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|Isn't she lovely? But don't rub her the wrong way.|
This topic is a favourite with film directors, given the number of movies that have been made in this genre. Their pet theme is that of the aging and faithful wife who is abandoned by her husband for a younger model, and her reaction to get her revenge. The storyline is usually juicy and it involves all of the audience very quickly. The women feel it and the guys just have to duck. We exit the movies and we start to say something and our woman says, don't talk to me. I'm pissed at you!
My most memorable film on this subject is, "Waiting to Exhale" which added colour to the mix. Husband, who was black and successful dumps his black wife for a younger, white new woman. I thought there was going to erupt a riot in the theatre. The husband made his announcement, then said to his wife, I'm leaving now but I will be back for my clothes. What clothes would he expect to find when he came back?
Fatal Attraction was another outstanding film based on a silly premise that a man can have sex with a woman who he just met, but be expected to be hers for life. When she finds out that he is married she pulls out every nasty trick in the book to stick it to him.
The problem is that both of these stories are based on solid facts. Both also make the man the villian of the piece, when in real life women can be as irresponsible as men, and sometimes they can be more so. Here are a couple of examples that place the man as villian. Case number one involved a work colleague. We worked in a nightclub until one in the morning. After that we went to after hours club, but he always had a woman on his arm while his wife waited at home. I warned him he was cruising for a bruising, but he didn't listen.
Apparently, on this fateful night he went home as usual about 5am, and went straight into the shower to wash away the smell of the other woman, again, as usual. What he didn't notice was the pot of something on the stove that sat over a low fire. Suddenly, as he stood in the shower completely exposed his wife appeared with the pot of boiling rice and threw it over him. Why rice? Because it is sticky starch that clings to whatever surface, and on him it just burned and burned and burned. Apparently he passed out with the pain. He carried those scars with him to his death, which was an early one, but not so early that she could be charged with murder.
No man would have even thought to do something like that. Sure, we kill one another, and we torture, but that was off the chart.
I should have learned my lesson from that, but I didn't.
Several years later I was working in an hotel dining room as a person who had no love obligations. There were always visitors available to entertain, so together with one of the other waiters we did just that. However, I met one of the local ladies and a relationship developed even though she was married. Then she told me who her husband was and I nearly fainted to know that he was none other than my co-pilot and work companion. His wife said that she didn't feel guilty because he didn't care about her, and as I knew he played around rather than going home to her.
The summary of a long story is that she had a plot for him to find me in his home and in his bed where out of insane jealously he would kill me and go to jail and out of her life. It came within a whisker of happening exactly as she had planned. Hell hath no fury, indeed!
I have learned my lesson!
Having said all that I will close with the story of a couple who I came to know about 55 years ago. I knew him as my boss at the electrical power company. He was a smart guy and an absolute straight arrow family man. He worked all the hours he could find to earn a living and to personally build a house for his family. There were times when we guys from his crew would go over on our days off to help him pour concrete, so we knew how super proud he was when the house was finished and he was able to move his family in.
It was less than a year after that when the hammer fell. His wife announced that she was in love with another man whom she had had as a lover all those years when he was working to build the house. He said, I thought you loved me! She replied, "I never loved you!" And then she ordered him to move out of her house immediately. He told us he came so very close to killing her on the spot, but he realised that he could not hurt her without hurting the children. So, with a very heavy heart he left and his life went straight downhill. He became one of those people we see living in a cardboard box. We call them bums. This man was no bum, and I wonder about the stories of all of the homeless.
So, here's a project for someone who has the stamina and the courage and the heart to pursue the stories of so many people who live in sub-human conditions. What happened to bring them to such a place? I bet it would make really compelling reading.
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael
|Are there any retired Censors in the house?|
First, for the young people I will explain what a Censor was. In the old days, men and women were hired by the State to decide what was fit for members of the public to see and hear. Their presence was felt everywhere. Still, to an extent, what we are fed is subject to a voluntary form of censure, although you might not think so.
Official censorship ended because of pressure from the public who felt that having some people arbitralily decide for us was just not right. We thought we were more offended by that principal than having so much junk now dumped in our faces. However, if you are like me you might be fed up to such a degree that entertainment is no longer entertainment when it is just a platform to spew forth with profane language and simulated sex. (I think it is simulated.)
The film, "Three Weddings and a Funeral" begins with the first five minutes where all the actors repeat the same four-letter word for five minutes. I guess the director thought this was what, funny. creative? Other made for television or cinema films can be one continous string of explictives, and that wears the audience down to the extent that we do not enjoy the narrative.
It is becoming so that when we do view a work that is without explictives we may realize a pure form of enjoyment without even realizing why. Writers and directors have got to realize that the absence of censorship simply means that you are free to do anything you wish. It does not mean that you should do anything that comes to mind. There is responsibility that comes with that freedom, and the use of maturity in the production of entertainment is more creative.
