Quick-Fix Vanity Machine

Ego is the new rock star

Maybe it’s just a problem of definition

An open letter to Michael Steele, R.NC. Chairman,

Hello. My name is Mike. I live in Michigan, just north Toledo.

Today, while driving home, I was listening to NPR (because I’m a liberal). Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California was on the radio program “All Things Considered”. Representative Hunter was providing his opinion on why the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy should not be repealed. During his time on air, Congressman Hunter defended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by saying, “… [T]here has to be a special bond (between people in the military). I think that bond is broken if you open the military up to transgendered, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians…Part of this whole thing is not just gays and lesbians. It’s the whole gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual community. If you’re going to let anyone in no matter what sexual preference they have you’re going to get anyone.” I’m paraphrasing a little, but you can listen to the congressman’s exact words here. I think you’ll agree that I am not misrepresenting what this distinguished soldier said.

At this point, a small digression becomes necessary. When, in 2003, I first became aware of the AP interview with Senator Rick Santorum in which the senator seemed to be equating homosexuality with pedophilia, polygamy and bestiality , I shook my head and thought, ‘wow, what a jerk’.

Back to the point. When I heard Representative Hunter on “All Things Considered”, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that Senator Santorum was not just a lone servant of the people who had a fundamentally flawed view of homosexuality, he was, just as Congressman Hunter is, a manifestation of a larger problem: the GOP doesn’t know what homosexuality is.

Really, all most republicans seem to know is that, in general, they don’t like gay people (with the obvious exceptions of Senator Larry Craig and Congressman Mark Foley… sorry, I promise that’s the last mean-spirited partisan thing I’ll write).

On occasion, members of the Republican party have been known to accuse (with more than just a little justification) liberals of being out of touch with the average, mainstream voter. However, when it comes to homosexuality, many republicans seem not so much out of touch with the voters so much as completely oblivious to the last 30 years of scientific study, psychiatric analysis and critical thought. In short, on this issue the party seems out of touch with reality.

There is an easy solution however. Why not organize a simple, half-day panel on what homosexuality is, what it means to be homosexual and how being homosexual affects a person’s day-to-day life.

The panel could be small, done on the cheap and travel pretty lightly all over the country, ensuring that every member of the Republican Party can be brought up to speed. It will still be possible to mount opposition to gay rights and agendas, but the arguments will be coming from a sound, reality-based opposition.

I would be more than willing to put such a panel together. Although I do not have many relevant qualifications, I work cheap, travel well and have no particular affinity for my current job, so I wouldn’t feel at all conflicted about leaving it.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss my idea in more detail.

Sincerely yours,

Mike

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February 4, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stupid, stupid men

Oh, Lord. The guy giving K-Fed a run for his money is still in the news. I don’t know why this bothers me. I mean, Octo-mom didn’t phase me. I don’t have it out for balloon boy’s parents. And yet, every time I hear or read something about Levi Johnston, I just want to punch the entire state of Alaska.

Seriously now, there are so many things wrong with this scenario. To start with, if Levi really thinks that he’s accomplishing anything by letting the world know that he has dirt on Sarah, but is gentleman enough to keep it to himself, then he’s apparently a little removed from reality (much like the mom-in-law). I mean, I could be wrong, but I think Palin’s a polarizing enough figure that there aren’t a lot of people on the fence about her. Think about it like this, I wouldn’t vote for Palin if she could cure cancer by hunting socialists from an airplane. My neighbor on the other hand, would vote for Palin even if it meant watching a giant, mutant seal club is granddaughter to death.
*I’d like to take a minute here to apologize for my imagery tonight. I’m not feeling on top of my game*
With that in mind, I don’t see how Levi can really think he’s gaining anything from his, “I’ve know secrets, nyah-nyah” routine. It doesn’t matter to me what horrible things he could spill about Sarah Palin, because I don’t think she’s qualified to run a Tim Horton’s franchise, let alone a government. And my neighbor isn’t going to care what Levi has to say, because he’s making himself look like an ass by pretending to hold the high ground when, in fact, he’s really just trying to tempt someone to pay him to divulge whatever “dirt” he has. Classy. Oh, and by the way, in all of this, Levi’s apparently forgotten that he has a kid.

