7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.3)

1. Emily Graslie’s Brain Scoop is delightful. Graslie’s official title is chief curiosity correspondent for the Field Museum in Chicago, and the enthusiasm she brings to that — her relish for science even at its grisliest — is contagious. It’s hard not to get hooked by a blog that announces things like “Filmed the dissection of this squirrel with a terrible abscess today for an upcoming episode!” with such cheerful excitement — even if dissections and, say, zebra taxidermy aren’t quite your usual cup of tea.

Graslie made waves recently with a video on a slightly different topic — the abusive, sexist crap and bullying that women shouldn’t have to put up with online:

2. Here’s Sarah Jones on Doug Phillips, the Vision Forum, and the way “the Christian patriarchy movement grooms young women for abuse.” And here’s NPR’s Jennifer Ludden with “Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage.” Those two pieces have a great deal in common.

3. “This study examines the question of whether infants and children fare better in U.S. states that have the most restrictive abortion laws. Eighteen indicators of infant/child health, family, economic, and educational status are analyzed. The empirical evidence finds that states with the most antiabortion policies are also the same states that have significantly lower indicators of infant/child well-being.” (via Jay Lake)

4. The Christmas lights are up at my house. The eaves in the front are about 40 feet long, so we bought three strands of lights that said they were 13 feet, 8 inches long. That came up about a foot short, so I went back to the store. “Those sometimes run a little short,” said the very nice lady at the store. I bought the next size up — 15 feet 5 inches, it said.

But when I replaced the 1-foot-too-short 13-foot strand with the 15-foot strand it came up two feet too short. I laid them out side by side. Yep, the 15-foot strand was shorter than the 13-foot strand. So I went back to the store, again. “Those sometimes run a little short,” said the very polite lady at the store. Notice how I switched “nice” to “polite” there. That’s the difference.

5. Peter Enns shares the wisdom of Molly Worthen: “Evangelicalism and the anti-intellectual cult of the ‘Christian worldview.'” And see earlier here: “Weltanschauung” and “The ‘biblical worldview’ doesn’t come from the Bible.”

6. Al Mohler chimed in on that mortifying panel of white Christians ignorantly dismissing all rap and Hip-Hop music as incompatible with their white Christianity and their white Jesus. After some throat-clearing bloviation about the doctrinal corruptions of Beethoven’s music, Mohler writes something wise and sensible:

Rap music is not my music. I do not come from a culture in which rap music is the medium of communication and I do not have the ear for it that I have for other forms of music. But I do admire its virtuosity and the hold that is has on so many, for whom it is a first and dominant musical language. … I have no idea how to evaluate any given rap musical expression, but rappers know.

Mohler allows that culture and personal experience shape one’s ability to understand and interpret musical forms. He doesn’t think this is true of our ability to understand and interpret texts — and certainly not scripture — but he at least acknowledges, with a measure of humility, that it is true for music. This limited acknowledgement of limitations is a refreshing change from Mohler. If only he had shown a fraction of that humility before purging his seminary of  non-male, non-white “non-conservative” professors 20 years ago. (Sorry — I just remembered that white evangelicals all agreed to ignore the starkly obvious demographics of Mohler’s purge and to pretend it was, instead, strictly about “liberal” and “conservative” views of scripture. Forget I said anything.)

7. This is from the new Bad Religion album of Christmas Songs (no, really):

"The republican also wouldn't have spent years fighting for pro-women legislation. The republican wouldn't have ..."

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  • aunursa

    TOLBM – Comment of the Day

    Marcus ******* You tease!!! I wish it was May already!!! If we get raptured before this is released, well, 1) I’d be ecstatic, but 2) I’d be really upset for not getting to see this movie!!!!!!!!
    72 Likes · November 29 at 1:27pm via mobile
    9 replies

  • aunursa

    Paul Lalonde It will be playing in heaven.
    9 Likes · November 29 at 1:33pm

    Lalonde is the producer of the movie.
    (He is also the owner/chairman of Cloud Ten Pictures.)

