New Chrisism

Is it a bad sign that I’m chilling before a phone interview and decide five minutes before the call that I should find my headset, make sure it’s charged and, “oh, hey…why don’t I work on that draft from last week while I wait?”

Knowing that I’ll totally keep typing during the conversation.

Hoo, Boy.

Is that literally phoning it in or figurative since they’re calling me?

The thing that has been tickling my fingertips is the Chrisism I coined last week: Psychophant

Obviously, a portmanteau of psychotic and sycophant.

It was my response to reading the resignation letter from that nitwit Scott Pruitt. If you haven’t had the surreal displeasure, take a look.

My second thought was how BreitBarb is doing on her Trump administration bingo card…she must be getting close to a blackout card by now!

Ok, did you read it?

I’m really not sure I should be writing about resignation letters while I wait for a phone call about a potential job.

But, here I am…

Side note: the call just began

I really don’t have much to say about this resignation letter. It’s just so obsequious! Seriously, you’re quitting. Why do you care about your employer’s feelings?

You’re quitting because your family has been – allegedly – unfairly attacked. Did your employer defend you or try to correct the situation?


As I recall, he’s more helpful in an inciting rage kind of way.

Of course, this tends to bother most of his employees recently in their attempts to dine peacefully at nice farm to table or Mexican restaurants.

I literally cannot bear the ironic idiocy of a Trumpster Fire employee trying to eat in a Mexican restaurant. That family pictured above that released Farah Fuckabee back into the dumpster and refused her service needs a medal. Of course, the voters using their brains as paperweights – are their brains even heavy enough to secure a piece of paper?!? – retaliated against the restaurant, causing it to close down for a period…all the while, administration employees stand on the sidelines.

But that poor psychophant Scottie P and his family have been so harassed by the media and protesters that he had no choice but to quit a job he was grossly unqualified for as head of the EPA.

Fine, he did plenty of damage in his too long a tenure.

So, quit.

Your work here is overdone.

On behalf of the media and protesters, you’re welcome, Scott. You don’t – or do – realize the size of the favor we’ve done you, your family and the planet…off of which I’d personally prefer to throw you.

What was really incomprehensible to me was the level of religious fervor he brought to the resignation.


I count what I consider to be eight separate incidents of religious reference in those three unctuous paragraphs.

You seem to be piling it on rather heavily, Scott. And I don’t even consider you to be at significant risk of needing a pardon in the too many remaining days/weeks/months of il Cheetos’ reign.

But, I guess from your perspective, it’s better safe than sorry.

Me? Instead of dwelling on it, imma focus on who’s next and go check the news for what I hope is Meuller’s latest indictments.

Oh, and guess who paid half attention and just got invited to Seattle for a face to face interview next week?

So, now I gotta go buy a BoltBus ticket and cancel plans…

New Chrisism

Here’s Why I’m Not A Judge

Besides the absence of a law degree and any legal experience whatsoever…

It wasn’t cloudy, it was ash.

As I’m sure everyone has heard, over the Labor Day weekend, some jag of a 15 y/o firebug was out lighting firecrackers in the Columbia Gorge and started a forest fire, turning this

into this

Oregonians are tearing up when they talk about it.  It’s palpably changed our collective mood.

Too many of us are carrying inhalers as our normally mist-filled September horizons are now hazy with smoke.  Instead of anticipatory pumpkin spiced latte talk and a slightly dreary post summer drizzle marking the onset of the fall season, we’ve got ash raining from the sky and conversation that is reminiscent of the last time it rained ash in Portland in the days following May 18, 1980.

At least Mount St Helen was a natural disaster.

This kid, though.  I’d bet he’s more of a nurtural disaster.

When you hear Oregonians discuss him, there’s not a note of empathy to be found in their conversation, its tone nor even inadvertently in their body language.

It’s an open and shut case.  

You did this.

You were proud enough – the rest of us gratefully call it stupid enough – to have a friend film it.  

Seemingly, just to impress girls?

