Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yes...You Heard Me Right

I’m told I enjoy shocking others when I do or say things, in other words I like shock value. Part of me does an evil chuckle to myself, the kind you hear evil dictators bent on taking over the world make. The other part of me is upset and confused, a little of the “who me?”going on. I’m here to shock you today or some could say get your blood a ‘boilin. Did you know that many people (nearly everyone), yourself included, are voyeurs? The silence comes now. Can you hear the pen drop in the background? I came to this thought after recently watching the TV mini series The Pillars of the Earth based on the book by Ken Follett.

A few things drew me to watch this; One, Rufus Sewell is a great actor and very handsome. Two, I had heard the book was really good. Three, History. Kings and Queens fighting for the crown, the ever enduring “entertainment” of the monarchy, is a period I like reading about and watching. While The Pillars of the Earth was amazing in the context of paying attention to historical detail and a great cast there was a turn-off. Can you guess it? No? Come on yes you can! Oh fine, still upset about the voyeur slam? Sex. It had lots of sex in it. The scenes were not done in good taste. They were so graphic that I had to minimize the screen and take my headphones off (watching movies online, I can’t fast forward).

What was the point of these scenes, hmm...? Why must I and everyone be subjected to such lustful ignitors? There are always the “behind closed doors” romance scenes where they pan away from the couple kissing to waves crashing against the shore. Hello movie maker’s (and authors) we know what’s happening you don’t need to show our imaginations what to imagine! These types of scenes are wrong for us to have playing over and over in our heads and even appearing later on to “haunt” us.

What am I getting at, you might be asking? You the movie watcher or book reader to some degree (you hate to admit it) enjoy and are even fascinated by such scenes. I’ll be honest I can’t claim to be completely guilt free myself. Have you ever looked up voyeur in the dictionary? I hadn’t either before today. Voyeur means: One who is sexually gratified by looking at sexual objects or acts. That definition is from a 1985 edition. When I looked it up in an older dictionary (my beloved 1942 edition) the definition read; One who obtains gratification from seeing sexual objects, acts, or scenes. This definition seems more fitting. Hmm... Then I looked up the synonyms in a 2003 Thesaurus (I’ve yet to find an older edition). Synonyms: Pervert, Spy, Peeping Tom, Watcher. Wow! Pervert? Spy? Watcher? Peeping Tom? Wait though, I then looked up synonyms for pervert. Nouns: Sex Freak, Sadist, Masochist. Verbs: Corrupt, Misuse. Adverbs: Depraved, Twisted, Unnatural. Sex Freak? Corrupt? Misuse? Twisted? Unnatural?

Once we break voyeur down it makes more sense. We tend to chuckle when we hear of someone being a Peeping Tom, a harmless nickname for a truly depraved action. We don’t even begin to think that we are ourselves are guilty of such corrupt things. When we watch a movie or read a book with sexual scenes in them, what are we doing then? What goes on in the bedroom, between a man and a woman, is scared, holy even (in the right context). We tarnish this by gaining our own gratification for the sake of entertainment by watching such things. We become enthralled and can’t take our eyes away. We become voyeurs. We can always point the finger at others when they’re caught with pornography and think of them with disgust, but how much worse are we when what we do is already socially accepted? I’ve had it described to me like this: When we see a train wreak, we just can’t help watching it. Our minds are drawn to the unnatural, to the so called excitement of a horrific act. I’m not sure why, except maybe because we always need the adrenaline rush that these things bring. Maybe we are trying to fill a void that becomes bigger the more we try to fill it with such twisted forms of entertainment. These entertainments unfortunately are becoming increasingly acceptable and thrown at us more. We are becoming, no we are already desensitized. Stop, turn you eyes from the train wreck. Do you want someone watching your death? Worse yet do you want someone watching you in the act of a sacred and private moment? Then why is it okay for you to be a voyeur, whether you’d admit it or not?

People may view me as trying to ram Christianity down their throats and while that prospect is somewhat enticing (evil smile), I’m not. I’ll leave you with this scripture not to bash you over the head, ram down your throat, or some other form of Christian brutality, but to encourage you with wisdom from God's word:

James 1:14 (KJV)
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Matthew 15:19 (KJV)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (KJV)
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beat Generation? Try Let’s Beat My Brains Out

Okay here’s my one moment for being uncivilized in this post: “Oh my gosh, it’s over! It is FINALLY OVER, about bloody time!” Phew okay I’m glad I got that out of my system, now I will try to tackle this post in a professional attitude.

You might be asking “Maddie why did you decide to read On the Road by Jack Kerouac? What possibly could have provoked you to read such a book?” I might ask myself the same question if I didn’t already know. A couple of months ago a young man came into the shop and we talked and talked for near 2 hours about books. He couldn’t stop talking about books by these guys who started the Beat Generation. He said they were great and that I should read Kerouac’s On the Road. I’d never heard of the Beat Generation. Truth be told I pictured a group of men obsessed with the idea of beets. What’s so great about them? I don’t even like beets. Well because I admired his love and knowledge of books I thought what the heck why not read it. It wasn’t until I went to my favorite bookstore in Ohio in August that I was able to procure my copy. Lois, my friend at the bookstore, told me it was time for me to read Adult books.

I had no idea what this book was about and you know me I don’t read inside covers. Of course my brother A. David, forever knowing things I didn’t know he knows, knew exactly who Jack Kerouac was. In fact he said he wanted to read the book when I was finished.

I started to read and was slightly intrigued. Kerouac has an interesting way of writing. I could compare it to Steinbeck’s books; it has that same taste on the tongue only not boring. He knows so much of his surroundings and likes describing things in great detail.

That’s where it ends, my liking anything about it. Dean Moriarty enters the picture and I’m begging for the relative peace I found in the story without him. He is the type of person who sits around trying to talk about nothing and make it something. It doesn’t work on me it’s still nothing! Your deep theological thinking is only you thinking you’re a deep thinker Dean. You dig it?!? No! I don’t dig it nor will I ever dig things. My gosh, talk about the beginning of the end of intelligent conversation. The Beat Generation was the nurturer of the hippy generation, that blight of mankind. A time where looking back you think why? You (or at least I don’t) don’t want to claim it as part of your world’s history. Can you tell I don’t like Dean? He essentially is a corruptive and manipulative person that Sal, the main narrator of the book, never seems to see that way.

What can possibly be redeeming about a book that encourages and dwells on sex, drugs, and ditching responsibility to have fun and dig stuff? How can such a book be considered one of the greatest books of the 20th Century? What I can glean from this book that’s beneficial?

While reading this book I looked up Beat Generation and according to Wikipedia the Beat Generation was spontaneous, creativity, strongly positive. . . NOT! Spontaneous most definitely, creative or positive, I can think of a hundred other things that are. Is it any wonder people thought we were going to hell in a hand basket in the 60s? I can imagine looking around thinking everyone has lost their minds as I do when I’m reading about the Beat Generation. The loss of coherence and sense is too much to process. Quite possibly a waste of raw talent; they turned into the modern age of literature.

I’ll be reading up on the Beat Generation. I already have a book and plan to read it soon. I can’t form an honest or such a harsh opinion of that era without reading further.

Did I like On the Road? I think it’s obvious, I did not.
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