Friday, April 29, 2011

Superman: Truth, Justice, and Renounced Citizenship

"I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy," Suprman says in the monumental Action Comics #900.

" 'Truth, justice and the American way' -- it's not enough anymore."

Words spoken by a man who has long stood as the emblem of our basic morals despite the fact that he's a fictional character. I think it would be safe to say a lot of people admire Superman or Captain America more than they admire some of the most seasoned politicians of our country. In fact, I would say I am one of those individuals.

I think what's so nice about these characters, or any strong well written, well conceived hero for that matter, is that they represent the pinnacle of our morals. Regardless of specific belief, I think many of us can agree on the fact that, in our lives, we strive to be good people. We're living for something greater than ourselves in the regard that we value the lives of others and we wish to be viewed in a positive light, that our actions would dictate the quality of our person, the idea that when we die, we hope our peers look back on our lives with fond memories, not with hatred or disdain.

And of course, this is why fiction, in my opinion, will last forever. It can give us, if even for the briefest of moments, a chance to escape to a place where we are standing in the boots of a God, and it is with our benevolent hands that we attempt to shape the world into one of peace, one in which people like us would hope to live, would hope to pass on to our children, to all generations of the future.

Superman is so highly regarded, especially in his striving for good, but also for the ultimate power he possesses. Though I like to think most people would wish to be Superman, to emulate his good intentions, I fear too many wish to be him solely for his abilities, to fly, to leap tall buildings in a single bound, to move at speeds faster than a speeding bullet, and to, when needed, destroy.

As much as Superman is a savior, he is also a weapon. And how many of us pine to place our hands on the hilt of that sword? If Superman is on your team, you win. End of story.

And though I think countless Americans would be outraged to hear him utter such words as, "'Truth, Justice, The American way' -- it's not enough anymore." People need to begin to come into the understanding that superiority is but a fleeting desire. It's not to say that Superman doesn't play on our team any longer, but is to say that wherever there are cries of injustice, that is where you will find him. This is why he is not simply an American icon, but a Worldly icon.

Because it is so impossible for actual nations to follow through on such ideals, it is essential for a fictional character such as he to do so. It is as I have said I believed; world peace is impossible, but world peace is not the goal. It is never surrendering in the fight for world peace, that is the goal. Never giving up.

This idea also stretches beyond the notion that, by renouncing citizenship, by saying you fight not just for one country but for the entire world, you are some sort of traitor. There is a vast difference between believing in superiority, and actually acting on it. This is why it's so easy to allow our governments to make these decisions for us. How many of us could be handed the gun to take the life of the man you're told is the enemy? Quite a few I'm sure, but before the trigger is pulled, the last thought in his mind is his superiority over you. Who, then, is right?

It's an impossible mountain to climb. Nothing so drives us as the desire to be better than the next man. But I would argue that there is one simple truth about life, and that is that it ends. It doesn't matter how much more superior we are, how much greater our nation is than the next, at some point, it all comes to an end. So the question becomes, and the question I think Superman is proposing to us, why not make the most of that time by fighting for all men, women, and children regardless of creed, color, or social position? Because the second truth of life is that when all humans bleed, they bleed red. Not red, white, and blue.

I am an American. That is my nationality. I don't waltz around claiming I'm Italian, Russian, English, Irish, Scottish, American. This is my country and I love it dearly. But the world does not exist within my country, my country exists within the world. And though I am proud to be such a man, I am also aware that national pride is not something only we can possess, or that the pride of Americans is greater than the national joys of other countrymen. People have the right to be proud of the country they live in, to be happy in their lives. It is not our unalienable rights as Americans, but our unalienable rights are human beings. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" is not ours and ours alone, but is something we should strive to communicate as a universal right.

Superman stands for truth and justice, and because of this, he stands for the defense of mankind's unalienable rights. And when we are told to love our neighbor, that does not end at state lines, on East or West coasts, North or South borders. It crosses party lines, dissolves social structures, and means we break down doors when fire erupts inside our neighbor's home.

