Too Much Introspection or Me, Me, Me

Epiphany!

It is not often that I can have an instant epiphany while reading a blog post. It is even less likely for me to have one when reading a Freshly Pressed post.

I had one this morning though.

I won’t mention the  post by name or even by subject. You may be able to guess by the general tone of my post. If you can, I can only apologise to the person who wrote it, this isn’t personal. It’s not even a criticism.

It’s just an epiphany.

We all write blogs for similar reasons and they run the gamut from practicing to write to reviews on film.

A lot of people though, use their blog as a sort of public diary. Their posts deal with introspective ideas, realizations, or perspectives. There are an awful lot of introspective blogs out there.

My blog, for instance, does quite a bit of introspective wool gathering and then goes on to air it, as they say, in public.

I try very hard though to keep it from being all about me and my introspective study of personal belly-button lint. I hope I’m able to walk the fine line between Zen-like self discovery and the public “whinging” and whining about my  poor pitiful life.

When I write a blog that isn’t dealing with my own lifelong fascination of cinema and the acting profession I try to write about things that have happened to me or those around me. Not in a news sense, but in a sense of “I learned something today, I’ll just pass it on in case someone is interested.” I also like to put in print things I’ve done or seen or tried for the same reason.

I even like to put up introspective pieces if I feel that someone might identify with the issue and if not find an answer at least be compelled to look for one. I much prefer to post a “reflective” piece though. If you look at the tags for this post you’ll see reflective is one of them.

I was a young adult in the days of the “I’m okay, you’re okay” generation. A couple of decades when a few enterprising authors made a fortune on self help, self actualization, self promotion and even self love books, courses, and public seminars.

I'm okay, you're... well, maybe not
I’m okay, you’re… well, maybe not (Photo credit: pdxjmorris)

Do I sound cynical? If you answer yes, then you my dear friend and neighbor have been paying attention.  I am indeed cynical. I’ve had 54 years of learning, that despite the teachings of  a few self help books, people primarily look out for number one first and foremost.

Society has moved on from the “I’m okay, you’re okay” days and has moved into the “me” generation. The me generation started in the 90’s (I might be wrong here, but I became aware of it in the 90’s) and this has been morphed into the “I’m special” generation.

Father George Carlin spoke eloquently about the Special generation.

*contains adult language*

Now Father George refers to the “self esteem movement” aka the “I’m okay, you’re okay” days. It’s so nice to be vindicated. I just thought I’d point that out.

I guess the point I’m struggling to make is this, I don’t care about how well you can navigate the social network system. If you have discovered what a lot of folks already know about Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (I know they’ve changed their logo, but I can’t replicate it nor do I care to try), Bebo, et al; great!

I’m pleased for you. I might even go on to say I’m proud of you. There are not many who have gone this long and not realised that the new improved social network system is just another way for those in control to keep an eye on the populace.

Actually, the above paragraph is a slight exaggeration. I like the social network system or the SNS as I like to call it. It’s helping to make the world a smaller place. It’s also proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that trolls do exist.

I’m guessing that the amount of introspection blogs on offer has an awful lot to do with the creation of the “special’ movement. I never experienced that movement. When I grew up the pressure was on to be better at something and, if at all possible, to be the best.

I was taught that if you tried your best, that sometimes you would be better at something and you might even be the best…for a while. It’s called competition people, it’s healthy and very non-introspective.

We need to have goals and sometimes the goal is to be a better nailer than George or Mildred and not over internalize it or even to write about it. I may be overthinking this whole epiphany thing and that’s okay. At least I’m not over introspecting it.

Hopefully.

Last Words (book)
Last Words (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four Letter Word Misery

Annie Wilkes
Annie Wilkes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just re-reading the last What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: Bacon In a Toaster and at one point in the article the question of four letter words came up. I was surprised.

I mean, we are all adults here right? Now unless the words are so socially unacceptable (let’s face it a few are), like the notorious C-word that has been banned from my house for years, that not only do we blush a bit when encountering them we also feel slightly (or not so slightly) offended.

But getting right down to where the carpet meets the floor, who decides what is an acceptable four letter word? Like I surmised earlier, are we not all adults? Surely we’ve heard enough ‘damns’ and ‘hells’ in our short lifetime that we’ve grown accustomed to the more ‘colourful’ aspects of speech and the written word.

The esteemed George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) used to have a list of words that you could not say on television. I do believe that the list originally consisted of just seven words and were actually words you could not say on stage. Carlin, for those of you who don’t remember or were not around back in the day, was removed from a Las Vegas stage for saying the word ‘shit’ onstage.

Now gentle reader (or the editorial staff at WordPress) if that word just shocked and offended you, might I suggest reading something that is less likely to offend? Like the many editions of Dick and Jane primers or perhaps any Dr Seuss book laying around out there in book land.

