27 September, 2006

Anybody got twenty cents?

(Or, In Search Of New Paradigms)

Please forgive me. Trekking through a life in this world can occasionally make me feel dirty, and when I do, I find there's nothing like a soapbox to clean me up. Accordingly, much of what I'm about to write I have written before- -though maybe not in this fashion.

Have you ever felt as though the unwritten laws that govern our modern society are in fact written down someplace...in Martian? Variants on this thought seem to cycle through my head with increasing frequency as I age. That might be the very definition of aging: the overwhelming feeling that society is leaving you behind, and good riddance. I often feel like screaming "But it's not supposed to be this way!"...even though I understand that my scream will be lost in the insidious whisper of what Daniel Quinn called 'Mother Culture', I must, however, scream.

Mother Culture...according to Quinn, she lays down the conventions by which we live, and harshly punishes those who choose to defy those conventions. Likely you've heard her whispering without realizing that's what you're hearing...it's as if her edicts have been ingrained in our very cells. Survival of the fittest. Your bank account balance determines what you're worth. Don't rock the boat. If you don't take advantage of the low interest rates and drive up your personal debt, the terrorists win.

Of late I think Mother Culture's whisper has become a bit more shrill, and the things she's whispering increasingly make no sense at all to me. For what it's worth, I'm determined to set her straight. I'm looking for new paradigms that are really ancient, mostly forgotten paradigms. It seems to me as if the ones we've been using are not getting us where we want to go. Have you looked at the world lately? Are you happy with what you've seen?
Surprisingly, most people are. That's why effecting meaningful change is such an uphill battle: we're fighting people who resist change, feeling that their lives work for them, and who cares about the rest of us. I'm firmly of the belief that changing hearts and minds is essential if we want to change the world. And so...

KNOWLEDGE IS NOT POWER

Contrary to what you might have heard, we don't live in an information society. We live in a bullshit society. Our world runs on bullshit: it fertilizes prejudice, ignorance, and muleheadedness, all prized qualities in today's society, often mistaken for power. While virtually every factoid there ever was is readily available with a few clicks of a mouse, there's nothing to suggest that any of it is true. A computer with umpty-terabytes of memory can be crammed with the sum total of all human knowledge and yet remain an inert pile of silicon.
I don't hear the word 'wisdom' often anymore...I think Mother Culture has done a remarkable job of suppressing that word, folding it into 'knowledge'. Knowledge is not wisdom. Sometimes knowledge is the very opposite of wisdom.
Knowledge confers the ability to tinker with the environment on a micro or a macro level. Wisdom may suggest that this is not advisable.
Knowledge gives us a momentary snapshot of current events. It may even be a very comprehensive snapshot, down to the last detail. Wisdom is only concerned with where we are insofar as it reflects on where we've been and where we're going. You can't 'know' the future, but sufficient wisdom can serve as a fairly reliable guide.
It is wisdom that reflects true power, not knowledge. Some of the wisest people I know have little formal schooling. They wouldn't know Plato from Play Dough and furthermore don't care. In my experience, these are the sorts of people who are intimately aware of 'the facts of life'...but also know when those facts can be safely set aside and ignored. Inner strength does not come from book larnin' and never did.

GOING FAST IS NOT THE SAME AS GETTING SOMEWHERE

We live in a wildly accelerated world: Mother Culture has been most strident on this point. I can't remember the last time a food product was marketed without mention of its timesaving quality, for instance--often ahead of whatever nutrition might be left after the chemists have finished molding it into something that will cook in seconds. Always we trend towards the quick: faster computers, speed dating, instant messaging, learn-to-read-in-the-womb (hey, if it's not out yet, just wait for it!) What this has led to, and I'm far from the first to say it, is an implacable demand among today's younger generation for immediate-if-not-sooner gratification. The notion that one might have to work at a task to succeed at it is all but lost on these folks. What looks like insolence and laziness is really just confusion: why haven't they promoted me yet? I have a degree! I fast-tracked it, too!


TOTAL CONNECTIVITY IS ACTUALLY TOTAL ISOLATION

A song from the musical Avenue Q claims "The Internet Is For Porn." Well, not every use of the Net is prurient, but most of them are intensely private. While it is true that, in short order, you can feel very close to somebody you've never actually met, in many cases it's a false closeness: witness the number of young girls e-lured into predators' lairs, all the while thinking they're chatting with somebody just like them.
What with wireless technology, the Internet no longer confines you to your living room. But wherever you are on the globe, you're looking at a small screen: the online world of pure sight has largely displaced the outmoded 'real' world, which required the use of all five senses. To my mind, it's a poor trade.

