Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Religious Rights

Yesterday was rough at home. We got back from our beach trip Sunday evening, picked up Duckie from RB’s house, and plopped on the couch to watch the Oscars. I did, anyway – Brian scared up some snacks to munch while we watched the red carpet coverage. It was much more fun with his company.

Brian (upon seeing Nicole Kidman): Woah, Nelly! What the fuck is that?
Me: I think she’s wearing a cup holder on her shoulder. Or maybe a beer coozy.
Brian: Maybe it’s a collar for her second head.

Brian (upon seeing a particularly strange mirrored bodice, I can’t find the name of the woman who wore it – may have been Eddie Murphy’s date): Wow. Someone raided the Star Trek costume closet.
Me: Wow. And you know, that’s not even original Star Trek or Next Generation. That’s nothing but Deep Space Nine, there. I mean I love the rest of the bodice, but the mirrors have just got to go.

Brian (upon seeing Gwyneth Palrow’s pleated peach): Yeesh.
Me: Oh, Gwyneth. It does such strange things to her boobs. Kinda flattens them out and squishes them over at the same time. I love the detail work, and the pleats are gorgeous – but I hate the waistline and her hair looks totally dead.
Brian is silent, paying more attention to the shrimp than to the gown, which covered entirely too much skin for his taste. We didn't see Salma Hayek anywhere, which is a darned shame.

Me (upon Helen Mirren’s entrance, through the adoring lump in my throat): Oh, Helen. And that’s what you’ll be wearing to get your Oscar. Spectacular. I can’t wait. (The close-up later was just as satisfying.)

Did I stay up to watch her get it? Yes, I did. So I was tired and grumpy all day yesterday. Brian couldn’t rouse himself to go to work at all, so he stayed home with Duck. Basically our routine has been shot to shit, which we expected.

Struggling with Duckie’s now mythic mosey on the way to the bath was bad enough. Then a commercial came on (on the food network, of all things) about censorship of religious freedom – specifically, censorship of Christian religious freedom.

There were John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, and excerpts from other famous speeches. Over their mouths was a little black box, and the word “God” was blipped out of the speech. The commercial went on to bemoan the violation of First Amendment rights for Christians all over America, and to direct like-minded viewers to a new website, “My Religious Rights Dot Org.”

As usually happens when I am personally faced with an example of gross stupidity, all the blood rushed from my head, making rational thought impossible. Don’t throw anything, I thought. Don’t say anything. Not yet.

Brian looked over and must have noticed that my jaw had locked and my face had gone white.

“What?” he said, with a pretty good idea of what “what” was.

I just shook my head and went on to shuffle the Mosey into the bath tub.

I thought about it while Duckie was role-playing with her growing collection of rubber ducks. The initial rage had worn off and my left brain shifted back into gear. After a few minutes, I went back into the living room.

“Here’s what." I said. "That advertisement is completely illogical. It’s playing on people’s conflation of a bunch of different issues – freedom of religion, separation of church and state, censorship, first amendment rights, and it’s supporting the illusion that Christians are persecuted in this country, which is complete and utter bullshit.

"Those speeches have never been altered or censored. It’s absurd. Granted, the implementation of protecting free expression has been far from perfect, and downright stupid in some cases. But to state that the concept of God and Christian worship (which, by the way, is not the same thing) is being hounded into the ground in this culture is ridiculous. What it comes down to is that efforts have been made to respect other religious practices and it pisses some other people off, so they turn it into this big bullshit argument that’s so insanely presented – and so completely believable at the same time – that it takes way more than five seconds of bullet points to deconstruct it. It’s so full of shit I can’t stand it. That’s what.”

“OK, then,” Brian said. I went back to Duckie’s bath.

I went to the wesite this morning. More of the same illogical, unreasoning, intellectually lazy whining that pisses me off on a regular basis. What it comes down to is basing an entire organization and movement on the occasional poor implementation of rules and regulations created to protect freedom of all religions in public organizations, and, incidentally, freedom from other religions in which a person may or may not want to participate.




Oh and here’s what else: We like to watch the Food Network for the same reason we like the Weather Channel. For the most part, it’s apolitical. We can enjoy Rachael Ray and Alton Brown and Iron Chef America without getting into discussions of how Dick Cheney and Hugo Chavez can both be the Devil at the very same time. We can make fun of Jim Cantori’s shiny head and superhero weatherman persona, and both express frustration with the Weather Channel’s reliable inability to predict weather in our area without being assaulted by the insanity of most of today’s media. In a household as ideologically and politically divided as ours, those are safe TV viewing choices.

This ad snatched away a safe spot for me. And that pisses me off, too.

Might just hafta write me another letter this week.


Kiki said...

*sigh* don't you wish you had a DVR? it's not just this kind of commercial; it's also the sheer repetition. i've found myself wondering who the singers are for all the stupid jingles. i really should have something better to do with my day!

SB Gypsy said...

Hey Andi,

I'm so concerned that they will collect and use this info in a slanted way, to prove the strawman that they've set up. It's like they spread chaos and division everywhere they touch.

(un)relaxeddad said...

Hey - stumbled across your blog via Yogamums.
I don't recall anyone but Christians persecuting and burning witches in Salem. But then, I've got an appalling memory and it was a very long time ago. And I suppose the First Amendment wasn't in force.

Oh, and Helen Mirren is a goddess.