The Acceptability of the Unacceptable

Unacceptable – Really?

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware.

 ‘For What It’s Worth’ – Buffalo Springfield, 1966

The latest round of student protests has taken us to a place where we have not been for a long time. While it brings back fond memories of idealistic youth and hope for the future, the more recent upgrades in numbers,  defiance and violence are starting to take their toll on the average person in society. They have become cause for true concern.

This AM on one of the French news channels the Quebec Minister of Education declared the continuing actions, especially the violence, ‘unacceptable,’ this being about the umpteenth time she has done so. Unacceptable!  Really? Seems to me they’ve been accepted for about 10-12 weeks now with no signs of stopping. What does unacceptable really mean? If I were a merchant and someone tried to pay me in Monopoly money for some goods in my store, I might say, “That’s unacceptable,” and then NOT accept it. Quebec, its government, the municipality of Montreal, its police force for the most part and, to date,  even its citizens have been accepting this behavior for far too long.

Flashback to the late 60’s, [not drug related, let’s just flashback shall we?] when students seemed to be protesting just about anything. On one occasion a young lady burst into a history class I was attending, declaring that what was ‘happening’ outside was ‘for all of us’ and we should ‘all be out there.’ Hmm, well we sat for a moment in stunned silence, then another moment as she urged us to join her in whatever. It fell to Professor Cooper, who seemed to us to be something 150 years old, to stop her in her rant. In a strong clear voice he told her, “Young Lady! You have had you’re say. Now get out of my room.” She left, class resumed, and whatever was going on outside went on without us. No one left but her. I guess she was ‘unacceptable,’ not that he needed to use the word.

At one point back then, Fall 1969 I believe, some march was in the works, but then Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau refused to issue a permit to march to the students, so it was decided to have a protest march to protest the refusal of the right to have a protest march. [fun times! Maybe you do have to be on drugs to understand . . . ] About 1,200 students massed in front of the Arts Building on the McGill campus for instructions and warnings.

We were warned to stay on sidewalk, because if we wandered into the street that would make this an illegal march and we could be arrested. Once we got to the Roddick Gates the plan was to then en masse step into the street. ‘They can’t arrest us all.’ Hmmm, so innocent and naive we headed out the side entrance on to University, south to Sherbrooke, and the west to the gates where we huddled together and waited further instructions from the guys with the megaphones.  It was at that point when our collective attention was drawn further west to a phalanx of dark blue, rather large guys with helmets and big sticks [Teddy Roosevelt would have been proud] who were marching our way. The Riot Squad had arrived. They lined up in the street in front of us and, well, waited. Meanwhile we, well waited. I took up a very firm position at the back of the crowd against the cement and metal wall and tried not to shit myself as I searched desperately for an escape route. Words were exchanged for a time and then . . ..  [you may take this with all the grains of salt but . . . .] a murmur of laughter went through the crowd, and slowly we dispersed back into the campus with nary a bang but a whimper. According to a rather burly friend of mine who was serving as a ‘marshal’ and had been up front in ‘no man’s land’ trying to keep students on the sidewalk, as the cat calling went back and forth, with students hurling insults, some of which demanded, ‘Who do you think you are?’ one of Montreal’s finest supposedly lifted his shield and in French accented English said something like, ‘Montréal Secret Police’ which had set off the laughter and calmed a rather tense situation.

All laughter aside, however, no one said our behavior was unacceptable. The proactive action on the part of the riot squad made it clear that any action on our part was NOT going to be accepted and we welcomed the easy way out. In our current situation this behavior has not only become acceptable, it has become the norm. The Protestors continue to ‘push the envelope’ and the Government seems to be willing to ‘lick the stamp.’ Is it time for all authorities in Quebec to become proactive in this situation. Time to make this behavior truly unacceptable by NOT accepting it any more.

If not, I vision the time when some 62 year old retired guy will be trying to get from Point A to Point B and have his way blocked by these protests. I vision words being exchanged, the situation becoming physical and him ending up in the hospital.

That will definitely be unacceptable.

— just my two sense

[Previously on this Topic]

[Next on this Topic]

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and, For What It’s Worth

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Titanic- Not So Much

Titanic-Really?

— by Jersey Joe

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. Not sure what the fuss is all about.

