Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chez Hell

I went to a Hell House over the weekend to recommit myself to Jesus smirk along with all the other smirking hipsters.

A Hell House is a concept first popularized by Jerry Fallwell in the ‘70s. It’s based on the concept of a haunted house, only the horrors within are designed to scare the shit out of those wacky Christian teens with scenes including gay marriage, rape at the rave, and cheerleader abortion (cheerleader abortion comes complete with pom poms and bloody chicken parts, sure to wipe that lascivious look off of little Billy’s face).

For $300, you can buy your own Hell House kit, which I understand is comprised of a script, a DVD with staging suggestions and sound effects, and notes on what kind of meat is best used to represent an aborted fetus for maximum shock value.

The theatre company who staged the Hell House, Les Freres Courbusier, did the whole thing in deadly earnest. According to the literature, hundreds, if not thousands, of these things are staged every year throughout the, um, ‘middle’ parts of the country. Once the youths endure the horrors of the house, they are expected to recommit themselves to Jesus with newfound vigor at a lively Christian music hoedown and pin their sins on Jesus, who is present in the form of a cardboard poster. In my group, people wrote things like “I love Noam Chomsky, “ and “I took the morning-after pill waiting on line at CVS,” and then stuck them right on Jesus.

Les Freres stayed completely true to the evangelical script, which of course played out to raucous laughter with the crowd I run with, but I could see how, in the rest of the country, things like gay marriage probably really are the scariest thing young people might fear encountering. Of course those homos got married and immediately one died of AIDS, and this is the message that I fear kids in Kansas or wherever really believe and really take to heart.

All of my New York and California living has provided me with, I’m starting to realize, a limited perception on how must of this country really operates and thinks. I mean, to me and everyone else I know, evolution is a given. Yet, in Kansas, the intelligent design debate rages. Our president believes in intelligent design. (Well, then again, look at our president . . .)

I know it’s not as simple a matter as red state, blue state, but it really does freak me out that a great deal of this country truly believes fags go to hell, abortion is murder, and that reading Harry Potter is aligned with Satanism. To each his own, but sometimes one’s own is just fucked up.
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Friday, October 27, 2006


I work in an office that is, probably, 80% women. Our website is broken into seven different channels of interest, one of which is Entertainment. This means that, on occasion, famous people make their way into the office.

Yesterday was another harried day, with meetings stacked up, one after the other, all afternoon. I was trying to squeeze in a bit of writing work before I was due to attend my next meeting, when a magpie-like level of chatter filtered its way down the hall to my veal-farm cubicle.

I ignored it, as I had about 30 minutes to cram in two hours of work if I wanted to stay reasonably near deadline.

But the chatter cresecndoed by orders of magnitude, reaching a female-voiced shriek.

"What the hell is going on down there?" I groused to myself as I gathered up my papers and wireframes to head to my next meeting.

I emerged into the hallway to see a gaggle of my colleagues clustered about in a tittering, buzzing bunch, all facing the same direction and positively pulsing with glee.

And who were they clustered about?

Yep, that's Fabio, with my friend Jen. Frickin' Fabio!

The man is tanned like a Samsonite suitcase. I imagine he is totally waterproof and, if his after-death plans include burial, his corpse will probably escape putrifecation entirely due to the fact that hide like that is more than a match for worms and bacteria.

To his credit, he did seem really nice, and was totally good-natured about posing for umpteen photographs with my screaming co-workers. He did seem to want to pick everyone up like we were all auditioning for roles on the cover of the next hot Harlequin romance novel

(here he is hoisting my friend Madlena). I took a pass on getting a photo or getting picked up, because I didn't need the responsibility of potentially herniating a national icon.

To sum up: walking down the office hallway + seeing Fabio = totally surreal.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pssst . . .

Yeah, you're in the right place.

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