#85: Talking To Cloud

(originally posted via Tumblr, 04/15/2012)

Cloud

When I was 13 years old, I was a lonely child with a big imagination. I’ve always loved the Final Fantasy series, the seventh installment particularly. When I was 13 I convinced myself that Cloud Strife, the game’s protagonist, was real. I would walk around in the woods and talk to him, tell him about my problems, ask him why he hadn’t shown up yet to take me off to his world. I made up stories about him and talked to him about my life and my thoughts. Eventually I grew up and understood that Cloud was as real as anything else in this world and in our minds and hearts are, but that he was never going to appear out of the sky and take me away to his world. It was out of naivete, childishness, and loneliness that I waited for him to show up and take me away from this world into another.

I fail to see how talking to Jesus, telling him about my problems, asking for his help, and waiting for him to come down from the sky and take me away to a different world is any less childish. We can grow out of all our imaginary friends except for God. That’s the one that we carry around with us, and what does it do to benefit our lives, other than make us feel angry at ourselves for being who we are, make us judge ourselves and others with anger and condescension? Why is it okay for me to grow out of worshiping Cloud Strife, but it’s blasphemy for me to grow out of worshiping Jesus Christ?

Josh Farro Pisses Me Off

I realize I’m behind the times on this one, but if you didn’t know, Paramore broke up. I’m not the Paramore fan I was back in 2008, but I have to say their music remains part of a very special time in my life, so Paramore will have a spot in my heart. Back when I was a para-whore, I had a huge crush on mega sexy guitarist, Josh Farro.

Ex-Paramore guitarist and stud-muffin Josh Farro.

The insane amount of bible-belt Christianity exuding from said guitarist is overwhelming. I just finished reading the “exit statement” he wrote on behalf of he and his brother, Zac Farro. Since they both left Paramore, I guess it isn’t technically proper to say the band broke up, but two of the strongest links (if not the strongest when you consider ability with instruments) have left.

But back to the blog he wrote. Basically, he’s saying that Paramore is all about Hayley. And I agree. And he explains the way things really went down, and in truth, it’s always been about Hayley. Could that be because Hayley is the one who writes all the lyrics, provides all the stage-presence, and is the only singer? Yes, most likely. So, I’m on both of their sides. I think the brothers are perfectly within their rights to leave the band when it’s really not a band so much as Hayley and the Pips (dear god I’m paraphrasing Glee, what has happened to me?). I also think that Hayley is talented enough that she deserves to have the focus centered on her, she IS Paramore, just the way that Amy Lee is Evanescence. However, what happened to Evanescence will probably happen to Paramore, if it hasn’t already, which is that with the strong musicians backing the lead vocalist gone, the band’s sound will lose all of it’s heart. But that’s alright, the arrangement is probably for the best on all ends of the spectrum.

The thing that bothered me so much about Josh’s blog was how… pious it was. It was just seething with indoctrination. He would randomly quote Bible verses in the middle of a paragraph, at the end he mentioned something about the brothers doing what “God leads them” to do, and even ending the blog with the sign off: “to God be the glory.”

Look, here’s the fact of the matter. I’ve been a Christian. It is not a pretty cross to bear (oh, wordplay). You’re told that everything in the entire universe breaks down into two categories: black and white. What gets you into Heaven, and what gets you into Hell. What is good, and what is bad, what God likes, and what he doesn’t. And so, you find yourself seeing the world through a hazy veil of what some people’s opinions of “right” and “wrong” are, and when you hear lyrics like “God does it feel so good, ’cause I got him where I want him now,” or “the truth never set me free, so I did it myself,” you’ve been taught to think that those things are blasphemous, and you start to fear that if you don’t FIGHT those lyrics, or those ideas, that you’ve disgraced God, that you’ve become a sinner, that you’ve lost points and have now committed a sin worthy of sending you to hell, and you must be forgiven, and never even THINK about listening to those lyrics again, lest you be cast into the barn and stomped on the threshing floor and burned with unquenchable fire.

