* Increasingly I see that arts communities, academia, and the media treat pedophilia in such a way that it's becoming "just another thing," which one can overlook; it's being made to blend in. This is because agenda rules all, and bad people often have bad agendas and in order for those agendas to work, there must be a defense of other bad people, which will take the form of "nothing to see here, there are larger issues, don't you get it?"--the latter being larger only insofar as that is the emptiness that drives their lives and no effort, talent, or conviction is required. They are also more and more inured and oblivious to evil, being around evil often, and being evil--and/or broken--themselves. Of all of the things in this world, sexual violence towards a child is to me, and it should be for all, an act of utter and total monstrosity. There is no explaining it away, and there is no rug so big that it can be tucked under some corner of it. When you are broken, when you live a life with no values--as many people in the arts communities, academia, and the media do--there is no contrast. Everything blends together. The red light and the green light both say, "eh, whatever, kind of go if you want, it's fine, and who is going to stop you?" (As a side note, publishing is entirely built upon a campaign of secrecy and self-obsoletion--that is, killing off reading and being so irrelevant to the concerns, interests, or habits of the people of the world that no one looks at how the system works--because that allows people in that system to behave in the worst ways possible without being stopped or even lightly rebuked. That is the appeal of being in publishing for most of the people in it. The pages of this journal represent the first time anyone has revealed and spoken out against what actually happens.) There's no accountability. The pose struck for the prevailing agenda is where the money comes in; the plaudits; the awards; the grants; the promotions; the tenure. Nothing comes in because of actual ability, and work that is special that has a point and a place in this world and can do it a service on multiple levels. You are dealing with the worst people there have ever been, if you leave murder--genocide--out of it. But in terms of internal make-up alone? There has not been an evil to touch these people. Not all of them in these sectors. There are still good people. But many.
* Children are less protected by society I feel than at any time in modern history. They are vulnerable and left exposed to so much. By that I don't mean that they should be overseen and not allowed to develop. Even when we seek to protect we don't do it well; overprotection is a kind of anti-protection. I think they are hurt by overprotection in ways that are about the parents and not the greater good of the child; we take away their individuality, and we also teach some of them that they were born with forms of hate inside of them, when of course they were not. We are setting them up to be preyed upon by people, by life, by the inevitable obstacles of life, relationships that cannot work because we're helping to make them incapable of relationships. We are failing them in education by lying to them in an attempt to conform to an agenda that will allow us to be seen as moral and just. And we know so little ourselves--for that is how society is oriented now--that there's only so much we can impart, teach. (Sometimes I will talk to the child of a friend, and I will be taken aback by how little they know. They are curious, but the parent can't give them that much. We will have a conversation, and they will light up with an energy. They'll will go forth and they're later talking about what they learned during our simple five minute exchange, and it often becomes some interest they have, quite apart from anything to do with me. I just had something to share. Often, though, we don't. We just don't have the education ourselves, and that has next to nothing to do with college or where one went to school, and I am living proof of that.) We will do anything to appear moral and just, it seems, save actually being moral and just. One of the worst things about how we treat children right now is that we are often setting them up to be just like us.
* The actual realities of racism are changing in ways that they never have before, and I wonder who can see it. I suspect far more people can see it than those who would say it, even if they also lack the language skills to articulate it. But old forms of racism that have largely fallen aside from society are being kept in a kind of pretend place by those who once would have been their very real victims, because this is a business model, a way to get accolades, followers, attention, a platform, a book deal, what have you, without needing any ability or having to put forth any effort. A new group is now discriminated against based on skin color, especially a certain segment of that group on the further account of their gender. And what has also changed is what we discriminate against the most in society, which is not about skin color. We are so simple, though, that we can't think beyond the physical, so no one else is putting the societal finger on this truth. Virtues are what are discriminated against the most now. True virtues. Not made up virtues that are then sanctioned by "like-button culture. Legitimacy. Intelligence. Depth. Level of articulateness. Knowledge. Productivity. True decency. Courage. The more one possesses those qualities, the greater the level of discrimination will be, and it will be greater than that for which any single person was ever discriminated against based upon their skin color, this being so because in the instances of the latter, those people had each other in a sense, for commerce, community, and to share the experience of their suffering. There are not enough people with the aforementioned virtues for a community of those people to exist in any real numbers. What happens to that person--right now, anyway--is worse than what has ever happened at the level of discrimination than to any other group that has walked the earth if we, again, leave genocide out of it. I think there are things, though, that can feel worse and are harder than murder, including living a full-length life in which the better one becomes, the more one is despised, feared, envied, and alone. But that is a problem to be solved.