Superman is not America. Just as much as you or I are not America. We cannot be our country. We have a government to attempt to do such things. We can only ever be representatives of what our country stands for. And when unrest breaks out in foreign lands such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, or Iran, it is not our duty to stoke the flames, but to douse them, and not merely with water, but with good will. We are always looking to spread political beliefs to nations in need, but perhaps this is a poor strategy. Instead we should be seeking to spread the knowledge that, like us, like you, and I, as human beings, they are capable of achieving and receiving the same rights as we claim.

Though I am a real person, I know my voice could never be as strong or powerful or universal as Superman's. And the writers who voice him are able to take such a mythological being as he and use him as their mouth piece. And today that mouth speaks, and says something I have found myself saying many times when the weight of the world pressed down upon us, when the judgments of others become harsher and harsher, and that is this, we cannot be one of the world, but one in the world, not one by the world, but one for the world.

Superman is not an American to begin with. He is an alien. And for him to choose this nation as his home is a great honor, and like the aliens that populate our country today, we are only happy to have them if they are willing to be our tools.

Today Superman says, "I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy." Superman does not fight for the rights that others tell him are true, but for the rights that he holds self evident. We need no men to tell us who we are or what we believe, that is something only we can do. And though some may fight for evil, they are in the minority.

This is not subversive communication or an attempt to destroy national pride, but a communication of the truths I hold to be self evident. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If I married myself to the idea that those are solely American dreams, I would be segregating others from myself. There are many other nations dear to my heart, the people of them are closer to me than I could ever imagine, my family. And to say I believed that simply living in this country makes me better than them is foolish. Cut me and I bleed red, cut them and you will see the same.

The same.

Superman is an ever changing character, the representation of the pinnacle of our moral compass, and for him to limit himself to standing for one country is to say that when push came to shove, he would turn a blind eye to the hatred occurring in other nations, to the burning towers of fear that many foreign dictators are trying to build. But what he stands for, at its core, is not unchanging. Truth and Justice. Though our countries may turn blind eyes to such things, we should not. And though we may not be able to fight for the people with our hands, we can continue to fight for them with our hearts. Superman, being fictional, is able to figuratively do both. He can travel places to be present. As I feel was beautifully written in the film Superman Returns, he says to Lois Lane, "Listen, what do you hear? I hear everything. You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior, but every day I hear people crying for one."

He does not say America needs a savior. The world does. I am not the only one who needs a savior, we all do.

So should this renouncement of his citizenship discourage you, take a step back. This is a big leap for a fictional character, for someone with so much on the line, whom the world expects so much from. But how often do fictional characters inspire us to do great things? I am a fan of Superman because of what he stands for. And in his decision to do this, I stand with him, not because I want to dismember my own country, but because more than I love America, I love the World. And more than I love Americans, I love all the humans of that World. As does he, as do most of us when we stop to think about it.

Superman is not turning his back on our country, but opening his arms to the world to be an example that perhaps it is time we do the same. He knows at the end of his time we may not have found world peace, but we can say that at least we stopped at nothing fighting for it. He is not required to live up to any expectations we may have of him, as he is his own individual, just like you and I. And just like you and I, He is not one of us, but one with us, not one by us, but one for us. What more can you ask a Super Man to be?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Four Untitled* Poems

One
He had poetry planned,
His pen yet to write.
But alas,
Lightning struck,
And poetry had the last word.

Two
So poor,
His soul paid
The toll.
Eating his meals,
With his hands,
From a dust bowl.

Three
Anywhere but here
We would call you
"Pedophile!"
"Stalker!"
"Sadistic!"
"Sick!"
But welcome to entertainment.
Here we call you Paparazzi.
Only in this location,
Can others misery
Be your vocation.

Four
Turn up the volume,
Tune out the poverty.
Turn up the volume,
Tune out the misery.
Turn up the volume,
Tune out the hatred.
Turn up the volume,
Turn up the volume,
Turn up the volume.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fawns

Your understanding is rough as rock.
The stone,
Your rock honed,
Shatters glass
Or becomes bedrock.
And though the world turns,
It's as if you never knew.
You don't read,
You speak too much,
Too loud,
And know nothing of she,
He,
Or your self for that matter.
Find the you that stands,
Not upon the sands of the
River Bank,
But the you that banks
Upon the sands of time.

