left biblioblography: May 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fun Films For The Non-Believer – Whatever Works

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers! 

I have to admit, I rather enjoy Larry David, regardless of whether he’s on one of my all time favorite shows (Curb Your Enthusiasm), or in one of my favorite films, Whatever Works. I’ve a keen eye for what I call religions-slammers, and I recommend this film highly. It takes unabashed slams at religion that people would have been aghast at 20 or 30 years ago.

Up in the top ten of course, is Dogma – one of the choice scenes (with the redoubtable George Carlin as a cardinal – talk about nice touch!):

And of course, what discussion about ridiculous religious beliefs in film would be without the funniest all time scene in Life Of Brian?

And of course, Monty Python And The Holy Grail:

I’ve only shared four of my own favorites here – please feel free to suggest more.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Funny – Zippy The Pinhead

Decades ago, before surreal was in, there was Zippy.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Is The World Coming To, When A Cartoon Can Set Off Riots?

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!jesusandmodrawday

We all recall that nonsense back in 2005, when Muslims protested the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Protest? Madness, more like. It illustrated the issues of religion (and one specifically that keeps hollering that it’s a ‘religion of peace’), the dark dank fingers of imaginary friendships with invisible people stirring up and brings out the worst of the reptilian hindbrain.

And now, we have more issues – apparently the accomodationists are out in force, weeping politically correct crocodile tears over the hurt feelings of ignorant millions.

Yesterday a number of cartoonists and activists around the world partook in "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." The campaign encouraged people to submit caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad to Facebook and the Internet at large (which resulted in Pakistan temporarily banning Facebook). It was billed as a free speech statement against recent threats toward cartoonists and entertainers for portraying the religious figure. Some commentators, however, found it tasteless and needlessly offensive toward Muslims, many of whom consider drawing Mohammad to be blasphemous.

Political Cartoonists Are Split, reports Michael Cavna at The Washington Post:

"Shock for shock's sake." "Choreographed punditry." And "wrong, childish and needlessly provocative." That's what some critics think of Thursday's Facebook-ignited campaign titled "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day." But those aren't Islamic extremists speaking. Those are the words of pro-free-speech political cartoonists...

As far as I care, pouting and hurt feelings are for children.

But petition signee Mark Fiore, whose clients include SFGate.com, says his political animation Thursday will incorporate Muhammad. And noted Islamic critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose book "Nomad: From Islam to America" was published this week, says the protest "is a positive campaign" that can "promote self-reflection among Muslims."

And yes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been the target of death threats. So has prominent critic Salman Rushdie. And no, these aren’t isolated examples – people are genuinely afraid to leave this barbaric anachronism.

The Case For Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

Why This Is an Important Campaign  According to Mark Goldblatt at Reason:

Our tip-toeing around Islamic sensibilities is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned cowardice. MSNBC stooge Lawrence O’Donnell, for example, repeatedly slandered Mormonism during the 2008 presidential campaign as a sidebar to his creepily obsessive verbal jihad against then-candidate Mitt Romney. But when asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt whether he would insult Muhammad the way he’d insulted Joseph Smith, O’Donnell replied with rare candor: “Oh, well, I’m afraid of what the... that’s where I’m really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I’m afraid for my life if I do. ... I’m not going to say a word about them." That’s the problem in a nutshell. But it’s not just O’Donnell’s problem. It’s our problem. America’s problem. The West’s problem. We lack the moral courage to walk the walk.

Cartoonist Split Proves Benefit  National Review's Veronique de Rugy reflects on the cartoonist who regrets proposing the idea at all. "Isn't the existence of the cartoonist's fear even more reason to come up with ideas like hers?" De Rugy praises "courage and commitment to free speech."

We're Fighting For Free Speech  Reason's Matt Welch recalls the Dutch cartoon controversy. "It is unconscionable that–under murderous duress!–those in the free speechin' business would suddenly cede the authority to depict a really existing historical figure to a loud minority's religious preferences. ... by reprinting one of the cartoons, we would be demonstrating solidarity not with the sentiments contained within it, but with the foundational notion that people ought to be able to publish stuff like that (and worse), period, let alone without fear of having their heads lopped off." He later writes, "in a free society, every day is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

  • And of course, the PC apologists blather their usual nonsense:

The Case Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

It's Needlessly Insensitive, counters Wonkette's Ken Layne: "To equate the bizarre/violent behavior of a handful of fanatics with the cultural-religious traditions and harmless taboos of a billion of the world’s people, well that’s about as dumb as T.P.ing your neighborhood Sunday School because you don’t like Fred Phelps." He accuses proponents of "childishly prodding angry, impoverished people into rage and violence so you can snicker from the safety of your computer."

