February 2010

Evolution

Hm.

You know that you may have a substantial body of work when youíre pretty sure that youíve written about something but you canít find it. Iím encountering this problem more and more these days, I think that I have written about something but it might have just been me thinking about writing it. Going through over 1500 pages of these things is no small chore let me tell you. Even with the aid of ctrl-f, when you have to open document after document, itís a time consumer.

And being that finding free time is a rare thing for me, despite my best intestions, I find myself not terribly inclined to go over it all.

So if I repeat myself from the past, forgive me. Iíll try at the very least to put some new spin on it.

I donít like to call myself naive.

I donít suppose that anyone does, but between the life that Iíve lead and the fact that I work very hard to constantly educate myself itís typically a bullet that I manage to dodge. Between the time spent living out of garages and off of peoples couches, the years downtown and just the wide array of experiences that come from playing in a band in some of the less than upscale venues that I have played you get to see quite a bit.

But a few months back, I saw something that sent me completely ass over teakettle.

Nazis. In public. In S.S. uniforms.

Iíve seen more dead bodies than I can count, Iíve witnessed terrible accidents and terrible acts of violence. Iíve seen people OD. Iíve seen things that disturbed me to the point I very rarely even talk about them.

None of that prepared me for the reality of seeing a group of people in full nazi regalia.

I know that thereís racism. Iím not naÔve about that. I see the typical ďquietĒ racism where someone comments on the way that they perceive a certain ethnic group to drive, or how another ethnic groups food smells, or how another ethnic groups work ethic is somewhat lacking, and I always make a point of commenting on the inherent ignorance that statements like that reveal. To be sure, attitudes like those are indeed racist and ignorant, but ninety percent of the time, Iím able to at the very least get the person who uttered the comment to think about what theyíve said, and usually they leave the conversation somewhat embarrassed.

Which is good.

Because if someone is embarrassed, that means on some level they recognize at the very least a potential for something being wrong with their approach. Perhaps theyíll think about it, perhaps they wonít, but for a moment, those stereotypes werenít ok.

Now nazis, theyíre a different breed entirely.

You canít reason with a nazi, they need someone to blame and typically theyíre far to much the cowards to allow that person to be themselves. The whole idea of blaming your problems on another race is so that you donít have to take responsibility for them yourself. The net result of someone thinking that way is a person who will (obviously) go to extreme lengths to avoid facing their own issues and taking responsibility for them. Itís an extremely selfish mindset and you simply canít educate someone out of that mindset.

You canít teach someone who doesnít want to learn.

I can understand the basic appeal of the philosophy. You get to be the best thing that ever was, almost nothing is your fault and thereís always someone else to blame. Unfortunately itís all a lie and any even partially self-actualized person quickly realizes that they are not the best thing that ever was, thereís plenty thatís their fault and blame is more of a distraction than anything.

So bottom line is this, you canít reason with a nazi.

Since that encounter a few months back, Iíve been afraid that Iíve been missing something. Resurgence in nazi thinking isnít something that happens overnight, itís a process that takes time. Itís been years since Iíve seen anyone that open with a nazi lifestyle, so to see them out and about in public was, to me, a sign something wicked was this way coming.

It wasnít much after that the whole business with the pipe bombs started up.

Iíve always been a somewhat active ďanti-racistĒ on a social scale. My friends know that when presented with ignorance, Iím usually one of the first to speak up. But recently I decided to spend some time researching what was going on with the white supremacist/nazi movement here in Calgary. Are there actually flag waving violent Nazis running around our city?

The answer, sadly, is yes.

Spend some time digging and youíre bound to find something. While the supremacist movement in Calgary is somewhat splintered at the moment, the individuals are all still there. And they arenít all who you might think they are.

Thereís the stereotypical supremacist/nazi who is covered in racial tattoos with swastikas and the like. You know the ones, shaved heads either wildly over or underweight with that constant state of aggression.

For the records, and it seems obvious to me but itís worth mentioning, not all skinheads are nazis. The skinhead style started nazi free. I still buzz my hair from time to time, I love army surplus clothing and I never wear anything thatís not a steel toe boot, but I would like to think Iím about as far from a nazi as you can get. Letís just get that common misconception out of the way.

More significantly, some of the Nazis that I have come across are surprisingly well educated. University students. Professionals. These are the stealth nazis who have learned that they can operate in both the extreme world of the supremacist as well as the ďnormalĒ world. They will sieg heil with the worst of them, but then they will head to class to learn how to be teachers or back to the office.

The scary thing about these people is that they are convinced in such a fundamental way that their way of thinking is correct, and that thinking is such a deeply ingrained part of their identity there is almost nothing that you can do to get them to change their minds. By default, these people are not critical thinkers. Even a simple logic exercise escapes many of them, simply because despite the conclusion they can choose to believe differently.

They claim to be enlightened, but they are the very definition of ignorance by choice.

Hereís the bottom line.

If the thing that defines your value as a human being, the thing that you are most proud of and the one thing that you believe sets you apart from everyone else is the colour of your skin, that is a tragic and extremely revealing statement on what you have done with your life and what you have accomplished.

Period.

The clumsy construction of a philosophy that tries to justify that fact doesnít change it, itís just an attempt to rationalize it.

Iím starting to realize something.

As a species, we havenít come nearly as far as I once might have hoped. Iím getting this now. For years I thought that things would ďget betterĒ, but now Iím starting to realize that humanity is forever in a state of cyclical homeostasis with the repetitions of these cycles increasing in frequency due to greater technology.

We donít really move forwards. We just keep finding different ways to move sideways. Weíre not getting better, just faster.

The fact that Nazis still roam the streets?

Just more proof of that fact.

The Shit List

(another pseudo monthly segment I will in all likelihood forget about after a few installments, although I haven't yet, which is really weird).

5) Itís not just Ridgelines. Itís people who drive Avalanches as well. That whole ďsport-truck-with-higher-than-normal-angled-sides thing. Evidence is still being collected, but I felt the update was important.

4) Blue LEDís. You know the ones. They have that funky wavelength of light that you canít really focus on, but just looks blurry. Really mess with the colour blind, Iíll tell you that.

3) The Olympics. Especially the winter ones. Sure itís all fun and excitement on the outside, but if you take a look underneath the faÁade, things get really horrifying, really fast. I hope it doesnít actually take 20 years for the province of BC to recover, but thatís the number I keep hearing.

2) Avril Lavigne. The good news is that it appears that sheís the new spokesperson for proactiv. While a fine product Iím sure, this is the endorsement spot where popstars go to lay their flagging careers to rest. Letís hope that trend holds.

1) Nazis. You have to have seen that coming. At least I found something worse than Avril.

BONUS Ė I only add this because I came across it and couldnít help myself. Octomom Nadya Suleman. A clip of her appearing on ďThe ViewĒ has been spreading across the internet and between her voice, her laugh, the way she speaks and the fact that sheís clearly batshit crazy and all I can think is how much she is the living embodiment of Heath Ledgers ďJokerĒ. Seriously. Watch The Video. If you thought ďThe ViewĒ was scary on itís own, this raises the bar to George Romero-esque levels. Throw in the fact that sheís got 14 kids that sheíll be raising and that should make for more than a few sleepless nights.

You know where to find me

Nate@natepike.com