7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.10)

1. Lester Maddox “increasingly counter-cultural” on restaurant issues. Inquisition “increasingly counter-cultural” on heliocentrism. Bash Brothers “increasingly counter-cultural” on benefits of PEDs. I guess that’s one way to put it. Certainly sounds nicer than “wrong side of history.”

2. Tony Jones discusses “Why Every Christian Leader Needs to Have a Good Answer About Homosexuality.” Kimberly Knight says, “amen” … with one qualification, “Why Every Christian Leader Needs to Have a Good Relationship With a Homosexual.”

3. It’s not just Vladimir Putin — anti-gay religious right groups also have a soulmate in disgraced Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

But good news for clueless trolls allied with the philosophy of Mugabe and Putin: They have biblical carte blanche to torment and abuse Mr. Aloysius P. Van Landingham of Prescott, Ariz.

The Bible — or, at least, the Bible as they claim to read it — clearly allows them to condemn Mr. Van Landingham. It allows them to revile him, insult him, torment him, deny his civil and legal rights and deny him access to the sacraments of the church.

After all, can you show me a single passage in the Old Testament or the New Testament that affirms Aloysius P. Van Landingham of Prescott, Ariz.? I am open to see any cogent, compelling and scripturally supported case made that God condones or blesses Aloysius P. Van Landingham of Prescott, Ariz. I have been waiting a very long time.

(We used to attract a better quality of troll around here. This stuff — taken from comments troll-deposited here yesterday — doesn’t even rise to the level of sophistry, it’s like … froshistry. Prideful, sanctimonious and stupid is no way to go through life, son.)  

4. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Paul Bibeau’s Goblinbooks blog. His posts have a comic structure that’s a lot harder to pull off than he makes it look. Consider, for example, Pat Robertson, the televangelist who routinely says howlingly awful things. It’s not easy to come up with a fresh way of discussing Robertson at this point, but “A Message From the Terrified People Sitting Next to Pat Robertson” does the trick.

Or think of all that you’ve read in recent weeks about the NSA’s massive surveillance programs. Bibeau’s recent posts purportedly from intelligence chief James Clapper — see “‘We Need to Be the Country We Were Right After 9/11’ by James Clapper” and the hilariously specific “Intelligence Chief James Clapper Answers a Craigslist Missed Connection” — cut to the heart of the matter as deftly as any other commentary I’ve seen.

There’s a formula of sorts, but it’s a good formula, and it all starts with an aptly chosen absurd premise. With his latest post, though, the absurd premise is too audacious to re-enact — it can only be described: What if the United States of America is nothing more than an elaborate Andy Kaufman-style prank that got out of hand? Follow the logic and it almost seems logical. And the final two sentences, I think, say something darn near profound — about America, or about jokes, or both.

5. James McGrath shares a short video of “N.T. Wright and James Dunn on the New Perspective on Paul.” I don’t like that term “new perspective,” because it’s misleading. The so-called new perspective isn’t new at all, but serves to correct a centuries-long mistake. That mistake was a genuinely new thing — a wrong turn that led theology astray, while the so-called “new” perspective is simply an attempt to get us back on course.

I suppose this may sound dry, and the video — a couple of old white theologians talking — might seem dry. But this is actually explosive stuff. It explains, for example, why Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism can’t easily be dismissed as an unfortunate incidental personal failing. Wright and Dunn accentuate the positive, emphasizing the aspects of Pauline theology that the new perspective helps us to understand. And they downplay the negative, with Dunn urging us not to understand any of this as meaning that “Luther got it wrong.” He doesn’t want to say that, so instead he says that there are a host of things Luther didn’t get right which need to be corrected. I’m not sure I follow that distinction.

6. Will Campbell died last month. Campbell is one of those people it seems as though I ought to have read, but I’ve never actually read anything by him. I may have to correct that. “We’re all bastards. But God loves us anyway,” Campbell said. That’ll preach.

Bonus: He liked to quote Ezekiel 23:20 — the dirtiest verse in the Bible. And how can you not be intrigued by a guy who said things like this:

True soul freedom can never be found in any institution. If they will pay you, let them. I did it too. But never trust them. Never bow the knee to them. They are all after your soul. Your ultimate, absolute, uncompromising allegiance. Your soul. All of them.

More on Campbell here and here. If you’ve read Will Campbell’s stuff, where would you recommend I start?

7. Let me add my congratulations to David and John!

"I couldn't help thinking he was inspired by one of those semi-psychotic toy poodles you ..."

Standing by
"It began as a way to practically discuss whether or not angels were substantial or ..."

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"I've been a Slacktivite a while, wouldn't be the first time I've moved with Fred."

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  • themunck

    They did? How so, exactly? I could use some schadenfreude at the moment.

  • SisterCoyote
  • themunck

    Wouldn’t that technically be “- V, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta“? If we just quote the author, rather than the character, we could end up attributing a position he does not actually hold to him. Like how Harry Potter is demonic because Voldemort says power for power’s sake is good.