  • Daniel

    It’s on second on Heaven’s big film night, right after this:

  • Amtep

    I’ll definitely want to see that — as long as it’s only the sex bits, as advertised :) None of the really embarrassing stuff.

    Finally, a reason to go to heaven!

  • Vermic

    If people get judged on the stuff they said and thought as teenagers, then we’re all screwed and Heaven will be emptier than an Apple Store in North Korea.

  • MarkTemporis

    I was wondering about that the other day: the belief that everyone gets into heaven is Universalism; does the belief that everyone goes to hell have a name too? Or is it just Universalism of a different flavour?

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

    It’s also spelled Universalism but the first syllable is pronounced to rhyme with “nun”.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wonder how he knows heaven will have movie theatres.

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

    Any why would heaven be playing movies that claim to be aimed at saving souls? TheThinkFail is impressive.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Maybe he plans to play it during the Millennial Kingdom, when there are people purposely denying god again?

  • Daniel

    There’s only one thing more fun than purposely denying God- purposely denying god with popcorn.

  • arghous

    Mmmm popcorn — drenched in heavenly pseudo theater butter sustitute! The aisles and streets are paved with gold — nice, sticky, buttery gold!

  • Matri

    Any why would heaven be playing movies that claim to be aimed at saving souls?

    The exact same reason they believe the Antichrist, whose entire purpose of being is to lure the believers away and turn them into unbelievers, will only appear to and preach to the unbelievers.

  • Michael Pullmann

    “The point is, when the bird has worn the mountain down to a tiny nub, you still won’t have finished watching The Sound of Music.”

  • SororAyin


  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    It’s a good thing I know that Paul Lalonde is joking, because otherwise I would be forced to speculate about the mindset of people who believe that there will be no sex in Heaven, but there will be movies. (Heaven is for voyeurs, I suppose?)

  • aunursa

    But will there be R-rated and X-rated movies in heaven?

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    If, as some old preachers suggested, the saved will delight in the sight of sinners being forever tormented in Hell, I’m guessing the answer is “yes.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    Tangentally related to #7: I’ve had Relient K’s version of Angels We Have Heard On High on my music list for awhile. A couple Christmases ago, Roomie and I were headed to the mall, and it started playing. In the middle of it, he asks me “Candi, are they really saying ‘eat at Chelsea’s table’? What does that have to do with Jesus?”

  • JoK

    Chelsea Manning? OHOHO TOPICAL.

  • wendy

    Stunning. Women who don’t feel prepared to take on the care of a new baby but are forced to anyway… don’t take as good care of it as women who purposely want to have a baby. Whodathunkit?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Someone should ask pro-forced birthers why these mothers are immune to the ~magic of baybees.~

  • Panda Rosa

    (sarcasm hat on) All the more reason these evil, wicked women should be forced to have baybees, and no other option in life EVER. The simple fact they don’t want to devote every waking second to a sickly squalling defecating brat is proof how wicked they are. (sarcasm hat off)

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m definitely one of those women. I had a first trimester ultrasound at a CPC…The woman giving the ultrasound was going on and on about how my “baby” was so precious, and it already loved me, and wasn’t I just so amazed…And all I could think was “I’m supposed to love that? It’s a blob!”

  • AnonaMiss

    You went to a CPC? I am so sorry.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It was supported by a chain of churches that claimed that abortion was better than adoption, because not wanting to raise your own flesh and blood was Satanic.

    There are some really weird beliefs down here in the South.

  • Panda Rosa

    “Abortion better than adoption”? Dear Lady Bast, what kind of church is that?

  • Baby_Raptor

    It was a small string of “Independent” churches. My grandparents went to one of them, so that’s how we knew of the CPC to begin with.

