Thursday, September 18, 2008

the evill 3 C's

I have been reading Annie Proulx lately. If you have not read Shipping News, do so. It is one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. No wonder it won the Pulitzer. The language, the characters, the story-all amazingly transporting. Ultimately it is an uplifting story. One can not say the same for her short story collections, from which came the inspiration for the movie, Brokeback Mountain. Her Wyoming stories are unremittingly bleak. They are filled with amazing writing, word pictures, characters, stories but damned bleak!

One lesson I learn from great writers, over and over again, is how remarkably difficult it is to craft even a paragraph of excellent writing.

On to the trickster. What I have been learning in my few months as houseparent at a boarding school for Lakota children is that I am dismally unhappy working to prepare kids for a society I find repugnant. Our society, our culture, is devoted to consumerism, competition and conformity. The evil 3 C's. Actually, they aren't evil in the sense of conciously seeking to actively harm anyone. They are simply real life in the society in which we live. I have NEVER felt that this was my culture. Games should be for fun, not crushing the other team. How much more would we prosper if businesses worked to actually provide for the needs of all? Naieve, yes, and proudly so! Alien is exactly how I have always felt and in spite of my adaptability, life in this culture, capatalist, consumerist, competitive, has been weird(note my "C" theme?) I want out! I want to live with people who see that this mainstream culture is fucked up. I don't think that I can change the world on my own, but I hope I can find a way to live in a counter, let me say again, COUNTER cultural way and make my own little mark against the dehumanizing and grotesque distortion that is what we see in virtually every nook and cranny of our United States life. More on how I plan to do this later.


Allie said...

I have definitely had bouts of feeling like an alien too. Usually comes when I am forced to make a trip to the mall -- I look at all the people there and think, "Wait, these people actually LIKE being here." And the whole competitive sports thing leaves me mystified as well.

I hope you find a way to be a part of a culture that suits you.

Also, The Shipping News is going on my to read list.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

100% amen Equa Yona. Society in general has turned into one that is akin to that in 'Brave New World'.

But who is going to fight against it, because there is only us and if we don't do it, no one will. But with us all working together the evil 3 C's don't stand a chance!

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Allie, I spent a couple of years working in American Samoa, not a poor place compared to other island nations, but it was pretty 3rd world by most folks standards. When we got back and I went to a mall for the first time, I nearly got ill, like when you eat a half pound of fudge. Man, it was simply nauseating to see that much crap being hawked in one place, and 99% of it useless crap! But I knew that anyone who wears as much earthtone brown as you would get it!
I just finished Proulx's book, Accordion Crimes. What a picture weaver! Amazing.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Fr.Peter, Thanks for the encouragement. I don't see winning in the USA, maybe in other parts of the world. We are SOO whacked out here. I think we went crazy a long time ago from greed and fear.