I have a mouth, so I guess I must scream

There are a lot of things wrong with American society. Poverty, inequality, racism, sexism, crumbling infrastructure, selfish foreign policy, inadequate healthcare, insane incarceration rates, environmental pollution, gun violence, pitifully underfunded education systems…the list goes on and on. But these things are all very, very hard to fix. Even the simplest of those problems couldn’t be corrected in less than a very hard fought decade. But I want to look like I’m changing the world, without actually, you know, changing the world. So what should I do?

I know! I’ll write long screeds attacking pop culture! Attacking movies and music is so easy. Everyone sees movies , so I don’t have to explain anything complicated like long term economic trends or the greenhouse effect.  I just have to point at something on a screen and say “See? Look! Bad!” That way, I can pat myself on the back for making a difference, while not actually putting out any of the effort required to actually make a difference. Thanks, CNN!

Editor’s note: Lewis Beale writes about culture and film for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and other publications. He has taught writing about film at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Keep this in mind as we go through this guy’s article. He teaches writing. In real life. To actual students.

In the latest “X-Men” film, Magneto levitates RFK stadium and drops it around the White House; the stadium is destroyed.

In “Godzilla,” the monster fights off what looks like the entire U.S. military while he flattens both Honolulu and San Francisco. And in the new Tom Cruise film, “Edge of Tomorrow,” opening Friday, Paris is left underwater after an alien attack, and a futuristic D-Day-like invasion leaves a French beach strewn with dead bodies and smoldering war materiel.

There’s plenty more mayhem to come as this season’s glut of blow-’em-up flicks rolls out: “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (aliens drop a cruise liner on a city), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (outer space vehicles liquefied by the dozens), “Hercules” (the title character fights off lions, sea monsters and a whole army of bad guys) and “The Expendables 3” (Sly Stallone and gang; train rams into prison).

Entertainment Weekly recently referred to it as “the summer of destruction.”

But let’s call it what it is: destruction porn.

When writing, you want to have some kind of theme linking together the various threads of your prose. Mr. Beale’s parenthetical statements attempting to establish his theme are what I would call “reaching”. “Outer space vehicles liquified by the dozens”? “[T]he title character fights off lions, sea monsters and a whole army of bad guys”? What the fuck? How exactly are these things linked?

What genuinely irks me, though, is that final sentence. He’s treating the term “destruction porn” like it’s an actual phrase in the English language that means something. Like it has a definition, or that anyone anywhere agrees on what counts as “destruction porn”.

“____ porn” has become the new “-gate” suffix of bad writing. It used to be, if you couldn’t come up with anything original to say, you just find some scandal and call it “[blank]-gate”.  Today, if you’re a hack with nothing to say, just find something that you know little about but think is over-indulgent, and call it “[blank] porn”. The Saw movies are “torture porn”. 50 Shades of Grey is “mom porn”. News coverage of weeping relatives of tragedy victims is “grief porn”. Fucking pathetic.

Like real porn, these movies play to our most atavistic instincts.

That’s not what “atavistic” means. A dolphin with hind limbs is atavistic. Our ancient ancestors millions of years ago couldn’t possibly have thrilled at skyscrapers crumbling or spaceships blowing up, because none of those things existed millions of years ago.  Get a fucking dictionary.

And where the fuck did you get the idea that “real porn” (whatever that is) is atavistic? People don’t have sexual urges any more? Jerking off is a thing of the past? Modern life, right now, doesn’t involve sexual indulgence? What planet do you live on?

They all include some sort of buildup, the titillation of expectation that really bad, but cool, things are about to happen. They generally climax — pun intended …

This guy teaches writing.

…with a massive set piece of CGI carnage. And like real porn, afterwards we’re supposed to feel deliriously fulfilled and exhausted.

I don’t think you know how “real porn” works. Maybe you feel “deliriously fulfilled and exhausted” after stroking yourself, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what they were going for. What the hell does “deliriously fulfilled” even mean?

Additionally, the fact that you keep using the term “real porn” is a pretty clear indicator that you damn well know the term “destruction porn” is bullshit.

Fact is, we should hate ourselves for feeling this way, as if we’d just had really bad sex.

Writing professor, folks. Calling Dr. Freud.

But that’s not the reaction destruction porn elicits.

Can’t imagine why it doesn’t elicit your perverted reaction in most people. Maybe delirious fulfillment followed by self hatred just isn’t in vogue.

Even worse, we’re exporting this American blood-lust globally, giving outsiders the impression of a country that has totally gone over to the Dark Side.

Star Wars references kinda undermine what you’re going for here. Or does Alderaan not count as destruction porn?

It’s not as if there hasn’t been massive carnage in the movies before this. Hollywood has produced plenty of war films, ecological disaster flicks and alien invasion epics in the past. But the sheer frequency of destruction porn these days — at least 11 movies of this type in summer 2012 (“The Avengers,” The Dark Knight Rises,” etc.) and 12 during the same season last year (“White House Down,” “World War Z,” etc.)…

11 movies in 2012 and 12 in 2013. Please note that he’s throwing out these numbers without ever defining what counts as a “destruction porn” movie, and without ever specifying which movies fit his non-existent criteria, or how any movie possibly could. There were precisely 11 of such movies in 2012, but he won’t bother to explain where that number came from. These are entirely made up statistics. Well, I can do the same thing. I just created a new category called “Shitfuck journalism from hacks”. CNN published precisely one such article which I’m looking at right now.

…and our delight in seeing things blown up, should make us worry about the mental health of society.

Public schools failing, gun violence, suicide…no, wait, fuck all that shit. We should be worried about The Avengers. That’s the important shit.

Idiot.

Movies have always reflected the anxieties of their age. In the 1950s, we had plenty of nuclear paranoia films,often featuring mutated life forms. (Can you say “Godzilla”?)

Can YOU say Godzilla? You keep bringing up this imaginary entity called “destruction porn” as if it’s something new. Have you seen any classic Godzilla films ever? Do I need to explain to you the whole “Guy in rubber suit smashing cardboard buildings” leitmotif of the entire series?

