Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Lots of things have changed since I was growing up. The Soviet Union is gone, the Montreal Expos no longer exist, people now frown on the recreational use of cocaine... it's different.
When I was a kid, a person knew where he stood in the world. For me, it was inside a hedge hiding from Tim Pratt who said he was going to kick my ass after school because I "looked like a queer." I didn't so much stand there as sort of half-crouch and shiver, but it was a definite place in a concrete, unmistakable global taxonomy.
Back then men were men, cars were cars, TV signals came from the sky and people were assholes.
I don't mean all people were assholes; what I mean is that people could be classified as assholes. Richard Nixon? Asshole. Guy who put poison in Tylenol bottles? Asshole. "Night Stalker" serial killer? Asshole. Oliver North? Asshole. Pauly Shore? Asshole.
The world just made sense. There were only two categories: Righteous (in the Ferris Bueller/Bill-and-Ted sense) or Asshole. No murky middle ground compromising the righteousness of the Righteous or excusing the foibles and misbehavior that made Assholes so quintessentially asshole-ish.
Now, in 2006, categories are all shades of bastard, fatherless gray. No order, no pedigree, just points on an infinite fucking spectrum of random, scattered, invisible non-light.
Like now we have to understand how Zacarias Moussaoui may or may not be schizophrenic and how we as a nation should understand him in a certain context that puts his actions into perspective. I understand there is a definite legal question that needs to be addressed, but for me as a human being... why can't that guy just be an asshole?
I've read the things he's said and done. He sure seems like an asshole to me. If there were a definitive Asshole Checklist (and I heartily endorse the creation of one) I think he would score in a very narrow, high-ranging percentile against the national or even global average.
See how easy that is? It's totally liberating, for me anyway. Maybe it's just my fixation with all things anal, I don't know, but I sure like to refer to people as "assholes."
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this Moussaoui guy can't also be crazy. Crazy and Asshole are not mutually exclusive categories. If you've ever seen video of somebody fighting with cops or trying to jump a bunch of buses on a motorcycle then you know exactly what I mean.
It's like the Scientologists say: even though they're a "church" you can still belong to another religion and be a Scientologist. One doesn't necessarily negate or supersede the other. You can be a Baptist Scientologist or a Catholic Scientologist or a Jewish Scientologist or a Jedi Scientologist... anything you want, just so long as the checks clear.
To take it one step further, not only is it possible to be a Crazy Asshole, it's also demonstrably possible to be a Crazy Asshole Scientologist!
See, isn't categorizing people fun? And so much easier than "getting to know them" or "making informed judgments."
I guess, ironically, that this position--the pro-Asshole position--puts me in alignment with Scientology in some ways because I'm arguing against the intrusive, pernicious influence of psychiatry. Where I differ from Scientology is that I don't believe that psychiatry was invented by Nazis in the service of an evil galactic space overlord. I just mean it seems like there's too much reliance on delving into people's childhoods in order to foster some kind of understanding for motivations and adult action. It's not that complicated. Sometimes people are just assholes.
If this post makes you take stock of yourself and you reach the unmistakable, disheartening conclusion that you yourself are an Asshole, please, do not despair. First of all, if you're really disheartened, you're probably not a Total Asshole. A real Asshole doesn't care that s/he's an Asshole. That's a big part of what makes them Assholes in the first place.
Secondly, Asshole is not a definitive life sentence. The last I heard of ole Timmy Pratt, he and his life-partner run a successful landscaping business and are devoted foster parents. That doesn't mean if I were to run into him in the street I wouldn't totally kick his ass. But then again, that's because I'm an... well, you get the idea.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1
No new Bucket tomorrow. Middle-child's birthday. Will be at Disneyland all day. Stalkers, make arrangements now.
PS- Note to self: yesterday I started reading Don Quixote. This is for six months from now when I'm saying "Holy Fucking Christ, how long have I been reading this monster?" and I can go "Since APRIL?!" and then feel all suicidal. That is all.