Sunday, October 25, 2009


During Friday's class, liposuction came up--(now I'm imagining the word "lipsuction" in comical white block-letters floating up to the surface of a pool)-- as we were talking about pop culture, and the ways in which "image" pushes it, pop culture, along. I told them about the billboard I see everyday, which I will describe now: in standard san-serif 5 foot tall font is written "Forever Young" above an almost nude and obviously late-teen female body.

What I can't figure out is this: why don't we tear this shit down? You might say: because Americans are stupid, can't think for themselves, and believe whatever Blaxmart sticks through their eyes. And I say to that this:

You're wrong, but I can't figure out why. To be as definitive as possible. And this is why I'm perplexed-- I've read the papers of a few hundred regular-joe American students (from all our cultural enclaves--or those at least in so-Cal and the NW), and what I find in them is a lot wisdom, albeit sound-byte wisdom. It's humbling to read the paper of one of my supposedly stupid students and find a generations-old truth, and feel small, feel like I'm being taught. It happens, it's in their papers. And they seem to understand it.

There must be some... failure of communication between our brains and hearts. If we're dividing the human into meat chunks. Soul and spirit if we're making metaphysical distinctions. However we say it, blatantly false and entirely vapid advertising seems to work on us. If I have fat vacuumed out in clots, I'll look like a nymphet. A lolita.

And people like myself are complicit whether we want the legs of a fairy queen or not-- we take the Adamal bait: wife/girlfriend has legs sucked by Blaxmart the snake, while I learn a liking for licks from the lolita pop. Despite whatever well-polished truths have tumbled down the Heraclitean river of time to me.

My body has acclimated to the fog, and my mind switches off at the heart's fading.

Shall we rouse ourselves? Even Green Day is saying, "Yes, we should." Or so it seemed they were in the song I heard on the radio the other day. Even pop radio is demanding that we rise from the toxic slums of the corporate-driven post-christian image-obsessed apathy we've been been driven into, despite knowing better. We know better. My students do, in their papers.

Oh truth, you greener snake, sitting on the branch opposite the other snake. The same tree.

We're all going to die! Isn't that the most fascinating thing in the world?!

It is. My mind tells me this. My mind speaks in little aphoristic fragments. It says: love, and think about death. Let the love of those around you make the thought of death less... incapacitating... and then try to answer the question.

Which question? The one begged by a meaningful and sometimes-beautiful world wherein love happens, wherein there is consciousness of death, wherein there is a lack of specific knowledge about what will come after the utterly individual death each of us will find ourselves experiencing very soon.

And if we turn into fertilizer only... Shall I go down in a blaze of glory? Or shall I try to make the soil I will become a dirt that's free of mind-numbingly stupid chemicals? A living soil.

If my mind blinks out permanently. But I have stories in my heart that say otherwise.


Ryan Hofer said...

yeah, I don't know. I went to CNN's new website and was rather shocked by how ridiculous it seemed. Is it hard to step outside the impressions of the images because if you did, you would be right in the middle of a simple organic life? Eat, sleep, talk to people you are right next to. repeat. repeat. repeat. Surely there are ways to make the immediate moments full, rather than always believing the real stuff is in the image on the billboard.

Ryan Hofer said...

is it that we can't articulate anything else which will hold things together?