What none of them realized – surely because of their lack of life experience as much as underutilized intellect – is how cherished our nature is in the PNW.  Not to get into trouble with the Indigenous People of America, but more than anywhere else I have lived, the people of the Pacific Northwest have a connection to this land they inhabit.

I remember Sarah Jessica Parker – I know!  Where the fuck can this be heading? – saying in an interview once that NYC was the fifth star of Sex and the City.  Well, in the PNW, we are all the co-stars to the nature that surrounds us.

So, before he’s even charged, he’s been convicted in the hearts of Oregonians, if I could presume to speak for my people.

I guess I’m on to the sentencing phase in my mind…and I want the punishment to fit the crime.

If you were really doing this just to impress girls, my knee-jerk reaction is chemical castration.  It takes care of the punishment and is also prophylactically prudent – safeguarding future forests against any future humans he might be responsible for raising and releasing into the population.

Or, just to be tricky and humane…life in prison.

I imagine the reflexive objection of his parents as I – as judge in his trial – lay out his sentencing options.  

I offer them a sort of Sophie’s Choice, would you take his place to spare him?

Should this ever come to pass – and fully admitting that outside of any knowledge of these parents, I’m using my post-Trump-election disdain for generic Americans as my guide – I expect nervous and uncertain glances to be shared between the parents.

Nervous, uncertain and hopeful glances: dubiously hopeful that the other steps up.

With a side of the expectant stare of their son as he waits to see which of his parents sacrifices their freedom for his…because he surely has an entirely undeserved sense of entitlement.

I hammer down my gavel as they shamefully and selfishly shake their heads, choosing their own freedom over that of their parental failure, and send the whole family off to prison.  

A sentence of time with each other…I would expect their cell could be in the center of the conflagration of their procreation’s creation and still feel as icy as if it were a Siberian gulag.

Ah, the state of family in our country…so lacking in accountability.

We aren’t that far removed from a time when parents bore the shame of their children’s transgressions as their own.

Decades, maybe?

Or when a family member would sacrifice themselves to save the rest.

A generation or two back, tops?  

Where are those pioneers and parental pillars now?  Too rare, to be sure.

In reality, what will happen to this kid?

He’s 15, only 80% to the threshold for being tried as an adult.

How will he be held accountable for the land he has destroyed?  

The habitats and species he has threatened?

The livelihoods he has doomed?

The tens of millions of dollars his havoc has wreaked in emergency services expenses?

Will his parents be held complicit?

I certainly think they should.  It’s a values issue for me.  Certainly why I – as a judge – would offer them that Sophie’s Choice, in the first place.  A test of whether the value lessons parents are expected to teach failed to take root or if those values were simply never a part of his upbringing in the first place.

A nurtural disaster.

Sadly, my faith in our cultural humanity does not afford me the generosity of the assumption that this kid comes from competent parents.  Too often these days, I see people who are the product of hands-off parenting, abandoned to be raised by the public school system…a system that can barely teach algebra effectively, let alone morality.

Nor should it be expected to, yet here we are.

I’m loathe to agree with conservative GOP rubric on any level, but I’m fairly certain that if we’d managed to create a system of family values in our country – one that doesn’t involve the teachings of one very learned burning bush – that we could have probably avoided the current burning bush shituation in the gorge.

But, no…we didnt get there with family values.  Rather than remain true to our own country’s founding tenants, we were distracted by shoe horning selfish religious interests into law and instead of developing actual collective values as a country, the wedge was driven.  

Commandments or nothing for us!

And here we are.  The fiery result of that political and cultural spiral.

How do we fix that?

In my mind, the politicizing of values came before the actual erosion of our family unit, but I could be wrong.  Either way, we’ve got a country whose population can’t relate to its own extremes with a dwindling middle ground and families whose only bond any more seems to be shared DNA.

Luckily, regardless of which came first, the present day culmination of this failure is 45.

