Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Hoke Connolly’

Dollhouse Jitters v3.3


09 Apr

julianna_nope

Making The Grade

samplex

Originally published April 9, 1997

Jennifer's upstairs taking a shower. I'm in the next room on the 6400 trying to convert her bad files into good files, a more universal file type so that I could print them on the Macintosh laser. She also smuggled in a floppy with a few pictures Frank had sent her she wanted me to scan and load to disk so she could return the originals to him once they had smiled the wicked smile at each other under the celestial swoons of Texas.

Remember Frank? Have I mentioned Frank? Frank is the lean keen online prince of control Jennifer was flying out to meet in Houston on January 3rd, for a special weekend tryst. She'd met him in an AOL bondage & discipline chatroom, shared two fingers of e-mail, and was now ready for the ropes, cuffs, fishweights, and cockadoodle of the ages. Yes, I'd seen the pictures. Frank was a studbuffed racked 27ish with beachloads of sun-savvy GEN X pals according to the groupshots he'd sent. He was Asian, of Chinese I think. Unemployed and still living with parents with some sort of business degree going to waste in light of his more prestigious pursuit of underworld sexual exploits, but at first glance Frank came off as a sturdy girdy stand-up guy. Smacked with muscles and a worm for giving orders, he was a graduate, like Steve Taylor, of Georgetown here in the local mecca. The big occasion for which Jennifer, in her submissive "oh my" best, was being prepared was ironically the Georgetown U Houston Chapter's Annual Ball. Apparently, Frank had waffled up to the last moment between choosing Jennifer or some 20 year old local bimbette to show off at this networking bash. Jennifer had almost written him out of the script, but Frank came through at the wire, although I now wonder who really was pulling whose wire in this case. I think it was mine being tugged, anywaze...

JC won the coin toss, and she was damned determined to get fucked hard and horrendous in the first five minutes Frank laid eyes upon her, or else, in her mind her name was past tense. This astonishing lack of sexual confidence was creating quite a freefall frenzy in her normal preparations routine. We were going dress shopping this afternoon as soon as we finished up her collegiate chores. New or nothing was her operating motto. Fortunately I had all the office supplies on hand she or any other office supply junkie would need, so this chore was painless. I suspected the mall safari would prove far more dangerous and exhausting. After putting the finishing touches on her envelope, I then showered, made myself as leisurely presentable as I could manage under such daylight circumstances, and while I was beginning to feel like a goddamned houseslave to Jennifer's whims I knew one thing and one thing only, I loved her with every grain of sand hourglassing between us, and in my jurisdiction that meant I would struggle, string and strumpet to supply her needs as long as possible until they dared conflict consistently with my personal requirements of accommodation.

Jennifer had never been shy about undressing in front of me, friendly-fire nudity, you might say. I’d visited her in the peep show she worked in London to no great hoopla. Strut, strut, strut, until boredom sank in, and I was off to scout more of Piccadilly and Chelsea never to return to the peeps she hated so much again.
All that's left was to mail the envelope. Jennifer offered the driving to me. I declined, knowing that the simple task of wheeling around a strange undersized automobile would not engender my role as dominant ego. She tried to convince me by suggesting her unfamiliarity with the turf. I held onto my resistance until she had no choice but to stammer and steer her tiny matchbox car toward Pentagon Mall with one stop in mind, the post office on L Street. There we posted the package and heard the usual wild-eyed crazies prophecy in riddles and mutterings, watched slow postal workers begrudgingly reinvent the human slug, and left thinking we'd, or at least I'd participated in yet another psychogeographical drift, a nod to Len Bracken and his dementia in thinking all this was all that original, and thus, an unspeakable moment of declasse reclassified. Life in the slow lane was suddenly moving fast. Mall hopping with my number two baby. I was hip again. Hoped my blood-flow challenged left foot would sustain me. It was getting late. We were already into early rush hour out of the city.

