Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Repentance and Forgiveness

I used to write things in this blog and I think I'm going to start again. Or I'm going to write this one post and not write in it again for months, if not years. And here we go...

I finally got around to reading Michael Dolan's piece I was a Misogynist Comedian. I'm not even going to pretend that I'm not late to this party, such as it is. But the gist of the article, in case you haven't read it or don't feel like reading it now, is that as a part of his act Dolan told some jokes that elicited the M-word in response from a female reviewer, then a similar response from a female friend. Dolan now sees the insensitivity of the material, and is "no longer willing to defend it."

Now that we're all caught up, and so that we stay the same page, I don't necessarily intend to comment on Dolan's specific change of heart, or even on misogyny in comedy or Western culture in general. I want to look even broader.

In my mind the article raises the question: I wonder what happens now? On the one hand, the obvious answer is "not much." The way Dolan tells it, his audience wasn't big enough to have made the kind of splash that Michael Richards did a few years ago, or that Daniel Tosh did last year. There will be no public uproar, or televised apology. However, I'm curious whether the reviewer has seen Dolan's piece, and if she has what does she think about it? Is she willing to forgive him his then-cavalier attitude toward women?

I'm curious because -- whether she would phrase it this way or not -- this is what she wanted (or at least should have) when she wrote her review. Her words affected change in the heart of a comic so that he is no longer comfortable telling the jokes that she found reprehensible.

One of the problems with our culture is that even after a person turns from his wrongful behavior there is too often a desire to see the offending party continue to pay.  We saw it in protests when Michael Vick was allowed to return to the NFL, even though he has gone on to actively oppose dogfighting. We are more interested in retribution than rehabilitation, and I don't understand that. He's one more person who's out of the dog fighting game, and if that isn't progress towards the goal of animal activist groups then what is?

I've heard people say, "There's a line that you shouldn't be forgiven for crossing." Truth be told, I've said it. But where's the line? And who decides? I don't expect that any answer will truly satisfy considering that -- to continue with the example of Vick -- the agreed upon system in place levied its ruling and he served it out, but petitioners continued to seek his ban from the NFL and even from consideration for the cover of Madden 12. So what's the end game?

We are too quick to judge each other and at the same time way too quick to say of ourselves, "but I'm a nice guy," or "I'm still a good person." But Dolan wouldn't have characterized himself as a misogynist. How many of us would stand up and say, "I try, but I know in reality that I'm not a good guy"?

The truth of the matter is that none of us is good. (Rom. 3:10-12) We all do wrong in the sight of a holy God, but it pleases him when we recognize that wrong, put it behind us and instead seek what is right. (Rom 3:23-26) Why can't we find that same delight?

People are fallible. We're going to continue to hurt each other, but rather than trying to assure the offended parties that we really are good people, I hope we practice turning from those damaging behaviors. And I really, really hope that Dolan's reviewer, Michael Vick's detractors, and humanity at large can come to find the joy in seeing our antagonists turn away from their wrongdoings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It looks like it was delicious once

This entry comes with required reading, so apologies for that. The good news, though, is that it's funny.

This comic has come to bear heavily on my life, as it has divided the people into two camps: Gabes and Tychos. I am a Tycho. Found food is garbage, and you will not convince me otherwise. For the longest time this argument -- whether a whole, seemingly untouched cake under a glass cover could be trusted -- had been theoretical. But fittingly enough over Thanksgiving weekend it burst into reality with a ferocity that could not have been anticipated.

I don't agree that Gabe's found cake is a treat to be enjoyed, but I understand arguments to this end. There is no explicit reason to believe that it has been tampered with in any way, but it begs so many unanswered questions! Where did it come from? Who baked it? Why did its previous owner abandon it? It's not like it's a puppy that can up and run away. My hesitation where found (but protected) cake is concerned is no doubt a product of my obsessive-compulsive nature. I will fully concede that point. But this weekend I witnessed terrors that would shock and appall you!

A friend of mine found a discarded bag of Doritos -- a favorite snack of both of ours -- hidden in a tea cart at a bar. Per our custom, she invoked the aforementioned comic. Ignoring the pleas of our companions to dispose of the bag, she dove in to the stale chips, leaving me aghast and my jaw on the floor. Sickening!

Our debate has been given new life. Where does food end and refuse begin? I staunchly believe that left-in-bar-furniture errs on the side of refuse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall is awesome

When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. Also, I found fall to be the least exciting season of the year. I had really bad seasonal allergies, which made breathing and talking difficult tasks. Plus there was school. I hated school.

