Saturday, March 31, 2007

A profoundly pro-Christian work of art

The blog Cosmic Variance discusses the new milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus (author's hyperlink):
The Catholic League is up in arms about Cosimo Cavallaro’s milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, naked on the cross, titled “My Sweet Lord”.

Personally, I’m offended for two reasons. First, this is gratuitous use of delicious chocolate that could otherwise be savored with espresso, milk or champagne. I wish sculptors would stick to making religious artwork out of things that aren’t so tasty (the virgin Mary partially made out of elephant dung from a few years ago is a fine example).

Secondly, I’m offended that Catholic League head Bill Donohue called the sculpture
“one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever”.
Really? More of an insult to the supposed Christian ideal of loving one’s brother than the homophobic attitude of the church? More of an insult than the rampant and systematic sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic priests? More of an insult than the poverty and disease exacerbated by the church’s absurd stances on abortion and birth control, particularly in the third world? Somebody needs a new priority list.
In answer to the first offended sensibility, the true connoisseur of art should certainly believe that art, and especially the best art, delivers an aesthetic experience that is worth a certain amount of sacrifice.

In answer to the second offended sensibility, I find it odd that Cosmic Variance hasn't noticed that this is an explicitly pro-Christian work of art.

One of the ways that ideologies win adherents is by "hacking" into rival ideologies and reinterpreting them. Mainstream American secularism tends to take this form of ideological competition very seriously by reinterpreting Christian traditions as secular ones. One notorious example is the practice of replacing the traditional notation A.D. (for Anno Domini or "in the year of our Lord") with the less religious sounding abbreviation C.E. for "Common Era". Another example is the yearly onslaught of "War on Christmas" news stories that all revolve around the term "Christmas" being highly offensive and the necessity of replacing it with the less offensive term "winter holiday".

So think of the milk chocolate Jesus as Christianity's revenge for the "War on Christmas". Because the obvious message of this work of art is that the traditional secular "spring holiday" practice of eating chocolate bunnies is actually a children's play form of the Christian communion*. Just think of all those poor, innocent atheist children who munch away on their chocolate bunnies without realizing that they are actually partaking of the "Body of Christ"!

*This is assuming that milk chocolate cannot be directly transmuted into the "Body of Christ". If this is your belief, strengthen my conclusions accordingly.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Carbon offsets

Glenn Reynolds on carbon offsets today (author's hyperlink):
WE NO LONGER QUESTION THEIR PATRIOTISM: “Perhaps the most disturbing scene of the afternoon, however, involved the man who pulled down his pants in front of women and children and defecated on a burning U.S. flag.”

Even more shockingly, he apparently failed to purchase carbon offsets to cover the burning flag's greenhouse emissions. . . .
As Douglas Adams might recommend, every time you belch, pass gas or otherwise produce carbon emissions, it's important to obtain a receipt in order to prove that you've purchased the correct amount of carbon offsets.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A really bad week for A-Teams

The Clinton A-Team is screwing up the Democratic primary election, big time:
They were supposed to be the A Team in American politics. The Clinton Machine that inspired fear and admiration throughout the political world.

They had guided Hillary through two successful Senate races in a state where she had never lived and helped her recover from scandals that nearly crippled her -- the pardons, the White House gifts, the Peter Paul fundraiser.

They seemed invincible.

But ever since the presidential campaign started, the Clinton operation has looked amateurish, flat-footed, defensive, and tactically clumsy.

They don't seem to be at all ready for the big time.
But that's a minor problem compared to the "Lost" A-Team getting themselves captured again:
Kate and Jack are together again, but it is not the joyous reunion/escape plan that Kate had envisioned. Instead she and Sayid are captured almost immediately and held prisoner by the Others while Jack and Juliet prepare for their return home. Yes I said it. Home. But Jack swears he'll come back for her. It's hard to tell if she buys it, though, what with her being handcuffed and held captive while he walks off with the hot blonde doctor.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

America betrayed

Yet again, the liberals have surrendered to the radicals:
Liberal opposition to a $124 billion war spending bill broke last night, when leaders of the antiwar Out of Iraq Caucus pledged to Democratic leaders that they will not block the measure, which sets timelines for bringing U.S. troops home.

The acquiescence of the liberals probably means that the House will pass a binding measure today that, for the first time, would establish tough readiness standards for the deployment of combat forces and an Aug. 31, 2008, deadline for their removal from Iraq.
And we all know what these hijinks are really about:
"You really have two options here: One is that you can vote for a change of course here and say we're going to find a way out of Iraq, or, two, you can vote against it and hand George Bush a victory," said Jon Soltz, a veteran of the Iraq war and co-founder of, a group that opposes the war. "It doesn't make sense to me. George Bush got us into the war. They have challenged him on everything. Why would they give him this victory now?" he asked, referring to the liberals.
President Bush needs to tell the Democratic Congress to get serious and pass a real war spending bill that doesn't play games with America's future.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A few cheap shots at conservatism

Neal Stephenson makes a few remarks about conservatism in this defense of the film 300:
Our so-called conservatives, who have cut all ties to their own intellectual moorings, now espouse policies and personalities that would get them laughed out of Periclean Athens. The few conservatives still able to hold up one end of a Socratic dialogue are those in the ostracized libertarian wing — interestingly enough, a group with a disproportionately high representation among fans of speculative fiction.
The charge about conservatives getting "laughed out of Periclean Athens" is the most ridiculous. Consider the mainstream media's case against President Bush's foreign policy. We have
  • a chief executive who is a scion of a leading aristocratic dynasty (the Bushes) ,

  • who is waging a long war in order to spread democracy (for the benefit of the homeland),

  • who is willing to accept relatively large numbers of civilian and military casulties,

  • who is accused of treating the enemy excessively harshly,

  • who is accused of curtailing civil rights in order to silence dissent,

  • and who has apparently alienated all of his democratic allies along the way.
These points wouldn't be laughed at by Periclean Athens; they are largely indistinguishable from the foreign policy of Pericles himself.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Halfway to hell

The previous post was #333. Only 332 posts after this one to go!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

How to make liberals hate a movie in 6 easy lessons.

