Wednesday, May 28, 2014

America's Psycho

 "(R)est assured this will all happen again very soon" - Michael Moore

With the latest act of fatal violence -- the shooting death of, now, four people in the Jewish Museum of Brussels last weekend -- thoughts turn again, or should, to the state of global mental health.

No, Elliot Rodger was not the latest ... He won't be the last.  As America weeps again, and wonders what went wrong again, and clams up for a change this time, on anything having to do with the Second Amendment -- even Michael Moore clammed up, not deigning to repeat his message of over ten years ago, in Bowling for Columbine -- we are only beginning to skate around the tip of what is actually the iceberg ...

Elliot Rodger was a sick, pained soul.  Stereotypically "tortured", almost "poetic", in his musings.  His dark manifesto, had it been written, say, a century and a half ago ... penned anonymously, and/or "discovered" ... who knows?  Might have become a literary classic, in the Dostoevsky or Knut Hamsen vein.

As a writer, I myself am tortured:  panged with jealousy, twisted, unnerved, by the guy's naive, sadly wasted talent!

... Creepy or not, in this respect, Mahbod Moghadam may have been spot on:  Elliot Rodger was (could've been) a beautiful "writer".  Frankly, we're lucky that he vented regularly ... safely, behind a pen and a keyboard, letting off many pages, and scripted videos, of steam.  Had he not afforded himself of these outlets, one has to wonder how much sooner his deranged fiction -- all those perceived slights, and delusions of some sort of "magnificence" -- might have occurred.

In any case, like all good American Psychos, Rodger pulled the trigger on himself in the end.

The Belgian killer -- the killer of Semites -- is still out there.  It's been suggested that this was a "professional" job, not in fact a random racial incident; and certainly, if the gunman in this case was some sort of targeted score settler, not particularly an issue of mental health.

So we'll leave that one for now.  Re-shine the spotlight on America.  Ask, WHAT are the stresses, the frustrations, the root causes of our epidemic?  Is it drugs?  The prescriptions we're hawked on TV each night?  The force-feeding of chemicals into the brains of our "hyper", attention deprived young children?

The constant -- CONSTANT -- barrage of "news" and useless "infotainment"?  The lack of exercise or (physical) play?  The deadly food options?  The lazy dependence on electronic voices telling us which way to turn?  The "deposits" required, the payment methods demanded, the increasing requirement of usernames and passwords ... the need to "opt-out", instead of being asked to opt IN?

Is it the frustration of trying to reach another human being on the telephone, or increasingly, in real life ... in actual face time, not via some "app"?  WHAT is driving us crazy here??

WHY are we Americans psycho?

It's not about access to guns, necessarily.  In a way, the NRA song and dance is true:  Guns don't kill people.  It's the people who have intent to kill ... Too often, like Elliot Rodger, flailing towards whichever weapon of choice comes in handy:  a knife ... a BMW ...

Guns or no guns, the Elliot Rodger story would've ended badly;

sadly, the American climate's too ripe for a sequel.

Why are we Batshit in America?


Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's ME(dium), Fuckers
photo(s) by Jglo

Some might argue that it's hubristic to write in the first-person.

I (me, myself and ... ) disagree.

What I would argue is that the first-person, as a narrative form, should be retired.  This would limit, if not eliminate, all the p(r)osers, pretenders and Starbucks dreamers who "share" themselves like drunken cheerleaders.  Before them, of course -- this Facebook, cut and paste, "open-source" crowd -- there were the older siblings ... also scribbling, pos(t)ing dreamily, into Barnes & Noble "journals" the size of granny panties ... or contributing to Fray.

To me, it was this wave that killed the first-person ... although I completely missed this wave.  While struggling to keep jobs and apartments back then, and a marriage more or less intact, with regrets and recalcitrance rearing up on determined hind legs at every turn -- plus an afraid, douche-y dilettantism which sidelines and holds me at bay, to this day -- I avoided the fray.

Instead, I declared the first-person "dead", and missed that whole boat!  Like telling the Beatles guitar groups are out, I turned myself down -- didn't bother to show up -- at countless auditions and opportunities ...

I was stupid.

I've always considered myself a writer ... Writing!  No more shitty gigs!  No odd job mental patient lot, no theater, theayter ... NOT!  I'm never gonna work again! 

... But when life interferes, when you're forced to make choices, it's easier to think those words than to be them.  Writing came easy ... The living, less so.

So in missing the first-person boat first-time round, I declared that I never cared to sail.

Then into this self-pity party, stepped Medium.  As an unfettered, unadorned platform for writing -- and for putting eyes upon (my) words -- there's at this moment, in my estimation, no equal.  Any genre -- save maybe the fevered erotics of (my!) especially wet dreams -- is game ... and automatically "accepted" for publication; i.e., published.

This is huge.

And with seemingly built-in SEO, Medium serves, for me, a dual purpose:  It gives me a chance to throw my own "I" into the ring (although fifteen years or so late to that game) ... and also affords me an audience of readers.

Type a little, bop and weave words, save and enter ... BOOM!

"Jeff Glovsky" is in your face!  And in your "reading list" - the 21st century equivalent of a humble, early (wet) dream of mine:  to see my name on a bookstore shelf.

As a Writer, exposure is all I need ...

