left biblioblography: October 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sing A Song Of Samhain, As Summer Goes Away…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Clear light on a slick palm
as I mis-deal the day500x_Samhain_by_midnightstouch_02
Slip the night from a shaved pack
make a marked card play
Call twilight hours down
from a heaven home
high above the highest bidder
for the good Lord's throne
In the wee hours I'll meet you
down by Dun Ringill ---
oh, and we'll watch the old gods play
by Dun Ringill
We'll wait in stone circles
`til the force comes through ---
lines joint in faint discord
and the stormwatch brews
a concert of kings
as the white sea snaps
at the heels of a soft prayer
In the wee hours I'll meet you
down by Dun Ringill ---
oh, and I'll take you quickly
by Dun Ringill

- Dun Ringill, Jethro Tull


Comes the winter’s touch, its breath felt but slightly on the nape, we bid wistful goodbye to summer and spring, and watch the leaves tumble brownly to the earth.

Of all the seasons, amid tumescent spring and burning summer and icy winter, of the four, autumn is the one that feels quite nearly mystical: the fog creeps in stealthily, cloaking the trees that shed their burden of growth from sunnier days, the breath becomes ever so slightly visible, the cycle swirls from vibrant life to a slow crawl towards the deep stillness of death. It is no wonder that our forbears attempted to fit the world to their structures, the seasons to the human condition. The fog-hidden trees seem to whisper of mystery, punctuated with the call of some bird that sounds eerily human. The sky grows darker, as if it were an eye slowly, slowly closing. Shed leaves whirl in the cold winds, almost promising to write some written message, but never quite. Grey branches seem to become the gnarled fingers of sun-frozen trolls, pointing somewhere that’s lost to the eye.

Time to thresh the wheat, to store it against the inexorable creeping of old man winter, to huddle by the fire in the hearth, and spin a tale or two, because winters are long and time stretches tautly, and the mind cries for diversion.

Oh, and the tales that are told! Of souls and saints, Valkyries and Valhallas, bonfires and Banshees, witches and Walpurgisnacht, the human imagination is a wondrous thing indeed.

On the proviso, of course, that one can distinguish between the tale told and the real world.

Have a safe and secular Samhain, my friends.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Funny–MadTV

One of the funniest parodies – the Terminator meets Jesus.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Television–The Wave Of Self-Righteous Entitlement Seems To Be Receding…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisreligion-demotivational-poster

If you’re anything like me, then when some religious reference appears in a TV show or movie, the ears prick up, an eyebrow arches, and a somewhat irreverent smirk curls your lip.

Personally, it drives me a bit batty. I can’t begin to count on my fingers and toes the multiple times when a usually excellent show approaches religion with kid gloves, especially when it braces other topics with a far more critical and skeptical point of view. Far worse in my opinion, are the deliberately religious nonsenses that pollute the airwaves. You know, the shows like Saving Grace (according to that logic, we should all have cigar-chomping good-ole boy angels trying to save our atheist asses), the moronic Medium (it’s imminently watchable, until you find out that Allison Dubois is a complete fraud in reality), idiocies like the Ghost Whisperer (hey, I like pretty underwear models as much as the next guy, but there are limits to what the little head has to say in that, or any, matter), or arbitrary fantasies like Touched By An Angel (more like Touched In The Head). I’ve even seen two episodes of Criminal Minds, a usually fantastic and interesting show, that plays accomdationist with the faitheist meme. In one, we find out Derek had been molested by a priest, and subsequently had ‘lost his faith’, but the ending was predictably apologetic. In another, Reed is being influenced by a religious serial killer, and Jason tells him “don’t listen to him, he’s twisting the word of God!” Just recently I was watching an episode of StarGate: Universe (an SG spin-off that doesn’t suck ass, is pretty good actually), and some crew members on the ship are reciting the lord’s prayer.

However, more skeptics and skepticism is appearing on television shows. On an episode of Bones, the main character Temperance refers to a “zombie Jesus”. She’s a skeptic. On TV’s House,  one episode dealt with the good doctor being so curious about the afterlife, that he temporarily died to find out (His prognosis? “There’s nothing.”)  One of my latest favorites is The Mentalist, where the protagonist is a former psychic who does a 180 and declares “there’s no such thing as psychics!” (I figured out who Red John was by half-way through the 2nd season, but I’m not telling). Psych is a fairly amusing show, as the main character is someone pretending (very convincingly) to be psychic. However, the slacker-super-observer is accepted by the police of Santa Barbara (albeit it’s because he gets results) as a psychic.

So it’s getting…slightly better.

And of course, there’s always the Family Guy, and the show’s ongoing barrage on religion in general.

So hang in there, folks. The message is getting through. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s not looking so Sisyphean anymore.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Funny–CLOPS

This was MADTV’s spoof of COPS – chock full of pop references that are hysterical, especially if you’re television was a part-time babysitter.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

“As Predicted By NostraDumbass…” Diary Of A Madman

Cross posted at the Atheist Oasisnostradamus-bush

Recently, the super at my apartment complex responded to my usual rant about how “there’s no such thing as psychics” with the usual crap about “What about Nostradamus?” (I think he just likes to watch me get worked up about it, I doubt he’s really that stupid). He blatted on about how Nostradumbass predicted Henry the Second’s death in a jousting tournament, and brought up the usual crap (predicted JFK’s assassination, the WTC towers, etc.)

I threatened to address this, and as usual, I wasn’t bluffing.

Michel de Nostredame (14 December or 21 December 1503[1] – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties ("The Prophecies"), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events. The prophecies have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code, as well as to other purported prophetic works.

Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's quatrains specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.[2]

The general (and ridiculous) address to the messiness of  ‘Les Propheties’ is that he was under scrutiny and feared the inquisition. As a counterpoint, I have chosen a website, Nostradamus 101 (googling renders 5.6 million hits, so I picked one at random using the same eenie-meenie-miny-moe methodology of the crazy Frenchman we are discussing, haha), and will hereto forward deconstruct the mess.

He was a practicing physician, astronomer and astrologer who lived in the mid 16th century (1503 ‚ 1566) who turned his hand to prophecy later in life. As a physician he treated those suffering from the Bubonic plague and then in a twisted irony lost the members of his family to the disease. He was a devout student of pagan methods of divination at night who wore the mask of a devout Catholic during the day to avoid persecution from the Spanish Inquisition. In the end he predicted his own death, and some say also cursed the marauders from the French Revolution that he foresaw would desecrate his own burial tomb.

This automatically tells you this person is wrong. The Spanish Inquisition was exclusive to Spain, and he was using methods like leeching in order to treat the Plague.

After he resigned from treating the victims of the bubonic plague and settled down in a psychic studio in Salon, France, this self-styled soothsayer was in the habit of writing long letters to world leaders warning them of future events, that is until the Vatican decided that magicians were evil. The fact is that Nostradamus did indeed qualify as a magician according to the definitions of those days, which was anyone who produced visions and predictions through scrying.  Scrying was considered to be a form of conjuring spirits and Nostradamus taught himself this skill by reading ancient texts about Egyptian and Alexandrian magic.

Prophecies and astrology actually were allowed by the Church, and he had a great relationship with them.

Unfortunately this great prophet also lived during the time of the Spanish inquisition. Conjuring spirits (or channeling as we call it today) was a crime punishable by death, which meant that he was force to scramble up the meaning and the order of his quatrains so that he could not be tried and executed for being a soothsayer. Even though his quatrains are divided up into books called Centuries they do not chronologically represent the timeline of any centuries. Scrambling the quatrains so that they did not follow a time line was one of the tricks that Nostradamus used to disguise his work as the ramblings of a mad poet. This explains why when you read the quatrains, he seems to be referring to incidents from all of the centuries at the same time.

Yes, because Torqemanda would most likely take a ship over to France and come get him. Sheesh.

The rhymed quatrains of Nostradamus were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in to throw the Spanish Inquisition off if they should ever discover his manuscripts. This is because the Spanish Inquisition had been dealing with metaphysical literature by holding public burnings in the public squares.

Even in France. Wait, what? And he mixed up languages too? How does this resemble sanity, exactly?

To disguise his own metaphysical manuscripts also used words from the “Languedoc” or Provencal dialect of southern France and swaps words around so that the quatrains don’t make sense. That is why so many of his prophecies are left wide open to interpretation and also great debate, particularly among English speaking scholars who have a habit of interpreting the quatrains with the French phrases that suit them best. In this book we are using the public domain verses of Charles Ward, an English scholar who was one of the first to translate the quatrains from the original Latin, French and other dialects and leave them as naked as possible.

So let’s get on to the mad babblings, shall we?

King Henry the Second:

Here is the quatrain:

The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.

(Century 1, Quatrain 35)

In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry.

During the final bout of fighting in the tournament, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king’s gilded visor (golden cage). The result was two moral wounds (two wounds made one and then he will die a cruel death.) One splinter spliced eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both splinters from the lance penetrated his brain. Henry lived for ten days in agony, thus fulfilling the Nostradamus prophecy that he would die a cruel death.

The issue with this ‘prophecy’, is the complete and utter lack of attestation. There’s no proof that old Nosty wrote this before the accident. We’re just supposed to take this on faith.

2. The Fire of London

This is one of the few prophecies in the quatrains where Nostradamus actually got the year dead on!

The blood of the just will be demanded of London,
Burnt by the fire in the year 66

(Century 2; Quatrain 51)

On Sunday morning, the 2nd September 1666, the destruction of medieval London began with one simple spark. In five days a cataclysmic fire destroyed the city of Shakespeare. An area of one and a half miles by half a mile lay in ashes; 373 acres inside the city walls and 63 acres outside, 87 churches destroyed (including St. Paul’s Cathedral) and 13,200 houses. Although the blood of the just in the quatrain was demanded of London, only six people died.

Some people see the blood of the just as it was translated from the French to mean that justice was done to the Black Death. This fire did the city a great service by destroying the millions of rats that were carrying the Black plague through the city’s population.

Let’s just hypothesize for a second: Nostril predicted in the year 66 – he died in 1566 and I’m sure that destroying an entire city because of the black plague is hardly what one could call justice. Besides which, it didn’t originate in London, so the whole idea is stupid.

There are many quatrains referring to the French Revolution in the Centuries but these are the quatrains that most interpreters of the quatrains agree are seminal proof of the predictive abilities of Nostradamus.

From the enslaved people, songs, chants and demands,
The princes and lords are held captive in prisons:
In the future by such headless idiots
These will be taken as divine utterances.

(Century 1, Quatrain 14)

This quatrain aptly describes the serfdom of the French peasants (enslaved people) and their subsequent imprisonment (The princesses and lords are held in captive prisons). The headless idiots portion of the quatrain may refer to the fact that they were all beheaded.

Actually, this is entirely vague – it could be used easily to describe serfs under the vassels of any European aristocracy.

Before the war comes,
the great wall will fall,
The King will be executed, his death coming too soon will be lamented.
(The guards) will swim in blood,
Near the River Seine the soil will be bloodied.

(Century 2, Quatrain 57)

On July 14th, 1789 the people stormed the walls of the Bastille, the prison that stood as a symbol to the detested monarchy. This was a precursor to the revolution that shook France, and to the rise, and fall, of the guillotine, that stood on the banks of the River Seine. (The guards will swim in blood near the River Seine.)

The French Revolution WAS the war, a prison isn’t a wall (the Bastille still stands), and European monarchs were ALWAYS getting slaughtered. The ‘bloodied soil’ could be a sacrificial calf for all we know.

3. Emperor Napoleon

This is one of those classic Nostradamus quatrains where a scrambled name (an anagram) is used to refer to Napoleon.

PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood,
To swim in praise,
the great one to flee to the confluence.
He will refuse entry to the Piuses,
The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned.

