7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.2)

1. This is what a hockey stick graph sounds like when played on the cello.

2. Pam’s House Blend is closing shop. Thank you, Pam Spaulding. Bravo for nine years of smart, funny, honest, courageous truth-telling. And I’m looking forward to whatever it is you do next.

3. Eric Metaxas is a silly, silly man. As Michael Sean Winters says, the right-wing activist and professional moralist is: “Two parts politician, three parts marketing guru and one part evangelical Christian. A toxic mix.” Metaxas is a wanna-be intellectual using a flawed biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the pretext for playing dress-up in the German theologian’s heroic courage. Just as Bonhoeffer stoof up against the Nazis, Metaxas says he is standing up against Teh Gay — and so, in his mind, we must defer to him as Bonhoeffer’s heir and equivalent.

Well, this would-be heir to Bonhoeffer is also a Breitbart-fan, and based on the false claims he has “learned” from that epistemic circle-jerk, Metaxas recently broke ties with the Evangelical Immigration Roundtable because he thinks it’s a front-group funded by George Soros’ global conspiracy.

Or, in other words, the Man Who Would Be Bonhoeffer wants to restrict immigration because he fears a shadowy international conspiracy of Jewish bankers. Will any of that make the gatekeepers at Christianity Today less likely to continue fawning over Metaxas as a Serious Man of Seriousness? It won’t, but it should.

4.America’s Worst Charities” is a terrific piece of reporting by the Tampa Bay Times. Read the list, avoid being taken in by these scam-tastic frauds. But note that these groups are just exactly that — frauds and scams. That may not be the same as the worst charities.

The Times’ main metric here is “cash paid to solicitors in the past decade” — comparing how much money these groups are taking in from donors to the tiny percentage they’re actually giving out as charitable aid. That’s one form of bad charity. Another form efficiently puts most of the donations it receives to work on its mission, but that mission does harm instead of benefiting the common good. Think of the anti-safety, anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-government “Club for Growth.” They’d score pretty well according to the Times’ criteria, but they’re still flat-out evil. Club for Growth isn’t the same kind of scam. It’s just evil, selfish rich people banding together to protect the interests of evil, selfish rich people no matter how much damage they do to everyone else.

5. It’s your June edition of the Biblical Studies Blog Carnival. And Jim West seems to have noticed that the last few editions of the carnival have been mostly male, so here’s his all-women supplemental/alternative BSBC.

6. Fuller Seminary’s Burner blog looks at the prospects for more “faith-based” and “family friendly” entertainment (noting that these are, in fact, separate categories). It’s an interesting discussion that includes some candid honesty — such as that evangelicals can’t lament foul-mouthed entertainments like Seth MacFarlane’s Ted because we went to see it along with everybody else.

But the post comes to a depressing conclusion: When Hollywood produces “content that is family-friendly or faith-based, you’re going to pay money to see it. Then buy it from the home entertainment division. Then buy the books and toys along with it.” Even if you “have little interest” and even if it’s not “compelling” storytelling.

That’s bad advice and also, I think, bad theology. Settling for dull, safe, tepid storytelling is a kind of sin. If the only good thing that can be said about a piece of art is that it is unobjectionable, then it’s still not worth anyone’s time or money to produce or to endure. If you don’t like the stories Hollywood is telling, tell better stories. Subsidizing bad art doesn’t glorify God, and patronizing bad art only makes us all less capable of producing better work.

7. and here’s some e.e. cummings. because i like e.e. cummings.

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)

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  • LMM22

    What? I’m not mentioning rape. I’m not mentioning anything.

    I am saying: Your behavior is seriously triggering to me. I know that I am not the only person who is triggered by such behavior. Slacktivist has, historically, been a relatively safe space — and you are threatening to destroy that for no reason other than your ability to express your rage.

    If me saying that you are triggering to me is triggering, then the concept of triggers is useless.

    You are acting *exactly* like the people you are blasting from Penny Arcade. You are happily stomping over other people’s boundaries because you can.

  • Alix

    Didn’t mention cancer, which is the other word that kept cropping up in that list.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Things I am sorry for: hurting you.

    Things I am not sorry for: daring to be angry, daring to act angry while being angry, daring to assert that the tone argument is a bad thing.

    Things I am trying to figure out: whether ‘trigger’ applies only to things that invariably hurt and/or upset one or also to things that invariably enrage one. As you may have gathered, I’m leaning on the side of ‘you are not the only person being triggered by this conversation’.

  • LMM22

    whether ‘trigger’ applies only to things that invariably hurt and/or upset one or also to things that invariably enrage one.

    I think that depends upon whether you find rage to be pleasant or not. I don’t. I avoid it at all costs. I value not raging so much that I’ve been on mood stabilizers for the past fucking decade.

    You seem to find something redemptive in angry flame wars. I don’t. There’s a time and a place for anger, but that’s not against others who aren’t in positions of power and who can’t directly harm you.