I’d hazard a guess that our ashy PNW sky is a nice glimpse of the impending nuclear winter skyline courtesy of the two pettiest world leaders with maybe 6″ between them. 

Here, I certainly hope to be wrong, but struggle to find evidence to support any faith I could muster in a different view of the future.

Because as complicit as our jag of a firebug’s parents are in their offspring’s fiery magnum opus, we as American’s are equally responsible for the ass sitting behind the Resolute Desk.

And he will not be outdone by some punk 15 year old.

Geez.  Now I’m depressed…

Here’s Why I’m Not A Judge

No, Shame On You

I was walking downtown recently and passed by Portland’s historic Benson Hotel.

benson hotel

The Benson was built in 1912 and opened in 1913.  It was the Portland version of the swanky hotels of the big eastern cities, built by Simon Benson after he retired from his life as a lumber baron.

Side Note:  One of his other retirement causes was to provide accessible hydration for the people of Portland and he invested $10,000 of his own money to create a network of street side water fountains downtown, now named for him and called Benson Bubblers.

benson bubblers

One interesting factoid of the hotel itself is its history of paranormal activity – I know of five ghost sightings, ranging from Benson himself to Mitch Mitchell, who was a member of Jimi Hendrix’s band and died in the hotel back in 2008.

Benson had built the hotel and then turned it over to others to run, coming out of retirement six years later to take over the management of the hotel after seeing it run at a loss after opening.  Succeeding in creating a hotel that turned a pre-Great Depression profit of $100,000 a year.

Not bad for a hotel that cost $1,000,000 to build.

Why do I mention this?  Well, if only to demonstrate that the man was a shrewd and capable businessman.

Again, why?

Outside, as I walked by, Union Strikers were being supported by a sign that read “Shame On The Benson Hotel” yada-yada-yada.

Yeah, leaning on the sign.

Apparently protesting a labor or contract dispute with the hotel’s existing management.  Well, good work ethic, guys…really showing the public what you’re worth with that display of boredom, apathy and laziness.

And it got me thinking about the phrasing of their sign.

Shame On The Benson Hotel…


The word itself makes me think about religion.  It evokes the memories of embarrassment I experienced when my behaviors fell short of what was expected, either socially or at home.  Growing up in a Catholic household and intermittently attending parochial and public schools, I suppose it’s easy enough to see where religion and shame become entangled for me.

And this was from growing up in the 70s and 80s.  Shame was a matter then of not getting your family to church on time or having light pockets when the tithing tray was passed your way.  In the more secular applications, shame was a matter of how I behaved in the grocery store with my siblings while mom shopped.  Running amok was likely to make mom crazy and push the limits of her patience until we got to the car and she could privately express her exasperation at our behavior.  And then send us to our rooms until dad got home and she relayed the behavior to him and he did his slow march up the stairs to “deal” with the bratty kids that his wife had been saddled with all day.

Because mom’s sense of shame perhaps came at the judgmental glances of other mothers, amplifying the frustration she felt at how her kids behaved in public.  We ran around like heathens instead of properly behaved miniature humans.  Er, Christians.  Whatever.

My poor parents.

Especially mom because she literally had to deal with us whether we were angels or demons.  No real choice, other than to encourage us to go outside and play.  My thought if I were her would be, “Why don’t you kids (little assholes) go outside and play (forever)?”  But my dad, too, because when he got home from work and traded welcome home kisses with mom he had no idea whether asking how her day was would result in a pleasant return to domesticity after a day of the man putting it to him or if he would end up making that slow trudge up the stairs to talk shit out with his kids and help them not ruin his future evenings by pushing his wife to her wit’s end.

Really, how he didn’t go Homer Simpson on us sometimes is pretty admirable.  homer-simpson-choking-bart-1

Ok, so parenting aside, the religious pull of shame is still pretty strong in my psyche.  Partially, because I am gay and the balancing act I had to do between the dogma and values I was raised with and homosexuality were presented in a fairly mutually exclusive manner by the church my family belonged to.