But the recent spate of films seem to reflect a collective psychic collapse.

What the hell is a “collective psychic collapse”? Who the fuck watches Maleficent and thinks, “Yup. Collective psychic collapse.”?

Sure, there are reasons for this: fear of terrorism, the insecurity created by all those mass murders, like the recent episode in Santa Barbara. We feel that world has gotten even more chaotic. That there’s too much of everything. That society has gotten way too complicated, with too many people, too much technology, too many opposing ideologies clashing against each other.

Look at me! I’m vaguely aware of modern political issues! And I get paid to express that never-more-than-vague awareness with statements like “all those mass murders”! I teach writing!

I’m the 700 billionth person to point out that modern life has complications that didn’t exist in the past! I have absolutely nothing beyond that regurgitation to contribute to the discussion, but CNN needs to fill up space, so here I am!

It recalls the classic 1959 dystopian novel “A Canticle For Leibowitz,” by Walter Miller Jr., in which the end of industrial civilization is referred to as “the Simplification.” It’s as if we’re preparing for a global meltdown.

In your writing classes, do you ever address hyperbole?

And the summertime, when we’re supposed to be mellowing out,…

Who’s the fucking “we” in this sentence? The next time you eat at a restaurant, tell the over-worked and under-paid waiter that “we” are supposed to “be mellowing out” since it’s summer, and see what kind of reaction you get. My guess is it’ll be something along the lines of, “I’m smiling because if you don’t tip me, I starve.”

…is a perfect time for Hollywood to exploit our growing appetite for this kind of carnage. There are two specific reasons for this: Most filmgoers are in the under-40 demographic, looking for a night out away from the heat and to put their brains on pause — and believe me, there’s nothing more mindless than watching stuff blow up.

I can think of something more mindless.

The second reason is the importance of the foreign market, which now accounts for nearly 70% of total box office gross.

Our global neighbors tend to go for what we do best, which is make big budget films with state-of-the-art special effects, a minimum of dialogue (explosions speak a universal language) and lots of mayhem. Lots. Just to take two recent examples: the just-opened X-Men film has grossed $168 million in the U.S., and twice that much overseas. And the new “Captain America” flick — “Captain America,” no less! — has grossed $255 million domestically and a whopping $454 million overseas.

America: A country where scenes of mass destruction are the norm, and carnage is preferred over peace, love and understanding.

Go fuck yourself, you sanctimonious douchebag.

If you actually bothered to watch and think about the movies, rather than pontificate like a self-righteous blowhard, you’d see the themes in both X-Men and Captain America. X-Men is a metaphor for the gay rights movement, while Cap is about the surveillance state and the bullshit notion that we have to sacrifice our freedom and privacy for security. Neither film is subtle in this regard. They wear their metaphors on their sleeve. If you took two fucking seconds to think about it, you’d see it. But that’s asking way too much from you, Dr. Writing Professor.

Oh, and I can’t help but notice the term “global neighbors”. What other fucking neighbors do we have? What’s the difference between “global neighbors” and just plain fucking “neighbors”?

Is this the kind of negative image of America we want to export?

Better explosions than pretentious douchenozzles.

And sure, we all know that “It’s only a movie,” but don’t kid yourself: When we get geeked at the leveling of entire cities, it says something about who we are, and where our society is going.

No. It says something about who you are that this is the kind of thing you judge other people for.

And you’d think after 9/11 and the never-ending mass murders in this country we would be a bit more sensitive to scenes where cities are destroyed and thousands of lives lost, but the opposite seems to have taken place: We wallow in it. We cheer it. Like porn, we can’t take our eyes off it. It’s seductive and incredibly addictive.

Your presumptuousness is much more offensive to me than any explosion in a make-believe movie. “You’d think”. Fuck you. The difference between you and me is that I do actually think. Hey, Dr. Writing Professor and Film Critic, did you ever notice how the original Godzilla came out in 1954, just 9 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki got nuked? Did your tiny little pea brain ever consider the idea that movies are artistic expression, and that they reflect these societal anxieties precisely because that’s what art does? Yes, filmmakers are expressing their feelings about 9/11, and audiences are responding. You can see that in many modern films. This isn’t something new. It’s how art works.

Wish fulfillment? Catharsis? Just good old entertainment? It really doesn’t matter. While we’re in the grips of whatever social psychosis is stoking this ravenous appetite for mayhem, Hollywood will be happy to oblige.

You really are a complete tool, aren’t you?

You managed to write 1,000 words without ever saying a thing. You excel at speculation, allegation, and sensationalism, while stridently avoiding anything that even resembles actual fucking journalism. You pass judgment on others for the specific purpose of generating a headline. You invent terms without ever bothering to define them. You then invent numbers because numbers look like science and reason and that makes dumb people think you’re credible. You use pop psychology to make it look like your verbal diarrhea is actual human thought. And you do all this in the hopes that you’ll stimulate CNN’s audience into irrational fear of an imaginary problem, just so you can do it again next week.

You write news porn.

Intelligent Imbecility

There are lots of ways to promote bigotry and ignorance. The easiest and most obvious is to just run around shouting “Fuck faggots!”, which accounts for 90% of internet traffic. Another is to declare that you heard from an invisible, silent being that exists…somewhere…that faggots are bad and don’t deserve equal rights. Another is to assert that it’s just your belief that faggots are evil, and how dare you insult my beliefs (which are insulting to other people) (oh, and I want my beliefs enshrined in the law)?

The problem with these approaches is that the public is catching on to them. Stupid can’t hide for long, and more and more people are saying “Fuck your beliefs” and giving gays equal rights anyways. “Damn it!” says the bigot. “I have to deny people their rights, but I can’t do it by being an obvious dumbfuck any more! Whatever shall I do?” The answer is provided, luckily for the bigot, in today’s Washington Post. You gotta be a sneaky dumbshit bigot. You gotta take what you think the opposition believes (which is, of course, nothing like what the opposition actually believes–you are a dumbfuck bigot after all!) and turn it around on them! You gotta be, not really clever, but what you imagine to be clever in your tiny little pea brain. You gotta be an intelligent imbecile.

