Tuesday, 21 January 2014

French Presidential Affairs - The Last Straw

"J'insiste que vous me preniez au serieux"

The phenomenon of society needing its most rich and powerful members to remind it that they are perverts, cheats, and deviants who possess the same earthly shortcomings as everyone else (the ability to throw caution and common sense to the wind and put their entire careers and livelihoods in peril to satisfy some short-term impulse to get their rocks off) is as old as the hills.  From JFK to Clinton and now Francois Hollande, there is no better way to sell papers than a scoop of the guy who is supposed to be leading the free world or rescuing the moribund economy or whatever grandiose phony action you like to ascribe to a head of state being caught taking the skin boat to tuna town.  This man who was elevated to the highest office in the land because of his great campaign or superior intellect or statesmanship or whatever is in fact...just a man, who like all other men has a mind strictly controlled by his sexual organ.  Ministerial briefings, phone calls with high-ranking members of the military, state dinners, economists droning on at the world economic forum - all this cool stuff you see on tv that real heads of state get to actually do - and this guy's daydreaming through all of that about his next extra-marital tryst.  Meanwhile if he was an average guy he could probably just get away with the damn affair, or at least have better chances of getting away with it, which is probably all he's wishing right now, that he was just that average guy, while sleepwalking through all this cool shit he gets to do that 99.99999999% of people will never get to do.  That is the great irony of this world.

And that brings me to my point.  Heads of State of the World, present and future, think of this as generational game-changing moment. Let's pretend I am addressing you all at the UN.  Let us remind ourselves once and for all that, as predictable as it is, this sorry spectacle we have to deal with each time a world leader gets caught with his pants down is not pleasant for anybody except the gossip magazine industry.  Let us acknowledge that men are weak, spineless, pathetic, degenerate creatures all, but that this behaviour is unbecoming of the presidential statuses we elevate them to.  Let us most of all exhort them to not carry on affairs, not because we judge them but because it is as inevitable as the sun rising tomorrow that the truth will be found out.  It is this irrefutable truth, that by nature affairs must be conducted when one is alone and a head of state is never, never alone, that makes this is outrageous.  How are the guys doing this and thinking they're not going to get caught? Such delusional, amateur reasoning is the real reason for outrage people, not some dumpy sourpuss getting lucky with women twenty years his junior.  It is on this basis that I propose to you today that presidential oaths henceforth contain a promise to go in the bathroom and wack it whenever necessary, by any means necessary, with whatever tools necessary, to avoid this sorry ass state of affairs.  This sacrifice is needed from our leaders - our society is already drowning in enough voyeurism and schadenefraude without their ridiculous escapades.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Five People You Meet in Annoying Heaven

Having earned 25 million dollars by 25, getting rich off the same boring, auto-tune schlock with original themes such as YOLO (You only live once...WOW), Drake has made it known he is just getting started.  From the rich part of town and already experienced as an actor on a cult series, the man oozes confidence and our vapid, degenerate society rewards him.  Cockiness and arrogance have led him to issue such proclamations as "I'm going for the $200 million play...whatever that is" and that "they (the City of Toronto) should put me on the payroll" for his role in attracting the NBA all star game and soccer players to the city - cockiness and arrogance which bring the city into disrepute, and which have been richly rewarded.  I for one wish he would limit his endeavours to his shitty music, instead of proclaiming himself spokesperson for my home town and complaining he's not getting money for it.  It would be nice if people who come from there could demonstrate they are able to think about things besides $$$ and themselves.

He couldn't just leave it at his decent acting performances in films like Milk and Pineapple Express.  Nope, being a decent actor who made it in Hollywood is just so pedestrian.  This guy's gotta host the oscars, write a novel, do a phd dissertation, star in a broadway play, direct a film, do a comedy central roast, be the world champion of selfies...DUDE WE GET IT OK? You are a superhuman, otherworldly intelligent genius who deserves our undivided and riveted attention at all times to witness your latest mind-blowing act of amazingness...except that you pretty much are horrible at doing everything I just described.  You are not that special James Franco - you are just an irritating guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else and tries to show it by being so polyvalent.  Can you just get over yourself and be in some films? People who try too hard are really annoying...and more often than not, their efforts are not rewarded in kind

Excuse me? 300 lb Guy eating the 15 piece bucket driving a black escalade? You have had a negative effect on the last few years of my life.  Thank you for sinking our collective consciousness to a new low.  Thank you for destroying all societal conventions.  Thank you for populating the dark corners of our mind, making us OD on voyeurism and slowing-down-at-the-car-accident syndrome.  You make me think of Charlie Sheen in 2011, every day hitting a new low and with each new low getting in our faces even more until we just can't even believe this is still going on.  But it will happen - it happened to him, it happened to Paris Hilton in '05, I remember.  Fatigue will set in.  It always does.  One day nobody will care about this any more and this will all be a footnote.  That day cannot come soon enough.

