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Saturday, October 5, 2013

MY INNER CRIMINAL

jasper johns


Monday's and Wednesday's encounter with perceived authority has my nerves still rattled. Some inner stuff came to the surface I didn't see coming. It's still raging. I continue to see the dead eyes I looked at that were the same as a statue's eyes, eyes that are looking but don't see. I looked at his name tag, because I like knowing the names of people I'm interacting with. It turned out I was the only one interacting, meaning there was no interacting going on; it takes two to interact. When I spoke it was the same as talking to a statue of John C Calhoun, somebody from so far away in time and so high on a pedestal that I, meat puppet on the ground, have no relevance for attention. I had to remind myself this is how police state works. This is what 1950s propaganda told us the Communists were like. Be careful what you hate, because we become what we hate. After all the Cold War time of hating Communists (people without rights), here our side is, the Christian side, manipulating the population by propaganda, police state. In America now the cops give us attitude that they have power over us, that I can be put in prison by their whim if I give a smart-mouth answer to a smart-mouth question.

jasper johns


Yesterday and today, all day, I swam in my ongoing subconscious argument with authority figures, militarists who like marching, shouting orders, saluting, obeying. My time in the Navy was a time in hell for me. It was a culture totally alien to who I am. It was about killing. I am not. My childhood was spent dominated by a Jar Head who was proud of it. "I'm a marine!" I'd think: Hot dog! You're big an bad! Liked uniforms and badges and guns. I'd hear, "I want some respect outta you!" I'd think: Show me something to respect. I'm not an actor; I can't respect on command. These memories from the past came up in the presence of being looked at and talked at like I was automatically a criminal because I'm a citizen. I knew the authority figure could see absence of respect in my eyes. I saw stone deadness in his eyes, he saw disrespect in mine. Lack of respect really sets off obedience robots. In the place called home, I was beat into the ground to start showing respect, and never broke. I saw myself one of the tough guys on the pirate ships in 40s and 50s movies strapped to the mast being whipped, never showing on his face a wince of pain and never in his eyes a glint of repentance. You can beat me all the way to death and you will never see a split-second of respect in me.
 
jasper johns
 
Officers in the Navy saw it in me. The most authoritarian ones saw it on sight. They saw they would never control me, that my obedience was superficial. All authoritarians see me, on sight, the enemy. It has to be my eyes. My eyes don't brighten up with respect, nor do they show fear. They show indifference, because I know I am face to face with the same to me as a dead man, one who thinks manhood equals obedience to authority. I'm possibly as anti-authoritarian as it gets. I'm not a reactive anti-authoritarian who obsesses with contempt for authority. I totally ignore authoritarian figures. They have no part in my life, in my consciousness. I do my best never to attract the attention of a self-important authoritarian robot. It's why I wear what I call my old-man hat that says Farm Bureau on the front. Old people are past being regimented and authoritarians know it. I have a friend whose job requires a uniform, badge and gun, but he's not an authoritarian personality. He's not somebody who would stop you and say, "What's your hurry?" or another one I've heard, "You going to church?" No, I'm goin to a pot party; we're gonna have a orgy and play cards all night, might shoot beer cans off of each other's heads with a shotgun. Stuff came up from way far back, things I would think when threatened. Couldn't say anything, but nobody had any control over my thoughts. Not even me. There was, "I oughta hit you for what you're thinking." My thought: If you really knew what I was thinking, you'd kill me. You don't have a clue. That's what authoritarians see in my eyes. They want to hit me for what they perceive me to be thinking. They want respect for nothing and I don't have it to give. Respect is earned or not at all. And it's not that I'm devoid of respect, because I respect a lot of men and women and children I know. I lean toward the people I respect, and away from the others.

