Sunday, March 4, 2007

Random, Useless, Discourse 6: Destruction for the sake of Reconstruction: Pleasuring the Masses

(originally posted: 09/30/2006:

So a friend advised me on Friday to be self-destructive because it will allow for the opportunity to rebuild. Destruction for the sake of reconstruction. Curious. Interesting. Random. I love it.

Don't get him wrong. It wasn't like he was saying go out and rain chaos and malice on the population. It was more like go have fun and forget the crap that's bringing you down.

But I just like the concept of "destruction for the sake of reconstruction". Is it bad? Is it necessary? Let's see if we can work it out.

So the first question is, how far down must we go before we throw in the towel, set the charges, and wipe-clean the debris? What is our criteria for self-condemnation?

We are very self-destructive creatures. We research, develop, and create our temptations. We then package them in shiny boxes and cellophane and put them on-sale to move faster. To beat-down quicker. The beauty of this system, and there is beauty to be appreciated here, kids (there is always beauty in such an efficient thing), is that we pay, usually money on the counter, for the temptation.

We can drink ourselves silly. We can eat ourselves sick. But we'll still have the same issues that drove us to the liquor and to the box of Dove. We know this. But we do it anyway. Shoveling cake frosting in like it is the body of Christ and drowning sores in liters of Stoly as an obvious stand-in for absolution. A cry for help that we purchased an hour before at the all-too-convenient store.

Then there are the other teases. The 27-year-old thing in cargo shorts and a beaming smile. So full of optimism. So not completely slapped by life yet. On that cusp. So eager. So very… Ok. Wow. Yeah. Those sort of temptations. If you have them.

Or the relationship we have now. The one that we can't shake. We can't tear away from our body. Like some symbiotic infection that has turned to the dark-side, we just can't seem to medicate enough. So will it be death by brownie, Kirin, a bad co-dependent relationship we can't seem to end, or the sexed one we definitely shouldn't begin?

But still. Where is that line? That point we say, "Enough. I'm through. I'm spent. Let's start over". Can it be the day after a binge? Or must it be the day after the 100th binge? How far down must we fall from the grace of our own self? How much must we hate ourselves before we have earned the right, been punished enough, to return, all-American style? Bigger. Better. And stronger.

There is a certain enjoyment in always being in a remodeling mode. That's the real truth here. And we all know it. As much pleasure as our descent provides, what with his beat-up copy of "Notes from the Underground" strategically-placed in his side-pocket, we often get more enjoyment out of our redemption.

Scoot in closer kids, Kristy is going to tell you a little dirty secret about ourselves. About yourself. You see, the gratifications we incur on the way down, well, they can be awesome. Boy howdy awesome. But yet they are fleeting. They are of-the-moment. And the overall sensation is singular. It is derived from ourselves. We get only as much as we put into it. Actually, we get less. But the ride back-up, well that is another story. We take pleasure in our struggle. "Look at me. I've fallen and I'm getting up". But we also get it from others. "You go, Joe!!" They'll shout as you turn your corners, and then, quickly whisper aside, hand on heart, sounding out each syllable for proper respect and effect, "he was at rock bot-tom, I tell you, and…him now. Such an in-spir-ation". And we know the whispers are there. We don't need to hear them. We seem them. In the twinkle. In the nod. People love an underdog. People love the struggle. It let's them feel good about themselves without having to destroy themselves. Plug-and-play destruction and redemption. Everyone wins.

So back to my friend's 'destruction for the sake of reconstruction' advise (though, admittedly, I've turned it into that). Where is that bar for us, huh? Well, I guess it depends. Depends not on how far and fast we want to dive down, but how far we want to climb back up. Many, quick tailspins equal many, quick erections back to the top. Or are we looking for a Big One? Something grand that will inspire legions and make us a legend? Quantity versus quality. Which are we looking for?

Another friend wrote and used the terms of credit/debit to sum up life. The theory being, you just want to come out a little ahead in the end, no? So maybe that's all we are trying to do with our self-destructive paths. All those selfish, selfish debits. But maybe when we're a pretty pretty Phoenix, ablaze in our own righteous redemption, well maybe then, we get a few more credits out of the deal. Maybe, in the end, the beating we unleash on ourselves isn't so very destructive, but part of some human barter system hidden in our genetic-coding. We know the payment plan. We know the interest rates. We know the agreement.

I step-up to the auction-bloc and draw your attention. I stretch my arms, tilt my head, and offer up the sincerity sitting, heavy, in my eyes. The dramatic Messiah effect not lost to me or you. I explain the terms of an already sealed-deal, "Here I am, world. I'm gonna be the one today. I'm gonna take one for the team of Man," I say, pointing at a few in the crowd. Letting them know I'm doing this for them. Sneaking in a little ego-stroke for myself. Winking at the cute guy up-front. We'll hook-up after, baby. "I'm going to do stupid things for the sake of doing stupid things. I'm going to bruise. I'm going to bleed internally. There might be a concussion or two. You'll watch in horror through the spread fingers as you cover your face in anguish or ecstasy. I care neither. You'll pray and light candles. But it'll all be my own self-destruction. My very, very own. But when I come back, you'll fight over the front-row seating." I pause and put on my sexiest smirk, my most come-hither gaze and actually lean out to them, willing them in closer. This is when the fun starts for us both. "The lights will go down, the curtain will rise, and we'll all come together in the theatre of self-importance. It'll be an orgy for all the senses," I promise them. I mean it, too. I love them all right now. "You'll be reminded how much better than me you are. I'll bask openly in your adoration and attention. Validating myself back into the fold with a retelling of my debauchery and suffering. On bended-knees, eyes screwed up watching your faces contort, under my breathe, I'll hate and loathe you, as I pleasure and entertain you. This, my friends, this is our covenant. I'll take out a loan of destruction. Pay the high finance charges myself. But you'll cover the rebuild. And it'll be better than before. I win. You win. We all get off a little."

