Many Persons Mirrored and Duplicated In One Person

Not nearly enough has been written about John Irving’s In One Person since its publication in 2012, so having read it just now I thought I should contribute notes of both a literary and a most spiritually didactic nature. For a synopsis one can visit any number of websites.

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In One Person’s world has a private language habit, a Shakespeare lens for everything, and a spiralling theme of crossdressers and otherwise non-gender-binary men. Irving’s trademark truly excellent characterization and cagily naive narration abound. What struck me most about Irving’s book, however, is how funny it is.  Even in the grim third quarter in which we watch most of protagonist Billy Abbott’s friends die of AIDS, we get about 500 words of tragedy and then an offhand remark that makes us laugh out loud. Maybe it’s just my sense of humor. Like when he comes after a long series of AIDS vigil sequences to his hometown for a relatively simple checkin with a dead faculty member of his school: it is discovered that the orderly has only brought the corpse out in the snow to smoke a cigarette, not to wait for the hearse. Anyway, In One Person has no gags; rather, the timing is incredible.

I would like to point out a marvellously-rendered literary surprise in the book out of fear that it may be too often missed. The arc of investigating people’s identity soars beautifully throughout the book, but the end holds a satisfying surprise. As much as the book’s title may allude to the folly of casting people into vulgar categories that support people’s gang mentality, and the phenomenon of these categories occurring “in one person,” the title is revealed in the final chapter to also represent a conceit about our lifespan, aging, and successive generations. When the son of the protagonist’s forbidden crush from the very beginning of the novel shows up, bearing the only reliable evidence of what’s become of the wrestler Kittredge (his own one person mirrored in the elder wrestler and love interest Miss Frost), Billy underscores the voice and look of the younger Kittredge, who is the spitting image of his father. As Kittredge helped Billy start off on a path, Billy is now providing perspective for Kittredge’s kid.

Here the story’s spirals finally converge: we have not only the sexual phenomena gathering in unexpected groups in one person, but also the mysteries of maturity and life experience. The son of Kittredge and his father are as one person, but also the fate of Kittredge, Miss Frost and now the young transgender student Gee fit into one person, shifting identity through time.

Irving has  been subtly warning us about this conceit throughout the book, particularly with the symbol of the yearbooks and with his complaints about terminology. As an artist who’s also struggled with the identity police over time, I really appreciate Billy’s annoyance not with the new terms, ie., transgender vs. transsexual, but with the rigidness with which successive generations of people insist on the correctness of these terms. Irving argues hereby for compassion and also curiosity: before you criticize someone older for not using the new hip term, be a fucking smart person and find out the nature of the old term.

Finally, I’m grateful on behalf of those old enough to remember that Irving has chosen now, in the age of complacent suburban gender-queerness that seems unable or rather unwilling to see itself from its socio-economic angle, to force AIDS back in our faces. People my age will always remember that AIDS was far scarier than nuclear war, and people Irving’s age get the satisfaction of having their 1980s set –properly, I would argue –in the frame of the AIDS epidemic. Think of the suburban Christian terrorism we’ve lived through since the late 80s-early 90s: the PMRC, enforced gangster rap, youth group, Faith Driven Consumer, the Bush administration, No Child Left Behind, Gay-Straight Alliance … what would Robert Mapplethorpe, Klaus Nomi, Essex Hemphill, Marlon Riggs, even Eazy-E and the local dancer, have taught us about these assholes and their judgmental phoniness if they’d made it longer??? Irving reminds us of the time not so long ago when we had to try to stick together, rather than run our campus GSA into the ground for not being suburban white gay or trans enough, because our fucking lives depended on it.

Thank you, a thousand times thank you, Mr Irving, for reminding us about all the possibilities and the cumulative richness of life that must be pursued In One Person.

Roadbeers: Two Tecate Light

My savage neighbor about two blocks down is always chucking empties into the azalea and I chase after them often. After a few weeks off I finally went burrowing under the azalea and what have we here amongst the redeemable container weight but Tecate Light.

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Turns out I got two; photographed the one with the ruined top before I realized the second one was there. Due to the lack of fizz and therefore feeling that the can was less than full, I must’ve mistaken the damaged one for an empty and only known at first that I had the one intact can but switched them when I arrived … uhh … at the park.

Anyhow, that’s like, what, 23 since I’ve been counting. Road beers!

In related news, I also acquired a large plastic can of protein powder a few years ago, yknow, with all the lifting I do, but have been trepidatious about trying it. Turns out it’s still good. Roadtein!

Breeding Ourselves To Extinction

From Dady Chery, News Junkie Post, via Extinction Chronicles. Worth the two minutes it takes to read it, pendejos!

The Extinction Chronicles

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/19/breeding-ourselves-to-extinction/

The United Nations has held countless major meetings on climate change, at great consumption of fuel, that have amounted to nothing but reports and promises of more talk. After many of these alarming reports, the G20 leaders, in November 2014, decided to throw several billions of dollars at the problem. Despite climate-change denial becoming incorrect, as long as a discussion of overpopulation, in the context of climate-change mitigation, remains a taboo, we may be sure that nothing will be achieved. If we are serious about reducing our carbon footprint, we must rethink the flawed capitalist concept of unending economic growth and consider reducing the number of human feet in the world. Overpopulation must be discussed in the context of climate change. A major impediment to this discussion has been the assumption that Africa and Asia would be the main targets for depopulation, with…

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Walk for Science (Earth Day) 2017

Here’s a sign that everyone should have for Science Walk, which used to be Earth Day, 2017. The name of the walk itself shows that the earth is not important at all, but our liberal self-aggrandizement for the side we’re on in the narrow debate of how to rape the earth for our own needs. LOL! #earthday #walkforscience #neildegrassetyson

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You’ve got to give it to 30-somethings who survived the Bush years, though. They’ve managed instead of making real change to turn their mildly discontent feelings toward their consumer environment into faddish pastimes. I’m impressed.

Cañada del Oro Wildflowers, Geocache Quached

Finally got up to Cañada del Oro, my favorite favorite place to bum around, last Saturday, to see the wildflowers. Though this is the most reliable place I know of in the San Ho area to see an astounding variety of wildflowers, I was somewhat nervous to see Indian Paintbrushes before the heat gets them. Saw this cool turkey on the way in, but I had to shoot the photo into the sun…

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Shitty digital Canon Elph lens was NOT cooperating to catch these blue dicks! You can eat them… IMG_2435

Shooting stars in the daytime!

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Finally the Indian Paintbrush showed up. I’m pretty sure the one below with the serrated leaves is also a kind of paintbrush, but someone can comment and fill me in.

IMG_2439IMG_2438Finally, I nabbed a bit of geocached plastic pollution! It’s been signed and stamped and commented upon by such as Mia Quiche, Fleetwood 7 and others. I took that shit back to the city and recycled it. Fuck your plastic geo-trash, Fleetwood 7!

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