J. Jonah Jameson, ‘ex-gay’ therapy scams, and biblical illiteracy

This is good news:

The fight against “ex-gay” conversion therapy continued in New Jersey today, where former patients of a group that promised to convert people from gay to straight filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

Four young men and two of their parents filed the lawsuit against the founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), Arthur Goldberg, and a counselor for the group, Alan Downing, alleging that the group violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act by claiming that they could “cure” gay people of their homosexuality.

Happy to hear about the lawsuit. Confounded to learn about the name of this group: “JONAH.”

What on earth are these people thinking? Have they never read the book of Jonah?

Just in case you couldn’t figure out that Peter Parker’s boss at The Daily Bugle is the bad guy, look at his mustache. And if that’s too subtle, consider that he was named “Jonah.”

Here’s a link to the entire book of Jonah.

That’s it — 48 verses in total. That’s the whole book. You can read the whole thing in 15 minutes, tops.

And if you do read the book of Jonah, here’s what you’ll notice: Jonah is the Bad Guy. He’s always wrong. He is, unfailingly, a jerk. He is the butt of every joke because he deserves to be. Jonah is an object of ridicule and withering scorn. His story comes to a miserable end because he did everything he could do to earn such an ending.

This isn’t subtle — it’s the whole point of the story and it’s reinforced at every point in the story.

And yet, people like these folks in Jersey continue to name things after Jonah as though he’s some kind of biblical hero. People continue to name their children after Jonah. What is the thinking there? “We were going to name him Daniel, but then we decided we really didn’t like our son very much, so we went with Jonah.”

Stan Lee seems like he actually read and understood the book of Jonah. When Lee used the name Jonah — for J. Jonah Jameson — it was because he wanted you to know that this was a character you weren’t supposed to like.

There’s a long list of names that you just shouldn’t use for sympathetic characters: Ahab, Jezebel, Humbert, Brutus, Iago, Vlad, Moriarty, Cruella … and Jonah.

Those are also all names to avoid if you’re starting some kind of religious charity scam.

The hucksters leeching money by fostering and then offering to “treat” discontent with sexuality identity knew enough not to name their operation “AHAB” (Alternative Healing for Any Body) or “MANASSEH” (Making Anyone New And Sexually Super by Extreme Healing), because they’d presumably read the scriptures and realized that Ahab and Manasseh are held up as icons of evil. But the scriptures also present Jonah as an icon — not so much of evil as of a petty, sour, resentful and pompous foolishness.

That probably makes “JONAH” an appropriate name for this New Jersey clinic, but you’d think they wouldn’t want to brag about that.


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  • LL

    It’s almost as if you’re suggesting that many people read the Bible, but don’t really understand it. They read the words, but don’t comprehend them, or the context, at least. 

    And that can’t be right, because people who’ve read the Bible kinda brag about that a lot, seem to take a lot of pride in the fact that they’ve read the Bible, cover to cover. So I guess I should no longer be impressed by that (not that I was all that impressed anyway). 

  • Quibble

    I think that’s the wrong perspective, at least when it comes to children’s names.  If you name a kid Jonah, it’s going to be the book their most interested in getting to and, presumably, the one they are most interested in understanding.  And, as you’ve pointed out so well in the past, it’s a story about God’s love, even for sinners, even when an outsider might not understand where the mercy born of that love is coming from. Why not make sure that’s the lesson they get, and are reminded of. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    One child’s take on the lessons learned from Jonah: “People make whales sick.”

  • Tricksterson

    That’s unfair to JJJ.  Yes, as originally created by Lee and Ditko he’s a caricature but as time passes he becomes more three dimensional.  he’s a cheapskate but he protects his people.  In the first movie he’s willing to face death from the Green Goblin rather than give up Peter Parker and in the later comics this is indeed part of his peronality.  He hates Spiderman with an irrational passion but this doesn’t extend to other superheroes and he a champion of fair treatment for mutnats.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

     Well, even the Biblical Jonah did God’s work, however begrudgingly. But the point is that he misunderstood the nature of Nineveh’s people and slandered them when he ought to have been redeeming them… It’s a fair comparison, I think. ;)

  • Jurgan

    Agreed.  Jonah is a bold crusader for civil rights and against government overreach (he once publicly protested against security cameras being installed on streets by the police).  I have to think  he’d be an opponent to the war on terror and a supporter of gay rights, though I don’t know if the comics have ever really addressed those issues with him.

