in the beginning…

Here’s another essay that’s getting published elsewhere soon… it grew out of a discussion I had with a great bunch of high-school actors in San Diego last year. But it also seems appropriate for this forum. So here ’tis:




Possibly the most oft-quoted line of the bible is the opening salvo, launching us into that confoundingly complex and conflicted book of Genesis. You know it – the magical, pregnant-with-possiblity phrase is in your head whether you are a devout Baptist or an avowed Atheist:



In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth



You may know it slightly differently. He may just create ‘the world’. There are different versions, anyway – the King James version prefers a singular Heaven (and I prefer the King James), but most modern editions like the plural. Minor details aside, it’s so simple, so familiar that you’ll always get the gist.



I could get into a discussion on the nature of the cosmos, the ineluctable advance of the Human organism toward discovery, the massive complexity and reach of the scientific project which is in a way a pure expression of Humanity’s human-ness… but that is all by the by. Creationist, Darwinist, Paleobotanist, Orthodontist – I don’t really care. What sings out to me in that astonishing claim is not the bit that, since Georgius Agricola began to age the earth, has been the center of such controversy. Fact or opinion, the origin of the Universe is a bit much for a small mind like mine to contemplate. But if you remove the specific and limiting what out of it all, if you kick the Object – that pesky, defining noun group at the end of the sentence – to the kerb, you end up with a simple statement of profound beauty:



In the beginning, God created.



The matter of what  he created or how he created or how long it took is the concern of the rest of the sentence and the rest of Genesis: a tribal history, an attempt by an ancient culture to explain their surroundings and make sense of their history. Dwell, instead, in the sheer beauty of that simple, elegant, and profound notion: in the beginning, God created.



When I say it to myself it bounces around in my mind like a ping-pong ball on an uneven floor, or whirrrrs with the anticipatory glee of a silver ball racing around the banked sides of a Roulette wheel.



God, you see, could have done anything. God could have gone for a stroll, or taken a nap, or scratched her tummy, farted, and settled down on the sofa to watch an episode of Real Housewives. But instead, God did that thing that makes God, God. Creating. If God never created anything, there would be no Epsilon, Psi or Delta between the Alpha and Omega. God would be a beginning and end with no middle, just a timeless, formless Everything; indeed, without time and form God would really be a Nothing.



The essential nature of God is to create. That is the sole defining characteristic of Godliness. If God intervenes or doesn’t intervene in human lives, if God wears a fiery breastplate, hurls lightning bolts, has six arms – or if God has no form at all – it is the Creating that makes God so. Those who follow no religion, but consider themselves spiritual, will, for fear of mistakenly saluting the Divine with the wrong name, instead address their higher power as “Creator”, figuring that that is the only foolproof way of getting a prayer delivered through the Celestial postal service. Without Creation, God is meaningless.



Is money godlike? Is sport godlike? Are cars and houses and political parties and ideologies godlike? Absolutely not. Is Love godlike? I don’t know. Some sects believe in a loving god. Some believe in an angry one. And although love is a fairly good spur to creativity, in the end, Love is not a necessary component of God. I can imagine a god that has no love. The only necessary component of the Divine is Creation.



But what does that mean for us mortals, wandering around on this flat disc of earth, as it rests on giant pillars supported on the back of the Great Eternal Turtle, swimming blindly through the cosmos?



Well – it follows that to create, whether you are a believer or not, is to participate in the only divine and God-like act we humans are capable of. To err is human, sure. But so is forgiveness. It’s moral. Relative. Human. -As are other forms of creation: biological creation may be miraculous (or miraculous-seeming), but the gestation and excretion of life is no more god-like than the gestation and excretion of poop. The involuntary accumulation of biomass is organic, a biological fact shared by all mortals, be they humans or horses. In fact, biological reproduction is probably our LEAST godlike trait. The Christian God, for one, is so incapable of autogenesis that he had to delegate to a mortal woman the task of creating Him in human form.



