Tag Archives: controversy

Dissenting Opinion: Raffi Torres Isn’t a Racist

I’m a little torn on the controversy around hockey player Raffi Torres dressed up as Jay-Z, which required painting his skin black in order to be less Mexican, more African-American. But only a little torn.

Judging by the angry internetz, apparently “blackface” is a special case in the world of race-mocking and racially-sensitive taboo costumes.

Well, okay. Except… this isn’t “blackface.” This is black makeup.

First, let’s point out the obvious here — I’m fish-belly white. I’m descended from a long line of fish-belly white people. I wear SPF 60 in the summer, and have green eyes and light-brown hair. I’m clearly a honky.

So, obviously I don’t have a fucking clue what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of my skin colour. I also don’t have the foggiest what being descended from slavery would be like. And, being Canadian, I don’t have the remotest idea what it’s like to live in a racially-charged country that has come from the Jim Crow laws of the South all the way to having a half-black president in office, all in 50 years.

I accept that I’m absolutely ignorant about what being black in America today is like. Guilty as charged.

That said…

What Raffi Torres did isn’t “Blackface.” He’s lampooning an actual person, not a whole race or culture. He’s goofing off on the one day of the year that everyone gets to dress up in masquerade.

I understand that, historically, “blackface” was a way of triggering long-felt hurt and mockery amongst socially-aware blacks who know their history. I get that there’s more to it than just being an ignorant theatrical past with stupid white people. I know this.

I think, in that way, that yes, it is somewhat racially insensitive, maybe a little boneheaded on Torres’ part given his public stature, but it’s not racist.

The outcry is over the top on this one. Is there cause for discussion? Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people probably need to know more about the history of blackface. Raffi Torres’ life has been spent without blackface being on television since its last appearance was in 1981, the year he was born.

If people want to talk about why his “costume” is inappropriate, then great. But the “he’s a racist” talk needs to fucking stop. First, he’s Mexican and probably gets it. Second, his agent is black. Third, he’s a Jay-Z fan and wanted to have a night pretending to be a great rapper — who’s black, and being a pasty-faced Mexican wouldn’t have pulled that off too effectively.

Some dude dressing up with painted skin that is done as MAKEUP, not as a mockery that has unrealistically huge lips, or excessive stylizing, isn’t racist — he’s just ignorant of the fact that some would deem it racially insensitive.

Take a look at the ACTUAL blackface shot here, the infamous The Jazz Singer take on it, versus Torres’ attempt at being Jay-Z. Slightly different style, no?

Was the movie Tropic Thunder racist because Robert Downey Jr. wore black makeup? No. It was funnier because of it, because his ignorance was amplified for comedic gain. It seems funny to us that someone could be alive today and be that ignorant, and that’s the joke.

Is Raffi Torres racially insensitive? A lot of people think so today. Would I have dressed up with blackface? No, but that’s mostly because it’s way too much work. Do I think Raffi Torres is racially insensitive? No. Would I advise someone against dressing up as a black person? Unlikely, but depends on the context. This context? I have no problems with it. Rappers by their very nature are pretty easy to lampoon, because they’re so stylized. But white southern folk are easy to lampoon too. That’s how it goes.

There are things we need to societally accept and just get over, and this is one of them. There’s a big difference between wearing black makeup that’s authentically done and wearing “blackface.” There’s a big difference between dressing up as an Asian and drawing “slant-eyes” on your face. One is authentic-looking in an attempt at mimicking, the other is blatant mockery and derision.

Raffi Torres wasn’t mocking, deriding, or insulting black culture. He was pretending to be someone that’s not the same race as him. It’s not an offense.

In some ways, it’s an example of how far we’ve come — that the new generation doesn’t see the offense, blacks have become millionaires and the movers-and-shakers of culture today. They’re as fair game as anyone, and that’s a good thing. That actually is progress.

We need to get to a place where we understand that there’s a difference between offensive behaviour and just having fun. There are sometimes shades of grey, but being unable to laugh at ourselves does us no favours.

This wasn’t racism. It’s not offensive. It’s impressionism, mimicry, and even wanna-be behaviour, but it’s not racist.

If everyone who’s bent out of shape about this could turn their righteous indignation towards the real offenses — like how a race that comprises 14% of the American population still manages to account for 60%+ of those in jail today in the USA.

