Bountiful is Canada’s emerging Jonestown

I grew up expecting certain rights as a Canadian citizen, but when I came out at 23 in the early 1990’s, I lost a lot of my legal rights.

It was legal to fire me, deny me housing, not promote me and a lot of other things that ither minorities have legal protection against in the form of human rights complaints and non-discrimination laws.

But gays and lesbians were excluded for consideration, and that the obvious lack of protection and need for it, should have been a no-brainer amendment. But religious and discrimination had already lost so many battles against women, ethnicities, less than fully able bodies or mental ability, that the battle to suppress gays and lesbians wasn’t and isn’t ending easily.

Over time and court cases, rights were returned to me one by one from the most basic rights up to equality under the law and ability to engage in marriage.

It’s funny, through the 1990’s all while denying gays and lesbian the ability to common-law (2000) or married (2003/04) – welfare would recognize gay couples because a couple both collecting got less money than 2 single roommates.

The government of Canada, federally and provincially, had it both ways – not recognizing us as individuals or couples when it suited and recognizing us when it disadvantaged us.

So my personal experience has been to live in a secular democratic society where I was legally lesser than other citizens because of my sexuality. Which is why I say that human rights are a legal fiction, with no reality or force in society.

The rights we gays and lesbian have as citizens are dependent on the goodwill of the public and worse, politicians who do the right not the popular things.

With little awareness that the reason there’s anti-discrimination and minority protection is BECAUSE THE MAJORITY CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO BE FAIR.

If we collectively could, there would be no reason to spell out human rights, they would just exist inalienable without question.

If there’s not a more fragile basis for social inclusion, then I don’t know what is.

So having had to fight, court case by court case, person by person and then couple by couple, for each getting closer to the same rights as anyone else – having our employment and housing protected from discrimination, being able to serve in the military and finally, being able to access the same legal protection for our families as any other family.

The fact of the discrimination of gays and lesbians should be an automatic trigger to be includes as a prohibited ground of discrimination – because there is no reason to discriminate against anyone because of their membership in an identifiable group within a population.

It really is that simple.

I have a different perspective on rights and an analysis of individual vs couple vs group vs social rights than anyone who always had the full rights without question.

if you think about it, the people who are against gay marriage should actually be more against atheist marriage but they don’t try to say marriage is religious so atheists and agnostics can’t get married.

Because we do not question that heterosexuals off all creeds and beliefs are entitled to marry – so why should it be a question if anyone can marry the person that they love?

Modern Secular democracy has said, marriage is 2 people, exclusive of others.

With the Individual being the unit of social consequence – and that is the promise of secular democratic nations – then it is the individual who makes the decisions and choices for their lives.

Not families, not tribal or religious elders, not the King of the land and not anyone other than the person who has to make personal soveriegnty decisions.

To be able to do that, one must first be aware of and understand what their legal rights are.

People who are existing in closed religious communities or ghettoized immigrant subcultures are having decisions made for them as a matter of tradition, without any understanding that this is not the basis of Canada or America.

It should be appalling to anyone that in Canada and the US or any secular democratic nation, that there are people being raised with no awareness of their rights just for being citizens, and limited or no participation in the wider society.

Just closed religious communities – in the case of Bountiful, BC –  closed means that only the church group populates the town and everyone you see is related and living the same way as you – no mixing, no diversity and no multiculturalism.

You have to understand it from THEIR experience, not assume that what’s normal for you is normal for everyone.

There is no difference between Bountiful and Jonestown.

Both communities are being operated by a man who has control over every aspect of the lives of the community from who gets to be married and get into heaven to who gets re-assigned or excommunicated.

Religious leaders have never responded well to threats against their control of their flocks – and that is the true danger of religion – people handing their personal sovereignty over to another who has very different interests at heart.

If religion can convince you that sex that makes you feel good, even when it’s just you, is bad – then there is nothing that you won’t beleive. It is really that simple.

Marriage being between 2 people in a secular society with multiculturalism, diversity and every citizen knowing their rights and being socially capable in the mainstream society – there’s enough people to go around for everyone to have a chance for pairing up, and no one is double or twentytuple dipping.

Work and play well with others and don’t take more than you need.

How can anyone object to that as words to live by?

Billboard Screws with Elvis

Billboard has long been the go to for song and album charting since music was first manufactured as a physical product to be sold.

Because the easiest way to sell something is to establish that everyone else is buying it before you – so get yours before someone else get it, you don’t want to be the last on on your street? Wait, we don’t know our neighbours anymore, scratch that.

