An Exercise In Arguing The Other Side

Preface – The following monologue does not represent my own beliefs.  A couple of years ago I was tasked with writing and performing a piece at a small theatre, of which I was having some difficulty with.  I talked with the director and he said that he had an idea that would be perfect for me.  There are times when you are talking with a person and you are getting a long perfectly, when they suddenly give an opinion or make a statement that it so drastically opposite of your own that it completely breaks your perception of that person.  Lawrence Kasdan called it “The Big Chill” and based an entire movie off of it.  So I set to write a monologue that argued a viewpoint that was in opposition of my own, and it really worked.  Writing and performing this monologue was uncomfortable for me and the audience responded just how I wanted them to (shocked and disturbed).  By putting a human voice to the issue, by making that voice a good person, it’s harder to demonize the opposition which is something we all tend to do on these sorts of issues.  But just remember, the following is in no way representative of my own beliefs.  Honestly, the only thing I care about marriages and the law is I think there should be a federal fund to have a required open bar at every wedding, and I’m willing to pay any tax to reach that end.

Jerimiah: So, what do you think about gays getting married?

(waits for audience reaction/silence)

Jerimiah:  Hmmm.  That’s what most people say.  Some believe that people are afraid to say what they think on the matter because you may never know who will turn out to be gay.  That guy right there might be gay.  The girl in the revealing outfit might be a big lesbo.  Who knows?  It’s almost trendy to be homosexual now.  So no one wants to say what they really feel about the subject of gay marriage because they are afraid they might offend the person sitting next to them.  But that’s not the real reason.  The real reason is because people just know it’s wrong, but they can’t explain why it is.  They understand it is a sin and a crime against nature, but they don’t have the words to express this feeling.  It’s trendy to be a queer, and peer pressure has a way of . . . crippling morals.

Now I’m not some nut case on a power trip, or a closet-case trying to hide myself by railing against my own kind.  I don’t buy into the bullshit that, “If you let a man marry another man today, you’ll get a man marrying a Chihuahua tomorrow.”  The homosexual and the zoophile have nothing in common, unless the zoophile wears stylish tight jeans.  And frankly, if you have to resort to fornication with a small rodent-like animal, I would presume that you do not have enough fiduciary stability for fashion.  And I’m not a homophobe.  Some of my dearest friends are gay, good people, people I trust with my life, the life of my children.  They, like anyone else on this earth, can be the most courageous examples of humanity.  But of divinity?  The smartest kid in my class room is gay, and he is going to go places.  Big places.  And at the end, one low, dark, horrible place.

Because homosexuality, in all its forms (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) are against God’s law.  It is stated clearly in the Bible, in the word of God.  Leviathans 18:22.  “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  Leviathans 20:13.  “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act.”  And Corinthians.  6:9.  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, nor homosexuals, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Do I think it’s fair?  Fuck no, I don’t think it is fair, but damned if it isn’t simple.  Because I don’t get to make the decision.  I don’t get to write the book.  We don’t get to pick and choose which rules we follow.  We don’t get to decide what laws to abide by and what laws to upend, especially not His law.  So if that means that God says that some of my friends have to be damned, then they will be.

So what do I think about gay marriage?  Officially, I am against it, because who ever said faith was easy?

A Carpenter Speaks His Mind

Based off of a conversation I overheard years ago.

