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.”


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  • Jamoche

    I remember an “I Love Lucy” routine about “two words you shouldn’t use are swell and lousy” / “ok, so what are the words?” (repeat ad nauseum) that just struck my 8-year-old self as incredibly stupid.

  • Fusina

    Yeah. Apparently I picked the wrong person then. I tried to be friendly, and in middle school I met a girl and we talked–she invited me over to her house to play yahtzee. Um. I won the game, apparently that was the wrong thing to do. She called me names and never spoke to me again. I gave up.

  • mattmcirvin

    At my junior-high school, bullying was completely out of control, and seemingly tacitly accepted in some places like gym class. But after a series of extremely disruptive, high-profile public fights, there was a massive crackdown on fighting. So if you were bullied, heaven help you if you tried to fight back.

    The administration also had a tendency to do things like seek out “good” kids as informants on misbehavior, and pull them out of highly visible public places (like the lunchroom) without doing anything to keep it remotely confidential.

    These days, education authorities seem to make a bigger deal out of bullying. I can’t tell whether it indicates an actual change or not. I hope it does, for my kid’s sake.

  • Fusina

    Parboiled cabbage (half a head sliced thin) and parboiled potatoes (about 2 lb. sliced in thickish slices and quartered). Cook some bacon (1/2 lb.) until it is crispy, crumble into little pieces. Stir bacon crumbles into cabbage and stir potatoes into bacon grease with a little salt and some black pepper. Layer into a casserole dish potatoes, cheddar cheese (1 lb ,shredded), cabbage, cheese until you run out of potatoes and cabbage. Bake until cheese is nice and melty. Stand back until the rush is over. Sadly scrape the bits left onto your plate. Resolve next time you are using a whole head of cabbage and a five lb bag of potatoes. If there are any leftovers, I like to reheat for breakfast and fry an egg to go with it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    What was wrong with “swell”? Or is it something else that will make my brain hurt?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wish Disqus offered a way to block posters.

  • I think it does (for moderators), but I’ve never remembered Fred engaging anyone in the Disqus comments or blocking anyone for any reason.

  • Cathy W

    I think there have been something like two people blocked by Fred in the ten-year history of the blog.

  • JustoneK

    dammit humanity.

  • JustoneK

    it’s mostly use of the word church that confuses me about it. it suggests a very theistic thing of some sort more than I don’t know, center.

  • Lectorel

    Most people just call it Satanism. I’ve rarely/never heard people use the ‘church of’ part, which is mostly a holdover from it’s origins as a mockery of christian hypocrisy.

  • JustoneK

    I think in my brain satanism had become associated with fluffbunny teenage rebellion and church of satan with folks who actually had it as a philosophy. oh english.

  • Lectorel

    “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” – James Nicoll

    Oh english, indeed.

  • Alix

    Also, it’s “theophilic.” Stop mixing your roots.

  • Alix

    Theistic Satanism is actually a thing. I can’t attest to how organized it is, but I know a good dozen or so people who practice various forms of it. (That multiplicity of forms is one reason I’m not sure it’s an organized religion.)

    Hell, depending on who you ask/how I frame my religion that day*, I’m a theistic satanist. But my religion’s pretty idiosyncratic, so I’m not sure that counts.

    *It’s complicated.

  • Persia

    I never understood why Reed Diamond didn’t get more work after Homicide: Life on the Streets. Maybe this will do it.

  • JustoneK

    This is not what good faith looks like.

  • Persia

    When I was in seventh grade, our class advisors basically called us together to tell us to stop being horrible to each other. It was only years later that I figured out that most of the reason we were horrible was that we were being pretty aggressively bullied by the upperclassmen (I knew even then that calling us in a room and telling us to stop being jerks was stupid and counterproductive).

  • Alix

    I think the one time I proactively tried to make friends, I started hanging out with this one girl from my gym class. She was nice, but she quickly became … kind of creepy, in a way I couldn’t put my finger on, and really clingy.

    So I started distancing myself from her. It helped that I’d managed to make some other friends in the meantime.

    She promptly started following me around threatening to kill herself if I didn’t become her exclusive friend. I reported this to her guidance counselor, and that was the end of that. :/

    I found out later that she’d apparently also been telling people that I was trying to kill her, and that if she wound up dead they’d know who caused it. Fortunately, our classmates’ consensus was that I was rather unlikely to bother – things could’ve turned out much worse.

    After that, I stuck to a more cautious friend-making approach. :/

  • Alix

    …Heh. I’ve almost gone straight through misanthropy and out the other side. I’m becoming oddly fond of humanity’s foibles. In that sort of “dammit humanity” + exasperated headshake kind of way.

  • Mark Z.

    If we’re playing Old Testament rules it’s mandatory for you to have sex with your sister-in-law under some conditions.

  • Lectorel

    I stand corrected. I’m sorry for saying they didn’t exist then, that was rude. Now I’m curious what theistic satanism actually looks like in practice. I assume it involves less virgin sacrifices and cackling then the movies portray?

