Tuesday, January 23, 2007

To My Thoughtful and Invisible Readers

And especially to you, my Invisible Man, I thought I would tender this briefest of introductions to preclude any possible misunderstanding about the nature of my writing.

It has been manifestly my intention, in these pages to entertain you with nothing other than the most accurate, most unadorned, most truthful possible account of my life and opinions, much after the fashion of Descartes' Meditations, or the author of Tristam Shandy. It is paramount to me that the truth and accuracy of these experiences and insights reach you unadorned, unembellished and uncontaminated with any foreign meaning that might be imbued by the simplest literary device. Indeed, like Socrates, I have affected no style, but presented myself to you in the simplest language possible, even eschewing the device of the philosophical dialog for fear of the rhetorical distortions inherent even in that limited dialectical drama.

Rather, I have hoped to present something with the integrity of journalism and the clarity of mathematics, something with no riddles, no mysteries, no hidden allusions. All the words, thought and situations presented here are wholly my own and wholly original; nothing has been borrowed or transposed from another's work, ever. There is no magic and no trickery to this honest enterprise: the events happen exactly as human language will allow me to describe and the opinions presented are wholly owned by me and are my true thoughts. Everything is spoken in properia persona and no other. There is no hidden homuncular author who manipulates me as some unreliable narrator, no "trick" or "catch" to anything expressed here, and everything expressed here is done so clearly and univocally: opinions presented here always mean themselves and never their opposite, nor is there trecherous game where one sincere complement is followed by a fraudlent narrative, some difficult and indeterminate mix of real and false experiences and opinion: my narratives are simple, they are made of one single unitary substance: the truth. All the pertinent facts relating to a story are presented in them. Finally, and above all, there is no insidious, vitiating irony, dissolving away the apparent true meaning as water does sugar. For nothing is invisible here, but rather perfectly transparent: please rest assured, dear reader, I am no actor upon a stage whose words are written for him to some unknown purpose that you must riddle out and phantom meanings do not haunt us by speaking just out of earshot or between the lines.

Thus given you my word and reassurances, I might clap you on the shoulder and I might now relate to you my most recent meditation, not wholly occasioned, but surely made more excellent by the thoughtful response of one of my readers who recently posted a comment to a previous excursion. I am honestly grateful for all responses, so much so that I have, without fail, responded substantively to all of them, in the comment section, or in personal correspondence and once by riding my horse to that person's house: if you leave a comment, or email me, I thank you and will always promptly and courteously respond. The "Invisible Man"'s thoughtful comments occasioned some discussion among my friends and peers, which I try to treat of truthfully and accurately below. As always

your humble,


In Defense of Beauty

It is a piece of received wisdom today to say that “beauty is only skin deep”, but few realize exactly how much hatred of life and goodness is contained in this simple statement. In criticizing beauty one is expressing cruel and unwarranted skepticism in something one already loves and desires. The popularity or even commonsensicality of such a point of view points to how depraved, Platonic, Christian and Konigisbergian our sensibilities have become, it defines our embrace of hatred and self loathing. The beautiful, like pleasant weather, tasty food, or sexual release, is pleasure and virtue itself, and our suspicion and denial of it shows only how far we have been cozened form our original innocent enjoyment of existence and excellence itself.

How can the beautiful be other than good? This is the question I often ask among my fellow super models and beautiful people at parties or during sex, as we share cigarettes and amazement -horror and sadness, really, at the hatred and bigotry, the prejudice that the less attractive seem to feel for us. Just the other day Izabella was saying to me that they probably want to hold us down and make us eat nachos; they want us to hate ourselves and the beautiful. It’s true said Famke, rolling over with a treatment of Atlas Shrugged. Gillian played with something on Famke’s lip: they also hate our intelligence and learning, said she. Izabella began to tremble and weep inhumanly beautiful tears with an expression not seen outside the great masters or cat calendars. It would have made a supreme photograph, so it was beneficial that there were several photographers. My friends, my friends, I asked, how long before we all must wear veils or stuff Ralph Lauren pillows beneath our CK tees?

This was about the time I started shopping in the women’s department with my girlfriends: because I couldn’t bear to be away from them, because everything was more beautiful there, had a better cut and everything else made me look fat.

“I can’t believe you are leaving me!” she said.

She was always saying things like that.

“I am leaving” I said, bravely, and with that I lifted my newest and favorite suit off the cluttered closet door, where things, too many things, too many unnew and unfavorite things had been wont to hang. I say I lifted it, but it was as light as a kite, a new kite in its complimentary sleeve. It was beautiful. The sleeve was as beautiful as a new car. I wanted to be alone with it, to get a good look at it in the sunlight. This line of conversation was discomfiting.

