Archive | July, 2015

Clothing Mandatory, Style Optional


Corey Feldman in the 1980s wearing the uniform of the 1980s. In 1984 there was only one jacket and one band.

I have never owned distinctive clothes. I can recognize the use of such things but I never wanted anyone to look at me in public. I don’t want them to ignore me, but I am content if they don’t bother me. I can remember the times I have been chided for things I wore. I had a green sweatshirt, a Generra sweatshirt, where the fabric at the cuffs and collar turned lime in the wash machine. The sweatshirt itself retained a deep green, but the cuff and collar turned lime green. A girl in my class noted this … “your shirt,” she said, “clashes with itself.” The phrase blue and green will never be seen crosses my mind sometimes. I have still have green clothes.

When I dress, sometimes I’m afraid that I look like a park ranger. Continue Reading →

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Ann Rule and the Green River Killer

Not a single victim wore shoes like this; they tended to wear tennis shoes.

Not a single victim wore shoes like this; the dead tend to wear tennis shoes.

I read Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule book a while ago.  The book left me a lot of questions. I was puzzled by Ann Rule’s own handling of her role in the events. There is a meta aspect to the story where as the author of the story, she considers that doesn’t have the chops to handle, nor does the entire True Crime genre have the chops to handle Gary Ridgeway’s story and the nearly epidemiological causes of the environment that gave rise to Ridgeway, the teen age runaways, and the initial reluctance of the law enforcement and community to do anything about it. Ridgeway himself was aware of his future fame as the Green River Killer and was partly a serial killer fan boy. He anticipated his notoriety. In that sense, then, Ann Rule, contributed to his crimes. She doesn’t have the answer to that, and she does focus the narrative on the stories of the children who ended up murdered by Ridgeway.

One of the puzzles of Ridgway’s story is how he settled down with his third wife and moved to Auburn and essentially stopped killing because of his happy home life. I can imagine Rule interviewing his third wife and asking about the strange bumps on the Green River Killer’s penis. Did you notice any bumps? It is this sort of tasteless, lurid, and trivial that is essential to the True Crime genre. The first season of HBOs True Detective works so well because Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle manages to infuse the closer observation of the trivial with existential angst; his rambling autodidactic musing are rooted in the trivial, and in turn the trivial is lifted and connected to the larger movements of a fictional serial killer. Rule however struggles with the banal killings of a killer who is not captured partly because the task force didn’t take Ridgeway seriously as a possible killer: he was too stupid, too ordinary. And this ends up being the enigma at the center of the narrative of Green River, Running Red, the killings are routine for the killer. Ridgeway would sometimes kill while out running an errand. At one point he picks up a victim with his young son in his truck, drives to a vacant lot off of Pacific Highway, has sex with and kills his victim, and then returns to the truck. Continue Reading →

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Learning my Pronouns, Queer Rock Camp in Seattle

The band,  Joe Bitin.

The band, Joe Bitin’.

On a June Monday I dropped off my daughter at Queer Rock Camp at the YoungTown’s Cultural Arts Center at the base of Delridge in West Seattle an area that is part of the Duwamish tribal lands and the neighborhood that Richard Hugo wrote about in his first three books of poetry and his memoir about Seattle, The Real West Marginal Way. Waze, a navigation app designed to shunt you around traffic, guided me down West Marginal Way in the morning. We travelled through an alternate version of Seattle with empty streets, green belts, industrial lots, and Pigeon Hill a neighborhood of one-room houses. We drove through the knot of overpasses and bridges that pass over Harbor Island and the river and connect West Seattle with Seattle, GoergeTown, Beacon Hill,  99, and I-5. The cultural center occupied one of the old Seattle school buildings, a massive brick rectangle with a steep slope for the roof. On the way there was passed a sallow looking teenage person on Delridge in black clothes. I said, “I think she’s a vegan.” (Later I found find that the pronoun ‘she’ is an assumption.)

We were on time which meant that we were early. A few volunteers hurried down the hallway carrying handful of guitars. A volunteer greeted us with name tags, and this was the first sign that this wasn’t going to be just about rock and roll, this rock camp, and the guy (and as I might learn later if I needed to distinguish someone by their presentation, the male presenting individual said, ” please fill out your name tag with the name you would like us to call you and your pronouns.” Continue Reading →

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