I had to work Christmas night, and all of my family lives out of town, so it made no sense to go anywhere. So instead I went to a Chinese buffet with a friend of mine. We were bored afterwards, so as a joke I suggested we go to a porno store, because what could be more sleazy?
When we arrived, I saw a woman, late thirties, lingering around the entrance with a couple of young kids, and by the time we parked and were approaching, a man came out and the four of them were standing around near the door. Well, I thought, this is way more sleazy: this pervert dragged his wife and kids down to the porn shop on Christmas Day and made them hang around outside while he went in to get his jollies. What a scumbag.
It was only when we got closer that we realized the lady was actually working at the porn shop, and her husband had brought the kids down to visit Mom, who had to stand outside with her kids because they obviously couldn’t come inside. Boy oh boy. An uneventful and indeed sleazy twenty minutes later we exited, and on the way home we accidentally ran over a dog.
And believe it or not it was still only my second-most dismal Christmas ever.
I had never in my life heard a One Direction song, so I guess I figured they were just like whatever the musical equivalent of N Sync is in 2013, but I caught this performance on Saturday Night Live and was genuinely perplexed. This seems more like something for a bunch of nerdy middle-aged ladies than teenage girls—it reminds me of something you’d see during one of those lame PBS fund drives—Il Divo or Celtic Woman or whatever—that interrupts your viewing when all you want to do is watch Father Brown or Lark Rise To Candleford or Call The Midwife.
They were doing this thing downtown where you can go into the back of a van and they’ll take your picture, then they make a giant print of it and paste it onto the side of an abandoned parking garage, which is appropriate, because it seems like the sort of place the guy in that picture would like to hang out.
Laughing is an involuntary reaction to certain external or internal stimuli. Laughter can arise from such activities as being tickled, or from humorous stories or thoughts. Most commonly, it is considered a visual expression of a number of positive emotional states, such as joy, mirth, happiness, relief, etc. On some occasions, however, it may be caused by contrary emotional states such as embarrassment, apology, or confusion (“nervous laughter”) or courtesy laugh. Factors such as age, gender, education, language, and culture are determinant factors as to whether a person will experience laughter in a given situation.
It’s too bad Marty Robbins didn’t live long enough to do a Johnny Cash-style Old Musician Mortality-Haunted Comeback Album produced by some relatively young, relatively cool younger artist, featuring weird or unexpected covers, because ever since I thought about it the other night at work, I can’t quit imagining his version of Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita.”
Digging through one of the vast piles of CDs that I will no doubt be crushed beneath one day, I was struck by how visually similar these two covers are. But looking at them now in the clear light of day, I don’t know how convincingly I could make the comparison. But there’s no backing out now, is there?
I’ve pretty much, since I was old enough to know about it, assumed that the Kennedy assination was a total conspiracy. This probably has a lot to do with Oliver Stone’s JFK, a movie that I was sort of obsessed with as a kid. I got it for either my eleventh birthday or for Christmas, and I watched it a lot, even though I wasn’t entirely sure exactly what the hell was going on for large portions of it, and it basically cemented my belief that of course there was an obvious conspiracy, wake up sheeple, etc.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie, so I don’t really remember if Stone actually came forward and made any kind of cogent point about who he seemed to think had actually killed Kennedy—I remember Donald Sutherland showing up as some kind of high-up intelligence agent and delivering a bewilderingly confusing monologue that was supposed to sort of tie everything together, how Kennedy was murdered by some combination of the Mafia, angry anti-Castro Cubans, the actual Cuban government, the US government itself, and the dreaded Military Industrial Complex. Which, of course, is possibly the dumbest thing of all time.
I’ve ragged on Stone before, and I probably will again, but I will say in some small defense of JFK that you can maybe read the movie as not so much being about what the literal truth of the Kennedy assasination is, but rather about the weird way that something so illogical as a conspiracy theory can latch on to a person and make them believe in almost any stupid thing that helps to reinforce what they’ve already decided is true. You can say that Stone isn’t actually showing us what is, but maybe what is for his protagonist, New Orleans DA Jim Garrison. Now, having said that, I don’t really believe that for a second: I think Stone—“a man of technical skill, scant education and negligible conscience,” to quote George Will, of all people—genuinely thinks that This Is What Really Happened.
