|You know what they say about opinions -- how they're just like anuses because everybody's got one? |
Well, it's a half-assed saying because it's only half right. The whole truth about opinions and anuses is not found in the aperture, but in the emissions.
And in today's web-woven, media-saturated world, most of our opinions aren't really our own anyway. They're somebody else's and we just kind of go along because, well, we have lives, and parroting is infinitely less effort than thinking. Or we don't go along, we go against, which is almost as easy.
When our main concern is whether the baby sitter will take food stamps until our stimulus check hits the bank, we don't have time to puzzle out the moral subtleties of popular culture. So we read the Cliff Notes. Perfectly understandable. We're far too busy to invent our own rules. But what we see as simple expediency, when we think about it at all, others see as opportunity. Our denial is their ambition. The world is run by moral bullies who count on cowards to go along quietly, and we rarely disappoint them.
There is always someone willing to go too far, and they usually win. There is always some jackoff who decides the Koran forbids watching Batman, and the rest of the Muslims go along because they are ashamed to not be as righteous as the truly holy self-deniers. Net result? Buy a DVD, go to jail.
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Here in the secular-humanist paradise we like to call the United States of America, we are supposedly free to think for ourselves. But that doesn't mean we don't have our opinions spoon-fed to us by our holy men and women in the Church of the Media. Their concerns are our concerns, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not.
Lately, we're supposed to have an opinion about John Edward's wife Elizabeth. Apparently she wrote a book that was insufficiently specific when revealing her husband's indiscretions. Our choice is either to condemn her for standing by her creep despite his lounge-lizard infidelities -- the prevailing wisdom -- or excuse her for standing by her creep because she's terminally ill and deserves our pity.
It's a false choice because it excludes common sense and even commoner wisdom. We all know the truth about judging relationships from the outside.
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Rule one: Unless there is actual, visible, physical abuse going on, shut the hell up. Nobody knows anything about the internal dynamics of any marriage, love affair, sexual liaison or friends-with-benefits but the people doing the loving, hating, fighting and screwing. Not even them, when you get right down to it. Love is a mystery to all involved. Sexual transactions use currencies that trade in only one exchange, in one bedroom, on one bed. You may have an opinion about a famous couple or those sickos down the block, but you don't know.
How can she stand by her man when he cheats on her so blatantly? Maybe she enjoys being with him the other 350 nights a year and he doesn't want to leave her. Maybe it's his money. Maybe it's her kids. Maybe she really doesn't give as much of a crap as she's supposed to -- in which case that's her real sin, according to our moral arbiters.
That's the way of the world. Someone is always setting the rules for us, whether we agree with them or not, whether we think they are too mild or too harsh (and it's almost always the latter) and we're supposed to be the jailers. If we refuse, we're letting down society.
They tell me I'm supposed to hate Barry Bonds, so I learn to hate Barry Bonds. They told me the same thing about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and I mooed my compliance. Now they tell me I'm supposed to hate Manny Ramirez -- well, ok, I'll be honest -- that wasn't such a stretch. But it didn't have much to do with the juice.
Ever heard of Richard Gasquet? Me either. But I hate him now and you do too. His crime was testing positive for cocaine after a ... wait for it ... tennis match.
I thought I didn't give a rat's ass about anybody's nose and/or the contents thereof, and I knew I didn't give the issue of said rat's ass about tennis, but that just shows how morally lax I am. You see, he cheated on us. He used performance-enhancing, (well, actually performance-disenhancing but that's beside the point) drugs while playing the sacred game of tennis. Now, millions of children with Mr. Gasquet's poster on their bedroom walls are doomed to lives of drug abuse, prostitution and crime, due to his role-model negligence. Ok, a few dozen, but still.
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Last week it was Obama's choice of mustard that got all the opinion mosquitoes biting. Apparently he had the temerity to ask for Dijon instead of good old American baby-crap-yellow French's on his burger. I mean, what a sissy! If he didn't have two kids -- and a wife who could kick my ass with one gun tied behind her back -- I'd call him a fairy. Dijon??? What does he think he's president of, France?
And Wanda Sykes -- she made headlines and incessant Anderson Cooper teasers with her over-the-line jokes about Rush Limbaugh. For her next feat Ms. Sykes is going to cure AIDS. Surely it can't be as difficult as crossing the line of bad taste with a joke about the least-jolly, most-morally-deficient, and ugliest fat man in America. I seriously didn't think that was possible.
I haven't heard her response to the critics of her Limbaugh jokes, or the President's to those who question his choice of condiments, but, like the late Dr. King, I have a dream...
"Ms. Sykes, many in the media say you went too far with your jokes about Rush Limbaugh at the Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. What is your response?"
"F you and everyone who looks like you. Next question."
"Mr. President, people are saying that asking for Dijon at a burger joint means you are out of touch with the regular folks. Surely you agree there is something effete about that choice?"
"F you and may God bless America. And stay off my homie Wanda's back before I go all Southside on your ass."
I'd also like to hear Elizabeth Edwards tell Larry King, "I wrote a book because it helped take my mind off cancer for a few hours a day. And if I didn't put in that stuff about John's being a dawg and all, nobody would buy it. That puts money in my kids' pockets when I'm gone and if you guys in the media don't like the way I did it, you can go F yourselves -- or a British documentarian."
It would be a much better world if we all stood up to the moral bullies and told them where to stick it.
But that's just my opinion.
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San Francisco based columnist, author, gym rat and novelist. My book, "The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie" is the best memoir ever written by a cat. Available on Amazon.com, or wherever fine literature is sold with no sales tax collected. For (more...)
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