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As I approach my 30th year I’ve begun once again to contemplate religion. This isn’t any midlife crisis, priority reassessment, or self realization so much as it is people literally preaching at me… Sometimes in my store… Questioning my sexual identity…
But often when the more hardcore ones don’t get the hint I lay what should be the smackdown move: “actually, I was raised an orthodox jew”… Or “keys” if my phone is to be believed.
Sometimes this has the desired effect and they leave. Usually while telling me their ever loving god will have me burn in hell. And I always find it amusing that that’s the response to not being part of the club.
Whilst my particular brand of orthodoxy (courtesy of a school that could have taught the Catholic Church something about systematically sweeping paedophiles under the rug) had some interesting tidbits, the whole hell thing, or gehenna because jews have to be different, was reserved for truly horrible people where as gentiles reincarnated until they picked the right religion (and got an extra soul… Seriously… Although that’s sorta contradictory to the whole “souls choose their parents” bullshit we were fed when we complained about ours).
This reincarnation, rather than paradise, kind of explains why everyone hates jews. I understand that when the choices are between eternal paradise without cheeseburgers, or another shot along the samsara with chocolate covered bacon, figuring out which one is the actual reward for living a just life can be seriously confusing.
Christianity makes the choice much less ambiguous for non believers.
There’s no second shot.
If you’re not Catholic, but you’re still good, you go to purgatory (John Paul II did away with limbo).
If you’re not Protestant, but still good you just go to wussy hell, where there’s pineapple in the coleslaw and things are generally unpleasant.
If you’re not an Anglica, but still a good person, you go to Wales.
At least with Islam your choices are even easier, and I am seriously considering conversion. This may come as a shock to my friends, but you should have seen this coming. If Islamic heaven comes with a ratio of virgins at 72:1 then logic dictates that their heaven is clearly San Diego Comic Con.
But the fact of the matter is I don’t really think God’s watching. That’s not to say I’m an atheist. Atheism requires as much faith ad a religious beliwf. If a God ever does show up they’ll look pretty stupid with eyes scrunched, fingers in ears, humming really loudly.
I’m not really agnostic either. I still believe there’s some sort of greater power out there, I just don’t think it cares about us at all, if it ever sis.
I’m told the technical term for that religious position is “bitter”.
I know we often invite people in for coffee when we really mean sex, but as far as I was aware this was something done in private. An epic battle between Robert Timm’s and Nescafe.
Apparently not so much now that Starbucks has come out swinging as it were.
Not sure how many of you are aware of this but a few weeks ago, the Gloria Jeans coffee chain (which is well known to be in the pocket of one of the New Church pentecostal groups that I won’t name as they get litigatious… but they’ve got almost as much money as god) donated $30,000 to the Australian Christian Lobby specifically for their promotion of heterosexual status-quo-ing.
Whilst it’s apparnetly been policy at Starbucks’ international HQ for some time, Starbucks’ Australian arm decided they’d let people in on the supply closet where they keep the cream and straws. Starbucks support gay rights.
Whoop-de-fucking-doo. They support basic human rights that they’re technically required to by law, and in the case of Victoria, by the state’s human rights charter. I don’t normally drink at Starbucks as their so called coffee is for limp wristed twinks but it is nice to know that if you work in the company, the dick sucking to climb the corporate ladder is equal opportunity. So long as I don’t haveto eat one of their tuna melts I’m all good because those things are revolting.
But now they’ve found a way to turn their simple obligation to the law into a marketing thing.
“Come in,” Starbucks says “We won’t laugh when you ask for rainbow sprinkles and extra cream. We’re not like The Other Coffee Place that shuns you. We love your money, especially the $5 notes because they’re about the price of our horrible drinks and totally pink!”
It reeks of some mealy-mouthed PR hack pointing out because they DON’T actively discriminate they’re the good guys and they should use that. Last time I checked, NOT being an arsehole doesn’t make you the good guy. Now if Starbuck’s were to even up the score with Gloria Jeans by donating a similar, or even token, amount to a competing cause, charity or political group (Hey, The Australian Sex Party, consider asking) and pointing out that IT’S EVEN TAX DEDUCTIBLE, I’d be inclined to take them a little more seriously.