Now that’s offensive.

Closet Skeleton Pioneers

A friend of mine laughed at me the other day when I suggested that I was an “oversharer” on the internet.

“Hah! You? Oversharing?”

Yes, I know. Just a smidge. The thing is, I’m pretty good at toeing a line these days. I don’t tell you what I don’t want you to know. Pretty simple.

Learning how to toe that line, though, WHOO. I done fucked up on more than just a few occasions, s o much so that I jokingly referred to myself and those like me, who’ve been oversharing for years, as “Closet Skeleton Pioneers”.

By that I mean that everyone’s got skeletons in their closets — some lover they treated like shit, a job they stole office supplies from, a friend they betrayed, a speeding ticket, you name it.

EVERYONE has been a dick at one point or another. Dig deep enough and you’ll find dirt. (If not, you’re boring, live a little.)

Luckily for me, I hit the age of 21 before the internet got invented.

And my record’s been expunged. Hardy-har, right.

The point is, despite what you think you know about me, I consider myself a really ethical person and there are things I’ve done and said that I hope never see the light of day because I don’t want them taken out of context, since we all know context is EVERYTHING.

And that’s the problem. When you see a photo on the web or a snippet of a conversational exchange, context gets lost and objectivity goes right out the window with it.

We all know that’s true of many events in our lives.

Don’t we?

So who the fuck is doing all the judging?

Are you? Are employers? Is your lover?

Who’s doing the judging when my friend on Twitter reacted yesterday morning after he received an email after a husband found his wife “Facebook cheating” and sent the entire exchange out to their kids’ school’s parents mailing list? Ain’t just the hubby judging now, is it?

What were employers digging up that led Germany to introduce a new law that will make it illegal for them to do job-applicant background searches on Facebook? Probably they were digging up a lot of skeletons, right?

It goes without question: Things you say or do on Facebook, Twitter, and in other areas of the web can absolutely destroy your life.

But who is doing the judging?

There’s a reason it’s so damn hard to become a Saint in the Catholic Church, you know — perfection’s pretty fucking difficult to come by.

When I was a kid in Bible school, I was told a story about Jesus intervening in a stoning, saying to the angry crowd of sanctimonious rock-chuckers “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone”, or somethin’ thereabouts.

Really: In 2010, who’s without sin?

I mean, the Catholic Church outlawed SPEEDING, for crying out loud. Everything’s a sin. The Pet Shop Boys had it right.

When I look back upon my life
It’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

Was Neil looking back at his life on the web? Woulda if he coulda then, I bet.

So, let’s just accept that everyone’s imperfect, and, instead, (like this guy here and his “degrees of evil” guide to killers), get ourselves a handy cheat-sheet of just what level of assoholic or just plain edgy social behaviour one is guilty of and how it ranks them on the Good Versus Dick scale, okay?

Such as:

  • Never emails or messages you back, but pathologically lurks and knows Everything That Happens every time you talk in person. Creepy but not mean.
  • Likes kinky sex and lets everyone know it.
  • Thinks “cleavage” and “profile pic” are synonymous.
  • Considers social media his personal dick-dipping pool and has more numbers in his contacts than the CIA does.
  • Just LOVES drinking wine and doing so liberally. While telling you all about it. Every single night.
  • Keeps getting caught in masturbatory lies that make them sound great, but you know through the grapevine that they’re barely making rent and are shopping at Thrift Stores, while judging others for doing the same kinda “posing”.
  • Has, like the majority of people over 21, tried marijuana or something else questionable at a party at least once.
  • Speaks frankly about their disgust for political figures or employers.
  • Has a spouse yet endlessly flirts with others, without boundaries, and in public.
  • Has a pulse.

I mean, seriously. Half the things I do on a daily basis would probably get me fired from most jobs, because I’d never keep my mouth shut about what I hate and why. My old employers got a giggle out of it, but I assure you — it’s an acquired taste.

Despite what you may think of my loudmouthed, in-your-face, drinks-too-much, full-of-innuendo online persona (and, yes, it somewhat exists offline, and without a backspace key), I’m a good person.

I’m a really, really good person.

