Thursday, August 24, 2006

For the Love of Rammstein, Pricasso and the Undesirable Skill Set

When I was in college I was in love with this girl in the typical Aquarian manner of not knowing whether to be her best friend or to fuck her. I mention her because I am listening to Prince's B-Sides which probably best describes my sense of heterosexuality -- obsessed and surreal -- smitten with starfish and coffee -- wanting to be freakily her girlfriend and her boy toy at the same time. Maybe that is where the confusion starts for women cause I don't really look like a freak. Back then I was nerdy, linky and quirky, today I am a bit chunkier, hairy and my nerdiness has given way to a bumbling limp wristed brute, but my inner purpleness has stayed the same.

This girl and I used to sit on couches and "smoke", looking at everyone in the room; and in turn, everyone enjoyed our "epiphanies". I think we were fascinated by how people appeared versus how they really were. Those intuitive practices have proven detrimental in my post-undergraduate world where the truth is suspect to profit margins, wasteful spending and the recital of theoretical paradigm shifts that mimic origami.

There were 3 girlfriends that progressed through my life to the soundtrack of Prince: my high; school crush; my fiancee, and the girl my father wanted me to marry, who happens to be Miss Epiphanies Summer of 1992. I don't think anyone in our family is over that relationship. So, in the spirit of those days on the Virginia Coast and the girlfriends that followed I would like to make a list of some observations I have had over the last couple of days.

Man, where do I start. Maybe I am in the Rammstein age now as opposed to Prince. It partly has to do with my time overseas, but now it has to do with the number of cute Latinos that immediately ask me what "Du Hast Mich" means when I tell them where I used to live. I guess I love their music and have spent a couple of lost hours looking at their videos on the world wide web because I never noticed them before. I mean I have heard their music and seen their videos, but not all that stuff the bubbles up underneath them. They are industrial and soft at the same time. They are like the lumberjacks in the black Forest that ride the rivers on freshly cut logs. Or the manual workers that drink their Hefeweissen and Pilz in the red light district. I guess that is part of the attraction. Somewhat sexual, but mostly the romanticized idea of being in a band, or a military unit, or a baseball team. I missed the whole experience. And just recently I realized that in college I was one of only 7 or 8 men in the English department at Hampton and then after that I was at NYU where I was definitely hit over the head by the radical feminist movement hammer and gender bender axe. I was only 21 (have I lamented this before? I think I have.).

Rammstein is like a requiem for me. It is like a secret confession concerning what I lost in terms of male bonding and just being rough. Sometimes I feel like I was railroaded and could have spent my time learning something else about the world beside the healing properties of salt and clay in Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters, or the 19th century upperclass British female angst and alienation of a million dinner parties in Jane Austen's novels. My senior seminar at Hampton was Women in Shakespeare. I had no choice, there was only one seminar. I was the only male out of 30 or so women taking my exam that year. Crazy. I just ran around chain smoking with Miss Epiphanies and watching my dreads grow. But I have started to mourn that lost boyhood where I was spit out of undergraduate seminars into a world where I was looking at myself and other men in such a dirty prism.

After NYU I regained my rights to the clan through some beer binges and evenings at pubs surrounding Rutgers; not to mention, working at the men's Ralph Lauren collection in Macy's at Menlo Park Mall and hearing regular discussions of how my male friends were banging my female friends. I remember at the food court an Albanian gyros stand owner, that must have been 26 or so, told me that life is making money and taking care of a child. Funny he looked like a member of Rammstein. And it was the first time I had heard that sentence from anyone's mouth.

Man, I could have thought of this. Actually, I am a bit upset that I did not. The past couple of days have been sort of a rest up for the new world that I am awaiting to enter. A world where the price of a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo has skyrocketed to above one million dollars. While surfing the net I found a story about Pricasso, an Aussie that paints with his cock. After watching Puppetry of the Penis a couple of months back I have become more than aware of how light hearted people have been (or have become) down under concerning dicks. After watching the ABC Nightline Special on AIDS in Black America, and the controversy over Plan B, I wonder when we will lighten up about our bodies on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. It just might help us talk about our bodies and what we do with them besides feeding them beyond the point of a diabetic or hypertensive explosions. I remember reading about a black pastor in the 1920's that advocated food as a replacement for carnal pleasures. I will have to look this cat up. I wonder what was his effects on the population as a whole, and I wonder what it can tell us about our current state of body consciousness -- dick in hand.

Skill Set
Ok. I apologize, I am about to be cynical. I hate this word "skill set". What does it really mean? When I hear people use it I feel like they have been brainwashed just like the imbecile that came up with the word synergy. It is an impossible term that is used to communicate in very specific language why you can have the job, or why we are not going to train you to do the job. And this American term is so right on point, which is what makes it so dangerous. It is a catch phrase that sums up the situation in a very overstated way. It is a consummerist reflex in out language. It emboldens the speaker because it is a way of turning someone down with very little emotional attachment: "Yep, that is just the way it is. You do not have the skill set we are looking for at this time." It also means that those that master this language know when to use it and how to make things sound clearer in terms of policy, allocation of funds, distribution of responsibility, blah, blah,blah.

Skill Set lays out the bacon in very certain terms, the only problem is that ironically no one has asked about who decides what those skills are. The human resource managers and corporate head hunters of course fondle its meaning, and we all know what a lovely group of people they are. I just think it allows a massive amount of room for pushing people around in little boxes. It is a dirty word that is creeping up in our technocracy that many have confused for entertainment.

Other Blogs
I have been reading a whole bunch of blogs in the past couple of days. I think it is my way of catching up with NYC. I have learned a bunch of things. The New York Press for example is withering away, and with it a time in the late 90's that I remember vividly. I am also finding many blogs by New York writers that have moved away; some of the articles I have found mimic my life choices step by step if not under different guises of credibility. Meghan Daum captures it very brilliantly. Substitute "hip-hop" for the Upper Eastside reality, or Quincy Jones for Jann Wenner or Tina Brown; and, Fabio! I come from the alternate universe where keeping it real became the new literary chic and my black college "I'm Building Me A Home" jubilee suit and tie were just dusty Edwardian threads of a life less than ghetto fabulous. It was much less than the power fantastic to me too, unbeknownst to them. In the end, it did not matter.

Now I am back in NYC. And I have read a million little blogs the last couple of days that have a lot of shirtless brawny celebrities, or are full color bling bling camera phone tricks and treats for you to gobble up hour after hour. I seem to always use more words. My blog always seems to be about me and my head. It is a little embarrassing, no? I have stopped saying I am an aspiring novelist or historian or what have you. Where does writing get you with other people in the end? I am starting to think you just simmer in your own pot, peeking from your cranium now and then to pick up new things for the stew. It could be totally different tomorrow. I could be painting with my prick. It might be fun, especially when you have to adjust the thickness of the brush.

No comments: