Only in America Do We Need a Separation of Church and Chicken

I know everyone is sick to death of this Chick-Fil-A scandal, which really only means one thing: it’s time for me to stop slacking on my blog and mock the hell out of it! Woohoo!

First of all, I don’t know why anyone is surprised that Chick-Fil-A took a homophobic stance on this gay marriage thing. It’s the only fast food restaurant that’s closed on Sundays for god’s sake! (No pun intended.) Seriously, when a company is willing to lose out on the hungover fast food crowd of Sundays just to force the Sabbath on people, are you REALLY surprised that they took the most right-wing stance possible here?

But with that said, isn’t freedom of expression so all-encompassing that privately owned companies are perfectly within their rights to support organizations that seek to deprive citizens of their rights based on sexual orientation?

Technically? Yes.

Does that make it okay? Oh hell no.

I’ve heard people who are fans of Chick-Fil-A’s food argue that they don’t care about the politics, they just want the delicious chicken/waffle fries.

Personally, I don’t give a crap about that because I don’t eat fast food anymore. Yay for being a borderline anorexic size 4 health nut! Go me!

Yup, got to a size 4! You can’t do that by eating chicken that’s fried in hate and homophobia!

But, unfortunately, Chick-Fil-A didn’t give you a choice. Eat there and you’re giving money to organizations that oppose gay rights, whether you support those viewpoints or not.

Yup, you know that special seasoning that makes their chicken taste so good? It’s called homophobia. Enjoy that.

It’s an issue that hit close to home for me. No, I’m not gay. And like I said, I don’t eat there anyway. But I had a Chick-Fil-A University of Maryland stuffed cow that my dad gave me years ago. And because I love my Terps and because my dad gave it to me, it’s been on my dresser for more years than I care to admit. But now, that stuffed cow just reminds me of how annoying it is to have to read all about this controversy every time I log into Facebook or Twitter. So I had to take action.

Actually, I let Rosie take action and show how SHE feels about Chick-Fil-A. My little piggy LOVES chicken, but even ROSIE is anti-Chick-Fil-A as this video clearly proves.

She’s so cute.

But there are a few things about this whole controversy that make NO sense to me.

Completely irrational issue #1: Why does ANYONE give a crap if two consenting adults of the same sex want to get married?

 If anything, gay weddings are probably a LOT less painful than straight weddings. I can’t picture lesbians turning into major bridezillas, and two guys getting married means I DON’T HAVE TO BE A BRIDESMAID AGAIN! WOO-FREAKING-HOO! (Have I mentioned how much I hate being in weddings? Seriously, it’s horrible. It costs thousands of dollars, the bride owns you for like a year, you have to wear an ugly dress that the bride CLAIMS you’ll be able to wear for everything but in reality, you never want to wear that crap again, and you’re practically required to make drunken bad decisions with a groomsman, who, OH WAIT, you’re going to have to see every time the married couple has a get together FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Straight weddings ruin lives.)

 If we’re going to ban marriages, or at least weddings, we’re targeting the wrong demographic here.

Completely irrational issue #2: Why didn’t the president of Chick-Fil-A donate his OWN money and keep the company out of the scandal? I mean, okay, yes, gay marriage is illegal in most of the country. But did Dan Cathy REALLY think that meant that most of the country would rally around Chick-Fil-A and be like “YEAH! Let’s eat some homophobic chicken and sing songs about how awesome straight people are!”? Cause honestly, if he just gave his own money, I’d still think he was a prick, but I wouldn’t object to anyone wanting to eat there. But if he’s literally taking company money and trying to deny American citizens of their right to the pursuit of happiness, he might as well be running an ad campaign for KFC/Popeyes/Every other fried chicken joint in the country. Not your best marketing ploy, Danny boy.

Completely irrational issue #3: Regardless of your political/religious views on homosexuality and/or gay marriage, why are you eating at a fast food restaurant whose ad slogans are built around poor spelling and grammar? Really? If they can’t spell Chicken, I don’t think you should eat what they’re serving.

