Monday, July 31, 2006
I spent the weekend involved in some family-reunion-related programs activities: grandparents, aunts and uncles, an a few of the cousins were there, people I don't get to see very often. I grew up mostly around my father's relatives until I was a teenager, when that side of the family began to implode. Since then, those relationships have all but collapsed under the weight of accumulated dysfunction. I didn't get to see as much of my mother's family until
I was a teenager, when they often took on the role of our support system (though my rootlessness has meant that now I don't see them as often as I might.) In the end, I'd just as soon dissolve my ties to my dad's side, and I've come to identify more closely with my mom's side. We're not all the same, but there's more room, it seems, to be who you are. I can be inclined towards feelings of oddness that leave me feeling remote from people, but on my mother's side of the family strange choices and some nascent eccentricity are part of your birthright. I'm not a black sheep, I'm part of a long-standing family tradition. That's pretty cool.
I came home to pictures and postcards from a couple of friends'international jaunts to Japan and China; another friend from Memphis who has since moved to the upper-left corner of the country is also passing through town this week. Talk of other people's travels always makes me feel wistful -- I have to wonder why I'm putting so much energy into staying in Memphis when the only thing I've ever really wanted is to go other places. My immediate plans aren't about to change -- I've committed to certain projects that will keep me local for at least the next year -- but the inhospitable economy of this city combined with my own nagging wanderlust are leading my thoughts regarding "what's next" to wander in some radical directions. Whatever happens, the life I want to live needs more space than Memphis can provide.
But where should I go? And how the fuck am I going to get there?
Friday, July 28, 2006
Friday Grotesque Blogging
No matter how jaded we become, we're always interested in looking at ourselves.
I see dead people... wearing nice suits: the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo
I still don't completely understand what this was about, but it's intruiging: Franz Xaver Messerschmidt's physiognomic heads
And these sculptures aren't exactly grotesque
, but they're not especially soothing, either. They are, however, mind-bendingly lifelike: Ron Muyeka
(I think that's right; my cyrillic skillz are a little rusty.)
These aren't exactly safe for work, though they're certainly not obscene, either.
I'm out of town all weekend, so there's probably not much point in looking for new posts till Sunday night at the earliest.PS
: I found the first two of these via the Athanasius Kircher Society
, which I highly recommend. I don't remember where I found the last one.PPS
: "The Physiognomic Heads" might make a pretty sweet name for a band.Update
: It's Ron Mueck
(or maybe Mück). He's Australian. So much for my skillz. Here's an even better gallery
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Gott Mit Uns
I'm so tired of religion. I'm tired of the lot: Christian, Muslim, Jew; zealot, fundamentalist, moderate. I don't care anymore -- to hell with all of you. Wipe god clean off the face of the earth and from the memory of humanity. If he's not dead, it's only because he's undead -- a shambling, groaning, perverted and degraded thing that feasts on the brains of the living. Jesus isn't risen, he's just a zombie; kill the brain, kill the ghoul.
I didn't always feel this way. I myself have defended the honor of peaceable, moderate, progressive religious folk from hardline atheists and scriptural nitpickers. I have argued over and over that some
-- albeit seemingly relatively few -- religious people have done great service to humanity. I understand religious feeling, if not religious behavior. I have felt what Anne Lamott describes as "saying hello to the universe and feeling someone say hello back." I get it. I've been there. Honestly.
And I realize that at various points in human history, religion (or what we now refer to as religion) played a role and served a purpose. I have always said that religion was the precursor of science, and I still think that's true. I understand that there is some
cultural and perhaps personal value in texts like the Bible and Quran. I seem to have gotten by in life okay without reading either one -- to the point that at least I'm honest enough to admit that I haven't read them -- but I'd never want to get rid of any old, musty books, no matter how irrelevant they become.
But I wouldn't half mind getting rid of the believers.
I don't call myself an atheist -- the word "atheist" brings to mind people like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, and that bitch was as crazy as Pat Robertson. As much as I admire Richard Dawkins, I also don't call myself a "Bright
" -- that's too pretentious even for me. Instead, I have come to call myself an unbeliever. Whatever you're selling, I don't believe in it. (I'm also okay with "godless heathen," but it doesn't come up very often.) My shift to this line of thinking from a more religiously-sypmathetic one has been gradual but inexorable. It began when I started to study science -- which isn't to say that science and religion can't co-exist in the same mind, but once you realize that the scientific version of the world is enormously more awesome
(in the original sense of the word) than the religious version, god's prospects begin to dim considerably. Who needs that outmoded bullshit when I can have life, the universe, and everything?
And then I realized that I have never experienced what I consider genuine "religious" feeling in a religious setting. I've had such feelings while walking through London, while driving through New Mexico, and while listening to a particularly good piece of music (music is the one thing that occasionally makes me think there might be something like "god" after all -- and yet the musicians I've known have also been some of the most aggressively atheistic people I've ever met. I continue to think that a big part of The Answer lies here.) I've never felt it in a church or temple. Ever. I have frequently felt a revulsion, however, at what can pass for religious feeling in other people. And no, it's not for me to judge which experiences are genuine or counterfeit -- but I just can't believe that any of the uninspired "Christian rock" they play at the megachurches these days is actually convincing any of those people to put their hands in the air and sway. I mean, that has to be a put-on. That stuff is shit, manipulative and over-sentimental tripe. I can't imagine that the same god that inspired Bach could also be the god that "inspired" Jars of Clay. (Conversely, the existence of Christian rock is the one thing that occasionally makes me think there might really be someone like "Satan.")
But these are minor points. The single most convincing bit of evidence against the existence of god, in my mind, are the people who claim to follow him/it. If that's the way god plays, then I want no part. If mankind ever succeeds in destroying the world, they'll do it in the name of god. They'll all be fighting each other, and to hear them all tell it, god will be on each of their sides exclusively. and in the process, they'll kill themselves, their enemies, and all the rest of god's children. The battlefields of the earth are swarming with people who call themselves "holy," who claim to be doing god's work on behalf of god's people, in order to please god and fulfill god's divine plan. They'll slaughter each other to make god smile.
And if they don't actively slaughter, they'll passively slaughter. They'll kill by preventing science from doing what god apparently can't or won't. They'll kill by ignoring all of those for whom god has not provided. They'll kill by bending over when the holy men want to raise a holy army to set off on a holy war. They'll kill by giving birth to too many of god's little miracles and using too many of the resources god purportedly left here for us to use. They'll stay at home and pray for the children of god's enemies to be blown to pieces. Or they'll at least pretend that god's glory doesn't implicitly demand it.
Yeah, yeah, I know: Gandhi, MLK, Mother Teresa. Been there, argued that; I don't buy it anymore. Religion is value-neutral: being religious in itself doesn't make a person good. A good person will do good things regardless of whether they believe in any god or none. I think this is a point that needs to be made much more firmly than it has been in this country: religiosity is no measure of a person's good character
. If anything, I'd argue, the opposite is true: a religious person has a hell of a lot better chance of being a complete bastard. And the more they talk about it, they more I assume they're desperately pointing out their godliness in order to distract my attention from something ugly that they don't want me to see. Telling me about your relationship with god is the fastest way to convince me that you're not to be trusted. For every Mother Teresa, there are a million bible-belt soccer moms driving Escalades with fish symbols and "WWJD?" bumper stickers on the back, voting for Bush (because he's "pro-life"), and pretending that brown kids aren't really human the way their own white kids are, so it's okay if they die.
Intolerance is always couched in religious talk. Evolution is derided in both Kansas and Iran. Women are implicitly treated as chattel by orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Muslims, and conservative Christians alike. Every band of murderers goes around wearing the equivalent of a badge inscribed, "gott mit uns
." If Pat Robertson is "holy" and Pope Benedict is "holy" and the various imams and ayatollahs are "holy" and all the people who lead Hamas and Hezbollah are "holy," and all the rabbis who support bombing Lebanon until it's just a pile of gore-encrusted rubble are "holy" -- then why the fuck would I ever listen to any "holy" person ever again? And why would I ever assume that "holy" should be taken as a good
What I do believe is that humanity is ready to grow out of its religious phase. We don't need this security blanket anymore; we can't keep living in our collective fairy tales. Religion as we have always known it is now irrelevant, which is why it causes more problems than it solves. We are beginning to learn the real answers to our questions, and "god" doesn't figure into any of them. The feelings behind our religions will always be part of the human experience, but we must recognize that those feelings in and of themselves have nothing to do with "god," and that our definition of them as "religious" or "spiritual" is more about hardened habit than revealed truth. There is no great father who made us in his image, no person or group of people given special dispensation, nobody here but us, clever little fuckers that we are. And we'd be a lot happier if we got together and killed all our gods. It's us or them.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Between having lots of work to do and fretting over the state of the world, somehow I just haven't been able to bring myself to do much blogging lately. Much of what populates life at the moment doesn't seem to bear commenting on. It is what it is, and vociferous disagreement isn't going to change anything. On the other hand, writing about anything other than the big, obvious things seems to buy into a foolish state of denial.
