April 14th, 2004


It won't be the first heart that you break you won't be the last beautiful girl

I am definitely maturing in my tastes. I've been able to watch french films and old black and white films on a regular basis now, dramas in addition to comedies, and really appreciate them. This was driven home most powerfully when today in class we say "Meshes of the Afternoon" a film I loathed intensely just last semester, but only disliked this time around. Cleo 5 to 7 was actually quite good, even if it should have been called Cleo 5 to 6:30.

Class itself was an interesting experience. This guy who's been out sick for over a month is back. He makes very strong comments and the professor fawns over him, which is a challenge to both my dominance and ego in the class. Fortunately I have dealt with this constructively and actually become pretty friendly with this guy, who is quite nice. I guess the reason that it bothers me is both the fact that the professor really loves the stuff he says mostly because of the style in which he says it and his delivery. It's not that there isn't any content, sometimes the content is quite good, but that the style alone just turns this professor weak at the knees. I'm also jealous of both his motivation and his knowledge base. He's a film major and he knew he wanted to make movies since he saw Fellini's 8 1/2. I wish I'd known early enough to do that. He's like 20 and already much further along than I am. Consciously I know that such statements are just plain silly. I'm not two decades older than him, just two years, and there's no way of knowing how long each of our respective lives will last or what we'll produce. He doesn't have an unassailable head start and I shouldn't be measuring myself against him anyway. On the other hand it doesn't help that Hollywood considers you over the hill if you can grow a full beard in under a month. I'm not going to worry about being jealous of this guy, though, since I think he respects me and I do respect the things that he says and his great stores of knowledge about film. Maybe I can even learn something from him.

Watching Cleo 5 to 7 made me think about male perceptions of the female. This is not coincedence because the professor did stress this element, but it was made a more poignent topic by my constant low level awareness of LHGs presence in the class. I don't think that there's anything in human (or at least American) experience analogous to the heterosexual male's perception of the female. It's a peculiar combination of evolutionary and hormonal impulses, culturally determined values, and something more that defies explanation. I'm not talking mere lust here, lust is something that every sexual creature experiences to greater or lesser degrees, I'm talking about that romanticized combination of lust, fascination and pre-occupation that can best be approximated with the word longing. This is not a feeling that one has in reaction to every female, or even every pretty girl who crosses your eyeline. It is reserved for the special ones, the ones that have that combination of attributes that strikes a cord deep within you, like a key that fits your lock perfectly and releases thoughts you have shunted to the back of your brain until they flood your neural pathways and hijack your consciousness with the image of the way her sweater caresses the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck. There are different ingredients for different men, to be sure, but they can be approximated into various categories. She must be beautiful, yes, this element is not sufficient but it is necessary. She doesn't have to be extraordinarily beautiful, doesn't need to be an airbrushed liposucted rhinoplastied plastic barbie version of the female form, or even one that stuns you at first glance. In fact it helps if she has a face or body that grows on you, one with imperfections and quirks, even traces of acne or imperfect teeth, visual character so to speak. She must be graceful and feminine. This does not mean she has to glide around softly in chiffon and lace, but her body language has to have a softness to it and she can't be masculinely aggressive, although there are feminine types of aggressiveness she is free to employ. She must be smart, because dumb people get boring rather quickly. If she is not smart she must at least leave an opening for the male to imagine that she might be smart, that florid poetry and great insight could erupt from her lips at any given moment. Beyond these elements the remaining attributes are a la carte. I like women who are demure, smile or laugh a lot (this is important for most men but there are some who are drawn to sad women, presumably because they want to be the one to make them smile) have a deep base of knowledge in an area where I don't know all that much, and are willing to challenge me (but are not a huge threat to my ego.) Some men like women who are confident and show their bodies at every opportunity, have an accent of some sort, or possess some other attribute that escapes my notice entirely.

Then there is one last element that is critical and MUST be the case. She has to be mysterious. You can't know her very well. A woman who is longed for is imbued with almost magical powers, she is like a fetish (not the sexual kind) and though the man worshipping her must consciously know that she goes to the bathroom and makes mistakes like every other living breathing human being he must be able to push these facts to the back of his mind. Her burps and coughs can be charming, but runny diarrhea and the fact that she once drunkenly blew her cousin's boyfriend at a family gathering can not. There is a scene in Cleo 5 to 7 where Cleo is being pushed on a swing with a pair of angel wings mounted on the wall behind her. This is a perfect example of the kind of idealization that needs to take place, first because of the girlish abandon of the swing (girlishness is femininity) and second because of the angelic imagery. Angels don't shit or give inappropriate blowjobs. If you are a pretty female looking to be fetishized in this manner you must stay mysterious (this is also the reason that all those horrible romance books suggest that a woman should remain mysterious even to her husband. Sacrificing a real relationship for objectification, albeit not necessarily of a sexual nature.)

