You can get a pretty good shave out of a dull razor if you know what you're doing.
he only deodorant I've used for the past year has been an underfilled sample speedstick thing given out a year ago on University Avenue. It came as part of a sample pack for new students. I don't use it very much. Most of the time (like all this month) I can't even find it. I don't really care too much about how I smell if its just my armpits we're talking about.
Most of the shaving I did in the past year was with the same, increasingly dull, disposable razor that came in the same sample pack. You can get a pretty good shave out of a dull razor if you know what you're doing. And a razor can really only get a certain level of dull and then it gets no duller.
My behaviour with consumer products is, as you can see, not very conducive to a vibrant economy. I like the economic effect of the fact that the vast bulk of my disposable income goes into purchases of alcohol. A recent wave of stock market instability came on the heels of bad earnings reports from Gillette and Coca-Cola. Perhaps others are discovering the the utility of dull razors and the joy of vodkatea.
We all know that, despite what atheist scientists have been telling us, the Earth is flat and square, held up on the backs of turtles, and the Universe revolves around it in an amazingly complex fashion on a daily basis. There's still some question about how exactly the light from distant galaxies reached us in only 6000 years, but slowly, noble Creation Scientists are assembling the true story of the origin of the Universe. Lucky for us, they're presenting the facts, as they discover them, on the Internet.
know I have a problem with obsession, particularly upon people with peculiar social failings. But you have to admit that Elly is nothing if not entertaining. Her flagrant use of condescending schoolteacher talk is one thing I particularly adore about her. Thus, when she dubbed one of her several harassers "Mr. Pottymouth," it fired my imagination. And then, when fellow online journal keeper/Elly enthusiast Scott suggested I make an award, I couldn't get the idea out of my mind. So at Comet this afternoon, I pissed away my own time in Photoshop manufacturing the image you see at right. I'm proud of how appalling hideous it turned out.
Wanting a little more excitement in my life, I rode my bike down to the Downtown Mall, which I have not visited in some weeks. I walked past the fountain near the middle of the Mall, past the place where the reject goths used to hang out. They don't hang out there anymore; it's recently been taken over by the fashionably fascist; more on that in a bit.
Then here comes this guy, a familiar face I haven't seen in about a year. John Zawacki. He's suntanned and his hair has grown, but he's the same old John, right down to his surreal deformed fingernails.
For example, John tied me up with a hundred feet of climbing rope and I wiggled free in less than a minute.
first met John Zawacki in the Fall of 1994 when, on a whim, I came to Charlottesville with my friend Jeff Brecko, the recently X-boyfriend of college chum Heather Bissel. John, who is nine months younger than me, was then romantically involved with Shanti Durkee, the oldest of the eccentric and creative Durkee clan. Jeff had experienced some sort of fling with Shanti in the past, and while he was in town for our visit, this fling was briefly rekindled. Oddly, John didn't seem to care one way or the other. Are you following me so far?
For some reason, John and I hit it off famously. He was then a bartender at Miller's, and it seems free drinks had something to do with my initial good impressions. Later that evening, we hung out with Shanti at John's apartment on Wertland (in a house once rented by Georgia O'Keefe). We drank lots of beer and did some peculiar things. For example, John tied me up with a hundred feet of climbing rope and I wiggled free in less than a minute. That's an old carnival trick that I'd heard was easy, and it is easy.
Later on, a party happened almost spontaneously. Lots of interesting people came by, including a fair number of poets and intellectuals. I was very impressed with this crowd, and began thinking seriously of one day moving to Charlottesville.
John also introduced me to his eclectic music collection. Vividly I remember this as being the first time I was exposed to Dead Can Dance.
Through the subsequent years, John continued working at Millers. Occasionally I'd see him after hours and he'd invite me in for free drinks. Other times, before I had a home, he'd let me crash on his couch. He shared his booze, his pot and his poetry. What a cool guy. Then he moved to California.
I'd loaned him my painting Solo Viola. Unable to contact me, when he moved away he took the painting to his parents' place in Roanoke. It has hung there ever since.
