Saturday salmagundi

• The official souvenir program for the inauguration of William McKinley in 1901 included an almost-steampunk imagining of the inauguration of 2001.

At the close of his address, President Barrington was escorted to the Mansion of the States by the Governors of the 118 States and 99 Territories. Here a great banquet was spread in the main hall, covers being laid for 25,000 persons. All of the Government officials and the heads of the Army and Navy were present, and many notable addresses were delivered through the phonelegraph.

Click through to read that whole program — it’s fantastic, like something out of a short story by Jay Lake.

• And speaking of Jay Lake, the Acts of Whimsy fundraiser for his cancer treatment is a thing of beauty.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, seems to be borrowing from Neil Gaiman. Newport’s new book is called God Is Alive and Well, by which he means that polling shows that belief in God is alive and well. The idea suggested by Newport’s title seems to follow the conceit of Gaiman’s American Gods, in which the strength and survival of the gods depends on the depth and number of adherents to their respective religions.

It’s a very cool idea as the premise for a fantastical, speculative novel (or an HBO series). It’s a very strange idea for a pollster or a student of religion.

• The fabulous ministry of The Reverend Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes.

• “Wilson and Krause encountered a pod of whales, made up of several adults and calves, that had apparently adopted an unlikely non-whale companion to join their clan — a deformed bottlenose dolphin.” They have pictures.

• “How to Start a Revolution.” Gene Sharp, now 85 years old, is the most dangerous man in the world.

• I’m looking at these lists of the “top 10 most psychopathic professions” and “top 10 least psychopathic professions” and thinking maybe they help to bolster my longstanding argument that journalists should be craftspeople rather than professionals. (They list “craftsperson” as a “profession,” though, so it seems either they or I have some misconceptions about those words.)

Angry, stupid white people on Twitter.

• The US government is “an insurance company with an army.” — Peter Fisher, undersecretary of the Treasury, in 2002.

• Religious right radio: Labor unions must be stopped because abortion and gays.

• More “gracious and cordial” Christians making up nasty stuff about gay people. I guess once you embrace the idea of Lying for a Good Cause, then it starts to seem like the more outrageous and vicious those lies are, the more virtuous you are for telling them. Or something.

• Here’s a map and diagram of what the NRA wants American elementary schools to look like. (Actually it’s a diagram of “The Citadel” — a heavily armed Randian utopia intended for somewhere in Idaho.)

• How good is Paul Bibeau’s Goblinbooks blog? So good that posts with titles like “A Message to the NRA From a Guy With a Duffel Bag of Guns” and “A Message to the Tea Party From a Guy Who Urinated on a Power Line” live up to those headlines with pitch-perfect panache.

Ric Alba:

Everyone has the drive to be known and loved. During the ’80s I couldn’t let myself feel the love so much, because I felt I wasn’t letting people know the real me. When you’re delivering to friends and fans, someone other than your true self, it’s nearly impossible to absorb the love people send you. It always feels like it was meant for someone else, and that you’re taking love under false pretenses.

Jodie Foster:

I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.

  • Rachel

    I like the road with lightning image you used.  What’s the source?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Maybe if Jodie Foster had better taste in friends, she wouldn’t be “so very lonely”. She’s loudly defended both Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski. I have no patience for her.

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

    It looks like it’s from the beginning-of-movie or end-of-movie trailer for one of the major movie studios?

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Gaiman derives the central idea of American Gods from some sects of Buddhism, which teach that the material world is actually generated by all of our minds working together.  These sects teach that if enough people believe in a god/demon/ entity, then it will become real (for a similar idea, see the Tibetan concept of the “tulpa”).

    The concept of “self-inflicted hell” which Gaiman featured in the Sandman series is also a precept of certain Buddhists.  If you feel you deserve Hell, you mind will create one for you after death.  They say that if you do find yourself in Hell, just tell yourself that it’s just you punishing yourself and Hell will instantly vanish, revealing the Bodhisattvas who will lead you to Nirvana.

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

    Robert Hare’s work on “subcriminal psychopaths” is enlightening and disturbing reading in light of the fact that Western society’s pro-capitalistic changes over the last generation have only created better and more plentiful rewards for people who don’t give a shit about rules or social norms.

  • Water_Bear

    To be fair to Mr Newport, religions are a lot more like languages than they are like natural principles. They change over time, blend when they encounter each other, and when people stop using them they die out with very little fanfare.

  • Lindenharp
  • Münchner Kindl

    (Actually it’s a diagram of “The Citadel” — a heavily armed Randian utopia intended for somewhere in Idaho.)

    As said in comments on the previous “Preppers” discussion, preparing for real = natural disasters vary by region. And preparing for man-made disasters is different from preparing for man-made disasters. (building against earthquakes is different from building against tornadoes or flooding or …)

    The very medieval look of this artists conception is yet again proof that the paranoid are role-playing: if they really want to defend against the black choppers of the govt., then they should build underground, not nice houses with a wall around them.

    Second, as said before about these libertopias, where do they get the food from? “White people were so lazy they needed slaves to do the work for them” as one comedian said – I can’t see many of those fat overweight middle-aged gun nuts doing hard manual work on a farm. Because using tractors and the like creates dependance on oil, which doesn’t work in a mad max war scenario. (Technically, you could grow energy crops and process to oil, but that requires more land and work and a huge machine.) Also tractors need repair which means mechanics and factories that produce replacments).

    If they go agricultural, they need the fields inside the walls, not outside, to survive the battle against zombies/ FEMA employees/ whatever. (Yes, medieval towns could store food – but how long?)

  • Wednesday

    I haven’t read American Gods, but the idea that gods depend on the number of their believers for power appears in Pratchett’s Discworld series (esp. Small Gods, which predates American Gods by quite a while).

    Pratchett and Gaiman are friends and have coauthored a book. So it’s quite lpossible Gaiman got the idea from somewhere other than Buddhism.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    the idea that gods depend on the number of their believers for power appears in Pratchett’s Discworld series

    It appeared in the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons. For that matter, it is a common thread throughout many ancient religions that a god is only as powerful as its followers — that a god needs worship/sacrifices/orgies to thrive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Bibeau/1201168822 Paul Bibeau

    I’m not worthy! Thank you, Mr. C.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    It looks like: Bruckheimer’s studio logo, the cover to Gaiman’s “American Gods”, and the endings to both “Terminator 2″ and the Japanese film “Ringu”. 

  • P J Evans

     And it’s been pointed out elsewhere that the growing season in that area is about three months, maximum, and in winter there will be 2 or 3 meters of snow on the ground.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The plan starts to make sense if you believe that you can make biodiesel from zombies.

    (Seriously, those Citadel plans look surprisingly close to the zombie apocalypse fortress I have in my notes, except that they’d never waste so much space with a separately fortified munitions factory when what they really needed were ploughshares.)

  • hidden_urchin

    You had a “Firearms Museum and Reflecting Pool” in your zombie apocalypse fortress?

    Seriously, that’s the part I can’t get over.  It has a town center that isn’t in the center of town.  It has a weapons manufacturing plant but, apparently, no large scale food storage.  It has a farmer’s market but no fields or orchards (and that market is poorly placed compared to the neighborhoods and business center). 

    But what really gets me is the “Firearms Museum and Reflecting Pool.”  I just can’t take ‘em seriously with that in there.  You’re planning to create a community capable of existing in a complete bubble and protecting itself from outside attack and you have a museum and reflecting pool in the center? 

    I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry at the ineptitude.

  • Water_Bear

    My sneaking suspicion is that their idea of how to get food flows smoothly from the emphasis on fire-arms; when the chips are down, they know that the people with the weaponry aren’t going to be the ones who go hungry.

    My question is why people who plan on fighting the government would want to stay in one spot; even the best bunker is toast once it’s found, and the Maori proved that you can throw together supremely defensible forts in a few days while still having them cheap enough to use as disposable decoys once you’ve moved on. Keeping mobile and “foraging” also removes a lot of pesky logistical issues like supply lines for pretty much everything but ammunition, which they already have tons of. Plus, in a nationwide disaster it wouldn’t be difficult to blend in with other refugees to stay hidden. Building a fortified town negates every possible advantage they might have in an asymmetrical war.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659001961 Brad Ellison

    Fortress/armory where every occupant is part of an armed militia?  When The Road Warrior becomes a documentary they will rule the countryside and become the foundation for the the enduring Imperial power of New Sparta.  Helots will tend the fields beyond the walls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Look at those tweets.  Among them, you’ll find a disturbing trend, over and above the obvious disturbing trend, I mean.  The disturbing trend is that they are saying this fully attached to their names and, in most cases, pictures of their own faces.

    Bare this in mind as well, it is actually a crime to incite violence, such as murder.  Technically, asking for the killing of anybody, let alone the POTUS, is a crime (to my understanding).  So, they’re saying this with no expectation of any consequence of even being recognized as “that person who threatened the life of person X”.  In large case, I suspect even saying this with the recognition that the saying will garner them social acceptance.

    This says something about the fantasies that run among the differing sides.  When G. Bush was in office, the left openly fantasized about him being impeached on the basis of, you know, the torture, lieing to Congress, lieing to the American people, etc.  But, among the left, we were not free and easy with the wishes of death.  I doubt that this says much about our moral standing but I do claim this says that the hard right in this country has lost a comprehension of the connection between action and consequence.

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

    I know in Canadian law, uttering threats can be a chargeable criminal offence in and of itself. But are these folks making generalized race-war threats (really, how many of them are white guys who fantasize about beating back the barbarian inner-city hordes – which has coded racist commentary all over it) or making specific threats to specific people?

  • Katie

     According to the website, the age requirement for being able to hit the target is 13.    Which brings up the question of what happens when you have a kid who doesn’t want to stick with the program. 

  • Kiba

    Yup it’s from American Gods. I have that book. Damn good novel.

  • Water_Bear

    “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”

  • Foreigner

    Winding back to 2001 as seen from 1901 … 50 odd extra states? 99 territories? That really was the era of American Empire, wasn’t it? I wonder where they imagined all this real estate was?

  • P J Evans

     It sounded like most of the Americas – the story mentioned ‘clubs’ in Santiago,Chile,and in Canada, as well as one in Honolulu.
    The pneumatic transcontinental railways are amusing. So are the aircars all over – but they did pick up on air travel, two years before Kitty Hawk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I think it would fall under intentionally inciting violence.  I suppose they could say that they had no reason to believe that it would be taken seriously.  But, they did bring up both JFK and Lincoln.  They did so in order to say that those were good Presidents (considering their stances and the tweeters, likely the goodness of those Presidents has to do with the span of history and how hard it is to get away with calling them bad Presidents) that shouldn’t have and contrasting that against Obama.  So, one couldn’t claim that they were completely unaware of an oft-repeated opinion having a certain response.

    I suppose none of them actually stated an intent to accomplish, only an allegedly joking desire that it be accomplished.  But, still.  Even on the left, amost everybody with any kind of voice would have avoided that, merely on awareness of the bad PR it would do for their side.

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

    I think it may be a legalistic issue then, that if it’s not illegal to make generalized statements, even if they can be construed as threats, then the cops and FBI can’t really do much.

    But I’m sure they’ve popped up on the domestic right-wing watch lists now. :P

    EDIT: That said, the very specific Obama comments? Are likely to get them a talking-to from the Secret Service. Threatening the President is most definitely a criminal offence.

  • Victor

    (((Everyone has the drive to be known and loved.)))

     

    Christians making up nasty stuff about gay people.

    Fred ! Are we not all “ONE” in Christ?

    Sunday, 27 January 2013 : First Letter to the Corinthians 12:12-30.
    Why can’t we all get along NOW?
    Let’s U>S explain “IT” to ya Victor!
    Folks! I must be going crazy cause me, myself and i know that we’re not on those cheap drugs so why would any of our micro cell parts listen to sinner vic?
    Come on Victor! Ya let U>S god preach here:http://www.rebecca-writes.com/rebeccawrites/2013/1/25/expecting-trouble.html#comments didn’t ya and long story short our micro spiritual reality cells are on a role NOW!
    http://www.rebecca-writes.com/rebeccawrites/2013/1/25/expecting-trouble.html#comments didn’t ya and long story short our micro spiritual reality cells are on a role NOW!
    Listen sinner vic, there are parts that we need cause without “IT” we just wouldn’t “F”uction as “ONE” if ya get my drift!? Can’t ya understand that none of U>S (usual sinners) must go “IT” alone!

    Sorry Victor butt, butt, butt, peter said that “IT” was a labor of love and has put all our spiritual cells in charge and to hell with her brother NOW!
    Listen sinner vic, there are parts that we need cause without “IT” we just wouldn’t “F”uction as “ONE” if ya get my drift!? Can’t ya understand that none of U>S (usual sinners) must go “IT” alone!

    Sorry Victor butt, butt, butt, peter said that “IT” was a labor of love and has put all our spiritual cells in charge and to hell with her brother NOW!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE3tkdY2v8s

    Have “IT” your WAY sinner vic! :)
    Everythings a joke for ya Victor butt U>S gods must get out there and save this world. :(
    Peace

  • Victor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2rCBsAVd0  Hey Don’t worry about “IT” folks

  • Rae

    It’s also showed up in the Fables comic book series, only replace “gods” with “fairy tale characters”, and it goes some interesting places with that premise.  There’s even a little bit of that in the recent Rise of the Guardians movie.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    D&D derived the idea from the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series by Fritz Leiber, which was one of the three greatest inspirations for the game (the others being Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Howard’s Conan stories).  

  • vsm

    I can’t really hold her defence of Mel Gibson against her. They’ve apparently been good friends for years and she seems to have decided to stick by him, no matter how much he might deserve the opposite. I admire her loyalty if not her taste in friends.

  • esmerelda_ogg

     

    where do they get the food from?- Munchner Kindl

    Silly rabbit! Who needs to grow food themselves? They’ll just go to the farmers’ market. It’s right there on the plan next to the town center – didn’t you see it?

    Oh. Wait. Farmers’ market…full of outsiders…that you allowed inside those fortress walls and defensive towers…with their trucks that they say are full of food… Oops.

  • LoneWolf343

     Well, maybe she defends bad people because she’s lonely.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My sneaking suspicion is that their idea of how to get food flows smoothly from the emphasis on fire-arms; when the chips are down, they know that the people with the weaponry aren’t going to be the ones who go hungry.

    Their dependence on technology for combat superiority is something of a blind spot to them, much as it was to the planners of the U.S. military in conflicts like Vietnam.  A possess of gun toting rugged individuals is probably going to walk right into a spiked-pit deathtrap when trying to raid nearby settlements and farms for food.  

    Their belief that their weaponry gives them power is their weakness, and it will be their downfall.  

  • Ethics Gradient

    Gaiman may also have derived the central idea from the 1992 ‘Small Gods’ by his former collaborator Terry Pratchett, which says:

    There are billions of gods in the world. They swarm as thick as herring roe. Most of them are too small to see and never get worshiped, at least by anything bigger than bacteria, who never say their prayers and don’t demand much in the way of miracles. They are the small gods–the spirits of places where two ant trails cross, the gods of microclimates down between the grass roots. And most of them stay that way. Because what they lack is belief. A handful, though, go on to greater things. Anything may trigger it.
    A shepherd, seeking a lost lamb, finds it among the briars and takes a minute or two to build a small cairn of stones in general thanks to whatever spirit might be around the place. Or a peculiarly shaped tree becomes associated with a cure for disease. Or someone carves a spiral on an isolated stone. Because what gods need is belief, and what humans want is gods. Often it stops there. But sometimes it goes further. More rocks are added, more stones are raised, a temple is built on the site where the tree once stood. The god grows in strength, the belief of its worshippers raising it upwards like a thousand tons of rocket fuel. For a very few,
    the sky’s the limit.

  • Water_Bear

    I’d be a lot more optimistic about my chances of beating people with assault rifles using punji sticks and black-powder bombs if it wasn’t for the fact that guns are pretty much the biggest force multiplier ever created. 

    The Viet Cong had plenty of guns, arguably much superior guns at least on the infantry level (Kalishnakov v M16 a1, no contest), not to mention bombs artillery and surface-to-air missiles. Hell, the NVA actually had fairly decent Fighter Aircraft at the beginning, courtesy of the USSR. Vietnam wasn’t ingenuity versus firepower, but numbers and determination against an enemy unwilling and unable to fight a real counter-insurgency.

  • Victor

    ((( For a very few, the sky’s the limit.)))

    And “I” thought that sinner vic was the only micro god around here.

    Go Figure! “IT” really is a small world when the sky’s the limit….:)

    Peace

  • Ken

     Also from Small Gods, where Pratchett explains where he got the idea:

    Koomi’s theory was based on the old Gnostic heresy, which tends to turn up all over the multiverse whenever men get up off their knees and start thinking for two minutes altogether. But it upsets priests, who tend to vent their displeasure in traditional ways.

    When the Omnian Church found out about Koomi, they displayed him in every town within the Church’s empire to demonstrate the essential flaws in his argument.

    There were a lot of towns, so they had to cut him up quite small.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’d be a lot more optimistic about my chances of beating people with assault rifles using punji sticks and black-powder bombs if it wasn’t for the fact that guns are pretty much the biggest force multiplier ever created. 

    Yeah, but I for one would have no intention of actually standing up and fighting them.  I would think that the best course would be to set the booby-traps and run and hide.  Let them take what they want, just be sure that they pay for whatever they take.  They come in peace, we can trade for what we need.  They come in force, they pay in blood instead.  

  • Water_Bear

    Real life isn’t like Home Alone; the best you could hope for is that you don’t hurt the gunmen enough for them to hunt you down and burn down your village. If we’re going to make fun of the right-wingers for their weird indulgent power-fantasies of fights they can never win, can we at least agree not to do the exact same thing?

  • Hilary

    “A possess of gun toting rugged individuals is probably going to walk right into a spiked-pit deathtrap when trying to raid nearby settlements and farms for food”

    you mean like this –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR8MsdKHtVE

    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose
    Drive your quarry where choose
    Net them so they can’t get loose,
    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose.

    Lead them on and lead them long,
    Make it look like natures crafting
    Fear and greed will drive them on
    Bite you tongue to keep from laughing

    Let them think they’ve won the war
    While the net grows ever tighter
    Deadly though these brigands are
    Traps can take the toughest fighter

    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose . . .

  • Tricksterson

    Remember though it’s true belief that’s important, not just mouthing the phrases.  that’s why Om was reduced to a turtle.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I can’t really hold her defence of Mel Gibson against her. They’ve apparently been good friends for years and she seems to have decided to stick by him, no matter how much he might deserve the opposite. I admire her loyalty if not her taste in friends.

    Maybe re Mel she’s hating the sin but loving the sinner.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Real life isn’t like Home Alone

    No, it would be more like this because the “survivalists” would be surrounded, outnumbered, and — yes — outgunned by a lot of very angry people.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Actually, the Branch Davidian compound siege is one of the first things I thought of about an enclave like that.  If the U.S. government had reason to suspect the compound of fostering treason (or more likely simple tax evasion by declaring themselves sovereign) they would have the place surround.  The funny thing is that if they actually tried to shoot at federal authorities surrounding the place, the results would not be pretty… for them.  

  • AnonymousSam

     Ugh, that link to the Twitter posts is painful. The only thing that can compare (at least for my present state of mind) is the new bill proposed in Arizona which requires that students swear an oath (complete with the words “under God”) before they’ll be allowed to graduate. http://legiscan.com/AZ/text/HB2467

    In better news, I’ve begun writing a new story inspired by discovering that there were another three predictions for the apocalypse in 2012 that I hadn’t known about until today. Small preview-

    Set twenty minutes into the future, predictions for the apocalypse, the rapture and the end of the world have become so common that they have taken on mimetic status. Almost no one believes they will ever come true, yet everyone thinks about them almost constantly. The weight of so many minds all thinking of the end times becomes a kind of constant subconscious prayer… one which Heaven receives and decides to act upon. There’s just one problem: no one told Hell what it was supposed to do!

    The Rapture seizes the “true believers” (oddly, the majority of them are horrendous people — Westboro Baptist Church’s patrons vanish entirely!), works cataclysms across the Earth and juxtaposes Hell with Earth so that the devil can walk the mortal world, except that Hell fails to live up to its expectation and the demons jettisoned from their homes have no interest in enslaving humanity and in fact exercise their powers to stop the apocalypse and save the Earth. Much to the consternation and bemusement of most, the Hellkind prove to be kindly, selfless creatures who become mankind’s brethren. Heaven is not pleased.

    It’s not the story of the apocalypse. It’s the story of what comes afterward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Somewhat, as in quite vaguely, similar to a story I’m writing that’s set in Hell.  We should make sure to get published together and both send autographed copies to the 700 club at the same time.  :)

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

    I think FearlessSon may be thinking more along the lines of what Yugoslav or Soviet partisans did to combat Axis occupying forces in WW2.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Did you notice that they had no medical care buildings and no cemetery?

    Ignore getting sick, or getting injured. These people really think that, in a community where every 13 year old plus is going to be carrying a gun, nobody is going to get shot. 

    Wat. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    It probably doesn’t say a lot about the Left’s moral standing, but it says quite about about the Right’s lack thereof. 

    It also highlights their hypocrisy. When Bush was in charge, it was treason to even speak negative words about him. Now wishing the President dead is not only acceptable, but earns you status. 


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