REAL creation is both more simple, and vastly more complex, than that. To create is to partake in the most mystical activity – to actively and consciously make something that was previously unmade. The divinity is the same whether the end result is a French genius’ vast oil painting of a pond with waterlilies, or a child’s poorly glazed, lumpen coffee-cup made in an after school pottery class. One may be more aesthetically pleasing and more artistically daring and complex than the other, but both are expressions of the same divinity. Both are created. Both are Godlike.



The writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks beautifully about creativity. She appreciates the divinity of the act, goes so far as to almost have an animist view of creation: that songs and poems and paintings are already ‘out there’ in the universe, and need us as Artists to give them a chance to take form. And I love her view. I love her stories of Tom Waits talking to his songs, cajoling them, bribing them, threatening them into existence. I love the notion that people used to talk of having a genius (think: genie), not being a genius. And I have come to share her conclusions – that we do not own what we have made, that the created work has its own independent existence. She adds a layer of spirituality to this quest that complements the essential divinity of the act of creation itself.



But what does this mean? I’m getting all airy-fairy and talking about God farting for what?



Simple. If Art is divine. I’m saying that Artists are the highest priests of my faith. The simple act of whistling a made-up tune draws us into the presence of God. Even composing a filthy limerick is a pure form of worship.



Perhaps God made mankind as a vast mini-god project: that our whole purpose on this plane of existence is to make Art, to create, to combine our individual creative, godlike output with the godlike output of others, and that in so doing we are erecting a vast, gorgeous temple of mad, random beauty that is truly built in God’s likeness.



Go on, then. Create. Make something, write something, grab a book of poems from the shelf and read one aloud. Sing ‘Since U Been Gone’ at the top of your lungs. Perform. Build. Paint. Knit. These small acts of devotion are worth more than all the moral posturing, or liturgical tongue-wagging in the world. And in the darkest moments, when God or ‘god’ is absent from our lives, the act of creation brings divinity into the world.



I suppose I should finish with:






A story

A story:

During a winter I spent in Moscow, in 2000, I befriended an old Jewish guy who would rock up to anyone who looked foreign and tell them a joke in whatever language they spoke (I think he spoke 7 or 8 languages – he had once been a professor of something). The joke was a Soviet-era ‘Popov’ joke (I won’t go into detail – it was a trope, and none of them were funny). And after he told the unfunny joke, he would explain it. And then ask for money.



One day we ran into each other in Gorky Park, a frozen waste with closed-down carnival rides, grey skies, and a small stand selling chips, packets of cigarettes, and half-litre bottles of vodka, so I bought us two of each and sat down on a bench to smoke, munch, and get pleasantly hammered. And he told me his life story. Of course, booze isn’t too good for the memory; so while I remember it all in essence, I have forgotten most in detail – apart from one story:



During the Red Army’s headlong race to Berlin in the late winter and spring of 1945 – when they were traveling so fast that brigades of soldiers were marched abreast across minefields in order to clear any explosives, since their heavy armour and minesweepers simply couldn’t keep up – they started to come across factories staffed with Russian women and girls who had been captured by the Wermacht in their Eastward push, enslaved, removed to the rear and forced to work.  Now, according to Soviet propaganda, anyone who was giving assistance to the Nazis was a traitor and collaborator, so the dormitories where the girls were kept became instant rape camps for the Red Army soldiers; here were pretty Slavic girls who spoke the same language, who could ably fill in for those girls remembered from back home, if only for an afternoon… I remember a few years ago reading an account by one of these women where she laughed – laughed – at her silliness in resisting the first rape.  It wasn’t until the second, and third, that she realised that it was better to just give in and save herself extra violence.



