“Ideology is just a pejorative word for principles in which you happen not to believe.”
–The Economist, 11 February 2012
Ideology colors everything. For the dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Obama’s healthcare plan is a socialist plot that threatens the very foundation of the United States. For the liberal, it’s a half-assed compromise that sells out to big business and especially insurance companies. In reality, it’s the first step toward reining in out of control healthcare spending that simultaneously provides a laughable level of actual service.
And ideology goes further than that, filtering everything through a lens of principles and beliefs. This is fine to a certain extent when the debate is constructive and leads to better proposals and more responsive policies. But when ideology goes too far, it leads to a total lack of common sense.
For instance, take the uproar over Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad. Setting aside the fact that Clint Eastwood is apolitical at best, it’s hard to see how this car ad could be taken as anything but a commentary on the tough economic conditions Americans have faced over the past few years and how Chrysler wants them to know that they went through the same thing. Look at it again:
Me, I see a pretty darn effective car commercial. But conservatives see a hidden campaign for Obama’s re-election while liberals interpret it as anti-union. It makes me wonder what they’d see in last year’s Chrysler Super Bowl commercial:
Xenophobia? Racism? Socialism?
Here’s what I think. Detroit is a metaphor for America. And Detroit has had a rough decade. But Detroit hasn’t given up. Look at the Tigers and Lions. Look at the new line of Fords. Hell, look at what Chrysler is turning out. That, my friends, has nothing to do with ideology. It has everything to do with inspiration.
I’ve never understood the religious conservatives’ fascination with what goes on in the bedroom. It took until 2003 for the Supreme Court to strike down a Texas law prohibiting sodomy and even today, despite the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and multiple polls showing that a majority of Americans now support a homosexual couples’ right to marry, these same religious conservatives continue to use people’s private lives as a wedge to drive us apart.
So, what’s truly going on here? Do they really feel so strongly about what goes where behind closed doors or is there something more to it?
Sadly, it seems to be the latter even though it has also become cliche. Take the story of Roberto Arango, for instance. The nadir of this sordid tale isn’t so much the part where the guy who opposes gay adoption rights posts naked pictures of himself spreading his cheeks on the internet. No, it’s the excuse that follows: “You know I’ve been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I’ve been taking pictures.”
But there’s always an excuse, isn’t there? There’s an excuse for how the gay porn shot ended up on a site called Grindr just like there’s an excuse for why people’s private lives should be legislated. If you left it up to people like Rick Santorum and Tim Tebow, everyone would wait until they were married to have sex (heterosexual, of course) and even then, it would only be missionary and with the lights off. Yes, this is the same Tim Tebow who kissed a guy full on the lips after the biggest (and only) victory of his NFL career.
It’s the height of hypocrisy because the same guys who tell you what you can and can’t do in the privacy of your bedroom will get full up in your face if you question why they feel the need to flaunt their faith in front of everyone on the field and millions of TV viewers. They call it their “testimony” but I call it hypocrisy and it’s that hypocrisy that makes the “Tebowing” phenomenon so hilarious. It’s what makes me laugh whenever I see a replay of Stephen Tulloch sacking Tebow then dropping to a knee to “Tebow” right next to him. It’s also what makes me crazy when people start going off on Tulloch and calling him “un-Christian” because of the move. Get out of our bedrooms and get off of Tulloch’s case.
Ultimately, the Republicans and especially the religious zealots of the party would be better served if they took a moment and listened to Clint Eastwood. When asked about gay marriage by GQ, he responded, “We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.”
Now that, my friends, is a true patriot. Too bad no one actually listens to him. Not like they do Tebow, at least. On the bright side, though, if Tebow continues to play the way he did against the Lions, the only testimony he’ll provide is how quickly a QB can get bounced out of the NFL.
Many things in life make no sense. Wonderful guys like Jeff and myself being single, for instance. Or the Cardinals winning the 2006 World Series. Sarah Palin becoming a de facto leader of the Republican party. The world is a crazy place. However, nothing reminds me of this fact quite so much as when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominations around this time every year.
Another mixed-up Oscar
Seriously, are you guys smoking crack? 13 nominations for Benjamin Button? This movie already won an Academy Award a decade and a half ago when it starred Tom Hanks and they called it Forrest Gump. Making the same movie in reverse shouldn’t qualify it to win another Oscar. Speaking of which, here’s an idea for the studio that will save them several million dollars. Why not just buy some old VHS copies of Gump and play them on rewind. There, you’ve seen Benjamin Button and you’ve helped save the environment by reducing demand for new movies and packaging. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cute movie. But it’s three hours of Brad Pitt being Brad Pitt and it leaves us with the oh-so-original thought that we leave this world much like we came into it. Really? I paid twelve dollars for that?
And from the inane, we move to the insane. This category breaks down into two major subcategories, “How did that make it in?” and “How did that get left out?” In the first subcategory, we have the multiple nominations for The Reader. Yep, I’m sure it’s a good movie. Yep, Kate Winslet is an amazing actress. But this fixation the Academy has with anything Holocaust skews their judgment in a major way. Without a doubt, Ben Button also falls into this first subcategory but I think I’ve already made my point there.
However, the second subcategory is where we find the real problems. For instance, how does Gran Torino get completely shut out? For all the amazing films Clint Eastwood has been part of over the years, this one has to rank up near the top. He makes Jack Palance look like a pansy. He’s as clutch when it comes to film making as A-Rod is choke when it comes to post-season baseball. Similarly, there is no possible way you can say that Mr. Button deserved a best picture nod over both The Wrestler and The Dark Knight. Arguably, those are the best two films of the year and neither one of them is even up for the award. That’s more than a shame, that’s a crime. And neither the Boss or Clint being nominated for Best Original Song is beyond embarrassing.
Anyway, I’m done. The anger is gone. I have nothing left and I’m lying in a puddle on the floor, soaking in my own impotent, rage-filled tears. And yes, I realize that this is probably the third post in a row with only the most tenuous connection to baseball but don’t worry. Pitchers and catchers report soon and I’ll once again be on the floor, sobbing as the Tigers’ pitching staff takes the field.