His big challenge just then was losing a drunken blond who kept shouting at him across the Mall not to leave without her.
ohn said he'd been in Charlottesville about a month, camping down on the Rivanna River. He has a good job working with kids in some kind of nature program in California (I think he has a degree in Biology from UVA). He'll be in town for another week and a half. His big challenge just then was losing a drunken blond who kept shouting at him across the Mall not to leave without her. He'd met her on Friday and already she was calling him "husband." This was not a pleasant situation, you could see the pain in his face when she accompanied us around the corner for a paper cup "refill" from the twelve pack of cheap beer in his backpack. She was singing loudly and acting ridiculous.
Out on the Mall I could see the ridiculous new skinhead recruits over by the fountains eyeing me. They may think they're all tough because they just shaved their awkward teenaged heads, but they're pathetic for the most part. They only approach me when led by a fearless leader. For some reason I give fearless leaders a chance to prove their fierceness. This is odd because I'm a fairly unassuming and relatively small person. But I have an evil look to my eyes, and I'm not easy to intimidate. And most of all, I'm the identified enemy of all things thuglike, brutish and Neanderthal.
A couple unknown skinheads approached me. They always look so ridiculous with their swaggering tough guy walk. Where do their hormones come from? Why am I not cursed with glands like theirs? Coming to kick my ass for real this time?
The skinnier of the two skinheads was had a very white scalp, which spoke of skinhead novicedom. When you've been a skinhead for awhile, you start getting a tan up on top of the old seat of reason. He fit the novice skinhead profile perfectly: an awkward skinny white male with a lightbulb-shaped head, a pencil neck, a sticklike build, glasses and acne. My guess is his ass got kicked plenty in high school. By shaving his head, he was joining the bullies to fight on the side of the tough guys in the war against the world.
His neck tapered gradually down to his head, which continued to taper to a relatively small shaved bullet-like cranium.
The other skinhead was stockier, rather muscular, built like a man. His neck tapered gradually down to his head, which continued to taper to a relatively small shaved bullet-like cranium. On either side of his head were two neat, close-cropped porkchop sideburns extending past interestingly triangular ears. He introduced himself as Wingnut. He said "Wingnut" and cocked his head seriously sideways as though he expected me to laugh. His eyes were intensely dark brown and set deeply in his head. I didn't laugh, perhaps I smiled. He certainly didn't. I had the feeling smiling was not something he did often. He wanted to know why I'd written what I had about Chaz "on the internet." Same old story. It's become a bore to me. But apparently these guys take my writing a hell of a lot more seriously than I take their threats, so here they were to bother me again. I said I put what I did on the internet because it was true. No, I didn't intend to change it, no I didn't fear anyone. No, I didn't spray paint CHAZ DEAD @14 all over the place. John Zawacki was sticking with me in case I needed support. The bicycle cop had taken off. Goodbye, thin blue line.
Wingnut said he was 26 years old, that he'd been a skinhead for 15 years, that he was not a nazi, that Chaz wasn't a nazi, that he didn't know any nazis in Charlottesville except for Eric Huffman, and he respected Eric because Eric doesn't try to hide the fact that he's a nazi. Wingnut said that he considers Chaz a brother simply because Chaz is a fellow skinhead. Skinheads, he assured me, have nothing whatever to do with nazis, that the movement started in Jamaica with a dreadlock-bedecked black guy named "Rudeboy" who brought Ska to England, shaved his head, and kicked the asses of the evil Mods. Skinheads were about pride of the working man, not racism. This sort of logic and sense of idealism continued for awhile. To his credit, Wingnut didn't resort to name calling, obscenity, or overt physical intimidation, the hallmarks of the juveniles who evidently adore him. A burst of humour would have been refreshing, but I really haven't met a skinhead who was quick with a joke or adept at parody, whimsy or sarcasm. "Faggot stuff" they'd probably say. But unlike his juvenile "brothers" Wingnut didn't accuse me of being a faggot. He did seem interested in whether or not I was a faggot when I brought up Chaz's name calling of a week ago, but let it go when I refused to say. He said I shouldn't worry about being called a faggot, "those are just words." "Like my web page," I agreed. Well... he wasn't prepared to follow my logic there. Instead, he told me that the entire skinhead movement was up in arms about my web page, that they were itching like five year olds outside an occupied restroom to come down here to cause problems, but that he, influential as he is, is "holding the wolves at bay" until he determines for himself what's going on. By the way he described himself, he was a self-appointed fact finder as well as a not inconsequential regional skinhead potentate. It all sounded so primitive, not even quite medieval, but more like the stone age. I could picture all the skinhead brothers as gorillas up in trees ready to come swinging down to beat me up at the snap of Wingnut's fingers.