I first heard of the Titanic when i was in the first grade, Immaculate Conception Grammar School, from Sister Tabitha. In her version of the story, it seems these men, or was it man [mankind] made this big ship which they claimed ‘even God could not sink,’ and, well, you know the rest. OK, that was the ‘scare the hell out of young kids’ Catholic interpretation. Don’t get me started on the passion plays before Easter. The second telling came in the fifth grade, Memorial Elementary School from the best teacher I ever knew, Mr. Oper. In his more reasoned version, ‘they’ [whoever they are who do these things] built this huge ocean liner which some claimed was ‘unsinkable,’ but it hit an iceberg and sunk. Neither of these tellers presented it as a tragedy, more of an accident, or mistake. No romance, no heroics, though I do believe Mr. Oper presented the idea of ‘women and children first,’ which did seem the thing to do in the proper times of the 1950’s.

Affected, or not affected actually, by these two similar versions I never really gave this incident much importance. In the years I taught the World History course in high school, I don’t think I ever mentioned this incident, preferring to get into World War I, the Lusitania did come up, and other events that had some actual effect on society.  Nor did any student ask about it, in spite of James Cameron’s attempts to make it of some importance. I was asked about ‘Sandinistas,’ and East Timor, but never about Titanic. Hmm . . .

To me, the lesson I took from those childhood versions was a simple one having to do with the hubris of man [mankind]. That this mighty ship could be sunk by a simple iceberg and that many people died suggested that more care and preparation should have been taken. Maybe it wouldn’t have ended so badly and we would not be stuck with now a 3D version of the event. Nor would people be so concerned with being connected to a 100 year old event, somewhat reminiscent of the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.’ It also taught me that accidents do happen.

On Friday, CBS This Morning did a piece on Titanic, by Mo Rocca, which stated that in terms of books written on a subject, Titanic ranks third, behind Jesus [2nd] and the US Civil War [1st]. While I’ve always known about number one, and was not surprised by number 2, that this could out publish world wars, and any number of other topics astounded me. Mr. Rocca suggested the interest was in the time it took the ship to sink. In those 2 ½ hours, he wondered about what the people on board, who were only too aware of their fate, might have thought about. He also wondered how people today would react.  In light of the recent grounding of the Costa Concordia off the Italian coast, I think we know the answer. He suggested that there was an air of civility back then, and maybe that’s what keeps this event in the public mind. Perhaps he is right.

I’m still going to go with hubris. We often hear about how teenagers get themselves into dangerous situations because they think they are invincible. As adults, we supposedly grow out of this myth. But how many teenagers built the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, nuclear weapons and power plants? How many teenagers have started wars, Alexander the Great aside? And how many teenagers have the hubris to try to connect themselves with this 100 year old event?

Bottom line: They built a ship, it hit an iceberg, it sunk, some people died. Why am I not surprised?

Good news: Only 100 years to the 200th anniversary.

— Just my two sense

Feminist Porn?

Looking into Feminist Porn and the Awards Thereof
— Jersey Joe

One of my good friends, Eden Baylee, author of some of the best dammed, damn good, erotica around tells me that she is once again a judge of the Feminist Porn Awards, to be held on April 17, 2012, in Toronto. My first reaction was, ‘Toronto???’ Why not here in Montreal?’ Now I got to travel all the way to Toron . . . oh, wait, er, I mean,

My real reaction was to wonder just what is Feminist Porn anyway? Yeah, that’s the ticket; that’s what I was wondering. See, I thought, and please all you feminists who follow this correct me here, or spank me if that is the appropriate response, that Feminists claimed that Porn was demeaning to women, and since, once again this is an assumption on my part, that feminists tended to be women, then why would they want to give awards for something that was demeaning to themselves.  Quite the conundrum. So is Feminist Porn porn that Feminists approve of? Or is it made by Feminists? Or does it star Feminists? One can only explore these possibilities.

I got to wondering just what kind of porn would Feminists approve of? Maybe all the players are feminists and act in a politically correct manner, always asking politely before undressing, signing contracts of consent, offering to do onto others as one would have done unto them, again and again and again. Or, while engaging in Feminist Porn these Feminists take the traditional approach once laid down by the godmother of all Feminism, Betty Friedan, when she said,

 “No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.”