  • Hypocee

    Everybody’s gotten more 3-dimensional as the medium evolved, folks; he’s referring to the JJJ Stan Lee wrote.

  • Jurgan

    The story I referenced was written by Stan Lee, albeit not until the series had been running for several years.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Peter David did a story in X-Factor where Jonah Jameson, as mayor of New York, addresses a stand-in for the “Ground Zero Mosque” protestors. I’d have to look up the issue at home, but as I recall, he wasn’t very sympathetic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I only know J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man cartoon, but I recall that he was a very likable character. He was an asshole to the Spider-Man, but he was pretty decent and honorable beyond that. There were a couple of episodes where he does actual investigate reporting and (anonymously) helps people out financially. I never really got the impression that he was supposed to be  a villain; a little antagonistic, maybe, but not evil.

  • Carstonio

     One reason I never took to Spider-Man was because Jameson made life so difficult for both of Parker’s identities. As an employer he was impossible to please. And while he sometimes worked with villains against Spider-Man, his motive was just unreasoning hatred instead of a desire for power or wealth. I wondered if that situation would grind Parker’s soul to dust over time.

  • Beroli

     Like…pretty much all superhero comic characters…he’s all over the map, depending on who’s writing him at the moment, veering from extremes of “he’s a thoroughly hateful person who is only not an actual supervillain because he lacks the powers” to, “he’s a great fellow, except that he keeps wanting to paint Spiderman as a villain.”

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    On occasion, he’s an actual supervillain. Cf spider-slayer.
    He’s also created several… cf. scorpion.
    This is original chronology, back in the 80s. No idea what’s true today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Fair enough. I never really got into any of the comics or the movies, so I was surprised when I read this blog post since it never even occurred to me that Jameson was ever a bad person except for that one blind spot. He came across to me like Peter Parker’s gruff but loving father figure, who talked tough but really cared about everyone else — kind of like McGonagall from the Harry Potter books, for example. 

    I honestly didn’t even know that there were vastly different portrayals of him (where he is actually evil) in other media until now.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    TBH he’s kind of a dick to Peter in the movies, and regularly low-balls Peter for photographs. There’s a scene where the payroll person apologetically tells Peter that JJJ authorized an advance on the paycheck he was supposed to collect, and that he couldn’t get one for that reason on this occasion.

    Given the number of exclusive pictures JJJ was getting from Peter for photographing his own Spider-Man stunts, you’d think Peter would be paid a lot more for his work.


    It’s also interesting how the 1960s Spider-Man differs from the 2000s Spider-Man. As I recall in the 1960s, Peter Parker had a more steady income from the Daily Bugle, but in the movies, he barely makes ends meet as a totally freelance photographer.

    It’s telling how our media and our fictional stories “unconsciously” reflect social shifts over time.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    And even JJJ had his Damascus moment. Well, Ultimate Jonah, anyway.

    I guess the JONAH folks are still waiting for THEIR flood to come.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Presumably, their idea is that gay people are like Jonah in that they are arrogant and obstinate and will only yield to God’s will after they get… eaten… by… a… whale…

    Anyway, it’s the usual “People who do not believe what we believe really know we’re right but are just too stubborn to admit it.” thing. The irony is, of course, delicious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krs.bew Krs Bew

    I don’t know how Christianity got so far off its mark of caring about the little guy and the ones who face more struggles. Jesus was the first activist, you know…

    It reminds me of this video I recently came across– it’s a
    cute little song about how Jesus and his followers actually Occupy Jerusalem.


    Anyways, here it is: http://youtu.be/a6akkb_afqs


    it has a point. 

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    It may be that they actually did read for context. They consider themselves Jonah, called to proclaim to Ninevah God’s message so that they can “straighten up” and get right with God at last. Maybe it’s out of humility, or a ostentatious show of claimed humility, that they identified with a prophet who himself had to be taught a lesson.

    But it’s still going to get them associated with a prideful fool who would rather run away to sea than do his duty, and who gets angry that God is more merciful than he is.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There’s a long list of names that you just shouldn’t use for sympathetic
    characters: […] Jezebel […] Vlad

    I know a fictional Jezebel who is quite sympathetic. Though to be fair, it’s a self-chosen name, and I don’t think Jez is very self-sympathetic, or indeed self-liking at all. And Vlad is rather too popular a name in Slavic-speaking locales for the Impaler to be the only one remembered for it, kind of like how one shouldn’t omit Thomas from one’s baby name list just because of Voldemort.

  • Paul Durant

    And Vlad is rather too popular a name in Slavic-speaking locales for the Impaler to be the only one remembered for it, kind of like how one shouldn’t omit Thomas from one’s baby name list just because of Voldemort.

    You know, I was going to pipe up here and agree, and say something like “people in Germany still get named Adolf because that’s still a name for dudes”, but I looked it up and Jonah is actually a really uncommon name. According to the popular baby name rankings, Jonah at #113 is 17 spaces down on the boy’s list from where “Neveah” is at #96 on the girl’s list, and Neveah is just “Heaven” backwards. So, yeah, I learned something today.

  • konrad_arflane

    “people in Germany still get named Adolf because that’s still a name for dudes”

    I doubt they do. I found a list of the 500 most popular first names in Germany in 2011, and Adolf isn’t on it. So…

    Anyway, my dad once told me a joke that circulated when in his youth in post-WWII Austria: A man comes into the census office and says: “Hello, I’d like to change my name, please.” The clerk says “I see”, and asks him for his current name. “Adolf Scheisskopf” [lit. “shit-head”], says the man. The clerk looks a little flustered and says “Ahem. Well yes, I can see how you might want to change that. What would you like to be called instead?”

    “Heinrich”, says the man.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Didn’t sailors in the 17th and 18th centuries call any item of bad luck a “Jonah”?

  • Vermic

    According to their website (bolding mine):

    JONAH’s legal name is simply “JONAH,” chosen to symbolize the reluctant Biblical prophet Jonah who carried a message of healing to the people of Nineveh. JONAH’s initial thrust, as reflected in the original meaning of its acronym (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), was to work with those with unwanted same-sex attractions by providing the community with educational outreach services, including counseling referrals, for affected individuals and their families.

    However, numerous individuals sought out JONAH to provide advice and services concerning several other issues of sexual confusion. Therefore, our scope of services has been broadened to now include issues involving other sexual conflicts (e.g. sexual promiscuity, pornography, sexual abuse, pedophilia or pederasty, compulsive masturbation, fetishes, transvestitism, incest, prostitution, emotional dependency, sexual addictions, etc.). In light of this demand, the Board of Directors determined that a more encompassing meaning was required for our acronym, one that is reflective of this broader scope and thus chose “Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing.”

    So, yeah.  Also:

    JONAH believes that homosexuality is a learned behavior and that anyone can choose to disengage from their same-sex sexual fantasies, arousals, behavior and identity – if motivated and supported in that process. We also believe that with appropriate assistance, same-sex attractions can be reduced or eliminated followed by the subsequent development of one’s innate opposite-sex attractions.

  • The_L1985

    “A message of healing?”  How is “y’all are all gonna die in 40 days” a message of healing?!

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

     “Initial thrust”?

  • Carstonio

    That doesn’t make sense. Even if one buys the claim that homosexual behavior and identity are learned, fantasies and arousals of any type aren’t. JONAH apparently imagines a gay version of Dumbledore’s Army, kids learning homosexuality in defiant secrecy. (And yes, I know that Rowling identifies the headmaster as gay, even though this is never stated or implied in any of the books.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Never stated I’ll give you, but if Grindelwald had been Gertrude instead of Gellert, literally every word the same except Grindelwald’s pronouns and first name and with Rowling silent outside the books on Dumbledore’s sexuality, everyone would be dead certain that young!Dumbledore and young!Grindelwald had been carrying on a torrid affair. We tend to assume that m/f relationships are, were, will be, or contain a party hoping it will be romantic and/or sexual; we tend to assume that m/m and f/f relationships are purely platonic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    From what I know about the Harry Potter fandom, you can take any two characters at random — regardless of their interactions and find an entire community of people who believe that the author intended for the two to be carrying on a torrid affair. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the two characters don’t share a scene or even appear in the same book. 

    That being said, you’re absolutely right. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh, that’s applicable pan-fandom. But I think Rowling wrote the Dumbledore & Grindelwald interactions to imply a torrid affair, and I think if Grindelwald had been female, nearly everyone would see that, instead of only the people who ship everybody with anybody.

  • Carstonio

    Torrid? The two seemed so antagonistic that if one or the other were female, I might never imagine them being lovers.

  • vsm

    Well they obviously weren’t lovers when they were fighting against each other, but there was that time they were teenage boys planning to take over the world together and got along swimmingly. Incidentally, Rowling thinks Dumbledore’s feelings were unrequited and they were never lovers, but I’m pretty sure she’s wrong.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     That’s more or less how I read it: Dumbledore was attracted to Grindlewald, even crushing on him, but my impression is that he didn’t even fully comprehend the nature of what he was feeling before they had their falling out.

    I have no position on what Grindlewald actually felt, since we see so little of him. We only ever see him as a long-defeated old man, but my gut instinct is to picture him in his youth as being charismatic in the way sociopaths often are, which would point toward him not being the sort of person capable of the usual sort of affection for anyone else. But for some reason, I’m inclined to imagine that that one line from Rita Skeeter’s biography of Dumbledore is based on something true, and that Grindlewald threw the duel on purpose, which points maybe to there being some reciprocation there after all.

  • vsm

    Something like that. There isn’t really enough material to determine what their relationship was like when they were young, but I think Grindelwald liked him  back in some way. He did spend his last moments defying and hindering the man who killed Dumbledore.

  • SisterCoyote

    I forget where I’ve heard this, but have you ever heard it said that the closer a couple is in the relationship, the more bitter they’ll be after it falls apart? I don’t buy it, myself, but I’d say it’s definitely true of Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think if your exboyfriend becomes a megalomaniacal supervillain and you don’t, it’s OK to have a little acrimony. It’s not like you guys broke up because he was a Cubs fan.

  • Carstonio

    I question the latter, because famous male teams in fiction have long been the subject of speculation about homosexuality, like Holmes and Watson, and going back to Gilgamesh and Enkidu. I read Deathly Hallows knowing about Rowling’s statement on Dumbledore’s homosexuality, and I wondered if his gay relationship was not with Grindelwald but with Doge the worshipful sycophant. His relationship with Grindelwald had too much conflict and bitterness to suggest an affair.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And some people were saying Dumbledore/Grindelwald was a thing before Rowling said Dumbledore’s gay, too. I’m not talking about what some people think, I’m talking about what most people think, and most people think Holmes and Watson are platonic.

    His relationship with Grindelwald had too much conflict and bitterness to suggest an affair.

    *dies laughing*

    (If you’ve never had a highly conflicted and bitter romantic and/or sexual relationship, I envy you.)

  • Carstonio

    My mind doesn’t work like that. If I see a couple having a row in public, I tend to assume that the relationship or marriage is unsteady at best. I’ve heard the claim that some such situations are really reflective of the depth of emotion involved, but anger seems like the opposite of love.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If I see a couple having a row in public, I tend to assume that the relationship or marriage is unsteady at best.

    Which doesn’t actually mean they’re not madly in love and/or lust. Nor does it mean they are, of course. It just means they’re fighting.

