Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
In September, I suggested a reading order for the extended universe of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, a series I loved, but hadn't read any of since Volume 7: The Dark Tower came out in 2004. I realized that I missed the characters from the series, and wondered if the reading order I suggested would really hold someone's interest all the way through. I scoured some local bookstores, and then the internet for the hardcovers of the books, and prepared for my quest to read a Super Long series of books.
I don't sleep well, and haven't since at least high school. Like most people I know, I'm getting older, so the non sci-fi plight of the protagonist of Insomnia is one I heavily identify with. I think I originally read this around the same time that I read Bag Of Bones, and remembered enjoying one, and not enjoying the other. I am very pleased that this is the one I liked.
Even before Facebook and social media made political discussions a rage filled collision of unresearched but volatile memes, I've hated them.
I've occasionally convinced someone to back down from a particularly tactless method of conversation, or had them admit that their sources were unreliable,and I've even had people fray at my own methodology and language, and question my own sources, but I don't believe I've ever truly changed anyone's worldview, and I don't believe anyone has fully altered mine. So why bother.
After the contentious election of 2000, I was living in Burlington, Vermont, a very left-wing, very political city. I agreed with the politics but didn't have the passion to do more than shake my head at the television.
In the summer of 2001, I moved back to Boston, and back in with a family that included someone who was heavily invested in protesting. I started making signs, driving people to protests and hoping I had enough money on me to post bail if it came to that, and writing really terrible politically based poetry that was entirely too clever (by which I mean it imagined itself clever...it wasn't) to be taken seriously.
Dark days. Ah, Discordia.
My proximity to protesting didn't last long, though. I couldn't handle the vitriol, even regarding issues I agreed with. My close friend who protested, while definitely in agreement with her fellow protesters, seemed to be more attracted to the theatre of protests rather than their ability to change anything. In that way, at least, they weren't delusional.
The human antagonists in Insomnia are right wing protesters. And they believe in the theater of violence. It is disconcerting to read how far these fictional characters are willing to go, and to realize how similar they are to people I encountered at protests.
At my worst, I have my own violent thoughts about people I find morally reprehensible, but the imagined violence is always preceded by an imagined trial where they are found guilty of a crime worthy of their punishment. I am never the imaginary judge at this imaginary trial. I am never on the imaginary jury. I am neither an imaginary lawyer or witness. I imagine the machines of this imagined justice will do its work without me, and I'll just get imagined satisfaction seeing the imagined outcome of the imagined scenario. My imaginary hands are free of the imaginary blood.
It is when people believe they must make their imagined scenarios happen in reality that things go horribly awry. Hands of God, Director of Fate, Justice's Bullet. These are dangerous titles to imagine for yourself or a colleague or enemy.
Much of Insomnia hovers around abortion rights. And how willing a particular fictional faction of pro-lifers are to murder adults and children to protect the idea of unborn fetuses.
It's a tough subject. One I didn't imagine King would handle well. He's not known for subtlety. And while he's not subtle here, I think he's more realist than in any other book I've read so far.
The connection to The Dark Tower is that the human antagonist doesn't see himself as a servant of God, but as a servant of The Crimson King who might be Randall Flagg or Walter or someone higher up the chain, we're not really sure at this point. We also learn about the bags that surround people and work as a sort of Video Game Health Meter. We'll be seeing these alluded to later on.
--I read this several months before making this post (I've post-dated it) and have forgotten what I intended for this Stray Observations section
--Presumably, a character or two from this book will show up later on in the chronology, but I have just a few hundred more pages to go, and have seen no mention of any of them
--given the roles vampires play in The Dark Tower (not Dracula vampires, but vampiric creatures), it's interesting to see the protagonists portrayed as also being a type of vampire
--you can tell this book was written by someone who has experienced long bouts of insomnia themself
--we are 6,549 pages closer to the crumbing Dark Tower, O Discordia