And let’s face it. Armies always were, with rare exceptions, up until very recent history all pretty much swarms of rapists. Sex is one of the few consolations of war. Let’s not hide our faces and pretend that we have suddenly evolved in the last fifty years into a species where violence and the urge to subjugation is a rare, isolated aberration in our new genetic code. It’s what we do best as a species…



I digress. Back to the story: my sozzled old Shtetl buddy told me about his best friend in the War, a towering blonde Slav farm-boy from a small village somewhere south-east of Moscow. They had somehow, miraculously, survived several months of fighting together: both had been too young to fight in the charnel-houses of Stalingrad, and had really only been pressed into duty once the Germans were in retreat – although the killing was still being done at a furious pace (German officers who had fought on both fronts used to call battles with the Western Allies ‘maneuvers with live ammunition’ in comparison to the fury of the Eastern front – and if anyone is in doubt about who ‘won’ WWII, bear in mind that 9 out of 10 Germans killed in the war were killed by Russians)



So our two friends were surviving in this hell, and one warmish March day the tall blonde friend was allowed to take an afternoon’s R&R in one of the russian rape dormitories. I’ll allow your imagination to fill in those details.


Later that evening and into the night, a spring blizzard moved through the area. The temperature plummeted, men looked for warmth in whatever shelter they could find – and when morning came my Jewish friend went searching for his buddy, only to find his body in a haystack, frozen to death. He had removed his greatcoat and wrapped it around an orphaned young Polish farm girl, and held her tight in the cold so that she could survive the night.



In a matter of a few hours, this man had gone from mindless depravity to self-sacrificing nobility.  He had been a monster and a saint. And in doing so, he had merely been a human being in an extraordinary circumstance. We ALL have the capacity for utmost nastiness and utmost good. We just need the circumstance to be right for us to express it. Good people, teachers and doctors, will head up ethnic cleansing squads. For every Oscar Schindler there is a neighbor, the one who lent you their lawnmower, who will burn your house to the ground with you in it. Your brother-in-law will drag you from your bed and hack you to pieces with a machete. Or a cop with a spotless record, charged with defending civil law, will shoot you when you try to cross a bridge to flee the flooding in your New Orleans parish. These people aren’t ‘evil’. That implies a diabolical, a supernatural element. They are infinitely human, in thrall to impulses and doctrines of hate, anger, and murder.



I recently watched a 20/20 item from a few years ago, where a guy was emotionally and physically abusing his wife so badly he was sentenced to 36 years in jail. He had his 13-year-old son document his ‘punishments’ on the wife, with a home video camera, so when he played it back to her she could see how her behavior warranted his reaction. That footage was played in court, and in the piece: at one point, he drags her off a bed where he has shoved her, onto the floor. She is covering her face, trying to be as still and passive as possible to avoid inciting him further, trying to protect herself. And as he slaps and pokes her you could hear the rage in his voice taking over, barely contained – yes, he was violent, but inside that voice, at one particular moment, I could hear the true rage that he was actually holding down, the impulse to close the hand into a fist; I could hear the tension in his body as the muscles required to pull the blows back warred with the muscles that wanted to release their full energy into her curled body; I could hear the homicide trying to rip itself up to the surface. That the woman in the video is alive today is a kind of miracle, I believe.



I believe we all have that voice in us. I think that that husband got the sentence he got because the Judge heard himself in that voice, and realised how scary and how dangerous that it is, how powerful and all-consuming.  We are at our worst when that voice starts to come out.  We are at our best when we have the guts to recognise the Bad in ourselves.


If we deny that it is there, how can we ever fight it?



Ohhhhh… I know I shouldn’t, but…

It was recently brought to my attention that the name I give to my frisky-fingered no-good boy-lovin’ godfather in this blog, ‘El Pedo’, when translated into Spanish means “The Fart”. And there is just something so comforting, so perfect in that name… the puffed-up red-cheeked bag of wind could have no more felicitous appellation unless I had unwittingly come up with some harmless moniker that, in Nkosa, translates directly as “The Cunt”.


