Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'What would Jesus do?' He'd probably say, 'Butt out!'

Let me be clear before I start: I don't want this post to be viewed through an overly political lens (which is going to be a temptation some readers have, inasmuch as the movement I'm attacking draws chiefly from the conservative right and its partisans among the Christian community. Please keep in mind as you read that I've given Sen. Obama a pretty hard time, too. And I don't have much use for the left wing as a whole in SHAM). I also realize that the sentiments I'm showcasing here aren't exactly original. Finally, I concede—and damn, these are an awful lot of concessions with which to begin a post!—that in the recent past, I myself have bemoaned the limited options our young people have, these days, in trying to locate workable role models among the moral dissolution of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, The Family Spears and/or just about anyone in Hollywood. (Apropos of which: From what I hear, Juno was a pretty good flick with a brilliant script...but...a movie that celebrates and, ultimately, vindicates a breeding 16-year-old? No matter how savvy and "delightful" her character may be? Whether or not a movie like Juno depicts "reality," is that image helpful to the millions of parents waging a desperate daily war to make such predicaments seem totally unacceptable in the minds of their own teenagers?)

All that said—and it's a mouthful—this sort of stuff flat-out appalls and, yes, terrifies me. Not only that, but I find it hard to resist the use of words like, oh, I don't know—"hypocritical scumbags"?—in describing the kinds of people who typically set themselves up as Guardians of Our Collective Moral Compass. If you click the link above, you'll read about an initiative that seeks to restore the "under God" to our approach to daily life here in America. This would be done by mobilizing the nation's 52 million Christian voters to resolute action in the next election. The man at the so-called heart of this initiative, David Kupelian, has written a book called The Marketing of Evil. Among his endorsers and media shills are (non)-Dr. Laura Schlessinger, David (my brother got me this job) Limbaugh, and Sean (if my IQ were any lower I'd be a dandelion*) Hannity.

Kupelian and his sympathizers in the movement invoke John Hancock in exhorting their disciples as follows: "I urge you, by all that is honorable, and by all that is sacred, not only that ye pray but that ye act!"

Look, I'd like to see some things done differently in today's society. But I don't want those changes legislated. And I certainly don't want them legislated by people who presume to speak on God's behalf (and who, I might add, truly believe that that's what they're doing). So I'm curious about a few things. How do hard-line Christians and other conservatives reconcile their supposed godly view of life with their support of a party whose policies are so hostile to the very classes of people for whom Christ reserved his most fervent embrace? (I guess they skipped the part of the bible that stresses brotherly love and all that rubbish about the meek inheriting the earth.) How can they proclaim themselves "right-to-lifers" at the same time they so vigorously oppose every effort to do away with the death penalty? How do they manage to look beyond the moral stains on the resumes of many of their own leaders and sponsors (like, say, Schlessinger), while at the same time displaying such venom for people who misstep today? (Again, I've had my quibbles with Spears and such. But I'm not claiming to be a religious voice.) How can they have so much compassion for their own philandering bisexual leaders and yet so little compassion for gays who simply want to formalize a lifelong monogamous relationship?

Above all: How do they justify decrying theocracies like those one finds in Muslim nations while at the same time seeking to set up an effective theocracy right here in the U.S. of A?

I don't think they're unreasonable questions. And I wouldn't mind hearing some answers.

============================

This, by the way, is my 500th SHAMblog post. And though I haven't actually counted (that much of a masochist I'm not), those 500 posts almost surely represent an output of more than a quarter-million words—or about three times the length of SHAM itself. Hard to believe, folks. Hard to believe....

* Apologies to Jim Bouton, who penned the line in his masterful baseball tell-all, Ball Four. I figured that since everyone seems to plagiarizing everyone else of late, I might as well steal Bouton's line, which is a classic. For the record, my gibe at Hannity is not intended as a symbolic broadside against right-wing radio. I listen to Rush now and then, watch Glenn Beck with some regularity, and even think Michael Savage, for all his pathologies, makes an intriguing point now and then. But I do not think it possible that a fundamentally dumber person than Hannity has ever had his own TV show.

54 comments:

ourfriendben said...

Well, there's always that classic bumper sticker that shows Jesus with a cell phone and reads "Jesus called: He wants His religion back!"

Steve Salerno said...

Succinct and true.

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations on your 500th, Steve -- hard to believe indeed (SHAMx3!).
Keep'em coming!

Blair Warren said...

RAmen, Steve. RAmen.

No, those weren't typos.

"RAmen" is simply the phrase we Pastafarians (i.e. members of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) use to express agreement.

And while I think morals can be great things, I don't think we should be trying to shove them down each other's throats. Unless, of course, we serve them with spaghetti.

On second thought, with so many people on low-carb diets these days, I can't even condone that.

Alas.

mikecane2008 said...

>>>Sean (if my IQ were any lower I'd be a dandelion*) Hannity.

Howling over that!!

I think that guy was born wearing pinstripes and started right away lecturing his parents to be more "moral."

Cal said...

Maybe you could be Alec Baldwin's manager in a Baldwin v. Hannity celebrity boxing match since they hate each other so much.

Anonymous said...

The answer is easy, it's called self-delusion and self-denial. These devices have been going on since the beginning of time and pre-dates Christianity. Everyone has some sort of picture of who they are. For example, say you are a doctor and one of your patients dies due to your negligence. Now you have spent much of your life becoming a doctor and your whole identity is tied-up in being a doctor, can you really be honest with yourself about how the patient died? Few people have the self-honesty to say, "my ego or ignorance got in the way of me diagnosing this patient correctly." Unless the family of the patient pursues it, the doctor goes unscathed. Most assume doctors do their best by their patients, but time and time again this is shown to be untrue. I think this is the case with most of the far right when it comes to their own behaviors. Instead of looking at themselves honestly, it is easy to cast stones at the anyone who questions "their" morality, which Jesus mentioned in the Bible.

The Crack Emcee said...

I listen to Hannity, and Limbaugh, but (not regularly and) with the knowledge of both of their failings (Hannity's a crazy Christian, and Limbaugh, while right on a lot of things, can get a enough things wrong to be accused of hypocrisy, on occasion) so I wouldn't consider either my "leader" in anything. That said:

As a conservative who isn't a Christian, I don't have a problem with the death penalty because I grew up in this, and know the world's simply a better place (and good people get a chance to live) without some other people around. Though I'd prefer it was only used on cases we were positive about: Everybody else gets "life".

