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.”


"I'm going to recite that speech next time I see a wedge-tailed eagle. Thanks."

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  • JustoneK

    I do have a question bout that label, actually. If there is an atheistic branch, why does it still go by Church of Satan?
    it gives me church of $cientology vibes and I HATE THAT.

  • JustoneK

    this is what good faith looks like, btw. :)

  • Lori

    It can work, but not on the sort of people who would bully someone. Nice people, sometimes (depending on a lot of things, including stuff you can’t control, like chemistry). Bullies, so rarely as to not be worth talking about. It certainly isn’t an anti-bullying policy.

  • It’s strange. I’ve never seen Dogsberry played by an actor who was heavyset, but (I’ve done some research), there is literally hundreds of years of criticism which asserts that Dogsberry can only be properly played by a fat man.

  • On a lark, my senior year in college I took a low-level Shakespeare course, and one of the group assignments was to perform a scene from one of the comedies we’d covered. We did the masque scene from Much Ado. Partially because we were one actor shy, we decided that rather than casting Hero, we’d just have her played by a mask on a stick, which we’d pass around to the person closest to whoever she was talking to for each line of her dialogue. It was especially fun, I thought, when Leonato gives Hero to Claudio by literally, physically handing “her” to him. Perhaps giving us too much credit, the professor was impressed at the way we lampshaded the fact that the action of the play treats Hero more like a prop than a character.

  • Baby_Raptor

    He kinda just ignores that. Its inconvenient to his rants.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Friendly advice: If you stop feeding it, it’ll probably go away.

  • Lori

    Available evidence says no it won’t. Also, harping on typos irritates me when other people do it too, and on the it’s/its issue it happens with some regularity. EH just provided me with an excuse to say so.

  • GDwarf

    he’s obviously tied to Snowden on this thing and Snowden is not above
    criticism, even if one is not a tool of the surveillance state.

    I wish I knew why people thought that was so important. Snowden could be a robot built by enemies of all goodness anywhere in the world, designed solely to advanced their sinister agenda, and what he revealed would still be no less important. But media the world over are focusing on his personality, rather than what he leaked.

    It’s the same bloody thing that happened with Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. Attacking the person (rightly or not) took precedence over looking at the message and so we ended up with no change and the story quickly being dropped. I lay you 10:1 most people couldn’t even tell you what they published/leaked, and Snowden seems to be headed the same way.

  • LOL

  • Wow. Twice in one day you’ve proven that you could be even stupider than you already seemed to be.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    “People have accused me of drowning out discussion, but at least I’m on a top 20 list for posting so much!”

    I’m sure the irony is lost on you.

  • Lori

    I think that this is true of Manning, somewhat less true of Assange & much more complicated in Snowden’s case.

    Bradley Manning was young, idealistic, right and more than a little naive. He doesn’t deserve what has happened to him, people should be more outraged by it and they should also be paying attention to what he leaked.

    Julian Assange is more than a bit of a publicity hound and he went a long way toward making himself the story. The fact that the result was not what he had planned doesn’t change that. That said, it’s true that Assange’s appalling personal history was used to bury the main story and that was wrong. Of course it’s also wrong that some folks on the Left have been completely willing to discount the rape allegations because he’s a leaker hero. (Naomi Wolf* I’m looking at you. WTH happened to you, woman?) You can be a rapist and tell truth to power. Neither one ought to negate the other.

    Snowden’s case is even trickier because his misdeeds tie directly to his good deeds. Some of what he leaked was whistle-blowing, but some of it pretty clearly meets the definition of espionage. That muddies the waters in a way that was bound to have exactly the result we’re seeing. That’s so obvious to anyone with any clue about how politics & media work that there are half-baked conspiracy theories floating around about him being some sort of plant instead of a true leaker. That’s not true, but he did make a mess that’s serving TPTB a great deal better than it serves those of us who would like to see real change.

    Then there’s the fact that he took refuge first in China and then in Russia, which puts a rather odd light on his supposed hatred of the security state. I obviously have no way of knowing the details of his thought process, but he knew what was coming and therefore he had options. The choices he made are at least a little off.

    Yes, people should be able to focus on the signal instead of the noise. Still Assange & Snowden have to carry some of the responsibility because of the level of noise they generated.

    *Note: Naomi Wolf, not Naomi Kline. Beauty Myth, not Shock Doctrine. People tend to mix them up when talking about this.

  • Meh. Thor would never be swayed by Tony’s rogueish charm. Everyone EVERYONE knows that Wolverine is the only man for him.

    (I mean, unless Captain America finally gets over Bucky and learns to love again)

  • Lori

    Unless we’re playing Old Testament rules it’s not incest for you to have sex with your sister-in-law* (although it is almost certainly an incredible asshole move). It’s the sibling relationship that makes Thor & Loki incest.

    The definition of adoption is that a child born to someone else becomes the child in every way of the adoptive parent(s). That includes being the sibling of any other children that the parent(s) may have. Siblings getting it on = ew for reasons that are social & psychological, not just biological.

    *And if we’re playing OT rules then the sibling thing is a gray area. One of the many things that make it impossible for me to take the OT seriously as the word of the Almighty.

  • GDwarf

    Then there’s the fact that he took refuge first in China and then in
    Russia, which puts a rather odd light on his supposed hatred of the
    security state.

    I’m curious as to where else he could go. Allies of the US would hand him over in a heartbeat, and most non-US-allies aren’t known for their open governments. Essentially he could either be arrested by the US or hide in a less-free country. Not an easy decision, but given what happened to Manning it’s easy enough to understand the choice he made.

    I’m also curious as to what he’s leaked that would count as espionage, and even why that matters. But then, I’m of the opinion that governments should have almost no secrets, so perhaps I’m just naive.

    Edit: Also, I still dearly wish that the media of the world had ignored Assange’s grandstanding and focused on the actual story. They’re playing right into the hands of the powerful, and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t at least somewhat on purpose.

  • I’ve found that, in general, if an atheist feels the need to self-identify as an atheist, or a christian feels the need to self-identify as a christian, outside of a forum on the topic of religion, there’s a markedly elevated chance the person you are dealing with is a giant asshole.

  • Lori

    I’m curious as to where else he could go.

    He’s seeking long-term asylum in Ecuador (and will probably get it given that Assange did). He could have gone there to start with. Note that I don’t object to the fact that he fled the country. My question is about where he went, not why he went.

    Snowden is not just accepting at least tacit help from two of the world’s nastier security apparatuses. He’s handed them a tool to garner good publicity for themselves. Anything that benefits them hurts those who are their targets and those fighting against them. Snowden took a principled stand against the US government’s abuse of its people and then moved to save himself by acting in a way that benefits agencies that do far worse to their own people pretty much every day and twice on Sunday. It’s off.

    I’m also curious as to what he’s leaked that would count as espionage,

    Information about US hacking against China and plans for cyber warfare targeting almost certainly meet the requirements to be considered espionage. Those things are both aspects of intelligence/defense statecraft. That lies firmly within executive prerogative, which is not some new thing or a gray area.

    I think governments in general, and the US government specifically, should have far fewer secrets. I believe that for reasons both philosophical and practical. I don’t foresee a time when governments will have no secrets about statecraft and that’s pretty much what it would take to move those leaks out of the realm of espionage.

    and even why that matters.

    Maybe I’m the one who is naive, but I think that the spying a government does against it’s own citizens, especially when it violates the rights that form the bedrock of the country, is a way bigger deal than the spying it does against other governments. Governments spy on each other. Like many other countries, China and Russia both spy on the US all the time and they’re well aware that we’re spying on them too. That’s how it goes. The US government spying on it’s own citizens is not.

  • Lorehead

    Calling it “espionage” to publish state secrets is a recently-invented excuse to make that illegal.

  • Lorehead

    There are two separate issues here: what do we do about the facts that Snowden revealed, and what do we do about Snowden himself? These two things have little or nothing to do with each other.

  • You know, I have not seen Much Ado yet. I did not even know Reed Diamond was associated with it until just now. I am not sure I’ve even seen Reed Diamond in anything since Homicide Life on the Street.

