Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Sunday, May 27, 2018

On staying sober

Dear Son,

The worst thing about being a wasteoid is you wake up one day realizing you could have been a better person.  For me this has happened dozens of times, and the last time it happened was well after I got sober.  It was also the worst time.  I picked up a paper and found out, to my dismay, that people who drink a lot before 25 have handicapped themselves, and probably permanently.  I'll leave you to guess when I did most of my drinking.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Confession of an average Joe

Dear Hannah,

The average man has no idea what's going on in this country, and I began to realize this during our special prosecutions.  I know this because I'm an average man.  Every year, it seems -- or maybe two or three times a year -- some "scandal" happens, a horde of cameramen gather around some unfortunate big-wig, a mountain of evidence is presented against him, and then most of the time he walks away free.  Most of the time I'm not aware exactly what the person's job is, or how exactly he failed, or who exactly he reports to, or what laws he has violated.  The effort required to understand all of this without a serious course in civics, one well beyond the comprehension of the average high-schooler, is herculean; and the tangled web of American politics becomes so labyrinthine that the process becomes inscrutable, and the average man has no choice but to resign the fate of his country to forces he has no chance of understanding.  If you're watching various news sources, both sides in any prosecution will oftentimes claim a victory.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Animal aliens in the Kingdom of Man

Dear Hannah,

One giant thing that separates us from the animals is the fact that we separated ourselves from the animals.  Or rather we put ourselves above them.  Some of us call it "the image of God" and others of us call it "evolution;" but somewhere in the unsearchable wastes of time we started talking about what makes us us, and the fact that we were talking about it was what made us.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A note on the Boy Scouts becoming The Scouts

Dear Son,

Real life story: my brother in law says when he was in Boy Scouts, one kid kicked another kid in the butt, and the kid fell off a small cliff.  Another kid waited until everyone was around a campfire and then threw an aerosol can into it.  This is what boys do and I approve of it.  There is absolutely no reason why little boys should be forced to endure the soul-crushing backstabbery that little girls will inevitably put them through. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

You feel pretty? A counterpoint.

Dear Hannah,

Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty is the latest film in a long series of songs, books, movies and sermons with a single and regrettable purpose: to tell women they're perfect.  Of course we know women aren't perfect and the majority of them aren't even pretty; and that flattery exists not for the benefit of the hearer but the benefit of the speaker.  And there's a lot of money to be made by speaking it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some unprofessional diagnoses

Dear Son,

Sometime in my early to mid thirties I began labeling people autistic, and the reason I did it is because the autistic consistently fail at announcing themselves.  They don't go around with a t-shirt that says ON THE SPECTRUM or a business card that says GO EASY.  You most often find out the hard way after picking on them for a year or so, only to realize, slowly but surely, that you have been picking on the handicapped.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The purge

Dear Hannah,

This has been an ominous month for the right-wing.  Until now we had lived with the vestiges of "free speech" and believed, erroneously, that the internet would allow truth to be spread.  The truth about said truth is that people were in charge of the internet; and that this chaos of ideas gave birth to new powers of censorship; and that as men were capable of giving us speech they were also capable of making us mute.  We had escaped the hounds of the New York Times only to run into the nets of Mark Zuckerberg.  Before we were worried we could only hear "all the news that's fit to print."  Now we wonder whether our neighbors can see what we post.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The family at the end of the world

Dear Hannah,

I was raised to believe it was the end of the world.  We weren't told exactly how it was going to end but we knew it would be ugly; and that if the whole world wasn't bathed in fire immediately it would end with a lot of doors getting kicked down.  If it wasn't the Russians or the Chinese it would be a one-world government, with all-encompassing authority, telling us what to do and think and beheading us when we didn't.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Before there was Texas

Dear Hannah,

They say that before there was Texas as we know it today there was a lush jungle.  The Ice Age had made most of the planet a wasteland but around the equator things were most livable; and some of our ancestors, before there were Indians, had apparently decided to move there.  These people who weren't quite people lived with and against the mammoth and the great American elephant and the ground sloth and made flint spears and huddled in tribes and lived to about 20.  They left little besides charred wood and primitive tools and old bones and stone statues.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

