hunting the unforgiven

 I find it wild and a little unsettling to see my country focusing on witch hunts as the ranks of the unforgiven grow, though the feeling is matched by the redemptive quality which forms in our cultural atmosphere each time someone’s longheld secret is released and truth stands up finally to power.

This year we have witnessed several figures of great power in Hollywood and the District of Columbia and Manhattan blasted on Twitter and sued and denounced on mainstream media, and a few who have been stripped of power, in those cases where they are clearly (if not by forensic evidence than by the numbers of allegations and survivors) guilty of abusing and betraying the public trust by their actions.

How do I reconcile my mixed reaction to these media moments of horror and truth and compassion? I was once guilty of betraying public trust. Day by day, for several years, I have been working my way back to respectability. Society is giving me a chance to learn from my mistakes. A life cut up by addiction. I left myself behind and lost my mind.

Only god knows if I will make it tomorrow. My past is history. Today I do my best to participate in life and help out, bringing all I have learned with me wherever I go. Sharing. Caring.

What of these public figures whose pasts have caught up with them? Outcasted from society and unforgiven? Why does it disturb me to see them disfigured and disrobed from their fraudulent personas? Isn’t this justice and long overdue?

I guess it’s sad to watch people die that way, publicly, and sometimes their loved ones have to die alongside them. Meanwhile the victims of their crimes survive. It is unsettling to uncover what they have lived through, the survivors. I know because I am one, too.

I wonder where forgiveness fits in, when it comes to the unforgiven? I wonder if there’s a certain hell where healing never starts? A tail end and no beginning. And how it came to be this way?

lost ina video

He was an older man, single and retired and replete with cash, dating a woman he knew through her employment at a casino he frequented. He was forever dysconnected to a timeless place of artificial light and sound. He committed an atrocity, an even several hundred yards detached from the crime scene. He was once flesh and blood but got lost ina video poker game that never ended, and whatever connect he had to reality if any, was severed. Nobody can understand how this can happen to a man, and few will ever forgive him. His father was a known criminal and he was born into a family on the run. This cannot account for his psychotic break. He left behind him a timeless place of artificial light and sound. And thousands upon hundred thousands of broken hearts.

american dream concession stand

The business was familiar to us all, and could not have polled much worse in a popularity contest. Kinda like one of those Amazon  personal online shops, where some thief set up an account and made their first sale but refused to deliver. Rating goes substrata. They may think they will, but they won’t ever sell anything again, on Amazon.  The popularity polling chalked up to this: statistically, one person out of twenty, was talking to the porcelain, per diem.

Lemonade-stand politics, on the main thoroughfare. Selling lemons with sugar, and splenda to spare. Just the usual american dream concession stand. Lining of pockets. Confusing law with order. Wearing mops on their heads during nuclear-family civil-war revival fetish skirmishes. Focused on precedents rather than innovative action, when weight of their argument failed to summon any traction.

Who knows exactly what was the mainstay of their business? Maybe talk soup. Whatever carried over long weekends, on the backs of TGI Fridays and long island iced teas. They resorted to shady tactics, hung over a rail.  Weekdays, if necessary, they were open for business. Conducted by whomever wasn’t drying out, or in jail. Daydreams of badminton, croqueting through their minds. Only Joan Didion might write a piece, if paid well, to drum up business for these assholes. But she would tell the truth. Everyone loves a scandal.

mousey

‘mouse’ by k

Who knows how they were still afloat? Hardly IPO material. I guess they had a fan following, from facebook promotion. SEO dabbling, over suntan lotion. Complaints from the business bureau? disregarded completely. They continued to package their spam sandwiches, in platistic wrap. It used to be Saran Wrap, but like pharmaceuticals, the label was too costly. It used to be cellophane. Wow. It wouldn’t take the CFO they could not afford, to tell them to shelve the luxury ticket. Go back to backyards, and orchestras of crickets.

You know your business is failing when you’re trying to finagle backroom deals with the US Postal Service to work out a cheaper shipping plan. UPS and FEDEX wouldn’t even have a conversation. That’s like Lance Armstrong having a conversation with the Tour De France. Or OJ Simpson having a conversation with the NFL. Or Mike Milken having a conversation with the NYSE.

Their public relations campaigns were spectacular. Like Anthony Weiner’s sextexting vernacular. They could run for cover in a second, but they would never disappear.  The headlines were too lucrative. Their half-baked proposals awash on the carpet. They could spin their bad press like a champ. They were attempting to turn triangles, into squares.  Bogies, into eagles. Who knows what was par for the course anymore? They convinced themselves of their own relevance. Their substandard practice had fallen below basements, and washed far downshore the glacier. Their MTV cribs became archaelogical digs.

The slave labor pool of interns fueled their quiet ascension. Their fans were fanatic, unsubsidized, wallowing. The swallows in the trees looked down, swallowing. Witness to an outlying mob-like destructo-con. Another promotion party with no compass at all. Rushing in on August with stale promotions for fall. Dropping what would never pass for science, to the kids in the halls.

