A slippery slope, and by that I mean a mountain covered in chicken grease

Not that anyone is (or should be) all that surprised, but evangelical Chick-Fil-A hates the gays. Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong–they hate the gays getting married. But, you know. Close enough.

In an article by the L.A. Times, Chick-Fil-A says it is “guilty as charged” and supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Corporations need to stick to what they do best: making money and exploiting menial, part-time labor. Can all of them please get off the social issues bandwagon? Quite frankly, I don’t want to have to think about politics every time I bite into a burger or pop a french fry in my mouth. But you guys are making it goddamn impossible for me to enjoy something as pure and simple as a chickenFUCKINGsandwich.

Two years ago, you had Target and Best Buy giving money to candidates who adamantly opposed gay rights. In the wake of a public backlash, Target has done some pretty cool, pro-gay stuff, like carry greeting cards for same-sex couples. (YAY!)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that everybody, especially fast food joints, need to STFU and just let people be. I really don’t need a heaping serving of self-righteous bigotry with my chicken sandwich.

At the same time, I tend to disagree with Boston’s mayor, who, also according the the L.A. Times, plans to make it extremely difficult for Chick-Fil-A to set up shop there. Now, I’m all about individuals refusing to eat there for political reasons, but I think when you target specific companies for their political leanings (not that I think they should have any in the first place, but let’s take this for a given in today’s reality) and essentially ban them from your city, you’re on a slippery–greasy, if you will–slope. Dissenting opinions are part of democracy. There are going to be opinions out there that you don’t like, that are bigoted and insensitive, and that are just plain stupid. But that’s a risk you run when you enjoy a little right called freedom of speech. Don’t like Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay agenda? Good, don’t buy their (in my opinion not all that fantastically tasty anyway) chicken. Run them out of town due to a lack of patrons. Don’t stretch existing laws because you disagree with their politics. That makes for a dangerous environment for anyone with a dissenting opinion, even leftist ones. I would much rather see a Chick-Fil-A open its doors in Boston and stand utterly empty. That would be a far more powerful message, coming directly from citizens, that we don’t like their homophobic bullshit. Actions by the city government could easily be dismissed as playing politics, etc. etc., but actions by the people themselves? That might just be something.

It isn’t “Just a Game” Anymore.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year, you likely understand the myriad meanings of the name “Jerry Sandusky.” If you have been under a rock, here is the short version. Sandusky, a former assistant coach at Penn State University set up a charity for at-risk kids and used Penn State property to run his charity camp–what would become a virtual pipeline for prospective victims. Recently, Sandusky was convicted on over forty counts of child sexual abuse–including child rape–perpetrated over roughly fifteen years.

Penn State University conducted their own investigation with ex-FBI director Louis Freeh. According to his report, university officials, including beloved head coach Joe Paterno, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, VP Gary Schultz, and AD Tim Curley, knowingly and purposefully concealed Sandusky’s crimes from authorities in order to save face for their football program. In other words, Paterno and Co.’s resistance to reporting Sandusky allowed him to prey on young boys for a decade or so.

Everyone can agree that Jerry Sandusky’s actions were those of an unabashedly evil man. The presumed grey area  arises when considering the actions of university officials, including Joe Paterno. After the shocking details of the Freeh report, there was a public outcry to remove Paterno’s statue from in front of Beaver Stadium.

For those of you who aren’t rabid college football fans like us, here’s the background: Paterno coached Penn State for over forty years. This man was considered a living legend (or, in some people’s estimation, a living saint). He was praised for his leadership of young men on and off the football field. Paterno and his family donated a large sum to the university for a library which was consequently named after him. The Big Ten Football Championship Trophy, among other distinguished college football awards, bore his name.

In 2001, Penn State installed a large bronze statue of Paterno in front of their stadium, which portrayed paterno, pointing to the sky, and leading a group of players, presumably onto the field. A nearby wall reads, “Joseph Vincent Paterno: Educator, Coach, Humanitarian.”

Amidst the Penn State scandal, there have been repeated calls for removal of the statue, which, under the direction of President Rodney Erickson, took place this morning. This, however, only happened after groups had been camped out to “protect” the statue from vandals late last week.

Kind of ironic, isn’t it? Yes, it was really a statue that needed protecting in this whole affair.