But here’s what it boils down to folks, gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else. As my dad puts it, if straight people have to suffer through marriage, why should gay people be exempt? There’s a certain logic in that.

Anyone who claims otherwise is going against the basic foundations that our country was built on: the idea that all men are created equal. Yeah, the founding fathers had slaves and didn’t really mean ALL people when they said that, but it’s 20-freaking-12. Get over it and let people do their thing. There’s no need to make chicken political.

Although, there’s a perfect opportunity for any business people out there who want to jump on it: open a PRO-gay rights chicken chain. Chick-Fil-A would probably sue if you called it Chick-Fil-Gay, but there are plenty of other choices. Chicks ‘n Chicks? El Pollo Homo? Homo-Chick-Sual? The possibilities are endless. (And I didn’t even make any cock jokes! Keepin’ it clean, ma, keepin’ it clean!)

Of course, my motivation in wanting someone to open an anti-Chick-Fil-A chain is purely selfish. No, I still wouldn’t eat there, which isn’t a political statement, I’m just a psycho about my diet these days. But I REALLY want to see if all of these people who are posting about how evil Chick-Fil-A is on my Facebook timeline are actually passionate enough about the issue to eat at someplace called El Pollo Homo, or if they’re just all talk.

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I don’t care what Siri’s political beliefs are–I’m too busy playing Words With Friends

So a couple of months ago, I bowed to the inevitable and got an iPhone.

I had held out for years in an attempt to be non-conformist. I don’t LIKE doing the same thing that everyone else does. But the peer pressure got to be too much and I caved.

Of course, I waited until I could get the newest release and woke up at 3am like an idiot to pre-order the iPhone 4S so that I could at least have the far superior model to what everyone else had on the very first day possible.

And I have to admit, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

And one of the worst.

On the plus side, I’m no longer in the cellular dark ages. I can do all that cool crap that everyone else has been doing for years. And I am, in fact, kicking myself for not doing it earlier.

But the 4S is a joke. Like Siri was cool for the first day and a half when I asked her all the stupid questions that everyone else was asking her. And I laughed when she got mad that I kept asking about Hal 9000. (Please tell me that someone other than my dad knows what I’m talking about.)

Although I was extremely disappointed that when I asked what the airspeed velocity of an unladden swallow was, she didn’t ask “African or European swallow?”

But I giggled with moronic delight when I asked her “Who’s the boss?” And she came up with the ONLY correct answer.

And then I never used her again.

I mean, I know people are all up in arms about her unwillingness to provide you with the location of an abortion clinic. But, to be fair, what dumbass is walking around and suddenly says, “Hmm, I think I need an abortion before I walk another five blocks. Siri, where’s the closest abortion clinic?”

Actual answer from Siri on MY phone.  Just saying…

(That wasn’t a statement of political belief. I’m just saying you should probably make the decision before you leave the house. And maybe get a doctor’s recommendation on where to go instead of Siri’s. Yes, your iPhone can do a lot of things. And the x-ray app is kinda cool. But that doesn’t make Siri a medical professional.)

I also think the 4S was a complete rip-off. Like yeah, it has Siri and a better camera, but it looks EXACTLY the same as the 4. Which completely and utterly defeats the purpose of putting out a different phone, because unless I walk around obnoxiously asking Siri questions every three seconds, how are random people supposed to know that I have a better phone than they do?

Come on, Apple. Priorities.

But none of those things are why the iPhone is slowly destroying my life.

And it’s not even because I’ve spent a huge chunk of my savings that SHOULD have been spent on shoes buying worthless and pointless apps that amuse me for a couple of minutes before being forgotten about forever.

No, it’s because of the soulless, mind-sucking, life-destroying mental vacuum that is Words With Friends.

I’m totally addicted.

I honestly didn’t even plan to download the game. When I was a child, Scrabble was used as a torture device and the only form of punishment that I truly feared. Because being sent to my room wasn’t much of an inconvenience. I had my books and music and tv in there. So if I smacked my little brother upside the head for something and heard, “Sara! Go to your room!” it was like, okay, time to play!