I'm not sure what the answers are to these problems that most of the rest of the world doesn't recognize as problems. I do know, however, that the world as it is presently presented is a show I've lost all interest in. I prefer to live in my own reality, where life proceeds at a leisurely pace, I can step away from incessant demands on my time, and people have to work just a bit to reach me.

Cross-posted at no More Talking Points.

23 September, 2006

Nottawa

I have worked 99 hours in the last two weeks. Not a personal record--that'd be 110 hours, done back when I was young and strong--but right up there. And it's been a trying two weeks. I'd like to detail why. Someday, when I have an entirely different job and am safe from any reprisal, I may do just that. Suffice it to say that three times in the past pay period I've reached what I thought was the end of the rope, and commenced to swing on it for a while. It seems to have held my weight, which is a good thing: there's not much of a safety net down there.
(And Eva? She's worked 121 hours in the same period. Not even her record, either: she's done 130. Makes me look like a part-timer.)
Holidays are a scant three weeks away. The Ottawa vacation has been scuttled in favour of this new (to us) computer. I'm not altogether upset, even though this marks the third such scuttling. Right now, a vacation involving anything other than laying in bed like a slug smacks of too much work. We'll be mostly sticking close to home. This will be the first two-week vacation I've ever taken, and by God I need it.

I remember the last trip I made to Ottawa, back in 1986. It was a grade eight school trip, and not entirely free of its own stresses.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn that no longer seems to exist. Everyone else slept four to a room; yours truly did everything short of throwing a tantrum to avoid that fate. I can't even remember what bothered me so much about the prospect, but it was probably the fact there weren't three other people in my whole grade eight cohort who didn't bother me. Somehow--parental intercession was required--my wish was granted and I got to room with the other grade eight reject. His name was Jonathan, and we were best friends over that four-day span, sharing the pain of the outsider.
If I could sum up Ottawa in one word from that trip, the word would be "wet". I'm not sure it ever stopped raining over that entire trip. Sometimes it misted; at least once it hailed. I made a rookie travelling mistake I haven't repeated since and hopefully never will: I forgot to pack anything resembling a sweater. How cold can it be in Ottawa at the end of May?
Pretty freakin' cold, as it turns out.
We had a pretty good time over the first three days. I remember that much, although the details of what exactly we did have faded into oblivion.
The final day of that trip I will never, ever forget.
We were up before dawn so as to check out of the hotel at seven. I took one look at the bus that was supposed to take us to
Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg and laughed out loud. The only way we'd fit on that thing was if we left all our luggage behind. Some rather frantic calls were placed and a just-slightly-bigger bus lumbered into view three-quarters of a very wet hour later. It was mighty cosy: three to a seat. Half an hour later I couldn't feel my butt.
UPPER CANADA VILLAGE: I was thoroughly enchanted with this place, despite very limited time there. It's a fully functioning town circa 1860: so entertaining you forget how educational it is. I had an early lunch there I still recall with fondness...I ordered a bowl of veggie soup and a 'ploughman's special': what came out for my six bucks was a cauldron of hearty, delicious soup and a platter of meats and cheeses: more than I could eat, and I could eat a whole hell of a lot back then...my metabolism was in perpetual overdrive.
From there the day went south in a hurry. Or rather, it was supposed to, and didn't.
We had to be on the bus at 12:30 sharp in order to make our train connection in Kingston. Everyone was told to be back at the bus by then or it would leave without them.
You can guess what happened, can't you?
At twenty to one I loudly wondered why we couldn't just go, already. I was young and naive: I believed that if you were told to be somewhere at a given time, you were there at the given time, lest you be left behind. My adult self realizes the school board would have had its ass sued off; the anal child within insists that abandonment would have been our three musketeers' just desserts.
At 12:55 our group was whole again and the bus high-tailed it for Kingston. We arrived at the train station about fifteen minutes after I lost all feeling in my butt once more...and about thirty seconds after our train to Toronto pulled out. We actually saw the damned thing receding in the distance.
A vote was held: tie the three musketeers to the tracks? It was a close vote. Nobody could think of a knot secure enough, and so they lived.
Now what?
Why, we did the only thing we could do: we clambered back onto our cosy bus and rode to Toronto.
Or at least to Pickering.
That's where the engine conked out. Apparently we were out of gas.
We managed to get out of the flow of traffic and onto the shoulder of the 401. Luckily, we weren't far from an interchange--I think it was White's Road--and the bus driver walked up the ramp with a gascan.
Neither gas station at the top of that hill sold diesel fuel.
The driver used his CB to summon help. Remember, this was '86, long before every kid on the bus could have whipped out a cell phone. It wasn't long before a white car came over the horizon with a thimbleful of diesel: enough to get us to a gas station a couple of interchanges further along.
So we pulled in there, the driver switched off his ignition, pumped his gas, got back in, turned the key...
...nothing.
Not even a grrr. Out of the bus, anyway. There were plenty of grrrs all around, and I learned some new words that would stand me in good stead dishing out insults years later. At least one of them came from a teacher. But the bus just sat there and absorbed all the verbal abuse we could throw at it.
A vote was held: lock the three musketeers in the bus, drench it in diesel fuel, and throw a match? It was a very close vote. The risk of collateral damage dissuaded prospective arsonists.
I never did learn what that problem was--in hindsight, I'd assume a dead battery--but we hung around that gas station foralmost three hours before our bus was up and running again. By then we had, of course, missed the train from Toronto to London.
By now we had passed through shellshock into a state of numb acceptance. If the bus had suddenly gone airborne and hit a flying pig, we would have pork for supper. But we were resigned to never getting home.
Oh, and my numb-bum was rapidly disgorging yellowjackets, which proceeded to sting every inch of both cheeks.
We pulled into London just after 9:30 p.m., and--irony of ironies! because of a train derailment near Brantford, we actually beat the train home by a few minutes.
If we had been just a tad older, I'm sure there would have been babies born nine months later--it was that chummy on the bus. As it is, that day ranks as my worst travel experience ever.

