Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chicken: The Other Red Meat

You made a mistake if didn't catch HBO's The Newsroom, because it's solid. That's not to say it is, by any stretch, the best show on television right now. It's not. It's not on par with Aaron Sorkin's best, even, though it does possess many of the guy's defining touchstones that by now are all but familiar. The characters, while flawed, are substantive and developed. The dialogue is relentlessly fast-paced and quick-witted. The world conjured is center-left liberal bent. Hipsters go hard for that kind of thing. And while The Newsroom is certainly a soft-toss for anyone that liked The Social Network, I grant it a pass on that front considering that Sorkin's C-stuff is still better than the barrage of brainwaste that traverses the major network waterway every season (Whitney got renewed, for Christ's sake!). More importantly, Will McAvoy and Co. deserve accolades because they have accomplished what many of my friends have long thought impossible: they have successfully cut me from the clutches of cable news.

Gasp at the thought, strangers of the void! But it's true! No more Chris Matthews or Dylan Rattigan. No more pimp ass Eliot Spitzer (I think he still has a show?). No more Bill O!! Since you know I like my ladies cerebral (and also since I've steadfastly refused to acknowledge the fact that she's not into dudes), I still occasionally check in on my girl Rachel Maddow (whose show most closely resembles News Night, anyway). Lone exception aside, though, I've otherwise managed to separate myself entirely from the imagined worry, manufactured outrage and hyperbolic-response-as-pseudo-intellectualism that pass as journalism for America's "politically in-tune." In return I've been given an extra 2-3 hours per evening wherein I can focus on things that really matter, like trolling the message boards of the High Desert's only legitimate newspaper favorite haven for racist idiots and collecting the scalps of Tea Partiers young, old and (especially) ancient.

The effects this vacuum have had on my life are palpable (though not disagreeable), especially considering my state of being ca. this-time-of-year 2008. Two months before the McCain v. Obama (Battle for the Soul of the Republic!), I was the go-to source amongst friends, family and colleagues regarding anything in the blathersphere, remaining perfectly well versed in any/all political miscues and misstatements on any given day. I carried about, all-knowing but unbeknown to the fact that I was probably annoying the piss out of everyone. Now, though? Now I get my news the old-fashioned way, two or three links down the commentariat chain via one of my (typically) under-informed and reactionary Facebook friends. It's beautiful, and it's allowed me to develop a very simple system for determining the degree to which any controversy is blown out of proportion based upon the number of said friends who've offered to the public their proud opinion. That's how I knew this Chick-fil-A nonsense from a few months back was going to be good.

The one unique aspect about getting your news from social media first is that it's initially difficult to parse through the layers of analysis rich and poor to find the actual story. All I really knew at the time was that I kept reading about a restaurant and, more sporadically, homosexuals. Connecting the dots didn't really require a Ph.D. in Deductive Reasoning, but I have one so it didn't take too terribly long to correctly surmise that some upper-rung on the Chick-fil-A ladder (in this case, devoutly Christian President/COO Dan Cathy) popped off on some Phelpsian-lite condemnation of gay culture and societal tolerance of it. But that's it? That's what was setting my news feed ablaze with the writings of newly self-anointed constitutional scholars and igniting my hungerlust for my beloved #4 with pepper jack?? Yawn. How boring. Seriously, I was and still am let down. I continue to find it difficult to understate the apathy I immediately assigned to the whole debacle. And that's because, thanks to months of separating myself from the partisan quarrel-of-the-week, I was able to recognize it for what it was. It was never a debate about whose freedoms were being trampled underfoot, but rather the latest chapter in our semi-annual reaffirmation of our respective stances on the issue of gay marriage. For whatever reason, every six months we feel obligated to make public a progress report on our personal evolutions (wink, wink / nudge, nudge) toward equal rights advocacy. I don't know why we do it, but I do know it's contrived when we do.

In regards to this incarnation, no one group has failed to draw my ire, and so I shall address each of them.

Christians (Catholics, too):

I'm going to start with you, since you started it. And I'm going to try and be gentle, since you've already been lambasted by pretty much every opinion outlet not owned by Rupert Murdoch. But I'ma also keep it real wit'chu, since it's obvious that's what you really need right now. So here it is: you need to shut the fuck up.