Anyway you put all those elements together and you get something...unfathomable. It's transcendent, world re-defining, irrepressable. You see her and you understand why Helen's face was able to launch a thousand ships and send a whole generation of Greek men to die beneath the walls of Troy. It makes sense. You get why the Greeks had to deify love as a force on par with lightning and human intelligence. How they came up with the metaphor of the arrow that strikes you and lodges in your breast, an exquisite pain from a divine source. Even when you're not gazing at her or in her presence she inhabits the world in some fundemental way, like gravity or air, forces we aren't always consciously aware of but take for granted. Her smiles are entire languages unto themselves, fraught with as much meaning and offering as much pleasure as the entire corpus of literature from a dozen earhly tongues. It's a feeling that's brought forth much of the great poetry and art into the world, and yet it has never been expressed in even a tenth of its glory. It's a heavenly choir embodied in 120 or so pounds of fragile human flesh, it's a greater good than world peace, it's a persistant emotional orgasm. It's an illusion.

Of course it's an illusion. No real person can be imbued with that many positive qualities, it's not within the realm of possibility. It's a myth, projection on a thermonuclear scale, a glorious lie. This is why infatuation of this sort always leads to disapointment and sometimes to violence. Stalkers of this infatuated type harass and injure their prey not because she has done anything wrong but because she hasn't done everything right. Because she is not like the wind or the sand or the fragrance of nightshade on a summer evening. She is a person and she does persony things. They can't handle this. It doesn't make sense, it's not logical but it's understandable. One a girl has been imbued with this kind of mythical self she becomes the only one really capable of killing it. And if she does, well then killing her in return is just a simple matter of revenge. I'm not excusing it, I don't empathize with the impulse, I'm just trying to observe the misery this force can bring. Of course it doesn't just bring down psychopaths and deranged people. It drives great men to drink, drug, or take their own lives. It leads to duels, renders friendships, tears fathers away from children and husbands away from wives. It possesses great destructive force and it is unleashed every day. It is an inherently imbalanced situation, there will always be more men around to worship women than women of the type who inspire it and thus always those who feel discounted, unloved, irrelevant. It is played on every day by advertisers and media moguls who try to construct women to be worshiped and then exploited commercially. Now adays they even do it through cartoon or computer generated media. It's evolutionarily determined but socially undesireable.

I don't mean to privalege this emotion above all others. It is no match for true abiding love, on a foundation of personal knowledge and mutual trust. Longing is a hunger that can never be sated, it will not sustain in the long run. No fantasy woman can ever match the complexity and depth of a real woman nor provide the services and functions that a real one can. I'm not saying it's better than or even a match for love. Furthermore I'm not trying to discredit homosexual or female to male attraction. It's a powerful force as well although I don't think it can be as powerful. I don't think it's had the same social or artistic impact. There are great homoerotic works, like Michaelangelo's David, but those works have a hint of autobiography in them as well as desire for the other. The psychic separation of heterosexual attraction is an essential part of the deification of this mythical women. Meanwhile female to male attraction is also quite strong but tends to be of another sort as well. It may be that that's entirely socialy determined, I won't try to argue that point.

I did not do a good job of describing this emotional force, although I don't think I could have done a good job. Perhaps my writing abilities are not up to the task. Perhaps nobody's are. Perhaps I'm just full of shit, it doesn't exist, and male female relations are just a hormonal game of Russian roullette. I don't think this to be true but it's a valid point of view.

I just wanted to say my piece.

In other news, I lost all the weight I'd gained back as soon as I went back on Atkins, which is physiologically impossible, so I have to conclude that I was retaining water. I'm also moving faster than I was a week ago despite not having a weight change so perhaps I still am.

I got an extension on a paper. Early.

I think the president made a tactical error in the timing of his speech last night. Disrupting American Idol (blech) and 24 (great show)? Come ON dude! Know your demographics!

Taking a 4 hour class and then teaching for 2 hours without food or water in between leaves me tired and with a headache. I should never ever do that again. Too much to absorb.

The French New Wave produced some good stuff. Weekend looks absolutely fabulous. I shall have to rent it at some point.

I feel content right now even though I don't know what I will be doing this summer or in the immediate future. I feel like I might finally be on the right path for me. It's an odd feeling.
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You can cut a chicken's head off and it will keep on running and twitching.

I forgot to write about how a female can redefine words, turning pronoun into prayers when the word 'she' trips from your lips with a hidden depth of meaning and intensity that only you know about. In fact in general that entry was not what it could have or should have been. I wrote it in my head last night but I had too much of a headache and was too tired to put it down electronically. The poetry and meaning faded in my sleep and I was left with a shadow of my intent. More's the pity.

