Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Jersey Shore: Now a Worldwide Epidemic

Have you ever seen the movie ‘Outbreak’? It chronicles the exploits of the Center for Disease Control as they attempt to contain the fictitious Mutaba virus within the small town of Cedar Creek, California. Why? Because they did not want the disease to spread to the rest of the country, let alone the entire world.

The Jersey Shore has gone international…and I want to know whose fucking fault it is. I want some accountability goddamnit. A virus, and yes the Jersey Shore is just that, will spread if not contained. And from the get-go, this disease was not contained. Conversely, it was given everything it needed to flourish; ratings, book deals, spin-offs and round the clock media coverage which I myself am contributing to at this very moment.

So kidding aside, who is to blame?

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services? Might a little penicillin have eliminated this bug? Probably not. Could they have released an army of hazmat-clad soldiers to man the borders of the Garden State to keep these morons from spreading and infecting more intelligent members of Americana? They could have at least tried.

Is the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce responsible? I am not sure which governing body determines what products are allowed to bare the proud seal of New Jersey but couldn’t they have intervened and said, ‘NO, THIS ABOMINATION OF A PROGRAM IS SIMPLY NOT WORTHY OF OUR JERSEY HERITAGE!’ Aaahh, who are we kidding. Jersey is an armpit and the very fact that a show proudly boasting of its lineage could be so immensely successful, is proof that a deeper, more systemic problem has taken hold. 

Could MTV be the cause and catalyst? They are responsible for the original green light that began all this. But simply releasing a disease into the population is not enough. It needs to spread. And that is where we come in. Me…my fellow humans. We have all let each other down. I take responsibility. And so should you.

But on the off chance that you will not volunteer your guilt, allow me to castigate you on this page. And some of you are more responsible than others.

Mike Petolino of Gotham Entertainment. You represent The Situation. You should be drawn and quartered for representing such a specimen and plastering his face across the labels of products the world over. It is the social equivalent of releasing Anthrax into the global water supply and you should be ashamed of yourself. 

I don’t care how much money he makes you, how do you sleep at night asshole? While we’re at it, shame on the following companies for choosing him as your poster-boy; Vitamin Water, Nox Edge, Reebok and last but not least, the company that actually created this:

SallyAnn Salsano created the Jersey Shore and her punishment should be death by firing squad followed by an eternity in hell, which, incidentally, is the perfect place to get a good suntan. 

MTV, you were obviously to blame for introducing these nimrods to the world and you could have stopped there. But you didn’t. You went ahead and created spin-offs for Snooki, J-Wow and Paully D. I would say that ‘you’re better than that MTV’ but let’s be honest, you’re really not. You’re trash and you suck so you’re pretty much giving us the best you’ve got. My advice, maybe start aiming a little higher? Sluts and douchebags could be your starting point but you can always strive for more. You just have to dream and then follow your dreams out of the gutter and into the clouds. Just a thought.

Simon and Schuster Publishing and everyone at their subsidiary Gallery Books; you should all be tried as war criminals for aiding, abetting and facilitating the publication of “A Shore Thing.” This “novel” was written by Snooki, who is hardly capable of speaking an intelligible sentence, let alone writing an entire book of them. I realize the e-book has slightly altered the landscape of commerce in literature but there is no need to bring it down to THIS level. Reading was and still is to an extent, a medium for thirsty, malleable intellects looking to expand their minds…who are you to leave them shrunken and atrophied?

Now, I would hate for the responsible parties to escape into the shadows so below are a list of the people who played a large role in the publication of this stain upon American literature. If you see them in public, throw something at them. Tomatoes, dead sewer rats, bricks. Anything.

Lauren McKenna-Executive Editor at Gallery Books
Jeremie Ruby-Strauss-Senior Editor at Gallery Books
Scott Miller-Agent at Trident Media who negotiated WORLD RIGHTS. Save the brick for him.

World rights. That brings us back to the purpose of this post. The Jersey Shore has moved to Florence. Florence…renowned the world over for its breadth of art, architecture and culture. And we sent these orange mongoloids there for the summer. I don’t know who is more to blame; America for sending them…or Italy for receiving them.

Couldn’t someone have stopped this? The Italian Consulate? The United Nations? The FAA? Isn’t knowingly transporting infectious diseases across national borders the equivalent of terrorism via germ warfare? Why didn’t someone, anyone, do anything to prevent this?