So instead, I just sit on the sofa and watch Andy Kaufman DVDs.
What, like you can blame me? Look at mess we've gotten ourselves into: the middle east is imploding, our economy is in the shitter, we have a mouth-breathing moron in the White House, everyone on earth hates us, and I can barely afford to step out the door. It's like 1981 all over again, except this time we haven't got an Andy. So I'm just making due with the dead one.
Who's the most subversive comedian working today? I mean, subversive now. George Carlin is great and all, but he hasn't told a genuinely edgy joke in at least a decade. Dave Chappelle was looking pretty good there for a while, but then he wussed out when the pressure started to mount. I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as much as the next girl, but they're too comfortable behind their respective desks to raise much hell. Where's my next great hope? I'm so afraid s/he's doing amazing work in some shitty little club somewhere in Canada (or worse, Scotland), and I won't even hear about him/her until six years after s/he ODs on speedballs or succumbs to some gruesome disease.
So I'm taking nominations for my next comedy hero. What have you got for me? Who do you know about that I don't know about?
Monday, July 24, 2006
Damn It, Can't You See I'm Busy?
I can't talk today -- I'm working.
Here, look at this stuff instead:Imagining the Tenth Dimension
(cool little Flash thingy that explains how the seven dimensions beyond the familiar first three work)The 32 Worst Lyrics of All Time
and best of all:Fisting and God's Will
Friday, July 21, 2006
Kevin Smith is a weird case.
I do like him. There are times when I don't really want
to like him, but he's so damn likeable that it's hard not to. He's an interesting personality made even more interesting by the reflected charisma of the people he keeps around him (Ben Affleck simply being the exception that proves the rule.) But here's the problem: I don't think he's a very good filmmaker.
Which isn't to say that he's a bad
filmmaker. He's not M. Knight Shyamalan bad
. He's competent in most of the important ways -- except one. He can't write a plot to save his goddamn life. That would be okay if he would just realize that and quit trying, and take the Euro-artsy road instead. It would cut back on his box office, maybe, but then again, most of his audience is too baked to follow a plot anyway, much less recognize the lack of one (which probably tells us something right there.)
But the weird thing is that he's a fantastic storyteller. His movies -- apart from a few in-jokes -- generally leave me cold; but An Evening With Kevin Smith
is astonishing, and the first time I saw it I felt like the secret to Kevin Smith had been revealed to me: the guy's in the wrong line of work.
Let's face it: if it weren't for the Weinsteins, Smith would still be sitting in New Jersey watching cartoons. But Bob and Harvey took a liking to him, and Bob and Harvey can do any fucking thing they want. And so the world got Mallrats
(a film that had about fifteen too many characters.) They weren't without some charm (the latter considerably more than the former), but they're the prime cases to point to as evidence that Smith wasn't really meant to be a Hollywood director. But as a monologist, he's pretty entertaining. How is this possible? How can someone so clueless about narrative structure in film be such a gifted verbal storyteller?
(I hope you're not waiting for an answer to that question, 'cause I haven't got one.)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Pre-School Maxim: Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Apparently it's inappropriate-touching week at the G-8. Georgie, what were you thinking
Next he'll be gently cupping Ehud Olmert's balls.PS
: Unlike some, I don't take the sexual harassment line. It's not like he was coming onto her. He's just a imbecile who doesn't fucking think before he goes around pawing at assorted heads of state.
Speaking of fine TV, I would so watch this
Channel 4 is to bring mass public masturbation to the small screen.
The broadcaster - once led by Michael Grade, dubbed "pornographer in chief" by the Daily Mail - has commissioned a documentary about the UK's first "masturbate-a-thon" as part of a series of programmes dubbed "Wank week", MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.
Cameras from independent production company Zig Zag, which made Essex Boys for ITV1, will follow the organisers and participants for a 60-minute film, which has the working title of Wank-a-thon. It is expected to air on Channel 4 towards the end of the year.
The event will encourage Londoners - both male and female - to sign up sponsors and head to Clerkenwell in order to masturbate in front of hundreds of others.
See, people, this is why America needs a TV licensing fee. Then we could have good watchin' like this, too. This is what you call "ground-breaking entertainment!"
Seriously, though, I'd watch it.
Personal Note To Will Farrell
When your visage is being used to market a line of NASCAR-branded processed meat products
, it may be time to reconsider the direction in which your career is headed.
Monday, July 17, 2006
I think I've figured out what the real problem is. Or at least a big part of it.
It's the television.
The television in our living room is a sucking vortex. I'm not a big TV-watcher in any case -- I watch a few specific shows, and leave it turned off the rest of the time. I don't use it for "company," I rarely sit and watch aimlessly (unless I'm sick), and most of the time I spend in front of it is pre-determined, constructive watching -- films and the like. Without it, I would miss a few things (the Daily Show, Tom Goes To The Mayor, etc.), but nothing I couldn't see provided I had a DVD player and a broadband internet connection handy.
But second-hand television is just as much of a problem for me; I can't even concentrate with the thing on in the background. I can spend all day working up some serious creative momentum, and the minute somebody else turns on the TV, it's like letting the air out of a balloon -- pffffffft
. What I'd really like is to not have the damn thing around, or at least have it disconnected from the outside world. It's not that I haven't always known that TV is a largely destructive force in the culture, and it's not that I think there's no place for it at all. But I'm beginning to strongly feel that the ol' shitpump is not an influence I need in my life. And that feeling has crystalized in the last month.
Thinking back, some of the most peaceful places I've been were free of television. Those are places where you can rest and gather your thoughts, start the ideas rolling again. I've even found that simply hiding the television creates a better atmosphere in a room -- there's just something about that glass screen that makes me restless. Especially with the internet coming of age, I'm not sure I see the point of it anymore. The only thing it seems uniquely designed to accomplish is waste time, sell crap and dissipate otherwise-useful energy. I'm happier when I don't watch TV at all, I get more done, I learn more, and my thoughts feel more like my own. And none of this is terribly original, it's the same ultimate conclusion that hundreds of thousands have reached before. But it's my turn, I guess, to have the magnitude of the issue become clear for me.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Lots of ugly news this week. I don't have much insight into any of it, so I don't plan to write much on the subject. Except to say this: I hope Hailey's okay.
Hailey was a girl I knew for a few months at school in Vermont. She was an RA in the dorm in which I lived, and I liked her. She left after her sophomore year to go study middle eastern dance in Beirut. One of the last conversations I had with her, in the dorm kitchen, was about her plans. We talked about how exciting Beirut sounded, how great it was that the city was starting to come back. How it was nice that there were parts of the "war-torn middle east" where an American girl could go to study and feel reasonably safe. I was, I have to be honest, a little envious. I wanted to go see Beirut, too.
Now I just hope she's back over here and safe, and not stuck in a city that's being bombed. I have no way of finding out whether she is or not, just my quiet little hope for someone I don't really know.
Those are the risks we take, I suppose. But I do hope she's okay.
Friday List BloggingThings I Love
companionly silences between friends
hands (especially men's hands)
driving fast on an empty highway late at night
having my back scratched
the London Underground
overhearing conversations in foreign languages
drinking with small groups of friends
my mom's stroganoff
beautiful young men
old photographs of people I don't know
my friends' flaws
my friends' kidsThings I Hate
people who can't not
people trying to convert me (to anything)
long airplane trips
calling someone I don't know
asking for favors
the concept that physical beauty indicates character
jazz (musical barf)
Girls Gone Wild commercials
cheap book bindings
slow trucks that try to pass marginally slower trucks on the interstate
cinemas that serve popcorn in paper bags
books used as pedestals for other, non-book objects
bad religious art (including church sign platitudes)
Obviously these are not exhaustive lists.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Last night, under circumstances that don't really bear mentioning, I got into a conversation with someone on a subject that I've been thinking about on and off for a few weeks now. Last night was the first time that the situation and the company had conspired to give me a good chance to bring it up, although in the end I didn't come any closer to finding an answer.
One thing I find endlessly fascinating in music is variation -- someone finding a melody or rhythm (or whatever) and playing variations on it. I also love to hear music deconstructed, whether that means pulled apart intentionally or just randomly falling apart. I could happily sit and listen to that all night. But I have no patience at all with jam bands.
For example, one of the artists in my personal heavy rotation is Kieran Hebden, playing under the name Four Tet
. Hebden has a knack for pulling all the threads out of a piece, examining each one individually, and then recombining them into subtly different form. I can't get enough of it.
But 15 minutes of Phish is about all I can take before it starts to grate on me.
What's the difference between these two things?
Monday, July 10, 2006
Who Needs Satire?
Oh, this is too brilliant
: And he just keeps digging that hole
American Culture X
A few days ago, I decided to vary my driving experience by heading up to Memphis via Getwell Road. I've always sort of liked Getwell -- it's got an optimistic name, even if most of the neighborhoods through which it travels are grounds for pessimism. As I travelled north into the eastern edge of Midtown (or the western edge of east Memphis), I passed by a familiar landmark: Cheapskates. I was astonished to see that it was still there and still operating, though not surprised. I take it for granted that it's still there, even if I can't come up with any good reason why it should be. Do kids still skateboard? Are there still skate punks? I know perfectly well that there are; I see them all the time. They look almost identical to how they looked when I was coming up, if bearing just a touch more hip hop edge. But the baggy pants, the Vans, the band t-shirts (some different, some the same), the haircuts, the piercings and tattoos on the older or more incorrigible ones -- it's all just the same as it was fifteen years ago.
Do you ever get the feeling that American culture has ground to a halt?
I mean, when I was 15 or 16 years old, I could look back at what it meant to be cool fifteen years previously and see a very marked difference. I went into high school in 1990, so fifteen years prior would've been around 1975. And obviously punk existed in 1975, but then it was fresh, and new, and still something that existed predominantly along the edges of American society. Fifteen years before that -- in 1960 -- the culture looked radically
different. Between 1960 and 1975, everything changed; between 1975 and 1990, quite a lot changed. And between 1990 and 2006, it sometimes feels as though nothing has changed. There's been some modest development -- black culture continues to be the source of most of our cultural innovation -- but the skate punks have barely changed in fifteen years. If you go to the mall this afternoon, you'll find the early hints of 80s-retro fashion (the new New Romantic thing seems to be warming up gradually), but you'll also see plenty of stuff from this wretched 70s-retro phase we've been living through. Hippies look basically the same as they always have, if somewhat more demure and workaday than they once were. Is there any such thing as being out-of-fashion anymore?
Now, as I see it there are two possible explanations for this. The first is that, at 30, I'm now so far removed from the youth culture that I can't see it anymore. Call it Joe Dirt Syndrome: on some level, I'm the mulleted, Def Leppard t-shirt wearing guy who's completely oblivious to the fact that he's drastically behind the times. This, or something similar, is entirely possible. I have become painfully aware that I no longer have any clue to what bands the kids are listening to these days, preferring instead to go off on my own little musical tangents, searching endlessly for something more challenging than corporate pop/rock. "These kids today, they don't even know from good music!" That kind of thing.
The other possibility is that American culture is over. Frank Zappa wrote in his biography that the world will end not by fire or ice, but by nostalgia. That the gap between the present moment and the time upon which we fixate will narrow until we find ourselves constantly nostalgic for the moment just passed, and thus unendingly paralyzed. And if the culture is not at a definitive end, then it seems to me that it has at least badly stalled out, grinding and churning away at the familiar without ever reaching for anything new.
I admit that I tend to be a pessimist about America's medium-term prospects. Today I saw a bumper sticker on a blue pickup truck that bore a flag and the words, "THESE COLORS DON'T RUN!" It was funny because all the red parts of the flag had completely faded away to just a faint hint of pink -- whatever enthusiasm had originally spurred that driver to afix the sticker to his bumper was long gone, and now he couldn't even be bothered to peel off its remains. That about sums it up, doesn't it? Everything ends, including "America." Which isn't to say that the nation will cease to exist, or that the people won't reinvent it while retaining the old name. But I just can't shake this feeling that I was born an American during the waning years of this society.
