Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Crossdressing oilmen who subscribe to Ietsism
I cross-dressed for the first time the other day. A friend of mine and I were walking through the woods (Glen Helen, specifically). She was wearing a dress. I was wearing athletic shorts and a t-shirt (typical T. Spee attire, in other words). I made fun of her inability to get up the hills. She suggested that I try wearing a dress sometime. So we switched clothes right there, in the woods, and walked around the woods, myself appearing as an essentially normal Yellow Springs person (seriously) and her seeming like someone on an interminable walk of shame.
But cross-dressing was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I felt oddly comfortable in that strapless dress, free from the confines of gender thread. Not that I plan on being a career transvestite, but I would honestly try it again any day of the week. Part of me wishes we had headed into town and chatted with people (we only had one conversational encounter in Glen Helen -- somebody who took our picture -- and he was very polite, just like the majority of Yellow Springs).
Before you don't listen to my interview with Greg, I must clarify his views a bit (as best I can): Greg has a theory of "energy" that I can't fully explain. Something that reflects his philosophy is that when he dies, he wants to be buried in the ground without a coffin so that every essence of his being can spread out into the earth, rather than being blocked off from nature's cycle (which I find pretty nifty). He also believes that life has an intrinsic value, and thus that killing off any form of it (other than, you know, viruses... I think) is wrong.
The interview has been chopped up a bit (the actual conversation was two hours long). None of you will probably listen to it. But that is okay, because nobody reads this blog anyway.
So, this is my last post -- which isn't a big deal, since I was going to quit before school started anyway -- but I'd be terminating the operation sans school because this blog's objective -- to set up a dialogue with my geographically-distant close and not-so-close friends -- has been a major failure. I only receive content-based feedback from one person, and all other feedback is either, "I like your blog" or "I haven't read your blog for a few weeks." Even the people that I don't want to read my blog don't read my blog.
And there's nothing wrong with that. Nobody has an obligation to read this. But it is somewhat disappointing, even if it's to be expected.
My latest philosophy of living (but not of "life") is this question: Why not make everything fun?
When I ask that, Facebook instantly comes to mind. Every Facebook profile is (boring status), (my favorite bands), (generic interests), (photogenic picture), without any vivid form of expression. I know that Facebook is silly, but I can't stand for this. I have to post only funny/interesting statuses and entertaining images. That's why I hate small talk (even though I'm bound to engage in it). It's just the same conversation that you've had a million times before.
Matt Moon is a champion of making everything invigorating and unique.
I had a strange moment when I was up in Cleveland last week. My family -- father, sister, grandmother and uncle -- all sat around at Bob Evans for an hour talking about alcoholism in those that we know. I didn't have anything to say about it. When we were outside afterward, my grandma came up to me and said, "Are you okay, honey? You don't seem like yourself today. You don't like talk about your [relative], do you?"
It's more that I don't see the point in talking about something that everybody completely agrees on -- with absolutely no sort of discovery -- for lengthy periods of time. That moment was weird to me because nobody was even venting -- they were just all agreeing. And they all knew that they agreed. What were they getting out of that conversation?
I'm not condemning this conversation at all -- just conveying that I don't understand it. People assume that I'm deeply troubled because I don't have much about to say about my [relative]'s alcoholism. It's been the same situation for the last three years. I've heard the same conversations about it for the last three years. What else is there to say at this point? "Get over it." That's something to say. But that's not always so easy, I suppose.
That's what I mean, though, by making life fun and interesting. That was a very static conversation. I love going to Yellow Springs because every object is a work of art. The murals on the back of buildings. The no-parking signs. The town won't allow itself to be just-another-town. The place is an breathing entity, with growth, revelation and flaws.
I had another quizzical moment in YS on the day of cross-dressing. I was zoning out for a second and thought about cells building, connecting, forming neurons, and that consciousness arriving out all of that. Somehow I was able to channel this thought to "We are all one conscience." "And then I saw the light." And then I became distracted and lost it. I have no idea what that all meant. Probably nothing. For .5 seconds, though, it was enlightening.
My brother asked me, "Bro, when you see a hot woman, do you think, 'Whoa, that woman is hot,' or does nothing occur to you?" His justification for asking this was that he hadn't seen me have any reaction to an attractive woman -- or talk about how "hot" they are -- which happened frequently when I was in high school -- for a long time.
That brought me to thoughts about growing up. I'm 21 now. I won't gain anymore age-based benefits until I'm eligible for retirement. When we were all young, our first reaction to most girls/boys would be sexual. But I've noticed that with myself and most of my peers, that's not so true anymore. When you're older, personality possesses much more precedent -- almost all of it, honestly, with only a few asterisks. Though I suppose some fratboys never grow out of that. Mid-life crises probably also change it.
I finished reading all of Chuck Klosterman's catalogue this summer. I'm ambivalent about Klosterman. He spends ample time telling his readers that they shouldn't bother with him, and then he proceeds to prove it. After becoming a pop culture icon for writing about pop culture, his work's quality has declined. His debut, "Fargo Rock City," was his best, and his recent collection, "IV," was easily his worst.