Time is fleeting Fawns,
Use it wisely.
And follow not in the footsteps
Of those that birthed you
But in the footsteps of he
That guides you.
For the soft of the sand
Shows signs of strides
Of they that travel.
And in times of unrest,
As if it all collapses,
When the wolves circle,
And your knees are
Your final resting place,
Fight to the finish
Fair Fawns.

No amount of your words
Can make you stand taller
Than the confident.
Your legs are long,
They send you into the sky.
But heaven is not
At the ends of space.
And though the graces of
Height dictate great respect
From those who know
No things,
You have earned from
They that matter,
Nothing.

But time still goes on
For this Fawn,
As you seem to race toward
The end of yours.
Choose your words wisely,
Word your wit with care,
For tonight these Fawns dance,
Prance,
In circles around the sand,
Standing on an understanding smooth as stone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kobe's Beef

I'll keep this brief. After Kobe's little incident, he's been fined $100k. That's a lot for some words.

Look, I'm one who likes to, you know, make sure everyone's happy. It's not good to offend people. But, also...people get upset, people say things, it happens. I'm not condoning what Kobe said, but what I want to do is draw the ass backward-ness of our culture into view. Below are the lyrics to a popular song I think we all remember. We listened to it a lot, hell, they played it at SCHOOL DANCES. Granted it was "edited" but the meaning was not removed. Here it is.

[Chorus]3,6,9 standing real fine move it to you sing it to me one mo time
Get low, Get low 6x
To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall)
To the sweat drip down my balls (MY BALLS)
To all these bitches crawl (crawl)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)

Shortie crunk so fresh so clean can she fuck that
Question been harassing me in the mind this bitch is fine
I done came to the club about 50th 11 times now can I play with yo
Paine line club owner said I need to calm down security guard go to sweating
Me now nigga drunk then a motherfucker threaten me now

She getting crunk in the club I mine she work
Then I like to see the female twerking taking the clothes off BUCKEY naked
ATL. Hoe don’t disrespect it
Pa pop yo pussy like this cause yin yang twins in this bitch
Lil Jon and the East side boys wit me and we all like to see Ass and tities
Now bring yo ass over here hoe and let me see you get low if you want this Thug
Now take it to the floor (to the floor) and if yo ass wanta act you can keep yo ass where you at

3,6,9 standing real fine move it to you sing it to me one mo time
Get low, Get low [6x]
To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall)
To the sweat drip down my balls (MY BALLS)
To all these bitches crawl (crawl)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)

Let me see you get low you scared you, scared you
Drop dat ass to the floor you scared you, scared you
Let me see you get low you scared you, scared you
Drop dat ass to the floor you scared you, scared you
Drop dat ass ya shake it fast ya
Pop dat ass to the left and the right ya
Drop dat ass ya shake it fast ya
Pop dat ass to the left and the right ya
Now back,back,back it up
a back,back,back it up
a back,back,back it up
a back,back,back it up
Now stop ( O) then wiggle wit ya
Now stop ( O) then wiggle wit ya
Now stop ( O) then wiggle wit ya
Now stop ( O) then wiggle wit ya

3,6,9 standing real fine move it to you sing it to me one mo time
Get low, Get low [6x]
To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall)
To the sweat drip down my balls (MY BALLS)
To all these bitches crawl (crawl)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)

Now give me my doe back and go get ya friend
Stupid bitch standing there while I’m drinking my hen
Steady looking at me Still asking questions
Times up nigga pass me another contestant
Hoe move to the left if you ain’t bout 50th
Done talk through 3 or 4 songs already
looking at a nigga with yo palm all out bitch I ain’t even seen you dance
Twerk something baby work something baby
Pop yo pussy on the pole do yo thang baby
Slide down dat bitch
wit yo little bit then stop
Get back on the floor catch yo balance then drop
Now bring it back up clap yo ass like hands
I just wanna see yo ass drity dance yin yang we done again
And put it on the map like annnnn

