Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Stretching of the Nape

Is it only Tuesday. What was I thinking.

I pulled a muscle in the left side of my neck, one that stretches from my shoulder blades to the backside of my ear, along part of the upper line of the jaw, then to the back of the head it seems. I had no idea that even such a muscle existed. It's igniting all of my nerve clusters on that side also. The whole region is in turmoil. Maybe it's just gas. It's not a very good idea to suddenly start eating a lot of fiber. In fact, it's a very bad idea. You can not "catch up" on fiber intake. 

CS berated me for stealing a line of his yesterday: Everybody loves a puppy. It's true that I did hear it from him, though I suspected that he stole it so I was reluctant to misapply credit. He now claims the line as his own exclusive intellectual property, so this is a rare editorial correction for this site. We live in topsy-turvey times. When the hammer finally comes down I want to make sure that the blame is applied where it belongs, with CS.

Nationalism is going to be fun. I saw a Jon Stewart clip that I liked. He points out that nothing has changed. We're still the same country made up of the same people. There are just a different set of voices talking more loudly now. He also posits that you can not take the worst thing that Donald Trump said or did and apply the shame of that behavior or those sensibilities to anybody that voted for him, or anyone that wishes his presidency or this nation to be successful. That's not how these things work. Or rather, that's not how adults should insist that things work. 

It is not quite as simple as being okay with racism is also racism, even though the statement is fundamentally true. That alone should cause some questions around it being embraced as an axiom. Because, you know, fundamentalism. 

No, let's talk about photography. I have been struggling to find the time to take any pictures, can not even go through the ones that I have taken to throw out the bad ones and somehow preserve the good ones, somewhere. My life is stored on aging computers spread throughout my life, old hard drives packed in boxes, buried in the closet. Once you have children then parts of your life freeze in time like a snapshot. Things change around you and even within you but there's no getting back to what was before. It gathers dust, and will be cracked open one day by the boy, like a time capsule of his dad's life. I only hope that I have time to edit the story that has now flooded my life and left me without an ark.

I like the image above. It is pleasant to look at things in a way that we are expected and told not to. To have them put on display for us. It causes a stirring, the taboo of tender things. I do not mean sexual, though it is of course an image meant to provoke responses along those lines. Even if only intellectualized responses are permitted, those are to be abbreviated along the strict lines of unstated moral expectation. The image is not only sexual in nature. There is something more there, also.

At what point does a girl become a woman, and as such, when does she become beautiful? We are encouraged to ignore the question in a number of ways. That is for her to decide... seems the thundering vacuum of an answer from her mom, though she doesn't mean it at all. 

Then what of the picture above? It is there for the purpose of examination. 

The image is a challenge and a question, as well as an implicit statement about the nature of self, persona, and presentation. There is an hysteria involving all discussion of children as sexual creatures. To acknowledge is to violate, to ignore is the perpetual demand. 

If you look closely, you'll notice a darkened dent between the girl's legs. You notice it because she was posed more as a woman than as a girl and no viewer should miss that fact. We are supposed to look the other way, but we don't. Why, to both of those facts? And more, why is there so little legitimate conversation concerning what that means. There is a mound of iniquity to be found there, for those who believe in such things.

I do not mean the girl, of course. 

I wish to return to a world where everything did not require eternal qualification. Not this new world of narcissistic innuendo, but one where metaphor flourishes without fear of being fact-hunted into becoming facts, where image and idea are persecuted for violation of unwritten law, the unstated yet ubiquitous mores. American custom has lingered too long on only that which is essential, and still there is no consensus. 

About a week ago somebody posted a quadtych image on FB, an historical series of First Ladies. There were four of them. I forget who the first was, maybe Eleanor Roosevelt, but then there was Jackie Kennedy, a bare-armed Michelle Obama, and a naked Melania, highlighting her fake breasts and hand barely concealing her shaved pussy. The purpose of the image, it seemed to me, was to showcase the hypocrisy of those who criticized Michelle for having bare arms as a First Lady and that she was more in league with her antecedents rather than her freshly shorn successor. 

It didn't take very long for someone I didn't know to shame the person who posted it, a gay buddy of mine, with something like this: Body-shaming, really? I looked at the post for a while, noted my friend's nearly apologetic yet adamant response that he would never... clarifying quickly that he does not engage in body shaming, and so on. An expected reaction from a conscientious person. 

I was tempted to post something along the lines of: For me, shame is not something that an image can experience. But that temptation was not enough. Arguing tires me and seems to confuse others. Why argue about how to properly bolster the esteem of a disconnected image.

The censorial subtext being that we need to defend images form being looked at and assessed, because the mind making distinctions is the purest source of societal evils. There is, of course, more to the subject than what I have presented here. No point is either made in full nor exhausted by same in a single telling 

Because I use the adult versions of words I know that shame is an internal emotion associated with feelings of inadequacy. Melania's work as a nude model would indicate that she seeks, or at least at one time did, the attention and assessment of viewers as a piece of capital expression, and that she can't hear or sense us shaming her nude likeness on Facebook. 

That would be witchcraft. 

But why bother? I should just post the image above in the conversation thread and say, I think this girl is fucking fat, and she wears too much makeup. Though I do worry at times that my point might somehow be lost in that. 

Where is the national conversation that has grown tired of both sides? One need not be a Trumcist to  recognize that the stultifying atmosphere that many of us bought into in the name of improved racial tensions has somewhat failed. Both sides have dug in deep for a tugging off of the war. We've unleashed the legion of little emboldened voices, the choir that always rises, seeking to match or best all counter expectations of conformity, in perfectly strict harmony.