Chic-Fil-A

Chic-Fil-A milkshakes are delicious. Unfortunately, the chain, or more accurately the COO has made it clear that he does not consider members of the gay community to be people like him, for doing so would be inviting God’s judgement on the nation…

(I naively stopped enjoying those milkshakes for a while back when the event happened without considering the following commentary)

Which I found quite ironic since nearly every employee at the Chic-Fil-A near me is gay. And they make really good milkshakes. Thing is, one Chic-Fil-A location showed up to on a Sunday–the lord’s day–in order to feed people who were donating blood after our most recent mass shooting (not counting the ones that are likely happening as I type this). The media ate this up because the attack affected primarily gay Americans and allies, some say giving a pass to Chic-Fil-A’s previous judgements of the gay community. Chic-Fil-A was basically being hailed for their new found tolerance, but there was a little missing from the equation.

To start, the COO is the one who made negative comments about homosexuality a few years ago, not every single entry level employee or manager. And sure, Chic-Fil-A was invested in anti-gay groups like PFI, but again still not something the base of employees have anything to do with. For every unskilled labor job I’ve worked at, not once have I given any fucks about what the company’s investment or political interests were. Nor do I think any of my co-workers considered it. We just work the grueling,shitty hours for increasingly shitty pay, shittier benefits and less time off because for so many of us, there really is no other option.

America.

The next ridiculously shitty thing is that gay men can’t donate blood. Well, technically they can but only if they haven’t had sex for a year, so basically they can’t because how many of us would purposely not have sex for a year if given the choice? Is the expectation to just sit around and dream of one day donating blood? I mean odds are there will be another mass shooting in which large amounts of blood will be needed in a years time, but what if it’s not in your home city? Then what? You might be so stressed that you’d have to get laid and then start all the way over. Too many variables. It’s kind of crazy that the FDA still sees all gay dudes as the Canadian guy from “And The Band Played On.” I know plenty of straight dudes who have, and still do have sex with troves of women unprotected. Is their blood likely to be cleaner than a married gay man? Allegedly congress is drafting a bill (and what the hell does a bill do anyways? Who knows Billy. Who knows.) that will begin correcting these barriers to gay male blood donors. It will undoubtedly contain pages and pages of other shit that has nothing to do with the problem and everything to do with lining political pockets, but hey that’s how we do things here.

The other thing is that if we are to consider Chic-Fil-A anti-gay as a whole and accept the COO’s opinion as representative of everyone who works there, what would their move mean? Clearly the organization would be in line with promoting the consistent inhuman treatment of the gay community–along with western monotheism–that ensures an excess of violent acts towards homosexuals. I’ve been bombarded though, with how great of a move it was for Chic-Fil-A to get out on a Sunday like many others have been doing forever. The media representation seems to claim that it clears the slate, sets the record straight with the Chic-Fil-A brand and the gay community. But I don’t think it would…

I’ve never been pleased by the mere “tolerance” model. And delivering food after a massacre to a community that you don’t consider to be people doesn’t mean you now consider them to be people. Again, this is going with a media assumption that Chic-Fil-A as a whole has beef with gay people. Handing out some of those delicious milkshakes (god I love those milkshakes) would be a basic act of decency after such an event, not necessarily correcting a deleterious worldview that contributes to such events. People feed goldfish, ducks and squirrels at the park but don’t consider them as respectable as people. Slave masters fed slaves, hospital employees fee belligerent patients and people water their plants. But that all seems to swerve around the depth of believing that someone is inferior based solely on their sexuality. I think it only bothers me because in the mainstream the actions will be seen as some great philosophical evolution of a company that has newly discovered morality, like a republican with a gay nephew. But really there can be no monolithic moral stance for the entire company (at least the majority of it, workers on the ground who actually do the things like make those bomb ass milkshakes) since it’s too diverse. And even if there was, if Chic-Fil-A the corporation was a person, skirting around the issue with mild benevolence instead admitting to a morally bankrupt worldview is simply promoting more disdain for the gay community, as long as it’s done with a coke and a smile.

