THE MOUTHPIECE OF WWW.ROBDAMNIT.COM (which for the moment redirects here as the site needs a complete rebuild, but I digress) ............ random thoughts, ranting, ravings, political analysis, social commentary, drunken musings, righteous tirades and maybe a little poetry all of for and by real and imaginary people
Saturday, November 20, 2010
some random scrawl
Puddle me this, My self in solution, What is this pollution That delivers me here Scorning my surroundings And dismissing the foundlings, Who in ignorance, Would promise me bliss?
Sesame Street debuted nationally when I was a few months shy of four years old. I don’t believe I first saw it until sometime the next year. At that time the target audience was three to five year-olds (recalibrated younger in the 1990’s) and I as a somewhat emotionally lagging child and “outgrowing” the demographic just as my younger sister entered it was still watching in elementary school. Elementary school: where it all began; where it all began and lasted until senior year of high school; where the earliest scars were formed, scars that at times made me a bully in some ways to some people while remaining the constant victim of others and now forty years later leave me with a brain so wired to survive in an emotionally and physically dangerous environment that I reflexively attack and berate myself reliving any screw-up, no matter how far in the past, that brought unwanted attention; vivid flashbacks created by the animal mechanism of skull meat as it tries to ensure survival and gives not a damn for peace.
Why all this confessional carrying-on? Well, other than because this is my blog and that is one of the things I do. Today I watched a video that is part of the ever-growing It Gets Better Project… and I wept, spontaneously and uncontrollably until the credits rolled. While the project is focused toward LGBT youth this message was slightly different. It was created by someone named Chris Tuttle and features a commercially available version of Kermit the Frog that in a passing imitation of the Muppet’s voice earnestly tells the viewer how hard it was to be young and green but that it does get better. Kermit continues to deliver with classic Sesame Street intonation the message that no matter how different we feel or people try to make us feel we all are valuable and we are not alone and urges anyone being harassed or bullied to talk to someone in authority, and keep talking until someone listens and DOES something about it. He charges those in authority, parents, teachers, and clergy, to DO something about it. He reminds us that lives are at stake.
This touched me deeply. It was as if a spark had found one of those scars closer to the surface and the charge chased all the way down into the core of my being, into the vaults of my history. How long had it really been going on? I rarely focused on the years prior to fifth grade when I spent the entirety of recess hiding in the hedges to avoid being taunted and threatened if not outright brutalized, but it goes back farther than that. My mother once said to me after I had come out in my sophomore year of college that I had changed. I was me again. She told me that she was happy to have back her vibrant little boy she put on the bus to elementary school so many years ago and they never sent back. Fourteen years. Fourteen years to even begin undoing the damage that time and even therapy have not yet wholly healed. How different would it all have been if somehow Chris Tuttle and Kermit could have given this message to six year-old me? And I am one of the lucky ones. I’m here to weep into my keyboard and write cathartic confessional self-indulgent blog posts admonishing the past for its failures. I’m here. We know there are far too many who aren’t.
Update: November 19, 2010
I know that some people find it hard or do not wish to believe bullying can and does start at such an early age. Today another facebook friend posted a link to an article by the mother of a first grader (and Star Wars fan) about her daughter’s first encounter with bullying. This story is a good example of how innocently it can all begin, that gender role programming and its fallout begin before sex and sexual attraction are even comprehended, but also how we out here in on the internet sometimes really can do something. I encourage you to read it and if you are a female science fiction fan to post a comment to bolster this brave younger member of the tribe.
The midterm election is over. Some ugly things have happened. And, I rejoice that my state maintained a modicum of sanity even as I lament that the House was lost. That said, as much as it chagrins me, I have to admit my own party must own a portion of their own failure on the national level. Even before the previous administration left office the Democrats were given control of Congress, a mandate from the people. They failed to deliver. As much as I love John Stewart and his call for reasonableness and moderation… we are playing a rough game. Those who would appear to represent the left have failed for the same reason they always fail… despite the viciousness of the playing field they tried to play nice. Nice guys are sometimes exonerated by history, they sometimes win wars, but they rarely win battles without stealing a page or two from the bad guys’ playbooks. Let this setback be a wakeup call. Let this loss be a call to arms. The Left must rise; roar; cry to heaven. We must be mindful of civil and lucid discourse, mindful of common ground and where it can be found but we must also free ourselves from the compulsion to be nice. There will be a time for “nice; it is not now. Now, now we need to use whatever tools may be at our disposal to champion what we know to be important, imperative, crucial to the progress and survival of this people, this nation, this Great American Experiment. We must shed our shared discomfort with, if not outright aversion to, conflict and fight. Will we be saints in heaven and martyrs in history while the legacy of our inaction is a hell on earth? As Massachusetts is a beacon for the nation the United Sates of America is a beacon for the world. If that beacon were extinguished or even dimmed by corruption of the focus and color or its lens then we should fear for the future of all humanity regardless of the continent on which or the borders within which it lives. We have been charged, whether by a divine power or history or simply inescapable reason, to lead the way out of the hidebound past of monarchies and theocracies of classist hierarchies and racist empires. True, we have more miles to go before fulfilling that charge than perhaps years humanity has stood on this earth, but that is only more reason to not fall back or fall down now when all the world is watching. They watch and they hope. Hoping with us, for us, for themselves… for the future. Isn’t that worth a little discomfort as we chose the cause of our convictions over the ease of our social grace?