Archive | February, 2010

Modern politics ruins living history

26 Feb

So lately I feel my hobby, the hobby I’ve had for 10 years, is being ruined for me. Every living history person I’ve come across, with the exception of like 3 or 4 are the complete political opposites of me. Now normally this wouldn’t even come up, and I would prefer for it to stay that way. Unfortunately, through facebook they’ve found out that I completely disagree with them. I post something up for all my like minded friends to see, and then they see this and start giving me shit.

I thought I had the settings right where they wouldn’t see such posts, but I guess not. And now they argue with me over facebook and sometimes make snide comments in camp. It’s ruining LH for me! I’m not friends with them because of politics, I’m friends with them because of a common interest in history, but now that’s being eroded. I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong in LH any more, which depresses me because it’s something I’ve done since I was 12!

It just seems like every re-enactor I come across is a conservative of some flavor. Not sure why exactly. I wish they could keep the modern politics to themselves. I know they feel the same way about my and my facebook posts, and I’ve apologized to them and fixed the settings, but it still makes it feel awkward when I go out for events. It’s even worse when one of them makes a quip in camp. I’m on the verge of quitting….

Waste your life, be an artist….

24 Feb

So the other day I came across this website. At first I didn’t get the joke and was pretty pissed off.

I am completely pulling this out of my ass, but I get the feeling a lot of people don’t take art seriously. I mean, sure there are plenty of people who love the arts, and support them, but then you have school districts trying to cut art programs to focus on math and science, the only “useful” subjects…bullshit. The humanities always struggle for funding, most of which is allotted to those “useful” programs. Colleges and universities are even raising the prices for programs that are more “useful” than the humanities.

I feel some people really do think “Go ahead, waste your life and be an artist….” Ok, so what is not “wasting your life”? Getting a degree in business, making money, buying a beach house, getting a hot trophy wife, and retiring on a golf course where you take Viagra to fuck the golf cart attendant? Congratulations you bland worthless prick, you’re just like every other faceless asshole who will die un-noticed.

Yeah math and science are important for making new discoveries and products, but the humanities is our soul. It’s what gives existence meaning. Our experiences as human beings, all the emotions that go with life, that’s what art represents. Artists and those who enjoy art are enriched by those shared experiences and memories. They truly experience life.

So I hope you’re happy on that golf course you nobody….

Glenn Beck promotes violence

24 Feb

Glenn Beck recently spoke at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference where he claimed America’s ills were due to progressivism. Ok, that’s fine. I disagree with him greatly, but he’s a conservative. He then goes on to compare progressivism to cancer. (see the video of his talk here) Ok, so now we’re getting a little shaky. But then he dives off the deep end and says “it can’t co-exist. You must eradicate it! You must cut it out of the system!” Seriously? How are people supposed to interpret that? The way I interpret that, the way I believe most people would interpret that is an urge to use violence. “Eradicate! Cut-out! Can’t co-exist!” You may laugh, but Glenn Beck’s viewers are scared, stupid, and armed.

Take this for example. Canada is thinking about allowing people with terminal diseases to elect, of their own free will, to undergo doctor assisted suicide. Beck twists this into “euthanasia!!!!” and tells his viewers that Obama and the progressives are trying to bring this hear. “Just like the Nazi’s in the 1930’s!” “A great evil is coming! Like in the 1930’s! Are you going to stand up and do something?!?!?” A caller calls in, believing all this bullshit, scared to death that Obama is going to kill her, and Beck says HE WILL!!!

What do you expect is going to happen? Eventually some scared idiot is going to take Beck’s urge to action seriously and get their gun and do something horrible. They might shoot a government employee, be it a cop or a mailman, or they might blow up a federal building.  If an angry mob marches on Washington with guns, the situation could rapidly deteriorate. The last thing Obama should do is send in police or troops to break up the protesters. It would quickly turn to shooting, and regardless of who fired the first shoot, the Tea Party idiots would claim another Boston massacre and use it as a rallying cry for more violence. The best thing he could do would be to pull back all law enforcement officials and just let the mob go, destroying everything in their path. This way the world will see them for how crazy and violent they are. Don’t give them any martyrs.

How do we fight an idea?

