It’s no secret that I’m not a religious man, and I don’t have a whole lot of respect for religious people for reasons that are largely obvious and which I have gone over numerous times in the past. (Religious individuals are often a different story — some of my best friends, etc. I mean, you put up with your friends’ stupid crap because they make it worth the effort. It’s not like they don’t have to put up with mine.)
Accordingly, I have little use for religious authority figures. My respect for bishops, for example, mostly stems from the fact that they can move diagonally on the board, which is very cool but doesn’t have a great impact on my daily life. I don’t particularly want to hear from them, and when I do, I don’t typically like what I hear.
But reading Bishop John Shelby Spong’s recent manifesto on homosexuality, I found myself wanting to yell out “fuck yeah!” Bishop Spong denounces the religious right’s homophobic bullshit with admirable eloquence and conviction. He quite correctly points out that this is no longer an issue that should be debated; that people who still oppose granting the LGBT crowd equal rights are atavistic throwbacks who mask their own fear and hatred with Biblical pretext and who should be treated with the disdain we now show people who advocate slavery or removing women’s right to vote.
If you’ll allow a generalization, there are roughly two things about religion that I dislike — the fact that it’s based on fantasy and superstition, which has a easily demonstrable negative impact on humanity, and the fact that it’s a wonderful free pass for people to do horrible things to each other. Obviously, Bishop Spong and I aren’t likely to see eye to eye on the first category, but I’m so glad that unlike so many of his peers, he’s not an evil moral cripple.
Ajoitukseni edellisen kirjoitukseni suhteen oli selvästi poikkeuksellisen oivallinen, sillä asia on Hesarinkin mielestä ajankohtainen. Voin arvata, että tämän asian kanssa ollaan painittu siellä jo melko pitkään.
Koska maailma ei kuitenkaan ole muuttunut näin nopeasti, kyseisen artikkelin alla olevassa keskusteluketjussa voi toki vielä nauttia ihanasta ja rakentavasta eipäsjuupastelusta ja faktapohjaisesta argumentoinnista, jossa selviää mm. se, että tämän takana on Kokoomus ja Jyrki Katainen! Niin varmasti, kysehän on todellakin poliittisesta ajojahdista eikä esimerkiksi siitä, että Hesarin toimituskuntaa nolottaa ja vituttaa se, että joka jutun yhteyteen räiskäistään aina sangollinen ripulia. (Mikä ei tietenkään estä samaa lafkaa raportoimasta uutisena sitä, mitä heidän omalla keskustelupalstallaan tapahtuu, mutta mitäs pienistä — tuleepa ainakin niitä iki-ihania klikkejä, ja kuten kaikki verkkosivustoja elääkseen hoonaavat tietävät, maailmankaikkeuden tärkein yksikkö on klikki.)
Relating to my previous post about Uganda, a friend pointed me towards these YouTube clips, where political commentator Rachel Maddows tears Richard Cohen a new one. But before we get to them, a little background:
Cohen is a piece of work; he’s a gay guy who decided he just wasn’t gay anymore, got religion, got married, got some kids. Now he’s a totally straight, not at all gay, very happily married non-faggot “conversion therapist”, which essentially means that he tells people — and makes a living out of telling people — that people can just stop being gay. His book, Coming Out Straight, has been used by the Ugandan government as “evidence” for why it’s okay to execute gays. (Very helpfully, Cohen himself sent them copies — although I’m sure he didn’t realize exactly what they were planning, because I think even a raging asshole like him realizes that at this point, things are just getting way out of hand, and clearly he’s trying to distance himself from the whole thing.)
I like the methodical way Maddows goes after him, and I love to watch him squirm. I mean, I’m not particularly familiar with Maddows, but in this age of 30-second sound bites and rhetoric, I love that she’s taking, what, 15 minutes to have a conversation and present an actual argument against this douchebag — and yeah, she’s gay, so that probably has an impact on her priorities, but she’s not making a personal argument. I mean, it’s not a spectacular show where he’s reduced to tears in the end, but… I dunno, I just wish this happened more often to assholes like this, which is another way of saying that I wish more people with jobs in the media went after these people.
So, I heard you’ve got a proposed law in the works! Gay people with HIV should be killed, and people who, oh, say that hey, maybe you shouldn’t kill those queers because it’s wrong should be put in jail?
So, Barack Obama got sworn in. No surprises there, that was to be expected.
But that other motherfucker? It was nice to see him get in that helicopter and fly away. Sure, you can argue that he’s not so much evil as he’s just dumb or easily misled, or that he’s just the puppet for other parties’ interests, or whatever, but just the same: I seem to recall something about the buck stopping at the Oval Office. I can only hope that someone finds the balls to actually enforce that.
The Pope has once again opened his piehole. This time good old Benedict McGeriatric decided to point out that “saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior is just as important as saving the rain forest from destruction,” as the BBC News article puts it.
Wow, thanks, Pope! That’s a great piece of advice, right there. I know I certainly prefer to get all of my moral guidance from willfully and proudly ignorant and superstitious people who feel that rape victims shouldn’t be allowed to have abortions and who have no qualms about flat out lying about the protection condoms can offer against HIV — just to bring up those old classics.
So by all means, do keep spreading your message of peace and love! Then your followers can blindly agree with anything you say — because, hey, you’re the Pope! — no matter how fucking stupid it sounds. Or, better yet, they can silently die a little bit more inside, knowing that they’re contributing to an international culture of stupidity and hatred whenever they let you and your horde of priests spout this kind of blatantly evil shit that they know to be wrong without objecting to it and still going with the flow, because, hey, it’s the way things are done. I mean, the system works! Why make waves? The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, after all. I love you guys best of all.
