7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.17)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.17) September 17, 2013

 1. Again. And again and again and again.

Dr. Janis Orlowski, after yesterday’s lethal rampage:

There’s something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries. … There is something wrong. … I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots and not to be an expert on this.

David Frum, from last December’s version:

“Gimme a D … Gimme an E … Gimme an A … “

I’ll accept no lectures about “sensitivity” on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.

It’s bad enough to have a gun lobby. It’s the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them — and about the people who condone them.

2. “If beauty pageants themselves aren’t yet considered retrograde enough to evolve or end completely,” Lori writes at Feministing, “perhaps we can all agree that the disgusting racism, fat-shaming, and sexist media coverage they engender are clearly within our collective reproach.”

The vicious outpouring of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry toward the new Miss America — who is neither Arab nor Muslim — highlights a gap in our language. What do we call that? Mondegracism? Malapropjudice?

Miss South Carolina apparently also created a stir back home when she introduced herself by saying, “From the state where 20 percent of our homes are mobile ’cause that’s how we roll, I’m Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina.” I read that as Ms. Mosteller cheerfully flipping the bird at anyone who looks down on the 17.9 percent of South Carolinians who live in manufactured homes, but the remark seems to have prompted a bout of indignation and site-built snobbery from Palmetto State residents offended by any association with the people they love to look down on.

3. The book of Proverbs says, “Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached on that verse, but I like Anne Theriault’s best — mostly because it involves roller derby.

4. kathy escobar responds to a skin-crawling story about a creepy, manipulative pastor with a long track record of exploiting women in his congregations — and of exploiting the lack of institutional accountability in independent, unaffiliated, non-denominational evangelical churches. This story also illustrates what I mean when I say that evangelicals lack a meaningful sexual ethic.

5. Timothy Kincaid reminds us that it’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month: “Ex-Gays, those who claim to have actually changed the direction of their attractions, are a rather elusive group that one encounters mostly online. … But should you happen to be among the few who actually know any ex-gays, please be sure to smile and wish them a very pleasant ex-gay month.”

6. I had a director once who had a rule about always giving one good note for every bad one. That was weird — it made us all suspicious and defensive whenever he said anything positive, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it was still a nice idea, so let me give that a try here and post one positive link for every negative story coming out of the States of Dismay.

So, for example, if I’m going to link to something negative — like this story of flagrant bigotry and corruption in Williamson County, Texas — then I could try to pair it with a link to something positive, like this cool playlist of Texas music from MaryAnn McKibben Dana. If I link to this depressingly familiar story about Texas education officials trying to keep science out of science textbooks, I could balance that out with a link to Cataclysmic, the terrific new blog by a group of Texas-based biblical scholars.

I could do the same thing with North Carolina. This negative story about unhinged conspiracy theorist Orson Scott Card being appointed to the board of trustees for UNC-TV public broadcasting could be balanced out with this good news story about angry North Carolina citizens booing a lawmaker for supporting voter suppression, or by this delightful story about the tall-bike-riding, cross-dressing “nuns” of Asheville, N.C.

But there are limits. Stories like this one from North Carolina are too grim and rage-inducing to allow much of anything to balance them out.

7. “When I saw some of the top freestyle MCs in the country on a few message boards knocking the idea of an ‘iron sharpens iron’ battle where you had to out-compliment your opponent, it kind of baffled me. It would be a substantial payday for doing what you do best, only using the other part of the brain.” That’s from Chaz Kangas’ surprisingly earnest story “I Won an Evangelical Christian Rap Battle.”


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  • J_Enigma32

    I wonder how much red tape they had to cut through to fix it. I guess if
    you wanna know the answer, you’ll have to file an FOIA request to find

    Tangentially related, but this reminds me of my definition for government:

    Government [GUH-ver-ment]. n. The office downtown that is always slow, always understaffed, and always disorganized, and forever losing paperwork, despite repeatedly attempts of democratically elected officials to fix it by continually slashing its budget.

  • banancat

    There’s also some value in recognizing that some people just aren’t pretty, but I can still like them and they are worthwhile human beings and their lack of beauty doesn’t reflect poorly on them. It’s ok that some people will never seem beautiful to me. It’s ok to not to be pretty. I prefer this attitude over redefining beauty to insist that those who feel down really are as good as those “better” people if we just redefine beauty to mean personality too.

    I’m fat and fat acceptance has done much more for self esteem than other insisting that I’m not truly fat or that my body type is actually superior than those skinny people. It’s really nice to just know that I’m fat and that’s ok. I think it’s analogous to people who aren’t pretty.

    ETA: I don’t intend to claim that you are insincere, and I actually agree with you that sometimes people I don’t consider beautiful seem more beautiful to me over time. My point is only that this shouldn’t matter.

  • Launcifer

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that’ll just lead me to the website of a Christianised Barclay James Harvest covers band, isn’t it?
    *checks the link*
    Of course. Silly me. These things are never less bizarre than I imagined…

  • Matri

    That certainly is.

    And yet, the cynic in me can’t help but wonder: Is that light the end of the tunnel, or a train’s headlight(s)?

  • Launcifer

    Given the context, I figure it’s some bugger with a flashlight and a truncheon.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Thanks so much for that link! I was very curious to see her performance in the talent competition, and it is every bit as fantastic as you say.

  • Lori

    Beyond twisted, but sadly not unique. Father Lawrence Murphy used the same excuse for molesting boys in his care. He also said that his victims liked what he did to them—he could tell because they didn’t push him away. He was in charge of a residential school for the deaf. The boys had very minimal ability to communicate with outsiders, including their parents. They all knew he was a rapist and that there was no escape because when they complained no one did anything to protect them.

    This documentary talks about Murphy in detail, including his bullshit excuses for his crimes:


    I don’t recommend watching it on a full stomach. (It isn’t all about Murphy. It also talks about other cases and about the way the Vatican handled rapist priests.)

    Some days I wish that hell was real. Murphy, having been sheltered by the Church through decades of child rape, retired in a house provided by the Church, complete with loyal housekeeper, and died without ever so much as seeing the inside of a jail. In spite of the incredibly brave efforts of some of his victims he was never even defrocked, let alone brought to any real account for his numerous crimes. He irreparably damaged the lives of hundreds of boys trusted to his care and he got away with it. The people who sheltered him have also never received anything like the justice they deserve, neither have all the other rapists like Murphy and all indications are that most of them never will. That’s hard to choke down.

  • Obligatory YAY! ROLLER DERBY! over #3 … because that’s how *I* roll. :-)

  • Fools! Those are no Jesus Harvest seeds–they are multicolored Dragon’s Teeth! Sowing those will only bring trouble on us all!

  • “Malapropjudice”. Totally stealing this. Per. Fec. Tion

  • Yay! More beer for me!

    (Well, it should have been “any more beers.” Bears doesn’t even begin to rhyme.)

  • Lori

    Random thing I meant to mention yesterday—–if you were religious in the past, but no longer are Michael Caton at The Lucky Atheist would like you to take a short survey about when you changed your beliefs and why.


  • guest

    I appreciate classical Indian dance, though not so much Bollywood (in classical Indian dance you use your facial expressions to interpret the story you’re telling; it’s a bit disconcerting that she’s smiling all the way through this piece)–but she’s done a beautiful job of incorporating the one into the other, with incredible energy and enthusiasm. I love it.

  • Alix

    I was rather thinking that candy corn is so disgusting it’s a sin to claim them for Jesus. Had they gone with the notion that candy corn is Satanic, they might’ve been onto something.

  • Nick Gotts

    Judging by the comments, it’s a pretty crappy survey; and don’t bother if you’re not an American.

  • Fusina

    I am also fat, and yet there are people who insist that I am beautiful. I look at my face and I don’t see it, but there it is. And no one would say that some of the people I think are beautiful are at all pretty–but that is the point. Some people are pretty, some are beautiful, and I guess the point I was trying to make and failed is that beauty is different from pretty.

    I guess I sometimes am not clear enough with what I am trying to say. “Pretty is as pretty does”, and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sum up my feelings well. As, actually, does “Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes down to the bone”.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    And that is also repulsive. Power corrupts.

  • Laurent Weppe

    Don’t kid yourself: the right-wing parties in Europe are as much the flagbearers of the idle rich heirs as the GOP, the main difference being that there’s still an handful of influential pragmatic intellectuals among them who know that demagoguery alone won’t suffice to preserve the status and assets of the upper class and that compromises have to be done unless the class-based genocide they fear so much become a foregone conclusion.

  • Yeah. Same thing here in Canada. Stephen Harper, for all that he acts the high-handed Prime Minister while trying to score cheap political brownie points by trashing the NDP, isn’t stupid enough to think he can just stampede the country all the way to USA Lite status.

  • Lori

    It is only aimed at people in the US.

  • Nick Gotts

    Yes, I know. Hence my comment.

  • themunck

    Impressed might be a strong word. Appreciative?

  • themunck

    Alright, poll time. Is this better or worse than just handing them a chick tract?

  • Lori

    In the context I took “Don’t bother if you’re not an American” as a criticism of the survey. That struck me as unfair, since the the survey is only aimed at people in the US. I apologize if I misunderstood.

  • That actually wasn’t obvious at first glance. I went through it and only realized it was for Americans when geographic location questions came up.

  • Alix

    Worse, because candy corn is a vile substance that pretends it’s edible. I can almost guarantee you Chick tracts taste better, and provide more amusement as you laugh at his paranoid fantasies.

  • Considering how low my expectations are of police officers to effectively handle their own I’ll take what I can get.

  • Nick Gotts

    OK, thanks. I could have been clearer, so I apologize too.