Sufferage! June 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Religion.
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I bet the ultra-right wing wishes that one of their number, a woman, hadn’t said that her one wish in the world was that women wouldn’t have a right to vote…oh, and by the way, probably people who don’t own property shouldn’t be allowed, either. The story has already received a great deal of attention, and the Lizard Queen‘s response is more polite than mine will be.
Religion is a powerful tool for reinforcing Patriarchal values, and this proves it. These women are concerned because women might vote differently from their husbands (gasp), and because those damn welfare recipients just don’t vote the right way.
So what they want is a system where only wealthy men are allowed to vote. News flash: people of color don’t vote for republicans much, either: maybe these women would like to take suffrage away from these people too. Now, obviously, they’re not likely to say that aloud, but then again, what they ARE proposing is a roll-back in civil rights of unimaginable severity. They’ve seen the result of democracy, and it turns out that it’s the one system that doesn’t always reinforce the privilege of the few.
And when you’ve so bought into your own oppression that you don’t think you’re priviliged, then you can’t imagine why others should be either.
Dawn Eden would know something about that.
In other news: you might be the Antichrist June 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion.
In fact, according to Fine Dry Wit, you probably are.
Doug begins by posting 1 John 4: 2-4, and arguing that those verses mean that
Those of you who do not believe in God, but have heard about ‘anti-Christ’–go look in the mirror. That sounds harsh, but that’s as plain as I can put it.
First of all, even from a Christian perspective, this is rather shaky. What those verses actually discuss are “spirits” who say that Jesus is not from God. It doesn’t mention those who do not believe in God at all. And there is hardly consensus on what the “spirits” are: they may not be meant to refer to humans at all. But since I’m not inclined to bicker any further about an interpretation of a Bible passage that will lead where Doug takes it, I’ll move on.
After going on for a while about how Christians win in the end, he explains that
Because I have faith in God, I have no faith in man.
This doesn’t actually have to do with faith in God, but rather with his perception that humanity is utterly worthless and sinful. What he’s actually saying is “because of the way which I interpret the Bible, I have no faith in man.”
News catch-up June 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics.
The Right Wing is still upset that the NY Times enjoys Freedom of the Press. Unfortunately for them, it’s clear that this is just a strategy to paint a legitimate political disagreement as a matter of national security, despite the fact that Bush himself suggested that such a program existed.
There is still time to Save the Internet.
It turns out that killing Zarqawi didn’t “turn a corner” after all. I’m shocked. Shocked. Well, not at all shocked.
Poetry! June 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Poetry.
W. H. Auden
“September 1, 1939″
(The poem appears below the fold. Discuss!)
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Crooks and Liars has the video of Bernie Ward smacking around right-winger Chris Baker on the issue of government leaks and freedom of the press. Ward’s question is very simple: does Baker believe the government should decide what a newspaper gets to print? Baker, of course, refuses to answer.
I hope the left will continue to push on this issue. The White House’s line, much-parroted on the right, is that these leaks are bad for security. But there’s no evidence of that, and anyway dealing with that “problem” would cripple the press. If it can’t report on government programs that are being kept from the public, what can it do? Trusting the government is not an option: only transparent government has any hope of avoiding corruption and rights violations.
So when the right says the press shouldn’t run with stories of government spying programs, make sure to ask them about their solution: do they think the government should have the right to censor the stories?
Astrology, the nature of truth, etc. June 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Science, wingnuts.
There’s been a bit of a dust-up recently: scientists on the left have been accused of protecting astrology from criticism. Needless to say, that is not the case. Both PZ Myers and Ed Brayton have weighed in on that point. They do an excellent job, each in their own way, and I would only add this:
I pity anyone who thinks astrology or any similar system is true in the sense that it accurately represents reality. The courses of our lives are not controlled by the orbits of distant heavenly bodies.
