The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXVIII(Christians Persecuting Agnostics)

May 16, 2005 | 68 Comments

Last week, the Squad counseled a Christian on how “fight back” against atheist and agnostic friends who heckled him with anti-religious comments. This week, a religious reader seeks advice on how to best harass a dying agnostic relative with religious dogma:

I have a great son-in-law who, after being raised in a religious family, decided he was an agnostic. He just turned 50 and last month was diagnosed with stage-4 liver cancer. We all know what the end results will be. He has been having panic attacks trying to cope. I have been praying that the end will be pain-free but realized that what I am really hoping is that he will realize he needs faith to see him through this. How can I start him on the right path without being pushy or intrusive?

That agnostic does need faith, indeed, that Dou-Mu — perched atop her lotus throne and with four three-eyed heads and eight arms — will give him a new lease on life. But apparently that’s not the “right path” the Squad has in mind:

Start with the 23rd Psalm. Ask your son-in-law if he would object to your reading it aloud. Just read it and let the words pour out of you, without any request for a conversion. Let the words of confidence in the shepherd who will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death comfort him as those words have comforted so many millions of others who fear death. Then, if he does not object to your reading of the 23rd Psalm, move on to Psalm 122, and then on to other Psalms of comfort: 130, 27, 121, 33, 65, 1, 107, 119, 57, 91.

So it’s offensive for an agnostic to make fun of his healthy friends’ belief in this sort of afterlife nonsense, but perfectly fine to spout it at a man on his deathbed. Why would he be comforted by fairy tales he rejects? It’s certainly an attempt at conversion; the premise is that he should believe that the words from the Bible are true. If someone began reading to him from the Qu’ran or the Book of Mormon, I don’t think anyone would deny that some proselytizing was going on in the sickroom. And the rest of the Squad’s answer leaves no doubt as to the purpose of of Psalm countdown — to lead the guy up some “path”:

If he ever wants to talk about the Psalms, great. If not, just read them and sit quietly after each one. Ask him between each Psalm if he would like you to read another one. Remember, not every path up the mountain begins in childhood, and not every direction to the top is clear. The only truth is that your presence, your love and God’s healing hope will come through every cloud and every doubt.

We will pray for him.


Just pray? The new Pope just waived the five-year waiting period for canonization of the old one, so John Paul II needs to perform two posthumous cancer-healing miracles in a jiffy. Why not try to convince the agnostic that he’s been selected for the honor? Is it any more crazy than trying to convince him he’s about to take a walk with a shepherd through the valley of death?


68 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXVIII(Christians Persecuting Agnostics)”

  1. Xianghong
    May 16th, 2005 @ 1:22 am

    Hey what’s with all these psalms and “valley of death” lovey dovey crap? It’s obvious that this is a direct warning from Jesus- fuck around with your loyalty to me and you’re meat. What the old guy really needs is some “wrath of God on non-believers” like John 3:36 or Mark 16:16.

  2. Lundie
    May 16th, 2005 @ 3:14 am

    Proselytising is bad enough.

    Heckling a bloke and threatening him with eternal damnation when he’s on the eve of his life is pure sadism.

    Universal love and brotherhood indeed, poor sod.

  3. Jean-Paul Fastidious
    May 16th, 2005 @ 3:28 am

    I like how they reduce proselytizing to a video game cheat code. “Just push Psalm 23, 122, 130, 27, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start. The Path to God will now be open.” I wonder if they also know the God Mode cheat?

    Xianghong: Of course the reason they don’t pull out the John & Mark is because one of them thinks that’s a bunch of crazy, made-up cult gibber-jabber. Psalms are ecumenical (as long as those crazy Muslims, Hindus, Dou-muists, etc. don’t start getting uppity and want a place on the God Squad.)

  4. Mookie
    May 16th, 2005 @ 4:27 am

    Don’t you know that the bible is the sole source for all your spiritual needs? I mean, it’s so blatantly obvious, isn’t it? It’s actually written IN the bible that the bible is THE book, and that it’s correct. A self-affirming book can’t POSSIBLY be incorrect. And see, the bible talks about god, who is a character in the book, and because the bible claims it is true, then god must be real! In fact, god wrote the bible, and he made himself a character in it, and so, in effect, a character in a book wrote the book itself! Confused? You should be! Come to church to “learn” more about how wonderfully logical and comforting xianity is. Don’t you feel comforted knowing a character in a book written over a thousand years ago by a bunch of dirty, ignorant tribesmen is judging your every action, your every word?

  5. hermesten
    May 16th, 2005 @ 10:27 am

    Like this is something new? The Bible Beaters harassed Thomas Paine most of his life, as well as on his death bed; and when their attempts at conversion failed, they lied about it. These days the Beaters whine and wring their hands crying “persecution” whenever anyone rejects their claptrap. At least they were a hardier breed when the Romans were feeding them to the lions (I should have bought that t-shirt that says: So many Christians, so few Lions)

  6. Lundie
    May 16th, 2005 @ 11:58 am

    Just imagine if the situation was reversed, that it was the Xian instead of his poor son-in-law who was on his deathbed.

    Would the good Xian the son-in-law bringing his faith and principles into question? Would the Xian be comforted in knowing that the lifelong faith that he so instinctively believed in was false all along?

    Though the Xian’s good intentions are admirable, it would be far more comforting and helpful for the Xian to offer the son-in-law the support he deserves and allow him to live what’s left of his life in quiet dignity rather than fling inane quotes from a book that the son-in-law had conciously rejected as fiction.

  7. ocmpoma
    May 17th, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

    “as those words have comforted so many millions of others who fear death.”
    I like how the Squad admits the underlying premise of the ‘hook’ that draws people into religion.

  8. boywonder
    May 17th, 2005 @ 8:20 pm

    Boy, this had better not happen to me. I get unreasonably mean when I get a bad cold. If christians were preaching to me while I was busy dying, I might end up taking a few of them with me.

  9. Lucy MuFF
    May 18th, 2005 @ 8:30 pm

    Now see how I told you that pope JP will be sainted, and now because he was such a great man it is going express. This prooves what I said and now you must agree that he should get respect. Some of you probably are feeling pretty foolish now after disrespecting JP 2, but as soon as his cannonized you all be sorry

  10. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    Jeus tapdancing christ you’re a goddamn moron, Lucymuff. And what the hell kind of religious person has “muff” in her name? So let me get this straight, because the catholic church, one of the wealthiest and most corrupt financial organizations of all time decides to impose imaginary honors on a corpse to elevate said corpse to the imaginary rank of “saint,” that automatically makes him a good person?
    I don’t know how much jp2 had to do with the fall of the iron curtain or any of that, all i do know is that he was the only pope who ever publicly denounced the story that the jews killed christ, saying instead that it was the work of the roman empire. for that i nod my head, but he created far more disease, death and outright devastation by perpetuating the church’s culture of lies throughout the third world by denying them birth control and by choosing to keep them ill-informed as to how HIV really spreads, among other things, to let any positive deeds he performed during his life outweigh any of that. Through inaction and to preserve his perception of the ideals his buddy christ would have upheld, he was indirectly responsible for the deaths and infection by HIV of millions of people, and I suspect millions more will die as a result of his teachings. In effect, you’re lauding the imaginary honor bestowed upon a dead pole by an organization FAR more odious than big tobacco, who was responsible for more death and loss than Stalin. Praise jeebus.
    As a woman you should be doubly outraged by his views on abortion. And i’m sick of hearing these religious alterboy-raping fuckwads talk about how god hates homosexuals – it’s the height of hypocrisy.

    You want to see jp2 cannonized after all that? Fine – do you know what? I do too. I say we load the fucker into a giant cannon and aim him at your forehead so you two can be together forever, seeing as how you love him so much. And as an added bonus, by aiming him at your forehead you’ll finally have something to fill the void left by the erosion of any brain you may have had prior to your indoctrination into this loathesome cult.

    people like you are a waste of life. I mean it whole-heartedly when i say that you are a wad that should have been swallowed.

  11. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 10:22 am

    jahrta, you are making a fool of yourself…….on SO many levels……..

  12. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 11:19 am

    Jahrta, let me help you out.

    Lucy — loose, loosey, as in not tight


    Lucy — loo: British -toliet, as in loos (plural) or loos -y

    Muff – slang for “vulva”: The external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vestibule of the vagina.

    or, for a less vulgar possiblity,

    muff: To perform or handle clumsily; bungle. See Synonyms at botch.

    So, we have perhaps:

    1. Lucy Muff = loose pussy


    2. Lucy Muff = toliet pussy or dirty pussy or nasty pussy


    3. Lucy Muff = scatalogical fuck-up

    Now, whatever interpretation you choose to subscibe to, I would think that the combination of these two words would tell you something.

  13. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    herm, isn’t life better when we are on the same side of an argument?

    and eva, are you calling me a fool for thinking that I can attempt to reason with someone as feeble-minded as our lady muff, or are you instead refering to my line of thinking that someone like you, with your own belief that there is anything of any value to be gained by placing blind faith in the church, its association of criminal bastards with the psyche of neanderthals and their self-aggrandizing practices, are capable of understanding – or deserving of – a response from me?
    I put it to you this way, Eva – you and all like you – Who is the greater fool: the person who has a stance on a subject and posts his views of that subject on a website that openly supports such views, or the idiot who makes it her business to show up to spout the antithesis of those views, expecting anything other than harsh judement, intense ridicule, and the intellectual equivalent of a swift kick to the ass with a steel-toed boot?

    Why don’t you list for us all, in your own words, how you believe I am making “a fool of myself” for any of my previous sentiments on the dearly departed head of the catholic church? Here’s the real challenge: try to prove me wrong by bringing up any actual evidence (yes, evidence – that stuff that systematically exposes right-wing nutjobs like you for the ignorant masses you truly are) to repudiate my claims that the vatican intentionally misinformed, and CONTINUES to misinform third-world peoples on the dangers of HIV, how it is spread, how to prevent it from spreading through the proper usage of prophylactics (oh, that’s right, they DON’T -according to the catholic church, condoms and the like are evil and the work of the debbil, as sex is only supposed to be used for procreation). Speaking of procreation, as long as one of the catholic church’s main goals remains the creation of more mindless drones to spread the message of jeebus and pay dues to the church (as membership in the “brainless club for men, women and children” has been on the decline in recent years), they’re only perpetuating the problem of third world people who cannot support the family they already have.

    I stand by my original assessment: at best, jp2 had “good intentions” to help people, but went about it totally ass-backwards in connection with what he thought jeebus and his sky-daddy would want, based upon his interpretation of the BIBLE. At worst, he killed millions by ignoring the prolific scientific/medical evidence sustainin the health benefits of using birth control methods / condoms to dramatically reduce the dangers of exposure to HIV and other std’s. Do you like churchill? I do too. We need some more politico’s like him in our so-called “modern” era. he had a very famous saying during WWII – “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I say that what the vatican did in africa was worse than “doing nothing”

  14. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    hmm…after reading other comments posted by Eva, it is evident that she is not a theist, as her comment above would lead me to believe. this introduces a new problem, however…

    eva, as an atheist/agnostic/whatever the hell you consider yourself to be, which part of the following statement irks you so, and sounds foolish?:

    “So let me get this straight, because the catholic church, one of the wealthiest and most corrupt financial organizations of all time decides to impose imaginary honors on a corpse to elevate said corpse to the imaginary rank of “saint,” that automatically makes him a good person?
    I don’t know how much jp2 had to do with the fall of the iron curtain or any of that, all i do know is that he was the only pope who ever publicly denounced the story that the jews killed christ, saying instead that it was the work of the roman empire. for that i nod my head, but he created far more disease, death and outright devastation by perpetuating the church’s culture of lies throughout the third world by denying them birth control and by choosing to keep them ill-informed as to how HIV really spreads, among other things, to let any positive deeds he performed during his life outweigh any of that. Through inaction and to preserve his perception of the ideals his buddy christ would have upheld, he was indirectly responsible for the deaths and infection by HIV of millions of people, and I suspect millions more will die as a result of his teachings. In effect, you’re lauding the imaginary honor bestowed upon a dead pole by an organization FAR more odious than big tobacco, who was responsible for more death and loss than Stalin. Praise jeebus.
    As a woman you should be doubly outraged by his views on abortion. And i’m sick of hearing these religious alterboy-raping fuckwads talk about how god hates homosexuals – it’s the height of hypocrisy”

    this was the bulk of my argument, with the first and last paragraphs (not reproduced here) having been written with the obvious purpose of serving as sardonic humor. are you telling me you, as a non-religious individual, don’t crack a smile at the image of a corpse being shot out of a cannon circus-style? it’s just funny. add a papal pointy mitre hat for aerodynamic purposes and it gets even funnier. if you don’t think it’s funny that’s your thing, but if you can’t tell the difference between a serious proposal and a joke, that’s pretty fucking sad.

  15. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    hermesten: what can we do with this asshole jahrta??

    jahrta, you don’t know me…..and i have to insist, you are making MORE of a fool of yourself….
    you are truly a work of art!!

  16. Simbol
    May 19th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm


    You wrote:

    —“In effect, you’re lauding the imaginary honor bestowed upon a dead pole by an organization FAR more odious than big tobacco, who was responsible for more death and loss than Stalin”

    I’m curious about how you made your counting.

    I find this (1):

    (“Question: Who was the Bloodiest Tyrant of the 20th Century?
    Answer: We don’t know.
    That’s probably the saddest fact of the Twentieth Century. There are so many candidates for the award of top monster that we can’t decide between them. Whether it’s Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong or Iosif Stalin is, quite frankly, anybody’s guess.

    For now, let’s just skip over the whole margin of error thing — reasonable people have studied the evidence and come up with wildly differing numbers. You’re free to check my sources, but for now, trust me. I’ve studied the matter at great length and decided that the most likely death toll for these three are:

    Mao 40Million
    Hitler 34M
    Stalin 20M

    Well, that certainly looks like Mao is our man, but wait. Mao’s largest crime is the Great Leap Forward, a bungled attempt to restructure the economy of China which created a famine that killed some 30M. If we confine our indictment to deliberate killings, we get this:

    Hitler 34M
    Stalin 20M
    Mao 10M

    So it’s Hitler, right? Except that most of the deaths on his head were caused by the Second World War. Sure, he started it, but our society does not blanketly condemn the starting of wars (after all, we reserve the right to do it ourselves in a just cause), and we certainly don’t consider killing armed enemy soldiers in a fair fight to be a crime against humanity. If we therefore confine ourselves to the cold-blooded murder of unarmed non-combatants, our table rearranges itself again:

    Stalin 20M
    Hitler 15M
    Mao 10M

    This brings Stalin floating to the top. So it look like once you reduce their crimes to the unjustifiably lowest common denominator, then Stalin is worst; however, you might want to argue that dead is dead so it really doesn’t matter if you give your victims a chance to fight back. Fighting an unjust or reckless war is certainly a crime against humanity, so our numbers should go back to:

    Hitler 34M
    Stalin 20M
    Mao 10M

    … and these are just the problems we’ll encounter if we accept my numbers without debate. If we want to use the estimates of other scholars, we can pin up to 50 million murders on Stalin, enough to push him to the top of the list regardless of definition. Or we can whittle him down to 10 million murders if we use the low end of the margin of error, and scrounge several more tens of millions for Mao, or away from him.
    So, the answer to the question of “Who is roasting on the hottest fires in Hell?” is “Well, that depends…”)

    The 20 million charged to Stalin is a lot of killing. Notwithstanding, I’m a fan of Mao as the champion killer because the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were planned and therefore deliberatedly. However let assume Stalin is the champion. So you have to compare Catholics against 20 million.

    So, Jharta, my question is: How do you arrived at the conclusion that Catholic church have killed more than 20 million people deliberatedly or not since 20 million is the killing one can assign to Stalin under the criteria aforementioned? A least give your criteria. Don’t think I’m trying to be Jesuitic. On the contrary, I think maybe you are right but only under certain criteria that can be applied to other religions and not only to catholics(religious wars between christians, wars between christian and islam, plague, America’s colonization, Inquisition, restriction to knowledge leading to death, etc). In this latter case you’d be unfair to catholics and whereby, extremely generous with other religions. Do these latter deserve you largesse?


  17. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    wow, eva. i am truly floored by your logic and by the bredth and substance of your valid arguments, substantiated as they are by your many points and counterpoints. Are you quite sure you aren’t a theist?

    whatever you may be, you are living proof that you don’t have to be religious to be a complete and total simpering idiot, and i feel badly for you and any children you may have.

  18. jahra
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:12 pm

    Simbol – i see your point, but quite frankly the actual number of people dead or dying in third-world nations as a direct result of the spread of misinformation and the ban of prophylactic products is almost immaterial – one would have been too many. While these deaths aren’t the result of “murder” in the purest sense of the word, and therefore undeserving of the parallels drawn between the pope and mao, stalin or hitler, the fact does remain that millions died because of what the catholic church did/didn’t do/proclaims as the will of god. how many millions? I don’t claim to know, in actual fact. but i don’t think that the matter of “who’s roasting in the hottest fire in hell” can be addressed, as i don’t believe in hell, for starters, and second of all, i don’t think it’s a simple matter of mathematics. I think that those three candidates are on pretty much equal footing in terms of their crimes, with perhaps hitler taking the lead in a photo finish out of the pure, unadulterated evil with which he carried out the deaths and systematic destruction of an entire race of people – it’s one thing to simply kill someone, it’s quite another to make you watch as ss soldiers riddle your entire family with bullets, then force you to feed them to the ovens one by one and scoop out their ashes.

    And a last word for Eva – I don’t know exactly what i said to piss you off, if for no other reason than the simple fact that you refuse to tell me, or offer any answer above the capacity of a kindergartner crying from a skinned knee on a playground. whatever it is, you can save your pointless barbs and names for others as i do not care what you think. as far as asking herm “what is to be done with this asshole” – well, what makes you think he shares your viewpoint on this? and for that matter, why do you need his help to “deal with me” in the first place? I maintain that while i don’t know you, i know you well enough to know that I don’t like you. but then again, i don’t like anyone who can’t back up their arguments with reason and logic, which is why i’m not a theist in the first place. I WOULD ask you one last time to explain your original statement, but I know fully well that you’d simply ignore it in favor of more yelling, screaming, carrying on and so on and so forth. I think the world in general would be better off without such pointless “debate,” don’t you?

  19. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

    maaaan, jahrta! you shoot from the hip, dontcha? put some thought into your responses…first, you clumped me with theists, then you assume i am making an argument against your posts, theeen, you also assume lucy muff is whatever you think she may be (which she definitely is NOT) and theeeeeen, you insult me by calling me a theist?

    you are not very smart….i mean, yes, you are saying SOME things that anybody here can agree with but you are so hell bent (haha) on wishing that theists die because they believe stupid things…..
    and THAT is foolish….

    simbol: interesting post! ( i understand you are venezuelan, right?)

  20. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

    Simbol – one last thing I neglected to address in my previous posts: no religion deserves my largesse, or anyone else’s for that matter. my goal in focusing upon catholicism wasn’t to ease pressure on any other religion, for in truth all are guilty in some way or another of causing death and devastation in some time period or another. We just got onto the topic of the pope’s cannonization, and I felt the need to vent. as it turns out, the pope is catholic, and violia, you have my statement’s origin. don’t misinterpret my condemnation of catholicism as an open endorsement for any other brand of bullshit on the market. I will say however that I do enjoy our open discussions on these things, as you’re one of the few rational people i’ve come across thus far on this site (that goes for atheists as well as theists). while I might find your arguments to be flawed from time to time, and you mine, at least you make the attempt to back up your viewpoints with facts and offer counterpoints, something I wish more people on here did.

  21. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:29 pm


    I feel compelled to defend myself so here goes…

    Eva, this is what you said ver batim:

    “maaaan, jahrta! you shoot from the hip, dontcha? put some thought into your responses…first, you clumped me with theists, then you assume i am making an argument against your posts, theeen, you also assume lucy muff is whatever you think she may be (which she definitely is NOT) and theeeeeen, you insult me by calling me a theist? you are not very smart….i mean, yes, you are saying SOME things that anybody here can agree with but you are so hell bent (haha) on wishing that theists die because they believe stupid things…..
    and THAT is foolish….”

    How am I to think that you are doing anything BUT making an argument against my post when you call me and my sentiments foolish?

    How can you tell me LucyMuff isn’t a theist? have you ever read the inane crap she’s written on here? and for that matter, how the hell do you claim to know her better than anyone else on here? Are you LM?

    And if you take offense to being called a theist, you may want to quite thinking or acting like one

    And who says i am calling for the death of theists? in case you haven’t noticed, the pope is alerady dead so i think he’s safe from my wrath, and unless you think me capable of procuring his wrinkled corpse to stuff it into a cannon and shoot it into her head – in which case you’re delusional, do not possess the mental capacity to distinguish between reality and fantasy, or are just plain good ol’ fashioned fuckin’ stupid – I think she’s likewise safe from a horrible death at my hands. the only other time i ever talked about killing religious people on here was also CLEARLY a joke, and anyone incapable of understanding that needs to check their diapers.

  22. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:36 pm

    jahrta, you are too aggressive….
    and lucy muff has posted here before, and “she” is an atheist posting as a fundie theist, just to make us laugh…(and she does make me laugh with her absurdities).
    you might be wishing alll this bad things to theists as a joke but, frankly, they are not very funny…
    i think i understand why you are portraying yourself as an aggressive person… are just venting steam! but, also, i think you take a little bit too far….

    you insult in a very nasty way, without provocation. you put people off with your style. i don’t care if you change it, but don’t bitch if i comment on that.

  23. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:48 pm

    Jahrta: “herm, isn’t life better when we are on the same side of an argument?”

    I’m not making an argument. Eva was trying to get you to think about something, and so was I. I could just spell it out for you, but I think it’s better sometimes to point someone in the right direction and let them make the discovery for themselves.

    Another hint: go to wikipedia and do a search on the word “troll.” Then put this description with my previous remarks about Lucy.

    Anyway, I think I read on the forum that Eva is a very, very, bad girl –or at least used to be. And I just can’t help myself: I love bad girls.

  24. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

    Actually, Eva, truth be told you’re not the first person to tell me I can be too harsh, but few things stir my passions as much as denouncing all of this religious crap. I am and always will be anti-pc as much as I am anti-religion, so when you get me going…

    I find it hard to believe that I offend you more by my anti-pc statements than say, oh I don’t know, the raving atheist himself? he has made quite a name for himself by posting articulate, funny and wittily sardonic articles on this site. sometimes he borders on crude but most people understand where he’s coming from. If i actually offended you with my pope cannon, then i’m sorry you were offended, but i’m not sorry i said it. i would recommend that if you’re going to post a comment or read those comments in an open democratic forum that you develop a thicker skin when confronted by something you find objectionable. at the very least don’t degrade yourself by stating that someone is a fool without offering any sort of reasoning behind your claim. As a forum for free-thinking people which embraces the atheist ideology, you of all people should understand the whole “burden of proof” issue.

    And on to LucyMuff…It’s impossible for me to discern between a fundie theist posting their beliefs on here and an atheist posing AS a theist, posting comments that are intended to be ridiculed. this is because one looks exactly like the other. And i wasn’t alone in attacking what LM said – look no further than herm’s evocative comment about the origin of her name. I am relatively new to this site so maybe this is an in-joke?

    At any rate, as I’ve been forced to tell others, you don’t have to agree with me, and i don’t have to agree with you. Society dictates that we tolerate other peoples, and logic dictates that in the modern world, when adults disagree, they are supposed to discuss why that is, other than revert to name calling. I’m guilty of calling you names too, but…well….you started it :P nana-nana-boo-boo!

  25. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:09 pm

    Herm, what exactly do you think eva was trying to say by calling me a fool? Am i supposed to infer from that that a poster isn’t who/what I think s/he is? Am I supposed to automatically take that to mean that whatever post i’m writing a response to was written in jest? like i said, i haven’t been a poster here for very long and maybe this is an in-joke of some sort. Isn’t it equally foolish to publish posts under false pretenses just to get the uninitiated to attack those fake posters? Either which way, when provoked I respond, as witnessed above.

    And I went to wikipedia and looked up trolls like you said. I must admit that aside from the following snippet, I am unclear as to why you sent me there:

    “Another popular image is that of the troll (or giant) that throws large rocks on a church, demonstrating his hatred for Christianity. In Sweden, a large stone lying about seemingly randomly in the country (actually a remnant of the ice age) is called a “j

  26. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:12 pm

    Eva, I know what you mean, but Jahrta is beginning to grow on me. He’s a personification of the maxim that life is a comedy for those who think. I watch a lot of movies, and I can’t help thinking “Naked Lunch” after reading his posts.

    The thing that I enjoy most is that he goes from sentence to sentence sounding at one moment like a right-wing Christian neocon Rush Limbaugh ditto-head, and the next like a left-wing anti-Christian Howard Zinn student. I think it’a an internet disease. People –including me– say things on here they’d never say aloud to someone else. With Jahrta it’s like every raw thought is transmitted directly to his keyboard with no filtering.

  27. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

    …you sounded so much calmer now…..thank you for that…
    however, my skin is plenty thick, and i was never offended by your posts……i just tried to warn you, because sometimes, you really really came out like a fool.
    i was only helping you….i’m not as bad as i think, maybe….(really, herm)

    sorry to break it to you but this forum, though relatively open, is not democratic.
    as to the lucy issue:yes, she is a joke….maybe you should laugh about it now…….after you went for her jugular….come on, how can a fundie theist have Lucy Muff as her nick? ho-ly jeebus in the sky, jahrta!

    and i don’t know if all “societies dictate that we tolerate other peoples”….that would be nice, of course…..but you don’t come off as if you do….

    so, to close, i’m glad your tone in your last post was so very incredibly much calmer.

  28. Lucy Muff
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:26 pm

    Jahrta, calm down, it was a joke. I thought everyone was onto me by now.

    Perhaps this will finally convince you that “at long last JP2 must get all respects”……

  29. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:28 pm

    ah, i forgot to address this: TRA can bitch and rant in any way, matter or form he desires. it’s his blog. however, he comes off as an elegant raconteur of the foolishness he sees in religionism.
    elegance, that word should give you a clue…..
    you know, jahrta, you are growing on me too….(herm, you hit the nail in the head in post 26…..his darkest wishes and desires just come bubbling forth in such an amazing way! wow…). down here we say that you can tell a person to go fuck him or herself in such an elegant way, that it barely seems like an insult. but the message is still clear. there’s a particular style you need to achieve to be able to do that. elegance, culture and self-control is key to that. i think TRA has that style down pat. ergo his many readers. (and i’m not sucking up)

    and, again, i see the improvement…..

  30. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

    Jahrta, you’re killing me. Granted, I didn’t start at wikipedia myself, but I suggested you go there directly. When I did my search I just typed “troll definition” on yahoo, and got the following hit:

    “In the context of Internet discussions, a troll refers to a person who makes inflammatory or hostile comments, which by effect or design cause disruptions in discourse. Such individuals may have a sociological disorder, which is expressed through the Internet platform, or may simply be mischievous

  31. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    Eva, I meant bad in a good way. Not BAD necessarily as in merely excellent, but baaad as in interesting. I’ve never met a “good” girl who was interesting.

  32. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

    heya herm

    i think you mistake my tone and political beliefs as being an inconsistent blending of right wing and left. i state no allegiance to either, but rather form opinions on things as they pop up. I am a student of no one particular school of thought, although I did attend brandeis, one of the most liberal institutions in the nation. while there I wrote articles for and served as art director for a decidedly right-wing magazine called “freedome magazine” and while in publication was the stuff of legends, in terms of the shitstorms we’d conjure up. it was intended to be an open forum – we’d publish just about anything even if it stood in stark contrast to the views of the staff members. quite often i would find myself on the opposite side of the fence in terms to what the managing editors were writing, but when they wrote their opinons they were careful to include as much factually-based information as possible, with references included. I relegated myself to topical non-political humorous pieces as I have never found my way to the proverbial soap-box before finding this site.

    So here goes: in terms of political matters as they pertain to the topics addressed on this site, I consider myself the following:

    1.) pro-choice
    2.)pro death penalty (in cases where guilt has been confirmed undeniably – up for debate I suppose – and when the crime is especially heinous, with no possibility the perpetrator can learn from it or change his/her ways)
    3.) anti-bush/anti-theist/anti-repression
    4.)pro-secularity (big surprise there)

    I also place great value in the importance of being able to take a step back and laugh, and in that respect I did take a step back and i found that I was laughing at myself.

    Eva – when i attacked you i did so because I felt you were attacking me, instead of taking your original comment in the spirit in which it was intended, for reasons I have already stated. Generally speaking, when I feel that way I bare my teeth and let whoever pissed me off know how I feel. So are we ok now? I can be calm, too. Just takes a minute for the earl grey to hit my system.

  33. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:48 pm can be tricky…..hahahahaha…..
    (yes herm, i know what you mean……..i took it the best way posible….)
    i don’t know…..maybe i’m bad in a good way….
    and the day i’m boring (or bored) is the day i should go meet my maker…..’cause it would supremely suck….big time….
    and you see? Lucy is baaaaaaaack! she did not die after the attack…..glad to see she is ok….

    but jahrta is gone…..sniff…..

    no irony there.

  34. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:53 pm

    ok i see what you mean about trolls now. see? I never heard that term used like that before so you can understand my confusion. did you like that anti-christian troll comment i found? trolls are interesting people.

    Maybe i do harbor dark desires to see the world rid of religious folks (not that i’d act on it), but that’s truly because i do see an eventual conflict in this nation between fundies and “non-believers” and i just hope we win. While they outnumber us greatly, they’ll probably start with one another before they ever get to us….muslim vs. xtian vs. (insert rival sect of christianity here X 3,000) vs. jew…a return to the dark ages (did we ever emerge from it in the first place?)

    I’d much rather everyone just learned to live in peace and keep their bullshit religious views out of politics, education, the arts, and everything non-religious (or at least everything that was never intended to be religious)

    so, as a last question, am i really growing on you or are you just saying that to mock me? inquiring minds want to know.

    *sally fields impressions warning* “you LIKE me! You REALLY LIKE me!” *end sally fields impression*

  35. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    yeah, we like to hold on to our fellow atheists like gum to the sole of a shoe…..or like grime to a fingernail?
    dang it, this spanish sayings don’t translate very well…..
    you see, we are not that many….

    and yes, to me you have…..once you don’t sound like the atheistic version of ann coulter on speed, you are just fine.

    welcome, jahrta!

    (disclaimer: i’m moderator in the TRA Forums….)

  36. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    when there are so many “true xtians” on here willing to make asses of themselves (read: frank), why do people feel the need to come here under false pretenses and post troll-like comments? :)

    isn’t this equivlent to a straight man pretending to be a hot blonde chick on a MUD talker?

    not…that…I’ve ever….um………..


  37. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:02 pm

    HA! it’s funny you mention ann coulter (should i even tell you this?) while writing for freedom magazine, the founder had us meet with, and later eat with her. I sat right next to her and gabbed. Her ex boyfriend is from the same tiny connecticut town in which i grew up (wilton). she’s not a bad gal once you get her off the politics. great legs too :)

  38. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

    the same guy also got charlten heston to come gie a speech at brandeis. i went to see him because a.) i had an in with the magazine, and b.) it’s charlten freakin’ heston! the craziest gun-totin’ varmint this side of yosemite sam! but all kidding aside he gave a great speech and was, all things considered, pretty convincing. a small demonstration massed outside of the hall, and heston himself invited them to come in and listen. none of them did. they preferred to sit outside and hold signs. oh well. i’ve never been one for the NRA but i’ll generally hear anyone out on their point, if they have one to make. follow this link for a story about the heston visit:

  39. Eva
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

    come on, frank is not that bad…..i think he does pretty good here, and has earned the respect of a lot of us….actually, we also hold on to the franks, because they make for great discussions here….challenging, if you want….
    the thumpers are fun, too, but in a different manner….

    and re: coulter……so, you did not puke…..because she has nice legs?


    gotta feed the baby, be back in a while….(yes, take BACK what you said about me breeding…he is an atheist, since birth! [like everybody else, hehe])

  40. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:16 pm

    here’s a ver batim transcript of what was said at the heston speech:

    at the time the wording didn’t bother me so much. I made a shift to atheism during the year after hearing this speech. Now i find it overtly religious and intractable from dogmatic tripe, but i went first and foremost to see a great actor for whom i held a lot of respect, not the “president of the NRA”

  41. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    while i no longer agree with he vast majority of what coulter expouses, I still found her company to be quite captivating. she was very charismatic, and the leg thing was a nice bonus. Bryan – the guy in charge of the mag, thinks she was “checking me out” but i HIGHLY doubt it. Oh, if you want to see about him (he’s been in the news quite a bit over the years due to his stance on things like gay marriage and whatnot) do a search for Bryan Rudnick and see what you get. Despite our vastly different views on just about everything political, we are still good friends – so i know it’s possible to coexsist with theists without everything coming to blows. although I think he now falls into the neocon classification. oh well – one more to the dark side.

    and eva, i take back what i said about your young’n – one more atheist born to reason and logic! huzzah!

  42. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:24 pm

    And no, Frank isn’t “bad” per se, but he DOES seem sort of foolish for his perpetual never-ending battle to make us “see the light” and drop our claims that religion, and in his case christianity in particular, is nothing more than superstitious bunk that deserves no respect from intelligent, enlightened people.

    frank seems like the kind of theist i’d prefer to hang out with as opposed to his fundie god-freak bastard cousins.
    In a world in which we’d be forced to live side-by-side with theists, they should all be like frank.

  43. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

    Jarhta, I’m not particularly interested in ideology. I have more respect for a principled person I completely disagree with than I do for an ideologue who agrees with me. For instance, I have no problem with Clinton being a draft-dodger (kind of admire it, actually), but I have no respect for a draft-dodger that bombs aspirin factories. Conversely, I had no problem with someone disparaging Clinton for being a draft-dodger, but no respect for someone who did so and pretends Bush isn’t a draft-dodger. I have nothing but absolute contempt for these modern tribalists who only think something is wrong or bad when it’s done by someone in another tribe.

    To say that you’re pro-choice, pro-death penalty, anti-Bush, anti-theist, anti-repression, and pro-secularity doesn’t mean much to me. Not only because one man’s “repression” is another man’s “law-and-order,” but because, for instance, pro-choice, or anti-theist, doesn’t tell me how you will react to a specific situation. The devil, as they say, is in the details. John Ashcroft would undoubtely characterize himself as “anti-repression,” but he probably could have served either Hitler, Stalin, or Mao without batting an eye, because, more than anything else, he’s an opportunist.

    Jahrta: “she’s not a bad gal once you get her off the politics. great legs too :)”

    I’m like Eva, I tend to cut atheists more slack because we’re in the minority. But come on. These are the two most wrong-headed comments you’ve ever made on here. 1. “great legs” –my God, she looks anorexic or bulimic to me. To make a very vulgar, sexist remark –I wouldn’t fuck her with your dick (not even with a bag over her head) –but then, I prefer real women, like J Lo, to these little Barbie Doll wannabees. 2. Saying she’s not a bad gal once you get her off the politics is like saying Hitler wasn’t a bad guy when he wasn’t killing Jews (AND he loved his dog, Blondie); or one-on-one, Pol-Pot is a real sweetie. This lying low-life opportunistic bitch is one of the most vicious demagogues in the entire country. What’s more, she is a major facilitator of would-be fundamentalist theocrats. If atheists were tried for treason to other atheists you’d be due that death penalty you support –for consorting with the enemy.

  44. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:36 pm

    Jahrta, it’s character dude, not ideology or religion, that matters. If you can’t differentiate the astounding differences in character between Charlie Heston and the lying Coulter bitch, you’re in serious danger of falling for anyone with legs you like, or a good line of bullshit. One suspects that if you were female you’d be a very easy lay.

  45. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

    well herm if you want to talk preferences in women, i don’t really go for “skinny” either. i guess maybe she’s lost weight in recent years. she does look skeletal these days. at the time though she had what i would consider a better figure. i prefer my women curvy, and it sounds like you do too. not that any of this matters. i’ve stated my views unequivocally for all to see so I don’t need to reiterate them. that having been said, i don’t agree with what coulter spouts, but likening a right-wing mouthpiece you despise to hitler, pol pot or mao doesn’t just represent a skewed view of reality, it smacks of disrespect for the people who actually suffered and died under the regime of those evil people, trivializing their ordeal to the point of caricature.

    from your other posts, it seems rather off-color and hot-headed. I could see myself agreeing to a parallel between bush and hitler, as bush has actually killed people and caused them to suffer, both foreign and domestic.

    would i sit and eat with her nowadays? my principles would preclude me from doing so, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to be rude, either.

  46. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:42 pm

    herm – even then (ten years ago) i didn’t agree with coulter, but i still managed to enjoy her company when we were talking about random non-political stuff. i’m sorry if you have a problem with me hanging out with someone famous when i was a junior in college. i don’t agree with people based solely on physical attraction now, and I sure as hell didn’t then. all i did was eat and gab. the comment on the legs was supposed to be taken as a joke. when was the last time you laughed dude? i recommend some lenny bruce, or maybe even billy connelly – that guy cracks me up.

  47. Jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

    at any rate we should probably both stop blogging before we both lose our jobs ;P

  48. jahrta
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

    And how can you pass judgement on someone for perceived acts of treason against a group one had not yet joined at the time of the alleged offense? Also don’t forget that I was NOT by any stretch of the imagination a politically-minded person when I met her, and as such had little if any exposure to her views. I had to be told who she was before we met with her as I had never heard of her before that day. it was still interesting to meet someone who so many people around me were so interested to meet. it was because i knew nothing about her that i was able to enjoy her company. like i said before, now it would be a much different story.

  49. St. Teabag
    May 19th, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

    Come on now Herm, don’t compare me with Lucy Muff. Despite our sobriquets we are in fact quite different.

    As for Coulter, well, let her own words be your guide:

    “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”—Hannity & Colmes, 6/20/01

    The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient”—syndicated column 10/29/99

    To a disabled Vietnam vet: “People like you caused us to lose that war.”—MSNBC

    “Women like Pamela Harriman and Patricia Duff are basically Anna Nicole Smith from the waist down. Let’s just call it for what it is. They’re whores.”— 11/16/00

    Juan Gonzales is “Cuba’s answer to Joey Buttafuoco,” a “miscreant,” “sperm-donor,” and a “poor man’s Hugh Hefner.”—Rivera Live 5/1/00

    On Princess Diana’s death: “Her children knew she’s sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it’s the definition of ‘not a good mother.’ … Is everyone just saying here that it’s okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children?”…”[Diana is] an ordinary and pathetic and confessional – I’ve never had bulimia! I’ve never had an affair! I’ve never had a divorce! So I don’t think she’s better than I am.”—MSNBC 9/12/97

    “I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote.”—Hannity & Colmes, 8/17/99

    “I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote.”—Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01

    “If you don’t hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country.”—George, 7/99

    “We’re now at the point that it’s beyond whether or not this guy is a horny hick. I really think it’s a question of his mental stability. He really could be a lunatic. I think it is a rational question for Americans to ask whether their president is insane.”—Equal Time

    “It’s enough [to be impeached] for the president to be a pervert.”—The Case Against Bill Clinton, Coulter’s 1998 book.

    “Clinton is in love with the erect penis.”—This Evening with Judith Regan, Fox News Channel 2/6/00

    “I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don’t need any more.” Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, “Well, before the New Deal…[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start.”—Politically Incorrect 5/7/97

    “If they have the one innocent person who has ever to be put to death this century out of over 7,000, you probably will get a good movie deal out of it.”—MSNBC 7/27/97

    “If those kids had been carrying guns they would have gunned down this one [child] gunman. … Don’t pray. Learn to use guns.”—Politically Incorrect, 12/18/97

    “The presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail.”—Hannity & Colmes 8/24/01

    “I have to say I’m all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the ‘hood to be flogged publicly.”—MSNBC 3/22/97

    “Originally, I was the only female with long blonde hair. Now, they all have long blonde hair.”— 6/6/00

    “I am emboldened by my looks to say things Republican men wouldn’t.”—TV Guide 8/97

    “Let’s say I go out every night, I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I’m not married.”—Rivera Live 6/7/00

    “Anorexics never have boyfriends. … That’s one way to know you don’t have anorexia, if you have a boyfriend.”—Politically Incorrect 7/21/97

    “I think [Whitewater]’s going to prevent the First Lady from running for Senate.”—Rivera Live 3/12/99

    “My track record is pretty good on predictions.”—Rivera Live 12/8/98

    “The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals.”—Washington Post 8/1/00

    On Rep. Christopher Shays (d-CT) in deciding whether to run against him as a Libertarian candidate: “I really want to hurt him. I want him to feel pain.”—Hartford Courant 6/25/99

    “The swing voters—I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don’t have set philosophical principles. You’re either a liberal or you’re a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster. “—Beyond the News, Fox News Channel, 6/4/00

    “My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that’s because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”—MSNBC 2/8/97

    “You want to be careful not to become just a blowhard.”—Washington Post 10/16/98

  50. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    Jahrta, you misunderstood my analogy if you think I was comparing Coulter to Hitler or Stalin. They would have chewed this lightweight little bitch up and spat her out. I also don’t compare the Chimp to Hitler (though I do think one can make an apt comparison between Rove and Goebbels). There are plenty of differences, but for one thing, Hilter was a leader, the Chimp is just a puppet.

    My point was only that even someone as vile as Hitler can be personable when they’re not being evil. I could have compared her to another well known personable figure, like Ted Bundy. I’m not equating what is evil about them, but what is banal. What someone like Coulter does privately is irrelevant, it’s what she does publically that matters –just like it doesn’t matter that Hitler loved his dog or Stalin had a son. The best thing you can say about Coulter is that she doesn’t believe her own bullshit and it’s all just a pose for the rubes. But then, what does that say about her character?

  51. St. Teabag
    May 19th, 2005 @ 5:13 pm

    This has the ring of truth about it

  52. hermesten
    May 19th, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

    Teabag, someone left a comment that captured the look I wanted to describe for Ann: “she looks like a tranny on a bad hair day.”

    But thanks for the link. I made lots of copies to pass out for career day at my son’s elementary school.

  53. St. Teabag
    May 19th, 2005 @ 6:02 pm

    Hermesten ha ha, yes, a bit mean on the tranny’s (some of them look distirbungly good. Yikes!) but a good one nevertheless.

    I don’t quite get this one:

    “I am emboldened by my looks to say things Republican men wouldn’t.”—TV Guide 8/97

    Perhaps she means that with a face like that she has nothng to lose so she can say whatever she likes.

  54. boywonder
    May 19th, 2005 @ 8:32 pm

    Damn. How could this conversation go so horribly wrong as to get wrapped up talking about Ann Coulter? I hate that bitch and her propaganda. And maybe I would consider looking at her legs if I wasn’t busy bashing my skull in to stop from hearing the insane bullshit that pours out of that woman’s disturbing pie-hole. God, please do me a favor and strike her dead right here right now. Come on guys, stop wasting valuable minutes of your lives talking about her. Your time is more precious than that. Ofcourse anything is more precious than that lifeless husk of a human.

  55. boywonder
    May 19th, 2005 @ 9:54 pm

    I will admit I learned a little about trolls, though. I never knew they didn’t like christians. I just thought they ate you if you walked over their bridges.

  56. Jahrta
    May 20th, 2005 @ 10:25 am

    i agree with what you said about what matters being what is said in public, not in private behind closed doors. that being the case, you should take pleasure in the knowledge that this was a highly democratic area (Waltham, MA) and that the waiter recognized her, and most likely, being that he was obviously a gay man, didn’t exactly see “eye to eye” with ms. coulter on a great many things. one can only wonder what was REALLY in her food when it arrived at the table.

    In case there’s any lingering confusion about my view of her after taking the time in the years since to get to know her political stance, let me just say that i stand on the compelte opposite side of the proverbial fence. the only possible link between us is that I am a supporter of the death penalty for violent criminals in cases where the burden of evidence is undeniable, especially for repeat offenders for whom rehabilitation is not an option. I’d be happy to discuss my stance on that point if anyone cares to address it in a civil manner. I’ve heard all of the arguments against it and still believe that i have a valid point or two myself.

    at any rate, yes, coulter is an evil bitch monster from hell, but at the time i met her i didn’t know any of that.

    and to answer your question, herm – most guys are easy lays. me? i’m married, so i get it whenever i feel like it :)

    later guys/gals

  57. DamnRight
    May 25th, 2005 @ 10:12 am

    Thanks for the Coulter quotes… she’s starting to grow on me… I like anyone willing to put their thoughts out for others to criticize… Jahrta also has my kudos for doing just that (I’ve been fooled by Lucy before)… don’t become like those you hate… freedom of expression is to be embraced… not just those you agree with…

  58. hermesten
    May 27th, 2005 @ 11:51 am

    DamnRIght: “I like anyone willing to put their thoughts out for others to criticize….”

    I think you glorify some of the garbage flowing from this demagogue when you call it “thoughts.” Remarks like this: “If you don’t hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country.” aren’t really “thoughts” in the sense you suggest. And though on one level –certainly not the one intended– I actually tend to agree somewhat with this remark, it’s merely a covert promotion of Bush, not a critical assessment of the Clinton administration. It’s just more subtle than the usual conservative diatribe that republicans are patriots and democrats are traitors. It is intended to suppress debate, not encourage it. It is a direct appeal to emotion intended to short-circuit the critical faculties. It’s supposed to piss off democrats and make republicans feel good, not make anyone think.

    The problem with Coulter, as with other demagogues, isn’t what she thinks, but how she expresses herself. These people aren’t out to stimulate debate or critical thinking, they are out to substitute emotion in it’s place.

  59. boywonder
    May 29th, 2005 @ 6:43 pm

    Hermesten, Why are people like Coulter or Limbaugh allowed to substitute emotion in the place of debate? I know most Americans are stupid, and don’t know the difference. But when did it become acceptable among intellects to debate these people? How do the hatemongers receive so much credit? I don’t believe the “Liberals are pussies” or “The owners of the media giants have an evil conservative agenda” diatribe either. Was I asleep the moment America lost its ability to seperate news or argument from complete and utter nonsense? The stuff the Hanitys and O’Reillys of our country spew is complete bullshit to anyone with an I.Q. above borderline retardation. You don’t have to stupid and be an asshole. Why does America suffer from too many of the stupid kind of people that have to scream their idiocy as loud and confidently as they can?

  60. hermesten
    May 30th, 2005 @ 7:14 pm

    Boywonder, I think the short answer is greed and stupidity. Mencken said no one ever went broke understimating the intelligence of the American public. The demogogues and propagandists like Limbaugh and O’Reilly exist because most people are stupid and everyone is bigoted –many people dangerously so. In the movie “The Waking Life” it is said that the average person is closer to an ape than they are to an Einstein, and whether this is scientifically true or not, I think it strikes a chord metaphorically.

    For the most part, I don’t think there is really any “news” or “argument” in the mass media (particularly television). As someone smarter than me said: “news” is what someone doesn’t want you to hear, the rest is advertising. Supposedly, about 80% of what is broadcast as “news” is straight press releases from PR firms and government agencies. And this doesn’t even consider the fact that much of the “news” is outright advertising, such as the promotion of the latest Hollywood crapfest via interviews, “reviews,” the reporting of box office totals, etc, etc, etc.

    “You don’t have to stupid and be an asshole. ”

    I would suggest that assholeness and intelligence are highly correlated. That you pretty much have to be smart to be an asshole. How many “mentally challenged” assholes have you ever met? Forrest Gumps aren’t assholes. O’Reilly couldn’t pull it off if he was stupid. Demogogues are smart, just opportunistic and amoral.

    On the other side of the equation, it’s cheap to produce something like the O’Reilly show. No sets, no paid guests, no travel expenses, just a talking head pushing emotional buttons. To get real news and information is expensive. Press releases are free and most of the work is already done, so the most efficient way to deliver “news” today is to regurgitate a press release.

    Even simplyfing to the point I have, my post is pretty long. And that’s another reason you don’t see real debate: it’s boring to people with five minute attention spans, which is at least a partial product of conditioning by extensive exposure to television and not just another way of saying people are stupid.

    In the documentary “The Corporation” an advertising executive explains how the social sciences have been used to determine just how to pitch products on TV to children so that they will nag their parents to get them. They can even quantify the amount of revenue produced from a given amount of nagging, and just what advertising will produce it. This kind of pitch to young children actually affects their mental development. Asked if this practice was ethical, this fine young woman responded: “I don’t know, but it works.” This perhaps, is the real answer to your question.

  61. simbol
    May 30th, 2005 @ 8:32 pm


    Post your recommendation when you watch a good movie. I’m waiting The Downfall, even when a little tired about IIWW and Hitler.

  62. hermesten
    May 30th, 2005 @ 10:09 pm

    Simbol, the documentary I mentioned, “The Corporation” is worth a look. I’m fascinated by the period, but I think Downfall is excellent. It may even surpass one of my all time favorite German movies: Das Boot –the best submarine movie ever made (not another one that even comes close).

    I think the best, and certainly the most innovative, cinema at the moment comes from outside the US. Amores Perros, Talk to Her, Sex and Lucia, in the last few years for example, from Mexico and Spain. Raise the Red Lantern and Not One Less from China. More recently, Oldboy from Korea. The Twilight Samurai from Japan. But I’m also catching up on a lot of older movies. Anything by Bunuel, as it comes out on DVD. I love The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie. I love Tarkovsky, especially Solaris and Stalker. And of course, Kieslowski’s The Three Colors Trilogy and The Decalogue.

    There’s lots more if you’re interested.

  63. Lucy Muff
    May 30th, 2005 @ 10:43 pm

    I reccomend reading bible for enlightenment

  64. hermesten
    May 31st, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    I recommend the Bible as a soporific.

  65. hermesten
    May 31st, 2005 @ 12:02 am

    Oh, and Simbol, I also like the atheism of “Our Lady of the Assassins.”

  66. simbol
    May 31st, 2005 @ 12:31 am


    In fact I tried to watch The passion of the Christ, but I couldn’t stand it for more than 10 minutes. Not because the excess of ketchup, but because our lord Jesus deserves a better
    work than that sloppy one made by the Gibson family.


    Thanks. I agree on Das Boot, I have watched it twice or thrice, and I’ll use your recommendations. I have watched some of the movies as those of Bu

  67. hermesten
    May 31st, 2005 @ 1:12 am

    Simbol, that’s an interesting point about the Russians. The Germans have exposed their monsters. The Japanese have exposed monsters to some extent in literature (Murakami at least), but I haven’t seen it in their movies. You can see some of the excesses of the cultural revolution in movies from China like Farewell My Concubine and The Blue Kite. I’ve even seen one from Cuba that was rather candid about life under Castro –Guantanamera. And I saw a Korean war movie from Korea –Tae Guk Gi– that was suprisingly frank about South Korean war crimes, but I have yet to see anything from Russia that deals honestly with the crimes of Stalin.

    A couple more recommendations: Crimson Gold, an Iranian movie that will give you a look at the people most likely to be next on the receiving end of American bombs, and Osama, an interesting look at the Taliban in Afghanistan. And it’s an old one, but there is no better military satire than Dr. Strangelove.

  68. hermesten
    May 31st, 2005 @ 1:29 am

    Simbol, on Kurosawa: I haven’t seen everything yet, but so far I like his non-samurai movies, like Ikiru and Red Beard, the best. Have you looked at Ozu –Story of Floating Weeds, or Tokyo Story? Some of the Japanese Anime is good, like Grave of the Fireflies and Our Neighbor Totoro and Porco Rosso. More from China: Wong Kar Wai –Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, and 2046; Yi Yi by Edward Yang; and Xiu Xiu The Sent Down Girl by Joan Chen.

    And it’s not an exposure of Soviet monsters, but Milos Foreman’s The Fireman’s Ball (done before he left eastern europe) is an interesting look at life under communism. Fritz Lang’s “M” is an interesting look at proto-Nazi Germany.

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