7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.2)

1. 50 Shades of White. All-white panel of white Reformed evangelicals says that rap and Hip-Hop are musical forms that cannot be redeemed, only “transformed” into whiter musical forms. These are white men blinded by the glare of their own whiteness. It’s true these guys dismiss some forms of white culture as well as all forms of black culture, but I’m not sure that can save them from the conclusion that their response to rap and Hip-Hop is really, really, really racist.

2. I learn via Paul Carpenter of the (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call that Rick Santorum’s movie, The Christmas Candle, is (or maybe was) playing here in Downingtown. Carpenter notes that critics aren’t impressed with the film and he calls it a “flop.” It grossed about $900,000 in its first 10 days in limited release (392 theaters) — climbing to No. 15 at the box office, but I don’t know what kind of DVD sales or TV deals Santorum’s EchoLight Studios has lined up for the picture, so it’s still got a shot of maybe earning back its $7 million budget, eventually.

Some atheist neighbor should respond by adding a period to this sign — after the second word. (Via Christian Nightmares)

Still, though, Candle doesn’t seem to have tapped into the tribal must-see category that fueled low-budget money-makers like the Kirk Cameron vehicle Fireproof. As a politician, Rick Santorum defined himself as a culture warrior. Oddly, his failure so far as a movie producer is that he’s not enough of a culture warrior. He’s still imagining he can make a movie that might reach the broader culture, but the truth is the only way that Christian-brand movies make money is when they fire up the culture-war base, appealing to tribal competitiveness to make tribal Christianists believe that buying a ticket means striking a blow against Obama and “secular humanism.”

3. “Many Americans, including Catholics believe that a thoughtful, intentional approach to childbearing is a moral or spiritual responsibility. They don’t want insurance constraints that make this harder, and they especially don’t want their boss attempting to influence when and whether they have a child.”

4. This is a bit broad, and the mugging has the effect of pulling the punches on the toughest punchlines, but it’s still pretty funny. (Guy reminds me of an evangelical Fred Armisen — which I guess means he could team up with, say, Riki Michelle for an improv series called Wheatonia.)

5. Peter Enns asks “Are Ph.D. programs in biblical studies ethical?” I’ve thought about this myself in terms of, for example, the “journalism” major, which seems to be training students for a world that no longer exists in that form. It’s kind of like getting a degree in blacksmithing — yes, some few blacksmiths can find work as blacksmiths, but it would seem irresponsible to charge hundreds of students each year for such training when only a handful of them will ever be able to make a living in that field. “I am glad I no longer teach doctoral students for careers in Biblical Studies,” Enns writes. “I would feel dirty.”

The world needs journalists and the church needs experts in biblical studies. Yet the world and the church are not currently in a position to employ either one. That does seem to make offering such expensive degrees a bit ethically dubious.

6. I bookmarked this post by Warren Throckmorton back in September, meaning to write something about it: “Politico on David Barton: What Will Evangelicals Do?” Throckmorton was responding to Stephanie Simon’s devastating piece, “Evangelical historian remains key ally of right.” Simon highlighted Barton’s “stunning” lack of credibility and integrity, but noted that none of that seemed to bother the Christian activists who regarded him as a useful advocate for their side. Throckmorton summarized:

Instead of integrity, accuracy, correction and stewardship, evangelical groups are openly discussing the value of content and consultants in utilitarian terms. If Mr. Barton can deliver a certain segment of evangelicals then the standards will be different for him. Mr. Barton gets a pass because he has a big audience and is perceived to be helpful politically.

Anyway, I didn’t get around to writing about this in September. Now it’s December and it seems Throckmorton’s question has been answered: “What will evangelicals do” in response to David Barton’s exposure as a mendacious hack? Nothing. Nothing at all. For white evangelicals, it seems, when it comes down to truth vs. tribalism, truth doesn’t stand a chance.

7. Here’s Ruthie Foster sauntering through a sultry “Ring of Fire“:

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  • chgo_liz

    I was so excited, because I love “Ring of Fire”, but no….the song requires speed and drive and passion, not gentleness.

  • aunursa

    #3 For those interested, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh is discussing the consolidated Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases all this week on his blog. Volokh is widely recognized as a First Amendment scholar. He will discuss what he believes are the key issues that the Supreme Court will address.

    Hobby Lobby, the Employer Mandate, and Religious exemptions

  • AnonaMiss

    Thanks for sharing this Aunursa. I appreciate you going out of your way to poke people who largely disagree with you into joining the discussion.

    (No sarcasm.)

  • Lorehead

    I note that the entire objection to contraception is based on the false premise that Ella or Plan B prevent implantation, and neither litigant even has a sincere religious objection to what those pills actually do. On the other hand, several of the ancient laws of Kashrut are also based on pre-scientific biological errors, and it seems clear keeping kosher is protected by the First Amendment. But at least those are ancient rules, not something a tribe of people made up ten minutes ago for their own convenience.

    I also note that a teetotaler has no “religious freedom” to order his employees not to use their wages to buy alcohol, even though that would make him even more directly complicit than if he paid for insurance that paid for them to buy alcohol. This “complicity” argument is just an excuse to let your boss order you to obey his religious beliefs in your personal life. Nor does someone with a sincere religious belief that no woman may ever be in a position of authority over a man have the “religious freedom” to discriminate based on sex.

    And absolutely no one seems to think that this alleged principle, that you need your boss’ approval to get health care, should be extended to every religion equally.

  • tricksterson

    Of course not! After all, those others aren’t “real” religions.

    As for the “no woman should ever be in a position of authority over a man” bit I’m sure it’s on their to-do list.

  • Lorehead

    Actual religious institutions, I know, are formally exempt from anti-discrimination law under the ministerial exception, and you might recall the case of the religious school which invoked that to fire a teacher for getting sick and raising their health insurance premiums.

    But the argument here is that any owner of any business should have exactly the same latitude to claim his Religious Liberty is being violated when he is not allowed to order his employees to obey his beliefs.

  • aunursa

    Why would an employer be more complicit in the purchase of alcohol if an employee purchases the booze with the employee’s own money than if the employer provides insurance that includes alcohol?

    And absolutely no one seems to think that this alleged principle, that you need your boss’ approval to get health care, should be extended to every religion equally.

    I think that any employer should be allowed to determine which if any insurance benefits to offer to all of his employees. I would support the right of an employer not to include health insurance as an employee benefit.

    I would also support the right of an employer to include health insurance as a benefit, but exclude from available plans coverage for abortion, Viagra, circumcisions, blood transfusions, or “X product or “Y” service (so long as all plans are available to all eligible employees irrespective of an employee’s gender, race, marital status, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc.; exceptions for commonly covered procedures are made clear to prospective employees; and current employees are given adequate notice (perhaps 6 months) for changes to available coverage.)

  • Lorehead

    Because if the employee purchases alcohol with the employee’s own insurance, there’s another layer of indirection. If the employer is “complicit” with the purchase of alcohol by giving insurance that could give money to pay for alcohol, he is even more directly “complicit” by giving money that could be used to pay for alcohol. And both are equally part of the employee’s compensation.

    A tougher case: the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam forbade women from seeing male doctors, or from being doctors themselves. Therefore, no woman under their rule could see a doctor. Can an employer take away health care benefits from all women and only women that way?

  • aunursa

    he is even more directly “complicit” by giving money that could be used to pay for alcohol

    An employer is not complicit in any purchases that his employees make with their own money. Once the paycheck is printed and delivered or the money deposited, it’s no longer the employer’s money — it belongs to the employee. What happens to that money is out of the employer’s control — so he has no complicity.

    Can an employer take away health care benefits from all women and only women that way?

    An employer cannot select physicians to be available for some employees and not others. An employer must offer the same plan(s) to all employees.

  • Lorehead

    Then he’s not “complicit” when the employee buys anything with his insurance—which is the employee’s, not the boss’. Once the check is printed and delivered …. And, in this case, the bosses are claiming pseudo-moral objections only to women’s health care.

  • aunursa

    The employer is responsible for whatever benefits she offers to her employees. If the employer offers Benefit “X”, then the employer could be considered complicit if the employee utilizes Benefit “X” as an employee benefit. If instead the employee purchases “X” with the money he earned in salary, in that case the employer is not complicit because she does not control what happens to money that pays salaries after the paycheck is issued.

  • Mouseketeer

    “The employer is responsible for whatever benefits she offers to her employees.”

    Just saying this doesn’t make it a convincing argument. You can just as easily say “The employer is responsible for whatever remuneration she offers to her employees.” Which includes how they spend their paycheck.

    If the employer objects to giving employees insurance that carries the option to cover birth control, why not also object to giving employees cash which carries the option to be spent on birth control? Obviously employers should also be suing for the right to pay their employees solely in vouchers to be spent on approved purchases only.

  • aunursa

    If the employer objects to giving employees insurance that carries the option to cover birth control, why not also object to giving employees cash which carries the option to be spent on birth control?

    Because it’s not the employer’s money. The employer is not responsible for how her employees choose to spend their own money. The employer is complicit only in what benefits she purchases or offers for her employees.

  • Lorehead

    Because aunursa said so, and he’s some guy on the Internet.

  • smrnda

    Just to make a point, I’m not a Marxist, but the money generated by any business is the result of the collective efforts of everybody. We’ve just come to accept that despite everybody playing a role in generating that revenue that it’s perfectly okay for a few people (who often do nothing but decide how to divide money up at the end) get to decide where it goes.

    Workers should just flat out rebel against any employer unwilling to provide better benefits or unwilling to open into negotiation over benefits.

