Sunday, October 21, 2012

I languish in your lack of language

I've had the thought of a blog post floating in my mind for quite some time. You know how it is - you get a good idea, but never really get around to go through the motions of actually putting it to the text.

The dear Les got around to write this beauty of a blog post, leaving me without a choice in the matter. Peachy, I know.

So. Let's talk about violence, shall we?

No, not the one signified by the military, the state or any of those traditional institutions of violence. No. Something a bit closer to home. Something that happens in the home, as it were.

The violence of exclusion.

The violence that happens when a son, who for some time has hidden his homosexuality, decides to tell the family. The violence that happens in that silent moment afterwards, and the continued violence that is likely to happen as the image of the son fragments and reconstructs.

There is almost no need for violence of the physical kind. Even if that also has a tendency to happen.

Another example is when, at a family dinner, one of the more actively political youths makes a radical statement about something. Like, for instance, the unavoidable fact that she is appalled by the thought of eating dead meat, and that the very essence of her being recoils at the thought and sight of seeing those she loves eat and enjoy the vileness in her presence.

There is no small amount of violence in the statement "let's talk about something more pleasant, dear". Swatting aside all pain, agony and suffering with a swift discursive burst of polite unacknowledgement.

The examples can be made manifold. Like their anonymous victims, they are legion - and everywhere.

The general theme is that people cannot be themselves in their immediate community of peers. They have to hide, sacrifice, partition off parts of themselves in order to fit in. Regiment their thoughts and emotions in order to keep up the facade of being someone who belongs - the facade of being one of the included.

The upkeep of this facade comes in the form of violence towards one's own self. It takes quite a bit of discipline to keep that self in line, after all. One wrong move, one wrong word, and the show is over - and no one knows this more than the one who has to constantly monitor themselves in order to not be that wrong move.

We need language about this. Something that speaks for those who cannot be themselves. And, until we can remix such a language into being, people who can speak for these persons. Not only as they are, but also as they would like to be - as they would become, had they not have to hide away in the closet/corset of "let's talk about something more pleasant, dear".

Let's not do that. There's too much unpleasantness going on.

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