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Been There, Done That

13/09/2014

So Bill Maher went on the Charlie Rose show and said blah blah blah something something something “most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think”.

Not having seen the show but only reading the transcript, I don’t know if Maher meant it in the sense of “condone violence just for the thoughts you think” or if he meant it in the context of beheadings, stoning apostates, genitally mutilating women, etc., etc., and of course, etc. being what you think the Muslims condone.

And being the crafty shifty shaper of words that he is, he immediately tries to have his cake and eat it by saying “vast numbers of Islamic people around the world [are not distancing themselves from ISIS]. That’s just not true” but “Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians…do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it.”

Well, thanx, Bill:
You just created enough straw men to cast every production of The Wizard Of Oz well into the 23rd century.

BM Scarecrow

Next time tell us what you mean by “vast” and “not vast”.  You can pull anything out of your ass hat and claim it fits those parameters.

He blathers on:
“There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion.”

Cherry picking data from a poll taken at an unspecified point a few years back, Maher fails to state if he is citing actual responses to questions or if he is merely extrapolating from data.  More recent polls have indicated a small-to-medium shift away from Islamic believers support of strict Sharia law, but, hey, you can’t trust “those” people, can you?  They never change their attitudes and beliefs…

…just as American Christians never change
their opinions on matters like same sex marriage.

And needless to say, the bigoted chattering class
has embraced Maher’s weaselly rantings.

I’m sorry, folks, but I can’t hear you over the screams of Holocaust victims, burning Huguenots / Knights Templar / “witches”, Caribbean and Native American peoples, or the weeping of Africans crammed in the hulls of slave ships…

Yeah, right now there’s some pretty ugly stuff flourishing in various corners of the Islamic world.  We in the Christian West had to go thru similar festering periods in our own history, they have to go thru it now.

You don’t get to escape your adolescence on your way to becoming an adult.  The West has, for a variety of reasons, a 500 year head start on the rest of the world.  We also have more blood on our hands and in our history than they do.

As a brown skinned Middle Eastern religious leader of a few millennia back once said:
“First take the plank out of your own eye…”

Read Rodney Stark.  Read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, And Steel.  So called “Christian” nations & leaders have behaved just as swinishly as non-Christians, they just sugar coated it with “it’s God’s will” or “manifest destiny” or “divine providence” or “American exceptionalism”.

Bull. 
Fucking. 
Shit.

Look how many people were murdered in the Holocaust by Germany because they were the wrong religion. Germany gave us Martin Luther, and for all the good he did Luther also signed off on the persecution of Jewish people.

His poison permeated the German culture:
Track down an unexpurgated collection of the Grimm Bros tales and see how many stories involve a Jewish villain who deserves death or a Jewish victim the Christian hero is justified in abusing.

All this created a toxic environment where selfish industrialists in the aftermath of World War One promoted a crackpot and his failing anti-Semitic party in order to prevent communists / socialist / trade unions from demanding any of the industrialists’ hard earned won stolen cash.

And weep not for Germany:
Millions of them turned a blind eye and kept a silent tongue towards the hatred and persecution of the Jews and the gypsies and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They capitalized on the extermination of their neighbors even if they didn’t shove them into the showers personally.

What happened to them at the hands
of the Russians was richly deserved.

They never questioned their culture, they never asked if “those” people were truly as evil as their children’s stories and popular literature and pastors claimed.

To further quote the aforementioned brown skinned Middle Eastern religious teacher of two millennia ago:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Oh, but that was those nasty rotten Germans:
We are better; we are Anglo-American Christians and thus have a higher, nobler standard we live by.

Again:
Bull.
Fucking.
Shit.

Look at the Manga Carta; while preening over how wonderful a document it is regarding rights and freedoms, don’t overlook the part where a Jewish person’s estate couldn’t collect debts after they died, nor should you overlook the Edict of Expulsion just a few years later.

Cross the Atlantic:
Read about Columbus & his men enslaving or massacring Caribbean natives, often using brutal methods that make a trip to the showers at Auschwitz seem like a spring walk.

And speaking of walks, how
about that Trail Of Tears?

Want something a little more recent?
Let’s talk about how the Southern Baptist Convention was formed to justify slavery as a Christian institution in the U.S., how after the Civil War they supported segregation and fought against civil rights, how they and others of their ilk formed the backbone of the Ku Klux Klan, lynched hundreds of African-Americans, terrorized hundreds of thousands more, then when the rest of the country finally said, “Hold!  Enough!” to segregation, they ran off to form colleges and private schools and start home school movements to make sure their previous white broods didn’t have to breath class room air contaminated by…”them”.

Maher’s rant is based on one thing:
All he sees in the Islamic world is a bunch of “not-mes” he can justify dehumanizing and hating.

Maher, being an avowed atheist, is
welcome to his God-damned opinion.

What disgusts me is the huge number of purported Christians who kvel orgasmically at this utter repudiation of Christ’s basic message.

Going back to that ol’ brown skinned Middle Eastern religious teacher:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

If you want to embrace this bigotry,
please, by all means, feel free to do so.

But have the common courtesy
to renounce Christ first, m’kay?

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Never Complain About Your Job…

12/09/2014

Professional Poo Diver

…EVER!

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Revival Houses

7/09/2014

Hollywood suffered a major disappointment at the box office this summer, and it looks like we’re seeing a major sea change in the way motion pictures and TV shows are viewed / consumed.

[We’re going full bore
theological after the jump,
but secular readers
are
safe until then.]

In a nut shell, fewer and fewer people feel like shelling out $10-20 bucks to eat overpriced popcorn while watching a movie they know little if anything about.

Previously, they had been willing to spend that kinda money for something they knew they would enjoy, either a branded form of entertainment like Walt Pixar Presents Harry Marvel’s War Trek 007:  Die With An Expendable Transforming Hard On, or Something Just Like It.

New[1] movies, unfamiliar concepts, non-popcorn crunchers just didn’t warrant a $10+ entry fee.

Wait till it comes on Pay-Per-Vue or HBO or Netflix or (really scraping the bottom of the barrel here) YouTube.

Heaven knows this is how I watch most of my media:
If it ain’t on Netflix /  HBO / YouTube or available on DVD, I’ll pass.

As a result movie theaters are slowly starting to spiral the drain.  Their biggest hits are aimed at a teen male heterosexual audience that can’t find dates and whose parents monitor their computer so they can’t watch porn.

There’s next to nada for older and/or female audiences.

Movies used to be a shared common public experience: 
You went to see something along with a bunch of other people, and then you discussed that experience with other people who hadn’t been there with you.

Now we share the experience online, comparing notes over TV shows and movies we watched in the privacy of our own homes.[2]

We don’t really connect with the rest of an audience in a movie theater.

Now, there is an exception to that, and that’s when  people come together to share a specific common interest.

Here in L.A. we have the El Capitan Theatre which shows Disney movies accompanied by elaborate stage shows.  People who go there go specifically to see a Disney movie with an elaborate stage show wrapped around it.

Or people go to sing-a-long events where classic musicals like The Sound Of Music are played with follow-the-bouncing-ball accompaniment, turning it into karaoke for the masses.

Or, if they are real film buffs, they go to the rapidly dwindling number of art / revival houses to see a specific film selected for them by the theater in the company of fellow film buffs.

Back in the day these sorts of theaters, while not exactly plentiful, were easy to find.  Every major urban area had at least two or three, sometimes many, many more.  Often they would show a new double every night ( not counting special kiddee matinees on Saturdays or late night cult films on Fridays and Saturdays).  The films would either be selected as complimentary to one another or as an interesting juxtaposition.  Once or twice a month there would be an evening of short subjects / cartoons / music videos.

ScalaForeverBeyondprogramme

In other words, every night a three to four hour block of interesting, thought provoking movies representing a wide variety of genres and styles.

If I were king of the forest, I’d want a neighborhood revival house where the staff selected an interesting double feature / selection of shorts for each evening.  Projection would be a state of the art digital system; it would be set up to scan 70mm / 35mm / 16mm / 9.5mm / Super 8 / 8mm films without having to run them through hellacious loud / hot / cranky projectors, as well as taking digital downloads / Blu-rays / DVDs / VHS / Beta / laserdisc / Fisher-Price PXL2000 sourced material.

There would be a selection of healthy / inexpensive drinks, good popcorn popped fresh daily, and quality snacks; and next door would be a Denny’s-style coffee shop so after the screening either the film makers or the theater manager could take people over to discuss what they had just seen and get to know one another better.

