‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ is often used to describe and sell some kind of flashy grand Big Top circus show. I often use the concept of a circus in attempts to explain and provide insights into the inner workings of my family. And indeed this comparison is extremely harsh and unfair – to the circus. Because even the circus as a commercial enterprise has some manner of standards; restrictions on its performances regarding the extent to which the audience should be shocked and baffled. In fact this is the case with any kind of performance – whether it’s in the movies, on television or up on stage in the theatre. Even fucked up feral material like people shitting on each other or people trying to hump animals, vegetables, dwarfs etc has classifications to enable degrees of choice and control with what you see & hear.
There’s no communal cross-shitting or pet pumping going on in my family (that can be proved) but I wish that sometimes I could just be pre-warned about their relentless show-time antics – so I can at least prepare to cover my ears, close my eyes, change the channel, boycott the theatre or just fucking get the entire show banned (and the ‘cast’ deported) altogether. The family’s a recurring theme in my blog – because the family’s an unavoidable theme in my life. And I’m arguing that it’s also one in yours whether you currently choose to have anything to do with them or not. I’m an adult now but there remain things both said and done by them that still continue to unsettle the fuck out of me, behaviours and choices that won’t cease to confuse and unhinge me making me go ape shit crazy whether they’re near or far:
Episode 1: There’s been a long running feud between my mum and her younger sister in China. It started a few years ago after my mum’s last visit to see members of her WuTang clan back in the motherland. One moment they’re all close like some fucking ching chong version of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and then they abruptly morphed into each other’s public enemy number one. What trouble brewed in the province? Who the fuck knows? I don’t want to know (just like I don’t want to know why cash is so strictly enforced as the primary method of payment in the Chinese community). All I know is that it went from them addressing each other on the phone traditionally according to Chinese custom, ‘Greetings elder sister/ Greetings younger sister, how is you?’ to behind the scenes references by my aunt of my mum as ‘that cock sucking fat slum hag in Australia’ (a loose translation has been applied here, but the overall sentiment is the same). But then my aunt arrives in Australia recently for a visit and they chat, giggle and cook their way through the month of September. They were making happy good time wok stir fry music together without addressing to anyone, and I suspect even to each other, the insignificant side matter of their 3 year term of resentment and estrangement.
They don’t trust each other and it’s likely they thought nothing of talking shit about each other behind closed doors … even while living under the same roof. But as the bystander watching their reunion and the farcical insincerity of it all, the ‘scene’ made me feel sick because it all seemed way too familiar – because it hit me then that this same show has been played out before way too many other times from the core to amongst the most far reaching branches of my extended family. It’s a show that’s been staged continuously amongst various family members throughout the past like some mass money making Broadway hit. And it’s most likely being played out right now somewhere in the present as I write and later on, as you read. There’s too many multi layered secrets, criss-crossing claimed loyalties, and corrupt versions of re-written history and face-saving cover-ups to ever really know the details of the what, why and how of who’s playing and hustling on who. I don’t get the plot but I do know this: there’s a large cast with a variety of different actors and many of them were born with the same surname. It’s the way it goes – it’s the Greatest Fucking Show on Earth, everyone acting their fucking flat arses off.
‘What the fuck was that?’ Indeed. Stay tuned, the above is just a scratch on one patch of the mind’s surface. Like with all 1st episodes of any show, not everything is clear and not all questions are answered.
If you’re reading this right now and you don’t like rap – remain calm and don’t leave. This post isn’t about rap. It’s about relationships and perhaps a little bit more. Am out in Toronto right now and I’ve read some bad press here re Eminem’s song with Rihanna, ‘Love the Way You Lie’. The word is that the song and video clip are evil in glorifying domestic violence and promoting abuse. As though the soul destroying experience of a violent relationship – often arising out of intensely complex emotional politics, internal power struggles & fluctuating dynamics between 2 people can be so easily packaged and summarised as being ‘promoted’. And this is based on little more than 4 minutes of lyrics and images of a man and a woman so entangled in each other that neither seems able to simply leave the self-destructive ruins of their union: ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts. Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie…’
Since when are long-term relationships (and even friendships) so one dimensional and simple? He hurts you, you leave. You walk out the door just like that – as though there is no internal dialogue to fight against, no pull of the past – theirs or yours, no fear of surviving without the other person, no having to painfully retreat from co-dependence … This isn’t about whether the person should leave or not, it’s about the fact that in real life it all just isn’t so simple. And that’s all the song really intends to do – be a snapshot of real life – 2 people so entangled in and consumed with each other they just keep on hurting each other around in circles – until one or both of them breaks … If I wanted a clear cut linear moral or instructional message about how to conduct a relationship, I’d find a text book espousing the mechanics of building a manageable partnership or find some 14 chapter self-help manual.
I haven’t been in many relationships. But nor do I live in my own micro-cosmos unscathed from the emotional angst or damage that can characterise even a short period or small part of the most solid relationships around me – if I’m not in one, I’m always the witness of one, in fact I live everyday being the product of one. Listen to the song. This isn’t called glorifying domestic violence – this is called a man lyrically conveying the raw experiences of parts of his life. Music is an artistic expression thru which the artist tells a story. And often as is the achievement of a great artist, his or her story tells wholly or in part the story of somebody else – you, me, that person and the other.
No it’s not the name of my latest porno movie release (as I’m still in the process of shooting the ping pong scenes – joking, Female Friction isn’t an actual movie … that I know of but I’m sure some pervert out there will Google it just in case). Female Friction is what happens when you come across an irrationally threatened insecure bitch of a bush pig female who hates you simply for no other reason than because you are another female. Empirical data that I have obtained from conducting controlled studies (talking to heaps of my chick friends over cocktails and straight vodka – no ice) tells me that this happens everywhere – from the office hag who hates the new girl because she’s seen as a rival for male attention at work to the random chick on the street who hisses at you because she thinks you’re going to leer at and thus try to woo her boyfriend (presumably the poor mutha-fucker who’s walking next to her).
I don’t get it – I thought we were meant to be on the same side, what exactly do these types of women think that other women are going to take from them? Ironically as I grew up my father warned me about the ill intent of males: ‘Don’t let any boys touch your front bum’ he would wisely advise as I ventured out into the real world. Well fuck that – it’s not my fucking ‘front bum’ I’ve had to worry about but more my back from being stabbed by malicious women who just don’t get that a basic adult responsibility is to try and sort out their own shit before flinging it out onto others.
In the same ways that sickness makes me grateful for health and hunger makes me grateful for food; the bitter crack-whores out there make me sincerely grateful for the many strong and self-assured females that do in fact exist amongst us all. I bumped into a guy I knew from University at a party not long ago and we were having this chat about old times, what we’d done after graduation etc, and then out of nowhere some chick appears, storms over, glares at me and drags the poor fucker away but not before hissing ‘We have to go, you cannot talk to her anymore’. Oh no! This irrelevant male has a girlfriend! He’s not allowed to talk to me anymore! My Give-a-Fuck Factor: – 23. Her Paranoid-Skanky-Hooker Factor: 97.8.