I hold the door open for men and little old ladies. I say “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry.” I look people in the eye. I pay my taxes. I’m honest, I don’t steal. I’m a quiet neighbour, a good daughter, a great friend. I bake muffins for lovers. I pay back my debts.

So, if you want to jump to conclusions about me based on the image I portray on the web — knowing I’m a creative person with a gift for fiction — then you’re entirely entitled to do so, and I’m entirely entitled to think you’re a narrow-minded presumptive dick who’s not worthy of my time.

Or maybe I just see you as someone who needs to think outside the box a little more.

Who I am online might have hurt me in the past but it helps me now. I have something to gain from keeping this persona/point-of-view alive. There’ll always be a price I pay as a result of it, but I’m hoping that’s just the cost of doing business.

I’m not the only web-user with a persona, or with skeletons; I’m just hyper-honest about it.

As time goes on, though, all of us will have our skeletons exposed. Then, with more to compare and contrast, we’ll know who the real assholes are — unless, of course, none of it’s true.

And that’s the problem with reaching any conclusions based on the web.

How do you know it’s true? When everyone can enter information and nothing’s necessarily vetted on the web, how do you know it’s true?

Simple: You don’t.

Here’s how I operate.

I watch for how people actually are with each other, online and otherwise: How they argue, how they’ll never let up, how they want the last word, how they judge others, how they talk about others, how they scheme or gossip. Because it’s in their everyday words and behaviour that we really see who people are — special events, like parties with hijinks, are too out-of-context to really give us an inkling of who someone is.

Me, I’ve written a lot over the years, on topics about everything from drinking and drugs to kinky sex, but you’d be wrong if you thought I was particularly wild or exciting anymore.

I’m being boring nowadays. I just make it sound exciting.

And there you have the web in a nutshell, and why laws like Germany’s are long overdue — when it comes to the internet, you can’t believe everything you read. You certainly can’t dismiss it, either. But there are no litmus tests or polygraphs one can administer to online “personality” accounts to judge the veracity of their content.

It’s time people started realizing you really can’t judge any of us on the little you see of us online, and that the skeletons in our closet aren’t nearly as big or scary as you think they are, especially when brought into the light.

If you want to supplement what you know of someone by how they are online, and you can do so judiciously and with many grains of salt, then knock yourself out.

Just don’t be surprised when that spotlight hits your life, too.

In fact, some of your skeletons probably look awfully similar to ours. After all, dontcha know? It’s quid pro quo season on closet skeletons.

Should Irwin Have Changed After Kids?

So, earlier I asked if you have the right to ask a risk-taker to tone down their lifestyle once you get hooked to them.

My opinion? No. You do not. And if they tell you you can go ahead and tell them how to change; don’t. You’d fucking with what oughtn’t be fucked.

In a nutshell.

My posting was inspired by the death of Steve Irwin. There are those who apprently think he should’ve “settled down” since he had kids. Yeah, as a kid, the first thing I wanna know is that my father gave up almost everything he loved so he could raise me — sit in a fucking armchair with a remote and tell me how he “used to be like that” once.

Terri Irwin got a precious gift that most of us might never, ever, ever receive: She fell in love with someone who kept all the qualities that made him so loveable as the person he was when they first met. Bloody sweet, that. And she had it for a while. And then it got snatched. Love happens, death happens, it all is what it is.

Life’s a truckload of hurts some days and there’s no getting around that.

The point is, it’s hard enough to be ourselves in the face of everyday life. It’s harder still to remember who we are when we get lost in the arms of someone else. To be able to hang on to your identity despite your love for someone else and your wish to be with them, why, that’s as downright admirable as it gets.

To hell with those who think otherwise.

_________________

In other Croc-Hunter news, let me go on record to say that, while Germaine Greer periodically says something intelligent, I:

a) think she can be a complete twat who has done as much to hinder feminism as she has to further it. She’s arrogant, dismissive of men, flighty, inconsistent, hypocritical, and far too militant for my tastes. (Despite my believing I’m a feminist, thank you very much. Ain’t no fucking eunuch here, baby.)

b) think she’s a far bigger bitch than I’d thought before now that I’ve read her comments on the death of Steve Irwin.

