Gamboling With Shiva

Someone sent me a link to Kim Jong Il’s livejournal. From there, I found its creator, Hipstomp. And from him, Lexxy Pie and NDB.

Oh Lexxy Pie, my old friend… Remember when you wrote about shaving your head, and your friends thought you were depressed, but we both knew you were really bragging about the perfect shape of your head…?

Eventually, I started my own blog, intending in the beginning to remain completely anonymous, and therefore utterly free. But one-by-one, my people have found me. Just the other day, my dad asked me if I write my own material. Somehow he’s managed to sign up for e-mail updates when I post something new.

A few years after that first link to Kim Jong Il’s livejournal, I got pregnant. And my friend Morgan sent me a link to Baby on Bored. Stephanie Wilder-Taylor. My first “mommy blogger.”

I called her out on what I perceived was hypocrisy about body image issues. I may have possibly even mentioned that I didn’t plan on reading her books. Not only did she respond to my issue on the merits, without taking it personally (so refreshing), but she actually visited my blog and posted a supportive comment!

I called her out, confessed I was a waste of her time since I’d probably not buy her books, and she could not have been more cool. Since then she’s confronted alcoholism and deals with this, and she’s still one of the funniest writers I’ve read. You should definitely buy some of her books. 🙂

And it was she who directed her devotees to BHJ. Such a gifted writer. A “beautiful mind,” as a old professor once told him. I delighted in analyzing the perfect ratio of shrimp to pasta, envied his certainty of colonizing death for his daughter, shook my head at blue pills and darkness, took note that he gave Jacob a pop tart, and passed judgment on Skip.

And I wondered if success and adoration, the emotions of so many, would soften his edges. Or burn him out. But he kept asking for blood. And he seemed to mean it. I thought about telling him Skip sounds like a douche. But I quailed! How could he mean it? To invite so many in, have so many accept the invitation, and still do battle in their midst?

And it was from BHJ I first gleaned the existence of a blogging community, something beyond the political bloggers I know best or the few isolated “recreational bloggers” I read. Sometimes he blogged about blogging. About “what it means,” about “why we do it,” about the connections and the community and the etiquette and the consequences.

What the fuck? thought I. Why does it have to mean something?

And then came this. It’s about a lot of things. It’s about honesty and health and courage and wisdom. At it’s most basic level, it’s about choosing living—and all of its prerequisites—over death.

And I was inspired.

But it started a fire.

And in the aftermath of the fire, came this about the beauty of breaking things. And it annoyed me. Among the beautiful metaphors and blurred lines between imagination and reality, is still just a father gamboling with Shiva.

But more annoying still are the polite thinkers and their self-righteous meta-obsessed analyses of it all.

Isn’t this a place to be free? Free from civility and convention. A place to transcend conformity and demand our ideas be received without reference to personality.

We have domesticated ourselves. Like house pets.

In the process, we have become pathologically polite. Watch the movie Borat. It’s not about Americans being anti-semitic. It’s about Americans bending over backwards to make an idiot feel all right about himself.

Our children uncomfortably subject themselves to strangers because they have been trained to neither fight nor flee, but to stand politely by, validating impropriety and deferring to authority. They can be taken from their rooms in our silent houses because we’ve lost our ability to scream.

We are bloated with our easily-obtained processed foods, our sedentary lifestyles and our niceness and civility. Our ancestors died fighting for food, for shelter and for ideas. We won’t even exchange a few verbal barbs.

And when we’ve lost our taste for fighting for our ideas, will we even bother having them?

Meanwhile, we put another handful of potato chips in our mouths, surf our five hundred channels of cable television, work on accepting our unhealthy bodies, and worry about playing nicely on the Internet. We won’t die for our ideas, for our food or shelter, our land, or our principles. We will die domesticity.

And we will call it diabetes and heart disease.

But those are just words for “domesticated.”

And this “community” of bloggers is self-censoring in the name of niceness, drafting rules for everyone to follow. What is the point? Spare me these colonialists for civility. Where are the heros, the fighters, the bold and the unafraid?

These people are not children. These are grown adults, who have invited the world to consume their pysches.

Nor are they the people you see and touch and hear. The people who matter are the ones you face when you walk away from your computer. The ones who tell you how they feel without emoticons. Whose laughter is more than an “LOL” written on a screen. Whose communication is nuanced with body language and eye contact and the inflection of voice.

Those are the ones to spend a lifetime finding out what makes them tick, who they are, which words and statements out of millions are the ones that define them.

Those are your people.

Yes, the Internet is a vitally important alternative community to escape circumstance and geography. But unless it’s used as a virtual springboard to face-to-face relationships, it is no healthier than “loving” the grizzly bears who will eventually eat you.

The succor of the Internet is ideas, not relationships.

I’m with BHJ on this one. It should remain beyond the boundaries of civility. A final battlefield where we can rebel. Against niceness. Against our bloat and our processed foods and our flatscreen televisions, our diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, our domestication and our early deaths and immobility, our carefully placed throw pillows and our civilized shelves lined with knick-knacks.

You can have your “community,” your nice, think-y analyses of the rules for polite exchange. I’d rather have my three readers and my freedom. I’d rather keep singing the way I do in the shower. I’d rather rebel.

I’d rather gambol with Shiva.

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