2/22/23: my stream viewing “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022) #poetry

2/22/23: my stream viewing “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022) #poetry

I can’t stand the air and water show.

Techno-porn … fighter jets, destroyers and motorcycles — oh my …

Not an ounce of body fat was used in the making of this motion picture …

Many male action stars have a quasi-feminine quality. Tom Cruise, John Wayne, Lee Marvin come to mind … a bit of the Nancy about them …

Not womanly or gay …

More insecure hetero …

“How do I look?”

Based on a story by Sigmund Freud … it’s all about the penis …

I’ll see your sports car and raise you a stealth bomber …

A cologne commercial …

Maverick is like me … he cares about the substance and not his status. This is widely respected … in movies.

Maverick versus authority … son versus father … having it both ways … using his charismatic wildness to threaten the world … for the Man …

The enthusiastic audience (not me — as you know … Hah!) sits in confusion … authoritarian control mixed with the sensation of freedom …

Join the Navy and see the world, you jejune Nancy boy wondering about the size of your dick …

How do they get their faces to be so clean?

Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise perform fears of age defying beauty …

Hemingway said, “All true stories end in death”. That’s how they kicked off “Brian’s Song”. This show sells immortality. Even the dead live through flashbacks and their progeny.

I wonder how anyone is moved by this modeling, er … acting …

Here comes the heavy metal planes and the heavy metal music …

and morons the world over are enthralled …

I should like this movie …

There are myths that Joseph Campbell shares about dealing with ogres. The hero fights them time and again. The final myth shows the hero simply ignoring them. Revolution is achieved when there is certainty without arguing. That’s Maverick. That’s me. My conflicts with those who claim that they are the powers that be are not pleas for a recognition of equality, They are manifestations of that recognition.

2/21/23: The Cost and Benefit of Non-Conformity #poetry

Who do you think you are?

They liked you at first.

And you liked them.

But then you had the perceived nerve to be your own person, and do things your own way.

Actually, you were oblivious to the fact that there was a way that you had to follow.

It happens to you again and again.

Because it’s everywhere. 

They insult you and give you orders.

We hired you for a specific job! (They didn’t.)

You are self-indulgent. (You aren’t.)

I went to Stanford. Who are you to think you have an independent method to get things done? (You came there on assurances you could work with your independent method.)

Read the room! (You aren’t in sales or show business.)

Shut up! Who are you to have your own ideas? (You think for yourself as naturally as you breathe. No offense intended.)

They get really mean, not because they feel superior, but because you scare the shit out of them.

They live in self-imposed prisons and you live in a glass house, innocently thinking you throw no stones.

But your very person is perceived as a barrage of stones in their fantasy islands … 

You are too negative they claim when you haven’t even been thinking of them.

You mistake their attacks as rejection, but you are the one who always leaves. They beg you to stay, even demand that you must …

And the whole process involves breaking and tearing and great pain …

And then silence … they are out of your life and mind …

Your real and close connections are free and independent people who do as they please …

And you bloom because you are no longer inhibited by resistances that you didn’t know were there …

Every now and again you hear from them , or rather of them …

They always offer a negative judgement of you.

You are angry or depressed or a failure … and it’s too bad because there was so much they liked about you …

But the fact is you are just living your life 

And your life grew to places that they are afraid to understand…

They mistake their misery for reality when it was actually an illusion 

And you actually were blessedly born seeing the truth …

But you couldn’t see their hallucinatory jails … how could you? The walls are abstractions , nothing concrete … the products of imaginations gone wrong …

No one gets out of this life without suffering … and you would never choose to exit Eden … they had to pull you out of it

They selfishly, greedily forced you to agonize in order to understand them …

They hoped you would work out their problems 

But when you did with your example 

They didn’t have the guts

To accept the prescription 

They wanted the doctor to be perversely cured to their illness 

They brayed that you were a fraud when you spoke the truth 

Called you crazy when you were the one who is sane 

And tried to put you in your imagined place

A tiny cell just like theirs

You didn’t go there of course

And then the dark ending 

Followed by a quiet awakening 

After the foolish war

You slowly rise

Rubbing your dry eyes 


Tentatively at first

Into the sunlight

Patiently hitting your stride. 

All walks of life are the same 

What matters is your stride.

Dedicated to entertainers, marketing executives, salespeople, writers, actors, professional service organizations, lawyers, teachers, improvisers, social clubs, comedians, alumni cohorts, schools, jobs, condo associations and groupings of all kinds — where some people live in Paradise and most people are trapped in hell.

Copyright 2023 Richard Thomas

But I don’t like this movie …

Rosa Parks didn’t argue for a seat in the front of the bus. She took it, as was her right. Maverick doesn’t need to be an Admiral to be the authority of his own life and work. But …

Rosa Parks embodied the right that all people have to be free … Maverick fights for the right of everyone to be good looking and thrilled.

2/18/23: Systemic A**holiness — You Don’t Have to Be a Jerk to Be Successful #poetry

John Steinbeck wrote the following words sometime around 1945:

“It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

In 1962, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was a prophetic voice at a time when unregulated capitalism and fascism nearly ruined the world. Steinbeck was a humanist who wrote about the existential fortunes of ordinary people.

The world was a better world in 1962 than it was in 1945. Ordinary people were better too, but not good enough.

Over half of the population of the world has expanded its consciousness since 1962, and the other near half hasn’t learned a thing since the stock market crash and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Let’s review and summarize my recent writing about why haters hate.

They hate you because you love them. That enrages them since they are narcissists so preoccupied with how they look to other people that they can’t even approach any mastery of the love skillset. They envy you because you are a fully formed human being, and they are little in comparison.