After leaving the post office we missed the Pentagon Mall exit but I was able to navigate her back on course from the next swingaround. We parked on the top level of the lot, noted our location, and bolted for the doors where shopping until dropping was not just a cliche, it was the prime directive. What happened next can be condensed to a few devilish words—let's look in here. It was the brainthumping repetition of those words that had me hanging onto shreads of memory which indicated that actually "leaving" the mall was not as impossible task as it seemed at just this moment. I am a notorious quickshopper, despising window shopping when I have nothing to spend, and can waltz into a clothing section scan and within minutes if not seconds, locate exactly what I like, disregarding the rest, and would rather buy and try on at home than to huddle into closets pulling off and then lacing back up boots, bluejeans, girdle, pantyhose, or whatever in trying to make a decision. If something is the wrong size, I'd rather simple return it, and opt for another size or not than to run the gauntlet of public dressing rooms. I've always been this way. It's not a privacy issue. It's a convenience thing. Muss and fuss renders the whole shopping experience a major tragedy. Quickness of style selection is simply a matter of data management skills, knowing what one likes, and remembering it the next time, seeing something fresh, even whimsical, analyzing it against the backdrop and wealth of sensory data gleened from movies, television, sidewalk glances, the workplace, and the creative whimsy in us all. Whether shopping for glamour or sensibility, viva la difference or uniformity-stating protective armor, the process is the same. These are the hallmarks of the speed shopper. Unfortunately, Jennifer operated from a different cache delivery system.

And it was a laughing matter that her own shortlist of self-ridiculing anecdotes included the raw reality that she changed ten times before every outing, often trying on the same outfit several times before going back to the first one she’d tried on an hour before, and here I was in the dressing room with her, store after store, stall after stall. There was no mystery here. In my humble opinion, Jennifer could use all the help she could get, if she wanted to enflame Frank’s candle.
She tried on six, seven, eight flimsy 1970s retro-fitted styles in half as many department and specialty stores before she found one she would stick on the plastic, all the while fretting that Frank might not fuck her on the spot (in the airline terminal???) if she didn't show all her wares at first glance. And she didn't just want one new dress because she could not make up her mind, all the while telling me she respected my eye for fashion. After all, the hot date was still a week away. That week would help her make up her mind, explore more subtle ways of sexual persuasion. Store clerks had nothing to say she wished to hear. She needed, demanded my clear-eyed opinions, and wanted to hear them out of the presence of strangers. I was urged to come inside the dressing room with her as she changed into dress after dress, although one would be hard pressed to consider what Jennifer would pull off the rack as remotely "semi-casual" as she had described the alumni gathering to have advertised itself. The thinner the material, the more chest and shoulder exposure, and the shorter the length, the better. She tried on one scarlet floor length approach that was the perfect compromise for the occasion, both formal enough and yet revealing enough to wash the eyes with a glamous sophistication and a pulsing sensuality. I told her so. The wow-wow oriental chick clerk echoed my judgement. Jennifer nixed the dress saying she thought it made her look fat, and didn't reveal what she considered her best asset, her legs.

It was a fact. We had very different fashion ideas. In Macy's I had found a snazzy yellow powersuit jacket ensemble with black wool skirt I thought was perfect. Jennifer recoiled in a cringing, "Trying to dress me in an old lady's outfit..."

I knew I knew the difference between an old lady's suit and a young smart power ensemble, and this was no patsy suit, so I gently tried to persuade her in a language I thought might appeal to sensibilties she still found requisite to her own version of sensuality.

"Well Jennifer, look at it this way. While Frank may expect you to play the submissive role to him within the context of a social event, he may also pride himself, and let's use the Bridget Nielsen, Sylvester Stallone scenario whereby Sly is top, Bridget bottom...Frank may pride himself in not only having at his side a submissive female who wilts to his every whim, but may pride himself in having at his side the strongest woman in the room, perhaps a woman stronger than even every other male in the room. You seem to believe that this tramp look is the going thing. But what if Frank is embarrassed by this wanton display? Are you sure you don't have more clues to feed upon in trying to figure out just what WOULD tweak Frank's fantasy?"

We'd been over this gray area of just what WOULD Frank appreciate most a dozen times since she'd arrived to this shrieking repartee of fashion angst. She claimed, and she even seemed to appear sincere every now and then, that she wanted to meet the semi-formal guidelines of the night, but here she was plucking streetcorner dating chic off every rack at which she paused for a second glance. No amount of soft-peddled higher reasoning could dissuade her from the persistance that less was more. More flesh, less likelihood for failure. Again, it was taking great effort for me not to say something that would certainly bruise her feelings. I was quite convinced that women, while claiming to want the unvarnished truth from a masculine perspective, in Jack's words, Jack Nicholson's that is, most of them really can't handle the truth and merely desire affirmation of their own whimsy, or else a purely diplomatic evasion of the question which they could then interpret as a man's naturally disingenuous umbrage. Gender barriers are indeed tough to crack, despite great strides we think we have made in each other's direction. The short version of the reason why we still have so much clutter on the genderbased battlefield is that no matter how much we try to demilitarize and declassify the lines of demarcation, we bank too much on our own gender and we embezzle too much from the opposition that one is never free from the restraints and battle fatigue of our own soldiering.

