Parental Discretion is Advised

...is usually a phrase I see being displayed before episodes of CSI or ER where large amounts of blood and gore are about to follow. As I tuned into The Simpsons tonight, it was preceded by a new warning message: This episode contains discussions of same-sex marriage. Parential discretion is advised. I guess I can understand warning parrents before a show where people are getting murdered or coughing up a lung and dying, but before the Simpsons?

I think this goes as a prime example of how our current politicians and administration is portraying the gay rights movement. Recent Bush appointee, Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education, told PBS not to air an episode of the show Postcards from Buster, featuring a rabbit who travels the world visiting a diversity of places and people. One episode in particular, however, had Buster visiting a home where the parents were both women, and thus, was never aired. I'm sure Ms. Spellings recieved a gold medal from Bush for that one. Meanwhile, right-wing groups are trying to paint Spongebob squarepants as a gay who can't control his urgest to be with his buddy Patrick and the teletubbies as raging homosexuals who need to be banned from television.

So really it comes as no surprise that when these individuals can't get an episode completely off the air, they go for the next best thing... scare the parrents into not allowing their kids to watch it. At the same time the Simpsons was airing, the show Desperate Housewives was on. Might as well let kids watch that show though... at least everyone is straight and it can't give kids ideas like maybe people unlike themselves deserve rights too. Not to say that amazing progress hasn't been made toward this movement in the past few years, but given the current administration and 'family-values' groups, looks like the fight is going to continue to be difficult.

Kill 'Em All

A few weeks ago I wrote about Al-Quida training missions and how the actions our military was taking is just fueling hate towards Americans. The elections in Iraq might not have been perfect... 44 civilians were murdered, the ballot was huge and confusing, in some Sunni neighborhoods only 2% of the population actually got out to vote... but overall it looked like things might for the first time be taking a step in the right direction. Then Tuesday night our military held a forum in Sothern California to discuss the war on terror. Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corp was quoted by the Associated Press as making the following statement:

"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling. You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Its pretty obvious how fired up Americans get everytime a recording of Osama Bin Laden is shown on Fox News talking about killing Americans and ruining our lives. And once again, the tables have turned. Although this story hasn't and probably won't get much attention by the American media, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if it is currently one of the top stories on Al-Jezeera or other Middle-Eastern television stations. The juxtaposition of opinions is absolutley mind-boggling. On the one hand, you have our president delivering the State of the Union address proclaiming that he's spreading liberty and Democracy to the Middle East, and then on the other hand you have a military lieutenant bragging about how he gets his high by blowing away Arabs. So how many new terrorists have been recruited with this new recruiting video? I honestly can't say. But to all those who wonder why we're having such a hard time fighting this war... maybe its time to examine how we're fighting this war.

The Varsity

Located in Downtown Atlanta, GA only a few blocks from the area's largest interstate highway, is the epitome of American culture and everything in this country that could really benefit from change. Staffed mostly by lower to middle class African Americans trying to earn enough money to attend Universities like Georgia Tech and University of Georgia, The Varsity is frequented by middle to upper class white families, and they seem to like it that way. Every Sunday good Christian families drive their gas-guzzler Expeditions and Suburbans with W'04 bumber stickers downtown to attend the "after church rush."

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As you enter The Varsity you become witness to one of the largest counters in fast food history. Standing in line you hear the employees yelling "Whata ya have?" to the customers and punching orders into the register. The food is what many people, from where I come from, would call disgusting. I personally find the food to be a cross between White Castle and McDonalds, buts its tolerable at the least. They don't have very high expectations, however. Even the picture of the Chile Dog with Mustard they print in the brochure looks like what i would get from Damitre the Hot Dog Vendor on campus, only I gaurantee Damitre's dogs are far better.

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The Varsity is often so crowded that its difficult to find a place to sit. Families proudly sit around enjoying their greasy double hamburgers, french fries, onion rings and milk shakes made with neither milk nor ice cream. On the way out you have to remember to get your paper Varsity hat or buy some Varsity gear to remember your trip. And if you can't make it to the restaurant, the Varsity will cater your special event! I know I definately can't wait until the next wedding I go to where I get to eat greasy hamburgers and chile dogs.

Maybe the most interesting part of the Varsity experience is the de facto segregation that still exists... but then again this is the heart of the Conferacy so I guess it doesn't surprise me too much. Maybe its the fact that people are in love with such unhealthy, bad food... but we are the fattest country in the world so I guess that doesn't surprise me too much either. Maybe its the that going to the restaurant after church is a tradition of so many southern Christians... but I don't understand a lot of fundamental Christianity, so I guess that doesn't surpise me too much either. I guess its just the utter reality shock that such a place not only exists but flourishes in today's day and age. This one little fast food joint really can give us a nice interpretation of what our country really represents.