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|"Olive Drab & Shocking Pink" or "Chess-Players & Globaliz (standard:other, 1924 words)|
|Author: Paddy65||Added: Apr 25 2004||Views/Reads: 1843/1099||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A personal essay about coffee shops, students groups, and how I am becoming a curmudgeon.|
A chess playing duo, one pony-tailed, the other innocently adorned with a collared shirt, thick glasses (thick, not in ironic black frames, but in magnified lenses) spoke with a duo of globalization-conscious girls a table over. They conversed the finer points of social action and how it manifests itself into student groups. In fact, the shorthaired chess player insisted that his group emphasized equally “one part action, one part education.” He mentioned various teach-ins and invited the globalization girls to one upcoming. He mentioned that he had just read 1984 and that it was “awesome.” A part of me (I was simultaneously eavesdropping and reading, reading a textbook on the USSR, no less) mentally dismissed A) a perceived, naive radical leftism for the sake of leftism on his part and B) his apparent (and seemingly successful, I might add) integration of pontificating and flirting. The parties involved seemed to agree on the issues; in this case, the dangers of globalization, repression of Muslim women and the exploitative practices of the Taco Bell Company. One of the girls spoke of her student groups - what they were about and the manner in which they put their plans into action - and reciprocated with an invitation to one of their own meetings. In the course of her explanations, looking through his thick lenses, the guy would reply “right on” and “that's tight” in practical spots in the sense that they were inserted into her natural pauses at the end of her sentences. These days, I have been becoming something of a curmudgeon when eavesdropping on socially conscious, reform types. I would often think, “get over your self-righteous selves” and deduct that these people espoused these views for the sake of the elevation of their own images as nonconformist radicals rather than for the sake of the world at large. These very thoughts emerged in this case as well, but after a while (I had scarcely been able to actually read anymore), I realized that perhaps I was being too disdainful and dismissive. The further I thought about it, I began to understand the dangerous implications of this line of thought in regards to my own outlook and demeanor as a whole. A part of my initial judgments of these people stemmed from the fact that in previously periods of my life I had “been there, done that.” For a brief period, I purported to be some sort of leftist idealist who often decried the corruption of our Motherland. I was completely reactionary and unobjectively perceived everything, and I mean everything, done by our leaders, especially those of right-wing, WASP persuasion, was done exclusively for their personal gain. I even fashioned myself a Marxist, calling for the eradication of money and the greed and corruption that accompanies it. The thing was, I really didn't know very much about socialism or the differences between it and communism. I had once bought a book entitled “The Marxists” by C. Wright Mills for three dollars at this dusty and hip second-hand book/ clothing store. It had this cool drawing of Marx on the front, complete with cool-looking long hair and beard. I leafed through it, pretty much only paying attention to excerpts of Marx's more dogmatic exhortations of worker revolution and overcoming the greedy bourgeois owner-exploiters, but didn't really digest any analysis of specific, complex Marxian tenets the book offered. In this manner, I didn't even get half way. I also read about Abby Hoffman and read “Steal This Book,” but he and his cleverly titled book offered nothing more than fuck-the-system theatrics. The point is I claimed to be this big leftist, but really didn't have any real knowledge of the issues accept what can be derived from the David Crosby song, “Almost Cut My Hair.” I was ignorant of any prevailing trends in the way of social action or any of the day's prominent figures. I just had long hair, smoked weed and played a guitar, just like Crosby. I remember with embarrassment, on certain occasions, where, in the course of discussions with people, I had passionately denounced or championed certain things, without really knowing much about them. Time and edification have revealed to me, that my facts were not always straight. And, now it is apparent to me, that I was pretty much faking it. I mean I generally believed what I was saying, but said it more for the sake of appearing to be like Abbey Click here to read the rest of this story (114 more lines)
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