You know, for all my pissing and moaning, maybe I am just projecting. Maybe I am to blame. I just spent an hour of my life writing this post. I could have spent that hour reading to blind children or working at a soup kitchen. I could have spent that hour reciting poetry to my penis. That would have been more productive than giving these people more attention and press than they have already.

So who is to blame? We all are. James Madison, you are to blame for formally introducing the Bill of Rights that included the First Amendment. Democracy, you are to blame for denying the existence of American dictatorships that might have suppressed reality programming. Paris Hilton, you are to blame for suggesting that hot, stupid people should be deified, emulated and followed in the press. And anyone who has ever tuned into any reality show of any sort, you are to blame. Lastly, anyone, myself included, who has ever ranted about it in the blogosphere…we are to blame. We are all spreading the disease. And we should all be sterilized.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Tie-Dyed Stain Upon the Catholic Church

Those goddamn hippies have done it again. First, they gave us jam bands and never-ending guitar solos that when combined with psilocybin mushrooms, could transport you to another dimension where personal hygiene and brain cell regeneration were afterthoughts. Then their ‘burn your bras and fuck your neighbor’ campaign triggered Regan’s ‘War On Drugs’; which still packs our penitentiaries with anyone who has the audacity to carry more than a dime bag of marijuana on their person. Now, it turns out that they are also responsible for the ‘priests who want to fuck children’ epidemic that swept through the early stages of the 21st Century, leaving Catholics across the globe on their knees begging for…okay, bad analogy…strike that.

Peace man. Go with God Bro!
A recent study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice concluded, and no I am not making this up, that the rampant sexual abuse perpetrated by priests was not a result of homosexuality or a by-product of the all-male, celibate nature of the priesthood. The real culprit was that “priests who were poorly prepared or monitored, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 70s.” So after the 1.8 million dollars that was spent on the study, we are left to believe that the reason some priests molest children is because they went to Woodstock and had a really good time there.

I naturally found this hard to swallow and upon reading such a preposterous claim, I understandably shat myself. After putting on a clean pair of pantaloons, I continued reading the study’s findings to find that apparently the Catholic Church has been employing this rationale for the last decade.

How fascinating. And as much as I have enjoyed mocking the various tenants of the hippie way of life, I think it harshly unjustified to hold them responsible for priests’ inability to keep their cassocks on and their hands off the altar boys. Having poor taste in clothes and obliviously dragging innocents into never-ending philosophical discussions devoid of anything resembling a point hardly warrant linking these creatures to child molestation.

Bong hits and hemp clothing do not lead to pedophilia, do they? I have pulled many a tube in my life (that’s Hippese for bong smoking). I have partaken in the reefer, imbibed the ganja, danced with Mary Jane and puffed the Magic Dragon yet I have never done what, according to the John Jay Report of 2002, 4% of the world’s priests have done to children under the age of eighteen.

Furthermore, the recent study claimed that the priests that were found guilty of abusing boys were not doing so because they were homosexuals. It also concluded that few of the guilty priests exhibited behavior typical of pedophiles or possessed any particular psychological patterns or disorders. That being said, one could feasibly deduce that celibacy turns 4% of its practitioners, regardless of sexual orientation or psychiatric history, into pedophiles. Will I too start assaulting children if I abstain from sex or eat too many unleavened wafers? Should I be worried?

So who is really to blame here? Could it be, and this is just a fucking stab in the dark, the Catholic Church itself? Could an archaic culture of diametric morality that is hell-bent (nice word choice, eh?!) on celibacy and keeping its followers on their knees, crippled with guilt for even briefly indulging in sexual fantasies, somehow be enabling if not cultivating this trend? There is a kink in the Catholic machinery and it sure as shit ain’t a pair of bell-bottoms.

If you stick a bunch of men in a monastery without a woman in site, wrap a suffocating Roman Collar around their throat and guilt every semblance of a healthy sexuality out of them…guess what. They are going to explode. And who do these holy powder kegs have access to? Children. Boys.

Pope Benedict XVI at Woodstock in 1969 
So what are we to do? Perhaps the Vatican should mandate weekly trips to Hooters for all clergymen. Or Pope Benedict could encourage priests to watch pornography and masturbate at least once a day; perhaps less frequently for the older ones. Maybe the priesthood should finally go co-ed and while they're at it, Catholicism as a whole could come to terms with the fact that having sex will probably not secure one’s place in hell on the off chance that there actually is one. Apparently the real solution to this problem is just to keep priests from attending Phish concerts. Who knew.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden is Dead

There was no dramatic jet landing on an aircraft carrier. No “Mission Accomplished” banner. No cheering servicemen. No pomp or circumstance of any sort. There was just a slender, solemn Hawaiian man walking down an empty hallway and up to a podium to tell the world, to tell the United States, to tell New York City, to tell me that Osama bin Laden was dead.

