Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bitter Much?

So, it's done. It's over. It's behind me for another 364 days.
But whatever could I be relieved over? What's passing prompts passion enough to pedantically post? Why, Valentine's Day, of course.
No sooner has the gleam and glitter of Christmas had even a moment to dull than the creep of corporate-clad candy bleeds its morbid red across stores large and small. Like plague boils, stuffed bears of every size, color and shape erupt amid heart-shaped sappiness, each with its own nauseating scribble of devotion, be it poems that no doubt put acres of the mentally challenged to work, or prose declarations having the emotional sincerity of an inmate attending court-ordered rehab. Like buckshot, the day after Christmas the seeping of next quarter's earnings pricks the shelves of stores nationwide, then, like an unattended wound, floods every nook and cranny conceivable to the eye. From warehouse displays making profitable use of lawn and garden centers, to blooming like mold around convenience-store displays (where you can find a card just as big as your love right next to BootyMasters Monthly).
Yes, I am how the other half lives. Either you're single in the United States, or you're not. Perhaps a small percentage lives in a brief period of deliciously angst-ridden ambiguity about their realationships, not having a clear idea of their intents and desires until the next Sandra Bullock or Meg Ryan romantic comedy provides direction, but otherwise it's one or the other.
So I see the ensuing hemmoraging of guilt as a cultural reminder for couples to assure their others they don't take them for granted, or purchase a brief stay of reprimand and consequence if they do. That's how I see it for couples. For singles, Valentine's Day is a delightful reminder to not take your lonliness for granted. You earned it.
Long gone are the days of gradeschool, wherein everyone received a valentine. Everyone was indocrinated to believe they and everyone else deserved one just for being. What that really was, was an introduction to kinderpity. As the years wore on, and the cupcakes went from homemade, to store-bought, to fresh from the mark-down bin; as the bags of lacy lollipops and confection hearts (stamped with come-on lines so awful only the most socially inept of first-graders ever put any of them to the test) went from carefully-counted and wrapped assorted foils and tissues of internal bleeding reds and blood-in-your-unrine pinks, tagged with personalized to's and from's, to brown paper grab-bags of dollar-tree cheap, sugary and remotely heart-related; as the years wore on and the polygamous orgy of grade-wide valentines whittled down to callous monogamy, the expectations of youth were stones piled high around ones heart, that collapsed in the hormonal seas of adolescence. Raised to believe you deserved a valentine, one day the reality that someone has to want to give you a valentine arrives just in time hasten the evisceration of your self-worth.
Every Valentine's day is saturated with the color of a freshly-fought battlefield, and don't think for a second that's an accident. For us singles, every rejection, a valentine that might-have-been, is stuffed with caramel, or almond nouget, or peanut butter, a Whitman's sampler of failures of worth. No one will give us the pleasures we never will have. Every failed relationship is the bouqet given to someone else. Every word of recrimination from an ex masquerades as the soft, fuzzy representation of a viscious, carnivorous mammal. Like your ex, it's best to play dead and hope they'll lose interest. Even break-up sex is no better than the gold-colored plating on a gas-station trinket hastily snatched up in a moment of relational horror at forgetting to soothe one's partner that one doesn't take one for granted: one turns your skin green, the other your soul.
Every Valentine's day is carefully crafted to refresh the wounds that might've (silly you) grown into twisted scars over your self-esteem. Aisle upon aisle of crimson regret, of gold-trimmed failure. This Valentine's day, your own breaking wind is the only sweet nothing that might whisper in your ear.
Don't take your lonliness for granted, singles! You earned it. Somewhere in a heart-shaped universe is everyone who chose to leave you. They reside amid the countless who never thought you worth the bother to begin with, as countless as the hairs on an insipid bear. Perhaps, in the days to come, you can court tooth decay with that discounted candy. Like your long-gone lovers, plague will leave a delightful hole behind. Don't try to kid yourself, if you're sad enough to buy yourself a card. That message wasn't crafted for you by some lonely, if possibly feeble, sloganeer hoping agaisnt hope to make contact, but for those so emotionally out of touch thinking that some smarmy phrase best captures what they feel, perhaps because it captures that same feeling for 30 million other people.
