The following companies have contributed or aided the LGBT community and deserve our support. Buy their products. I found this list in article about an antiLGBT activist who screwed up and lit the lawn on fire at General Mills. He tried to light a box of Cheerios on fire. General Mills has spoken out against Minnesota’s proposed ban on gay marriage.
Cheerios (General Mills)
Walt Disney World
Wheaties (General Mills)
Tide (proctor and Gamble)
Pampers (Proctor and Gamble)
Crest (Proctor and Gamble)
Pillsbury (General MIlls)
Green Giant (General Mills)
Suicide does not merely affect others in their experiencing the loss of whom they care and love. The children of people who commit suicide are three times more likely to commit suicide themselves. Those around suicide are more likely to commit suicide. Jennifer Michael Hecht writes in “To Live Is an Act of Courage.”
Today’s military faces a tremendous crisis. We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to combat. Some of this is attributable to PTSD—posttraumatic stress disorder—but a recent Pentagon study covering the years 2008 through 2011 showed that some 52 percent of those who committed suicide had never been deployed to a combat zone. Last year, military personnel killed themselves at a rate of about one a day. Veterans are killing themselves at a rate of almost one every hour, about 22 a day. Recently the rise in military suicide was so extreme that it made the front page of TheNew York Times and the cover of Timemagazine. The rate is higher this year than it was at this point last year.
The increase is also found in civil society.
The suicide rate is also escalating in the U.S. population at large: 10 years ago it shocked observers by reaching 30,000 a year. Now it is almost 40,000. Around the world and in the United States there are more suicides than murders. For those under 40 years of age, it is one of the top three killers. For older people it is one of the top 10, though their rate of suicide is the highest (other diseases begin to compete for numbers). Women attempt suicide more, but men succeed more often—probably because they have greater access to guns, which is one of the surest methods.
It is a new phenomenon.
The problem is not only very real, but in some ways it is also new. Ever since we started keeping track in the late 19th century, the military has shown higher suicide rates than the rest of society as a whole, but when you compare the same part of the population—considering age and sex, for instance—the military has usually had far fewer suicides than civilians. Commentators have sometimes attributed that to the screening process required to get into the military, but it persists across periods when the military is willing to accept a much broader swath of citizens. A better explanation may be that camaraderie and a sense of purpose insulate soldiers from some of the anguish of life. Across the military and the wider population, suicide usually declines during wartime. People feel united and purposeful when under a terrible outside threat.
The solution is a bootcamp of the psyche.
To save our future selves from suicide, we have to do some work now. Boot camp and additional training get a soldier ready for war. In situations where most people would freeze and give up or run away, soldiers are trained to fight the fight and try to get out alive. People do not often speak of it, but the inner life of soldiers and civilians alike can be so brutal that it too requires training in advance of a crisis. We need a boot camp of the heart and of the psyche.
Suicide is a virus that is caught by those near the suicidal.
The reason I say “the lives of our fellows” is that one of the principal predictors of suicide is knowing someone who has committed suicide. We influence each other to an extraordinary degree. Parents who kill themselves leave behind children who are three times as likely to kill themselves as children who make it to age 18 with living parents. It’s not just parents. According to sociological studies, one suicide in a community very often leads to a rise in suicides by people who knew the deceased, or knew of him, or felt themselves like him in some way, especially with regard toage, sex, and occupation. In my new book, Stay, I compile a large number of studies showing that suicidal contagion is real. It shouldn’t surprise us, because studies have shown that with weight, smoking, recycling, and other choices, people do what they think the people around them are doing. Even with choices as permanent as getting tattoos or having a third child, people follow each other. After one suicide, the suicide rate in a given area increases. It happens at schools; it happens within professions; it happens after a celebrity suicide; and it is happening in the military right now.
Suicide is homicide. If you inspire others to suicide is that not homicide?
Because of thisphenomenon, suicide is also homicide—you take somebody with you. When you take your own life, you normalize suicide for people who liked you and who are like you. Once the numbers reach a critical mass, as they have in the military today, it is a massacre. We have to take better care of each other by insisting on sparing ourselves in periods of emotional agony. What I want to tell our soldiers and veterans is this: If you want your buddies to live, you have to find a way to live, too. Living through your misery is a colossal gift to the community. You may now or someday feel as if you are useless, as if the world would be better off without you. But that is wrong. You may have made some mistakes, even some terrible mistakes, but you would do even more damage—immeasurable damage—if you were to kill yourself. It is not an option.
Suicide creates a culture of death.
After all my research and thinking about this subject, I have come to believe one reason that the suicide rate is so high in the military is the snowball effect. Suicide is so prevalent that most people know someone who has done it, and this normalizes the act as a valid way of dealing with pain. One death causes more deaths, and eventually we have a culture of death.
