April 27, 2013

Correspondence / 12


"...she held up the bottle 3/4 gone and exclaimed, "We drank all this?!!"

"No, sweetie, we used it on the fish!"

Heh, guess she's more on the ball than expected. I do admire your honoring her sensibilities.
Sometimes subterfuge is the better part of valor.

I had a fondness, as a boy, for all things cursive. Pens, paper, inks. But mostly pens, which I think I
intuited was a sacrament of the power of expression, probably with some phallic undercurrents.

I haven't broached the subject with Evan. He rarely answer my emails. I should just dive in and
broach it. Maybe if I suggest, say, a week this summer. I'd love to hang out at the old place for a bit.

The seeds of Evan’s unraveling may always have been there. It started to spin out of control, from
what I've been able to gather, when his depression went clinical and he took a buy out at the
university, where he told me he was harassed. I remember him being exceptionally bright and
perceptive. We had many long conversations. He always listened with deep attention - and
reflectively - a great compliment. He had a knack for intuiting the content of the gaps, filling them in,
taking the conversation deeper. He was light-hearted. I don't know how he lost it, or when, exactly.
He's in survival mode now, which has no doubt disastrously condensed his perception of things, and
response to them.

The planet appears to be heating up in a lot of ways that go beyond climate change. Fever and
acceleration.

Seems Dzhokhar fell into the gravitational pull of the black hole that was his brother’s ruined soul.
That does not excuse his moral cowardice nor the choice he made about to whom his loyalty
ultimately belonged. As for Tamerlan, that an urge to mayhem finds an imprimatur in religion is
nothing new. I was reading, this afternoon, in another synchronicity that haunts my reading, the Talk
Of The Town section of an old New Yorker (August 28, 2006) about the president’s summer reading
list. It apparently included Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger.” The columnist, Adam Gopnik,
observed about the novel:

“Camus’ purpose is to dramatize the psychology of pathological violence as a self- defining act... To 
look too narrowly for rational purpose in it is to mistake its very nature. The freedom to act includes 
the freedom to do evil, and the murderer within us is no further away than a walk on the beach in a 
bad mood. People kill because they vaguely imagine, in a moral haze like the one overhanging the 
sun-scorched sand, that on the other side of murder lies some kind of expiation, or the thrill of rising 
above the mundane, or a way of pushing past alienation, or a shortcut to significance. People kill 
because they can.

“How closely this truth touches the heart of this summer’s various horrors... The bright young British 
Muslims, with their innocent-looking sports drinks, seem to have decided on mass murder not 
because they had exhausted all other possibilities but because, Meursault-like, in the madness of 
young men, it seemed thrilling and self-defining and glorifying - just as the zeal of the neocon 
pamphleteers of summers past seems now to have come less from any strategic certainties than from 
the urge to some kind of muscular self-assertion, as wishfully defined as it was impossible to 
achieve.”

The same can, of course, be said of Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Ted Kaczynski. Everything old
is new again, including the “perpetual human temptations” that Gopnik identifies in Meursault’s
crime.

I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty but If it’s ambiguous enough (call it scrupulously neutral) to leave
the impression with “unsophisticated” viewers, which Michael Moore implies, however regretfully,
are most people, that the outrages depicted are justified, then I for one must conclude that the net
effect is not helpful. I was talking to a right-wing neighbor a couple of weeks ago who had seen it.
His take away: “Hey, if children get in the way and have to be killed to get the bad guy, so be it.” He
thought it was a great movie.

It’s midnight and raining. The neighborhood dogs have gone inside, or withdrawn to what shelter
they could find, chastened and silent. The rain rules this blessed night.



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