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Today Should File Under - "Things that Confuse and Generally Piss Me Off" Or, Why Can't Life Be More Like Footloose

Rainbow I'd like to preface this post with the fact that I'm not super bright.  So, maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm the silly fucker in the "Dunce" cap in the corner.  All slack-jawed and drooling and waiting for re-runs of Mama's Family.  Probly.

It's always seemed to me that smart-folk are consistently up on all things politics.  Smart-folk watch CNN and other shows with some sort of ticker at the bottom with letters and numbers and green up/down arrows.  Shows where handsome men and women talk in very matter of fact voices and wear sensible clothing and have very serious expressions on their face like my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Rexroat.

Me?  I'm more of a Wipeout kind of guy.

Also, politics mostly piss me off.  Maybe my mistake with Politics is that I oversimplify.  Perhaps, one of the afore mentioned Smart Folk could straighten me out.  Cause, I don't get it.  Here I thought we, as a Nation, were slowly moving forward.  Growing out of that Pouty Teenager phase and into a sort of Young Adulthood.  Because really, honestly, we're pretty young still as a Nation.  We're only 233.  There are fucking trees here older that our Nation.  We were bound to fuck up a few times.  Like my youngest daughter.  Moving at light speed all the time with a devil may care attitude, and always two steps ahead of Now.  Jabbering and babbling away, walking backward - fast - and turning...BLAMMMO!! right into a door jamb, piece of furniture, appliance, etc.  When you're little, you fuck up.  You make mistakes and grow.  I get that.

What I don't get, is making that bad decision over and over.  I'm at a loss.  And I'm frustrated and I feel like I'm watching my 2 year old daughter repeat the old "butter knife in the outlet" maneuver over and over and wanting to scream, "Stop that shit!  Don't you know that's the wrong thing to do?!  That's a BAD decision!  Please, for the love of all things Good and Pure, stop making those terrible decisions!"

Gay-Rights I'm looking at you, Maine.

Seriously.  What the fuck?  Does it really matter that there are maybe two men, or two women that are so taken with one another that they want to spend the rest of their life (maybe) with each other?  Really?  I mean, this really shouldn't be an issue, should it?  

Oh, I reckon it's not all your fault, Maine.  California and Hawaii did it first, I know.  Our own government won't even recognize gay marriage.  Whether it's the fact that gay marriage is so, terribly atrocious that it's voted upon over and over, discussed and filibustered and lobbied for and against, or maybe the thought of gay marriage scares the Big Wheels so much, they just ignore it.  The elephant in the room.  I don't know.  I'm not real bright, remember?

But I find myself fuming on days like today.  When people - my people, your people, our people - decide that they've had enough Forward Movement.  I say this because I need to live vicariously through progressive states.  States like Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, and until today, Maine.  I need to see a glimpse of hope.  A ray of, Maybe.  Like a middle school dance.  It takes a few brave (drunk) souls to step foot on the parquet, but after the ice is broken and those unsure kids realize that it's probly gonna be okay to get their groove thing on, it's a par-tay.  And there's absolutely No Parking on the Dance floor.  Like Footloose.

I need to count on those other more progressive states to be my Kevin Bacon.  To rail against the oppressive preacher man and his congregation.  To pull Kurt Vonnegut novels out of that burning pile.  To go to war with the town bully and his army of barrel chested cronies and have a good old fashioned game of Chicken on tractors.  I need this like a Junkie needs his/her fix.  I need it like Sid needed Nancy.

Nobody said shit when my wife and I decided to get married 13 years ago.  We walked, arm in arm, all in love and shit, down to the Courthouse, filled out some paperwork, convinced a couple of people that we weren't brother and sister, and Bob's your uncle - married.  I guess it was okay because I have a penis and my wife, a vagina.  Or, maybe I'm oversimplifying again.  Can it be a penis/penis thing?  A vagina/vagina thing?  I've heard people call gay marriage "unholy".  "Unnatural".  That type of bullshit fascinates me and infuriates me, both at the same time.

I thought it was just Love.

But, maybe I'm oversimplifying again.  







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Comments

Sils

Civil Rights shouldn't be determined by what is, essentially, a public opinion poll.

I'm going to leave it at that.

Me

Many of us don't see legalizing gay marriage as moving forward. Just because we don't agree with you, doesn't mean we are stupid. We just plain don't agree.

Raye

Things that make me sad: when Mamapop turns political.

