Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sober Thoughts From A Drunken Man

I watched the movie Heathers yesterday and laughed and laughed through the whole thing. I was drunk then but I'm sober now and reflecting on the movie. It has Winona Ryder and Christian Slater doing a Jack Nicholson impression and if you haven't seen it then you might want to track it down because I predict it will be on the hit list of the new censorship regime that is fixing to take down American liberties. Of course, what you think of Heathers isn't going to be a big priority when we're all wearing uniforms to our job in hydroponic food towers where the toilets flush up and soil and complicated filters purify our shit and piss into water to nourish the GMO vegetables. Humans can adapt to 23 hour/day solitary confinement so I'm pretty sure a child born in a food tower will be no more or less unhappy than a caveman born in Manitoba 9000 years ago. The principle is a philosophic bone that Oggy likes to chew but it's irrelevant. Our generation will force the next generation into conditions I'd consider intolerable, but that's because I've been to Yosemite, I've limped up a hill in the pristine Okanagan valley in the fall when the only sound I could hear was a cow bell far in the distance...I picked apples off an old tree and ate them in the afternoon sun. So I've been spoiled in a way that will be impossible eventually and I'm probably projecting my own enjoyment onto others. I'm not even sure most people alive today would have joined me had they known where I was going.
But my topic today is Heathers. It's outrageous and pushed the limit of satire to the point that it was almost uncomfortable to watch in light of the events that have taken place since 1988.

I remember being stopped in the PHS hallway in 1988 by the assistant vice principal. I forget his name. He asked for my knife, and pointed to my knife sheath on my belt. "You can pick it up after school." Think about that. This was high school and the vice principle had caught me carrying a knife. And he only wanted to hold onto until after school. Ha!

One time, for Camping Day, during spirit week, I went camping in the woods near the river and actually came to school smelling like wood smoke and on my belt was a genuine flea market camo Rambo survival knife that I had polished to a razor sharpness. Teachers thought it was "funny" and gave my costume "authenticity". I showed spirit. I walked around all day in the school with a 6 inch survival knife and a backpack, matches, soup and pots, silverware, a change of clothes. At the end of the day I went back into the woods. The year was 1988 and I dreamed about Madonna music videos and baseball and losing my virginity to blonde goddess Darcy Devins. hahaha. Well, the vice principal was shocked when I quickly reached for my knife like I'd blown an emotional fuse and unsheathed my C harmonica and played him "When The Saints Go Marching In"
He walked off and me and my buddies had a good laugh. "Like someone would actually come to school with a knife and kill students. HAHAHAH," we mocked. It was a teen fantasy that still seemed unimaginable...like Darcy Devins throwing rocks at my window.

OK. That was 1988. It did not occur to me to come to school with a backpack full of explosives and several assault rifles and actually bomb and kill my fellow students. It didn't occur to anyone except the writers of Heathers. I'd gone to school with some of these kids since 1977! Do you think I'd wait 11 years to kill them? Well, I don't recall being cool enough to watch Heathers in 1988 but that was the year it was released. I don't recall a single conversation about Heathers. No teachers felt it was necessary to tell us that "Films approach humor in a satirical light and these actions of the fictional characters is symbolic of an angst blah blah blah." It was non-event.

Let me tell you what happens in Heathers if you don't care to see it.
The popular clique of girls were known as "The Heathers". They basically bully and mock and ridicule everyone, including each other. There were certainly popular girls in my school but they didn't ridicule anyone...at least not to their face, but I'm a bad reference since girls in 1988 could not say two sentences to me that were remotely interesting. Enter Jason Dean....who is bullied by two football players AND PULLS A GUN OUT AND SHOOTS THEM BOTH IN THE CAFETERIA. But the gun only had blanks....Sadly, these football players perfectly mimic most football players I knew.
Now, I was indifferent to the plot but the delivery of the lines by the cast really was in the perfect satirical light, sort of a comic book like Archie, brought to life and turned bleak. The writing is perfectly dark and probing. Every attempt is made to make the satire transparent. Maybe that's how the censors let it pass. Smoking is romanticized, killing, bulimia, bullying, racism, homophobia, stereotypes, fat girls, junk food, neglectful parenting, fraud, destruction, etc. It's super inappropriate. My mother would not like this movie. But I howled at the dry delivery.
Winona Ryder says Heather wouldn't use "Myriad" in her suicide note (that Winona is writing after they killed Heather with drain cleaner)  because she couldn't spell it earlier in the week.
Slater says, "Perfect. It's a beacon of her failure."
Ryder: "You're right."
I laughed and laughed. The characters are not 3D because they represent stereotypes and the film is an attack on perceived notions. It does have a happy ending, unlike the similar "Natural Born Killers" Winona never gets caught but she also sees the error in her ways and seeks to change by hanging out with the fat girl, "Martha Dumptruck." The deadpan delivery of this name killed me because it reminded me of nicknames we had in high school like, Fat Nick and Big Bubba and Freddy Faggot and Lobster Cunt. A nickname hangs on for so long that you cease to even recognize it as an insult. Kids called me "Duck Fuck" because they said I walked like a duck. Imagine being called "Duck Fuck" for 11 years. I still turn my head if someone says "Duck". Isn't that wicked funny?

