I ended up enjoying Dennis Cooper’s tumultuous tale of a father’s post-traumatic life experience. His rhetorical style engaged me towards what felt like a slow downward spiral into an ever more viscous, weed-smoke-filled fog. The themes of embodied sensations, both physiological and emotional, mental-escapism courtesy of marijuana and virtual video-game landscapes, and secrecy and shame were present throughout. The father’s emotions of hidden grief and shame over the accident that killed his son seem enmeshed within his physical habitus – in the status of his post-accident legs, “I like to sit around our deserted house wishing things were different. That’s how I found out I could walk. I wished my legs could support me and they did.” (23) The fact that he conceals his returning ability to walk from his wife for some time, serves almost as a barrier from her permeating gaze. He notes his difficulty, as a former athletic person, in keeping his legs limp- as a means of de-sexualizing himself before his wife. Later, returning the site of the monument, he refers again to the function of his legs in relation to his emotion tied to the accident, “When your legs have amnesia, you have only two choices. You either torture them until they pretend they remember you, or you show them the world and hope they magically ignite like an infant’s” (117). The father tragically recalls the last thing his son said to him before the crash- “I wish you were my dad” – a humorous quip which was actually drenched in meaning. The self-alienating vehicle (or my interpretation as such), of video games and smoking weed engulfed the father’s existence and made it seem like the hope of emerging with any sort of clean-conscience or emotional catharsis was entirely implausible.
Whistling Chimpanzees in baggy overalls
December 3rd, 2013 by Shona Mari Sapphire · 2 Comments