Hopefully, a new trend
So, before I start taking issue with the specific points raised in her response, a hearty "good job!" is due. Good job, Ms. Preskar (the Ms. indicating my solidarity with bra-burning, man-hating feminists, of course).
The other side is just as happy to press their cause in churches. By the way, check out the staff directory of the National Center for Selling Evolution (NCSE)....The first photo you’ll see is of Josephine Bergson in a white clerical collar. In the caption we are told that “audiences appreciate her ability to demonstrate the compatibility of neo-Darwinism and Christianity.” The point to appreciate is that this debate is anything but religion-neutral for the other side.
In our current “dictatorship of moral relativism,” it is entirely possible to convince ourselves that obvious fallacies such as this can be true.....Thinking in this manner creates complete anarchy in the psyche. If there are no absolutes, then I cannot find my way.
An interesting feature of Cultural Relativism is that it seems to indicate that the moral disagreements between cultures are not actually moral disagreements, but are disagreements of fact. Again, let’s take the issue of abortion. The Pro-Life position argues that it is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. The Pro-Choice position actually agrees with the Pro-Life position on this essential point.
The first words of Left Behind are "Rayford Steele," the protagonist's name.
It sounds like a porn star's name -- and in a sense it is. The Left Behind series is dispensational porno, but it's more than that. One of the most disturbing things about this book is the way LaHaye and Jenkins portray men, women and the relationships between them.
Note that Tim LaHaye's wife is something of a professional misogynist. She runs the 500,000-member "Concerned Women for America" -- jokingly referred to by its critics as "Ladies Against Women." For years, while Beverly LaHaye's husband pastored a church in San Diego, Mrs. L. spent most of her time 3,000 miles away, in Washington, D.C., running a large organization committed to, among other things, telling women they should stay at home and sacrifice their careers for their husbands. She is not an ironic woman and doesn't seem to find any of this inconsistent. (Nor, as I found out firsthand, does she appreciate jokes about the Freudian implications of the view from her L'Enfante Plaza office window. Sometimes the Washington Monument is just a cigar.)
Our porn star hero, Rayford Steele, interacts with women just like any porn star does -- minus, of course, the sex. It's all about dominance, exploitation, titillation and the stroking of -- in this case -- egos.
The character Rayford Steele is, like the authors, no longer a young man. Younger authors might not have been compelled to give their protagonists names -- "Steele" and "Buck" -- that seem such a blatant assertion of male virility. Bev is apparently not the only LaHaye who seems oblivious to phallic imagery.
If you're thinking I'm reading too much into all this, that this theme isn't really as present in the text as I'm making it out to be, consider the opening lines:
Rayford Steele's mind was on a woman he had never touched. With his fully loaded 747 on autopilot ...
That's more than just subtext.
I'm anxiously awaiting Fred's review of the movie, but at his present pace it may be a few decades.
At the heart of it, if I can put it crudely, is this: Someone is pissed as hell that after years of the media and society being the guardians and evangelists of their political, religious and moral agenda, someone else is being given a crack of the whip. The issue isn't control or brainwashing or agendas. In so far as those terms offer fair and accurate descriptions, they've always been with us. The issue is that certain conservative Christians like Preskar had it good for so long, they're damn well pissed that they're not the ones doing the brainwashing any more.Sounds about right. What about awful writing and naive regurgitation of suburban ideology? Oh, it's in there:
Our little white house with its large back yard, Mom baking apple pies, Dad coming home from work, a dog and cat, riding horses, playing Cowboys and Indians and dolls are many of my recollections of childhood.I always find it interesting when the message of the Gospels is conflated with suburban idyll. At any rate, I'm sure the rest of Dave's series will be equally good.
This carnival is living up to its name. The posts received blew me away so much that any pithy summaries I could come up with were utterly inadequate to the task at hand. Some of these were gut-bustingly funny; some incredibly thought-provoking; and some just unbelievably beautiful. It's amazing the depth and the breadth of talented prose on the net. One thing I know is that there are many people smarter than I both past and present. So here are the latter in terms of the former.
