Spencerly Griffin sent me this news bulletin from West Des Moines, where Dowling Catholic High School first extended a job offer to teacher Tyler McCubbin and then rescinded it because he is gay. It’s weird, because Dowling was my rival high school growing up, and we determined that they were all gay. But the problem is that McCubbin, who has worked as a substitute teacher and volunteer track coach at Dowling since the beginning of the school year, is openly gay. Local news station KCCI says that according to Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines diocese, “McCubbin wasn’t denied the job because he’s gay, but due to the openness of his sexual orientation.” Spoken like a Catholic priest, bro.
If you’re like me, you keep a mental list of just events that might happen at any moment. Rick Santorum’s daughters will go to Smith. Candlebox will apologize. Everyone in the customer service department at Bank of America will leave his job to become a prostitute. Cats will have to work together. There are probably more pressing injustices than those, but I will take rectification where I can get it.* The thing about sudden conversions and comeuppances, unfortunately, is that they seem about to happen a lot more than they actually do. For every Mr. Scrooge there are a Richard Nixon and a T-1000, clutching their dicketry unto the very embrace of the grave. This week’s link roundup is full of near misses at the right thing. To someone who knew nothing of our culture, they would be indistinguishable from spontaneous expressions of goodness. To us, they are right form with exactly wrong content, like an ice sculpture in the shape of a hug. Won’t you almost feel elation with me?
Once, when I worked as a tutor for prep school kids, one of my students woke his laptop from sleep and went to use the bathroom while it was starting up. Pretty much as soon as he left the room, the computer began playing blowjob footage—grainy and extremely loud, in that sensory-assault style where pornography meets the industrial film. I went for command-Q like a damn mongoose, only to get the spinning beach ball, at which point I panicked and shut the clamshell. That was no good, of course; my student would inevitably return, open it and have even more reason to assume I had fired up the hardcore porn while he was gone. I woke the laptop and waited for Closeup Wailing Blowjob 6 to start again—watching the bathroom door in terror the whole time—and then did a hard shutdown. My point is A) no pun and B) even the shrewd tactician is at a loss when a machine suddenly begins emitting pornography. I can understand why Father Martin McVeigh of Pomeroy, Ireland just got the fuck out of there.
One consolation of our progressive national stupefaction is that satire might start fooling people again. Not that Larry Doyle’s recent column on “the Jesus-eating cult of Rick Santorum” is particularly subtle. When Doyle describes himself as a former “Irish-Catholic, the worst kind” and says he discovered a possible connection between the RCC and NAMBLA “after conducting some research on the internet,” we see the flapping flag of irony country. Here lies the problem of satire within an educated society: pretty much everybody is smart enough to get it. That’s good, but it also takes some fun out of the conceit that someone, somewhere, is taking the irony seriously. It’s like a practical joke that everyone is in on; we all have to just look at the cup of pee and imagine how funny it would be if someone drank it. Lucky for us, Tony Perkins cannot resist free lemonade.