No, thunder isn’t overhead, we aren’t counting till the lightning strikes. This is Tig Notaro’s show.
I’m a reader, not an avid viewer of television or movies. We don’t have cable on purpose. With a book, I can close it when I get overwhelmed; toss it across the room when it irks me and go back to it when I am darn well ready. There is less immediate control with screens. Sure, turn it off, walk out…. but the content has already slipped in, the horror already pouring over my skin, into my brain. I gotta keep it out of my mind. I’m not overly tenderhearted or naïve. I just don’t want that stuff in me from fiction. I know it from real-world and history.
What a gift. A casual dyke, not a lipstick power babe. L- Word covered that genre and besides, stealth is a whole other way to be in the streets. Tig is Tig—down low funny dealing with the meanest hard rock formations of humans.
Stay with me, this will circle ‘round.
This is a quote from Lama Rod Owens,
When people ask me how I’m doing, I feel a little confused and pause for a moment. In my mind I want to talk about this deep sense of heaviness and despair that feels like mourning with and for the world. I want to say that a part of me doesn’t feel good enough, that this was a feeling I was born into, trained in, and encouraged to accept—that I do not remember an experience before this (Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, p.57-58).
Trust a Black, queer Lama man to express what is exactly me, precisely, perfectly. Despair is in my lungs from years of breathing it. As you may remember from earlier blogs, I was raised by drag queens. I’ve disco danced my way along the gender expression spectrum and I’m often mistaken for a guy. I say, just don’t call me late for supper when asked about preferred pronouns. Struggling to figure out why I didn’t like being mistaken, when it really was partly my responsibility because I do dress mostly in clothing from the men’s department … I realize it surely doesn’t matter. I’m queerly me. This means I never have ever felt represented in the media. Alison Bechdel’s squad in Dykes to Watch Out For, comes so close. I swoon over Rachel Maddow but I sure don’t have that passion for the national-politic.
Tig’s show is enlightening, refreshing, so cutting edge about sexual assault it made me squirm a few times (such raw taboo truth) and, and it isn’t insulting or assaulting. I tried to be a fan of Grace & Frankie, Transparent, and The Fosters. Actually, I even watched a full season and a half before signing out. I just couldn’t go along with the escalating absurdities and gratuitous weirdness. Ok, you’ve caught me in my devotion to documentaries and TED Talks. Fiction wears me out.
Tig has her share of fantasy moments, dreamy what ifs. These fade as she engages with deeper and most daring confrontations with the stuff of real life –that rocky content: Grief from a sudden dying, life-long consequences of incest for all family members, cancer, workplace sexual harassment, falling in love across sexual identities, and just beginning at the end of season 2—race.
What’s funny? It’s a mix—just as our real days are. Tip toe into the Grand Canyon of griefs or take the long view across the whole panorama?
We are all living in the grief and mourning of our pasts and the pandemonium of the current administration. The exposure of sexual abusers and actual consequences to perpetrators is bringing a liberation like we haven’t seen before. My FB post in October:
I was told, “It’s an occupational hazard of being a girl,” so I dressed like a boy and always had on shoes good for running. But me too.
One Mississippi characters are opening up silenced topics; male characters are working out of inhibitions that were put on them by history, tradition, shame, grief and denial. Women are rising. I confess to being just a little excited, kind of daring to be hope-filled. Not only for Season Three but our whole nation and globe. I asked my Beloved for a watch, just like Tig’s, for Christmas. I want to be in these times.