Well, actually, it’s not a handful of fanatics. Riots occur  over stupid reasons. This happens quite frequently, in fact. Obviously Layne is using selective perception.

  • Offending For No Reason Ann Althouse sighs, "I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad. ... But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion)."
  • Jury’s in: Ann’s a moron.By ‘declining to pressure extremists’, that’s also called ‘enabling’ in rehab code.
    • Conservative blogger Erick Erickson adds, "On drawing Mohammed, I'd be offended if ppl had a day to mock my Lord, so why reciprocate? 'Course I w/n go killing ppl who mocked Jesus."

‘Nuff said.

Why It Unreasonably Offends  Christian Science Monitor's Husna Haq explains, "I am Muslim and I am American. I love my Prophet Mohammed, and I love my First Amendment right to free speech." However:

To depict him in a bear suit or with a pig snout – as he has been in two recent cartoons – is free speech, yes, but it is intensely offensive. It betrays a willful determination to refuse to see the world through Muslims eyes – to understand how innately the Prophet is loved by his followers and how profoundly flippant disrespect for him wounds us.

Well, killing people in Muhammed’s name (PB&J be upon him) counts as a helluva lot more than some hurt feelings.

Imagine Martin Luther King Jr. portrayed as a monkey and you begin to understand the depth of Muslims' revulsion to such images.

Since there’s nobody up there, it hardly matters. What’s important, is what’s going on in the here and now.

In Islam, as in Judaism, iconography is prohibited out of fear that creating images of sacred figures could lead to dependence on, and even worship of, icons rather than God. The Prophet lifted his people from the worship of many gods to love for the one God. To depict him is to violate a fundamental tenet of Islam as a joke.

And I say there is no disrespect – because there is no Allah, no Jehovah, no Vishnu, no Krishna. Brahma is a bull and Jehovah a joke. It is time for people to realize that time spent on their knees murmuring is wasted time: there is no one up there listening. That all these ‘holy texts’ are curios only, no longer cautionary tales nor tenets to live by in this world of today.

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the metaphorical timbers shaking in the house that illusion built.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Funny – Jon Stewart Wrecks The ‘Birther’ Conspiracy…

Which of course is easy to do, because these conspiracy wackaloons are – well, wacky.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Making Sense Of The Census – A Process Of Culmination

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently working for the 2010 Census Bureau (albeit temporarily, alas). It’s a job. I knock on doors, and ask a few questions, some of which are slightly intrusive. The US Census, which has been going on for some time now (in fact, since 1790). In California, we’re in danger of losing a representative, and the process in question renders demographic statistics that allow the government to allocate funding to specific programs.

In the course of centuries, it’s grown more diverse and complex. It’d be a good guess that only white folks were counted, nobody knew how many Native Americans were about (not that they got money for anything anyways), the Chinese were just those subhumans who built the railroads…you can fill in the blanks. We have more of everyone now: there are transgender folks to count, and America is literally resembling more the melting pot that it was claimed to be in metaphor only.

There are, of course, people wailing “Foul!” at the incursion of government’s seeming nosiness. The above video is one such, Jerry Day, who demonstrates a complete lack of journalistic integrity.

Why do I say this? Watch the video. He does a lousy Andy Rooney, for one thing. For another, he whinges on about how the census is asking all these questions: how much was your mortgage? What do you pay in bills? Etc.

What he leaves out, is that this happened last year. The Census Bureau was doing a numbers pull (my terminology, not theirs), about the cost of living. This year, I’m just asking these questions. Yes, the same ‘questions’ that Day couldn’t seem to get out of a single phone call. Note the Frankensplicing he uses. Most government workers are drones, and being approached by a media celebrity of any caliber usually sends them rushing off to consult with managers, who inform them that they should likely just hang up. I would truly like to hear the entire conversation, not just watch Day stare at a phone and rattle on.

