by Jason John Bartholomew
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord. I’ve been waiting for this moment most my life. oh lord.”-phil collins
“lordy lordy, I can’t ever get no sleep; I keep having all these terrible dream. when I wake up in the morning cold and covered in sweat, I find in the daylight I’m having all these horrible feelings. like something is stalking me. the angel of death is coming.” -the barbiturate society
when a society starts it’s pendulum swing towards placing explicit value of all forms of civility is the same time, I think, when things are also really beginning to get scary. its almost as if common civility is our last bastion of defense against our own barbarism, the lurking presence of our infernal Beast, the Shadow within. Beware of those smiling through gritred teeth seems fair and even sage advice. serial killers aren’t short-fused, loud-mouthed hotheads; they’re mild mannered, calculating and cold-bloodied rational. Or so pop culture, pop spirituality and pop psychology, (or pop! pop! pop!) for short has lead me to believe.
When I imagine times where humans have in recent history committed heinous acts, I almost always see it occurring within the context of a common civility that is good and proper and wholesomely righteous right down to it’s fresh laundered bobby socks: only the glint in the eye betrays.
“Susan. Come away from that window this. instant. We mind our own business and it’s rude to stare,” proclaims the German mother as the Naziz are dragging the Jewish doctor and kin out of their family home next door.
“But nothing. Sit down, young lady and marshall your curiousity. No one appreciates a busy body.”.
Not too long after, halfway around the world, in a postcard behind a white picket fence unfolds a domestic scene fit to grace the pages of a Sears & Roebucks catalogue as two freshly starched and flawlessly made-up housewives make another batch of frosted cookies for the lady’s auxiliary bake off on Saturday. But again, something in the eye; no one saying a word about the two colored men swaying in the breeze next the tire swing on the old elm tree.
chilling and ghastly to say the least.
I find myself worrying alot these days. I also find myself in the crossfire often and not from the factions I expect or the usual suspects. People taking offense my town, shaking their heads and mouthing “no” to the irreverant brand of sardonic dark humour I have spent dcacdes cultivating, or even worse, failing to even realzise it humour and taking it for face value.
I have had friends I’ve known for decades suddenly decide sarcasm might send the wrong message on social media, and more conversations than I can count on my long-practiced philosophy of talking frankly about real life online because I believe in the importance and validity, not to mention the destigmatizing effect, of owing our narratives, ugly warts and all. you’ve seen my petty, my rage, my loud-mouthed and vulgar; you’ve seen me lie. I’ve been on social mediq a long-time; since the early 90s. I have never been much of an editor or censor and I do have, at least partially, an irrelevant, rebellious trickster heart. Now its even been suggested that my shenanigans may have even caused me to be under investigation at some point and can’t I finally just grow up and hush? As this has been a 30 year desperate cry for attention and. not just me being me in reaction to the things that tickle and itch me.
I read an article the other day on medium.com that really underscored for me how far we have digressed. The author was suggesting that it didn’t matter it one was right or not so long as what was being expressee went out of its way to be kind. otherwise you just weren’t on Team Humanity.
Fuck you, pip squeak. I have always been on Team Humanity. I’ll even go so far as to say I put the human in humanity. at least with. me you never have to worry they will come drag you away while no one says a word. I’ll be screaming out the window, promise.
I wish I felt as certain that you would do the same for me, despite my lifestyle or tone.