Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Comedic Voice Is So 1995

I've been doing comedy for ten years and the entire time I've been slinging jokes I've also been simultaneously chasing my so called "comedic voice". My forbearers insist that the comedic voice is real, that it's the light at the end of the tunnel: Keep going, Hannah. Time and painful bombing will breed your voice, just wait, it's coming. But It's not coming. I think that maybe years ago the artist's voice was attainable but originality died with dial up Internet.

I've reached the disappointing conclusion that finding my comedic voice in 2017 is untenable. How can I separate my thoughts and opinions from the schizophrenic manic environment I live in? I go on Twitter and I am bombarded with people telling me what things REALLY ARE and I think: Yes! I agree with this! And I agree with it SO much that I take this stranger's opinion and I integrate into my own catalogue of arguments, then I purport it as my own opinion and perhaps even use this exact anecdote in real life conversations and proceed to not even admit that I stole this thought from an avatar online. And then eventually I'll use their point so often in my daily existence that I forget that it's just something I read on the Internet and before I know it I'm running around with entire world view that isn't even my own but rather the gospel of some adopted hive mind. What I'm trying to say is, I want to be a feminist but I don't know how. 

Feminism messes with me because I love it so much. I've switched my need for validation from men to seeking the approval of righteous, progressive woman. My neediness is a shape shifter. 

I want to be a feminist but more than that I want feminists to like me. I want to be a part of this cool new party that has taken over comedy, cities, bars, relationships, blogs and t shirts. Let me in. I want feminists to accept me and validate me as someone who is contributing to the cause and not some Betty Crocker abomination, some sad Lauren Southern mole laying waste, trapped and in denial in some dark enabling, sexist abyss. That's not me! I'm one of you but I'm scared I'm not good enough. There are so many bad ass woman out there, on the Internet at least, that yell and scream and joke and are poignant that I'm insecure in my voice as a woman too. I've read the books. I've lived the life. I was blind once but now I see- intersectionally! Is that a cool thought? Should I tweet that? If I don't get three likes in five minutes I will delete it. 

I agree with mostly everything the modern feminist perspective is pushing yet every time I want to tweet something from a feminist reach I hold back, I'm unsure, I doubt my veracity, my worth.  Is my feminist perspective even relevant if I'm not willing to voice it when every new news story breaks? I'm intimidated by feminist comedians because I admire their intelligence, boldness and strength but then in turn deem myself not strong enough or equipped enough to add to the cause. I never get in fights on the internet. The confidence it takes to reply to trolls astounds me. HOW CAN I BE A FEMINIST IF I'M AFRAID OF CONFRONTATION? I hate myself. I'm not worthy to even read Reductress.

I wish I never had a teacher in my life. It would be better for me if I was illiterate. I wish I never admired another stand up comedian. I wish the Internet didn't exist and I all I had was some shitty life as a mom and I'd hit the club on the weekends and all my opinions were my own and I never concisely or subconsciously tried to appease the cool feminist comedians, or the cute headliners or old audience members or club owners or my own dead moms ghost. I wish I could be a blank slate and think for myself. But I can't. I'm weak.  Fill me up. Tell me which new man to hate, what new comedy special is the second coming. I don't have my own opinions. My entire personality is a retweet.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The House That Men Built

Men built civilization. From the first spark of fire to towering skyscrapers, men have willed themselves to create this kingdom we all call home. Of course, woman have always been here too, but we've been more of the fuel to their fire, more a casualty or an obstacle or an idol for men to be energized by then a contributing force to the systems of world today. That sounds insulting to woman, but that's what the patriarchy is, right? A world created, dictated by and controlled by men, a system of domination, the oppressed and the oppressor, David and Goliath, except in Earth's case, David has yet to win. I put my money on Goliath.

This is a man's world. That's what I've always been told, and given how angry everyone is at men right now, I hearken to believe it's true. The world is crazy and we need someone to blame, and a lot of woman, myself included, are angry. We blame men, and I don't think we are wrong. But I'm also not surprised. The violent drive to create, to dominate, to control that is evidenced in men and mankind, while harmful, toxic and brutal, are the same qualities that have lifted humanity from the stone ages, through to the the dark ages, then to the industrial revolution and now into the present day technological revolution. Toxic masculinity built civilization and it's a remarkable civilization. It's a grand world fraught with many problems and flaws, but brimming with sophistication, opportunity, invention, poetry and potential.  This world never stops building, because I don't think it really knows how to stop- men/the patriarchy/western culture- doesn't know how to stop. It just keeps dominating. It wants more.  Always. And if it weren't for this tireless, albeit scary hunger, we wouldn't be where we are right now: richer than we've ever been, healthier than we've ever been, more educated than we've ever been, and perhaps because of all this, also more psychically fucked up than we've ever been. 

While many people are writing think pieces about the devastating actions of several men, we know, we all know, that this shadow side of men is and always has been ever present. The ubiquity of it is is not an excuse for deviancy, but deviancy is part and parcel of being human, there is no good with out bad, there is no light with out dark, there is so consent with out rape. I am troubled by all the things coming out in the news now, but I am not surprised. Humans are flawed, messed up, terrible, hurtful, selfish, corrupt, and it's hard to believe, but yes even famous people who create amazing art, are not perfect, in fact are very bad, even when they pretend to not be, or perhaps especially when they pretend not to be.

I am not surprised that the manly seed, that thing in a man that is locked in his psyche, that began millions of years ago, that catalyzing push that terrorized aboriginals, that created and destroyed, created and destroyed their own societies and empires, is still poking it's repulsive but impressive head in 2017. Of course it is. If the grossness in men had been done away with before now, we may not be here at all, we may have all stopped trying, given up, let some bird flu Ebola type disease take us all over. Of course Louis CK jerked off in front of woman who did not want him to, I'm amazed that's all he did. I'm amazed he was able to stifle his schizo male demons enough to not jerk off in front of all of us at his comedy shows every single time he stepped on stage.

That we think we can destroy the qualities of men we don't like by creating spectacles on social media about men being monsters and then erase millions of years of evolution is naive at best. We cannot cut out the violent qualities inherent in all men like an unsightly a mole, like it's a bad hair cut we just have to grow out of. The violent impulse that we so loath and want to shake out of our men today is the same impulse that built the world, and while it needs to be checked and put in balance, I don't believe it's possible to re program the male psyche all at once. Men have been rewarded for centuries for being murderous and psychotic, domineering and apathetic, and just because society is shining a light on it now, just because we are now starting to diagnose the problem, does not mean we have a solution, or that there is one. How do we undo human nature? I find it hard enough to quit coffee.

People are calling this Weinstein stuff a watershed moment, but just because you say it is, doesn't mean anything will change. America is lied to by catchy headlines, by a hypocritical,  manipulative media and public personalities that espouse any trendy platform if it benefits them personally. Just because people say change is happening, doesn't mean it is. Change is a catch phrase. Just words, like Just do it or I'm loving it. It doesn't mean anything until I see results. 

Men take over things, kill things, build things, create things, grow things, but they have never really learned how to stop. The violent instinct doesn't quiet just because the work is done, so it finds more things to dominate, more worlds to inhabit, countries to invade, industries to conquer, people to own. If we as a society can find a cure for the human desire for greed, then we will find peace, but perhaps we should consider the possibility that humans are not meant to be peaceful, that we are perhaps not inherently good, that being altruistic is an outlier quality, set against our real nature: a foundation which is gruesome, power thirsty and selfish. Maybe we aren't so good, maybe we aren't supposed to be. If we work from that premise, perhaps we can imagine a different way to live, a new way to accept and deal ourselves.