed at gay and gender nonconforming people, nearly 100 percent of it, is religiously motivated. Either the perpetrator acted from a violently twisted religious passion, or they acted knowing they have social permission to attack gay people. Sure I might get caught, I might even get sent to jail, but it won’t be like I killed a real person… And that permission comes directly from the pulpit.
Not all pulpits by any means…I am not pointing my finger at Religion capital ‘R’ or Christianity capital ‘C’. But you need to understand this: not all predators actually like having blood on their hands. Some predators do, others enjoy watching. There are the rapists, and there are the voyeurs. The relationship is a simple one: thugs beat the living crap out of gay people, sometimes killing us, because they hear the permission they’re being given to do exactly that from the pulpits. “Their blood is upon them…” And those voices from behind those pulpits know exactly what they’re doing, exactly what effect they want their words to have. It’s a symbiotic relationship, that benefits both parties.
So it may look superficially like Lifesite is warning Christians to beware of the impending gay holocaust, but what they’re actually doing is inciting the mob in the traditional, old-fashioned way, with whatever tools are handy at the moment. Militants in Iraq and Syria beheaded two American journalists recently, so here comes Lifesite with a story about how John The Baptist was beheaded after condemning a pagan king’s ungodly false marriage…AND YOU KNOW WHO ELSE DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN CHRISTIANS STAND UP FOR GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE…
The homosexuals want to behead Christians…just like those scary people you see on TV…you know what to do…
by Bruce |
Posted In: Politics
Tags: Anti-Gay Violence, Gods And Monsters, The Human Gutter
August 26th, 2014
Message In A Bottle…
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements;
lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that coffin – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.
It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. -C.S. Lewis
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: Message In A Bottle
August 19th, 2014
You Should Wonder About This From Time To Time…
Walking in to work this morning, I came across a small and very old woman trying hard to push her loaded grocery cart across the street before the light changed. She didn’t make it, so I stood out in the street and waved oncoming traffic around her. She looked to be going from the big new Giant into the rowhouse neighborhood just down the street from that intersection which wasn’t too far for her to go. But at that age nobody moves very fast either.
She began struggling to get her grocery cart up over the curb and onto the sidewalk and I walked over to help her. It took me back years.
I was raised by a single working mother, and grew up in a household that couldn’t afford a car until I was well into my teens. One of my duties as the “man of the house” was pushing the loaded grocery cart back home from the store a couple miles away. It wasn’t difficult, not even for a young boy. If you balanced the load just right on the wheels once you got it moving it was pretty much easy to keep it moving.
When I was 7 or 8 and I would look down at the wheels and pretend I was driving a car.
Nowadays the grocery carts have four wheels on them. I suppose that’s for older people like the lady I was helping just then, who couldn’t always keep a two wheeled cart balanced. We struggled together getting her cart up off the road and onto the sidewalk, she had the thing pretty well full. I’m guessing it was her food for the next couple weeks. But we got it up and she thanked me and went on her way, happy I hope to see a little politeness still left in the world.
I looked up. The light had turned red again and a city police car was stopped right there at the crosswalk. The cop inside was looking at me, smiled and nodded and I smiled back and went on my way. I suppose it does the police good to see people actually helping each other out from time to time too.
…and then I wondered what would have happened had I been a young black male and he saw me and that old woman struggling there with that grocery cart.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: Racism, The Struggle For America
August 13th, 2014
The Gutter Speaks…
“He had it all, but he had nothing. He made everybody else laugh but was miserable inside. I mean, it fits a certain picture, or a certain image that the left has. Talk about low expectations and general happiness and so forth…” - Rush Limbaugh on the death of Robin Williams.
I would rather suffer the burden Robin Williams had and let it beat me down like it did him, than endure that empty void Limbaugh has where a conscience ought to be and let it put a smile on my face while it tells me I’m so much better than all those bleeding hearts.
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: The Abyss, The Human Gutter, The Jackass Chronicles
August 12th, 2014
Depression, Madness, And Those Of Us Who Slip Between The Fingers Of Concern
It’s not often another story of celebrity death makes me feel like the floor went out from under me, but that’s what news of Robin William’s death by suicide did. I was heartbroken in that instant, as were a lot of people. The word “celebrity” demeans someone like him. He was an artist, an actor, a tremendous creative talent. He could be the gifted stage comic, the manic genie in Disney’s Aladdin, and then you look and he’s the evil Walter Finch in Insomnia, and then you look again and he’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society, and then you look again and he’s Peter Pan.
Williams it seems, was battling depression. I follow a bunch of very talented and creative people on Facebook and Twitter who are also battling depression. That’s, the clinical depression, which is a thing unlike those bouts of sadness and loneliness and loss we all face at one time or another in our lives. It’s a thing, a real medical clinical thing. People who experience it speak of it as a gray cloud that hangs over everything and never goes away. They say it sucks the energy and joy out of everything. I have had my moments of grief, I’ve had it so bad I’ve stood at the threshold of suicide myself many times. But it’s never been like that. And what comforts me as I walk into old age and I find myself standing at that threshold once again is I’ve seen the darkness come and go over and over and over again and I know from experience that sooner or later It Will Go Away, and I just have to keep walking through it. So I am told, it’s not like that when you have clinical depression. For those folks, that gray cloud never goes away, at least not without medication. I know I can always count on time making mine go away. But I also know how easy it is for people like me to lose our balance, and fall into a pit we may or may not get back out of in time.
