Saturday, October 11, 2008

The bad seed.

For the first time since I moved to New York almost 39 months ago, my father, a native Brooklynite, has finally made his way up north from Texas to come and pay me a visit. He'll be here for a full week with my stepmother and, if day one today is any indication, it's going to be an interesting trip. Here's a brief list of the many things we accomplished on Day One.

1) Completely obliterated the concept of religion as anything remotely useful, relevant, or sane. I was aided in no small part by Bill Maher's Religulous, which I was surprised they were willing to see with me today, but they did, and it gave me a post-movie platform upon which I could assail not just the Jewish faith, but the very value of any faith in any organized sense. I do so love anti-religion conversations with my folks and have engaged them in this intellectual joust for well over 23 years now. Mind you, "anti-religion" is not anti-God or anti-spirituality---but I'll devote a longer post about all this in the future. Suffice it to say that by the time I was done with them, they were more open-minded about the flaws in their own faith than at any time previously. They didn't exactly denounce their faith and shake their fist to the sky, but the concessions I were able to win seemed more significant than in past "discussions" where they devolved into the utterly unacceptable back-to-the-wall defense of "well, that's just what we believe."

2) Gorged on several cupcakes from Magnolia bakery. Yes, I did have to endure endless comparisons to a Dallas bakery called "Sprinkles", but in the end they did so with their mouths full and their bellies content.

3) Refuted, with only limited success, their mostly groundless aversion to Barack Obama---even though they will be voting for him. Ardent Hillary supporters, they see Obama in much the same way McCain is currently trying to portray him, which is to say they find themselves also asking, "Who Is Obama?" Evidently a two-year long interview process is insufficient to get any sense of what this man is all about. There seem to be three main problems they have with Obama: First, he's not Hillary. Second, he's vague. And third, they seem genuinely put off--if not frightened--by the Obama supporters who look at him with mouths agape. Adding to this last problem was Louis Farrakhan's recent pronouncement of Obama as "A Messiah." This prompted my stepmother to say that she needed to know more about the relationship of Obama to Farrakhan. Of course, there is no relationship to speak of, and it's as unfair to associate Farrakhan's views with Obama as it would be to associate the Ku Klux Klan with McCain. People's votes might tell you about the voter, but it's a dangerous and foolish game when you start trying to divine too much meaning about a candidate based on certain supporters. Still, if these two Democrat voters are any indication, Obama faces a much tougher road to the White House than recent polls suggest.

4) Thoughtfully expounded upon my view of government paternalism and explained exactly how far it should extend. More on this in a later post, too. Amazingly, perhaps because they were so blown over by the sheer beauty of the day (or the unending wisdom spewing from my mouth), I was pretty much able to ramble along non-stop all the live-long day.


Blogger JMW said...

Digging the new blog. I can't stand Bill Maher, but I'm glad he helped you chip away at believers.

October 13, 2008 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so went for cupcakes....?
and i wasn't invited...don't tell me Ryan was there...


p.s. are you coming to Dallas for Festivus?

October 15, 2008 at 11:40 AM  

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