Monday, December 29, 2008

Blah blah blah Kennedy blah blah blah

I've been reading a lot about this Caroline Kennedy thing in New York, but I'm finding it to be detrimental to my health, what with the constant urge to bash my head into the wall. New York politics interest me about as much as Sarah Palin's recipe for caribou pâté. I'd rather spend my time debating Kantian ethics with Todd Palin, or summoning the ghost of Jesse Helms to ask him why he was such a tremendous sack of crap. Actually, that last one sounds pretty nice.

Anyway, speaking of Palin (the woman, not the asshole), one good thing has come out of the endless Kennedy coverage: We (the media) are showing the world that crucifying would-be politicians isn't solely reserved for inexperienced, religiously insane Republicans from Alaska. We pretty much do it to anybody who pisses us off or aims too high without the experience or ideas to justify it. As watchdogs, we journalists are very serious when it comes to slapping overly motivated but underqualified political hopefuls right in the face. Right. In. The. Face.

Of course, it isn't the media's fault that Kennedy's road to the Senate is eerily reminiscent of Palin's disastrous bid for vice president. In fact, I've seen the phrase "Palin-ized" more than once, apparently a word now used to reference politicians who try to hide from the media -- due to inexperience or fear or incompetence -- and are subsequently hounded by angry reporters until the reason for their elusiveness is uncovered. This isn't unreasonable; it's called watchdog journalism.

I'm not saying Kennedy is a bad person by any means. She's been a great community leader and fundraiser for legitimate causes. But she's never held elected office in any capacity, or even bothered to vote in many elections, and now she wants to go straight to a powerful New York Senate seat. And it can't be ignored that the only reason anybody is taking her seriously in this endeavor -- a complete newcomer to politics seeking a place in the top legislative body -- is her last name. If there's one thing journalists hate, it's fucking monarchy.

My advice to Kennedy would be to learn how to look reporters in the face and refrain from treating them like idiots if she wants to salvage her political ambitions. Not that I really give a shit.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up

JibJab year in review:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren is a piece of shit (and other reasonable conclusions)

As these cold, dark December days slog by and George W. Bush intensifies his desperate campaign of telling the world that he's not such a bad fascist after all, I can't help thinking that inauguration day seems too far away. In fact, I'm so atwitter by the prospect of returning to an era of reason that I've been compiling my Official Inauguration Checklist, aided by a contingent of frothing media types who write wordy, fawning stories daily about the upcoming extravaganza. Here's what I have so far:

* Performance by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (check)
* Reading by Elizabeth Alexander, a renowned black poet (check)
* Speech by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California, the Bay Area Badass (check)
* Invocation by evangelist Rev. Rick Warren, an insane religious zealot and renowned gay basher (check)

Ah yes. An affair to remember. And perfectly planned! This way, right before I enjoy the Constitutional passage of the torch to the nation's first black president and celebrate the official end of the Bush era, I can listen to the thoughtful remarks of a raving madman who symbolizes everything I hate about America.

Are you fucking serious? Rick Warren? Obama, I love you to pieces man, but please, please stop pretending that you give a crap about the religious right. I mean, you fucking won! It's time to let your hair down. Don't you remember the campaign? These are the same people who spread a rumor that you were a Muslim and your wife was an atheist. This is the level of intellectualism we're dealing with here.

Look, I understand that the United States is not a liberal nation. I get that the union is strung together by blocs of ultra-left and ultra-right, and the majority lands in the middle. We're a moderate country, and that is reflected in the incoming Cabinet. But Rick Warren is not a moderate; he's an extremist. We're talking about a shameless and delusional culture warrior who compares abortion to the Holocaust and supports the assassination of foreign leaders. This man has dedicated his life to brainwashing frothing masses into believing an all-powerful God actually cares if two insignificant people of the same insignificant sex living on one insignificant rock in one insignificant galaxy shack up and call themselves "married."

Rick Warren? Not exactly a great start to the era of reason.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My long farewell to certainty

I believe there are three types of people.

The first type, whether as a result of external influences or some internal desire for comfort, tend to cling to familiarity and naturally rule out decisions that result in instability or chaos. This isn't a bad way to live, given its ultimate safety and high likelihood of a long, relatively worry-free life. These people have an uncanny ability to transform boredom and complacency into the idea that these feelings are a rational and expected part of being human and American, and that the ultimate goal of living is not to be fulfilled but to lead the life that makes the most sense: college, job, money, marriage, death.

The second type, whether as a result of external influences of some internal desire for fulfillment, understand that humans are insignificant specs in an eternal universe of ideas and personalities, and if they're going to make their mark in the world -- be it by having a job they love, being famous, being rich, raising a family, whatever -- they'd better do it before their time runs out. These people don't necessarily know their ultimate goal in life, but they have a solid grasp on what they don't want: a wasted existence, and the fear that in 60 years they'll be cowering in their bed, wasting away and seeking frantically with each feeble, dying breath for some kind of meaning or explanation for the seconds, minutes and hours that equal a lifetime of thoughts and actions.

The third type: Happy with whichever path they've chosen, and fulfilled because they had to work and sacrifice for their comfort. The future is unknown, but there's a certain sense of optimism with that inevitability. I have great respect and admiration for these people.

The easy part is recognizing these three types of people. The hard part is figuring out which one I am, and which one I want to be, and how to evolve. It's about taking a long, deep look at what's important to me -- what makes me feel passionate about living.

For me, it seems easy: occupation, family and friends. But it goes way beyond that.

Person #1 would say occupation is important because it's what you do to get paid, and getting paid is how you function. Person #1 would say family because it's the logical next step attaining normality in our society. Person #1 would say friends because being alone just doesn't make sense with so many people walking around.

Person #2? He would say occupation because it's his passion, his ultimate reason for getting up and doing what he loves every day, be it flying rockets into space or pumping gas. Person #2 would say family because he feels he has an eternal soul mate, and his kids are a part of him: fascinating, fresh souls in the world whom he can nurture, love, shape and raise, and not just something to prove to the rest of society that he is normal. Person #2 would say friends because friends sacrifice themselves for each other, and knowing that somebody will do that for you is a powerful force against selfishness and hatred in this world.

Who am I? It's a question I can't possibly begin to fathom. It's also terrifying; after all, the answer will dictate nothing less than the rest of my life. Am I the person who floats through an empty occupation, going through the motions with no emotion so I can get through the day? Or am I the person who takes action? Am I the person who subverts the overwhelming, natural influence to be comfortable, to be safe -- to be empty? Or am I the person with the courage and recklessness to enter the unknown? Am I the person who accepts his perceived fate? Or Am I the person who realizes that all the chapters in my life haven't been written yet?

The unknown. Holy shit.