Nikolas Cruz, Victim

I know you’re supposed to be horrified by school shootings, and I am, but from the first description of Nikolas Cruz, my heart went out to him.

No one is justified in shooting up a school. The actions aren’t justified, but they seem tragically predictable. Given his circumstances, I believe he is a victim of Florida’s gun laws, and the NRA. Without easy access to assault rifles, he would just be a lonely outcast, failed by his parents, his school district, and the local police department.

Here’s an interview with a neighbor:

“He had emotional problems and I believe he was diagnosed with autism,” Mr. Gold said of Nikolas Cruz. “He had trouble controlling his temper. He broke things. He would do that sometimes at our house when he lost his temper. But he was always very apologetic afterwards.”

“He would sometimes be hitting his head and covering his ears. One time, I sent him home because he was misbehaving at our house and he took a golf club and smashed one of my trailers.”

He said that Mr. Cruz at one point had gone to a school for students with special needs. “Kids were really picking on him and would gang up on him and beat him up a little,” Mr. Gold said. “They ostracized him. He didn’t have many friends.”

Nikolas was adopted at 2 years old. His father died when he was six.  As a child, “Nikolas was moody, prone to an explosive temper and at times seemed to delight in antagonizing others.” People began to avoid him. In school, kids started calling him crazy. He played with his fingers and talked to himself. As he grew older, his mother often called the cops to reprimand him for his outbursts.

Let me stop here and say, HELLO, SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS? HOW ABOUT SOME INTERVENTION? HOW ABOUT SOME BEHAVIORISTS? HOW ABOUT SOME SOCIAL SKILLS CLASSES? HOW ABOUT A CHILD PSYCHIATRIST AND SOME MEDICATION FOR ANXIETY OR MOOD SWINGS?

Instead, Nikolas went to a nice, wonderful, gigantic high school where he could be shunned and act out with weird talk about knives and weapons. The nice wonderful school expelled him because he just wasn’t right in the head. Here’s what a student at the nice school said about Nikolas:

“He was definitely not accepted at our school socially. People saw him as someone who was different than the normal people at our school,” Parodie added.

Douglas High has a place students call “the Emo Gazebo,” he said. “That’s where all the kids that are considered weird or not accepted sat. Kids at the Emo Gazebo didn’t even accept him there. He was just an outcast… He didn’t have any friends.”

“Most kids ignored him at school. They pushed him off to the side as if he was garbage. He screamed in class one time. He was upset and just started yelling at the teacher. The teacher was trying to help him and he just took it the wrong way,” Parodie continued.

Meanwhile, his Instagram is full of guns and weapons. Right in the open for all to see. He is obsessed with them. He comments on someone’s video that he wants to be a “professional school shooter.” He uses his real name!

In November, his mom suddenly died of pneumonia, leaving him alone with no support system. A sympathetic family takes him in. But he is devastated by the loss of his mom, and very depressed.

You know what happened next. Now he’s on suicide watch. His lawyer says he is remorseful and distraught.

I have known families with troubled kids, kids who have conduct disorders along with autism, kids who flip out and can’t manage their impulses. Often, thee kids are sent to residential schools for intensive therapy. And often, they can move back home, more in control and aware of boundaries and consequences.

A few years ago, I had a new neighbor, who had just divorced a very famous movie director. She confided that their son was at a residential school due to his violent outbursts. She loved her boy but was afraid of him. His diagnosis was autism, but he may have been bi-polar as well. Time passed and I saw the kid at the Oscars with his famous dad, looking nicely groomed and very happy.

Poor Nikolas didn’t have a famous rich dad. That’s his crime.

The rest is on the fucking NRA and their flunkies in congress. Thoughts and prayers to those bastards.

Posted in Horrible Stuff, News | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Who’s Ready to Slut-Shame Hope Hicks?

time to slut-shame hope hicks

Slut Hope Hicks and some Nazis.

If Hope Hicks were a man, in her same position at the White House, we could openly accuse him of being a scumbag who can’t keep his dick in his pants. We’d go, “Wow, he’s already fucked two of Trump’s aides?!”

But since Hope is female, we must tread lightly. It’s all #MeToo. Don’t pick on her, she’s a woman. Women are oppressed victims. Time’s Up. We’re tired of being harassed for sex.

Me, I’m tired of Hope Hicks. What’s wrong with her? By all accounts, she is Trump’s closest confidante and handmaiden. She carries a steamer so she can steam his wrinkled suits on Air Force One. She is basically his work wife, and also a substitute for her mentor, Ivanka. She is rumored to be having an affair with Donald, even though she’s not blonde.

But why has she had affairs with Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter, both thugs that Trump drooled over before throwing overboard? Lewandowski is not only married, but has been accused of sexual assault in a separate event from the battery charge during the campaign.

Porter, who is 6’5”, likes to punch and choke his wives and girlfriends. Fair enough if you work in Trump’s orbit. Locker room stuff.

But Hope? Keep your legs together, girl! Isn’t is degrading enough to be Donald’s go-to assistant and fluffer?

I want to break the silence around Hope. Let’s drag her into this if the men’s behavior can be scrutinized so publicly. If women are truly equal to men, they need to share the blame for stupid indiscretions.

Maybe Hope needs to go to those meetings for Sex and Love Addicts. The first step is admitting that’s she’s powerless over her behavior. Then she can make a decision to turn her will and her life over to the care of God as she understands Him.

I don’t know if they have God over at the White House. I haven’t seen any suggestion of that. Does Hope have a mom? Can Mom remind her what they taught in prep school, where she played lacrosse? Or do they teach you to seek out rough trade in the workplace? Listen, I have no clue, okay? I skipped high school.

The other morning, a male person in my life was raising his voice to me and I said that I didn’t want to be talked to like that. When he seemed perplexed, I explained, “BECAUSE I’M NOT HOPE HICKS!”

I hope this retort can become part of our national lexicon. This would be a win all around.

Thoughts, critiques, or insults?

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Finally, the $1,000 Plastic Bag!

finally, the $1000 plastic bagSorry, I’m exaggerating, this “top” is actually only $980, but sales tax will round it up. It is the apex of cutting edge fashion, ugly and disruptive as the day is long.

Calvin Klein 205W39NYC evoked modern Americana in its SS18 collection which included this black sleeveless top. It’s made from high-shine nylon and finished with a ruffle-trimmed drawstring neck. Tuck it into the label’s corresponding skirt for a look with directional flair.

Thank you, Raf Simons, for bringing the trash bag to its natural conclusion, we salute your genius!  Here it is with a skirt:

the $1000 trash bag

The Vetements guys must be furious.

Any styling tips, fashionistas?

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The Passion of the Wordist

Yesterday, I heard MSNBC commentator Ari Melber discussing the infamous memo, and he described it as parsimonious. Naturally, I was upset.

I love Ari Melber. He is so smart, so affable and charming, and I even like his infatuation with rap and hip hop. So the word-usage problem was especially hurtful. I decided to write to him. Here’s what I wrote:

Tonight I heard you use the word “parsimonious” in reference to the stupid memo released today. I was upset because my husband and I just played an imaginary game of Who Would We Rather Have Dinner With, you or Chris Hayes, and you won!!!!

Did you mean to use parsimonious or did you mean to use another word?

No pressure, but everything is hanging on this.

Best regards and thank you for being a light in the wilderness.

Joane xo

I think I was a little stoned, because I misspelled my own name. Funnily enough, Chris Hayes also worried me recently when he used the word disinterested as a synonym for uninterested, which of course it is not. (I now know this glitch to be a phantonym.)

These are little things, but I want the people I respect to be above such mistakes. That’s how much I am invested in words. It’s emotional and visceral and even moral: USE THE RIGHT WORDS, MOTHERFUCKER, to paraphrase Pulp Fiction.

My sister loves it when people say “supposably” but that’s different. That’s just adorable. I love when someone says “had went.” I also loved it when a policeman responded to a complaint about my son’s garage band, and as he lectured us, he said something about “conversating”. My son and I exchanged a look of delight that I’ll always cherish.

Talking to my shrink recently, he encouraged me to let go of something. And I explained that I’m against letting go. Of anything. I just don’t like the concept, because I don’t like the words Let Go. I always interpret them as abandonment. I prefer to hold on, and hold on tight.  I suggested that I refused to Let Go of something, but I was open to walking around it.

How can words not matter? Every word, every inflection, means something. That’s why we have them! As imprecise as they are, you can still come pretty close to expressing your ideas if you know enough words. You can be thrilled to your core by a few words strung together in just the right way. You can be dismayed or even heartbroken as well. If you’re like me, you can go around being exasperated by people who think nonplussed means nonchalant, even though the tide is against you.

Old people, did you know that the expression “Ugh!” now means something positive?