Yet, most people don’t want to commit suicide–the impulse is temporary.
Like other defenses, those against suicide can be strengthened. Abundant data show us that the suicidal impulse can be of remarkably short duration. The mood passes. One study followed up on 515 people saved from jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge more than 20 years earlier and found that only between five and seven percent actually went on to end their own lives. Other studies have shown that an overwhelming numberof people who have attempted suicide are unambiguouslyglad they did not die.
This article is very distressing. For me suicide has been a personal choice. Yes, it might be selfish but in the end we are responsible to ourselves. The suicide effect goes beyond personal choice when it causes others to not merely feel the loss but to be encouraged to do it themselves. Very sad and for the first time in many years makes me reconsider my philosophical and moral stance on suicide. I have extracted bits and pieces from the article but it is worth reading in its entirety, and then again.
Richard Dawkins added to his confusing narrative and basically said by calling it a misunderstanding we should accept his apology. It’s not quite so clear for those who want to say he’s trivializing pedophilia. I can’t really do justice by extracting so read the link but here goes the gist.
Now, given the terrible, persistent and recurrent traumas suffered by other people when abused as children, week after week, year after year, what should I have said about my own thirty seconds of nastiness back in the 1950s? Should I have lied and said it was the worst thing that ever happened to me? Should I have mendaciously sought the sympathy due to a victim who had truly been damaged for the rest of his life? Should I have named the offending teacher and called down posthumous disgrace upon his head?
No, no and no. To have done so would have been to belittle and insult those many people whose lives really were blighted and cursed, perhaps by year-upon-year of abuse by a father or other person who was deeply important in their life. To have done so would have invited the justifiably indignant response: “How dare you make a fuss about the mere half minute of gagging unpleasantness that happened to you only once, and where the perpetrator was not your own father but a teacher who meant nothing special to you in your life. Stop playing the victim. Stop trying to upstage those who really were tragic victims in their own situations. Don’t cry wolf about your own bad experience, because it undermines those whose experience was – and remains – so much worse.”
That is why I made light of my own bad experience. To excuse pedophiliac assaults in general, or to make light of the horrific experiences of others, was a thousand miles from my intention.
In doing research on the Miley Cyrus post which everyone seemed to hate, at least on Reddit (where conservatives and liberals merge as monolithic nuisance), I included a small looked-over line (whew) that the ancient Greeks favored pederasty over same-age homosexuality… The issue seems to be one of cultural relativism or moral relativism. The two are quite different, and then both are different from multiculturalism, though the general public (non anthropologists, non philosophers) seem to conflate all of them to absolute relativism and certainly not the more happy, realistic, meme of perspectivism.
It’s easy to castigate slavery and pederasty nowadays and few want to say oh but that was back then or over there. But what about scarification, disking (disks in ears), or boning (bones in nose) and other more exotic forms of what we would call abuse but to which we have a hard time relating? Or the Sun Dance where you pierce your breasts and dance around a pole until you faint or see the numinous? Are they all unequivocally evil? Are we being provincial? What about modern S&M games where we pretend it is by consent but is it really or are they just psyched into it for social and psychological reasons? Foucault nearly destroyed himself in these volunteer sex games. David Carradine died in his autoeroticism of erection by hanging. But what about unrepentant porn stars that are brilliant like Asia Carrera?
In Jr High School, I took Home Economics for Boys. I don’t know why as I had already been taught how to cook and sew for years by a mother who insisted that men, me, should be able to do these things and not be a burden to their wives, my future wife, for such chores. As such I was fondled by one boy. Another time a boy pinched my nipple and said “whistle or lose it.” Which traveled through the class with giggles and dismay depending on who was on the receiving end. Not to mention enumerable wedgies. I was constantly threatened with abuse of one sort or another. It was the kind of place where they would kick the crutches out from under you as they did to me when I had them for a few days. I held my books tight to my chest like a loose life jacket in the ocean.
Ann Arbor, Michigan (Slauson Jr High) in 1970 was a difficult place with race riots where the steps between floors would be blocked by sit-ins and the mixed race nature of this urban school was rife for violence and severe drug abuse (I was offered Heroin on my first day–I refused). So much so parents were required to monitor school grounds and U of M football players roamed the hallways–something that can’t legally be done now. Overcrowded, the school had split shifts and my entire experience there though enlightening was difficult–being walleyed then (strabismus) and a heavy book reader my school life was pretty much hell. Luckily I only had two years there until moving to SLC–which gives you an idea of how brilliant mom was in getting her Phd in an academic field after being a pianist (always praise parent(s) when you can–and, yes, she was psychologically abusive.)
