Sunday, 12 May 2013

Grownupness and Religion and Masculinity and Sensibleness and Success and All the Rest of That Total Fucking Bullshit

Back in the days of really bloody awful depression, I used to have these fits of startlingly violent and protracted sobbing, like that of a grieving mother or, significantly, of a really frustrated young kid. I've just had an attenuated version of one of these, and one of the most striking things about it was the reminder of how much of a release they used to offer and how immeasurably shittier it was before the explosion. Such a sensation of release might at first glance seem a natural result of the release of emotions - but it fucking well isn't - it's the sensation of release from an empire of bullshit.

My head and heart are swimming with a million different things I've picked up or noticed more for some reason in the past few weeks, all having to do, it seems, with this bullshit and its bullshittiness. Yes, yes I am going to try and address all of them, and to articulate what it is that appears to be at their bottom, which I suppose is as good a place as any to look for bullshit, at least if you're looking at bulls.

For the past year or so, actually - possibly since reading Naked Lunch - I have found myself frequently and almost obsessively preoccupied with the social position of homosexuals. The absence of an accompanying attraction to men - in fact, the alienation from and suppressed animosity towards most men and any and all manifestations of masculinity - appear to suggest that it is something other than sexuality that is here latent and closeted.

I've made the comparison here before between homosexuality and sadness, or depression by extension, but (once more) I think that's only a part of it. A larger part of it, I suspect, has to do with the heroic and inspirational image indelibly etched into my mind, of the men of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert venturing into this same desert in impossibly elaborate and ridiculously awesome get-up I may have no choice but to add to my regular wardrobe.

I'm not even kidding.

Well, I may be kidding a bit, but that truly was an image that stuck in my mind and kept coming up in association with how I'd like my life to be. It has, as it happens, stuck in my mind far more than the rest of the film, which is kind of a blur already (and on the urgent re-see list), but I do distinctly remember the protagonist Elrond being very worried that, homosexuality notwithstanding, this really wasn't an appropriate occupation for a grown man and a father. The inspirational message of the film was that of course it was, stupid.

Which is what I think that story is about, really. It may subvert gender norms and strike a victory for genderqueers and homosexuals in their battle for acceptance, but more importantly it celebrates the right of men and women of all attitudes and orientations to make complete morons out of themselves. Because there was never any fucking reason not to.

Another movie, which I saw today, and is, in all probability, actually too good to be seen by mere humans, nonetheless managed to affect me deeply, and really really surprisingly. Its understated name, Moon, is somewhat thematically appropriate, but is probably partly responsible for the fact that it's not the earth-shattering success that it has every right to be. I'm not sure how deeply I can go into it without spoiling everything, but suffice it to say (hopefully) that it is about humanity and dehumanisation, and that the fact that it doesn't use the major character in it that is a machine as a simplistic crutch to make its statement is indicative of how it actually has something significant to say.

That seems to me to be the neglected alternative purpose of worthwhile life-living effort - significance, truth, meaning, emotion. Whatever you call it, it immediately and self-evidently justifies leaving the bullshit empire behind, and is in fact impossible to attain while within it. Grownups take care that everything obeys time-honoured conventions that are important because they are conventions. Real people save the effort to try and catch as much as possible of what is true.

The other thing this brilliant film made me think and freak out about, is how much I love film when it's done well and how the fuck I could have forgotten about that. The thing is, I know exactly how. My weaning off films was very clearly and directly related to my attempt to leave the lifestyle of depression and settle myself once more among the people of my agegroup, who, incidentally, were suddenly becoming grownups.

Being a grownup is a lot like being religious. Just like how when you're a religious kid, God is associated with everything and turns every transgression against homework, parents, the patience of adults or sexual sterility (not to mention actual religious duties) into a sin against God and powers a massive undercurrent of shame and terror - so when you're an adult, a proper grownup, what isn't useful, ingratiating or impressive, is a fucking sin against society, and in indulging it, you run the risk, whether overt or implied, of entering social hell.

I fucking hate all these fucking superstitions. Fact of the matter is, measuring yourself against any external standard is intrinsically dehumanising, and by definition diametrically opposed to truth. It implies that what and who you are is less important than what you should be. Or, in other words, it is an exercise in pointless self-hatred, not unlike Judaism and its lovechildren.

All of this, if it may be taken together, is paired with the growing realisation - or receding denial - that I CANNOT BE A GROWNUP. I still can't handle a full work-week or get the apartment or even just my important errands under control. Hopefully that will get better, but the point is that I cannot breeze through it. I cannot breeze through anything. Any time I say about anything that it's not incredibly hard I am lying through my teeth. Even when things don't send me into full sobbing, I am regularly and consistently hit hard by life. I am overwhelmed pretty much by default. I feel like a little kid being expected to handle adult responsibilities less because of their scope than because that is who I am. I'm not a tough guy. I'm not a paragon of imperturbability. I don't want to be. I wish I could stop apologising about that.


  1. Nati, please please please can I plagiarise you in my screenplay? What you're talking about directly echoes a conversation I'm working on between two of my characters (incidentally, a transexual and a teenage boy). Except that the way you put it is brilliant, and way better than what I had before.

  2. Okay, but only if you include the whole post verbatim