On getting older and becoming "a racist"

Dear Son,

One thing I'm looking forward to as I get older is becoming more "racist."  I consider it one of the finer joys of aging.  Children are averse to these kinds of things because they have no idea, for instance, that handing a kid named Terrell $150 of your hard earned money for CD's, even though he has a bullet scar on his leg and an affinity for bad hash, might potentially be a bad investment (note: I have personally done this).  You have to learn these things the hard way; and putting two-and-two together over a lifetime has a tendency to make you generalize about people; and if you're intelligent, most of the time you will be right.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The wages of sin

Dear Son,

The central theme of the Abrahamic religions is that the whole world went wrong because you're a turd.  All the viruses, earthquakes, stillborn children, car accidents, cancers and frumpy grumpy middle-aged women happened because a long time ago someone decided to not "do the right thing," his kid decided to not do the right thing, and we have decided to not do the right thing ever since*. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Talking about dead people

Dear Son,

The rule against speaking ill of the dead is overrated.  Like all rules it was intended to serve a purpose; and I think those purposes are 1) that if you believe in ghosts they could very well be watching you, and 2) if they have a living family the family might hate you.  For those of us concerned about #2, it's probably better to speak selectively and quietly, and for those of us concerned about #1, it's a wonder they don't live better lives in general.  If grandma and Jesus are watching you from the heavenly bleachers it's done little for humanity in general; and if the whole of our dead ancestry really is spying on us, the chance that most of us are getting the cold shoulder upon entrance to the heavenly gates is likely.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Thinking of the children

Dear Hannah,

In the history of protests there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.  It's as if the children threatened to not eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the church, refused to go to mass.  You can refuse any number of things but you can't refuse in the funnest way possible; and if you refuse your food the response of your "oppressors" should be then don't eat your food.  It's your life; and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey I say best of luck to you; and if you really want to make an impression you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.  That way we know you really mean it.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Mormon Jesus

Dear Hannah,

Your brother is scheduled to arrive on 4/20, a day notorious for international pot-smoking and Hitler worship.  Neither of these things particularly appeals to me at this stage of my life, but a baby has to be born some time, and I thank God babies are rarely born on time.  We could have a total change of affairs and have him born earlier; and if we luck out, there's a chance we'll get him April 6th -- too early, in my opinion, but the ostensible birthday of Mormon Jesus, which in every sense seems to be an improvement.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The case for banning Facebook

Dear Son,

Because Origen cut off his gonads I consider him a failure.  St. John lists three sins of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and of these three Origen picked the most accessible, and of the most accessible he picked only part of it.  He felt it was easier to get rid of an aspect of himself than to master it; and this willingness to part with the balls God gave him supposedly made him more Godly -- until the pride of life led him to heresy.  If it isn't one thing it's another.  If you want to get the job done "right" suicide is always the best the answer.  The only way to enjoy excommunication is to have all your best parts intact.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these

Dear Hannah,

The best targets for swindlers are the youthful and the elderly; and the elderly prove it because they're the best at fooling themselves.  We know this because we asked a bunch of hundred year-olds how they got to be a hundred and got a hundred different answers.  One woman said it was garlic.  Another one said it was wine.  Others said not drinking wine and others said walks and none of them said medicine; and what we concluded is that a hundred year-old survives to a hundred by dumb luck.  There is no real science to survival and our survivors have proved it.  They were all shooting blind and got bullseyes; and the people who gave us good answers are all buried.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The new pacifism

Dear Hannah,

I can find something to admire in almost anybody "great."  Almost anybody.  Josef Stalin, Charles Manson, Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler all had something admirable in each of them; even if Josef Stalin was only beautiful when he was young, and Charles Manson was so magnetic he could get you to kill innocent people.  In order to get a lot of people to do something obviously and objectively terrible you have to have talent and some sort of charisma; and if you can get an entire nation to try anything as stupid as communism then God bless you -- you're special.  I'll want to take that aspect of you and pin it on myself; to be as eloquent, charming, brilliant, organized, relentless, visionary -- in a word, superior, in all these aspects, as you are*.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN

Do not look below a woman's neck
Do not tell a woman she's attractive
Do not kiss a woman without asking "May I French kiss you?"
(Do not call it French kissing because of stereotypes)
Do not have sex with a woman unless she signs a voidable contract every time you're undressing
Do not offer women money for sex
But women should be allowed to trade sex for money
Do not wink at women you do not know unless you have been winked at
And stop winking immediately when she stops winking
The time for winking has passed

Monday, January 8, 2018

America's Funniest People

Dear Son,

Sometime in the early 90's somebody made a show called America's Funniest People.  The premise was simple.  After the wild success of America's Funniest Home Videos, a show where people are repeatedly degraded by the forces of gravity and failed intentions, someone decided to pitch a novel idea: why not have the average American be funny on purpose?  The results could not have been more devastating.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thoughts on riding the bus

Dear Son,

I'm not saying every person who rides the bus is a villain, but at least 80% of all villains ride the bus.  Live or work by a bus station anywhere near the city of Seattle and you'll see that this hub of devilry is responsible for delivering the vagabond, the hooker, the lunatic and the junkie to a single location; and anywhere you see the green and yellow Trojan Horses gathering you'll probably see a corollary gathering of the police.  The police are there because something horrible has happened, and is about to happen, and is going to continue to happen.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Salvaging democracy

Dear Hannah,

Democracy is just like anything else that's good in life, and that means it has to be moderated.  To this a lot of Americans respond that we don't live in a democracy, we live in a democratic-republic, and I think saying anything this obvious and unhelpful should disqualify them for the vote.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to lose the fight for your existence

Dear Hannah,

Breitbart news is absolutely infallible about one thing, and that thing is delivering the opinion of Breitbart news.  About the actual facts they're sometimes dubious; but the overarching meaning behind the presentation of those facts, and the gist of what they're trying to get at, are so transparent that even a twelve-year-old could spot them.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hell is also for do-gooders

Dear Son,

Those of us who are having a good time and want to continue having a good time all have a common enemy, and that is the person who wants us to have a bad time.  These people won't say it outright, of course; but to them the idea of you having a good time goes against everything they believe to be humane.  Not in a world where people go hungry, or where people get shot by psychopaths at a concert, or where little boys who think they are girls are called boys; or where the citizens of Flint ruined their water supply and nobody has bothered to fix it; or where Michael Eric Dyson was called the N-word as a baby; or where women as a whole don't earn the same as men as a whole, or where some coworkers grab other coworkers' backsides, or where some people make it on to magazine covers and all the fat women are jealous.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Introducing Carl Lentz

Dear Son,

Carl Lentz is the latest punching-bag pastor offered to the American public by our leftist media, not because he's a game changer, but because he doesn't outrightly condemn abortion, Justin Bieber follows him, and most importantly he dresses like an idiot.  What are his teachings on sanctification, or in other words how a real Christian behaves?  Does he believe the Second Coming is around the corner and we should be ready for it?  Does he think that the Holy Spirit is speaking through him, or are his sermons just rehashes of two-thousand-year-old letters? And beyond this what do the people of Hillsong Church believe?  We'll never know, because nobody has bothered to find out.  Liberals asked the obligatory question on gay marriage* and made fun of his rapist glasses and gave the guy the psychological equivalent of a wedgie.  The American public is none the more informed because they read the paper to be entertained -- to occupy their two-minute attention spans laughing at a man who is not only probably better than them, but doing what none of them are attempting for anybody else: actively trying to save them from damnation.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Colin Kaepernick

Dear Son,

Colin Kaepernick's election as Gentleman Quarterly's Citizen of the Year brings up a number of questions.  What exactly it is that makes a good citizen is first and foremost among these, because Kaepernick has spent a good amount of his time saying the average American citizen is the worst.  It leads us to wonder what exactly a good citizen champions if it's not the citizens themselves; and if it's the reformation of the citizens, then maybe so be it, and if it's only a small and extremely fractious minority of the citizens, then wouldn't this make him a traitor?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watching the enemy within