So either none of this takes place on a kitchen floor, or the floor stays suitably dirty while the Porn takes place upon it-no cleaning products or lubricants need apply, or, heaven forbid, no one has an orgasm throughout. Or, perhaps there have so many of them that the floor, once the shiny bane of sexual satisfaction, ends up stained to the high heavens of pleasure.

Of course, Ms. Freidan could have rephrased it to:

‘I won’t orgasm if my kitchen floor is shiny
Unless it got that way from using my hinny’

And that would have liberated many the female, and even some Feminists.

Then, as dangerous as it may sound, I got to thinking some more, and decided that maybe these are awards for Porn that is not demeaning to women. Maybe the Feminists who make, or award, this particular porn somehow empower the women.  Maybe there are only men in these films, stories, day dreams, so that they are demeaning to men and therefore get the Feminist stamp of approval.  Maybe in these films the woman shows up ‘to retrieve her baseball,’ or ‘to install the cable,’ or it’s some guy stranded on the side of the road, helpless, alone, distraught, who is so lovingly saved and enslaved by a friendly female who stops and, ahem, gives him a hand, and then the other hand and then, well . . .  why do you think station wagons have flat roofs?

Then yet again, maybe Feminists have taken the ever popular route of ‘if you can’t beat’em, join ‘em in the beating,’ and decided to embrace Porn as society has. The four major networks still cling to the moral high ground by only showing scenes of death, murder, and all sorts of violence and plots about rape, child molestation, and any other kind of deviant behavior they can come up with.

Each week the most popular show on TV, NCIS opens with the discovery of some grisly dead body. Its sister show, NCIS LA, has no choice but to outdo them by having as many people shot, beaten, and blown up as possible. Criminal Minds relieves on the most deviant beings to garner its rating, and then the various CSI shows explain in excruciating detail how the crimes were perpetrated. As Tryunn sings in “When My Time Comes:”

“Body parts are hidden everywhere but no one’s allowed to smoke.”

Meanwhile, just about every show on any cable or specialty channel has some form of frontal nudity, plenty of wise and wide cracks, and simulated sex, what used to be termed Soft Porn, an oxymoron is ever there was one. Where would shows like Shameless and Game of Thrones be without it? On the main networks, that’s where. Even everyone’s favorite serial killer Dexter gets his share of T&A. Were his a network show, his latest corpse would be that of some Navy lieutenant prompting Gibbs to come up with yet another rule, the trail dissected by the locally appropriate CSI gang, and the Criminal Minders would be in hot pursuit.

These Feminist Porn Awarders might just be embracing the brave new world. Maybe they’ve decided to follow in the words of one of the other major founders of modern day feminism, Gloria Steinem, who said, “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.” The women in these films are either not married, or have kept this as their job after marriage. Unless, of course, the after marriage job is in the Feminist Porn industry or as part of this awards show. Hope they don’t blow it.

Another possibility is these awards go to works in which only Feminists perform. Hmm, the idea of Betty and Gloria getting it on, well, dis­_TUR_bing.

By now, dear reader, and I hope that is not an exaggeration, you are as confused as I am. You once thought you had a hand, or handle, on Porn, and I’ve gone and given it blisters. I’ve rocked the boat.  [A woman is out fishing and she hooks a merman who reluctantly sheds his skin and they . . . . oops, I digress . .]

There is one obvious solution to this problem. I am going to have to look into this much more deeply. I am going to contact my friend, Eden Baylee, and have her send me all the Porn she’s been watching so I can get to the bottoms and tops and all around this issue. Seeing is believing after all.

Now, where did I put my glasses, eye, shot and others?

Happy Easter from the most appropriate bunny I could find.

Songwriter’s Workshop

Songwriter’s Workshop
–By Tyrunn


A new feature of Jersey’s Journal in which our resident songwriter gives us some insights into the songwriter’s craft. We’ll let him tell us about a song he’s working on and he’ll let us know how he comes up with his ideas, or not.

‘Damn, now you’ve made me cry….’

It seemed a simply reaction to something he said to someone, but then he got to thinking about women and crying and, well, women crying, and he came up with:

‘It won’t be the first time I made a woman cry, don’t think it will be the last.
There always too worried about the future, or picking away at my past.
Trying to get in touch with their feelings, wondering how long things will last.
It won’t be the first time I made a woman cry; God willing, it will not be the last.’

