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Emak Bakia

Tuesday 12/3/19

Every now and then I do something to my leg but it's usually just a little soreness after a gargantuan number of climbs--but only if I have not gone in a few days--and I have had pain under my left heel for years--not stabbing, not limiting, just there; it comes and goes--but the back of my leg, behind the knee, is pretty raw right now for some reason. I spent most of yesterday at the Starbucks and am heading there now. You wouldn't have known it to see me there--a lot of reading, listening, note-making--but I wrote the bulk of a book in my head yesterday. I'll work on that some more today, then I will let fly. A number of people reached out to me saying I need to go back on Chicago's Morning Answer as soon as possible, it was the best segment they had ever heard on the program, but I sent along an idea for something we could discuss this week and I heard nothing back. O well o well. I will be on Downtown later today talking about The Irishman and Handel's Messiah.

A couple thoughts.

Most people's conception of themselves is wholly at odds with the reality of who they are.

People will hop on Twitter several weeks after a hate mob has tried to end my life and career, and they will painstakingly go through the chores of finding the things to hit the like button for--comments that, really, are more pathos-inducing, from very simple, self-defeated people from some time before. You can, of course, click on their profile, though what you will see is always the same kind of person. I know people who would bristle with rage that people behave this way, but I tend to just feel sorry for them--even when the time comes--for I cannot let all pass--when I must humiliate and destroy someone within an inch of their life, sending them back to the bottle, the extra therapy session, what have you. The crying jag. It's a flick of the mental wrist. I give the flick, someone goes through a building. But they do this a lot, with a lot of things. It's how they feel like they are not trash. That they are decent. They have to get their quota in. It's busy work, like you had in school, but this busy work is the sole stand-in for an identity, for morality. And of course character, which is less corporeal for these people than Banquo's ghost.

Here's the thing. Doing this only makes you more the things you don't want to be--mentally ill, depressed. Actually going out and being a good person--an active good person--is what will ameliorate the mental illness and depression. And reading A Christmas Carol, or listening to a Mozart opera, reading Delacroix's diary, reading this blog. Heroin addicts are said to chase the dragon. These people are chasing the dragon, too, without even had an initial first unique high. Conversely, when you are smarter than these people, when you have character, and you are on your game, there's nothing they can actually do to you. They are terrorists without the death. Their system is predicated on fear and panic--that you will have fear and panic. There's nothing to fear, nothing to panic over. They are not well, and they are weak. Stand your ground, make an example out of a few of them when you have to, you're fine. But you're not fine in the knowledge that this is how so many of us are now. The knowledge beats you down with a kind of weary fatigue. I believe in energy; that is, the more there is--be it artistic, intellectual, moral, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual--the better. That does not mean shouting and in-your-face. It mean committed presence. We're a society of a common lassitude right now. Doing the quota thing on social media is but one sign of it.

What would you say if I told you that this Man Ray film from 1927 plays a role in my Sam Cooke book? It is a very interesting book, I should think. A unique book. A unique music book.


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