Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ocotomom

Another set of octuplets have been born. Once again, some people are hailing it as a miracle. However, the only miracle here is modern medicine.

For one thing, the fact that there are eight is due solely to medical science. Like most litters of children born these days, the woman was taking fertility medication. In fact, this woman in California had the embyros implanted. It's also stated that she knew of the multiple births and decided to keep them all. She also has six other children. Clearly she didn't have enough.

The other "miracle" of this event is the survival of all eight babies. Again, the only miracle is medicine, as the closest thing to an angel in that delivery room would have been the highly trained and skilled doctors and nurses operating on this misguided concubine.

In case one couldn't tell from my tone, I find this situation to be deplorable. For one thing, I think having eight children is a rather selfish and egocentric choice, even if they are spaced out. Having eight at one time is bordering on child abuse. I don't believe these children will have the opportunity to grow up as individuals. I also doubt they will receive the attention they each deserve. However, my biggest complaint would seem more of a stretch to most people.

I find fundamentalism to be the prime problem with human beings. The mother has decided to remain anonymous, but I can extrapolate certain things from the details we do know. That she wanted more than six children, was willing to take fertility drugs and have embryos implanted, and that she would not abort any of the embryos signals to me that she is a religious nut (the technical term). I feel pity for those children in so many ways, and hope they can make it out of that home before they hurt themselves or others.

That would be a miracle.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Like a Virgin...

It appears that in Santiago, Chile, there is a brewing brouhaha over scantily clad models "inspired by" the Virgin Mary. Having been raised Catholic, I thought long and hard about why an artist might sexualize the Virgin Mary. Of course, I didn’t have to ponder long.

It occurred to me I’ve seen many depictions of Mary when I was growing up, and I remember finding her to be drop-dead sexy. I couldn’t really recall many details, but maybe this Chilean artist is on to something.

In fact, I know he is. I found the images below after a quick search, though I can't say I directly recall seeing any of these specifically:

(Jesus looks a bit old...)

The last one is a personal favorite, as it disproves the instant reaction most Christians would have to the first ones, which is, "There's nothing sexual or wrong with a mother feeding her child."

The article also includes a comment coming from bishops which claims events like this encourage the treatment of women as "object[s] of consumption." It's odd that a group of men who exclude women from their rank would make this kind of statement, because most women I know say religion has successfully subjugated women for centuries. I guess they're experts.

Maybe this fixation on a Jewish girl is why I've dated so many Jews, not to mention the one I'm engaged to...

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Everyone hates. Some see it as contempt, some people prefer to loathe, while others call it scorn or hostility. Many (mostly whiney liberal types) mask it with weak sounding words like dislike or aversion. But in the end, everyone hates. It’s a perfectly natural thing. You don’t even have to hate anyone, you can hate a thing. Bottom line: not everything in the world gives us a positive experience. However, this essay will serve as an introduction to a [sham] subfield of study which focuses on hatred among humans; I call it Misanthropology (a branch of Antisociology).

There are two simple ways of categorizing hatred between humans: primary and peripheral. Primary hatred derives from emotions (such as irritation) which are a direct result of time spent with an individual. It is tantamount to a social allergy, in which distinct negative reactions are manifest through prolonged exposure. Peripheral hatred is based upon recognition of another individual’s membership in a community (racial, religious, class, subculture, etc) or by the individual’s reputation. Primary can lead to peripheral hatred if the individual chooses to associate the negative behavior of one with the behavior of the group.

These types of hate differentiate discrimination and prejudice. Discrimination is a normal, natural, useful, and important human tool. To discriminate is to observe and be able to recognize differences. There is no dishonor in discrimination. Prejudice and bigotry are the pre-conceived negative attributes that are damagingly applied to individuals who are part of a group (stereotypes are the collective negative, neutral, and positive attributes applied to a group). Discrimination is an important tool for evaluating individuals, while prejudice draws from the human desire to associate like things in order to simplify existence.

There’s really nothing one can do about primary hatred, or discrimination. Let’s face it: some people are really annoying. In fact, spontaneous violence between individuals who know each other is vastly more common than violence between strangers or acts of bigotry. Every day, husbands beat their wives, parents beat their children, and fathers kill their whole family before turning the gun on themselves.

Prejudice is logical to those who do not properly discriminate. No trait observable in one group of individuals is absent in any other, nor are traits ever ubiquitous within an entire group. Prejudice, then, is a failure to discriminate. In this way, one can see hate has been misunderstood by liberals. It is an ultimate truth that in order to hate someone, you have to get to know them. If you “hate” someone from afar, someone you have never met, you are pre-applying labels, either from your own past experience with similar looking people or possibly based on second-hand accounts of others. Either way, take the time to learn what it is about someone you can’t stand before you decide to hate them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Who Are the Palestinians?

Since American tax dollars are being used to fund their annihilation, I find it important to understand who the Palestinian people are. They are largely Muslim (specifically Sunni), though some are Christian and Druze. The primary factor linking Palestinians together is that they and their ancestors have lived peacefully in the region for 500 years under the Ottoman Empire, contested before this only by invading Christian Crusaders.

This region had been Muslim since its 7th century Arab conquest, with only fleeting periods of Christian control during the Middle Ages. It is the Arabian side of the land bridge to Egypt, linking the continents of Africa and Asia. The land has been surprisingly peaceful, considering it is one of the most strategic locations in the world. The bottom line: Palestinians are a people in diaspora who are being segregated from Israeli society and forced into ghettos where they can be easily targeted for abuse.

Now a short history of Israel is in order. After World War II, with the Ottoman Empire completely dissolved and the region in geopolitical disarray, England and the UN arbitrarily drew lines in the sand and called them nations. While many decisions during this time were disputed, the most controversial was the formation of a Jewish state in the region of Palestine.

Zionism (or the belief in a Jewish State) has its origins in systemic European anti-Semitism. Beyond bigotry, Europe had gone so far as to legislate maliciously against Jewish interests and practices during and after the so-called “Enlightenment” period of the 18th century. Jews, non-Jews, and even the bigots themselves sought a solution to the growing problem, all under different auspices. The agreed upon solution harkens back to similar American ignorance: send them back where they came from.

It is this general attitude, this underlying anti-Semitism, that drives my dislike for the Nation of Israel. It is a solution born out of ignorance and intolerance. It is also a situation that fosters a new problem: if a disliked group is moved to one location, is it really safer for the group? The equation appears to be one that only equals the wholesale slaughter of Jews at the hands of their enraged Muslim neighbors, an atrocity that is set up by seemingly blameless Christian Europe and America.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


What is happening between Israel and Palestine is another event in an American-funded catastrophe. If you don’t care about what’s going on, I can’t say I blame you; it’s a mess. What irritates me, however, are those who seem to be paying attention but are blind supporters of monstrous acts. There is a popular myth that the Middle East has been in conflict for 2000 years. Actually, things had settled down for centuries until 60 years ago, when Israel was formed.

A nation born out of post-WWII pity, without any consideration for the people already living there, Israel has been supplied state-of-the-art armaments from the West since its inception. It has used the generous foreign aid it receives (and we’re talking billions of dollars per year from the US alone) to wage a war of expansion and suppression on Palestine.

The treatment of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis has been nothing short of brutal. It is a dark day when the culture that penned “an eye for an eye” has resorted to such exchanges as bullets for rocks, tanks for bullets, and laser-guided bombs for rockets. The death toll says it all; for every Israeli who died, over a hundred Palestinians were killed. All of this is happening because a few Palestinians (organized or not) have been firing rockets at Israelis, killing four. Meanwhile, Israel has shelled UN schools.

It is this heavy-handed mentality which fuels terrorism; consider that many terrorists have lost an immediate family member in conflict with the West. Israel’s actions are a catalyst for the frustration that drives many Muslim terrorist organizations, just as the invasion of Iraq by the US has only encouraged unrest. War will only solve the problem if Israel is planning to annihilate the Palestinians. Jews will one day have to live in peace with the Palestinians (even the rowdy ones), or leave.
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