  • themunck

    Oh yeah, that’s the stuff..*content sigh*
    Thank you :)

  • I wasn’t entirely sure how to format that quote.

    In any case, I understand that Vendetta does reflect a lot of Moore’s views.

  • If by “backpedaled” you mean “made noises about being contrite and mending their ways and continued to donate to anti-gay groups while their owner continued to make disparaging remarks about homosexuality,” then yes, they have backpedaled.

  • themunck

    *decingly less content sigh* And there goes that nice feeling again. Oh well, was good while it lasted.

  • Alix

    Disqus keeps deleting paragraph breaks when I type. It is goddamn annoying.

  • P J Evans

    Insurance companies believe it’s real.

  • Alix

    …Never read Card’s fiction (ran into his online column first, and it put me off), and I don’t often say this, but what you describe makes him sound like someone who really seriously can’t let himself think about homosexuality without overthrowing his own sense of himself. :/

  • FearlessSon

    I was a fan of his writing for quite a while, but rarely read more than one or two of his series all the way through, due to what some of his fans (myself included) joked was the “Card Curse.” Being that he tends to write series that start out really gripping and interesting, but then after a book or three tend to go downhill, and get less enjoyable. This usually correlates with his values starting to feel increasingly forced in the narrative.

    I eventually gave up on trying to read his stuff because I had gotten tired of being disappointed when I got emotionally invested in it. I even read a few of his essays online, which were interesting, but this was “back in the day” before the possibility of gay marriage was as high profile as it is now. When I got wind of the kind of stuff he was writing about gay marriage, I felt a bit betrayed and it really sealed me from going back and giving him another shot.

  • Alix

    I always feel kind of bad saying that I won’t read him ’cause of his politics, because there are plenty of other people with nasty views who I read and even enjoy. (Hello, Lovecraft!) But, like, I don’t know. I guess it’s ’cause with almost all of them, I came to their fiction first and either sussed out their views from fiction I otherwise enjoyed or ran across other info on them later. I just can’t bring myself to start with Card, I guess because I feel like he’s already used up my good faith.

    Maybe that’s hypocritical, but I have too much new stuff to read anyway. :/

  • I believe that the actual “formula” they had in mind was “Let’s put Johnny Depp in it and have him Johnny Depp at the audience for a few hours”

    Presumably they were already committed by the time Dark Shadows came out.

  • GDwarf

    Hah, yes, the magnificent seven. Of course that’d be the followup to the samurai.

    On point three: I’m reading a book on the history of houses in the UK and it mentions in passing that a non-zero number of priests preached against potatoes when they were first imported because, and I can just see them grinning smugly as they scored their point, they are nowhere mentioned in the Bible and therefore must be wrong. I can only imagine what knowledge of the duck-billed platypus would do to such a mind.

  • aunursa

    I regret that I fail to recognize your point. Is it that we have reached the point of no return?

  • Alix

    I know, they really get my goat.

  • ohiolibrarian

    PC = not being rude or bigoted. And I notice that you seem to think that all judges are (or should be?) men. Really?

  • Hah! I wasn’t even looking at the tie, but you’re right. That is awesome.

  • Thanks! It seemed more appropriate than the generic smiley ones. :)

  • aaand I nearly shot iced coffee out my nose at this. Perfection.

  • J_Enigma32

    ANY deviation from political correctness results in a show trial and a scapegoating

    *queues up world’s smallest violin*

    Translation: Waaaaah! People call me out for being an ignorant bigot *pouty face*

    The Soviet Union thought it was on history’s right side; turns out instead that history’s garbage dump is growing daily.

    “As long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work” – Modern America, summed up by a Soviet quote.

    It never died. It just jumped the Bering Strait and renamed itself “Capitalism”. And it’s still on the wrong side of history. Problem being it may just be the thing that destroys history; past, present, and future, for our species.

    The current attempt to crucify Orson Scott Card will accelerate the
    backlash, and like Chik-Fil-A, his film will do boffo backlash-based box

    Translation: Waaaaah! People call my buddies out for being an ignorant bigot *pouty face*

  • J_Enigma32

    And since the Silent Majority is mostly older White men, any rising they do is going to be with the help of Cialis.

  • J_Enigma32

    and for PC judges

    Translation: Waaaaah! People call me out for being an ignorant bigot *pouty face*

  • Veylon

    There’s an amazingly long list of things that are taken for granted by conservatives today, but were ranted against by conservatives as some form of demonic back then. Forks, steam engines, the printing press, chess clubs, literature, the English-language Bible, liturgical Latin, etc.

    Remember that no matter how conservative a fellow might seem, there’s always an even more conservative to chuck rocks at him for being too progressive. It can be fun to tear to tear into someone wailing about the unnaturalness of today by tearing into the unnaturalness of their cherished childhood.

  • *guffaw*

    I’m so glad I didn’t see this comment at work.

  • Lori

    Among other things, the hottest 12 years on record have been in the last 15 years. What exactly do you think reaching the point of no return on climate change looks like?

  • Lori

    What do you think “point of no return” means?

  • Lori

    What the hell did you eat for lunch? The mega asshat combo with extra asshat sauce at Butthead Hut?

  • J_Enigma32

    This wins *all* the Internetz.

  • I dunno. Comparing someone long dead to someone who is working actively, today, to force his loathsome politics onto others by force of law feels a bit apples-and-oranges to me. Imagine how silly it would sound for NOM to declare a boycott of H. G. Wells for his socialist views.

  • Jim Roberts

    I sit corrected, ‘Miss.

  • Alix

    Fair point, and it makes me feel a bit better. I’ve just … had that thrown in my face a lot, when I say I won’t read [x] modern writer ’cause of their views. “But this other thing you read is problematic!”


  • Emcee, cubed

    If you believe that. I’ve got a bridge I can sell you.

  • They’re trying to derail the discussion by dragging in irrelevant comparison to put you on the defensive, I’m guessing. Like “danallison” bringing up Lori’s lack of condemnation for Harrison Ford on the Tolstoy thread.

    When someone resorts to that sort of tactic, they have essentially given up defending their point. They are simply thrashing around to drag you into the hole with them.

  • Alix

    Well, depends on the discussion. It comes up a lot in various discussions on literature and entertainment in general that I get into, especially when the topic is actually problematic entertainment and how we navigate that.

    Otherwise, yes, I agree with you. I’m just … tired of it. I have to pare down my reading list somehow, and if I choose to do so based on politics, who the fuck cares? We’re talking my entertainment reading here, not anything earth-shattering. :/

  • A-but-but-but… they routinely do this. :p

  • MarkTemporis

    I apologize to anyone affected by that disaster, but that fire picture is BEAUTIFUL.

  • Well, if it’s any consolation, I’ve been told that Ender’s Game is popular more because it’s a nerd revenge fantasy than because it’s a particularly well-written book. I never got around to reading it myself, however, and I finally gave away my copy of the book years ago after I found out about Card’s bigotry.

  • MarkTemporis

    HPL is dead and isn’t directly financially supported by your enjoyment of his work. OSC is alive and is supported so.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I never made it past the first chapter or so, because I found it to be a bunch of self-reverential ridiculousness written by someone who likes to hear himself talk. (or see himself write? Never know how to say this…) Of course, I felt the same about The Fellowship of the Ring, so take that for what it’s worth.

  • Is NOM the group that calls for boycotts that everyone ignores, then declares themselves victorious a few weeks later after everyone laughs at them and makes their target even more popular? Or is that One Million Moms? Or maybe both. It’s hard to keep these groups straight, if you’ll pardon the expression.

  • Alix

    I went through a period where I felt very strongly that I had to read all the classics – fantasy, sci-fi, general classics. That lasted all of a year before I realized how much boring stuff I was forcing myself to read (not knocking anyone who likes the stuff I hated – just not my thing) and how many other books I actually wanted to read I’d had to put on the back burner.

    There’s sort of … not guilt, but a lingering sense of wistful obligation, that makes me feel I ought to at least read Ender’s Game, but over and above it being a Card book it just doesn’t really strike my fancy. :/

  • Alix

    Heh. I only got through The Two Towers ’cause the only thing I’d packed to read on a cross-country train trip was that trilogy. I’d actually made it through Fellowship before embarking, but oh my god TT is a slog.

    But I have been informed that I am not a real Tolkien fan, since my favorite book was the Silmarillion and I’ve yet to actually finish The Hobbit. So.

  • Alix

    It’s hard to keep these groups straight

    …I admit it, I laughed.

  • Alix


  • Emcee, cubed

    As a die-hard fan of the original series, I had major problems with the Dark Shadows movie. Johnny Depp…wasn’t one of them. In the sense of considering the movie an attempted love letter to the series, Depp was actually the most successful at this, practically channeling Jonathan Frid’s acting style pretty darn well. There’s a bit when Barnabas first arrives at Collinwood and is describing the materials that were used to build the house. I believe the monologue came straight out of one of the original episodes, and he did it perfectly. The single biggest issue I had was the script. And most of the other actors other than Depp and Pfiffer. Including HBC, who I usually like. She was atrocious, surpassed only in her awfulness by the girl who played Carolyn. Yeah, it was bad. But Depp was one of the few things I liked.

  • Carl Oscar Isaacson

    I had the good fortune to meet Will Campbell in the late 1980’s when he came to Memphis State University to deliver a lecture. He resembled the Preacher “Will B. Done” from Doug Marlette’s comic strip – because Marlette modeled his Preacher on Campbell. He was wonderfully strange, the breed of Southern Baptist I came to respect during my time in the south. I’d recommend Brother to a Dragonfly as the place to start.

  • several years 30 years

    science the left

    scientific consensus warmongering rhetoric

    the past the future

    But yeah, aside from those minor points, an excellent counterexample, as usual.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    A classic album by Kansas.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Western wildfire. They have them every year this time of year. What has this to do with the conversation?