Yes. We can be very self-destructive creatures. But we can also be very, very clever ones as well. The complications of the spirit. Of the mind. Tease and titillate. Cast down and rise up. So yeah. I'll take the hits. But you'll be the one paying my tab at the end of the day. Until next time. When it'll be your turn to get yours. That's cool. That's how it should be.

My bad! So sorry to offend. Can I get some rehab too?

(originally posted 1/25/07 :

First off, let's get this correct right off the bat. Rehab can be a life-altering, saving process. It can change paths. It can redeem souls. Legit, honest to goodness, this-ain't-your Daddy's-addiction-we're-talking-about-here, rehab can work. You need to know I'm not referencing that sort of rehabilitation. Again, rehab can be a good thing.

But what up with everyone checking themselves into a 21-day health spa facility and then expecting us to pony up the forgiveness like Wal-Mart with a no-receipt necessary return policy? Do they really want us to overlook their indecencies and slaps because they talked out their feelings and got an emotional colonic behind closed-doors and in-between seaweed wraps and cocoa baths?

No. I do not know Isaiah Washington. And yes, he probably is a fairly good person, if you overlook his history of anger-issues and see-the-illustration-to-your-left homophobia. What (and I'm quoting from the press releases and media reports here) "behavioral issues" is he looking to address and re-address? Lying? Disrespect? A loss of all senses of appropriateness? And, most unbelievably, a complete and utter disregard for his own career and survival? Isaiah, c'mon dude, do you really expect us to believe you are that dumb? That ignorant of the environment in which you live, breathe, and exist? You called a co-worker an inflammatory, derogatory name. Then said you didn't do it. Then apologized for any misunderstandings and bad feelings. Then, when it was pretty much put to bed, you felt the need to remind us that you didn't use the word in the first place. BY SAYING THE WORD AGAIN. You don't get to offend for demonstrative purposes. And you sure as hell don't do it on national television.

While the issue of homophobia (and if you want an insight into my stance on such things, in this instance my opinion on gay marriage, see my blog Random, Useless Discourse 8: The True Cruelty and Danger of a Gay Marriage Ban… but to save you the trouble, in case you don't know me, I believe it is discrimination and that love is love … all preferences please apply) is at the center of this particular buzz, I am intrigued by the underlying nonchalant reaction we have to the bloated, sugar-coated apologizes and acts of prostration by public figures. These people stand before us, to entertain, to lead, and to influence us , and offer up a promise to really try harder next time, Mom. I swear. And we take in the beauty and the novocaine-tingle of it all. We accept the ease and confidence and shrug our shoulders. How can we get mad when they are so darned cute?

And the non-public figures, the non-celebrities, the you-and-Is, aren't any better. Where is the accountability in our lives? When and where do we draw the line and accept that, yeah, okay, Mom and Dad weren't perfect and they probably fucked us up quite a bit, but honestly, Janet, you fucked yourself up pretty good too. No one put the gun, the needle, or the credit card in your hand and forced you to use it. No one made you drink the whole bottle of vodka. No one made you do the things you did. Yeah, ok, you feel like you had to. Like you had no options. Like you were out of options. I've been there. We've all been there. And we've all made the wrong choice. Even with addictions where you feel you don't have a choice, you do. It's just way fucking harder than anything you've ever faced and, sometimes, you don't have the strength to make the choice. But it is still there. That nasty, pesky, free-will that the Creator seemed fit to shackle us with. Taunting and teasing us. Peddling guilt like a whore looking to make rent. It's there, my friend. Free-will. Choice. Accountability.

Was Lindsay Lohan in need of an intervention? Hell-yes. We all agree with that. She's a fucked up kid. She's only twenty and those years are riding on her hard. Nothing about it has been carefree. But is that always the case? No. Sometimes you have to grab that mike at the Golden Globes, back in the media-tent, and proclaim to the world that, yes, you have a problem. That yes, you are homophobic and you lied and you did in fact call someone a derogatory, hate-filled name. But I guess the other night wasn't the night for that. Wasn't the time for such accountability. Apparently that moment comes a few days later. When a network huddles and publicists rage with frantic spin and Billy Bush puts on his serious-face.

Where are we when our leaders, and what are our celebrities if not our Caesars and our Wildes dictating and define the comments of our society, can't stand themselves? When they can't face their fallacies and faults? When rehabilitation isn't so much of a gasp for life, fingernails digging in, primal and defiant, but more like a weekend sale at Kitson. Something you don't even have to attend. Personal shoppers and assistants stand-in. Paid substitutes for your rehabilitation. JV alternates running the full-court press while the A-squad makes out with the cheerleaders and cock-strut on the sidelines.

And we buy it. Every time. Full-price tickets to watch the freak show. And why? Same old same old. We want it to be us. We want to fake the apology. We want to skip out on doing the time for the crime. We want to be special. Not only do we want it, but we actually fucking believe we have a shot at it. Admit it. You know you do. Like I say, we all want to glitter and glow. A life without accountability. A life without consequences. It defies physics. It defies the laws of nature. We all want to be fucking rock stars. We all want to live in the clouds. And fuck the consequences. Sorry if that offends. Don't worry, though. I'm checking into the SugarPlum and GingerSnaps Wellness Center next week. Right after the weekend. Just as soon as I cut a few more lines.