Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nevertheless, a Bird

I saw a moth the other day. I suppose, for a moth, it was rather average in appearance. However, moths are not average creatures. Moths tend to be well-camouflaged, yet when they are out-of-place, when they are lost, when they are without their comfort of bark and dark surfaces, moths are most noticed, and furthermore, most beautiful.

At the time, I was of the opinion that this moth was exceptionally beautiful, for it was also exceptionally out of place. I saw it in a corridor, in an entryway, in an in-between point between the dangers of the outside and the confinements of the inside. In a way, a world between woods of sorts. The moth, in what it perceived to not be a solid state of location, was absolutely alien to its environment.

As I encountered it, I said to the moth, "You are a rather beautiful moth."

The moth replied to me, "I am just the same as all of the other moths, I suppose."

"But," I said, "I do not see the other moths here. Why, may I ask, are you here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" The moth flitted from one side of the hall to the other. "I am a moth, I have wings, the door was open. And so, I flew into this hall."

"Are you much happier here than you were outside?" I asked the moth.

The moth responded, "There were many predators outside. I was very afraid."

"Is that what you want from life, moth? Freedom from predators?"

"I suppose that would be nice, yes."

I nodded, and bid the moth farewell, only to return after a period of time. For me, a rather brief period; for the moth, quite a long disparity of time.

The moth, when I returned, was resting on the wall, wings weathered and permitting of little flight.

"Hello, moth," I said.

The moth had little capacity to respond.

"Are you happy here, moth?"

"There are predators here as well," replied the moth.

"Of course there are. There are predators everywhere."

The moth let out a sigh that was quite significant for a moth. "I am not happy."

"Would you like to go outside, moth?"

"I want to escape," said the moth.

"Do you feel as if you will find escape outside?"

"Perhaps," was the moth's reply.

And so I carried the moth outside, setting it on a bench. And in front of my eyes, the moth was eaten by a bird. A very pretty bird, but nevertheless, a bird.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Preserving Emotion

Lately, I've been really happy. As you may notice by my use of the word "happy", this is more of an informal than the usual material on the blog. No prose, nor poetry, nor essays.

No, my friend, this post is so that I never forget how supremely happy I am at this moment. My memory may be depriving every previous happy moment of my life of its glory, but I really do think I can honestly say that this is the happiest moment of my life. However, years or months or weeks or days from now, I won't be able to recall my exact state of happiness. Consider this a virtual Stonehenge of my emotional state.

The thing about this moment of happiness is that it was unprovoked. It was not triggered by a single substantial even. Instead, an accumulation of "little things"** accounts for my joy. I can't even list every little reason why I feel like hugging every thing that moves. But I can definitely try.
  1. I spent hours doing nothing in the dining hall on Saturday with one of my best friends in the entire world. She's wonderful. She's probably the most substantiating catalyst for my happiness.
  2. I can say I have multiple best friends. I usually tend to fixate on one person, but I have several people who are incredibly near to me.
  3. I got my nook back. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the piece of crap, but I use a friend's server to download the New York Times every day. And then, I feel less apathetic than I did whilst living in the ironic bubble of higher education. And also, I get awesome conversation every time I get the paper. And by awesome conversation, I mean exposure to current memes.
  4. I went to the mall with three friends. And we freaked out about cable-knit sweaters. Sweaters are beautiful vestiges. And I got gloves. From the men's section. I feel rebellious when I wear items sold in the men's section.
  5. Saturday night, about 15-20 people from my dorm watched Zombieland together. It's such a wonderful movie. And then, we went outside and bearhugged. Not around our thighs, mind you. And when it was too cold, we came back inside, and played "Would You Rather". And then we shared secretzzzz.
  6. I went to sleep. Naked. Because my roommate wasn't there. I mean, I love my roommate to death. But nakedness is wonderful.
  7. I skyped with my little brother. My brother is my favorite person in the world, no question.
  8. I skyped with my best friend from home. Who is evidently crocheting me something. But I really don't care because I just love talking to her and spending time with her.
  9. I got paid $80. That's like 20-30 meals. Or ~32 MARTA rides. Or 3-4 concerts. Or half of a textbook.
  10. I had intellectually-stimulating conversation about the value of life. My intellect was stimulated.
I really do not want to forget exactly how I feel right now. I just want to package my emotions in a bottle and seal it tightly so that when I want to feel this happy, the fizz won't fall flat. I also want to dance.

Oh. Also, I love you. Unless you're one of the three people in the world that I hate with a burning passion. But, I mean, statistically, it's unlikely that you are. So I probably love you. Consider this a virtual hug.

** Pardon my ripping off Zombieland.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reflecting Pool

Airplane, 10/14/11

In the pool of diversity
I looked at my reflection
and saw
how shallow I was.