This year, I posted my annual list of words to ban over here. I know you will like it. But I’ve since come across a good list of awful new words I didn’t know about and here’s a few more for good measure:

stratcom
hive mind
wheelhouse
side hustle
highkey
clicktivist

Ew! Or as we used to say, Ugh.

Posted in Disorders, Rants, Words | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Investigative Discovery TV: The Comfort of Nonstop Murder

I heard about the Investigative Discovery channel when ads began touting a new Jodi Arias series. I will never have enough Jodi Arias, and I’m not alone in this. Jodi brings it, every time. As you may know, I am Team Jodi, still firm in my belief that Travis had it coming to him.

Anyway, the Jodi rehash was nothing new, but it introduced a new past-time for me. Now I can watch violent murders, hour after hour, from the comfort of my couch, which is beginning to sag in the place where I park my ass. You can’t imagine how many crimes have been documented and reenacted for this channel. Every one different but somehow the same.

I think it’s the sameness that I find comforting. There is a certain order to the grisly murders, with elements that that repeat like the stanzas of a poem.

Every victim has the sunniest temperament! “She always had a smile on her face.” “She was nice to everyone.” “She was just a really good person.” It’s an amazing coincidence but a reassuring one: No one will ever murder me. I don’t fit the mold.

The bad acting is interspersed with recorded footage, often including interrogation scenes. There are narrating talking heads, who turn out to be the victim’s sister or mother or best friend. They are sad, but not too sad to appear on TV. They all have bad hair.

When the victim is male, the motives are more diverse, but the players are consummate douches, even if they are doctors or lawyers or the guy next door. The perps are either violent losers or psychotic Jezebels. There’s a lot of messy blood, and there are forensics, missing bodies, lies, confessions, trials and prison sentences. It all works out in the end.

Once in a while though, the crime is so heinous or weird that I have to google it, to see if they made it up. Reading about it is not at all pleasurable though, especially in the case of the guy who shot his father with a high powered bow and arrow.

I’ve cut down on watching the news and I’ve stopped looking at Twitter. Giving up Twitter is a huge relief, and you realize almost immediately how liberating it is. You don’t actually need to know who is mad in response to what microagression, and who is being cast as the day’s villain. The tides of rage can go on without you. If something important happens, you’ll find out eventually.

Real life will slip away if you let it. Some of it is just too painful or frustrating. I’d like to hang on to the good parts but the older you get, the easier it is to feel the good parts are behind you. Maybe it just takes more energy to move forward and for that I need more sleep.

In fact, I’ve reached the age when you and your friends start talking about pillows and mattresses with the same fervor you once had for live music. We still like to have fun and get high, but mostly what we’re looking for is a great pillow like the one that guy on TV invented, only not as lumpy.

A good pillow, a good murder case, maybe some chips and salsa, that’s all I’m asking for as I walk the line between choosing life or oblivion.

Posted in Disorders, Horrible Stuff, News | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Denim Doldrums Over at Last!

denim doldrum over at lastLike a bracing slap in the face, denim has returned with a vengeance for 2018, starting with this brilliant Denim Waist Belt by Unravel Project.

Designed to appear like it’s been sliced from the top of your favorite jeans, this faded blue version has frayed edges and exposed pockets. It looks even cooler with a slim leather strap over the top.

I’d say it’s not “designed to appear” like the top of some jeans, but actually IS the top of some jeans. Should we run out to Goodwill and buy some jeans for $9 and cut off the  top?? We would be saving $441!  Here’s how to wear it:

denim doldrums overSee how cute??

What couldn’t you wear this with, you know? Imagine transforming a dress or coat with this Denim Waist Belt. Or, if you have no imagination, you might just wear it over the same brand’s Distressed Oversized Jeans:

Made in Italy from rigid denim, they have an intentionally baggy, oversized fit and are shredded through the front for a ’90s grunge feel.

After 50 million versions of shredded jeans, they still expect us to bite? At $675? You could just get these on a sale rack at Sears. Together, these two “pieces” would cost over $1,000. I like their chutzpah at Unravel Project. Good for them.

These look fresh for spring, because ruffles:

I love that they’re asymmetrical, and I can only hope they bounce around when you walk. $522.50 at Saks.

Pushing the ugly, excessive overkill aesthetic, Dolce & Gabbana brings us this:

Cotton blend denim with painted floral and leopard motif

Ew. Are they really painted? They’re nearly sold out at $1,875. Are they made with Kylie Jenner in mind or what? Is there still a segment of Eurotrash who would wear these at a club in Las Vegas? I need more information to grasp the brand’s concept here.

