Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Daddy on the Edge of Using Your Words


Everlast - "What It's Like".  Pretty moving song. Of course, this is the first time I've actually heard it all the way through without half of the words squelched out (squelching is my word for what we used to call bleeping, or censoring - they mask the lyric with a rap record "scratching" sound).  Some of the words they squelch are predictable - "fuckin'" and "shit" are still pretty de riguer in radio land.  They censor the word "balls" (as in testicles), but I think that's only because the lyric refers to cutting them off.  The word "whore" is censored from this song on many radio stations, but to my knowledge, has not been removed from any printings of The Holy Bible. Come to think of it, the Bible also mentions eunuchs a couple of times, which are guys that operate sans balls.  There's even talk that marijuana (or "green") is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments - (you can click over to here to read about that.)  Pretty funny that American radio's standards of decency are more stringent than...well...God's.  But then, America and God haven't always been in perfect harmony on everything - America gets their panties all up in a wad because someone says "shit", but they let a lot of things slide - often going out of their way to broadcast and re-broadcast them in a 24 hour news cycle - yet I'm pretty sure that God would never approve of backwoods, hee-haw, hatespeak shit like this:

"God hates fags."           "Thank God for dead soldiers."
               "Italy is a nation of mobster-breeding perverts."
            "It's a sin to pray for America."
 "A  fag is a Jew, pretty much."           "Santa is a fag."
"This is the hypocritical, fag-infested, fag-run United States of America and we're supposed to respect that fag rag flag?"

"If you would STOP worshiping false gods, 
being a fag would not be a complex matter."

I don't even pretend to understand that last one.  But yeah...in case you haven't guessed by now, Daddy's
talkin' about the Douchebag du jour, The Reverend Fred Phelps.  He's said far worse than this, but even Daddy's got standards, and frankly, the only reason that I'm even talking about this whack-a-mole is because I'm growing exceedingly pissed off with America's double standard when it comes to what can and cannot be said in our country, and Freddy is a real popular poster boy right now.

In Fred's world, God hates me.  God hates you, too.  According to Fred, God hates pretty much everyone who isn't Fred or Fred's family.  But do you wanna hear something funny?  The Westboro Baptist Church, which Fred Phelps founded and which is made up mostly of Phelps' extended family...excommunicated him.

Yeah...they kicked his ass out last summer.  You may think that God hates us Fred, but we've got some pretty strong evidence that your family, your church - hell, pretty much your entire world - isn't too crazy about you, either. 

That's not to say that you haven't done some good in this world, Reverend.  Your vile, disrespectful behavior toward your fellow men has inspired a Federal law and laws in numerous states limiting picketing at funerals.  Granted, I don't think we ever needed such laws before you came along, but I imagine they're good to have now that you've made picketing the dead so hip.  On the other hand, the Supreme Court did rule that your church and it's members couldn't be sued for monetary damages for inflicting pain on grieving families under the first amendment.

Dude can't sing about ganja but a hate group can purposely make grieving families suffer even more than they already were, ridiculing their fallen family members as a part of some macabre, hillbilly circus - without fear of litigation. What a frigging First Amendment triumph.

It seems like the role of censorship is to shield the innocents (read children) from things that may be harmful to them.  Well, it may make me a bad parent, but Daddy's kids have heard some four letter words in this house. They will also learn about drugs - what they are and what they can do - because knowledge is power.  Hearing these words, knowing about these things isn't harmful.  Hate speak is harmful.  Fanning the flames of hate is harmful.  Hate has done more evil, has destroyed more lives than the word Fuck or Shit or any other "profanity" ever possibly could.  And, in this case, Phelps and his flock have named The Creator as an accomplice to their Hate.  You wanna talk about using God's name in vain?  Censor That.

We're hearing now that the Reverend may not be long for this world, and Daddy's been trying to put himself in a right way about that.  If Fred Phelps has taught me anything, he has taught me that it is not right to express joy at a death.  I am not happy that this man is dying. I also hope that no one decides to picket his funeral - poetic justice aside, it is (as we know all too well) a disrespectful act, but more importantly - it would only serve to give this man the attention that he has so desperately craved throughout his existence on this planet.  Denying him that is the true Justice.  Let us leave him alone - completely, totally, utterly alone - and pray that, when he does leave this plane, that some of the hate that he has fostered over the years leaves with him.  We have had quite enough of it.

As I mentioned at the start of this piece, the Everlast song is highly squelched, because the lead singer cursed and talked about drugs.  And yet, there's a song that came decades before - a song who's poetic turn of a phrase managed to rarely get censored, despite the fact that it talks about transsexuality, drugs, male prostitution and oral sex.  I can think of no better farewell  to Reverend Fred Phelps than to dedicate this other First Amendment triumph to him. 

Freddy baby, this one's for you...

God doesn't hate gay people.  God doesn't hate soldiers, or Italians, or Jews; God doesn't hate the liberal media or the conservative media or America or Santa.  God Loves Us All.  Even you, Fred Phelps.  Even You.

