Wait a Second!

No. 3 -- July 13, 1995

Did anybody else find it kind of odd that Time Magazine put out their scary (and just plain wrong) story on cyberporn within a couple of weeks after Time-Warner was singled out by National Nanny Bill Bennett as the worst of all major entertainment corporations in terms of sex and violence in their offerings? Nothing like a little misdirection to take the heat off. Or an out and out pack of lies, for that matter. Sex on the Internet? I was shocked! Shocked, I tell you! Next, they'll be telling us sex can be found in books, and videos and magazines! Gosh! It's almost as bad as those evil "make-a-bomb-from-chickenfeed" plans that we've all downloaded and are going to use at any second. We oughta just ban the entire Net and get it over with.

Speaking of which, isn't it strange that people are using 1990's technology to preach their "back to the 50s" message? We have all of these politicians railing about the decline in morals and how we should go back to the 50's, etc. Yet, to disseminate their message, they use technology -- videos, computers, cable TV, faxes, the Net,-- which has been invented since then. Well, if they're so hot on returning to "the old republic," as some of the most extreme call it, why don't they walk it like they talk it, and only use technology that was available to them back then?

They won't, of course, because the technology exists, and they'd be fools not to use it. After all, it certainly helps the fund raising. Yet, to give them the benefit of the doubt, can't they see that one of the reasons -- maybe the biggest reason of all -- life is different in the 1990s than it was in the 1950s is technology. After all, doesn't the technology we have access to directly affect how we live our lives? You can't roll only part of it back -- no more than you can restore lost virginity or innocence.

But, its the morals, the lack of respect, the promiscuity, and to that I say, balderdash. I don't think there is a decline in morals, just an increase in the dissemination of knowledge about people and ideas that really scare us. Huh? What I mean is, that human beings are the same wonderful, rotten, sexual, lying, cheating, stealing, loving, fighting, caring, giving, etc. creatures we always were and will always be, world without end amen. Its all just more out in the open now. Why? Technology. Networking. The liberal left worries about the militias as if anti-government sentiment was a recent thing, and the reactionary right worries about the gays as if homosexuality was a recent thing. Get over it, everybody. Don't you realize that whomever you hate the most is more worried about all the hate directed at them than they are about taking over the world?

Speaking of hate, methinks its equally silly to dis rappers and talk radio hosts for reflecting a worldview they've observed and lived rather than created. But, of course, its easier to attack speech reflecting scary things than the actual scary thing itself.

I remember once, several years ago, when I got in trouble for a comment I made on the radio during used book buy-back time at CSUF. Used book buy-back time was a semesterly ritual where the bookstore would buy back -- at about .25 cents on the dollar -- any book a student had used that semester. Naturally, the next semester, they'd turn around and sell that book for at least double what they'd paid you for it, but anybody who ever went to college knows what a scam textbooks are. And I was lucky -- I had a pissy little major that didn't require expensive books.

Anyways, I had to read a Public Service Announcement announcing used book buy-back, and at the end I ad-libbed a little joke saying that if you didn't have any books of your own to sell back to the bookstore, you could always steal someone else's backpack. Well, somebody working at the bookstore heard this, went ballistic, and complained to our station manager. The gist of the complaint was that I was giving people criminal ideas and I shouldn't. My station manager, who didn't like me anyways, agreed, and actually suspended me for a week.

Here's the irony: a week before I'd made the comment over the air, my backpack had been stolen from the library. I left it unattended, and somebody snagged it. My fault. So, I was making a dark joke on something that had recently happened to me, and I wasn't giving anybody any ideas they already hadn't had before. Obviously. And that's the point: I don't think G.Gordon Liddy or Snoop Doggy Dogg (or whomever your personal bogeyman is) are giving anybody any ideas they've not had before. Instead, they're reflecting a reality as they see it. In fact, its a good thing that they get these ideas out in the open, where they can be discussed and dealt with.

Of course, whether or not they are sanctioning these ideas by the nature of their charisma and authority is a tougher question . . . but if everybody followed their darkest impulse just because they heard it on the radio, saw it on the TV and the movies, or heard it in a song, then we'd all be dead. And we're not.

This space is available for advertising. I am so ready to sell out to corporate America for some decent money. Even Time-Warner!

Love,

     Jim

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This rant written on 13 July, 1995.
I was listening to Elastica -- Elastica and
Elvis Presley -- The Memphis Record as I wrote it.