I’ll wait for another apartment

I just couldn’t help it. I decided to wait. The strange thing is, that I was so comfortable with living in the same apartment complex that I didn’t bother to look at the one I’d be moving into. I had seen quite a few two bedrooms here, no need to have a viewing. They’re all the same.

What wasn’t the same though, was the neighbors. Now I’ve take huge strides in not making snap judgements about people, but there is just some shit I never, ever want to deal with. As I strolled past my would-be new apartment there were two middle aged black women sitting there on the steps barring the entrance to all four doors of the building. There was a kid on a scooter riding back and forth in front of them yelling and gesturing rudely in a way that said “hey, I’m not mentally disabled, I’m just a dick with no home training.” There was some childish graffiti on the brick next to wear the number of my apartment should have been. Basically, with a little help from my imagination I had walked a block away into Frankford.

Nope.

The thing is, the most troublesome part for me was the two women who sat there grimacing at me. When I said hello they scowled more deeply. I thought they would hiss if I got closer. They looked at Cass dog as if she were a rat on a leash. Those two women with tight faces would give me more trouble than I’m worth. I knew them, unfortunately.

They were waiting for me to step foot on their turf so they could give me the run down of laws that regulate their space. Their space meaning my door and the shared porch area as well. Even though we were thirty feet apart, they were primed to say “get your dog!” Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. They were waiting for me, who undoubtedly looks like someone’s grandson that they know, to move in there so that they could tell me to keep the noise down before I made it. To explain to me that they were my elders and that I need to respect (see obey) them. To tell me when and where exactly I would be allowed to use my grill. To tell me what times of day and where I would be permitted to walk the dog. To politely hand me church pamphlets with subliminal judgements. To let their own ill-behaved children and grandchildren plague my AO as if they owned the land it sat on.

So I declined the whole thing. And I probably judged the hell out of them and the whole situation, but the risk was far too great.

What if your kid…

I’ve come to the conclusion that nearly every time a parent defends their kid it is complete and utter bullshit. A reprehensible behavior that dismantles all fairness and logic under the guise of love for the individual. The most popular scene from my old neighborhood is the one where a crying mother is in the midst of a hand-to-hand battle with police as they snatch away her son after raiding her house. The son of course will have been living in the basement and the police will have found drugs and money in every crevice of the building– including his little sister’s bedroom–which is also where they’ll find the gun he used to kill several people that is also conveniently linked to a stray bullet that hit a middle school kid in some playground. Well okay, that’s like worst case scenario, but you get the picture.

While people tend to publicly condemn the actions of the son in cases like that, there is still more acceptance than I can bear of the mother defending the kid.

And then there was the father who defended his son after the foul creature was physically apprehended raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford. Of a vastly different socioeconomic class than the aforementioned scenario, and completely different crime. Disgusting of course, even more reprehensible in my view. But it was still pretty easy to find people who understand the father’s point of view.

Before I had any children, people used to say “wait till you have kids, you won’t judge those parents so harshly.” Well, ladies and gentlemen, that moment is here, and fuck. that. Thing is, I’ve also gotten to know many more adults by this point and I’ve begun to accept their feeble level of social development and sense of responsibility as a direct consequence to the fact that their parents would actually be on their side if they raped or killed someone.

Even strict parents fall prey to the nonsense. I’ve seen youngbuls get their asses straight wooped in front of the entire neighborhood for talking back, or fighting in school, but let someone else be astute enough to realize that they’re behaving like a piece of shit and the parents are not trying to hear it. In fact, parents will physically fight each other over blaming a kid for their own actions, or with teachers just to claim that their child is an angel, deserving of every second chance ever invented.

So I must be evil.