  • tricksterson

    I know this isn’t true of all non-denominational Christian churches but is it me or is there a strong tendency for “independent Chiistian church” to equate to “so bugfuck even the Southern Baptists won’t touch us”. Like I said i know not all independent churches are like this.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The one we went to was, at least. I’ve talked before about the dietary restrictions they had; you might remember that.

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

    This is the exact premise of the “Jane Roe: Crime Stopper” portion of Freakonomics. The author noted that about 20 years after Ceaușescu’s abortion ban, there was a noticeable crime spike in Romania. I won’t go through all the number-crunching, but he concludes by saying that when women say they don’t feel ready to raise a child properly, we should listen to them.

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

    How much of the crime spike was attributed to the worsening economic conditions and how much specifically to the “bulge” of late-teens, particularly those from orphanages?

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

    It’s a bit hard for me to summarize, especially as I read the book many years ago. But I managed to find a lot of it online: http://bookre.org/reader?file=253593&pg=22

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

    Reading it now. :) That said it seems a little disjointed so I assume the coherent story will make sense after I get through all the hops, skips, and jumps.

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    A bit OT, but based on comments from yesterday’s 7 Things article, I present to you all Wheatonia, Episode 3 (I’m halfway through Episode 4. I think I’ll do a six or seven episode run because, man, is this fun. Episode 1, Episode 2)


    10:00 AM TUESDAY

    (Establishing shot of PASTOR BOB’S office. PASTOR BOB is working on something. CALEB and JENNIFER enter. [Ed. Note: this definitely works best if you imagine Pastor Bob played by Bob Odenkirk.])

    CALEB: You wanted to talk to us, Pastor Bob?
    PASTOR BOB: Yeah. It’s about that song you guys did on Sunday, “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.”
    JENNIFER (fidgeting nervously): Uh, yeah. We wrote it last week.
    PASTOR BOB (picks up sheet of paper and reads from it): “Jesus find my dirty place/Jesus it’s so dark/Jesus you I cannot face/In my dirty place you’ll park.”
    CALEB: Yeah. That’s…that’s part of the song.
    PASTOR BOB (continues reading): “Jesus it’s so tight in there/I don’t know if you’ll fit/Oh, Jesus, please take care/Jesus, Jesus, please don’t quit.”
    JENNIFER: I was really, really in a potentially painful place when I wrote that.
    PASTOR BOB (puts paper down): This…I just don’t know what to say to you two.
    CALEB: We…uh…we can explain.
    PASTOR BOB: What is there to explain? This is brilliant!
    JENNIFER: It…it is?
    PASTOR BOB: Yes. That’s why I wanted to talk to you about it. I think you should record this song.
    CALEB: Well…um. That could be fun.
    PASTOR BOB: Also, it really speaks to some things I was talking about with the men’s group last week. I want to use it at our next men’s breakfast on Saturday.
    JENNIFER (looking relieved): Sure. That would be awesome.
    PASTOR BOB: Great! And, you two, do something for me.
    CALEB: What?
    PASTOR BOB: Keep doing whatever you were doing when you came up with this song. Do it all day and all night if you have to.
    CALEB (a smile slowly spreads across his face): You know, sir, I think we will.
    JENNIFER (looking nervous): I…I don’t know. That was a pretty…special place. Going there too many times might hurt.
    CALEB: If Pastor Bob says…


    (Establishing shot of the outside of a house. Camera switches to the interior. BRENDAN and AMANDA are sitting on the couch.)

    BRENDAN: So what are we going to do?
    AMANDA: I don’t know, watch a movie?
    BRENDAN: No, I mean about the wedding.
    AMANDA: What can we do? Pastor Bob is being totally unreasonable.
    BRENDAN: Yeah. I suppose. But…maybe he has a point.
    AMANDA: How could you say that?
    BRENDAN: Well, he’s a pastor. That means he’s had all kinds of education in
    what the Bible says. What are we? I’m just a chemist with a Ph.D and you’re just the Vice President of New Product Development at Terodyne Systems. We don’t know anything about what god has to say.
    AMANDA: Yeah. I suppose you’re right. Maybe we should think harder about what Pastor Bob said.
    BRENDAN: I hear he’s got a men’s breakfast coming up on Saturday. Maybe I’ll go to that and try to talk to him afterwards.
    AMANDA: That sounds like a plan.

    8:00 AM SATURDAY

    shot of a group of men eating eggs in a large conference room. PASTOR
    BOB steps up to a podium on one end of the room.)

    PASTOR BOB: Men, if I could have your attention for a moment.
    (PASTOR BOB pauses for effect while the group stops eating and talking.)
    PASTOR BOB: Thanks, everyone. Now, I’m sure all of you were here for our service on Sunday. So if you were you might have heard a new song written by our very own College Church praise band, called “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.” They’ve been kind enough to record it for us.
    (Pastor Bob queues up an iPod and plays the song. Most of the men close their eyes. Some appear to be emotionally moved. A few begin to look around uncomfortably. Two college-aged men in the back of the room start giggling but are quickly shushed. The song ends and PASTOR BOB looks around.)
    PASTOR BOB: Men, I think we need to talk about the importance of getting into each other’s dirty place. It’s what Jesus would want us to do, after all. That’s right. We all have a dirty place inside ourselves, men. It’s a place we’re ashamed of, maybe. It’s a place where we don’t let anyone but us see. Not our parents, not our friends, not our wives, certainly not other men. But we’re all learning to be good, strong men of god. But we’re not men. Not yet. You know how I know we’re not men? Because real men let other men inside them.
    (PASTOR BOB pauses for effect.)
    PASTOR BOB: Yes. That’s right. You’re not a real man until you’ve had another man inside of you. So this week, this morning, even, I want you to find another man and show him your dirty place. Then, when you’re done, I want you to get him to show you his dirty place.
    (PASTOR BOB pauses again.)
    PASTOR BOB: There’s another thing, too. Some of you older men know the importance in your own life of having an older mentor. Some of you older men even know exactly what it’s like to have a mentor find you, come up to you, and tell you he’s been watching you and he wants to help you grow in the love of Jesus. So for you older men in this room, I want you to do something. I want you to pick one of the younger men in this crowd, I want you to go up to him at some point this morning, and I want you to put your arm around his shoulders and say, “I’ve been watching you.” Then I want you to help him let Jesus into his dirty place. That’s the only way we’ll all grow in Jesus. Can we do it, men? Can we truly let down our guards enough to let the other men in this room come into our dirty places?

    9:00 AM SATURDAY

    (Establishing shot of outside of the church. BRENDAN walks out the door, dialing a number on his cell phone.)
    BRENDAN: Hey, Amanda? Yeah, it’s me. I just got out. Look, I think I know what we have to do.
    (BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
    BRENDAN: No, no, that’s not it at all. No, I think we need to get out of this church. And we need to get Ethan and Megan and Jackie out of here, too. You will not believe what Pastor Bob just told me to do.
    (BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
    BRENDAN: Wow. How did you find out about that?
    (BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
    BRENDAN: Yeah. He said to do it, but with another man. That’s…I mean, if you wanted to I’d talk about it.

    (BRENDAN pauses, a look of disappointment spreads across his face.)
    BRENDAN: No. I guess that’s okay. Yeah. I’ll see you at home.


    [Ed. Note: Part of the breakfast group scene is actually based on advice I was once given as part of a video series that was played in a men’s group I attended. “You’re not a real man until you’ve had another man inside you,” was a verbatim line from that video series. The suggestion for older men to go up to younger men, put their arm around the other man’s shoulder, and say, “I’ve been watching you,” was also a verbatim instruction, which was couched in the idea that the younger man would be overjoyed to learn this. It was delivered with absolutely no irony and, crucially, no awareness that the word choices involved might possibly be sketchy. My friend and I were to two guys trying our best not to laugh out loud in the back of the room.]

  • Panda Rosa

    You don’t have to be homophobic to be appalled at this approach. what are these people thinking?

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    In most cases they’re not aware of what they’re saying. A lot of Christians are surprisingly immune to double entendre. It’s why there are so many things that just sound completely, gobsmackingly, insane to outsiders. Like, when you see a church sign that says, “You’re never stronger than when you’re on your knees,” the person who put that up was probably completely unaware that there’s a sexual context to that statement and only sees it as a position of prayer.

    That’s why the video series I reference at the bottom was so. damn. funny. The guy was completely unaware of what he was saying and every week there was something that was just so completely bonkers. The two that I use are the two I remember because from time to time my buddy and I who experienced it reference them. The pastor who made the video, though, had absolutely no idea that there could be anything even remotely funny about the phrase “you’re not a real man until you’ve had another man inside you.” And there was build up to that. I’m pretty sure it was possible to take parts of that video and re-do them verbatim in another context and call the resulting document “The Joys of Homosexual Love.” But he didn’t hear it at all.

    And that’s why writing Wheatonia is so funny to me, personally. Parts of it are my life. I’m just making them intentionally funny.

  • stardreamer42

    A lot of Christians are surprisingly immune to double entendre.

    And because of the overlap between Christianity and the political right-wing, you got “teabaggers”. Which they are now busily trying to rewrite history to say that they weren’t the ones who came up with it.

  • https://hummingwolf.dreamwidth.org/ Hummingwolf

    A lot of Christians are surprisingly immune to double entendre. It’s why there are so many things that just sound completely, gobsmackingly, insane to outsiders.

    What was weird to me back in college was that the sorts of people the campus Christian groups would invite to speak (or distribute brochures, or whatever) were unaware of how their own words could be interpreted, but found double entendre everywhere else. It was amazing how many things in pop culture were declared “obscene” or “sexually explicit” that my friends & I could find no sexual suggestion in–no matter how hard we tried to find the sexual content in them.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    A lot of Christians are surprisingly immune to double entendre.

    My church really should have a person with a filthy sense of humour (like… uh… me) review their song choices. It would prevent us singing things like “I want to feel the wind of God” and (memorably) “take me, Jesus, take me now”.

  • https://earthrisesaga.com/ Geds

    I assume you’ll be on your knees when Jesus takes you. Otherwise it just wouldn’t be appropriate.

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

    *collapses in laughter*

  • flat

    concerning number 4: I am pretty sure the whole slacktivist family was like: okay dad is angry at the strands of lights and at the people from the store, just stand back do nothing and wait until daddy slacktivist had cooled down.

    Not asking honey is something wrong or how can I help you? just wait until he is able to speak normally again.

    (that is what we did when our dad got frustrated when he was working in the house)

  • P J Evans

    Most of us expect a strand of lights labeled as ’15 ft’ to be fifteen feet long.

  • Amtep

    They were spiritual feet

  • flat

    (or maybe they just ripped him of)

  • flat

    well that’s true

  • Splitting Image

    I blame feminism. Women’s feet are smaller than men’s.

  • jemand2

    Here’s another recent post regarding child marriage, particularly within the christian patriarchy movement: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/12/the-rest-of-the-maranatha-story.html

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    I read that… oh wow. I think I taste a bit of vomit in my mouth….

  • tricksterson

    Anyone else getting a Ray/Buck/Chloe vibe from this story? Although to be fair Chloe’s twenty at the time but still there’s the whole property exchange vibe from father to husband.

  • JessicaR

    Today’s friendly reminder for the Slacktivites Holiday Charity Drive for The Ali Forney Center. You guys are doing great, we’re at 110 bucks. Paypal is janinthepan at gmail dot com. Thank you again for your generosity and patience.

  • Stone_Monkey

    Whilst there are many, many disturbing and downright unpleasant and wrong things in rap and hip-hop culture, Mohler (and I don’t believe I’m actually typing this) is actually correct. You don’t have to like a thing to realise its value. And you can’t necessarily judge the value of something if you have no referents for it.