  • 10leggedshadow

     The opposite of love is not hate or anger, it’s indifference.

  • Lori

    If I see a couple having a row in public, I tend to assume that the relationship or marriage is unsteady at best.   

    That’s a huge assumption to make about people you don’t know. Having a fight in public can be a sign that the couple’s relationship is on the rocks, but it can also be just the way their dynamic works. It can also mean that a very stable couple who don’t normally fight in public is simply having a very bad day or dealing with a really tough thing that makes them behave differently than they normally would.

    With very few exceptions observation of one behavior or one moment doesn’t tell you much, if anything, about whether a relationship is working or not.

  • Carstonio

    Valid point. I should have added that I don’t like my tendency to make that assumption. I wouldn’t understand most other couples’ relationships and it’s not really my business to do so. I just know that I don’t feel loved when someone else is angry at me – I feel afraid instead. 10leggedshadow’s point about indifference implies that emotions are on two axes, one of positivity and negativity and the other of intensity, whereas indifference seems to me to be in the middle on a single axis.

  • stardreamer42

     And for some people, it appears that “passion is passion” — that’s the basis of the love/hate relationship, which is a standard literary trope. I don’t get it either, any more than I get the pain/arousal connection, but I can’t deny that some people are indeed wired that way.

  • vsm

    I’ve always wanted to have a passionate love/hate relationship with someone, but the closest I’ve gotten is lukewarm dislike. Since the chances of someone with my skillset being forced to work with their sexy diametric opposite to save the world are slim, I doubt I’ll ever get to experience that joy.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I have to tell you that the moment conflict and bitterness enter the picture, I generally head for the hills.  The only exception to this rule was my marriage and I know now that not heading for the hills was the wrong decision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I question the latter, because famous male teams in fiction have long been the subject of speculation about homosexuality, like Holmes and Watson, and going back to Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

    Don’t forget Batman and Robin. I don’t know much about the detectives, but the Gilgamesh and Enkidu were gay interpretation is fairly common. I couldn’t really say for sure that most people who know about the original work would never imagine that.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

      I don’t know much about the detectives, but the Gilgamesh and Enkidu were gay interpretation is fairly common.

    If I remember it correctly, that at least part of the reason the gods made Enkidu was to distract Gilgamesh from sleeping with every woman around, so ‘gay’ probably isn’t the right word.  :D

  • arcseconds

     I read something recently about Batman and Robin in a cultural studies book, which stuck in my head.  It pointed out that gay readers since the 50s have interpreted the relationship as gay.

    The point seemed to be to forget about what Batman and Robin’s relationship is ‘really’ like, or how it was intended by the writers, but to focus on how the readers, or particular groups of readers, read it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The vibe I got from Doge’s eulogy was that it was rather gushy, and in retrospect to JKR’s statement, suggests an unrequited crush.

  • Tricksterson

    “His relationship with Grindelwald had too much conflict and bitterness to suggest an affair.” 

    Really?  To me that’s exactly what conflict and bitterness suggest.

  • vsm

    Here’s a collection of some quotes from the book. At the very least I think it’s obvious Rita Skeeter is implying Dumbledore’s gay, and the way he himself speaks about Grindelwald is not dissimilar to how one might reminisce about the first love that got away and became a Nazi.

  • Tricksterson

    I know I got a subtext throughout the series, mild through most of it but real heavy in the last book.

  • Tricksterson

    AFAICT that’s exactly how they imagine things.  It’s all part of the vast, centuries old homosexual conspiracy, which in turn is a branch of the Satanist Conspiracy.  No, I’m not joking, I wish I was.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    “There’s a long list of names that you just shouldn’t use for sympathetic
    characters: Ahab, Jezebel, Humbert, Brutus, Iago, Vlad, Moriarty,
    Cruella … and Jonah.”

    I don’t think that any one person – whether real or fictional – should be allowed to ruin a name for all future characters. Admittedly this is an ideal and some names really are ruined by their most famous bearers. Though you could deal with that by making the name one of their problems.

