Sunday salmagundi

• The American Family Association has denounced a Geico ad that they say promotes bestiality because it shows a talking pig on a date. AFA thinks it’s just one more example of the decadence of modern America ever since we fell from the Golden Age of the 1950s, when advertising was never be so crudely sexual.

• Girl, 15, goes back to school after missing class for several weeks. Doesn’t sound like earth-shaking news, until you realize that the girl in question is Malala Yousafzai, and her going to school terrifies some people more than all the drones and all the armies of the world. As it should.

• Assignment desk for the Barna Group and/or LifeWay Research: “A survey released Wednesday by the advocacy coalition No More found that 51 percent of young people ages 15 to 22 know someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.”

It would be helpful to see a religious community breakdown of those figures. Maybe along with a disagree/agree/strongly/etc. question about how members of various religious communities feel about their churches/leaders as a source of support, protection, or aid when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault. A “How Are We Doing?” kind of poll.

• March Madness: The quest for the Golden Poo resumes as The Consumerist hosts its annual Worst Company in America bracketed tournament. Wells Fargo lost in a first-round upset, but you can still head over there to vote for (against) Sallie Mae.

• The BUILD Act seems promising:

The BUILD Act –€“ BUILD stands for Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development — would make brownfields cleanup grants available to a wider variety of groups and local governments, and would generally smooth the way for communities to redevelop these properties. The bill specifically calls for extra assistance for disadvantaged and rural communities.

The legislation is sponsored by a motley bipartisan crew of senators: Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). That’€™s right: Republicans are working with Democrats to support the EPA’€™s efforts to clean up cities.

Bipartisan Senate support doesn’t mean it could get through the tea-party dominated House, but, hey, maybe.

• Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s response to this question: “If as a result of some cataclysm, it were possible to retain just one passage from the Bible — what would your choice be?”

• I am not a pacifist. I am almost a pacifist. Here’s a sharp post from Scott Paeth that describes what I mean by that:

It is always better to begin from a place of deep skepticism about war in general, and about the necessity for any particular war. While it should be possible to overcome that skepticism in the rarest of circumstances, it should never been easy to do so. And while refusing to support war as a matter of principle in the vast majority of cases may mean that there are places and times where we could fight and perhaps should fight but don’t. It is, I think, better than fighting in places and at times when would should not and must not.

•This post from Ben Myers is a beautiful thing, “Letter to a Nun“:

In another box I found your notebooks, your diaries, a thicket of hardbound journals, spiral-bound notebooks, curious handmade paper stitched together in hand-stitched notebooks. Perhaps from India, I thought. I picked one up, a cracked blue notebook, and flicked through the pages, wanting to see your neat blue handwriting but not to intrude on your private thoughts. My eyes caught on one sentence:

“The door is not closing properly.”

I’m sorry, Sister, I read that part by accident. I didn’t mean to read a word. Ashamed, I closed the book. (I hope you got your door fixed.)

• If nothing changes between now and Opening Day, the New York Mets will start the season with no outfielder earning more than Bobby Bonilla.

I don’t mean that none of their current outfielders is paid more than Bonilla was paid back when he played for the Mets in 1992-1995, I mean that he is currently receiving more in deferred salary from the Mets than the team is paying any of its current outfielders. The team’s highest-paid outfielder hasn’t played a game since the Clinton administration.

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  • If I had to select just one passage from the Bible to use as a message to the present day world, I’d vote for a modernized version of Luke 10:25-37 using peoples familiar to the intended reader.

  • Rebecca

    My, that tiger ad is repulsive.

  • aunursa

    I would retain any of the more salacious verses from the Song of Songs. The fact that this book of erotic poetry made it into the Bible canon proves that God has a sense of humor.

  • AnonaMiss

    Ecclesiastes 3:12: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

  • Ben English

    That is really like the creepiest fucking thing and way worse than the Geico Pig ad ever dreamed of being.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Honestly, that Consumerist poll lost pretty much all of its relevance when a bunch of angry fanboys voted in a video game company because they didn’t like the ending to a video game.

    I didn’t like the original ME3 ending either, but comparing it to the abuses of most of the other companies on that list is beyond the pale. It’s not even like they were protesting crunch time or some of the other actual abuses that go on in the videogame industry.

  • Rae

    Oh my god, that is the creepiest ad, with respect to women, that I have ever seen, and this is coming from someone who lives in an area that’s inundated with those creepy Jack-in-the-Box commercials.

    Like, the underlying “tiger as the hunter” concept on its own is funny in a sick twisted way, but the execution (naked women and the copy) is just disgusting.

  • Agreed. And where’s Chick-Fill-A on that list?

  • arcseconds

    speaking of which, this interchange I thought was pretty hilarious.

    conflict of interest declaration: i’m involved, but I’m not the funny one :)

  • AnonaMiss

    EA games isn’t on there (just) because of ME3. EA has for years been known for two things: 1) buying out small, innovative studios and firing or pushing out everyone; and 2) being on the “cutting edge” of DRM that doesn’t work and often breaks the product.

    It certainly doesn’t belong on the list with human rights violators etc., but it wasn’t the result of a single temper tantrum, but rather over a decade of monopolistic practices and, related, consistently screwing their customers.

  • I have to admit that I actually would have been kind of disappointed, in a perverse way, if my company hadn’t made it through the first round. Luckily(?) I was not disappointed.

  • Catherine

    I can’t help seeing that Ben Myers piece as condescending. How does he know no one remembers her? Someone sent her birthday cards and photographs. How dare he assume that a life without children and grandchildren around her deathbed is somehow a failed life? How does he know that she wasn’t content, that she didn’t end up with exactly the life she wanted?

    The answer is, that he didn’t. He just assumed because it wasn’t a life he wanted. Most of us will end up with our life’s possessions being thrown away – she was a nun, and possessions weren’t what her life would have been about.

    I’m single, childless and most of my possessions are books and that’s the way I like it and I don’t need to be patronised by some random passerby helping himself to my belongings.

  • The team’s highest-paid outfielder hasn’t played a game since the Clinton administration.

    I’m given to understand that the Mets are paying Jason Bay $21m to play for the Mariners this season. So, y’know, there’s that…

  • EllieMurasaki


  • Okay, I will admit the Geico Pig ad is a little weird, but then, maybe he has been taking lessons from the Lucky Tiger? I don’t like Geico anyway.
    As for anything called the Golden Poo…

  • Lori

    Most of us will end up with our life’s possessions being thrown away


    I am so past over people who talk as if having progeny is some guarantee of company in one’s old age*, or of having the accumulation of a lifetime treated as treasure rather than trash or even of being remembered with fondness. It isn’t. Look around. The world is filled with lonely older folks who have kids. Some of them are lonely because their kids are rotten. Some of them are are the victims of bad luck and circumstance. Many of them are lonely because they were rotten.

    There is no way to guarantee that you won’t be a lonely old person and that your belongings won’t be thrown out with the trash when you die. You can increase your chances by having a broad network of people you care about and who care about you and by having a will and a reliable executor. Neither of those things is a synonym of “have kids.”

    *I’m also over people assuming that the fact that an older person is alone means that s/he is lonely. People to not all need the same level of company and interaction. Introverts A) exist, B) are not broken or wrong and C) don’t become extroverts when they cash their first SSI check.

  • >>Most of us will end up with our life’s possessions being thrown away<<
    I'm hoping that my CDs, movies, books and comics will be transported to wherever my wake is going to be with one rule: Everyone there should have an opportunity to take one thing from the pile. If you don't want anything, you can sit out. But after everyone who wants something takes it, everyone can take another thing. Repeat until pile is gone. Hopefully my friends will remember me fondly when they see that book on the shelf (or listen to that disc, etc.).

  • P J Evans

    EA is also known for its programmers burning out after six months or a year, because they’re expected to work 60 to 80 hours a week.

  • One of the following lines is kind of “ugh” though.

    I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

  • If nothing changes between now and Opening Day, the New York Mets will start the season with no outfielder earning more than Bobby Bonilla.

    I don’t mean that none of their current outfielders is paid more than
    Bonilla was paid back when he played for the Mets in 1992-1995, I mean
    that he is currently receiving more in deferred salary from the Mets
    than the team is paying any of its current outfielders. The team’s
    highest-paid outfielder hasn’t played a game since the Clinton

    And he’s not being accused of being a goldbricking waste of space by Republicans because why, again?

  • Lori

    He has a contract. Contracts are more sacred than life itself*.

    *Void where enforcement of contract would benefit the poor over the wealthy. See for example: using bankruptcy to steal employee pension funds.

  • DanieleB

    You know who else is awesome? Malala Yousafzai’s father. God bless him for supporting his daughter in a culture that teaches she is disposable.

  • DanieleB

    Oh, also: Matthew 22:37-40. Just sayin.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah that’s not why EA got voted on there.

    Mass Effect 3‘s ending triggered an intense backlash from fans, who petitioned BioWare to change it, and collectively voted to give the game abysmal scores on MetaCritic, a review aggregation site. This week, EA was voted “Worst Company in America” in an annual poll at The Consumerist–beating Bank of America in the final bracket — thanks largely to outrage over Mass Effect 3.

    From here. I’m not going to go and pull a dozen more quotes from a dozen more sites due to time constraints, but this wasn’t something from ages ago. It was just last year, I remember it.

    As for the DRM argument, this was before SimCity. Ubisoft was the big DRM offender back then.

  • Lori

    The Atlantic had a nice article about that recently. Malala’s dad isn’t as much of a rarity as Western media would lead one to believe, but he’s more rare than he should be.

  • And because it won’t stop popping up on my FB: All this shit with Michelle Shocked depresses the hell out of me. Woman came out in 1990 and since then has progressed steadily deeper into self-loathing and hate speech. Now she sounds exactly like a Westboro Church protestor.

  • AnonaMiss

    EA’s DRM has been pushing buttons since at least Spore, but I concede the point on the direct cause of their “win.”

  • Perhaps at that time, but I’d vote for EA over ABInBev and I’ve never played a Mass Effect game.

  • hf

    “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” Ecclesiastes 9:5.

    Just kidding. I’d go with 1 Thessalonians 5:21. “Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.”

  • Well, it was the creepiest ad with respect to women…

  • So, a “give-a-wake”.

  • Srsly. It gave me flashbacks to Sin City.

  • stardreamer42

    Ooh, I like that idea!

  • stardreamer42

    They’re also pretty sleazy in other respects.

    That’s from 4 years ago, but I’m unaware of any terrific upheaval in the rape-culture aspects of video gaming in the interim.

  • That pun is terrible and I wish I thought of it.

  • Doubly void if that contract is with a public employee, cause ‘those aren’t real jobs’ Or some bullshit.

  • Carstonio

    I suspect she’s of the same personality type as former hard-lefties David Horowitz and John Stossel. All three have always seemed stridently and smugly self-righteous, regardless of their political stances.