A Few Thoughts
Ever think about what side of the door you are standing? I discussed Doorways as topic of conversation last year, and last month I mentioned a State’s use of prohibitions as either a means to lock a person out or lock a person in. Today, I’m going to set the metaphors aside and jot a few lines about something literal concerning closed doors, namely quarantines.
As we approach a year of masks, restrictions, closures, lockdowns, and other various prohibitions let’s take a moment to think about those (the elderly, those with special needs, and others) who have been on some level or type of quarantine for past eleven months. Yes, they can text, call, chat, and Zoom family, but many of these people have not hugged loved ones in damn near a year. We may be social distancing but many of us still have the option of human touch with loved ones. Please keep those who are prohibited from something a simple as a hug in your thoughts.
It’s Ultimately Access
The State (with the capital ‘S’) loves its prohibitions (both the lower case ‘p’ and the upper case ‘P’). Once the State finishes telling us what we can’t do it’s up to the individual citizen to figure out what he/she is allowed to do. Keep in mind, that State wants you to believe all that you are allowed do is due to the good graces of the State. If you violate (or overlook one of many and often vague) any prohibitions you are at fault and the State is quick to respond.
Prohibitions are about control, and an easy way to control people is through denying and/or allowing access. The purpose of prohibitions (in most any form) is to keep certain individuals locked out and other individuals locked in. It is the State that gets to determine which side of the door you get to live. The State should work for the citizen, but many of the State’s prohibitions work against the citizens and deny us access, opportunity, and ultimately freedom.
Six Bits of Wisdom Concerning Prohibitions
- “Three times I have been mistaken for a prohibition agent, but never had any trouble clearing myself.” -Dashiell Hammett-
- “There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. It’s reflected in prohibitions and these taboos that we have.” -George Carlin-
- “Complete prohibition of all chemical mind changers can be decreed, but not enforced, and tends to create more evils than it cures.” -Aldous Huxley-
- “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is prohibition that makes things precious.” -Mark Twain-
- “Prohibition is the trigger of crime.” -Ian Fleming-
- “I believe that it should be perfectly lawful to print even things that outrage the pruderies and prejudices of the general, so long as any honest minority, however small, wants to read them. The remedy of the majority is not prohibition but avoidance.” -H.L. Mencken-
Is Also His Story?
When is an empty bottle more than an empty bottle? Another way to start this journo would be to ask how many times have you walked past an empty booze bottle and wondered how it got there? A while ago I noticed that there were empty booze bottles showing up in the alley behind my house. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries so discovering the source of the bottles was a case I wanted to solve.
I found out rather quickly the case of the empty booze bottles wasn’t much of a mystery. A neighbor from across the alley was stepping behind his garage most afternoons and having a drink or few before going inside his house. Mystery solved. But there was still a story, and there were still unanswered questions. Was he drinking because of what happened each day or to brace himself for what was to happen each evening? What prohibited him from drinking in his own home?
Empty bottles may be trash but they are also stories. Stories that may be mysteries, stories that may not have resolutions. The mystery of the empty bottles in the alley may not have a resolution, but I’m positive it is a story of Prohibition.
Some Thoughts on Prohibition
It’s the first day of 2021, but it would be foolish to think 2020 is in the rearview mirror (unless you picture 2020 as some sort of villain form a slasher flick waiting to pop up a cut your throat once you look in the rearview). While sipping from a jar of Kentucky homemade last night counting down the minutes I got to thinking about Prohibition (clear whiskey crafted by people from the hills has a way of doing that).
I started 2019 and 2020 with the topic of Drinking and figured I’d start a tradition of doing the same with 2021, but that jar of Kentucky clear convinced me to focus the topic of conversation on Prohibition. After a few shots, I started to reflect on the events, experiences, and perceptions of 2020 (whiskey is a facilitator of many things, self-reflection being one of them) and started thinking about the many of prohibitions, imposed and suggested, over the last year and their impact.
I will continue the tradition of starting the year with the topic of Drinking by discussing Prohibition (with a capital ‘P’) and by also discussing prohibitions in general (with the lower case ‘p’). Here’s to an interesting and creative 2021. Let’s start it off with what we aren’t supposed to do.