I presume that many of you saw “Angels in America.” I saw it many times and loved it. The version I am speaking of is the film series version which played on HBO in six episodes, if I remember correctly. The Story took on a variety of difficult topics like sexual identity, AIDS, death, marriage, divorce, family strife, politics, ambition, bigotry of various stripes, ethics, and all sorts of other human drama. The topics almost certainly had something which would make one squirm at some point or another. If the thing did not make you uncomfortable at some point, you missed out. Being uncomfortable was part of the experience.
Above all, in my view, were the amazing performances by the excellent variety of actors. My personal favorite in among the cast, was the nurse played by Jeffrey Wright. He gave the sort of performance that draws your attention to a tight focus and makes time seem to stop. You get lost until the spell breaks and you realize that all around you had disappeared briefly while the actor worked his spell. That said, this morning I am remembering Amma Thompson’s portrayal of the Angel America. The thing I remember most about this character was how she referred to herself. I have always been curious about it, and never completely understood it, but it fascinates me still. Whenever she referred to herself, she started with, “I, I, I, I...” It impressed me as noteworthy because, it is a different rhythm from a more typical repetitive style which would use three I’s. Using four makes it seem exaggerated and large, like the character herself.
I place a great value in “I.” I think we all should. We all have one, and it locates and anchors our perspectives. I use mine, most specifically my name, to be accountable. I stand by what I say as myself. I was fairly well aware of my “I” as a kindergartener when some kid named Sydney told me that I was not allowed to be friends with Ryan and stay in his little circle. My 4 year old mind told me that that was bullshit, and I split that club at that moment. I have never been a joiner, ever since that moment. I don’t belong to things that require that I misrepresent myself. That is not to say that I have not belonged to things about which people have misperceptions. That’s true for everyone. What I see, and what some see, is that belonging does not determine the individual. Others see that differently. They say, you’re a cop so you think this, or you’re a man and you think that. It was never true, and it never will be true about anyone. Some get this, some don’t. But I don’t join anything which have conditions which state that you just think or feel a certain way. That goes from nationalism, to cliques, down to families. I espouse free thinking, and I respect it in others.
This is one of the most fascinating and vexing aspects of closed thinking I have ever considered. Racism has some very interesting unique characteristics. One of the things I have observed about it is that virtually no one admits to being a racist. I can’t remember the last time anyone claimed it unilaterally without saying that, “everyone is to some degree.” (A simplistic notion that I reject.) Among the nearly universal claimants to not be racist, I consider myself to be one, non- racist. This brings another question. Are racists blind to their own racism by necessity? This is something that everyone should consider. I certainly have.
Here is where I come down on it. First, I consider My life experience. At no point in my life, from elementary, to travel to various parts of the globe, to my present life in the midwest, at no point in my life have I ever seen an essential difference in any group of people. I deny them absolutely. I deny the differences more than most. I have fielded questions by others who suggest the “evidence”of running backs, swimmers, violinists, criminals, engineers, and diamond cutters and suggest that there must be an essential genetic difference or differences which make these and myriad other streams of humanity do such different things. In my experience, it is all cultural. I do not see an essential difference. None. Some do. I do not. That is my view. Furthermore, while I am no anthropologist, as I understand it, and as I was told in my college anthropology class, there is one race of human. The “races” that are commonly referred to are a social construction. Now, there you have the two platforms upon which sits my view of race. As I have been told, science rejects separation. As I have experienced, I see no difference, and never have. If it is your view that I am a “racist”, you should explain to me how the basis upon which one would claim “race” at all even exists in order to claim superiority one way or another. I reject it. I could not be a racist if I wanted to. It has no basis whatsoever. The following contains some of my words, and some of Mark in Japan’s. This is justification for saying that I am a racist. Frankly, I do not see this as even remotely racist.
And yes, Arthur, he is a racist.
This paragraph in the post in question is sickening and delusional, a reflection of what goes on in the vapid mind of bill beck:
"Ok, so on to the point. I was on my middle of the night journey through mourning until morning when I came upon what appeared to be a gathering of nice people, not suspicious in any particular way. They were all white, suburban types. Educated, professional, and middle aged. They were gathered as if to have a discussion about the issues of the day with one odd twist. The man holding court, as it were, was masturbating. The other men were encouraging him, and congratulating him on his style, and one woman was present and doing so as well."
Not to mention the title of the post, itself!”
This segment list a variety of demographic description. Among them is “white.” yes, this mentions race, but is that “racist”? Hardly. This does not disparage whiteness, or these people in any particular way. This identifies them in a way that connects the theme to them. This does not say that white people do these things typically, or by necessity. If there is some other reason to address regarding this, I don’t know it.
This seems to be typical of the “racism” claims with reference to me. If I mention race, or if I attack racism, I am called “racist.” I’d love to know if those who say such things really believe this, and then explain it because, like I said at the top, one should consider these things. I just don’t see the logic of it.
