There are different kinds of silence; ours, I think, was an instinctive dread of catching the plague of dramatic rhetoric. People do not realize how insidiously, in certain circumstances, they can be infected by the rhetorical. And how important it is at least to try to shake it off. And to do so in the name of what seems a simple but is actually a perverse rule, that it is on the slippery confines between the banal and the mysterious that we only fleetingly brush against the never wholly grasped nature of things.
– Gustaw Herling
The fundamentalist machine of Christianity – and its attendant programme of social engineering – is gathering pace at an alarming rate. While public chastity vows have been a regular feature of parts of American society for 7 or so years, we’re now also able to take our teenage daughters to “chastity balls“, where fathers and their offspring can slow dance to songs about god’s love, and promise to protect/be protected from impurity until “the right time” arrives. Continue reading “Someone please save us from god”
It must be 7 years since I finished my M.A., but I have yet to register for a Ph.D. Part of the reason is, of course, the amount of teaching that junior staff members end up doing. But a larger part of the reason is that I am a slacker (although a fellow Resistentialist claims that I’m too organised to count as a slacker). I’ll insist that I have earned the label, though, and cite in my defense that he’s actually produced far more measurable “product” than I have in the past 2 years or so. Continue reading “Playing the game”
One member of the Resistential community cannot understand why the rest of us are so attached to our (or each others’) cats. Perhaps we do fall into the quite typical trap of anthropomorphism when interacting with our cats, but despite that, they remain wonderful companions. And they are undoubtedly resistential – they may in fact be the ones who brought the movement to this planet. Continue reading “Darling Nikki”
It has frequently been commented that the US has a rather peculiar relationship with democracy, at least in an ideological sense. They trumpet its virtues and their pride in being democratic, and even sometimes start wars, ostensibly in defense of this political system. But if democracy means – as it surely does – that everyone gets to vote, and everyone’s vote counts equally, then how can we square the stated American commitment to democracy with the likelihood that Dubya would reject the outcome of any Iraqi election (for example) which placed a dedicated theocratic government in power, no matter how fair that election may have been? Continue reading “The evils of “Democracy””
Does sitting on your hands mean that you should resist complaining? A friend claims that complaining is a natural part of human conversational fabric, whether or not one intends to try and resolve the issues that are being complained about. My argument was typically principled but highly impractical (as they often are), in that I was making the claim that unless you are prepared to try and effect change, you really don’t have the right to complain. Continue reading “Apathy #2”
So, the man behind the man who blessed the world with an alternative to Harry Potter, namely Michael Baigent (who, for those of you who don’t follow such esoterica, claimed – unsuccessfully – that Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was plagiarised from Baigent’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail), has revealed that Jesus and Pontius Pilate colluded in faking the crucifixion.
My students are due to hand an essay in next week. Besides the typical whingeing relating to things like essay length (1500 words is apparently unreasonable these days), I’ve also had some students saying things like “if I had wanted to study museum subjects then I would be a Humanities student”. This, after I had the temerity to ask Economics students to read 2 pages of John Stuart Mill. By and large, this anti-intellectual culture seems to be thriving in the media also – this Sunday was typical, in that the weekend papers provided their usual 30-minute-maximum of diversion. Continue reading “Private intellectuals, public morons”
One very positive development, following the publication of Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, is that commentators on the issue are occasionally taking pains to identify themselves what one might call “moderate athiests”. See, for example, this review by David Niose of Humanist magazine. Continue reading “The End of Faith”