My musings on the mainstream media and culture.

Archive for the category “Politics”

First World Problem: Does Complaining about the Service Make Me a Bourgeois Capitalist Pig?


Big news. Apparently it’s now customary in the United States to receive your salad WITH you entrée.

I learned this on Saturday night at the Good Earth in Edina, Minnesota, when my entrée arrived shortly before my salad. Before my drink had been served. And also before my husband’s soup or entrée had been served.

I complained. I told the waiter I wanted to eat my salad before my entrée. So several confused waiters took away the entrée, and finally served my husband his soup.

The original waiter came out to apologize. Sort of. You see, he explained to me, MOST people want their salad and entrée to come out at the same time. This lame and patently wrong excuse made me irate, and told him this was ridiculous (which prompted my seven-year-old daughter to nudge me repeatedly because Mommy was being mean to the waiter). And yet, the waiter stuck to his claim that the first and second course customarily arrive simultaneously. So now you know. Next time you go to a restaurant—whether it’s Denny’s or something with a Michelin star—expect to be served your starter course at the same time as your entrée.

Clearly this restaurant was having problems expediting their food, and clearly my waiter was full of it. I had a legitimate complaint. But whenever I complain about bad service—and there seems to be plenty of bad service these days—I find myself feeling guilty.

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Gay Marriage: An Appeal to Those Who Oppose on Religious Grounds

No Pumpkin

So I realize that most people who oppose gay marriage do so because of their religious beliefs. If this is indeed what you believe, I appeal to you to consider this argument.

Imagine that you are living in the United States of America.  Currently, in the U.S., the majority of people are Christians.  But let’s say that something entirely unexpected happens, and the majority of Americans convert to a religion called Fundamentalist Jibberjabberism.

Now let’s say that although the majority of Americans become Fundamentalist Jibberjabberists, you do not convert.  You are a Christian.  When the mass conversion happens, you are nervous.  However, you remind yourself that the United States is a secular nation governed by a secular Constitution, and that religious minorities like yourself are protected.

Things seem to be going well for awhile.  You continue to go to church and to worship just as you always have.  Then a disturbing development happens.  A week before Thanksgiving, pumpkins become illegal because pumpkins are considered sacrilegious in the Jibberjabberist religion.  You can no longer have a traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

You go to your Congressperson to complain.  You explain that you respect the fact that the majority of your fellow Americans do not eat pumpkins.  As a religious minority, you expect that it may be difficult to find pumpkins served at restaurants or possibly even at grocery stores.  But  illegal?  “I am not a Jibberjabberist,” you explain.  “Pumpkin does not go against my religious beliefs, and in fact, pumpkin pie is an important part of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner tradition.”

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Occupy Why Review Bombings are Restoring My Faith in Politics

Review bombings. That’s when a group of everyday people write satirical reviews for a product, often on  The fake reviews catch on, and pretty soon, some products have thousands of satirical reviews.

In the age of social media, this is a new form of intercepting the public space. These days, some of us are occupying Wall Street. Others of us are occupying

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Top 10 Political Reality TV Show Ideas

Once upon a time, citizens were willing to listen for hours to debates and other lengthy political discourse. Unfortunately, today’s American attention span is better equipped for the likes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

To get modern Americans more engaged in politics, maybe it’s time we changed things up from C-SPAN to America’s favorite television format — reality TV!  Here are ten ideas for how to use reality TV to rejuvenate the political process.

1. The Bench-ler

There’s just not enough drama behind the process of choosing a Supreme Court nominee. Why not make the process like The Bachelor? Every week, the House and Senate can go on “dates” with the nominees to exciting locations like the Harvard Law School Library.  And instead of a rose ceremony, they could hand out… “Clarence, will you accept this robe?”

2. The Vice Apprentice

Similarly, choosing a Vice Presidential candidate would be so much more dramatic if the nominee did it Apprentice style. Every week, the potential VPs would be assigned to degrading tasks with lots of product placement involved, and whoever screws up the worst gets fired.  This may actually happen if (God forbid) Donald Trump ever gets the nomination.

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Lincoln, Civility, and Reality TV

cspanWould we be better off if members of Congress abandoned all vestiges of civility, and instead went after each other with a cruel barrage of insults?

This goes against our modern sense of how politics is supposed to function. In 2009, when a South Carolina Congressman shouted, “You lie!” as President Obama spoke, people were horrified. What has happened, we bemoaned, to civility in American politics? It’s bad enough that commentators are screaming at each other on Fox News, but now, in the House of Representatives?

But then, this past weekend, I went to see Lincoln. And to me, the most fascinating part was watching the Congressmen debating each other in the circa-1864 House of Representatives. These weren’t just any debates. Out of the mouths of these distinguished gentlemen came personal attacks and painfully clever barbs, which were followed by partisan roars of approval. Along with the cigars and spittoons, I almost expected to see these guys with frothy mugs of lager. They may as well have been at the pub.

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