20 September, 2006

Shopping...

I'm not your typical man in oh so many ways.
I don't ogle women's boobs. Cars to me have four wheels and go places and that's all. I couldn't care less if I lose all my hair--actually, I think I'd like to: one less thing to do in the morning.
Let's see: my jealousy gene was never installed; I don't hog the remote (actually, my wife does that in our house); I actually have to love somebody--or at least like them a lot--to have sex with them; my job is what I do, not who I am. If you ask me the date of my anniversary or my wife's birthday, I don't have to hesitate.
Oh, there are plenty of ways I do resemble your stereotypical man...I derive an insane amount of pleasure from farting; I love several sports, especially hockey; unlike most women, I don't register dirt until it can support agriculture. I have selective hearing. Sexual thoughts enter my brain without knocking, kick around in there for a while, and then leave, only to come back later, say, in the next minute or two.
But by and large, I'm different. Abnormal. For instance, I don't mind shopping with my wife. Even for clothes.
In fact, I've picked out almost half her wardrobe over the years.
It helps that Eva's not your typical woman, either. She hates shopping when it's crowded. She won't spend her life's savings for a designer label. Nor does she agonize, either in the store or daily at home, over what to wear. We both share the conviction that clothes exist largely to cover nakedness, and any other function they have is largely irrelevant. Sure, you can't wear your comfies out to a fancy dinner, but beyond that...clothes are clothes.
I find it disgusting, in this rapidly obesifying society, that decent clothes for fat women are so hard to find. I know I just got finished saying that clothes are pretty much just to keep you covered, but why would anyone want to be covered in the dress their great-grandma was buried in? And just who was it that decided fat people are always cold? Eva for one is hot at any temperature much above absolute zero...which renders at least three quarters of Pennington's stock way too heavy for her. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've spotted a beautiful looking dress/skirt/what have you, only to dart to it, heft it, and think my God, she'd be reduced to a puddle within half an hour.