The writer David Gerrold wrote this on Facebook the other day…
I don’t know the details of what Robin Williams was dealing with and I won’t speculate.
I do know that when you have a mind that works that fast and makes that kind of connections, flashing from moment to moment, assembling new pieces out of fragments of old experiences, it’s exhausting.
Sometimes my mind does that, all the circuits firing at once, and it shows up in stories — and leaves me emotionally drained, sometimes for days. It’s hard to live inside a brain that active. (And no, I’m not comparing myself to Williams, I’m only noticing my own experiences and extrapolating from there.)
He gets it. Whenever someone so creative and talented kills themselves, you will always hear a bunch of people saying, to the effect, that madness and genius go hand in hand. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate hearing that. I’m not about to wrap myself in the robes of ‘genius’ by any means. I don’t even like the concept of a single measure of intelligence. I think there are a lot of different kinds of intelligence. And I always flinch at calling myself an artist. But I am. There are many kinds of artist too. Some of us paint and draw. Some of us do photography, or music, or act. We are writers and poets. Some of us pursue the engineering arts. And it isn’t madness we have, it’s brains that contain a whirlwind…flashes of insight, connections, moment to moment, all firing at once. Constantly. Someone on Facebook I follow posted a graphic with the message on it that, (recalling it from memory) to understand how having a creative mind feels, imagine you’re a browser and you have 2,868 tabs open all at once.
Williams had that. He had to given that amazing, wonderful ability he had to mentally jump from one random connection to the next on stage So Quickly. He had to have that whirlwind going on inside. You could see it. It just delighted you. And you could see it delighting him even as he was doing it. It’s not madness, it’s art. I don’t know that this necessarily makes you unstable, but I know from my own experience how vulnerable it can leave you if you don’t have something to anchor you, something…someone…to always bring you back home.
For the artist depression has to be an even bigger hazard, one that multiplies the risk you already have of losing your balance if you’ve already got those 2,868 tabs open. I’ve never had that overarching clinical depression, so I wouldn’t know. All I’ve ever been is sad. Just…very very sad. But I know what it’s like living with a furious mental cascade that just won’t stop unless you apply some chemical brakes and getting lost in it is oh so easy and losing your balance…maybe it was sadness, maybe it was some sudden crisis that came out of nowhere…and then the whirlwind in your mind throws you into a place you may or may not make it back out of.
This is why a lot of us end up not as suicides but as overdoses. The lucky ones have that anchor. Others, too afraid of the overdose or blessed like me with bodies too timid to handle a lot of drugs without getting violently sick long before the overdose can even get close, dive into their work as a substitute for the anchor, the home, the place of rest. I know how that is too. But when work becomes less a passion and more a crutch then it can have the same effect as drugs in that it allows you to deny and ignore the central problem in your life until that one moment when the crutch can’t bear the weight and it snaps and there you are and you’re on your way to the bottom of a pit and you can’t stop falling.
Bunch of highly talented and creative people I follow who’ve been open about their fight with clinical depression, are feeling very sad now for Williams, but also afraid for themselves. If he lost the fight, then what chance do I have? They need to be told the are loved, and cherished, and not alone in their fight. I’m afraid of a different thing. I don’t have a fight with depression. I have a fight with a hoary old stereotype about artists and madness that I am convinced is getting a lot of us killed too. You can call what our brains do to us madness I suppose, but it adds a little something to the world, and the thing is, we don’t have to get lost in it. We just don’t. The problem is people seem to think we’re supposed to. It’s part of the deal.
The shooting star. The one who lived so miserably and died so tragically, but oh look at all the wonderful things they left behind for the rest of us to enjoy! We don’t all suffer from depression, but we could all use a little sympathy too, and a little help. Because that inner whirlwind makes it hard to find that anchor, that intimate other, or others, who can see what the others can’t because they’re used to you behaving like you’re not quite all there, that that can see that you’re losing your balance, and seeing it, can take you by the hand to that place of peace and quiet you need to be in to get it back.
I know from experience that when I get lost in a whirlwind of grief or loneliness or sadness I can just wait it out. But I also know that it’s not a sure thing. I have come so very close to it. One of these days you might find yourself reading right here about the one time I couldn’t walk myself out of it. I told my brother once that if I died alone and especially if it was by my own hand, I wanted him to burn everything…all the artwork, all the photography. I was at a point in my life where it sickened me to think of people enjoying the artistic spoils of my miserable life. He flat out refused, and I’ve moved on to a place where I don’t care anymore.
[Edited a tad…]
by Bruce |
Posted In: Life
Tags: Grief, Lonelyache, The Human Heart, The Struggle For Our Lives
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