Thursday, August 02, 2007


Note to self...

What's needed here is a vehicle by which despair and anger can be made palatable to any but the person feeling them.

Never have I felt so challenged in this respect.

A friend, in my hometown, said, "You can't be an atheist in this town." Although I understood his meaning--it is difficult to make any kind of living in so small and so Christian a town if it is known you do not subscribe to the Judeo-Christian big daddy, never mind if you are actively opposed to people organizing their life around magical thinking--I challenged him. "Of course you can. I know at least two, and I'm agnostic." "Yes, but my point is that you can't talk about it."

Freedom: After pointedly not ogling the bare breasts and dancing madly to the drum circle in the Englisher Garten in Munich, it is more than a little ironic to hear this value being bandied about in a place where meth labs run rampant, but if you round up six of your friends to go play the guitar in a local park, you stand a very good chance of being put in jail, at least for the night.

What's at issue here is that there is very real pressure for anyone who legitimately dissents--at a time when dissent is necessary--to keep their heads very low. The pressure takes many forms, and not all of it is society wide: I have yet to speak of my last employment in Munich, largely because I am afraid that if I got started, I would say things I would later regret--that's not society, that's just me trying to be humane about the whole thing. But the pressure that is most disturbing IS society wide. Telling someone who wishes to become a poet that they must keep silent is hell to that person. The functionality of stoicism is not without limits.

I need words rich to the senses and to the mind. I need human words, that mean on a human level.

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