A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.
- Name: todd gunther
- Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Did anyone feel the global earthquake which struck earlier this week? No? Actually it wasn’t an earthquake so much as the seismic effect created when the jaws of hundreds of millions of Roman Catholic faithful dropped to the ground.
The most intensely faithful must have had this reaction — but strangely have yet to admit to it — when Pope Francis held an impromptu press conference on his return flight from South America. His Holiness fielded questions from the reporters without notes, teleprompter, or an altar boy whispering from behind the curtain. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
We should put this story in chronological order and offer a few comments on the Pontiff’s Brazilian tour. The world’s media were in awe of his appearances. He walked among his followers without a shield or many guards to protect him. He drew a record crowd of an estimated three million people to a Mass on the beach. To put it bluntly, the Pope kicked ass!
Who could have blamed him if he had thrown both of his fists over his head and declared, “Hey, I’m bigger than the Beatles!”
Yet all of this Pope-apalooza action paled to the comment he made on the trip home. I haven’t heard what the other questions were like: “Hey Your Holiness, how was your trip?” “Did the people’s reactions meet with your expectations?” “How did you find the altar boys?” (My suggestions for the Pope’s answers to these alleged questions: “Fantastic! I had a great time!” “The people were wonderful!” “Don’t go there!”), but one reporter actually broached the subject of a gay lobby inside the church. Or, more precisely, what would he do if he realized a cleric in his ranks was gay, but not sexually active. The Pope’s much quoted response: ”Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can’t marginalize these people.”
What a wonderful revelation! Certainly a big break from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who barred men afflicted with what the Vatican believes is the deep-seated disorder of homosexuality from entering the priesthood. What can you say? After all, Benedict was German and — speaking as a third generation German-American — I have to admit that Germans have issues. Don’t believe me? Google “World War II”.
So who is he to judge? Okay, I’ll play Protestant Advocate now and state, “Who are you? You’re the effin Pope!”
You are the one human being on God’s good Earth who — we’ve been led to believe — has the absolute authority to judge all of us. We expect that you have the power to pronounce us fit or unfit for salvation. You could point to each one of us and with just one word (“Sinner! Sinner! Saint! Sinner! Sinner; no wait, purgatory!”) give us wings or send us where sandals and Bermuda shorts would be considered overdressed.
That said, I will say, “Good for you, your Holiness!” I don’t know if the College of Cardinals are smiling, but hey, you’re in charge! Your comments are a small step in breaking down the barriers against gay rights all over the world.
Now if you could just put in a good word for female priests… May I suggest what the Pope might respond to this alleged question: “Women priests? Eww! Can we talk, guys? Don’t you hate it when you walk into the bathroom in the morning and you find their habits hanging from the shower rod…?
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This entry ends NOW!)
(Thank you for reading! Yep, it’s sandals and Bermuda shorts for me!)
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Snort Bites July 2013
ROYAL FAMILY WELCOMES NEW ARRIVAL
The Duchess of Cambridge (or as her husband refers to her, “Kate”) gave birth to a baby boy recently, making him third in line for the British crown. After two days, the baby’s name was released — a long three word affair — but they will call him George for short.
Bummer! I had my money on Aloysius!
Okay, let’s get this out of our systems now: “We will love him and hug him and call him George!” Thank you to Looney Tunes and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men for our salute to the new royal progeny. Good luck to the Duke and Duchess on their new addition and with whatever else you do with your lives.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA ANNOUNCES IT WILL ISSUE SAME SEX MARRIAGE LICENSES DESPITE THE PRACTICE BEING ILLEGAL AT THE STATE LEVEL
The Montgomery County Register of Wills announced recently that it would issue marriage licenses to gay couples, in a surprise move that openly defies current state law. So far, 20 couples have taken the county up on their offer. There have also been the attendant members of the religious community staging “pray-ins” to demonstrate against the licenses. I counted 8 protestors in a newspaper photo of the event.
Full disclosure: I reside a half mile from the county seat where this latest progression of our society or descent into Sodom and Gomorrah (take your pick) is happening. I am pleasantly shocked that the county of my residence is taking this step forward. I would hope that the political minds in Harrisburg would reconsider the state’s ban on same sex marriage, and that change would not have to wind itself slowly, tortuously through the rest of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
If, however, progress takes the long road, then so be it. At least the end result will be a step forward.
Opponents will try to pray away the gay tendencies every chance they get. May I humbly suggest that they are praying for the wrong thing; they should pray for acceptance of other people’s desire to build a long-term relationship with whatever other human being they wish to build a life around.