I agree wholeheartedly with "me" (above, am not referencing self :). This IS a divisive issue and disagreement does not = stupidity, on either side. When I want to delve into the politics, I head to those ticker shows. When I come to Mamapop, I am looking to be thoroughly amused by the oh-so witty commentary from the obviously incredibly talented contributors. I guess I’ll file this post under "disappointment."

Kelly

Whoa! Somebody's blood sugar is low or something, because WTF to Raye and Me? This is a place to come for more than just the latest John and Kate news or sparkly vampires and sparklier unicorns. I think this issue is very much a part of our culture, and this is a Pop CULTURE blog. Whether you agree or not, don't tell someone(whose job it is to write here)what you don't like them writing about.

Consider these replies as something that has confused and pissed me off. Ok, cIII, jump out of that VW bug and start dancing around a deserted warehouse for me.

Charlie

Raye,

Sorry to disappoint. I have to say though, this is hardly the first time I've been the bearer of disappointment. It's kind of my thing.

I don't think, and forgive me if I'm wrong, I likened your or Me (again, above commenter. Not "me" personally) as "stupid". I reread my post and failed to find that particular word at all. But then again, I read it pretty fast, kind of how I wrote it. No. I would never tell someone that they were stupid because of what they believed. Not to their face anyway. Mostly. Christ, that's how wars are started. And I think we can all agree that we've had just about enough of those damn things.

Again, sorry to disappoint. But if this particular topic ain't Pop Culture, then I'm confused cause there are a whole shit-ton of folks talking about it. And, I'm the new guy. I don't quite know the rules yet.

Alex

I, for one, think it was an excellent post.

nukegirl

I'd rather have a post like this than yet another Jon-and-Kate Plus Whatever post. In fact, I've taken to boycotting those posts because I don't want more of them. And I agree with you. I'm very much saddened by what happened in Maine, because I was hoping we'd made more progress than that. Someday, it won't be okay for people to take the other side on this issue because everyone will recognize that it is a civil rights matter. We take love where we can get it. We can't afford not to.

Stephanie

Wow. Yeah, Mamapop is tabloids, and sparkle and fluff, not issuing deragatory blanket political statements. If I agree with you I'm all good, if not??

Amy

It also wasn't THAT long ago that interracial marriage was not allowed & my wonderful husband and I would be pariahs. Change takes a long time and hopefully we'll look back on this issue and wonder why it took so long for this civil right to be granted to all consenting adults.

Jgamma

I don't read this site for politics either, but no one forced me to read this entry. It's a well-written opinion piece, either read it or don't, just like anything else on here. I personally CANNOT GET ENOUGH of the Jon & Kate saga and I come to this site for the reality TV recaps. Anything else interesting is bonus material.

BaltimoreGal

This was perfect. I will be sharing this.
Sils had a good point as well.

Deb on the Rocks

I wish it were about the shy states who need progressive others to break the quiet cloud over the dancefloor. The opposition is vehement, unreasonable, resourced and oppressive, and they leverage the fight on a huge spectrum, ranging from moral grounds to state v. federal rights. When you read opposition, or even allied opinions like this one, substitute the word "race" for the queer words.

"I guess it was okay because I'm white and my and my wife is white. Or, maybe I'm oversimplifying again. Can it be a race thing? A color thing? I've heard people call marriage between two people of color "unholy". "Unnatural". That type of bullshit fascinates me and infuriates me, both at the same time."

I think gay marriage is about justice and equity more than love--many of us make formal and even legal commitments guided by our love, and that won't change.

Daffodil Campbell

I shared this link on Facebook, because I don't get it either. And there are plenty of celebrities involved in this "political issue", so maybe you gotta just throw in some photos of Neil Patrick Harris (swooooon -matter of fact, you could just put up some photos of him for no reason at all, m'kay?) and it'll be all better for the folks that don't come here for their "politics".

Jamie

For many it is a penis/penis, vagina/vagina issue. I have NO problem with gays, gay love, civil partnerships, "partner" rights, etc. I do however have a problem with gays getting MARRIED. Marriage was created by god, designed as a partnership between a man and a woman (penis/vagina) for the purpose of creating an everlasting partnership and for procreation.

Snarky Amber

I love how Charlie's continued assertions that HE is not real bright are interpreted as assertions that people who disagree with him aren't real bright. I'm not about to call anyone here stupid, but I do detect some reading comprehension failure.

Palinode

Same-sex marriage? Wuh? But don't people have sex when they get married? How are two men or two women supposed to have sex together? This is the first I've heard of such a thing. I'm going to Google that. Tonight. When my wife's asleep.

For the next thirty years.