You've earned your distance from the rest of humanity, so enjoy it. Your lack of interpersonal skills set you apart, literally. Jesus may have come to save all humankind, but saints don't have to be so generous. They're allowed to be picky, and it would not do to offend St. Valentine. Thus for one night a year your satin sheets will turn into sackcloth, every stuffed bear you touch will shed handfuls of hair in the presence of your emotional Hiroshima, and champagne will turn to bitter herbs in your mouth when you toast your singlehood. It would be best if you simply slit your wrist on those roses' thorns.
But then February will offer up the 15th. Vanlentine's day will be tossed into bins at half-off, about as much as your self-worth a mere 24 hours ago. The bright nosebleed of commercial romance will cease, and slowly scab over, and fade like a crime scene, or Shannon Doherty's career. You'll be allowed 364 days to forget, barring holidays, which would be so much richer if you had someone to share your memory blacking-out drunk with, that every bit of your measure in our society is dependant upon how much another values you. You'll see nary a bear as they wander off to hibernate, curled up around their noxious prose. The mentally challenged will go back to packaging light bulbs, and doing a real day's work. You won't have to worry about seeing roses, as they rarify to anniversaries and apologies. Tossing your socks anywhere, and leaving your laundry unfolded will once-again become an enviable mark of freedom, instead of a cotton pile of shame.
You've made it through another Valentine's day, and next year you'll have grown into another person, one who can face the Valentine's next knowing you're older and less unattractive than you are right now. Perhaps we'll all luck out, us singles, and a liberal administration will start a new entitlement program, one wherein the government sends everyone in America a valentine's card. If they can subsidize corn, and sugar, I see no reason why romance can't be covered under Medicare, and self-worth get a matching contribution from employers. 364 days to go!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sarah Palin goes to a party, and enjoys tea.

So, Sarah was at the Tea Party convention the other night. I watched most of her speech, but dropped out when she had the sit-down chat. Too bad, as I understand I missed her checking notes she had written on her hand. Oh wait, I live in the 21st century: that shit will be online forever. Excellent.
Now, what I wonder is this: considering her track record with Q & A, would it really have devestated her image to carry a pad out with notes on it? I mean, really, is it so important to appear able to speak "off the cuff?" Poor dear didn't practice her speech enough either, as she stumbled several times and once obviously lost her place. I'm cool with that, however, even if I feel I would have been more prepared. I just don't understand why she keeps trying to hide weaknesses instead of being practical about overcoming them.
Now it may surprise those who know me that while I find the thought of Sarah in the White House horrifying, I have a grudging respect for her. While I'd never drop a thin dime on her book, I'll likely check it out of my college library (it will almost always be there: I go to college with teenagers; they don't read books). Call it a morbid curiosity.
The Tea Party is an interesting movement, in theory at least. Basically an amalgamation of independant voters, those disgruntled with both political parties (as well they and you should be). I'd have thought that getting independants together under any kind of banner, much less a convention would have been as sucessful as herding cats. Understanding that the Tea Party doesn't represent the spectrum of all independants, I'm impressed with the effort, even if I find the political philosophies of nearly all the convention attendees interviewed by CNN by and large repellant. And let me be clear that I admire Sarah only for continually putting herself out there. One also has to admire her walking the walk about her abortion views, even if I hold divergent and wildy more complex views. Largely, I think she is a power-hungry catchphrase machine, who is playing every supporter of hers for a fool. In her speech, she said exactly what her supporters wanted to hear, and they love the idea of her so much, they don't waste a moment thinking critically about what she's saying.
Allow me paraphrase because I'm far too lazy to mine quotes.
