Monday, July 28, 2008

MySpace is for idiots (Shocker!)

This is a primer for political idiots. If you are not a political idiot, then you don't have to read this. If you are a political idiot, then take a remedial reading course first and then read this:

I obviously have insomnia. When I am up during the small hours of the morn, I tend to be more listless than is my wont, and that's when I do really stupid things like, say, watch really crappy slasher films, re-runs of The Girls Next Door on E!, and read the top political weblog posts on MySpace. Well, today, the number one political weblog post is yet again a know-nothing rant against Barack Obama, written by someone too idiotic even to be on Fox News. Well, I take that back. He's probably not on Fox News only because he is too ugly and fat.

Anyway, this guy calls Mr. Obama a socialist, presumably because he wants to raise taxes, and one who will surrender to terrorists because, well, because of his middle name. This guy is 55. Why doesn't he to devote his time to preying on impressionable, subliterate teenyboppers like every other normal middle-aged moron on MySpace and spare insomniacs like me his ignorant drivel? If Obama were a socialist, he would at the very least be advocating a single-payer health system and not have economic advisors only slightly left of Milton Friedman.

If all socialism is is the imposition of higher taxes, then this country was suffering big time under the hammer and sickle during the Fifties and Early Sixties when the tax rate for businesses was as high as ninety percent! But we weren't. We had a thriving manufacturing base (unlike now). We had solid economic growth (unlike now), which, was, by the way, fairly equitably distributed--compared to what's happening now, at least. If that was socialism, then we Americans made it work and because we are Americans, apparently the New Chosen People, we can make it work again and perhaps we should. It is very odd, though, that when this country was supposedly commie pinko, we were playing nuclear chicken with the other commie pinkos in Russia.

The only speech on the economy by Mr. Obama I've read is his address at Cooper Union. Does he call for the workers of the world to take control of the means of production? No. Does he call for a centralized command economy? No. Does he even decry the exorbitant deals that CEOs get for destroying jobs? No, not even that. He simply calls for what even The Wall Street Journal has called for, greater regulation of the financial markets, which now are pretty much licentious casinos these days, gambling with everything from our homes to our food. If the good old conservative values of the American Soul consist in wanton endangerment of what keeps us sheltered and nourished, then, by all means, give me godless communism or at least pack me off to socialist France.

As to the claim that Mr. Obama wants to surrender to the Muslim Barbarians at the Gate, this is just silly. He has time and again shown that he does indeed have neo-con chest hair by declaring his willingness to bomb the towelheads in Pakistan. Far from denouncing the central principle of the so-called War on Terror, the doctrine of pre-emption, he has emphatically endorsed it, and this means the U.S. under an Obama Presidency will continue to give the middle finger to the U.N.--the shrill assertions of today's top MySpace political blogger to the contrary. The U.N. Charter, to which the U.S. is a signatory, was written specifically to outlaw the Hitlerian principle of the Doctrine of Pre-emption. So, if you patriotic Fox News Gawkers and Hannity Idolaters want paranoid pre-emptive strikes that blow up real good, then Mr. Obama will give them to you. You're just angry that he probably won't do as many explosions as Mr. McCain promises.

Fuck, I've wasted more than ninety minutes on this post. And probably to no avail. If that top MySpace political blogger does chance to read this, he'll probably dismiss me as a card-carrying member of the Marxist Liberal Conspiracy that is responsible for putting salt peter in the water supply and jacking up his cable bill. Yeah, well, I don't know why I write about politics, anyway. I am not going to vote. I have far more important things to do such as, say, masturbate. I take that back. That's a mortal sin, and evidently I already did it with this post. Now I must confess. Nevermind.

Oh, that this guy commands a big readership on MySpace shows conclusively that MySpace is still almost exclusively for juveniles.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'd rather vote for the jelly donut

Is it just me, or has Countdown with Keith Olbermann become an Obama Infomercial? Or is MSNBC now re-running the skits from this past spring's episodes of Saturday Night Live?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huh?

So, Senator McCain said he would rather win a war than a political campaign, and some pundits are saying that this remark was a very hard, if not gutsy jab in what will be a very tough battle. McCain, gush these adoring pundits, stands on principle and refuses to give in to the wishes of the people. Blah, blah, blah. Hello, John McCain, this country is supposed to be a representative democracy. The representatives are supposed to give in to the wishes of the people (that's the theory, anyway). If the people are so tired of this war that they'd rather lose it, then you, McCain, can't win it all by your lonesome unless, of course, you want to raise a private army--Blackwater, say--march on Washington, and declare yourself our Lord Protector. This, of course, would be blatantly unconstitutional, but since when has this given a Republican any qualms?