“After all I’ve done for you, now that you’re successful, rich and in fantastic shape -you’re just going to throw me away?”

This was factually true. I wasn’t doing well when she found me. In fact, I wasn’t doing anything. I was desperate. I was dying. She helped me. She taught me to believe in myself. Etc.

Yet the whole appeal of becoming strong and beautiful was to be loved by someone strong and beautiful and where I was coming from was neither strong nor beautiful.

“You are evil” she said, “you’re like The Great Gatsby as written by H.P. Lovecraft.”

“But what about the children?” she screamed. She screamed things like that. The places I took her, too.

The children of want and misery, I mused, could never be beautiful, especially with no father and such an unhappy mother.

I have always wanted my hopes to float above me like a kite.

I know, said Michael, practicing practicing his putt. It’s a write-off, but you should totally get your deposit back from that bitch, because it is yours. Getting what is yours is the essence of morality. That’s not nice, but fuck nice, what has nice ever done? Has it ever occurred to anyone that being nice is easy and therefore stupid? Being nice is cop-out, it’s for mediocre people with no drive, no special ability, with nothing to not be nice about. Humans are social creatures: nice is our default setting when we are confronted with something bigger stronger and better: to appease them, to not get your ass kicked. As long as you’re nice, you know you are nobody. That chumpola who parks my car: he’s nice. The escort that lets me decide what her name is for the weekend: she’s nice. That loser who keeps things clean in my toilet: he’s real nice. If a cockroach could fucking talk, it'd probably be real nice. Whoever calls you sir three times in the same sentence unless they got a rag and they’re begging you for change? When you can be a real asshole, brother, that’s when you know you have something going on. You’re done wiping asses. You don’t even wipe your own ass.

We both did a little bump.

I know it’s easy to be nice, but being a asshole is hard work. And thankless. I get home sometimes and I think to myself: I wish to god someone would thank me for all the good work I did today being an asshole. You think it’s easy yelling in traffic? You think I want to send things back? I am not nice. I am a producer: I produce things. If I could be nice, don’t you think I would? If things got done by lying in bed jerking off all day and saying “please” and “thank you” to the fuckin’ trees, I would do it, just to save on my phone bill. But if not for my phone and my asshole nothing worthwhile would ever get done. When you go overseas you realize this. I don’t care where you go, Africa, Egypt, fucking Iraq. You know what their problem is? They got too many nice people. They're too fuckin' nice. Everyone is polite. There are customs. There is community. Everybody takes time to know their fucking neighbor and looks out for them: nothing fucking gets done, ever. And the mothers who are running those places? They are the most savage bad-assed motherfuckers on the planet. They own the place and all the people in it. You ever talk to a police inspector in one of these places? They’ll get you the fucker who dinged your car, their whole family and a case of Hennessy.

He gave thanks to the four corners and made a namaste.

It’s hard work, I tell you. And what thanks do I get? 99% of humanity doesn’t get it because we’re the 1% that owns the other 99%. All I want is just someday, someday for some fucker to say to me: thank you: thank you for yelling at me for that half-hour: you have raised my perceptions of excellence and from now on, I will be a more excellent person. It’s been and education, sir. And so help me God, one night you’re going to be asleep and I’m going to be there standing over you with a tire iron. Is there anything else this ice cream stand can do for you or your child at this time?

He was back on his headset for few minutes, then his helicopter arrived and he waved and ducked into it, like the doctors in the opening credits of M*A*S*H*.


To the despisers of the body will I speak my word. I wish them neither to learn afresh, nor teach anew, but only to bid farewell to their own bodies,--and thus be dumb.

"Body am I, and soul"--so says the child. And why should one not speak like children?

But the awakened one, the knowing one, says: "Body am I entirely, and nothing more; and soul is only the name of something in the body."

...An instrument of your body is also your little sagacity, my brother, which you call "spirit"--a little instrument and plaything of your big sagacity.

"Ego," say you, and are proud of that word. But the greater thing- -in which you art unwilling to believe--is your body with its big sagacity; it says not "ego," but does it.

What the senses feel, what the spirit discerns, has never its end in itself. But sense and spirit would fain persuade you that they are the end of all things: so vain are they.

Instruments and playthings are sense and spirit: behind them there is still the Self. The Self seeks with the eyes of the senses, it hears also with the ears of the spirit.

Ever hearken the Self, and seek; it compares, masters, conquers, and destroys. It rules, and is also the ego's ruler.

Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, an unknown sage--it is called Self; it dwells in your body, it is your body.

There is more sagacity in your body than in your best wisdom. And who then
knows why your body requires just your best wisdom?