I do not believe that to be a strong woman I need to demoralize men. I believe that, as a strong, independent chick, I can exalt men in my life and cater to them as I wish, because I fucking well know who I am when I go to bed at night (most of the time; we all get a little too lost in our relationships some of the time). I take no backseat to any man. But I’ll hold the door open for ’em if they’ll let me, because I have nothing to prove. I’m empowered by the mere fact that I don’t need to seek power, all right?

I’d get into my whole beef about how feminism has been executed, but I’m too tired and it’d take too damned long. Suffice to say that while I fight for my equality, I don’t think it needs to come at the cost of emasculating men. There’s room enough for us both, and I don’t think chicks like Greer understand that concept, but then I don’t like her enough to read her work. I listen to others gripe about her and praise her, so I’m ignorant, but by choice.

You asked? My thoughts on tit-fucking, then

I’ve opened the topic of handjobs, and I’ll continue on them, too, but first a foray into titty-fucking, as one male reader has asked my thoughts on it.

I don’t know the numbers for how many women enjoy titty-fucking, but I know I’m actually turned off by the thought of it, and I simply won’t engage. I wish I wasn’t actually turned off , but it is what it is.

Fortunately, it’s never been a problem. I’ve actually never expressed the dislike until a conversation with the Guy tonight, but no guy I’ve ever been with has been interested. Why not? Maybe it’s not as common a fetish as porn would have us believe. Nonetheless, I have a couple reasons for why it’s not my thang.

First off, depending who’s doing the measuring and my time of month (breasts swell and reduce in relation to the cycle), I’m between a generous B-cup and a smallish C-cup. I don’t care, I’m fine with my breasts as-is, but their size would limit the benefit for titty-fucking, IMHO.

Second, I just don’t find it attractive. It’s not my thing. I won’t apologize for not liking it, either. I won’t judge others, since I really don’t give a fuck what you do in your home. It gets you off? FABULOUS. Not me.

There’s an interesting dichotomy in the sexual world. One aspect is the woman who enjoys almost any sexual act. She’s often portrayed as lewd, slutty, easy, or loose, just because she’s an enthusiast. And that’s bullshit, my friends. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the activities you enjoy surrounding sex should not judge who you are as a person.

But then there’s the flipside. If you’re hesitant to do some of the so-called edgier/pornified things, you get painted a bit as a vanilla lover, or someone who’s “conservative” in the bedroom, which is also bullshit, my friends. There are many things I’ll do, and I’m caught between both extremes on the perception of what kind of woman I am, too. I’ve probably had more public sex than a lion’s share of the people out there, I’ve dabbled in bondage and many other little game-type scenarios. I dirty talk, I’m creative, and I sure as hell take the initiative. I’ll talk about nearly any aspect of sex, but there are things that pull me back into my shell a bit, things that sometimes daunt me, things that even turn me off. I shouldn’t be judged for knowing what I like or dislike, and that’s precisely what happens too fucking much.

There are sex-bloggers who might even snicker at me for admitting I have found handjobs awkward, or that I’m not as come-friendly as others might be, or that I view titty-fucking with great disdain, but you know what? Get the fuck over it. It’s my prerogative.

Being a good lover is: A) Knowing what you like, dislike, and love. B) Knowing how to express your needs. C) Being open-minded without compromising yourself, whatever that might mean for you. D) Not judging your lover’s desires, but being true to yourself so you’re not going to resent them after the fact. (Always, always consider how you’re going to feel if you perform an act that’s not generally your cup of tea. Some things I’ll do because I know how “he’ll” feel, and thus, I know I’ll feel great seeing that expression on “his” face. Some things, “his” response just doesn’t matter because I know I’ll be left feeling like I’ve compromised who I am as a result of my actions.)

Sex and love and intimacy are minefields. There are things that will hit and miss with each of us, and our likes or dislikes need to be respected, or the collateral damage leaves all players pretty frickin’ fragged.

Honestly, titty-fucking’s just one of those things that I suspect every woman has a multitude of thoughts on. Personally, being a woman with a little more to grab around the mid-section, there’s nothing that turns me on better than a guy who navigates my entire body and who enjoys every inch of me. I’m fortunate in my present relationship to have a great guy who appreciates the whole of the female form, not just the three money-shot areas that many guys obsess over: Twat, tits, and ass.

