Tag Archives: evil

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

My friend Sean Cranbury shared an article on Facebook earlier, and a comment debate ensued. Here’s my takeaway.


In my youth, I was a huge U2 fan. For a long time, my listening trifecta were Joshua Tree, Rattle & Hum, and Achtung Baby. That was my “era” of U2.

One song I played a lot back then was “Acrobat.” Something about it spoke to me, because I knew I was an angry person. I was angry then, I’m still a brand of angry now.

And you can swallow or you can spit
You can throw it up, or choke on it
And you can dream, so dream out loud
You know that your time is coming round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down.

I wanted to live a life where the bastards didn’t grind me down, but I also wanted to be of those who shouted at the wind to evoke change.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, it did grind me down. I lost my soul for a while. I was angry about everything. I was the trodden. I was the one looking for the crumbs of hope and choking on any I dared to swallow.

I’m 41 now. I’m tired of being angry. I’ve learned something along the way — nothing will ever be perfect. Nothing will ever make us all happy. Whatever victories lift me up are the same that leave others crestfallen.

We live in an imperfect world. That’s just the way it goes. There are no flawless heroes. No perfect souls we can hold up as an example to all.

But every now and then, we have a great day. Like when marriage equality was finally doled out by the Supreme Court in the USA. That was a fine, glorious day.

Then someone turns around and says “But we need more! There are injustices left! Don’t stop! Don’t breathe! Keep going! Fight, fight, fight!”

Here’s the thing, though.

In the United States, more than half of the states still have being gay as a fireable offense. Show up to work gay and you can be fired for it. Really. “Sorry, Bob, we’re in a no rainbow zone here. Pack your knives and go.”

And yet, in plenty of those states, gays lined up for the opportunity to put their love on display and get married on the least-subtle day EVER to be married in gay history. Some said, well, the strange thing is, I can get married today but on Monday I could be fired for celebrating a right given to me over the weekend by SCOTUS.

But still they married. Why?

Because Monday would be a new battle. This weekend? It was for joy. It was for celebrating. It was for saying that in one brief moment we all had a little more love, equality, and hope in our lives.

Those moments — they’re truly rare. That instant of glorious togetherness, where we don’t have to sing “We shall overcome,” because we overcame. In my life, there are a handful. Berlin Wall toppling. The Quiet Revolution in Egypt. Obama’s Inauguration.

I’m 41 and I’m struggling to remember more moments of true joy, laced with the feeling that comes from witnessing change in the making. The good change.

If you don’t stop to enjoy the feeling of victory, then what is it that sustains you? It’s certainly not hope for a better day, because you just had one and you didn’t savour it. No, what sustains you is anger and frustration.

I can’t hate like that. I can’t be angry all the time.

Love wins.

Love wins.

Choosing your moments

Do you know what I did on the night that thousands died on September 11th, 2001?

After a day spent in horror and fear and lost in the coverage on TV, I went for a bike ride. I wanted to find a moment in time somewhere that reminded me what life was like before planes crashed into two buildings that morning and killed so many.

Remember that first night? We knew over 50,000 people worked there. We didn’t know how many were killed. I’d thought over 10,000, easy.

But I went cycling. I found some kids playing in the street. I stood there and watched them battling out over street hockey supremacy, laughing and giggling and shouting and disputing each others’ goals.

For just a moment, I was in a world that hadn’t changed beyond recognition. I was terrified of the loss of innocence we’d had as a continent just hours before. I guess, like me, these children’s parents were trying to make sense of that loss and death and hate, and they’d not yet spoken to their kids about it. I’m grateful they took a pause because that laughter helped me sleep that night and for many thereafter.

Whatever else the terrorists took that day, they didn’t take my hope that we’d one day move past it.

For one brief, beautiful time, this happened. Did you enjoy it? Or did it pass you by because you were too busy worrying about Monday?

For one brief, beautiful time, this happened. Did you enjoy it? Or did it pass you by because you were too busy worrying about Monday?

All this and so much more

The world is filled at once with unending beauty and undeniable evil. We hate, we love. We contain multitudes.

I guarantee you: On every good day you ever have, there are horrors happening elsewhere. Not just bad things, true horrors. They happen daily. This is humanity, for good or ill. It’s nature, too. Animals eat their young. They kill the weak. We are not so different. We are nature too.

Moments. That’s all life is. Snippets joined together. Vignettes.

The good times, they won’t last. Your righteous rage does you much wrong if it robs you of the ability to find joy and celebrate the small victories that punctuate our banal and fleeting lives.

I, for one, would rather have my world and my values cobbled together by those who can see great moments when they come, not those who brush aside victory because the world is not yet perfect.

All I want from the world I live in is more good than bad. I want leaders who call out injustices but jump to ring the bell of victory the loudest when the good wins pour in.

Tomorrow is Monday. We will have stories of those fired for embracing their love. We will have a new fight. But this weekend, I chose love. I chose gratitude. I chose to sleep in with the warm fuzziness of knowing there was one less injustice in the world this weekend.

And tomorrow, my rage will rise in support of those who show us that there is a new day to fight for. Either way, I won’t let the bastards grind me down.

Rights and Freedoms

Money, they say, is the root of all evil. Arguable, at the best of times.

Today, though, a coalition of 18 companies are telling us that they’re gonna put a stop to that tree of evil when it comes to child pornography. While child porn is, in my opinion, one of the worst things a human can be a part of, it’s also a multi-billion dollar industry. Where there is money, there is a way.

That coalition — including the likes of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Wells Fargo, e-gold, Microsoft, and more — has vowed to stamp out the commercial viability of child pornography. Payments to such sites will be halted. Cease and desist orders shall be issued.

I suppose I should stand up and cheer. Hurrah for the good guys! Instead, I’m sitting here thinking “What the fuck took you so long?”

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In OTHER news… more reasons to love living under the Maple Leaf. I was chatting yesterday with a new arrival here in Vancouver, an internet sex-industry business guy who’s moved to Canada to get out from under the repressive sexual climate that the United States is becoming.

He illustrated his point with this story. The gist is this. You can’t buy a sex toy in Mississippi.

A double-barrel shotgun? Sure! A high-power vibrator? Fuck you, you sick fuck! You’re gonna do WHAT with that thing? Up the ASS? Holy shit, you sodomizing sick son of a bitch! Henry, get me my rifle!

I just can’t even begin to understand how a country –that’s clearly smoking crack– can purport to be “the land of the free” and you can’t even buy a fucking toy to use on yourself in the privacy of your own goddamned home.

And where the fuck are the people? There are those who are out there saying what needs to be said. There are those trying to fight for freedoms for all of you, and maybe you don’t think the Right to Vibe is up there with the rest of your freedoms, but how can a line be drawn? You are free, or you are not. But where in the FUCK are the REST of you? Where are YOUR voices?

America is sometimes the greatest illusion in the world. There’s the dream of America, and there’s the reality of America, and sometimes some of us just wish y’all would open your fucking eyes and see which is which.

Demand your freedom. Demand that your government not just try to pose as the land of the free, but that it seeks to define laws that are inspired by the spirit of what your constitution claims that it is.

If there’s anything more heart-breaking than the APATHY of America today, I wish someone would tell me what it is. As a Canadian, it breaks my fucking heart to see the changing of your nation from across the 49th parallel.

Rise up and stab ’em with your plastic forks, people, ‘cos it ain’t getting any better any time soon. You have voices. Fucking use them.