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Ether Mind

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Forgive me, Fonzi.

So I was listening to Toby Keith, which is a crime against hipness, and I thought that it was sad that such catchy music sucked in every other way. The lyrics particularly are just atrocious on many levels.

I'm not against the prepackaged sale of nostalgia to the lowest common denominator. Squares who would otherwise go to their graves as bricks in the wall can listen to Country music and feel like their lives served some sort of purpose.

"Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" bothers me for two reasons. First, the song features possibly the worst use of imagery outside of a 14 year old girl's poetry.

Second, most of the emotions evoked as part of the prefabricated nostalgia
are fit only for rabble in 15th century London. Threats of vengeance against an unspecified "you?" Oh, my, how enlightened. What a championing of the values of Western Civilization that is. "We'll put a boot in your ass." Uh huh. Listen, I'm not opposed to violence. I'm part of the Ender Wiggin school of self defense: Don't stop punching until they stop moving. Unfortunately, I'm sure many of the yokels that ate this song up after 9/11 supported the Iraq invasion and are now among those who want to withdraw. About 40% of the population of the country makes up that group.

It's one thing to oppose a war, particularly one like Iraq that was totally optional with unknown consequences. It's another thing to support it out of misguided emotion and then chicken out halfway through. In my experience, most battles, real and simulated, are won when one party loses their nerve and retreats.

Anyway, I'm not against violence if it's ethically justified. I am against crappy song lyrics. "Mother Freedom?" What is that supposed to be? "This big dog will fight if you rattle his cage?" Well that's not Freudian at all, is it. We're a big dog now. Don't we feel good about this bit of autofellatio.

This song is chock full o' the primal posturing that I've often see among maleducated teenagers and the less intelligent species of monkey.

The "light up your world like the Fourth of July" line was good, though.

My question is, am I part of an obsolete aristocratic class with my ideals of humility, actions speaking louder than words, death before dishonor, unyielding determination, and loyalty? Or has my culture simply been outbred by other European splinter groups?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fight the power?

Here's a quote from a staff request:

"If you choose to apply for this position and accept this offer, understand that you will be violating international copyright law."

Well, the organization in question is full of jerks, but of course I support freedom of information. Liked the quote.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blingtastic

Most politically inspired rap is either 1) bad politics or 2) bad rap.

This one is pretty awesome. Even if you conflate rap with urban culture, this is still worth a laugh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Apologia X

Incidentally, I can write according to Standardized Test standards. I rarely do because those standards are horrible and incorrect. (They would mandate a comma after the first clause in the preceding sentence. They would also penalize me for parentheses.) In my blog posts, my topic progression is circular and filled with digressions like this one. It's intentional.

Suffer through the previous post first.

I find myself in agreement with atheists, even the more acerbic and irrational atheists, more often than would be expected.

The civil marriage should be abolished. It creates legal inequities for everyone who's not married, particularly gays and perfect specimens of manhood like myself. It's bad enough that I'll soon be paying social security to support aging roofers in decaying suburbs, but when President Hillary begins her reign of terror I'll be supporting your kids' dental plans.

Marriage has always been a contract with various purposes that shift in importance from society to society. In this great age of rule-by-lawyer, we can accomplish all those goals with civil unions, thus paving the way for Heinleinesque communes and whatnot.

The main practical accomplishments will be to make the gays shut up and to protect the religious institution of marriage.

I admit that the number of couples pretending to be wed in the eyes of God will decrease. Cest la vie. I'm not one for inflating the numbers. There are about 200 million Americans who claim to be Christian but don't do much about it. (Note: I often make up off-the-wall metaphorical numbers. When I do, it's obvious. In case you're wondering, the 200 million figure is a rough but accurate estimate.)

Well, that's all academic. The reality is that having a capricious government regulate the details of my theoretical marriage disturbs me. Think about "family courts" and you'll begin to appreciate my concern.

All of that was an example of how my semi-deism leads me to the same conclusions as an atheist.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cogito ergo sum

I'm not sure that I've ever written about religion, directly, because it seems largely irrelevant.

I'm a Southern Baptist, or, according to some, a deist. The belief I have is sort of a grand unified theory. It's not particularly original, although not many people comprehend it.

Simply, God created the universe and all its logic and such. To a layman the stars and planets and life itself seem to be a huge accomplishment, but the nature of the universe itself is the real wonder. Even if it were completely empty, it would be impressive.

From various sources we have various creeds. Honor your parents, don't eat pigs, slaughter the apostates, suffer not a witch to live. Thou shalt not kill.

Are they truly God's laws? It doesn't matter.

Any of God's commands should be deducible, if his intentions were known. Solipsism and natural rights have managed to reproduce the Golden Rule and several of the commandments. The discovery of animalcules shed light on the food prohibitions. Burkean conservatism, evolutionary psychology and studies of insect sperm can show us much of the reasoning behind the Torah.

So why were we given such conflicting advice from the bronze age's equivalent of the crazy homeless men on the corner?

A stopgap solution. An arrow in the right direction. Maybe.

This line of reasoning is dangerous, of course. It's just as likely to lead philosophers into the gates of hell as to enlightenment. We can eat pork because we have antibiotics and meat thermometers.. by analogy, we can also engage in homosexual orgies, since we have antibiotics and condoms. But that reasoning is flawed. It's just another example of an incorrect assumption (that we understand God's intention) leading to doom.

So why do I seek knowledge? It didn't work out too well for Adam. Aren't we better off with childlike faith, since it will only give us the same results as this wacky deist philosophy?

No. Many Christians seem to think that their intentions are all that matter, and that laziness is fine. For those incapable of the abstract thought here, that's fine. For those of us who can think, it's unacceptable not to do so.

The reason is that simple, childlike faith in an arrogant assumption is blasphemy. It's presumption. It's as bad as total ignorance. And, if you're capable of seeing your error but refuse to correct it because "childlike faith" is easier, then what's the difference between you and those [Mormons/Jehovah's Witness/Druze Moslems]?

Do we excuse Bloody Mary Tudor because she came unto the Lord as a child? She was trying her damnedest to save the souls of her subjects, wasn't she?

Oh, but forcing someone to convert is wrong because they're not truly saved, and anyway the difference between Catholicism and Anglicism doesn't matter.

I know that, and you know that, but apparently she didn't know that. She acted on faith but without putting forth the effort to understand what she was supposed to have faith in. Failure to think is not an excuse.

So we follow this trail further. We find that our secular ruminations on political theory may serve God's will after all.

If God's laws can be discovered through logic, through observation of nature and man, without relying on "supernatural" agency, then those laws are applicable to everyone. Atheists, Methodists and Shintos can be convinced to follow them. They can become a minimalist but universal code of conduct.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caution: Content may be offensive

No, I'm not warning you. That was part of this CNN article. Spineless.. well, I can see their point, and the need for a "may be offensive" label is more indicative of societal decadence than CNN's fault, but I'll take any opportunity to bash CNN.

Regarding the article itself, I think it falls in the category of "someone needs a good @$$ kicking." Now, I don't oppose polygamy per se. It's not unethical, and it's probably not immoral, especially if circumstances like war lead to a highly unbalanced gender ratio.

Apparently, some people oppose it on consequentialist grounds, which is odd. Everyone benefits from legalized polygamy except for males at the bottom of the social order, and if there is a war on they're probably busy eating bullets anyway.

The problem is that the people who practice polygamy are also maleducated, inbred pederast hillbilly cultist fanatics. (Possibly correlated due to the primitive conditions that make polygamy desirable). That leads people to conflate polygamy with hillbillyism. The article I linked mentions polygamy several times, despite the fact that it has no relation to the story itself. None. The 'marriage' in question was monogamous and possibly legal. The elements of "maleducated inbred pederast hillbilly cult fanaticism" were there, and since CNN insists on bringing up the tangentially related topic of polygamy, my theses are proven.

(1) People confuse polygamy with pederasty.
(2) CNN is incompetent.

Since CNN is the second most popular news network, and FOX is first, this leads us to conclusion 3:

(3) People watching the news are incompetent.

We take it as axiomatic that the people who ignore current events are incompetent (in a slightly different way). So,

(4) 98% of everyone in America is incompetent.

In that case, I don't see how our government has the authority to punish these pederast hillbilly cultists. Vigilantes, at least, back their words up with actions. Therefore, I reach the air-tight logical conclusion:

(5) Someone needs a good @$$ kicking.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Politics is a joke; vote for the funniest guy.

It shouldn't be a surprise, but I officially changed my endorsement from McCain to Paul. I thought McCain would be the most entertaining, but the Ron Paul revolutionaries' graffiti has convinced me otherwise. Nothing says "power of your convictions" like tagging up the entire country.

Edit: I also support smaller government, less regulation, lower taxes, and personal freedom. My vendetta against Public Education is also most likely to be assuaged if a right-winger like Paul gets into office.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The ManiaC Doctrine

Slacker: if you were in charge, would you let me?
ManiaC: I wouldn't be bothered with trivial decisions like that
ManiaC: but let's see..
ManiaC: my stategy wouldn't involve many tanks
Slacker: boo
ManiaC: when we invade Iran there will be plenty of tanks
ManiaC: we'll take a large chunk of the west side and deport all the inhabitants
ManiaC: It'll have two airbases and a nuclear plant
Slacker: oooh
ManiaC: we'll call it a DMZ, sell electricity to Iraq and Iran, control petroleum shipments in the region and conduct airstrikes randomly
ManiaC: since there will be no civilians, we can shoot everyone that approaches. There will be no more foreign support for the insurgency and Iran will be permananetly incapacitated
ManiaC: and the whole thing will pay for itself
Slacker: nice
ManiaC: now, some people might question the political feasibility of the plan
ManiaC: those people are traitors to America

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why I believe in evolution

I get to watch it in action.

If a jealous boyfriend jumps on a teenage girl's car in a "rage" and she drives away, is she charged with Murder 2? I doubt it. But if a girl jumps on an SUV and gets run the f*** over, well, it was obviously the driver's fault.

Even in the worst case scenario that he made a split second decision to run over the girl on his car- which I seriously doubt.. is that even possible to do on purpose?- he should still get off.