It's been a while since I've done this - since I've blogged too late, after too many drinks. The fact that it's not even midnight and I'm making such a claim speaks to the fact. I used to type 3am drunken confessions regularly; I'd slither up to the keyboard and let loose full force the agonies or joys of my Korean life, but at one point I stopped. Perhaps it was facebook, or maybe the act of growing up, or more likely the fact that I managed to vent the steam of ten years worth of expat life within the span of three. I blew my wad, though I look most happily upon those old raw, confessional posts, the ones that attracted any errant eyes to this rant-land in the first place. They were the ones that folks often reacted most viscerally toward, and that always made me glad. But this elation has now metastasized into a dull sadness, as such things can now only be viewed as souvenirs.
But here I am and I'm typing and I may as well face the day. It's Wed-nes-day but a day (or more accurately, night) nonetheless. Midweek and drunk on expensive beer and soju, thanks to a monied ajosshi who sometimes takes me out for English and camaraderie, but always leaves me well-lubed.
Things are rough with me and M, after a weekend that saw us in Seoul, Bundang, Mokpo, and other points in between. I was on a "comedy tour," playing a couple shows in bars outside of Busan, and... I took her with me. This was a catastrophic idea, as my drinking life was already driving her to the point of suicide bombing (she ingests nary a drop due to severe a severe booze allergy - not unknown among East Asian peoples). The tour was fun - too much fun - too much boozy revelry than she was prepared to shoulder, and what should have been one of my happiest sojourns on the peninsula turned into three days of utter combat. Ugliness ensued. Nasty things were said. Old wound were re-opened, clawed-at and pissed on. At one point she jumped off the train in a rural backwater, only to reboard it and join me in the destination, albeit with triple amount of the bile that she had possessed originally.
I don't blame her. She's a good woman who has been tree-trunk loyal since the day we exchanged hearts. But she wants a man who will give her at least five days a week of wide-eyed dedication. Instead she was handed me, with shows every weekend, punctuated by all-too-frequent bar sessions with my tragic friends. She wants a romantic weekend in the mountains: instead I take her on a survey of the drunkest foreigner booze sheds that this nation has ever managed to muster any tolerance for. Is is any wonder why she's managed to lose hers?
Too add shit atop the coil, consider this: I also play in TWO weekend warrior rock and roll bands, have begun recording episodes of a comedy radio show, and am now in the early stages of pimping my upcoming book.
Ah, yes. The book.
While I am without a doubt stoked that I do have a book coming out, I am constantly gnawed upon with doubt: Is this thing worth a shit? Even if it is, will anyone read the fucking thing?
Now we all know this is natural. I used to produce original theater and these same questions festered every time a new work was being produced. After all, real objectivity is lost early on into the process. At one point you just gotta commit to the the thing; you have to tape yourself to the bottlerocket and enjoy the ride.
And I'm trying to do that, but I'm a proper "Who the fuck is this guy?" who is now having to beg any name or entity larger than me not just for the all mighty "blurb," but also for the privilege of being sold by their company/store/website. And pretty much ninety percent of these skidmarks can't even be bothered to answer an email. Things are plodding along and I think the book is good: but I know there are those who dismiss my story as that of yet another privileged white boy moving to exotic Asia and spoon feeding us his trite observations. Fair enough, there is a bit of that, but other than by virtue of my passport, I don't think the "privileged" moniker sticks. I was recently denied a blurb form an established writer who actually had the courtesy to look at a few chapters. His excuse - as passed my way - was vague and polite, but I'm pretty sure he just wasn't into the gig, for the reasons stated above.
Fuck it., though... I'm doing it. But I'm doing way too much. My super Korean life is busting out of the padded room, and I love it. But I plan on going to America this summer and steeping in family, old friends, mountains, river, and roots. I will then come back and strip the fuck down.
Let us hope my relationship can survive until then.
I got the news the way I get almost any important, shocking news these days: via text message, while teaching a class. I glanced at the screen and these three words were seared into my eyes: BIN LADEN DEAD!!!
I stopped my class and quickly relayed the message to my adult students, who were as gobsmacked as me. When I ran to the teachers' room and saw that the internet indeed confirmed the news, a feeling of joy swelled in my gut, enveloping my whole body in warmth and electricity. I strolled back into the classroom and stood before the handful of older students seated in front of me, grinning so hard that I could almost hear my skin strain.
