August 31, 1997
WILLIAM I CONFESS THAT LATELY I HAVE NOT WRITTEN A THING
Ive been meaning to write a play called Mean People in Love.
A simple play about low-down mean scoundrels who injure and hurt and steal and plunder and basically destroy the lives of everyone around them. You know the type. Mean people. Yet mean people in love.
Im thinking of something short. Nothing firm here. Its still in the idea stage. Nothing on paper.
It occurred to me that those people, those mean people who do all these horrific things, cold, brutal people with real sociopath tendenciesthose people fall in love too. I mean you see it, dont you? They fall, man. And that is what is beautiful about it and in some way frightening.
I mean Hitler was in love, wasnt he?
Richard Nixon walked through dooms of love.
Look at Nancy Reagan and that poor drooling cowboy. Look at her wiping the spittle from his chin. Thats love.
Henry Kissinger. Heres a guy whos probably ordered dozens of executions. Who has reasoned and justified wholesale costs of human life. Anyway, did you hear that guy on the phone when they asked him about Princess Diana. That was real sincere grief, William. The man was choking back tears. He called her a close personal friend. He said he felt a deep personal loss.
Mean people in love.
I mean, mean people. Mean people in love. Ordinary nasty people. People who are walking weapons. People with large chips. People with resentments. Savage people. Cruel people. They fall in love.
Theres something unfair about it.
Yet theres something deeply touching about it too.
Ive also been thinking about writing a play called
Americinferno. One word.
About terrorists, again. I know, I know, Again terrorists?
I dont know, William, something about terrorists. Im drawn to terrorism. In some way it seems central to the way we experience the world now.
When I say we, I dont just mean us, you know? Everyone I know is haunted by real and imagined acts of terror. Images, sounds, crumpled up bodies and all the blood. Its not fear. Its dread. Its hanging out there now, its all around us.
Dont get me wrong. I get no thrill from U-Hauls filled with fertilizer. I get no kick from mailbombs. But this type of thing I rubberneck I guess. I guess we all do. Pass by warily wondering when the same thing will happen to us, and if it will even get covered.
I think that we need to think about these things. About the OK bomber and the Unabomber and hell the suicide cult and the Branch Davidians and all that. How it ties together. How it all ties together. Especially how were fed it. How the media cycle has transformed the life cycle. Maybe Im obsessed with cycles. Off on some vaguely Hegelian tangent that is sloppy and unsure.
A lot of this makes me uncomfortable. Especially when I wonder if Ive been completely programmed, not by any specific malevolent entity, but some kind of group mind that controls the limits of my language, my thought even. Some invisible, undirected force that writes the way I see the world.
So anyway, I was sitting on my couch and I was thinking about these things, about how incredibly pathetic the media is, how blood-hungry everyone seems and you know like the Gianni Versace thing which got me just totally sickened, the editor of Vogue crying well-near monogrammed tears talking to Ted Koppel. Yuck. The sense that I got that when they found the guy, Cunannan, dead, the media were left completely in lurch. They werent disappointed with the fact that there was another corpse, but they were hurt and confused, by the fact the whole story was sewed up within a week. They didnt get enough use out of the graphics. So all that was going on. Then I saw this rerun Jenny Jones show about Kozinski and Jennys star expert guest panel was filled with like the milkman who saw him on the road once, and a woman whod been in a biology lab class with him in college, along with the usual guy who wrote a book on serial killers. I think that they have him on-call at all times. Hes on like every two weeks. Anyway, Jennys directing the conversation and all she can ask about his hygiene. Was he dirty? Did he clean his room? Was he unkempt? Did he floss? I mean after a minute or so it becomes clear that Jenny has got her own personal theory on the whole causality issue. For her terrorism is explicity linked to poor personal hygiene. Which got me thinking this lady is way too caught in her Freudian stages, and so clinging to the virtues of normalization. So I had to turn the channel.
I just had to and then, I was watching Jeopardy, and you know that show. Theres this whole element of triviality. The pointlessness of all that useless fact can suck me in for the whole half hour nine times out of ten and if you watch it enough, you get kind of a sense of whats going on in Alexs world. Like when he gets in a cruel mood. Like this show Some guy offered up some predictably off question to the answer Ulan Bator, and Alex just skewered him as he replied I think youre thinking of Bhoutros Bhoutros Ghali who is of course not a country but in fact a human being and further more not at all from anywhere near that part of the world, in fact from an entirely different continent. Pretty much humiliating the guy, this geometry teacher from Spokane. And you could tell he was enjoying it, Alex was, rubbing this guys face in the dirt. So I thought what if Alex Trebec and Jenny Jones and Ted Kozinski and Timothy McViegh and hell lets throw in Lee Harvey Oswald, what if they were all involved in some kind of metatheatrical space that took the material form of a quiz show, but retained some sense of Sartrean hell, well that could work, dont you think? They fit together. Im not sure how.
I think Ill work on it soon.
Ive been reading too much Beckett lately, William. I think its been destructive. I cant go on. I really cant go on. I cant stop. Ill go on. Something incredibly pathetic about it. But you cant help but identify with the pathos. It sucks you in. Sort of made me want to lie down in a gutter and suck on stones.
Ive been meaning to write some poetry, William.
I havent touched the stuff in years.
Im thinking of writing a series of poems about my cat, Maestro.
Christ that sounds pathetic.
But . . . hes an entertaining cat.
At least Ive got some honest wonder to work with there.
And I get the sense that hes somehow the objective correlative for all the thinking Ive ever done about relativity.
Which granted, is not much. Ive only skimmed. Ive got no real conception of theoretical physics.
But the idea appeals to me.
Thats whats not been going on, William.
Lately I havent written a thing.