Talk Politics and Religion

Forget the rules. Talk about what's important.

March 3, 2013
by deelee
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What is politically correct anymore? Boobs.

I quit cable a while ago, but I once lived vicariously through entertainment news. Of course, that was before I moved out of the house and didn’t even know what political parties stood for. I seem to remember entertainment news giving me glimpses into the lives of celebrities I thought were talented and beautiful. They zoom in now so we can have way more than glimpses, give us stories about people no one over the age of eighteen has never heard of, and it now feels like mainstream news.

Because the Oscars were last week (and don’t even get me started about why it matters that people get awards for doing jobs they were overpaid to do and didn’t save any lives), entertainment news was way more mainstream than usual. Check out this official Anne Hathaway Huffington Post Page. Notice that not only was a story about her nipples on the front page of the website (and every other news website), but then she released (and you can’t make this up) a formal statement about it. Thankfully, she did not apologize for having boobs, but rather for not choosing a better dress. I cringe to think of a moment ever occurring in my live in which I must issue a formal statement apologizing for my clothing choice.


But don’t get me wrong. I think there should have been a formal statement and it should have gone something like: Sorry, Anne (and everybody else we call out photographically for having body parts), we should not have put pictures of your unfortunate nipple dress on the front cover… and we probably shouldn’t have posted that other photo of you without your underwear. Unfortunately, NO ONE wants the media to apologize this way? Know why? The media dictates when and where injustices occur and just so you know, injustices are never perpetuated by the media. Media is always politically correct by definition.

We live in a climate where Rush Limbaugh has to apologize after a “media firestorm” for calling a woman a “slut” (even though he obviously doesn’t mean it); and when Franklin Graham apologizes for questioning Obama’s faith even though he said religion wasn’t a reason he didn’t support Obama even though clearly it’s all a lie; and a couple years ago when Virgil Peck apologized for casually suggesting to kill illegal immigrants the same way we might kill our feral wild hogs; or my favorite when Ernest Hewett told a female high schooler: “If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here,” and then later ”What I meant to say was, ‘If you are shy, then I have an acre of land in the Everglades” before finally admitting that he is not the kind of guy who can have females working for him; but the things we never seem to disagree about are sideboob, nipslips, or forgotten underwear. Even Fox News fills a story slot on a slow news day with Celebrity Hand Bra Heroes. And here, I didn’t even know it was a slow news day what with the sequester and all.

A couple of facts: most everyone likes boobs (they’re nice to look at, they make a woman feel good about herself) and we’re not really supposed to show them to everyone. This apparently makes for a great neutral zone between races, genders, right and left, Christians and Buddhists. This makes a magical territory in which the media cannot go wrong. The market for boob stories is booming and I guess we’re buying what they’re selling so to speak. Within this safety zone, “reporters” can exploit people’s most embarrassing moments on the front page of any news website and any clothing selection is up for criticism in front of an eager national audience.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re more divisive than ever in my lifetime and neutral ground has become more valuable than gold or if it’s because there are just so many problems in the world that we cannot possibly cope with the reality of them all, but the fact is that we hide from things that matter. If you are a political figure or just a very public one that doesn’t want to be blacklisted by anyone, you are not allowed to say what you mean. It doesn’t matter that your apology clearly labels you as an indecisive, hypocritical idiot who never means what you say, it only matters that you apologize and then we will respect you. If you don’t… you’ve “dug a deeper hole” and you will disappear off the face of the earth until we forget what you did (this can take anywhere from a week to decades).

But who can really blame the media? No one says what they mean anymore, so what is there to report? Everyone’s pretending to get along without offending anyone. By everyone, I don’t mean political radio show hosts or congressmen. I mean everyone. If I start a conversation about politics or even about how almost a million people will lose their jobs because of the sequester cuts among friends or acquaintances, I’m usually met with silence. It’s an unspoken rule that you’re not supposed to speak passionately about things like that.

