Random Thoughts: Suicide and Heroes

I’ve been trying to sort my thoughts this morning.  I feel like writing something, need to write something.

Organize the chaos of sentiments. Assert my rational capacities over and against my dark irrational self.

I’ve been trying to understand suicide recently:

  • an undercover informant for a federal investigation in Utah committed suicide while assisting federal authorities here in Utah attempting to take down an organized web of Native American artifact robbers and sellers;
  • Joe Stack, who decided to take out his anger against the federal government by burning down his house and flying his plane into an Austin, Texas office building;
  • a nephew’s apparent suicide over a month ago.

I’m not ready to write about the various possible explanations for suicide, the simplistic self-righteous cultural morality that condemns suicide or the clichéd explanations by those of us who remain behind trying to absolve us and/or pathologize the dead.

What I’m thinking about is not a biological inheritance of depression/suicidal tendencies nor a cognitive/psychological pathology, but something like a narrative disjunction that factors into a person’s “choice” to die preternaturally.

I don’t want to be insensitive, thoughtless, or careless so I’ll try to work out the ideas before I put them here, in virtual space.


I watched the Academy Awards last night against my better judgment, but I was bored by spending too much time looking into my computer monitor.

So I switched to looking into the television monitor. (Such  diversion, such–ahhh–refreshment!)

At least I did my yoga routine while I watched.

The Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin host team actually helped me justify watching the indulgently self-important, back-slapping pretty people perform their sacred celebrations of heroic non-threatening cultural/screen (re)imaginings.

Maybe I’ll have to view the best picture finalists now so I can comment on them, in particular the themes dealing with white folks saving black folks (The Blind Side) and black folks overcoming their cultural pathology (Precious).  (Especially given the controversy that I need to become current on regarding the reception of Precious that surfaced in the acceptance speech of winning best supporting actress Mo’Nique.)

Up in the Air is the only one of the five finalists for best picture that I have seen. I liked Clooney in it and the film was interesting as a metaphor for a different kind of “community” which defined Ryan Bingham’s (Clooney) self-conception, but I don’t think I’d rate it as an award winning film.

Since I can’t really evaluate the other best picture contenders, I’ve decided to make a few awards of my own. They aren’t film-related. Just awards for whatever I think deserve special recognition since this is the time of year for deciding winners and heroes.

So here are a few and maybe in the future, if I can be thoughtful and dedicated, I’ll make something like this a regular feature of No Way (Man):

  • Best Feline Commentary:  Bucky cat of Get Fuzzy comic strip fame for regularly reminding Robert, his human, that his true color is pink, not “white.”
  • Best Anti-Heroic Commentary: Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, for exposing the lies and ironies of the mainstream news media, the political apparatchiks of both political parties, and an administration that’s clueless about how to govern at any given time while regularly situating himself as Jewish in contrast to the Euroamerican standard.
  • Best New Latino Heady Heartthrob: Manny (Rico Rodriguez) of the very funny Modern Family is the Latino/Mexican boy-man who is the new definition for the too-wise-for-his-age child who doles out advice to immature, clueless adults and must have his time-of-day appropriate java beverage. The fact that this chicombre embodies such intellectual brilliance in a slightly portly, soft brown Hispanic body also challenges normative expectations of the thin, white frame.
  • Worst/most popular film series that I’ve not seen in its entirety that I might have to see in order to really pan it: By chance I happened to see the first ten minutes or so of Twilight, the ever so popular youthful heartthrob of a movie about an out-of-place girl who meets and falls for perhaps the most beautiful vampires in the history of vampire cinema.  I thought to myself while watching the utter improbable gorgeousness of otherness that the improbability of it all is why I don’t tolerate “popular” culture narratives well.  They play in ridiculous fashion to our most unrealistic fantasies. But they sure do make a lot of money for their creators!

(I laughed as long as I could during the few minutes I watched the film’s introduction, even thinking I should sit and watch so I could begin to understand WHY the Twilight series is so seductive.  It didn’t take any rational inner dialogue to talk myself out of turning off the television. Better things to do…)

That’s good enough for now.  As other deserving awards and winners come to mind, I will publicize them here. In the meantime, I wish you a great day wherever you are and whatever you do.


6 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: Suicide and Heroes

  1. Push ups and deep breathing are both good. This is ONE instance where folks must await my APPROVAL! Since I choose not to teach any more and I only have two cats who rely on me for food, I really don’t have the power of approval over anyone or anything. So, I must wield my censorial authority with great wisdom and care. I’m sure you understand. It’s a big, weighty job! As for your job change and family, sounds great. Your boys are surely fine, strong, bright young men now. Gotta be pretty amazing, right?

  2. I was responding to the prompt that said –waiting for moderation–I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to do—Do a few push ups, breathe deeply. . . .Anyway. My world is turning. . I live in Naushua NH on the border of Mass and work at U Mass Lowell. Nice to be back at public institution, a bit more in allignment with my nature. Conor is with me going to school. Kinnon is finishing high school and living with my parents.

  3. Forgive me for not understanding your question, Jaime. Sometimes I am utterly clueless. I provide two answers here in an attempt to respond faithfully: I don’t think I’m especially moderate at all times nor do I moderate well. If neither of those satisfies, or if it’s purely rhetorical, let me know. (Even better, have a good laugh at my flailing.) Best.

  4. Hey There:

    How great to get to experience your humor and wit after so much time. I hope all is well in your world. Jaime

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