Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Fight for Equality Continues

The state of Maryland is inching towards becoming one of the handful of states and the District of Columbia to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill was signed on March 1st, 2012 by Governor Martin O’Malley with the stipulation that same sex marriages will not be legally performed until January 1st, 2013. Why there is this stipulation to wait almost a full year to take effect is absolutely beyond me. This was an item of contention during the debate of the bill. I suppose that those opposed to the bill want to hold off until after the Mayan prediction of end of the world in December 2012. It’d be a literal, “over our dead bodies” statement. But as much as that theory is amusing to me, it’s more likely that opposition to same-sex marriage just wants the time to put a possible referendum and repeal on the November ballots for the people of Maryland to vote on.

The philosopher Aristotle once wrote, “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.” While those opposed to legislative or judicial actions to enact same-sex marriage would love to place an issue in front of the people for them to vote on so that they can “share in government to the utmost,” there is a disturbing caveat to that: Majority rules. And democratic voting on matters pertaining to a minority group numerically does not bode well for the minority. I may not be good in math, but that seems like a sound statement to me. This concept can be demonstrated by what has happened in California, where same-sex marriage was legal and then Proposition 8 was put to the vote of the people and now same-sex marriage is no longer legal in California.

In Maryland, the fight for marriage equality is summarized by Max J. Rosenthal of the Huffington Post on March 28, 2012:

"According to the Associated Press, nearly 56,000 signatures will be needed to put the [referendum] measure on the ballot.

If the drive succeeds, same-sex marriages opponents seem to have greater core support: 37 percent of voters in the OpinionWorks poll said they 'strongly' felt they would vote against repeal, while only 31 precent said the same in favor of the law.

But 16 percent of those polled remain undecided in some form, which, according to OpinionWorks, could be a good sign for those favoring marriage equality. 'Those who remain undecided on the referendum tend to be slightly more Democratic and younger, and less religious than the population as a whole -- all groups that lean towards upholding the law,' said the firm."

***

While the divide among those that are adamantly against gay people and those that are supportive towards them is narrowing, it is in the fights like these that will make a difference in terms of equality for everyone.

This fight will not necessarily be a fair one. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is representative of the coalition of those that are against marriage equality. The Chicago Tribune wrote, regarding a memo from NOM detailing its 2008-2009 accomplishments:

"[The memo] outlined its strategy for fighting the movement to legalize gay marriage, including one effort called 'Not a Civil Rights Project.'

'The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies,' the memo said. 'Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.'

The memo also discussed efforts to reach out to Hispanics by labeling support for same-sex marriage a concession to 'Anglo' culture and a plan to get Latino celebrities to do television ads.

'We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation,' the document said. Following the memo's release, NOM issued a statement saying the group has 'worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background.'"

***

So, it’s numerically hard enough to get a democratic majority out of a minority group... organizations like NOM want to divide minority groups even more so. To what end? Is this truly what Aristotle was talking about when he wrote of, “all persons alike share in government to the utmost?” I don’t believe so.

Now, how do we fix this? And yes, it is a “we.” We are all meant to share in government to the utmost and that means we get a say in how it’s going to turn out. Do we want unjustified scare tactics and bigotry to rule our lives? Do we want to make decisions based on unproven rhetoric? Or do we want to live in a world that truly is a democracy and everyone gets a real voice and equality is not an unattainable ideal, but a reality?

With that in mind, I offer up the following thoughts:

1. Same-sex marriage has not ended the world. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004 and it was the first state in the United States to do so. In 2001, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Since then, other countries and other states in the US have followed suit. Birds are still chirping. The sun still rises and sets. I don’t really see a discernible difference in my life in specific regards to marriage equality around the world. And if for that small price of “no discernible difference in my life,” someone else gets to visit their dying spouse in the hospital or enjoy the many benefits that married couples are afforded by the government… that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

2. Same-sex marriage does not ruin ALL marriage or “re-define” it. The argument that same-sex marriage being performed is akin to the Butterfly Effect, in that if a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere on the planet, something horrible will happen elsewhere, is a tenuous argument. For those of you that are married, stop reading right now, and take a look at your spouse. Did Adam and Steve getting married in Massachusetts or Ada and Eve getting married in the Netherlands change how you feel about him or her? Did it re-define your marriage? Did it change your religious beliefs? Was your ability to worship compromised because someone else somewhere got married? Because at some point today, yesterday, last week, last year… a same-sex couple somewhere did get married. Do you have a sudden compelling need to divorce your spouse just because of that fact? I hope not. Do you feel like your religious beliefs were trampled upon? You can still go to your house of worship and still be the same person you were before in the eyes of whatever deity you believe in.

3. Kids know about gay people anyways. I love what the argument that, “But now I’ll have to explain to my kids about ‘The Gay,’” implies. It implies that children today don’t have friends with gay parents or know other gay kids or are possibly gay themselves. What difference does it make to say, “Oh, little Billy has two married dads,” or “Oh, little Billy has two dads in a commited relationship,” or "Oh, little Billy has two dads?" Do you really care that they’re married or not? Does your child really care? Do you make it a point to explain the intricacies of everyone’s family life to your kids? “Oh, little Johnny’s adopted,” or “Oh, little Sally’s mom passed away and her dad married his stepmom last year,” or “Oh, little Betty only has her mom because her dad ran away with his secretary.” Does it really matter how everyone else’s family is set up? It shouldn’t matter that someone else’s family involves a same-sex marriage. But that simple marriage certificate would mean the world to that family. Your child will grow up, learn from you and your values, meet other people both gay and straight, and interact as an adult based on lessons learned from you. And do you really want that lesson to be to judge others by outward appearances and not by the content of their characters?

Ultimately, it comes down to: Why should I care? This is a simple question. Those that are adamantly against same-sex marriage will always be adamantly against it. Those that are fighting for equality will always fight for that equality. But like the polls said, it’s those that are undecided or potentially apathetic that will tip the scales towards one side or another. Again, I come back with the Aristotle quote, “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.” It is our moral obligation as Americans to participate in democracy. We are in one of those unique places in history where we get to help decide something big. The fight for same-sex marriage is everywhere. Will allowing same-sex marriage change your life? No, not really. Supporting or voting for same-sex marriage won’t suddenly make a same-sex partner appear next to you handing you a marriage certificate. But it will change the lives of those that have been fighting for this right their entire lives. Having two people of the same sex getting married won’t end the world. It won’t cause every heterosexual marriage to come apart at the seams. Families won’t implode. Religions won’t collapse. These are proven fact. Same-sex couples are married. They have been for years. The rhetoric may sound scary and threatening, but the facts should speak for themselves. Same-sex couples deserve to share in our government to the utmost and it’s time we all do our part to bring liberty and equality to democracy.



This post is dedicated to all of my married friends and those that will be getting married in the future... gay and straight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day...

Hello everyone! Here's another edition of What's YOUR Deal?!? just in time for Valentine's Day. I wanted to show you all that I love you... by telling you how little I think of you. :) Just kidding. If you're reading this, you're probably among the few that I do not find annoying. So thank you.

This What's YOUR Deal?!? is dedicated to all the women folk out there. No, not just because of Valentine's Day, but because of all of the things that has been going on in politics that seems to want to belittle our competence and place in society. And ESPECIALLY because I want to intellectually slap some sense into some of those without the dangly bits in their nether regions that make things harder for the rest of us.

Exhibit A:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/horrible-reactions-to-chris-brown-at-the-grammys

Ahem... everyone all at once now... "WHAT'S YOUR DEAL?!?" To those that can't open the link, this is a collection of Twitter tweets referring to Chris Brown at his appearance on the Grammys. It's a list of 25 tweets from women who basically all say, "Chris Brown, I know you have a reputation for abusing women... but I'll let you beat me all day because you're pretty."

Really?!?

Is that what this generation of women are about? So... the generations of women prior to 2012, struggling to achieve equality beyond being clubbed over the head by a caveman*, dragged into a cave to get ooga ooga'ed... all just went to heck because clearly, the issue isn't women getting hit or abused... it's because the man isn't pretty enough. Oh I get it. Holy cow. Yes, we will all go back to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, abandoning all semblance of equality, and consenting to abuse... if only men are prettier. Well, we just solved gender problems and inequality.

Thank you, everyone that tweeted something along those lines. Thank you.

* = (Oh, and apologies to the GEICO cavemen. None were harmed in the writing of this post.)