"It looks like it's true..."
Osama Bin Laden was dead and guess what? I was fucking happy. I was more than happy - I was elated - and I felt like celebrating. And I wasn't the only one.
When the news reached the ears of Americans, many congregated in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at the Ground Zero sight itself to party. Public Enemy Number 1 was dead - shot through the head according to the news reports - and this unleashed a wave of revelry. They waved flags, chanted and jumped and drank and generally whooped it up. They were celebrating a death, the death of a fellow human being. Our sworn enemy was felled, and this was a joyous occasion.
Of course not everyone sees it this way. On facebook some of my friends came out and admitted that they were shamed by the scenes of happiness, that the death of person is NEVER an occasion for celebration. Today had seen a quote attibruted to MLK floating around speaking to this idea, how darkness can never be met with darkness, that we must always love...
Fair enough. I respect the high-minded sentiment, but I say fuck it: BE HAPPY if you feel it. I certainly do. Mr. Bin Laden is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. With the exception of the attack on the Pentagon, the operation on 9/11/2001 didn't even pretend to go after military targets. The point was to kill as many civilians as possible, and it was a big success. And let us not forget the thousands butchered by the hands of Al Qaeda bombers in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein (we can talk about our own sins separately). He was a religious zealot who advocated total holy war against the West. His values were anethema to what most of us hold dear. He perverted a whole religion and relished in indiscriminate bloodshed. He was an evil man and the world is far better off without him. I see nothing wrong with celebrating this fact. Maybe I'm insensitive, inhumane, or just a mean son of a bitch, but this simpy liberal notion that rejoicing in this asshole's death is somehow inappropriate just rubs me the wrong way. To paraphrase a character from The Wire: "Some muthafuckas just need to get got."
Should Hitler's death have been observed with grimness and solemnity? Should the champagne have remained corked after the surrender of the Japan in WWII? Hell no. People partied their asses off, and rightly so. And while Bin Laden's death does not mark the end of a war, it does mark the end of an era and a major victory.
So put on yer dancin' shoes and let the liquor flow.
Metallica. They used to be so awesome. In the 80's they ruled over the metal underworld, releasing such furious classics as Kill 'em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and And Justice for All. They were fast, mean, loud and played with virtuosic precision. Their music ripped an asshole in the fabric of the world; listening to one of their songs was like doing speed. I saw them in September of '89 and can attest to their true power. They were indeed Monsters of Rock.
Then... something happened. The 90's came and they cut their hair. They slowed down their music in a sad attempt to jump on the Grunge Gravy Train. They got all sensitive and introspective. James Hetfield started growling over ballads. They began a spiraling descent into the heart of SUCK, which continues, sadly, to this day.
Nothing exemplifies this disintegration better than the tune "Enter Sandman," which is track one off their Black Album, which marks the beginning of their assiness. "Enter Sandman" starts off great; the opening riff fades in - all menace and primal drums - building into a crescendo that forms a nasty, crunchy wave. Hetfield starts singing and the song still holds together. Then the chorus comes:
Take my hand
We're off to Never Never Land
'Never Never Land'? Really? Are you fucking kidding me? The first time I heard this song I thought that they were making a joke, or perhaps I was listening to a parody - a la "Weird Al" Yankovich. What metal band sings about Never Never Land? That's just totally, completely, and one hundred percent... lame. It makes me think of Peter Pan or Michael Jackson and his monkey, neither of which are very metal. How did the rest of the band react when Hetfield showed them the lyrics? Were no better suggestions fielded?
This question came up last night when drinking with some friends, so we did a little brainstorming and came up with our own suggestions. So instead of singing "We're off to Never Never Land", how about singing:
1. Suck me off while I'm on the can.
2. Carpet bomb Turkmenistan.
3. Satan has a master plan.
4. Fuck the corpse of Ed McMahon.
5. Chew out my adrenal gland.
6. My keyboard has an ampersand.
7. Blow your wad into my hand.
8. Dokdo is Korea land.
9. Slit the throat of a virgin lamb.
10. Now's the time to stop the band.
Feel free to add some more...