January 24, 2005

The Home Fortress of Wonder and Danger...

I kicked off the new year by catching a flu, and consequently by borrowing nature documentary videos from the public library. There is something special and ridiculous and heartwarming about the exuberant odes to evolution that introduce most videos about species of life. Has anyone got a line on a grad thesis about this? Is this the kind of ranting that naturalists get up to in their home fortress, beyond the reach of Creationist parents and concerns of social appeasement? “Witness the dance of swamp predation... where the line between wonder and danger becomes hopelessly blurred!”?

I identify with a few contentious sub-cultures that I feel rude championing in mixed company, and I can appreciate the joy of occasional, unfettered declarations about my relative truth and beauty with no concern for offended listeners. (That in itself is a treat that blurs wonder and danger—so affirming, but potentially so anti-social.)

On the one hand, I definitely think it is possible to create cultural expectations in any small group—in this town, for instance, it’s fairly common to see a person lay a big New Age feel on interactions with a cashier. I walk around in a bubble where it’s normal to make a public encyclopedia about one’s vagina. But on the other hand, this isn’t foolproof; I can’t force it. That’s fine—differing viewpoints are interesting and healthy—but sometimes the home fortress calls. It’s relaxing to take agreement for granted, now and then.

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