(Century 8, Quatrain 1)

PAU, NAY, LORON” when rearranged becomes NAPAULON ROY, or Napoleon the king, given the Corsican spelling of his name, Napauleone. The text also describes him as a man of ‘fire’, or of war, rather ‘than of the blood’, or of royal lineage. The ‘Piuses’ of the third line are the Popes Pius VI and Pius VII, who were both imprisoned by Napoleon as is implied by the last line.

An…anagram? Are you joshing me? There were two Piuses prior to Old Nostril, do we know if he was referring to them? I’ve tried looking up the variant names for Napoleon, but the internet is polluted with this crap.

Here’s one of the wonkier nonsenses:

The following quatrains from various Centuries are widely agreed upon as being the quatrains that predict the rise of Hitler and World War II. Nostradamus misspelled Hitler’s name referring to him as “Hister.”

From the deepest part of Western Europe
A young child will be born to poor people
Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,
His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East”

(Century 3, Quatrain 35)

This particular quatrain is believed to describe Hitler’s childhood (a young child born to poor people), his charismatic personality (who will by his speech seduce a great multitude) and Germany’s alliance with Japan (his reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East.

Umm…no, the name Hister refers to is the Latin name for the Danube

Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing.

(Century 2, Quatrain 24)

Beasts ferocious with hunger will swim across the rivers is generally interpreted as Adolf Hitler and the German Army invading France. The greater part of the army will be against Hister is interpreted to mean the alliance that eventually defeated him. The cage of iron may refer to his bunker or to tanks, which Nostradamus would have no words for or ways of describing back in the sixteenth century.

Seriously? It’s a war against the river? And really, tanks would be described as ‘great metal beasts with long noses shooting fire that destroys’ – it’s not that hard, really.

Oh, and here’s the World Trade Center prediction:

Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.

We all know that the towers were hit by airplanes. So the ‘earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth’ is out. ‘New City’ – new cities are always being built. ‘Two great rocks’? That could literally mean anything. The Arethusa reference completely shatters the illusion.

Here’s the atomic bomb ‘prediction’:

Near the gates and within two cities
There will be scourges the like of which was never seen,
Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
Crying to the great immortal God for relief.

The ‘people put out by steel’ shatters the ‘prophecy’. How were they put out? How was the steel employed? Too vague by half.

Louis Pasteur:

The lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries.
Pasteur will be celebrated almost as a God-like figure.
This is when the moon completes her great cycle,
But by other rumors he shall be dishonored.

‘Pasteur’ translates from French to English as the pastor, or clergyman. So that’s out.

The JFK/RFK assassinations:

The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,
An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition.
According to the prediction, another falls at night time.
Conflict at Reims, London and a pestilence in Tuscany.

Too vague, and what conflict is old Nostril pontificating about?

Hurricane Katrina:

The cities of Tours, Orleans, Blois, Angers, Reims and Nantes
Are troubled by sudden change.
Tents will be pitched by (people) of foreign tongues;
Rivers, darts at Rennes, shaking of land and sea

Obviously this is way off. French and English aren’t foreign tongues for old Nostril, there’s no Tours, Angers, Reims or Nantes in Louisiana, and Rennes is a city in France.

Let’s summarize, since the post is getting overlong:

Nostradamus was a medieval doctor (he may as well have been a barber, for all the good it did), he wrote some agonizingly vague and esoteric poetry that anyone could apply to anywhere and any time, has been mistranslated and misconstrued as a ‘prophet’ (there are no such things), and his gibberish is a cottage industry that has spanned the centuries.

It is to weep, to think that people actually believe this nonsense.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Funny–Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law

An all time classic favorite of mine, Harvey Birdman is chock full of pop culture references (new and old), Hanna Barbera cartoon characters that are WAY out in left field (Fred Flintstone as a Tony Soprano mob boss, the Jetsons and DNA humor, etc).

