Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Temporarily Giving Up

The revelry and debauchery of Fat Tuesday has passed, and now it is time to begin the annual 40 days of suffering and atonement, also known in baseball circles as spring training.  Actually, the tradition of self-denial during Lent extends beyond baseball and beyond church pews.  It has extended beyond its original religious purpose of preparation for the joy of Easter and has become a cultural ritual of dieting, exercise, and Filet O’Fish sandwiches on the Dollar Menu.  Everyone gets in the act during Lent, even the pagans among us.  Americans love a challenge, and denying ourselves anything can be a challenge.  We have replaced American Exceptionalism with American Excessivism, but for 40 days, we valiantly try to turn back the clock.
We will try to suffer just enough to impress our friends but not enough to influence any long term behavioral changes.  I mean, we’re not ascetic monks, right?  Figuring out what to give up for the season can be tough since we really would prefer not to sacrifice anything at all.  So we look to our leaders to set an example that we loyal minions may follow.  What is Oprah giving up for Lent?  After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it is easier than thinking up our own sacrifice.

What will some of our more popular political and cultural figures sacrifice for the 40 day Lenten season this year?  MSRP has The List:
  • Rick Santorum – Sleeves
  • Newt Gingrich – Humility
  • Mitt Romney – Michigan
  • Ron Paul – Hope
  • President Obama – Pretending to like Republicans
  • Vice President Biden – Shaving his legs
  • Donald Trump – Nothing
  • Chris Christie – Taking the stairs
  • VA Governor Bob McDonnell – Women’s dignity
  • Kate Upton – Self-consciousness
  • Tim Tebow – Winning
  • Tiger Woods – Losing
  • Charlie Sheen – Winning
  • The NY Mets – Losing (nah – just kidding; they couldn’t really give that up for 4 days let alone 40)
  • Bill O’Reilly – Grieving periods
  • Kim Kardashian – NJ Nets courtside seats
  • Gisele Bundchen – Super Bowl after parties
  • The New England Patriots team – Gisele Bundchen
  • Jeremy Lin – Privacy
  • Carmelo Anthony – The Spotlight
  • Payton Manning - $28 million
  • Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter
  • The Catholic Church – Tax exempt status
  • Saturday Night Live – Cultural relevance
  • The Far Right – Science
  • The Far Left – The Far Right
  • The Republican Party – 2012 Independent voters
  • The Democratic Party – 2012 Pessimism
 So what will you sacrifice this Lenten season?  As long as it isn’t reading my nonsense.  That’s a guilty pleasure no one should deny themselves.

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