    As you may have gathered, I’m leaning on the side of ‘you are not the only person being triggered by this conversation’.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here, but I’m going to repeat what I said previously:

    You have been told that I and others have been triggered by flame wars. Being insensitive to that is just as bad as the reaction by the Penny Arcade crowd that you’re up in arms about.

    And you said it in a previous context: Intent isn’t magic. So parsing your apology the way you did is meaningless.

  • reynard61

    Was she a Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian? I’ve stated many times before that I think that the reason that the snuff-film-level violence in Passion was acceptable to people who would have been horrified by an actual snuff film was that the *context* in which the violence was taking place was acceptable to their sensibilities. In simpler terms: Movie in which random person is tortured and killed = Bad. Movie in which Jesus is tortured and killed, sold as a “Christian” movie = Good.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I did not say a single thing about my intent. I said I am sorry for hurting you, because I am in fact sorry. I said I am not sure if I am being triggered on account of I am not sure whether things that induce rage count as triggers, because I am not in fact sure. I leave it to you to determine whether this is a trigger deserving of as much respect as yours.

    And I don’t know where the hell you got this ‘redemptive rage’ nonsense. Rage is not fun. Rage is not healing. Rage is painful. Rage means I cannot think past what I’m feeling or care about what anyone else is. I’m calmer now. I’m sorry I hurt you.

  • Some sects actually ban what is called “mixed bathing,” which basically means y-chromosome-having adults in the same water with non-y-chromosome-having adults at the same time.

    Theoretically this means that swimming in large bodies of water, such as the ocean, should be right out, since there is probably a member of the opposite sex in that water somewhere at the same time. I’m not sure how that plays out. Perhaps if you are not aware of the presence of the opposite-sex person, it’s okay.

  • Carstonio

    And of course, they put all the responsibility on the woman to refrain from swimming with the men. Like the ultra-Orthodox communities that try to limit women’s place in society to shield men from them, instead of sensibly expecting the men to shield themselves.

  • The audience is either potential converts, or already-Christians for whom the film will provide “inspiration.” And so it goes that many of the Christian films out there (especially those aimed at teenagers) are basically instructional videos on such pressing issues as How to React to Your Cruel, Unsaved Schoolmates or What to Do When Your Friends Aren’t as Fanatical as Your Are.


    I have critiqued such movies:





  • Arresi

    Huh, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize you could do that with a survey. Any suggestions on where I could find more information about how professionals design surveys and survey questions?

  • Lori

    Sorry, I’ve been out of psych way too long to have any resources to hand. I’d just try Googling. Although I’m not even sure how best to phrase the query since Google wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye when I was studying this stuff.

  • Lori

    Yup, always.

  • Arresi

    Now, see, I knew I’d missed something by not taking any psych classes while I was going for my history degree. Thanks for the quick reply!

  • LMM22

    Thank you.

    The problem is, I have absolutely no idea how to express the fact that rage triggers me without pointing out that rage triggers me. If that constitutes a tone argument, then I think that it’s going to literally be impossible for you and I to both comment on the same forums.

    I think the real issue here is that saying that a particular means of expression is bad is *not* intrinsically a tone argument. Nobody is saying you can’t be critical, which is what the tone argument originally meant. But there is etiquette that needs to be followed virtually anywhere — and “don’t shout at a nice restaurant” is a totally acceptable argument, especially since it applies to everyone, not just to your side.

  • Arresi

    That’s gorgeous.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There’s a difference between ‘rage triggers me, try to calm down’ and ‘calm down so I can ignore you more easily’. It’s hard to see the difference when both are phrased as ‘calm down’ and nothing more, I admit, but usually the latter is phrased as ‘you’ll get better results if you calm down’ which is tone-policing bullshit. ‘Rage triggers me, try to calm down’ can be seen as tone-policing (and I think I must have seen it that way earlier, and I’m sorry for that too), but it’s not bullshit, it’s self-defense.

  • And being told to be all nicey nice over serious issues, or seeing other people told to be so, is incredibly triggering for me. I am sitting here all triggered now, had a mini flashback and everything. So. You’re saying your triggers > my triggers. You’re also tsk tsking at someone for getting angry over rape apologism, rather than maybe looking at the rape apologism itself.

    And this comes back to the original point. Telling a woman who has been raped that she has to be extra careful not to offend the men who made a rape joke that fucking triggered her? That’s the side you want to be on? Wanna think about that for a few minutes there?

  • Just a flat “the original comic was not [assholish]” doesn’t work. The original comic did in fact seriously upset some rape victims. There were other rape victims it did not upset. Now, unless you want to take the side of berating rape victims for being upset by rape jokes wielded by powerful men, you’re gonna need to find a different way to express that.

  • Because young women can never possibly be misogynistic or further rape culture? No thanks. I’ve seen way too much rape cheerleading from women to want anything to do with women making rape jokes.