There’s an interesting thought exercise…”belonging” to a church.


Being gay was just one more behavior that they shunned and shamed.  Luckily, there’s the whole venial versus mortal sins thing…although I want to call it a spectrum, I suspect the church views it a little more as a black and white manner.  So, while my my beating off to the International Male catalog would earn me a front row seat in hell, at least mom and dad would be spared that fate simply for not always having bank to drop into the tithing basket.  But, as I was raised in a time that was much less tolerant of diversity and definitely more ignorant of sexual identity – I mean, homosexuality was still listed as a mental disorder during my adolescence and for most of my young adult life – it was hard to rectify my emerging sexual identity with the church’s stance that homosexuality was a mortal sin.

I’m pretty sure that’s the way the church views it…even while *some* of their own are doing it.

But fuck it, I could be wrong; once I decided the church’s rubric was bullshit in one way, shape or form I pretty much stopped taking it seriously.  After all, one can only be condemned to hell so many times before it loses its effectiveness as a moral motivator.  I am, however, glad to have been raised in an environment that expected my behavior to fall in line with their…let’s call them guidelines, though.  I know it’s confusing to have me say that I decided they were bullshit, but that’s really just a judgment of how they executed and maintained their core values…using fear to ensure compliance isn’t my favorite tool.  Those underlying values that the church taught about the life of Christ were helpful in my ability to develop my own moral code and live my life by a code of conduct that allows me to participate as a useful part of a larger society.

I think.

So, there I am, just another homo killing time before being relegated to an eternity in the afterlife of hell…where it seems all the cool kids will be hanging out, anyway.  Making my way in the world as a gay man and trying to recover from an upbringing that certainly discouraged me from expressing my true self.  While religion wasn’t a club that I wanted to be a part of, immersing myself in gay culture felt like stepping into a second family.  As a matter of fact, one of my favorite authors – I think of him as both a role model and hero – is Armistead Maupin.  If you haven’t read Tales of the City, I would strongly recommend you give it a read.  At least watch the movies…anyway, in his books, one of his characters describes her family in two parts – biological and logical, the latter being the people you meet in your life that don’t share a blood relation but without whom your family is incomplete.

Surprisingly, this second cultural family was as flawed as the first.  Sure, more fun…but seemingly without a code of conduct of any kind.

Classic overcorrecting.

So, there I was, kind of where I wanted to be in my life but struggling again to find balance between the world I now lived in and the world I was raised in.

Maybe I still felt some shame about it because when my parents divorced in California in the early 90s, I chose not to move with my mother and siblings back to our home in Oregon.

I was home.

I just didn’t have that logical family yet.

But, eventually they showed up.  When I met My GI and his friends – many of whom I am happy to be socially reconnected with thanks to Facebook after a couple of decades of bouncing around the country with my career – I began to find that logical family.  People who embodied a balance between living an existence true to their whole selves as well as living a life that was accountable to a larger world than just their selfish selves like most of the gay community that I encountered.

And I’m afraid that selfish and unaccountable part of the gay community has only gotten larger and more visible in the ensuing decades.  But, I am grateful that I have been able to collect a few more members of my logical family over that same timeframe in the many places I have lived.

Even with that personal growth victory, I fear that American society hasn’t gotten much better about its tendency toward sexual shame.  As a matter of fact, I think it’s even more fragmented now that the visibility of a truer nature of human sexuality is emerging.  But don’t think the religious complex has taken time off of their crusade to maintain the shame around sex for the sake of sex.

AIDS, anyone?

Man, watching the Reagan administration fail to secure the health and well-being of an entire generation of gay men – resulting in the culture of Lost Boys I live with today – was humiliating to me as a human being.  Such recklessness toward our fellow humans, all in the name of not pissing off the Religious Right.

Thanks, GOP.  That’s some solid leadership.  Who needed icons like Rock Hudson, Keith Haring, Freddie Mercury and Robert Mapplethorpe anyway?

