Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Culture Clash

Interesting, isn't it? Everybody going nuts over the alleged Gloucester High School pregnancy pact is from over the bridge*. I imagine the locals are pissing themselves laughing.

Wakeup call. Although Gloucester is another unique community that is being poisoned by gentrification, it hasn't quite succumbed yet. For two years that I'll just call "interesting," I worked as a contract data centre manager there. The critical mass of the people who worked for me were Gloucester women: natives, not gentry. Yuppies, these are not your kind of people, but in a lot of ways they were mine: earthy, flawed, very hard-working. They came out of a society in which being pregnant at 16, certainly by 18, was still common, though not as universal as it had once been. I have no problem at all believing the "pact" idea began as someone having the principal on. When the supremely gullible media, and especially Time, got on to the story the locals must have thought they had died and gone to Heaven.

I don't have quite enough time in the evenings to run down to Pratty's** for a look around, but if I feel the earth moving down here in the next day or two, I'll figure it's the collective laughter of about 10,000 Gloucester natives, having put one over on the entire country, and that dive will be the epicentre.

* If you don't know what that means, you haven't been inside the mind of Gloucester.

** At this link, you have to scroll down a little to get an honest take on Pratty's. Let me put it this way. In Gloucester, if you want a quiet drink, you go to a bar with windows (or the Crow's Nest, now that fame has gone to their heads). Avoid 1) bars that have glass block windows and 2) bars that have filled in the windows with concrete block. Both are signs that one drunk too many has been thrown through the windows. Pratty's is a squat concrete block bunker. You figure it out.



Blogger malevolent andrea said...

One of the best "just don't get it" comments I heard about this was on someone else's blog. The commenter was agreeing with the blogger about how terrible this all was, and furthermore, how silly those girls were to think they'd raise their kids together. Because she (the commenter) wasn't friends with anyone she was friends with when she was 16.

All I could do was laugh, shake my head, and think, "That's because *you're* not from Gloucester, you silly, silly woman" and "You've just proved you know nothing of what you speak."

I have a co-worker from Gloucester and one of my favorite stories of all time is when one of her husband's friend won the greasy pole contest a few years ago. Apparently, he can live off the glory of this for the rest of his life. It's the Gloucester version of winning a Nobel Peace Prize. Only bettah :-)

8:08 pm  
Blogger Uncle said...

I have just heard one of those same comments. Some people would rather get on a soapbox and preach at the girls than try to understand where they come from.

My best employee was V. She was not quite 30 when we hired her, with a son 13 and a daughter 10. Her mother was 46. You do the math. I figure V may be a grandmother by now. We gave typing tests and V apologised because she'd just had her nails done for a wedding and couldn't do her best. She outkeyed the test. V now has my old job, which makes me very, very happy.

11:59 pm  
Blogger crispix67 said...

I personally love the way they said Hollywood has caused teen pregnancy to "be fashionable". Um...stars have always had have teens...has nothing to do with Jamie Spears or Angelie Jolie being pregnant.

In high school..Midwest..small town Mizzoorah..gotta luv freashman year, there was a girl who started the year with us...but when she began to show...she um...disappeared.There were other pregnancies...some disappeared (the girls or the babies)some were born and welcomed by their family but not the town.
We didnt get condoms in school..we didnt talk about sex...oh, except the assembly our freshman year, one for the girls one for the boys...where we got the little sample packs of tampons and a booklet explaining what was happening to our bodies.Even then not much was said about sex itself.
This was late 70's early 80's.
Personally..I think its wise of the girls to want to raise their kids together...whether or not they planned to get pregnant or not. Raises the chances of the babies having better systems for the moms...babysitting...sounds good to me.
The other day I watched Headline News while waiting for a tire repair. I was reminded why I stopped watching news channels. Its all sensationalized fluff...or fear mongering. There is enough fluff in this world..and god knows enough irrational fear. Next time I will change the channel.

2:13 pm  
Blogger Uncle said...

There's the conflict, then. On the one side you have media who think everybody does what "Inside Edition" or whatever says is cool. On the other side you have people for whom this my lips...pretty normal, and has always been so.

Loved a blog comment I saw on the lines of the girls, being from fishing families, saw "no choice but pregnancy." True, but not the way they meant it, though. In a culture like that you *do* see no choice, because splitting from tradition doesn't bear thinking about. News flash: do you think the men all enjoy fishing? Or is it that doing anything else is too frightening?

The men have the most dangerous job on earth, and the women, from an early age, know they might be widows at any moment, and yes they do lean on each other always. The media have backed down in humiliation. This is good: let's now leave these strong people alone.

10:36 pm  
Blogger massmarrier said...

And there's the one about the wingers from the MFI who screamed "Aha!" loudly enough to wake the Danver's dead. They figure this is proof that these girls absolutely need abstinence-only sex "ed." Oh, if only there were some parental figure or a religious one who would have told them how to behave. Then all would be swell.

11:38 pm  

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