In Like a Whimper, Out Like a Lamb
Well, friends, I am close to the end of my blogging experience here at Chez Neognostikos. Three years of this has been decent, mostly, but not without certain frustrations and limitations. Lycos/Tripod is, unfortunately, not a serious player in the world of blogging.
Which is not to say that I am, but let's be frank: do any important bloggers blog with this host? I don't know of any ---and I am an unusually interested party.
Anyway, I welcome you to visit me at my new blog ---still very much in progress--- at TobyPetzold.com.
Candor Now Playing:tax included
Incidentally, what is the professional penalty for confessing that you are an atheist? You know: when a colleague asks you, apropos of nothing, whether he had remembered that fact correctly ---and you say yes because the promise of God, in my mind, is forbearance in my case since I refuse to be a goddamned liar at the Moment of Truth.
These things certainly migrate about and color people's perceptions of me. I can only hope that it isn't an irremediable understanding.
Taking the Lord's Name in Vain
I was watching one of those docutainment programs on the History Channel last night as I was dropping off ---and it was all about the Ten Commandments and how they've managed such good press over the millennia. There are other laws handed down by YHWH and intended for the moral refinement of man and Israelite alike, you know, but nothing romances us like the Decalogue.
Anyway, they get to the Commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain ---and it was disturbing to me because it challenged my pet theory of what that particular injunction really means. Turns out that all the by-the-numbers Christians I have known forever were right about it all along ---and that it does enjoin us from cussing about God and Jesus and all the others.
Which sucks because the rationale for that Commandment was rooted in the contemporary belief that words had incantatory powers. Maybe they do, but not with the smoke and cackling and shapeshifting that may accompany such invocations. These are just words, not verbalizations of an expectation or any disrespect.
I, on the other hand, prefer the idea that God is actually telling us not to resort to him in a hypocritical or insincere way. He is saying not to invoke his name if you're a phony. And as I do not profess a belief in him I do not have, I am sure that the Almighty is down with that and will let me off the hook at the crack of doom.
The Priest Lets Down His Hair Mood:
don't ask Now Playing:april is the cruelest month.
I don't believe in the sanctity of marriage; I believe in the sanctity of the commitment between two lovers.
Staying married because of the opinion of "The Church" is insane. The Church isn't your husband. Or your wife. What do its priests know, as Margaret Sanger used to ask, of love or marriage or children?
Nothing worth knowing.
I knew a couple once. Married for seventeen years and divorced for seventeen years. By the end of their first seventeen, they were no longer friends; by the end of their last seventeen, it was the will of Nature herself that they should be the dearest of friends.
I don't know what motivates people, but I am afraid to look.
Which is why I am sitting utterly alone at a table near an old horseracing track, writing in a notebook while, across the chain-link fence before me, are many thousands of drunk rednecks, roasting in the sun and stewing in their own liquids as they listen to old honky tonk players and other wash-ups save the American Farmer.
Lots of Sawdust Now Playing:institutional tendencies
I watched that National Geographic Channel special on the Gospel of Judas with my family last night. It was mostly worth our while, although, at two hours, there was quite a lot more sawdust in that thing than there should have been.
Anyway, I don't think Christianity is going to fold in on itself on account of this Gnostic curiosity. That much was made plain by the NGC people themselves when they resorted ---utterly out of the blue but with plenty of orthodox deliberation--- to include a moment's worth of Robert Schuller dismissing the very need to know anything more of the Gospels than what one may read in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Where had Robert Schuller been the previous hour and 55 minutes? I couldn't help but believe that his non sequitur declaration was a sop to the mainstream and/or Fundamentalist Christian community in America, who don't like having their major or even minor tenets trifled with. Judas is Judas to the end of reckoning, they say, and that is that.
Which is to say that Robert Schuller's inclusion at that point of the documentary is for him to be the living embodiment of the very attitude that relegated the Gnostic element in Early Christianity to the margins where it essentially died to the Church that was to come.
That's what Christianity is when it is nothing else: the Church. The thing that cannot be sated and which lives to exert itself somehow somewhere throughout all time.
I will always believe that the genius of Christianity ---the thing that makes it, as my friend Sluggo once said, the "saving grace of Western Civilization"--- is its tendency to disintegration. And reintegration. And constantly moving apart from and protesting the orthodoxy which owns its ass, anyway, like the petutlant child who is unaccountably embarrassed by the righteous authority of his own father.