For an even more aggravated response, I found this during a random Google search:

To obstruct a census worker in his duties per provisions of Title 13 of U.S. Code comes with a possible fine "...not to exceed $500." There have only been a few cases where code convictions have resulted in fines. Most people cooperate with the census and permit themselves to be counted. However, with the advent of the American Community Survey in 1995, a program administrated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census under the Department of Commerce, people began to quietly rebel. Instead of just counting us by number, gender and race, we were expected to fill out a form that asked scores of extremely invasive questions, answers to which many Americans felt were none of the government’s business and refused to fill out the 36 pages of survey questions. Beginning last April, the quiet rebellion erupted in outspoken anger as the dupes of military contractors masquerading as census workers used GPS locators to tag Americans’ addresses to their front doors (The IO, April, 2009). The reasons given for the "precensus" trespasses were not satisfactory to a large cross section of Americana. Following is an explanation that, while not making us feel good about the fact that foreign troops or rockets can find our front doors from outer space, it will answer questions that the temporary worker dupes couldn’t—or wouldn’t.

Scare-mongering at its finest. While I’ve never been a big fan of Big Brother government, hinting around that some foreign troops or rockets will descend on us because of some exacting cartographic locationing is a little bit over the top. Big pluses are: people being able to find you via GPS (including the police, if you get home-invaded, or EMTs in the case of severe medical emergency), being able to chart and sidetrack in case of natural disasters – why, think of it, folks might not get lost any more, which could save a few lives here and there.

And yes, Michelle Bachmann, talking head/second eye candy of the reichwingnuts, she of the anti-global warming nonsense, who perhaps has the scariest amount of stupid quotes in the world (probably only eclipsed by the commander-in-thief who ruined this fine country), is actually claiming that the Census (held since 1790, likely by the ‘Founding Fathers’ these nutballs slaver over constantly) is some sort of conspiracy by ACORN and Obama to…well, these people exhaust me with their stupidity.

I’m not insisting the government’s completely trustworthy, but there are injunctions against misuse and the violation of confidentiality that are quite the deterrent.

In other news, the other talking head strumpet Palin declares:

"Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant - they're quite clear - that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the ten commandments."

And think about it – these two retards are looking at running for the presidential ticket in 2012

Makes my heart skip a beat in terror, it does.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Funny – Malcolm In The Middle

One of my all time favorites, the ultimate dysfunctional family – Malcolm In The Middle.



Saturday, May 08, 2010

“Schadenfreude!” “Gesundheit.” Sometimes, I Wonder…


Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. - Einstein

We are all vested in Schadenfreude, to some degree. It’s all right to admit it. I’m as guilty of it as anyone else. Being an atheist, I somewhat wallow in it when it comes to mocking religulous wackadoolery – most of us at GiFS! are fairly invested in it.

In fact, it’s become a hallmark of American culture. We watch shows like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (which I refer to as the Evil Seinfeld), we laugh at the Dilbert comic strips (like the one festooning this post), we find humor in the oddest places, sometimes in the cruelest. Pointing and jeering, and of course, that secret sigh of relief, thank the FSM that it was someone else, not I.

In my 51 years of life on this earth, I’m surprised that I still am shocked by the consistent stupidity of my fellow men (and women, so hush).

I can’t seem to shake this schadenfreude, this delight I take in the (abstract) suffering of others. Likelihood is good that my response would be far, far different were I watching the event take place, rather than reading about it. And of course, the old adage of ‘twenty-twenty hindsight being the best sight’ springs to mind. While we’d all like to think we’d spring into action if another human was imperiled, I’d likely be the fellow saying “Excuse me? I…don’t think you should do that…” Boom! Flash! Smell of cordite. Shrug. “I tried to tell him.”

In the spirit of this (almost) light-hearted introspection, the Darwin Awards are the epitome (but hopefully not the epitaph) of our species’…harrumph!…lack of critical thinking skills.

Let’s start off with some all time classics. 1996’s Macho Men:

Some men will got to extraordinary lengths to prove how macho they are. Frenchman Pierre Pumpille recently shunted a stationary car two feet by headbutting it. "Women thought I was a god," he explained from his hospital bed.

Deity or not, however, Pumpille is a veritable girl's blouse compared to Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked a strong claim to being Europe's most macho man by cutting off his own head in 1995. Azninski, 30, had been drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some "men's games". Initially they hit each other over the head with frozen turnips, but then one man upped the ante by seizing a chainsaw and cutting off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone, Azninski grabbed the saw and, shouting "Watch this then," he swung at his own head and chopped it off.  "It's funny," said one companion, "when he was young he put on his sister's underwear. But he died like a man."