Dear son,

We've heard absolute power corrupts absolutely so many times that we're sick of hearing it; and like all the other truths we've heard so much that we ignore them, Republicans are terrible at applying it.  They believe that somewhere or some time on this planet a man held absolute power and because he was all-powerful he was all-rotten; and that when we find a man who has absolute power again we'll find another one like him -- a ruthless emperor, or maybe a Machiavellian pope.  In fact we don't need to look so hard, and what we find is that if absolute power corrupts absolutely, moderate degrees of power are capable of corrupting moderately.  The fact that we're now uncovering a massive conspiracy of perverts and rapists in Hollywood is proof that unlike what Republicans believed, social and economic power are nearly as dangerous to women as any sultanate.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How to hire like a psychopath

Dear Hannah,

Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith he was only a man, and because he was a man he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (which it doesn't).  The second was that businessmen act like homo economicus (when they don't).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A short review of Plantinga's "Knowledge and Christian Belief"

Dear Hannah,

When all is said and done the job of the intellectual is to challenge our perception of reality.  Alvin Plantinga has done this in his new book Knowledge and Christian Belief, not by challenging non-believers to consider the act of believing, but by challenging you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  What exactly is on the cover of this revolutionary book?  An orange square inside an orange square.  How exactly does it read?  Like you are looking at pictures of orange squares.  The title is bland and unsexy as a convent.  The arguments are precise and sterile as a surgeon's knife.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, martyr pig

Dear Son,

The mountains of sexual harassment allegations piling against Harvey Weinstein have led me to be skeptical about the concept of piggish behavior.  There are men who women enjoy fondling them and men women don't and the behavior of these opposite kinds of men, ninety percent of the time, is almost exactly the same.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A note on Canada's Holocaust memorial

Dear Hannah,

The most remarkable thing about the controversy over Canada's Holocaust memorial is that a Holocaust memorial is being built in Canada.  It is almost as remarkable as if Germany had begun building memorials to America's extermination of the Indians, or the Italians had begun building memorials to the Japanese enslaving of Koreans.  There is of course a controversy over the fact that the memorial failed to mention the Jews, but this (I think) is missing the point.  Canada didn't make the Jews wear little badges and then throw them into death camps.  Canada didn't gas Jews after blaming them for Communism or make their skin into lampshades.  The Jewish Virtual Library states that out of the 31+ million people living in Canada the Jews represent little more than a percent.  Yet the country that did not kill the Jews and is not comprised of Jews is building multi-million dollar monuments to Jews who then complain about the monuments.

Friday, September 22, 2017

RIP Ken Ham

Dear Hannah,

Ken Ham isn't dead at the moment I'm writing this, but he can't last for too much longer, and for all practical purposes of his ministry he has been dead for nearly a decade.  Mr. Ham may be rightly said to be the center figure of the movement, found in Baptist churches and other bastions of quackery all across the United States, insisting that the book of Genesis is literally true, and that the entirety of Christianity may be staked upon the entirety of this most indefensible book.  His non-profit, Answers In Genesis, currently hosts a mega-million dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky, and may be said to be gaining momentum at a time when the culture wars may safely be said to have been lost by him and everyone else who believes strongly in Noah's Ark, that sharing Bible verses on Facebook is an effective method of evangelism, and that gay people are responsible for America's natural disasters.  Their facilities are growing but the country to them is lost.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The meaning of life

Dear Son,

I'm no expert on the meaning of life, but if I had to venture a guess, I would start with finding a woman you like and repeatedly impregnating her.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

God's new Black Lives Matter book

Dear Hannah,

Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop, the latest manifesto of black American activists, has been approved by the Holy Spirit --which is why it remains suspect.  Two thousand years have passed since the last books were approved by The Almighty, and since then we've had a lot of pretenders.  This latest addition to the Bible comes to us from St. Martin's Press (which is proof of its divinity), has conveniently bypassed all our ecumenical councils, and is spiritually confirmed in the preface by none other than Dyson himself: a gay-affirming Black-Lives-Mattering NWA-listening Baptist minister.  He writes,
God stood in my way when I tried to write anything, and everything, except what I offer you now. This is written to you, my friends, because I feel led by the Spirit to preach to you.
Against such confidence there can be no argument*.  Except...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Selling America out: our problem with businessmen