That's the source of our independent-mindedness as Westerners. That's why Providence alit upon our kind.
Not incidentally, that has nothing to do with race.
Representing La Raza Now Playing: "Kid" by the Pretenders
KXAN News reporter Julie Shields interviewed a young Latino girl earlier today to get her thoughts on the meaning of this seemingly perpetual protest in favor of illegal immigration that's been sweeping the country lately. The girl, a middle school student who might be all of 12, said that she was out on the streets of Austin today "trying to represent la raza."
Yeah? La Raza, eh?
I strongly, tongue-bitingly disapprove of this racist nonsense. Not just because the people who have an interest in promoting La Raza are too embarrassed to admit to mere outsiders (i.e., American citizens) that they are, in fact, endorsing racism in its most literal sense, but because America has paid an enormous price in blood and treasure to be rid of racism. And now we're supposed to nod and smile approvingly at this child as she spouts racist bullshit about The Mexican Race? No fucking way.
La Raza means The Race. I know enough Spanish to know that, so don't perpetrate like it means something else, by God.
Can you imagine how Big Media and the people they keep misinformed would react if millions of white people were walking around the streets of America this afternoon chanting nonsense about "Das Volk"?
That's how good an idea this shit is.
So knock it off, put away your Mexican flags, and at least pretend to be grateful for living in the greatest country on Earth. Okay?
Taking the Training Wheels Off Mood:
If any of you have an opinion about bloghosts and software, please leave it in the comments section here. My third blogiversary is coming up later this month and I want to celebrate by getting an adult's blog.
I have no idea what Lycos-Tripod thinks they're doing, but they put out some shit product.
Volumes As Blurbs Now Playing: "Safety Dance" by Men without Hats
Uh, okay. The walking-out-of-school-to-protest thang was endearing and heartening the first couple of days, but y'all are starting to make me doubt your principles.
The grown-ups with the strange red flags and the Che Guevara T-shirts are pleased to see that you can be moved when the moment strikes, but let's not be wankers, okay? When maybe one in ten of you can even put two coherent words together about what the Congress is trying to do deal with illegal immigration, it's probably time to go online for the straight dope. Do they have that at MySpace.com? I mean, besides the rally notices.
Oh, and quit wagging and waving Mexican flags every damned place. If you want to be in America, try a couple of Stars-and-Stripes in y'alls ensemble. It tends to suppress the hypertension triggers in the dumb white bastards who are going to need to hire you this summer.
Assuming you want the kind of work that Americans are doing for themselves.
Total Sack of It Now Playing: "Only Love Can Break a Heart" by Gene Pitney
Cynthia McKinney, the Jew-hating racist who represents Georgia's fourth Congressional district, was [talking with] Soledad O'Brien on CNN this morning and brought up the issue of her supporters; viz., Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. Apparently, these celebrities represent some sort of authority on race in America. Who knew? From where I stand, they are race-baiters. Nothing more. And to support McKinney, who is unquestionably a racist, reflects extremely poorly on them.
It's time for people to take personal responsibility for their actions and quit blaming everybody but themselves. I am embarrassed that this woman is in a position to represent the Atlanta area in the US House of Representatives. I hope she is prosecuted, tried, convicted, and kicked out of the Congress for her physical abuse of the security personnel in our nation's Capitol.
Cynthia McKinney is an absolute disgrace. Shame on her and anybody who stands with her.
Community Property Now Playing:as i would not be a slave, so i would not be a master.
I don't understand why it's not offensive and demeaning for the President of the United States and people who think like him to say that he welcomes the huge influx of cheap Mexican labor because the Mexicans are only here to do "the jobs that Americans won't do for themselves." What the hell is that supposed to mean and why is it being tolerated? Is that the price of admission for Mexican migrants? To know their place and to keep to it?
Uh, listen, pal. I don't know what you're driving at, but I don't like it. You want to colonize Mexican labor in your own yards and kitchens and factories ---and then pretend that there aren't consequences in that? These people do not vanish into thin air after your drop them back off at the Home Depot or when they pile into the trailer with the mowers and weedeaters and ramble off. These people are making their lives here. They inhabit communities inside of communities. If these are unassimilable enclaves now, don't doubt for a moment that you had something to do with that.
Americans should speak English. That's all I know to say on this issue of illegal and legal Mexican immigration. You want to come and stake your claim? Okay. You're going to do that, anyway. But make sure the kids are literate in English. Bilingualism is fine, too, but everyone needs to be able to communicate and that should be the price of admission. Before all else.
When in Rome, amigos. You know? Because the surest way to dissolution (by way of second-class citizenship) is to be ignorant of the dominant tongue.
And Bound for Old Virginny
I'm perfectly okay with Tom DeLay's decision to resign from the US House of Representatives. In fact, as I told my friend in New York tonight, I consider DeLay's troubles to be his karmic comeuppance for his actions during the Schiavo Embarrassment.
DeLay's most valuable contribution to my state, as I see it, was his successful effort to get Texas properly redistricted. You may be appalled at that, but that's only because you preferred the kind of Democratic gerrymandering that had gone on here before.
Oh, and I happened to catch KXAN's Rich Parsons asking some local and state Republicans on the news this evening about their thoughts on what DeLay's legacy would be. Predictably, the weasel was out in front. Oh, well. It was a loaded question, anyway.
Distracted Now Playing:go floriduh!
I'm sick of this stupid State Farm Insurance commercial with the mentally ill sports fan bellowing out a bunch of horseshit at the gracious and attractive agent. I'm not thinking about the substance of the ad, see; I'm thinking about all the different ways I'd like to strike this idiot with a bat. As hard and as often as I possibly can.
It doesn't seem reasonable to say that white people, for instance, aren't allowed to make fun of a black person's hair. Is there something inherently funnier about a black person's hair that sticks up than a white person's hair that does? Or, worse, is there something more sacrosanct about it?
Oh, horseshit. Get over it.
If I were to appear at my place of employment with my hair completely unmoved from how it first appears when I am awakened, it would amaze and perhaps even stupefy. It is the kind of bedhead that begets legends. It is cowlicked and dream-curled; smooshed and roostered; plastered and indomitable.
So when I come across someone as vile and hateful and embarrassing as the Jew-hating US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, I am proscribed as a white guy from laughing at her hair when she meant it to look that way?
Let's See a Little Leg, Fatima Now Playing: "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)" by the Beach Boys
I don't know anything about Jill Carroll. I don't know if she's a good person or not. I think she probably is because I tend to believe that the most redeeming organ (if not redemptive, properly) of my first (and last) church would be moral and credible about whom it hires.
And the truth of my judgement is this: I wish I did not have to see how her politics will come to figure in this ordeal she has been through. I wish that what she is were frozen tonight when there's no reason that I would yet know in the nature of her beliefs to think any less of her.
I've heard of more than a few former prisoners of war who claimed that the confession was the hardest part of their captivity. Knowing that the only people in the world whose opinion of you really matters may someday see film of you denouncing them and all they stand for. That would be awfully hard.
I am extremely annoyed to read that Katie Couric is about to replace Bob Schieffer as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. Why is this happening? Schieffer, despite his occasional fits of quasi-Leftist drivel, is a respected icon at CBS News with more credibility in his left ventricle than Couric could hire had.
The only redeeming feature of Couric's newsreporting persona is her fantastic gams ---which, I guess, are now going straight behind a desk where they cannot be fully appreciated.
The answer, then, is that Couric is going to try to reconceive the anchor's role ---with lots of the stupid proppery that she so heavily leans on now as an early-morning perk-dispensery: dish, sit-downs, and fluffery.
I dread the nauseating consequences of this move. I actually tune into see Schieffer now simply because I do respect him. But Couric? No way, dude. This is a disastrous idea.
I worship her face, but that's not enough to excuse Elizabeth Vargas' introduction to this evening's World News Tonight program in which she said that a jury has determined that terrorist collaborator Zacharias Moussaoui "can be killed" for his role in the atrocities of 11 September 2001.
The state executes its capital offenders, madame, because it is our collective will that such persons be removed permanently from the potential to do us harm.
Killing ---or murdering--- innocent people is what we intend to prevent when we execute Moussaoui at some point in what I hope is the near future. Let us keep that clearly in mind.