You've seen him on the Daily Show, and perhaps his own comedy specials. He's a hysterical guy who acts like at any moment he's going burst a vein and die of a heart attack because the world is so irritatingly confusing. I can relate. Well, I got to meet him, sort of. Actually, my wife and friend Brad did, because I am not much to going up to famous people out of the blue. But they are, and they got his autograph on his CDs we just bought (handily available at the DC Improv gift show, which is also their sound booth). On Friday night, we went and saw him at the DC Improv, and I thought he was funny on TV, but in person... dear God, he's hysterical. He's funny because he's clever, speaks the truth, and says stuff I have been saying for years. After the show, Christine and Brad went up to him and spoke with him. I didn't because... well, like I already said, I don't do that. I would if I felt like I had something poignant to say, but man, he just said it all. So Jeni (who also went) and I sat down in the thinning crowds, and Brad and Christine went to go see him. I have always felt like I would never approach someone out of the blue just to get an autograph or gibber some praise like a thousand star-struck fanboys before me. Year of training in sci-fi cons, and seeing autograph-weary celebrities give a fake smile to be nice when all the want to do is get in a cab and go to bed in some anonymous hotel room had drummed that into me. Celebrities are just like people, and you should treat them as such. But I did envy my wife just a little.
I AM OUT OF MONEY
I hate this time of year. I am always out of money, and no matter what I do, I am always having to tell my family, "Listen, about that restaurant bill we have. $606 to a sub shop?" I swear one Chinese delivery restaurant is going to put their kids through college because of us. Then there's all the expenses we didn't foresee, and it always seems like we're living way beyond our means. I mean, we're not destitute, and as long as we're still employed, we'll survive, but this sucks anyway.
Today, something shocked and sickened me. I didn't think it was possible, and it's still reeling in my brain. I mean, I know about child porn in a sort of abstract term, and I don't come across it because I don't really seek it, and it's not out in the public. But I was at an anime-related event today at someone else's house where someone brought a stack of magazines, catalogs, and manga from Japan, and left them on the kitchen table for everyone to see. I saw a few covers, and while no one was naked on them, I could tell the demure girl in a bikini eating an ice cream cone was probably not selling diary products. They sat in front of me at the table while I was doing work on my laptop, and from time to time, people asked "Whose are these?" I didn't know at first, and so no one touched them. Then the bringer, we'll call him "Garth," said, "Oh, I did... here, take a look at this... and this!" Now, in his defense, all he showed was some life-sized model of some anime available for $4500, and other stuff that wasn't even remotely porn. But as soon as he kept urging people to read from his collection, other people found the... other stuff.
"Look Punkie," said a person, showing me one of the bazillion of unidentifiable robot suits I see in anime, "it's a [type of model] of [name of character]." Uh, okay. Wish I could give you a spark of recognition, but... uh... it's a robot suit.
"Hey, wow, Punkie!" says someone else later. "It's [name of character]..." Then shows me some naked girl. Okay... look, I am not into Hentai, but whatever floats your boat. Like Ralph Bakshi said in his film "Cool World", "no
sex between noids and doodles."
"Punkie, look at this," says someone else. It's a plastic model of a girl. She's young, maybe 12. Missing the top half of her school uniform.
I am 8... and watching a preacher
"Uh, no. I don't want to see that," I say.
He said Jesus knew little children were wicked. What is he doing to my friend?
"Oh come on, it's just a model," and the person leaves my presence to show someone else.
She's screaming and crying it burns...
I am distracted. I can't think, and I have been having a mild wave of migraines for the last 24 hours. It's been a while without migraines, so this was expected. I was very tired. I am trying to get that image out of my head, and I feel afraid and cold. This sucks. My business is done at this gathering, anyway. But my wife has more to do. So I stay at the table. Luckily, someone comes and has a non-Hentai related discussion with me. Then they leave. Almost succeeded...
"Hey," says another person. "Wow, it's schoolgirl Neku-something, LOOK!" and it's thrust in my face. I avert my eyes, and all I glimpse is up some schoolgirl skirt with bulging panties and a cat tail. She is rapping with a jingle bell playfully. "I don't LIKE that sort of thing," I say, perhaps a bit too loud, because the stern tone in my voice was a bit out of control. Luckily, the party is loud, and no one else hears me.
She told. She told on him. And you know what? Her parents called her a liar. Forced her to apologize to the preacher. Goddamned1970s, where pedophilia doesn't exist if you don't want it to. Screwed her up for life while I watched. I lost her as a friend because she knew that I knew, and mommy and daddy said it wasn't real. But we all knew, all of us that saw. I carry that scar, and will for the rest of my life.
"Well, okay, okay, sor-RY!" says the person, taking the hint they touched a nerve. They aren't upset, the brush it off as a random encounter. I am seething. I want to go.
This is a dark corner of anime. Like how Christians must have felt about David Koresh, like how the Islamic faith feels about Bin Laden. Somewhere past the edge of Henati exists a small alley where innocence is the gateway to dominance for the insane. Some men can't stand women in positions of authority. Some circuit of that mommy/lover thing got crossed. They cannot feel secure in their sexual cravings because their fear of denial and rejection is so close to the nerve core that they have to assure that their recipient is totally unable to resist with physical reluctance, and more importantly, experience. Older women are incredibly intimidating to these people: they are mother, and mother is not sexy. Somewhere, deep in their past, something went wrong. And the children have to pay for it. The Japanese culture are more open about it, mostly because the rigid societal pressures tend to press it out of many desperate males who not only have to contend with the usual boyhood fears of rejection, but the strict social pathos. There are huge groups of companies profiting from this (link to snopes.com). It is called "bura-sera," and it scares me.
I carry that scar, and will for the rest of my life.
I guess I should just say, "Well, they don't see it the way you do." Maybe to them it's harmless and even "funny" in the same way Sanrio Japan sells Hello Kitty Vibrators. Part of me wants to believe that, but Lolita and its roricon ilk make me sick. Even stupid stuff like Digi Charat makes me nervous. Especially if I see some preteen at an anime con in that costume. Some part of me wants to stop her, and say, "Listen, you won't understand why you need to do this now, but please change into some normal street clothing. Most of the people here are good, but there are more than likely one or two... please, hurry!" I just can't stomach it, and maybe it's like other childhood traumas. Because the image of women have sex with octopi, while weird, certainly doesn't make me angry. Maybe I too strongly bond this kind of stuff with rape, which I also find furiously disgusting, and I should just calm the hell down.
But I carry that scar, and will for the rest of my life.
"Yeah," I tell my inner child, "we will. But what are you going to do? Buy a balloon and a can of soda, and it will go away? That never works... sometimes God gives us some challenges that warn us that there are bad people in this world. We must learn from what we don't understand... and let our fear of it not control us..."
I can feel it burn, too... she's not my friend anymore. I hope she's okay.
I hope so, too. Her pain must be ... far greater.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000031.html