Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How To Make A Loner

While the news reports from Virginia are falling all over themselves trying to figure out the senseless, trying to perform "psychological autopsies" and wrap their minds around an act of wild insanity, one thing keeps leaping out over and over again.

By talking and filling the airwaves with bullshit when they really know jack shit from shinola, the F.B.I. profile asshole especially has been running down every single racist and cultural cliché I have ever heard.

When the shooter was thought to be Chinese we were learning all about the finer points of "face" and how Chinese folks don't think about life like we do. Korea same same, I was suprised they don't pull down the corners of their eyes while they do that, after all, T.V. lives on visuals.

Then they go off into talking about "loners." Well, you want to know something? I am a loner. I don't like people. I don't like crowds (although I will make exceptions for Sun's games). I don't have a whole shitload of friends.

When I was a kid I knew that I wasn't "full blooded" anything. I knew very well that I was a "halfbreed" and therefore was not worthy to participate in the full benefits of any culture anywhere. I knew this because all you pedigreed assholes kept telling me this. You told me at school, you told me at church, you told me everywhere I went. You told me all about how halfbreeds are untrustworthy (because of their mixed allegience), you told me how halfbreeds were volatile and moody (and I proved you right by going off on your asses at the drop of a hat).

You want loners? It's easy. Make sure that the kids from somewhere else who look a little different know for certain that your society has no place waiting for them. Tell them if they want a slice of the pie, they are going to have to fight their way through the kitchen and to the table. Tell them if they get to the table they are going to have to fight to stay there. Make sure they know that they are not "one of us" and that they are "different" and have "strange customs." It also helps if you get a pained expression on your face if they talk in a language you don't speak. Tell them that if they don't have anything to hide they should "speak a real langauge" or even better, "learn how to talk right." If loners are what you want, make sure that you are smugly certain in the superiority that is your particular birthright. Make sure that they know that the bloody cheek they displayed merely by being born is an offense to your society and probably to almighty god. It helps if you can throw in eternities in hells and shit like that.

You want loners? You want desperate individuals who find nowhere to turn in their moments of despair? Keep doing what you're doing folks. Keep being afraid of "the others" among you. Be proud of who you are and suspicious of everybody who isn't like you. Read your bibles and remember the Phineas priesthoods. It will keep you all pure.

It won't keep you safe. Locking doors won't stop them. The classics geeks out there will remember this one. I did.

Com on wanre niht scridan sceadugenga. . .

(out of the wan night slides the shadow walker)

from Beowulf. I read that and understood exactly what they were talking about.

As alienated and angry a kid as I was it was probably a good thing that there was a stupid and senseless war out there so I could find an approriate place to vent my rage.

Today, I'm pretty well off and am considered to be eccentric rather than weird. Mainly I just don't care whether or not you think I belong. I have made my journey of self discovery and liked what I found.



Blogger Sherry said...

yes, this, i understand. tho, the half breed stuff,not so much. that fell to my mother and her brothers, none of whom married another italian. mixed marriages, italian/english/ or irish or german or polish, well, it was a new thing back then. now, no one bats an eye.
me, i'd add always being considered
sickly, different, having people look at clumsy as stupid. being lower class in a suburban upward moving town
and on and on.
too long to go into but i guess it's being made to feel "less than"
because you are "different from"

then, there were my in-laws, who actually called me a half breed because i wasn't fully italian(how freaking stupid)i laughed at that.
yet, i am the one that cleans and plants flowers on their graves.
i hope it drives them crazy in the afterlife!

yes, you can make a loner.
and even if that loner only turns it inward, or even if they turn it into a positive,
the people that turn children into something sad or bad or something less than or different from, what they could have been because they are afraid to fail yet again, maybe prove them right and yet, i am stronger because i survive, so like everything it is a 2 sided coin that was spent on me.

well, they have hurt their spirits worse.
my rant.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

oh and i have said often that if i should ever come into money that then i would be "delightfully eccentric" instead of odd and everyone would want to hang around me.
hah! fat chance then. ; )

10:58 AM  
Anonymous dazho diihil go'ashee said...

As you said to me once I now have the pleasure to say to you:

t'ekedas' anihi hi' ash hosh an bikaa

I be proud of you, loner.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Melissa McEwan said...

I knew this because all you pedigreed assholes kept telling me this.

Indeed. And I bet they were all pedigreed assholes like I'm pedigreed--three parts Scottish, two parts Irish, one part German, and a splash of Norwegian, with a twist of Cherokee. Some pedigree. I'm as mongrel as they come.

There are always loners by choice, people who are quite genuinely shy and homebodied and idiosyncratic and better left to themselves for long amounts of time. I'm one of those people. I immensely enjoy the company of others when I'm in the mood, and when I'm not, I feel really uncomfortable. And I don't mind at all if I'm thought of a loner. It's not a bad word. (Plus, I've always found that other loners make the best company, when one is in the mood!)

What creates the angry loner is ostracization--not having a place to go even when you want to. Being Othered, whether it's because your skin is darker or lighter, because you're too tall or too short, too fat or too thin, cross-eyed, buck-toothed, too smart, too dumb, talk too much, talk not enough, talk funny, think weird, dress bad, stuck-up, put-down, stinky, klutzy, shy, bespectacled, motherless, fatherless, gay, disabled, too ugly, too pretty, or just in the wrong damn place at the wrong damn time when some little bastard decides you're out.

A reason can always be found to cast out an unfortunate child who, in any other circumstance, might be wealthy with friends.

Or, as the case may be, wealthy with the love of a parent.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

yes, you put that so well. thank you.

11:38 AM  
Blogger JackGoff said...