I wonder if writing those 2000 word entries is actually an exercise in resistance. Yes it's writing, and yes any writing is great practice. It is a creative enterprise, no doubt. I love to write and sitting down in journaling helps to feed that need I have for self expression. On the other hand it's not the sort of writing I want to do in the long run, and it is an excuse not to write fiction because it takes so much time to write all that stuff up that when you add in the normal demands of every day life you just don't have time to hammer out a chapter or a scene.

I haven't decided if it's resistance or not.

Did you know that Blondes only became the females of choice in our society due to technological limitations of early movie cameras? The things you learn in college.

I was talking to Frank about not graduating this semester, a potential option, and instead taking a fifth year (really a fourth and a half) and getting a film degree. I don't know if it's an option or if it's something I really want to do anyway. Is this all just separation anxiety from school? I don't think so, I have always wanted to do something creative with my life and just never had the guts. I also really didn't like school until recently, when I've come to appreciate it much more.

Saying that I want to stay in school is scary. There are reasons not to. I want money. I want to contribute to the world. I want to be a real person, not a student. I don't want the shame of being a ninth semester senior (the least convincing reason, fuck other people's perceptions of me, I can worry about them when I'm dead.) I don't want to live with my mother anymore, oh god how I don't want to live with my mother any more. She's evil and cruel like the devil but not nearly as interesting or fun. Plus her boyfriend will be moving in soon and that's a disaster and a half just waiting to happen. I will clash with him and there will be domestic violence and somehow I'll end up in the hospital or an interogation room in a wifebeater saying that I only meant to scare him a little and it got out of hand.

I still don't know if I'm good enough to be creative for a living. It is a fear that runs deep and cold. The thing is it's not all that relevant right now because I can't concieve of doing anything else. I used to think I could do law, but realistically it has no draw for me. I have all these words thrashing around in my head these days demanding to get out. Even when I'm not sitting at the computer typing my mind is churning out page after page. I narrate my life as it's ongoing. I can't hold that in, can't repress the urge to write. A thousand brilliant sentences and thoughts slip through my mind every day because I'm not sitting at a computer when they enter my brain. I should carry around a notepad. My mind is racing, burning a hole in my head like unspent money in a bettor's pocket. I want to put all my creativity and ideas on black and spin the roullette wheel. I want to double down with my soul.

I'm in a state of intense arousal, and I'm not talking about my penis which is flaccid at the moment. I'm like a caged animal but I can't see the bars. I don't know what's holding me in right now. This is a time when other people drink or smoke or do dope. It's a time when I used to shovel down mouthfuls of hazelnut gelatto and excuse it because of my emotions. Now I crunch pistachio nut shells between my teeth and sit down to write, Counting Crows whining in my ears, a combination of insightful emotive music and manipulative shit that deserves a good beating. It's these times when my mind races with my fingertips to see if the brain can generate more material than the phalanges can express. The brain always wins of course because it is the puppetmaster for the fingers, which cry out for a fair fight in vain as the mind laughs and uses my neural networks for its own nefarious purposes, churning out more thought than I can express and then chiding me for not getting it all out. Some people smoke and drink to dull the pain, I pace and write. I cried twice tonight and I can't tell you why. Part of it is not knowing where I'll live part of it is being afraid TO live, to truly pursue my dreams of writing and prove my unworthyness before a tribunal that consists of all English speakers on earth.

It's possible that film is just a coverstory for writing, my first love, my precious, my everything. Maybe it's another detour from that fate. Maybe it's a beautiful lie. I don't know, I love movies, I love how they're constructed, I love the power and complexity that a single shot can have. Movies come into my head all the time, they play out in snippets and parts, I see the best scenes only. The scene where we introduce our antihero, big and bulky, mid-30's, long dark hair, leather clothing, deep circles under his eyes and empty liquor bottles on the bar in front of him. His voice is gravel as he tells us about violence, about his death impulse and how it rules him. He finds redemption at the bottom of a shot glass. He is oppressive and accutely aware of his immorality but not ashamed of it. Then we cut and he's beating a man for information. In the frame we have the side of his face, one eye open in rage. His arm reaches up into frame, imposing with its tattoos and the thick metal bracelet. It slams down into his victim's face off screen. He asks his question again, his voice now rolling thunder and full of rage. There is a whimper and the arm raises and falls once more. A splatter of blood shoots up and lands underneath the eye. He blinks. We cut to him in the bathroom cleaning blood off his body with the sink and paper towel. None of it's his.

I get many such scenes on a daily basis. How could I not want to be a filmmaker?

Then again there are my words. They seek egress through any means possible. They want to force open my jaw at gunpoint and spew out on to my chin. If I am silent for minutes at a time I grow antsy.

