Monday, 12 March 2018

Force and Forbiddance

            One problem with my raw fruit and vegetable fasts is that I can never buy enough tomatoes and avocados and so I have to go back to the supermarket every couple of days. That’s why on Sunday at around noon I rode down to No Frills. A child of about three that looked Tibetan was just inside the supermarket where the entrance turnstile is. He looked up at me and said “Hi” and said something else that even after asking him to repeat it I couldn’t understand. I thought it might be something about “Mommy” but I couldn’t be sure. He kept doing the same with other people that came in. I figured his parents must be nearby but maybe I should have notified the staff just in case.
            I picked up a lot of my usual fruit purchases but also a mini watermelon and a cherimoya. The cherimoya looks like a bevelled alien hand grenade and is native to Central and South America, though this one was grown in Spain. It’s also known as the custard apple and Mark Twain called it the most delicious fruit known to man. I’ll be the judge of that. I didn’t forget that I needed tooth paste and grabbed a tube of Arm and Hammer because I like the slightly salty flavour of baking soda that comes along with the mint. The others all taste like candy.
            After unlocking my bike I leaned it against the supermarket entranceway window while I took off my right glove and resnapped the right shoulder flap of my motorcycle jacket, which always gets undone by the shoulder strap of my backpack. Behind me a young woman called, “Sir! Excuse me!” in a “you forgot something” kind of voice. She was holding up a glove that she’d thought that I’d dropped, but then when she saw that I had both of my gloves on she put it down and said, “Ew! I touched it!” I thanked her for looking out for me. She said, “No problem.” Our paths crossed a minute or so later at the corner of Jameson and King where she met a large, short friend with stoplight lipstick.
            I spent a few hours on my English paper and actually started making it look more like an essay:

            T.S. Eliot’s Modernist poem, “The Wasteland” and Allen Ginsberg’s Beat poem, “Howl” are both charged with sexuality. Each work pushes against the inhibitions of its era in how it describes the carnal meeting of bodies. Erotic desire as expressed in The Wasteland is subdued and cloaked in metaphor. In “Howl” it is uninhibited, unsubtle and it’s expression is offered as the very symbol of human freedom.
Sexuality in The Wasteland is centred on women that are victims of men’s expectations. These casualties illustrate the devastation that results from being “rudely forced”. The sexual refugees of Howl are men being denied the right to make love other men. Each poem is a howl against a world where sexuality has gone to waste. In Eliot’s poem, rape is the cause of the wasteland, while in Ginsberg’s work, society’s devastation is the result of sexual prohibition.
I will first look at the sexual victims of each poem, which are the women of The Wasteland and the gay men of Howl. I will then show how rape in “The Wasteland” and forbiddance in “Howl” each lay waste to the world.

            That night I watched the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. A British couple, David and Roberta and their 17-year old daughter, Loren are travelling across the United States by car when they stop at a café in Slawson, Arizona. Loren is too tired to sit in the restaurant and so she goes out to sleep in the car but in her semiconscious state in the dark she crawls into the back of the wrong station wagon. When David and Roberta get underway they don’t bother to check if Loren is in the back until they are well out of town when Roberta turns to reach for a sweater. They head back to Slawson. Meanwhile, the car that Loren is sleeping in has crossed the Mexican border to a town called Dos Cucharos. It pulls into a garage which doubles as a strip and paint stolen cars. The girl wakes up as the men are arguing over money and she witnesses one of them being murdered. As she is trying to sneak out she knocks something over and one of the men, Grosse recognizes her from Slawson. He and the mechanic, Gato chase her but she manages to evade them until she takes shelter in a restaurant. The kind proprietor serves her chilli and talks to her incomprehensibly in Spanish when the two men come in to tell her that Grosse works for child services in the United States. They are about to take her away when two locals that had earlier tried to pick Loren up, start fighting with Grosse and Gato. Loren escapes during the tussle. Grosse and Gato make short work of the locals and go after Loren again. She escapes into a church. Earlier, when David and Roberta return to Slawson they go back to the café and talk to the owner, Vince, who takes them to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff assures them that Loren is not in Slawson and suggests she caught a ride to LA. David looks at a map and wonders if she might have gone in the wrong direction and crossed the border by mistake. The sheriff doesn’t think so and offers several arguments why she wouldn’t have gone that way. When David and Roberta leave they both have the distinct feeling that Vince and the sheriff were trying to keep them from going to Dos Cucharos, so that’s where they go. But it turns out that the sheriff in Slawson and the chief of police in Dos Cucharos are part of the same criminal network. The sheriff had warned him that they might come and so he lies to them about Loren. They are driving out of town just as Loren is leaving the church. She recognizes the back of their car and tries to run after them but they are too far away. At the border, Roberta leaves Loren’s picture with the customs officer. Loren starts walking out of town, at one point hiding in the brush as Grosse and Gato drive by looking for her. She flags down a jeep driven by an Arizona farm boy named Pete who agrees to drive her across the border. The customs officer is looking funny at Loren. He says for them to wait while he goes in the office. Not realizing that he’s checking Loren’s picture, Loren thinks that the border guard is going to stop her and so Pete drives away back into Arizona. They go to the sheriff but are immediately captured by Vince and Grosse and taken to the back of the café. Meanwhile, in the Slawson Hotel, David and Roberta are just considering driving to LA to talk with the FBI when they receive a call from the customs officer about him having seen Loren with a boy named Pete Tanner. They drive to the Tanner farm where Pete’s father, Mel has been expecting Pete back. He hears about Loren and suggests that Pete dropped her off at Vince’s café. David says that Vince had said he would call them as soon as he saw her. Mel says that Vince is a shifty man that can’t be trusted. They all go to the café but Vince says he hasn’t seen Loren. Roberta finds Loren’s barrette on the floor and when she shows it to David he punches Vince. Mel stops Grosse from shooting David and they rescue Loren and Pete. 

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