Joe Paterno was a great football coach. I think Penn State’s record speaks for itself. Joe Paterno, however, was not a saint. He was, as is now obvious, a conflicted man who, it seems, wanted to do well by his school, whether that meant donating money to the library or protecting his football program from a sex abuse scandal that will, ultimately, likely destroy it precisely because of his cover up.

The issue here is not Paterno’s legacy as a coach, but his actions as a man that were judged before he was done living.

We do this a lot now. It’s not just Joe Paterno or the college football world who decided to “call the game” at halftime and canonize Paterno as some sort of living saint. It is, admittedly, difficult to judge a body of work when you don’t have the entire body of work in front of you. This is why we should perhaps wait to praise living men as if there were something more than men. We are looking for living heroes. We are a society grasping for something real, someone to look up to, and when we think we find them, we treat them as superhuman. We feel as if we need a real life Batman, Superman, Spiderman. We are too quick to elevate men to the status of gods before they have a chance to show us that they deserve it.

To make another football comparison, take the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In order to be inducted, there is a five-year waiting period from the time a coach or player retires from the game. This is not even waived if a prospective inductee dies during the waiting period. This is one thing the Hall of Fame does right, amidst much criticism. It’s hard to judge someone’s body of work as a coach or a player when you’re too close to it; it’s called bias. It’s human and normal, but it does cause us to overlook shortcomings that might otherwise be a call for concern on some level. Often it’s small, but imagine if the college football world had stuck to a five year waiting period after Paterno’s retirement before building what amounts to a shrine to the man outside his home turf.

Imagine the absence of the absurd fiasco of seemingly-heartless Penn State students and others who took to the streets after Paterno was fired for his complicity in Sandusky’s years of abuse.

Imagine that changing the names of multiple awards for excellent in college football was not necessary.

Imagine the absence of Penn State students and fans “protecting” the statue of a man who failed to protect innocent children because he put the reputation of his football program before their safety.

We are too eager to live history in the present. We want to memorialize, categorize, archive, and canonize people and things before they have a chance to pass out of the now and into the then. It’s hard to judge history as it happens; maybe we should withhold public praise of individual historical actors before we have a chance to see what they’ve done as a whole.
We don’t call the winner at halftime of a football game. We shouldn’t have called Paterno a saint before we had a comprehensive view of his life. What we can say about Paterno is that he was a good coach. He did some good things for PSU. He was also a conflicted and imperfect man who made a heinous mistake, a morally-reprehensible decision. We should not white wash history by acting as if what Joe Paterno did or failed to do doesn’t matter. Leave him in the record books. Leave his name on the library. Let these be a testament to his achievements. But don’t continue to venerate the man as some sort of saint; maintaining a statute that calls him a “humanitarian” when he failed so egregiously by some of our society’s most innocent, our children, is a gross fallacy. And it is painfully obvious, judging by the statue’s group of “protectors,” that leaving the statue in place would only facilitate this white-washing.

Penn State and college football in general need to remember this gross and tragic failure to stand up for what is right. The NCAA appears to agree, and will announce Penn State’s sanctions at 9 AM Eastern tomorrow–sanctions that are expected to include a multi-year scholarship reduction, a multi-year bowl ban, and an unprecedented $30-60 million fine to be put “toward an endowment for children’s causes.” We need to remember that football is a game, and there are more important things than winning or losing. It’s not how you play the game; it’s how you live your life. Joe Paterno’s statue should be replaced with a permanent reminder of Sandusky’s victims. It doesn’t have to be a statue of a child. It just has to be a symbol that reminds us all that football is a game, but life is not, and it’s the decisions we make off the field that will come to define our legacy.

This post was co-written by a couple of college football fanatics: Kate and her boyfriend, Jon.

Quit Droppin’ Yer G’s

Dropping the “g” in words that end in “-ing” is often associated with being “folksy,” “common,” a “regular joe,” so to speak. Often you’ll hear politicians drop the “g” when speaking to crowds in what has been dubbed “real America” (which is really just a bastardization of “rural America” and no more or less “real” than any other part of the nation). Sarah Palin, perhaps, is one of the most notorious G-droppers, but Obama does this, too. I get the political benefits of G-dropping, but that doesn’t make it any better in principle. Let’s face it: people on TV dropping the “g” are all pretty well educated–some excellently so–and you’re not fooling anybody with half a cerebellum. You aren’t folksy. Drop the act. Quit your pandering.