God, I love this, MB. The loner is one of my favorite archetypes, similar to the stranger. The dynamic is always more about what society in general makes it, and then, of course, society in general complai ns about the dynamic. Hello, assholes, you marginalize people and wonder why they exist where you've placed them. And, Melissa, this:

And I bet they were all pedigreed assholes like I'm pedigreed--three parts Scottish, two parts Irish, one part German, and a splash of Norwegian, with a twist of Cherokee. Some pedigree. I'm as mongrel as they come.

is wonderfully well-put. I'm part Irish, part-Cherokee, and part Welsh. All historically marginalized people (even when they were "pedigree".) And yet, my asshole father still prattles on in his infinite wisdom about the usual racist horseshit not unlike what MB discusses. It comes from ignorance I suppose, though it's a willful ignorance, so much more virulent and evil.

I say, let us be a society of outcasts, the stones the builders rejected and all that jazz. :-)

1:54 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i think the thing that makes me craziest is that something like racism, like being a creationist, takes agressive ignorance you have to expend energy to remain clueless. when my mother moved away from our old family home on the rez we were packing stuff out and found old family records, some dating back to the 1870's (the apache wars and aftermath)

one of the things we found was that our reservation was garrisoned by the storied 9th cavalry. the buffalo soldiers. a lot of the f.b.i.'s (full blooded indins) that had been giving my sisters and i shit our whole lives were nowhere near as pure as they claimed. there were even a few muffled apologies from a few of them, then cognitive dissonance sets in and back they are spouting the same old shit.

there ain't nothing pure out there folks, 'cept good old fashioned tizwit (moonshine made from prickley pear cactus)

like the fair emily said:

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You asked for my thoughts, so I'm giving them immediately, not having read the comment thread.

You are using a hideous tragedy to vent about your own. That's a legitimate use, as long as you know that's what you're doing.

I'm neither a complete outcast, as you were forced to be, nor one who wholly fits. The story of my life is that I truly NEVER fit, not even into the stereotype of "the outcast". I don't know how I feel about what happened at VT. It reminds me of Columbine, but simultaneously does not. I haven't been paying attention to much of the TV news about it all (I rarely do, frankly). My impression of it from what I've read online is that it's too early for us to really know jack shit about it all. It sounds to me like he was a disturbed dude, but there are tons of disturbed dudes who don't go on rampages. What do you make of someone who freaks in that particular way when the vast majority just don't?

He was both a foreigner and also not one. That's about as rough as it gets, and this is most certainly not an easy society to come to as an eight year old, yet most who do it manage in their own way. They don't mow down 30-some classmates and then off themselves.

What adolescent (and post-adolescents) don't struggle with their own rages? Even "the cool kids", if you get to know them well enough, will show that they also feel rage over something or other. There are degrees of all of this, of course. You, MB, from the sounds of it, got about the nastiest hand that usually gets dealt. I didn't get anything like that, but I still know what it's like not to fit.

I don't know how I feel.

You asked for my thoughts.

- oddjob

7:53 PM  
Blogger Phydeaux Speaks said...

Well said, MB (and those who commented before me). I am of the pedigreed mongrel "family" and also a loner. I don't suppose we will ever know just what caused the silicon ship in the young man in Blacksburg to overload, but, as you say, that won't stop anyone who can force their way in front of a camera (or microphone) that is attached to a transmitter from spouting the latest bit of gory or banal trivia. In my own peculiar non-religious and agnostic way, I 'pray' for the day when humans will finally be able to erase the concept of other from the collective mind.

8:09 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

When they talk about the guy being a "loner", I think it causes all of us who value our privacy to cringe a little. I know I did. Having been born on the "wrong side of the track" I always felt left out and not exactly good enough. Being poor as a little kid and being the new kid in school every few months is a bitch. So you feel more comfortable being away from the critics. I did. Happily I could be my own best friend and keep my sanity. Today I sure am glad it worked out that way because I am very content to be alone. I prefer the company of nature and creatures over the company of most people.

Am I a loner? Maybe but that's just fine by me. I couldn't harm a person or a creature if my life depended on it. So I'm okay.
And by the way, so are you Minstrell Boy. :)

4:12 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

loner is fine, we are what we are. illness caused this person to cross the line.

he was sick. mental illness is a physical illness. like cancer.

i am begining to accept that i never fit in, never will i guess. i don't want to at this point.
i like myself as is, most days.

people say i am odd, but kind. that's ok by me.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Mimus Pauly said...

I've been a loner for as long as I can remember. Spent a good deal of my grade school years trying to make friends, but wasn't really good at it. I look back on it now, and I believe we were all just kids who didn't know any better, but by the 11th grade my resentment over being singled out, ostracized, isolated, whatever, just reached the point where it took over every aspect of my life.

I had fantasies of taking some of my classmates lives. Lots of them. Graduation Day put a damper on those particular fantasies -- I no longer had to deal with these kids -- but the resentment lingered for years, well into my 20s. I had a huge chip on my shoulder. Got it knocked off a few times, too, which only made things worse.

But by the time I reached 30, I'd found effective ways to let that type of anger go. I'd also moved to another state, where people are genuinely friendlier than those in the one I'm from. That helped tremendously.

In all that time, I never once acted on my murderous fantasies. I definitely wanted to. But I never did. I was angry, not disturbed. This Cho kid had to have been disturbed on top of being a loner. It seems to me like he wanted to stay disturbed. That's the part I don't understand. It's like wanting to live with cancer...

1:01 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

Sorry I'm late to this but it's been one of those weeks.

I actually recall (perhaps) commenting a few nights ago at Shakesville about being a loner myself. Always have been and always will be. Loners get a bad rap... just like atheists.

The media will look for any excuse in the world to try and justify something by dredging up such crap as this.

4:37 PM  
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3:56 PM  

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