It should be said that I am a lover not a fighter, and what I love most is beauty in any form. However, this can result in... overly high expectations. As a person who too often sits on her pedestal of self-righteous judgment, monitoring how the world is "going down the tubes" and martyring herself on the Hellfire of what she deems contemporary incompetence, the articles of this blog will offer my cynical, social, intellectual, and pop cultural observations, which will both serve to vent my frustrations and-- after some counteraction-- convince me that the human race still has a chance. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that "Life is Beautiful," always was, and always will be, even when it isn't, wasn't or won't seem to be. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” — John Burroughs (Photo of London Library after the Blitz of 1940).

Monday, December 30, 2013


The Housewives franchise has done much to damage the name "woman." These
inarticulate ladies get payed for publicly lambasting each other and having
irrational cat fights for our entertainment. While this is heightened reality,
the underlying issue, that girls hate girls, is no lie.


I don't get girls sometimes. Girls, women, ladies, chicks, dames, hos, tramps, sluts, and the age-old damsels-in-distress... We've picked up a lot of descriptors over the millennia, but whatever the label, we kind of have to come clean: bitches be trippin'. The reason that we are, apparently, walking through life with poor coordination is that we are often fighting on opposite sides of a senseless war. Women are cruel. I'm not just talking about playground politics either. Whether in preschool, high school, early twenties, mid-life crisis time, or during a death bed confessional, the female sex is a catty bunch of "haters." What the Hell?

While it has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years to listen to and get a chuckle out of a group of latently immature femmes gossiping or spitting venom about another member of our sex, it's also a dagger to the heart. Well, maybe not heart... I don't take it that seriously. As I generally imagine these sub-women as malfunctioning droids, it's usually just my common sense and human decency that is offended. For some sick reason, women love to talk trash about their own kind. It's senseless. Of course, this sad fraction of womankind is naturally supported in its emotional superficialities by the judgmental nature of the media. How often do you find yourself temporarily blinded by the eye-piercing negativity of the magazine rack? Close-up on cellulite: Whose FAT ASS is this? Celebrities without makeup: Look how ugly this woman is. Divorces, deaths, drug addictions, mental breakdowns, etc: This woman's life is falling apart and don't you feel lucky that you aren't her?

The imagery and non-subliminal messages on this cover are 
just friggin' sad. Not only do we continue to hold up the
Kardashian trio-- three of the most self-absorbed, oblivious,
and superficial people in the media-- as newsworthy, but we
also chastise them for failing in their relationships. Look how
sad these women are without their "mans." Then there are the 

featured articles about a wedding disaster and cellulite. 
"Compelling and rich?"
The sadistic way we feed off someone's suffering, particularly the women of the world, is quite disgusting. Appalling. Ridiculous. Shameful! As the majority of men I know have little use for trivia, whether this be a moral choice or a biological predisposition for brass tacks philosophizing, it tends to be the female demographic that I see purchasing/reading gutter trash like Life & Style, People Magazine or, my favorite, "In Touch" (Are you, magazine. Are you?). I think it is safe to say that while men certainly have their own flaws and may be more obviously brutal or big-scheme violent-- whether in business, politics, or chest-beating bar brawls-- women are just senselessly mean.

Men often ask, "What do women want?" They say it's a mystery that will never be solved. Pft! Dudes, it's not that complicated. What women want is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Your lady wants to be item one on your list. You will not make a decision without her in mind. You will think of her first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You will go out of your way to surprise her, make her feel special, and compliment her beauty. You will always choose her over your friends, your work, and even your own blood. Yes, she is the Goddess Divine. She requires this much from you.

Those who abide by these regulations are often referred to as "whipped." Being 'whipped' is the price a man pays for keeping his woman happy. If he doesn't, should he consider these demands a little intense, he can chose to ignore his duties. The result to this will be a woman suffering from chronic OTR and a lot of bickering and nagging over petty BS. This is strangely a result of her fear of losing you. Her one mission in life is to be loved, and when she is not given accurate attention, it sends her into an emotional tailspin. Know this: you are her everything. If you don't make her feel that she is yours, well... Good luck! The bright side is, she will rarely leave you. You probably will have to pry her clutching hands from your body. She directs the majority of her anger at her own kind-- those who would turn her man's head, steal him, or make her feel ugly or insecure. Ergo, the true answer to what a woman wants... is a Man. (I am speaking in generalities, ladies. Don't get offended).

Sometimes, feminine rivalry stays all in the family. The competitive natures of
sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland-- as encouraged by their parents--
robbed them both of a friendship if nothing else. They were too busy trying to
outdo each other and prove who was the bigger woman. Jealousy
poisoned their relationship. As Joan has passed away,
it appears Olivia won the last victory.
This is the tragedy of my sex. It is truly amazing how deeply ingrained that feminine need for security and protection is. Logically speaking, as I heard some rumor that we were descended from orangutan's or something, it makes sense that our instincts work against us in a certain sense. Our bodies consistently tell us to get pregnant. Once a month, we get really, really horny (an exaggeration of our normal and healthy sexual appetite), and if we are not properly fertilized, we are punished with the Red Death. (I sincerely apologize to all male readers for that... It was unnecessary).

I don't know much about the animal kingdom, other than the fact that mountain lions are awesome, so whether or not female birds, frogs, and aardvarks get really competitive when it comes to doing the horizontal mambo, I couldn't say. However, the sexual politics of the at least mammalian species seems simple. I once watched a female giraffe at the zoo honor a male giraffe with a golden shower, which he tasted like a gentleman to determine her fertility. She passed, "presented," and they were ready to go. No drama. (Thanks to my sister for that backstage pass. It has clearly had a profound effect upon me). Monogamy isn't even a question. Animals are sluts and they give and take without jealousy. I have never seen a jilted hippo. Or giraffe.

So, we can't really blame biology totally for our manners. It's not our nature but our human nature that complicates things. In the end, human nature is nothing but the mutilation of our biological instinct through social nurturing. We form standards of living, civilizations, laws, religions, structures, not just to survive but to thrive. Man needs order because he is not as supple when it comes to combatting the elements. We joined tribes, teamed up with a virile partner, procreated, and somewhere along the way we decided to solidify things to make us feel a little safer. That girl a caveman once did doggy-style is now his "wife," whom he has marked with a sparkling diamond. This ring, which I refer to as a metallic noose non sequitur, is actually just an apology to the female, I guess, for the fact that she will now have to do many, many loads of laundry. Of course, times are changing...

Jane Austen's most popular work, Pride and Prejudice, was astute in its 
observations of womankind's oppressive need to find a husband and thereby
 male protector. While she lent her heroine an independent, uncompromising
 spirit, the end game was still the rich husband of Mr. Darcy. The cat fight 
between Elizabeth Bennett and Caroline Bingley was also revelatory 
in the way it portrayed the latter woman's jealousy over Darcy's
attraction to Elizabeth. Caroline wanted him to herself.
Her manner got ugly, and she pulled no punches.
In any case, a woman has to deal with the one-two punch of biology plus social suitability. She needs to have a baby to be considered a dutiful woman, and she needs a man to give it to her. This impulse is the sadistic voice that often gets us into trouble. We make bad decisions or become immediately acquiescent to potential partners' demands, be they sexual or otherwise. We stay in bad relationships, take abuse, give with no return, become sole providers, and make ourselves doormats. It's the internal need to possess the guy's best swimmers and to maintain his presence as proof that we are worthy. In addition, as the road to equality has been anything but smooth, womankind's progression from cave wench to independent woman has left some hard to reverse mental conditioning. When women couldn't work and were totally dependent on a husband for their livelihood, the alternative being embarrassing burdens to their fathers and dying an "old maid," a gal's need to be attached to a man almost as a status symbol remains in tact.

The result is quite sad, really. Women put themselves through Hell to find a partner (at least heterosexually speaking). The makeup, the manicures, the waxing, the changing their personalities, and dumbing themselves down, and burying their feelings to be more appealing to the opposite sex... It's masochism. Oftentimes, their own sense of identity pays the forfeit. Then, the fictional them gets together with a guy and starts to unwind herself from her Mummy wrap of perfection, and poor average Jose wakes up in the morning next to someone he doesn't know. "Wait, where did my girlfriend go?" She never existed pal. The player just got played.

Layered on top of this urge is womankind's-- and really all of mankind's-- inherent insecurity. Everyone's looking at the next human, comparing what they've got with what you don't. How they're better than you. How you may be better. This final ingredient in the female psyche in particular leads to that nasty competitive edge that women have. We treat each other like total sh*t. Even our friends. We are rarely happy for each other unless we ourselves are happier. I've had many of these sociopaths in my life. I've had a friend who couldn't have a good time if I was. A friend who got pissed off if I got more attention than she. I've sat beside friends and listened to them say things like, "I don't know what he's doing with her, she's not even that cute," or "She should not be wearing that bathing suit/dress/outfit." My personal favorite has always been, "So what if he's married? I don't know her," which I suppose means that 'her' doesn't exist. Seriously, WHAT the Hell?

Elizabeth Taylor's theft of Eddie Fisher from wife Debbie Reynolds was the affair
heard 'round the world. Debbie and Liz had been good friends up to that point,
but I mean, Eddie was so... hot (?). Can you blame them for fighting over
him? Despite the fact that Liz was the top actress in Hollywood at the
time, her insecurity continuously compelled her to seek out men that
"belonged" to other women, as if to prove her own sexual power.
Status. She would soon ditch Eddie for Richard Burton after
stealing him from his wife Sybil.

It's really quite a pathetic display. They say men are controlled by sex, but women are too. The disease just manifests itself differently. I think the majority of the anti-feminist women out there need to take a 20 second T-O and asked themselves, "Hey, what about me?" Maybe if they did, instead of being overly focused on the universe's opinion of them, they may become invested in an exploration of themselves. If common human decency and manners hasn't convinced them to be kind, maybe a little self-respect will. If the cat women out there had a deeper sense of self and realized that they were fighting for attention from a breed of mammal that often doesn't know what she's talking about, maybe they would turn to instead of on each other. It's much easier to have a conversation with someone who speaks your language, isn't it? STOP YOUR BITCHING! Retract the claws. Stop creating imaginary enemies. Exorcize the anger from your heart and try being a good person. It tastes like sunshine.

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...


Over the years, I have learned how to discern sincerity from facade. I find myself surrounded by intelligent,  warm-hearted, genuine, ambitious, and interesting women who make all the petty, hogwash-addicted sisters out there fade into the background. These women lead through example. They don't sink to the level of depraved and irrational judgment, because they're too busy. They have their own lives. These ladies have shaken the world and altered the structure of accepted gender roles. They are capable and not submissive to the ideals of the past. 

In contrast to Something Borrowed, which taught viewers
that, hey, sometimes you have to sleep with your BF's
fiancé just to be sure you don't belong together, the
upcoming Cameron Diaz and Leslie Man vehicle
The Other Woman depicts two women striking up
an unlikely friendship when they realize that
they've both been had by the same douche.

In fact, the modern working woman often has trouble finding a suitable mate to keep up with her. She doesn't approach life with a feminist chip on her shoulder. She is still a champion of love, but she places more importance on her own sense of self, her dreams, and also values her thoughts and emotions much more than her foremothers and sometimes unfortunate contemporaries. She sticks up for herself and her fellow men and women. When heartbroken, betrayed, or confused, she turns to a sister for help instead of stabbing her in the back. When she falls in love, she loves a man as an equal and gives him the respect of her utter honesty instead of playing the role of Stepford wife, girlfriend, lover, etc. These women have your back. They consider life a collaboration and not a competition. Though their breed often seems rare, particularly in Hollywood, they are out there, playing the game of life with integrity and killing with kindness instead of misdirected malice missiles. 

Sadly, there will always be insecure women, immature women, and undereducated women in the ways of social graces. The sad truth is, they will lose their own battle. They'll never know the happiness or domestic bliss they so desperately seek because it will always be tainted by their fear and mistrust. They don't find peace in love but view it rather as a threat that will be taken away at any moment-- naturally by an encroaching female. Strangely enough, it always seems that it is those capable of performing evil that are often most suspicious of it in others. They deserve our pity not our antipathy. 

One wonders, why would you be with someone if you don't trust him? What do you gain by being so hateful to your own sex? The answer: nothing. They dig their own graves, even if said grave comes designed as their boyfriend's metaphorical letterman sweater or a pristine palace in Beverly Hills with the ring and the kids and the diamond tiara or whatever the f*ck. Their happiness is an illusion. Their world is comprised of cardboard cutouts. Their sense of stability is actually insecure, a fortress they designed against other human beings who actually aren't enemies at all. This is that ol' biology again-- a bitch pissing on her territory to deter intruders. Whatever. That's their problem. Either they'll grow up one day or they won't.

Yes, some women drive me nuts. Most still confuse me. They are hyper-emotional, they place importance on things that I find quite peculiar, and for some reason they believe that a purse with a bunch of letters on it-- whether C's or LV's, or DB's-- makes it better. They are very concerned with their hair and they watch Kate Hudson movies like they are accurate depictions of life. However, when all this nonsense is brushed aside, women are fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging with Mr. Coopers, and when surrounded by my non-asshole, macho brethren, it's a nice change of pace and a welcome place where I can exercise another side of my personality. But, my heart is with the ladies. 

An honest, loving woman is the greatest thing on earth. When you have a tough broad fighting on your side, you need have no worries. With her heart, she will understand things you don't even need to say, offer comfort you didn't even ask for, and give you safe harbor from a world that has no compassion for anyone most of the time. Women are ambidextrous soldiers with incredible listening abilities and an immediate proficiency in maternity that makes them deep and lasting comrades. 

Men will break your heart, but women will mend it. Those who have picked up on this life lesson no longer feel compelled to break each other. The reward for being superficial and ignorantly cold-hearted is isolation and resulting, inauthentic relationships-- both male and female. So, if not for humanity's sake but for your own, STOP YOUR BITCHING.

Monday, December 2, 2013


TV Executive: "Hey, I've got an idea! Since everyone loved 'Sex and the City,'
let's make the show all over again. But younger! No, the writing doesn't have
to be good, because Carrie Bradshaw is already a product! People will 
buy the 
show without us even having to sell it. Just get a blond. Any blond! We'll
 make her trendy and market her with a poster where she looks like Sarah 
Jessica Parker but in that famous Marilyn Monroe ballerina pose, so she's 
immediately familiar! Interesting? Who said anything about 'interesting?'"

I Am Tempted to Hate the World Because...

I have lost a dear, childhood friend: Television. I don't know when I stopped watching TV... I just did. Somewhere between moving away from home, getting an education, paying bills, graduating from college, moving further from home, getting further education, attacking the working world, looking the planet in the face, and feeling my time being stolen from me, I just kind of lost interest. It wasn't a conscious decision. It happened slowly. Over the years, I needed prime time programming less and less, until I didn't need it at all.

I'm beginning to think that TV is something that people grow out of, at least in my case. You leave the convoluted fictional world behind and start watching the news, if you can stomach it. After all, the latter offers pretty much the same pre-packaged BS-- exaggerated hysteria to keep you tuned in, scare you to death, and then tell you that tomorrow the sun will shine. Essentially, you slowly become your own parents, whose taste in channel selections when you were a kid made them frustratingly boring. "No cartoons? But, it's SUNDAY!!!" The transformation is unavoidable. As your life starts to unfold and you notice the glaring discrepancies between the saccharine versions of civilian life on the boob tube and the reality of dismal, American survivalism, the glowing screen of static electricity that you once turned to for comfort becomes a liar. You can either embrace its folly, turn your brain off, and agree with its offered definitions of truth, which you know to be false, OR you can try to avoid it altogether but consequently never know what the Hell anyone else is talking about: "Wait... Who is Rachel Zoe?"

There are several factors to consider, of course, for the progress or disintegration-- dependent upon whom you ask-- of Television. It indeed loses its luster after you've grown up, read a few books, and realized that the constructed world of make believe has become the Prom Queen whose life goes nowhere after high school. While you matured, she stayed stuck in the same cliche, speaking the same lines, and failing to gain the richer dimensions of life experience. She never learned another role to play. In a sense, TV doesn't grow up either. As such, what may have once been appealing when your vision of the world was professed through this crystal box as a less savvy youngster, is no longer as potent once you step "out the box" and into the open. As a mature, well educated adult, you're just annoyed: the dialogue on "Mistresses" is pretty damned pathetic, the story lines on any and all CW teen shows are both idiotically cyclical and creatively apathetic, and the jokes on modern sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men" are so lazy that it feels intellectually insulting to even be in the same room when it's on. You watch and wonder, "What is it that I'm supposed to relate to here as a human being?" Warning: when you fish in that pond, you always come up empty. You may have had a live worm, but the fish are all plastic, wind-up toys. Save your brain the effort.

Then there is the added burden of the buck, which dictates that we basically sit through 1/2 hour, 1 hour, even 2 hour advertisements with only brief increments of a show tossed in for entertainment purposes. You rarely catch enough of a plot for it to be coherent, though. Yet, you keep watching in the hopes that something amazing will happen: the occasional cathartic release of laughter, the adrenaline rush of suspense, or the titillation of underage pornography. Awesome. Everybody have sex with a werewolf! The truth is, shows don't 'show' different people living their lives for our edification. They show us what to buy. It's all branding, as it has been from the very advent of the medium. One hand washes the other, which is a result of the necessarily evil exchange game, which also leaves everybody's hands dirty. (This program brought to you by: Lye Soap, Alka seltzer, General Motors, and the "softer side" of Sears).

Nowadays, the intrusion of visual stimuli has gone haywire, not only by each stations' indomitable logo ever-displayed in the lower-right hand corner, but by Twitter updates, "Up Next at 9pm" reminders, and Don't you love this channel and want to watch it all the time retina-burning hypnoses tactics. You almost wish you could crop out all of the distracting metaphorical salesmen knocking on your eyelids, asking you to buy something. Maybe if you focus your gaze into the center of the vortex, you'll just be able to make out the story allegedly hiding in the midst of the perpetual commercialism. The difference in today's hyped up marketing mega-storm is that while "I Love Lucy," "The Ed Sullivan Show" or "The Steve Allen Show" of the early years were strong programs to which different corporations were trying to hitch their wagons, today's offerings seem to be just barely riding the coattails of whatever products will give them money to keep going. Our shows are prostitutes, written to keep the viewer just interested enough to keep tuning in, so they'll buy this Beer, or that Razor, or eat this Pizza. One need not "engage" the viewer; one need only distract them long enough to drill the pertinent image home. In essence, the viewer is programmed by the program.

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" remains one of the most highly rated sitcoms-
(situation comedies) of all time. This is due to the talent and chemistry of
the cast, including Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, Rose
Marie, and Richard Deacon, as well as the superb writing and clever
 premise of the show, which creator Carl Reiner interestingly 

based upon his own experiences as a television writer.

The bond one makes with Television, the movies, or the radio, forces him or her to make that unfortunate bargain with the Devil who says, "Okay, I'll entertain you, but you have to give me your active brain cells, your conscious thought, and your imagination in return." We let the TV lie to us. We even ask it to. The portal to human understanding thus channels only that which we think we can handle, similar to the way we supposedly use only a certain, small percentage of our brain, (however these statistic remain unclear). These integral compromises are the same things a television writer, and I know many working in the industry, are forced to make: concessions to sell concessions. Blood for potato chips: "Take your talent and dilute it through this sieve of money so it comes out tasting like cotton candy. It'll cause headaches, toothaches, and perhaps a little vomit, but the formula works, dammit!" It's Hell for anyone trying to get an unvarnished idea across.

Oh, the Wheel of Fortune... You spend money to make money by making others spend money. Television can't exist without sponsors, sponsors can't exist without customers, customers can't become aware of the product until they are shown the product, the product can't be shown to the mass populace unless it is emblazoned on a billboard, as an advert in a magazine, is played between songs on the air, or is lodged in the commercial break of a "hit show." So, the networks behind the show are tasked with the balancing act of pleasing both the audience and the sponsor-- one commodity sold to the other. We are part of the grand exchange-- shifting pieces in the tetris puzzle that is the mass media. The only person who has a chance of winning this game is the one who is behind the scenes, locking the different mismatched markets and demographics together to form a perfect single file, assembly line, until ashes ashes-- we all fall down. The bonus points "cha-ching" into dollar signs that line the top dogs' pockets, and the world of commerce keeps on turning, indefatigably.

Hollywood is Hell for writers. And audiences. And studios. The studios must only sign the story lines they think will sell, writers must write sanitized versions of their ideas to abide the greenback over gravity rule-- so they can earn a living and hope for better things-- and audiences have to put up with what they're given, which is what they wanted in the first place. Right? So why am I so underwhelmed?

In the first place, there's no time for TV. People badger me about my substandard viewership all the tine: "How have you NOT seen 'Game of Thrones'/'Scandal'/'The Americans?!'" My response, "How have YOU?!" Too many programs, too many channels, not enough hours in a lifetime. Secondly, and most importantly, this chain of power, which dictates what it is our eyes, ears, and minds will be feasting upon, blatantly talks down to us. The industry's condescension is the caveat emptor of the modern world. If the industry predicts what we will respond to, than their premonitions (lineups) reveal their assertion that we are a very ignorant, pathetic, superficial, and simple society. They give us flavorless, watered-down, ignorgasms (ignorance orgasms), and we take the medicine hoping that it will taste better after a few more tries. Our mindless nightly attendance only instigates the networks to produce more of the same, thinking that their prophecies have been fulfilled: "We were right! Eat up idiots-- most specifically at one of the chain restaurants mentioned during the latest commercial break."

"Grey's Anatomy" is a show that has consistently sucked since 2005. Now in its tenth season, 
it no longer even pretends to try. It already has its audience. Whatever shred of integrity it 
once may have had is lost beneath its artificial, soap operatic performances and soulless 
pretty people problems, which the viewer is supposed to digest as serious due to its
setting within the medical profession. It also had a musical episode, so...