A burst of humour would have been refreshing, but I really haven't met a skinhead who was quick with a joke or adept at parody, whimsy or sarcasm. "Faggot stuff" they'd probably say.
Periodically Lightbulb Head would pipe up, but his self esteem was so weak that he shut up and averted his eyes whenever I responded to him. I caually told him that I was happy to be a martyr to my cause if things got ugly. He chuckled dimissively, as if I was suddenly taking the matter too seriously. I felt really sorry for the guy. Here he was, probably a nice kid from a nice home, but he was a dork and the cheerleaders snubbed his sexual advances and the cool kids put "kick me" signs on his back, and he couldn't take it anymore. He saw Chaz and some other kids shaving their heads and acting tough. He thought "hey, if I shave my head and buy some big boots, maybe those tough guys will accept me." One thing about skinheads, at least in this town, they're pretty accepting, especially when they've been stigmatized by me and others with taunts of "nazi!" But the ranks of skinheadism must be pretty weak in this town if Wingnut's second in command for today had to be the likes of Lightbulb Head. No wonder Wingnut felt the need to bolster his intimidation by conjuring up a frightening image of an irrationally pissed-off converging throng of skinheads from sources nationwide.
No wonder Wingnut felt the need to bolster his intimidation by conjuring up a frightening image of an irrationally pissed-off converging throng of skinheads from sources nationwide.
As a side, just let me say that I have heard of a lot of nationwide underground criminal societies that actually are powerfully networked. The Mafia, the Hells Angels, the Crips, the Bloods, the Nation of Islam, various Puerto Rican cocaine syndicates, Mexican drug traffickers, perhaps some extremist Arab terrorist cells, a few white supremacist and militia groups, and even Scientologists. But I have never heard of a syndicate of skinheads, especially skinheads professing racial tolerance. They would seem to lack a motivating force. Who is the enemy that they should hate? What are the ideals to which they should strive? In Charlottesville, it seems I serve them a valuable service, I give them something to rally against. I single-handedly, (perhaps with some assistance from the goths and the faggots) fulfill their fascist need for an enemy.
Yes, you see, though they may or may not be racist, they are surely fascist. The hallmarks of fascism are all there (I read this stuff in an Utne Reader once):
The notion that someone is writing coherent prose about them in a new, sophisticated medium is horrifying to them.
- There's the look. Skinheads have completely adopted all the trappings of fascist fashion: the military clothes, the shaved heads, and the humourless, stilted manner of speech.
- The belief that it's "us against an inhuman other." This is hard when you claim not to be a racist. But, as I've pointed out, you can always find enemies if you're a fascist. Goths and faggots will do. Also "weak" people, which leads to...
- The belief in the inherent nobility of strength. The weak must be destroyed, and to prove their strength they must destroy them.
- Anti-intellectualism. The notion that someone is writing coherent prose about them in a new, sophisticated medium is horrifying to them. They feel as though they're being attacked by the evil intellectuals, the people who did better in school than they, the people to whom they know they'll always be employees. Because they are vehement brawn-over-brain types, I strike them as the perfect target. And when they meet me in public, threats are expected to silence my press. Because they have mentally dehumanized me, (see number 2), they expect me to buckle. They don't expect me to have dignity.
- A strong belief in personal dignity. No verbal affront can be accepted without retaliation, unless it comes from someone higher in the sub-medieval hierarchy of the skinhead organization itself.