What we have instead, however, is a theatrical film going experience that relies more and more on variants of previous successes.  It is the rare theatrical film that makes even a token gesture at a fresh interpretation of old tropes, or presents itself in a style other than that of last year’s block buster.[3]

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Fictoid: One Day In A Galaxy Not So Far, Far Away…

1/09/2014

Walter Baumhofer not the droids1

“These are not the droids you’re looking for.” //

“?!?!?  What the #%@& are you talking about, lady?  
There aren’t any droids in that car!” //

“Wow, that worked better than I thought it would…”

underlying art by Walter Baumhofer

 

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It’s Jack’s World, We Just Live In It

28/08/2014

Today is Jack Kirby’s birthday.

Jack Kirby at work

Tom Spurgeon goes the extra lightyear will all sorts of kracklin’ Kirby goodness.

I’ve already posted my feelings regarding Jack, and since I don’t think I can do better at this time I’ll just link to it again.

Jack, we miss you and Roz.  You were one of the greatest artists ever to weild a pencil in the comics medium, but more importantly than that you and Roz were great people, a joy to be around, a blessing to others, an honor to know.

jackirby12

Roz & Jack photo found at Mark Evanier’s NewsFromME.com

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As Perfect A Summation Of Noir As Could Be Hoped For

24/08/2014

Alex Sharpe Ross - I had to do it 2

“He was my husband,” said Mercedes.

“I had to do it,” said the man.

“Yes, I know,” she murmured.

text from “My Husband Is A Redhead”
by Bill S. Ballinger in Cosmopolitan, October 1956
art by Alex Sharpe Ross

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I Luvz Me Some CARGO

20/08/2014

Truth be told, while I enjoyed zombie movies in the past, once George Romero encapsulated the modern version with 1978′s Dawn Of The Dead, he pretty much said everything there was to say in & about the genre (with the possible exception of Lucio Fulci’s 3-way topless scuba diver vs. zombie vs. shark fight in 1979′s Zombi 2 a.k.a. Zombie Flesh Eaters a.k.a. Island Of The Living Dead).

cargo_xlg

So it was no small surprise to me to stumble upon Cargo, a short Australian film from 2013 directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke from a script by Ramke.  It’s got everything you want in a zombie movie without ever going to excess, and best of all at a speedy seven minutes it’s short & sweet.  Check out the video here.

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Guest Fictoid: the wrong people get writer’s block

17/08/2014

things went all splodey

text (c) Diana Davis

Things went all ‘splodey. The good guys fought. The bad guys fought. Ouch, someone got hurt. More ‘splodey. Pew-pew. Good guys win!

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What Love Is

14/08/2014

Had an odd twinge of nostalgia / sadness today.  Saw / heard two things that I wished I could have shared with now deceased family members.

The thing that made me feel nostalgic / sad was not that I was missing them for what they had done for me, but because I was missing the chance to do something for them.

Even something as silly and as slight as relaying a cartoon or good news that they might particularly enjoy is a privilege that I’m now doing without.

That, ultimately, is what love is all about:
The desire to do something good for another person, no matter how small, with no thought of reciprocation other than the delight and satisfaction in knowing you helped another human being.

Human beings, being human of course, tend to form their closest bonds to their immediate families / mates.  That’s to be expected, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  (Indeed, I feel sorry for those who are the products of dysfunctional families, who never learned to love and trust those physically closest to them; may they find peace and happiness and that missing love with others.)
But beyond our immediate familial / blood / mating ties there should be love that extends to others.  First it is those like us in age or interests or community, then it is to those who share our same general values even if they are not immediate neighbors, then our entire country / culture / religion.

But that’s still too narrow a band on love.

Love should extend to everyone everywhere all the time.  This most pointedly is NOT saying that all actions are equally benign, or that all behaviors should be tolerated under all circumstances.

But it does say we are to love our enemies, to love those who despitefully use us, to love those who hate us and do no reciprocate our gestures of mercy and forgiveness and tolerance.

Never return evil for evil,
neglect for neglect.

The writer Andrew Vachss summed it up succinctly:

“Children know the truth.
Love is not an emotion.
Love is a behavior.”

Bill Mauldin one for the enlisted men

“Beautiful view!  Is there one for the enlisted men?”
Bill Mauldin, circa WWII [this is how a military leader
expresses love for his troops; he sees that their needs
are taken care of first, and that he enjoys nothing
they
can not have as well.]

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Lauren Bacall (1924–2014)

12/08/2014

1920x1080_humphrey-bogart-lauren-bacall-HD-Wallpaper

…and in other news, Keith Richards is still alive.  Go figure.

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