The strategies and calculations behind bringing a show to life, and ultimately keeping that show running, are not the public's friends. The media's concern is our attention not our enlightenment, and so we are spoon fed simple ideas. Comically, this most often comes in the form of clumsy slap-stick awkwardness-- gracelessly done, as the the well-schooled vaudevillians have long since passed away. Then there are the superficially complicated but not really complicated at all-- because the characters are all narcissistic, selfish brats-- premises that constitute the realm supposedly known as "drama." You'll laugh, because it's simple, and so are you. You'll get all heated up by the catty nonsense, because you are, allegedly, nonsense as well. Racial and sexual minorities are tactlessly stuck into scripts as an apology, "Ok, you're represented now," and the natures of the story lines are kept kosher so no offense will be given, no social questions will be raised, and no one will care about anything but what these characters are wearing.

This causes the bigotry within and without the industry. Many like to scapegoat the "dumb, red states," the Simple Jacks of the South, or the Midwestern Average Joes, who "don't know no better, 'cause they don't know nothin' ah 'tall." The networks are catering, some say. This, in itself, is criminal, for it presents a portentous delineation between the alleged "smart" people and the accused "dumb" people-- the smart people being those holding the keys to the billion dollar safety deposit box, and the dumb people being those whose only hope of reprieve from a fiscally unrewarding day of work is propping up their dogs on the coffee table and watching CSI: Duluth. It's a truly prejudicial, divisive, and dangerous move, as Television clearly does not make shows for the sum populace, but only for specific groups. There aren't national narratives. There is this show for the red-necks, and this show for the blacks, and this show for the horny kids, and this show for the pretentious upper-crusts who think that they're being politically active while sitting on their plush leather couches. The theory is that we're not all bright enough to "get it," it being the full enchilada of the human saga, so we're sold our separate realities and convinced that we are correct in sitting stationary in our private pod universes instead of being invited into a worldwide discussion.

This, of course, is very chicken and the egg. Did we make these specific, contrasting demands or is our political isolation within our own particular demographic the product of mass conditioning? Are we dumb people asking for the same episodes of the same shows on repeat, or are we being dumbed down by people selling us re-hashed garbage? Who is to blame for the alleged, "ignorant Midwest's" ignorance? Who is to blame for their lack of exposure, which at the end of the day, is the only difference between them and the conceited decision makers who claim to know what's best for them? And who the eff has the right to call them dumb in the first place? Ignorance: the two way street. Granted, as we all live in our own privately isolated cocoons of "this is what life is," it is hard for each, independent mind to be unchained or unplugged from its comfortable space when that place is what we have come to define as reality. The perspective of rural Oklahoma is going to contrast with that of the yuppy New Yorker. In trying to understand each other, we grow tired. We change the channel. There is no ignorant Midwest; there is no ignorant South, North, East, West, whatever. There is only the contrived truth sent in each direction and the good, decent people who have no choice but to believe it, because it is streaming Live.

See, America does have a voice! Why aren't we heard?!

When what constitutes "humanity" is labeled as a thing unshared by all, we directly sever the border-crossing bridges that Television was meant to strengthen. Tele-vision: the ability to see things from a great distance, to connect the far reaches of the world together in a shared community. Television doesn't broadcast for America. It broadcasts to this specific population that will buy this bull sh*t, and this specific population that will buy that bull sh*t. "A nation divided against itself cannot stand," but we stand for this de-intellectualization by allowing it to teach us blame. This is the liberal's fault, this is the Bible belt's fault, this is the homo's fault, this is the radical's fault, this is Joe's fault... I gotta say, it's a brilliant tactic, this displacement. Meanwhile, the guy behind the orange curtain keeps making money off our inability to have a discussion based upon mutual respect for each other. (We might notice he's holding all the dough if we did).

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...

... But I don't, because

Every once in awhile, something smart gets through. Sure, that smart thing is going to be branded just like everything else. Sure, "Breaking Bad" still came packaged with commercials and is selling T-shirts and coffee mugs of Heisenberg, but at least the impetus for the latter was a true appreciation for the series' great writing and acting. Sure, "The Newsroom" is a bit heavy-handed and proselytizing, ("Let me make up my own  mind, dammit!"), but it at least forces one to confront the issues in question, whether one is in agreement or disagreement. Sure, the premise for "The Walking Dead" may render it nothing more than a silly zombie show on paper, but the storylines examine raw and controversial incites into human nature that only such an extreme and exaggerated situation could illuminate properly-- as well as doing so without being overtly political and offensive. There too is beauty in the ability of "Mike and Molly" or "Parks and Recreation" to just make you laugh, especially when you have great comedic acting talents doing the performing and gifted writers keeping the audience grounded. One constructs and the other translates stories of enduring affection between human beings, including the beauty in their eccentricities, while giving the characters enough gravity to be as relatable as they are outrageous. 

Gone too soon. How I miss "Flight of the
Conchords." They made me feel like "the
most beautiful girl in the... room."

TV is good, and it is bad. It is smart, and it is stupid. It is working for us and against us. It's biggest faux pas, as in the film industry, is that it recreates instead of creating. Somehow, over the many interceding years of visual storytelling, both mediums have failed to notice the fact that it is always the independent, totally fresh idea that runs away with both ratings and tickets sales. Hollywood doesn't have a reputation for taking chances. It does not honor its writers, its actors, its directors, nor its producers, until they have somehow succeeded despite the odds, and then it only proceeds to pigeonhole them into a prison of "Do that again, the exact same way, but more."

Hollywood thinks that we are dumb, but we're not. We are, quite simply, exhausted. Our brains are tired. Our bodies are tired. Thus, we often throw up our hands at the end of the day and say, "Whatever. I'll just watch this because it's on." Additionally, taste is subjective. That's the way it is. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to sit down and watch "The Housewives of Beverly Hills." It irritates me that Lena Dunham's writing on "Girls" exhibits such narcissism and has such transparent antipathy for her audience. I don't know what a "Heart of Dixie" is, and I don't want to know. Yet, I can't fault people who enjoy these programs. To do so would be the same as adhering to the social lines of demarcation that Hollywood likes to draw between us. I'm onto you, H-town. We Are the World, so suck it!

I may not be a warrior for TV. It seems that the box has become a not-so-blank slate for stick figures and gimmicked shadow puppets. Still, I can't totally blame the industry either. I can blow the stick figures down like the Big Bad Wolf, if I want to; I can equally turn off the light and kill the puppetry. The art of civilization is deriving meaning and order from the madness. We endure by taking everything with a grain of salt. We are the remote controllers. It's really what we say that goes. While I would wish that the industry gifted its audiences with more compelling dramas that were the rules and not the exceptions, while I wish smart comic writers were allowed to write smartly, for all and not just some, later, maybe, on a cable network... and while I wish that there were unifying themes that every corner of the country, every race, every "class," every age were invited to participate in, we still do all right for ourselves. We do more than all right, considering the obscene hurdles of bull sh*t we're forced to surmount just to make or absorb a statement. Sometimes, something smart gets through.

At the end of the day... well, it's night. But figuratively speaking, at the end of the day, we are all connected both because of and sometimes despite the flashing images we see on the Television, be they good or bad. In every show, whether the characters be conscionable or unconscionable, superficial or heroic, horrific or fantastic, they are synchronized by their beating hearts behind their creation and reception and the emotions that viewers will attach to them. The visual medium of motion pictures, whether on the big screen or the small, teaches us how to feel. We all may feel a little differently, but we all feel. In a perfect world we would direct all of this energy into a powerful force that cleans up the tacky oil spill that is the entertainment industry. But, if we did that, we wouldn't have drama, would we? And we certainly wouldn't need comedy. 