Exhibit B:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/fox-news-liz-trotta-rape_n_1274018.html

So, it's not just the Twitter generation that seems to have diarrhea of the brain that is hurting the ovaries of every woman on the planet... it's also apparently educated women that has had respectable professional careers that also seem to have the same effect on me... (Well... at least this one apparently educated woman...)

"What do they expect?" was the question she asked. I'm sorry, as a female veteran of the United States military... I did NOT expect to be raped by my brothers and/or sisters in arms. I may have signed away many things during my time in the service... but I did not sign away my hoohoo. The issue isn't women getting "raped too much," but it's of the sorry excuses for humanity that would even consider sexually attacking women or forcing themselves on them without consent.

I can't even come up with a coherent response to this woman that doesn't involve slapping* some sense into her. Granted, I'm not a pretty man, so I guess I would just have to use this blog to do it intellectually.

* = (I do not condone violence... at least not physically... intellectual violence... always acceptable.)



Exhibit C:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/bob-mcdonnell-rick-santorum-women-combat_n_1273679.html

Now we have Rick Santorum... (Google "Santorum" for a giggle.) He states: "I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that's probably not in the best interest of men, women or the mission."

Which one is it? Are men all rapists? Are men are blindingly chivalrous? Can't be both! Because apparently... women just want to be abused, men will rape them, and then feel bad for it. Really? What kind of a world do I live in!?



Clearly, the world we live in does not respect women... and that disrespect does not come from just men... but in the way women choose to portray themselves. Women deserve more than to be abused and raped... women deserve more than to be treated as dainty, delicate, and fragile objects that need to be babied. Women are stronger than you think and deserve more than to be treated as a statistic. The fault lies not just with men or just with women... the fault lies in humanity. So to humanity, on this Valentine's Day... Women, stop being stupid. Men, stop being rapists and then feeling guilty about it by being overly chivalrous. All of you make my ovaries hurt. My hoohoo has been offended and it demands justice! Have some self-respect!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'....

Well, “What’s YOUR Deal?!?” readers… contrary to what it may appear to be so… I am not dead. It’s been a while since my last rant but now I’m back and I’m not going to keep making promises of regular updates. I will rant when I feel like it and now you all won’t be disappointed when your weekly dose of “What’s YOUR Deal?!?” doesn’t appear in 6 months or more. Suffice it to say, life has thrown me one curveball after another and I’m finally settled enough to resume my fist-shaking anger at the world around me. This “What’s YOUR Deal?!?” is dedicated to my friend Laura, who brought the topic to my attention and of course, I had to run with it and infuse it with my own brand of mockery. Thank you, Laura for giving me the inspiration to continue “What’s YOUR Deal?!?”

On October 16, 2011, a book entitled Maggie Goes on A Diet by Paul Kramer will be released into an already brewing sea of controversy. For those unaware, this is a book geared towards children that Amazon.com describes as being, “about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.” Controversial? I personally don’t think so. Granted, I haven’t read the book yet, but neither have many of the people that have taken up pitchforks and torches against it. According to an article on the Los Angeles Times website (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/23/news/la-heb-maggie-goes-on-a-diet-book-20110823):

“The idea of this book makes me want to either cry or scream -- actually both,” wrote a commenter named Adrienne Ressler from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “It's bad enough that the messages and images in the culture have co-opted most women into loathing their bodies, but targeting the insecurities of young girls, vulnerable to the risk of developing an eating disorder, borders on promoting high risk behaviors and attitudes that are destructive both physically and psychologically. Please take this book off the market.”

Wait… WHAT? Fat girl exercises and eats right to play soccer and that’s apparently a high risk behavior and attitude???

Also in the same article:
"As the book opens, Maggie is called 'fatty' and 'chubby' by kids at school. So she decided to do something about it. She didn’t starve herself but switched to eating foods that were 'healthy and nutritious' and cut way back on junk food, allowing herself a single 'normal-sized treat' once a week. She also started exercising almost every day and later joined a soccer team.”

There’s nothing about that concept that screams, “OMG ANOREXIA!!!!” Heck, this page of the book is FAR more destructive physically and psychologically than any else I can imagine:




So… let me get this straight: healthy diet and exercise is bad… but double fisting a sandwich and a chunk of cheese in the middle of the night in front of your fridge is somehow okay for children to do? I think if I was doing that, there would be something seriously physically and psychologically wrong with me for me to think that stuffing my face with random fridge food is the answer. But no. People apparently want to be able to do that and anything less is telling children to develop an eating disorder. What is WRONG with you people?!? What. Is. YOUR. Deal?!? Is there no room for a happy medium between binge eating and anorexia? Why can’t people just eat healthy and exercise? Is that so hard for society to accept? And Maggie, the girl in the book, wants to play soccer. I’ve played soccer, albeit not well, but I’ve played and I’ve refereed the game, as well as have been a fan of the game for years. I’m sorry, I can’t imagine anorexia and elite soccer player being in the same universe. Because, Abby Wambach will crush you:



That is not the picture of anorexia...

Are we so afraid of the next generation disapproving of our gluttony? Are we so petrified that Southwest Airlines will deny us a seat on an airplane because it’s not the seat, but the SEATS that we need to park our gargantuan posteriors? Are we the generation that sues White Castle because we can’t fit into the booths? Yes, a man is suing White Castle because he can’t fit into the booth (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/11/martin-kessman_n_957663.html?ir=Weird%20News). What a dude that can’t fit into a booth wants with tiny little White Castle burgers is beyond me. There is an alternative other than being morbidly obese and assisted waddling down the path to embarrassing lawsuits and airport shame and it’s NOT JUST anorexia. Telling your child, “No, eating the entire left side of the menu is BAD,” and “No, you shouldn’t eat straight out of the fridge at midnight,” is not akin to forcing them into eating disorders. If we can’t fix ourselves, we shouldn’t sentence the next generation to the same fate. If your child wants to play a sport, let them do it. It’s far more fun than popping Cheetos and cheese wedges in front of a TV. There’s nothing wrong with this book. There’s nothing wrong with healthy eating. There is, however, something wrong with YOU if you can’t see that. The truth may be buried underneath the 7th level of fat rolls that you have.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Behold the moral arc bending towards justice...

Civil rights leader, Martin Luther King once said, "When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." Yesterday, in a 65-31 vote in the US Senate, the recent bastion of hopelessness where most legislation dies in a filibustery death, a 17-year old policy that has ended the careers of thousands of Americans was itself ended. Don't Ask, Don't Tell was legislatively voted down 65-31.

This blog is usually the forum by which I rant and rave about social injustice, as I did about this issue in May of this year:
http://pooniethegreat.blogspot.com/2010/05/revolution-is-scary-but-evolution-is.html

Much of what I said then is true today and will be true when the policy is finally enacted by our nation's military forces. A part of me is somewhat saddened by the fact that I will most likely not be in the military when this policy is lifted to see and support my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in arms finally serve their country without the threat of having their careers involuntarily ended for something as benign as who they love. But as I was watching the initial procedural vote yesterday, where the Senate was voting on whether to allow the repeal vote to occur, I was riveted. So many times, the repeal of this policy seemed certain, only for our hope to be pulled away like Lucy does to Charlie Brown. Counting the names of Senators that said "Yes" to ensure that there will be no filibuster... I found myself shocked and awed when the little tick marks I wrote on a piece of scrap paper reached 60. True, this did not mean that the repeal was passed. There still needed to have been another vote. But, once it was past filibuster, DADT was dying.

While I was unable to watch the actual final vote from the Senate regarding repeal, I was checking my Twitter feed constantly... and when 65-31 popped up. I felt a profound sense of joy and damn near had tears well up in my eyes. It was like if simutaneously the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Red Stars all simutaneously won their respective league championships by a score of 65-31. I stared at my phone and realized that the military I will be leaving WILL be better than the one I had joined. And the gay and lesbian comrades that I have, will have a career that will not be cut short by a policy that has a foundation in irrational discriminatory rhetoric that does not stand the test of logic or moral justice. And for once, my hope in humanity was not diminished by the news of a day, but in fact strengthened. The spirit of the season is amplified in my soul. Thank you Patrick Murphy, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, Harry Reid, and all of the Republican Senators that chose on correct side of history and did not lock step with conservative talking points.

It will be interesting to see what will happen in the coming months and the coming years. There are no doubt countless people who saw the vote yesterday with feelings of dread to feelings of intense hatred for what has happened to "their military." To them I say, it is not YOUR military. It is OUR military. And the Pentagon survey has indicated that OUR military, for the most part, does not care if The Gay is among us. There will be growing pains, as there always is with change. But anyone who knows the military knows that we make things work, no matter what.