And that’s one of the problems with titty-fucking. It takes some of us back to the boring same old shit that focuses on specific regions of our bodies when not enough of our bodies get explored during the rest of the act. When’s the last time you kissed her behind the knees? Or nibbled her low back? Or sucked the folds of her elbows? Huh?

My opinion on tit-fucking isn’t going to change any time soon. It’s one of those things that’s just true to who I am. I’m open to anything from anal to bondage to outdoor sex and sex toys of all kinds, but there are some things I’m just not in the mindset to ever enjoy, and I don’t even want to humour the guy and do it, just because I know how I’ll feel at the end of it, and it probably will be something along the lines of feeling cheap. No, thanks.

Again, this is MY perspective on tit-fucking. There are women who absolutely love it, and kudos to them. Whatever gets your rocks off, baby. But don’t judge me for what I dislike. Instead, realize that my knowing not only what I dislike but being able to express why takes maturity, insight, and self-knowledge – things I wish more people had the courage to express. Until, however, we stop judging people for what they do or don’t do, the sexual self-knowledge club might remain on the exclusive side of things. A real fucking pity, that.

Polyamory: My Take?

Polyamory – it’s the new bi, man. Everyone’s doing it, so why aren’t you?

Oh, you haven’t heard? All right, then. Polyamory’s basically the “new” polygamy, ‘cept polygamy’s against the law, and since no one’s getting hitched, polyamory’s legal.

I’ve been asked, oh, a few times now to weigh in on the topic. So, you wanna know what I think? You really, really wanna know?

Yeah, me too. I can’t truly decide. Personally, that’s not a cookie I’m ever gonna sink my teeth into. It’s just not my taste of the month, and probably never, ever will be. I’m a one-guy gal, always have been.

But what do I think? Hmm. I’m torn. I think there are merits to both sides of the argument. Let’s start with the opposition, shall we? That’s always a fun ball to get rolling.

One of the things I absolutely loathe about our modern society is our inability to commit to anything, let alone anyone. We live in the On-Demand Age. Download the TV show you just watched, TiVO and pause. Single much? Log on to any chat site and find someone willing to cam with you, sans all the relationship bullshit. Hungry? Just around the corner there’s a 24-hour Mickey D’s drive-thru waiting to solve your woes.

We’re a society of spoiled brats. We want what we want and we want it when we want it. We honk our horns, rage our way down the street, ignore each other through our iPODS and portable DVD players, do whatever the hell we want, and seldom consider consequences.

And here’s a contingent of society saying, “Hey, let’s disconnect even more. I’ll get the sex I want when I want it, but I won’t have to actually, you know, be in, like, a ‘relationship’ type relationship.”

Is it really what we need? More disconnect? The easy way out?

Or is that oversimplifying what is, perhaps, one of the more ingenius ways of dealing with the stresses of modern living? Should you really have to decide between being with someone and being alone? Is the secret to balance found in distributing the weight more evenly, rather than off-setting it? Can you not have your cake and eat it, too?

There are those who argue that humans aren’t built for a lifelong commitment, so why are we trying to seek just one? Stats show the average pairbonding succeeds for only 4.5 years. Then what? Try it again, and fail again? Repeat the cycle of hurt? But is more cooks in the kitchen really a productive way of combatting that problem? Doesn’t a greater human element mean greater probability of arguing and hurt?

There are those who state that what they love best about polyamory is the not needing to be there for one person 24/7. I’m in an interesting situation where I’ve just met a great guy, and whammo, he busts his leg, and suddenly the dynamics of this new relationship have become far more complex than I could have foreseen just 48 hours ago. And that’s life. Me, I’m prepared to deal with that. Others, maybe not.

Relationships are hard. They take work. Lots of. When you spread that responsibility around, perhaps it takes some pressure off of you, but it also weakens the bonds you share, whether you want to admit it or not. I could absolutely relate to those who may have gone through hard marriages, who want the practicality and safety of being in a committed relationship, but never, ever want to be that solo go-to person again.

Hell, shit happens, and so does cynicism. Is polyamory cynical? No, I’m not saying that, but it’s certainly self-serving. But aren’t all relationships, to a degree? We wouldn’t be in them if we weren’t getting something out of it, don’t you think? With polyamory, there’s more control over what you’re getting out of it (and putting into it), and when, than is offered in nearly any other kind of relationship.

