Thursday, February 11, 2010

fruit of self-control


It started this morning when I read over someone's shoulder that 32-year old Adam Giambrone, city councillor, TTC chair, and mayoral hopeful, publicly admitted to engaging in multiple "intimate relationships" other than with his live-in girlfriend, Sarah McQuarrie. Bummer.

I've written on political sex scandals before, as well as how things should be done, but, to be honest, I'm tired of even hearing about it. Sex scandals have become ubiquitous.

My own opinion of Giambrone has been altered little (as a TTC patron I had hoped for improvements, not fare hikes), but still I'm saddened. I'm sad for my husband, who admired (perhaps vicariously) Giambrone's young ambition, I'm sad for the politicians who had supported his run for mayor, I'm sad for Sarah McQuarrie, I'm even sad for Kristen Lucas - the U of T student involved in one of the affairs. In my opinion, no one wins.

I'm sad for Giambrone. It seems that the self-control he lacks has plagued him for a while. Last year he was in the news for a "hastily-composed email" he sent to a fellow councillor:
“Stop messing in my ward or there will be problems. I generally ignore your actions, but I am going to start looking for ways to cause trouble for you and when I start you’re not going to appreciate it.”
I thought we outgrew this behaviour in grade school. Bummer.

Later this morning I came across news that legendary guitarist John Mayer had created a stir in the news after recently giving a candid, yet sordid, interview. He then tearfully apologized. But much like Giambrone, it was not his first brush with vulgarity. His interviews interviews and antics have become increasingly distasteful. He admits that he "fell into a wormhole of selfishness, greediness and arrogance".

A few months ago I wrote about etiquette and the lost art thereof. At the heart of etiquette, or common decency, is self-control. Andrew and I call it "the filter". Filtering out what shouldn't be said or done and allowing what should. It's not just a case of battling against your urges, appetites, and bad habits for the sake of piety, or points, or good karma. That's an exhausting, never-ending, and ultimately backfiring solution. I know: bummer.

The reason we make stupid decisions is because we're trying to fill a lack. We don't need to let off steam in emails, or let loose in office daliances, or let a "quest to be clever" dictate our vocabulary, or let ourselves run up on stage and grab the mic to voice our opinions... What we need is a dose of being told we're better than those things. That we'd be OK - we'd still be loved, admired, satisfied, understood - if we didn't do those things.

The lives we envy are lives governed by self-control. A happy marriage, a successful career, and a sensitive conscience are just by-products.
"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
(1 Corinthians 10:23-24, NIV)

"A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!"
(James 3:3-5, The Message)
Carter Duryea: "Dan, you seem to have the perfect marriage. How do you do it?"
Dan Foreman:
"You just pick the right one to be in the foxhole with, and then when you're outside of the foxhole you keep your d**k in your pants."
Carter Duryea:
"That's poetic."
("In Good Company"
)

4 comments:

RodeoClown said...

heh heh - now would you still be accepted as a writer if you didn't reference yourself 3 times in the same article?

would I still be a younger brother if I didn't tease you?

Seth Kimberley Graham Hunter said...

I todally forgot you were a younger brother...

Ps Sarah, you need to find another word for bummer.

LH said...

... the thing is we need a standard outside ourselves and then we need to let that Standard control us and not just 'do what's right in our own eyes'... I don't know about you I couldn't do it without being possessed by a good God and even if I could I'd be really proud and blow it... X

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between TTC fare takers and the TTC Commissioner?

Fare takers sleep alone, and in public.