Even if you’re a sometimes reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’m not super moral. Not to say I lack morality (my philosophy is simple: do no harm; be happy), it’s just not my measuring stick for humanity. Why? It’s so subjective and unreliable that even hive-minded endeavors aren’t exempt from dissent. For example, I’m a Baptist, but that’s one of over thirty thousand denominations of Christianity. Good luck finding two Christians that can agree on pizza toppings for their youth group’s fundraiser, let alone find a synonymous interpretation of the Bible. Far too many people use morality as a shortcut to only determine what isn’t moral (and, by extension, what isn’t exactly like the scapegoater). For them, it has no higher purpose than to facilitate anger. What a sad way to live.
Because I’m not morally driven, Russell teases me about being a bad conservative. As I said in my last entry, my liberalism ended with college. When I started making babies, money quickly became relevant, and the conservative, laissez-faire approach to business better suited that agenda. (How does the saying go? If you’re not a rebel by twenty, you’ve got no heart. If you haven’t turned establishment by thirty, you’ve got no brains. Something like that.) At the same time, I’m all for gay marriage. Never mind my personal feelings on the subject—the discrimination against it is purely moral-centric, and it’s just not the government’s place to legislate that kind of taste. Where did the simpler conservatives of the 80s go? Reagan was our homeboy, the rich got richer and life was good. Who do we have three decades later? Jesus. A way cooler main character, to be sure, but wrong for the part. I mean, long hair, sandals, Jewish and advocates tolerance? The Lamb of God is hyper-liberal.
I say worry less about morality, and more about ethics. Ethics are a blanket measure of character, and mostly inarguable: work harder than the person next to you and move ahead of them faster. Is it that everyone became so impotent at their life and career they had nowhere to hide but behind these sanctimonious shell games? Here’s a parable to tie my points together: Imagine your child needed surgery, and it’s life or death. Now imagine that just before the specialist went in to operate, a nurse pulled you aside and said, “you know, he cheats on his wife.” Your response would be something akin to, “great, now shut-up and let that man save my kid.” This is the attitude our country needs to cop if it ever hopes to find its way from this sea of gray areas.
If the counterargument is that I’m pointing fingers at those that point fingers… well, you’ll just have to figure that shit out for yourself.
Adapted from Alton Brown’s “Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?”
- 2 slabs baby back pork ribs
- 4 tbsp brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried minced onions
- 1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp minced garlic
Preheat oven to 250˚. Mix dry ingredients together to create a spice rub. Rub both sides of ribs with all of the spice rub and allow to absorb for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better). Mix the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, honey and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Place ribs in a large roasting pan and cover with braising liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and braise in oven for 2 1/2 hours. Pour braising liquid into saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Brush ribs with glaze and place under broiler for a few minutes until the glaze starts to caramelize. Cut ribs into 2 rib portions, place in a large bowl and toss with remaining braising liquid.
Because he’s just about the smartest man I’ve ever met, I asked Russell what morality was to him. He thought about it a moment and said, “anything you do is okay as long as you’re really pissed off when you do it.” That made me giggle until I realized what my personal philosopher meant: We’re never more self-righteous than while at our angriest, and can’t look at our bad behavior objectively because we’re too busy making a point. In other words, if you want to validate something, irrespective of truth, fairness or even reality, just let yourself get Bible Belt angry—your stupid temper will take care of the rest. Do no harm; be happy.
TWTG says, “Soy fucks with your hormones.”