Monday, March 17, 2008

Keeping Catholicism Cool With Groovy New Sins, or "Let's Get Legalistic!"

Disclaimer: I'm sorry if I offend any Catholic people. I'll apologize to you personally if you need me to.

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and so to honor this most sacred of days, the following will be a meandering discussion of Catholicism.

First, let it be known, I love me a defected Catholic. My dad, who luckily does not insist on being called Father (hallelujah!), long ago opted out of the Church himself. And I sure do love my dad. However, in all his infinite wisdom I often do find flaws,* and in the same way I question much of he says, I feel it's appropriate to question pretty much everything I recently read regarding the Vatican's latest updates on Sin.

...beep b-beep beep... b-beep beep beep...


That's right! Just when you thought you were fucking up a lot already, the Vatican has offered up a few more areas we can all "work on" to "ensure" our safe passage into Heaven. These new areas include the following:

1. Drugs.
2. Pollution.
3. Genetic Manipulation.
4. Social and Economic Injustice.

Now, I'm not Catholic, but like most rational people I deal with my share of self-inflicted guilt. I feel guilty when I eat too much (Gluttony). I feel guilty when I loaf around the house for entire days watching TV on DVD (Sloth).* I feel guilty (or I guess just disturbed to the point of guilt) when I have to use my memory of Kevin Spacey's character in "Se7en" when trying to recall the list of mortal sins (Indifference - not really a sin, but probably will be in 8-10 years).

But seriously, I either commit, contribute to, or am a victim of all of these new sins, not to mention all the old ones! Even though I don't abide by or agree with the notion of unforgivable sin, I don't want to deal with even more quasi-guilt than I have to. So I think the best solution is to email the Pope (, in case you were wondering) several of my thoughts on this eco-friendly, anti-science, anti-capitalist list of new sins.

It would go something like this...

First, let's discuss the Drug thing, briefly. How 'bout instead of saying Drugs are a new area of sin, maybe we tighten that up and say that perhaps Drunk Driving, or Choosing Alcohol Over Your Children, are sins. Drugs as defined by "any chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being," should not be vaguely deemed Sinful. If I have a disease called Hating My Job (HMJ- the symptoms are similar to TMJ), I'm going to need a chemical substance called Alcohol to enhance my mental well-being. I will not repent and I refuse go to Hell for that. End of story.

Second, I agree that Pollution is a bad thing. It is a very bad thing indeed. But how far do we take it here? I admit I sometimes throw my gum in the bushes once it's lost its flavor. And the simple task of living in America somehow causes me to produce a lot of garbage that surely ends up in some stanky landfill somewhere. Is that a sin? As much as I want to start a compost pile, I can't really do that without a bigass yard. So is my lifestyle sinful? Apparently. Sorry Vatican, but pollution is everywhere. Maybe you should think about the white smoke you release into the air once every 50 years when you pick a new Pope, huh? If ya'll are gonna get nasty about reducing our carbon footprint, I say lead by fucking example.

Third, define genetic modification. Are we talking human cloning, because yes that is very weird, or are we talking big, juicy red tomatoes? Because I love a big, juicy, red tomato.*** I've never tried Grapples, but I've heard things...

Lastly, I'm going to hope - nay, I'm going to assume - that this last "new" sin is the Vatican's way of singling out Heather Mills for the atrocities she has committed against Sir Paul McCartney. The crazy, legless biatch expressed her happiness at having been awarded a $50 million (talk about economic injustice!) divorce settlement from former Wings lead-man. :

"It was an incredible result, in the end, to secure my and my daughter's future, and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping."

So, does the fact that Heather Mills is straight up stealing $50M from Paul McCartney count as a sin? Or has she already absolved herself by promising to donate her blood-money to charities, assuming that one of them is The Catholic Church? Riddle me that, Pope-man! This is the man who wrote "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and "When I'm 64," for crying out loud! He's at least 25% responsible for at least 25% of the music made after 1960! I bet you the whole fifty-mil Paul McCartney didn't think that at 66 he'd be getting ass-raped by a crazy ex-wife. This is both socially and economically unjust, if you ask me. But nobody asked me.

Funny thing is, they met at a charity event.

Basically this is just a cry for attention. These are indeed these trying times for organized religion, but there have got to be better ways for such an institution to keep itself vital. Sex scandals were a good way to reinvigorate the public interest, and nailing down Pope Bennyboy turned peoples' heads in Rome's direction for about a minute. But making people feel bad for breaking rules... that's just bad PR.

