Monday, October 3, 2011
I woke up at 6 am on Friday to visit the little room not far from where I sleep. My land line phones at home have a wonderful feature. There is a pre-set that turns off the ringers from 11:30 at night until 8 in the morning. I noticed in the dark, the phone light blinking. Oh, a message. No, two messages.
I knew what they would be.
The Supreme Court decision had come down delivering Insite unto the masses, Whooppee.
Sho ‘nuff, two media giants from the Mystic East had called at 5:45 and 5:49 requesting my extremely important reactions to this news. The 11-year old girl producer for one of these broadcasters ended her voice mail with “I hope you’re having a nice day.”
I yelled at the towels, “I AM having a nice day, thanks. I’m FUCKING SLEEPING!”
At 8:30, when I was already hunkering before the computer and reading about the pro-Insite decision, Nice Day Lady called again.
I asked her if, anywhere in her school life, she had been taught time zones. After a pause long enough for me to think of calling 911 to revive her, she said that she thought this was a business number.
“Besides the need to grow alfalfa, why would I be at work at 5:45 in the morning?” I asked ever so pleasantly.
Well, you get the picture.
The nice kid from local CBC-TV came over with his cameraman.
We filmed about 12 minutes in my dining room and then went upstairs to my study to film “B Roll” of me looking at the CBCTV website on this computer.
I watched the piece on the supper hour cast.
The Embalmed One was anchoring, but someone else was fronting this story.
They showed 3-5 minutes of raucous overjoyed crowds of believers cheering in triumph in front of the “safe” injection place. Then 8 seconds of my miserable out-of-step-with-the-times disagreement.
This is how the “journalists” at the Mother Corp operate. Five minutes of Hooray and 8 seconds of Just You Wait a Minute, Now.
At 8:30 that evening, the phone operator for a Radio talk show host in Alberta called and informed me that his host would be speaking to me soon. The host came on line and asked for my thoughts; then he argued vehemently with me. I asked him why he had invited me on the program. I asked him if he would ever knowingly cross the street to give a drunk a clean shot glass, or, if he knew that his daughter was self-mutilating, he might sharpen her razor blades for her.
He reckoned that he would do neither of those things, but felt it necessary to point out that I was in the minority. Translation – you are wrong, David. I asked him if he understood democracy.
He kept yelling at me, so I thanked him for calling and told him this wasn’t the kind of conversation I wanted to have with anyone, let alone him.
Later that evening, I caught about half an hour of a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The movie is called “The Invasion,” and it’s about the fourth remake of the great 1950’s black and white sci-fi flick, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It’s about human beings being overtaken and replaced by the Pod People who look just like them but who are robotic and without humanity.
(The only true oddity in this version is that Daniel Craig is such a good actor and so charismatic that when he has to convey that he has gone over to the Pod People, he is not convincing because his eyes continue to shine with some mysterious Star’s inner light.)
In the penultimate scene, Kidman and her son, pursued by the crazies, dash madly out of a building, but when they get onto the street, they must slow down and walk like zombies to fit in with the creeps around them.
I couldn’t watch because this all played perfectly into the disassociation I was experiencing all day.
There have now been at least four distinct times in my life when I felt that perhaps I had entered an alien universe or perhaps all the creatures around me where of a different and peculiar species.
The first time was watching hundreds of thousands of lunatics cheering on that creepy self-evident crook, Richard Nixon, at the Republican national Convention. They were wearing pants and dresses and they certainly looked like examples of the human species, but one could only wonder.
The second time was when the clock radio came on next to my bed in 1974/5 in Edmonton with the news that Bill Hawrelak had been re-elected Mayor of that fine Northern city. Bill had been found guilty of crimes on three occasions, but that didn’t stop the good people of Edmonton from choosing him to be mayor one last time. In 1992, I went cross-country skiing in Hawrelak Park. But that morning when the happy Hawrelak news broke, I felt like my shoulders had been pinned to the mattress by some extra-terrestrial force.
The third time was much like the first time, only instead of the true believers raising their banners on high for the oily Nixon, we had The Dumbest Person of Earth, George Bush.
But nothing in my experience prepared me for the sight of that crowd crowing with happiness for the brilliant decision of the Supreme Court, supporting the shooting gallery.
There were dope fiends and party hacks and pseudo-scientists and elected officials and doctors and so many people of holy good will cheering.
One friend of mine, a retired DTES police man, said he wanted to leave the province, leave the country. I was thinking gallactically. Maybe on Mars or Uranus there are creatures with clearer minds.
Last week, I had the joyful experience of attending the 40th anniversary of the Manitoba chapter of the abstinence based therapeutic community treatment centre that I started here in Vancouver in 1967.
There are 136 people in residence at any given moment and a 6-month waiting list to get in. Every day, clients are getting their matriculation and University degrees and reuniting with their families and moving to transition houses and back into the world as clean and sober citizens.
Support your local prevention and treatment programs. Unlike the other nightmares-posing-as-social policy, these real places are about hope and human dignity. Anything less is unworthy of our attention.
Posted by David Berner at 10:13 AM