I’m going to be darting all over the place today. If you’re prone to vertigo, take a pill now.
Everything sort of revolves around the premise of blind devotion, some of the many horse blinders you’re likely to see if you look hard enough. There’s a catch to mental blinders. Sometimes you look ridiculous and simply become a cold spot on the grid.
Huh? Cold spot on the grid?
It’s a general way I use to view the world. Energy being finite, there are hot and cold spots on the grid. The grid being a cheap metaphor for people. If overall karma is neutral, some people will be at the far reaches. So I sort of adapted that as a way to look at people. Someone that’s always complaining about their problems and the unfairness of the world, forcing other people to expend mental energy on their woes, I’d consider a cold spot on the grid. The clinical term is a Debbie Downer.
Blinders are good for race horses. For people left to stew over perceived injustice? Ooooooooooh, not so great.
Which brings us to the Republic where everything is bigger, Texas.
The story this week that’s left me in stitches is the Texas cheerleader Title IX discrimination case, which made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit? Through the appeals process. Four words from the Dallas Observer blog jump out and sum this case up nicely: petty, meddling and deeply entertaining. True story.
Samantha Sanches (poor girl) is the cheerleader who put this turd in punch bowl. But her mother, Liz Laningham, took that turd. She’s clearly the star of the final appeal. Take the time to read, as it’s a great piece of high order satire.
Crib notes: Ma’ Dukes seems to complain about anything. Squeaky wheel, as they say. It’s all baseless. When she doesn’t get her way, the family appeals. To the 5th Circuit?!?? To sum THAT up, total waste of court time and federal money.
Laningham and Sanches twisted high school petty teasing into sexual harassment. It is not. The insult to jurisprudence by this case is comically mad. The court sums it up nicely, saying, “the sort of unpleasant conflict that takes place every day in high schools, and it is not the proper stuff of a federal harassment claim.”
That it got so far shorts out my brain.
Emotional trauma from not making the cheer squad is probably not an uncommon occurrence. Working your way through federal court over it, that is an uncommon occurrence. I could go on to disparage the poor grammar and spelling of the plaintiff’s paperwork, but that’s piling on. Check it for yourself, though. I’ll guarantee at least one laugh to anyone who reads the ruling.
This whole tale is a case of piling on. I’m easily stunned when this chews up federal cash, when the EPA won’t declare the whitebark pine tree endangered. Actually, the conclusion was, “the agency said that it found a listing was “warranted but precluded,” meaning the pine deserved federal protection but the government could not afford it.” Right. How much does listing a tree as endangered cost exactly? Wild guess, $5 million? Proclaiming something is endangered costs loot.
Only in America.
Counter-intuitive as this may sound, but small town squabbles should not rise to the level of my amusement. Cryptojournalist rule #7.
The kicker? If this does anything, it will probably hurt the anti-bullying movement that’s apparently a thing. Cheerleader Moms’ hyperbolic abuse of every conceivable semantic loophole to gain her comeuppance from the school (for naught!) diverts attention to real problems while diminishing real bullying. Crying wolf has that effect.
Which leads us to CM Punk. Trying to stay in the vein of blind devotion, I bring you the messianic leader of the Straight Edge Society. Think messianic leader is overblown? Here’s one of his past vignettes.
He’s in the news thanks to breaking the fourth wall during a promo gone awry on Monday Night Raw. Or an angle. Whatever that is. Much like cheerleading, pro wrestling is an eminently (North) American pleasure. (With a tip of the cap to the countless Canadians who’ve left their mark.) For those who haven’t seen the CM Punk shoot from Raw…
You’ll notice Punk has his mic cut towards the end after referring to the WWE’s anti-bullying campaign.
Nice segue, but it’s not the point.
The (newly minted and newly unemployed) champ landed an interview with GQ after this episode, where he talks about himself and the wrestling business. Ego and chutzpah are two things he does not lack. The interview has a bit of ‘inside baseball’ on the wrestling realm, but it’s an interesting read for anyone. As Punk even points out, aside wrestler deaths, when does this subculture garner any media attention? True story.
He says something towards the end, which I find illuminating.
“I think everyone’s dream is to do nothing.”
As a do-nothing, it’s not all berries and cake. It’s nice, even easy, but not redeeming at the end of the day. If you bear with me, though, I believe it harmonizes with Ms. Laningham’s unreasonable demands.
