Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sex and drugs and sausage rolls

Life and peoples attitudes are always changing. I now consider myself middle-aged and the changes I've seen through my years have been considerable, so what the elderly must have seen over their lifetime must be amazing.
Since the industrial revolution it has been as though someone lit the afterburner on life, propelling mankind forward at ever-increasing speed towards some unfathomable goal. The trouble is, the faster you make something go, eventually it will reach a point where the stresses become too great and it will disintegrate.
So how far will we go before life as we know it comes apart? Not a happy prospect perhaps, but food for thought.

Indeed, food is an area that has seen immense change over the years.
Not only the mind-blowing variety of food products, but the sheer volume of the stuff.
But this quantity and availability has come at a price, with obesity now a major problem in the so-called developed world. So many people, no matter how much nutritional information is provided, see no problem in stuffing their fat faces with as much mass-produced, processed and (above all) cheap food as possible, while blaming their vast proportions on their 'glands' and trying to convince themselves that they don't really eat much at all as they sit in their creaking chair with a KFC family bucket.
This is the most irritating bit - fruit, vegetables and decent meat, etc cost more in the shops than the crappy foods. It's cheaper to live on pizza and Coke than fresh salmon, new potatoes and broccoli, and that's just wrong. Why should a multipack of chocolate bars be cheaper than a bag of oranges?
Indeed, if you were to see beyond the pretty packaging filling the supermarket shelves and peek under the covers of the modern food industry there's a good chance you might reconsider your shopping habits.
The kind of diet that our current elderly generation had in their younger days was far heathier.
A walk around your local farmer's market shows you that you don't have to succumb to the industrial machine of the food industry, but can enjoy good wholesome food that hasn't been shipped half way round the planet. Granted it might seem a bit pricier than the local supermarket, but at least the veg is locally grown and the meat had a chance to run around a field before becoming part of the food chain.

Attitudes to sex is another area where there have been big changes - something of a revolution really.
In years gone by, sex was something that was never discussed in polite conversation which must have led to a lot of confusion, misunderstandings, guilt, and unfulfilled sex lives, and clearly it's good that we've moved past this era to become more open and enlightened.
However, although I'm far from being prudish, I still can't help feeling that the prevalence of sexualised images in the media these days has a lot to answer for with sex being pretty much in your face wherever you turn, and it's particularly worrying the way sexuality is used in things like music videos which youngsters see and often think are something to emulate.
I think it's good for sex to be demystified; for parents to be open with their children about the subject, but the material in assorted teen magazines goes a bit far considering the age of their audience, and with online porn being so easily available many teens gain a distorted view of what sex is like in the real world.
The morality of sex and the concept of it being part of a relationship is being lost to a generation who just want the feel-good factor with no consideration of the consequences. Obviously this is very much a generalisation and there are plenty of kids who do know right from wrong, but the proportion of those who are becoming sexually active at a young age seems to be increasing, and with the risk of pregnancy and STDs this is a very worrying trend.
When I was at school I didn't know of anyone who was getting laid, and I think it was only in the final year that there were discrete mutterings about a couple of girls who were of dubious morality.
Fast forward from 1987 to 2013, and my son who is only fifteen knows of girls his age at school who are already slutting their way towards their aspiration to be the next generation of unemployed teenage mums, making a career out of popping out sprogs and living off state benefits. I'm so proud of him that he has such a good head on his shoulders that he wants nothing to do with these girls even though the prospect of an easy shag has many teenage boys hanging around these tramps like flies round shit.
I only hope that he manages to avoid contact with drugs, because he does have a somewhat obsessive personality. I didn't discover the pleasure of weed (trivial compared with the other shit that's out there) until my early twenties, but even then it has only been a very occasional indulgence - never regular and I haven't had any at all for about five years. No problem. But although I managed to deal with the boy's persistent questioning over what cigars were like by buying a packet and making him try one - it worked because he found it vile and has been anti-smoking ever since - I don't think I'll push my luck by trying the same thing with the herb.
Leaving aside the cost issue, if he applied the same level of obsession to that as he does to the bloody XBox he'd be permanently stoned.

Factory reared VS free range chicken. Which does your conscience tell you you should be eating?