June 9th, 2011

say whaaaaa?

Read a Book, Why Don’t You: Mart Lit

Since I’ve been unemployed, I buy all my books at Wal-Mart.  They only offer three kinds of books (religious, self-help, and monster-based romance), none of which I enjoy, so it keeps me from spending too much money.  Today, I was up at the Wal-Mart on the Austin Highway, and I found two great selections in the book aisle, which is located conveniently between the gun magazines and the cat litter.

The first was called The Christian Atheist:  Believing in God But Living As If He Doesn’t Exist.  It was penned by a faith-based hustler from Oklahoma named Craig Groeschler, whose market-researched, chain-store-patterned houses of worship are united under the “LifeChurch.tv” franchise.  No, I am not making that up.  He also pioneered online, YouTube-style video confessionals and delivers sermons in Second Life, thus providing another lesson in why no one should ever get within a hundred megabytes of Second Life.  Anyway, he wrote this book about how he’s always believed in God, but sometimes lived his life as if God’s purpose wasn’t to boss him around all the time.  Since I didn’t bother to read the book, my problems, and I have many of them, all stem from the title.

First of all, the subject is wrong.  If you believe in God, you are not an atheist.  Groeschler’s problem, if you want to call it that, was that he believed in God but behaved as if he didn’t.  This would make him not a Christian atheist, but an atheist Christian.  Sort of.  So right off, it should be The Atheist Christian.

Second, although he pretends this is some kind of unique problem that he has identified so he can sell more books and seem smart, there is nothing at all unusual about believing in God but not acting like you do.  Pretty much everyone does this.  The reason why is that there is no God.  Since there is no God, He does not manifest himself (seeing as He does not exist) in any aspect of people’s lives, and so they basically get used to behaving as if He is not there, because He isn’t.  Most people notice around the time they are ten years old that no matter what they do, God never shows up to punish them, reward them, or do anything else whatsoever to them, for them, around them or on behalf of them.  They might continue believing in God, but practicality leads them to behave as if He were, say, an imaginary monster that their parents made up.  So really, the book should be called The Statistically Average Christian.

Third, there’s nothing atheistic about the book at all, since Groeschler never even remotely suggests that being an atheist is a good thing.  Any hint of atheistic thought or behavior must be systematically isolated and destroyed, so that you can get back to pretending not only that there is a God, but that you should do things that He is supposed to have told you to do.  It isn’t directed at atheists, or even people who act like atheists, whatever that means; it’s directed at people who have totally bought into the God thing and are worried that they aren’t doing it right.  It should therefore really be called The Ridiculously Devout Christian Who Came Perilously Close To Wising Up For Once In His Life But Has Now Returned To A Life Of Pointless, Albeit Profitable, Self-Delusion.  Although I’ll admit that lacks the pep of The Christian Atheist.

The other book was Guy Fieri Food:  Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It.  I challenge you — no, I dare you — to read that title out loud without sounding like a completely irredeemable douchebag.


out at home

War Minus the Shooting: How We Are Shitty

Leave it to Dave fucking Eggers on Grant-fucking-land to write the ultimate paean to the horseshit “Who cares if the Cubs suck forever and ever, Wrigley Field is TOTALLY SO MUCH FUN” mentality.

The thing is so reeking of sensa-wunda excrement that the not-true-since-at-least-2005 accusation that White Sox Park is “soulless” is the least of my problems with it. Much worse:

- Characterizing that piss-stinking dump as a “neighborhood” ballpark, which is accurate in the sense that it is located in an unbelievably expensive neighborhood that only the richest people in town can even afford to park in.

- The constant reinforcement of the “who cares if we win, we’re at Wrigley, WHEEEEEE” mentality, which is why I will never ever feel sorry for the dumbfuck Cubs fans, because management knows they think this way and that’s why they’ll never field a decent ball club.

- Eggers’ mistaken belief that it makes him seem like a delightful man-child with a youthful sense of wonder, instead of a hyperactive 14-year-old dullard, that he went to the motherfucking WORLD SERIES — something that millions of real baseball fans will never be lucky or rich enough to do their whole lives — and wasn’t able to pay the least bit of attention to the game because he was too distracted by the shiny lights and pretty building and fancy water and blah blah cocks in my mouth.

- Citing some of the worst things about the Cubs culture as if they were the best things about Cubs culture (“There are about 1,000 people who watch the Cubs from across Sheffield and across Waveland. Even when the stadium isn’t full, the rooftops are. This says a lot about baseball in Wrigleyville…what’s that guy doing with his stomach over there? And where’s the beer guy? And who’s playing at the Cubby Bear tonight? Peter Tosh’s brother? Should we leave after this inning to get a seat near the stage?”), and actually citing the fact that the Red Sox win ball games as being a reason not to go to games, because you expect your team to win, and the fact that they might not gets you all tense and bums you out.

- Actually having the stones to claim that the Cubs organization — the greediest, money-grubbingest, a-shit-not-givingest ownership group this side of the Yankees* — is an “inverted model of capitalism” that helps the neighborhood “profit” from its shithole of a ballpark, unlike all those clubs that have moved their parks “50 miles outside” of town. Hey, Dave: ask the local businesses who take a massive hit during every Cubs day game because people can’t afford $35 parking to come to their shops if the Cubs are good for their profit margins. Ask the city of Chicago, who has twice had to sue the team (for not performing required upkeep on the stadium and grounds), if they’re nurturing a sense of community. And ask the teams whose stadiums are located 50 miles out of town — oh, wait, you can’t, because of the 30 MLB team, 27 of them play in the city limits of their hometown, within three miles of downtown, and of the three who don’t, one of them is moving to a downtown location next year. Here’s a hint, asshole: White Sox park is actually in Chicago. The fact that you see black people there who aren’t cleaning the toilets doesn’t mean it’s in another county.

*: I take it back. The Yankees are greedy and money-grubbing, but at least they care about winning.