I'm a "right-to-lifer" because I think the irresponsible actions women take - in light of their biology - warps humanity into something degrading for both sexes.

I dislike philandering Republicans as much as philandering Democrats, and gays, well, I just hate - yes, hate - the oppositional positions (and subversive actions) they take toward straight society. (Remember: you're talking to someone who's, on a number of occasions, been accosted in his sleep,...) I think the drive for gay marriage, like the medical marijuana gambit, is more to denigrate an institution than to uphold it. (Think of San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, making his bones on attempting to marry gays and then sleeping with his best friend's wife - both with the full support of SF's gay community - who can say any of them believe in the private social sphere of marriage after that?)

And, yea, theocracies suck. But, I'm sure, you knew I'd say that.

Congratulations on #500, Steve. You're brilliant, guy.

Elizabeth said...

It seems to me, Steve, that those fiery moralistic exhortations of the holier-than-you right-wing leaders almost always betray their fear and hatred, in that order, of the Other. There also appears to be no hint of ambivalence or ambiguity in their words.(Echoes of guruism here.)

As a chronically ambivalent and confused person myself, I find this certainty puzzling. However, the really frightening thing (to me) is the lack of empathy and compassion for those who do not fit their view of what is moral and godly.

If there is just one lesson we could already learn from the past is that this kind of fanatical intolerance, bred by cultivated deficits in empathy and compassion and fueled by ideology, whether religious, political or racial, leads to the worst atrocities we humans can invent.

But it's the election year -- and the more fanatics (on both sides) feel threatened in their rush to power, the harder they'll try to mobilize their faithful and convert those who may harbor doubts. It's the time when their gloves come off. So we can expect to hear the marching drums getting louder and louder till November. (And then all over again.)

Elizabeth said...

P.S. I think you may have been unfair to dandelions, Steve.

The Crack Emcee said...

Anon,

Your post reminded me of Dr. Frank Shallenberger, a "magic water" medicine man (homeopath) who blamed the death of his patients on a "clash of medical belief systems" rather than his own spiritual idiocy. After all this time, I'm still amazed at how strong the hold is, that certain belief systems can have on people. But, then, when this is the level of support they can get out there,...I shudder to think about the horrors that are happening right under our noses.

The Crack Emcee said...

Steve,

Sorry to keep posting but I want to say that, to me, until we look on NewAge beliefs with the same cold eye we shine on organized religion, we're not going to understand much of what's going on out there. Did you see that new study that claims Americans are switching religions or claiming none at all? I betcha they'd get a whole other view of things if they were asking who's "spiritual",...

Anonymous said...

I have my doubts that even the right wingers believe their own hype. After a while it all becomes white noise. Ann Coulter's last book was a bomb, because people just got tired of hearing that stuff. Most of America is middle of the road politically, but only the fringes get press since there's no "news" in being in the middle. If it were not for Fox, Hannity would not have a job. The Christian Right are just not that creative unless they are re-writing science.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, you say:
"I'm a "right-to-lifer" because I think the irresponsible actions women take - in light of their biology - warps humanity into something degrading for both sexes."

I dunno, CMC, but I thought it takes two to make a baby, no?

Do you think it is only women's irresponsible actions that warp humanity here?

Ay, sorry to open this lively can of worms, but since I'm the only woman here today (so far -- and as far as I can tell), I thought I'd ask.

Steve Salerno said...

Crack, you make a fair point...but come on now. We've certainly devoted our fair share of scrutiny to the New Age/New Wage crowd. Have we not?

ourfriendben said...

Love "magic water," Crack!!! Homeopathy's the weirdest thing--or maybe I should say, modern acceptance of homeopathy's the weirdest thing. people would stand a better chance of being cured if they followed Steve's crow-feeding, boo-screaming diet plan.

And Blair, we bow down before the FSM. Pastafari!!!

Michael said...

I'd like to know just who in the world is advocating for a theocracy in the United States? Having been involved in the conservative church for 20+ years I have yet to meet a single person who would consider this, and yet every lefty and near-lefty in the world insists that this is what the Christian community wants. Its' really just paranoia.

Why can't Christians advocate for their views just like others? Doesn't every group have the right to do so? Shouldn't any group advocating in the public square be dealt with for who they are rather than become the object of someone's baseless hyperbole?

Steve Salerno said...

Michael, I'll give you my answer if nobody wants to take the lead on this one (I'm on deadline on two projects). I do think there are several good rebuttals, to be honest.

Michael said...

Thank you, Steve. I'd like to hear what people can say and I'll make a response, but probably not until tomorrow.

Elizabeth said...

Michael, I'm not Steve, obviously, but I would like to respond to some of your points.

First, I completely agree with you that Christians and any other group, religious or not, have the right to advocate for their views and have those views considered on their merit, without prejudice.

But I look at the website Steve discusses in this post today and I see the following exhortation (among other disturbing things):
"If the 'culture war' is to be won, and America restored … 'under God,' Christians must register and vote in far greater numbers."

And I worry reading these words.
A culture war -- with whom? With non-Christians, who happen to be a majority of the world population?

Restoring America (what does THAT mean -- going back to the 1950's, or 1930's?) and under whose God?

It does not sound here as if Kupelian meant the all-loving God who would embrace Christians and non-Christians alike, does it?

And why *war* to begin with? Sounds militant and ominous. After all, war means a bloody conflict and fighting to the death, does it not?

Do these Christian leaders really advocate such extreme measures, or are they guilty of using hyperbole?

If the latter, then why use such extreme language that is going to alienate and frighten non-Christians -- as well as those (other?) Christians who still believe in the original teachings of Christianity (which include humility, compassion, forgiveness, and loving your neighbor).

I can't imagine that all conservative Christians subscribe to this militant and unforgiving stance promoted by Kupelian and others, but then maybe I'm wrong. I will look forward to hearing your views on this.

Steve Salerno said...

Yes, and as a coda to Elizabeth's (typically cogent) thoughts, I'd like to throw this in: The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the U.S. Constitution does not give someone the right to advocate--and in many cases specifically prohibits someone from advocating--policies that are, in fact, unconstitutional by precedent, or would somehow subvert the fundamental democratic contract under which we live. For example, you could not reasonably expect to support a party that would overthrow the U.S. democracy and instead substitute a permanent state of marshal law (no wisecracks, please, about the Bush regime). Similarly, you could not reasonably advocate a political plank that, if implemented, would disenfranchise blacks and/or women (or any recognized "group," for that matter). So why would a Christian expect, during the course of exercising his voting rights, to be able to support doctrines that necessarily and explicitly violate the ironclad separation between Church and State?

