So, I didn’t give a daily thought yesterday because I was busy at work getting done as quickly as possible. I was trying to get home to pick up my wife and daughter and drive to Natchitoches.
You see, today is the annual Louisiana state quiz bowl tournament, which is arguably one of the nerdiest things I’ll ever rush to do. I enjoy reading for the quiz bowl matches, but, even more importantly, there is a very real sense of affection here.
My sophomore year of high school (2003-2004), I joined the quiz bowl team at the school and, that year, I was made a team captain and we won the state championship in our division. That’s not the most important thing that happened that year, however.
I joined the team and met my future wife there.
We began dating shortly after my ex-girlfriend broke up with me via MSN Messenger by copying and pasting the “It’s Not You, It’s Me” speech. The quiz bowl coach, who also runs the state tournament, was adamant that this was a bad idea. “Love is death in quiz bowl,” he’d say.
Ten years later, my wife and I are married and have a wonderful two-year-old.
Culture Club vs. Final Fantasy VI
Today, I was discussing hamburgers with a good friend when he informed me that he didn’t like pickles on his burgers. He defended the choice, which I can respect, but gave me a questioning look when I informed him that pickles on hamburgers are as American as you can get.
"Pickles are America," I explained.
"You cannot convince me that pickles are America," he countered.
The challenge, as the kids say, was accepted.
You see, many, many years ago, America was a cucumber that we got from Britain. Like all things British, it was cold, unfeeling, and was very bland. It was not what America wanted or needed. It offered us nothing.
During a long period of time, a bitter time in our history, it slowly began changing into something else. It retained that core that was the cucumber, but its flavor changed. It grew into its own flavor. Every slice is unique, and much like a federalist government, the whole is usually far too much, and the real power lies in the taste of the original slices.
Now, take those slices, cultured as they have become. Put them onto the sandwich, which has bread, representing the bread basket of America, the base of our agricultural system. Between those buns, it joins the lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, and whatever else you put on their, each condiment representing the variety of American life. Add the cheese, made from milk, the first nourishment we get in life.
All of this surrounds the beef, the core of America’s being, where it is cooked to your specifications. Do you like your burger with a little pink inside, young and exuberant, with a little risk? Do you prefer it cooked thoroughly, as well done as anyone’s life could be?
You put that all together, and you take a bite of your burger, the one you ordered “your way.” It is yours. It is an individual item representing the American Dream: If you want it, you can have it.
After I explained this to my friend, he just stared for a moment and said, “Son of a bitch. You did it.”
Stir fry night!
I have a great deal of respect for writers, regardless of political persuasion. It takes a lot, mentally, to hold together a narrative for a few hundred words without losing your way. ADD is very real and sometimes words like to flood a page without rhyme or reason.
But you have to at least try to have a reason. Much as I have resolved to try and keep politics off this Tumblr page, there are times when I can’t.
Today, I was informed of a website called FireDogLake, which I had never heard of. The reason I found out it existed was because of a highly noxious piece regarding a BuzzFeed writer named Rosie Gray, her boss Ben Smith, and her father. It was a piece designed to discredit her views, but used sexual innuendo and a generally sexist attitude regarding female reporters to do so.
But that holding a narrative thing I talked about? The failure of the FDL piece as a work of writing comes in its arguments. It supposes, implies, and innuendos several things, but the accusations are never backed up beyond the original supposition. As a result, the point is never proven, just smeared.
Being a writer on a site like BuzzFeed means you’re going to receive some hate pieces from time to time, and Gray has handled it very well. Smith, admirably, came to a staunch defense of his writer. At the end of the day, the only ones who came off looking worse was FDL.
I regret to my very core finding out this website exists.
As I sit across from from my two-year-old daughter at a Mexican restaurant, I am shocked at how capable a child is of learning and adapting quickly.
Just this afternoon, she crawled into my lap, asked “How you?” and said “I good,” when I asked her the same. When I asked how school was, she proudly said “Cat!” and jumped off my lap to go play with our cat, Pandy.
I want to be able to just run around and have fun again, with just enough of an attention span to function. As it is, I have the latter, but I have to work all day. Grown-up life has its toll, but being able to have a kid like her is worth it.
And now she’s singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams while she eats chips and salsa. This kid is awesome.
The Internet is a wonderful tool, where all of humanity’s knowledge can be out in the open, bringing us to a semi-enlightened state as a culture.
Unfortunately, it comes at a terrible price.
Internet anonymity brings out the worst in some of us, and as a result, where one thing might be a great resource, it can be trolled to hell by Internet anarchists.
We talk all the time of the “social media,” but rarely do we truly discuss the inevitable counter-part to it - the Anti-Social Media. Humanity’s greatest tool also brings out humanity’s worst qualities.
My Tumblr page is where I’ll go to post thoughts on society, religion, and related topics when they are too long for Twitter. This will not, however, be a place for political thoughts. I’m diversifying. Or something.
To celebrate this first post of a blog that will discuss society, here is society at a low point.