Finally, brought to you by Greg Lauren, our go-to guy for the truly audacious and reprehensible, a jacket:

denim doldrums over at lastGreg Lauren’s snorkel flight jacket is crafted of light blue heavily distressed cotton denim and trimmed at the butterfly hood with faux fur.

Haha, Greg, what’s a snorkel flight jacket? There is so much going on here, I can’t even itemize the features that add up to $3,125 worth of eyesore.  But I’ll try.

Fading. Paint splatter. Bleach stains. Holes. Rip details. Button-and-loop storm placket. Butterfly hood with faux-fur trim. Rib cuffs with chewed edges. Fake blanket lining. A shitload of buttons or rivets or whatever they are.

The rear-view is a nice coda:

denim doldrums overBAM!

You can get this on sale at Barneys if you hurry.

 

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Mrs. Caliban and The Shape of Water: The Green Stranger

the green stranger

When I first heard the premise of The Shape of Water, I immediately thought, “Mrs. Caliban!” Sharing this thought with others, I was forced into an explanation that got me nowhere.

When I read Mrs. Caliban in 1982, I had friends who were reading it as well, and I remember finishing it in one sitting, that’s how compelling it is. At 110 pages, it’s not like I’m bragging. I just don’t see how you could stop once you start.

The shared premise is a woman who falls in love with an amphibian.

I’m not saying that the movie drew from the novella, because there are so many other cinematic and literary instances of inter-species romance. But still. In both cases, the gigantic green creature is everything a woman could long for, especially a lonely woman in a dreary marriage or one who herself feels like a misfit.

I loved the creature in The Shape of Water, who also had an ET thing going for him. His weird gurgles were so poignant! Even though he’s so slimy and fishy, when he stands to his full height and wraps his whatever-they-are around his enthralled love object, he is Cary Grant, and then some.

Mrs. Caliban’s green lover, Larry, is also irresistible.

What is it we want, ladies, that resonates so effectively in the Green Stranger?

Is it the innocence, the purity of purpose, the gentleness? Is it the otherness itself? Or is it that he’s a good listener?

In the movie, he can’t speak. Think about it. No mansplaining. Ever. No criticism! No one to say, “Could you please remember to put the cheese back in the fridge and seal the bag properly?”

Is it the fact that he’s probably never had a woman before you, so you are the best fuck ever? I’m just throwing that out there as I explore this, okay? I already know I’m the best fuck ever, but some people might worry about that kind of thing.

Let’s get back to the listening. A Green Stranger who stares into your eyes and understands you, isn’t bored by you, isn’t checking a device or butting in with his devil’s advocate shit…how good is that?? He is a child, a lover, a protector, a best friend, and he’s able to love with his whole heart.

I am thrilled to report that Mrs. Caliban (by Rachel Ingalls) is now back in print, and a million online reviews are calling it a lost treasure. I didn’t know it was lost, but now it’s back and I think you should read it. After all these year, it remains in my memory like a haunting, glimmering dream. A bonus for completists is that her other books are good, too.

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Oh My God, What an Awful Year!

William Blair Bruce, 1901

Maybe if you aren’t American, 2017 was about something other than Donald Trump. I can barely imagine that. Here in the US, we wake up every morning in a state of dread. What did he do now? Who has he insulted? What inch of progress has he dragged back by a yard?

Some of you are able to go about your day without watching the news, and I envy you. I know I could wait until evening to find out the latest breach of decency but I want to get my hit asap, while it’s still fresh. I want to see the modulated horror on the pundits’ faces. I want to see them try to contain their disgust. I like knowing that I’m not alone in this.

My personal life seems inconsequential, and it literally is, more and more. I have lost friends to distance or apathy or Because cunt. My community is a long way from where I used to live, and I’ve stopped driving. I feel like a shut-in even though I do get out occasionally. I’m not expecting anything to happen, like a new job or relationship or project or vacation. I’m just coasting.

I’m trying to learn how to stop ruminating about the same old shit. Walking backwards is supposed to help. I’m taking probiotics and calcium when I can remember them. But in general, I don’t feel present in my own life.

Politics is another matter.

The Trump situation is an all-consuming and immediate vortex of fear and rage. Why can’t anyone make it stop? Why has the Republican party gone crazy en masse? Why aren’t they terrified of that fucker destroying the world in a crazed nuclear strike, just to distract us from his Russian business ties? Why do we have to go around embarrassed by his blustering stupidity and childish outbursts? Why do we have to see that fucking hair????