Don't let it own you: "Throw away your television/ Take the noose off your
ambition/ Reinvent your intuition now"-- Red Hot Chili Peppers

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Wendy O. Williams-- the punk princess of the Plasmatics-- was arrested several times for
her lewd behavior on stage, including simulating the sexual act of a hand job. Her
message being an aggressive one of defiance against subjugation and a
commentary on the masturbatory, male dominated industry was met

with disgust and loads of controversy. However, when Miley Cyrus
does the same thing in a more submissive role, fondling and
playing the slave to the mighty phallus, which she portrays
as just "delicious," it's ok.

I Am Tempted to Hate the World Because...

Too many musicians (and I use that word loosely) are robbing the youth culture of their identity, one crappy song/video at a time. The music industry blows. This is not to say that there aren't still great artists out there or bands developing their own unique voice, which they use to broadcast rebellious anti-theses or universally relatable narratives on the conundrum of the human experience. The issue is that these are not the voices given air time, because they aren't as sellable.

In a world that communicates through images, instant gratification, and text messages, things like intricate musicality played by actual instruments, an un-edited voice against a microphone, and lyricism that requires thought, are considered too hard. A shrewd music-businessman aims for the easiest target: the sex impulse. You tickle the fancy of the listener/observer, hypnotize them out of their shekels, and leave the "artist" with the assurance that he or she is a controversial phenomenon making a statement (comma, bank). It's the ultimate appeal to the musician's vanity: "You're so creative! You have such a unique style all your own! You are not AT ALL generic! What? You are not a product. You're the most important person in the world and everything you say and do matters!" It's a sick game.  Sure, there are occasional bands like the Kings of Leon who are are somehow able to penetrate the suffocating veil of pop-fiction technobabble and obtain notoriety, but for every rock triumph there are just as many... I don't even know what to call them-- Synthe-lunatics???-- who keep the public dumb and the industry's pockets full. The sad thing is that they think they're the one pulling the strings when they're actually just the puppets. They are the Charlie McCarthy's; the label is Edgar Bergen. I don't even want to know what that makes us.

Remember when we decided that maybe the pilgrim days were over and
marrying off our daughters at the age of thirteen was not so brilliant?
That maybe they should be given a chance to mature into fully-
formed adults who are not immediately domesticated and

made subservient (before they are smart enough to know
that there's more out there than being someone's bitch)?
Have we not back-tracked a bit when pre-teens are 
concerned about being vajazzled, thonged, and
waxed so they're more palatable to the opposite
sex and worthy of his intruding dong? Jerry
Lee Lewis knew what was up, I guess. 

Too bad Model-T music is doing humanity a huge disservice. Too bad with the media controlling what we see, hear, wear, and sometimes even smell, we're spoon-fed reconstituted garbage in a slightly updated package and given nothing else to feast upon. Too bad the younger generations are being inundated with mind-distilling images that encourage them to be little more than sexual deviants-- kids livin' loud on their parents' savings and declaring their independence by duplicating the over-hyped and miscommunicated message that sex alone is power. They nod like bobble-heads to the beat of whatever pawn is topping the charts, not realizing that they're being swindled out of their identity. There are two dimensions to life: what people see, and what people believe. So, re-project the image on the screen as fact, and make people believe it. There's no flesh, no substance, no inner monologue. The kids don't need it. They have iPods. They can wander freely in the space of their own invented celebrity and never develop a fully fermented personality. They are living on borrowed time. What happens when the world catches up with them an punches them in the face? Will they even feel it?

Of course, music is not at fault. This is just a symptom of a growing brain disease, and my reactions are not those of everyone else. Still, it's a bit unpalatable when one of our most precious venues of cathartic release are twisted against us, used to program and not liberate us. Pop is not a bad thing, it's just an easier and more vulnerable host for greed to latch onto. Arguing the difference between Pop and Rock is the same as explaining the difference between dollars and sense (pun, not a misspelling). Popular music is popular because it isn't political. It's pure sugar: a distraction for the heaviness of life with enthusiastic, emotional energy. It makes you want to dance. Rock, in all its many branches and sub-genres, produces a different reaction. It generally makes you want to punch walls to "break through the other side" of something. It shirks superficiality and sulks or shrieks in the stew of its distaste of mankind's position under the Man's thumb. The average person vacillates between attraction to both genres. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. One can find solace in the uber-optimism of Bruno Mars then turn around and long wistfully for the earth-shattering composition of Bob Dylan. Neither option is incorrect.

The precedence of certain musical genres comes and goes in waves. The doo-wop fifties were penetrated by the socially perceptive counterculture of the British Invasion, which led to the more outspoken hippies of Woodstock. Then, we decided to shut up and dance to Disco, which was soon combatted by the Punk resistance. When Sid Vicious killed that wave, '80s Pop-electronica took over, breeding self-indulgent but harder glam rock, which was to be flipped on its ear by Kurt Cobain. Then Cobain died, and no one really took his place. The tunes of the Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Foo Fighters raged on, later losing ground as it caved under the weight of the obnoxious Boy Bands of the later '90s/early millennium. In retroaction, The White Stripes, The Vines, Franz Ferdinand, etc, made some noise for the nostalgic, old days of guitars and drums and waling, but their reverberation was not to be as intense as their forefathers'. And here we are now in the 2010s, and there aren't really genres at all anymore, just independent artists fighting for exposure in a world that has become too big to honor them with such specific devotion. Our allegiance is spread too thin.

Ani DiFranco, despite the wisdom of her ambivalent, irreverent, emotionally
and politically provocative music, has gladly settled for the life of an
independent, lesser-known singer-songwriter.  While a disarmingly
unabashed sexual woman, she does not profit off this
marketability, nor allow it to box her into a stereotype,  
as it is but one aspect of her multifaceted character.
Her lack of posturing makes her a trusted voice
among women (and men).

Don't know if you noticed, but I failed to mention any female artists in that slap-shod, historical trajectory. It's always been harder for the ladies... Never taken as seriously as their hard-hitting rock brothers, the niche of women in music is not as numerically impressive, but the force of impact some of the greatest sonic soul sisters have had is something that I am at least sincerely proud of. Aretha Franklin liberated the submissive female voice and made it, not only powerful, but assertive as Hell. Janis Joplin howled at the moon like a banshee with equal parts heart, soul, aggression, and empathy. Patti Smith had bigger balls than most of her male counterparts and even greater lyricism. Debbie HarryPat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde, Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell... These women embraced their own particular version of femininity and sexuality without being owned by it and left their female listeners empowered and their male listeners obligingly dominated.

And now we have the adrenaline rush of modern feminists like... like... Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Kesha-- oh, I'm sorry-- Ke$ha, and K-Katy Perry. Wait... What?! Honestly, it's not their fault. These girls grew up in the age of the ultimate pop diva, Madonna. Their mistake-- since they are clearly not very savvy-- is that in their attempts to mimic her distinctive artistry and style, they consistently misinterpret her instead. Madonna was about embracing sexuality, owning it, and accepting it as a very important part of the functioning female organism. Instead of taking away her controversial and provocative messages, the current mainstream instead skims the surface, feeding off raging teenage hormones and humanity's innate, perverse tendencies by saturating the youth-centric culture with visually intrusive, abusive, clumsy, masturbatory images that the ignorance of each artist decides to interpret as her own unabashed sexual openness. While Justin Bieber (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit) continues his progression as the patronizing dude every little girl would be "lucky" to screw, the women of the pop world echo this long held masculine assertion by assuming their own inviting, open-legged sprawl.