Or something like that.

You think I’m being over dramatic, but I’m not. This is how the organization works. Don’t believe me? Go tell someone you want to be a Christian. Experience the process. Devote a couple of months to learning the way Christians think. They maipulate people. That’s the problem with religions like Christianity, and organized religion as a whole: there’s no balance. There’s no love of the self. There’s no concept of the Divine being within. It’s all about abandonment of personal responsibility.

My whole point here was no that I had a problem with Paramore splitting up, because I think Josh and Zac Farro had good reasons for leaving the band. The thing that bothers me is how pompously Christian the blog about leaving the band is. Because he knew when we was typing all that Bible stuff, that people were going to pat him on the back and say “Good for you, Christian brother, the Lord smiles upon you, you have rid yourself of the evils of Satan. You will have many jewels in your crown on the day of judgement.”

Or something like that.

 

One of Josh's pictures on popular gay porn site "Guys With iPhones." God bless us, every one.

It’s actually kind of funny that Josh is going to play the religion card to try and make himself seem like a saint. He can’t bare to listen to the lyrics “the truth never set me free,” but he CAN post about four or five pictures of himself periodically on popular gay porn site Guys With iPhones. Well, semi-popular. I like it at least.

But it seems funny to me that he’s going to get all offended by a lyric one second, and post a picture (however unsatisfying clothed he may be in said picture) on a site that is, by and large, a porn site. A GAY porn site at that. Yeah, bet they don’t know about that one down at the tabernacle, do they Josh?

It just peeves me, that’s all. But then, it’s Christianity. I would expect no less from it. I hope he grows out of it 😦 He seems like a nice enough guy.

#20: Katy Perry, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

I’ve just lost so much respect for Katy Perry.
 
And upon further review, I probably shouldn’t have had any respect for her in the first place.
 
Let me set the scene for you properly. Lady Gaga premiered her new video for Alejandro, the third single from The Fame Monster. The video is great, it’s about homosexuality, and it represents the struggles the gay community face in so many ways. It’s also about relationships, the admiration Gaga has for the gay community, and a representation of the religious intolerance that homosexuals face constantly.
Katy Perry, apparently, feels that the video is “blasphemy as entertainment.”

Really? Really, Katy Perry?

This coming from the woman whose first single, “Ur So Gay,” was about a metrosexual boyfriend who acted far too feminine for her taste, and whose second single, which solidified her as one of 2008’s top pop acts, I Kissed A Girl, is a peppy anthem about a little innocent pseudo-homosexual flirtation. Which, by the way, never actually happened. Katy Perry never did kiss that girl, she just wrote it about girls kissing girls. Katy Perry makes a career out of appearing to be a brainless pinup model, a modern day Betty Boop. In her more recent career, Katy Perry has appeared in songs with 3Oh!3, a bitchy psuedo-hip hop group, Timbaland, and in her recent single California Gurls, Snoop Dog.

Maybe if I make this porn star face, they'll buy my music!

I haven’t seen the video for California Gurls (ahh, misspelling on purpose, that really shows off that intelligence with which you weigh in on a deeply symbolic music video from a true icon), but I’m told it involves Katy shooting whipped cream from her nipples. And then of course, the whole song is filled with boring, uninspired lyrics about slutty California party girls who want to “melt your popsicle.”

Katy Perry is also engaged to Russell Brand, a pretty foul-mouthed comedian, with whom she posts lots of fart jokes on her twitter. And THIS is the woman who is going to call Gaga’s new video “blasphemy?”

Seriously!?

Look Katy, someone's using sex to EXPRESS A MESSAGE!

If you haven’t seen the video for Alejandro, go watch it. It’s not particularly my favorite Lady Gaga song, but the video is well done, and it’s full of religious and social symbolism. Katy Perry is a run-of-the-mill pop artist whose career may last a couple more years at most (obviously it isn’t doing too well now, she’s been whoring herself out for guest appearances and collaborations with anyone who she thinks might be the next big thing), whereas Lady Gaga is truly a pop genius, and truly an icon.