Behold.

Is gay marriage really progressive?

  • By Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman
  • February 20 at 6:38 am

Ha! Take that, liberals! We put a question mark in our title! That should fill you with doubt about your own beliefs. ‘Cause that’s how intelligent imbecility works. We’re tricky and shit.

Same-sex marriage advocates, and their lawyers, cite Jefferson’s “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” to underscore everyone’s right to marry without state interference. Last week, they successfully challenged Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. Given current legal trends, there seems little doubt that the Supreme Court will ultimately agree with U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen’s ruling. Gay rights advocates believe this ruling is a major progressive advance.

I’m a gay rights advocate, and when I heard about that ruling the first thing I thought was, “Major Progressive Advance.” Except for the part where I never thought any such thing. Actually, my first thought was, “The bigots are gonna shit themselves,” and boy oh boy was I right.

We ask: Why is this progressive?

No you don’t. You never asked that. This is just a bullshit rhetorical device for you to try to make yourselves look smart while spouting idiocy. The only people you’re fooling with this shit are people who were already dumb enough to agree with you before you even wrote a word.

Or put another way: Why is giving the government more power over your personal life, as opposed to less, considered progressive?

Why are loaded, deliberately misleading questions the things you beat your wife with?

Oh, I’m sorry, was that out of line? I should have known you would never beat your wife. You just take out your frustrations by raping and murdering a hooker. My bad.

See? I can make up passive aggressive dogshit about other people and spout it without blinking! Publish me, Washington Post!

The government gives legal benefits to people in marriages that the government recognizes. All gay people are asking is that they receive the same benefits. It’s not that fucking hard to understand. This doesn’t involve government controlling their personal lives. But singling out gay people specifically to ban them from certain benefits? That DOES involve government interfering with people’s personal lives. No fucking duh.

Ironically, it may turn out that gay marriage advocates are trying to further cement a dangerous philosophical trend that they would normally see as conservative, retrogressive or even reactionary.

Ironically, there’s no irony here, since you’re just pulling this out of your tightly puckered asshole.

Gay marriage advocates believe the progressive position is to require every marriage to get the same governmental blessing. But this is actually not a progressive or liberating posture at all.

The right approach for those who believe in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” freed from government control is self-evident: no government control over marriage.

This is becoming the new right wing way to promote straight privilege. They ignore all the legal benefits of marriage (hospital visitation, shared tax forms, tax benefits, etc.) and act like marriage is nothing but a word. But I guarantee you–if either of these guys’ wife is in the hospital, they’ll damn sure take advantage of the “government control” that lets them visit her. And when these two fucking nitwits file their taxes, they’ll damn sure let “government control” give them some marriage-based tax credits.

Which is to say, they’ll glad spew empty words about “government control over marriage” in a rag like the WaPo. That’s just words. But the moment it affects their real lives, everything they’re saying goes right down the shitter.

The same-sex marriage position requires first accepting the government’s right to sanction marriage.

It obviously doesn’t. It requires recognizing that straight couples get benefits that gays don’t. It requires recognizing how fucking unfair that is. It also requires knowing a right wing bullshit artist when you see one–and I see two that the WaPo decided deserved to have their verbal fecal matter spread to the entire country.

Moreover, advocates don’t merely agree to give government this power, they accept a state’s right to discriminate. The federal court decision overturning Virginia’s gay marriage ban is premised on the state failing to provide a sufficient reason for discriminating between couples wanting to get hitched. This presupposes the right of the government to sanction marriage. Ironically, this is the position of the supposedly conservative traditional marriage defenders.

Go back and read that paragraph again. The first sentence is supposed to tell us what the latter sentences will demonstrate. Read it. The first sentence has absolutely nothing to do with anything that follows. Read it again. I challenge you to explain how the first sentence is even tangentially related to anything that follows.

Keep in mind: The WaPo published this illogical garbage. And the WaPo is purportedly a respectable newspaper. Yeah, fucking right.

But the really important point to keep in mind here is PRIVILEGE. These two fuckheads have probably taken advantage of marriage rights numerous times.  They just take it for granted. Pick up your kids from school? Sure, Mommy and Daddy are married, and legally that’s all that’s required to retrieve your kids from school (even if they aren’t your biological children). They don’t even think about it. The only reason they can flippantly tell gays “Just don’t get legal recognition” is that they’re so used to legal recognition that they can’t even realize they have it any more.

Trust me, no married couple would ever voluntarily give up the legal benefits they enjoy. Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman are no different.

While the Supreme Court has made other important rulings on marriage in the past, no jurist ever suggested disagreement with state laws banning same-sex marriage — until recently.

It’s never been done before, so why do it now?

(Nota bene: This exact same argument could have been made against inter-racial marriage 60 years ago.)

Gay rights lawyers say such decisions were wrong, surely by today’s standards. We ask: What is progressive about conditioning the state’s right to sanction marriage on changeable judicial attitudes?

You don’t ask that. You’re not asking anything. Stop pretending that you’re capable of thought.

Anyone who reads this can see exactly what you’re doing. The bigots have lost the gay marriage debate on one front after another, so now you just wanna take your ball and go home. Just end legal marriage entirely! That oughta go over well! I’m sure the step-fathers out there who no longer have legal guardianship over their step-children won’t mind at all! Right wingers are smart!

The more principled approach, which is consistent across the philosophical spectrum, is leaving marriage to the religious and family institutions from whence it came.

What philosophical spectrum? Is there even such a thing as a philosophical spectrum? I’ve been studying philosophy since 2000, and I’ve never encountered any such thing.

Privilege is again at play here. What Leahy and Goldman are really asking is, “Can’t we just let the church (which already excludes gays) give us all the benefits and tell everyone who’s not like us to fuck off?” No, shithead, you can’t. It doesn’t work that way. Marriage is a civil contract. It has been for a very long time. And I know, you really want all the benefits to yourself, even if sharing them with others won’t cost you a thing. That’s because you’re suffering from a common disorder known in psychiatry as Being An Asshole.

