Monday, October 24, 2005

Fatigue Fatigue

I rarely watch TV news unless I'm in a mood for graphic car-wreck details or scrolling histrionics or superficial coverage of complex topics, but there is one instance in which TV news is the best: during a natural disaster. Something about seeing Anderson Cooper hanging sideways from a phone pole during a hurricane just makes me smile.

So I have been watching Hurricane coverage during this, The Year of Our Lord Using Weather To Express His Disapproval Of The People Of The US Gulf Coast. One day I tuned in just in time to hear a handsome yet frighteningly cold woman advising me to turn off the TV. It seemed like good advice, but I stayed with her long enough to hear her out. She spoke of the danger of watching too much disaster coverage and warned against a condition known as "compassion fatigue." While I doubt TV viewing alone can cause compassion fatigue, it is a real malady (it googles, so it must be true) and I salute anybody's effort to promote turning off the TV. Especially via TV. Kudos.

But I do not suffer from compassion fatigue.

I do suffer from other kinds of fatigue.

For instance, even though I don't listen to AM radio, I'm tired of Terry Meiners. As a TV and billboard pitchman, Terry Meiners makes Denny Crum look like George Clooney. Terry: stick to radio. AM. Where I can easily avoid you. Not because you're fugly. Because you haven't said anything even in the same time zone as funny since 1980.

I have Support Our Troops Fatigue. "Support Our Troops" is the "Baby On Board" of this decade. I didn't drive differently because you had a "Baby on Board" sign in 1985 and I'm not going to support our troops just because your bumper magnet tells me to in 2005. It's a holier-than-thou pantload and, if you really want to support our troops, take off your ribbon and join the peace movement.

Here's another condition I'm suffering from: Articulate-Foreigners-Making-Us-Look-Stupid Fatigue. I'm really tired of watching the BBC or other international news and hearing really smart, average citizens from other countries interviewed in the streets. Watch a news story from Europe and you're liable to hear a cab driver say, "…his steadfast intent on unjust war is as full of holes as Hobbes' social contract theory…" or "…that reprobate's cowboy demeanor is burnt into my memory as sure as the pimps and panderers of Malabolgia." Watch a news story from America and you'll more likely hear, "Support our troops, dag, yo!" or "Dag, yo! Is 'Survivor' on tonight?" Whenever this happens I think: "HOW did we become a superpower?"

Oh, here's a fatigue: The over Jesus-ification of America. Faux Christianity is everywhere you look nowadays: on bumper stickers, yard signs, t-shirts, billboards, retail signs, milk cartons, office walls, TV, radio, condoms (OK not condoms -- faux Christians hate condoms), and every politician's self-righteous lips. And yet, most of these Christaficionados wouldn't know Jesus if he came up and blessed them up the ass. Jesus was about feeding the hungry, making peace, and loving everybody; not tricking out your SUV, fighting a war for oil, and tax cuts for the rich. Although it's not looking very much like it these days, this is still America, where there's freedom both of and from religion. So how's about backing off with all the Jesus paraphernalia, you Thessalonian wannabees? Peel him off your bumper and put him in your heart, huh? (Or shove him up your ass. The main thing is: off the bumper. And I thank you.)

And while we're on the topic, here are some more fatigues that are really wearing me out: Pro-Life-People-Supporting-The-Death-Penalty Fatigue. Pro-Life-People-Supporting-The-War Fatigue. Pro-Life-People-Opposing-Birth-Control Fatigue. And Pro-Life-People Fatigue. Hey Pro-life people: You know who's in favor of life? Everybody. You aren't special because you call yourself pro-life. You're sanctimonious, that's what you are.

Here's one of my most exhausting fatigues: our butt-ugly license plates. Can't we find one single Kentuckian who can design a license plate? I mean it's THIS big! There's only ONE SIDE. How hard can it be?

Here's another one: University-Sports-Attire Fatigue. Newsflash: Unless you're suiting up to play for the squad, you look like a total wadclot if you're wearing A) a jersey; B) more than one item with a sports insignia; or C) athletic shoes that cost more than $70. And if you're simultaneously wearing the UK shirt, shoes, socks, shorts, sweatpants, hat, jewelry, and boxers? Might as well go all-in for the bed sheets, shower curtain, and toilet seat, because you, my friend, are a fashion Katrina.

People-Blindly-Accepting-Conventional-Wisdom Fatigue is another one. I'm really tired of that. Was Jesus the Son of God? Did God create the universe in seven days? Did God create man or did man create God? Was the conception immaculate? Is Bounty the quicker picker upper? Do bubbles scrub? Does buying an SUV ribbon magnet count as supporting our troops? Does democracy equal freedom? Do we define money or does money define us? Is growth always good? Is war a family value? How about pollution? Bigotry? Do chickens have fingers? Do they have nuggets? Tenders? Is that "Hollaback Girl" song not the worst piece of seasick shit ever foisted on human ears?

Here's another one that really wears me out: Reporting-Business-"Good-News"-Like-It's-Not-Immoral Fatigue. OK, I know what you're thinking: This is Merka, get over it. But see? I can't get over it. When I read a headline like, "Screwtech Posts 10% Profit Rise in 2nd Quarter," I just KNOW if I read the rest of the story I'm going to come upon a sentence like, "Most of the gains were attributed to a sharp reduction in employee benefits and salaries," or "The profits came after massive layoffs after the 1st quarter merger with "Gypco," or "Revenue began pouring in after the 1st quarter shipments of toxic, baby-pinching, tree-uprooting, transfat-isotope brain implants," or "Top executives were rewarded with $10 million bonuses while employees got Mariah Carey CDs." Try it some time. Read the whole business good-news story instead of just reading the headline. If somewhere in there there's not a major swindle for the workers or a rape of the environment or a con for the consumer, I'll kiss Milton Friedman's wrinkly 'tocks.