Here's a review of the new film release 300 that is positively burning with righteous indignation. The author basically throws everything and the kitchen sink at this film, including:

  • Reductio ad Hitlerum. The review begins (author's embedded link):
    If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.
    Let's take this criticism seriously, even though a little thought would suggest that pure-breed Aryan neo-Nazis would most probably hate a film that stars a bunch of "southern Europeans" as the main heroes. That said, this isn't an entirely absurd point in the sense that the Third Reich did model some of its military practices on Greek or Macedonian models. Except that Hitler was arming Germany for an offensive total war while the Spartans are waging something less than total war in this film (otherwise the movie would have been called 30,000 instead of 300) as a defense against an invader that was trying to subjugate all of Greece.

  • 300 is too bourgeois. The review continues:
    Since it's a product of the post-ideological, post-Xbox 21st century, 300 will instead be talked about as a technical achievement, the next blip on the increasingly blurry line between movies and video games.
    That this criticism directly contradicts the previous one goes unrealized by the author. Or to put it another way, 300 has somehow managed the minor miracle of being both mindlessly technically oriented and shockingly Hitlerian panzer-esque dramatic.

  • 300 is just another American otaku fanwank. The next criticism is that:
    The comic fanboys who make up 300's primary audience demographic aren't likely to get hung up on the movie's historical content, much less any parallels with present-day politics.
    This is apparently that rare film that is simultaneously too high-, middle- and low-brow all at once.

  • 300 might inflame tensions in the Middle East. The review worries that people who hate America might be induced to hate America even more after viewing this film (author's embedded link):
    But what's maddening about 300 (besides the paralyzing monotony of watching chiseled white guys make shish kebabs from swarthy Persians for 116 indistinguishable minutes) is that no one involved—not Miller, not Snyder, not one of the army of screenwriters, art directors, and tech wizards who mounted this empty, gorgeous spectacle—seems to have noticed that we're in the middle of an actual war. With actual Persians (or at least denizens of that vast swath of land once occupied by the Persian empire).
    Yeah, I'm sure that modern day Iraqis are really pissed off by films involving the slaughter of their idol-worshipping pagan ancestors from 1100 or so years before the founding of Islam.

  • 300 is too resolutely warlike.The review states:
    One of the few war movies I've seen in the past two decades that doesn't include at least some nod in the direction of antiwar sentiment, 300 is a mythic ode to righteous bellicosity.
    It seems odd that a nation that is being threatened with total annihilation by an invading enemy would indulge in the luxury of an antiwar movement. But this is patently false since the Spartan governing counsel is dominated by an outspoken antiwar politician (not to mention the Spartan king's sleepless nights). Of course, in 480 B.C. taking a payoff from an enemy nation leads to rather "pointed" questioning of one's patriotism instead of the book deals, media prestige and potential presidential candidacy that it leads to today.

  • The Spartan king resembles George W. Bush.The review states:
    But Leonidas is not above playing the tyrant himself. When a messenger from Xerxes arrives bearing news Leonidas doesn't like, he hurls the man, against all protocol, down a convenient bottomless well in the center of town. "This is blasphemy! This is madness!" says the messenger, pleading for his life. "This is Sparta," Leonidas replies. So, if Spartan law is defined by "whatever Leonidas wants," what are the 300 fighting for, anyway? And why does that sound depressingly familiar?
    This is a subtle reference (with a rather sickening display of faux-ignorance) to President Bush, who is portrayed as "overriding the constitution" to create an "unrestrained executive" in some contemporary Democratic party propaganda. Somehow the reviewer has overlooked that part of the film, traditionally called "the beginning", that actually somewhat explains how the Spartan political process actually works as a friendly guide to the audience.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Yet another Ann Coulter controversy

The recent Conservative PAC meeting has been drawing some news attention for a few notable incidents that have occured by its attendees. The most attention-getting was Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a "faggot":
Coulter, who was addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., said:

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I — so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."

Members of the audience seemed startled, then many clapped, and she proceeded to open the floor to questions, reported
Ann Coulter isn't the first person to realize that gutter talk is an effective way of making your point stick.

By the way, who invited the Paleocons to CPAC?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gingrich joins the Clinton Critic's Caucus

Along with Joe Biden and David Geffen, Newt Gingrich has criticized the Clintons for their trademark campaign ruthlessness:
[Gingrich] called Clinton's political team one of the most "talented" in U.S. history, but "endlessly ruthless."

"You can't beat them tactically . . . They're too relentless, they're too well-organized, they have too big a machine and they'll just grind you down," he said.

"If they think [Obama] is a real threat, they'll just grind him up."
Coming from Gingrich, these kind of comments could be interpreted as the "lowering of expectations" in preparation for a 2008 presidential election bid. If the Clinton's are practically guarenteed to try and destroy the reputation of the Republican presidential nominee for 2008, then anything less than total obliteration at the hands of the Clinton "machine" will, according to the expectations game, be considered a victory.