Just a thought.

Carl said...

You are right Steve, don't back down. I was brought up in the Church too but these people are not my Church are are very dangerous people in what they want to enforce on others. I say this even though I agree for example with not allowing gay marriage. You have to look at the principle of the thing.

Steve Salerno said...

Folks, I want to apologize for a certain sequencing problem that seems to have crept into the comments here. For whatever reason, I'm finding these past few days that comments that were written earlier are arriving later than comments that were written later (if that makes sense). Bear with me. I do the best I can to keep up with comments and approve them as they come through. If you don't see your comment in a timely fashion, do not automatically conclude that it has been rejected for some reason. (Rejections are quite rare of late.) Give me the benefit of the doubt and either wait a bit longer or, if you still have the text, resubmit.

Anonymous said...

This Hannity Effect is quite disturbing. Even more so the connections some latter-day conversatives have to Nazism.

I fear that too much of this, while our educational standards and quality of life continue to be flushed down the toilet, will destroy America as we know it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Elizabeth,

Men don't get pregnant. Period. You don't want to get pregnant, don't be stupid. I didn't make nature and nature don't play fair.

It's my birthday, and a fitting day for me to say, as the 7th child of a woman who has kids from 4 different men - and had to endure a life of foster homes, loneliness, depravation - and a whole host of other experiences that her stupidity led to - it's pretty cut-and-dry with me: Her unwillingness to keep her legs closed makes it her fault.

One other thing: Nobody's scared of anything. (That's such a NewAge trope, it's insulting. Where does this idea that peace types throw fear into other people, who will kill them without a thought, come from?) I'm willing to put money on this election - now while Obama/Oprah looks good - that the Left/spiritual types lose to John McCain and his middle of the road, war is good, let's go to a normal church candidacy.

Any takers? $5.00. Anybody.

Steve,

I don't mean you but the people who do these religious surveys or are checking the conventional wisdom out there. Or even a lot of the comments I see regarding spiritual matters: they almost always seem to focus, like a laser, on the cliche of "fundamentalist right wing Christians" when, I'm almost positive, the fruitloop set of the NewAge probably dwarfs them - especially when seen from a world-wide perspective. They get a free ride, IMHO. I think it's because the NewAgers - which has a lot of anti-Christian paganism in it - is mostly Buddhist-type Lefties with that ax to grind, so they don't see anything odd about it, while, I - an atheist (which many of them, hilariously, think they are) - find the whole construct of spirituality bizarre, whether it's any form of organized religion or just some ditz (male or female) calling themselves "spiritual".

Ben,

Thanks, man. Having lost 80 lbs, almost overnight, after discovering my ex's cultism (and then having to file for divorce) I'd seriously recommend that avenue to anyone serious about weight loss: It works!

Elizabeth said...

CMC, first, let me say, belatedly but warmly -- happy birthday. I hope you had a good one. (You're a fellow Pisces, I see; mine is coming up this Sunday.:)

I'm genuinely sorry to hear about your childhood. It was horrible. You are right that no child should ever endure this. And I figured there was a compelling personal story/reason behind your statement (i.e. "I'm a "right-to-lifer" because I think the irresponsible actions women take - in light of their biology - warps humanity into something degrading for both sexes.").

Having said that, I honestly do not see how outlawing abortion (which you imply in your statement, if I understand correctly) could positively influence behaviors of women who, like your mother, gave birth to multiple children by different fathers. In fact, one could argue just the opposite here -- but I won't.

And I would like to add that there are obvious problems with using biology to justify certain social policies, because, as history shows, sometimes we use the "biology" argument to legislate our own prejudice (and/or pain). And while we may feel vindicated in it, it does make it right or just.

Consider this paraphrase of your statement:

"I'm pro-segregation, because I think the irresponsible actions blacks take - in light of their biology - warp humanity into something degrading for everyone."

Or:

"I'm for extermination of Jews (Gypsies, Slavs), because I think the irresponsible actions they take - in light of their biology - warp humanity into something degrading for everyone."

Or, say, this (perhaps even more applicable here):

"I'm pro-castration, because I think the irresponsible actions men take - in light of their biology - warp humanity into something degrading for both sexes and for human race in general."

Absurd, to say the least, no?


As for "nobody's scared:" well, I am, for one. So is Steve -- he says so in his post. So are Carl, Blair, Mike, Ben and at least two Anons, judging by people's responses to Steve's post (they are concerned, more accurately). Even on this discussion forum it is a relatively large group of people, all coming from very different walks of life and, as I can tell, not fitting one easy description (e.g. PC, New Age, peace types or whatever). We are hardly "nobody." We all share a concern over what appears to be a rise of religious intolerance and fanaticism encroaching on politics in this country. And, dare I say, we would share that concern (and justified fear) whether it was Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Pastafarian (yes) fanaticism we saw in action. That "culture war" advocated by Kupelian&Co. does not refer to, as you say, "other people, who will kill them (peace types) without a thought," but to *everybody* who does not fit the militant Christian prescription for godliness. This happens to be, by the way, the majority of our human race. And we ain't nobody.

Helga said...

* as the 7th child of a woman who has kids from 4 different men - and had to endure a life of foster homes, loneliness, depravation - and a whole host of other experiences that her stupidity led to - it's pretty cut-and-dry with me: Her unwillingness to keep her legs closed makes it her fault.*

This is usually the argument for pro-choice. If she had better access to reproductive choices instead of the children, there would be no broken lives.

BYW, why are the four men let off the hook in this equation? Those seven children had fathers and the fathers should be equally accountable for the conception of their children. Not making them responsible is why so many men are not seen as capable parents when it comes to child custody hearings.

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Helga! Elizabeth was out there on a limb for awhile; good to see that she's getting some reinforcement! Men who enjoy spreading women's legs shouldn't then turn around and blame the women they've inseminated for becoming pregnant. If they don't want to cause reckless pregnancies, they should take some responsibility and wear condoms (at least) or get their "tubes" tied. I agree with anyone who says there are more than enough people overpopulating the earth and draining its resources without encouraging unwanted pregnancies, but to say it's all women's fault is a little short-sighted.

Helga said...

