Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gay Porn Fluffer

I guess I should post something simply because I have not posted anything for days. That's because I'm in a bit of a funk. My one and only true love still will not requite my stubbornly, obstinately, and adamantly undying love for her. She will not even answer my e-mails. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. Vae mihi!. On top of that my Greek sucks. Really sucks. I mistook what was clearly and unequivocally an aorist participle for a future participle and failed completely to recognize the second principle part of diaphero. Those are boners that a callow first-year Greek major makes. Geez. I feel more guilty about doing that than all my sordid sins of self-abuse. I am an incorrigible pagan, trying to be Catholic, after all.

Speaking of religion, I guess I should explain why, as I assert boldly on my MySpace profile, I would rather be a gay porn fluffer than a Protestant. Don't get me wrong. I agree with the Catholic Church that the homosexual orientation is, yes, intrinsically disordered and that homosexual acts are always gravely wrong (just like acts of self-abuse). And, yes, I believe gay "marriage" is an abomination which should not be allowed to have legal recognition. If you want to call me a "homophobe", knock yourself out.

Now, it should be noted that Protestantism, the various varieties of Arminianism excepted, denies humans of free will. In the Protestant scheme of things, we are robots. And yet when it comes to homosexuality, the great majority of Evangelicals will insist that this orientation is a choice and not a determined condition. Okay, well, if that's the case then, the Evangelical Protestants have excepted homosexuals from their deterministic theology, and so even though I would never want to be a gay porn fluffer, I have to say that it would sure beat being a divinely pre-set robot

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

so, wacko libertarians, what say you?

So, are there any libertarians around who still think privatizing the court system is a smashing idea? If so, then I really would like them to explain to me why this would not be the result. If you want freedom for all, you have to have justice for all, and justice cannot be administered by anything else than an institution accountable to the common good and nothing but. Justice becomes tyranny if it is answerable to the personal profit motive (what saner ages called greed) and would certainly deserve much more than sniggering ridicule on some mischievous adolescent's MySpace page. Its true desert is nothing less than outright mass rebellion.

Further evidence that radical libertarians should be--for the sake of the very thing they disdain, the common good--straitjacketed or, at the very least, made to register as if they were vile sex offenders and not allowed to rest their perverted little heads even in flophouses or under highway overpasses.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Latin Lesson at St. Louis University High School in St. Louis

"Mitte gladium in vaginam"--John 18:11

One day during Sophomore Latin class the then Jesuit Scholastic Mr. O'Liddy gave us a quiz with no extra credit. My High School was and is, to be sure, a Jesuit Institution and, therefore, supposedly Catholic. But it was and is first and foremost a Prep School, where the annual number of National Merit Scholars has always been much more important than the number of sacraments, more important than even the number of persons in the Holy Trinity (and, of course, far more important than the number of Commandments; it was, I repeat, a Jesuit institution). In other words, academic competitiveness was religion, and redemption was to be found in a respectable GPA which would in turn open the gates of paradise, an Ivy League University or, at least, a college that bribed U.S. News and World Report. We were indoctrinated always to devote ourselves to the pursuit of the academic edge, however small, however petty, however ridiculous. And, so, when Mr. O'Liddy did not offer extra credit on that day's quiz, we could only regard that as utter blasphemy and did what devout Preppies are supposed to do: we whined.

And, so, Mr. O'Liddy relented to this petulant Inquisition of roiling hormones. He went to the chalkboard and drew a sword and then, right next to it, drew its sheath. The sword, it should be noted, was pointing right at the ready and willing opening of the sheath. "Okay," he said drily, "give me the Latin word for this thing here," and he pointed to the sheath. The whining stopped. Prep school orthodoxy returned. We took the quiz.

A few minutes later Mr. O'Liddy told us time was up and requested that I collect the quizzes. As I was collecting the quizzes, our Magister asked if any one got the extra credit. Blank stares. Then he asked me specifically because I was the Latin Geek. I was good at Latin, I must say (in contradistinction to now; my Latin really sucks now), one can be good at Latin and not be an annoying public nerd about it (I have always had a problem restraining my public nerdity). Anyway, I did not know, either, what the Latin word for sword sheath was.

Mr. O'Liddy sighed. He turned to the chalkboard, said with another sigh, "You guys have no imagination," and proceeded to write in great big huge capital letters:

Needless to say, the class of not so wise foolish fifteen-year-olds released lots and lots of sublimation. The Freudian symbolism of Mr. O'Liddy's drawing now was, of course, achingly obvious, even though none of us had even read Freud. True, none of us got the extra credit, but at that moment we had visions other than that of collegiate success in our heads, of course. Worries about academic redemption gave way to more primary concerns, and the raucous laughter continued unabated.

And then Donna walked in, the Assistant Principle's Secretary. At my All Boys' High School she was the only young woman we got to see during the day. Well, not the only one. There was a teacher of Algebra who was fairly young. She was also fairly ugly. She looked like a rake with a nose and hair. Donna was the only young woman we saw whom we actually wanted to see, and when she walked in, the class quite predictably asked about her sword sheath. Some even were bold enough to request seeing it. The future priest was chagrined at what he had unleashed, and when Donna left, he scolded us for our oh so ungentlemanly "catcalls". Some of us did blush. I know I did (No, really I did). Most did not care, and Mr. O'Liddy, having learned that hormone-based pedagogy was very dangerous indeed, proceeded to give us an especially unexciting lecture on the Ablative Absolute.

So, this story illustrates both the joys and the dangers of an All Boys' Prep School. There was no way Mr. O'Liddy could have given that sort of Extra Credit at a co-educational institution. He would have been immediately dismissed, if he had. But even at a Boys' Club like St. Louis University High School, he should have hung a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door for Donna's sake.

Mr. O'Liddy later told me this gem: "I like Sophomores, and I like Latin, but the two do not go together at all."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Der Spiegel, the Pope, and Genocide

Recently Der Spiegel, Germany's weekly dose of sanctimony, did a cover story on the Pope's lifting of the SSPX excommunications. As everyone should know by now, one of the Bishops affected was none other than that Holocaust-denying lunatic Richard Williamson. Der Spiegel was outraged. Holocaust denial, if it is not the sin against the Holy Spirit, then it is certainly the sin against the Spirit of the Times, and, of course, that Spirit trumps the other these days. To revoke the excommunication of a Holocaust denier sends a message that such an obvious monster is fit for civilized society, and that just undermines the very meaning of civilization. The Pope should know this. That he apparently does not means that he is clueless, out of touch, too caught up in his theological Ivory Tower to be bothered by obvious reality or fabricated scandals, which for Der Spiegel is one and the same.

Let me be very clear. I've thought Williamson was deranged ever since I learned about him, and I wish I never did learn about him. Unfortunately one cannot avoid knowing something about the SSPX if one is drawn to the Latin Mass Movement, and I was. Because I like Latin. And there are many who attend Latin Mass for just that simple of a reason. And then there are many others who attend Latin Mass because they think the Mass in the vernacular is Satanic and that the Pope is an android controlled by the Masons, the Bilderbergers, and the Trilateral Commission. These are the wackjobs who take the likes of a Williamson seriously. They made me bitterly regret my fondness for Gregorian Chant.

Now, as I have stated previously in this space, I think it is better to try to get the wackjobs back into the Church where they can be told to shut up than to be left out in the secular world to be loud and obnoxious. The Catholic Church still has the Inquisition. It goes under a different name, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but it is still the Inquisition, and it does a somewhat better job of shutting people up than do the conniption fits of Der Spiegel.

One of the reasons why it does a somewhat better job is that it actually believes in something, and Der Spiegel believes in nothing. Its hatchet job on the Pope actually had the temerity to blast Ratzinger for, among other things, having denounced relativism! Everyone knows that relativism is reality, everyone, that is, except the clueless Pope (who must have canceled his subscription to Der Spiegel). Fine. Relativism holds that every claim is nothing more than an opinion. The claim that the Holocaust happened is an opinion and so is the claim that it did not. So, how does Der Spiegel justify its outrage? Simply by its wide circulation, I guess.

In a world where relativism is reality, only force can determine the truth. That's why everyone goes in a tizzy when there is news about a Holocaust denier; the Holocaust Industry has lots of clout. Please, don't misunderstand my point. I think denying the Holocaust is as loony as denying, say, basic arithmetic. It's obvious that the Holocaust happened, and anyone who says otherwise is irrational.

But why does Holocaust Denial get all the attention, eh? Why is it so evil and heinous and unspeakable to deny the Holocaust when to this day Turkey puts people into jail for saying that that country massacred more than a million Armenians in 1915? Turkey to this day denies an obvious historical fact, and yet Turkey is a member of the putatively civilized society of NATO. A resolution in the U.S. Congress to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide failed to pass out of concern for the feelings of our good friend and ally, genocidal Turkey. So, why can no one get away with denying the Holocaust but Turkey is allowed to deny the Armenian Genocide when both horrors are established historical facts? Simple. The Armenian Lobby is not nearly as strong as the Holocaust Lobby. Force determines truth.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A brief thought on Platonism and the PNP project

The Platonic claim on behalf of the soul is that it is the seat of knowledge. Okay, so what of the PNP Project ('PNP' stands for Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, but it actually means the prostitution of philosophy on the couch of corporate money) which seeks to show that the mind is simply the body, that indeed the human being is simply his body und Nichts außerdem, and, thus, that terms like 'mind' and 'soul' are nothing but phantasms? A Platonist would say that if a scientist seeks to show that he has no soul, then he is therefore seeking to show that he has no seat of knowledge. Ergo, the scientist is attempting to show that he cannot be a scientist. In other words, from a Platonic perspective, the PNP Project is inherently contradictory and can only be regarded as absurd. Too bad there aren't many Platonist Chairs in Philosophy Departments nowadays.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Obvious Thoughts on the Suspension of Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has been suspended from professional swimming for three months for having taken a bong hit. The Fascist Swimming commission wanted thereby to send a message: Stoners are immoral canker sores that give professional sports a bad (worse, actually) name, and their naughty, naughty behaviour that shocks the conscience of the Innocent Unstoned American Soul will not be tolerated! Well, at least, not for the next three months.

And Kellogg's dropped Phelps as a spokesman. Stupid business decision, actually. Kellogg's passed up a golden opportunity to corner the stoners' munchies market. The company could have aired ads showing Phelps, sprawled out on a tie-dyed couch, reaching clumsily for a box of Wheaties amidst a litter of bongs, joint butts, and roach clips. Kellogg's stock would have soared. But, alas, it's not to be. American Business does not profit from immoral behaviour, as long as it is not the exploitation of child labour, insider trading, union busting, arson, loan-sharking, overthrowing democratically elected governments and replacing them with murderous, Milton Friedman worshipping dictators, raiding pension funds, and, of course, outright theft.

That's how evil even one lousy fucking bong hit is, Kiddies! So, just say no!

But you know what is the most farcical about all this? Michael Phelps apologized! He should not have apologized. He should have pointed out what every one who has ever toked knows, namely that Marijuana is not dangerous, that it won't make you kill anyone or put you in the thrall of some Demonic Cult that practices human sacrifice, etc. If faced with the choice of being driven home by a drunk or a stoner, you would probably be wise to sleep in the park, but if you have to make the choice, chances are that the stoner will get you to your bed safe and sound while the drunk will likely get you on a slab.

We have laws against Marijuana simply because 3M in the 1930s wanted the competition from Hemp Paper squelched and because it is the Mexicans' drug of choice, and this xenophobic country has a history of demonizing all non-WASPS. The laws remain on the books because without them, Police Officers would have one fewer excuse to beat the shit out of blacks and have one less source of extra income.

Laws against Marijuana are simply STUPID, and Michael Phelps, were he not a pathetic coward, should have said so. He should have also said that it is no virtue to obey a law, the stupidity of which is so obvious that even Police Officers don't even bother enforcing it (except, of course, when they need an excuse to beat an impecunious minority up--see above)! Michael Phelps may swim like a fish, but he is obviously not one; even fish have tougher spines than his.

So, Phelps has been suspended for a bong hit, and the moral order of this country has been restored. Our former president lied us into war, gave the greenlight to torture, suspended habeas corpus, tried--in an Eric Honecker moment--to get neighbor to spy on neighbor, and put this entire country under a 1984-like surveillance. Sounds like outrageous,immoral behaviour to me. Yet, never once was he "suspended", and chances are quite good (thanks to his successor's pusillanimity) that he will never be prosecuted for his many and obvious abuses of power. And instead of American Business keeping its distance from his sorry, demonic ass, publishing companies will be bidding for his subliterate memoirs.

America's ethical priorities are truly fucked, and this country is supposed to be the Shining City on the Hill?

Sure, man, I'll believe that. Just let me toke up.

Oh, and by the way, if you look to an athlete for guidance in virtue, you are an idiot.

The National Prayer Breakfast

Before the President launched into his formal remarks, he praised Bush's poodle, a.k.a. Tony Blair for his leadership. That's like praising the Italian Army for its bravery (by the way, here's a brief Italian Soldier Joke: Ad for an Italian Rifle: only dropped once). Blair was nothing more than a tool, first for Thatcherism and then for, of course, the neo-con brand of American Imperialism. English Prime Ministers of yore were at least manly (and, yes, Thatcher was really a man) enough to stand for their own bloody Imperialism. Blair was not a leader; he was the Yankee's catamite. (This particular weblog's spell check incidentally does not recognize "catamite"; whether this is a good thing, I really do not know.)

So, Mr. Obama talked about about what binds all the great religions and philosophies of the world. It is none other than the Golden Rule. Love thy neighbor as thy self, as Jesus Christ put it. If we just all understood this, then religious strife and rancorous division would cease, and we would all be one big happy, harmonious family. Understanding is, as the President put it, a healing power and spreading it around the world will vanquish the forces of destructive zealotry.

Is that why Mr. Obama continues to bomb the bejeebers out of Western Pakistan?

It is just another myth of the Enlightenment that understanding will bring peace. Germany in the 1930s was perhaps the most educated country in the history of the planet. The Germans with their scientists, their universities, and, of course, their philosophers understood quite a lot. That did not prevent Hitler's rise to power.

Regarding religious matters, one can easily argue that rather than overcoming antagonisms, understanding actually exacerbates and magnifies them. I have met only a few devout Muslims, but they all seemed to me quite pleasant. One was even quite fetching (well, what she allowed me to see, at any rate). But then I tried to understand what they devoutly believe. I read the Koran, and the Koran says explicitly that my belief in the Incarnation of God is a monstrous heresy. Well, fuck you, too, and so much for the healing power of understanding.

But the President is suggesting that these theological differences pale when one considers that in matters of morality, all religions and philosophies are the same. Any devout Christian would certainly object to the notion that the chief aim of Faith is for all of us to live in moral harmony with one another here on earth. Such a notion is nothing short of Pelagian Blasphemy. Human beings cannot of their own strength make earth into heaven, and, in fact, earth is not supposed to be made into heaven. The glory of the world will pass into dust. The Christian believes not because of any ethical code. The Christian believes because he wants something more than this earthly life can ever provide even with Barack Obama as President. He wants eternal bliss.

Nevertheless, let us say arguendo that the essence and purpose of Religion is the Golden Rule. Where the deuce does that get us? I certainly do not want a Masochist loving me as he loves himself. The Golden Rule begs the question of anthropology, of "What is the Human Being", and as long as that question remains unanswered, the Golden Rule is nothing more than subjectivist drivel. Mr. Obama can say, for instance, that this Rule forbids the killing of innocent humans, but his personal, subjective beliefs exclude babies in the womb and the peasants of Western Pakistan from this category, and so he can bomb away and be an infanticidal maniac without any compunction and still be a sweet talker about the Golden Rule.

Mr. Obama's prayer was as meaningless as that jingle about buying the world a Coke and keeping it company. Of course, that jingle sold a lot of Coke, and Obama's sonorous but superficial eloquence has obviously been good for what Noam Chomsky has aptly called Brand Obama. It makes people feel good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A concise definition of neo-con

Many people have for months, if not years, asked me for a concise definition of "neo-con". I have come up with several, none of which have proved entirely satisfactory. I have variously defined "neo-con" as a worshipper of Leo Strauß, a former Trostkyite who has abandoned Trostky's economics but not his universalism, a closet atheistic cynic who wants the unwashed masses to be religious so that they will not steal from the rich and will think it their pious duty to die in the latter's wars, etc.

While all these definitions do have some truth to them, I have come up with yet another one that I think really captures the neo-con essence, and it is a definition that I think would even have the Papal Imprimatur

Neo-con: English for jihadi.