That's what sucks about Democracy and War. Wars, if they last more than a week, are very unpopular, and in democracy what is popular wins and what is unpopular gets dumped. If Democracies are to wage wars successfully, either the general population must like killing as a hobby or the war party must steal the elections. While it is true The United States of America is known for being a nation of violent, trigger-happy psychopaths, we still don't have enough of them to sustain the popularity of endless war. And that's why the War Party has to steal elections, kiddies.

The War in Iraq has gone on for five years after a declaration of victory. But we're still being told we have yet to win it? And what would winning look like? Every single feeling of hostility towards the U.S. banished completely from the Iraqi psyche? Now? After we have bombed hospitals, killed pregnant women, tortured their husbands, sicced Shia and Sunni death squads on eachother, and driven hundreds of thousands of women into prostitution? At this point the creation of a U.S.-friendly Iraq would require outright genocide. The People have good reason to want to "lose" this war.

The Iraqi people want us out. The people of The United States want to pull out. By McCain's (twi)lights this is losing, and he opposes it with all his principled vehemence. Perhaps, a pullout is imprudent. Perhaps, the people don't know what is best for them, and McCain, who thinks Iraq shares a border with Afghanistan, does. So, McCain should be our enlightened despot because democracy is irresponsible. Fine. But I seem to remember that we were supposed to be fighting the Iraq War precisely on behalf of the democratic principle. We knocked out an evil dictator so that the Iraqis could finally rule themselves. That's what we said, at least, but we did indeed say it. So, if we really did mean what we said (and God forbid that our government should ever lie), wouldn't the war be won if the will of the Iraqi demos prevailed? But McCain wants to stand on principle even if it means defying democracy. Therefore, he is the one who wants to lose the war. Therefore, John McCain is a traitor.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Diogenes

One of my readers is searching for anyone searching for Diogenes. This man is trying to be a bit cute by alluding to Diogenes' famous search for an honest man and also, perhaps, to the futility of the philosophical quest itself. Diogenes once went around the market with a lit lantern. It was broad daylight. So, people asked him what the deuce he was doing with a lit lantern in broad daylight. After all, oil was expensive (mainly because Athens was talking up the price with her saber-rattling against Sparta), and Diogenes was very poor because he was an unemployed bum. Unemployed bums called themselves philosophers back then. Now they call themselves consultants.

Anyway, Diogenes' answer was, "I am looking for an honest man," the implication being that honest men don't show themselves in the marketplace; they must hide for shame in the dark.

But that is not my favorite Diogenes story. I like this one better. Diogenes once was satisfying himself in the marketplace in full monty fashion in front of everyone. When taken to task for such an outrage against public decency and middle-class respectability, he did not show any embarrassment or remorse at all. He simply replied, "Damn, I wish I could satisfy my hunger by merely rubbing my belly." Ah, the philosopher's desire for self-sufficiency!

But that's not my favorite story. My favorite story is his confrontation with Alexander the Great, the great warrior who had made all of the then known East bow to his whim. He was, of course, the most powerful man in the world and the richest. And he traveled all the way to Athens just to pay homage to the great philosopher. Alexander found Diogenes lounging about as usual in the marketplace (probably enjoying his version of an afterglow). The Great King stood over the humble philosopher and , "I am the Great Alexander, the man who has subdued the vast East with all her silk, gold, and beautiful women and made her worship him as a God. He has come to pay his respects to the Wise Diogenes. Tell me, O Wise One, what may the Great King do for him? My kingdom is at your disposal." To which Diogenes answered in a groggy daze, "Well, you can step out of my sun."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some News

I really have nothing profound to write. I am simply letting my readers know that I am still among the quick. I did see the Russian Cutie yesterday. She now owns the bar at the City Museum in St. Louis. The City Museum for those of you who do not know is a combination museum and funhouse. From the volume of screaming kids I heard, it seems to be more funhouse than museum, and so one can readily understand the pressing necessity for a bar nearby. The parents need a respite from the din or a place where they can belt up in order to cope with the din. The Russian Cutie, in fact, calls it an oasis. Judging by how many kids were running about in wild and shrill abandon, I'd say she should make a killing.

Especially if she wears that pink shirt, short enough to reveal her lithe midriff and diaphanous enough to reveal the color of her aureoles. That will make the dads want to stay longer or volunteer repeatedly to get drinks for their dehydrated, bawling brats (she does sell bottled water and soda, as well).

Anyway, I had a Blue Moon. Did not chat with her much. She was too busy. But I didn't mind that much. Her aureoles kept me sufficiently busy. She did tell me that I should check out the Museum, that it was very cool with all this old junk renovated and put to lots of interesting uses. And all I could think about was all the interesting uses to which I could put those constant aureoles. Because I am not talking about aureoles that artists use to indicate the saintliness of their subjects, I will have to go to confession. And as beautiful as those halos were, I did not leave a tip. She might think that I should confess my ingratitude as well.

Speaking of which, if you are Catholic in St. Louis and need to be shrived quickly, go to the Old Cathedral to Father Quirk. He just gives you a Pater noster and absolution. The bare minimum, and you're out in two minutes, if that. No matter what you confess, his penance is always one Our Father (That's the Lord's Prayer for you Prots). I've always wanted to test this by confessing a string of murders, rapes, and sundry acts of terrorism to see if that would make him say something more than, "Say one Our Father. Now let me hear your act of contrition." And then say that I just committed sacrilege by giving a false confession. Maybe he'd give me TWO Our Fathers. Maybe.

Finally, I must note the return of Father V. to MySpace. He's been back for nearly a week and a half, and I have not baited him yet. But I will. He's a Catholic Priest, so I have to treat him a little bit better than I do my Protestant Stalker, but, since his heroes include neo-con assholes like Neuhaus and Novak, not by much. At least my Protestant Stalker realizes why people hate Israel. Father V. apparently thinks hatred of a brutal apartheid regime is simply unintelligible. But I should cut Father V. some slack. Maybe during his absence he read something other than the drivel in the pages of First Things and learned that the moral case for modern Zionism is really utter nonsense. And, perhaps, too he has learned finally that we were lied into the Iraq War, that reasonable people cannot in good conscience disagree about the justice of such an obvious injustice, and that, therefore, people like Richard John Neuhaus are irrational psychopaths. Perhaps. One can only hope.

Good night.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A ramble

I have nothing in particular to write about. This will be a ramble or, for those familiar with literary theory or like to think they are, stream of consciousness.

I am very depressed. About a month ago I got stood up twice by this Russian cutie who makes me slobber (not conspicuously, mind, only metaphorically, but sinfully nonetheless). Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, she takes 9-11 conspiracy theories seriously and has the only possible sane reaction to Thomas Friedman's annoyingly pollyannish huckstering of globalization: she retches. I think I am in love, and needless to say I was on the verge of exploding mortal sin when she not only agreed to meet me for a coffee (that's also metaphorical because I eschew coffee--and other reasons as well) but agreed with (what I thought, at least, was) enthusiasm (but I may have misread her emoticon--ah, the wonders of the communication revolution!). Well, she had to reschedule the first date and cancel the second--with no mention or hint of a rain check. Maybe I showed too much enthusiasm. Women sense these things better than a doberman pinscher senses fear, and I am not terribly subtle either. I am apt to address her as The Radiant One that brings Light and Warmth and Joy into this nihilistic, green-housed world run by sinister neo-cons. That's a lot to live up to. No wonder she canceled. Story of my entire social life. And I never ever learn.

Politics. Will people quit saying Nader is running simply because of egomania? If Nader were an egomaniac, he would have exploited his fame or notoreity (depending upon your politics and wealth) to get laid--just like Carl Sagan did. I don't think the man has even had a french kiss. He is too dour for such frivolities.

Nader's rationale for running is that a true democracy gives people real choices, and the choices available should reasonably reflect the make-up of the Demos. Well, the make-up of this Demos is hardly a duality. The two-party system is simply an insult to true democracy, especially when after primary season, one party tries to mimic the other. Obama's incredibly clumsy move to the so-called political center makes Nader's argument obvious. We need a Parliamentary System, where a party that can get five percent of the vote gets official representation. Yes, there is, of course, messy coalition building after the elections. But that goes on in our system as well, only before the elections, and, thus, you don't know exactly the make-up of the coalitions because the various factions only get informal and indirect representation, if that. In a parliamentary system all the factions are officially recognized and so the coalition building is far more transparent.

Look, I am not for democracy. As an anal-retentive Catholic and closet Platonist, I think Democracy leads to relativism and eventually to tyranny. Nevertheless, if we're gonna call this a country a democracy, then we should be redlich about it and have a democracy, one that truly reflects the will of the various peoples in this nation, and we do not have just two kinds of peoples or two political camps. We have many. It's a pluralistic nation, and social conservatives who bitch about diversity and multiculturism should shut up and suck it up. Some people want laissez-faire, let-the-poor-die Capitalism but don't want the perpetual war that makes McCain nostalgic for his randy Beach Boy-listening youth. Well, let them vote for a Ron Paul Party, for example. Some People want universal health care, more regulation of the casinos we call the financial markets, an end to this bloody nonsense of perpetual war, but also want an end to legalized abortion and think gay "marriage" would be a disastrous social experiment. Let us vote for a Catholic Center Party. Some people are into crystals; let them vote for Shirley MacLain (sp.?). And the people who love endless conflict, torture, and the manipulation of the price of the basic necessities for the sake of the lazy Rentiers, well, they already have the G.O.P.

Religion. I have been remiss about answering a question put to me by a recent convert to the Catholic Faith. It seems that this man plunged into a dispute about what the Early Christian Writers said about the Eucharist. This is common. Catholics like to point to the ECWs and say, "Looky, here, you Prots. The Christians of the first centuries believed what we Catholics do now. We've got history on our side, and you don't. Nya nya na nya nya." To which the Protestants will say, "Read more carefully, and you will see that the Early Christians were actually Bible-Believing Protestants." For instance, apparently my friend was alerted to a passage in which Justin Martyr calls the Eucharist a symbol, and I can imagine the Protestant who showed him this said somewhere in his gloating soul, "See, a second century Christian thought the Eucharist was just a symbol, a representation, not the real Body of Christ. So much for Transubstantiation. Justin Martyr was a good Protestant, but thanks for playing."

Well, yeah, he did use the word "symbol", but it is doubtful that he used it in the sense of representation or token. "Symbol" is a Greek word that means "taken together". The Christian Creed was called "symbol" because it "takes together" all the beliefs of the Christian. A symbol therefore is a summation. Calling the Eucharist a summation or a "taking together" does not contradict the Catholic Doctrine of the Real Presence. It merely says that the Eucharist is the center of Catholic Worship, where all things are taken together, and the Bible does say that all things are to be taken into the Body of Christ. Hence, it is altogether fitting to call the Eucharist a symbol, even it is not symbolic in the current sense of the word. I hope this satisfies this man's query.

Good night.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Newsflash

Newsflash: The Book of Isaiah disproves the Christian Faith. The discovery of this particular book is not exactly new. In fact, copies of this book have been available in many households and major bookstore chains throughout the nation for years, if not decades, but it wasn't until an iconoclastic Biblical Scholar in the Religious Studies Department at Washington University in St. Louis was at a keg party on frat row, that the impact that this book has for many Christian Believers could be evaluated with precision. "You know, my hook-up left me and I was bored," remarked this iconoclastic, maverick, cutting-edge Biblical Scholar, "and I saw a dog-eared copy of the KJV (a highly literal translation of what many know as the Hebrew Bible with Christian Era Writings, also known as the New Testament in some places). So, I thought, what the hell. Got nothing better to do except drink more Keystone Beer, which really sucks. So, I picked it up and read it. I landed on the later chapters of Isaiah, what we avante-garde types know as the deutero part, and I was amazed. There was a pronounced expectation of a Messiah, and a suffering one at that! And this was not even a Christian-Era text. So, clearly, obsession with the Messiah is not uniquely Christian. This means that Christianity is not unique." This iconoclastic B.S. will publish his scholarly findings in the Fall Edition of Hermeneutics Are Us.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Why I Can't Leave the Catholic Church

[Readers of my old weblog will recognize this post, and some of them will no doubt chastise me for being too lazy to come up with something new. Fine. I am really depressed, and the bowels of my creativity are constipated. Sorry.--PSR]

I had intended to give this post the usual and bland title of "Why I am a Catholic" but chose the one above, not to avoid triteness (triteness does not affect truth), but because, frankly, I never really chose to be Catholic. My mother chose for me. I was baptized as an infant and was sent to twelve years of Catholic school. So, the question of why I am Catholic yields a very trivial answer: I was raised to be one. The more pressing question, then, is, now that I am well past the age of majority, why I don't use my freedom from parental supervision and leave what Thomas Hobbes, the founder of modern liberalism, dubbed the Kingdom of Darkness.

I have many reasons to leave, but let me say at the outset that my desire to fornicate and masturbate without guilt is not among them as it apparently was for the Marquis de Sade's priestly interlocutor. Yes, I have this desire, and as a few of my subscribers know all too well, it can often be rather annoyingly pronounced. And, yes, I get really tired of having to confess repeatedly every single instance of my onanism to a priest, who may well be buggering an altar boy. I am not being outrageous for the sake of a cheap snigger; this actually happened. In 1998 I regularly confessed to a priest who later got three years for having repeatedly buggered a fourteen-year-old boy. But if I left because of my libido, then that would not be a reason but the opposite thereof--brute, irrational instinct. I would be trading the glorious tradition of Augustine, Aquinas, and More for submission to my penis, and that would be pathetic. If I tire of embarrassing myself with admitting my libidinous sins, then there is a simple solution: I should stop doing them.

But, wait, did I not just illustrate a reason why many others have left the Church, namely glaring and arrogant hypocrisy on the part of the clergy? Yeah, well, that never has impressed me much. I learned back in grade school that priests can be very wicked and perverted men. Yes, I know very well that priests, bishops, and popes are supposed to set shining moral examples, and their frequent failure to do so causes huge scandals that leave alot of anguished disillusionment in their wake, and this is why St. John Chrysostom once quipped that hell is plastered with the skulls of the clergy. That said, Oscar Wilde's dictum remains true: Hypocrisy is vice's debt to virtue. It makes no sense to rail against hypocrisy by abandoning the standard that makes it possible in the first place. What? Because the Catholic Church has pederast priests, she should stop condemning homosexual acts and adopt the more lenient standards of NAMBLA? Yes, the priest scandals of recent years warrant indignation, but indignation is also a notoriously bad counselor.

The real reasons that make me want to leave the Church are two sets of things: 1) my doubts and 2) my love of paganism. I will deal with my doubts in this posting and my love of paganism later. My doubts are the usual ones such as the inability to reconcile free will with God's sovereignty and omniscience and the conundrum of a Just God committing and ordering atrocities, among others.

I could just take the Calvinist route and deny free will altogether, but then I might as well say that I am a Cartesian machine fueled by my totally depraved libido and pray to my sovereign penis for that would be as irrational as the Calvinist conception of God. Or I could do what Sartre did and deny God to make room for human freedom. But Sartre's move works only if man has the capacity to exempt himself from the inexorable chain of material causes. In other words, man has to rise above creation and become God by his own efforts, and this is just philosophical Mormon bullshit. Besides modern neuroscience now tells us that what we call our mind is nothing more than highly organized matter and, therefore, we are just extraordinarily developed rocks. While the problem of reconciling God with free will does give me headaches, I suggest that it is easier to master than the notion of how the devil a stone could ever develop the ability even to contemplate such a problem.

But it is the Bible that gives me the most worries. Truth be told, I am rather embarrassed by Scripture, and I should not be, I know. I try to be an orthodox Catholic, after all, and so I try to allay my worries by ignoring them, frankly. While I have read the New Testament many times in many different translations (and in various languages), I have yet to read the Old Testament all the way through. Part of the reason is that alot of it is boring. The list of the land allocations in the Book of Joshua, for instance, are interminable, and so are the instructions on the construction of the tabernacle in the Book of Exodus. I'd rather read a manual on how to mix concrete.

But, in all honesty, my big problem is the sheer whimsical brutality of God in the Old Testament. He smites down a man for collecting wood on the Sabbath, He orders the Israelites to evict the Canaanites from their land, He orders Saul to commit genocide against the Amalekites and then gets mad (not angry, but mad) at him for sparing the King and the choice livestock, and the list goes on and on as an Atheist like Richard Dawkins would point out. Yes, I know very well that Isaiah tells us that God's ways are not our ways, and a Calvinist will, of course, remind me with gloating glee that who are we, mere vessels of clay, to talk back to the Almighty Potter, and, therefore, God can do whatever the fuck He wants and our duty is to be good happy-clappy sycophants and call whatever He may do justice. How the hell then is the Calvinist love of God any different from Nietzsche's amor fati, the love of blind fate? The Calvinist might as well be an Atheist.

No, I do not know why God in the Old Testament acts frequently like a brutal tyrant, but I do know that the Old Testament itself teaches that we can talk back to God and that He will, unlike blind fate, answer. Abraham bargains with God to save a city, and then there is the great figure of Job. True, I'll admit it, God's answer to Job sounds very much like the routine talking points of the typical militant Calvinist (sorry for the redundancy), but the story does not end with the answer. It ends with Job's reward. Job dared to talk back to God and not only lived but flourished as well. In the midst of global, cataclysmic drownings, divinely ordered genocidal wars, and other horrors, the unpunished audacity of one man and his subsequent flourishing (after his family had been wiped out because of gentlemen's bet with Satan, of course) ain't much more than a mustard seed, but I'll take it if only because, as I mentioned before, with God there will someday be answer to all of our doubts and confusions if we yell loud enough. As cruel as God can be, blind fate is even crueler for it has no answer to all our anguish. We can yell as loudly as we wish, and all we will get is an eternal, inexorable, merciless silence.

[I have more to say but am too tired to type anymore. Stay tuned for Part II. Comments, scathing criticisms, death threats are, as always, welcome]