I hadn’t thought of all this until Dawkins’ interview and I realized how both situations echoed the experience of Victor Frankl during the holocaust. Why did some do terrible and others survive the horrid abuse, physically and psychologically? This echoes what I wrote about the woman who had been raped repeatedly while traveling the world but it didn’t impede her adventuring or sex life, as she wrote. Yet, some women after rape can no longer have sex, or types of sex, or caveats of sex, don’t hold my head, no oral, or spend years, if ever, recovering. I don’t know the answer to this but I have to trust that when someone says they were abused they were even if I wasn’t having the same reaction. I have to trust those who say they weren’t abused though modern sensibilities lead me to “therapists are standing by” yet Frankl has proven true, some don’t hold it. Empathy sometimes fails us.
The Brits a have a long history of accepted socialized abuse. Stiff upper lip, take it on the chin, tut, tut, and all that sort of thing. The flip of this is “From the ashes of defeat grow the roses of success” (Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang.) English stoicism allowed survival through duress–and imperialism. I whine when I get a paper cut unless I am playing soccer in which case I don’t even notice when I sprain my ankle until I get home–as I did the other day and will now limp like a sot for a week. Hmmm.
On the one hand I want to trash Dawkins for being an idiot, as he is want to be, and on the other, I want to say he sounds old school British and who am I to make him mine. I hope the future will look as conciliatory to our transgressions today as we must to our past and others.
I love Miley Cyrus. She is a beautiful, intelligent woman who is brilliant in exposing the virus of sexual repression in the West, the colonized world. I have spent my children’s tenure following Miley on TV to movies. Her practical, youthful, homespun wisdom on Hannah Montana to her song “The Climb” praising the process as the goal to now her brilliant “Wrecking Ball” video which has garnered 60 million views in three days.
The VMA show was intense in its depiction of the fetishization of the Teddy Bear, a father, a friend, a partner, a sexual patriot, and stupefying in the depiction of the fully clothed Abrahamic male standing aloof, uninterested, but singing of rape. Another take: did no one get that her hair looked like devil’s horns and her tongue wasn’t sexy but illicitly lascivious? Here’s the video “Wrecking Ball.”
A woman falls in love, jumps off a cliff, offers her body, it doesn’t matter he rejects her shaming her body, she is dejected, she didn’t run, he pushed her away. Now she is a slut. It’s a love story, a tragedy but only the woman is damaged. He remains distant, aloof, out of the picture. Odd that so many respond she is lost and they don’t like the video…more crap like people saying they go to church more than they do or don’t masturbate when they do.
What a great day. I am witnessing the valorization of sexuality amidst the rubble of the greatest single cultural repression known to people kind. For two thousand years Abrahamic religions have forced their hatred of the body onto the Western world and all its colonies. This video is an antidote to the rabid, religious, repression of human sexuality and the body. It’s not that everyone should have tons of sex (that’s individual), though I highly recommend it, it’s that sex should not be taboo, oppressed, repressed, censored, hated.
It all began with Plato, that bastard. For Plato the most correct love was to divinity. Sexual masturbation to a divinity was more pure, more true, good, and beautiful than love to a person. If you were lucky, pure, you could orgasm just by thinking of the formless divine form. It’s the most viciously solipsistic act I can imagine. Not because it’s masturbation but because it denies any importance of another person. It’s not his fault Christianity copped this to mean no sex whatsoever, with celibacy the most important sexual function. We can thank people like Jesus and Augustine for that.
Ancient Greece held sexuality in the center of their culture. Acts of sex on public walls, public streets, and eating and drinking utensils. The enjoyment of the body is not epic but common, epically common. When Alexander comes upon the bodies of the Sacred Band of Thebes it marks the beginning of the Hellenistic period–they were all 300 homosexual males who gave their lives for Greece. We castigate pederasty but in Greece it was the highest, purest form of sex and homosexuality among men of the same age was pathetic, debased. Women from Lesbo were prized for their ability to perform wizadry with a male’s organs and were not just lesbians. Everyone was openly sexual.
Abrahamic historians covered up important artifacts that showed Egypt to also enjoy sexuality and sexual fantasies. Modern Hindi claim their ancient public depictions of sex to be idealistic and not real to cover their own modern repression. Nevertheless, entire sides of public buildings were covered with people having sex and enlarged sex organs. The ancient Chinese made sexual toys into an industry of amazing detail and variety. The earliest artifacts which could be called art are fertility objects with women and men having sex and people with hugely, obscenely sized sex organs.
Our entire culture of sexual inhibition is due to the colonizing of Abrahimic religions throughout the world. It is so endemic, many liberals, freethinkers, feminists, and homosexuals still buy into it. Think of it. Sex is an evil commodity but going to work isn’t? A woman can rent her hands to write or fabricate but not her pelvis to thrust? A man can ruin his body farming but can’t rent his cock? This continues the debased body view that one’s body, one’s virginity is sacred, the last thing to be offered. And virginity repeats itself like Madonna’s song “Like a virgin. Touched for the very first time” where a girl talks herself into thinking polygamy, polyamory, is really monogamy because it feels so right.
