First, the editor told me that one of the jokes was more editorializing than joke-making. (It read in its entirety: "Agnosticism is the one true faith.") Secondly, he asked me to cut the "no homo" section (see below) because I would "get killed in the comments section." And lastly, he suggested I cut the last part that poked fun at Chick-fil-A. It made him laugh, he said, but the humor was dated.
Thinking we were going through the normal editing process, I weighed his comments for a day or so. I wondered how removing sections would throw off the rhythm and the sequencing. A piece like this is similar to a game of Jenga, remove too many pieces or put them in the wrong place in the wrong way and the whole thing topples over. I agreed to cut the agnosticism joke; what seemed funny in my head came across as heavy-handed on the page. But to me, the other two parts were integral to the broader perspective and point-of-view of the whole piece. I didn't care too much about getting "killed in the comments section." As long as I'm confident in my POV, I'm fine with people getting offended. Don't expect an apology from me. Bite my tongue for no one. Anyone who would take the "no homo" joke seriously just isn't paying close enough attention anyway. As for the final section of the piece, it seemed a strong way to end; the datedness didn't really faze me. It still had some punch to it. Chick-fil-A and Mike Huckabee and homophobes everywhere deserve the mockery. But perhaps the editor has a bit of a point, I thought, that Chick-fil-A thing was a while ago. Still no reason to cut the whole section. I revised the end of the piece a bit to bring it up to date and sent the whole thing off.
The editor's response: "How about we go with 'No Homo'...but cut Chik-fil-A? They're advertisers, so I'm concerned about that one."
I mulled it a bit, which was lame of me, but in the end it didn't make much sense to censor myself and mutilate my piece to make Chick-fil-A happy. I mean, all Chick-fil-A has ever given me is stomach aches and diarrhea. And I'm not pining to get accolades and love from the Chick-fil-A corporate offices. No writer has ever jumped up and said, "They love my work down at Chick-fil-A!" Most of all, even if my work appeared on a website called The Good Men Project, there's no way I could reasonably call myself a Good Man while silencing myself so some people somewhere could sell a few more homophobic chicken sandwiches.
As Method Man would say, "If you can't join 'em, beat 'em."
Here's the piece, it goes best with the new "No homoburger" from your local Chick-fil-A:
LITTLE KNOWN BIBLE VERSES
If thou giveth even a single Skittle to a 6-year-old dressed as Spongebob on the 31st of October, then thou hath sinned against the Lord and worshipped mine enemy.
Thou shalt surrender 10 percent of thy salary to a man in alligator-skin boots so that man may purchase a Rolls Royce, for that is the automobile of the Lord.
Thou shalt shout out the Lord thy God three to four times an hour in thy Facebook status.
Thee can pray all thou wants for a Superbowl victory, but if thou playest for the Buffalo Bills then thou shall always lose for I am a petty and vengeful God and a long time ago a cornerback from the Bills cut in front of Me at Subway and then when the sandwich artist finally got to Me they were out of the kind of bread I like. So I turned to this fool, pointed my finger and was like, Thou shalt regret that.
On the Monday after the celebration of the resurrection of thy Lord and Savior, thou shalt return to thy sad and soul crushing labor, for a gigantic meal with people thou don’t really like is worthy of a national holiday, but not the return of a man from the dead. Goeth and figureth.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat—” And before Jesus could finish speaking, the disciple Thomas cut him off and said, “Um, Jesus, you know if this bread is gluten free?”
All religions are just different paths to the same destination. Except Scientology. That shit's crazy. So saith the Lord.
And forthwith Judas came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, master”; and kissed him. And there did follow a long awkward silence in which both Judas and Jesus looked first out into the sky and then down at their feet. And Judas did chuckle a bit and Jesus did blush. And Judas swept his hair with his hand and said, “Uh, no homo.”
On Easter Sunday and on Christmas day as well, if thou doth believeth, then thou shalt log onto thy social network accounts and proclaim thy superiority over those who do not believe. If thou doth not believe then thou shalt log on and spread the good word about thy fealty to reason and how it makes thou intellectually superior to the believer. And it shall all be very insufferable. And for everyone else—those who don’t really care that much—Facebook and Twitter shall be more unpleasant than usual. Best to just log off and go enjoy thy day.
After the Sermon, the disciple Tom raised his hand. “Jesus,” he said. “If your message boils down to ‘Just don’t be a dick,’ then why do so many act like dicks in your name?” Jesus nodded, then Jesus shrugged and then Jesus wept.
The animals on Noah’s Ark numbered in the millions—some more flavorsome than even goats and chickens and cows, but Noah’s family dined on the really, really delicious ones and after the flood cleared there were no truly tasty animals left.
“Dude, are we drinking your blood?”
And Jesus did see Mary Magdalene walking down a street in Galillee and she did look fine as frog’s hair. And He called out: "Turn the other cheek this way, baby!"
There came a time when the prophet Mike Huckabee appeareth on Fox News and said: “People, I have spoken to the Lord and he still hates the whole gay thing—I don’t know, something about butt sex. And here’s the bad news: he said you’re either with Him or against Him on this one. But the good news is, there’s a special chicken sandwich you can eat to ward off the gay.”
And the righteous did descend upon Chick-fil-a. After eating the greasy chicken patties upon dry bread, the righteous descended upon the bathroom and there followed much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And the righteous cried out:
“God, what is this nasty shit?”
“This shit taste like some doodooronemy.”
“Lord, why has thou forsaken thee. Couldn’t you order us to eat at Friday’s or something?”
And the Lord did take pity upon His children, showering them in Barilla pasta. The righteous rejoiced and clapped and sang and waved their arms as their blood sugar spiked from the carbohydrate intake.
(cross posted at: forgottentunneltv.tumblr.com)