They should heed the words of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
An offering plate will be passed around at the conclusion of this blog entry…
On a related note…
DEVOTED HUSBAND AND FATHER‘S DISAPPEARANCE IN 1991 AND HIS RETURN TO HIS FAMILY AS A GAY MAN SPARKS CONTROVERSY
In 1991, Eric Myers, a deeply religious devoted husband and father of five, disappeared. He did not contact his family for 16 years. In the meantime, he had fallen in love and married another man. On the family side, he was declared legally dead and they cashed in an $800,000 death benefit.
This whole story came to light recently when Mr. Myers explained the reasons for his disappearance in an interview on ABC’s 20/20. Myers felt constrained by his religious beliefs that repressed his sexuality. He walked away from it and started a new life with a Canadian man he met in Palm Springs, California. He decided to make peace with his parents and family and re-entered their lives in 2007.
Unfortunately, his actions have pitted him and his family against the life insurance company that wants their money back since Myers never died. I would hope that the insurance company will show some compassion for a family whose emotions went through the wringer for 16 years. After all, it’s not like the family knowingly committed fraud; Myers himself would not have known that he had been declared legally dead which would have cleared the legal path for the policy benefit to be cashed. I would hope that perhaps Liberty Life Insurance will settle for a lesser amount than the original payment plus interest.
Myers' return did not go over very well on a personal level either. When Myers came back to his wife, she reacted like “the anti-Christ had returned.” Anti-Christ? Harrumph! Okay, Mrs. Myers, you want to make that check out to Liberty Life Insurance; write the numeral “eight” and follow that with a lot of zeroes!
In any case, the story is another example of why society needs to correct their thinking about same sex marriage. This culturally defined non-acceptance leads many to adopt a lifestyle that is alien to them and ultimately heart-breaking for all concerned. In any case, the clichéd concept of living “happily ever after” seems more unattainable in real life, but that is hopefully, gradually changing.
(Thank you for reading. Now where’s that collection plate…?)
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The Face of Terror
News flash: The latest issue of Rolling Stone does not have the face of a celebrated artist on the cover. People have been shocked to see the face of the accused (mind you, not convicted, therefore in the realm of the law he is still considered innocent) Boston Bomber. Those people are used to seeing lead singers of punk rock groups or the latest rock sex kitten on the cover daring them, luring them to buy the magazine. These people - who turn out to be the majority of people who were asked about the Rolling Stone cover - condemned the publishers. What were they thinking, these people must be wondering.
Well, let’s kick this around for a bit.
Perhaps the publishers felt that the Boston Bomber is newsworthy. Hard to argue with that point, since (after all) he is accused of one of the worst attacks on American soil since 9/11. They might have reasoned people must be wondering why he would do such a thing, what his motives were, and what had he hoped to gain through his random act of violence. Then, if we know and understand all this, we might prevent other young men from blowing up pressure cookers in other cities.
Oh, wait, that’s the purpose of learning history, and a lot people hate history. Maybe that’s why they resent Rolling Stone: the cover and the article forces them to think about a subject they hate.
The people have argued, “But Rolling Stone is a rock magazine.”
Maybe it was exclusively about rock and roll at one time, but throughout most of its history Rolling Stone has been a bastion of alternative journalism. Articles published here would never show up in the pages of Time or Newsweek. Hell, one of its editors was the legendary Hunter S. Thompson; his most famous works begin their titles with the words “Fear and Loathing…” Fear and loathing, not warm and fuzzy…there is a big difference.
Or maybe it’s not Rolling Stone these people do not understand, but maybe its rock and roll itself they don’t understand. Yes, we all know that it started out as the bastard child of rhythm and blues, jazz, and country western music genres, but it didn’t take long for its rebellious roots to take hold in other facets of western culture. Fashion went first (long hair on boys and really, really short skirts on girls), followed by social mores, all designed to stand up to those long held cherished values of the status quo, defining a new set of values that we’re still formulating today. Think about it: was it really an accident that the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement were born just as the wild child known as rock and roll reached its recalcitrant adolescences?
The concepts of rock and roll and methods used by terrorists to further their agenda are not really that far apart. Both communicate change and challenges to the world at large. Early rock and roll was viewed as violence against the established melodies of our parents and grandparents youth. It dared to communicate change in an ultra-dramatic fashion.
So are not acts of terror — most often employing bombs — ultra-dramatic statements demanding change? The difference now is that rock and roll — the music — has moved towards more peaceful endeavors in its bid to change the world. Oh, it’s still rebellious, but rock and roll is middle aged now and arguably more mellow to its surroundings.
Or is that the pot talking?