Something that profoundly disturbed me yesterday was listening to the irrational ramblings of a man whose time of coherent thought has long passed. While I respect his career, his life, and his experiences in the military... Senator John McCain's testimony regarding the repeal of DADT was hurtful to the gay and lesbian men and women that are serving and that have served our nation's military. And the even sadder part? There are those that believe and support him in his homophobic fears of a military that will collapse because the guy or gal next to you is gay.

The repealing of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will not result in a gay pride parade sprouting up in the hallways and battlefields near you. For straight people, the repeal of DADT WILL NOT AFFECT YOU. True, you may see your co-worker or battle buddy display pictures of their real significant others or tell you the truth about what they were doing last weekend and who their "roommate" or "best friend" really are. Does that change the fact that you are still straight? Does that change the fact that your co-worker or battle buddy is still the same person that they were before you saw that picture and before they told you the truth about who they love? No and no. The laws and regulations regarding professional behavior are still in effect. You will not get raped in the shower. You will not get hit on and sexually harassed. You will not be forced to abandon your religious beliefs. These things will not happen any more than they do now. Because gay or straight, rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault will be as illegal post-DADT as it was pre-DADT. Your religious beliefs will not be compromised any more than they are now. Gay people will not blockade your route to church, they will not take away Christmas or your birthday. Gay people will just be the guy or gal that you've worked with pre-DADT. Most gay people probably won't even come out to you. You're not that important or special. Get over yourselves.

For gay people, the post-DADT world is one where they can truly embrace the Core Values that they have signed up for. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage for the Soldiers. Honor, Courage, and Commitment for the Sailors and Marines. Integrity, Service, and Excellence for the Airmen. There will no longer be the fear that if someone saw you with the wrong person at the wrong time at the wrong place that your career can be jeopardized. People can truly thank their friends and real families at ceremonies. People can go to functions with someone they care about without reprecussions. No, that is not "rubbing it in the faces" of straight people. It's equality. Happiness is not exclusive to straight people.

And on both sides of the issue, I really hope that the inherent idiocy of humanity does not rear its ugly head too much. There will be incidents. There will be bad seeds ruining things for the good. We must keep in mind that not all straight people are bigots. And not all gay people are on the extreme end of the rainbow. It will be through the strength of leadership that the post-DADT world can exist and that there will be equal punishment for the homophobes and the homosexuals, should either act like fools. Now is time to not just be appointed leaders, but to be real leaders and look your peers and subordinates in the eye and say, "No, do your job or find another one." And if you can't do that... maybe you should seek employment elsewhere as well. Because if that's the case I can do your job better.

I look forward to the coming months and years. It is a whole new world opening up but yet it's merely the fulfillment of an old world promise:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hey, Royal Highness? Care to join the rest of the world?

I spent the week contemplating a rant in which I list all the political things I believe in to demonstrate that I am far less nutty than some of the political candidates out there. And perhaps in hopes that if I'm ever fired from my current job, I can be someone's write-in campaign for political office. But seeing as my network of fans can fit into a small elevator... my grass roots campaign is less grass rootsy and more non-existenty. However, I'm sure many of you are aware of my political leanings and if you guys still want to see that list posted, please reply. But, with that said... Please get out to vote on November 2nd. If you're military and have absentee ballots, please send them in. No one seems to care about midterm elections but they're very important in getting things done for the people we elected during the Presidential election years. And all I'll say to that is, "Suck it, Tea Party... I like taxes, because it pays my salary and buys my fellow people in uniform shiney things."

So anyways... onward to the actual rant!

Sometimes I think I might really be crazy. I can take myself mentally completely out of a situation and look at it objectively. I can look at a situation, and mentally pan back to a third person point of view and think, "Wow, this can be hilarious from someone else's point of view!" When a decision needs to be made or an argument is going on, I can see both points of view. That's generally how I am. Don't get me wrong, I will argue with you to the death if I believe in something passionately enough and throughly love the process of arguing... but when it is all said and done, I can generally concede points that you win. The only exception to this is if I'm in a bad mood and PMSing, then everyone can Go F*ck Yourself! (Still think I should make bracelets that say GFY on them and sell them... any potential buyers? You can just tell people it says, "Go Find Yourself.") Apparently this mental ability is not very common...