"Oh dear, look at this surprised expression on my face! I'm too dumb and brainless to do anything other than ride a giant girly tube of chapstick, I'm just a woman after all, tee hee!"

Where Katy Perry represents the negative steretypical view of women being brainless, air-headed, and size-zero thin, Gaga fights stereotypes, she represents the beauty of androgeny, she embraces the human spirit, showcases the good elements of humanity and represents the evil of religion. Where Katy Perry releases bland songs with all-too-expected pop lyrics about sex and money with no real underlying message, Gaga makes music that’s about something, Gaga writes about her love for her fans and her hatred of fame and money. Where Katy Perry parades around on stage in a tiny bikini singing at the top of her lungs (horribly, I might add) surrounded by giant blowup tubes of lipstick, Gaga creates a true art presentation and both tackles her own personal fears and tells her fans how much she loves them every chance she can.

Are they jacking off to my picture yet? This will sell records for sure!

 Where Katy Perry is obviously terribly indoctrinated (go and look up her first album, a Christian Rock album under her real name, Katy Hudson), Lady Gaga fights stereotypes, breaks boundaries, and celebrates the freedoms of expression and love that all human beings are entitled to. Where Katy Perry goes with whatever pop trend she thinks will get a quick listen from people, Lady Gaga fights convention and presents music and performances that are far beyond her time. Where Katy Perry makes music for the dull, brainless masses, Lady Gaga makes music specifically for her fans.

Where Katy Perry releases one album and then goes on a two year hiatus, Lady Gaga released her first album and had written her second within a year, and after the release of her second album completely wrote and recorded her third within 7 months. Where Katy Perry goes off the grid after releasing one CD, Lady Gaga has been touring nonstop since her career began, beginning the Monster Ball once the Fame Ball was over, and adding over a year of tour dates. Where Katy Perry wears and does whatever pop culture might like to see, Gaga and her team invent the video glasses, the disco stick, the sparking bra. Where Katy Perry behaves like a media whore, writhing and flirtatious, Lady Gaga rarely ever wears pants and still shows class at all times. Katy Perry is a questionably talented, brainless pinup girl, and Lady Gaga is a true lady, with dignity, class, and vision.

In short, Katy Perry is not fit to lick Lady Gaga’s gorgeous fashionable boots. She has no right to criticize a video that is so obviously about the struggle of the people who made her famous! I wonder how many striaght men there are who are massive fans of Katy Perry. Now let’s see how many gay men support her. Face it: gay people make pop culture. All the true greats have always been gay icons. I’d watch how I talk about the people who put food on my table, Katy Perry.

Someone's completely naked for a REASON! It's almost as if she's expressing something! But of course, women are too brainless to have opinions to express, right Katy?

Lady Gaga is brave enough to challenge the religious organization and defend not just one group of people but all of those who love her and who support her. The devotion of her fans is a blessing to Lady Gaga that she would never give up, and that she counts herself blessed to have. Katy Perry presents herself as a ditsy, brainless, female stereotype, and apparently now an oppresive religious mouthpiece.

It’s just really ironic and stupid that she would have anything negative to say about someone who’s far better in every way than she is. And one more thing: declining intolerance for freedom and self-respect is not blasphemy. As usual, another indoctrinated tool of the Christian organization rejects self-expression to keep the power of their organization intact, so that they continue manipulating the masses.

Katy Perry is just solidifying Gaga’s point: there is no religion that doesn’t condemn some group of people.

#7: Flawed Thinking

Today I ran across something that at first I found humurous, and upon further examination I find it apalling.

So why not tell you about it?

It’s a book called How to Raise Kids You Want To Keep, by Jerry R. Day, Ed.D. Wow that’s a lot of periods. Anyhow, I just flipped open to a random section and found this section called Poisoning the Teenage Well. This is a section in a whole chapter called Poisoning the Well, and while I could make my point perfectly by just copying the entire chapter, I’ll give you a slice and make my comments.

