An eclectic blog on which appears daily one-thousand word essays on somethingorother.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
BLACK BOX OF DESTRUCTION
I reflected a bit before putting this on prairiemary. I have other places to post that are a little more private. But I decided that holding back just increases the likelihood of skewing what people think. If there is any subject more emotionally juicy than grizzlies, it's gays or terrorists. A gay terrorist is going to send some people into a tizzy. But this story is only endlessly sad. It's not really about either gay or terrorism at its heart. It's about identity.
This selfie was taken in the Pulse men’s room. Mateen evidently bought the shirt in a novelty shop. There were other shirts with NYPD logos in other selfies.
“We assumed from minute one that this was a closet case of mental mumbojumbo who was probably having sex with as many men as he could tap.”
You were right. I thought the same thing, except when the media said he had been employed as a guard at a juvenile detention center I figured the sex was with boys, non-voluntary, and that it was violent, if not deadly. (His official job record as published did not list the juvvie job.)
Also Omar Mateen.
I figured that the “mental mumbojumbo” was dementia by definition but that the “black box” of dementia is a lazy label for the complexity of the brain against itself, usually limbic craving and addiction pitched against the pre-frontal cortex rational and ethical rules. Irreconcilability. Irresolvability. Both mechanical and emotional. In this case it appears that the inner war — which goes on in everyone but usually not so intense and therefore can pass as sanity — had reached such a catastrophic pitch that it had burst the box.
Seddique Mir Mateen, Omar's father.
He could not please his rigid father nor could he turn on his father in order to be himself. Some would shrug and walk off. Omar Mateen couldn’t do that. I think because he LOVED his father and was driven to please him, but he also loved men, which would make his father despise him. I wonder how much abuse he took as a child, maybe from his father; how much did his father protect him from other abusers?
When the culture formed by men who claimed their identities as atypical and man-desiring in San Francisco — a culture that only lasted as a developing whole for a decade or so — was dispersed and destroyed by AIDS rather than a gunman, it had begun to develop “play rooms” that were safety valves for men like Mateen. They could use the psychological therapies of the time, “acting out” rather than discussing analytically. They kept the pressure down. Scary stuff sometimes, even to this old lady sitting out on the high prairie reading books. Out here it gets acted out with massive animals. (“Brokeback Mountain” is nothing. What about rodeo? Consult “When the Legends Die” in which rage gets loose. If you don’t read, rent the film.)
The hero loses because he cannot tame his rage.
I’m saying this is not just issues patterned by how a culture prescribes gender roles, but deep mammal tissue forces — as much in bulls and bears as in humans, except that bulls and bears don’t have pre-frontal cortexes, so the rage and frustration is frank, only slowed by conditioning or fear of a greater power. I think Mateen was at the Pulse this last time as much to destroy himself as to destroy others. He saw life as a conflict and cops as a greater power that he could not claim. But, you know, if you can't be the president, you can be the guy who killed the president.
Much more information will come out. Mateen had evidently been active online and actually in the Pulse specifically and repeatedly, sometimes interacting and sometimes sitting in the corner glowering. No one has copped to actually having sex with him, mostly because he was creepy with his politics and the weirdness of being a loser who demanded that he be seen as a winner, but on the side of Darth Vader. I think a Freudian who got him on a couch (impossible) would soon be worried by demands for love and then threats on his life, alternating or mixed.
I’m grateful that the astute customers of the Pulse and even of the online dating scene are clear-eyed in evaluating a tortured soul and they are willing to talk about it. Denial and demonizing only increase the pressure in the black boxes of others out there.
I'd love to hear the Canadian writing team responsible for "Flashpoint" discuss this whole incident.