Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Meaning of True Grit

Jew Christmas - coffee, bagels, lox, antibiotics, and True Grit. The remake is excellent, and adheres more closely, I am told, to the book. Hailee Steinfeld, who played the young girl was amazing, and, although it's hard to beat John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, Jeff Bridges did well, and I'm not just saying that because I have a soft spot for him, and also, a great deal of lust.

But this is not a movie review. I don't do those. I am pondering on the meaning of grit. Lately, I am told repeatedly how "brave" and "courageous" my writing and performances are. After the December performance at the Bowery Sex Worker Literati series, a young lady gushed about my "awesomeness and courage" and asked several times, "Can I touch you?" (She didn't say where, but I was vaguely agreeably anyway.) Women more gorgeous than I ever was or will be tell me they want to be like me, or even BE me. Why???????

Courage? Like in True Grit? Did I face down outlaw gangs, get bitten by snakes, carry 14 year old snakebitten girls through snowy mountains, shoot my horse when it fell from exhaustion and broke its leg?

Cynically, I sometimes hear "brave" as a euphemism for "fat" and "old," taking into account, of course, that size 6 is considered Medium, and size 10 Large, and that women are expected to retreat into invisibility when the gray hair they hide is no longer premature.

Should I walk through the Canyon of Heroes naked?

What is a hero? Not an overpaid athlete, or an insurance agent on his way to work. Blessed by talent, cursed by fate, but heroes for being who and where they are and were? No more than I am "brave" for having lived a fucked up life and for using in my work without anonymity, or for inhabiting the body I possess, and using IT without anonymity, as I see fit.

Nudity and performance - I've appeared onstage naked and therefore have no fear of appearing onstage fully dressed. Ever. Conquering one fear has worked on others. I have a commitment to each performance - to take risks, I must be fully committed and therefore fully in those moments, no matter what. I was watching some videos at someone's place last night, including a Best of John Belushi, and I realized that's what I had admired most about him - his total commitment while performing, as well as the sweetness that lied somewhere in his face. His life may have been fucked, but watching him perform, you would never know that, and you could tell that he probably got up black and blue from some of those falls (like in the Joe Cocker piece) but while he was in those moments he probably never felt a thing.

Does that make him courageous? No more than it makes me courageous. True grit is in the ability and motiviation to stick it out, no matter what. Probably, Belushi did NOT have that grit,although he may have developed it down the line. I can name few that do have it. Certainly not myself.

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