August 2006


I once knew a man named Steele Harden.

There’s no joke. I just think that’s fantastic.

This would make a good cartoon.

Two guys stand, looking at one another. They are SUIT GUY and T-SHIRT GUY.

T-SHIRT GUY: What are you thinking about?

SUIT GUY: Oh, you know. NPR. Organic vegetables.

T-SHIRT GUY: Really? Why?

SUIT GUY: Because… I’m 30.

 

 

And then T-SHIRT GUY explodes.

We interrupt JOKES! week for an important announcement. Pluto is still a planet. A bunch of assholes in an astronomers’ union can’t have a meeting and make Pluto a non-planet. Pluto is a planet because we believe it is, in much the way that the Appalachian mountains are not hills because we call them mountains. This is consensus reality at work, and if we want to count Pluto as a planet no one can stop us. Astronomers can call Pluto whatever they want, because honestly, once they got the whole The Earth Revolves Around the Sun, Which Revolves Around a Galactic Core, Which Itself Revolves, And We’re Not Even Near the Center of the Universe thing out of the way, all their important work was done. Go to your telescope, watch my sky for killer asteroids, and shut the hell up. Fuck Astronomers.

I’m doing another book. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but there’s currently this big move in Young Adult literature, especially in the Young Adult Ladies category, toward this absurd O.C., 90210 bullshit. Instead of The Baby-Sitters Club, we now have The Au Pairs.

WHORES

Every fucking book now has the girls meeting cute boys in the Hamptons. Fuck that. Here’s a break down of a sample chapter for my Summer Vacation novel, My Summer Vacation Novel.

  • Wake up at 10 AM.
  • Lay in bed till 11:30 AM.
  • Eat some cereal.
  • Play Nintendo till 2 PM.
  • Ride Bike to Rob’s House.
  • Watch Talk Shows and Soap Operas. There’s nothing else on.
  • Get into an argument about something stupid.
  • Dick around on the internet until 7 PM.
  • Eat dinner at Rob’s.
  • Ride bike home.

This is a novel that Kids Can Relate To.

Here’s another punchline with no joke. I guess the setting would be like an S&M Club? Anyway.

“The safe word is deeper.”

I am writing a book about the Rapture. In it, all the Fundimentalist religious people have vanished from Earth, and in the wake of this cataclysm everyone get’s their shit together. Equal rights are applied to all people. Vast forward movements are made in gene theraphy and stem cell research. The decisions of the world’s governments are often based on logic rather than an attempt to placate the superstitious. The title of the book is Left Alone.

I remember hearing this joke when I was younger. I don’t really remember any of it except the punchline. The set up involves some guy visiting a leper colony. The joke ends
“Guacamole? That’s my back!”

I don’t want to shock anyone, but a lot of the people I hang out with are not exactly devoutly religious. I know! I come off as such a sweet, God Fearing, salt of the earth type. It’s hard to believe I keep company with racial minorities, sexual deviants and the damned. Occasionally, this leads to situations where someone will talk about how much they hate religion. If they single one group out, it tends to be Christians. In general, I’m the only person who is willing to present an opposing viewpoint.

[Yes, my grandfather is a retired Episcopal Priest. He is also a very intelligent and understanding man. When I told him I was considering converting to Reformed Judaism he approved, but said he’d been hoping for Buddhism.]

Currently, in the U.S. the primary interaction most people who do not themselves attend church have with religion is either being frightened by Muslim Fundamentalists, or tread upon by Christian Fundamentalists. These people are religious in the worst sense of the word. Religion is a tool for cultivating a more meaningful and powerful faith. These people have forgotten about the faith and spirituality, and simply cling to the tool. It’s like a farmer who stops growing plants and just walks around showing off his hoe. And occasionally beating them with it.

However, this is not ALL religion. Michael Jackson was, without a doubt, the most famous black person in the world during the ’80s. It isn’t exactly fair to assume that his flaws are held in common with all black people. In much the same way, not all religion, or religious people can be assumed to behave in concert with one another.

Put it another way: if you give a bunch of idiot rednecks a shovel and some concrete, then tell them to build a pool, you’re going to wind up with a hole that has some concrete and water at the bottom. This does not make pools bad. It just means that when you put idiots in charge you get idiot results.

This is kind of rambling and directionless, so I’ll close by reminding those who would immediately discount all religion that assuming an absolute, like all religions are corrupt, is just another form of blind fanaticism. You owe yourself more.

Ok, so the Wizard of OZ has a pretty cut and dry message. It’s all tied up in the scene where they meet with the Wizard after defeating the Wicked Witch of the West. Essentially, the Wizard explains that every character actually had the quality they thought they lacked, and had only been held back by self-doubt. An enjoyable if transparent ode to self-determination that would have been popular with the film’s depression era audience. The Scarecrow was smart, he just needed to get out of the corn field and apply himself to realize it. The Tin Woodsman was entirely capable of love, and once he left the solitude of the forest found himself to be deeply emotional. The Lion had courage, and simply needed something worth fighting for. And Dorothy had magic shoes.

Let’s run the list again.

Scarecrow wants a brain.

It turns out he’s quite intelligent.

Tin Woodsman wants a heart.

He’s got empathy to spare.

Lion is ashamed of his cowardace.

He’s bold when a worthy cause comes along.

Dorthy wants to go home.

Magic fucking shoes.