Marriage existed long before there were government bureaucrats looking to raise revenue by collecting license fees.

Yeah, that’s why the government recognizes marriages. The tiny fees they get from licenses.

https://i0.wp.com/affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/wp-content/uploads/brilliant_cigar1.jpg

If a person meets whatever common sense, minimal legal requirements are established for people to wed — such as those related to age, health, mental capacity or banning incest — why should government approval be required?

That’s what the gays are asking. You seem to have missed this part.

You see, STRAIGHT marriages don’t require government approval. Wanna get married? Sure, why not. It’s not like there’s an exam. As long as you’re straight, you get married. Simple as that.

All gays are asking is that they be treated the same way.

If gay rights advocates truly believe marriage is a protected, inalienable right, then they should be in court arguing against state-sanctioned marriage per se.

It’s not that gays are destroying traditional marriage, it’s that they SHOULD be destroying traditional marriage. See how subtle and nuanced these bigots are becoming?

What about the traditional marriage position – that defining these unions is up to the states and that states have a vested interest in promoting traditional families? It runs counter to the conservative belief in limited government.

The true conservative position should be to let the church control everything. Christian hegemony for the win!

Same-sex couples are generally no better or worse at parenting than those with different sexual orientations. Limiting marriage on procreation grounds, even if legal, is a slippery slope that would trample the Constitution and personal liberties in a way worthy of China, not America.

That’s the only point in this op-ed where these two say anything even vaguely rational. But then they fuck it up by going, “China! Amiright?”

Most important, a marriage license is derivative, not the basic right at issue. If the right to marry is inalienable, then the government needs to stop seeing it as another revenue raiser or privilege creator.

We should just leave it to religious institutions! They secure privilege much more hatefully than the government ever could!

In practical effect, all same-sex marriage proponents are claiming is their inalienable right to be required to pay a marriage fee like everyone else.

How the fuck did this sentence make it past an editor?

All they’re claiming is a fee? So hospital visitation isn’t part of legal marriage? And neither is guardianship of children? What about inheritance rights? Adoption? Tax credits? Spouse benefits for insurance plans?

No, none of that exists. Well, it all does exist, but Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb are so caught up in their own privilege that they stupidly don’t even realize how much legal benefit they get from marriage. They think they can just erase the entire legal structure of the marriage cake and still get all the frosting. Well, sorry, fucknuts. It doesn’t work that way. If you actually got your way, you’d have no legal basis on which to claim you can visit your wife if she’s dying in the hospital. Think about that–if you ever even think at all.

Look, I’m not saying all conservatives are stupid. I’ve met a few smart ones. But too many of them are complete idiots. And the worst type of conservative idiot is the one who masters the English language just enough to make an argument that might be mistaken for rational human thought if viewed from a thousand miles away through layers of skin-melting fog. In other words, the one who’s able to gussy up his imbecility with just enough false erudition to be published in an overrated rag like the WaPo.

Don’t let the facts get in your way

As soon as I saw the headline, I knew exactly how the religious right would react.

Utah polygamy ruling criticized

And I bet now that you’ve seen it, you do too. First, let’s look at just what this ruling is…

(CNN) – Some social conservatives are blasting Utah’s ruling striking down part of that state’s law banning polygamy.

The suit was brought by the stars of the television reality series “Sister Wives,” and a federal judge’s ruling Friday throws out the law’s section prohibiting “cohabitation,” saying it violates constitutional guarantees of due process and religious freedom.

Got that? “Cohabitation”. As in living together. The law told consenting adults whom they can and can’t live with. Obviously unconstitutional. It remains illegal in Utah to obtain more than one valid marriage certificate, but the law can’t tell you whom you can live with, regardless of marital status.

Cue the froth.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum – who a decade ago came under fire for comments indicating polygamy would become legal if courts banned anti-sodomy laws – responded to the ruling over the weekend.

“Sometimes I hate it when what I predict comes true,” the former U.S. senator tweeted Sunday.

Sometimes I hate it when Santorum opens his big fucking mouth. Actually, I hate that all of the time. The man is constitutionally incapable of uttering a single sentence that isn’t demonstrably false and/or idiotic and/or bigoted and/or ignorant and/or frothing.

The ruling didn’t legalize polygamy, idiot. It legalized cohabitation, which is something the government has no business meddling with in the first place. How would you like it if the government told you you couldn’t live with the one you loved?

The Family Research Council, led by prominent social conservative Tony
Perkins, also weighed the Utah statute, warning of “serious consequences
of redefining marriage.”

Tony Perkins is just not a human being. He’s a loosely organized collection of god-humper buzzwords with an automatic hair trigger. Did someone mention marriage in any capacity or context? REDEFINING MARRIAGE!

“Throughout history, marriage has been future-oriented, focused on the
next generation and the best interests of children. The reality is that
society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad,” Perkins said
Monday.

And these kids get a mom and a dad…and a mom and a mom and a mom. Just like in those good old Biblical days you claim to believe in so literally.

“However, redefining marriage to fulfill the desires of same-sex couples
or polygamists only moves society away from this vital public interest
and creates social chaos.”

Five hicks in Utah get to live in the same house. They’re still not legally married. The only thing that’s been redefined here is the meaning of “redefined” whenever Tony Perkins blubbers it out.

In striking down the section of the law Friday, Judge Clark Waddoups used a 2003 Supreme Court landmark gay rights case Lawrence v. Texas, which ruled that anti sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

During that Supreme Court ruling a decade ago, Santorum told the Associated Press that bans on sodomy would open the doors to a “right to polygamy” and other sexual acts.

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” Santorum said in 2003.

If there were no right to adultery, then half the Republican Party would be in fucking prison.

But Waddoups’ ruling keeps in place the ban on bigamy “in the literal
sense – the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two
purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into
more than one purportedly legal marriage.”

Fuck off, facts! We’ve got a narrative to shill!

Some religious groups also criticized the ruling.