Here I’ll address a few more because the discussion of them make them appear to have the importance that they really do not. There is frequent discussion of whether or not I am a good writer. I’ll have you know that I have no interest in this one at all. I do it, when I do it, because I like doing it. I don’t do it because I think I am good. I assure you of that. It is kind of like speaking. I don’t speak because I like the sound of my voice. I really don’t give it any thought. If someone finds it appealing, I appreciate that. I think we all know how gratifying that can be. If they dislike it, that is unfortunate. I find otherwise rational people frequently use the term “screed” to refer to something or someone they dislike. Their writing becomes a “screed.” That seems as unfounded as “racist”, but fully within one’s right to feel for him or herself. Once you begin to call everything a “screed” though, it starts to seem more like attitude than criticism that it purports to be.
They say that one should write for oneself. I agree. Obviously that is not exclusive, but it is primary. I never intended or agreed to leave everything I posted on OS, and I don’t see why I should. Mark in Japan makes reference to “flouncing.” If I understand it correctly, “flouncing” is making a dramatic exit for effect. I have never once announced leaving OS. I left for my reasons. Usually, the process had run its course with me. Many leave. Some return. I don’t see that as “flouncing.” OS is not my life. I have other things to do. I think that is true of every single other person. I did not join the Corps with the intention of staying to retirement. When I left, some asked, why would you leave. My answer, I wanted to. The same for the LAPD. The same for just about everything. Leaving is not “flouncing.” Flouncing is flouncing. I think we know the difference. OS has a variety of problems. I have stopped to separate myself from them. We can’t be whatever the unrestrained imaginations of our detractors say that we are. That’s just nuts. A reasonable view would refute most claims. Here is one that I find important.
Many are fond of making personal attacks. I have listed several. Here’s the point. They make these personal attacks from a pseudonym. I blog with my real name and face. I blog with my location. I am impeachable. Wild claims from anonymity. I agree that there are good reasons to remain anonymous, but personal attacks from anonymity are highly suspect, and that is even if the logic of them does connect, but wild claims that support only your personal animus, and also happen to be from anonymity are one small problem with OS.
Let’see, “homophobe?” No. “Misogynist?” No. “Mother raper”, (yes, I was called this). No. “Coward?” I sure don’t think so. “Closed minded?” Hardly. Many of these are hard to disprove, but it does not stand to reason that I would do that which draws fire for these openly.
Issues need to be discussed. Frankly, many fear doing so openly because of things like this. I don’t blame them. But they need to be discussed anyway. Many of your are liberals and benefit as much as I do from the free exchange of ideas. Doing things like making false personal attacks only further closes the window on openness. Oh, “liar” is another one. Nope. Again, if I sought to lie, or more importantly, if I wanted to hide from being impeached, I would hide my identity. The charge of “liar” (Mark, again) stems from the Assange and Manning matter. In reference to Manning I said something like “he broke the law.” The fact of the matter is, “he broke the law.” That is not a lie. You may state that it is incorrect, but it is not a lie. My view is that he broke the law, but guilt is determined by a court. They are different things. Calling someone a liar is serious. Doing so on such a tortured piece of logic is disingenuous.
Amy, disagreeing with a woman does not make one a misogynist. Walter and I did not “gang up on her.” Are you aware of how some feel about how you attack people? I started receiving emails about it immediately upon disagreeing with you. When I said, “I make no notice of gender on the written page”..etc, Phyllis says...”are you obtuse” before claiming that she was being picked on. Never once did she acknowledge the possible value in the perspective. Yeah, we are of different genders. No, there is no gender advantage on a written page. No one is “beating one’s chest” or bullying. Agree or disagree, but it is not “obtuseness.” It is a perspective based upon a logic, and not an inability to discern.
I am not a racist. I never flounced. I am not a misogynist. I may very well be the worst writer ever to peck at a keyboard. I, I, I, I just wish you people could drop the personal attacks. Let’s discuss some ideas, or whatever suits your fancy, but don’t call me a liar because you disagree. That is not what lying is. There is little that I do not respect, but anonymous rock throwing is one. I, I, I, I will admit that.
Kim Gamble, come on dude. This one must get special mention. If it makes “no sense”, how is it that some understand it? Couldn’t it be that you don’t get it, and some others do? Why must we define reality to reflect ourselves? If you want to be reasonable at all, search out someone in the thread who says that I go to great length to do just the opposite of what you accuse. I know them no better than I know you. Both cant be true. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Signing something with my name? Come on man.
(Oh, I forgot to resolve one thing. Sydney was black. Ryan is white. I have no reason to think Sydney’s edict was racial in purpose, but neither was my choice. Racism, cliques, and all of that other stuff go counter to everything I have ever been.)