24 Feb

Arms keep peace. That is an old latin proverb.  For the most part of human history that has been true. You would not want to attack a powerful neighbor. Throughout the cold war the idea of MAD, mutual assured destruction, kept the United States and the USSR from launching their missiles. Yet the 21st century is a new world. Strong arms only help when your enemy has cities that could be taken or armies to be fought. But that’s not what we’re fighting now. What do you do with an enemy that has no country, no cities, no armies, an sometimes a desire to die?

The enemy is an ideology. How do you feel an idea? Bullets can’t hurt ideas. You can deploy as many troops as you want, but that will only give the enemy more targets and breed resentment in the local populations. Your security forces and soldiers can’t be everywhere at once. How do you fight these people? You can’t be in every house, every school, every place of worship where these ideas are spread. You also can’t sit back and just let them destroy you.

It’s a really tough question and I’m not sure what the answer is. I think a good direction to go in would be to try and isolate these radical groups even more by improving the lives of the people in their strongholds. If you go in and try and take over the place in an effort to stop them, they will just slip back into the shadows. The local population will just side with your enemy and try and fight you off as the oppressors. Yet if you give that local population aid, they might see that the fringe groups do not serve their best interests. The Marshall plan helped fight communism by providing at risk areas with aid, why not do the same thing with terrorism?

Impeach Obama!

23 Feb

Impeachment is a formal process in which an elected official is accused of unlawful activity, and which may or may not lead to the removal of that official from office. It is the first of two stages. Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law.

So what has Obama done that is illegal? Oh he’s enacted policies that you really hate, but that is not illegal.

Bush on the other hand did several things illegally.

The 4th Amendment to the constitution:

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

Wiretapping the American public without getting warrants first anyone?

Oh, and how about torture, secret government facilities, indefinite detention? Well, the United States is a signatory to a  little get together called the Geneva convention. At that convention they defined something called a “Grave breach” of the convention:

Grave Breaches

Not all violations of the treaty are treated equally. The most serious crimes are termed grave breaches, and provide a legal definition of a war crime. Grave breaches of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions include the following acts if committed against a person protected by the convention:

  • willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments
  • willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
  • compelling one to serve in the forces of a hostile power
  • willfully depriving one of the right to a fair trial.

Also considered grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention are the following:

  • taking of hostages
  • extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly
  • unlawful deportation, transfer, or confinement.[8]

Gee… Guantanamo bay anyone?

There is also the matter of treason. You see, last time I checked, reviling the identitiy of one of your nations covert operatives was treason. You put not only that person in danger for their life, but everyone associated with them. Ousting them because that operative’s husband called “bullshit” on your claim that a country had WMD’s is even more heinous.

Also, last time I checked, the punishment for treason was death….

So if you want to impeach Obama, wait until he’s done something illegal. In the mean time, call for the trial and punishment of the clowns responsible for the above crimes. (But oh wait, it’s only a crime if a liberal does it)

Do you speak for god?

16 Feb

While conducting research on my senior thesis in history, I came across this speech given by Emperor Wilhelm to his troops in 1914:

“Remember that you are the chosen people! The spirit of the Lord has descended upon me, because I am Emperor of the Germans! I am the instrument of the Most High. I am His sword, His representative….May all the enemies of the German people perish! God demands their destruction, God, who through my mouth, commands you to execute His will!”

Why is it god always speaks through man, and never directly?

One of the milestones on my road to deconversion was when I realized that everything I had been told about religion, god, Jesus, etc, was told to me by another human being.

I thought to myself:  “Now wait a second….human beings are fallible. They make mistakes. They lie. They have agendas, sometimes hidden ones. They care about power. They are not perfect. So why would an all perfect god always use such biased, self interested agents as humans to spread his word? Those people claim to speak for god, and we have only their word. We just have to trust them. These people often lie and take advantage of that blind trust… What if they are not speaking for god? What if they are just claiming to speak for god? Or what if they think they are speaking for god but it is just all in their head? We have no way of knowing…. But why would someone pretend to be talking for god? Simple. Power, money, prestige….”

Look at these two big examples. Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. Both of them made millions of dollars claiming to speak for god. Both of them set up “schools” where they make even more money telling people they speak for god. Televangelists have been doing this for ages.

