FAMILY MATTERS

I have five male half-cousins. They are all much, much younger than I am. They are the grandchildren of my grandfather’s second marriage. I do not know them well, but I remember them as cute little boys. I also remember their father. I remember him as a bit simple, a bit authoritarian, and a bit foolish. He had big teeth and he was proud that he could smile widely, rap his teeth with his knuckles and play a tune.

When the boys were still little, he moved his family from New York to Virginia. They became born again Christians.  It caused a bit of commotion in the larger family, but off they went.

Recently, one of these cousins asked to friend me on Facebook. So I clicked on his page to see what he was up to before I hit “confirm.”

I scrolled through his page. His profile picture showed a young man, muscle-bound, wearing shooting earmuffs and holding an AK-47. Under his profile picture it said,

Religious Views: Christian.

Political Views: Conservative.

Favorite Quotes:

• “The road to peace is paved with war.”

• “If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.”

 • “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.”

I scrolled through his photos. There were many of him and his brothers, bare-chested, muscle-bound, pumped-up on steroids and too many hours weight-lifting.  They wore camouflage face paint and had bandanas around their heads.

I’m sure my young cousin has many good qualities. I trust he has a good heart. I’m sure he is well-intentioned . . .

Actually, I’m not entirely sure that he’s well-intentioned. When I look at his home page, I fear that it is the mirror of those belonging to legions of other young men, indoctrinated by too many hours of war movies, excessively violent video games, FOX News, a 5th rate education, mixed martial arts viewing, football, jingoistic sound bites and fundamentalist religion.

I fear the national body is full of such cancerous cells that are metastasizing at all ends. Each day there are more smiling, muscle-bound brutes who believe in God and Country, and are incapable of a critical thought. But they are ready to slaughter and promote slaughtering in the name of their flag and their God — someone who, it appears they’ve forgotten, preached a message of love.

I’ll “friend” my nephew. Why not? It is not a blood oath. No ritualistic killing is obliged. Who knows, I may need a Conservative Christian with an AK-47 at some point to get me out of a jam.

Onward Christian Soldier . . .

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About the Author

John Rexer, the founder and editor of La Cuadra Magazine, expatriated himself from Los Estados about 12 years ago because he couldn't stand seeing his city, New York, lobotomized by the metastasizing sameness of WalMart America and didn't have a pillow large enough to Chief Bromden the place out of it's misery. After knocking around Mexico for a while he landed in Antigua, Guatemala - broke but certain about the decision to stay out of the States. Without much of a backup plan he opened Café No Sé (with a rusty credit card) on a residential street, in this sleepy, third-world, colonial town with the intention of creating the best bar in the known universe. For those of you who've been through Antigua, you know he succeeded. Primary mission accomplished, a few years later John started "creatively transporting" mezcal from Oaxaca into Guatemala with the intention of creating a multi-national company that would deliver the finest agave spirits to the citizenry of the world. That company, Ilegal Mezcal, is currently selling its booze around the globe. La Cuadra Magazine, an idea hatched a decade ago in a booze fueled bitch session with current Editor-in-Chief, Mike Tallon, is actually just the first step in larger plan to develop a publishing company that will create a genius literary movement in this new century in much the same way that Ferlinghetti's City Lights project launched the Beat Movement of the 1950s. Writ short, his aspirations are as big as his liver. Or, as Mike has noted on a number of occasions, John Rexer puts the "messy" back in "Messianic."
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