Friday, June 28, 2013

Public Service Announcement

   Hello audience of one. I've taken a step back from blogging, largely because it hasn't held quite the same attraction for me since it became apparent that I don't really have the freedom to write what I'd like to write about, but also because other shit is just happening all around my ears and takes up most of my breathing moments. However, I was struck by a thought today that has visited me before, and I was about to post the wordiest, most didactic Facebook status ever when I stopped and realised I still had a little platform here I could utilise.
   So, point: My dad is gay. He was married to my mother for more than 20 years, and through the systematic sledgehammering he took from his ultra-conservative, religious upbringing and just the generally crapsack world we live in, he forced himself to not only live an oppressive existence for most of his adult life, but also had to suffer the belief that he was this pervert and evil sinner too. In one massive act of bravery, he finally managed to come out mid-way through his 50's, and is finally living the life he missed out on for so long. He is happy with his new partner, and has been able to free himself of the constrictive guilt and punishment he had been imposing on himself, which makes me happier than you could possibly know.
   All of this said, I have an opinion here that I suspect isn't going to be the anchor of my eventual platform when I run as president of the universe. It's not exactly in tune with the popular thinking, but it's been bugging me enough that I opened Blogger and had to try to remember my password to write something.

   I'm getting more than a little fatigued by the whole battle bewteen the LGBT community (and its supporters, of which I am a genuinely fabulous member) and the rest of the fuckwads who like to shake their angry little fists in protest over buttsex. It's just getting to be too much for me. Put me in a room with some tight-lipped, conservative moron shooting their mouth off about the abomination of the gays, and watch me go in Debate Team mode. I will righteously smack that somvabitch down with all manner of shiny biblical references and scholarly points. BUT.
   I was scrolling through my Facebook feed quickly, just to see if anyone had had a surprise baby or significant lottery win, (cause fuck knows there aren't enough hours in my life to actually engage with Facebook anymore. I WILL NOT PLAY MAFIA WARS WITH YOU, fuck off.) and there were at least three different posts by three radically different people with pretty heavy-handed gay content. One was a fairly innocuous article by some religious website outlining why Christians are wrong to use the bible to piss all over gay people, which is a point of view I'd like some bumber stickers of. (I don't have a car, but I'd be happy to affix one to my cat.) It was a good article, and I'm glad that the point that Jesus was all about the brotherly love is being made more frequently and articulately from within the whole ugly establishment that's responsible for the modern day stoning. The other was a little more ham-fisted, and actually made me so angry I kind of lost that little bit of my soul that would have been tempted to rug-munch at all.