Darryl Rey, an independent researcher on sexuality performed a survey which showed atheists have the best sex life, the most fulfilling sexuality. People who leave religion invariably experience an improvement in sexual relationships and the diminishment of sexual guilt. Further, religious people lie on their surveys of sex (dishonesty is better than admittance). They have just as much masturbation, homosexuality, and pornographic viewing as the nonreligious–in some cases more so. They just feel crappy about it.
Twerking has been in the news. Ho, hum, it’s not new. Look at this video of Elvis Presley doing the “Jailhouse Rock” on TV in 1957. Nor is it tropically unique. Look at this video of Shakira belly dancing and Sadie. The difference? In belly dancing the hips move around in a circle independent of the rest of the body. In twerking the hips twist up and down as in pelvic thrusting. In belly dancing the chest and belly go back and forth independent of each other. In twerking the upper body rolls sideways back and forth. Both involve the shimmying of the butt. Both are made more interesting if you are a bit heayy. To call twerking cultural appropriation is like saying we shouldn’t use writing because it’s Sumerian. And don’t play blues if you’re white, nor classical if you’re black, nor country if you’re european. That Samba, Salza, Meringue and Tango is only for Hispanics. Remember the Lambada?
One thing we Northerners forget, it’s hot down there in the tropics. Clothes are not required and are a nuisance. Many tropical cultures have shook off the hatred of the body that missionaries brought with them. Konshen the creator of the fun dance hall party video “Gal a Bubble” (six million views) says though unbaptized he is Christian. Every woman in this video is untrained directly off the street. Gal A bubble by the way means a ”girl who’s aware of her own sheltered world and wants to get out and have some fun.”
Yo.. how dah party ah look soh? Dog how dah party ah look soh? How mi gyal dem stand up and ah look soh? Wha you ah do to mi?
Selecta,bounce dah 1 here fi deh gyal dem bubble pon,
If yuh love fi see d gyal dem ah bubble put up yuh hand,
Yuh play song fi gangster buss blank,now ah deh gyal dem time,play song fi gyal wine,
Big selecta ah play yuh nuh rookie,Catch d base line while d gyal dem a shobie,
Aye when d gyal dem ah dip it and ah drop it,Yuh ah batty man if yuh nuh happy…Follow mi den
Gyal ah dash out so mi glad mi come out,
Ready fi left what yuh talking about,
Road mi live,mi nah wah see no house,
Mi ah rave and ah wait pon di sun fi come out……
gyal ah bubble
bubble gyal ah bubble (X3)
Bubble dem ah bubble
Bubble gyal ah bubble (X2)
Gyal deh pon headtop ah spin like G
Me affi ask if some ah dem writing,
watch dah one dey
ah we watch dah waistline, watch yuh body dey
Aye look how dat big
cock out gyal, show yuh talent and skill
red label wine u wah turn on de trill
Likkle buss inna mi head like grenade
But all when me talkin di late mi nah lef
Gyal ah dash out so mi glad mi come out,
Ready fi left what yuh talking about,
Road mi live,mi nah wah see no house,
Mi ah rave and ah wait pon di sun fi come out……
gyal ah bubble
bubble gyal ah bubble (X3)
Bubble dem ah bubble
Bubble gyal ah bubble (X2)
Nor is twerking just a female thing. This is Iyanya by Kukere (10 million views).
For two thousand years men have been told not to dance and women have anyway. It’s not that men don’t have hips or that women are more flexible (though true) it’s that men aren’t supposed to dance and they were never taught where their legs are–until Elvis and later the gay techno-dance movement. Dancing is emotional. Yeah, thank goodness.
Here’s the same song with just men dancing
Why is it that sex is a forbidden topic? I had a friend from Scandinavia that didn’t get it in the states. Back home they may be out for dinner and say “Aaah, I feel so great. I had the best sex last night. We went to dinner and then came home and snuggled on the couch for awhile and then we just started laughing and tore each other’s clothes off. It was great. I feel so good. But I’m soooo tired today.” No, we don’t do that and we should. I tell that story now and they say that must have been the 70′s, sigh.
Sex is glue for couples. Sex binds people together. A love and care for the body will spread to love and care for the world because it is not an idea. Success in living means living in the world and not in an idea of the world.
The greatest social justice that could be done by secularists would be to raise reading and literacy levels. I have a Quaker friend who says he can tell how a family is doing if they have more than 50 books in their book case. Notice it’s not about secular versus religious. It’s about being sufficiently educated and sufficiently able to educate yourself to make your own informed choices. 1 in 7 people can’t read a news headlines–interesting that this is about the same number as people in poverty (16%). Well, 70% of people in prison can’t read. Worse we are not making progress.