I mean come on, you guys. You're really being ridiculous in every possible way. I'll start you off with what's most basic: on the issue of gay marriage, you are so woefully in the wrong. Now I know a lot of the factors at play here are regional, cultural and generational, so I'll assign that much of your intolerance is due to the lack of exposure to a heterogeneous populace during pre-pubescent and adolescent development. Yet, to a fair extent, internet access has softened the effectiveness of the awareness argument. Your Google will dispel a lot of what you were taught, and your fears might be tempered so long as "all fags go to hell" isn't included within your search criteria.

Ultimately, though, I believe there are two main points of confusion that that lend themselves to the Christian community's repeated anti-gay flare-ups. The first is our failure as a country to reconcile the messy relationship between marriage as dually defined by the church and state. Sure, they're called the same thing, but the rights afforded by each have little overlap. The former is a union blessed by the Big Guy and his Church, a commitment into which adoring parties enter by pledging to adhere to all the Bible's moralistic impositions. Thanks to Hollywood and the 1950s, it's what most people consider a traditional marriage. Big Brother, though? Big Brother only cares 'bout dat paypuh. That deed. Them documents. The official ball-and-chain. All the pomp and circumstance is great, but regardless of how much chicken parm or 1 Corinthians 13 you force-feed your family and friends, if you don't make a pit stop at the recorder's office and file that marriage license, you ain't really married. I mean, Jesus will let you fuck, but Uncle Sam won't let you file jointly. One of these is actually important.

Christians conflate these classes of marriage and then get worked up something strong over the idea of government-enforced gay weddings at their place of worship. Yet, no one (or at least no one I know) is mandating the inclusion of Pride Saturdays in the liturgical calendar. And not that wouldn't be, like, totally fabulous and all that, but if it were the case it would stand as one of the markedly few instances where I'd be found in agreement with my religulous brothers and sisters. (Before you wage your counteroffensive against Bearnedict Arnold, reflect and remember that the church/state separation works both ways. The Wall giveth and taketh away.) Truth is when it comes to getting the knot nod from God, the church (and not the Notorious G.O.V.) has the final say. And unless the times change drastically or you find a denomination run by homosexuals (I can see how this becomes confusing), it's just one club you won't be getting into, wristband or not.

I'm less conciliatory toward the second point of confusion, and that's because it's not so much confusion as it is ignorance. The arguments put forth by the religious right, whether explicitly stated or not, are founded on the notion that being gay is a choice, that homosexual men and women could capably carry on with their biblically defined counterparts, but they opt not to out of deference for America's demise. On this item, Christians (yeah, I'm back to speaking to you and not about you), you need to understand there is an astonishing lack of evidence supporting your supposition. (I know you have a.. ahem.. less than sterling history of accepting scientific doctrine, from this to that, but stick with me.) Sigmund said way back that sexuality was deterministic, that everyone was born bisexual and that eventual orientation was set via environment and experience. Regardless of the degree to which you get down with that, the Godfather, himself, postulated that sexual preference is determined, not chosen. (I realize this is Freud's second cameo on TSR. Realize it's only because I'm the laziest brain.) Over the last decade, researchers have further concluded that in uterine hormonal development has a significant effect on brain organization and eventual sexuality. Right handed with a gang of older bros? Good chance you're gay. Seriously, though, you don't have to be a real scientist (Freud being the most immediate example, again) to see the flaws in the sexual-attraction-by-choice mantra. You only have to be unemployed and fairly familiar with the back pages of daytime talk television to know true love (and straight love, at that) is often not confined to societal orthodoxy. Below, I've provided to you a triptych (shout out to all my History of Western Art & Music hoodrats!) featuring my favorite Maury moments involving "opposite couples" (including what looks like Povich's long-lost, BBW-pimping brother on the far right). You might not understand it. It might even make you uncomfortable to some degree. But that's real love, Christian babies. And there is no difference between what forces attraction among these willing/able partners and what causes the same amongst the gays. You're into who you're into, and that's that. To deny legitimate rights to a group of people based upon biologically decided differences is unjust. To grant said rights under the civil-union subclass is akin to the whole separate-but-equal doctrine we supposedly decided was unconstitutional.

Bastardization of this style dedicated to my main man, Stan Smith, Serrano High School faculty legend. Holler!

Christians, I get that you're an easy target. Please believe that I really want to be fair to you.. It's just.. I mean... damn it if you're not such an easy target. Really, you guys bring most of this vitriol upon yourselves by being so thoroughly annoying.