Mike the Carpenter:  Are you kidding me?  Those people aren’t LA folks.  You don’t know any true LA folks except me.  Los Angeles is a hub for the interstate immigrant.  All these people from across the country, across the fucking globe, come here in hopes for the quick bucks and star dreams.  They come out here, trying to be LA, act LA, but they don’t know the first thing about what it’s like because the people they learn from aren’t people who are from here!  They come out here and take our jobs, eat our food, live off our land, pack our freeways, drink our liquor and sleep with our women.  They flick their cigarette butts out their windows and pee in our oceans.  They act like dicks all in the name of “Pursuing the Dream” or some horseshit like that.  They give us a bad name.  And then after seven to fifteen years they realize they are nothing but a bunch of boring, country bumpkins and that they never stood a chance out here.  Then they move back to Bumfuck, Iowa or wherever they come from, marry the fat girl across the street, poop out a few kids and then live out the rest of their lives waiting for their children to put them in a home.  And what are we left with?  Scars.  They’ve turned a gorgeous land of boardwalks and orange groves into a dried husk.  And they’ll tell their friends back home, “Oh yeah, I hate LA.  It’s a shitty town covered in glitter and asphalt.”  But they know it was because it was filled with people just like them, fucking parasites.  And they’ll feel a pang of guilt, as they should!  But it won’t last long, because they never took the time to love this city.  Not like I do.

Phil the Student:  So what is the real Los Angeles?

Mike the Carpenter:  Not your Hollywood clubs or film openings, I can tell you that.  Los Angeles is the palm tree silhouette at sunset.  It’s sharing a cervesas with a few immigrants who don’t speak much English that you’ve hired to help you build a fence, and laughing together for no real reason.  It’s culture reinvented.  It’s the pull of the Pacific surf that carries away your troubles.  It’s good, hard working people who come here not to live the dream but to simply live.  It’s heat and sea breeze.  It’s a blooming rose all year long.   It’s all of that, piled under the trash left by tourists.

Phil the Student:  Do you have to be born here to be true LA?

Mike the Carpenter:  No, but the odds aren’t in their favor.

Phil the Student:  So . . . which one am I?

Mike the Carpenter: (pauses, swings his beer, stares at Phil)  How long have you been here?

Phil the Student:  About five years.

Mike the Carpenter:  Hmm.  Give it three more, and then we’ll see. 

Reaching for Valhalla (A Monologue)

MORRISON:  Valhalla is empty.  The Elysian fields are dried and dead, a dirt farm.  There is no honor in war anymore, no nobility left in fighting.  There was a time when you walked to the battlefield with a weapon that was made by hands, trained hands, a weapon that was an extension of your hands, and that when you lowered your hands against someone else, your tool and you became as one, and with that strength you were able to conquer empires.  Build cities.  Lead a people.  Or when a good gun was something that was expensive, hard to get and hard to use, when it took skill to obtain and maintain one let alone use it, there was a power to defend and to be great.  To be heroes.  But now?  Nothing.  All of that magic, the ability to be a warrior fighting for something, fighting for truth disappeared the day when guns were made en mass by machines and became far too easy to buy and shoot.  Don’t you see?  It’s not about bravery or valor anymore, those words don’t mean anything today.  It’s all about who has the most firepower.  People kill each other from hundreds of miles away, with tanks and missiles, with never ever seeing the face of the lives they take.  There is no price to pay.  No matter what you fight for, there is nothing true about that.

There is no place for a warrior in today’s societies.  Soldiers, sure.  Soldiers are mindless.  They have one purpose, to fight and win.  Not saying that isn’t honorable, but they are single minded.  A warrior struggles in every way to do that which they believe is true.  True, not good.  People only concern themselves with doing the good thing, but what is good and what is right don’t always align.  Sometimes doing a horrible act, that has a horrible price, is the truest thing to do.  Who understands that anymore?  Who wants to?

So Valhalla is empty, or if not, it has long been closed.  The shields that made up its walls are rusted, the bones that made its benches are brittle, and the spears that line the gates are dulled to the point of being mere spoons.  And it is filled with old men who have long lost the battle against the gods of old, and now just sit about trying to remember what it felt like to fight for something.  To fight for truth.  We are trying to make a world where there is no war and no fighting, where everyone gets along and weapons are just relics.  We are trying to shove out all the evil we can to make our lives a much easier place.  And in doing so, we have given up on Valhalla, and the warriors that served as our leaders.  We have given up on our heroes.