Monday, June 3, 2013

It Was the Third of June...

Overnight the sunny weekend turned into more thunderstorms and heavy rain, which still falls as the dawn arrives this morning. Best thing I watched in a long time was the documentary, "Buck," about the horseman Buck Brannaman. I strongly recommend that you rent it. It is a portrait of a man who has found his calling, and the genius within himself, which consists of an openness to animals, and particularly horses. It's something he had as a little boy, during a time when he was controlled by a very warped, angry father and suffered abuse which somehow didn't break him, or warp him, but contributed to his empathy and ability to see deeply into animals and, for that matter, people. Buck has judgement, and a perspective. I found it heartening to discover this fine individual, alive and well, in today's world. There is so much pointing to a more negative way of seeing the drift of things.

As night fell I was watching the pretty good police procedural "Killing." Commercials from time to time hyped an upcoming show airing tonight on something called "ABC Family." The preview featured a camera shot from underwater of a teenage boy's face, also underwater. First you might think he's swimming. Then you realize he's being drowned, his head held underwater by another man. The shot goes on and on, until at the end he is indeed drowned. It was little short of snuff porn. You and your "family" can all watch it together this evening, if you want to expose yourself and your kids to such a thing. There's also some "weirwolves" involved in the deal. Maybe that's supposed to make the murder ok.

Meanwhile, on "Killing" a teen boy who's been searching for his missing girlfriend for the whole show figures out where she is, but before he can get to her, behind a locked door, her abductor catches him and stabs him to death. The murder is calculated, brutal, and another "snuff." That it happens off screen matters little. I switched the channel sort of randomly, and found myself watching some John Stossel episode, people on a stage with an audience, Stossel the kind of "moderator" figure. The "guests" were making an argument about how social programs such as medicare and social security are somehow bad for the "moral fiber" of our citizens. What we need, one of them said, was a more intimate, local kind of social security, where an administrator could look a recipient in the eye when the recipient was discovered to have bought a TV with his dole. Another panelist asserted that "most" government aid doesn't go to poor people anyways, but to middle class and rich people. "The last things to be cut are social security and medicaid" he said. Presumably snuffing the last flickers of empathy in the audience of just plain middle class white folks who were watching the presentation.

(Note to the newbies. When you hear people talking about the "moral fibre" of the American people, you are hearing paternalism in action. Who appointed these yuppie libertarians the judges of our "moral fibre." No doubt these boys all went to good colleges like Harvard and Yale. So what? Mitt Romney went to Harvard too. As we saw in horrible detail during the last election, he apparently didn't learn a fucking thing there.)

I turned it off at that point. It was bedtime. I shut my eyes and remembered Buck and his daughter Reata doing rope tricks for a crowd. When Buck was five or six he had a pet bull calf. He rode the calf, and even saddled him. One day, out of the blue, Buck's father took him out to the barn, shot the calf between the eyes, and made Buck butcher him. This story is one of the "deleted scenes" on the video. I'll bet Buck didn't particularly want such cruelty to be part of the central story of the movie, even if it was probably an important moment in his life in the sense that it was a trauma and a thing for his heart to deal with.

There's a lot about Buck Brannaman on the google. He makes his living giving clinics on horse riding and training.

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