3,6,9 standing real fine move it to you sing it to me one mo time
Get low, Get low [6x]
To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall)
To the sweat drip down my balls (MY BALLS)
To all these bitches crawl (crawl)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)

Got dam (Got dam) ya ya’ll twreking alittle bit ladies
But ya got to twrek alittle bit harder then dat
now right now I need all the ladies dat know they look good tonite
(where my sexy ladies) we want ya’ll to do this shit like this
Bend over to the front touch toes back dat ass up and down and get low (get low)
Bend over to the front touch toes back dat ass up and down and get low (get low)
Bend over to the front touch toes back dat ass up and down and get low (get low)
Bend over to the front touch toes back dat ass up and down and get low (get low)

3,6,9 standing real fine move it to you sing it to me one mo time
Get low, Get low [6x]
To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall)
To the sweat drip down my balls (MY BALLS)
To all these bitches crawl (crawl)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)
To all skit skit motherfucker (motherfucker!) all skit skit got dam (Got dam)

Or perhaps this, "I remember" by Eminem

Your mother, you fuckin faggot

La da da, da da da, da da (repeated)

Aiyo, this next song is dedicated to the memory of Erik Schrody
Rest in peace, we aint forget about you, you fuckin homo
We still remember

There once was a man who liked to jump around (jump around)
But he got too old to jump up and down (up and down)
(so then what happened?)
So he put the mic down and picked the guitar up (picked the guitar up)
(and then he what?)
Started singin the blues like there's no tomorrow (no tomorrow)
(come on) Left his boys in the house of pain (the house of pain)
It was the wisest decision he ever made (ever made)
But the dumbest thing he could ever do (could ever do)
Was try to buck a 380 on those that act shady
Tell me now what you gonna do (now what you gonna do)

[chorus]
Cause I remember all those years
How it was when you were here
I remember how it was, how it was when you were young
Yesterday was so long ago (long ago)
Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit came along now
Don't nobody wanna hear your old ass sing no more

remember back when you had The Knack (had the knack)
And i remember when you had your first heart attack (heart attack)
I was right there laughin when I heard the news (heard the news)
I just wish the cardiac would'a murdered you (would'a murdered you)
Maybe Ice-T's right, you are a bitch (you are a bitch)
You come around when you're broke and you leave when you're rich (leave when you're rich)
But the dumbest thing that you could ever do (you could ever do)
Was try to buck a 380 on those that act shady
Tell me now what you gonna do (now what you gonna do)

[chorus]

yo (yo) yo (yo) yo (yo)
Remember back in '94, like right before Ms. Everlast was Whitey Ford
Before his heart attack had him on life support When house of pain was out of
fame like someone doused the flame And they became destined to never jump
around again
Or even further back, when i first had heard The Knack
And you were down with Syndicate, I went to get your shit, man
I was into it
But then you went and took your style and switched the shit
Now you sound ridiculous you dickless piece of shit,
How could you diss me, bitch?
I liked you, thought you was alright for a white dude,
Remember Sway and Tech when I came up and sat beside you
Started rhymin, then you left the room
and didn't say goodbye or nothin?
Like you mad that someone else was
White and tried to rhyme or somethin
I'm sorry man, I wasn't tryin to steal your light or nothin
But you're a homosexual, white rappin Irish {*Muslim*}
Man I wish I was irish, I could be a {*Muslim*} too
Then I'd be confused as you, and I wouldn't know what to do
What's up with you?
I never fucked with you, why would you fuck with me?
Knowin I could rap circles around you, what, you nuts as me?
Plus I can sing better than you and I don't fuckin sing
And probably play guitar better, and I ain't never touched a string
But I ain't mad at you, I'd hate me too if I was you
I'm what you used to be, shit you was me in '92
So everytime I write a lyric, I'mma think of you
And maybe that'll help me know what it's like to sing the blues

[chorus]x2

You fuckin punk, pussy, you fuckin faggot, sissy, fuck
And by the way, a 380's a fuckin sissy gun
If you're gonna shoot somebody use a fuckin real gun
You little bitch
Next time say my fuckin name in a song
Don't be subliminal about it
You wanna fuckin diss me, diss me you fuckin faggot
You fuckin punk, pussy, you fuckin little bitch, fuckin cunt


Now, though a lot of people took issue with these songs I'm sure, parents and what have you, I don't recall the group who made the song being fined, or Eminem. In fact, if my sources tell me correctly, they actually MADE money on it. Look at that. They sold CD's and made money! Crazy!