Add to this the insane amount of vanity present in today's culture, as instigated by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other instantaneous, gratuitous self-love venues, (I mean, we're all guilty), and you have a generation of artists who essentially jerk off to their own videos. Take "Wrecking Ball." Yes, I've seen it. I'm not happy about it, but some friends held me hostage, (you Bastards know who you are), specifically to torture me, and I was forced to watch Miley swinging naked on a ball. There was no point to it, but she's "just being Miley," and she doesn't care about anyone but herself and promoting her "I am the World" personage. The argument is that she is trying to come into her own as a woman, right? She does this, naturally, by putting herself out there, balls to the walls (literally). I mean, she even went the extra mile by puttin' glycerin in her eyes, so she looks like she's crying. She wants you to take her seriously so she can commend her own awesomeness. She's a grown woman with her own words to say, her way. Good for her. Unfortunately, whatever infantile message is hidden in the lyrics of this particular song-- which in someone else's hands could have been quite good-- is destroyed by her conflicting imagery. See, she wants to get to the core of some guy, punch her way through to his vulnerable side, but he won't let her in. It's painful. It hurts her in her heart. This is some serious, emotional stuff, until...

Ah, sexual liberation. After all these years of spiritual conquest and intellectual
enlightenment, we have arrived at that sacred place: on our knees licking a
cock-shaped object. If this is what power looks like, why do I feel pity?

Point made. I don't have to say anything. This poor girl sabotages herself. She's so fixated on superficial self-indulgence to do credit to whatever depth there is in her words nor to the women she's supposed to be singing for. Instead of being a strong force for others to look up to, she instead counter-intuitively promotes the very ideal that so many generations of women were fighting to disprove: women are for sex. Then, she nonchalantly swings on said wrecking ball, indulging in her own narcissism, because she is super hot and she doesn't give a f*ck, and isn't that beautiful? These same themes are echoed by the self-objectifying Katy Perry whose rip-off song about ROARing is contrasted into ineffectiveness by her self-promotion as Tits McGee. No. I'm wrong. She's a strong voice in the female community, singing truthfully about girls today-- girls in "short shorts" and "bikini tops," making the boys look at them, (because women can only find themselves when positioned in and received by the male gaze as an object of desire). Then you have Ke$ha who brags in publications about how her mom high-fives her when she comes home with her latest blow-job story, "Mom! I serviced a dude last night! / Awesome! Just a like a woman should!" And Britney Spears... Oh, Britney...

Well, I can't really make fun of this girl. I want to, because I've been wanting to hit her since she first asked me to, but her story is just too sad. She had a very public melt-down, a result of that aforementioned puppetry wearing her down, and instead of giving her time to heal, fully recuperate, maybe even become a three-dimensional human being (and mother), she was encouraged to pick up the lip-sync mic again. She wasn't ready. She's still not, but the industry can't make money off someone in rehab. She's looking better these days, thank God, because her sexiness was and is the singular tool that has forever been used to sell her records. Unfortunately, her latest videos are hack-jobs of disconcerting editing-- which is necessary, as her inability to dance or maintain focus has to be cut around so she doesn't come across as the dead woman walking that she is. She's also not conquering any demons in her work. Her music has not matured with her personal life experience, and she's not asking anyone to grow up either. As she has been instructed, she just stays put and holds a sexy pose. Hold it... Hold it... Stay still... Be hot... That's a good, bitch!

Britney Spears and Christina participate in the notorious "kiss" performance
with Madge thinking that they are being inducted into her shock-inducing
sisterhood, not realizing that she was spraying them like bitches and
forever marking her territory.

That's what it's all about, right? I mean, you sell yourself to make some dough. Women have been doing it for years in the oldest of all professions. To become a celebrity with lots of greenback, you don't need a voice, in the literal or figurative sense. It doesn't matter if you sing like a baby cries. It doesn't matter if your lyrics are vapid and inconsequential. Talent? What's that? As long as you have a sweet producer-- someone who makes a product--  and some "sick beats," you can buy your way right into Heaven. No one's paying attention to what you're saying anyway, honey. You're a girl. You're also just a carbon copy of a tried and true formula, however misconstrued the interpretation has become. In trying to be Madonna, Brit-brit et al fell prey to the Queen of Pop's domination. When the senior lady kind of blew the doors off sexual provocation, making any future attempts to push the envelope meaningless-- said envelope was sent into the far reaches of outer space, never to return-- she turned her legions of followers into her sad little bitches, sucking (literally) on her creative teet and producing nothing groundbreaking of their own. All they can come up with is the "sexy times." Thus, Madonna produced emancipating songs like "Express Yourself," with metaphorical and subversive music videos, and Britney Spears' great toast to herself was the submissive "I'm a Slave for You," with videos begging no intellectual interpretation.

I weep for the little girls coming up behind me who don't have any leaders to look up to. The same pop stars they adore are the ones that my high-school hero, Shirley Manson, was calling "Stupid Girl(s)." I grew up screaming "I'm just a girl, that's all that you'll let me beeeeee!" into my stereo pretending to be Gwen Stefani, and today the little divas in the making are standing in front of their mirrors, not singing, but making sexy poses so they can pretend to be the stars of their own photo shopped music videos instead of flesh and blood human beings. There is no rebellion. There is no Hole singing about "Celebrity Skin," because that message absolutely would not translate. The screams of today are not the carnal howls of Fiona Apple but the desperate pleas of the "Look at me" generation-- the media fueled, everything looks the same, I can't keep up, I'm over-privileged, I have no identity, and nothing matters except for designer clothes and trending twitter accounts generation. It's not about a shared or communal living experience; it's about demanding attention because you are much more specialer than everyone else. Thank God I came of age in the '90s...

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...

But I Don't, Because:

"When nothing's fluid, you drink yourself through it/ Outside you draw, draw yourself,/
Feel the breeze, that's a real thing that touches your skin,/ but memories, well they're
not real..." Leila Moss has a voice the merges the pensive soulfulness of
Nico and the raw abandon of Grace Slick. It's pretty awesome.

Karen-O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Leila Moss of The Duke Spirit, Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds, Emily Haines of Metric, Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums, Gin Wigmore, Adele, ZZ Ward, Janelle Monae, Santigold, Kate Nash,  Jessica Lea Mayfield, Regina Spektor, Warpaint, Jessica Childress, and yes, the survivors-- Fiona Apple, Ani DiFranco, Neko Case, Liz Phair, and even Joan friggin' Jett. There is still amazing work being done by amazing women who are laying the groundwork for the slow-movers, when they are ready to catch up. I can only hope that the stragglers eventually do let their minds mature with their bodies and that the reign of introspectively averse music caves under the crashing wave of the next cycle of "Take a Look Around." Once the current trend of distraction from economic disintegration with shiny things crumbles under its own weight, and people start asking questions again-- when the future generation finds its voice through their more outspoken songwriters-- we will hopefully get a cultural shift that leads people in the direction of learning, intellectual provocation, and social rebellion, instead of apathetically luxuriating in the comfortable acquiescence of ignorance.

