Tuesday, February 24, 2015

all you need is love

Today's title is, at once, total bullshit, and profoundly true.

I quoted a line from bell hooks regarding "love" tonight in my presentation on queer theory. Love, she says, involves "care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication" (1999, p. 5). Key to the profound truth above is all of these things. Love, the romantic, shallow stuff we see in most films--that isn't so interesting. But, if there's recognition and respect, you've got something. If there's commitment and trust, you could keep it.

Or leave it behind and move on because maybe nonmonogamy is the way you want to go. Just looking for... And, I don't want to suggest that it can't be love and be temporary, that it can't be love and be left behind in the short term. Mother Culture tells us to seek out the long term, but research--

No, screw research for the moment. As they start singing "With a Little Help from My Friends" I've got to say, what you need is someone to spend time with, a little time, a lotta time, from a moment to a lifetime. What you need is someone who, even if just for the moment, just in the course of a given conversation, dance (figurative or literal), or bedroom tryst gets you, wants you, and just might miss you afterward.

Sure, Mother Culture--and I borrow that from Daniel Quinn, by the way... and because I love convergence and synchronicity, it's worth mentioning that I got to bring up Daniel Quinn with a student yesterday; she's possibly doing her persuasive speech on endangered gorillas in Verunga and I quoted Ishmael's framed koan (from the novel of the same name): "With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla? With gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?" I was trying to get at the idea that while there may be no practical impact to gorillas dying on the other side of the world for us here in America, but there are cultural, societal repercussions for the very idea that we allow the deliberate slaughter of animals and go on with our day without a thought. Hell, that we probably barely care enough to know about it.

Anyway, Mother Culture--the stuff hooks calls performativity, all that baggage that comes with being part of civilization. It tells us how to be, who to be, who not to be, how not to be. Still, in moments of resistance, we become something... unique, something special. Whether it's about your gender, your sexuality, your race, your whatever, if you step outside normative roles and labels, I applaud you. Bohemians like those in Moulin Rouge! last week or Across the Universe this week--they're so deliberately separate from Mother Culture, but in both cases, they find one another and they can find comfort there. It doesn't matter how long they're together--Prudence just shows up through the window, a portal between two worlds just like any other, and she's taken in. That's what you need. To be taken in, to be accepted, to be loved.

I'm a little tired of normative behavior. I tell my students to pick topics that are important to them for their speeches, pick topics that-- There's this question in the textbook that asks, "will persuading your audience about this topic help somebody in some way?" It's so broad, and yet many of them can't think through the solutions to the problems they choose, or they choose such generic topics that show up every quarter... Not that there is really anything wrong with that. I've done intercollegiate debate and coached it as well; I can impact any topic you've got into something important--in this blog, I once impacted Groundhog Day into nuclear war just to make a point. On the one hand, every topic is good enough, and all of my student's stories are worth telling, everyone's story is worth telling, worth hearing. But, on the other hand, you've got to commit to that shit or no one will ever care. You need to care if you want us to.

Same with identity, I suppose...

Suppose?

No, if you want to be something, be something. Obvious caveat, don't hurt anyone who doesn't consent to it, but otherwise... You want to be something, be it. Commit to it. Embrace it.

You don't need our approval...

Unless you need our approval.

I'm just saying, do what you gotta do to get by. Don't compromise your self for your opportunities or your opportunities for your self.

Unless you want to.

There's a bit of the film left--they're only now singing "Because." But, that is all I have to say for today. There will be more to come, for sure. a whole lot about the sixties--I love the sixties--and more about movie musicals, probably some more ranting about love and life. In the meantime, you be you, I'll be me, and let's do what makes us happy.

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