Control can be pretty attractive when the threat of being hurt enters the picture. Committing to one person, that’s giving a single soul an awful lot of power over yours. Opting to be one of seven women in a relationship with two men, on rotating shifts or however the hell you’ve managed to divvy your time, well, you know you’re one of a number, you know where you stand, and you know you can always pass and protect your own ass.

I don’t disapprove of polyamory, and sometimes I even get it. Maybe when I’m in my late 40s and love has fucked me around and I’m past needing whatever the hell it is a single, committed relationship gives me, maybe then I might drink that Kool-aid when it comes around.

But likely not. I may not be a fan of marriage, but I like commitment. I like knowing who’s going to be in my bed, and I like knowing all the little peccadilloes. I like not having to stack up against competition. I just like it. I don’t have a musical-chairs heart, and probably never will.

If you do, and you’re cool with it, then all the power to you.

Just don’t expect everyone to understand, and don’t get your panties in a bunch when they don’t, ’cause most won’t.

Lenny Bruce, Obscenity’s Legacy, and Today’s News

I wrote this late last night, when I should have been in bed. I was out for coffee this morning when The Guy emailed me with a link and said, “This will make you very angry.” Rightly so. It turns out the Supreme Court of the US has decided not to hear a case on internet-based obscenity, meaning that internet obscenity laws are to be decided on a local basis. IE, small towns can decide what’s “obscene” on the internet.

Think about this for a minute. REALLY fucking think about the ramifications of this, people. This is huge. You’re going to have Buttfuck, Idaho deciding on whether or not materials that are being used and seen by people AROUND THE WORLD are obscene… in the land of “free press.”

It all comes back to you. Your vote. It comes down to voting for leaders and politicians because you’re looking for a fucking tax break, but you fail to realize the implications of what that leader’s choices for life-long appointments to the Supreme Court are. Life-long: Meaning decades of deciding the interpretation of YOUR constitution.

You want to tell me that America’s passion for freedom of speech is greater than any other nation’s. Not anymore. Never has been. That’s the greatest lie ever told, my friends.

This year’s the 40th anniversary of the death of Lenny Bruce — a guy who met the wrong end of every obscenity law ever passed in the US. Four decades have passed, and this is the bullshit that’s starting to cycle back into action.

AGAIN, I ask you: Where is your voice?

The timing of that news is just strange, since I’d planned to post this today anyhow. A sad fucking day for freedoms, my friends. Know that.

__________________

The writer I am today is a result of the reader I was then. To tell the truth, I’m barely a reader today. I seldom settle in with a book, but I hope to change that behaviour.

I recently took some time to organize my bookshelves, and this book in the photo, my tattered copy of Lenny Bruce’s How to Talk Dirty & Influence People, still stands up on display, right behind my grandmother’s 1955 rotary dial phone, which still rattles and rings anytime someone dials me up. Next to it, a first-edition of the Arrow paperback version of HST’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

When I was 18, my narrow, protected view of the world was shattered by HST, but then came Lenny. Like HST’s classic tome, it gets off to an unforgettable start – particularly if you’re an 18-year-old kid. Unbelievably, I had the balls to recommend this to my 14 year old student last week.

“Filipinos come quick; colored men are built abnormally large (“Their wangs look like a baby’s arm with an apple in its fist”); ladies with short hair are lesbians; if you want to keep your man, rub alum on your pussy.

Such bits of erotic folklore were related daily to my mother by Mrs. Janesky, a middle-aged widow who lived across the alley, despite the fact that she had volumes of books delivered by the postman every month — A Sane Sex Life, Ovid the God of Love, How to Make Your Marriage Partner More Compatible–in plain brown wrappers marked “Personal.”

She would begin in a pedantic fashion, using academic medical terminology, but within ten minutes, she would be spouting her hoary hornyisms. Their conversation drifted to me as I sat under the sink, picking at the ripped linoleum, day-dreaming and staring at my Aunt Mema’s Private Business, guarded by its sinkmate, the vigilant C-N bottle, vanguard of Lysol, Zonite, and Massengill.

At this tender age, I knew nothing of douches. The only difference between men and women was that women always had headaches and didn’t like whistling or cap guns; and men didn’t like women – that is, women they were married to.