Let's get it straight. Your religious freedoms are not under attack or in danger of being rescinded. Last time I checked, you weren't the ones being told where you could or could not practice your faith. I've heard all kinds of clamor concerning the curtailing of First Amendment rights to free speech and religious affiliation. Those are the reddest of herrings, though. The backlash against Mr. Cathy and his company spawned not because he believes social tolerance will bring about the wrath of God or because he stated so from the public pulpit. No, it arose because he chose to voice an opinion many found objectionable, and while the Constitution guarantees you the right to speak freely, it stops well short of forcing anyone to agree with you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however wrong. Everyone else is entitled to tell you when your opinion makes you look like an asshole (see: above) or tasteless ass (see: this blog, and my personal preference for Under Siege 2: Dark Territory to the original Under Siege). Speech and opinion are consequential, and if you fail to preemptively consider the consequences of your statements, you fail to generate my sympathy.

Christians crying wolf only compound their public image problem when they do as they've done, organizing show-of-strength gatherings like the one below. First of all, scan the crowd. Look at all these vanilla ass motherfuckers! There is nothing easier on this earth than hating on a group of white people that large. This is a prime example of why so many people are adverse to Christianity. It so often has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ (many of which are noble and universal across many faiths). People don't like Christianity because Christians suck and mostly ruin everything. Here, the veil is so thin it's hard to figure out why it even exists. This whole damn thing was orchestrated by Mike Huckabee, so why even pretend the mob is here to oppose "intolerance and bigotry toward Christians" (Huck's words) and not to oppose gay rights? This is but a rally to remind the world of three things: there are a lot of white Christian people, all of their panties get equally twisted over gay marriage, and their lives are so free of legitimate worry that this is reason enough to stand out in the August death heat for hours on a Wednesday in protest over something that doesn't really affect them.

What in the Holy Fuck is wrong with you?

And that's the biggest thing. I'm sorry, Bible thumpers, but you really don't have a place in this argument. Affording homosexuals the ability to marry their significant other in no way compromises or diminishes the privileges you've been given. It doesn't debase your faith or make your already dysfunctional marriage any more so. You might argue that it degrades the very definition of the word "marriage", but that's like, your opinion, man. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Bible says homosexuality is amoral. It also says divorce is amoral and that hasn't stopped the divorce rate among Christians to rise asymptotically alongside that of the general public. As has been pointed out before, it also says all kinds of crazy shit in Leviticus. Point is it's not your place to be judge, jury and Jesus in regards to who's in or out of heaven. In this respect you are responsible only unto  your own relationship with your God. That was like 1/95 of my boy Martin Luther's argument. No one is asking you to advocate for gay marriage. Most everyone is asking that you keep your own head up your own ass.

Gay Folks:

You know I've got love for you guys. I hated real hard on Prop 8. I karaoke'd at the Menagerie. I did so while rocking a Freddie Mercury tribute-stache that I kept for over a year at least partially because I enjoyed the attention it garnered. My credentials are pretty solid. When it comes time to choose between Team Edward or Team Jacob, I go Team NPH all day. So I mean it less as a criticism and more as a humble suggestion toward furtherance of the cause when I say you, too, need to shut the fuck up.

Ay yo, I'ma stop you mid- Z-snap, because you've gone ign'ant if you think the Christians are the only ones acting fools here. There's a wealth of blame, and I'ma go Obamanomics 101 and spread that wealth around.

