Living In The Limelight, The Universal Dream

21 Jul

I have been watching in amazement my Twitter feeds (I have several news lists) since yesterday morning at 5, when I usually wake up. There have been some atrociously obtuse things debated online since the little more than 24 hours when the town of Aurora, Colorado was rocked off its foundation by the latest tragedy that seems to occur in the States quite a bit more often than in the rest of the world.

My ex sister in law and her husband have been long time residents of Aurora, Colorado, and quite often during the 90s when my first wife and I visited them, we went to see films at the same cinema at which this tragedy took place (Town Center); so it feels extremely strange watching all of it. Not far from Aurora is Columbine (20 minutes’ drive), so it makes this latest chapter in violence even more strange and heartbreaking.

If you did not think people were going to politicize this latest mass murder, you are naive. Watching my Twitter feed yesterday all day swell and become bloated with comments from the Left from the Right and seemingly from Pluto (there are millions of nuts who know how to operate a laptop, you know), I had the impression that there is a growing, bulbous cancer growing under society’s skin, and soon…quite soon it’s going to break through the epidermis and infect (or, rather, divide) us all.

The usual rhetoric about gun control quickly popped up, followed by the usual NRA-backed drivel, followed by all sorts of knee-jerk babble and obtuse ideas about what can be done to prevent this in the future. I watched the cancer grow with bitterness and bile and waited for it to explode. Soon. And when it does, I’ll be that man clutching two gin and tonics in my fists, running the other way as fast as I can without spilling, for there is no solution to a politically and socially divided populace that is severely ill informed. Historically, people like me have been hung. So I won’t be sticking around. All you’ll find is empty bottles of Gordon’s in my recycling bin.

As people attempt to heal from this event they will be looking to sources of inspiration or peace; they will be seeking advice from those who claim to have inner strength or answers. But some won’t be able to reconcile the lack of purpose for the killings–not that they might anyway, had there been a directive of sorts.

In my 4 decades hanging around on this godforsaken, dry rock I’ve been battered with the word “closure.” I’ve been taught that most of us, in the wake of suffering or being victims of tragic events, seek closure. Maybe. But the truth is most of the time there is none. That’s the way it is; there is no closure. And so most of us turn to our version of God or religion or whatever it is that we believe makes us achieve closure.

Charles Bukowski, in his screenplay for “Barfly” has one little line that I’ve kept in mind since I first saw the film in the mid 90s. It’s a line that I’ve uttered to people or somehow incorporated in my own writing, and it’s a line that I initially debated and strongly defended in countless arguments with deluded optimists. Nowadays I no longer choose to waste my time with those conversations, for long ago I realized that most people love the idea of the glass being half full, and nothing one  does or present as evidence will ever change that idea.

Bukowski’s line in “Barfly” is a mere 6 words, but its impact on my life has been gargantuan. Mickey Rourke as the character Chinaski delivers it almost as brilliantly as DeNiro does his own, cinematically acclaimed 4-word line in Taxi Driver. You know the line; the one he speaks while looking in the mirror.

Historically, Bukowski’s sage phrase has been proven right from the time we lived in caves and bashed one another’s heads in over a sliver of raw meat. Those who try to prove otherwise with cliches such as: “Love conquers all” must not be aware of mankind’s deeds in the last 50,000 years.

“Hate…the only thing that lasts.”

I see this line in my head time and time again; almost daily…from the venom released on jam packed highways, to grocery store parking lots over prime spaces, to political and ideological and religious wars against one another.

Hate…the only thing that lasts.

I heard that in my head yesterday morning at 5 when I opened up my Twitter account and saw the horrific news out of Aurora, Colorado. There are truly no answers for it,  no matter how much one tries to compress it to nuts and bolts. Hate in humanity is exponentially stronger than what we call Love. It’s long lasting, and it’s often disseminated in the household via several tools (religion, politics, social class, language, jokes, allusion, racism, etc. etc.).

There are no anwers for what happened early Friday morning, July 20th 2012 in Aurora USA, just as there were never any anwers for all the other horrific events we’ve endured/suffered in our lives. There is nothing to search for, no enlightenment for those like me that didn’t lose a family member or a friend…and there is nothing to soothe the pain for those who have.

Donne was wrong. We are all islands, and we look to heal our own selves, regardless of what we’ve been told. We are all islands. But we try hard to build bridges to one another. Those bridges are often feeble construction; made from flimsy sawgrass or straw. And they often collapse, though we refuse to see or believe that.

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One Response to “Living In The Limelight, The Universal Dream”

  1. Ava Joe 23/07/2012 at 7:36 PM #

    Uh, your wisdom is showing.

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