But ok, those are big examples. What about your average pastor/priest/imam/rabbi? Well, I would argue that most of them are just spouting the old stuff that someone else once claimed was god’s word. They read from the bible/koran/torah and say “this is god’s word!” They don’t have too much to gain (if their operation is still small) accept the prestige (among believers) of knowing the god’s will. The people who wrote what they’re saying, however, had a lot to gain.

These “holy texts” ordered entire cultures! The people who wrote them, claiming themselves (men) as the holy instruments of god crafted these texts to secure their power. “Women should be subservient” is an excellent example. If you read or watch “Misquoting Jesus” you can see how early Christian scribes altered the bible to secure contemporary power bases throughout the middle ages.

You can have a lot of power over someone who believes that you and you alone know the path to salvation. Just look around at modern and ancient cults! People commit suicide for their cult leaders! The only thing that is different between a cult and organized religion is size. The smaller it is, the more intense control you can exercise over your followers. (It’s easier to brainwash 30 people who you see every day than it is to brainwash 30 million that you speak to once a week, though there are those among the 30 million that will be fanatically devoted to you or the cause)

Imagine for a second there was a mad man on the corner claiming to know the will of the stop sign. Say he was shouting at people that they must live their lives according to a book written by those divinely inspired by the stop sign. Imagine he asked for contributions or a tithe to help fun the work of the holy stop sign. Imagine if he had millions of followers who likewise believed the will of the stop sign was known through a book. Imagine if he made lots of money and lived lavish lifestyles off of the contribution on stop sign believers.Now imagine if those millions of stop sign believers tried to change the laws in your country to favor those who accept the stop sign. They want to affect how you live your life and what freedoms you have based off of what somebody claims is the will of the stop sign, and you have only their word. There is no way to see if they are actually right. You just have to take it on faith.

I bed you’d be pretty pissed off. I bet you’d try and point out that the guy on the corner is mad, and he does not really speak for the stop sign. I bet you’d try to get proof that he spoke for the stop sign, or that the stop sign even had a will in the first place! I bet you’d fight to stop them from telling you how to live your life, what freedoms you had, all because of what they think a stop sign is telling them. Sounds pretty insane right?

That is how Atheists feel about you. (You being if you are in fact a believer in a higher power who also believes that the will of said power can be known, and that it is your duty to tell others how to live and enact laws if need be)

My worst nightmare

15 Feb

Palin elected president. The United States leaves the UN, invades Iran. Israel given blank check of US support in hopes that they spark a world ending holy war, as predicted in Revelations. The teaching of evolution in public schools is made a crime (again), Bible class substituted instead. Mandatory school prayer is reinstated. Roe v Wade overturned, women no longer masters of their own bodies. “Shoot on sight” orders issued to all law enforcement officials posted along US/Mexico border.

Corporations exempted from all taxes and restrictions. Internet, TV, newspaper, and radio censors put into place to “protect the moral integrity of America”. NPR and PBS shut down. Ownership of firearms made mandatory like in Texas. People are encouraged to bring guns into schools, churches, and places that serve alcohol. Healthcare reform blocked by insurance companies who do not want competition, while more and more people go bankrupt each year, unable to pay insurance bills.

Homosexuality made a crime, anti-gay laws passed and implemented. All gays kicked out of military, regardless if they can speak fluent Arabic or not.

Research into clean energy stopped at behest of oil companies. Environmental Protection Agency closed or budget seriously cut. Protective regulations of all kinds repealed under guise of “limiting government involvement”, at the same time amendments or measures re-writing history and recognizing US as a Christian nation under Jesus Christ are passed.

That’s as big of a nightmare as I’d like to imagine right now. I wonder how many of those things will come true in the next few years if religious republicans with a doomsday complex get elected again.

The Rape of the Virgin Mary

15 Feb

Rape is non-consensual sexual activity. If a man or a woman does not give consent, then it is rape. (Same if they are unable to give consent, like drunk or passed out)

In the annunciation god just announces to Mary that she is pregnant.

Luke 1:26-35

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called [a] the Son of God.

There was no asking Mary “Hey, do you consent to this?”, she had no choice, god just knocked her up and told her afterwards.

