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  • Archives for November 2016 (3)

Comic Musings

Comic-style [way-rough]:

Narrator. Adult male, gruff – “Childhood was rough, same as for every boy I suppose. I knew about girls. Didn’t know if I liked ‘em or not… well actually, that one got resolved pretty quickly — Mary Jane, I promise, she’ll get you each and every time. But you know, I didn’t get the girl, so the girl got me. Now, I have my Harley. Seems to be enough, as long as I ride once in awhile.

[Narrator paints the picture of a troubled youth: descriptions of normalcy while violent and decidedly troubling images appear, escalating through the short. Random friendly, reaffirming voices in the background frequently stating, “be yourself,” or, “don’t be so hard on yourself,” or, “don’t let them tell you what to do,” or, “You don’t need to listen to them,” or similar.]

[examples:]

A [three years old]: “My parents disciplined me when I was bad.” [image of picking his nose and getting punched in the face for it.]

B [seven]: “At times they didn’t know what to do with me… I was such a bad bad boy.” [at a kitchen table not eating his string beans, hauled out his chair by his hair, dragged kicking to his room already equipped with shackles and ropes, tied, and force-fed until his mouth is bleeding.]

C [thirteen]: “I did my best to follow their example, but I was never good enough.” [luring a starving dog with beef jerky, and then poking it with a sharpened stick. Female shadow appears, takes the stick, fear and tears on the boy’s face at first, but as she whips him with the stick, he begins to smile viciously through the tears.]

D [seventeen]: “But I never gave up on me. Or is it, ‘myself?’ I can never remember when to use the reflexive.” [in a classroom with ‘me, myself, and I’ written on the chalkboard while other students shoot spitballs at the back of his head, his hair a mess as though he’d been beaten that morning, and then from the front, two darkly shadowed eyes like bruises above a sinister smile. His paper is returned, inked up red, with a D+. Face again, then background change to his bedroom. Pulled back image, he’s shackled and being force-fed the paper, mouth bleeding.]

E [twenty-something]: “Eventually, I got myself together. That’s right. I. Got. My-self. To-gether.” [Graves of mother and father, dead in the same year. Next frame a Harley motorcycle in the forefront, a shy Harley Quinn in a summer dress in the background. Main character staring. Voices swelling, telling him to, “be himself.” Frames of him stealing the bike, grabbing the girl, both smiling, and ending in his bedroom, voices continuing, he ties her up and begins to punish her. Punches her in the mouth, a trickle of blood, and she smiles. Voices stop. She asks him to look in her bookbag. Inside, a sharp cross with blood on it, a large cross that looks more like a paddle, the words, “Love Him, Fear Him,” scorched into it. He pulls out the literally chewed up bible, with half the pages gone. Smiling with blood on her teeth, she says, “Please, read to me, Big Daddy. Please,” and he’s confused for a moment, but then shrugs as he begins ripping pages and shoving them into her mouth. Laughter.]

[back to the present, face-framed close-up] “Now, I think I’m doing alright. Figured some things out. But probably the most important thing?”

[Turns out he’s actually looking in a mirror, but as he turns around, his face is painted like a clown.]

“You just have to be yourself!”

[He leans in as the frame widens, revealing the back of a young person’s head. He is shivering tears, shuffling feet, legs and shoes scraping the floor as he tries to back away but can’t.]

“And I think I like it! [leans in and waits.]

What do you think?” [wider frame showing the jester-fitted Harley leaning against a wall, bored in the background.]

“What’s that? I can’t hear you?” [whimpering from the captive]

[Harley:] “He agrees!”

[Joker, growling:] “I didn’t ask you!” [more whimpering, louder whimpering]

“Oh? You agree!? Marvelous!” [laughter, pulls out a huge gun and holds it to his head]

“I knew you’d understand.”

[pulls trigger, and dud fireworks go off, little flags, “bang,” out of the sides of the revolver chambers, he looks at it, examines it like he can’t believe it didn’t work, shakes it more and more viciously, but then he smiles and points the gun at the captive again.]

“Just. Kidding!”

[Bang. Blood splashes the frame, and out of the frame.]

“I meant the fake shot. You got that, right? I was kidding about the fake shot. FUCK. I hope you got that. I hope he got that. Do you think he got that?” [Harley giggling]

“He got all of it, Boss.”

A Response to Hate

Almost 120 million people voted. No matter what your political stance, that’s 120 million citizens, including your friends, family, and neighbors, that stood up to make a choice, each casting a vote for hope, a vote to improve this country. At 60 million a side, the fuzzy edges of our political system have been brought into sharp focus: we’re uncertain about our leaders and their methods, our present and our future, and now we’re uncertain of ourselves as a collective. Let’s not fracture our society further by building a wall between us, when it’s never been more obvious how important it is for us to work together. Irrespective of the tremendous promises made to the contrary, the issues that led to this result will not disappear tomorrow, in seventy days or the hundred that follow, or even in a single term. Working toward meaningful, lasting change is something we do every day, and something we’ve been working on for more than 238 years. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I like to think, some progress, and maybe even learned some things. One of the most important lessons is to not hate or wish violence on someone for not sharing your opinion. I strongly oppose Trump for many, I believe, rational reasons, but that does not mean I oppose my fellow voters, or wish them ill. It’s the opposite. I’m just afraid they’re wrong, but I hope for all of us, that I’m the one who’s wrong.

Voting

I am frequently frustrated by the propaganda around the importance of voting — no emphasis is placed on knowing anything about the measures, issues, or candidates. Is a vote cast in ignorance better than no vote? Social pressure puts you in a booth, ego kicks in, and it’s like you’re taking a test? If that’s the case, I think it’s like the SATs, and answering wrong is worse than not answering.
Maybe that analogy doesn’t hold, I’m not even sure how to test it. :-) But I do feel like voting for voting sake, thoughtlessly, makes you an extension of whichever arm of the political machine paid the most in your area, where you spend your time both physically and virtually, and encourages the buzz-wordy, nonsense driven propaganda to continue every year.
Inform yourself. Be skeptical. Question the issue as though you hold the opposite opinion. You don’t have to research every issue, but there is a high likelihood something on the ballot matters to you. Find out about it.
Punching a hole, filling a circle, or drawing a line on a ballot? That’s the easy part.

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