  • Lori

    Yes, but IIRC if your brother isn’t dead it falls under the incest rules. As do some other things we don’t consider incest, like sleeping with both a mother and daughter. (That is, as long as they’re not your mother and sister/half sister.)

  • Alix

    No problem. :)

    I assume it involves less virgin sacrifices and cackling then the movies portray?

    Ha! Yeah, usually. (Well, maybe not on the cackling…)

    I tend to run across two main versions – people who see Satan as just another god and incorporate him into their practice (including some people who see him as their patron), and people who are essentially modern-day Gnostics, and view Satan as the real savior/hero of the Bible. Mostly it’s the same sort of religious practices you find in other pagan religions – prayer, rituals that stay more or less within legal limits, that sort of thing.

  • Alix

    Is the latter (edit: the sleeping with both a mother and a daughter) coded as incest, or just taboo? My brain is shot, and I can’t recall.

  • Lori

    It’s definitely against the rules & my recollection is that it’s in with a bunch of other things that are coded as incest or basically incest. It’s been a long time since I’ve used that section as my “bored in church” reading & I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon preached on it (because, why?), so I may be wrong.

  • Alix


  • I’m fine with the Second Vow of Chastity of the Dogme 95 Manifesto, but am not fine with any of the others. I certainly would not like it if Vows 3 and 6 were mandated upon Hollywood. Why would I try to institute “compulsory consumption of State-manufactured yoghurt”?

    In any case, as I can see no distinction between the spiritual and natural worlds, I see no conceivable way for the state to avoid state atheism in practice as long as government continues to sponsor education.

  • The irony is lost on me. Also, this is my 900th comment here.

  • Atheism isn’t “an establishment of religion”. The government must take a role in deciding whether claims about gods are true or false so long as it sponsors education. There are no theists in the emergency room.

  • Also, the existence of gods has much to do “with upholding contracts and defending property rights”. What if someone argued that a god magically changed the text of a contract while no one was looking?

  • How should I have answered?

  • JustoneK

    That is the wrong question. More salient is “why did you answer that within the context of your other answers, specifically to just Lori, in this thread?”

  • Because I thought my answers were correct.

  • Alix

    Perhaps being correct isn’t always the most important thing. Perhaps sometimes one ought to give other commenters the benefit of the doubt, and lay off the nitpicking.

    The only time a typo matters is if it really, truly is unclear what the hell the person meant. Otherwise, leave it alone.

  • Alix

    Atheism is the establishment of a position on religion, and if it were made the official state position it would have all the same problems that establishing an official state position of religion would.

    There are no theists in the emergency room.

    Sure there are.

  • Alix

    What if I decided the sky was green tomorrow? It doesn’t affect policy, or how other people think.

    Just because people hold a belief doesn’t mean it automatically starts affecting everything else.

  • JustoneK

    Whatever your intent, which we can’t divine, it mostly appears you’re haranguing one specific person over what we see as terribly irrelevant, trivial matters in a conversation. It’s a little distracting and it doesn’t make you look like you want to actually be a part of that conversation.
    Context is everything, and in the context of a conversation about Shakespeare quotes and not linguistics, pointing out typos and…site errors? I don’t know how to qualify the shakespeare DOT in comment, honestly. It appears petty and pointless if your goal is to enter the dialog.

  • Least discoverable until you get a touchpad that doesn’t like you, you mean. While I was using Windows 8 without a mouse, it would repeatedly pop up at the most inconvenient times.

  • Alix

    The irony is lost on me.

    This explains a lot.

  • SisterCoyote

    Those three sentences are remarkably disconnected, so I’m going to address them each separately, if you’ll bear with me.

    Atheism isn’t “an establishment of religion.”

    That depends on who you ask; from what I have seen, the atheist community is as fragmented as every other religion. There are those who believe the word should be capitalized, and those who do not – we’ve had that debate here, IIRC. There are really skeptical atheists, and atheists who venture nearly into agnostic territory. It’s a wide spectrum. All of which is really a tangent, because the point is that endorsing atheism would be taking a stand on religion. If the government comes out and says “There are no gods, and there is no God,” it is taking a stance on pretty much all religions. That is forbidden. The government cannot say “There is no true religion,” just as it cannot say “There is one true religion,” or even “There are some true religions.” A negative stance is still a stance. The only way to abide by the First Amendment here is to have no stance.

    The government must take a role in deciding whether claims about gods are true or false so long as it sponsors education.

    Er, no. Religion has no place in education. It is just that simple. Education should teach us about the physical world we inhabit: its properties, both historical and physical, and how we inhabit it. Outside of objective discussion of religion as it effects politics, history, and so on, there is no reason the government should have a role in religion. Ever.

    There are no theists in the emergency room.

    I must confess I have no idea what this has to do with any of the above.

  • Emcee, cubed

    There had been only two when we were at the old site. I believe it’s up to 5 now. Fred did a post a while back where he mentioned a list of problematic poster, which specifically mentioned the two who had been banned that everyone knew about, and 3 more recent ones that we didn’t hear from again, and it was generally believed that those 3 had been banned as well. (I think one was someone whose screen name was shared by the love-interest of Benedict in Much Ado – just to bring this around to the OP for no reason…) There may have been more that we weren’t told about, as well.

