May 2003 Be Less Like 2002

You know, if there’s one thing that brings my blood to a boil and, generally, leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach, it has to be how some people are compelled to impose — with a great deal of forcefulness and disrespect — their beliefs, values, and opinions onto others. (And no, I’m not referring to any of the kind readers of aMMusing.) In other words, if there’s one type of people towards whom I am intolerant, it has to be those bullying, intolerant people. Ironic, eh?

They really get on my nerves and my tits, though. I constantly have to remind myself that they likely act the way they do to exercise power over other people because, in fact, circumstances have brought them to feel otherwise powerless themselves. Or maybe as a result of feeling powerless, they have “thought through” a remedy on their own, drawing from pop psychology to rigid political and/or religious ideology and everything in between. But, in order for that remedy to work, they have to aggressively dismiss as f*cked or defective anyone who doesn’t see it their way. They often pose as the most vocal defendants of freedom — of individuals, of citizens, of a nation, of choice — yet they conveniently ignore how their view/remedy systematically reduces other people’s freedom.

I know I’m just ranting right now and I’m not being very specific. In fact, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular; I’m just voicing a general feeling of annoyance. But most ironic of all, what inspired these musings are the new year’s wishes I wish to express to my friends, acquaintances, and indeed the people I don’t even know:

Be good to your neighbours, be they near or far.
In all things, strive never to do any harm.
May 2003 be prosperous and filled with happiness for you.

Reflections on the End of a Year

I’m not exactly sure what’s the big deal about the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. I realize that, for many people, it’s a time for introspection and hoping for the near future. But because I was involved or worked for so long in academia until recently, I find that I go through the new-year feeling on Labour Day weekend rather than this time of year. The end of summer and the return to more firmly entrenched routines are more significant to me.

As I was going to sleep last night, I was actually thinking about all the fuss that goes into each new year’s eve, yet how none is particularly memorable after it has gone by. Now being of an age at which I can slice parts of my life in segments of decades, I tried to think back to my new year’s eves 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

1972 to 1973: Good grief! I was only 7 years old when we came into 1973! If I was allowed to stay up until midnight, then I must have been at home with my brother and we probably watched Bye Bye ’72 on Radio-Canada. I would have been too young to get the jokes in the skits on that show. (I do remember that 1973 turned out to be a financially tough year in the household, with the energy crisis and high inflation kicking in and my father being on strike at work.)

1982 to 1983: It seems to me I should remember this one. I was in Grade 12. Did I spend it with The Quad or the boyfriend-at-the-time? Or was that a year I managed to get into a nightclub even though I wasn’t of age yet?

1992 to 1993: I really should be able to remember this one, since it’s not THAT long ago. I think this was during the years I would visit The Quad in Fredericton and we would participate in the city’s First Night celebrations.

I do remember, however, that I “misbaved” — some would say “got lucky” — in 1985 into 1986 as well as 1995 into 1996. (Maybe there’s more of a pattern when I traverse from an -x5 to an -x6 year…) But of course, since 1996 to 1997, each new year arrives more or less in the same manner.

Don’t Tell Anyone

I rented the 1998 Peruvian film Don’t Tell Anyone last night and, I must say, it left quite an impression on me.

In short, the story is about a well-to-do Peruvian guy (Joaquim, played by Santiago Magill) and his sexual disorientation. What the film explores — quite successfully, I think — is the root causes of his disorientation. Living in Lima, with its South American machismo culture on the one hand, and, on the other, the influence Catholicism still has in Peru, enforcing a double standard seems like the only possible way of surviving for someone who knows himself to prefer (sexually) persons of the same sex. So taboo is the topic of homosexuality in Peru that the film caused a scandal in the country when it was released.

Somehow this story hit several buttons for me. As a French Canadian, I recognized (remembered?) how Catholicism can be (mis)used to scar and guilt impressionable youth. It is something that stays with you forever, even though you grow not to succumb to fits of fear when it creeps back up on you. But, moreover, while viewing this film, I felt like I was being told the story of how it was like for North Americans in the pre-Stonewall era.

To think that this is how it is still like in many parts of the world makes me appreciate even more my good fortune of living here and now, where sexual (dis)orientation, while not completely accepted, can exist and be spoken about. Presentists often take for granted and fail to appreciate just how much their situation is so much better than it would have been a mere 20 or 30 years ago. And frankly, such ingratitude bugs me.

Longing for Summer (Already!)

I truly despise winter in this part of Canada. I hate being cold. I’m a total hater of winter.

I truly love summer in this part of Canada. I love being warm. I’m a total creature of summer.

This place, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.

See more of this place...

There are tons of nooks and cranies where someone can peel off all clothing and bake. I long for those long afternoons when I put up (figuratively) the “Gone Fishing” sign on my office door. Those days under the sun are precious gifts, each and every one of them.

(Image hosting courtesy of Poupoune.)