Archive for September, 2009

I am, in general, not a nice guy.

I’m (probably) a moral guy*, but that almost never goes hand in hand with nice; not if you really mean it when you’re moralizing.

I believe I’m a good dad. Most of the time I’m a good husband-type-thing. I don’t cheat, steal, hit people or indulge in generally agreed upon antisocial behaviour.
But still, I cannot call myself a nice guy.

When out in public, I have a tendency to treat service industry peons who are bad at their jobs like people who are bad at their jobs. I say crass things in inappropriate venues, mostly to elicit honest reactions from people who spend most of their lives worrying about being idealized, mythological versions of people. I give advice as though I have a right to, even though I have no professional advice giving credentials hanging on my office wall. I flipped off the stack of new Dan Brown hardcovers at my local Indigo last night** and there were small children within eyeshot. I have left someone to be with someone else rather than cheating on them. I eat meat, sometimes litter and almost never put the toilet seat down. I expect people to live the way they say they do and I call them on it when they don’t. And, if all that weren’t bad enough, I smoke; which, according to every public service announcement aired on T.V., makes me a kitten killing baby eater. Not that it’s an addiction or anything. (more…)

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Forty years ago, my mother was a flower child. She put daisy rings in her hair, went to protest rallies, and (according to some sources) smoked a lot of hash. Now, she wears flower print dresses, votes NDP and has given up any real hope that the world will change for the better. But, if you look for it, the flower child is still there.

Twenty five years ago, John Hughes made a movie called the Breakfast Club. It laid out and explored exaggerated versions of the archetypes that high school society is broken into. It also happened to be funny as hell and became an instant classic. Now, John Hughes is dead and every time I go see a teen comedy, it seems like I’m watching watered down versions of The Jock, The Popular Girl, The Geek, The Loser etc. The seeds of the past are blatantly present here, so much so it’s become glaringly obvious that Hollywood is just raping the good will a generation had towards what should have been seen as a warning about the homogenization of youth culture.

Ten years ago, I was a skater. I skipped school to hang out with my friends in the Byward Market, tried and failed (mostly) to look cool on a skateboard, died my hair blonde, wore t-shirts with pictures of 80’s cartoon characters on them, and, while smoking a lot of hash, had pseudo intellectual conversations with other skaters about how we were living in the best of times and the world didn’t really need any changing. And then I went to the occasional protest rally anyway. Now, I wouldn’t be caught dead on a skateboard, I have one kid and another one on the way; who I vote for changes election to election with who I believe will fuck me over the least and I daily piss off people in my personal life by not sitting down, shutting up and just accepting the world the way it is. In short, when I woke up and realized that we really weren’t living in the best of times and that the world is not a fundamentally benign and Julian loving place, I didn’t just slip into the suburban coma that had been pre-arranged for me from my teen years and the lack of choices I’d made back then; I got really really mad instead. (more…)