Jennifer had never been shy about undressing in front of me, friendly-fire nudity, you might say. I’d visited her in the peep show she worked in London to no great hoopla. Strut, strut, strut, until boredom sank in, and I was off to scout more of Piccadilly and Chelsea never to return to the peeps she hated so much again. And it was a laughing matter that her own shortlist of self-ridiculing anecdotes included the raw reality that she changed ten times before every outing, often trying on the same outfit several times before going back to the first one she'd tried on an hour before, and here I was in the dressing room with her, store after store, stall after stall. There was no mystery here. In my humble opinion, Jennifer could use all the help she could get, if she wanted to enflame Frank's candle. Her upper chest was home to a few splotchy red spots and a tiny mole or two scattered about, nothing severely ugly nor anything to be ashamed of, but while she insisted on full display mode, it was evident that her relatively flat chest was not an area of overwhelming interest. Accessories like a full garland of pearls or diamonds might work wonders, but she was not going there it seemed.

The Jennifer of a decade ago used to have as strong a sense of gothic fashion as anyone wearing black spikes or fifteen bracelets to a wrist on the planet, but now that she was in the woeful grips of fly-collar bell-bottomed retro goblins navigating about a style that was atrocious in the 1970s and has certainly not improved with aging, she seems to have lost all grounding, obviously some sort of anxiety reverb to her streak past the big three oh, but really, this was a serious fashion droop she was conspiring to pull...

I didn't know what Frank would prefer on his submissive cunt. But while Jennifer was worried that he might drop her to smooze with potential business contacts, she strongly believed that the sleazier than thou look would guarantee that she wouldn't find herself all alone holding up some wall drinking herself into a come hither von stupor before the night barely got started.

Actually, now that I think about it these two months later, she had been talking about the pleasures of pain, so although she had commented on wife abuse in the negative back in May, and no to say the two indulgences were in any way related, perhaps her idea of hooking Frank was to start a fight with him over this choice outfit of hers, and get slapped around a little bit in order to get the juices flowing.
Finally we spotted a mannkin in a window that told us we had finally hit paydirt. A dozen stores already, and we'd still bought nothing. My feet were hurting, a mere seven weeks after I broke my left foot while taking out the trash. We'd burgered and beered at Ruby Tuesday's. Jennifer paid. What a relished feeling that was! I'd called Sue at her office to let her know we were having dinner there in the mall, so she'd have to fend for herself as we still hadn't found Jennifer anything to wear, but this was a rare treasure having a burger on Jennifer for a change. Sue agreed, was working late anyway, and would find something at the Dollhouse if anything since they'd had a catered luncheon at the office that afternoon, so she wasn't really that hungry tonight. As we were leaving and I thanked Jennifer again for the treat, she replied spritefully, "First in a long line, after all that I owe you guys.."

But this particular blonde mannikin sported the look Jennifer was after. I had to agree that the white tether looked good on the window chick from the disco perspective, but it just didn't wear all that well on Jennifer. She agreed, but there was much to choose from in this small goldmine shop whose name escapes me now, but it might as well have been called Fickles. We quickly rounded up four short dresses and stood in line to get the dressing room access which would tell the story.

It was no contest. I ranked them from acceptable to despicable. True to form, my numbers reversed her own ordering, but she accepted my logic, deferring to my top two picks, both black skimpies, in addition to the worst of them all, a beige undergarment bedgown-looking thing. This ugly result of road butt and wrong turns could have passed for an expensive slip beneath a winter wool pullover, something from the lemme-put-on-something-more-comfortable lines of seduction sagewear but a full dress in a semi-formal setting? I couldn't believe it WASN'T a slip, that this fishnet lace-stitched facade over a sheer underlining was actually being marketed as a dress! For the dark slutdriven meat and boner disco or Academy Awards ceremony, maybe, but for a Georgetown U reunion dinner, no fucking way! And this wasn't about some old fogwhistle embarrassed by today's youth go bust scenario. This was propriety, knowing when and where to stretch the limits, especially when they haven't even been logistically sanctioned by the prime player, who happened to be Frank in this case, not Jennifer, not Gabriel (was I of the type to simply agree with Jennifer as an easy way out of this boring affair). I offered to wager that Tim and Sue would agree with me on this call, yes, even Tim, at whose expense Jennifer had laughed earlier in the day while recalling something he'd boasted to her about appreciating the fact that his parents had taught him how to dress well. But Jennifer wasn't alone in redlining the humor in this savory tidbit of Tim's. I whipped up the funny muck with a few details of my own. Indeed it was hilarious that Tim thought he dressed well. It was as true as the bellyroll over my belt that after knowing Tim for eleven years, I had never observed in him even remotely the smart dapper dresser. Little did I know what Tim had in store for all of us, but on this particular date in history, I could do nothing but laugh away at the idea that Tim knew anything about dressing himself. His parents had given him a wardrobe of finer slacks and dress shirts, but Tim never quite cut a character less sympathetic to the eye as when he thought he was dressing in splendor. He generally looked goofy in his best dressed hours, but since this was just Tim working his patented Timlogic, we shared this laugh, Jennifer and I.

