Has it ever been put more simply? What more can one say to make people understand why these bullied gay teens are killing themselves? Dan Savage tells it like it is.
Seattle was rocked by yesterday’s announcement that lounging on railroad tracks for fun can get you smooshed by a train. Indeed, these are times of amazement and discovery! And just get a load of this brilliant quote:
We’ve got different amusements, different types of things that, you know, that kind of satisfy us and amuse us. We used to do this all the time… That’s why everybody’s in disbelief because, you know, like, we’ve done it so much that we didn’t realize that a freak accident would happen like this.
A freak accident, are you fucking kidding me? Dude, like, how high ARE you, anyway?? This was no freak accident, it was Nature scrubbing the gene pool. And if you’re going to mourn him by going back down to sit on the tracks, maybe you should stick around a while so Nature can finish the job.
Goddamn, people are stupid.
The BBC reports on a study which reveals that most deeply religious people are terrified of death and will instruct their doctors to do everything they can to keep them alive.
This is fascinating. You’d think that people like this would embrace death more easily than others, comfortable in their “after-life insurance.” After all, they know exactly where they’re going and what their rewards will be, right? Riiiiight. This makes me wonder how many people are true believers and how many are just kidding themselves.
For a few weeks now I’ve been wanting to write something about this latest Black Friday death at Wal-Mart, but it’s so disgusting and outrageous that it’s taken me a while to wrap my brain around it. You know the story: a mob of shopping-crazed human cattle literally busted down the doors at a Long Island Wal-Mart and trampled an employee to death, all so they could get their mangy, overconsuming claws on a bunch of cheap, shitty products for Christmas. They killed a man so they could get minor discounts on TVs, DVDs, and toys for their spawn.
For starters, the obvious question: what kind of human being actually steps over a trampled, bleeding victim of mob violence and continues to shop? And not only that, some of them actually cracked jokes about him as paramedics tried to save him!
The paramedic stops pumping. The man’s shirt has been pulled to his neck, revealing his belly. A woman in the crowd mutters, “Pregnant.” Another cracks a joke. The women laugh.
“Ha-ha, look at that fat fatty laying there! Stupid fatty, not my fault he got in the way! At least I got my $49 DVD player and that Charwoman Barbie that little Kaitlyn wanted!” These fuckers are animals, simple as that. Former humans turned into savage, feral creatures with only one goal in mind: to consume, to own more merchandise. Because consuming and acquiring more shit is the only thing these invertebrates have to live for in their pathetic, meaningless lives, and they are very good at it.
“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”
These “people” are professional consumers…and they are prepared to take lives to get what they want, so stay the fuck out of their way.
How the hell did this happen to us? When did snagging a bargain become a higher priority than common civility and compassion? When did our lives become so empty that shopping became the only way to ease the pain? Some are quick to say, “See? This is what happens when you take God out of Christmas!” But I don’t buy that. It’s not a lack of God that causes this sort of thing, it’s a lack of humanity. You don’t need God to be a decent human being. That part’s still up to you.
It’s also easy to blame our consumer-driven culture in general, but one column in the New York Times brings up a very good point: the media and retailers built the Black Friday madness together. And you know what? It makes perfect, obvious sense.
Media and retail outfits are economic peas in a pod. Part of the reason that the Thanksgiving newspaper and local morning television show are stuffed with soft features about shopping frenzies is that they are stuffed in return with ads from retailers. Yes, Black Friday is a big day for retailers … but it is also a huge day for newspapers and television.
This is absolutely true. You can see it in every “news” broadcast and newspaper leading up to Black Friday, it’s an all-out media assault on the public. They even give you shopping tips like what time certain stores open, how to strategically plan your day in order to maximize your shopping time, where to run once entering a store to get the exact item you want, how to utilize baby strollers for carrying loot…the media and retailers are working together to make Black Friday the frenzied, ritualistic shopping day it has become. (This time it really was a ritual, because they brutally sacrificed a man’s life.) You can’t escape this shit on the internet, either, because now the mega-retailers like Amazon are getting into the Black Friday game.
But none of this lets the mindless, TV-worshiping cattle off the hook for their reprehensible behavior — they buy into the hype and willingly give up all sense of self-control. They’ve let themselves become savages and they are just as guilty as the admen and retailers for this disaster. From the above article:
Buying stuff in the teeth of recession represents a vulgar but far too common impulse. Consumption is a core American value, so much so that President Bush suggested people head to the mall after the attacks of Sept. 11 as an expression of solidarity.