A 1998 classic:

(February 1998) Matthew and his friends were sliding down a Mammoth Mountain ski run on a foam pad at 3am, when he crashed into a lift tower and died. His makeshift sledge of yellow foam had been stolen from the legs of a lift tower on Stump Alley. The cushion is meant to protect skiers who hit the tower, and the tower Matthew ran into was the one from which he had created his sledge. There's a moral in there somewhere.

And, an…eating disorder?

(1998, NJ) An unidentified 29 year old male choked to death on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer at a Phillipsburg establishment. "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the dancer identified only as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."

Why anyone would think that sort of feat would impress a girl…?

And, impatience is often rewarded with pain:

In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg with pieces of the bullet he fired at the exhaust pipe of his car. When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he couldn't find a drill, he tried to shoot a hole in it.

Can you say Duh-HOY, Aaron?

Really, seriously, what is wrong with these people? Funny as hell in the short run, but scary in the long term.

Share your favorite stories, Darwinian or anecdotal, let’s have a chuckle or two, while we stroke our collective chins in worry.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tuesday Funny - Messed-Up Bible Stories 1: In the Beginning

Pretty amusing.



Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ciranda Of The Sewer Rats Of Rio– Another Atrocity Thrown At The Feet Of The Churches…

Cross-posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

There was one of those horrifying moments in the news – the report of eight children mercilessly slaughtered by off-duty policemen in Rio, also known as the Candel├íria massacre. It brought a horrifying knowledge to a sanguine world that, despite all vacuous homilies about children being ‘divinely’ protected, it is an unsafe and insane world even for infants and toddlers.

Street children’  is

a term used to refer to children who live on the streets of a city. They are basically deprived of family care and protection. Most children on the streets are between the ages of about 5 and 17 years old, and their population between different cities is varied.

Street children live in abandoned buildings, cardboard boxes, parks or on the street itself. A great deal has been written defining street children, but the primary difficulty is that there are no precise categories, but rather a continuum, ranging from children who spend some time in the streets and sleep in a house with ill-prepared adults, to those who live entirely in the streets and have no adult supervision or care.

A widely accepted set of definitions, commonly attributed to UNICEF, divides street children into two main categories:

  1. Children on the street are those engaged in some kind of economic activity ranging from begging to vending. Most go home at the end of the day and contribute their earnings to their family. They may be attending school and retain a sense of belonging to a family. Because of the economic fragility of the family, these children may eventually opt for a permanent life on the streets.
  2. Children of the street actually live on the street (or outside of a normal family environment). Family ties may exist but are tenuous and are maintained only casually or occasionally.

Street children exist in many major cities, especially in developing countries, and may be subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or even, in extreme cases, murder by "cleanup squads" hired by local businesses or police.[2]

In Latin America, a common cause is abandonment by poor families unable to feed all their children. In Africa, an increasingly common cause is AIDS.

Let’s take a gander at some stats, shall we?

  • India 11 million
  • Egypt 1,5 million
  • Pakistan 1,5 million
  • U.S. 750,000 - 1 million
  • Kenya 250,000 - 300,000
  • Philippines 250,000
  • Congo 250,000
  • Morocco 30,000
  • Brazil 25,000
  • Germany 20,000
  • Honduras 20 000
  • Jamaica 6,500
  • Uruguay 3000
  • Switzerland 1,000

The top 8 offenders are in bold. And, surprise! The top offenders are also the most highly religious countries.

One can easily ascribe these numbers to superstitious bullshit. India is often touted as the most religious country in the world. Egypt and Pakistan? Guess what those numbers are? The US comes in at a staggering 3/4 of a million to a million stray ‘sewer rats’.

I lay these crimes of overpopulation at the stair of superstition – I hammer this thesis to the door – I rant and rage at the bullheaded stupidity of ensoulment, for it is from this unprovable, ridiculous romanticism that is laying the bed of millions of vagrant children in blood and shit and tears.

Religion has done a piss poor job of controlling our loins, because it is fostered in the weltering weird fear of the sex drive, and it takes away the tools of education, the implements of prevention, the logic of critical thought, and replaces it with hierarchal horseshit and infanticidal delusions.

Religion. It’s gotta go.

Till the next post, then.