Both ring of the same credo: belief that all ‘my’ demands be met. I doubt that is what CM Punk meant when he said that, but the claim everyone wants to do nothing is me-centeric, to say the least. Punk’s interview has captivated minds similar to how Latrell Sprewell did on the Golden State Warriors. But in a good way.
Saying “Fuck Off” to the boss is 3rd on the list of American Dreams, after a white picket fence and banging a reality show contestant. Punk captured that spirit. I believe that is a very me-centered viewpoint. I’ll indulge myself so much to call it a Neo-Randian perspective. For you West Coast book nerds.
Pro wrestling, err, the re-branded sports entertainment, is still a cultural influence. Also, a fine stage for blind devotion.
Here is probably the most overlooked comic gem of the last decade. Harvard educated wrestler Chris Nowinski is having a debate with juice monkey Scott Steiner a.k.a. Big Poppa Pump also dubbed Big Bad Booty Daddy. This is the sort of archival comedy I adore. Props to WrestleCrap for bringing this to my attention. Archival comedy everyone needs to see.
“The Great Debate” is over Operation Iraqi Freedom. Right. Aside from comparing this to Lincoln/Douglas and Nixon/Kennedy (daft in its own right), the fans are prompted to Booooooo the heel (villain, for those out of the biz), who (obviously) argues the anti-war view. Because people boo heels. Priceless. Both agree on freedom of speech, which is nice.
“Terrorism, they started it. Terrorism started it, not us. Terrorism drew first blood on 9/11 and you can bet your sweet ass we’re gonna get even, and we’re gonna finish it.”
A nation getting even with an idea. Simple, right?
Some naysayers out there are probably skeptical of pro wrestling’s cultural influence. May I present (drumroll……….)
Paul E. Dangerously should get intellectual property rights for the word extreme by now.
Royalties, at least.
Another ingredient in the American Gumbo, extreme couponing is the new trend. Or is it a fad? I can never tell. Irregardless, it’s…..interesting. Or I wouldn’t be talking about the extreme nature of coupons. Like the blind devotion we see from cheerleader mom and wrestling fans booing sensible foreign policy (not their fault,really), extreme couponing demands blind devotion. To shopping. Or consuming. Or eating crap food. Guess I’m trying to say there’s plenty of blind devotion involved.
It also provides a rare glimpse into some Real Grade-A American Madness. Take this 21st Century Norman Rockwell below.
Thankfully Mr. Rockwell has passed on. But 600 lbs. of obesity marveling over dozens of bags of potato chips is a quintessentially American image. Don’t confuse this as mean spirited. It’s not. The above image is sad. This well meaning couple’s life revolves around food shopping and hording snack foods. Is that a way to live?
Rhetorically speaking, only if your dream is to do nothing. Clearly I’m not a shopaholic. I do not shop till I drop.
But buying 3 dozen Maalox because you have a $5 off coupon still means you’re buying three dozen bottles of Maalox. Which probably makes sense if all you eat is processed food you buy with coupons.
Trudging through some of the YouTube channels of extreme couponers, there is some definite comedy. Take this clip below.
Whoops, that’s Coupon: The Movie. I guess 1996 was the first time coupons were marketed as entertainment. Ahh, Mr. Show with Bob and David. If you’ve never seen it, for shame!
“Honey, guess what?”
“I got ya some socks!”
Deadpan at its finest. And 15 years before its’ time. Cutting coupons as entertainment. “Genius,” the marketer squawks.
There really are funny clips on YouTube. I should qualify my use of the word ‘funny.’
Hobo With A Shotgun, as I have mentioned, is comic platinum. Not gold. Platinum.
Bridesmaids, on the other hand, I found dull. I’ve been actively seeking out female perspective on how exactly that film was a comedy. I didn’t get it. The catty, backstabbing antics of Annie and the bridal party lieutenant were just unappealing. I found it hard to find a character worth rooting for.
And Maya Rudolph pooping in the street in a wedding gown does not pass muster. Ain’t funny. A clip from a Maury Povich paternity test was the closest I got to a laugh. So please, if you’re a woman that can explain the comic elements in that movie, please leave a comment and explain. I’m totally stumped on this one, since the movie appears to be funny to people.
Hell, I got more laughs from The Hidden Faith of The Founding Fathers.