    Edit – my take on employment is that employment is, generally, exploitation and coercion and domination on some level, so I see no problem with the government mediating (kind of a la Hobbes) in favor of the person with less power.

  • aunursa

    I support the right of workers to rebel against any employer who doesn’t compensate them what they believe they are worth. And I support the right of employers to replace rebellious workers with other workers who are willing to work for a mutually agreed compensation rate.

    I don’t support the government mediating in favor of one party at the expense of another party. I don’t believe that the government should favor the powerless over the powerful. Nor do I believe that the government should favor the powerful over the powerless. Picking winners and losers is not the proper role of government, nor is asset reallocation in order to make things more even.

  • P J Evans

    But you support positions which amount to ‘the government should favor the powerful over the powerless’. That’s what it is when you would allow employers to decide what employees can do with their compensation.

  • smrnda

    Neutrality in the face of inequality between two vastly unequal sides amounts to siding with the more powerful.

    Or cowardice.

  • aunursa

    But I wouldn’t allow employers to decide what employees can do with their compensation. I think I’ve made that quite clear on this thread. The paycheck belongs to the employee, and her employer has no right to dictate how she may or may not spend her own money.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    You are de facto supporting abusive employers. There are far more people who need work than there are jobs.

    You write as though the ability to quit a job and go elsewhere and the ability to whack an employee and hire another are equivalent. THEY ARE NOT.

  • smrnda

    No, I think it’s just that aunursa isn’t likely to be inconvenienced, and what happens to other people doesn’t concern him. Or else it’s the ‘gubbermint is icky’ philosophy, in which *his personal feelings of ick* about government regulation or intervention should overrule all else.

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

    False equivalencies are aunursa’s favorite argumentative fare, so…

  • smrnda

    So, existing power is okay and morally neutral?

    I guess we just totally disagree. You’re on the side of the powerful, however much you wish to pretend to be neutral, and as a person on the side of the powerful you support a system in which government non-intervention just means some people are likely born winners, and others can’t win. After all, the people who already have money pick who the winners and losers are, and how on earth did they get that? They occupied a continent through violence and then made their property claims legitimate.

    Question – do you support the right of an employer to fire a woman who is pregnant for becoming pregnant? Do you support the right of an employer to fire a pregnant woman for throwing up after denying her a bathroom break? Be precise and specific here, no rhetorical evasion.

    The purpose of government is not to simply sit on its ass and occasionally intervene to protect private property rights – a government derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and then ought to do what it can to serve the needs of all its citizens. For a government to simply state that it’s role is limited, and that if many citizens are screwed, too bad, is to admit that it is not a legitimate government but simply a special interest group for the hereditary winners.

  • aunursa

    do you support the right of an employer to fire a woman who is pregnant for becoming pregnant?

    No.

    Do you support the right of an employer to fire a pregnant woman for throwing up after denying her a bathroom break?

    No.

    Is that precise and specific enough?

  • smrnda

    Then how would this be prevented except through legislation that in some way restricts/limits employers? Employers often *choose* not to accommodate workers who are pregnant or disabled, and the process of demonstrating that an employer refused you adequate accommodation is prohibitively difficult, and doesn’t make doing so feasible for most workers. An employer violating ADA is a crime, but you can’t call the cops on them – you have to get an attorney.

  • aunursa

    Apparently you are under the impression that I believe that employers should be absolutely unrestricted, to be able to do anything they want, make any rules they want, and treat their employees any way they want. I have never suggested that. The fact that I believe that government intrusion in the employer-employee relationship does not mean that I believe that government intrusion should be nonexistent.

  • dpolicar

    I certainly agree that the former does not mean the latter.

    Of course, the absence of such a relationship also doesn’t mean the latter is false.

    So, just out of curiosity: do you believe the government should intrude into the employer-employee relationship?

    If so, how would you justify such intrusions?

  • aunursa

    It all depends on the rights to which an employee is entitled. I suspect that we disagree on the specific workers rights.

    If we were to agree on the rights, then it naturally follows that the government may intrude in order to guarantee that an employee’s rights are not violated.

  • Lorehead

    That’s easy, then. My rights are always being violated, while nothing I want to do ever violates anyone else’s rights.

  • Lorehead

    That was called scrip, redeemable only at the company store. Where the employer set the prices so that none of the workers could ever get out of debt. The employer also owned all the housing in the company town and gave it out as a benefit, so if he caught you talking about a union or supporting the wrong candidate, you lost your job and your home.

  • smrnda

    I think this is the world that many on the right would like us to return to. Some might just talk about it in terms of ‘religious freedom’ of ‘socialism’ but some really do want to bring back the old company town.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide benefits required by law. To somehow extrapolate that an employer bears some sort of moral responsibility for the choices their employee makes is ridiculous.

  • Lorehead

    Balderdash; balderdash and poppycock. A worker earned the part of her compensation paid in benefits as much as the part of her compensation paid in cash. Or if the boss pays his workers in grapes, can he then forbid them to make wine? If instead of paying money for food, he pays you in gift cards to the grocery, can he forbid you to buy grapes? If he tells you he won’t pay you money for rent, but he will pay your rent for you, is your apartment now his apartment? You’d give bosses absolute power to run every aspect of their chattels’—oh excuse me, I mean employees’—lives.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    It’s weird. aunursa seems to dislike intrusive government, yet appears totally comfortable with intrusive employers.

  • Lorehead

    An awful lot of that philosophy seems to boil down to declaring things “mine” on very arbitrary and self-serving grounds.

  • Lorehead

    Oh, and I don’t think there’s anything weird about it at all. Rich white men control most of the economic and social power in America today, so if you like the idea of rich white men getting their way, a rule that government may never prevent any abuse of economic power will suit you just fine.

    The off-and-on assertion that only the Federal government is utterly depraved and state governments are better is historically because white supremacists before and after Reconstruction could reliably control their state governments but not the Federal government, although people who still pay lip service to states’ rights today do not endorse slavery or segregation.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    …although people who still pay lip service to states’ rights today do not endorse slavery or segregation.

    Mostly. Well, out loud, anyways.

  • aunursa

    if you like the idea of rich white men getting their way, a rule that government may never prevent any abuse of economic power will suit you just fine.

    The race and gender of the person who signs my paycheck does not concern me. I’ve worked for white men, white women, black men, black women, Asian men, and Asian women. The power of a government concerns me far more than the power of any employer.

  • smrnda

    Then you must be incredibly privileged. Governments who regulate employers more than we do haven’t become dystopias, and our government has been pretty much a special interest group for businesses and wealthy people all while eroding civil liberties. The relative power of government is not a good or bad thing (as far as I’m concerned) – it’s what the government actually does.

    In the US, thanks to all the $$ buying our government, government and employers largely are the same, meaning that these 2 things do not stay separate. The lack of worker protections comparable to other industrialized nations are because the incredibly powerful lobby for employers makes the government express their will, instead of the will of most ordinary citizens.

  • aunursa

    Then you must be incredibly privileged.

    I regret that I don’t know what you mean specifically by that assertion.

  • smrnda

    Do you make minimum wage?

  • aunursa

    No, I make above minimum wage. I was previously unemployed for a considerable period of time. I worked at a fast food restaurant within the past five years. And I am currently employed in an office in which I report to a supervisor.

    So I still regret that I don’t know what you mean by the assertion that I must be incredibly privileged.

  • smrnda

    Incredibly privileged – you have had a job that did not pay minimum wage. Some people have never been so lucky.

    I was also pointing out that, in the absence of proper safeguards, employers will simply buy the government, turning the government into an instrument to do their bidding and eroding the rights and standard of living of workers. Our government has eroded civil liberties while at the same time being pretty much a tool of employers, so I do not so much fear the power of abstract ‘government’ – I worry about whose government it really is in the end. The US proves that limited government (more limited than most other industrialized nations) does not equal greater freedom for its citizens.

  • aunursa

    Your opinion is duly noted. I suspect that most people would define “incredibly privileged” far more narrowly than you do.

  • smrnda

    I’ve seen what it’s like for people on the bottom, so I tend to be more concerned with the welfare of those people.

    I also sometimes ask is a person has any chronic health conditions or disabilities. Imagine what would happen to mentally ill people if employers could decide, based on religious beliefs, that they did not have to offer treatment. It’d be a step towards the dark ages, not forward.

    I occasionally refine the term further, but for the purposes of this discussion, it’s good enough.

  • aunursa

    As I said, I’ve been unemployed for a period of time in which money was very tight and I would have been happy to have any type of job. I’ve also volunteered in food kitchens and at San Francisco’s PHC, so I have also seen what it’s like for people who are “at the bottom.”

  • smrnda

    In some ways I’ve been very privileged, but I also have a few chronic health conditions. Epilepsy, have schizo-affective disorder. I’ve been working for a while, but I’m also alive and not dead thanks to the existence of government disability and the luck of having had health insurance. Working for an employer who decided that, for reasons of ‘personal belief’ they don’t support mental health would be rather bad for me.

    I’m also aware that my ability to deal with these things successfully is entirely a factor of my own privilege. Most people with my diagnosis are not doing so well.

    I volunteer as well, but outside of a few areas, my volunteering has just made me doubt that most social problems can be solved that way. One of the few things I think is better in private hands – I do a prison literacy program and it’s probably better to have non-prison-employees do that just since I’m sure there would be substantial censorship going on, but so far, the evidence out there in the world is that whatever we do in the US does not seem to work for much of anything.

  • Lorehead

    I’m sorry that people are making this so personal rather than debating your ideas.

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

    There are jobs that pay as much as minimum wage?

  • Lorehead

    That’s an if, but not an only if. I take you at your word.