But isn't it also horrendously offensive to women, to African American's who find embracing this type of speech offensive, to Gay people, to a lot of other people?

If you're going to preach respect and say, "Stop using these words!" Then that means you can't do it either. That also means if we're going to fine someone one hundred thousand dollars for words, we should be damn well prepared to take that standard to its end. You know that guy you called a name behind his back, that girl you shouted horrendous obsenities to? Are you going to pay them?

You know, we all make mistakes, and that includes the messiah's of sports and entertainment. That also includes you. Would you believe that? We're, you know...kinda the same.

Again, not condoning Kobe's slur, but the guy was pissed and called someone a name. You know those times when you say, "I'm going to kill you!" but don't mean it. Or swear at people, or flip them off in traffic? What's that saying? Are you seriously going to murder that person? I just think it's funny that in any other form of using any of these terms, especially entertainment, it's somehow, as if magically, considered OK.

I'm sure there are a lot of people up in arms over it, that's fine. But call me crazy, how many of them do you think listen to songs like this and not think twice about it?

Can you say double standard much?

Apparently it's okay because it's music.

Bullshit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When the Devil Comes

When the Devil comes,
On Unicorn back he will ride.
Great strides he will take,
The lies and spies he sends
Have been candy to rot the
Teeth you brush with the toothpaste
He will provide.

When the Devil comes
The skies will ignite.
The rainbows shine bright,
Provide the light you need
To see the games you play
Despite the rapping of the raven
On the door of your plight.

When the Devil comes
The waters turn to chocolate.
You'll never see it, the bit
In the mouth he uses to control
Those who drink from the lifeblood
Of being illiterate to the saving deeds
Of whom they think will suffocate.

When the Devil comes
He will wear pigtails.
You will be frail,
And the tail of the whale
Will destroy the world.
'Tis us will be beached, beseech,
But only destined to fail.

When the Devil comes
Glorious music you will hear!
Your ears will bleed as he
Feeds the fears your tears
Have cried when you thought
Darkness was your enemy.
But oh to think,
You never knew,
With your cheers he will appear,
For the fun you have chewed
Has brought him near and made things clear,
The Devil has been bubble gum all these years.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just A Game

Remember when they used to say that to us? As kids? "Don't worry kid, it's just a game."

I know I'm a little late in this news but as of today it looks like the Giants fan attacked by Dodger's fans here last Thursday will suffer brain damage.

Brain Damage.

And why?

Baseball.

You know we talk about evolution all the time. How over time it produces better things. But you know, some days, you hear about stories like this, two Dodgers fans beating a Giants fan so badly they had to remove part of his skull to reduce the swelling of his brain, and now, that he has brain damage, and then you think, "God, that sounds like something cave men would do."

And there's that shocking realization that maybe, even though we've been around so long, perhaps we really aren't any more evolved than we once were. Maybe we are just animals after all, capable of nothing more than digging in the dirt, mating, eating, and shitting.

It's moments like this that take a lot of the wonderful progress of the past and spit in its face, that sullies the human race, that reminds us barbarians still exist, in fact they walk among us, and they seek to feel empowered.

But then we take a few breaths. It's not really so bad as to say the entire human race is just a bunch of animals. A lot of people would contest to that, but if you're following my blog, and know about me, you know it's impossible for me to bring myself to simply say "Yeah, we're just one of the masses of other animals out there." Look, I love animals, trust me. I do. A lot. (Especially dogs.) But don't misinterpret my attempts to incoporate all methods of though as meaning I am without my own. My honest opinion? We're the best. People are the best. I'm sorry, but I look all around, and I take in all that we've done, and as I type I register that I am sharing my consciousness, my couscience, with other humans who may read it and derive new meaning to their own counsciousness, etc. and so on for a long, long time.