Eva does have her little pet obsession: purses.
I've never really understood purses. You don't see men carrying anything analogous--but then, women's wear typically doesn't have pockets. Men do have them--and most of us don't stuff them to anywhere near the degree women cram their purses. It's almost as if they expect Monty Hall from Let's Make A Deal to step out from behind that bush and say "I'll give $50 to the first person who gives me a...hard boiled egg!"
Really, gals, how much of the stuff you carry around day after day do you actually need?
Anyway, my wife is on a lifelong search for the IDEAL PURSE. She doesn't spend her every waking moment thinking about it, by any means, but whenever we're out shopping and we go past a purse place, Eva will sweep the room with her gaze and say "nope, this place doesn't stock the IDEAL PURSE either. You ask her what the ideal purse is and she'll say "I don't know, I'll know it when I see it."
"Oh, come on. When you see it, what will it look like?"
"Well, it must have a long, adjustable strap. It must be roomy but not bulky. It needs a lot of compartments but it can't look like it has a lot of compartments. It needs a hideaway for personal items like tampons and such. (Ken intrudes...uck, I'm a typical man in that just typing the word 'tampons' makes me vaguely ill.) Don't know about the material, probably leather. Oh yeah, and it needs at least one sleeve on the outside for a work passcard, so that the card doesn't dangle."
"Shit, no wonder you can't find the IDEAL PURSE. You've set the bar impossibly high."
"Exactly. But someday I'll find it, and I'll buy ten of them."

Now, I'll readily admit there's some places I will not shop in. Michael's is one. I don't think men are allowed in there--they certainly don't make any concession to the male persuasion. Everywhere you look there are frilly little doomoms, thingamawigs and whatchamagirlies. Any man you find in Michael's invariably trails his partner by at least fifteen feet, walking warily and wearily, head down, hoping against hope that no other male will catch him in there.
But book shopping? I can do that all day. My wife who loves me also loves to shop for books, so we often end up in Coles or Chapters soon after a Pennington's run. It makes the clothes shopping even easier to get through.

(Any hints on the IDEAL PURSE should be forwarded to my email...)

18 September, 2006

Long time no blog.
Okay, where were we? It's hard to sort everything out when every day zips by in a jiffy and it seems like three hundred years since I last put pixel to screen.
TWO WEEKS AGO
...or a little more than that, now, we went to the Orangeville Fair. My mom and John were showing their miniature horses there. Outside of some jpegs, I've never seen a miniature horse before. Let me tell you, the jpegs don't do them justice.

Well, maybe this one does:







I admit it: I'm scared of horses. Full-sized ones, I mean. They're just so freakin' big. And I haven't spent very much time around them, so I don't know their emotional cues...I can't tell, for instance, when a horse will take it into is head to kick me and break one of my bones.

These miniatures are adorable. And the ones my parents have are getting quite famous, in their way. At the Orangeville Fair alone, they took home eight ribbons, a trophy for Grand Champion Mare, and some cash. The following day saw a "sanctioned" show in Mount Forest where the horses compete for points towards a very prestigious 'Hall Of Fame' status--and a few of my parents' horses are well on their way.
Never mind the horses, though--they were simply the excuse to see my parents...for the first time in over six years. Our relationship has been rather strained, to put it mildly. There have been bad things said and done on both sides, the gritty details of which are far too personal to express even in this personal space...suffice it to say they chose not to attend when I married Eva--which I viewed as a sudden punch in the face and they felt had been provoked by years of mistreatment on my part.
We're rebuilding things on on a more healthy footing. Slowly and surely--which is the only way to rebuild something. It was nice to see them, and it was great to see them win.

ONE WEEK AGO:
The Heavy Duty Dude Brigade, consisting of my brother-in-law, his girlfriend (okay, she's a dudette) and his father, came down to put in our kitchen floor and also install new exterior doors, front and side. My contribution was largely to stay the hell out of their way and listen closely to the interplay. You see, Jim, among other things, is a roaring comic genius, and he plays off his father, his sister, his girlfriend, me, whoever or whatever's around, really, including himself. You can't really explain Jim Hopf. He's just larger than life, is all.
Something Jim has taught me: time, even make-work, drudging, horrible chore-filled time, passes by effortlessly when copious amounts of laughter are spread throughout.
Somebody told the previous owner of this house that she'd never sell it with the seventies style floor in the kitchen. So she hurried out, bought the cheapest stickum tile she could find, and without so much as cleaning the floor, proceeding to cover 'er over.
I wish she hadn't bothered. Within two days of our taking possession, tiles starting lifting and shifting, peeling and revealing bits of dirty brown gunky tile underneath. You couldn't keep it clean for longer than about half an hour; every time you scrubbed the floor it would just cause more dirt to exude out. Ugh.
We were certain we'd have to pull up at least one layer. Despite the peeling, these things are bonded together for life--no amount of grunting and groaning and inventing strings of oaths would put them asunder.
Bring on the laminate!
We got a great deal at the Marijuana Mansion. Other people call this place Home Depot--I choose to mispronounce 'Depot' and split it into two words. Anyway, they had a truckload sale on honey oak laminate: 77 cents a square foot, regular $2.49. All you do is lay down a vapour barrier and then click the floor together like a giant jigsaw. Well, that's not all you do: you have to cut the slats to fit all your crooks and nannies, which makes a gawdawful racket and scares your puppy dog. But once it's all in place...wow, what a difference! The kitchen looks like some place you'd actually want to walk into, now.

