The Violent Bear It Away

I make my students freewrite. I should have to freewrite. Pay the toll.

I didn’t work on the novel today. I took a day off, spent about two hours drawing instead. Also grading and cleaning and dog maintenance, I didn’t ONLY draw all day, but I thought if I’m not going to get to writing the novel, I should at least write something. 

A plane crashed today but I don’t want to write about that. Or the people that died, all from Puerto Rico, all of whom apparently worked to transport aid to the island after the hurricane. They deserve to be remembered, I’m sure, but they haven’t released the names yet, and I don’t know how to process it otherwise, because it came down in my city, on the median of a busy highway, somehow not hitting any cars or buildings even with the subsequent explosion, so perfectly placed in a not unpopulated part of town near the airport that onlookers suspect the pilot crashed where he did on purpose to save lives. 

I don’t know how to write in the mornings, but I’m trying to convert. It’ll probably have to start with freewriting in the mornings because otherwise I just cannot get myself to move from passive to active recreation. The phone screen, the internet sucks me in, whether I’m in a good mood or not, I don’t think this is a depression thing so much as a natural circadian sort of brain rhythm. My make-stuff hackles don’t get raised naturally until about 2 p.m., but the mornings are more often than not the best time to get writing done, before the appointments and tasks of the day get going, let alone before my dog is fully awake and annoying, bugging me for attention. I think eventually what it’ll have to be is a workout. A bright-and-early, first-thing run, get the blood flowing, reset my rhythms, if possible. This particular morning, however, I tried to meet my brain halfway by reading, which is the most active of passive recreations available.

I finished Flannery O’Connor’s novel today, which as it turns out wasn’t really a novel at all but a 200-page short story, because some people are just so good at one thing they keep doing it even when they try to do another thing. It all happened in just about the span of five days, for the most part, with the necessary flashbacks for context. The plot was a short story plot, the characters short story characters, even the setting was limited to three main focal points, or two, if you wanted to argue that that last one was just serving as a stepping stone to the other. It was repetitive in its drama, especially the dialogue, but that was also one of the main themes, an inability of the characters to move on with their lives, so the fact they seemed to keep having the same conversation over and over again made sense in that respect.

I don’t want to wake up and run tomorrow. But more than that I don’t want to be someone who knows what needs to happen and doesn’t do it. But even more than that, I don’t want to write that thing down and post it on the internet and then not do it, because it’s one thing to know yourself a fraud, but another thing entirely to be judged one by the public. 

Oh! Speaking of judging, I’ve been following that Michelle Wolf drama in the media, much of which is focused around her criticism of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. How could you say such things to her face, is the gut reaction of most people who found the comic’s jokes in bad taste. Which I just wanted to mention is the perfect reaction to demonstrate the problem. Fox News famously got blacklisted by Obama, if I remember correctly. He would do interviews with all the major news networks except them. I don’t blame him for this decision, really, because of (obviously) the eight-plus years they spent in a jealous rage flinging barely contained racism in his direction, but the thing is, if he would’ve gone on their stupid network the same as any other and given them the interviews, it would’ve been fine. It actually would have most likely helped with their radical conservativism, because they never would have said those things to his face.  

I think there are liberals and conservatives, sure, but another key distinction of that binary sort among Americans is the “to their face” distinction. On the one side are people that would prefer to keep their criticism to the locker rooms, shared only with what they assume to be like minds. The other side want the objects of their criticism to hear that criticism and respond. There’s another of today’s news stories that serves as a kind of metric for this one, wherein Draymond Green invited Charles Barkley to punch him in the face. Why? Because Barkley said on national television the way Green plays basketball makes him want to punch him in the face. Barkley’s comment was the locker room type, but he was not only speaking to like minds. It was a criticism on a personal level and had not much to do with analyzing Green’s basketball skills. Imagine if Barkley had said such a thing in the same room as Green, directly to him. Hey Draymond, I don’t like your style and I want to punch your face. Would any of us have been surprised if Green stood up, went over, and decked C. Barkley right in the jaw?

This is why people assumed Wolf should not have said what she said. While such a comment from the Fox News pundits about Hillary Clinton is just fine on their network, it would be in considerably worse taste to call her a liar if she were seated just four spots down from the podium, dressed in formal wear, listening politely. You don’t slander in person, dammit. You keep it civilized and slander someone to all of your friends and internet followers and wait for that person to hear about it secondhand. 

The thing is, Wolf didn’t believe what she was saying was punch-worthy. She was not trying to slander the woman, she was criticizing her for her abhorrent behavior, and she would love for Sanders to have to answer for it. Charles Barkley issued an official apology for his comment to Draymond Green. He knew he was being a judgey little pissant, that he’d been showing off, acting out, and got busted for it. Wolf, though a comedian, was not showing off or acting out. She is sick of this administration’s bullshit and she wants some answers, and if it takes challenging them to their collective faces to get them, so be it. 

What I would’ve loved to see, if Obama had been giving them interviews, would’ve been the day someone at Fox News finally cracked. Where behind the scenes, in what I’m assuming are the filthiest of actual locker rooms, somewhere in the bowels of the Fox News building, these grumpy pundits who made their money pissing on Obama would dare each other, and dare each other.  Say it to his face. No you say it to his face. Eventually, one of them would have, and I imagine it would’ve gone about as well for him or her as that congressman who shouted “You lie!” during the state of the union. 

If what you’re saying isn’t something you’d say directly to the person, than please, take Draymond’s invitation. Either come at me, bro, or just shut the fuck up. 

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