Saturday, June 18, 2005

avodah zarah

just listening to some big band music on wmnr (when, of course, i should be preparing for the movers tomorrow). i was wishing i could play my clarinet like benny goodman or artie shaw. i heard the announcer highlight a number of other greats, mostly when they were just starting out as band members with a featured piece. then i started thinking about the other guys in the bands, who never got named, but were still part of the sound.

most of us don't do more than a couple of things to a high standard - it takes all the time and energy we already devote just to be competent, whether at something artistic, or scientific, or work-related, or life-related. it is all important, yet we don't seem to give ourselves credit for doing a job to the best of our ability. ok, glaringly obvious ... or is it? the talent/appeal of, the attention given to a louis armstrong, an angelina jolie, a mickey mantle ... sometimes i wonder where the line between appreciation and idolatry falls.

ok, not so preachy - let me just speak for myself. things like the clarinet - i know that if i spend more time on it i shall get better, and i derive great pleasure from listening to others who are the best in their field. the same with sport - even if i am not really into it like, say, basketball; i can still enjoy and appreciate someone like michael jordan in his prime. neither of these areas have much of an impact on my self-esteem. movie-stars, however, are another thing completely! great acting is one thing, like other talent, and i appreciate being made to think and being emotionally touched and being entertained. when i look, however, at ms. jolie, or catherine zeta-jones, or michelle pfeiffer (or halle berry) as catwoman, alongside the lust that their screen personae may evoke in me comes a strong sense of my own inadequacy. i would like a real person to feel like that about me, preferably someone to whom i am also attracted. but it doesn't end there. follow that thread and i seem to have attached to it all my relationship wishes and ideals. do many of us do that?

for me the key seems so bloody obvious - not a terribly good self image. i'll save the psychobabble for another time ... tonight i wonder what i get out of all the images of gorgeous women that may do me good, and what i should avoid! will have to think about that for a bit.

i feel there is something to be pursued re the concept of idolatry. find the empty space this worship is filling, and do sth else with it. also sth to do with an aspect of faith - no need to judge the value of my particular version of being made in the image of god, but trusting it has its place, and learning to feel good about my part of the whole. sounds good, eh?

a counsellor i saw in virginia gave me a mantra. she wrote it on a post-it note:

"i love and respect myself completely exactly as i am"

chris told me that no matter what i actually think, if i repeat this enough times for a very long time it will become a tape that runs in my head louder than some of the "i am fat and fat is ugly" types. lovely idea. the problem with this was that after i had put the post-it on my windscreen so i could read it in the car, i discovered that it scanned exactly to "blister in the sun" by the violent femmes. o well.

bored now.

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