* F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that the ability to hold two ideas in the mind at once on a subject, and still retain the ability to think, was the sign of a first rate intelligence. I used to think that he had a low idea of what constituted a first rate intelligence, but I know now that he was grading on a curve. He was correct, because very few people can do something that I once would have taken for granted as an easy feat to achieve. What most people do is lock in on a single theme; it's not even an idea. A single layer. The layer becomes a wave. And it is that wave, and that wave alone, they ride. The single layer becomes the life, the identity.
* I know some people whose lives and jobs are centered on reading, and they are solid people, but I will see them support evil on social media--for instance, a post that is clearly an agenda-driving lie, by a person working a race grift, with a statement that contradicts easy-to-obtain-and-verify facts, and which also makes light of child rape. Disavows child rape. To disavow child rape is, in my view, to condone it. To try and make one's version of a buck--for the development and extension of a platform is a buck in this age--via condoning child rape. I'll watch someone I know hit that "like" button. And I think, "You are a reader. You're not some person on the go. You're not running stairs, you're not hiking the woods, you're not removed from it all on some other plane. You're sedentary. Reading is what you do. You're not busy, you're not productive, this is your thing, in theory. Looking, and reading. So what are you doing? How do you not have these facts? And if you don't have the facts, why are you approving what you see here? Do you just do that because you are desperate for attention and community and you want a platform yourself?" I think this is what happens. Personally, I cannot conceive of endorsing something or someone "just because." I would have to know. Be educated. Be versed. Be aware. Up to date and up to speed. I also don't understand how these people I know couldn't know. This is not about differing viewpoints. It's about facts. Mainstream facts. Then I wonder what they really do with their time, and what I realize is is that everyone, near about, mentally jerks off all day. They're not engaged with anything, even if their lives are in theory about reading. They read, write, grade papers, take in articles, go through books. But that's not really what any of those people do. They are vegging out and talking out of their ass the same as someone else who watches trashy reality TV and is obsessed with TikTok videos. I think if you had a camera on these people all day long, you'd see that they're simply lounging about. The need for likes now outweighs many people's need to think that something like child rape is wrong. Evil has never been more benign, insidious, or mainstream, and it is now in the drinking water--the drinking water being social media platforms and the ways in which news stories are put together and put out. Those platforms have changed how we experience the world, how we experience ourselves, how we experience right and wrong, how we experience community, how we experience--or don't--depth. I know people who will condone child rape without thinking anything about it and not even having a clue that they are doing so--so it's not like they're going through a thought process--if it makes them look a certain way or brings in more likes or helps to ensure that someone will say something nice about one of their books on social media, never mind that those words will be hollow and platitudinous. If you sat them down, you could easily point all of this out. They are acting, though; they are never thinking, and they are never connecting. This has become a reflex. The reflex has replaced cognition and morality in twenty-first century society. If you are not in on that, again, you will be the outsider; you will be discriminated against. We cannot have this be the world. As I have said, more than ever we need someone who is the opposite of what I am describing. To help us. To lead us in ways that go beyond politics. To lead by showing and connecting--not by pulling and tugging. Not by scripts, but by revealing.
* I was at Starbucks the other day, and there was a homeless woman at the front of the line, and this man bought her a sandwich, asked her if she wanted anything else. Seeing this made me feel really good. Encouraged. Moved. Heartened. I went outside after and gave the woman some money. Normally I'll ask someone if they want to come into Dunkin' Donuts with me if they're outside and I'll get them some sandwiches and a warm drink. I took this one woman to a store and bought her a jacket and gloves. But I didn't say anything to this man, and I wish I had. I've been thinking about this throughout the weekend. He really did something kind and nice for me, too, and I needed to witness something like that. I was grateful for him and I should have let him know.