Friday, March 9, 2018

The Would Be King of Denmark

I must be going a bit stir crazy. I've spent too much time in my living room, lounging or pacing about with very little to do, pulling books from the shelves and reading aloud as if I'm rehearsing a dramatic part for a night class on theater at the community college. It has fucked up my sense of humor a little bit, and has worked to make public some of my more private neuroses.

You can, if you choose, read any passage from Hamlet and speak as if it is the character Hamlet is uttering the words. This is one of my recent literary discoveries and possibly my ticket out of here. Hamlet can say almost anything. It only adds to his indecisive mystique. Infinite jest, excellent fancy; all of that. Particularly the Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown part. I read Ophelia's lines as if they are Hamlet's, also. This gives me odd patriarchal pleasures, etc. 

Much like Hamlet, I struggle with indecision, fears of insanity, unconscious desires, and with the primogeniture laws that handed my uncle the throne. I suspect that I am being spied upon any time I whisper to Ophelia. I have all the basic components of the character down, I believe, now I just need to find a skull that I can bring with me when dropping the boy off at school, to practice my stream of consciousness soliloquies on children.

To be continued... or not to be... that is unquestioned. 

Only this will secure my happiness. 

As part of my dramatic acting out of various roles I have been typing my wisdom into Facebook while standing up. Not all of this translates well or correctly into that world. I see that now.

I tried to make a joke with a friend about International Women's Day. I shifted from pretending to respond as a child (which was the basis of her post), to then conceding that perhaps I misunderstood the phrasing, then went on to spell out my attraction to women with European accents as a sort of Austin Powers International Man of Self-Stupidity, a talking anachronism, but without any of the requisite speaker cues that might have given somebody an indication as to what I meant or that I was merely making a joke of some men's attitudes, not trying to actually advance those views of women out into the real world. 

It all made sense when I was speaking it out loud in my living room, a copy of Hamlet in my hand. It landed flat. But worse than that, it seemed to carry the vague suggestion that I was either being denigrating towards the day to celebrate women or much worse: my friend, who is of course a woman. 

I did't notice any of this. I went for a bike ride. That conversation thread was open on my computer when I came home and I looked at it with fresh eyes, and growing horror, how my spending so much time alone has resulted in what might be considered overly insular humor. It sat there, like a fresh steaming Denny's Denver Hamlet on the screen.

I deleted the seemingly offending portions and wrote my friend an explanation and apology. Sensibly, she left me out to dry for an hour or more without responding. I was sweating droplets of pure man-shame by the time she did eventually take the time out to laugh at me, to my great relief.

I still felt as if I had gotten the stinky shit kicked out of me while trying to ride a mechanical bull at a country bar, without experience or any provocation to do so. It was all my own doing. Left peacefully to pursue my own liberties I'll still somehow end up with an unexplained black eye every now and then. I guess I must have walked into another door. 

I started to write an explanation and qualification of my support for feminism here, but it will have to wait for another time.

To summate briefly: of course women deserve equal opportunity and access to that which society offers, to be treated as equals to men in every regard.

Women are the architects of civility, without which very few of the finenesses we enjoy would even exist, those things having never been considered previously or elsewhere. Recently, many women have sought to update the protocols of that civility and to demand awareness and change as it pertains to sexual assault and harassment. This should surprise no one and might only be resisted or mocked by the dull coarseness of brutishness.

Don't - don't hang back with the brutes...

But also, do not believe that because I question the development and tactics of feminist tribalism that I am opposed to the premise of their struggle. It is the methods and some of the claims that I take issue with, none of which should qualify me as anything less than an ally in the pursuit of equality. The advancement of the idea of equality seems to be, to me, among the noblest that humankind has undertaken. Human history can be viewed as witness to that struggle and its progress. Though that history is neither exhausted, explained, nor dismissed through that singular view, either. 

The use of group identity seems in part to be a defensive position taken up easily by those made uncomfortable with the relatively recent arrival of extreme self-consciounsess in western culture. There is more to the telling of humanity than only that of oppression and the oppressed, unless one chooses to subscribe utterly to the incurious claims of the contemporary.

Perhaps more on that later, also.

We leave for LA today. A friend of Rachel's from Berlin passed away recently. There is a memorial service tomorrow. We will drive down the state all together - the pup, the boy, mom, and myself. A family road trip. I have prepared music for the car, though my selections are not impervious to the power of either the vote or the veto.

Some of my fondest memories - those in which I felt the most complete and together as child - were of being in the car with my family as I was growing up. A combination of adventure, experiment, and perpetual test to all the rules that first instilled within me that familial sense of civility, where most concepts of equality and injustice are first born, learned, and then ill enforced. Equality starts at home and nobody has yet suggested where it might possibly finish, but LA is its latest destination.