Brian is also a professional screenwriter, novelist and copywriter, with a whacking number of groovy credits to his name. He says he's quite a bit calmer now than he used to be. But make no mistake, he is still That Action Guy, so feel free to drop him a line to say g’day. (Just, for the love of God, after reading what comes below, don’t talk on your mobile phone if he’s in the cinema with you!)
Brian says the world needs heroes, so over to you, Brian M. Logan:
Passivity, I hate it. I mean I really, really hate it.
What is it with people nowadays, anyway? If it isn’t someone getting the crap beaten out of them in broad daylight, and nobody doing anything to help, it’s someone pushing in line at the local shopping centre and getting away with it, or someone watching their friend being bullied at school and turning the other way. I JUST DON’T GET IT!
Okay, so I’m 6’2” tall, have a black belt in Tae Kwon do, and have a face full of thunder when called on, so I’ll grant you that someone like me is more likely to feel confident enough to say something when some random stranger tries to take the piss, or infringes on someone else’s personal liberties. But come on! Size should have nothing to do with it. What happened to people standing up for what’s right, because it’s the right thing to do?
I saw an epic video on youtube the other day where some woman, no more than 5’5” tall, if that, tore a sleezoid in a subway carriage a new arsehole after he’d taken out his c*ck and rubbed it against her when she was on the way home from work on the train. No doubt this guy had done this many, many times before, and gotten away with it, because the women he was doing it to, decided to assume the role of ‘victim’ in the vignette. But not this gal. No, when confronted by a free-balling freak frolicking in her nether regions, she turned around and yelled at the top of her voice. “This guy’s got his cock out! He was rubbing it against me! Somebody film his face!” (or words to that effect).
The guy, like a rabbit caught in headlights, didn’t know which way to turn (and someone did indeed film his face). Why? Because the victim had STOOD UP TO HIM. Amazing.
My late, sainted mum, Valerie Sylvia Morris, once got her car clipped by a drunk driver at a T-Junction at the corner of Hambidge Terrace and Playford Avenue in Whyalla, South Australia back in the mid-1980s. Now mum may have only been 5’2” tall, but she didn’t take crap from anyone, and promptly drove at high speeds after this guy, pulling her car in front of him when he was stopped at lights, and getting out and giving him what for in front of the other drivers who were idling behind him! The guy, named and shamed by this petite old woman with right on her side, apologised profusely and gave her his name and details right there and then on the spot. And even, a few weeks later, hand delivered a personal letter of apology...accompanied by his wife! Turns out both were extremely grateful as mum hadn’t reported the incident to the police (he’d got a mechanic mate of his to fix mum’s car up) because as he’d been drink driving he would’ve probably lost his license.
So you see, anyone can stand up for what’s right. If only they have the courage to do so.
One time, many years ago – I’m guessing it was probably the mid-90s - I was in a cinema in George street, Sydney, with a friend of mine, Susan. Now, this particular cinema was huge, and broken into three sections, with aisles between the two side sections and the centre. Susan and I were sitting in the middle of the middle section, maybe about 1/4 of the way from the back, when we hear some guy talking loudly on his mobile phone. Now, younger readers will have to believe me when I say that in the mid-90s, not everybody had mobile phones. And those who did (and conspicuously used them in public) were referred to as “Dickheads”. Anyway, there we were, having our movie interrupted by somebody talking on their mobile phone, and we’re looking around wondering where the hell he is, but we just can’t see him because there’s nobody close to us saying anything.
I’m not exaggerating now when I tell you that this ridiculously loud phone conversation went on for fully 15 minutes at least. During which time I’m getting angrier and angrier. Susan used to share a house in Paddington with me, and knew all too well of my dislike of people talking during a movie, and so was doing her level best during this time to calm me down. But, the longer the twat’s phone conversation went on, the more my blood started boiling.
But again, I can’t say anything because I can’t see where the dude is! And then, finally, I spot him. And he is – I kid you not – maybe 30 rows in front of us, and in the right hand isle! Which means that there are at least 200-300 people closer to him, than I am. And NOBODY HAS SAID ANYTHING DURING HIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION! And remember, if we can hear him all the way at the back of the cinema, how loud must it have been for everybody else?!
Well, by this stage I’m practically blowing a gasket, and – having finally spotted him - I get up and storm across the 15 odd people to the right of me in my row (cinema is totally packed remember) and down the aisle 30 plus rows to where I see this big guy in his mid-20s, second in from the aisle, sitting with about 8 of his mates (they practically took up the entire row) talking up a storm on his shinny new Nokia mobile phone.