So, in honour of The Fart, I have decided to just have a bit more fun mocking. I shall occasionally feature my favourite pop-culture pedos (Oooh – more Gary Glitter)… or things that are just questionable, such as:



Before you get upset and yell about how Wham Bam You Are A Man and that the song is sexy and all, but not pedo-sexy … I KNOW Giorgos Michaelopolous is gay, I KNOW he’s not a pedo, I KNOW the song means something else (does it?) but…


I will be your father figure
Put your tiny hand in mine
I will be your preacher teacher
(Be your daddy)
Anything you have in mind
I will be your father figure
I have had enough of crime
I will be the one who loves you –
Until the end of time
That’s all I wanted
But sometimes love can be mistaken
For a crime



Yeah. George just want’s to be the one who loves you like a father – even though SOME people may think that that particular kind of father-love is criminal.  And probably is.  Technically.  Under Federal law.


Oh – and by the way: anyone who says they want to be your preacher-daddy is probably not good relationship material.  Next thing they’ll want to do is get all R Kelly and piddle on you.  Or put you in a well in their cellar and get you to rub lotion on your skin under threat of a good hosing.


Next week: How Chantilly Lace And A Pretty Face With A Ponytail Hanging Down is step one on the short journey to a statutory rape charge.


Your own personal Jesus

Here’s a recent quote from US evangelical Christian leader Pat Robertson that has lit a wee fire of soul-searching and condemnation from many in the Christian world. Robertson was responding to a woman’s question about a boyfriend who didn’t want to marry her because she had kids she had adopted from orphanages overseas. He had said that if they were her kids, that would be a different story. Robertson’s response was:


“A man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations, and a woman has all these various children, blended family, what is it – you don’t know what problems there are. I’m serious. I’ve got a dear friend, an adopted son, a little kid from an orphanage down in Columbia. Child had brain damage, grew up weird. And you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child. What kind of sexual abuse has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation, etc. etc. You don’t have to take on somebody else’s problems. You really don’t. You can help people – we minister to orphans all over the world, we love helping people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to take all the orphans around the world into my home.” 


You see – children are a bit like used cars. You want to know their history. You want their records of service. But even with all that, you don’t know how aggressively they’ve been driven, how rough the previous owner has been on the gearbox or the chassis, how swiftly problems have been addressed. It’s a risk. Better to get a new one.


(It brings to mind a conversation I mentioned in an earlier post, when I met a guy with spina bifida who was well into his fifties, slaloming down an alleyway in an electric wheelchair. As spina bifida is a disorder that can be detected in utero, many parents-to-be now opt to abort fetuses who test positive… Fair enough – God knows how difficult it would be to raise kids with physical or mental disabilities. But either way, the chilling fact remained that this happy, funny, intellectual and outgoing guy may never have existed if his parents had that option open to them.)


But back to Robertson. Now – if he was saying that there is no law or moral code saying that the boyfriend has to marry her and has to take on the kids that would be one thing. Of course your partner’s children must be considered when marriage is on the cards. But instead of saying hey – it’s a big step,  find out what these kids need, and if you feel like you can’t fulfill that role, then yeah, maybe you aren’t suited to be their new father. He’s saying whoa! No way – you don’t want to get involved in that shit. `Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!


(I’ll not mention the “United Nations… blended family” comment that smacks just a little of racism. Won’t mention that at all)


In making his point Robertson takes the trouble to point out that his mob love helping people and orphanages around the world. But obviously, that help must be administered at an arm’s length. Actually stepping in, making a difference, rescuing children from poverty, abuse, war, disease… meh. You don’t really want to encourage that behavior now, do you? That involves action and risk, whereas helping from a distance just feels gooooooood…


This guy doesn’t know if the children have any disorders, he just thinks that because they may have been abused in some way, that means they may be a little weird in some way. Why bother finding out? Toss ‘em away! Bruised apples are only good for the compost heap.