    I’ve hazarded a guess in the past that the reluctance to assign any cultural or artistic merit to what is in effect black, urban American folk music, has its motivation in the view that appears to be held in the dominant (read white) American culture (and not just them, I’ve met it among some Europeans too) that unless a black person is creating the kind of art that white America actually regards as art – rather than art for themselves and their own community, that speaks to their lives and experience – they’re not actually creating anything worthy of note or respect by the white cultural hegemons at large. Hip-hop doesn’t say anything to these people, so it’s not art.

  • smrnda

    You can also see this where, once white musicians start doing something that was normally considered “Black” it becomes far more acceptable to lots of white people. Think of how many songs written and performed by Black musicians only got listened to once white musicians performed them, and then (worse yet) think of how few white people cared to hear the original.

    On judging art, a lot of it is subjective taste and is strongly culturally conditioned. There are whole genres I just agree aren’t my thing, and I don’t bother to comment on whether anything in those genres are ‘good’ or ‘bad.’

  • Stone_Monkey

    It’s not just single songs, it’s whole musical genres… Rock n’ Roll only became “respectable” when white artists started performing it. Soul and blues became “respectable” once the white kids started buying them. Jazz has a similar story. Hip-hop hasn’t gone that way yet, maybe it’s too “black” at its core; perhaps less separable from its original cultural identifiers, as black urban music, to be properly whitewashed and assimilated.
    Maybe hip-hop, as the perceived province of black urban youth, one of the US biggest group of outsiders, can’t shed its Outsider Art status just yet.

  • mattmcirvin

    I just ordered a (generally not bad) coffee-table book on the history of music as a gift for my niece. It actually arrived when I was visiting her, and I took a look inside.

    It attempted to cover American popular music as well as other forms. And I noticed that it covered black American music pretty well right up to the birth of hip-hop, at which point the coverage became really sparse. I think it mentioned Run-DMC and LL Cool J, but it kind of fell off a cliff after that. No real sense for the way popular music has been transformed across the board by it.

    I think that if I, the whitest square in the world, notice this, they probably had a lacuna of some sort.

  • smrnda

    I find that, occasionally, you get obnoxious white male college students who will play hip-hop in way that’s less about appreciating it and more about cultural appropriation and stereotyping – white male dude-bros who feel more masculine occasionally blasting some hip-hop at a party.

    Worst is that I feel this is why hip-hop and rap music get a bad reputation – many white consumers are consuming it as a way of getting some vicarious ‘street cred’ but have no appreciation for what the music is about and the very different meaning it has within the community that produces it. To them, it’s a way to gawk at a culture as part of some macho posturing ritual.

  • tricksterson

    Hey stopped clocks are right twice a day, even evil stopped clocks.

    Unless they’re digital.

  • arghous

    Remember some months ago when Pat Robertson responded to a woman’s problems with gentleness and compassion? This is Mohler’s Robertson moment. The exception that proves the rule.

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

    I’m actually getting a strong CS Lewis vibe off that remark from Mohler. Lewis said very similar things about types of fiction he didn’t like. I really must dig up Of This and Other Worlds again. It’s possible that rereading it in the light of Ana Mardoll’s Narnia analyses would make me like it less, but I suspect I’d still find it has good bits in it.


  • Jamoche

    Yep, the 15-foot strand was shorter than the 13-foot strand

    That’s something you should send to Consumerist.com

  • Shaenon K. Garrity

    I read through to the comments on #3, thinking that surely no one would be in favor of preteen girls being sold to adult men, forcibly impregnated, and beaten. I forgot about the crucial demographic of angry white dudes. Did you know that 12-year-olds in developing countries are “mature for their age” and are totally ready for childbirth and motherhood? And the real problem is that we Westerners coddle our children too much?

    I kid. The real problem is that NPR isn’t reporting on the far more serious oppression faced by men in America. They have it SO HARD.