Posts Tagged ‘1970s’

One Little Lie

February 16, 2008

I took a look at the results of The Georgia Straight’s sex survey on the recommendation of a reader.  There were a few interesting results, although they emphasize it was not a scientific poll.  One thing that stood out is the few percent of people who have sex more than thirty times a month, or more than once a day.  Even more interesting was the fact that 5.3% of married women did, while only 0.7% of married men did.  Hmmm…

What else is there?  Have you ever blatantly told a lie to persuade a person to go to bed with you?  No, not me.  Oh, wait a minute.  There was that one time…

Shortly after arriving in London, I realized the English had a serious attitude problem when it came to Canada and Canadians.  Sure enough, I came across a book that listed things that were ‘naff’, or unfashionable.  It included things you shouldn’t say, do, wear, or be.  It declared that Canada and Belgium were ‘naff’.  By contrast, in those waning years of the Thatcher era, they had America on the brain.  Maggie had been promising them for years that it was “going to be just like in America”.

One night, I was in a pub on Seven Sisters Road, I believe, just across the street from a theatre that had been a popular concert venue in the 60s and 70s, where Bowie and others had played.  There was a sort of early club in the pub, with live music, DJ, fun decor, oilwheels, and lighting.

I spotted a pretty girl who really appealed to me.  She wasn’t very receptive when I approached her, at first.  Then I decided to try an experiment.  I told her I was American.  A big smile came across her face.  You know all those enemies of America who call Britain “America’s whore”?  They’re right.  It’s a Bangkok hooker with “FUCK ME USA” painted on her back.

We went back to my place and had a great time.  We discovered, among other things, that she couldn’t pee and give oral sex at the same time.  We spoon slept, waking up perfectly positioned for more.  It was great.  The chemistry was great.  I felt great.  I really liked her and, when she told me about some carnival or fair she was going to that day and asked if I’d like to come along, I wanted to say yes.  But, I couldn’t, because it was all a lie.  I quietly said that, no, I wouldn’t really be into it.

The truth was, I didn’t care where she was going.  I wanted to accept her invitation and spend the day with her.  I walked her to the door and watched her walk out of my life.

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A Giant Upset Brings Retributive Justice

February 4, 2008

Another Super Bowl has come and gone.  But this time, it was actually interesting and entertaining to the last.  The annual anticlimactic conclusion to the NFL season, which is often overshadowed by the new special edition commercials unveiled for the event, was anybody’s game until the end.  This is a refreshing change of pace for a game that’s usually decided by halftime, and sometimes in the first quarter.

It’s fitting that there was a thrilling finish to a game with such a great setup.  This one was a marketer’s dream.  “Come see the realization of perfection.  A perfect season!”  When, in the last minute, the Giants finally got the touchdown that had so far eluded the Patriots’ playoff opponents and went ahead, it was clear that the invincible team could be beaten.

The only thing that could have made a better, piss your pants ending would have been the completion of one of Tom Brady’s desperation passes for a touchdown in the dying seconds.  But there would be no repeat of the ‘hail mary’ finish, just as there would be no repeat of a perfect season.  The Super Bowl may have been worth watching again, and the price of oil may be through the roof, but the 70s are gone.

The outcome is fitting in another way, too.  New England’s perfect season got off to a controversial start, with the staff caught taping their opponent’s practice session.  Should cheating be rewarded with victory and a perfect record?  Maybe there’s a certain justice in their losing.

There’s an even older wrong that may have been righted.  I’m thinking of a certain official’s call in a certain playoff game some years ago that New England was close to losing.  The referee ruled that their quarterback did not fumble the ball when he was sacked, but he did.  It was called an incomplete forward pass so the Patriots kept the ball.  They went on to win that game moments later then went on to win a Super Bowl they shouldn’t even have been in.  Now they’ve lost one that everyone thought was theirs almost by default.

Retributive justice.  Order restored to the universe.

Sunday Morning

January 20, 2008

I got up one Sunday morning when I was eight or nine and turned on the TV.  Growing up in Windsor, a border city, we picked up Detroit stations, even in the pre-cable days of the early 1970s.  So, that meant that I found religious programming rather than the cartoons I was probably hoping for.

What I saw left a lasting impression on me.  A row of beautiful, wholesome looking young women in pastel coloured chiffon dresses stood in a beautiful, natural setting as they sang, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching off to war…”  Besides wondering how they managed to flash their perfect smiles for every syllable, I was immediately appalled.

Even at that tender age, I was offended.  Despite my lack of sophistication, I could see the hypocrisy.  Kill for god?  Doesn’t one of the commandments read, “Thou shalt not kill”?  Now I’m supposed to believe god wants us to kill when it suits him?  And I could see it was a sales job, too.  I may have been pre-pubescent, but I knew a pretty girl when I saw one and, somehow, that sex sells.  Somebody wanted people to buy the ideas of war and god.

At that time, the US was embroiled in the Vietnam war, fighting against the communist North.  Being godless, they were presented as a threat to American ‘values’.  It wasn’t about money, markets, or business opportunities, of course.  It’s amazing how history keeps repeating itself.

If I, a child, could see through this ruse, why couldn’t the adults across the border?  Are people really so blinded by religion?  Apparently, they are.  Give them eyes, that they might see.

‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, a song I suspect has its origins in the Crusades, was the most offensive song I’d ever heard, and it remains so.

Disillusionment

January 19, 2008

People talk of disillusionment as if it’s a bad thing, but it should be good.  Disillusion, and it’s suffix-enhanced derivatives, is one of my favourite words.  It is misleading in its use, but revealing in its construction.

The Gage Canadian Dictionary defines disillusion as “free from illusion”, “freeing or being freed from illusion”.  Examining its constituent parts, this seems obvious – dis = not, remove;  illusion = false vision;  and ment = condition or state of.  So disillusion means not under – or free from – false vision, and disillusionment is the condition or state of not – or no longer – being under false vision.  In other words, disillusionment is clarity.  That’s a good thing, no?

Clarity is good, but we think of disillusionment as bad because when people see the truth after being lied to all their lives, they feel resentment or, perhaps, depression.  But, it’s not the newly found clarity that is the problem, it is the lies they’ve been taught by the people they should have been able to trust the most.  When the people you counted on to raise and teach you turn out to have been wrong, and to have given you a false vision of the world, it is natural that there will be negative sentiment.

When this happens people lose confidence in the old system.  But there isn’t a system in place to replace the old one so they may become cynical and adopt the attitude that it doesn’t matter, that there are no rules or limits on behaviour.  This, at least in part, is what happened in the 1960s and 1970s when, for the first time, large numbers of people questioned the institutions of their childhood and found them lacking.  But, they didn’t really have anything to replace them with.  There are those who would point to this and say, “See?  This is what happens without god.”  There are alternatives, though.

We need to teach children a new system of ethics based on rationality, common sense, and truth – not fear of a god or eternal damnation.  It has to be done from an early age, in school.  They should be taught how to figure out the right thing to do, rather than to follow like sheep.  In other words, they have to develop critical thinking skills so they can distinguish right from wrong.  Then, maybe, everyone can be on the same page in the future.

Of course, it will have to be done carefully.  I’m thinking of a conversation I had years ago with a French friend, in which I told her I had the impression that French kids throw away their Sartre when they read they are free and go out to wreak havoc, before getting to the part about responsibility.  She didn’t disagree.

This post appears in the Carnival of the Godless #87.