Occasionally he strikes gold. I can't find the passage, but he was writing in "Fargo Rock City" about how there are millions of men around the world who spend decades -- or even their entire lives -- dedicated to one band. I am arguably among these men. So are you. M. Moon has loved Modest Mouse for as long as I've known him (seven years). It's the same with G-Train and STS9. Those bands are consistently mentioned by both men. But how often do you find this with a woman?
It's true. I can't recall a single woman in my acquaintance -- and I know more women than men -- who will be steadfastly dedicated to Led Zeppelin or Radiohead in ten years. Even in the case of John Mayer or Dave Matthews Band or Rascal Flatts -- it's a phase with all of them. What in our social conditioning instructs this phenomenon?
It honestly disappoints me. Those women will still like John Mayer in ten years, but they won't attend all of his shows. He'll just be an item from their past, more or less.
Read rock criticism. How many women will be reviewing? There can occasionally be one or two on Pitchfork. The A.V. Club, my favorite pop culture website, staffs many women, but none of them review music.
Finding a manic pixie dream boy is easy (that link is a new one, BTW). There are plenty of hipster men who fit the personality outlined in Elizabethtown, dancing and prancing about. A manic pixie dream girl is truly scarce. Not that anyone manic-pixie-dreamy is inherently virtuous (I'd argue that most are actually phonies), but it speaks to my point.
Another Klosterman tidbit, from Killing Yourself to Live:
"Lucy Chance once told me an anecdote about schizophrenia. There is a particular hypothetical question physicians ask patients they suspect to be suffering from this particular ailment: 'A man and a woman are married for 10 years. The husband suddenly dies. At the funeral, the widow meets another man and deeply enjoys his conversation. They talk for two hours, and it's exciting and reassuring. The following week, this same woman murders her own sister. Why do you think she committed this act of violence?' Now, if you ask a normal person this question, they'll usually theorize that the widow was talking to her sister's husband, and that she committed murder out of desperation and loneliness. However, schizophrenics (supposedly) provide a specific (and very disturbing) answer to this query with remarkable consistency; they inevitably say, 'Well, she obviously wanted to have another funeral, because that same guy will probably show up again.'"
It's so disturbing that I couldn't even wrap my head around it when I read it.
My dad hates profanity. I don't understand what people have against it. An excess of anything sucks. Such as, it is true that anybody who talks like this:
"So like, fuckin, the other fuckin night I went to this fuckin bar and there was this fuckin chick there, right? And she fuckin calls me a fuckin bar whore and"
Yeah, that pretty much sounds like fuckin trash. But I must illustrate an example of where profanity has its place.
I've always been a soft spot for Chuck Norris jokes. Sure, they got old, but they arrived at the perfect time in American history and embodied all that I'd ever felt about the man.
I first heard them from my HIST 160something T.A. at OU. He was finishing a round of great Chuck Norris jokes (reading from a website, of course). This was his concluding line:
"Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fucking Indian."
That received the biggest laugh. Now, read that again, without the eff-bomb:
"Chuck Norris 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate an Indian."
It loses its punch. The joke is completely neutralized. Eating an Indian sounds insubstantial. Eating a fucking Indian -- emphasizing the insanity of eating an Indian -- is something else entirely. Great profanity is always about emphasis. It has its place in the American lexicon.
Greg and I talked about how words in the English language -- and perhaps in many other languages -- have become so inherently meaningless, mostly thanks, I think, to Language poets.
"I'm a Catholic."
If you say that to me nowadays, I have no idea what the fuck you mean. The last time somebody said it, I replied, "Do you mean that you subscribe to Catholic philosophy, or that you're just Catholic to satisfy your family?" It could go both ways.
Greg asked me "what I am" religiously. I wanted to answer "deist," but deism is so broad. It once meant "belief in one god sans religion." Then the philosophers grabbed it and told us it means, "God is a metaphor for the laws of the universe." And when I say it, I mean, "I believe in something, but I don't know what that something is."
Lucky me -- a friend directed me to a Dutch philosophy that wholly embodies my ideas (or at least will until tomorrow, when the term is popularized and raped by the bastards of semantics). It's called Ietsism or, in English, "Somethingism." Read all about it (humorously, on the Wikipedia page, the "Beliefs" sections notes a wide range of distinct Ietsism beliefs).
I don't believe in faith. I couldn't be a Christian because of that. If you're going to believe in something, why not have the data and information to back it up? Relying on the magic sky being to confirm how right you are after you die sounds tumultuous to me. It is tumultuous, from personal experience. Billions of people are using that system -- of hoping that what they believe will be confirmed in the afterlife -- without any concrete evidence -- and they all have separate beliefs. It's so precarious. It's scary. People are willing to die for these ideals. Everybody *feels* it's right.
"What is concrete?"
You have no idea what I am saying.