There were details just waiting to unfold that night, and unfold they did. These were happy pastoral details, but it goes without saying that not too much art was revealed that night.
Meanwhile here was Jennifer threatening the same logic. This dress was disgraceful, a hundred twenty bucks of underwear in which she wanted to dazzle this stranger from Houston into knocking her about. Actually, now that I think about it these two months later, she had been talking about the pleasures of pain, so although she had commented on wife abuse in the negative back in May, and no to say the two indulgences were in any way related, perhaps her idea of hooking Frank was to start a fight with him over this choice outfit of hers, and get slapped around a little bit in order to get the juices flowing. Oh I have known a woman like this if not so personally, not so far away either, and though Jennifer did not seem to fit that particular billing, at least not in her still primitive B&D S&M state, I could not fathom for an instant her ideas concerning what men expected from a submissive whore, and let's not be coy about the language. For you strangers to this underworld niche, suffice it to say, precise and colorful language is at the very heart of the perspective roles each sexual player embraces along the path to sensual harmony.

Finally the parade was over. To find the car, and get home. Jennifer promised to model the three dresses, and although she refused my wager, what was it? a blowjob, a hundred bucks, I don't recall, she wouldn't commit, so even as our earlier talk of powers, given and received, revolved around permission, permission granted and permission utilized within certain parameters, certain rules, certain limits, nothing had been granted to Gabriel by Jennifer except a Ruby Tuesday and a quick peek. There was no more talk of master. I didn't bring up what was eating at me. Jennifer remained mute, or coy, indifferent to anything that centered around the Dollhouse artistic scene as documented as the single gunman theory elsewhere in tatters. It was becoming clear that this indeed was Jerry's world, not Warhol's Factory, and like Elaine who took no gruff from Jerry, Jennifer was not eager to close the gap between lust and friendship, art and hot air.

While Gabriel like Dylan might find urgency in breathing the air around Tom Paine, the only air anyone else was breathing around the Dollhouse was their own, and a stifling air it was becoming from the artistic viewpoint where freedom was more than a dry word in a box of toys that were soon headed to Texas. We would return home and surprise ourselves that we would be the first ones back that night. But the timing was impeccable. Within ten minutes both Tim and Sue had arrived. Jennifer would model her new pretties. We would drink and laugh, snap a few whoopee doo pictures, and crash rather early because Tim still had to work the next day. There were details just waiting to unfold that night, and unfold they did. These were happy pastoral details, but it goes without saying that not too much art was revealed that night. Tom Paine was carefully hidden within the creeping rites of intensification. Tom Paine still breathed alone.

Dollhouse Jitters v3.0


05 Apr

hidden-variables

Checking For Hidden Variables

samplex

"But have you never played with a clockwork doll?" the man insisted, the voice muffled through the door. "A doll which does everything perfectly, because of the machinery inside. Walks, sings, jumps rope. Real little boys and girls, you know, cry, act sullen, won't behave."
—Thomas Pynchon, V

They shall wait, and be puzzled, and baffled and blinded; not with wine, shall be drunk, and shall reel without liquor; for Yahweh will pour on them a spirit of stupor, close their prophet's eyes, and will blindfold their gazers. Their visions shall be like words sealed in a book, passed to one who reads not, asking, "Read this book, pray." And he answers, "I cannot, because it is closed." Or gives it to another who knows not a letter, and says, "Read this, I pray." But he also answers, "I know not a letter!"
—Isaiah 29:9-12

