Saturday salmagundi

Bruce Garrett provides a helpful set of definitions:

A militant homosexual is a homosexual who doesn’t think there is anything wrong with being a homosexual. A militant homosexual activist is a homosexual who acts like there isn’t anything wrong with being a homosexual.

I wonder if this perhaps applies to other terms as well.

A militant feminist is a woman who doesn’t think there is anything wrong with being a woman.  A militant feminist activist is a woman who acts like there isn’t anything wrong with being a woman.

• In a similar vein to that dismaying anti-gay “rap” video we discussed earlier this week, NTodd relays a report that the Gaede twins — once better known as the white supremacist pop duo Prussian Blue — have renounced the racism they used to sing about. The girls blame their mother for indoctrinating them into the “home-schooled country bumpkins” who recorded that hate-filled music.

• And Jamie the Very Worst Missionary has a good addition to our discussion of Stupid Things Adults Say to Children:

I can distinctly remember being called out by a teacher for giving a Ritz cracker to a friend. She said, loudly, “Jamie, will you be giving everyone a cracker?”

I believe I looked up at her with all the innocence of a 7-year-old, and thought, “This teacher is so effing stupid. I’m holding three crackers in a sandwich bag. How could I possibly have enough for everyone?”

And then she made my friend give the cracker back! Because the world is CrazyTown.

• Headline: “Lausanne Puts Away Evangelical Christian.” I read that and for a moment I thought church discipline was getting out of hand, but then I realized it was just a high school basketball game.

• Two reactions to this post from Alvin McEwen. 1. I think he makes a good point about the sensibilities here. 2. I would also love to visit Rickie Dillard’s church.

The sensus fidelium is screaming as loud as it can. But it seems no one in a funny hat is listening.

• The New Hampshire state legislature is still too big.

• “Will The GOP Broaden Its Appeal? A 30-Year History” There is nothing new under the sun.

• The Consumerist reposts a classic primer on a key strategic tool for consumers: “How to Launch an Executive Email Carpet Bomb.”

• I would just like to say that Malaysia is awesome and that the president and/or prime minister is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

What’s that? It’s too late to get in on the Malaysian payola gravy train that those write-for-hire right-wing bloggers got rich on?

Oh. Well, in that case, never mind.

Mark Evanier posts a video of the odd magician Tom Mullica. Mullica, as Evanier says, “did bizarre things with cigarettes. I don’t think anyone’s doing this kind of thing today and with good reason.”

True. As Mullica himself says of his act, “It’s not how, but why?”

I’ve got an old instructional video of Mullica’s around here somewhere that I bought back in the day when I got cast as the devil in Damn Yankees. He was a big help in coping with a script that included such otherwise-unexplained stage directions as “pulls a lit cigarette from thin air.” No asterisk, no notes in the back of the script explaining how one does this. Just the simple direction that, on cue, you as an actor must reach into the air in front of you and pluck a lit cigarette out of nowhere.

• John Fea posts a nice video of the Man in Black singing at a 1971 Billy Graham revival at Texas Stadium. Fea writes: “Only Johnny Cash could get away with singing songs about hangovers, wishing he was ‘stoned,’ and shooting a man ‘in Reno just to watch him die’ and then follow that up with a performance at a Billy Graham crusade.”

Yep. And the great thing is that whether it was “Folsom Prison Blues” or “Peace in the Valley,” you believed every word.

• Paul McKinley is “a convicted felon who served nearly 20 years in state prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery.” He’s also the apparent winner of the Republican primary for a special election to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The candidate has not shied away from his arrest record during the campaign.

“I’m the ex-offender trying to save the next offender …” McKinley said.

If McKinley loses his House race, I’d urge him to run for Illinois governor. Since four out of the last seven of the state’s governors have ended up in prison, I think it would be refreshing to have someone pay their debt to society first, and then head to the governor’s mansion, instead of the other way around.


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  • I can distinctly remember being called out by a teacher for giving a
    Ritz cracker to a friend. She said, loudly, “Jamie, will you be giving everyone a cracker?”



    That kind of smarmy “I-am-teaching-a-moral-lesson” crap from a teacher really grates on my nerves.

    Thankfully I’ve never been quite put in that position, but I have had teachers act, in my view, unreasonably and emotionally, rather than with some care and logic.

    And the problem is, when teachers think they’re being ~scrupulously fair~ or teaching a lesson in such – um, they’re usually not. They’re just being asinine.

  • Trevino was given almost $400,000 to lobby for the Malaysian government,

    Holy crap if I had known about this and decided to completely ignore any sense of personal dignity I totally would have been all over that because FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND BUCKS.

  • freak

    A story I heard about Mullica:  He was being continuously burned while doing that trick, so he could only practice it in front of an audience; he needed the laughter to be able to take the pain.

  • • “Will The GOP Broaden Its Appeal? A 30-Year History” There is nothing new under the sun.

    By this time it should be clear that the elites of the Republican party don’t care to “broaden its appeal”. Ever since Nixon’s Southern Strategy, the Repubs have banked on stoking white resentment against non-whites, and since Reagan, have moved to blatantly sucking up to rich people and blowing smoke up their asses by telling them all the things they want to hear about themselves.

  • In a similar vein to that dismaying anti-gay “rap” video we discussed earlier this week, NTodd relays a report
    that the Gaede twins — once better known as the white supremacist pop
    duo Prussian Blue — have renounced the racism they used to sing about.
    The girls blame their mother for indoctrinating them into the
    “home-schooled country bumpkins” who recorded that hate-filled music.

    Huh. WHen Fred reported on the “rap” video, Prussian Blue was the first thing I thought of. I thought I remembered hearing about their change of heart but couldn’t find a cite (largely because I was remembering their names wrong)

  • stardreamer42

    Re the Gaede twins, I would be much happier if there were any expression of actual remorse for their past behavior. I’m getting a distinct impression here of “Sorry? Why should we be sorry? We’re not like that any more.” 

  • Worthless Beast

    *Puzzles a bit at the “Rich” guy in the comic*  – He’s like, the Token Privilaged in there!

    I’ve known… one… I mean ONE… non-assholish rich person in my life, so maybe he represents that, a person the wealth has not corrupted beyond humility.

  • Dave Lartigue

    I can verify that “militant” means exactly the above when used with “atheist”. A “militant atheist” is one who won’t sit down, shut up, and be sad he’s an atheist.

  • Lori

    I think a lot of this sort of thing comes from the fact that it’s difficult for adults to remember what it was actually like to be a kid, so they mix things up. There’s a huge difference between not getting a cracker from a kid with 3 crackers and being the only one not to get a cracker from a kid with a whole box of crackers. Some adults don’t seem to get this.

    Not getting a cracker from the kid with 3 crackers is only a bid deal if that kid is supposed to be your BFF. Even then, the issue is not the “unfair” cracker distribution, it’s the social drama. That’s a real issue, but it’s not the issue the teacher was addressing.

  • Prussian Blue renounced their racism??!!? That is incredibly good news!

    I’ve been following those two since I first studied them in college, hoping this would happen – so glad to hear it has!

  • Victor

    (((I wonder if this perhaps applies to other terms as well.)))
    “I” think that we could some “IT” UP by asking what is good and/or bad butt for some the sum just would’nt add UP and or DOWN.
    End YA say Victor!?
    Why don’t ya go cremate yourself sinner vic NOW?
    Be nice Victor! YA know that U>S (usual sinning gods wouldn’t be caught dead even talking to those mean machines if YA know what “I” mean so why can’t we discuss “IT” like gods, “I”
    mean like little retard toes, no, no, like normal human still being so go ahead and ask your questions and we alien gods will answer them all for YA!
    OK sinner vic butt YA ask for “IT” NOW! Why can’t we get along as “ONE” big happy family in Christ NOW?
    Sorry Victor! You’re off topic again this is all about divide and conquer!
    Go Figure NOW!


  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve heard that line more than once. It’s supposed to encourage sharing and discourage thinking selfishly, but the actual result is that no one bothers bringing anything to class period, or if they do, they just keep it secret.

    Meaning they have to think selfishly, because there’s no reasonable way that most kids can afford to (at least frequently) get snacks for everyone, so they have to hide what they have and view everyone as competition for what they want.

    The exact opposite desired result.

  • Mmmyeah. I can’t see it being productive at all to interfere in private sharing between friends. I think if a young child were being ostentatiously or obviously selfish, the matter should first be resolved in private before bringing it into public.

    Social embarrassment can be an effective tool, but used wrongly, it is counterproductive, as you say.

  • I find myself wishing to be temporarily transported back to grade school so that I can stand up and, in the best Jimmy Stewart impression a gradeschooler can muster, say “No, Ma’am, I don’t have enough for everybody. But if I give three crackers to three people, and you give three crackers to three people, and he gives three crackers to three people and she gives three crackers to three people, it’s not going to be long before everybody has a cracker”

  • Hth

    I’m kind of appalled by the commentariat consensus.  You’d really let kids get away with this cliquey bullshit — sitting there *in class,* eating crackers with their besties while everyone else is, you know, *in class?*  (I’m gathering from the story that it wasn’t some kind of institutional snack time or lunch, when kids trade and share their food all the time and nobody cares.  I’ll recant humbly if I’m wrong there.)

    Of course you don’t bring three crackers so 28 kids can watch you and your two closest friends enjoy them.  Maybe the teacher used a mean tone of voice or whatever, but shutting that down wasn’t a Stupid Thing Adults Say, it was acting like the grownup in the room.

  • Lori

    You actually think that Jaimie brought 3 crackers to school for the express purpose of having the rest of the class watch her and 2 friends eat them? Jesus, your school must have been horrible. I had some rotten classmates, but not like that.

    What I did have were classmates whose parents sent them to school with small snacks, who occasionally chose to share those small snacks with a friend or two. I don’t recall this being a major trauma for anyone.

    Even if she had brought a snack just to share with her friends, why is that a big deal? Do you consider all sharing with friends that isn’t done in secret to be “cliquey bullshit”? Did you live your life that way as a child? Do you live your life that way now?

    As for whether it was snack time or not, there isn’t enough information
    in the story to say one way or the other. Given that she was reprimanded
    for not sharing with everyone, as opposed to for eating in class or
    being disruptive, I’m inclined to assume that it was snack time of some
    sort. If it was not, then the teacher was still wrong since she should have been focused on the violation of the rules about snack time and not on trying to convince Jaimie that if she didn’t have enough for everyone she had to clutch her crackers to herself and not share at all.

  • If the teacher wanted to discourage eating in class then the teacher should have just fucking said no eating in class.

    This is another thing that really gravels my ass at any age

    when people who think they’re being smartarses by asking a semi rhetorical question thinking they’re being so cool in “indirectly” discouraging the thing they want discouraged

    instead of like you know


  • Catherine

    I had a teacher who would make the same comment if she caught kids eating sweets during lessons.  I always longed to be able to afford 34 sweets so I could say “Yes” and hand them round.

  • Really, if they want to keep performing they just need to drop the ‘P’, and presto! From nasty KZ poison gas to cute grey kitty!

  • I agree! KITTEHS!

    Erm, also, Prussian Blue is a dye.

  • Amaryllis


    Headline: “Lausanne Puts Away Evangelical Christian.”

    There’s a local high school whose teams are nicknamed “The Poets.” Which leads to headlines like “Dunbar Poets Run Over Brunswick Railroaders.” And “Dunbar Poets Blank Poly Engineers.” And “Poets Beat Up Fighting Frogs” … hey, poets are a rough crowd. (However, in one game at least, they had a hard time beating the Douglas Ducks. Ducks are mean.)

    And, of course, it’s an old Catholic joke, headlines along the lines of “Queen of Peace Slaughters St. Anne,”  or “Archbishop Curley Stomps St. Anthony.”

  • I actually had a Russian Blue kitty; still miss him. Never had the dye. Could swear they took their name from some type of poison gas, though.

  • vsm

    The duo’s name was a reference to the Holocaust denier claim that if the gas chambers at concentration camps were used for mass murder, there should be residues of Prussian blue in the walls. I don’t remember why this is bullshit off-hand, but probably covers it.

  • Prussian Blue is also, curiously enough, an effective counteragent to treat thallium poisoning. So if you ever find that you’ve accidentally swallowed a bunch of 40-year-old rat poison, you should immediately go and lick some blueprints. (While you wait for the ambulance to arrive so that real doctors can treat you properly)

  • Doesn’t work.  Been there (but was not the one to do it) the teacher just gets flustered and says, “That’s not the point!” and then refuses to explain what the point actually was while the confused class looks on in aporia and lessons don’t get taught.

    Teachers can be very disruptive to the entire learning experience, much more so than most students, even troublemakers, could ever dare to dream.*

    It’s a very strange feeling to be told for so long that the only thing wrong with sharing is that you don’t have enough to to go around and then when someone takes that lesson to heart and makes sure they have enough to go around to be told that all that previous stuff was bullshit and no I will not tell you what the non-BS reason is.

    I’m actually not sure if there is a non-bs reason.  If teachers didn’t want people eating in class it would be a lot easier and take a lot less class time to say so.  If they were worried that one person or group was getting singled out (I brought enough for everyone but Jimmy) then that’s the wrong way to attack the problem, and really there’s no way that, “Did you bring enough for everyone,” makes sense to me.

    * I don’t want to lay too much at the feet of teachers as there are myriad other factors at work, but it is true that in liminal situations a teacher has much more ability to keep a class on focus or completely derail it than any student is ever likely to have.  I have never seen the, “Did you bring enough for everyone,” thing used as anything but derailing for the purpose of shaming the student in questions.

    Usually it’s a short derail, but when the student did bring enough for everyone it tends to be much longer because it leaves the entire class in confusion at the apparent goal post moving.

  • Yeah, nizkor pointed out the flaws with the “No Zyklon B in the walls” allegation.

  •  Within a particular social circle in college, the traditional response to someone sticking their tongue out was “Don’t take it out unless you intend to share.”

  • arcseconds

    Let me try that:

    – A militant computer programmer is a programmer who doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with being a computer programmer. A militant activist computer programmer is a programmer who acts like there’s nothing wrong with being a computer programmer.

    – A militant blogger is a blogger who doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with being a blogger.  A militant activist blogger is a blogger who acts like there’s anything wrong with being a blogger.

    – A militant homophobe is a homophone who doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with being a homophobe.  A militant activist homophobe is a homophobe who acts like there’s nothing wrong with being a homophobe.

    This is fun!

  • Katie

     To be fair to the Gaede twins, they stopped touring when they were 14 and started to publicly disagree with their mother’s views by age 15.  In other words, by the time they were old enough to start having their own views, as opposed to parroting what they’d been taught, they’d renounced racism.  I don’t think that they really have anything to be sorry for, since at the time they were doing bad stuff, they were children.

  • arcseconds

    Lynx and Lamb!

    The most disturbing and ghastly kid folk-rock duo ever.

    I always wondered what would happen to them since I saw them on ‘Louis and the Nazis’.

    A friend of mine reckoned (or hoped) that one of them would end up dating a black guy.

    Being saved by marijuana is almost as ironic, and even more awesome :] 

    Looks like they’re intent on recreating the late 60s through their art, too.  It’s kind of been done (over and over again, for half a century) but, hey, it’s still pretty.

    (‘Lynx’ is a pretty cool name, too.  But who would want to be ‘Lamb’? I hope they take it in turns.)

  • HA! One person I knew liked to say “Don’t stick that out unless you intend to use it.” :P

  • AnonymousSam

    People eventually learned to stop saying that around me. ^_^

  • stardreamer42

    Even if we accept your hypothesis for the sake of argument, that’s not the way to go about it. The correct response from the teacher in your scenario is, “Jamie, you know you’re not allowed to have food in the classroom. Now give me the crackers, and you can have them back when class is over.”

    So yes, even under your argument, it was a Stupid Thing Adults Say.

  • stardreamer42

    Are you perhaps thinking of prussic acid, aka hydrogen cyanide? So called because it was originally derived from Prussian Blue pigment.

  • I suppose that is good advice, sort of.

  • arcseconds

    huh.  That gives me some hope for humanity!  Even if you’re drenched in this stuff and have a potential career as a poster-girl for it, you can still pull yourself out of it at an early age.  Good on them.

    (Although maybe it’s easier to work out that outright white supremacy is rubbish because it’s so ridiculous?  Genteel ‘I’m not racist but there’s a reason why asians are good at mathematics and blacks are good at music and I sure hope my daughter doesn’t date either’ kind of racism might be a bit harder to dig your way out of. )

  • Really, if they want to keep performing they just need to drop the ‘P’, and presto! From nasty KZ poison gas to cute grey kitty!

    Or a cute grey rat!

  • Debunking holocaust denial claims goes way beyond this comment section’s remit, IMO, so no worries. I figure the argument is bullshit because the Holocaust, you know, happened. 

  • Really it was more I was guessing, and remembered poison gas had something to do with it and didn’t expect the name of a young nazi-pop duo to have a meaning with more than one layer. 

  • Tricksterson

    Nope, Read an interview with them and they took it from the paint color.

  • banancat


    act, in my view, unreasonably and emotionally, rather than with some care and logic.

    Can we please not do this?  Can we please not equate emotion with being illogical and pretend that cold hard logic is just clearly superior?  Perhaps you should be the one to act with more care, in the way you frame these things.

  • So being yelled at by a teacher when I was in elementary school over something utterly trivial wasm’t emotional?

  • vsm

    Ah, I have a policy of not repeating such talking points without also linking to Nizkor. I didn’t mean to imply a vaguely remembered argument about wall discolorations would be enough to turn you into a Holocaust denier.

    I tried adding a smiley face after that but it looked pretty grotesque.

  • banancat

     The cartoon was confusing to me too, but I think it’s actually meant to be satirical about the hypocrisy of rich people using the Bible as a bludgeon, because Jesus is favoring the rich dude over everyone else, and the verse is there to highlight the difference between what the Bible says and how certain people view Jesus.  I’m not completely sure though.

  • banancat

     Ok, you got me.  This is a perfect Poe because I am split exactly 50/50 on whether you’re being sarcastic or serious.  So which is it?

  • Addendum:

    I expect that teachers will employ a modicum of self-control over their behavior around students, particularly young students, and I don’t care what post facto justification a teacher uses, it is never acceptable to yell at one and especially not in front of the entire class.

  • banancat

     So is it never ok to be emotional? Is it never ok to be angry or outraged  because of emotion?  Is pure logic always more important or more correct than emotion?  Are arguments automatically less valid if the person has an emotional stake?

    I’m just quite surprised that a regular on a blog like this doesn’t understand why it’s wrong to assume that logic is always superior to emotion.

  • P J Evans

    I expect you to read with better understanding than that.

  • Daughter

     I’ve read that without emotion, logic is useless. Research into people with brain damage affecting their emotions has indicated that without emotion, people are unable to make a decision. They get stuck in endless logical reasoning (endless weighing of pros and cons, endless consideration of other scenarios), and are never able to move forward.

  • Daughter

     Google-fu works: there’s a term for this phenomenon: somatic marker hypothesis.