By his own admission, Levi doesn’t have much, if any, contact with the Palin family and given that Sarah almost certainly runs that house with an Ayn Rand-ian fist, its unclear to me how his prickish behavior is at all helping his relationship with his son and his son’s family. I mean, if he were still dating Bristol or had some kind of leverage (like if he knew of some scandal Sarah was involved in… and hadn’t blown that by bragging about knowing it on television), then he’d be a little more free to tell fairly insulting, and transparent, lies about the entirely-estimatable Mrs. Palin (really, she calls her youngest child a retard? Please).

On a related note, have you ever noticed how anytime you hear about someone in Sarah Palin’s orbit, you never walk away thinking, “Wow, there’s someone who has their act together”?

This is especially true for the men in Sarah’s life. I’ve already discussed Levi, and it’s not like Todd is splitting any atoms. I mean, hell, we’re all just impressed that there aren’t any Youtube videos of the First Dude smashing empty beer cans against his head. It’s almost like getting dumb is the price you pay for sticking it in a Palin. Like in addition to flushing out your seman, you also flush out 40 IQ points. You gotta look out for that, man. That shit’s more dangerous than taking a brick to the head.

Hey, speaking of stupid men, here’s my latest and most favorite zeitgeist capturing paranoid fever-dream.  It’s an MMORPG (I think, the website isn’t overly clear in some instances).  It’s about America… after, you know, Obama tries to take over the world. Here’s my favorite line from the description: “After 7 weeks of fighting in every state, and with the refusal of most United States military branches to obey orders to fire upon American citizens, Obama’s forces are slowly whittled away.”

I like the idea that there’s someone out there who thinks that President Obama is so stupid that he’d plan a military coup and forget to involve the military in the planning stage.

Also, that they’re afraid of AmeriCorp is just sad. I mean, AmeriCorp volunteers are nothing more than Peace Corp hippies who are too pussy to risk contracting malaria overseas. If you think it’s impossible to pwn yourself, the creator(s) of this game have just proven you wrong.

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Balls*

This post is about the dangly bits of a man’s junk. Not the mundane, hairy pair that every guy has. No, this post is about big, sweaty, swinging, Godzilla sized gonads.

More specifically, I’m talking about the balls that must get in the way every time Andy Schlafly tries to walk from point A to point B. For those of you who don’t know, Andy is the son of uber-conservative Phyllis Schlafly. Now, if you already know who Andy is, then you already have an idea of how monstrous his genitals must be. After all, not everyone has the testicular fortitude to create Conservapedia, aka, the wildly crazy far-right answer to Wikipedia. As just one example, Conservapedia’s entry on the French Revolution states that it culminated in, “a chaos wherein thousands were guillotined for being politically incorrect.” Admittedly, the French Revolutionaries, who started out with good intentions, quickly devolved into barbarous terrorists, but come on, it takes stones the size of Gibraltar  to side with the let-them-eat-cake crowd.

Anyway, Mr. Schlafly has recently proved himself to be in possession of Margaret Thatcher sized bollocks when he introduced his latest project, the Conservative Bible Project. In a nutshell (ha, pun!) Schlafly feels that all the modern translations of the Bible (and “modern” apparently means “all of them, regardless of age”) are corrupted by liberal heresies. Schlafly also seems to believe that the best solution is to re-translate the Bible using the collective wisdom of America’s millions of home-schooled children (seriously, who else is going to contribute?).

I find a number of things about this funny (not the least of which is the fact that the good people at Conservapedia seem to be unable to distinguish between the different definitions of the word “liberal” as evidenced by their taking issue with the, ahem, liberal use of words by former Biblical scholars). However, the best part, to me at least, is the idea that a failing with other Bible translations is that they don’t illuminate the pro-capitalist, free market orientation of Jesus’ parables.

I discussed this with my father, who is by no means a religious man, but he has spent more time studying the Bible than anyone else I know. His take on the situation is that there’s no way to read the Bible and not walk away with the conclusion that Jesus was, if not a communist, then at least a socialist.

