yrmama nearly captured a unicorn today. A nice young man spoke of Donald in an unexpectedly admiring way, betraying himself with a bit of scoff at “the progressives.” I was slow though, I should have pounced on the opportunity with a casual, “Oh, you like Donald? What do you like about him?” Don’t know when we’ll have another chance like that. So rare around here.
Back to outlaws. I’ve been thinking a lot about what distinguishes an “outlaw” from someone who breaks the law for evil/greedy purposes. Or, as I remember my Grandma saying, “there are the in-laws and then there are the out-laws.”
I needed only re-consult Still Life With Woodpecker : Tom Robbins (via the Woodpecker, Bernard Mickey Wrangle) says the difference between an outlaw and a criminal is that an outlaw is never a victim. Outlaws obey no rules and they don’t turn around and impose rules of their own. They exist and operate on a rarified plane beyond the law. Tom says that love is the ultimate outlaw. It never plays by the rules.
I think victimhood is something that happens in your head. It’s like suffering – there is an important difference between acknowledging pain and suffering pain. You can acknowledge pain’s existence and respond appropriately without making it part of your identity. Someone can tie a dead chicken around your neck in an attempt to humiliate you, but you can say, “Hey, I hate having this dead chicken on my neck,” without lying down and saying “oooo I’m a victim”
Donald complains about being a victim all the time. And not to get all Christian and heavy-handed on you because that is not yrmama’s brand, Jesus never complained about being victimized.
So yes, I think we can retain our admiration for the outlaws – John Brown, my great great grandfather Samuel McCollough, Robin Hood, Mohandas Ghandi, Harriet Tubman, Jesus, Rosa Parks etc etc without completely exonerating them of any concomitant assholery. It’s not about being and asshole or not or about the breaking of laws, it’s about purity of intention, even in narrow instances.