According to the Department of Justice, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, according to BeginToRead.com.
Sure there are those wise people who are wise in spite of reading but that is the exception and that is why they stand out.
To help change this, participate in some local or any group that encourages reading.
Literacy is freedom. Even just by modeling reading, having a book at hand, saying you read this, and encouraging discussions of topics from books, news and even the Internet you encourage a culture of reading.
If a person can learn to read easily without thinking about what they are reading they will be able to learn more from reading, they will find freedom in reading, they will gain knowledge from reading, and they will empathize more with others.
We are homeschooling our daughter who did not wish to be in Junior High School. We want her to read several hours a day, four actually, her choice, any topic. Obviously the books at hand and what we borrow or buy has an influence but the point is that reading is not wasted time. It is a valuable education both in learning the skill and in the content.
I struggled with reading when young and was sent to a summer reading program where I caught up–yeah, summer programs are why nonpoverty families do better. As soon as I could read without struggling I read everything. My curiosity, and boredom avoidance, drove me from breakfast cereal boxes to encyclopedias in a couple years. Some children aren’t quick learners in languages and reading. Letting them read cartoons, comics, graphic novels, condensed classics is the gradual path to competency. It just doesn’t matter as much what they read as long as they read a lot.
Reading is not considered cool and we had one child that knew being cool was the way to social success in school. We kept up gentle pressure and books were and are everywhere in our life. Looking up answers, ending debates with the Web, and even reading labels in the grocery store soon made it clear that she would succeed with reading. When she became math scholar at school who would have guessed. She complained about every math book and class and we worried she’d never even get multiplication tables. And yes reading is related to math because math is a language and math is the gateway drug to physics. Reading can cut through temperament issues. Reading calms you down and helps you get focused.
It’s a myth that people are inherently visual learners versus verbal versus aural versus kinesthetic. This is social compensation for those who didn’t learn to read with facility. Many say they learn by doing best but frankly my friends who say this are also often are very good readers and use reading to learn. Research is showing that the eight styles of learning effectiveness is false.
Some psychologists and neuroscientists have questioned the scientific basis for and the theories on which they are based. According to Susan Greenfield the practice is “nonsense” from a neuroscientific point of view: “Humans have evolved to build a picture of the world through our senses working in unison, exploiting the immense interconnectivity that exists in the brain.”
Many educational psychologists believe that there is little evidence for the efficacy of most learning style models, and furthermore, that the models often rest on dubious theoretical grounds. According to Stahl,there has been an “utter failure to find that assessing children’s learning styles and matching to instructional methods has any effect on their learning.” Guy Claxton has questioned the extent that learning styles such as VARK are helpful, particularly as they can have a tendency to label children and therefore restrict learning.
Research saying that the media used is most important is often biased.
Coffield and his colleagues and Mark Smith are not alone in their judgements. Demos, a UK think tank, published a report on learning styles prepared by a group chaired by David Hargreaves that included Usha Goswami from Cambridge University and David Wood from the University of Nottingham. The Demos report said that the evidence for learning styles was “highly variable”, and that practitioners were “not by any means frank about the evidence for their work.” 
Cautioning against interpreting neuropsychological research as supporting the applicability of learning style theory, John Geake, Professor of Education at the UK’s Oxford Brookes University, and a research collaborator with Oxford University‘s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, commented that
“We need to take extreme care when moving from the lab to the classroom. We do remember things visually and aurally, but information isn’t defined by how it was received.”
The Association of Psychological Science did a study that is also critical.
As disclosed in the report, the panel found that studies utilizing this essential research design were virtually absent from the learning styles literature. In fact, the panel was able to find only a few studies with this research design, and all but one of these studies were negative findings—that is, they found that the same learning method was superior for all kinds of students (e.g., Massa & Mayer, 2006)…
As a consequence, the panel concluded, “at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning styles assessments into general educational practice. Thus, limited education resources would better be devoted to adopting other educational practices that have strong evidence base, of which there are an increasing number.”
My spouse is an expert on this. Her Phd is in the history of literacy in America. Additionally she is a public school teacher. I am not just pulling this out of Wiki. It has long been a topic of study and discussion in our family, our parents’ families, and our grandparents’ families–most of them teachers and educators. I spent 17 years in publications working on effective technical education, online communication, computer-based-training, and stand-up training.
The issue of why Jews have done so well in the sciences, arts, and nearly all areas requiring mental expertise is the emphasis on reading and studying. Parental involvement is essential. An easy ability to read will cut through issues of demographics and personality. If you want your child to excel have them read and have them study. If you want to make secularism grow and you wish to help people in the most fundamental way possible encourage reading.
