Thursday, February 12, 2009

what makes the green grass grow?

“During practice we had to yell stupid stuff,” Noah wrote in August. “The Drill sergeant would ask, ‘What makes the green grass grow?’ We would yell, ‘blood, blood, blood makes the green grass grow.’

Send it up, watch it ride, see it fall…
Gravity’s angel

There was a story of comeback to warm your sad gills in the NYT today. Alexandra Penney, the former editor of Self magazine, snagged a book deal today. Not any book deal, not like the deal for How to Make Love to A Man, her former giga hit, but a book for this cold zona about being poor. As in, dropping out of the upper 10 percentile into that fatal 11th one.

Ms. Penney, who has been blogging since December as the Bag Lady on The Daily Beast
, Tina Brown’s Web site, about her comedown from a life of pedicures, high-thread-count sheets and Hermes purses, will write a memoir stemming from her blog posts.

“I think she’s really struck a nerve,” said Ellen Archer, publisher of Hyperion. “There are a lot of us, even those of us with paychecks, who are worried that we can end up on the streets. Even those of us who haven’t invested with Bernie Madoff have taken a lot of financial hits and watching her navigate these difficult waters provides a lot of people with reassurance.”

Send it up, see it ride, watch it fall…

I don’t go to the Daily Beast very often. Tina Brown’s community seems made up of a very large number of washed up rightwing hacks. Not surprising, I suppose. But in the clash of divas, Huffington vs. DB, DB is rather getting trounced.
However, a story of a zona survivor that would help me, John Q. American, pull my fucking socks up – I couldn’t miss this! So I clicked over.

“White Shirts and Telling Yolanda

I wear a classic clean white shirt every day of the week. I have about 40 white shirts. They make me feel fresh and ready to face whatever battles I may be fighting in the studio to get the best out of my work.
How am I going to iron those shirts so I can still feel like a poor civilized person? Even the no iron ones need touching up.
Yolanda makes my life work. She comes in three mornings a week, whirlwinds around, and voila! The shirts are ironed, the sheets are changed, the floors are vacuumed. She's worked with me for seven years and is a big part of my life. She needs money. She sends it to her family in Colombia. I have more than affection for Yolanda, I love her as part of my family.
On Friday, I tell her I have had a disastrous thing happen to me, but I don't have the guts to tell her I cannot keep her with me any longer. I'll wait till Wednesday.”

See it fall…

Meanwhile, I have been slowly reading the fall Virginia Quarterly Review. In that issue, they also included some stories of hard luck cases. These were not cases of people falling out of the upper 10 percent and into the hands of Tina Brown’s rump set. Instead, these people fell into the hands of the fiercesome lord of hosts, war, and they never got out of it. They might try scrubbing, they might try soaking, but their fresh white shirts are tinged with the pink of bloodstains:

“Noah Pierce’s headstone gives his date of death as July 26, 2007, though his family feels certain he died the night before, when, at age twenty-three, he took a handgun and shot himself in the head. No one is sure what pushed him to it. He said in his suicide note it was impotence—a common side effect of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was “the snowflake that toppled the iceberg,” he wrote. But it could have been the memory of the Iraqi child he crushed under his Bradley. “It must have been a dog,” he told his commanders. It could have been the unarmed man he shot point-blank in the forehead during a house-to-house raid, or the friend he tried madly to gather into a plastic bag after he had been blown to bits by a roadside bomb, or—as the fragments of Noah’s poetry might lead you to believe—it could have been the doctor he killed at a checkpoint.”

But the war is so yesterday’s news, like Yolanda’s job, that I feel a bit ashamed for making the juxtaposition. This is bad taste all the way around, no doubt about it. A hoodlum thing to do. A tagger’s spray paint special. And especially rubbing it in the face of one of the members of the Gated Community who was ripped off, thinking that God had guaranteed her a return of 12 percent per year for life. Now, that is pain. The yahoos out here also go down, blah blah blah. Cry me a river. Real pain is in those threadcounts. And in such troubled times, shouldn’t we be all bi-partisan and shit and forget? We’ve even forgiven the unpatriots who yelled against the war – as Jon Chait has admitted in the New Republic (and this takes guts), because, really, he was too moral, too, well, good, he overlooked the bad side of war when he supported the invasion. You know, when a guy confesses he is just too moral, you have to sympathize with him. While this tagging is utterly vulgar, there is something so charming about the gated community - that spirit of confession. I'm too good. I need my fresh white shirts.

It is characteristic of the elite that eventually, they learn to forget the help are even there. That way, they can think outloud. Any thought. It goes through their head and out of their mouth. And it really strikes a nerve!

“Noah Pierce was not the only veteran wrestling with depression and PTSD. This April, Ira R. Katz, Deputy Chief Patient Care Services Officer for Mental Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs, became embroiled in scandal when a memo surfaced in which he instructed members of his staff to suppress the results of an internal VA investigation into the number of veterans attempting suicide. Based on their surveys and tabulations from the NCHS’s National Death Index and the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, Katz estimated that between 550 and 650 veterans are committing suicide each month. It is possible that the number of suicide deaths among veterans in 2008 alone will double the combined combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. It pains Noah’s family and friends that the Pentagon will never add him—nor the thousands like him—to the official tally of 4,000-plus war dead.”

Send it up, watch it ride, see it fall…

1 comment:

Roger Gathmann said...

I hope the comments work. So do you like this idea? Thia blog is going to throw over the whole idea of writing. When futility and freedom become the same thing, as they have become in zona racked America, fuck it. Tag. Get your spray paint can. I'm going to be tagging here.