Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A body was given to me - what to do with it,
So unique and so much my own?

For the quiet joy of breathing and living,
Who is it, tell me, that I must thank?

I am the gardener, I am the flower as well,
In the dungeon of the world I am not alone.

On the glass of eternity has already settled
My breathing, my warmth.

A pattern prints itself on it,
Unrecognizable of late.

Let the lees of the moment trickle down -
The lovely pattern must not be wiped away.

-- Osip Mandelstam

We live, not feeling the country beneath us,
our speech unheard beyond ten paces

-- (ibid)

Oh, how nice. I love it when my tax money is wasted, especially on things that are admittedly flawed, both in practice and philosophy.

I am so, so tired of placing band-aids on bigger problems (in this case, the epidemic lack of parental communication and engagement, and lack of formal realistic education about drug and alcohol use – shielding our nation’s children from reality) by trampling on privacy in the name of fixing society, and IMO setting us up for acceptance of this type of stuff on a greater scale. Where is the outrage? Where is the call for education, communication, and parent/child responsibility rather than simply defaulting to declaring one portion of the population's privacy invalid?

Maybe we can start testing randomly to see if teenagers have had sex over the weekend too, or eventually whether or not they support totalitarianism. Let’s come down on them so hard that they are deterred to ever do anything that allows them to be their own individuals and make their own responsible choices, since we fail so miserably as a culture in educating our citizens about being responsible about anything. Turn them out at 18 (ooh, still can’t drink legally, but the government says you’re old enough to kill for them) without ever learning anything about their own bodies, limits, characters. Yeah, fear and ignorance creates healthy citizens, especially in their formative years.

Yes, I know drinking under 21 years of age is illegal in the United States. Don’t get me started on that one. I’m working under another facet of this issue; namely, the acceptance of totalitarianism-lite in the guise of "protecting the children" or puppies and bunnies or whatever.

When I was in high school (ah, here it comes…), my parents never talked to me about drugs or alcohol, but they did drill into me the idea of personal responsibility. I’m sure they knew I drank and did myriad other things, but they also allowed me to have my own space, make my own decisions. Their expectations? Reasonable grades, that I work part-time and have an active social life, and that they knew generally where I was going, what I was doing, and who I was doing it with. Which meant talking. About MY life, and MY decisions and reasons for doing what I did. They didn’t always agree with my choices, but they trusted that bad decisions would bite me on the ass just hard enough to teach me a lesson and allow me to grow. And they demonstrated they were there for me to help me back up again if life bit a little too hard.

This is not to say I told them all the details about drinking in the woods at a party with friends. But I did tell them I was going to a party in the woods. Hmm, think they knew about the drinking part? Of course. But both of us knew the consequences of drinking at 16 at a party in the woods. I valued my driver’s license, my car, my freedom – all which might be taken away if I was caught by the fuzz, and maybe more than that if I drove drunk. I also valued myself, and my life – something my parents also drilled into me, as well as demonstrating that there were great things in life that destroying myself on alcohol or drugs would not help me achieve.

I remember attending a high school graduation party for a friend. His dad had a house on acreage surrounded by a forest and chain-link fence, and accessible only by dirt road. When you arrived, you gave your keys to his dad, and no one left in a vehicle until he had administered a test to see if you were okay to drive. If you weren’t okay to drive, you didn’t leave until you were, curfews be damned. But you had a place to stay until you sobered up, and he would call your parents if you needed it.

He sat on the front porch with a shotgun and watched movies while we had a grand time in the front yard with a bonfire, drinks, and a band. People who caused trouble were told to leave. People who drank too much were cut off. But there wasn’t much trouble at all, because there were expectations laid out from the beginning.

This was old hat for all of us folks who were friends with his son. We were used to partying in his son’s “room” – a cabin built near the back of the property. He’d come by every hour or so to check up on us, and laugh along with Beavis and Butthead on the TV or let us know if there were some chips or fresh brownies or whatever in the front house, but he stayed out of our way otherwise. Nice, huh? What teenager would want to fuck up that deal? Engagement. Expectation. An acceptance of the reality of being a teenager.

Damn, those are a good memories. I don’t plan on having kids, but good lord I hope that if I do, I can be as good a role model as my parents, and that guy with the 12-gauge.