What if I do it? What if I throw caution to the wind, spend my inheritance and the next ten years trying to get someone to listen to what I have to say? What if I fail? I don't have the choice not to try anymore, this isn't so much speculation as concession to reality. I struggled mightily to be something else, a lawyer, a shrink, a scientist, an educator. It's all charades or pictionary with no real audience but myself. I'm a writer. A bad writer. A pathetic nothing. It's what I am. I had a friend in highschool who went by the name of Rob. He always wanted to be an artist and now he is. Call it self actualization or visualizing success. Call it talent and inspiration. Call it thousands of hours of blood and sweat left on a canvas that would eventually be discarded. Call it fate. I envy him and the good use he made out of these last few years. I envy his dedication. I envy the fact that he was not realistic in that stupid obstinant way that I was. I am green with jealousy towards everyone in the world, even those who have it worse than I do. A human being is a perpetual desire machine. We are like the mythical pendelum in outer space that keeps running for all eternity only we somehow gain momentum as we go along. The more we have the more we want.

I want to leave my blood and tears upon the printed page or celluloid strip. I want to drop from exhausting every night and rise in the morning to try to capture my final thought of the night before before it vanishes forever. I want to erase pages of junk written when I was too tired to be coherent. I want to pursue my dreams before I am too old for them. I don't want it to be painful and awkward but it will be. I don't want to churn out barrels of crap, verbal waste that makes the nuclear stuff going to Nevada look like purified drinking water. I will.

Writing is an essentially violent act, like birth.

What else is there tonight. Andy Rooney has stirred up controversy by saying that not every soldier in Iraq is a hero. People say he should be fired for this indiscretion. He should be fired because all he does is state the obvious that the PC police don't want us to talk about. Of course not every soldier is a hero. Some are thieves and cowards. Some kill themselves or civilians. Some rape and steal from civilians. The armed forces is made up of young men, not saints and angels. Saints and angels don't get lonely and frustrated late at night. Some of the men there are not afraid and enjoy the killing. They aren't heroes just because what comes naturally to them is dangerous and difficult. Mountain climbers are not heroes. Is the average soldier a hero? I don't know the average soldier. I imagine that he is in some ways. I imagine he has more potential for it than those of us on the homefront. Being in Iraq does not make one a hero by default, it is merely an opportunity to become one.

In gym class today I was a different person. I moved faster than I have before during this semester. The people on my court were consistantly surprised at my range, as I darted forward and grabbed shots that looked to be falling in. I don't know if this was because of weight loss or because I haven't been playing Squash so I've adjusted to the game. It was odd nonetheless.

Two girls said strange things to me in the class, things that made me think. One indicated that she idolized the historian Eric Foner. This is understandable since he's a famous historian and a good looking man (I'm not saying that in a GAY way.) On the other hand it didn't seem like she wanted to BE the next Eric Foner but merely to bask in his limelight. Maybe I misunderstood or was making light but she seemed to desire him, not his accomplishments or his life. That experience is alien to me. The people I idolize are people I want to emulate. I don't want to be with them or near them. I suppose I'd like to be friends with them and I'd love to learn from them, to ask questions and gain insight into what makes them spectacular, but that's all in the pursuit of my own betterment. The people I want to be with are a separate category.

Another girl asked me if I'd been on MTV. She said I looked familiar. This was especially bizzare since I'd spoken to her at least half a dozen times and she'd never brought it up. I suspect she may have been referencing the fact that my shirt may have flown up a couple times while I was leaping for shuttlecocks and thus I resembles the fat guys on MTV who rip off their shirts for no other reason than to horrify the viewers at hime, but what an odd way to go about insulting someone. Of course I have a tendency to take everything as an insult no matter how it was intended.

I have been playing Fight Night for the PS2 and it emulates boxing in every way, surprisingly well. It even has a feature where the judges rob you of a fight you should have won. That's some boxing realism I could have done without. Madden has this too, the referees make mistakes. Why do we want computers that CAN get these things perfectly making imperfect decisions? It doesn't quite make sense to me. At least the ring girls are hot.

I managed to exceed the word count of my last mammoth entry. I'm not sure. This is like a writing trainwreck, in less than 12 hours I'll have posted something close to 4500 words. Who does that? What's going on with me? I have papers to write and I'm spewing out journal entry after journal entry of gargantuan size. It's like masturbating before you're supposed to have sex. I'd probably do that too if I had someone to have sex with.

P.S. When I said that I got an extension on my paper what I actually did was get everyone in my policy class an extension on their papers by presumptively speaking for all of them and using my cache in the class to ask the professor for more time. It worked.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual frottage as I rubbed my engorged mind against your virtual screen until it died down. I'm spent now. Night.
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