Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

And Jingo was his Name-O!

Q: What’s the difference between Afghanistan and Christmas?
A: Christmas will be here in December.

Some people have conspiracy theories about the Gnomes of Zurich, who control the world’s money, or about Disciples of Satan in our federal government, or about alien invaders who have convinced Chris Carter to continue “The X-Files” years beyond its prime.

My conspiracy theory is that there is a secret organization of American comedy writers whose job it is to create and start circulation of the truly tasteless jokes as quickly as possible after a horrific situation. They live in an underground complex in, oh, let’s say Nebraska, they monitor news reports on their shifts, and jot down things that will really offend some people but make the rest of the idiots laugh like nitrous-addicts. They had some really shining moments in my lifetime, among them the post-Challenger jokes (“What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts.”) and the ones I heard minutes after the accident that claimed Princess Diana (“or should I call her Princess Died?”), but they were remarkably slow on the ball with the terrorist situation. The first two lines of this entry are my continued proof that the Truly Tasteless Mafia still lives and operates in this scared new world.

Our company has officially signed a contract for the worst book we’ve ever published. Ever. Including the slew of photo-heavy Britney and Boy Band impulse books. While I won’t give out the title, I will mention that the book is essentially a large quantity of American-related people and places and phrases, delivered in loving list form. Be proud you’re an American. Fly a flag. Read the Declaration of Independence. Eat a Whopper.

I can at least be thankful that the book is not a hateful piece of literature; it doesn’t mention terrorists or warfare in any substantial way, but it’s just written very poorly. It does not inspire me. It does not help me make sense of the world in the light of the second Bush War. It doesn’t tell me what it means to be American, it’s a mere collage–all surface, and with no way of reading into why the collage was made.

I don’t believe in blind support of any nation, especially since I don’t believe that blind support consitutes either love or loyalty. Loving your country has the same dynamics as loving another human being, in that the people who love you the most are the ones who are willing to tell you, to your face, that you’ve fucked up, because they don’t like seeing you do so.

I’ve discovered two things about myself in the course of human events; first off, that I’m more comfortable playing the Jim Jeffords card and declaring myself an independent. I’m annoyed at the war-hawks of the right who oversimplify the issue and think jokes like the one above are funny. But I’ve fallen away from many on the left as well, who I think are misguided in their peace protests. Peace protests against Vietnam made sense, since we had no real business being there. But peace protests now? We got attacked. It’s too late to talk about going to war; we’re already in it, we were in it the second Osama bin Laden put us on his dance card and told us to tango.

For that matter, I’ve become annoyed with the “left” in any case. I prefer a “liberal” label to a “left” label if only because the latter is, by its nature, confrontational–for a left, there must be a right. Left wings and right wings, I’ve been feeling, are more interested in fighting than in getting anything done. The right wingers use any excuse to bash Bill Clinton, an irrelevant subject, and the left-wingers find any reason to bash Bush. And I don’t like the man either, and I wish he were a better communicator, but I’m willing to look at what he’s done correctly as well. (Although, for the record, all of the things he’s done correctly, to my mind, are based entirely on the one great decision he’s ever made–to surround himself with people Much Smarter than he is.)

The second thing I’ve discovered is fear. Not just fear, but dread, and not just dread, but foreboding.

What fear means to me right now is that my overactive imagination–into which I’ll occasionally fall for minutes at a time, snapping back suddenly and realizing that I’ve been neglecting the screen in front of me or what have you–is working just as much as it was before, only now I see overdirected scenes of me holding the dead bodies of people I love and screaming “NOOOOOO!” And it should make me laugh, because it’s so silly, but it doesn’t, and in that realization is my fear.

I have too much to memorize this week. My audition for “Too Much Light” is on Saturday, and my piece has been rewritten within an inch of its life, and I’m now committing it to memory. All the sentences are memorized, but they are not coming together in performance as of last night (hopefully this will change after tonight). I also have to memorize lines for two sketches for my improv class graduation show, which is next weekend (although I should be off-book by tomorrow night.)

The thing is, I know I’ll be fine, but it somehow helps me be fine if I subconsciously psyche myself into thinking that I won’t be.

I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. Repeat until you believe it.

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2001 by in Essay, Politics, Theatre.
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