Angela Bocage


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the theory category.

You are an adult when…

You can take a joyful bath with another person and no one yells at you for splashing

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Identity

The cartoon caption, were it atop a visual panel of my most enthusiastically gross-&-disgusting pen and ink work, would be something like, “Angela’s brain crawls through the wreckage…” I have been changing my so-called identity since I was five years old, choosing and discarding names and traits like old boots, and have never been sorry. When the T. Heads sang, “I’ve changed my hairstyle—so many times now—I don’t know WHUT I LOOK LIKE,” the line applied to me, only add hair color and clothing style as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say age five; it may have been even earlier. I remember deciding to adopt as my own a phobia of having my picture taken at five, changing my name at five or six, and chopping off the long hair my mother had never ever cut at eight. By eleven hair color changed all the time and by fourteen I had had maybe five different sequential names. (A number rather larger now.)

Identity and I have, clearly, waged an old war. When I read Carlos Castaneda’s dubious and delightful Yaqui stories in junior high and high school, devouring them all repeatedly and dropping whole previous sets of friends to be besties with the publications geeks into Carlos, his stuff about erasing identity again and again, like the dirt and sweat of each day, made so much sense to me. I feared my ego, wanted to lance it like a boil as often as possible, to which end I never save my published clips and don’t have most of my comics, whether originals or published versions. What’s the point—another thing in Castaneda’s mini-library of chaos magic that made sense to me even then was the imminence of death. It was true when I was thirteen and driving on Southern California freeways with my Alzheimer’s-addled grandfather or hitchhiking the same ones with anyone who picked me up. Still is.

Death is always imminent even if Death is extremely quiet and unobtrusive about it, too, of course; turns out that many apparent crazies show up in ERs all agitated and hallucinating  when actually they’re mentally normal individuals having their self-concept, cognitive abilities, and the whole bundle labeled “sanity” undermined colorfully by undetected tumors. And people get hit by cars or otherwise felled without warning all the time, as my grandfather (while I was living with him, age six) and my mother (while I was living with her, age eleven) exemplified. My, was I the auspicious child with whom to reside, or what?! With ego that poisonous, and death that near, it seemed like a splendid idea to stock up on identities: an old Jewish custom was to change one’s name to Chaim or Chaya when critically ill so Death might skip your checkmark on Its list.

It isn’t any particular identity—or even a human identity—which entitles beings to justice and peace! As long as injustice and suffering exist, it doesn’t matter upon whom they splat!  If identity is a useful tool, in some places, times and situations, to alleviate injustice and suffering, by all means use it. If identity is a fantasy, so are the little imaginary lines on maps, which have caused conflagrations.

 


Whales

A nature show my sweet wife left on TV for white noise was addressing creodont-to-cetacean evolution, but once that had hooked my ADD brain in, it soon enough pissed me off with a description of a whale male joining a pod and fertilizing some female whales as “he forms a harem…the writhing bodies stimulate the young male.” And then, describing the pod structure of pilot whale life, no sooner does the plummy-toned O.W.M. narrator grudgingly admit they’re organized around experienced adult female leaders than he launches into speculation that the older females lead the pods to suicidally beach themselves because of ear and brain parasites. Oy.

Hey–look at lions. I did a teeny comic about them once in a 3D cartoon anthology, so trust me a minute here. What’s lion life really like? The girls choose what guys they keep around, which ones get to reproduce, which ones even get to eat, that’s what. “King of Beasts served by his harem” my luscious ass! Leo’s a big ol’ baby and Leonie and Leah do the real work!

So what did this baleen orgy really look like? I psychically tuned into the female whales to find out. The young ladies, it turns out, were sayin’ to each other–all of this in far more expressive and nuanced Whalish of course, but I’ll go ahead and render it in my own native split-personality English–first one says, “Ladies dontchu even think about leavin’ me alone with the sperm donor fogoshsakes!” And then another goes, “Whatta you tawakin’, we only let ‘im come neeah the pod for a few houahs a yeahh, stahhp kvetching-g–we’ll awwl be theah just like awwlwayz!” And then they’re all rubbing and swooping around. “Ah swayah, is he evah gohna git duhhhnnn?!” asks the third rhetorically. Then the water fills with a cloudy liquid, the gals roll around in it, and then they’re out of there. They’re not no harem–they’re cetacean sistahs who are sharing a donor!


Eyes

One green one blue


Diana Vreeland was an expert

She was a highly influential Vogue editor who stated that: “any set of features can support beauty”



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