Tuesday, December 17, 2013

After Dark, December 17, 2013

A New Year's Wish
How we will lose the culture wars
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

A neighbour of mine saw me on the street with my brand new beard and said it was impressive. I joked lamely, "It's my last-ditch effort to look wise before I drop dead."

The fact is I don't really feel very wise these days.

It started with that idiot Charter from our blessed provincial government which made racists of everyone: Quebeckers showed their anti-Muslim hues in Technicolour and the rest didn't miss a chance to point the finger at Quebeckers as a gang of backward, stump-jumping fascists.

In the last weeks I have blazed into Facebook discussions and been subsequently eviscerated for daring to raise my head. I'm not talking about the kind of thing where I get so furious at the personal attacks that I end up shooting off my keyboard. I'm talking about vigorous debate about politics, often sexual politics, where suddenly I am treated as an oppressor, sometimes by perfect strangers! One discussion that started wondrously got so vituperative that a friend transferred the discussion over to his own timeline where thankfully it became more civil.

We are cannibals when it comes to issues

In another discussion I checked out when I wrote, "BTW, guys, it's nice to go to lunch and come back to a discussion that I presented at lunch to a very different outcome. A friend put it in a nutshell: you can say or do or not say or not do virtually anything now and you will find those who will be offended." Someone I do not know, and who does not know me, came back with, "It's not about being offended or offensive it's about perpetuating oppression or collaborating towards liberation..."

Oh! I have been in battles like this before - men vs women, Gays vs straights, Lesbians vs Gays ! What many of them boil down to is leftist vs leftist. We are cannibals when it comes to issues - we are so prickly about the shit from the right that we see them under our beds. We mistrust each other, we even hate each other and one right-thinking person at a time we fracture any common-front we might form into a million splinters. So - election after election, one political sea-change after another - we create, with our internecine stupidities, unbeatable monoliths of our true enemies.

My New Year wish would be that we get off each other's fucking backs. 

Profoundly offensive terms like "sexist", "racist", "homophobe" or "oppressor" are hurled if commentators are not toeing the most hardline version of whatever happens to be the position we are taking this week. We assume the worst in each other, make a mockery of sincerity, of free thought, of open expression and, in the process, make jokes of ourselves. 

Look at our entertainment! How easy is it to satirize Queers, Feminists, Environmentalists in our comedy? Portlandia, the films of Christopher Guest, Will and Grace and mountains of mainstream Hollywood films, piles of plays, share the lingua franca of our own grotesquerie and on both the right and the left we get the "jokes": the Birkenstock-wearing dyke, the sexless Queers, the omni-sexual Queers, the politically retarded environmentalist, PETA... 

The list goes on and on and guess what? We created that fucking list by being a sad parody of ourselves. Instead of being respectful or, at least, (a word I hate)  tolerant we are displaying the worst kind of intolerance towards each other. We have become - excuse the colonialist term - tribal.

So how about we give each other a break? How about we get along.

How about we sing-We-Are-The-World-and-sway and let the right laugh their motherfucking asses off because we are controlling the joke - not submitting to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.