Saturday, September 25, 2010

Holy War at Ground Zero

Much has been said about the controversial mosque to be built two blocks from Ground Zero and much more will be said.  Misinformation will swarm about.  Fear, hate, outrage and xenophobia will descend upon the financial district in a cloud that will cast New Yorkers in the most unflattering of lights.

And so the debate will continue…sides will be chosen, lines drawn in the sand, soap boxes perched upon and shouted from…and so I thought I’d weigh in on the discussion with a tactic that can occasionally get lost in such tepid crossfire…pragmatism.

reaction to the Mosque at Ground Zero
Being an agnostic, I don’t tend to get swept up in the ‘My God’s better than your God’ tumult that has catalyzed every Holy War since the dawn of weaponry.  So my cynical if not spiteful perception of organized religion does, to an extent, inoculate me from that element of the discussion.  And perhaps both the city of New York and the Nation of Islam would be best served to do the same.  Faith with the volume turned up too high quickly escalates into let’s all, just as a little experiment, leave our faith in God out of the conversation.

Constitutionally speaking, this is a cut and dry case of religious freedom and Imam Feisal Rauf (the spiritual leader behind the project) and his cohorts have every right to build this mosque…which in actuality is not the erection of a new mosque but the refurbishing of an already existing Muslim structure into a thirteen-story Islamic Community Center called the Cordoba House originally; a name that was later changed to Park 51.  Although the Center would include a prayer space, it would also include a 500-seat performing arts center, a culinary school, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a restaurant and other amenities.

So let's be honest, this is probably not a potential breading ground or training camp for terrorists unless they are planning on waging war on America by improving their jumpshots, battering us to death with a ferocious butterfly stroke or numbing our brains with offensive performance art. 

So despite all these purposes, we are still calling it a mosque because, well, ‘refurbished Islamic Community Center with prayer space, basketball court, swimming pool, etc.’ does not instill the same outrage that ‘Mosque at Ground Zero’ does, am I right?  So when interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution, which clearly and indisputably states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” one would have no choice but to conclude that the Center can and should be built.

And the Nation of Islam has every right to wave around printed copies of the First Amendment anytime anyone has the temerity to say otherwise.  Yes, most Muslims are not suicidal terrorists like the motherfuckers that flew planes into buildings in my fucking city nine years ago.  And Muslims the world over have unfairly been grouped in with these same motherfuckers ever since and that is a shame.  But this predicament is an opportunity for the Nation of opportunity to show compassion and put sympathy above principle.  If the Imam agreed to move the center, say…ten blocks further away, it would show the world that Muslims are of peace.  That not only do they care about practicing their faith but also about the sensitivity of a city and a country and this gaping wound that has not quite healed.

I have not been to Pearl Harbor since I was ten years old but I would wager that you will not find a Benihana or a karate dojo within two blocks of it.  I have never been to Auschwitz or Buchenwald either but I would also wager that you will not find a German cultural center or a Mercedes Benz dealer within two blocks of them.

There is a time and a place to battle over principles and religious rights.  And although the time may be now, the place is not and should not be two blocks from what is unequivocally the darkest stain on this city’s history. 

A Very Serious "Situation"

If a tree falls in the forest and it lands on Snooki...would anyone give a fuck?  There's no way to know for certain.  But always remember to ask questions.

Here's another one.  Do you know who "The Situation" is?  I'll bet you do.  And I would also bet that more middle and high school students know who "The Situation" is than Ban Ki-moon.  In case you just went cross-eyed, he's the Secretary General of the United Nations.  I also know who "The Situation" is and I am not proud of this fact.

I watched two episodes of The Jersey Shore last year...the first to see what all the outrage was about and the second to see what happened when a man punched a Snooki.  Do you know what a Snooki is?

(Blogger's Note: The U.S. Patent Office denied the Snooki on the right from trademarking her name because the Snooky on the left already claimed it.  Snooky with a 'y' is a cat from a children's book who fell off a boat and made new friends at the bottom of the ocean. Maybe Snooki with an 'i' could fall of a boat? Maybe she could learn to breathe underwater and make new aquatic friends too? Maybe? Possibly?  Please?  Please?)

Moving along.  After watching the show, I became nauseous and after watching the cavalcade of popularity that soon followed, I became upset.  But witnessing the phenomenon that it has become has gotten me downright furious.

Like the rest of you, I have had the terrible misfortune of growing up through the dawn of reality television, it's bumbling adolescence and it's present state of complete televisionistic domination.  I have watched as the amount of original programming has dissipated, virtually cut in half over the course of the last decade.  I have watched as the amount of acting jobs and writing jobs have diminished significantly.  I have watched all of this with equal portions of spite, outrage and disgust.  Now although this evolution pisses me off personally because of the dwindled professional opportunities that now exist for me as a result, the greater problem lies elsewhere.

How low will we allow the bar to drop?  How little will we continue to ask of our entertainment?

Perhaps it's not fair to blame "The Jersey Shore" for the state of reality entertainment.  It has been on this downward spiral for some time now, aided and abetted by the shitty smorgasbord of celebrity magazines available at any bodega, drug store or supermarket.  Now does this show constitute 'rock bottom'?  I would hope so but it's quite possibly not. Several other programs celebrating the Jersey way of life, whatever that may be, are already polluting the airwaves.

(Personal Blogger's Note - I am from Long Island, a suburban armpit hardly worth celebrating.  New Jersey is extensively the mentally challenged cousin of Strong Island and it should not be celebrated, deified, televised or emulated in any way.  These are the facts of the case and they are indisputable.)

Is this what we want people?  Do we want to watch beefcake morons fake-baking, binge-drinking and objectifying overweight women?  Do we want to watch stupid, shallow, superficial women bicker with accents that make my ears bleed and vomit at the same time?  It sucks that the marketplace has a demand for such bottom feeding television.  But if you are watching this show and padding the ratings, you are a fucking enabler.  YES I'M TALKING TO YOU!

I tried watching a recent episode and I had to stop because as I watched, I could feel my IQ plummeting by the second.  When did we start celebrating idiocy?  When did this demand for debauchery and general behavioral apathy reach such vile depths?  When did 'dancing beach morons' become the standard by which all reality programs must measure themselves?

If at any point in my life, I started referring to myself as "The Situation," my friends would kick my ass and rightfully so. If you publicly utililize such a moniker, you are a douschebag and you should banished to an island where you are only allowed to mingle with equal or greater douschebags.  You should not be put on television where your douschebaggery is allowed to spread to the masses.

Nor could I ever even fathom dating a woman that, with a straight face, referred to herself as J-Wow.  The very fact that either of these hemorrhoids could demand and receive thousands of dollars just to show up at a nightclub represents the complete disintegration of Social Darwinism as we know it.

The Jersey Shore - morons on parade

Only the strong used to survive.  Society would root out those deemed unworthy of success. Look at the picture above.  Look at these people.  Yes, they're kinda pretty to look at if you slop enough make-up and bronzer on 'em.  But they are bringing down the property value of the human race.  And they need to be stopped.  My proposal...euthanize the entire cast of "The Jersey Shore."  Or at least sterilize them.  We do not want these people propagating, procreating and contaminating the earth with future generations of knuckleheads.  We do not want it and we cannot allow it.  The very future of mankind depends on it.