Friday, February 17, 2017

revolting characters

Julia is pissing me off right now. When I started the series, my Big Idea was a crusty tough broad who develops into a more self-aware and compassionate character, but she's not cooperating. ASCENSION's story is moving fast, things are happening, and she's just carrying on at top speed with her usual lack of insight. It's maddening! I'm tempted to make Something Horrible happen to her, but she's already been through hell and it hasn't had the effect I'm looking for. It's like herding cats or raising children or something.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"What, you can't hear this accent?" Igor snapped at the bartender, who rolled his tired eyes and went for the Vodka bottle.

"Tough day?" I asked, finishing off my Margarita and signaling for another.

"Gospodi," Igor groaned, getting up on the barstool next to me. 

We met every Friday, here at the Ebbit. Me, out of sheer curiosity; him, out of the need for a pressure valve on his high-stakes job translating classified communications for some underground Washington troublemakers.

I made a come-on gesture at him with my fingers.

"So some bigshot American businessman is talking to a red-phone number in Moscow, right?" Igor said, pulling the vodka shot over across the shiny wood bar. "And this American guy, he's kvetching about China, how they're screwing him up the ass, and the Russian, he's joining right in, and then this American so-and-so, he starts talking about starting a war."

Igor paused to take a gulp of his vodka, and half-turned on his stool so as to look me in the eye while repeating, "A war!"

"What, like a price war?" I said, frowning. "I doubt we can beat the Chinese at that."

"No, the real thing!" Igor lifted and dropped his bony shoulders under the perma-press dress shirt. "Bombs, guns, all that derrmo. And not just, American guy buys some tanks and hires a few mercenaries." Igor lowered his head and widened his ice-blue eyes with a merry twinkle. "He says, I'll run for president of the U.S."

I started to laugh. "Man, if every sour-grapes capitalist in the states could get elected president, neither of of us would be sitting here right now."

"OK, but this Russian he's talking to, I'm figuring out, this is a very big guy," Igor said, his bushy eyebrows lifting. "Very big."

"Russians," I sneered, raising my Margarita. "You guys are over, man. It's ISIS and the Chinese now."

Igor put his elbows back on the bar and snickered down into his vodka, shaking his head. "OK but listen. This guy, this American. He's a fucking madman. I'm telling you."

I took a drink and waited.

"He's got this other guy, a prospective running-mate, OK? The running-mate is one of these Prophecy Christians, he's foaming at the mouth for a holy war with the Muslims, and if he's got a platform, he can whip it up like that." Igor snapped his fingers. "So the American, he goes to the Russian, 'You get me the White House, I'll take China off both our plates.' Russian is like, 'Oh yeah, and how are you gonna do that?' And American is like, 'How hard would it be to get China involved in an American shooting war with ISIS?'"

I laughed, stared at him, stopped. Thought about it a minute, then said, "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard."

Igor huffed an annoyed half-chuckle, half-sigh. "And you wonder why I drink."

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's been a rough couple of days. I'm pretty sure you feel me.

Yet, here I am again, still telling people who don't really want to hear it what I think, still being a commie nerd. Not in jail. Not dead. Not barefoot and pregnant. Still poor, though.

After many tortuous and embarrassingly emotional conversations with all the wrong people, I have extracted and distilled some things that make me feel better, and I'm gonna tell you them, even if you think they're stupid and you don't care and you're as sick of the whole steaming pile of crap as I am. I'm a writer, so ha, ha!

