7 things at 11 o’clock (6.24)

1. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (or, in this case, Mr. Boddie). Look at the love and gratitude on display in this middle school and file that image away in your brain. This is what fundamentalist Christians are condemning when they rail against evil public schools, what Randian narcissists are condemning when they sneer at public schools as “government” schools, what anti-public public servants are destroying when they demonize teachers and teachers unions, and what the homeschooling cult is denying its children by choosing total control over community.

2. Related to that, I finally watched that awful “The Thaw” video, in which homeschooled kids from Idaho are coached to repeat the nightmares they have been taught about public school. They love America. They hate the “public.” Both of those things can’t be true.

3. Rick Perlstein on Glenn Greenwald. I think Greenwald is to civil liberties what PETA is to animal rights. I mean that precisely.

4. Sheila O’Malley has a lovely rave review of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing posted at RogerEbert.com. One quibble: O’Malley repeats a Very Old Mistake that has become part of the conventional wisdom about Shakespeare. She refers, unironically, to “the melancholy Jacques in As You Like It.” Jacques says he is “melancholy” and that his melancholy is unrivaled by anyone else’s. If you think this means that Jacques actually is superlatively melancholy, then you don’t know Jacques.

5. Hemant Mehta relays a terrific story: “Kansas City Atheists Will Battle Local Christians in a Volleyball Game With Proceeds Going to Charity.” This seems like a good example of what Uncle Frank meant when he said, “If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter.” Religion News Service has a nice video story on the big game and the people involved.

(A warning to KC atheists, though: Bible Belt Baptists tend to be pretty good at volleyball, softball and roller skating. If you want an edge, challenge ‘em to a pool tournament.)

6. John Fugelsang quotes Billy Wilder: “If you’re gonna tell people the truth, make it funny or they’ll kill you.” The bit from Fugelsang starting at 5:50 in that video is excellent:

You can’t attack down. If you’re in a comedy club and someone makes fun of homeless people, or developmentally disabled people, and calls them “retards.” The audience might laugh for a minute or two. And then it starts to feel dirty. It doesn’t feel good to attack down. No one admires it. And also, if there’s no element of truth in the point you’re making, it won’t be funny. … There’s a reason why, by the end of the play, the only guy King Lear trusts is the fool.

7.Call it what it is — MALE violence against women.”

 

  • Lori

    Let me know when it rewards GG’s brand of imprecision. Really. Let me know.

    Those “details” are going to allow the establishment to bury this without doing a damn thing about it. Slow clap for GG and for you. Good fucking job there.

    ETA: Not only are TPTB not going to be forced to make any meaningful changes, later, when they do something far worse they’re going to say that we all knew about what they were up to and essentially agreed to it by not forcing them to change so we can just STFU about it. GG did a good thing, and then totally screwed the pooch, which is typical.

  • Alix

    Yeah, like, how dare fat people exist! And eat food they enjoy! I’m so sorry they ever entered your line of sight. Why, that must’ve just ruined your day!

    *rolls eyes*

  • Alix

    Not Christian, still think Greenwald dropped the ball here, for the reason Lori lays out so well.

    Mostly because of the My Wife problem

    Nice misogyny there.

  • J

    Uh huh. Now tel me about the horrible things Dan Savage, Elevator Guy, Richard Dawkins, Russ Feingold, Irshad Manji, Hirsi Ali, and Julian Assange might once have been overheard half-saying!

    Keep betraying friends, Christophiles! There are easily HUNDREDS of people on the planet who can still stand the sound of your voice!

  • J

    Kill yourself, Security Apologist-Derailler.

  • J

    Fuck fat Christians. And also you.

  • Alix

    LOL. You first, baby.

  • Alix

    Dude, my two-year-old nephew can do better. Running out of steam?

  • J

    Kill yourself, Security Apologist-Derailler.

  • Lori

    First of all you total dumbass, I’m an aethist. Second of all, if you’re going to try to sell the idea that being an ass isn’t a problem as long as you’re an ass in service of things with which J agrees then your list has some major problems.

    The fact that Assanage is an asshole and almost certainly a rapist has derailed much of the good the could/should have come from Wikileaks.

    There are plenty of things wrong with the advice that Dan Savage gives and there are some real issues with It Gets Better. The fact that he’s done a lot of good doesn’t change that.

    I’m not even going to get into Dawkins.

    If your head is so far up your ass that you can’t see that, then there’s no point talking to you. You should just go back to the flying monkey club house and leave us to wallow in our ignorance.

  • J

    Fuck fat Christians. And also you.

  • Lori

    You are so far over the line right now that it’s just a dot in your rearview mirror. Get a grip or get gone.

  • J

    No, I’m afraid none of this is going to help your betraying-friends problem, christian.

  • J

    Fuck you, christian spy.

  • FearlessSon

    At first I was disturbed by the goat, because I assumed that the Christian organizers were seriously equating atheism with Satanism. But if the symbol came from the atheists themselves, them it’s a good joke at the expense of people who make that association.

    Well, I know that RationalWiki uses goats as a running gag.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Excuse me, you misogynist, obnoxious, fucked up. obsessive piece of shit. You’ve done more than anyone ever has to push me to be religious because I never want to be on the same side as you, ever in anything. Please go crawl under a rock and never come out in public again, you rancid dirtball.

  • Alix

    I’m sure you can manage something new. Come on, dear, it’s really not that hard to find new ways to tell me to go fuck myself. Burn out your only brain cell already?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    any atheist who opposes religion isn’t a secularist.

    -That’s an unconventional definition if I saw one in my life.

  • Lori

    Again, I’m an atheist. Repeatedly, incorrectly calling me a Christian so that I fit into the enemies box you’ve created for me doesn’t change that.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    All these look the same from here.

  • Lori

    “Christian spy”? Are you high right now?

  • Alix

    I have to admit, I’ve never seen atheism and nontheism used as anything but alternate terms for each other. What’s the distinction you see?

  • J

    Don’t worry: When we’re in year 15 of Syria and we all have NSA rectal implants, it will absolutely NOT be your fault. You Meant Well. You really did. And “The Avengers Part 6″ will be coming out with the super-cool scene where Iron Man and Thor kiss, so who can worry about such things!?

  • Alix

    What, homophobia now, too? You working off a checklist?

  • Grey Seer

    Friendly hint. If you want to convince anyone of anything, ever, do not respond to reasoned criticism with a personal insult and an invitation to suicide. It never works, and it certainly doesn’t encourage people to treat you seriously.

  • Alix

    That’s a far more charitable explanation than the one I have…

  • J

    If you are not are christian, then why would you apologize for the U.S. government or criticize atheists or wikileaks? Only apologists for power do that sort of thing. And all christians are defenders of power.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I think the U.S. government should adopt a clear position of state atheism. After all, one can’t be neutral in regards to the idea that nothingness can think.

  • Lori

    That NSA rectal implant will also obviously not be your fault for being careless with the truth and prone to hyperbole in ways that make all criticism of the security state seem like paranoid conspiracy theories promulgated by pasty nutters living in their mothers’ basements. So at least your hands are clean, eh?

  • Alix

    Because neither atheists nor wikileaks are completely infallible? Because the US government is not actually Satan incarnate?

    Besides, I’ve criticized the gov’t before, and I’m pretty damn sure I’ve seen Lori do the same. Barking up the wrong tree here, my friend.

  • Lori

    Do you actually think that this is how logic works? WTF?

  • Alix

    state atheism

    Huh?

  • Alix

    I think logic has left the building.

  • Lori

    I suspect it was never in J’s building.

  • Alix

    Fair point.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nothing in the Constitution prohibits an official government position of atheism. I’m perfectly fine with In no Gods do We Trust as a national motto.

  • Grey Seer

    Oh man, I remember this wonderful philosophy from my school days. I also remember there being a companion piece of advice to the children, insisting that when they were bullied, they should take it to an adult rather than attempt to do anything about it themselves.

    And then I got told off for reaching the conclusion that the teachers honestly didn’t care about us.

    (Except Mr Watson and Mr Owen, who were both parents with school aged children themselves. Somehow I doubt this was a coincidence.)

  • Emcee, cubed

    Actually, it will like be more your fault than anyone else’s. Your rabid “I’m right and noone else is unless I say so” is the attitude that always leads to that type of thing happening. Please explain how your ridiculous “all religion should be outlawed” BS would be enforced other than by spying on people, having neighbor turn on neighbor, and all the other things you claim to be against (but aren’t actually against them, just against people you don’t like using them). Oh, and by the way, how exactly is yelling at people on a blog going to stop any of what you are saying? Because it’s pretty obvious you don’t actually ever leave your house and get into the real world. Seriously, I bet you cringe in terror whenever the mailman knocks because you might actually have to talk to a real person face-to-face.

  • Alix

    Well, except it’s alienating to the religious, who are still full citizens. How about we take that ridiculous motto off entirely?

    The US gov’t needs to be a hell of a lot more secular/less religious, I agree. I don’t think enshrining atheism is really the way to go about that, though. :/ Because that’s still enshrining a particular position on religion above every other one.

    In short: the govt’s position on religion should be “no comment,” not an actual position on any kind of belief.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Theism is “Yes”
    Atheism is “No”
    Agnosticism is “Maybe”
    Nontheism is a blank space where the answer hasn’t been filled in.

  • Alix

    That’s a yes, then. LOL.

  • Alix

    Ah, thanks.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do not believe such a position is possible. On what sorts of religious claims should the U.S. Government be neutral? On the existence of a god? On the age of the Earth? On the ability of a god to affect the weather? On the efficacy of prayer? As Sastra once said, the only difference between the Supernatural and the Paranormal is how they are marketed.

  • Lori

    You are so very clever EH. You must be so proud. /sarcasm

  • Jurgan

    Oh, I read the volleyball link and am relieved. My first thought was that they were playing for competing charities. Say, if the Christian group wins the proceeds go to Operation Rescue, and if the atheists win it goes to the Freedom From Religion group. Fortunately I was mistaken, as that sort of competition would end very badly.

  • Alix

    On what sorts of religious claims should the U.S. Government be neutral?

    …all of them? I’m honestly not sure how this is a hard question. It’s not like the proper functioning of the government requires that it make affirmative statements of religious belief.

    Science is a separate issue, as are laws. Simply stating that current science is taken as true, or that laws should rest on secular principles – neither of those is taking a religious position. “Leave your religion at the door” isn’t actually a statement favoring atheism.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “Leave your religion at the door” isn’t actually a statement favoring atheism.

    -Huh? Can you please elaborate?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    WTF? Lori is an atheist, not a Christian. Why do you find this difficult to understand?

  • Lori

    Eh, don’t feel bad. GG is really smart. He’s also incredibly committed to civil liberties, which is hugely important. I have a great deal of respect for his work. I just wish he was more rigorous about some things and handled disagreement better. Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that he deals with disagreement much better in person than online. Plenty of us do. F2F the other person is clearly a person, not a disembodied opinion.

    Also, if they’re being pleasant & polite it’s easier to avoid a bunker mentality. GG has absolutely been fighting an uphill battle for a lot of years, in circumstances where he must often feel very alone. That makes it easy to lash out. I think he needs to learn to take a walk around the block or make a snack or pet the cat for a while before he responds to online disagreement, but I don’t think that makes him a bad person and it definitely doesn’t totally negate the good he’s done.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Not homophobia. Hyperbole.


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