Being that I am a woman, I would like to bring up a point I have noticed on this blog and in life. Why must women feel the need to kiss a man's ass before disagreeing with him? It goes something like this, "great post Steve, but I think..." or "happy birthday Crack, but...”
Men don't feel the need to do this so why do women? Men seem to really fall for this though. This type of treatment would insult me, but men never seem to notice it and lap it up. Why can't a woman come out and say, "hey I don't agree with you and here's why"? Why does a difference of opinion have to be sandwiched in some form of coddling? What do women feel the need to do this? BTW Elizabeth, Crack is not into astrology so mentioning your shared sign will not placate him, but probably provoke him. It does show you did not pay too much attention to his previous posts or you were making a hidden crack at him. I am not sure about that though.

Steve Salerno said...

Helga, being that I am a man, I am not going to waste any time on placating you. (That's sort of a joke, but maybe not.) In truth, I haven't noticed the phenomenon you reference here, but for all I know, that could be because I'm a man. I admit that possibility. I would remind you that generalizations are dangerous, especially when you're dealing with a cozy online community like SHAMblog. The mix of "truly involved people" (i.e. regulars) is not that big, and is ever in flux anyway. Perhaps Elizabeth is just a courteous person--as I do try to be--and she understands that, in dealing with other people, it is often helpful to throw in a few positives along with the negatives. I don't know. I'm assuming that Elizabeth will speak to the matter herself quite soon.

I do wish that people wouldn't spend so much time looking for ways to politicize random occurrences. Why does the fact that Elizabeth may be--for want of a more intelligent term--nicer than some of the rest of us have to make this into a gender thing?

Bottom line, what I really like to see on the blog is exactly what you said in that one line: "Hey, I don't agree with you and here's why." Followed by evidence and analysis. NOT: "Hey, you're an idiot, and you've proved your idiocy via the kinds of things you've been saying on this blog since day 1, and...."

Helga said...

*I do wish that people wouldn't spend so much time looking for ways to politicize random occurrences. Why does the fact that Elizabeth may be--for want of a more intelligent term--nicer than some of the rest of us have to make this into a gender thing?*

It is a gender thing, Steve. I have read your blog for nearly two years and I can see it, which is why it is not a random occurrence as I stated. Elizabeth may do this subconsciously, or out of habit. As I stated in my previous post, I was not sure. I was going by what I read in her post. She can weigh in on that. You have made my point for me though. Why do you view this indirect pacifying as "nicer"? You are not the only man who does BTW.

Steve Salerno said...

Why do I view this indirect pacifying as "nicer"?

Because it is. It is nicer to be nice than to be (what you would probably describe as ) direct and forthright. Are there exceptions to that rule? Sure. But in general, I think most of us would rather deal with people who inject some element of politeness into the situation. I know I would.

When we go into restaurants, we'd rather have a server who says, "Good morning, how are you today?" Rather than simply launching right into "So what can I get for ya?" (I'm not talking about fake niceness. I'm talking about dealing with people who are authentically nice. "People people.")

That is one reason why I liked San Diego so much better than New York.

Helga said...

Steve, I think you are confusing being gracious with patronization. I agree a genuinely gracious person is much nicer and makes the world an easier place to live in, but that is not my point.

I would say there is a difference between being genuine and direct with patronization. There is a level of condescension with pacifying someone that I object to, it is a subtle way of saying, "I don’t want you to get angry so I will coat my difference of opinion with sugar." My question for the ladies is why must this be done? I think a woman can be gracious by being direct and just stating her difference of opinion. I believe in the long run it is much kinder.

Elizabeth said...

Well, my foot-in-mouth disease keeps getting me in trouble even here, in Steve's cozy tea salon. A couple of days ago I was called to task for using cynical and disparaging language and qualifying it with a disclaimer that I could be wrong. Even though I was sincere. As far as I know myself. Which may not be saying all that much, I admit. Now I'm called to explain why I'm being so nice. Even though I was sincere again. There is just no pleasing you people! ;)

But seriously now, here it goes: I have been (should say, I was) an active participant in various highly-spirited forums in the past and, believe me, I would have (and had) no problem coming out saying, oh, this is just a bunch of crack (no pun) in any discussion. At a certain point, I made a conscious decision not to do it (ever, if possible).

Below are my reasons for deciding so:
1. There is always a (very distinct and real) possibility that I did not understand what the other person was saying.

2. It is too easy to make stupid, harsh or dismissive remarks about another person under the guise of arguing one's points, and esp. in e-mail these two too often go together. Being offensive, or perceived as such, closes any possibility for a meaningful conversation. The tough thing is that we (I) don't always realize we (I) are doing it until it is too late.

3. We pay attention to the content, yes, but even more so to the tone of our statements. For that reason -- and the one below, I'd like to err on the side of kindness and compassion when possible. Life is harsh. Why add to each other's misery?

4. Corny as it may sound, each of us has a story, often a tough and painful one, that has shaped our views of the world and people. To appreciate what a person is saying and why he is saying it, it helps to at least acknowledge, even if not always fully understand, that story. Whenever possible.

5. Being overly sensitive to criticism myself, I'd like to follow the golden rule (I won't rip your head off and hope you won't rip off mine either.) And, c'mon, this is *only* a discussion. Let face it, my views are not all that important, and frankly, neither are yours (sorry -- oh, drats!) -- and I mean in this so-called "great scheme of things." Sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously.

6. I am still embarrassed to read some of the things I have said on those above-mentioned forums in the past -- and, the darn thing is, they will stay there. Forever.

7. I got tired of it all.

8. I got really tired of it.

As far as my response to CMC goes: I've visited CMC's site a while ago, read through *a lot* of it, and found his life story, at least what's presented on the site, genuinely heartbreaking (go ahead, gag and rip my head off if you must). I like his writing -- it is direct and passionate; and I find his views fascinating. We don't have to agree on many (or any) things, but I assume that an expression of appreciation (not to mention compassion and basic courtesy) would not hurt.

No, Helga, I don't imagine CMC is too fond of astrology :) -- neither am I, frankly. And I fully expect he'll come out and say so himself soon.

But, being a naive woman (yeah, no escaping that), I thought that perhaps underscoring some similarity between us, even though relatively superficial, may civilize our exchange a bit. Mea culpa. But what on earth is wrong with wishing someone a happy birthday? (And even if my niceness backfires, then I can always hope for some shamelessly solicited b-day wishes for myself, come Sunday. No? Oh well.)