Dear Hannah,

The history of the body positivity movement can be boiled down to this: there weren't many fat people and then there were lots of them, and when the people with lots of money realized the people with lots of fat could make them even more money they hired Meghan Trainor to sing about the greatness of fatness.  She hit the jackpot and other people wanted to hit the jackpot, and now every clothing company is putting landmonsters into their magazines*.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Why Americans make terrible mothers

Dear Hannah,

Someone writing for The New York Times loves being a mother and that's why their readers hate her.  In what's got to be the most robust, earthy, energetic essay they've recently published, titled Motherhood Isn't Sacrifice, It's SelfishnessKaren Rinaldi, a fertile, competent, joyful woman explains how having children isn't the worst thing to ever happen to a lady, which caused a host of inferior women to go bananas.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A theory of statue building

Dear Hannah,

Someone threw buckets of red paint all over a statue of Christopher Columbus and made me question the value of great-great-grandchildren.  The truth of the matter is that we love our children and their children; but when it comes to great-grandchildren we'll probably be too tired to fawn over them, and by the great-great we'll probably be dead.  If we're alive, at best they'll look at us as toothless, shaking horrors; and if we're dead, the likelihood of anyone talking about us is going to be small unless we've made the family rich or killed an army of the Hun single-handed.  To be a great great-great grandpa you have to be George Washington.  Anything less and you'll end up like his kids or his parents: sucked into the void of non-history and almost completely forgotten.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

In defense of objectification

Dear Son,

It's needless to say that women are a surprise, and that beyond this horny women are the most enjoyable surprise of all.  A quick glance through the erotic literature section in your handy internet bookstore will yield the fact -- not a theory, but a fact -- that you, as a man, had no idea what they were dreaming about when you were dreaming about them.  This can be proved not only by the extensiveness of the "shapeshifter romance" genre, about men who turn into animals and animals turn into men, but by the advertisement for Bearly in Control, an erotic novel by  the inimitable Milly Taiden.  It runs as follows:
For vet and animal whisperer Charli Avers, talking to bears is all in a day’s work. But when she finds a man—a very sexy, very alpha man—where a bear ought to be, the wild comes close to home. Charli is drawn to this mysterious stranger. She wants to help him piece together the past he can’t remember—even if that means shedding her human misgivings and embracing her more carnal desires. 
After shifting from bear to man, Barry believes he’s finally found his mate. Now he just needs to find himself. He doesn’t know much about the animal within him, but his human heart aches for Charli. She ignites his instincts to protect her from all danger—including their electric attraction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Portrait of a Trump abandoner

Dear Hannah,

The Republican primaries are the last hope of American civilization and the exact opposite of American Idol.  Every season of American Idol we started out with a lot of weirdos and we ended up with a winner.  In the Republican primaries we start out with a lot of winners and we wind up with a weirdo.  As such I voted for Trump because my wife made me do it*.  It isn't a glorious reason but it's true, and now that I've done it I'm glad that I did it.  Both of us were against him and then when he wasn't Hillary we were for him.  I'm still for him, except now I actually like him.  This is the joy of having low expectations.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sniffing out the sluts

Dear Hannah,

The existence of noses has plagued thinkers for centuries.  This troublesome appendage, supposedly fixed on the fronts of our faces, is so slippery in its features and so varying in its powers that Plato himself couldn't be found in any of his writings to have admitted its existence.  Is it hooked or is it straight?  Is it pointy or is it flat?  Is it brown or pink or freckled or black?  Is it hairy when you're old or hairless when you're young?  The Realm of Forms was ransacked and "noses" remained elusive.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rebels and pretenders

Dear Hannah,

The hippies are nearly always good for a laugh unless you have to deal with one, and then they are downright insufferable.  Most people who call themselves hippies are actually just for natural living and easy vibes; but in reality a hippie is a person who rebels against modernity; and beyond this it is a person who rebels against civilization.  They are against factories because they believe we came out of the grime and against soap because grime comes out of us.  I have no idea how this makes them natural but it's what they believe, and with this in mind it's a miracle any of them wipe themselves.