Madness... or Genius?
I just got hassled a bit for looking at too many boobs on the internet, and prodded to get a real job.
Why am I always looking at boobs on the internet, was the challenge, and I was surprised, because I could not really make out any boobs on the page I was staring at, using a text search function, trying to figure out how random go-go dancer MySpace friend JBuNNY was doing in her Hometown Hotties contest. No nudity was involved whatsoever. Nudity is not bad, or good, but I point out that at least I didn't appear to be overly interested the bag-size and bag-formation of celebrity dairy goats. There is absolutely no money in celebrity dairy goat promotions, and very little money in internet porn. Nonetheless, it is very human for human males to be interested in the comparative chest sizes and shapes of human females. Historically, there is an evolutionary advantage for men in spotting the reproductive fitness of potential mates, and investing their efforts in seducing the best of them. Likewise, there are natural, evolutionary cues that women look for in men, that I don't understand as viscerally as I get the "large, natural breasts" cue for men. Yet I know it exists.
As we enter the potential end of human evolution through natural selection, and as the mass culture reality of baby boomers becomes increasingly asexual, it might be relatively equivalent to be interested in, aroused by diverse forms of non-human devices, from automobiles to virtual worlds displayed on CRTs and someday more commonly with goggles, where you can be a virtual fursuit wearer, or perfectly androgenous.
I am going to defend human lust for other humans. We will need that in the future, if the world doesn't end, for the survival of the species. The difficult task that lies ahead for me I fear is that I am the last non-neuter American male, a future foreseen by the visionary author with whom I share a birthday. I leave this part of the thread with a link to enjoy: Answers to a questionnaire.
The Kurzweils and the pharmaceutical industry, the synthetic environmental estrogens, the absense of victory... what other job could I do?
I have, or have had, a demonstrable facility with languages, to learn spoken and written human languages rapidly, and to work with and create languages that operate on and markup language. At the age of 12, I learned a lot of Korean from neighboorhood kids while my mom was persuing her Masters degree at ASU, and eventually she paid for me to get private Korean lessons from a Korean national who was, I believe, a Korean language professor there. I was a dreamer and a slacker in high school, and got bad grades and did not do enough work in either Russian or Latin, but managed to test well enough in a Latin exam to get some sort of national award, but a third class one. I have taken the Defense Language Aptitude Battery twice, scoring a 105 in 1998, and 109 in the spring of 2006. That means that the Department of Defense measures my ability to learn languages to be so good that they would have competence that I could learn any language their schools teach. I have tried to get the Army recruiting command to administer the Defense Language Proficiency Test for Indonesian/Malay, since I have heard there would be the possibility for a civilian job for me if I scored well enough, as an instructor. I am obviously not going to enlist in the regular army under the current administration. I have been perfectly willing to help the DoD and intelligence community bridge their obvious gap in comprehension of the non-English speaking world. It might be because I have been labelled an anarchist, because of my bad credit, my foreign connections, my webmaster/pornstar lifestyle, but I am not ever going to get any kind of security clearance to actually be a spy.
I am lazy, but I am good. I prefer immersion in the living culture and language to long hours in the library with a dead language, or a machine language. My idea of fun would be to go someplace where I don't know their language, and they don't know mine, and learn their language, somehow. I started to do that in Aceh, through an intermediate language I knew well enough, but had started to forget, Bahasa Indonesia, which I knew from travelling, living, studying independently in other parts of Sumatra, as much as I knew from internet audio and one of the better collections of dictionaries I think anyone could have assembled for less than a few thousand dollars. I brought with me the best portable set of dictionaries, and retrieved one more volume that I left with my adopted family in Tanjung Pinang, before I went to Aceh. I imagined that my language abilities would be useful in tsunami relief efforts, as well as my knowledge of Sumatran plants, insects and medical entomology, etc. In the end my computer skills and my tenacious attachment to one set of villages was probably more useful than anything else.
