Amy Coney Barrett Can’t Read
“Through a new technique, using deliberate anachronisms and false attributions, Menard (perhaps without trying to) has enriched the static, fledgling art of reading. Infinite in its possibilities, this technique prompts us to reread the Odyssey as if it came after the Aeneid and Madame Henri Bachelier’s book The Centaur’s Garden as if it were written by Madame Henri Bachelier. The technique fills the mildest of books with adventure. To attribute The Imitation of Christ to Louis Ferdinand Céline or to James Joyce — would this not be a satisfactory renewal of its subtle spiritual lessons?” …
“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory.
The truth is far more frightening — Nobody is in control.” (Alan Moore)
Recently, an acquaintance on FaceBook has started posting stories on their feed that comment on raids around the country that “recover” or “find” hundreds of missing children. …
Is It 1920, Again?
“And what will your judge say? That this is your house. Your house and your children? What am I to you, Tom? What am I then in your house? Chattel?” (from Iron Jawed Angels)
What year is this? It’s 2020? Really? Are you sure? ’Cause it seems like it’s 1920, again.
Of course, 2020 is the 100-year anniversary of woman suffrage. After a 144-year struggle, women finally got the right to vote and to run for office. …
“So welcome, to the machine.” Pink Floyd
If it weren’t already obvious, it has become even more so during 2020.
Unless you are among the 1%, unless you are in the inner sanctum of those people in positions of power, you are not essential. You are expendable.
On the one hand, this fact is not new. In pre-capitalist societies, the peasants and slaves were wholly expendable. They were cannon fodder. They were mere resources to be exploited to finance the lifestyles of the nobility and royalty. They did not give a fig about the welfare of the peasants. They had an inexhaustible supply of them. …
The Amy Cooper Problem Is a White Problem
“I can’t breathe.” Eric Garner, NYC, July 17, 2014
“I can’t breathe.” George Floyd, Minneapolis, May 25, 2020
Look, I am not the first to write about this incident. And, with any luck, I will not be the last. Others (here on Medium and elsewhere) have made very astute, very coherent, and very emotional cases. And, yet, here I am. Because this— apparently — needs to be said again, and again, and again, and again….
Amy Cooper is just one very recent and very visible example (thanks to Christian Cooper’s cellphone video) of white privilege in the United States. …
The Necessity of Paper Ballots
On November 3, 2020, the citizens of the US will (presumably) hold another national election. COVID-19 notwithstanding, the local, state, and national trajectory has been toward electronic voting. So far, that has largely meant booths at polling stations that electronically tabulate and return results. Longer term, the movement is toward online or mobile voting. Both of these are catastrophic developments for democracy.
I am — like so many people today — heavily reliant on electronics. I use my smart phone for way too much stuff. I use my laptop for even more. Like seriously. I know I should use it less as it opens me up to all kinds of data breaches and hacking and identity theft and so on. Even so, I appreciate and take advantage of the convenience of having technology at my side. I say this only to state from the beginning that I am not some modern-day Luddite, but, rather, someone who really appreciates the convenience of electronic technologies. Furthermore, I am also aware of the digital divide. Even though more and more of our interactions — including the necessities of public life — have moved to a digital platform, far too many citizens do not have access to internet, WiFi, and smart devices. To be clear, I am talking about two connected issues here. One, the shift to electronic booths at in-person polling sites. And two, the shift to online voting. …
The Face of God (What the Actual Hell, Ohio?, Part 5)
“But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
On May 5, 2020, Republican state representative Nino Vitale announced that he would not be wearing a mask because his face is the likeness and image of God.
One hardly knows where to begin.
Not a Christian Nation
In his announcement, Vitale claimed that the US is a Christian nation, founded on “Judeo-Christian Principles.” That claim is often repeated, and demonstrably false. …
(Myths That Will Not #$%&@*# Go Away)
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’
On January 15, 2020, the Tennessee legislature passed a law that would allow agencies to deny adoption to gay and lesbian couples. The bill had been proposed in the House in 2019. It was the very first act of business taken up in 2020. It passed 20 to 6, with several members voting “present.” The governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee (R), has indicated that he will sign the bill into law. According to Alex Bollinger, nine other states currently have similar laws in place. …
No, Soy Will Not Turn You into a Girl
(Myths That Will Not #$%&@*# Go Away)
I, I don’t want tofu
I’d rather have a mouthful of beef stew
I don’t wanna be a vegetarian
Why eat beans when you can have steak instead?
(“Vegetarian Mumbo Jumbo,” NOFX)
Some myths just will not die. But it’s not because it has any validity to it; it’s not because it’s such a compelling myth. It’s because it serves a purpose.
I think the latest version of this myth began with the emergence and acceptance of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat. These complaints — and fears — are posted on places such as 4Chan and Reddit though I also see them on Facebook and Twitter. Users there claim that the Impossible Burger has huge levels of estrogen, and that eating one is part of a plot to turn everyone into women, or transgender, or something that’s not a MAN. It was one thing, I suppose, when a few crunchy men ate some tofu — the protestors weren’t going to eat that, anyway. It was another thing when they started to introduce soy-based products in schools, because that was affect children at an early age. …
Representation and Atheism
“We may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on Earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”
Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814
In a Washington Post article from 2014, Hunter Schwarz noted that eight states currently have restrictions on atheists. According to their constitutions, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas all state that a belief in God is a requirement to serve in state government. Pennsylvania says that someone who professes a belief in God cannot be excluded from serving, but that wording means that someone who does not profess a belief in God can be excluded. These beliefs are long-standing and ingrained. Indeed, John Locke strongly argued that atheists should not even be granted full citizenship rights. In 2004, George H. W. Bush similarly stated, “I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic.” In 2015, Ted Cruz, then running for President, stated that atheists cannot and should not be President. And, yet, the U. S. Constitution expressly states: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualiﬁcation to any ofﬁce or public trust” (Art. …