Either way it doesn’t really matter. The classy queens and quality queers tend to get their coffee from laneway cafes staffed by ex-hippies and uni-students, categories of people that always supported the right to fuck whoever you wanted because they hope maybe it’ll be them.
But what really shits me here is that all of a sudden, we’re giving companies a free pass or even extra points simply because they’re publicly supporting their own legal obligations under the requirements of operating in this country, simply rather than grumbling about it. I get it that it’s a thing for them to be pro-queer in the US. It’s a puritanical country, and there are massive societal divides on issues like this. To that end, Starbucks are fucking lucky they started out in a more liberal city like Seattle. Kurt Cobain would probably have never come up with that unique Grunge sound if he hadn’t been absolutely wired, and Starbucks is pretty sure they’r responsible.
But in Australia? Yeah, we have some people that don’t like gays. But it’s not nearly as much a problem, it’s not nearly as vitrilioc, and it’s not nearly as organised and serious a threat as it is in the US. Probably our closes ties to British culture, I’d assume, where sexualised humour, cross dressing and infantalism all seem common entertainment. By and large, Australia is amazingly accepting of queerdom in all its forms. Sure, we don’t have legalised marriage for gay people but it is honestly such a first world problem I cannot even begin to understand why it’s a battleground (it needs to be pointed out at this moment that I am anti-marriage – it’s an outmoded concept and you don’t need the state, the church or a $40,000 party to tell your friends and family you’re a committed couple… just by some shackles or something). I love this country precisely because whilst we are, as a whole, rude, uncouth, arrogant slaptards that’ll crack a joke about it we really couldn’t give a shit how you take your orgasms so long as you get up in the morning have some weetbix and some tea or coffee.
Australia: We love a cock in a frock on a rock… Now shutup, serve me my coffee, and put your scrotum back inside your bikini bottoms! When I asked for hazelnut I didn’t realise your drag name was Hazel!
This film is part Natural Born Killers, part Falling Down, and part Idiocracy. It ought to be compulsory viewing as part of highschool… with teachers drilling home the idea that being rude, uninformed, or media whorish are crimes that will be punished by radom & violent deaths.
It’s dark, hilariously funny, and remarkably well made for something with such a small budget.
The film revolves around Frank, an insurance clerk that hates what society has become, full of self-entitled prats that can’t even understand the difference between entertainment and debate, that justify anything so long as it’s entertaining. Likening America to the Roman empire in its decline, as the show has some brilliant satirical swipes at current TV shows like TMZ with “TMI” or the weekly hype cycle that turns a laughing stock into a national celebrity in the space of three days, Frank finally snaps when he realises that with his diagnosis of a terminal brain tumour he has nothing left to lose and decides to commit suicide… until he sees Chloe on a “reality tv” program being a product of the times, and decides he finally has a purpose.
Frank charges himself with ridding the world of people without basic courtesy and the minimum level of awareness to even be a nice person, and the cultural pustules that enable and even advocate such behaviour.
It’s interesting to see Bobcat Goldthwait (Z from Police Academy) work as a writer and director. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the guy is actually an amazingly bitter intellectual, which informs a lot of his standup… which most people have never seen as they’re mostly interested in hearing him talk oddly and scream while wearing silly clothing. A big issue with this film is that the character dialogue isn’t natural. The actors do a lot to make it flow more realistically, and even some of Goldthwait’s directing helps with this, but his writing is… I’m not going to say preachy, but it definitely feels like the kind of dialogue you’d get from Rand’s or Heinlein’s characters: the characters who are Right are witty and erudite, while the characters who are Wrong are craven, base idiots who can only fall back on strawmen and non-sequiturs. To be fair though, that’s exactly what the film is raging against – the dumbing down of society. To be fairer, I’ve personally seen this (and some of the exact debates) in action. Here’s an example:
Frank: Oh, I get, and I am offended. Not because I’ve got a problem with bitter, predictable, whiny, millionaire disk jockeys complaining about celebrities or how tough their life is, while I live in an apartment with paper-thin walls next to a couple of Neanderthals who, instead of a baby, decided to give birth to some kind of nocturnal civil defense air-raid siren that goes off every fuckin’ night like it’s Pearl Harbor. I’m not offended that they act like it’s my responsibility to protect their rights to pick on the weak like pack animals, or that we’re supposed to support their freedom of speech when they don’t give a fuck about yours or mine.