I was born during an era of Victorian-like morality and prudence, so I have that as a yardstick to compare where we are now. Playboy magazine crashed through the barrier with its centerfold, and the wonderful mystery of women was lost forever. The other extreme, of course is to require that women dress from head to toe so that they are a complete mystery. That is just as bad, when the proper balance is to be found in the middle. In my opinion a woman who is dressed conservatively holds far more interest than one who leaves little to the imagination.
What has happened is that the pendulumn was stuck to the side of prudence and mind control, and now it has swung to the other extreme. Now, a person can be as sick as they want on screen and in print, and in doing so they infect their audience with such over the top perversion. That is not entertainment! The dialog given to actors and actresses is like vomit coming from their mouths. Well, we have seen that it could be done, and it is not pretty.
Some people really enjoy this sort of thing. I get that. I am also realistic enough to know that it will not change, just because I might like it to. However, if its trash it really does need to be clearly classified as such because I suspect that a growing number of people have had enough.
What I do hope will happen is that a more stringent form of classification will emerge to warn the public that if you don't want your senses to be assaulted give this one a miss. It would still be our choice to watch or read or not, but now we turn to a television channel and without warning our living rooms are flooded with words and images that are inappropriate either for our children or for members of our family.
As for our retired Censors they must be wondering why they even bothered to change the word damn to gosh, golly or Geewhiz.
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael
|Just one of those things to upset the peace|
This is a story about a commercial transaction that went totally wrong. Some of the actors were reasonable and others completely useless.
Our old kitchen water heater had served us for ten years and had to be changed. Along came the technicion with a new one and installed it and it worked. While doing this he discovered a leak in the butano line that had been a danger to us for a number of years. Every time we lit the stove with the window closed we ran the risk of blowing ourselves up.
The machine seemed to work well for a week, although there was a new machine smell, or so we thought. Exactly one week after it had been installed, while I was using the hot water in the bath, the water suddenly ran cold, so I turned off the tap, and finished my bath with cold water. When I left the bath I went into the kitchen and found it full of black smoke. The heater had simply caught fire.
First thing we did was to call the installing technician, who practically had a heart attack. He called the manufacturer in Barcelona who promptly called the Valencia office, and they promised to call us. Monday passed, no call. Tuesday we called everybody we spoke with the day before. But the man from Barcelona was annoyed that Valencia had not yet called us to find out what day would be best for us. Eh? Yesterday, of course! After a couple more calls Valencia said they could "fit" us in on Thursday.
Why didn't the manufacturer show more concern that their machine had caught fire in a customer's house? Probably because it happens often? I don't know.
Thursday: The man in Valencia was knocking on our door first thing in the morning. He came in, took one look at the situation and swore. After doing some checking he asked whether we were using Natural gas. No, señor, we use butano. Me cargo en la leche! The technician had installed a machine that was calibrated for natural gas with butano gas. He had taken the machine from a box that read butano. Apparently it was no wonder the damn thing burnt out in a week.
Then the man looked at my receipt and said , but this was installed on the 11th of March. (11/03/2014). I said, no, it was installed last week, the 3rd of November. We argued, I lost. He said the machine was outside its warranty and there was nothing he could do for us, and left. A totally useless turd of a man.
We went back to the installer and politely told him what was the problem and firmly requested that the matter was put right that very day. And it was! He even changed the date to the new day, 11/13/2014. Oh well!
The thing that worries me is that when it comes to the use of gas there have been so many cases of houses having been blown up, and some people have even been killed or seriously injured.
Perhaps I worry too much. Then again, maybe not!
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael
|I feel very sorry for Oscar, but I feel even more sorrow for Reeva!|
Oscar Pistorius demonstrated his great remorse for what he did to Reeva, and I have no doubt it was absolutely genuine. I believe that he will never get over it, but it was a criminal act for which the law demanded justice for Reeva and her family. However, even Pinnocchio congratulates Oscar on his story to the court.
What really happened? Let's try and put together a commonsense version of events:
As a mere man, when you are in love with a woman as exocitally beautiful as Reeva, you know for a fact that every man who lays eyes on her wants to get his hands on her. So, everything she says and does makes you hear and see men everywhere.
She says, I'm going for a photoshoot. He sees the photographer with a hard-on for her. She says she is going to have her hair done, and he imagines the hairdresser as a man with his hands all over her breasts. In other words, he becomes paranoid and jealousy drives him out of his mind.
It is therefore easy to see how a discussion arose between them where he accused her of being with another man. That would have escalated and Reeva would have done what every woman in the same situation would do. She would have run to the toilet and locked the door.
Oscar would then have followed her demanding that she open the damn door or I will knock it down. Almost all men can recognize this scene.
However, during the trial no neighbour testified that they heard an argument going on, or who heard every word, so, this is mere speculation.