    However I don’t think Jonah and it’s variants are really ruined because if it is then what about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Salk didn’t he make it worthy again?

    Also the sympathetic use of Jonah among Christians may date back to early Christian art where Jonah was used as symbol for Jesus because of his three days in the great fish (early Christians were code obsessed for obvious reasons) – this positive connatation probably became part of the culture.

    None of which explains why it was used here, of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I think the biggest example of names to avoid (as opposed to Names To Run Away From Really Fast) from more recent times would be the rather obvious Adolf.  Don’t see many little Adolfs running around these days, do you?

  • Jurgan

    I saw a speech from an educational researcher named Adolph Brown.  I think he was on a presidential committee as well.

  • stardreamer42

     Hey, warn for TVTropes next time! That’s an hour I’ll never get back…  :-)

  • LoneWolf343

     Even “Adolf?”

  • Amaryllis

     There’s a long list of names that you just shouldn’t use for sympathetic characters: […] Jezebel […] VladThe
    Evangelical novelist Grace Livingston Hill once named  a character
    “Jessie Belle,”  apparently just so that the girl’s good-Christian
    grandmother could keep calling her “Jezebel” in faux-naive confusion.Jessie
    Belle is indeed the villainness of the piece, but, as so often happens
    in “Christian fiction,” her misdeeds are more silly than sinful.As
    for “Vlad,” Steven Brust would probably disagree with Fred on that
    one… okay, Vlad Taltos does have that whole
    mobster-assassin thing going on, but no one could call him unsympathetic
    anyway. (And I say that as one who, as a general rule, has no interest
    in the whole “Godfather” genre.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised that Brust chose the name “Vlad” because of the sinister connotations, at least to his target market of English-speakers. Given who the most famous Vlad is to many of us, it’s a name that would stick in one’s mind. And, really, Taltos is only sympathetic (at least for the first few books) because he’s the perspective character who does a good job of painting everyone else as worse. (Imagine one of the early “mobster” books from the perspective of one of the fellow Jhereg he’s having a turf war with. Vlad could be easily repainted as some power-hungry, knife-happy monster who doesn’t care how much chaos he causes and how many bodies he has to step over on his way to the top.) Brust doesn’t so much counter Fred’s point as take advantage of it, to build upon it further.

    That said, bah, you beat me to it! I’m reading the Vlad Taltos books for the first time and am tearing through them at a pretty good clip (compared to my normal reading pace of late), so the reference was right at the front of my brain until I ran through the comments section.

  • Amaryllis

     I wouldn’t be at all surprised that Brust chose the name “Vlad” because
    of the sinister connotations, at least to his target market of

    I suppose you’re right. And for that matter, I believe “Taltos” has some fairly sinister or at least uncanny connotations in Hungarian. It would have been more accurate to say that Brust gave a scary name to a scary guy, and made me like him anyway.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Vlad Taltos does have that whole mobster-assassin thing going on, but no one could call him unsympathetic anyway.

    “As I told you once before, Vladimir, killing people for money is no way for a man to earn a living.”

  • Tricksterson

    Oy, I love Noish-pa!  That was who you are quoting right?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Yup. The scene I’m thinking of is actually from an earlier book, where he says, basically “So, um, this thing you do? This killing people? It’s actually not such a good thing, really.” And he’s like “Wait. What? You mean I’m the bad guy?!? When did that happen?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    Well it’s a little less abrupt than that. Vlad had been doubting the worthiness of his life in the Jhereg a while already, especially with his wife’s growing disapproval now that she was out of the work, but while he could guess what Noish-pa would say he really needed to sit down and hear it directly to lend credence to his own doubts and act on them. His grandfather had never said a word against it before this, after all, just let him go his own way.

  • quinfirefrorefiddle

    The pastor I know who named his kid Jonah I believe did it because the story reinforces again and again that no matter what Jonah did, he could still do God’s work, and God loved him throughout.  It’s a very Lutheran theme.  And given the stories this guy posts about conversations he has with his son about faith, I’m pretty sure this kid is going to be my bishop one day.  So I think it’s a great kid’s name.  (Also, very easy Halloween costumes!)

