Culture-war diaries

I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.”

“That’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law, embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and for all Americans.”

“It appears to be just like Promise Keepers, except with beer drinkers and free rulers for measuring things.”

“Jesus called men to preach the gospel, not be stubborn jackasses.”

“The entire plan can be summed up in the words ‘vote Republican.’

“All the resurrection movies use the Bible as source material, but ours will rely more on special effects. … We’ll even show heaven and hell and see what’s going on there.”

“It’s baffling that a government entity thought it was acceptable to take sides on religion and tell people what theological information they can and can’t access.”

No one can have a right to deprive others of their important liberty as a prophylactic means of protecting his own.”

“Barton was familiar enough with the text that he must have read it …” and then deliberately, consciously lied about it. … Barton rakes in millions, has the moral compass of a cockroach, and wants us to believe he has God’™s direct email address.”

This is a government institution, not a secular institution.”

And there are armed gangs roaming around neighborhoods.”

“It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party.”

“There is a lot of rhetoric in the conservative movement about reaching out the mestizo demographic, or reaching out to the homosexuals and blacks. Our question: why not reach out to whites?

“There’s just too much denial, bad faith and comedy there under high pressure for the center to hold. And you can’t tempt the gods of farce on such an epic scale and not have a blow up.”

“He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics – including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our president.”

“All of this is to say don’t be ridiculous, of course Mark Burnett and Roma Downey aren’t trying to say Barack Obama is the Devil, they are just saying all black people are the Devil!

“You opened your heart wide to me — you made me more than a Pastor/Rescuer — you made me your friend your confidant, your beloved.”

“Went to BJU from ’85-’89. Never heard one word about abuse. Only psychos feel ‘abused.'”


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  • Mordicai

    I kind of worry that I need an AK-47 to protect myself from people like Lindsey Graham who have AR-15s & think that because there is a hurricane they can go all Mad Max on their fellow citizens.

  • Aeryl

    Those are the people who have no concept of society beyond their own front doors. While the rest of us are doing the hard work of trying to rebuild after such catastrophes, they will be shooting FEMA reps who come by.

  • AnonymousSam

    Well, yes. They’ll know that FEMA is off to drag them to a death camp. Didn’t you get the memo?

  • misanthropy_jones

    our kind friends at bju, particularly ‘dr’ monte, have renewed my feelings of unregenerate disdain for humanity in general…

  • connorboone

    One of the reasons I’m really done with zombie apocalypse fiction: it gives cover to the racism and paranoia of the ‘survivalist’ genre. Zombies standing in for ‘those ghetto folks who are going to loot and rape us unless we have bigger guns!’ has really lost its appeal for me. (This is a follow-on from this story, which I found via that Lindsey Graham article:

    Oddly enough, and one of the reasons that I still like the original Night of the Living Dead: Romero pretty much explicitly called that out. And that was 45 years ago.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Agreed. I am so over zombies and not just because that monster has lost all its terror for me, but also for the reasons you describe. Zombies were scary to me because they are us — what we can and do become if we stop thinking for ourselves, but now they’re just the Other and exist only to be mowed down indiscriminately.

    Similarly, I am sick of vampires — again because they no longer hold any terror, but also because being/becoming a vampire seems to be a good thing now, or at least, not unambiguously bad. A little bite, a little blood, and voila! You get super-sexy superpowers with the blood-drinking being more of an slightly gross and inconvenient quirk than, say, the creature’s highly symbolic raison d’etre.

  • FearlessSon

    I actually thought vampires could be brought back into horror in a modern way. They have usually been used as some kind of metaphor for something horrible, often sexual, that could happen to anyone.

    In the Victorian era, they represented temptation of lust, sin and damnation and all that. In the late twentieth century, they represented venereal diseases, a kind of virus that spreads from infectee to infectee. Now that sex is less of a scary thing (or at least something less scary than society would want to promote) vampires in turn have become less scary, more “cool” in that regard. Troubled, woobie, memetic sex gods.

    (Trigger Warning) – I think that vampires could be brought back to a horror by using them as a metaphor for rape. They charm their victims into defenselessness with their personality, and when the truth is revealed, they hypnotize their victims to pacify them, making them compliant without making them unaware, helpless to move their bodies. Then the vampire violates, takes what they want of the other person’s body, revitalizing themselves by the expression of their power as much as the bloody substance they take.

    I can see the horror in that, and would look forward to putting such a monster down. Unfortunately, someone, somewhere, would probably find that a turn on for some bizarre reason.

  • The_L1985

    Tell me more…

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yes, vampires as a metaphor for sexual exploitation would work very well, particularly if they are day-walkers (like Dracula) who otherwise blend into society. Furthermore, the way sexual predators grooms their victims and the way victims of sex abuse sometimes become predators have ready analogs in vampire literature and lore.

  • Darkrose

    I’m bored with “vampire as pouty angsty white boy”, but I think the vampire trope has interesting possibilities without doing a complete 180 back to “vampire as monster”.

    My wife and I have been playing around with a vampire series for…wow, 10 years now. Mostly it’s an excuse to have fun with western history, but the main thread is about what it means to be immortal, and how that would change the way you look at everything.

    Our main protagonist is nearly 2,000 years old, born in Roman Syria in (roughly) 70 AD. After sleeping through most of the 18th and 19th centuries, he awakens in 1885 to discover that the world has changed far more than it did when he slept between 1200-1320. When he learns that most of the world has abolished slavery, he’s shocked, not because it’s a bad thing, but because it never would have occurred to a man who grew up during the height of Imperial Rome that it was possible to have a society without slaves. He’s capable of change, but without the external pressure of time, there’s not really any need to do so.

  • VMink

    Despite the problematic nature of Peter Watt’s online interactions, his book Blindsight had an interesting (if also problematic, as I realize now) take on vampires as standing on the extreme end of the APD spectrum. Some quirk of their genes and neurobiology makes them go into epileptic fits at the sight of right-angles, which is why human civilization more or less wiped them out until their DNA was recovered and they were re-created. (Why were they recreated? I’m not sure; the entire society, such as it is, is a little strange from a neurotypical POV but the gist is that they make excellent charismatic leaders micromanagers because other people are more or less just cogs in machines to them. Like I said: ‘problematic.’ They also have some sort of medication that lets them exist, if slightly uncomfortably, in an environment with lots of right-angles. On the other hand, the book has interesting things to say about the evolutionary utility of consciousness. Still, problematic. Also still, Peter Watts.)

    The entire book is a rather odd and disturbing take on neurotypicality and consciousness. This is definitely not The Speed of Dark, which I also want to read at some point. But it is a different take on vampires, making them ‘very different’ and kind of ‘disturbing’ without going all-out and reducing them to ‘monsters.’

  • Randy Owens

    One demerit for assuming your audience are all familiar with the “APD spectrum” and not even stating what it stands for.

  • VMink

    Fair enough. Antisocial Personality Disorder spectrum.

  • Darkrose

    The only thing I know about Peter Watts is the whole Customs incident, as well as a quote from James Nicoll that “Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts.” The book sounds really interesting, though.

  • connorboone

    I can’t recommend The Speed of Dark – it’s fantastically written and I loved the neuro-atypical viewpoint of the book… and then “oh, science fixes him and he becomes an astronaut and neurotypical and yaaaaaay!”

    It was a betrayal of what the book was.

  • AnonymousSam

    That makes me ponder combining the concepts of predator by necessity and time travel by immortality. Imagine a story that starts out a long, long time ago. We’ll need all the time we can get, so dial it back to the early CE or even BCE eras. A man becomes a vampire. It doesn’t matter how, although my mental demons are suggesting that we’re talking about Cain now. What matters is that his curse gives him immortality and requires that he consume blood to sustain his life.

    Simple enough so far, but let’s keep playing with this. What form does immortality take? Well, he doesn’t age and his body is resistant to harm, that much is a given. Vampires can be killed, though, and it’s suggested that starving themselves is a bad idea too. So what happens when our protagonist “dies”? Simple: He doesn’t. No matter how grievous the injury, his body will eventually regenerate. Even if he were to be dismembered and incinerated, the ashes would gradually reassemble themselves. All you would accomplish is making the process take longer.

    But therein lay the rub: this takes time. A lot of time. Decades in the best case scenario, potentially centuries if his persecutors made an effort of it and separated body parts by great spans. All that time gets lost, but eventually he does regenerate and rise again.

    Imagine writing a story that began in the age of the Sumerians and carried on over thousands of years, winding up in the realm of science fiction. The abrupt transition and the struggle to remain in any one time becomes the conflict, the only external antagonist such a being would have. What happens at the end? If the Earth is destroyed, where does the vampire awaken? If the universe collapses into a Big Crunch, what becomes of him? (If this was Cain, then would be a great point to have him finally have the opportunity to confront God…)

    Darn it, now I want to write this.

  • AnonymousSam

    Damn it, Disqus.

  • Darkrose

    Oooh, that sounds fascinating. You should totally write it.

    Our vampires have a psychological need to sleep for several decades, going into a kind of torpor that allows their brains to process, just like human sleep does. The problem is that the pace of change is accelerating. The first time my protagonist slept, the Western Roman Empire collapsed. When he woke, things had changed, but not really all that much. On the other hand, the world was radically different when he woke in 1881 than it had been when he went to sleep in 1747. In the present, one of his fears is that he won’t be able to sleep again, because he simply won’t be able to keep up.

  • AnonymousSam

    I caaaaan’t! Hours, day, only so many of! I’m still working hard on finishing my biggest project which I want to get published for actual moneys!

  • David Starner

    I think the Dresden Files did a decent job about it. Even the White Court vampires at best fight the monstrosity (occasionally), whereas the Red Court and Black Court are to be destroyed.

  • Guest

    I know nothing about the comic or TV seies, but the Walking Dead video game certainly avoided or deconstructed some of those problematic tropes by making the main character a black man, making some of the antagonists down-to-earth country folks and totalitarian survivalists, and having zombies remain recognizable as the people they were in life. I won’t say it’s entirely problem free, but it does make zombies interesting. (Potential trigger warning: people do some gruesome and horrible things in the series, so use caution if looking up plot details or whatever.)

  • Rae

    I don’t know a lot about the TV series, but I know this: Michonne (the one with the multicolored cat) seems to be considered some kind of deity by a large portion of the fandom.

  • Eric Boersma

    I’m in the middle of the third season (so please, no spoilers), but TWD does a nice job documenting the descent into inhumanity that a true post-human apocalypse would bring out. Extinction level events would be terrible, nasty things and they would require that we perform terrible, nasty, actions in order to survive. TWD handles that about as well as any show I’ve ever seen.

    The form factor helps there — having more than 2 hours to delve into the themes presented allows you to delve a bit more deeply into the material than the traditional gun fantasy for people who don’t feel like they can connect well with others.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve never been that enamored of the whole zombie apocalypse genre, especially as it seems to cater to urban-catastrophe fantasies which too many people seem to treat as being real.

  • Susan Paxton

    There’s something interesting and curious about the fact that America’s current “popular” entertainment subjects are zombies, vampires, and pirates. A sociologist should be able to go to town on that. Coming soon: the Waffen-SS were great guys!

  • Kirala

    This is actually my biggest beef with the later Pirates of the Caribbean movies: the elevation of piracy to a noble cause. Look, I’m a sucker for the romantic illusion of the outlaw freedom fighter with inner nobility. I can picture a noble pirate. But saying that piracy is a cause to fight for is ludicrous. I’m pretty sure that Robin Hood himself wouldn’t uphold highway robbery as a noble profession and symbol of freedom.
    I’m ambivalent about stories which decide to use zombies or vampires or other monsters as morality tales about othering. On one hand, othering and ostracizing are some of the worst problems in our society, and it’s worth it to do a lot to drive the point home. On the other hand, it’s nice to have some mythical monsters to represent the truly monstrous lines which can cost one’s humanity.

  • Magic_Cracker

    On one hand, othering and ostracizing are some of the worst problems in our society, and it’s worth it to do a lot to drive the point home.

    Horror at its worst,

    On the other hand, it’s nice to have some mythical monsters to represent the truly monstrous lines which can cost one’s humanity.

    Horror at its best.

  • Redwood Rhiadra

    “Watch on the Rhine”, written by Tom Kratman, promoted by best-selling military SF author John Ringo, published by major SF publisher Jim Baen, featuring the Waffen-SS heroically defending earth against the alien invaders. I was heavily disappointed to see Baen, whose publishing I generally admire, lend themselves to this piece of Nazi apologia.

  • Jamoche

    With rare exceptions (probably singular – is there anyone besides Bujold?), that seems typical of Baen. When Amazon first started their recommended list it kept giving me every single Baen title just because I liked Bujold.

  • Redwood Rhiadra

    I really liked Weber’s early Harrington books, especially from before he started co-writing with Ringo, and they’ve also published Ryk Spoor (known on the internet as Sea Wasp). And I greatly admire Baen’s leadership in DRM-free e-publishing.

  • David Starner

    I read the first Harrington book, and stop there. It was amazing how he expressed his neo-conservativism so specifically, making every character in the book that didn’t agree with him an idiot, not only politically but tactically as well.

  • Darkrose

    From what I understand, the series has evolved over the years, and the politics are much more nuanced. I’m not crazy about his writing style and ship battles bore me, so I can’t confirm that personally.

  • Darkrose

    My wife loves the Honor series. I’m a big fan of Eric Flint as well.

    John Ringo is notoriously problematic in many ways. Google “oh john ringo no” if you have time to get sucked into TV Tropes and Fanlore.

  • P J Evans

    Eric Flint’s collaborations can be reasonably good, although some are not. Try the Belisarius series, sometime, for alternate-history.

  • connorboone

    Otto Skorzeny, also known as Hitler’s Commando, was portrayed sympathetically and heroically in the World War series by Harry Turtledove, wherein the aliens invade in the middle of WWII.

    It’s not just Baen. Unless Turtledove is Baen, in which case I’m wrong.

  • Jamoche

    Turtledove is Baen.

  • Susan Paxton

    You must have missed S.M Stirling’s Baen series about the Draka – early 90s or late 80s? They were pure racist war porn.

  • Redwood Rhiadra

    I read one of those (Drakon, I think it was, with a Draka travelling to a 20th century alternate universe – that is, alternate from the Draka’s timeline, and closer to our own). It was pretty clear the Draka were the bad guys, not the heroes.

  • Slash

    You know, I saw that movie “Warm Bodies.” It’s actually kind of sweet. Believe it or not. Check it out if you get a chance. It’s a different take on the zombie thing.

  • connorboone

    Hmm. Looks like a horrible thing, in which you can tell which brain-eating monstrosity is supposed to be ‘good’ because he’s still pretty, as opposed to the savage hordes that are ugly (and, again, stand in for the savage brown hordes that are going to destroy White America!)

    That’s based on a quick trip to Google for plot synopses and images, though. My snap judgement is admittedly uninformed by actually seeing the film.

  • ShifterCat

    Warm Bodies works very well as a rebuttal to the nihilism of most other zombie stories, and I think that’s how the author intended it. It’s not even pretending to be “plausible” as far as how the zombie plague works (though I hear in the novel it’s strongly implied that the plague is actually a psychic disease).

  • Hexep

    Finally, someone else sees the fascist undertones in World War Z. No, I’m serious. Granted, I only listened to the audio-books on a train, but I couldn’t help but notice how, well… the whole ‘this catstrophe has purified the world, and gotten rid of all those useless big-city people, and now it’s just us honest country folk who can shoot guns, yee-haw!’

  • connorboone

    Replying to myself – I’m finding it interesting that everyone’s jumping on the zombie part of my post and ignoring the all-white militia that murdered several African-Americans during the Katrina crisis, none of whom was ever prosecuted and some of whom are publicly bragging about their lynchings.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Your link did not work for me, so I didn’t read the article, tho’ I am curious why you find it ‘interesting,’ assuming your like had worked, that people weren’t commenting on it?

  • connorboone

    I’ve edited the link – should work now. But part of my post was ‘zombies as post-apocalyptic cultural narrative allows for a convenient expy of ‘savage’ hordes, which tend to be non-white in other post-apocalyptic fiction and other forms of fiction which involve the breakdown of civil society.’ Those zombies allow for an unexamined racist/othering narrative, because zombies are acceptable targets and the form of the narrative tends to extol the virtues of the good (white, Christian) farmer/military man/believer in the frontier myth.

    The other part? Was a bunch of white folks in a white suburb of New Orleans (during Katrina) who bought into that particular narrative, and shot and killed perhaps as many as ten black folks, and were never prosecuted. Those deaths were never investigated, and it was as chilling an example of violent white supremacy as I’ve ever read. I figured it might get at least one comment.

  • stardreamer42

    Unfortunately, in today’s society that’s sort of “business as usual”. The zombies-as-a-metaphor-for-white-supremacy idea, OTOH, is new (well, at least to me) and useful.

  • connorboone

    Racism and anti-semitism are pretty stock-in-trade for a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction. And women? Well…

    This is a relatively new realization for me, and it kind of sucks. I remember enjoying Lucifer’s Hammer, but I don’t know that I can read ‘middle-class white engineers rebuild civilization from nothing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, while black inner-city gangsters chase after a truck full of European liquor’ again. (Note: I am not making this up.)

  • AnonymousSam

    Yeah, I’ve been conscious of such themes ever since Hurricane Katrina, coincidentially — I noticed the bias in coverage very quickly, as did others.

    Short version: White people found supplies while black people looted and scavenged — despite pictures carrying the same damn thing.

  • AnonymousSam

    (Shameless plug: My post-apocalyptic fiction features a strong female protagonist, people of a variety of colors and turns religion on its head — although it takes a Christic theme since it’s ultimately based on Christian premillennial dispensationalism. ^_^)

  • J_Enigma32

    “Racism and anti-semitism are pretty stock-in-trade for a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction”.

    Post-apocalyptic is as much an atmosphere as it is a genre. Most novels in the genre play up the “cozy catastrophe” angle, but when it steps outside of the genre, it becomes more of an atmospheric thing. An example of it as an atmosphere is Eclipse Phase; it’s not necessarily part of the Post-Apocalypse Genre, although it certainly had an apocalypse in the not-too-distant past in the game setting. You could argue that Star Trek is post-apocalypse, as well, but that neither feels like nor belongs in the genre.

    [Shameless self-promotion time!]
    Post-apocalypse as an atmosphere is what I realized I was pulling off, on accident, with my novel, “The Blue Pimpernel.” A friend of mind described it as being very post-apocalyptic in execution, but there was no apocalypse in the conventional sense in the novel. No virus, no zombies, no asteroid impact, no gamma ray burst, no solar flare, no war, no nuclear melt down, no genetic engineering run rampant, no super AI Skynet taking over the planet, none of that.

    Instead, the apocalypse in the Blue Pimpernel was economic in nature. It was one economic punch after another, followed by incredibly severe austerity and a handful of wars that scared the people into following the Party, which lead to the slow collapse and rotting of society.

    The novel’s setting, Joliet, can only be described as a Libertarian Hellhole. Poverty runs rampant and nobody can afford anything, so the infrastructure has collapsed completely on a public level. Driving on the roads is compared to driving on the surface of the Moon. The fire department is privatized, but nobody can afford their services. Banks have kicked thousands of people out of their homes, homelessness is feature, and the privatized school system has been co-opted by theocrats, who force religion on the student body since there’s no separation of church and state anymore in schools. Evolution is not taught, Bible Science is. Innovation on any level has ground to a halt, completely. Because there’s no more public clinics and people can’t afford insurance (there’s no public insurance available; the public option was gutted by the Party) diseases run rampant. Especially STDs, and the average life expectancy is probably less than what it was in the Middle Ages. Because the schools are privatized, all of the “good kids” find themselves fast tracked to good schools (where “good” is a placeholder for “wealthy”) and all of the “bad” kids find themselves shoved away into “bad” schools (where “bad” is a placeholder for “poor”). Wealthy students get educated by real teachers. Poor students get indoctrinated by religious-right approved talking heads. And this is before we get into how amazingly rampant the corruption is, how authoritarian the power players are, and how “authoritarian libertarian theocracy” seems like an oxymoron but isn’t.

    Because of these circumstances, the main character, Renee, appears to have been adopted into a fabulously wealthy family. They have one car (it’s two, but they can’t afford to fix the second one), a house, and an android that was given to the family as a wedding gift they can’t afford to keep up. They have to decide between food and heating, and Renee and her adopted sister/BFF Ofelia both know how incredibly hard it is for their parents to get by, but at the same time, they don’t have a clue. And she’s upper middle class, going to a crappy school, getting a crappy education, and actually has something that resembles health insurance. They have a television (two, in fact!), and a library (of old books) a computer (very dated, but they still have one), and they can afford something that looks like a halfway decent living. Maybe.

    There was no sudden apocalypse, though. The world transitioned from pre-apocalypse to post-apocalypse and nobody noticed. There were no zombies for the gun fetishists to shoot at, no Red Dawn commies that attacked, no survivalist fantasies to play out; just a world that sucks, really hard, and didn’t get any better.

    [/Shameless self-promotion time!]

  • AnonymousSam

    I find myself intrigued, Mr. Kilburn. Is the Nook Book version authorized by you/your publisher? (Barnes and Noble love to steal unauthorized editions of novels and publish them without the owners’ consent.)

  • J_Enigma32

    Yes indeed. The Nook Book version is authorized by myself. I self-published through Lulu, and going through the Nook was one of the parts of the deal (the other part being shipping through Amazon).

  • AnonymousSam

    My funds are lacking, but the premise sold me. Usually the only modern era setting writing I can tolerate is my own, so this is kind of a kudos to you! Hopefully you’re getting a decent share of the purchase value. I’m hoping to get my own writing finished and published soon to get a revenue stream (however thin) established to continue justifying my existence in the household. :p

    There goes the rest of my spending money for the month. ^_^;

  • J_Enigma32

    Thanks! :)

    The genre is a weird mix of hard science fiction + superhero + dystopian lit. The post-apocalyptic influences are a result of me basing the setting largely off of where I live, the Rust Belt, and following libertarian thought processes through to completion (I’m disappointed there aren’t many libertarian dystopias. Maybe it’s because not enough people take it seriously).

    It occurs to me I didn’t specify the time period – reading the novel gives the impression that it’s set in an especially dark 1990s or even 1980s (except for a handful of seemingly anachronistic elements – androids and televisions you paint on walls rather than set on floors are the two biggest). There’s very little mention of computers, cellphones, or other things that we would consider “basics” today, and there’s no discussion of social networking (Renee talks about why she isn’t involved in social networking in some of the earlier drafts for the second book; she was bullied to the point she gave it all up and never looked back), and everything feels old, used, and decayed. The actual year it’s set in is 2041, but it feels modern era (even past era, at some points).

    Good luck on your own writing. It’s a satisfying feeling to know you published something :-)

  • J_Enigma32

    Another thing – when you publish, if you selfpublish through Lulu like I did, you’ll find that that you don’t get a lot of profits from the dead tree versions of the books. The lionshare of profits come from the ebooks, which don’t cost the company anything to make and open the door for you make something like 50% of the total sales profit.

    I’d avoid anything to do with the new Hydra imprint, though. If you don’t already follow him, John Scalzi discusses a lot about publishing in the industry, so he’s a good source to go to in seeing what is good and what isn’t. Good luck!

  • AnonymousSam

    *Nods* I’ve been following Scalzi after noticing his own publishing. eBook format was where I figured I’d start, although I’ll start doing deep research when it actually looks like it’s going to get done. XD

    It’s kind of excessively ambitious for a first endeavor, but I’m currently sitting on 38,000 words and I’d say I’m maybe 25% of the way done if I decide to cut it short. It’s a labor of love, though. If I didn’t write, I would quickly start going completely mad.

  • connorboone

    Point of order: that’s not post-apocalyptic fiction, that’s dystopian fiction.

  • J_Enigma32

    Oh, i know it’s dystopian. It was designed to be dystopian; the genre is hard science fiction + superhero + dystopian lit, but when you read through it, there are parts that feel downright post-apocalyptic. For instance; just about every building is abandoned and collapsing, or abandoned and falling in on itself. People are struggling to survive, and society either stopped existing or exists at a distance, since it costs so much and nobody can afford it.

  • The_L1985

    I like this. I must read this.

  • J_Enigma32
  • VMink

    I’ve been trying to find more information about this. The last news report I read was dated July 2012 saying that Roland Bourgeois was to stand trial in August. Since then, nothing….

  • Lori

    We really need to stop saying that Roe v Wade isn’t going anywhere and that decades of voting Republican hasn’t accomplished anything for advocates of illegal abortion*. Roe v Wade doesn’t have to be over-turned by SCOTUS to be effectively gone. All that’s required is for Republicans at the state level to chip away and chip away and chip away until it becomes impossible for women to exercise the rights laid out in Roe. That;’s happening and being blase about it because Roe isn’t going anywhere is not helping.

    *Yes, I said is that way on purpose. We are not now and never have been debating whether or not abortions are going to happen. We’re only debating whether they will be legal and safe or illegal and deadly. Full stop. People who want abortion to be illegal are advocating for illegal abortion, whether they want to admit it or not.

  • AnonymousSam

    Yeah, North Dakota is doing an excellent job of showing how you can de facto ban abortion without touching Roe vs Wade. The senate has just passed the heartbeat bill and now it’s just waiting for a signature, which it’ll almost certainly receive. This effectively bans abortion at six weeks, which is a narrow margin for any woman to realize that she’s pregnant and to successfully have the procedure done.

    And they’re not happy with it, either. They’ve already got two personhood bills making their way through the senate as well.

  • Lori

    ND’s ban is unconstitutional, as is the 12-week ban passed in Arkansas. There are several states that have 20 week bans and those probably don’t pass muster under Roe either. I assume both the ND and Arkansas bills were written by illegal abortion advocates hoping to generate SCOTUS cases that could overturn or seriously curtail Roe.

    Like I said, people need to stop saying that Roe v Wade isn’t going anywhere. Not only does that not matter nearly as much as complacent people want to believe, it may not even be true. I don’t especially trust the Roberts court to make the right decision if a case comes before them and they grant cert. I certainly don’t want Scalia weighing in on whether or not I’m actually a person by right, or if my personhood is strictly provisional.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    “There is a lot of rhetoric in the conservative movement about reaching
    out the mestizo demographic, or reaching out to the homosexuals and
    blacks. Our question: why not reach out to whites?”

    What on Earth do Republicans think they’ve been doing?

    “All the resurrection movies use the Bible as source material, but ours will rely more on special effects. … We’ll even show heaven and hell and see what’s going on there.”

    Countdown to accusations of blasphemy in 5…4…3…2…1

  • Baby_Raptor

    I think they mean something other than reaching out to rich white heterosexual men. Or tossing the old people they’re secretly screwing bones via Faux Noise.

  • AnonymousSam

    That’s Scott Terry, an extremely, superlatively racist man. He was also at the Trump the Race Card Tea Party Patriots panel with the following to say:

    Blacks should be happy that the slave master gave them shelter, clothing, and food.

    That tells you exactly as much as you need to know about Mr. Terry.

  • Jenny Islander

    Sweet suffering Jesus. Even on his terms, it’s bullshit.

    Shelter: I’ve seen interior photos of a farm slave’s cabin on a “good” plantation. It looks like a dog kennel. There is no insulation in the cracks between the logs because heating and cooking are provided by a pit in the floor; insulate the place and the inhabitants would smother. Beds are piles of cornhusks in the corners. Dinner is eaten from shims of wood while sitting on the floor–which is just dirt. No privacy, no way to keep clean, no way to keep the bugs out. People were born in there. People died in there.

    Clothing: Rags and castoffs. Whoopee.

    Food: It was policy not to give slaves enough food to eat. The horrible sterotype of the lazy n—-r fishing? If they didn’t fish and the pig wasn’t ready for slaughter (assuming they were even allowed to have a pig) and the chickens weren’t laying, they got no protein. Soul food was made from ingredients that could be grown and processed on a small plot near the slave cabin using crude tools and stoop labor, and cooked in a pot or on hot rocks. They worked from can see to can’t see on the master’s land, then they went back to their cabins and worked to get food for themselves, then they fell down asleep, then they got up and did it all again.

    The slaves who got more were “house n—-rs,” who on one hand had to present a more polished and well-fed appearance to make their masters look good, and on the other hand were more likely to be noticed by the master or mistress and possibly given little treats–old dishes, things like that. As long as their master or mistress didn’t find a pressing reason to sell them like any other asset, of course.

    Grateful. Grateful. May he fall asleep in a hotel built over a slaves’ graveyard and have all of their lives in his nightmares.

  • arcseconds

    Good candidate for a visit by Frederick Douglass this September, perhaps.

  • LL

    Clicking on those abuse links and reading about the crimes of various “Christians” is like walking through sewage. Seriously sickening. I’m kinda bummed out now.

    Obviously, it’s necessary to be aware of all this, but still. I guess I should count myself fortunate that my mother didn’t get Jesusy until I was a teenager, so I was spared at least the potential of being targeted by some Christian predator. Not that I have any suspicion whatsoever that my mother’s church has ever harbored or protected one, but sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have. A lot of what some of those assholes in the stories claim to believe and use to shield/justify their crimes sounds familiar to me from books I’ve seen sitting around my mother’s house. The “breaking children” B.S. and the “man is the head of the household” shit.

    Most of the focus regarding this issue has been on the Catholic Church lately, but the stories referenced above are a reminder that there is disgusting, sex-offender-protecting shit going on in every denomination. And with the full cooperation of the women who are supposed to be protecting their children, not joining in the abuse by blaming the victims. Just appalling. I have even less respect for these people now than I did before, and I thought I couldn’t have less.

  • Worthless Beast

    The only place I know Roma Downey from is “Touched by an Angel” where she had co-stars of color and variety and I seem to remember there having been some “very special episodes” of that show combating racism. So, is she at fault for unfortunate overtones in something else she’s in? Who knows…
    All I know is that I’ve found The History Channel to be a bit dubious in its history sometimes. I’ve not watched any of “The Bible,” but judging by some of their other specials… I watched most of “Mankind: The Story of Us” in reruns and that thing was very… um… Eurocentric. I know they had to condense all of human history into two-hour segments and so many episodes, but I found myself kind of wishing they didn’t treat the peoples of the Americas as though they didn’t exist until the Europeans found them. They went a little bit into Aztec culture as I recall, but not much else in regards to Native American history (then again, that might be justified as a lot of that history was wiped out, but they could have at least tried… I know there is more known history about more known peoples than what was shown). I also kept shouting at the screen in regards to things like the Spanish discovering new lodes of silver “What about the slaves?!” because we know that stuff wasn’t all mined out by the privilaged. The African slave trade was touched upon and portrayed as tragic, but I found it really, almost… glossed over in regards to the special as a whole.
    I understand that “Mankind” was trying to be optomistic on the whole, showing human accomplisment and discovery over our darkness, but I’m of the opinion that the darkness is important and shouldn’t be glossed over.
    I don’t know, I just don’t entirely trust the History Channel anymore to give a whole and varied view of history. Then again, my grade school textbooks didn’t either… with the exception that growing up in Arizona, I did learn a little something in school about the cultures around me in supplimental curricula that was taught locally that I never see on televison specials.

  • Aeryl

    The Vikings isn’t too bad, but they are throwing all this mysticism into the story, and it trying REALLY hard to be Game of Thrones(not surprising, it’s made by Michael Hirst who did that really bad GOT-esque Camelot on Starz).

  • snowmentality

    I took one look at that “Act Like Men” conference logo and immediately thought “Fight Club.”

  • reynard61

    “Rule No. 1 of Act Like Men…”

  • Carstonio

    I suspect that the choice of Ouazanni wasn’t made by the producers at all, but by higher-ups at The History Channel. They’ve been catering to fundamentalists and reactionaries for many years, highlighting war and Armageddon and Biblical history, and they know their audience. The producers might be telling the truth that they never noticed the actor’s resemblance. My theory is that Ouazanni was suggested to them by the execs who knew the effect he would have, and the producers didn’t think to question it.

  • Hexep

    I know this is like asking Mrs. Lincoln about the play, but did Ouazanni do a good job with the material?

  • Carstonio

    I couldn’t tell you, because I haven’t seen the series itself.

  • P J Evans

    The word I’m getting is that it’s really bad, even for the so-called History channel.

  • Aeryl

    It’s terrible. There is no examination of the stories and the basis in possible events, they are just portrayed as if it happened exactly that way.

    The racial composition if the cast MAKES NO SENSE. There are white people running all over the place, when Moses is a young man he’s brown, but after he goes into the desert and returns to his people, he’s white.

    The other night was Samson, played by a black guy (Xaro Xohan Daxos if anyone’s curious) and the way the framed it, seemed like they were appropriating the miscegenation issues from the US, where Samson is marrying a Philistine(played by a white woman, all the Philistines are white, actually, though the Israelis were all white until THIS story), and there’s all kinds of dialogue about how he shouldn’t be allowed to marry “our kind”. Terrible.

  • Carstonio

    The racial composition didn’t make sense in DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” either, except that the studio was obviously using stars for their marquee value. But the episode you describe sounds more like something Bob Jones University would film on a limited budget.

    As an analogy, I recently spotted a copy of “Wizards, Hobbits and Harry Potter” and suspected right away that it was produced by fundamentalists. It strongly resembled a self-published book, and no disrespect intended to self-published writers.

  • Aeryl

    They also have the “excuse” of not being as enlightened as we are now(we hope).

  • Carstonio

    Do you mean DeMille and the screenwriters?

  • Aeryl


  • Aeryl
  • Edo

    Let’s put it this way: after seeing Vikings and the Bible, I called my Vanatruar friend so we could have a good cry together.

  • P J Evans

    They had to have used about a ton of makeup on him, then.

  • Carstonio

    Downey cast as an angel seemed ironic to me because her eyebrows looked demonic, the same as Kirstie Alley and Finola Hughes. Of course, the reigning champion of evil eyebrows is Jack Nicholson.

  • JustoneK

    Christianity is not a religion and government is not a secular institution.

    Words mean nothing anymore.

  • Steele

    I find something suspicious about the whole ‘this guy looks like Obama’ thing. The only resemblance I see between the two is that they’re both black, and kind of thin. It seems a bit fishy to me that ‘Black Guy = OH MY GOD OBAMA’

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    What amazes me is how much Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni looks like Satan. :-)

    Actually, I do see some resemblance in the eyes and mouth, but I think that’s because they put those two photos next to each other. If I just saw Ouazanni on his own, I don’t know that I would’ve made that connection.

  • Lori

    There is a slight resemblance between the two men, but mostly it’s “all those people look alike”. SEK over at Lawyers, Guns & Money did an interesting, and quite detailed, analysis of it. He’s a professor of visual rhetoric so this is his thing.

  • Darkrose

    I don’t think “all those people look alike”–I am one of “those people”–and I immediately thought that the actor resembled an aged up Obama.

  • Lori

    Did you watch the movie or did you first see him in the picture online?

  • Darkrose

    I first saw him in the picture online, on Wonkette. I first heard about it on lefty blogs from people saying, “Real subtle, wingnuts”.

  • Lori

    I suspect that the resemblance appears more obvious in pictures online which are presented as “look at this” than it did in the movie.

    My parents, sister & BIL have been watching the series (of course). They’re all Conservative fundies with tremendous resentment for Obama. Their racial attitudes are not the best, but not terrible given their age and such. None of them noticed it while they were watching the show.

  • Darkrose

    It also appeared obvious to me because I recently saw an artist’s rendition of what Obama might look like when he leaves office. There were definite similarities between that picture and the actor.

    If the people behind the movie were aware of the resemblance, I suspect it was meant as an inside joke, like using a Bush head mold in Game of Thrones. Some people will get it; most won’t.

  • Lori

    I suspect that’s true. On one hand I was a little surprised that my family didn’t notice it. On the other hand I wasn’t. Thankfully their minds don’t generally work that way.

    Of course the positive there is more than offset by the fact that they also didn’t notice that all the good people in the movie are white (including the Jews) and Satan is AA. Sigh.

  • Jeff Lipton

    “All the good people”? You mean like Samson?
    I’ve noticed that, by and large, race and tribe seem to be unconnected. (However, both of Samson’s Philistine dalliances were white — one character even commented “Mixed [Israelite and Philistine] marriages never work!”)

  • Aeryl

    I saw the casting of Samson as black to be an attempt to draw a connection to the miscegenation fights in the US, fights, BTW, that most of the people fawning over the show were on the WRONG side of.

  • Nick Gotts

    Samson the suicide terrorist you mean?

  • ShifterCat

    Uh, I read that the Bush head mold wasn’t an inside joke — fake heads are time-consuming things to get right, so filmmakers routinely use fake heads that happen to be in the studio.

    Who made the fake Bush head in the first place, and for what project, remains a mystery.

    Certainly in the scene in which the prop is used, the Bush head is keeping better company than it deserves.

  • Dash1

    I actually think SEK is answering the wrong question. No one is claiming that the picture in question is of an age-progressed Obama. The question is whether the actor, as pictured, might perhaps be meant (consciously or otherwise) to suggest or bring to mind an aged-up Obama. To make a comparison, neither Daniel Day-Lewis nor Gregory Peck looks all that much like Abraham Lincoln himself, but both actors look close enough to be cast to play the role. The question is whether this actor looks close enough that someone might have intended, consciously or otherwise, to suggest a similarity.

  • Lori

    I don’t know enough about the people in charge of casting to say whether they may have consciously or unconsciously hired the actor for his resemblance to Obama. The total race FAIL that is the rest of the casting certainly doesn’t rule it out.

    I do think that the flurry of ZOMG, it’s Obama! on Right wing blogs and twitter was mainly a combination of “all those people look alike” and selection bias based on political affiliation and racism.

  • David Starner

    It strikes me like telling you that someone looks like 007. That’s not specific, but it’s far more then simply race and gender. He looks like someone who could realistically play an older Obama in a movie.

  • Carstonio

    Except that the actor has far lighter skin when out of makeup:

  • stardreamer42

    That’s the most progressive “pro-life” article I’ve ever seen. She actually makes the points that nobody likes abortions, and that people who want to reduce abortions should be in favor of birth control and real sex education, and that those who want to force babies to be born shouldn’t turn away from them (and their mothers) as soon as delivery is over. None of which I’ve ever seen argued from that side of the fence before. (And then the usual slut-shaming goes on in the comments.)

  • banancat

    I like some abortions. She’s wrong to make the point that nobody likes them, and I’m very reluctant to give any credit or back-pats to people who continue to frame it that way.

  • Eric Boersma

    FYI, the person who wrote the MyObamaYear article was Darrel of StuffFundiesLike. You’ve got the wrong gender pronoun.

  • stardreamer42

    Anyone who thinks that actor looks like Obama needs to go check out some “Separated at Birth” photos from the link below. The only real points of similarity are long faces and squarish chins; anything else falls under “all those [X] look alike”.

  • AnonaMiss

    Eh. He looks about as much like Obama as Emperor Palpatine looks like Ratzinger.

  • Jeff Lipton

    My wife is black and Christian (but not a fundie in any way, shape or form) and she’s really enjoying “The Bible”. I’m being a lot more picky about it, probably because I know the Bible better than she does (and she’d be the first to admit it).