Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A little triptych of annoyance and douche-baggery!

I’m going to talk about some Real World Crap (tm) again, but I will endeavor to have a science fiction genre tie-in for each of the three topics below:

1) I participated in a scheduled swamp-the-White-House-switchboard action this afternoon on behalf of Lt. Dan Choi, a soldier (with Arabic translating skills) who has fallen afoul of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy. While he is just one example of many thousands of people who have been caught up in this nonsense, his cause was picked up as emblematic of it by people who have decided it’s time for the new President to get going on making good his campaign promise to change this policy. My views on this issue can be guessed easily by any of my regular readers, so I won’t go on about it length. I’ll just say, as I did in 1993 when the Clinton team made a mess of this issue, that the President needs to settle it by executive order as President Truman did in Executive Order 9981 racially integrating the military. The Commander-in-Chief has broad power and discretion in matters of Pentagon policy, and I’d like to see our current President use it. No more dumbass Congressional hearings with right-wing Senators calling eighty-year-old retired admirals and other assorted homophobes to testify for weeks on end. There’s no rational basis to carry on like this, all their arguments have been thoroughly debunked for ages, and it’s time for the President to simply end it. [SCIENCE FICTION TIE-IN: In Haldeman’s Forever War, they get used to gays in the military…in a rather radical way.]

2) From the NPR Talk of the Nation website: “Rachel Lehmann-Haupt turned 35 and started to think about freezing her eggs. After two years of researching the doctors and the technology, she froze eight eggs, enough to try for one pregnancy. Lehmann-Haupt [is] author of In Her Own Sweet Time…” I listened to this segment on the radio at work today and got kind of annoyed. I am myself a feminist and would take up arms in the street to defend women’s rights to control their reproductive choices, and would not normally want to bag on someone like this about an issue like this…but I found her thesis about the “new options” for women and child-having to be incredibly upper-middle-class in its point-of-view and very out of touch with the real options for ninety-nine percent of people. Freezing eggs at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars for use later in case “Mr. Right” doesn’t come along until one is past optimum childbearing years? Renting a womb in India? If you’ve decided not have a kid until your fifty or sixty, does it just have to still be your own biological one? There’s always a lot of pre-existing ones to adopt. This attitude that it is somehow a right and need to have a family by exactly the perfectly ideal method at exactly the perfect time in one’s life seems really out of touch with reality for most people. It also seems tone-deaf to the tenor of the times…and frankly pretty douchey, too. [SCIENCE FICTION TIE-IN: In Robinson's Red Mars, the mysterious Hiroko Ai gets hold of the sperm of a whole bunch of “Mister Rights” and, along with her own ova, brews up the first generation of Mars-born kids in ectogene tanks in her secret south-polar hideout. Wild!]

3) I listened to an audio clip yesterday from talk-radio personality Laura Ingraham’s show. Evidently, the talk show people and the teabagger circuit tried to gin up a stupid controversy over President Obama and VP Biden’s recent lunch at a burger joint where the President—get this—ordered his cheddar burger with mustard on it, no ketchup. “What kind of man,” Ingraham wondered, “gets mustard on a cheeseburger?” Hmm. Maybe an adult one? Maybe one who is not a three-year-old? This weird right-wing fixation on what “liberals” eat is perhaps one of their most irritating traits. As a professional chef and an omnivorous foodie, I CAN NOT STAND it when these people suggest that be a real American or a real man (whatever that fuck that is), then you also have to display ignorance of and distaste for variety and quality in food. Mustard, for eff’s sake! How weird and un-American and unmanly! I am so happy that we finally have a President who is smart, speaks intelligibly, knows stuff…reads books even. This silly food thing that they do sometimes is just another manifestation of their crazy anti-intellectualism: “He eats mustard on burgers: he is, therefore, an effete snob, not a real man!” I got news for you Ingraham, et al : geek is the new chic, smart is cool, and dumb is sooo 2004. A virtual Vulcan is President, and it is the era of the nerds’ righteous revenge! As a card-carrying member of the elite foodist clique, I love this President and his condiment choices. [SCIENCE FICTION TIE-IN: A black man is elected President of the United States, and shortly thereafter orders mustard—oh, wait…that really happened! The future is here!]

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kaolin fire said...

brilliant. I love the SFnal tie-ins.

Rick Novy said...

So Laura Ingram wants us all to put ketsup on our burgers, thereby financing another John Kerry run for the white house. Go figure.

Brandon said...

I've noted this and how odd it is. Everyone down here in Texas knows the DEFAULT topping on a manly hambuger is MUSTARD! See, DQ, Sonic, etc.

But really, how silly. Except that we all know only communists put ketchup on their hotdogs.



Anonymous said...


I think them getting upset about to no ketchup thing is very indicative to their whole attitude. There is only one right way to do things and if you do it differently you are wrong. I think it was kind of them to prove how ignorant they are over such a simple matter.

Mike Griffiths


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