I think we’ve diminished ourselves when we can no longer talk about what matters. Despite its quickness to join us in our issue-avoidance tendencies, I don’t think the media is entirely to blame. I’ll admit that this week when congress was headed toward yet another deadline of epic proportions, I didn’t read about it. I felt incapable of doing anything about it, so why worry about it? But I think this attitude is generally why congress has gotten away with such rotten behavior these last few years. I don’t know how to change that, but I do know that it starts with giving a shit and not pretending like sideboob is something we need to read about (on a news site, that is).

January 18, 2013
by deelee

Life Less Tactile

I learned recently that the steps at Chichen Itza are no longer open to the public. I can’t fathom this as the very structure itself was created to be experienced. It exists for human experience. It is less when viewed from the base. It’s like closing off a historical hedge maze. What’s the point? What exactly are we preserving it for? Why don’t we care that the very experience of our world is being slowly lost? Is this the reason that despite our obvious progress in human rights, people always hunger for the past, when the world seemed so much better?

But it’s not just Chichen Itza. It’s every little thing that make up our daily first-world lives. We don’t talk face to face to each other most of the time. I’m writing this in a room alone. Almost every advance in technology has taken us further away from the origins of things. Even childbirth in the United States usually happens after the mother losing all feeling. I don’t even wear winter coats when I should because I’m not outside more than a minute or two total. It’s socially acceptable to run if you’re just practicing while wearing appropriate clothing, but not for ordinary locomotion.

We’re so far removed from reality and pay less attention to those of our most basic, human needs that cannot be quantified than we do to those of our needs that we can count, like quantity of food and length of life. We forget about how important the attention of a mother is or what the warmth of sunlight does for our minds. Sometime between the time we’re born and the time we start thinking we should feel grown-up, most of us lose the desire for constant tactile experience and trade it in for living in our heads.

Will this be our downfall? Our strong desire to become something we’re not? We pretend like we don’t need to eat plants that grow roots in the dirty ground. We don’t care about the farmer or the weather that contributes to the success of his crops. Natural corn isn’t good enough for us so we engineered a type that can withstand the reality of bugs and disease. We think this in turn makes us more resilient, but doesn’t it really do the opposite because we cannot engineer people that don’t have to depend on the reality of life, the tactile and actual experience of life. Doctors won’t ever give us immortal life and machines will never invent something that a man or woman doesn’t dream up first.

The reality is that all things are transient. Nothing lasts. At what point will our natural habitat no longer exist? Like a tiger in the zoo, will we might still have some token trees for scenery and take cat naps but we won’t be doing any of the things that really make us happy and healthy. We won’t be running just because we’re in a hurry or giving birth without a scientific representative present.

We need to stop living in our heads so much. We need to stop watching other people’s lives on television and live our own.
We should fight for our tactile world. Deliver your babies yourselves. Grow your own food. Be within touching distance of the people you care about. Cook from scratch. Give a gift and watch someone open it. Preserve an environment for your children so we won’t face essential extinction. Happiness can’t be measured or quantified, but it can be felt and I don’t see how removing ourselves from our physical world makes us feel any happier.

November 12, 2012
by deelee
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4,000 Kansans think this guy is A-OK! (or Where are the values?)

This year hasn’t been a good one for the Republican party. Conservatives have relied upon voters fears (the fear that women will casually abort their babies given have the chance and the fear that everyone will be able to obtain health insurance) and in doing so, have spouted such insulting phrases as “legitimate rape” (Todd Akin) and “some girls rape easy” (Roger Rivard) and LOST because of it. These phrases are easy to condemn, but these conversations probably never should have happened because I don’t think it’s your job to be my conscience.

Regardless of that topic, last year in the Kansas House of Representatives, while discussing a feral hog issue in rural Kansas, Virgil Peck had a great idea out of nowhere: “It looks like to me that if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a solution to our illegal immigration problem,” he said. He apologized, which is nice. But the fact is that no one (absolutely no one) who really believes that we are all God’s children and that we are all created equal would ever say such a thing, especially when it’s not even what ANYBODY ELSE IS TALKING ABOUT.