I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I do think it suggests that there are difficult years ahead. I'm not a doomsayer -- I don't believe that our society faces collapse on a grand scale; I think that regardless of what comes, the one thing that has always been true is that life continues, and humanity continues to advance. Yes, we might now face issues that bring that assumption into real question for the first time in human history -- but I doubt it. I do, however, feel very strongly that the world is changing again, and that this country's golden age is either well behind it, or far into the future. Whatever comes next, we're going to be watching from the outside, and that's going to be very hard to get used to.
The state of the culture is a big indicator, in my opinion -- we seem to have lost much of our will to create. My old hopes that, at the very least, the declining wellbeing of the poor and middle class would provoke some good art are so far proving futile. That's not to say that there aren't people who are pursuing creativity, or doing good work and daily going about the business of changing the world. Those people are always there; life is never completely barren. But as a whole, American society has become lethargic and uninterested, too satisfied with the way things are to make much effort at progress. When not even the kids can be bothered to come up with anything new, you know the culture's on a downward spiral.
Or maybe I'm just a cranky 30-something with too much idle time to spend thinking about it. That's always possible, too. But I doubt it.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Fuck The Bush Economy
I think I'm almost caught up with everything. The last week has been bizarre -- I've been working and working and working, but still not, y'know, working
. Someday, by god, I'm going to get paid for this. Which is nothing against the people who aren't paying me now -- I do what I do because I genuinely want to, and because I enjoy the work and am glad to be useful -- but I'm looking forward to getting paid someday, maybe making a modest little living. I think I'd enjoy that a lot.
Still, it's gratifying to be accomplishing something meaningful. And all of this work hasn't been without benefit to me -- I've learned quite a lot in the past month. I'm glad I'm doing all this. It's just weird to wake up at the end of the week and realize I've done your forty hours for the week, and still can't afford gas. I mean, it's funny. In a ha-ha way.
Anyway, what's been going on with y'all while I've been indisposed?
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Flogging This Horse
Hey, you all want to see what it looks like, right? Well here she is, unveiled but still partially burqa'd.
And in place of a torch, she held aloft a large gold cross, as if to ward off the pawnshops, the car dealerships and the discount furniture outlets at the busy corner of Kirby Parkway and Winchester that is her home. A single tear graced her cheek.
I once heard a well-known refugee from the ex-gay movement tell a story about getting an illicit blowjob from a low-level church official in the men's room of this church during services some years ago. To be fair, it was under different management at the time.Update Sat. 7/8
: I drove by the jolly Xian giant on my circuituous way to the Co-op this afternoon -- I couldn't help myself. It's not as big as I expected, but it's strangely executed -- it looks for all the world like it's made of plastic. And while it retains a sorta-kinda replica of the base that the actual SoL stands on, it's also positioned awkwardly on top of some kind of black box sandwiched between the statue and the base, which you can see in the picture above but which looks much stranger in person. The box isn't quite big enough, so her feet and dress hang over its edges. I fail to understand the logic behing that arrangement.
I also couldn't help but notice that there was a security guard parked about twenty feet away from it on the church's lawn. Sitting at a traffic light right next to the statue, I was amused to see that the drivers of all the cars around me were also gawking at the thing, with a collective expression that wasn't so much "wow!" as "what the fuck
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
On The InternetsAny sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
~ Arthur C. ClarkeThey want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.
It's a series of tubes.
~ Sen. Ted Stevens, (R-Alaska)Comedy gold
. The Republicans obviously have a gift for surrealist poetry.
Sen. Stevens is not a truck. He's a series of tubes.
The Tree Of Liberty
How about a little light treason for a sunny Fourth of July?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
The history of the present King ... [George] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Law
s, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury
For transporting us beyond Seas
to be tried for pretended offences
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts
... and destroyed the lives of our people
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries
to compleat the works of death
, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
(apologies to the Inner Frenchman
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I Think This Pretty Much Sums Up The Whole Problem
Oh, for fuck's sake:
A Memphis church that claims a membership of 12,000 will unveil a 72-foot-tall statue during Fourth of July services.
The Statue of Liberation looks a lot like the Statue of Liberty, but the famous torch is replaced by a cross. Instead of the inscription about giving the lady the tired and poor, there are Roman numerals for the Ten Commandments.
Jeebus sez, "fuck the tired and poor!" To put this into perspective, the actual statue of liberty is only 151 feet tall
. This mother-of-all-lawn-ornaments is going to tower over Winchester Avenue from her perch outside the Jesus-Go-Round.
This is so embarrassing. The more I see of Christians, the more I lean atheist.