But I could not ignore the fact that every single event in Heathers has come true this last year. I could go through the headlines and actually link to the news stories but I'm tired and my neck hurts from crying in my beer so I'll leave that to you ambitious sociology grad students. But briefly, two teen girls killed their darling best friend "because they didn't know how to stop being her friend". Like 20 kids were slaughtered in an elementary school. In another high school two kids tried to blow it up while also shooting their classmates with assault rifles. One student committed suicide in his Science class. All kinds of bullied teens killed themselves this year...one girl jumped off a train platform onto the tracks and was run over by the train while her classmates watched. One scene in Heathers has Winona pretending to want to fuck two football jocks. They fully intend to fuck her but she kills them instead and then stages a homosexual dual suicide event. Then some football students gang banged a drunk girl and they went one step further and videoed the event and posted it online....laughing in the most oblivious way. But don't worry, it's only a movie. It's...wait...that one was real life.

If you'd watched Heathers and used it as a model for crime then these past years would've seen everything come to pass. In 1985, the burnout John Bender of "The Breakfast Club" was the worst we could imagine. Today, it's a gang rapist/spree killer. Not to mention the fucking demonic bus drivers! What does it all mean?

It means that my instincts at extending "Camping Day" from one week into another and on and on past spirit week, distancing myself from high school as much as possible, were on the money.  I remember thinking in 1985 that if sending me for 8 hours to an institution where finger fucking and fake ids were the pinnacle of accomplishment was the best my guardians could do then I would go along for it for 4 years at which point I would never listen to them again. They had their chance and they fucked it up. If you can't trust someone to dispatch your teen years constructively then they have zero chance at giving you good advice as an adult. Call my number and Naked Disdain would answer. In 1989 my sober "Celebration Graduation" event was cut short by drug use, weapons, drinking and the police interviewing everyone all summer. Were there warning signs? Sure, THE PREVIOUS 11 YEARS WERE THE WARNING SIGNS, for anyone who cared to pay attention. You'd think radical changes were deserved. HAHAHA. I knew better. I sensed something that the writers of Heathers also sensed: Our culture, our home life, our media, our entertainment, our schools, were becoming poisonous. In the 25 years since Heathers was released we've basically reached a point where Heathers could never be released now because it's blatantly mocking actual events. But these weren't events only 25 years ago. The writers were mocking a serious development, a disillusionment, a bulk disenfranchisement, and maybe they thought something would be done to prevent the obvious explosion of a poisoned culture and the high school drama. Nothing was done and the bomb exploded. Don't feel bad if you didn't heed the warning Heathers screamed out loud, no one did. No one gave a fuck until bombs actually started to get detonated in high schools. And then the only people who spoke out were parents of dead kids. One House of Reps after another, 25 years of Senators and Congressmen, have done nothing except turn a blind eye when Presidents started wars to send the 19 year old disillusioned students to.

If someone went on a spree killing in a high school in 1955 none of the kids would say, "It was just like a movie." That's because 1955 movies would never dream of including that as a plot. In 1985 it was still far-fetched. In 2005 it became an annual event. In 2012, forget about movies, we were comparing recent school shootings. Heathers seems tame now, simply because the death toll was only 4.

Heathers admittedly offers no solution. Nothing. Winona is not a role model. There are no role models. Her conversion is false. There are no easy solutions for this problem. Our media doesn't make monsters; it's poisonous, but it's only one factor. Fundamentally, our communities are pre-packaged, default cowardly, uninvolved, suspicious but non-confrontational, plastic, devoid of all authentic strength, manicured lawns mowed by hired mystery Mexicans, generic, gated, lazy, lost.

You didn't go to Battle Harbor with me so you don't know what I saw there but trust me when I say it's the opposite of the Heathers culture. On Battle Harbor there's a plaque with the sum total of public schooling on the island: it was the alphabet with each letter naming an animal or object. After that you were done with public school and I know I was cheated out of 12 good years in school and 20 more trying to scrub my brain clean again. It took 200 years to fully poison public schools; they produce mass murders, security frauds, deviants, NSA whistle blowers, but mostly they produce generic conformist fuckwads, which is the worst kind of status quo dickhead because that person will do nothing when the disease has obviously reached crisis status. But it's not by accident; Public school were designed to pacify the masses, to dull their brains, to conform and gentrify them. Domination by the elite isn't possible with free thinking people and it was determined that catatonic peace was preferable to justice. Of course people will defend their iPods and claim these inventions were the result of public school and none of these voices will come from the factories that make them or the mines that gather the cosmic dust to create them. So, ignorance again is the default defense of the American mind. And we learned to be ignorant in the one place that was supposed to teach wisdom. Know that if you are defending public schools you have to find a defense for the killings, the suicides and the violent culture of fear. The exception is a well-adjusted citizen.

If you think that whatever good is coming out of public schools is worth all the bad then I must've missed the class you learned that in. I must've skipped school that day. What a slacker burnout asshole I am.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.