In 2018, I hope to march against my government to show solidarity with sane people. I think that’s my only plan.

Last week I had a three-hour phone conversation with a dear friend who told me that meditation would cure my depression. We both grew frustrated but we kept at it. He insisted that his depressed friends had found relief through meditation. The ones who didn’t were to blame for not trying hard enough. If only everyone would listen to him! he exclaimed. At one point, I sneered that I was further than ever from wanting to meditate.

He was proselytizing because he believed he had the answer. I resisted his belief-system because, in his words, I can’t surrender. Depression is complicated. Surrendering to a higher power is just not for me. I will surrender to medication or trans-cranial electric stimulation or a guiding philosophy that makes life less painful.

I reminded him that the universe is indifferent to us, clearly. I mean, it’s obviously not benevolent. He found this line of thinking exasperating. “You’re just like Max!” he said. And despite everything, I was proud to hear that. I’m going to drink a toast to Max tonight, to his beautiful stubborn soul and his loving heart.

Goodbye to 2017 and the horse it rode in on.

Posted in Disorders, Horrible Stuff, News, Rants | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Hideous Denim 2017: The Last Gasp

I can’t say goodby to 2017 without offering one last gift of hideous denim. I have been shirking my duty for weeks but I hope I can make it up to you with this baffling monstrosity by Sacai.

There’s always an element of surprise that comes with Sacai’s signature cut-and-paste technique – nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems. Take this denim jacket for example, which can be transformed from classic to statement-making in seconds. It’s been skilfully made in Japan and is detailed with zipped panels along the sleeves that can be unfastened to create a cool cape-effect silhouette.

It’s hard to argue with the “element of surprise,” as in “Oh my god, what the fuck is going on with this jacket!” Is it trying to look like a manta ray or a vagina?

What do they mean it  can be “transformed from classic to statement making“? How do you get this thing to look classic? Maybe it looks classic to a sea creature or in a parallel universe.

Let’s try the rear view:

hideous denim 2017Less disturbing from the back, it gives the impression of an accident, like something ripped open. Looking like you’ve been in an accident is probably a good conversation-starter. I don’t know. I feel sorry for that naked vulnerable arm.

$850 dollars feels just right, doesn’t it? But hurry, it’s low in stock.

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This Be Some News For Philip Larkin

Liyu+Liubo

Everyone I know and everyone you know can quote the first line of This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin, a poem he wrote in 1971.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

That one line has served as gospel for at least two generations.  It validates adolescent resentment like nothing else. See, a famous poet says you fucked us up, you fuckers. It’s official.

And of course they do, your mum and dad. Because everyone is fucked up, and everything starts at home, where grown ups can make random rules because you are powerless.

If only they’d been more affectionate or less affectionate, more involved or less involved, more attentive or less smothering, if only they’d fought less or fought more. Or as Larkin complains,

They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

Philip Larkin followed his own advice and didn’t have kids. So he never discovered a consecutive truth that parents learn the hard way. They fuck you up, your kids.

They fuck you up in small ways or in ways that crush you. They rob you of sleep and peace of mind, for starters. You will never rest easy, once you’re a parent. Every fever, illness or broken bone, you’d do anything to take their place. If they’re not home on time, you will be worried, then frantic. Every hurt they experience, you experience with them, but magnified. They own your heart, and they don’t care if they break it.

They didn’t ask to be born, you know. So fuck you. Did you make sacrifices for them? Too bad, that was your job.

I wish I’d had more compassion for my mom, even though she was so unfit for motherhood. I wouldn’t budge in my resentment until she got cancer. I could list the ways she failed me but never put myself in her shoes.

I used to urge my childless friends to have babies, if they asked my opinion. I told them that motherhood was so transcendent, so sublime, that life would be eternal high school without the experience. They would never know the scope and magnitude of pure selfless love. That part is true, I believe, but I regret my sales pitch now. I didn’t factor in how much they fuck you up.

Most of you parents would do it again with no hesitation, right? I would too, because those happy years were the best! But the downside, oh my god, it is terrible. I once considered setting myself on fire – it’s the method most available to women in India, and I thought the physical agony might cancel out the emotional distress. I got over it, so don’t freak out, alright? I’m just trying to illustrate the downness of the downside.

You expect your kids to love you back. You have all kinds of expectations.

Philip Larkin, I’ve always respected your English miserabilism. You were no match for Beckett, but who is? Anyway, not being a poet I can only offer this haiku I just made up.

You poor angry boy
If you don’t feel I’m your mom
You won’t get the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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