God Bless, 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Daddy on the Edge of The Fence

A friend of mine asked me not too long ago how I choose the subjects that I write about here.  I was quick to say, "I write about things that piss me off", which is pretty much true.  But then I thought about all the things that aggravate Daddy on a daily basis, and realized that if being pissed were the only litmus test, then I would never stop writing in this place.  Turns out there are two criteria; subjects have to piss me off, and I still have to be pissed about them weeks later.  If they're still bugging me, I'll write about them.  Sometimes Daddy has a hard time letting go, but I'm in good company - watch:

Now, let me just say right here that I have no desire to force anyone to eat their own face meat whilst family looks on - that is not my intent.  But I do have to cry fowl on occasion when I hear or read something that paints me or mine in a negative light.

"Me and mine", in this case, refers to Men.

I was reading an article by a friend of mine - the subject was sex.  My friend likes to talk about sex.  A lot. I haven't quite figured out if it's because she has an over-active libido or if because talking about sex gets more clicks on your articles, but I try not to think about it at all.  In the past, every time I have mentioned that she looked good in a picture, she has said "awwww" and told me to give my wife and kids a big hug (a subtle reminder that I'm married and shouldn't be noticing that she is attractive, even if it's meant in the most platonic sense).  So, I don't tell her she looks good anymore.  Goofy I know, but it's just not worth the grief of always feeling like I'm some kind of lech when I know I'm not.  And I already hug my wife and kids plenty, thanks.  

So, if I'm not even looking at pictures of a person with their clothes on, the last thing I want to do is read about them describing sexual acts.  But there it was - the article was about sex - mind blowing, "f*ck your brains out"  sex, but quickly denigrated into the mind aching, time honored tradition of reinforcing the archaic differences between Men and Women.  Men were described as emotionless.  Lacking intuition.  Solid and Unchanging.  Possessing No Desire.  Oh, and we're good at Penetrating.  Penetrating seems to be our best thing.

At best, based on this description, Man is this:

But we can't all be Khal Drogo from "Game of Thrones", so on average, we'd be more like this...

But really, when you boil the text down to it's simplest form and look at the adjectives -  Solid, emotionless, unchanging, devoid of desire, used for penetrating, then it becomes clear that this is what we are really seen as...

Now originally I thought that's what had upset me - I was having an emotional response to the importance of my gender being minimized to it's basest, most...dildo-ish form - but then I remembered that men don't experience emotion, so I looked deeper.

And that's when I realized the trap that I had fallen into.  Us vs.Them.  Male vs.Female.  Black vs.White. Zero vs. One...

The Binary.

Binary technically means "composed of two parts", so it's basically the understanding that there is only one or the other - in this case Men or Women.  The Binary is a dynamite sales and marketing tool - as is stated in the article I reference, John Gray made multi millions of dollars in personal wealth with his "Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus" series of books.  Did it do much for people that didn't relate to being from Mars or Venus, other than making it more obvious that they didn't fit into that "norm"?  Maybe not, but who cares, right?? - it spent 121 weeks on the best seller list!  Yup...more clicks for the same old schtick.

Trouble is, the schtick isn't real.  

Do you have any idea exactly how many people feel like they don't fit into the standard Male/Female role? How many gay, lesbian, bisexual, panssexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, hermaphrodite, asexual, eunich, androgyne, bigender, genderqueer and questioning people there are in the world? If you said yes, then you're lying.  The truth is that, while there are millions of people that come out and live their lives as who they truly feel they are, there are vast multitudes of people who know that they're "different", yet are afraid to admit it - they find the idea of being their true selves terrifying.  Why?  Because so much of our world hates them (and not like you hate the Red Sox kind of hate - like slit their throat and leave their body in a ditch kind of hate).  Why?  Because they're "not normal".  Why do we think they're not normal?  See "The Binary".

"Hetero-normative", "gender conformist", "heterocentric" - different words with a similar message - that the heterosexual lifestyle is the one fully accepted, practiced, "normal" way to be.  Unfortunately, the flip side of that acceptance and embracing of heterosexuality...is homophobia.  Why?  Us or Them, baby.  Black or White.  The Binary.

And it doesn't have to be the outside world hating on them - a lifetime of the world telling a kid that what they are is wrong - yeah, that shit can turn inward - can turn into self loathing; a vicious, violent denial of who and what a person is - a painful internal battle that they have to fight and hopefully win before they even have a prayer of taking on the rest of the world.  It takes an awesomely brave, incredibly strong individual to come out as anything that deviates from the  "norm" - in large part because of the subtle, constant reinforcement of the binary, and that anything not "this" or "that" must be "wrong".

Constant, relentless repetition that outdated gender stereotypes have any place in any kind of enlightened discussion may be good for some page clicks, but it has real, life and death implications for those outside the binary - for those people not so specifically, entirely, absolutely Male or Female.  Words are a powerful flame - they can light the way, or they can scorch the earth.  The choice is yours.

I thought I was pissed about being called a dick.  Turns out it was something bigger than that.  I had originally titled this piece "Daddy on the Edge of Tired Ass, Supermarket Checkout Aisle Rationalizations, Generalizations and the Compulsive Need for Clicks, Licks and The Same Old Schtick (ADULT)".  Instead, I'm going to call it, "Daddy on the Edge of The Fence".  Why?  Watch the vid.

Opened with Minchin...closing with Minchin.  Tell the folks what I've been trying to say, Timmy...

It's not that simple.