Oh, Pope! Are you just another hypocrite or do you truly believe in all this fucking idiotic crap? I have no way of knowing, and I can’t even decide which possibility would be more maddening — but rest assured that whenever I think of you, I hope you trip on your papal robes and crack your head wide open against your toilet bowl. Sure, it’s kind of unpleasant of me, but let’s put this in perspective: contrasted with what you do every day, I’m still coming off as the nicer guy. You’re not just sitting there and outlining abstract policy, you’re saying things that have an active impact on others’ lives. And you just don’t care, because centuries of tradition — dating from those ages long gone, when people were known for being intelligent and educated — say it’s okay. And besides, your imaginary friend approves.
So thanks a lot for setting the proper mood for the holidays, pal!
I just upgraded WordPress to the new version, 2.7. It comes with a lot of new stuff, and my first reaction is that I’m a little unnerved by the new interface — let’s face it, I’m a kind of a quasi-Luddite in that I find that I prefer things to stay more or less the same when it comes to software. I mean, hell, the first version of Fun Pastimes was a bunch of manually maintained HTML files, which was obviously a huge pain in the ass; it took me a bunch of years to install an actual publishing platform. So I’m one of those people whose first reaction to a new feature that honestly makes everything a lot easier is suspicion, because, hey, at least I’m comfortably familiar with the old version, right? (It’s not a particularly enlightened approach, but then, gut reactions rarely are.)
Anyway, the new version comes with a lot of new features, most of which are probably going to be fairly meaningless to me. I know things like media management have been a part of WordPress for a while now, but when I put up a post with pictures, I’m still hand-coding the HTML there. Part of that is just that I’m an ornery and stubborn bastard, part of it has to do with trying to use those WP features and finding out that they suck. Of course, this was, oh, I guess three or four years ago, and I know they’ve probably improved that to a whole new level, but far be it from me to move with the times. So, you know, now my buttons just aren’t where they used to be and I and my neuroses have an intrinsic dislike for that.
But then I checked out my plugins. I have a couple of plugins I’ve tried out at some point and never found any real use for, so they’re not active, but they’re still there, because I couldn’t be bothered to actually remove them, you know? And of course, WordPress tells me that new versions of them are out. It’s been telling me that for a good while, and I just ignore it, even though the “upgrade your plugins, you lazy bastard” indicator on the Dashboard is annoying. Now, looking around the new digs, I see that there’s an option to upgrade them automatically.
So I click on the “upgrade automatically” thing.
And the motherfucker goes ahead and does its thing.
And just like that, they’re up to date.
Didn’t have to download anything, didn’t have to fire up the FTP client. It just did it. And I’m thinking, holy shit, that’s hella cool. I mean, I just spent about a half an hour, all told, backing up the database and the installation files and downloading the new package and uploading the new files to the site and upgrading the database reactivating my plugins and whatnot. It’s not exactly hard work, but it’s a hassle I could do without. They say I can just click on a button, now, and WordPress’ll take care of that while I scratch my ass and read some comics.
And all of a sudden, that new interface is looking pretty sweet to me.
We, the rest of the world, are entirely pleased with you for reasons that are far too numerous and far too obvious to go into here, and have much, much love for you simply because right now, you are fucking awesome. Good job.
However, after watching MSNBC’s coverage of the election and hearing the emotional statements on how this is an event that will amaze the world simply because nothing like this has ever been seen before, kindly allow me to point out that just because you managed to elect someone who is not an old white man, you are not leading the pack. You are catching up.
Still. Good job.
Prepare yourself, America. We will now hug you. We will hug you, because you bastards went and got your shit together, and it makes us so very, very fucking glad.
The Pope, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to open the cornucopia of evil that he likes to pretend is his mouth. In his latest statement he informs us that the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” are the result of atheism.
Uh-huh. Sure, Benny, that must be it. Frankly, coming from a man who is the head of an international organization that swears by shameless misogyny and open intolerance of gay people, has absolutely no moral problem with telling people that condoms are useless against HIV infection, even if it contributes to the deaths of thousands and thousands of people, and habitually covers up and downplays the pedophilia practiced by priests that represent it — just to name a couple of the most obvious points that spring to mind — I’m not convinced he’s in any position to start cast stones. (And no, I’m not saying that Catholic priests are more likely to be child molesters, just that child molestation by Catholic priests isn’t something the church has traditionally been eager to act on — not least so because of the direct orders to keep schtum from the Pope himself, back when he was just cardinal Ratzinger.)
Throw in the Crusades, and, oh, let’s say the subjugation of the native South Americans in the name of conversion Catholicism for good measure, and you get a pretty ugly picture. And yet all of these things are apparently inconsequential compared to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice ever perpetrated. Or are we perhaps to believe that if it hadn’t been for the gentle touch and calming effect of the Church, things would’ve been even worse?
It’s one thing that he conveniently ignores the Crusades and other similar incidents in the past — let’s be fair, he wasn’t around at the time, and it was a long time ago, anyway. But when he still insists that homosexuals are evil (yes, fine, he doesn’t say that — he just insists that everything they do, besides praying and getting married to members of the opposite sex, is evil, which must be a great comfort indeed to your average faggot) and directly contributes to the ongoing AIDS-related body count, the levels of hypocrisy involved are enough to make my blood boil. I mean, how is that not evil?