David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 94: Hole (Doll Parts)

July 29, 2020

When did I become such an angry man?

Generally, I have lived my life fairly low-key, and have learned to survive by revealing myself to be rather even-keel (only a few, such as my wife and son, really knowing the depths of some of well-hidden emotions).  Even with the exterior put up, I felt that my anger, especially, was a fairly small piece of my overall personality. However, that doesn't seem the case more recently (the point of this blog is not to necessarily identify some really obvious reasons).

My anger really came out today when I had to fight the online forms for a state-wide system that I had to deal with at work. Out of respect for the innocent, I will not identify the system, but if you really feel the need to know, think breakfast restaurant chain. Think early morning one-pan meals. Think baked goods.

Or for those of you old school like me, think of a college teammate of Michael Jordan's on the NCAA championship team. It's all the SAMe in the end.

The irony is that I was trying to enter the information that would allow me to handoff this nightmare, left for me courtesy of a certain college president now somewhere, who will remain nameless.  However if you really feel the need to know, encourage me to use Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" as my next song. Or, for those of you old school like me, think of someone forced to sit in the corner eating a Christmas pie. 

That handoff was almost impossible. I was swearing like a sailor and even with my outer office door closed, I fear that anyone (one of the few) walking the hallways was hearing my venom. Luckily no one came in because since I was alone, I was not wearing a mask and the frothy spit of anger truly flew.

Anyway, for days I have been thinking about what "angry" song could capture some of this profoundly deep anger I have right now.  Leave it for the drive home to present me a Hole song: "Doll Parts."

"Someday I hope you ache like I ache," screams Courtney Love through the chorus.  And I mean scream.  Few artists have screamed the way she has.  Today, I freaking got it. In fact, I was screaming it along with her. (I think the car in front of me was driven by a colleague so I wonder if he looked in his rear window and wondered what the hell had gotten into the VP of Instruction. It wasn't what was getting into me, it was what I was getting out of me.) I am not sure there is a better way to capture the depths one hits when so frustrated and insecure than what Love sings here.

Oh, did "Doll Parts" hit the spot. "I want to be the girl with the most cake/I love him so much it turns to hate," Love declares, apparently as a summation of her early feelings for future husband, Kurt Cobain.  Has there ever been a more perfect line capturing that thin line between love and hate? And when I think about how I try to quell my anger (not counting closed office doors and unnamed state systems), I get the "I fake it so real/I am beyond fake."

The second time the band segues into the chorus is frightening in its intensity. Love's vocals elevate to the scream, the background music, a vast array of three chords, simply increases, but remains unchanging, apropos to the way our anger consumes us beyond the reality we live in at that moment.  In the end, the instrumentation drops and Love's voice lovingly cracks as she says one last time, "someday you will ache like I ache."

I listen to this song and I wonder what the hell I have to be angry about. I got it pretty damn lucky. Love is the pop music version of Hillary Clinton, completely hated, ostracized, and villified for things that go beyond her few mistakes: Live Through This, the CD with "Doll Parts" was really written by Kurt Cobain; The follow-up, maybe even more brilliant, Celebrity Skin, was really written by Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins; Love actually murdered Cobain and made it look like a suicide.

Christ, the misogyny, even from fellow women, reminds me of what I should really be angry about. However, all that brings me back to the moment anyway.  So much of my current anger is about injustice in the world. I feel so helpless, especially in light of the powerful who sweep the real problems under the rugs under the guise of reverse discrimination.  I heard tonight snippets from the Senate discussion of Google, Amazon, Facebook's (and whatever the fourth one is) monopolies: that certain viewpoints are censored by a site like Facebook.  I won't go into more detail to save myself from another peevish spewing of saliva, but if you really feel the need to know, think. . .  Hell, never mind, I'd rather conserve my energy for a fight I can win.

"Doll Parts." Hole. Live Through This. DGC. 1994. Link here.

Day 93: Suzanne Vega "Luka"

Day 95: Johnny Cash "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea." ->

See full unfinished list here.