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Musing #11: Torn (or The Blue and The Dorian Gray)

Remember that Natalie Imbruglia song from 1997?

Cool. Now forget it. ‘Cause it’s lame.

Turn your thoughts instead to this hilarity:


This is the 2006 mugshot of the man with the greatest stage name of all time: Rip Torn. (It’s not the one from when he tried to armed-rob a bank, wasted. That was 2010.) I have been giggling about Rip Torn (née Elmore Rual Torn, Jr.) since 1986, when Civil War mini-series THE BLUE AND THE GRAY [1982] was re-aired on TV. He played General Grant, and he was great.

But the sight of his name in the opening credits launched me into hysterics. I turned to my dad and exclaimed, “He’s both past and present!” (Yes, I cracked a grammatical joke at age seven. ‘Cause I’m nerdy and all about language. And, yes, I was already fascinated by the Civil War in 1986.)

“Where could you possibly be going with this?” you ask.

To paraphrase the immortal words of one J. Thaddeus Toad: I’m merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on my way to nowhere in particular.


That’s the problem.

The classics-crazed snob in me feels like she’s drowning in this bizarre new medium; struggling with her own struggle-themed blog. Looking back over my first ten posts, I cringe at the picture I’ve painted of myself…because it’s an accurate portrait. And it ain’t pretty.

I like to think of myself as Leia Organa; tiny princess with an attitude, sans bra. But I know in my mostly-black heart that I’m really Darth Vader. Either way, the Force runs strong in my family. (Tee-hee!)


Though ghostly pale of complexion, I’m a very dark person. Always have been, and probably always will be. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m damn sure it’s NOT the way I want to be perceived. I want my dark truth to be a dark secret.

Unfortunately, I naturally secrete the truth of my darkness through my very pores, despite my best intentions. It has always been very obvious to those who truly know me, and I’m sure it’s just as obvious to all my readers. There’s actually a chick on the fringes of my life who refers to me as “Resting Bitch-Face.” Lovely lady, in the LES MIZ sense. (Figuratively, of course.)

I can’t help being the person that I am. The Manifesto of “Mother Monster” Lady Gaga (who apparently had a similar experience to mine at NYU-Tisch, albeit after my time) says that “God makes no mistakes,” and that “I’m beautiful in my way,” having been “born this way.” Well, Gaga, I love you (for writing great songs in my alto belter range). But I’m most certainly NOT beautiful. The show biz industry constantly reminds me so, lest I ever forget.

The key phrase there is, however, “in my way.” I’m not sure how dark and bitchy is beautiful on any level, but I am willing to own my personality. Come what may.

That doesn’t mean I want to offend anyone.

(Except for the slime who calls me “Resting Bitch-Face.”)

I see the stats. I know people are reading my words. And I’d sincerely like to know whether anyone has ever been offended by them. I don’t care to hear from those who agree with me. That’s not helpful. I’m (Rip) torn between wanting to write my truth and fearing the (largely ignorant) wrath of the Internet. ‘Cause being hated sucks, but truth stands out in the blogosphere. And I need to stand out, so I don’t have to be a legal secretary in aeternum.

I want to hone my writing so that it clearly makes my intended points without hurting anyone, simultaneously cutting the societal bitch that is political correctness.

So help me, offended readers, to accomplish that goal.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Until I do, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”


P.S.–The quote I sign off with is the traditional vernacular version of an outburst by Admiral David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay. To all the non-history-nerds reading: That’s a recurring Civil War reference. And to all my readers from St. Petersburg: That’s a name that should ring a bell. 😉

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