I was joking with my friend Jeff last night about tone and voice and how my blog often has neither, running the gamut from random thoughts to random shout-outs, and how it’s reminiscent of the enthusiastic ramblings of high-school kids.
At one point, I had the privilege of getting one of my short stories workshopped by short fiction writer/novelist Rattawut Lapcharoensap. On top of being a phenomenal writer with incredibly solid craft, he’s a high school English teacher. And one of the things he comes across in teaching, is this schizophrenic, uninhibited, adolescent voice that just cannot be held back, one that merges the big-up to homie Dwight, in an essay about the Scarlett Letter. It struck me that quite possibly, that big, open voice, the liberal integration of shout-outs into book reports, is unique to America. It’s unique to this kind of democracy.
I bring this up because of the recent events in Thailand. Lapcharoensap has written an insightful and critical article for the UK Guardian about it, pointing out the inconsistencies of the PAD and how their push for democracy may not be all that democratic afterall.
“The PAD seeks a radical restructuring of the country’s political system – namely, a parliament composed primarily of appointees. PAD is therefore a misnomer. The protest leader’s recommendations are often anti-democratic and anti-popular. Theirs is an autocratic if not occasionally fascist voice in Thailand’s nominally democratic wilderness, and many believe that they have managed to rally the military and the palace’s support to bolster that voice.”
What this article really drove home for me, is that democracy isn’t just a system, but in the U.S., it’s also learned behavior. There’s something to be said of the high-schooler who is going to toy with voice – because he see’s that as an option, and in fact, it’s an unconscious decision. Maybe he does it because he doesn’t know not to, or maybe he does it because he see’s that opportunity to give his homie a shout-out, and he’s going to take it. Sure, this is a weak argument, but I still stand by it.
Oh, and while I’m here, I just wanna give a shout-out to Jiro Matsumoto because he kicks ass, and to my homie Jeff, because he’s still reading my blog.