Amy C

Jamie, I respect that you have your personal beliefs, and include the sanctity of marriages consecrated before the god of your choosing as one of these beliefs. BUT my hetero marriage was before a judge, not a priest. There was no mention of anything divine in our ceremony. And there are plenty of hetero marriages that have no plans for procreation. Should we be "civil unions" too? As long as the federal and state governments grant legal benefits to heterosexuals that aren't available to homosexuals, then this is a fundamental civil rights issue. No one's forcing churches to perform ceremonies at odds with their teachings. Those of us who support gay marriage see it as basic equality before the eyes of the law. It shouldn't have anything to do with biblical views of the institution of marriage. If that's the definition of "marriage," then make mine a civil union please, and make it available to my gay brothers and sisters. And thanks for the piece, cIII; there's always room for insight and wit on Mamapop, no matter the subject matter.

Amy C

Jamie, I respect your belief that marriage before the god of your choosing is sacred. But my hetero marriage was before a judge, and plenty of hetero marriages have no plans for procreation. So should we be deemed "civil unions" too? Should hetero couples who can't have children or don't want children be denied "marriage"? The legal definition of marriage, and the accruing legal benefits, have nothing to do with the biblical definition or biblical "purpose" of the institution. If that's the case, then make mine a civil union, please, and make it available to my gay brothers and sisters, because we never mentioned anything divine in our ceremony. As long as the law confers benefits on heterosexuals that it denies homesexuals, this is a fundamental civil rights issue, and no one is going to make your church perform ceremonies at odds with its beliefs. It's just about equality before the law. Thanks, cIII, for your insight and wit; there's always room on Mamapop for intelligence and humor, no matter the subject matter.

Amy C

Sorry for the double posting. Got a little carried away there and thought the first one didn't take. Mybad.

Charlie


No worries, Amy.  I admire your tenacity. 

KBO

This is absolutely relevant to this site. You don't get to swoon over NPH but essentially claim he's a second-class citizen. Compartmentalizing that is hypocritical and only serves to justify one's own bigotry.

Katya

Seriously. And I don't see the logic in Jamie's ideas, nor do I feel the need to preface what I have to say with a disclaimer. I shouldn't have to kowtow to beliefs that foster opporession before I can say my piece. And I won't.

That said, if god had created marriage, you wouldn't need to file for a license with the county. That's like saying "god-given liberties." That phrase is ludicrous. God didn't give you liberties, which is why you break out a law book to learn your rights, not a holy book, and why you go to a lawyer with legal troubles, not a priest.

Enough with the invalid syllogism, and enough with pretending that anyone needs to apologize to the people who perpetuate it.

TwoBusy

First off: Charlie, this was a beautiful post.

B) The evolution of civil rights - any form of civil rights - is a process. Hence: evolution. There are those who instinctively protect the status quo, and those ready to go to bat for the underdog to try to make equality a little more equal.

Fourth) That said, civil discourse and discussion on civil rights issues is rational and necessary. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Charlie (or me, for that matter), the propriety of raising it as a topic of cultural (and, yes, pop cultural) importance is self-evident.

VIII) The Maine vote was a step backwards.

But it won't be the last step.

Sherri

Beautifully said, and exactly how I felt when I heard the results of Maine's votes. For those who claim marriage is only a holy union...how about filing your federal and state taxes as single and seeing if there's inequality under the law? Oh, and make sure they tax you for your spouse's health and dental insurance payments as well...and I mean even for the amount your employer pays. Also, make sure you can't use any pre-tax money for ANYTHING for your spouse. Trust me, it's nowhere near equal. That's just the start of all the things that are different for those of us that can't legally marry in our society.

Leah

I liked your post. Planning on sharing it. And yes, frankly I'm thankful to not read or see another word on Jon and Kate.

SQ

I, for one, am glad to read something outside the normal "pop culture" realm. We have to acknowledge that pop culture is affected in many ways by politics and the political goings-on of our country, too. So I see no reason at all why this shouldn't belong here.

That said, I'm adding to the chorus of "marriage is a matter of legal equality, not religious sanctity, etc etc". I wholeheartedly believe that every single citizen of this planet should have every right to practice whatever religion, or lack thereof, they want to. With absolutely no outside interference.

I just think it's a particularly shameful brand of arrogance and ignorance to assume that people the world around should comply with one narrow set of religious beliefs. After all, your god isn't my god, nor is it everyone else's. Actually, nor is it anyone else's, since "god" and all that that entails is such a personal experience.

Perhaps your god tells you that vagina/vagina and penis/penis is wrong. But my god doesn't.

Perhaps your god tells you that it is somehow a concern to you and others that gay men and women would like to be afforded the same respect afforded the rest of us heteros out there. But my god doesn't.

