Archive for November 2nd, 2008

Fred & Red No. 1: “Baby”

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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 Webcomics No Comments

Rainbows and Religion

Gays, lesbians, bis, transgender. Let’s face it, they make life in America interesting. That and they’re not going anywhere. Homosexuality permeates through the American fabric like much-needed accentuated lace trimming. The character of our country wouldn’t be as vibrant as it is without their inclusion. To deny this would be to deny…well…art, music, literature, and cuisine any sense of snazz.
 
My opinion has always been, let it be. As far as I can see, there is no sign of a conspiratorial “Gay Agenda”. No one is trying to convert the masses to man-loving (or female-fondling) against their will. If someone’s gay, they already know it. If they’re not, they know that too. It’s not something that can be beaten or brainwashed.
 
Okay, maybe the trendy-bis are susceptible…but do they don’t really count as relevant?
 
They should be welcome just about anywhere. What room doesn’t just light up without a slight flary touch? Theaters! Offices! Ballrooms! Churches!
 
Wait…churches?
 
Backing up a bit.
 
This is one area I don’t understand. There’s a fight out there for the acceptance of homosexuality in churches. Actually, in Christianity as a whole. Um…why? What self-respecting gay man or woman would fight for this?
 
Picture, if you will, a child. This child wants to get into a private club. Said group is called - for the sake of argument - the Dead Puppy Appreciation Society. The point of the DPAA is to regale stories of dead puppy joy. Specifically, puppy-bashings performed by its members. The kid wants to join so badly, but there is one bit of information he/she’s not privy to.
 
The sacred tome for this club is the “original” puppy death story. The child’s puppy. So, not only is it a dead puppy club, but it’s a club founded on passing of the child’s poor mini-pooch.
 
Not clear enough? Fine. Let me break it down even further.
 
The canonical text that most Christians hold to be the infallible, ineffable, invaluable Word of God basically states homosexuality is bad. It is grouped in with the likes of bestiality, pedophilia, and all other matters of sexual impurity. In fact, sexuality outside the simple man-woman equation - and even then, only after a marital union - is deemed sinful. With that said, why try to gain entrance and acceptance into a religion that basically states you are evil? They don’t like you because their dusty old parchments and BIG book says so.
 
Granted there are arguments that state that only the “act” of homosexuality is bad. A congregant can be homosexual, yet not a practitioner of the sex involved. Another debate rages as to whether or not the New Testament negated the Old, and as such rendered the judgments against homosexuality (or as it was commonly referred to as, sodomy). That stance is flimsy at best given that sex outside of marriage in the Faith is seen as immoral. Since a homosexual bond can’t be seen as a holy union in the eyes of the Christian God, that leaves it as…basically just sex. Which makes Baby Jesus cry.
 
I ask again, if one is gay, why would they put themselves through that just to be accepted in a friggin’ church?
 
Sounds like lighting a candle in the rain to me.
 
My lighthearted suggestion is this: Start your own damn church. Gays are a hoot. Most things they concoct end up some shade of pastel awesome. An all-gay congregation titled, say, “The Happy Fun House of a Fabu God” (I dunno), would just scream cool. Hell, I’d go at least once for a good show.
 
Uh…just don’t expect me to kneel.
 
 
Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 Musings No Comments

Is It Because I’m Pink?

The first time I ever heard the “N-Word”, I was in 3rd grade. Some kid yelled the epithet to another. I had no idea what it meant. I assumed - in my li’l geeky grader mindset - that it was another insult like “butthead” or “stinkypants”. No one had explained the dire connotations of the word. Like any dumbshit, though, I learned the hard way. On the playground, of course.
 
That same day during lunch recess, a Mexican kid about one grade up wouldn’t stop shoving me into the pavement. He had a plethora of insults at his disposal, while I couldn’t muster one to counter. Then I thought back to something I heard earlier in the day. I doubted he’d heard that before. Out of my mouth and into the air, it went. My first racial slur.
 
He stopped in mid-shove - frozen by what I’d just said. For a moment, I thought I’d outwitted him. I assumed I labeled him with a name akin to “butthead-to-infinite-plus-one”. His expression changed from pure disbelief to contorted rage. The kid bum-rushed me. As did every other dark-skinned child within earshot. This was Southern California, one can imagine how many that would’ve been. I lost count.
 