    That said, a lot of libertarian positions are neutral on their face, but happen to work well for rich white men and badly for most black people, who aren’t rich.

  • wendy

    The reason you’ve worked for people who aren’t white or aren’t men… is because the government exercised power to declare that henceforth white men shall no longer be the only people with the opportunity to get in the promotion pipeline and earn their way to bossness.

    Lots of employers thought that was government overreach. Barry Goldwater, Jesse Helms, and many others ran Senate, Governor and Presidential campaigns specifically (sometimes entirely) on a platform of ending such offensive government intrusion into private sector business decisions.

    For you to declare that the race and gender of the person who signs your paycheck doesn’t concern you… is because this happened long enough ago that it’s not a Fresh Outrage, it’s Something You’re Used To And Thus Obviously Proper.

    That’s what it means to be conservative. You only want What Is to continue, you’re uncomfortable with What Could Be.

  • smrnda

    It’s the usual philosophy of many conservatives and libertarians. They don’t dislike authority or intrusiveness, they just dislike it when a somewhat liberal government does it in the interests of people who are less privileged. Basically, it’s a feudal mindset, with employers becoming feudal lords and workers being serfs.

  • Lorehead

    You can extend this analogy pretty far: real power is not in the formal laws, but in ownership of property and private agreements. The real limitations on government either (like Magna Carta) restrict its power to interfere with the barons or consist of the church making moral demands, which are always harsher on the powerless than the powerful. We live in a perfectly just world in which each person deserves his station in life and must never question it, no matter how blatantly unfair it might seem. Inherited wealth and power (over Koch Industries, say, or Cato) counts as yours and it’s immoral even to tax it, but any gift to the poor, even of food, is not really theirs and should come with degrading conditions lest having anything they didn’t truly earn destroy their work ethic. If you’re not the right ethnicity and religion, you have no rights except to leave if you don’t like how you’re treated. I could go on.

  • smrnda

    My take is usually that private wealth and power is one form of power, and the law is another, and that allowing them to balance each other out is the right way to handle things.

    Libertarians and Randroids like to define ‘power’ and ‘coercion’ to mean government action and government action only, but using funny definitions to make thoughts you don’t agree with *unthinkable* is *doubleplusungood*

  • aunursa

    A worker earned the part of her compensation paid in benefits as much as the part of her compensation paid in cash.

    The government requires that an employer provide benefits to his employees. I don’t believe that the government should have that authority. It should be up to each employer to decide which non-salary benefits he wishes to offer.

    if the boss pays his workers in grapes, can he then forbid them to make wine

    No. Once he’s paid their salary, the grapes belong to his employees to eat, sell, make wine, or use for tiddlywinks.

    he pays you in gift cards to the grocery, can he forbid you to buy grapes? If he tells you he won’t pay you money for rent, but he will pay your rent for you, is your apartment now his apartment?

    No. Employers should be required to pay employees a monetary salary unless they mutually agree on another form of payment. (And to answer what I anticipate to be a follow-up, NO, an employer should not be able to make employment decisions based on whether an employee agrees to non-monetary compensation.)

  • Lorehead

    But aren’t grapes a benefit? Why wouldn’t the complicity argument apply equally?

  • aunursa

    According to the example, the grapes are compensation…

    if the boss pays his workers in grapes

    I take that to mean grapes in lieu of money.

  • Lorehead

    If an employer didn’t offer health insurance as a benefit, wouldn’t he have to offer more money? Or even if required, doesn’t that enable him to offer less money? Thus, isn’t that also a benefit in lieu of money?

  • aunursa

    If an employer doesn’t offer health insurance, he might choose to offer increased salary in order to attract talent. In that case his employees might choose to spend the extra money on health insurance. I regret that I fail to see your point.

  • Lorehead

    If the benefits employer and employee negotiate have any value, then there is some larger amount of money they could have agreed on instead of the benefit. Thus, all benefits are benefits in lieu of money and your argument collapses.

    You’re handing over a lot of control to the employer because of very minor differences in the fine print of the contract. The employer hands you money to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchange? That’s your money and your insurance. The employer pays for the policy himself? That’s his insurance and he gets to tell you how you can use it. The employer gives you no insurance, and pays you so little that you qualify for Medicaid, for which he pays taxes? You can’t religiously object to how the government spends your taxes (There are a few exemptions for groups such as the Amish).

  • aunursa

    * An employer pays you a higher salary which you can use to purchase your own health insurance or for any other purpose.
    * An employer offers certain health insurance plans as part of a benefits package.
    * An employer pays you a lower salary and no benefits.

    I have worked as an employee in each position. And I support the right of each employer to offer any of those options to prospective employees. The employers who pay the highest salaries and offer the most generous benefits packages will attract the most talented and loyal employees.

  • Lorehead

    At the very least, isn’t it problematic that the tax code favors option number two, if option number two is the one that gives the employer the maximum control over his employees’ most personal decisions?

  • P J Evans

    Insurance is part of the compensation for the job. That’s why employers should keep their religious views to themselves.

  • aunursa

    No, insurance is part of the benefits package in addition to compensation.

  • smrnda

    Are these truly objective terms, like “Hydrogen” or “Helium” or just conventions? I’d say conventions.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    It’s a distinction without meaning for the vast number of working stiffs in the USA.

  • Lori

    Benefits are part of compensation, not in addition to it. This is why the term “total compensation” exists. I think it’s highly unlikely that you are unaware of this, which makes your attempt to sell this line of bullshit extra stupid and annoying.

  • smrnda

    Shorter version – you believe employers can do whatever when it comes to health insurance, and employees can just get thrown under the bus.

    In any situation where there is a conflict of interest, we *can* decide that the weaker party should just accept being screwed, but I don’t think that’s particularly ethical.

  • aunursa

    Shorter version – you believe employers can do whatever when it comes to health insurance, and employees can just get thrown under the bus.

    No, that is not my position.

    My position is that employers should be able to offer all employees and prospective employees the same set of benefits. Those employers who choose to offer the most attractive benefits packages will attract the best talent and the most loyal employees. Those employers who offer less will attract employees who are less loyal.

  • P J Evans

    You generally only find out all the benefits after you’re hired. Pay, before, maybe.

  • aunursa

    I support having employers identify the salary range and benefits package when recruiting employees. Many employers list employee benefits on the jobs portion of their website.

    I would support requiring employees to identify any commonly offered benefits that they do not offer. For instance, if an employer decides not to offer health insurance that includes birth control, he could be required to disclose that information to prospective employees. And prospective employees and consumers could make their purchasing decisions based on such information.

  • dpolicar

    Are there any working conditions you support preventing employers from establishing for their employees, if said employers identify/disclose those conditions to prospective employees?

    If so, on what basis do you justify preventing an employee from agreeing to work under those conditions?

  • aunursa

    I regret that I don’t understand your question the way it is worded. Please clarify or offer examples of working conditions with which I can agree or disagree.

  • dpolicar

    Well, I can try to clarify, though I kind of feel like I’m just repeating myself.

    You support employers being free to offer or not offer certain benefits, including (for example) health insurance that includes birth control.

    Do you similarly support employers being free to offer or not offer health insurance at all?

    Being free to offer or not offer OSHA-compliant workplaces?

    Being free to offer or not offer 40-hour, 80-hour, etc. workweeks?

    Being free to offer or not offer workplaces free of toxins?

    More generally: are there any working conditions you think employers ought to be prevented from offering their employees?

  • aunursa

    Do you similarly support employers being free to offer or not offer health insurance at all? Yes.

    Being free to offer or not offer OSHA-compliant workplaces? No.

    Being free to offer or not offer 40-hour, 80-hour, etc. workweeks? I support laws that require that employers pay overtime rates for hours worked above 8 in a day and 40 in a week.

    Being free to offer or not offer workplaces free of toxins? No.

    More generally: are there any working conditions you think employers ought to be prevented from offering their employees? I believe my responses above answer this question.

  • dpolicar

    They do, yes. Thank you.

    So, if I said “Employers should be free to offer non-toxin-free workplaces, as long as they announce that ahead of time; prospective employees can then make the decision to work at toxin-free workplaces or not, as they choose; presumably employers will have to offer more money to attract equal-quality employees to their non-toxin-free workplaces,” I infer you would disagree with that statement.

    Why would you disagree with it? Why is that wrong?

  • Lorehead

    Aunursa can speak for himself, but speaking only for myself, here’s why I think health insurance shouldn’t be as negotiable as other benefits.

    Basically, it isn’t really insurance; it’s just cost-sharing. Nobody can credibly promise never to get sick or injured, and insurance companies aren’t allowed to turn anybody down. Even before that was the case, what you had were serious problems with adverse selection and asymmetrical information, and a system that did not work for people with pre-existing conditions or who changed jobs at all. Current law is trying to make everyone sign up for insurance, bringing down the average premium and drastically reducing the number of unpaid medical bills.

    But if you’re going to do that, you need a minimum quality standard; you can’t just let someone buy a policy for a dollar with a million-dollar deductible and call that his insurance. Therefore, even aside from the problems that this is an intrusion onto employees’ privacy, a double standard that harms women, and one that makes it harder to get birth control when it should be easier, it should not be possible to exempt yourself from cost-sharing.

    And, again, this benefit is really part of the employees’ compensation that happens, for tax reasons, to be cheaper to offer as a non-cash benefit. But that isn’t really a very important moral distinction. What happened was that, back during the war, Congress was worried about inflation, and thought that getting employers to offer non-cash benefits instead of cash would help hold wages and inflation down. So, they gave employers this tax break, and it’s never been repealed.

  • aunursa

    Employees are entitled to safe working conditions.

