Friday, June 22, 2018

On Complicity And Denial

One great shame of American politics is that it forces anyone who dares to undertake an authentic examination of our history, culture and values, to tear apart the carefully orchestrated origin story we've fictionalized for so long to suit our own emotional needs. It requires that we lay bare the kinds of things we were forced to absorb as children; a history that was constructed to make us feel better, as long as we didn't have to look too close at the foundation or the collapsing brickwork of our deluded narrative.

I don't believe much has changed when I see the self-congratulatory claptrap being taught to young people today; and any glance of the evening news will feature a Pathological Narcissist and Presidential Man-Child, wielding his insecurity as a weapon, demanding that everyone play the game he wants to play on the playground while he manipulates the rules to his advantage as he goes along. Sadly, one of the biggest lies we continue to tell empathetic children in 2018 is that they could someday grow up to be President.

Someday, I hope we'll have the courage to be honest with ourselves about who we are and where we're headed. Until then, it will continue to get uglier and more polarized and abrasive; and we'll continue to deny that the house is on fire.. or even worse, those of us so psychologically attached to this narrative will attempt to call on some notion of greatness and insist that it'll be fine (safe to say that they're the most isolated). It can't be - Not until every last one of us is willing to relinquish our childhood attachment to a carefully constructed lie and recreate a world that works for everyone and excludes no one.

I don't have much faith in this possibility. A rigorous moral and cultural self-examination is Painful. Illusion is a warm blanket we've had since childhood. We like our heroes and our story too much to examine, let alone abandon them. Truth is a necessary casualty.

Complicity and Denial. They're both one hell of a drug.

Monday, January 22, 2018

"The Trains At Our Parties Are The Best In Rome. They're The Best Because They Go Nowhere..."

Watching Paolo Sorrentino's masterpiece "The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)" with my morning coffee. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

It's a film set against the breathtaking backdrop of Rome - with striking, picturesque shots of the Eternal City throughout - but it's focus quickly turns inward; on the inherent loneliness of a writer's human condition, even in the midst of his own narcissism, self-loathing and nocturnal discomfort. The various gatherings and bacchanals of the grotesque, self-absorted Roman upper class (his social circle) prove to be a kind of charade. Even the decadence masks loneliness.

The meaning is found in the passion; in being a connoisseur of Art, in the fleeting nature of love, sex and human connection, and in savoring those rare, simple moments where human beings can overcome their fear and crippling self-doubt just long enough to take off their masks.