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Stakes

Monday 5/24/21

I saw an article--and then some others--detailing how Danny Masterson must stand trial upon having been accused of rape by three women. One of whom said he put a gun to her head. There was someone else he allegedly sodomized while she was asleep. One article mentioned his Twitter posts, which include these carefree entries from outside of the courthouse, and playful jokes about his wife dropping him off in front.


He has 1.2 million Twitter followers. I can't imagine being accused of something so horrific and then just la-de-da, posting to social media. I get unfollowed if I say something intelligent about hockey or literature or mention one of my walks. Even if one were completely innocent, you've still been accused of this ghastly, ghastly thing. Imagine the all-consuming need to clear your name? The stress?


But then imagine if you'd done these things. You live with acts of evil you've committed. Not subtle acts. Not up-for-debate acts. I think people can often live with being evil because their evil takes subtle forms. Or less obvious forms. That does not make those forms less evil. Sometimes they can be worse, because they are allowed to grow, undetected, and are not called out. Unhampered. Rape is not subtle on the evil-indication spectrum. And the people are just posting on the guy's Twitter, making jokes about That Seventies Show.


Humanity is such a fucking backwards shit show.


I saw a video today of two local-ish people--adults, with a kid--screaming at children on a playground. Calling the children fat. Swearing at them. With both the woman and the man--if you could even term these creatures as such--threatening to beat up the children. Their own kid is looking on with that look of someone who has already been abused and broken beyond the point of ever being able to have a life. The things this child must see and hear and have done to her. And the kids on the playground--who weren't doing anything--are calmly telling the parents that this isn't a great way to be. That they shouldn't be swearing at and threatening children. The mother has this voice of someone who sucks down 250 cigarettes a day. The father is, of course, wearing your classic tank top, aka, the garment formerly known as the wife-beater. He's actually threatening these kids and challenging them to a fight. They're like nine.


I believe that children are usually smarter than adults. It's come to that. They have better language skills. Otherwise, they wouldn't get out of second grade and into third grade. Most adults do not speak or write at even a third grade level now. They did once. But life, the company they keep, society, laziness, never reading a single damn book ever again, made it go away. After a certain age, a person is perpetually on the way down. Most people. Whereas, children, to a certain age, are on the way up. They don't know to devolve yet. They've not experienced the factors that facilitate devolution. They're still curious. They have needs to know. They have questions that require answers. That's a way of being--having questions that need answering. I would tell you it's the only worthwhile way of being, the only truly human way of being. And most people shed it.


I think that's one of the reasons why some of my own fiction--like "Fitty"--is the way it is, and one reason why it's so powerful. In that story, there is certainly a child who is the way I describe above--but more so--and there is an adult--the person who gives her life for her--who is also this way as an adult. There is no more intense, real, important, powerful, transcendent connection in the whole of literature, in the whole of art--I dare say in the whole of anything--than the one between those two individuals, the girl being Fitty, the woman being Carlene. And publishing won't let it come out, because it is by Fleming. And it's also just so different from their formulaic twaddle. You know what most fiction outlets should use as a motto for what they publish in story and/or book form? "No stakes for no souls."


I wrote an op-ed this morning on baseball's biggest problem and how to fix it--quickly. As early as next year. It's a fine piece, which also shows a real knowledge of a part of the game's history that goes back to 1946. I hope I don't end up posting it in these pages, but that's how everything is going right now. I don't pay me when I put something up here, obviously. And right now, the blog is free to all, so it's not like there are paid subscribers. Which is how this should work, given the quality and quantity of the content. But I don't have that option presently, because I don't have that platform.


I also took an old piece from 2017 that I could not sell at the time about Otis Redding's Christmas material, stripped it of certain parts, and built it up into a longer essay for the end of the year. I need to finish it, but it's over 2000 words. Again, just desperate for money.


I also began an excellent new story called "The Summer Friend." Really have nailed the tone and the voice. It's neither of the two stories from the weekend. Rather, yet another new one.


Bruins eliminated the Caps last night. I am truly impressed. The Oilers went down 3 games to none, and I am not hugely surprised, because Connor McDavid is a one-dimensional regular season scorer. He's the best offensive player in the world. But he's still not as valuable a player as Sidney Crosby is right now. Because Crosby plays the center position the way it is supposed to be played, making an impact all over the ice, in all facets of the game. He just gives you a lot more than McDavid does. McDavid is an Instagram scorer. ("Oh, look, he dangled!") Crosby is a complete hockey player at elite levels in each area.


Fluto Shinzawa wrote the worst hockey pieces I'd ever seen for the Globe, and now works for The Athletic, and I am absolutely certain this man knows nothing about the game of hockey. I don't think he even begins to understand it. Reminds me of this editor I had at ESPN. She was the hockey editor. And one day--I have it right in the emails--she asks me why a center turns over his bottom hand on the face-off. She had kids who played hockey. Once upon a time, when I thought there was a minimum standard of competence, and this vague need to have like a shadow of a clue, I would have thought she was joking. But she wasn't. I actually had to explain it to her. For her own edification. It wasn't something in a piece that we were making sure a reader would understand. That is what anything Shinzawa says about hockey reminds me of. All of that money, for that complete lack of skill and knowledge.


Got the first dose of the vaccine. The woman was very nice. She told me to relax my arm. Medical situations scare me so I must have been pretty rigid. Then she said to drink a lot of water so I've been drinking a lot of water.


Here's an Inner Sanctum radio episode with Boris Karloff and Richard Widmark. I'll talk about the former on the radio tomorrow, and Widmark is a favorite of mine. The back and forth with the host and the Lipton tea woman always amuses me. He wants to be all sardonic and miserable and grim and she's like, "have some tea, you negative bitch."