Signature of Dr. Seuss
Signature of Dr. Seuss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The very fact that the editor, who was helpfully pointing out that the ‘four letter words’ used in the post were in keeping with the “blunt humour” of the post itself, felt he had to justify the four letter words is disturbing. Not to mention erudite. I’ve not encountered the phrase ‘blunt humour’ before.

Blunt Humour? I’ll have to look that one up. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so busy using four letter expletives in my own blog posts I would be more familiar with that term.

It is scary that the editor had to ‘justify’ the use of everyday words that might just offend somebody. It’s like the world is full of Annie Wilkes‘s who despise the use of the four letter language that quite a few of us use on a daily basis. I’m not saying that we all walk around talking or writing like the world’s worst potty mouth, but come on.

Do I really have to continually substitute darn for damn or heck for hell? Maybe I should just be a cock-a-doodie brat and not substitute any of those oogy old swear words.  What’s the worst that can happen? Will some bitching mean fundamentalist break into my house and hobble me?

I suppose I could get a visit from the Good Word Fairy who just might wash out my mouth with soap and make me write a 1000 times on my blog that I will not use dirty four letter words in my posts again.

I might even decide to use the more offensive words of the four letter variety in my future posts! I mean, why the hell not.

I’d write some more on this business of offensive language and it’s tendency to offend folks who still suffer from the ‘vapors’ but I’ll have to stop.

Someone’s just knocked on the door…

Last Words (book)
Last Words (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Midnight Shooter the Jokes on Him

*Note: I will not put any images of James Holmes up in this post as I refuse to aid his obvious wish for fame.*

As if we really needed another reason to not interact with our fellow inhabitants on this planet we call home we now have the aptly named Midnight Shooter.

The ‘Midnight Shooter’ aka James Holmes, who was in the process of ‘dropping out’ of his neuroscience course at the University of Colorado, is a 24 year old man who amassed over 6,000 rounds of ammunition, four different guns, incendiary devices, tear gas cannisters and materials to make grenades and napalm. All this on top of his body armour kit which included crotch and neck protection and a gas mask. Most of this, police say, was purchased over the internet and delivered to Holmes’ residence.

Holmes spent two months planning his midnight slaughter at the premier of the eagerly awaited Christopher Nolan film Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. It appears that Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight viewing and after going in, wedged open an exit door and went to his car to arm himself and armour up. He then re-entered the theatre and tossing two tear gas cannisters on the floor, opened fire with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

The body count was amazingly and thankfully low. Fourteen unfortunate film fans died in the onslaught and estimates of the injured has been rumoured to be as high as fifty. Details of the arrest of Holmes is vague, but it appears that his rifle jammed and he used his pistol until he ran out of ammunition. Presumably he surrendered when he ran out of ammo.

Obviously that was his intent all along. Why kit yourself up with state-of-the-art body armour if you intend to go out in a blazing gun battle with the police. If you’ve gone to all that trouble, you don’t want the police to kill you before you have your fifteen minutes of fame.

What’s disgusting is that this animal is now telling all and sundry that he’s in a movie. Incredibly every bugger he’s told this to is now repeating it as gospel.

It’s almost like the punch line to a bad joke, you know the one I’m sure. “I might be crazy but I’m not stupid!” So we are meant to believe that this murderous, fame seeking beast really believes that he’s in a film and that none of this is real? Yeah all right mate, pull the other one it’s got bells on.

I suppose we could give him a little credit. At least he didn’t claim it was because he’d played Grand Theft Auto for 48 hours straight. Or that God had told him to do it.

No, he’s claiming to be ‘The Joker‘ from the Batman verse. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. James Holmes is another of these ‘special’ kids who had to grow up only to realize that he’s not special at all.

If you want to look for blame or for a reason, look at our society today. Our ‘child worship’ as George Carlin put it, is causing our youth to grow up into ever more disenchanted adults. I did a article about the fact that a load of school kids said they wanted fame as a job when they grew up. Our culture has allowed this to happen. The only thing people seem to be teaching their children is the attitude of being owed something.

I’m sure that if Holmes’ past is looked into, we’ll find he was a spoiled, unrealistic child who believed he was so special that he didn’t need to exert himself to succeed in anything. Just like his neuroscience class that was ‘too hard’ he found that life was too hard to face normally. So this cretin purchases huge amounts of killing materials and makes his plans.

Unfortunately for Holmes when it is proved that he meticulously planned his slaughter, he’ll be done for murder one. And America has the death penalty sunshine, I hope you continue to feel special right up to your last breath.

George Carlin (b:May 12, 1937 – d:June 22, 2008) George WAS the MAN

Playin' with Your Head
Playin’ with Your Head (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world lost a brilliant comedian when George Denis Patrick Carlin died. But George wasn’t just a comedian. He was a talented actor (Dogma, Car Wash, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) a master satirist, and author. He won five grammy awards for his comedy albums.

