Thursday, August 27, 2009

And the tea leaves say...

    The first post on my first blog. Everyone else is doing it. Everyone else is jumping off of a bridge, so why shouldn't I?  Gallimaufry.
     I shall go under the name Tweenybopper until I find something funnier. Tweenybopper is a native Oregonian, Portland resident for the last ten or so years, and currently a student/unemployed guy reaching for a credential in the land where credentials seem to matter.
     You may be wondering: where the hell did the title of your blog come from? "A gallimaufry of textures and flavors," was a quip from a food critic for the Willamette Week, one of the weeklies here in Portland. In his review of the restaurant that I worked at, he determined that one of the desserts I had made was confusing and unpalatable. The dessert was a traditional semifreddo (a semi-frozen cream or custard) called Nougatine; a combination of Italian meringue, pistachio flavored whipped cream, crushed pistachio brittle, Amarena cherries, and chocolate. According to the critic, the flavors conflicted. It was a fair assessment. It was also a very funny statement, gallimaufry being a word one rarely comes across nowadays, even in a food review. In the context of a food review, it is accurate, however, since the word comes from the French dish, galimafree, a hash/stew of mutton -n- onions. At the very least, the review was mild -- unlike most food reviews which tend to be scathing and destructive.
     As for the shaman thing, the original blurb comes from the package of a Tazo tea bag, as follows: "Blessed by the mumblings of a certified tea shaman." I can never get enough of this line, mainly because of the vivid mental image it conjures. I picture the Tazo factory as a gray and somber warehouse, with its workers in their crisp uniforms slaving away over an assembly line, sorting and prepping with maniacal efficiency, while a  pudgy, rosy-cheeked, disheveled older man with long white hair and beard walks around harassing and bothering the employees when he's not sitting in his assigned chair at the end of the assembly line. The job of "tea shaman" merely requires him to look at each box of tea before it's shipped out, point at it, and utter something incoherent. His 'mumblings' are a mixture of drunken slurred speech and gripes; or sometimes you can catch him mumbling in his sleep while passed out in his chair. Also, you know that he's the certified tea shaman because he's the only one who doesn't have to wear a uniform. Instead, he wears a flowing red robe, has a necklace made out of bone fragments and stones, not to mention a driftwood staff that he primarily uses for getting people's attention with. And the employees all hate him so fucking much. Yes, this image is what springs to mind when I hear that fortune cookie-like phrase.
     Apparently, when some people hear that phrase they get scared and defensive, and call upon their fellow Christians to boycott starbucks, since Starbucks carries Tazo teas. This highly indignant blogger is genuinely troubled by this pact with the devil. The word shaman is what's deeply concerning this guy, and he fears that Starbucks' affinity for paganism (a corporate buy-out of another corporation, that is) is yet another example of the mainstream's inclination to shun Christianity in favor of other religions.
     Well, what religion does this guy think Starbucks is promoting exactly? Last I checked shamanism isn't a religion. Spiritual? Yes, typically most healers are, but there is no categorical religion that a shaman belongs to. "Intermediaries between the spirit world and the natural world" would be the simplest definition.To my mind, healers show up in every culture and in every myth. Hell, wasn't Christ a shaman if we're to define him as a healer and intermediary? Seems to me that this guy should be supporting Starbucks rather than boycotting it. However, I'm assuming that anything (whether that be a teabag, or a favorite cereal,...or an alarm clock radio, motor oil, whatever, etc...) that doesn't expressly mention Christ or Christianity is an atheistic attempt to indoctrinate.
     And all this fuss over a tea shaman, for Christ's sake. No one even knows what the fuck a tea shaman is. Maybe the corporate mumblings of a marketing genius? Ya think?
      Whatever. Boycott it if it makes you feel good. The silly part is the call-to-arms for fellow Christians to do the same. This is not surprising since perpetual guilt props up this House of Cards.
     And once you scroll down the page into the comments section you quickly see where this guy's head is at, judging by his responses to the responses. He has a persecution complex. He's either deluded himself, or has been trained to believe, that Christians are suffering under the oppressive boot of censorship and exclusion. He sees no difference between boycotting prayer in school with boycotting Starbucks, not to mention he believes there is a connection between the two.
     Well, that whole prayer in school "boycott" was the right for someone who believed in a different god (or none at all) to not have to be bombarded with Christian ritual and practice in the educational systems. It was about the right to not have to participate in a huddled prayer before a game, delivered by your fucking coach of all people. It's not our religion it's your religion, let's not forget. I'm sorry that your faith awards gold stars for proselytizing, but some of us are really, truly weirded out and put on edge by it. Point is, you wouldn't have much of a choice when your instructor was leading classroom prayer or the pledge of allegiance -- you'd have to tolerate it, however offensive it was. In Starbucks however, you have the choice of not drinking tea that's been given a thumbs up by a slobbering tea warlock, if it offends your particular religious belief.
     But really, the situation here is insecurity about losing the good fight. It must be hard to compromise when you are neck-deep in a monotheism that enjoys hegemony over every other religion in these here states. If you can transform secularism and atheism into a religion, then you can transform the argument over the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Then you become the victim of an atheistic religious plot, rather than, in actuality, being a part of a massive campaign of conversion and indoctrination. Last I checked, Christianity is still, by a staggering proportion, the dominant religion in this country. So, fuck that. They're not a minority, nor are they victims.
     I do agree with the guy on one issue though. Starbucks' coffee is overpriced and shitty.
     A bit of a rant, I know, but isn't that what blogs are for?


  1. You know, that whole two weeks I worked at Tazo, I hated that fucking shaman, always looming over my shoulder, asking if I would like to drink his "yak butter"...Disgusting.

  2. Hey there bachelor, hey there Christ. Good to hear from you both. Now that I got one of these things, I suppose I can go over to y'all's pages and comment too. sweet.

  3. Nice Blog. You are doing wonderful work. You have got the success for first blog. I wishing for another. Keep it up.