Friday, September 11, 2009

The Ignorance from 9/11

So it's the September 11th again, the 9th time that date holds any special significance to me.

The tragedy and events of that day remains firmly etched in my mind; watching the towers fall as we ran towards downtown, walking through the smoke and falling ash, loading water into a police car, desperately wanting to help in any way possible, only to realize there was nothing else to be done.

But this week, I was reminded of the other tragic result of that day: the cultivation of unapologetic ignorance in the United States.

I was reminded of it as I watched Representative Joe Wilson, Republican from South Carolina shouted "You lie" at President Obama as he was giving an address on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress. Joe Wilson was wrong. The facts prove that he's wrong. Yet for political and, no doubt, financial reasons (he has received about half a million dollars from the health care industry), he clings to his extremely disrespectful, harmful and blatantly untrue accusation.

We as a country have been divided, not in two, but three groups. On one side you have liberals and progressives, who, while often at odds on several issues, generally agree in spite of themselves.

But on the other side, you have two distinct groups. Those who are genuinely ignorant, having been misinformed or not informed at all, who refuse to try to learn more and instead blindly cling to their anger, bigotry and cynicism. And then there are those who DO know better, but purposefully and unabashedly foster ignorance and fear in others, in order to achieve their own financial and political gains. I go back and forth on which ones are worse.

This, then, is the second, and far more insidious tragedy of 9/11. Being forced to watch as some portion of our family, friends and fellow citizens get dragged down into a quagmire of lies and deceit. Some are, in fact, good, decent people, who have just been lied to about what the real problems and who the real enemies are.

For myself, I lost a lifelong friend to this second tragedy. It was back in 2003; a fellow I've known since I was 3 years old was supposed to come up to NYC with his girlfriend. I had emailed him to see if that was still happening, if he needed a place to stay, etc...

His response was completely out of left field. I had been doing some light campaigning for Wesley Clark at the time and he had received several of my mass emails on behalf of the General. When my friend wrote back, it wasn't to make plans for his NYC visit, it was to berate me about my liberalism. He accused me of forgetting about the attacks on the twin towers, of somehow siding with the terrorists. He then went on to criticize my decision to pursue an acting career in NYC, telling me to "grow up" and stop being a dreamer.

The irony of these various personal attacks baffled me. For one, while I was in New York on September 11th, 2001, he was in Florida, unemployed, probably asleep, possibly hungover, and here he is accusing me of forgetting a catastrophic event I witnessed first hand? As for the attacks on my life choices, here's a guy who dropped out of college and moved to Florida to just hang out and party, whose life decisions and dreams I ALWAYS supported and encouraged, telling me to grow up. Ridiculous.

And the worst part was, it wasn't him. It wasn't the guy I grew up with, who confided in me about his family troubles. Even after we grew apart with age and distance, we had a bond that was supposed to be like one of family. Yet here he was, brainwashed by conservative talk radio, attacking the guy with whom he had spent countless weekends watching TV, playing tennis, exploring in the woods, growing up together. And for what? Ignorance and lies.

And what I find terribly tragic is that, thanks to the corporate propaganda machine that is Fox News Corp, there is nearly half an entire generation of people in this country that are going to grow up with these selfish, racist, and small-minded ideologies pounded into their brains. They are going to grow up afraid of change and without real empathy for either their community or their fellow man. And just plain ignorant.

That's just incredibly sad.

My "Insomnia"

People often refer to themselves as insomniacs. Sometimes it's caused by physical reasons, and in other cases it's anxiety or depression.

For myself, as I write this at 6:21 am, I've never really felt comfortable referring to my night owlishness as "insomnia." It's more just... laziness.

Not that I'm too lazy to fall asleep, though sometimes that's how it feels. It's more like my subconscious mind doesn't feel as though I've accomplished enough during the day, and it's forcing me to stay awake in the hope that I'll be productive before I close my eyes.

Take today for example. Granted, I'm a bit sick, but there's still plenty I could have done. And I did none of it. Intellectually I know that, if I had just accomplished A, B and C on my To Do list, I'd feel much better about myself and be just that many more steps closer towards achieving my various goals in life. And there's no real anxiety about not know what to do with myself - I know the path I need to walk, I just find myself rolling in the poisonous weeds right next to it instead.

So now, I'm wide awake, watching the sunlight slowly illuminate my Western window view, knowing that, because of said sunlight, I'll probably only get four, maybe five, hours of sleep.

Which I'll finally get around to once I hit "Publish Post." Because in my current, pathetic drought of motivation, even just rattling off these few paragraphs will be enough of a fix for my strung out sub-conscious mind to let me go to sleep.

::time passes::

Heh... I just paused for a bit, staring at the screen. That's the other part of my subconscious, the part that likes to keep me from succeeding at pretty much anything constructive. It's rather insidious and, unfortunately, incredibly effective at it's task.

But now, at 6:32 am, I prevail. Knowing, of course, that the cycle will begin all over again tomorrow.

Well, at least tomorrow I have plans to take a salsa lesson...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So, I'm told I should write a book...

Last week I had drinks with the brother and sister book editor (sister) and Colbert Report writer (brother) who had attended my Godzilla lecture. They had been encouraging me to develop it into a book or some other type of thing.

The get together was not momentous; I wasn't being offered a book deal or anything. Just a little chat about the current state of books and a bit of a writer's pep talk over a few beers (or water, in my case). Apparently the cute-in-that-incredibly-enticing-nerd-girl-with-those-glasses-you-know-the-ones-way editor gives people she feels are good writers this little shove in the right direction... once. Though she did say she'd prod me again in 6 months, which made me feel special.

However, now I'm left with the rather dangerous thought that I'm a good writer. I've never really thought about it too much; I've always felt I was far too prone to using run-on sentences, semi-colons and ellipses to really consider myself anything more than a hack. Yet here was this obviously-smarter-than-me-about-books person telling me that, no, I actually am a decent writer.

Well, at any rate, it'd be a nice creative option to fall back on when I completely stop exercising or taking care of my physical health in any way, shape or form.

Which starts... oh, 2 years ago.

I guess I should start writing.