Notes On Attention Paid

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Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… i keep thinking about gay promiscuity, the cruising scene… DJ talks of cruising in Hempstead Heath… i’ve been to London… my first wife’s family lived near the Heath and i would walk there… had no idea it was a gay cruising park… a big park so possibly not at the end my in-laws lived near…

… was this the largest part of gay culture or was it the most sensational part?…

… DJ seems to have had a committed relationship of sorts… still, he cruised often… what does he look for?… what is the attraction of giving and receiving orgasms to and from strangers?… sex for the sake of sex… is there a thrill attached?… risky behavior is thrilling behavior?… i try to puzzle it out…

… Alice Cooper enters the narrative… memories of a time he had been asked to help stage the band?… the focus is on mountains of Budweiser beer and a bed where men and women have sex for everyone to see/watch if they care… it is not so unlike the gay cruising behavior… i don’t find it as off putting…

… discussing the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn

How, after 20 years of feminist lobbying, do you view the act of the girl who invites gang rape as a triumphal revenge?1

… this strikes me because, as much progress as one thinks gets made in the USA, there are such large swaths of the public that make no progress at all that it seems pointless… the ability of the country to absorb all this progress without changing deep down is mind boggling… we are fighting culture wars that have been raging for hundreds of years… every now and again a period of seemingly substantial progress only to be hammered back… the country is like the blob, able to ingest anything without changing it’s essential nature… D was an example of that virulent essential nature… and it is not just men refusing to change… women seem to get some kind of perverse satisfaction in setting themselves back decades… i have this looming fear that M will find a companion and re-yoke themselves to companion stupidity that limits them… i am enjoying the sense of their blossoming in their newfound freedom… H’s M seems to have done this on a certain level…

… talking about growing up Suburban…

A suburban child, I was inexperienced and insecure, my upbringing designed to protect me from life. It was not that my parents neglected me — they were enthusiastic, though cautious. But the mores of middle-class life meant that no problems — unless financial — were ever discussed. They had no language for the emotions.2

… this rings so true to my upbringing and in particular to being the child of a parent who had little in common with me or i them…


  1. Jarman, Derek, Modern Nature, p 188. [return]
  2. Ibid, p 192. [return]