But what about the Christmas spirit of giving? Bitch, please. That has long been replaced by obligation. The pressure to buy begins as early as August, and they intertwine it with Halloween and Thanksgiving so there’s no escaping it. Not only that, but people are trained to expect stuff for Christmas, and if you don’t buy them something you may be thought of as a Scrooge or uncaring or cheap. Shit, I would take the religious aspect of Christmas over this shopping nonsense any day! It’s time to stop running up the credit cards every year to fulfill false obligations, folks.
Personally, Critter and I still enjoy giving gifts, but we think small and we try not to go crazy with it. Even so, next year we might opt out of the gift thing completely, especially if money is tight like it has been. We’d rather spend some time with friends and family than buy them crap they don’t need and make them feel like they need to do the same for us…
One last point.. On the flight home from Florida recently, I listened to an interview with George Carlin which aired on Art Bell’s radio show in 1999. I remember hearing it back when it aired, and somehow I managed to find a copy of it online. (I want to write something about his death eventually, once I figure out what to say…) He said a lot of interesting things, but one thing in particular was relevant to this topic:
The next HBO show I do is called “The Great American Cattle Drive.” But the American cattle are not being prepared for market in order to be sold, they’re there to do the buying. Get them to the mall, get these suckers to the mall, put ‘em on the Internet, get ‘em buying from e-commerce, get ‘em to the mall… It’s just repulsive and disgusting and it’s one of the reasons I quit this species. It’s one of the reasons I backed off and said, “Wait a minute, that’s you over there folks. This is me over here, I’ll go my way. And if it costs me something, fine, I’ll pay whatever price it is.”
He said much more scathing things on this topic later in his career, but that remark about quitting the species really struck a chord. Sometimes I wish I could do the same — just get the fuck out of this shallow, consumption-driven culture that disgusts me so, and be something completely separate. I fully admit to having a fetish for gadgets and things like that, but I do still have some dignity and self-control. I’m not willing to kill for these things like those savages did in Long Island, or even just beat people up like they do elsewhere in the country. Couple that with the way people are treating each other in general, and it makes me want to back away slowly and go somewhere more sane.
Picture this…or don’t
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is now open, but don’t count on taking any pictures while you’re on it. According to a C|Net reporter who recently took a walk on it: “…I’ve been told upon arrival that I can’t take photographs while standing on the Skywalk itself. I can take my camera to the very edge of it and shoot as many pictures as I want from there — using telephoto lenses, even — but there is to be no photography from the bridge itself. The Hualapai seem to be reserving that right for themselves so that they can sell such images to the tourists who come through.” So they’re going to charge adults $80 (and kids $60) to walk around on this thing but they won’t allow photographs? Oh, that’s gonna piss off a lot of tourists, including myself. Me denied photos, me no pay!
From the Department of Stupid Shit and Utterly Useless Things
The new Tank Limo is sure to be the darling of ape-brained dumbass tools everywhere, or at least those who can afford the hefty rental fee. The mind simply boggles. Just where the hell are you supposed to drive this thing?
Dial *777 on your mobile phone to speak to the Messiah
Oh, I just love this. You’ve seen those fake cell phone towers, right? They’re usually disguised to look like pine trees or palm trees at first glance, and some towns and communities actually require it. Well, a town in New Jersey is actually considering raising a cell tower shaped like a fucking cross. Can you imagine driving to work every day and having to see this giant crucifix in your face? Talk about offensive and obnoxious. But why stop there? I think they should make a giant stuffed Jesus to nail up there. And let’s not forget to ponder the most important question: what carrier would Jesus use? I’m betting on Verizon.
A whole new meaning to the term “cauliflower ear”
Disney’s Epcot Center appears to have a remarkable sustainable farming tour, but this kinda turns my stomach: vegetables with Mickey Mouse ears. Dear God, WHY??
Everyone knows that Aquafina is simply tapwater, but now they’re required to put it on the label. I’m wondering how it will affect their sales…people probably won’t give a shit, as usual. The same goes for other brands, too.
Who’s being jumpy now?
The Aurora Bridge here in Seattle has long been a favorite of suicide jumpers (not all of them successful), and this latest death prompted the city to look at ways of preventing future jumpers, including “installing fencing along the railings or banning pedestrians from the bridge altogether”. Say what? This bridge allows a fantastic view on both sides, and the sidewalks are safe enough to to walk on…I’ve crossed this bridge by foot many times and taken lots of photos (like this one). Thousands of others walk across it every year, and none of them jumped. Blocking this bridge or fencing it up won’t solve anything…if someone wants to die, he/she will find a way.