–Untitled and unfinished as yet song, Tyrunn

Now that he had a working chorus, could he build something around it? He had to think about why a woman might cry about something he did, or had done, and when it might have started so he went way back in his past to what might, or might not be true, but then it’s a song, not an auto biography. Wrestling with this he eventually came up with a first verse:

I was barely nineteen when the old man sat me down, said it was time that I knew the score.
He was sick of all my singing about this ‘peace and love’ crap. Time to be heading off to war.
He’d but one leg to stand on, as he’d paid his dues before. ‘Lost the other way back in ’48.
I’d heard the old war stories, seen those grainy black and whites, could sympathize, but I could not relate.
I packed a bag with what the old man deemed was mine, strapped Harmony across my back
Kicked down on the cycle, my face stone straight ahead, not to give him the satisfaction of looking back.
I drove off into that misty morn with anger in my heart; on my lips not ‘so long’ but ‘goodbye.’
Wiped the dew from the side mirror, then I saw her face, couldn’t avoid the tears in my mother’s eyes.

So now he had his mother crying and maybe this could serve as the starting point, so the working chorus evolved into:

That was the first time I made a woman cry, somehow knew it would not be the last.
But I was in no hurry to folly off to war to make up for the old man’s past.
Mom had loved him blindly, too silent and too long, and stood by him too steadfast.
That might have been the first time I made a woman cry, knew it would not be the last.

Of course, now the problem was where to go from here? Would there be a series of women crying, a trail of them left behind? Would this just be some sort of macho romp through the wilds? Well, that he had to decide.

We here at Jersey’s Journal [JJ] asked him [TY] about this first verse.

JJ: Were you 19 when you left home?

TY: Actually I was 20, and before we go back and forth when I did leave it was in a car. It was 6AM one sunny summer morning. The old man was at the kitchen table, smoking and drinking and my mother was passed out from a bottle of vodka, sleeping it off in the hallway. Like an episode of Shameless, neither knew I was leaving. We were a white trash family way before the term became popular.

JJ: Did you even have a motor cycle?

TY: Not when I left. I did get one for my 17th birthday, and traded it in on one that had some more power a bit later on, but I’d sold that one to some young guy my mother brought round.

JJ: By ’48, we figure you’re making some reference to WWII?

TY: Yeah, the old man and most of his friends were WWII vets, so caught up in that past. When they gathered for one of their gab and drink fests, or held parties, the stories flew fast and furious. And yes, he did lose his left leg as a result of injuries in Europe during that was. There was this other fellow in a wheel chair. And then there were all the unseen injuries. No, he would never talk about them, he preferred to drink and try and forget. His Purple Heart was in the bottom dresser drawer. On Sunday afternoons we must have watched every black and white war movie ever made.

JJ: OK, now about the Harmony, that’s an entry level guitar, right?

TY: Yep, still got it. I bought it, well, I got my mother to buy it for me, in the summer of ’68. I had a $15 clunker, action so high I had to carve it down with a steak knife, painted on pick guard, real piece of crap. It met it’s end in a college variety show. Got broken over some guy’s head as part of his act. He gave me his old harmony, with a cracked body in exchange. Even with the crack it was better than what I had. That summer I found this new Harmony, but had no dough so I ‘borrowed’ $40 from dear old mom, and, well, never got around to paying her back. Still got it, hangs in its case on a wall in the basement. Take it out ‘bout once a year just to renew and old friendship.

JJ: He tells you that it’s ‘time to be going off to war.’ Was that Vietnam?

TY: Certainly was.

JJ: Did you ever go?

TY: Certainly did not. Had no interest is going to the other side of the globe to kill, or be killed by, total strangers. Fellow I went to grammar school with died over there, guy who lived up the block from me had a bunker fall in on him, and another two years ahead of me in high school got shot up but survived. He eventually became the chief of police. That was as close as I wanted to be. I think I make that point in the first verse, it’s what a number of us felt back then.

JJ: I gather that a lot of this first verse is you, then?

TY: That’s a reasonable gather, but there are always artistic liberties. [grins]

JJ: OK, so the singer has left home, where to now?

TY: That was something I had to decide. Usually when I write a song, I get started with a hook of some sort, in this case the ‘woman crying’ thing, then have to figure out where it’s going to lead. Had to try to see an ending somehow, then maybe work back to it.

At this point Tyrunn took his leave. He promised to share more of the song and his insights with us soon.