Or perhaps it is the face of the bomber himself that people don’t like. What is there to hate? He seems to be clean-shaven, no scars and relatively acne-free (or did those dastardly photo shoppers at Rolling Stone air brush away any and all signs of dermatological imperfection from his face? If true, then a pox on all your houses, Rolling Stone!).
Most importantly, he looks more scared then terrifying. This doesn’t fit our notions of terrorists. He should look menacing as he seeks us out, willing to destroy all the values we hold near and dear.
He’s not even dressed for the part of playing a terrorist! Lord knows he isn’t wearing — as the far right might indelicately and highly prejudicial phrase put it — not wearing a rag on his head. This is inconvenient to see that the enemy does not look foreign, but indeed looks like one of us.
He looks like the kid down the block who wears his baseball cap backward, might spend too much time listening to his hate rock music and put too much stock in the works of Hitler. He looks like someone who would serve this country, then somewhere along the way have a radical epiphany and decide to use his military skills to bring down this country and destroy us all.
Timothy McVeigh looked like a lot of us, but he would never fit our current notions of a terrorist. News flash, people: there are thousands of other Timothy McVeighs living among us, sowing seeds of distrust in our government, working to change the status quo.
Sound familiar? Feeling uncomfortable yet?
Somehow this all brings me back to rock and roll; specifically, it reminds me of the Moody Blues Melancholy Man:
“Another man is what you’ll see
Who looks like you and looks like me
And yet somehow he will not feel the same
His life caught up in misery, he doesn’t think like you and me
Cause he can’t see what you and I can see.”
Fortunately the Moodies ended this piece on a note of optimism with the words:
“That we’re going to keep growing, wait and see.”
Maybe the editors of Rolling Stone know more about the Boston Bomber and rock and roll then we’re giving them credit for.
(Thank you for reading! Or is that the [insert controlled substance here] talking?)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Disappointed, but not Surprised…
…is my reaction to the verdict handed down on Saturday, July 13, in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has sparked the expected outcry from both sides. Rallies condemning the verdict were held all over the country the next day, with some reports of violence and vandalism, but not as much as we could have expected given the circumstances.
Naturally, anyone with an opinion could not couch any of their criticism in circumspect or diplomatic terms. Words like outrage and atrocity were heard on the left. None could beat Ann Coulter's vulgar, tasteless tweet, “Hallelujah!” reaction to the verdict. Ms. WASP is an embarrassment; I wonder if she realizes that the man she is cheering for is actually part Hispanic, an ethnic group which she has been fond of denigrating lately.
As always, President Obama has been a voice of calm reasoning in this storm. He has called on the country to reflect on the incident and to work together to stem the tide of gun violence. Easier said than done.
By my count, this is at least the second time in my adult life that we’ve been reflecting on the violence inherent in our American society. Remember Bernhard Goetz, the Subway Vigilante? He faced a slew of charges for opening fire on a group of teenagers in a crowded New York City subway car. Goetz was eventually acquitted of attempted murder, but found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon, which is more justice than Trayvon Martin is getting.
All of the critics share the same dilemma: they know exactly what happened on that rainy night in Sanford, Florida, but none of them was there. One participant, a child, is dead. The other did not testify at his own trial. So why the hell do the rest of us act all superior and insist that we know what exactly happened?
Was or was not Zimmerman instructed not to leave his car when he reported Martin walking through the development? Did he or did he not believe the young man was a “punk” who would get away, as he was overheard to say by the 911 dispatcher? What did he say to Martin that made the young man confront him? Did Zimmerman taunt him with a racial slur?
Whatever it was, it was enough to make Martin forget everything his parents may have taught him about reacting in anger to a white man. The rest of us do not really know the answers to these questions, and pending a multimillion dollar book deal for Zimmerman, we may never know. Even then, who’s to say that Zimmerman the memoirist will be entirely truthful about Zimmerman the wannabe vigilante?
The verdict will have some unfortunate consequences. It should put to rest the thinking that America has entered the post-racial era just because an African-American is in the White House. It may force black American parents to redouble their efforts to teach their children to beware of “whitey”, hardly the lessons which we need to be teaching in the name of tolerance and understanding.
This isn’t the way America should be.
In the end, I don’t envy Zimmerman. He may not have spent any time in jail, but he got a life sentence just the same. For the rest of his life he will have to be looking over his shoulder for anyone who feels that justice was not served, and they are the ones who will feel it is their obligation to avenge Trayvon Martin. This will most likely cause Zimmerman to suffer delusions of paranoia against the entire world, but that’s okay, because he will be prepared for the worst case scenario.
You see, the state of Florida returned his gun to him.
(Thank you for reading.)