The minute that I saw what this kid’s father said about him raping an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, that his sentence was “a steep price to pay for only twenty minutes of action,” I could not speak to anyone about it because I knew exactly what they would say. And eventually they did, they’d say that I would sympathize with my kid if he was to rape someone.

Well, there might be sympathy yes, after I twisted his head off with my bare hands, if at that point he was still breathing. I might feel bad.

Harambe

Nah son, it couldn’t have happened to anybody. It’s not that I want to chide homegirl for having her kid dive into a gorilla enclosure, I’m just saying no. It could not happen to anybody, which is what people frequently say in defense of the mother. Of all the times I’ve been to the zoo, or just I don’t know, outside with two rambunctious toddlers, such a scenario has yet to take shape because either they know better, or I know better than to not be holding the fearless one’s (my daughter) hand when we walk past an open danger zone.

But anyway, that’s not really the point. I’m more interested in the accounts of zoologists and professionals who say that the only option was to shoot Harambe. Well… not really. That was the only option to ensure that the kid would survive.

But before we go all off the rails with “OMG Joseph is saying that we should let little kids who fall into gorilla enclosures be bludgeoned to death by giant primate fists,” I just want to say that this is more about principle. And resource. When I say that it might be worth the risk to attempt to subdue an animal without killing it, even if the kid may be injured or killed, it’s not because I think that all gorillas are more important than humans or anything like that. I mean, sure they are more important to the environment, there are way less of them, they have smaller carbon footprints, they’re generally nicer, some of them are cuter than most people, but that’s not the point.

I just think that we value individual human lives to such a ludicrously high extent that it creates long term problems for the collective bunch of other humans.

Remember that guy who got lost at sea a few years ago, on account of great human error? Well, the resources used to rescue homeboy from his own seafaring gallivanting were no small feat. Rescuing injured skiers, sailors or hikers in remote parts of the U.S. not only requires immense manpower, helicopters, boats, search parties and excavation equipment, but also time and money. Clearly there is a difference between someone minding their business who goes missing and someone choosing to take on a dangerous personal task, especially if they are unprepared. I only mention the cost of maintaining such a high importance on human life because this is also a country where we “can’t” fund 911 call centers, health care, public schools and a whole host of other civil necessities.

Even though it was a kid who fell in the cage with a gorilla, it was human error, several times over (caging dangerous animals, lack of security for said cages, whatever the hell the kid’s parent was too busy doing) that caused the incident. And so instead of using that lens, we just shoot the gorilla and defend the mom. No matter how the event would have played out, I just would have loved to see the conversation include the complexity of human blame for nearly every tragedy and what we might do about that.

Even though we seem to care so much about human life, we don’t give a shit about the quality of said life, which has always seemed inconsistent. This manifests in forcing women to have children under any circumstance, the individual responsibility act being invoked only when poor people collectively need something (food, housing, etc.) and my personal favorite–brutally forcing old people to stay alive. Sometimes I’m disgusted with myself in the amount of times I’ve contributed to keeping someone alive who clearly has no hope of happiness. Sometimes they literally beg for someone to just let them die. But no. We take them to dialysis three days a week, we break their fragile ribs every time their heart stops, we swap out their blood with epinephrine till we get something that resembles “life” by a biological definition that must clearly be re-defined. The cost associated with this, healthcare workers, families and just plain old fiscally is completely out of bounds.

But that isn’t going to change because there is no intersection between emotion and logic in this country. I think a republican once dubbed that crossing Death Panel lane.

Either way, every time we hyperbolize the value of a single human life, it reinforces the idea that we are all-important, perfect, immortal creatures that must answer to nothing, even our own mistakes.

Hillary Emails

Whenever I hear people mention Hillary’s emails I have to cringe a little. Sure, it does seem silly to pester a political figure so often about something seemingly minute when there are plenty of real things she’s done wrong. Sure, the whole thing smells of the childishness that republicans vomit out in opposition to everything ever. But I think the only thing that really matters is being left out, and while I’m not really a Hillary supporter I feel so damn bad for her on this one.