What the fuck is the point of this sentence? Is anyone OTHER than religious nuts criticizing it?

“This is what happens when marriage becomes about the emotional and
sexual wants of adults, divorced from the needs of children for a mother
and a father committed to each other for life,” said Russell Moore, of
the Southern Baptist Convention.

See how he weaseled that word “divorce” into his lie? This is the verbal equivalent of putting the Republican base in a jar and shaking it to make them fight. It’s all about stimulation, not information. Anyone with half a monkey brain knows that having children was never a requirement for people getting married. Childless marriages have never been illegal in this country. And even if that were the issue, it’s fucking irrelevant because the current case hasn’t altered the marriage laws in any way.

“Polygamy was outlawed in this country because it was demonstrated,
again and again, to hurt women and children. Sadly, when marriage is
elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing.”

Sometimes it hurts women and children. If girls are forced into plural marriages against their will, that’s obviously harmful.

But that’s not an issue of polygamy. ONE forced marriage is bad. Multiple forced marriages are just more of the same bad.

Once again, the real issue here is the one thing that god-humpers refuse to acknowledge: CONSENT. The idea of a woman consenting of her own free will to pretty much anything is antithetical to the misogynistic beliefs that god-humpers desperately cling to. Women and girls can’t self determine. They can’t act and choose under their own power. They have to be sheltered and controlled. So protecting them from sexual predators becomes a matter of controlling other people’s private behavior, rather than punishing those who do things to them without their consent (which is the way it SHOULD be done).

Todays lesson: Every god-humper is a liar. And not everyone who claims to protect women and girls is a feminist.

Gullibility to Galilee

Le pompe des enterrements regarde plus las vanité des vivants que l’honneur des morts.

–François de la Rochefoucauld, Maximes et Réflexions diverses

“The pomp of funerals is more for the vanity of the living, than for the honor of the dead.” Some might fault de la Rochefoucauld’s typically French cynicism and snideness (I can’t even read the French text without adding a sneer to the voice), but like many cynical assholes, he’s right. Generally speaking, when people call you a cynical asshole, they’re accusing you of saying too many true things. Funerals really are more about tamping down our existential dread in the face of inevitable death rather than “honoring” whatever poor sap just kicked the bucket.

This is why we spend a bazillion dollars on tacky, pointless caskets, flowers, headstones, and needlessly funnel billions of dollars into America’s lucrative funeral industry. Grief is easy to exploit. If you’re interested in just how much it gets exploited in this country, I recommend the excellent Bullshit! episode called Death, Inc. Grief makes people stupid. The funeral industry knows how to make money off this grief-induced stupidity.

And as with any industry, they only strengthen their brand when they combine it Jeebus.

Want your ashes spread where Jesus walked?

By Sara Sidner, CNN

No.

Nobody should.

A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers.

They may or may not be atheist moles trying to prove just how gullible Christians can be…

Company president Larry Deverett says he has found the perfect spot for people of the Christian faith to have their own or their loved ones cremated remains scattered.

The spot is located in a small garden in an orchard on a hill above the Sea of Galilee, the area where the New Testament says Jesus prayed, taught and performed many miracles including walking on water.

“I researched the market and found that there is a strong need and demand for this type of service and the No. 1 location on the planet, when you are talking about spirituality, is the Holy Land,” Deverett said.

Translation: I saw all these televangelists scamming their Christian sheep and thought, “Fuck, I could do that!”

Deverett knows there will always be potential clients. The funeral industry will always have a source of clients since we all have to go sometime, and many of us will likely have a funeral of some sort.

Kinda funny how “spirituality” and “crass, exploitative capitalism that doesn’t actually create any useful product or service” always seem to go hand in hand.

One reason for an upswing in cremations may be economics. Simply put, cremation is cheaper than a burial.

So let’s make it expensive again by adding “Transportation to fucking Jerusalem” to the package.

For $750 after cremation, you can have your ashes shipped and scattered near the “Jesus Trail,” where a bearded man resembling a person right out of the Bible performs a ceremony. It is all put on a DVD and sent to the family.

The Jesus Trail is much like the Treasure Trail. They’re both hairy and have a dick at the end.

And seriously, Christians. If you wonder why I don’t take you seriously when you speak of the profundity of “spirituality”, it’s because to you guys it includes watching a cheap DVD of some guy dressed as Moses poor your grandpappy’s ashes out in a spot that might have come into contact with Jesus’ foot fungus.

The company is looking into trying to do a live feed over the Internet so you can watch it in real time.

Can’t you people just watch porn like normal humans?

“It’s a great privilege to be able to do this act of loving kindness for our Christian brothers and sisters, ” said Benzion Lehrer, who says the prayer and scatters the ashes.

Translation: I’m rich, bitches!

Deverett is hoping to draw business from far and wide.

Sadly, he might actually pull that off.

But the President of Holy Land Ash Scattering can’t use the service for himself or his family. He is Jewish and adheres to the traditional belief that his faith forbids cremation.

So his company has even less integrity than Hair Club for Men.

One more thing: Shame on you, CNN. This is not a news article. It’s a fucking puff piece. I would not be shocked at all if Holy Land Ash Scattering paid for it. The only interviews are with people from the company, nothing but nice things are said, and not a hint of skepticism is expressed. I expect this kind of “advertizing masquerading as news” horseshit from WingNutDaily, but CNN is supposed to be an actual news outlet.

The thing is, I know why WND takes so many obvious scams and writes them up as “news”. It’s because they know their audience. The average WND reader is a daft, gullible, bigoted, paranoid, ignorant nincompoop with a severely restricted stream of incoming information. They fall for shit like this, and WND can profit from their credulity, so they do it. The obvious question we should ask now is: What does CNN believe about it’s own audience?