Chapter 13: The Poisoning the Well Technique
Pg. 255, “Poisoning the Teenage Well”

The question, listen, question method works well for teenagers. They frequently believe that anyone over the age of eighteen is an idiot. Teens are not very open to direct advive from adults in general, and they are even less impressed with parental advice. They tend to think in the now and are reluctant to examine the long-term consequences of their actions.

What is a parent to do if a teen is infatuated with the wrong girl or boy, is bored with school, thinks school is useless, and thinks that drugs and alcohol rule? Poisoning the well can help. The following are examples of the Poisoning the Well Technique used in these kinds of situations. Use these examples to stimulate your own creative use of the method.

The Wrong Girl

It is not out of the question for your son, Matthew, to fall in teen love with a girl that just doesn’t fit in with your family values. It would be very wise of Matthew if he would tae a realistic look at how Katie treats her parents. This is a good test of how Katie will treat Matt and how she will fit into your family. Remember: question, listen, question. Accept any answer without criticism or elaboration. These example questions should make Matt think and ultimately poison the well.

1. “Does Katie have a father that lives in the home with her?”
“No they are divorced.”

2. “Does Katie respect her father?”
“I don’t know.”

3. “Does Katie seem to be comofrtable when around her father?”
“I have never met her father.”

4. “Does Katie’s father treat her well or poorly?”
“She never talks about him.”

5. “Does Katie privately criticize her father?”
“No.”

6. “Does Katie like her mother?”
“Yes.”

7. “Do Katie and her mother fight a lot?”
“Not a lot.”

8. “Is Katie happy at home?”
“No.”

9. “Is Katie critical of her mother?”
“Sometimes.”

Now Matt has a different perspective. He will observe Katie in a different way. Matt will be aware of Katie’s relationships with her father and mother. Matt’s well has been poisoned, but he doesn’t know it yet. He will have to drink from the well for a while before the water makes him sick. If you are wrong in your evalutation that Katie is the wrong girl, then no harm has been done. Love her and value her. If you are right, Matt will soon move on to another girl who may be a better fit, and he will probably be more attentive to his next girlfriend’s relationship with her parents.

Wow. I’m not even sure where to begin. Since those were “examples,” we’ll ignore the robotic tone and altogether and move on to all the other things about this that sicken me. This is clearly the result of a psychologist (psychiatrist? I don’t know and don’t care to know, obviously whatever degree he has hasn’t been very effective) who has spent many years dealing with parents who don’t know how to parent, and have sought his advice on “handling their teen.”

It has always sickened me the way children, and especially children who are considered teenagers (a concept which didn’t exist a hundred years ago, by the way), are literally talked about as though they are pets in a household. I’m not even kidding, go and watch a few commercials. One commercial or program will say something like “Are you having difficulty controlling your teen? Do you feel your teen is destructive toward your household?” and the next will say “Are you having difficulty controlling your dog? Do you feel your dog is destructive toward your household?” Similarly, even in unimportant matters, teenagers are jokingly referred to in the same way: “Feed your teen with bagel bites, to keep them full.” “Feed your dog with Dog Chow to keep him full.”

This small section illustrates perfectly the attitude that is so destructive to teenagers. Parents don’t want to understand their children or accept that they could be wrong in their methods, and so they just believe they have an “out-of control” child (similar to how one might have out-of-control Rotweiller, are you seeing the connection here?), and seek help from a therapist that ultimately harms or completely destroys their relationship with their children.

Everyone is troubled. Everyone. You are, everyone you know has been at some point. It’s human. But for some reason, parents don’t usually seem to want to really listen to their teenage children, because it’s just too much inconvenience to them, or it’s too much stress and it’s way out of their comfort zone. And so, rather than remembering that they were going through very similar problems at the same age, they decide their child is out-of-control (a term which exactly illustrates the improper attitude parents have toward raising children), and begin what they think is a healing process, but it’s one that ultimately burns bridges between parent and child.