Let alone the countless children of your sexually repressed base who died essentially just to preserve votes.

aids quilt

I can’t tell you how quickly I would sign up for a potential life saver like PrEP if I were a young, sexually active human.  The use of Truvada as a pre-exposure treatment to prevent the spread of HIV is nothing short of a scientific miracle.

No telling how many people I just pissed off by blending science and religion in the last two words of that previous paragraph.

<cracks knuckles>

But what happens instead?

Do we start talking about PrEP in Sex Ed classes?  No.  I doubt we’re even showing people how to use condoms yet.



Do we even have Sex Ed classes anymore?

But more disappointing than the usual confusion of allowing religion a credible and serious voice in the discussion of how a democracy based on the separation of church and state handles the sexual health of its population is how the gay community turned on itself in the face of this life-altering breakthrough.

Yeah, I’ll wait for you to re-read that…my head is spinning after typing it.

What happened was a new twist on slut shaming that the press and gay community refer to as Truvada shaming.

Seriously, homos?

Must we turn on our own brothers?

Of course we must.

America in this new millennium is not an easily navigable place.  There’s no GPS for morality.  The cost of slowly losing and politicizing our religion since the Summer of Love has been that we also lose the ability to actually accept – or even hear and understand – an opposing opinion.

It’s kind of all “our way or the highway” for any given group perspective.  The tool we use to ensure compliance within those groups?


Think what you will of the church, but one thing is for sure, those fuckers can stay on message and have a 2000+ year track record to prove it.

Yup…good old fear.

While we should be educating ourselves and empowering ourselves – not just sexually, but with all manners of available education (looking at you, Climate Change Deniers and Intelligent Designers) – we’re reverting back to bullying each other to get what we want.

Specific to this situation, while we should be actively eradicating the Walk of Shame and celebrating the Stride of Pride, we’re reverting back to name calling in order to maintain a status quo.

What status quo?

The one where promiscuous people are bad.  Even typing “promiscuous people” felt judgmental and wrong.

Who says they’re bad?  Probably people not getting laid.

Why aren’t they getting laid?  Probably because they themselves have been shamed into believing that they aren’t worthy for some reason or another.  Fat, old, ugly (some of my own favorite self-descriptors), too fem, too vanilla, too in a fear based relationship…

And if they can’t get laid, that frustration manifests itself in the labeling and shaming of someone else.  Is that being part of the problem or part of the solution?

Now, that’s shameful.

Let’s not forget, too, that while it’s important…it’s still just sex.

But, just to try and make this a more universal problem – so that you can decide whether your actions support the problem or the solution – than religion or homosexuality, let’s go back to those Benson Strikers and look at them versus the popular American culture.

They likely weren’t gay.

Maybe they were religious…hard to say, “shame” is so intertwined for me with religion, but let’s assume they weren’t religious.

Then let’s assume that it didn’t matter whether they were gay or religious anyway, for fuck’s sake.

Because it didn’t.

These were just a bunch of guys standing on a sidewalk putting zero effort into demonstrating that they weren’t getting what they wanted from their employer.  What did they want?  Better pay?  Better benefits?  I can’t say because they didn’t say.  They were just there basically throwing a fit because they didn’t get whatever it is that they want.

Well, “throwing” might be too proactive a verb for this situation.  They couldn’t even muster a good “complain” vibe.

They looked bored.

Typical of our something-for-nothing culture.

The effort they were putting into their so-called strike made their strike more of an indictment of the validity of what they wanted in the first place.  Now, good old Simon Benson was a solid and successful business person.  One who expected results in exchange for the wages he paid out.  If you wanted compensation, you exchanged your time and skills for said compensation.  If you thought whining about it was gonna get you somewhere with him, I would imagine that you would be right…I would further imagine that what if might get you was a close-up tour of the Shanghai Tunnels.

Take that sucker.

