Sunday, January 09, 2011

In the Darkest of Night, Just Before Dawn

The headlines for all the major newspapers I frequent today was that Edmonton was snowed on. Also, water still wet, people still do stupid things, and the sun has not exploded yet. I can not fathom why they felt the need to point this out to us, other than to possibly draw in more readers that do not live within the confines of our province, such as the avid Swedish readers of the Edmonton newspapers. They certainly can not be telling the good citizens of Edmonton and area. I had (shameless bragging) to push a thirteen tonne truck out of the snowy rut it had gleefully settled itself into much like Jabba into another stripper. I can no longer relax my right shoulder blade. I have stuck a feather in it; perhaps I can pass it off as a retro flapper hat.

So to distract from the disheartening mess that we are all kicking away from our spinning tires, I think we should discuss something that unites us all in common goal, hope, and inspiration; Superheroes.
When I had first seen the Dark Knight movie, the scene with the teenagers in hockey pads trying to ape Batman struck me as particularly poignant and I predicted that within a few years, we would see a rise in this particular brand of vigilantism, even before the advent of such movies as Kick-ass and Watchmen. Deep within all of us, I believe, is the desire to hide ourselves and become an unstoppable force for whatever side we feel for (Hell, some people rooted for Joker, it is only by the grace of god that we have documented no "super-villians" yet) but the constant refrain is that "They might hurt themselves!"

Let us be frank for a moment here; if they are not doing this, they are going to be doing something else stupid and harmful. The point of the whole exercise is the rush of adrenalin, the feeling of having power over other people, and that desire is not going to just go away. At least it seems the majority of these people are the age of majority, although one of them is old enough to have kids, and mentions in an interview that this is the only way he knows how to improve the world for his children. Apparently he has never heard of volunteering, donating to charity, or maintaining a career path that will improve society, like a garbage truck man.

It should be a telling sign to these people, who have their own organization, that they could not find a better way to contribute to society. It is likely that the majority (the heavy majority, if not all) tried out for the police or army and were denied, which should tell you something. Current societal message is that if you are denied, they just do not understand your special brand of brilliance, and that your specialty is still needed, you will just have to work harder to express it, but sometimes one's brand of specialty is so moronic that it should only be expressed in private. Yet these people persevere, keep pushing and trying, despite the mounting evidence that it is not like the books say it is. It is cold, wet, thankless work.

We confuse comic book thanklessness with real thanklessness, and what I mean by this term is more than just not one person says "Thank you" but you stand outside the window as grateful citizens become wrapped up in their good fortune (which they come to expect, but that is another issue) and lift their eyes heavenward to mouth "thank you", while you whisk away to another crime scene. Real thanklessness is where you swoop in to stop a mugging, but the guy kicks you and runs off anyway, and the victim is annoyed and scared, wondering who the hell you are. It is never seeing any good from what you are doing. In the movies, when we ask, "who are you to judge?" we always know that they are the ones to be judged, because the world is a story there, but here in the world, there is no one who should be judging. Least of all on the street, hampered and mired in the dirt with the rest of the evil. There are no bad people, only ourselves. 

The question bleated in response from so many latex-covered mouths is, "What then?" and is that not the problem we all struggle with, What then? Every morning we all get up (whenever your morning should be) and do the same thing, or move to a different thing, and try not to think about the massive strangeness of a whole life split, hacked into tiny moments everyday. Petrified by the entirety of our time, we chop it into manageable bits, chewing days down into the pit of our past. Because we are truly afraid at heart to look at the issue and wonder what are we doing and why does it matter? But that is the human condition, and it is the easy way out to simply put on some Lycra and delude ourselves into believing we are upholding some nebulous notion of the greater good.

So here is the other thought for the day; The language is a bit harsh, but it is a good listen, regardless.

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