We think he was out of his head with jealousy and anger and said I'm going to get my gun and shoot this door down. In that state of mind he fired four shots through the door and killed Reeva. Then, it became quiet, and he returned to his senses and asked himself the same question so many other people ask themselves having done something really stupid:"WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE!!!!!!!!!"
I think I can pick big holes in his story to the court:
If Reeva was not the one in the toilet where else in the house was she? If he didn't know the answer to that question he certainly should not have fired shots through the door.
If the person in the locked toilet was an intruder, presumably, if they had locked the door they would have been having a shit in private. Can you kill a person for doing that in South Africa?
It seems, according to Oscar, he intentionally shot through the door to kill the intruder. Isn't that the definition of murder? And, what did he think would be the colour of the intruder in a white gated community?
I think the judge out did herself in trying to be seen as being fair and unbiased.
My personal feelings are that if one person deliberately, and with malice in their heart, takes the life of another human being, they should expect that they will permanently forfeit the quality of their own life. If a life is lost in the heat of the moment, that is still a crime because there always is a moment for decision. If you punch through that moment and still decide to go ahead you will have committed a crime for which you may well be remorseful afterwards, but a life has been lost nonetheless because of your action, and justice demands that you pay for your carelessness. In a conviction for manslaughter, many countries around the world demand a sentence of fifteen years behind bars, with the possibly of a five year discount for good behaviour.
I do not believe in capital punishment because only one mistake by the courts would be too many. As has been seen there are many convicted persons who truly were not guilty as charged. It is also an unbelievablely stupid form of punishment by the State, whereby they kill to teach us not to kill.
In my mind, a sentence of five years, with the possibility of release in ten months has not served Lady Justice at all. I may indeed feel sorry for Oscar's ruined life, and for all the pain he is suffering, but public policy is unfeeling, and having done the crime he must do the time.
Such a light sentence is a dangerous precedent to set for other men who would really like to get rid of their women.
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael
|The Double Standard|
I was going to write this blog anyway, but since it is time for the BBC's annual world conversation between men and women about sexism, I contribute this to the discussion.
I have recently watched two television programes, each dealing with the double standard, and that got me thinking.
First, lets look at the fact that men are wired to sexually respond to the visual effect. Some men will say that they are breast men; others say that a well turned leg turns them on. I tend to be drawn to the whole image because I look for perfection. I have found myself totally attracted to a woman who ticks all the boxes for beauty and elegence. Then she lights up a cigarette and I simply erase her out of my mind. Whatever takes our fancy we lose our minds and go running after what looks good.
If we compare men to the animal kingdom we would be the male lions, simply spending our days and nights screwing and sleeping. That's the way we are and its not our fault. In some enlightened societies this is acknowledged by giving the male the right to have more than one wife. This is the honest approach instead of Western socities' practise of monogamy, with something extra on the side.
In reality, those arrangements where the man takes four, or more wives, no-one can be happy. The women go along with it because they get security and dignity in that he can afford to take care of them. Their alternative is to live with a poor man or sell their bodies. From the man's perspective all that he can see is sex with different women. It is true that sex is so much more interesting with different partners, but we are not simply talking about one night stands with strangers, we are talking about having four, or more actual wives, and they are all his.
For those of us who have one wife, I think we would all turn down the offer to increase the experience of living with one person times four. A wife is a whole person with hopes and dreams and expectations and disappointments that she needs to share with her husband. She also has complaints, and she wants to mold her husband into something that he is not.
If one man goes through all that on a revolving basis, he can't possibly feel that its worth it just for the sex. The sex would have to be something Uber good, and let's face it, sex is simply sex.
The thing that confuses all men is this: those men who choose to commit themselves to one women, but then who think it is alright to have sex with other women, react so badly if their main squeeze decides while he is out screwing around she will have a little fun as well. I am 75 years of age, so obviously I'm not currently guilty of this, but in my past life I have been.
There was an incident when my world and hers clashed. When I took a breath and realised what she was doing while I was busying myself with pleasure elswhere, I nearly had a heart attack. The more my own behaviour confused me the more off the rails I fell. To this day I don't understand a man's reaction when he discovers that his woman has been having sex with another man.
This is no longer the dark ages when men felt that we had a right to own our woman. I know that in many cases the woman is expected to take the man's surname as a form of branding. Preachers still ask, "who giveth this woman to this man?" We know that women enjoy having sexual intercourse with us, because they make it obvious, or not, as the case may be. So, if a woman, any woman chooses to have sex with a man, it must be something she wants to do, including those women our hero has fun with while his wife is at home.
I'm not going to suggest behaviour for consenting adults. No-one will give me any attention anyhow. I simply say that as men, perhaps we need to develop savoir-faire, the know how to deal with these situations. It is not a pretty sight when we lose our minds, especially when we were the spoilers in the first place.
This is especially important because if your woman is trying to teach you a lesson you are definitately not going to like who she chooses to act out the scene with.
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael