Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A trip to hell and back

Dear Hannah,

Last night I dreamed I ate a poisonous flower with a hundred soft white petals.  Everyone was doing it, so it seemed reasonable to go along with them.  And our reasoning for eating it was simple: we were all going to die anyway -- everyone dies, you know -- and this was the easiest way to get it over with.  And so I did it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to celebrate International Women's Day

Dear Hannah,

Of all the classes I took in college, English 201 and Health stand out the most; and the reason they stand out the most is because in English we spent nearly all our time reading "minorities," and in health class we spent nearly all our time learning about venereal diseases.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tyler Durden

Dear Hannah,

Right after Fight Club came out on DVD, my friends and I used to get high on all kinds of things and throw punches on the streets of Italy.  We had rules, because we were too sensible to get hurt too badly: no punches to the face, and nothing below the belt.  If someone wanted out, we let him.  I don't remember anyone fighting any girls, which would have been embarrassing for both parties whether the man won or lost.  But the point of the matter was that however ridiculous Fight Club looks now, it had an impact on nearly every young man who saw it.  I saw it with nerds who ranted and raved about it in between matches of Starcraft. I pretended it with punks and stoners who acted it under the influence of ecstasy and cocaine.  Nobody who admired the film, from the jocks to the preps to the band kids, was anything remotely like Tyler Durden.  Everyone, on some level, wanted to be like him.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Some thoughts on The Black Eyed Peas

Dear Hannah,

Ever since the 1970's at the very earliest, popular culture has run in 20-year cycles.  I'm now old enough to have consciously experienced three of them. Nobody in the 1960's was interested in the 1940's, but in the 1980's everyone was excited about the 60's.  In in the 2000's, which is the cultural revival I experienced the most personally, everyone went wild for the 80's.  A period of twenty years gives a fad exactly enough time to be unpopular: just enough unpopularity to mean none of the kids will have heard it, and exactly enough time to remind 30 year-olds about the times they used to be interesting -- a perfect recipe for a band to go on an embarrassing reunion tour.  In ten years everyone will go wild for the 2000's, which means I should probably try to start explaining The Black Eyed Peas.  I can't do anything to explain emo.  Aside from a few isolated hits, the whole of it was garbage. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

All romance is tragic

Dear Hannah,

In my last letter I told you that I was born with a certain set of inclinations.  What I didn't tell you is that not all of them have changed.  I stopped dreaming about war when I was about sixteen years old.  My dreams about romance have only gotten more complex.  Truth be told I would have preferred it the other way around. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Concerning war and women

Dear Hannah,

When I was a young boy, there were really two things that occupied my mind for the majority of the day.  The first was war, and the second was women.  Depending on the day, their priority might have been reversed.