But Scrabble? Oh no. That was REAL punishment. It was the only board game at my aunt and uncle’s Ocean City condo, and if my brother and I didn’t behave well enough, we had to play Scrabble with my mother instead of going to the boardwalk. I tried calling Child Protective Services, because that was CLEARLY a form of abuse. But when they showed up, my parents made them play Scrabble too until they finally lost, at which point they just turned to me, shrugged, and said, “You’re on your own, kid.”

Now that I’m older and have a much larger vocabulary, however, the game has become ridiculously addictive. Of course, it probably helps that it’s the high-tech version, because I still have nightmares about old-fashioned Scrabble sets in that Mommy Dearest, no-more-wire-hangers kind of way. But the game is approximately 94% more addictive than crack.

At the moment, I have nineteen different games going with fourteen different people. I’m not exaggerating. Like I know I sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of humor on the blog, but those are real numbers. I swear on Bruce Springsteen.

In fact, the thing that I hate most about Maryland’s new law prohibiting the use of cell phones even at traffic lights is that I can’t play while I’m at a light.

Well, okay, I CAN. I just have to keep my phone in my lap and my sunglasses on so it doesn’t LOOK like I’m looking at my phone when I’m stopped at a traffic light. Which is probably pretty conspicuous at night and when it’s raining.

And it’s probably bad that I play at school. Usually with other teachers during our planning periods, but also with former students. Who are also in school. But they’re at my old school, not the school that I currently teach at, and because they’re no longer in MY classes, I no longer feel compelled to tell Rachel and Alli to get off their phones. (I promised I’d mention them today… Hi guys!)

But I think my favorite thing about the game isn’t that I’m consistently beating my parents. Which I am. And it feels great. (Sorry mom and dad. Please don’t pull out the real Scrabble set next time I’m at your house. I’ll behave. I promise!)

No, my favorite thing is playing bad words to see what it will accept. For example, a certain four-letter word beginning with an “s” that means excrement is acceptable, although f-bombs aren’t. And it accepts “chode” and “dildos,” the discovery of which made me laugh out loud so loudly that people assumed I was having a seizure.

At this point, I will literally play any moderately profane word to see if it accepts it, even if it means I will lose the game. Because I apparently have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy. If he met me online and didn’t know what I looked like, Jerry Sandusky would love me.

But I also think that the game is secretly trying to kill me by being so addictive that I WANT to play it even when I’m driving.

And I have proof.

Words With Friends doesn’t recognize the word “Jews.” But it DOES recognize “shivah,” which is the Hebrew equivalent of a wake (but less fun), when Jews mourn for seven days after someone has died.

See? Jews aren’t okay, but DEAD Jews are.

Coincidence? Or evil plot?

To be honest though, I don’t really care. Because I’ve got nineteen games to get back to.

Peace out.

"If God is a DJ, life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm, you are the music"

Saturday night was about as perfect as they come.

Why?

Because for only the third time in my concert-going life, I got to see Bruce play in Asbury Park. And in my world, that is truly as good as it gets.

If you’re not one of my fellow Bruce fanatics, I know that you don’t understand the significance of this. And you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying, “Here she goes, talking about Bruce again.” But hear me out, I’m going to try and explain it.

Wikipedia defines religion as “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially…human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.”

Keeping in mind the one infallible tenet of the universe that Wikipedia is NEVER wrong, I think that music can fall into the category of a religion.

Go with me on this. Picture music as a religion. I mean one of the big religions, not some little weirdo one like that church of body modification (it’s real… bizarre, but real) or a cult like Scientology or Jews for Jesus, but as a real, legitimate religion.

(Note: if you’re easily offended by people mocking religion, you probably don’t want to read the rest of this post… And if you ARE easily offended and DO read the rest of this post despite my warning, please don’t post your comments about how I’m a heathen because I’m just going to delete them. Yes, I have that power. Which I suppose makes me the god of this blog. Insert evil laughter here.)

