Thursday, August 23, 2012

the parable of the good republican


(Luke 10:25-37 for a modern audience)

25 And, behold, a certain MBA graduate stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit vast sums of money from my wealthy parents who manage thine hedge funds?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the books of Trump? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt endeavour to have thine earnings taxed at the rate for capital gains; and neglect not to make use of the carried interest exemption.

28 And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live exceeding well and see many paupers suffer in thy time.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And what of my neighbour, who still labors for salaried wages?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among a number of large corporate bankers, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain liberal that way: and when he saw him, he went off to find governmental authorities to provide assistance.

32 And likewise a Sodomite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and he too went in search of the authorities, but in an exceeding swishy and fruity manner.

33 But a certain Republican, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had obvious solicitude for him,

34 And went to him, and looked on his wounds, and said, "Thou shouldst appear before a specialist for thine hurts. Hast thou health insurance of surpassing quality?" And, drinking unto himself a cup of wine of exceeding price and taste, he taught the man that the Lord God hath commanded the bankers to do him harm perforce in order to punish the man for homosexual behavior, or for failure to attend the proper house of worship. He suggesteth unto the man that he might borrow copious funds from his forebears to create a business concern, which would then allow him to obtain exceeding generous tax relief from the possible new emperor, who was knownst to be far kinder to job creators than the current ruler. As the Republican aided the man in this fashion, the man crawled himself to an inn and with his last coins secured himself a room, wherein he collapsed unto the bed. But the Republican pointed out that the man should takest the floor and the Republican the bed, for the Republican's charitable givings had been exceeding large in the previous tax year, and such generosity must be justly rewarded,

35 And on the morrow when the Republican departed, he took the man's beast as reasonable payment for the Republican's time and advice, and said unto the innkeeper, "As thou art a business owner, perchance wouldst thou wish to contribute to the Romney/Ryan campaign? Verily I say unto thee that I am a bundler unto this campaign, and wouldst be mightily honored to accept thy donation unto their cause. Believeth me, when thine tax savings accrueth unto thee, thy generosity will be repaid many times over." Thus too did he secure substantial 501(c)(4) donations from those selfsame bankers who had beaten and robbed the now destitute man earlier in this tale.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the corporate bankers?

37 And he said, He that explained the teachings of Rand and Reagan unto him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

the real mitt romney?

Listening to Stephanie Miller this morning, she had her former voice guy, Carlos Alazraqui, on, and they got to talking about Mitt, and who the "Real" Mitt is. The quest for the "Real" Mitt is apparently a serious one. Carlos thinks Massachusetts Governor and Reasonable Moderate Republican Mitt is the Real Mitt, which is a theory I see commonly held among my admittedly small and anecdotal circle of commie friends, but which I just don't get. Why would you assume that the Mitt who you find more likeable is the Real Mitt, and the current one you can't stand is some phony affect he's put on for this race? Isn't the reverse just as likely true? Or, maybe, the Real Mitt is neither of them?

You know who I think the Real Mitt is? This guy:

Hi Mitt!
...but he's never once tried to run for office as this guy, because this guy couldn't get elected "douchenozzle of the year" by the American Douchenozzle Society. "I mean, we all respect a good douchenozzle, but this guy just takes it too far," they'd say.

Monday, August 13, 2012

let me be the first to say what everyone else has already said

Tonight's The Newsroom drove home one point above all: Aaron Sorkin's preachings are far more tolerable when they're about fictional things rather than when they're basically more pious sounding regurgitations of stuff lots of other people have already said about real things that happened a year and a half ago. zOMG WHAT IF THEY DIDN'T LET THE DAILY SHOW LADY GO ON TEEVEE AND SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING DEBATE THAT LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE WERE ALSO TOO SAYING ABOUT THAT SAME THING ALSO ON THE TEEVEE AROUND THAT SAME TIME?????? CAN AMERICA HAVE SURVIVED IN THE PAST? NO!

