Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Ain’t Been Home To See My Baby In 99 And One Half Days

Due to a complex and uncontrollable course of events, I don’t have shoes to wear at work today. And I’m trying to see if I can make it to one thirty without anyone in the office noticing that I’m wearing mismatched striped socks and nothing else. This to my brain seems to have been translated into a creeping, pointed-toes-first sort of saunter that is certainly the polar opposite of stealth.

Luckily my path to and from the printer is largely unobserved. I’m already psyching myself up for my trek to the break room when this can of Diet Coke runs out. That route is a veritable minefield of bored workers who might take it into their head to closely observe all trans-offices pilgrimages for any deviations from routine. I believe the neurotic fool who overcompensates for a lack of rubber-soled footwear by prancing like she could launch into a pirouette at any moment would provide too much fodder for them to handle without a shovel.

I’ve decided that 60s rock-blues is the perfect accompaniment to this drizzly, dank, droopy weather. Joplin, Velvet Underground, and Jimi have been very heavy in my rotation of albums at work the last few weeks. And since Janis has been such a sweetly melancholic balm while the sun refuses to shine, I was more than a little appalled that they named the weather pattern that has killed over one hundred people Tornado Joplin. Too soon, guys, too soon.

Yes, I do understand that I’m fairly screwed up for devoting more attention to a critique of tornado naming than I do to worrying about real people being hurt. I’ll work on getting worked up about that.

I’ve been having my typical spring-induced burst of eloquence/need for attention, but I haven’t been able to channel this into blog form. Every time I log in and get ready to type I get overcome with a guilt complex about not doing my math homework. Due to this overreaction of mine, I am now three sections ahead of where I need to be, and I think I’m going to keep up that pace until I just obliterate the whole course, because nothing brings on the crazy like math.

I’m not going to elaborate how much of my mental powers I daily devote to the argument that my ability to divide polynomials is going to have literally no impact on my career/life/endeavor to become an interesting person, but trust me, it’s a subject I dwell on with some passion.

But much more troubling than my futile sophist arguments against systems of equations is how quickly math slickens my grasp on reality until is slips out of my minute yet tenacious grip. I don’t know why my mind wanders from the task at hand so quickly—probably the lack of adjectives—but usually about forty seven seconds into my first math problem I get bogged down in the philosophical inquiries that the presence of math naturally hazards. For instance: is the assertion that the rules of math have been proven in nature just another example of man imposing a law of order onto an uncompromisingly anarchistic universe? Do we find the proofs for geometric laws because they’re there, or because we crave to see them? In other words, is 4 really divisible by 2 independent of man’s consciousness or influence, or is 4 divisible by 2 because we need it to be?

See, there’s a reason why I stopped taking math after Pre-Calc sophomore year of high school. I argue that my judgment to stop the madness there should have been respected.

I was totally gearing up to dive into the various difficulties that come with making new acquaintances and friends. I’m fascinated with how much I can completely misrepresent myself while making only truthful statements. But every attempted sentence related to this topic kept on coming off either self-congratulatory, self-loathing, or creepily detached. Which I suppose means we best shelve that discussion for another time.

It should be noted that tonight I am finally gaining some closure on a nine-year-stale grievance. Tonight, I shall see u2. Bono shall serenade me. More importantly, The Edge will rock my soul. My parents better cross their fingers that those irascible Irishmen still have their groove, because if this concert doesn’t blow my concept of what is legendary, they’re never getting off the hook for denying me the chance to see their Elevation tour back in 2002.

I know, how leftover teenage angst of me. I should just bust out the Slim Fast and Daria and call it a Nostalgia Tuesday. Maybe if I feel super rebellious I can watch the copy of Moulin Rouge I used to hide in the shoebox under my bed, cleverly concealed beneath my ballroom shoes between the layers of tissue paper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some Things Need To Be Said

I’m about to blow every shred of my carefully accumulated, ferociously guarded street cred. In this blog, I’m going to dispel for all of my liberal friends and associates the meticulously nurtured conception that I, I am their conservative friend who cannot be dismissed out of hand, for (even though I profess unashamedly to being conservative) I have never stated anything particularly outrageous. Through my careful nonspeaking about political matters, I have been identified as reasonable by those who I disagree with. This is of course typically achieved by not voicing much of anything at all, but I’m going to break this tradition and destroy all these years of hard work. I feel like I’ve earned a good ol’ freakout.

It all comes down to this quote:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."

This has been attributed (falsely) to Dr Martin Luther King, and has spread like wildfire over the webbytubes via Twitter, blogs and facebook statuses less than 48 hours after it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed by US Special Forces.

Here’s where I’m going to offend a lot of people.

How nice it is, how very comfortable, how open-minded and accepting and sensitive of us to choose the highest of high ground regarding bin Laden’s death. How much is speaks for my generation that we have taken this of all moments as the time to claim our philosophical position, to use this moment in history to demonstrate that we are above the maddening crowd. It’s so enlightening to see my peers view the reaction to the death of a mass murderer with idealistic eyes, to watch them weep sophist tears of pity and condemnation for those whose more base instincts took over and compelled them to gather at Ground Zero to savagely toast the continuation of barbaric acts. I’m sure my peers are all very proud and satisfied with themselves.

I, on the other hand, I am enraged.

I have had reason to be embarrassed by my generation in the past. I have seen (and admittedly participated) in a movement of apathetic materialism. I am fully aware that our canon of behavior dictates that our reaction to any overt display of emotion, patriotism, or reverence for tradition must be consistently one of arch, jaded bemusement. As the information age has expanded and the social network revolution spiraled on, the people of my demographic have responded with the dichotomy of a self-absorbed urge to document everything while remaining aloof from any true commitment of passion, conviction, or action.

To you all, I have this to say: responding to bin Laden’s demise with a catchphrase concerning the sanctity of life does not demonstrate your depth. It showcases your debilitating naïveté. You have become so ensconced in your comfortable distance from reality that you now embarrass yourself in your complete lack of context or scope.

Osama bin Laden was by all accounts a quiet man of measured tone, intelligence, and reason. He was no mad man frothing at the mouth. This makes it all the more sickening that his lines of logic lead to the calculated conclusion that the violent destruction of life was to be his life’s work. He calmly determined that those who lead lives in a manner contrary to his own radical teachings had no value, and that it was not only his duty to murder them, but to do it in such a way that even survivors would feel the threat and fear hang over them in their daily life. He was not my neighbor who slighted me and who I should in the end find it within me to forgive and mourn. He was the mastermind behind a force who is seeking to eliminate me and mine.

I rejoice that his potential for evil has been cut down in the most final of ways. I mourn that he is not alone in this perverted world view, but I celebrate that his individual capacity for wicked works is at an end. I believe that the fact that he prevailed this long after his attack on New York City was psychologically damaging to us, the survivors. I consider it essential that we be able to see that in the end those who perpetrate mass acts of hate against us will be brought down and stamped out. And I resent the proliferation of people who hand down judgment on me for responding this way to his death, who aim to paint me as one with a Neanderthal-like grasp on ethics, or just too absorbed in my mundane existence to pull above such ‘savage’ responses.

I celebrate that the very pluralism of society that allows me to offend all my comrades as much as they deeply upset me is the same society that bin Laden felt to be so offensive that he wished to obliterate it. Better luck next time, Osama. I relish the very contradiction of terms, and am exultant that a threat against all I consider holy has been neutralized.

God bless the troops who performed this righteous deed, and our President for having the conviction to follow through on an unpleasant but necessary task.