Maybe Someday is a song off The Cure’s Bloodflowers album. Listening to it earlier interrupted a blog post on racism I was reading. Earlier this morning I heard about teachers trying to make an autistic child appear normal, even if it destroys that child in the process. What is normal? Is it the fog we choose to live in and wander aimlessly through? Is it the Western dominate classism? Is it the tribe that believes in female circumcision?
I am lost in this album Bloodflowers, I will replay it immediately after it finishes it. My orientation is unlike anyone else’s, but I’ve mentioned that in a blog already. I felt guilty Friday after leaving my friend’s place. As a person who over analyses things I felt even more guilty yesterday. That and the loss of the Montreal Stars and Montreal Canadiens put me in a low place. Why am I guilty? First, I forgot that one of the friends is younger than us and grew up in a small town away from things. I hope she didn’t feel left out. Second, I may have stayed past my welcome, sorry if I did.
I was twelve when my family moved from a rural Ontario side road to Stoney Creek. From antena on the roof TV that was one channel if the weather was good to the fringe of the world’s most media saturated place before the first internet browser. Coming of age in the late Eighties – early Nineties, for me, was about an explosion diverse media content. I could watch bad Italian movies on Saturday night (good for a boy in puberty), British TV shows, Canadian documentaries and American news. Media was less concentrated and competed with less sterile content. Yet, a few kilometers down the highway towards my birth town of London and the media landscape resembles a wasteland. Now all of Canada’s concentrated media is a bland waste land.
It was 1986 when I moved to Stoney Creek, I needed a radio station to listen and wake up to. I discovered this small independent radio station called CFNY and it shaped how I listen to music. Music doesn’t have colour and with a radio station like CFNY it really doesn’t have a set genre (back then). Legend has it Run DMC was up doing interviews with CFNY before they broke into college radio in the United States. As for Legend, the Bob Marley and the Wailers album was always considered the best album of all time, on a radio station that played mostly punk and alternative. In high school CFNY became the Edge, New Music First. Hence why I was sick of Jagged Little Pill before most people had heard it.
Maybe it was growing up with semi-hippy parents or coming of age in the media saturation or both, I never saw the race, or ethnicity but the person. I am guilty of doing, saying insensitive things. I try to catch them before I speak or act. I was raised by TV and movies as much as by family or school. People aren’t born with hate and segregation it is in cultured into them later in life. By high school I knew the white supremacists were full of shit, the Croates verse Serbs battles were a bit absurd and Sikhs come from India not Pakistan.
Ontario was created as an Abolitionist Province of the British Empire. Many slaves who fought against their former masters in the American Revolution came here and founded communities. More communities were founded by First Nations forced to flee from their lands in what became the United States. More people would come on the Underground Railroad or on steamships from the famine stricken parts of 19th Century Europe. Yet many Black founded towns in Ontario would not welcome a descendant of the founders.
In living memory London, Ontario, Canada; had signs that read ‘No Dogs or Irishmen on the lawn’, Black men could not get a job better than porter for CN or CP passenger service, Brazil nuts were called Nigger Toes, the Ku Klux Klan was active and tolerated, children were taken from Aboriginal households, Aboriginal Canadians could die for their country but were refused the vote, Japanese Canadians were robbed of their property and sent to concentration camps, Homosexuality was a crime, learning disabilities were a moral issue to be beaten out of a child…this list, sadly, could go on and on. That was normal and acceptable, luckily for us normal is ever evolving.
Canadians will never achieve the multicultural society we claim to have until we face our hate, ignorance filled past. History cannot only be edited highlights of our best times, for if it is we will become arrogant and repeat the horrible mistakes. History needs to be taught to help prevent the abuses of the past, a warning to the future. Canada is not perfect, the RCMP still have entrenched misogyny, far to many Aboriginal Canadians are in prison, poverty or are committing suicide… honestly this is another long list.
I’m onto another The Cure album, Galore (The Singles 1987-1997). Maybe this Friday I’ll be in love, doubt it. Onto the second apology explanation. Autism is normal, it is a part of the human experience and doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’ just accommodated. In some social situations I feel Autistic and at times Friday I felt that way. I have no ability to catch or process social cues, no understanding of the subtleties of human conversation in fact their are Autistic people who are better at these things than me. Writing this is taking forever because of my ADD, a condition that makes me appear inconsiderate, indifferent or uninterested. I don’t need people telling me I have to try and be normal, life is impossible enough without the extra pressure.
What is normal? Is normal what we see marketing push on us in commercials? Is it what our previous generations held as normal? Is normal what some think tank, political ideology or religious group tells us? Or is normal this dysfunctional society finding endless ways to divide and rule people? If any of those are normal then fuck normal.
Maybe someday normal will be acceptance of the individual not a series of impossibly high expectations. Maybe someday we can stop being shallow or comparing people with other people or what we perceive of other people. Maybe someday we will stop holding human potential back by seeing diversity as restriction. Humans are like snow flakes not interchangeable parts. We have to face our failures and recognize ‘normal’ may see part of us as a negative but in truth it could be a positive.
Maybe someday we can focus on each other’s abilities to make a better society.