Sorkin does have a way of repackaging conventional wisdom in ways that he seems to think are bold and interesting, doesn't he? The heroic Bartlet Administration was very heroic and bold in the way that they usually wound up achieving Villager Consensus by Acting Like Grown-Up Republican Men Despite Being Liberal and Often Female, At Least According to Them. Studio 60 was so self-referential I kept thinking they must have gotten each week's script by colonoscopy. But at least they weren't directly rehashing stuff that was actually said about real events and pretending that this is somehow bold or edgy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"let your women keep silence in the churches"

(That's 1 Corinthians 14:34, for those playing at home)
¡Ese torero maravillosa cabriolas poco se lleva una capa roja muy bonita!
Shorter His Eminence "100% all-male heterosexual masculine thunder" Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Ph.D., D.D., SWCM ISO G*M, Cock Bar NYC 
"Love and Gratitude for the Sisters" 
It is because we deeply and truly honor the devotion and service of our Catholic sisters so much that we can tell them to shut the fuck up about poors and stop looking at us funny anytime we're in the same room as an underage boy, or Jesus is going to send their stupid bitch asses straight to hell.
Most of it is boilerplate "some of my best friends are Negroes/homos/camel jockeys/etc."-style buttering up, but by the end he wants you to know that, goddamnit, these nuns have been nice and all, but when did they start flapping their yaps without permission?
Contrary to what you may have heard, Rome loves the Sisters!  When you love someone, you show concern.  And, recently, the Vatican expressed some concerns about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents a lot of Sisters.
Right! See? We here at NAMBLA Worldwide love us some lady-folk. We're just concerned that they might have started thinking for themselves, is all, and we know that nobody wants that, so let's just nip it in the bud, am I right?
That expression of concern contained high praise for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and even higher esteem for all the nuns in America.  The concord between the Holy See (which asked for and initiated the Leadership Conference of Women Religious  half-a-century ago) is strong enough for both sides to ask tough questions.
For example, the nuns ask: "Why are you guys spending all your time obsessing over men having sex with each other? And what are you doing with that boy there in the janitor's closet?" And then the bishops ask, "Bitch, who the fuck told you that you were allowed to speak?" It's the strength of the concord that allows such tough questions to be asked.
But the concern is real:  the Holy See loves the Sisters so much they want them as strong, faithful, and influential as possible, and legitimately worries about features threatening their very identity as “daughters of the Church,” to borrow Elizabeth Ann Seton’s favorite description of her sisters.
...and like any other daughter, we want them to exhibit that strength and faith by doing and saying only what we tell them to do and say, and only when we tell them to do or say it. It's called "equality."
Some say that Rome is too soft, and should have suppressed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious , because it is heretical; one letter even called them “Unitarians”!
Yes, "some say." You sisters wouldn't want "them" to get the wrong idea, right?
The other extreme claims that the stuffy, oppressive, sexist Vatican is scared of these independent, free-thinking women, and should leave them alone.
But, I mean, the Vatican? Sexist? How can we be sexist when we spend so much time trying to help you gals out with all those important doings up in your uteri? We know you can't handle that shit on your own, baby, so we're here to tell you what to do and take that weight off your shoulders.
But such caricatures hardly help.  All that helps is humility in both partners, and a profession of faith that, in the end, it’s not about one side or the other, not about the grievances of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious or the worries of the Vatican, but it’s all about Jesus and His Church.
Which, you know, He didn't appoint no Holy Mother to run it, see what I mean?
If the Sisters can survive the battlefields of the Civil War, they’ll survive the dramatic changes of the last five decades, and the current examination by Rome.
Yeah, you little ladies will be OK. Just stop thinking and everyone will be fine. OK, sweetie, you run along now. There's a good girl.
And what is never in question is our love and gratitude for the Sisters!
Gosh, that's swell, but the question we really had was: are you guys ever going to stop raping children and then covering it up?

Hello? Anything? Anybody there?

(I apologize profusely to Sadly, No! for stealing basically their entire format.)

for america!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

some say...

