Culture vulture

Illustration By C. Owsley Rain

Our body, ourself
Being what in former, less benighted times would have been referred to as an ecstatic visionary or mystic but which in the current vernacular is most often referred to as a “kook,” Culture Vulture spends a relatively large portion of our waking hours contemplating various methods of addressing the general, nonmystically inclined public in such a way as to both exalt our shared sense of spiritual unity and celebrate the fact of our physical diversity.

It’s a daunting task, especially when undertaken during the insomniacal hours between midnight and 6 in the morning. At such times the precipice of solipsism—the opposite of the blessed solitude that one must seek on occasion for periods of mental and spiritual rejuvenation—yawns deep.

Be that as it may, it is group efforts that truly bring out the best in this human sphere of activity. Take for instance the past weekend’s annual walkathon to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Say what you will about the efficacy of charitable organizations, the genuine value of such an event lies not so much in the amount of money collected but in the physical demonstration of collective goodwill shared by a diverse cross-section of the population.

The event created a weird and wonderful spectacle on the track at Chico State adjacent to Nettleton Stadium, presided over by the figure of a cartoonish killer whale jiggling on top of the bounce house inflated at the west end of the track to provide entertainment for children whose interest in walking around and around the track was perhaps not as ardent as that of their parents. Lining the infield of the track was a series of booths offering snacks, drinks, encouragement and information. Oh yeah, and there was a spot where kids could stop to do some bouncing on mini-trampolines and take a turn squirting passersby with refreshing blasts from an assortment of super-soakers, those high-tech water guns that can shoot a stream of water 20 or 30 feet. Very nice.

Many thanks to my mother-in-law for sponsoring the participation of Culture Vulture and the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie.

Why charity?
Having said, and meant, all of the above, Culture Vulture feels that we would be remiss in our duties as a public servant if we did not at least ask the obvious question: Why the hell does cancer research need a charity organization to get funding? I may be confessing to a dazzling degree of naiveté here, but i’d rather see our tax dollars spent on seeking cures for preventable diseases, such as environmentally induced cancers, than on funding research and development of more efficient ways of killing each other. The amount spent on one high-tech missile could no doubt prolong several lives, and the world’s collective military budget, if diverted to health-maintenance expenses, would be far more than enough to ensure that every human being on the face of the Earth received the best of care from cradle to grave. It’s not that long of a trip, after all, and if we were all working our hardest to make sure that it was as pleasant as possible for all concerned, charity would be a quaint, antiquated concept descended from those dark ages when humanity lacked the technology to properly take care of itself.