And of course, one of the best Adult Swim characters ever, Mentok the MindTaker:



Monday, October 11, 2010

Decompression And The White Knight Syndrome


So yesterday, my musician friend Poncho and I went to the Burning Man Afterburner Decompression party in San Francisco. I’ve never been to the main event in Black Rock, and yes yes, I know I should, but reports of how bloody hot it is have kept me at bay. We met up with his friend Steve, and the three of us wandered for most of the evening, playing looky-loo.

I went to this party last year, and it was a hoot. This year was a load of fun as well. The picture in this post was of a couple who were fantastic to watch. There were several stages set up, and they were all playing techno-rave music (there was one instance where we wandered by a structure, and I became convinced  that the music is what you’d hear during a heart attack, go figure). But the couple in the picture were far beyond the one-stepping one-to-two-flailing palms one usually encounters. These two had obviously been practicing, and I alternated between gooseflesh and tears just watching them.

Yeah, I was fairly blitzed at the time, but still…they were a work of art to watch.

Of all the mini-adventures we had, the one I am going to extrapolate on is…wild and interesting.

As the three of us were standing in a crowd, Steve decided to get some food, and Poncho and I stood just staring around, drinking in the sights. Standing a few feet away, was a gorgeous, tiny white gal, maybe in her mid-twenties, scantily clad as is the convention there (and hoo boy, how nice is that, for a bunch of dirty old men, to sit and drool and not get slapped for it, eh?). She smiled at Poncho, and he did an odd dance step that I commented on (I’m fairly sure he was unaware that he did so, and besides, there were piles upon piles of dancing bodies around, so who really cares, right?). She came over and started talking in his ear (the music is loud enough sometimes you can feel the bass in your chest cavity). She staggered somewhat, and I asked if she was okay. Seeing as they were having a conversation that really didn’t involve me (and I couldn’t really overhear anyways), I moved to a wooden patio nearby in the light, where Steve was wolfing his curried rice down, and stood, observing, occasionally glancing over at Poncho.

After several minutes, he cut through the crowd, bringing the gorgeous little spinner over to us, and introduced her as ‘Collette’. She immediately detached herself from my friend, and glommed onto me.

This is of course the sort of fantasy middle-aged men dream about – some beautiful young woman throws herself into your arms, and it should write itself. It was, after all, one of the reasons I went (and I brought some rubbers in the odd event  I should get lucky). Of course, experience dictates that anything too easy is a red flag. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Sadly, I was right.

It became readily apparent, that she was in no shape to look after herself. I couldn’t get her name out of her, she couldn’t tell us who she had come with, and she was literally all over the place – she was barely holding herself upright, alternating between arching her back and lilting left and right in my arms. She was laughing crazily at almost everything I said (and I’m a laugh riot as a rule, but she was in that sort of shape where EVERYTHING is funny). I kept hearing about how I was awesome.

I told my friend Poncho (who was watching this with a mixture of disappointment and bewilderment in his face), that I couldn’t leave this poor woman in this state. And yes, that was my first response. Not an erection, not a thought bubble that said “Bingo!”, but how to help this poor messed up stranger. I tried to lecture her on trusting strangers, but she became upset, and I had to hug her and tell her it was all right. I had the bright idea of asking her for her cell phone (logic dictated that the last person on her call queue was likely an accompanying friend). She brought out this tiny, tiny purse that was barely large enough to hold her cigarettes, and yes, no cell. I wasn’t about to pat her down or look through her purse. She then was able to tell me that she need to use a restroom. So I held onto her (more like she held onto me), and I escorted her to the bathroom in the bar (I actually had to warn her about the stairs, which she laughingly claimed she could scale, but obviously could not. I was announcing each stair.).

She got in the line, and I stood by, wrestling with my moral imperative: do I just leave? Do I wait for her? How far does my responsibility extend? Likelihood was she’d be fine, but my worry was that some drunken schmoe would take advantage of her incoherency and mental state – on the other hand, it was the Burning Man crowd, and from what little I’ve seen and gleaned, they take care of their own.