Since I have occasionally been presumed to be a spy, and it is the only obvious regular job I could hope to get with the skills I have, I have read obsessively about the careers and cultures of the CIA, and to a lesser extent, the FBI. I have probably known people working for both agencies, and the odd mix of semi-legitimate business that associate with them... on and off, for more than a decade. But my own travels to foreign countries have always been self-directed and independently financed, unsanctioned. The government is absolutely uninterested in actually knowing the real lay of the land out there. So it is not surprising, but it is sad, to see the gaps between what the government wants to believe, based on the lobbying activities of some foreign interests, versus the observations of a more or less disinterested American observer.
So I find David Swanson's latest blog post very interesting and credible: What if the FBI Hired Someone Honest to Look Into 9-11?.
I made a quick trip up North, and happened to see Babel, and I grokked it, and I cried, just a little. But Seoul is my Tokyo, and Aceh is my Morocco. The woman who was shot in the neck was Chinese, or from Hong Kong, to the extent that that difference matters (and I wasn't there when it happened. I was in Leiden). Like the film, my children are lost in the desert, but a desert of commercialism... fat country. fat people. I have had those awkward moments on the phone. Now, there is nothing more that I can do for them. Genetic transmission has to have been enough, the cultural transmission is now up to chance...
Aid worker hit in Aceh shooting
The terrorism warnings in that area, at least as they applied to warnings to Americans, were engineered, politicized. But people did also get killed there, often enough. I have one pretty clear memory of a dark night, by road, in Southern Aceh, near Sama Dua, an Acehnese or other smaller, dark figure, writhing in a pool of blood at a checkpoint, alone. No one stopped our vehicle, and our drivers quickly drove through and tried to forget the image. Perhaps it was something else. Really, it was pretty dark and I could put it out of my mind. Yet I can't.
I also saw what local militias did to discourage encroachments and firefights between GAM and TNI. Very strange. Non-violent. Torches, and machetes, and friendly banter with the minibus drivers.
If the American people refuse to act to end the war in Iraq, I suggest the peace communities (there is no broader peace movement, just many hardworking individuals, and many solid communities) just focus on ending the wars that can be stopped, or stopped from restarting.
I suspect there will be no neat ending, no magical resolution, it is life, not a film, but for every careless rifle gift to an Afghan or Moroccan or Acehnese, I think there is twice as much hell unleashed in those communities as there was depicted in that movie.
An we are going to pour small arms and ammunition into Iraq, and Iran, and Afghanistan again. Chaos is our best export. I don't know about this idea of doing evil to create an opportunity to create a more celebrated good.
I suspect history will forgive me for being somewhat paranoid, slightly crazy, absolutely in love all of the time with pretty girls, and impressed by the biodiversity of the last remaining stands of primeval Southeast Asian forests. And drinking too much. And wishing that I was less clever and curious than I have been. And so on and so on...
I gather that for me, I will never find my Proper Vocation, but if I am lucky, some companions and fellow adventurers that are really up for this work, not just drawing a paycheck and buying fashionable shoes and coordinating events for attractive and well positioned college coeds. Honestly, a bag full of cash would help, and a vacation, but I can't force a real solution, only suggest it.
I am tired. My teeth are rotting. Sakit Gigi. A dull pain is the constant, recurring sensation. Mati Lampu, turn out the lights.
We are free but modest. Bebas Tetapi Sopan. Little slogans, soulful.
There are different kinds of cowboys, differnt Western sensibilities that would blend well with life in the East. I think Willie Nelson would make a great Dangdut performer, in another life. I think winning the East as if it were the old wild west, with a gun in one hand and a bible in the other, is a hideous mistake. I think the decider, and his cronies, always new this. The design has always been some form of genocide. Who will stop it? Not in Darfur, but in Iraq? If not Iraq, and we recognize the Darfur cause for what it likely is, can we refocus on maintaining peace where we have found it to be desired, after all these long years, of squabbling over small stocks of oil, and timber? Or internal treaty rights and obligations, walleyes and wild rice?