1.31.19: Smoking Chickens

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“When all else fails, there’s always delusion.”
― Conan O’Brien

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I was not planning on posting today—but it’s currently 2 degrees in NYC, I’m more or less trapped in the house, and I need to stay out of trouble somehow.

Yesterday somebody burst into the restaurant I was at and announced: “A SQUALL IS COMING!!!” A squall. A squall was coming. Deftly I Googled “squall” on my iPhone and a tweet came up that like in less than ten minutes, a “squall” was going to slam the New York Metropolitan area.

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So I raced out of the restaurant, went to the local bodega, just scooped up all these Little Debbie cakes in my arms and dumped them on the counter, grabbed like two containers of milk, and a Monster energy drink and of course cat food. All the essentials to survive the storm; the cakes would provide vital quick bursts of energy to make it through the Apocalypse. By this point, the squall had already started, dumping ever-increasing little white flakes in near-horizontal gusts of angry powerful wind.

As I got home, it was a near white-out outside. I felt strangely self-satisfied, chomping down on my hexagonal Zebra Cake, that I had mobilized myself in time for this disaster.

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Within 15 minutes, the squall was over. The snow and wind had as suddenly ceased as it began. I glanced at my mountain of Little Debbies in crushing regret. I’d never be able to finish all that milk in time.

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***

This all being said, I do think the general weather situation in the world is steadily deteriorating; a mix of climate change and perhaps the inevitable Kali Yuga. In fact, I was told that therapists in NYC are increasingly having to deal with the specific fears from their patients that global warming is probably going to doom this planet and there is not a damn thing they can do about it.

Of course, there are those (like…in the White House and shit) who believe (or state that they believe) that global warming is a hoax and that this current Polar Vortex is “proof.”

Here is what I think, my own unfounded theory that I’m going to irresponsibly unleash on an unsuspecting populace: I believe that a good portion of the people in positions of power (government, media, etc.) who publicly claim climate change isn’t real not only DO believe it’s real…but they’ve seen so much real evidence that it’s real that they are convinced that the only way to conserve the natural (and unnatural) resources for themselves is to convince the rubes out there that it isn’t real. 

So there you go…that’s my theory…see, I can play this “theory” game too.

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I’m not sure I have that much else to write at the moment…I was going to pick an old journal entry at random and post that, but everything I picked was so far out of the Overton Window & I’m just not that invested at the moment.

You know, I once had a really good friend when I worked at DC Comics in the early 2000s. Eddie. When I first arrived at DC, I was so…shy. I’d never worked for a company that big before, especially one that had produced these iconic characters that were so important to me growing up.

And so I pretty much kept to myself. I was on the same floor as the editorial staff, but I was from Creative Services, so we didn’t have a lot of occasions to socialize together. But Eddie made it a point to include me in everything. It started when I had left to go out and eat lunch—by myself, of course—and he organized a “prank” where he and his assistant hung up like 5 N’Sync posters all over my office. And these posters were like of the individual band members’ big fat heads so it was really cheesy and funny. And so that’s how I started hanging out with Eddie’s group. We had lunch together nearly every day after that.

Even when I would have these “jags” where I would kind of get quiet and “in my shell”—Eddie always sought me out to bring me back in. It was like a “search and rescue” mission. And we had a lot of good talks, too…probably the most philosophical talks I had with anybody at that company.

I never felt threatened by Eddie, or exploited, or anything—and this was in an office where I steadily was starting to feel increasingly threatened/exploited by others there. And it was really thanks to him that I was able to “blend” out of Creative Services & into Editorial proper; certainly he wasn’t the one who promoted me, but due to him I was included so much with Editorial that it was just a natural.

I eventually quit DC because one of my bosses was an asshole who, after harassing me, made my life a living hell for reporting him.

Well over a decade later, I was padding along into my local 7-Eleven in my pajama bottoms & slippers to pick up a coffee when I saw Eddie on the front page of my local paper, as part of a montage of public figures (like Harvey Weinstein) with the words “SEX CRIMINALS” or something similar blasted on the top. It was the most surreal goddamn thing in the entire world.

Buzzfeed had just run a piece on Eddie specifically, on how he allegedly sexually harassed a number of women at DC. To be fair, I did know something was about to come down the pike; Buzzfeed had contacted me to comment on Eddie & just harassment in general at DC, but they never followed up & so I was not part of the story.

Eddie was now the #1 most notorious figure in the ENTIRE comic book industry at that time. It was continually surreal. It made me revisit and second-guess every memory I had of him. It was hard to reconcile everything. It was hard to cram it all in my brain.

It was a fucked up situation.

Did I believe the women?

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Yes. 

The irony was: there were two women interviewed in that piece who had said to me that they doubted my own claims of harassment from others in the industry; because those others were their friends.

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Another woman interviewed in the article had refused to read my pitches when I was a comic book writer because she said she was afraid it would hurt her career at DC to even be associated with me. So she told me to go away.

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This proud “Sisterhood.”

And so you see: how complicated these things get. My go-to phrase is, “fucked up situation.” A fucked up situation. A fucked up situation.

But it’s what I’ve written before on this blog. Humans are not, for the most part, rational. They still operate on primal instincts of survival, which includes the “Save The King” methodology of protecting one’s “pack.”

And what that really means is that my purposeful desire to wrestle with the ambiguity of the Eddie I knew and the Eddie from the Buzzfeed piece—dwelling in the gray area—is outside the primal human norm. I’m either completely in the Sisterhood or I’m completely Team Eddie. I can’t be “marketed” properly unless I’m one or the other.

Further: in order to create an effective media narrative, Buzzfeed would need to present a story that also had little grey area. Because again: primal human brain. If they had followed up with me & asked me about Eddie, I would have told them everything I told you now & more—the good and the bad. And that would have “muddied” the narrative. It certainly wouldn’t have gotten him off the hook (and I don’t think he should have gotten off the hook); but it would have “confused” things enough that the article would not have had as much impact.

My biggest problem has been, thus, not to follow the tide of the primal human brain for my own advantage as so many others have clearly done.

Humans exhaust the fuck out of me.

***

And to be fair: after I reported my high-ranking boss for harassment, Eddie told me he couldn’t hang out with me anymore, because he didn’t want to be penalized by the higher-ups for associating with me.

Once again, the primal instincts kick in. On every level, all the time.

***

People still protect my own harasser from DC to this very day, as they simultaneously place the entirety of the company’s past sins on Eddie; the scapegoat they drove over the cliff and then patted themselves on the back for being SO PROGRESSIVE.

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And then there’s the idea that one would be “loyal” to the Company who they would think would then “reward” them with continued employment and other goodies.

Well: that didn’t even work out for the editorial department who put out that Buzzfeed article, did it?

***

Well, I guess I had some stuff to write about, after all.

Have a good Thursday.

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