Your Self laugh at your ego, and its proud prancings. "What are these prancings and flights of thought unto me?" it says to itself. "A by-way to my purpose. I am the leading-string of the ego, and the prompter of its notions."

The Self says unto the ego: "Feel pain!" And thereupon it suffers, and think how it may put an end thereto--and for that very purpose it IS MEANT to think.

The Self says unto the ego: "Feel pleasure!" Thereupon it rejoices, and think how it may ofttimes rejoice--and for that very purpose it IS MEANT to think.

To the despisers of the body will I speak a word. That they despise iscaused by their esteem. What is it that created esteeming and despising and worth and will?

The creating Self created for itself esteeming and despising, it created for itself joy and woe. The creating body created for itself spirit, as a hand to its will.

Even in your folly and despising you each serve your Self, you despisers of the body. I tell you, your very Self want to die, and turn away from life.

No longer can your Self do that which it desires most:--create beyond itself. That is what it desires most; that is all its fervour.

But it is now too late to do so:--so your Self wish to succumb, you despisers of the body.

To succumb--so wish your Self; and therefore have you become despisers of the body. For you can no longer create beyond yourselves.

And therefore are you now angry with life and with the earth. And unconscious envy is in the sidelong look of your contempt.

I go not your way, you despisers of the body! You are no bridges for me to the Superman!

-Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Nietzsche understood this. His only prayer was that mankind be delivered from revenge and ressentiment from the despisers of the body and the passions, from the strange mistrust of the senses and the sensual.

When I was younger I wondered just what it was that made the body of the beloved so desirable. As though it required explanation, as though there was something to explain and that explanation might satisfy something.

The truth is something between Baudrillard and Berkeley. The other people are here to make it more real. When you make love and there is only one person, who can really say that it happened at all?

The muscles fed by narcissism and exercise are totally different from those fed by hard work. They are smoother and more symmetrical. They have a kind of inner glow. Hard labor creates weird freakish hypertrophies and a gut that looks tired. Look at a racehorse; now look at an old nag. Beauty only comes out of itself, out of careful gazing and preparation to become beautiful. It is never a side effect, because beauty is always itself, can only come into being where it is welcomed by itself. We could say it is Art, if Beauty were not the condition of the former’s possibility.

The inner glow of the well-trained, well-cared for body is spiritual contentment. This is why crucifixes and statues of the Buddha appear beautiful and why those two always appear in such good shape.

I met Tom at the gym. He has his own personal trainer and his own personal gym. He likes to come to the gym afterwards. I understand this. I learned a lot of this from Tom, the perfect pre-gym work out. Your workout must be done with ease and yet focused, showing determined effort and competitiveness, yet smooth, agreeable. You must never clank the weights or grunt like Howard Dean. You must workout like you were born working out, just as you take the wine list or tip the valet. You are in a place, a holy place and your mien must reflect this, like a monk: at once, solemn, serious, but friendly, restful and merry as a boy.

You look great, he says.

I know this. It is one of the most honest and kindest things a person can say. It is a greeting: walaikum as sala'am.

We are here, of course, to blast our lats and to discuss something. I had been retained to do some rethink of a very different project of Tom’s: Tom Cruise -the Ride, (formerly titled Tom Cruise: The Experience). But it is never just business with Tom. Tom is a people person. Tom is an emotional person. Tom is a spiritual person. He’ll do a few reps, and then he’ll say something profound. Then we’ll drink water together.

Tom is also a listener. As we do the circuit together he wants to know about my journey. This is because: he is a teacher. I tried to explain how it was. The people in my life. Now that I was with people they had seen on TV and movies. How they really couldn’t stand it. How they hungered to bring you down with their own stories. How they never really accepted you. How awkward and uncomfortable it was. Like you owed them something. Like they knew “the real you.” How this was blackmail and you couldn’t keep paying off blackmail. Just how awful they seemed. Their petty victories. Their little joys. Their pathetic vacations. How they never really did anything. How they just let themselves go. How they couldn’t wait to see you fuck up. How they wanted you back, just so they could spit on you all over again.

How much kinder everyone else in Hollywood was. How they made the transition easy. How they were like true friends that one had known one’s whole life long. How they understood everything.

Tom took this all in, lighting quick, like a cold read. He gave a practiced look of concern, the one he had in War of the Worlds. Then he was up on the treadmill and for a second goofed around, sliding to the side, petending to sing like in the underwear scene in Risky Business. I knew that was for me. We finished the circuit and over Vittel he solved it all for me:

Look at me: I love this kid. And. I really. Love: Katie.

Now let’s watch Vanilla Sky. And hold me, hold me.

TURN #98: WEEK 84; WORDS: 96,342 (not including F.W. Nietzsche’s)