So there. My long-winded explanation of why I am trying to be nice.
Now go and... have a great evening, ya all. :)

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey Everybody,

Is this a great country or what? In what everyone seems to claim is a sick "Bush" economy, I just went from broke-as-a-joke ($1.37 in the bank, absolutely nothing in my pocket, and totally scared-to-death of losing my place and everything I own - because of my time working for an evil non-profit) to making gobs of money, all my bills paid, and all the financial security a cantankerous ex-crackhead could ask for: Man, I love it here! (My basis for comparison is the year I spent living in Europe, during 2004, and, believe me, there is no comparison:) Things may get tough, and even downright scary at times, but - if you're not nuts or otherwise disabled - careful planning, hard work, and (most importantly) perseverance, are all any American really needs to change things around, almost, on a dime. And that's simply AMAZING!!!

Take it from a black guy: It's really a wondrous thing we've done here - this "America" - and it saddens me that more people, through Communist indoctrination, can't learn to openly embrace it as well. They really don't know what they're missing. Especially the joy they're depriving themselves of - and everyone else - by spending so much time trying to pick holes in it. I mean, right now, I'm as happy as a pig in sh*t. And, oh, so proud to be an American.

O.K. - Elizabeth - first, let me say "Thank You" for the acknowledgment of my birthday, it's very sweet. I worked right through it, but right now (as you can probably tell) decent employment, for me, was gift enough to make this year's chronological turnover really memorable. Not only did I make enough to pull my ass out of the fire but, now, all my other plans (I've got a band, etc.) can go forward, full-steam-ahead, making my other numerous goals possible. Mark your calanders, Y'all: Yesterday was the day The Crack Emcee got back to singin' "Like A Rock!". So, yea, it was good. Thanks again. And an early "Happy Birthday!" to you, too, Elizabeth: I hope (once you can see past my gruffness) we can be friends.

That said (Oooh boy) about that Pisces comment: Why do we all know such useless NewAge information? I mean, ask yourself: How much do we know about Thor? Not the Marvel comic character (who I know a lot about) but the Norse god? Do we mention him to each other when there's a thunder storm? Do people feel a bond, and discuss Thor, if they find they share some thunder-related story? We all know thunder, right? But we don't mention Thor. But let anyone mention what month they're born in and - voila! - out comes the, completely bogus, mystical magical smoke-and-mirrors of the ancients. Why?

This is the point I was trying to make before, to Steve, about NewAge: Nancy Reagan believes in it. Hillary Clinton believes in it. My ex-wife really believes in it - and, as Steve points out in SHAM (the book) it's mainly spread, virally, by women. Screw asking anybody about their religious affiliation, but just ask them if they know what their "sign" is, and we - the thoroughly modern, I-even-understand-the-internet, beings of the 21st Century - become a bunch of blithering idiots; as gullible, and dogmatic, as the worst fundamentalist Christians. (And no, Elizabeth, I wasn't just calling you an idiot. Just making a point, is all.) I just don't get it, and feel just as "oppressed" by it, as everyone else feels about Christianity. I even think it's worse because, except for me and a few other people (James Randi and Richard Dawkins come to mind) everybody else - especially the so-called "cool people" - think everything about it's Hunky-bleeping-Dorry, even as we hear and read, over and over again, about how such beliefs destroy people's lives.

O.K., I'm done with that - sorry - but that's my main post-divorce issue. Moving on:

I agree: Outlawing abortion won't stop all girls from making dumb choices. But, I think, it will stop most from making the same mistake. I know all the pre-abortion rights horror stories, but that's a big part of the problem with the movement: They took the exceptions (which is what most sexually active girls of the past were) and made them into the norm through policy - and that's what's wrong. And any woman, today, who thinks men respect women more now, in this age of "hooking up", than they did when a guy had to bring flowers and candy just to spend time with a member of the opposite sex, has no reason to wonder where all their power, as women, went.

Funny - related - story: Just this morning, as I was walking to work, there were a bunch of women exercising in the park. They were lying down on the ground, doing pelvic thrusts, and - I swear - me and every guy I passed were conspiratorially smiling at each other, totally in-the-know, that these girls were "active" and, if we just hung around long enough, we could get that sh*t. Now, I ask you, is that how women want to be regarded? As an entire group of Paris Hiltons? Or wouldn't we *all* rather go back to something closer to Biff dreaming of the possibility of holding Betty's marvelous hand one day? I know I would and, I'm sure, most parents (and women generally) would sleep easier too. There's power there - real power - and real female power. What we've got today, any dude can pass on it, because he can get it somewhere else just as easily - if he wants to be bothered with the hectoring lecture that comes along with it after the deed is done.

Women are just being too short-sighted - and that's coming from a guy whose foster sister was raped by nine guys. (Again - her fault: She wanted to buck our foster parents by hanging out with the tough guys. Which meant my foster brother and I had to go out and do some things to some assh*les that I, personally, would have preferred never laying eyes on. Get the picture?) There are consequences to what we do, and having some hysterical women convince their sisters they needed to be "liberated" from their roles has only placed us all in another form of prison, which, as I said, has warped us. "Life" ain't some academic exercise when you grow up in South Central, Los Angeles: You will see the results of choices made - and that's when the truly "absurd", in all it's horror, emerges.

About being scared - you mistook what I said: I meant Conservatives aren't afraid of you. You seemed to suggest they are here:

"Those fiery moralistic exhortations of the holier-than-you right-wing leaders almost always betray their fear and hatred, in that order, of the Other. There also appears to be no hint of ambivalence or ambiguity in their words.(Echoes of guruism here.)"

I'd like to suggest several things:

1. This isn't about "The Other" (which suggests Conservatives don't know who they're railing against) but merely about recognizing the people who are just as *aggressively* misguided. NewAgers/The Left/Whatever you want to call them, see themselves as harmless (bringing a shining NewAge of peace) while they're working to destroy everything Conservatives see (and, for the most part, can prove) is undeniably good. In other words, the Left is as "fundamentalist" as the people they claim to despise. Just ask the boys in the Duke Rape Case. Conservatives aren't fooled by your words and intentions.

2. I don't think you understand "the holier-than-you right-wing leaders" as well as you think. Conservatives, without a doubt, deal with ideas more than the Left. You can see that best, right now, in the presidential race where the Left's choice is between a black and a woman (nothing more, quite superficial) while the Right is debating every position John McCain ever took on anything - taxes, immigration, special interests, the media, Conservatism itself - and whatever the Left is throwing at them as well. There's nothing superficial about it. That's why there's "no hint of ambivalence or ambiguity in their words." They think about things. And lots of them.