So we could talk alone, Wingnut dispersed his supporters and onlookers (which by this time included Chaz's little brother, a big black guy, and a stupid-looking redneck dude. John stepped away too. It seemed Wingnut was doing what he could in a diplomatic capacity to resolve the issue of my "lies" about Chaz. I said that "it may surprise you to learn that, as a non-skinhead, I have dignity too." This was my reason for not pulling anything I'd said about Chaz. If anything Chaz owed me bigtime for his little performance at Space Party II. But I agreed that if Chaz apologized to me I'd "consider" pulling my statements that he was a nazi. That wasn't a particularly concrete concession on my part, but it pleased Wingnut, who was probably as bored discussing the matter as I was by this point. He shook my hand and we went separate ways.
I said that "it may surprise you to learn that, as a non-skinhead, I have dignity too."
John and I went around to the ally behind Chap's Icecream and refilled our beers. He was very happy to have witnessed the preceding event. He had nothing but scorn for the skinheads. I suppose their intellectual prowess was what he was finding most lacking. But perhaps it was also the stylishness of it all.
Later, on the bike ride home, I considered the matter continuously, formulating not only the theories to explain the events that had just happened, but also phrasing this musings entry. What was the most disturbing element in all of this?
I think what disgusts me the most is the poison of fascism I see creeping into alternative youth culture. These kids are not poor, not working class. They're rich kids on the first wave of the post-X generation, and apparently this fascist thing is now fashionable for them. I remember two years ago the same faces were sporting raver backpacks. Now they're comfortably hanging out with people who, while vehemently denying racism and nazism, are clearly heavily seduced by fascism. These teens' intellectual skills aren't sufficiently developed to know that this "brotherhood" thing is just the flip side of hatred. Do they not see that the more their group is wonderful, righteous, dignified and strong, the less so is everyone in the group outside? If those we hate aren't niggers, kikes, chinks, gooks, polacks or towell-heads, it's faggots, goths or intellectuals. It's still fascism, it's still ugly. And it's a slippery slope to nazism. Such people were behind the rise of Hitler. The hate and suspicion is what's evil.
Now they're comfortably hanging out with people who, while vehemently denying racism and nazism, are clearly heavily seduced by fascism.
Another thing, and I know this is hypocritical, but I have to wonder why someone Wingnut's age is hanging out with a bunch of sixteen year olds. Has he been rejected by the adult world? I know I was. Everyone treated me like I was nineteen after I left Oberlin. But Wingnut doesn't look nineteen. His extremely short hair is flecked with grey. I suppose the adulation of skinny white teenage supporters is reason enough to remain in the teenage world.
I'm trying to think how I'm going to explain this to the Secret Service when they come knocking on my door.
n other news, it seems someone has been spamming me with meaningless, racist email from UVA computers. And it's no mystery who's responsible. Out in front of UVA's Alderman Library sat an agitated Glenn Redinger, the local crazy man whom Jessika once made the mistake of befriending. He was muttering to himself and staring menacingly at his knees, smoking a cigarette as if swatting a fly. Sometimes Glenn is fairly normal, but other times he makes the mistake of smoking marijuana and enters into multi-day crazy spells. At such times he paces around with his head down, muttering to himself, drinking copious amounts of milk and attacking strangers with sticks.
In the evening I noticed that the Whitehouse's Autoresponder mail robot was spamming me in reply to mail allegedly from me. Of course, I hadn't sent any mail at all. No doubt mail had been sent by Glenn using my forged return address. I'm concerned that he might have been threatening the life of the First Lady and the President; he's been known to do such things before. So I'm trying to think how I'm going to explain this to the Secret Service when they come knocking on my door.
My pre-work nap was a disaster. I tossed and turned. It's ridiculous, but this skinhead thing is starting to wear on me emotionally. I tried to think about other things, girls for example. It was sort of the opposite of thinking about baseball to prolong intercourse. But it was mostly to no avail.
View an index of links concerning skinheads and skinhead violence in Charlottesville.