What really bugs me is this idea that people who are in some way not whole, who are battered, bruised, and a little bit broken, that they are a little off. That carrying a scar or two through your life makes you less desirable as a person. That if you have been fucked up you aren’t worth fixing because you’ll never really run properly again.


I’m even bugged by the idea that people who “run properly” are desirable in the first place. Or that they even fucking exist.


Look – I’m not much of a christian at all. In the words of my favorite theologian, Mr. Nick Cave: “I don’t believe in an interventionist God”. I haven’t been – as a smart person once put it – ‘blessed with the gift of faith’.  My saints are the rugby player Michael Jones, and Johnny Cash – one because he walked the walk, the other because he limped the limp. The Jesus I look forward to meeting is the one who went to the poor parts of town, the one who was raised by an adoptive father, the one who… (what’s your phrase Mr Robertson?)… grew up weird as a child, the one who picked fights with bankers and with the heads of the Church, who liked to hang out with foul-mouthed fishermen, who had a girl-Friday who was a hooker, the Jesus who opened his arms to the sick, the poor, the lame and the needy and told the rich to either fuck off or get rid of all their wealth, all their material fixations before they could follow him. I believe in the Jesus who will take the little kid that I was, confused, hurt, angry, and will clean away all the shit that was done to him, and not reject him as unworthy because of it. I believe in a god who is Love.


Love is a big thing missing from Mr Robertson and his ilk. Love makes spina bifida man (Spina Bifida Man!!! Able to… umm… able to…)… Where was I? Yes – Love makes him happily slalom his wheelchair down the alleyway. To tease me because my wheels weren’t motorized (I was on a skateboard). Love is what makes every injury we bear worth bearing – because those injuries are sometimes the things that make us most worthy of love.


Look – I posted a link to a Paralympics ad the other day. I’m going to be watching all I can. Because when those athletes take to the track, the things that slow them down are the things that make them worth watching. The injuries, the disabilities – it’s the rising above that makes that shit compelling.


I read an online comment (why? God knows) where a woman said that everyone should watch the Paralympics – that they’ll all shut up about their own problems. But I disagree. I don’t think the Games are there to say hey – your problem isn’t important so shut up about it, but to say hey – look at what they can do. Can you do it too? Isn’t that why we use the word inspiration?



You see – children who have been messed up and abused may struggle. They may never escape, but then again, they may soar. Their chances of the latter are greatly enhanced if we look beyond trauma and see the soul within – to find out what they need and see if we can provide it for them. Don’t dare toss them aside because they may be broken. Seriously, Mr Robertson –  go on and ask yourself “What would Jesus do?”


You sad, old, worn-out, self-obsessed, bag of shit.

raped, pregnant and ordeal not over: a re-blog

Not much I can add to this. Sexual crimes, like all crimes of power, violence, violation, live on with us for years after the ‘event’. This is worth reading.

Morven's Blog

Despite the recent ignorant comments of Rep. Todd Akin, the act of rape can and does result in pregnancy.  Imagine having survived a brutal rape, only to find out that you are pregnant as a result of that rape.  Nine months later you give birth to a perfect little girl, and you fall in love with her the moment you see her.   (Research shows that 30% of women who are raped and conceive as a result of that rape, choose to keep their children.)  The “mother bear” inside you growls ferociously, as you are determined to protect this precious little one from anyone who could bring her harm.

Then imagine learning that your offender – yes, the man that raped you – has legal rights as the father of your child!   He can co-parent her!

This was the experience of an incredibly gutsy woman named Shauna Prewitt, who…

View original post 783 more words

Can your heart do this?

I was going to write about the ‘legitimate rape’ thing. But others are doing it better.


Instead – how about you watch this. And ask yourself – Can you do the same?



Several years ago my darlingest life-saving headshrinker Dr Richard Golden (may blessings be upon him) told me I didn’t need to come chat any more. And he sent me a video clip of guys base-jumping in wing-suits. I had never seen such a thing before, and I asked him why he sent it to me. He told me: hey – I got you into the air. You can fly now. But it is up to you to learn how to soar.