That's why I put up the bet on Obama's chances with his Leftie/New Age support: Conservatives aren't going to let "chronically ambivalent and confused" people determine the direction of this country by race or gender. It's too silly a choice to matter when the real deal (the conventions) begin. What's going on now is just show. It means nothing. And the fact the Democrats don't get that is all the proof I need that they don't stand a chance when the real deal starts. The hated Hillary (Leftie NewAge betrayer of a Republican father) is right: Obama is going to have his hope, and his hat (or turban), handed to him as he's, aggressively, shown the door. He ain't prepared - by a long shot - for the likes of a hardened P.O.W. who actually sings in public about bombing Iran. That's politics, Baby.

3. You, Steve, Carl, Blair, Mike, Ben and at least two Anons, are all to the left of me. And I'm a former Democrat. I became a "former" Democrat because I was able to understand several things (and don't everybody jump all over me because these may not apply to you specifically):

A. I realized the Left didn't know how to fight in the political arena. They reacted to everything Karl Rove did, worthy or not, like it was the end of the f*cking world. Just a stupid waste of time and political energy. And they do it, over and over again, no matter what.

B. I stopped demonizing Bush. I started to see him as a man, and, as anyone that's met him will tell you, he's not a bad guy - not by a long shot. Even Nancy Pelosi likes him personally. All those things that Democrats hate him for - not being articulate, being stoic/stubborn, standing up for America against (what Dems refuse to see as) a dangerous world - made him endearing to me. Today, I laugh with him, and not at him. He wins every battle; he's as gracious (as he's allowed) when he does so, and (unlike most presidents at this time in an administration) he isn't even considering Lame Duck status. All great qualities in a president.

C. I started taking the issues Conservatives are debating as seriously as they do. I didn't stop with merely brushing them off because they're not looking at those issues (foriegn policy, abortion, etc.) the way the Left said to. And that's an important point: The Left has an orthodoxy. You're not supposed to think about what it says. You're supposed to "clear your mind" and then just attack anything that disturbs that process. It's a SHAM (Hey Steve!) and absolutely no way to consider the serious issues of a nation. I've always been good at thinking - "over-thinking", as Steve says - and Conservatism encouraged more, not less.

D. Michael Moore. No one should want to be on the same side of any debate as Michael Moore. Researching the "information" he defends really accelerated the great unraveling for me. And he defends "The Left" - everything I used to stand for - and I felt used. I felt like a fool. Like I had paid a lot of money for a box of bricks, in an alley, thinking I was getting a sweet deal on a stereo. But this was about my life, my country, and (post 9/11) my country's life. I felt like I could kill that son of a bitch. Still do.

Helga,

"Why are the four men let off the hook in this equation?"

They're not. But, I ask you, what is any "decent" guy going to do against NewAge and feminism? (I've become an "asshole" for reason, Helga.) When my wife became indoctrinated to believe she could walk through walls, all the NewAgers we knew told me to "let it go" - it was harmless - so I did, for years. When I discovered she was in a cult, her girlfriends intercepted me and ran to her aid, giving her sisterly support for her "choice". When she and that homeopath ran off with all of our money - after 20 years of marriage - they ran interference, saying she had found her "soulmate" and I should just accept it. When I filed for divorce, I found a court that was more concerned - and more than willing to believe - that it was I who had the problem, which forced me to spend time and money defending myself against bogus domestic violence charges (the first line of defense these days - which she didn't get away with) rather than anyone considering I actually cared about my wife and maybe, just maybe, somebody should ask her, directly, if she really believed she could walk through walls. But nobody would. It wasn't allowed. But destroying my life, and my love for her, was. Oh, that was more than allowed.

And I saw all that on my father's face too, when, at 13 years old, I was finally able to ask him what happened to our family.

BTW, I met my mother when I turned 40. She's now seriously locked into "studying the end times".

[I just refreshed the page and saw this: "Elizabeth, Crack is not into astrology so mentioning your shared sign will not placate him but probably provoke him. It does show you did not pay too much attention to his previous posts or you were making a hidden crack at him. I am not sure about that though."

Good one, Helga. Shows you're paying attention,...

Cosmic Connie said...

Hello from dial-up purgatory. Ron and I will not have high-speed Internet until some time next week when we get satellite hook-up (no DSL here on the Edge of Nowhere). It's lovely out here in the country, but, as you can imagine, conditions are quite primitive. I miss blogging, and reading blogs.

But I did want to pop in and say (1) Congratulations, Steve, on your 500th post; and (2) Thanks, Elizabeth and Helga, for your thoughts on abortion/choice and other matters.

And by the way, Helga, I've noticed that women, more than men, do tend to try to be "peacemakers" in these forums. I've attempted that role myself on more than one occasion. I do, however, agree with Steve that making nice is better than deliberately provoking, and Goddess knows we've seen too much of the latter in the blogosphere.

By the way, Blair, do you Pastafarians practice NLP (Neuro-Linguine Programming)?

Most importantly, I agree with you, Steve, that the theocrats are scary -- very scary.

That's about all the thought I am capable of right now. Later...

Steve Salerno said...

Helga: OK. At the risk of having you accuse me, right here and now, of being patronizing... Is it possible that maybe you're a bit hypersensitive to this? That you see male condescension hiding in every corner? I mean, this notion--"I don't want you to get angry so I will coat my difference of opinion with sugar"--come on now. I have to say, I am somewhat reminded of when I was in college, during the heyday of emerging feminism, and one of my female classmates objected to another female classmate's use of the term "he-man" to describe some football player. "All you're doing is perpetuating stereotypes of male power and dominance that have kept women in chains for centuries!" she chided, or words very much to that effect.

At some point, again, a cigar is just a cigar. But I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong about this. Do others share Helga's perception?

Elizabeth said...

Damn, CMC, you know how to write! It's fire! I really, really like it -- and not sayin' that just to placate you, you know. I will come back to your post to re-read it, as too much of it goes right above my head now.

One of the great things about your blog, Steve, is the presence of people who write well. Connie, RevRon, CMC and all -- I am not skipping anyone on purpose, just trying to hurry out the door (life, you know).

CMC, thank you kindly for the happy b-day wishes! And glad you did not mind mine (I thought that if you did, you would have not mentioned it in the first place).

