Working from notes taken from a YouTube vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1150&v=FdCdgJyXrBE
This was prompted by a Twitter — which seems to be the way I work these days. I am struck and enlightened by the split-screen interview with Tez Anderson, who conceived of the concept now called “Let’s Kick Ass.” It is an idea meant to address AIDS SURVIVOR SYNDROME.
So how do you feel about your own ass, the Other, the unseen fundament that follows you everywhere, or as some philosophers and theologians style it, “Brother Ass,” the body that carries the thinking mind. Not too smart, often loud, always enduring.
First I need to address those who think that to talk about something is to be “one of them.” Locally — in spite of my decades of solitary celibacy — I am suspected of having a privileged sex life, somehow, though they see my every move. Tez is talking about surviving AIDS, but I don’t have AIDS. I’m just thinking about getting old. He realized one day that he’d been planning to die but had not planned to live. Likewise, I had a twenty year plan that would take me to eighty years old, but not living beyond that.
Tez is very much like me, though he’s taller, has a sleeve tattoo and a nose ring, an impressive beard and a bald head — and he’s male. But I’m talking more about psych stuff. He’s been a reader since boyhood. Even now, when he comes to a problem, he reads. That’s like me.
My close email friend is gay but also like me. His community has come to the idea of “gay” as an exclusive category, entitled to exist by and defined by desire and emotional attachment to only the same sex — male. They ask him why he would be friends with me. (He tells them it's a fetish.) No one asks me why I should be friends with him, but the fact that I am is just as relevant. We’re both crossing stigma lines. We’ve never met.
These are important characteristics, because they are protective. First because he is “wicked” and therefore “dangerous,” and second, because these aspects of his plus my own elderliness, tubbiness, and femaleness mean I’m objectionable, give us distance we both need. We write, we look at things from a certain “meta” point of view, like an artist or counselor.
The join between is partly from our drive to save people, to help people by getting them to understand themselves and how they are in the world. It is also a bit of an attraction to the unknown, the surprising, the revelatory. My first world like this was theatre, then the Blackfeet, and so on, including the twirl I took with Unitarianism. His was San Francisco, then the “tropical beach diaspora” of gay men, and the world of the handicapped child. He also had a Native American period.
Sometimes I wonder if there is another whole country of people present but unseen, with parallel histories we don’t suspect, capable of offering unsuspected ideas. We are in a time when those in power are seeking those internal countries as well, with the sole and evil purpose of destroying them, reducing us all to a Chinese marching army they can control for profit and defense. But that’s irrelevant here.
Tez impresses me because his main purpose is just to keep on. Without any noble “religious” purpose, he just continues through his days to find out the next thing. Despite long periods of depression and darkness, often mercifully blurred in retrospect, he just kept going. That’s a big thing. And there are people doing that everywhere.
I’ve spoken about doing “donkey jobs,” meaning the plodding step-by-step stuff and I resent them in some ways: the constant cleaning and sorting of domestic life, for instance, or the stupid regimes of diabetes meds. It’s not that I want to be a race horse and “win,” so much as I yearn to be Pegasus, with wings that soar up and over the the donkey progress along the path. But it’s the trotting with little steps that is the print alphabet that makes reading and writing possible, “twee” as the idea is.
I hate being “twee.” Because it is bourgeois. And bourgeois with all its preoccupation with fashionable but not ostentatious furniture, all its conviction that a college education will guarantee a prosperous (i.e. safe) life even if it does prevent growth and insight, its dependence on fashionable dressing. On this factor the gay community divides: one staying bourgeois and maybe a little upper class while the other faction goes for a different story line.
In our times, the story of the prodigal child who leaves/is thrown out is confirmed by our realization (vividly illustrated by movies and vid) that our identities are a stream, not a consistent stable entity though there’s always a little thread of sameness that persists. This is changed by progress and population growth that moves so quickly that often we can’t go home because it doesn’t exist anymore. The house has been torn down. The village has been bombed. Another village is now submerged. There is nothing unchanged.
Tez’s story testifies to coming to new places of insight and reassurance. He also found community. I could point out that horses travel in a band and make it into something about “boys in the band” but that would far too “twee.” Anyway I value my solitary life, my femaleness, and my boring but not quite bourgeois solitariness.
The point of this post is simply that wherever you are in the stream of life, just kick your ass into gear. Do what you can for others. Find the shared things that make you laugh. It’s great to have access to talk like this. These days I have a lot of symptoms like those of HIV, stuff caused by glitches in the body. (Fatigue, bad digestion, insomnia, itching, blundering, weakness. Remember GAS, Generalized Adaptation Syndrome?) That alone is a kind of solidarity. Since I simply like Tez and the way he is, a vid about him becomes a gift.