[Originally published elsewhere 8 August 2010.]
This blog is called the The Solipsist for good reason. Take for example literature. My theory is that when the author of a creative piece finishes that piece and it is published, that piece becomes mine every bit as much as it is the author’s, in a sense more so.
The theory is that when I read it, it is my own consciousness that then gives it meaning and form for me. This is the reason that I am singularly uninterested when some earnest journalist interviews the author and asks him or her about the meaning of that work, a question authors uniformly detest by the way. I could not care less about what the author had in mind when he or she wrote it. I care about its meaning only insofar as my own mind renders it.
Which brings me to Scanner’s very powerful free form poem that he published in his blog yesterday. I have revisited it several times. That poem has transported me right back up the border.
During the entire time that I have blogged about my time Mexico, a place that has taken me into its arms and done miraculous things for me, I have never before written anything about the violent situation in the northern states and elsewhere. Enough is being written about that by others, a few of whom I admire to no end.
William Finnegan, whose articles appear in the The New Yorker, is fearless. His recent piece on the takeover of my neighboring state of Michoacán by La Familia is awfully good. Unfortunately, one must be a subscriber in order to access the article in its entirety.
I just encountered Marc Lacey’s work for the first time in last Sunday’s New York Times “Week in Review” section, The Mexican Border’s Lost World.
In the world of fiction, there is of course Roberto Bolaño’s masterpiece 2666, the best novel that I have read in twenty years and which I recommend to nobody. Very difficult.
Then there is Charles Bowden’s character study that appeared in Harper’s some time ago, The Sicario, A Juarez Hit Man Speaks. That prose is the perfect companion piece to Scanner’s poem.
As for me, this is the first and last time that I will write anything on the subject of narcotraficantes and violence in Mexico in a blog. Scanner’s poem is the only reason that I write about it now. It is Scanner’s fault.
My point is this. The approach to drug consumption in the United States can best be described as hypocrisy rampant on a field of green, and I see little hope of rational reform. It makes absolutely no difference how any individual feels about the subject. There is the reality. In the meantime it would be such a good thing if the consumer-citizens of the United States of America, since they cannot find it within themselves to fashion a rational public policy on drugs, could find the wherewithal within themselves to stop snorting so goddamned much cocaine.
I understand that citizens-consumers in the United States love to get high, feel the need to medicate their depression in all ways available. They have an unbelievable appetite for mind altering substances, legal and illegal. Perhaps some see it as necessary in order to endure the air-conditioned nightmare up there, as Henry Miller termed it. I understand that there is a heightened temptation to medicate one’s self in bad times. But in the situation as it exists now, simple humanity demands that they stop doing cocaine and stop tolerating it socially.
If I could only persuade young people of the truth of this simple message. Every time you put a little spoon up your nose or roll up a dollar bill, every time that you go into the Men’s Room to snort that line on the top of the toilet bowl that your pal left for you in stall number two, you walk away with blood on your hands.