Saturday, April 21, 2018

Nailed it!

We are still human beings. I know there are robots now that talk and walk and that by 2050 we’ll all be part-machine part-people but the reality is, we are still human beings. I know this because we are all idiots. Some people, being particularly nervous types whose entire life is predicated on the opinions of others spend most of their lives pretending not to be idiots. This keeps them very busy and out of trouble and they can usually be found mowing the lawn or surreptitiously picking lint off their sleeves. Or other people’s sleeves. The rest of us are just happily idiots or randomly making stabs at trying to pretend we’re not idiots. I know that I’m the latter type. I have every intention of posing as infallible and highly evolved and old and serene and wise but it never usually lasts. I fail in my delusions to be perfect and usually grandly like when the raccoons get into the garbage and spread the evidence of my wasteful non-consumption all over hell’s half acre for all to see. Or that time with the parking meter thing in Ottawa and that Jehovah Witness person and the complication of the crossing guard who really should never have done what he done did just because of what I did but I can’t even bring myself to tell “that” particular story because nobody would believe it anyway. Anyway, suffice it to say, this never happens to perfect people.

Some days, when I’m people watching over coffee I sit in grand amazement at perfect people. They come and go in confident striding with pressed clothes and fashionable feet. They do not leave crumbs on the table and napkins on the floor or their keys somewhere behind the salt and pepper shakers. They know precisely what to order and are very polite in their grand inquisition of waitresses on the ingredients of the quiche du jour. They fold their sweaters before putting them on the chair next to them which they have purse-lipped dusted off beforehand. They have not been known to leave their cellphone on the hood of the car. They do not burst into tears if there is no cheesecake left. And they have never in their life snorted while cackling at a bad pun. I do not understand these people. That is why I study them. I’m concluding that they are in fact an aberration of the gene pool designed specifically to evolve into machines. They do not have any idiocy that can be readily noticed. This is why they are so fascinating. They have tidy minds and tidy nails.

Now in terms of being imperfect and therefore having bad habits, I have a few. One of which I gave up for three whole months. And in a fit of wild optimism did the idiot thing to celebrate. I entered Dante’s 10th circle of hell. He never wrote about it. This is because some things cannot be imagined even if you are Dante. And also because Dante was a man. This is definitely a gendered hell.

I went to the salon and had my nails done.

Now some people have their nails done all the time. Poor devils. They are so far gone that they don’t even know how to ask for help. And there are no support groups like Nails Anonymous out there for them. Some things are really just too humiliating to confess to and this is why I have to write this. Sometimes we have to find our cause in life. I know. I know. I had figured that my life would be more than this... that if I was going to be part of a revolution that it would be a vast political intellectual spiritual change for historical reference and importance and though I just was a small fish in a big pond of anarchy that I could have said "Behold. We have done this." But instead I have the Nail Salon. And somebody has to say it. Somebody has to. We’ve been chained in our horror for far too long.

Sometimes the devil dresses in a white lab coat and make-up. Sometimes it wears perfume and smiles with dazzling ceramic teeth and bright red lipstick and gently ushers you into a small back room filled with lavender vaporizers and spiritual music and a soft comfy chair in front of a table tidily stacked with metal instruments and rainbow bottles and it tells you how wonderful you are. The devil has a way with words. At some point you emerge on the street and you can’t remember how you got there. You look down and you have purple nails. Long purple nails. You don’t remember how it happened. It just did. And you forget everything and tell yourself how magnificent you are. You are a perfect people! Look at those tidy purple nails. Just look at them! They are amazing. You have never been so amazing. The devil is smiling and waving good bye from the window. She knows you will be back. She knows how imperfect you are.

"We’ll see you in a month," she says.