I guess I'm suffering from Fatigue Fatigue. I'm tired of being tired of our lame society and our culture of superstition and aggression and shallow thinking and sports-dumbness and religious malevolence and vapid close-mindedness and conniving cruelty. "Fatigue Fatigue." Maybe if I whine enough I can promote it to a disorder and then a syndrome and finally a full-blown pandemic that will get enough attention that the media will cover it and then I'll end up with Fatigue Fatigue Fatigue.

Monday, October 10, 2005

That downtown arena is going to solve all my problems!

I am so totally stoked about the downtown arena. It's going to solve all of my problems.

Lately, I've been kind of down in the dumps. What with the devastation in New Orleans, the steady stream of bad news out of Iraq, and the sluggish third-quarter GNP, I guess I've been sort of blue. But if they build that downtown arena, things are really going to change for me.

Everybody knows a city can't be important without a downtown basketball arena. It will make me so proud to know that complete strangers on their way from Chicago to Atlanta on the interstate will see that we Louisvillians can watch hoops with the best of them. And it'll keep the momentum going downtown, where chain concept restaurants are sprouting up faster than you can say TG, it's Friday! Fun!

Heck, it'll be great for all of us! An arena is the kind of thing that really takes your mind off of being unemployed or homeless or uninsured or hungry or illiterate or morbidly obese or comically fugly or bad at physics or terrified of getting out of bed in the morning, so I think it will be really invigorating for all of us here in Louisville.

Some people say Freedom Hall is a perfectly good arena and we should spend our money on other things like Medicare or education or roads or conscience-implant surgery for Sen. Dan Seum (R – Pluto). But I say aaaaaaaaannnt. Thirty-second timeout. Freedom Hall is as quaintly outdated as truth in advertising or social justice! With its antiquated luxury boxes and raucous student section, it's getting to the point where millionaire power brokers can barely make the cutthroat fast-food, whiskey, gambling, and health-insurance deals necessary to keep this town's heart beating (then stopping, then beating again).

Many people take for granted how our delicate corporate system just keeps on giving. But think about it: Our hard working citizens, buttressed by luxury-skybox-negotiated pacts, breathe life everyday into the corporate cornucopia of capitalist consumerism, with delicacies like Southern Comfort, Marlboro Lights, Extra Crispy Chicken Buckets, Meat-in-the-Crust Bacon Pepperoni cheesy gorditas, Texas Hold Ems and Pick Sixes. Consumers then consume those items. Soon after, they need medical care. Our hospitals provide it; our insurance companies make a cut on the action (and in the process fund a new oboe for the orchestra); and everybody goes home happy and consumes more goods. It's the circle of Louisville life. Without luxury skyboxes in the new arena, where would we be?

Another one of my problems is attention deficit disord… Hey, they're playing the new My Morning Jacket on the radio! I think it would be totally cool if MMJ rocked Louisville again. I bet that will happen all the time once we have our new arena. It'll be great for smaller venues, too, once the trickle-down effect kicks in.

OK, so here's how I see this arena thing playing out. Once the Cards, the horse shows, the tractor pulls, the illegal gun swaps, and the country stars move to the new arena, that'll free up Freedom Hall. And now that Jesus' spirit of reconciliation, nonviolence, and abhorrence of poverty is sweeping the nation, it's bound to be only a matter of time before one of our mega-churches outgrows its current space. So, they could take over Freedom Hall, leaving their current church available for larger concerts, such as Ozzfest or Fiddy & Eminem's Anger Management Tour. And MMJ can, like, warm somebody up. Dave! Wooooot! Dave!

Then, we'll want to have extra space available in the event of another natural disaster like Katrina, so we should go ahead and build two arenas. How cool would that be? One downtown, and another one inSIDE the one downtown! But that's probably too expensive. I guess you can't have your Hummer and drive it too.

So no, one arena, that's cool. No sense in getting greedy. OK, so let's recap: 1) A new arena downtown for the Cards, the ammo-maniacs, and the country fans. 2) Move the Goddome people to Freedom Hall where there's more room to be elbowier-than-thou. That'll 3) Free up the Goddome for Fiddy Cent. And the big Dave/MMJ show! Woooooot! Sweet!

Yes, The new arena will be another step in the thrilling revitalization going on in Louisville. Our great city is alive with a spirit of renewal and excitement not seen since George Rogers Clark opened the first McVictuals Good Time restaurant/cock-fighting saloon in Beargrass Creek Live! back in '09.

No doubt about it, that downtown arena is going to totally solve all of my problems!


*** Special offer ***


Vive la evolucion!

Friends, as we all know, Creationism is for pussies. So I'm thrilled to tell you about an exciting new apparel-themed opportunity! This is your chance to show everyone how quickly you're evolving compared to that loser in the cube next to you: It's the Vive la evolucion! T-shirt!

My good pal Scott designed this shirt and the stylish bumper sticker available here.

If your state is fixin' to host a monkey trial, getcherself some of Scott's gear!

Special offer for OFGS readers! Scott will provide a free PDF flyer that can be printed on the office printer and pasted on light poles all over your Bible-thumping town. If you'd like a flyer, just drop me a line.

And remember: Jesus wants you to evolve!