My battlegray-blue eyes popped open rather late by GT standards this Monday morning, mulling the plans we had set into place. Night had passed a gallstone of heavy sleep solids past my REM gourd but now an unbias light announced New Year's Eve minus one, and I had no one to blame for my tired blood enemy but myself. The big red digital clock on the dresser stared back at me from across the room, forcing me to acknowledge that it was after seven, and I wasn't getting any closer to the age of dissent. Rich chunky familiar odors were already wafting along the quiltsong architectural canvas of the Dollhouse, mixed with a few ambient splashy smells bouncing hard off walls and ceiling fans with a force of prank-incited wedgies up my nostrils. I needed no introduction to these smells. Tim was busy with kp duty, and I was willing to bet he was dishing up his best laid culinary delights for his newfound friend. Of course, it had never occurred to him the whole of his nearly nine month stay at the Dollhouse to offer to fix breakfast for Sue or Gabriel, even after all the hints in China, probably a habit he learned at home. But there was no animosity there. Meals had gotten off to a bad start in the very beginning of TimTime, and the fact that he now took care to feed himself, while we rarely offered him a freebie meal servicing anymore was quite enough explanation to suit me as to why he never came through with the Shipwreck Breakfast Special. Well, there WAS that one time early on, wasn't there? I don't recall, but I'd wager a mouthful of words to a number that Tim does.

With much to resolve on this lovely morning I awoke fondly reminiscing on my second round of light-hearted debate aimed at debunking Jennifer's intellectual guardian, Franz Boas, the morning before. Actually I had no idea when I first dropped his name that Boas was still such a powerhouse figure on the anthropological front, but then after a bit more consideration, I realized Darwin is no less fingered today than in his own heyday. Nor Jesus, Newton, Freud, Friedan, or Malcolm X in their own fields of opportunity.

Jennifer was visibly astonished, appearing to be caught completely off guard in discovering that I was even FAMILIAR with the name Boas. I was more surprised to find that she knew very little about D’Souza and his book, but her excuses of studies, focus and time constraints were obviously valid.
Boas, she restated, was considered the father of modern anthropology, unmistakably incumbant to today's intellectual climate and her own doctoral specialty, Indonesian studies. During her middle November visit here, however, while hovered over the kitchen sink finishing up some menial task, I had without warning or prior witness pricked Jennifer's bitch goddess surface tension out of its lethargy into action by launching into a rejection of Boasism in light of some current affairs news item I now forget. But by converting some news bit into a springboard for slamming the state of American social policy, to repudiate thirty-five years of cultural slide I primed the pump. In a civilization nearing civil war and ruins, as a result of heavy doses of the illogical demeaning liberal poison of two or three generations, examples are not at a loss in exposing themselves: criminals with more rights than their victims, private sector niche quotas, generational anger in the streets fueled by misplaced jealousies, awkward depravity-driven school busing, the recent folly of ebonics, right-wing and left-wing excesses unchecked by a cowering middle class afraid of losing their own livelihoods in a nation exporting jobs as fast as immigrants pile in seeking jobs, the conflict of third world markets trying to compete in the First World absent the same work ethics, and so on. There's no relief in that numbers and statistical racket which is used to prove everything from the number of people buried in Grant's Tomb to the number of folks who would themselves be called African American if the docket should be completely rearranged to include Lucy, supposedly the first man in the mix. The planet is teetering toward chaos where 1984 is the number that replaces common civility with the lemming march toward self-expression and tribal supremacy. This is our contemporary inheritance: a "no love lost between us and them cold hard fact" while simultaneously embracing the official jargon of "humanitarian love" given the full range of freedom to trod down, first in gaining rights, and later in losing them to unbridled but easily predicted selfishness, the very premise of freedom as implied in the original concept the founding fathers identified with the qualifier of the "pursuit of happiness", a far cry from the "guarantee of happiness" our liberals would vacuously impose upon so many with so many different agendas to pursue today.

end_racism

by Dinesh D'Souza

Having only recently finished Dinesh D'Souza's controversial book on American race relations, The End of Racism, I was fresh to the subject of cultural relativism, a phenomenon D'Souza attributed directly to Boas and his first generation of prized disciples, which included such household names as Margaret Meade and Kenneth Clark. Without trying to recreate the whole argument "for" or "against" Boas, it can be easily accepted that the father of modern anthropology espoused biological evolution while denying cultural evolution, stating that culture is a matter of socialization processes. He therefore dismissed any notions of cultural superiority and inferiority that could be ranked according to a linear scale of savage, barbarian, and civilized. Strange that cultural relativists lust after the rewards of a civilized culture while refusing to adapt to the very methods that allowed the civilizing culture to prosper in the first place. But again, I must admit that this is no place to argue these subtleties. Even the previous statement leaves volumes unstated, and much to be distorted by the opposition. Emphasizing that the Jennifer and Gabriel debates barely skimmed the surface either, the list of liberal fallouts is too long and specific to labor beyond its purpose here, but suffice it to say D'Souza, a first generation immigrant to this country, born in India in 1961, moving to this country in 1978, wrote in defense of a more conservative capitalistic approach to race and economic problems in this country and worldwide. Liberals and black activists have seethed at his conclusions. I watched in absolute astonishment as Phil Donahue tried his damnedest while repeatedly failing to unstitch this boyish-looking defender of individual inertia and productivity as being the criteria for resolving the well-documented inpenetratable contradictions and fallout of liberal ideology. I was persuaded by his arguments, welcomed them as a solid framework for change so many politicians on the grift continue to mouth to loud applause while stumping for office while remaining clueless, or more precisely, spineless to help initiate their implementation once collecting a paycheck, and I was ready to address them with someone whose topical fiber could no doubt withstand my own diligence on this issue. Jennifer was visibly astonished, appearing to be caught completely off guard in discovering that I was even FAMILIAR with the name Boas. I was more surprised to find that she knew very little about D'Souza and his book, but her excuses of studies, focus and time constraints were obviously valid.