This had me thinking about how many people are just in their own little world, unwilling or perhaps unable to realize the third person's perspective upon their actions. Westboro Baptist Church, I'm talking about you. And I'm also talking about people who do the following things:


1. People who write checks while checking out.

This is usually done by older people, who may or may now know how to use or may or may not trust ATMs. And if you're below the age of the AARP demographic... What'S YOUR Deal?!? But really? You knew you were going grocery shopping when you pulled your car into the parking lot, turned off the engine, got out of your car, and started walking into the store. You couldn't have at least filled out most of the check? Like maybe the date and who the check is for? You should at least know THAT much prior to entering the establishment. And perhsps that little memo line? if you like filling that part out? So all you'll have to do is put a monetary amount on the check and sign it and be on your way? But rather than doing that, you stand there... digging for your check book... asking the cashier what the date is... how to spell the name of the store... slowly writing out your last will and testament on that memo line... all while I'm standing behind you with a rotisserie chicken that belongs less on the conveyor belt and more in my belly. So, next time you feel compelled to write a check, please have the decency to realize that the more time you take... the more people are standing in line behind you... waiting for you. You. You, who are at that very moment, stopping the progress of humanity. Think about that.


2. Peeple who can't park.

I know I have little room to speak on this matter being Asian and female, but bear with me. I am aware that there is truth to the stereotype. However, I highly doubt that the Dually Crew Crab Pickup Truck with a Hemi engine, a 3 foot lift, and a Confederate flag in the back window belongs to any Asian female driver. Why the hell does your truck need to take up 3 parking spaces? What the hell is so special about your overgrown Tonka truck that it can not possibly risk anyone parking near it? Or are you THAT inept at driving that you're actually being called out by an Asian female driver? And this doesn't just apply to the big ridiculous Overcompensation-Mobiles. Why can't people put their cars in parking spots and not be diagonal or taking up another space? Unless you're a cop, ambulance, firefighter, or perhaps Knight Rider.... you have the time to re-park your crooked vehicle... or else you'll be mocked by Asian female drivers...




3. Slow walkers... in packs...

While it is true that pedestrians have the right of way... that doesn't mean you get to amble your way across the intersection slowly, holding up traffic. Or if you're just walking slowly in general, please at least make it easier for someone in a hurry to try and pass you. There is no reason that you and your posse needs to walk places like you're in West Side Story, in a line, creating a game of Red Rover for the people around you. Again, impeding the progress of humanity. You. Stop. Or actually... move. Faster.


4. Loud talkers.

Ca-CAW!!! Ca-CAW!!! SQUAWK!!!! No, these are not the sounds of a bird-watching trip... this is what you sound like when you're talking loudly about stupid things. I don't care that your child is a freshman in college this year... I don't care that you lost your virginity in your roommate's bed back in 1805 when you were a freshman in college... I don't care that you ran out of Vagisil wipes. I don't. When I can hear... word for word... what your conversation is and judge your idiocy level from afar, there is something wrong. While, I admit, my friends and I get into some shenanigans and get rather rowdy, but never EVER are we having what apparently seems like a serious conversation on a what appears to be a loud speaker embedded in our mouths. Please... If I can Mystery Science 3000 your conversation, there is a problem.


5. People who don't realize that they're laughed at...

If you do the above things and don't feel guilty or don't realize that I'm talking about you... *face palm* I'm sorry. If you're a Friendship Predator and don't know how to fix yourself... I'm sorry. I enjoy mocking you. You are the reason, "What's YOUR Deal?!?" exists. I want to eliminate you from society, but you fuel my theraputic rantings. Your obliviousness to the world around you is a plague that threatens to consume the world. How much more clear can I be? YOU ARE THE REASON I WROTE THIS RANT!

It's disappointing that most people don't realize how the world views them. Groups like the Westboro Baptist Church that protest military funerals and claim that people die because God hates that America loves its gay people... dont' realize that their message makes no sense in the context of everyone else. Politicians that campaign against taxes and infrastructure improvements while complaining about how the roads and public transportation suck rarely get called out. The world is filled with these people... that are completely clueless that they're a joke. Every single day, we encounter these people are shake our heads. Are you one of them?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Things I Don't Care About...