    And yet, when I think “Don Pedro”, I now see Reed Diamond. (Admittedly, costumed as in the Brannagh film)

  • Em

    The FBI sent a letter telling Martin Luther King, Jr. to kill himself. J is telling liberals here to kill themselves. J has just outed himself as an FBI agent whether he knew it or not.

  • Lori

    No, it’s really not. Saying that it is, is the current way for people who cross the line to frame the issue to people who (quite reasonably) don’t have much information about the history of intelligence.

    Not all state secrets are created equal. The espionage line is not drawn based on level of pissed off-ness, neither how pissed off the government is about the leak and nor how pissed off the leaker is about the secret.

  • Don’t feel too bad, EH. The Church of Satan doesn’t believe in Satan either. To them, he’s just a fictional character whose example/exploits they admire.

  • Y’know, I’ve heard of this, but I just can’t see it. I can see Loki being interested, but Thor seems like the sort who prefers ruggedness and straightforwardness, and wouldn’t know what to do with a soft-featured prettyboy woobie whose entire character is based around being sneaky and underhanded.

  • Lori

    Those are definitely separate issues, and they should be treated completely separately. Anyone who thought they would be has not been paying attention since basically always.

  • Lorehead

    And yet, you’ll go to jail?

  • Lori

    I’ll go to jail? Huh? Do you mean would I be willing to go to jail if I was in Snowden’s place?

  • Lorehead

    No, I mean, if someone who does it goes to jail, it’s illegal.

  • Lori

    If we’re playing “more cynical than thou”, sure.

  • Lorehead

    And yet, after seeing what happened to Bradley Manning, Snowden fled the country instead of practicing civil disobedience like Daniel Ellsberg.

  • Lectorel

    Because it’s not a branch, they’re two completely separate ‘religions’. (I put that in quotes, because atheist Satanism is more a philosophy, and I’m not convinced theistic Satanism is actually a thing.)

    It was founded by an atheist who watched the hypocrisies of the Christians in his community, and decided that if this was the example of ‘good christian living,’ then maybe Satan might actually be a better role model.

    And then he wrote a book to that effect, and the whole thing took off.

  • Best as I can tell, Anton LaVey (founder of Church of Satan) adopted the label because he wanted to be shocking. He was also inspired by literary portrayals of Satan, particularly that of Milton.

    I was puzzled by your Scientology reference until I noticed that you spelled it with a dollar sign. If you mean that LaVey’s name choice strikes you as a money-making scheme, you are not far wrong. While I do not think that money was LaVey’s initial goal, he developed that ambition later on. The CoS is organized in parody of the Catholic Church with a multi-tiered hierarchy of priestly offices. Some time in the late 70s/early 80s, LaVey began selling these offices. If you had the money and the inclination, you could be a priest in the CoS. Naturally, this did not please long time CoS members who had had to earn their positions. Eventually there was a schism over this, with those members who preferred the old ways going off and founding the Temple of Set. These days, ol’ Anton LaVey is dead, and the old practice of needing to earn your position has been reinstated. They still have a ridiculously high membership fee, though. Two hundred dollars. And, no, the membership card is not made out of gold.

    In other words, the Church of Satan has had problems remarkably similar to that of the Catholic Church which it seeks to parody. *sigh*

  • Lori

    I still dearly wish that the media of the world had ignored Assange’s grandstanding and focused on the actual story.

    You & me both.

    They’re playing right into the hands of the powerful, and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t at least somewhat on purpose.

    I think it’s less a case of playing into the hands of the powerful and more a case of having one’s interests aligned with those of the powerful.

    In our current media we have a lot of pundits and entertainers and not all that many journalists. The journalists that we do have are almost all employees of large corporations. Pundits and entertainers have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The powerful, which includes corporations, have the same interest. When the pundits & entertainers act in their own interests, which they always do, they’re almost always also acting in the interests of the powerful. Corporate employees are also generally in the position of doing the same. I think that’s pretty much what we’re seeing in these cases.

  • All I’m going to say is…

    He makes him wear the helmet.

    And he attaches reins.