Your stupid brother at least let his actions speak for themselves on many days of this saga.  On those days YOU were there, handing out straw man attacks to anyone who dared question him like you hand out $20 bills in the ghetto (Since your dumb ass probably doesn't know what a straw man is, its an arguing technique where you just attack someone's character or credibility instead of dealing with what is at issue).  You ensured that we were never given a moments peace from this whole sorry ass debacle.  You are your brother are those idiots everyone hates in high school: loud, boorish, uneducated jocks determined to be dumb because, who cares, they're rich?  I can't wait to see how nuclear you become for the provincial conservative leader now that you've blabbed to everybody what an awesome guy he thinks you are and that your his candidate

And finally, to my friend who through pride or in the name of love,  says mining companies don't pay enough taxes in the third world countries they operate in, people of earth must just think you're the sweetest thing sticking up for the downtrodden, you the $600 million dollar private equity guy and multi-national conglomerate rock star, my desire is that you move back to your own country, Ireland, and pay your own fookin taxes.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Marijuana Legalization - Moralizing and Hypocrisy

I might have thought David Brooks' op-ed about his past weed use in the New York Times contained some good arguments if it didn't sound exactly like every other well-meaning, moralistic, upper-middle class opinion on the subject I've ever listened to.  Maybe its shared culture because David was born in Toronto, like me, but to spout these opinions is not necessarily to make incorrect observations about weed (the observations are more or less correct even though they are huge generalizations) as much as it is to profoundly overstate the negative impact marijuana has in society.  In the wake of two states finally "legalizing it" recently, I feel moved to bring clarity to this debate.

I have been warned time and time again of the repercussions of marijuana use.  It makes you incoherent.  It makes you stupid.  It makes it impossible to execute or remember exact details.  It takes people with potential and turns them into lifelong apathetic burnout losers.  This all may be true, and I can in fact attest to first-hand witnessing most of these conclusions.  But to use them as arguments against decriminalization/legalization is missing the point.  Cops, judges, and the legal system have long been arguing far and wide of the futility of status quo laws; prosecuting weed cases is simply the unsustainable and costly draining of the legal system's resources.

Remember that alcohol is a much higher stakes drug that we tolerate and sanction as acceptable when you advocate that the threat of persecution is an effective deterrent to becoming a stoner. Since general concern for the well-being of the population seems to be the driving principle behind anti-legalization arguments (it is in our best interest to keep life-long stoners to a minimum in the general population), I wonder why their focus does not turn to lives and families destroyed by alcoholism.  Even though no one will deny that someone who is drunk all the time is more toxic to be around and more threatening to society than someone who is stoned all the time, there is unwillingness to address the incoherence this creates in terms of our laws.   Why? Why are we so quick to judge the stoner yet cowed by the alcoholic.  Maybe because we are subconsciously scared of the alcoholic - they will be more prone to violence, more likely to say vicious, hurtful things, more likely to lie, scheme, and deceive to maintain their addiction.  The truth is once it reaches that point its hopeless for most of them, despite the rare and true heart-string tugging AA redemption story we hear.

Heavy duty pot use, however, is almost comical, despite potential long term damage and lingering effects.  Witness the pop culture around 'bubonic chronic', the willingness of how many thousands of North American youth to put '420' in their email addresses and phone numbers so strongly their identities became wrapped up in pot use.  And there are people who never outgrow it - 50+, doing bong hits in their living rooms, watching music videos, playing video games, eating pizza, fried chicken, and ice cream.  It's really not as unsettling as a drunk - in fact, there is really no comparison.

Every day pot use may not be the ticket to Nobel Laureatdom or the CEOs chair, but potheads are quite harmless compared to alcoholics.  In fact, every alcoholic I've ever known would be much more functional if he switched to weed exclusively.  So before we get up in arms about weed availability and visibility and the impact, I can hear every conservative in the house now, on 'the children in our communities', let's remember that we are already requiring them to be perceptive and wise adults with good judgement in throwing them into a world of widespread drinking culture and the alcohol industry's marketing machine.  Also recall weed is easy to find and the legal system has already made the judgement call it has better things to do.  It is time to follow Washington and Colorado and get our heads out of the sand.  Marijuana laws need to be brought into the 21st century, especially in a society like ours that drives so many people to drink.