Aunt Mema’s Private Business, the portable bidet, was a large red-rubber bulb with a long black nozzle. I could never figure out what the hell it was for. I thought maybe it was an enema bag for people who lived in buildings with a super who wouldn’t allow anyone to put up nails to hang things on; I wondered if it was the horn Harpo Marx squeezed to punctuate his silent sentences. All I knew was that it was not to be used for water-gun battles, and that what it was for was none of my business.

When you’re eight years old, nothing is any of your business.”

Lenny Bruce, if you’ve never heard much about the dude, was a pioneering comic who broke all the rules. The Jim Morrison of comedy, he had his ass busted for obscenity more times than Dick Nixon would proclaim he was not a crook. It was on his heels, on his ground-breaking sacrifices and legal hassles that Richard Pryor and every other comedian would follow. Without Lenny Bruce, there might not have been a Pryor, or a Hicks, or a Rock, or a Leary. Lenny Bruce said fuck you to the man, and he said what was on his mind.

These days, there’s something still admirable about someone with the balls to say “What you think is obscene is what others do behind closed doors.” As someone I quite like recently said, let’s meet at the corner of The 21st Century and Get Over It.

Laws of acceptability are drawn by people with the courage (or the accidental happening) to push envelopes in defiance of what accepted norms are. For instance, fucking can now be used as an adjective after 10 pm all because Bono accidentally said it as such during a broadcast of (insert irrelevant music awards ceremony name here).

But the ones who discover whole new lands, they’re the journeymen like Bruce because they’re the ones who consciously know what the accepted is, but choose to go far beyond it, consequences be damned.

You open to any fucking page, anywhere, and there’s something that even today is relevant. Me, my copy’s so fucking tattered it’s permanently mated with an elastic band, the only thing that holds it together. The page where the spine breaks clean in half, page 91, yielded this pearl from 1963, 10 years before my birth.

“Why don’t religious institutions use their influence to relieve human suffering instead of sponsoring such things as the Legion of Decency, which dares to say it’s indecent that men should watch some heavy-titted Italian starlet because to them breasts are dirty?

Beautiful, sweet, tender, womanly breasts that I love to kiss; pink nipples that I love to feel against my clean-shaven face. They’re clean!”

So many of us sex bloggers, we’re up in arms against this Moralizing of North America; the legislative attempts to arbitrate morality; this pitiful attempt to turn back the clock and eradicate sex and desire from the consciousness of the average person.

Got news for you, folks. We’ve been fighting this battle for decades. Whether it’s a brilliant writer and commentator like Lenny Bruce or a filthy fat fuck like Larry Flynt, the battles ain’t new, the war ain’t new, and the blood’s long from dry.

What’s different now, though, is the medium. Enter blogging. Enter podcasting. Enter streaming video. Now we have a voice. Now we don’t have to wait any longer for a voice crying out in the night, for a black-as-hell knight to ride in with a filthy leer and a winning argument. Now the undersexed, underfucked, randy-as-hell, crop-flogging, chain-wearing, paddle-using, nymphomaniacal, cross-dressing, same-sex fucking, porn-loving, and swinging folks, NOW they all have the ability to have a voice.

The thing about activism is that it’s not about ground breaking wide open in one fell swoop. Like any hole, it start with one push of the shovel. And another. And another. There will be rocks and boulders that limit progress, but with persistence, it all comes out. The greater the chorus of resistance, the harder it is to ignore. The greater the groundswell, the more ground we can break.

Unfortunately for the battle, Lenny Bruce died too fucking young. He should’ve died right around now, in his 80th year. Instead, a needle in his arm, he toppled off his toilet, and crashed to his death – a disgraced, bloated man who was mocked and ridiculed out of the mainstream, and instead, placed post-humously upon a pedestal by those who would continue to wage what was known as his crusade against semantics.

The book’s afterword ends thus:

“One last four-letter word for Lenny.
Dead.
At 40.
That’s obscene.”

And it was. It is. Few people ever have the balls that Lenny Bruce lugged around with him, and it’s a crying fucking shame. And still, here we are, fighting for the same things, dreaming of the same freedoms as this long-dead Jewish-American comedian, in this, the 21st century.