It’s a scary thing, to feel stunted, wounded, amputated. You feel like you can never do the things that others take for granted. Like you can never love. Like everyone else is fine and happy, and you can definitely smile and laugh along; but in truth you are a crippled, isolated shell pretending to be a human.


If you want to overcome these nasty internal scars and lost limbs, you can. You have to work harder. You have to overcome pain and disappointment. It isn’t easy, not at all, and it requires more courage than you think you have.


It’s worth it. I’m cheering you on.

No. This is not politics.

Commentary will come tomorrow. I’ve tried a few stabs at this, but my thoughts keep repeating what this article already says, only not nearly as well. This post from the Onion is just too… too… right on to not pass it on:,29258/


Pregnant Woman Relieved To Learn Her Rape Was Illegitimate

LITCHFIELD, CT—Though she was initially upset following the brutal sexual assault last month that left her pregnant, victim Martha Byars told reporters she was relieved Sunday to learn from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that her ability to conceive her unwanted child proves she was not, in fact, legitimately raped.

“Being violently coerced into having sex was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, so I take comfort in knowing it wasn’t actually rape,” Byars said of the vicious encounter in which she was accosted in an alleyway by a stranger, pinned to the ground, and penetrated against her will for 25 minutes. “It was absolutely horrific—I felt violated in the worst way imaginable—but thanks to Congressman Akin, I now realize it must, at some level, have been consensual after all.”

“Thank God for that,” Byars added. “I’m so relieved to know that my child’s father, the man who muffled my screams as he forcefully penetrated me over and over and left me hemorrhaging to death on the street, is not a rapist.

Explaining that the Republican senatorial candidate’s statements had “really opened her eyes” by helping her understand the workings of her own reproductive system, Byars said she only wishes she could have known at the time of her near-fatal assault that the female body has ways to shut down conception during cases of tried-and-true rape.

“Now that I know the truth, I realize none of the telltale signs of legitimate rape were there at all,” mused Byers, noting that her body did not in any way shut down but in fact continued to register excruciating pain throughout the entire cruel ordeal. “I must have at least subconsciously wanted it—otherwise, the sperm wouldn’t have been able to enter my body.”

“Not only is this knowledge a blessing for me,” she continued, “but it will no doubt bring great hope to the tens of thousands of women who are forcibly and savagely impregnated in the United States every year.”


I’m just going to repeat the money line once more. Because… ah fuck. Here’s the line. I shut my mouth:


thanks to Congressman Akin, I now realize it must, at some level, have been consensual after all


Glad we have people like this running the country.




The voices in my head say kill kill kill

Anais Nin apparently wrote (I quote this from the novelist Jonathan Carroll’s page on the Book of Faces): “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”.


I like that. I like the idea of the expanded life. I love the idea of courage – be it physical, emotional, mental… Life DOES take courage. But sometimes I’m really not that brave at all. My cowardice manifests itself as laziness. I’m scared to write because of the risk of not being all that good. I have grand ideas, start outlines of plots, and then run, trembling, from my computer because I suddenly fear I have only a half-formed, little idea. A seed. A spore.


And that’s just part of it. I want to be outdoors all the time, but I get scared of somehow disappointing the wife – that I’ll mess up her plans for an evening because I decide to be up by a fire-pit in the Angeles Crest. I want to learn the names of all that gorgeous flora and fauna up in the chaparral of Southern California – but the sheer volume of research involved scares me. Hell – I don’t even know how to pronounce ‘chaparral’. I want to live in a more beautiful place – I want to make a long table out of recycled wood and sit and type at it in our sunroom. I get scared of making something that isn’t all that pretty, of vision outstripping capability. I get scared of spending the money on the tools I’ll need. I’ve talked about it for a good few years now.