That’s right I said albums.  Back in the day, before cd’s and dvd’s and mp3’s we old folks used to listen to music on plastic or vinyl  records. Comics like George would put out comedy albums of their live performances. The oldie goldies maintained their popularity and their visibility through this medium.

Guys like Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, Steve Martin and even Robin Williams all did albums. They also started the same way. Working the comedy clubs and hoping that one day they would be able to perform in Vegas. Interestingly all the above mentioned comics did work on television. But Pryor and George were too raw for television. TV watered them down and they suffered for it.

No, these guys, these demi-gods who had the power and intelligence to make anyone see the absurdities of life and  the humour that we face in our everyday existence worked best live and on-stage. And the one comic who was the Man, the unadulterated master of this was George Carlin.

He started out playing the clubs. He was brilliant, he gave us the Hippy Dippy Weather man, Wonderful Wino Radio, and more. He was the man who was thrown off the stage in Las Vegas because he said the word shit in his act. This occurrence opened a door for George, it gave him the ammunition he needed to create his ‘Seven Dirty Words’ routine.

Classic Gold (album)
Classic Gold (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Seven Dirty Words evolved into ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ and over the years the list got longer and funnier. George had the capability to make our fears and prejudices funny. He wrote a poem about beards during a time when long hair and beards were seen to be a bad thing.

His acts poked fun at God, politics, the constitution, law and our rights. Nothing was sacrosanct or taboo to George and we loved him for it. George constantly worked and he used to ‘guest host’ The Tonight Show regularly. He was the host of the first ever Saturday Night Live. He also did a yearly HBO special right up until four months before his death.

So lets take a moment to remember the irreverent genius that was George Carlin as we approach the anniversary of his passing. And while you are at it, recite to yourself, internally or out loud, which would be much funnier, the list of Seven words. In case you’ve forgotten or have never heard it, here it is courtesy of Wikipedia:

“ Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war. ”
—George Carlin, Class Clown, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”

So here’s to you George you definitely brought a lot the party we call life. I hope that where ever you went after you left us, they appreciate you as much as we did.

Last Words (book)
Last Words (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beards

George Carlin used to do a routine about beards versus whiskers. When I was a teenager I found it hysterically funny. George’s position was that beards were un-American. After all Joseph Stalin had a beard.  Whiskers on the other hand were as American as apple pie. Gabby Hayes had whiskers.
Publicity photo of Gabby Hayes (left) and Roy ...
Publicity photo of Gabby Hayes (left) and Roy Rogers (right) from the early 1940s. Hayes also had his own children’s television program, The Gabby Hayes Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*side-note* I wonder if anyone remembers the actor George ‘Gabby’ Hayes? Comic “side-kick” to Roy Rogers and John Wayne (especially when Wayne was making his skid-row ‘oater’s’) He disappeared from the silver screen around the late 40’s early 50’s.

I have a beard and have had one off and on for years. The reason for having a beard has changed, but, I still grow one on a regular basis. Now I generally acquire it during the winter months. It helps to keep my chin warm and it gives me the illusion of feeling warmer during those long dark cold winter days.

When I was younger, every time I grew my beard, I felt that it made me look an odd mixture  of distinguished, debonair, older, and somewhat wiser. In those days my beard grew much darker. More black than the dark brown hair that adorned my head. It was also much easier to maintain.

Now that I’m older, it is a much different story altogether.

My beard now is multi-coloured. Grey, silver, white, a hint of red, and yes, black. I have been told that my beard now makes look like a badger. I’m afraid I have to agree. My ‘beard-of-many-colours’ is also much harder to maintain. The white, silver and grey hairs are rebels. They grow faster than the black hair and tend to behave like wild bramble bushes that stick out all over. If I skip one day of trimming, my beard starts to look remarkably like old Gabby Hayes’s whiskers. Of course that will never do.

Whiskers, you see, appear to have gone out of fashion. I do think that most women, however, would disagree. Most women don’t appear to like facial hair of any kind.  At any rate, I think that whiskers have gone out of fashion because I’ve not heard the term for years. I literally cannot remember the last time I heard anyone refer to facial hair as whiskers.

It’s a shame that referring to beards as whiskers has fallen by the wayside. Because whiskers always sounded  more kind and gentle than the stentorian image of the beard.

My daughter maintains, though, that my beard makes me look kinder and somewhat less fierce…nicer I suppose. I always reply that it just makes me look older now that I have such a prevalent amount of ‘lighter’ hair in it. It also make me look like a badger which I kind of like, despite making me worry about crossing roads and giving me a bit of a self-image problem.

But regardless of looking like a  kind old  badger, I re-grow my beard every winter. I value the warm chin and illusion of overall warmth it gives me. I could shave it off to lose a scant few years in my appearance, but, what good does it do.

I would much rather look older and feel warmer than look younger and feel like I’m freezing my butt off. And that is the main reason I know I’m physically older and to a degree mentally older.

I don’t care how I look as long as I’m comfortable.