Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Community

I'm in the shower this morning after P.T. My wife is standing naked in front of the bathroom sink, plucking her eyebrows. We've been discussing the film "Munich," which we watched last night, and we're busy comparing our reactions.

I'm rinsing the soap out of my chest hair. "I wanna be Jewish," I tell Anne.

She laughs. "Why's that?"

I shrug. "Well, I know that the Jewish people have been fucked in the ass by history, but still, I envy them on some level. There's a sense of community there, a sense of family."

"You think so?"

I wet my hair and apply shampoo. "Yeah. I think it's the case in almost every minority community. The black community, the gay community, the Hispanic community. There's a bond there, you know? A common ground. I don't think I've ever had that. I envy it."

"Perhaps." A pause. "But you don't think you're part of a community?"

"Not really."

"Not even as a soldier?"

"Nope."

"But you're a gamer. That's definitely a minority group." I can hear Anne smirking from across the shower curtain.

"That's not the same."

"How do you figure?"

"Well, gaming's a hobby, really, it's not a heritage. There's not the same kind of shared history there, no legacy of hardship or suffering."

"So you think a group has to suffer to be called a community."

I pause. "Well, not when you put it like that." I start rinsing my hair. "I dunno. Gamers are a diverse group, that's all. A new group. It's not like we wandered the desert for forty years."

"I'd say there's plenty of hardship though. Look how hard gamers have to work to get laid." Again, that audible smirk. I pause. Didn't think of it that way. I shrug.

"Huh. Maybe. Suppose that's as good a form of hardship as any."

"Sex is the great equalizer."

"Indeed." I turn the water off, stepping out and reaching for my towel. As I dry off my shoulders, I come up behind Anne, and kiss her ear. She looks back at me through the mirror and smiles.

11 Comments:

Blogger cinnabari said...

Hmf. Sure, hardship can forge bonds of community... but it can also create a sense of victimhood and perpetual defensiveness. The world hates us! Wailing and gnashing of teeth! Drama! The hardship becomes the basis for the group-bonding. It takes over and warps the original collectivity. (And if there's not actual hardship, sometimes a group manufactures it, but that's another matter.)

(yes, I am being all grim and serious in the face of what's really a kinda lighthearted post. We know how I am before the second cup of coffee. *g*)

6:51 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

There's some damn fine writing here, SPC. Freeman. I'll be back for more.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

Nice post.

And your wife sounds like a gem.

7:36 PM  
Blogger FreedomGirl said...

I like Anne. I bet she can beat you at chess.
;)

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Eurosabra said...

Okay, as an Israeli-American I will weigh in here; Spielberg, as an American Jew, still has Feivel Mousekwitz on the brain too much to do a film about Israelis--Hebrew culture is a real, living culture, powered by virtues and anxieties different from those of Spielberg's fake-Sabra protagonist. Only one teeny, tiny biblical reference in the whole film, no quote of the Talmud's "He who comes to kill you, kill him first" or "He who is kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind", both of which take care of the faux-agony of offing REAL TERRORISTS right quick. The problem with "Avner" is that he's post-Jewish, living in an Israel justified by statist doctrine, NOT the religious and lived connection of his people with the Holy Land. As an ex-medic, I am definitely interested in the perspective of an American SPC, however, and read your contribution with delight.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Softball Slut said...

Gamers have a hard time getting laid. HA! Unfortunately I have dated a few. The reason they have a hard time is because they are too busy playing to notice said girlfriend.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Pittchick said...

Just wanted to stop by and say hello. Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day.

11:28 PM  
Blogger CoffeeDog said...

You are right, groups that have been persecuted do tend to stick together.

12:09 AM  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

Great scene!

I was just reading about Viktor Frankl the other day and the suffering thing is definately a part of the bonds of community. As "grim" cinnabari noted though, it's not exactly the cheeriest or most progressive reason.

I can relate to wanting that community big time though. After two marriages, I've totally lost touch with most of the folks I used to consider mine. Blogging, though with severe restrictions, has helped me figure out what kind of folk I'd really like to be considered a part of again.

Blahblahblah, huh? lol! I guess the post just hit me in a couple of very personal ways. Thanks.

1:19 AM  
Blogger jim said...

SPC Freeman, how ya doin', got your wife there I hear, so did I, 3 years living all over, not on base, didn't qualify.

I saw you over at Frums' blog, some blog huh? lol.

You are a damn good writer, I didn't realize how good you are, you got something to fall back on, that is great, and a great post, fine dialogue.

Good to see ya.

3:04 PM  
Blogger ilyka said...

I shrug. "Well, I know that the Jewish people have been fucked in the ass by history, but still, I envy them on some level. There's a sense of community there, a sense of family."

Oh, damn. I know that feeling. I know that feeling WELL. But still it occurs to me to think this: Be wary of Othering, even benignly.

I watch a movie with, say, Queen Latifah. I think, wouldn't it be awesome to be Queen Latifah? Wouldn't it be fabulous to be a big black woman with a great voice and a sassy personality and a fine-sandpaper, smoothly-cutting-to-the-truth, sense of humor? Wouldn't that be awesome?

And it would be. It would be awesome.

But if Queen Latifah were my color, if Queen Latifah were white, would I be saying any of that? No. I'd stop at, "Wouldn't it be great to be Queen Latifah?" I wouldn't take all her positives and assign them mentally en masse to women of color.

That's why, when I envy that sense of Jewish community and history, I check myself a little. Because there's more to it than that--more that I can never fully understand.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't try, though. This was a damn fine post. Made me think.

7:17 AM  

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