Kant: We call sublime what is absolutely large ...That is sublime in comparison with which everything else is small. (popular demand)
John Kerry is now professing an interest in helping the members of the military and their families. As the wife of a Marine Corps veteran, I am all for that. For the past several decades, however, Kerry has not exactly been known for his support of military spending.
The data very consistently shows that the US does not have a very good health care system when measured in terms of the health of its people, or when measured in terms of how its citizens feel about the health care they get... and it has a horrible health care system when these mediocre outcomes are juxtaposed with its astronomical costs.
I have a conservative Republican friend who got a diagnosis of colon cancer recently. He had very poor but quite expensive HMO insurance and looked into what the treatment and cost would be. Answer: surgery which would have left him on a colostomy bag, expensive co-pay, and over the max coverage he had.
His sister lives in Paris, so he flew over there. Upon landing in France, he became eligible for health coverage. He was afforded the very best and most up-to date treatment for colon cancer -- it gets technical, but it involved shrinking the tumor with radiation and then surgery, which meant he didn't need a colostomy bag. He was treated over a period of almost a year, and has been back a couple of times for check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. Cost: about $1000. To his credit, he thinks the American way of health is insane.
There must be some downside to switching to a French model, or else one would expect we already would have done so. What is it? That's an honest question, as I have no idea about this stuff.
I'm gearing up for the second installment of smarter than I, the carnival where you submit other bloggers' work. I'd like to include a new category: superior commentary. Often the best thing about a particular post is the witticism, ingenuity, or rhetoric it inspires. So, this time around, you'll be allowed two entries--your link to a posting and a comment of genius.
smarter than I is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult carnival out there. It's rather easy to send a link--and that's all you have to do. It's hard to choose just one, especially if, like most bloggers, you're addicted.
Send them to smarterthani at hotmail dot com by Wednesday, April 13, 3:00 pm PST. And thanks in advance to all those who will help spread the word.
Read the very first smarter than I here, and a statement of purpose here.
One of the most frequently offered arguments by proponents of same-sex marriage is that it is not gays wanting to marry a member of the same sex that threatens the institution of marriage, it is the high divorce rate among heterosexuals.
One reason this argument is so often made is that it appeals to the religious as well as the secular, to conservatives as well as liberals. This is too bad, because the argument is a meaningless non sequitur. First, while divorce ends a given marriage, it does not threaten marriage as an institution.
With the passage last week of a budget bill in Israel, the government of Ariel Sharon appears to be ready to remove more than 8,000 Israelis living in Gaza with force, if necessary.In addition to the legal dubiousness of this step and its historical unprecedented nature (challenge to the reader: name another democracy that has forcibly removed thousands its own citizens from their lawful homes)Gosh, forcing people out of their homes must be unprecedented! Why, that could never happen in a place like A-mur-i-ka!
And here's Sen. Barbara Boxer, on John Bolton, Bush's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: "He's been very contemptuous of the U.N." Well, no sh**, senator. And you haven't? You weren't contemptuous when Saddam Hussein's government chaired the nuclear-disarmament committee?....Liberalism used to mean something — e.g., opposition to tyranny and lies. And now? Opposition to George W. Bush seems most important.There are two lines of counterobjection here: the first is the hippie objection (Republicans are all about peace and flowers, and the UN hasn't been helping the world in either of these areas). As an objection to Boxer, this misses the mark. One of Boxer's main objections to Bolton was his opposition to various peace-and-flower-maximizing treaties (notably, those treaties banning chemical weapons and nuclear weapons). As a general counterobjection, though, it could be said to be the objection from corruption: to the extent that the UN is corrupt and/or impotent, it is unable to maximize the peace and flowers that patchouli-wearing Republicans have come to see as the primary goal of foreign policy ("freedom, man!").