All that having been emailed to his Holiness the Pope, in honor of St. Patty's Day, I hope everyone who reads this drinks a shit-ton of beer tonight, leaves the bottle on the sidewalk, eats a basket of Grapples, and rocks out to "Give Ireland Back to the Irish."

Sin, all ye believers. Sin in the name of Justice!

*Sorry, Dad. You should be glad I at least listen.

**I actually feel entitled to this. Not guilty at all.

*** Who remembers that episode of The Wonder Years?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nice Girls Don't Go To Silverlake, or "Dear Mr. Hipster...You Kind Of Suck"

Dear Mr. Hipster,

Hi, it's me. It's Lisa.

I am the girl who stood behind you at El Cid the other night when that really cool underground band was playing. You know, El Cid? That really cool underground place in Silverlake with the grungy bouncer and the overgrown ficus on the patio? Yeah. You probably didn't notice me. Or maybe you did. I was kind of hard to miss. After all, I was standing RIGHT behind you. I was actually standing in my spot before you so rudely took your spot directly in front of me. You're quite a bit taller than I am, you do realize. I know I had a lot of makeup on, but it only makes me appear more sexually desirable, it doesn't actually give me x-ray vision. It was impossible to see through you. Maybe you thought that since I had the bad sense to wear leggings out in Silverlake it was worth blocking my view of the really good looking lead singer.

Was that it? Was it the leggings?

I know that living on the Westside has destroyed my sense of what is socially acceptable in other parts of LA and The World, but you can't blame me for that, Mister Hipster. I just live where it's really homogenous and distasteful to stand out. Everyone over here is white and educated, and that's soooo not my fault. See, I'm used to meeting fratty meatheads who graduated from USC at karaoke bars, and all the girls here on my side wear leggings and uncomfortably high heels when they go out. I straighten my naturally curly hair in order to fit in and I won't be ridiculed for that. At least it's still brown, Ok? I know that in Silverlake most women are difficult to look at and wear thick rimmed glasses, but where I'm from people make an overstated effort to be attractive. People wear contacts, you get? I have no control over these social mores so stop effing giving me a hard time over it and move out of my way, would you? By planting yourself directly in my line of sight you've made me feel inferior for not hanging out in more places where the lights are red and the chicks are fugly. Your bad attitude and harsh judgment are getting me down and I don't appreciate it.

Oh, and also, why are you standing so still? I don't get it. The music that this really dope band is rocking is actually pretty good. Like, it has a beat. Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Hipster - a beat is like a rhythm; it's usually repetitive, and once you've been listening for a few seconds you can predict the thump-thump-thumping of it and it makes you want to have sex. Maybe you're not familiar with the concept of a beat since most of the music you listen to is "experimental" and features a synth and the sophomoric vocal talents of some whiny, lonley-heart greaseball who's really 35 but looks 19. And I'm sure you'd like to have sex at some point in your life, but probably not with any of the homely, flannel-donning types I'm seeing around here. That's your own damn fault - this is LA and hot girls are a dime a dozen, but you've chosen to kick it all Eastside and whatever, so I have zero sympathy for your unwanted virginity. This music is darn catchy, and your refusal to move your body in a display of delight or enjoyment is downright baffling.

You don't look hip, Mister Hipster. You look deaf.

Is your herring-bone sport coat your way of telling me to get back to where I once belonged?* Is your grandpa style golf cap keeping the glare of the stage lights off your furrowed brow? Do you really need glasses or are you just trying to look like Rivers Comou circa the Blue Album? I guess reading McSweeny's and looking like an extra from The Mary Tyler Moore show is our generation's best attempt at reinventing Cool. It's so Now to be retro.

Oh, shit. I just spilled my red wine on your tweed elbow patch.

Yeah, sorry. That was me. I didn't mean to do that. I was just dancing really sexy-like when my 4-inch heel got caught in the crack of these old-school wooden floorboards. I guess I lost my balance and got distracted criticizing you behind your back. Literally, from behind your back. You've been standing motionless in front of me for like 20 minutes...

Oh, that's OK I can still hear the music... Yeah, it's good isn't it? I really like these guys... You do too? That's cool... You like my leggings, too?... Haha. I'm sorry I didn't expect that, I guess I'm just really jaded... Yeah, sooo... Oh, you have to go home and get rest because you're volunteering at an animal shelter all day tomorrow?... Hey, you're actually disarmingly sweet and sincere and kind of attractive... Oh, thanks. I try... Sure, you can have my number... It was really nice meeting you, too.

Ok, well, have fun petting cats tomorrow. I like your hat! Call me!


*Intentional Beatles reference.