Helga, you are most likely right about the gender thing (and Connie commented on it too, I see), since women, in general, use a different strategy to deal with stress and conflict (tend-and-befriend, as opposed to generally male fight-or-flight). And no, I'm not making this up as I go -- see this for reference http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug00/stress.html

But I don't think that a wish to be treated nicely -- i.e. with respect and kindness, and dare I say, warmth when possible (hold those gags) -- is a gender thing. If I'm wrong, then perhaps others can weigh in here too. Frankly, I'm somewhat flummoxed that making efforts to do so (treat others nicely) would be considered a liability, but then, as you perhaps noticed, I flummox easily.

Now, apart from the obvious gender thing (as much as it is possible at all), my personal view, based on my life experience, is that our differences, especially of our opinions in daily matters, mean less than commonalities we share as human beings. So I'd rather underscore and cultivate the latter. This approach works for me and I rather like it this way. It is not subconscious, but not a habit yet -- though, yes, I hope it will become one. As I age, I see more clearly that we won't remember, say, in a month or a year, what we differed about (or perhaps even what our own opinions were -- they change, after all), but we will remember how we treated each other.

(I can't help but notice that I was called to task for being nice under Steve's post titled, "What would Jesus do?" Ay. Irony is that one gift that keeps on giving, no matter what :)

And as if to prove the point, the verification word for this entry is lovnmxf...)

Steve Salerno said...

Not that we want to turn this into a mutual-admiration society, but I have to laugh, Elizabeth, at the notion of someone "hurrying out the door"--and then simply firing off another few hundred words of pointed, supremely readable, technically flawless prose. But you're right: We have a gifted group of regulars. And you can't know how grateful I am for that, and how much I look forward to seeing what our various people "come up with" on any given day, in response to any given issue.

Helga said...

*Is it possible that maybe you're a bit hypersensitive to this? That you see male condescension hiding in every corner?*

Actually, I was stating women are being condescending to men. I am not the only one who sees this phenomenon. Sociologists and anthropologists have theories that women might have a gene that does this. I was making the observation from the perspective of how effective it really is and if it is fair. I think a woman can be gracious and direct with men, but you seem to be saying that is not the case.

Elizabeth
I do believe in the long haul you were trying to be nice and that is why I made the statement that I did not know your intent. When it comes to writing, it is hard to say when someone is being humorous or making a dig. The tone of the post left me to wonder. What you are doing is called “affinity.” It is a bridge to show that you understand the other side’s perspective. It is a theory that I do not always agree with, but I understand why people use it, especially women. I am going to be frank and say that I did not get that from your posts. For example, say I love roses, but my husband keeps giving me orchids. Now each time I get orchids I thank him, but I gently say I love roses. Now the first time may have been an accident, but what about the subsequent times? On some level my husband is not paying attention to me, or is doing it on purpose. Obviously, the “gentle” way did not work so I have to come out and say, “hey no more orchids, I like roses.” Now am I being ungracious, because I am being honest with him, or is something else going? The odds are something else is going on and continually giving those orchids is a form of invalidation. The point being we as humans do a lot of things subconsciously. As far as being sensitive to criticism, everyone is.

Crack
I don’t read your blog, but I do read your posts on SHAM and sometimes I think you get exploited. I don’t agree with you always, but I hope I have been fair and direct with you. That is the “golden rule” I would like to live by. I’m not a Pisces though (that was a joke).

Connie
As usual, you are very honest and self-reflecting. It’s nice that you made your way back!

Steve Salerno said...

I too am glad to see Connie resurface. And I apologize if I misconstrued anyone's point. Please realize that I am typically working on the blog in between working (on deadline) on other major projects; quite often those major projects have nothing to do with each other, or the blog. If ever there were a formula for misunderstandings, that would have to be it.

And now, if it's all right with everyone, having analyzed each person's motives for saying all that we said, I would like to take the emphasis off the people and put it back where it belongs: on the ideas.

Elizabeth said...

It's cut and paste, Steve, all cut and paste... :) Between work, phone calls, kids demanding attention with their next emergency (how come no one tells you that your parenting does not end in their 20's?), shopping, cooking, cleaning, and the rest of life as we know it. It's a miracle, frankly, that one can manage to string two coherent thoughts together, and even more so write them down. It is supremely difficult, contrary to occasional appearances.

As always, thank you for your kind words. (You know, I don't mind a mutual admiration society all that much.)

Elizabeth said...

CMC, I love your writing. Which is surprising (perhaps -- or not), given that I disagree with much what you have to say about politics. You are right, I am left of you. But you make compelling and passionate arguments for your point of view and I enjoy following them. Your prose crackles and pops, because you set it on fire with your conviction.

When it comes to your life story, there are no words. Though I can relate to some of it (some). Poverty and neglect in childhood feel the same in all corners of the world.

You're right that I misunderstood your remark on "nobody's scared." Now you've given me more food for thought and I actually have some already (thought)(and food too, but that's beside the point); however it would require more time than I presently have, I'm afraid, to put it together and write it down. But it is a on-going debate, so we may come back to it anyway.

Glad to hear about your money windfall (if that's what it is). It solves many problems, I imagine. Yes, I too hope we could become friends. Your gruffness does not scare me; underneath it, you are just a big softie (what with Betty 'n Biff holding hands and all :). Looking forward to reading more of your writing.

P.S. Ahem, about astrology. For someone who disavows it so vehemently, you sure let your Zodiac signs show (in your blogger profile). ;)

P.S.2. And speaking of Thor... (just kidding).

Steve Salerno said...

See, this is the way it should be. Spirited thematic and philosophical differences that--spirited though they may be--nonetheless recognize human fallibility and the yoke that subjectivity is in any discussion, no matter how "objective" its pretenses. That's why, in my view, we should not allow the political to bleed over into the personal.

Although, I recognize that even in that goal, which seems modest and sensible enough to me, others may differ.

The Crack Emcee said...

Elizabeth,

Thanks for saying such nice things about my writing (and, for the record, I think you're just being nice and not sucking up to me as a man or anything). Compliments about my writing are weird because I don't see it: I can write songs like crazy but actual writing - like Steve does - seems a world away from my scribbling. But I do get the conviction part: That I got.

As an atheist, Christians don't scare me because a) I was raised as one and understand them (and can even be sympathetic) somewhat and b) as a conservative, I'm just as willing to kill them as they will me. I get the fear you talk about but, to me, a big part of that is an unwillingness to embrace aggression/competitiveness, etc., as a part of human nature. Having grown up in an environment where fighting was the norm, I feel no compulsion to ignore it's red-hot benefits in favor of a pastel outlook, no matter how much I like peace.