I want to work more. I work in the LA biz. I have the great fortune of being one of the precious few making my living as an actor. It’s a very small living. Everyone in this industry spends their lives trying to get work. Yet despite my faith in my abilities, my track record, I’m always too scared to ask anyone to help me get more work because I’m afraid it’s somehow pushy, bothersome, gauche…


I undermine myself constantly. My desires are many – so many that they remain inchoate, they rarely even pass the stage of ‘vague hope’ and become fully-fledged desires.


This is not uncommon. This is, perhaps, a near-universal condition. I’m not blowing any minds here. But how do we defeat this condition? I know people – one couple in particular springs to mind, my mates Rhys and Rosie – who have what I can only recognise as an overwhelming internal “YES”. They have ideas, and their inner voice says YES and they set about playing with those ideas in the real world. They make shit happen. They are brave as all hell, and being with them charges my batteries of hope and desire. But left on my own, that YES very quickly shrinks to a quiet ummm and finally a whispered how?


That’s the coward voice. The how is far worse than the no that I thought was YES’s opposite. How is an insidious, doubt-filled little word. And I think how is the nastiest bequest El Pedo has given me.


Doubt. Fear. That nagging sense that I’m not good enough. All from El Pedo. Shit, it’s almost dawn and I’ve been up since three because of his voice in my head, telling me I suck. I’m sure he talks inside the heads of the rest of my family.


Yet for ages I have known a way of beating him. I’ve just never had the courage to shut him up and declare victory. You see, if someone is talking inside your head with a voice you don’t like, it’s not like they have a scalpel to your cerebellum and are holding you hostage. You can surely chase them out and replace them. Surely! I have a picture of Sir Edmund Hillary in my wallet. I want his voice in my head. I pull it out to remind myself sometimes. Sir Ed famously climbed the tallest mountain because it was there. He dedicated his life to the people of Nepal not because he wanted to be a philanthropist, nor because he wanted to help. He once told an interviewer that he simply did it because he could. He was the first person to take a mechanised expedition to the Pole – simply because he was in the vicinity. He doesn’t give a toss about how. Sir Ed tells me if I want to do something I should just do it and not make such a bloody song and dance.


Or he would, if I could dislodge El Pedo.


El Pedo just sits there and dares me. He whispers his how and even though I KNOW HOW he paralyses me with it. He shrinks my life. Motherfucking pedophile kidfucking sickfuck is sitting there like a big orange wheel clamp in my brain.






Look – I’ve lived a pretty expanded life. I’ve wrestled rodeo bulls (I lost). I married a beautiful girl in a ruined village on a hilltop in Greece. I guess I really aspire to being in an ad for a certain mexican beer. I’m also high on painkillers right now because a surgeon had to reacquaint some of my tendons with their estranged bone partners. But I want my life to keep expanding. Don’t we all? So – this week, this year, I shall be brave and drown out the how with a resounding, Everest-conquering Hillaric Yes!


Shit – I may get that new recycled-wood table out of it.

On Courage

There’s a story I have often imagined. It is set on a summer beach in New Zealand sometime in the late 70s. There are four young married couples out there, all with kids in tow, hair sunbleached and skin sunbrowned, nicks and cuts on their feet from the ubiquitous oyster-shells, the nightly ritual of cleaning sand from cuts and taking a needle to the prickles that find their way even into the hardest, calloused soles. There are tents, and fishing rods, and cans of Double Brown cooling in a shaded pool in the stream that runs into the estuary, and one day a couple of those brown-skinned, blonde-haired boys say to their mums that one of the dads has been fiddling with their diddles and bums in a way that doesn’t seem right.