Look, the dude Dan Cathy went way out of his way to stir the pot, so I ain't even stressin' that it bubbled up and burned that ass. That's cause and effect. That's instant karma. I love it. What I'm irked by is the gay community's relentlessness in attempting to convince me it was shocking in any way, shape or form. You mean to tell me that a 60 year old, Georgia-born Baptist said some semi-inflammatory shit about gay people?! I'm astonished... PSYCH motherfuckers I am not astonished! It just takes more than that to generate genuine surprise from me. It could be because I know old people have a propensity for acting asinine. It could be because I've been to Georgia and know that in the South, Cathy's comments are both conventional wisdom and comparatively tame. In reality, though, it's because this company doesn't much disguise their ideology. You ever tried to put their patented white meat to maw on a Sunday, for instance? I did. And guess what? Ya boy KJ had to settle for a McChicken one fa(s)t-food franchise over. Closing up shop on the Lord's day is some sacrilegious noise if your seconds, minutes, hours go to that Almighty Dollar. It's true conviction, no doubt, and it's to say nothing of the full-frontal assault your average atheist is faced with upon pervasion of the premises. The soothing, save-your-soul Jesus freak folk over the in-house stereo. The ten to fifteen red-headed very-obviously-virgins robotically responding with "my pleasure" any and every time the words "thank" and "you" audaciously cross your lips in succession. The children eating chicken nuggets. It's all so antagonistically and subtly Christian at the same time; yet, as much as I'd love to pillory their piety or place it on par with their civil rights shortcomings, I'm equally as annoyed by the gall of the gays in pretending Chick-fil-A corporate culture is so Revelatory. I don't need to be pried or manipulated into jumping headlong into an argument that has very little effect on my life, but in this case I just don't buy it. Nevertheless, it's not the most pertinent reason you should allow these situations to blow over without blowing up.

Gay folks, you guys are without question your own worst enemy. I'm perplexed as to how you can simultaneously be such mean paraders and such terrible protestors. I mean, here's the deal: you and I both know gay marriage will be a non-issue within the decade (perhaps a little longer near the buckle of the Bible Belt). Much or most of the resistance is attributable to occupants of Dan Cathy's age bracket. Society calls them "seniors." Your science textbooks calls them "mature." I call them "old fucks." People within this age group are less tolerant, to be sure. They also vote more and hold more positions of power within local, state and federal government apparatuses. If you're angling to knock down their half-century of established belief in one fell swoop, you're going to have to do much more than protest a restaurant. Really, though, all that's required is that you do nothing, because an integral part of human biology is on your side: people die! (Let me assure your little liberal hearts that the ACA will not change this.) As one generation takes a collective dirt nap, those younger will rise to inherit the earth and legalize gay marriage. And this is my point, homosexuals everywhere. This is why your silence speaks volumes more than your bluster. Because though the course is essentially set, it can still be reversed. You can ride that riptide right back out into the era of the Musgrave Amendment.

And it's by doing shit like this:

What in the Holy Fuck is wrong with you?

I get that it's tough to be patient and to wait for "all men are created equal" to actually include all men. To paraphrase the other Martin Luther, a right delayed is most certainly a right denied. But when you pull some nonsense like this, you done took your eyes off the prize, my man. Provided patience ain't your thing and you opt instead to forge the unbeaten path towards equality, it makes sense to me that the goal is to build consensus and bring converts aboard your big, gay boat. This is the worst way to go about that. This indicates to the straight guy passerby something not paralleling seriousness in the slightest. Take the dude in the van, for example. Let's pretend he just wanted a chicken sandwich sans ethical sermon. He shows up on a bad day. He sees the vanilla motherfuckers out front but is not deterred. He waits in the drive-thru for ages, gets his sandwich and Coke Zero, pulls around the corner and OH WHAT THE FUCK? He sees homeboy right here. How eager do you think Average White Chicken Sandwich Connoisseur is to join in the struggle? (TSR full disclosure: I know the dude in the black. He's visited the legendary Spruce House. He's attended The Festival. He's a pretty normal dude. That being said, he rolled up on this day intending to look like a murdered-out Lady Liberty. Instead, he succeeded in looking like an asshole.)

What I'm saying is that if you're going to shoot, you shouldn't shoot and miss. There's nothing wrong with protesting, but doing so shouldn't reinforce every caricatured stereotype that homophobes already accept as gospel truth. Successful protest instills seriousness and, much more importantly, prompts sympathy. That is how minds are changed. A refresher course for those who cannot recall a time not so long ago people used to pull it off:

This is the realness. These are some of the most powerful images ever produced. They don't need color. They don't need captions or commentary. They speak for themselves and illicit a feeling you probably couldn't properly pin down if you spent an entire essay trying.That's not to suggest that self-immolation is the best possible route to effect immediate change. I use these merely to highlight the gross contrast in sincerity. Come on, look left. And now look up.
The difference is that segregationists and willfully blind, pro-war Americans could look at the port-side photographs and be genuinely affected by them. Regardless of prior belief, there is no mistaking that the people captured here are in earnest and are willing to suffer for something that is of dire consequence to them. And while I sincerely doubt that the debate over gay marriage will ever foster this brand of brutality, this is the mindset with which all marriage rights rallies should be staged. If no one can take you seriously, no one will take you seriously.

