Perky sausages -
I’m a dad. I have sons. I never had a girl and reading blogs today I feel relieved about that even though I always wished for a daughter.
Drugs were close around when I was growing up as a teenager. Some, most, of my closest friends were heavily involved but I never had the courage to let go, feared losing control to an addiction that would rule and ruin my life. That’s how I saw drugs, though not alcohol or tobacco both of which I enthusiastically consumed at every opportunity.
Sex was around too in the usual messing around, experimental, hesitant way in early teens. By my late teens I had a regular girlfriend and sex life.
I say all this to put into a context me being led by a Guardian website article http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/07/cat-marnell-drugs-addict-destructive into reading blogs today about drugtaking http://www.vice.com/read/amphetamine-logic-the-cockroach-and-the-cokehead and sex http://www.vice.com/read/amphetamine-logic-coke-sex-for-teen-sluts written from personal experience by Cat Marnell.
Cat Marnell has generated some noteriety and a lot of followers for her frank and vivid descriptions of life as she sees it. Vivid is a strange word to use for someone who desctribes herself as being flatlined by stimulants but her writing is both vibrant and humourus. This is important because it makes it more lokely it will be widely read and discussed. The key audience is young people to whom she seems to speak directly. Her message is equally important, though painful for parents.
The main lesson from the writing on drugs is that her addiction to stimulents started when her father put her on Ritalin to improve her grades. This parentally inspired chemical dependence is far from uncommon she suggests. The way a drug numbed mind dictates an unsatisfying sexual trajectory is the bit that made me glad I don’t have a daughter and made me determined for my sons to absorb this insight as soon as they are old enough. Can better grades ever be worth this?
The internet led me from problem to an unlikely source of good advive for teens and young twenties on sex. Karley Scortino presents a vlog, Slutever billed as the sex ed you never got in high school. It delivers clear information for young women (which makes it essential viewing for young men) on everything from when to lose your virginity http://www.vice.com/slutever/v-cards to female orgasm http://www.vice.com/slutever/orgasms-where-r-they and more.
Karley’s vlogs are grounded in providing the information to empower young people in an age where pornography is the main sounre of socialisation in sex and sexuality. This was a theme addressed in thre unlikely setting of a TED talk http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/ by Cindy Gallop in 2009.
I’m sure that inside my kids and I generally have the same desires and urges, fears and hesitations but out there the world they are growing up in is very different from the one I experienced. Faster, more demanding, less forgiving as well as exciting, information and opportunity rich. The antidote to the numbing dangers of porn and drugs comes from the same source, both river of life and sewer, the internet. Drink from it with care and understanding but without fear.
Conker time -
A commotion in the street outside the kitchen window caught my eye. Neighbours were crowding around the open boot of a car, plastic bottles clutched in their hands. A shouted enquiry from the window, a trip downstairs to the road, an exchange of money for milk fresh from the buffalo and cheese, moist and crumbled. Some of the cheese went straight onto toast with a little sea salt and tomato slices. A closer look in the car was rewarded with sweet black grapes so dark they taste of blackcurrant. Next week maybe a jar of cream and some apples can be added to the shopping list for this one man farmer’s market.
Pakistani girls, displaced by floods in 2010
Polish Writer, Survivor of the Dachau and Auschwitz Concentration Camps and Author of the Unspeakably Numbing Series of Short Stories, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” Tadeusz Borowski Uncredited and Undated Photograph
“Despite the madness of war, we lived for a world that would be different. For a better world to come when all this is over. And perhaps even our being here is a step towards that world. Do you really think that, without the hope that such a world is possible, that the rights of man will be restored again, we could stand the concentration camp even for one day? It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to the gas chambers, keeps them from risking a revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity. It is hope that breaks down family ties, makes mothers renounce their children, or wives sell their bodies for bread, or husbands kill. It is hope that compels man to hold on to one more day of life, because that day may be the day of liberation. Ah, and not even the hope for a different, better world, but simply for life, a life of peace and rest. Never before in the history of mankind has hope been stronger than man, but never also has it done so much harm as it has in the war, in this concentration camp. We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers.” Tadeusz Borowski, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” 1948
As with so many survivors of the death camps, Borowski committed suicide in 1951.