Unfortunately, this G-dropping isn’t solely the domain of politicians anymore. I see this on the local news all the time. On the national news. On cable news. Everybody wants to sound like Joe Schmo because they think it will earn them viewers or support. And shame on us if it does; seriously, shame on us for facilitating the rapid spread of stupid or anti-education. You would think that defunding public schools and sitting our kids in front of crap TV and video games for ten hours a day would have been enough, but no. We need to make already intelligent people sound, look, and eventually act dumb, too. People are now publicly shamed as “elitists” if you choose to sound like a cognizant being aware of something other than the 24 hour bombardment of bullshit from all corners of the earth. Rationality has been denigrated in favor of violent, hyperemotional, non-sensical response, because that’s what we learn when we watch people arguing with each other on every channel. Whether it’s CNN or the Real Housewives of Bumblefuck, everybody is screaming at the top of their lungs at everyone else. We have never been good at listening; usually we just wait until the other person shuts up so we can seem polite when we begin to babble incessantly about our own concerns, but that feigned politeness has even dropped to the wayside. Now we’ve all just said “fuck it!” and are screaming over the top of everybody else. The loudest, most violent, most obnoxious people, and only they, are or can be heard.

I pose this as the bigger question in relation to the American political landscape: who actually wants to vote for somebody who sounds like the guy who lives next door and spends ten hours a week guzzling Budweiser while mowing his lawn with his tricked out John Deere? Do I trust that this person can manage economic, social, and international political concerns effectively? Can we, as a nation, agree that sounding and acting dumb/uninformed/folksy is not as valuable as sounding (and being) smart, confident, and educated? I’m so tired of stupid being cool. Stupid isn’t cool. Stupid is stupid.

10 Ways to Test Your Relationship

Relationships are hard, weird, and hopefully great.  Every relationship will be tested naturally, but if you’re looking for ways to see just how strong, or good, or whatever your relationship is, here are some ideas.

  1. Ask about porn.  When you do this, make sure to ask about the frequency, type, subject, and any other details you can imagine.  The more you push for details, the more of a test it really will be.  Once you’ve completed asking about this wonderful subject, make  certain you share your interests and preferences just as openly.
  2. Road Trip!  Being trapped in a car for hours and hours and hours is a sure-fire way to see if you secretly hate each other.  Plus, if your partner doesn’t shoot you when you scream and startle them upon seeing a spider…  You’re golden.
  3. Fart in front of your partner while maintaining eye contact.  I haven’t tried this, but it seems like it would work.
  4. Have a really awful day.  Then, hang out.  While it’s hot.  And you’re tired.  Experiment away!
  5. Go hiking.  You will quickly learn if you or your partner are whiny, lazy, weepy, weak, annoying, or cool.
  6. Debate who is weirder.  This will get ugly fast.  You will see what your partner finds odd and possibly annoying about you.  If you can withstand this, you’ll be alright.
  7. Have weird sex.  I don’t care if it’s role play, bondage, blindfolded, exhibitionist, group, or just different – try something a little out of your comfort zone together.  When you do this, you will either build trust and see that you already have a great deal.  OR it will be an awkward mess and perhaps a sign that you should avoid each other forever.  OR maybe it’s bad, but you can both laugh.  It’s a test.  You be the judge.
  8. Meet the parents.  What could be more telling than that?  Do you hate your partner’s parents?  Do they hate yours?  Are they creepy together?  Do you feel judged?  It will be awkward, but you can do it… and if you can’t, maybe you’ve failed.
  9. Meet the friends.  You will be judged so damn hard.  Get ready.  Get set.  Get to impressing.  Friends will tell it like it is.  You have to impress each other’s friends, or you will ruin each other’s lives.
  10. Throw up on your partner’s bedroom floor.  Trust me, this will test you both. Big time.  If your partner simply begins to take care of you, cleans your barf, and then refuses to sleep to maintain surveillance of you and your illness for the night, then they are awesome, and they deserve major rewards.  If they get mad at you and tell you to clean it up, they might be a real dick.  The lover that holds your hair deserve high praise and hella love.