There's a difference between instinct and influence. Animals deal with influence too, but they're also much more being of their instincts. I'm shocked when people are shocked that instances like someone who train bears, who love those bears, who lives among the bears in peace, then is suddenly killed by those bears happen. Did we forget that it was a bear? Gentle Ben is a cute idea, and not much more. If you play with fire, don't be surprised if you get burned.

There's a reason pets are called "domesticated" animals.

So what sets humans apart from wild animals? We are driven more by our influences than by our instincts, as opposed to vice versa.

It ruins people's faith in mankind when someone bashes in the skull of another man over a game. A sport. Something that's supposed to be jovial and entertaining, that a little competition is fuel for a good show but beyond that, let's not get so carried away as to kill, or severely beat one another, right? Apparently not.

I'm not sure what the pasts of these two guys are, the ones who put this Giants fan in the hospital, but I promise you they didn't attack him because he tried to steal their cubs.

We could think of a million reasons, I'm sure, to justify the instinct argument, but honestly, can anyone argue with the fact that well adjusted people tend to not resort to violence over a Baseball game? Can everyone take a knee in on that huddle?

Here's the simple truth: love and kindness precipitate.

But unfortunately so does abuse and hate.

You'd be hard pressed to find a man or woman who became a killer or a violent hateful individual simply because nature told them it was a good idea and maybe they'd get ahead in life that way. And if nature is talking to them, well then, that's a whole new batch of problems.

You know, when you hit a kid, don't expect them to grow into Martin Luther King Jr. Granted, many people find the ways to turn hardship into a learning tool, into something to better themselves, but when a kid emulates his parents, or his influences, don't be surprised.

So the question is, really, what happened to these people, somwhere in their past, and what are we going to do to make sure future generations don't kill one another over a game?

Look, either you believe humans are pure instinctual animals just like the rest, or, you know, you hope that your husband/wife remains failthful to you throughout your marriage because a wild animal certainly wouldn't. And there's no moral consciousness for a wild animal because there's no need. All this ties back into my belief that we're the best.

But if you agree that we are as such, superior to wild animals, you need to show it. Don't give people reason to wonder if we've even evolved at all, or if we'll just be stuck in the cycle we've been in forever.

Things are at work in our lives beyond not just our control, but beyond our understanding. Whether that be, for you, science, religion, magic, the cosmos, whatever, you have to come to grips with the truth that, by the end of all of our roads, there are things about the world, the universe, everything, we will never understand.

But I believe there is at least one universal truth. Argue if you'd like, as it's something I'd love to delve into.

Love is the universal truth.

You don't have to know a damn thing more in the universe if you know what Love means, what it feels like, what happens when you experience it truly. For Love precipitates. All good things come from our striving to be more loving. Hate will wash away, fear will turn to dust, and all things bad and in between will soon be worth nothing, as we find that true Love is the truth.

So if we MUST come to terms with that fact, that we'll never understand everything about the universe, then at least know Love is something we're all capable of understanding. And though animals may experience Love in some form or another, they're not rushing out of their homes to fly to foreign countries to aid their people when Tsunamis hit. That's something humans do, and you better believe that makes us different from all other animals.

Baseball is just a game, but life is not. Take baseball with a light heart, but take life with an informed one. Be aware that, with a simple outward demonstration of Love, you could prevent someone from causing someone else permanent brain damage over a game.

Influences and instincts. We may be born with our instincts, but we also have the ability to go against them. But we're not born with our influences. Those are forced upon us, many times, even if we may not want them. Children don't really have much of a choice.

Animals don't live by the same rules we do. That's fine. They don't need to. They may know the difference between what it feels like to have influence and instinct, but what separates you from the rest of the animals is not just the ability to know the difference, but the ability to make the choice to do what's right.

You want to be an animal? Fine by me. Let me know how that works out for you. But I want to be a human.