Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Requia for God and Satan

As I promised, "the next time I'm stoned..." Tho' I been drinkin', too.

(Actually, I did this exercise with my ESL students today -- it's a bit daring -- where I encourage them to ask me personal questions. It's one of those rare opportunities for exhibitionism and excessive communication -- two staples of my psychological diet -- that is actually written into the course material, so that if I ever get in trouble for it, I can point directly to the materials I've been given and say, "Look! Here it is!" ...unlike, say, the zombie movie clips, Abu Ghraib torture photos, and lessons on Rodney King, Ice-T, and "Cop Killer" that I also sometimes bring into the class, I mean I wanna keep it interesting... Anyhow, the students are taught phrases that facilitate asking personal questions -- empowering them to pry, featuring such favourites as "can I ask a personal question" and "I hope you don't mind my asking, but, uhh..." This one brave girl -- was it Sayaka, Yuko, or Haruka? They're all short, apple cheeked, straight-haired, painfully cute-and-innocent looking Japanese girls in their early 20's, so I sometimes, uh, get these three confused, true to the cliche -- asked me if I'd ever done drugs. I told her that I'd done plenty in my 20's; I lied outright when they asked if I was still doing them now and couched it all in Comforting Cultural Generalization #67, that it's very common here. But really, they got to practice their "personal questions" phrases, so who gives a damn whether I gave them the 100% real deal or not -- they couldn't take the real deal).

I get to thinking about Satan lately (I'm listening to Einsturzende Neubauten as I type this, to briefly tip me hat). Is Satan a useful concept? I mean, imagine how productive He used to be. (...there's a screenplay idea, God and Satan applying for unemployment benefits). The idea that the more trivial, base, unhealthy, unwholesome, corrupted influences in ourselves could be the product of an evil half of our nature, a prideful half that rejects God's "authority," as externalized and made comfortingly other (with Satan's pride as our pride, him a symbol and figure for our own rebellious nature)... Identification (as with a character in a movie) has a role in religious text as well; Satan's fall and condemnation are all elements in our own psyches, and hell is internal... It's all internal, it all happens in our mind as we read the text: we can't but find ourselves in it. And isn't it useful to have a Satan, that we can make scapegoat and representative of our own basest, coarsest impulses?

How, drunk and stoned, does Satan figure into my night, then? If I were to force a reading him into my night, Satan is present:

a) in my getting stoned and drunk in the first place
b) in my fat belly, product of indulgence
c) in my decadent, unnecessarily entertaining CD and DVD library
d) in the content of much of my library, as well as in the very size of it
e) in the porn by my bed and the tingle in my cock
f) in the momentary respite from all cares that I am perceiving
g) in the despair that temporarily is informing it
h) in the indifference to all others beyond this room that I presently feel, this selfish self-pitying self-indulgence
i) in the music of Einsturzende Neubauten, too (currently playing "Selfportrait with Alcohol).

Hey: didja know, the "new buildings" referred to in the Neubauten name are actually an architectural style, a sort of modernist human-storage-unit style popular in the 1960's, I think it was? So it's not just any new buildings that are collapsing, but those built at a certain time and period; inside Germany the name has a reference we generally miss here. Thanks to G42 frontman Dan for the explanation. Watch these pages for news of a G42 gig.

Actually, it may be awhile, I'm just trying to put some pressure on.

I like this song for the line (now playing), "Life on other planets is difficult." But then, I'm in a relationship at the moment.


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