Realistically, in my book if you aren’t happy with your working conditions, you change the working conditions.  Sure, negotiation can be a viable part of that change, but holding your employer hostage to your demands cannot.  You’re also completely free to seek other employment if you feel your compensation is below the market average.  Then again, you should also understand what an average is and know that in a job market, some people will make more than others and some less…that’s the nature of an average.

Hell, we live in a capitalist country that encourages free enterprise.  Start your own business and do better.

But let’s leave the finger-pointing and tantrum-throwing where it belongs, in the school yards where there’s hopefully an adult around to help America’s offspring grow out of it by teaching them the value of discussion and acceptance and – for the love of gawd – some critical thinking.

Not in the street in front of a business that has survived longer than the cumulative ages of the protesters shaming them at their front door.  (There was only three of them.)

And, seriously, can someone explain how this particular execution of one’s freedom of speech helps their situation?  I simply don’t get the logic.

“You aren’t giving me what I want, so I’m going to make it harder for you to afford to deliver what I want by vaguely harming your business and reputation.”

Yeah…that’s being part of the problem, folks.

No, Shame On You

Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff

In a turn of events that I would  classify as “Strictly Xtopher”, here’s my morning mash up.

I sat down to watch the X-Files from last night…ok, it was lunch time.  Myrtle decided to be insane and freak out about 2:00 AM, so I was awake listening to her scamper around skidding on the rug and chasing wine corks around like they were top offenders from the Feline’s Most Wanted list until about 6:00.

No, I have no idea where she got random wine corks.

Thank god the ongoing construction on my block took a break today from it’s normal jack hammering and pile driving routine, so I had gotten up about 11:30 after finally getting a few zzzs.

I’d also just paid a visit to The Salad Tosser for a $12 salad that I was too lazy to make myself at home.  But, hey, I had to run out and get some Diet Coke, anyway, so I just stopped on the way home.

Total First World Problems.

As I was wandering through those errands in a caffeine deficient haze, I had also been chatting with a guy from Scruff that had messaged me last night about the time I was trying to turn in.  He distracted me with a peculiar familiarity that he blamed simply on Portland being a small town.  It’s like he cheekily quoted me back to me, but it’s hardly like I was the first to make that observation so I am attributing that to coincidence.  Yet, he still indicated he knew me, even though we had never met.

A coy gay guy…how novel.

Also, Scruff in bed…makes for bad sleep habits, I know.  But I am still blaming Myrtle’s freaking out on my somnambulism this morning.  And a lack of coffee since The Silver Fox – my main supplier – is off visiting his granddaughter this week.

Anyway, as I was chatting with him, two other guys chimed into my chat thread.  They weren’t kidding when they said “When it rains, it pours”.  Three guys wanting my attention at once?  Don’t worry, I’m sure I will never meet any of them face to face.

Asocial Media won’t let me down.

Case in point, one of them I had chatted with in October.  What happened?  Nothing.  Not to be too overwhelmingly pessimistic, but the third one is completely new to my virtual acquaintance…but I only know what his arm looks like, it seems he’s “discreet”.  Code for “flakey and unaccountable” is how I translate that, but I did eventually shut him down – to write this so I hope you are flattered, my kind reader – with a “no face pic and name, no more chat”.  We’ll see what happens.

But that didn’t happen until after I told him that I was watching X-Files and he shared that he had gotten a X-Files Tee Shirt in his Lootcrate – courtesy of his mother – this month.  He asked if I was liking the episode, and I honestly replied that I didn’t really care for the subject matter of the episode, as it centered on a terrorist attack.  Right before my brain registered the potential ethnicity of the arm I had been chatting with for the last hour or so.


Well, potentially awkward…

But that conversation and the content of the episode I was watching reminded me of this blog entry that I had begun a draft of right after the Paris bombings a few months back.

The note I had made about it was simply:

19 y/o bomber compared to 35 y/o American “students”…

Admittedly, I am not well versed enough in either Politics or Religion to qualify my thoughts on the matter as significant – seriously, I don’t think my thoughts on this topic run nearly deep enough to have ever contemplated any legitimate Op-Ed on the tragedy of Paris or any like it – but, here we are.  What enabled me to pull the trigger on embarrassing myself with an entry on this topic?

