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The Age of Reason

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s fitting that I come to write this topic on this day. Fitting only because what I have railed against in most of my religious writings is not religion itself (although I have done that) but extremism in any form. Today’s post was originally going to be a review of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason which I have just recently finished, but then there was the thing in Haiti. A terrible Earthquake in a poverty stricken country that just can’t seem to right itself.

So that is going on, and I was going to talk about how this will be big news for the next few days and then it will taper off completely. Along with a sufficient lack of coverage regarding the US Military’s role in helping these people, something you just don’t see the press do anymore. Just look at Katrina/New Orleans, one the political wrangling was over between the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans, once the President arrived (Bush despite what Kanye West though did a lot to move that along [“jackass” I believe the current president referred to him as]) the military did a bang up job sorting that cluster fuck up but you never hear that side of the story.

Yet American religious fascism knows no bounds, and since Jerry Falwell has been in the dirt,* Pat Robertson can step up to the plate to put the “fun” back into fundamentalism: “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got togethter and swore a pact to the Devil. They said we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so the devil said Ok its a deal, and they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselvers free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle – on one side is Haiti, on the other side is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. and Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have, and we need to pray for them a great turning to god, and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.

Robertson and Falwell were unique for being able to take from tragedy and spin it into a “those people deserved this” appeal for donations. 9/11, after all happened because this country allows gays, liberals, and feminists to live in spite of what a 1500 year old book (at last ratification) says we ought to do. My only question is whether Pat segregates his crops in the field, and makes sure that he does not mix wool and linen together while he is advocating the more convenient hate filled sections of the bible.

The above quote is not even historically correct. Napolean III? By the time of the Haitian revolution there hadn’t even been a Napolean I, and the revolt was not led by Satan but by a former slave. It wouldn’t have taken two minutes of google before getting to the correct information but he’s got god on his side so I guess things like “fact” and “evidence” aren’t that important.

Aside from that I would like Robertson to point out which book he is getting his god from becaus even old smitey from the Jewish Bible (Christian Old Testament) isn’t this picky or this capricious with his targets. We know why he thew the old atom bomb at Sodom, why various other nations had to “get got,” but an earthquake against Haiti…well either the big guy’s lost his edge or he’s getting lazy. This doesn’t even suffice for any of the gods from the pagan world either, I mean I suppose that if, and this is a big hypothetical, the king of Haiti didn’t sacrifice all of the big rams to Poseidon this might have been the punishment and that’s only if there was either a special tie to the sea god (either love or hate you can never really tell with hellenic gods). As it stands for divine punishment the only thing that even remotely makes sense is that if the Jormungand just needed to shed some skin and rubbed itself against Haiti.

Theologically this makes no sense either because it is unclear whether this was a punishment from god for making the deal with the devil or if this is just the devil twisting the arrangement as he is reputed to do. I’m not certain where the theodicy of Pat Robertson is coming down in this one which almost makes me wish for Falwell because at least he was clear on bullshit like this.

*And this is one of those times I wish I could believe in the divine because he should be at the bottom of hell underneath the frozen ice.

Free Porn

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment

The ready accessibility of wifi, the fact that for the most part it is free, and the cheapness of portable computers (especially now with the mini-laptops or “netbooks”) is probably one of the most important inventions since the advent of the internet itself. Possibly ranking alongside, but just below the printing press as information can so easily be attained. Yet most people use the internet for pointless bitching and attacking other people’s arguments, to make their fantasy football team picks and stats (although the NFL sharply discourages gambling, wink wink), and the greatest economic factor of the internet: pornography.

I’m not anti-porn, in fact I’m pro-porn, but with that comes certain limitations that are mere societal constraints or taboos if you will. I wouldn’t think that a person who comes in to a bar or cafe with a penthouse or hustler is someone that really gets the idea of social convention. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen this happen. Yet, with the internet and the computer people seem to think that this is acceptable. So case in point, here is a person I hate:

The public porn viewer. If you hang out at the coffee shop that I do, you can see him everyday with his mini-laptop sitting against the window in the corner. The computer is angled so that the screen faces the wall, which makes it hard for anyone to actually see what he is doing. All you can hear from him is the “click” of his mouse as he surfs the internet looking at pornography.

The reason that I know what he is doing is because the wall that the screen faces isn’t a wall it’s a large window, a clear window easily seen through, a fact that must have escaped him because he doesn’t want anyone to know what he is looking at. How do I know this? The tilt of the computer. Standing inside the coffee shop it is impossible to see the monitor without letting it be known what you are doing. When he gets up to leave the table, he folds the screen down; all of this lets me know that he knows the public isn’t the place to be looking at porn.

Here is the conundrum. I suppose it’s less creepy that he is in the cafe instead of in his car doing the same thing. However if he were just doing it in the back of a Ford E-150 with no windows I wouldn’t be aware of it and thus wouldn’t care, maybe casually remarking about why there is always a van parked near the coffee shop but I probably wouldn’t even notice it. So the creepiness factor is almost inversely proportional to the level of awareness that I have.

The obvious remark is that I shouldn’t have looked at his monitor to begin with, but I was curious. Not about what he was looking at but the functionality of the computer itself. This was before I bought the new laptop and was considering a bundle package that would have included both a laptop and a “netbook” that seemed like a good deal. Now I know something that I can’t un-know.

Take it somewhere else, somewhere I am preferably not because I can’t help but notice every time he sets up in the corner. It makes things a bit awkward.