  • Emcee, cubed

    For anyone who is interested, our production of The Laramie Project got a rave from the major paper here in Vegas. http://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/shows/laramie-project-onyx-devastating-not-without-hope

  • dpolicar

    That’s awesome! Go you!

  • But if the government legislates that schools will teach the skjy is blue, that’s the government taking a stand that this tenet of your religion is wrong.

  • Space Marine Becka

    So that last one…

    Apparently racism is male violence based on race and racist women have just internalised it. *headtilt* Is she saying it’s mens fault that white women are racist?

    Lesbians who beat their partners have internalised dysfunction heterosexual patterns? *tilts head further* What?

    Maybe I’m misreading but I smell a whole host of gender essentialism here. Men are horrible and women are great unless men have infected them.

    Her point may be that we shouldn’t try and belittle the problem of male violence against women by pointing out female violence but we shouldn’t ignore it or try and blame men for it either. Especially not when it involves our intesection with other oppressions.

    *Does some checking*

    Oh dear. She’s one of those feminists….

    The sort of feminists this is about… http://jezebel.com/5975828/transphobia-is-a-goddamn-embarrassment-to-us-all

    She’s not in that article but google her name and transphobia and you’ll see it – I am not linking that crap.

    But here’s a quote from her to chew on:

    “Transphobia is a term invented by surgically altered MEN who claim to be women. They are members of the dominant caste masquerading as oppressed women.”

    I’m going to go be sick now though my TERF alarm was screaming so loudly I’m not actually shocked..

    I suspect it went off when I read that because I’d read the Jezebel article moments before. There was something about the phrasing and ideology that made me think probably a TERF.

    Not that Fred hasn’t linked to thought provoking things written by horrible bigots before but I do think you should at least know the person you’re linking to is horrible.

  • Alix

    But it’s not taking a position on religion itself. One tenet is not the whole religion. And it’s not telling me I can’t believe that, or teach it on my own time. And aside from a few very particular circumstances, one of which you mention, it doesn’t matter from a policy perspective.

    Honest to god, I don’t see what’s so hard about asking that government be noncommittal on the religion question. (I also don’t see how people keep missing that I’ve already pointed out some religious folk will still find shit to complain about.)

    The government has to do right by the most people it can. Deciding to officially legislate atheism as state policy would not be doing that, anymore than deciding to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion would be.

  • Fusina

    Okay, I am sorry to say that I have some really, really bad news for you. They talk a good talk, but they don’t back it up. At all. My kids were being bullied on the bus, my son especially, to the point that he was fine until I said it was time to go, at which point he suddenly would develop a horrible stomachache, can’t go to school today etc… When I went in to the school, after having witnessed the behavior on the bus myself and pulling them off the bus to drive them myself, I was told that there was nothing the school could do about said behavior. So I, I thought reasonably, suggested that since there were three buses to the same school that passed within a half block of my house, so let’s just change the bus they ride.

    I had to threaten to take them out of the school and homeschool them to get them changed to another bus. I was lucky in that both my kids are little geeklings and were raising the school scores vis a vis no child left behind, and therefore my threat was not empty. But that I had to get to that point in order to remove my children from the presence of a bully was–irritating, to say the least. I felt like I had to use an atomic bomb to kill a little fly. I tried being reasonable, but that did not work.

  • Alix

    I … yeah. Some good points, some that I’d probably agree with if I could parse them, and … a rather uncomfortable feeling overall. And probably not the way she meant it.

    (Also, I am wondering where the hell she gets this 6000 year figure for patriarchy. Because I tend to find that sort of thing only among alt-archaeology believers who think that there was once some perfect primordial matriarchy and then some man invented male gods and somehow women became subjugated. This is probably my single biggest pet peeve when it comes to mythology/prehistory.)

    Thanks for doing the research and calling this out.

    Honestly not trying to start a fight here, but people like this were my first exposure to feminism. And … when I tell people I’m gunshy about the feminist movement and won’t ID as one – this is why. And it’s not as rare a set of beliefs as a lot of people try to insist. :/ Gender essentialism, minimization of violence/bigotry by women, weird reframing of racism that frankly seems minimizing/appropriative to me, transphobia…

    :/ Not my cup of tea, thanks. I … honestly couldn’t read that whole article; it brought back some nasty memories. (And honestly, I could barely tell you why? It’s like there were a bunch of completely innocuous turns of phrase there that just triggered a big flashing WARNING sign.)

    Also: Thank you for the link to that jezebel post. I hadn’t seen it.

  • Space Marine Becka

    Yeah the ancient matriarchy myth drives me up the wall. If it were the case why were Papuan and Native Australian cultures patriarchial as well when they were first colonised 40-60000 years ago before Patriarchy arose in the myth? Is the Patriarchy like the illuminati? Did the men plan it together by magic.

    And I don’t think a matriarchy would be idyllic anyway. Hegemonies tend to be … well hegemonic. (I’m actually creating a matriarchy in one of fantasy settings and one of my friends read my notes and was all “what’s with the man hate?”)