jasper johns


I know cops I respect. They've earned the respect. I think of them as good men. They don't use their uniforms to bully people. They're obviously not authoritarian types or I wouldn't know them. This week's encounter with obedience robots has unsettled my nerves like I don't remember happening since quite awhile. I don't like it when this rage comes to the surface. It takes me back to the part of the life I prefer never to think about. They say in old age we remember way far back clearly. I don't look forward to that. I don't want to get that old. This week told me that rage and hatred for authority is still burning in a furnace in my heart. Maybe it came up to be looked at before I fade into thinking I'm spiritual or something hi-fallutin when a blue flame of rage continues to burn in the deepest part of who I am. I don't even want to go there to deal with it. Can't even stand to watch cop tv shows or movies. In cop movies, I tend to pull for the criminal. Possibly this rage inspired identification with Plains Indians in childhood, enemy of the white man that speaks with forked tongue, authority in a hierarchy of obedience. Obedience is what it takes to make a good military. I am not military. I don't want to kill others who are every bit as uninterested in being killed as I am, nor be a part of the legion that does the killing. Like I don't want to be a mechanic who works on planes that drop bombs that kill many and hurt more, people who aren't even a problem, just anybody. The enemy? I'm the enemy.

jasper johns


That brings to mind a moment in the Navy that cracked me up at the time. A lieutenant talking to a bunch of the boys, talking every old star-spangled cliché there ever was, remember Pearl Harbor, Communists, the enemy. I stood there, "at ease," laughing inside, thinking: Hey man, I'm the enemy. But kept quiet. Didn't want to draw attention to my behavior. The enemy is not out there. He hated me too, for my superficial obedience. I didn't get in trouble, much, because I obeyed, but they all knew I was not converted to automatic obedience and never would be. I could not dedicate myself to murder and be proud of it. I was pist off at my country for putting me through mandatory warrior training. I'm not a warrior for anything or anybody until the threat is real. Then I'm in front, ready to fight. No matter what I may do to intellectualize my distaste for authority bullies, give it rational associations, it comes from childhood and has nothing to do with the US Navy or police or any other form of social authority. It came from daddy. There it is, the thing itself. Because I rejected his irrational unto arational authority controlling a child by fear, it is a deep down within rejection of what turns out to be his insanity. One day not very long ago mommy said in a light-hearted twinkly way she glosses over denial, "Well, you had your share of discipline." I couldn't stop it--it came out of my mouth bypassing my inner editor. I heard it at the same time she heard it. "Mine wasn't discipline. It was insanity."

jasper johns


All I could think was:  It must have needed saying. She didn't take it hard. She already knew I knew. She knew it too, just kept the denial lid on it. The blessing I derive from this neurosis is that I am not an obedience geek. I am happy to the very core of my heart this is the case. The only freedom in this world is in disobedience. It's why our prisons are so full. No matter where my rejection of obedience came from, I'm glad I have it. I'm glad I don't like having cops look me over like if they look hard enough they can find reason to put me in prison. I am a criminal at heart, and they know it. I don't want to steal anything from anybody, don't want to hurt anybody, don't want to kill anybody, don't want to kill a cop, don't want to run over a dog. I just want my American freedom to be who I am, suspect as that may be. I don't like it being expected that I should want to be an obedient warrior. In a world where war is ongoing, I don't want to be expected to kill teenage kids conscripted by the other side, like me, when American wars are about more money for the rich and less for the working people. Why would I even want to put myself in harm's way toward such a self-destructive end? That's how I saw it then and how I see it now. I'm guessing that what the men in authority positions see in my eyes is that furnace of rage flaring up, confronted by a man demanding respect for nothing. No wonder they dislike me so intensely as soon as we meet. I'm glad they don't like me. Keeps them away so I don't have to deal with them, except when the spider catches the fly.

 jasper johns
 
 
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1 comment:

  1. TJ, you and I used to exchange email several years ago. Well, probably more than seven because one of the children my daughter adopted, was the one who drew the "I have a family" with stick people is now sixteen years old. I somehow found your last column that you wrote for the newspaper you worked for at that time. And we talked about my having been a columnist too. I* do hope you read these notes. My email is the same as it was then: patsfive@bellsouth.net Jasper Johns was, in his early life, a resident of Allendale South Carolina, the about 18 miles away from our current home. He lived in a huge castle looking house on 301 which has since been torn down. I think I even got a tile from the fireplace mantle that had fallen to the floor. I'll have to check with some Allendale People to see if any remember what his story there was. It seems to me there was something about living not with his parents, but maybe grandparents. Will you know.
    I couldn't if you were a fan or not a fan of him? LOL Good conversing with you. Love your page. ~patti nichols

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