  • Lori

    I’m sure that other disciplines that use surveys do the same thing, so you don’t have to look just at psych. Although psych does tend to ask questions that people are motivated to lie about, so they may focus more on it than some other folks are.

  • Mark Z.

    [Edit: You know, I was going to say something else here, but forget it. “Never argue with a fool, for whether he laughs or rages, there is no peace.” — Solomon]

  • LMM22

    Telling a woman who has been raped that she has to be extra careful not to offend the men who made a rape joke that fucking triggered her?

    Telling a woman (who has been raped) to not trigger bystanders while arguing with someone over the qualities of a third party who happened to make a joke that involved a reference to rape that triggered a fourth party?

    Yeah, I think I’m totally okay with being on that side. This isn’t rape apology. This is rape apology twice removed. This is you two getting into a political shouting match on a residential street of an unrelated city at two in the morning — and I’m trying to tell you not to fucking pull out a gun.

    I’m not saying your triggers are less than my triggers. What I’m saying is that your reaction to a trigger should not be something that is harmful to a bystander. Which it is.

    I’m sorry that you’re shaking and having flashbacks. But you can get mad without fucking triggering everyone else.

  • caryjamesbond

    Oh that is bullshit right there. If it was JUST the ‘tone argument’, then, yeah, maybe.

    But, off the top of my head things I have personally seen cause you to explode:

    Using the word ‘American’ to refer to the United States.

    Jokes that you misinterpreted, and then refused to back down on.

    Criticism of Kit Whitfield

    Anything you see as “cultural appropriation” including people from that culture using it.

    Any word you personally feel is upsetting


    Jesus fucking christ- any time anyone else has said anything that even remotely bruised your precious little SJW fee-fees, we all have to go around and beg your forgivness and listen to you lecture us about the first rules of holes and how important and special it is to take care of everyone fee-fees and PRIVILEGE and how being triggered is the most important thing to avoid and how we should trigger warn, trigger scan, trigger edit, moderate, everything to keep YOU from having to be triggered-

    And now, someone says the same thing to you, and you make excuses. You say oh its this, oh its that. No, I don’t have to change my behavior because blah blah blah, I don’t have to apologize because blah blah blah

    Shut up. You aren’t willing to follow your own damn rules, so stop pretending you’re anything other than a hypocrite half-assed ‘activist’ who thinks that reading blogs and arguing about words is the modern equivalent of marching on Selma.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Citation needed.

  • caryjamesbond

    “When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by asking nicely?”

    So….Gandhi doesn’t exist anymore? MLK, who, while firm, and righteously angry, was always polite and courteous?

    Tell you what- I’ll send twenty bucks to a charity of your choosing if you can name me one person that won additional rights buy calling people assholes.

    The difference, of course, between your ‘activism’ and their activism, is that in addition to ASKING, they took action. Boycotts, marches, rallies- things that involved getting off their asses and doing something.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You said his name yourself. MLK. I can’t cite him using the word ‘asshole’, but that’s not what I was talking about, so if you’re talking about the same thing as me then it can’t be what you’re talking about. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network will do nicely as a place to send that $20. And the fuck makes you think I do nothing?

  • caryjamesbond

    Since you’re the one always flipping your shit about everything that doesn’t perfectly align with your ideals…..why don’t YOU try somewhere with actual moderation?

  • caryjamesbond

    There is nothing “daring” about any of those. No one is oppressing your right to do any of those things.

    They are however, disagreeing with you. Like other fundamentalists, you have trouble distinguishing between “disagreement” and “oppression.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Citation needed. Also, have, actually. I like it better there. But there’s insightful commentary here too. Usually.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what, fuck you.

  • caryjamesbond

    Actually, no. Here’s how MLK referred to people policing his tone: “My Dear Fellow Clergymen:”

    Again, no one is complaining about your righteous anger. I’m saying there is a slight difference between expressing your anger firmly and with great fortitude, and sceaming obscenities. That’s why I wanted the citation of asshole, or similar levels of profanity, because anger, and hysterically shrieking curses are different.

    This is an ANGRY letter. This is not a hysterical, foaming-at-the-mouth-fuck-you-you-fucking-fucks letter. This letter got results. Your letters do not. Connections, I see them.


  • caryjamesbond

    And like all fundies, when confronted with the idea that maybe peaceful disagreement with your fundie ways is not the end of the world, you degenerate into shouting. Liberal fundies shout curses, Christian fundies shout bible verse curses. You’re like the preacher on my street corner.

    Notably, no one listens to him, either.

  • Alex Harman

    I wonder about the usefulness of the metric used for determining “America’s Worst Charities” in cases where most or all of the solicitors are members of the group the charity is intended to aid (e.g. police officers, firefighters, or veterans) — in those cases, the distinction between solicitors’ wages and direct cash aid seems blurry.