That’s because I’ve actually used a government email server before.

People who have levied complaints against Hillary for using her personal email server should first deal with this enterprise email plague that has swept in on the U.S. military. Frustration is and understatement whenever government and internet cozy up together. It was so bad that I would get anxiety whenever I began to type AKO in my web browser. The government’s web and email servers, at least those expected to function for the troops, which many government employees are expected to use as well are the most dysfunctional systems I have ever experienced in twenty-seven years of life.

I would rather give birth to a fifteen pound baby through my penis than be mandated to use those servers. Even now when I think about trying to do something simple like log on and view my emails, I’m immediately transported to the Fifth Circle of hell and I can’t even return until I accept the fact that one joyous day I won’t ever have to use a government email address. I’d rather slow roast my head in an oven than use my government email for work.

What makes the experience most troublesome, is that the dysfunction of all things governmental tech is always, without fail, blamed on the user. That de-facto macho bullshit response is reflexive, “well, get it done.” With no semblance of logic or attempts to understand the very broke tools we are meant to work with. And of course these emails–which can only be sent through the most archaic and misanthropic servers–always contain some super important shit. I have lost count of how many soldiers missed some important document or report date, or school information because they simply could not access their emails. Platoon sergeants and company commanders alike will regularly discipline people for not being able to access a known inaccessible email account, with no treatment of facts whatsoever.

The determination on the part of some folks leads to hours and hours of changing your computer settings, taking down firewalls, trying every web browser you’ve never heard of, deleting cookies, clearing browser history, trying your neighbor’s internet connection, hell, even restoring your entire computer just to access this email account. And failing. So then the only logical next step is to dip your head in the toilet bowl until you cool off, take the ass chewing from your boss for not knowing some super important information (not really) that could only be relayed through the email account that no one can access and toss the whole idea of using thing out the window in order to maintain your sanity.

I’m proud of Hillary for saying “fuck it,” to government email. It’s the only genuine thing  she’s done.

 

Apocalypse 2016

I feel ashamed for not assuming that Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. Mostly because I was naive enough to think that a practical discussion about disarming nuclear weapons should involve the victims of such weapons. Partly because I was naive enough to think there have been practical discussions about disarming nuclear weapons. Of all the science fiction like horrors that humans have dreamt up, this is the one that we made real, visceral. I’ve never even been to Hiroshima, but reading John Hersey’s journalism for the fourth time, It’s still easy to think it’s fiction. As if I’m reading a novel based on the Fallout series. But no, it’s real, and probably going to happen again elsewhere.

I’ve heard arguments for the merits of using the bomb, harrowing accounts from soldier’s like E.B. Sledge in “The Old Breed.” But clearly, they are limited by an American exceptionalism that Hersey thankfully did not employ. What seems most insane though is the time, money and effort put into making new nuclear bombs that make those experiments used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like cheap toys. At a time where our world leaders become more and more childish, we have made human extinction a game that even a child can play.

At no point did I dream that I would be watching a presidential debate in the most powerful country in the world where candidates would be literally comparing their penis sizes to a voting audience that seems content with their political representation. All leading up to dirty toddler fingers lingering over the fate of an entire planet because progress means 18,000 pound nuclear bombs on a planet covered almost entirely by water that a billion of us will die for lack of.

This next bottleneck in human history will undoubtedly be caused by nuclear weapons, but unlike 50,000 years ago, this next group will be self-selecting. Behind every button pressed or switch flipped there will be a general, a diplomat, a billionaire with their own shelter and all of the plebeians will look up and regret not voting for the one true candidate. The one who just recently saved the world from certain annihilation. Sure he may have some extremist views, but he says what he thinks. He believes humans and low level mutants are trash,  but his first order of business is to get rid of the nukes.

Vote with your heart. Apocalypse 2016.