Flashing #57: Social Commentary

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No intro needed. More Flashing at the main page.


John and Kate are getting a divorce. I honestly don’t give a shit; I never watched the show and I didn’t even know it existed until this season. But their big announcement was broadcast across every single news site, blog, and twitter feed and the “heartbreaking” news was impossible to avoid.

Before they announced their divorce all I knew about John & Kate was that they opted out of selective reduction, an incredibly irresponsible decision made by parents who claim six viable fetuses was “God’s Will” and not the will of some fucked-up fertility doctor going nuts with a turkey baster in order to keep his stats up. It’s the classic “pick-and-choose” approach to religion and ideals: it wasn’t “God’s Will” to make Kate’s womb a poison valley incapable of cultivating life but it was God’s will to turn 85.7% of the fertilized embryos implanted in your uterus into little bundles of malnourished joy, each with a high probability of premature birth and multiple health problems.

That’s basically all I ever need to know about John & Kate. And now this divorce story is on my radar.

Honestly, if you actually care that these irresponsible fame whores are getting divorced I think less of you. I don’t care who you are. You could be my mom – you could be Santa Claus – no matter who you are, if you’re shedding a single tear for this couple you don’t even know, this walking argument for the necessity of Baby Licenses, I’m pretty sure there’s a part of you that’s missing or at least in desperate need of repair.

You see – normally I’d go on and write a 2000-word essay detailing why I hate you and why I’m pretty sure society doesn’t really need you. The 266 words above – they would have been my introduction. I would have followed it up with a tirade aimed at you and your passing obsession with things that not only don’t matter – at all – but are actually so bad they tend to negate whatever scraps of positive culture America is still capable of producing. I would have peppered the essay with Mark Sanford and Michael Steele jokes because politics is my pointless obsession, patted myself on the back, and anxiously waited for a reply along the lines of “I’m praying for John and Kate” so I could write a meaner (and longer) follow-up essay on how praying for John and Kate will never make them better people because, if there is a God, he doesn’t give a shit about them either.

And the essay would have had tons of run-on sentences, much like the ones you’re seeing here. I like using run-on sentences when I’m in “rant mode.” I guess you could call it a style. I also have a shit load of non sequiturs, pointless anecdotes, and self-referential analysis of my writing style.

But I digress.

I’m not going to write that essay. I’m not going to allow myself to care enough. Something substantial is going on in this world, and I’m not saying that we should focus all of our attention on this thing, but I am saying this thing is making me change my priorities. This thing started in November, when we elected Barack Obama for President. This thing has continued to build from his actions and his words. It hangs in the air. We see the LTTE finally defeated. We see Iranians rejecting their hard-line, fear-mongering leaders, we see Pakistani tribesmen forming militias and hunting down Taliban fighters.

There is an infectious feeling of positivity and hope that you can see if you look past the MSNBCs and Fox Newses of the world. There are millions of people who are coming out from an eight-year haze, shaking off the hate and the fear, and demanding what’s rightfully theirs.

I can go on and on with hyperbole but I want to focus on Iran. I’ve been following the Iranian situation via Twitter since January 14th or so and the sequence of events that got us here couldn’t be clearer in my mind. Ahmadinejad was Iran’s (Khamenei’s) response to George Bush and the man’s desire to put dysfunctional democracies in the Middle East. Khamenei has made a career out of hating America and George Bush was like Christmas present stuffed inside a Birthday present stuffed inside a Cadbury Crème Egg – he was delicious. Obama comes along and says he’s going to try a diplomatic approach with Iran. Every wing-nut in the world makes fun of him. He gets elected, sworn-in, and several months later he’s giving his speech in Cairo. In the speech he actually makes some concessions to Iran, not big ones, but they were there. He once again repeats his desire to work with Iran and not to hinder them from growing in anyway. But, most importantly, he speaks to the Iranian people. He takes a completely different approach as Bush. Khamenei needs America as an America or else he becomes irreverent so before the polls close, before a single vote is probably even counted, he announces Ahmadinejad is the winner, case closed, “Fuck you Obama, the people don’t want your peace.” But the people see through it and they do want Obama’s peace. I’m not saying they want to be America’s BFF but they don’t want the hard line anymore. It doesn’t have to be Us vs. Them anymore. There are middle grounds, America agrees to meet Iran half-way but Iran’s current leadership refuses to even budge. And the people revolt. And the images and the stories coming out of that revolution have been inspiring.

I’m going to bring this all together now. I know you’re expecting me to say something along the lines of, “So why are you worrying about John & Kate when there’re more important things going on in Iran.” But you’re wrong, that’s not the point of this essay. Here’s the point…

Why are you caring about John & Kate, and all the negative shit that goes with it, when there’s positivity in the air? It may seem bloody and chaotic right now, but change is no longer just being promised – it’s actually coming. Isn’t this what we voted for? Shouldn’t we be changing our priorities to match what’s going on in the world? Shouldn’t we start caring about the good again?

Why are you wasting your time on the negative?


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jason rodriguez is an eisner and harvey-nominated editor and writer. email him. or become his digital BFF below:

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