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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 4667

Section: wrenwalker

Age Group: Adult

Posted: September 2nd. 2002

Views: 8843

You Just Can't Keep A Good Monster Down...

by Wren

I just love these three day weekends. I don't really care what the holiday is. All I know is that whenever there is a three day holiday weekend, there is also a very good chance that I'll find a Godzilla movie marathon somewhere on the telly. And -- Whoo-hoo! -- sure enough, there he is! Old radiation breath himself. My hero.

Well, one of my heroes anyway. I have quite a few. I think of Godzilla as the perfect archetype for the role of the humble hero. Uh-huh. I said 'humble'. Godzilla? Well, think about it. I am really quite fond of the big lug but, truth be told, Godzilla is just not all that smart. He has a reptilian brain the size of a meatloaf. He's destroyed half of Tokyo at least ten times while in the process of saving the other half. And he's always getting sucker punched by Ghidra.

Sure, Godzilla is just one big, green, Tokyo-wrecking machine with bad skin and some serious dental problems. But I love him. He may not be the brightest dinosaur on Monster Island, but when those evil aliens come to town, Godzilla is the guy that I want on our side even if my property insurance policy doesn't actually cover damages resulting from 'the negligent and/or overt acts of prehistoric monsters, alien invaders or congressional idiots.' Geez, those insurance companies think of everything.

But for a not-too-smart and ridiculously clumsy (The tail, dude! Watch out for the..Never mind. We can rebuild.) bruiser, Godzilla does okay. He saves the world again and again. And he does it not by the use of brute force alone (Although that nuclear bad breath thing comes in handy) or by boring his opponent to death with grandiose impassioned speeches (He has about a two-syllable vocabulary), but rather by sheer endurance and determination. No matter how many times he gets laser beamed by Megalon or whip lashed by Rodan, Godzilla just keeps getting back up. Dump him in the ocean; he gets back up. Bury Godzy under a landslide; he gets back up. Toss him an atomic cocktail -- shaken, not stirred -- and he'll love you forever. I wish that we had more monsters like him. You just can't keep a good monster down.

Not all of my heroes are monsters. Some of them are people. And some of them are people who will never be famous. Like my dad. A simple man who quit high school to join the Navy in WWII, he -not yet married to my mother- volunteered for the most hazardous duties just so that the men who did have families wouldn't have to do it. Always soft-spoken, he was friendly and open and unassuming. Everyone liked him and I swear that animals would cross half of a continent just to have my dad scratch them behind the ears. But he had an inner core of pure tempered steel. And he never backed down nor compromised his integrity in the things that really mattered.

It never bothered him if other people didn't understand why some things were simply non-negotiable. Like honesty and fairness. He had this little side antique business and while other dealers on the prowl would be trying to get some widow to part with for fifty cents a piece worth a couple of hundred dollars, he'd offer her a fair price. He never sacrificed a good clean conscience for a few extra bucks. People told him that he'd never be rich doing business that way and if they were just counting up lucre, they would have been right. Dad just didn't measure wealth in dollars and cents. Dad measured the worth of a thing by his heart and with his spirit. And I doubt that he ever had any regrets.

And, then some of my heroes are people who are famous but whom I have never personally met and probably never will (Mainly because a good portion of them are dead). A lot of them are writers like Emerson, Thoreau and George (A.E.) Russell. An occasional lawyer, like Gerry Spence, or a token radical like Norm Chomsky, would also make my list. Classic philosophers too numerous to mention take their places alongside more modern-day thinkers such as George Carlin and Frank Zappa. And I am currently in debt to Viggo Mortensen for kicking me back into writing poetry again. Thinking outside the box isn't easy to do and it's almost impossible to teach. But sometimes, just sometimes, someone says something that gets you started in that direction and then your life will never be the same again. Sort of like a post-Godzilla Tokyo.

Poets would actually make up a great portion of my tribute to heroes celebration. From Yeats and Shelley to Ogden Nash and e.e. cummings and Wendell Berry, these people taught me to see that language is more than just a bunch of words strung together. Every time that I think, 'Gee, I wish that I had said that,' someone else gets added to the list. And then there is my old friend, Sid Hall, who defied all conventions and pressures to live quietly in a small cabin somewhere in the New Hampshire woods in order to write exquisite poems about honeybee stings and mowing hay fields and raising wild children. I'm not sure if Sid's famous yet. But he should be.

And then there are artists like Klee and Kandinsky and Mortensen (again) who see things that the rest of us don't usually notice until it is painted in carnelian red and cerulean blue. And even then if we still don't completely understand it, maybe that is the point. Some things can never be completely understood anyway and so just let it be what it is. Whatever the heck it is. Like my heroes.

None of my heroes set out to be heroes. They simply did what they did or they do what they do. Many of them sacrificed financial gain to follow that impulse to create and contribute something to the world. Because we just see the finished product, we may think that these folks are just more super talented or more daring than the rest of we ordinary folks. But I am sure that they all had their Tokyo moments when the foundations were shaking and the alien agents of the status quo were attacking en masse.

But they were --or still are -- heroes about the whole thing. They kept going. They didn't surrender their integrity or their visions or their words or their beliefs just because some big monster moth of a bureaucrat or an art critic or a politician or a book reviewer came stomping into their version of Tokyo.

They got back up. Tell them that this isn't art; they'll get back up. Persecute them for their beliefs; they'll get back up. Burn their books or cancel their programs; they'll get back up.

You really can't keep good monsters down. Because like all heroes, they just keep getting back up.

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, September 2nd., 2002



Location: Tampa, Florida

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