Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What is it about that Parker fellow?

Ho-lee crap, Sunny Day Real Estate's made it to the overhead at Chapterhouse, and I feel like such a dweeb for having missed most of their oeuvre.

So, I have a lot of posts on here about the depiction of sex, gender, etc. in comics, and ways I feel the industry falls short of my rather lofty social expectations. Well, then this guy comes along and throws up a post that makes me quite, quite happy on many levels.

Responsibility and repercussions seem to have long-standing resonance in the comic book collector world, seemingly without regard to genre. That said, those are subjects I feel that just about any of these genres could explore admirably. Spider-Man's flubs and social misalignment stand as the primary example of this, yet perhaps other, less central matters could explore these topics, in smaller details in the margins and corners.

One element few people wish to touch in post-human stories without absurd amounts of pathos are responsibilities around the extraordinary abilities. How does the way Superman flies differ from Wonder Woman? Can we get some little side notes on the ways that Peter Parker satisfies his predatory Spider instincts in the bedroom, like the way his fingers stick to skin, or the unorthodox positions his flexibility allows? How do characters who convert back and forth between solid and energy forms feel about having guts one moment, and a nuclear fusion/fission reaction the next? How much does Wolverine really use his eyes when he can smell what you ate on your sixteenth birthday in your sweat, and what does it mean when he decides to look at you? I really would like to see a little more of how individual and alien the lives of post-humans are to humanity, in those little ways that each of us differ.

Although Marvel's scientific experiments gone awry exemplified the element of trauma in the awakening of post-humanity in an individual, even Superman carries an element of this phenomenon in the revelation of his extraterrestrial heritage. A boy grows up in a middle-of-nowhere town that, to this day, probably gets one bar on a cell phone, worrying about things like fixing the tractor and that godforsaken social studies test, when he starts ripping steel in half and shooting fire out of his eyes if he gets a half-mast from Lana Lang's thong strap peeking out from her Dungarees. Eventually, Pa takes him into the cellar and shows him this contraption that seriously can-not have come from anywhere we know, lighting up in the dark in increasingly subtle ways and incongruous color schemes that make no sense under a yellow sun. Something lights up, and a defeated, terrified scientist fellow appears like Leia out of R2D2, with a voice ringing with that despair that comes from wishing that you just weren't right. This man, this weird ghost-man, has these little gestures and features that drill right into the boy's heart while he listens to this mysteriously familiar guy address himself as the kid's birth father. The dude's already staring into the proverbial void while preparing to fire his child out into the physical one. The end of Krypton must have been absolutely gruesome. He's left, this confused tween boy, with the usual maddening drug trip of puberty, the confusion of coming from a completely inaccessible origin, and heretofore unexplainable abilities and physiological functions that he has to learn to manage on the fly (pun totally not intended, but kept in.) That sounds pretty traumatic to me.

In what ways does post-humanity process this trauma? How does the nature of the trauma creep up for these people? Does Cyclops of the X-Men rub the back of his head before getting on a plane after falling out of one and hitting his head as a child? Does Luke Cage's unbreakable skin ever itch, and how does it register touch? How does Carol Danvers feel about her body, even having a body, when her consciousness and form have drifted up and down the vibrational wavelength?

Comics do cover trauma, yet often times the characters seem to feel sorry for themselves until someone comes along for them to hit, and in hitting this someone, they find the strength in themselves to project their problems onto some stupid thug with pimped out riot gear and feel contentment in mauling their fellow man over what's "right," or saving some morons from a burning building to renew their basic sense of humanity. Savagery and compassion are to superheroes what boredom and disappointment are to us; part of the deal. If we take into account that a superhero will, most likely, save someone in trouble, then what would pose to them the real challenge of living their "everyday" lives and permitting themselves to feel their woundedness? What can a superhuman accomplish with a little humility, flexibility and ingenuity?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Confessional of Doubt

My faith wavers. I try to think of the world as I used to and it just doesn't fucking work, anymore. Every emotion comes with four of five contradictory ones, and I have to sift through to figure out which one will serve me best in order to have a discussion with anyone. My mind's filled with reactive, self-aggrandizing doubt. My body communicates something of which I'm not aware and it unnerves me. I don't know if my instincts act in truth, or if I just want an excuse to keep lying around, unable to display basic fucking human affection without repressed narcissism swirling around the corners.

I miss invisibility, and I have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to be doing other than babysitting middle-aged men and their infantile power fantasies, deluding myself into thinking that this job is something I find fulfilling, psychoanalyzing loved ones while trying to sound as right as possible and fucking up any communication, doing everything in my power to make sure I have neither home nor resources, accepting advice only based upon the delivery of it, and whittling away the hours in front of a screen, watching everything else do something instead of me. I don't even fucking know what security is, and by that admission I've done a great job at maintaining a persona of centered spiritual wisdom. Said persona remains just a well-painted but shitty papier-mache mask that's starting to smell and peel.

How can I pull my weight in a relationship when I can't even pull my weight on my own? How can I balance this idiotically overwrought sensitivity with an underdeveloped sense of center and a vicious, pompous misanthropy? How do I get over myself and start fucking living with the rest of the species? I feel weight and irritation, and all I know how to do is treat it like some kind of necessary trial to burn off this unpayable debt I owe the world. I keep wondering if I have something wrong with me, if I've invented something wrong with me so that I won't have to deal with the world, if I have such overweening pride that I choose to defend against any intrusion into my life. I don't feel like I've rested at all, and I don't know what to do, any more.

I wish that my love didn't come with these conflicting insecurities and doubts. I hate it. I want my heart clear and true. I want some fucking clarity. I want what others seem to get from me, but I cannot seem to give myself. I feel drowned, cannibalized and thoroughly vexed. I want to be in the world just as much as I want it utterly devastated, and while I hear and understand the Great Big Tree o' Love and Light branching through the layers and levels of existence, I mostly feel despair at its distance from my ego, and an unceasing urge to submerge my senses in the grime and despair of it. I speak of optimism and hope to disguise my dearth in both categories.

I just wish I could be like Batman and throw off my identity, devoting myself wholly to a cause that comes from Within and Beyond instead of grasping at vaporous phantoms only to uncover a venomous trap I'd laid long before, without my knowledge. I keep trying, and I keep feeling this sharp pull in the opposite direction. I just want some mercy from myself. I just want to know what I have to do to make this life work. If it's right in front of me, just... can I maybe get the eyes to see it, or maybe some little happy glowing signposts so that I can figure out how to devote myself best to that path? I haven't been the best fellow, and I haven't always acted in the most conscientious manner, but I really try to keep myself feeling okay with what I'm doing, and I try to keep my eyes open for what you say, but I fuck up, as humanity does, and as we've built ourselves to do. I neither want to sit next to the Divine, nor do I want to languish in cold, dark Hel; I want, in my deepest heart, to find my Work. I want to find that Work that consumes every fiber of my being, that nourishes both my being and the Great Being. May I ask for these things? May I demonstrate my adoration through my work? I would really appreciate and feel honored for the chance to help.