… of the TV fast. The past few days have been easy, given that I’ve had evening commitments that kept me away from home until eleven every night. Today, however I went to an opening for a group show that I was in after work and made it back here by 7:30. After heating and eating the leftovers, that left me at 8:20pm finishing Pete and Tim (note to moroccomole it is pretty dated, but the main thing is that it reads like a screenplay, not a novel. I find it really weird that I wasn’t even cognizant of it when it was first released)and listening to Hormonally Yours by Shakespeare’s Sister. Which also kinda sucked even though it was one of those pop albums that had gotten a lot of play from me. The early nineties were failing me and I was dying to turn on the tube, when it struck me how sad my desire to be “entertained” is. What is the true nature of that state? What ache am I trying to bury?
Tueday evening the ICP sponsored a panel at the great hall of the Cooper Union with Luc Sante, Brian Wallis, David Levi-Strauss and Seymour Hirsch on the photos from Abu Garab. It became in part an excavation of the election: 800 people sitting in one room and asking each other “What has happened?” and “What could possibly happen next?” Distress and mourning in the face of horrific imagery. As the pictures went by on the screen, I had to ask myself how could it be that this wasn’t enough to turn these creeps out of office? How did they manage to dodge this bullet? I spend my days talking with people about the power of images, and yet these images, so seemingly powerful and sickening slid out of people’s consciousness.
Yesterday I had dinner with three artist friends who have been involved with activism one way or another for over a dozen years. One had been a member of Gran Fury. They told me about attending Larry Kramer’s Address to the Community on Sunday, also at the Great Hall. More mourning, more frustration and despair this time directed at the antics of tweaking you queers, supposedly ignoring or ignorant of the ballooning rates of HIV infection.
Suppose those things are related, suppose we can’t resolve the horrific images of the things done in our names with our desire to be morally right. Suppose we are tearing ourselves apart because we as a nation are tired of being brutes. Two events, two public discussions and then all the private discussions they have engendered. people tired, scared, confused. And now we’ll go into Iran.
And now I remember what it was really like in 1991: the bone weariness that came from twelve years under Reagan and Bush, the sense of being beaten down and ignored, and angry angry all the time, at myself for not doing enough, and at everyone else.
There can be times of bliss, and I want to make some of those grow. They feel far away and fragile now. Last night we came around inevitably to “what are you going to do?” I said “Become freakier”, but really I don’t know what the fuck that means in real terms and it feels like blowing smoke right now. At tonight’s opening my smile felt wan and sickly and I don’t know what was more painful:bing in the midst of young people standing around obliviously, or running into the older people all of us unable to make small talk searching each other’s eyes for flickerings of doubt and guilt.