3am Clampetts, and other summer sleep disturbers

It can be pretty difficult to sleep in the summertime. Even though I live in the Midwest, which usually has okay summers as far as temperatures go, this year has been absurdly hot. ABSURD, I tell you. Like 95+ degrees for weeks. Not okay. Firstly, if you don’t have AC, you’re screwed. No way around it. You will toss and turn all night in your awful sweat-soaked sheets (and not from any fun pre-sleep activities, either). Gross.

If you do have AC, chances are you have an outrageous electric bill, and, if you’re like me, sinuses that are completely in revolt. Yes, world, I really want to have bloody noses every morning from wanting to sleep in cool air. Blargh!

If it happens to be cool enough to sleep with your windows open, you run the risk of noise.And by noise, I mean assholes shooting off fireworks until three in the morning. Really? It’s a friggin’ Wednesday night; don’t you have to work tomorrow? WHO ARE YOU SHOOTING THOSE OFF FOR? Everyone is asleep, or at least was until you drank one too many Budweisers and came up with this genius idea. Douche.

Another risk of sleeping with your windows open in the summer is something I have christened “3am Clampett Syndrome.” We all can get a bit testy when it’s hot outside; no one is happy to be sticky and sweaty and just generally gross even into the night. HOWEVER–this is not an excuse to go outside of your apartment building and scream at your significant other in the middle of the night. Listen, you hillbilly, you’re not out in the country. People are right above you with their windows open TRYING TO SLEEP, and you’re waking me up with your shrill f-bombs, slamming of car doors, and general banging on inanimate objects. It’s not the car hood’s fault your girlfriend is a whore. It’s hard enough to sleep in balmy, humid weather without your bullshit.

Just a friendly PSA: 3am Clampetts, Drunken Firework Guy, and everyone else disturbing my sleep, STFU.

Your Bra Size Is NOT My Concern

Sometimes, I am a loud-mouth.  Still, I have self-control, and an awareness of myself whilst in public places.  A young lady I encountered today was lacking in the whole control area, but she was clearly an expert in loud-mouthery.  Man, oh, man…  She could talk.  LOUD.  She struck me as the kind of person who updates her facebook status at least twice a day; likely about half of those statuses are vague and emotional so that people will ask what’s wrong.  Basically, I’m saying she was really darn annoying.

We were all trapped trying on clothes in the Salvation Army, when some loud-mouthed teen decided to declare her cup-size to us all.  I was not amused.  Here are a few things she exclaimed:

  • “I’M ONLY 5’1″ AND MY BOOBS ARE D-CUPS!  D-CUPS, I TELL YOU [and everyone else].”
  • “OH MY GOD, STACY.  YOU HAVE TO COME SEE HOW HILARIOUS I LOOK.  MY TITS ARE SPILLING OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE.  IT’S RIDICULOUS.”
  • “DEFINITELY WHEN I’M DONE LOSING WEIGHT, I’LL BE ABLE TO FIT IN THIS… OF COURSE, THAT’S ONLY IF MY D-CUPS SHRINK! HAHA!  THEY’RE SO BIG!”
  • “UGH! I HATE MY D-CUPS!”
  • “MY BOOBS ARE SO HUGE.  IT’S SO AWFUL HAVING BOOBS THIS BIG.”
  • “BIG BOOBS ARE THE WORST.”
  • “NO ONE MAKES CLOTHES FOR BOOBS THIS BIG!”

I have a lot of issues with this.  First of all, don’t scream about your boobies in the middle of a store.  It’s one thing to say to your companion, “This won’t fit over my boobs,” or, “Haha! Look at this.”  It’s very different to share your cup-size like a news announcement.   I promise, no one cares as much as you do.  You can share the moment with your friend, but you don’t need to share it with everyone else.  There are kids around, and old folks, and folks who just have normal levels of privacy…  They don’t care.

Also, they do make clothes for big boobs.  As a lady with boobs EVEN BIGGER than yours, I can assure you that I wear clothing that I do not make.  Therefore, some clothing has to fit over boobs of that stature.  Yes, it is harder to find button-ups, bathing suits, dresses, and tanktops, but you learn to deal.  Big boobs happen.  Big shirts happen too.  You just have to accept that you can’t fit into anything and everything… You know, like everyone else.