  • dpolicar

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth here, so let me know if I’ve got this right… it sounds like you would agree that there are some things (such as safe working conditions) which we consider employees entitled to and which we therefore ought not, as a society, allow an employee to trade away… even if they are willing to do so (e.g., in exchange for more money).

    Is that a fair statement?

    It sounds like a 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek (with overtime pay for excess) is similarly something you consider an employee entitlement (for hourly-wage workers, at least).

    Are there other things you consider employee entitlements?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    “And why do you keep making air quotes when you say that the compensation package includes “health care”?”

    “Well, are you a man or a woman?”

    “A man.”

    “Oh, okay. It’s health care then. It’s only “health care” if you’re a woman.”

  • smrnda

    But owing to the fact that thanks to a post-industrial economy there aren’t enough jobs to go around, so it’s a buyer’s market for labor. Unless there is a labor shortage (which is kind of impossible at this point) there is no market force which would cause employer to have to compete for workers, outside of rare cases of highly specialized labor.

    Ever wonder why so many people take such shitty jobs instead of taking better ones? That’s why. There aren’t enough good jobs to go around.

  • Lorehead

    But you’re not merely arguing that; you’re arguing that compensation in the form of cash counts as the employee’s, to do with as she likes, but compensation in any form other than cash (or apparently grapes) counts as the employer’s, and therefore he can attach conditions to it.

  • aunursa

    No. I am arguing that the employer is entitled to choose any level of monetary compensation (subject to the minimum wage) and offer any other benefits that he chooses in order to attract the best work force. Once the employer and employee have agreed on a salary (and, if offered, a benefits package) the compensation and benefits belong to the employee to use as she chooses.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    I don’t think that’s actually all that terrible now that I think of it; it’s kinda bizarre that we would mandate that the employer has to pay the employee in the specific form of health care defined by certain specific definitions. Once you’re going to say the employer can pay the employee something other than money, it’s weird that we go on to say “And that non-monetary compensation can be pretty much anything you negotiate… Except for non-all-inclusive health care.”

    Frankly, it’s bizarre and wrong that we’re mandating that employers pay their employees in healthcare. Where aunursa goes wrong isn’t there, it’s in his insistance that healthcare isn’t a universal right.

    Employers *shouldn’t* be required to pay employees in all-inclusive-health-care. They should be required to pay their employees in money. Everyone should just get health care for free. The government is forcing employers to do this bizarre health care thing because the fuckers in the GOP won’t let the government do it’s actual constitutionally mandated job of ensuring the public welfare by socializing healthcare.

  • Lorehead

    I also agree that there shouldn’t be an employer mandate (President Obama delayed it, so there currently is none in effect), albeit for different reasons. You can’t really attribute the lack of a public option or single-payer to the Republicans, since they decided to stage a paranoid freak-out over anything Barack Obama supported. It was the Senate Democrats who insisted on a bill without a public option.

    But, however people get their healthcare, it does need to be comprehensive, because by definition health-care coverage that isn’t comprehensive leaves some people out. If they’re sick, that’s bad for them, and if they’re healthy, it raises the average cost for everyone else.

  • RidgewayGirl

    So it would be fine to offer all employees the same health insurance, that covers everything except anything to do with the testes, prostate and penis. The insurance is offered equally to all employees. There’s nothing unfair about this?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Personally, I think that perhaps it should be fine for employers to offer any health insurance plan they can get.

    But it should quite obviously be illegal for any health insurance company to offer such a plan. It should be illegal the same way it’s illlegal to sell horse and call it beef, to sell melanine and call it milk, or to sell delicious tuna-and-broken-glass subs.

  • smrnda

    Some people have just gone ahead and said that these people *sincerely believe* that contraception causes abortion, so the actual truth of the matter be damned. Of course, we are living in a society where people who say the world is 6000 years old are expected to be given polite treatment because it’s a *sincerely held religious belief* so the idea of facts not being seen as relevant by many is no surprise.

  • Lorehead

    It’s difficult to formulate this principle in a way that’s fair to everyone, but intuitively, there’s a pretty big difference between a community that sticks to long-standing customs even though they’ve become inconvenient in the modern world, and an individual declaring that his personal opinion is a religious belief because God agrees with him, so now he should always get his way. And nobody else gets to use this excuse on him: his religion is special.

  • smrnda

    I think a lot of it has to do with the extent to which one’s adherence to religious beliefs starts to affect other people.

    It’s probably also wrong to privilege older religions in a way, but the absurdity of letting anything fly under ‘religious belief’ means one could create a new religion just to get around laws you don’t like, and then it puts a government in an odd position of defining legitimate and illegitimate religions.

  • Lori

    Keeping kosher yourself is protected. I don’t know that insisting that the lunch room at your secular business be kept kosher is protected. I’m sure that expecting the employees of your secular business to keep kosher at home or receive lower pay is not protected.

    No one gives a horse’s behind if the people who run Hobby Lobby want to go full Quiverful. The problem is that they’re demanding to be allowed to effectively pay their female employees differently than their male employees based on their notion that other people should not be using birth control. I have no idea what the wingnuts on SCOTUS are going to say about that, but what they ought to say is, “Not just no, hell no.”

  • Lorehead

    There is a very important difference between following a set of rules yourself, and complaining how much it hurts your feelings when other people don’t follow the rules you made up for them.

    Edit: And no, “It’s against my religion to treat those people I hate decently,” does not count as following a set of rules yourself.

  • Lori

    Yes there is. If only Hobby Lobby and our resident protector of their butthurt could grasp that we wouldn’t be wasting time on this stupid, selfish, self-righteous bullshit.

  • smrnda

    I don’t even buy their *complicit in evil* argument. If a Christian could not through commerce finance an action they believe to be evil even in part, then Christians would be out of business, period, any business. They could never sell guns or weapons because then they might be complicit in murder.

    They clearly only pull this out when it comes to sexuality, which is their favorite place to get judgmental. No Christian hotel operator has (so far) objected to housing people who might potentially be praying to the wrong gods in their hotel room – would they turn down a Muslim holding a prayer rug since the Muslim will use their hotel room as the site of non-Cristian prayer? – just same-sex couples wanting the same beds (or unmarried opposite sex couples.)

  • Lori

    Exactly. The entire argument is crap. The bottom line is that some self-proclaimed Christians want to selectively control the sex lives of some other people and glibertarians think that anything an employer wants to do to an employee is hunky-dory. The rest of us are under no obligation to indulge any of that.

  • smrnda

    I had an argument with one guy, who eventually admitted that he’d only be consistent if, when asked “how to get to the mosque?” he would refuse to answer. Not sure if he changed his mind, but I hope he hasn’t been giving people bad directions since then. I think that demonstrated the absurdity of the ‘not complicit in evil’ deal.

  • Lori

    If he wants to be morally upright he can’t give bad directions because that would be lying. He has to either simply refuse to give directions at all or admit that he’s one of those people who thinks lying doesn’t count as long as you say you’re doing it for Jesus.

  • smrnda

    I think that was what caught him. He’d end up having to be a dick and say “I know where it is and I refuse to tell you!” And, in the end, that seemed rather dickish, so he admitted that it’s a bad case.

  • Lorehead

    Oh, Christian hotel operators used to reject Jews all the time, back when that was legal. And anybody was looking.

  • smrnda

    Should have noted that.

  • Guest

    #1 My favorite quote is “With regards to hip-hop, very few will disagree with the… cultural milieu from which it came from.” Does he want to say dirty black people in the big scary city but is afraid of being on the “Knockout Game”?

  • Cuniraya, Antichrist

    Ok, so I posted this and tried to edit it and somehow it’s now been kept as a Guest post. Disqus is plagiarizing me.

  • Ursula L

    Make that the nonexistent “Knockout Game.”

    I know most people here already know the “Knockout Game” is a racist and untrue urban legend, but on the chance that someone shows up who hasn’t heard about it, it’s best clearly marked as false, to avoid inadvertently promoting the false belief.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Whether it’s real or not (and I first heard it reported as real), the “Knockout Game” appears to be an Americanization of an actual British punk/skinhead phenomenon (probably with lotsa alcohol involved) called “The Happy Slap”.

  • AnonaMiss
  • Daniel

    Not punk or skinhead- Chav. Different thing altogether.
    And it wasn’t really a big thing, just as alfgifu says, a knee jerk panic when video in phones was a new thing, and when, as always, the poor were vilified for dressing badly and having devices too expensive for them to handle responsibly.

  • alfgifu

    an actual British punk/skinhead phenomenon (probably with lotsa alcohol involved) called “The Happy Slap”

    Er, I’m not sure whether ‘happy slapping’ is something I’d attribute to any specific group. There was a brief flutter of excitement back when videos on your phone was a new shiny thing, with generic ‘young people these days’ overtones. The original narrative was a bit toned down on the brutal violence as well – it was teenagers surprising someone with a slap, filming it and running away.

    The only credible case I ever heard about actually happened just outside the gates of my little sister’s school (my old school too). These were rich kids, and they picked on a classmate – ran up to him, slapped him around the side of the face, and filmed his angry response (mostly shouting as I recall). They all got in a lot of trouble with a range of irritated authority figures. That was as far as it went.

  • alfgifu

    Just to add – given that phones with cameras were relatively new and expensive at the time the stories started circulating, I wouldn’t be surprised if any other actual ‘happy slaps’ were also between middle class or wealthy teenagers.

    Of course, if it’s still going on, then that may have changed.