Whoah… If you’re looking for a freaky headline, you can’t do much better than “Christian music festival marred by death on bungee ride.” Looks like some poor girl at the Lifest Christian Music Festival died when the Air Glory bungee ride malfunctioned and catapulted her prematurely into the arms of Jesus. So, of course, after reading this story I went right to the festival’s website to see what was on there.
Oddly enough, they didn’t mention this tidbit on the Lifest website until today (Tuesday), nearly three days after the incident. When I began writing this post yesterday, the ride was still prominently displayed with this breathless description: “Want to hear grown men scream like little girls? Air Glory will take you and a friend or 2 to almost 100 feet above the ground. Then when you are overcome with total madness, you will pull your own rip-cord launching the 2 or 3 of you into a freefall glide to earth with the force of 3½ G’s (This is where the screaming comes in).” They’ve since removed any mention of the ride from the site, but while they’ve fessed up to the accident on their main page, they don’t say how it happened.
When I checked yesterday, there was also no mention of this tragedy in their YouTube promotional video, but some people were bringing it up in the comments. (Today the video was removed, sadly.)
Some interesting tidbits about this festival that I gleaned from their website:
- Until this recent update, the little cartoon figure on the main page said “Finally we have a festival of our own!” Um, you think you’re the first Christian music festival ever? Where have you been?
- They have something on the schedule called “Bonfire Worship: Noonday Sun.” Hmmm, sounds kinda pagan to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
- Some interestingly-named bands are performing: This Beautiful Republic, Common Yet Forbidden, Destnd Furthr, War of Ages, and Denver & the Mile High Orchestra. Oh, you Christian bands are so cute in your earnest attempts to be badass! Destnd Furthr, hmmm? Yeah, whtevr. Removing vowels does not a badass band make.
- The bands are playing on stages with names like The Pit and The Edge Main Stage. Wow, that’s so edgy. I’d like to see one called Lake of Fire. That’s where they can chuck all the Log Cabin Republicans.
- One of the sponsors is a site called The Jesus Undergound. How in the hell can anything Christian be considered to be “underground”? Christ. The artist featured on their site at the moment is called Da’ T.R.U.T.H. with their album “Open Book.” Sigh. So what does T.R.U.T.H. stand for? They don’t mention it anywhere. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know…
OK, I’ll stop now…
Matt sent in a great little rant by a SF Gate columnist which relishes in two bits of news: Falwell’s dead and so is the Hummer. It’s a nifty little piece which ties the two items together, as both are bloated mutations of things that were bad to begin with. I didn’t know that sales for the H2 had dropped so dramatically, but after a little Googling I see a lot of people predicting its demise. Of course, it’s only to make way for the H3 and H4, which means there are still a lot of guys out there with growing bald spots and itty-bitty cocktail sausages between their legs…
Well, well, well! Reverend Jerry Falwell has finally left the building. Expired, like an unwanted magazine subscription. To sum up the feelings of millions out there, I offer a quote from Lilly von Schtupp: “You’re finished. Fertig! Verfallen! Verlumpt! Verblunget! Verkackt!”
So long, Reverend. I hope they bury you face-down so you can see where you’re going.
I’d also like to rehash some of his old quotes, even though they’re easily found online and zillions of bloggers are doing the same. This stuff just can’t be repeated enough, because it’s the kind of scary, whacked-out Christian bullshit he and his ilk have preached for ages. So when you hear all that respectful, flowery stuff about him now that he’s gone, remember what he was really like. And you can find a lot of everyday conservative religious folks nodding in agreement with him.
“The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”
“I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them.”
“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.”
“God has removed it’s veil of protection from America in no small part, because of the feminists and the gays.”
“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
“The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews.”
“Homosexuality is Satan’s diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.”
“I do not believe we can blame genetics for adultery, homosexuality, dishonesty and other character flaws.” (Homosexualty is a “character flaw”, eh?)
“(re: 9/11 attacks) “…throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad…I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America…I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen.”
“[homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”
“I believe that all of us are born heterosexual, physically created with a plumbing that’s heterosexual, and created with the instincts and desires that are basically, fundamentally, heterosexual.”
“I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.”
“I think the Moslem faith teaches hate.” But wait, he also said, “If I were president of the United States, I would include Moslems in my presidency.”
“We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle with all the benefits that go with equating it with the heterosexual lifestyle.”