What's YOUR Deal?!? was originally created as a weekly editorial for the UIC Today, a now-defunct student-run newspaper for the University of Illinois at Chicago. I always knew that I wanted to write and I figured that bored people would need things to read in class, on their commute, or even in the bathroom. Apparently, I developed quite a following and the things I wrote that called out the idiotic behavior of those very people that read my column apparently was amusing to them. Who knew? Did I make a difference? Did people change their behavior for the better? I have no idea. I've been writing editorials since high school. So, for over a decade, I've ranted and raved about things that bother me, ranging from people leaving shopping carts in parking lots, burger misalignment, and the airline industry to more serious topics like politics, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Sarah Palin, and the ever ridiculous Westboro Baptist Church. It would appear that I care about a lot of things and that I get worked up about little things in life. While that may be true... this edition of What's YOUR Deal?!? is an incomplete listing of things that I do NOT care about. I say incomplete because, well... there may be things that I don't care about that didn't even pop into my brain, and I reserve the right to not care about it more in the future... Anyways, onward to the countdown!

5. Infomercials.

While they are infinitely entertaining...



I don't think I can ever find myself seeing an infomercial and saying to myself, "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM INCAPABLE OF POURING MILK INTO MY CEREAL WITHOUT A PRODUCT THAT I CAN GET FOR 10 EASY PAYMENTS OF $9.95!!!" Sorry, Ron Popeil, Billy Mays, and the Sham Wow dude... I don't care about you. But I will laugh at things like this though:



"Whew... that's it..."


4. Your religion.

I am Buddhist. I don't really understand why people think that is a religion, because it's really not. It's more a proactive way of life. I don't do things because a book tells me not to, I don't do things because I think they're a bad idea. Likewise, I do things because I think it's a good idea... all by my lonesome. I don't have a problem with people and their religions. In fact, Buddha has been quoted as saying:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

That makes sense to me and that is why I do the things I do and believe the things I do. I really don't need people telling me I'm going to hell or argue with me using their version of moral judgement on the world. I don't care. I don't care if you're Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. This doesn't mean I don't respect your religion and your beliefs. I will never go out of my way to offend you, but if you're a member of the Westboro Baptist Church or any other such group.... GAME ON! If you find the Bible, the Koran, or whatever words of Jebus (yes, Jebus) soothes your soul, then go for it. You have the right to believe in whatever you want. But, have the respect to realize that I didn't go to your church for a reason, so.... don't bring it to me. However, I do welcome open-minded discussion on religion, if you promise not to be offended when I ask, "Why?" a billion times.


3. People that have a false sense of superiority.

Whatever happened to everyone is created equal? People seem to have a need to find a way to make themselves more superior to others. Whether is because they're in the majority or because they simply have nothing better to do, if they need to remind me of their greatness and awesomeness through words? There is a problem. They, perhaps, are not nearly as awesome as they think they are. Or they're afraid that respect is a zero-sum situation. That is someone else gains equality, then therefore someone else must lose some. Quite frankly, this quote from Homer J. Simpson does NOT fly with me: "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are. " Nobody is perfect and the quicker the people of the world figures out that everything does not revolve around them and their belief system, the quicker we'll get to world peace. If you're desperate for attention and approval, please don't talk to me. I believe in pointing out people's flaws and hoping they'd notice that they need to fix themselve. I enjoy finding out what makes people tick and the poking them there until they cry. This is the purpose of What's YOUR Deal?!? I can't personally make the entire world cry, so please, forward my blog to your friends that need a kick in the junk. Just because you outnumber me, does not make me any less right. Fight stupid. Only you can prevent stupidity.


2. Guilt trips.

I just simply don't care. Guilt trips are so ridiculous. Why should I feel guilty about other people's stupidity? I've spent over a decade pointing out other people's stupidity, in hopes that they will change. Unfortunately, thus far... the world is winning. Do you guilty about that? I'm talking about you. Yes, you. You who have failed in your role as a human being on the planet Earth. You don't feel guilty, do you? Damn. Welcome to my world.


1. Your feelings.

And finally, I really don't care about your feelings. I don't care that I've insulted you. Because I only insult those that deserve it. And you do. No, I won't feel guilty for calling you out. No, you are not better than me. No, I'm not going to hell for believing the things I do and not believing in your insanity. And no infomercial product can possibly save you. I really do hope that you find yourself being the subject of mockery among those that sees your bovine feces for what it really is... a big steaming pile of crap.


So folks, there you have it. These are the things I don't care about. Have a good day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where's our moral progress now?