We really need to move past this peculiarly American "my way or the highway" type of mindset. It'll be a great day for everyone when we've left it far, far behind.

Pennsylrican

This is the kind of post that makes me want to make out with each and every MamaPop contributor. The ladies twice.

mommymae

as a person who doesn't believe in god, my marriage was not created by or sanctified by him/her. that was done by the great state of indiana.

great post, charlie d. very well said.

and holy shit! you've been married 13 years?!? were you guys babies?

Christina

One word: BRAVO!

rkmama

I have nothing but love for this post.
Thanks for not being so bright.

Katie Kat

Wow, what a bunch of hypocrites. Mama Pop is pop CULTURE folks. If all you want is Jon & Kate bulls**t, then go read one of the rag mags at your local grocery store.

Neil Patrick Harris is the "official gay boyfriend" of Mama Pop, and nobody is offended by that, but you are offended that someone wrote about the atrocity that is denying gay people equal rights by allowing them to get married? Is it just CUTE when you like a particular gay person for their talent or looks, but "unholy" and "unnatural" when they want to celebrate their love just like every other couple? Seriously? So it's okay in the eyes of your religion that people who are child molesters, murderers and abusers are not committing religious "no no's, but the GAY thing is just too over the top and therefore deserves special bigotry?

Marriage is a LEGAL (civil) UNION, NOT a religious one. Many people (myself included) were married not by a priest, but by a JUDGE, and not in a church, but elsewhere (on a beautiful hillside for me). What we vowed to each other involved our UNION, not what any religious tenant professed. What we have is a union that is recognized as much for its legal benefits as for its emotional and psychological security.

If the argument really comes down to sex or sexual parts, then there are a lot of heterosexual couples you are going to have to deny marriage to as well, because *GASP*, a lot of HETEROSEXUAL couples participate in "gay" sex activities as well. Oh my... what a slippery slope we have here. GROW UP.

ikate

Love this post because I too was shocked and awed at the Maine vote. I really thought we were doing better then that in this country. And although Charlie nowhere in his post called anyone who disagrees with him stupid, I will gladly call them stupid. Because if you really think that your religious beliefs can and should dictate how others are able to live their lives then you = stupid.

And for all the "Marriage is a biblical act" people...no it is NOT. I am married, and went no where near a church or a priest or any god to get married. But I DID have to pay a fee to get a government-issued MARRIAGE license and now have a government-issued MARRIAGE certificate. And I was MARRIED by a government official. Marriage is a government-controlled legal issue which provides certian rights to both parties involved. Churches need not be involved but if your church WANTS to be involved, then have at it – I don’t care who your church chooses to marry or not marry. Do your own thing inside the walls of your church but keep your bigotry out of our government.

The separation of Church and State needs to be much more evident in the laws governing marriage, because right now for most of the country the Church is dictating the laws of the State.

Dan Jeffers

We like to think of social change as something that happens when people change their minds. The unfortunate truth is that usually change happens when the older wave of bigots age out of the general population. Attitudes probably are changing but young people with the newer attitudes aren't getting out and voting.

Jamie

For many MARRIAGE is a biblical act, that is what I was trying to explain. The reason that these measures fail in EVERY state is due to the fact that they are using the word marriage in their verbage. When we are "one nation under God" there is little seperation between church and state. This country was founded and fought for by religious men and women. The state adopted marriage from religion therefore they are intertwined. Basically any marriage that isn't under God is a civil union in God's eyes.

You cannot vote in favor of something you do not believe in out of respect for everybody else's beliefs. Wrong is wrong, right is right. Everybody has a different moral compass and if that suppresses others than so be it. Absence of belief/conviction leads to immorality.

cmdowns

We can't deny that marriage as we know it today arose from religious traditions, practices, and rituals. We find ourselves an a bit of a ethical quandary, where the religious and the secular share an institution with distinctly different notions of what it means and what significance it holds.

I for one believe the secular should abandon marriages and let the religious keep it for their own. For those who do not believe their unions are ordained by God, what does it matter whether that union is called a marriage or a civil union?

If the religious believe so vehemently that only God can ordain marriages, then it follows that the secular governments cannot. Every so-called "marriage" documented by secular governments is in actuality a civil union.

Let us simply adjust this outdated terminology and, voila, problem solved. The churches can keep marriage, and everyone gets the full rights of civil unions as recognized by the governments.

