First one concerns this runaway bride from Georgia who took off earlier in the week and turned up in New Mexico, and the news coverage thereof. OK, when she "disappeared" on Tuesday, I guess that was kind of a news story, though I don't know what made her more important than any of the hundreds (if not thousands) of other people who go missing every year, other than the fact that she was cute and white and engaged. But now that we know she had not been kidnapped after all but merely got cold feet and ditched her fiancee, why is this story still getting covered out the wazoo? The situation has been downgraded from "innocent woman kidnapped, possibly dead" to "some dipshit decided she didn't want to get married" and it's still getting deeper media coverage than people getting blown up all over Iraq or reports of torture and abuse at Guantanamo Bay?
Furthermore, it really chafes me that so many people are trying to give Jennifer Wilbanks an out by saying, Ohhh, the stress of the wedding was getting to her, poor bayyyy-bee! I would imagine that an impending marriage is stressful for approximately 100 percent of the people who have ever gotten married, yet a majority of those people -- a substantial majority, I might add -- have managed not to disappear to the other side of the country and make a bogus 911 call about being kidnapped. Then there's this bit of buffoonery:
Jennifer Wilbanks, the 32-year-old Duluth woman who vanished only days before her expensive and elaborate wedding was to occur, resurfaced Saturday. First, she concocted an excuse for disappearing. Then she admitted she had fled to rethink the wedding.
Experts say she likely couldn't handle the stress of feeling out of control and caught up in something that had grown unexpectedly enormous and couldn't be stopped, Baumgardner and other mental health experts said Saturday.
Something that had grown unexpectedly enormous? Look, darling Jennifer did not wake up one morning to find that 600 people had somehow invited themselves to her wedding. Couldn't be stopped? Only if someone put a gun to her head and demanded that she keep all two dozen freaking attendants for the wedding ceremony. It seems that what we have here is yet another case of someone seeking "affluence sympathy" -- meaning our society has grown so wealthy and extravagant that people now expect sympathy for the kinds of problems that are spawned by living too well. Your wedding's too big? Awww, somebody needs a hug! Gasoline is too expensive? Awww, nobody told you your 5800-pound, forty-thousand-dollar Ford Expedition would get shitty gas mileage, did they, you poor thing!
Yeah, yeah, I know, bang bang, court is in session, the Honorable Judgey McJudge presiding. But as much as I (usually) hate to be one of those humorless, scoldy liberals whose favorite phrase is "children are starving in Darfur" . . . well, children are starving in Darfur, and yet they're not even on the American public's radar screen because so much of the space is being taken up by some suburban twit who bitched out on her wedding. The Constitution only guarantees you the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," it does not guarantee you the right to happiness itself, and that means that if you're not happy with how big your wedding has grown and you're not sure you want to get married, you man the fuck up and talk to your fiancee/family about it, you have not suddenly earned the right to go Greyhounding off to Albuquerque and spinning fanciful yarns about how someone supposedly kidnapped your ass. And if for whatever reason you do choose Plan B, you certainly shouldn't get turned into some kind of media darling.
Ahhh, yes. Now on to Rant 2.
This morning on Fox News (and a pre-emptive "shut up" to all who would be outraged about that, I've explained my Fox-watching as clearly as I possibly can, though I did get some level of karmic come-uppance in the fact that Juliet Huddy was off this morning), during what meager coverage they did give to the recent wave of violence in Iraq, there were repeated references made to President Bush's "strategy" (if it can be called that) of "fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them over here," and I realized just how much that explanation has begun to bother me. Replace "fighting the terrorists" with any difficult, disgusting, or just plain tedious task and imagine yourself doing it at a friend's house because you don't want to mess up your own, and think of how freaking inconsiderate it sounds: I'm checking my kid for lice over there so I don't have to do it over here. I'm letting my dog take a shit over there so I don't have to do it over here. If you used that kind of rationale for doing those things, your neighbors would kind of start to think you were a first-class dick, wouldn't they?
So maybe this kind of explains why other countries, whether this is of any concern to you or not, think we're a bunch of assholes right now. Instead of dealing with terrorism on our own soil, we decided we didn't want to dirty our hands with it, so Bush basically threw a dart at a map to determine which country we could stomach completely fucking up in a protracted street war against terrorist insurgents, and the dart landed on Iraq, a country ruled by someone who, while a dirtbag, had only the most tenuous of connections to the terrorists who had actually started this off in the first place. Look, it's perfectly understandable that we wouldn't want to fuck up our own country in the war against terrorism -- particularly after we saw just how much potential for fucking-up there was after 9/11 -- but how do you think the Iraqis felt when they learned our country's attitude was basically " . . . but we've got no problem fucking up your country to fight terrorism"? Their country was selected practically at random to be the venue for this big-ass battle royale between Bush and the terrorists, and this isn't like the Super Bowl or a Playboy casting call where you want to be the place chosen to host it. This was more like Hey, we've selected y'all's town to be the site of our new toxic-waste dump, and as someone who's probably going to need to head down to Target for a gas mask if the shit ever hits the fan just down the road in Anniston, I've got plenty of sympathy for anyone who'd be pissed off about that.
Or think about it this way: Imagine that Canada is having some internal problems with a particularly belligerent tribe of natives who are pissed off about their living conditions and poor treatment by the Canadian government and as a result are doing shit like sabotaging Canadian highways and going into Winnipeg and Edmonton and trashing buildings and holding up convenience stores. The Canadian government wants to put down the rebellion, but instead of dealing with it in their own country, they send the Canadian army down to the tribe's reservation in Montana and start kicking some native ass, in the hopes that the Canadian tribe members will be enraged and flock to the Montana reservation to defend their oppressed brothers and sisters. Now Canada gets to whack the Indian rebellion and they don't even have to mess up any of their own country in the process. Good for them, but the folks in Montana -- and really the entire United States -- would probably not take at all kindly to that, wouldn't you think?
At any rate, the " . . . so we don't have to fight them over here" rationale is stupid in and of itself, because we're always going to be fighting them over here regardless of who we invade overseas. If we're not fighting them over here, why do I have to take my shoes off before I get on a plane? Why are Muslims still getting rounded up and thrown in jail? Because we're still in danger, and that danger didn't decrease one bit just because Bush decided to attack Iraq -- it wasn't like al-Qaeda immediately suspended all North American operations so that they could send all their available personnel to fight the infidels in Baghdad. They still want to attack here, kids, and if you don't believe that, then you may need a little educatin', kid.
Anyway. Maybe I'm the only person pissed off by any of this. If so, I do hope you'll let me know. Until then, I'm just going to assume I'm right.