May you dream you are dreaming in a warm, soft bed

May you dream you are dreaming in a warm, soft bed October 21, 2015

• Oops: “Washington Post Accidentally Publishes Biden Presidential Announcement Story.” Could’ve been worse — NBC news could’ve accidentally broadcast their pre-recorded story about former President Gerald Ford being eaten by wolves.

• Rafael Cruz, father of Republican Sen. Tex Cruz of Texas, is a right-wing culture-warrior and “dominionist” preacher. Hannah Harper notes that the elder Cruz also wildly exaggerates his ministerial credentials, experience and education. Basically, the guy made up a bunch of titles and “ministries” to pad his résumé and make himself sound more like some kind of spiritual authority.

This is news only if you didn’t already know that this kind of self-aggrandizing dishonesty is pretty much industry standard for itinerant dominionist preachers.

DeLorean• Increasingly, white supremacists are re-labeling themselves “white nationalists.” That doesn’t indicate any shift in their hateful attitudes, but it hints at a less ambitious agenda, suggesting that they’re now less focused on imposing their racist ideology on the entire country and now more intent on carving out racist enclaves where they’re able to live out that nonsense on their own without interference.

Or, in other words, the “Benedict option” for racists.

• “Sunday school” in the 21st century is associated with pious pablum. That’s not how it started. It began as a means of social reform — a once-a-week day of schooling for poor children denied any other access to education.

The original Sunday schools weren’t even particularly religious, but they wound up contributing to a boom in church growth. Our contemporary Sunday schools are exclusively religious, but they’re doing zilch to contribute to church growth. Let those who have ears to hear listen to what that might have to teach us.

• This Philadelphia Inquirer report — “Pa. board found Eakin’s emails ‘mildly pornographic'” — has echos of two recent discussions here, one on Pennsylvania’s indefensible practice of electing state Supreme Court justices and one on Donald Trump’s conservative nostalgia for Playboy:

Eakins is one of several Pennsylvania justices in hot water over sending emails containing nudity and bigoted jokes. Regarding Justice Eakins’ emails, the state Judicial Conduct Board said they could “best be described as mildly pornographic or sexually suggestive in the vein of material that appears commonly in Playboy magazine.”

And I guess the racist and misogynist jokes were also probably only “mildly” prejudiced, in the vein of material that appears commonly in any gathering of powerful white men. So no need to worry, then, that the people the justices single out for mockery can’t get a fair hearing in their court.

• The wonderful Discovery show Mythbusters is ending its 14-year run, although this is a popular show on a basic cable channel, so it will likely live on forever in syndication.

Discovery’s announcement said: “After 248 episodes, 2950 experiments, 1050 myths, and 900 explosions, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will say goodbye to the series this winter.” I would’ve guessed the explosion-to-episode ratio was higher than that.

• In other science-geek news, in honor of Back to the Future Day, Phil Plait offers a list of time-travel movie recommendations.

Back to the Future itself gets his top pick, and it holds up as a fine, fun film. Defending it, though, means also dealing with the problematic notion that, as some put it, “a white teenager taught Chuck Berry how to play the guitar.” I’d rather think of it this way: Berry’s guitar riff in Johnny B. Goode punched a hole in the fabric of space and time, becoming a transcendent temporal paradox endlessly birthing and rebirthing rock and roll throughout the multiverse.

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