Obviously Bruce is at the center of the particular denomination of musical religion that I practice, but just as Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, I can see the inherent value of other musical messiahs.

So okay, if Bruce is the deity-figure (I’m going to refrain from calling him Jesus—partially because I think that’s going to offend everyone but the Jews (I’m not as worried about offending Muslims because I’m an American Jewish chick… they’re not reading this anyway and if they are, my very existence is already insanely offensive to them) and partially because I’m Jewish and calling him Jesus just gets too confusing), that would make the members of the E Street Band his disciples. If I had better Photoshop skills, I’d do a version of the Last Supper to illustrate this. But my Photoshop skills are, unfortunately, somewhat limited and I don’t feel like wasting that much time. You get the idea.

Then there are the prophets. These are the other musicians who are heavily influenced by Bruce. (And you could probably make an argument that since Bruce was heavily influenced by Elvis, Bob Dylan, and Chuck Berry, among others, they could figure into some Father/Holy Ghost type analogy, but I don’t know enough about Christian theology to really flesh that out.) So in that group would be the Gaslight Anthem, Jesse Malin, Tom Morello, Eddie Vedder, Social Distortion etc. All of them are ABSOLUTELY worth going to see in their own right, but their music/styles contain some elements of the Bruce gospel.

We also have the scholars, who, like biblical scholars, interpret the word of our deity and pass these interpretations on to the masses. Some, like Chris Phillips and Dave Marsh, are established as being the authorities (love them or hate them, the Bruce camp has cemented their position by giving them super exclusive interviews), whereas others learn from these teachings and put their own spin on what they’ve taken from Bruce. You can find these scholars in many places, from BTX to Greasy Lake and everywhere in between. Some are strict and believe that only their interpretation is legitimate, whereas others are more welcoming of new points of view. (Think of the difference between ultra-orthodox Jews and reform Jews—you find the same kind of argument about what makes someone a “real” fan on BTX pretty often.)

I, as someone who has written a book in which the characters meet following Bruce and as someone who blogs about his importance in my life fairly often, fit into the scholar group, although I’m still a novice by most standards. My father was the one who introduced me to Bruce and he was the one who started taking me to shows, and it is a pretty male-dominated scene among the heavy-duty Bruce fans. And in my debut work, Beyond the Palace, I told the story from the point of view of a guy.

Which, of course, makes me Yentl.

(No one but my mother laughed at that, but it amused me. Papa, can you hear me?)

But the best part about travelling to our Jerusalem (Asbury Park) to worship at the holiest of holy sites, isn’t even that Bruce showed up. (Don’t get me wrong, that was absolutely unreal.) No, the best part is the feeling of community among the true Bruce fans at a show. Because I don’t care what people on BTX say makes you a real fan versus a fair-weather fan; when you’re at a show in Asbury Park and the lights have dimmed and there’s even the slightest whisper in the air that Bruce could be there that night, you’re with your family.

That feeling struck me several times Saturday night, well before Bruce took the stage. I had conversations with a whole bunch of different people who had been at the same shows I’d been at, who had the same bootlegs, who loved the same other musicians, and who felt the same things that I felt being there that night. And that sense of community and belonging is the reason so many people go to synagogue or church week after week. It’s to feel a part of something bigger and to be with people who believe in the same things you believe in and have faith in the same things you put your faith in.

No, I don’t literally worship Bruce. I’m actually a fairly observant Jew, and I understand that comparing music to religion is a stretch for those who don’t feel the way that I do. But the reason that I think it’s an apt comparison is that it has given so much to my life and to who I am as a person. And Saturday night at the Paramount Theatre was where I truly felt that I was home. And I can only hope that all of you who read this have a place where you can feel that same sense of acceptance and belonging.

And I REALLY hope that 2011 brings a new tour. Because I’m already eagerly anticipating my next religious experience.