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    Ironically, Jonah was also the most successful prophet.  Most of the other prophets, even the “superstar” ones like Elijah spent most of their time warning people who wouldn’t listen.  But Jonah warned Ninevah, and the whole city repented.  I think that the message of Jonah is “it is the message, not he who preaches it.”

  • vsm

    What’s wrong with Brutus, a name shared by two great republicans unwilling to compromise their political principles for anything or anyone, family and benefactors included?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    as well as the alternate name for that big dumb guy who’s always trying to beat up Popeye (to no avail).

  • The_L1985

     Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look…Perhaps strike “Brutus” from thy baby book?

  • Sigaloenta

     I mean, I can see why, between The Cato Institute and the Hunger Games, I would think twice about someone who named their kid “Cato”, but Brutus or Cassius seems like a perfectly, er, honorable name to me. More honorable than something like Octavian, anyway.

  • Madhabmatics

     My father called me Cato when I was a little kid and I was confused for years about why he was nicknaming me after a Roman. As an adult I went and asked him why he called me Cato.

    It wasn’t Cato, it was Kato! He really enjoyed the Green Hornet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    At least he didn’t say that he really meant the libertarian thinktank founded in 1970s.

  • Steve Morrison

     I’d dislike being named “Cato” because of Cato the Elder. At least, I don’t think Carthage needed to be destroyed.

  • LoneWolf343

     Having played a few rounds of Civ V, I can tell you that Carthage most certainly needed to be destroyed. Demanding assholes…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I mean, I can see why, between The Cato Institute and the Hunger Games, I would think twice about someone who named their kid “Cato”, but Brutus or Cassius seems like a perfectly, er, honorable name to me. More honorable than something like Octavian, anyway.

    They could be naming him after Cato Sicarius.

  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    Jonah is a man who flees from God’s plan for his life yet is constantly pursued and blessed by God despite his disobedience. 

    That sounds to me like something every Christian can identify with. Otherwise all we are teaching is moralism (Do good things and God will bless you!) The book of Jonah and the whole Bible flips this kind of religiousness on it’s head by saying that God blesses people who don’t deserve it and moving towards even the people who try moving away from him. Jonah’s story ends open ended – the jury is still out and we don’t know if he ever learned or not!

    You spent a lot of time smearing Jonah’s name and calling him the villain while  God considered him someone worth pursuing and extending the privilege to him of being one of his instruments. I’m glad that when I am stubborn and try to flee God’s presence that he doesn’t just dismiss me a villain but that he comes after me. It is a joy to know that I can be a screw up, like Jonah, yet God is still delighted to use me!

  • Jurgan

    Good point.  It’s a bit lazy to conflate “makes bad decisions” with “villain.”  He’s a screw-up and a coward, but I wouldn’t call him a villain.

  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    Romans 5:10 “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

    The Bible isn’t a collection of stories of people who always made right decisions and were brave and had their acts together and are therefore Christians. What kind of Gospel is that?

    Ephesians 2 describes the kind of person Jonah acted like “disobediant, following the course of the world “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

    That’s the Gospel. We Christians, like Jonah, are trophies of grace – not merit.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

     Yes, and Christian theology about the book (and character) of Jonah is somewhat off topic (not that that ever stopped a Slacktivist discussion), given that this is a Jewish organisation.


  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    I think the topic explicitly is: in the book of Jomah is he a villian? I say “no”

  • Tricksterson

    I would say he’s an anti-hero in the “basically a loser” sense.

  • http://www.jasonknox.weebly.com jasonknox

    He’s someone dearly loved of God. God moves toward him persistently and redemptively and that is the kind of person I wouldn’t mind being named after.