Oh, yeah, and just before that our computer went to silicon heaven. We had to raid our vacation money to replace it--priorities, priorities--and so now our holidays will consist of lazing around the house, a few brief excursions, one weekend cottage trip with friends (should be a blast) and....NOT WORKING!

NOT WORKING...precisely the backwards of what we're both doing right now. I worked fourteen hours of extra time this past weekend, and that pales beside the kind of time Eva's clocking. The kind of workload I'm under makes me fantasize about quitting for the rest that's in it.

There have been about fifty things happen that would have provoked a blog entry if I had a computer. Isn't that always the way? I guess I'm just going to have to ease back in.

15 September, 2006

We're baaaaaa-aaack....

Well, that wasn't fun.
Eight days of detox.
I didn't exactly see mice crawling down the walls, but my wife tells me I was getting a tad..."obstinant" was the word I think she used. I attribute it to words building under pressure, seeking egress, not finding any.
We took our computer to Apex, and they informed us it was well and truly pooched. The hard drive was recoverable, thank the silicon gods, but that was about all that survived. Our power supply spiked and burned; the machine overheated; ZOT! Ken was left hanging on a high wire, Net-less.
That hard drive? About the only decent component in what was largely a pile of crap. Apparently these guys see so many problems with computers from MDG that they keep parts in stock.
We now have an off-lease computer a year older than what we had--but just as fast and, I'm told, much better quality. You can tell picking the tower up: it weighs a good thirty pounds, whereas our old tower weighed less than half that.

I've read everyone's blogs, but don't have time to comment just yet. I work both tomorrow and Sunday, so my online presence will still be limited. But hey, it's good to get some words out. I've missed you all.

11 September, 2006

Oh the agony

Dear Readers - our computer seems to be so tired that it is incapable of working...
Please forgive the disruption in my blogging, the computer is at the repair shop and we do not know yet when it will be back again. Keep checking in and I'll be up and running as soon as I can.
Until then

06 September, 2006

Stop the world I wanna get off

Work is insane, lately. I know, when is it ever calm and peaceful, right? In addition to the SAP project I'm involved with, we are also relining every last category in the store. Translating from the Retailese, that means we're pissing off all those customers who finally have our shelves memorized by moving everything around. It's a lot of work. And no extra help to do it. I'm actually looking at working a couple of overnights...it's the only time I can get serious work done without having to do any of that routine work that makes up my days.
Home is insane, lately. Eva's dad and brother are coming this weekend to install a new kitchen floor and replace both our front and side doors. So it's clean, clean and clean some more. I hasten to tell you that we do not live in squalor...but we do have a dog and two cats, all of whom shed, copiously...and we both of us are also a tad--what's the kind way of saying this? oh yeah, LAZY. Both my wife and I have a patience for accumulated furry clutter that's prone to snapping on short notice, though, so the house only ever gets so bad before the whirlwind descends.
God, how I'd love to hire a maid. I'd never be able to understand her--ever notice how they all have those weird accents you can't quite place? I think they all come from some island somewhere, some sanitized island where the waves float in on the new and improved lemon-scented Tide.
"I yem Olga of Clean. Me go now, sveep keetchen."
Someday, someday.
Meanwhile there's this cleaning. And this work. And any time I get to whining, I remember mid-whine how my wife's managed to work almost 40 hours in the last three days and I shut up.

I'd like to blog, too--we went to a horse show on Sunday, saw my parents for the first time in almost exactly six years, and had a great time--but that'll take more time to detail than I've got.

Me go now, go seepies. zzzzzzz

01 September, 2006

Called to mind today...

Back in grade thirteen--back when there was a grade thirteen--I had one class that shaped more more than most of the rest of my educational career put together...aborted university degree included. The class was called Classical Civilizations and the teacher was the now-late Reverend Roger McCombe.
I remember selecting the course out of a desire to learn about Greco-Roman society. Well, I'll tell you, Rev. McCombe taught a little about the Greeks and Romans, but mostly he taught us about ourselves. Every day was a new adventure. We'd be given a handout at the start of nearly every class and asked to read it and ponder it. I still remember several of these things, wow, sixteen years later:

"If you have one friend in the world, you are lucky. Two and you're blessed. Three is impossible."

