Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Many Traits Must a Thing Have in Order to Be Singular?

Driving home last night I heard two commercials back to back. The first was for Verizon Wireless, how much faster its 27-G wireless is than your sucky device; the voice-over was a teenage girl , the punch line of the commercial is that "Jenny doesn't know her boyfriend just changed his relationship status to single, but she will in three... two... one..." and then dumped teenage girl scream. The second was for Infinity from Comcast. A husband excitedly says to his wife, Honey, I bought this for reasons A, B, C, and she naggingly says, Aren't we supposed to be saving money? Husband says, But we are saving money with Infinity, what have you done, to which she defiantly says, I bought a new purse, it can hold all the money you're saving. Have you seen the new GEICO commercial where a middle-aged white male trying to save money on diet-plans hires three junior high girls in Valley Girl drag to follow him around and say in sequence whenever he put food to mouth "Ew" and "Really?" and "That's so gross" yet?

I'm a 52 year old American white heterosexual male faithfully married 24 years this summer with an almost 19 year old daughter in an elite liberal arts college. I'm three years from fully vesting in my pension at the elite university I've worked at for 22 years and from which I have two degrees. I've four years left on a mortgage for a house I bought 20 years ago for half a million dollars less than I could sell it today. I apologize for writing this post for the 3Kth day in a motherfucking row, but I want it clear I'm commenting on, not competing in, Stringtown's latest outbreak of King of Anarchists. I am not anarchier than thou, you win. I work to be less of an asshole in my complicity, part of which is recognizing my training and how it is constantly reinforced as in those three "comedic" misogynistic ads above reminding me that in our society, as power is constructed and imposed, women are designated as catty bitches and scolds and dependents sucking the marrow of male productivity who are spared deserved punishment only by men's restraint and benevolence. It's also part of my training that benevolence is as much threat as gift, its granting a reminder of its withdrawal and opposite. All I  can do is be consciously kinder for fair's sake and urge you to be too, though I also recognize power's use of that matrix to divide us from each other.


Rae Armantrout

Sad, fat boy in pirate hat.
Long, old, dented,
copper-colored Ford.

How many traits
must a thing have
in order to be singular?

(Echo persuades us
everything we say
has been said at least once

Two plump, bald men
in gray tee-shirts
and tan shorts

are walking a small bulldog -
followed by the eyes
of an invisible third person.

The Trinity was born
from what we know
of the bitter

symbiosis of couples.
Can we reduce echo's sadness
by synchronizing our speeches?

Is it the beginning or end
of real love
when we pity a person

because, in him,
we see ourselves.


  1. Link thanks, continued.

    I'm definitely more of a catty bitch than my wife, who generally just scowls and spits out the occasional string of sailor talk, but such cattiness would be termed something much more manly man of manliness-nesse, rambling diatribes perhaps, which are more testosteroney.

    Someday, the G will be so high, we'll be able to travel back in time. Can't wait to meet Franz Liszt.

  2. If it's any consolation, I've had many a beer-fueled conversation with older scene folks about how home ownership can be pretty punk. Granted, their reasoning was either spurious or self-defeating. Regardless, feel free to collect those punk points.


  3. Nicely put.
    Turns out that nobody is anarchier than anyone else. So you do win!

  4. There's also the Comcast commercial where the non-Cable subscriber winds up scraggly and collecting stray cats. Have you seen it? Reminds me of someone. Not saying who. On your reasoning, it's misandrony. Or maybe it's just misanthropy? Or simply anti-DFH? Or maybe it's just learn to laugh at yourself qua type.

    Thanks for the bio. You are who you are, dude. Wear it well and be proud/cool. Learn to see the humor in it. That's what (at least my) kids are for. Ask RG re Lemmiwinks.