“Someone must not be afraid to say, ‘moral perversion is wrong.’ If we do not act now, homosexuals will ‘own’ America!…If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will leterally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way…and our nation will pay a terrible price!”
The media coverage of the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech has been both fascinating and disgusting to watch. If the entire U.S. media could have a giant spontaneous orgasm, this is it! They’ve descended like filthy carrion, fed on the flesh of both the living and the dead, and pooped out some record ratings. T.V. network executives all over the country are congratulating themselves and toasting to the grand success they’ve had this week. Because it’s such a ratings smash, it’s all we will hear about for the next month or two, or at least until something else comes along for them to feed on.
Things got interesting once NBC decided to publish the killer’s multimedia portfolio. He essentially put together a complete press package of photos, video files, and a printed manifesto…a “digital vanity package”, as Boing-Boing puts it. He knew what he was doing, knew exactly how to get the most exposure possible to spread his deranged message and try to justify his actions. NBC, not being able to resist such a ratings frenzy, released everything to the rest of the press and made the killer an instant media star. His name and face are everywhere — he’s practically the new American Idol. NBC claims that they “agonized for hours” over whether or not they should publish it, but we all know their mind was made up the moment they opened that package. They’re facing a bit of a backlash for doing so, and it added almost nothing to the investigation, but they knew the media and the public would eat it up. Some of the material does give us a window into the killer’s warped mind, but are full slideshows and glossy video montages really necessary? (Any other news agency would have done the same thing, of course…NBC isn’t the only whore out there.)
The latest “discovery” centers around a purported link between the murders and a movie called “Oldboy.” The killer took pictures of himself doing certain things (pointing a gun at his head, wielding a hammer) and somehow they’ve decided that because the actors in this movie did similar things, they must be connected. I’m not quite convinced. Earlier, douchebag lawyer Jack Thompson blamed the killings on violent videogames. Because, you know, we have to find something to blame. It’s not enough that he was a troubled, psychotic manic-depressive type. No, we need something in the media to blame, something we can physically point to and say, “This is the cause! This made him a killer!!” Maybe he watched violent movies, and maybe he played violent videogames — many people do. But this kind of mental instability isn’t actually created by such things. If that were true, I’d be running around with a chainsaw and a shotgun after having seen “Evil Dead 2″ so many times.
Today my biggest question is: how soon before some asshole comes up with a Virginia Tech ribbon/sticker/shirt/bracelet for sale? Has the cashing-in already begun? I’m sure it has. Somewhere out there, mere days after the murders, someone is selling a product designed to milk tears and empty wallets, and it won’t be strictly for charity. Hey, they did it after 9/11, so why not now?
Well, well, well! Hot on the heels of Anna Nicole Smith’s undignified demise comes news of another overhyped, why-is-she-famous celebrity freak-out: Britney Spears. First she shaved her head after one day in rehab, and now she’s wearing a wig to cover it all up again. It’s the latest in a long string of weird behavior (even for her), and it can only point to one thing: her impending doom. I totally expect her to follow in Anna Nicole’s footsteps and flush her life down the toilet in a most embarrassing way, and of course America will willingly slurp it up as a national tragedy.
Here’s the grand finale I envision for Britney, based on other celebrity deaths. After she’s been unreachable for several hours, the cops finally break into her 5-star hotel room. She’s splayed out on the bed wearing only jeans and a bra — one leg is flopped down onto the floor, its high-heel shoe laying a couple of feet away. Her tangled, booze-stained wig has come off and is resting on the other side of the bed. Her left hand is clutching a bottle of antidepressant/diet pills and her right hand is wrapped around three smoldering cigarettes. A facial tissue has been twisted into a point and stuffed up into one nostril. The rest of the bed is covered with tabloid magazines and brochures for breast implants, some of them shredded to pieces. A large box of wine, damaged from being kicked around the room earlier, sits on her nightstand and slowly dribbles its contents onto the vomit-sprayed carpeting. Bottles of cheap hooch litter the bedroom and bathroom floors, most half-empty and stained with lipstick. In the tub they find a fetid mixture of bathwater, expensive makeup, a few of her favorite performance outfits, and the hair she shaved off recently.
The next day, headlines will proclaim her a lost hero, a shining talent the world will sorely miss. Her douchebag ex-husband Kevin Federline will honor her memory by rapping at her funeral and selling the recording on iTunes.
Shortly after, news will surface of Paris Hilton’s booze-fueled naked nosedive off the roof of one of her father’s hotels, and the cycle will begin again.