The beating I endured (and deserved) wasn’t that severe. A teacher on recess duty pulled my pale fetal form from the asphalt in time before any real blows could connect. However, I was instantly shuffled off to the Principal’s office. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Not only did I stick out in this school for being a white kid, but the elementary school was named after my maternal grandfather. Every teacher knew who I was. Every…teacher. Admin staff also.

I had a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. This wasn’t my first Principal visit. As early as 2nd grade, I had a…well…”potty mouth” doesn’t quite cover it. Full-on “verbal urinary tract infection” would be more appropriate. If I remember correctly, the Principal’s first words to me were something like, “What did you say now?”
 
Of course, I told him the name I called the kid with as much casualness as someone who said “Hiya.” The Principal gave me a look that was twofold, either that I was being raised by Nazis…or…the more likely…I was an idiot. He asked if I knew what I’d said.
 
“It’s just a bad name, right?”
 
“More than that,” he replied. Then he explained.
 
I paled even further as the realization came to me and - in my best juvenile stammering - I tried to convey that I hadn’t known what the word actually meant. Given my historic and perpetual battle with Foot-In-Mouth Disorder, he believed me. It was the truth after all. I hadn’t known it was a racial slur. Nor had I known what a racial slur even was.
 
Since that time, I couldn’t even bring myself to utter that word again. Of course, like any other Caucasoid craphead out there, I was privy to other slurs and variants of name-calling, but that one word rarely entered my lexicon. Even in relating jokes, I always winced when it was uttered - a reminder of that rightful playground smackdown.

Fastforward some twenty years later to Thursday, July 17th, 2008, at roughly 4:45AM.
 
The front doorbell chimed at the hotel entrance. At the front was a stout obsidian (read: black) man; uneven Afro, one gold bucktooth, a spiderweb neck tattoo, donning a backpack, and three pairs of sneakers tied to his waste. I opened the door, and he quickly stepped in. He made a beeline for the breakfast set-up. This was where I got suspicious.
 
“Excuse me, are you a guest?” I asked.
 
“Nah, man,” he replied while foraging for food.
 
“I’m sorry, sir, but if you aren’t a guest, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
 
He turned to face me, stern expression on his face, and brandished a room key.
 
I immediately went into apology mode, “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t know you were a guest.”
 
“What did you think I said?!” he yelled.
 
“I thought you said ‘no’ when I asked. My apologies, sir,” I practically bowed.
 
He proceeded to rant further. I escaped to the kitchen, using the coffee carafes as an excuse to not face him again. Then I heard noises from the tables. I returned to the main lobby where he was attempting - rather badly - to set up the salt ‘n pepper shakers and condiments. At this point, I was puzzled.

I went up to him, “Sir, I will worry about that. You enjoy your breakfast.”
 
I grabbed hold of the condiments tub. He gripped it tighter and pulled it back.
 
“No!” he said. “Your job is hospitality. Get back behind that desk.”
 
“Sir, setting up the breakfast is also one of my duties,” I explained. “Please let go.”
 
“Wrong, your job is hospitality! You are not doing your job!” he shouted.
 
“Sir, give me the tub,” I said slowly.
 
“Do you really want to go down this road?” he asked. “Because as far as I’m concerned, you are racial profiling. You are on camera causing a conflict.”
 
In truth, I wasn’t on camera, we were in a blind spot.
 
“You are causing an incident, sir,” I said. “Enjoy your breakfast, or I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
 
He wouldn’t back down. At that point, I let him finish “setting up” the condiments. I returned to the front desk.
 
He bellowed from across the floor, “And my name is not ’sir’! It’s Wicher. W-I-C-H-E-R! I’m a marketing student and an athlete!”
 
The doorbell chimed again. It was the breakfast gals. As I was attempting to answer the door, he beat me to it.
 
“Morning, senoritas!” he said.
 
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
 
“Oh, what’re you gonna do? Call the cops?” he pressed. “Go ahead. Call the cops.”
 
The doorbell chimed again.
 
Shit, this is getting old, I thought to myself.
 
It was The Oregonian paperboy. He humbly untied the pile of papers in his arsenal and was ready to place them in the bin. This was about when Mr. ”Wicher” chose to engage him in a conversation. The paperboy paid him no heed.
 
“Hey, I asked you a question,” he leaned in.
 
“Sir, could you please not start a fight with the paperboy.”
 
“Paperboy?” Wicher said. “He is not a paperboy. He is a man! Just because you’re not happy with where you are doesn’t mean you can put others down. And I already told you, my name is not ’sir’!”