While I respect my dad’s opinion, I do disagree with him. I admittedly don’t have a lot of in-depth knowledge about Jesus’ teachings, but from what I do know, it seems wrong to ascribe to Him labels that only make sense in the context of economic systems that didn’t exist at the time of His incarnation.

Biblical Judea was not  like the modern world (duh). Back in the day, it wasn’t like it is now, where there are some people with very little money, some people with a great deal of money, and a majority of people who fall somewhere in between**. In Jesus’ time almost everyone was starving to death and just a lucky few pooled all the available resources between themselves. When Jesus extolled the virtue of giving one of your two coats to someone who had none, he wasn’t talking to Israel’s equivalent of Middle America, he was throwing down the gauntlet against the ruling elites; they were the only ones who could afford thermal outerwear. Which means that for all intents and purposes, Jesus was not a socialist, but rather a revolutionary. In this he was not unique. Rather, what made him special was his (admittedly somewhat dodgy) committment to inclusion and his refusal to turn to violence.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I find this whole thing funny the same way I find it funny when closeted politicians argue against gay marriage. Which is to say I find it the kind of sad that requires one to laugh.

Also, the scariest part of the Conservative Bible Project is the thought that they might actually finish their translation (realistically they won’t, but there’s still a non-zero possibility that they will). The way I see it, James Dobson and Pat Robertson are big enough pricks as it is. Can you imagine the hights of jackass-ity they’ll reach if they get a new, more narrow-minded script to work from?

*That’s right, I’m blogging again. Why? Because I’m old school like that.

** I’m aware that if you look at the total world population the situation is more like almost everyone is broke-ass poor while a few motherfuckers are wealthy beyond the masses’ imagination. However, the sum total of wealth in the world today so dwarfs the total wealth of the Ancient World that comparisons become skewed. Realistically, if everyone in the Western World (where, by and large, the money is) were really determined to do something about global poverty, we could effect a great quantifiable change.

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | Leave a comment

It’s the little things that kill a relationship

I’ll bet you can’t guess what it is I don’t like about Sarah Palin.

It’s not the obvious stuff about her. I mean, I don’t mind her lack of experience. And anyway, what little experience she does have proves her to be an A number one democrat. For example:
Is she critical of No Child Left Behind and does she support additional funding for education? Check
Does she believe in taxing businesses and redistributing the wealth? Check
Has she shown an aptitude for corruption? Check
Is she bad at balancing a budget? Check
Does she love herself some eminent domain? Check
All of these are time honored Democratic pursuits, and as such, I think it’s great to see a candidate excell at so many of them.

What I don’t like about Sarah Palin are the little, petty things. Like when she was blessed against witches and witchcraft. I’ve heard people say that what the Keynan preacher meant by “witches” is not what we in the West traditionally think of when we hear the term. Which is great. Except that he said the word “witch” in front of the congregation of a First Assembly of God church. I don’t care what HE meant, I know what THEY heard. And what they (including Sarah Palin) heard was a man asking God to protect Palin from lesbians and pale, gothy motherfuckers  with silly names like Crow Blackrain and Wolfriver Silvermist. Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Except that, and I’m only half joking here, isn’t there maybe a First Amendment problem with a person holding high office when they’ve been blessed against (or for that matter, for) a particular religious group? Okay, this is a wildly unfair analogy, but what if that preacher had beseeched God to protect Sarah Palin from Jews?

You know what else bugs me about Sarah Palin? The fact that abstinence-only failed Bristol is marrying good old what’s-his-name just because it was his teen-aged sperm that b&e’d her under-aged eggs. Is there anyone out there who thinks the two of them would have married if (of legal age) Mommy Palin wasn’t running on a presidential ticket? Is there anyone who thinks they should marry?
Never mind that it’s wildly unfair for these two nutty (and nut busting) kids to have such an important decision made for them (one could say that it’s downright Old Testament) simply because Sarah Palin has been selected by a shadowy cable of neocons to spice up the flagging John McCain campaign (please, McCain had never heard of her before the day before the Convention). Has anyone considered that Bristol’s little oven-baking bun has zero chance at a happy childhood? It may be true that children do better when raised by two parents rather than one, but it’s also (probably) true that a child is better off being raised by a single parent than two parents who are kept together only because of the political spotlight (not to mention a woman who is sure to be a dominating mother-in-law from hell… am I right, men?). I mean, I get it. Sure, marry off your daughter because it’s politically expedient. That goes right along with the conservative right’s general misogynistic attitude towards women, but come on. Won’t somebody please think of the child?