Yes, I am sure this is not news to you dear skeptic, vaccines save lives. This graphic shows just how many. Currently, Texas and Netherlands Measles outbreaks follow low vaccination rates like mice following cracker crumbs. Nothing more need be said.
Country Singer Vince Gill stepped out before his concert to witness protesting Westboro Baptist Church. I think one woman was taken aback that he came out but quickly recovers.
Vince Gill, what in the world are you doing out here?” a WBC member can be heard asking, in a video of the confrontation uploaded to YouTube. “But, more importantly, what are you doing with another man’s wife?”
“I came out to see what hatred really looked like in the face,” Gill responded.
“Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery?” she asked.
“Don’t you know that you f**kers are lucky that you don’t have a sign that says something about my wife?” Gill asked. “You know what else [Jesus Christ] said? He said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. You guys don’t have any of that.”
Gill then called another picketer a “big dips**t” and later asked if they are the Phelpses or just “the C Team.”
Gill divorced and remarried which is adulterous damnation to Westboro. In the good old days they just would have stoned his wife to death and left him as sinner. It’s ironic that Gill married Amy Grant who is about as Christian as it gets–perhaps you remember she had the first Christian album to go Platinum and has six Grammies. She has also been criticized for her divorce.
Aside from the occasional and toothless “I’m a Patriot” tune from the occasional country star, it’s been pretty quiet since the Dixie Chicks debacle, unless you count Brad Paisley’s milquetoast bid for racial healing back in the spring when he performed a duet with LL Cool J on “Accidental Racist.” Defending his right to wear a Confederate flag t-shirt in a Starbucks (now there’s some real country imagery) because he was a Skynyrd fan, Paisley penned a song so sorry that its only redeeming aspect was that it inspired a withering parody by Stephen Colbert.
Oh, for the good old days when Roy Acuff taught Richard Nixon how to use a yo-yo on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. The fact is, though, country music has always been averse to controversy. True, a few country performers turn out for the Republican convention now and then (Ted Nugent needs some company). But in the main country artists are far more timid about taking public stands than their counterparts in rock, pop, or hip hop.
Indeed. Though one of the best protest-hardship songs and albums to come out ever was the Dixie Chicks‘, “Taking the Long Way,” which also has to be one of the strongest sing-along songs-albums when you’re pissed and sad at injustice. Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard rule male CM protesting.
“Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself.
But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow”
But how is divorce-remarriage so evil? Well remarriage is serial monogamy but some see it as polygamy. If you marry someone forever divorce is impossible and immoral. Guess the guys don’t remember a fine old tune called “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” by Tammy Wynette back in the day when you really didn’t do divorce.
Oddly there are fewer women Country Music artists on the radio than men. It’s still a boys club in numbers.
Radio playlists, on the other hand, are dominated by male singers. Of the format’s 20 most-played country acts of 2013, only two, according to Mediabase, are women — Lambert and triple nominee Carrie Underwood. Women seem to have more success in duos or groups: Lady Antebellum, the Band Perry, Little Big Town and Thompson Square have female members and get both airplay and award nominations.
But six of the ten best-selling CM songs were by women, a dedicated following. Though men dominate the top ten albums Shania Twain has the biggest selling album ”Come on Over.” Garth Brooks has six of them, Dixie Chicks two, and Shania Twain two. Shania Twain has sold the most songs by a female ever. Here’s “Love Gets Me Every Time.” A vegetarian, PETA claimed her to be the sexiest vegetarian alive and supposedly her face most closely matches the golden ratio, whatever all that means…
Twain also divorced. If Westboro thinks they are going to win this battle, they are up against the vast majority of conservative Country Music lovers and will only make a fool of themselves. Divorce has allowed many people to leave abusive, vicious, dead-end relationships and begin anew. Why would anyone begrudge them? As Gill says this is what hate looks like.
The news says Richard Dawkins excuses mild pedophilia in the past and thus supports pedophilia. Someone tape Dawkins’ mouth shut. Better yet teach him some eloquence. Agreed we should mock the stupidities of religion openly. Agreed there are more horrific issues in the world that are being ignored. Nevertheless, he would benefit from Hitchens’ style. When Hitchens made controversial remarks like family-women shouldn’t work he’d follow with unless they want to. Made all the difference. Hitchens could also say war was essential because a rape in Cairo is the same as a rape in Washington–country boundaries don’t matter. Hitchens, please come back and teach Dawkins how to talk! I hate to see a grown person shoot himself in the foot or chew their foot to the knee.
In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.
Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.”
He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”
“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.
He said the most notorious cases of pedophilia involve rape and even murder and should not be bracketed with what he called “just mild touching up.”
Notice he is not saying rape he is saying touching. “Lasting harm?” How would we know? Therapy for everyone! But I want to take this further.
This probably explains why Dawkins can be so insensitively rude. He doesn’t get the politics of it. It is absolutely true that most of us in the US and UK are obliviously blind to the horrific abuses in many parts of the world. We go to work, text messages, watch TV and go to bed in a kind of comfort rarely seen in much of the rest of the world. We whine that we are SO depressed, SO out of shape, SO stressed. Boo, hoo. When we experience the greatest well being known in the recorded history of peoplekind.
It’s precisely why Hitchens beat on political correctness. The hypocrisy of recycling. Be sure to recycle while we allow corporations to rape resources with a wantonness unseen before in evolution.
When you really travel the world and leave the comfort of the conference hotel, or the tourist section, you cannot help but see abject poverty, abuse, and terror. It’s why I think all students should be required to travel abroad in some way, shape or form–and not to an American school abroad.
Reagan took social support off the street and the mentally ill began to inhabit prisons because where else could they go? Visit East Harlem, East LA, your local mobil home park, the other side of the tracks, the places you’re told are dangerous. The separation of the rich and well from the poor and sick makes it hard for us to see and believe the poverty in our own country much less comprehend the fight for life so many others experience in the rest of the world.
We whine about unequal pay and go to talks with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in jazzy venues who tries to describe what it’s like to be beaten to a near pulp and eliminated from society in so harsh a way as to make it impossible for us to imagine–where even in the US she can’t go anywhere without security. We cannot even imagine the horrors described to us and we do not trust their words–they sound good but they don’t activate enough. We finish with the talks and complain that our boss oppresses us by making us work too many hours, touches us stupidly, or a cashier gives money back to our husbands at the check-out stands instead of the wife who proffered it. We whine about how our girlfriends and wives can’t get abortions easily when women are beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and killed for adultery. We whine that we are touched inappropriately when women are raped so violently they cannot hope to be able to bear children and may die from the experience. We whine that we are oppressed by whistles but we do not go to jail for blasphemy. BTW: the cartoon is not a good comparison. What if $20 paid for an operation? We don’t get the value of a dollar in third-world countries.
Oh, it’s a continuum. A continuum through worlds of difference. We say microaggressions are as bad, maybe worse because we trusted our intimate partners forgetting that abused Muslim women trusted their partners and family too and cried in horror as their fathers made them marry some asshole they hated and knew would hurt them. It’s like the paper cut hurts so much until you lose a finger and then you wish like hell it could have been a paper cut, even a few stitches
Peter Singer describes a situation where a man is walking to work and sees a child fall into a fountain. He immediately rushes into the fountain to save the child ruining his $200 shoes. That same man will receive a letter from an organization that says it can save the life of a child that needs an operation for a one-time $200 donation and toss that letter in the trash with as little thought as saved the child in the fountain. Context, perspective, and locality seem to be everything.
We use family, community, city, state, nation, and world to distance our involvement. Is it understandable? Do we really deserve to live well and waste goods when the waste alone could allow others to survive? Are some humans really so much better than others when no crimes are involved? Is it more moral for me to save an American than an African, a European? Is it moral to even rest until others stop dieing? That’s why PETA became so “extreme.” They expanded the circle of self to animals.
Singer brilliantly took altruism to a new level when he stated that we all live in a circle of self. I wasn’t much of a fan of it until I realized it helped people think of altruism in a personal way. The circle includes family, friends, and so forth. It also must expand to neighbors, community, and further until it becomes a kind of moral duty to all others, all other living and sentient beings. A rape in Cairo is as important as a rape in Washington. Egalitarianism doesn’t know geographic boundaries.
In triaging social ills and what should be solved next with limited energy, resources, and willpower it is inevitable to prioritize those close to us and ourselves first. It’s all about relationships we say and that means you and me. This is a facile and faulty emphasis. Social justice may begin at the home but only because of egoistic bias. Our ability to know and imagine as others to empathize to ideas means we can go far beyond our immediate perception of nearness. That is the greatness of idea, it makes reality close when it is far. Do we really need a $20 book or should we send that off where it pays for research to eliminate the horrific Guinea worm?
Dawkins could do so much better but at core he raises an important point. We act like spoiled babies whining that we were spanked, touched, or even fucked when we could, and should from his perspective, be spending our time stopping the kinds of horrors in the world we don’t and can’t imagine.
When I was living on a sail boat I read this wild book about a woman world traveler who got raped often. It did not stop her from traveling to dangerous parts of the world. Sometimes we become so concerned with our own concept of pain it blinds us to real opportunity. That was her point. Personality of course counts but we often take inspiration from those who achieve more in spite of personal pain.