Yet we plunged gravy-eyed and pepsident into the cultural relativism debate with heavyweight brows to match our virtual polysynthetic fighting trunks for five to ten minutes the first time out. Volume and speed controls were both jacked to the heated debate levels we embraced like hunt dogs to water fowl.

I wanted a refutation, or a concession to my aims but I would not accept half-hearted half-baked kneejerk responses, nor be expected to give them. I wanted to be overwhelmed by precision or else win by acclaim. Naturally, neither was achieved. Severed from yet another dialetic in my passion to please my guest, I had no choice but to let go of the debate. Washington my hands of it. At least I was standing over the sink.
Our arguments in November were only somewhat longer and more satisfying than the two minute drill yesterday. New insights failed to be fleshed out in dialetic garb as we soon were reduced to absurdity with the "why argue for sheer argument's sake" buttering of our intellectual bread. This was happy time. Act accordingly. Loving argument in order to change opinions was less a qualifier than a character flaw in this holiday environment. Besides, any point made would remain moot, because as Jennifer noted, "How could I argue Boas perceptibly when I had not read Boas?"

It was easy enough to concede the truth of her query, only to also square with a great laugh that while I had not read Boas, she had not read D'Souza, and I was holding my own confidences quite well quoting from my own short-term memory his criticisms of Boas and the proof he offered that Meade, and indeed many of that first school of Boasians giddy with newfound liberal presumptions, had fabricated much of their own work tailored to promote the Boasian theory, and were quite unscientific in methodology on the whole. To the contrary, great portions of the work turned in were profoundly bogus concoctions meant to hide evidence not acceptable to the relativist theory. Still on my soapbox I told her that D'Souza in my reading is no far right assailant against individual liberty nor some chalkboard framer of double standards, but he suggests with very compelling examples spred over 500 encouraging pages that we have "gone from civil rights to uncivil liberties—the liberty to abuse freedom and then claim entitlement." But nothing was to be settled in the Dollhouse kitchen concerning Boas OR cultural relativism at this point in our lives. This was an "agree to disagree" nod to the very relativism I sought to escape successfully without the penalty of losing friends. Not that I expected to convert Ms. Hoke-Connolly from her officially sanctioned perch upon the intellectual twig of the 20th century. I simply dared to expose myself to her competence, her higher education. I wanted a refutation, or a concession to my aims but I would not accept half-hearted half-baked kneejerk responses, nor be expected to give them. I wanted to be overwhelmed by precision or else win by acclaim. Naturally, neither was achieved. Severed from yet another dialetic in my passion to please my guest, I had no choice but to let go of the debate. Washington my hands of it. At least I was standing over the sink.

Len Bracken, revolutionary pretender to the classless society, when first spelled the excitement that spirited me after reading the book a few weeks back, responded to my description of D'Souza's conservatism with typical priapic wit, "Well of course, he's a Brahman..."

We both have mean streaks running through us and soon enough, enough would be enough, and the grapevine would be severed, and any humility left between us would seem across those lines nothing but poisonous mustard gas, and yellow the color of victory. Acceptance. That is the toughest leg of a prophet’s work. That was the lesson of Jonah. Ninevah on that stoned historical afternoon was left alone minutes after God condemned it.
As contrite as it sounds and seemingly out of place in this context, I am forced to declare my friend, Bracken, as he likes to be called, a revolutionary pretender because he is really no more of a de facto revolutionary than I am in my own role as a cowardly voice of the oscillating status quo. No skilled revolutionary am I, for as fate has declared, I bonded far too personally with Jack London's anti-hero, Martin Eden (who traveled the full soiling spectrum of social qualification only to finally acknowledge the futility of it all, opting for sea surf suicide at the top of his game), to ever find solace in social integration OR its disruption. Bracken is as punctuated by the very same urgencies of artistic pretention and economic validation as any other festering comrade of the "Whole Sick Crew" (a Thomas Pynchon tag) in his search for that narcoticlike niche of fame all the while stirring up a ripe fever issuing grandiose slogans for the negation of all art, all work, all class connotation.

