Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Dangerous Past-Time



I've been mulling over the things in my last post a bit since I wrote it, especially the lyrics of Under Pressure, although my thoughts today have been a bit confused since the day started at six-thirty (I fell asleep last night at the same time as our young guest but it doesn't seem to have done me much good, although I am sick. She's so wicked though that even in sickness and exhaustion we had an excellent time). The part of the song that most stands out for me is the last bit when Freddie asks why we can't give love, and Bowie says it's because of the things love forces us to do. Most of what he says is fairly simple and self-explanatory, but I've been interested in what he might mean by "Love's such an old-fashioned word". It reminds me a bit of when I worked at World Vision and a friend of my sister, who has a kind heart, mentioned an interest in sponsoring. I took some sponsorship packs home for her to choose from (this might sound awful, like shopping for children, but rest assured most people don't specify, or else they go for the first child they see, and if not, I think it's important they pick a child with whom they feel some connection) and waited, and she kept deferring making a decision. Finally she told my sister she would probably go through another agency, and after some discussion my sister and I came to the conclusion that it was World Vision's image that had put her off. It's a fairly common reaction; people see the earnestness, and the Christianity, and overlook the good World Vision does because they perceive it to be uncool. I completely agree World Vision is uncool; I worked there. So fucking what. I might not be entirely down with Christianity but credit where credit's due: Christians are overwhelmingly the ones who will get in there and do something (Childfund, Salvation Army). And sometimes, being cool is just the stupidest thing ever, and that's what I think "Love's such an old-fashioned word" is about. We're so concerned with how we appear to each other (absurd anyway when we know we're all just a bunch of assholes) that we're afraid to put ourselves on the line for anything, even things that are important to us, or important to everyone. We don't want to associate ourselves with causes that threaten our status (look at how many people turned up to the 'safe' anti-mining march compared with the numbers at the protest against ACC cuts to funding for counselling of victims of sexual-abuse. I realise there is more to the difference than perception, but I know that it is part of a person's decision to take part or not take part in action). It's incredibly sad when we have to be dared to care, but that's how it is; caring is a daring act. My dad calls me a bleeding heart, and my friends think I live in something of a fantasy world. It makes it easier for people to make caring a novelty; something that only naive or especially kind people do. I'm not naive, nor am I especially kind. And as much as I wish I didn't, I do care about being cool and about what assholes think of me. Caring and doing aren't unusual and don't require you to be exceptional in any way, except in being a little bit brave, and it's easy to be brave when you know something is important. (And when you're in the company of Bowie, you've transcended cool anyway.)

(Something else I've been mulling over: someone's comment on Youtube that Bowie is both the girliest and manliest man he's ever seen. So true! Take that, binaries!)

Also, I've just been catching up on some of my blog-reading and found this: Beyonce suggesting we need a new word for feminism. Ugh. Again, people being afraid to be associated with something that matters and might define them. And why are people so threatened by the label feminism? Part of it is a misunderstanding of what it means, but so much of it is a fear of being seen as unfeminine and against men. For Fuck's Sake. Yes, we're against men. The ones who rape us, or refuse to pay us fairly, or use our sex to disadvantage us in any other way. And we're against women who do these things too. But anyway, who needs people who won't admit to what they are. Don't wanna call yourself my boyfriend? Then fuck off.

In case you think this is a grumpy post and that I need more sleep, you're wrong. I had a three hour nap this afternoon, woke up to eat two steaks, peas, and a mountain of mashed potato, and have taken panadol and been drinking water and juice. And this isn't meant to be grumpy. It's meant to be reassuring. They might outnumber us, but we're not the crazy ones. They are. We just need to get louder.

(Image from listal.com)

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