A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Hot Dogs

There were two controversies of note this week. The first was the ongoing debate about America’s response to the gassing of civilians in Syria. It now seems that our reaction — whatever it might be — will happen only when we exhaust ourselves with endless debates and finger pointing over the matter. The second controversy concerns condiments on hot dogs. Okay, I don’t know how in hell I will tie these topics together, but let’s give it a whirl.

The story so far…

The most anticipated event of the week was President Obama’s address to the nation about the crisis in Syria. There had been much speculation in the days ahead of his speech about what our response should be. Secretary of State John Kerry was advocating a military response. Congressional leaders - backed by a large majority of Americans - made it known that this response would be voted down. Kerry’s accidental diplomacy, where he suggested that the Syrian leadership could avoid an attack if they surrendered their chemical weapons, brought a response from Russia that they would be more than happy to prove that they are still relevant on the world stage by brokering a deal between Syria and the rest of the world. These events gave Obama the opportunity to avoid political humiliation and postpone a vote on military action while the voluntary dismantling of weapons of mass destruction scenario played itself out.

Now on to Chapter Two…

A new controversy erupted the next day when the New York Times published an op-ed piece by Russian leader Vladimir Putin arguing against America using military force to deter the Assad regime from using chemical weapons in the future. 

Chapter Three…

Many Americans took umbrage that a foreign leader would have the gall to tell us what we should and should not do. Hell, we don’t like it when our own people tell us what we should and should not do!

Then we really got our bowels in an uproar when Putin criticized a concept on which Obama touched in his speech: American exceptionalism. Obama attempted to justify America’s duty/obligation to act on the crisis in Syria by equating it to our long held notion that our virtues and ideals make us unique among the other nations of the world. Putin disagreed, writing: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” 

The Russian leader bought into the idea introduced by neoconservatives in recent years re-interpreting American exceptionalism to be another form of American ethnocentrism. I’ll agree with Putin here: ethnocentrism is bad. If only that message were coming from anyone else but…Putin!

Then he concluded his piece with the lines, “We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us all equal.” Again, I couldn’t agree more, but I can’t help pointing out that these words were supposedly written by the leader of a purportedly communist country, with a strong atheistic tradition. And he has the cojones to use the word “God” to criticize us?

Let’s bask in the afterglow of this irony! Honestly, sometimes these satirical essays just write themselves! I think it’s a pity that Putin didn’t conclude his piece with the line, “BTW, Eric Snowden says ‘Hi’!”

We could go on for days about American exceptionalism and how it has not always been demonstrated in the best of lights given America’s historical legacies of slavery, racism, and war mongering. We could also speculate as to why spellcheck doesn’t recognize exceptionalism as a word. We could spend more time questioning why the New York Times would want to publish the opinion of a hypocritical despot, but the answer to that lies deep within the ideals of American exceptionalism, namely freedom.

Yes, freedom of the press allowed Putin’s critical piece on America to be published in arguably America’s most influential newspaper. The same freedom that allows Americans to express opposing viewpoints, congregate freely in public without fear of government retaliation, to choose how we want to live our lives, and the freedom to dress our hot dogs in whatever way the individual sees fit.

Mission accomplished! Two topics tied together! Ta da!

A second controversy erupted this week when a singing hot dog vendor at Detroit’s Comerica Park lost his job, presumably by many people due to his anti-ketchup attitude. Apparently this vendor has a history of public berating any baseball fan who requests the tomato concoction on their sandwich. It is believed that fans complaints of his belligerent service led to his dismissal. As far as I am concerned, he got off easy:  if I ruled the world (or if I was Vladimir Putin) I would’ve sentenced him to life without parole.

I guess chili and sauerkraut on a hot dog are also heresy!

To me the hot dog is a lot like American exceptionalism. It is a meat with endless possibilities. I will acknowledge that tradition dictates that only mustard is used to adorn its casing. However, I am a ketchup lover. If I could get away with it, I would put ketchup on ketchup as per the boast on a popular t-shirt.

My editor believes my use of ketchup on a hot dog is weird, alien, and possibly communistic. I will argue that when it comes to hot dog condiments, I am neither hetero nor gay; instead, I prefer the middle of the road, savoring the best of both worlds. I am bi-condimental. There, take that, spellcheck!

Here is how I dress my dog. First, spread open the bun, wide. (no double entendre intended.) Lay down a slice of cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss, no matter; consumer’s choice). Place hot dog on cheese and slice lengthwise. Spoon relish on one side of the dog; lay down a line of mustard on the other side. Fill center of hot dog with chopped onions. Top hot dog with a line of ketchup down the center of the sandwich.

There, let’s see Putin swallow that!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As one with the freedom to express an opposing point of view, I feel I must defend the traditional simplicity of yellow mustard on a hot dog. Mustard is heavenly, a divine sauce that is bright in color, and has the consistency of…)

baby puke!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Who wrote that? Okay, fine! This blog entry ends here!)

(Thank you for reading. Next week in the New York Times op-ed page: “Anti-Semitism is Fun,” by A. Hitler.)


Anonymous Janey said...

A hot dog is "a meat"?


"spread open the bun"?

RTG, what have you been smoking?

And I would like to see Putin "swallow that" -- whole -- and choke on it -- for his stance on gay rights!

September 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Good Morning, Janey! Thank you for the comments. DISCLAIMER: No substances, controlled or otherwise were used or abused in the production of my last entry. I realize this makes my logic look all the more bizarre, but certainly not as bizarre as the twisted minds (like Putin) that we have to put up with!

September 18, 2013 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger David Jeffreys said...

You don't mention whether after adding so many toppings, you are able to close the sides of the buns! And thus insert it into your mouth! Perhaps you eat it with a knife and fork.

Here in the south, we open a steamed bun and insert hot dog with mustard (though I prefer Dijonnaise), add slaw and chili in that order and enjoy. Some add raw onions, but never relish or ketchup. A whole dill or sour pickle on the side is a plus.

Next, you must tell us how to eat a Philly Cheesesteak! I sure hope it is not with that awful cheese whiz stuff.

September 18, 2013 at 11:43 PM  

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