The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Killing Loneliness with You AKA Defensive Offensiveness

I have pretty much finished up all of my current projects so I was staring into a blank day. I don’t really deal well with not having something to accomplish. I never have. Years ago my shrink told me I really needed to learn how to relax. Hasn’t happened yet.

Due to the coronavirus thing, I can’t go back to Japan. …I can’t really go anywhere. Thanks China! I’m waiting for this new electric sitar I had made for me in India to arrive. I’m planning to do this abstract raga thing with it. But, I can’t get started on that until it gets here.

With nothing really to do, I decided to go and hit the L.A. cityscape. I jumped into my car and I pulled up the album Dark Light from the band HIM and cranked it up. It’s a really good album. I hadn’t listen to it in a while. That album came out in 2005 and probably heralded the band’s pinnacle of commercial success, at least here in the U.S. Scary to think how long ago that was…

Anyway, listening to it sent me to thinking… I remember way back in the way back when, I was playing that album (on a CD—remember those?) and driving my lady and one of her friends somewhere. Her friend liked the music and inquired about the band. I told her it was HIM. “What does that stand for,” she asked. “His Infernal Majesty,” I replied. The woman was a devout Christian. She never spoke with my lady or me again. Then, as now, I think, how strange—how people allow something so small like the band someone listens to (and the band's name) to define who you do or do not let into your life. She liked the music… What changed?

Last night, I watched the new Guy Ritchie movie, The Gentleman. It’s a very Guy Ritchie film. I guess that’s a good thing; right? To have such a distinctive style of filmmaking that you come to be known by it. In one part of the film a character is referred to as, “The Chinaman.” The minute I heard that, my first thought and words were, “How Political Incorrect.” Nobody says that kind of stuff anymore—especially not in a film. A bit later, this one character is referred to as, “A Black Cunt.” The actor calls out racism. Then, Colin Farrell, doing that great Cockney character he does, goes into a whole discourse about it isn’t really racists as you are black and you are a cunt. Ritchie really pushed the PC boundaries in that film. I like it!

All that sent me to thinking about how everyone has become very sensitive about racial and other negative depictions. And, I get it. Times have changed. Many people, immediately, call up the fact that as I am White I don’t understand. But, I do. I have said this before, but when I was young, few people in my grammar school referred to me by my name. They all called me Honky or White Paddy, as I was the only Caucasian kid in the school. But, I didn’t let that define who I was.

All this caused me to I think back to the holiday’s last year. My lady and I were at one of her cousin’s houses doing that family sort of holiday thing. But first, I must go back in time…

The year before that, at the same house, I was sitting at a table discussing the curious case of eidetic memories and the fact I possess one with this person who has advanced degrees in psychology. She was detailing how in her practice she came upon several people who had eidetic memories and how they were each very-very different. Different people remember different things in different ways. For me, it's like I rewind a tape and can remember things exactly as they took place. It's really a curse. I remember everything. Anyway, this other family member sat down and got involved in the conversation—one of those people you really don’t want involved but what can you do? She said she was going to test me next year. So, she told me the name of two of her yoga instructors and what day she took their classes. How stupid, I thought. Anyone can remember that. But, I thought/hoped she would just forget all that nonsense by the next year. She did not.

Back to last year's holiday get-together… She had her reminder set. She pulls out her phone, calls up the information, “What did I ask you?” I told her the names of her instructors and the days of the classes. I even reminded her that I asked if her male yoga instructor was hooking up with his students as that kind of behavior is very common in this modern era. All of a sudden, she said I was wrong even though she confirmed I told her the correct names and days. “You’re wrong! You’re a liar! You can’t remember anything!” She literally screamed it. I don't know… Maybe she has some inner demons, maybe she is angry at her life situation, maybe she doesn't like me? Whatever… But, who behaves like that?

It was one of those times that if had I not been there with my lady, and had it not been her family, I would have gotten up and left. She was very rude. Rude, for no reason.

The evening drags on, we eat our dinner, I drink some wine, and the aforementioned woman’s husband and I, and a couple other family member’s, are standing around the center island of the kitchen. They were jokingly speaking of all things Korean-American and I made what I thought was a joke, “Oh, you Orientals…” “I’m really offended by you saying Oriental,” said the husband. His brother chimes in (thankfully), “My wife says that all the time. It doesn’t mean anything.” His wife is White.

So, here’s the question, if you are close to someone, as I thought I was to these people, can you make a small joke about race as long as it is not mean spirited? They could have (and have) ripped on me for being White in the past. It's just a joke! I get it! But moreover, can a person not like what one person says but not also condemn their own wife (or whomever) when they literally scream something false at a person (another supposed family member) out of nowhere? Who draws the line? Where is the line?

Thinking of Koreans and Korea, I think to all of the Caucasian, African-American, and people of Middle-Eastern decent that revere Koreans and Korean martial art culture. What I suggest anyone/everyone do, if they are not of Korean descent, is to learn the Korean language and then go to Korea and see what the indigenous Koreans are actually thinking and saying about you. I mean, it is horrific. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in Korea and listened to people talk total shit about me. They obviously did not know that I speak Korean but that is all part and parcel of the Korean culture. They talk shit about everyone/anyone—especially if they are not Korean. But, just as when I was in grammar school and in other situations around the world, I do not let that define who I am.

Times are changing. I get it. But, in these changing times, are people simply looking for a reason to call out someone for something/anything? Are they looking for a reason to fight simply because of what is lacking inside of them? A person who is internally centered isn’t defined by what someone else says about them—especially when it is a joke. But, if someone/anyone is defined by a lacking, an emptiness of self-empowerment, then they look for any reason they can find to condemn others.

As proven by the life I have lived, I am not a racist. As proven by the life I have lived, I am also a bit of a joker. I like to keep things light and happy. But, when someone turns happiness in something it is not. Who ultimately is to blame?

But, with all the thinking behind me, I stopped at a few thrift stores, (my drug of distraction). I got back in the car and listened to some more HIM…

“Memories, sharp as daggers pierce into the flesh of today. Suicide of love took away all that matters and buried the remains in an unmarked grave in your heart. With the venomous kiss you gave me I'm killing loneliness with you.”

PS: I’ll probably be skipping the family holiday extravaganza this year.