Another thing, most people don’t want to hear complaints about big boobs.  Big boobs get a lot of press and a lot of love.  Maybe don’t whine in front of all the A-Cups and B-Cups of the world.  They’re hatred of you and your D-Cups could penetrate your skull and crush you at any moment.  Stop complaining.  You’ll be fine.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old lady, but I just don’t want to hear about a stranger’s boobs from across the store.

Do you think Christina Hendricks screams, “HOW WILL I FIT MY CRAZY-HUGE TITTAYS IN THIS OUTFIT?!” every time she tries to buy a tanktop?  No.  She does not.  Christina Aguilera doesn’t either.  Some ladies have big boobies.  Every single person who sees a lady with big boobies will, with a doubt, notice that she has them.  Big boobs are kind of hard to miss.  Therefore, they don’t need to be announced in the Salvation Army dressing rooms.


Thighs of Glory (Read: Beyonce’s Thighs)

(Amendment at end.)

Today, I learned that I have thighs of glory.  This does not mean my thighs are skinny, because they are not and they never will be.  Skinny thighs give me the creeps.  A “gentleman” walking about downtown Ann Arbor exclaimed upon seeing my pasty, glorious thighs, that they were, in fact, “Sweet and juicy.”  My first reaction, as always, was to get incredibly angry.  I generally get hypermasculine, start swearing, and calling people dudes when I am approached in this manner.  As you might imagine, I do not like being approached by random men who want to comment on my specific body parts and their potential “uses.”  Instead, I simply laughed at these strange and utterly creepy proclamations of my thigh’s awesomeness.

I thought to myself, “Here I am, a slightly-less-fat-than-average person with well-developed leg muscles (mostly the calves), pasty skin, a partial sunburn on my forehead, jiggly thighs, and fairly low self-esteem.  Yet, this possibly drunk man has enjoyed the show (by show, I mean that I walked by in longer-than-apparently-average shorts).  Maybe, I will just laugh at this and be thankful that someone out there still understands that thighs are meant to be thick, strong, and fleshy.  Thighs should look like thighs.”

I would much rather have Beyonce’s thighs of glory (however pastier, less toned, and altogether less glorious), than skinny thighs (ahem, LeAnn Rhimes, Victoria Beckham, Kiera Knightly, almost every model, and Miley Cyrus).  I would rather look like Serena Williams than a 12-year-old.  Skinny thighs are for children.  Thick thighs are for women.

Beyonce looks amazing. Her thighs are made of glory, sunshine, dance skills, and squats.

Seriously, how great does Beyonce look?  This lady helped bring back the popularity of thicker thighs, and I am thankful.  The ladies who write this blog are fans of curves.  Curves are normal.  Beyonce is clearly above average in all ways, but I think we need to remember the glory of “sweet and juicy thighs.”

This picture is so intimidating and amazing. Serena Williams could jump over a skyscraper with those legs. She could crush anything. They are glorious.

Serena Williams could destroy us all with her thighs.  I feel pretty good about that.  She is strong and sexy; her presence in pop culture is good for women with curves.

I know that this post may seem a bit strange.  *After all, I did get inspiration from a drunken cat call.*  However, it is somewhat comforting that people are appreciating pale, fleshy thighs.  That’s all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amendment:

After reading some comments, I realize that this post needs clarification.  Thin thighs are not “unacceptable,” “horrible,” nor are they somehow inherently “bad.”  It is not bad to be a thin person.  No one is a villain simply having thin thighs.

What is bad and scary, then?

It is bad and scary to push a body to extremes.  It is bad to glorify thinness above all else.  It is bad to glorify unhealthy habits that push people into unhealthy weights.  Just as a person can be too fat, a person can be too thin.  Both are bad.  The thing, not a lot of people are striving to be fat.  A lot of people are spending their days and nights obsessing over being thin at any price.  A lot of people have blogs and tumblrs devoted to “thinspo” with all kinds of ways to get skinny.  There are too many little girls and women out there who hurt themselves to achieve a level of thin that is not healthy for them.

That said, making thin women the villain is wrong.

Thin women just so happen to be thin.  Many people want to be thin, and that’s okay.  But wanting to be thin, or wanting to have Beyonce’s thighs, at any cost… that’s scary.

Also, Beyonce is amazing.