Len Bracken, unfortunately, is a fragmented shadowkissed soul like the rest of us, a man of thrust, means, friendship, lightning in his eyes, a man of almighty unbridled pretentions, exploding with potential, a ladies man, handsome at six-two, six three, a man of principle just enough to deny it, trying to have it both ways: an echo of primitive expansions wallowing among darling sophisticates of choice, beautiful codes of the daring flesh embracing the ugly roads of nature's whimsy, the chaotic of unrestrained revolution in the streets while gulping well-ordered, polite after-dinner apertifs to cap an evening of safe adventure, and in this regard, will only mimic the contradictory delusions in exactly the same mete and measure as every other segment of society he would condemn in bold strokes, and no stone is left unturned in his dark views of modern society.

We pimped ourselves often with the chilling fact that we rarely disagreed on anything, even the language which we would use to describe a person, place, or thing, as we humored each other playing zippety doo da word games that would keep us both rolling around on the carpets, or bed, or wherever else we found ourselves on a pace and jocularity unmatched by anyone among my own fascinating if frequently irritating stable of friends, save the rather recent inclusion of Steve “Wonderboy” Taylor, whose talents for speed-dialing the brain cellular are of a certainty written on some mighty powerful but lean compiling code. As Steve puts it, “Well, not to play word games…wait…wait a minute…THAT’S what WE do!!!!”
Len Bracken is a post-modern classicist loner trapped in a multi-tiered mirage of the Debordian Society of the Spectacle he props up with giddiness kicking against his rear-view mirror, a man of infighting talents suffocating in the belly of the whale, seeking eternal life without paying the price. That price is acceptance of himself, his true unvarnished self, not the scattering mountebank he can only pretend to emulate, and of his freedoms, the true life-affirming meat and potato freedoms (he's a vegan) that he exercises daily and takes for granted, while still clamoring for more, more, more in the name of the faceless workers who may or may not agree to shake his hand if ever presented with the opportunity. Sue putting it to me this way one evening in trying to deflect yet another of my typically spontaneous anti-Bracken rants, rolled her eyes and with a heaving sigh summed up Bracken in a word, s-i-m-p-l-e. My first impression was to disagree with her, since I knew Bracken to be a learned fellow, lingusitically keen, well-groomed and well-mannered, full of vim and vigor on topics dear to his heart, faithful as an old flannel shirt, and addicted to the idea of originality, but as I quickly scanned the chattering scale of Len Bracken masquerades and adventure tales which never quite seemed to reconcile the vast array and contradictions of human nature with his own melodramatic maxims I was faced with the singular realization that for all the Bracken's breath he might breathe into the revolutionary corridors of history yet unwritten, my writer friend was indeed quite simple, a run of the mill romantic iconoclast who couldn't quite echo all the strings of his harpsichord at any given ideology swap meet as it had become crystal clear that analytical simplicity and self-deception were indeed the anchoring marks of his personality. Handicapped by an allegience to a dead philosopher's pet ideas, Len was a confused, disgruntled barefoot soldier in the icy war of nerves modernity serves up on a platter of fleeting glances, an infallibly-driven soldier of fortune much like myself despite our glaring differences, mindtrapped in a prism of privileged information unsure of ourselves because no one will harken to our ideas, or follow us singing slaphappy marching songs into battle, nor even slow down to clean up their own part in the rise and fall parabolic messes and minefields which slingshot the world's great masses into herded routines all balled up in measuring devices and bottom line alienations of a civilization gone mental over message units. One million souls saved on today's program! Three point two billion dollar deficit this quarter alone! Eighty thousand computers sold from this warehouse economy weekly! Over three hundred million viewers wordwide watched the game that showed that commercial that won the war that Jack built! This is indeed the spectacle, but it's not going to disappear anytime soon. One day I imagined I would have to engage the whole of the Debord/Bracken situationist philosophy point by point, and be thankful Len had brought it to me on a platter, but for now I would have to content myself with acceptance of Bracken until one of us finally crossed the lines of no return. We both have mean streaks running through us and soon enough, enough would be enough, and the grapevine would be severed, and any humility left between us would seem across those lines nothing but poisonous mustard gas, and yellow the color of victory. Acceptance. That is the toughest leg of a prophet's work. That was the lesson of Jonah. Ninevah on that stoned historical afternoon was left alone minutes after God condemned it.