But first
I saw the child on a leash
all the women I swore to myself
were less attractive
the girl with the rainbow-hued hair
and her boyfriend in camouflage
the woman whose eyes didn't quite align.
I saw the man--
if you would even call it that--
wit the skin melting off his face,
one arm a prosthetic hook
and the other, severed knobs.
I saw his hair--straw, false, doll-like
eyes that had deteriorated into salmon-colored beads.
My first thought:
not human
dangerous, soulless.
And as I secretly prayed
to the god I don't have
that I would not be forced into contact with that man,
I realized

I am the one who is
not human

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shit Just Got Real

Fuck. Bitch. Shit. Tits. Cunt.**

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about cuss words and the role they play in our lives--how they came to be, the morality of them, their role in humanity. From my thoughts, I've come to a few conclusions.

  1. They are almost always monosyllabic. Other than combinations, the only two cuss words I can think of with more than one syllable are "nigger" and "bastard". The simple harshness and tendency to focus around "ih" (as in: "bitch", "shit", "tits", "piss") and "uh" (as in: "fuck", "cunt") with fricative, non-voiced consonants are most likely the causes for certain words being labeled as cuss words, as opposed to their alternatives. Take for example, "cunt". It just sounds more cut-throat than "vagina". Similarly, "shit" is more harsh than "feces" or "poop", and "tits" is much more derogatory than "breasts". Which leads me to conclude that:
  2. The value of a cuss word is not in its meaning, but its phonetics. "Shit" means the exact same thing as "dung". So why is one taboo? Why is one more derogatory than the other? Why do we have a double-standard for language? Honestly, I'm not an expert on etymology--I can't explain to you how denotation and connotation formed around certain forms of human expression. However, I can tell you:
  3. It is connotation that is taboo, not denotation. "Shit" is fricative. "Shit" is insulting. "Shit" is bleeped out on radio and television. "Shit" does not have the same connotation as "poop", in spite of their mutual definition. Don't get me wrong, an underlying taboo definition needs to exist in order for something to be labeled as a cuss word. Although phonetically, "pick" would be a wonderful insult, it is not and never will be because it does not mean anything with the potential to insult. Similarly, "shunt", although it sounds like a cuss word, will never be anything other than a mechanism for turning or thrusting aside. Because cuss words are inherently based on connotation, and not all cuss words have a denotation that is "bad", I analyzed my personal moral code and system of ethics and concluded that:
  4. Not all cuss words are "bad". I've been doing a lot of analysis on my moral code--where I derive my system of ethics. After an immense amount of thought, I realize that my morality is contingent on survival, justice, and the pursuit of things that make me happy. As long as it is not an infringement on those three tenants, I see no reason why I should exclude a word from my language. The point of using a cuss word in diction is to make a point, to draw attention to an idea, and to offend. There are points that I need to make, ideas that need to be attended to, and very rarely, people that are so offensive to my happiness and justice that they need to receive offense. However, it should be noted that:
  5. Some cuss words are "bad". Some cuss words do infringe on justice. Namely, cuss words that discriminate on a group of people based on things outside their control. "Fag" and "nigger" are absolutely unacceptable. Under no circumstances, except perhaps in quotation as I use them in this blog post would I ever use either of those words because race, gender, and sexuality are not causes for insult. It. Is. Not. Just. That said,
  6. Censorship creates cuss words. Censorship gives a connotation to the denotation and separates humanity from animals. Language, and the exclusion of it, represents each individual's ethical complex, whether it be based in aspects of society, religion, survival, or in some place the individual cannot identify.
  7. Human expression is humanity. In depriving people of their media of expression, people are deprived of the very thing that makes them human. If you deprive a cuss word of its denotation, you deprive words of their expression. They only convey a small part of the entire idea. In 1984, how were the masses controlled? Through control of language in Newspeak's simplification. Yes, cuss words are harsh. They are insulting. They are absolutely offensive. But without the potential to be harsh, insulting, or offensive, we would not have the potential to be human.
  8. Language is incredibly beautiful and diverse. There are many more ways to dish out an insult or make a point than using conventional cuss words. "Impudent stumpet". "Where will thou find a cavern dark enough to mask thy monstrous visage?" Biting your thumb. Cuss words, for the most part, are beautiful and defining. But as far as insults go, your options aren't limited. Take a cue from Shakespeare if you're stumped.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I'm interested in your thoughts on profanity, so leave them in the comments. Also, I fucking love you.

**Sorry if you just read that, Mom and Dad... I haven't gone off the deep end, I'm just making a moral statement. And I promise that outside this blog post, I'm much more likely to use a Shakespearean insult than a modern cuss word.