And, oh yea, blogger asks you to put down what sign you "are" when you start a blog (more proof of what I was saying about NewAge's pervasiveness). I'd prefer they had a "decline to state" button - or, ever better, one that said, "F*ck Off!" - but no such luck.

Steve,

Get out of here, dude, you're killing me. (LOL) Did you get that e-mail I sent you about the "jackrabbit"?

the crack emcee said...

Elizabeth,

Thanks for saying such nice things about my writing (and, for the record, I think you're just being nice and not sucking up to me as a man or anything). Compliments about my writing are weird because I don't see it: I can write songs like crazy but actual writing - like Steve does - seems a world away from my scribbling. But I do get the conviction part: That I got.

As an atheist, Christians don't scare me because a) I was raised as one and understand them (and can even be sympathetic) somewhat and b) as a conservative, I'm just as willing to kill them as they will me. I get the fear you talk about but, to me, a big part of that is an unwillingness to embrace aggression/competitiveness, etc., as a part of human nature. Having grown up in an environment where fighting was the norm, I feel no compulsion to ignore it's red-hot benefits in favor of a pastel outlook, no matter how much I like peace.

And, oh yea, blogger asks you to put down what sign you "are" when you start a blog (more proof of what I was saying about NewAge's pervasiveness). I'd prefer they had a "decline to state" button - or, ever better, one that said [fill in the missing epithet. ;)]

Steve,

Get out of here, dude, you're killing me. (LOL) Did you get that e-mail I sent you about the "jackrabbit"?

Elizabeth said...

CMC, what on earth do you mean by "actual writing"? THIS is your actual writing, here and now (and everywhere else you do it). And it rocks! (No suck-up here -- and why the hell do I feel like I have preface every compliment with a disclaimer now... sheesh). You tell it like it is -- and then some.

As to embracing aggression -- I get it, I do, being fairly aggressive myself (fight-or-flight, by nature or upbringing, rather than tend-and-befriend, on which I have to work -- or rather, which I have to let work on me:). But, see, I think it is just too easy to act from aggression -- it's pure impulse a lot of times (not that this impulse is not useful, without it we'd be toast, of course). Kindness and compassion take more work (imo and experience). And the effects of gratuitous, unreflective aggression and competitiveness are just too damaging to all (in my experience).

I would not call this outlook of mine pastel -- believe me, pastel makes me nauseous. I dunno, maybe hope against all odds?

The Crack Emcee said...

Elizabeth,

I mean, when I read Steve's stuff, I feel like I'm reading a "writer" - the structure of his sentences, word choices, and level of discourse, are at the level of a novelist - but, when I go over my own writing, I feel like I'm reading a comic book. Which isn't always bad: I think Spike Lee makes comics-level movies (except for "25th Hour" which, I thought, was a real leap for him) but, for instance, "Do The Right Thing" was brilliant because of it. I don't know, maybe I just wish I used more big, and/or difficult, words or something.

And speaking of big and/or difficult words, I had to look up "hegemonic" to be sure the quote, below, said what I thought it did. It did - and it's, also, what I've been saying all along. I cribbed it from the other site/blog that's major NewAge investigating helped me get a grasp on reality again, the Mystic Bourgeoisie:

"The ultimate postmodern irony is today's strange exchange between the West and the East. At the very moment when, at the level of "economic infrastructure," Western technology and capitalism are triumphing worldwide, at the level of "ideological superstructure," the Judeo-Christian legacy is threatened in the West itself by the onslaught of New Age "Asiatic" thought. Such Eastern wisdom, from "Western Buddhism" to Taoism, is establishing itself as the hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. But while Western Buddhism presents itself as the remedy against the stress of capitalism's dynamics -- by allowing us to uncouple and retain some inner peace -- it actually functions as the perfect ideological supplement."

Revenge of Global Finance by Slavoj Zizek
In These Times, 21 May 21 2005

In other words, we're soaking in it,...

Elizabeth said...

Wait... He-ge-mo-nic? OK, I see.

Man, and you complain? English is MY second language...

This is a great quote, btw, and one that opens a new and interesting can of worms. The Eastern idea of enlightened detachment promotes acceptance of the status quo, rather than efforts at changing it. I have often thought it is no accident that these spiritual trends, after all so alien to the Western world, flourish here so persistently. They function as a way to cover the discontent and/or push it away, while the reality that creates the discontent itself remains unchanged.

If I'm guessing correctly, CMC, then I'm actually not sure if you'd agree with Zizek's conclusion to his train of thought here. But that remains to be seen. :)

On "good" writing: I'd say that we find it where the writer has something to say, important enough to him to infuse it with emotion and truth (as he sees it). In other words, have a point of view and not be afraid to use it. The language itself will vary, as it should, from person to person, but its urgency will come through if the writer is true to himself. And that's what makes us readers follow his trail, with fascination, anticipation (and outrage and a whole bunch of other feelings where applicable). We do not have to agree with his truth, but he needs to convince us that it is important to him enough to share it with us -- and that we should listen. And you do that.

Off I go now to look up my Word of the Day. It happens to be GARRULOUS. OK, let's see gar-ru-lous... Oh.

Elizabeth said...

P.S. Thanks, CMC, for the link to MB -- and Zizek's piece. I looked it up -- yum!

(But those verification words, I tell ya -- zujocjpa! Sounds like something from Zizek's native language :))

Steve Salerno said...

Crack: "Comic book"? Come on, man.

Good writing is good writing--I'm honestly not sure it can be defined beyond that--and format (i.e. in the sense of technical expertise or "poise"), is often last on the list of requisite qualities. This could really get us bogged down in a protracted discussion of aesthetics (which I think is something we've assayed before; I'll have to look), so for now let's just say that if you get as many compliments on your wordsmithery as you've gotten on this blog (from some fairly critical people), you gotta be doin' something right.

The Crack Emcee said...

Thanks, you guys. I'll give it some thought, and maybe try to apply myself more. WFB's passing - and the descriptions of how he spent his time - have definitely given me some food for thought (Namely: Get on with it!).

We'll see. You know how motivation can be: Here today and gone tomorrow. And I've still got a lot to learn.

Whatever. Thanks again.

Elizabeth said...

(Like your definition better, Steve.)

Elizabeth said...

Not to go back to fiercely political, but since CMC brought up Zizek, see this piece of his, written in October 2001 on the future of post 9/11 America:
http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/1588/

Politically speaking, I know we will have different opinions on Zizek's observations and conclusions, but I see their relevance to Steve's post on the threat of theocracy in the US and our subsequent exchange here. So check it out, if you have time.