  • Lori

    Yes, and? What’s your point? That as long as Snowden stays out of jail then what he did isn’t illegal? That if he does go to jail everything he did is equally illegal, regardless of other factors? I’m not seeing it. I’m also not exactly sure why you’re asking me since I’ve already said that I don’t have a problem with the fact that he left the country.

    I’ll state my position as clearly as I can and maybe that will help. If I had been in Snowden’s place I like to think that I would have released the information about the domestic spying. I would not have released the other stuff. I would almost certainly have opted to leave the country before the information went public because I have no interest in being the next Bradley Manning. I like to think I would have realized that Hong Kong is part of China and therefore not the place to go.

  • Jessica_R

    Worlds Colliding! Shelia O’Malley’s The Sheila Variations is one of my daily stops. Absolutely tops writing on books, movies, actors, culture at large. Dive in and prepare to lose a few hours, http://www.sheilaomalley.com/

  • Lori

    I wish I knew why people thought that was so important.

    One other thing, if I’m understanding correctly Snowden had contract with Greenwald prior to him ever getting the job with BAH*. If Snowden told GG in advance what he was planning to do, especially if he asked for advice about which information to gain access to for the purpose of leaking, then Greenwald is in this thing in a very different way than he is if Snowden only came to him with the information after the fact.

    This case is a mess every which way.

    *Exhibit #12,342: our security clearance process is broken.

  • Lori

    All those evening spent doing readings at Whedon’s house paid off.

  • Lorehead

    Well, if what you go to jail for has nothing to do with what’s really illegal, then people in China have the right to free speech.

  • SisterCoyote

    Man, I wish the government would acknowledge that. Or the media. Or pretty much anyone would be a good start.

  • Lorehead

    In other news, Pope Francis snubbed a gala concert the cardinals were holding. Reportedly, he was in the next office over, reading Benedict’s secret report of the corruption in the Vatican and deciding which officials to replace.

  • Wow. This new pope may actually be the real deal. I hope so, but I’m hesitate to get my hopes up. I do feel sorry for the musicians, though. It must have been disappointing for them; they thought they would get to play for the pope.

  • Lori

    Yeah, and you can bet your last dollar the government isn’t going to be the first to say it, so I feel like the rest of us have to.

  • Lori

    Who said that what you go to jail for has nothing to do with what’s really illegal? I certainly didn’t. We’re clearly talking past each other because your framing of this issue isn’t making a lot of sense to me.

    You can go to jail for things that are legitimately illegal. You can go to jail for things that are illegal, but shouldn’t be. In some cases you can go to jail for things that aren’t actually illegal. You can do things that are legitimately illegal and nevertheless avoid going to jail. This doesn’t strike me as a particularly novel thing to note.

    Snowden broke the law by passing classified information to someone not authorized to have it. As far as the domestic spying goes I think he probably shouldn’t go to jail. If that was the only information he leaked there might have been a way for that to be the outcome, but I understand why Snowden wouldn’t have wanted to bet his freedom on it.

    WRT to the other leaks I have a lot less of a problem with him going to jail, but I certainly don’t support harsh punishment. A couple years in club fed maybe. Life in super max or some such, no.

  • Fanraeth

    I know! It was adorable. :D

  • arcseconds

    my goodness, Enopoletus, and here was I thinking you were a libertarian, and you’ve gone and made common ground with Bolsheviks and Theocrats on the matter of the Government poking its nose in on metaphysical matters which have absolutely nothing to do with upholding contracts and defending property rights!

    Moreover, in a completely undemocratic manner, it would seem, given that by far and away the great majority of the citizens of the USA self-identify as religious, and even many of the non-religious people would object to the Government taking sides.

    What’s going to be next? Mandatory impostion of the Dogma Manifesto on Hollywood? Compulsory consumption of State-manufactured yoghurt?

  • arcseconds

    Ah, so this is J.

    Didn’t someone accuse me of being J once?

    Frankly, I can’t see the resemblance.

  • Fanraeth

    There is that alternate universe where they got married and thus avoided the Civil War event. Tony was a woman in that timeline, but it totally counts.

  • Jamoche

    Wow. I had no idea that was even there. That ranks up there with the Win8 “charms” bar in the category of “least discoverable UI elements”.