The devil knows you can only be perfect for about a week. Then you find yourself reading about the war in the Middle East and you inadvertently crack and break your right thumbnail. Now you’re drinking coffee at the shop with your thumb tucked into the palm of your hand and find yourself hiding while texting lest the world see your thumbnail. Then you’re trying to put a whatnot into a thingamajig with a pair of pliers and a twist tie and a knife and break two more nails. So then you think you can just trim the other ones down to the same length and nobody will notice. And then you have to do both hands and you end up breaking three more nails and then you figure you’ll just take them off but they won’t come off and so you start hacking at them and end up with splotches of purple in red and then you can’t possibly go out for coffee. Ever. You just end up in misery because no matter how much make-up you put on or the magnificent dress you wear, you are just your nails. That’s all you are. A set of purple blotched nails.

So you go back in a week.

You emerge with flaming orange nails and a mission to be delicate. And it works. For awhile. And then you end up with a gap to be filled because the devil knows that a nail grows and you are now hers. Forever. And you are so miserable you don’t even text anymore. But for one week out of two, you are perfect.

Then you decide to outwit the devil. It never works. Just for the record. You have her give you plain beige nails even though she tempts you with sparkles of gold and little miniature works of art and fluorescent green. You get beige because no one will know you’ve outgrown your nails. But you know. It’s there every morning when you brush your teeth. The gap. The abyss. The hell. So you end up going back. Because you want perfection for just one week. This time you ask for clear nails.

But the devil knows the details. The devil is always in the details and she has brought in reinforcement and she explains she has a devil in training who is so beguiling and sweet and fun and full of enthusiasm that you feel like if you disagree you’ll ruin this poor little devil in training’s entire future plans that are all predicated on her seeing you, her very first client, in pink. She really wants to see pink.

You then emerge with screaming pink nails. And you’re miserable. This is because after all this time the devil has found out all your secrets. It’s the lavender music. You think you’re in the company of an angel confessor. But it’s just the lavender music. And she now knows everything about you. You can never leave her. She knows about that time you never talk about involving the bottle of Sangria and that good-looking young Spanish guy back in 1992. And she still is willing to do your nails. Even after that. Eventually you agree to be godmother to her unborn children and to make potato salad for her pot luck next Friday. You just want her to be happy.

It doesn’t pay to be perfect. You pay to be perfect. The devil knows this. I’m going back in a week. I’ve decided on black. I’m figuring if I go Goth nobody will notice the gap. It’ll look like part of the design. It goes with the haunted look I'm now wearing. There is no escape.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


JORDAN PETERSON IS THE MESSAGE


I took a break from the news. Best thing I ever did. I have no idea what Trump is tweeting, nor do I know what is going on in the Middle East. Now a Canadian can pretty much ignore the news because face it—we’re bloody boring. Most of us spend our time watching and commenting on US politics.  We try to figure out who is winning in Syria and what China and Russia “really” are up to and if a little North Korean dictator is going to nuke somebody. We are the ultimate spectators of world news. We don’t make the news; we just watch it. 

So I was thinking… Who the hell is Jordan Peterson? I asked that because I was watching some UK news channel and there was all this controversy and horror and speculation about a man’s opinion that has taken over the attention of the entire Western world and, oh my lord, he was Canadian. 

He was not being very Canadian. 

I knew two things about him: he was in a war to protest parliamentary bills that he feels are a slippery slope leading inexorably towards fascism (His protest over gender pronouns is by some considered far right wing hatred and by others as brilliantly insightful.); and he is Canada’s top selling author at the moment. Really who the hell is this guy? Why such interest?

I have two theories on that. The first is that he used the words “Antidote to Chaos” in the title of his book. This is a social evolution of importance. We have moved from the ad nauseam self-help monstrosity of positive thinking into a new mindset that seems to involve the idea that order must be made out of chaos. I figure this can only be a good thing. If only because it recognizes chaos when it sees it. The second theory is Jordan Peterson is the message. 

I have a very strong feeling that Peterson is not going away anytime soon. In fact it is entirely possible that he will far surpass McLuhan in the scope of his influence on Western thought. And I think he has done this rather unwittingly. These things happen sometimes. One day somebody says the King has no clothes on. They’re just being honest. They see what they see.