Now that I'm grown and eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a barge, I'm all about fall. For starters, I live in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. Summer gets HOT. But in September, the daytime temperatures float around the mid 70's to low 80's, which is fine by me. My more recent infatuation, football, also returns. And for the third year in a row, the Cowboys opened their season with a win.

But the most robust addition to my life in the last third of the the year is the return of television. Specifically, new television. More specifically, new scripted television.

I've been known to complain that there's too much to watch. Right now I'm working through Medium on Netflix, and haven't even started on Mad Men. But in reality I know that that's like saying, "I have too many peaches to eat in my kitchen." There are much worse problems to have. And really, it's even better than that because unlike peaches, if you don't partake in good TV it doesn't get all gross and moldy.

Welcome back Richard Castle and Ted Mosby, Architect and James "Sawyer" Ford and Jack Donaghy. Give five hurrahs, give 12 hip-hips. Television is the best and the rest is all drips.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gerald Sensabaugh is my homeboy

Gerald Sensabaugh (I hate this term) tweeted that he was going to have a live chat on his website until 7:15 CDT. "Cool," I though. Maybe I'll pop in for that and see what's the happy haps. I got in there at 5:12 PDT (7:12 CDT), and apparently it was just #43 and me. Awesome on the one hand, really weird on the other.

I basically interviewed a player whose career I hadn't followed before March, and who I haven't actually seen play with his new teammates. Awkward! And while I do enjoy the football, I'm not nearly the expert that my brother is. But I couldn't just leave the chat, so here is what happened:

GS: Hey welcome to live chat
MT: Thanks. What's good?
GS: I only have a short time due to meetings
MT: No worries.
MT: How's training camp so far?
GS: its going awesome i love the fans and we're looking pretty good
MT: Excellent
MT: I'm following some of the twitters of the guys at DC.com
MT: They're giving the secondary high praise.
GS: that's good we are playing some good football the defense is looking good
GS: the offense looks good also its some great competition out there
MT: That's great.
MT: Any inside scoop on who might start at RCB?
GS: i have no clue we have to good young corners battling it out. It will be interesting. Both will play large roles on defense no matter who starts.
MT: Yeah.. it sounds like a stiff competition.
MT: But that's a great problem to have.
GS: yeah well thats my time i have to go to meetings i will chat a little later look for my tweet to let you know the tim
MT: Absolutely
MT: Good chatting

Gerald Sensabaugh left the chat.

So there it is. Seems like a nice enough guy, and I hope the coaches are right in that he can cover and hit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mike T : Romance :: Jackie Collins : Science

It seems like every day I'm learning new ways in which I'm weird. If asked last week, I would not have said that dating has become passé, but apparently NPR is more clued in to what's happening with young people than I am.

I had assumed that the infrequency of the people around me dating was a product of living in LA, where everyone is crazy career-focused and plastic surgery has made the standard of beauty attainable(-ish) much longer. So it makes sense that in a culture with that mindset, fornication would burgeon. And with the increased costs of entertainments, "why buy the cow when you can get the sex for free?" (Mallrats)

I don't do it a lot, but I think dating can be fun. It gives me a reason to put myself through a 30-point inspection, and unless my judgement proves to be way off, it means a couple of hours in good company.
The idea used to be you are going to date someone that is going to lead to something sexual happening," [sociology professor Kathleen] Bogle says. "In the hookup era, something sexual happens, even though it may be less than sexual intercourse, that may or may not ever lead to dating. (Wilson)
I don't know Bogle's vocabulary, but she might describe me as an "old soul". Someone my age or a little younger might go with "sex camel". I'd probably like to get married some day, but I don't subscribe to the popular notion that there should be a 3 at the front of my age before I do so. When I have the appropriate elements -- that is, a suitable partner and the means to support ourselves -- that will be the correct time. That being my motivation, science bolsters my adherence to the ebbing convention.

I look at courtship as an empirical process. Romantic, I know. But seriously, let's say that over the course of a year I meet Ms. X and Ms. Y. We take the statement "<Insert inamorata> and Mike are a not a perfect match" and seek an indirect proof. Because I like things abecedarian, let's start with Ms. X. We'll say that I meet her early in the year, before the end of the NFL's post-season, but after I've stocked my bookshelf with the Star Wars novels that I received for Christmas. During this time I might learn that she's a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, additionally that she hates all things science fiction. In this scenario our statement is proven true, which is not what we want, but at least it's information.