I’m also really not thrilled with Sarah Palin’s reason as to why it took her so long to get a passport. I love that whole Republican chestnut about how the “educated elite” are part of a different culture, as if every college kid matriculates with a diploma and French citizenship. My own feelings are that this argument is really just crypto-racism. “Oh, I’m of the people. From the heartland, you know, where real Americans live” can easily be translated as, “I’m from a farming community unpolluted by the Jews with their weird ideas and the coloreds with their low morals”. Okay, so I’m putting a lot of words in a lot of people’s mouths, but maybe it’s just that I feel a little hurt when I hear a right-wing candidate tell me that my education and my affinity for city-living (even though the largest metro I’ve inhabited was Kzoo) makes me somehow bleed a little less Red, White and Blue than Plow-Pushing, Fallow-Field-Farming Joe Iowa.
My wife likes the whole, Real Americans are dumb hicks argument about as much as I do, but she has a more stable take on the whole issue. As she says, “So, what’s the deal? I work hard and save up and send my kid to college so he can have a better life and then he automatically has to turn his back on everything I taught him. Is that really the end result of the American Dream?”

But what I really don’t like about Sarah Palin is the niggling, nagging thought in the back of my mind that her candidacy is just one giant “fuck you” from the Republican Party to the American people. Seriously, it’s as if Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and the ghost of Jerry Falwell were sitting in a smoke filled back room and brain storming on the perfect McCain running mate. Things were going poorly until Rove, in a flash of Lee Atwater like inspiration said, “Hey, let’s find a republican who perfectly fits every negative description of Obama that we’ve thrown out there. Let’s find someone with no experience, someone who doesn’t stand for anything, someone who’s all style and no substance.” And with that the shadowy Republican cabal cracked a collective smile, sacrificed a small, scared welfare mother and conjured up Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska (state motto: Where Hell froze over).
We can argue back and forth about how hypocritical it is to complain about Palin’s lack of experience when Obama is so green, but I would argue that there’s one significant difference (okay, there are a bunch of important differences, for one, Obama’s limited experience at least shows that he’s competent). The people, or at least a slim majority of Democratic voting people, chose Obama. He may be green and lacking substance, but at least the people said, “Yup, there’s our guy, the Democratic Regan.” Sarah Palin on the other hand, was picked without any consultation. She was presented as if to say, “Hey, all you fence sitting fiscal Republicans and undecided Independents, you want to vote for John “The Old Guy With Multiple Cancer Scares” McCain? Then swallow the uneducated, bitter pill that is Sarah Palin.”
Seriously, her only qualifications to be vice-president is that she consistently appeals to the worst in the Republican base.  Everything out of her mouth has either been a lie (bridge to where now?), blazingly stupid (I can see Russia from my house!) or racist. Sometimes she manages to combine all three in one statement. Like the notorious, “Obama pals around with terrorists”. Palin got her information from a NY Times article that pointed out that Obama and Ayers at one point served on some committee together. The NY Times article itself mentions that their relationship is distant at best, and yet Sarah Palin is trying to make it out like they have BBQ’s together where they roast burgers over burning American flags. Why tell such an easily disproved lie? Well, it’s either because she didn’t read all the article or it’s because the real point of the attack is to get the words “terrorist” and “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” in the same sentence. Anything to remind people that the Democrats are running a Muslim for president.
One a related note, marvel at the hypocrisy. Here is a woman claiming that Obama and his tenuous relationship to Ayers is a “palling around” with an America hater who herself has spent decades fellating a man who hates America so much he was a member of a successionst movement.

So, you know, that about sums it up.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment