7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.8)

1. The Dalston House. The Mom from The Cat in the Hat vs. the Man in the Yellow Hat. “I don’t have to outrun the bear …”

2. Ever since the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and Prop 8, the professional fundraisers of the religious right have been warning that Christians will soon be thrown in jail for being anti-gay. This is stupid on at least two levels: First, because not all Christians are anti-gay and, despite their assumptions and insinuations to the contrary, being anti-gay is not a necessary trait or a defining characteristic for Christians. And second because no one wants to throw them in jail, no one is threatening to throw them in jail, and no legal basis exists for anyone doing so.

The clearest piece of evidence for that latter point is the continuing freedom of the Rev. Fred Phelps. In 2011, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church have every legal right to continue their hateful, loathesome “ministry.”  And if Fred Phelps ain’t in jail for being anti-gay, then no one ever will be.

More recently, the White House responded to a series of online petitions calling for the president to officially designate Westboro Baptist as a “hate group.” The White House pointed out that the president isn’t in the business of designating hate groups — he doesn’t have the power to do so and isn’t inclined to try to change that, even in the extreme case of Westboro, whose behavior, the White House notes, is “reprehensible.”

“As a matter of practice, the federal government doesn’t maintain a list of hate groups,” the White House said. “That’s the prerogative of private organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.”

That won’t stop the fundraisers of the religious right from continuing to insist that President Obama is about to designate them as hate groups, or from falsely claiming that their organizations have somehow already been listed as such.

3. When you find yourself praising Vladimir Putin as your ideal moral leader, you’re doing it wrong.

4. Since Friday’s Left Behind post here dealt both with the Two Witnesses and with a trip to Galilee, here are a couple of recent items of related interest. First is James McGrath’s discussion of Lee Harmon’s speculation as to a historical basis (or identity) for the witnesses in the book of Revelation. McGrath finds the idea interesting, but he’s not buying it. Check the post out, though, for a good example of how theologians go about considering such things (and for the awesomely awful “Bible prophecy” artwork of the fire-breathing witnesses). The second item is the news of a weird discovery beneath the waves of the Sea of Galilee:

Researchers stumbled upon a cone-shaped monument, approximately 230 feet in diameter, 39 feet high, and weighing an estimated 60,000 tons, while conducting a geophysical survey on the southern Sea of Galilee, reports Prof. Shmulik Marco of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences. The team also included TAU Profs. Zvi Ben-Avraham and Moshe Reshef, and TAU alumni Dr. Gideon Tibor of the Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute.

Initial findings indicate that the structure was built on dry land approximately 6,000 years ago, and later submerged under the water. Prof. Marco calls it an impressive feat, noting that the stones, which comprise the structure, were probably brought from more than a mile away and arranged according to a specific construction plan.

Dr. Yitzhak Paz of the Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University says that the site, which was recently detailed in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, resembles early burial sites in Europe and was likely built in the early Bronze Age. He believes that there may be a connection to the nearby ancient city of Beit Yerah, the largest and most fortified city in the area.

That’s a cool piece of archaeological/historical news, but I’m also waiting to see what the End-Times enthusiasts and the “Bible prophecy scholars” will concoct in response to this story. I can see some Ken-Ham-types deciding this is a remnant of the Tower of Babel or evidence of Noah’s Flood. Or some enterprising huckster might decide it’s a kind of Asherah pole and start raising funds to have it torn down lest we risk incurring divine wrath. For folks like Tim LaHaye, John Hagee and Jack Van Impe, I’m sure this will be seen as yet another sign of the imminent End of the World, but how exactly they’ll go about spinning it as such I can’t guess.

5. On a related note about biblical study and the study of history, Paul at Disoriented. Reoriented has a nice overview of the very weak case for a historical interpretation of the story of Exodus (or, if you like, an overview of the very strong case against interpreting the story of Exodus as actual history). And Darrell Pursiful guides us through a discussion of some of the other, non-historical content in our King James Bibles — namely, the bits about unicorns, dragons, satyrs and onocentaurs.

6. From Brian McLaren:

Gregory of Nyssa said that sin is essentially a refusal to grow, and I think, in many ways, he is right. One narrative looks around and says that every day, in every way, the world is getting worse. Another narrative looks around and says that every day, in every way, the world is getting better. A wiser narrative might be — every day, and in every way, we are always negotiating between regression, stagnation, stability, and growth.

That’s why I would rather say that our strongest and best tradition is a willingness to learn, change, and grow. To be carefully and wisely progressive is — traditional in the best sense.

7. Want another seven things? Here’s Omid Safi offering “7 observations on North Carolina’s anti-democratic, anti-Muslim, anti-women legislation.” Appropriate reading for this, the 11th Moral Monday. (See also Ed Kilgore on North Carolina’s “Selective Fundamentalism“: “Having resolved to protect the Tar Heel State from the entirely imaginary threat of Islamic theocracy, the solons figured they’d show the world what home-grown theocracy looked like. …” )

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

    In other news, Ohio is looking at new anti-abortion legislation which does not permit a woman to go to a public hospital if she is suffering complications from an abortion, even if it’s an emergency.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Would this not violate the federal that (I think, don’t quote me) Reagan signed that states that hospitals have to treat emergency patients, regardless of the situation? Or does that “situation” only apply to ability to pay?

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

    According to this, agreement on this is contingent to even receiving a license to become a clinic.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So, they’re baldly just trying to kill us now. They aren’t even making pretenses about it anymore.

    No words.

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

    Ten to one odds, in the Orwellian world we live in now, they’ll wait a few months after passing this bill and then claim “Not one hospital is willing to treat a woman who’s sullied herself with murder!”

    I knew Ohio was in a bad place eight years ago when the Republican party there tried to disenfranchise poor voters by claiming that anyone who’d had a foreclosure on their house at any point in the last four years couldn’t be considered an actual resident of the state, but this is getting ridiculous.

  • Ben English

    Wait what? That happened? It sounds like it’s been ridiculous for quite some time.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • J_Enigma32

    Well, the old saying: If you can’t win, cheat and claim to win.

    It’s getting to the point where I should start charging the assholes for positive advertisement just by putting the word “moral” in the same sentence – need to have the lawyer fees covered for the inevitable false advertising lawsuit, after all.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    It wouldn’t apply in this case for the simple reason that this provision will require any affected clinics (I’m not sure it applies to all clinics) to shut down. They can’t get a license if they don’t have an agreement with a hospital, and this law will prevent hospitals from signing such an agreement. So have no fear! The law only affects clinics, not people. When women show up at the hospital with complications from botched back-alley abortions they won’t be turned away.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That isn’t what I’d call an improvement.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, this.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Isn’t that just begging for some kind of negligent manslaughter conviction + revocation of a medical licence for any doctor who actually refused treatment in such a situation?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    This is about asserting dominance. No one’s going to be turned away from an emergency room. Rather, what will happen is that all aboriton clinics will be forced to shut down, because the law requires them to have an agreement with a nearby hospital, and this law will preclude hospitals from making that agreement.

    It’s almost like some kind of Kafkaesque deal, where they deliberately set up a law so that it is required for X to obtain Y but illegal for Y to be given to X.

  • Ben English

    If that’s not unconstitutional by the letter of the law, it certainly sounds as though it should be by the spirit. Ex post facto or something. You’ve required something by law yet prohibited that thing with another.

  • FearlessSon

    Oh, that will definitely get a legal challenge, which is exactly what the measure’s sponsors want. The reason they are ramping up stuff like this in so many states is because they are hoping to build up enough momentum that it gets taken to the Supreme Court, where they seek a legal overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which if done would allow them to make any sort of abortion-condemning bill they want in any state.

  • themunck

    Hmm…Question. If the measure passes, what will actually between then and the Supreme Court’s ruling? Will it be in effect, with those affected compensated later when it’s overturned?

  • Alix

    I believe it’d be in effect until/unless successfully challenged in a lower court, then if people keep appealing up the chain it goes to the Supreme. It’d have to go to, what, the state and circuit courts first? Or have I screwed up the chain?

  • Lori

    If it passes and the governor signs it then it would be in effect unless or until a court grants a stay. So, probably not long, but any amount of time > 0 is too much.

  • Ben English

    I’d say that the odds of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade are slim, but then we just had a black Justice join in the majority opinion that gutted the Voting Rights Act so I don’t even know what to think.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What I wish would happen is the Court overturning Roe v Wade and establishing new rules that in the first trimester, the right to an abortion on demand is absolute, in the third trimester, abortion only if the mother’s life or health is at immediate risk or the fetus is doomed anyway, and in the second trimester, the states may restrict abortion within reason.

    Which is basically what Roe v Wade originally said. Not that anybody knows that.

  • FearlessSon

    That is pretty much exactly what Roe v. Wade established.

    Apparently the forced-birth voting block thinks that any period where the pregnant woman has control is too much…

  • Darakou

    The structure found beneath the Sea of Galilee is clearly some kind of Lovecraftian shenanigans. Hope they don’t wake up grumpy eldritch horrors.

  • Daniel

    It’s far more likely to be the lovely eldritch horrors. Lovecraft only wrote about a few of them, in his largely unknown pre-school books “Counting with Cthulu”, “the Wonderful Picnic of Unknown Kaddath” and “Nap Time for Nyarlathotep”. I strongly recommend the last one- not to ruin it but Nyarlathotep DOES NOT want to go to bed at all!

  • Alix

    Not gonna lie, I’d totally read all of those to my nephew.

    Two years old is totally old enough to be introduced to eldritch horrors. Heck, two-year-olds are eldritch horrors!

  • Daniel

    All the drawings of Cthulu I’ve seen make him look like something bubbling from a two year old’s nose.

  • MaryKaye

    I know someone who bought a plush stuffed Cthulhu for his two-year-old nephew, who loved it–its name is “Mr. Squid-Man.” (I have one too; it is indeed cute and huggable, in a squid-like sort of way.)

  • Alix

    Oh, that sounds adorable.

    Along similar but non-Lovecraft lines, I have a Black Death plushie. My nephew seems convinced that it’s an odd kind of banana.

  • Daniel

    I have a plush High Priest Not To Be Described. I’d tell you what it’s like but… it’s a bit difficult. Suffice to say it’s an unusual colour.

    I would like to see an animated series like Muppet Babies about The Kittens of Ulthar. Obviously made by the Herbert West Animation Studios.

  • Launcifer

    There’s a product line waiting to happen, based on the last few moments from the Roger Corman version of Masque of the Red Death, where all the different deaths meet up and have a bit of a chinwag.

    Can someone please go and make this, if only so I have all of my relatives’ Christmas presents sorted out for a few years?

  • Emcee, cubed

    Sorry to go off-topic, but I am pleased to announce that on August 2, 2013, my husband of 23 and a half years and myself will be travelling from our home in Las Vegas, NV to San Bernardino, CA where we have an appointment with the County Clerk to get an official marriage license, and then have the ceremony performed by the Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage. As my husband has no connection to his last name (it is his father’s name, who he has never met), he will be taking my last name. Once we have a legal marriage, I will then be eligible to share his federal employee benefits, which means I will have health insurance for the first time in over 3 years. While the legalization will do little to change our actual relationship in any way, it’s still pretty damn exciting.

  • EllieMurasaki

    *throws rice*

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Ow! You coulda taken it out of the bag first.

    Good arm, though.

    Congrats, EMC3.

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

    That’s so much better than my news. Congratulations!

  • dpolicar

    Yay!

  • jojo

    So, it’s really about the money after all. No surprise.

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

    Yes, because people stick together for over twenty-three years just for the legal benefits. Tell me how this applies to some couples and not to others?

  • Alix

    Sure, ’cause marriage is all about the money. *rolls eyes* You’ll be giving up your right to marry right quick, I’m sure.

  • themunck

    Silly Alix, all weddings are about money. That’s why they’re so cheap, and people are only donating money to the fight for gay rights because they know it’d profit themselves, in the end. That’s why no heterosexual people, or people who’re already married, care about gay marrige, as well.

  • Daniel

    You know the saying “You’ve got to spend money to make a significant proportion of the population even more alienated and miserable than you’ve already made them.”

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Yep, just like all the straight marriages, and like all those people making babies just for the tax deduction. Cha-ching!

  • EllieMurasaki

    You say that like money’s an illegitimate reason to do a thing. Do you have a job? If the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no but I want/need/am trying to find one’, then money is clearly a legitimate reason for you to do a thing, which means you’ve got no basis on which to judge Emcee for money being a reason for Emcee to do a thing.
    Not that you’d have a basis to judge Emcee on that point anyway, but I’m having trouble articulating why, if all the things you do are for love and not at all for money, you don’t get to judge people for doing something for money. Someone help?

  • Alix

    Because love doesn’t pay the bills, and money’s not an illegitimate reason to do things. Households are concerned with financial matters, after all, even if that’s not the primary or only matter of concern for a household.

    Sure, there are people who do things they ought not for money, but that doesn’t make money the problem, or a bad reason for something, and I kind of wish people’d get over this whole “doing something for money is AUTOMATICALLY BAD” thing. I hear it a lot in relation to my art – it’s okay for me to paint because I love painting, whatever, but as soon as I say I want to sell some of it and get a decent price for my effort, to a not insignificant number of people I’m no longer producing legitimate art, and they get offended.

    I think something similar’s at play here. We’re allowed to value some things – art, marriage – only as long as that value isn’t monetary, because somehow attaching actual monetary value to something automatically cheapens/delegitimizes it. Which is a stupid attitude. IMO.

    It reminds me of the time I argued with someone that I wish we’d go back to a version of weregild, where if you killed someone you paid their family a set (and high) price, instead of keeping people in prison forever or executing them for it. And I was reamed out for it, because apparently placing any kind of monetary value on a person is a horrific devaluation of them in a way that, say, cheerily executing people we hope are really murderers isn’t. :/

  • Alix

    Also, what really gets me about the “oh, so you’re just doing it for money” thing in relation to marriage is that, well, yeah. And so do straight couples. It just strikes me that a lot of gay couples have a much better sense of how valuable those financial benefits are, and how much they really do matter to a marriage/household, and are in the end more honest about it than a lot of straight couples, who would kick up an unholy fuss if the benefits they don’t even think about were taken away from them.

    That’s … kind of the definition of entitlement and privilege, there – having benefits that are so invisible to you you don’t even value them, and then deriding the people who do see and value them as obviously less pure and loving than you. :/

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

    Pretty much sums up politics right now: rich people complaining about poor people who want money.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Aha. Thank you.

    As I recall from David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years, bride price and whatever the word is for what you’re talking about (I have quite forgotten) are not placing value on people, they’re symbolic representations of the fact that people are impossible to place value on. Or some such thing, it’s been a while since I read it, and what stuck better in my mind is that placing actual (instead of symbolic) monetary value on people is what got us the slave trade and still has us stuck in a situation where many employers prefer to fire an employee who wants a raise rather than hang on to the employee’s expertise because it is [perceived to be] cheaper to train a new one who won’t make waves about the lower pay rate.

  • Alix

    Symbolic value is a great way of describing weregild – and I think I need to read that book, since I’ve never seen the bride-price system described that way. Though it makes sense, now that I think about it.

    Weregild wasn’t flawless, and it could be gamed in nasty ways – but so can any system, and the idea was that you made the price so high it made killing people not a cheap thing to do, but not so high that the victim’s families never got their just recompense. Someone somewhere described the difference between weregild and our system as between compensatory justice and punitive justice – what matters more: whether someone pays a fair price for their crimes (specifically, to the victims, too) and goes on to continue to be productive in society, or whether someone’s punished enough to satiate our desire for vengeance?

    On actual vs. symbolic value – I wonder if part of that is that we’ve devalued the concept of money as symbolic. We understand money only (or largely) in the purely practical sense of a unit of economic exchange, and don’t use it much as a real/material token of symbolic/non-material value. I’m not sure I’m explaining this well, but I think it does tie into people deriding monetary reasons for marriage or ragging on folks for wanting money for art and suchlike – we both devalue money as a method of expressing symbolic value and value money as a symbol itself more than what it can be used for. (“You’re doing it for the money?” and “Why would I waste my hard-earned money on that?“)

    …Not sure that makes sense, but I am a bit distracted today. :/

  • EllieMurasaki

    If anybody ever delivers one of those end-of-comment quotes of yours to me concerning my art, I shall laugh in their face. Yeah, I’m writing for the money. All forty, fifty dollars of it, lifetime total, before deducting expenses such as paying CreateSpace for copies of my book that I can sign and sell. That’s not devaluing my work, that’s pointing out that I am self-published and have only been published for a few months and am shit at marketing. And if they’re happy to read what I post for free but balk at paying the artist because it’d be a waste of money (rather than because of a sucky money-to-buy-media:media-on-the-wishlist ratio or what have you), well, fuck ’em, why are they reading my free stuff anyway.

  • Alix

    Grr.

    What gets me is when people come off with “but I could totally do that, so you shouldn’t charge that much!” or some variant. I hear that all. the. time. – concerning my work, the work of my friends, the work of local artists, the stuff sold at the farmer’s market, etc. And I always want to scream – well then, go make your own and stop ragging on us.

    A friend of my mom’s knits beautiful scarves and recently started selling them at $10 a pop. That covers yarn, but nowhere near the amount of time she puts into knitting them. She’s only making a profit if you don’t count the hours she spends making these and are looking solely at cost of materials – and even then, it’s not much profit, given some of the yarns she uses. And every single time she tells people how much the scarves are, folks balk. And while most people aren’t quite rude enough to make nasty comments to a nice old lady’s face, it’s even odds that they’ll make some snide remark about overpricing behind her back.

    But they think her scarves are gorgeous and she should totally sell them, they totally want one! Until they learn that yes, she’s actually charging them for one, and more than just $5 or less.

    The reaction’s worse with things like photography or painting or – as you point out – writing, because it’s like people don’t even realize those are skills. :/ There’s a huge local-artist gallery/studio thing near here, and I try my damndest to go at off times, because otherwise it’s inevitable I’ll run across other visitors mocking the artists for selling their paintings for $100 or their photos for $30 – which is way cheap – because “they just slapped some paint on a canvas” or “anyone can point a camera, so where do they get off charging that much?”

    And literally just before looking at the price tags, these same people thought the works were beautiful and the artists so talented and amazing. Which they are.

    …this hits a nerve with me, not that it’s obvious. XD

  • EllieMurasaki

    A lot of that is mass production and outsourcing. Labor cost has been mostly cut out of most things, and people think a mass-produced scarf where the only worker involvement is somebody monitoring the machines, or somebody being paid jack shit in Bangladesh, is worth the same as a similar scarf handmade in the USA. It’s not about art being somehow worth less when it costs money than when it’s free.

    But the difference in reasoning doesn’t change the effect.

  • Alix

    I think you’re right to a large extent, but when it’s combined with the also-common attitude of “you’re only a real artist if you’re not doing it for the money” then yeah, I do think that it is in part fueled by the idea that real art should somehow be free (or at the least cost no more than the cost of materials, the other common attitude I hear). I could also mention here the number of people who get irate when reading the price tags on famous works of art in museums. (Why the museums even display those tags, I don’t know. I really don’t.)

    But I think both sides here – mass production/cheap labor and “it’s only real art if it’s free” – are two sides of the entitlement coin, really. Paying people fair value for their labor is right out, apparently. :/

  • EllieMurasaki

    Flip side of that coin is, money might not always be an incentive to create (and frankly, if one’s tailoring one’s art to what’s likely to sell, one is in my opinion doing art wrong), but an artist at work as a waitress or an administrative assistant is an artist who is not at that moment creating art. (Unless she has a really tolerant boss, but even then, if she’s doing what she’s paid to be doing then she’s not arting.) The need for money, in a world that doesn’t believe in reasonable payment for artwork, is a disincentive to create.

  • Alix

    Exactly. And it frustrates me to no end that the people who get all pissy about artists charging for their art can’t see that.

    I mean, if you can’t afford something you really like, that sucks. I get it. There’s a lot of stuff I’d love to be able to buy, and if they were priced cheaper, I could get some of them. But it would never occur to me that the proper response would be to berate the creators for charging for their work. That’s … really entitled. And really ridiculous. And counterproductive, ultimately, for exactly the reason you lay out.

    If you value what I make, pay me fairly, so I can make more of what you value. That’s how this whole thing works. :/ Devaluing what I make so I’ll sell it to you cheaply … that’s not how this works.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah. How much can you (thing the English language needs, right up there with a commonly accepted third-singular gender-neutral pronoun: different words for general and specific you) possibly actually value my work if you try to get me to value it less so that I’ll sell it for cheaper?

  • themunck

    One could use the word “one” in place of you, although doing so does seem a tad…pretentious?

  • Alix

    It also sometimes throws off the flow of a sentence, for me. But I’m weird. :/

  • Hexep

    One could indeed. I am well behind that.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    *nods*

    For the record, folks: crochet is impossible to do on machine. A handy-dandy way to send less of your money to slave-labour? If you see a crocheted object being sold for less than $50, don’t buy it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I did not know that. I suppose I could have known it if I’d thought about it, but I did not know that. Thanks.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    People on the internet honestly expect to pay $20 for a professional quality, colored image (which is generally 8-12 hours of work). I usually charge between 100 and 140, for reference. That barely covers the time I put in, much less the education and equipment needed. I’m fortunate enough that this art is just side spending money and I can just turn away people who don’t want to pay.

    The best advice I ever got was to raise my prices. The people who understood how much art costs were happy to pay them and were much better customers than the people who might be able to pay the lesser price, but would begrudge it every step of the way. Price wise it balances out; you get fewer commissions but you get higher pay.

  • Alix

    I had a very good friend, who was also my mentor, who told me very bluntly: whatever I think my painting is worth, double it. Then double it again, and charge at least that.

    Calculating it out – it more or less covers all costs + labor, with a bit of a profit. Charging what I’d snap-value my paintings at barely covered materials, because I (and a lot of people, really) was very bad at estimating how much effort and time I’d put into any given piece.

    I’m lucky, too – currently a homemaker and online-uni student, so if I actually plan my days right I have a decent amount of free time, and I don’t pay my bills with my art. Which is good, ’cause I suck at marketing and currently sell almost entirely to my family-friends/FOAF network. XD

  • Alix

    I was just thinking – I think I end up with more actual profit on the jewelry, actually. It takes considerably less time to make, but people are willing to pay more. :/

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah, artists are genuinely terrible at setting prices, for the most part. I keep pushing the artists I know online to stop undercutting themselves, but it’s an uphill battle. A lot of them have esteem issues, and a lot of them are scared of provoking community wrath.

  • Alix

    Well, that, and for me, it’s often hard to tell how much time I actually spend on one painting, since I do other things during waking hours too and I don’t time myself. Someday I really ought to, but if I tell you that I make a certain painting in a week, we’re not talking spending even a consistent 40 hours or something on it.

    Jewelry’s easier for me to time, since I usually do a whole piece in one sitting, maybe two. It’s easier for me to remember that I only spent a few hours on that piece, or whatever.

    But yeah. I also run into the attitude a lot that it’s cost of materials + some profit, when really it should be all costs + labor + some profit.

  • FearlessSon

    That is why my girlfriend has the former apprentice she employs as an office manager do the pricing on her stuff for her. She might make notes about how long it took, or a minimum value, or whatnot for adjustment but she worries she is too close to her own work to evaluate what a reasonable customer might pay for it.

  • Daniel

    The best reply to the “I could do that” (or my personal favorite “my kid could do that”) is “but you DIDN’T”.

    If it was so bloody easy then why didn’t you paint it/sculpt it/film it/write it? I’ve heard it said about Picasso, Miro, Chagal and Rothko so you’re in good company.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I bought a really pretty glass bowl at a market a while ago.

    I couldn’t afford the original marked price ($125), but when I mentioned that, the crafter asked how much I could afford. So I thought a bit, and decided that I’d probably be able to manage $100.

    …and she thanked me. Because I was willing to pay a reasonable price rather than trying to get the bowl for 20 bucks.

    Seriously. Hand-crafted bowl. Gorgeous hand-crafted bowl that would have taken her hours to make. And it’s so common for people to value it at almost nothing that my asking for a $25 dicount is worthy of thanks.

    Makes me weep, it really does.

  • Fusina

    Ah. I ran into that with my Sis-in-Law, until I explained that the counted cross stitch piece that she thought I could get at least $100 for if I sold it took me about 100 hours to stitch up. Without accounting for materials, that gave me the impressive pay of $1/hour. She looked at the piece again, and decided that I probably couldn’t get a decent price for it. It is the reason that I only give my stuff away. I refuse to sell it for less than it is worth–and it is my hobby. The jewelry I make, on the other hand, is much less time intensive, and I can afford to sell it for a lot less while still getting a decent return on my time investment. And I still can’t believe the number of people who want to buy the handcrafted earrings that I sell for $1 for 50 cents. (No, I don’t give discounts, but if you buy five pairs of them, I throw in a sixth pair free–and actually, I do give the occasional discount, like the military wife with three kids who came by and the kids wanted to get their Mom Christmas presents, the Dad was overseas, money was tight, so I gave them a “military” discount.)

    And I know two people who do the most awesome photos–and I am trying to convince one of them that her work is amazing. I am hoping that one of these days she will believe me. Her family totally takes advantage of her good nature to photograph family weddings etc…and never pay her a dime, while bitching about the quality of the photographs. I’ve seen the photos in question, and her family is–awful? Because the pictures were very well done.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    My Asatru friend tells me that weregild started as a way to stop the cycle of vengeance-killing.

    I think that the problem with trying to implement a weregild system now is that the modern rate of income inequality would have been unimaginable to our medieval ancestors. Poor people, even if they scrimp and save for decades, will still never be able to make the kind of money that some billionaires gain every minute.

  • Alix

    Weregild also often existed alongside legal revenge killings/executions, so I don’t think it ever fully supplanted them, but yeah, basically.

    Well, except income inequality has always existed (peasants vs. lords, for example), which is part of how folks could game the system, though I take your point. Modern weregild would almost work better as a percent-of-income thing. I do think the biggest problem is that we wouldn’t find it punitive enough. Not for the big crimes. We like our rapists and murderers to suffer.

  • EllieMurasaki

    We like our rapists […] to suffer.

    Steubenville.

  • Alix

    Point taken.

    Amended: in theory, we like our rapists and murderers to suffer. But we also like to define “rape” really, really narrowly so “good boys” don’t get hit with that label.

  • Alix

    My point rephrased a bit differently: the problem with switching over to a weregild-style system would be that we’d think a fine was too light a sentence, especially coupled with no prison time. We want people convicted of violent crimes off the streets or killed, not just literally paying for their crimes and then rejoining society. It’d take a massive sea change in our thinking on justice, retribution, and worth, among other things, to switch to a compensatory system.

    Not to mention that I know quite a few victims of violent crime who’d consider receiving only a fine, even a hefty one, from their assailant a slap in the face. Which is down to socialization (mostly), and would be hard to change.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And once we’ve got someone to blame for a murder, we don’t much care whether they actually did it.

  • Alix

    True. Which on the whole I consider a major point in favor of compensatory justice over retributive justice – even a hefty fine leaves the convicted criminal alive, and it’s a bit easier to correct a wrongful conviction in that kind of scenario than one where a person’s dead, or has been kept out of society for many years.

  • Space Marine Becka

    Though after their conviction there were a lot of people exulting that they were going to find out “what rape was like” in prison. It made my blood run cold. Nobody deserves to be raped – not even rapists.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    One of the most central ideas of the rape culture is that there are “deserved” and “undeserved” rapes. Prison rape is a useful trap for them, since there’s a whole lot of people who think of themselves as fighters against rape culture who can be goaded into conceding the fundamental point of there being “deserved” and ‘undeserved” rape by shouting how prison rape is Different (and even mentioning it gets classed as derailing) because it involves men-who-deserve-it, when they’d rightfully balk at the idea of suggesting that any other kinds of rape victims “deserve” it.

  • Space Marine Becka

    Absolutely agree.

    I saw some bloggers who spoke out against the whole “now they’ll learn what rape is like” attitude and commentors called them rape apologists.

    Excuse me? It’s not them who were being rape apologists.

    (Does being anti-capital punishment make me a murder apologist too?)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    According to The Trouble With Billionaires*, although we think of the financial difference between peasant and king as being a huge one, it barely registers by modern standards.

    As far as old-fashioned punishments go, I’ve heard that certain kinds of public shaming (having the perp give a detailed apology to the assembled community or walk around with a sandwich board) can be effective.

    Perhaps that, along with a rehabilitative approach, would be a better modern solution.

    * http://www.amazon.ca/Trouble-Billionaires-Linda-Mcquaig-2011/dp/B00D81ZEIG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1373330304&sr=8-2&keywords=trouble+with+billionaires

  • Alix

    Yeah. My point wasn’t that income inequality’s not worse (…who seriously needs that much money? Really now) but that that kind of problem with weregild has actually always been there, if not to the extent it would be today. There’d certainly have to be mechanisms in place to prevent the extremely wealthy from being able to just commit crimes and pay without blinking.

    ‘Course, we kind of have that problem already.

    And there’d also have to be safeguards that prevent people from getting valued differently under the law, which is why I think weregild should be tied to the perp’s income/wealth, not the victim.

    Public shaming – again, there’d have to be safeguards and checks, but that’s true of anything. Any system can be abused. It just really seems to me that things like shaming, weregild, etc. are better than retributive systems because, well, you can’t exactly bring back a dead person if you make a mistake.

    The thing that worries me about shaming is psychological trauma. I … wouldn’t want it to turn into state-sanctioned public bullying, y’know?

  • Alix

    Also, I will have to read that book. *adds to ginormous TBR list*

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Since the lord technically owned the land, tools, etc used by the peasants (just allowing them to use it in exchange for a share of the profits), income inequality between a serf and his/her baron was arguably *infinite*.

  • Turcano

    The thing is that, if I remember correctly, accepting weregild was never mandatory; you could always get your pound of flesh instead.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I am well aware that jojo is a troll, saying offensive things to get a rise. And thank you, everyone, for your support. Which is why I think it’s kind of funny that my reaction to his comment is, “Yeah, pretty much.” Oh, there is certainly a feel-good feeling from having a legal marriage after all this time that has nothing to do with money. But we had a commitment ceremony 21 years ago. Since that time (and before), we’ve taken responsibility for each other. For our health, our well-being, our commitments. His debts and earnings are mine, and vice versa. For all that time, we’ve paid higher taxes, higher insurance premiums, etc. than a heterosexual married couple would have. We don’t need our relationship “validated”. It already is by everyone we consider important. But having our benefits that we’ve been denied for more than two decades? That’s major. This article probably says it better. It has stuck with me since I read it, because it is so true. (If you see this, Rob, thanks.) Is our relationship about money? Of course not. Is our marriage about money? You betcha.

  • Alix

    I kind of wish the straight folks who deride gay marriage would answer one question: since no one has to be actually married to be in a loving, committed relationship, why on earth do they feel they need to get married? If it’s just about the love and commitment between partners, why do they need the state to rubber-stamp that?

  • Daniel

    If you live in a society where marriage is financially rewarded then you should have every right to enjoy that too. Good luck to you, and congratulations!

  • http://checkpoint-telstar.blogspot.com/ Tim Lehnerer

    Man, I hope you were just aiming for ironic humor and accidentally landed on “asshole”.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Based on his other comment in this thread, I’d say nope. Asshole is just his default status.

  • Daniel

    Yep, you tell ’em jojo. You tell them how little their happiness means, selfish bastards wanting the same access to health care that straight married couples get… conniving little… Thank god there are people like you who can expose their arguments for “equality” for what they really are. They say they want equality, what they really want is THE SAME RIGHTS AS US!
    Incidentally, what do you mean “no surprise”? Are gay couples known for their mercenary outlook on life? I always thought that was a different historically persecuted group.

  • Jesuswouldbeashamedofyou

    Go fuck yourself.

  • Daniel

    Concise, eloquent, to the point.

  • The_L1985

    This is some kind of sick joke, right?

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

    Sorry to say, no. Of the several gay rights groups of which I’m a part on Facebook, replies like this are a daily occurrence.

  • dpolicar

    If only it were.

    This sort of framing is precisely how jojoes and their ilk justify treating their families (which receive all kinds of incentives for being families, but of course aren’t defined by those incentives, because they’re capable of and defined by genuine love) better than mine (which is of course defined by those incentives, because we aren’t capable of genuine love).

    The jojoes are thankfully losing power as that framing is increasingly revealed as simply deceptive, but that process will take time to complete.

    In the meantime, jojoes are fairly common and do seem to be perfectly serious. Fortunately, this one is only able to hurt anyone by being insulting on the Internet.

    The many many jojoes who remain in actual positions of authority do a lot more damage.

  • Alix

    I hold out hope that eventually, the jojos of the world will be seen as the sick joke they are, and everyone will point and laugh, and that will be the extent of their power.

  • dpolicar

    Hope is good; I endorse hope.

    I don’t really see a path for getting there in the general case.

    That said, I do see a path for families with different combinations of genders becoming sufficiently “normal” that the jojoes of the world will switch their public attention to devaluing other families with less public support (those with different numbers of adults, for example).

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    So you figure that marrying for money should be outlawed? What kind of tests would you propose to implement for anyone engaged to a rich mogul, heiress, etc. to prove that they’re marrying for love?

  • MaryKaye

    Truth be known, my husband married me for money. The marriage proposal (me to him) went like this:

    “You know, if you married me my health insurance would cover you.”

    “Hm. [long pause] Okay.”

    We’ve been married for 21 years now. But of course it’s an *ongoing* financial incentive!

  • Ross Thompson

    Here’s a little anecdote about a marriage:

    I am a British national, and I fell in love with an American national, and we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives living in the same country together. Her career was more stable, and she owned a house which (combined with relative property prices) meant that it would be far easier for us to live in America together than Britain.

    So I applied for a K-1 fiance’s visa, moved to America, and we got married. It was not by any means a simple procedure, but there were no major road blocks, and everything went fairly smoothly Nine years later, we’re still together.

    Now, had we been the same gender, that path would have been denied to us. We could have lived in Britain, but in a far more uncertain situation, or I could have convinced an American company to hire me from abroad, come over on an employment visa, and run the risk of being deported if I lost my job within ten years.

    (I did, in fact, have a period of unemployment of almost a year which would have had rendered an employment visa void and forced me from the country)

    Why is my relationship so much more worthy of support just because we have different genitals? Why shouldn’t two people of the same gender be given the same opportunity to be together that we were?

    Is my marriage “all about the green card”? Would a same-sex marriage in the same circumstances be?

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

    Well, yours might not be, but you should see how often I get or see messages from people trying to escape their countries’ anti-gay laws by finding people in the United States to marry them. PMs come in about once a week, messages to those groups at least once a day. Given that some of these countries execute people convicted of homosexuality, I can rather understand it, though…

  • Ross Thompson

    Sure, and some people live in countries that persecute them for being Christian, and they want to marry someone in the US for a green card. Not sure that that has any bearing.

    It’s like the way that some on the religious right say that same-sex marriage should be illegal because heterosexual men will marry each other for the tax breaks. It never seems to occur to them that the current laws allow (differently-gendered) people to do that just as easily.

  • Daniel

    I’ve proposed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for exactly that reason (and of course, because he’s a total dreamboat). I reckon we can deduct more from our joint tax bill because he’s a religious institution. And, as I say, a total dreamboat.

  • Daniel

    Seriously, I suppose you’re just trolling with comments like this, but I am really interested to hear what that actually means- are gay people avaricious in your mind? Have you misunderstood the term “tightarse”? If you are serious and not just trying to piss people off would you please reply? Your dismissive “see. I knew all along” tone really doesn’t help your case- if you’re not just trying to piss people off.

  • dpolicar

    FWIW, I assumed jojo was implying that same-sex couples want our families to be treated equally to other families exclusively in order to obtain financial benefits, and not for any other reason.

  • Daniel

    I thought that, it’s just the “no surprise” bit sounds a bit like eye rolling sarcasm, as though gay people are famous for hording wealth. He seems to have gays and dragons mixed up. And I am honestly quite curious to know if there’s anything behind this or if it was just an off the cuff “cuh! Of course!” kind of comment which has had too much attention paid to it and that’s why no defence has been offered…yet.

  • dpolicar

    I think the “no surprise” is meant to imply that gay people are famous for not having actual loving relationships with one another the way straight people do, such that our desire to marry can’t be explained by reference to the same kinds of reasons that loving straight couples give for getting married, and therefore must be explained by something else, such as greed.

    And people like jojo, who knew that all along, are unsurprised, as contrasted to other less clear-thinking people who foolishly believed gay couples actually love each other.

  • Daniel

    Oh. That didn’t occur to me. That’s much worse than what I thought he meant. That’s really bloody horrible. I can’t even think of a sarky remark to make.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s not dragons.

    Having failed to gain any traction by repurposing arguments against miscegenation, they’ve resorted to repurposing antisemitism.

    They hoard money. They secretly run the world. They have an Agenda. Next, they’ll be telling us that TEH GAYZ killed Jesus.

  • Daniel

    How exactly did Judas identify Jesus to the Romans again? Hmm…

  • Jurgan

    We’re not very tolerant of trolls here. Get back to where you once belonged, jojo.

  • Notasaltine

    Someone just announced they are getting married. The ONLY appropriate response is to offer your congratulations. Asshole.

  • That Other Jean

    Woot! Congratulations!

  • Alix

    That’s awesome!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *Excite* *throws confetti*

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Congratulations!

  • -G-G-

    Congrats! That’s great, many more happy years to you both.

  • http://checkpoint-telstar.blogspot.com/ Tim Lehnerer

    Congratulations!

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Woo-hoo!

  • mathbard

    Hurray!

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    *throws flower-seed confetti*

    (this stuff: http://www.nikoniko.nl/throw–grow-confetti/ )

  • Alix

    That stuff looks awesome.

  • Lori

    Congratulations! I hope that you have a wonderful day and many, many more happy years together.

  • Trixie_Belden

    That’s wonderful news, Emcee3! Congratulations to you both!

  • Fusina

    Congratulations!!!! Felicitations!!!!!!

    I’d say I hope you have a wonderful marriage, but it sounds like you already do, and now it will be supported legally.

    It is a tradition to cry at weddings, yes? Tears of joy, I assure you. Love is a wonderful thing–my daughter has a very good friend who is gay, who went a little happydance crazy at the overturning of DOMA. All we could do is stand around and enjoy his euphoria.

  • Jurgan

    Well done, good sir! I wish you well, and don’t let the haters get you down!

  • Jessica_R
  • Steve

    Congrats from Australia. That’s wonderful news. I wish you and your husband well.

  • SisterCoyote

    Belated congratulations! A happy and stress-free day for both of you, and a happy rest-of-your-lives together.

  • Notasaltine

    Congratulations!

  • http://worldsandtime.blogspot.com/ sphericaltime

    Oh, wow! Congrats!

  • jojo

    SPLC is the biggest active hate group in America, a fundraising scam of the worst kind.

  • Alix

    Sorry, I’m laughing at you too hard right now to take anything you say seriously.

  • Brad Ellison
  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    R.I.P. Jim Kelly

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Don’t worry, jojo. Nobody’s actually stopping you from being a hate-filled douchecanoe.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Okay, I seriously need to add “douchecanoe” to my repertoire of insults. Thanks!

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Salt Lake City proper is quite a refreshing surprise, actually. It’s just as fun-loving and tolerant as any other large western town and doesn’t fit the stuffy old Mormon stereotypes at all. There’s even this great little microbrewery along West Broadway called….
    Oh, you’re just being an asshole then? Well carry on.

  • Daniel

    Right, non-US person asking this: How? How is the SPLC a hate group? What do they hate? Why do they hate it? Can you please explain for the benefit of someone with no awareness of this?

  • Alix

    They hate the haters, and dare put up lists and information on hate groups and hatemongers, not to mention that they are “a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society” who also teach people about civil rights!

    And they ask for donations! Clearly, SPLC is evil.

  • Daniel

    Donations=socialism. That’s maths, and you can’t argue with maths. (as proof, where U>T, U=FT where U= Us T= Them and FT= well I think that’s pretty obvious.)

  • Ben English

    I’m pretty sure the only equation people like him understand is the Anti-Life Equation.

  • MarkTemporis

    Restricting one’s hate to a specific ethnic group or sexual preference is blasphemy against the Anti-Life and against Darkseid! One’s hate must be UNIVERSAL! ALL HAIL DARKSEID!

    …pardon me, was I raving? I…do that sometimes….sorry.

  • Alix

    Sarcasm not directed at you, by the by.

  • Jurgan

    I think that was a joke from Get Smart: “We’re a hate group. We hate hate. Just hate it.”

  • J_Enigma32

    I think you made a mistake. You clearly mean “NOM,” “FRC”, “FOF”, “TVC”, or “AFA.”

    You must be a special kind of stupid, since SPLC doesn’t look anything like those up there.

  • themunck

    Regarding #3. They’re praising the Ruskie president? John Birch must be rolling in his grave.* Traitors.
    ——-
    * Well, maybe he’d approve when he learned that the Soviets were gone, since it must mean the Americans won and installed some freedom fighter to rule…What’s that? He was director of the KGB and the US had no involvement in his’election’? Yeah, traitors.

  • Shay Guy

    The cartoon special implies that she was going grocery shopping.

  • Brian Baresch

    Regarding #6, someone said “People don’t grow, they just learn how to act in public.” Which may be another way of saying the same thing. Pondering …

  • Alix

    Been turning this over in my head for a while, and I have three things to say:

    1. To me, if you’re not remaining static, you’re growing. It’s just a question of whether you’re growing in the ways you like.

    2. Learning how to act in public entailed (and continues to entail) huge growth for me, that most introverted of introverts. Let’s put it this way: I honestly told my HS guidance counselor that I had no career plans because I fully intended to be a hermit. XD Social interaction – and even desiring it – is growth on my part.

    3. I’d say there are also a lot more forms of growth than just things people see in public. I’ve grown internally – I can recognize my own emotions now, I have a better handle on my temper, I know how to handle being overstressed – even when no one else is around to see, and it’s still valuable growth even when it’s something impacting only me. I’ve grown intellectually – same deal. We grow and change as people even only in relation to ourselves, in ways no one else will ever see, in ways that only matter to our internal lives. I don’t think that kind of growth can be classed as learning how to act in public.

  • Brian Baresch

    Interesting reply; thanks. I waver between hope and cynicism, myself (those are imprecise terms but they’ll do for the moment). Today was a cynicism day, but I appreciate your providing an opposite perspective.

  • Asha

    This sounds a lot like me. To this day I am fine by myself and being in a social situation without knowing when I can go back and recharge is exhausting. That I can strike up conversations with strangers, or actually go to a party without hyperventilating is a personal achievement. Oddly, I have little stage fright, because I usually have a script to follow on stage. But I take what I can get, and the entire process is exhausting.

  • Alix

    I could’ve written all that. I used to never order things over the phone – I have a hearing problem which compounds my introversion. My favorite restaurant became my favorite ’cause I called to place an order once and opened with an apology for stuttering and being hard of hearing, and the lady just replied with a cheerful “No problem! Let me know if you need me to slow down or walk you through something.”

    I actually just wigged out and ended up canceling my 4th of July family cookout because I could tell I was getting overstressed – I babysat the nephew the whole night before, and getting no decompression time meant there was no way in hell I’d’ve survived a party without blowing up spectacularly. Fortunately, my family’s mostly gotten to the point where they understand that – and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t feel guilty about calling off social time when I need to.

  • Lori

    Oddly, I have little stage fright, because I usually have a script to follow on stage.

    Me too. I have very little fear of public speaking. I have some nerves and worry about whether I’m going to do well, but I’m not afraid of the “standing up in front of people” part. As you say, there’s a script to follow. Usually a literal script, but also a social script and that means that I know what to expect and can prepare for it. There’s also almost always a fixed end point. I know I have to be “on” for X amount of time and then it’s done. So, no problem.

    A cocktail party is a whole other thing. I’d rather give a speech to a 500 people than go to a cocktail party with 20 strangers.

  • Asha

    I agree. I’ve had friends who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to spend the night with her, or other friends who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to invite her over for the night. It wasn’t that I didn’t like those people, it was that I needed the quiet and time to decompress.

    If the party is small, with people I know (or, well, drunk enough and telling me they want to have a stew party because it will keep me warm in the winter, over and over again) then I can handle those, even enjoy them. If it is with strangers and they refuse to tell me how I am going to get home (or when the party will be over) then I’m miserable.

  • Fusina

    My daughter decided that although she likes going to overnight parties on occasion, she is no longer going to host sleepovers because at some point she needs to get away to decompress, and as the hostess it is not good manners to disappear. And she is both underage and doesn’t particularly enjoy the taste of alcoholic beverages, so the slightly tipsy route doesn’t work for her either.

  • -G-G-

    Regarding “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s” statement: It always makes me chuckle when someone calls gays “decadent”. I’m obviously not doing something right because that’s certainly not in the top 25 words anyone would use to describe my life.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Sexual activity without the risk of pregnancy? Decadence of the highest order!

    Also decadent: eating food without the risk of e coli, playing with toys that are guaranteed lead-free, and driving cars that don’t kill the occupants in an accident.

    Look at you, living all fancy with your clothing that wasn’t made with caustic powders, prancing around in your house with fire alarms!

  • Daniel

    “playing with toys that are guaranteed lead-free”
    Although an old theory suggested for the original Decadence- the decline of the Roman Empire- was because they were all going mental from all the lead in the water.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Them hoity-toity Romans, thought they were too good to drink water out of the same river they shat in, and look what it got them? Lead poisoning from all that fancy-pants “indoor plumbing*”

    (* Obvious-only-in-retrospect fact: It’s called “plumbing” because the people who invented it made all their plumbing out of this stuff they called “plumbinum”)

  • Daniel

    Exactly. Typhoid was good enough for the rest of the world, it should have been good enough for them. Bloody Romans.

  • Alix

    …It just dawned on me that my brain keeps fritzing on “decadent” because I only ever really hear people using that word in relation to desserts. It makes parsing that particular complaint … tricky. And induces the pavlovian response of strongly desiring chocolate cake.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    That kinda annoys me. ‘Decadent’ describing a desert makes no sense, since it means corrupt, destructive, or falling. Sorta like ‘indulgence’ being used to mean ‘pleasure’ when it really means ‘forgiveness/pardon’.

  • Alix

    Language shift is fun, innit? I suspect those are two words that’ve permanently shifted, since I almost never hear the “real” definitions outside of very specific contexts. (In fact, I pretty much only hear that definition of indulgence when talking about the history of the Catholic Church.)

    Decadent became a dessert descriptor, I suspect, via sinful, and the idea that these rich desserts were themselves a sign of moral decay. I rather suspect people embraced that – just like I know people who’ve embraced “sinful” as a dessert descriptor – and it’s acquired a new meaning.

    (I really don’t understand being annoyed at word shift. It happens all the time, and it’s not like it’s a process we can stop.)

  • Daniel

    I get pissed off with the decadent misappropriation because I studied Decadent literature for a Master’s degree and the whole reason that movement started was to piss off exactly the kind of people who now use “decadent” to talk about chocolate cake. As a movement it’s whole purpose was to shake people from that sort of tame complacency and self satisfaction “ooh! Aren’t I naughty? Chocolate cake! Imagine!” and so it’s a personal bugbear that it now has less to do with an early tubercular death smashed on laudanum in a Parisian brothel having spent your brief, frail life chasing dangerous and unknown pleasures to escape the hideous reality of existence and more to do with a slice of cheesecake at lunch. Kind of devalues the whole thing, and misses the joke. But that’s just me.

  • Daniel

    Addendum- there’s also a tenuous claim that can be made that Decadence in its literary form was a proto-gay rights movement. Gide, Wilde, Rimbaud, Verlaine et al all wrote about homosexuality in their Decadent phases, and in the case of Gide he actually published a full defence of being gay while it was still punishable by imprisonment and hard labour (years after following Wilde around like a lovesick puppy in Morocco- famous as a haven for Urienists). So to take the term and apply it to something as tame as dessert (that doesn’t involve copious quantities of drugs/alcohol/being consumed off or out of another person) is kind of- kind of, sort of, almost- doing a disservice to its more proper meaning. This is extremely tenuous, I know.

  • Jamoche

    A bit of google image search confirms what I thought: the ‘awesomely awful “Bible prophecy” artwork’ comes from the Left Behind comics: http://leftbehind.wikia.com/wiki/File:Judgement_Fire_comic.jpg

    Interesting that the full page version has one of the witnesses saying something that isn’t a Bible quote.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    That is indeed awesome.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Conservatives in this country will not be capable of responsible governance until they surrender the conceit of being inherently stronger and braver than everyone else; so that the default solution to any problem they have is always to be more absolutist, more uncompromising, ‘tougher’. At the superficial level they can of course only increase and accelerate the Democratic majority by behaving this way but at the real level they are hardly causing any less damage and human suffering then in the days they enjoyed total control.

    Of course, if the U.S. Right did lose the notion that it need only hit us liberal wimps a little harder so that we back down and they win, it would suddenly become something quite essentially different from what it’s been since at least the days of Nixon, so it will probably be quite a long while yet.

  • Anonymous

    The Obama administration’s reluctance to label churches as hate groups would indeed be an admirable display of executive restraint if the same administration were not executing Americans without due process, indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists without charge, or getting allies to kidnap the heads of state of other countries. Let Obama call the Roman Catholic Church a hate group if he would then cease committing international crimes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have no idea what, other than criticism of Obama, you’re trying to say here. And you’re obviously trying to say more than just that Obama is worthy of criticism.

  • Anonymous

    I just think it’s pretty rich that labeling hate groups is the thing Obama decides he doesn’t have the right to do qua president of the United States.

  • Alix

    …but it’s not something the president has the right to do. :/ Just because he’s doing some things wrong, some things he should stop, doesn’t mean he therefore has to do everything he’s not entitled to do.

    Also, I’m following most of your criticism, but not this: “getting allies to kidnap the heads of state of other countries.” I clearly missed something – can anyone enlighten me?

  • Daniel

    I think that’s the Bolivian aeroplane problem. Not a kidnapping, not done by Obama’s executive order, but certainly strongly influenced by US attitudes toward Edward Snowdon and by implication at Obama’s behest (as in Obama is conflated with US policy to the rest of the world)

  • Anonymous

    I agree that he doesn’t have the right to call the Westboro Baptist Church a hate group in his capacity as President. The world is marginally better place because he hasn’t done that. I do feel, however, that the world would be a much better place if he abused his office by making a list of hate groups and closed Guantanamo Bay, say.

    As for the kidnapping, I’m referring to Austria’s detention of Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/05

  • Alix

    Thanks. I hadn’t heard about that.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Huh. For the first time in quite a while, I find myself thinking ‘you know, Diplomatic Immunity is kind of a good idea.’ Though, remarkable they’re willing to violate it for Snowden, but *not* for slavers…

  • Daniel

    You say that, but I have two words and a number that shuts that whole argument down: Lethal Weapon II.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Yeah, hence why I only think that once in a while. Or for more real world examples, the genius at the Libyan(?) embassy that opened fire on a crowd protesting outside.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Look up “Extraordinary rendition”. It mostly happened under Bush – the famous case of Maher Arar (who is Canadian) where the USA winked and nudged at the Syrian authorities when they grabbed him, for example.

  • Alix

    I was confused over the head-of-state thing specifically, but I’ll certainly look that up.

    Edit: Aha, I had heard of that case, just forgot the man’s name. (I am horrible with names.) Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Anonymous kind of has a point. It DOES seem unusually restrained when the same President has (at least in some people’s eyes) far exceeded the bounds of reasonable Executive-power authority by justifying said actions on the basis of the War on Terror.

    Some of the actions of some of the “hate groups” so classified as such by the SPLC would, if the perps weren’t white as clouds, be considered clear-cut cases of domestic terrorism.

  • Alix

    Obama seems to have a strong line between foreign policy (apparently including any aspect of national security) and domestic, and is willing to be much more hardline with the former when it comes to those overreaches of power. I don’t agree with where he’s drawn those lines or the thought process that leads to being okay with doing these things internationally, but I can actually sort of see how someone would think it’s okay/necessary to do things in a foreign policy/national security sense that would be absolutely unthinkable domestically.

    I don’t agree, but I can see it.

  • Ben English

    Executing Americans without due process? The fuck?

  • themunck

    I don’t remember his name, but of the people killed by drone strikes was an american citizen. And being blown up by a missile fired from a remote controlled plane doesn’t constitute “due process” in the US, as far as I’m aware.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    This incident is one everyone gets worked up about, but it never bothers me in particular – while an American citizen, he was also an active enemy agent in hostile territory. It wasn’t a matter of ‘he criticized us, so we killed him!’

    The drone strike program as a whole, on the other hand, is just a clusterfuck of epic proportions that went over the line the moment they decided dropping a missile on *anyone* in the middle of an occupied city was a reasonable thing to do.

  • Ross Thompson

    he was also an active enemy agent in hostile territory

    Was he? If that’s the case, I’m sure the US government would be able to make that case in a court of law (even in absentia).

    So far as I’m aware, the only thing he’s actually been accused of is saying that people in the Middle East have a right to defend themselves against foreign invaders, which is clearly protected speech, viz Brandenburg vs Ohio.

    And, so far as I’m aware, Yemen is not “hostile territory”. We’re not even at Authorisation of Use of Military Force there!

    But if the government says we’ve always been at war with Eastasia, who am I to argue?

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I think there were two, actually, and the first one Anwar al-Awlaki, was pretty unambiguously a member of Al-Qaeda, what with regularly ‘preaching’ on their behalf. Furthermore, he *was* tried in absentia… by Yemen (when I said ‘Hostile Territory’ I was referring to ‘the middle of an Al-qaeda dominated region’). Killing someone who’s a high-ranking agent of a power against which we’re in a de-facto war (of sorts), in the middle of their camp, even if they are an American.

    The problem is the drone program, not that Al-Awlaki was targeted. ‘Justified’ or not, it kills civilians, does more harm than good, and strategic bombing (which is what the Drone Strike program ultimately is) has never won a war, ever. (Not to mention fighting counter-terrorism operations like a conventional war is dumb). It seems a little odd to be upset particularly because the guy who happened to die this time was technically an American.

  • Ross Thompson

    regularly ‘preaching’ on their behalf.

    Once again, Brandenburg vs Ohio. Protected political speech. First Amendment. The government cannot murder people for preaching or propagandizing, even if it results in people being killed in terrorist attacks. One can argue that that was a bad decision, but one cannot in good faith argue that the executive has the right to ignore the Supreme Court and the Constitution.

    Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I agree with him; I think that people do have the right to fight back against foreign invaders, in whatever way is effective. I think that the War on Muslims Terror is the greatest recruiting tool that al-Qaeda has ever had, and that it makes Americans as well as Middle-Easterners less safe.

    he *was* tried in absentia… by Yemen

    And yet it’s not the Yemeni government that executed him.

    If the American government thinks that sufficient evidence exists that he’s committed a crime worthy of capital punishment under the American judicial system, why has that evidence never been presented? Why have such charges never been levelled?

    when I said ‘Hostile Territory’ I was referring to ‘the middle of an Al-qaeda dominated region’

    Ah, “we know it’s an al-Qaeda dominated region, because al-Awlaki was there, and he’s a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. And we know he’s a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, because who else would be in the middle of an al-Qaeda dominated region like that?”

    This is dangerously close to the doctrine of the global battlefield, where America is justified in murdering anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether or not we’re at war there. After all, if Padilla was arrested in O’Hare Airport and Boumedine was pulled out of his bed in Bulgaria, and they were both denied due process on the grounds that they were “engaged in combat” and “on the battlefield”, what limits can we set?

    It seems a little odd to be upset particularly because the guy who happened to die this time was technically an American.

    That’s not why I’m upset. I do think it signals a dangerous precedent that the US government will murder even those people it’s supposed to be protecting, but that’s the only relevance his nationality has for me; after all, I’m not an American citizen myself.

    I was not the person who raised this case, and had someone been supporting “signature strikes” (“Three guys with moustaches and guns – they must me al-Qaeda”) or collateral damage, or the targeting of weddings and funerals, or the many cases in which we have no idea who was targeted, or why then I would have raised equally strident objections to those. But in this case, the US government killed someone for what it claims are the bedrock of a strong democracy, and everyone goes along with it because the people he’s advocating revolution against are Americans and not British.

  • Pam

    Re: No. 7: Can someone PLEASE explain why the hell a significant number of elected officials seem to think that Sharia law is about to be implemented as law in the US? Like… where on earth did that even COME from?

  • themunck

    Because Obama is the Antichrist, and therefore every enemy rolled into one. Hence he’s both a communist, a fascist, a secular humanist, an atheist and a Muslim extremist (or, as they call them, a Muslim).

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s pure silly-assed ridiculous fantasy. Given that Muslims are ~1% of the US population there’s no way they could muster the popular votes to get even the civil-law portions of Sharia enacted, never mind the criminal law.

    Kind of ironic that the same jerks who whine about OMGSHARIA are more than happy to see countries like Singapore whap criminal offenders with bamboo canes and whine that the USA needs some of that good ol’ corporal punishment on the books again.

  • P J Evans

    And their idea of what law should be is straight out of Leviticus … and identical to their idea of sharia law. Only the labels are different.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Yeah. They are afraid that Sharia law is about to be implemented because they are, in that moment, working to implement their own version of Sharia law.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    THey think it because they’re the ones trying to implement it. Only under a different name.

    What they can’t stand isn’t “someone’s trying to enact a harsh, theocratic legal system that runs counter to the protections of freedom and human rights enshrined in the constitution.” It’s the competition

  • themunck

    Silly Ross. They hate -all- religious law systems. The system they’re trying to implement isn’t religious. It’s Christian!

  • Carstonio

    I doubt the vast majority of the elected officials actually believe that, or that even most of their constituents believe it. But many of the latter probably do believe that all Muslims want to take over the world. Overall these proposed laws are elaborate dog whistles that pander to the allied mindsets of Christian dominionism and xenophobia, a way for officials to show that they’re tough on terrorism. Not much different from the local council in the UK that proudly banned “Life of Brian” even though there were no theaters in its district.

  • GDwarf

    The juxtaposition of item 2 with the symbol of the seven samurai makes me think of Kikuchiyo’s big speech from that movie. Drop the second half of it* and you’ve got an excellent commentary on things:

    “They pose as saints but are full of lies! If they smell a battle, they
    hunt the defeated! They’re nothing but stingy, greedy, blubbering, foxy,
    and mean! God damn it all!”

    *Of course, the speech is made by the second half, where he turns the whole thing around, but in this case the villagers made themselves that way; there were no samurai to drive them down that path.

  • We Must Dissent

    I thought it was a reference to the statement from Shimada at the end of the film about never winning a battle–“We didn’t win; the farmers won.”–as the camera pans across the graves of the other samurai who defended the village.

    And while there aren’t specific samurai earlier in the film, the Sengoku Jidai has been going on for 120 years when the film takes place. It is very unlikely that this is the first conflict that has involved the village.

  • GDwarf

    Oh, indeed, the point of the speech is that yes the villagers are cowardly opportunists who would kill a wounded man for his weapons…But it’s generations of abuse by samurai that have turned them into such, and so the seven can be offended all they like, they don’t have the high ground here.