We can talk about multi activism where we do what we can, how we can. But it’s a shallow victory when we spend money going to court to fight discrimination when those thousands of dollars could literally save lives elsewhere. It’s hollow good will to recycle when you could work those extra few minutes, earn more money, and provide vaccinations that will literally save lives. It’s not about creating guilt, it’s about providing contextualization to our abusive tendency to see our own toes first. We need to see other toes as our own.
Kant’s moral imperative is about living as how one would want all others to live. It’s inclusive of the entire continuum. Dawkins should not just be ignored or followed.
Yes, abuse must be fought on all fronts at all times in all ways but it is good to be reminded that we have myopia and maybe we could do more. I just wish Dawkins could say it better. Voltaire said we should tend our own gardens first. Dawkins is saying my garden has a lot of weeds but your garden is much worse, let’s go help it.
Irene Pappas the famous Greek movie star promoted secularism in an interview with Roger Ebert. Way back in 1969.
“Plato made the first mistake. He began to talk about the soul and morality, and he prevented the Epicureans from searching the nature of man. So Plato delayed the scientific and technical revolution for 3,000 years…”
Just when you think Carl Sagan was the first to publish this sentiment.
He (Plato) believed that ideas were far more real than the natural world. He advised the astronomers not to waste their time observing the stars and planets. It was better, he believed, just to think about them. Plato expressed hostility to observation and experiment. He taught contempt for the real world and disdain for the practical application of scientific knowledge. Plato’s followers succeeded in extinguishing the light of science and experiment that had been kindled by Democritus and the other Ionians.”
“We live surrounded by consumer goods, by artifacts. In the cities, we are victims of the amount of merchandise that needs to be transferred. After they discovered the washing machine, everyone should have been given one. Otherwise, what is the benefit of progress? To make money?
”Science and mathematics were to be removed from the hands of the merchants and the artisans. This tendency found its most effective advocate in a follower of Pythagoras named Plato.”
My daughter is studying the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles for school. Oh, it’s a great play. Everyone you like dies and the big lesson is over the arrogant pride of the king who loses his son and whether civil laws are more important than the laws of the gods–when is civil disobedience a virtue. Antigone believes sometimes one must disobey state laws.
To help support our daughter we saw a Greek movie version on Youtube with Irene Pappas. The movie is in modern Greek with subtitles. Pappas is really quite famous and is still alive.
Pappas had a difficult time in American cinema because she was tall, had charisma, and men were intimidated by her.
To imagine Irene Papas ever being described as a “starlet” is wild enough; to imagine her as a subject for cheesecake is to define, somehow, what desperate lengths Hollywood went to in the TV-dominated 1950s. Or to put it another way: There are a lot of pretty girls in movies, but not many women. Irene Papas is a woman, a lady, a great actress. We do not have many like her. Perhaps that’s why she doesn’t appear in many movies; ordinary actors have trouble sharing the screen with her. John Wayne has something of the same quality. Many young actors don’t have the authority and presence to play opposite him. They tend to go transparent.
“Miss Papas has other problems: Her height rules out many leading men, her accent rules out many roles, and her unusual beauty is not the sort that superstar actresses like to compete with. Still, she’s been in enough movies to inspire something of a cult. She was the widow in “Zorba the Greek,” and the guerrilla fighter in “The Guns of Navarone,” and she triumphed in two classical leading roles, “Electra” and “Antigone.” Most recently she was Kirk Douglas‘ wife in “The Brotherhood,” and now she is playing Katherine, wife of Henry VIII, opposite Richard Burton in “Anne of the thousand Days.”
CNN mistranscripted a Larry King interview with Catherine Zeta-Jones stating her Grandmother was of Greek origin–you can see a similarity to Pappas. Zeta is the name of the last letter of the Greek Alphabet which adds to the confusion.
Boycott Fox News!! Get them where it hurts. The list below shows all of the sponsors for Fox News. As you can see it’s big, really big, and distressing in it’s scope. The list is from “FoxNews Boycott” where you can find addresses with web links. It’s 10 times better to call, mail, or email them and tell them the reason you are boycotting them. You can also boycott Bill O’Reilley’s sponsors, Fox and Friends Sponsors, and Glenn Beck’s sponsors. You can also contact Fox News directly to let them know the good news.
I know there are some of your most cherished businesses here. If you really must continue to purchase from them send them a note and tell them you are a valued customer and very much like their products but they simply must find another news company to sponsor. Yes, it takes time but remember the reason Fox News keeps having influence is viewers aren’t willing to take the time.
How often does a friend say Fox News sucks but then keeps watching “so they know the enemy” or because it just happens to be on or it has a glitzy image or we like to hear them be stupid. Maybe you just don’t watch it already but meh. All these reasons suck. Boycott Fox News sponsors! Boycott Fox News! Let them know!
Be part of the solution! When Fox News shutters its doors you can say “I was there. I helped make it happen.” Won’t that be a great day.