Doin' Dumb Shit

Guided by Voices - (I Wanna Be A) Dumbcharger
"To seek the blood from precious stones is blasphemy. The perfect angels who monitor your intentions. God keeps his famous children. Be respectable."
Guided by Voices - Game of Pricks
(I once heard Bob Pollard refer to this song as "the reason why I'm better than Pavement and the Sebadoh and all those other bands" and "the song that bought my house." It was awesome. And sort of true.)

Some days you’re just stupid. You talk to people and you know you oughtn’t say what you’re about to say but you can’t think of anything else to say, much less anything better, and you’ve got to say something, so you just go ahead and say it. I’ve been stupid all day. And that’s fine with me.

Though I did get a call tonight from a very nice English professor from Johns Hopkins with a very charming Australian accent, to whom I made a crack about Berkeley Cal being full of “dope-smoking trustfund hippies in Rasta hats,” and it was impossible to tell if he found it amusing or not, in that way of professors of the arts. You can never tell if they have anything resembling a sense of humor. He really sounded happy to hear that I was leaning towards Hopkins and coming to visit in March, but seemed to think I would have a lot of debating to do with myself, because I was in store for a shitstorm of acceptance letters from competing universities. It was very flattering, and I felt like it should have boosted my self esteem, but it really didn’t. It just made me feel like it shoulda. Sort of like the girls I hit on seem to feel. Sort of like how I try not to eat meat – not so much because I feel bad for the mistreatment and horrific deaths of animals as because I feel bad because I ought to feel bad for the funny little beasties. Sort of like what that old interchangeable Russian shortstorian said about war – you’re outraged not so much because you’re outraged as because you can’t muster any outrage.

I’ve taken to calling it “JHop,” because that sounds more like the International House of Pancakes and less like Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I far prefer the one to the other.

I re-herniated the disk in my neck on Friday as the big ice storm was sweeping through town. I was doing pushups and I heard and felt something in my back pop and I collapsed on top of myself. It was sort of filmic, I imagine. Places in Northern Iowa will be powerless until some time in early March. I, on the other hand, didn’t lose power until Saturday evening, and got it back Sunday morning. My parents got a hotel room at the Marriot for the night and left me in charge of their dogs, which was kind of fun, even when the temperature in my rickety house with no insulation to speak of dipped into the upper forties. I fed the dogs, Copper and Chloe – who as a duo remind me very much of the hench-stooges from the animated 101 Dalmatians movie – Pringles, and the more Pringles I fed them, the more feral they got. It’s odd to think that one thing that’ll make a dog regress towards the state of nature is heavily processed pseudo-potato “food product” fed to them from a tennis ball can. Just like God intended.

Speaking of. That 22 week old baby drives me crazy. So after five and a half months in the womb, the baby was delivered, and it’s the youngest baby ever to survive. Which, in itself, is fine. It’s a very cute baby. It came out at like 10 ounces, but looking more or less in other respects like your average baby, and we all know that babies are cute, and we all know miniature things are awfully cute, and there’s no reason to think that a miniature baby wouldn’t be cute as a Puggle.

What drives me crazy is the unilateral way right-wingers are willing to selectively use science to prove their point. Reading this shit, you’d think that the baby popped out, shriveled and wet and sobbing, and they just wrapped it in a blanket and took it on home. It drives me crazy that, rather than pointing to the generic and widespread worthlessness of life, this proves that God in his majesty chose to begin life at conception rather than birth. Let’s face it, life is the grayest area we’ve got. The bacterium that eats our corpses are alive, and the viruses that eat our blood cells are not. Nobody’s sure about the crystals that grow in caves. It all feels pretty arbitrary to me. And not particularly sanctified.

Which isn’t so much the point. The point is, this baby is a little trophy for smug little people to hold up and use to proclaim the benevolence of the creator and the evilness of those who would choose to terminate a pregnancy. This baby was put into an incubator – an artificial womb, for those keeping track, a terribly, terribly complicated machine meant to replicate the state of the child in the womb and without which the baby would instantly die, in the manner of a geriatric who would instantly die without his Pacemaker – and given care that cost in the neighborhood of a half-million dollars per month. So, in the five months it spent in the early-birth ward, it racked up 2.5 million dollars, which is like half what Steve Austin cost before it was technically even ready to be “born,” and ended up going home with its family just a scant couple months later than it would have if it had come out normally. The point is, this is a miracle of medicine, and I don’t see what God has to do with that. People are saying, “How could you want to KILL this baby,” when, if not for tens of millions of dollars worth of machinery, the baby would have died on its own, inevitably and with absolutely zero hope for a miracle. Because we’re, again, in one of those inestimably vast gray areas. It would, one gathers from the sheep and pig and cow evidence, be pretty easy for scientists to clone a human being. But this is not life because it was not created procreatively in the normal way that we understand life to be created……… not unlike Jesus, our personal and cumulative savior.

Jesus: clone?

The point is not that I dislike Christianity, because I like it very much in its Jesusesque, if not necessarily its Pauline form. I just can’t stomach the way “natural” and “holy” have come to be equated as terms. I don’t know if these people have noticed, but the American Religion is stuffed to the brim with highfalutin mysticality. Stuff almost as weird as a complicated series of wires and tubes and domed glass receptacles that mimic a woman’s innards in function.

“This water, you understand, is holy water, as differentiated from regular water by the blessing of a Priest who can trace his ordination all the way back to the apostles. It’s a very natural thing.”

I propose a new definition of idiocy: “one who is not God yet believes he or she knows precisely what constitutes a sin.”

Whatever. I’m having a stupid day. It’s a sin.

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