Godly Goldfish

American news media is so pathetic that sometimes I really do wanna puke. It’s not just that they report on bullshit like a woman who claims that god sent her a sign on a goldfish cracker.  It’s that they do so without even a hint of skepticism or critical thought. The news mantra seems to be “Don’t think about it. Don’t question it. Just repeat it.” Woman says god speaks to her through crackers? Okay. Let’s disseminate this to the world exactly as is. And that guy over there having an in depth conversation with an empty KFC bucket while urinating in the street? He seems credible. Let’s just regurgitate whatever words dribble from his mouth whenever it doesn’t have a crack pipe in it.

MELBOURNE, Fla. –

A Brevard County woman found more than she expected while eating a bag of Goldfish crackers, according to Local 6 News partner Florida Today.

Patti Burke eats two or three pounds of Goldfish crackers in a week, one by one, looking for the saltiest of the snacks.

Okay, that can’t be healthy.

But only once has she found a sign from God on a little orange cracker.

The sign said, “Eat something other than goldfish crackers, you crazy bitch!”

“When I picked this one up, I knew he was special,” the Melbourne woman said of her Holy Week discovery. “He had a cross on him, and he had a crown circle up by his head. Something I’ve never seen before out of all the Goldfish I’ve eaten.”

Seeing as you’re basically a walking Goldfish Holocaust, I’ll grant that at least you’re right about it being rare.

So what exactly does this sign from God look like?

Goldfish

And I’m supposed to be impressed with this…why?

“I called Pepperidge Farm and said, ‘Hey, do you have some special promotion going on, I think I’ve got the lucky fish,’” she said. “They called me back and said there’s no way this could have been printed like that in the factory. … They said it sounds like something miraculous happened and we don’t know how it happened.”

There’s no way! Nothing on the machine that makes the goldfish crackers could ever make that shape! It could only be a miracle! There is literally nothing on a machine shaped like–

Pan Head Machine Screw3

Damn it! Stop piddling on my Jesus parade with your silly “facts” and “really obvious shit.”

It should be noted that the Yahoo! News version of this story includes an important caveat which the local Florida affiliate failed to mention:

(That comment has not been confirmed by Pepperidge Farm.)

Yeah, no shit.

And another thing about that Yahoo! News story. It begins thus:

It’s a fishy story, but the woman telling it believes it’s pure gold.

*Vomit*

Journalists, please. Just stop doing this. I seriously don’t understand why you guys are unable to express yourselves without the use of puns. Did you notice above how I didn’t make some sort of pun on the machine having a “screw loose”? Follow my example. Let’s call for a sweeping moratorium on all puns in the news. If you guys are going to report this bullshit so credulously (note that the obvious phillips head screw explanation isn’t even considered in either news report), the least you could do is avoid raping comedy and the English language in the process.

Maybe the problem is you…

I saw over at Ed Brayton’s blog this story about a restaurant owner named Ed McGovern in North Carolina who handed a proselytizing letter to a gay couple who ate at his restaurant (after they paid for their meal, of course). Apparently he objected to their brazen act of simultaneously 1) being gay and 2) breathing the same air as himself, so he felt the need to let them know that he hates them Jeebus loves them. In the body of the news article they reproduce the letter, but in an obviously cleaned up, grammatical version.  They also have a photo of the actual handwritten letter, and here is my word-for-word, letter-for-letter transcription of it. Everything below is [sic]:

LESBIAN-NOTE-1-jpg

God said in the Last days that man and women, would be Lover of self, morethen the Lover of God.

That man and women would have unnataurl effection for one another. Then the comnig of the son of man who is Jesus. So please Look at your life see how it hurt every one around your. and aske the Lord to open your eye. before it to late.

The Love of Christ

P.S. my dauaghte also was gay

it destroy her life

and my grandson.

I object to the fact that the original news report didn’t reproduce the letter exactly as written. Show these illiterate dumbfucks for who they really are.

But the real point I want to make is why I object to correcting the letter. It’s more than just “make the other side look stupid.” Of course this guy is stupid. There are 4th graders out there who can write more grammatically, more clearly and more eloquently than this. This is a very disordered, confused mind responding to an unfamiliar stimulus with something akin to “hurble burble nobble gobble Jesus says fags will ruin Christmas!” But this goes beyond just portraying him as stupid. This matters. No, fucking seriously, it does.

I’ve long thought that disorganized speech and writing reflect disorganized thinking. Someone who cannot string together a sentence or paragraph with proper grammar and spelling is someone who does not have the cognitive power to process complex or unfamiliar sensory input. Thinking about something that’s complicated or different from what one is used to requires one have the ability to organize one’s thoughts, contextualize incoming information, and follow premises to their logical conclusion. It also requires a bit of metacognitive awareness–at the very least, the ability to critique one’s own written or spoken words.

If someone’s thinking is disorganized, then they likely won’t be able to go much beyond familiar and comfortable cognitive shortcuts when confronting a situation. It’s not so much that they’re unwilling to think about how gays feel or how homosexuality fits into the grand scheme of things. It’s more that they simply lack the tools to do this. Try explaining why social mores opposed to homosexuality are arbitrary and antiquated in language that the author of the above letter would be able to comprehend. I’m not sure if it could be done, and this is why I disagree with Ed Brayton’s proposed response:

Here’s what I think should be done here. Every gay couple in the area should go there at the same time, sit down and order something really small, like an order of french fries. Then when they leave they should each give him a letter telling him that he should go to college and get an education, which might free him from the bigoted views of his false religion.

I don’t think this would have any effect. Even if he read these letters, what makes you think he’d understand them? This is a guy who thinks merely saying “Jesus says” to someone should be enough to change their sexual orientation. Clearly he has little comprehension of how humans other than himself think. And his inability to grasp how others think probably stems from his inattention to his own thinking. If gay couples did take Ed’s advice, my guess is that each couple that did it would receive in response another letter from him much like the one reproduced above. It would be like trying to have a conversation with the machine at the entrance to the parking garage. No matter what you say, it’s just gonna spit out another parking voucher, because that’s all it knows how to do.

