Dagdha's Blog

Random Ruminations #1

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on May 22, 2012

When originality fails, formula takes its place. So like my Quote of the Day series, I am starting a new filler column, in which I simply write whatever is on my mind, whether it’s a discussion of some article or a small epiphany that often manifests while showering or taking a shit. I do not expect these posts to be of much interest to anyone, but at least it will give me the opportunity to write for the sake of it.

Frankly, I don’t write enough.  While most hobbies are enjoyable, whether it’s playing a game, reading a book, or experimenting with gunpowder, writing, as most writers will tell you, is aggravating, laborious, and painful. It is never fun. Writing forces the author to wrestle with language to convey his thoughts clearly, which can be especially maddening with a language as complex and nuanced as English. Writing’s reward is not the activity but the sense of accomplishment that comes when a piece is complete – the joy of creating something totally original. The high obliterates any other, but like a drug it becomes a perpetual struggle to maintain and requires constant effort. The struggle grows exponentially once you start sharing your creations, rendering you vulnerable to ever-ready criticisms, which the Internet is all too happy to provide. My own writing, for example, is often criticized as too wordy – a criticism undoubtedly born from the veneration of concise style canonized by Ernest Hemingway and taken to the extreme in our digital age of cultural ADHD. But I write because of my passion for words, and I refuse to abate any pleasure because an arbitrary style guide advocates the use of only Anglo-Saxon vocabulary and the disuse of Latinate, or other pretentious nonsense.  No one ever told Monet to use fewer colors because he used pigments other than those found at Lascaux. I’m rambling now, but that’s the point of this entry, and I do love my metaphors.

Sometimes I worry that I’ve become one of those writers who spends all his time writing about writing, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about it and the different uses of language.

Just last night I was on my way home from an unusually long day in purgatory, known by most as a job, when I saw a bumper sticker that seems to be spreading around town like the offspring of a cockroach orgy. It read “Real Men Love Jesus.” Normally I roll my eyes whenever I see Not Of This World decals defacing otherwise pristine vehicles, or I”ll glare menacingly at the odiously ideological twat behind the wheel, but today something about the verbiage of this particular sentiment struck me as inherently ironic.

Real Men Love Jesus. Real? In what sense?

Literally, most men are real. With the pardonable exceptions to post-operative transgenders, I can’t quite fathom who or what might constitute false men. Perhaps androids or mannequins would fall into this category, but that’s assuming they have feelings, and a rather cruel assertion if they do. So it’s not literal.

Figuratively, real has a couple connotations-

In American slang, most notably from hip-hop culture, real can be defined as a no-bullshit attitude. Keeping it real is an expression that means staying true to who you are, where you come from, and constantly making an effort to improve your situation through self-reflection. It means you understand that your actions affect that world around you. Real means down-to-earth, honest, and honorable.

More commonly though, real is a qualitative adjective used to denote authenticity, which in this instance is insidiously nefarious. The blatant use of reverse-psychology to call into question the masculinity of any non-Christian male who reads the narcissistic claim that Real Men Love Jesus uses the same propaganda rhetoric as those guilty of the worst atrocities in recorded history. Adolf Hitler justified the massacre of millions of Jews, Romani, Poles, Soviets, homosexuals, religious opponents and invalids by claiming they were less than human, as did Pol Pot, the Spanish missionaries of the New World, and the United States in our systematic slaughter of Native Americans. Proliferating the notion that someone is less of a man because he does not share the same spiritual beliefs, even if done in a half-joking manner, is utterly vile and a testament to the lack of critical thought pervasive within the community of new age Christianity, which is itself the result of a hyper-competitive culture that arose in the last decade as a consequence of “reality” television and social media, but I digress. The ultimate irony of the slogan is its preconceived judgment, which is extremely antithetical to the teachings of a man who once proclaimed, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Sometimes I still think about going back to school so I could spend my days reading and writing, but I’m not sure I would be happy in academia, which is governed by just as much politics and egomania as any Fortune 500 company. It would give me a source of constructive criticism though, and that’s something I could definitely use. I’m an obstinate masochist, so even though I hate criticism, it fuels my desire to exceed expectations, but I need those expectations to motivate me.

My goal is to hit a thousand words in these column entries so I get used to writing without obsessing over every word, which is probably my biggest hindrance as a writer. For some reason I don’t like writing drafts, and I even managed to get through college without writing a proper rough draft (I would fake it in the few classes where such bothers were required). Admittedly I’ve come to realize how necessary they are, so I need to find a way to get over my illogical aversion to them and revisit my own writing once in a while. Then I can follow WordPress’s advice and “Just Write.” Unfortunately for anyone else, that might result in more walls of listless text like this one.

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