Another american dream concession stand. Barely legal and belly up, with copyright infringement parade-style tactics. They had no protection from themselves. Not even prophylactics.

Outlandishlessness

The Tour  hasn’t even begun, and Lance Armstrong has already stolen the spotlight. He is the first to wear the yellow jersey this year. Stained with his doped up urine, for all to see. Still talking, long after he opened up with Oprah. Something about how no one could have won the Tour in the years he won, unless they were nice and doped up, too. I am only paraphrasing. (why waste my time or yours, hunting down the actual quote?)

Wow. I can’t believe he has more to say! This must be desperation. Anger. The need to get that stained jersey off his back. I don’t think the mailman is delivering flowers today, Lance. Maybe more lollipops from some international pharm?  I do feel for you. I am sure it is hard to live strong after your global avatar got character assassinated in broad daylight.

All I know is I am gonna watch the Tour this year, whenever the summer heat here in the West has me incapacitated. I am no couch potato. My bikes are my life! I ride almost every day. I have a Fuji Feather (fixed), a Motobecane Noir (cafe), and a beat up old Nishiki ten-speed. I do most of the repairs and maintenance myself, but I still need to learn how to true a wheel.

Come July, I will choose a favorite among the riders. But I consider them all, my heroes. The race is brutal! and these are all brilliant athletes. Doped up or not. Though I have completely lost interest in Lance…he’s probably right, what he says. Hopefully they are not doped, the riders, this year. But if they are doped, may  they all be doped! I want everyone in the race to have an equal, fair chance.

Yeah, all or none! Where everyone has an equal, fair chance at succeeding in the race. Just like the real world! Just like major league anything, and the national association of everything! No one has an advantage over anyone else! No nepotism, no doping, no ageism, no discriminatory practices! No dishonesty. No racism, sexism. Nor any other -ism. Strong and constant ethics! Great, abiding integrity! May the uneven bars become even. May the best players in the world be pulled off the field at once! for gambling, dogfighting, and homicide. And double homicide. And drive-by shootings!

We want our heroes to be rich! to be pure! Brita-filtered, if necessary! We want them charitable, and honest. To be good with the children and not beat their wives. And if not? We won’t suffer any out in the open antics. Not when our children our watching! The V-chips are set for high alert! Any outlandishness, and we will take them to court via International Sport Federation laws, if justice cannot be served elsewhere. We will promote only contractual outlandishlessness!

This is how it is in this our litigious year of our lord of our understanding, twenty thirteen! Any current or potential iconic sports hero must obey. Digital signatures notwithstanding! Hell! it’s not so bad! The expectations are clear. Ya, certain personality types will have to be weeded out, here and there. But there’s no such thing as a garden without weeds. And no hero of yours or mine will be suspected of any heinous crime, rest assured, without clear and present leads.

Katya Mills, 06/13 @ katyamills.com

snowed in and data mined -ii)

My grandmother sold antiques out of her big red barn attached to her little red home. This was long after my grandfather passed away. She lived the remainder of her years in Melvin Village, which was across the lake from us. My father would go down to the dock in the summers and turn on the blower in our powerboat, which meant the engine had five minutes before ignition and my brother, mother and I had five minutes to get our sandals and shirts on,  run down, take the lines off the cleats, push off, and jump in. Then on our way past the 20 mile bay en route to Melvin Village.

The lake was wide open as the sky back then. Kinda like the landscape created by the internet. Both could be dangerous, too. Lots of rocks and shallows needed be marked off by buoys, and many boats still got lost at night, and some still struck the jagged glacial remnants jutting up from the earth but hidden below the surface of the water, and some got hung up and a few still sank. Often the larger berths, the sightseeing boats whose lineage had been photographed and put on walls behind glass, ended up driftwood floating across the broads and past rattlesnake island.

Every winter, the lake froze over completely. At the height of winter it was often so cold we could drive out on the lake in a Jeep, and the ice was thick enough to hold us. We would skate the frozen lake, and dad would load our arms full of pine wood he cut down and we stacked in the summer, by the woodshed. I remember holding my arms out like a forklift, and he would ask is that enough? and I would say, just one more before heading back to the house and dropping the wood in the bin next to the giant hearth, for the great fires we would build to keep us warm at night. We would need to be prepared for the storms, the nor’easters, which powered over and knocked down trees and power lines, snowing everyone into their homes.

I remembered all this in great detail, after watching the news this morning. I turned off the television and sat out on my back porch thinking about it. I closed my eyes and tried to feel that feeling I felt so long ago, of being snowed in. I live in California now, so it has been a long time. But the feelings remain strong. The quality is insular. With all that snow around you, five or six feet high, the home becomes  even more protective and warm, like there’s an extra layer of that fluffy pink stuff they packed the walls with back then, along with  asbestos covered piping. Reminded me of cotton candy we got at the fair.   tbc

by Katya W. Mills  @ katyamills.com  06/13