No worries. She came out, and immediately began talking to the women waiting in line, most of whom stated they couldn’t understand her. She ended up in the arms of a woman (I noted it wasn’t the gal in line dressed as a nurse – guess it really WAS a costume), and as she glommed onto her, I came over, touched the woman holding her, and asked her to make sure ‘Collette’ was in good hands. She gave me that look of “huh?” and told me, “I don’t know who she is.” “Neither do I,” I responded. “She glommed onto me earlier.” It was at this juncture that a huge round black fellow came up (obviously security – it was in the manner in which he held himself), and I took my leave from there. I saw the other ‘huggee’ some time later, and asked her if ‘Collette’ was all right. I was told that she was with the rangers, and all was well.

Regrets? No, only that I didn’t leave my business card with her. Wait – also that she had to be a state of incoherence to approach me in that manner (I prefer my women to be at least semi-coherent, but able to make something resembling a judgment call). It is somewhat sad that we have so many innate filters that we as humans have to get completely blitzed to express ourselves. Masks are not always a plus.

And no, I didn’t get lucky last night. Which is okay, I’m at a stage in life where it’d be nice but not necessary. I do however feel pretty good about selflessly helping a stranger in obvious need (yeah, so my altruism isn’t 100%, so sue me). Do I need a medal? Hell no. I recall a time many decades ago, when I worked graveyard in a convenience store, and found a wallet. There was money in it. I didn’t take the money, and turned it over to the Dublin police. When I told the store manager (a pretty little born-again Christian named Sue) about it, she assured me that God would reward me. My response then is the same response now:

“You don’t do the right thing for a reward. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

When I told my ma that story, she laughed uproariously, and said “You sound just like your father when you say that.”

I guess it’s all in how you’re raised.

Thanks for the listen.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

An Extremist By Any Other Name Is Still Bad News, Regardless Of The Cause…

Cross posted at Atheist Oasis

Like many 21st century men, I like to consider myself a feminist of sorts, one lacking those essential anatomical differences, but a feminist nonetheless. And by feminist, I mean that I strongly feel that inequality between the sexes (read: inequitable treatment based on gender, women possessing full reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, etc.) is a moral imperative.

As a healthy adult male, I’ve watched my share of pornography, ever since adolescence. Men are usually about the visuals, women are about the connections. There are quite a few women who would automatically denounce a porn viewer as not being a ‘True Feminist™’, as most extremists demand that others bow to their unique absolutes. I can speak only for myself, but regardless of whatever compromised position I’ve found myself in, I have always understood that NO means NO – no matter what. I would treat a porn star the same way I’d treat a prostitute or a ‘normal’ woman…and that is as a human being worthy of respect.

I recently rented ‘The Secret Lives Of Adult Stars’, and it was an interesting watch. As it so happens, the actual people objectified are the men, who are pretty much relegated to the role of living dildos, while the women have huge fan clubs, friendly fans, and actually make somewhere in the neighborhood of three times what the male actors pull in. So much for ‘objectification’ and degradation.

Here in America, we have this strange point of view: everything is for sale except sex. If sex is purchased, we immediately treat that as some form of degradation. Of course this is the venue of the hopeless romantic and the feminist extremist: an exchange of goods and/or cash somehow pollutes everything. It brings to mind the old joke: what’s the difference between sex for money and sex for free? Sex for free costs more.

Somehow, people seem unable to understand, that every social contract is a matter of the exchange of some form of service, not necessarily one of currency, but an exchange between consenting partners. An old martial arts instructor of mine once stated, that every interaction is a relationship of sorts. If you’re mugged on the street, that is a relationship (albeit a horribly one-sided unpleasant one) – self-defense is a relationship, one that needs to be ended as quickly and painlessly (for yourself, hopefully) as possible. A friendship is an agreement between two (or more people) to exchange pleasantries, company, jokes, etc. A romantic involvement is a basic need for intimate exchange, the press of flesh on flesh, bodily fluids (yeah, how romantic is that phrasing, eh?).

But somehow, a woman who is willing to exchange her looks for cash is somehow demeaned and degraded, regardless of her (informed) consent in the matter.