This is just not a situation where a conversation can take place. This guy’s lost. The best bet would be to boycott his restaurant and hope he goes out of business, or publicly shame him to the point where he stops handing out such letters out of self-preservation. But patronizing his business to give him pro-gay letters will only give him more money and more opportunities to write anti-gay letters. And the fact that giving him pro-gay letters won’t work is pretty obvious when you see what he wrote. He simply wouldn’t understand them.

This is illustrated most poignantly in the postscript to McGovern’s dumbass letter. When you see just how badly written the letter is, and thereby just how minimal his understanding of the nature of the problem is, it becomes pretty obvious that it wasn’t homosexuality that destroyed his daughter’s life. More likely it was his reaction to her homosexuality that destroyed her life, as the letter shows that this is clearly not a guy who reacts to homosexuality in anything like a mature or rational manner. If this is a guy who can’t distinguish between the results of homosexuality and the results of his own reaction to homosexuality, then there is little hope of convincing him to behave otherwise with letters extolling the virtues of education. He needed that education years ago.  That ship set sail long ago. By this point, he’s a lost cause. Fuck ‘im.

I say all this because I object to correcting the letter not just because I want the restaurant owner to look like the stupid bigot that he surely is. I also want people to see the juxtaposition between ignorant views and the lack of cognitive ability that is often (but not necessarily always) associated with them. Let people see what the real problem is here: A man who cannot even write 4th grade level English is harassing gays for existing in his vicinity. Ed McGovern doesn’t realize it, but his real complaint is that the existence of lesbians makes the world too complicated for him to process. Unable to blame his own stupidity for this dilemma, he decides it must be the fault of other people who don’t fit into his tiny, comfortable worldview. His inability to comprehend becomes the lesbians’ problem, and the only way his tiny reptile brain can express this is by babbling about Jesus for a little bit.

What I hope people would see is not just that bigots are stupid. It’s also important to be able to recognize the importance of linguistic proficiency, and how failing to educate someone in how to express themselves clearly and coherently increases the likelihood that they will hold bigoted opinions. I’m not saying that there has never been an eloquent bigot, but they certainly aren’t common. It’s this causal connection that’s important–it’s why some kinds of ignorance are associated with some kinds of attitudes towards others. Organizing one’s thought is important, and a news story like this could be a good object lesson. This is what disorganized thought looks like. And the result of a mind untrained to organize itself is often bigotry: people thinking that their own inability to comprehend others is actually harm being done to them by others.

You can’t really get through to these people, because they can’t comprehend language well enough to understand what you’re saying. It’s this whole attitude of “I’m too dumb to understand it, so it’s evil,” that we need to be combating. If they’re too old for there to be any hope of actually teaching them how to communicate clearly, then often the only way to counteract their actions is to mock them. I’m more than willing to have a civil conversation with someone who at least shows that they can communicate in grammatical English. But if someone shows they can’t even do that, attempts at communication are pointless. Just point at them and laugh til they shut the fuck up.

Gun Glurge

CNN has been making a big deal about an open letter from a former Marine to Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the evils of gun control. So I bet this letter has some kind of groundbreaking new argument, some refreshing insight into the subtleties of gun violence in America that makes it worthy of getting a headline on the front page.

Oh, wait, no, it’s just a bunch of glurgy crap regurgitating the same tired pro-gun claptrap we all grew sick of hearing 20 years ago. I hope no one reads this and is surprised that CNN is spreading around crap so trite and thoughtlessness-provoking that it could be a chain letter forwarded around by Granny’s women’s group at the local Baptist church. It’s pretty sadly typical of the quality of “journalism” one often finds at CNN.

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own.

Doesn’t matter what you believe, Gomer. It matters what’s the law and what ain’t. And the government already requires you to register things you own. For instance, just the other day I renewed the tags on my car. So the government knows the make, model, year, and color of my car. And if I didn’t register it and get a tag, I could get pulled over and have my license revoked.

The thing is, you currently aren’t required to register your guns. But maybe someday in the future you will be. That’s really all there is to it, and you’ll comply just like every other law abiding citizen, no matter what kind of empty bravado you sputter in your iReport letter.

Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime.

They’s gonna take our guns, y’all!

No, dumbshit. Nobody in Congress is trying to take away your precious penis substitutes. Pull your paranoid head out of your ass and look at the facts. If you register your gun, it’s still your gun. The purpose of registration is that guns, like cars, are dangerous, and it’s helpful to law enforcement if they have a database to work with when a crime happens. So long as you don’t murder anybody, you should be alright.

You ma’am have overstepped a line that is not your domain.

She’s a fucking Senator. This is exactly her domain. She gets elected. She makes laws. That’s how it works. The Senate’s constitutional power to legislate doesn’t magically disappear the moment they consider legislating something that might affect you.

I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

You ever think that all the crazy gun nuts writing whacked out shit to her on a daily basis might be part of why Sen. Feinstein feels the need to own a gun?

And, again, when did Sen. Feinstein say you couldn’t have a gun? Unless presented with evidence to the contrary, I’m going to assume that we aren’t talking about real-world Feinstein right now. Instead, we’re speaking of Right Wing La La Land Feinstein, who wants to steal the precious, precious guns from noble Troops and melt them in the fires of Mordor.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free.

“I am also apparently rather lacking in humility.”

I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve.

Well, she’s the bitch who pays your salary, so you might wanna be a little more respectful, or those proposed military cuts might go just a little deeper.

I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

This is what happens when Gomer buys his own hype. I presume he wrote this with a straight face (I could never do that). I presume he has that special right wing lack of self-awareness that prevents him from seeing how arrogant, stupid, and childish he sounds. You know, that part of the conservative’s brain that allows him/her to think that he/she speaks for all “true” Americans, and that everyone else in the universe is just as deeply concerned with his/her petty, imaginary “issues” as he/she is? Yeah, that part. The dumb part.

The dumb part of the conservative brain also filters out the meaning of words. Take “peasant”, for instance. A peasant is an impoverished laborer whose hard work enriches the wealthy aristocrats who own the property on which he/she labors. We do have peasants in our society. We call them “poor people”. We don’t call them “paranoid, white, middle class gun owners”. The word for that is “privileged”.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned.