But I was glad these arguments on cultural relativity were locking into place with regard to Jennifer. Surely she already knew upon which patch of promise I stood on matters of truth and consequence, their relationship to our own call of the wild, and so she knew no bootleg would ever pass for the real McCoy in MY forest. Through thick and thin our essences had remained the same. Of all people who knew me, other than my wife, she knew this without obstruction. She had claimed with sass and self-assurance the same turf for herself all through these years gorging on innocense as best she understood it. We pimped ourselves often with the chilling fact that we rarely disagreed on anything, even the language which we would use to describe a person, place, or thing, as we humored each other playing zippety doo da word games that would keep us both rolling around on the carpets, or bed, or wherever else we found ourselves on a pace and jocularity unmatched by anyone among my own fascinating if frequently irritating stable of friends, save the rather recent inclusion of Steve "Wonderboy" Taylor, whose talents for speed-dialing the brain cellular are of a certainty written on some mighty powerful but lean compiling code. As Steve puts it, "Well, not to play word games...wait...wait a minute...THAT'S what WE do!!!!"

But I had to admit now surface cracks were beginning to render this perfect text I had often imagined was possessed of almost magical qualities. Instead, a more humble shield of low-grade translucent cliché defrocking each of us with quivering elements was transpiring, and the potential loss of of a long-static relationship was pressing upon us. Jennifer's outbursts against me in an abrupt change of gears for her while straddling Sue that first night were nearly unprecedented, or so I wanted to tell myself, to fool myself into overlooking the barely apparent, just as I would overlook the visibly obvious problems Tim, Steve, Len, Tom, and Jack would cause me as I tried to sort out the good from the worthless in a decade of ruin. Something was indeed happening beneath the surface of what kept us mouthing the gospel of this cheek to cheek checkmate while actually proving the contrary with the actions Jennifer was choosing to embrace while dodging so many others as she conspired to bestow her own prerogatives on the fate of this friendship, but I wasn't certain. Today would tell a clearer story I had no other choice but to hope.

Downstairs I greeted the two dolls with a greasy good morning. Quickening to a fault, the saliva glands packed against my teeth and urged on by the whirling aromatic were no doubt pitching its own oily film to my hungering lips. Tim in the morning was sheer poetry...

shipwreck

Tim Shipman

Whistling while he worked, Tim was shrewdly doping vittles off the special menu he reserved for cozy overnighters. Of this of course I could only speculate. There had been no others, no other femme fatales he could call his own, no others to awaken with the thick promising bulge of uncut cucumber pressing against the warm soggy spot of vegematica, no others to fix a token morning meal guaranteed to wake even the dead nostrils of five or even six easy pieces of nickel sons and daughters. There had been no others. There was Styx a few months back, who'd gambled a few nights here on a mattress we'd picked up for her after I rescued the tragic scab-afflicted waif from the bus station, a topophobic orphan running from Texas, normality, and herself, but she apparently found the whole Dollhouse affair quite stifling, and scooted over to Tom's on the sly after we introduced them one night at Madam's Organ. Ruthless speculation indeed, but surely Timothy had finally scored some of that heavenly manna on this, his second night in the sack with the sweetheart from Cornell. Tim had remarked months before that the dungeon would not feel like home until he had bedded someone there, insuring there was no mistaking we had the makings of a homegrown myth between the Dollhouse walls and the fallguy sheets: wars and rumors of wars, sex and rumors of sex. Roll your own Tim was finally getting his chance to call the Dollhouse dungeon his home. Surely this was the kick behind his whistle.

I made haste to leave the happy couple alone, returning upstairs after getting myself something to drink, returning to the Macintosh, home of the brave and the cowards too. Lovely to the scheme, I always had E-mail to read and to write. Sue was stirring, readying herself for the daily grind of Alcalde & Fay. Tim and Jennifer would eat their cheery breakfast before he would push off to his own timeclock. Sue would engage her morning constitutionals of shower, java negro and snatches of Good Morning America, while I would nurse a sodapop until I slapped something together for breakfast later soon after the worker bees had left the hive. Everyone seemed to be happy. Energy, syzygy snapping together. Life was pumping through my veins, synapses firing squadrons of ideas through my brain. My earlier lethargy was ink and was vanishing...

GT

Originally posted to a small group of friends on Sat Apr 05 08:54:00 1997

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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