Everyone needs love, and love is the number one tool to good parenting. If you have common sense and any rational reasoning abilities, you will have a bumpy ride, but you’ll at least have done what you can to understand and love your children. This is the opposite of understanding, this kind of sick mind-control technique (which I guarantee you will not be very effective anyway) is what pushes children farther away from their parents, and makes things harder on everyone.

But I should get back to outlining my problems with this. First of all, if you were to try and have this sort of conversation with your child, it would not work. You might get two questions into this sick abusive method of parenting before your child either realizes what you’re doing (because contrary to what this person may have you believe, children, teenagers especially, are much sharper than they think you are, and probably more so than you, if you are the parent), or dismisses the questions entirely because of it’s irrelevance. I cannot believe that this would work on any intelligent indiividual, and if it did, I hope you can live with yourself knowing how sadistically you’ve tried to control your child’s life.

Honestly, parent who believes this books, can you really read “Matt’s well has been poisoned, but he doesn’t know it yet. He will have to drink from the well for a while before the water makes him sick.” and not be sickened by it? If your answer is no, I feel sorry for your children.

Furthermore, let’s just adress the issue of it being called “poisoning the well.” Didn’t want to go for something a little more discreet, did you Doc? Just thought we’d go right ahead and let everyone know how heinous it is. Well, it’s a very appropriate name, because it really is poisoning the well, but the one the child drinks from, the one the family drinks from. Trying to control your children rather than understanding them, trying to be their dictator rather than their loving parent, trying to make decisions for them that only they can make, poisons the family, and tears it apart.

On that note, let’s talk about this “Wrong Girl” business. When did you, parent who chooses to read this book, become the monarch of every aspect of your child’s life? At a certain age, children need space, and they need room to grow and mature by themselves. You cannot in any way help them to experience love or relationships, nor will you be effective whatsoever in trying to subvert your child’s attempt at one. They need your help in understanding the world and developing a healthy view of it, but because children are so intimately connected to their parents, a betrayal by a parent could ultimately be what causes a child to think so badly of people in general.

This book claims that “teens are not very open to direct advice from adults in general,” and that is just as much a stereotype of young adults as any of the other claims in this book, teenagers are not entirely concerned with people in their own age group.

On a little aside, let me just that the phrase “…drugs and alcohol rule…” shows just how outdated and misinformed this book is. Honestly, it’s ridiculous that there are people who think that teenagers have such immature one-track minds that they’re completely incapable of complex human thought or emotion, enough so to think that you could actually influence their actions by using some psychobabble mind-control trick?

This book is also clearly very fundamentalist, it mentions “family values” quite a bit. “Family values” are probably one of the most destructive things in America today, because the American system of family values to seems to be the close-minded, right-wing, hateful set of viewpoints that cause all the trouble in this country.

I’m tired, and I’m tired of thinking about this, but please, I beg all of you who are parents or who will be parents one day: don’t listen to things like this. Love your children, treat them like human beings, bare with them through the rough times, take what action is necessary, but do not try to manipulate them. Do not try to keep them from experiencing life in the full and joyful way that you have. You may know what can hurt them, but the only thing you can do to really affect your children is to always be open, always be honest, and always show them love. They will come to you if you do, they will bring their problems to you and ask for your advice, and the best thing you can do in this world is just to be yourself, be human, and show love always.

You may have good intentions, but we all know what road good intentions pave. You cannot protect your children from life, and if you try to control their lives, it’s not so different from sheltering them, and it will make life harder from them.

We’re all together on this human journey, but we’re all alone in many ways too, the best that any one person can do for another is to love them and help them walk the road of life, and it’s the best any parent can do for any child, because one is just as much a human being as the other, complete with their own flaws, their own desires, and their own emotions.

Love your children, love another, and communicate with another, don’t walk the path of deception, be honest, or the family will fall apart. Trickery destroys, lies tear apart, and they will destroy your family and tear apart your relationships. Only honesty, love, and commitment can keep a family together, and those should certainly be the only values your family truly holds dear.