   Now if you don't feel like watching that video, here's a rundown: in a world where homosexuality is the majority and socially acceptable lifestyle (the Bible apparently says it's bad eggs to lie with the opposite gender outside of "breeding season", which might well be my favourite thing ever), a little girl realises she has heterosexual feelings for a boy and gets mercilessly ripped to shreds by absolutely everyone. Her two mothers are apparently full-blown arseholes and try to push her towards football and karate, because no child of theirs is going to be a 'ro. The children at school unanimously decide to physically beat her and bombard her with text messages encouraging her to kill herself. Of course, eventually she does, in the most protracted, clumsy little montage this side of a Ricki Lake pre-taped confessional.
   You’ve been waiting for me to make my contrary view, and this is it: No. Look, it’s an entirely valid argument to make, that the status quo is taken for granted and that the people supporting the casual ostracising and targeting of gay people and children aren’t really cognisant of the harm they're doing, or of how singularly evil and arbitrary their judgments are. How the very ever, this is not how you go about making that point in a poignant or finessed manner. I know exactly how cruel and institutional the abuse towards gay people can be, how cruel children and parents and how relentless the struggles of these people are. While the switching of the roles for the sake of a short film might be an interesting rhetorical device, it becomes a little bit redundant when you don’t really portray those struggles with anything like the realism or nuance that helps it hit home. Yes, these children suffer unbelievable bullying, both physical and emotional, but this girl has apparently been outed as heterosexual for all of a week, and the biggots at her school have all, every single one, dedicated their every waking moment to tormenting her and sending her messages urging her towards suicide. Apparently, they wake up in the morning and immediately set to the task of smacking her around and calling her a faggot, go to school solely to mistreat her, and until they go to sleep sit on their cellphones obsessively sending her those messages barely taking time to eat or bath or masturbate or whatever it is 12-year-olds do after school. When you have to wave a massive banner around shouting “THIS IS TERRIBLE. SEE HERE HOW TERRIBLE IT IS” instead of just showing us how things are and letting the terribleness of the situation make itself obvious, you’re just going to sound like a loon who doesn’t understand the problem properly. This little girl might have had 12 full years to soak up the knowledge that her kind won’t be tolerated, but only really contemplates the personal ramifications of it and only suffers the violence and direct prejudice for something like a week before cutting her wrists in the most emotionally manipulative manner imaginable. This is just fucking stupid. For one thing, the children suffering this kind of bullying generally suffer a more insidious, ever-constant low-level threat that relies on the promise that it could (and does) flare up at any moment and escalate to the kind of all-out violence depicted here, which is far more psychologically damaging and scary than one afternoon of an all-out brawl. These kids endure years of having to hate themselves for their own feelings, and having to wrestle with themselves on it back and forth. They have to deal with much more fundamental reminders in the home that their parents would hate them for what they are. To condense it this way and to reduce it to the almost abstract idea of simply getting beat up is really to undermine the actual seriousness of the problem, and moves away from being helpful and sincere towards being self-righteous and obnoxious.
   That’s my problem. Or to put it slightly differently, I think the whole gay rights vs. homophobic bigotry debate has gotten ludicrously out of hand. I’m getting so tired of staring at post upon post, article upon article like the video above that seem to think what we need to be doing is shouting as loudly as we can, and to go “look how evil you people are” whilst printing up the martyr badges. I’ll reiterate my previous statement: No. Stop spending your energy trying to rationalise and prove a point to the mindless, arsehole citizens of the deluded right wing- their numbers are dwindling anyway. A majority of Americans are now in favour of gay marriage, and most of the 1st world countries (and even shitty little wannabe 3rd world countries like South Africa) actually have legislation upholding those rights. More and more, the evil little whiners who like to throw Bible-shaped rocks at gay people are the hold-outs, the people who will be replaced in a couple of generations by more homogenised descendants.
   My dad’s parents were Seventh Day Adventists who believed that observing the Sabbath on a Sunday was sinful and ignorant. My father is a secular Christian who believes in equality. I am a raging arsehole atheist who will happily pee on the ignorant, conservative right and say I thought they were on fire. We progress. As slowly as it may seem, we inch forward a little every day, and even though we do our damndest to raise our children to hold our own biases and prejudices, they are inevitably eroded by the march of an ever-more evolved world at least enough every generation to ensure their eventual extinction. What I’m saying is, all of this noise is unnecessary and a little bit counterproductive. Can we just recognise that while the fight for equal rights and the humane treatment of gay people (hell, all people. There are a great many injustices in this world, and a lot of people living under the oppression of their gender, sexuality, race and beliefs) is still vital, but that we are past the part of the program where we need to explain it over and over again? When you go to such lengths to illustrate why that kind of hatred is wrong, why the Bible really supports love over judgment, and why we should be treating other human beings with the most basic kind of respect, you’re only indulging the argument. I’m sorry, did you say that laws restricting the basic rights of gay people is A-OK because your little book mentions it briefly in between urging you to shun a menstruating woman and beat your child to death for swearing? Fuck you. You’re not only wrong, you’re delusional, and there’s no applying logic to crazy. It’s really OK, entertain yourself with those little notions and warm yourself by the fire of your dying culture, because your children and your children’s children will grow up in a world less and less tolerant of ignorance and cruelty, and eventually your ilk will be the ones having to form minority groups to protect your right to idiocy.
   It’s fucking 2013, and barely at that. Shit, two minutes ago I turned 21, and tomorrow I’ll be collecting pension from the government. I want to make it clear that I'm not talking about countries where gay people are routinely executed and tortured, nor am I taking issue with the fight to root the absurd-minded despots out of government where they can cause actual harm by inflicting their personal beliefs upon legislation. Those are very valid fights to be fought, and we're still some ways away from making sure people aren't dying for their sexual orientation. I'm talking about the social conventions and the movement around 1st world acceptance of lifestyle, which is a very different kettle of fish. Well it's a kettle of a related species of fish, but the point holds. But we are so massively past the phase where we even need to explain to grown-ass, well-fed human beings why it’s OK to love whomever the fuck will have you, or why it’s properly nuts and indisputably repugnant to treat anyone with any less dignity than you’d like to be treated with yourself. I really, really think we can settle into the phase where we can just be happy that the actual, statistical majority of rational thinking adults are clued up, and accept the opposition as the bizarre minority it is. The social stigma is turning towards those nutjobs, and believe me, if they weren’t inclined to be decent human beings to start with, a piece of emotional blackmail like the video above isn’t going to change their hearts and minds. But simply scoffing at their lunacy like the village drunks they are will.
   Just dismiss them, people. No one wants to play with them anyway. And stop cluttering my Facebook wall with kittens requesting Likes for Jesus, that shit is giving me hives.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Year's Easter

