The Moment of Truth — July 31, 1999
Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen and welcome to the Moment of Truth, the pint-sized powerhouse of social satire that swipes the scab of falsehood off the body politic to present the pus beneath.
Have you seen this commercial where the lady is calling some insurance company and they’re like, we found another company for you whose rates are lower than ours. And she’s like, I never expected THAT from an insurance company. And they’re like, maybe you should. And I’m like, Why don’t you expect some god damn coverage? Yeah, I have low rates. I have the lowest rates in the city. You know what it covers? If I get pulled over, I have a card that keeps me from getting a ticket for not having insurance.
Oh, yeah. I have health insurance. The rates are low low low! And I’m covered for all diseases except those resulting from acts of god, man or nature. And the deductible is only fifty thousand quillion dillion dollars.
Why do you suppose insurance companies don’t tell you what they cover and how much it costs in their ads? Because insurance is a god damned piece of crap ripoff. We all know it. Just like we knew that the so-called grownup taste of McDonald’s Arch Deluxe was nothing more than blandness diluting the faint flavor of lightly salted urine.
Somehow this is related to the Runaway Bride commercials on TV. When Gramma says, “I like his tight butt.” Which is supposed to be soooooo funny, because we’ve never heard a spunky old lady say something saucy in a stupid movie. Why, it’s so unusual to have an old lady say something saucy that, even though every single ad for that movie has Gramma saying “I like his tight butt,” even in the briefest version of the ad, I mean, it is so unusual and so original and so goddam witty to have a spunky old lady say something saucy, probably one of six lines she has in the film, it is so goddam original that, even though everyone who sees the movie Runaway Bride will have seen that commercial and heard spunky old asshole Gramma say “I like his tight butt” about a million times, if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself having been coerced to see Runaway Bride in the theater, which I have not, I bet you will hear – and this is exactly why I will not see this movie, in addition to the fact that it looks like crap anyway – the idea of sitting in that theater and then the line, the line the entire audience has heard six jillion times on the commercial, spunky asshole gramma: “I like his tight butt.” And does the crowd let it pass? Do they groan? Do they snicker? No. Invariably, in this situation, the most often-repeated ad line of the summer gets the loudest roar of laughter of the entire movie, as if it were the funniest thing in the goddam sick awful world, instead of a shopworn moldy rotten hunk of digested, puked up, re-eaten, repuked and re-eaten and repuked hunk of old rotten organ flesh.
Speaking of rotten flesh, let’s talk pork. Bacon. The pigs. Those guardians of the civic peace whose job it is to harass people, beat them, torture them, extract confessions from them, and shoot them. I like the Fraternal Order of Police’s response to the public outcry against recent fatal shootings of the innocent and relatively innocent: Basically, go to hell, get over it, a few bad citizens are trying to say that there aren’t any good cops.
Well, I’m saying it. A cop isn’t any better than a hired punk. And a whole lot worse than some. Oh yes, he’s a working man. So’s a punk. Here’s a recent story. I won’t tell the story about my friend getting randomly thrown off his bike and beat up by cops, taken to jail to be anti-semitically insulted all night. Or any of the other tales of Chicago pig brutality I could repeat. We all know one or two. This is the tale of a sunny day at the beach. I’m doing yoga under a tree. And two sweltering lumpy porkers ride up on their slick bicycles, looking like two floppy, saggy-assed circus bears. I’m like to myself, what do these thugs want? Nothing’s happening. But they’re looking so intently at something. Oh, it’s two Latino guys. They go over to these guys and start asking them if they’re drinking. Turns out the two guys don’t even know each other, but they both get equally harassed, yelled at, told to move on. One guy indeed has a quart of Budweiser in a paper bag. He seems neither impaired nor disorderly. The day was perfectly pleasant until these scummy pigs started yelling at these guys in the most ugly, bullying way, making everyone around them completely sick, sad, furious, disgusted.
Pig, if you’re a working man, what is your job? Is this your job? You suck at directing traffic, you never know the directions to anywhere, and the most benign thing you seem to do is remind civilians that we’re never more than a hair’s breadth away from a violent confrontation, because we never know when we might encounter someone who feels it’s his or her legal or illegal business to force us to submit to them.
Think of society as the extreme capitalists describe it. People just do what they want. We all have the opportunity make our own destiny. Hey, I believe that. Of course, I think our choices are products of the interaction of our own will and countless other forces. Some of those forces are social, the product of human conduct towards other humans, and therefore worthy of inspection, analysis, and critique. And some humans are armed so as to affect other humans more sweepingly or brutally than others, with economic power, legal power, or physical power. But leaving all that out, let’s try the experiment of thinking of our world as an anarchy. We are in fact living in anarchy. We each choose our place in society. We can blame structures, but structures only exist if some people decide to tolerate them and others populate them. So, some people decide to be teachers, or to work with sick people, or to make art, or to help resolve conflicts regardless of monetary reward or public honors. And some decide to join a bullying institution in order to attempt to command respect, some decide to try to run the world, some decide to try to amass huge amounts of property.
And of course we, as the public, choose to tolerate this crap. We eat the tasteless food as if it has flavor. We buy into the insurance industry as if they serve some purpose. We laugh at the oldest joke in the world over and over as if we’ve just heard it.
But, as I say, it’s not only our choice. There are lots of forces at work, and our will is only among them. So, tempting as it might be to conclude: god, we the people suck – I’m not gonna do that. I’m just gonna say, keep your eyes open. No, I’m gonna say, stop and smell the roses. No, I’m gonna say, plant roses. No – I’m just gonna say, do whatever the hell you want. Just try not to ruin my day. It’s hot, I’m crabby, and I’m just trying to do my best to keep my spirits up without making anyone else miserable. What more can society ask of its crabby citizens?
This has been mejeffdorchen with the Moment of Truth.