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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  • reynard61

    From the article: “Though films like Fireproof, Facing the Giants and The Passion of the Christ got Hollywood’s attention for their massive profitability, now Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s History Channel mini-series The Bible has got ‘evil’ Hollywood excited again about the huge audience available for faith-based entertainment.”

    Dude, The Smashin’Passion of the Christ was a snuff film *disguised* as a “Christian”/”Faith-based” movie. Mel Gibson pulled the wool over your eyes quite expertly with that one.

  • LMM22

    That’s true, but their version of the Final Judgement is hysterically funny once you realize that, to them, literalism means Jesus never paraphrases future conversations.

  • themunck

    Which still doesn’t make sense, since pOH tracks [OH-], not [H+]. For those uninitiated, pH means -log([H+]), where [H+] is the concentration of Hydrogen ions. If we had just used log([H+]), then we’d have a scale going from -14 to 0*, so some bright spark decided to add a minus, giving us a nice scale from 0 to 14…with the stupid little point that now a low number means a high concentration -.-
    * Assuming room temperature, and that the hydrogen ions are dissolved in water

  • LMM22

    therefore there is no actual situation in which making a joke about or threat of rape can be excused for the sake of humor.

    … except that it wasn’t.

    The PA comic *wasn’t* “a joke about rape or the threat of rape” — it was a joke about the plight of NPCs that relied on the idea that rape is a horrible thing.

    Was the response assholish? Yes. But the original comic was not.

  • RickRS

    No, no; 3 decibels (dB) doesn’t double the volume of sound, it double the power. Human audio perception go by another scale all together.

    The perception of sound volume by humans is difficult to quality, but our perception of doubling the volume falls between 6 dB and 10 dB increase in power, depending on who’s talking. And 6 dB is power increased 4x from the reference, and 10 dB is 10x more power. Three decibels is actually only a slight change in volume to human ears.

    Sorry for the off-topic rant, but being a hard of hearing engineer in the severe to profound deaf range (~ 90 to 100 dB) who day dreams of being a musician, it just one of those things I researched years ago and know by heart.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The legal system deals with “okay, we have a dead person, what do we do about it?” Intent can and often should be relevant there. However, the phrase “intent is fucking magic”, which is what caryjamesbond is objecting to, is generally voiced by someone who is not concerned with “what do we do about it”, a person who is actively being or has just been hurt, a person to whom the distinction between intentional and unintentional hurt does. not. fucking. matter.

  • hidden_urchin

    Hah! That reminds me of my undergrad roommate who wouldn’t watch a movie if it had violence in it. Except The Passion of the Christ. That one was her favorite.

  • caryjamesbond

    Except, as Konrad points out, the reaction of someone who just got their foot clearly stepped on my accident and someone who clearly just saw me deliberately stomp on their foot is going to be very different.

    Look- people bump into each other, sometimes hurt each other. We all understand this.

    And the simple fact is that in the real world, we’re aware that these things are accidental, and that the person who has just been hurt, yeah, it does make a difference that is was unintentional. Not to mention non-painful but embarrassing contact, like I mentioned before.

    Are you honestly saying that you’ve never been in two situations, one where someone hurt you clearly accidentally, one where someone hurt you clearly deliberately, and you reacted differently in each situation? I’ve stepped on people’s feet by accident because hey- big feet, And their reaction was a lot different than any time I’ve hurt someone deliberately.

    Look, I’ve taken some pretty painful hits in my day. I’ve been accidentally whacked in the nuts and deliberately punched in the face. Being accidentally hit in the balls hurt a LOT more- but it made a difference to me that it was an accident.

  • caryjamesbond

    Well yes, the manslaughter argument was deliberately extreme. But there are plenty of cases where people are still alive where intent matters. Premeditated ANYTHING- its the difference between simple, aggravated, and premeditated assault. These are all cases where intent really does matter, and to both parties.

    The law understands, and quite reasonably so, that in the heat of the moment, people will not always react ideally, and while we should hold them accountable regardless, perhaps our degree of retribution or interpretation of the situation should change in light of that fact.

    Anger makes people stupid. It’s made me stupid, I’ve done things while angry that in retrospect, were just bad ideas. Deliberately provoking anger in people you’re disagreeing with and then expecting them to react like you were nice is foolish. Then whitewashing your aggravation of the situation with “Intent isn’t magic” is just a cheap way for people to be able to say whatever they want in whatever way they want and ignore the consequences. To act as though they should get the same response for being a jerk that other people get for being nice is…,wrong.

  • Carstonio

    It’s even simpler than that – an argument that can be summed up as “intent is fucking magic” is an attempt by someone to make the issue about hirself.

    (edited to emphasize that I’m talking about the person claiming benign intent, not anyone else who uses the term to rightly criticize the claim)

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the issue is “Bob said a sexist thing in my presence; hi, I’m Abby and I’m a woman”, the issue is already about Abby. Abby pointing out that Bob not meaning to be sexist doesn’t actually mean Bob is not being sexist does not change that.

  • Carstonio

    I mean that if Bob claims benign intent, then he’s dismissing the impact of his words on others, as well as any accountability for saying them. It’s an act of misguided defensiveness. The same applies to any apologists for Bob, because they’re projecting their own defensiveness onto him. Bob wrongly assumes he’s accused of being a bad person, and while that could be true, Abby’s goal is for Bob to stop mistreating women with his words.

  • It’s because of the way logarithms work on powers of ten for numbers less than 1.0; the pOH of 0.10 M sodium hydroxide is 1.00 because the log of 0.10 is -1.00 …

    I personally don’t have issues with the scale, since it’s based on a slight modification to the way logarithms behave.

    Also, H+ and OH- obey an inverse relationship to one another in aqueous solution, which is why low pOH means hgh pH. (well, for 25 degrees C, etc)

  • There’s “intent isn’t magic” and then theres “abundant levels of proof that someone is not acting in good faith”.

    The latter applies to Tycho and Gabe because no matter how you slice it, the shit they got up to indicates that for whatever reason they decided it was more important to double and triple down on the initial problem at hand here.

    I’d be willing to be none of us would remember a damn thing about the dickwolves comic if they’d just been all like, “Um, our bad, do you want us to remove the comic or have a warning or something?”

    But no, they decided it was like the Strawberry Shortcake thing where they got bullied by a big company to take down a comic, and decided to respond with sarcasm and bullying of their own.

  • Persia

    I actually think the re-asking of the kids question is a good idea, if possibly an unintended consequence. First time, you might say what your partner wants to hear. Second time, it’s asked a different way and something might be different.

    The public pool questions sound hilarious.

  • I’ve heard that questions like that are often control questions used to detect consistency among answers and factor in whether or not the person being asked is legitimately answering the survey or is just doing it for shits and giggles.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It was the first question under the header “Moral Standards” and it read “What are your views on public swimming?”

    I assume it’s a modesty type question, but I really have no idea how to begin to answer it other than “When I was a kid, I really liked the diving board.”

  • Persia

    That’s hilarious.

  • It still would have behooved them to add some kind of content warning before linking to it.

  • I do not like to directly name people whom I strongly dislike.

  • Well, it had become clear with http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/07/02/7-things-11-oclock-2/#comment-949732184 by the time you posted this comment.

  • Mark Z.

    “If your tone doesn’t get the results you want, try a different tone” is not the fucking tone argument.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes it fucking well is.

  • CharityB

    So, as long as you dub yourself a charity you can basically do whatever you want?? Some of the organizations listed spend 0 money on their stated cause!

  • Mark Z.

    Fine, then. If your tone doesn’t get the results you want, just keep doing the same thing over and over while complaining about the unfairness of the universe.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And don’t be fucking surprised when people fucking explode at you when you fucking question their fucking right to be fucking angry.

  • Mark Z.

    You always have the right to be angry. I don’t question that for a moment. Anger happens inside your head, and that space belongs to you and nobody else.

    The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to yell at random strangers? Because that’s a social interaction. It does NOT happen inside your head. It has an effect on the world, and you should consider whether that’s the effect that you want.

  • They have to follow the “punch up, not down” rule: IOW, the victim cannot be the butt of the joke. Examples (trigger warning for obvious reasons): http://kateharding.info/2012/07/13/15-rape-jokes-that-work/

  • Lori

    That’s true for professionally constructed surveys. There are ways to use variations of the same question to test whether the respondent is paying attention or telling the truth.

    In this case I think it’s safe to say that someone just didn’t proof read all that well or thought that the question was important enough that it should be discussed more than once. (There’s probably some truth to the 2nd one.)

  • Lori

    A lot of fundies feel very strongly about 2 piece bathing suits. Very strongly.

  • Carstonio

    Barbara Eden’s navel was sometimes accidentally visible during the early seasons of “I Dream of Jeanie.” The network didn’t notice until a few viewers complained, and then it mandated that her navel be covered. I don’t get why female navels would be offensive. Not long before, “I Love Lucy” couldn’t even use the word pregnant.

  • LMM22

    It might have. But, honestly, there are very few mainstream groups that include content warnings — and I’m sure that, had anyone thought they had to, they would have simply changed the line to some *other* form of torture.

    Again, I don’t think there’s *anything* to criticize about the content of the original comic. The response to the letter was an entirely separate issue.

  • LMM22

    Speaking of content notices, I and others have made it very clear before that, for us, flame wars are triggering.

    So, yeah. There are reasons I don’t read Shakespere’s Sister, but Slacktivist is supposed to be a relatively safe (self-moderated even!) community.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And as long as people do not use the tone argument in my presence, I’m unlikely to explode.

  • EllieMurasaki

    (If you want somewhere with no flame wars, try somewhere with actual moderation that includes the capability to penalize users who break the rules.)

  • Lori

    Seeing her navel leads to thinking about seeing her naked which leads to thinking about sex. ZOMG!!! SEX!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!

    It’s not much more complicated or sophisticated than that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Go back through history, Mark. When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by asking nicely?

  • Carstonio

    The original Star Trek series revealed much more skin on its female guest stars without showing navels. So hypothetically, the fundamentalists would be OK with a skimpy two-piece swimsuit that covers the navel with a vertical strip? Conversely, they would object to a body stocking that had a small hole for the navel?

  • Mark Z.

    When has anyone ever won expanded rights for an underprivileged group by arguing in a comment thread?

    That’s the problem I have with all of this: you’re attempting to spin your posting of comments that use the word “fucking” five times per sentence (and Lliira’s perpetual slow-burning temper tantrum) as activism, and if it’s activism, then we have to get out of the way and let you do it, because didn’t we read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he powerfully refutes the foolish “moderates” who told him not to take his anger to the streets?

    Except you’re not taking anything to any streets. You’re all fired up with anger, but you’re pissing it away at guys like me instead of finding your real oppressors and yelling at them. Or shooting them in the face, if that’s how you roll.

    I mean, I don’t even know what underprivileged group you’re claiming to speak for or what rights you want for them. That’s how effectively you’re communicating.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If your main concern here is that I’m misdirecting my energies, let me set your concerns to rest: my congresscritters get regular earfuls on assorted topics and my art has myriad social-justice themes. Strangely enough, that doesn’t diminish my ability to inform people, using as many or few swears as I please, that telling people to calm down before you’ll listen to them sounds suspiciously similar to telling people either that their anger is unjustified or that they need to shut up entirely–since if Penny Arcade actually did respond to polite criticism better than to angry criticism, then they’re a rare fucking breed.

  • Author here. Note that I mentioned “massive profitability” that got Hollywood’s attention in equation with “faith-based entertainment”, not that all were “family friendly.”

  • Thanks for the link!

    The paragraph was too poorly written to convey my full meaning. It IS depressing that the only way to encourage those that desire more family-friendly and/or faith-based entertainment. It is also depressing that films must be OVERTLY faith-based in order to be considered as spiritually significant by conservative Christians.

  • You know what keeps popping into my head WRT the ‘what are your views on public swimming?’ question?


  • In principle, maybe (I would still argue that you’ve gone wrong by moving from “is not magic” to “does not fucking matter”), but in practice, 9 times out of ten, “Intent isn’t fucking magic” is just a phrase people here like to pull out to silence someone who’s fallen into the trap of mentioning what they’d intended to do.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sure it is.

  • Lori

    The fundies I know object to showing a lot of skin in general, not to the navel specifically. Bikinis, especially thongs, get all the press these days, but a really skimpy one piece would also be right out.

    Depending on the exact believes of the people who wrote the test, the “correct” answer might be that a woman shouldn’t swim in public with adult men who are not related to her, regardless of what kind of suit she’s wearing.

  • Mark Z.

    Well, no, not with the way young males use the word. But here’s a long conversation between a group of women, full of rape jokes. Read it. You’ll laugh.

  • LMM22

    And as long as … I’m unlikely to explode.

    No. No. No.

    No, it doesn’t fucking work like that.

    You are not allowed to threaten to do something that other people have told you is triggering because someone else does something that you personally find enraging. You are not allowed to trigger other people just because you aren’t happy with another commenter. Particularly in a discussion about piss-poor reactions to triggers.

    Either you care about triggers or you don’t care about triggers. If you don’t care about triggers, this entire freaking discussion is pointless. If you do care about triggers, then you really do have a responsibility to understand that other people find things triggering that you don’t — and that, more importantly, other people find *actions* triggering in ways that content may or may not be.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The reverse applies.

  • LMM22

    If you want somewhere with no flame wars,

    And if *you* want somewhere where people aren’t going disagree with you and use the tone argument, go the fuck somewhere else.

    You? Are being an asshole. You are actively harming other people because you think that your ability to express anger is more important than the mental health of anyone else.