To say I was ready to bust some heads by this stage is an understatement, so when I got there I reached across and grabbed his mobile phone out of his hand and hurled it to the ground, smashing it into pieces, and leaned over and grabbed him by the collar of his leather jacket and got within an inch of his face, and LOUDLY ABUSED HIM with language that would make a sailor’s whoring Longshoreman’s uncle blush with shame and rush to confessional. The children friendly sub-titles to my diatribe going along the lines of, ‘You are being extremely insensitive, sir, by speaking on your mobile phone during a motion picture, and I and these other good people have paid jolly good money to be able to watch the movie, sans interruptions”.
After I’d finished, he and his mates looked completely shell-shocked. I stood there, all testosterone and bulging veins and long red Viking hair halfway down my back, waiting for him to give me some lip. Praying he was going to say something. ANYTHING. Just to give me cause to smack the f*ck out of him. But he didn’t. say anything. Nobody said anything. The entire cinema was SILENT.
So, satisfied that he wouldn’t be talking on his mobile phone again anytime soon (especially as it was in about a dozen pieces at his feet), I turned around to walk back up the aisle to return to my seat. And as I did – and this is not a word of a lie – the ENTIRE CINEMA (maybe 500 plus people) BURST INTO APPLAUSE AND WILD CHEERS OF APPRECIATION. Seriously, I’m not making a word of this up. The entire cinema was cheering like I’d just won an Olympic Gold or scored the winning goal in the world cup final or something. The reaction was as MAGICAL as it was UNEXPECTED.
About 15 minutes later, after I’d returned to my seat and everybody had gone back to watching the movie again, the guy and his eight burly mates, all got out of their seats and marched up the aisle. As they got up, the audience collectively held their breath. No doubt thinking, ‘Oh, it’s on now!’. But - instead of seeking me out - they all just left the cinema with nobody saying a word.
By this stage I’d calmed down completely of course, and as they were leaving, I started thinking, ‘Geez, Loges you idiot! Now there are going to be 9 guys waiting outside to beat the crap out of you when you leave the cinema!’. So much so that I found it nigh on impossible to concentrate on the rest of the movie (so in a way, the twat on the mobile phone won, as I didn’t get to enjoy the movie after all).
When the movie was over (maybe 40 minutes later), I manned up and marched outside onto George Street preparing for the worst. But...the Neanderthals were nowhere to be seen. Which, let’s be honest, was probably for the best. As I would’ve no doubt ended up beaten to a pulp by nine sets of hairy knuckles!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my OVER REACTION in this particular incident was justified (because the older, much more level-headed me, knows it obviously wasn’t). But I am saying that SOME REACTION was justified. That on a small, personal scale, the Edward Burke quote, "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing,” has to resonate with ALL OF US otherwise the dickheads of this world, WIN.
And with 200-300 people sitting closer to this guy than me, WHY DID NOBODY SAY ANYTHING?!
I’ll tell you why. Because the world is full of sheep. And sheep, by their very nature, are passive creatures. And as such are preyed upon by the wolves.
Passivity is the plague of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, you mark my words. People have long since stopped standing up for what’s right, choosing instead to meekly accept when other people treat them (or their loved ones) like crap, with a shrug of resignation (while no doubt bitterly bitching about it later on Facebook and Twitter).
THE WORLD NEEDS HEROES. Make no mistake about it. Now, more than ever. Not the gun-toting John McClane types, but every day heroes. It needs parents to teach their kids to STAND UP AGAINST BULLIES when they’re young, so they won’t be paralysed by fear when something bad happens to them as an adult. And I’m not condoning violence here – though sometimes that’s the only language the bully understands – I’m just saying that people need to STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT. That means the woman who’s sexually harassed by a guy at work, needs to confront him and complain to her boss. That the guy who’s being teased unmercifully at college because of his sexuality, needs to man the hell up and confront the bigots and make his complaint official by taking it to the dean of the college. That the next time someone speaks on their mobile phone in a cinema, or pushes in front of you in a queue, or steals your park while you’re trying to reverse into it, or whatever the trite situation may be, it means you have to CALL THEM ON THEIR SH*T.
Because if not you, then who?
What’s that line in the movie, ‘Whip It’? “Be Your Own Hero.” Yeah, that.
So there we go. Passivity, no longer a part of the Universe. Gone. Kaput. Kerfuckenated. So, let's introduce the tally table. We'll be keeping track of how we improve the Universe as we go along. So far we have:
Mocking of phobias
Brian M Logan
Early days. But the Universe is a big place, friends. It'll take a lot of changing.