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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Re: The plea to "Be Nice"

Following last week's landmark decision by the Supreme Court, social media went apeshit.  I'm not aware of it causing any shockwaves anywhere else, as I am shut in with very limited contact with the outside world, but I remember sitting at my computer and thinking,  "Wow!  My Facebook news feed hasn't been this cluttered with passionate proclamations of personal beliefs, celebratory fist pumping and serious Biblical debate since last week when everybody was buzzing about the Confederate flag."  Like I said, apeshit, which I'm going to keep typing as one word because who cares.

For the record, I was, and remain, a celebratory fist pumper.  I don't know if it's the government's place to make the call on who can get married or not, as a handful of Libertarian folks I know have posted, but I'm glad the Supreme Court just went ahead and did what they did.  This is the United States of America, every citizen deserves equal rights, done.  There's no debate.  If you'd like to debate, please present your opening statements in the comments section of this blog, so I can ignore them until the end of time, because there is no debate.  If you think there is, you are a gigantic asshole.

I'm sorry.  Was that mean?  I'm also not sorry.  Look, when I typed "apeshit" before (twice so far by my count), I was mostly referring to the comments of a weird sub-section of Christians I'm apparently connected to through Facebook somehow, who for some reason believe a) they personally lost something the day gay marriage was made legal and/or b) the logical next step is a return to days of yore in which Christians were fed to hungry lions for sport.  I'm serious.  I read that exact sentiment more than once in my news feed.  There are a handful of Christians who honestly believe that now that gay people can legally marry each other, Christianity will become illegal and they will be hunted and murdered for the entertainment of the heathen masses.  Maybe they're being hyperbolic, but I don't think they are.  

The people who play up the religious persecution angle, are the same ones that want you to know that they are friends with gay people.  Really?  Are they?  I'm as liberal as they come--annoyingly so, probably--I support gay rights whole-heartedly, but I can count the number of close gay friends I have on exactly zero hands.  I know and am acquainted with a handful of homosexual individuals, I like these individuals quite a lot, but none of the friends I spend a significant amount of my free time with are gay.  There isn't anything nefarious behind it, that's just how adult friendship shakes out.  But somehow, every Christian who felt the need to speak from their heart and bleed all over Facebook last weekend has scores of gay friends, gay friends farther than the eye can see.  And they love each and every one of those gay friends so much, except the part that indulges in the sin of being attracted to and desiring loving relationships with members of their same sex.  Wait, what?!

"Love the sinner, hate the sin."  I've heard this refrain all my life.  Man, is it sick.  A Christian might say, "Well, Matt, we're all sinners, so, you know, this just means we love everybody.  It's just a big old love fest over here at Billy Graham Incorporated." (I don't know if that's a real thing.).  OK, we're all sinners--and let me just say without any sort of follow-up that I find the whole Christian idea of "original sin" momentously childish--but, um, if you hate the "sin" of homosexuality, you kind of do specifically hate gay people.  I mean, tell me how I'm wrong.  DAMMIT!  They aren't committing a sin!!!  The Bible says it's one?  You believe in the Bible? OK, fine, then it is a sin, and you hate the sin, which means you hate the sinner as well.  Being a homosexual is not just about sex, guys!  It's just like what you have/want with a member of the opposite sex, but with the same sex.  This is mind-numbing.  My brain hurts.

Attached to all of these proclamations of belief and reminders that "we don't all have to believe the same thing," is the plea to "be nice."  Well, I refuse.  I'm not going to be nice.  There's no reason to.  You're not being nice.  You're not being rational either, but that's not the point.  

We don't all have to agree, I agree with that, but don't treat me like an idiot.  I'll try my hardest to do the same.  But as far as being nice in the battle to get everybody on the same playing field, I believe this emoji says more than I ever could with words:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hey, Bush's Baked Beans Guy, Take It Down a Notch!

There are so many great pop culture stories out there right now to report on—Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair; Kim Kardashian pregnant with her second child; Kylie Jenner blowing the lid off the chemtrails conspiracy; Kris Kardashian getting a haircut; Brody Jenner doing a thing—but I’m going to ignore all that and talk about the new Bush’s baked beans spokesperson for awhile, specifically about how endlessly awful he is.  

