Make ‘Murica Strange [Again]

By Donald Hutchins

So I had a post on my personal blog with a series of videos embedded from my Facebook archives. They initially were intended to work as a sort of tumble through the rabbit-hole, concluding with a positive message of the importance of self-worth and determination.

However, the page continually crashed my browser whenever it was revisited after publishing. Long-story short, I had to delete it. I can’t imagine it worked very well for anyone else, and it would’ve been a dumpster fire trying to make it work on this site. (R.I.P. Make ‘Murica Strange Again embryo no. I).

Instead, I offer three much simpler objects for a much shorter and concise explanation of where the hell I’m going with this. The first is The Killing Joke (1988) by Alan Moore & Brian Bolland( A beautiful one-issue series on the Joker, and how just one bad day can separate us from what’s considered “normal”.

The second I offer is a TEDTalk by Jon Ronson entitled Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test(2012): It is a longer talk, but has beautiful points I feel don’t get enough attention on a stage. Ronson analyzes the degrees of psychopathy from a number of different perspectives and highlights some really unique implications about how our society is run.

The third: an infographic, “You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you”, from The Oatmeal: This vague title, and the vague beginning to the comic, are meant to entice you but are also putting you in a position of strangeness– like, how could this thing in a screen possibly have any ideas about my thoughts? Just check it out. I promise it’s worth it.

Each of these highlights unique aspects of our relationships with ourselves, whether conscious or physiological(psycho-somatic), and our relationships with the world, both natural and cultural. It’s a bizarre phenomenon to occupy space as we do, to the degree that we do, in comparison to other species. But if they look at us, we probably have just as many extra heads and whacky inhibitions.

The degree to which we understand both ourselves and how that applies to others, and how the whole of it all is imposed by, and thus dependent upon, the natural order of the world from which we’re drawing our existence. We are incredibly habitual creatures, and breaking through the barriers our experiences sediments within us fosters new and rich experiences– whether positive or negative.

Facing the world at large is a complex matter, the nature of which I intend to write about(look for the title of this post on a shelf somewhere sometime in the future). I can’t cover it all here, but I hope the resources above provide an initial sense of something strange. Reconsidering our ways of considering is always a fruitful pursuit, and I’ve learned that that is the most valuable skill in today’s world.

The ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn things through experience. Treasure it and as Andrew Solomon once said, “forge meaning, build identity; their share your joy with the world”. I hope that our country can make the shift towards that style of thinking, and I’ll work towards it in the coming years. Wish me luck, and cheers to this great experience!

Moore, Alan, Brian Bolland, and John Higgins. Batman: The Killing Joke. DC Comics, 1988.


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