"Odi et amo. quare id fasciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
(I hate and I love. Why do I do it, you might ask?
I don't know, but I feel it happening to me and I am crucified.)

Shaping the minds of teenagers is like playing with old nitroglycerin. "Uncle Roger" was a master at it, getting us to think around corners, to think about who we were and who we wanted to be...to think, period. He was an impassioned man of God who saw in his God the same gods and goddesses humans have venerated since before history began. Rev. McCombe was the first person to ever tell me that "all paths lead to God"--a lesson I have never forgotten.

Uncle Rog officiated at my friend Jennifer's wedding. Actually, he was in such demand that it seemed like he officiated at every wedding held around Ingersoll, Ontario over a period of at least a decade. Had I married earlier, he would have been my first choice as well.

What called him to mind today is my wife's current favourite song.

I remember Reverend McCombe bounding into class one day, full of barely suppressed excitement. Come to think of it, he came to class every day like that, a man for whom the joy of teaching was only surpassed by the joy of living. He set up a tape recorder at the front of the room, then proceeded to talk, for a few moments, about his dislike of modern (circa 1980s) popular music. With some tact--after all, he was denigrating his charges' taste in music, which teens have used to define themselves since time out of mind--he said that he found most of the songs to be unthinking paeans to lust and shallowness. But he'd heard a song by accident that had utterly captivated him, and he wanted to share it with us. He demanded that we really listen to the lyrics and think about them, and then hit play.
There were snickers, I remember, as we all instantly identified "The Living Years", a song by Mike and the Mechanics that was several years old and not well liked even when it was new. Reverend McCombe hit stop and again told us to ignore our prejudices and just listen to the lyrics...

Every generation blames the one before
And all of their frustrations come beating on your door
I know that I'm a prisoner to all my father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage to all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him
In the living years

Crumpled bits of paper filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations, I'm afraid that's all we've got
You say you just don't see it, he says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement in this present tense
We all talk a different language talking in defence

CHORUS:
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future--it's the bitterness that lasts
So don't yield to the fortunes you sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective on a different day
And if you don't give up and don't give in you may just be okay
(chorus)

I wasn't there that morning when my father passed away
I didn't get to tell him all the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo in my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him
In the living years
(chorus)

This song has taken on new meaning for me, for reasons which will become clear in my next post.
In any event, we all sat stoically absorbing the message as requested, making sure we didn't betray any hint of emotion. I suspect, however, that every last one of the students gathered in that room that day has always remembered it. Rev. McCombe's classes were like that: unforgettable.

Fast forward to time present. I don't like current popular music. Most of the songs are unthinking paeans to lust and shallowness, not to mention violence and despair. But not all of them, as my wife has so kindly shown me.

Stupid girl, stupid girls, stupid girls
Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
Porno Paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

Go to Fred Segal, you'll find them there
Laughing loud so all the little people stare
Looking for a daddy to pay for the champagne
(Drop a name)
What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?

CHORUS:

Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
Porno Paparazzi girl, I don't wanna be a stupid girl
Baby if I act like that, flipping my blond hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl

(Break it down now)
Disease's growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
I'm so glad that I'll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts and girls with ambition
That's what I wanna see
Disasters all around
World despair
Their only concern
Will they fuck up my hair

[Spoken Interlude] Oh my god you guys, I totally had more than 300 calories
That was so not sexy, no
Good one, can I borrow that?
[Vomits]
I WILL BE SKINNY

(Do ya thing, do ya thing, do ya thing)
(I like this, like this, like this)
Pretty will you fuck me girl, silly as a lucky girl
Pull my head and suck it girl, stupid girl! (repeat stanza)
(to chorus)

---Pink, "Stupid Girls"

I have no doubt in my mind that this would be on Reverend McCombe's playlist, were he still alive and teaching today. I don't think he would have censored the word 'fuck', either. Although its message is a tad cruder than that of "The Living Years", we are living in a cruder age. It's still possible--just barely--to shock people a bit with that word in a song, and I think that trying to shock us out of our current nonsensibilities is this song's intention. Regardless, I find it brilliant and am more than a little gratified to see it's charting pretty well.