Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Had a Dr. Who Dream Last Night, But that's Hardly the Point

Last night I was driving to the cafe to do a bit of writing. It was dark, and now that I'm in Utah again, beautiful. Listening to songs from the official soundtrack to the piece I'm working on as I drive helps me get in the right frame of mind, so of course I was listening to the official soundtrack. The lights from the city make the sky glow and the trees are all skeletal black frames against the bright sky. It was a serene moment, but there was something missing.

Angst. Oh yeah. ANGST! Where has it all gone?

Then I realized, my son was born last June and so now there's always something to live for. He's this brightness in my life that pushes away all that crappy darkness that sometimes closed in on me. And that feeling of desolation was always worse during Utah winters. But now I am home, Utah is my land, and these are my people, here. I have a son and a husband and I don't have to feel that loneliness the harsh winters could always generate for me.  Not anymore. Weird. I never thought, back in the day, that I could feel so much more lightness.

A brooding, black and white shot.

Corbet at 5.5 months. He gets handsomer every day. Handsomer?

Maybe it's just a result of fewer hormones, or maybe it really is that I have someone who needs me more than anyone has ever needed me before.

Having a baby is difficult, no questions there, but it's also the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Sometimes I feel like the Grinch, and just looking at Corbet makes my heart swell to ten times it's original size (I may have mentioned this before). Honestly, I wonder if it could ever make my chest burst, because it feels that way.

Speaking of this, I met this girl the other day who's about to have a baby. She's married, 24, and somehow, SOMEHOW, she's going to give the baby up for adoption. What?! No idea how this works or how someone makes a decision of this nature. I mean, I can imagine a couple of scenarios, but I can't understand how she could go to full term and, with a father for the baby nearby and everything, simply put him into someone else's hands.

I told her it was cool that she'd have the baby and everything, because that's better than the alternative (my opinion after having had my own), but wow. That's got to be crazy. All that effort. That time. That energy spent growing the baby, and boom, you give it away.

The only thing that made those nine months of hell worth it was to know that I'd have a baby at the end of it. I had no idea how it would feel to have a baby and everyone said, "You can't imagine how much you'll love him till you have him." And they were right. Now that I know better, there's no way I could have just given Corbet away.

In any case, here I am, old and without angst. But not without crazy passionate responses to the insanity of the world. Go figure. I'm exhausted already. I have no idea how I'm going to make it to ninety-four. Wish me luck!

Best Doctor ever. In a snowstorm. Wait. Is that Utah?

p.s. Had an awesome dream last night. Flying. Etc. And I was Rose Tyler for a bit, then the Tenth Doctor. And did I mention there was flying? And it was a new episode of Dr. Who with the Tenth Doctor. If I keep having awesome dreams like this, I might make it to be an old woman.

My Letter to My Senators and Congressional Representative

I'm sending this to Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee as well as whoever my congress person is. The problem is that Hatch has always been a purveyor of these sorts of laws. He's made a few dollars with some albums I guess and feels that his stuff has been ripped off. Maybe. I don't know.

The point is that I'm doing it, not that they'll read it and take it into consideration. Can you just see them sitting there, pencil tapping bottom lip, thinking about what I've said? "Yes, hmmm, this Ms. Grotepas says some very VERY interesting things and makes some astounding points about free speech and the information highway."

Remember when the internet was called the information highway. Or was it a freeway? I can't remember. "Free love, on the free love highway! Hot love on the hot love highway!" Speaking of that awesome moment in The Office (UK) when David Brent sings his terrible songs, you all realize that Youtube would almost become a graveyard should this legislation pass? Yes. No more looking up clips of your favorite moments in any show just to refresh your memory, so you can go around throwing out timely quotes like the one I just did.

So in short, the legislation sucks. Here's my letter (it probably sucks too, but feel free to copy and paste if you don't want to write your own):

I'm writing in regards to the SOPA and PIPA legislation currently being reviewed by the Senate and House. Both of these are detrimental to the exchange of knowledge on a global scale. Passing them would essentially be censorship veiled as an attempt to protect intellectual property. Here's a statement by former senator Chris Dodd (this is what he said about sites like Wikipedia going dark to protest the bills): "Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging." The hypocrisy here is thick. What are our representatives who are pushing this legislation if not the pawns of huge corporations with money and power to lobby and push restrictions onto an otherwise free exchange of information? Also, who is this "all" he is talking about? All those with pockets full of cash to throw at lawmakers? Yes, because I think the voice of opposition is otherwise very loud and very clear. We as citizens, small and large business owners, and even creators of artistic content (I'm a writer and I share my writing online) do not want to see the internet restricted by Washington. 

As one of your constituents, I would hate to see my representatives support a bill that I do not support. If I am one of the few who speaks up, please know there are thousands more who share my views but who have not taken the time to write.