I am well aware of the fact that there are abuses in the adult film industry. There are human rights abuses in every industry. Reform is certainly needed. But claiming a woman is somehow less than human because she sells herself in some manner is actually a form of repression. We all sell ourselves. The extremist will shriek “THIS IS DIFFERENT!”, and to some degree it is. But not much. I sell my services when I work at a job. I sell myself when I go into an interview for that job. I sell myself when I approach a member of the opposite sex, and make the effort to woo her. As a member of a species that is a herd/pack animal, I am on display constantly in some form or  another. When I am in competition with others, presentation is everything.

At this juncture, the feminist extremist would be infuriated: I’ve heard/read all sorts of dreck, where there is a ‘rape culture’ in the USA (actually, it’s everywhere, and the US of A is actually quite progressive compared to your third world countries, where women are routinely kidnapped and forced into slavery or marriage), and that watching any form of porn is actually viewing a rape – be it a moral, metaphorical, or literal one.

The average feminist extremist will also be foursquare against prostitution, for many of the same reasons. The feminist extremist will cite many multiple crimes against the prostitute (not realizing that the laws against prostitution prevent the victims from reporting rapes, beatings, or gun-point robberies), while the feminist moderate will tend to be more moderate, advocating the repealing of anti-prostitution laws (which, let’s be brutally honest, are a Christian legacy in this country) and better working conditions for sex workers.

It’s a sad statement when our culture has this incredible disparity, where violence is cheered on as a solution, but somehow consensual sex can dehumanize human beings if money’s involved. Because everything does have a price, whether it’s moral, metaphorical, or literal.

And that, dear readers, is my nickel’s worth.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesday Funny–It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

More teary-eyed hilarity from the Evil Seinfeld:



Saturday, October 02, 2010

Accusations Of Witchcraft? In American Politics? They Can’t Be Serious…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasischristine-the-teenage-witch1

…but they are.

Karl Rove Says Christine O'Donnell Needs to Explain Witchcraft 'Dabbling' to Voters

Oh noes – the Political Prince of Darkness is pointing this kind of finger? At anyone?

Karl Rove, political mastermind for former President George W. Bush, said Sunday that Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party insurgent who won an upset victory in Delaware for the GOP Senate nomination, "can't simply ignore" the controversy stirred over the disclosure that she "dabbled in witchcraft" and has to find a way to "explain it and put it in its most sympathetic light and move on."

What controversy? There is none, at least for (us) mature adults who’ve given up the supernatural for good.

"In southern Delaware, where there are a lot of church-going people, they're probably going to want to know what was that all about," Rove said on "Fox News Sunday." "And again, she said it on television when she went on the ... the Bill Maher show."

I for one could care less about these ‘church-going people’ and their opinions. To be blunt, going to some superstitious outhouse doesn’t mean squat. Jim Jones was religious. So was Manson. The list goes on. If I got upset every time I heard the phrase ‘good church-going people’, I’d have had a stroke already.

The ignorance bleats on:

Rove was referring to an October 1999 appearance O'Donnell made on Maher's "Politically Incorrect" show where she said," I dabbled into witchcraft -- I never joined a coven. ... One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it." O'Donnell had been on Maher's show frequently in the 1990s, and Maher has said he is going to show an O'Donnell clip each week until she agrees to appear again.

Multiple levels of stupidity here. First,  it speaks to the alleged ‘religious tolerance’ that most Americans are expected to have. Second, there’s no such thing as actual witchcraft, just delusional stoners who think the Lord Of The Rings was a documentary. Third, the actual Wiccan religion doesn’t even believe in Ol’ Scratch. And just to demonstrate how achingly stupid O’Donnell is, she was at the forefront of an MTV ‘crusade’ against masturbation. And to top off off the burning idiocy of this woman’s ass-backwards primitivism, she demonstrates her sexual bigotry by opposing homosexual rights.

As the Salon article accurately points out, she’s all for the individual and their rights, as long as they behave as her superstition sees fit.

It’s no small wonder that Europeans think our politics are histrionically hysterical.

Till the next post, then.