Friday, January 15, 2010

Self-satisfaction guaranteed

The ink was barely dry on Haiti's "you're fucked again!" certificate before the usual cadre of Christian meatheads started in with a chorus of victim-blaming. Those guys remind me of those gorgeous Italian and French actresses that starred in some American films in the '50s even though they couldn't speak English - they learned their lines phonetically, and delivered them on cue, but they had no idea what they were saying. Thus, useless bags of flesh like Pat Robertson either have clue zero what Jesus Christ was on about, or they're all liars who have somehow convinced themselves that they alone are immune to the punishment that god metes out to all others, ostensibly at their request. The worst part is that it's not even worth it to discover which circumstance is the more likely, because they're both pretty equally terrible.

If I were a Christian and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, I might take some comfort in the thought that if Christ were returning some day, the odds of him coming back through Haiti - probably number three with a bullet on the list of Top Ten Desperate Hellholes on the Face of the Earth - are pretty damn good. So condemn away, preachers, because it's well known that Jesus had a huge hard-on for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and an appetite for righteousness is pretty much the only commodity that Haiti has in abundance. In fact, I believe it's what their GDP is currently based upon.

It will come as no surprise to my readers that I am not a Christian, however, and so I tend to look at the situation in a more psychological context. If the wretched people of Haiti can be made to appear somehow deserving of their plight, then it's just that much easier for us to plunk down five easy payments of $19.99 each for Ab Circle Pro, an amazing fitness breakthrough that will banish those love handles in 30 days or your money back! It's in our nature, I guess, to want the universe to make some sense, and if the Haitians are all evil voodoo whitey-haters, then a 7.0 nation leveler TOTALLY makes sense, brah.

No doubt the universe is a crazy-ass place. I mean, you don't have to be stoned (although, as usual, let me emphasize that it wouldn't hurt) to quickly become overwhelmed with confusion and angst when contemplating the question "Of all possible worlds, why this one?" - especially if you happen to be watching Bridezillas at the same time. Every time I ponder the profusion of professional wrestling organizations, or the latest hipster fashion trend, I can't help but marvel at the incomprehensibly trivial nature of the majority of our endeavors.

Maybe Jesus, if he truly lived and said all those things, felt the same way. Maybe that's why he reckoned that anyone asking for your shirt might as well have your coat, too. I would never recommend such a drastic liquidation of one's wardrobe; the best that could be said about me, I suppose, is that I am on board with spreading the wealth around - although that only puts me at the 53rd percentile. Not exactly illuminated company.

And look, no one's asking you to personally donate any of your hard-earned bucks to the citizens of Haiti. You can decide that they're all heathen jigaboo thugs, or that our government will send aid using your tax dollars anyway, or that you're suffering already in this tight economy and don't have any dough to spare. That's cool. It's not my business what you do with your money. So, like I said, no one's forcing you to lend a hand up, although, if you ask me, membership in the human race should require, at bare minimum, not kicking them when they're on the ground. I'm looking at you, Reverend.

Also, I will admit that after spending the better part of an hour this morning shopping for a pair of shoes I don't really need at DSW before my $5 birthday discount could expire, I suddenly hit a wall of shame I could neither scale nor circumvent. So maybe the Haitians deserve at least what I would spend on a pair of last year's strappy sandals, no?

After all, it is tax deductible.




14 comments:

Poplicola said...

Remember, Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth. And lo, how the Earth is now the main feature in most Haitian living rooms! This is the LITERAL Word of God. Metaphors are for homos and the Greek Orthodox.

Also, it's possible to donate AND buy shoes.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

During a recent vacation in Hawaii, a conservative radio talk-show host was rushed to a hospital after experiencing chest pain. He was appropriately grateful to the hospital personnel who helped him through a scary situation. "The treatment I received here was first rate," he said, thanking the doctors, nurses and nurses aides at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.
I naïvely believed this experience would humble him into having some compassion for others, if only briefly.
I guess I'm dumb ☹

SkylersDad said...

I guess the GOP would like the Haitians to pull themselves up by those strappy sandals.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm sending a few bucks to PIH and asking it go to the Haiti relief effort. I figure it's more than most Christians will do. The Haitians need cash more than they need prayers.

vikkitikkitavi said...

@Pops - who said I didn't also buy shoes?

vikkitikkitavi said...

BTW, if you are interested in donating, Clinton's foundation seems like a good way to go. After having screwed over Haiti during his administration, he's devoted a lot of time since then to helping them out:

http://www.clintonfoundation.org/haitirelief.

Dad E said...

Anyone that can buy snappy sandals and then reach within to donate also is living a good life. Spritually.

Marshall Park Slope said...

Well done Vikki as always. "useless bags of flesh like Pat Robertson..." Thanks for the that.

dguzman said...

You're awesome.

Red said...

Okay, so David Brooks is right of center, but even though I'm not I often find that he makes some sense. He had a column last Thursday about how this quake was the same on the Richter scale as the '87 (or so) quake in San Francisco. The death toll for that quake was 63. The death toll for Haiti will be at least 500 times that, and widespread poverty is the biggest reason why.

I know that a lot of people in this country, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Secular Humanists and etc. will do what they can to help. I join certain other voices I've heard in hoping that we can build a stronger Haiti than there was before; sadly, that's not a high bar to clear.

Good column, V. But I hope you're wrong about the bullet.

SJ said...

I never knew the Haitians made a pact with the devil to rid them of Napoleon the 3rd... the devil, really? Wow, thanks for the information, Pat the Douche.

Just said...

wow...

Doc said...

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing that 83% of the folks who subscribe to the idea of Christianity missed the point he was trying to make, e.g. be tolerent, be charitable, and love one another. Perhaps they are reading a different bible than I am, but that was the message I got. I have a poor memory but other than the merchants in the temple, I can't think of anyone he was pissed off at. He hung out with whores, thieves, fishermen, and tax collecters. Even in our modern age, we all know that three of the four have something of a heart of gold.

To my knowledge, finger-pointers don't score any points in Heaven. With any luck, Robertson will have to sit next to Hitler sorting mismatched socks for all eternity.

Doc

Michael said...

I've been struggling for a way to express several ideas you have captured here. Not the least of which are the triviality of many of our endeavors, and how we square our political and religious bents with our ball-return mentality for retail. Thank you for those thoughts.

I just don't see any element of faith in what people like Robertson and Falwell have to say. Faith seems irrelevant if you know your Lord's will and can trace it back to political decisions of several hundred years ago. I think we are too generous when we view fundamentalism of this sort as an extreme religious viewpoint. What I see here is barely-veiled hate speech, a stab at making doctrine. Forget Christianity, there's simply no will to believe revealed in what Robertson says. Like any old man who's best years are long gone and whose patience was never hardy to begin with, he just pronounces to remind himself he's still alive.