You also make them look bad. Only people who love can be excellent. — at anything .They so want to be admired, and you are the one who is admirable.

Today I add a third motivation of haters …. Systemic Ass-holiness. Backward and limited people, some of whom are also capable of love and excellence, and many who are not … believe that you have to a jerk in order to be successful.

In 1974, Roman Polanski directed Chinatown, a great movie. Faye Dunaway acted in Chinatown, a great movie. They hated each other apparently. Polanski wouldn’t allow Dunaway to go to the bathroom while they were shooting. Dunaway pissed in a cup and threw it at him. Polanski’s abusive meanness, and Dunaway’s rage and resentment had nothing to do with Chinatown’s excellence. They loved the movie, but not one another.

It’s 2023, you don’t have to be a bully to be a big shot.

I try to be a decent and good person. I am a successful one. I’ve done many things well, and have received appropriate recognition and material rewards. I’ve never gained one of those benefits by being an asshole or coopoerating with assholes.

I do not, as Steinbeck did in his day, find it ‘strange’ that people felt the need to be assholes in order to succeed. I find it intolerable and outrageous. I expect to be respected and well treated. I require that from all I associate with, and I expect it of myself.

I would not accept Polanski and Dunaway’s situation on Chinatown. It is not enough that the art is great. The life must be good too.

Permit me to update Steinbeck’s quote:

“Since the dawn of time men and women have always admired in other men and women, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding. In less enlightened times, these same qualities were regarded as weaknesses that precluded ”losers’ from gaining material security and success. This is no longer true. But a persistent, ignorant and large minority believe that those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while these stunted men and women admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

Systemic racism is a subset of systemic ass-holiness for example. Most people are appalled by racism, but a huge and ugly minority stupidly sees some personal benefit accruing to them if they keep other people down.

Sometimes haters hate simply because they think it is the thing to do. Among their many distasteful qualities, they are just plain stupid.

People who think for themselves don’t usually hate. They aren’t susceptible to being manipulated by systems.

Being a jerk is a “have to” for idiots and assholes. I don’t think anyone likes being that way. Most of the fools are exhausted. They take it from others and they give it back … all that calculation, all that passive aggressive anger … it takes a lot out of them.

They hate you because you don’t follow the rules of the system. They define themselves by their success, or pursuit of success within the system.

The system of ass-holiness promises status and security and delivers on neither. Real security and recognition come from yourself and others who behave with love and justice.

I have lived a very abundant life, and none of the gifts that I have received has ever been delivered to me by an asshole.

Copyright 2023 Richard Thomas

Here’s the homoerotic shirtless beach football game … the fat guy wears a jersey …

In Plains, Georgia, Jimmy Carter’s friends say they don’t do things for recognition, but just to get them done.

Carter, the only graduate of Annapolis to be elected President is Rosa Parks, and Reagan, the star of “Hellcats of the Navy” is Maverick.

Propaganda has life both ways. Art is a different story.

Cruise and Connelly are physically young and old at the same time. Their love scene’s dialogue is mature, and images are agile, lithe and hard. Again, a true cliche. I’m old and young. Just in reverse … my body is ‘mature’ (to put it mildly) and my dialogue is new. I like fat old John Wayne showing he still has it in True Grit, much more than evergreen Tom Cruise defying all consequences of gravity.

I have no idea what their damn mission is … it doesn’t matter. The Purposeless Life. Vanity and the worship of sensation are two of the practices of nihilism.

Everything is right in this story … forget the book .. follow your instincts … may the force be with you … be the authority of your own life …

I just can’t like this movie, but I see the level that it communicates to kids … no, not kids … to immature adults … sigh … it’s a start — I grudgingly conclude … does every mound of lies have a grain of truth? The screenplay was written cynically. The myth isn’t believed by its storytellers … they calculate that the audience craves this story that they heard before. And then they sell cologne and empire off of the foundation of what matters … just like the brass exploits Maverick … he’s a loose cannon hot dog, but he’s their loose cannon hot dog, and he does their dirty work.

That’s the big difference between me and Maverick. I don’t salute anybody. I follow my instincts in action, but use my powers of reflection to determine my mission and all other policies.

The movie continues to have it both ways. Maverick should let go, but the audience wants him in the sky — and the audience always gets what it wants in this kind of affair.

This show owes a lot to the original Star Wars, but that movie made its myth available to the service of real and worthwhile lives.

Just wars, like the Ukrainian fight for freedom, don’t need the flash and romance. Purpose … democracy and freedom motivates better than six pack abs, perfect sex and aircraft theme park rides.

The remake of “All’s Quiet on the Western Front’s” major theme is how glory disappoints in all matters of life and death — or at least that’s my theme for it.

I wasn’t too crazy about that movie either. So I found meaning on my own. Like most times.

God, I’m good. I’m even getting something out of Top Gun: Maverick. I can have a little swagger too!

The enemy is anonymous in this picture. Of course. Don’t think, just do. Ugh — I fight therefore I am. Man’s search for meaninglessness.

I never had a conflict over ego or in a competitive frame of mind. I may have been mistaken at times, but I fight for what’s true and good.

Maverick is a hero for his team. He doesn’t want any of them to die. I’m a hero for all sides. My focus is on right and wrong, true and false … not who wins.

Purposeless war makes minor grade heroes. I’ll take Rosa Parks or Vincent van Gogh or Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy over Maverick. Rosa and Vincent and Volodymyr — top of the line.

In spite of all written above, I get misty when Maverick hugs Rooster near the end. They will not manipulate me …

because I do more than follow my instincts.

May the force be with you … on your way to someplace worthwhile …

Copyright 2023 Richard Thomas


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