Barring this level of commitment, I really believe it serves the gay community (and their cause) best that they stfu during brushfires like these. Public opinion is changing, public awareness of public opinion is growing, and the occasional outcry from the regressive camp is almost immediately derided as an inability to cope with a brave new world. It makes no sense to willingly impede socially-propelled forward progress.

General Public:

'Tis with you I've long held true gripe. For I so often stand resentful in reverence. O, esteemed fellows of Facebook! O, boldest of blog starters! Righteous crusaders of the echo chamber! Thou art never hesitant, but always virulent and prepared to enter the fray, your thin skin your only armor. For your opinions must be lifted on-high and affirmed by the like-minded. Thine must stand resolute and unchanged in the face of concrete evidence to the contrary! Obviously, you are the group into which I most squarely fall (or, at the least, the group whose transgressions mine most closely mirror). However, in spite of my best efforts, you've without question made me worse and less willing to accept or consider opposing points-of-view. And I've certainly made you no better at the same. Selective exposure and false-consensus on this issue and all others still reign supreme! They do so, though, at the expense of progress, sanity and the common good. So, I'm sure you already know what's coming. That's right: you, of all groups, need to shut the fuck up.

The general public has always been comprised largely of morons, and these morons have always held and disseminated opinions unbecoming. Unhindered by the inconveniences of fact-checking or journalistic integrity, the backwoodsists and beachfronters have been free to fan the flames of fallacy at home, in the office, or while ogling the pubescent breasts of the cashier clerk at the grocery store checkout. That's just the thing, though. Back in the good ol' days, the spread of unfiltered falsities was mostly confined to word-of-mouth. The sphere of ignoramus influence was comparatively small and non-encompassing, and the end result was the occasional pocket of populace that really believed Barack Obama was a Kenyan nationalist or that George Bush hated black people. It was infrequent and always good for a laugh. But that world is no more. The final frontier, the final fail-safe preventing these disparate sects from finding each other and banding together has been breached.

The idiots have discovered the internet.

And, really, it's worse than that. Even the cell phones they sell old people come equipped with browser icons prominently displayed front-page, so it was unrealistic to expect that the worst and most computer- or traditionally-illiterate among us wouldn't at some point get tangled up in the WWWeb. Yet, at the same time, it wasn't nearly as naive to assume that while these people inevitably made the small step into the information age, they would mostly remain on the sidelines, jaws ajar in awe, and refrain from taking that last, giant leap into actual participation. But alas, t'was not so. They slowly settled in. They discovered Facebook, and they tracked down acquaintances past and present. Most troublingly, they grew tired of being informed and began to inform, opting to opine to anyone out there in 140 characters or (too often) more. The Confederacy went live, and the world would never be the same.

The internet has transformed, and it's remade much of internet-age society in its image. Shockingly enough, the greatest and most damaging shift hasn't come in collectively accepting a new criteria for celebrity. Instead, it's come in flattening the hierarchal order of information and analysis, in skewing the perception of what actually constitutes news to begin with. The most established and esteemed outlets of yore have been largely delegitimized due to both the demise of print media and the calculated effort of the fair & balanced crowd's tenacious coup d'etat to portray them as pocket dwellers of the progressive agenda. The relegation of the media mammoths to respective right and left spin cyclists, their inability to circumvent this development by dropping the ideological- and profit-driven bias, and the ill-conceived push from both sides for more perspective from Main Street, USA has forged a new niche in news. That this niche was filled or that it was filled by non-professional non-intellectuals should not be surprising. What's alarming and particularly destructive is that the voice of/by/for the people has become equally authoritative and influential among so many drive-by denizens of this Great Nation.