Some months later, I meet Ms. Y. Maybe we both reach for the last copy of The Muppet Show - Season Three at Best Buy. We get to talking, exchange numbers, date for a while, and I learn that she also enjoys French Impressionism, and teaches Krav Maga. If these trends continue on a long enough timeline, we can then reasonably conclude that the statement "Ms. Y and Mike are not a perfect match" is false, in turn proving that the statement "Ms. Y and Mike are a perfect match" is probably true, if not absolutely.

Had my fictive counterpart merely hooked up with these girls, he(/I?) would have missed out on a lot of useful information. Ms. X might have seemed cooler on the surface than she turned out to be, which could have led to attempts to reconnect. Or Ms. Y might never have doled out the free Krav Maga lessons, which would be tremendously un-awesome. I will fully concede that hook ups can be fun. But so can pinball, and I don't have to be naked to do that. Also, no girl who I don't particularly like has called me incessantly because I'm good at arcade games.

I'm certain that none of the girls I've dated in the past will be the future Mrs. Mike T. That's information I didn't have when I was 15, so I've narrowed the pool of prospects by that many. Incidentally, another interesting indirect proof to investigate is "Mike's propensity to academize everything is not why he doesn't date more." Let me know what you find out.

Works Cited

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm not 17 anymore

One day the dichotomy of my lifestyle is going to catch up with me, and it won't be pretty. The delicate balance of being a health and fitness enthusiast and an awesome twenty-something bachelor about town is precarious. I would drop a chemistry-derived simile right here, but laboratory science outside my bailiwick. Just think violent chemical reactions.

I started the weekend at a whiskey bar to celebrate a friend's birthday. I'm a bourbon man, so it was a setting that made me pretty happy. I even made a new friend; a 10-year old named Henry McKenna.  Fast-forward to the end of the night.  It's 2:10, I'm downtown, and I need to drop friends off before I can go home and crash.  When I finally wind up getting into bed, it's just after 3 and what's the last thing I do before my head hits my pillow?  I set my alarm for 7:45.  Barely more than four and a half hours later.

If someone else was telling me this story, I would stop them at this point and say, "Seriously?  What part of that sounded like a good idea?"  But it gets better.

I like to think of myself as being a rational person.  Despite that claim, however, I usually take a class at my gym on Saturday mornings.  And frankly, I think the insanity of it is less my fault and more that of the person who set the scheduled.  But then on top of that, the girl who leads the class is getting married in October, so basically it's Bridal Bootcamp for the next 5 months.

I'm happy to report that I survived, if only by the skin of my teeth.  And I can now say definitively that vigorous exercise on 4 hours of sleep with whatever remains of a couple of glasses of whiskey running through one's veins is not the best idea.  I guess it's my own fault for giving it this much thought, but clearly I'm inching my way to being Roger Murtaugh.  I am 100% not looking forward to getting too old for this... stuff.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Notes on polite society

The cornerstones of polite society are not Styx albums. Many people seem unaware that they are, in fact, metaphors. And that what I said is a pun.

Over the course of the two years that I've lived in my apartment I've learned a couple of things about one of my neighbors. She's single and she really, really likes having sex. This isn't information that I sought, but instead that I surmised after having the data imposed on my naturally analytical mind.

Let me set up the scenario and the evidence. I sleep with my bedroom window cracked, and every once in a while over the course of a night I'll hear... remember those Herbal Essences commercials from a few years ago? It's like that, but times ten. Sooo it's pretty clear that the girl likes having it off. And the sporadicity (I hope that's a word) of these events suggests that the source of her um... elation is neither a long-term boyfriend, nor anything tucked away in her bedside table. There you have it. I'm like Batman.

Where her habit bears on polite society is the hour. I like to sleep at night. As I understand it, it's not an uncommon policy. As I said earlier, I keep my window ajar, but so does my neighbor. I know this because I can hear her as well as if she were in the same room, and this wakes me up. No one should be roused* at 4:30 on a Thursday morning by sex in which they are not directly involved. And even then, there are only a few, very specific circumstances that make it acceptable, either in principle or by law.

I've been left with little recourse to this, as I see it as an act of aggression. By the power vested in me by teh internets and the blogosphere, I am declaring a new rule. If you're doing something between the hours of 10pm and 1am on a school night that keeps you from copulating, you've missed out. Maybe you can try again in the morning, but your opportunity for the night has passed. And for Pete's sake, close your windows. There are some things people just don't want to hear.

In other news, why did Gwyneth Paltrow look like she'd been wading in olive oil back stage on the Tonight Show last night?

*Get it? It's another pun