Signed: Madame X

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Spectacular Decline of All that Is Holy

So I just saw a piece on the terrible excuse for a talk-show, The View, about how any old average Joe can create porn in their homes and make a killing. I guess the segment is a teaser for another show on some network called Own, by some chick named Lucy Ling or the like. I usually never watch The View, partly because I don't relish morning talk shows, or afternoon talk shows to be fair (unless it's Ellen, but then, I always forget to tune in, don't I), and I especially loathe The View.

Frankly, as far as I've seen, there are never any views expressed on The View save complacency for the decadent ride into hell our country is taking (unless Whoopi's going on some rant wherein she displays her total lack of understanding for any serious issue, and it's never about the most pertinent points, like how the country's on a steady course for moral destruction). Honestly. To borrow a favorite phrase from the motherland across the pond, the country's going to the dogs.

The ONLY way the subject of Ms. Ling's segment is newsworthy is in fact to exhibit the total and utter lack of morals which our society possesses. Generally on this blog, I prefer to be somewhat tame in the expression of my values. You may laugh, because, well, because I'm probably always transparent and obvious. But let me just say, I usually hold back. Unfortunately, I'm a powder keg waiting for a spark and . . . . well, these days it seems there's a spark every day.  

Anyway, is it surprising that a bunch of morally loose idiots are MAKING money by selling their sexuality on a camera in their bedroom? No. This has been going on for centuries. That's why it's not newsworthy. And hello? Does anyone out there have ANY standards these days? And by standards, I don't mean that you like to save the whales, though that is good to do, it's not going to save the humans from self-destruction. Well, it is, possibly, through preserving a salvageable eco-system. But there's more going on that's rotten in the state of Denmark than just animals being targets of poachers and the like.

The problem is selfishness and the reason the moral fabric of my society matters to me is because of, as Reverend Lovejoy's wife would say, "the children."

I love the Simpsons and it's for clever satire such as Reverend Lovejoy's wife obsessing about the children that I profess such admiration. She's always there to cry out at any mob gathering, like when a bear is in Springfield and the town is trying to decide what to do, "Who will think of the children!" It's the trump card. How can you be so heartless as to not care about the children?!? They're helpless!

I know, this all boils down to parents and how involved parents are in their children's lives. Parents should monitor what their kids are doing. Parents should be alert 24/7, they should ask questions, they should do thorough research, and essentially run a police-state in their home so their kids don't bump into porn on the computer, the laptop, the PS3, the Wii, the Xbox, the Kindle Fire, the Ipad, mom or dad's smart phone, the neighbors house, or in the ditch out back*, at school, on the street, in the mall, in the grocery store, at the restaurant, at the Starbucks, or any one of the other apparently millions of places porn prevails in our world.

We definitely need to be better parents.

And we can try our best to overcome or undo any harm that might be inflicted upon our kid by him or her bumping into it at a very innocent, tender age.

But what a world we live in, where the individual always eclipses the group. And by group, I mean family. Because I certainly believe in individual rights, and I believe that censorship shouldn't be enforced by the government or any other form of big brother.

Call it a wish, or a longing, that the individual wasn't such a jerk and that they could see that they are part of a larger fabric that consists of more than just a bunch of separate units acting independently of each other. It is exactly the inability to see that all things are connected that our society has ended up here. For a society to work well and to flourish, individuals must realize that there is a social obligation for each person to behave in a way that benefits society in the long run.

Which brings me to another reason there's so much crap being created and sold online and elsewhere: society is too big. How can one person make a difference in a huge world teeming with scores and scores of people? Exactly. That's why it's so easy to fool ourselves into believing that what we do, these tiny infractions against a moral code (such as the Ten Commandments, because, come on, what other code is out there?), even make a difference to any one but us. We think, "Oh, no one else is being harmed by this decision to video myself doing this and then broadcasting it live to those willing to pay to see it, right?"

When the things you're doing in public or even in secret are not being subjected to the scrutiny of your village or family, then there IS less of a reason to behave in a way often dubbed decent by those around you. And since there are fewer families, and cities are so large, and well, the ways to do things in secret (while somehow simultaneously being public) are abounding, then we have a problem.

So, I think everything I've said can be expressed in the following equation:

No Censorship + Individual With No Concern for Society as a Whole + Internet - Small Villages - Family = A Problem

Let me end with an illustration of how all that once delineated the boundaries of decency has frayed and unraveled to a frightening degree. Part of the segment by Lucy Ling and the fabulous porn-made-at-home story featured a 50-year-old woman who makes interactive videos with her clients. Her husband produces the live-web-cam events and Ms. Ling described how a large portion of this woman's "clientele" is "men" between the ages of 19 and 25. And what is their most common request?

That they can call the 50-year-old woman "mommy."

*Truly. If you're going to dump your porn collection, please don't throw it in a ditch. Or the gutter. You think it just "goes away" when you do that? No. It inevitably falls into the hands of children**. Yes, children. You're not the center of the universe and that ditch is most likely frequented by children pretending they're the Swiss Family Robinson or something like that.

**This is based on anecdotal evidence. While I never stumbled across porn in the ditch myself, as a child, I've heard several accounts from others who did.