Office Worker: So, you’re against free speech now? That’s in the Bill of Rights, man.
Frank: I would defend their freedom of speech if I thought it was in jeopardy. I would defend their freedom of speech to tell uninspired, bigoted, blowjob, gay-bashing, racist and rape jokes all under the guise of being edgy, but that’s not the edge. That’s what sells. They couldn’t possibly pander any harder or be more commercially mainstream, because this is the “Oh no, you didn’t say that!” generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we’re supposed to celebrate it. I saw a woman throw a used tampon at another woman last night on network television, a network that bills itself as “Today’s Woman’s Channel”. Kids beat each other blind and post it on Youtube. I mean, do you remember when eating rats and maggots on Survivor was shocking? It all seems so quaint now. I’m sure the girls from “2 Girls 1 Cup” are gonna have their own dating show on VH-1 any day now. I mean, why have a civilization anymore if we no longer are interested in being civilized?
It’s a great speech, but very few people are this eloquent without it being a prepared speech. Even if they could come up with the words, the precise and flawless delivery from Frank, whilst great in the context of a movie, just doesn’t gel with me as being something anyone could actually do with such ease.
There is another part of me that feels that Goldthwait made this film also in part due to the virtual burying of Idiocracy by FOX, a company that’s known for it’s keen sense of keeping anything that might make its audience feel intellectually threatened or present them with alternative points of view that aren’t clearly labelled as “jokes”. This is a film clearly aimed at the sort of people that realised Beavis & Butthead wasn’t a hilarious cartoon of idiots doing idiotic things for their entertainment, like Jackass, but a stark warning on what happens when you spend all your time watching MTV and never aspiring to anything (The only redeeming features of B&B was that it spawned two rather good, thought provoking spin offs in King of the Hill and Daria). MTV and the majority of its audience clearly missed that message, because Judge got booted from the show, and MTV continued to tone down the intellectual and musical content to the point that it had to make a spin-off channel of its own for music, and teenagers today are surprised when MTV does play video clips.
Much like Idiocracy, the film makes me want to weep for showing precisely how ugly society truly is.
It even has that feeling of prophecy about it, considering that Anders Breivik has even used similar rationale in the recent days of his current court case, and people are similarly using his current infamy/celebrity to bolster their own.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the incidence of infidelity is rising in Australia. Be it part of mainstream culture becoming more sex obsessed (I don’t believe this is the case) or people are just getting horny from something in the water isn’t really the issue. The point is that monogamous relationships and marriages clearly aren’t working as a long term construct.
Predominantly there is the psychological component at play here. The fact is that everyone is a unique individual snowflake so we can basically break them down into a limited number of psychological typings, just like an emo. When it comes to experiencing love, John Lee1 came up with six basic forms of love back in the 70s when that was all that was on anyone’s mind. It’s important to actually realise that there are different ways of loving someone romantically. We’re not talking about loving in a filial, platonic or bromantic way. Actual romance where it’s not creepy to have sex with. These different styles of love are after different things and are often grossly incompatible – he’s not the right guy, she’s just not that into, it’s not you it’s me. This is all directly from incompatibilities people experience between different styles of love.
Another part of this definitely comes down to biology. Till death do us part isn’t so hard when you’re meant to go off in battle and possibly die in your late teens/early 20s, and your life expectancy is barely 40. With the life spans of our generation having doubled over what they were a century ago, we have alot more time to grow bored with things, and we are nothing if not creatures of acclimatization. After all, it took less than a month for AshleyMadison, a website for people who are specifically looking to have a secret affair, to achieve 300,000 signups when it launched in Australia, well over a third of these were women2.
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