That we're fighting a war on terrorism, and using criminal investigation techniques and mentality are the wrong tactics. Completely wrong, unless your aim is not to use precise techniques to prevent attacks and aprehend terrorists, but instead to solve the problem by blowing up as many Muslims and people of brown skin as possible. Logically, we shouldn't be wasting our money on investigating the drug trade and weaving intricate webs to catch as many drug-related criminals as possible, but should carpet-bomb Columbia, and raze every town south of the border. Why waste the time trying to work your way as high up into a criminal (or terrorist) heirarchy as possible when you can just kill as many people as possible, including innocent women, men and children. That would prevent them from breeding more non-Americans just like them. Besides, despite tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Muslims, Arabs, and brown-skinned people dead, I don't think we've reached the eqivalency yet. It's never been stated, but isn't it something like, for every one of the 3000+ Americans killed on 9/11, 9000 or so Arabs must die? I know I'm not tired of revenge rhetoric.
Lesse, what's next.
"Common sense" in our Federal spending. Can't really argue too much with that sentiment. I do wish she'd have at least hinted how much more complicated it is than that appealing bit of rhetoric. Sure, I think the current attempts at health care reform are misguided, but I sure didn't hear any solutions to the pressing issues of Medicare and Medicaid ensuring Federal insolvency in a decade or two. Our budget deficit is worrying (but for all the wrong reasons: it's disturbing because of how it weakens our currency. Oil is denominated in dollars, which is bolstering the value of the dollar. If oil were to be denominated in any other currency, it would send our money into free-fall. Then China would then dump its currency reserves onto the market to try to recover some of their losses, further wiping out the dollar. Incidentally, both of the above are why we are in Iraq, not weapons of mass destruction) but advocating lowering taxes at the same time? Voodoo economics, anyone? Favoring the supply-side of the economy has now 30+ years of empirical evidence, during which time no recessions were prevented (we're in our 4th since Reagan took office), the divide between rich and poor has grown into a chasm, and deficits are the rule, not the exception. I wish if she's going to open her mouth, she'd have some real intelligence about economics behind it.
"It's been a year..." referring to the economy, "...can't blame the previous administration." Well, one could, but from one point of view that's correct: we should be casting a very critical towards the last 15 sessions of Congress. Besides, it took nearly 8 years to get into the recession. I'm tired of it too, but I know it takes time to pull out of one as well. Even longer for it to be felt in the "real" economy (how I despise that phrase). To reiterate the above, it's complicated. The Government is not a person, can't household financing isn't entirely applicable. Sigh
I must away to bed, but let's throw one more stone. Sarah stirred outrage that the Christmas Day attempt at blowing up an airliner, which she declared a miracle that it didn't go as planned (a miracle? Really? God intervened and stopped the bomb, through means awe-inspiringly inexplicable, such as the bomb-makers ineptitude? Really?), outrage that the terrorist is being prosectued with rights granted by our Constitution. Now, I understand the kneejerk reaction. He is not a US citizen, why should he be graced with the protections afforded our Constitution? Well, he was aprehended in US territory, and is thus subject to US law, not US lynchy, mob-ruley gut feelings. Let me offer this argument. I'm in no way a theist, but the Constitution is founded on the premise that the rights guaranteed in it are HUMAN rights, not exclusively American rights. These rights, as theist never tire of arguing, are in fact God-given rights, and our legal system was founded, theoretically, at least, on the premise that these HUMAN rights cannot be abridged. We live in a country that recognizes these human rights, and bases its laws on them. I'm an atheist, but I appreciate and enjoy the liberties and protections of the Constitution, even if I don't think them granted our species by a deity. But if one does believe our country is founded on Christian principles, and these rights are inalienable to the species, just how do you justify denying them to whomever pisses you off? A US citizen who attempts or commits mass murder is protected, and processed with these rights firmly in mind. It's hubris and jaw-dropping hypocrisy to deny these lauded (and entirely reasonable) rights, written down in our Constitution, to anyone simply because they're not American. Anyway, if I can say nothing else about Sarah (and I can, to be sure), she sure does get me thinking.