TasterSpoon

It is unfortunate that the word "marriage" does have both a meaning in certain religions and a civic meaning - but they're not the same and haven't been since even before the USA came to be. (In England, I believe you can have a common law spouse, a term with its own legal implications, without ever seeing a judge at all.) People who vote down these measures keep trying to MAKE them the same, and that's where religion tries to insert itself into government, where it hasn't previously been and doesn't belong.

I can't think of anyone who, on learning I have a spouse, asks whether our marriage was in a church and in which religion before they decide whether our union is a threat to theirs. They just take the term "married" at face value and immediately have an understanding of where I fit in society. To be outright precluded from a place in society because of an inborn characteristic that hurts no one is where these measures smack of nothing less than cruelty.

Can we invalidate all civil "marriages" and start fresh so those of religious persuasions won't be so easily confused?

Also, although it's my understanding that some of the pilgrims who first settled in North America were holy rollers who would not compromise their beliefs and so had to leave their old country, not everyone who came here to make a buck and find a better, freer life falls in that category. And when it came to founding a *government*, I think the degree of religious conviction was mixed. Wasn't Jefferson an athiest, or at least an agnostic? If nothing else, our founders didn't buy into religion enough to believe that God had chosen their leader, and to the extent they believed in God, thought that God wanted people to govern their own lives. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it seems to me they were so concerned that religion might overtake their lives and livelihoods again that their first amendment to the Constitution tried to nip that in the bud.

I get what Jamie is saying, that if you believe something is WRONG, you're not going to vote in its favor. I want to push that, though, because I'm genuinely curious to know whether those who believe homosexual relationships are wrong think they're so wrong as to be criminal. I think most of those laws criminalizing homosexual "behavior" have fallen by the wayside because, as someone pointed out, specific sexual acts do not seem to be limited to the domain of any particular orientation. So if it's not the acts, what is it? Is it the thoughts? Is it the thoughts that are wrong? The desire to commit to another person's well-being and to work towards a stable, long-term relationship? Is that the part that's wrong and doesn't deserve public recognition or support?

I think civil marriage should be eliminated altogether. What difference does it make? Kids are born in and out of wedlock, unmarried couples live together, married people live apart; people write prenups and wills to override marriage laws; married people keep their names, single people change theirs. I was cautioned by a tax advisor friend that my taxes would go up when I got married. I've only been married a month, but I haven't yet seen any upside compared with our status for the last four years.

Katya

Oh, and just an FYI for everyone like Jaime who believes for some odd reason that this country was founded on Christianity by Christians, you can drop the farce and educate yourselves already. Let me set you straight with a quote that also has something to say to the overall discussion at hand:

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology." --Thomas Jefferson

cmdowns

I appreciate the spirit of TasterSpoon's, comment. I wish that marriage was unnecessary. However, the reality is that it is a significant social institution that plays many roles in our society today.

For example, I am married to a foreign national. The simplest way for us to stay together in the same country is to be legally married. Although neither I nor my spouse believe in any religious significance behind our marriage, it was still a useful tool for us to achieve what we wanted: the ability to live together in the same country. We are lucky in that we are heterosexual.

This is exactly the type of benefit that is denied same-sex couples. Maybe a world without government sponsored unions would be more perfect. But it hardly seems realistic. Is the notion of getting the government to abandon the pretext to "holy" matrimony equally improbable?

Our governments should only be concerned with ensuring rights, protecting liberties, and providing services. Let the churches worry about what God wants.

ljpock

Thumbs up from me on the post. I'm sick of people trying to enforce their religious ideals on others. Separation of church and state was implemented for a reason - we just seem to have let it become blurred in some cases.

iambellaluna

It isn't the typical MomaPop post you find on a daily basis, but it's not the first article of a politicaly-opinioned-nature. It is an interesting &, for reasons, a controversial topic.

I'm not sure what side of the fence I rest on. I would prefer to sit straddling the fence on the issue, however, I know that I can't stay that way forever. Eventually the day will come where I have to firmly plant both feet on one side or the other & I find articles like this helpful.

Also one of my best friends is a gay man with a committed "husband." Why shouldn't they get to commemerate their love & get the "benefits" of marriage like I did at my wedding they attended??

I also believe in God and that's where my hang up comes in...I also believe that God didn't make crap and that the Bible was written Oh So Very Long Ago. And so I stay straddling.

Thanks for your article cIII, I enjoyed it...I also never felt as though you called me stupid either even if I can't decide if I agree. So win-win.

Yes

Even ignoring the fact that Marriage is, in many cases, a civil act (with civil benefits, too) and not a religious act ...

How does it harm anyone else if gay couples get married? This has always stumped me. Who does this law protect?




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