What it boils down to is the simple fact that while almost anyone can use the internet, not everyone understands it or utilizes it in a way that doesn't ruin most of what makes it awesome. Gen pop has largely proven unable to cope and coexist with the unbridled freedom afforded to them online. They've proven too irresponsible and immature for a forum where there are no rules (or at least nothing of the sort pertaining to quality of content produced). Yet, that they've set the netscape awash in a flood of dead-brained detritus is not what irks me. I mean believe me, sweeties, in this regard I prefer my internet a bed of tastelessness and classless abandon. When it comes to the information superhighway, I like mine to traverse as many artistic and academic wastelands as possible. I want it rife with cultural trash caught in clumps along stretches of senseless chain-link lining either side. I want more cat videos and cat daddies, more salacious Craigslist personals, more girls and more cups. That's not the issue. The issue occurs as an obliviousness or disregard for digital world decorum, of which there are, as I see it, really only two essential tenets: don't believe everything you read on the internet (because it's the fucking internet!) and, for the love of any/all things holy, do not use the internet as a vehicle for being annoying.

The general public has been found guilty of noncompliance on both counts in the court of my public opinion. Source consideration is paramount whilst braving the overwhelming number of returns on even basic searches. However, it remains an incredibly underrated and underutilized tool amongst tools. Fact is most people have an inability to distinguish legitimate news from the thoughtful opinion pieces of renowned writers from the maniacal rants of dyed-in-the-wool dumbasses. Because the internet is a truly magical place understood only by geniuses, all thoughts are perceived as equal in HTML. The ascendence of personal blogging, thusly, has muddied the waters dividing news, fact, opinion and slander. In turn, a collective palate too unrefined to detect when it's being fed bullshit has caused a change in even the way we search for information, eschewing unbiased accounts of events from which we may derive thought-out positions for those that merely reaffirm truths we already hold to be self-evident. The end result is that we've ultimately allowed the masses to write and consume their own news exhaustively within a closed loop, impervious to outside influence. It's an arena where the only suitable response to the white noise nonsense is to grab the nearest bullhorn and shout back into the static.

What we've ultimately learned from this is that the general public as a whole is really, really stupid. We've learned that they're largely uninterested in actual news, or politics, or policy. We've learned they do, however, have an endless hunger for drama, gossip and reel housewivez fm Joisey. Spare them the convoluted real world relevancy of events pertaining to their lives. They want that dirty laundry, the fuckin' whites! Bring them the latest on Casey Anthony or Anthony Wiener's wiener cock shots. Get someone on the ground at the White House, Barack Obama's March Madness bracket's been busted! Put Honey Boo Boo in the A-block, and if you must speak of the election, let it not be of Romney/Ryan's plan to eliminate the American Middle Class(?). I mean, isn't that guy Mormon? I read online that he was staring in the new season of Sister Wives!? Now that's newsworthy! ... Everything must be fractured down to the elemental and anatomized for whatever unsavory scandal surely lies somewhere beneath. The beast must be fed and be made happy for a news cycle or three until its appetite is whetted once again. We the General Public limp along at this measure, complaining that self-inflicted controversies like the Chick-fil-A saga are distracting us from debates "that really matter" when evidence of past interest suggests the converse is true.

At the crux is the fact that caring about important issues in depth is often difficult and time-consuming. Accumulating an encyclopedic knowledge of debutantes who've done webcam porn is comparatively easy. Researching and writing with critical insight? Difficult. Getting drunk and talking shit online? Easy. Extrapolating outward, the general public has created a parallel means of harnessing technology to most simply solve the taxing problems of our times, selflessly sacrificing precious status-update space to PSA the shit out of the latest intolerable truth. What's that? Joseph Kony is running around Uganda perpetrating some heinous crimes with a militia of kidnapped child-soldiers? Nothing a new, gullible-ass profile pic can't fix! Oh dang, October is breast cancer awareness month? Well, click "like" if you support a cure! Or how about the timeless favorite: let's make next Wednesday National Boycott Gas Today and Maintain the Futures Market Tomorrow Day! Vacuous movements like these are certainly not new, but they seem all the more hollow when promulgated in this fashion. One mustn't even take the time to detail the assorted atrocities one or two friends at a time as gatherings allow. Internet activism is as quick and thoughtless as ctrl+a, ctrl+c, ctrl+v.  Everyone knows in an instant, and we can instantly feel better about ourselves for effecting change so immediately and sweepingly.