After approximately 2 and a half years living in Greenpoint, I have moved to Bay Ridge. To sleep. A good one year of Greenpoint was spent devoid of sleep. A haze that I was partly to blame for but mostly the fault of others. The insomnia haze called my old apartment was ripe with the worst neighbors ever.
Nightime has now bestowed upon me a new blessing. The blessing of quiet. I can sometimes hear my naughty cats scampering around at 4 in the morning. But mostly I can my hear my boyfriend dream. Or I can listen to my own.
Although I escaped from a tiny railroad aprtment we now live in The Sleeper Car.
Tom Friedman needs to stop using poker analogies:And this poker hand is seven-card stud, no-limit Texas Hold 'Em.
If you don't know, in Seven Card Stud, each player is dealt seven cards. Two down, then four up, then one down. There is betting after each card is dealt, starting with the first up card.
Texas Hold'em is an entirely different beast.
The hallmark of the Friedman method is a single metaphor, stretched to column length, that makes no objective sense at all and is layered with other metaphors that make still less sense. The result is a giant, gnarled mass of incoherent imagery. When you read Friedman, you are likely to encounter such creatures as the Wildebeest of Progress and the Nurse Shark of Reaction, which in paragraph one are galloping or swimming as expected, but by the conclusion of his argument are testing the waters of public opinion with human feet and toes, or flying (with fins and hooves at the controls) a policy glider without brakes that is powered by the steady wind of George Bush’s vision.
"The Long Bomb," March 2. On the eve of war, Friedman puts us in a special kind of movie theater, one that has movable chairs instead of seats: "If this were not about my own country, my own kids and my own planet," he writes, "I’d pop some popcorn, pull up a chair and pay good money just to see how this drama unfolds." (Is there a place in the world where one can pop one’s own popcorn and then "pay money" to watch something?) But as it turns out, we’re watching not a movie, but a crap game; Bush is about to undertake a "shake of the dice." By the third paragraph, Bush has abandoned dice for football: he is about to throw "The Long Bomb." We then find out that Friedman’s wife is opposed to the war, but soon go back to the crap game and the "audacious shake of the dice." In the end, we find out that this has not been craps or football all along, but shop class:
"So here’s how I feel," he concludes. "I feel as if the president is presenting us with a beautiful carved mahogany table–a big, bold, gutsy vision. But if you look underneath, you discover that this table has only one leg. His bold vision on Iraq is not supported by boldness in other areas."
This must be derived from the popular expression: "He sure has guts. Like a mahogany table." Only in this case, the guts only have one leg.
I was assigned Friedman's book The Olive Tree and the Lexus this semester, and lemmee tell ya: Taibbi ruined it for me. I couldn't actually read the book; I was way too busy trying to figure out how the electric herd could build a mass transit system to download the supernovas of ingenuity. I almost got whiplash from constantly shaking my head in exasperation.
With respect to Guantanamo Bay, to cite the most obvious example, the Bush administration has argued that the detention centers there effectively occupy a lawless zone, a site where a permanent (if undeclared) state of exception or emergency is in force. The prisoners have been stripped of all legal protections and stand exposed to the pure force of American military and political power. They have ceased to count as recognizable agents bearing a symbolic status covered by law. They effectively stand at the threshold where biological life and political power intersect. That is why it is fundamentally unclear whether anything those in power do to them is actually illegal.(HT: Charlotte Street)
If places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay represent sites where life, lacking all legal status and protection, stands in maximal exposure to Pure political power, then the case of Terri Schiavo—and here I am thinking of the law passed by Congress that was intended to keep her alive—offers us a strange reversal. We find here the paradox of an intrusive excess of legal “protection” that effectively serves to suspend the law (the judicial process running its course in the Florida courts) and take direct hold of human life. A law designed to lift a single individual out of an ongoing judicial process is essentially a form or caprice, law in its state of exception (a sanctioned suspension of legality).