So the mums are a bit panicked and the dads want to know what is going on – and the fourth dad, the one who has apparently been touching the boys, feels the conversation in the air like a sudden draft of icy air on a hot day, and he doesn’t know what the fuck to do…


And now there is another conversation, the one where they come over and talk with him and his wife. And he promises things. And they promise things. And now it’s time to pack up his kids and his tent and get the tins of Watties baked beans out of the communal larder, grab the old Thermette he uses to heat the water for everyone’s tea, maybe collect a couple of the gnomes he was carving out of old wood he found in the dunes, load up the packs and hike back along the beach to the cars when all the while there are three couples (friends up until half an hour ago) watching him; friends who now know that he likes to fiddle with little boys. Their little boys.


And how angry you must be if you’re the wife, herding the kids, loading the bags, silently, pursed-lipped, livid, driving back to Papatoetoe, to Dingwall, with your arsehole husband in your fucking red ford cortina, waiting for the day when the money kicks in as his surgery practice kicks off, and you will pay off the mortgage and put in a para-pool by the barbecue, and buy a better car, with the kids fighting in the backseat and the youngest one already developing that pout she’ll put to great use in her teens… and not only is he a pompous dickhead sometimes but now he has to make a fool of you in the cafes of Parnell with his hands down some kid’s stubbies. But they promised they wouldn’t tell anyone about it. They promised, and we’ll find new friends, there’s that nice couple with the four kids who live out in Manukau… their youngest, Jonno, is only a little younger than ours…


And although I can reason with myself that they didn’t know what we know now about paedophiles, that it was a different time, I have at times been poisoned with a hot, unreasoning hatred toward the people who never said anything, who never warned my parents. I have wanted to kill them, to smear my shit all over their front doors, to smash their windows or faces, to ram large blunt wooden things into their body cavities… (and don’t get me started on how I feel about Patricia, his wife)


When the police discovered that El Pedo’s indiscretions went back that early; that adults who could have protected and saved me and the other boys did not do so; the anger I felt was so huge that it turned inwards, and drove me the closest I ever came to killing myself.


I can understand a pedo. I understand urges. I understand sickness, or manipulation, or even malevolence.


I can almost forgive them. Almost.


But I cannot understand an adult who stands by and lets it happen.



I’m going to paraphrase the Laches here – but Fear is a component of Bravery. A person who rushes into battle with no fear is foolhardy. A person who is ruled by fear, and runs from the fight, is a coward. Only someone who knows fear, who feels it and acknowledges the potential consequences of their actions and still goes in to fight can be called brave.


So –  to bring this post around to the what I’m really writing about: what was Joe Paterno afraid of? Was his image of godliness so important? Did the Cult of Joe allow no possibility of mortal weakness in it’s temple? Was the image of purity so important that you would allow one of your apostles to stick around even when you know he raped at least one boy in your team shower? What is the metric of bravery there? What is the fear? What is the battle? What sort of coward runs away from such a fight?



I was brave this week. After reading Freeh’s report, I was riding wife-wards on my motorcycle, racing for her shelter against the tears in my eyes and the leaping, furious beast of anger in my chest. Just as it did, many years before, the beast was doing all it could to annihilate me, to steer me out of my lane at 70 miles per hour, to express it’s anger in a final act of burning rage on the grille of an oncoming truck. As I have done many times before, I fought the fucker down.


I’m still here. I’m writing. I’m working on set. My life is a daily reminder to the Patricias and Paternos of the world: look at me, coward. I’m alive. I’m the guy who’s fighting the battle you pissed yourself and ran away from. Have a nice day.

Thought Experiment

While I’m writing today, a wee quick thought on buggery:

I have heard it stated a couple of times over the last 72 hours that sexual abuse is worse than murder. Which is a lovely sentiment, and I’m flattered, but…



Your child.



Or conversely:

Your child.

In therapy.


Which would you prefer?


Reminds me of a guy I was chatting to once about pre-natal testing for spina bifida and other foetal developmental disorders. He was probably in his fifties, pretty cool dude really, wee motorized wheelchair zipping his football-like body around… you can just guess where he came down on the ‘abort or not abort’ question.

I’m kinda the same. To say paedophilia is worse than murder is to say I’d be better off dead. Trust me – I’m not.