I used to work in a Mom and Pop video store in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s – right on the cusp of VCRs coming down in price, below the $3000 they were originally – think about that, you can get Blue ray players for under $100 now! But new tech is always expensive and it seems rarely worth being an early adaptor – so as a public service, I want to continue the Meme:

Let’s all ignore any physical media after blu-ray and force the studios to stop re-selling the same content and instead, merge the big TV with computers and sell us subscriptions to your back catalog and new releases and end the need for TV broadcasters and content on physical media sales. Long tail and ever green.

Let’s face it, most of us watch entertainment in very different ways that Televsion was imagined and not changed in meaningful ways since it’s inception.

The only purpose of TV is the commercials – and we all skip over them now – so they’ve got to work in commercials as product placement, incorporate consumer messages into the programs, the same way that these products occur in our daily lives.

So, Elvis and Billboard. Elvis Info Net provides a detailed explanation of how the charting rules have been altered to minimize deceased or decades ago artists, in favour of current artists today./

In a way, it’s a bit like poorly done affirmative action – past artists are being dropped from the charts, resulting in a shifting of the history of popular music and creating false impressions.

Elvis was the second person to sell a million copies of a single. He was the first to sell consistent million sellers back to back – and if the current billboard group wants to promote current hitmakers as being impressive, then removing Elvis as the measuring standard, creates a fraudlent impression.

Honestly, if I were a performer, I’d want my chart history to stand against the best, not take out the King and measure myself against all the other pretenders.

Because that’s what’s going on.

Elvis has never been given his due as an artist – he became famous the wrong way, he was Southern and alien to the northern skewed enterainment business.

More than that, Elvis was a well mannered and respectful to authority, and when he obeyed, he was a workhorse musical and movie hitmaker who could take our minds off our daily grind and just enjoy being entertained without thought to hidden messages.

When Elvis didn’t obey, he showed us with his Sun singles, the early RCA hits, the 68 Special, the Chips Moman sessions, his true greatness eliminating all diversity resistance and blending all musical human expression into an atomic sexual  volcanic force of nature:

Rockabilly was Country done Blues with a Gospel fervor delivery.

Elvis was a musical sponge and he could and did record it all – pop, rock, ballads, blues, country, rockabilly, show tunes, folk songs, Great Songbooks, Tin Pan Alley and at the end of his career, he didn’t record opera, but he was expressing even that epic a delivery with Hurt, How Great Thou Art and The American Trilogy.

If music stories organized by genre, Elvis would have to have space all over the store, in almost every category. He continues to defy description, so is taken for granted. Elvis sells whether his label or studio put any thought or effort into products or marketing.

Some songs, he was even doing sing song spoken word versions of. Softly as I leave you – with Elvis speaking and Sherril Nielsen singing the lead, with Elvis ending on the final harmony. Spine chilling and dramatic story telling, giving comfort to our life’s hurts and pain and reminding us of the joys and our greater potential.

For as much as Elvis maintained he kept his views to himself, through his song choices, Elvis made his message clear. Be kind and polite, generous and ignore the things that don’t matter, like the colour of someone’s skin over the quality of their individual character.

He quoted a lot, the Hank Williams, Men with Broken Hearts and embraced the Walk a Mile in my Shoes as a guiding principle. He wasn’t a Ghetto poser, he lived out the Great Depression in rural sharecropper father in prison and not the best of providers when he wasn’t, with a strong mother who loved her boy above all, and why he aspired to the middle class dream of ascending prosperity to provide for her, all the things that they didn’t have. Sadly, Gladys did not live long and seemed more bewildered and frightened by Elvis’ unprecedented fame and adoration, than enjoying it.

Money has a way of separating you from your friends who have none. And the Presleys went from public housing to a mansion in a few short years. Enough to turn anyone to drink and despair, if you think about how foriegn a world it was that they suddenly had that their feet. Worse, that sense that their new money would never allow the Presleys to fit in. The Unsinkable Molly Brown syndrome and it wouldn’t be until the 1960’s and post-army service, that Elvis obtained that veneer of civilized society that made him the biggest box office draw. The man who’s movies made the money that all the artistic movies were made from.

Ironic then, that it’s the Elvis light musical comedies with exotic locations and pretty girls that remain re-watchable and timeless, since they existed in the Elverse.

Because let’s face it. Elvis was and remains in a universe entirely of his own.

But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for Billboard to erase Elvis’s career from musical history.

34 years after his death and he’s still too dangerous and unpinndownable for the studio execs and establishment industry.

The only way other artists can beat him is to cheat him.

So how can any artist want to claim record milestones, when they are only comparing themselves to each other – and not against the one person who’s career path everyone is trying – and failing – to emulate?

How can we pretend that Elvis wasn’t the King?