  • Turcano

    I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, being motivated entirely by spite, as Jonah was, does not make a person a “screw-up.”  It makes them an asshole.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I finally found it! This is the Onion article that parodies all the They Doth Protest Way Too Damn Much folks who go on and on and on about Teh Gay:


  • http://www.facebook.com/danyel.fisher Danyel Fisher

    For what it’s worth, I’m a Jew. I do not agree with the opinions I’m writing here, but I can give you some potential context as to what they might have been thinking.It’s worth noting that Jews read the book of Jonah on the Yom Kippur afternoon service; we read it right after the Torah reading … which, by tradition, is Leviticus Chapter 18, verse 1-30. (It’s a long list of who not to have sex with.) The Haftarah reading–the bit after, selected from the prophets–is usually selected as a sort of underscoring or counterpoint to the Torah reading. So if we just read about not having sex, then Jonah, the Accidental Prophet, must ALSO be talking about sex.

    Now, add that to the fact that not just the PEOPLE of Nineveh repented, but also the animals wore sackcloth & ashes, and we start realizing what (a traditional source) might think was the problem in Nineveh: sex. Evil evil sex. Bestiality (verse 23)! Homosexuality (verse 22)! And the people repented, and were saved from doom!I think the JONAH people are hoping that they can be the voice that helps Ninevites repent.

  • Carstonio

    I was about to ask why the text doesn’t state that explicitly, but then I realized that the original audience may have known without having to be told. Doubtful that the authors envisioned these stories still being the subject of study and debate 27 centuries later. 

    Hell, jokes about Polish people had been around for decades when I was growing up, and I didn’t understand the point of the jokes. Beyond my simply disapproving of slamming an entire ethnic group, it seemed to me that someone had simply chosen the Polish at random. The origin and context of the genre was unknown to me, just as much of the context of the Old Testament stories is unknown to us.

  • hagsrus

    “… also the animals wore sackcloth & ashes …”

    “For this you die!” (recurring LOLcats caption for dressed-up moggies)

  • http://essaressellwye.tumblr.com/ Hershele Ostropoler

    I used that sort of acronym for a fictional one, but “Saving Homosexuals from Making Unhealthy Choices with Knowledge” is more than a little forced.

  • Runic

    I think Fred is spot on with his description of JJJ.  He describes Johah as  “not so much of evil as of a petty, sour, resentful and pompous foolishness.”  I think that fits J. Jonah Jamison pretty well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    If Stan read the Book of Jonah and understood it, I guess the same can’t be said for John Albano and Tony DeZuniga, who created a certain scarfaced bounty hunter who is sympathetic:  Jonah Hex.

    Of course, the sad part is that most people only know Hex – if they know him at all – from the movie, which…well, I can’t really argue against Fred’s point when it comes to that.

  • rikalous

     Thing is, Jonah Hex is very much an anti-hero, and he’s coded as villainous in several ways. The facial scar, the Confederate uniform, and the surname Hex all scream “bad guy,” and his given name might (or might not, I really have no idea) be more of the same.

    Alternatively, Jonah and Hex might both be cues that terrible things happen to this guy, tying in with the sailors’ term mentioned early on.

  • Freak

    Jezebel in Asimov’s Robot novels is sympathetic.

  • David Starner

    I always love Jezebel’s exit scene in the Bible: 30 And
    when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her
    face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
    31 And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?

    In my reading, yes, you’re going to kill me, but I’m going out on my terms. To a different audience maybe Jehu looks good, but he comes off as so brutal and crude.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think there should be an Ex-Gay group called the Brotherhood United to Get Gays Efficiently  Repaired, Yessiree.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Incidentally, the Brotherhood United to Get Gays Efficiently Repaired, Yessiree would of course have a women’s auxiliary, known as “Women Who Like B.U.G.G.E.R.Y”, and a youth outreach group calling REACHing At Risk Or Underperforming Neophyte Dandies.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    The truly sad thing about this is that JONAH’s Goldberg isn’t just a fraudster, but a convicted fraudster.

  • newenglandsun

    Here’s a good one I thought up running this morning.
    Bisexuals emptying lustful intimacies and lewdness
    acronym – BELIAL (Hebrew for worthlessness and later personified into a demon)