Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yes, and Selfishness

To continue the discussion on Values...

Several people have added to the dialogue the elements of selfishness and the "me" generation.

This is the only town that I am aware of that sells new automobiles that come not equipped with turn signals.

Or how else to explain the Daily Guessing Game of what is that car in front of me, approaching me, beside me about to do?

I haven't seen anyone, including the police or professional delivery drivers, use a turn signal in the last three years.

But why would you? That would mean you have some small concern about that rapidly disappearing entity called "THE OTHER PERSON."

I've reported in these pages the three occasions in which I have found infants alone in cars while their deeply concerned mothers were shopping, or in one blazing case, tanning.

To stop before a zebra cross walk to allow pedestrians to cross is to risk their lives and yours and the guy who will invariably race past you blindly on the right to fly through the crosswalk. Why would anyone stop for ANOTHER PERSON.

Why would you want to be involved with the often arduous and difficult and certainly messy task of rehabilitation of addicts and others when you can just give the suckers drugs and paraphernalia and places to get high?

Harm seduction is based on the entirely selfish notion that it's OK if someone wants to be stoned all day, because what's it got to do with me as long as they're not robbing me?

But that's exactly why it's a terrible and self-defeating public policy. Because it has everything to do with you.

It says that you welcome a city or a community that has entire sub-populations that are stoned and useless and self-hating and dying.

It says that you don't care about THE OTHER PERSON as long as she isn't breaking into your home or car.

To make matters worse, you wrap yourself in the fake cloak of "compassion," and claim that you are helping, when in fact you don't even have the faintest concept of THE OTHER PERSON.

Values. Selfishness.

The other day, my son, the actor, was working in a sound studio on a radio assignment. He and a young girl were the principal actors recording a series of commercials for an educational institution. The girl was 20 years old and, according to my son, very talented and busy.

Half-way through the morning, the producer opened his microphone in the booth and asked the young girl what the clicking noise was.

She is a professional artist being paid good money to record her voice.

The clicking noise?

She was texting.

The "me" generation in full flight.

We have long, long, long passed the point where you could reasonably hope to ask someone on their cell to be quiet in a theatre, a bus, a library, a hallway, probably a funeral parlour.

Every seven year old and his dog has a cell and everybody is jammering all day long about nothing.

Madly destroying the English language saying things like, "I'm like...and then, my mom's like..."

Parents, men and women, now walk down the street with their children, not enjoying the few scarce moments of being together and noticing the world around them and sharing their observations with their children, but jammering on their cells. The kid walks silently beside them.

When my mother died many years ago, I wrote the obit and I said, among other things, that "she loved the fine, small details of life and she loved to share them with us."

The result is that I am life-long curious about almost everything. Airplanes, marshland, textiles, Turkish poetry.

What curiosity can you develop talking your life away on a phone?

So, why has Vancouver gone so far down the rabbit hole?

Identity, values, selfishness.