“Punching a Man in the Nose”
I do miss the time when two men could punch each other in the nose. I would have done so with this young man-punk-asshole but for the fact that my wife and I would have had to leave, never come back and myself risk arrest. The absence of a space where two men can engage this way is another way we have changed the rules by which we play at social interaction, a change that has left the assholes making the rules–an influence from those who think this boy has done nothing wrong, the influence from an increase number of the punks that are now in power and authority.
The refusal to acknowledge mutual courtesy grows out of the same mentality that has given us the power we see increasing its power and money growing more monied, and Wall Street with its corrupted attitudes toward people leading the way to the White House in the form of Barack Obama. This is why this young Chinese man was able to be the asshole he was; I would not be surprised if he worked on Wall Street. The bartender–she was an idiot until she realized that we tipped better than most of the dregs of the East Village she is used to, or this Asian kid did, I am assuming, because he and his party left before we did and the bar tender, who was also waiting the tables in the in-between lunch and dinner we were straddling, did not seem as pleased by what she picked up from his table as she did when we gave her our bill with tip.
Nonetheless, right and wrong are not entirely determined by the dollar, although, for this waitress, the dollar trumps likeness in age. Other corruptions of our basic values of social interaction were present, but I am sure you think that I am over estimating what our basic values are and how much they were once respected–and I know that they were not universally respected, or that they were always and equally for everyone maintained by our institutions . . . moreover, how much they were respected in the past I am assuming i see remember can recollect might be skewered, although I do not imagine this to be greatly true (and I am beginning to have a hard time understanding just what this means, greatly true, as if true and right have a gradation like black and white into gray).
In my day–when I was his age-I could have punched him in the nose for not extending courtesy to my wife–and I do believe this, have even engaged myself in such a fashion . . . and the fact that nothing would have happened to me for doing so–and nothing would have happened because I did not grow up in a time or a place where people called the police for such minor infractions of the laws concerning assault . . . and this went a long way in policing our behavior, I am more than convinced–I am absolutely certain.
Today, if I punch him in the nose for being a punk, I get arrested for assault, and he knows that. But he is still gambling because in another circumstance, one without my wife present, I do punch him in the nose and leave the bar forever. The opposite tendency, however, is also what has made us increasingly docile in face of extended greed from both Power and Money. You cannot separate how we interact individually with how we might respond collectively. It’s all of a piece.
Now, it was not the individual refusal to engage an exchange of courtesy that pissed me off–and I was getting pissed off, and I did want to punch him in the mouth as well as the nose, and I did imagine me wanting to more so because he was Chinese, although, if he had been white, I might have punched him and not refrained because someone being white has never kept me from wanting to beat the fuck out of him if and when another man who happened to be white deserved to have the shit beat put of him. It was how indicative his behavior was of a mentality that I see pervading his age group.
The waiter and the bartender were either both oblivious or not willing to mediate–another cog in the mechanism of general discourtesy. Perhaps, though, I need to consider how digital and social media has gone a long way in policing our behavior, only in a way that meets the demands of control by the state–and I know you are wondering how I have gotten to this, but just follow me, and I’ll bring you there.
I still can’t get over how many punks and assholes in their 20s and 30s are parading around as models of male behavior. There is a huge distinction between being non-violent and using the cloak of non-violence to cover a greater impotence, intellectual, spiritual, moral. I should have smashed in his teeth–I could have–I have done so before–there have been more than few persons of varying ethnicities, who have wound up in the hospital, justifiably, and not soley because I think my actions were justifiable.
I know that the fact I wanted to then and want to now makes you feel uneasy, uncomfortable, except you’re probably an idiot–I mean, if you do not get what I am saying, you most likely are.
Perhaps the reason he did not make a very small accommodation and entered low volume taunts was because he was an asshole, caught up in the greed of self-absorption and the greed for space. This is how I imagine it. I’ve seen young men feign not understanding what I grew up knowing was common and mutual courtesy, something that was always an immediately recognized give-and-take. I’ve noticed this from white kids, asian kids, African-American kids, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish. But from this kid who just happened to be Asian–no. Nothing from this kid who is probably not older than my son who is in college.
His being Asian, I’m almost certain Chinese, has nothing ultimately to do with his resistance to extend courtesy. No matter how much he might be filled with resentment for how much Chinese Americans endured stereotyping from our media in the past, I think maybe his parents are assholes and could not help but raise an asshole. I am herein using a particular sense of asshole I understand that most under forty do not get, even when articulated for them. It also has nothing to do with him being an asshole, although his age might just have everything to do with his being an asshole.
