Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dumb, but Not Fat

There's nothing quite like writing a screed against society one night, arrogantly believing that it was a somewhat original thought, only to wake up the next morning to the same basic arguments being made across the media. There was a shit ton of backlash against the Britney-bashing all over the internets today, with the general consensus being that the media had taken it too far when they called out her physical appearance.

The chick isn't fat. Batshit nuts, in the midst of a complete emotional breakdown, perhaps, but not fat. Because that would be a fate far worse than being one bad day away from swallowing a bottle of pills. Crazy, stupid and whacked out on drugs and alcohol, sure. But not fat.

Sadly, some of the most reasoned and intelligent discourse I have seen on the intertubes related to Britney. Is it because it is the lowest common denominator of topics, such that anyone can discuss it with authority? Fuck, that is probably it. Reading about trainwrecks like Lohan and Ms. Spears is easier and provides far more entertainment than reading about the the corruption of our government, which is literally throwing money to their private sector associates and has "lost" billions of dollars. I'm sure I could surf over to Daily Kos or Free Republic to hear such discussions. I guess I am just as bad, as when I am squandering my employer's time, I go for the fluff, too. I am just pleasantly surprised when I see that there is a sizable population of folks who, similarly searching for distraction, nonetheless demonstrate they are capable of intelligent debate and discussion. It just kind of sucks that it is reserved for the most banal of topics.

I try to balance my fluff with substance. I read the NYT on Sundays, although I confess that the Style section (FLUFF!) and the Book Review are my favorite sections. I have the whole Sunday ritual down to a science. First up is the front section, where I read every article, albeit some more closely than others. I then slack off with the Business section, and usually take a gander through the nation's least interesting Sports section. To gear up for the more difficult reading, I usually cleanse the palate with the Travel section, always intending to keep it for later reference, but almost always discarding it when I am done. Then comes the Week in Review, which I believe to be the most challenging reading of the whole exercise. After that, it is all downhill coasting. Arts and Entertainment, NYT magazine, Styles section (how I love thee, wedding announcements and Modern Love), then finally, the Book Review.

I used to have a subscription to the New Yorker and I miss it. It would take me the whole week to read it, most of it on the bus, and I was much better informed. I think I need to renew, as I get too much information in real time about shit that really doesn't matter. It will confound me until my last days that my parents don't read anything approaching the sophistication of the New Yorker, which is hardly The Economist. I can't imagine spending 30 plus years overseas and being titillated by People magazine and that ilk. They freaking live as Americans abroad and have very little criticism of our administration. My dad was pissed about GWB2's immigration proposal, which, of course, was one of the few things I thought had some potential. My mother just doesn't have independent thoughts on such matters and, truthfully, no interest in it, either. She is a Star Magazine kind of woman, leading an expat life in one of the most oil-rich and corrupt countries in the world.

Weirder still? All four siblings have rejected our parents' politics and religious beliefs. I respect the hell out of my dad's beliefs, which my mother tells me have only grown in strength as he has aged. I respect his beliefs and would never deign to debate religion with him. Religion just shouldn't be debated, as you cannot substantiate your arguments with facts - only faith. I respect his (and anybody's) faith, as I know it played an important part in shaping him as a boy and a man. The parents are having issues with the brother's NYE wedding, as it is decidedly non-religious, and there is very little God involved in the ceremony. Keegan doesn't belong to a church and, like the rest of us, is something approaching agnostic when it comes to religion. Not ruling it out, just not big believers in institutionalized religion and jaded from seeing self-professed "Christians" act anything but. His bride is half Jewish, but non-practicing, and both of them find it disrespectful to pretend to be otherwise for the purpose of ceremony. I find that to be incredibly honorable, genuine, and, respectful to those of abiding faith. It is odd that my parents don't appreciate that respect.

All of this notwithstanding, my parents deserve props for raising four independently thinking and truly quality human beings. It would be so weird if one of us were some fundamentalist Christian or crazy right wing parrot of our parents or the administration. We can all accept that my mother doesn't know or care, and that our dad is a Waco-born, Naval Academy graduate who would sooner die than actively criticize the government - an affliction that he didn't have during the Clinton administration. Somehow, for him, lying about a blow job is far, far worse than lying about war motivations, most likely owing to the "far left media" that controls the airwaves. Suffice to say, they like Fox News. And you can only imagine their thoughts on Hillary Clinton. I haven't heard my dad's take on Obama, but am hopeful it doesn't include the phrase "opportunistic nigger" or an equivalent. I can guarantee you, however, that he isn't seeking out any information on the man.

What the hell was all of this? No idea. My corner of the internets has no rules. I am secretly hoping that Hillary and Obama join forces, although I suspect that Hillary might choose Al, which would be pretty damning to Obama. I have read a lot about the candidates and can see strengths in all of them, save Guliani, who will appeal to my parents, I am sure. I liked McCain on some levels, but he seems to be in a Britney-style meltdown, probably owing to the hatchet job done to him by GWB2 last election. I don't even think my dad understands what that was all about, how a fellow Annapolis grad was utterly besmirched by the White House. They don't cover that in the weekly tabloids or on Fox News. I don't think Hillary is electable, , owing to folks like my parents in the flyover states who cannot be arsed to think for themselves. I have tentatively thrown my support behind Obama, as he is the most exciting thing in American politics since.....well, hell, I don't know. His lack of international experience and diplomacy is an issue, but holy fuck, compared to the inexperienced cowboy that is currently running the show? Step way the hell up.

Yeah, I am boring myself. I wonder if Lohan is out of rehab, or if TMZ has a close-up of Tommy Lee's black eye from Kid Rock.

1 comment:

Norm said...

I'm shocked at the number of otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people I know who are utterly uninformed or badly misinformed about Obama. Hopefully this will change. There was a very well-attended rally here (the girls both went) and everyone agrees he's a fantastic speaker.