Oh man, in other amusing news:

Radcliffe Pictures Upset Parents

Pictures of a shirtless Daniel Radcliffe that are being used to promote his new play are causing controversy among fans of the "Harry Potter" movies.

The young star peels off clothes in the promotional photos for his London West End run in "Equus." He reportedly will also appear naked and have a sex scene in the play.

[...]Parents are up in arms and are bombarding "Harry Potter" fansites with emails.

One reads, "We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. Our 9-year-old son looks up to him as a role model. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes."

Can't wait until your kid starts drinking.


Blogger Trevor said...

I've always looked up to D.'s dad and his shotgun...

And re: Harry Potter...he's doing Equus for heaven's sake! What do people want? Oh I know--they want Harry Potter to give up magic and join a Christian folk band.


January 30, 2007 at 3:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger saudade said...

How could you ignore the expectations behind a shotgun? :)

And yeah, the Equus thing -- it's like that second Mandelstam piece, the one that got him put in a labor camp by Stalin. We just don't feel the earth beneath us.

January 30, 2007 at 3:49:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mrs. Dashkins said...

Why is it that those of us who don't want children would make the best parents? It seems that I meet a lot of people who feel the way you and I do about talking to your children and really being a part of their lives instead of just pacifying them so we can live our own lives, but none of us want to have children. Maybe it's because we know what it takes to raise a good one and realize we don't want that life? Or maybe it's because the whole world sucks and we can't imagine subjecting an innocent to it?

I can barely have a rational conversation about this stuff - I feel so strongly about it that I get way too emotional to get my point across.

Things need to change in this world. The next generation is in big trouble because their parents will have no parenting role models to follow. Everyone is so caught up in themselves they don't even realize what they are creating. The best thing that happened to people in South Florida recently was being hit by Hurricane Wilma. We had no power for a week. There was no gas, so you couldn't drive anywhere. People stayed home with their kids. There was no TV or internet. Families spent time together, talking, having meals together. Everyone commented that they hadn't done that in so many years and that it was so refreshing. And what happened as soon as we got power? Back to our old routines. People need to get back to basics, raise their kids themselves and stop making Harry Freakin' Potter the most important role model their kids have.


January 30, 2007 at 5:56:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

hee hee

This world. I doubt that many can see the larger patterns that guide reality, so instead we all grasp at these ephemeral little bubbles.. like trying to add up the fizz on the in-side of the soda can, peering through the little hole.. it's amazing how much air is in them cans, in any case.

Regardless, and despite the reasons that I should be fed up.. I'm not, really. It's just nature at work, and we are all fizzing away, little bubbles, at the side of the soda can.

I will have kids, if I live to do so.. and I hope to merely put a few cracks in their eggshells so they can see and seek out the light for themselves.

Othern' that.. eh. You gotta enjoy the game.

And Dice ain't meant to lie.
They meant to roll..

January 30, 2007 at 7:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger stardust_savant said...

The problem with some parents is that they want the easy way out. They want to be friends with their kids, not guide them and prepare them for the world. They want the schools and the government to teach their kids the facts of life rather than be bothered to do it themselves. They want teachers, principals, and clergy to give them all of the information they need about social interactions and the world in general. They just have kids to say they've got spawn from their perfect genes that will bless the world with their God-given talents....only they want to do nothing to encourage their children to blossom socially and creatively. They'd rather their children flounder along and cry for help rather than set boundaries and structure. Or drug them into mindless zombies - whichever is easier for them at the moment.

Deh. Then the children make horrible decisions and their parents either wonder what happened, defend their screwed-up child, or say, "Not my baby.' But never do they offer guidance.

It's enough to drive a person barking mad.

And re: Daniel Radcliffe. Are these people out of their fucking minds?! How dare they presume that the whole purpose of his career is to be a role model for their child. Oh wait, that's right. It's easier for them to point to Harry Potter as a guide for their child rather than taking the time to actually develop their child into a normal human being. I hope the play is a big hit and half-naked pictures of Daniel Radcliffe are plastered all over the media.

*shakes fist*

January 31, 2007 at 8:22:00 AM PST  

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