As I sit here typing this week's blog, I'm seeing another commercial from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also known as the ASPCA. They have changed up the music to their commercials. I'm glad, because after seeing this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gspElv1yvc

I simply can't listen to Sarah McLachlan without tearing up. I couldn't even embed the video itself onto this blog, because seeing the sad cats and dogs still get to me. So the topic of this week's rant is, "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?"


About a month or so ago, video of this woman surfaced on the interwebs:




WTF?

There's also a video out there of a girl throwing young puppies into a river. I absolutely refuse to post that one because it's completely disgusting and morally repugnant. And quite frankly, that girl does not need fame nor attention for that heinous action. And if you ever want to see the depravity of people who neglect their pets, just watch any episode of Animal Cops on Animal Planet. I say depravity because Ghandi once said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals." If these people are indicative of our society, both old and young, I can see how we are heading towards doom in 2012.

I say this to contrast the false moral doom that we are constantly innundated with. Every day some right wing nutjob layeth the smacketh down upon us because of something or other. Yes, Westboro Baptist Church, I'm talking about YOU. I don't think it's gay marriage destroying the moral fiber of America, it's the fact that we are so callous and cruel not just to our fellow human beings, but to the cute cuddliness of our animal brethren.

Maybe I'm strange in that I actually feel more saddened by the ASPCA commercials than I do the Save the Starving Children in Africa commercials; but I do. I can't walk into a Humane Society or an Animal Shelter without feeling profound guilt and sadness that I am abandoning animals to a fate that I can't bear to think about. The thought that if those animals can't find home somewhere, they are "humanely" euthanized hurts my soul. I can't help but think, what if we did that to human children? I know, it's screwed up to think that, but if you can just keep your minds open for a few more paragraphs, I think my point would become clear. I am not advocating that we euthanize children. That's screwed up, even for me. But think about it.

What would the response be if someone put a baby into a trash can for 15 hours? What would you do if you saw a someone throw babies into a river? What would the reaction be if we realized that orphanages euthanize the unadopted kids because they are overcrowded? There'd be moral outrage. The two concepts are similar, at least in my mind. Domesticated animals are essentially furry babies. They are helpless, they can't talk, and they rely on their human caretaker for everything. The only difference is that, well... they're animals and they never grow out of that stage. They're never going to learn to drive or move out of the house. Their livespans aren't nearly as long as a human's so it's not even a lifelong commitment on the human's part. But yet, cruelty to them is acceptable for far too many people.

How can you hurt something as innocent as this little guy:


Photobucket

But, someone has. Milo was adopted from a shelter by a family that I will not name. Suffice it to say, they were not kind to Milo. They adopted him and they hit him, locked him in a basement, and called him aggressive. I'm not sure how passive I'd be if I was hit and locked in a basement. At least they had the decency to try to give him away to someone else rather than throw him in a trash can or into a river or just out into the streets. As soon as I realized that was what was happening, I walked out of their house with Milo before they could even say goodbye. While a little dumb, he is an extremely sweet cat that has affection issues. Gee, I wonder why.... And he probably has a better life than some humans in this world, heck, he even has health insurance!

Like Ghandi said, our moral progress is judged by the way we treat our animals. Why can't we treat animals better? I'm not even talking the big picture, Save the Whales and Endangered Double Breasted Boobie Bird or whatnot. I'm talking simply about the domesticated animals that we have kept for centuries. We can't even care for the animals we have bred to be helpless and cute. The dogs and cats that we have only share genetics with their wild counterparts. We made our pets the way they are and yet we cannot be morally righteous in the way we treat them.

Pets are not disposable. They are not an inconvenience that we can just pawn off to someone else or be cruel to because they won't report you. Can you imagine our society, if we do the things we do to our domesticated pets to our own children on the same scale? I know some of you will say that these are just animals and they're overpopulated anyways. Yes, but so are humans. But you don't see us giving every child a hysterectomy or a vasectomy with their first vaccination. They are not little furry things for us to victimize because we think it's amusing or think it'd get us fame on YouTube. They are not accessories or status symbols. They are not pawns in a fight club for the rich. Domesticated animals are sentient and intelligent creatures whose only flaw in life is that they don't speak a human language to ask you, "WHAT'S YOUR DEAL?!?"

So, where is our moral progress now? I'm not sure. I know where mine is. I know where it is for those people in those videos. Where's your's?