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Winston

Deconstructing, Man (language, drugs)

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A guilty pleasure of mine is the 1993 movie “Demolition Man”. Good lord, what campy fun. Sandra Bullock was SO hot. And, for those of you so inclined, Stallone was in good shape. Actually, both actors have aged well. I don’t know what happened to Wesley Snipes. I think he fled the country on tax evasion.

As an aficionado of the dark art of dystopian storytelling, this movie resonated with me. The script writers borrowed liberally from Aldous Huxley’s masterpiece “Brave New World”. Bullock’s character was even named Huxley as a homage. The whole we-will-enslave-ourselves philosophy has stood the test of time, showing itself time and again as a insipid threat to a free society.

In the movie, John Spartan (adjusting to the future society) has to be reminded over and over that: “Anything not good for you is bad, hence, illegal.” He has to be bludgeoned with this new societal norm because it is such a foreign concept. It’s a beautiful contrast between an individual exerting his rights, and a society imposing soul-crushing conformity.
People must be protected. Especially from themselves.

It’s fun watching Stallone as the Demolition Man traverse this minefield of whacky social norms. It’s terrifying watching my society circling that drain.

I think the whole vaping controversy might be the last straw for me. The control freak statists always use “the children” as their battering ram to demolish our liberty. Some kids vaped, many using THC, and got sick. So let’s just take that option away from everyone, including adults. How wrong is this? Let us count the ways.

Kids ain’t supposed to smoke, or vape. They’re breaking the law. They sure in the hell ain’t supposed to be vaping anything with THC in it. Someone misuses a product, so we ban the product. This is the most asinine logic on Earth. Unless you were hatched from a space egg, children have parents. WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY?! OMG, are the only two choices on the parenting menu Helicopter Parent and Hands-Off Hippie? Hello?! Your kids are doing shiat they’re not supposed to. Do something. It’s not the government’s job to do yours.

So bring in the whiny “…we didn’t know it was bad for us..” brigade. Inhaling hot steam with assorted chemicals? Who knew, right? EVERYTHING has a risk associated with it. We knew tobacco was bad. You rolled the dice, thinking vaping was safer than tobacco. Maybe it’s not. But maybe some folks that vaped responsibly found a safer alternative. Just take that away from them. Because of some stupid kids and their cranial inverted parents.

I used to smoke-up a storm. Started with Pal Mals at age 14, and eventually settled on Camel filters at 16. By that time, I was smoking a lot of stuff. Anyone remember clove cigarettes? Snap, crackle, tar. On weekends, our pipes blazed with material that would make Cheech and Chong envious. Sunday mornings I would hack-up brown phlegm. Monday I’d smoke on the way to school, during lunch break, on the way home…
Where were MY parents? OK, my mom was oblivious. But I smoked in front of my dad, at the gas station where I worked. Black coffee and smokes. Just had to grind out the butts before pumping the gas.
Oh my God? How did I survive?!

Well, I grew-up, and grew out of it. I smoked in The Marines, even during 20 mile forced marches (on rest breaks, of course). But I eventually gave up the habit. I found my reasons. Many people do. Some don’t. That’s the way it works in a free society. We choose our individual paths. People are not sheep that need to be lead by some benevolent government shepherd.

If vaping was available back in my day, I don’t think I’d take it up. But that’s the beauty of choices. Take it or leave it. I personally think vaping is kind of silly. I walk by grown men smelling like bubble gum and cotton candy. But that’s their choice. And their risk.

I don’t know how many people use vaping as a bridge to get-off tobacco. But I do know they should have that option. This latest crusade of limiting flavors so poor little Johnny isn’t lead into a life of illicit vaping is nanny-state bullshiat. People selling a legal product are being forced out of business. People wanting to buy a product are told they are too stupid to assume any risk on their own.

I worry I will wake-up like John Spartan in a future dystopian San Angeles. I have my Huxley (but her name is Cynthia), and two kids. None of them smoke or vape. Not because they were ordered by the government not to. It just ain’t their thing. If they smoked, I’d try to talk them out of it. Using logic and love. That’s what my wife did with me. And that’s something the government can never provide.

It’s beyond tragic that we need feel the need for the government to fill the void where family and friends should be. My grandmother had more impact on my choices than all the Public Service Announcements ever could. Fear is a crappy long-term motivator. People change when they do it for things that they care about. For people that they care about.
You can't protect people from bad decisions. You need to make them want to protect themselves.

Demolition Man is fun to watch on the screen, but horrific to see unfold in the real world. There’s a trope going ‘round that “Bad choices make for good stories”. I would postulate the opposite is true. Too many 'good', safe choices make for a boring, empty society. What good is protecting everyone from themselves if their lives end up sucking ass?
Everyone can answer that question individually. At least for now. Thinking hasn’t been deemed bad, yet.

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  1. Kevin's Avatar
    Winston,
    A very good review of the movie's basic messages and how they apply to us in our personal lives...

    In the future families won't even be necessary. Government child care will be 24/7. You can't trust individuals or family structures with something so important as a child's future. Look at the mess we're in now.

    the movie:
    First off, while the death penalty (and other similar) may seem extreme, we actually do need to reduce our populations in order to conserve the world's resources. The government needs to enforce this.

    Second off, as in the movies there are many unnecessary luxuries like vaping that shouldn't even be available as they are merely symptoms of our current culture's spoiled overindulgence. The government does need to enforce this as people on their own obviousely aren't able to make correct decisions. So many of what portrayed as 'draconian ' measures taken in the movie- the strict prohibitions and extreme punishments, are in reality totally reasonable and responsible relations by the government, and necessary. That's how you get people to behave. It's scientific, phychiatric conditioning/education, negative as well as positive.
    From a moral standpoint, as long as there is inequity of wealth, poor people, anywhere, these frivolous luxury items should not be available.
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