I can foresee people saying “Oh, but she was fine with it! How can it be rape if she’s ok with it?” Simple. Did she consent to being impregnated before she was impregnated? No. Then it’s rape. It does not matter if she is ok with it afterwards. I know a girl here at college that was drugged and raped by a guy she liked. She refused to press charges afterwards because she thought he was “a nice guy” but that does not change the fact that she was raped. Just like Mary.

The art of screen looking

12 Feb

“Screen looking” is the act of looking at another player’s potion of the TV when playing multiplayer console games with your friends. The act of screen looking is highly frowned upon, for it is a form of cheating. Playing on-line or on the computer eliminates screen looking, but this is not possible for local multiplayer gaming. (Unless you want to go so far as to tape cardboard blinders to your TV, but come on…)

I think everyone screen looks. I try very hard not to, but I sometimes catch myself doing it here and there without thinking. When it comes to screen looking, there are two ways to do it, the right way and the wrong way. Very few people screen look the right way.

Here is how NOT to screen look: You see that your enemy is sneaking up on you from behind, you spin around and shoot them. This then makes it obvious that you were screen looking.

Here is how to CORRECTLY screen look: Check the screen time to time to see where the other players are on the map. If one of them sneaks up behind you and you would not have noticed if you were not screen looking, let them kill you! By doing this you cover your tracks and can claim that you were not screen looking. Plus, you’re not cheating as badly as if you turned around and shot them.

Sexist Dodge Charger Superbowl Ad

11 Feb

I’m pretty sure by now almost everyone has seen this ad by Dodge aired during the 2010 superbowl:

Ok, so lets recap on the things that men are supposed to be surrendering to do in exchange for driving the car they want:

I will walk the dog, I will eat fruit as part of my breakfast, I will shave and clean the sink after I shave, I will be at work by 8 am

[Ok, these things are just basic responsibility issues. You’re supposed to be an adult. What? Without your wife nagging you to be a mature, responsible person you would not walk the dog, you would not try to eat right, you would not clean up your mess, and you would not get to work on time? Way to go.]

I will sit through 2 hour meetings

[Ok, that’s just part of your job, how are women responsible for this? You’re in control of your own life, don’t like your job? Quit and get a new one, but don’t try and blame others for your unhappiness]

I will say “yes” when you want me to say “yes”

I will be quiet when you don’t want to hear me say “no”

[Somebody has honestly and trust issues in their relationship…]

I will take your call

[That’s just being courteous. You wouldn’t be courteous without nagging? If she’s calling too much, then use a little thing called communication and talk to her about it for a change.]

I will listen to your opinion of my friends

I will listen to your friends’ opinions of my friends

[Again, communication! Any maybe you should start evaluating why you’re in a relationship with this person if they don’t like who you associate with]

I will be civil to your mother

[I guess courtesy is just something men do because they’re forced to by women, for without women they would all manners and social skills /sarcasm]

I will put the seat down

[Oh heavens! I can’t just only ever think of myself!?!? I have to consider that other people might live in the house too?!?! Gah! I can’t take this courtesy thing!!!]

I will separate the recycling

[Yeah, real men don’t give a shit about the environment or recycling!]

I will carry your lip balm

[Really? How often do women ask men to carry a small tube of lip balm? And if she does happen to not have any pockets or a purse, what’s the big deal? It’s not like she’s asking you to carry a pink umbrella.]

I will watch your vampire TV shows with you

[Ok, seriously, communication. I bet she does things with you that she’s not overly fond of. Relationships are about compromise. Try and find something you like to do together or get out of the relationship. It’s not all just about you.]

I will take my socks off before getting into bed

[Really? This is an issue in your relationship? Talk to her about it! Make her see that’s it’s not a big deal. If wearing socks to bed is a deal breaker, then there are more important things wrong in your relationship]

I will put my underwear in the basket

[As opposed to what? leaving them on the floor for other people to pick up? You’re an adult, take responsibility for your own mess.]

As you can see, this entire commercial is about men shifting the blame for being stuck in an unhappy relationship, a boring job, and having to be responsible onto women. “I’m too lazy and immature to take control of my life, so I’m going to blame women for trapping me…” Is this seriously what Dodge is telling us men are? No thank you.