Having now binge-watched Peterson videos into the wee small hours, what I see is a rational thoughtful philosophical man with a wide-spectrum of knowledge. And I came to his videos with a great deal of skepticism. I’m a product of my generation, schooled in Marxist feminism and well-entrenched in the belief in equal opportunities for all.  And being one of those types of people who likes to see both sides of any argument before I decide anything, what struck me most in researching this debate was the absolute paucity of reasoned critique from Marxist feminists. What struck me most was not just the paucity of critique but the almost complete absence of Marxist feminists debating with Mr. Peterson.

Where are they?

There was one interview by a woman on a British network news channel that was… well… cringeworthy. Is that what we’re going to get? That’s all we’re going to get? That was an embarrassment for women the world over—an horrific unveiling of how thin the veneer of radical ideology can be when faced with arguments of some depth. We wanted equality, not ideology.

Yep. In terms of face-to-face debate I suspect that is all we’re going to get. A man such as Jordan Peterson is an unstoppable force. He is the embodiment of an idea whose time has come. And if this man is wrong there are absolutely no tools out there to fight him. This is because he is a man with a wide-spectrum of knowledge. He’s not a specialist. He is not a slave to an ideology. And that’s the problem with ideologists: They’ve painted themselves into a corner in a house without a firm foundation. As a woman I am begging for the debate. Indeed I NEED to see that debate. But I don’t think I’m going to see it.

Peterson is the message. At one point in the feminist movement, men and women worked hand in hand in cooperation to achieve a common goal. It went from radical to cooperative. We had reached a point of equilibrium where we understood we were to build, support and thrive together with an understanding of differences. Equal but Different. Remember that? But Feminism has gone radical again. But it is radical chaos. It is radical absurdity. It is foolishness. It is madness. It is an illness and not a movement now. Ask any woman who has heterosexual sons, husbands, fathers, uncles, grandfathers: They will tell you what the devastating effects of this form of so-called feminism have been on the lives particularly of young men at this point in history.

What kind of grim satisfaction can a radical feminist actually feel having achieved a response in heterosexual men that makes them afraid, paranoid, mostly confused and somewhat angry? If you are a woman and don’t see at least one of these things in young heterosexual men these days, you’re not paying attention. Peterson’s book is the number 1 top seller for a very good reason. I have not read it but I suspect that the rules are empowering for men and not an attack on women. I suspect that because of what I’ve seen of this man so far. He is not out to hurt anyone, including anyone of any gender. I hope I’m not wrong there. There was a point of no return and current feminist theory stepped over it. You cannot achieve strength by weakening your opponent. Nor do you get to play the victim card when faced with opposition. You achieve strength within yourself. And then you negotiate. Any other way is cowardly. 

As a woman, the #metoo movement might have been the most cringeworthy of some of the antics I’ve seen to date. We did not raise our daughters to be victims. Like hell we did. That was never the intention of feminism. Why is it acceptable to identify ourselves as that now? 

If we can despair of what feminism has become, a crazy house mirror of witch hunts and dubious research to achieve outcomes rather than observe the realities, we more likely must despair that such an approach has likely created a coming backlash the likes of which we have not seen. This will not be pretty. And the price to be paid is not small. Women risk losing any gains they may have already achieved in many areas.

I was expecting the worse when I set out to watch Peterson’s videos. By far the worst thing I witnessed on Peterson’s videos was not what I expected. It was when he asked the class he was teaching at the University of Toronto if they weren’t saying anything on the gender issue because they were afraid to. Every single person, male and female put up their hand. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, nothing will. I want that debate. We all want it. In fact we need it.

I like Peterson. I didn’t want to. But he makes perfect sense. The only thing that could possibly change my mind is a face-to-face debate with a leading neo-Marxist Feminist researcher/professor. Peterson is the message. Make no mistake about that.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

I hope to start a website soon. Stay tuned.
Peace always.