One. The slow government thing that I talked about before. The Revolution that we are all waiting for is happening right now. It's happening very very slowly, because the United States designed our government to work that way so that people wouldn't freak out and do stupid shit. The humans that made the thing up understood that humans don't deal well with radical change. Too many eons on the tundra, avoiding the radical change of getting eaten. So we have this ponderous and laughably bloated government that can actually get very little done. That is wisdom, and a saving grace when a demagogue comes to power. Those guys had seen this shit before, and they figured out a way to slow down the carnage from it. The result is that the most extreme ideas get beaten out of everything on its way to becoming the law of the land. That doesn't mean stupid shit doesn't end up becoming the law of the land, but by and large the glacial reality of the stupidest laws -- slavery, segregation, making medical shit illegal, telling people who they can or can't marry -- is that they eventually go down. It takes a long time, as in, maybe not even in my lifetime, but they eventually go down. The larger trend is upward, toward better. I'm talking since the dawn of time here, people, don't start arguing with me until I'm done, damn!

Two: People are fucking SCREAMING IN THE STREETS about this shit. Two-point-five MILLION people have signed a petition to keep The Thing out of the White House. It's not going to happen, and it shouldn't, but large numbers of people are rightly horrified and not keeping that a secret. This is the Revolution. Bad shit happens, people scream. It's when they don't scream that you want to be scared. My brother, he of the Patriarchy brain, points out that the virulent verbal excrement oozing from The Thing's orifice is not new -- it has always been there, simmering, behind a curtain, where its adherents can pretend they don't really believe it. Now they can't. The idiots who put The Thing in power now have to answer the questions, out loud. Like, "Really? You're OK with rape?" So now we know exactly where to pin the targets. You can't stomp roaches until they come out of the walls.

Three: The grief I feel isn't political, it's social. As described above, I don't think The Thing will successfully enact its entire "platform" in any durable fashion, but four years of being represented on the global stage by the embodiment of every awful thing everyone in the world has ever said about Americans will reinforce and more deeply entrench and embolden our cultural tendency towards violence, hatred and destruction, and I really don't want to have to live through that shit.

But I will. And after the Revolution, when *my* side gets it all horribly wrong, the big rock tumbler of reality and time will knock the corners off of that, too, and then the asteroid will come and all of this will be moot.

OMG. I just solved the one hand clapping koan. I mean, I got it "wrong," but I still solved it.

Bigfoot is fat and happy no matter who's president

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Radical feminists seek to abolish patriarchy by challenging existing social norms and institutions, rather than through a purely political process. This includes challenging traditional gender roles, opposing the sexual objectification of women, and raising public awareness about rape and violence against women."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

All I have to say is

The Founding Fathers made our government ponderous and resistant to change, for a reason. This is that reason.

Monday, October 17, 2016

out here,
citrine green and smoke
and slanting yellow light
cradles and calves and cotton
birds with their feathers turning
in that endless emptiness
that made us all.
they say there's another one, out there,
when you lie on this breast of grass and look up at night;
another one where we can go when this one's done
but will it smell like home?
will up be up and down be down
and your mother's ashes in the ground?
blind orphans at your telescopes, she isn't out there.
she's out here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

another brick in the wall

In this otherwise enjoyable mystery series that I'm watching, there is an episode where the very modern and liberated heroine discovers that the 16 year old murder victim received the gift of some sexy underwears from an older man. Heroine is rightly suspicious of hijinks, and confronts older man. However, when she discovers that older man and man's wife were merely having a "polyamorous relationship" with the underage murder victim, and that they didn't kill her, all is forgiven and the plot moves on without any further mention of said threesome.

Um, hello? 

No, it's all OK, because as soon as it is determined that the sexual activity is something that we must be "open-minded" about, all reactions to it are required to be either neutral or positive. We can object to a 16 year old girl being preyed on by an older man, because that is gross (and illegal), but as soon as his wife is involved and it's a "lifestyle choice," it's not gross (or, apparently, illegal, since neither adult character suffers any statutory consequences) anymore. 

This, my friends, is how patriarchy persists. It becomes woven into our stories in the same way it's woven into our culture: invisibly, without comment, with the subtle threat of ridicule to keep you quiet. If you object, you are a relic, a Carrie Nation, a weak-minded harridan attempting to enforce your moralistic viewpoint upon your more progressive and high-minded peers.

Well, bring me my axe, Eugene. This is fucking bullshit.