Learned what? How to write stilted prose and create imaginary problems to solve through self-aggrandizement? You don’t need 8 years in the military to learn how to do that. Just watch FOX News for a few minutes.

I am an American.

So is Sen. Feinstein. You ever think of that?

You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

But killing thousands in Afghanistan because of the actions of some evil man, that’s fine. Hoo – rah! Semper fi!

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

No one’s disarming you, you ignorant, simpering little fuck. Banning high capacity magazines or requiring registration will not disarm you. You’ll still have your stupid fucking guns and your stupid fucking smug attitude.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston

Joshua Boston, you are a whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed nincompoop.

Respectfully submitted,

Riffing Religion.

Here’s the thing. Not only is this guy going to be able to keep his guns (regardless of whether Sen. Feinstein passes a bill or not), but I wouldn’t want to take them from him anyway. I don’t oppose responsible personal gun ownership. This is actually an area where I find myself in disagreement both with those on the left and on the right (but more with those on the right).  Here’s the text of the Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Now, many on the left frequently home in on the “militia” clause and say something stupid like, “The amendment just says the state can have a government-run militia. That doesn’t mean private citizens get guns too! Durrr, I’m a constitutional scholar!”

What they’re ignoring is the later clause, which uses the phrase, “right of the people.” Here’s another amendment that uses the phrase “right of the people”:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I’m pretty sure no one in their right mind would want to argue that this amendment doesn’t apply to private citizens, but only to those who work for some government-run outfit. But that’s why we need to respect the places where the constitution says “right of the people.” The phrase should not be taken lightly, and definitely should not be taken to refer only to people working for the government. If the constitution says “right of the people”, it means private citizens. So we should interpret the second amendment as guaranteeing the right to bear arms to private citizens, and the Supreme Court has said as such in the past. Simply put, as long as the Second Amendment is in place (and I don’t see it being repealed any time soon), Joshua Boston and the other frothing-at-the-mouth gun nuts have nothing to worry about. The government can’t take their guns.

That’s where the liberals tend to be stupid. But the conservatives can be quite dumb also, and this is no exception. Conservatives like Joshua Boston above insist that the government has no right to regulate their firearms. But this is obvious bullshit, as the Second Amendment explicitly states that the purpose of its existence is the necessity of a “well regulated Militia.” I mean, the word “regulated” occurs right there in the text of the amendment, so any claim that regulating guns is unconstitutional contradicts the very text of the amendment itself.

Congress (and the states) have the power to regulate guns all they want. They just can’t ban private citizens from owning them. So long as it’s still possible for a private citizen to purchase and own a gun, the constitution has not been violated. I have a few ideas for regulation that might actually be effective, which means, of course, that none of these ideas will ever actually be put in place. But I’ll share them anyways, because what’s the point of blogging if not to come up with futile, pointless ideas that few will read and no one will ever implement? Here goes:

  • Keep guns legal, but ban high-capacity magazines. Both the Arizona shooting and the Connecticut shooting involved a gunman using clips that held 30 rounds. I can’t conceive of a legitimate usage for a high capacity magazine. They seem to be specifically designed for murdering large numbers of people in a short period of time. There is absolutely no reason a law abiding, private citizen should ever need such a thing.
  • If anyone is convicted of a felony, any guns found on his/her property are seized and destroyed, and the person convicted is barred from owning a firearm for life unless he/she specifically appeals to a judge to have the prohibition overturned. This would do a lot to reduce the number of guns in circulation. The important part is that the guns be melted down, not merely seized and then put back into circulation at a later point in time.
  • Start a gun buy-back program, similar to Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. Offer to buy people’s guns at above market value if and only if they sign a pledge not to purchase another gun for at least five years. All guns acquired by the program are destroyed.
  • Limit the amount of ammunition a person can buy in a short period of time. The killer in Arizona bought thousands of rounds in the months leading up to his shooting spree. This shouldn’t be that hard to prevent. If we can restrict the amount of pseudephedrin people buy, it shouldn’t be that hard to do the same with bullets.
  • Tax guns and bullets more heavily. This will force up the prices and make people think twice about buying them. It worked for cigarettes, as smoking rates have declined as prices have gone up. People said this would inevitably lead to a “black market”, but that never happened with cigarettes. As long as prices don’t go up too high, that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Require a background check for any gun purchase. The goal here should be obvious.
  • Require a license to own a gun, and require a psychiatric test for anyone applying for a license. Again, the purpose should be obvious.
  • Require a multi-day gun-safety training course for a license. Again, obvious.
  • Make it a felony to provide a gun to anyone who fails the above requirements. If you provide a gun to an unqualified individual and they commit a felony with that gun, you are complicit.
  • Make it a felony to store guns unsafely. A person caught storing guns unsafely loses his/her license to own them at the very least, and must file an appeal to get it back.
  • Institute frequent and thorough surprise inspections of gun stores, gun shows, and anywhere else guns might be sold, to ensure that they are following the rules.
  • Reward private businesses that ban all guns on their property.
  • Increase the number of public outreach programs to educate people about the dangers of gun violence and how to avoid it.
  • Require insurance companies to cover psychiatric care and to share information about at-risk individuals (in cases where it would not violate their privacy).
  • If someone is involved in any kind of gun-related accident, their license is suspended and they must go through the above rigamarole to get it back
  • Make courses about the dangers of gun violence available in public schools and universities.

Now, a gun nut would interrupt to inform me that even if all these ideas were in place, it wouldn’t completely end gun violence. Well, of course not! I have no delusions about making violence go away forever, but we can at least reduce the amount of violence in our country, and I think these regulations would be a good step towards achieving that.

Or maybe I’m just trying to take your precious guns away. I’m sure that’s what at least a few tiny brains out there might take away from all this. We should just require our under-paid and unappreciated public school teachers to carry guns so they can shoot crazy people and turn schools into the showdown at the OK corral. That oughta solve the problem! And I’m sure the teachers would love having even more responsibilities foisted on their shoulders while the kooky right wing cuts their pay and benefits again.