Since it works so well for Fox, I thought I'd give the "some people say" style of reporting a try.
  • Some say that Mitt Romney seems to have Asperger's Disease, but others say he's just an asshole.
  • It has been said that Mitt Romney is being backed by the global Illuminati and that he will further their nefarious ends once in office.
  • Some are talking about Mitt Romney's citizenship and whether he might actually be a Mexican citizen and therefore ineligible for the Presidency.
  • Some people have suggested that the second-largest investor in News Corp., Saudi billionaire al-Waleed bin Talal, is an active financier of extreme Islamist and terrorist causes.
  • It's been alleged that House Majority leader Eric Cantor is working on behalf of shady foreign banking interests.
  • People are saying that Mitt Romney may very well be the Anti-Christ, given his deep Mormon roots and the controversial Mormon "White Horse Prophecy," which they argue closely matches Biblical accounts of the Anti-Christ.
  • Over two years after the rumors first began appearing online, people are still talking about the allegations that Glenn Beck murdered a young girl in 1990.
There you have it. I report, you decide.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

which of course, in german, means "a whale's vagina"

Sometimes, when you're a 24-hour news network and you have to vamp for a while to occupy your 24-hour news schedule, things don't quite come out right. Other times, when you're a 24-hour news network whose core principle is that knowing anything about anything could risk biasing your news coverage, you find yourself saying stupid things in important situations because, well, 24 hours, somebody's got to keep talking, even if we don't know what the fuck we're talking about.

Such was hapless CNN's fate on Sunday, as the Worldwide Leader in News found itself covering breaking news of the tragic and horrific shooting at a Sikh Gurdwara in Wisconsin, with, by all appearances, not a single person in the studio who could explain what a "Sikh" is or, even, to maybe Google the word "Sikh" and read what they found. There's an excellent if depressing blow-by-blow here. The short version is that CNN started getting reaction from Sikhs outside the Gurdwara, one of whom identified the worshipers as "Hindu Sikhs." Now, while I, a humble broke-ass writer, have no idea what that gentleman meant, I do know that Sikhism and Hinduism are not the same thing, and I don't even have to Google it (though I did, to make sure I could, because fact-checking or something). He could have been referring to the fact that gurdwaras are open to worshipers from all faiths, and perhaps a number of the worshipers at that gurdwara are Hindu. The various religions (Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism) that have been prominent on the subcontinent over the centuries have had periods where they related with one another in what we might call ecumenical terms; Hindus studied under Sufi shaykhs, holy sites were common to two or more faiths, etc., so this is perfectly reasonable. He could have been identifying them as Indian sikhs; "Ind" and "Hind" are variants of the same identifier, and use of the term "Hindu" as an ethnic or national marker would not be out of the question. The point is, the guy said something that made sense to him, but not being that guy, nobody else knows quite what he meant. CNN, the Worldwide Leader in News, where, again, somebody really ought to know this stuff or be able to take five minutes (even during breaking news!) to look it up, immediately latched on to the theological declaration of Some Guy in the Parking Lot and assured its viewers that Sikhs are not Muslim, they're Hindu. Well, and I repeat myself, no.

Throughout all of their confusion about what Sikhs actually ARE, CNN quickly and repeatedly knew that it could tell us what they are not, and how it's apparently very "unfair" that crazy white supremacist 9/11 revenge-seekers don't also know this (via):

Oh dear. CNN placed a great deal of emphasis on this point, that Sikhs have been "unfairly" targeted for attacks since 9/11 because American nuts easily confuse them with Muslims. Now, while it is true that Sikhs have faced reprisals since 9/11 from American nuts who easily confuse them with Muslims, you know what is also "unfair"? WHEN AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITIES ARE ATTACKED OVER 9/11. Shit, I'd go so far as to say that it is unfair to attack any group on the basis of that group's religion, skin color, dress, appearance, or the like. But apparently CNN wants to hold out the possibility that a group could be "fairly" targeted if you were sure you knew who they were, like if the Sikhs had really pissed you off or something, or if you shot up a mosque instead since, you know, no mistaken identity there. I know this isn't the impression CNN intends to convey, but the Worldwide Leader in News ought to have some sense of what words mean and how they can convey implications to the listener/viewer.

Once the backlash from CNN's bizarre decision to retcon around 6 centuries of religious history and make Sikhs Hindus began to flow in, CNN decided to have on Rajwant Singh, Chair of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, to describe what Sikhism is, which in context struck me as a little like having the mayor of Greensburg, Kansas, on to talk about the history of his town immediately after most of it had been destroyed by a tornado. While it's obviously important that Americans understand what Sikhs are, and apparently some don't, CNN's attempt to educate its audience could have come at a slightly more appropriate time, and maybe without the "zOMG why don't you nuts go attack the RIGHT brown folks?" sense that permeated their coverage.