Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Blood Sport

CA Conrad relays an account of another case, so it seems, of bullying difference to death. Whether the boy at his former high school had been bullied to suicide because he was gay or whether due to autism, or both... matters and doesn't, Conrad notes. Because here is what's so goddamn important. I felt this in Detroit too. A BIG city. Here is what is important, in any case. From Conrad:

I'm sad that the sharp taste of blood is still on the tongues out there in rural Pennsylvania. Taste for destroying the different. It's easy to be transgressive in such a repressive environment.

It's easy to die transgressing out there. What to do?

It's easy to transgress out there--one false move, absolutely. Matter of life and death, not a fancy choice, is it? No answer to his question, of course. It's worth attempting a response, tho. Transgressing in numbers, or to feel one is doing so, should I think be generated via an organizing-as-support structure, and rarely is. I was beaten pretty badly by a bully jock in high school. After he broke my cheekbone and smashed my face in he joined the Air Force. Then he told everyone he was a sexual deviant too! And quit a few years later. Or now that I think about it, was probably kicked out. I didn't feel much in common with him then, or after. Or now. So I guess my response to Conrad's all important question is: What caused this person to be a violent homophobe? What was it that led me to avoid that all-too-easy self-loathing and destructive behavior? In many respects we were (maybe still are) quite similar. Quite. I don't suffer from the delusion that there's some simple causal relation to be had. And am glad about that. But there's something that Conrad's TBOF, its world, allegorizes: not necessarily lack of love, but lack of thoughtful struggle with and support for, a support which can--and often should--manifest as outrage, or perhaps less normatively, militancy in the sense that the boy who beat me didn't get from the Air Force, or, apparently, from the satisfaction of making somebody else besides him bleed for it. It's the lack allegorized in TBOF which, on my reading, heightens a feeling of urgency for it. Of aching for it. An unrelenting lack transforms allegorical figures into their ghosts. Lacks thus making invisible the pulsing lifeblood of the place, its very meager subsistence. Precisely the inverse of the real world Conrad's in a rush to co-create, not by proxy but by poetry--i.e., the poetic, which is to suggest a way of becoming in and of the world that is both loving and militant, grounded in the every day and filled with magic. How to get there? How to organize for it?

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