   I think I'm fairly reasonable as a person. I have so many stories- lord, so many stories- generated by my crazy lot of kith and kin, and I have only mined maybe a tenth of the really good veins of drama here or anywhere. There's a certain element of risk to a blog like this one- whatever way I go, if I'm writing decently I'm really going to end up making someone's bad decision public. I try to limit this reasonably to things that I can talk about (most of which are just so damn funny in their scope of ridiculousness, it would be a crying shame not to share), and I tend to edit around even the most amusing things some of my posse have gotten up to if it wouldn't be fair to do a song and dance around it.
   But every so often, a repeat offender will either go to such gorgeous lengths of stupidity or offensiveness, and then even a friends-and-family protection order will go bye-bye. I'm sorry, but dem's de rules: you shit in my shoe, I paint your bedroom with it. I've racked up some spectacular bullshit of my own in my time, and frankly most of the day is spent wanting to poke my own eye out for the sheer units of moron I pump out from hour to hour, and I'm sure if anyone else wrote delightful if horribly pointed stories about my personal kind of stupid I'd shrink into myself. But at the end of the day, I have to own that shit. I make a choice either to be a prick or to be sensible, and whichever direction I choose inevitably has a receiving party who has all the right in the world to feel wronged. It just baffles me that if any one of all my varied acquaintances throws a tantrum or spews vitriol everywhere that you could possibly feel so hard done by when you see it laid down in black and white. I mean for fuck's sakes, perhaps it wasn't your finest hour, but chances are I took the time out of my day to write it down because it was both funny and largely inexcusable. Probably both with a dash of "I don't give a fuck whether I treat you or anyone else like something I stepped it, bask in the glory of my magnificent arseholedom" thrown in for good measure. But having it described to an only slightly wider audience than my cats is the cardinal sin? As many an excellent Jerry Springer audience member has helpfully quipped: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
   Roundaboutly what I'm getting at is that I've ended up editing myself more than I'd like here. Not so much in what I write down as in what it is I end up deleting again after it's been published. Since I really only feel justified in writing about the more egregious examples of wank, they do tend to attract the most hissy-fits and flounces once they go up, and I've twice been asked now to take stories down in respect for family ties and such. Both times, after having to think over how comfortable I am with bowing to that kind of pressure I've decided that's not the kind of dick I want to be (I want to be an entirely different kind of dick, obviously) and I've taken them down. If I had gone the route of a printed autobiography I suspect there would have been just as much if not more bitching, but I don't know if there'd have been quite as easy an expectation for me to "take things down" or whatever the print equivalent is. Somehow a blog, being digital and easily altered, is not quite as free to enjoy impunity in honesty as a physical book would be. I suppose the flip side of that- at least for me- has been that in writing something as ephemeral as a blog over a book, it's been easier to allow myself more liberty with people's names or relationship to me. There's a feeling that largely the people reading this either already know your shenanigans or will never know who you are anyway, and perhaps in that I have been remiss. From now on if I tell you about someone who's personal topiary gets shaved into a heart-shape, I'll take more pains to at least give them a cursory veil of anonymity.
   One day I'll write you that book, and you shall all cringe and cry with laughter so help me Judge Judy, for I shall plumb the depths of unwritten material that is simply growing riper where it waits in my Bag Of No. It shall be a glorious day and all shall feast on pastries and wine, but until that day I'll curb myself to within the limits of appropriateness- without cutting down on my arsehole quotient too much. Fair warning though: if you're going to be a buffoon, be it somewhere out of my eyeshot, because that shit is fair game.

   I've been quiet for a while, largely because I now have stairs to climb at home and that tires me the fuck out. Can't spare no energy for the typings after two flights. There's been moving and subsequent unpacking and keeping an eye on the size of the spiders in the bathroom and heart attacks and laziness. I shall be endeavouring to get into more adventures and angering the locals now that my hiatus is over, and if I were you I would expect at least one instalment of Why I Love Shitty Reality TV by Snofferol. My PVR is now my best friend, for it affords me the luxury of watching both Cake Boss and Don't Tell The Bride, even if the geniuses at TV Central should decide to schedule both at the same time.
   Happy New Year's Easter from Pie HQ, next time I'll bring pictures.