So thanks, Readers.  Thank you, Collection Editors.  And thank you to Medium ... for giving me (myself, I ... ) a second chance.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Song Without Music

fΓΌr Elise Claudia

My biggest regret in life -- apart from wishing I'd spelled "recognize" correctly in the 8th grade spelling bee ... I'd have taken State!!  To this day, I think about that brain fart moment when I dropped the g, and puttered out "r-e-c-o-n-i-z-e" ... and the judge then, pausing significantly, completely ignoring me, turning to my opponent and intoning, "Recognize?".

... My opponent remembering the goddamn g!  Spelling "recognize" CORRECTLY, and setting off my lifelong descent into failure.

"Needless to say, you failed" ... my driving instructor also intoned to me, several years later, as I dinged a parked car while parallel parking.  I didn't get my license that day, my first try, at sixteen, and my piss-poor, abyss-diving life drove downward ...

Brother Theodore on Letterman:  all angsty pangsty, acting like he just burped up from hell.  Dark chords were struck, a bond was born, his shtick of torment, mine as well ...

-- but where was I?  Failure ... Regret!

The (second) biggest regret of my life is that I can't play an instrument.  Bopping sub tactilely, digging "the" jazz, doesn't qualify me as a Soundcloud "creator".  House all piano-less, tuneless fingers ... notes and tones just heard, unplayed.  Oh, would I spoke the languages of nature (plants) and music!  I can only see and hear ... Appreciate.

But not create.

And then, that one who got away.  You know who you are (Claudia) ... You 'got' me, understsood my Drang, my Sturm, und stood beside me.  You, who laughed at my suggestions, my sad efforts at suggestiveness ... You laughing, tousled hair and bird-like visage, made my losing less ...

Could we have played things differently?  If I blew notes, instead of all that air when we togethered??

Would we each be part of One, still?  How I wonder where you went!

But I digress ...

The parking meter's hungryI can ill-afford another ticket ... Traipsing out to feed her and I trip upon my laces, sprung undone because the shoes are cheap, like a bed in a hostel instead of a suite.

It's raining, as I'm on the street ... Getting up 'cause a cop on his beat comes to greet me.  Otherwise, I'd die here ("lie" or "lay"?) and just forget you.  But I can't forget you, Claudia!  Feel you playing still, my instrument ... You taught me all the things I could've kept, to keep in time, you mine ... but me, I tuned them out, and we ...

Our concert's over.

Now I try my best to solo, but I can't create the music!

No, the biggest regret of my life -- beyond the lack of talent and the 8th grade spelling contest -- is that blue, I note our lost motif and recoGnize it won't repeat ...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thoughts Aloud

"You are black and I am white
You are blind as a bat And I have sight"
- Ebony & Ivory (SNL version)

In the wake of the latest (over)played U.S. race card, the loutish, last century remarks of a set-in-his-ways old fool, hackles are raised again that, as a nation, the United States has made zero progress in terms of race relations (and/or cultural tolerance) over the centuries.

This is nonsense.

As is often the case, it's the secretly hating and seething themselves, the self-righteous, gas baggy, glass-housed souls, who heave the most aggrieved, loud stones.

To hear them tell it, these thought police -- these angry, directionless ministers beseeching their already converted choirs ... Donald Sterling is a Klansman.

Such extreme vilification of an old fool is not only also nonsense, it's a danger:  To shine a spotlight of any kind on extremism only feeds it.  Donald Sterling is no Cliven Bundy ... and he's not particularly extreme in his outlook.

Donald Sterling is an old man.

My dad, 80-something, is also 'up there' in age.  Stormin' Norm has been known to blow hard too, and -- unpleasantly -- reveals on occasion some of Sterling's, shall we say, irascibility ... This statement of fact does not excuse either of them.  It just is:  old boys will be old boys ... and old ladies and teenagers, Wall Street wolves, working women and children ... You get the idea.  There are segments, and often unpleasant behaviors which come with each territory, and within varied contexts.

A universal regulation of speech, of opinion -- no matter how unpalatable -- cannot apply.

Yes, there are laws, as of course, there should be.  There is hate speech, incitement ... Donald Sterling wasn't hating.  He was caught with his pants down, in an old man's moment.  The kind that I'm willing to bet you, and virtually everyone you know -- male or female, black or white, in fact, young or old ... with few, if any, exceptions -- has (had) on occasion.

Depending on how one defines the term, most of us are "racist", to some degree.  To dispute this is to deny the problem.  But the paradigm has shifted over the past fifty years, so that overt bigotry and non-tolerance is the exception, not the norm.  We should accept this fact as a glass half-full starting point, at least, and advance with it ... and not keep expecting, thereby creating problems.

Beyond this, there is a little matter of privacy, in the fact that Donald Sterling was recorded having his blathering, pants down, old man's moment ...

"Right" or "wrong", whatever Sterling (or I, or you) may think, and whatever words he (I, you) may choose, to express random thoughts as they form and present themselves, in private -- are his (mine, yours).
Why was this old man's private conversation being recorded?

And was he aware it was being recorded?  In the U.S., it's a crime in some states, including California, to record individuals without consent.  Did Donald Sterling know he was being recorded?

We'll leave that to the lawyers, for now.

I'm not defending Donald Sterling (nor my old dad, when he pipes up) ... and I'm certainly not defending any racial "privilege" Sterling thinks he might have; nor the toxic, old school attitudes which he apparently retains from his younger self, in a bygone era, towards women, money and the "ownership" of human capital ...

But I will say that I empathize, as an often wrong individual -- a human being -- whose reasonable expectation of privacy becomes violated.