Republicans should have their pens and notebooks open; it’s note taking time

Rachel Maddow, you make it seem like TV journalism has integrity in a day when it seems to have none.

Go watch this clip and see how Maddow rips apart the hypocritical right not with whining, screaming, crying or arrogance, but with some gentle deliveries and cited references.

Photo will link to clip at See you when you get back.

Rove dishonors sanctity of marriage, becomes inadvertent proponent of gay marriage

Karl Rove and wife, Darby, attend the 2005 inauguration of George. W. Bush. Source: AP

In an effort to support progress and equality, Rove has shown just how important marriage isn’t in the heterosexual realm and adds his tacit vote for gay marriage.

Rove is divorcing his wife after 24 years of marriage.

What a kind and generous thing to do. He’s now the posterboy for all things equality. If a major leader of the conservative party and the fundamentalist movement can dishonor the “sanctity” of marriage, who then deserves such a lofty place among the married?

Any two consenting adults who love one another, that’s who. Heteros have proven with 50% efficacy that they are successful at marriage.

Thanks, Karl, for your vote. Now lead the rest of your yahoo party into this century.

You can do it. Put your back into it.

The Decline of Religiosity

I’ve been seeing charts and graphs regarding religiosity on a couple different blogs lately. The first one shows state religiosity.

I watched a little FOX the other night with Bill O. It was a best of the year show, and he replayed “tape” with Richard Dawkins. He made the comment that 80% of the USA are Christians (Catholics and Protestants lumped together). Because 80% are believers, we non-believers can scream all we want. We’re going to continue to get batted down by the iron fist of the religious. Then I saw a clip online where Dr. Laura said the same thing on her show. She said it with the same smug, iron fisty kind of “neh neh boo boo” kind of attitude. Where are they getting this information?

But even if it’s true, it’s not true for too much longer.

These charts are encouraging. Living in a state below the national average surely must help with alleviating the Yeshua Fog. When I look at the IP addresses of the folks who comment most at Le Café, it makes sense. Atheist Julie’s from Pennsilvania. Z-dawg-denny is from Nebraska. Makarios is up in Canada some place. Petursey is free and clear in Holland. Those ex-pats in Holland are awesome! Neuropunk is NYC. Dan J is in Indiana & Steve is suffering through life in Oklahoma. The only thing there are prairies and musicals. We just might gather and throw rotten veggies at you and scream, “Boo!” Thank goodness Renee is from Washington.

Many readers are from NC or the southeast coast. Senior Witteveen, SiL, SAW and Xina are from NC, but I’ve not heard a direct message from any of them regarding what station their religiosity is currently programed to. Well, all but maybe the first two. SiL seems to be complimentary of my perspective (especially before I was an admitted atheist). Her views are certainly unorthodox and don’t really comply with a stereotypical fundamentalist. Senior Witteveen’s seem to have made some changes in his beliefs, but for the most part remains “fundamentally conservative” on paper.

I’ve found that if you live in NC, as long as you say very little, everyone assumes you’re a believer. That one reason why I became vocal. I was sick of not being taken seriously.

After a quick conversation with my brother yesterday, I feel compelled to mention that I never set out to disprove or rid myself of Christianity. The more research I did, the more sense it made to retire it. That’s it. I really set out to reconcile my inclinations and doubts with academic perspectives. Now, don’t you just feel worse?

Anywho, maybe it’s the emotions of the approaching New Year or all the cocktails I’ve been drinking since 5 this morning, but I love you all. Thanks for reading. Well, I love all of you except ____________. You know who you are.

I’ll post more charts below the fold.

BTW, If I didn’t mention you, it’s not because I don’t love you. Some of you lurk and I don’t know who you are. I love you, too.

Continue reading “The Decline of Religiosity”

Palahniuk gives Ira Levin a reach around

Ever heard of “narcotization”? In a short essay by Chuck Palahniuk, he describes narcotization as, “When the problem looks too big, when we’re shown too much reality, we tend to shut down. We become resigned. We fail to take any action because disaster seems so inevitable. We’re trapped. This is narcotization.”

Palahniuk opens the essay by describing a study of three groups of people shown pictures of different mouths and gums. One group was shown moderately healthy gums, and the group continued with their regular brushing and flossing routines. The second group was shown relatively worse gums, and they tended to increase their regimen to be more caring. The third group were shown the nastiest, bloodiest gums you could imagine, and their regimins dropped into the toilet.

That’s narcotization. It’s when the situation looks so bleak that the human mind gives up. I would imagine this is why those black tar lungs don’t really work when printed on packs of cigarettes in Europe. I mean, a black lung is staring at European smokers in the face, and they STILL tug another cigarette out and light up.

Palahniuk uses this opening to give author, songwriter and dramatist a reach around. He says, “In a culture where people get too scared to face gum disease, how do you get them to face anything? Pollution? Equal rights? And how do you prompt them to fight?

“This is what you, Mr. Ira Levin, do so very well. In a word, you charm people.”

Levin wrote books like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Stepford Wives” and “Sliver.”

“On our lunch breaks, waiting for a bus, lying in bed, you have us face these Big Issues, and fighting them,” explains Palahniuk.

“In ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ published in 1967, the battle is over woman’s right to control her own body. The right to good health care. And the right to choose an abortion. She’s controlled by her religion, by her husband, by her male best friend, by her male obstetrician. All this you got people to read – to pay money to read – years before the feminist health-care movement.”

Palahniuk’s point is that Levin used creepy horror to change minds. To make headway with real issues that matter, average people need the right amount of horror to change their minds.

I got a lot out of this essay, but I’m going to relay three points.

  1. Read. I should read an Ira Levin book as soon as possible.
  2. Charm. To make headway with issues Levin believed in, he charmed his readers. I know I’m a dick quite a bit, but I try really hard to be charming and kind rather than pompous and smug. This essay encourages me to lean more toward kindness, but the occasional zinger or harsh statement might still rear its head.
  3. Narcotization. Face anyone with something as mesmerizing and brilliant as the universe, people shut down and say, “Well, then, god did it.” When explaining something as big and wonderful as evolution, that’s too much reality, “So god must have done it.” When shown global warming and the amount of research it took to get to the theories science has reached, it’s easier to blow it off instead of researching it. Knowledge takes work. Hard work. Staying the same is easy. Believing what those who have come before teach, that’s easy. Picking up ten books from ten perspectives on one topic, that’s hard. When faced with that challenge, it’s easiest to just read the books that support one view.

Or maybe you think I’m falling short because I am faced with the bigness of god and shutting down. Perhaps you think I’m the hypocrite here. I’d like to know. I’d like real recommendations for for information, books, articles, ideas that have helped form your views. I don’t care if you just jot down a title and run away without explanation. I’m hungry for information.

Or maybe you think I’m not smug enough, and smug makes headway. Tell me what you think. Otherwise, how would I know?

    Imagine If All Atheists Left America

    It really pisses me off that there is a grammar mistake on second 7 of the video.

    It’s interesting though. I like my team. We’ve got doctors, academics, and celebrities. Believers can keep all the politicians, bad infrastructure and ideologies that lead to lower standards of life.

    I like smart people. They contribute so much more to a higher standard of living and living well.