Banzai

So, I was supposed to go to Sacramento yesterday to celebrate Greek Easter.  I’m not Greek or Christian, but what the hell, I just like celebrating.  For familial reasons I had to stay in the city so I decided to go down to Japantown and catch the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade instead.  And I have just one observation.  Those Japaneses are whacky.

In the interest of full disclosure let me say that I am a bit of a nipophile.  I don’t know if that’s a word, but it sounds vaguely naughty so I like it.  Anyway, I love the Japanese aesthetic, I have a black belt and 20+ years in a Japanese martial art, and I totally fall for all the Bushido/Samurai crap.  I have a Japanese/American wife, 2 kids who are half Japanese, and a well known powerful weakness for Japanese girls (They are just so damn cute.  Drool drool drool.  Insert Homer Simpson sound here).  But still.  They are just too weird.

Every year they have a big parade.  There’s a Grand Marshall.  This year it was George Takei.  Okay.  No problem yet.  Every year there’s also a special guest flown in from Japan.  They sell posters and other stuff in order to raise money for airfare, hotel, and an appearance fee for the special guest.  In past years it’s been people like Toshiro Mifune (who was very cool) or other well known personalities.  This year the special guest was….wait for it….you won’t believe it….Hello Kitty.  Huh?

I almost died.  Posters for sale announcing that Hello Kitty was coming from Japan.  And in the parade, in amongst the other dignitaries, in his/her? own convertible, there was Hello Kitty.  From Japan!  The real one, not just some copy.  Or so I guess.  And the crowd went nuts.

What is wrong with these people?  Have you seen what their fashion sense is?  Bukkake?  Fetishization of cartoon characters in Cosplay?  Just go on Youtube and search “Japanese Gameshow” if you think I’m wrong.  Whacky whacky whacky.  Well, let me tell you, there could have been no better preparation for 4/20 celebrations.  I hope they never change.


The Sixties

Tom Robbins:  Nevertheless, the sixties were special; not only did they differ from the twenties, the fifties, the seventies, etc. they were superior to them.  Like the Arthurian years at Camelot, the sixties constituted a breakthrough, a time when a significant little chunk of humanity briefly realized its moral potential and flirted with its neurological destiny, a collective spiritual awakening that flared brilliantly until the barbaric and mediocre impulses of the species drew tight once more the curtains of darkness.

Hunter S Thompson:  There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

I’m a child of the sixties.  I came of age during a time typified by a naive optimism; the world could change, we could choose Love over Fear, we could grow past racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  In short, we could be better people.  Somehow it didn’t quite work out that way.  The Man came in and “restored order”.  Greed and consumerism supplanted love and peace.  The world moved on and hippies, dreamers, and lovers became a punch line.  Well, not me.  I’m not going to grow up.  I’m not going to get a job.  I refuse to be ‘responsible, or ‘adult’.  I refuse to let things be as they are.  Things suck and frankly I’m a little pissed off about it.

The Man wants nothing more than for you to ‘settle’.  He thrives on your sense of apathy and hopelessness.  He uses shame and mockery to try to get anything hopeful and beautiful squashed beneath his jack booted heel.  I’m not buying it, and neither should you.  The Man has been firmly in charge for the last 30 years.  Look around.  My Dad’s family is from Michigan.  How are things in Detroit?  How are things for farmers?  For craftsmen and people who do hard days work with their hands?  Is anybody making art?  How are things going for you?  Big money people are doing well.  Hell, even when they don’t do well they do well.  But the rest of us?  Not so much.  Do you think we should keep doing more of the same?

There’s a lot of hand wringing going on now that everything is all fucked up.  Oh my, whatever shall we do to fix it.  Who will save us?  Obama maybe?  Jesus?  A return to Christian Values?  Wrong answers.  Just more of the same.  The answer is us, and the path is backward to the sixties.

We have the power, and we have the roadmap.  Fight the Man.  Take to the streets.  Make Love, not War.  Never choose fear.  Be different, be proud, and be joyous.  Don’t legislate, copulate.  Expand your mind and open your heart.  Find someone who needs help and DO IT YOURSELF.  And if the Man mocks you, kick him in the nuts.  1969 here we come!!!!!  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


Parents and Abuse

When you do what I do you can’t help thinking about the nature of abuse.  Child and spousal abuse are an unfortunate reality for way too many people and hopefully we all agree that it sucks.  It’s heartening to see that cultural understanding of abuse is increasing while social tolerance for it is decreasing.  But I do have one question.  Why is there one kind of abuse that everybody seems to accept?

Recently I was in a crowded restaurant in Las Vegas.  A family consisting of father and mother (mid 50’s), and two adult daughters (late 20’s) were seated near us.  As they started to sit down the mother pushed one of the women out of the way, knocking her purse to the floor, so that she could claim the seat she wanted.  During the meal she insulted both her kids repeatedly, questioning their every choice and making fun of their weight.  (Neither woman was overweight, maybe a size 6.  The mother was about the same size.)  And that got me to thinking.  This is the one kind of abuse that everyone seems to accept.  Parental abuse of adult sons and daughters.  In fact, if you stand up to this kind of abuse you’re called an asshole.  What the hell is going on here?

Think about it.  If a mother tells a 13 year old that she’s a fat pig, most thinking, feeling people would be horrified.  The psychic damage would be obvious.  If a man told his 28 year old girl friend that she was a fat pig he would be vilified.  She’d be hailed for leaving him and get lots of sympathy and support.  But if that same 28 year old is insulted by her mother, she’d be expected to just take it.  And if she cut the mother out of her life she’d be condemned as a bad daughter.  Why?  Is the damage any less?  Is the source really that different?  Would it cause any less pain?  After all she wasn’t considered a bad girlfriend for leaving the abusive guy.

Let’s look at another example.  If you had an abusive boss you might put up with it for a while, especially if you really needed the job.  If the abuse was particularly severe you might file a law suit.  And when you found another job you’d take it and move on.  Now what would you do if that old boss started calling you on the phone and continuing the abuse?  Would you put up with this?  For years?  So why do so many people take those kind of calls from their parents?

There’s a primary fact in this country that your parents deserve respect regardless of how badly they may act.  Well, I say BULLSHIT!  If a teenage girl was  sexually abused by her father and escaped the situation should she go back and be abused some more when she’s an adult?  Of course not.  It’s ridiculous.  So why should emotional abuse be any different?

The effects of emotional abuse are real.  We see them every day.  And as a society we’ve come a long way in acknowledging this simple fact.  We’ve become less and less tolerant of parents destroying the psyches of children through insults and petty remarks.  We condemn men (or women) who suck the self esteem from their partners with vicious verbal attacks.  And we’ve learned how powerful support and love are in helping people free themselves from these evil situations.  Perhaps it’s time to expand our understanding of abuse to parents of adult children and support those who are willing to say “enough”.  I did.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus