October 18, 2017

The IM Saturday Brunch, June 3, 2017

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

A new survey by the Pew Research Center of 18 Eastern and Central European countries, including Russia, has revealed a resurgence of Orthodox Christianity since the time the Soviet Union fell. Orthodox Christians make up about 57 percent of the total population of Eastern and Central Europe, and are a substantial majority in almost 10 of 18 countries.  However, the study found that few Orthodox engage much in religious practice.

The region’s Catholics, in comparison, while likely to report identical religious beliefs, are much more likely than Orthodox to be involved in a number of religious practices like weekly church attendance, taking Communion, fasting, and sharing their belief or faith. About 28 percent of Catholics attend church every week.

Pew also reported last week that 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried. In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states. There were some interesting variations by race and sex, as you can see below:

In sporting news, Mr. Met was caught giving hometown fans the bird this week.

The employee has been reassigned, which is tragic considering all the surgeries it took to shape his head into a giant baseball.

Here’s some good news for those of you with too much money. You can now buy samurai armor for your pets.

dog

pet-dog-cat-armor-samurai-age-japan-5

pet-dog-cat-armor-samurai-age-japan-1

Or, if you’ve got more time than money, you can do what Vanyu Krastev [what a great name] does in his hometown in Bulgaria. More pics here.

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

 

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Pastor Keith Gomez, leader of the “old-fashioned, independent” Northwest Bible Baptist Church in Elgin, Illinois, argued in a recent sermon that if it wasn’t for slavery, black people “would still be in Africa with a bone in their nose fighting lions.” Gomez, who is also the “founder and president” of Providence Baptist College (his highest earned degree is a B.A. from Hyles-Anderson College) gave the following advice to his 1,000 member congregation:

When you get in the Pauline — are y’all listening to me? — when you get into the Pauline epistles, you’re getting in the doctrine. So why would you get in Philemon when he’s trying to teach you how to treat your slave? If they should be slaves.

See, what you wanna do is turn in to TBN [Trinity Broadcasting Network] and listen to them odd birds who don’t know doctrine whatsoever. And then you hate slavery because we were taught to hate that. Because we’re so nasty.

And some of you little whities can’t get it either. If it wasn’t for slavery, those folks would still be in Africa with a bone in their nose fighting lions. And if you don’t like that, you can lump it any way you want. That ain’t a prejudice. That is factual and historical.

Okay, I think I need a shower now. Or maybe a story of a woman moving from homeless to a being a Harvard grad:

Here’s a question you may not have thought of before: If you are attracted to women, but not women with penises, are you a bigot? More specifically, are you trans-phobic? This person would say yes. If anyone can actually watch the whole thing and follow the logic you are a better person than I:

Even if you escaped being the kind of bigot that doesn’t want to have sex with people who have penises, you are not out of the bigotry woods yet. You may be squirrel-speciesist.  A peer-review journal, Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, last month published a paper by Teresa Lloro-Bidart, an associate professor of liberal studies at Cal Poly. It was titled, When ‘Angelino’ squirrels don’t eat nuts: a feminist posthumanist politics of consumption across southern California. I made sure this wasn’t satire before I quote the abstract for you:

Given that the shift in tree squirrel demographics is a relatively recent phenomenon, this case presents a unique opportunity to question and re-theorize the ontological given of ‘otherness’ that manifests, in part, through a politics whereby animal food choices ‘[come] to stand in for both compliance and resistance to the dominant forces in [human] culture’. I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions. I conclude by drawing out the implications of this research for the fields of animal geography and feminist geography.

Which brought to mind this question: 

Would it be piling on to mention that Sceptic Magazine recently got a hoax article published in another peer-reviewed academic journal? Well, I’m going to anyway. It was titled, The conceptual penis as a social construct, and the authors deliberately made it as absurd as possible [“Manspreading — a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide — is akin to raping the empty space around him”] but heavily littered with left-wing academic jargon. It got high remarks from the reviewers the journal assigned to it, and so was published in the journal Cogent Social Science. Here are the abstract and some findings:

Anatomical penises may exist, but as pre-operative transgendered women also have anatomical penises, the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity. Through detailed poststructuralist discursive criticism and the example of climate change.

We conclude that penises are not best understood as the male sexual organ, or as a male reproductive organ, but instead as an enacted social construct that is both damaging and problematic for society and future generations. The conceptual penis presents significant problems for gender identity and reproductive identity within social and family dynamics, is exclusionary to disenfranchised communities based upon gender or reproductive identity, is an enduring source of abuse for women and other gender-marginalized groups and individuals, is the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.

Okay. Enough of that. How about we cleanse the palate with an incredibly cute video of young pandas keeping their human from sweeping up some leaves?

You probably don’t want to watch Jim Bakker link the Manchester bombings to the attacks on the Republican Party to the closing of the Ringling Brothers circus (hint: no more elephants) to the collapse of the “Hillary Steps” on mount Everest. But if you have four minutes and a few million brain cells to spare, have at it:

A judge in Massachusetts denied a defendant’s request to juggle during his trial.  And a Utah judge has ruled that a man cannot marry his laptop. Why don’t we just shred that constitution, ya know?

President Trump took the U. S. our of the Paris accords, a deal that was signed by 194 other countries. The only two countries who are not part of the Paris accord, besides us, are Nicaragua and Syria. And they’re doing great, of course, so why would we not join them?

A robot ‘preacher’ that beams lights from its hands and can give automated blessings to the faithful has been installed in Wittenberg, Germany, the home of the Reformation.

Robot priest

After the robot wishes users a ‘warm welcome,’ it asks them if they want to be blessed by a male or female voice. It then asks the believer ‘what blessing do you want,’ which results in the robot making a mechanical sound as it raises its arms to the heavens and starts to smile. Lights then start to flash in the robot’s arms as it says “God bless and protect you” and recites a biblical verse. Church spokesman Sebastian von Gehren said: “It is an experiment that is supposed to inspire discussion.”  The robot can also shoot deadly lasers from its eyes if you have sinned, but that option is only available in the Catholic and Baptist models.

Chaplain Mike is pleased to announce that one of his booklets, Guide Me Safely Home, Lord, has now been published by Catholic Publishing House in Korea. Please pray that it will be used to bring comforting thoughts and words there to people who are dying and to those who love them.

Well, that’s it for this week. I hope you got filled up. I leave you with a few minutes of Gregorian chants as we depart.

Comments

  1. Hellooo? Anyone home?

  2. Just a note on the inter-marriage stats: The percentages are deceiving. What would be more instructive would be the NUMBER of each race that inter-marries. Further, if it were broken down into who of each race, male or female, were more likely to intermarry then we could get a clearer picture of what is happening.

    For instance, which group has the lowest incidence of inter-marriage? My initial guess would be African American women, born out by a Pew Research Poll (link below).

    In my limited experience I have heard from black women themselves that they wouldn’t even THINK of marrying outside their race. Some have actually said that it would be “disloyal” to their male brothers.

    Asian men, as well, are less likely to intermarry than Asian women.

    And beyond popular imagery, white men and women are equally likely to intermarry.

    Again, numbers rather than percentages would be more helpful.

    Interesting subject. Times change, individuals change, but sometimes groupthink stays constant.

    • Oscar, i think a lot of things go out the window when people fall in love with someone whose skin color is not the same as theirs. Including the statement you’ve heard some blsck women make.

      • Never the less, reality trumps ideals and wishful thinking. The things that have been hardwired into our thinking from eons of evolutionary development are very hard to overcome. Preservation of the kind and fear of “the other” are one of those things. If I could snap my fingers and make them disappear I WOULD…

        • Robert F says:

          When “the other” is your grandchild, all that evolutionary development starts to dissipate. May there be many such “other” grandchildren!!

          • I have one myself! Mom, dad and granddaughter are coming to visit for a month while dad is being redeployed to Yuma, Arizona with the Naval Air Wing.

            Also, my extended family includes Pacific Islanders, Mexicans and other African Americans.

            It is worth noting, though, that even when races mix they often retain their parochial racial leanings. I’ve seen this first hand, so intermarriage doe NOT end the issue but it DOES buffer it some.

            • Robert F says:

              What “racial leanings” are you talking about? When you talk about “racial leanings” you’re speaking Greek to me. If you’re talking about preferring one’s own race, believe me, I have no preference for Italians. If you go on to tell me my racial identity is not Italian, but white, I’ll respond by saying that’s not what whites said of and to my Italian ancestors when they first disembarked on these American shores. Believe me, those white Americans did not lean in the same direction as my Sicilian grandfather. So what are “racial leanings”? Enlighten me…

              • I know, our made up racial categories are not hard wired into anything.

              • If you don’t know then I cannot explain it to you. I see the reaction my Mexican co-worker has when we run into another Mexican. I see the way my son-in-law perks up when he runs into another black man in a white setting. It is culturally inculcated, something, apparently, you are unable to see. Even my Mexican co-worker and black son-in-law acknowledges it.

                • Robert F says:

                  I know my grandfather was happy to see his goombas in the Italian neighborhood; that was in significant part because he was tired of being treated as less than human by the dominant American whites. He didn’t come to the US expecting to spend all his time among Italians, but that’s the way white America preferred it. Maybe your co-worker and son-in-law feel the same way as he did, relieved to be treated as a full human being among those of their own background instead of something less by American whites.

            • Robert F says:

              If I concede that for all intents and purposes I am white, I am so only because the dominant white society decided at some point that Italians “qualified” as white, and made me white by social consensus. I find it ironic that there are Hispanic/Latino people with far lighter complexions than mine who the dominant culture still does not ascribe full white status to, though their families have been here in the US far longer than mine. Which direction are we all leaning in, oscar?

              Race is a social construct.

        • I think you might be confusing that which is social/cultural with that whivh is, so to speak, hardwired. *Especially * given what black Americans have gone through and are continuing to go through. Thst video Daniel posted – with Gomez – being an example of it, and by no means the most egregious.

    • Robert F says:

      All I know is I’m in favor of as much marriage and child-bearing across racial lines as people want, and I hope that’s increasing. Genetically diverse human beings make the human race biologically and evolutionarily stronger, and more interesting. And the world that God created tells us that God loves diversity.

      • Yes, Robert, especially on “human race.” Oscar, I would suggest that you look into the actual science re. “race,” because the way you’re talking about it does not accord with current understanding – there is s big, big difference between ethnicity, which is what you are describing (skin color, facial features, etc.) and race. There literally is only one race, homo sapiens. The theories you’re citing come from our horrendous legacy re. eugenics and so-called “scientific” racism. Also from the bitter experiences of racism snd oppression here in the US, which you might not see but which is critical to understanding the comments you heard.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          But where does Ethnicity end and Subspeciation begin?
          Like a lot of natural systems, there’s no hard dividing line.
          (How many hairs define a beard?)

          And as for “There is only one race, the HUMAN race”, how are you sure that just isn’t a 180 flip from Scientific Racism drawing dividing lines tighter & tighter to Kum-Ba-Yah erasing any & all? I’ve heard that line delivered with all the Moral Superiority putdown of a Jesus Juke.

          • Robert F says:

            One thing you can’t deny is that the genetic diversity that comes from reproducing across racial lines makes individual human beings and human communities stronger and better positioned in terms of evolution. Whereas the opposite, inbreeding, well, we know how that ends…

        • Why do I bother to comment on anything here? You discount my experiences and my friends and family’s experiences as they relate them to me because you hold to a more “enlightened” and educated view. Could you even entertain the idea that YOU may be missing something?

          • We interpret things differently than you do, Oscsr. I have no doubt whatsoever that you’re describing things accurately. It’s your interpretation – the genetic thing – that troubles me, not you personally.

            We disagree on lots of things, but I’d miss you if you left off commenting here.

  3. Ron Avra says:

    Watched panda video; trying to forget that Keith Gomez, Riley Dennis, and Jim Bakker exist.

  4. Daniel, I know it can be hard to understand certain things that sre completely new and/or alien to us, but I do hope you can tske some time to, well… learn more about transgender folks, what they go through, and who they sre. The odds of trans people making it to adulthood are not good – far too many trans teens end up committing suicide. I think thrre are a lot of hood resources out there that give a far better understanding of being trans than most YT videos and “reality” TV celebs.

    Just saying… i mean, it’s all outside my personal experience as well, and it’s complicated. Not something we can get a fix on from soundbites, you know? I admittedly don’t understand much about it all, but I’m trying to be open to learning. Hopr the same is true for you.

    • Daniel Jepsen says:

      Hi numo. I am trying. It just seems that the goalposts keep moving. Thanks for the reminder.

      • FWIW, Daniel, Riley is a pretty extreme person to use as an example, kind of like (but not quite as extreme as) if the only bit of christianity that had featured in today’s ramblings had been Pastor Gomez and the resultant discussion than equated his views with Christianity as whole. Riley is quite controversial within her own tribe. I don’t think you knew that, but it made the selection feel mildly caricature-esque.

        • Thought about why this bugged me a little more, given that almost all the representations today of people were fairly negative. I realized it is because I trust the crowd here to know what kind of position within people of their own labels that Gomez and Bakker hold and contextualize. Furthermore, they know the source material – someone citing Philemon as PRO-slavery is crazy on the surface of it and doesn’t feel like “us”. To someone who doesn’t know that stuff we take for granted here, I think Gomez’s argument may sound like it could be reasonable mainstream.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Furthermore, they know the source material – someone citing Philemon as PRO-slavery is crazy on the surface of it and doesn’t feel like “us”.

            “Citing Philemon as PRO-slavery” is just the latest version of Divine Justification you found in pre-Civil War Southern Baptists and find today among some factions of Islam — Slavery is in the Holy Book, so God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It.

        • Daniel Jepsen says:

          Fair enough. Thanks Tokah

  5. Good, not hood.

  6. Vanyu Krastev’s art is cute.

  7. Iain Lovejoy says:

    Just to make the Paris Accord isolation worse, the only reason Nicaragua didn’t sign is that it thought it didn’t go far enough with insufficient penalties for noncompliance. That just leaves Syria, and they are kind of busy right now.

    • I’m NO fan of the current POTUS, as I hope should be obvious to my correspondents here. But I am also not expecting much to practically result from our pulling out of Paris Agreement, at least in regards to alleviating climate change. If we were serious about stopping climate change, we would have to implement DRASTIC cuts in fossil fuel use. And given how modern industrial technological civilization functions, that would be economic and social suicide. NO signatory of the Paris agreements was ever going to do anything that would seriously change their fossil fuel use. And given his attitudes and those of his constituency, Trump probably didn’t even want to pretend we would. So, he left.

      I would recommend NOT buying coastal properties from now on. 🙁

      • Robert F says:

        We are indeed addicted to cheap energy and its uses in a way hard to differentiate from an addict’s addiction to drugs. Our only hope as a global community seems to be the relatively quick development and spread of alternative energy technologies. Will the Paris Accord help in promoting this?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree. In or out I do not believe the United States would keep its commitments anyway [we never do]. We certainly wouldn’t with this Congress.

        On the other hand I do not believe reducing fossil fuel use is “economic and social suicide”. This is going to happen regardless.

        Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is a Transportation problem. “dirty” transportation can be broken down into two worst offenders: over-the-road freight and urban congestion.

        At risk of sounding like a Republican – the market is going to solve the over-the-road fright problem, naturally. Cleaner engines are also more fuel efficient, and diesel fuel remains relatively expensive. The latest generation of Tier 4 locomotives are the cleanest and most efficient mode of surface transportation ever produced; and there is huge innovation in the railroad industry. Just Union Pacifics investment and innovation in improving the Cold Chain [initially for moving seafood from the west coast to the east coast] is going to eliminate tens of thousands of over-the-road trans-continental truck movements; with the benefit of orders of magnitude reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Those numbers are staggering.

        On the urban congestion front – mayors everywhere get this, nearly everyone excepts the reality of this issue. And cities are working hard to deal with it. Would a cooperative Federal government help? Absolutely, but this will move forward with or without them. Look at the numbers of cities eliminating Parking Minimums [requirements that new construction or renovation had X parking per X sq/ft or X residential units]. Parking Minimums are rapidly becoming a thing of the past – because eliminating Parking is the most effective way to reduce single-occupancy vehicles. After Rail the reduction of Parking may be the most effective way to address climate change. And guess what? People bitch and whine for a bit – and then they continue to do exactly what they did before – they just do it via bus, train, bicycle, care-share, or – OMG! – Walking! Many places find that when you reduce parking sales at local businesses GOES UP – contrary to the narrative of parking panic spread by Chambers Of Commerce.

        Add to those two things more efficient buildings, investment in tree canopy, reconstituted transit networks, … I am Optimistic on this issue. We got this.

        • Robert F says:

          Thanks for the optimistic outlook.

        • Robert F says:

          What bothers me most about Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris Accord is that it’s coupled with a backward looking attitude toward the environment, an attitude no doubt consistent with his general retrogressive political rhetoric and positioning. As he spoke in Pittsburgh, he claimed that he was the president of Pittsburgh, not Paris, and that he will always protect American interests first. But Pittsburgh is a diverse, multicultural, progressive city, fully invested in environmental intitiatives, and its citizens support that, and they voted 80% against Trump in the election. The Pittsburgh Trump was speaking to was the one that existed 50 years ago, and that no longer exists, and will never again exist, except in the mind of Trump and his supporters. This backward-looking mentality is leading us toward the past instead of the future. Now, given the strength of the headwaters of globalism and the global marketplace and its technology, I don’t think he can actually move us into the past. But he can make the US much slower and weaker. I think he’s already done that. Others will step into the breach, and take the lead, and benefit from it. We are starting to see that already.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            You are not wrong. Trump and his supporters are best described as Delusional.

            But what is the point in engaging with Delusion?

            There are things we can do – let’s double down on those things, at least until Legacy White America works through this temper tantrum. Trump is a done deal – all the focus on him is misguided.

            If someone is aghast my advice is to show up at meetings of local government – where EVERYONE has power – and be vocal in SUPPORT of boring technocratic policies that can actually move the needle. woiry less about that fool, and SHOW UP. Because the NIMBYS and the Antis will show up – they are reliable.

            From what I see online my primary concern is that the most anti-Trump people obviously do not understand how things work, and they are going to effectively end up supporting his policies in practice. It is an odd American thing – when we are angry or disgusted – we disengage specifically and become more generalized thus diffusing our influence. It is so strange.

            • Robert F says:

              Oh, you mean we should actually exert pressure where it can be most effective, and we should actually do something besides criticize? Revolutionary! Someone should tell the national Democratic Party, which seems focused on rehashing its loses and a gnawing at its own severed limbs. I don’t hear much new coming out of the national leadership.

              • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                Trust me, I tell that to the local Democrats on a regular basis! The Dem party, like many of our civic institutions, is in shambles; civics in America has been decaying for decades. Now suddenly there are packed rooms at meetings – but few people remember how to do this. A lot of cultural knowledge was lost during the Baby Boom generation. People need to go through the long process of relearning it; how to be constructive with all that anger, anxiety, expertise, etc… Rebuilding institutions takes time; we have to be in this for the long game.

            • Adam says : trump supporters are best described as delusional

              I have been reading for many years now but there are more and more comments like this showing up
              Blanket statements that speak of others in this fashion have no place among the brothers

              Not many more comments like this and this ‘delusional’ person ( whom you actually know nothing about) will be gone.
              It’s not always the liberals tha t get run out by conservatives…..

              • Af, not only Adam would say that…

                • Well, you two must be right then. Except that I know another who would say the best way to describe democrats is delusional. That makes it 2 – 2. What does that get us? All we get is defensive because we call each other names. There really are believers who think different than you.
                  Perhaps if believers spent more time really listening and trying to understand each other.

                  Blanket statements like that have no place among the brothers

        • Eliminate parking to reduce carbon output? Okay then, to limit obesity lets just reduce the amount of food in stores. People may bitch for a bit but, hey, its for the better good! I mean, look! Venezuela and Cuba, BOTH have cut down on obesity rates.

          Of course I AM being sarcastic here…just in case you thought otherwise.

          On the home front in SoCal, local govts are removing traffic lanes for increased bike lanes, or designating lanes as “sharing lanes” where bikes are given preference. All this in hopes that it encourages more people to bike to work, store, etc. The problem here is the longer distances between centers of employment and living spaces. Who will willingly bike 20-30 miles round trip, five or six days a week?

          Also, California is now exempting cyclists from having to stop at stop signs and red lights because of the possibility of injury to the cyclists from straining to balance , stop and then restart their peddling.

          But, to MY skeptical eyes, the only ones I see utilizing the newest advantages are the middle and upper middle class, spandex wearing, leg shaving, cycling hobbyists. The local push from govt has displayed pictures of badly clothed males (at least they APPEAR to be males but to say so might put me at risk of being transphobic) riding old beaters laden with trashbag bundles. So, will THIS effort result in people abandoning their evil, carbon producing ways?

          Every word typed here is in sarcastic mode. Again, just in case others may not recognize it as such.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Parking Minimums are rapidly becoming a thing of the past – because eliminating Parking is the most effective way to reduce single-occupancy vehicles.

          “IF we make it impossible for you to drive, Then You’ll Have To Take Mass Transit, Won’t You?”
          — sneering CalTrans bureaucrat (i.e. Our Anointed Betters) on KFI afternoon drive-time

      • The “so-called” treaty was a sham from the beginning. No one was ever going to follow them and no one was ever going to transfer wealth to the :have nots”.m I actually agree with Algore on this, that industry and individual countries will continue to follow the path of change because it is in their self interest.

        We moved from kerosene to electricity and from horse power to automobiles and rail because industry decided that there was more money in it. The same will go for the, so-called, “green” options. more solar and some wind, and a change in the way we think about energy.

        Individual states in the USA will continue to follow the Paris Accords (WITHOUT the wealth transfer) because it is in their self interest and self image to do so. I am not worried and I do not care if Trump pulled out of the “treaty” (which was not a “treaty” anyway since it was agreed to by one man and not ratified by the Senate). Things will progress and not much will change.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          As in “a Feel-Good” treaty like all those arms control/Outlaw War ones of the 1930s?

          Here on the West Coast, fleet vehicles and new powerplants all run on natural gas (which is abundant out here); said new-construction powerplants are smaller installations using modular gas turbine generators instead of large steam turbines.

          And the “Bring Back Coal” lobbying I saw in Pennsylvania (who went for Trump Who Will Bring Back Coal) is just absurd. Coal has been in a decline in this country since the development of oil fuels and natural gas, not suppressed by the pointy-headed intellectual booksniffer conspiracy, but just superseded. What do the “Bring Back Coal” types expect? Trump to outlaw all oil and natural gas by Executive Order so our heaters and cookstoves and cars will all run on coal from now on?

  8. “his highest earned degree is a B.A. from Hyles-Anderson College”

    AKA the English speaking world’s equivalent of a Wahhabist madrassa. Unsurprising.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And there is one nugget ot truth in his lie about the Ooga Booga Jungle Bunnies that acts as the spoonful of sugar.

      Africa has always been Earth’s hard luck continent. Harsh climates and environments (Sahara Desert, Congo Basin Jungles, arid semi-desert veldts), lotsa dangerous wildlife, exotic and lethal epidemic diseases, no usable riding or draft animals, and natural wealth that’s impossible to bootstrap, requiring pre-existing higher tech to extract and refine. Because of this, African civilizations above the tribal level have been infrequent and short-lived compared to those of the Mideast or (later) Europe. Plus, the valuable natural resources have made the continent a target for outside colonial exploitation (and it’s one-eighty flip aftermath) with only local piecemeal resistance.

      And as for “bone-in-the-nose lion hunting”, let’s see the ManaGAWD try the traditional Masai coming-of-age manhood ordeal: Hunt and kill a lion, alone, on foot, armed only with a spear. (A bit more difficult than the canned safaris of, say, Paige Patterson.)

      • HUG, you are wrong about African history on SO msny levels.

        That’s all. Do some reading and you’ll find your preconceptiond will get blown apart.

  9. “A robot ‘preacher’ that beams lights from its hands and can give automated blessings to the faithful has been installed in Wittenberg, Germany, the home of the Reformation.”

    Look out CM. Even your job is susceptible to automation now. 😉

    Also, is the model number OMM-0910?

  10. Robert F says:

    >If you are attracted to women, but not women with penises, are you a bigot?

    No. But if you want to hurt or ridicule women with penises, or refuse to rent them an apartment, or refuse to treat them fairly, or deny them human and civil rights, you are a bigot.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      This.

    • flatrocker says:

      But what if there’s a man with an imaginary penis who imagines he has a vagina. Will he have legal recourse if she’s denied entry into the all women’s showing of the new Wonder Woman movie? It’s just so darn confusing.

      • Robert F says:

        And this is why the parallels between racial discrimination and discrimination against LGTQ people are not exact. So much of this depends on self-identification, whereas in discrimination against race identification is imposed.

        • Robert F says:

          Notice: I did not say that gender-identity is all a matter of self-identification, just that far more of that is involved than in race. If I experience myself as a woman, even though I have male genitalia, then I identify and want others to identify me as a woman, and society and laws to respect my self-identification. That’s not the way it works with race, for the most part, although recently we’ve had a case in the US where an ethnically “white” woman claimed to be black on the basis of her own experience of herself. I haven’t heard of many other such cases.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I remember that too; she surfaced about the same time as Bruce-to-Caitlin Jenner, but faced a completely-opposite reaction for her “Ethnic Dysphoria” while everyone was falling over each other to praise Jenner’s Gender Dysphoria. (Guess it’s what dysphoria is Fah-shionable and what’s not.)

            • Robert F says:

              In terms of social discrimination, race is not a self-defined characteristic. If white society says you’re black, then you’re black. The white woman who claimed to be black was inevitably also claiming the status of a group that has been and is being discriminated against in our society, a group that, insofar as that racial discrimination is concerned, are ascribed their discriminated against racial identity by others, without having any choice in the matter themselves. By attempting to elect a racially black social identity, rather than having it imposed, the white woman was also making claim to a right to have societal racial injustice redressed to her, even though she was not an actual victim of it, since real victims have no choice in the matter. You can understand why black Americans would be upset by this.

              With regard to gender, the issue is quite different. There is more self-definition involved in identifying oneself as a woman with male genitalia, for instance. It is not always readily evident to the dominant social group that one belongs to a discriminated against group, since easily identifiable physical markers are often lacking. One must make a public claim to membership in the discriminated against group, or have one made by others (as in being outed), for one’s identity as a member to be known by the society in general. Far more self-identification is required or involved in gender (outside of traditional distinctions between male and female) than in the case of race; this makes a difference with regard to equal standing before the law and society between the two.

              • Robert F says:

                To be clear: I’m not saying that discriminated against genders should not have equal standing and protection before the law, and respect and tolerance in society. I am saying that the way this equality is implemented will necessarily be different than in the case of race, because non-traditional gender identity is socially ascribed in ways very different from racial identity.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And what if we have someone who’s gaming the new system for all it’s worth? Or as disturbed as the “It” described on some other comment thread whose gender identity was so fluid and chaotic “It” had to be addressed as male one minute and female the next (or something else), backed up by lawyers?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But what if there’s a man with an imaginary penis who imagines he has a vagina. Will he have legal recourse if she’s denied entry into the all women’s showing of the new Wonder Woman movie?

        DON’T GIVE THEM IDEAS!

  11. Robert F says:

    Blessing robot or Tibetan prayer wheel? I prefer the old fashioned way.

  12. Are my genital preferences trans-phobic? I think i’d probably prefer the label, “None of your f*ing business”.

  13. Robert F says:

    The long quote from the hoax article published in Cogent Social Science illustrates how unscientific social science can be.

    • Shades of the famous Sokal hoax successfully perpetrated against Social Text, I believe, ca. 1996.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Just because you saw it on TV doesn’t mean it’s real!”
        — Joey “Joe Bones” Skaggs, Nineties media hoaxer

  14. Robert F says:

    If I had four minutes and a few million brain cells to spare, I’d rather spend them drinking a can of good beer than watching and listening to Jim Bakker.

    • If you had that many brain cells to spare you wouldn’t be drinking beer from a can. Just sayin’… 😉

      • Robert F says:

        Well, I don’t drink, I was just making a rhetorical point, so excuse me my misstep.

        • Brianthegrandad says:

          Well then, my compliment from earlier this week regarding raising a pint with you and ATW is adjusted to reflect your abstinence from beer, canned or otherwise. I would enjoy an afternoon’s conversation with you an ATW over coffee or other conversational beverage.

          • Robert F says:

            Soft-drinks are served at pubs and bars; that’s completely adequate for me. I appreciate the compliment, although you might find that I’m not as interesting conversationalist in person. It takes me time to formulate my thoughts and responses, and then, among people in general, composed, written expression is usually more articulate than its off-the-cuff spoken ancestor. But maybe if you drink enough it won’t matter.

      • New attitudes on this one…see Jackalope Brewery in Nashville. Very successfully selling craft beer in cans.
        Receptors for aluminum are located on the front of the tongue. Keep your tongue off the can and you won’t taste it. Or, you can just pour it into a glass. Cheers!

  15. Would it be considered offensive if I state my belief that anyone with a natural penis is NOT a woman?

  16. Richard Hershberger says:

    Regarding the Cogent Social Science piece. what they aren’t telling you is that Cogent Social Science is a scam journal. This is a real problem, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. All scholarly fields have a hierarchy of journals. Part, though not all, of this is the standards of review. As you go down the hierarchy these standards get looser and looser. Then piled around the base of the pyramid are the scam journals. These are not in fact peer reviewed journals, though they often claim to be. They are pay-to-play, and take anything if the check clears. Who would pay for this? Typically young scholars who are under pressure to publish or perish and who haven’t learned the game. They get a flattering email inviting them to submit a paper, and the process goes from there.

    The case at hand is a poor man’s attempt at recreating the Sokal Hoax. What they aren’t telling you as they they originally submitted the piece to a legitimate but low-tier journal and it got rejected. They then resubmitted it to this scam journal. The check cleared, so nothing else mattered.

    Contrast this with the actual Sokal Hoax. This was a critique within the Left. Sokal is a physicist and an old-school Leftist. He would spend his summers in Nicaragua teaching physics, because knowledge is power. He got wind of the silliness in some corners of the academy and was appalled at the loose intellectual standards of this version of the Left: hence his hoax. Because he himself understands academic rigor, he was very careful about how he went about this. This current attempt? It is a cheap imitation, with the sole intent of going “neener neener.” It is a hoax, but not merely on academe.

    • Richard, your interlude of knowledge and rationality presented without ego or agenda in plain English is much appreciated. Sort of like being on the fire line immersed in thick smoke and getting ready to drop to the ground and scoop out a hole to stick your face in to catch a breath, when a sudden wind shift lets you breathe again. One thing Pilgrim didn’t have to deal with was the Slough of Academese, which seems on the increase around here, possibly a result of global warming. Thanx.

  17. Richard Hershberger says:

    The combination of the racist pastor and the silly squirrel piece is an informative juxtaposition.

    There are indeed corners of the academy that produce very silly work. Go ahead and point and laugh. It’s a fair cop, and fun! But don’t overlook that these people are, at the end of the day, irrelevant. This is not anything like mainstream liberalism. Mainstream liberals look at these people and roll their eyes, and these people have absolutely no influence outside their little corner of the academy. Academics in other corners also roll their eyes at these people. This was the reaction to the Sokal Hoax. So go ahead and laugh at these people who have gone so far to the left that they forget to take their brains with them.

    Compare this with Pastor Gomez. He too is a nut, but sadly, his nuttiness has real-world effects. He and his fellow travelers have political clout, on both the local and national levels. Were he an isolated nutcase, like people writing silly articles about squirrels, then liberals could point and laugh, while conservatives could roll their eyes. In the world we live in, however, people like him are a danger to society. It is incumbent upon conservatives to consider how their actions–votes, advocacy, and donations–relate to Pastor Gomez. If you are voting for the same people, advocating the same causes, and donating money for the same causes as Pastor Gomez, you should really think hard about this.

    • I’m glad you can see the nuttiness of those articles, but your belief that the nuttiness of the far-left has no impact is just wrong. A look at some of the nuttiness going on at some college campuses is one example that this stuff does have real world consequences. And if there is a guilt by association simply by voting for the same person or giving money to the same cause, then that would make most liberals just as guilty as the people writing and promoting that insanity.

      • Robert F says:

        It seems to me the nuttiness occurring on a few college campuses is a reflection of the nuttiness occurring in, and coming from, our White House. One feeds off the other.

      • Robert F says:

        And I think that part of the point Richard is making is that the nuttiness of the left is mostly confined to college campuses and their habitues, as your own comment seems to support. But the nuttiness of Pastor Gomez and the White House has spilled over into the entire society; that’s why I see so many retrogrades flying their Confederate flags proudly these days, and that’s the least of the evil they’ve fostered.

        • Robert,
          I would add to the college craziness some of the ridiculous protests that went on after the election, the people who were physically attacked just for supporting Trump, and Jimmy Fallon being shamed just because he tried to keep politics out of his show. I’m not a big Trump fan, but he is not nearly as responsible for the animosity, racial or otherwise, in society today as is the political left that for the last decade has constantly beat the drum of black-vs-white, poor-vs-rich, women-vs-men, LGBTQ-vs-hetero, etc. When an entire worldview is based on victims-vs-oppressors, where one group is the victim no matter what, and the other group an oppressor no matter what, it is going to create animosity. Trump is a symptom, he is not the cause.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Don’t forget all the drama queen meltdowns on social and other media from Hillary fanboys/fangirls after Election Day.

            (LIke the “Atlas Shrugged: Fact, Not Fiction” meltdowns after the 2008 elections. Though those weren’t as numerous or extreme. But they had their moments, like the guy on one yahoogroup I was on who tried to lead the whole group in Taking the Oath of Galt’s Gulch.)

            I’m not a big Trump fan, but he is not nearly as responsible for the animosity, racial or otherwise, in society today as is the political left that for the last decade has constantly beat the drum of black-vs-white, poor-vs-rich, women-vs-men, LGBTQ-vs-hetero, etc. When an entire worldview is based on victims-vs-oppressors, where one group is the victim no matter what, and the other group an oppressor no matter what, it is going to create animosity.

            Our Enlightened Betters (all genuflect to their Concern and Compassion or else) have been Sowing the Wind since The Sixties. Now they Reap the Whirlwind. “STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!”

            Remember Mule’s observation? “New England Puritans, seven-times distilled to remove any hint of God, leaving only Righteousness and Moral Fury”? Righteousness and Moral Fury looking for a Righteous Cause to glom onto? Well, after 30-40 years of the wagging fingers of Secular Church Ladies Counting Coup on you or me, what did you expect?

            • Robert F says:

              Sometimes from your contrasting comments it seems to me that you are playing both sides against the middle, HUG. Perhaps that just goes along with being the iMonk court jester, but it makes it hard to take you seriously.

          • Robert F says:

            Jon, We disagree about the primary cause of this divisiveness. I don’t see the point in engaging in an argumentative back-and-forth on this, so I’ll just leave it at that.

        • “retrogrades flying their Confederate flags proudly”

          Couldn’t have said it better. It’s an epidemic in NE Tennessee.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And it isn’t the REAL Confederate flag —
            it’s the Battle Jack/Starry Cross, not the Stars & Bars!

  18. Following “pastor” Keith’s “logic”:

    – if no Holocaust had happened, Jews would had never had their state;
    – if British government policies had not caused the Irish potato famine, Irish-Americans would be all there in Ireland digging dirt to feed themselves;
    – if Germans were not in dire straits in the 1880s a certain Fred Trump would not have boarded a ship to the US, and we all can only imagine the tragedies that would have befallen this country!

    See?

  19. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    Regarding Africans still being in Africa doing something with bones and lions… This week Kenya’s first high-speed rail line began revenue service. And in America…. Oh, nevermind. Congrats Africa.

  20. Interesting that Jim Bakker’s son Jay has is a preacher for a hip group called Revolution Church. Jay spends a lot of time repudiating his father. Once a preacher’s son always a preacher’s son…

  21. Did anything happen in the world of comedic art this week that could reach the heights of a passing mention?

  22. I was especially intrigued by the Hillary Steps nugget in Jim Bakker’s video.

    Now I see why Church of Satan is increasing membership in leaps and bounds. Their guy must have been really, really cunning when he managed to send somebody named Edmund Hillary as the first human to climb Everest in 1953, and to have the last challenging rock on the route up there named “Hillary Steps” later. In the meantime he (Satan) had already set apart a little 5-year old girl from Chicago suburbs and guided her to the 2016 presidential nomination of Democratic Party. She lost, but do not think for a moment the collapse of said rock on Everest 7 months later was because of natural causes, as the liberal media & academia would have you believe. It was not a coincidence it happened the same time as the attacks on the elephants, on GOP (God’s Own Party), and on GA (God’s Anointed) Trump.

    The only thing Satan did not foresee in all this was the rise of intrepid and fearless prophets like Jim Bakker, Franklin Graham etc with direct communication lines to the Almighty. They can see right through Satan’s devilish plots and enlighten us mere mortals. I’m starting a PAC called “Bakker for President 2020”.

    Anybody care to join?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The only thing Satan did not foresee in all this was the rise of intrepid and fearless prophets like Jim Bakker, Franklin Graham etc with direct communication lines to the Almighty.

      And making pilgrimage to Trump Tower to deliver The Anointing to God’s Anointed Choice for POTUS.

      Do these guys even listen to their own word salad? They are behaving EXACTLY like the Beast followers in Revelation (which I heard way too much about during my time in-country): “WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM?”

      If you read Revelation as something other than a checklist of History Written in Advance, you can find a lot more on various levels. Like illustrations of recurring patterns — a human thing, not a prophetic thing. Veiled digs on the Roman Empire of the time of writing, some of them very specific. And if The Beast represents a Corrupt Political/Imperial System and The False Prophet a Corrupt Religious System, remember who’s the sidekick of who. (As well as embodying the two-archetype tag team of the Fanatic Persecutor (the Beast) and the (now-forgotten) Slick Deceiver.)

  23. Robert F says:

    no fruit yet,
    still the peachless orchard
    is ripe with beauty

  24. I have to comment on the elimination of parking plans. I have a student just finishing her freshman year at UC Davis, about the most environmentally friendly university you can find. Freshmen are not allowed to have cars so they all bike, use the Uni busses or the municipal ones, take the Amtrak home, etc. It works out fine for the residents but woe betide the parents who bring our kids and their stuff in cars. Where my daughter stays there are exactly 3 spaces for guest parking, for approximately 900 parents! Street parking is full of the overflow from all the nearby apartments, so you are forced to take one of the spaces requiring permits, but there is no day use vendor. Naturally, they only enforce when they know the parents will be around!

    Downtown is just as bad. Any parking lot you see is very likely full. So you circle for miles, adding to the carbon emissions, then hope you can still remember how to parallel park, and walk for blocks. I don’t mind walking, but remember minimum spaces in apartments rarely provide enough parking when multiple kids live there. I hear the city is just as happy to fine you to make money as the university. If you want me out of my car and walking, I need a place reasonably close to where I am going! Breaks include bringing home bags of laundry as well as suitcases. If I have to park half a mile away, I will not be happy with multiple trips to the dorm room.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      But it’s doublepluswarmfeelies for the Enlightened Activists, and that’s what’s truly important.
      “THE PLAAAAAANET WILL THANK US! THE PLAAAAAAAAANET WUVS US HER FAITHFUL!”

      They snark about “your imaginary friend in the sky” then turn right around and preach “The Plaaaanet is Angry! We Must Mortify Ourselves and Atone For Our SIIINS Against The PLAAAAAANET!”

      “New England Puritanism seven-times distilled down to remove any hint of God, leaving only Righteousness and Moral Fury.”

  25. I want someone to ask all the slavery defenders one simple question: “if you could, would you bring slavery back today? And if so under what circumstancess?”
    The answers might be more illustrative of these people than their weird history logic…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Probably they all see themselves as Massa.
      With the extra benefits of gettin’ some Brown Sugah from the property.

      I have heard of Millenials who at parties ask “What’s wrong with Slavery?” According to my informant, they then follow this with questions about an Owner’s sexual rights over his Animate Property.

      • Party response: “Oh… so you are interested in being able to legally rape people… How interesting….Or… what if YOU were the slave?”
        Please reassure me that your informant did not state that this person was in seminary.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          No, he wasn’t. Party conversation at a local fannish gathering where Millenials are starting to displace us Greymuzzles.

  26. David L says:

    I would love to ignore anything related to Bakker, but like a moth drawn to the flame….

    My mother latched onto him back in the days of Tammy Faye and my father had ongoing debates (struggles) preventing her from sending him lots of money or buying into his condo scheme. After my father died she gave him $1000s. Maybe $10,000s over the years based on the records we found when she died. And given the state of her records there was likely double or more than what we found.

    So I now have a morbid curiosity as to what all of that family money helped build.

    • So, Jim and Tammy were hosting a party on the patio around their gorgeous swimming pool. Many couples were invited and many singles showed up uninvited, so it was quite crowed. One of the servers with a tray of glasses of bubbly made an abrupt turn and accidentally elbowed Tammy Faye who was standing near the edge of the pool. In she went, makeup and all.

      Lo and behold, can you guess who was pulled out of the swimming pool??

      Jimmy Hoffa.