What I find interesting in systems like astrology, though, is not its explanatory power, but rather the way people read it. I think the Tarot is a more compelling example of what I mean: those who “believe” in Tarot are those who feel that it can absolutely provide them answers about their lives: there aren’t a lot of such people.
Others, though, consult the Tarot without believing in it. Now are these otherwise rational people suddenly being completely irrational? Perhaps. But for many of them, I think things are happening in the opposite order represented by “belief” in the Tarot. Rather than attempting to use it to tell them what is, they use it to help them understand their own reaction to the world.
I find literature useful in a similar way: I do not think that fiction will tell me the future. I do find it helpful for clarifying my own thinking, particularly in regard to issues that I have such personal attachment to that I have trouble seeing them objectively. By analysing my reactions to the symbols in the text, I can help myself understand what my vision is otherwise clouded from seeing.
The Tarot–from talking to those who use it regularly–can have a similar function. It can help us come to grips with our subconscious reactions to a situation in the same way that freewriting or self-evaluation or taking a long hike can. As long as we reject it as a set of symbols with absolute meaning, and instead understand that it is our reactions to those symbols that are important, it can tell us a lot about mental processes that might otherwise remain hidden from us.
We should never reject the value of rational thought, but it’s a good idea to recognize that we are not always as rational and objective as we would like to be, and that we should use whatever means prove useful to us to help us understand our reactions. As long as we don’t mistake those reactions for reality, for predictions about the future, they can be of a kind of use to us.
Why people hate it when you examine their assumptions June 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in language and lit, News and politics.
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Remember when El Borak was trying to argue that there was no need to define feminism and the kafkaesque k shot that argument down?
Well, Borak attempted to respond by arguing that, despite the wide differences in feminist thought, feminism (a term he still makes no effort to define) is obvious and that k is only pointing out different subgroups. Unfortunately for him, people who understand the importance of definitions win out against those who don't, as the kafkaesque k once again proves.
What Borak really wants is for people to leave his unexamined assumption that "feminism" equals "evil" alone. He's now been called at least three times on his refusal to explain what feminism means in his argument, despite the fact that his entire position is dependent upon how he defines the term.
His most recent "argument," as k demonstrates, reminds us that his tactic of responding to specific points with a refusal to clarify his position is evidence that his position, once its assumptions are carefully examined, has no merit whatsoever. So it is no surprise that he doesn't want to define his terms: when he articulates his assumptions, he'll have no place left to stand.
Don't worry, this isn't a sport's post, except peripherally. Recently Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox Manager, was ordered to attend sensitivity training after calling a reporter a derogatory term for homosexuals. Guillen claimed that in his native Venezuela, the term does not carry the same meaning it does in the U.S., and then later apologized to the gay community, saying his words were meant as a criticism of the reporter and not of homosexuals.
John Rocker, who was previously suspended for racist remarks, had this to say about the Guillen situation:
"This is a free country. If he wants to use a lewd term, he should be able to use a lewd term," Rocker told the newspaper. "Can't you use a lewd term in America if you want?"
Rocker added that his own suspension
"It was a farce, a way for the scared little man, Bud Selig, to get people off his [backside],"
As much as it pains me to admit it, I have to agree with Rocker.
The Kafkaesque K weighs in on definitions June 25, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Friends, language and lit, News and politics.
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As I have previously pointed out, a common tactic of many people, especially those who would rather claim victory in an argument than actually make a coherent argument, is to fail to define their terms and then either claim they have defined them, that they don't need to define them, or that whoever asked them to define them is an idiot.
Which is why The Kafkaesque K felt the need to explain precisely why definitions are so important (and why El Borak is still wrong about feminism).
Al Gore, Bender, and delicious delicious humor June 25, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Humor, News and politics.
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As The Lizard Queen noted, An Inconvenient Truth is a movie you should see. Don't believe me? Maybe Bender and Al Gore can convince you.
Thank's to Shakespeare's Sister for the link.