It is very rare that life happens at a magnitude that is beyond my capacity to emotionally process it. This was one of those moments; one that transcended immediacy. This moment was over a decade in the making and it needed time to marinate, time to breathe and open up, like an old Bordeaux. This moment was not just now. This was the past…and the future.

I watched as Obama recounted the manner in which bin Laden had been killed and I struggled to keep my attention on the present. ‘This is history asshole, pay attention,’ I told myself. But my mind danced forward and backwards and sideways at the same time.

‘This should insure a second term for Obama’ I thought before nudging myself back to this historic presidential address. ‘Maybe now he’ll have the clout to rally the public behind his health care bill and a long-term fiscal strategy that keeps Medicare and Medicaid in tact.’ Then I would snap back to the now and Obama would be saying something about predator drones. And I’d grin because that term just sounds really fucking cool.

As he veered into a section about how for a decade, bin Laden was the one Al Qaeda leader that kept evading us, I hop-scotched back to the past and my hatred for George W. Bush was fresh again. I could feel it, almost taste it. Motherfucker. All this happened on his watch. And my moronic fucking countrymen re-elected him because the Democratic Party couldn’t come up with a more likable option than John fucking Kerry…with his long face and weird wife. Fuck. Goddamn fucking W. We had bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora but he got away because of W’s ill-conceived Iraqi oil campaign. Stupid Texan born-again Christian cocksmoker.

Then I realized that my self-indulgent festival of rage was causing me to miss history so once again, I returned to the address. I try to stay present. 'Listen to him. Hear him. Take this in. This is closure. This is what you’ve always wanted and needed.'

And I realize the potency of this unequivocal truth. I have always fought for closure in my life whenever it was remotely attainable. I like my issues neatly packaged and wrapped up with a pretty little bow on them. It gives me some semblance of control, of certitude and of comfort in a chaotic and utterly uncontrollable world.

Maybe this night will give me what has always eluded me and the many New Yorkers that woke up on September 12th 2001 in a very different city in a very frightening world. I didn’t lose anyone on that day. But my world was radically altered and my worldview was profoundly tarnished.

I found myself afraid in a way I had never known; looking quickly upward every time I heard a plane passing overhead. I found my perception of humanity irreparably harmed; having never even fathomed people capable of doing such horrible things right here in my city. I also found myself asking questions I had never asked before. Awful questions.

Have you ever asked yourself what you would do to Osama bin Laden if you were alone with him in a room without windows in a world without consequence? Have you ever really asked yourself and honestly answered yourself? I have. I have for the past decade. And the answers always have and continue to frighten me. But I cannot deny them. 

And New Yorkers cannot deny them. The proof is in the crowds that gathered in Times Square and at Ground Zero late into Sunday night and early into Monday morning. The proof was in the hugs, the high fives, the tears, cheers, singing and chanting. We could not deny what we wanted.

We wanted that motherfucker dead. We needed that motherfucker dead.

So now what? What do we do now? We have permission to move forward, to let go of the past but can we? It’s not always such an easy task, is it? Hatred, anger, despair, a thirst for vengance…these things can get really familiar. They can become a part of us. They can envelop us like a warm blanket. They can start to feel like home.

So maybe we will not close the book on this. Maybe closure is only something that applies to cute little problems like breaking up with a girlfriend or forgiving your parents for not being perfect. Maybe we can just press on and let our anger evolve into whatever it is that we need it to become. Maybe it’ll turn into gratitude or unity. Maybe it’ll help us get our military out of Afganistan and Iraq. Maybe it’ll trigger the disintegration of Al Qaeda. Or maybe it’ll spark a revival.

I don’t know. I really don’t. And as tears stream down my cheeks, I can’t even tell you what I’m feeling. Relief? Hope? Sadness? Joy? I don’t fucking know man. But I like it. And judging by the crowds in the streets, New York likes it. And maybe that’s all that matters.

Maybe that’s all we need right now. A reason to get together. A reason to high-five a stranger. A reason to chant ‘U.S.A.’ A reason to feel just a little bit better about that horrible day. A reason to believe that those 2,996 people did not die in vain. A reason to hope. Maybe that’s it. We needed a reason to hope.

And we fucking got one!