In a perfect world, there’d be a scene in the blockbuster film San Andreas in which Baked Beans Guy (BBG) is, naturally, shopping for Bush’s baked beans when the earthquake hits.  Losing his balance, BBG falls to the floor of whatever grocery store chain they’ve got out there in Los Angeles, and is crushed to near-death by a Bush’s baked beans display, can after can beating a death march drum beat on his skull and rib cage.  So, there he lies, crumpled and moaning under an avalanche of bean cans, still doing his best to smile through a mouth full of shattered teeth, reciting his love for the many varieties of Bush’s baked beans now available to the buying public, when a CGI sink hole swallows the grocery store whole, and BBG disappears forever into gaping maw of Mother Earth.  There is no Dwayne Johnson to save him from his doom, there is only darkness.  And beans.

Baked Beans Guy is the latest in a string of bad ideas hatched by Bush’s baked beans.  First there was Duke, that insufferable pooch whose passion in life seemed to be discovering a way to bring down the Bush’s brand by exposing the company’s secret bean recipe to the world. What were they doing to that dog to make him hate them so much?!?  Duke has never relented in his quest to ruin the Bush’s brand, though he seems oddly loyal to it as well, as even he will occasionally request that the director of the ridiculous commercials in which he is featured roll that “beautiful bean footage.”  I realize that Duke, the character, is a creation of cheap computer effects, and that the dog actor who portrays him has no feelings, good or ill, toward the Bush’s company.  Duke, like the Noid before him, is an adorable villain, a creep we all root for because a) he’s super cute and b) he is essentially plotting to take down a large corporation, and America hates large corporations, unless said corporations produce tantrum-quelling animated films or offer discount prices on all the stupid products we’ve been told we need in order to be happy, productive members of human society.  Duke is the ultimate anti-hero, like Walter White or the Hamburgler.  I guess the Duke-related issue that still chaffs my bean shoot is when Bush’s wouldn’t let Julie Klausner pet—PET!!!—Duke’s soft, red fur.  C’mon, Bush’s! God made that fur for pettin’!

Just before BBG set the advertising world ablaze—like a tire fire or a flaming paper bag of Duke poo—there were the scientists who informed a table full of children that baked beans were vegetables, and since said children had just before this revelation informed said scientists that they greatly enjoyed said beans, these children, who had earlier professed a dislike of all vegetables, in fact, did enjoy vegetables.  Here’s the problem: beans aren’t vegetables, at least, according to my wife, who, every time this commercial shows up during Guy’s Grocery Games on Sunday night—this is when I see all of these Bush’s commercials, because Guy Fieri is apparently in bed with "Big Bean"—growls “beans aren’t vegetables” through gritted teeth.  I'm inclined to believe her as she a) knows a lot about food and b) is way smarter than me.  In an effort at journalistic professionalism, I typed "are beans vegetables" into Google, and discovered that beans are technically legumes, which might make them a fruit or a flower or an orphan protein that was adopted by a vegetable family or something else entirely.  If you care enough, you can read more about beans here or check out this non-helpful Yahoo answers explanation.  Whatever beans are, these two fake scientists don't have to be so smug and condescending about it.  Children are our future, and they deserve better than half-truths and conjecture.

And now we finally came to BBG, seen here losing his shit over the wide variety of baked beans offered by Bush's:

Just pick a can of beans, guy!  Is it really that difficult?  If you find that you can't leave the store without a cart filled to the brim with every conceivable flavor Bush's has to offer, maybe you should simply pause, take a breath and call your wife.  Maybe she had a specific flavor in mind.  Maybe she didn't.  If the latter is the case, then just choose a flavor, two tops.  This guy is infuriating.  And such a ham biscuit (my wife's term for our daughter when she "hams" it up in pictures).  I mean, this guy doesn't have a genuine bone in his body.  He's a goof-bot, built by a misguided ad agency and powered by baked beans.

Bush's, either bring back Duke (i.e. the lesser of three evils) or hang it up.  I mean, you're pretty much the only bean game in town as far as I know.  Do you really need more commercials?  Maybe you do, granted, I don't know much about the mass-produced canned baked beans industry.  Maybe you like this character, I mean, somebody signed off on him (probably the bald dude), so maybe you retool him a little.  Nobody is this excited/perplexed by beans.  It doesn't ring true.  He doesn't make me want to eat baked beans.  He makes me want to commit murder.  Figure it out!

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