A three-hour docutorical (that would be a rhetorical documentary, to be taken with 2-4 salt grains) production from a Christian film ministry. Yup. A Christian film ministry. It’s about how the Founding Fathers were [spoiler alert] NOT Christians. More laughs than Bridesmaids, easy. Bridesmaids didn’t have any gems like, “The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought.”
[Lingering in the air like a hot fart]
The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought
That’s a quote from the mouth of Christian J. Pinto. A cryptojournalist’s dream, I sez. If you want to see for yourself, it’s at the very end of the video, the 2:56:53 point to be precise. Unreal. The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought. Priceless. Thank you, Mr. Pinto, for generating more laughs for a cryptojournalist than a summer comedy blockbuster.
He also employs cherry-picking tactics, with Barack Obama calling himself a Christian. He contrasts this technique with how David Barton (a Christian minister) apparently misleads Christians into believing the Founding Fathers were Christians. At 2:09:55 of the video, Christian Pinto drops this chuckle bomb:
How would it be if somebody like David Barton came to your church and they put up a picture of Barack Obama, and they showed this quote from Obama and they said, “Wow, this is proof that Obama is a Christian. And he’s really. No, he’s not a closet Muslim. Um no, he’s a Christian.”
You’re not hallucinating.
He played the “Barack Obama closet Muslim” card. Gangster. Super gully. And MUCH funnier than the airplane scene from Bridesmaids. Not as humorous as touting the Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought, but good laughs nonetheless.
Pinto inadvertently makes the strongest argument FOR the Illuminati I’ve ever heard. The video, if you’ve got the patience to sit through, is a train wreck. Total shit show. Cynical I may be, but this is very funny. In a twisted way. Blind devotion? Stuffed to the gills.
Phew. Hell of a qualifier.
I laugh at strange stuff.
Which brings us back to the YouTube exploits of extreme couponers.
A slow building laugh, but the progressive inadvertent comedy of watching this episode of “Coffee with Collin” builds through the clip. Using a “hot” coupon in the travel section, “So beautiful,” is one thing. The comic progression of watching her start the clip with a Starbucks coffee, purchasing Wet Ones at WalMart then buying Taco Bell for lunch is too much.
And the comments section. Well, one dude sums up his opinion like this, “This woman is dead inside.” And I might agree. If not dead inside, perhaps gassy and irregular?
You know what? People watch. And like the videos. So I guess there has to be something to the extreme coupon fad.
I’ve decided it’s a fad. Trends are indicative of future momentum. Fads fade with time. Real people aren’t going to dedicate 10-30 hours per week to their shopping alone. That’s a very shallow life in my opinion. There is a real payoff for parents if they’re getting diapers for a nickle apiece. Smart as hell, since babies poop.
Then there’s this. These twins, dubbed the Double Saving Divas, are unmarried and childless, giving advice to mothers on buying diapers and wipes. I would give advice to my buddies with kids on parenting, but what the fuck do I know? Single childless women have more disposable income and free time compared to mothers.
Am I off target here? Granted, they give good tips. But, I feel like I’m missing. Also, a pair of twins (as noted on their Extreme Coupon episode on TLC, in their early 30’s) who dub themselves divas and stockpile diapers? I bet they’re beating suitors away with a stick. Only if they got that stick on sale, though.
Sarcasm aside, there appears to be a disconnect here. How many mothers have the time and loose cash to do this? Some, but I wager not many. A lady with no kids giving advice (at the end of the video) on buying size 3 diapers, because your baby tends to grow out of smaller sizes much faster.
Experience counts for nothing, I guess. And I am not trying to be a typical man, a chauvinist, woman bashing or not P.R. but the way these two operate is very intimidating. A
nutless, beaten down brave man would he be who walks into a diva’s home to the sight of a wall of diapers. Just my 2 cents, but that sort of crazed, blind devotion (in this instance, to their theoretical babies) is off-putting.
Good luck with that, though.
The cheerleading, wrestling and extreme couponing subcultures, while aesthetically different, are all ingredients in American Gumbo. It would appear so is blind devotion. Mental blinders, thinking (more aptly stewing) without perspective, begets nutty stage mothers dragging a school district through the federal court system. Or bowing in fealty to shopping and consumption that’s never satisfied. When ‘my’ demands trump everything, and everyone wants to do nothing, let that simmer over medium low heat for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally and sprinkle with Neo-Randian perspective for a delicious American Gumbo.