This is our greatest crime, our greatest disservice to a country that, at least in theory, affords us the opportunity to change the parts of it we find disagreeable. We've received this privilege and surrendered it in a manner that's undeniably cheap and throwaway. It requires nothing, and so it means nothing. Facebook fan pages are not tools for spawning large-scale social change (rich people agree). Nonetheless, we act as though the internet has rendered obsolete the brands of genuine sacrifice - whether it be of basic convenience, physical well-being or financial solvency - that, historically, have been instrumental and essential to forging progress. And as much as I love hating on the Baby Boomers for being especially unacquainted with this concept (and, trust, I fucking love that shit),  Gen XYZ2K,etc certainly hasn't done much to make my arguments cogent. They've We've gotten strung out on the cheap high of internet activism just the same. We've decried the perils and inequalities of unregulated high finance, and we've ridiculed the vapid anti-intellectualism flaunted by the Tea Party. But as our rebuttal we online-organized and offered forth a nebulous amalgamation of homeless, jobless and mostly un(der?)educated malcontents to dawdle about various public squares day-after-day, leaderless and adroit in conveying unitary values (1, 2, 3). For a couple months we shouted "fuck the man!" and "death to corporate greed!", but only when in possession of the People's Mic. That was the best we could do. For an issue that should have The 99.5% shitting bricks and/or pissing vinegar, it all just felt so... lazy. It felt half-hearted. And just when it looked like the cruel Atlantic Northeast winter was going to give our misspent youth an opportunity run with the go-hards and demonstrate true commitment by turning Woodstock 2012 into Valley Forge redux, Mikey Bloomberg booted them out for ceaselessly shitting in the park.

It's entirely possible that the well has already been poisoned to too great a degree. This could well be the new normal in issue advocacy. I should probably expect to more frequently face the likes of which I faced in the run-up to last August 1st, when various coalitions of my 400-and-something internet "friends" bombarded me with solicitations for support (by "liking" or actually attending, I'm still unsure) of either Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day or some competing event called "Love Isn't Chicken" at one of the twenty Starbucks locations within arms-reach of my apartment. How convenient that I had been wishing all the while for a way to demonstrate my opposition to this entire ordeal while at the same time remaining as divorced from the issue as possible! Buy a chicken sandwich to show your love for Jesus burns eternal! No, buy a sugary coffee-thing to show you love all the Lord's children equally! No, how about you do both, confuse your moral compass and maximize your contributions to corporate monoliths!! (Kudos, though, to said monoliths for duping morons into boycotting one product by buying another. Brilliant.) The misunderstanding of economic protest lifts all yachts!

But somewhere, deep down in my heart, the problem solver in me can't help but see a way in which all things could be reconciled and captured in a way that's easily digestible assimilable:

Truth is true love is neither chicken nor chicken sandwich. Nay, true love is a Double Down.

Consider Pavlov's bell rung.

Behold!! Cafeteria Christians, worshipers of false idols! No longer must we suffer the choice between our principles and our poultry. For your Lord has spoken and, through his chosen one, the prophet Colonel Sanders, has bestowed upon thee an earthly icon worthy of your adoration and consumption! No longer shall we declare our moral righteousness at the feet of an in inferior chicken sandwich! No longer must we sacrifice a long-standing staple of our personal food pyramids to prove a point! Nor must we stray far to find an acceptable fast food conglomerate capable of fulfilling our craving for corporate brand worship. Most importantly, no longer must our protests be in the abstract and extend only so far as our fingertips on home row. Nay, now they may be wholly realized. Two thick, succulent white meat filets. Two pieces of crisp, mapley bacon. A couple slices of Monterey and pepper jack cheeses, melted 'til melded. The Colonel's Sauce. A rapture of the taste buds all wedded together in the holiest of matrimony. Yes, true love is a Double Down in your diet.

The beads of grease rolling ever so slowly from fingers to forearm. The cholesterol clinging so inflexibly to the inner walls of your arteries. Savor it! Praise its point of origin in all its glory! For this is the messianic vessel of peace, 610 calories (debatable) of quarrels quashed. A day's worth of sodium so that our crass consumerism may carry on! Enough fat content to corral my disdain for self-serving pseudo-sacrifice. Dissociation from the struggle is simply no longer an option. The taunts from the Jareds will be heard upon every trip to the drive-thru. The truncation of our life expectancy will be felt with every bite. The extent to which we feel better about ourselves will be properly offset by the extent to which our selves feel closer to death. For once, though, there'll be no doubt about our devotion to the causes we claim. And at the very least, for a few minutes a day our mouths will be too full to talk and our fingers too caked with grease to type.

I, for one, will proudly mark that up as social progress.

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