“Forgiving or Forgetting”
To forgive is not to forget, I have said.
He did not budge an inch–he even pretended not to understand when we said excuse me. Maybe he did not want to accommodate us because we were white, as one man said later in another bar when I told him the story–if the shoe were on the other foot, this man nearer my age said, he would likely think that the reason a white person would not accommodate him was because he was Asian. But I am seeing a lot of Asian males between 18 and 35 act very aggressively in public when walking in and out of trains, down streets, as if they have all been subsumed by some bizarre genetic or racial superiority theories–but fuck them because I do not move when they show no signs of give and take, and when they stand in the doorways of the N train, I push them inside and tell them how stupid it is to stand where they think they have a right to stand. Yeah, we need lessons in sociology, in democracy, in freedom and common courtesy from Asia. I mean, Asians in general in the west end of Brooklyn walk around with eyes only for their own; they see no one other than the people from who they are from. And Asia, next to Africa, is the last place on Earth to teach us anything about living humanely.
I am not going to feign ignorance of how racist America is and has been and interestingly has become in ways we are not permitted to acknowledge in our received ideas on race and racism–particularly how we view the world of tribal politics in New York City. We are all of us full of shit every turn on the menagerie we ride. But I have no allusions about how endemically racist Chinese people are–very, very obvious in Brooklyn. Even the nicest and most polite Chinese person harbors racist attitudes and opinions that he does not understand are racist.
Giving thanks is other than getting them. Do we give thanks or expect to get them? Do I? Have we? Which one when? To give rather than to get–this is the fundamental difference between forgiving and forgetting, the former a step in the spiritual path of redemption and transcendence. The latter is simply another step in the widening margin of greed we have accepted. I do have to forgive more–the way of Christ or Lord Buddha is troublesome for me. For example, I know what Jesus would say about the Second Amendment, but I do understand why Jefferson placed it behind the First. I know this Chinese kid was not a Buddhist.
Turning the other cheek is difficult when there are so many young men raised to be assholes or punks. I would relish a return to a time when I could punch a man in the nose for being discourteous to my wife without any jeopardy of my being arrested.
I should have found him outside and knocked him in front of a bus–a but extreme, but I do see me killing people now and again, not with any real desire, only a way for the wicked in me to dream what the real wicked actually practice.
“The Finishing Line”
There is no space in a media informed mentality about racism where a Chinese young man can be racist against white people. The current trends in multicultural awareness are so overburdened with received ideas, cliches, half-truths and other dogmas–there is as much propaganda in it as there has been from any totalitarian state or petty dictatorship.
You can extend this observation to any other group and see clearly that the only people in this media represented America who can be racist are white people. Everyone else is virtually allowed to act with impunity without fear of any repercussions concerning hiring practices or the extension of courtesy. The desire to provide services either in State bureaucracies or in retail are unusually fragmented and compartmentalized.
Our perceptions of murder rates, particularly when inter-racial, are especially skewered. The received ideas are clear–white people are racist and those who are not are exceptions that prove the rule. Even my response herein is likely to be attributed to a latent or closeted racism, something akin to how in the Soviet Union dissidents were brought to the insane asylum (mostly because ideologically incorrect thinking was in effect a mental illness), and when the dissident protested, the increase in volume coupled with his indignation were all used as proof of his lack of mental stability.
The interesting thing herein is that if the kid were not Asian and he were white, I would have been quicker to point out how wrong he was and might even have felt more eagerly, the desire to punch him in the nose. I am actually sensitive to how hyper-sensitive we are and how quickly we turn human to human interaction into something it most likely was not. However, the interaction herein might be understood better as Homo-sapiens to Homo-sapiens.
Human is human is humane; homo-sapiens is the animal in us–the animal I am.
Last night I witnessed an extension of the kind of greed we have been subsumed by socially, a broader margin of greed for space, for position, not only for money, but also self-absorption than we should allow ourselves. No give and take from an Asian kid–in his 20s–who if he moved his table one inch away from him and shifted his sitting posture, he could have accommodated my wife, instead of continuing to sit in his posture at his table, encroaching the one we were attempting to sit at to have dinner. Why should we be able to sit at a table we could have sat at if this kid would have extended courtesy and imagined a world where he would see courtesy as a mutually co-extensive form of behavior, instead of what seemed to be his first-come-first-serve attitude, one that was rationalized by I am sitting in a way my whim dictates, and because you were not here before me, to sit at the table you only imagine you should be able to sit at, I am not going to budge one inch. This, of course, he did not understand as wrong. Both his mild manner and reptilian instinct joined in a confusing coupling are enough to set him crooked in social manners. I will explain upcoming.