So we’ve seen that there are dozens of confirmed hateful men running as conservative politicians these days. Most of them didn’t get reelected. The reason I’m on about this is that Virgil Peck got reelected last week at a rate of about 2:1. Over 4,000 people voted for him. He was elected with such gems as this: “The income tax cut is something that the voters like. They like tax cuts. They’re not so concerned about government spending and government having enough money to do what some people in government think it needs to have.” Read the whole article about his reelection here and you’ll notice there’s no mention of the fact that it occurred to him to shoot millions of people like swine.

This is one reason why I cannot understand the religious right. We are too well-educated these days to pretend like we just didn’t know who we were voting for. The pool of potential candidates presumably grows along with our booming population and increasing college graduation rates, right? Do you really have to settle on this guy? Do you see why the rest of us don’t trust you? When Akin slips up a few months before the election, it gets on national television and you make an example of him. If he hadn’t said it this year or was running for a little state position, would you have just ignored it? I realize it’s politics, but if it’s “just politics,” then why do you pretend like you’re electing someone to uphold your values?

November 8, 2012
by deelee
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2012 Election Results: I start a blog

A day or two after an election, I’m in a different mood. How could I not be? Election night is like vising another planet. Networks employ so many personalities they barely have room for the cameramen. Touch screens larger than the average human’s armspan are used with practiced nonchalance. Everyone appearing on television for any amount of time is encouraged to give us their opinions, provided they’re noncommital and the more tediously researched your obscure bit of information is, the better. After this whirlwind, I like to savor the feeling. I will savor a long-awaited win or savor the feeling of peace and acceptance I must adopt in the face of a loss. And yes, I do feel like I have personally won or lost. Some people say it doesn’t matter much to us as individuals who wins. For the record, I cannot identify with these people. For this lady, on the first Tuesday after a Monday in November every four years, it’s as important as if it were my own job and my personal reputation on the line. A random grouping of states I may or may not know the capital of have the power to make me feel complete betrayal or supreme satisfaction. There are two reasons for this feeling of personal involvement:

1) I care because I am passionate about my beliefs and eager to discuss them. Also, like everybody in this country, I want my party’s candidate to win (when I say that, I’m obviously not including those who wrote-in a candidate for president and I’m anxiously awaiting those hilarious results).

2) I like knowing that most people agree with me. That most basic human want: to know that most people don’t want to pick a fight with you (specifically the gun-carrying half).

So I’m finally starting my blog tonight, when everyone is in the post-election haze. Why call the blog something like “Talk About Religion and Politics?” DEFINITELY not because I want to start a fight. Quite the opposite. I mean, I’m certainly no super genius peacemaker and I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea for everyone to agree about everything. It’s just that I’m a liberal. A very proud, love-thy-neighbor, anti-war, bleeding heart liberal. I have come to realize that I don’t see God the way a lot of others see God. I think God is love. God doesn’t (as a random example) condone concealed weapons. God would want to know who you were hiding those from because you’re hiding them from another person, right? We don’t need to hide guns from deer or turkeys so you probably have no business doing it.

People will agree to disagree with me, however frustrating that phrase is sometimes. This blog is my meager attempt to make peace with the world. To talk about the things that make us different and maybe things that make us very much the same. Respect is hard to gain without understanding, so if I can provide any understanding or gain any, then it’s a win!

I clearly have no idea why we’re not supposed to discuss religion or politics because I think life’s too short to not talk about things that matter. At any moment, you could find me pondering subjects like childbirth or consumerism, or even that commercial that kept running on CNN last night for the accident lawyer AND SURGEON (yes, that’s one guy with two jobs who’s probably not adept at either one, has to have at least five degrees and one possible conflict of interest).

Even now, blog theory is running through my mind. I’m wondering if there’s any delicate way to really introduce oneself in a debut blog post. I have decided that there is not. You will have to forgive my feeble attempt as you have forgiven your favorite TV shows for their pilot episodes.

Good night.