I had a job interview today. It was for a job that I applied for two months and-a-half months ago. Since then, I have moved back to my hometown due to a lack of funds and gotten a job as a freelance journalist. I had to drive for over an hour just to get to the interview and pay a $5 toll to get back. Even if I got this job, the commute would not only take hours out of every day, but cost me as much as I make in a couple hours on the job. So why did I give the interview? I’m still not sure. I guess I just wanted the job. It’s nothing special—a part-time food service job—but I worked for the same company last year and enjoyed it. It was, in fact, the first job I ever had where I would wish people a nice day and actually mean it. What this meant for the interview was that it was one of those rare interviews in which I did not have to lie about myself or my reasons for wanting the position. That’s got to be worth something.
It would, of course, be only a temporary position. As I’ve made clear before, I’m leaving for grad school at the end of May, and I really don’t have time to get too deeply invested in anything before then. It would be nice to have something to leave behind. I’ve accepted that I’ll rack up thousands of dollars’ worth of debt at Columbia, but could I please feel like I’m going there of my own volition instead of running from something? I’ll take a break from the self-pitying for the time being. I’m not a big fan of those “personal blogs” in which the author recounts every detail of their weekend as if anyone except their friends and maybe family gives a shit. Let’s talk about something else like, oh I don’t know, Howard Stern.
I’m not a big fan of Howard’s sense of humor. Some people find stuff like his Fartman act entertaining. Whatever. I’m not judging. I just think he deserves more credit for his thoughtfulness. Seriously, have you ever listened to him on politics and religion? He’s pretty fucking smart. Some listeners chide him for straying into “serious” stuff, but I don’t get what their problem is. I think they just don’t like being forced to confront their prejudices. I’ve never understood people who complain about comedians getting political. Politics can be funny. As Jon Stewart has proven, sometimes you don’t even need a joke. Just pointing and saying “That happened” is enough to get me laughing at a lot of current events. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to talk about politics in any capacity without starting an argument of some kind. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to be neutral. People will accuse you of having an agenda, even if, in Howard’s case, that agenda seems to amount to just saying what’s on his mind.
What is most remarkable about this defensiveness is that it always comes from one side of the aisle. I’m sorry, but that’s just fact. Religious people call to tell Howard that they don’t like his bashing of religion, and Howard laughs them off. The question I get from believers that drives me up the wall is, “What if you’re wrong?” Yeah, and what if Satanism is the one true faith and being a good person is what will earn you an eternity of torment? That question isn’t really a question. A good question has multiple valid answers. This one has only one. Why are so many people of faith so restless in their need to proselytize? I believe what I believe as strongly as they do, yet I don’t start conversations with total strangers about it. It’s bigotry, no matter how you slice it, and in the interest of appeasing my religious friends, I should say that I know you’re not all like that, but could you please be a little bit more vocal in telling that to the Pat Robertsons and Rick Perrys of the world? You don’t have to be polite when talking to those morons. They’re assholes, even if they pretend to just be trying to save everyone. I’ll reject Jesus as my chosen Lord and Savior, I’ll lead a life of sin and debauchery, and I’ll go to Hell. Deal?
“Yes, Robot King,” some bozo is undoubtedly saying. “But it’s the job of Christians to try to save your soul.” My soul ain’t worth saving, hypothetical dumbass. I’m an asshole, ultra-liberal, and a cocksucker. Do you really think embracing Jesus would solve all my problems? If you are going to be Christian and a bigot, could you at least find a more productive outlet than homophobia? The battle’s already lost, people. We’re here, we’re queer, and most people are already so used to it that even Pride Parades are starting to get boring.
I’m trying to write a conclusion, but my thoughts are all getting away from me. So let me just say that it’s easy, when surrounded by people who dress their prejudices up as “advice”, to mistake that for constructive criticism. Constructive criticism should be, well, constructive. Saying “Don’t talk about that because I don’t like it” is about as far from constructive as it is possible to be. I was an improv performer back in high school, and the mantra that was drilled into our heads was, “Yes. And?” Negating what someone else said is not a discussion, it’s bullying. And I think we all know where I stand on that. So let’s make an effort to understand whose freedoms are really at stake here. They aren’t the rights of Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or any of those other douchebags whose sole purpose on Earth is to make life difficult for those who don’t believe as they do. The people whose rights are at stake are the ones who have to listen to loaded statements like, “Sure, you can refuse to believe what I’m saying, but life will be so much easier if you just accept it.” My life isn’t easy and never was. I’m not after ease and comfort. I want to know that someone else is benefiting from my presence on this planet. And as much as it pains me to say it, they decide that, not me.