  • Cuniraya, Antichrist

    #1 My favorite quote is “With regards to hip-hop, very few will disagree with the… cultural milieu from which it came from.” Does he want to say ‘dirty black people in the big scary city’ but is afraid to sound racist? Or is he afraid to say what he really thinks because he’ll end up on the knockout game?

    #5 All learning is good learning. I think that learning a “useless” degree is great, because most jobs provide so much on the job training that having that outside knowledge prepares you for the work stuff that no one can ever really be trained for. See also David Foster Wallace’s address at Kenyon College commencement.

  • Lori

    All learning is good learning, but not all debt taken on in order to pay for learning is good debt taken on in order to pay for learning, which is the point. It’s true that many jobs provide a great deal of on the job training. The trick is getting the job and David Foster Wallace was never the hiring manager anywhere.

  • smrnda

    Most jobs these days try to avoid any on the job training, and many prefer to leave vacancies open rather than take a candidate they could probably train in a few week. It’s not, in the end, that rational for employers to act this way but it’s getting to be more of a norm.

    I work in software, and some companies will turn down *anyone* who doesn’t meet *every requirement* even when, sometimes, the difference between knowing and not knowing could be a 15 minute tutorial.

  • mattmcirvin

    Often that’s because the opening was actually created for the purpose of hiring some specific person, and the posting of a job opening and open solicitation of applications is a formal requirement that is not being taken very seriously.

  • mattmcirvin

    More generally, this may actually be rational behavior in a very tight job market. If you can actually get an applicant who already has the training, why train anyone? (It’s not rational once labor in the sector becomes more of a seller’s market.)

  • P J Evans

    When they’re asking for five years experience with something that’s only been available for four (or less), then you know they have someone in mind. Sometimes they’re trying to replace an in-house expert, though.

  • Jamoche

    Or HR just isn’t paying attention, and is using “five years” to mean “knows it really well”. Whenever new tech comes out, there’s always going to be a job listing asking for 5 years in it, even if it was invented last week.

  • smrnda

    Because some vacancies go empty for years, which can mean a lot of lost productivity. Once you’ve been *looking* for your dream candidate for about 8 months or more, if it would have taken a month to train someone that’s a lot of ground lost.

    People are not usually rational, employers being no exception.

  • Veylon

    They are rational, within their own context. There’s likely a higher social cost to pay within their circle if they have to spend extra money training someone than if they leave the position open. If failure occurs, the former is a deliberate act for which blame can be apportioned directly while the latter can be blamed on externalities.

    The people making the decisions often have different goals and motivations than the organizations on whose behalf they are making them.

  • Lindsay

    #1 makes me think of Mr. Show’s great sketch “Rap: the Musical.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG_rEqCivn4). I particularly love Bob Odenkirk’s turn as an “old gold tooth.”

  • Kitiara Uth Matar

    Um, hi: Blacksmith here. Well, person who at odd intervals hangs around a blacksmith’s shop, mostly doing go-fer and I-need-an-extra-hand-here kind of tasks. I’d call myself an apprentice, but *that* would be self-flattery of the rankest kind. But still.

    And frankly, thorough training in blacksmithery is *awesome*. People should be so lucky as to be able to just plunk down money and get blacksmith training. ‘Cause a blacksmith can make BANK. Doing custom ironwork for fences, door-handles, hinges, various other craft-made iron tchochkes of the sort wealthy folk pay a mint for: It’s a terrific skill.

    Plus, add in a few extra skills–i.e. welding, being a farrier, heck maybe even making swords for movies–and you’ve got the basis of a comfortable middle-class existence.

    I’d take being a master blacksmith over being, say, a Master of Arts in English six days a week and twice on Sundays.

    Apropo watch this: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/secrets-viking-sword.html

    (especially the part where he quenches the sword *IN OIL* and so for 10 seconds is just standing there with a burning broadsword in his hands…)

  • Kitiara Uth Matar

    Ah yes, found it: 46:49 on this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbLyVpWsVM

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    First of all, LOVE YOUR NAME!!

    Second, I watched that show about the Ulfbrecht, and it was really interesting, especially the part where it was stated that the steel it was made from most closely resembles Damascus steel. Which the Vikings likely didn’t know to make, until some Turkish people emigrated to where the Vikings live, which gives lie to a lot of the White supremacist ideas people have about that time in Europe.

  • Cathy W

    I was fascinated by the “knockoff” swords, with “Ulfbrecht” misspelled and made out of inferior steel, but found concurrently with real Ulfbrechts. Did Vikings recognize trademarks legally? Or was it more on the level of “If I put his mark on it, he’ll come after me for tarnishing his reputation, so I will carefully put something not entirely unlike his mark on it instead?”

  • Kitiara Uth Matar

    You mean like a quality Sorny electronics?

  • Cathy W

    Or Goochee bags, yup. :) I suppose there’s also a possibility that the people making the knockoffs had never gotten a good look at a real Ulfbrecht and were kind of guessing about what the mark should look like… I’m trying very hard not to wander off and look up statistics about the number of known Ulfbrechts versus the number of known Viking swords and figure out the odds of whether Bjorn the Random Norse Blacksmith had ever gotten a good look at one…
    (Meanwhile – you seem to be new. Welcome, and please don’t kill us with sheep.)

  • Otrame

    This old, fat white grandmother rather likes rap and hip hop. Not all of it, of course, but I like a much higher percentage of that than I do country. Eminem, Lupe Fiasco. Good stuff.

  • tricksterson

    I’ll admit that i dislike the overwhelming majority of rap and a smaller majority of hip-hop but I don’t consider the genres themselves evil, it’s just a matter of taste.

  • Lori

    Exactly. I don’t like much rap or hip hop, but I like a larger percentage of them than say, opera. I don’t consider rap, hip hop or opera evil, they’re just mostly not my thing.

  • friendly reader

    Forget about my employer interfering with whether I have a child – why should I have to devulge my personal, confidential medical history to my boss just to prove I’m taking hormone pills for non-contraceptive purposes and therefore should be covered?*

    Companies should not be allowed to pry into their customers’ medical histories. My boss is not my priest; my job is not my church.

    *I am assuming these companies would be okay with me taking the pill so that I can preserve my one remaining ovary, right? Please tell me they’re not that horrible…

  • Lori

    Hobby Lobby don’t give a crap about your one remaining ovary. Yes, they’re that horrible.

  • friendly reader

    I don’t know if it’s more or less gracious to assume that these guys don’t even know that birth control pills prevent ovarian cysts – mostly because I suspect that if you told them, they’d probably decide it was some lie or conspiracy by the left. :(

    I need my pills, and this case really scares me.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    I assume they’d just say “Ovarian cysts are part of God’s plan, unlike sluts having sex without being punished by forced childbirth” I call this attitude the “You can’t make an omlet without killing a few women” position ever since that North Carolina senator proudly crowed about how their latest anti-abortion bill would surely lead to women dying from backalley coathanger abortions because “Sure, some women will die, but you’ve got to have moral values”

  • Lori

    I think it’s safe to assume that at some point in this process someone interrupted their butthurt fest long enough to point out that hormonal birth control pills are necessary for things other than preventing pregnancy. They clearly do not care and their apologists think that it’s fine that they don’t care. When you point out to them that they are in effect saying that their butthurt is more important than your ovary they just get more butthurt.

    I’d say that they’re assholes, but assholes are useful.

  • Fusina

    “I’d say that they’re assholes, but assholes are useful.”

    Yeah. We need a new word for these… idiots…oh, right…only idiot doesn’t quite have the same irritation venting that asshole does.

    Fracking idiots could work–fracking is bad, idiots are–well–idiots, so yes, I think that is what I shall use instead.

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

    Also, that word has the advantage of being a homage to Battlestar Galactica. :)

  • Fusina

    Which I have liked in all its incarnations…yes, including the first run at it.

  • friendly reader

    After what I went through, I’m cool with calling them cysts.

    (That’s another thing – my whole surgery process cost me less than the equivalent of a $1000, because I was fortunately working overseas in a country with single-player nationalized healthcare. If it had happened to me while I was living in the US I’d have gone bankrupt.)

  • Jenny Islander

    Personally I favor “douche” for the added implication of “something that is actually not good for people but is pushed at them in the guise of help.” And then there’s “douchecanoe,” for douches who are really devoted to being douche-y.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Ever heard about the way the Catholic Church prefers their hospitals handle ectopic pregnancies?

    No, these people don’t really care about your reproductive health. They care about maintaining their self-righteousness and making people toe their line.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    I keep saying. For a religion most of whose doctrines were forged specifically to give the finger to neoplatonists, they really latched on to the whole “All our policies are derived from pure perfect abstract logic of forms and we must never deviate from it no matter how much the messy inferior world of matter might contradict it. Also, women have fewer ribs and teeth than men and light things fall slower than heavy things”

  • Daniel

    Sorry, but control of art by authoritarian/dictatorial systems is something I’ve been very interested in for a while, and I tend to see it everywhere. So #1 has sent me off on a bit of a rant.

    Not one of the speakers accepts that art can serve any non-didactic purpose. They all state that any musical form is there to tell you what to do, to reinforce an existing dogma rather than to confront you with new ways of thinking or offer you insight into the human condition. They are sure that the people who listen to reformed rap are not trustworthy, and cannot make a distinction between what they hear and what they actually think. They are using the same arguments regarding art as totalitarian governments- art serves an ideological purpose and we know exactly how that should be presented, anything else is at best suspect and at worst actually destructive. The really odd- to my ears anyway- part is when the final speaker starts talking about “how music makes you feel”. The idea that a feeling in itself can be a sin is literally thought crime.

    “Rap is the death rattle in the throat of a dying culture”. The rhetoric of decadence and depravity echoes the ideologies of dictatorial regimes throughout history. The call for moral and “cultural” purity (I suppose meaning “white”), “all the words must be true…and must make reference to God”- no thought, no questioning, everything must focus on the leader, to my ears is again quite scary*.

    And yeah, it’s racist as hell.

    And one of them says he’s worried about “getting sucked off the stage” which made me laugh. Bathos.

    *edit- I accept they’re talking about rapping about God, and so perhaps I’m reading too much into this here, but I would also assume there’s a lot of hymns and worship songs about people and their relationship with rather than to God as well. (Psalm 139 maybe?)

  • smrnda

    I *hate hate hate* that viewpoint. This seems to be why culture warriors throw such hissy fits over everything – if a character in a movie *does drugs* and nobody steps up and explicitly says “drugs are bad” and the character doesn’t end up dead or in jail, it’s an endorsement of drug use. The idea that it might just be simple realism (people living normal lives do drugs and within the space of events depicted in a film may not experience any negative consequences) doesn’t seem to compute.

    Some of the best works of art are morally decadent, and some of the most interesting and endearing characters are morally neutral or even a bit depraved because you can make characters like that interesting – it’s hard to have much of a story that’s just an extension of a list of “do this” and “don’t do this” expanded into skit form.

  • Daniel

    It’s a patronizing approach, but weirdly so- there’s the blatant paternalism of “you can’t be trusted with dangerous views, so I’ll tell you what’s ok and what’s not” but then there’s also the patronizing insult that you are unknowingly disingenuous, that you can’t really believe what you say you do and still enjoy something that represents that belief in different way. Implicitly they are accusing the people of not knowing their own minds, meaning they have to act as gatekeepers until such time as those people develop the requisite shell of prejudice, round about middle age, and can then be, grudgingly, passed the baton to tell future generations why any music/art/films/books they like are immoral.

    In terms of “immoral art” I’m with Wilde- art cannot be immoral, only badly done.

  • Daniel

    Alix- how are you? Haven’t seen you on here for a while- pardon me if I’m just being blind! Anyway, here’s another for the ongoing reading list of weird/decadent fiction- I’ve yet to read it myself but it has been described as the most Decadent of English Decadent books…

    http://www.donaldcorrell.com/shiel/shapfire.html

  • smrnda

    I think people who have this view are just incapable of actually appreciating art. Cultural warrior types live in a binary world with firm lines between the righteous and the wicked, in which nothing is ever morally neutral and where quite often the idea of any sort of neutrality is explicitly rejected. It’s people seeing smut in at who aren’t equipped to detect anything else.

  • P J Evans

    Or people who can’t see abstract art as any kind of art.

  • Daniel

    Or appreciate abstraction and nuance of any kind. It also shows itself in the desire to impose agency onto all experience- a particularly vivid dream, a moment of euphoria produced by adrenaline etc are seen as direct interventions by God, just as confusion, uncertainty, ambiguity are deliberate results of the Devil interfering. Nothing happens without some recognizably anthropomorphic agent being responsible. Therefore nothing can happen by happy chance, it has to be designed and deliberate- if you feel emotionally charged by a particular song it can only be because that particular emotion is what the artist was aiming for. If the emotion you feel is “bad” then the artist is evil for deliberately having made you feel that way.

  • Baby_Raptor

    In good news, the Supreme Court is refusing to hear “Liberty” University’s lawsuit RE Obamacare.

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/in-blow-to-religious-conservatives-scotus-refuses-to-hear-obamacare-lawsuit/news/2013/12/02/79530#.Upyy8dJDsZl

  • tricksterson

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong but did Liberty College actually expect the SCOTUS to hear an argument on a case challenging a decision it had already made?

    Oh and from lower down in the article, since when has Obama talked in “ebonics”?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I think they were hoping to push it from the BC angle.

    Maybe they were confusing his use of big words for “black slang”?

  • Lori

    All black people talk in ebonics. Obama is black therefore Obama talks in ebonics.

  • chgo_liz

    Even worse: “fake ebonics accent”.

    Which is what? The president speaks more properly than the vast majority of Americans of whatever color. If anything, he speaks very similarly to the well-dressed gentlemen from Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam (excellent diction, complicated sentence structure). Oh noes!

  • tricksterson

    So you admit he’s a sekrit Muslim then! Aha!

  • Lorehead

    He code-switches when he’s talking to a primarily-black audience, and he learned how to do that from his classmates as a teenager. People who think of the way black people speak to each other as inferior, rather than a different style that’s appropriate in the right situations, often can’t understand why he would use a blaccent (John McWhorter’s term) by choice, and interpret it as a form of condescension.

  • chgo_liz

    No, he doesn’t. Where did you hear that?

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

    Two of Canada’s greatest politicians, Brian Mulroney

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

    You do NOT get to mention “greatest” and “Brian Mulroney” in the same breath and CERTAINLY not next to “Pierre Trudeau”.

  • Lorehead

    The need to speak both French and Dutch is a very real thing in Belgium, most Flemish speak French much better than most Walloons speak Dutch, and when a Walloon became Prime Minister despite that, the Flemish mocked his poor Dutch.

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

    Jean Chretien was the butt of many jokes for being a person who spoke neither of Canada’s official languages. X-D

  • chgo_liz

    Referencing Malcolm X to a crowd more likely to recognize the source isn’t the same thing as “using a blaccent”. He does not ever speak in a way that would cause a (normal, sane) person to think of it as ebonics. (I used to know him personally.)

  • Lorehead

    I didn’t call it “Ebonics.” It’s subtle, but he has a kind of preacherly intonation he breaks out in some of his speeches sometimes, his -ings become -in’s, that sort of thing. Whereas most people who know him (maybe you can confirm or disconfirm this) agree that he usually talks in a General American accent. Which makes sense, given that he was raised mostly in the midwest by his white mom and grandfather.

  • chgo_liz

    “I didn’t call it ‘Ebonics.’”

    Ah, I see. I conflated the quote (which did refer to Ebonics) with your post about code-switching, in which you referenced “blaccent”. Thanks for catching that.

    “It’s subtle, but he has a kind of preacherly intonation he breaks out in some of his speeches sometimes, his -ings become -in’s, that sort of thing. Whereas most people who
    know him (maybe you can confirm or disconfirm this) agree that he usually talks in a General American accent.”

    Yes, totally. I think of his preacherly intonation during speeches as using a “professional voice” at work (we all do it….your kids can tell when you’re talking on the phone to your boss rather than a friend).

    “Which makes sense, given that he was raised mostly in the midwest by his white mom and grandfather.”

    Yup. As I often say to people: if this guy isn’t white enough for you, no black man is ever going to be white enough for you.

  • Lorehead

    I just noticed, when you quoted me, that I somehow left out his grandmother, the late Madelyn Dunham. My apologies to her.

    And yes, he never code-switches away from Standard English verb conjugation or anything of that degree. I couldn’t tell you how he talks to his brother-in-law in private, but I’m sure it’s different than when he speaks in the Rose Garden.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard Obama speaking in that slightly sibilant nerdy voice he always uses. Have a video clip of him speaking differently?

  • Carstonio

    I doubt that’s deliberate. I know several people who have the same habit. Around close friends from childhood or family members, they speak in whatever accent or patois they learned while growing up.

  • P J Evans

    His usual speaking voice is about as middle-west as you can get. Listening to him on, say, radio, you can’t tell his skin color. Bush had more of an accent.

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

    That’s what I want to know. Every speech he makes he pretty much sounds like… well, a newscaster, really. You know, with that cadence and speech pattern that doesn’t sound like any one place in the midwest US, but does have a general “northy” tone to it.

  • P J Evans

    He has about as much accent as my mother … who was from the same part of Kansas as his mother’s family.

  • Ivkra

    Re #5- I think the solution is that journalism programs need to change, not disappear. The most frustrating part of all this remains that we learn most of the necessary skills working on the paper (or the online section), not sitting in class. But now that classes have turned from “Bloggers Took Our Jobs” into “Writing for a news blog,” and “How to continue to function as an ethical journalist in the digital age,” it’s a lot better. I doubt that everyone in this degree will get a job in the relevant field – but then, most journalists I’ve known from the previous generation didn’t graduate with one either. These days, it seems to matter less and less what your degree is, so long as you have one. Hello, classism!

    Re #1- one of the things I have learned in my life is never to trust the tastes or morals of someone who has an immediate and negative reaction to rap as a genre.

  • AnonaMiss

    In My Experience, journalism students specializing in online news were really only learning how to google a topic and reword what they found on the first result.

    Not that I’m bitter about being grouped with one for a whole semester of a linguistics class that was cross-listed to English and Journalism for no apparent reason.

  • Ivkra

    Man, that sounds awful. ‘Round here, it’s just Print as a major, but you’re expected to know how to write news in an online style, for an online audience, with the same skills and ethics you would in print. That sounds like a godawful program.

  • Yawny

    Don’t fee bad. That’s how engineering students are taught to research online too.

    Imagine my dismay when I had to work with some graduating seniors and they truly did just grab the first Google-link for some information without checking it or even asking themselves where it originally came from and if it might be incorrect.

    Then there was that time that they flat out falsified their references…

  • GDwarf

    …Seriously? I’m in college for IT (Canadian equivalent of a US…I’m not sure, actually. Not a trade school, but not a university. Somewhere between the two), so there’s very little need for sourced research, and that style of “investigating” wouldn’t fly in my courses. Heck, that wouldn’t have flown in my high school courses.

  • Yawny

    Seriously.

    And this was a Tier 1 research institution.

    That placed a high value on its honor code.

    Anyway, as best as I can tell, the professors hated being in the classroom so much they just didn’t want to put in the effort to teach their students how to research and then give those papers an appropriate level of attention. And don’t get me started on the TAs. (OK, I’ll be fair. Some of the profs actually enjoyed teaching and just made the bad assumption that their students already knew how to research…being seniors and all.)

    Of course, none of this even touches on the graduate students who plagiarized Wikipedia and a random web source.

    On a one paragraph topic proposal.

    Yeah.

  • Hth

    Yes. Aspiring journalists: major in whatever the hell you want to major in. Probably choose something not too demanding. Then spend 16 hours a day working on-staff for your college newspaper.

    Nobody remembers what they learned in 80% of their classes anyway. Use your college years to start doing the job.

    (Posted from a household cluttered with way too much Daily Tar Heel memorabilia….)

  • Ivkra

    Hah. Yeah, I kinda wish I’d figured that out before spending two years on this major.

  • LoneWolf343

    When I was attending CofO (what I like to call the “Year of Hell,”) I had a good friend who wanted to be a pastor. I told him that he should take religious studies, but his mother was forcing him to take something more profitable, so he had picked journalism for his major. Poor bastard. I wonder what he is up to today…

  • JessicaR

    Slacktivist Charity Drive update, once again I’m bowled over by your generosity. We’re already over a hundred bucks guys. Donations are open until Dec. 20 to benefit the Ali Forney Center. Paypal is janinthepan at gmail dot com. Again thank you guys so much and no pressure if things are too tight this year to contribute.

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    (Guy reminds me of an evangelical Fred Armisen — which I guess means he
    could team up with, say, Riki Michelle for an improv series called Wheatonia.)

    Oh. My. God. I can see it all in my head.

    SCENE
    LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
    3:00 PM SATURDAY

    (Establishing shot of interior of coffee shop. Camera focuses on CALEB and MARY, who are wearing Wheaton College sweatshirts, sitting in front of Apple laptops, and leafing through leather-bound Bibles.)

    CALEB: So I was doing my daily devotionals today and god just really spoke to me.
    MARY: Really?
    CALEB: Yeah. I was reading this one passage that said something about how god said he’d help us in our struggles and you know how hard I’ve had things lately.
    MARY: You have?
    CALEB: Oh, yeah. I’ve had to take all of those tests for my Systematic Theology courses. And right in the middle of studying my IPod Touch broke so I had to switch to my Christian music station on Pandora but my wi-fi connection was really bad.
    MARY: Oh. Man. That’s rough.
    CALEB: Yeah. But I prayed about it and Jesus told me to just persevere and it would all get better.
    MARY: Would…would you like to pray about it now? Like, with me?
    CALEB: That would be great. Thanks.

    END SCENE

    SCENE
    MARIANO’S FRESH MARKET
    7:00 PM SATURDAY

    (Establishing shot of produce section of grocery store. JEFF is looking at tomatoes when CALEB walks in.)

    CALEB: Jeff? Jeff Peterson, is that you?
    JEFF: Um…Caleb?
    CALEB: Yeah! I haven’t seen you since high school! How are you doing?
    JEFF: I’m great. Just back for the weekend.
    CALEB: Where did you go to school again? Calvin?
    JEFF: No.
    CALEB: Trinity?
    JEFF: No.
    CALEB: Bethel?
    JEFF: No.
    CALEB: Gordon?
    JEFF: No.
    CALEB: Well it can’t be Biola, since you wouldn’t be back for the weekend from California.
    JEFF: I go to the University of Illinois.
    CALEB (blinks a few times): Oh. Wow. That’s great. I’ll bet that’s a fertile missions field. You must be really strong, since god called you to go there.
    JEFF (looking uncomfortable): Uh…sure.
    CALEB: So did you find a good church down there?
    JEFF: Not really.
    CALEB (looking like he’s about to be sick): Oh. Well, I’ll pray for you, man.

    END SCENE

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    7:00 AM SUNDAY

    (Establishing shot of church sanctuary. The pews are empty. CALEB, ETHAN, JENNIFER, MARY, and DAVID are practicing for the morning’s service.)

    CALEB: Okay, guys, let’s play “Jesus is the Bestest Ever.”
    (Band starts playing, something sounds off.)
    CALEB: Stop. Stop. (turns to JENNIFER) Jen, what are you doing?
    JENNIFER: I’m playing the song.
    CALEB: No, you’re playing “The Bestest Thing Ever is Jesus.” We’re doing “Jesus is the Bestest Ever.”
    JENNIFER: Oh…sorry. Which one is that again?
    MARY: It’s the one that goes, “Jesus/Oh Jesus/Oh oh Jesus/Oh, god, oh Jesus/Oh oh oh Jesus/You feel so good.”
    JENNIFER: I thought that was “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
    CALEB: I think we’re going to have to have some extra rehearsal time to go over the songs.
    END SCENE

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    1:00 PM SUNDAY

    (CALEB is sitting in an office. PASTOR BOB walks in.)

    PASTOR BOB: That was some really great singing today, Caleb. Where do you come up with them?
    CALEB: It’s all Jesus. I just pray, get my heart right with god, and then the songs kind of…happen, you know?
    PASTOR BOB: Well keep them coming.
    CALEB: Oh, I hope to, sir. I’ve got some extra rehearsal time tonight and I’m guessing something good will come out of it.
    END SCENE

    SCENE

    SUNRISE APARTMENTS
    9:00 PM SUNDAY

    (Establishing shot of the outside of an apartment building. Music from the morning’s service is playing over the shot.)

    JENNIFER: Jesus/Oh Jesus/Oh oh Jesus/Oh, god, oh Jesus/Oh oh oh Jesus/You feel so good.
    CALEB: Now you’re getting it. Let’s practice again.
    (Camera switches to an interior shot. CALEB and JENNIFER are lying naked in a bed. One of the songs from the morning is playing on the stereo.)
    JENNIFER: Why don’t we write a new song?

    END SCENE

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    7:00 AM THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY

    (Establishing shot of church sanctuary. The pews are empty. CALEB, ETHAN, JENNIFER, MARY, and DAVID are practicing for the morning’s service.)

    CALEB: Okay, everyone, we’re going to try our new song, “Come All Over Me Jesus.”
    END SCENE

  • John

    More! More!

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    I’m trying! I used up most of my material on the first episode.

    Although it’s nice to see that someone else likes it. I wasn’t sure it would even be funny to someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time in Wheaton. Hell, my primary reaction was, “Wow, this is dumb.” But now I’ve gone back and re-read it and made myself laugh, so I got that goin’ for me.

  • Amtep

    This is coffee-spewing good :)

    (and I don’t even drink coffee)

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    So I can spontaneously create nose coffee? That’s awesome. Also, my Band Name of the Day is now Nose Coffee.

  • Redcrow

    >>>CALEB: Okay, everyone, we’re going to try our new song, “Come All Over Me Jesus.”

    Great, now I have an accidental earworm. “This is where I’ll be, so heavenly – so come and sing with me, Jesus… Jesus, you’re the only Christ I’ll ever want…” etc.

    (With (in)sincerest apologies to Franz Ferdinand… the band, not the Archduke)

  • zmayhem

    This is perfect. Today, all the internets are yours. All of them, and a basket of kittens and some fresh-baked cookies. Genius, sir, GENIUS!

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

    “Okay, everyone, we’re going to try our new song, ‘Come All Over Me Jesus.'”

    Now I’m reminded of the Melissa Cherry interview from The Onion Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lqqCk8h6w8 (sound quality is terrible, but it’s the only clip I could find.)

  • LoneWolf343

    What’s particularly disgusting is that they seem to think that rap and hip-hop need to be redeemed in the first place. All they care about is that it is angry black music, and nothing as to whether the angry black songwriters have anything to be angry about.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    All-white panel of white Reformed evangelicals says that rap and Hip-Hop are musical forms that cannot be redeemed, only “transformed” into whiter musical forms.

    Just like the history of Ragtime, Jazz, R&B, and Rock & Roll…
    But then RTCs are famous for having NO sense of history.

  • Lori

    Let’s not forget the folks who just called it “race music.” I mean really, how does that come out of your mouth without you noticing that it makes no sense?

  • Baby_Raptor

    So, wait…If rap/hip-hop is blah people race music, then is country white people race music?

    And how do they account for Eminem?

  • Lori

    The term “race music” goes back to when blues, jazz and black gospel were starting to catch on with white audiences and the then-current version of 50 Shades of White were clutching their pearls about it.

    I assume that the current batch think more or less the same thing about Eminem that the first bunch thought about Elvis—of the devil.

  • http://myeckblog.blogspot.com/ myeck waters

    The default – White, male, Christian, Heterosexual – never needs to be identified. It’s one of the more subtle aspects of privilege.

  • tricksterson

    I would be willing to bet that, at best, their attitudes towards Ragtime, Jazz and R&B is a condescending and grudging acceptance based on their longevity. Rock and roll? Still the devil’s music unless it’s “Christian”.

  • http://www.lambpower.com/ Steve Dawson

    After listening to that video, I had a flashback to my High School days. They just replaced Rock and Roll with Hip Hop. The arguments were identical.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Instead of integrity, accuracy, correction and stewardship, evangelical groups are openly discussing the value of content and consultants in utilitarian terms. If Mr. Barton can deliver a certain segment of evangelicals then the standards will be different for him. Mr. Barton gets a pass because he has a big audience and is perceived to be helpful politically.

    AKA:
    “ONE OF US!
    ONE OF US!
    GOOBLE! GOBBLE!
    ONE OF US!”
    — Todd Browning, Freaks

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

    Re: The critique of art you don’t understand:

    Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

    Oscar Wilde.

  • LL

    #1: Thank goodness the panel addressed the grave threat of rap music and didn’t waste their time discussing, for example, AIDS in the black community.

    I watched this last night (and have seen it before, but it’s worth watching again):

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/endgame-aids-in-black-america/

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    They probably still think AIDS “only happens to gay men.”

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    Wheatonia, Episode 2:

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    11:00 AM SUNDAY

    (Establishing shot of the inside of a packed church sanctuary. PASTOR BOB takes the podium [ed. note: it’s best if you see Pastor Bob as a Bob Odenkirk character].)

    PASTOR BOB: Thanks to the praise band for their uplifting singing this morning. It’s amazing how god speaks to us through music. I especially liked that new one, “Jesus Come On All Our Heads.” Now let us pray.
    Jesus god we come before you today humbled. We’re on our knees before you, like we just sang in the song. Lord Jesus god while we’re on our knees, Jesus, we pray that you would come all over our heads, Jesus. Rain down on our heads like manna from heaven, Jesus god lord. We ask, Jesus lord god savior, that you take us to the promised land filled with milk and honey, savior Jesus lord god. King Jesus savior lord god please rain your milk all over our heads while we kneel before you.
    In your name we pray, Jesus lord king savior god.
    Amen.
    END SCENE

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    3:00 PM TUESDAY

    (Establishing shot of PASTOR BOB’S office. PASTOR BOB is working on something. BRENDAN and AMANDA enter.)

    PASTOR BOB: Ah, good to see you guys.
    BRENDAN: Good to see you, too, pastor. Thanks for moving the appointment.
    PASTOR BOB: No problem. It’s important to make sure you both go through your premarital counseling on time.
    AMANDA: Yeah, about that. I was going through the workbook you gave us and I don’t think that it’s right for people in our…situation.
    PASTOR BOB: What? You’re engaged.
    BRENDAN: Yeah…but I’m 45. I’m divorced. Amanda is 39 and her husband died in Iraq. We’re not a couple of college kids who don’t know what’s going on.
    PASTOR BOB: I’m sorry. I don’t follow.
    AMANDA: Well, there’s this bit here (opens up workbook and begins reading): “Babies are a true gift from god. All married couples should make it their primary task to glorify god by having as many babies as quickly as possible.”
    PASTOR BOB: My wife gave birth to our first son 11 months after our wedding. We have six kids now. I don’t see why that’s a problem.
    BRENDAN: I already have a son from my first marriage. He’s in college.
    AMANDA: I have two daughters. They’re both in high school. Neither one of us wants another.
    PASTOR BOB: So you’re not virgins?
    (BRENDAN and AMANDA look at each other in confusion.)
    BRENDAN: No. You…you’ve met my son. His name is Ethan and he plays in the praise band.
    PASTOR BOB: Oh. Well I’m disappointed.
    AMANDA: Yeah, we are too.
    PASTOR BOB: Well that’s good. As long as you take time to pray for your sins we can move on.
    AMANDA: No. We’re disappointed in the book.
    PASTOR BOB: Oh, um–
    AMANDA: And there’s this part (flips pages): “God is glofied through men. As such, if the man is eclipsed god’s power is diminished. The role of a wife should be to support her man, primarily through raising the children to glorify his power. She should not seek employment. If she does have a job she should quit.”
    PASTOR BOB: Yeah. My wife stays home to raise our children.
    BRENDAN: Amanda makes four times what I make. I can’t support both of us on my salary, let alone our children.
    AMANDA: Yeah. And I worked long and hard to get up to my position as Vice President of Development. While raising two daughters. With a husband who was gone for years at a time on deployment.
    PASTOR BOB (leans forward, folds hands together): What I’m hearing here is that you two aren’t ready or able to handle the commitment of marriage.
    AMANDA: I…um…I think you’re right. We clearly have not thought through our decision to get married in your church.
    (BRENDAN and AMANDA leave. PASTOR BOB stares after them, then shakes his head and goes back to work.)
    END SCENE

    SCENE
    LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
    4:00 PM TUESDAY

    (Establishing scene of coffee house. CALEB, ETHAN, and EMILY are sitting around a table. ETHAN has his arm around EMILY.)

    ETHAN: So I’m thinking of going and asking Pastor Bob for premarital counseling, but I think that might be weird.
    CALEB: Why?
    ETHAN: Well, he’s also handling my parents’ counseling. So…y’know.
    CALEB: Yeah. I guess.
    EMILY: We’ve been praying about it. A lot.
    CALEB: Well, I’m going to be a pastor. Maybe you can practice on me.
    ETHAN: Cool, man. Thanks.
    CALEB: First of all, you guys are staying pure, right?
    (ETHAN and EMILY share an uncomfortable look.)
    CALEB: Guys?
    ETHAN: Well, um, we were. Then we got engaged and…y’know, things started to get a little hot and heavy.
    CALEB: Like what?
    EMILY: Well, last night ETHAN walked me back from our Monday Bible study and we…kissed.
    ETHAN: And we kissed after church on Sunday, too.
    CALEB: That’s not so bad. Have you prayed about it?
    EMILY: Yeah. I pray about it a lot. And I all want to do when I’m praying is kiss Ethan.
    ETHAN: And she let me touch her breasts once. Over the shirt, of course.
    CALEB: Whoa. That’s way too far. And it’s probably an indication that something else is happening. Is there anything else?
    ETHAN: Well…yeah.
    CALEB: What?
    EMILY: Y’know…butt stuff.
    CALEB: Butt…stuff?
    EMILY: Yeah. I bend over, pull down my pants, and he…y’know, butt stuff.
    CALEB: Oh.
    END SCENE

    SCENE
    SUNRISE APARTMENTS
    9:00 PM TUESDAY

    (Establishing shot of the outside of an apartment building.)

    CALEB: So I was talking to ETHAN and EMILY today and I found out about something.
    JENNIFER: What?
    CALEB: Well, it turns out that if you do butt stuff it’s not technically having sex. So, y’know, less guilt.
    (JENNIFER’S eyes widen.)
    END SCENE

    SCENE
    COLLEGE CHURCH
    10:30 AM THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY

    (Establishing shot of the inside of a packed church sanctuary. JENNIFER is at the front of the praise band.)

    JENNIFER: I want to sing a song I wrote just this week. I call it, “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.”
    END SCENE

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

    Oh my god, that was such a great punch line at the end :D

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    Thanks. I worked on that one for a bit and suddenly just kinda knew I had the right wording. Mostly because it made me giggle.

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

    You have, of course, seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY

    It does not contain your punchline, though, so I think you’re good.

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    I think I saw it once. At least it’s not entirely unfamiliar to me. Either way, that’s very much not what I was going for, since they’re rather more on the nose than I’m intending.

    That’s actually the difference between Portlandia and, say, someone who just labels everything he doesn’t like “hipster crap.” Garfunkel and Oates are very obviously just making fun of something in a rather mean-spirited and obvious way. You don’t have to know or understand anything about the evangelical subculture to get, “Hey, they’re pointing and laughing.” I mean, they start the whole thing with a disclaimer that gives away the entire plot and then it’s four minutes of, “How many times can I say ‘fuck’ and ‘ass?'” and “Oh, look, it’s a cute girl offering bend over and let you shove it in the out hole. Isn’t that edgy?” That’s edgy Dane Cook edgy right there, I tell you what.

    I grew up in the evangelical bubble. I still live in Wheaton. I think the entire game is absurd and several things I’ve put into Wheatonia come from my experience or experiences my friends had. But I don’t want to just point and laugh as an outsider. It’s why Portlandia works as a point of comparison. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein obviously love Portland but find the place to be absurd. It wouldn’t work if it was just a bunch of sketch comedies about how goddamn awful Portland and hipsters are because there wouldn’t be any reason to keep going back.

    That’s why I got about two minutes into “The Loophole” and thought, “Screw this,” and stopped the video. It’s just…mean.

    Also, I am convinced that “the loophole” is largely an urban legend. I’ve heard about it from several sources but they’re all sources outside of the evangelical community. Some of the sources were just people who didn’t know and were repeating what they’d heard from a fourth party, so there’s that. But since an awful lot of people who are outside of the evangelical community seem to think there’s always some sort of deeper, darker, ulterior motive behind what everyone does and no one REALLY believes the crap they talk about, I’m prone to think that the claims of wide spread teenage butt sex are mostly artifacts of the minds of people who want to imagine, well, wide spread teenage butt sex. I’m not saying it’s never happened and never will happen. I’m saying that if a story sounds too good to be true and like the sort of thing the creepy guy on the bus who keeps staring at a 13 year-old girl on a bus would fap about when he gets home…it might not be quite so much of a real thing as everyone imagines.

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    That Ring of Fire bit is… utterly beautiful. I think I’ll put it on repeat for a while…

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I like that sign. But it would be even better if it said, “All Your Atheist Are Belong to Us.”

  • William Farrar

    As a lover of Brutal Heavy Metal I miss the days when it was alone on top of the evil music heirarchy.

  • Ian

    #6 – from the article:

    “I remain available to whoever wants to move that ball down the court,” Barton told POLITICO.

    Massacre metaphors, much?

  • Carstonio

    That bashing of rap and hip-hop sounds just like the older bashing of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, and for good reason – it’s the same racist desire for cultural purity. I love the fact that music is a common language and that influences cross-pollinate all the time, and there’s nothing that folks like the reformed evangelicals can do about it.

  • Carstonio

    My one major lapse into “what’s with these kids today” is my lament over the demise of 1980s politically oriented rap like Public Enemy.