One Pope To Rule Them All

13 Mar

I think I speak for everyone when I say WOW, WHAT A GREAT PAPAL CONCLAVE! No, that’s not your annual test for cervical cancer. It’s a gathering of Catholic cardinals who have just chosen the next Pope, Francis I of Argentina. And what a handsome empanada he is! If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, then you were as thrilled as I was to learn that there is still a group of old wizards in the world who can fix everything that’s wrong with you by having you recite magic spells they read from an ancient book. The Pope has fancy robes, grey hair, and a magic wand…he’s like Gandalf with bling!

pope-gandalf

You may, however, be sad to learn that the council of wizards has a somewhat checkered past. Of the 265 popes in history, surely many were decent and pious. But it’s important to note that many of the popes of the Middle Ages were among the greediest, cruelest, most vile human beings in history. They fought among themselves for power endlessly: In one example of papal pettiness, Pope Stephen VI had his dead predecessor’s corpse dug up, put on trial (they literally put the corpse in a chair and gave him a lawyer), found guilty, cut off three of his fingers, buried him in rags, then exhumed him once again and threw him in a river. They were greedy: Benedict XI sold his papacy to another guy for 1500 pounds of gold, came back a month later, took back the papacy, sold it again to his godfather, then took it back again and sold it a third time. They were perverse: John XII raped female pilgrims and stole church offerings, and was later beaten to death by the husband of a woman he was having an affair with. They were crooks: Leo X sold indulgences, so anybody could do anything as long as they paid him cash per sin. The list of bad popes goes on: many partook of prostitutes and booze, lavished themselves with material possessions, raided the church’s wealth and gave it to their families, and frequently had their enemies, and often fellow popes, murdered to further their own goals. They replenished the church funds by encouraging people to donate their land to the church when they died—at one point, the church owned one quarter of all the land in Europe (on top of the fact that they were taxing the peasants separately, and in addition to, the kings). And their monopoly on divine knowledge was so absolute, common people were not even allowed to read holy scripture for themselves. At one point, possession of a Bible by non-priests was punishable by death. Popes were burning Christians at the stake…for reading the Bible. Not cool, grand wizards, not cool. But surely that’s the worst of it, right?

Nope! Turns out popes authorized this other thing: Torture. The church certainly didn’t invent torture, but man, did they perfect it. During the Inquisition, where tribunals of bishops would force suspected heretics to confess, any number of delightful mechanical devices were used to illicit confessions or punish sinners. People were stretched, sliced, impaled; eyes and limbs were cut off; people were burned alive; guys were castrated, gals had their breasts ripped off. Women convicted of adultery were subjected to “The Pear,” whereby a stretching device was inserted into the…you know, let’s just not get into it.

Sunday Funday Wizard Party!

And this was all when the Popes were in a good mood. When they were in a bad mood, they made everyone go to the Jerusalem and fight in holy wars known as the Crusades. Fortunately, these horrible wars lasted for a mere 200 years, and cost only 3,000,000 Christian and Muslim lives. Kinda makes Mt. Doom look like Legoland.

I know what you’re thinking…these medieval church wizards sure sound like a-holes. Well, thankfully, the Middle Ages are over. Life in the western world is considerably better for us simple folk, who have traded the miseries of toiling in the field for the luxuries of iPhones and Big Macs. We’ve also traded brutal, opulent kings for democratically elected leaders who we can remove from office whenever we wish. And we’ve traded our unelected, magic-wand wielding Popes for—oops, no, my mistake! Still got’em. Of course, they’ve mellowed out quite a bit. The only torture they inflict is with their boring Latin sermons, and they haven’t stolen any money from me except the ten bucks I spent on that second Da Vinci Code movie.

Still, modern Popes tend to cling to the trappings of power. The fancy throne, the jewel-encrusted mitres, and outfits that Lady Gaga thinks are “a little over the top.” There’s also the glimmering wizard city, Oz The Vatican, and its army of cooks, maids, and servants, the Papal apartment, and its own police force, and even standing army, under the Pope’s command. Plus the billions of dollars worth of property, land, and rare art, all of which is tax free, since technically it’s for God, who apparently treats Earth like his own private Swiss bank account. If this opulence bothers you, it should, since it’s all paid for by the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, most of whom are of modest means in poor countries like Brazil, or Mexico, or the Philippines, and can ill afford to be donating 10% of their meager wealth to build more big, fancy wizard temples.

And say what you will about Dark Lord Sauron…he never diddled any altar boys. It is estimated that at any time, 50% of priests are not upholding their vow of celibacy, and at least 6% are engaged in full-on pedophilia. Just this week, Cardinal Mahony, former head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, settled a lawsuit for millions with four boys molested by a priest…a priest who confessed his crimes to Mahony, who then sent him to a church-run pedophilia rehab in Arizona. Six months later, he was brought back to work at a different parish, where he—surprise!—molested many more boys before eventually being caught by actual, non-wizard authorities, who sent him to jail. Mahony even went so far as to request the pedophile priest not talk about his crimes with others, as it could incriminate the church. When informed that the priest had been specifically instructed to avoid talking about his sickness even with his therapist, Cardinal Mahony responded with a handwritten note: “Sounds good—please proceed!!” You can tell by the two, count’em two exclamation points that Mahony thought this was a great idea. Certainly this particular cardinal has been cast into exile?

Nope! Cardinal Mahony was one of the 115 moral luminaries inside the Sistine Chapel, partaking in the closed-door pajama party to pick the new president of MagicTown.

Look, I still love wizards. I do. But Francis has a tough job ahead of him. And I don’t just mean convincing people that a guy who died 2000 years ago lives in the clouds and gets angry when teenagers masturbate. The new Pope’s biggest task is going to be convincing a world that now has the luxuries of science and democracy that a council of wizards is still necessary and helpful to society. Personally, I’m down with praying to tiny statues of virgin goddesses, and eating magical wafers, and pledging my unquestioned allegiance to the angry Sky God. It’s a small price I pay to not get sent to an underground fire jail after I die.

So good luck, new head Wizard! Your predecessors include thieves, murderers, torturers, and warmongers. I didn’t think modern popes could beat that, but I’ll be damned if the last guy covering up for child rapists didn’t take the cake! Those are some big wizard robes to fill, Francis. I’m sure you won’t let us down.

UPDATE 3/28/13: Pope Francis has refused to live in the lavish papal apartment, and is emulating Jesus by washing and kissing the feet of young convicts, including non-Catholics, and even Muslims. It’s a good start! Maybe he reads Blunt Monkey…?

UPDATE 7/16/13: Francis continues to bitch-slap papal opulence in the face, ditching the fancy golden throne for a wooden one, as well as wearing humbler robes and using an iron scepter instead of the diamond encrusted pimp cane used by his predeccesor. And he is even downgrading the papal car to a modest Ford Focus, although this is a catch-22 because while I was pleased to learn he was saving money on the vehicle, I was disappointed to learn that lavish prick Pope Benedict had been scooting around in a Mercedes, BMW X5, and a custom built Renault, among others.

Vatican Conclave 2013: Newly elected Pope

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Don’t Be Angry At Richard Mourdock, America…Be Angry At Your God

25 Oct

American Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is in hot water this week after saying during a debate that pregnancy caused by rape is “something that God intended to happen.” Understandably, this pissed everyone right the fuck off. It seemed to imply not only that God sometimes sanctions rape, but also that it serves some purpose. So, silver lining, 14-year old girl who is gang raped in an alley and wakes up pregnant: turns out God wanted that to happen! Just like he wanted Richard Mourdock to have a nice, rape-free existence and become a Senator. Guess you just drew the short straw, metaphysically speaking.

But I’m not writing to pile on Mourdock. There’s been more than enough outrage to go around. I’m writing to point out that, if you’re Christian or Jewish, your outrage at Mourdock’s comments are completely hypocritical, and it may be time for you to reexamine your spiritual views.

First, Mourdock was only expressing what I have heard Christians say countless times: That “everything is part of God’s plan.” Often we say this to a child whose dog has died, or a friend who just got dumped. “Oh, don’t be sad. It’s all part of God’s plan.” Most people have the good taste not to say it to a recent rape victim, as they might not be in a “glass is half full” kind of mood. But I’ve never seen a Bible quote from God that says: “I am all-powerful…except when it comes to pregnancy caused by rape. That was someone else’s bad.” You can pass the buck to Satan if you like, but this is a meaningless exercise in faulty logic, since any all-powerful God who created the entire universe also clearly created evil, created Satan, could stop Satan, describes vividly in the Book of Revelation how he will someday stop Satan, and yet for whatever reason chose not to do so while you were being raped by your uncle. Again, vile as it may be, Mourdock should actually be given credit for accurately describing this obvious theistic reality.

Most religious people I know are very good people, disgusted by rape, and they find it easy to reconcile their moral views and their religious views. They can do this because the cheerful, modern preachers of their churches describe a God with a non-interventionist policy…he is abstract and distant, concerned with our well-being but not directly responsible for every moment of our lives.

Unfortunately, that is simply not the God described in the Bible. I don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon. Your notion of God—one all-powerful being who created the Earth, Moon, Sun, stars, people and animals—is the God of the Old Testament. That book, and the oral tradition that inspired it, is 100% of the basis of your God. When Jesus Christ was talking about God, that was the God he was referring to. I know many religious moderates have been taught that in 2012, God is sort of a chill, happy, hands-off guy who answers the occasional prayer and takes care of Grandma when she dies. Sounds lovely, except that guy must have been made up somewhere along the way by your church; the God of record is the one described in the Bible.

And that God DOES intervene in human affairs, DOES condone rape, and DOES act like a complete fucking prick, rarely with greater evil and bloodlust then when his ire is directed at women.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s read his official, authorized biography:

 Deuteronomy 22:28-29

    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

Got raped? No problem. Your dad gets fifty bucks, and you get to marry your rapist. Hopefully you got raped by Johnny Depp, or else that might suck!

But let’s cut to the chase, in this passage about Moses’ legendary journey out of Egypt:

 Numbers 31:7-18

   They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet [the victorious Hebrew army] outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

Yes, that’s beloved hero of the Bible, Moses, ordering the Midianites (a peaceful people, mind you) to be slaughtered after a battle and their virgin women—probably a bunch of 12-year olds—enslaved by the Hebrews. Their only crime was not worshipping the Hebrew God. And who would blame them! If this happened somewhere in the world today, the Midianites would be martyred victims, and Moses a genocidal war criminal the likes of which we only see during civil wars in Sub Saharan Africa. And yet this story, of Moses leading his people to the promise land, is the crown jewel of the Old Testament, although Jews tend to leave this passage (and the dozens of others like it—I omit them for brevity) out of Passover stories. For some reason, the fact that Moses ordered the slaughter and rape of tens of thousands—on God’s direct orders—just isn’t important enough to get mentioned.

I could stop there, but then you might say “he just cherry picked a few passages.” Well screw you, here’s several more:

Deuteronomy 22:23-24

    If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

Penalty for rape is the same as the penalty for getting raped: death. Taliban-tastic!

 Deuteronomy 20:10-14

     As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

“Thanks for stopping by to exterminate our people Moses, don’t forget your free gift bag of rape and goats on your way out.”

Starting to feel kind of icky yet about The Bible’s view on women’s rights? Here, let’s do just one more, for good measure. This is God’s punishment for King David (who committed adultery):

2 Samuel 12:11-14

    Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’

    Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan answered David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die.”  [The child dies seven days later.]

God sure is fair. He realized that the perfect way to punish a cheating husband was to deliver his wives (plural) to a neighbor so they could be ravaged in public. And then God killed his innocent kid for good measure. Divine justice? ‘Done’ and ‘done’!

Noticing a trend here? No, not that rape and murder might be part of God’s plan…it’s quite obvious that rape and murder are, literally, PART OF GOD’S VARIOUS PLANS, usually plans centered on revenge against people who don’t worship him. No, what’s interesting isn’t the rape itself, but the fact that women are nothing more than extras…worthless characters in God’s divine play. In these passages, rape is only even bad in the sense that some other guy damaged your goods. Any human with a vagina is essentially on par with livestock, property that need be mentioned only insofar as it relates to the rewarding/punishing of men.

I do not know any Christians, Muslims, or Jews who condone these horrific passages. This speaks highly of their morality, but poorly of their bible knowledge, and to be honest, even more poorly of their taste in deities. How any woman—or decent man, for that matter—can swear allegiance to this type of God, and to people who use this book as a guide to governing, is simply beyond me. You modern-day, non-extreme churchgoers can sugarcoat your religious affiliation all you want, but understand, you’re lying to no one but yourself: Your God is a jerk. He did bad things, he bragged about them, and he had Moses (or someone else) write them down, and then he ordered everyone to worship him for it. If you’re Jewish, this is your God. If you’re Christian, this is the God that Jesus was raised to worship. If you want to tell me that these passages are outdated, that they are just metaphor, be my guest. It just makes your blind allegiance to a deity all the more astonishing—why choose this all-powerful God, who speaks to you only in metaphor, and only in the most horrific, vile metaphors at that? Do you pick and choose which metaphors and passages apply to you? Did your priest or rabbi tell you this is okay, to take a red pen and just cross out the nasty bits you don’t like? Is it okay to you that priests and rabbis have been doing that very thing—parsing and modifying this sacred text—for thousands of years, before it was ever even translated into English, before it ever got into your hands? Does it give you pause that the only evidence for your God is this book, a book which you may even admit to be full of exaggerations and outright fiction? Is this book—one of the most amoral books ever written—really where you want people to think you get your moral views from? And if you don’t agree with the morality of these passages, is it maybe time to think about what else in this book you don’t agree with? Can’t you follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth—a man recorded by history as a peace-lover, a teacher, a defender of the poor—without subscribing to all this other hatred, pettiness, violence and vitriol? Have you actually read the book that is the foundation of your views for the entire universe, or have you just had it summarized to you by others? Is it maybe time that all of us, as a species, take a closer look at this one book that has so much control over the western world and say to ourselves: Hang on, we’ve been basing our entire civilization on this?

Christians do not own a monopoly on following the teachings of Jesus—all humans are free to help the meek, to do good onto others, to turn the other cheek, without having to defend outright fairytales like the first woman hanging out with a talking snake, or Jonah living inside a whale, or Jesus walking on water. And, yes, the most abhorrent fairytale of all: That our creator’s plan is to have scores of innocent women and children be raped, enslaved, and murdered for no sin other than being born into a world where God is an all-powerful tyrant and humans are powerless to stand up to him.

The Bible is a book written a long time ago, about people who lived a long time ago. I don’t fault the authors for their violent ways; it was the only world they knew. And I don’t blame them for making up myths to explain the world around them; they were born thousands of years before the advent of modern science, before Charles Darwin explained the origin of human life through evolution, before astrophysicists explained the origin of the universe through the Big Bang. But I refuse to stand by while brainwashed rape defenders like Richard Mourdock are elected to govern me, to serve on Senate committees that take Bible passages like the ones above into account when deciding whether or not my sisters or daughters can control their own bodies. Rape is not part of God’s plan. Global warming is not part of God’s plan. War in the Middle East is not part of God’s plan. These are the plans of men, and they can be prevented by men, and women, should both decide to release themselves from the shackles of ignorance and stop outsourcing responsibility to priests, presidents, deities and dharma. There may in fact be a higher power out there, an all-knowing, all-loving universe creator that started this all, and if you are one of the many, many Americans who feels like finding a way to reach out to that power, please do so with my blessing. But I would suggest that you start your search for that being in a different book; whoever told you that’s what The Bible was about was lying. And every day you spend scouring this book for moral positives while ignoring its moral negatives is another day you drown in absurd contradictions, written thousands of years ago, by men who would probably have worshipped an ice cream truck if they saw one driving by.

The only people who have a right to be outraged by Richard Mourdock’s comments are atheists. For those who want the freedom to judge morality without the hypocrisy of worshiping an amoral God, simply give your Bible away and join the decent, caring, freethinking non-religious masses. Our ideals may not be perfect, but at least we don’t claim them to be. Plus our membership is open to all, we demand allegiance to no one, and you don’t even have to cut your foreskin off.

Adam Farasati is a screenwriter and author of the fiction novella The God Killer, available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Dear Society: Grow Some Pubes

28 Feb

shaving-pubic-hair-3The year was 1997, I was a freshman in college, and had on the previous night had the pleasure of hooking up with a girl from my dorm. Of course, the next morning there was the requisite grilling by my buddies and divulging of details, as young men are want to do. And inevitably the question arises: “Muff or shaved?”

“Totally shaved!” I exclaim, to hoots, hollers, and hi-fives in recognition of this rare and beautiful creature. Forgive our immaturity; I was 17, and could count the number of vaginas I had seen in my life on one hand.

Fifteen years later, and things have certainly changed. I’ve long since graduated, nobody hi-fives anymore, and to count the number of vaginas I’ve seen now, I’d need a Chinese kid and an abacus. But most importantly, a completely hairless vagina has become more common than Kings of Leon on the radio and, in my opinion, just as played out.

I didn’t know it back then, but the nineties marked a cultural transition in women’s body grooming in Western society. If you’re lucky enough to know a collector of Playboy Magazine back issues, take a stroll down mammary lane. Centerfolds in the 70s consistently had a healthy afro of love between their legs. In the 80s, it had been pared down somewhat, but the classic bikini line crew cut was still the norm, or for the truly adventurous, maybe the slimmer “landing strip,” or even my personal favorite, the Valentine’s Day pube heart. Then, in the mid 90s, something happened. Women started shedding their coats faster than a German Shepherd in a sauna. By the mid 2000s, bare was the norm. The last time I saw a real bush was when he left office in 2008.

I blame a lot of things. Porn is probably the biggest culprit. The shaved look has always been popular with the adult film stars, and when Internet pornography exploded in the last decade, a lot of women who would never buy an adult DVD were suddenly exposed to free smut on the interwebs. They must have seen all those sexy shaved vaginas and said “Wow, is this what other girls look like? Is this what guys find attractive?”

The sad answer was yes…guys did find this attractive. Most still do. In my discussions with fellow vagina aficionados (we have a magazine!), I’m hard pressed to find a man who prefers hair, any hair, to a cleanly waxed vajayjay. To even utter such a preference is to invite ridicule from your male friends, one step removed from wondering what penis tastes like.

Well let me come forward and be the first, but hopefully not the last, to take a stand and request with pride: LADIES…PLEASE GROW BACK YOUR PUBES.

Surely, this is not an unfair request. I can’t imagine women enjoy the tedium of shaving or the pain of waxing. Not to mention the time and cost of the grooming, or what I assume is the mild awkwardness of having a Vietnamese woman rip sheets of hair from your panocha. If you’re doing any of this for my aesthetic benefit, I’m begging you, please stop.

Pubic hair is there for a reason. Our primate ancestors were covered in hair, and with the exception of Robin Williams, modern man has shed most of it. But we keep hair in certain places: on our head, to keep us warm, and to reduce cranial trauma. And when we reach puberty, we grow hair under our arms and around our genitals.

Why? It is an indictor of sexual maturity. A hairless male or female has not reached puberty and is not of childbearing age. Back in the caveman days, if you were horny for sex and baby-making, which we all are in our late teens and beyond, then a hairless member of the opposite sex would not have offered you any reproductive benefit. Having “grass on the field” was an important indicator of maturity before IDs and driver licenses, or for that matter, before human beings could talk or have birthdays or remember how old they were. For the same reason a woman finds Colin Farrell’s scruffy beard attractive, we should, in theory, be aroused by the sight of a vaginal hair hat.

But there’s more. Human beings, like many animals, release pheromones to attract the opposite sex. As I’ve discussed in this blog before, humans can smell attractiveness in prospective partners. Where do we release pheromones from? You guessed it: Under our arms and our genitals. Pubic hair acts like a sort sponge, retaining these valuable scents in a way that hairless bodies don’t. Contrary to popular belief, pubes literally make you smell sexier.

How did we get away from this simple but effective piece of organic clothing granted to us by natural selection? Homo-Sapiens have been around for some 200,000 years, and until the last decade or so, pubic hair was the norm. I’d say that qualifies as a “short-term fad” in the grand scheme of evolution. So let’s get back to our roots, literally. Pubic hair is natural, keeps your private parts warm, and reminds me I’m not having pedophile sex with a ten year old, something I can’t say for your creepy, fully-waxed twazart. The only time I should see hairless genitals on my lover is if my wife has ovarian cancer, the chemo makes her hair fall out, and I’m cheering her up with a quick bang between hospital visits.

Men, this will be better for us as well. I’m going to let you in on a secret: about 10% of the times a woman wouldn’t have sex with you, it was because she was embarrassed because she hadn’t gotten around to pruning her hedges in a while. Ask your female friends. If we just let them grow the damn thing out, this won’t be a problem.

And I’ll tell you something else. I’m getting a little sick of trimming my own short-and-curlys. Despite all my anti-shaving rhetoric, I still do a pass with the clippers once every week or so to keep the foliage manicured. Clearly, I have bowed to peer-pressure, just like everyone else. Pubes, balls, sure. But do I trim my upper thighs as well to make the length uniform? Taint? I’m half Persian, for Christ’s sake! We’re a sexy, albeit hirsute people. If I have to spend hours grooming my genitals, I won’t have time to get drunk and show them to anybody!

Look, I’m not saying shaving isn’t without its benefits. As Larry David discovered in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, pubes can be an obstacle during oral sex. And the decline of pubes is also linked with the decline of pubic lice, which is certainly a good thing. On the other hand, shaved genitals has also been linked with increased occurrence of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Bet your waxer didn’t tell you that!

So let’s give this obsessive body grooming a rest. Show some appreciation to those ancestors who passed down their successful genes, including the hairy ones. You don’t have to go full-on Amazonian right out of the gate. Honestly, I’d settle for a Hitler mustache at this point. But if your vagina has the same haircut as Dr. Evil, you’re doing something wrong.

Being #2 is The Shit! (The Case for Beta Males)

5 Jan

A recent study of baboons found that, contrary to popular belief, being the alpha male is not all it’s cracked up to be. Alpha males face physical threats posed by rivals gunning for their mating opportunities, which can lead to injury or even death. But even worse, researchers are now learning that alpha males experience higher levels of stress due to the rigors of defending their status.

Still, it’s better to be the alpha male, who leads a risky life but has access to lots of babes, then a lowly bottom feeder baboon who fights less but can’t get laid. However, research indicates the happiest baboon may be neither the alpha male nor looser baboon. It may be the beta male.

Being number two, it turns out, is a pretty chill gig. Unlike the alpha male, you don’t get unlimited baboon poontang (or “baboontang,” as I call it). But you still get some, and you don’t have every horny bachelor trying to challenge you constantly. And the overall effect of getting a little baboon babe action, but not suffering the rigors of violence or looserdom that the guys at the top and bottom experience, makes the beta male the lowest stress male of any of the baboons.

I really related to this study. My senior year of high school, I decided to run for student office. I was Senior Class Vice President. That suited me just fine. Important enough to get noticed, but not too much responsibility.

My favorite character on The Sopranos wasn’t Tony, but his number two, Silvio. Let Tony get shot at. I’ll be with the strippers over at Bada Bing!

My favorite Looney Toon was never Bugs Bunny, but Daffy Duck. Favorite Saved By the Bell character was Slater, not Zach.

Turns out I’m just a natural beta male. I think the term has come to be incorrectly associated with finish-last nice guys and lower status men. On the contrary, the beta male is superior to many other males. He just isn’t the top dog. And in a society where the #1 killer of men is heart disease, it’s tough to understate just how valuable the low stress lifestyle of the beta male really is.

And what about women? I believe there is such a thing as a beta female as well. The alpha female is always going to have a major problem with the alpha male…he’s constantly getting into fights, and when he isn’t, he’s running around town with other chicks afforded to him by his alpha male status. Who needs that headache? I bet that in the same way certain males have evolved to occupy the lower stress, but still pleasant beta male niche, there are women who have done the same. Happy to “settle” for second best—a still perfectly handsome and successful guy—who has less of the drama and infidelity that frequently comes with an alpha dude. No doubt the shared preference for low-stress lifestyle not only makes them very compatible for each other, but also helps them fight less, cheat less, and live longer.

I put together a list of some high-profile alpha and beta relationships to help illustrate this point. Keep in mind that while everyone on both lists is famous, that does not mean they are all alpha males and females; some are just really successful betas.

Alpha Relationships:

Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo

Madonna and Sean Penn

Madonna and Sean Penn

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake

jennifer-lopez-ben-affleck-467

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

I’ve intentionally chosen these super hot female musicians because they represent the conventional alpha female…beautiful, voluptuous, and of course, high-maintenance and slightly insane. It’s not hard to imagine the likes of Madonna, Jessica and Britney being the most sought after babes in the clan, be it 2000 A.D. or 10,000 B.C. And what do they get for pairing up with macho alpha males like Sean Penn or JT? Heartbreak. And in some cases, rapid weight gain and psychiatric illness.

Beta Relationships:

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks

Michelle And Barack Obama

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

Yes, I know Barack Obama is the leader of the free world, but the guy is not an alpha male. He and Michelle are total betas…not a violent, aggressive bone in either one’s body. And don’t they make a nice couple? Ditto Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, one of my all-time favorite beta couples, who prove that nice, goofy people can become famous gazillionaires too. And I intentionally put Mr. Affleck on both lists to highlight the awesomeness of becoming a beta. Remember how miserable Ben always looked on the cover of US Weekly back in the day, dealing with the constant headaches of his lackluster acting career and annoying super-famous girlfiend J-Lo? And note how happy he is now, his high pressure acting career successfully segued to a lower profile director/actor hybrid, and his wife the less-famous-but-still-hot Jennifer Garner. The guy made the best decision of his life when he “downgraded” himself from miserable A-list alpha male to blissful B-list beta celebrity.

So here’s to you, my fellow beta males and females. If social status was a drug, the alphas would be cocaine…high highs, low lows…and we’d be marijuana, providing a mellower, but in many ways more enjoyable buzz. We might not be quite as exciting, but hey, we live longer and get fewer nose bleeds.

Occupy All Streets

31 Oct

Six weeks ago, a couple dozen protestors decided to camp out in New York’s Zucotti Park and began a movement dubbed “Occupy Wall Street.” Their numbers have since ballooned from dozens to thousands; ‘Occupy’ movements quickly spread to Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and dozens of other U.S. cities. In the last month the movement has successfully jumped the Atlantic Ocean; tens of thousands have gathered in cities across Europe, with protests now springing up in an astonishing 900 communities worldwide. And yet despite the size of the ‘Occupy’ movement, and the viral speed with which it is spreading, the question I hear most often asked of these protestors is: “What do they want?”

Well, if you spend a day marching with this group, you’ll quickly learn the majority want some basic improvements to our democracy: campaign finance reform, more corporate regulation, and an end to bank bailouts. You’ll find some folks demanding stronger environmental protections and affordable healthcare as well. These are policy demands, and good ones at that.

But this is not what they really want. They don’t want something new. They want back what has been taken from them.

They want back the Original Freedom of a Human Being.

Whether you believe in Darwinian evolution or Adam and Eve, we can all agree that early humans were free to roam the world as they pleased. We all had the same job back then: finding food, raising children, and avoiding predators. If our nomadic ancestors could do these three things, they were successful, and we can assume, happy.

Then, ten-thousand years ago, things started to change. A technological advance occurred in the form of agriculture, and that meant humans could now stay in one place, growing crops that would feed them year in and year out without the burdens of traveling long distances to hunt. With agriculture came civilization, and with the concentration of people came the concentration of wealth. Before farming, no man or woman could “own” much more than the clothing on their backs and the tools in their hand. Yet after the agricultural revolution, land suddenly had value. Livestock had value. Buildings had value. The strongest leaders, those most capable of imposing their will on others, came to control more and more of these treasures. The earliest kings were born.

In the time since those first civilizations in ancient Mesoptomia, the only thing that has fundamentally changed is this: We have traded strong, worthy kings like the fabled Hammurabi for a feeble class of politicians, bureaucrats and CEOs. That these men may be stupid, or weak, or both—is irrelevant. We have become so accustomed to the paradigm of servitude that we have forgotten why it exists in the first place.

Of course, most people don’t think of modern day America as built on servitude or oppression. In fact, most Americans are brought up to believe that this country is the freest place on Earth. Yet contrasting our modern freedoms with those of our pre-civilized ancestors reveals how few freedoms we actually have.

For instance, this country is known as the land of opportunity. But those opportunities have eroded significantly in recent years. While the official unemployment figure stands at around 9%, when you factor in people who are underemployed, quit looking for work, or forced back to school because there just aren’t any jobs for them, that unemployment number is closer to 20%. And even if you have a job, actual incomes haven’t risen at all in the past twenty years, while everything else has gotten more expensive. We are all working harder, and longer, for less. And the trend is getting worse.

Primitive man didn’t have this problem. Hunters and gatherers were not employed by anyone; they worked together to obtain food by whatever means necessary. The food itself—animals to hunt, vegetables to pick, fruits to eat—were free to whoever could procure them. They were not owned by a corporation. While food may not always have been plentiful, freedom to acquire it was. Any man could go anywhere and work hard to get what he needed. No degree, no application, no permit was required to feed yourself.

Today, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, your biggest expense is probably a simple home for you and your family. The cost of this home is merely that you work 50-70 hours a week for thirty straight years, during which time if you fail to make payments, or if something called a “housing bubble” bursts and your home loses 40% of its value, the bank has the right to kick you off of their land and onto the streets. They used to call this “indentured servitude” back in colonial times.

Primitive hunter-gatherers didn’t have this problem. Their homes were wherever they built them. Land was available to whoever chose to occupy it. And it was, of course, free.

In the modern day, citizens of western countries enjoy many basic freedoms that are the envy of our third world counterparts. For instance, in the United States, the first amendment grants ‘Occupy’ protestors such rights as freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble. These are among the most sacred freedoms bestowed by our democracy.

Yet if I shared these wonderful freedoms with our primitive ancestors, I doubt they would see much merit in them. Why, exactly, should I need permission to speak freely? Why does that right even need to be written? Exactly why should I be thankful that I am allowed to peaceably assemble? Primitive man, from the first moment he created language, could say whatever the hell he wanted to. Freedom to assemble, to practice religion, to speak your mind…these are not privileges I need granted to me. They are not even inalienable rights. These are freedoms I possess intrinsically, by simple virtue of having been born a human being. That so many modern people have consented to having these rights taken from them is no doubt the reason why Americans are foolishly glad to have the rights at all. But make no mistake; even one iota of erosion of these and other freedoms is no minor offense. Someone is stealing something from you that should never have been stealable in the first place.

I don’t mean to say that pre-civilized society was a utopic paradise. Let me be clear: The human condition has always been one of hardship. No matter what century you are born in, the universe places pain and peril in front of us. You can die of disease in the jungle, or cancer in a hospital; you can be eaten by a bear in the mountains, or hit by a bus in Manhattan. You can be bullied and oppressed by the leader of your hunter-gatherer tribe, or by the guy behind the counter at Bank of America. That life will be hard, that men will compete with each other…these are givens.

What is not a given is the degree to which we accept it. In ancient times, when we lived in tribes no bigger than one hundred people, the strong also rose to the top. But their power was checked by the majority…if they went too far, if they became too oppressive, the 99 would topple the 1. And it wasn’t that hard to do. No one man possessed the strength to defeat the will of the mob. So the one generally kept his greedy paws in check.

Occupy Wall Street, perhaps without knowing it, has rediscovered this truth. They, too, are champions of the 99%, seeking to recover some of the autonomy that has been slowly and painfully leeched from them over the centuries. They aren’t asking for much. Just the basic freedoms and dignities that they know, deep down, they should have always had anyway. Homo Sapiens have been walking around this planet for 200,000 years. For the first 190,000 of those years, we were totally, unconditionally free. Only in the last ten millennia did our ancestors begin consenting to concepts like slavery, servitude, and oppression of the many by the few. And with every day that we leave this perverse power dynamic in place, we consign our children to the same servitude that our parents left us.

Of course, contemporary society has its perks. Modern man enjoys new freedoms that our ancestors could only dream about. We are free from predation, and in the West, fear of starvation. We are free to develop and employ technologies that have increased human efficiency a thousand fold. We are even free to fly, from city to city and continent to continent. But must these gifts really come at the cost of oppression by the few? Steve Jobs, standing on the shoulders of other technological giants, created tools that are enjoyed by millions, enriching himself in the process. He was rightfully admired by his countrymen, probably because we all benefit from having wise men at the top. I like to think that Jobs would have been elevated to leader of his clan were he born 15,000 years ago, just as he was today.

The same cannot be said for Healthcare CEO’s who earn bigger bonuses by denying heart transplants to children. Or Countrywide brokers who intentionally defrauded taxpayers to line their own pockets. Or our elected politicians, who enjoy a 98% incumbency rate so long as they sell favors to lobbyists against the better interests of the American people. If some primitive version of Steve Jobs would have been an exalted tribe leader, these thieves and manipulators would have been at best exiled by the tribe and, at worst, set upon with spears and rocks as punishment for putting their greed so far above the well-being of their tribesmates. But we cannot truly blame these modern exploiters of our flawed system; they have assumed, correctly, that people are so comfortable with the status quo that no one will lift a finger to stop them. There is no mob at the doorstep. And when we do march on places like Wall Street, modern man tends to leave the spears at home. Which, if you think about it, defeats the purpose entirely.

I doubt we’ll ever get back to a true hunter-gatherer society. I don’t think that modern people could do without their cell phones and espresso machines. But perhaps the important thing to note is that, even if we wanted to, we can’t. That’s the Original Freedom that has been taken away. There is no longer anywhere in the world where you can simply go and be free, immune from the tentacles of governments and corporations. There is simply nowhere to hide from the modern oppressors. That’s why people are angry. They have had the taste of freedom described to them, they have even been told they are enjoying that taste. But they know it isn’t true. Something is missing. And for all our modern intelligence, the one person who truly understands what we hunger for is, ironically, a caveman. He conquered this planet, and partook of all of Earth’s bounties, free and unencumbered. And each and every one of us is a blood relative of his. No part of this planet belongs to any one human in particular, but to all of us. If you want to take back your birthright, your Original Freedom, don’t stop with Wall Street. Occupy All Streets.

Republican presidential nominee Herman Cain recently said of the ‘Occupy’ movement: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.” Fair enough, Herman. But you miss the point. Unlike you, most of them didn’t make ‘getting rich’ their life’s goal. They just want to be free. And you’d be wise to remember that banks, corporations, and the very notion of wealth is a mirage. It all exists only because the current system allows for it. But if things get bad enough, if your fellow tribesmen feel that your thirst for money is infringing on their personal human space, their Original Freedom…they may revert to the old system. And in that system, even the very strong can be deposed by their tribes in a heartbeat should they lose their claims to legitimacy. In fact, it just happened in Libya. A strongman of forty years had a stranglehold on power one minute, and the next, found himself being dragged through the streets, beaten and bloodied and spat upon by his subjects, before being shot in the head.

And that was the work of a mere six million angry Libyans. I’d hate to see what three-hundred million angry Americans, rediscovering their sense of freedom, could do to a guy like Herman Cain.

Penis is the new Vagina

18 Oct

If there were an award given to “Most Written About Cultural Shift of the Year,” this year the winner would be a shoo-in: The Decline of the American Male. It seems like every week I read another treatise on this subject du jour from a prominent female writer.

To summarize: there is a growing consensus that the number of “quality” men in America is in steady decline. By conventional standards, this is certainly true. Economically, men are in tough times. Despite everything you’ve been taught about gender inequality, women now make up the majority of the work force. They get more bachelor and graduate degrees than men, and hold over 50% of all professional positions in the country. Three-fourths of the 7.5 million jobs lost since 2008 were lost by men, and those construction and factory jobs are not coming back. In other words, American men are now second to women in access to jobs, and thus, money. In increasingly large numbers, men are giving up on growing up: Careers and marriage are being postponed, leading to a semi-employed state of being that economists now refer to as “just sort of fucking around.” Men used to be worthless until about age 30. For the upcoming Facebook generation, go ahead and push that back to 40.

That’s a tectonic shift, from an evolutionary point of view. Healthy young human males have controlled access to food and resources since time immemorial. What are the ramifications of this shift for modern men and women?

Well, a lot. The most important result, at least from the point of view of annoyed single women, has been a shift in mating norms. Good successful men, it seems, are now harder and harder to come by. And when they do come your way, they are less interested in monogamy than ever. Consider this example:

There are ten men and ten women in a group of single people. The most desirable guy is Justin Timberlake. The most desirable girl is Mila Kunis. In normal times, we would expect Justin and Mila to end up together and eventually get married. Justin may play the field for a while, but Mila is the hottest girl available, and her Grade A womb is the most desired resource in town. If he wants exclusive grabbing rights to her sumptuous funbags, he’ll need to make a commitment. If he doesn’t, she might settle for the second hottest guy. The other men and women will pair up accordingly as well, and if Justin doesn’t want to get left out of the mating game, he better take the plunge with Mila. That’s basically how mating works, and has always worked.

But what if you take five of the ten single guys out of the equation? Now you have ten girls competing for five guys. Mila is still the hottest girl, Justin still the hottest guy…but everything has changed. Not only is Justin up to his ears in babes…all the guys are. They can screw around as long as they want without fear of being left mateless. And poor Mila…she has lost all her leverage. She can’t wait forever; she needs to have babies with someone. Justin’s sperm, not Mila’s womb, is now the number one resource in this group, and he’s doling it out on his terms, vis a vis casual encounters, not commitment.

That’s America today. The male herd has been thinned. Unemployed, moneyless, living with their parents…many of these men are, to single women, undateable. That makes the dateable ones infinitely more attractive. Thus they are waiting longer and longer to get married and have kids, enjoying the unfettered access to multiple women the landscape affords them. There’s an accepted rule that in general, about 20% of men are sleeping with about 80% of women. These days, that disparity is even more pronounced. Suffice to say, it is a good time to be a decent looking guy with a six figure income. Even the losers benefit from the winner’s scraps: When the hot guys keep putting off commitment, girls end up settling for men they would never have considered previously.

SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. For generations, women struggle to achieve economic equality with men. Men resist this obvious challenge to their supremacy. Then, in the past decade, the economy falls apart and women finally supplant men in access to resources. The result? Women are getting married later, if at all, to less desirable men; Men are having more casual sex, with more and hotter women, an activity which helps them fill the hours between getting drunk and playing their Xbox since they don’t have to work anymore.

There is only one word to describe this: Hilarious.

Look, I come from a family of successful professional women, and have the utmost respect for the contributions of women in the workplace. But you gotta admit, in getting caught up in the whole women’s lib movement, somebody didn’t do the math. Ever have a job where you got a “promotion,” but all it meant was a lot more work for very little more pay? That’s what women signed up for. A lot more work, and not a lot of reward to show for it.

This isn’t a unique phenomenon, by the way. In nature, this happens all the time. Be it mice, baboons or humans, when access to quality males decreases, sperm value goes up and the system falls out of whack. It’s supply and demand. The only difference is that historically, quality males have usually been lost through things like war. And when that happens (as in post World War II Russia, for instance) women are forced to work harder, have more babies out of wedlock, and rely more on family and friends for parental support than the biological fathers, who are too in demand for their babymaking abilities to worry much about actually raising the lil’ bastards. What’s different this time? Quality American men didn’t die fighting in a war. Women demanded this gender reversal.

Well, be careful what you wish for. Every double standard is about to be turned on its head. All those years of women fighting for the right to work? Get ready for men fighting for the right to stay home. Cooking, cleaning, and occasionally putting out? Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me. To make matters worse, men are lazy. Once we get comfortable in the role of housewife, we’re not going to be too amped on picking up part-time work to help pay the bills. We’ll lie and say we were sending out resumes while you were at work, when really we’ll just be sitting on the couch, smoking weed and making fantasy football trades.

I think this social experiment might have had a chance in a better economy, with enough good jobs for the majority of men and women to be employed. But a couple decades of deregulation, outsourcing, and wealth redistribution out of the middle class has ensured the worst is yet to come. But really, nature was against this role-reversal from the start. Aside from a couple vestigial nipples, male mammals just don’t have the plumbing to give birth. So even if we agree to this job swap, women are still going to get screwed, figuratively and literally, since they have to carry the babies for 9 ½ months regardless. Women can never really be liberated from the rigors of motherhood (nor do they want to be).

By the way, it ain’t all peaches and cream for men either. Men liked having jobs. We liked having to compete for women’s affections. This is no fun anymore. Getting laid has gotten too easy, because women are desperate, and breaking up has gotten too hard, also because women are desperate. And who can blame the ladies? Women in today’s pitiful male meat market are like starving orphans, and any guy with decent credit and a job at Best Buy is looking like filet mignon. Plus, men need relationships as much as women. There is no stronger predictor of success in men than marriage and fatherhood. Fathers and committed men make more money, live longer, and are happier than their single peers. So while the lifetime bachelor lifestyle may look good on paper, in reality, it’s not in men’s best interest any more than it is in women’s.

Oh, America. What did we think would happen? Why the need to tamper with hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection? Everything was working so well. Now, I’m afraid the clock can’t be turned back. Are women simply going to give up their gains and go back to the kitchen? Doubt it. Would we men let them even if they wanted to? Impossible…they’re more important to the workforce now than we are.

The only way forward, it seems, is to redefine the expectations we have in partners. We must overpower our primitive brains and squeeze them into this modern, gender-bent world. Men don’t need to be physically strong any more; it serves little or no purpose. Apparently, our incomes aren’t important either, since women are more than capable of earning their own dough. So women, quit chasing muscular men…those sexy abs are useless. Quit dating guys with nice cars…you can buy your own. Instead, just target the men who will help you raise the most successful daughters possible, as these daughters will be ruling the world in 30 years. I’d start by seeking men who are loyal and interested in raising kids, and not afraid to take on the litany of responsibilities that used to fall to women. Potential PTA presidents and soccer dads are the smart mate choice for today’s professional women. And if he can cook, that’s nice too. Other than our sperm, I’m not sure we’ve got much else to contribute these days.

Mean Girls: Why adolescent women spread rumors

8 Sep

Dear Blunt Monkey,

My cousin just started her senior of high school. She recently hooked up with a guy at a party, and all of a sudden her “friends” started spreading rumors about how she had sex with the guy and how she’s this big slut. The whole school thinks she slept with this guy even though they barely did anything. You have any advice to help get her reputation back?

Rumors, insults, and social ostracization are all forms of what are called “indirect aggression.” Unlike direct aggression (basically, punching someone in the face), indirect aggression is sneakier, exposes the assailant to less blowback, and is the preferred method of meanness among men and women as they get older and smarter.

But why are her classmates sending aggression her way in the first place? Well, it has everything to do with intrasexual competition…that is, girls competing with girls for available guys. Humans are social creatures, and somewhere a few thousand years back in our history some clever (and mean) girls and guys realized that if they could lower their rivals’ social status, they could make them seem inferior on the dating market and create more sexual opportunities for themselves.

For guys, the strategy is fairly straightforward. The cool, tough guys in school bully and denigrate those who are nerdier than them; the nerds become social pariahs and no girls will date them. Trust me, this strategy is highly effective…like many nerds, I was a virgin at graduation, despite my numerous accolades each year from “Model United Nations.” (I could solve famine in Sierra Leone, but I could not convince Sara to bone).

For girls, it’s a little more interesting. Young ladies seem to target their attacks not on nerds, but on girls who actually are pretty. Studies show that indirect aggression—rumors, demeaning comments, name-calling—actually are targeted most at girls perceived to be physically attractive. This is because attractive girls represent the biggest threats to other girls.

The effects of this bullying are two-fold. 1) Research indicates that victims of indirect aggression are more likely to have sexual relationships at a younger age. 2) Victims of indirect aggression have more sexual partners in middle school and high school.

Now from an evolutionary perspective, this is counter-intuitive…if someone has sex earlier, and with more people, they should technically be more reproductively successful, as they would pass on their genes to more kids, having started earlier and hooked up with more guys. But long-term, the effects are quite damaging. Turns out that tricking girls into having sex too young and with too many guys is the goal of the female bullies: this is why they brand victims as “sluts,” or say they dress like “whores.” The insults are a direct attack on the two things men value most in prospective mates: faithfulness and attractiveness. Through bullying and social ostracization, they have turned an attractive girl into someone who is perceived to sleep with anyone and who dresses in ways that highlight her infidelity. Worst of all, data shows victims of indirect aggression are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic illness, all of which likely conspires to make the victim insecure and more likely to seek social inclusion through any means necessary, including sleeping with guys in an attempt to become more popular and accepted. So even if you weren’t a slut to begin with, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The result is that the popular bullies have less competition for the true goal…gaining long-term relationships with high quality males. Or to put it another way: the captain of the football team makes out with the cute new girl at school, so the mean head cheerleader spreads a rumor that she’s a dirty slut. Now football guy doesn’t want anything to do with slutty new girl, and head cheerleader ends up dating him. In caveman times, this would have meant she actually got the resources and protection offered in a monogamous relationship, whereas the rejected girl would get nothing, except maybe a fatherless baby. Interestingly, research shows that the bullies don’t even need to be well liked for this strategy to work. Sadly, school age students seem content to grant social power to those perceived as strong, even if everyone hates them.

So what’s a girl to do? Here’s my advice to your cousin:

1) For starters, get your self-esteem straight. The whole reason you’re being victimized is because other girls find you threatening, which means you’re actually pretty hot and don’t need to fall into the victim mindset.

2) Don’t fall into the trap of becoming what people think you are. We all know that in middle school and high school, stories spread like wildfire as they travel through the rumor mill. A peck on the cheek in first period becomes a handjob by lunch, and by the end of the day even the principal heard you had a three-way with Cee Lo Green and the school janitor. So resist the urge to commit even mild sexual indiscretions with any guys who aren’t your boyfriend, as they might endanger your fragile reputation.

3) Fight fire with fire. Hopefully you have your own social network to combat vicious rumors. That’s most of the reason we humans form friendship cliques in the first place…it’s for social protection as much as it is for physical protection. If you have some, send your real besties out to correct the lies. Maybe they can even start some of their own.

4) If all else fails, get back to your cavewoman roots…and opt for some good old-fashioned direct aggression. The cheerleader might have more social status than you, but that’s just because nobody has the balls to challenge her. Why not knock her down a peg, literally, with a surprise catfight? Smack that bitch in the face, pull her hair, rip her earring out. If you beat her up good enough, she might be so humiliated she has to transfer schools. How’s that for ostracization! Oh, maybe your parents won’t agree with this advice, and maybe you’ll get suspended, and maybe you’ll even get a hunk of your own hair pulled out. But you know what? At least you’ll have stood up for yourself. That sends a powerful message to your classmates…think twice before spreading rumors about this girl.

In the end, remember this one thing: High School is, as scientists say, “just a bunch of fucking bullshit.” Nothing that happens there has any real impact on the rest of your life…unless you let it. If you want to be labeled a victim and have that haunt you through your reproductive years, I can’t stop you. But the truth is that after you turn eighteen you’ll probably never see 95% of those numbnards ever again. Keep your confidence up, your real friends close, and your GPA high, and in a year you’ll be off to commence your adulthood and have the best time of your life at some college on the other side of the country, where nobody knows your high school reputation and the future is as bright as you want it to be.

Just try not to suck any cocks your first week there.