As public theater, it’s far preferable to other forms of entertainment, such as, say, jury trials. A jury trial may be fine for televised drama, but for real life, it rates, as an experience, somewhere in between a lynching and a farm machinery auction. Why a trial by jury is considered one of the most sacred cornerstones of a free society is beyond me; it’s the most raw, pure example of democracy run amok imaginable. If you were running a campaign to convince people that democracy was a failure, and George W. Bush wasn’t available, you could do a lot worse than to just carefully explain the workings of a jury trial. Think of it this way: not only are you handing your fate over to a couple of lawyers, and betting your life on the fact that yours did less coke the night before than theirs did, but the ultimate decision doesn’t even rest with some party-hack judge who, even though he got the job by attending more mashed potato dinners with the governor than anyone else in their housing development, is at least a lawyer. No, it rests with what is always called with a false sense of nobility “a jury of your peers”. Hey, have you gotten a good look at your peers lately? I wouldn’t trust twelve randomly selected shitheads to wash my car, let alone decide my guilt in a criminal case where I could go to jail for a hundred years. Keep in mind, the next time you want to praise the right to a trial by jury, that this is a country that votes no on William Gaddis, civil rights, and health care, and votes yes on Taco John’s, the USA-PATRIOT Act, and battery-powered light-up shoes.
Hey, speaking of painfully awkward segues, you know who could have used a pair of flashing Mall-Walkers? Jesus. Jesus would really have gone for all the options available in our consumer society, I bet. He’d be so pleased that the country that makes his teachings such a priority hasn’t quite found the time to feed the hungry, aid the poor or ease the suffering of the least among us, because it’s been too busy developing thousands of variants on “Friends”, collectible trading card games, and the bacon double cheeseburger. But I kid Jesus, because really, it is adherence to his teachings that makes America great. And how much sense does that make? A lot! Honestly, when you live in a 21st-century superpower with global computer networks, intercontinental nuclear missiles, and the ability to put people on a rocket to Mars, you really want it governed according to the teachings of a man who lived in a desert 2000 years ago and may not have even actually existed. That’s the guiding hand you want behind your social policy. But why stop there? Why don’t we see what Gilgamesh wants us to do about progressive taxation? What’s Bellerophon’s stance on abortion? Let’s sacrifice some fresh beating hearts on an altar to Quetzalcoatl until he gives us some guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Okay, that’s enough unfunny comedy for today. Can we at least all agree that this “Two for the Money” thing represents the point at which Al Pacino has stopped being someone to whom America needs to pay attention?
Also, happy 30th to Kate Winslet. I’m available now, Kate, just in case things ain’t workin’ out with Sam Mendes.
*: Although that doesn't seem to stop most other stand-up comedians.