The title to the post says it all.

I may not have any legitimate right to share thoughts on what happens in Politics or Religion on a global scale – my prior incarnation of this blog contained a piece about the 2008 Elections called Three-Fifths a President, as if you need any proof to back up my attempt to disqualify my right to participate in this conversation.  However, Asocial Media and Sci-Fi TV?  I can decidedly claim a not-so-tenuous expertise in both, and here I was…chatting with a maybe Middle Eastern guy and watching an episode of the X-Files that was about terrorists.

Quite a life I have carved out for myself.

So proud…

Maybe the terrorists have already won?  I wonder if this blog post will earn me a NSA flag.

While the show went one direction, my mind and musings went another.  Wow.  Musings was probably a poorly selected word.  Need caffeine.  Anywho…I let my mind wander back to the thought that I had about who the most junior member of that bombing-slash-firing-squad was and how at 19 he could commit his life to something.  Just his life!  Forfeit for a belief.

I’m weighing the appropriateness of inserting an Ursula the Sea Witch meme or picture here.  It won’t cost much…just your LIFE!

In our country and our culture we have 35 year old students.  Fifteen years ago, those students were called professional students because they were generally all pursuing their Masters Degree or completing some other advanced curriculum or another.  In a fit of typical American de-evolution, now the bulk of the people in their 30s that I meet who are in college are finishing their Bachelors…at best.

We’ve gone from Professional Students to Avoiding a Profession-al Students.  Then again, I am in Portland, where young people come to retire.  In spite of that geographic recusal, I’m going to say that I saw the same thing in Seattle and suspect it is not Portland specific weirdness.

Yet Muslims can raise someone who could decide to sacrifice his life before he could legally drink in our country.  Or a year after he or she could take his or her right to vote in America for granted.

Yes, I know we have young people who enter our Armed Services at that same age.  I would challenge that argument with the reward that each yields.  Someone entering our Armed Services knows they may see battle and face sacrificing their life or taking the life of another.  Most, I suspect enter more for a sense of cents versus a desire to serve.

A paycheck can be a powerful motivator in our culture.

As can a recruiter…in any culture.

Which is where the X-Files writers took their argument.  Not that they were making an argument…just that these are the deep thoughts that their episode ended on:  The power of words or the power of suggestion.

Faced with a decision that invariably must be seen to end with one’s death, young Muslims commit.  That is some amazing sense of self-sacrifice for a cause…a cause sold to them by a man.  About a god.  And, sure…seventy-something virgins in the afterlife, but who really believes that?  Amazingly, these guys do, at least to some degree.  The tool that works for these recruiters can’t be simple persuasion or suggestion, can it?

Our guys?  Yeah, their sense of service maybe comes from that immediate reward of a paycheck, or even the deferred reward of a GI College Bill, but it isn’t a decision whose logical end is the decision-maker’s death.  Unless they happen to be on active duty when a Republican takes office or maybe the Zombie Apocalypse hits.

Boy, someone binge-watched Z Nation, can you tell?

But our young, when faced with this decision at the hands of a Military Recruiter aren’t manipulated with glory for their god and family, or virgins in the afterlife or even the prospect of taking out infidels with their ultimate sacrifice…they are faced with the potential for several years of employment, maybe even a career with a pension as a reward.  Shorter term, maybe they get out with a skill that has dubious real-world applications.  They could even become some of those 30-somethings pursuing their BS college degree.

Reader’s Choice on what I meant by BS.

That’s a realistic trade off.  Sacrifice in exchange for an opportunity to participate in what you serve to defend versus “I bet this vest would really make your eyes *pop*”.


Told ya I wasn’t qualified to make any serious comments about global politics or world religions.  I guess I should just leave it to Chris Carter’s writing team.

Also, oopsies…


Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff