The “Dog Days of Summer” have as much to do with actual dogs as CAT Scan has to do with cats. The term actually refers to the ancient miscalculation that the “dog star” Sirius is closest to the sun during July and August and therefore is responsible for the year’s hotest weather. Nevertheless, I can always count on some dog “controversies” to come sniffin’ around this time of the year, collect their share of fleas, pee on the collective media carpet, then role back over and go to sleep.
Leading the list this year is the canonization of the latest “folk hero” Steven Slater, the Jet Blue steward who went bonkers on a recent flight after being hit in the head by an overhead luggage bin door. Clearly the head-bonking was merely a trigger that unleashed in Slater a flood of pent up frustrations after years of airborn cattle drives. Have you flown lately? What was not to long ago a fairly comfortable, seamless, even luxurious mode of transport has lately become akin to a municipal bus ride through downtown Tegulcigalpa, lacking only the Indian woman in the bowler hat with a live pig on her lap. And you can bet that reality is not far off. Hell, I’m surprised Slater didn’t go postal that day, so I view his little trip down the inflatable ramp while quaffing a $5 Hienekin an act of pure restraint. But, christ, why are we still talking about him 2 weeks later? Is Slater really acting out on behalf of the “little guy”, or is he just a another kooky dipshit who let the pressures of the job get to him? Not since Joe-the-Dumb-Ass-Plumber has some average shlub gotten more media play.
The other big dog issue is all the hullabaloo about the Islamic cultural center proposed to be built a few blocks from “ground zero” in Manhattan. Frankly, I’m sick-as-shit about all the babble in recent years about religion, beliefs, “values”, and other superstitions. We now have a “god-given” right to bear arms. What’s next, a “god given” right to bare arms? Please stop with all the hocus-pocus bullshit, America, and pull yourself out of the Dark Ages.
But there’s Obama, just having to weigh in on the Islamic Center issue, during a Ramadam ceremony at the White House last week. Ramadam, of course, is the cleasing ritual practiced by Muslims who attempt to atone for their sins by skipping lunch for a month. Whatever. Actually it was fairly gutsy for the Prez to speak out on such a “controversy”, but you have to admit, he picked a pretty safe audience. But then shit met fan and the usual right wing douche bags (John Kyl, John Boehner, the odious Charles Krauthammer) jumped into the fray with all their nonsense about “hallowed ground” and the people “speaking with one voice”, and Obama backed down, “redefining” his comments. Since then, I’m sure he has redefined his redefinition a few dozen more times, but when it’s all said and done, the cultural center will be built and there’s frankly nothing anybody can do about it except flap their jaws.
Which is really what all of this, and the other summertime issues and controversies amount to in the final analysis: filling the hot air with more hot air until the country finally says “enough”, turns off the tube, cracks a brewski, throws a few slabs on the grill, and waits for football season to start. Ah, the backyard patio: America’s true hallowed ground. And football: America’s true religion.