Maybe it's all fear. Maybe the ones set to embrace adulthood are so terrified of what that may bring-- sixteen-year-olds are afraid to learn to drive, people!-- that their reticence for evolution is showcased in their mindless acceptance of artistic drivel. No thinking is necessary. Who doesn't want to indulge, light up a metaphorical doobie, and forget how much the world sucks? In truth, I don't hate the women-in-the-making that are currently making all the dough from this maturation stagnancy. They're just playing the hand that society told them held the ace. The golden ticket. The calculated move that would make them special. I don't care that Miley, Britney, or whoever else exists, and they have as much right to do and say what they want as anyone else. They exist, a fact of life, just like an oil change. Sometimes you're confronted with crap that you don't want to deal with, but there it is anyway. So, they are free to be fruitful, be as cheesy, ridiculous, or as unconsciously deprecating of their gender as they want, but even if the effect of the multiplying is abrasive to the ears and eyes. I give. You win, world. Still, wouldn't it be unconscionable of me to turn my back and allow this soul circumcision to take place, even if my only method of combat is to write this blog about how irritating it is to be intellectually insulted by mental deficients on a daily basis? I'm fairly certain that we are all falling prey to some sort of great governmental conspiracy to keep us stupid. Me not like that much.

In summation, and I commend you if you made it here, I just wish that girls had heroes too. Not the hidden ones that you have to dig for and slowly familiarize yourself with over time and happenstance, but those who exist in the public eye. I wish there was more for young women to aspire to than swinging on a pole like Rihanna, because that sh*t's hot. I mean, it is. It really is. But is there no alternative? Literally, is there no alternative music? I wish there were some hard core females, doing it up angry Alanis-style, demanding to be heard, respected, appreciated, and even feared. I wish someone was out there frothing at the mouth and telling tender ears in their tender years that their true power and sexuality is evidenced in their words, their ambition, their uncompromising hope, their courage, their ability to love and be loved by an equal. That's all. I wish when "little girls" asked their mothers, "What will I be?" they weren't pointed to the television and told to be "pretty" and "rich," and horny, I guess. I wish they were told that they can be anything, lots of things, everything, all over the place, and not one G-spot on a map. I wish, I really wish, people would stop putting "Baby" in the corner. It's like this iPod's stuck on replay.

Why "Que Sera Sera" when you can Carpe Diem? 

An Apple a day: food for thought.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Pop Artist Nelson de la Nuez's "No Comment" comment
on Jesus Christ.

I am temped to hate the world because...

People use God as an excuse to be "Arsenals." I'm using the word 'arsenal' both because it sounds vaguely like a popular swear word connoting a person of lackluster interpersonal skills and equally communicates the appropriate images of ammo, explosions, massive wartime attacks, and Sunday Bloody Sunday that I associate with such people. See, the Arsenal's arsenal is typically full of potentially harmful thoughts that when fired about with total abandon have the equivalent impact of social grenades. Far too many of these people fire at at will when they feel the paranoia of some example of impending doom. They lash out prematurely in the defensive attempts to destroy their chosen, damnable opponent. Blow it up now; ask questions never. Why 'never?" Because Arsenals already know. They know everything. God told them. I mean, he told a lot of other people too, in different religions, in different regions of the world, but NO. Each Arsenal knows the true message that the true Lord wants to spread.

I don't even know how to begin broaching this subject. I think it goes without saying that it's an impossible thing to argue God, because even if He exists, we don't know the first thing about him. If we did, we wouldn't be so confused about exactly who He is and what He wants. Everyone seems to have a different take. Sometimes He wears the face of Jesus Christ, sometimes Krishna, the Third Eye, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Jah, or the Alien Engram Warrior #scientology?. Whatever the image, the amorphous void that is everything promises glorious, immortal alternatives: eternal salvation, loads of virgins, or spiritual high-fives. It's a wonderful cover, this God we all fight over. He's like a spiritual beard. You wear him to convince people that what you're doing is "righteous" when actually he's just camouflaging your own possibly vile intentions, fed by your insecurities, fears, etc. God is man's most abused scapegoat. We also blame him when something goes wrong. "How could He let this happen!?" Man, ease up! What did He have to do with it? If I'd be He, I'd be pissed.

"South Park" did what it does best by satirizing one of mankind's
worst examples of hypocrisy- Faith for 'Profit' with Eric
Cartman as the singing 'Prophet.'

Growing up, I was led to believe through my family's very brief experience of church-- my Pops yanked us out when he got sick of the BS-- that the Almighty had a beard, and was really powerful, and could make all kinds of things happen. He was also portrayed as a bit bi-polar. On the one hand, he was this incredibly giving, forgiving, omniscient, omnipresent being who could make your dreams come true and reward you with eternity on high. On the other, if you were a bad person, he'd give you the cold shoulder and let Satan take you off to Hell in a chariot of fire. ("Oh well," little Meredith thought. "I always preferred a good barbecue to a mountain resort. It gets cold at those elevated levels, and I hate being chilly"). God was kind of like a measuring a stick for decent behavior: the ultimate in checks and balances. He's the standard method with which we overcome the animalistic, immediate satisfaction side of our humanity (Satan?) and balance it with a hopefully civilized approach toward life with generosity of spirit, patience, and kindness (God?). Shaking on this tricky balance beam is our ever in danger sense of self.

This, I believe, is the true Holy Trinity everybody's always talking about: Id-Ego-Super Ego. First a tempestuous child is introduced to Santa Claus-- "You better watch out, you better not pout... He's makin' a list," etc, to quell his selfish, whining, "me, me, me" behavior. The lesson is, "You get toys when you're good." Later, he's unceremoniously told that Santa is dead, and he's given God. The Alpha/Omega becomes the next idol/hero to keep his morality in tow, keep the maturing man in line, and establish what is expected of him in adulthood. "You get Heaven when you're good." So, what happens when you outgrow God and find out He's dead-- just another myth? Who do answer to then? I'd imagine we're all expected to grow into our own "Father" figures as we mature, establishing law and order within our domain, and handing down these tools of civilized life to our children, those we love, and those we merely encounter. We inspire others by paying it forward, (Haley Joel Osment style). Imagine the damage one can do when his personal Godhead is swelled to the size of that giant golf ball thing at Epcot Center. Oh, the danger...

At the end of the day, whatever God is-- be He a literal creator of us or a figurative sense of the universe and how this all comes together-- the concept of Him is far too expansive to be condensed into any discernible form, hence the multiple religions. Actually, organized religion is a contradiction in terms, for there is no way to 'organize' one's spiritual existence, mental enlightenment, scientific fact, outer space, the laws of nature, mathematics, ghosts and goblins, etc, into one comprehensive thing. There can merely be one's utter awe and humility before all prospects of it. This is why I like to say "God is a sandwich." You order him how you want him, but when you discard the Ham, or order extra cheese, or whatever, you're not accepting the whole enchilada. (Ok, now I'm just mixing metaphors of cuisine, but you get what I'm saying). My theory is, if you can't bite into the whole thing, you may as well just acknowledge the fact that this gigantic, mouth-watering yet intimidating thing is there, and go about your business. Don't kid yourself that you can swallow it all in one bite. Human beings aren't big enough for that. 

The Westboro Baptist Church spreads God's word and those
good ol' Christian Values.

Too bad not everyone knows that. Too bad some people build their God to suit their own tastes and then go around spouting invented, gluttonous self-prophecy about how the world should be and what people need to do to live in the light of God's mercy-- strangely while not mimicking God's mercy by living in his merciful image. Too bad people can't accept that we are just completely and utterly out of control and that the most we can do is try to hold it together and exist with some measure of order, sanity, and calm. Whatever protective fortress you build for yourself is not impenetrable. You can cross all your t's (literally), but that doesn't mean a hurricane's not going to sweep your seaside villa into the ocean. You can criticize others and their beliefs to further fuel your own perceptions, and therein your sense of security, but in no way shape or form does that make you right and free from criticism. You don't know, you hypocrite. Practice what you preach, which is that there is only One, all-knowing God, and you ain't him. To claim that you know what He wants is to play the part of  the Arsenal of the universe and to consequently slap the very monotheistic religion you hold so dear in the face with your own self worship. And this goes for atheists to. You don't know either, so stop bad-mouthing other people and standing on your pedestal of judgment when other people believe in something you don't. Clearly you do believe in God, because you act a lot like Him. Christ...

I've used this metaphor before, but in pretty much all things left in mankind's hands, one can either use the Hammer of God to build or to bludgeon. The difference is in the hand of the (be)holder. I'm a fairly unshakable person, but it truly angers me (and my Hell fires) when people perform outright malicious acts in the name of God, A) because, as aforementioned, the vanity the Arsenal is exhibiting is a self-righteous vanity that insults the name of God they shout from atop their soap box and B) none of this would hold up in court-- the court of Man. Sure, there may be a higher power. You may be called before the Judge you claim to know at the End of Days, but you aren't there yet, pal. You only have humanity now. You have only us to work with, answer to, collaborate with, etc. If you blow up an abortion clinic and tell the jury "It's what God wants," your case isn't going to be very strong. You're done for. Where's God then? You gonna call him in as a witness? He can't help you. You're going to jail. And I bet if/when you do answer to Him, he's gonna be non-plussed with your behavior. Exhibiting hate-fueled acts of mass murder to protest baby murder? While killing pregnant mothers in the process??? I don't know about God, but ignorance is absolutely the true Devil. (Ah-ha-ha-ha-men).

If there is a God, I am willing to lay down good money that
he loves Gary Larson.

Why are we all such jerks? For example, I really wish people would stop criticizing homosexuals for their lifestyle or for wanting to unite themselves in a loving relationship because God things it's "wrong." Cut the crap. Seriously. Just admit that you think it's wrong. You hate gays. Leave the Deity out of it. You don't like gays because their existence throws what you know as reality-- marriage, babies, church, Heaven-- out of balance. (Eek, that sandwich just got a little bigger, didn't it)? Rather than opening your mind a little wider and, OMG, thinking (accepting the awesomeness that is God), just get all insecure and nervous and condemn homosexuals. An alternative lifestyle threatens your sacred, clean and polished, impenetrable version of life, so the former must be incorrect and, most importantly, stopped. Hello? Is there anybody in there?! Just because you believe in God doesn't mean He shares your dumb ass opinions. Just admit that you're an Arsenal. And don't use the Bible as proof of His word. God didn't sit at his desk with a little quill pen and write that thing. It was written by men, with their own opinions and perspectives corrupting the material, which was only further corrupted as passed down over the years through multiple, fallible hands. (The multiple authors are also to blame for the very inconsistent portrait of the Almighty presented in that entertaining, Homer-like text).

Essentially, just stop claiming you know anything and be humble before the fact that you don't; that the only thing concrete in this life is death, a thing you know nothing about. Stop dressing it up as a mystical fairy land of perfection and hedonism and id-fed self pleasure, so you don't have to face your fellow man nor your actions toward him. Stop pretending you have a front row ticket to the land of your ultimate desires. Stop exaggerating your own inner cosmos and calling it God, so you don't have to be scared to death of death anymore. You're never gonna be safe, no matter how many people you mind-manipulate, no matter how many you condemn to boost your own morale. In doing so, you're still not safe from God, and God is the true death, isn't He? Let people work this muck of a life out in their own way, whatever religion they choose to adhere to, whatever way they choose to live. It has nothing to do with you. All you have are your own actions. You may have to answer to this alleged God one day, but no one has to answer to you.

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...

Willie and Carol Fowler of Atlanta fed 200 impoverished people
 with the food that was to be used at their daughter's
cancelled wedding.

But I don't, because...

GOD EXISTS. Perhaps not as a literal figurehead, but figuratively as an idea. He-- we'll just go with that pronoun-- is the name we have given to the Universe and everything that is beautiful, possible, and far reaching about it. He is all we know, all we don't, and how it all comes together in its mysteries and perfections. He is a force, a scientific genius, a mad mathematician, a doctor, and a sense of peace that comes over you when you fall to your knees and pray to your own resilience to get through a slew of horrible midnights to a better tomorrow. He is the enormity of us and the ultimate ideal of the magnificence we can do unto each other. After all, we are allegedly his children, aren't we? We are created in his image and are thus universes unto ourselves. We create our own space, create our own children in our own image, and spread our words, pass judgment when necessary, and offer forgiveness to those who wrong us even when the pain they've caused us feels unforgivable. We have the power of life in our bones, in our fingertips, and we extend our hands to others, perpetuating a vision of life and promoting a higher level of existence.

I would like to think that the majority of the members of our human race have pure intentions, good intentions. Sometimes we become fickle, we stray, we turn our backs on our brothers in moments of weakness or selfishness. We do this because we're fallible, we screw up, and we have oceans of stress thrust upon us in literal and figurative tidal waves, tornadoes, volcanoes, famines, plagues, and earthquakes. And we quake in fear. But in these moments, we have each other to turn to-- the other gods of God's creation-- to look to for guidance, to bring us back to our center, to help us pay retribution for our errors, learn from our mistakes, and get closer to the greater person we want to be. We don't have God here. We only have each other. The origin of our species was a profound burst of freedom that leaves us on our own, together, to figure this out. We don't have a Santa Claus anymore. We don't have a babysitter. This is it folks. The plus side is that we can and often do overcome the darker aspects of it. 

For all our faults, we conquer our own manifestations of evil time and again by both seeking out and feeling Love. If anything, God is Love. That is the true paradise, the true sense of worthiness, the true window into the profundity of All this experience is. Love is Heaven, and we are fools to seek outside ourselves to find it. It is forever in our power to open the pearly gates wider, create fact from myth, and defy the demons we're always running from. It is in our power to ascend by surrendering; by giving up the (holy) ghost. We cannot know. We can only be humble before the massiveness of Life, admit that we are our own makers, and that paradise on earth was the first promise we were offered. Heaven came later. This is our garden. If you want to do right by God, you have to tend to this. Now. So erase tomorrow and the ever after from your thoughts. Ignoring this responsibility is to offend the God of your existence and play into the hands of the Devil whom you claim to defy. Stop building walls. (Are you safe yet)? Stop spouting commandments that aren't yours to say. (Are you safe yet)? Stop pointing the finger of blame to avoid your own personal condemnation. (Are. You. Safe. Yet)?

There is no safety in life. There is only peace, and even that is fleeting. We cannot predict the motions of Mother Nature, but we can control our own actions by defeating unspeakable disasters and continuing to pass on the purer sides of ourselves. Be kind. Find God in another human being-- one who is waiting to reveal his or her own inner kindness illuminated back in your unarmed, welcoming smile. Our power to do this makes us Gods. It defeats all hate, all evil, all terror. Nothing over the huge gaping span of our existence, has ever destroyed our Love. Our capacity to Love. Not even us. This is God. God exists. And so do We.