And If Someone Wrote A Story About A Rooftop Sign Decrying Halal Cart Vendors Who Get Asinine Summonses From The NYPD And Then Are Posthumously Baptized By Mormons, My Head Might Actually Explode

There are several candidates for the most infuriating story of the day.

There was the piece about city officials bending over backwards to approve a new "iconic" sign for JetBlue in Long Island City's Queens Plaza. Basically, JetBlue wants to build a 40-foot sign on the top of a building it's leasing. They want to do this because there are two similar signs in Long Island City, both vestiges of the area's industrial past, when people thought nothing of putting ugly-ass signs on the tops of buildings. The context here is that New York had to lobby hard to keep JetBlue from leaving for Florida. So basically now you have city officials selling ad space.

What, not infuriating enough? OK, how about the Business Improvement District head that called out sidewalk food vendors for being "terrible citizens"? Sure, not so strange, until you see the accompanying photo of a halal cart in the article and a report that the BID apparently objects to "odd smells." You hear the same language from landlords looking to discriminate against tenants from cultures that make "pungent" food. The solution, according to the BID, is to embrace more foodie-friendly food trucks that make less smelly food. This is what gentrification looks like: A neighborhood gets a Business Improvement District that forces businesses to contribute money ostensibly to clean up a neighborhood until it gets too powerful and starts to dictate who or what happens in the neighborhood. Maybe you feel good about more hipster food trucks. I do — I love hipster tacos, hipster mayonnaise and hipster small-batch bourbon — overpriced artisanal products make me feel better about my small, shitty existence — but at some point you have to step back and ask the simple question Who the fuck do these people think they are?

What, you don't care about a dumb little food cart? OK, fine — maybe it is a bit of faux outrage. How about this: First we heard stories about poor saps in the Bronx and places that we don't really spend a lot of time in who were not just given tickets but actually arrested for putting their feet on subway seats. And that's shocking (even worthy of a pre-emptive revenge fantasy), but then this first person account makes the whole practice look totally fucking insane. There's a literary quality to the back and forth, but what might be the most infuriating thing are the comments underneath that seem to blame the victim for being entitled to think that the cops shouldn't be handing out idiotic quota-filling tickets. The message seems to be Don't think you're too good to get harassed by the police. There's something seriously wrong with the NYPD. And sure, maybe you should be more upset when cops shoot unarmed civilians or surveil whole communities based on their religion (in other jurisdictions, no less) but there's something that's so blatantly and stupidly wrong about this that it almost rises to its own level of idiocy. You may not be an 18-year-old kid in the Bronx or a Muslim in Newark, but nearly everyone takes the subway. And you probably put your feet on the seat once. The mayor or city council either needs to let some fucking common sense prevail and fix this or the commissioner needs to go.

Easy collars don't make you that upset? OK, then here goes: Mormons have posthumously baptized Daniel Pearl in 2011, who was forced to admit "My father's Jewish, my mother's Jewish, I'm Jewish" before someone who was quite possibly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed himself beheaded him. The idea that he should be Mormon in some weird quasi-Freemason white-tiled heaven of some sort is frankly one of the most offensive things I've ever heard. Daniel Pearl's head was sawed off not because he thought Joseph Smith dug up zinc tablets sent down from god that were transported by boat to Palmyra, New York from Israel (or whatever they think). Daniel Pearl's head was sawed off because he was a Jew.

I thought I learned once why Mormons do this. My recollection was that it was sort of like cooking the books — an easy way for missionaries to build their up numbers. (I vaguely remember asking the guide at the temple on 67th Street — before it opened and they allowed non-Mormons to tour the building — about this and I think that's what she said.) But, really, I totally don't give a fuck why the Church of Latter Day Saints does this — it's so offensive and horrible that it should never, ever happen again.

The church was already shamed for doing this for Holocaust victims and I thought I heard they stopped. The article says that officials admitted that it was wrong to have baptized Pearl, but the fact that it happened at all is just astonishing. It's sort of like, Dude, this is supposed to make people think Mormons aren't totally bizarre? You're not helping . . .

And there you have four stories that may raise your blood pressure just a little bit.

Posted: March 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Andy Rooney | Tags: , , , , , ,