The paper-”man” left the lobby hurriedly. I tried to return to my duties. The phone rang. It was Wicher calling from the guest phone by the kitchen.

“I would like to speak to your general manager,” he said.

“I’m sorry, sir, but it’s five in the morning. The general manager is not in until eight.”

“Then get me a card,” he stated sharply, still on the phone. Keep in mind, I was within eyeshot of him.

I put the phone down. “Sir, we have their business cards on display by the desk.”

He didn’t move away from the phone.

I repeated, “Sir, the business cards are over here.”

He stayed motionless, phone to his ear.

I attempted to ignore him…again. He returned to his breakfast bar rummaging. Again.

Curious, I asked, “How do you spell your name, sir?”
 
“I already told you. I ain’t tellin’ you again.”
 
“You said it was Wicher?”
 
“I didn’t, you did,” he retorted. “Not my fault you can’t remember.”
 
I went to the computer and looked up every derivative of the name “Wicher” I could find. There was no record of any such name in the system. No one by that name had checked in since 2007. And that person was from Walla Walla. I highly doubted he was from Walla Walla. Before I could call him on it, he was gone.
 
A guy had played the Race Card…only to get a free breakfast.
 
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the most P.C. S.O.B. out there. I’ve said things I regret, and joked about other things I shouldn’t have. Some of those issues happen to fall under the category of race. Truth be told, while I regret any serious inferences I may have made, I don’t regret the jokes. In my humble - albeit pale - opinion, anyone who uses the Race Card to con a hotel out of a free meal is treating the Civil Rights movement as a joke as well. I don’t think mooching a bagel and a donut is what the NAACP had in mind.
 
And that’s the funny thing, I’ve seen several instances where the dreaded phrase “Is it because I’m [insert color code]?”  was used. But never appropriately. Never to fight injustice, never to squelch oppression, never to the ends of equality or racial harmony…but rather the exact opposite. The phrase is brandished to further cause a schism, a divide, and usually to a devious degree.
 
When did brandishing the Race Card become a con?
 
Some of you fair readers may wonder why I have any right to complain about this at all. After all, as a “white” citizen, I’ve never known of racial profiling or been treated differently based upon the color of my skin. To that I say, “Bullshit.”
 
I’m a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male. For well over twenty years, the symbol of totalitarianism, gender/racial oppression (and suppression) has been linked to one mascot - the WASP male. Ever walk into a room where you’re the only white guy and get the searing stare of: “Oh look, it’s the enemy!”?

I have.
 
Case in point: I was at Portland State one time leaving an elevator. A nicely dressed African-American gent in a pinstriped Billy D. suit entered at the same time. I was accidentally blocking his entrance. We both tried to move out of each other’s way, unfortunately it was in the same direction. After an impromptu tap dance of three seconds or so, we finally cleared each others’ paths.
 
As I was leaving, he yelled, “I’ll bet you did that because I was black!”
 
Then the sliding door shut.
 
I felt horrible, for I truly believed I’d done something wrong. And that’s the kicker, folks.
 
Guilt.
 
Those of us with the unsightly displeasure of being born with little-to-no melanin pigment are still expected to apologize for the sins of our ancestors. The notion of “We suck” was instilled in us since birth. If we carry the “white” flag, we are instantly expected to surrender our tongues at the door. We have to watch what we say, watch what we do, watch out for the impressions we make. However, if we look like we’re tiptoeing, that could also be deemed offensive. It’s a politically correct clusterfuck - double-edged sword with a side of mayo.
 
I’m done.
 
If you’re being a dick, I’ll call you a dick. If you’re being a bitch, I’ll call you a bitch. If you’re doing something illegal, I’ll call you a waste of flesh. It’s not because you’re black, white, red, brown, yellow, plaid, or chartreuse. It’s because you’re a tard.
 
And if you think this is coming from someone with a limited world view, allow me to enlighten you. Most of my movies are not in English. I can actually tell the difference between someone from the Middle East and India, Chinese from Japanese. When’s the last time you watched a Mumbai musical?

Didn’t think so.
 
In conclusion, I’m not white. I’m pink. Last I checked that wasn’t a very threatening color. Not worth getting worked up over. Nor do I have an answer to this conundrum. Differences should be celebrated and satirized in equal measure. It’s the human condition. Pussyfooting never worked for anyone. If that fails…well…we can all agree on one thing.
 
We all hate white trash.
 

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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 Musings No Comments

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