Monday, May 12

Fox's Subliminal Message

Not that I need any more proof of Fox's bias, but I find it amusing.

Thursday, May 8

Why My Former Pastor's Family Is Great

  1. After getting fired, they volunteered to help find a replacement
  2. They color coordinate cups to save water
  3. One is writing a book
  4. Their cat loves me (and everyone)
  5. They sing and dance even if they don't know the song
  6. They have a wood burning stove
  7. They all love hugging
  8. They're humble
  9. We separated for 18 years and randomly met later
  10. They have a car that runs on used veggie oil

Tuesday, May 6

Myth defined

Sometimes I write a long email and feel bad that I've put so much energy into writing something for one person. So I thought I'd paste it here for a couple others to profit:
The semantics of "myth" greatly depend on whom you ask. And depending on how it's define, I'm either greatly interested or totally apathetic. The layman meaning of course is something like "a widely believed but false idea." Your assumed meaning is less common, but well still widely accepted. When Bultmann talks about myth, he's referring to something like what you described. Now my view of language is that a word doesn't have some absolute meaning that is objective. What's important is to be aware of the ascribed definition and the definition you ascribe yourself. All that to say I don't think my own definition is more correct than Bultmann's or Jane Doe's, but I recognize it's different and there's simply no other word for this meaning.

I've tried to keep my definition of myth close to that of authors, especially Joseph Campbell, if only so we can talk about the same concept. Namely, "a story seeking to communicate profound truth." However, the definition, like any particular myth, is better communicated as a story rather than plain discussion. In all my reading, I have yet to find any respectable author give a definition of myth. So I guess that means I'm not respectable! Historicity is definitely irrelevant. Myths typically succeed in communicating truth, but not always; racism, for instance, utilizes myth. This idea is consistent with the definition of such Christian writers who value myth like Mircea Eliade, Tolkien, Andrew Greely, and CS Lewis.

Historicity has no offect on myths. Historicity does not increase or decrease either the effectiveness or truth of a myth. Eg, The Prodigal Son is a myth and would be exactly the same whether or not an actual a son was eating from a pig's trough.

Because the definition of myth is both controversial and nuanced, it's hard for me to gauge Smith's idea without context. I will say that in my definition of myth, myth is not grounded on reason and has nothing to do with science whatsoever. Myth is thoroughly subjective. Eg, one myth (which spans all three definitions) is that in evolution, man evolved from monkeys. No evolutionary scientist would say that - they'd say we evolved from a predecessor of apes but the myth persists strongly because of its subjective strengths.

So that's what happens when you bring up myth with me. : )

Monday, May 5

The Emperor's New Gender-Clothes

I read an interesting analogy of how trans people trying to pass are like the delusional Emperor walking around naked expecting everyone to follow his delusion. That's a faulty but very interesting comparison.

The essence of this myth is that people will believe anything to avoid the shame of their peers. If you're noble, you'll see the clothes. Or, if you're tolerant, you'll see my sex. The problem with the original comparison is the classic confusion between sex and gender. The only people showing off their sex is your lover, nudists, and the occasional female celeb craving attention. The gender analogy should be, if you're a man or a woman, you'll see my sex.

Combining sex and gender, the gender-trickster, tells us to dress up in the sex (female or male, vagina or penis) it has prepared for us. Hike up your dress, prop up your breasts, attach some earings so that everyone can appreciate your beautiful vagina. Put on your suit, your loafers, cut your hair short, and don't forget your phallic tie; everyone will see your penis. Our common sense might say, "If I wear clothes, how will people see through to my sex?" "No," the trickster says, "your clothes, your gender, that is your sex. Everyone knows that. Well, every woman and every man knows that. You are a real woman or man!?" "Of course!" We reply and tremble at having our sex challenged for only a moment and that's the last we hear of our common sense.

Then we got waltz around in our in gender-clothes acting as if all the while we are showing off our genitals to the world. "Do you like my shoes? Aren't they feminine? I mean, vulva-like?" And not only does no one say anything, they join the march of our delusion. "Yes! The heel looks just like a clitoris!" For we are all emperors desperately afraid of losing the majesty bestowed by each other that hangs by the thread of our gender-clothes. Nobody gets anywhere in this world without a gender. So we pretend gender doesn't matter, it's invisible, it's equivalent to our sex.

Children have the advantage of innocence and ignorance from trickster and they can see what everyone else is afraid of seeing. When a girl hates to wear dresses or a boy loves pink it's because they haven't learned the important of gender-clothes yet. Their disadvantage is that adults don't believe them. Here's the kicker; what Hans Christian Anderson had the guts to say but we often don't tell our children: the Emperor always keeps walking and the trickster isn't punished. I've seen it occasionally when a child like myself is able to break someone out of their gender for a moment; but the pressure of a thousand emperors is too great and they always jump back into the parade.

So whenever you see someone walking around with the standard gender-defender uniform, especially the wannabe women swinging their hips and propping their bosoms and the wannabe men spreading their legs wide to invite your gaze to their crotch, realize they're nudists hoping their gender-clothes are invisible to you.

Misc

Wonderful element of Orthodox Paschal liturgy: "He has trampled death by death and to those in the tombs is granting life." I had this imagery of an icon of the earth sliced, with Hades below and the surface above. Jesus is sowing vines in Hades which grow up and sprout in Golgotha above.

Christians' favorite pharoah, Akhenaten, was trans.

I won Solitaire on a Windows 95 computer yesterday and it was awesome. The program hasn't changed in a decade, yet the original is somehow clearly superior.

Kate Bornstein: "Transphobia and misogyny are not related. They are the same."

Thursday, May 1

Racist America

Obama doesn't speak in ebonics. He's not poor. Affirmative action didn't make him a bestselling author. He didn't grown up in a fatherless home nor do his own kids; he's not athletic, at least if his bowling is typical; he's neither tall, muscled, and intimdating or fat, whimsicle, and cheery; he didn't grown up in an urban ghetto or the Confederate South, isn't obsessed with violence, watermelon, chicken, hot sauce, hiphop, basketball, jazz, blues, yelling, religion, alchohol, crack, bling, or Nike. He's not even a whitified black man with khakis and dreads. I don't know a single black thing about him.

Racism isn't gone in America, it's just silent and ignored. When a sin goes silent and ignored, it doesn't heal like whites want to believe, it only festers and manifests itself quietly. The racial status quo in America is something like this: blacks and white are equal, integration is good but should come slowly, and no one should talk about any of this. Like all things, the status quo was set by those in power: Whites.

At first, Obama only violated the status quo by integrating too quickly. One or two hundred years from now and when 25% or so congress members are black and then a black president would be ok. Now the media got riled about this, as well as Clinton's vagina, but there wasn't anything to say except marvel at his melanin. Everyone had their hands tied because Obama escaped the negative (and positive) stereotypes so their was nothing rational to say. Yet on NPR, a listener called in to say he couldn't explain it, but he just would not vote for a black person. But most people like that at least quarantine themselves in their beloved silence. I wonder how many people sit in that prison. Yet Obama is still dangerous. Societies tend to see their societal system as pivotal to survival and when a group threatens their very survival, everything else, even common sense, becomes impractical. But Obama wouldn't bring mass hysteria if he didn't upset the status quo and thus avoid racism.

Jeremiah Wright, however, felt no need to tiptoe. That is his sin. Wright believes, as I do, that anyone who supports America's racial status quo of segregation or silence is racist. Wright has put a knife to the neck of those people simply by speaking. His yelling helps.

So this is Obama's one black stereotype: his pastor.

Wright, like Martin Luther King, refuses to play the stealth game. Racism doesn't go away just because one generation stops talking or because a few laws change. Racism will never die until Whites, and Blacks, stop profitting from it. Until fast food, janitors, thug hiphop, and soldiers stop becoming the vocation of Blacks and Whites get out of the dirty work, racism won't die. And that won't happen until, possibly, several centuries of ignorance go by or we until start dialoguing. But likewise, until brimstone sermons about God and America stop securing Wright's parish, racism still won't die.

The media wants to say it's about God punishing America. They're lying. They're probably lying to themselves. That's the shell; the meat is "Blacks, with God's blessing, will punish White America for their sin." And that's true. Its truth is why it scares the shit of out of Whites. When Harold Washington, the first white mayor of a racist Chicago, took office and he made Chicago government "Fairer than Fair." "Fair" is great for Blacks, but Whites are spoiled with better treatment. More importantly, Whites will have to face their continuing, silent racism. They'll have to face their ignorance. People are proven happier when they're around people worse off than themselves which is where Whites have lived in this country. Being equal is a political word for average, and we hate feeling average.

Lots of Christians preach about God punishing their own nation for its sins. 9/11, Katrina, floods, fires, and anything you could think of. It's downright Biblical! Every prophet, Jesus included, condemned Israel and expected God's wrath. And every one of those preachers endorsed Bush. And every media network saw no problem there. John Hagee, with more layers of hell than Dante, and McCain love each other and McCain be damned if Herald of Doom Pat Robertson doesn't support him by November. Maybe the media is too conservative and maybe they're puppets, but that's not why ignore the White prophets and condemn the Black. The media is racist. Religious hatred is only newsworthy when you can attach it to someone you hate, like terrorists, the KKK, or blacks. The media keeps saying that Americans are being prompted by race in this election and they're right. I am appalled that this is the way the dialogue begins.

Most people reading this are white as am I. They're also wealthy, heterosexual, and the women are in a generation blessed by feminism and post-feminism. It's not "fair," but most don't get it. And while my not-straightness helps me, I struggle with racism as well and that's why I talk about it.

Update: Apparently someone at the New York Times agrees, if only more politically correct.