Naturally as I got a little older, I realized that Stone and people like him are just so incredibly off when it comes to their thinking that believing in the conspiracy just makes no sense. But.
But there was still one thing nagging in my brain: the so-called magic bullet theory, put forth by then-staffer Arlen Specter, that a single rifle shell was responsible for something like a half-dozen wounds in both Kennedy and Texas governor John Connally, coming through in a mostly pristine condition. It seems crazy that such a thing could happen, and that bit of weirdness, coupled with the famous movement of Kennedy moving back and to the left, was the only thing left standing in my mind as being even somewhat indicative that the Warren Commission were up to no good. Maybe Oliver Stone and Bill Hicks and those guys that sell those Oswald “Patsy” t-shirts were right all along!
But then the other night I watched an episode of Nova that basically proved—for me, at least—that not only was the magic bullet theory possible, but that it is almost certainly What Actually Really Happened. And so the last vestige of all my childhood beliefs was blown away, having outlasted Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy by some years, destroyed, as so many things often are, by public television.
This happened quite awhile ago, but I got limited internet access and unlimited class rage, so bear with me:
Back in October, due to a computer glitch, a number of people in Springhill and Mansfield, Louisiana who receive government assistance for food had no limits placed on their EBT cards, and they went apeshit in the stores, trying to buy as much stuff as possible. When the limits were reinstated, they split, leaving tons of food piled in carts and leaving the carts crowding the aisles.
And oh man people were so mad. Nothing makes idiots angrier than someone using foodstamps. Christ almighty it gets them so angry. Mainly, I think, because it’s something tangible—if you’re some guy that works hard to support your wife and kids, it’s really easy to get angry at something so easy to spot as someone in line in front of you at the grocery store buying stuff with an EBT card. So you get furious about some lazy slob—and let me say here, living in the South (and in fact, living just down the way from where this whole EBT snafu ensued: I lived in Springhill for about a year: it is a desolate shithole), I cannot stress just how much of the anger is, at is absolute core, racially based: this is an absolute fact—who’s getting free food, and it’s right there in front of you, being rubbed in your face, and so you become a furious asshole. But that’s the easy thing to get mad about: some lady with a couple of kids getting $200 bucks a month to buy food. When it become abstract—genuine, corporate welfare, for example—it becomes something that is too big to process, something that’s just the way the world works, and this hardworking guy with the wife and kids, his anger gets redirected, and, ultimately, defused.
I’m really getting off track here. What I wanted to talk about was noted sack of shit David Vitter, state senator from Louisiana. Vitter is basically the Platonic ideal of a shithead Tea Party-era Republican; he hates gays and immigrants, he’s anti-abortion, pro-gun, the whole bit. He also hates poor people, and has been loudly beating the drum, demanding that the people who participated in the EBT cart fiasco be persecuted. Granted, this is, I imagine more along the lines of political grandstanding—he has to show the morons who voted for him how he’s on their side—but I find the whole thing absolutely infuriating, not only because of the pure pettiness of wanting to punish these people, but because David Vitter is a fucking criminal—he was involved in the DC Madam scandal some years back, but of course, as a good Christian, he asked forgiveness of his wife and family and was, of course, given it, and he still roams the earth a free man.
Now, I don’t actually give a shit about Vitter’s personal life—I don’t care how many prostitutes he’s employed. I don’t really even think prostitution is wrong. But I absolutely loathe the man’s hypocrisy. Even if I thought he was right about prosecuting the people involved in the EBT card glitch, he would still, having escaped justice himself, have absolutely no basis for his demands.
I feel like I’ve kind of gone off the rails here. I doubt that I’ve made a very sensible or thoughtful case here, but I get so incredibly angry at this sort of thing that I don’t feel I make anywhere near as articulate a point as I should be making, because as an always-poor person, I almost get physically sick with anger when I see the rich and powerful stepping on my fellows even more callously than normal, and my response is almost entirely an emotional one.
What I’m trying to say here is that David Vitter is an awful man. Fuck him forever.